Why are cutesy, adorable, totally not my thing but I can’t stop watching it, anime so much fun to watch?

Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Maxed Out My Defense, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level anime

I love anime! It is an art form unto itself. There are some lines that anime crosses (Redo of Healer, for example… and I will never understand the brother/sister love thing) but overall, I can’t stop watching it. My wife doesn’t understand my obsession either (what spouse does) but I feel the same way about her obsession with “90-day Fiancé” so, we’re even.

I usually watch the more intense anime (Attack on Titan, Space Battleship Yamato, DemonSlayer) and love Isekai (transported to another world for those uninitiated) anime (Overlord, Reincarnated as a Slime, Jobless Reincarnation) but lately, I found myself drawn to cute anime. It’s weird, but I like watching it, mostly because they make me laugh… And yet, watching it feels so wrong.

I mean, here are cute, adorable characters put in hilarious situations that just makes me laugh. Their cuteness is almost sickening, and yet, I can’t take my eyes off of it. Take the tale of Maple in Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Maxed Out My Defense… The main character, Maple, is so OP (over-powered for any non-anime watchers) that its hilarious as to what trouble she gets into and how much more powerful she gets to get out of said situation. I mean, in a fantasy VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massively Multi-Player Online), she can transform into a giant monster or super-mech. Its so ridiculous its laughable, and I can’t help but enjoy it.

Another favorite of mine is Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and its just as adorable as it is catchy. I mean, the opening theme song alone is one of those mind-numbing tunes you can’t get out of your head. All of the dragons are so OP that even a simple game of four-square becomes competitive and dangerous (for the humans that is). I love it! In this one, I think its the heart-warming relationship between Miss Kobayashi, Tohru and the others. The dragons (in human form) don’t understand humans but they are learning about them through Kobayashi and her friends. And, for goodness sakes, who wouldn’t want a little dragon like Kanna for a daughter. She is so freakin’ adorable it isn’t funny!

Like I said, I know this is weird and I would probably be labeled a freak (or something worse) in most cultural norms, but it’s a fun addition to have. These anime are even more of an escape than the regular ones. In Attack on Titan or even My Hero Academia, there is a hint of surrealism within the fantasy element that puts you into these life or death situations. Even Sword Art Online, in all its fantasy video game world, make life and death real for the viewer. I dare you watch the death of the Moonlit Cats in Episode 3 (Red-Nosed Reindeer) and not cry even a little. Sachi just breaks your heart.

These cutesy anime are the breath of life, a little fun to escape the harsh reality of the world we live in. The violence, political sniping, racial tensions, and pandemic are swept aside when I watch anime like these. I laugh, and we all need to laugh to make our bad days brighter. Watching anime like these do that for me. The characters are relatable (at times) and yet human. For example, Fafnir in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is this all powerful dragon of darkness, willing to exterminate all human life. And yet, he is content to sit and eat curry (mild) and play video games all day and night with his roommate (Kobayashi’s otaku co-worker). The relationship between the two is a breath of fresh air and fun to watch.

They’re not cutesy, kid anime like Pokemon or Digimon. Even when my own children were small and watched these shows, I never got into them. They don’t have the same appeal to me as the anime today. I think, as my wife likes to remind me, I’m still a “big kid inside” and these anime bring that spirit out in me. She doesn’t like the fact that her husband still watches “cartoons” but this is different. Anime is on a whole other level and I believe I associate with it more, as many people today do. Like I said, to me, anime is an art form and should be appreciated and enjoyed.

So now, I’m waiting patiently for Season 2 of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and in the meantime, I found a new one to watch… an Isekai anime called I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. I don’t know what it is, maybe the big, floppy witch’s hat, but this anime makes me laugh. I mean, she’s reborn in a new world as an immortal witch and just takes it easy by killing slime monsters for 300 years. Now, she’s so OP that her easy life is now fraught with danger. I love it, it’s freakin’ hilarious!

There are others like Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, KonoSuba, and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord that are just as idiotic yet hypnotic to watch. Like I said, I don’t know what it is specifically about these anime but I just can’t get enough of them. You should watch them too! They’re good fun, and we all need that once in a while!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His next two fantasy novels, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series are being released in 2021.

Attack on Titan is a “binge-worthy” anime, so catch up before it ends

Attack on Titan Season 4: Release Date, Trailer, Episodes, and News | Den  of Geek

If you haven’t watched the anime Attack on Titan, you better start now! The final season of AOT just started (check out Crunchyroll or Funimation) and it is binge-worthy for any weekend watch party. I mean it, you need to watch it NOW!

For those not familiar with the anime, Attack on Titan is based on a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls that protect them from gigantic man-eating humanoids referred to as Titans. The story follows Eren Yeager, who vows to exterminate all the Titans after a Titan brings about the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother. He joins the Scout Regiment to patrol the areas outside the walls to take his fight to the Titans, but instead discovers so much more about himself, the Titans, and the people behind the walls.

The anime is horrific and brilliant. The battles are animated with such precision and realism it puts you right there (Levi vs. Beast Titan… AWESOME!). The characters are memorable and draw you into the story, although many complain that Eren was a whiner in the beginning of the series (including me). However, after the five year time skip between Season 3 and 4, Eren has really come out of his shell and is the leader he intended to be. I’m not going to give SPOILERS here, for obvious reasons, but there is a lot to take in.

The first thing that grabs you about Attack on Titan is the whole mythology. You don’t know whether its science fiction or fantasy, or a bit of both. The idea that a single race, the Eldians, were born as the “Subjects of Ymir” and gave them the power to transform into Titans. It is their spinal fluid that allows other Eldians to be transformed into Titans. Another race, the Marleyans, were once slaves to the Eldians but revolted and took control of them. It was Marley who put the Eldians on Paradis Island (where Seasons 1-3 take place) behind the walls, trapping them there to better control the “Devils” as they call them. It’s confusing to try and explain everything here, safe to say, watching the series explains things so much better. It’s also easy to understand why the two races hate each other and are at the core of the conflict.

Power of Nine Titans in Attack on Titan - OtakusNotes

There are common Titans, i.e. Eldians transformed into Titans through spinal fluid injection, and there are the “Nine Titans.” The Nine are the most powerful Titans whose power can only be passed by (a) being born with the power of one of the Nine or (b) another Titan eats one of the Nine (in human form) and gains its power. The Nine are the Attack Titan, the Beast Titan, the Colossal Titan, the Armored Titan, the Cart Titan, the Jaw Titan, the War Hammer Titan, the Female Titan, and the Founding Titan. Eren Yeager possesses both the Founding and Attack Titan powers, which is why the AOT story centers around him. The Nine are the power behind the Marleyan military forces and what has been driving the story from the very beginning. We’re just getting to see that now in Season 4, but those who read the manga have known this all along. In any case, the Nine and the flawed, vulnerable, and quite human characters behind them make this story so incredible.

Speaking of characters, this entire series is character-driven with such diverse characters that you love to hate and hate to love. Eren, Armin, and Mikasa are the lifelong friends centered on throughout the anime. You see a love interest potential between Eren and Mikasa, but he is so focused on his revenge that he doesn’t see it. Then there’s the others in the Scout Regiment–Hange, Levi, Connie, Sasha, Historia, Jean, Commander Erwin–plus many more that died too soon throughout the series. And of coarse, the other Titan wielders–Annie, Reiner, Bertholdt, Zeke, Pieck, Galliard (and Ymir)–and those in the wings (i.e. Gabi and Falco). They all had such unique personalities, ideology, expressions, and back stories that make you look at each one and think, “I know someone like that” every time. We laugh, cry, scream, and cheer them on at every moment in every episode.

Lastly, there’s the technology used in AOT. It’s steampunk in a weird, modern way. I don’t know a geek out there that doesn’t want their own ODM (Omni-Directional Mobility) gear to fly around on. And in the anime, the flow is so brilliantly animated that you are actually flying through the trees or across city skylines with the scouts (Levi vs. Kenny fight scene… Another AWESOME!). It’s going even more into a relegated steampunk world in Season 4 with airships, “Thundersticks” and the new ODM gear. It’s going to be an exciting season to watch.

This is the final season of Attack on Titan is in full swing, so if I need to remind you again, binge it if you haven’t watched AOT already. Get through the first three seasons, wrap yourself in a Mikasa red scarf, give the scout salute (look it up if you don’t know how to do it) and dive into the final season. It’ll take a long weekend, plenty of beer and pizza, but you can do it. Trust me, it’s better than a weekend D&D session.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

My favorite anime of 2018, and there are too many to name

I have to say, I really loved a lot of the anime that came out in 2018. Overlord III, My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Cells at Work, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, Violet Evergarden, and The Seven Deadly Sins were just a small part of the many successful animes that came out last year.

The year ended with a bang with Goblin Slayer, Sword Art Online: Alicization, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, A Certain Magical Index III, and the final season of Fairy Tail. There is not enough time in the day to binge watch all the anime I need to watch.

I know there is a lot of anime I’m not going to talk about here. I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy fan. So please, let me know your favorites from 2018 in the comments.

First off, I have to admit, Cells at Work was my guilty pleasure of 2018. It was fun and educational. It was better than Osmosis Jones, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), and so many other TV shows and movies that tried to demonstrate the inner workings of the human body. All the cells have such unique personalities you would expect from cells and viruses. Cells at Work did it in a fun, captivating way that taught me something new. And those platelets are so darn adorable.

Goblin Slayer was an emotional journey I never expected. I played D&D for years, and I never thought of goblins the way they are represented in this anime. I mean, capturing women and brutalizing them was never something I even considered in all my fantasy writing and roleplaying. It shocked me, but in a way I never expected. It gave me an appreciation that goblins are not a throwaway monster that many stories and games treat them as. They’re evil and viscous and need to be wiped out. Beyond that, the show had some of the best characters I’ve seen in a fantasy anime. They were believable, and that’s what made this anime so special. I cant wait for Season 2.

One of my favorite sequels released in 2018 was A Certain Magical Index III. I have always loved the idea of bridging magic and science and this anime does it for me. I love the parallels between the two in Academy City and how religion plays a big part in all of it. Additionally, the anime has great characters that you either want to root for or kill outright. There is no gray area in this series. Some might consider this a “harem” anime, as there are more females after the main character, Kamijou Touma, than you can shake a stick at; but I’m rooting for Misaka.

One other great thing about 2018 anime is the theme songs. I have an entire playlist on my phone of just anime theme songs, and most of them are from 2018. The music is vibrant, toe-tapping, and out of bounds. Even if I don’t understand the lyrics, I love it. It has been a great year for anime music.

I’ll close this by saying I loved the emotion behind Fairy Tail, the over-powered characters of Overlord, the spirit of My Hero Academia, the beauty of Kakurio-Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, the humor of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, and the story of Violet Evergarden. There are times I wished I lived in Japan, so that I could watch these anime when they come out. That would be awesome.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.