Rei Kiriyama is now in his second year of high school and the shell he had developed over long years of bullying and self hatred has begun to crack. He is surrounded by vibrant personalities in his school life, professional shogi life, and his personal life. These people include the three Kawamoto sisters (Akari, Hinata, and Momo) as well as the high school student with the most fabulous mustache, his former homeroom teacher, and the people he has gotten to know from the Shogi hall. This season starts off shortly after where the last season ends, at the beginning of the school year. As he continues his stressful life as a high school professional shogi player he seeks the reason he plays the game which in turn defines his career.
There are three things I love about March Comes in Like a Lion; the imagery, how it handles with the personal issues of multiple characters, and how it handles mental illness as more than a simple plot device. Season two does these three things even better than the first season. It contains the most realistic look at bullying I’ve seen in any story except for maybe A Silent Voice. It also looks at the problems of a few characters that you would not expect to get their own scenes. In fact the way this series focuses on the problems of multiple characters makes multiple characters more relatable.
I recommend that you watch this season if you watched the first one. You can find it on CrunchyRoll for streaming. This is a series that looks at the problems of multiple characters in order to show how everyone has something going on no matter how old, young, smart, beautiful, or anything else they are. This is why it is such a relatable series.
Final Rating – 49/50
At the end of the four year long Great War, the continent of Telesis begins to slowly flourish once again. One of the soldiers who fought in the war is Violet Evergarden, a young girl who was raised for the sole purpose of being a powerful weapon. Losing both her arms and ending up in a hospital near the wars end, all she is left with of the person she cares about the most are words that she does not understand. As she starts recovering from her wounds and learning how to live a normal life she becomes an Auto Memory Doll at CH Postal Services, a job that’ll lead her on a journey of self discovery both for herself and those around her.
This is a relatable story with beautiful visuals and interesting dynamic characters. Since this looks like a series that focuses mainly on Violet you may be annoyed to see that the majority of this series is made up of one shot stories where Violet goes to write letters for people. These stories focus heavily on her clients. The thing is without these smaller plots being placed where they are in the series, Violet Evergarden as a whole would not be as good. These stories actually relate a lot to Violet and focus mainly on loss and healing.
I recommend you watch this series if you haven’t already. The one thing that separates this series from so many others is the way it handles the themes of loss, grief, love, and healing. If you want to watch Violet Evergarden you can find it on CrunchyRoll.
Final Rating – 50/50
Fumi Manjoume is starting her first year of high school at Matsuoka Girls’ High School. She has a broken heart from a previous relationship, but is still quietly delighted when she gets a chance to reconnect with her best friend from ten years previously, Akira Okudaira. They joke about the past and how Fumi cries too easily and they become close friends after ten years of no contact. Unfortunately Akira goes to a different all girls high school near by so they can’t be in the same class. This is a series that looks at the love lives of these two characters as well as multiple supporting characters.
This is a yuri series with no fanservice or nudity. Instead it focuses more on the romance and I think it works pretty well. The character designs are realistic and I think the way the romance progresses is pretty realistic. The only unrealistic thing I found about this series is the fact that there just so happens to be two large all girls high school near each other in a rural area. Also in the beginning, if you skip the opening, it is unclear who is going to end up with who. All the ships appear to be fair game at the start and this is one of the things that makes this romance so good.
I recommend you watch this series if you want to find a good serious romance serious with no fanservice outside of the opening. I enjoyed watching this series and I admit it made me tear up a few times. Its a beautiful series that I hope everyone who likes romance can watch and enjoy.
Final Rating – 46/50
Taito is a high school student who has been losing a lot of sleep lately. He keeps dreaming of a female vampire who says that she has given him her “poison”, or at least he thinks this is a dream until he survives an accident that should have taken his life. Then he realizes that that dream was real. Now he must use his ability to protect himself and the girl in his dreams.
This series suffers in the fact that it is clear that there were plans for a sequel that will most likely never be made. In addition to this the characters aren’t all that interesting. The main reason why I continued watching this series all the way to the end is that the world this story inhabits has so much potential. This series is set up to be interesting, cool, and a little edgy, however in the end it is it is little more than a hollow shell of a series that is mediocre at best.
I do not recommend that you watch this series, however if the plot intrigues you maybe go read the manga. I honestly wish that this was a better series than it was because I liked Taito’s ability and I felt this series had a lot of potential.
Final Rating – 23/50
One day Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year old delinquent with an uncertain future , is hit by a car while saving a young child. He dies as a result. At first he is fine with being an invisible spirit who can’t interact with anyone or anything, however after witnessing his own funeral he decides to take the authorities of the spirit realm up with their offer. Since no one expected Yusuke’s sacrifice, Koenma heir to the throne of the spirit realm offers to give Yusuke his life back as long as he can complete a series of tasks. After he succeeds he is aided by the shinigami Botan to protect Earth from evil beings as a spirit realm detective.
Yu Yu Hakusho is a shonen anime based on a manga that first aired in the early 90’s. Both its animation and music haven’t aged the best, especially in scenes with a lot of background characters. There’s a tournament arc where I saw the same few audience members copied and pasted throughout the crowd. However this is what I expected. The two parts about this series that make it worth watching are its characters and its plot.
The characters all have typical shonen character backstories. There is a chosen one, a rival, and a anti hero, as well as a mentor. What makes these characters so great is the ways they interact and form relationships with each other. As an older anime enough time is given to develop each of the major characters. Without this character development some later scenes would not work the way they do. Of course there are many heartfelt scenes from early on.
The plot follows the typical shonen structure with an arc where the protagonist develops/learns about their powers, a tournament arc, and a couple of arcs where the world nearly ends. Throughout the series Yusuke is getting stronger and like a traditional shonen series he keeps coming across foes who are just a bit too strong for him to handle at his current power level. What makes this series so good is that Yusuke’s main motivations are to help and protect his friends rather than just to get stronger and occasionally protect himself and the world. This allows there to be a surprising amount of emotional scenes in Yu Yu Hakusho. Get ready to at least tear up a few times.
Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic shonen series that I feel everyone who enjoys anime should watch because it is a well written series with one of the greatest tournament arcs that I have ever watched (almost as good as the My Hero Academia one). If you want to find all the episodes you can find them on Crunchyroll. You can also read the manga since I’m sure the anime follows it quite well, however I’m not sure where you would find it.
Final Rating – 47/50
In an endless sea of sand there exists a floating island known to its inhabitants as the Mud Whale. The majority of the people who live in the city here are “marked” which means that they have supernatural abilities and live shorter lives. Chakuro is a young and curious boy who lives on the Mud Whale. He is also the island archivist. He spends much of his time recording everything he witnesses, including the discovery and exploration of newfound islands that have been long abandoned by those who used to live on them. One day an island is found for the first time in six months. Chakuro is among those sent to explore the island. During this expedition they find what remains of an archaic civilization, and Chakuro is shocked to find a marked girl who will change the destiny of both Chakuro and everyone who lives on the Mud Whale.
The world in this series is very interesting to me. The plot is mostly made up of discoveries Chakuro and the other people on the Mud Whale make about the world around them. They learn about the other people who inhabit. They learn about the reasons the Mud Whale exists and why marked people don’t live as long as unmarked people. It uses the ignorance of many of the characters to successfully immerse the audience in this world.
The animation and music in this series are both really good. It is also cathartic and contains a fair bit of melodrama so I get that this series isn’t for everyone. If you look at reviews for Children of the Whales they are pretty split. If you want to watch a series with beautiful visuals, interesting and dynamic characters, and a look at utopianism then this series is for you. If you watch anime more for the action then this series is probably not for you. I do recommend you at least try watching it though.
Final Rating – 44/50
Kyon is a normal high school student who has given up in all belief of the supernatural long ago. When he meets Haruhi Suzumiya he realizes that not everyone has given up on that belief. Haruhi is really interested in the supernatural and is easily bored. She is also the exact opposite of Kyon. When Haruhi complains about the lack of ‘interesting clubs’ in the school Kyon tells her that she should make her own. This inspires her to make the SOS Brigade, a club dedicated to the discovery and research of the supernatural. This series follows Kyon and the other three recruited for the club Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi as they are led by Haruhi on a multitude of bizarre adventures.
The thing that this series excels in the most is how each of the five main characters are interesting in their own right and their interactions lead to some pretty funny situations. Kyon is the perfect protagonist for the sole reason that he’s the most normal person in the club. His reactions to everything are pretty much the same as my reactions would be if I were in the same situation. In his world very little of what is going on is normal in his world and before the beginning of the series he was planning on living a normal life. Because of this he is the most relatable out of all the characters and his reactions only add to the hilarity of many situations in this series.
I found this series very interesting for the most part, except like with many series I got bored in the middle. However this time I was not one of the few, but rather one of the many people who got bored in the middle of watching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The culprit of this boredom is the Endless Eight arc which is eight episodes long and almost each of these episodes is the same with small differences. It has been explained to me why this arc had to be so long, however I know the same effect could have created if the arc was only four episodes long. It was not a good idea in terms of pacing and I feel bad for anyone who watched the series as the episodes originally aired because they had to go through two months of this single arc.
I do recommend you watch this series because it is well written and interesting for the most part. I found it really funny as well. If you are going to watch this series you may want to skip some of the Endless Eight arc. I would recommend you skip episodes three, four, five, and six of this arc because you will get the picture from what you don’t skip. Everything else about this series is excellent and if you haven’t yet watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I highly recommend you watch it.
Final Rating – 42/50