Tag Archives: anime

Five Netflix Titles to Rip Your Heart Out and Soothe Your Soul.

There are many anime titles available to watch throughout various streaming websites and platforms currently. There are many of note among them, but to single them out would be quite the endeavor and so I’ll settle on picking a handful from one such site. I have chosen Netflix as my site of choice for today, but if this is received well, I may do more posts like this and feature anime found on other streaming sites too. Without further ado, let’s briefly cover six anime titles available on Netflix, that are emotional powerhouses worth your attention.

Usually the best is saved for last, but I’m switching things up and making it the first. This series is one of my, if not my most favorite anime of all time. However, just because it’s my best, that doesn’t mean it is for someone else. So rather than rank them, you can just go along with each title as an independent feature.

A Silent Voice is generally a movie about the consequences of one’s actions, and how they shape the lives of all affected for many years following them. More specifically, it follows a boy who relentlessly bullied a hearing impaired girl in grade school to the point she transferred and his efforts to make amends years later as a high school student. Through the movie, we can observe many themes that are relatable to the youth of today and serve as painful reminders for the youth of the past as well. What makes this movie so good is that no one is necessarily painted as good or bad, situations aren’t right or wrong, but rather; everyone has their own struggle that they must face, resolve and/or make peace with; making it realistic.

However, what gives it a charm as well as makes it worthy of being considered an emotional powerhouse, is the character driven subplot. The main characters specifically and their path to friendship and potential romance; it’s rather endearing to see, but the journey is not an easy one. They both must resolve the demons of their past, and confront those that played a part if they are to look towards the future. There are moments that will make you laugh, make you cry and even enrage you. In simple terms, it packs an emotional punch to those who can relate, as well as those who can’t. The direction and production of the film is so masterfully executed, it will definitely pull on the heartstrings of all who have the pleasure of viewing this masterpiece.

Violet Evergarden is a series that follows Violet; a young girl who was raised to be a weapon of war. She was treated as nothing more than a tool for years, until she was saved by the man that would give her life more meaning. He would take her in and teach her how to acclimate to the world as a living soul and how to find the beauty in life. However, Violet one day finds herself without him, and she must now make it on her own. This leads her to an associate of the man, and starts her journey as an Auto Memory Doll. Through her work, she will learn about life and it’s beauty, pain and the sadness it can bring, and most importantly of all, she will attempt to find an answer to the question, “what is love?”.

The series is filled to the brim with heartfelt moments, emotional encounters and fleeting memories. The side story movie keeps up with this trend and is as welcome an addition to the main series as the eventual sequel will be. Being a KyoAni work, the animation is beautiful and adds to the overall aesthetic that the series creates. This is an anime that is a must watch for anyone who likes to experience the emotions that living life can bring.

Your Lie in April or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a musical drama that is best compared to a sucker punch of emotion. That is to say, the emotional buildup is gradual and light, but finishes in a rather abrupt manner. However, it is this unexpected event that gives the series its greatest emotional payoff. This is one that you must experience for yourself for the full effect, but I promise you it’s worth your time and investment. It’s also among my favorites of all time.

Carole and Tuesday is another musical anime, however it’s less focused on the drama, and more on the music. It quite literally is a musical phenomenon and is one of the best anime to release in the last year. It follows Carole and Tuesday, a musical duo who found each other as if by fate, and their journey to become the best musicians. Set in the sci-fi, futuristic world of Mars, the pair must work their way up from the bottom and navigate the harsh music industry one hurdle at a time. They are met with hardships, opposition and many roadblocks along the way, but they can somehow make it through it all, because they have each other. Their relationship is the emotional tether the viewers have to the story, and the music they create through their close bond is what offers a peaceful resolution for our troubled souls. Featuring the talents of many real-world musicians and producers, Carole and Tuesday is a really special work that everyone should see and is one one of Wantanabe’s finest works.

Last, but certainly not least, is an anime movie of Historical Fiction. It follows a young girl who’s forced to marry a man she barely knows and follows her daily life and struggle of living in Japan during World War II. It follows them as they come to find love together, against all odds and at the risk of losing that love just as suddenly as it came.

I watched this title most recently and it’s still resonating with me even now, days later. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I like historical works and so that was what encouraged me to give it a watch. What I experienced was something of an emotional roller coaster and left me with the impression that this is a silent killer. It’s a bit slow-paced and not exactly filled with action, but it’s still effective in planting its seeds of emotional turmoil and anguish. However, they don’t bear fruit until the last quarter of the movie. It’s there that this movie makes it mark and takes its place among these other series worthy of being called emotional powerhouses. While the climax is to be expected considering it is based on historical events, the bittersweet emotion bomb it sets off within you is not.

As I said before, there are many great anime titles on Netflix and beyond to watch, especially during this crazy and uncertain time. However, these five are my personal selection of emotional powerhouses that I feel deserve particular recognition. I hope that even just one of these titles will bring some joy or at least a little relief during this time. If you enjoyed this content, please let me know. Feel free to share your thoughts as well. Depending on the reception, I may do more of these. For now, thanks for reading and be well.

Why Darling in the Franxx’s Ikuno is Not a Tragic Gay, but a Hero of Humanity.

*This will contain spoilers of some key events, so be warned!*

Darling in the Franxx is arguably the most discussed anime of 2018 and so like any highly popular or controversial topic, it has its share of critics and opinions. For as much as it did right, it had a lot of flaws, but whether it was able to overcome those flaws is a discussion for another post. See my thoughts in my review post here. This post will be discussing Ikuno of Darling the Franxx, and how she became a hero of humanity.

But before we actually get to this, allow me to give you the background. Darling in the Franxx focuses on a team of children who are assigned the duty of fighting against a dangerous enemy, in mechanized weapons know as Franxx. These Franxx require fully functioning male and female sexual organs to be piloted, which therefore requires each unit to have a boy and girl. The power of the mecha is directly proportional to the compatibility of the pair and the feelings between them, or love. So, this necessity makes the likelihood of having same sex pairs almost impossible and therefore seems to push the heteronormative agenda. On this front, I can’t deny it may be based in some truth, and I’ll admit I’d have liked to see a better exploration of same-sex piloting and if it would have been possible if the pair had romantic feelings between them. I discuss this more in my review.

With this as the main setting of the plot, it makes it really easy to open the door to other claims, such as the studio being homophobic and partaking in the Bury your Gays Stereotype because Ikuno, a character who ends up with a shorter lifespan than the others, happens to be gay. In this post, I will attempt to argue against these claims, by showing how the series actually honors Ikuno, by giving her a legacy that cannot be forgotten and how she became a hero of humanity.

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The creators of DarliFra sent a shockwave through the fandom when they confirmed what they’d been hinting at since the start, that Ikuno, the lonesome bookworm of squad 13, was a lesbian and was in love with her team captain, Ichigo, who she confessed to. Many were pleased, especially in the gay community, and began to hope for the possibility that the Ikuno x Ichigo ship would sail. Of course, there were also skeptics, feeling it was just bait and that due to the somewhat heteronormative nature of the show, it’d never happen. As it turns out, both sides were half right. It soon became pretty clear that Ikuno and Ichigo wouldn’t be a thing and that she instead chose her male partner Goro. However, her identity was never erased and she received complete support from Ichigo and her friends, denying the idea that it was just bait. Ikuno was a confirmed lesbian from beginning to end, which is something we don’t see often in mainstream anime. Furthermore, she doesn’t end up alone in the end either.

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Before we get to that though, I’d like to discuss the confession briefly. During the scene pictured above, Ikuno had reached her wits end and could no longer contain her feelings for Ichigo. She confessed to her and was open and honest about how she felt about Ichigo as well as in general. How she hated the unfair piloting system of the Franxx and how she felt like a freak and a selfish pain to everyone because she was so different. This scene could’ve gone two different ways from this point. Ichigo could have been dismissive and disgusted and made Ikuno feel that she really was a freak or they could’ve had Ichigo not respond much at all, leaving Ikuno feeling rejected and confused.

However, it went in neither direction we might have expected. Instead what we saw, was a beautiful and respectful moment of acceptance, for a confused gay who was brave enough to come out to someone they trusted. Ichigo did not belittle Ikuno’s feelings or harshly reject her, but rather she told her it was ok to be herself. It was ok to be a pain because everyone could be sometimes. She said that she was valid, she was the same as anyone, she was human. She accepted her and who she was wholeheartedly, even if she couldn’t return her feelings. This is why although she may have “lost” in the conquest of Ichigo’s heart, she won in terms of being accepted and having a safe space. This was a win for the lgbtq community in anime, in my honest opinion. It was a wonderful moment.

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And then came this moment, where Ikuno chose to risk her life in order to help Hiro and Zero Two break through a blocked path, which would lead them to the Franxx that would save the world. It would require a lot of energy and being that the females take the brunt of the damage, it was naturally going to take the biggest toll on her. However, she believed in her friends and believed in the hope of a better future and so she did what she felt she needed to do and broke through. In the process, her hair turned grey, which we had learned meant her aging had been accelerated and that her lifespan was greatly shortened. It’s a fate all parasites would have to face one day, but this action led her to face it much sooner than the others. However, she was successful and this single act of selflessness, very well may have been the turning point as to if humanity would have a chance. In this moment, she took her first steps to becoming a real hero.

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Leaving Hiro Two to fight for their futures, all that was left for the others to do was try and make the earth a viable place to live. Squad 13 and all the other parasite groups, including those previously thought to be lost, came together to rebuild the earth and learn how to create civilization like the days of the past. Ikuno may have a been a bit greyer and bit weaker, but this wasn’t stopping her from helping them out. She did her best and had the support of Ichigo and all her friends every step of the way. This gave her the chance to focus on what she wanted and encouraged her to do what she could with the time she had left. What followed was nothing short of extraordinary.

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Using the preserved records of the past, Ikuno studied science and medicine and became a self-taught doctor and scientist. She then went on to discover a cure for the accelerated aging that the parasites suffered from. She created a new energy source to power their civilization, so that the dangerous alien energy could be discarded. She gave the others the knowledge on how to best cultivate food and create resources to sustain their booming population. As a doctor, she treated everyone’s sickness and improved their quality of life ten-fold. She literally paved the way for earth to become a self-sustaining planet and ensured that humanity would rise again and flourish for centuries and beyond. She saved humanity and became its hero, all while fighting her own battle to survive and live as long as she could. If that’s not legendary, I don’t know what is.

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Most importantly of all, she didn’t have to do it all alone. Yes, she had the love and support of her friends, but I’d imagine that it would get pretty lonley spending your days in a lab trying to save the world while everyone else went on to live their lives with their loved ones and children. Perhaps if she had never found love and died alone in her bed, she could be called a tragic hero, but this was not the case, as she did find love and a life partner both professionally and personally.

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This is Naomi, if you don’t recall who she is, she was Hiro’s original partner, but because she and Hiro couldn’t link up (not hard to figure why knowing what we know now 😉 ), she was sent away, presumed to be dead. But as it turns out, she was not dead, and she’d been kept in a deep sleep for a while, until the day came that she was freed. However, she wasn’t without loss, as she did lose an arm during an attack early on. That is to say, she had her own disability to live with. So, when she came back to squad 13, and they all began to live their lives together with their chosen partners, it should come at no surprise that she and Ikuno would probably become closer, as they were the only two who didn’t have a set partner and as they obviously had much in common.

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They both couldn’t conform to the Franxx system properly, they both had a disability and they both, we can assume, could only find love with other woman. It’s only natural that they would connect, especially since they would’ve likely spent more time together since all their other teammates had their own families to attend to. They were both sort of the odd girls out and were facing solitary lives, so if they could lean on each other in times of loneliness or when they were struggling with their disabilities, why wouldn’t they get closer? Perhaps Naomi could see how hard Ikuno was working for everyone and felt that while she was looking out for everyone else, maybe she needed someone to look out for her. That, I imagine, was why she likely became her assistant and spending as much time alone together as I’m sure they did day after day, it’d be more illogical for them not to fall in love. And it was clear they were in love, with Ikuno even going as far to have Goro track down that old mirror on one of his explorations so that she may give it back to Naomi. That seems an awful lot like a girl trying to do something nice for her crush.

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There are some naysayers against them being official, but to them I say they must be blind, because there is no way these moments can be seen in any other way. Ikuno was a lesbian who feared she’d be alone forever, but then she found another lesbian and they fell in love. She had found a healthy way to move on from Ichigo and live out her remaining days with someone who loved her just as deeply in return. Someone who’d stay by her side and could understand what she was feeling in every sense. She worked her hardest for the sake of her friends, the future and humanity. Finding love was a fitting reward for her selfless act and a gift she probably never expected to have. Whether you agree with it or not, is it wrong to allow her that simple happiness?

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There’s been so much debate on whether Ikuno is another victim of the Bury Your Gays trend and to that I say a hard NO. See OG’s rules on Bury your Gays here. Ikuno was not sacrificed for no reason other than to erase her existence or in a way that made no sense to the plot. In fact, she wasn’t even sacrificed at all, as she didn’t die. By the finale, her final moments were what we see above. Maybe she died right after, or maybe she dies in another ten years. We have no way of knowing, but that doesn’t really matter. Ikuno made the choice to risk her life to preserve the future of humanity. She believed in her friends. She believed in the future. She believed in herself. She did what she could do while she could do it. She fought a battle all of her own and won, even if ending up maimed along the way. She succeeded in what she set out to do and then was allowed to spend her remaining days with someone who loved her unconditionally. That is not a tragic end, that is a happy one. She is not a tragic gay, who drew the short end of the stick because the creators wanted her to suffer. She is a hero and the creators honored her as such, by allowing her to leave a legacy that will never be erased. Even thousands of years into the future, the humans of their world will know of Ikuno, the mother of modern science and medicine. They will know that they are alive thanks to the efforts of a strong, powerful woman, who against all odds, and with a single snap decision, became a hero of humanity and was also gay.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Darling in the Franxx: A Review and Discussion

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Background

Darling in the Franxx is an original anime by a collaboration between Trigger, A-1 pictures and CloverWorks. It has 24 episodes and aired over the Winter and Spring seasons in 2018. Elements of all three studios shine through the project in a variety of ways, especially along the lines of animation, drama and romantic themes, which are characteristically A-1 and CloverWorks. However, Trigger’s presence in the Action, Sci-Fi and Mecha themes are prevalent and have a commanding presence that easily outshines its partners. This is why Darling is heavily considered another staple in Trigger’s legacy and gets them most of the love…and the hate. However, we should keep in mind that this was a joint effort and the hard work and dedication of all three studios should be praised.

Darling is set in a futuristic world where humans have thrown away their emotions and rudimentary desires for the chance to live immortal lives without the troubles that the civilizations of the past brought them. Thanks to a new group of leaders known as APE, they were able to maximize their use of a special Magma energy, which fueled their cities and made their complacent lives possible. However, as a consequence, they were constantly attacked by a force known as Klaxosaurs, forcing them into highly secured cities known as plantations. To combat these beings, they began experiments, which led to the creation of children called parasites. These parasites were able to operate special mechanized weapons called Franxx, because unlike the “adults”, who were the humans that choose immortality, the parasites retained their ability to use their sexual organs, which was required to pilot the Franxx. Their sole purpose was to fight for their “Papa.”

Plantation 13 is a special team of parasites that were even more unique than the standard parasites because they also retained emotions. This made them act quite differently from their fellow parasites and they often felt as though they didn’t belong because of these differences. Hiro was the most out of place, being unable to link up with his previous partner and pilot the Franxx, making him feel as though he had no worth. However, he soon encounters a rouge parasite with horns, named Zero Two, who is part Klaxosaur and has a bad reputation for draining her partners’ life force, getting her the nickname, “the partner killer”. During a surprise attack by the Klaxosaurs, Hiro is given the opportunity to become her partner and is surprised to find that not only can he fly, but with Zero Two, he can achieve impossible heights. From this point on they vow to do whatever it takes to always pilot together, despite outside opposition and interference, but they soon find that their freedom and newfound love will come at a higher price than they could’ve ever expected and they will have to go through much hardship, to protect their home, their friends and their future.

With that said, let us now take a look at the most talked about series of the year so far and discuss what it got right, where it went wrong and the ugliness of the fandom.

The Good

For much of the first half of the series, the focus was on Plantation 13 and the growing relationship between Hiro and Zero Two.  We began to discover a world in which children were not allowed to ask questions, explore their world, know themselves or pursue interpersonal relationships with each other outside what was necessary to pilot the Franxx. They were not allowed to voice their opinions or reach for anything more than what they were made for, piloting the Franxx and waging war against the enemies known as the Klaxosaurs. However, we soon learn that the children of 13 were meant to be different from their peers. That they were an experiment of Dr. Franxx, the genius behind the Mechas and the various uses of Magma Energy. They were essentially a case study and what we, as the viewers, saw in the first half, as a result.

We saw that by being allowed to retain emotions and desires, the children acted in strange ways. They experienced sadness, pain, rejection, depression, confusion, jealousy and anger. They struggled to find their self-identity, suffered from illness both physically and mentally at times and came to discover that they were starting to feel the greatest emotion of all, love. Love was the one emotion they were never taught or allowed to acknowledge, yet it alone created a frenzy within the group and started a chain reaction of conflict and drama. We saw triangles start to form, we saw puberty begin to influence their sexual desires and we saw some struggling to understand why they were different. The catalyst of all these changes, was Hiro and Zero Two, who quite naturally fell in love and became the example to the others of what it really meant to be human. This idea in fact, is what the series was really after, and is what it perfected by its end.

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The relationship between Hiro and Zero Two is also something the series got exceptionally right. From the start, the love between them was raw and deep, and their feelings never wavered, even when there were many forces working to keep them apart. Even when they were separated, they yearned to be together and worked to return to each other by any means necessary. They were portrayed as a unit that could no longer live without the other, literal halves of one existence. The theme explored by referencing the Jian, a species of bird that cannot fly without one lending the other a wing. Zero Two desperately wanted to become human for her Darling and Hiro in turn was willing to lose his humanity for Zero Two. They were destined soulmates and from start to finish, their relationship was developed, crafted and nurtured so delicately and perfectly, it can easily be seen as one of the greatest examples of true love in anime.

Last but not least, the most unexpected development of the series, was the reveal of homosexuality with certain key characters. While one character was hinted to be possibly Bisexual, another character was confirmed to be a lesbian. This character was shown to struggle with their homosexuality throughout the first half, starting subtly, but soon after by the climax, her struggles came crashing down and she could no longer hold back her feelings. She confessed to another girl in 13 and what we saw was a beautiful example of support for those who may lead alternative lifestyles. Her crush did not express disgust or belittle her feelings. She didn’t make her feel as though she was a freak and embraced her. Even though it was a soft rejection, she was supported and allowed to feel safe and comfortable. She was allowed to feel valid and normal. She no longer felt there was something wrong with her. She was allowed to hope that she might one day have her love returned or in the very least would be able to be herself without fear of being outcast or crucified. I found this to be a beautiful moment and I respect the creators for representing such a critical and important topic so well.

The Bad

The second half of the series is where things started to truthfully become unstable. This was largely due to the fact that they introduced a very unexpected new enemy into the fray of this war. Those who are familiar with Trigger shouldn’t have been too surprised, but despite this, the development was still a bit odd and frankly out of place. To go from fighting the planetary beings that were the Klaxosaurs, to suddenly being faced with the threat of a massive alien race, was a rather ridiculous jump, even for Trigger’s standards. I think this is where we perhaps saw a power struggle between the studios, namely A-1 who likes things to be dramatically contained and Trigger who likes things to be explosive and grandiose. Or maybe it felt more like they needed a way to pump up the action and so they pulled a ludicrous plot point from out of a grab bag of flair. This is all to say, this development was a bit off the mark and may have cost these studios a chance to have a collective masterpiece under their helm. They’d have been much wiser to keep things in line to the first half and focused on Papa, who truthfully is the enemy in any sense. A coming of age into rebellion story would have been a more sensible outcome.

Another negative aspect was the fan service and lewd innuendos the show began with. It gave the impression that this was going to be a bit of a trashy mecha series and so it made people take it less seriously and undermined the beauty it would later exhibit. It may have been an intentional tactic to bait in a certain audience, but it also backfired a bit because when it went in a different direction, this same audience became the biggest of critics. They managed to pull in a whole different audience midway in the series, at the crux, but then turned them off by again switching their focus to the extreme. It made them seem incompetent and honestly just confused everyone. It seemed to have lost its identity somewhere along the way and had to struggle to bring it back. It was only by the finale that we saw where they wanted to go, but the path they took to get there was too inconsistent to have as much of an impact as they may have intended and hoped for.

Finally, the plot called for the pretty non-negotiable need for the Franxx to be piloted by a male and female pair, making it seem that same-sex pairings were invalid and heterosexuality was superior. While not the most glaring example, I will agree that this is slightly heteronormative, despite being a valid plot point. I feel that the fact that male and female pairs were the norm was not the problem, but rather their lack of exploration of same-sex pairs. I think if they had a scene or two showing that same-sex pairings could pilot together if there were romantic feelings between them, it would have been better. It seemed as though they might be going there with that Bisexual character I mentioned and Hiro, but they didn’t seem to follow through on it. They could have utilized this chance to show that simply love, no matter if you’re gay or straight, is enough to save the world. That said, this doesn’t make the studio homophobic and their willing inclusion of an officially lesbian character shows that. I’d call it more of a missed opportunity to break the mold and support a better way of thinking.

The Ugly

Despite the flaws, Darling succeeded in being an experience and a massive success in many ways. It certainly wasn’t perfect on all fronts, but when it was perfect, it was PERFECT. However, an imperfect stain on its legacy was the extremely volatile and toxic fandom. From wishing death on characters for being human and taking it as far as threatening their actor, to calling the show a rip off of other popular shows, to calling it trash and to even claiming Trigger is homophobic simply because the story focused on the need for a male and female pair to pilot the Franxx. Fandoms always seem to take it too far and it can be very tiring to say the least and really can drag down enjoyment of the show. Love it or hate it, but don’t drag it because it didn’t cater to your personal desires. That’s something many still need to learn.

The Review

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Darling in the Franxx was an interesting story of philosophy, ideology, society, self-identity, personal discovery and most important of all, love. To its core, it’s the one thing it never strayed from and the one thing that it perfected by the end. It had its flaws and may have lost the right to be called a masterpiece by some poor decisions, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is something to be respected and praised. It had a charm that is hard to ignore and it leaves you with a sense of fulfillment you didn’t know you needed. It’s a kind of journey and you fall in love with the characters to the point that their happiness becomes your own. You feel as though you’ve grown along with them over the course of the story and you reconnect to your sense of humanity thanks to its ability to pose the question, “what makes us truly human?”. I would give Darling in the Franxx a solid 8/10 objectively, but personally, it’s a 10/10 and one of my favorites. It’ll be up to you to decide if you like it or not, but I implore everyone to give it a chance and if you do, form your own opinions and enjoy it in your own way. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions sway you one way or the other and that goes for this one as well.

 

Lesbian Rape? Not Hardly. Why the First Episode of Citrus Shouldn’t Be Taken At Face Value.

Before I even begin, let me just say that I am not a yuri expert, nor a professional reviewer or media analyst. I’m not trying to say that my words should be taken as law, or that you shouldn’t have your opinion. I’m simply a romantic with a particular obsession for yuri/GL media, Citrus being one of my favorite series (I’ve read every chapter to date and own every published volume.) My intention with this is merely to educate based on my knowledge of the Manga, and explain why the first episode is not what truly defines Citrus. I will do my best to show this with spoiler free (minus ep 1 of course) information. Thank you in advanced for your time.

Just in case you somehow haven’t heard of this series, allow me to give a general synopsis. Yuzu is a fashionable gal who must suddenly move to a new city after her mom remarried. She therefore must start at a new school, which as luck may have it, turns out to be an all girl’s school. It’s there that she meets the strict and cold student council president, Mei, and their first meeting is rather intense to say the least. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Yuzu returns home to find out that Mei is her new step sister and being forced to live so closely together makes their already tense relationship that much more confusing.

Let me also say now, if you have a problem with relationships between step sisters who haven’t even grown up together and have just met, then I would say this show might not be for you. If you can understand that this is not really incest and more so is fiction anyway, then please continue.

The first episode adapts the first manga chapter and bits of the second and quite well I might add. It was generally well received by fellow manga readers as well as some other yuri fans new to the series, which was nice to see. However, there have also been a fair share of viewers new to the series, that were kind of turned off or turned away due to either the psuedo-incest plot or more so, the aggressive behaviors by Mei against Yuzu in two scenes. Slight spoilers of episode 1 ahead.

In the first scene, Which is also Mei and Yuzu’s first meeting, Mei gropes Yuzu, in an effort to take her phone from her pocket. In the second scene, and arguably the more controversial one, Mei forcibly kisses Yuzu, ultimately stealing her first kiss.

Let me be clear, this is assault. I’m not denying it nor condoning it. This isn’t normally acceptable behavior and should not be tolerated in most cases and despite how it seems now, Yuzu does not. She does push back in future incidents and makes it known she doesn’t like it. HOWEVER, with that said, I would never call it lesbian rape nor say Mei is abusive and that their relationship would be toxic. This just isn’t the case. I can say this confidently because I’ve seen the future (read the manga).

There are very specific reasons as to why Mei acts this aggressive, one of which will be revealed in the episode later today and was hinted at in the first if you paid close attention to a certain other moment of assault people seem to be ignoring in comparison. Also, all of these moments of assault are very isolated events and is not commonplace, especially as the story progresses. To put it simply, Mei and Yuzu’s budding relationship isn’t toxic and the story isn’t hentai as it may appear going off of this first episode alone. Rather, it’s complicated.

Mei has trauma. She’s damaged and has no idea what it means to have a relationship not driven by aggression. Yuzu however, is about to change her entire perspective and by the end of this season, you will hardly believe they are the same characters and that its the same story, especially on Mei’s part. If you go even further and catch up to the Manga, you might find yourself missing some of the moments some may be taking for granted now.

Ultimately, its your decision on whether to continue the series or not and I’m not asking you to watch if you hate it or its not your thing. What I am asking, especially to those who have already dropped it in pretense of it being ecchi fanservice or for romanticizing assault and toxic relationships, is to please give it a couple more episodes. The three episode rule is especially important in this series because quite a bit is explained over the next couple of episodes. Granted, the best explanation will come mid series, but still, give it the 3 episodes. If you find you’re still not feeling it after that, then you may leave it behind you. However, those brave enough to stick it out, I promise you, IT GETS BETTER! It’s good now, but it’s going to get so much better and so much sweeter, that you will come to see why it’s such a widely popular and beloved manga, especially in the realm of yuri. I know I probably can’t change the minds of the masses, but if I can at least be another voice vouching for the series I love, and sway even a few people, then I’ll be satisfied.

Koi to Uso Anime Review

Koi to Uso

Genre Tags: Drama, Romance, School

Seasons/Episodes: 12

Synopsis: In a futuristic society, Japan has implemented a complex system referred to as “The Red Threads of Science” to encourage successful marriages and combat increasingly low birthrates. Based on a compatibility calculation, young people at the age of 16 are assigned marriage partners by the government, with severe repercussions awaiting those who disobey the arrangement. For Yukari Nejima, a teen that considers himself average in every way, this system might be his best shot at living a fulfilling life.

However, spurred by his infatuation for his classmate and long-time crush, Misaki Takasaki, Yukari defies the system and confesses his love. After some initial reluctance, Misaki reciprocates his feelings in a moment of passion. Unfortunately, before the two can further their relationship, Yukari receives his marriage notice. He is then thrown into a confusing web of love and lies when his less-than-thrilled assigned partner, Ririna Sanada, becomes fascinated with his illicit romance.

Plot Rating:  8/10

Character Development Rating: 7/10

Progression Rating: 7/10

Animation Rating: 8/10

Conclusion Rating: 7/10

Technical Overall Rating (based on average of above ratings): 7.4/10

*This rating is unbiased and based completely on the honest ratings for each category and so may often be lower than my personal rating. This is the rating you’d probably like to go by when deciding if you’ll watch a series or not, unless my explanation for my personal rating of why it deserved a better rating is one you agree with

Personal Overall Rating (based solely on my personal enjoyment): 8/10

*This rating is totally biased and based completely on my personal feelings of the anime. This will often be higher than the technical rating because sometimes I love certain series despite them being kind of bad. My reasons for the higher rating will often be given here or in the GC.

Should You Watch: If you liked Kuzu no Honkai, you’d probably like this too.

General Comments: Watching the first few episodes of this immediately will give you a sense of deja vu if you watched Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish) as the basic theme is similar, but Koi to Uso is by no means a copy cat. Koi to Uso has a very unique plot that I actually found interesting, but it’s complicated relationship dynamics is where the real comparison lies.Where Kuzu had a love triangle, this had more of a love square. I kind of liked it though, because it kind covered all sides of the love spectrum. There’s a guy who likes a guy, a girl who likes a guy and a girl and a girl and a guy who like each other, but the guy also likes another girl. It’s a complicated messy web just the same, but where they really start to diverge is the finale. Where Kuzu had a more bittersweet ending, Koi had more of a an open ending. This wasn’t surprising considering the circumstances and I may even say I liked it, except there is one problem that it also shares with Kuzu. The openly gay character always draws the short end of the stick.

Overall, I found Koi to Uso a good treat for my romantic cravings, but as a whole, I liked Kuzu no Honkai more and thought it was far superior. Koi isn’t a bad watch though, so if you like romantic dramas, definitely give it a go.