Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle – 07 – Starting Over from Zzzzero

While there was no danger of Syalis’ antics growing stale at the Demon Castle, there’s nothing like a change of venue to freshen things up. That change occurs when Twilight’s rival Hades kidnaps Syalis in her sleep and deposits her in the far more rundown (but quieter!) Former Demon Castle.

The overarching joke this week is that Hades acts precisely like Twilight and his underlings when they first captured Syalis. Now they know better and harbor a healthy fear and respect for the pint-sized princess, while almost pitying Hades for not knowing what’s coming down the pike.

Predictably, Syalis doesn’t panic or cower before Hades or his adorable henchmen triplets Ker, Ber, and Os. Her first instinct is to simply sleep, in lieu of anything better to do. Then she puts her head on the appallingly cheap pillow and gets a nasty case of deja vu from her first night in Twilight’s castle.

Armed with a new quest to improve her pillow as the first step in a process, Syalis immediately returns to her usual relentlessly resourceful and determined self. When Ker, Ber, and Os try to intimidate them, she casually tosses an explosive pompom at the cell gate and sends them fleeing in terror.

Syalis’ search for fluffy bedding materials takes her into direct contact with Hades, but since he’s busy on the videophone gloating to Twilight (and laughing an exaggerated laugh like Rintarou Okabe) he doesn’t notice her literally ripping his clothes off for repurposing.

She gets an assist from her “friends” at the Demon Castle when they make such a ruckus on the phone, Hades is distracted. They even get him to look and levitate upwards so she can snag his fur boa, and when she does they cheer like Houston celebrating a successful rocket launch!

The pillow, however, is merely the first step. Syalis’ second quest involves improvement of her bedding in general. She soon finds that this Former Demon Castle has a lot more traps, but thankfully none of the needles, flying axes or fireballs end up killing her, and she meets a kindred spirit in Hypnos, the “personification of drowsiness”.

Syalis is immediately impressed by Hypnos’ dedication to sleep and begins calling him “Master” and asking him to teach her. When he shows her that the undersides of the tiles of an electrified walkway are fluffy fur, she jumps several steps ahead, killing the power source and gathering all of the furry tiles.

This sets off a number of traps, but Syalis must have been trained in martial arts and self-defense, because she’s able to dodge all of them, impressing Hypnos enormously. Her final bed contraption consists of a large mobile fur mattress that moves along a track, avoiding fireballs as she sleeps.

But as she’s starting a third quest for another comfortable night’s sleep, Twilight and some members of his Big Ten Council prepare a rescue mission to retrieve their captive. Lower-ranking people in the castle note how quiet and boring it is without the princess. They all want her back!

Hades remains in blissful ignorance, believing it laughable that the princess could leave her cell, let alone do all of the stuff she’s done. Yet she’s in his personal fur stash gathering materials, and just as he’s discussing all of the status-boosting weapons Ker/Ber/Os can use to repel Twilight and his compatriots, Syalis is destroying those very weapons in order to make a comfy neck pillow.

When Twilight & Co. finally confront Hades, the two Demon Lords seem poised for an epic one-on-one battle, which is interrupted by the sight of Syalis flying off in a flying contraption also meant for Ker/Ber/Os. Twilight & Co. peace out, taking a rain check on that duel, and chase after Syalis, who reunites with a Demon Teddy and sleeps soundly on the bag of stolen furs as the contraption flies her back to the Demon Castle—a place she’s come to think of as home.

End-of-Month Rundown – January 2016


January ended with a snowy bang in our parts (over two feet in some areas) so it’s appropriate several shows that failed to make the cut were subsequently buried.

Those who came here to read reviews of the likes of Norn9, Divine Gate, or Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya, etc. may be disappointed, but we’re committed not to waste our or anyone else’s time with shows that just don’t do it for us.

We’ll probably be sticking with eleven shows you see above; all have passed the 3-episode test.  It’s not a huge list, but that’s fine; we can maximize our attentions and memories far better with a small group than the huge ones of past seasons. The smaller sampling also means a sharper drop-off.

Quick observations:

  • There is an undisputed King of the Winter, and it is Boku dake ga Inai Machi, which blows every other Winter show out of the icy water. It’s cracked 9 on MAL and continues to rise (good for 11th all-time) with the most voters of any Winter show we’re watching, which is a very rare thing.
  • Preston is confident that quality can be maintained or even surpassed, but a slight regression on the back end wouldn’t be the end of the world. Her second pick Grimgar, while not quite as excellent, is also breaking conventions in its ostensible genres and providing its fair share of emotional punch.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has only a small fraction of Inai Machi’s audience, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s engrossing enough to be Zane’s top pick. Dimension W is proving the best of recent shows that are about “A Lot of Stuff”, but it’s not guaranteed to stay as good as it started.
  • As for Hannah’s shows, they’re all second seasons or sequels, with Gundam, Durarara!!x2 and GATE all plugging away nicely, in that order.
  • Zane has not committed to finishing Prince of Stride, but the recent racing has been enough of a distraction from the bland characters to keep him interested. As for KyoAni’s latest effort Phantom World, Preston is taking a similar ep-by-ep approach.

Anyway, we hope you’re enjoying our reviews. It’s always better to write and be read than to simply write. Please keep up the thoughtful discussion, but be sure to clearly mark spoilers if you absolutely must include them in your comments. And as always, thanks for reading!



End-of-Month Rundown – November 2015

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Click to View Full Size

Average Episode Show Word Count (Words per review):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: 906
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: 748
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai: 702
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto: 649
Noragami Aragoto: 642
Ushio to Tora: 616
Owari no Seraph 2: 601
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: 594
Subete ga F ni Naru: 593
Owarimonogatari: 589
One Punch Man: 568
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen: 398

Stray November Observations:

  • Gundam IBO remains the best Fall show, with Noragami, One Punch Man, Owarimonogatari, and Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry rounding out the Fall Top 5
  • Zane’s review of RKC episode 9 was 1,196 words, tops among Fall ’15 reviews, edging out Hannah’s IBO episode 1
  • Hannah is continuing her Retro Reviews of Attack on Titan, but is quitting Utawarerumono due to declining interest
  • Among shows we’re still reviewing, only Subete ga F and Asterisk have yet to be awarded a 9 rating, and only those two shows and Taimadou have average ratings under 8
  • One Punch Man and Owarimonogatari are the only two shows with average ratings below MAL’s
  • OPM’s MAL rating (8.88) seems over-inflated, while Taimadou’s (7.17) seems oddly underrated (both, probably, due to source material reader opinion…which is just as valid as anime-only watcher opinion)
  • No Fall shows are experiencing any significant second-half fall-off; it’s been a pretty consistent season
  • To reach the rare 9 average rating, the final four episodes of IBO’s first cour will have to average 9.5 (or two 9s and two 10s)
  • So far, the writers of RABUJOI have written 73,281 words (including 7,377 for the first 13 episodes of Attack on Titan
  • If we printed those words out in single-spaced 12-point type on standard letter stock (~500 words per page), it would be about 147 pages

End-of-Month Rundown – October 2015

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Click to View Full Size

This month, we thought we’d take a look at exactly how much we were writing about each show. One unscientific conclusion to be drawn from this superficial analysis is that “Better Shows” don’t always equal “More Words”…but they can.

Average Episode Show Word Count (Words per review):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: 987
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai: 745
Owarimonogatari: 703
Ushio to Tora: 686
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: 665
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: 646
Owari no Seraph 2: 607
Noragami Aragoto: 590
One Punch Man: 589
Subete ga F ni Naru: 569
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto: 564
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen: 406

Top 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 01: 1,138
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 03: 1,073
Owarimonogatari – 02: 1,029
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 05: 987
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 03: 922
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 02: 893
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 04: 846
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 04: 820
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 03: 803
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05: 792

Bottom 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 03: 301
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 02: 308
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 05: 400
Owari no Seraph 2 – 04: 422
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 04: 431
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 05: 435
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 04: 438
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 01: 462
Noragami Aragoto – 01: 482
One Punch Man – 02: 489

Author Verbosity (Words per review):

Braverade: 713
sesameacrylic: 651
MagicalChurlSukui: 603

End-of-Month Rundown – September 2015

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Click to View Full Size

Summer is over as of last week, and we watched and reviewed the last of the Summer anime last night. We’re all done and ready for Fall! As usual, our final watchlist grew beyond our preferred group of 10-12, but unlike usual, there weren’t any late drops.

The only show that will carry over into Fall is Ushio to Tora. Other shows have yet to end (GOD EATER, Working!!!, Durarara!!x2) but will be continued after hiatuses.

Shows speculated or expected, but not confirmed, to have sequels down the road include Food Wars, OverLord, GANGSTA, and Rokka no Yuusha.

Other Fun Facts:

  • As you can see from the matching colors on the left edge, we’ve got an unintentional “Preston Sandwich” with three of her five shows sandwiched between four Braverade and four sesameacrylic slices of bread.
  • Gakkou Gurashi! narrowly edged out Ore Monogatari!! and Charlotte as the King of Summer, with no ties. According to the voters at MAL, the best show of the Summer was Food Wars at 8.72, and the best non-carryover was, oddly, Working!!! at 8.21.
  • The two shows we disagreed with MAL with the most were Gakkou Gurashi (which we rated 1.02 points higher than MAL) and Rokka no Yuusha (which we rated 0.64 points lower).
  • According to our ratings, MAL grossly underrated Gakkou and Charlotte and overrated Rokka, GATE, and Working!!!.
  • The overall weighted average rating for the Summer (including carryovers) was 7.98. MAL’s average rating of that same group of shows was 7.81, or 0.16 points lower.

There were eleven 10-rated episodes this Summer:
(* indicates inclusion on the World Heritage List)

Best Female Character

Hannah: Tadokoro Megumi (Shokugeki no Souma)
Zane: Takeya Yuki (Gakkou Gurashi!)
Preston: Shirayuki (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime) and Ichinose Hajime (Gatchaman Crowds Insight)

Best Male Character

Hannah: Momonga (OverLord)
Zane: Gouda Takeo (Ore Monogatari!!)
Preston: Otosaka Yuu (Charlotte)

Best Couple

Hannah: Albedo x Momonga (OverLord)
Zane: Yamato Rinko x Gouda Takeo (Ore Monogatari!!)
Preston: Tomori Nao x Otosaka Yuu (Charlotte)

End-of-Month Rundown – July 2015

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A quarter of the way into the Summer 2015 season and what do we see? Two Spring shows at the top of the charts. That only means one thing: nothing this Summer is quite as good as Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma. Even MAL agrees the latter is the best show we’re watching right now by pure rating, while they rank OreMo fourth behind GANGSTA. and Durarara!!x2 Ten.

That doesn’t mean this Summer has been a disappointment so far. It just speaks to the exceptionalism of a “They Will!” rom-com and a delicious cooking battle show, the kinds of shows we only get two per year of anyway, if we’re lucky. Our Summer field is led by another Zane show early on, Gakkou Gurashi, whose first episode demands and then handsomely rewards patience and looks to be at or near the top of the list for it’s whole run.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is the Ghibli anime we wanted and wished Ronja had been, with conventional animation (no creepy-ish CGI that you don’t really want to get used to) and a grown-up protagonist (though we didn’t watch far enough to know if Ronja ever grew up). Durarara!!x2’s second of three cours is doing what it do, and Shimoneta is a fun screwball ecchi comedy with social commentary on the limits and travails of population control.

Because we’re only a quarter of the way in, we’ve got a lot of ties in the middle, but their identical ratings (all within a half-point of MAL) belie their diversity: we’ve got a lively new P.A. Works anime in Charlotte; the gritty underworldy GANGSTA.; the freewheeling, hilarious shonen yokai romp in Ushio to Tora; an always welcome new Working!!; and the pretty, if not altogether original, new ufotable joint GOD EATER.

A pair of fantasies, one of which melds the modern with the medieval and undermines its vivid core by casting foreign powers as drooling morons (GATE), while another employs RPG conventions with striking design and music and a true sense of scale and grandeur (Rokka no Yuusha). Gatchaman seems a little wishy-washy about where it’s going, and the RABUJOI watch-list is rounded out by two lightweight but original slice-of-lifes in Dandelion and Sore ga Seiyuu!

As always, there’s something for everyone, and all the shows in the 8s indicate there’s a lot to like, but we’re still waiting for sustained streaks of greatness for the top Summer shows to surpass the best of the Spring. A couple are close.

End-of-Month Rundown – June 2015

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Click here for Full-size

Just a couple more episodes (one more Hibike! Euphonium and one more Kekkai Sensen) and Spring 2015 will be a distant memory. Well, a recent memory, anyway. And you know what? It really wasn’t a bad season!

Part of that is that we continued our trend of dropping any shows that couldn’t stay above a 7.5 average on our rating scale, resulting in one of the highest-rated seasons ever on this site. But it was also just because from top to bottom all of the shows offered something either fun, original, entertaining, hilarious, exciting, or all of the above. We were, however, surprised and a little disappointed with how many shows simply ended, often with the regular ending sequence, without any kind of “Thanks for Watching!” card at the end. What gives??

The good news: Two of the Springs top shows—Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma—will continue into the Summer. The bad news: it doesn’t look like we’ll get a second season of Hibike, and who knows if and when Oregairu gets a third season. Good/Bad news: Hannah watched all of UBW, but many have said Zero is better show. Definitely bad news: our budding politician Franklin probably won’t be able to review anything this Summer either. :\

We’re preparing to tackle a very full Summer schedule, and even if we eliminate half of the shows we try out, we’ll still end up with another dozen-show season, at least. It will be a lot to plow through, but we look forward to the process. To get reviews up faster, we’ll continue to try to keep reviews brief and avoid the temptation to upload the entire episode in screencaps. We’ll see how we do.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!


End-of-Month Rundown – May 2015

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Click to View Full-Size

Here we are: One more month of Spring anime gone. It’s been a great season so far, whether you like drama, romance, comedy, combat, or all of the above.

Fate has a narow lead at the top, but as most shows still have a third of their episodes yet to air, anything could happen in June.

Any comments about the month or season, or in general, just leave ’em in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading!


End-of-Month Rundown – January 2015

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Click to view full-size

January is finally behind us. Good riddance, you cold bitch! However, we did discover some gems in the icy bleakness, and February will prove no warmer around here, weather-wise.

This month, let’s do something different, and see if we’ve actually learned the lessons we listed in last month’s rundown:

1. Don’t stick with a show that may look and sound great but seems to be perpetually stalling.

Uso and Parasyte have slowed down, but remain watchable, for now. GARO is its usual episodic hit-or-miss self, and Gundam G is just a joke we keep around to point and laugh at as a shining example of how NOT to make a Gundam, a mecha anime, or a television show in general.

2. Avoid shows you can’t say anything nice about. 

We’ve dropped eight shows to date, all of which you could probably say one or two nice things about, but not much else.

3. Don’t keep reviewing shows you can’t say anything at all about, aside from providing a summary.


4. Shows that air bi- or tri-weekly have a much greater chance of falling by the wayside.

Preston lost interest and dropped Sailor Moon Crystal, and while Kami-Haji 2 took a week off, that was an anomaly, and in any case the show is more than good enough to survive one week off. Check.

5. Don’t judge a book by its cover…

Shout it from the rooftops: SAEKANO!!! What on it’s surface looked like another competent InoBato/Oreimo harem rom-com is in the early running for anime of the year…no joke.

(Also, if you so desire, whisper KanColle from the basement.)

Other surprises: Binan Koukou (positive) and Death Parade (negative); see Franklin’s comments below.

6. …Unless the cover is obviously representative of the book.

Seiken Tsukai no World Break, Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha, Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes TD, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, and Sengoku Musou were pretty much what we thought they were.

Koufuku Graffiti also didn’t hide what it was on it’s cover, but both cover and book are splendidly delicious, so Check!

7. Drop shows quickly and focus on giving the shows you really love the attention they deserve; don’t drag things out.

Check and Check, thanks to Franklin’s bracket. We’ve managed to keep our total show count down while giving everything a relatively fair shake.

8. While it’s nice to run comparisons between two similar shows, it’s probably best to pick one or the other in a busy season.

Not quite a Check, since we’re keeping both Yatterman and Rolling Girls around, and that will remain so for the time being, because both have their individual merits.

9. Don’t automatically commit to sequels. They might end up stinking.

Tokyo Ghoul Root A has had moments that have surpassed the original, while Durarara!!x2 Shou was a little harder to get back into after a few years, but it coming along just fine. Aldnoah.Zero has mostly recovered from its unfortunate first season finale. Everyone here can agree, none of these sequels “stink” anywhere near the way Chaika did. God, that show still makes Preston steam.

10. Have fun!

We added this new lesson to this rundown, because RABUJOI was started so we could sharpen our writing and critical skills while enjoying anime we love. If there’s no RABU or JOI in it, what’s the point?

End-of-Month Rundown – December 2014

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Click to view full-size

Here it is: the last chart of 2014. It’s smaller still than last month’s, due to our saying sayonara to five more shows we either couldn’t find time or ran out of enthusiasm for.

As expected, the battle for the top remained heated until the very last week, with Fate stay/night UBW ending up on top due to a strong ending.

Note that if we excluded episode 00, Fate would fall to two hundredths of a point below Uso…but excluding episode 00 would be silly!

The chart above is the culmination of 200 rated Fall episodes. The total episode tally of the dropped shows comes to 155 for a total of 355 rated episodes.

Some Lessons Learned (in no particular order) :

  • Don’t stick with a show that may look and sound great but seems to be perpetually stalling. (Sora no Methodthough Preston did watch the rest and it ended okay).
  • Avoid shows you can’t say anything nice about. (Akatsuki no Yona, Nanatsu no Taizai).
  • Don’t keep reviewing shows you can’t say anything at all about, aside from providing a summary (Ronja).
  • Shows that air bi- or tri-weekly have a much greater chance of falling by the wayside (Sailor Moon Crystal).
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover (Ookami Shoujo)…
  • …Unless the cover is obviously representative of the book (Hi SCoool! Seha Girl).
  • Drop shows quickly and focus on giving the shows you really love the attention they deserve; don’t drag things out (Many examples).
  • While it’s nice to run comparisons between two similar shows (Daitoshokan and InoBato), it’s probably best to pick one or the other in a busy season.
  • Don’t automatically commit to sequels. They might end up stinking (Chaika).