Hello again, Lusites. This week, the weekly Anime review of the current series continues and boy is it going to be a big one. The original intent was to wait until the second week of the season, as several shows do not start on the same week, but then Castlevania came out and that threw a wrench into everything. Now, several shows are on their third week, meaning the review will have to stretch to cover up to three episodes for some shows. That means that once again, the first post in the season will be a bit longer than the rest of them, as several episodes as well as introducing the shows themselves will need to be covered. This season, the reviews will focus on four different series across four genres. First, there will be a school drama series called Classroom of the Elite, or Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e for the full Japanese title. This anime comes from the studio Lerche and is currently on its second episode. The second series will be a classic Fantasy Adventure series called Saiyuuki Reload Blast. Saiyuuki is from the studio Platinum Vision and has three episodes currently. Third, the series is Knight’s & Magic, which despite the title is a fantasy mecha series. Knight’s and Magic is from 8bit studios and has three episodes currently. Last, there will be a slice of life comedy series called Gamers! Gamers! comes from the studio Pine Jam and has two episodes currently. Some of the series have overlapping genres but for the most part, they seem to all fit into their own little niche, which means a little bit of something for everyone. Without wasting any time, let us dive into the review of the first series, and let the Summer of Anime begin.
Classroom of the Elite Episodes 1 and 2
Classroom of the Elite has a rather interesting premise right out of the gate. The story focuses on a school for children in Japan who come from elite families and have been selected for their station more than anything else. In the first episode, the two people who will likely be the focus of the show are introduced immediately, Ayanokouji Kiyotaka and Horikita Suzune. Both are sat in the back of the classroom in what is established as Class D because both are outcast from the rest of the class. THe difference is that Kiyotaka is outcast because he is quiet and bad at talking to others, whereas Suzune prefers to be on her own. After the class introduces themselves, revealing unimportant side characters thrown in throughout, the teacher explains to them how the school works. Each student will live on campus and must stay on campus as long as they are attending the school. There are several stores where the things they need can be bought on campus, and each week they will be allotted a credit based on their merit in the school. She goes on to inform them that they will all be starting at 100,000 credits, as getting into the school alone proves that they have very high merit. This, of course, gets everyone quite excited, and several of the students take the opportunity to buy several games and consoles and other various wastes of credit while they can. Unfortunately, as the second month comes, several of the students are surprised to see that they do not receive any further credit. The teacher comes back in, this time much less polite, and begins to explain to them just how stupid they all are. Each class is judged as a whole on merit, and several things are taken into account. The grades of the class on tests, attendance, attitude, interruptions in class, using cell phones during study hours, many different factors seem to play into a class’s overall score. Each class starts with one thousand points altogether and based on mistakes they make they lose points. The credit they receive monthly is based on a number of points the class as a whole gets, 1 point equalling one hundred credits to spend. As class D starts at the bottom and managed to make several mistakes all on their own, their class score is a big fat zero. Needless to say, several of the students lose their minds at this revelation, having already blown through all 100,000 of their previous credits and having none left to get through the month. At this time the teacher drops one more major revelation. The next chance to raise the class score will be at midterms, and anyone who fails their midterms will be automatically expelled. For a first episode, this one was pretty solid. On top of an interesting premise, the main character was quite enjoyable. A boy who is bad at socializing but is also bad at emoting, who seems to be hiding things about himself, is generally amusing to watch. The animation quality is quite high, and the bits of fan service thrown in to not detract from the overall quality.
The second episode opens with the class all having a swim during their free period to take their minds off of the disaster that has befallen them. Kiyotaka is not swimming, and neither is Suzune as she approaches to discuss the bombshell that has just been dropped and ponder over how calm everyone seems to be acting. In a surprising moment, Suzune asks Kiyotaka if he would like to each lunch with her, on her dime. He agrees and then realizes that it was all a trap as she uses the lunch as a bargaining tool to get him to help her with her plan. Several of the students have decided to put together a study group, but the four dumbest kids in class all opted out of joining and improving their chances to graduate. Her plan is to get him to talk them into joining a special study group just for the six of them, and he is forced to agree as he had already accepted her lunch, as well as also taking part in an earlier scheme of one of their classmates to try and trick Suzune into becoming friends with her. That same classmate is who Kiyotaka reaches out to for help, as she is friends with everyone else in the class, and she easily convinces them all to join the study group. However, things go South quickly is it turns out an abrasive person like Suzune is not the best person to be leading a study group, and after several insults are thrown about the group disbands. Not to be deterred, the girl who helped put the group together swears she will find a way to make them study. All in all, this episode was also a fun watch. There is a bit more information gained about the characters, and it is shown that Suzune may have good reason to be so cold and alone all the time. A little taste of Kiyotaka’s hidden skills is shown too, which seems to only further Suzune’s curiosity about him. All in all, it will be interesting to see where this one goes.
Saiyuki Reload Blast Episodes 1, 2, and 3
Saiyuki is a series that is (extremely) loosely based on The Journey to the West and is centered around a group of individuals who are accompanying a priest on his journey to India with the goal of destroying all of the demons in the land. The first anime adaptation of the series, Gensoumaden Saiyuki, aired in 2001. The second series, Saiyuki Reload, came out in 2004. It has been quite a long time since the series initially aired, but the characters are immediately up to their old shenanigans. The first moments with them show their various skills, the priest Sanzo using his marksman skills, Son Goku using his staff to hit things, the team mom Hakkai using his magic to blast demons away, and Gojyo using his jakujou to cut demons down. Shortly after showing how tough and cool they are, they all collapse from hunger pains in front of the people they had just saved. After taking the time to clean up, they learn the village has survived this long even though all the other villages around them have been overrun by demons because of a drawbridge that cuts them off from the rest of the world. As an added precaution everyone in the village is told that they must keep as quiet as possible to avoid drawing any unwanted attention on the off chance any demons did manage to make it over the bridge. Naturally, something happens that leads to the drawbridge being let down at night and the village being overrun, but fortunately for them, Sanjo and his boys are in town and manage to stop the village from getting overrun. At the same time, the village learns a lesson about life that you cannot just bottle up all your noise and songs and laughter or there is no point in living at all. A common formula for action series like this, have a battle and teach a message and then ride off into the sunset for the next adventure. Still, it is handled well, and the animation is quite fun to watch. It is nice to see the characters all updated for a more modern art style.
Episode two opens with the boys on a journey to find smokes and water, as their supplies are running dangerously low. After some reminiscing about their journey so far and deciding that they are stuck together while discussing their plans to kill the leaders of the demons and hopefully sort out the rest of their problems by doing so, they come across a salt lake near the next village they must go to. Soon enough they are accosted by demons and easily handle them in front of some humans, who then lead them to their village. The village survives by selling the salt they gather from the lake but have fallen on hard times because of demons assaulting their caravans. Considering how low they are on supplies, Sanjo inc. agree to help get rid of the demon problem in exchange for some supplies. In the lands of the east, Sanzo and his friends are quite well known and would have been greeted warmly, but now that they are in Shangri-la, nobody seems to recognize them, and everyone has their own problems that need solving. The crew must apparently wait for nightfall as the demons will not attack until the next caravan leaves, and so they all set their own different ways to kill time until nightfall. Goku finds some local children to play with, Gojyo looks for some tobacco, Hakkai sits with the caravan and waits while Sanzo takes a long and quiet nap. This episode also introduces some of the villains, one of which is related to Gojyo. Some of them have been seen before, while others appear to be new to this series. All in all, while a familiar formula, Saiyuki is still a fun watch so far.
The third episode starts with the crew arriving in a village that appears to have no inn after yet another battle on the road. After debating where they will sleep for the night, several villagers take note of Sanzo’s robes and ask if he will say prayers for them. Hakkai jumps at the opportunity to swindle rooms for them to stay in so that Sanzo can read for them. Along the way into the village,t he crew run into a demon living in a house outside of the village on a hill where apparently they used to perform “sky burials”, letting carrion birds devour their dead instead of burying them in the ground. It seems they had to stop doing this on account of how dangerous the surrounding area had recently become with all the disappearances. The people in the village suspect the man on the hill, even though the village used to be home to both people and demons alike until they all went crazy and started to eat humans. The rest of the episode is spent finding the culprit behind the disappearances, and with Goku wondering just how he would react if someone he cared about died, and why he felt so sad thinking about it. Another pretty decent episode, with another happy lesson learned after everything is taken care of. All in all, this show is very reminiscent of its original in many ways, and that is not a bad thing. While the plots can be a little cliche, the action is good and the characters are likable. Hopefully, the show will continue to shine each week.
Knight’s & Magic Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Knight’s & Magic opens in modern times, with a team of gunpla designers working on their latest figures. The leader of the team, who is also a master at coding, helps them to meet a deadline that nobody thought that they could meet. The celebration of this happening is cut short however when on his walk home he is hit by a car. His biggest regret in the afterlife is that he never got to put together the new models that they had released, and they are even shown to be set on his memorial. From here, the anime cuts to a far away land in what appears to be a medieval setting as a carriage is trudging along a dirt road while a mother dotes on her young son, who is asleep. It does not take long for the carriage to fall under attack, as a huge bug appears out of nowhere and tears it apart. Shortly after the attack begins, the young child awakens and is surprised to find himself in this time period, as it is the very same master coder from the beginning of the show. Now named Ernesti, he is blown away when the passengers of the carriage are rescued by what appears to be a model that he designed, only this time it is a real life giant robot. In this time they have no idea what robots are, and instead, refer to these giant suits of armor as Silhouette Knights. Immediately Ernie, as his friends call him, decides that he will become one of the pilots, and so begins a short montage of him studying and growing to the age of 12, quickly surpassing all the children at his age in the arts of magic and combat spells and everything else, even designing his magic rods to be guns instead, which is very amusing. Along the way he meets two bastard children of a lord, Archid and Adeltrud, or Kid and Ady as they prefer to be called, and helps them learn to be good at magic as well so they can all advance together. He is saddened to learn that he is far too tiny to be a pilot, and so decides that his first goal will be to design his own Knight armor to use. The episode comes to an end with a giant monster breaking through the wall around the city while the kids are out for studies in the forest.
Episode two opens with the attack of the behemoth class monster still happening. What few knights are stationed on the part of the wall where the monster attacks are shown to put up a valiant effort, but alas, they are all destroyed with hardly any effort on the monster’s part. Ernie’s friends are all shown to be confused when a stampede of smaller beasts storms by, and Ernie suspects the creatures are actually running from something instead of at something. He is of course right as the great behemoth sized monster ends up attacking where the students are. The high school students are the only ones old enough to pilot Knights, and as such do the best they can to cover the retreat of the younger students. Clearly outmatched, one of the high school students decides to save his own skin rather than defend some kids and help his friends, running into the woods with his armor and falling into a ditch where he screams out his defense to a night sky that could not care less. Ernie sees this, and leaves his friends behind to take the opportunity of stealing the coward’s armor. He is still far too small to pilot it the regular way, and instead “hacks” the robot using his prior skills as a coder, since apparently in this universe the laws of coding seem to fit in the same understanding as the laws of magic, and instead of using the pedals and arm controls programs the robot to respond to his thoughts and movements, which seems to grant it far superior mobility and strength. He charges into battle and helps the older students, eventually ending in a stunningly beautiful fight that he wins nearly all on his own.
The third episode opens with the kind wanting an audience with the young hero, not out of respect but out of wariness. Any child that powerful could be very dangerous, and he wants to see for himself if there is the possibility of bad intentions. This ends up being the kind of opportunity that Ernie was waiting for, as the king asks him if he could have any reward, what would he choose? Ernie thinks about it and decides to go for a Hail Mary and ask for the only part of building his own armor that he does not yet understand, how to create the heart of the suit. Hesitant to give up such knowledge as it is something only the king could ever tell, the king asks why he is so interested in designing his own suit. Ernie replies that it is simply because building robots are his hobby, which greatly amuses the king. The king decides that if Ernie can design his own Knight, then he will consider granting his request. Wasting no time at all, Ernie sets about visiting with the armor smiths in the area and setting them to the task of upgrading and redesigning one of the Knights to his own specifications. The rest of the episode is basically a montage of their efforts and successes in doing so. Far and away, this show is the best of the shows that have been reviewed so far. A combination of the gunpla idea overlayed with magic and monsters is a formula that sounds entirely insane, and yet it blends so perfectly together. The animation is a mix of CGI and regular 2d animation and actually blends together perfectly, unlike some shows where the CG is terrible and off putting compared to the animation. Only three episodes in, but this one is so far definitely the highest recommended.
Gamers! Episode 1 and 2
Gamers! opens with a classroom full of students gawking wildly as the “cutest girl in school”, Karen Tendou, has approached one of the biggest nerds in class, Keita Amano. After what seems to be an eternity, the anime jumps backward to a few days before, where Keita is at a game store picking up several games. he laments how he has no friends, and how he cannot talk to anyone, but then rejoices in his love of 2d girls and games. Much to his surprise, Karen approaches him here and immediately he has a breakdown, but they end up talking for a while and out of nowhere she invites him to join her gaming club. He does not know what to think at first, not ever having been in a club before, but agrees eventually that he will at least accompany her to the club room. Delighted with this news, Karen agrees to meet Keita in his class after school and take him to the club, and he is shocked when she actually arrives, as is everyone else in the class. Once the club room is reached, he meets the upper classmen, one who is obsessed with fighting games and the other who is the god of First person shooters. After a few hours of FPS, She asks once again if he would like to join. To the surprise of everyone present, including Keita, he declines the offer after stating that the games they play do not seem like the games he would want to play. The next day, Karen approaches him in class yet again as everyone stares, and asks one more time if he will reconsider. Once again Keita rejects her, leading to her crying and fleeing the room.
The second episode begins from the perspective of one of Keita’s classmates, Tasuku Uehara. He was once just as nerdy as Keita but decided that he hated being mocked and made fun of in class, so he decided to cover up his nerdiness in public and develop a new hot guy persona. Something about the way that Keita ignores reality and sticks to his 2D infuriates him, probably because he recognizes his old self in this attitude. Eventually, the two end up meeting in an arcade at the mall and, though Keita is reluctant to approach at first, eventually he does and the two end up spending a few hours playing games together, and both enjoying themselves more than either of them had anticipated. Eventually, the girlfriend that Tasuku had abandoned comes looking for him, and Keita runs off, stating that Tasuku would not want him around since he has a life and everything. This attitude strikes Tasuku as condescending and he chases after Keita, abandoning his girlfriend again and confronting Keita, telling him that he has no right to talk about people that way and even insulting the game club and Karen. Karen, meanwhile, has been following Keita around, determined to get him to join. She overhears Keita defending her, saying that Tasuku has every right to insult him but Karen is amazing and does not deserve his cruel words, and ends up falling for him right there on the spot. The pace of this anime is quite fast, but at the same time, each episode ended with a strong desire for more. The tone of it is quite amusing, especially compared to other anime in the genre. Right away characters are introduced with words over their face like “will lose their mind by the end of it” and things like that. Very amusing, very silly, but also weirdly heartwarming and relatable. Hopefully, this one continues to be interesting.
There we have it, Lusites. Another week, another soul crushingly huge pile of anime to review. Thankfully, the weeks to come will not involve nearly so much content, and hopefully, there was something for everyone to enjoy here. Was there any anime that stood out among the rest? For this reviewer, all of the anime listed had pretty strong openings but Gamers! and Knight’s seemed to have the most to offer. If you disagree, then leave a comment! if there is anything else you would like to recommend for the season, leave a comment to that end as well. As for this review, the end has finally been reached. Until next time, Thank you for reading and keep on watching.