Soul Eater

Despite being published 15 years ago, Soul Eater remains to feel fresh and lively. The unique art style, beautiful animations, and solid Shonen story will forever keep this a timeless anime.

Soul Eater pulls in references to a bunch of different European stories without the show feeling recycled or generic like a lot of current amines. Dr. Frankenstein, The Grim Reaper, Escalator; although all coming from different fantasy stories, they were perfectly integrated as characters in Soul Eater while feeling fresh and unique.

Yowamushi Pedal

Yowamushi Pedal is an anime about a high school bicycle racing club in Japan. The characters are funny and the story is addictive. Overall, this is a pretty good sports anime, especially if you enjoy biking — however no knowledge of biking is required. My only gripe with the show is that the pacing of the story is a bit slow by the time they get to the final road race. Also, some of the characters are a bit over the top, but it adds to the cheesy aspect of the show that I find charming. Although this isn’t quite as good as Haikyuu, it shares many similar aspects, so if you liked one, you would definitely enjoy the other.

Sword Art Online

It is hard to review this anime online. Sword Art Online gets a lot of hate. I enjoyed this show and would recommend others watch it because it’s an iconic anime, but I do recognize its flaws.

The best part of the show is its world-building and high-tech fantasy components. It is hard not to get drawn into a show about an immersive VR fantasy game where sensory data is beamed directly into your brain rather than viewing things with a traditional VR headset or TV screen. The high-tech fiction is extended in seasons 3 and 4 with the introduction of artificial intelligence and the ability to copy someone’s ‘soul’ entirely. These relevant high-tech concepts paired with stunning artwork make for an anime that immediately draws you into it.

The problem with the story itself is that it often lacks focus. Interesting concepts are presented throughout the show, such as what it means to be human, the purpose of life, high stakes politics, morality within a virtual world, etc. However, most of these concepts are sabotaged by harem romance antics. A prime example is blatantly clear with the antagonist Nobuyuki Sugou. After SAO was defeated, Sugou hijacked 300 of the SAO survivors and began to conduct experiments on them to determine if he could implant memories inside their heads to coerce them. Fascinating concept, consider the geopolitical implications of this technology– what would the military do with this… BUT, this plot point was tossed to the background of the story since Sugou was a creepy person who tried to rape Asuna on several occasions. And, he had several weird tentacle research assistants… Plus, there was a weird incest romance thing happening during the same story arc… Need I say more?

A part of me feels like the story of SAO could have been on par with titles like Attack on Titan if it ditched some of the more sexual topics and focused on the high concept tech plot more. However, I’m not totally sold on that. Consider Netflix’s series Black Mirror. Although Black Mirror is about dystopian technologies, it’s about human nature at its core. Technology has a way of bringing out the worst in people. Although it’s an uncomfortable truth, technologies like the ones in SAO enable new ways for sexual assault. SAO is not the best story to explore these topics considering the harem plot, but it is worth having these discussions before VR technologies like this emerge. How do we prevent people from using new technologies for evil? I hope the answer we come up with isn’t one teenager with a sword in a VR world, but it does make for a good anime.

Blue Period

Wow, Blue Period is an amazing and inspirational anime. Most of my thoughts can be summed up on this youtube video elaborating on the anime.

As somebody who picked up art as a hobby, this anime really inspired me to work harder and improve my skills. During episode one, a quote at the end of the episode really stuck out to me:

That doesn’t mean you have to go to art school to be an artist, there are plenty of great artists who are hapy to presue it as a hobby…

But, I may offer ‘Just leave your passion as a hobby,’ that’s something only an adult would say. I think that those who don’t give it their all are those who don’t have passion.

At first reading, this is a really inspirational quote and definitely encourages the viewer to pressure passions with more intensity and vigor. However, I’ve learned the dangers of letting the flames of passion burn too bright. I nearly depleted my passion for programming by turning it into a full-time job. That is one of the reasons I picked up hobbies like photography and art; I felt like it has helped me balance my creative outlets more. Since I started practicing art, I’ve learned that passion is very finicky, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated. Inspiration and motivation don’t come spontaneously, they to be egged on by action and a consistent routine.

Maybe I’m trying too hard to project myself into this anime. I’m not anything like the protagonist; I’m a recent college graduate working a 9-5 software engineering job. I’m surrounded by people who are sapped of all passion and are just doing the bare minimum for their job. It is frightening, to be honest. The fear of being lost in a sea of mediocrity… Recently art has been beckoning me. Something about this anime perfectly captures the energy and emotions of a new artist and it can only be described as pure excitement.

The Orbital Children

The Orbital Children is a six-episode Netflix ONA that is about several middle schoolers in space. Some of the children were obnoxious — especially when it came to the social media parts. But overall the characters were each interesting and had their own quirks. For such a short series, it managed to do a fair bit of world-building and hit on some pretty high sci-fi concepts along the way.

It needs to be said that most of the “sci-fi” was pretty bogus. The “hacking” was just clicking a button and having droids shoot lasers at each other. The AI was pretty out there, but the show never tried to explain how an asteroid suddenly turned into a giant AI, so I will just leave it as that…

The ending was quite satisfying, emotional, and left room for a second season, but a second season is yet to be confirmed by Netflix. However, the season summarized two years of events in the last 10 minutes of the show, so I really don’t expect a second season. Most shows that do this are just trying to give the audience a somewhat satisfying conclusion since they don’t know if they will get a second season.

Cowboy Bebop Live-Action

I have mixed feelings about the new Netflix live-action adaptation of the famous anime Cowboy Bebop. Is it bad? No. It’s definitely not as bad as all the overwhelmingly negative reviews are out there making it sound. But, if I had to recommend someone to watch the Netflix show or the original, I would still recommend watching the original.

The live-action show was a perfectly fine show to watch. It was funny, had action, and the actors were well cast for their roles. However, at times it simply felt awkward or like it was drastically under budget. The underlying problem was that this was a live-action anime. Things that work well in anime don’t work well in the real world. A pinnacle example would be with the tease of radical Edward at the very end. What is very eccentric and funny in anime come across as awkward in the live-action form.

This all begs the question:: was a live-action remake even necessary? I would have far rather had an animated remake or an animated movie over Netflix’s mediocre live-action remake. With all the advances in GCI and animation, remaking Cowboy Bebop with the same animation quality that Deamon Slayer or Jujutsu Kaisen has would be transcendent. Fight sequences could be elevated to the very next level to accompany the phenomenal music track. The anime protagonist over the top style of fighting comes across as awkward with live-action, but if you keep it animated, it retains its cohesion. The fight sequences in this case almost work well since it is almost John Wick esk. However, there are moments that totally destroy the synergy like the opening fight scene where Spike kicks a quarter and it flies like a bullet.

My last gripe is with the plot development. Opposed to the original, the remake is significantly lacking. Although Spike, Fay, and Jet have a great dynamic, something critical is missing by not including Edward earlier on.

The biggest sin that Netflix made was treating the audience like babies and explicitly showing every single detail of the past and present. In the original, Spike’s past was left mostly as a mystery and the focus was diverted towards the day-to-day life of living as a bounty hunter. The show was about living with a tragic past and just barely getting by. However, the live-action show dedicated entire episodes towards showing the past lives of Spike and Jet wherein the anime only had brief flashbacks of the past. The live-action tried to force emotions by showing us sad things, whereas the anime built emotions more subtly by letting the audience fill in the details of the past and only shows the reverberating effects that the past. As a result, the original Cowboy Bebop is far more emotionally charged than the live-action show.


Castlevania is a great example of Netflix doing anime right. Some people might split hairs over whether this is actually “anime” or just a cartoon. Despite being inspired by anime, Castlevania is not produced in Japan but instead by an American studio. Additionally, rather than being based on a mang, Castlevania was based on a Japanese video game also called Castlevania. Regardless, the animation quality is amazing, and the action scenes are plentiful and very well choreographed. The characters were well developed, and there was just enough humor to lighten the mood when needed. Not much to say on the plot, but it does breathe a breath of fresh air into the vampire genre.


Ajin is a thrilling supernatural horror anime to watch, the story was well-paced, action-packed, and very interesting. TLDR: this is a perfect anime to binge-watch.

Although it is a very good anime, I can’t quite place it as an excellent anime. My first gripe with the anime is largely due to the 3D CG that was used throughout the show. The characters appeared odd at first, however, I got used to it by the end of the first season. Frame by frame, everything looks ok, but the movement often felt offputting– which in a weird way added to the horror/dark component of the anime.

Second, the anime was thrilling to watch and it had enough plot depth to make it interesting, but it didn’t really have a deeper meaning. Another anime that I would closely relate Ajin to is Death Note. Death Note constantly tore into a philosophical debate surrounding justice and how power changes people. The closest thing that Ajin has to that is that it explores the ways in which people are marginalized if they are different– people with Ajin people being hunted down and researched on. Again, this topic can be really interesting if done right — like in season 4 of Attack on Titan when it introduced moral ambiguity and conflicting ideals between the main characters over the use of the Titan power. The discussion around human rights in Ajin is not deeply explored and becomes a simple black and white issue that only serves to advance the plot for the main villain. By the end of season two, the human rights issue for the Ajins has been resolved in the blink of an eye, leaving season three to be merely about fighting Satou. But, this might be too critical since it is a relatively shorter anime and didn’t have enough time to fully explore any themes/philosophical things deeper.

For a Shounen protagonist, Kei is different since he is… as his sister put it: “a Jerk”. There is some plot development with Kei since he eventually learns to trust and rely on others for support. However, Kei still remains a cold and detached protagonist for the most part. It is not clear whether this is due to his upbringing in a strict family, or if it has to do with his Ajin powers. Other than Kei, the other characters are pretty straightforward for anime. The supporting characters are supporting, and the antagonist is driven by the desire to conquer the world.

The Devil is a Part-timer

This was a refreshing Isekai to watch; rather than going to a fantasy world, fantasy characters came to modern-day Japan. It was really funny and the characters had a great dynamic with one another. There was a fair amount of “fan service” but, it never degraded the anime. The biggest downside of the anime was that it was only 13 episodes and never got a second season. However, after 8 years, there is a rumored second season in production.

Mob Psycho 100

In short, Mob Psycho 100 is absolutely amazing, everyone should watch it. This show accomplishes a lot. The animation is simplistic yet beautiful. The story is exciting and well-paced. The characters are well-balanced, relatable, and hilarious.

Mob Psycho 100 explores what it means to live a fulfilled life through a coming of age story. In a decomposition of shounen tropes, the protagonist Mob starts out the show as an all-powerful character. Despite being all-powerful, Mob is not fulfilled. Mob recognizes that his powers can’t solve all of his problems. Rather than relying on his psychic abilities to solve all his problems, Mob seeks activities like the body improvement club to better himself. This all amplifies the message that happiness comes from hard work bringing success. In other words, natural talents can only get you so far in life.

It is common for people in this show that are blessed with psychic abilities to have a serious ego complex and believe that they are the “protagonist of the entire world.” When Mob defeated other Psychics called vespers, he often instilled the message that they are not special and reminds them of their own insignificance. Although we are each the protagonist of our own lives and responsible for our own happiness, we are all but little pieces of society in the grand scope of things.