Whew! It’s almost February already? Ok, it’s been a busy month for me already considering I am jumping back in feet first. Before we jump in this week, here’s an update: this column will probably go biweekly, because it will allow me some time to actually watch a lot of the stuff to completion that I am picking. That being said, the new schedule will allow me to really bring you all some informed picks about what’s out there!
Not to worry though, Ashley and I will have some cool videos of our picks as will. Just make sure you subscribe to watch! Also if you haven’t done so, check out our Godzilla – The Planet of the Monsters video as well!
On to this week’s picks!
Kabeneri of the Iron Fortress
Plot (from Amazon): The world is overrun with Kabane, zombie-like creatures with an appetite for human flesh. While the last of humanity has retreated into fortress-like stations connected by armored trains, there are few that remain as hopeful as Ikoma.
The Good: If you are an Attack on Titan fan, this series may give the whole “post-apocalyptic-monsters-trying-to-eat-humans-hiding-out-in-walled-cities” genre a run for its money. It’s funny saying this considering that both titles come from the same studio. The story so far is top notch, as well as superb artwork from Wit Studios. The protagonists are more proactive and less “whiney” than their AoT neighbors and you can feel the tension throughout. Also, having a steampunk setting helps this series stand apart as well. This series came out in 2016, so if you are looking for something to fill out your viewing habits until spring anime releases, catch it if you can.
The Bad: It’s a damned shame that the only point of access for US viewers is Amazon Prime. But it’s supposed to be coming to FUNimation as a home release soon. (kinda obvious from the above trailer!)
The Bottom Line: Firstly, I want to thank one of our readers, Jeremy, for this pick. As much as I am not a fan of zombie stories, this series takes many of the familiar tropes that we have seen and breathes a bit of life into it where some of the characters are less likely to be indecisive in their actions. Heck, even The Walking Dead could stand to take a few notes from this series. By the way, Mumei is a BEAST.
Plot (from Amazon): Five girls attend Queen’s Mayfaire, a conventional and prestigious school. Under the guise of regular high school girls, they act as spies under cover.
The Good: Ok so there seems to be a theme here and that’s steampunk and Amazon Prime. The difference here is that this story takes place in an alternate Victorian timeline with spies. This story starts off quick and so far after 4 episodes, won’t let off of the brakes. There are some good character moments in the story where the spies are allowed to do their work and so far, I am glad that this series lets things play out rather than try to shoehorn in some bad plot devices. Of course expect some double crosses and twists as this is a spy story. Also as it’s steampunk, expect some gadgetry here as well, since there is a rare mineral that allows the spies to do superhuman feats.
The Bad: It’s also on Amazon exclusively in the US (Grrrr). Also, the villains may be a bit…under-done.
The Bottom Line: Don’t look for bratty “magical” schoolgirls here. Look for a polished story with many twists and turns as one would expect from a good spy thriller and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Hakata Tokotsu Ramens
Plot (from FUNimation): Crime reaches new heights in the seedy underworld of Fukuoka—a city home to very sinister professions. Among those who kill, torture, and seek revenge as a means of living, a so-called “killer of professional killers” is becoming more than just an urban legend. Private detective Banba is on the case, but when he uncovers a dark conspiracy, it may be the one curveball he can’t hit.
The Good: This is a good noir story that thus far is very unpredictable yet simultaneously tense. There are a lot of characters that may seemingly be a lot to track, but once you get to the third episode, viewers should have an idea about the players. So far, the series has a good mix of lighthearted moments as well as some dark intense crime drama. This is a great new series for those that want to get onboard new as it’s not too far in.
The Bad: Some may be concerned with the violence towards women, particularly one of the characters who has a penchant for murdering women who have no families looking for them. Another issue is that the English dub of the first episode wasn’t that good. There were a few small lines that were missed that totally made the sub version. So far, I prefer watching the sub version over the dubbed.
The Bottom Line: There is a lot of potential for this series as I am not hearing a lot of buzz yet. While many people may be looking at more established shows, this one may be a sleeper hit. Again, even though there are a lot of characters, keep an eye on Banba and his would be killer, Lin Xiaoming.
So that’s it for me! A short break is in order but I will be back soon enough!! Leave some picks in the comments below and in the meantime (just an FYI), I am working through My Hero Academia!