“Laid-Back Camp” — Exactly What It Says On The Tin

My brother said this anime made him wanna go camping someday (in the off-season because it’s not as hot). I was shocked. What kind of anime could make my hermit of a brother wanna brave the outdoors? It had to be good.

I watched the first episode today, and…I feel like I just got hit with a tranquilizer dart.

Some slice-of-life shows strike a good balance between gentle and exciting (but not too exciting). This one was all gentle — except for a slight jump scare about midway in:

Oops, I just spoiled it. So much for that.

The rest of the show was exactly what the name says it is: a laid-back anime about camping. After the theme song, we got about three minutes of our secondary lead, Rin, biking to the campsite, passing by some well-painted scenery. That’s one thing that stood out to me. The settings looked gorgeous — so much so that the characters didn’t blend well with them.

Anyway, once she got to camp, she set up her tent, gathered firewood, started a fire, read a book — you know, camping stuff. I don’t know why I expected more, but I did for some reason. But…that was it. It was literally just a girl camping, which later became two girls when she bumped into the main lead, Nadeshiko.

I don’t know how I feel about this girl. She’s your typical weird, klutzy, friendly girl, and I’m not sure if I find her charming or annoying. But if she was supposed to be the thing that broke up the peaceful mood, it didn’t really work — at least not for me. I was just as bored watching her slurp curry ramen as I was watching Rin sip hot chocolate earlier.

The ending made no sense to me. The girls got to see Mount Fuji together under the moonlight. Wow! I guess Nadeshiko decided that means they’re friends now. After calling her sister to take her home, she gave Rin her phone number and said they can have a proper camping trip next time.

Um…they just met! They’ve known each other for about an hour! Why would Rin wanna go camping with a stranger, especially since she likes camping by herself? I know we’re leading up to “a group of girls go camping together, and hijinks ensue,” but you don’t have to rush it!

Geez! Anime friendship takes as long to make as that cup ramen!

Overall, I can’t say I liked this show as much as my brother does. Granted, it was just the first episode. I’ll give it one more and see how I feel after that.

At least the theme song was cool. It made me think of the Jackson 5.


“A Place Further Than The Universe” — Ep. 8 Mini-Review

Ep. 8 Title: “Howling, Maddening, Screaming”

Remember how I said I wasn’t feeling the “four high school girls go to Antarctica” plot? I’m feeling it now! This episode changed my mind.

The girls found out what life on an expedition boat is like. Helping out with dinner prep for the whole crew. Running the full length of the boat and lifting weights each day to build stamina. Having to wash their clothes at specific times of the day. Bathing in seawater.

But that was the easy stuff.

Thanks to the constant rocking of the boat, they were stuck in a cycle of eating and puking. The rocking got worse closer to Antarctica. The girls nearly fell out of their beds. Poor Kimari got tossed against a ladder.

This is anime, so of course, the girls decided not to give up. (Not like the boat could turn back around, anyway.) They chose to do this. Kimari put it well at the beginning of the episode:

I don’t know what this trip will mean in the end. We’ll be taking time off from school, missing tests… It might even affect our entrance exams. But as of now, we are no longer high school students who can never take a step forward. We are not seventeen-year-olds and sixteen-year-olds who try but accomplish nothing. That’s enough!

The last scene showed the girls getting used to the boat and catching a glimpse of the icebergs of Antarctica.

I loved this episode. The theme song makes it look like the girls are going on vacation. They’ll get to see penguins, play jump-rope, and take funny selfies!

This episode was a nice reality check. They’re on an expedition, not a Carnival cruise. It won’t be easy.

I bet this is just the beginning. Once they get to Antarctica, they’ll have new challenges to deal with: sub-zero temperatures, intense winds, limited supplies, and the threat of getting lost in an endless landscape of ice.

How will these sixteen- and seventeen-year-old girls handle it? I can’t wait to find out.

Bonus: the art in this show is just gorgeous!

“HUGtto! PreCure” — Please Stop With The Hugging!

We’re three episodes into HUGtto! PreCure. Not sure I like it so far. The characters are…okay (except the freaking baby, but I always hate babies in this show). The animation’s gorgeous. It’s better than Kira Kira PreCure À La Mode‘s by far.

But there’s one thing I can’t stand: the hugging theme. It’s so forced! They’re trying desperately to make it fit into the rest of the show, but it doesn’t. At all.

“Hug the future?” That’s so dumb! And saying “embrace” doesn’t help when everyone’s literally hugging every episode! Speaking of which, having characters ask for and talk about hugs all the time is really, really awkward.

Not to mention, we’ve got this to look forward to:

Their special attack is a magic spirit that hugs the evil out of people….

Really? Really?

Maybe Japan has a thing about hugs or something, but if not, it’s just stupid. Get rid of the hugging, and this season would be 5X better already. It’s still pretty generic, but it’s Pretty Cure-level generic. I don’t expect anything more, so I can’t say I’m disappointed.

“Pop Team Epic” — What The Heck Did I Just Watch?

Crunchyroll’s been talking about this show a lot. I couldn’t help but be curious. I watched the first episode today.

I have no words. There are no words to describe this show.

Seven minutes in, I already felt…lost. Confused. Overwhelmed.

Nothing makes sense. Nothing connects. Nothing is predictable.

Is this what going mad feels like?

But strangely…I couldn’t stop watching. I wanted to, but…I had to know. What could possibly happen next? How long till my brain explodes?

The show’s on Crunchryoll. You can watch it for free. Thank goodness. Paying for it would probably count as buying illegal drugs.

Or is this legal? I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.

Here’s the opening theme. It doesn’t scratch the surface of how insane this show is. This is just…wow.

“A Place Further Than The Universe” OP

I’m in love with this anime! 😊 The characters are so fun and interesting, and I love their interactions with each other. My favorite is probably Hinata (the girl with the wildest hair), but I love them all.

To be honest, I think the story’s a bit odd. They’re all going to Antarctica together. You wouldn’t usually put “exploration of Antarctica” and “crazy high school girl antics” together, but I’m interested to see how it plays out.

If you haven’t seen this anime yet, I highly recommend it. You can watch for free on Crunchyroll. Here’s the opening theme: “The Girls Are Alright!”

“HUGtto! PreCure” Premieres

Here we go again. Another season of PreCure. Season 15, to be exact. Geez!

I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I try to watch almost every season, but I usually get bored around the middle and give up. The only seasons I’ve watched all the way through are Suite PreCure and HappinessCharge PreCure. (And I’m almost done with the Doki Doki PreCure dub, Glitter Force Doki Doki.) How did they manage to hook me till the end? I don’t know.

But though I wouldn’t call myself a PreCure fan, I always give it another chance. There’s something that keeps pulling me back to this series. Maybe it’s the cute outfits. Maybe it’s the bright, happy, lighthearted tone (that goes dark from time to time). Or maybe I just wanna like it because I love magical girl shows.

I’ll figure it out one day. For now, here I am again, about to watch another season. Will I finish it? Probably not, if history’s anything to go on.

HUGtto! PreCure? Ugh! And I thought Kira Kira PreCure À La Mode was a mouthful of “gag me.” 😑 But as Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” This could turn out to be my favorite season, hugs and babies and all.

Looks like the theme is jobs — and gratuitous French! 😄 The catchphrase is, “You can do anything! You can be anything! Embrace a shining future!” People have been praising it for empowering girls to be what they wanna be, but it’s not a new concept. It’s just, “Follow your dreams,” repackaged.

Anyway, here’s the opening theme. Not sure if I like it yet, but I bet it’ll grow on me.

The Shallow Best Friend Strikes Out On Her Own

Imagine this.

You’re about to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with some new friends. But that morning, your best friend tells you she tried to sabotage your plans so you wouldn’t get to go. Why? Because she hates seeing you break out of your shell and do something without asking for her advice.

But she knows it’s not your fault. It’s hers. Since she doesn’t have her own life goals, she got used to being your mentor and made you her priority. Now that you don’t need her help anymore, she feels worthless. She wants to end your friendship.

That’s what happened in the latest episode of A Place Further Than The Universe.

I’m sure I’ve seen this twist before. The best friend (or love interest) gets tired of being the main character’s cheerleader, so they decide to go their own way. What I like is that it highlights a common problem with these characters. As the writing advice site Springhole.net puts it, a shallow best friend (or shallow love interest) tends to have one of more of these traits or behaviors:

  • They have no interests or passions that don’t involve the main character. Even if they try to have a separate interest, they give it up quickly and go back to the main character’s side.
  • They’ll immediately set aside everything for the main character.
  • They’ll forgive anything the main character does, even if it’s serious.
  • They have few or no defining traits other than perfect devotion to the main character.
  • They care for little or nothing but the main character’s happiness and well-being.

In other words, the mark of a shallow best friend (or shallow love interest) is how the main character is “ultimately the only thing that really matters in their life.” They live for the main character. Their own goals and dreams are meaningless — or they’re designed to relate directly to the main character’s story.

These relationships are usually one-sided. The main character reaps most (if not all) of the benefits, and the best friend (or love interest) gets nothing but the main character’s affection. It might sound like the best friend (or love interest) is showing selfless, unconditional love, but they’re really just being used. Having them realize this is a great way to jumpstart their development. It forces them to ask some tough questions: “Who am I without him/her? What’s my purpose? What do I want for myself?”

I had a hunch that Megumi might be feeling unneeded now that Mari’s making her dreams come true. But I didn’t think it would lead to this. And she sure didn’t hold back her feelings:

Yesterday, when you were talking, I finally realized. You weren’t the one hanging on, I was. Having you rely on me, consult with me…me getting exasperated with you, pretending to mother you, acting so smart around you… Because if I didn’t have that, I didn’t have anything.

Wow. Imagine if every best friend or love interest had an “a-ha” moment like this. I wish this would happen in some of the other shows I watch.

I have a lot of respect for Megumi as a character now. What will she do while Mari’s gone? I hope we get to find out.