Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san: Mid-Season

TITLE: Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro
GENRE: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
SYNOPSIS:

Every day, Naoto Hachiouji is teased relentlessly by Hayase Nagatoro, a first year student he meets one day in the library while working on his manga. After reading his story and seeing his awkward demeanor, she decides from that moment on to toy with him, even calling him “Senpai” in lieu of using his real name.

At first, Nagatoro’s relentless antics are more bothersome than anything and leave him feeling embarrassed, as he is forced to cater to her whims. However, as they spend more time together, a strange sort of friendship develops between them, and Naoto finds that life with Nagatoro can even be fun. But one thing’s for sure: his days will never be dull again. (Credit: https://myanimelist.net/anime/42361/Ijiranaide_Nagatoro-san)

The concept is cute, but the execution is…well, see what I have to say about it below.

SPOILERS AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro follows the formulaic storyline of the female protagonist teasing the male protagonist which leads to the development of a friendship and/or relationship. In some ways, this show is very much like Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (Teasing Master Takagi-san). While Takagi takes a more lighthearted feel, Nagatoro takes the other extreme end of the spectrum.

Let’s discuss the female protagonist, Nagatoro. Her circle of friends definitely have a Mean Girls vibe. Nagatoro begins bullying our male protagonist who is quiet, reserved, and skittish. Right off the bat, she is cruel, antagonizing, and relentless. Nagatoro, in my opinion, engages in anxiety-inducing bullying. At one point, she makes our male protagonist cry and it appears to bring her happiness as she wipes away his tears. Honestly, the first few episodes had me cringing in many scenes.

Before I continue, let me state that I am not a prude by any means. I tend to overlook the fan service aspect of anime because it is usually a quick shot of some comically large super-jiggly boobs here, or a panty shot there. There is quite a bit of fan service and sexualization in anime, but usually, it is pretty harmless. A boob flash or a panty shot is brief and doesn’t add or take away from the story. It is simply there to please the masses.

However, what I have to say next might “trigger” people. It’s a bold statement, but I stand by it: THIS SHOW IS BEYOND FAN SERVICE.

I feel like this show supports rape culture. There are scenes where Nagatoro is purposely trying to arouse our protagonist by pretending to be nude only to reveal that she was wearing a swimsuit. She is constantly poking fun at the fact that he has never kissed a girl and that he is a virgin. This overly sexually aggressive content left me wondering whether this show is really okay. The manner in which it is done is aggressive with intent which is where my discomfort stems from. Typically, in a show that goes this route, any sexual provocation is unintentional or even, in a manner, innocent. It usually occurs just once, but in this show, it’s a theme to Nagatoro’s actions.

I’m not sheltered. I know most people have their first sexual experiences in high school. To me, this goes beyond any argument of “female empowerment”. Nagatoro consistently puts Naoto (male protagonist) as the recipient of, arguably, unwanted sexual advances. Specifically, Naoto tolerates her sexual harassment behavior. The show also portrays Naoto as a “weak” male and seems to suggest that Nagatoro’s behavior is okay because he’s too weak to fight it off. What makes it worse is the fact that the show seems to take the position that Nagatoro is somehow strengthening Naoto’s resolve with this sexual teasing. I feel like the theme of this show could be reinforcing to young people that: a) it’s okay to sexually tease the opposite sex, especially if they appear “weak”; b) it is okay to tolerate it because he or she is pretty and/or handsome and/or popular and c) that a positive outcome will bestow you by engaging in such actions.

I find Nagatoro’s teasing overwhelmingly negative. Yes, the show does have moments of redemption where you can see an actual friendship starting to blossom, but would it? Would a reasonably sound person fall in love with their tormentor? And if they do, isn’t that disturbing?

This is the first time an anime show made me feel this way. Normally, I take the stance of “it just wasn’t for me” and I move along. However, this show really had me wondering whether it is appropriate. Maybe it is the mother in me. Maybe I am starting to show my age. There are a lot of “maybes” that I might be experiencing. I can say without a doubt that I do not recommend this show if you have potential triggers regarding abuse, especially emotional abuse. This show might cause you some emotional stress. My opinion is this show is completely tone deaf and as a fairly open-minded person, that should say a lot.

Osamake – First Impressions

Title: Osamake: Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won’t Lose
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Where and When: Crunchyroll on Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. CDT
Synposis: She smiles just for me. Her name is Kachi Shirokusa and she’s even an award-winning high school girl writer! And she’s beautiful! I know that she’s totally out of reach for me, a normal high school kid named Maru Sueharu! But I think something’s there… No, there’s definitely something there! Or so I thought… but Kachi has a boyfriend?! Seeing me depressed, my friend ever since we were little who’s cute, cheerful, and loves to look after others, Shida Kuroha… who also apparently had no problem telling me that she likes me for some reason just suggested, “Let’s get revenge.” (Credit: https://www.crunchyroll.com/osamake-romcom-where-the-childhood-friend-wont-lose)

Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be a romantic comedy theme this season and I am totally okay with that! Enter Osamake: Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won’t Lose.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS – PROCEED WITH CAUTION

It has long been decreed. The childhood friend will never win. And, in a lot of cases, our hearts have been broken. However, Osamake makes a bold claim. The childhood friend won’t lose and THAT is what makes this anime worth watching.

In the first episode, the scene is set. Our protagonist, Maru, is your average, good-looking, reserved and shy kind of guy. He isn’t really extraordinary in any way other than being a kind person. Enter one of our female leads, Kachi. She is an award-winning writer that touts a bit of celebrity. Upon Maru’s confession to Kachi that he was moved by her writing, they form a somewhat weak bond. She discards her cool exterior and actually shows some vulnerability around him. Or, so he thought.

As he holds his torch high for Kachi, he learns that she is now dating another celebrity and he is devastated. His long-time friend, Kuro, had confessed to him and was turned down, however, she puts her pride aside and proposes that they get revenge.

It has the same vibes of Masamune-Kun’s Revenge, so if you liked that show, this one might be a good one for you to catch. As of the posting of this entry, this show is in week two.

I am looking forward to seeing what this season has to bring.

Higehiro – First Impressions

Title: Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway
Genre: Drama
Where and When: Crunchyroll on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. CDT
Synopsis: On his way home from drinking his sorrows away after being rejected by his crush, the 26 year old salaryman, Yoshida, finds a high school girl named Sayu sitting on the side of the road. Yoshida is completely drunk out of his mind and ends up letting Sayu stay at his place overnight. Not having the heart to put Sayu out on the streets since she ran away from home, Yoshida allows her to stay at his place… And so began the awkward, irritable, and slightly heartwarming relationship between a runaway high school girl and a salaryman living together. (Credit: https://www.crunchyroll.com/higehiro-after-being-rejected-i-shaved-and-took-in-a-high-school-runaway)

Is it a drama? A romance? I really couldn’t tell after the first two episodes. What I could tell is Higehiro will keep me glued to each episode.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Admittedly, the title is what hooked me. How the heck can someone get rejected, shave, and then end up caring for a high school runaway? It had me intrigued because the series of events that had to take place must of been a doozy.

And, I wasn’t wrong.

Our protagonist, Yoshida, is a nice guy. We seem to have a lot of that going around this season. He’s a good-looking, regular, nice guy leading an ordinary life. After pining over his boss, Gotou-san, for years, he finally musters the courage to invite her back to his place. She quickly tells him that she’s been seeing someone and turns him down. Devastated, he makes his way to an izakaya, calls his married friend, and vents. On his way home, he sees a girl sleeping underneath a lamppost. He strikes up a conversation to get the girl to go home and quickly learns she has no where to go. She flirts with him and asks to stay at his place. In his drunken stupor, he agrees to let her stay for one night.

What follows could potentially be a very heartwarming story.

We have two protagonists that are broken in some way. We know that Sayu has had to compromise herself to survive. She has run away from home and we don’t know the circumstances leading up to that other than after some research, no missing person report is out on her. In the first two episodes, we learn how much of a caring man Yoshida is. He takes in this poor girl and starts to shower her with affection that she isn’t used to. So far, I can’t tell if that affection will bloom into something romantic, or whether it will bloom into a beautiful friendship.

Either way, I think this show has the potential to be heartwarming. So far, we’re only a few episodes in, so it isn’t too late to put this one in the queue and give it a try.

Koikimo – First Impressions

Title: Koikimo
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Where and When: Crunchyroll on Mondays at 7:45 am CDT
Synopsis: One rainy day, salaryman Amakusa Ryo is saved by a high school girl he doesn’t know at the station. He later finds out that the girl is Arima Ichika. Ryo is somewhat of a womanizer and to repay her for saving him, he suggests giving her a kiss or going out on a date with her, in which Ichika tells him he’s creepy. This, however, opens a new door for Ryo and he falls madly in love with her. Ever since then, Ryo tries to overly express his feelings to Ichika. Ichika just keeps insulting him and says he’s being creepy, but he just seems to take it as her way of showing affection towards him. (Credit: https://www.crunchyroll.com/koikimo)

Chalk this up to another show that I had no intention of watching. Thankfully, Rugjen and I will watch the first episode of just about any show. I am 100% glad that we clicked play on this one.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD

If you’re a fan of formulaic romantic comedies, this would be right up your alley. There isn’t anything that stands out about this show, but that isn’t a bad thing. I’ve mentioned this many times before. I don’t mind a show using “the formula”. Sometimes, you need the show to be predictable and cute.

Koikimo definitely fits that bill.

Our male protagonist, Ryo, is a womanizer. He’s been smart, talented, and good-looking his entire life and he’s grown into a pattern of closing off his heart and becoming a cold, distant version of himself. He’s a successful salaryman, but living a pretty empty life. On his way to work, he was exhausted from a long night with a woman. He gets bumped and almost falls down the stairs, but is saved by our female protagonist, Ichika. Seeing that he was pale, she quickly throws her bento at him and rushes to school.

When he comes home later that night, Ichika is in his home. By chance, Ichika happens to be his little sister’s classmate and friend.

In return for saving his life, he offers his body to Ichika which she quickly gives him a piece of her mind and calls him weird. Something stirs in Ryo and he is captivated by this high school girl who was kind, yet, direct and not afraid to speak her mind.

What ensues is Ryo being overly affectionate and making high school life hard for Ichika. We get to see the relationship between Ryo and his younger sister heal a bit due to this mutual friendship.

I laughed. A. LOT.

Again, the dynamic is nothing new. We have the male protagonist pursuer and the female protagonist doing everything in her power to refuse his advances, but it works. Their interactions are wholesome and adorable. Ryo is like an adorable puppy and you get this delightful sincerity in his actions. On the other hand, you have this awkward high school girl who doesn’t exactly know what to do with those emotions.

I feel that this show has a lot of potential. At the time of this blog entry, we’re on week four of this show. If you just want to smile and laugh, give this one a go.

Shakunetsu Kabaddi: First Impression

Title: Shakunetsu Kabaddi (Burning Kabaddi)
Where: Crunchyroll
When: Saturdays
Synopsis: First-year high schooler Tatsuya Yoigoshi, the former ace of a junior high school soccer team who has come to dislike sports, receives an invitation to join the Kabaddi club. Initially mocking the idea of Kabaddi, he takes an interest after watching an intense competition akin to martial arts at a practice session. (Credit: https://myanimelist.net/anime/42395/Shakunetsu_Kabaddi)

After so much disappointment with the sports anime of winter 2021 (I’m looking at you Skate-Leading Stars and 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu), I was wary about another sports anime. Especially about a sport I know absolutely nothing about. I have never heard of the sport, kabaddi. In fact, the only reference I have ever heard of the sport was in the anime, Chio’s School Road. In Chio, one of the characters was obsessed with the sport and used it as fair game to feel up her competitors. It was a bit lewd, and actually a bit funny, but it didn’t really go into what kind of sport kabaddi was. All I gathered was the chanting of “kabaddi” as you tried to tag someone. Very strange, but made for some funny scenes.

Kabaddi is actually the national sport of Bangladesh. It’s almost like full-contact tag. There are obviously rules that make it different than tag, but without going into too much detail, that should give you a very, very basic idea of what type of sport kabaddi is similar to.

After watching the first episode of Kabaddi, I sensed potential greatness to this show. It has all of the elements of a great sports anime. We have a protagonist that has lost his love of all sports despite being very talented. We have a sport that isn’t mainstream. We have strong supporting characters. The best part? They actually play the sport the anime is centered around. In the first episode, we get a full breakdown of kabaddi, how it is played, and the strategy involved. Most of all, we see a spark in the protagonist that had died.

This first episode was pretty entertaining and quite funny. Also, I learned about a sport that isn’t really known. In all my years, I had no idea that this type of sport existed, so I am glad there is an anime to teach us about it.

I definitely recommend giving this anime a shot. This is definitely one I will continue to watch if they keep up the comedy and story building through the sport.

Spring 2021 Anime

Spring 2021 has a few season two releases and a couple of shows continuing from winter 2021. Below are a couple shows that I recommend you either catch up on or continuing watching.

Continuing Shows

Tensura Nikki: Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)

I’m particularly excited for the continuation of season two from the winter season. I’ve been really happy with season two so far. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the story. I highly recommend this anime if you’re a slice of life, isekai fan.

In Slime, we follow our slime protagonist as he builds an idyllic nation of monsters. Along with his peaceful vision comes some unfortunate events that triggers our protagonist to go to drastic lengths to protect the ones he cares about.

Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka? (So I’m a Spider, So What?)

I didn’t write a review for this one even though I have watched the entire first-half of the season. My husband enjoys this show much more than I do. That being said, it was granted 24 episodes, so this show is a continuation from winter 2021.

We follow our protagonist who is reincarnated into a spider. We join her on her travels to grow more powerful. At the same time, her other classmates were also reincarnated, so there is a second story line about their experiences in this new world. At some point, I imagine these story lines will collide.

I don’t particularly enjoy this anime, nor do I particularly dislike it. I’m very indifferent toward it. If you enjoy isekai, I am sure you’ll find something to enjoy with this anime.

New Season

Fruits Basket: The Final

Fruits Basket is finally coming to an end. How will the story end? Will Tohru accomplish her goal of setting the Sohma family free from their curse?

I have very much enjoyed this anime and am happy to see it come to a definitive close. I’m excited to see how this final season will play out.

There are two prior seasons to Fruits Basket. If you are a fan of slice of life with a dash of romance and comedy and drama, give it a try.

Mairimashita! Iruma-kun (Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-Kun)

What would you do if you suddenly were sold by your parents and adopted by a demon? What would you do if he informs you that demons eat humans? You would probably do all you can to keep from getting eaten! I absolutely loved the first season of Iruma-Kun. Our protagonist is a sweet boy just trying to survive the demon world. We get to join his journey from human to beloved “demon”. This show is absolutely hilarious and brought me a lot of joy.

Season two starts this spring, so if you haven’t given Iruma-kun a chance, binge it now!

While this does not encompass all of the season’s continuing shows or new seasons, these are the ones I am most familiar with. Is there a show you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Heaven’s Design Team

Where: Crunchyroll
Genre: Slice of life, comedy, fantasy
Synopsis:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He also sought after a wide variety of animals to populate the planet. However, he felt that it was too tiresome to think of new ideas within his criteria. To address this problem, God appointed an organization—the Heaven’s Design Team—to do the work instead!

Shimoda is a newly-hired angel who serves as the mediator between God and the design team. As he steps into his role, he witnesses his coworkers conceive interesting ideas for many unique life forms according to God’s desires. From giraffes and snakes to birds, anteaters, and everything in between, the possibilities for different animal species are endless!
(Credit: https://myanimelist.net/anime/41762/Tenchi_Souzou_Design-bu)


This was another show that I was on the fence about watching. In fact, this was a show that Rugjen put on “just because” and we both ended up really enjoying it each week.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

If you like animals, you will most definitely like Heaven’s Design Team. This show is a combination of educational aspects with comedy and slice of life. You get a dash of everything in this show.

The concept of the show is well described in the synopsis, so if you skipped over that, I am not going to go into too much detail. You might want to go back and read it. God is the client. The design team creates his “orders”.

First of all, the design team has an array of different personalities, and they’re all pretty fun. You have a horse-lover and one that loves sea creatures, and one that specializes in the terrifying. My favorite is the designer that loves to make all his creations tasty. Their interactions are so relatable like any office. I think this is what makes it particularly funny to me.

What I love about this show is the creative process. We get to see the creative process of each of these designers and you get quite a bit of education on animals. I’ve been truly fascinated at the small tidbits of information I have learned.

The comedy is gold. They often make test animals that don’t quite work out, but again. They do a great job of explaining why they didn’t work. The whole approach to designing these animals makes the whole show funny.

If you love animals, I think you’d love this show. You’ll learn a bit about real-world animals as well as get to experience fictional animals that didn’t quite make the cut. This is a highly enjoyable show and one that I thank my husband for making me watch!

Dr. Ramune Mysterious Disease Specialist

Where: Crunchyroll
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Synopsis:

As long as hearts exist inside people, there will always be those who suffer. And then something “strange” enters their mind and causes a strange disease to manifest itself in the body. The illness, which is called a “mystery disease” is unknown to most, but certainly exists. There is a doctor and apprentice who fights the disease, which modern medicine cannot cure.

His name is Ramune. He acts freely all the time, is foul-mouthed, and doesn’t even look like a doctor! However, once he is confronted with the mysterious disease, he is able to quickly uncover the root cause of his patients’ deep-seated distress and cure them. And beyond that…
(Credit: https://myanimelist.net/anime/42822/Kai_Byoui_Ramune)

This show is highly entertaining and highly unexpected. I was originally turned off by the synopsis and the theme of the show. I’m typically not a fan of supernatural shows as they go in odd directions. They’re just not a favorite genre of mine. However, this show kept me captivated all the way to the end. As of the writing of this article, we’re currently into week 11 so we’re at the finish line.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

What I enjoy about this show is that the supernatural is only a small portion of the show. While the medical conditions that surround Dr. Ramune’s patients are caused by supernatural reasons, we aren’t beaten over the head with a bat regarding it. The show focuses on the issues that caused these weird medical conditions to begin with.

And, yes. The medical conditions are on the ridiculous side. We have gyoza ears, popcorn popping out of one’s head, and chili pepper fingernails. At the root of each of these problems is a real-life stressor and Dr. Ramune jumps head first using an array of supernatural methods to help his patients figure out their issue.

It has all been very fascinating. It helps that Dr. Ramune is pretty funny. He’s a bit of an airhead. If it weren’t for his assistant, Kuro, he’d be in a lot of trouble.

Kuro also has an interesting story that we don’t get to until episode 10. The entire first half of the season, I was wondering how this very studious and diligent student paired up with the quirky doctor. We finally get that answer near the end of the season. It definitely highlights that even though Dr. Ramune is unconventional, he goes above and beyond to help his patients.

Dr. Ramune has a good heart and you get a good balance of supernatural with comedy. If you’re looking for a silly show with moments of suspense, moments of laughter, and even sympathy for his patients, I recommend this show to you!

Bokksu: My Love of Japanese Snacks

At the end of the year, I often treat myself to something nice when I get my annual bonus. This year, I bought myself a three-month subscription to Bokksu.

I am a fan of subscription services. In fact, I would say that it is an addiction. Currently, I have a sticker subscription with Stickii and a makeup subscription with Ipsy. I would have SO MUCH more if they weren’t so expensive. With a discount code, my three-month subscription cost me roughly $130 USD.

I received my first Bokksu this week and I am totally impressed. It is one thing to watch your favorite YouTuber open their Bokksu. It is a whole other thing to get to open your own. My first impression: QUALITY.

Sometimes, you get a subscription box and it is obvious they found some leftover crap in a warehouse somewhere and threw it in a box. I used to get that a lot with Loot Crate. You might get one or two things that you liked, and the rest was just leftover fodder. That was not the feeling I got with Bokksu. Everything was carefully packaged and you even get a booklet about the snacks they chose. So impressive!

I did not feel like I was ripped off. I think that is the most important aspect for me. As I said, I’ve tried many subscription boxes before and often I was not completely happy with what I paid versus what I received. I feel I easily got what I paid for. I love that they doubled up on the snacks so that way you get a little more to share, or enjoy.

I do feel like this will be a hard subscription for me to turn away from. I love Japanese snacks! I adore mochi and mochi snacks. I’m also a big fan of anko.

Today, I tried the mocchan dango mochi made by Kyoushin Seika. Mochi is a rice dumpling/cake. This particular mochi is dusted in sugar. Maybe I am getting too old, but it was just a little too sweet. This would have been perfect without the extra sugar. Mochi is pretty sweet by itself. Many of these snacks are specifically made for Bokksu, so maybe they thought it needed the extra sweetness to appeal to our American palettes. Look how cute the packaging is! Japan is so great at making their products so kawaii. Would I recommend this snack? Heck yeah!

So far, I am pretty impressed with my Bokksu. Everything about it just screams quality and that makes me feel good about it.

**DISCLOSURE STATEMENT – This Bokksu was purchased with my own money. Opinions expressed are my own and not solicited by the makers/creators of Bokksu. I have not been compensated in any way for this review or this product.**

First Impression: Mushoku Tensei – Jobless Reincarnation

Where: Funimation
When: Sundays at 10:00 AM CDT
Genre: Isekai, Fantasy
Synopsis: When a 34-year-old underachiever gets run over by a bus, his story doesn’t end there. Reincarnated in a new world as an infant, Rudy will seize every opportunity to live the life he’s always wanted. Armed with new friends, some freshly acquired magical abilities, and the courage to do the things he’s always dreamed of, he’s embarking on an epic adventure—with all of his past experience intact!

Definitely not for the pure-hearted! If you are easily offended, skip this one. It most definitely will not be for you. However, if you don’t mind a little lewd behavior, this might be right up your alley!

POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD! PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

If you are a fan of isekai, Mushoku Tensei will bring you joy. It brings us back to the roots of the genre. In Mushoku, we are introduced to our protagonist. Categorizing our protagonist as an “underachiever” is not wholly accurate. He was bullied and did absolutely nothing with his life. Unfortunately, the term “loser” applies here. The show does a great job of painting a picture of a man who really had nothing to live for, which is sad. However, that also opens the door to redemption in the next world.

Rudeus, our protagonist, is born into a new world with all of his previous memories in tact. Despite being given the chance to clean up his act, he is still a pervert at heart. Even as an infant, the household help couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable by his goofy faces and obvious oogling.

There is a lot of implied sex in this anime. There are a lot of lewd jokes in this anime. There is a lot of fan service. It is definitely not for the light-hearted. If this kind of thing bothers you, steer clear. It can be heavy-handed at times.

Nevertheless, the story is compelling. The anime really does a good job at painting the picture of Rudeus’ past life. Some of you will feel sorry for him. Some of you will despise him. However, the journey has been entertaining.

In this new world, his father is a piece of trash. Not only is he getting it on at every chance with his wife, he manages to knock up the servant, too. Using his adult knowledge, Rudeus is able to get all parties involved to compromise and continue to live together. The show slowly shows us, through various scenes, that Rudeus is freeing himself from the shackles of his former life. There are some very touching moments of growth.

I think if you are a fan of isekai, this particular one will leave you satisfied. I highly recommend you give it a watch.