At First Glance – Black Butler

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the concept of these “At First Glance” articles is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it.
Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Black Butler

Ah yes, Black Butler. This one has been on my to-do list for a while, especially since it was suggested to me back when I started doing these in 2016. So, to the person who did suggest/request this…sorry it’s taken so long. As far as my knowledge of the anime went, this was another of those anime I was vaguely aware of but had absolutely no idea what it was about. And going by some of the promotional imagery, including this article’s banner, let’s just say you could be forgiven for expecting something other than what we get.

No, Black Butler thankfully isn’t what the imagery implies, it’s just a story about a rich tween boy called Ciel Phantomhive in Victorian England who has a Demon Butler, and is also apparently Queen Victoria’s Guard Dog, investigating and solving crimes in London’s seedy underground. You know. The usual. Oh, also he has three other servants who act as comic relief, and one of them looks like an interpretation of the Final Fantasy character Cid.

Which makes sense given Square Enix had a hand in publishing the manga

There isn’t ultimately too much to say about the events of episode, other than it serving as a good introduction to the characters more than anything. We’re not given much of a background on the characters yet, aside from a cold opening showing the deal being made between Ciel and Sebastian. Though we’re given no context as of yet exactly why this deal was made aside from hints. Though I am aware due to reading up a tiny bit.

I must admit, I actually expected this episode to have action in it. I mean, you know, demon butler and all. The actual approach of playing this more like a drama with some psychological horror kind of thrown in as well ended up working fairly well. Though I am aware there is action in this anime. So, this episode being more of a set up explains the lack of it.

One thing that irked me about this though is the English dub. Yes. I’m complaining about the English dub. I rarely if ever do that, but this is one instance where I will indulge in that kind of snobbery. The English accent in this are horrible. Just horrible. Well, most are anyway. Sebastian is fine, and to an extent so is Ciel, but Baldroy, Mey-Rin & Finnian’s accents are all just so terribly exaggerated that it takes me out of the moment. Whatever comic relief they’re supposed to provide just turns into annoyance.

Also, those three having very thick working class English accents makes no sense. Baldroy is from the US, Mey-Rin is of Chinese descent and Finnian is of German descent. Baldroy might as well have a thick US accent of some kind, and the other two should either be speaking English with a much posher accent than they are, as they’d have been taught English by Sebastian, or they’d be speaking English with an accent fitting their heritage. And yes, this is normally a silly thing to expect from an anime dub, but they went through the trouble of bothering to give them accents at all, so they could’ve afforded to be a bit broader with their choices. Maybe that’s just me though.

I’ll just stop there so I don’t end up talking in circles. In any case, will I continue to watch Black Butler? Well, the concept has me interested enough, plus I can’t really judge it too much on this one episode. I will say however, I’m not watching it in English again.

For those who are interested, Black Butler consists of 46 episodes across three seasons (24 in season one, 12 in season two, and 10 in season three “Book Of Circus”, respectively), all of which are available in both subbed and dubbed formats. There are also nine OVAs for the show overall (one for season one, six for season two, and two for season 3 respectively), all of which are also available in both subbed and dubbed formats. Lastly there is also both an animated Black Butler movie (available subbed and dubbed) and a live-action one.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However, if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.

At First Glance – Log Horizon

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the concept of these “At First Glance” articles is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it.
Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Log Horizon

Ah yes, that OTHER “We’re stuck in a video game somehow” anime I’ve had on my to-do list for quite some time now. I could’ve done Log Horizon back to back with Sword Art Online few weeks back, but the listing Gods determined it would happen now rather than then. Unlike Sword Art Online however, Log Horizon revolves around the main characters realising they’ve been sucked into the MMO they’ve been playing (Named “Elder Tales”), as opposed to just being stuck in a VR headset forever.


A fate worse than death

Also unlike SAO, Log Horizon has the people just kind of thrust into this situation and forces them to realise what must’ve happened on their own, rather than having an exposition dump. Honestly? I found that funny, because it shows how much of a trope this set up must be by now. They even guess the whole “if you die in the game, you die for real” aspect of the whole thing.

From what I can gather, we’re introduced to the characters that make up the main cast (or at least main trio) in this episode. Shiroe (The Strategist), Naotsugu (The Pervert), and Akatsuki (The loli-I mean The Assassin). Shiroe I feel will be the one I like the most out of the main three, though Akatsuki is a close second purely by how she deals with Naotsugu’s perverted nature.

I’m fairly certain Naotsugu is going to grade on me with time. His “I’m perverted and proud” thing was kind of funny at first, but they somehow manage to run it into the ground in this one episode alone. At least in my opinion they do. Like, I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z, and am a huge Naruto fan. I can handle pervy characters as comic relief, especially ones that don’t get away with being pervy idiots. This time though, it just…doesn’t work for whatever reason.

Speaking of Naruto, let’s talk about Akatsuki. Fitting how she’s named that considering her Assassin class thing seems to be modelled after ninja, by the way. Akatsuki shows up a “guy” that won’t talk, only to turn out to be a girl who got stuck as her male character, taking a potion Shiroe gives her so she can revert to a female body. And then she comes out looking like an eight-year-old. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, both Shiroe and Naotsugu find her attractive.


Considering she looks like an eight-year-old, that’s a creepy choice of words

And yes, I bothered to check, she IS an adult, as are the guys, but the anime never clarified that on her end. And sure, it’s still just an in-game avatar, but it’s blatantly stated she took the chance to model her female appearance on herself a bit more. Thinking about it, Akatsuki’s appearance seems to garner a lot of unwanted attention for her, though only Naotsugu has made anything resembling a sexual advance so far.


Which quickly prompts her to knee him in the face, hence the cut-off

That aside we only meet a few other characters, and the plot of the next episode is set up throughout, not that I realised at first. But overall this episode did a decent job of introducing us to the characters we’ll be following on this adventure, so I can give them that much. Plus, the lack of exposition for why this happened works for now, since any explanation would probably come off as sounding pretty technobabble-y anyway.

So, will I continue to watch Log Horizon? Sure, why not. It’s definitely a different enough set up from SAO for me to not just write it off as a rip off or anything like that. Also, despite all the negatives I mentioned, it’s better than bad. It’s good! …Okay, fine, I couldn’t think of a better way to work that reference in there. Sue me. I was determined to make it anyway…even though most might not even get what I’m referencing.

Anyway, bad references to 90s shows aside, Log Horizon currently consists of 50 episodes across two seasons (25 eps per season), and from what I can tell is only currently available in Japanese with English subtitles.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However, if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.

At First Glance – Berserk (1997)

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right?
With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Berserk
berserk-poster

Fun fact. This anime was released the year I turned seven. It turns 20 next year. That should give you a hint at my age if you weren’t already aware. In any case, I was well aware of the existence of this anime, but for whatever reason I’d just never given it a shot.

I literally was just scrolling through the anime on AnimeLab, came across it and thought “You know what? Why not. Let’s do this”. One last confession before I get going. I started to watch this dubbed. Then just….I wasn’t feeling it, so I switched to the Japanese version. Something tells me I made a good call.

I can’t really discern from the first episode what the entirety of the anime is about, so once again I’ll only really be able to talk about stuff that happens in this specific episode. Great. I know how to pick them don’t I? In any case, the episode revolves around a mysterious figure called “The Black Swordsman” (Guts is his real name and what I’ll call him from now on) calling out the ruler of a….kingdom? Village? Honestly it’s not explained very well. Also the guy he’s after looks like this.


Yes, Snake Baron? Serpentor called. He wants his outfit back”.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the fucker decides to transform into this “cobra but with arms and legs” form. Which to be honest just looks kinda silly to me rather than scary or creepy.


You know…there’s a sex joke here, but this guy is such a masochist that I’m not even gonna go there. You’re welcome.

In an actual surprise Guts gets his arse handed to him for a while, only to pull a John Cena and fuck the Snake Baron guy up out of nowhere with his sword. Adding insult to injury by continuing to use his little wrist crossbow thing to hurt him more until he finally dies. It’s actually kinda brutal in a way. When they’re not showing Snake Baron guy’s face anyway.


Just…come on how am I supposed to take a guy with that face seriously? How?

Guts then picks up this random-yet-important thing Snake Baron guy had around his neck and thinks back to something that happened ages ago. Which apparently leads into the rest of the series being one big flashback, but I have no idea if that’s actually the case or not. Again, I really know nothing about this anime.Oh there’s also a scene about how Guts has this sort of curse or something which isn’t entirely explained. I mean it vaguely is but not really.

I must say this episode is a very……odd first episode. I’m more confused and just left with questions that most anime would’ve either explained or built to. But since this is going into flashback mode, I’m assuming it’ll be quite a while before I get any answers. Which I guess is fine. So long as this episode does actually make sense in retrospect at some point. It was fun to watch and everything but yeah. It’s just very “What’s that? Who’s that? Who are you? What is this?”.

Oh also the opening theme is terrible. Really terrible. Just throwing that out there. Anyway, will I continue to watch Berserk? Well, despite this first episode confusing the hell out of me, yes. I do want to keep watching. If out of morbid curiosity than anything else.

For those interested, Berserk consists of 25 episodes which are available in both dubbed and subbed formats. There’s also a trilogy of Berserk movies called “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc” and a new adaptation of the Berserk manga is currently running, having aired a first season already, which consists of 12 episodes. The new adaptation also ties into the movies, just to clarify.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.

At First Glance – Soul Eater

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Soul Eater
soul-eater-poster

Odd as it may seem, I really never knew much about this anime before watching it. I’d seen clips of the anime used in AMV Hell, and I’ve seen some people cosplay as Soul Eater characters in my hometown, but that’s about it. Hell I doubt I even knew what anime the characters were from until now. Point being, I was going into this pretty blind despite this being a fairly popular anime as far as I knew.

As far as the plot goes, episode one of Soul Eater follows Soul Evans/Soul Eater (a human with the ability to turn into a weapon) and his meister Maka Albarn, both of whom are students at Death Weapon Meister Academy. The bulk of the episode, aside from the prologue/exposition dump is Maka & Soul trying to gain the soul of a witch. We’re told that Soul needs to consume the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch (in that order) so he can become a “Death Scythe”.

Unfortunately it turns out the witch they were chasing was just a talking cat called Blair who just happens to have a lot of magical power. As a result, and due to the rules of how this all works, Maka & Soul are forced to start their soul collecting all over again.

Honestly this is easily one of the best first episodes I’ve seen from all the anime I’ve covered so far. Whilst I’ve never found any so far to be bad, this one was very concise without feeling rushed. The episode sets up the premise of this world and show very effortlessly and never made me question it. It also helps that one of the first scenes in the episode proper is just Maka & Soul fighting one of the evil humans. Pretty badass thing to open on.

One thing I might’ve mentioned in a previous article that applies to Soul Eater is that I’m a fan of sexual fan-service being played for comedy. And boy, does this episode have that in spades. The entire dynamic between Soul & Blair is basically one extended nosebleed joke and it’s just hilarious to me due to how they play it. Funnier in retrospect when she turns out to have been a cat the whole time.


Moments like this must be awkward for him to think about in retrospect.

I also can’t really write this without talking about the character Lord Death (known as Shinigami in the Japanese version). I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this character I guess, but Death turning out to be goofy as hell rather than stoic and serious was a nice surprise. Death Scythe/Spirit Albarn (Death’s human weapon & Maka’s dad) was also a good source of comedy in this opening episode, and the interactions between the two were well done. Definitely hoping to see more scenes with those two.

Overall I am definitely glad I finally gave this show a chance, and I do intend on watching the entire thing. Soul Eater is made up of 51 episodes, though there is also a spin-off show called Soul Eater Not! that was released in 2014 consisting of 12 episodes. Both Soul Eater & Soul Eater Not! are available in subbed and dubbed formats for those interested. If you’ve never watched Soul Eater, I’d definitely say it’s worth a shot.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. See you next time folks.

At First Glance – The Devil Is A Part-Timer!

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. There was a longer gap than I intended, but rest assured there will still be two of these this week. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

The Devil Is A Part-Timer!
the-devil-is-a-part-timer-poster

I must admit, I’d never heard anything good or bad about this anime before, and don’t really member hearing about it much at all before watching it. Going in with no expectations was nice, but it sure was weird.

The basic plot of this anime is that a Demon Lord called Satan fights and loses a massive war over several continents in a place known as Enta Isla and, along with his ally/subordinate Alciel, is forced to retreat to another dimension; namely ours. Stuck in human form, unable to use magic too much (or in Alciel’s case not at all) and with no real idea of what to do, Satan gets a job working part-time at a fast food place called MgRonalds (I’m serious) so both he and Alciel can afford to live in modern day Tokyo.

This anime was a pleasant surprise I must say. I mean, I half expected this to almost be in a similar vein to Squid Girl. Thankfully the bare bones versions of their respective plots are all they really have in common from what I can see. I mean don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Squid Girl, but this show having a different take on a similar idea was nice to see. Especially with how theatrical they make both Satan/Sadao and Alciel/Shiro. Even the fish-out-of-water stuff is honestly very
funny.

One of the funniest moments of episode one is when they initially arrive on Earth, after a 5-10 minute exposition dumb on the events that happen leading to Satan & Alciel showing up on Earth. Some cops mistake them for injured teenage cosplayers and Alciel’s antics almost get them in trouble. They play it very well and, if nothing else, it probably just reinforced to the cops that these two were indeed just random cosplayers.

Another thing I liked about this anime was the fake language (I assume it’s a made up language anyway) that people from Satan’s world speak in the opening and for a few minutes into the episode proper. Though if I’m honest, the random transition from them speaking their native language to using English so quickly is very jarring.. There’s little to no set up, they just kind of do. Granted they’re only talking to each other at the time, but there are other moments earlier where they don’t seem to be speaking English and no one else is around.

One other aspect of this anime may turn out to be a negative, but right now is fine. The character Chiho Sasaki. Her entire thing, at least in episode one, is that she’s the typical klutzy “moe” character. In all this fantasy stuff, a weird token moe character who’s clumsy but works at a Fast Food restaurant is honestly weird to me. Though that mainly ties into a joke/point made in the anime Lucky Star about such things. Hopefully her character is fleshed out a bit more in later episodes.

The relationship dynamic between Satan & Alciel is another positive for the anime though. A lot of the humour in the first half of the episode really does just come for their interactions, so thankfully every joke they go for does seem to actually hit the mark. I definitely can’t think of any jokes that didn’t at least make me smile if the didn’t get a chuckle out of me or make me legitimately laugh out loud.

All-in-all the anime definitely has me hooked, basically meaning the first episode actually did its job. I would honestly recommend people check this out, but just as a warning there is some blood in the little introduction/prologue at the start. If that bothers you, you might want to look away or just skip this anime. The anime itself is 13 episodes long and is available in both subbed and dubbed formats.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. See you next time folks.

The Isometric Perspective #32 – Video Game Cover Musicians

Skeletroy, Grant, and JimmyTR talk about some of their favorite musicans and bands who make music based on video games. NOTE: Episodes 30 and 31 were recorded after this one, so any mentions of “the last episode” refer to episode 29.

Check out this episode

The Isometric Perspective 28 – Tokyo Game Show 2013

While Troy is battling some Gremlins, Grant and Jimmy recap this week’s Tokyo Game Show.  Did Sony deliver the goods?  Find out!

Check out this episode

The Isometric Perspective #11 – E3-Stravanganza part 5 (Sony’s Press Conference)

Skeletroy, Grant, and JimmyTR give their first impressions on Sony’s E3 press conference.

Facebook group for The Isometric Perspective – https://www.facebook.com/groups/363312223770616/

Check out this episode