Welcome to the Fantasy Zone

This Zone is dedicated to the lesser known elements of anime hosted by the cast of Victory Script.

What weapon is the best?
Who will win in this Death Battle?
Is this costume practical?

You name it, it's all covered here in the Fantasy Zone!

Hot Take Review - Episode 6

As a bonus I'll be adding my own hot take.

"Fanservice is there to hide the fact that writers can't make stories or characters that are fun or entertaining enough without showing lewd content"
If an anime is only showing lewd content, then that's a valid statement, but I can't exactly work with an anime that does have a good story but terrible characters, designs have to at least be appealing, whether it takes the form of lewds or not.

"Louie the Rune Soldier was funnier than Slayers"
The humour between the two are vastly different, Rune Soldier is funnier but the jokes out stay their welcome, Slayers is more light hearted but the jokes land more often.

"Bunny Girl Senpai is the worst anime ever. Forced story, bad science-fiction and hateable characters"

Just admit that you signed up to the series just to see bunny girls and feel cheated when this is the only time you see one.
Real talk, the story is convoluted and seems to make it up as it goes along as by nature the phenomenon the characters go through is so complex that the anime itself struggles, it's not a sci-fi, thriller and mystery drama would be more appropriate, I didn't mind the characters but I can easily see them as not being appealing, no where near worst anime though.

"Dot Hack Sign is better than Sword Art Online"
I disagree, Sword Art Online is what we wanted to see out of Dot Hack Sign but they instead made a concept like being stuck in a video game utterly boring, it does have a better soundtrack though.

"Spike and Faye would not make a good couple"
Spike barely works with Julia, he'd do even worse with Faye, you could remove both Julia and Faye from the anime and it wouldn't change the narrative, in some cases it would improve it.

"Symphogear is the dumbest anime, I've ever seen, even after two attempts to watch it"
Someone called me out on this hot take on YouTube yesterday but they've yet to tell me why I'm wrong. I don't hate Symphogear, it's just the concept of making a magical girl anime with an idol theme where girls fight with over the top weaponry wearing half a Gundam all the while singing to increase their power reeks of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, it's dumb but it's really entertaining at the same time, I don't need to know the intricacies of why they fight these beings called the Noize or the main character's struggle with the fact that she inherited her powers, no I just want to see awesome high powered battles set to a cheesy J-Pop soundtrack, it doesn't need any more thought than that, I'm allowed to watch an anime for entertainment purposes, I don't always need to wear review goggles.

Otaku Insight - How Effective is the 3 Episode Rule

The three-episode rule is intended to gauge whether a specific anime series will be to a viewer's liking within the span of three episodes, I mentioned previously that I've been known to drop series after less time and these days, the first episode has to grab you otherwise the internet will soon let you know if the series is bad or not by word of mouth, but how effective is it next to much longer form series?
I picked ten anime known to be longer than 50 episodes and popular enough to have an audience and applied the 3 episode formula to each one, I will not be including Dragonballz as it's a sequel series and well over half it's world viewers were already aware of this fact.
So let's begin.

Inuyasha
In three episodes, the basic plot is established but there's enough going on to warrant a closer look, not so much from Kagome but certainly from Inuyasha considering what he already displayed in a short time.
Passed.

Digimon
In three episodes, the Digi-destined are summoned, they meet their partners and we meet Greymon and Garurumon, you already want to see how everyone else turns out and the enemies are creative enough to keep your attention.
Passed.

Sailor Moon
In three episodes, Usagi gets her powers and it's already looking formulaic and Usagi has shown her entire hand by the third episode, luckily it's saved by the Luna pen giving an extra layer of intrigue in how far Usagi's powers will go.
Passed.

Pokemon
In three episodes, Ash has an eventful opening getting just to Viridian City meeting Misty and Team Rocket along the way, on the actual third episode he catches two Pokemon and evolves one, Ash has achieved enough to see how far he can go on his journey.
Passed.

Fairy Tail
In three episodes, we've met Lucy, Natsu, Happy and enough of the Guild to see how crazy it can get.
Passed.

Yu-Gi-Oh
In three episodes, Yugi has battled two major players and is on his way to a tournament to meet more crazy duelists, being honest I was already sold on episode one.
Passed.

Card Captor Sakura
In three episodes, Sakura has setup the quest, got her friend to join her and dress her up and Sakura has acquired some pretty good cards, the battle costumes alone made you stay.
Passed.

Bleach
In three episodes, Ichigo has his powers and is already taking down his first major hollow in Orihime's brother, the increased violence would've been enough to begin with.
Passed.

One Piece
In three episodes, Luffy has taken out two villains and Zoro has joined his crew, we even have Zoro's back story and Nami in the background doing her own thing and being pleased that Koby won't be joining them, there's enough there to see where it goes.
Passed.

Naruto
In three episodes, Naruto graduates to the Ninja Academy by defeating a villain, he then babysits Konohamaru for episode two and then team 7 is formed with Sasuke and Sakura, the problem here is that it makes the series look like a school anime and there's so little ninja content, you're lucky to stay invested after episode 2 let alone episode 3.
Failed.

Conclusion
I'm fascinated at how well all these series held up in regards to the three episode rule with only Naruto failing, so there is some merit in what you can learn in only 70ish minutes of content as to whether these shows will be for you.
Most fans of Naruto didn't really get into the series until either halfway through the Zabusa arc or when the Chuunin Exam was at it's best, I'll go as far as saying Naruto is the poorest starting anime of all time and it's popularity was by luck that enough people watched it to give it a chance, if aired today, it would fail after one season.

Hot Take Review - Episode 5

If you do have any hot takes, I'll be happy to take a look at them.

"The idea of putting such a level of detail on the eyes of the characters is the only very real reason why anime is so good at being anime"
It's true that the eyes are a major part of it but that's also true with all animation and it's not a unique trait that anime has, expressions and body language also goes a long way in establishing a good first impression.

"Doraemon, Sazae-San and Shin Chan will always be a part of our lives even when we turn 100 years old"

Huh, didn't know Shin Chan was still going.
Real talk, the staying power of those three anime is no different to Americans keeping around the Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and Mickey Mouse, no doubt there's an audience that still exists for them, case in point, Crayon Shin Chan's autor has been dead for 14 years now and his work still lives on, so it really won't surprise me if they are still around long after I go.

"Bleach is the first anime to treat black people with any decency"
One of Bleach's stronger qualities is having a very well diverse cast, it's certainly welcome but the statement itself assumes that Anime has this issue to begin with, Japan doesn't have the West's history of racism but it's hardly innocent in how it depicts foreigners, in most cases, it's pure ignorance or just like poking fun at Americans. When anime does depict a black character even before Bleach aired, it's not the same as what Warner Bros did back in the 1940s.

"Yu-Gi-Oh is the best in the shonen genre and has some of the best monster/creature designs in anime and has the #1 waifu in all of anime Mai Valentine"
The person who wrote this one has clearly never seen another anime, while it did run in Shonen Jump it was never setup for the kind of popularity it was going to get nor was it expected to change the world of card games, it's narrative was directed by the product, so it's more a toy anime than a true shonen.
The monster designs are great but so are Pokemon and Digimon's efforts.
Mai Valentine is a trash waifu, her personality is terrible and she's not even a good duelist.

"The three episode rule is kinda stupid since shows can get better"
All depends which anime you apply it to, I've been known to stop anime after 1 episode in the past but I also realise the same wouldn't apply to all anime, but it's got me thinking, I'll take ten popular anime and see if the three episode formula works on them. That'll be my next post.

Otaku Insight - Isekai Used to be a Shojo Genre

There's a lot of mention of Sword Art Online being the anime that made Isekai but back in the 90s it was a mostly Shojo Genre.

How far back does it go?
Rumiko Takahashi in 1985 released a short anime called Fire Tripper in which a girl is gas exploded back to feudal Japan, alot of elements were later reused for InuYasha, more on that later. Any anime adaption of Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz counts as well.

What are the Main Anime?
Four big names of yester year spring to mind, Vision of Escaflowne, Fushigi Yuugi the Mysterious Play, Magic Knight Rayearth and Inuyasha, all four feature a female heroine drawn into another world either through dimensions, a magical book, summoned by a preist or dragged backwards through time respectively.

How does Digimon fit into the equation?
Digimon by definition is also an Isekai by the fact that a group of 7-8 kids get sent to the Digital World but has more roots in the monster trend alongside another well known title, Monster Rancher.

Staying on topic how good are these four female led Isekai?
Escaflowne has argubly the most beautiful score ever composed for an anime.
Fushigi Yuugi was instrumental in establishing the Josei genre.
Magic Knight Rayearth put the artist team of CLAMP on the map as one of their best work.
InuYasha is yet another stellar work by Rumiko Takahashi and her best selling series by far.

What went wrong?
Escaflowne had a botched dub release and is widely forgotten next to stable mates Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, not to mention the plot made no sense and the manga is infinitely different.
The others out stayed their welcome, Rayearth had a dreadful 2nd season, Fushigi Yuugi has not aged well and has been out of the spotlight for two decades now, InuYasha kept going and going and became the punching bag in the awkward era of the 00s where anime was struggling with a hangover, it's also aged the worst of the four shows.
As for Digimon, each season was getting less and less returns until they decided on Digimon Tri and a season 1 reboot.

Did Sword Art Online save Isekai?
Kind of, it's premise added elements that weren't available in 90s Isekai and took inspiration from harem, shonen and even thriller in some cases, Sword Art Online also took inspiration from Dot Hack Sign.

Now we can't get rid of Isekai
Blame covid, Japan's abysmal birth rate and Sword Art Online outstaying it's welcome, on the bright side, female led Isekai made a return with Saints Magic is Omnipotent and to a lesser extent Bofuri, we also have enough try hards to keep anime interesting and it's not devoid of having it's formula mixed in ever more dangerous ways, it's not like the tail end of the early 2000s where anime actually stagnated.

Character Ranking: Beyblade Teams

This is an interesting one because I'm not doing individual characters only the Beyblade teams, this is marked on their ability as a team along with their personality, performance and general presence.
For the record I'm sticking with the original Beyblade era.

Dark Bladers
Start with the dead weight filler villains Dark Bladers who are nothing more than homages to movie monsters get completely overshadowed by the Majestics.

King and Queen
The duo arrived among a very crowded set of villains and while their position as part hunters does give them more of a purpose than cheaters or taking over the world, they really didn't have much weight to them.

Team Psykick
They lack originality being just cyber clones of the four but I give some credit that the bladers themselves are much better in personality compared to other low level villains especially Salima.

Team Zagart
They sort of came in at the end as an invincible force led by one of the most angsty villains in Beyblade history, joined by the most bland, a bad way to end Season 2.

Majestics
I think they wasted a perfectly good team here as it's incredible to see anyone take on the Bladebreakers in some of the best battles the series has to offer yet they were snubbed in G Revolution in favour of the next team.

Barthez Battalion
I was too harsh on them to begin with as their ordeal mirrors a number of real world sports teams, I'm still mad that they did the Majestics dirty but not as much as I used to be.

F-Dynasty
For the short time they appear, I really enjoyed this sibling pair, they easily win out in style, personality and design.

BEGA Justice 5
As the final villains they created the best Beyblade battles of the whole franchise with Garland being the only let down. Brooklyn then took Beyblade to some very dark places with his match against Kai being the magnum opus of the franchise.

Saint Shields
Their place in the canon is weird as their job is essentially protect the main four bit beasts but their method of achieving such a feat is spent being the main villains and considering the strength of Ozuma I was sad to not see him be Tyson's final match in V-Force.

Demolition Boys/Blitzkrieg Boys
The final villains of season 1 and full of edgelord potential with Tala and Bryan being particular favourites, even when they aren't villains they have the edgelord attitude that makes them a joy to watch.

All Starz
It's easy to write off All Starz as a cheesy sports team but that changed when Rick Anderson enters the team where they essentially have to win back respect as Rick is a poor sportsman leading to Kai's most defining moment where he silences a crowd for booing the All Starz, their arc is among the most interesting.

White Tigers
A team initially pissed at Ray for leaving, then becoming a strange hit or miss performing team with some unexpected wins along with some equally bizarre drops in personality for Lee mostly.

Bladebreakers/BBA Revolution
When it comes to G Revolution it becomes very apparent that Tyson really doesn't know how to keep the team together as the other members leaving is a sign that they don't hold his leadership in high enough regard to stay that way and this isn't the first time. When it comes down to it, Bladebreakers are more a team of individuals that only unite for a common enemy but will split any chance that the others can claim Tyson's world title.
Then as BBA Revolution, it's just a sad arc of Tyson being a colossal prick.

Dark Bladers: 3.2/10
King and Queen: 4.7/10
Team Psykick: 6.3/10
Team Zagart: 1.3/10
Majestics: 6.9/10
Barthez Battalion: 7.1/10
F-Dynasty: 9.0/10
BEGA Justice 5: 8.9/10
Saint Shields: 8.6/10
Demolition/Blitzkrieg Boys: 9.3/10
All Starz: 8.5/10
White Tigers: 7.5/10
Bladebreakers/BBA Revolution: 7.1/10