About Ridley

An ice hockey fan, romance novel reader, and all-around nerd from north of Boston currently on an anime and manga kick. Posting short reviews of anime about once a week.

What I Watched This Week – 9/20-9/26

Title image for Working season 3. The staff of family restaurant Wagnaria at work.

Working!!! S3 + finale special – When the jokes land, this show is hilarious, but when they don’t, it’s because they’re punching down, which is what keeps this good show from being great. I still love every single weirdo in the cast and had a ton of fun watching them tease each other for 40 episodes. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for BNA. A tanuki girl runs in sneakers and a red hoodie.

BNA – I love the look of everything Trigger puts out, but they don’t always have the best story. BNA is full of beautiful, colorful art and kinetic action scenes, but the plot is a bit of a mess that didn’t need to be as complicated as it was. There’s plenty of drama you can get from a city full of beastmen surrounded by humans who despise them. It didn’t also need a big evil corporation with an executive that seemed so obviously like a villain that I kept waiting for the twist where he’d be revealed as a secret hero. Also, like most stories about make-believe oppressed minorities, it doesn’t really have anything insightful to say about oppression and even engages in some “both sides do it” logic. Pretty, but underwhelming. 7/10 Netflix

Title image for Laughing Under the Clouds. Three brothers in kimonos and wooden sandals.

Laughing Under the Clouds – This Meiji era set fantasy about three brothers who guard a shrine started so rough that I almost dropped it a couple episodes in. Thankfully it switches gears about a third of the way in and stops being about the middle brother recklessly inserting himself into dangerous situations because he wants to get stronger than his older brother, and focuses instead on the brothers’ struggle against a destructive monster their family has fought against for centuries. The animation for the action scenes wasn’t very fluid, but the story had some great twists and turns by the end. Nothing I’d ever rewatch, but a nice story about brothers taking care of each other. 7/10 Funimation 

Title image for Kyou Kara Maou season 3. Yuri in a black school uniform and red cape surrounded by other characters.

Kyo Kara Maoh S3 – After 122 episodes, I bid a fond farewell to Demon King Yuuri and his harem of handsome men. While it has its flaws, like Yuuri’s overprotective brocon older brother being way too involved in this season, the group and all their adventures were just good fun to watch. I did wish it didn’t tease same sex attraction for laughs quite so much, but I ended up really liking Wolfram and Yuuri and their relationship, despite whatever the author was trying to do. They’re two fundamentally good guys who clearly care a lot about each other, and that’s always something I’m looking for in my entertainment while the real world burns around me. 8/10 Crunchyroll

What I Watched This Week – 9/13-9/19

Title image for Violet Evergarden movie. Two young women in Victorian style dress sit at a small table.Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll – Violet takes a job as a tutor for a young aristocratic girl and gives us some big lesbian wedding energy during a dance at a debutante ball. We have no choice but to stan. Glad to see more of Benedict and his high heels and see his tsundere mask slip a bit with his young apprentice. 8/10 Netflix

Title image for Haikyuu Talent and sense. Volleyball players in uniforms looking intense.Haikyuu!!: Talent and Sense – I’m dying here waiting for part two of To the Top, so I decided to watch the recap movies on Crunchyroll. This summarizes season two, which has 25 episodes, so naturally it leaves a lot out. A lot of my favorite scenes from this season took place at the training camp, so I was a little bummed the movie focuses mostly on the re-match with Aoba Johsai. That match was fire, though, so I wasn’t too sad. 8/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Haikyuu battle of Concepts. Volleyball players in uniforms looking serious.Haikyuu!!: Battle of Concepts – I think I enjoyed this 90 minute recap movie more than I enjoyed the 10 episode season three it summarizes. The training episodes are my favorite part of the series, so a whole season for one match wasn’t really my jam. Edited down to movie length, the game felt a lot faster and more exciting. 9/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Working season 2. All the staff of restaurant Wagnaria.Working!! S2 – I liked but didn’t love season one of this workplace comedy, but season two had less of the punching and cross-dressing I didn’t care for, and more of the silly interactions between the characters that I enjoyed a lot. All of the characters are total weirdos and their friendships, rivalries, and romances are a ton of fun to watch. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Kyo Kara Maoh R.Kyo Kara Maoh R – This five episode OVA wasn’t as charming as the main series, but it was enjoyable enough as an extra. It has some fanservice staples like a hot spring episode and lots of throwaway gags with pretty much everyone in the show. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Kyou Kara Maou! Demon King Yuri in a black high school uniform with his demon kingdom compatriots.Kyo Kara Maoh Ep. 41-78 – The internet doesn’t seem to agree on if this is one 78 episode season or two 39 episode seasons, but MAL lists it as one item and that’s where I track what I’ve seen, so we’ll go with that. This was a bit like Fairy Tail for me in that I could see why people would have problems with it but I just straight-up had tons of fun watching it. Yuuri and Wolfram are a little bait-y, but I love their weird relationship somewhere between colleagues, friends, and boyfriends. Sometimes the plot was a little inconsistent or resolutions to conflicts were a bit too convenient, but it never takes itself super seriously and I was willing to just roll with it and enjoy the ride. A bit of fluff about an overpowered demon king who hates fighting is perfect right now. 8/10 Crunchyroll

What I Watched This Week – 9/6-9/12

Title image for Kyou Kara Maou! Demon King Yuri in a black high school uniform with his demon kingdom compatriots.Kyou Kara Maou! Ep.1-40 – Characters get isekai-ed in a wide variety of ways in anime, but getting transported to another world when bullies flush your head in a toilet is on another level entirely. I’d held off on watching this for ages because I couldn’t tell if it had good intentions or if it was punching down for laughs, and after watching 40 episodes, I still can’t tell. Sometimes it feels like they’re trying to sneak some gay stuff past the gatekeepers, but at other times it’s like the idea of same sex attraction or two guys in a relationship is the height of silliness. It’s still a lot of fun to watch Yuri the pacifist Demon King and his harem of handsome guys adventure together, so I’ll keep watching. Crunchyroll

Title image for Trigun. Blond man in a red trench coat sits in front of a bullet riddled wall.Trigun – I’d never seen this before and have apparently spent the past 20 years wildly mistaken about the kind of show it was. I was expecting a Cowboy Bebop-like space western about a hardened gunman fighting his cynical way through a cutthroat world, but instead I got a fairly earnest exploration of striving for pacifism and forgiveness in an imperfect society. The show makes its point by repeatedly testing Vash’s resolve with ever increasing stakes, but never forgets the nuance or gets preachy about it. If it didn’t veer sharply from heavy drama to goofy slapstick as often as it did, I’d have rated it even higher. 8/10 Funimation, Hulu

Title image for Love is Like a Cocktail.Love is Like a Cocktail – This was just a super cute series of three minute shorts about a husband making dinner and drinks for his wife when she gets home from the office. Perfectly enjoyable low-stakes cuteness. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Beyond the Boundary movie I'll Be Here Future. Four teenagers on a city bridge at sunset.Beyond the Boundary OVA & movies – I watched the series earlier this year but totally didn’t notice it had more content until recently. The one episode OVA was a solid little prequel to the series with some pretty fight scenes. I’ll Be Here: Past was a recap of the series, and it was fine as a refresher, but it skips a lot and would probably make no sense to someone who hadn’t seen the show. The second movie, I’ll Be Here: Future, started a little poorly for me with the amnesia plot and Akihito’s insistence on not telling Mirai the truth for what he decided was her own good, but once that got resolved it was a super enjoyable sequel with a great mix of gorgeous action scenes and feelings. Could’ve used some kissing, but it was still plenty romantic. 7/10 for movie #1, 8/10 for the OVA and movie #2 HIDIVE

What I Watched This Week – 8/30-9/5

Title image for Black Lagoon. Pictures of the four main characters in action.Black Lagoon S1&2 + OVA – Violent, edgy stories about morally grey characters isn’t usually something I go for, but I loved this series about modern day pirates running amok in southeast Asia. There’s nuns smuggling weapons, a terrorist maid, homicidal twins, and a wide variety of terrifying women with guns occasionally erupting in an orgy of violence. Rock’s slide from upstanding Japanese businessman to calculating schemer was interesting to watch, and the tension between him and Revy was electric. 8/10 Funimation

Title image for Natsume's Book of Friends. High school students in summer uniforms part ways on a rural road.Natsume’s Book of Friends S6 – This series is like a nice, warm hug on a cold day and I’m a little sad to come to the end of it. It starts off good, then just gets better and better as Natsume gains confidence, learns to lean on his friends, and decides how he’s going to relate to the weird world he’s a part of. Maybe I’ll start reading the manga. 8/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Pandora Hearts. A blond boy and a dark haired man in front of a clock face.Pandora Hearts – What a mixed bag this show was. The Alice in Wonderland inspired setting was interesting and the mystery the characters were trying to solve about who they were was intriguing, but there were times when everyone got just a little too interested in their own navels, and the ending didn’t resolve much of anything at all. I’m also not sure if it was supposed to be a love triangle between Oz/Gilbert and Oz/Alice, but it sure felt like it. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Naruto. Title character in his orange tracksuit stands with various characters in front of a mountain with faces carved into it.Naruto Ep. 201-220 – Whew, I did it. I watched all of Naruto part 1, filler and all. The writer/s can’t write female characters to save their life, and I wonder how the reckless and none too bright Naruto ever becomes top dog, but I enjoyed myself for the most part. I really liked a lot of the side characters and some of the fights were pretty creative and fun to watch. The filler episodes weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either. I’ll definitely watch Shippuden, but not right away. 7/10 Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll

What I Watched This Week – 8/23-8/29

Title image for Tada Never Falls in Love. High school kids holding cameras stand on a bridge in a Japanese garden.Tada Never Falls in Love – This is 110% not a complaint, but this reminded me of a Harlequin Romance, right down to the make believe European principality. Without spoiling any of the surprises, it’s a sweet story about two people who figured falling in love wouldn’t be an option for them discovering that love doesn’t always respect the plans you’ve made. The ending wasn’t bad, but it left too much unresolved for my tastes. (FYI: If you’re a heathen that ships Tohru x Shigure, the main couple is voiced by their VAs from the Fruits Basket reboot.) 7/10 HIDIVE

Title image for Princess Principal. Girls in Victorian-inspired school uniforms posed together with one pointing a handgun. Princess Principal – At first glance, this looks like a fun steampunk-y adventure where schoolgirls play spy games, but the first episode makes it clear it’s not a CGDCT so much as a cute girls doing stone cold killer things. There were a couple moments where it felt a bit like the episodes were playing in the wrong order, but on the whole this was a solid espionage thriller with good twists and turns and excellent production values set in an alternate universe London. I really enjoyed the mismatch between the cute-looking characters and all the bloody violence they participate in. 8/10 HIDIVE, Amazon Prime 

Title image for Naruto. Title character in his orange tracksuit stands with various characters in front of a mountain with faces carved into it.Naruto ep. 177-200 – I’m nearing the end of my completionist viewing adventure and thank god, because the filler is getting weird. The ramen cook-off was the fun kind of weird, but the fat joke episode was just cringe inducing. 7/10 Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix