Muichiro Unlocks his Tragic Past…and New Powers

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3, Ep 8 Review

They say when you’re about to die, your life starts flashing before your eyes. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s always a good plot device in fiction. Besides serving as a means to remind people of key moments in a character’s life, it also helps explain more about how they ended up the way they are now. In this case, we get to see the life of Muichiro Tokito and learn what made him into the Hashira he is now. The obtuse, potentially thoughtless Hashira we’ve come to know.

This Was My Life…and it Sucked!

Even though he managed to free himself from the water pot thanks to Kotetsu, Muichiro’s in no better shape. Those needles Gyokko and the fish Demons hit him with were poison. As a result, he’s still on the verge of passing out right as the low-level grunt Demons swarm around him.

And this is the moment where Muichiro remembers all of his traumatic past. It soon becomes apparent why his mind chose to suppress the memories, though.

When he was younger, he was the son of a kind and compassionate woodcutter, and he took a lot after his father. However, tragedy struck their family when his mother died from an illness brought on by overworking herself. In addition, his father died trying to find herbs that could’ve helped her. He lost both his parents in one day, leaving him an orphan and alone.

Alone, that is, except for this twin brother.

Yuichiro and Muichiro Needed Therapy!

In essence, Yuichiro, in order to cope with the loss of his parents, shut himself off from the world and not caring about anyone else, thinking that it would keep himself and his brother alive. That’s why even though the wife of the head of the Demon Slayer Corps came to recruit them since they were descendants of one of their members, he kept turning her away. However, that proved to be a massive mistake when a Demon came to kill them both. 


In what can only be described as a fit of primal rage brought on by the urge to survive, Muichiro somehow managed to kill the Demon. The episode leaves the details a mystery, with not even the future Hashira knowing. What is known, though, is that Yuichiro didn’t survive the attack. In his final moments, the boy prayed to the heavens for forgiveness for his misguided attempts to protect his brother, something Muichiro witnessed. 

No wonder Muichiro developed amnesia! He might have gone insane had this not happened.


Awakening a New Power and Wasting Gyokko

As painful as his past was, remembering it did help Muichiro in the long run. As a result of this near-death experience trigger his dormant memories, the Hashira unlocks a new level of power. His face gains markings similar to the ones displayed by Tanjiro in his fights against Demons. Without going into spoiler-territory, it’s safe to say that these marks are the Demon Slayer equivalent to the Super Saiyan. Once he gains them, Muichiro wastes all the fish Demons to save Kotetsu, then turns his attention to the distracted Gyokko.

What follows is the beginning of a fight that, once again, shows off Demon Slayer’s greatest asset: it’s animation. The animation becomes smoother, crisper, and breath-taking to look at. That’s the anime’s way of showing that the stakes are higher than normal, and that we’re going to see things get destroyed, as Gyokko soon learns.

The fight’s between the Mist Hashira and the psychotic artist Gyokko isn’t over yet, but I can already see the writing on the wall: Muichiro’s going to win. 

This was another great episode of Demon Slayer, but I do have one complaint: the meaning of the episode’s title. It’s referring to how the Kanji for ‘Mu’ in Muichiro can have two meanings, according to his late brother: incompetence…and infinite or infinity. However, that loses a little meaning in translation to Western Audiences. Chalk that up to cultural differences, I suppose.

I Give “The ‘Mu’ in Muichiro” a 4/5

Also, this is a quick reminder that the dub for this season of Demon Slayer is now airing on Crunchyroll. If you’ve been waiting to watch it dubbed, then now’s the time to start!

Human Will is Why the Demons Will Never Win!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3 Ep 7 Review

I’ve seen my fair share of Shonen stories over the years, and I’ve come to notice a number of familiar tropes in them. Among my favorite of these tropes has to be the importance of one’s will to succeed. Think about it; how many shonen protagonists have we seen get beaten to the point where they shouldn’t be able to stand, let alone fight…yet do exactly that? Some call it corny or ridiculous; I call it a testament to the will of the human spirit. It’s why the good guys win in the end, and its why the Demons can never win no matter how many Demon Slayers they kill. Case in point, Tanjiro and the other Demon Slayers utilize their incredible willpower to turn the tide on the Demons once more in this episode!

Tanjiro Ain’t Buying That “Awful Villian” Garbage

So, right as Tanjiro’s about to decaptitate the diminutive Hantengu, he finds his sword’s unable to penetrate his skin. Then, to make matters worse, Sekido, the Demon representing Hantengu’s rage, takes matters into his own hands. He absorbs several of the other Emotion Demon’s into himself to create a new Demon, Zohakuten, Hantengu’s hatred. And Zohakuten is a piece of work.

The main thing about Zohakuten is the fact that he is a spiteful and foul-mouthed creature, calling the Demon Slayers awful villains for picking on the “weak and defenseless” Hantengu, who he tries to protect. The Demon then doubles down on the awful villains talk when Tanjiro admits that Hantengu’s never killed anyone that he knows or loves. 

Tanjiro, though, is having none of it. He knows that the Demon’s have no right to claim the moral high ground when the vast majority of them slaughter Humans without a second thought. What Hantengu and Gyokko have done in the short amount of time they’ve been in the village is proof that they’re the villains, and they’re going down.

Gyokko Angered Over Haganezuka Being Better Than Him

Meanwhile, back at the shed, Tokito’s attempts to escape from his watery prison continue to be for naught. He’s close to drowning, and he knows it. Gyokko knows it well enough that he turns his back on the Hashira in lieu of seeing what’s inside the shed. There, in the shed, is Haganezuka, who remains hard at work fixing the sword that Tanjiro recovered from the mechanical doll. And Haganezuka is not letting anything distract him, not even the Demon that could easily kill him.

Since Gyokko considers himself a talented artist, he’s incredibly vain and full of himself. So, when faced with a Human that’s willing to ignore him in favor of his craft, Gyokko loses it. He keeps trying to make Haganezuka break his concentration by attacking him, yelling at him, and breaking his mask so everyone can see his face. Yet, Haganezuka’s will and dedication to his work is so strong, nothing can make him budge. And that just makes the Demon even angrier, making him blow his chance to kill everyone.

That proves to be a costly mistake. As Tokito begins to suffocate, Kotetsu demonstrates his own willpower. The young swordsmith willingly allows another Demon inflict a potentially fatal wound on him, just so he can breathe air into the Hashira’s prison. That kid’s willing to die to save Tokito so he can save everyone. As a result, Tokito manages to slice through the water jar to freedom.

The Demons Lack the Will to Win

This episode encapsulates why the Demons are destined to eventually lose to Humanity: they lack the will to do so. Save for the handful I mentioned, every Demon we’ve seen has been selfish and only cared about themselves. When faced with the prospect of death, they’ll run and abandon each other. 

Now, contrast this with the members of the Demon Slayer Corps. Even when faced with certain death, they’re willing to keep fighting to ensure that one of them can come out on top. They’re willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure no one else can be hurt by Muzan. That’s how powerful the Human will can be, and it’s why they keep winning over the vastly more powerful Demons.

Overall, this episode was a good one. It reminds viewers of why Demon Slayer can stand amongst the greats of the Shonen genre. Like Naruto, JoJo, and One Piece before it, the heroes demonstrate a will to fight in spite of impossible odds. And, in accordance with Shonen rules, that can determine who the victor is.

I Give “Awful Villains” a 4/5

The Sad, Sad Story of Genya.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3 Ep 6 Review

So, after the end of the last episode of Demon Slayer, I took the initiative and looked up what the deal was with Genya. I remembered reading how he has this power to absorb a Demon’s strength by eating them, but that’s all I could remember about him. After consulting the Demon Slayer Wikia and an anime channel on YouTuber, though, I found there’s more to Genya than meets the eye. Even though he’s a hot-headed and abrasive guy in the vein of Bakugo, he’s got a very tragic past. As in, it could give what happened to Sasuke a run for his money. 

No wonder he wants to be a Demon Slayer so badly.

So Close to Victory, but Not Quite.

Last week, it looked like Tanjiro and Genya managed to end the split Demons of Hatengu of the Upper Four. All of their heads were separated from their bodies and everything. However, despite this…the Demons don’t die. Their injuries only slow them down, but they’re ready to make Demon Slayer heads roll once they heal.

This is a regular occurrence in Demon Slayer. Right when the Demon Slayers look like they’ve got things in the bag, the Demons pull an ace out of their sleeves. Tanjiro realizes that the main Demon, Hatengu, isn’t dead in this case. Instead of fully splitting into four Demons, Hatengu broke them off his body while he ran and hid. As a result, Hatengu’s body is the size of a mouse and beyond durable. The sword breaks when Genya tries to hit him with his shotgun and sword! How does that make any sense?

Now, Genya’s lost his sword, and one of the emotion Demons is about to run his skull through with their staff. That makes it the perfect time for a flashback! 

The Sad Story of Sanemi and Genya Shinazugawa

I don’t know if it was already explained, but the flashback reveals Genya’s the younger brother of the Wind Hashira, Sanemi Shinazugawa. AKA the man who stabbed Nezuko in her box before trying (and failing) to goad her into attacking him. The fact that they’re brothers make so much sense, but what happened to them explains why Sanemi was so biased against Nezuko.

Sanemi and Genya’s childhood was fairly horrible. Their father was an abusive deadbeat who died via stabbing on the streets. Their tiny Mother had to care for them and their five brothers and sisters. Since they were the oldest of the two, they had to look out for their Mom and siblings. 

Then, one cruel night while their Mom was out, a monster broke into their home and killed all but Genya and Sanemi. Sanemi forced the monster outside while Genya ran to find a doctor, unable to accept his siblings were dead. Then, as the sun rose, he saw something that made his blood run cold. His brother, Sanemi, stood over their Mother’s bloodied, dead body. Sanemi killed their own Mom! It wasn’t until later that Genya realized that their Mom had been turned into a Demon and killed her own family, forcing Sanemi to kill her in self-defense. Thus, Genya feels like the worst brother ever.

Genya Needs to Open up His Heart to Become a Hashira

I cannot lie: what happened to Genya and Sanemi is messed up. It might be up there with what happened in Sasuke and Itachi’s backstories; it’s that bad! Like Sasuke, Genya blamed his brother for what happened, only to realize that his brother had no choice. It was that or let himself die and, more importantly, let his brother die. In other words, Genya feels like the worst brother ever and thinks Sanemi hates him for it. That’s why he wants to become a Hashira despite being unable to use Breathing techniques. He has to rely on his ability to eat the flesh of Demons and gain their strength. However, determination alone does make someone great. Naruto proves it, Luffy proves it, and Tanjiro proves it. Genya must learn to open his heart again if he wants to succeed.

Genya’s intentions are good, but due to the absolute hell he went through as a kid, he’s closed himself off and become abrasive to everyone. His powers, while cool, can only take him so far. Now compare that to Tanjiro. Despite losing almost his entire family and his sister becoming a Demon, he remains cheerful and friendly. That equates to him making powerful friends and thus overcoming great obstacles, a hallmark of the Shonen genre.

Now, Tanjiro’s kindness even gets through to Genya. Despite wanting to secure the win against an Upper Four, he realizes he can’t do it, but Tanjiro can. So, he lets himself get skewered while allowing Tanjiro find and end Hatengu. It’s the start of good character development.

Once again, Demon Slayer slays with another awesome episode. It might be my preference, but I’ve always been fond of expository flashbacks, so this episode got points. Meanwhile, we still have depraved Demon artist Gyokko holding one Hashira hostage and another defending the Swordsmith Village. If we’re lucky, this arc will end with a fight as cool as the one that leveled the Entertainment District!

I Give “Aren’t You Going to Become a Hashira?” a 4/5

Battle for the Swordsmith Village! Demon Slayers and Demons Clash!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3, Ep 4 Review

How did the Demons find the Swordsmith Village in the first place? That’s what I’m asking myself as I watched the new episode of Demon Slayer. The fact that it’s under attack by two members of the Upper Four, though, is just as concerning. However, for all their power, the Demons have themselves a tough time against the likes of Tanjiro, Nezuko, and their allies. What follows is a rather interesting series of battles that sees all the Demon Slayers get a chance to show off their skills. And that includes Nezuko!

Muichiro Does Have a Heart, After All

Despite having a personality akin to sandpaper at first, the last episode proved that underneath all that, Muichiro’s a decent person. He wound up taking Tanjiro’s words about kindness to others to heart. As a result, he saves Kotesu from the fish Demon. What’s more, despite wanting to prioritize the safety of the village over a single person, he agrees to help Kotetsu save Hotaru and his comrade. 

So, Muichiro’s not a bad person. However, this episode also revealed something interesting: he has amnesia. He doesn’t remember much about his past, so the head of the Demon Slayer Corps has been telling him to talk to others. Sometimes, minor moments can trigger a person’s memories. Thus, he jumps back into the fight to save Hotaru, AKA the guy fixing the sword that Tanjiro’s going to need to win.

Speaking of which…

Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Genya vs. the Quadruplet Demons

I’ve seen a number of Demons with bizarre powers in this series, but I wasn’t expecting one that could split into more Demons like Hantengu can. As a result of this ability, now the three are facing off against four Demons, each representing a different emotion of Hantengu: Urogi, Sekido, Karaku, and Aizetsu. At first glance, they all appear to be tougher than them, but that’s usually the case with Demons. Yet thanks to some good old-fashioned swordsmanship and inegunity, Tanjiro still manages to come out on top. Thanks to his wits, Tanjiro discovers that there’s a limit to how many times the Demons can split themselves. In addition, despite being separated from his sister and Genya, he uses Urogi to quickly reunite with his comrades. This is why Tanjiro’s one of the best the Demon Slayer Corps has to offer.

Nezuko, meanwhile, starts struggling against her opponent. On paper, she should be fine, but the more she uses her Demon powers, the greater the risk she has of succumbing to them. Thankfully, Genya manages to cover for her well enough, despite taking a beating himself.

I don’t know that much about Genya, but his fighting style’s unlike any Demon Slayer we’ve seen thus far. He doesn’t use breathing techniques, he uses a shotgun, and he can heal from bad injuries. He’s an interesting character, to be sure. I hope we learn more about him as the arc progresses.

The War has Come to the Swordsmith Village

It doesn’t matter how you slice it, the war against the Demons has come to the Swordsmith Village. Worse, since it’s location is a secret even from the Demon Slayers, there’s no surefire way to get people there in time to help. It’s fortunate that the Love Hashira, Misturi, happens to be nearby and rushes to help. Beyond that, the villagers and the Demon Slayers there are on their own.

I don’t know the full details of what happens, but I do know that something very important happens at the very end of this arc. As such, I’m going to be paying close attention to what happens. Given how this is Demon Slayer, we’re bound to get some jaw-dropping action in the coming episodes. It will be worth it!

I Give “Thank You, Tokito” a 4/5

‘Demon Slayer’ Returns for Long-Awaited Swordsmith Village Arc

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3, Ep 1 Review

Since its anime debut in 2019, Demon Slayer has risen to international superstardom. With a cast of memorable characters, incredible music, and animation so good it borders on otherwordly, Demon Slayer is one of the biggest names in Shonen anime. So when a new season drops, people pay attention to it, like they are right now.

During the events of the last season, Tanjiro and his comrades emerged from their toughest battle yet in the Entertainment District Arc. That battle reduced the location to rubble and left every Demon Slayer terribly injuries, but it was worth it. For the first time in a century, the Demon Slayers took out one of the feared Upper Six, AKA Muzan’s strongest Demons. The upside is that this could mark a shift in the war between the two factions. The downside? Tanjiro’s broken his sword for the umpteenth time, forcing him to get it repaired. With this as the backdrop, Demon Slayer heads into its third season and the Swordsmith Village Arc.

The Upper Six Demons Terrifying…ly Dysfunctional.

With the death of the Upper Rank Six holders Daki and Gyutaro, the King of Demons Muzan is not happy with his followers. Thus, he summons them to his lair in the Infinity Castle to remind them why they shouldn’t fail him. This marks the first time we see the rest of Upper Rank Six in person, and, in true Demon Slayer form, they’re all horrifying to look at. Their bodies are misshapen and distorted, with one Demon having mouths where his eyes should be and eyes where his mouths should be. They’re the stuff of nightmares!

At the same time, though, one thing becomes clear about the Upper Ranks: they’re on the same side, but they’re not a team. They make constant, mean-spirited jabs at each other…or flat-out try to kill one another. They’re at each other’s throats jockeying for power, and its only the power of Muzan and the Upper Rank One, Kokushibo, that keeps them in line. In short, they give off the impression of beings that, were it not for their powers, would be easy pickings for the Demon Slayers. That, or they would kill each other.

Tanjiro Awakens, and Hilarity Ensues

While all of this is going on, Tanjiro’s been out cold following the fight with Daki and Gyutaro, during which he has a strange dream. He seems a man who looks much like himself, minus the burn scar, speaking with a man wearing the earrings he now wears. Those who read the manga know who these two are and how important they are to the story. Anime-only people, though, have to wait for this to be revealed down the line. In the meantime, Tanjiro wakes up, much to everyone’s joy.

Especially Inosuke. He wouldn’t stop screaming at him to wake up from his spot on the ceiling.

Following yet another rehab session, though, Tanjiro hits a bit of a snag: his sword broke for the umpteenth time. Now the one who forged it is so mad, he’s refusing to make it again. As a result, Tanjiro and Nezuko have to go to the Demon Slayer Corps secret swordsmith village and get it fixed there.

Swordsmith Village: So Secret No One Can Know Where it is!

Calling the swordsmith village a secret is an understatement. It’s the Demon Slayer Corps most closely guarded secret. Without it or its swordsmiths, the Demon Slayer Corps would be unable to create the treasured swords that help them slay Demons. They pull out all the stops to keep its location a secret from everyone, even their own members. I would call this paranoia, but given how dangerous Demons can be, they have good reason to be paranoid.

As someone who takes an interest in historical facts and settings, it was fun seeing what this ancient, revered village looks like. The forging of swords is an art form in Japan, so getting to see it up close, even in an anime, was fun to watch. In addition, this episode also sees the return of the love Misturi Kanroji. Beyond the fanservice, I can see why people like her; she’s nice. In contrast, we also meet Genya, another Demon Slayer who’s rude and abrasive to everyone, including Tanjiro and Nezuko. Both are interesting contrasts.

The Demons Are Going to Find the Swordsmith Village, Aren’t They?

Now, I would normally say that this Swordsmith Village arc is going to be peaceful to counter how explosive the Entertainment District Arc was. However, the fact that this village is so important invites people to target it. In other words, the Demons are coming, and they’re out for blood.

Overall, this was a decent start to the new season. I’m not as devout a follower of Demon Slayer as I am with other anime, but I can see the appeal behind it, and the animation’s amazing. Given everyone’s expectations, I’m hoping that the new season can build on the hype of the last one as we ring in the Spring 2023 season of anime.

Also, Muzan’s a jerk.

I Give “Someone’s Dream” a 3.5/5

Suzume, a Heartfelt Disaster Film by Makoto Shinkai

Suzume Review

Twelve years ago, Japan found itself wracked by the deadliest earthquake in its history. Tens of thousands lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes thanks to these things and the nuclear meltdown, and many have never been able to return home. This incident has deeply scarred Japan in recent years, with many only now coming to grips with what happened. Suzume, the latest film from the director of Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, addresses the effects of that great disaster. It does it not in some grandiose fashion, but in a surreal, retrospective way.

Also, there’s a talking chair.

What the Heck is Going On?!?

After a surreal dream, the film Suzume introduces us to our main protagonist, the titular Suzume, a normal high-school girl living in Kyushu with her aunt. Then one day, after meeting this stranger named Souta, she finds this magical doorway in some ruins and picks up the keystone she finds on the other side. However, by doing so, she ends ups freeing this supernatural monster that causes massive earthquakes whenever it gets out. Even weirder, Souta, whose job is to close these doors so this doesn’t happen, gets turned into a chair. Before Suzume can process what’s happening, she’s dragged on this cross-country road trip to find the keystone, turn Souta back to normal, and fix this mess before it can destroy Japan. 

could not make any of this up even if I tried. Given all of the strange things that can happen in anime, though, a guy getting turned into a chair isn’t the most bizarre thing I’ve seen.

Suzume is a Bizarre, Supernatural/Road trip/Disaster Film

When I was a teenager, I got to read a copy of the nonfiction book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It told the real-life story of Chris McCandless, a young man who left his life behind to become a nomad, traveling across the United States before dying in the wilderness in Alaska. While the circumstances of his death are sad, the idea of traveling the world while young has a certain appeal to audiences. Thus, getting to see Suzume take this unplanned trip across most of Japan was an interesting idea. On the surface, she’s doing it to fix her mistake and help Souta, on the inside, she’s doing it to make peace with her traumatic past. 

Without getting into too much detail, Suzume’s revealed to be a survivor of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Twelve years onward, people are still trying to pick up the pieces from that great disaster. One moment, they’re leading normal lives, only for catastrophe to change everything forever. It’s a bitter reminder of how bad things happen without warning, and how easy it is for people to lose what hey hold dear the most. 

I still remember hearing news about the disaster, and its clear that its something that Japan hasn’t forgotten what happened. It also ties back to Shinkai’s previous films, Weathering With You and Your Name. Both of them involved dealing with natural disasters via the supernatural. It was a means of coping with what happened, and a good one, at that.

Suzume Makes an Effort Not to Repeat the Romances of Shinkai’s Previous Films

While I’m a fan of Makoto Shinkai thanks to his previous works, I don’t think that Suzume reaches the same emotional highs as that of Your Name. However, one thing that sets it apart from Shinkai’s previous films is how there’s less of a focus on the romantic aspect. Which is good, too, because Suzume’s a high schooler while Souta’s at least a few years older, given that he’s stated to be in grad school. There is some chemistry between the two, but the film solves this by having Souta remain a chair the majority of the time. 

While the idea of someone getting cursed into a chair might sound weird (and it is), it’s brilliant from a storytelling perspective. It allows Souta and Suzume’s relationship to develop in a platonic fashion during the film, eliminating the threat of shipping. In addition, it also allows Suzume to become introspective at times as she thinks about her traumatic past and how it’s affected her life. She doesn’t realize it until the end, but this whole journey has been to help teach her an important life lesson. That lesson being that, regardless of how sudden life can change, it can also leave people open to new experiences. 

A Heartfelt, Coming-of-Age Story

Not everyone’s going to enjoy the movie Suzume. Compared to the likes of Your Name, it feels like Makoto Shinkai failed to recapture that great spark he had. However, the ones who do like it are in for a treat.

Suzume is a good movie about overcoming past trauma through the bonds we forge, and as always, the art and animation are breathtaking. The look of the sky alone is good enough for an art gallery! If you got a chance, I recommend you give this film a shot.

I Give “Suzume” a 4/5

He Shoots, He Scores! Jun Finally Confesses to Tomo

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 12 Review

It finally happened; it took almost the entire series, but we finally got it. Jun finally confessed to Tomo! Granted, I was completely wrong about my whole “play” theory, but that doesn’t really matter. Tomo and Jun are out of the friendzone…sort of. They’re in that sweet spot of being best friends and lovers, which is perfect.

Jun Finally Gets His Act Together

We’ve known for a while now that Jun’s fallen for Tomo as much as she’s fallen for him. However, since they’re both awkward teens and best friends, they have no clue how to take that next step. Tomo even questions if she wants to take that next step, since she fears it would mean the end of their friendship. Jun, meanwhile, finally realizes what Tomo meant when they first started high school together about she loved him; like I said, he was in denial about it. 

Before he can do anything, though, he feels the need to clear the air with Misuzu. So, she pulls her aside and apologizes for how things ended between them. He partially admits that he never tried going after Tomo at first out of respect for Misuzu…though she doesn’t see it the same way. As a side note, Misuzu wasn’t even Jun’s first love.

After that, comes the moment on the rooftop where Jun makes his big romantic confession. And Tomo…calls him a dumbass and runs away. She still doesn’t want to lose him as her best friend.

Misuzu Owns Up to Her Mistakes

Misuzu has had enough of what’s happening and steps in to be the voice of reason. First and foremost, though, she apologizes for trying to make Tomo change to get Jun. She was already perfect for him the way she was. So, after actually crying, Misuzu urges Tomo to do what she should’ve done from the start: be herself and stop overthinking things.

One contest of strength later, Tomo and Jun have an honest heart-to-heart where they both admit what they want: they want to be best friends and a couple. It sounds selfish, but it’s also perfect for them. And just like that, the two best friends take the next step.

So, What Now?

Full disclosure: I got so impatient waiting for the next episode that I went and read the remainder of the comic. At first, I thought that we might get a second season of Tomo-Chan. Given how short each chapter is, though, I’m willing to bet the final episode will cover all of that in the needed timeframe. 

I’m going to miss watching Tomo-Chan after next week comes around. This was one of the best slice-of-life anime I’ve seen in a good while, and it will be sad to see it go. But, it was a pretty sweet ride up until this point in time. That, and it was great to see a tomboy become the main waifu for an anime.

 I Give “Goodbye, Best Friend” a 4/5

Jun, Stop Treating Tomo So Delicately!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 8 Review

Whether Jun likes it or not, he can no longer deny the facts: Tomo is a girl. She’s a badass girl who’s also super cute when she tries to be, and one he very much finds attractive. Many people do; why else would Gigguk include a call to join the Church of Tomboys in his review for the Winter 2023 anime season? So why isn’t he doing anything about it? 

We still have until April for the season to end, so there’s more time to see these two lovebirds try and figure out their relationship. More fun for the rest of us, though!

The Summer Festival, another classic trope of Slice-of-Life anime

It’s summertime, and in slice-of-life anime, that almost always means two things happen. Firstly, we get a beach episode. Secondly, we get the festival episode, where the cast dresses up in kimonos, visits stalls, and watches fireworks. And, thanks to Misuzu, Tomo will spend the local festival alone with Jun. Let the romance begin!

There’s just one problem…ever since the beach trip, Jun’s been way too flustered to act like his normal self around Tomo. It gets worse in this episode when Tomo goes to the festival in an amazing kimono, and almost every guy’s floored by how beautiful she looks. The stall attendants are so blown away when they start sharing a photo of her, and the reactions are priceless. Everyone looks at Tomo like she’s this beautiful goddess walking amongst mere mortals. 

As funny and heartwarming as everyone’s reactions are, though, they highlight Jun’s biggest issue. He knows Tomo’s a girl and finds her attractive. Yet whenever he acknowledges this, he starts treating it way more delicately. Tomo likes that to an extent. However, she still wants him to be her best friend and her boyfriend. 

Girl or not, though, Tomo can still kick most people’s butts. And it takes a certain incident to get Jun to snap out of his funk.

Don’t Mess with Jun, Tomo, or Misuzu. 

Once the new term starts, Tomo’s bummed out by how more cautious Jun’s treating her and complains about it to Carol and Misuzu. And as the season’s progressed, it’s clear that Misuzu’s secretly jealous of them and doesn’t want to lose her best friend. However, that gets sidelined due to a certain incident.

If you’ll recall, this pack of bullies made the mistake of going after Tomo earlier in the season, and she cleaned their leader’s clock. Then Jun did the same to all of them at once. When they spot Misuzu and Carol, though, they see this as the perfect chance for revenge, leaving the two girls to run and hide…and call Jun for help. Tomo soon learns, and before long, the cavalry arrives to save Carol and Misuzu. Oh, and Kousuke, the captain of the karate club, comes because Carol’s his friend/and or fiance.

The following curb stomp serves as a reminder to Jun that he sorely needed. Tomo might be a girl, and while it’s fine for him to protect her when she needs it, she can still kick most people’s asses. Given everything we’ve seen of the two, neither can reconcile these aspects.

Okay, Real talk, Tomo and Jun

I normally don’t do this in a review, but I feel like it’s necessary. Jun doesn’t realize how lucky he is to have Tomo.

Tomo is one of the best waifu’s I’ve seen in an anime in a long, long time. Not only is she cute, but she’s also a badass. That is seriously awesome to have someone like that as your best friend. And despite the fact that both are attracted to and perfect for each other, Jun’s as scared as Tomo is about taking that next step. They don’t want to give up their status as best friends, even if it means they become lovers. But is that what will happen?

Real talk: there’s no rule against your best friend being your lover as well. If anything, that’s the best of both worlds. The fact that they’re best friends means they don’t have to put on an act in front of each other and be themselves. That’s the best thing that could happen in a romantic relationship! So for both of their sakes, they better figure that out soon.

Alright, rants over. Once again, Tomo-Chan knocked it out of the park. I love this anime, and it’s one of the best of 2023. 

Also, never anger Misuzu. She will destroy your social life.

I Give “The Night of the Summer Festival” and “The Distance Between Them,” a 4.5/5 each. Best Episodes yet

I Think I Figured Out Jun-Chan’s Deal About Tomo-Chan!

It might be premature, but I’m now putting Tomo-Chan on my list for best anime of 2023. This week’s episode has to be my favorite one yet. Besides Tomo going from total badass to awkward teenager, it also gives us some sweet moments between her and Jun.

Tomo-Chan’s Birthday Makeover

In our first segment, it’s Tomo’s birthday, and she starts acting smug to the others since she has her birthday before them. Besides getting sunglasses from Jun that give her the power of the drip and an actual gold bar from Carol, Tomo receives a special birthday present. Carol and Misuzu give her a mega-makeover. One that’s way more extensive than the one she got for her date with Jun. then Carol and Misuzu send her out into the world to give her confidence.

Then, as if by fate, she runs into Jun at a convenience store. And Jun does recognize her in her makeover, and he’s super confused about it! So confused that the day afterwards, he goes out of his way to get punched by her to make sure she hasn’t gone soft on him! 

As funny as this whole thing was, it does give us some insight into what Jun sees in Tomo. He’s suffering from the classic “putting someone on a pedestal” syndrome. 

Dodgeball is Serious Business

In the second segment, a dodgeball tournament’s coming up. And since Tomo’s too strong for the girls, she has to play on the boy’s team with Jun. Since the two are unstoppable together, they slaughter the enemy. Dodgeball is serious business to high schoolers, after all!

Come the final round, the two face off against the strongest person in school, and Jun gets knocked out protecting Tomo. So Tomo tries to turn the thing around by getting Jun back in the game, but Jun zones out and…they still win, but it’s anticlimactic. 

There is a reason why Jun messed up, though: he was expecting Tomo to win without him. This whole episode reveals that Jun has Tomo on this pedestal in his head. To him, she’s the strongest person he knows, and he’s always been trying to catch up to her, even though she doesn’t see it that way. As a result, he’s got this inferiority complex with Tomo. He knows things are different between them now, but he doesn’t want to move forward until he thinks he’s strong enough to rival her.

In other words, normal teen love drama. 

Best Episode Yet

In a show that’s already given us plenty of laughs, this episode of Tomo-Chan is probably the best. It’s got the right balance of hilarious and heartwarming. Say what you want, but I think it’s a great anime.

That, and I want to meme the heck out of Tomo with her sunglasses.

I Give “Birthday Present” and “Burn Up! The Ball Sports Tournament” a 4.5/5 Each

2022 Was a Great Year for Anime

The Best Anime of 2022

Another year over, another year closer to anime fans achieving pop culture hegemony. All jokes aside, 2022 was a particularly good year for Japanese animation. Not only did we get some incredible films and series in 2022, but several of these ended up breaking the Internet. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for us to look back on the best anime to come out of Japan.

Full disclosure: in addition to anime series, we will also be counting movies. Considering the success that several anime films had at the box office this year, it’s justified.

Attack on Titan Season 4, Part 2

Just when you thought that Attack on Titan couldn’t get any bigger, it does just that. The second part to the hit anime’s final season premiered in January 2022, and the Internet went crazy over it. Given how this part saw series protagonist/antagonist Eren Yeager enact his plans of unleashing an army of Titans to wipe out all humanity beyond his island home, that was to be expected. In addition, when the opening for the new part, “Rumbling” went up on YouTube, it wound up trending. Given how the part ended on a massive cliffhanger, fans are chomping at the bit to see the grand finale in all its animated glory. 

Spy x Family

It’s the spy comedy that’s taken the anime world by storm, Spy x Family. Making its anime debut in 2022, Spy x Family combines all the action and escapades of classic spy films with the kind of comedy that will leave you in stitches. Set in a fictional world locked in a cold war, Spy x Family follows Twilight, an agent tasked with spying on an enemy politician to stop a potential war. To do this, he builds a fake family with a little girl named Anya and a woman named Yor. The twist is that Yor’s secretly one of her country’s best assassins, and the only one aware of this is the mind-reading Anya, whose desperate to keep her found family intact.

Even though it’s the new kid on the block, Spy x Family has already won the hearts of millions, and it’s not hard to see why: the characters are so likable. Anya’s a precious little cinnamon bun who only wants to have a real family and will go to great lengths. Despite only taking them in as part of his cover, Loid comes to genuinely care about Anya and Yor. Lastly, Yor’s dual nature as a deadly assassin but clumsy and caring housewife makes her one of the top waifus of the year. If you haven’t already watched it, you should check out Spy x Family.

One Piece

This year was a good year for One Piece, period. On the manga front, the series completed its biggest and longest arc to date, the Wano Country Arc that saw Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates go head-to-head with one of the strongest pirates in the world. Meanwhile, that same arc continues to be adapted into anime to great fanfare. When Crunchyroll posted some of the best clips on YouTube, they trended several times. 

Lastly, the series latest film, One Piece Film: Red, saw massive success in its native Japan and overseas, with its soundtrack trending on iTunes. With the series entering its final saga and Eichiro Oda promising it to be more epic than ever, now’s a good time to be a One Piece fan.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero 

After so many years of getting the short end of the stick in favor of his dad, Dragon Ball finally made Gohan great again. When the remnants of the Red Ribbon Army come out of hiding (again) while Goku and Vegeta are away, it falls to Gohan to deal with the threat. However, Gohan’s neglecting his training again, much to everyone’s disappointment. Frustrated by this, Piccolo uses this chance to force Gohan to reawaken his fighting spirit.

Even though this movie sees the franchise use 3D animation as opposed to 2D, it doesn’t make the film less amazing. The film brings back much of the humor from the early days of the original manga while carefully balancing it with a ton of action. In addition, the film sees Gohan and Piccolo gain new forms that put them in the running for strongest characters in the franchise once more. The former gets a form that, for all intents and purposes, effectively canonizes the popular fanmade transformation El Blanco. El Blanco is canon, people!

Chainsaw Man

Yet another newcomer to the Shonen anime scene, Chainsaw Man has also taken the anime world by storm. Set in an alternate 1990’s Japan where Devils exist, the series follows Denji, a young, teenaged Devil Hunter whose life’s cut short by a group of Yakuza. However, Denji gets a second lease on life when he fuses with his Devil friend, Pochita, becoming the infamous Chainsaw Man. Now, Denji hunts down even more Devils. Not for the sake of humanity or for justice or revenge, but for the simple goal of living a normal life. That, and to get lucky with a woman.

Chainsaw Man is one of the most popular anime on the market right, and it’s not hard to see why. The characters are quirky and the series is filled with so much blood and over-the-top violence that it would leave Attack on Titan jealous. If you haven’t been watching it, then you need to be. It’s a slow burn at first, but once it picks up, you’ll see why it’s so popular already.

My Hero Academia Season 6

While the fifth season may not have been that exciting, it was just a prelude to the real show: My Hero Academia, Season 6. With the villains growing more powerful than ever, the heroes make their move to put an end to the destructive plans of Tomura Shigaraki. However, what should’ve been a decisive victory for the heroes turns into an all-out war that pushes both sides to their absolute limits. Characters die, heroes and villains unlock new abilities, and shocking revelations emerge. This is My Hero Academia at its absolute best, and the season’s only halfway over.

JoJo : Stone Ocean

Netflix ruined the hype for this. JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure is one of the greatest shonen series ever. The last decade’s seen the anime inspire countless memes as it finally achieved worldwide popularity. However, the decision to have Part 6 air on Netflix prevented it from reaching the heights it should have. Netflix made the decision to release the season in batches, which is good for streaming but terrible for building up hype. As a result, the final act in the original JoJo timeline almost flies under the radar.