The Other Side of Animation 276: Drifting Home Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Studio Colorido has been a rather surprising animation studio that has put out an eclectic resume of work. From short films and net animations, to working on major properties like Pokemon, they have put their name down as a quality animation studio. Even their film releases have mostly been good. Granted, I prefer Penguin Highway over A Whisker Away, but not every film is going to be a home run for studios. Every animation studio in Japan’s animation industry is going to have a dud and a hit and it’s never going to be 100% consistent. Still, a studio like MAPPA, Science Saru, and Colorido has the clout to make an announcement and you make sure you see it, because they are crafting journeys like Drifting Home for Netflix, and it’s a real gem you should all check out. 

Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, the film is co-written by Ishida, Hayashi Mori, and Minaka Sakamoto. It stars a group of six kids. They are Kosuke Kumagai, dubbed by Bryce Papenbrook, Natsume Touchi, dubbed by Cassandra Morris, Taishi Koiwai, dubbed by Alex Cazares, Yuzuru Tachibana, dubbed by Ben Diskin, Reina Hama, dubbed by Abby Trott, and Juri Ando, dubbed by Cherami Leigh. As they venture around an old abandoned apartment building that is soon to be torn down, they all end up getting caught in a shift in scenery and location as the apartment building they are on is swiftly sent into the ocean along with them. As they try to find out the situation and what to do about it exactly, they also encounter a boy who may or may not be a ghost named Noppo, dubbed by Elliot Fletcher. Can our group of kids find a way back home while discovering what their friendship and/or relationships mean to one another? 

Do you know those old 80s/90s kids’ films that didn’t do well, but became cult classics and beloved childhood favorites? This is a modern-day take on those types of movies where a bunch of kids are the main focus, and we follow them through their journey on a metaphorical and literal memory of a giant building. A majority of the film is the kids traversing the open sea and checking out other buildings that are floating in the water, looking for food and reminiscing about the relationship each other shares. Now, while this film is at two hours, there are multiple points where they show montages of the kids interacting with one another and growing as individuals. It’s a coming-of-age story about kids who encounter themes of found family, loss, and memories first, and then an adventure film second. Sure, some characters show more growth than others, but the ones that get the focus make sense. It’s an intensely touching story that, while stumbling in how it handles its drama in the third act with how repetitive it gets, when it hits the right emotional note, it can be a real punch into the emotions. What this review is saying is that Its heart is in the right place. 

The film’s animation is more or less what you would and should expect from the talented artists at Colorido. They have always had a knack for having more expressive characters than most studios are willing or able to go the distance with how emotional the characters are on screen. It’s a studio with a distinct style, which is needed nowadays in order to stand out. Still, the combination of character animation, lush colors, beautiful backgrounds, and how it’s able to mix in 2D and CGI with relative ease makes this a gorgeous movie to look at. It takes its time to have moments where you can feel enthralled in the environment around our leads, and absorb the emotional headspace they are in when the story calls for them to have some kind of revelation or epiphany about what exactly is going on with them. It doesn’t hurt either that the cast is great. As mentioned above, you have a fantastic English dub cast of Bryce Papenbrook, Cassandra Lee Morris, Elliot Fletcher, Benjamin Diskin, Abby Trott, Cherami Leigh, and a surprise appearance of John DiMaggio, which is surreal. Not that it’s weird to see DiMaggio in anime dubs because he used to dub a lot of anime back in the day, but to see him again after so long being in mostly US-based animation is just great. Returning from composing the music from Penguin Highway is composer Umitaro Abe, and he brings a magical and adventurous vibe to the soundtrack. I mean, when you are a group of kids that are going across the high seas on a giant building, well, it should be fun and fanciful. 

While a touch too unevenly paced at two hours, Drifting Home is a charming journey a ton of kids take through memories about family, friendship, and dealing with loss and change. It could have balanced out its drama better, but it’s still a compelling and enjoyable ride with Studio Colorido’s distinct and colorful animation style, while also including a cast of likable child characters and a complex story about found family and caring for one another. It might not be as good as the director’s previous film Penguin Highway, but Drifting Home is a stellar experience that anyone looking for good Japanese-animated films to watch should absolutely check out. Now then, next time we will be looking at yet another Netflix exclusive, so be on the lookout for what it is! 

Rating: Go See It!

The Other Side of Animation 275: Goodbye on Glees Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

As we head into the late stage of studios doubling down on either something that can be cheap and made on a production line, or throwing money at ideas and properties that everyone knows about, the importance of supporting and rooting for original properties is becoming even more of a thing. At this point, an original film is something that isn’t based on a pre-existing property. You would think that so many have gone and seen the big franchise anime films and having them become hits would lead to more people going to see original films that get brought over, but they don’t. It comes off as cinema-goers and anime fans are too afraid to be more adventurous with film-watching and supporting non-franchise-based films. Listen, it’s okay to like them, but if you genuinely want more anime to be seen and released in theaters, then you need to be able to support the ones that are not tied down to something familiar. How boring would filmgoing be if it was just franchise fodder? It’s a shame so many viewers are not that adventurous or are all that supportive of original properties, because many fantastic films get released every year. Sure, it’s a good idea for the distributors to also make sure as many people can see them as possible and not just limit them to major cities, but filmgoers share the responsibility as well. Don’t just go and see whatever big franchise film gets put into theaters. You need to go and support films like Goodbye Don Glees as well. 

Directed and written by Atsuko Ishizuka, this film is animated by Studio Madhouse. We follow the tale of three friends. They are Roma Kamogawa, dubbed by Adam McArthur,  Hokuto Mitarai, dubbed by Nick Wolfhard, and Shizuku Sakuma, dubbed by Jonathan Leon. The three of them live in a small rural town in the countryside, and hope for lives outside of the city. Unfortunately, when a fire breaks out in the forest near the town where they live, they are for some reason blamed for it, and the trio of heroes go on a journey in the countryside to find a way to prove their innocence. 

So, you know how the metaphorical and literal igniting point of this film is the fire that the three are blamed for? Well, that’s the throughline of the entire story, but it’s not really about the fire if that makes sense. The film only really focuses on our main three characters, which results in a cast of side characters who really don’t get much development outside of one character that is connected to Roma’s personal arc in the story. Instead, the film doubles down on focusing on the three boys, and the real story is a coming-of-age story about what the three find important in their lives. What is the treasure that drives them and their goals in life? What is their ultimate adventure and the endgame of what they want to do? It’s a shockingly complex story, and the three leads work well off of one another. It finds a lot of time during its 90 mins to let the three relax and show off their friendship or reignite said friendship during some incredible moments. The three of them really do act like realistic teenagers and what they define as what it means to become more adult. It’s hard or really rare to find a film that has more grounded takes on teenagers, and it’s refreshing to see it here. I like that we have had a couple of films this year where the teens actually act like real teens or preteens as in the case of Turning Red. It shouldn’t be shocking due to this being the same director as A Place Further Than the Universe, but it’s nice to see other filmmakers from time to time show that they know how to write teenagers. It will even hit you with one emotional gut punch after another in the third act, so be ready. 

For the animation, Studio Madhouse did their usual fantastic work with some expressive and detailed character animations and incredible environmental backgrounds. Due to the location, it results in a very nature-driven world where every kind of green can be seen that meshes into a world full of nature growing around the land itself, and at certain points, man-made paths, and vehicles covered in grass. There are some scenes that are truly and utterly awe-inspiring. It’s a shame this film only got a Fathom Event release, because this film looks incredible, and you know the big screens would have made this film pop. It’s always the same problem with Fathom Events, because there are so few screenings. The designs of the humans were handled by Takahiro Yoshimatsu, who worked on titles such as Desert Punk, Overlord, and A Place Further Than the Universe. He brings some very appealing looks for our three leads, and each of them stands out in their own ways from Roma’s touches of red in his clothes, the fabulous hair of Hokuto, and Shizuku’s iconic jacket. As usual, it’s a gorgeous film and it results in some of 2022’s most awe-inspiring moments. Voice acting-wise, the English dub is good, as we have a cast that includes some fairly well-known anime voice actors and one celebrity voice with Wolfhard. The overall cast includes Adam McArthur, Nick Wolfhard, Jonathan Leon, Victoria Grace, Alan Lee, and Stephanie Sheh. The music by Yoshiaki Fujisawa offers a combination of tunes that ranges from streams of ethereal nature to some quirky tunes to use for jokes and some emotional “gut punch” tunes that play when you least expect them. It feels different from the composer’s other work that includes Estab Life, Engage Kiss, Love Live Superstar!, and Isekai Cheat Magician

Goodbye Don Glees is a surprisingly complex and endearing coming-of-age film about friendship between three boys that discover not only a way to save their lives, but also what drives their personal goals in life and their friendship. They set out to find that treasure that they hold near and dear to them. It’s a fantastic film that if you can find a way to see it on the big screen, do so. Otherwise, pick it up on Blu-ray to watch his charming story of friendship and life. Now then, we will now go on a journey via an ocean-bound apartment building via Drifting Home

Rating: Essentials

The Other Side of Animation 274: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Video game adaptations are a cursed situation as there never seems to be any true or correct formula to make them work. Some have come close like Detective Pikachu and the Sonic films have been very successful, but those are the rare films to make it work. Even when you adjust the format from film to TV, TV shows or limited shows seem to fumble in that regard as well. 2020’s Dragon Dogma was an awful show, and yet 2022 has had three really good adaptations of video games. We had The Cuphead Show, which was pretty much Looney Tunes-style antics, but with Cuphead, Tekken: Bloodlines which adapted the third game’s storyline with fantastic CGI animation, and now we have the highly anticipated combination of Studio Trigger and CD Projekt Reds’ Cyberpunk: Edgerunners on Netflix. 

Based on the infamous sci-fi RPG by CD Projekt Red, it’s directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, written by Yoshiki Usa and Masahiko Otsuka, and produced by the famed anime production company, Studio Trigger. We follow a young man named David Martinez, dubbed by Zach Aguilar. He lives within a city that’s constantly on the move with technological upgrades being the name of the game. After an incident that ends up with his mother getting killed, David goes on the offense and starts to get enhancements done to himself including a special military grade upgrade. After doing so, he ends up becoming an Edgerunner, an outlaw mercenary taking on tasks that will sooner or later get them intertwined with the major corporations that run the entire city. Can David and his team that includes Lucy, dubbed by Emi Lo make a living in this chaotic world or will he find himself short-circuiting to the dangers in which this world lathers itself? 

Now listen, the video game this anime is based on is not known for much outside of its problematic development history and its disastrous release. Do you need to know anything about the game to enjoy the show? Not really. If you have seen any major piece of cyberpunk media, then the world and its commentary should be fairly familiar to those that enjoy this type of sci-fi worldbuilding. It also mixes in the sensibilities of the late 80s early 90s OVA boom from the anime scene. This means plenty of intense amounts of violence and some titillating nudity and sexual moments. However, while those three elements were made for a very specific crowd back then, the limited series uses them here for more substantial purposes than just shock and titillation. Or, at the very least it feels more substantial than stuff like the recent reboot of a certain infamous OVA franchise that’s also on Netflix. What is refreshing about this cyberpunk story is how it doesn’t try to be like Ghost in the Shell or other anime that would use this setting to be more about the human condition and just meander around with long diatribes. Edgerunners is fast-paced, action-packed, and while it can be at multiple points stimulus-overload with the visuals, they still find a way to fit in a compelling story and great characters. While the cast is overall strong, our two leads David and Lucy are the core of this story. Even when the screen is covered in bright colors, nudity, and violence, the heart of their romance and the story of finding freedom in a world where society is basically being watched by a thousand eyes and mega-corporations. It’s also all about the danger of losing your humanity in a metaphorical and literal way. It’s a complex show, and it’s so satisfying to see that Studio Trigger keeps showing that while they can be all about the bombastic action, they can still tell a good story. It may not rise to the levels of philosophical complexity as something like Sonny Boy or Ghost in the Shell, but it’s executed in a way to make the journey and the story comprehensible with the motivations of our characters. 

It’s Studio Trigger, so you can already tell what their animation style is going to be, and the animation is, for better or worse, what you expect. It can be busy and stimulating to a degree that you need to have down time from watching the visuals on screen, but it’s so good. There is something so delightful about being able to know what a Studio Trigger anime looks like. Even though the game this anime is based on has a more boring realistic look, they basically took blockier looks on the more traditional anime visual style, and have wildly expressive visuals and character movements. It might fall under the same limitations that the anime industry put in all of their projects, but they find ways to work around it all and still give us very expressive characters. The action is on point, and let’s just say there will be plenty of moments where you see explosions, bullets, and bodies getting turned into chunky salsa. The bright neon colors are also turned up to 11, and instead of going the route of making everything grungy, drab, and or murky as heck, it’s bright and colorful. It’s very impressive with how they make this world look distinct from other sci-fi worlds. The English cast is a mix of well-known anime voice actors and a few character actors you would know from live-action stuff who pull off some fantastic performances. You have Zach Aguilar, Emi Lo, William C. Stephens, Marie Westbrook, Stephanie Wong, Ian James Corlett, Alex Cazares, Giancarlo Esposito, Gloria Garayua, Borge Etienne, and Matthew Mercer. Akira Yamaoka, a composer most people would know from their work on Sparkster, Contra Hard Corps, Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3, Shadows of the Damned, and Patema Inverted provided a tech-savvy vibe with some punk and hard rock edges to the technological cityscape. Also, the anime opening for this show is by Franz Ferdinand! When was the last time you heard from that band? That’s probably the biggest surprise that this show offers. 

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners on Netflix is a beautiful, bittersweet dive into the technologically driven hellscape of a future where everything is driven by cybernetic enhancements. While it is based in the world of the infamous Cyberpunk: 2077, you will not need to wait months to enjoy the world of Cyberpunk with patches or mods. It might have a moment where the story shifts to a new batch of characters that isn’t the best at going from story A to story B, and if you aren’t into the hyper vibe of the animation at points, then you may want to skip this title, but otherwise, give this video game adaptation a watch! It’s impressive how this year, we have had three great adaptations via the world of animation. It’s a stellar time. Now then, next time, we will be talking about the new film GKIDS has released known as Goodbye Don Glees

Rating: Go see it!

The Other Side of Animation 273: Bee and Puppycat Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

2022 in TV animation has been underwhelming. With 2020 and 2021 giving us great and unusual shows that sound like disasters, but are not. With 2022, well, there’s Vox Machina, Super Giant Robot Brothers, The Cuphead Show, and that’s about it. There should always be this push to have more original shows that help keep the creative landscape of animation alive, since IP-driven projects and continued seasons of already existing shows can’t be the only thing that keeps the landscape of animation vital. You need to be able to stand out from the pack and not be just a variation of something else that exists. You need to be something like today’s show and review, Bee and Puppycat on Netflix. 

Based on the original shorts by Natasha Allegri, which were then rebooted into the version you see on Netflix, this show is chiefly directed by Joji Shimura, created by Natasha Allegri, and produced by Oriental Light and Magic aka OLM Inc. We follow our lead Bee, voiced by Allyn Rachel, a young woman who lives on an island and works at a cat cafe. One day, after some shenanigans that result in her getting fired, she encounters an unusual puffy cat thing known as Puppycat. While wondering where her next paycheck is going to come from, Puppycat warps her to a place where she can get a multitude of temporary work gigs that will take Bee and Puppycat across the universe and into the possible hands of some unknown entities that are looking for our heroes. 

With it being 2022, we have now had a good 12 years of how cartoons of this current era have been handled. Instead of having thicker outlines and sharper corners, we have thinner outlines and rounder designs. What has helped make these shows stand out is how abstract and unusual they are. Instead of having one genre or one type of set-in-stone story, they cross the streams and become genreless due to how they are a multitude of different genres. Some are more adventure-focused ala Adventure Time, some have more of a dash of sci-fi to them like Steven Universe, and some had more references or vibes of an 80s cartoon like The Fungies. They also tend to have a more modern and low-key tone and humor to them. Even when things get zanier, the humor is still more universal or has a quirky side to it all. The point I am trying to make is that after more than a decade of shows like Amphibia, Infinity Train, The Owl House, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, and so on, you have to do well to stand out from the rest. So, what does Bee and Puppycat do that differentiates them from the pack? Have you ever dived into the deep end of the indie game scene? Do you know those indie games that have an art direction that’s more akin to modern cartoons and have lo-fi beats, and are usually more story-driven ventures? Or maybe they are visual novel-like experiences? This is kind of like that but in a more concentrated form. Everything here is so lo-fi and chill that even down to the voice performances, everything is relaxing and soothing. It has its moments where things get twisted and dark, but even then, the music doesn’t change to anything intense or extreme with its execution. Even when the show is showing you rather mature or shocking moments and plot twists, you will still feel as though you were wrapped up in a cozy blanket with a hot cup of tea on a cold winter morning. It’s honestly refreshing. Even when the shows get grander in scale and stakes are now cataclysmic, the show never feels like it changes all that much. 

Another aspect of this show that’s really surprising is that, despite its cute visual look, there is a lot of cursing. So, yeah, this isn’t a show that’s really aimed at kids. They only bleep out some of the curse words, but they will be there out in the open. If your children aren’t bothered by that, then the rest of the show’s tone and the journey will feel similar to most modern cartoons.Maybe it’s because this individual didn’t watch the original shorts, but seeing what looked like another fun family show turn out to be more for teens and young adults was a pleasant surprise. It honestly results in this being another great example of an adult animated show that doesn’t try to be like Family Guy or South Park. It’s a show that tackles themes of depression, love, dealing with loss, grief, relationships, abandonment, the challenge of change, and dealing with lingering unkempt emotional baggage. It’s always the most innocent-looking cartoons that decide to scar you with intensely emotionally-driven themes and trauma. However, that is what is fun about shows like this. They aren’t just goofy characters in a goofy setting and hitting the reset button after every episode. The people in this show are diverse and have different personalities and story arcs and relationship dynamics with one another. Every character interacts with another differently. It’s also a weird show for the sake of being weird, and much of the time, that’s okay! You can still be a layered show, but also just have an oddball character for the sake of it tying in with some of the themes sewn together throughout the plot. The action when it happens is flashy and fun, but it’s never the most impressive part of the show. What’s fun is watching Bee and Puppycat take on multiple odd jobs on surreal and weird planets that feel reminiscent of stuff like Super Mario Galaxy and seeing how they unfold into the story and connect the main plot with the overarching narrative. It’s you finding out who exactly Puppycat really is, the drama between the humans, Bee and her relationship with her father, and to whom these giant demonic hands that are chasing after Puppycat are attached. 

On the animation front, the show looks like Science Saru made a show that stuck to a more American-made mindset. Personally, Bee and Puppycat feel much more like a vibrant Science Saru show than this year’s Yurei Deco, and that’s saying something. With its combination of soft-looking humans, the muted and mostly pink and purplish-hued color palette, and the sporadic energetic movements of the characters, it doesn’t move or flow like a normal US-made cartoon. Maybe it’s because of the art direction or the studio that produced this show, OLM inc, but it has more of an anime sensibility to it as well. It’s an odd mix of western and eastern animation philosophies that match up in this oddly satisfying way. Then again, with the shows that OLM have had a hand in producing, weird and odd are not too far out of their wheelhouse. The voice cast is great, but once again, the fact they all softly speak their lines shows a real commitment to the calming tone of the overall show. It must have been a hassle to keep all emotions and line reading on one level. You would think this would get grating, but you get used to it, and it makes the comedy land better. The cast is small, but it has a ton of well-known names including Allyn Rachel, the vocaloid system Oliver, Diana Garnet, Malle Flannigan, Natasha Alegri, Emilia Sheldon, Terri Hawks, Kent Osborne, Ashly Burch, Alexander James Rodriguez, Kumail Najiani, Arin Hanson, Doug Smith, Shannon McCormick, Natalie Lynn, Stephen Root, Eric Bauza, Donna Jay Fulks, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Blum, Cynthia McWilliams, Freddie Wong, Jason Greene, and Robbie Daymond. The calm relaxing beats are provided by composer Will Wiesenfeld. They bring a soothing and pleasant vibe to everything, and it’s amusing how it never becomes unpleasant or intense when the characters are in trouble. 

Bee and Puppycat is an out-of-this-world ethereal journey in animation. It has its moments where it can be a touch clunky and it’s pretty obvious that there is either a new season planned or a batch of episodes that have yet to be released due to its ending, but if you are looking for another “new” show to sink your teeth into with the symbolism and relaxing atmosphere, then you will definitely love this show. There is some confusion about if this new show is actually just season 2, but it’s mostly an Evil Dead 2 or a Desperado situation. It’s partly a reboot of the first series of shorts and a sequel series, but all told as if it was made for a first-time audience. Bee and Puppycat is great, and you all should definitely give it a watch if you are looking for new non-returning shows to put on your Netflix playlist. Now then, next time, we will be talking about a rather exciting and technologically driven action romp that you will have to wait and see for yourself. 

Rating: Essential

The Other Side of Animation 272: The House of the Lost on the Cape

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)


Heads up: I was able to watch this film via a screener sent to me from ElevenArts. I received no other form of monetization other than the screener. Thank you, ElevenArts for this opportunity.

2022 has been a heavy-hitting year for Japanese animated films. We not only had the financially successful Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and Jujutsu Kaisen 0, but we also had grand epics like The Deer King and the incredible experience that is Inu-Oh. It shows that there are a multitude of varying journeys animation can take you on, and all that’s really preventing them from getting wider audiences is the fact that they need distributors that are willing to bring them over here. People are craving animation now more than ever, despite what companies like Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery think about the medium of storytelling. Hopefully, even with the recents of streaming services going bananas, distributors still help support and bring over animation from all over the world. Films like today’s review, The House of the Lost on the Cape, deserve to be seen. 

Directed by Shinya Kawatsura, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by David Productions, this film was brought over by Elevenarts. The story follows two girls, Yui and Hiyori, dubbed by Madeleine Morris and Risa Mei. While taking shelter during a hurricane, an elderly young woman named Kiwa, dubbed by Pam Dougherty, decides to take them in once it has been revealed that both of the girls have either lost their family or have run away from home due to an unhealthy household. As the three go to a house on the cape, the two girls slowly start to learn about the mystery around this very special house, and maybe soon, become a family. 

One thing to notice about this film is how laid back it is. It’s very quiet and the film takes a lot of time for the first half to set up the mystery of the house and the dynamic between our main characters. The music is very soft and there is nothing super dramatic or loud thrown at you. Even at the halfway point, when they introduce magical spirits like the kappa, it’s never taken comedically or has some misunderstanding of why the spirits are there. It’s very nonchalant about the situation, and that does result in a film that is in a similar spirit to My Neighbor Totoro or Okko’s Inn, if you are familiar with one of those titles. That is to say, that “nothing happens.” Even when you see films like that, there is always a point as to why the story was told in that way. Sometimes it’s an experience of watching a slice of this type of city, life, or ways of a certain culture. It’s also a bit much to say that nothing happens in this film.

 It’s a story that’s meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and earthquake. You can see how the film finds low-key ways to make that clear by having those tragic elements implemented via environmental storytelling. The overarching narrative is about being kind, looking out for one another, dealing with loss, grief, and being remembered. It’s about caring for one another during tough times and coming together to help one another. What’s also nice is how the film wraps everything up. Yes, there is a “sudden” third act shift where the conflict that’s slowly been growing in the background near the end of the second act begins to show up, and they do at the end of the day, save the entire town, but still leave some aspects intentionally unresolved. Some aspects of their arcs are complete, but while the overall ending is happy, there is still a small bit here and there where the story says “yeah, they grew as characters, but this isn’t going to wrap everything up”. It seems like since Encanto and maybe earlier, we have been getting complaints about some films having very complex issues and how some films either leave it messy or wrap everything up with a nice bow. Personally, it depends on what the main point of the film is and what kind of story they are telling. Unless it’s just egregious in how it wraps everything up, then it’s okay to either end it on a nicer note or leave it on whatever note on which you want to leave it. 

Now, animation-wise, David Productions is mostly known for the adaptations of franchises like Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, Fire Force, and Cells at Work. The House of the Lost is well-animated. You can maybe argue that it isn’t the flashiest animated film out this year compared to the other powerhouse productions like The Deer King and Inu-Oh, but the film aimed to be more low-key, and that’s okay. The animation is still well-handled, the mix of 2D and CGI isn’t all that noticeable with maybe one detail showing the CGI assets, and the spirits or yokai designs are handled in a way that makes them stand out and aren’t just the usual designs you see in most anime or films. It has a nice detail of when Kiwa goes into the backstory or folklore of the area around the town they live in, they use this fun Science Saru-inspired visual style of rotoscoping and rougher art style. It gives the film a dose of surreal and magical whimsy without it being too much. It never felt like the two art styles clashed either. In the voice acting department, the English dub cast is great with some well-known talent like Madeleine Morris, Risa Mei, Pam Dougherty, Casey Casper, Caitlin Glass, Michelle Marie, Ben Balmaceda, Alan Lee, Lucas Schuneman, Kaiji Tang, Mike Pollock, Brooke Chalmers, Brent Mukai, Sarah Wiedenheft, and Laura Stahl. The music by Yuri Miayuchi offers a more Animal Crossing vibe to the world the characters live in with soft and very slice-of-life tunes that are sprinkled throughout the entire runtime. It has its moments where it becomes grander in tone, but it’s a very lo-fi soundtrack, and that’s always a fun change of pace when it comes to films with more fantastical elements. 

It might not be as well-paced as it could have with how it gets from point A to point B, but the characters are charming, and the low-key atmosphere helps make the viewing experience an enjoyable one as we see the bond between the three characters grow over time. The House of the Lost on the Cape is like a warm hug with its overall journey of healing, and finding family and hope during tough times. It shows how coming together to help one another can raise themselves up from dark times and be a wonderful experience. If you can find a theater that will be playing this film, I definitely recommend checking it out. Otherwise, it will be coming out on Blu-ray and digital in a few weeks. Now then, next time, we will be talking about a fan-favorite animated series that finally hits Netflix. You will just have to wait and see what it is when we talk about it next. 

Rating: Go See It!

The Other Side of Animation 271: Lost Ollie Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

As you can tell with The Other Side of Animation, we don’t really talk about live-action films that cross over into the world of animation. The closest we have talked about it is with Cool World, and the only other contender to talk about in this category is Who Framed Roger Rabbit. We don’t get many of these projects because making them work is a challenge and a half. Not only do you need to worry about how the animation looks, but you have to make it match up and feel composited on the live-action footage. That takes way too much time and money that you know studios will want to not invest into that much time and effort unless it’s a well-known director. Not that it never happens anymore, but it’s very rare. When it does happen, it’s worth checking out, and when they are able to deliver on both the impressive technology with a good story, then you know you are in for something truly special. This is where this new limited series by Shannon Tindle comes into play with Lost Ollie on Netflix. 

Created by Shannon Tindle and each of the four episodes directed by the incredible Peter Ramsey, this is based on the book called Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce. We follow a small stitched-together bunny doll named Ollie, voiced by Johnathon Groff. He was the toy that belonged to a small boy named Billy, played by Kesler Talbot. He winds up inside a small vintage antique store. He is curious as to why he is no longer with his kid, and plans to escape. While there, he meets an old clown toy named Zozo, voiced by Tim Blake Nelson. The two of them decide to leave the store together and also meet up with a teddy bear that knows Zozo named Rosy, voiced by Mary J Blige. Along the journey they will discover more about what has happened with Ollie and his past with his human owner, and discover what exactly happened with the humans that Ollie knew. 

So, what kind of level of interaction are we looking at here between the toys and the live-action humans? Shockingly, both humans and toys are kept separate for the majority of the time. You see some interactions with Ollie and Billy’s family, but most of the time it’s either the toys on their adventure to find Billy, or dealing with what the humans are going through. There are a few times where it focuses on Billy, his family, and Ollie, but outside of a few areas where the three toys are with humans, like at the hospital, it’s two parallel stories. The human side is more about a very terrible thing Billy and his parents are dealing with, while Ollie is doing his best to remember the locations on the map he stitched together from memories with Billy and his family. It’s a very interesting approach because it lets the toys be their own living characters, while also slowly weaving the story’s emotional beats into the narrative as they intertwine with one another. At the end of the day, the story tackles themes of family, dealing with loss, and how grief can affect you. The story does a fairly solid job showing how people deal with loss, and how it can shape people for better and for worse. The limited series tend to weave in small details on where you can pick up on the intentions and mindset of the characters as you traverse your way through the four episodes. Things take a real sudden shift in tone by the end of the second episode, but by that point, the third episode explains the dynamic between certain characters and what drives them. It can get dark, but if you have seen films like A Monster Calls, then you will feel right at home with how the story unfolds. There is a real humanity to everything, and it makes for a somber, but powerful experience as we follow the journey of both the toys and the humans. 

Now, animation-wise, the toys look great. They follow the rules of their own design of how they maneuver around the world. Sometimes studios aren’t allowed the time or the talent to take the extra step to make the characters all move distinct and different from one another, and it results in everyone feeling the same. Ollie feels different from Zozo, and Zozo feels different from Rosy. Not once was it ever distracting or I felt pulled out of their world or watching their story unfold from their perspective. There is a great sequence on a train that really brings the best out of the voice actors and the animation. It doesn’t hurt that the actors attached to the toys are also great. Tim Blake Nelson is fantastic as Zozo, Jonathan Groff brings a southern innocence to Ollie, and Mary J Blige has this stoic but vulnerable side to Rosy. The humans are also strong with Kesler Talbot being a good child actor and able to bring the somber and anger to certain points. Gina Rodriguez and Jake Johnson are great as the parents to Billy. Now, the southern accent can almost teeter on being a touch much, but it never got to the point where it sounded like a parody of a joke of what a southern accent sounds like. The other actors are fine, and the only real individual I was distracted by was the bully who is just a bit too cartoonishly mean. I wish there was some kind of hint of why he was like that to Billy, but sometimes, we don’t get those answers and some people just have a heart full of hate. 

While it maybe could have used one more episode to help pace out the story a bit and expand a little more on the characters, and how sometimes the southern accent could almost veer into being a little corny sounding, Lost Ollie is a powerhouse journey of the themes of love, grief, dealing with loss, and how you use said emotional baggage to shape your own person. Some may say this limited series is corny, but there is a lot of passion and love put into the character beats, and if you all love stuff like A Monster Calls, then this is an ideal limited series to check out. I can’t wait to see what Shannon Tindle, Peter Ramsey, and this talented crew of writers do next, and you should absolutely check this show out. Hopefully, they can also put this on a nice Blu-ray with some behind-the-scenes features of how they made the animation work as well as it does. Now then, we must journey to Japan for this next review, but you will see what the review is next time!

Rating: Go see it!

The Other Side of Animation 270: Dragon Ball Super – Super Hero Review

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It’s finally time to do a review on a Dragon Ball film. It’s shocking that I have yet to talk about one of the biggest franchises in the anime industry, one of the most important shonen action shows for Japan, the US, and well, the entire world. Even if you aren’t into anime, you have at least heard of Dragon Ball or one of the individual series that is connected to the franchise. It was hard to escape during the mid-late 90s and the early-mid 2000s. It’s only recently that we have been getting a resurgence of the franchise with two films Battle of the Gods and Ressurection F, alongside Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball Super: Broly…happened, and now we have what is right now, as of this writing, the biggest film in the US right now. Let’s just dive right into the biggest movie in the franchise, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

The film is directed by Tetsuro Kodama, written by Akira Toriyama, and produced by Toei Animation. Instead of following Goku and Vegeta, we instead follow Piccolo, dubbed by Christopher Sabat. He’s training Gohan’s daughter Pan, dubbed by Jeannie Tirado. As the time passes, Piccolo has an issue with feeling like he is being the actual father figure to Pan than her actual dad Gohan, dubbed by Kyle Hebert. While this is going on, the iconic villain organization the Red Ribbon Army, now being led under the radar by Magenta, dubbed by Charles Martinet, obtains a young super scientist named Dr. Hedo, dubbed by Zach Aguilar. They make a deal that Hedo will help Magenta with taking over the world if they can make super androids that are superheroes. That’s how we end up with Piccolo and the Z fighters having to deal with Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, dubbed by Aleks Li and Zeno Robinson. Since they can’t get the help of Goku and Vegeta, can the rest of the gang save the day and stop the Red Ribbon Army from coming back from the pits of the earth to rule the world? 

Let’s talk about the animation. Outside of the goofy title of the film, the big uproar about this film was that it was in CGI. It has some 2D moments and bits, but it was for the first time, all CGI. To be honest, this is basically how Studio Orange, the famed studio behind Beastars, would probably make the film. It might use slower frame rates, and sure, sometimes the backgrounds look like typical CGI anime quality backgrounds or very low poly, but unless you are paying attention to that, you really won’t notice. They also had a ton of nice little animation details from how Piccolo holds his phone or flies a plane to how the doctor Hedo and Magenta eat the Oreos when they have a discussion at the beginning of the film. Some of the vast background shoots look a touch clunky, and you can tell when some buildings look too CGI against the much better-looking humans, but the CGI animation is handled well and you never feel like the action is never hampered by the CGI. The designs look on point, and while they do have some moments where they use 2D animation that are noticeable, we have seen what bad CGI looks like from the anime industry, and this ain’t it. 

The script itself is very self-aware and comedically driven, which isn’t all that shocking to many people that are aware of Toriyama’s style of writing. It’s filled with dialogue gags, puns, goofy gimmick names, a few raunchy jokes here and there, and as many lines as possible to avoid getting dragged through the ground by smarmy internet personalities that make their living off of pointing out “plot holes”. It can be a bit on the nose with how they try to cover up as many loose ends as possible, but at the end of the day, it works because the story isn’t about Goku and Vegeta taking center stage to defeat the new Red Ribbon Army androids. Yes, they may be overexplained, but with how bad media literacy is these days, overexplaining is better than ignoring the fact there will be knuckleheads on the net that will look for anything to complain about for views. 

The overarching story is pretty much focused on Gohan and Piccolo’s relationship and characters as of this point in the franchise’s history. Everyone in the Dragon Ball fandom tends to agree that after the Cell and Buu Saga, Gohan and Piccolo tended to get shafted in terms of how they were represented. Once more powerful and imposing characters were introduced, they got shoved to the sideline. Poor Gohan got turned into a neglectful dad by accident, due to having his dad’s hyper fixation that wrecks everything. It’s to reevaluate the multi-decade-long bond and dynamic that Gohan and Piccolo had, since one of the most memorable story arcs was when Piccolo trained Gohan before the Saiyans arrived in the original show. It’s mostly a reboot/restart to make Piccolo and Gohan bigger players for the next film or TV series, which is nice, since how many times can you stagnate the story by having Goku and Vegeta solve the problem? It’s also a story about how some extremely evil people will take advantage of the ignorance of others, and stoke their anger and rage with misinformation that can lead you down the wrong path to deal with a situation. It’s a very topical story due to what we have been dealing with for the past couple of years. It’s very simple, but the execution of it all works well enough for the story of a Dragon Ball film. You aren’t here to see some big cinematic methodical think-piece film. You aren’t here to see a Makoto Shinkai or a Mamoru Oshii film. You are here to see a strong enough script for a franchise mostly known for action. Luckily, the story is good enough to carry you through the different action set pieces, and the action itself is bombastic, thrilling, and grand in scale. They have definitely learned to move away from how the TV show set up fights, to realizing “hey, we are a movie and can do so much more”! The camera does a good job following along or being right beside the characters so you can feel the most intense impacts of every punch, kick, beat down, and energy blast. The voice cast is also on par with the absurdity, the goofiness, and the serious moments. When you have a stacked cast with talent including Kyle Hebert, Christopher Sabat, Sean Schemmel, Jeannie Tirado, Aleks Le, Zeno Robinson, Zach Aguilar, Charles Martinet, Justin Cook, Jason Marnocha, the always amazing Monica Rial, Sonny Strait, Johnny Yong Bosch is perfect as Broly, Eric Vale, Robert McCollum, Meredith McCoy, Jason Douglas, Ian Sinclair, Erica Lindbeck, Kara Edwards, and Bruce Carney. Naoki Sato is the composer behind the film’s score, and it’s rambunctious, imposing, and thrilling to sit through, and matches the tone of the franchise. 

The criticisms of this film are minor and don’t truly hinder the film’s experience. While the film does enough to catch you up on everything going on, it may be more approachable to fans of the long-running franchise, due to the main focus being on the long-running dynamic between Piccolo and Gohan. Sure, you probably won’t see this film unless you are a fan, but you will get more out of it if you know about the connection our two leads have with one another, and how Piccolo was a surrogate father to Gohan early on in Dragon Ball Z. Some other minor critiques include the humor being hit-and-miss, and how some villains’ characters were fairly weak compared to the great android duo of Gamma 1 and 2. 

Even with those minor complaints, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is, well, for a lack of a better word, super! It’s another action-packed heroic explosion of thrills and laughs that make for a very satisfying theatrical experience, and yet another fantastic film based on a TV show in 2022. If you can go see this film, even if you already have seen it, you should go see it again. When you see that a Japanese-animated film is playing in theaters, you should absolutely go watch it, because we need to make sure more of these films hit theaters. Now then, next time, we take a look at a limited series for Netflix called Lost Ollie

Rating: Go See It!

Summer Lovin, The 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 2

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Here we go with covering the second half of the new anime from this summer 2022 season! If you have yet to see part 1, I would highly recommend looking there first before reading this batch of impressions, but let’s just say that this is by far the batch of shows that had the most interesting shows, but also the worst. Let’s dive right in!


Harem in the Labyrinth in Another World (Crunchyroll)

Content Warning: This show is all about sex slavery as a fetish

Well, who is shocked that they let another softcore/basically porn show into the season? I’m not. It’s based on the light novels and manga by Schagi Sogano. It’s directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa, written by Kurasumi Sunayama, and produced by Passione, the same studio that did Mieruko Chan and Interspecies Reviews. Once you realize that, a lot of this show’s horny-on-main elements make a lot of sense. Listen, there is nothing wrong with a show being horny, and sexual themes shouldn’t be taboo, but maybe don’t make an anime or a light novel that’s about the main character who literally buys a harem of slaves? It’s played up for the fetish aspect of the story, but the way they frame sex slavery in the show is the real-world horrors that slavery actually is. It’s a tone that’s never quite gels, since it’s stuck being a mediocre boilerplate isekai, but it’s got no real time to focus on that, since it also wants to be a sexy romp with a harem angle. The show tries to have more philosophical and moral elements to the lead killing people and the whole morality of slavery, but since he can buy a slave who will have sex with him without fear of rejection, it’s okay. The first three episodes are literally about the lead character getting enough money to buy a sex slave. Doesn’t help either that the anime looks fine, but you know where all the budget went and it’s not the normal scenic moments or the action. They can try and have as many non-horny or softcore moments as possible, but the gist of the show is still a lead character buying a harem of slave girls. They could have all of the diverse personalities in the world, and the show’s world could have some amazing lore, and it still wouldn’t make up for the fact that not everyone on this show’s production team is on the same page. It’s even funnier, since the show knows you are here for the sexual elements, but since it’s on Crunchyroll, and was made for TV broadcast, the censorship covering every sexual element or word is done in such a comedic and over-the-top manner that it makes you wonder how in on the joke they are, or how dense it was for Crunchyroll to buy a softcore anime that, like Winter Season’s World End Harem, is made pointless due to how absurd the censorship is. Morally, this is the most repugnant anime I have seen this season, and it’s one of the worst I have seen this year. It’s an anime to make you realize that there are anime that actually know how to handle certain fetishes better than this one, and you should check out shows like the flawed, but better How Not to Summon a Demon Lord

Black Summoner (Crunchyroll) 

This generic isekai is based on the novels and manga by Doufu Mayoi. The anime adaptation is directed and written by Yoshimasa Hiraike, and produced by Satelight. Well, here we are with another boilerplate isekai. Yes, it tries something different with the monster-taming aspect. Yes, it has this fun knight side character and decent chemistry between our lead, the slime, the elf, and the knight. With all that said, you have literally seen anime that have done this before, and better. That’s the thing, you can get away with being familiar if you actually execute it well, and this one is fine. It’s also yet another isekai that tries to implement slavery into its narrative, but does nothing with it. Like, don’t introduce story beats that either don’t make a lick of sense narrative-wise or aren’t going to be expanded upon. Even other isekai this year with some very repugnant themes were able to do this. When you fail to be memorable or interesting, then you fail as a show or a reason for anyone to keep watching. Also, the animation is ugly. Its mix of 2D and CGI elements clash at all times and gives this show a dirt cheap look. There is a reason why many are critical of the isekai genre. When you don’t deliver on something good, people will turn on you quickly, and to be frank, there really should be a limit to how many we get in a year. 

Vermeil in Gold (HiDive) 

This fantasy ecchi anime is based on the manga by Kota Amana. The anime is directed by Takashi Naoya, written by Tatsuya Takahashi, and produced by Staple Entertainment. I know most come down hard on these ecchi series when they are just so upfront with how horny they are, and to give this show credit, it’s not trying to hide that it’s mostly a fetish anime. When a fetish anime decides to try and hide what it actually is all about, it ends up being a worse product. What’s frustrating about Vermeil though is that it’s actually trying hard to balance out its more arousing elements with a solid enough story that dives into the relationship and dynamics of our characters, and at the same time gives us a tragic backstory to our titillating female demon familiar. It’s commendable that the show is doing more than most, but that’s the problem. It wants to have its sexy visuals and also keep you invested with the rest of the show, resulting in it faltering in both areas. The show’s fetish is going to, as usual, be on a case-by-case scenario of whether you are going to be down with a flimsy teen boy being dominated by a curvaceous demon woman as a major driving force with why you watch the show. Granted, the lack of consent is distracting as heck, and while I get why this is a fetish, if the roles were reversed, people would be raking this show over the coals. It’s maddening that so few ecchi shows share the basic human concept of consent on any level. The more story-driven aspect is fine, but it’s every magic-based school anime you have ever seen, and while some tropes and characters are amusing, they don’t do enough to keep my interest. Still, it’s at least an ecchi show that I can see why people like it. It’s just not for me. 

My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became The Strongest Sage in the World (HiDive) 

This isekai is based on the novels/light novels/manga by Shinkoshoto. The anime adaptation is directed by Keisuke Kojima, written by Naohiro Fukushima, and produced by Revoroot. While this does not do anything truly unique or distinct from other isekai out there, it’s an absolutely perfect example of a comfort food anime. It’s smart enough to make sure to give you a compelling character that isn’t just a self-insert for audiences, it has good action, the party the lead travels with is diverse and full of fun characters, and the animation isn’t lacking personality or polish. It has rock-solid action, the magic system is fun to see unfold, and our lead has a real reason to be distant toward many of the people he encounters on his journey. It’s nice to see an isekai not just skirt by with the bare minimum, and not be an overly powerful individual right off the bat. This should be the bare minimum, but since so many isekai tend to give up on their plots after the first episode, doing the bare minimum and doing it well is on the levels of something like Faraway Paladin or isekai that were made back in the day like Escaflowne, and anytime an anime is actually doing as much as it can or is willing to execute its familiar premise with flair, then I am all for supporting it. Plus, it has a batch of cute slimes that all have distinct looks to them! Who would say no to an adorable batch of slimes? 

Parallel World Pharmacy (Crunchyroll)  

This refreshing spin on the isekai genre is based on the novels by Liz Takayama. The anime is directed by Keizo Kusakawa, written by Wataru Watari, and produced by Diomedea. Once again, it feels so rare for an isekai to actually be both compelling and unique. While we have had an isekai about a guy making medicine last year, this is more akin to something like Saint’s Magic is Omnipotent, which is amusing since the same writer worked on that show and the same studio animated it as well. It’s more about a doctor who was reincarnated in a fantasy world that revolves around medicine and how it works in this world. It’s also not a power fantasy. He is powerful, but instead of taking down demon lords in one hit and getting a harem, the main character is all about making sure life saving medicine and healthcare is available to everyone and not just for the rich elite. This is the kind of isekai that we need more of, and not just a power fantasy made for the lowest common denominator. We need more isekai that actually want to and care about their characters. Or, like our next isekai, they do something so outwardly different that it sort of inspires its own sub-genre of isekai. 

Uncle from Another World (Netflix) 

This unique isekai comedy is based on the manga by Hotonshindeiru. The adaptation is directed by Shigeki Kawai, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by AtelierPontdarc. I think this is the first time I have seen an isekai take place after the big power fantasy adventure is over. I like to describe this show as a post-isekai comedy. Its main focus is having our lead, the titular uncle, back in the real world who shacks up with his nephew. The major twist is that he brought all of his powers from the fantasy world back with him. Instead of being a power fantasy, it’s more of a slice-of-life comedy with some magical aspects that result in a lot of shenanigans from making YouTube videos of the uncle’s magic powers. It also portrays a more realistic isekai hero with the uncle having a ton of well-meaning intentions, but not the greatest social cues or awareness of things, all of which lead to a lot of incredible laughs. It also implements more modern elements like YouTube careers, and dives more into the psyche of our lead characters and the interactions they share. It might be full of unexpected dashes of humor, but it doesn’t forget to give depth to our characters, and it results in a show in this genre of anime that stands out among the rest. Also, the animation on the characters is so out there that it reminds me of the facial expressions from anime like Golden Boy, and that’s saying something due to how most anime try to stay cute and pretty while on-screen. Uncle From Another World feels like a breath of fresh air and a distinct experiment that the isekai genre absolutely needed. 

Slice of life

Prima Doll (HiDive) 

This is based on the multimedia project by Key and Visual Arts. The anime is directed by Tensho, it’s written by Kai and Toya Okano, and produced by Bibury Animation Studios. Listen, the hook of this one is cool. It’s pretty much set up like a post-war drama of these robot girls who were made to be soldiers now having to adapt to living a civilian life. That sounds great! Too bad the art direction is focused more on selling these characters as models and figurines than actually making sense in the setting in which they take place. This isn’t new, but when you have these cute, very high-pitched voices, and annoying characters that are cute for the sake of cute, sitting through this show is a chore. It doesn’t help either that the show tries really hard to make you feel sad and bad about the situation these characters are in. Too bad the very modern look of these cute robot girls takes you out of the experience. It’s why a good art direction can save a show, and why the look of our lead characters feels so out of place. It’s a shame, since you could see this being a solid drama about the mental baggage that comes with being someone who was on the frontlines, and now has to adapt to normal life, and the struggles that come with it. However, when you have to see “tragic” war flashbacks with these child soldiers that look like they were made to sell you merchandise and or be a part of those virtual idols, well, it’s more funny than serious. When it’s not visually distracting, it’s trying too hard to be taken seriously, and I can’t see this one being appealing to anyone. 

The Maid I Hired Recently is Mysterious (Crunchyroll) 

It’s a case of a show doing the bare minimum to try and keep you invested. This is based on the manga by Wakame Konbu. It’s directed by Mirai Minato (who also writes the script) and Misuzu Hoshino and produced by Silver Link and Blade. The compelling angle of why you should check this show out is the mystery about why this maid showed up at this young kid’s mansion, and honestly, It’s not all that compelling. There are moments where the dynamic between the two is cute enough, but since there is a tinge of romance and an obvious age difference in the relationship, it becomes a bit iffy on where this is going, and the mystery angle is not all that compelling. The show wants you to keep coming back to our maid lead and while she is cute, it’s not enough anymore. The comedy falls flat and the animation is fine, but nothing outstanding. Maybe if they started the mystery angle a bit harder or if this was funnier, I would be more involved, but this anime just bored me to tears with how repetitive it got. Even the new characters they introduced don’t do enough to make up for how dull the rest of the show is.

Shine Post (HiDive) 

This is based on the multimedia project by Konami and Straight Edge. The adaptation is directed by Kei Oikawa, written by SPP, Tatsuo Higuchi, and Rakuda, and produced by Studio Kai. Yeah, we already have too many idol anime as well, and like isekai, they need to do something to differentiate themselves than be more idol industry propaganda. This anime tries to differentiate itself by focusing more on the personal drama of the idol group we follow and a manager brought in who has a unique ability to see people who are lying about something. It gives the manager more of a character, and focuses on him just as much as our group of promising idols. It definitely tries to do more than just “we want to be the best idol group of all time”, and I’m glad it does have something other than cute anime girls that may or may not look good as anime statues on your shelf. It’s overall an okay show with some genuine drama thrown into some of the characters, and the dance sequences are all done using rotoscope, but it still looks clunky. It would be so cool to see them do more than what looks like typical dance sequences we see with every idol anime, but at least they don’t use ugly CGI that’s not composited well onto the 2D background. It’s solid, but I don’t think I have the interest to dive back into the drama of the idol anime unlike the next idol anime on this list. 

When Will Ayumu Make his Move (HiDive)

This romantic comedy is based on the manga by Teasing Master Tagaki San author Soichiro Yamamoto. It’s directed by Mirai Minato, written by Deko Akao (aka Hitomi Mieno), and produced by Silver Link. While this is leagues better than Soichiro’s previous anime adaptation of In The Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, it still has its own set of problems. It at least moves a bit faster between our leads crushing on one another and by the third episode go on a date, the side characters have a bit more spark and quirk to them than expected, and there is a nice low key vibe to this slice-of-life romcom. Unfortunately, it decided to come out after the latest season of the much better and more popular Kaguya Sama: Love is War. The overall journey through the first four episodes was uneven, and the whole shogi club premise is not entirely fleshed out, and the author’s iconic art style is poorly shown in such a drab-looking show. I think the intention was meant to make the world around them feel like the flashback sequences from Only Yesterday where there is a hazy glow to everything. It just doesn’t help things that the animation is not all that stellar. It looks fine at points, but then it can look rather cheap due to whatever was going on behind the scenes. It’s a cute show, and it’s not the worst one of the season, but you can do much better in terms of slice-of-life anime. 

Phantom of the Idol (HiDive)

This anime is based on the manga by Hijiki Isoflavone. It’s directed by Daisei Fukuoka, written by Yasuko Aoki, and produced by Studio Gokumi. This spooky take on the idol formula is at the very least, more interesting than the last time I encountered an idol show with a ghostly idol individual in the cast. This one takes it in a more comedic route with one of the male leads in an idol duo group only doing the idol thing to rake in easy cash and doesn’t have the passion to push himself. That is, until he encounters a ghost of a deceased idol who agrees to help him become the best idol he can be. However, this only scratches the surface of what the entire show is about as you get past the first episode. The lead that bonds with the ghost idol actually becomes much more interesting and compelling. His lackadaisical attitude could be a very easy turn-off to many, if not handled well, but his interactions with the idol ghost and his fellow idol make for a very fun comedy/drama that actually doesn’t focus too much on the idol stuff. Like it gets brought up and you do get songs and dancing sequences through the first few episodes, but the show wants to also focus on its characters and what drives them, and to be honest, that’s way more compelling than being just another idol show. Seeing a flawed trio of characters go about how they want to go about the idol experience and job, while focusing little on pushing out a new mobile game or merchandise (at least upfront) makes for a better show than most this season. 

TEPPEN Laughing Til You Cry (Crunchyroll) 

Consider this a surprise of the season! This comedy anime is based on the manga by Inujun. It’s directed by Shinji Takamatsu and Toshinori Watanabe, written by Jun Kumagai, and produced by Drive. You would think a comedy anime about a house full of comedy groups would be a touch overwhelming, chaotic in what kind of comedy styles they perform, and that the comedy wouldn’t translate to an English-speaking audience. Then again, when you get someone like Shinji Takamatsu, who has been behind a multitude of classic comedy anime like School Rumble, a majority of the Gintama franchise, Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto Kun, and Cute High Earth Defense Club, then you have someone with the experience to make it work. And, to my surprise, it’s a delightful show. It’s not only funny, but it also dabbles in how weird comedy trios can be with how absurd some of the humor and each individual group’s gimmicks can be. They also do take episodes to focus on one or two groups, and it makes sure to make them all stand out from one another. It is an anime that’s simply put, having fun with its premise, and that feels so rare that they know what they are doing and aren’t just bailing on the word ‘go’. Never thought I would be here saying this comedy anime about comedians is good due to the last one being dire, but this one is in fact, good! 

The Yakuza Guide to Babysitting (Crunchyroll) 

This anime is based on the manga by Tsukiya. It’s directed by Itsuro Kawasaki, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Feel and Gaina. If you like shows like Kotaro Lives Alone or Sweetness and Lightning, then this will be right up your alley about a tough yakuza right hand who has to take care of his boss’s daughter. It sounds like it could go either way with comedy and drama. What the show decides to do is go down the route of both, where it balances out comedic antics with personal character drama. There is a lot going on under the surface of this show, and it may have a hard time balancing it out in the first episode, but after that, you are met with some complex characters, solid laughs, and constant momentum with the bond between the yakuza and the kid becoming stronger as each episode passes. It also lays down the groundwork for a cast of likable and imposing side characters, and an ongoing subplot about the daughter’s mom that make for one of the best anime of the season and the year in general. 

And there we have it! This was the Summer 2022 Anime Season Impressions! Not a great season of anime, but there were definitely a couple of shows that I very much enjoyed. If I had to list the ones I recommend from this part and part 1 of the impressions, these would be the anime I would recommend checking out now if you haven’t already. 

They are Uncle From Another World, Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, TEPPEN, Phantom of the Idol, Parallel World Pharmacy, Call of the Night, and Lycoris Recoil. Definitely give these anime a watch if you haven’t already!

Summer Lovin, The 2022 Summer Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

The Summer 2022 Season has once again proven to be the year’s weakest season. Not that it didn’t have any good spots or elements to enjoy or admire, but the mediocre shows were more bountiful this season. While that might be a good thing for some viewers who like to support bad shows because they are “entertaining to ironically enjoy”, it leads to more quantity over quality situations in an already overworked industry. There doesn’t always need to be 30 shows getting released every three months, and we definitely don’t need more isekai and shows that skate the line of being porn, but are edited to be watched on broadcast TV. It’s the fact that a lot of the medium’s lowest quality schlock comes out in this season specifically that makes it frustrating. So then, let’s dive right in with these impressions!


My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex (Crunchyroll) 

This is based on the novels and manga by Kyosuke Kamishiro, and the adaptation into animation is directed by Shinsuke Yanagi, written by Deko Akao aka Hitomi Mieno, and produced by Project No. 9. It’s going to be a bad time for any rom-com coming out after the wake of Kaguya Sama, Aharen, and Shikamori’s Not Just a Cutie, because they are going to have to carry the weight of trying to be the next big rom-com anime, and, well, you don’t do that by making a pseudo-incest anime. They try to write away that bag of yikes by saying that they were exes before their respective parents got married so they aren’t technically blood-related, but when you become brother and sister, the tone changes to creepy. It’s weird, because there are details, like how the break-up between our two leads was not exactly a happy one, and the bitterness they have for one another is a decent driving force for the comedy. Unfortunately, we all know where this type of show is going with them ending up together, and everything based around that endgame is not entertaining. Heck, they don’t even commit to the gimmick seen in the first episode. What’s even the point of bailing on your entire premise by the second episode? Oh wait, we all know why, and it’s why anime is such a tedious medium to enjoy. It’s also not animated well. It looks fine, but when you hear comedy, the characters aren’t animated to be comedic. It’s like the team was worried about them not looking “attractive”, and then the show decided to tempt fate by having fanservice moments. They aren’t common, but when they pop up, they are so out of place. It’s just an incredibly middling anime that could have some great moments, but the overarching story leaves a lot to be desired. Easily one of the worst shows of the season so far. 

Engage Kiss (Crunchyroll) 

This anime is based on a mixed media project by Square Enix, and the show is directed by Tomoya Tanaka, written by Fumiaki Maruto, and produced by A-1 Pictures. There is honestly a cool concept here with a false utopia where capitalism has resulted in multiple demon-hunting companies to bid for demon-hunting gigs with the lowest bid. There is a lot of world-building that could lead to some very impressive story beats and arcs for our main characters. There is even something there with how our lead works with his ex and his demon partner on hunting gigs. With all that said, you better love the lead, because he is by far one of the worst leads in the summer season. An absolutely lazy and hateful individual who doesn’t think he has any flaws or he gets super defensive when called out on his own flaws. The show bends like a pretzel to make two anime girls like him, and it just breaks the immersion. There is a way to make “I want to live and work the way I want to” characters work since Kintaro from Golden Boy is one of the most popular old anime characters, but it all comes down to execution, and our lead in Engage Kiss comes off like that one character from Odd Taxi who was mad he wasn’t going viral as a content creator. This is an intensely frustrating watch because there is obviously a lot of stuff in this show that is interesting and the animation looks good, but when the main lead is this obnoxious, it overshadows everything. You can have unlikeable characters and they can be flawed, but you have to still want to watch them grow or find their miserable existence entertaining. 

Call of the Night (HiDive) 

Finally, something good and not frustrating to talk about. This is based on the manga by Kotoyama. The anime adaptation was directed by Tetsuya Miyanishi (chief director) and Tomoyuki Itamura, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Liden Films. While there are some aspects of the show that can be a bit much, like the constantly subtle and not subtle talk of our leads being horny via the dynamic between a human male and a vampire, and how much a lot of that is the base of this show, it’s not just that. This low-fi atmospheric romcom also has a lot of themes and beats about feeling lost in a world with no drive and finding a connection with people. It’s a very calm and odd anime that looks great. It’s an offbeat anime that easily stands out from the mostly mediocre anime of the season. It also stands out because it’s actually good. 


Extreme Hearts (Crunchyroll) 

Unlike a lot of anime this season, this one is actually an original project. Though I’ll be blunt, I assumed this was some kind of multi-media project with a mediocre mobile game attached to it. We will get to that part in a second. This anime is directed by Junji Nishimura, written by Masaki Tsuzuki, and produced by Seven Arcs. This show is a real mess. On one hand, there is the undeniable fire and passion for this project to make a combination of idol industry nonsense and sports nonsense, and for the first episode, there is a feeling of investment that you want to dive into with this show. Sadly, after the first episode, they fast forward through a lot of the sports side of the show to get to the idol stuff. It’s a shame because there haven’t been that many good sports anime this year with Salaryman’s Club still taking the top honor, but sure, we absolutely apparently needed more idol nonsense. It’s a bummer that anime has so much anime nonsense, and that said nonsense gets in the way of shows that could have just been fun and absurd. It’s a shame the one true sports anime that isn’t a sequel show is mediocre, but hey, if you enjoy it, that’s cool, but you won’t see me recommending it after the 3rd episode. 

Yurei Deco (Crunchyroll)

Be prepared, we have a couple of original anime this season! This one is directed by Tomohisa Shimoyama, written by Dai Sato, and produced by Science Saru. If you need a quick comparison or an easier way to describe Yurei Deco, think of it as a good version of Ready Player One that, instead of a self-indulgent piece of nostalgia-bating garbage, actually shows the horrors of a future that is always online. The way this show builds up its “persistently online while vibrant and colorful” is hiding the fact the city the characters live in is desolate, and the world they live in is authoritarian. They even find a way to tackle some pretty politically heavy topics like citizenship and the consequences of not being consistently signed up in this virtual world. The mysteries that lie underneath the flashy designs and the usual Science Saru aesthetics make this one of the best anime of the summer season, and that’s not hard since it’s so much better than 90% of the anime released this season. Not only is the summer anime season usually the weakest, but it’s also fertile ground for more experimental anime projects to show up and take the spotlight. 


Smile of the Arsnotoria the Animation (Crunchyroll) 

This title is based on the mobile game by NextNinja. It’s directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa, written by Midori Goto, and produced by Liden Films. Listen, if this didn’t have the confusing combination of magical tea time shenanigans and extremely dark and violent war stuff, this show would still be sort of boring. With what we have, it’s got a tonal problem when it mostly focuses on the cute stuff, and then at some point will show some intensely violent stuff that you are hoping becomes part of the forefront. You had better have some patience because it has yet to play a major role, and honestly, if you aren’t down for low-key slice-of-life stuff with a cast of cute girls, then you won’t tolerate this show at all. Kyoani and Naoko Yamada made this genre of anime look good with such ease, but it shows that you can’t just focus on one aspect and neglect the others. Once again, Liden Films has some impressive visuals, but it’s a shame this show’s rather lush visuals are for a show that’s, for the most part, boring. Also, take a shot every time the lead character has to sniff something or just says ‘sniff’. It will drive you up a wall. 

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (Crunchyroll) 

If you have been watching the anime this season, then this one stands out for all of the wrong reasons. This is the anime based on Satoshi Mizukami’s manga which was a cult favorite. It’s directed by Nobuaki Nakanishi, written by Satoshi Mizukami and Yuichiro Momose, and produced by NAZ. Whatever this premise has going for it, it is all undone due to how ugly as all get out this show is. Realizing that this was made by the same studio that did My Sister My Writer, the infamous bad anime of 2018, a lot of the terrible production values seen in Lucifer make a ton of sense. Every action scene is terrible, the line art is inconsistent, the compositing, the movements, the comedy, and the poorly placed CGI. It’s hands down one of the ugliest shows not of just the season, but of the year or more. Even with the ugly art direction, the story is all over the place. It can’t seem to find a tone of what it wants to be. Due to the bad animation, the action is lackluster. It has a few story beats that give depth to the characters, but it’s not enough. This is a disappointing adaptation of a fan-favorite manga author, and who knows if there will ever be a proper adaptation of this particular manga.

Shine On! Bakumatsu Bad Boys (Crunchyroll) 

Content Warning: The one female character in this show’s backstory show attempted assault. 

Well, here we go with an original anime of the season! This show is directed and written by Tetsuo Hirakawa, with designs by Shaman King author Hiroyuki Takei, and is produced by Geno Studio. Once again, I find myself conflicted with this one. On one hand, this undercover group of samurais taking down an evil force that’s trying to disrupt the people in power of Japan is lifted by the show’s striking visuals and character designs. It’s a visually striking show that helps it stand out from a lot of this season’s mediocre tripe. On the other hand, the show’s world-building leans into some pseudo-nationalism, and many of the characters are, simply put, loud. Many of the characters yell their lines and some are, so far, painted to be fairly one note. The action is rock solid, but it seems like this is only one of the better shows so far by default. I liked it, but I am hesitant about whether I would want to personally continue or not. 

Lycoris Recoil (Crunchyroll) 

Hey look, another original anime this season! This show is directed by Shingo Adachi, written by Asaura, and produced by A1 Pictures. Yes, it’s a show about cute anime high school girls going on secret missions because they are trained assassins. Yes, they bend the world’s logic and storytelling like a pretzel to excuse some of the show’s more outlandish story beats and violence. Yes, I am absolutely sure those special rubber bullets used by one of our leads would actually cause a ton of physical damage if shot at close range by them. Yes, this anime does have a lot of anime nonsense due to how this is an original title with some multi-media parts coming into play at a later date. With all that said though, and this is pretty much because the season is so lackluster, Lycoris Recoil seems to actually know what it wants to be as a show! With every new original anime project, you get nervous about how far the pitch for this show went. Some shows, even ones based on preexisting properties, tend to sometimes never go far beyond the elevator pitch or they completely bail on their premise by the second episode. Thankfully, Recoil seems to know that it wants to be a stylish cute anime girls using guns and getting into John Wick-style situations, and that’s fun to watch when everyone making the show is on the same level. If this was released last season or even a season like Fall 2021, it probably would get overlooked, but since so many anime this season are falling flat on their faces, Lycoris Recoil, with its likable leads, polished animation, bubbly atmosphere with a hint of something darker underneath the bubbliness, and entertaining action set pieces makes for a show that is hands down one of the more entertaining shows of the season. Hopefully, it finds a way to keep balancing everything, because it would really be a disappointment if this show fell off the rails as it went on. 

So for now, if you want to know which anime of these categories so far I would recommend watching, they would be Yurei Deco, Call of the Night, and Lycoris Recoil.

The Other Side of Animation 269: Inu-Oh Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Heads up: I was able to watch this film via a screener sent to me from GKIDS. I received no other form of monetization other than the screener. Thank you, GKIDS for this opportunity.

When you go see a movie, what do you look for? Do you want an action-packed thrill ride? Do you want a thriller so dense with tension that you are left breathless? What about a horror film that leaves you so panicked and stressed out over the fear that lingers in your mind and the world around you as you exit the theater or turn off your TV? What about some animated visuals that live-action films can never truly fulfill? You probably want to see a film that not only stands out from the pack, but truly changes the world around you and your view on the art form itself. Not many can do so, but here we are with what might be one of the most important films of 2022, not just in animation, but in film in general. It’s a film that will make you think and redefine how films are made, and that is a good thing. We need more films shaking up the landscape and telling diverse stories and told in new and interesting ways. For now, let’s dive into the whimsical and abstract world of Inu-Oh.

This film is directed by the master himself, Masaaki Yuasa, written by Akiko Nogi, composed by Otomo Yoshihide, and animated by Science Saru. It tells the story of a blind Biwa player named Tomona, voiced by Mira Moriyama. He travels the land looking for stories to tell of the Heiki clan after their fall from the war. He was blinded after an incident brought upon by some government officials looking for a tool of power. Along his journey to becoming a biwa player, he encounters an odd entity in the form of a deformed human, who at first has no name but soon gains one via the performance name of Inu-Oh, voiced by the queen bee herself, Avu-chan. Together, they team up to tell the stories through song and dance of the spirits that were forgotten by the sands of time and the grasping hands of the rising political powers of Japan. 

You know how some reviews have described this film by saying that it’s a bit of everything? Well, it is. It’s a political thriller, a murder mystery, an epic stadium rock opera, an LGBTQ+-infused friendship story, and it’s also an absurd fairy-tale-infused slice of history about an individual forgotten in time. Inu-Oh is a story about how the conquest for greed and power are willing to erase from history people that existed. It’s a dark film with a rather depressing through-line of what happens to our leads. It’s a thrilling and energy-infused musical romp where music is used to tell the honest truth of the world. It’s both big in scale, and yet personal and intimate with its characters. Any normal director would not be able to handle everything that this film throws in front of you. Inu-Oh has both complex and brutal emotions, but it’s also simple and pure, a film that has a lot of subtext and text upfront about what it’s talking about, and it feels like it should all collapse into itself like some large sinkhole opening into the earth. How the heck do you balance all of this out? In addition, instead of just being a period drama, its music, like mentioned previously in the review and a bit further into the said review, has a rock edge to its  compositions and performances. It has that spark of pizzaz that would feel out of place if it was handled by anyone other than Masaaki Yuasa. However, while this film is spinning a multitude of plates and tones, what it doesn’t forget is that at the core of this film, it’s the story between Tomona and Inu-Oh. It’s a journey of their struggles and arcs in a world that is extremely unforgiving and very prone to discrimination. They could easily be forgotten individuals through the passages of time, but they push back and make sure that they and others exist. The different plot points, from the murder mystery to the political thriller aspects, are woven between beautiful music and atmospheric landscapes of the past. The characters may be straightforward, but with the allergic response people have with nuance these days, it’s for the best that the characters we do follow don’t muddy the waters. Tomona and Inu-Oh are bonded closely like brothers, and the final scene between them is extremely touching. In contrast, the overarching villains of the film are intensely despicable individuals with what they are willing to do to rise to power. The twists and turns that take you through this story will make you love our leads, laugh, smile, dance, and rock alongside the music, and just hate with a seething fury the passive villains of the film.

The animation is an experience in itself. It’s full of everything you love and adore about Science Saru with its chaotic and fluid animation. Combine the designs from character designer Obutake Ito, who did the designs for Giovanni’s Island, Lu Over the Wall, The Night is Short Walk on Girl, and Taiyo Matsumoto, who was behind the art of Tekkonkinkreet, the visual look of everything is drop-dead gorgeous. From the toned-down yet vibrant colors to the wildly expressive faces that show everyone who they really are and the flashy musical sequences, to the painted look of Tomona’s world through his blind eyes, you have an elevated visual treat that you won’t be able to compare or find in the cinematic landscape. Seriously, the musical sequences not only tell the story of the forgotten souls who couldn’t find rest, but they help paint the rise and popularity of our two leads, as well as the bitter silent anger from the main villain who finds their speaking the truth a threat to his overarching goal to unite the nations. The music itself is a collaborative effort between Otomo Yoshihide and Avu-chan. It’s full of just the best kind of rock with great story-driven lyrics, but also jam session vibes, and when they are paired with the film’s visuals, you get a special treat that beats out most of every musical this year. The voice cast is amazing. Avu-chan is incredible as Inu-Oh, and her performance is easily one of my favorites of the year. She brings a playful innocence to the early part of the character, and when the drama hits, she handles the heavier story beats well. Her scene with the soliloquy is probably my favorite scene of the entire film, and that’s saying something since her performances are the best part of the film. Mirai Moriyama also works well off of Avu-chan, and his singing is also pretty great! They really bring the heart and soul to the entire story, and the other actors do a great job with their own respective roles. 

There will never be enough words to describe the experience of watching a film like Inu-Oh. It’s a fantastical experience, it’s magical, it’s a political drama, it’s a sharp-edged social commentary, it’s a bombastic stadium rock opera, it’s a grand-scale epic, it’s a small-scale emotionally-driven human story, it’s an LGBTQ+ infused journey of two souls looking to tell the stories of the forgotten, and it’s a highly-condensed cinematic experience that could only come from the mind of someone like Masaaki Yuasa. Inu-Oh is everything that he stands for, not only in filmmaking, but in storytelling, his ideals, and as a human being. Inu-Oh, just like Everything Everywhere All At Once, is a cinematic journey through the making of art on screen. It shows you what kind of creative adventures filmmakers can take you on. It’s a film that is firing on all cylinders with its visuals. It’s a film that proudly and definitely spits in the face of filmmakers and critics who talk down to the medium of animation. It viscerally stands and rebels against the naysayers and “Negative Nancies” who keep confining and limiting the medium of animation and storytelling. It’s, once again, everything everywhere all at once. If this thick slice of word loaf didn’t say so already, Inu-Oh is my favorite film of the year. It’s not only the best animated film of the year, but it’s also, bluntly, the best film of the year. You will never see something like Inu-Oh. If you can see it, please do. More people need to see the cinematic brilliance of something so distinct like Inu-Oh. It’s also a fun companion piece to Science Saru and Naoko Yamada’s adaptation of The Heike Story. We may never see a new film by Masaaki Yuasa, but for now, his story has been told, and his journey through the beauty of animation ends here. He rightfully deserves a break, and hopefully, one day, he may return to tell more stories like this one. For now, we shall journey to a fantastic world of the mystical Dragon Balls as we talk about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Rating: Essential