Stephanie Reviews Bastard!!

Show: Bastard!!— Genre: Action, Adventure— Episodes: 6

This week, I decided to give myself the assignment of finding an anime that I had seen, but would rate very lowly, since all my reviews so far have been things I like. So, here goes.

Kids, strap into the wayback machine, we’re going back to 1992, a time when companies produced shows completely independent from quality, because they knew fans would buy it, because there was no other option. Bastard!! is a six episode OVA based on an ongoing manga series that appears in Ultra Jump, I assume when they run out of other things to print.

I came across this spectacular failure at the turn of the century, when some friends and I were quenching our anime thirst by circulating VHS copies of bootlegged films with varying quality. It was on a tape with a DBZ movie and Dragon Half, and I still associate the three of them even though they have nothing in common.

Bastard!! is not appropriate for children. Or anyone, really. Our plot is simple: the bad guy, Dark Schneider, is trying to take over the world and also get a girlfriend or three. He’s been in prison for a while, and by prison I mean trapped inside the body of this kid:

Because that’s a thing.

Meanwhile, Dark Schneider’s lackeys have been trying to raise the god Anthrasax so that the apocalypse happens.

Fast forward 15 years in the storyline, and THE APOCALYPSE HAS HAPPENED. Seriously, the bad guy wins, but the story doesn’t end. And we don’t see how they did it, it’s just done. Then, Dark Schneider decides his old allies have gone too far, and fights for the good guys, sort of! With magic!

And there are demons, and guts, and ladies who can’t seem to keep their clothes on for any amount of time.

Our main characters and places are all named after 80s US metal bands. In the version released to us, Anthrax was changed to Anthrasax, Metallica to Meta-Ricana, etc. There is a female character in this series called Bon Jovina. Really.

The OVA ends on a cliffhanger, which doesn’t really matter since you can’t tell what’s going on anyway. The internet tells me there were supposed to be two more episodes, but even they thought it was so bad, they never finished making it.

Bastard!! is so terrible, it sort of loops back around to being entertaining. It has to be, or it wouldn’t still be talked about. There are lots of fans of this show, for reasons I can’t quite fathom. If it weren’t for the confusing, disjointed episodes, time jumps, and lack of ending, I might have actually enjoyed it. It makes no sense at all. None. There’s a lot of crying, and fighting, and yelling. They resolve three out of four characters they’re supposed to be chasing. Then, you think something is going to happen, and it’s over. That’s the cliffhanger.

I give it 1 out of 10 Golden Tanukis.  Everybody gets one.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Golden Time

Show: Golden Time— Genre: Comedy, Romance— Episodes: 24

This week we’ll be looking at Golden Time, a 24 episode dramedy about some college-age folks. It ran from October 2013 to March 2014 on Japanese television, and was simulcast on American websites like crunchyroll.

On his first day of college, Tada Banri just wants to fit in and be normal. An accident took his memories the previous year, and he spent a long time in hospital before getting back on his feet. Despite his amnesia, he’s trying to be an average college freshman. Of course, he’s already running late for his entrance ceremony, so he picks a likely fellow freshman and follows him. Mitsuo Yanagisawa is warm and friendly towards Banri, and they become fast friends. Just as they’re reaching the college, one of our other main characters makes her debut. Koko Kaga pops out of freaking nowhere and assaults Mitsuo with a bunch of flowers.

Seriously, this is our first introduction to Koko.

And so it begins. Koko is obsessed with Mitsuo, and everything unfolds as you expect it might. He’s not interested, she’s obsessed. I expected Mitsuo to come around, as that’s the norm for most romance shows, but at some point Koko realizes she’s becoming a stalker, and doesn’t like the direction her life is going.

Koko realizes she might be a tad shallow at the moment.

Banri tries really hard to fit in, but the only other friend he’s made is actually from his old high school. She goes by Linda, and there is a complicated subplot that unfolds with her. She’s extremely useful to Banri in helping him with his memory problem.

Everything you would expect is there. There is a beach episode, a festival episode, an episode where the freshmen all pick clubs. The depth here is in the characters, not what they’re doing. Amnesia is a tired premise, but they play it well. This show pulled me along for a variety of reasons, not least of which is because it’s set in college, not middle or high school. The characters already sort of know what they want to do with their lives, they know who they like and it’s not a new sensation for most of them. And it’s funny. This show sneaks into your heart when you’re not paying attention, and you don’t even realize you care until it’s too late. The sad parts are tragic, and the comedy is really on point. There’s a lot of this kind of thing:

Of course pieces of Banri’s memory come back to him here and there, and it gets complicated fast. The second half of this show is definitely way more interesting and better paced than the first half, although the first 13 episodes are interesting enough.

Also, this show is full of crazy surprises.

NANA is his neighbor? What?

My love for this show built up over time. By the end though, I was rooting for our characters to have their happily ever after. Bring tissues.

All in all, I give this show 7 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. In my opinion one of the better anime to come out of last winter/spring, but I had to get several episodes in to really get attached to the characters, and it gets really confusing at times. Details that should be pointed out as important aren’t, and not in a clever Sherlock Holmes sort of way. Some of it is really obtuse. The characters shine through, however, and all in all it was an enjoyable experience. And all the opening and ending theme music is done by Yui Horie, who I love.

On another note, it occurs to me that all of the shows I’ve reviewed I’ve rated pretty well. I suppose the first few weeks I just wanted to share my recent enjoyable findings with whoever cares to read them. Next week I’ll try to dredge up something truly awful, just to round things out.

If you have any suggestions on reviews, feel free to reach out to me here or on the gator anime facebook page. If I’ve seen it, I’m happy to write about it.

Until then, I love you all <3

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Engaged to the Unidentified

Show: Mikakunin de Shinkoukei— Genre: Comedy, Romance— Episodes: 12

This week we’ll be taking a look at Engaged to the Unidentified. This adaptation of a weekly comic strip aired in Japan under the title 未確認で進行形 Mikakunin de Shinkōkei (which translates to Unconfirmed and In Progress) between January and March of 2014. There are 12 episodes, each building on the last, as each episode we come a bit closer to finding out the truth about our main characters. When Kobeni Yonomori turned 16, she was informed that she had a fiancee.

aren’t they cute?

This is a plot device I’ve seen before, but always with the genders reversed. Kobeni’s betrothed, Hakuya Mitsumine, comes to live with her, along with his little sister Mashiro. Surprisingly, Kobeni is all right with this without being particularly for or against the marriage. We see her have more inner reflection on her situation than I expected to see.

Life is hard when you’re a betrothed teenager.

At first glance, this show seems like it’s going to be full of the same overworked plot points seen in countless romantic comedy/slice of life shows that have come before it. This is not the case. This show doesn’t pull any punches, drops major plot twists like it’s nothing, and is ridiculously funny. Mashiro, along with Kobeni’s sister Benio, fuel the comedy side, and it is wonderous.

Something about aliens?

way too many!

For his part, Hakuya is a quiet, reserved, deep thinker. He’s super smart, and very emotionally sensitive, but not obnoxious about it.

Poor guy just wants to build stick palaces in peace.

Although there is a good bit of foreshadowing so that you know something is different about Hakuya and Mashiro, they don’t broadcast it so loudly that it falls flat when they start revealing their family’s secrets. The romance between Kobeni and Hakuya is adorable, and feels genuine. Unlike many romance shows, the story entirely revolves around the main female character; what she feels and what she wants are most important.

All in all, I give Engaged to the Unidentified 7 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. You’ll survive if you don’t get around to seeing it, but it’s definitely worth seeking out. I would recommend this show if you need a laugh and a d’awww. Until next week, here’s Mashiro, doing some gratuitous dancing.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Show: Anohana— Genre: Comedy-Drama, Romance— Episodes: 11

Anohana: The flower we saw that day, in Japan known as あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。 Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., literally translated to  “We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day.” is an 11 episode series that ran in Japan in 2011. There was a film released in 2013, and a second film will come out in 2015.

Left to right, that’s Poppo, Jintan, Anaru, Atsumu, and Tsuruko.  

There are 6 main characters, who span a variety of personalities. The story is told from the perspective of Jinta Yadomi, also called Jintan. He was the leader of a group of childhood friends who called themselves the Super Peace Busters. Meiko Honma, who everyone refers to as Menma, is the ghost of a little girl who was friends with the group but died in an accident. She moves the plot along, nudging Jinta out of the house and trying to reunite the group. We also have Naruko Anjo, aka Anaru, who’s a popular and pretty girl, and struggles with her image as shallow and vapid. Atsumu Matsuyuki has grown to hate Jinta, as he blames him for Menma’s death. He is athletic and popular and bears a weird secret. Chiriko Tsurumi, aka Tsuruko, is the introvert of the group. She and Atsumu are close friends, and have a complicated relationship. Lastly we have my personal favorite, Tetsudo Hisakawa, who everyone calls Poppo. He’s hilarious. A drop-out, he actually sets up in their old Super Peace Busters base and works part time jobs to save up money to travel.

Here’s Jintan, leading the Super Peace Busters through the woods when they’re children, back when everything was beautiful.

The bare bones of the story are simple– Menma is the ghost of a little girl who died tragically, and she needs to have her wish fulfilled to move on to the next world. It’s up to our main character, Jintan, who is the only one who can see Menma’s ghost, to convince their other childhood friends to help fulfill Menma’s wish. Only, Menma doesn’t remember what her wish is, because she’s a ghost, and therefore has to follow ghost rules to figure it out. Watching Jinta try to convince everyone he’s not crazy is entertaining in and of itself, but that’s not the heart of the show. The real charm of this show lies in rekindling friendships they all once thought was damaged beyond repair and seeing the different kinds of people they’re growing up to be.

There are a lot of feelings.

This show  is unexpectedly touching. I found myself tearing up from time to time (read: a lot of the time). I couldn’t pick out a character to relate to, but I still felt connected to them by the end of the series. The writing does a good job imparting the themes of friendship and trust without shoving it down the audience’s throat, and there are a few plot twists I did not see coming. All told, I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to.

I give it 7 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. I’d watch it again, and I recommend it to anyone who would like to experience major feels. I’m looking forward to the second movie next year 🙂

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Nagi no Asukara

Show: Nagi no Asukara— Genre: Drama, Fantasy— Episodes: 26

Nagi no Asukara 凪のあすから, AKA Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea ran in Japan and was simulcast on crunchyroll October 2013 through April 2014. When trying to explain this show to others, I feel like I’m voicing an old movie trailer: *ahem* In a world where sea gods are real, where merpeople are forced to go to middle school on land, one lovestruck teenager fights the odds to reconcile an age old conflict between land and sea.

It’s actually way more nuanced than that, but I love those old trailers. In Nagi-Asu, merpeople exist in the bays of Japan. The local sea town is called Shioshishio, its land counterpart is Oshiooshi. (Shio means salt)

Sea people look, act, dress, and are cultured just like land people, but they have a special layer of stuff on their skin called Ena that has to be moistened from time to time, or they can’t breathe. Because of an unusual amount of salt flake snow, the local sea middle school has been closed, so all of our main characters are transfers.  They all share the same genetic trait of very light blue eyes. They begin their year by quietly protesting the closure of the school by wearing their old uniforms to the new land school.

Screw that land school. Sea uniforms all the way.

Sea snow is a real thing in real life, you can learn about it here →

Although officially it’s considered one long season, there is an opening and ending theme change after episode 13, as well as a time jump.

I like this anime because it gets me more interested in the world they live in than involved with the characters. There is a really fascinating political dichotomy between the two towns, a unique arrangement with blurred borders. This features heavily in the second half of the show since the beginning pieces of round two aren’t about our main characters at all.
The whole concept of Shioshishio is based on the idea that Japanese deities are real and literal things. According to legend, the sea god fell in love with a girl chosen to be his sacrifice, and so the first sea person is created. Their origin harkens back to Adam and Eve, as all the current citizens of the sea town are directly descended from that pairing. I found this particularly interesting because the voice of the sea god is a character with real implications to our main crew

and he’s super hot.

There is a lot of tension between the sea town council and the land town council, specifically about regulating the worship of their sea god and fishing, both of which are naturally related to the people who live under the water, but not as obvious to the land townfolk. That’s where our hero, Hikari, comes in. Although at first he holds some pretty firm prejudices, eventually he’s motivated to mediate between the two groups to help everyone get along. He also spends a lot of time fumbling through his feelings for his friend Manaka.

That’s a good sign, right?

There is a lot of social commentary about familial obligation lurking just below the surface here. If you fall in love with a land person and leave the sea, you are cast out, never allowed to return.
It’s about family and friends and love and burgeoning adolescence, but more than that it’s about societal roles. Loss of family members, estranged relationships, second marriages. At first glance this show is light and fluffy, but it quickly becomes obvious that the content gets at the root of what makes life worth living. Lasting friendships, familial love, faith. All wrapped in an enjoyable package of fairly typical middle school life.

This show gets 9 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. The characters and their world are full of depth, and little pieces of it have been flitting around in my head ever since I finished the last episode. Watch it, you know you want to.

Until next week, try not to get hexed!
Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Future Diary

Show: Future Diary— Genre:Action, Mystery— Episodes: 26

Happy Halloween! This week’s super spooky series is Future Diary. This 26 episode thriller aired under the title 未来日記 (Mirai Nikki) in Japan from October 2011 through April 2012. It’s not so much creepy as exciting and bloody and maybe a little traumatizing? There are some things you can’t unsee. Amano Yukiteru, who goes by Yuki, is a loner who loves playing darts and writing in his journal. Well… digital journal. Well… it’s on his cell phone. And it’s not really a journal. It’s more of a list of things he observes. So this is a, uh, totally normal kid who would rather talk to his imaginary friend than have real ones and takes note of everything he sees and does.

So homeboy is going along minding his own business, and like normal goes to write in his cell phone diary, when he realizes today’s date is all filled in. Then, the things in the diary start to come true. A girl in Yuki’s class knows what’s going on. She calls him out on the contents of his diary, and shows him hers. They stop a serial killer together. Then, a different girl shows up to blow up his school. You might be thinking that I’m spoiling too much, but these are just the first two episodes.

It’s cool, he handles it with the help of his prophetic cell phone. His imaginary friend said this might happen. His imaginary friend turns out to be a powerful deity.

Yeah, that guy.

Yuki is involved in a dangerous game. There are a number of these future diaries around, and they come in quite handy when escaping dangerous situations. With the help of his classmate, Gasai Yuno, whose diary tells her Yuki’s every move, they just might survive. It’s kill or be killed, and it’s delightful.

I give Future Diary 8 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. This show is exciting and suspenseful and strays from many of the stereotypical aspects of high school age characters. It’s bizarre without being alienating, and it will keep your heart pounding from beginning to end.

You can watch it here–>

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Another

Show: Another— Genre: Mystery, Horror— Episodes: 12

As promised, this week we’ll be delving into the realm of the spooky. At just 12 episodes, Another packs a terrifying wallop. Based on the novel of the same name, it ran on Japanese television from January through March of 2012. Be warned: this show is addicting and gory and terrifying. Our main character, Sakakibara Koichi, is (predictably) a transfer student. He’s moved to the area to live with his aunt and grandparents due to an illness that keeps him hospitalized for the first few days of the school term. It takes him more than a few days to get fully caught up when he gets back to class, however, as there seems to be something especially disturbing about his classmates, particularly Misake Mei, a strange girl with an eyepatch that Koichi initially ran into at the hospital.


While Koichi shows interest in Mei, he’s not entirely sure she’s real. Her desk is worn down and scratched up, even though the ones surrounding it are pristine, and no one else seems to want to interact with her.

Concerned that she might be being bullied, or that he might be going crazy, Koichi tries to befriend her, only to be sent away with the warning that their class is “much closer to death” than other classes. Other classmates warn him to follow ALL the rules, but refuse to tell him what he’s doing wrong.
It takes a frustratingly long time for Koichi to learn why everyone is behaving the way they are. The production staff definitely know what they’re doing, though. Just as you’re ready to give up on the mystery, the story throws you its first hook. The viciousness of the death scenes in this series are a sharp contrast to the sluggish pacing of the plot between. It’s a delightful balance that lulls you into a false sense of security only to rip away characters when you don’t expect it.

Situations including a lifelike doll shop, a creepy mansion in the woods, a secret library, and an abandoned school building are only a few of the delightful backdrops for our terror. As the plot progresses, it only gets more interesting. The characters are complicated and relatable, despite their supernatural surroundings. There is plenty of heart pounding action, sprinkled with all the tropes you expect from a high school drama; a beach trip, a school retreat, rumors of classmates supposed love affairs– the works. The art is amazing. This show will tear your heart out repeatedly, in the best way possible.

I give Another 9 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. Drop what you’re doing and watch this show.

Here are our character enjoying watermelon at the beach. Let it soothe your feelings.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Speed Grapher

Show: Speed Grapher— Genre: Drama, Mystery— Episodes: 24

This week we’re going back in time a bit. This review also comes with a warning, as it is the first series I have reviewed that is not approved for all ages. This show (but not this review) contains some light nudity, and plenty of gratuitous violence.  Speed Grapher is a 24 episode series from 2005 that follows Tatsumi Saiga, a former war photographer who now snaps shots of political figures for a newspaper.

In our first few episodes, Saiga learns of and infiltrates a fetish club full of politicians and super wealthy patrons called the Rappongi Club. He is discovered trying to get a photo of the club’s “Goddess”, who bestows her blessing on Saiga by swapping spit with him.

Isn’t she lovely?

It turns out that the club’s Goddess is none other than Tennozu Kagura, 15 year old girl, and heir to a bajillion dollars.

Her blessing is for real though. She has the power to grant anyone their deepest desires. When Saiga was a wartime photographer, he took lots of pictures of people getting shot and blown up, and he has a bit of a fetish about it. This new power manifests itself as the ability to destroy stuff by taking pictures of it.

Saiga’s innermost desire bears a striking resemblance to pinkeye.

Saiga uses his newfound power to escape the crazy sex dungeon club, and he takes Kaguya with him. The rest of the series unveils others who have been given superhuman powers, and our protagonist duo have to fight for their lives. Thematically, the plot focuses on corruption in politics, organized crime, and the power of manipulation. Kaguya’s mother in particular is a piece of work. The main villain, Choji Suitengu, is one of those I love to hate. He is evil and smart and manipulative of those around him. Delicious.

Suitengu’s got racks on racks on racks

Saiga uses his, uhm, connections with a local police officer, Hibari Ginza, to help Kaguya and himself along. She’s one of my personal favorite anime characters ever. Ginza doesn’t take crap from anybody about anything, and she gets stuff done.

Ginza will self defense the crap out of you.

Speed Grapher has a definitive ending, and it stays good from start to finish. I give this show 9 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. I love this show. It’s full of action and the characters are emotionally damaged in a way that makes them relatable, even though their world is far removed from my own. Morality is a squishy grey area. It’s suspenseful and dirty and bloody and awesome. That being said, it’s not one I would sit down with my folks to watch. The fetishism throughout the show can be intense, and although there aren’t any explicitly pornographic scenes in it, there are a lot of adult situations. It also took me a bit to get over the fact that Saiga is in his 30s and Kaguya is 15. I think it’s important to note that although Kaguya is portrayed as somewhat of a sexual object in the eyes of the Rappongi club and its associates, I didn’t think she was particularly portrayed that way to the audience. Her feelings and experiences are what matter in the context of the plotline, not her body.

The next two weeks will be scary shows in honor of my favorite spooky holiday. Thanks for reading!

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Glasslip

Show: Glasslip— Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural — Episodes: 13

Welcome back!
This week I watched Glasslip, a 13 episode romp through an unusual clump of teenage angst. It ran weekly from July to September 2014. Unlike most anime I’ve seen, Glasslip started as a television show and has since been adapted into a manga series and light novel. We begin with 18-year-old high school student Fukami Toko, who wants to be an artist, and has an affinity for drawing the chickens her high school keeps around. Her parents own an art studio where they blow glass, and she is learning the family craft in her spare-time.

Toko is making a thing.

Toko is making a thing.

She’s a pretty normal girl, except for the fact that occasionally when she sees sparkly things, she sees into what she’s pretty sure is the future.

space eyes future time!

We’ll get back to that in a minute. Okikura Kakeru (say that five times fast!) is the new transfer student who takes an interest in Toko. She first sees him out of the corner of her eye and immediately thinks of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, so weirdly the nickname sticks with Kakeru. He is shrouded in mystery for a few episodes, but it turns out he also has the ability to see (well, hear) into the future. His mother is a world-class pianist, and whenever he hears her music, he hears something from what he’s convinced is the future.

our main characters with their school’s chickens

We follow Toko and Kakeru as they try to figure out their psychic gift. They unlock clues bit by bit over the series, teasing out hints here and there and spending an exceptional amount of unsupervised time together. When they do spend time with friends, Toko and Kakeru hang out with a tight-knit band of friends that Toko has been close to for years. They fall into tropes as you might expect; there’s Shirosaki Hiro, a nice, considerate dude whose grandfather owns a cafe. Next we have Nagamiya Sachi, a sickly, soft spoken, super smart chick. Yanagi Takayama is a really pretty and also kind-of-shallow part-time model, and finally Imi Yukinari, a nice enough guy who is an athlete tortured by a sports injury.

The gang.

So much angst ensues.

Characters fall in and out of love with one another; very little schoolwork gets done. They all have to decide what they’re doing after high school. Glasslip was altogether unremarkable, except for the paranormal aspect of it. I actually really enjoyed that bit, although other reviews I’ve read saw that as a detriment. That said, I did keep coming back for more. It was enjoyable enough, but forgettable in the vast sea of available content. You can watch it here →

I give Glasslip 6 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. I recommend it if you have a lot of time on your hands, and enjoy the heart-pounding terror of watching high school students give their confessions of love to one another.

Thanks for reading! Until next week, here are some gratuitous chickens.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Tonari no Seki-kun

Show: Tonari no Seki-kun — Genre: Comedy — Episodes: 21

Hello everyone! This week I’m going to be reviewing Tonari no Seki-kun となりの関くん (My Neighbor Seki), also called Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time. Based on the manga of the same name that started in 2010, the show was released weekly from January through May of 2014. Each of the 21 episodes is a mere 8 minutes long, including opening and ending themes; however, they are packed full of delightful moments that will stay with you well after the episode is over.

In it, we follow Yokoi Rumi, a normal girl simply trying to pay attention in class from the back row. She constantly struggles with trying not to be distracted by her classmate, Seki Toshinari, who sits in the very back corner of the room, near the window, out of sight of their teacher. The episodes deal almost exclusively with these two, although there are a few other passing characters here and there. Instead of paying any attention in class whatsoever, Seki is constantly using banned materials to create his own entertainment.

From an elaborate domino chain reaction that Yokoi is certain will end in an explosion to an intricately crafted driving school for his tiny RC car to run through, it becomes impossible for Yokoi to look away. There are paper sumo matches, Shogi vs. Chess piece battles, a robot family picnic. The show certainly does not lack creativity. She cannot help but narrate the activities on his desk in her own mind (to the audience) and becomes completely consumed by her classmate’soutlandish behavior. Of course, if anyone gets caught acting strangely, it is inevitably Yokoi, despite her best efforts to stay focused on the lesson.

I started this series as something to watch while I was waiting for my simulcast shows to get posted, but I ended up seeking it out for its own sake. It’s clever, original, and makes a ton of references to Japanese popular culture. Personally, I kept a browser tab open so I could look things up as they became relevant. The show references a lot of unfamiliar cultural practices, but skims over them in a way that wasn’t off-putting. Throughout the season, I felt very engaged in the story. For instance, I didn’t know all the rules to Shogi, but when an episode came up revolving around the game pieces, I didn’t feel alienated by my lack of knowledge. I felt included in Seki’s subversive playtime during class. The whole season made me feel like I was part of someterrific secret. I learned a lot about day to day social life for middle schoolers in Japan without the typical slice of life drama that comes with most of the shows I’ve watched focused on that age group.All in all, I give Tonari no Seki-kun 8 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. It was super entertaining, gave me more than one good chuckle, and I (rather unexpectedly) even learned a few things. You can watch it here-> Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoyed it!

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime.