The Summer season is in full swing, and anime like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2 are making a scorching return!
Here’s Part 2 of our staff’s thoughts of Summer 2021 anime!
D_Cide Traumerei: I can’t D_Cide if I like this one or not
D_Cide Traumerei looks fantastic. 3D anime remains burdened by negative perceptions and overrepresented bad examples, but SANZIGEN’s work on this animation is no joke. This series features a cast sporting a variety of vibrant, loud outfits that look great whether kickboxing, fighting giant monsters, or just walking to school. Not only is the action solid, but their faces also emote with all of the detail expected of 2D animation. A couple of hand-drawn 2D characters in episode 2 broke my immersion just a tad, but the art style is consistent enough that their existence in the space is still believable. This is not another EX-ARM, and comparing the two would frankly be insulting to Traumerei.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many compliments I can give aside from the visuals. While the music and voice acting are fine, and the OP and ED are both seriously catchy, the writing and direction leave me uneasy. It’s hard to judge the overarching story this early on, but the premise of fighting monster manifestations of people’s nightmares is bogged down by unnecessarily detailed exposition. Episode 2’s depiction of Eri’s abusive home situation was genuinely engaging, but the resolution was quick, underwhelming, and disappointing. I’d like to see more focus on these episodic character stories because, so far, my favorite parts aren’t given enough time to shine.
In conclusion, I think this one is worth at least a passing glance for its visuals, and I’ll personally continue watching with middling expectations.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S: It’s Been a Long Time, Old Friend
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has returned with all its hilarity and hijinx. Miss Kobayashi, Tohru, and the rest of the dragon gang are back, and this time, they are joined by Ilulu, a dragon obsessed with destruction and chaos.
The show wastes no time re-establishing itself. It welcomes viewers with its usual silly sketches and maid tomfoolery. But halfway through, the tone starts to shift as Ilulu is introduced and threatens to destroy the city. I really liked how the episode presents Ilulu as a threat while retaining its more comedic side — Ilulu herself is quite silly, especially as she tries to seduce Miss Kobayashi.
However, I can’t talk about a Kyoto Animation anime without mentioning its visuals. The show does a great job contrasting the human world’s simplistic art style with the dragon’s stunning visual effects. In the past, this contrast was used for comic relief, but here, it highlights this season’s more serious tone. Tohru’s battle with Ilulu feels more intense than previous conflicts do because it just looks brutal. Each fireball, explosion, and direct hit carries a huge amount of weight. Even the promotional art for this season has a more dramatic feel to it compared to season 1’s promotional art.
All in all, the first episode started things off with a bang, and I’m excited to see what direction the story takes.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X: Bakarina is back with her harem shenanigans. And more.
You probably thought Baka— I mean, Catarina has finally avoided all her doom flags, and she finally can chill, relax, go on a break. But you see, even though she’s the real protagonist now, the doom flags are still following her anyway. And so is her harem.
The second season doesn’t deviate much from season 1’s comedy. Catarina’s harem is still going strong, and she’s as dense and oblivious as ever, so I’m not expecting anything romantic to happen, even if Sophia Ascarte is trying her best to push Catarina and her brother Nicol together.
The third episode changes gears by adding in the political machinations of the nobility and royalty. Catarina is kidnapped and, in true Bakarina-fashion, she forgets she has been kidnapped. Instead, she starts eating, reading, and whiling her time away — until she actually uses what’s left of her brain and realizes something is wrong. Thank God for that remaining brain cell and the political plots because after the refreshing intrigue of the first season’s final arc, I can only sit through so much of the show’s regular comedy and shipping moments before finding them stale.
Who really kidnapped Catarina? How much does Prince Geoffrey want the throne? And what’s that suspicious butler, Rufus, up to? There are questions to be answered, and, because of the third episode’s intrigue, I’m actually looking forward to the next one.
Remake our Life!: Could use another remake
There’s something really poetic in the idea of a guy traveling back in time and inspiring a younger version of his favorite artist who inspires him in the present day. That concept becomes a whole lot less poetic when the artist is introduced face planting into that guy’s groin. Remake our Life! spends a considerable amount of time asking you to take it seriously, only to turn around and settle for cheap fanservice.
As a soul-searching adult in my 20s, I was quite captivated by Kyoya’s struggles with regret, lack of fulfilment, and defeatism, and I was curious to see how a reset button could address these poignant issues. Unfortunately, my interest quickly turned into whiplash as contemplative drama stepped aside for low-brow humor. I don’t dislike ecchi comedy in and of itself — I just find it off-putting when the anime’s overall tone doesn’t lean into it. There’s a frustrating air of contrived wish-fulfilment, but that was kind of inevitable with this premise.
The visuals appear fine at first, but the characters don’t quite blend in with the backgrounds in many shots. Music is used sparingly, but the sound design is remarkable. The cafeteria scene in episode 1 especially surprised me with subtle yet deliberate background noises.
Is this show worth your time? More than likely, yes! It’s an easy watch for the average anime audience, and I expect it to be reasonably popular. Just don’t take it too seriously, and be wary if fanservice isn’t your thing.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2: Veldora is a himbo, 10/10
Long-running series can grow old pretty fast, but once in a while, you find a gem like That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime. Against all odds, this anime has only managed to enthrall me more with each installment. The world and the cast continue to grow at a remarkable speed, yet the quality of writing never dips. In fact, it seems to only get better with time, much like the animation. If this were any other story, it would have jumped the shark long ago and destroyed itself with power creep. Slime has the audacity to jump three sharks, blindfolded, through a ring of fire, without making a fuss.
Everything in Slime began when our gelatinous protagonist, Rimuru, befriended the extremely powerful Storm Dragon Veldora, who was sealed in a magical prison. My original assumption was that freeing Veldora would be a distant goal, possibly even saved for the end of the series. Of course, Slime goes so hard with its power scaling that it only takes 36 episodes to release him. This isn’t a dramatic final arc or anything, either — Veldora’s just another member of the gang, and that’s a testament to the quality and diversity of the characters introduced since. Best of all, the dragon has the body of a hot anime dude now!
If you’re behind on Slime, do yourself a favor and set aside a day to catch up. This anime is a gift that just keeps on giving.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds: I feel like i’ve seen this one already
Battle Game in 5 Seconds follows Akira Shiroyanagi, who is randomly selected to participate in a super-powered battle game. Upon being granted his power of “whatever your opponent thinks your ability is,” he is immediately forced to fight another poor super-powered rando, and, after a five-minute battle, he unsurprisingly wins.
The first episode frames the first battle like Akira’s some brilliant tactician, where in reality, he simply used his elaborate powers on a confused opponent. What’s more, I couldn’t appreciate the fight because Akira’s ability was kept secret until the end, which caused confusion, not intrigue. Consequently, the whole scenario felt more like a contrived plot twist than a brilliant battle of wits.
So far, Battle Game in 5 Seconds is barebones without much character development or worldbuilding. We’re led to believe the stereotypical main character is a brilliant strategist simply because he plays a lot of video games, so, obviously, that applies to dangerous real-life scenarios. Plus, we’ve seen this trope done to death already, especially during the early 2010s era of anime like Btooom! and SAO.
As for production quality, the anime doesn’t amaze me in that department either. The character designs aren’t particularly unique as its overall aesthetic feels rather dated. However, I will give credit to its catchy ending theme song.
Though, I admit that I found episode two a lot more enjoyable as it adds a little bit more substance to the anime through the introduction of its second lead. Still, I don’t think it was enough to differentiate the anime from its counterparts.
Thank you for reading our Summer 2021 Anibitez Part 2! Here is Part 1.