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.
Wow, I don’t really know what to say about this anime. It isn’t flashy, it doesn’t have high production, but nevertheless, it is definitely an anime that will stick with me for a long time.
The story follows a group of high schoolers who went a-drift in this weird multi-dimensional universe. Each scene in the anime has this painted quality adding to the sublime nature of their universe. This story feeds into this underlying feeling of existential nialism. If our lives are so small and inconsequential compared to the universe, what is the point of living? How do you live day to day if you can live for literally thousands of years? What is the nature of our universe?
Sonny boy tackles all these deep philosophical questions while at the same time is a story that heavily leans on character development and emotion.
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.
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.
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.
This was a good anime. Don’t want to call it a masterpiece, but, it is definitely a solid crime thriller to watch. The Great Pretender is about a group of individuals who call themselves “confidence men”, and are essentially people who swindle the rich and corrupt to serve their own self-interests. The show is known for having elaborate schemes and only revealing the plot twist that uncovers the trick at the last minute.
The animation style is also distinctly unique. The colors are saturated and the background is filled with unrealistic shading which gives the world a beautiful dream-like feeling.
Sex and violence. Devilman crybaby is a thrilling anime to watch with its simplistic yet beautiful animation style with pastel color pallets and well-defined line work. Also, did I mention sex and violence? Devilman crybaby indulges in the taboo as it explores themes of puberty, violence, human nature, and self-identification. This show is not afraid to include graphic scenes with sex and gore.
Overall, the show did a good job with the limited number of episodes that it had. The conclusion was very nihilistic, yet at the same time, the ending left me feeling satisfied with the show overall.
Code Geass did a lot of things right for a mecha shounen anime. It had excellent battles, well-developed characters, and character conflicts. But, most of all, I enjoyed this anime because it brazenly presented philosophical questions. What is justice? What is national identity? How does nationalism turn into racism? Should the powerful rule over the weak? Is it possible to end world conflict? Do the ends justify the means?
It isn’t even necessary to read too deep into the plot to pull out these themes because the characters flat out discuss these things. The opening commonly asks us to ponder these more philosophical questions about time, consequences, etc.
There is a lot to be said about the show. However, I felt like the development of the “F.L.E.I.J.A” super weapon is the most interesting. This isn’t the only technological advancement made during the show. The mechas are constantly getting new upgrades. This could be a cleaver plot device to level their power system, or it could be a illustration of how war typically speeds up technical advancements. This, leading to one of my favorite quotes in the show:
Well, you know what they say… war is the mother of invention.
– Lloyd Asplund
The introduction of the super-weapon changed the dichotomy of war drastically. No longer was it just people who were willing to fight that died in the war, but, millions of people as entire cities got erased. Both the power of the FLEIJA, and of the power of Geass could bend people into absolute submission. Which of these weapons is more unethical to use? Who shoulders the burden of responsibility for using such a weapon? The story later sabotaged the importance of the FLEIJA, by then creating a anti-FLEIJA weapon. But, the devastating effects of the weapon were already felt by that part of the story with two cities being destroyed– reminiscent of Japan during WWII.
If this type of plot development with the FLEIJA sounds familiar, it is because it is all over the place in anime. Think about how Netero Killed Meruem with the Miniature Rose [nuclear]bomb in Hunter X Hunter. Or, consider the Colossal titan in Attack on Titan. Or the N2 mine in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
I can’t believe I waited this long to watch the legendary anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion–aka AVA. This anime was incredible. A pure masterpiece.
Although this shounen anime is about giant machines called Evangelions fighting biblically sized monsters, the action didn’t sell this show. What really sells this show is the incredible character development and the exploration of psychological trauma, loneliness, and depression.
The protagonist of most shounen anime is an energy ball of pure skill and talent ready to leap into danger to save the world. In AVA, Shinji is a shy, weak, timid 14-year-old boy who is always doubting himself. Although Shinji has the ability to sync with an Evangelion, that is only because his very own mother was turned into the Evangelion. We see Shinji crumble into depression throughout the show– and not the kind that shounen protagonists typically just pop right out of. Shinji has a hard time dealing with the pressure of saving the world. Shinji longes for admiration from his father, who is distant. Shinji questions his sexuality and desires with characters like Kaworu and Rei. And most important, Shinji fears hurting others and has a problem with intimacy.
SEELE presents the solution to human suffering as the human instrumentality project. A plan that will combine all of our minds into one entity to fill in each other gaps. The show presents two endings to the show. The first in the last two episodes of the anime explores Shinji’s mind after the Human Instrumentality Project. Shinji learns the importance of individuality and what it means to be intimate with others and breaks out. The movies Death and Rebirth and The End of Evangelion present a darker ending to the story. Although Shinji concluded that individuality is important and breaks out of the singular being, he is doomed to repeat his past mistakes. The ending scene is of Shinji strangling Asuka.
There is so much more that could be said about this show, especially with confusing endings. After watching it a second time, I’ll come back and write a second version of this reflection.