Kokkoku

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Anime title: Kokkoku

Genres: Psychological, Supernatural, Mystery, Drama, Seinen

Synopsis:

The lives of Yukawa Juri’s struggling family take a turn for the worse when her nephew Makoto and her NEET brother Tsubasa are kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious religious sect. Juri’s family only has 30 minutes to deliver the ransom money. Juri’s grandfather decides to reveal a dangerously powerful spell to her and her father. After offering blood to their grandfather’s mystical stone, the spell sends the three of them into the world of “Stasis”, which is a version of an instant in time of their world where time stops for everyone and everything except the users. Things do not go as planned when they discover that a group of people are surprisingly able to move inside Stasis.

My opinion:

The opening theme was extremely catchy. Throughout my time watching Kokkoku, the concept of Stasis, the mysteries behind it, the eventual revelations about it, and especially the Herald, gripped my interest tightly. Majima and Sagawa kept my interest glued even further, due to how they didn’t reveal much for a large portion of the show and yet were hinted to be key characters. The abuse of the ability to move inside Stasis, such as by stealing things from a supermarket or attempting to do lewd things onto the time-stopped women, was well highlighted. It was rather thought provoking for me as the way I saw it, it clearly sent the message of “with great power comes great responsibility”.  The superpowers which some of the members of Juri’s family possessed made Kokkoku even more interesting. I thought the fights could have been much better, though. The ending was intriguing and satisfying, which gave me what I felt was a good closure for what had been overall a good show for me.

Additional remarks:

If you’re looking for show with time related aspects or an “other world” aspect, I think Kokkoku would be a nice addition. If you are looking for some good or great fight scenes involving superpowers, I would advise to not expect much from Kokkoku, as it’s not their main focus. If you’re looking for mysteries and supernatural aspects, Kokkoku is good for that.

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Frankenstein Family

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Anime title: Shiyan Pin Jiating

Alternate titles:

Jikken-hin Kazoku

Frankenstein Family

Genres: Sci-Fi, Slice of Life

Note: I noticed that the names of the characters could be written differently. I’ll write the names based on what I saw them written as when I watched it.

Synopsis:

Dennis’ parents are mad scientists who secretly conducted experiments on his older brother and three older sisters on an isolated island. However, one day, his parents were arrested and a welfare organisation moved Dennis and his siblings to a home on another island. Dennis, being the only normal human, is left to take care of his siblings and help them get around in the human society.

My opinion:

Frankenstein Family is unique for me in the sense that it is both an episodic show and one with a bigger plot, or at least that’s the way I see it. Plot-wise, though, I felt that the show was rather lacking though their attempts at progressing towards a plot was decent. On the other hand, I felt that the decent plot progression piqued my interest about the bigger mysteries in Frankenstein Family. Furthermore, I like how the plot progression was balanced out by Frankenstein Family’s also episodic nature and the few episodes which had one dedicated to each sibling. As a result, Frankenstein Family remained fresh yet not too random and not at all aimless for me. Despite the show’s short length, I was impressed at how they were able to deliver what was to me, a good amount of backstory and development for Dennis and each of his siblings. I liked how the struggles of being different from normal human beings and Dennis’ efforts to help his siblings function in and integrate into human society were clearly highlighted. The opening theme was energetic for me, starting off each episode on a good note. The final episode evoked my emotions well and got me craving for more content. Overall, a very good show which I feel deserves more popularity.

Additional remarks:

Frankenstein Family is a great addition if you’re looking for Sci-Fi, Slice of Life or a show with 12 episodes. Each episode is about 15 minutes or so, which is perfect if you’re looking for shows with shorter episodes. It is available in both Mandarin Chinese dub and Japanese dub, so it offers a bit of a choice.

Cells at Work

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Anime title: Hataraku Saibou

Alternate titles: Cells at Work

Genres: Comedy, Shounen

 

Synopsis

According to a new study, the human body consists of approximately 37 trillion cells. These cells are hard at work every day in the world known as your body. Watch these cells do their jobs as you get to know them and yourself in this story portraying the lives of cells.

 

My opinion

The different ways in which Cells at Work depicts the concepts in Biology are creative and funny, in my opinion. The concepts are also explained in ways which I feel make them easy to understand. These factors make each episode an exciting, fresh watch. I found Cells at Work to be really action packed and that they knew how to transition between the comedy and seriousness well and at the right times. This made for a great balance of light-heartedness and intensity. I liked the characters and how they interacted with one another. I enjoyed the soundtracks in the show, especially Sensei Anone.

 

Additional remarks

Even though I think you would enjoy Cells at Work more if you like Biology, I would still recommend Cells at Work regardless of whether you like the subject. If you’re looking for action, cuteness, comedy, or even a bit of feels, do give Cells at Work a watch.

B: The Beginning

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Anime title: B – The Beginning

Genres: Action, Mystery, Police, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller

 

A chain of crimes seemingly perpetrated by the serial killer Killer B unfolds in the nation of Cremona. However, these crimes seem to be a diversion for a mysterious criminal organisation to carry out bigger plans. The criminal organisation, RIS investigator Keith Flick and a guy called Koku who is referred to as the “black king”, appear to be key figures in this thick fog of mystery. What is really going on in Cremona?

 

Sometimes I felt that the police aspect and the supernatural aspect were disconnected and that they could either stand alone in separate shows instead or the show could do without one or the other. However, as I watched more, I eventually grew to think that combining the police aspect and the supernatural aspect turned out to be a good idea. The whole chain of events turned out to be interesting. Things seemed confusing and unrelated at first but I felt that the complicated connections between the various characters and the chain of events were unraveled at a pace that allowed me to understand them. Whenever something in this show untangles, something else tangles itself up. But despite this, I felt that they managed to execute the show in a way that when the mystery deepened, it did so thickly yet not too thick to the point of no return. That’s what I felt was the greatest hook in B: The Beginning and I really liked that about it. The fights, the background music and the ending theme were enjoyable. The show also knew when to add the few yet effective funny moments. It ended on a satisfying note which made me look forward to future content (it is hinted in the end of the final episode). Overall, it’s been a rewarding watch for me.

 

I would recommend B: The Beginning if you’re looking for police shows with supernatural stuff. If you’re the type of viewer that likes shows where things are unrelated at first but will make sense in the end, then B: The Beginning could be added to your ‘plan to watch’ list.

Darling in the Franxx

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Anime title: Darling in the FranXX

Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi

 

In the distant future, humans shelter themselves against the klaxosaurs in huge cities called Plantations. Children are raised to pilot giant robots called FranXX in boy-girl pairs, in order to fight the klaxosaurs. Because these children were raised for the sole purpose of piloting the FranXX, they lack knowledge of the outside world. Hiro is a boy who aspires to pilot a FranXX. However, he lost his motivation after failing an aptitude test. He withdraws into a lake in the forest, where he encounters a girl with two horns protruding out of her head. The girl introduces herself as “Zero Two” and is rumored by some to be the “Partner Killer”. As Hiro tries to process the encounter, the Plantation is attacked by a klaxosaur. Zero Two fights the klaxosaur in her FranXX but it takes heavy damage and lands near Hiro. Finding her partner to be dead, Zero Two invites Hiro to pilot the FranXX with her and they easily defeat the klaxosaur. Hiro renews his motivation for a chance at redeeming his past failures, but what would this cost him?

 

I loved the buildup in the first half and in the middle of the show. I thought that the show was slightly messy around episode 20 but the revelations which came after that made up for it well enough. I liked the interactions between the characters. I felt that some characters should have been given more background, though. I liked Zero Two’s growth throughout the series. I enjoyed the opening theme, especially the opening theme music video in the second half of the show. I felt that how the characters progressively find out more about themselves and the world they live in, while having little to no knowledge about things, gave rise to interesting perspectives and lines of thought. This is probably the biggest hook of the show for me, as it left me speculating and theorising after most of the episodes. I really liked the sci-fi elements in this show, though the mecha aspect could probably have been done better. The ending was satisfying enough, though I felt that Darling in the Franxx could have finished better and reached greater heights if they had better followed up on the buildup in the first half and the middle. Overall, it’s been a very good but not great show for me.

 

I would recommend Darling in the Franxx to fans of romance and sci-fi, and fans who seek to be or tend to be easily emotionally attached to shows. The activation method of the robots can turn off some viewers, though.

Megalo Box

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Anime title: Megalo Box

Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Slice of Life, Sports

Junk Dog, an underground fighter of the futuristic Gear-utilising sport Megalo Box, and his trainer Nanbu Gansaku, are forced to make a living by throwing matches in an underground ring. Junk Dog encounters and briefly interacts with the Megalo Box champion Yuri, who later enters the underground ring and quickly defeats Junk Dog in a match. Yuri tells Junk Dog, “If you’re serious about fighting me again, then fight your way up to me and my ring.” With some help from the criminal organisation responsible for Junk Dog and Nanbu’s situation, Junk Dog enters Megalonia, a tournament to decide the best Megalo Boxer. However, there are only four spots open in the tournament. In three months, the fighters who take those four spots will be decided. Junk Dog, taking on the ring name “Joe”, must work his way up from the bottom rank within that time.

I found the struggles and how Team Nowhere (Joe and co.) overcame them to be realistic, both inside and outside of the ring. I like it how even though Joe fights without a Gear, did not really feel like the fights were unfair (the norm is that fighters fight with Gear, but well Joe was allowed to fight without Gear as he wished) as Gear only enhanced the fighter’s speed and power, and thus I was still able to relish each and every fight. The developments of Joe, Nanbu and Sachio (a kid who later joins Joe and Nanbu) were well done, from my point of view. The background music was catchy and kept me hooked. The ending theme was enjoyable, and the show’s ending was satisfying. Overall, I felt that Megalo Box was able to provide more than enough to satisfy me despite the short episode count.

I would recommend Megalo Box regardless of whether you are a fan of boxing or sports anime in general. I also advise not to let the Shounen tag prevent you from watching Megalo Box, as I felt that the execution was great. Do try Megalo Box if you are looking for a short anime (13 ep).

Akatsuki no Yona

Anime: Akatsuki no Yona
Alternate titles: Yona of the Dawn
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo

Yona, princess of the Kingdom of Kouka, leads a luxurious and sheltered life. However, the unexpected murder of her father, the king, perpetrated by her cousin Su-won, puts her life in danger. After being left with no choice but to escape with Son Hak, her childhood friend and also bodyguard, Yona learns the harsh truth that Kouka is not the blissful place she had thought it was. With a mysterious legend about people with powers granted by dragons being the only lead for her journey, Yona must look for a way to bring Kouka back to its former glory while being persistently hunted down by the new king of Kouka.

The adventures to meet the people with dragon-gifted powers kept me excited and hooked to Akatsuki no Yona. Both opening themes were enjoyable to me and allowed me to approach each episode with a more energetic mood, synergising well with the adventures to further hook me in. I liked that the anime was able to offer lots of laughs yet seem to never get too carried away with it. In my opinion, Princess Yona’s development was excellent. Furthermore, the characters’ different interactions and personality sides added freshness and variety to the anime, with my favourite set of interactions being between Hak and Ki-ja. Hak and Ki-ja also contributed largely to what I felt were good intense fight scenes, alongside the other characters.

I would recommend Akatsuki no Yona if you are looking for an anime which is rich in culture, in this case a Korean kingdom sort of setting. If you’re looking for an Action anime with a good share of Comedy and Romance, then do add Akatsuki no Yona to your list. If you are the type of viewer to shun “useless main characters”, I still think that you should try Akatsuki no Yona, as I feel that her development will be very rewarding if you do manage to reach later parts of the show.