Fall 2021 Anime Season – What To Watch

Given the number of amazing titles that aired during Winter and Spring, 2021 has probably been one of the best years for anime in quite some time. Although the Summer season that just ended fell a bit short of the standards set by Winter and Spring, I’m hoping that the Fall season will end the year with a bang.

I’ve gone through the list of seasonals. This is what I’ll be keeping an eye on this season, and why:

Jobless Reincarnation and Eighty Six

Before I go onto the new series, I wanted to talk about these two continuations. If you haven’t already seen the first parts of both of these series, I heavily recommend you watch them.

Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei) is one of the few isekai anime out there that manages to capture the beauty of adventure. After I watched the first part back in Spring (or Winter?) I was so absorbed in the story that I got the light novels. While it’s not a perfect story, there are some seriously powerful moments, and I encourage all of you to join Rudeus on his journey through love, friendship, loss, and life.

Eighty Six was awesome. The direction was amazing—especially the sharp cuts between the mundane moments and the brutal fights—and the music was epic, as expected of Hiroyuki Sawano. Part 1 ended with quite an impact, and I’m very interested to see where the story will go. My one criticism is that the writing was occasionally a bit dramatic.

Mieruko-chan

Mieruko-chan is a manga I’ve been following for maybe about a year? And it’s a great manga.

It’s about a cute highschool girl who one day begins seeing horrifying monsters everywhere around her. The only way she knows how to deal with them is to ignore them—it seems that they won’t be able to interact with her as long as she doesn’t acknowledge their existence. But it feels like it’s just a matter of time before she drops her guard…

In my opinion, the best part of Mieruko-chan is actually the world-building. Throughout the manga, it’s clear that there’s some kind of logic behind the monsters’ strange behaviors, but there is never enough information to reach any specific conclusion.

However, I have my doubts about how the anime will turn out.

First of all, is the atmosphere. The horrifying creations of Tomoki Izumi are so detailed in the manga, and I don’t know if the anime will be able to replicate that. From what I’ve seen of the trailer, I’m not sure I’m sold.

The art somehow seems too vibrant to achieve the right tone. I also really dislike the cute/happy music they seem to be going with. But honestly, Mieruko-chan is a very weird mix of genres and I myself have no idea how I would adapt the story.

It also begins as more of an episodic story—so I’m worried the anime won’t have much of a hold on its viewers. But despite all of my concerns, I’m really hoping that the anime turns out well, because I really liked the manga.

Platinum End

Platinum End. This is an adaptation of another manga that I read a while ago, and I believe this was actually written by the author of Death Note.

Platinum End is basically Mirai Nikki but with a more convoluted plot. Instead of diaries that tell the future everyone has three tools—the instakill white arrow, the slave-maker red arrow, and wings that let them move at the speed of light.

Similarly to Death Note, Platinum End end gets quite a bit worse after its first half. But even while the first half of Platinum End is kind of interesting, it never gets anywhere near the level of Death Note in my opinion.

I wasn’t really the biggest fan of the manga, but I do think it’s worth at least watching the first half of this show because I remember it being quite intense.

Saihate no Paladin

The last anime that’s caught my attention as of now is this isekai one. Saihate no Paladin. This is one I haven’t read the source material for, but from what I can tell from the synopsis, it’s an isekai story that seems like it will start out quite similarly to Mushoku Tensei. A boy is born in a fantasy world and raised by three undead beings. It looks like it’s going for a coming-of-age story in the isekai setting, which I think is a promising premise.

Anyways, these are the anime that I’ll probably be following this season, but let me know if I’m missing out on something big!

See you next time!

How to Turn Reality into a Rom-Com (RabuDame)

Excluding the very beginning of the story, this is a no-spoiler review of Vol. 1 of “Who Decided That I Can’t Do Romantic Comedy in Reality?”

“I want to have a rom-com-like experience.”

Haven’t all romcom lovers who enjoy light novels thought this before? Being all lovey-dovey with the heroine, and leading a fulfilling high school life with the best of friends. However, there’s no way something that exciting could happen in reality. I have no younger step-sister, no childhood friend, no classmate who’s an idol, no mysterious senpai, and not even a male best friend character. That being the case, what can I do? Obviously, I have to put it together myself! For a romantic comedy, you need both data analysis and constant practice! As well as...

Source: MAL

So I just finished reading Volume 1 of Who Decided That I Can’t Do Romantic Comedy in Reality? (Genjitsu de Love Comedy Dekinai to Dare ga Kimeta?), which is colloquially shortened to RabuDame, as is customary with ridiculously long light novel titles.

It’s a rom-com light novel series that follows Nagasaki Kouhei, a high school first-year weeb whose goal is to get a harem and become the protagonist of a rom-com light novel.

Yes, that’s right. Nagasaki Kouhei is a rom-com light novel protagonist who is trying to become a rom-com light novel protagonist. Very meta. Ha ha ha.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what oversaturation does to a genre. Just as isekai anime are becoming more and more self-aware, so too are rom-coms. But that’s a discussion for another time. You’re here because you want to hear more about this series (or because you were misled by the title of this post, in which case, um, tough luck).

Continue reading “How to Turn Reality into a Rom-Com (RabuDame)”

Murakami’s ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’ – Alienation, Salvation, Whimsical Devastation

Earlier this week I mentioned I would kick off a series of reviews/analyses of Murakami’s body of literature with his short story ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’. I was hoping that the work’s brevity would encourage people to read along with me in preparation for this review. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s published here. It’s a ten-minute read, and enthralling all the way through. Come back when you’re done with it!

Continue reading “Murakami’s ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’ – Alienation, Salvation, Whimsical Devastation”

Music Review: いきものがかり(Ikimono Gakari)

Having spent the day listening to Ikimono Gakari songs from all across the band’s 22 year career (woah, 22 years!?), I found myself wanting to write down a few of my thoughts on the veteran J-rock band, along with a list of my recommended tracks.

I wouldn’t say I’m that familiar with Ikimono Gakari. I had only really listened to two or three of their songs before today’s binging spree, but the first song I remember hearing from them was Hotaru no Hikari. It was one of the few Naruto OPs that really made an impression on me, and since Naruto was my gateway into the world of anime, one of the first Japanese songs that really made an impression on me. And now, listening through Ikimono Gakari’s discography eight years later, it feels like so much time has passed!

But reminiscing is unbecoming of a hale and hearty highschooler like myself, so let’s get into the music. Ikimono Gakari’s most famous song is ‘Blue Bird’—even if you don’t know the band, a good number of anime fans will recognize this song, given that it’s also one of the most popular Naruto OPs.

Blue Bird
Continue reading “Music Review: いきものがかり(Ikimono Gakari)”

Stepping into Japanese Literature

There was a point in time in which I was able to gobble down books like popcorn. I remember being particularly proud of myself for reading an entire book a day (these were full-length novels, mind you) and maintaining this pace over the course of around two weeks. Nowadays, as I lounge lazily in my bed till noon scrolling through some two-braincell isekai story, I sometimes let out a wistful sigh—Ah, how the mighty have fallen, I’ll think to myself. No offense to fans of two-braincell isekai stories, of course, but they just don’t scratch that itch of ego-boostification that socially-etranged, insecure weebs like myself have.

So anyways, for a while now I’ve wanted to get back into reading, and what better way to also satisfy my weeb sensibilities (which dictate that ‘Japanese’ is a synonym for ‘perfect’ and that anyone who calls anime ‘cartoons’ shall be banished to the shadow realm) than to take a stab at Japanese literature?

So, I’ve decided to start with Haruki Murakami. I’d first discovered this author as a result of one of the most compelling anime I have ever watched: Mawaru Penguindrum. As enthralled by Penguindrum as I was, I followed up on the anime’s mention of ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’, which turned out to be the name of one of Murakami’s short stories. This was also my first exposure to legit contemporary Japanese literature, and I was not disappointed at all. Murakami is famous for writing in the Magical Realism genre and his stories are often a strange mix of fantasy and reality. If you enjoy anime like Mawaru Penguindrum and Perfect Blue, I think you’ll enjoy Murakami’s books too.

Alright, now getting to the point of this post—in order to start rebuilding some kind of an audience, my aim will be to write up a review, or analysis, or whatever, of a Murakami book/short story at least once a month. The hope is that some of you will read along with me and perhaps generate some discussion.

I’ll be starting with Jay Rubin’s translation of ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’, since I mentioned it above and because it’s conveniently published here for free. It probably isn’t the best place to start with Murakami, but it’s very short and full of Murakami’s weirdness, so we’re gonna roll with it. After that I’ll probably plop out a review of ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ so find a copy of that if you want to follow along. In the future I’ll also pick up some other Japanese authors—I’m looking forward to reading Yukio Mishima and Osamu Dazai as well.

I hope you’ll join me in this literary journey! See you in a day or two!

Restart

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, and I wanted to revamp the blog a bit. The domain, site name, and my profile have been cleansed of the edgy highschool kid of yesteryear and shall be christened with the words of the pretentious still-highschool kid of today. I’ll still be posting the same things, but yeah, here marks the beginning of Leaning on Backspace. If you’re new here, I humbly ask of you not to scroll too far below this post, unless second-hand cringe is your cup of tea.

Anyways, let’s hope I actually start using this site again eh?