The anime roulette: part 3

Yes, the roulette is back! After watching all of three of the seven series I rolled in the first two posts from back in March, I felt like it was time for a new round. The idea is the same: spin a wheel full of anime three times Wheel of the Worst-style except with hopefully good stuff on it, then watch at least the first episode of whatever I land on. I’ve shaken up the choices a lot since last time I did this four months back, partly because I’ve since watched a few of the first episodes and more of a few of the shows left on the wheel and partly because I don’t have VRV anymore. Ever since the Crunchyroll/Funimation merger, VRV became more or less redundant for me since I was only using it for anime. But since I lost access to the HIDIVE-exclusive shows on VRV, I decided to pick up HIDIVE after quitting VRV.

So now I’ve got two anime streaming service subscriptions, CR and HIDIVE, which are damn well more than enough for me. And conveniently enough I now have access to various shows I didn’t and don’t have access to a few I did. What happened to Detroit Metal City? I have no idea. I thought it was on HIDIVE but apparently it’s not (anymore?) Fucking licensing issues. At this point I’m wondering whether VRV doesn’t still have some exclusive anime I’m currently missing out on, but I’m sure as hell not registering for three subscription services to find out.

I slipped a potential landmine in too; can you find it?

Anyway, here’s the new list. As before, I reserve the right to watch any of these later on if I don’t land on them for this post (and if I don’t land on one but you want to stump for it in the comments, feel free! This doubles as a recommendations post.)

A Sister’s All You Need.
Call of the Night
Chio’s School Road
Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness
DENKI-GAI
Made in Abyss
O Maidens in Your Savage Season
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Vinland Saga
Ya Boy Kongming!

Nine series that caught my eye for whatever reason or that I was already sort of planning to watch but felt I needed a nudge to actually do so. And that sister show just because of the title, which I’ve always been morbidly intrigued by. A sister’s all you need for what? Do I want to ask that question? Will I find out? Let’s see. Here’s the next spin:

And a welcome result. This is one that I’ve always had in the back of my mind to watch just because of how much good stuff I hear about it, and now I finally have an excuse to make myself start it. On to it:

Spin 9: Made in Abyss

I guess this series needs no introduction to a lot of you, but for anyone who like me has missed out until now, Made in Abyss is about a bunch of orphans tasked with exploring a massive pit (aka the Abyss of the title) in the middle of the city they live in. These were the children of adult explorers who died/disappeared while in the Abyss, which is full of dangerous monsters and environmental hazards as we see while following Riko (above) and Nat on an exploration. The pair are separated and nearly killed by a giant flying fish dragon monster thing until it’s driven off by a sudden powerful laser beam shot.

Riko finds the source of the laser, a powered-down robot boy she and Nat carry back to their orphanage. They manage to shock him back to life, but this mysterious robot seems to have lost all his memories. Riko decides to take him on, naming him Reg (after a dog she used to have, which he’s understandably not very happy about) and keeping him around as a secret between her and her few close friends at the orphanage since apparently they’re not supposed to be taking old “relics” like him for themselves.

Riko and Reg, looking out across the city and landscape at the end of the first episode. I’m a fan of Reg’s hi-tech metal Viking helmet.

So I finally got around to Made in Abyss after five years. The first season aired back in 2017, and while I remember hearing a lot about it at the time, I was barely watching any anime at all back then and it passed me by. But judging by the first episode at least, I can see why it was so popular — the characters and their fantastic world are interesting so far. This episode also sets up plenty of potentially fascinating mysteries to be explored, like what Reg is exactly (he clearly has a human-like personality and has robotic limbs, so is he a full robot or a cyborg? And where did he come from, etc.) and the nature of the Abyss itself. It sounds like the bottom hasn’t been reached, hence all the experienced adult explorers disappearing and leaving behind orphans like Riko.

Riko boasting to her instructor about saving Nat from a dragon creature, though to her credit she’s telling the truth here.

Speaking of Riko, I like her so far as a protagonist (or dual protagonist with Reg maybe?) It helps that she has drive and ambition to match her slight arrogance and also a couple of friends like Nat who are all too willing to keep her in check, and also that she has a real bond with those friends as we see when she nearly sacrifices herself to save Nat from being killed. This sort of character might easily become annoying otherwise — hopefully not, since Riko seems to be one of the central characters in this series. I guess you need a protagonist like her anyway in a world like hers, the kind that needs a lot more exploring.

I only hope for Riko’s sake that all the talk of getting strung up for committing infractions are major exaggerations, because what the fuck is that. And what kind of society sends orphans to their potential deaths exploring mysterious pits full of monsters anyway? Some real RPG logic there, isn’t it? I guess Riko is eager to take part in that, but what about the rest of them?

Though I do love fantastic cityscapes like these. The look and feel of this world reminds me of one of those old Ghibli movies.

I’ll absolutely be watching Made in Abyss — it hits all the right notes for me so far. And conveniently enough it’s just returned to the air, with its second season starting last week. I look forward to seeing where Riko, Reg, and the rest end up, and maybe I’ll even be able to catch up and get current soon.

So that was a successful spin. Now for my next roll:

ಠ_ಠ

Well, shit. I put it there, so I can’t complain. But it’s an excuse to use that old Kannada emote, isn’t it. Guess I’m about to have my morbid curiosity fulfilled, though I don’t know whether I’ll regret it.

Spin 10: A Sister’s All You Need.

what

Okay, it’s not as bad as it looks from the title and the above screenshot. The protagonist doesn’t even have a sister. But damn does he love the idea of having one, specifically a little sister. Itsuki Hashima is a young, up-and-coming author who writes what sound like light novels with a fantasy slant, but also a “protagonist has a little sister who’s way too close with him” slant. Like waking him up naked while on top of him close, and also preparing and sitting down to breakfast with him naked.

Itsuki’s editor is correct. See also Itsuki’s can of UCC Coffee there, a real brand that’s pretty decent. If only canned coffee weren’t obscenely expensive here in the States.

Thankfully his editor is there to slap some sense into him by telling him to cut out all the sister obsession shit in the new chapter of his fantasy novel. After leaving, Itsuki’s little brother shows up at his apartment (thankfully he doesn’t have a weird as hell brother kink, so it’s fine) to make dinner for him and his arriving writer friends and colleagues, who are a mix of normal and also kind of degenerate like him (see the girl at the top.)

Talking shop with other writers is a good time. Too bad I don’t know any others in real life, just other lawyers I can complain along with.

But turns out there’s a little more to this series than a bunch of writers drinking beer and being degenerates together, as we see in the last scene where Itsuki and his maybe or maybe not one-sided love interest Nayuta think about each other and how they met.

Not much else to say about A Sister’s All You Need. The pacing is quick, maybe a bit too quick — that imouto “stamp” that gets slammed over the action every two minutes after a punchline does get irritating. But the humor was good enough for me to possibly want to continue this series. Not right away, but maybe at some point.

It also features plugs for real beer brands apparently, though only ones you can get in Japan, so even if I still drank it wouldn’t help me. This stout does look good though.

So if you like little sisters, probably good beer, and/or degenerate humor in general, maybe this is a good show to check out. But I’ll withhold judgment unless or until I get around to watching the rest.

Now for the last spin this round. Let’s try for 3 for 3:

Now here’s an interesting result. All I know about Call of the Night is that it’s a currently airing series about a guy who meets a cute vampire girl and wants to get bit by her or something. “Cute vampire girl” is always a plus for me (I am a Touhou fan after all, and EoSD has one of my favorite casts) so I’m looking forward to this one.

Spin 11: Call of the Night

Sometimes I find a series that might not actually be very good or make all that much sense but that still resonates with me because it found me at the right time. Maybe this is too embarrassing to admit, but I’m beyond all that now: this first episode of the manga adaptation Call of the Night worked for me on that level at least.

Holy shit is this relatable

Kou is a kid still in his second year at middle school. 14 is a rough age, and Kou is going through it — he doesn’t seem to be fitting in all that well at school, and after pretty bluntly rejecting a girl’s love confession he ends up chewed out by her friends and wondering how exactly he’s supposed to feel about any of that.

Unsatisfied with his daily life, Kou decides one night to sneak out of his family’s apartment and wander the streets of his city, alone with his thoughts. Alone until he meets a mysterious, strangely dressed blonde girl with extremely sharp and pointy canines. This lady takes an immediate interest in Kou, asking why he’s wandering around in the dead of night and about to buy a beer from a vending machine when he’s clearly not of age (I totally forgot Japan sells booze in vending machines; it would be unthinkable to see here in the States. Would have made drinking in high school, and I guess even in middle school, a hell of a lot easier!)

Despite the fact that this girl, Nazuna, is about the most obvious vampire ever to appear in a fictional work the very moment he meets her, Kou agrees to go along with her to her apartment after she promises she’ll “help him sleep.”

Okay, I mean I get it, but still.

Kou is nervous that Nazuna will try something funny with him (though in the more normal sense, since he hasn’t realized the obvious yet) but she assures him she won’t. She instead has him lie down on her futon and, once she thinks he’s asleep, goes straight for his neck. It turns out Kou was faking sleep to see what she’d pull, but she still gets some blood out of him before he gets up.

After he finally realizes what Nazuna is, she reassures him that she hasn’t turned him into a vampire — according to her, a human can only be turned if they fall in love with a vampire, so he’s safe. The pair then leave her apartment, but then Kou decides he actually wants to be a vampire and declares that he will fall in love with Nazuna. She tells him he can do what he likes, but seems embarrassed herself, then decides to sort of take him under her wing since Kou seems like he needs to learn how to enjoy his life or something.

Nice visuals, too

So Call of the Night is a strange one so far. It’s a bit hard to track the logic here — I get that Kou is confused and searching for himself in just the way a kid his age would be, but his decision to become a vampire feels pretty hasty and reckless even for a 14 year-old considering just what being a vampire involves. Nazuna’s special interest in Kou is a bit weird as well, and it might even be called creepy or criminal depending on how far she takes it and how vampire vs. human ages work in this world (remembering that vampires in a lot of fiction tend to be far older than they look.) All that’s assuming this is supposed to be a romance, which it very much looks like right now.

On the other hand, when I was that age, the prospect of getting to run around the streets with a hot blonde vampire girl at midnight would have been extremely exciting to me. So Call of the Night is probably perfect wish fulfillment for boys that age. That would also explain the fanservice material, getting an eyeful of Nazuna in this episode and presumably in most of the others to come.

Horny as hell as you’d expect from most any vampire-related story, but it’s worth asking if this story would be less acceptable to many readers/viewers if the genders were swapped. I’d say yes, but isn’t that pretty much what Twilight was? And that was a huge hit, so maybe people don’t actually care.

Despite all its strangeness and potential issues, I might keep watching Call of the Night. Or maybe in part because of those. There’s still a part of me that’s that 14 year-old boy who wants to drop everything, all the bullshit in my life, and just run out into the night. Of course I can’t and won’t do these sorts of things now in my 30s. But again, and maybe it’s even embarrassing to admit these feelings, that’s part of what I use anime and games and other entertainment for: these are safe ways to live out a few harmless fantasies in addition to their inherent value as art. But I’ve gotten into all that before, so I won’t again here.

And that’s it for this third round of the anime roulette. Possibly a 3 for 3 result this round depending on how Call of the Night turns out and whether I feel the same about it next week as I did today, since I admit I’m at a fairly low point at the moment. I might do one more of these posts soon if I’m feeling up to it, but the next one will likely be a game review for a change of pace, so you can look forward to that. Until then.

Edit (7/24/2022): Usually I don’t bother with adding notes to old posts, but after watching the second and third episodes of Call of the Night I’d like to drop the “might not actually be very good” part up there because I’m liking it a lot more right now. Still too early to judge the series as a whole obviously, so look out for that end-of-season review whenever that’s happening. I’ve also already finished Made in Abyss — you’ll find that review soon on the index page up top.

6 thoughts on “The anime roulette: part 3

  1. I love the roulette ideas – it’s how I’ve been choosing books to read, haha. I’ve seen both Made in Abyss and A Sister’s All You Need, and look forward to your thoughts on Call of the Night. Sounds like you’re in for some fun.

    • Thanks! I swiped the idea from a YouTube series I like, but seems like the idea can work in a lot of contexts. Certainly got me to finally watch some anime I’d been putting off and to discover some new series.

  2. This is fun! Also there are some wild anime and screenshots here XD

    I’m currently watching New Game!, about girls working for a game development company. It’s super cute but also very accurate to my experience as a creative within multiple companies (graphic designer), almost too real at time! Potentially one to add to your list if you haven’t seen it 🙂

    • Oh yeah, some of these screenshots… I always try to get “interesting” ones.

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve had my eye on New Game! too, will definitely put it on the wheel for next time. I’d like to get back to ten series at least.

  3. Dang #2 sounds messed up as Eromanga Sensei (yes, I am quite familiar with that flick and would never recommend it within a 10-foot pole). You’re better off spending time fully on “Made In Abyss” – that has potential to be a classic.

    • Yeah, Made in Abyss is the one I’m most interested in out of these three anyway. I know about Eromanga Sensei’s reputation too, not too interested in that one (or in OreImo for that matter.) My hope is that this sister obsession show doesn’t actually contain any sister stuff in that sense but is more of a takeoff on the some of the strange kinks some authors have and some fans share, which seems to be where it’s going based on this first episode. But then I can’t say at all! If I feel dangerous one day I’ll pick it back up.

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