March 11, 2018

Another anime about clubs? I suppose we have sports clubs and video game programming clubs so I guess now it is anime’s turn to have its anime club series this season. So what else is there in Animegataris about a bunch of people in a club who talk, discuss and do stuffs all related to the otaku world? Anime fans should love this as it is going to be filled with lots of trivia. See how many you can spot them. Will your pause button be destroyed first before you finish this series?! Anime is such a horrifying destroyer of life…

Episode 1
Minoa Asagaya can’t remember if she watched anime when she was young. Asking her older sister, Maaya, she did mention a few of them but none rings a bell. We are introduced to a few characters in Minoa’s class. Her athletic tomboyish friend, Yui Obata. Miko Kouenji who is an anime lover and currently reading a very complicated anime title. Rich girl Arisu Kamiigusa whose snap of the finger can have prompt service from her butler, Sebastian. If only real life service was this freaking fast and awesome. Tooru Roppongi the very effeminate homeroom teacher. Later, Minoa is being called by Arisu to meet in a room. To her surprise, Arisu is an anime fan as she starts ranting her love for anime. She thinks Minoa is one too as she noticed she talked to Miko about one this morning. She tries to find common ground by listing animes she probably likes but Minoa is already so lost. When Arisu loses her enthusiasm, it’s Minoa’s turn to have that fervour. But it is more of because she has always thought Arisu as unapproachable and never knew she was into this sort of thing. Minoa seeks her help to identify an anime she watched she was young. She only remember a handful of scenes and sometimes dream about it. Arisu searches for a few but they aren’t it. I guess the only place left to ask is where there are lots of anime fans. Yes, the anime club. Unfortunately it has been inactive for quite a while as you can see how messy the clubroom is. But because it is a treasure trove of a few anime magazines, they get this idea to form an anime club. The minimum number of members is 6. Minoa didn’t want to join initially but Arisu didn’t give her an option so I guess she has to. Yeah, here’s a bunch of her anime collection for her to watch and catch up. After summoning her butler and maids to clean up the place in no time (I really wish I had this sort of service), Arisu finds a locked door. She thought of asking the student council for the key but when Minoa tries to open it, it feels like somebody is trying to hold it close. She forcefully opens it and what’s inside are a cat and a beret. When she touches the beret, it’s like she entered a trance for a while. Oh well, nothing suspicious. Let’s go home. On her way home, Minoa enters a short trance before losing the beret. The wind blows it to some depressed guy. She realizes her handphone is missing and goes back to the clubroom to get it only to be shocked it is in the hands of the cat. And he is talking!

Episode 2
Minoa has a dream of that unidentified anime. Only, replace the main character with Arisu! I guess that entire night of binge watching anime must be the cause. She’ll experience her first early morning embarrassment when Arisu dresses her up in a bunny outfit to hand out flyers and recruit more members to their club. They manage to get Masato Gomon as their supervising teacher but I guess he doesn’t really care or mind and lets them do what they want. In the clubroom, they are surprised that Miko is here. Looks like she is joining them. Because Miko reads original light novel works and Arisu only watches the anime adaptation, this has them clash in a lot of aspects like cut out scenes and rewatching. So deep. Minoa must be so lost. Senior Erika Aoyama decides to join them and upon their request, she becomes the club president. She has another person she wants to recommend joining this club. Folks, meet Kai Musashisakai. Basically, still in chuunibyou mode. The anime club discusses about several stuffs but as usual, Minoa is lost. When everyone leaves, the cat (Neko) talks to Minoa about not forcing a conversation if she doesn’t like it. He asks about the beret in the room and since she doesn’t remember what happened to it, he tells her to keep 2 promises: Let no one know he can talk and always close that room’s door. Later as the club members discuss about activities and put forth suggestions, each time Minoa does so, it is so unrelated that it makes her feel out of place. So they ‘re-educate’ her about what makes anime interesting and a classic. Seems that everything can be constitute as interesting and a classic. Really. Can porn scenes make an anime interesting and classic? But this sets up yet another argument between Arisu and Miko regarding omission of a chapter in anime. It got so bad that Arisu tells her to quit and Miko takes up on that offer. Minoa stops it all by passionately expressing how everyone has their own preferences. To each their own. Anime won’t be much if we keep rejecting each other over different preferences. This well said speech has senior Kouki Nakano impressed as he decides to join the club. He is a popular guy in school with his own fan club (damn his good looks) but of course Minoa is clueless of who he is. And yeah, he is a hardcore anime fan. With that, Miko revises her decision and decides to stay. Just when things are looking good, suddenly the student council barges in with a warrant that bars the anime club from using the clubroom effective immediately.

Episode 3
As the club is not approved by the student council despite having the required number of members, that is the basis for them being kicked out. Gomon isn’t even trying to help them and so that’s it for our anime club? Erika decides to bring everyone to Akiba and Minoa is like a country bumpkin being here for the first time. She introduces Minoa to cosplay before the rest head to a store selling various anime merchandises. Kai is surprised that Minoa is paying attention to all his chuunibyou ranting. Because she finds it interesting. At the end of their trip, the gang discusses about the ‘sacrilege’ and how common it is for viewers to drop watching an anime after the third episode if there is no twist or reason to make them want to stay and watch. Next day in school, there is a notice for a meeting to abolish the anime club. Well, it was Gomon’s idea since they pleaded for him to try and think of something. So he thought of proposing if the anime club can’t debate why they have to exist, the only next best reason is for it to be shut down. Erika isn’t so keen on voicing her opinion. If they really want to fight and keep the anime club, she’ll support them since she prefers to keep the club to more of an out-of-school activity like the Akiba trip. For some odd reason (maybe bad decision), Minoa is chosen to go out on stage to give a speech. I guess with Arisu and Miko writing the script… As expected, she is like a robot and being nervous. All over the place and even saying stuffs like she doesn’t know anything about anime. Crowd must be confused. Because the student council has already given their fiery speech of bashing anime of how worthless and a waste of everything. Enough to make all anime fans boil. Just when it seems like the end of Minoa, Kai gets up and takes over. He makes his passionate speech and likens this to a battle anime whereby the heroes’ side with the weak to defeat the tyranny and the oppressors. At the end of the speech, Kai is a bit wobbly so Nakano helps him out and this gay scene ‘woke’ a lot of people up. So in the end, I guess that must be the clincher as the anime club is overwhelmingly voted to be kept running since half the males and a very great number of females voted for it. Minoa is so happy that she now has a clubroom and they can talk about anime longer. But she starts regretting since she is dumped a new heap of anime collection to watch. Anime 24/7! And now we have a clubroom for it.

Episode 4
The student council president, Tsubaki Akabane seems to have a grudge against the anime club as she is still bent on shutting them down. So she sends her underlings, Ayame Osaki and Matsuri Toda to dig up dirt on them. Arisu orders a stack of anime discs as they discuss how animes aired on TV won’t make money and hence products and events to cover the costs as well as the collaboration of companies for a production committee to budget anime. And there’s also a talk of multiple of the same copies anime diehards will buy. Suddenly here comes the student council to rain on their parade. They have discovered an expensive spending of club funds in a single receipt. Arisu accepts this is her own money but still the rules state a newly founded club cannot spend that much. Erika decides to take responsibility to Tsubaki throws her a challenge they will help other clubs for a week without compensation. Of course she is not expecting anything from them as she views them as useless. Disagree? Then prove it. Depressed Minoa gets her hopes up talking to Nakano why he entered anime. He drew inspiration from an anime depicting high school students fighting their own student council body to save their school. Sounds familiar… Erika cosplays and hands out flyers to offer help to other clubs. This has other club members helping her out. We see them helping out other clubs but they screw up somehow. All of them. Finally Nakano comes in with a request from the drama club to make outfits for their play. Erika becomes stumped and disheartened after her failed sketches. It reminds her of her time studying overseas alone. With Nakano saving the day again with his motivation via some idol anime, Erika gets back on her feet and delegates the duties. On the day of the play, the student council is sure the anime club would have failed. But they are dumbfounded to see how well everything was done. Eat your words. Even so, Tsubaki still won’t approve! Shifting the goal post? Now Erika lashes back that anime isn’t as worthless as she thinks. It saved her during her lonely years overseas and doesn’t Tsubaki remember their anime childhood together? With other clubs thanking the anime club for their help, Tsubaki lets this slide. But of course there is a hidden hand and higher authority working in the shadow as Tsubaki makes a call regarding her failure to shut down the anime club. It’s out of her hands now.

Episode 5
The anime club will be attending the Summer Comiket. Minoa thought it would be a breeze in the park. Well, reality is going to hit her real hard when she finds the train more packed than usual. That’s nothing, though. After meeting up with her pals, now they have to wait in the long queue. Before that, they have to go stock water to stay dehydrated. That is even a long line. And if you want to go to the toilet, there’s also a long queue. Thankfully Minoa and Arisu did their business but find themselves lost. Luckily this Chinese girl, Yang Beibei help guide them back. Do they know each other? She is the girl standing behind them in the line. Soon they become very good friends. The day is getting hotter and when the line starts moving, looks like it is going to take another hour to enter the hall! They finally manage to get in as all split up for their own respective interests. Minoa and Arisu have a field day buying merchandises. Erika dresses up in a cosplay and meets an old cosplay buddy manning a booth here. Her friend introduces a fellow colleague, Mutsuki who is also from the anime club. He has this impression that Erika’s school’s anime club is very impressive as heard from a graduate there but this surprises Erika a little. At the end of the day, the girls part ways with Beibei who wants to hang out a little longer. Minoa realizes too late they forgot to exchange contacts but Erika assures her as long as they are anime fans, they will definitely meet again here. The girls take a refreshing boat ride and very much enjoyed the day. Except for Kai. The beloved limited merchandise he wanted to buy has sold out. His Unchained Golden Wallet remains unused…

Episode 6
The anime club members are going for their first anime pilgrimage tour around Japan. A short discussion on such several places in Japan due to the booming popularity of the anime industry. While on the train, the sudden jerk causes Miko to accidentally trip and her boobs fall over Kai’s dick!!! This has Kai start overthinking the hidden message behind this. Even while during the tour, Minoa could notice Kai is acting differently. So much so it scares her and the other girls had to tell him to stop ‘fighting the other world’. The girls are disheartened when their lodging has no TV or DVD player. I guess with the limited funds, this is the best Gomon could do. Kai asks Nakano about his problems and the latter knows it is the matters of the heart and advises accordingly. This makes Kai believe what Miko did was deliberate instead of an accident. Even more so when he receives a text from her asking the guys to come over to discuss about Minoa. And a heart mark left at the end of the message. The rest talk about Minoa being depressed and how she is an important member. They realize she is not around. That’s because she is lost on her way to the outdoor bath. A search is conducted by you wonder why Sebastian had to mobilize the entire army to go look for her. Kai continues to overreact his delusion that Miko likes him. But WTF?! Screaming and running around naked???!!! Nakano eventually finds Minoa. Even if she is sorry for screwing up the trip, Nakano lets her know how they were just talking about her. In no time the other girls come running and are relieved she is okay. This is ruined when they see Kai in his birthday suit. Scariest kimodameshi ever? Give thanks to the ‘God rays’ blocking the necessary parts… In the aftermath, Kai sums up his courage to confess to Miko. But why does he have to say it to Nakano?! Because of that, Miko gets the wrong idea and has truly awakened! See how excited she is? So much so she wants to build a church dedicated to them! Now everything they do together will automatically give rise to whatever yaoi fantasies she has. Some win big, some lose big…

Episode 7
The anime club is going to do an anime screening for the cultural festival. Of course the student council is there to shut it down and reject the plan. And a reminder if they don’t do something impressive, they’ll be shut down. As they ponder what to do, Minoa suggests they do their own anime. At first the rest brush it off over the amount of work it takes. But don’t worry, with a snap of a finger, Arisu can have Sebastian do everything! Of course for the good of everyone, they better do something themselves. So each come up with their own proposal on what kind of anime they want to do based on their preferences. Miko then suggests to do an anime short that lass 3-5 minutes. Although Miko writes its script, the rest keep revising it till she gets fed up and wants to quit! While trying to calm her down, Minoa accidentally opens the forbidden door. Inside she sees storyboards. It is all over the place and it has all of their preferences. Then Minoa remembers this is that anime that she once watched. Minoa has an idea everyone should come up with their own idea and voice it. But Miko is done doing the scriptwriting. Leave it to Erika the producer to smooth talk her way to convince her to do it. Minoa as the director does the storyboard after she is done. They also ask other clubs to help out and the production is making great progress. Then everyone does their dubbing and we get a little insight on how it is done. But if you’ve watched Shirabako, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Even Neko gets a few meow lines but is told to sound more like a cat. Insult? In the end, they get a cake as one of those rewards of post-dubbing. As the anime is near complete, Tsubaki puts forth her evil plan. She orders all clubs to cease cooperation with the anime club or else their club will be shut down! Evil… Soon all the clubs cease their support and it gets worse when Tsubaki has prepared a special place for the anime club at the festival. A special stage will be built on the track field and they must fill it up or their presentation is deemed a failure. Pure evil…

Episode 8
With lots of stuffs still not finished, it is impossible for them to finish on time. Plus, everyone is already so tired. Minoa is in a pinch, she can’t give up yet and wants a day to think things through. Back home, dad gives her a mini recording set that allows her to do small time recording. The daughters wonder why he is so passionate about this as mom reveals he is an otaku. Shocking at first but even more shocking is that dad was at the Summer Comiket too as a human traffic controller. After Minoa leaves a message for everyone, she worries when none of them replied. Neko thinks they have given up as they really think they couldn’t make it. Minoa punches his face (like a sponge?) and tells him off how everyone has worked so hard despite all the snags they’ve hit. She doesn’t give up and does what she can. To her surprise, everyone else comes in with their respective completed work. They were too busy to read her message as they were focusing on the task at hand. The anime club also recruits other students to come up to the stage to talk about their clubs. On the day of the anime screening, looks like the student council is starting to worry as the capacity is already filled at 80%. Among the crowd is Beibei. Apparently she is Maaya’s classmate and heard about it. The screening is ready to go but the only things unfinished are the ending song and art. Nevertheless, Minoa thanks them from the bottom of her heart but Nakano has an idea. The anime starts its run. Uhm… Low quality as expected but how come it looks like it was done using MS Paint? I’m not sure many of these people have never seen anime before because they are cheering how good it is! You kidding me!? Okay, maybe for first time amateurs it is good (barely) but to get this emotional? I can understand for family and friends but total strangers? Man, they’ll be blown away if they see the real deal. Yeah, they should open their eyes more often about their surroundings because anime is literally everywhere in Japan. Anyway, what will they do for the ending? Minoa, Arisu and Miko go out on stage in their pretty idol outfits and start singing and dancing! Now, this is the better and best part of it all that is worth moving to tears.

Episode 9
The anime club members celebrate their success. We aren’t hearing anything from Tsubaki since she is out from a cold. Thank goodness? Soon, there are other clubs streaming in to seek their advice on how to make their club better. Because you know, anime do have that exaggerated bit in making sports ‘better’, right? And so the anime club members happily dish out their ridiculous recommendations. From exploding baseballs to mallets in basketballs, who needs to do high jump anymore when you have those boots boosters! Truly the clubs in school are now looking like over the top anime exaggerations. Minoa is shocked that Nakano can converse with Neko like normal. With their growing popularity, Gomon relays the good news that they will be interviewed by the TV station. Everyone starts dreaming and getting ahead of themselves. All but Minoa who feels there isn’t something right. Nakano talks to her about the power of anime and how it makes everyone happy. Hence what she did together with them wasn’t a mistake. After the interview, it seems the crew gives Gomon some gratitude money. At first he refuses but Nakano whispers to him to take it as he can use to get a new VHD deck. Erika receives a warning from Tsubaki to be careful but doesn’t give much thought about it. The next day, the student council barge in to declare the anime club shut down. Nobody is surprised. Another false alarm maybe. However they say the directive this time comes from the principal himself. Nobody recognizes this William Shakespeare clone because his bust looks more handsome… It seems the anime club has violated one of the school’s code to not receive funds from outside. Nakano vouches he saw Gomon taking it. And looks like he already spent it on a new VHD deck. With that, the principal suspends the club and relieves Gomon from his duties. Everyone is in shock and mad that Nakano sold them out. WHY???!!!

Episode 10
With the club losing their room and everyone depressed, Minoa gets a great example advice from her dad. Even if their house is gone, they are still family. Next day, the gang are in for a surprise as all the students are protesting over the anime club’s closure. Worse, the principal threatens he will close the school down. The students try to confront him in his office but it is tightly shut with hi-tech door. Neko leads Minoa through a secret passage that takes her directly to the principal’s office. The others outside can only eavesdrop what they’re saying. First, the principal calls their anime production low quality (which is very true) but Minoa takes it as a compliment. She proclaims her love for anime especially that one she saw. As best as she tries to describe it to him and he suggesting titles, it seems they are all not the anime she is looking for. The rest outside do a little research on the principal. It seems he was part of the anime club and those drawing in that room was his. Nakano makes a shocking return when he prostrates and apologizes for his ‘betrayal’. The truth is that he has many siblings (clones?) and is working hard to support them. The principal often patrons his stall and that’s why he can’t go against his order. And with that, they forgive him and are back in good terms. It seems the principal was also an anime director. It hits him hard when Minoa wants to create a second episode. Because now he goes berserk claiming everything is over once your first episode is cancelled. He blames the fans and the nit-picking of the internet. It got so bad that his office is now a thunderstorm! As he has shut off his heart, looks like anime can only save him. So the rest go far and wide to seek help from everyone around the world for the name of that elusive anime. Nobody knows. Their topic has gone viral and trending (with lots of trolling too). With so much people on the subject, you are bound to hit one. Finally that anime’s name is known: Ultra Katharsis Koritsi Eternal Symphony. The principal admits he is the director of that anime which got canned after the first episode. Although he is still depressed, Minoa sings praises of it and loves it very much till this day. Outside his office aren’t chants of protests. People are holding up posters and merchandises of Eternal Symphony! Wow. Suddenly they are everywhere? Such a crappy an obscure anime? In the aftermath, the anime club gets their clubroom back and the principal leaves. To end with a twist, when Minoa revisits the office, she sees the principal’s yearbook. To her shock, Nakano was part of his anime team!

Episode 11
Minoa experiences a few strange anime-like occurrences. Faces of people turn into that old retro anime style, there is that 4:3 visual strip, Sebastian is now a maid and can talk, people have sparkly eyes and more. Everyone thinks Minoa is weird as they don’t know what she is talking about. Heck, they even rewind to the opening to check if everything is okay. Then they discuss about what genre they should put for this anime. For some reason, Neko decides to explode several times. So this is what is called comedy? Neko explodes so much that he ‘dies’ as a real cat for realism. Thankfully, he survives. Later Minoa asks Nakano if he has an older sibling by 20 years. Nope. Hmm… More anime weirdness for Minoa because her family members are now black and white old retro anime style and animation! With more crazy stuffs at school, finally Arisu confronts her. Perhaps the reason she is acting weird is because she is rejecting anime! What?! Minoa can’t help feel so sad. In her room she starts going crazy and crying uncontrollably. Maaya could only hug and comfort her and tell her to hang in there. Because the ending is soon… Next day in school, everyone is starring at her like as though she is the enemy of the state because they believe she hates anime. Luckily Minoa finds some refuge in Nakano as he is the only one who believes what she has seen. He hints the cause of it all so Minoa goes back to the anime clubroom and accuses Neko as the cause. He is a talking cat, right? She then opens the forbidden door to solve this. But then a large flash. The door goes missing and outside is chaotic with all the anime clichés. Oh no. Is this all part of Nakano’s plan? Who is this Observer that is missing and what does he mean that order will be gone now? Neko accuses Nakano to be from the other side: The anime side. Nakano claims this world will soon be engulfed in anime. With the arrival of some guy in beret, Nakano gives Minoa wear some glasses that sees everyone’s true form as sketch lines!

Episode 12
There’s some dramatic narration about ‘revelations’ that sound a whole load of crap. What’s this about the real and parallel anime world existing side by side? Something about anime created into this world and spread? The narration kills off the beret guy that could have changed things. Minoa wakes up back in class. Her friends are normal. Was everything a dream? She senses something amiss and heads down to the anime club. The door is still missing. Indeed she is still trap. Then she goes home. Her family talking and looking normal. However they ignore her like as though she doesn’t exist. Going into her room, strange mushrooms trying to coax her to come to the anime side. Even her hologram clone is doing the same. However she rejects all that and rejoins Neko outside. He tells her they need the beret back to the other side of the door and bring back order. Nakano has found it and puts it on in hopes things have changed. Nothing. He is distraught he is still called Aurora (a name everyone calls him since he came back to them after the ‘betrayal’). The world starts disappearing, a sign it is going to be erased. Minoa thinks everyone is against her but she has some allies in a couple of characters from the animes she cherished. She rides a mecha to drill through some barrier. Before the door is Nakano and the beret. Still worried about his name as he passes it to her in hopes it will change. The other friends stop her and try to tempt her to join them. She refuses and explains how each of them helped make her love anime. It seemed she hit them right but too late they disappear. When she opens the door, a barrier still blocks the door. She falls through the abyss but her friends pull her back up. They have come back to their senses but still need to do something about that barrier. Remember that crappy mecha they designed for the cultural festival? Yup, use that. Run out of money? Don’t feed it more money! Feed it with passion! With that, the barrier gone, Nakano and Neko take the beret and return to the other side. Too bad Minoa gave him the wrong name… In the aftermath, it seems time has restarted to when Minoa hasn’t joined the anime club. She loves talking about it and gets to know Arisu who also loves doing the same. Surprisingly they are recommended by Tsubaki to join the anime club. All her usual friends are there but who the f*ck is that new member, a cat girl?! Kai is designing a new character that looks a lot like Nakano. They are curious to see what is behind that door and when they open it, a treasure trove of anime merchandises and goodies!

Anime Catalyst! This Is Not A Sh*t Anime!!!
So are they living in which anime world now? How many anime worlds are there again? I’m confused. Well, we basically don’t care since we get a typical cliché good ending that all our friends are back together happily in the anime club doing what they love. Because they refuse to believe this is a crappy series and I too personally believe this isn’t a crappy cliché anime, therefore anime is saved! Hooray!

Even if the overall plot doesn’t seem all that spectacular and nothing extraordinary, this series doesn’t take itself seriously in the first place. In fact, it is a parody of its own self. A parody and cliché with everything that has to do with the otaku world for otaku fans. Therefore veteran anime and manga fans would definitely appreciate the tons of trivia peppered throughout the entire series. In almost every scene, there is guaranteed to be such references if you pay close attention. Or more accurately, if you know your anime and manga stuffs well enough.

Thus the most obvious of all trivia that one like yours truly who is the simplest of all otaku forms can appreciate are the blatant parodies of anime titles. And boy, there are really tons of them in every episode. Sometimes when the characters start discussing or suggesting anime titles, they sometimes go into this streak of naming those parodies. Call it that copyright thingy but the way they ‘creatively’ parody those titles makes it really hilarious. For example the more obvious one include PreFae (PreCure), Slash Dunk (Slam Dunk), Tarako’s Basketball (Kuroko No Basket), Ace Of Bench (Ace Of Diamond), Autumn Wars (Summer Wars), AnoSuba (KonoSuba), Girls & Tank (Girls Und Panzer), Nakimushi Saddle (Yowamushi Pedal), Akibako (Shirobako), What’s Up Girl Zoo (Wake Up, Girl Zoo), The Girl Who Slept Through Time (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), Previous Genesis Everstrike (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Bakusou (Bakuon), Gaka Stray Dogs (Bungou Stray Dogs), Amaama To Yokozuna (Amaama To Inazuma), Dezumon (Digimon), Ange Visual (Ange Vierge) and Cinnamon Roll Z (Dragonball Z) just to name a few that I recognized. There are more I recognized and smirked at but I would have filled up an entire page of it.

What happens when The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air decided to take up tennis and win the Wimbledon championship? You get Fresh Prince of Tennis! OMG! This is one of the most hilarious and creative ones I’ve heard. Thankfully, they didn’t go with Teekyuu… Sword Art Online was so popular that it was Sold Out Offline! Haha! It is such an irony that a vuvuzela could be joyful and yet so sad in The Melancholy Of A Happy Vuvuzela. Played any New Game recently? Nah. They’ve become Old Game! What happens when you switched genders of the protagonist in Time Travel Shoujo? You get Time Travel Shounen! What happens when you have hedgehogs instead of hamsters as stars? Haritaro desu! Sorry Sonic… Some of the spoofs I find aren’t that creative like Hero School (Boku No Hero Academia) and Ru: Zero (Re: Zero) and as they strike me as a bit bland. But the one that takes the cake with its freaking long ass name is, take a deep breath, A Certain Report On The Irresponsible And Depressing Chronicles Of Me And A Certain Eccentric Childhood Friend! Yeah, the Toaru series just got even more complicated with its title.

Some of the parodies are not very obvious and it takes a while to discover which ones. For example when they spoofed Thousand. Such a vague and general word there. Unless you’ve seen that (disappointing) harem anime, Hundred, you won’t be able to find its connection. There is also Dub Tone which is very much a parody to Love Live and if you don’t pay attention to what the characters are saying while they describe this, you won’t be able to make the connection either. Even for Toramiko, I thought it was Tora & Ushio before realizing Kuma Miko was the one. Others that took me a while to get it include Gachiemon (Doraemon), Replica (Paprika), Shikabari (Koutetsujou No Kabaneri) and Shake (Saki). Even obscure anime shorts are not spared and are referenced like Yasuda & Iwakura (Ishida & Asakura) as well as Immun-kun (Ketsuekigata-kun). Don’t forget Malcom Gakuen which is a parody of Falcom Gakuen which is a parody of the Falcom video games.

Parodying anime and manga titles aren’t the only trivia around. If you listen closer, many characters talk and parody synopsis of other titles too like that Dub Tone AKA Love Live. They will describe a certain situation that very much makes you wonder how similar it is to that anime. Of course they are making a reference to it. The series also takes a dig at its own industry, the peculiarity and quirks that you can only find in the otaku world like the unofficial rule of thumb in dropping watching an anime after the third episode. It doesn’t apply to me because I watched it till the end! Also, such references make good awareness of the industry though not in an in-depth manner but still it is nice to know that something that quirky like that often happens in the industry.

For those who are even more experts and veteran in the area, the other references can reach as far as seiyuus of a character saying a certain line of a character they played in another anime. For instance if you noticed Yui at one point was helping doing her recording lines for the anime club’s crappy animation, one of her dubbing lines include “Explosion!”. Sounds familiar? Yui’s seiyuu is the same one who voiced that explosion maniac wizard in KonoSuba. Pretty neat, huh? There are also visual parodies too so instead of keeping your ears busy, now you have to multi-task and keep your eyes busy and watch out for them. It’s like blink or you’ll miss. For instance, Erika wearing a butterfly hair accessory that resembles the one from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai’s Sena. There are way more trivia and references than I can point out here (because my knowledge is so limited) so happy hunting those of you who wish to go back and find more Easter eggs.

The characters in the series themselves aren’t anything special. They fall into that cliché line of what mainly anime characters are. You have the typical main character Minoa who is pretty much clueless in the field that everyone else is an expert but stands out because of her different viewpoints (also applies to shonen battle animes where the protagonists are like the Luffy, Naruto and Natsu type). You have the chuunibyou in Kai, you have the BL lover in Miko, the rich oujo-sama in Arisu (a silent butler thrown in for added bonus), the kind-hearted big sister type in Erika and the double-crosser-cum-character-with-complicated-circumstances-and-history in Nakano (or was it Aurora. Or Grovel Boy now?). Oh right, we have a talking animal pet mascot too. Because Yui doesn’t have much screen time, in many episodes her screen time is mostly devoted to see short clips of her doing something random or for blatant mild fanservice purposes. It has nothing to do with whatsoever the anime club members are doing. Since this is the high school setting, the ‘antagonists’ are usually set aside for the student council members (Kakegurui, Prison School, Kill La Kill) so we have Tsubaki as the b*tch type and her underlings as her typical underlings.

Don’t think too much of the plot because most are probably just distraction. For example that forbidden door that Neko told Minoa never to leave open. You kept wondering in the back of your head about its implications and from time to time the series does tease you to remind you, or rather troll you that there could be something really important, like the most important revolution and plot twist ever in the history of anime that something of that magnitude might happen. What do we get at the end? Okay, it was something of a ‘big deal’ that links the anime world within this anime world. At least it didn’t end up being a red herring that many would hate. Even with the principal as the misguided antagonist who came to terms via words because he once shares the same passion as Minoa feels cliché in terms of swaying the villain via power of words. Either that you could just beat the crap out of him in other ‘violent’ ‘action’ series. What about Nakano’s ‘betrayal’. Twice. He acts like the bad guy and not too sure his litter of pigs siblings is true or not. Feels like the perfect cover up story and escape route… Too convenient… Oh wait, he came from the other side. Yeah, I guess it’s hard to tell which anime he came from since an anime inside an anime looks pretty much the same. Remember that Erika’s senior about her impressive anime club thingy? No. Neither do I. Probably this is one of the red herrings to lead us astray when it just meant nothing.

Art and animation are nicely done with everything looking so bright and colourful. Some character designs felt like I have seen them from somewhere before like Miko whom instantly strike me as a watered down Date A Live’s Kurumi. I was waiting for the day she would troll us and burst out into this psychotic character. Didn’t. Then there’s Minoa reminding me of Sakura from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Nakano looking like Kodaka from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai’s Sena and the principal himself as an evil version of William Shakespeare. There is something about Kai looking all too familiar too but at this point I can’t pinpoint from where. CGI is also used but most notably for that idol dance sequence. It looks a bit odd but I guess they want to parody the Love Live, Wake Up Girls and AKB0048 animation style when they’re up singing and dancing on stage. Animated by WAO World who did Time Travel Shoujo and Shouwa Monogatari. Despite being an old company, they don’t usually make much series on their own and are usually involved in 2nd key animations of many other series.

Voice acting sounds pretty decent as everyone does feel like they are really into their roles. I only recognized Kana Hanazawa as Beibei. The rest of the casts are Kaede Hondo as Minoa (Kon in Urara Meirocho), Sayaka Senbongi as Arisu (Mumei in Koutetsujou No Kabaneri), Hisako Toujou as Miko (Chiaki in Hinako Note), Anju Inami as Erika (Chika in Love Live! Sunshine), Setsuo Ito as Kai (Mob in Mob Psycho 100), Junta Terashima as Nakano (Mamoru Fujimura in TsukiPro), Hironori Kondou as Neko, Asuka Nishi as Tsubaki (Shinobu in Kiniro Mosaic), Makoto Furukawa as Gomon (Banri in Golden Time), Rie Takahashi as Yui (Emilia in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu) and Inori Minase as Maaya (Noel in Sora No Method). I like the opening theme, Ai Kotoba by Garnidelia. It is quite catchy as it has the funky techno beat that makes you want to get up and dance to its tune. The ending theme is Good Luck Lilac by Gatalis (Minoa, Arisu and Miko) in a typical idol-like style.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining series for otakus to enjoy. It might be a cliché of everything because it is. Anime parodying anime is like life parodying art. Uhm… Close enough, I think. The more you know about the otaku industry, the better off you are enjoying this series. Therefore if you are an amateur and newbie who just got into anime like a month ago, you are going to have a tough time trying to understand and appreciate its deeper aspects. But then again, it is also the perfect anime for beginners to much because of how much it parodies itself and hence new anime lovers can expect what it is like if they want to ‘love’ this industry. Maybe Neko and the forbidden door are like the Schrodinger Cat of this series. Everything is possible until you open the door. But once you have opened it, there is no turning back (like yours truly). Enter anime at your own risk. You have been warned. Unless the whole industry just collapses because reasons. That won’t happen ever, RIGHT???!!!

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