What is anime filler? And can you avoid watching it?

I recently had a conversation where I bemoaned the inevitability of filler episodes in popular anime. After a while, it was clear that not everyone in the conversation knew what filler was and why they were often a necessary part of any long-running anime series. More importantly, most people didn’t realize there are easy ways to avoid watching filler for the most popular shows…

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[Anime] Review – In Another World with my Smartphone: A Blatant Self Insert Fantasy

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In Another World with my Smartphone, originally titled Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, is technically about a teen who is transported to another world, one filled with magic and mystical creatures. Any reasonable description of the show would have you believe that it’s about how Touya – the main character – adapts to this new world while having unique adventures made possible by his smartphone.

A few episodes in, you quickly realize that’s not the case at all. The show is actually a very blatant self insert fantasy with an overpowered main character and no overarching plot, and half the time, you forget he even has a smartphone. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start with some context. Continue reading

Impressions of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – A New Season after 18 Years

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The original Cardcaptor Sakura anime series was one of the most popular of its time. We followed Sakura and her friends – Syaoran, Tomoyo, and of course, Kero – as they fought and caught the spirits of the Clow Cards that had run loose. We accompanied Sakura as she made the cards her own and grew into a capable magician in her own right.

And 18 years after the last episode originally aired in Japan, Madhouse has begun airing a new season…

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[Manga Review] Investor Z – Grooming the Next Generation of Finance Professionals

Have you ever wanted to learn how to invest in stocks? Or do real estate? Or engage in day trading like the pros?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should probably go buy a textbook on the topic and start reading up.

For anyone who’s not sure if they’d be interested in any of that stuff, though, I’d recommend you check out Investor Z. Written by Mita Norifusa, the author of the acclaimed Dragon Zakura series about preparing for college entrance exams, Investor Z covers the adventures of protagonist Zaizen Takashi, a middle school student who is suddenly whisked into the high-risk world of stocks and investing.

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[Anime] Haikyu!! Season 2 Impressions – Still endearing and still awesome

Haikyu Cover

[Warning: Contains Season 1 Spoilers]

If you haven’t seen the first season of Haikyu!! (or Haikyuu!!, however you spell it), go watch it now. It’s a sports anime done right, very much in the same vein as Eyeshield 21 or Prince of Tennis. The sport is volleyball, which means a cast of 6 regulars and 4-5 benchwarmers, plus a manager, coach, and a couple of side characters. Not too few and not too many. And after you’ve watched the first season, you will come to appreciate and empathize with every single one of them.

The first season was amazing, which meant I was super excited for the second season. Would it live up to the high expectations set by the first season? Would it be worse? Could it possibly be better?

Here are my impressions after watching the first four episodes of the second season:

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[Manga] DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything Review

DICE title

The conclusion of the Liar Game Kdrama left me searching for another story like it, another world with a psychologically intense plot and interesting characters. That’s when I stumbled upon DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything. The written summary for this manhwa speaks of a game that can change a player’s life and a bottom-of-the-social-ladder main character who is given the opportunity to play this game. While DICE isn’t as intellectually intense as Liar’s Game, it does have some strong story elements that make it a good series in its own right.

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(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 11 and 12: Conclusion or Prelude to a Second Season?

Liar Game - 17 Poker

The Liar Game kdrama has come to an exciting conclusion. A revival round. Two stages of the final round. Childhood revelations. A hostage situation. And a hint of what’s to come. All packaged in two crazy, suspense-filled episodes. The last two episodes left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings, some positive, some not so much.

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(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 9 and 10: The Smuggling Game and A More Human Drama

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The Smuggling Game is here. After the last two episodes ran off and spun a new and original game for the third round, I thought that there was a chance that the remainder of the drama would continue to create new and original drama-only games. For better or for worse, the kdrama has returned to its pre-President Game pattern and decided to have the participants play the Smuggling Game (a.k.a. the Contraband Game).

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(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 7 and 8: The President Game and Forging a New Path

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Finally, an original game! Three rounds in and more than halfway into the first season, it seemed like the Korean adaptation of Liar Game would, for the most part, just stick to the games and rounds as they appear in the original manga. But fortunately, in an unexpected twist, the fourth round of the Liar Game is not the Contraband Game but the President Game, a new and original concept that had not appeared in other Liar Game media ever before.

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(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 5 and 6: The Layoff Game

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It might be that I’m just getting really excited about how this drama is progressing as a whole, but Liar Game feels like it’s getting better and better with each episode. Episodes 5 and 6 detail the events of the revival round, where Nam Da-Jung and other losers from the Minority Game come together to participate in the Layoff Game. Also called the downsizing game or the restructuring game, the basic premise of the Layoff Game is a popularity contest where contestants vote for each other in a series of rounds, with break time in between each round. The one with the fewest number of votes at the end of all the rounds gets “laid off” and officially loses the right to participate in future rounds of the game.

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