Welcome back everyone! Let’s cut the waffle and get straight to it, what juicy new anime delicacies have been on offer this week? Let’s find out!
Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 2
And we’re back to the adventures of Myne, the young bookworm who was reincarnated into the sickly body of a peasant girl. Of course Myne loves books, and I mean really loves books, but there’s one problem the world she’s been born into doesn’t have any! Well, not unless you’re a noble, which Myne definitely isn’t. Luckily last season she managed to score a position in the church so now she can read all the books she wants! Unfortunately things are never all that easy for Myne as she’s stepped into the world of the church and nobles, one that is vastly different to the life she’d already gotten used to. Can she find a way to navigate the rules of her new position, or has Myne finally bitten off more than she can chew?
Ascendance of a Bookworm is back! Ascendance of a Bookworm is back! Sorry, I’ll try to stay calm. I really, really loved the first season of Ascendance (Review HERE)and this is just more of the same show. All the great characters I fell for before are back, but with some new additions and locations. As for the new characters, they’re all interesting in their own way, giving us a glimpse into how the church works and the different mentality that people have there. It’s part of what I love so much about this series, the thought and detail that goes into the world and it’s construction. All of the church stuff makes complete sense for the world we’ve already seen and shows the different mentality between the nobles and the commoners. I’m so looking forward to more of this show.
Digimon Adventure: (2020)
Fifth grader Taichi is all set for his upcoming camping trip, but something strange is happening in Tokyo. A mysterious digital lifeform is causing havoc with the world’s computer systems, leading to Taichi’s mother and little sister, Hikari, becoming trapped on a runaway train! Desperate to find some way to help, Taichi races towards the train station, failing to notice the glowing symbol on his phone. The next thing Taichi knows he’s been transported into the Network, a representation of all the digital activity across the world. With the help of his neightbour, Koshiro, the solemn Yamato and a mysterious creature calling itself Agumon, Taichi intends to save the world! Hopefully he’ll manage it before a nuclear missile drops on Tokyo, yeah, we’re doing that.
Watching this show is really weird. Seeing characters that I know so well in familiar, yet entirely new situations, not to mention the fact that they’re clearly being animated with a significant budget this time around. It’s just…it’s weird. I’m such a big fan of the original Digimon, as you’ll probably be able to tell by my review of that very first season (HERE) that I did not so long ago. This new series is something entirely new though, and I do have to force myself to stop comparing it to the original. Yes, these are the characters I’ve known since childhood and they’re all acting as I know they should, but the situation they’re in is something different (even if it does heavily borrow elements from the War Games film in its first arc). All the old elements are here, but they’re been arranged in a new way, add on some quality animation, direction and a good soundtrack and we’re on to a really top-notch readaptation. I’m really not sure what to expect from this show, but I’m excited to see where it goes. Here’s hoping the delay won’t last too long and we can get back to this fascinating series.
Princess Connect! Re: Dive
A young man named Yuuki awakens to find he has no memory of who he is or, well, anything really. Even basic things, like what money is for or that it’s a bad idea to be dragged off by wolves, are beyond him. Luckily he has a guide in the nervous, yet loyal Kokkoro and friends in the always hungry, powerhouse Pecorine and the prickly sorceress Karyl. Together they form the ‘Gourmet Guild’, whose mission is to travel around the world, sampling all the best cuisine and ingredients. Maybe one day they’ll even get around to figuring out who Yuuki actually is, or who Karyl’s mysterious master is!
Food Wars and Konosuba have had a baby! I know, we’re all so surprised and delighted for them, they’ve kept their relationship on the quiet and, honestly, I didn’t think it would last a month, but here we are. I’m joking, but this show is just such an odd mix that it’s hard to believe it’s as good as it is. True, the plot is fairly directionless and I have no idea what it’s eventual end goal is supposed to be, but I don’t really care. The combination of the clueless Yuuki, the fidgeting Kokkoro, the bombastic Pecorine and the tsundere Karyl just light up my screen every Monday night and I don’t know how I’ve lived without them. The characters and their interactions are just so much fun. Add on some pitch perfect comic timing and some impressively pretty visuals (the animation has some shortcuts, but I’ll forgive that) and we’re on to another winner here.
Appare is always causing trouble, whether it’s building some insane machine that blows up five seconds later, or just breaking out of jail, there’s always something and the people around him have had enough! Charged with keeping an eye on Appare is the stalwart samurai Kosame and he has no idea the headache he’s in for. Determined to find some place where his inventions are appreciated, Appare decides he’s going to sail away on the steamboat he built, and not even Kosame tagging along is going to stop him. Of course things don’t go to plan and the next thing the pair know is that they’re in the middle of the ocean being rescued by another ship, a ship headed for America! Now with no money to their name and no way of getting home, Appare decides they’re going to build a car and enter the trans-American race! Fortune and glory awaits, along with a host of wacky contestants to compete against.
Wacky Races the anime! Seriously though, why was this never thought of before? A daring and downright insane race across a country, packed with outlandish characters and even more outlandish cars? Does it matter that the cars are way too advanced for the time period this series is set in? No. Does it matter that every character speaks perfect Japanese, when really you’d expect there to be some major language barriers? No. Does is matter that a lot of the characters are designed so stereotypically they might as well wear a sign to say where they’re from? Maybe, that really depends on you. The characters are likable and interesting enough that I’ll forgive the rather blatant design choices for some of them, but this show is not subtle in the slightest. Unfortunately the series has been delayed and we’re still very much in the setup phase before the big race, but when the show does start airing again you can bet I’ll be straight back to watching it. There’s a lot of potential with this one for a really fun ride.
Born into an aristocratic family in Florence, Italy, at the height of the Renaissance, Arte has dreams of becoming an artist. There’s only one problem, she was born a girl and according to pretty much everyone she meets, including her own mother, that is not a profession for her. Not that that’s going to stop her, Arte is obsessed with drawing, to the point where it’s the only thing she ever wants to do, and she will take on any challenge, overcome any obstacle to do it! Gender barriers be damned! Fortunately she finds a master in Leo, a surly and strict artist who is willing to take her on as an apprentice as long as she can do the work he asks of her.
This show has both surprised me and not surprised me at the same time, if that makes any sense at all. The first surprise was seeing the Universal logo popping up in front of an anime (I’m going to have to look into that later, because if major studios are going to be backing anime from now on then I’m all for it, as long as they don’t interfere with the content of said anime). The second surprise was how much I’ve enjoyed seeing Japan’s interpretation of Renaissance Italy, it’s a fairly simplified version from what I know of the period, but it’s a nice change of location (then again, that could just be due to the fact that I haven’t watched a lot of series set in Renaissance Italy). Speaking of simplified, that is a good summation of this series. The themes and messaging of this series are pretty unsubtle, but I’m always a sucker for a protagonist who tries hard and will chase their dream no matter the obstacle. Plus, she likes drawing. I like drawing. I totally get the obsession (why do you think I draw my own title cards for my reviews?). All in all, it’s a pleasant and fun series and although I’m worried about them pushing a romance between Arte and Leo (I don’t think the series needs that), I’ll continue watching.
Woodpecker Detective’s Office
Ishikawa Takuboku is a poet during the Meiji Era, one who often struggles with his finances and has a habit of sticking his nose into other people’s business. It’s this latter trait that means he often finds himself investigating crimes from across the city, all with the aid of his trusting friend Kindaichi Kyosuke. It turns out that Ishikawa is quite the detective, as are many of the famous writers and poets of this area, all of whom live in the same area. Hmm…me thinks this calls for the formation of a pretty boy detective club! Maybe the name needs a little work, something else’ll come to me I’m sure.
I had hopes for this series, not necessarily high hopes, but moderately level hopes. A nice, gentle detective series in a historical setting, a few quirky little cases and some deductive reasoning from our leads, I don’t think I was asking for much. Unfortunately, three episodes and two cases in, I don’t have nice things to same about this series. At it’s best it’s okay, it looks nice enough, nothing special, but fit for purpose and there’s a good set up for an odd couple relationship between the leads. It’s the cases that are really bugging me about this series, more specifically the resolutions. I’m going to spoil both endings here because I need to vent a little, so if you have any interest in this series please go watch it now, as for me, I’m out on this one.
Okay, everyone else staying? Spoilers in 3…2…1… the first case ends with it being revealed that Ishikawa was just making it up, he has some good reasoning behind his claims, but we never get any resolution and Ishikawa had to fake evidence to prove his point. It’s just not a satisfying conclusion. On to the second case, which spreads across episodes two and three, the build up was good and as were everyone’s little theories about what actually happened, but again, the resolution. Turns out Ishikawa was framing Kyosuke purely because he was mad at him. No, just…no. One, I now hate Ishikawa. Doesn’t matter what his feeling are, if he has a problem he should bring it up with Kyosuke (like a friend would!) not frame him for murder! Two, this is too early in this series to pull this kind of thing, we barely know these characters and, again, I now hate Ishikawa. Three, there’s no actual resolution, yeah Kyosuke is let out of jail, but all Ishikawa does is smack him on the arm. He never explains to Kyosuke that he was mad at him and Kyosuke never figures out it was Ishikawa who was sending him down the river. I did not enjoy it in the slightest.
Well, this ended on a bit of bum note didn’t it? Sorry about that, but I’m not going to review Woodpecker Detective’s Office and I needed to get that off my chest. Aside from that, I am actually really enjoying this season of anime, even with all the series that have been put on delay. Stay safe and well everyone and I’ll be back next week with regular review.
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.