Tsujiura-san to Chupacabra (Unidentified Mysterious Girl)


Kiritani considers himself a loner. He actually takes some pride in being so. Everyone thinks he’s weird and even his little sister calls him disgusting, but he’s fine with that. Hence, he continues his lonesome high school life. One day a girl named Tsujiura transfers into his class. She wins the admiration of everyone by acting so kind and innocent, but Kiritani stays away as it has nothing to do with him. However, later on, he sees a bunch of guys hitting on her, and Tsujiura completing wrecking them in a fight. Tsujiura notices him, and realizes her cover is blown. It turns out that she’s actually a delinquent who’s true self doesn’t act like a normal girl at all. Rather, she’s aggressive, and obsessed with UMAs, especially the Chupacabra. Still, Kiritani has no intention of revealing her secret, so he thinks that would be enough to end the situation, but she continues to pursue him, ultimately resulting in them sort of going out.


This manga is another take on a pretty standard plot of their being a girl who has a personality that’s different from what she shows in public, which the main character discovers and hence their fates are intertwined. This is followed by the also standard fake relationship trope that is developed into a real relationship, and the plot elements that comes out as a result of that. However, what’s very unique about this manga is that Tsujiura is incredibly weird. She is unlike any other character I have seen, and hence that certainly does make her interesting. However, that doesn’t mean that I like her, as ultimately I wasn’t too fond of her, rather I would say I was fond of the other heroine more. The protagonist is also completely pathetic. Not in the standard, mostly appears pathetic but has shining moments, but rather he pretty much truly is pathetic without really having any redeeming moments at all. He definitely has character progression, going from a loner to someone that is more normal, but that just makes him stand out as a character less and makes him more boring. So while there definitely was growth, there didn’t seem to be much purpose to it. As for the relationship development, there definitely is some there, but its sort of hand waved around, and in the end there is nothing near a conclusion. I suppose I kind of even prefer that, as I probably wouldn’t have liked how the author likely would have ended it, but its certainly not a satisfying ending. In terms of comedy, it was incredibly repetitive using the same base gags throughout. In terms of art there was some parts that stood out as good, but most of it was only decent.

A manga with a very unique heroine, for better or worse, but ultimately a plot that doesn’t go anywhere.



Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society


Two years after Motoko left Section 9, Togusa has led it in a new direction. It has expanded tremendously in terms of personnel, and investigates larger numbers of incidents at once. One such of these incidents involves a mysterious series of suicides from would be terrorists, a number of missing children, peculiarities in a medical support system for the elderly, and a wizard class hacker dubbed the Puppeteer. This investigation leads Batou directly into Motoko’s path, who also seems to have gotten involved. Strangely, without providing any answers, she tells Batou that if he doesn’t want to die, he should stay away from the Solid State Society and disappears. However, with suspicion that Motoko might be the Puppeteer, Section 9 continues their investigation.


Solid State Society is a movie sequel to Ghost in the Shell 2nd GIG. However, in between the two quite a bit has happened. The end result is that this movie is Section 9 dealing with a pretty standard incident as far as incidents for them are concerned, but with the additional elements of it being unclear how Motoko is involved as well as Section 9 having a different way of operating compared to previous Stand Alone Complex entries. While not especially intense or unique, it was still ultimately a very good film. It hit all the right notes in having intense action scenes, emotionally tugging scenes, the scene involving Togusa’s daughter in particular, as well as a good amount of mystery oriented around a plot focusing on the impacts of technological advancement on society. Furthermore, by having Motoko take a step back, she regained quite a bit of the mystery that she had lost in 2nd GIG, and her handling of the incident and the conclusion brought back her aura of being perfect and unassailable, that also took a hit in the previous season, which is a state I much prefer her in. Lastly, it also hit some good notes in giving fans some nice gifts, primarily THE TACHIKOMAS BEING BACK!!! The OP was OK, though the ED was better, which is a contrast from the previous seasons. I will never get why they used Russian though. The art and art style looked a bit better I think, basically the same thing, but a bit less rough.

A pretty standard Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex story, and in that exactly what it should be.


Onihime VS


Setsuna is a guy that believes he is worth nothing. He isn’t exceptionally good at anything. He gets bullied at school by a bunch of girls. He has a physically weak heart, which combined with the fact that he and his caring older sister have lost both their parents has resulted in his sister having to give up her dreams and work incredibly hard just to pay off his medical bills. One day, after seeing his sister being harassed by loan sharks, he thinks it’s time to stop being a burden on her, and just ending his life. As he looks over the bridge he’s about to jump off of, a mysterious stranger appears behind him. He offers him 10 million yen in exchange for his life for one year, at which point Setsuna would have to die for him. Wanting to leave something behind for his sister, he agrees. He drinks a potion and enters the contract.

The next day, when he wakes up, he finds two women before him. The first is Kanna, an energetic and aggressive woman, and the second is Rena, a very calm and introverted woman. They explain that they are the royal sisters from the Oni clan, and that they were the ones that had bought his life. The potion that he had drank had made his heart special. There was something incredibly powerful growing in it, that in one year would ripen, at which point one of the two sisters would eat his heart. However, until then demons would be attracted to the scent of his heart, and hence the two sisters would protect him, as was royal custom. This scared him, but Setsuna accepts it, finally finding some worth to his life. He gets along quite well with both sisters, who move in with him, and also become a part of his school life. However, they face a number of challenges, not just limited to lesser demons, but quite a variety of obstacles, ranging from the leader of the girls bullying him, Arima, getting suspicious, to a cousin of the royal sisters, Rina, coming bearing a grudge, and ultimately even a rival demon clan.


The general concept behind this manga, which is related to someone having a deadline on their life but fully accepting this and even developing a good relationship with the ones that are going to kill them I found quite interesting. However, it was never developed that much, and the end felt like a rushed cop out, which it probably was due to getting axed, so that aspect was unfortunately a disappointment. There were other good things about the manga, such as the characters all being quite interesting and resulting in an interesting set up. However, there wasn’t much character development and all the relationship development failed to bear much fruit, though Arima certainly was interesting to watch in that regard. The stories at a small scale were reasonably interesting as well, having a good amount of comedy and action, though the action lacked depth, it was still pretty cool. However, the biggest problem the plot faced was that the overarching plot was too defensive. The objective is simply to survive for a year. There isn’t anything they’re working towards beyond that. Hence, everything that happens is a result of an outside force starting a conflict. Hence, there is a lack of coherence to everything that doesn’t make it feel like things actually move forward after each arc, thus making the overall plot less satisfying, and ultimately leading to an ending that’s fine but dissatisfying in the same way. The art was quite good, in the style a bunch of Korean originating mangas have that doesn’t particularly have a lot of character to it but is really high quality.

A manga with an interesting premise and interesting characters but a plot that fails to do much with them.


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig


Following the events of the Laughing Man incident, Section 9 continues their operations against terrorism and conspiracy rooted in advanced technology. However, various circumstances cause their duties to greatly escalate. Japan had over the past few decades accepted a large number of refugees, however their outlook and financial situation had remained bleak with no signs of any improvement, resulting in great discontent from them as well as great discontent from the Japanese citizens who’s tax money was used to support them in their refugee towns. Looking into a number of terrorist attacks related to this tension, Section 9 stumbles upon a group calling themselves The Individual Eleven. However, as they dig deeper into this, they discover a massive conspiracy, where a major escalation of conflict regarding the refugee situation was purposely being manufactured, and that furthermore at the center of this conspiracy was Gouda Kazundo, the head of the Cabinet Intelligence Service.


Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG is similar to the first season in many regards. It is still set in the same futuristic world with the impacts of technology on society being the core focus. It still involves a lot of secret operations, intense action, and incredible suspense. And it still features all the same amazing characters from Section 9. However, it takes a different direction in a lot of ways, some that were quite interesting, and some that I wasn’t much of a fan of.

Starting off, while this season does have three categories of episode distinctions, differently from the first season which had a multitude of stand alone episodes in addition to the complex episodes that tied into the main Laughing Man plot, the entire story is centered around the singular issue that is the refugee situation and the conspiracy surrounding it. I’m okay with that in concept, but in practice, that led to things moving a bit too slowly. The stand alone type episodes seem to be oriented around tying in with the main plot in some way, which resulted in them not being able to be entirely self contained, and hence they felt lacking in terms of being complete, but at the same time they didn’t push the overall plot forward much, and hence they just had a general feeling of unimportance, which made them somewhat of a drag to get through. This wasn’t the case for all of them certainly, as there were still some good stand alone type episodes, but as a general trend I felt this was an issue. Furthermore, because of this, it felt like Section 9 was on the defensive and essentially losing for the vast majority of the season, which wasn’t something I was fond of, as watching their steady string of incredible victories was one of my favorite parts of the first season.

In terms of the new overall plot, it was certainly a hell of a lot more intense and interesting than the previous seasons. It was rooted in conspiracy even more than the previous season, and at a whole other level escalating things well beyond the first season. I felt the technological elements didn’t evolve much part the first season and ultimately were quite similar to the first. However, the political elements, which were primarily centered around how to deal with refugees, went in a very different direction of being a lot more grounded in modern issues, as opposed to the elements of the previous season that were more rooted in the hypothetical. Because of this, it felt more like it was showing that this would always be an issue for humanity, regardless of technological advances, which was gave the commentary a more grounded edge. All of it came to an a tremendously impactful conclusion, unlike the first season, and one that I was tremendously satisfied with. I should note that I thought the end of the Tachikomas, while incredibly sad because they somehow seemed to have become my favorite characters, was incredibly well handled.

In terms of the old characters, by which I primarily mean section 9, there was a focus on making things more personal. It dived into the past of pretty much all the characters that hadn’t yet been explored in the first season. Some of these were interesting and welcome, such as those related to their careers as soldiers. But the backstory that had nothing to do with combat, such as Motoko’s past, felt like it removed a veil of mystery that was a key part of making Section 9 as cool as they were. Furthermore, while I was a major fan of Motoko i the first season, her progression in this season, including having too much of an emotional investment and having a perceived personal stake dampened that considerably as it felt contrary to what I liked about her as a character.

In terms of new characters, there were three new key ones.  The first is Kayabuki, the new prime minster, who has her own hopes in where to guide Japan but has difficulty in dealing with the politics necessary in order to accomplish it. She is a reasonably interesting and sympathetic character, with a decent character arc towards the end. The other two are Kuze, a part of the Individual Eleven who eventually becomes the leader of the refugees as they fight for independent, and Gouda, the head of the cabinet intelligence service who is masterminding the conflict with the refugees. I am by default not a fan of heroic characters pushing forth ideals that people flock to by default like Kuze, and hence to some degree grew an inherent dislike for him. Hence, I feel that the portions of the show trying to make the viewer sympathize with him were completely lost on me. To be quite frank I prefer characters like Gouda, and found quite a bit more interesting. In the end though, I was satisfied with both of their conclusions.

The animation and art style are the same as the first season. The soundtrack I would say is a bit better, so a bit more than decent. The OP uses normal animation so it doesn’t look dated, and the music I liked about as much. The ED felt lazier as it didn’t involve much.

A continuation of Stand Alone Complex that’s more intense and more cohesive, but slower and less cool.




Masa is an art student, but he doesn’t want to keep being one. He tries to quit, but his friend ends up ripping up his withdrawal form. Hence, he since he’s already paid tuition, he decides to stick it out for the rest of the semester. However, one day a mysterious girl named Aoi sees his sketchbook and says that it’s amazing and that she wants to be his student. Him being a shut-in, wants nothing to do with her, though he does think she’s cute, but she ends up stealing his diary and blackmailing him into teaching her, and also attending school again. Hence, curious about the many mysteries Aoi is keeping, Masa begins living as a normal art student.


This manga is a relatively straightforward story about Masa transitioning from being lost in life to find out how he wishes to proceed with his life. This involves several themes, such as growing up, breaking free of chains, doing things for oneself, and doing things for others. While this does occur at an art school and that does play a major part in the plot itself, it doesn’t actually go very deep into the art itself with even the parts that are supposed to have metaphorical depth being pretty simplistic. Ultimately, it all felt quite casual without any major suspenseful moments. There’s some comedy though not much, but it still almost always felt either light hearted or dreary rather than intense, even during critical moments, which felt kind of off. Masa’s story is told pretty well, and there is a solid progression of evident growth leading to him reaching a solid conclusion. There are a number of side stories revolving around the other characters as well, however, these are much less developed and get resolved incredibly quickly. This is fine for the most part, however the heroine Aoi at least felt like she deserved to have gotten a far more developed story with a less abrupt end. Still, the abruptness of the end of her arc in relation to her relationship to Masa was cute. The art was okay.

A very laid back story about an art student slowly finding his way in life.


Hatsukoi Shinjuu (First Love Suicide Pact)

Hatsukoi Shinjuu

Mizukawa has no aspirations for the future. No dreams or hopes. He doesn’t quite want to die, but he doesn’t want to live either. So if its all the same he decides to go for it and kill himself. However, when he arrives to the top of the rooftop he’s planning to jump off, he sees his teacher, Shinanoya, on top of a roof facing opposite, seemingly about to do the same thing. Shinanoya tells him to wait, she comes over, and says that they should die together, but should have some fun first. Hence, they decide they’ll go around doing whatever they want for a year before returning to finish what they started.


A romance starting from suicide isn’t completely novel, but is unique enough to make it a story that’s pretty interesting. This one in particular has some interesting twists, such as it involving a teacher and student, but beyond that it sticks pretty closely to the standard romance that arises out of these. However, the story is told pretty well in a heartwarming way, even if for the most part it goes exactly as you would expect it to. The main characters had very good chemistry and the story regarding them was quite interesting. However, the manga spent just as much time on side characters it seemed, and these stories in general felt kind of awkward. The ending was a complete mess though, wherein the way it ends is deliberately left open in such a way that it completely diminishes the point of the entire story line. The art wasn’t great, but fit reasonably well.

A story with some good highs and some dull lows, most notable marred by the ending being a really unclear low.


Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex


In the year 2030, after a series of major  wars, major political shifts, and tremendous technological breakthroughs, the world has changed tremendously. Many of these shifts are primarily seen as good, but as is always the case for advancement, they have also produced entirely new strains of dangers. With the goal of being able to tackle these threats, those rooted in recent technological breakthroughs as well as the conspiracies surrounding them, the Japanese government created Section 9, a police organization made up of a number of exceptional individuals that operate primarily under their own supervision in taking the offensive against such threats. This group, led organizationally by Chief Daisuke Aramaki and in the field by Major Motoko Kusanagi, tackle a number of these threats, one of particular note being in tackling the Laughing Man incident, a conspiracy focused around an A-class hacker at the center of what is dubbed a Stand Alone Complex.


Stand Alone Complex is a stand alone entry in the famous Ghost in the Shell franchise, and my first foray into the series. I have heard quite a bit about the franchise overall however, and was going in with set of expectations, primarily about the world in which it takes place, which I felt like it met quite well. It’s an incredibly interesting cyberpunk world with a number of new and interesting technologies, and the show explores the effects these technologies can have on society. For example, its standard for people to be able to connect their minds directly to computer interfaces which are then connected to the internet, and hence, it’s possible to hack into other people’s brains directly. It’s possible for brains themselves to be transferred to artificial bodies, and hence it’s possible for someone to seemingly steal someone else’s body and identity. There are numerous such issues, all of which make up the core of what Ghost in the Shell is about, that are all explored pretty thoughtfully and hence are interesting to watch. Furthermore, there is also a lot of political intrigue and corporate conspiracy, as is also a staple of the cyberpunk genre, that is just as much an important part of the world as the technology.

All of this is shown from the perspective of Section 9. The cast of characters that compose Section 9 are quite colorful. They have a varied perspective on things which helps in fleshing out the previously mentioned issues, but beyond that, the best way to say it is that they’re all just really cool. There isn’t really much character development or anything like that and most of the characters don’t really get fleshed out much either, but they all work really well as a great special forces team that’s downright overpowered it seems much of the time. Matoko was seemingly the main character, but she didn’t seem to have priority over some of the other characters, which felt fine as she got a mysterious vibe that worked well for her. Rather, this vibe is the case with all of Section 9, where the viewer is left in the dark regarding the motives, objectives, and plans of the main characters involved, which is made easier by the independent plot structure of some of the episodes, but which allows stories to be revealed in such a way that it feels more mysterious and gripping. I should also note that on the opposite end of the human characters were the AI powered robots, the Tachikomas, as they were incredibly amazing in that their innocence and curiosity was their defining traits, which made their actions quite humorous, but also made them incredibly easy to sympathize with them. This made their progression throughout the series feel a lot more substantial and one of my favorite things about the series.

There are two types of episodes in this series, Stand Alone and Complex. The Stand Alone episodes are one episode arcs essentially that have a complete plot that gets resolved in the single episode. The Complex episodes relate to an overarching plot relating to the “Laughing Man” mystery that slowly gets unravelled over time. The Stand Alone episodes were very interesting in that they were paced very well, quickly got you invested in the plot, and always had something completely new to offer, but overall the plots were always quite simple and to a degree felt laid back. The Complex episodes had a far more interesting and gripping plot that slowly got more and more intense, becoming downright epic near the end, however I felt that the conclusion was a bit of a let down, in that it seemed to end with a whimper rather than a bang. It certainly made sense and tied everything up, but it still felt a bit hollow.

The art and animation were a style that I don’t particularly like but it seemed well made and certainly contributed to the atmosphere. The soundtrack was decent. The OP’s music was quite strange but really grew on me, though the visuals felt super dated. The ED’s visuals were fine, though I wasn’t a fan of the music.

A well made series centered around various issues in a cyberpunk society.