Category Archives: Anime

My Hero Academia Season 1 Review

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. Today I’m going to begin my review journey through the My Hero Academia series. Some of you may know this title as Boku no Hīrō Akademia.

I’ll be starting at season 1. Over time, I’ll slowly move my way through all of them. Super hero anime quite like this one are particularly hard to find. It’s worth the effort to re-watch the series and gather my thoughts accordingly.

When it first released I was dubious. I wondered if the series would be another sub-par shounen romp. Thankfully, it really isn’t. Like most anime fans out there, I’m always searching for new anime to watch. While I certainly prefer older anime from the early 2000’s and the 1990’s, I jumped on the bandwagon for My Hero Academia fairly quickly.

I must say, I enjoyed season 1 for all that it had to offer. This 13 episode masterpiece won’t leave you hanging for more. There are plenty of seasons to pick up after you finish this one.

I don’t think I have to tell you that this series is worth the watch for any fan of the hero’s journey, which Deku, our main protagonist displays in spades. Really, I think that’s the most compelling part of this anime; Deku himself and the wider world he faces down.

We can thank  Studio Bones for its high value production quality and intelligent fights. That certainly helps a lot too.

The Basic Story

The world is dominated by two main types of people. Those with powers named “Quirks” and those who don’t have that power. The series is fairly utilitarian. It boasts the concept that a person should do what they most excel at to benefit the wider community. It isn’t a dystopian world though, far from it.

Our main protagonist is a run-of-the-mill guy named Izuku Midoriya, nicknamed fairly early on as Deku. That’s what I’ll be calling him from here on out, by the way, Deku…

This middle school kid has a dream to become a hero. There’s just one problem, Deku doesn’t have a Quirk of his own. Within the series, this excuse happens to be handled this pretty believably too. We get a solid medical explanation in a flashback scene.

During a doctor’s appointment Deku is told he’s absolutely unable to develop a Quirk. The doctor, almost cruelly tells him that he could never become a hero. Those around Deku tell him this continually, believing he should find a new goal in life.

This headstrong boy refuses to believe he can’t become a hero. He absolutely won’t give up his dream for anything. Now I’ve discussed the powerful storytelling found in Deku as a character. If you’re interested in that, check it out here.

The majority of the first season is about challenging the preconceived notions you might have about “hero shows” like this one. Deku spends his time facing adversity, his own mental struggles, and the preparation he needs to take in the power “One For All”. That particular Quirk belongs to All Might. After Deku proves himself, All Might decides to pass it on to Deku.

Note: Not all quirks can be passed on, but “One For All” can be.

Deku dives into his efforts head first at nearly every opportunity. He’s so engrossed in the training it takes to become a hero. You truly do want to root for him. The bond he makes with All Might is really a special thing. It reminds me heavily of Kakashi’s bond with Team 7 of the Naruto series. His role is almost paternal. This bond between them deepens from mentor and protege into teacher and student once Deku is accepted into the “UA” high school.

What makes My Hero Academia  knows exactly what story it’s trying to tell. It doesn’t deviate from the core themes. The series carefully balances humor with emotion, but the story is also tight paced and full of action where it suits. Better yet, the character conflicts hold their own emotional weight.

One of the best characters to facilitate the emotional conflict for Deku is Bakugo. He might come off as your average bully, but there’s more going on under the hood with this character for sure. Even early on, you can see that in spades. While Bakugo’s rage at Deku certainly feels a bit misguided at times, the emotional warfare feels realistic to the universe.

Yet, what would an action series be without stellar fights?

Animation

The animation won’t do you wrong. The combat feels weighty, the animation itself is very slick during the fights. The characters don’t “float” where there shouldn’t be any floating to their movements. All of the Quirks suit the characters well, even if we don’t fully understand the complete magnitude of these powers. Bakugo’s explosions feel bombastic. Todoroki’s ice powers feel layered and amazing.

Combat choreography isn’t something a screen shot can adequately depict. This is a series you have to watch to fully appreciate. I should call it raw magnitude. Well and truly, the fights are raw magnitude for a lack of a better description.

The attention paid to the tiny details really shows how much care the animators put into this series.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, this is a solid first season to a pretty good shounen anime over all. In my opinion, it’s also one of the best seasons because of how clean and concise it is.

There are so many anime in this genre that feel clunky or overdone. I promise you, My Hero Academia comes out of the gate strong. It doesn’t feel clunky in the slightest. Shounen anime often feel like a dime a dozen, but My Hero Academia feels like more than that.

The first season is only 13 episodes long, you could binge watch the first season in a single weekend with time to spare. The ending is wonderful too, paving the way for more great seasons down the line.

With the strong introduction of the main cast, and a few decent villains like Shigaraki, there’s a lot to like here. I often return to this first season for the tight writing, punchy characterizations, and compelling storytelling. If you haven’t seen this series, you probably should.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Review: A Little Snow Fairy Sugar

Hey all, this is Kernook here. Today we’re going to talk about a series that’s gentle and easy to watch. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows either. Sometimes this anime is a little bitter-sweet and contemplative above all else. While it touches on the subject of loss, you’ll find the themes to be easily digestible and never too dark.

Today I’m talking about A Little Snow Fairy Sugar. Please don’t forget to follow this blog and out social media for more content.

Before I dive into the series, let’s talk about the usual technicalities. As of right now the series can be hard to find. You can rent or buy it digitally on Amazon Prime. I’m not sure if you can locate it anywhere else. I still have my old DVD copies so that’s how I watch the show.

Speaking of that, the series was originally released on DVD in North America by Geneon Entertainment.  Sentai Filmworks partook the license later on. The animation was done by J.C. Staff, for better and for worse. For the time it was pretty decent, average at the very least. That said, it hasn’t aged well.

Thankfully, the character designs by Koge-Donbo save this problem. The characters are wonderful. Let’s dive into the meat of the show properly.

This is a short 24 episode series, centering around the main protagonist, Saga. She’s an interesting girl. She likes to have everything organized to perfection. To some degree her this nearly obsessive character flaw stems from hardship, but I’ll get to that later. Saga lives with her grandmother in Muhlenberg, Germany.

Side note: As far as I can tell, this is a fictional place. It isn’t real. Although interestingly enough, there was actually a man by the name of Frederick Muhlenberg. If what the urban legend says is true, then that is the guy who prevented German from becoming an official language of the United States. This is the sort of thing you find while researching for blog posts, I swear. Tangential learning, everyone! Anyway, I digress.

At the time the series begins, Saga is 11 years old. She goes to school and keeps a part-time job at the “Little Me” coffee shop. As a hobby she visits the local music store to practice playing her late mother’s piano.

As you can see, Saga’s life is entirely ordinary with nothing out of place. One day during a rain storm, Saga encounters Sugar, an apprentice Season Fairy. As you can guess, everything neat and orderly in Saga’s life goes completely askew as soon as she meets Sugar.

The seasons and weather such as snow, wind, rain and the sun are controlled by these little creatures. Also as expected, we find out that these little buggers are entirely invisible to humans. Saga can see Sugar. That is the crux of the show. The next thing Saga knows, she’s befriended the adorable little pain-in-the-butt. The general story goes like this…

In order for Sugar to become a full-fledged Season Fairy, as an apprentice she must first journey to the human world. These little fairies have a lot to learn during training. Naturally this causes problems for Saga as she tries to keep the little snow fairy out of trouble. 

A Little Snow Fairy Sugar is full of simple everyday adventures, nothing more, nothing less. All in all, this show is light and airy. It’s a breath of fresh air, really… however there’s a few sad little elements too. Beneath the overtones of gentleness and spunky characters, the series has a very clear and honest tone.

You see, ultimately this is a story about life and loss. Growing up can be awkward and painful. This show speaks to that in a very real way. Really, the themes are about letting go of the past. The sincere friends and beloved family that we inevitably and tragically lose can’t put our lives at a standstill. We don’t get the time back after those emotional ties are gone, but we have to move on.

In this way, you might say A Little Snow Fairy Sugar is very similar to Sweetness and Lightning.

Although the series never beats you over the head with this concept, it is a pervasive theme. A Little Snow Fairy Sugar heavily and constantly implies that Saga can see Sugar because of her own childhood traumas. This is concept lampshades further due to the memory of Saga’s deceased mother.

Saga’s constant recollections of the woman speaks volumes. In some facets this is her journey of personal catharsis after grief.

Saga needs to learn to move on with her life. The show makes it clear. Every week, she visits her mother’s old piano. To her, this is the replacement for a gravestone. As I said above, she is an obsessive type character. Her routine visits are deeply tied to her emotionally.

There comes a time when Sugar finally discovers what she needs to know. That’s it, her training is done. She can go back home, if she only wanted to. She doesn’t want to return to the fairy realm. If she did that, it would mean leaving Saga behind forever.

This is a wonderful series, and it certainly is worth your time. The series is certainly aimed at a slightly younger audience. Adults may not get the same sort of benefit or enjoyment from the series. A middling or younger teenager would likely benefit best. That being said, the series is kid friendly and that makes for wonderful family viewing.

If you’re an adult anime fan that requires anime appropriate for small children around, this is reasonable viewing. Honestly, if you like these kinds of stories, the series will probably be a solid choice for you regardless of age.

Importantly though, it won’t offend the sensibilities of small children and it won’t be so absolutely annoying that older kids flat out hate it. It’s certainly aimed at girls more than boys. That being said, I know a lot of boys who do like it, so don’t let that stop you.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier. If you don’t care for Patreon, and don’t care about perks, you can always support us through PayPal too… links below.

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Patreon Supporters:
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5 Great Anime from the 90’s

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, from The Demented Ferrets, and I’m here to bring you another anime post. I’d hesitate to call this a “top list”. Frankly, I think that does a grave disservice to all of the amazing anime that you can find from this particular decade.

Don’t forget to follow this blog and our social media for anime and game content.

 There should be more to the medium of anime than top lists of series that dominated the billboard charts. Honestly, a “top ten” list is difficult to make because the 90’s were a treasure trove of anime to discover and love. Therefore, these are merely the suggestions of a humble anime fan.

Those of you who happen to be older anime fans like myself have likely heard of most of these. For those who haven’t, or for those who missed out on that decade entirely, I hope this list finds you well. 

Very Honorable Mention: Cowboy Bebop

So, you may be wondering; why isn’t this number 1 on the list. You’d be right for asking about that. This list isn’t in any particular order. The genres involved are so varied you can’t force them to compete. If we were discussing the space opera genre particularly, this would top that list.

Frankly put, it would smash out the other contenders by such a wide and far margin it would be astronomical. Let’s be real honest with ourselves here. It wouldn’t even be fair to the other candidates in the list. This series is that good, and no, that’s not hyperbole.

Here is the thing, I should not have to tell you to go watch Cowboy Bebop. If you don’t know that you need to watch this series, I can’t help you. The only reason this isn’t taking the number 1 spot is because I want to save that one. There are plenty of anime that may be lesser known to someone. This anime will never have need to fear getting buried by time. It’s a classic and always will be.

For the rest of you connoisseurs out there, if you just spit your drinks at the screen, I’ve done my job and gotten your attention. While I have that attention, make sure to follow me here or on medium for more content.

5. Master Keaton

This amazing anime was adapted from its manga counterpart by studio Madhouse, so you know you’re going to get wonderful animation quality here. The anime has a sub and a dub. It can also be a little hard to find these days, but it is worth your time.

Truth be told, I really do enjoy watching Master Keaton every now and then. It doesn’t feel too dated. There’s a real charm to this compelling series. It isn’t so centrally focused Keaton, but rather he feels as though he belongs in this wider world of character focused narratives.

Moreover, this is an intelligent series, and prides itself on showing off Keaton’s many skill sets. You’ll get a little taste of everything in this show, a little romance, a tiny sense of adventure, and a feeling that will leave you satisfied after the show concludes.

4. Martian Successor Nadesico

Now this one is a true sci-fi classic. Like many anime of this genre, you’re going to get strong characters and an awesome setting. Any anime fan of the 90’s will truly want to have this on their shelves.

To simplify the plot in the best way that I can, in the year 2196 it seems that planet Earth is in the middle of waging war with a race of aliens. These notorious invaders are called “Jovian Lizards” and the people of Earth see them as a well and true threat to mankind.

A company called Nergal gets the bright idea to design a space battleship, lovingly called the ND-001 Nadesico. This ship is built for war, and it is a powerhouse. There’s just one problem. The crew consists of the top civilian experts in their fields, these characters are total screw-balls. There’s some humor to find in that. 

It isn’t all fun and games though. These characters will have to face down a decent level of hardship. Like most mecha out there, you’re going to get decent battles and compelling sci-fi action. You’re also going to get some drama too.

3. Serial Experiments Lain

Okay, so now it’s time for something darker, edgier, and profoundly more confusing. Serial Experiments Lain isn’t exactly for the average popcorn anime viewer. It isn’t mindless in the slightest and it will expect a fair bit from you, the viewer.

This series is packed with subversive symbolism and darker themes about how technology can directly and indirectly impact society. Like its name suggests, it feels like a largely experimental show, rife with physiological horror elements that are sure to leave you unsettled. 

I wouldn’t say that the show is for everyone, far from it. This is for the sort of viewer that enjoys physiologically bent series, and the study of unsound minds. 

2. Initial D

Okay, this one is kind of a sleeper. We all knew that it would end up on this list, because you just can’t talk about 90’s anime as an adult without bringing it up. It’s a bit clunky by today’s standards too, and I wouldn’t fault you for asking me why I would put this series on this list. I’ll be honest, the CGI is absolutely awful by today’s standards. 

That being said, Initial D is all about street racing and the underground counter-culture that you find within that particular community. It’s bombastic at times, very slow paced and thoughtful during others.

Car fanatics will love this series for one distinct reason; the show gives accurate explanations about how cars need to be handled. There’s a real technical element here that makes me want to place the series on the list. It hasn’t aged the most gracefully, no…

However, it still stands out to me as an iconic 90’s anime that is worth your time to watch. This is particularly true if you like faced paced drag-racing.

1. Yu Yu Hakusho

Okay, shounen fans listen up, this one is for you. I don’t think I’m overstating the matter when I say point blank; this is one of the best shounen anime from its time… and dare I say it, all time. You’ll be hard pressed to find one that’s better. On par perhaps, more innovate surely, but not done better. 

Even if you watch nothing else from this show, at the very least sit through enough of the series to complete Season 2’s black tournament arc. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. This holds especially true if you’re a Naruto fan who praises the chunin exam arc in that series. 

Do not bypass Yu Yu Hakusho, just don’t it… it’s too fundamental of a series for any hard core shounen fan to ignore.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier. If you don’t care for Patreon, and don’t care about perks, you can always support us through PayPal too… links below.

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Patreon Supporters:
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Anime Review: A Place Further than the Universe

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here with another anime review. Today I’ll be discussing A Place Further than the Universe.

Looking back, the year of 2018 was a very strong year for anime. We had amazing contenders in the anime line-up every season, with plenty of content to choose from. From series like Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online to Cells at Work! and My Hero Academia Season 3, it was difficult to pick and choose what anime to watch that year. There were just so many solid choices to pick from that it was hard to go wrong.

One of the most notable anime of that year is A Place Further than the Universe. It’s also known in Japan as Sora yori mo Tōi Basho. The series was released in January of 2018 and finished around March of that same year. Written by Jukki Hanada the series started off on a strong foot for that alone.

For those of you who may not know,  Jukki Hanada also did the writing for such anime as Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl and the 2011 Steins;Gate series.

A Place Further than the Universe was directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, who is also known for his work on the design production and storyboard for Monster. That’s another anime I’ve reviewed on this blog, and find it to be one of the best classics that anime has to offer. As far as his directing skill is concerned, you may also know him from such anime as The Pet Girl of Sakurasou and No Game No Life.

Monster – You Have To Watch This Thing

What you can expect is a story that is very well written, with characters that are as multidimensional as any anime could ever offer. What you’ll find here is a truly mature anime. It is one that is certainly worth your time to give it a try.

I’m hesitant to say that A Place Further than the Universe ticked all the boxes for me. I deeply enjoyed it, but it would never make a top ten list for me. I’ll explain why near the end of the post. For now what you need to know is that the series is certainly noteworthy and you shouldn’t bypass it. If you like cute girls and slice-of-life series and you haven’t seen this anime, go watch it.

To me, this anime is required viewing, because it sets the baseline of what a serviceable anime really needs to be across the board. I think I just don’t hold the series to quite the same level of prestige because 2018 was such a strong year to begin with. It was an amazing year of anime, hands down.

If you doubt that, you were either under a rock that year, or you missed out on some really solid series someplace. Alright then, with that out of the way, onto the meat of this review.

The plot is simple enough, I suppose. Four girls, one big journey with a slice-of-life feel and a coat of cut girl paint. You have a character named Mari Tamaki. She’s a second-year high school student who wants to make the most out of her youth. The thing is, she’s a bit of a coward and she’s usually too afraid to step out of her shell. 

One day, she meets Shirase Kobuchizawa, someone much more brave and with big ambitions. She’s been saving up to travel to Antarctica. It isn’t just a pipe dream. It’s a goal with emotions attached, since mother disappeared three years ago. These two characters are eventually joined by two other girls, Hinata Miyake and Yuzuki Shiraishi. These four eventually make their way to the Antarctic.

It’s a simple series, with simple elements. The plot itself isn’t contrived, thankfully. It isn’t bombastic and it isn’t flat out stupid. What is very nice about the show is that it has 13 episodes. That’s just long enough to tell this story in a fulfilling way. The series doesn’t overstay its welcome and it doesn’t draw out nonsense plot elements to the extreme.

Honestly, I’d say the series could have used a few more episodes, even if just one or two. It is a packed series from start to finish. That’s a good thing, a very good thing. You’ll probably be left wanting for more after the series concludes and I think another episode or two would have given it just a little more room to breathe. Honestly, even without extra content, this series stands as a hallmark of a great anime.

When you get the benefits of a fulfilling ending and you still crave more, that’s when you know the series goes on a top ten list someplace.It might not be in my top ten list for anything particularly, but to say this anime is anything less than steadfast is a direct injustice. I’ve watched a lot of series across many genres, and every single thing this series does, it does very well.

The pacing is where it should be for a series like this. It’s the sort that slowly builds, but it is also tightly packed with key character moments. That’s the main draw of this show after all. It isn’t about the adventure itself, but rather our four main protagonists and what it means to them. They need to work hard to get to the Antarctic.

This isn’t an adventure where they sit around on their hands doing nothing but giggling their way through the show. Although I would say it is about cute girls, they’re not always doing cute things. Sometimes they’re put to real work, and the trip is occasionally far from glamorous. There are scenes where they even acknowledge that the cramped spaces they’re shoved into could be problematic for them.

These girls are multi-layered and very compatible on screen together, but they know they can sometimes clash in ideology too. It isn’t heavy handed, but there’s a real down-to-earth mentality used in this show. Unlike a lot of the other slice-of-life series you may come across, there’s not a lot of mindless or useless fluff. The character moments always feel as though it has been planned to enrich the story. These girls are all very likable and that helps too.

As a general rule, the series wants the girls to be fun-loving and adventurous. We see this most of all. They’re not dimwitted, and they’re not trying to do something entirely idiotic. Honestly, I just can’t praise A place Further than the Universe enough for this aspect alone. The series really hit it out of the park with these characters.

We get the same compelling banter between them that you’d expect from high school girls, but you also get some real heart and soul out of them too. The series hones in upon their dreams, fears, aspirations and insecurities. Frankly it does a phenomenal job of letting viewers get to know each of the four girls. At the same time, the series isn’t interested in cramming contrived emotional stupidity in front of our faces… when there is an emotional outburst, it means something valuable and important to the wider story.

We never lose out on that wider narrative either, nor the unpredictability of the adventure they’ve embarked upon. There are obviously a few small layers of drama, but it’s perfectly fitted for the story at hand. The series focuses deeply upon forged friendship, and facing tragedy.

As I said above, Shirase’s mother went missing three years prior to when the series actually starts. That’s a plot point that adds a layer of emotional gravity and uneasy tension to the journey. Also, the fact that they’ve got some measure of adult oversight and supervision means that the story is believable for these four high school students.

They travel with the Civilian Antarctic Observation Team, so as an adult watching this series, you’re not going to be raising an eyebrow. There’s no need to sit there wondering how in the hell these four girls are going to pull this trip off without suspending disbelief. It is a very believable story with a very steadfast component of grounded and logical plot elements.

You’re going to get an ending to this short series that’s about as complete as you could hope to expect for a 13 episode runtime. The plot ties up nicely, what isn’t addressed doesn’t need to be, and there’s a satisfaction to the ending. That entire final episode leaves you feeling justified for having enjoyed the show. There’s no need to point at the manga and say “finish the story there” although, there is a manga too and it is worth the read as well.

I’ve not said one single bad thing about this series, because there’s nothing bad to say about it. The visuals are solid, the soundtrack works well, the story leaves you fulfilled. So, you may be wondering if I’ve lost my mind. You may be wondering why, in spite of the fact I praise so highly, that it wouldn’t sit on my own personal top lists for anime?

It’s not groundbreaking, that’s why. I wouldn’t have it on my list, because it didn’t knock me out of my seat the way others in the genre have. I was thoroughly entertained, but I can’t say that I was surprised or taken aback by this anime in any meaningful way. I’ve seen a lot of shows like this, or similar to it. I’ve seen the basic idea of a journey like this one a billion times over.

While the characters are a home run out of the park, you’ve still seen these archetypes before a billion times over too. Honestly, I expect anime like this one to have strong characters, because if it didn’t, it would be a failure of a series. The characters are what matter, they’re what make the story being told amazing. If you watch animated series like this enough of the time, you come to hold a baseline expectation of what that sort of anime should be.

Let me be absolutely clear; A place Further than the Universe is everything an anime like this should be. It ticks all of the boxes in a way that any anime fan should demand of a high quality slice-of-life series. That’s exactly what this series promises.

It promises high quality animation and sound design. It promises to be exactly what it advertises its story to be. It upholds that standard throughout its runtime, and never once do you feel stolen from as far as a quality experience is concerned. However, although it holds the high quality standard, I personally don’t feel it surpasses the standard.

Maybe I’m just a jerk, but I expect a high standard of grounded, down to earth slice-of-life series. This one touches upon and continues to uphold that high standard baseline of quality anime. You’re just not going to find anything new here or something that challenges your notions of what a series like this one should be like. To me, it’s not a revolutionary series, if you’d think of it that way… and my top ten lists, those ones have to rip me right out of my seat and knock me down.

To me a top ten list is the best of the best. A Place Further than the Universe doesn’t quite match that. However, it would likely sit someplace on a top twenty which is far from an insult. Trust me, watch as many anime as I have, and so long as the anime makes the top fifty it’s a damn good show… two decades of anime watching does that to a person, honestly speaking.

So, there you have it. Watch this show if you haven’t already. A Place Further than the Universe sets the baseline of what we should all be expecting from our slice-of-life anime series. Quality characters, interesting visuals, a great story and one that wraps up nicely at that.

If you want to see another review of this series, from someone other than myself, perhaps check this one out written by NEFARIOUS REVIEWS. I thought it was a good review of the anime, maybe you will too.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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To Our Supporters

Thank you for helping us to enrich our content.

Patreon Supporters:
($3) Little Ferrets: None
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Let’s Talk Anime: A Lull in the Sea

Hey everyone it’s Kernook here. Today I’m going to be talking about an amazing 26 episode anime, and one of my all time favorites: A Lull in the Sea.

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A Lull in the Sea, also known in Japan as Nagi no Asukara is a twenty-six episode anime that depicts two very separate sets of people. The ones that live on land, and the ones that live below it, deep in the sea. Released in October of 2013, this series is nearly pushing a decade old now. in spite of the age of the series, the show has a lot of charm.

Before younger anime fans crinkle their noses at me, trust me, this is an anime that can stand the test of time. Even by today’s standards, the anime looks and sounds wonderful. At least for a slice-of-life anime, it remains in my memory as perhaps one of the most compelling shows of its time. I return to it often enough because of the solid characters and the universe the story is set in.

That’s odd for me, considering that it is a slice-of-life series typically aren’t the types of anime that I settle into to re-watch often. Deep down at its core, this is a compelling series worth your time.

This anime boasts stunning visuals, and it can be praised for its somewhat curious plot. Neither of these elements falter even in the slightest. In a world where humanity once lived under the sea before adapting to live on land, the series follows four students that still live underwater. These days, they need to adapt to their new school on land, and that’s something they don’t always do well with.

Navigating these elements are central to the plot of these two communities coming together. The basic setup allows these characters to face emotional and cultural conflicts that surround their new scholastic environment. Some issues are large, some are small, but they’re all interesting to ponder.

For example, being too dry can agitate the skin of the characters that live under water. They need to take time to get themselves wet in saltwater to keep that agitation from happening. They’re looked down on for this, and those that live on land aren’t quite sure what to do about the sea dwelling people. The conflicts are brief, but very well done.

There’s a distinct emphasis on climate change too, and this shakes things up quite a bit later in the series. You’d think that might be a bit of a narrative problem, but it’s far from that. The climate change angle is neither preachy or ham-fisted, suiting the overall plot and character dynamics rather nicely over all.

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The main focus is clearly on the character relationships, just like many slice-of-life series. Honestly, that’s where things take a turn for the strange and somewhat melodramatic. Unrequited love is a core theme of the series, for interesting better and for annoying worst.

It’s hard to root for some of the couples on occasion, but thankfully it does tend to be rare. There are moments that after a while it all begins to feel a bit dragged out. That being said, generally these romantically inclined and tension filled scenes don’t often overstay their welcome. Even when they do, I’d say this is a minor nitpick at best for me.

I tend to find that A Lull in the Sea plays to other strengths, and more than makes up for any romantic goofiness that might fall flat. It will ask interesting questions about the passage of time, and what it means to disrespect the ways of nature. It’s neither too heavy for a slice-of-life, nor too dull as some of these types of shows can be.

With the story itself being cleanly and very concisely split into two distinct arcs, A Lull in the Sea adequately fills a weekend of binge watching without an issue at all. If you enjoy the slice-of-life genre, this is one I’d say you should try to watch just once and see if you like it too.

If you want to watch the series, you can do it for free over on Crunchyroll at the time of this post. If you want a proper in-depth review, particularly of the first 13 episodes, you can check out this post written by Lesley Aeschliman

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Let’s Talk Anime: A Centaur’s Life

Hey all, it’s Kern here, and it’s time to talk some more about anime. This one is a bit of an odd one, A Centaur’s Life.

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A Centaur’s Life, is also known as Centaur’s Worries or Sentōru no Nayami. The manga came out for this series back in 2011 and it is still ongoing in 2022. The twelve episode anime was released back in July of 2017 and finished in September of that same year.

Now, to be quite honest with you, this anime is a bit strange. The manga it’s based on is a bit strange too. During the time it was all the rage, releasing with other series of its type; monster/animal girls became a somewhat common trope. The series acted as a curiosity of sorts, earning viewers because of it’s rather odd nature.

That being said, the series is primarily focused upon slice-of-life elements. Set in a world where all people are hybrids of various sorts of fictional creatures such as centaurs, it follows the everyday life of Hime, a… well you guessed it, a centaur. She’s a high school student and the series follows her and the lives of her classmates. In general the general themes of the show covers problems and challenges that Hime and people of other hybrid races like her might face day-to-day.

A Centaur’s Life also contains mildly placed hints at a possible romance between the main character and one of her female friends. Personally, I could take or leave that aspect, it’s cute I guess… but it’s not something I was invested in.

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The other major component of the plot revolves around the political reality of this world, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Now, you might think that the political intrigue will heavily influence the main character’s life in some sort of darker way, but from what we get in the anime that just isn’t the case.

The series boasts a few rather totalitarian themes about forced equality between various mythical races. There’s a tone of extremely harsh penalties of for any discrimination… and while the series isn’t too heavily focused upon it, it does come up enough to be jarring. Even what seems to be children’s books have a weird political bent to them. As though something like democracy is little more than a fairy-tale.

Add onto this that in the twelve episodes, the pacing continues to be slow and unhurried, and the tone feels off somehow. In a way, it’s almost as if the series forgot that it was supposed to be a slice-of-life… but I digress.

In general, the show pieces together a school life story that jumps the shark. A Centaur’s Life is riddled with cases of extreme propaganda, hard pressed security details, and a world that almost seems dystopian despite the slice-of-life tone the series works so hard to convey. It truly gives viewers an unsettling feeling that something very nasty is going on under the surface that the show refuses to truly address deeply.

That being said, A Centaur’s Life isn’t awful… it just don’t know what it seems to want to be as a series. Perhaps the manga is better, but I haven’t read it and I really don’t plan to. The show itself has a few elements I wish had been explored further, and I’m not entirely sure that it would ever make a top ten list of mine, or anyone that I know. It’s not among the worst I’ve seen, but certainly cannot stand as one of the best.

The last episode especially fell flat upon its face, containing absolutely no substance to speak of. To say it was unsatisfying is an understatement, but let’s be honest a lot of anime have that problem. This is certainly one where they want you to go and read the manga, and anime like that become a pet peeve of mine.

A Centaur’s Life had a lot of original and bold ideas, but I’d say that’s the largest problem it had. There were just too many to focus on one aspect, and therefore it all became wasted potential.

Is it worth a watch? Yeah, actually it’s worth streaming it at least once. The experience is worthwhile, because the series does display a few interesting qualities. Does it belong on your prized anime shelf? Probably not, and truth be told if it hasn’t been forgotten about by the masses already it will be in a few more years. It just can’t live up to the test of time.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Let’s Talk Anime: A Bridge to the Starry Skies – Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi

Okay everyone, this is one weird anime, but it merits a discussion because it is your standard harem anime, but it’s not standard in the way it will subvert a few expectations.

A Bridge to the Starry Skies began as an adult visual novel in October of 2010. In April of 2011 an anime based on the series started releasing. Written media for the series came out in June of 2011, and ran until February 2012, with two manga volumes released during that time.

I say all of that so that you know where this anime hailed from, because it’s important to know where it all started; harem related material. Now, this is about the anime, not the visual novel or the written media it’s based upon.

That being said, this anime follows one distinct rationale; don’t judge any anime at first glance. Upon the first impression, viewers will get the implication that this is going to be an incestuous romance between two brothers. That’s the way it feels early on, and knee-jerk reactions being what they are, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that a sibling romance is what you’ll find here… news flash though, you won’t.

In truth though, A Bridge to the Starry Skies isn’t about that at all. Actually, subverting my expectations is one of the reasons that I watched this series back when it came out in 2011. I was told it wasn’t about incestuous romance, and I wanted to find out for myself. I was dubious of course, but my friend turned out to be right. Actually this anime isn’t half bad, not even for a harem.

The main plot is this; Kazuma Hoshino is a high school student. His younger brother, Ayumu is very ill. They both move move to Yamabiko to seek a better living due to Ayumu’s asthma (more on this later). While settling into their new surroundings the brothers become acquainted with several locals, many of them female. Romance, slice-of-life, and hilarity ensues.

A little light on the plot there, right? Well, that’s because it is.

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Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi or also known as A Bridge to the Starry Skies feels like your general run-of-the-mill harem anime. If you’re a fan of that trope, you know the drill. A bunch of cute girls clutter the screen, and generally speaking one male lead attracts all of the attention. Also, generally speaking, harem anime don’t tend to have any firm or clear romantic ending. There can be multiple reasons for this, but notably it’s because you want the audience to be able to pick the relationship they want to root for.

A bridge to Starry Skies is an interesting type of harem anime. It follows a lot of the same tropes, such as the male lead falling all over the place, which leads him to kiss a girl in the first episode. Yet, it’s also strangely unique as well, but for those reasons you’d actually have to watch the show. All in all, it has a lot of heart, but it’s also messy as hell.

Is it more focused on romance, or the family related plot lines having to do with a very ill little brother? I can’t say really, because the show doesn’t quite seem sure what it wants to be about. All the way onto the last episode, the series doesn’t have a tight narrative, and it lacks a lot of focus on its themes… that said that last episode, holy merciful crap. Seriously, talk about a shocker ending, worth the watch for that alone, I’d say.

Now, I know what you’re thinking if you’ve visited this blog for any length of time. I’m an anime fan that demands a decently driven plot, and I generally hate harem, so why in the hell would I be talking about this show? It doesn’t tend to tick any of the boxes I like in anime. Well, yeah, you’d be right. Typically I’d absolutely hate a show like this… but I like this particular one.

Sure, it doesn’t have a strong plot to praise. The illness the little brother has is vague at best. The romance is about what you’d generally expect. The main character’s stupidity and contrived notion of what a harem is stands firmly at the forefront of the show… that’s true too.

So, why did I like it?

Frankly, this series took my expectations for what a harem anime was and it cast it aside. This series reaches beyond what a huge number of non-harem fans (and likely a huge number of those that are) and kicks those expectations right out of the way… because as I said, there’s a lot of heart here. There are moments that will hit you, draw you in and make you care.

While the plot is weak as hell and I’d never defend it, the characters themselves aren’t half bad. Between that and the decent art style, it isn’t an awful anime to look at. It’s crisp, it’s clean, and you notice that right from the first episode we can see a great care was taken to its production value. The series doesn’t ever hit an all-time-low.

if you’re looking for an unusual harem anime, you might like this one.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Lesson Anime Taught Me – Personal Belief is Half the Battle

Anime is a powerful medium. It can take you to fantastical places. It can teach you valuable lessons, but failing all of that, at least it can give you a momentary escape from the daily grind.

I think that as an anime fan it’s important to examine why we collectively love anime. More than that, though, we should take the time to really appreciate what the medium does for the fan-base.

One of the most important things that anime taught me, is that believing in oneself the largest obstacle anyone might have to overcome. When doubt prevails, it’s easy to lose sight of the goals we have in mind. Ambition is only as powerful as our own personal drive to find success. When we allow our doubts to rule our minds and our actions, we’re put at a disadvantage. At that point, we’ve already lost half the battle to be successful in the first place.

There are plenty of anime that examine this concept. Honestly, you could aimlessly throw a dart upon a board and likely land on a name that uses this ethos as a key plot element. From Dragon Ball to Ranma 1/2, and Sailor Moon to Pokemon, you’d be hard pressed not to find a series that expertly crafts its narrative around this concept.

For this example though, I’m going to turn to My Hero Academia. You could point to classic, much longer lived series like Naruto too, but I find that ultimately, My Hero Academia has a much more truncated story. It’s just an easier anime to consume, and to me it stands out as a pinnacle anime to look at when discussing this particular ideology; personal belief and the struggles therein.

As an aside: if you want to actually read a review of the first season of the show, might I suggest going here to read Sammi C’s review of it.

When you sit down to watch this series, the first thing that the show does is impart the core ethos of the characters, and the way they see the world. It becomes clear quite early on that the main protagonist has plenty of personal doubt to combat within himself. However, it’s also true that plenty of the other characters doubt him too.

It’s the standard hero’s journey formula, nothing new there. However, the key thing about Deku that always stuck out to me, was just how far he was willing to go. In the earliest episodes of season one, Deku proves just how hard he has to work to prove himself.

It might not be realistic for him to become a hero at first, and it might not ever be possible as far as he knows; but being a hero is what he lives for. To him it is as much of a passion as it is a personal calling.

The faith Deku needs to find within himself and those around him isn’t something only held on a surface level. It’s so intrinsic to him as a person, that he’ll go to nearly any length to achieve success. To remove his dream from possibility at all, denies a core part of who is he, and who he aspires to be.

Now, you can say what you want about anime being simply that, anime…

To me there is something so noteworthy about the way he plucks his papers from the water fountain. Those ruined notes were cast aside by those that doubt him, and the feeling of loss portrayed here is little more than human, real in its design and desire to be worth something at all.

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We all go through that. There isn’t a person I can think of who hasn’t doubted some key facet of themselves to the point of nearly giving up. Deku nearly gives up his dream in the first episode.

The conflict he has within himself about whether or not he should give up speaks volumes about who he is as a character. There’s something to be said for the way a very disenfranchised Deku lifts his notebook from the water, angry and hurt. From having been bullied, told to jump and end himself, to having the one thing he cares about the most tossed aside, there’s little more than true humanity in these moments.

Aside from the cruelty that Deku faces, there’s a real firm ideology that Deku has to face down in becoming a hero too. Namely that he knows that in order to be successful at all, it’ll only get more difficult from here.

Watching these sorts of struggles in anime speak to me more heavily than almost any other medium… normally I’m not expecting it. When I first began watching My Hero Academia the same held true. I just wasn’t expecting this sort of content. At least, not in the first episode.

To say it was a punch to the gut would be the understatement of the century. Live action series tend to be darker, grittier, and typically try to speak to a level of realism I’m entirely prepared for. Therefore, it just doesn’t hit me that hard. When that grittiness presents itself, I’m prepared for it. Nine times out of ten, it occasionally feels “preachy” and that helps it to miss the mark too.

My Hero Academia does none of that.

In point of fact, it does the direct opposite. Placing a boy in front of us on the verge of letting go of his dream. From the very start of the series, the world around Deku forces him to question what he can really do. He really has to sit and think about his plans. He has to wonder if there’s anything he can do to achieve what he wants the most.

The luck of the draw isn’t on his side, and maybe it would be wiser to find a new ambition, but Deku lives for his.

It’s important to dream big, have lofty goals, and to aspire to something beyond your current measure. Maybe we won’t always achieve them, but the faith that we can if we try hard enough that matters too. In the end, plenty of people in reality have moved mountains for less.

I’m reminded of a real world example, a baseball player by the name of Jackie Robinson… now I’m no baseball guru, but for those that don’t know this man, you probably should. You see, on April 15th of 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s racially inclined color barrier. He was the first black man to play in major league baseball with white people. That’s huge, because the civil rights movement didn’t begin to gain any firm ground to stand on until 1955… to say he played an integral role in cutting down racial divides just doesn’t do the matter justice.

It’s a great example of the impossible becoming possible in reality. Within our daily lives, Jackie Robinson is a hero to be remembered. Disputing adversity, despite the odds, he became a major league baseball star. He did this in a time when that was just considered entirely out of line and out of place.

However, as I said, my expertise isn’t baseball, and it’s certainly not impressively historic figures like Jackie Robinson. There are people much more qualified to speak of him and what he managed to accomplish than I ever could. I merely bring him up, because the hero’s journey isn’t exclusive to anime… and watching the major league pay tribute to him, as they’ve done for years now, had me thinking on the topic.

We have real world heroes too… heroes that were likely scoffed at and told their dreams meant nothing. Validation matters, aspiration matters, never giving up… that matters… I can’t point to all things Jackie Robinson did to change the course of fate, but I’m sure that all of his acclaim is well earned in the very least.

What I can do is point to Deku, how I relate to him and his struggles. My Hero Academia reminds me so heavily that it is truly worth having a dream to live for and aspire to. Honestly, that is worth far more to each of us than anyone can put a price on.

The end of the first episode of My Hero Academia lends itself to a question, and it’s one that absolutely resonates with the core themes of the show. It all boils down to one thing, can Deku become a hero?

It’s the thing he wants most of all, and the thing that everyone tells him that he just can’t have is just to be a hero. However, his aspirations and convictions begin to touch the souls of many… and Deku eventually attains the thing he needs most in order to reach for his dreams.

At the end of episode one, though, it’s all still just a question. He has to believe he can. Personal belief is half the battle, and arguably, it’s the most important one…

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Let’s Talk Anime: Apple Seed

Hey guys, it’s Kern here, and I just feel like doing a more laid back, casual post about an animated movie I love; Apple Seed.

Apple Seed is old these days, like 2004 kind of old. However, it is also one of those animated movies near and dear to my heart. I don’t think you can really bring up older CGI movie series without Apple Seed coming to mind. This show has everything you need in a good action movie.

bad-ass chicks, political subterfuge, a banger soundtrack, action packed combat scenes and utopia that seems askew from the start. Everything is neatly packed in a tight little package labeled under the context of “a good time”… at least, that’s what I would call it.

The series has a predictable ethos that is so easily summed up in a single sentence. I just can’t say it better than one of the political figureheads in the movie…

“What a creature is man, that he would choose to cadge himself so willingly? – Prime Minister Athena Areios

Say what you will about the similar feel of plot elements. You’d be right, and there’s no shame in that. The movie itself never feels like it’s so far up its own butt to know exactly what it is; a solid popcorn flick. It doesn’t feel like (or try to be) anything more than that. Still, I have to critique the movie fairly, guilty pleasure or not.

As futuristic as it feels, we’ve seen this basic plot a billion times before, but there-in rests just why I like it. It’s comfortable, and it’s just different enough to toss a couple of new spins on old tropes… at least for the time it came out.

Now, to be bluntly honest, there are times even the action stalls during a combat scene. There are moments that the movie doesn’t reach its full potential. Exposition gets lengthy, at times even cockily so (looking at you, elders of the utopia).

In spite of these glaring faults and predictable plot, I can’t help but feel as though the small moments of downtime time we get between the characters (Deunan and Hitomi particularly) more than makes up for it. Even after all these years, I still like it… I’ll let that speak for itself.

Factoring in the age of the series, and the fact it falls upon tried and true methods of story-telling devices, I think Apple Seed is a solid choice for any anime fan. You’re not going to find anything earth shattering or groundbreaking… that’s not what the movie caters to.

What you will find, is a science fiction classic with elements of mecha and a story that’s just deep enough to pass muster. If that’s your kind of entertainment, find yourself Apple Seed and hunker down for a good popcorn anime. If you do end up liking it, the series also has an earlier OVA, a second movie. I think there’s a manga too…

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets” where stupidity is at it’s finest, and level grinds are par for the course… I’ll see you next time. Meanwhile, enjoy some other great content below.

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Kern’s Collections: Emma: A Victorian Romance

Loneliness is a hard burden to face, and heartache is isn’t so easily soothed by a few kind words and a passing glance. If it were that simple, these two souls would have likely passed each other by without a single care. However, that’s not what happens, because life and love just isn’t that simple.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, and welcome to another Kern’s Collections. Today I’ll be talking about Emma: A Victorian Romance.

Video Production of This Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

This is a truly interesting anime because it lacks so much of what we consider to be typical in the medium. You could completely take this story and make it into a live action series without any hesitation at all, and almost everything would still fall into line perfectly with what the story. It wouldn’t even be jarring or out of place, because this anime doesn’t contain many of the tropes we’ve come to expect from anime as an art-form.

A simple maid of all work, and a bright eyed young gentleman cross paths. Love blooms between them despite the class divide. This is the entire crux of this anime reduced down into a few simple words. It isn’t a particularly complicated series, but it’s not over the top either. It is subdued in many ways, a slow burn romance the likes of which you just don’t see anymore.

Emma: A Victorian Romance is a soft and gentle story about romantic love between a man and a woman. Frankly, that’s all it needs to be. It isn’t a question of if these two lovebirds will end up together, because they certainly will. Instead, it’s a question of how they will navigate that romance in a world so keep to keep them apart.

The series came out back in June 2005, offering fans a true glimpse of heartfelt storytelling set in 19 century England, London to be exact. In that way, you may in fact consider this to be a sociology anime in some ways, because the social system put into place is what divides these two characters. In most ways, it’s the only thing that divides them at all.

As a maid of all work, Emma is tasked to care for the complexities of a small household. She cleans, cooks meals, makes tea, answers the door and anything else that her employer may need. Her life is a simple one, meager because that is the life of most maids. Particularly for the maid of all work. This station was a commonality for households that lacked grand estates that would employ several people all with a key set of tasks. Hiring one promised a symbol of status at the time. If you could afford to hire one back in those days, you did because it made you more respectable. Emma’s general backstory is a common one for women of this era.

Young girls were raised into the trade, and so was Emma. This was a life most girls would come to understand if they sat below a certain social class. They could learn by an employer that had taken them in, or by their families in hopes of helping their child find a job. Women just didn’t have many places of employment back in those days, and a certain level of decorum was expected among the classes. A certain responsibility loomed over society at the time, and Emma’s story shows how romance unfolds when two people deny that responsibility outright.

When a simple maid steps into the world of the gentry, there are a hurdles to overcome. William, is a member of this gentry and he is the eldest son of a wealthy family. Now, that’s not be confused with royalty. He’s not royal blood. Gentry have high status, but often times they do not carry royal bloodlines. The confines of status mixes looms heavily upon William’s shoulders, especially when he meets Emma, and falls in love with her. He doesn’t care what society demands of him, he loves her.

This is a series that relies heavily upon implication and pleasantries. While you’ll find all of the usual wrappings of your typical romance anime here, a layer of firm composure rests atop every interaction. You’re not to see goofy levels flirting or inane romantic stupidity. Instead, you’ll tend to find the budding romance is composed, refined, and full of unspoken nuance. Love between these two isn’t easy, and the uphill battle they have is one strictly left down to the confines of their society.

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If Emma had been born into the gentry herself, she could have fallen in love openly and honestly with William, with very little difficulty or opposition. Since she is a maid however, that’s just not the case. They both have their statuses to consider, even though William often doesn’t really care what people think.

All-in-all what makes this story so interesting isn’t that they fall in love, but the confines and intrigue of that love. As you watch the show, you’re brought to wonder what it means for Emma and William to have this connection in a world that would staunchly disprove of the mere idea, let alone actually doing it.

This is a series that keeps melodrama to a minimum, and focuses more on truly emotional events to drive the plot forward. There is a key character death for example that heavily impacts Emma’s livelihood, just as it would have in 19th century London at the time. That event and a few others are handled with the same gentleness as the rest of the show, even in those melancholic moments.

Ultimately, this is a series made for a true romance anime fan. Someone who likes the slow burn romantic entanglements, and the issues that might arise from them. Emma: A Victorian Romance is one of the best true romance anime I’ve ever seen. The title says it all, and if you enjoy romance between a man and a woman, this is certainly worth your time. That being said, if you want to see a healthy mix of GLBTQ or GRSM representation in the anime you watch, I’m sorry to say it’s just not there. Though if that’s more what you’re into make sure to follow the channel, because I will be covering an anime with those sorts of themes too in upcoming videos.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time, in the meantime, check out our other great content below.

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