Recommendation Roundup: November, 2019, pt. 1

Hey all,

I’m still in processing mode from a lot of things, and as we’re heading into the busy season of the year, it may be a while yet, but I did want to get at least one post up soon (how are we so far into November already??), and since I’ve been sick the last few days and binging a lot of shows, I figured I’d just go ahead and share what I’ve been watching. Warning, this is definitely going to be a special, anime edition of recommendation roundup. But also, this year has been a great year for anime for me, so there’s some great stuff in here. Oh, and P.S. no, I didn’t watch all of these just in the last couple of days. These are actually from several months, haha.

So, in no particular order:

Fire Force

I know I mentioned this one in my last recommendation roundup post, but since it continues to be great and is still ongoing since my last post, I figured I would recommend it again. The premise is that as people have started to spontaneously combust, special fire soldiers must track down the cause, with different fire companies being controlled by varying religious, military, and commercial funders. The show centers around Company 8, whose purpose–besides finding the source of the combustions–is to investigate the other companies and make sure they’re on the up and up. The show is absolutely beautifully animated, funny, and has a great plot. As I mentioned before, do watch out for some pervy humor, but that’s actually lessened a lot since the show’s start, so that’s great news. Since the opener is so gorgeous and the song is so fun (great band overall, FYI) I’m gonna go ahead and re-add that here.

Bem

So, this one surprised me a little. I found it because it came up as a suggested show related to one of the ones above (Special 7, I think?) on Hulu, and since the main character looks SO COOL, I figured I’d give it a try. Turns out, not only is this a reboot (one of many, this being a 50th anniversary from the original series from 1968), it’s actually a rapid departure from the old style of the show, which up until this one had a much more 60s almost Hanna Barbara vibe, so far as I could tell at least from pictures. I haven’t actually seen any, so I can’t speak to the tone (let me know if you have!). Anyway, this time they went a completely different direction, with something closer to a jazzy, noir-y, night club feel, and even had what appeared to be a nod to the famous painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper in one of their episodes.

“You know, the diner one.”

Combine this with the fact that the premise of the show is that three humanoid monsters protect a city that despises them in hopes of one day becoming human themselves, and you can see why this is naturally VERY MUCH my vibe.

That being said, I will say the show does have some pretty serious flaws, mainly having some trouble getting a strong plot through line (especially in the beginning), lacking some emotional depth some times, a few elements that go unresolved, and an ending that in classic anime style goes a little abstract/off the rails. It is still fun to watch though, especially any time the main character Bem is on screen (such intrigue. Swoon, haha), and I’m hoping that if they get a second season (which I hope they do), they’ll be able to dive deeper into some of the elements that didn’t seem to get quite enough time in this one (mainly some inter-character relationships, the main character himself, their histories, and the mysterious Dr. Recycle, who does illegal human modifications). To give a taste of it, here’s the intro, with the three monsters being Bem (the hat guy, also the coolest, also the one with the prettiest, most attractive eyes ever), Belo (headphones kid), and Bela (side pony-tail schoolgirl). Oh, and fun side note, because some of the villains in the show are actually pretty silly, especially given the otherwise more serious vibe of the show, it also kind of has this weird like, 90’s kids show vibe to it a la Gargoyles (yeeeessssss) and Batman the Animated Series, which is both kind of weird but also great.

Black Bullet

So, turns out this one actually came out in 2014, but was so popular, they’re actually going to come back for another season hopefully next year. It, like Bem, also has some flaws, but I also just really liked it. The premise of the show is that some weird virus thing turns people into monsters, and the only ones who can fight them well are super-powered little girls born of women infected by said virus. The girls pair up with people who basically take care of/control them and together they protect humanity. As to flaws, there are some bits of humor that toe the line, some plot holes, and some times when the characters/tone felt really inconsistent, but because it hit that sweet spot of techno-magic and thriller for me, I still really enjoyed it. And, Enju, the little girl who partners up with the show’s main protagonist Rentaro is also super adorable, so that helps too.

Do I understand why Enju uses such large and weird hairclips? No. Do I still adore her? Yes.

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts is a show about Hank, a super soldier who can turn into a monster and hunts down his fellow super-soldier friends as they start to lose themselves to their monster forms, and Schaal, the daughter of one of said monsters who is determined to discover the truth about Hank and his mission. Pros about it are a cool premise, some really pretty fight scenes, and a cool twist on mythology, in which many of the creatures are based off of traditional mythic creatures or monsters (the way they handle the minotaur and vampire in particular were pretty great). Flaws include a certain lack of emotional breadth in some of the characters to start (cough cough, Hank, cough cough), some fairly trope-y character types, and the fact that ultimately, some of the monsters are doomed to be a little silly. There are also some structural gaps in the plot that were a little disorienting, but overall, it was enjoyable to watch and as the characters developed more, I did start to care more. Schaal in particular is great and more complex than the others from the start.

So, there are still four more shows, I wanted to share, but since this post is already getting pretty long. We’ll be saving those for next time. In the meantime, please enjoy these! Thanks for reading!


So, how about you? Any good shows you’ve been watching lately? Let me know in the comments below and if you want more content like this, or updates on my life, faith, or writing, feel free to follow me here using the links in the sidebar or below!

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