Hello and welcome to another edition of Geek Native’s anime mini-reviews. We call this column Irregular Reconnaissance because it reports back in whenever it’s ready, whenever that might be.
I think the best rating any of the shows mentioned in this edition get is “Hopeful”. So, does that mean we’ve a collection of misses?
Not so. There’s just so munch anime out there these days that a score of “average” puts a show safely above (at least) 40% of what’s out there. I’d argue, though, that the average tier is maybe another 40% of the market and that leaves the best shows in the top 20%. How what you split up the market?
Irregular Reconnaissance is always at its best when readers contribute their own mini-reviews. You don’t need to say much to be helpful, just a hit or a miss beside an anime title in the comments below might help someone else discover their next favourite show. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- The Frozen Bond
Film: 1h16m running time
I really liked Re: ZERO. The whole season 1, all 25 episodes of it. You might be tired of “guy wakes up in fantasy game universe” but Re: ZERO got their early, did things differently and has some powerful moments.
Sadly, The Frozen Bond is not that show.
Instead, we focus on Emilia and Puck in a prequel. It’s a show about Emilia’s mysterious background and her potential future. I can’t get into to it much without spoiling the main Re: ZERO, which would be a sin.
It tries a different route to Re: ZERO’s shock to elicit a response from us, a softer, more emotional one. It falls a bit flat.
However, Re: ZERO is brilliant, this is average and adds to your Re: ZERO experience and so I think it should be wathed,
Status: Okay, not a patch on the series.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045
Episodes 1 to 3
It’s easy to get excited about any new Ghost in the Shell. I suspect though that’s because the first was so good. The more recent follow-ups and reboots haven’t matched those heights.
So, here I am feeling excited about the latest effort. Netflix has the exclusive, and the show happily falls into Netflix’s thing for computer-animated character designs. This not the beautiful illustrations of the first.
However, three episodes in and it’s still going strong. Not so strong that I’ve binged watched all 12, but strong enough.
Set in the Stand Alone Complex, the Major and her crew (known as Ghost) are mercenaries who get caught in a set-up. The drama so far, other than hoping that the cute Tachikoma is alright, is what the sinister organisation plan to do with Ghost.
Episodes 7 to 12
I enjoyed the first half of In/Spectre a great deal more than the second. Now that we’ve established the players, the show shifts focus to following them dealing with a troublesome spirit.
The spirit is a face-less, big-chested woman who wields a steel building support and is prone to a spot of murder if given a chance.
Weirdly, we end up the situation where things that cannot die are caught in a fight. The resolution is all around watching how smart the cocky goddess of wisdom is as she battles with the sinister puppet-master to try and create a situation in which the ghost can be faced.
Episodes 4 to 11
Darwin’s Game absolutely holds your attention even as it leaps forwards in giant steps. In the first three episodes, we deal with a newbie getting caught up in a deadly game. In these episodes, we build a clan, make an enemy and take it on.
There are lots of tricks that Darwin’s Game uses to keep you engaged. Character development is done in short arcs of game battles. Some of those feel a bit pointless except to foreshadow the skill of the newly created group and, I suspect, set up characters for season 2 – if such a thing happens.
The other way Darwin’s Game keeps your attention is being brutal and bloody. No, we don’t often get the black censor shadows, but we do have bodies cut up into pieces.
Sometimes anime seem to be oblivious to the monsters their heroes are becoming as they fight to win against impossible odds. Not Darwin’s World, it doubles-down on that and makes no bones about the heroes surviving because they’re intense enough to do whatever it takes.
Status: High average.
Episodes 1 to 3
I’m three episodes in and plan to watch more, but I’m not sure how I’m watching Schoolgirl Strikers in the first place. It’s not new, it’s had hardly any reviews, and yet I found it in my Crunchyroll queue. I hadn’t seen any of it.
So, maybe I bookmarked it at some point in the past, forgot all about it and failed to notice it until now. Seem likely to you? Or does Crunchyroll occasionally pop titles directly into your queue as a not subtle attempt to get your attention?
Schoolgirl Strikers past the first gate of interest-grabbing at episode one with a single scene in which one of the characters is accused of hiding a sword at the school building. Why? So it could be found, and an Arthurian myth rises in response. The whole deadpan delivery is excellent!
The show itself seems to be about rather cute-looking aliens invading our reality through randomly appearing portals and that only school girls of the right temperament can summon the magic weapons necessary to fight them off.
Status: Okay, so far.
Do you agree with this little bundle of reviews? Let us know in the box below or whether you have any recommendations of your own.