One Punch Man is an extremely fun anime to watch, blending the action/fighting and parody genres. Very clean and smooth in execution, it’s accessible to both newbies and experienced viewers alike. If you’re very familiar with the action genre (Dragon Ball Z, YuYu Hakusho, Bleach, etc), you will find that almost everything in the anime is a parody on some level, from the main character’s lack of hair, to the various monsters, to the S-ranked heroes. But what makes One Punch Man stand apart is that it doesn’t purely rely on the parody; it’s fully aware that it’s also an action anime and really delivers as such. Part of the delivery is the contrast of the personality of the main character compared to everything that’s going on around him, counterbalancing all the craziness going on. He has a two-stage personality – that of a pretty average guy and that of a functionally unbeatable character (who knows it.) This gives him a refreshing devil-may-care attitude that is fairly unique. Why should an over-powered character feign weakness or even care about enemy attacks when they won’t really do anything? The attitude actually resolves a longstanding weakness often found in action anime, who artificially create drama by not “powering up” until the last minute. Instead, One Punch Man creates some excellent drama involving other, weaker heroes and their stories. All in all, a raucous party and a really great show to watch.
Purpose:Excellent Characters: Very Good World: Excellent Plot:Very Good Storytelling:Excellent Pace:Very Good
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a blend of slice-of-life comedy and light fantasy. The overall tone of the anime is pretty light-hearted and sometimes sweet, with a touch of seriousness woven throughout. That said, it’s fairly underwhelming compared to others in the genre. Part of the issue is that this anime is structured around a fast-paced comedy skit style, often found in adaptations of 4 panel manga series (although the original work in this case is not a 4 panel manga). This isn’t usually a problem if you have a proper arrangement of theme and mood (see Wagnaria and Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, for example). What made it a problem for this anime, was that the comedy is overall pretty flat. The comedic punchlines are generally recycled, with only a handful of categories that keep reappearing in slightly different setups. The high points of the anime are the ones that are either not recycled (like the sweet and serious parts) or the comedy that hasn’t had a chance to cycle through too many repetitions. Overall, it was a fun concept, but lacked the spark you’d expect out of an anime like this.
Masamune-kun’s Revenge is a show about the interplay of contradictions, both within characters and in interactions between characters. The show’s premise is contained in its title, but the execution is very different from what you’d expect. What’s particularly interesting about this anime is that it doesn’t take the ugly route, instead opting for a heaping of melodrama punctuated by some very deep moments, making it very entertaining. The story is structured in an almost simplistic fashion so that the characters end up seeming hilariously petty in their interactions. In addition to overt storytelling, the music was employed in a very precise fashion to create the melodrama by drawing attention to and blowing petty acts out of proportion. This keeps the overall tone light and the comedy rolling instead of creating a slugging match of abusive one-upsmanship. It also serves to mask the fact that the underlying issues are very real and actually kind of reasonable, given the circumstance. This interplay of contradictions led up to an exceptionally complex and powerful scene – one that probably is up there on my list of dramatic scenes. While I don’t think this show is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, I am interested in seeing where they are going to go with it, given that it was set up as a first season.
Purpose:Very Good Characters:Good World:Good Plot:Good Storytelling:Very Good Pace:Very Good
Interviews With Monster Girls is a very sweet and endearing show about monster girls in a very down-to-earth school setting. While that may sound rather plain and uninspired, the show utilized a more thoughtful approach in how they presented the characters, both human and non-human. The main character follows (quite refreshingly) in the theme of Gate – a mature character that is more of a good guy, rather than a nice guy. Instead of relying on dim-witted naivete, the main character takes an active role in shaping the dynamics of the group and outcomes of a variety of situations. This isn’t to say he’s an all-powerful superman, but his stable and empowering character ends up being a catalyst for positive change in other characters. Because of the grounded tone of the anime, it ends up having a very real feel, lending credibility to all of the interactions. With that setting, they end up addressing some very deep issues, such as how individual differences can affect a group as well as the struggle a teacher faces in trying to guide their students. Not to say the anime’s necessarily all lofty and high-brow – there’s lots of fun and cute moments. While there aren’t any crazy harem antics like other shows of a similar type, Interviews With Monster Girls ends up serving as a very low-key counterpoint to others in the genre. A surprisingly simple, yet very satisfying anime to watch.
Purpose: Excellent Characters: Excellent World: Very Good Plot: Good Storytelling: Excellent Pace: Very Good