Anime Review Roundup

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It’s amazing how anime about music is almost ubiquitous now. When I got into the medium, such stories were the exception. It isn’t just the collaboration between anime studios and music producers, having to animate singing, characters playing instruments, dance routines are all a level beyond what was possible with traditional cel and paint. Shows like Bubblegum Crisis (Priss and the Replicants) were the exception; the best we usually got was Gravitation. With digital animation techniques, and especially the advent of mobile rhythm matching games, music anime is everywhere, Love Live and Bang Dream for series, shows like Sound Euphonium and K-On, and plenty of movies each year that deliver like Belle and Inu-oh. Even titles like One Piece are jumping on the musical bandwagon at this point. These days, a film like Sing a Bit of Harmony will have to do something really special to impress. When the director is Yasuhiro Yoshiura, the director of Time of Eve and Patema Inverted, that’s more than enough to make this film a must buy.

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I got drawn to an anime by its name again. It’s the equivalent of judging a book by the cover, but when it something like The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 1, you can understand the allure. It’s the whole Quin Quin thing, it just rolls off the tongue. The thing about judging a book by the cover is that there’s no guarantee of what you’ll find within. In this case, it’s a rather mundane, and even tame harem comedy, albeit with a couple of gimmicks to mark it out from its peers.

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Speaking of mundane, The Slime Diaries is the last new review in this roundup, and it might be the most dispiriting way to end this article. This show spins-off from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, and takes the characters and puts them in a slice-of-life show; an isekai iyashikei so to speak. Given that the first season had its isekai blending with slice of life anyway, you might expect little to be different, but Slime Diaries goes for the lowest hanging fruit with its storytelling. Click on the review to read more.

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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R.O.D. The TV. Thankfully, there is the re-watch, and you can’t get much better than R.O.D. The TV. A few roundups ago, I was re-watching the Read or Die OVA, three episodes of secret agent insanity, in a world where the bibliophile protagonist can control paper with amazing abilities. R.O.D. The TV seems like a spin-off at first, introducing three sisters with the same paper wielding powers, who become bodyguards to a cantankerous young author, and get pulled into all manner of mysterious adventures. It’s only as the series unfolds that you realise that this is a direct sequel to Read or Die. Amazing animation, wonderful music carries over from the OVA, but deeper characterisations and more considered storytelling make this show even better.

MVM released the show across 7 DVD volumes back in the day. Here’s my review of volume 1. There were subsequent complete collections, but the show is deleted at this point. Second hand is your best bet. In the US, the show actually got a Blu-ray release from Aniplex, but really, you have a better chance of finding the DVDs.

Crunchyroll released Sing a Bit of Harmony in March, which is when they also released The Slime Diaries. They also released The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 1 back in 2020, but they were called Manga Entertainment back then.

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