Sword Art Online II

Sword Art Online II

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Anime | 2 comments

I review Sword Art Online II, which has completed its first story-arc. While the series has many strong points, it also suffers from a lot of what held back the first season.

Read More

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Anime | 1 comment

Based on a Japanese light novel written by Wataru Watari and illustrated by Ponkan8, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU follows several self-proclaimed “loners” who are part of their school’s Service Club. The series just finished its first season in June, and fans of the series are enthusiastically asking for a second season. Judging by the fact that the light novel series is still ongoing, that may be possible… which makes me very happy. I’ve never hidden my distaste of teenage melodrama, however teenage drama, when done properly, can be quite engaging. Though SNAFU labels itself a romantic comedy, it is also dramatic, and at times even a little dark. It’s hard not to be with leading characters like Hachiman Hikigaya and Yukino Yukinoshita. Having thoroughly ticked off one of his teachers (the brilliant Shizuka Hiratsuka who smokes, is sensitive about her age and likes to sucker punch students), Hiki is forced into the Service Club as a means of helping him interact with others.   The Service Club, run by the uncompromising Yukino, assists students with various needs. As the season progresses, these vary wildly, however in each case, we wind up learning just as much about the Service Club members, as we do about those whom they assist. Hiki is so pessimistic that he refuses to believe there is any good to be experienced in his teenage years, and it is from this that we get the series title. Yukino is exceptionally intelligent and attractive, however is so guarded that she projects a narcissistic persona to keep others at bay and to control her emotions. Finally there is Yui Yuigahama, who starts the season off as the Service Club’s first customer and goes on to join the club, despite Yukinoshita’s objections. She is the ray of light in the Service Club trio of characters, though is not without her quirks as well, such as a low self-esteem which makes it hard for her to stand up for herself and have her opinions heard.   The thing about SNAFU that appeals to many is that it is never a straight-forward experience. There are an incredible amount of layers to every character, every encounter, every story arc. You see this especially when the class has to chaperone a group of younger children at a camp and they are forced to pass on some of what they have learned through their experiences to these children, some of whom exhibit the same social behaviors which set Hiki and Yukinon apart. There is also an underlying history between the three main characters which forces them to grow as the season progresses and see themselves differently… even learn to accept each other’s quirks. This unravels slowly at first, till it is nearly all-consuming, threatening to destroy the Service Club, and the friendship the three have developed during the course of the season’s 13 episodes....

Read More