Anime First Episodes: The Good, The Bad, and The Forced Exposition

Hinamatsuri Episode One anime

Minor spoilers for Sarazanmai and Hinamatsuri.

Supposedly, there’s this thing called a “three-episode rule” that says you should watch three episodes of an anime before deciding to drop it. But, if you’re like me and you’re checking out every season’s new anime, three episodes is TOO MUCH time to waste. No, I’ve honed my critical senses to the point where I can usually get a sense of whether or not a show is trash within the first twenty minutes. Bad writing will usually rear its ugly head right from the beginning – sometimes as soon as the very first scene.

Please, spare me three episodes! Tell me your show sucks immediately!

If an anime series starts with a map and a five minute narration of the world’s history, I’m immediately going to drop it. Nothing annoys me more than when a character drones on about its setting instead of just SHOWING it to me. Forced exposition like this is exhausting, and it’s almost impossible to actually retain these information dumps once they’re over. A setting needs to grow and expand along with the characters. A fictional world needs to be explored naturally, not explained away immediately. Keeping a little mystery to a series’ setting and characters is what makes viewers want to keep watching. If everything gets given away in the trailer or the opening sequence, what’s the point of sticking around?

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Mythology and Sarazanmai: Kappa really do dive into buttholes!

sarazanmai kappa keppi anime

If you’ve been watching Kunihiko Ikuhara’s latest project, Sarazanmai, you’ve probably found yourself confused by what was happening on-screen at least two or twelve times. It’s a story about complicated sibling relationships, floating definitely-not-Amazon packages, gay otter police officers, and teens getting turned into kappas so they can extract desire from giant zombie buttholes. It’s wilder than I could have ever predicted.

sarazanmai kappa eating
See, wild!

You may also find yourself asking, “how much of this series is weird because Ikuhara is a weirdo, and how much of this is weird because I’m not Japanese and I don’t get the references?” If you’re anything like me, the only things you know about kappa came from games like Harvest Moon, which does not involve buttholes. So, I decided to dive deep into the world of kappa legends to better understand the madness that is Sarazanmai.

And, believe it or not, the idea that we all have a ball of desire in our anuses is more than just a wacky Ikuhara-ism – it’s a huge part of kappa mythology! Let me give you a crash course in kappa.

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Top 10 Best Anime Eyebrows of Winter 2019: The Thick Brows That Warmed Us

YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS, FOLKS! That’s right, it’s about a week after the end of the last anime season, which means it’s time for my to put on my Eyebrow Assessment Monocle and distribute the coveted award of Best Anime Eyebrow.

my hero academia hot girl monocle.png
A+ monocle, but C- eyebrows.

Believe it or not, I actually followed a lot of series through this season. I was BIG into Boogiepop and The Promised Neverland in particular, and of course Mob Psycho 100. If I were a better blogger, I would write a review of those series, but alas. I only review eyebrows here, not entire anime series.

Now, infamously, I write these Top 10 lists without having actually seen any of the season’s offerings. This time, I actually watched, but somehow that made this list HARDER to write. I was busy paying attention to insignificant things like a character’s pErSoNaLiTy and bEhAvIoR. But no worries, I have now adjusted the monocle and am ready to list.

May the Queen of Anime Eyebrows guide us through this list…

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Should You Watch Boogiepop and Others? Well, it’s complicated…

This Winter anime season gave us plenty of highly anticipated anime to choose from. We got the long-awaited adaptation of Shonen Jump hit The Promised Neverland, new JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, an adaptation of an early Osamu Tezuka work, and – the series I was most excited for – a special 20th anniversary entry into the Boogiepop canon.

Boogiepop and Others is a surreal psychological horror with supernatural elements thrown in. It’s about an entity, Boogiepop, who lives within a teenage girl. Boogiepop appears when the world is troubled, and believe me when I say this world is TROUBLED! There’s a shady organization drugging and brainwashing people, aliens(?) are popping down to Earth, and another highschool girl is running around in a catsuit and scaring the shit out of her peers…there’s a lot going on. It’s kind of hard to explain.

Which is the thing about Boogiepop. It’s kind of hard to explain…and hard to follow…and sometimes even hard to like.


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Winter 2019 First Impressions: Who Will Land In The Hell Zone?!

boogiepop SMOOCH

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a stab at seasonal coverage, huh? Truth be told, the past few months on the blog have been extremely inconsistent. In 2019, though, expect to see way more from The Anime Hell Zone! This Lexapro is kicking in and I am ready to TAKE ON THE WORLD! SEROTONIN, ACTIVATE!!

Ahem. Since it’s been so long since I’ve done a seasonal first impression list, let’s take a moment to review my personal rating system for first impressions.

Heaven Zone: these look like some real winners! They’re the most highly recommended (so far, anyways…), and are the series that I’m most likely to stick with through the whole season.

Purgatory: these shows haven’t sold me just yet, but they’ve got promise. We’ll see if they can ascend to Heaven by the end!

Hell Zone: these were painful to get through and are absolutely not recommended. If I continue watching anything in Hell Zone, it’ll only be to cruelly mock them!

Though I am training to become a Real Anime Critic one of these days, I’m obviously not getting paid to cover anime seasonals. That being said, I’m skipping over quite a few of the Big Boy Hype shows. I have a finite time on this planet, and I will not waste it blogging about things I don’t care about!

The only series left that I have to check out is Mob Psycho II. I’m waiting to watch it together with my boyfriend, and I know he wouldn’t appreciate me jotting down notes during our anime date night, so that’ll have to wait until the end of the season round-up.

Also, I know that we’re technically on the second week of seasonal anime, but this post is only based on the first episodes (or first two episodes, in Boogiepop‘s case). I’m slow! Sue me!

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[Doki Doki Literature Club] {SPOILERS} I was a fool.


All I knew going in was that this was a horror visual novel.
No problem.
I can handle that.
It’s going to be some cheesy nonsense, probably. Big deal, some moe girls are going to murder me or something. That’s fine.


Hm. The content warning is weirdly specific about depression and anxiety. Wonder if that means they’re gonna get into some Real Shit here.

…nah, they probably just have to put that there. 2017 and trigger warnings and all that. This will be fine. I’ll just play for a bit, get to when things start getting crazy, save my game and pick it up tomorrow.


Continue reading “[Doki Doki Literature Club] {SPOILERS} I was a fool.”