Lately, I’ve been struggling to find anime shows that I really love watching. Outside of Little Witch Academia, which I’ve reviewed previously, the shows in this round were a mixed bag of enjoyable and mediocre at best. Read on to read my thoughts on this round’s shows!
Little Witch Academia: 4.2/5
Little Witch Academia is a great show, full of fun moments that expand on the lore of the short films greatly without detracting from the charms that made those short films so enjoyable in the first place. But I won’t waste your time here, so for more of my thoughts, check out my review with Jason!
Monster is an enjoyable, intense anime with a great start, but unfortunately, the show lets up on this hook by spending too much time on other minor characters. I wasn’t invested in these side plots at all, so being forced to see how their narrative wove into the main story made Monster slow and borderline boring at times. While these side narratives did ultimately have a purpose, the anime spent too much time into them, especially since the main conflict is much more compelling. Luckily, Monster found its way and the finale was enjoyable and thematically powerful, but the middle is a bit of a slog to get through. Overall, the show isn’t as strong because of the middle episodes, but if I were to rank the beginning and ending episodes, I would give it a 4/5 because of how engrossing and intense it is.
Ace Attorney: 2/5
I absolutely adore the Phoenix Wright video game series, so when I found out it was being turned into an anime, I got really excited. While the show proves to be just as compelling and silly as the games, and has several visual references to the games as well and even features some orchestrated versions of iconic songs from the games as well, these good qualities of the show stop here. The character animation and movements can be pretty stilted and jarring despite how detailed the backgrounds are, and the cases don’t feel as epic because there’s a lack of interactivity of the players trying to solve them. On top of that, this show is incredibly fast, shoving three games worth of content into 25 episodes, and as a result, so many of the emotional, powerful moments in the games that shocked me as I played them became empty moments stitched into an episode, feeling devoid of any credibility and being incredibly boring and simplistic. The brevity of the pacing ruins this anime adaptation, and because of this, the Ace Attorney anime adaptation is an injustice to the celebrated video game series, which is a shame since it had the potential to be so much better.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: 3/5
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is essentially an Attack on Titan clone, but with zombies and a steampunk heavy setting. While it borrows very heavily from the tried and true formula Attack on Titan has perfected, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress does have strengths that allow it to stand on its own. The action choreography is impressive, and the animation from start to finish is incredibly beautiful and stunning to watch. Unfortunately, the story is only so-so, making it not very memorable as a result. Unlike Attack on Titan, where the narrative really matters and expands to create complex themes and questions of ethics and morality, the story of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress relies on the drama of the zombies without providing a compelling reason for why they became a threat, or for why the villain chooses to act in the way he does. Honestly, I think the story begins to suffer significantly once a clear main villain is introduced in Biba because it takes away the ambiguity of the threats being within both the survivors and the zombies, making the show very black-and-white when the gray areas are much more appreciated. In this way, the show ends up coming across more silly than serious or fascinating, making it a show simply packaged with bright animation but little substance behind it.
Thanks for reading another round of reviews!