We’re all monsters inside. To be precise, we all hold the code for skull-headed, flesh-eating, flying giant insects and all it takes is the right plague to come along, and our inner-selves will be free from those insect cages.
In other words; we’re talking about anime.
Irregular Reconnaissance: Anime is a collection of mini-reviews to help you scout for shows or appraise candidates for your time.
As it happens, this week we’re looking exclusively at shows available on Netflix. That’s not always the way, Crunchyroll and Amazon are two other easily accessible places to legally stream new and classic titles.
That’s the intro done so let’s get cracking with the reviews.
Altered Carbon: Resleeved
Film: 1h14m running time
The anime is gorgeous even if it does settle into a single location for two-thirds of the film. It opens with the body beautiful and lots of skimpy clothes. In this future, you just buy yourself a lovely body and presumably are happy to show it off.
I hadn’t released from the trailers, but this is a Takeshi Kovacs story. Kovacs is downloaded by the Yakuza to investigate a murder and things spiral from there.
I’ve not yet seen any of season 2, but this anime makes it more likely that I will.
Status: Healthy average.
No Game/No Life Zero
Film: 1h46m running time
There’s a whole fake start to this film which, I assume tees up a series, or at least provides an unsatisfactory explanation of the ending.
Once you get into the proper film, you’ll arrive in a horrible fantasy world being torn apart by powerful warring factions. It takes a while to work that out as it’s not explained.
The humans are doing rubbish. They’re just the trash caught between the powers that matter. Our hero encounters a scout robot from one of the factions and anime romance follows.
The pair go off on their own, make sacrifices, other characters are introduced so they can make sacrifices too, and as the body count rises the plans to solve the perma-war become crazier and crazier.
That unsatisfactory ending? None of it matters.
However, what you get is a big-budget visual feast with lots of colour and moving parts to keep your attention. Just don’t try and watch this when you’re tired.
Season 1, Episodes 11 to Season 2, Episode 12
It’s the same for any Fate series… great characters and many of them are doomed to die. In Fate/Zero, there are two seasons, and so it just takes a little longer.
Back in IR: 41 I said I have yet to watch a lousy Fate series. Fate/Zero isn’t lousy, but it certainly has the weakest moments. I suspect there were only one and a half seasons of core story here, not two.
I’m not sure this should be anyone’s first Fate series. Make sure you’re a fan before you watch this. If you are a fan then you’ll enjoy the more significant backstory discovery you’ll get with most characters, but you may rankle at some of the command seal shenanigans which may now haunt other Fate/ stories.
Status: Fairly Good.
Episodes 1 to 14
I started to watch Scissor Seven in the first instance because it’s Chinese in origin and I was curious to see what the censors there would let pass.
I nearly stopped after each of the first three episodes. The animation quality is poor. The jokes are rubbish. The plot is a lesson-of-the-day mission.
One night, though, I was was too tired to bother changing the channel. That’s when Scissor Seven got better and, weirdly, the plot began to knit together.
This is an alternative world with a few superpowers in it. One of which is the technology power and another the heritage and traditional way of life power. I think the Chinese see themselves as the latter, but frankly, they could be the technology superpower too.
Our hairdresser with magic scissor wielding power learns some important life lessons and the community rallies around him as a result.
Status: For when you’re drunk.
Episodes 1 to 5
I spent the first few episodes of Noragami debating with myself whether I’d seen the show before.
As crazy as this sounds, I think what was so familiar about the series is just the trailer Geek Native shared back in 2013!
A schoolgirl almost dies trying to save a minor god. Of course, she doesn’t know he’s a god, and he was never in any risk. The result of the encounter is that our hero school girl’s soul is poorly attached to her body, and she can now see the supernatural.
The plot sets off introducing us to the dangerous world of spirits that want to consume and corrupt lost souls while the unreliable god doesn’t really help rebuild the body/soul connection.
The twist? This minor god of DIY and gig economy tasks turns out to be a former war god. We’re to see what this means…
So far, I’m intrigued and will be watching more.
Status: Early days good.
Cagaster of an Insect Cage
Episodes 1 to 12
An anime set after the insect apocalypse and in the Middle East. That’s pretty rare. It even has a non-binary character who seems to be treated fairly and, in fact, comes across lovable and heroic.
It turns out we’re all monsters inside – you might have guessed – but in this case, a plague can turn us into powerful and murderous giant insects. It just needs time.
The surviving pockets of humanity are organised into resistance and life goes on as much as possible.
Cagaster of an Insect Cage picks up when a tough as nails insect exterminator ends up looking after a young girl after an almost successful attempt to rescue her and her father from angry insects.
It’s a great plot, with characters you’ll care about but I found the ending a little hollow. The reveal comes two-thirds in and could be wrapped up fairly quickly after that, but it drags a little.
Do you have any recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments below.