Polona
Blogger with a passion for anything fantasy related!
Anime

The Inaugural 2017 “Unime” Awards!

astralgemini

It’s the end of 2017, the Fall Anime Season has wound itself down, and we’ve found ourselves looking back on the year, thinking of all the Anime we’ve watched, the hours we’ve spent, the stories we’ve heard. It’s been a good year, and as it comes to a close, several of us here at Unime took the liberty of putting together a list, detailing our favorite shows, characters, and other picks from all of 2017 (Please keep in mind, we did not include second seasons or carry overs, such as My Hero Academia 2… Sorry). We hope you enjoy, and please remember to let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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AnimeAnime ReviewsReviews

THE ANCIENT MAGUS’ BRIDE CHARM

Polona

As April showers bring May flowers, this anime sheds light on mystical and fantastical world of faerie lore and Celtic mythology. Currently airing The Ancient Magus’ Bride anime already  managed to cause quite a stir in the anime world. It’s breathtaking design leaves a lasting impression, even if so far, you’ve only seen the trailer. The series protagonist, Hatori Chise, finds herself in a dark place, but fate ends up having some more tricks left up its sleeve, before she’s done with this world.

The first episode

First episode ended up being a mix of amazing visual arts and some disturbing moments. My first impression of the anime was that it presented exactly the magical world I usually like to explore and dive into, but at the same time included some completely unnecessary scenes. They didn’t really bother me that much, but I’m mentioning them because to some they may appear a bit alarming. Buying a person, elements of unhealthy relationship and attitude towards main protagonist might turn away some viewers, but that’s really not the focus.

Storyline

We meet Chise at a point in her life where she lost hope and gave up, agreeing to enter slavery and be sold to whoever will want her. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll end up being bought by a magus, called Elias Ainsworth. A new chapter in her life makes her his apprentice and his future wife as well. The anime isn’t taking the easy way out – making it a romantic story with perfect characters. It shows two broken souls, coming together in a world filled with magic. Of course, neither is quite normal. Chise is what they call a »Sleigh Beggy« with great magical potential. Meanwhile Elias is actually a non-human mage, a powerful one at that and a recluse through and through. It’s up to Chise now to save the dying craft and become one of the last mages.

About that ancient magus

Elias is an interesting character they haven’t fully exposed yet. Up to episode 9 we only get to see some sides of him. He’s a mentor, a sort of care taker and in a strange way also partner. At first it’s unclear why he bought her for an insanely large sum and what he wants with her. He appears intimidating at first, but that first impression is quickly forgotten. The switch to a gentle, caring character is natural and somehow he appears as a warm, empathic person. He’s not the usual male saviour hero character. The scenes that would usually appear silly and cute here seem like cutting into the story, breaking it. The vibe of it all gets forced and unsettling, but this is exactly what makes the anime so special. I hope the future episodes will focus more on this character, I’d love to know more about him.

The central relationship

Chise and Elias might seem like unlikely match at first, but their relationship develops rather quickly. Some may see it as way too soon, especially in regards to seeing Chise trusting Elias so much. From the first obvious discomfort it quickly got into light, less forced and even playful interaction between the two. By the second episode she’s already warming up to him and up till eight, they are already very close. It may seem way too fast, but considering Chise’s abandonment issues, it’s kinda natural to want to stay close to the one and only person who offered you home. Elias on the other hand is usually quite forward, but not so much with her. He gives her more space and time to get to know him.

Abandonment and love

There’s one recurring topic I feel I need to address somehow. It goes hand in hand really, abandonment issues and feelings of love. Chise is presented as someone who was never loved, abandoned by her own mother and scarred for life. Elias was the first one who actually wanted her, offered her a home, even though he actually bought her. Episode 9 finally gives some more insight into their dynamics. From interactions with others Chise is finally able to come to terms with some of her own emotions. Realising that she loves Elias, that she got dependant on him way too fast. She is reminded that she shouldn’t live of handouts from others. As much as it hurts her, she has to admit the truth in these words. She’s aware that the truth he tells her is glossed over and includes only partial truths, but she still trusts him.

Artistry

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the visual imaginarium. It’s simply breathtaking and truly takes the meaning of magic to a whole new level. The colourful and powerful symbolic presentations as well as great animation make this anime one of a kind. A lot of it is borrowed and inspired by old folk tales, fantasy writers and such. Somehow it makes me think of Neil Gaiman books, but I really like that sort of thing, so it’s a big plus. Captivating character designs truly deliver with many occult details, making them stand out even more. The visuals get more cartoon like when needed. For instance, Elias’s skull jaw gets rounded and softer, taking the edge from the situation and making it appear more comical.

Sound design

Usually I don’t even write much about sound design, unless I like some songs in particular. With The Ancient Magus’ Bride I feel like it adds that whole pagan vibe. Both, voice acting and sound effects really complement the story and aura of the anime. The soundtrack itself fits the moments and accentuates the mood. True, there’s a lot of piano and it might not be to everyone’s liking. But with these visuals and story it goes rather perfectly. In regards to soundtrack I can honestly say it makes me think of Hisaishi’s work and I love that more than anything.

The all over vibes

The Ancient Magus’ Bride delivers from drama to comical reliefs in such a fashion it always feels like you watching two soul mates dance. It truly feels like watching someone who wears his heart out on his sleeve all the time, but it’s so well done at the same time it truly transcends into a magical story. From dramatic moments to endearing ones, the wholeness of the anime got me engrossed in it and I never want to leave. It’s sad, depressing, painful but at the same time gorgeous, light and full of promises. Impossible to describe unless you watch it with an open heart.

The magic of Ancient Magus’ Bride

Sure, even this anime has some minor hiccups. Like certain animation moments and pacing, but these are really not that bothersome. The Ancient Magus’ Bride offers the right balance between artistic detail, depth and story. It switches lightly from serious scenes to humours ones, but keeps the overall red string and the vibe. In a way it’s a love story, but not just between two characters. It’s more a love towards life itself, the world we are surrounded with and of course the people who make us feel at home. The world drenched in magic is exactly what got me enraptured, but Chise’s story is what makes my heart bleed whenever I watch it. A true gem among the anime of 2017, possibly the best one I have watched!

Thanks for reading!

Love, Polona

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AnimeInterests

GRATEFUL FOR ANIME – Three Ways Anime Changed My life

Polona

As the season of holidays, well wishes and gifts approaches many get to reevaluating their lives and achievements in general. The fast approaching end of the year makes for a perfect excuse to finally get down and dirty in the mess of human emotions to dig out what really matters. So, what truly matters to you? Check out my mushy reasons, why I’m forever thankful for anime.

First sparks

I’ve been introduced to anime at an early age, but I’ve actually truly gotten into the whole anime sphere fairly recently.  I wouldn’t say I grew up with it, but I can say I was immediately attracted to the unique style of anime. Aside from Pokemons and Sailor Moon, I started developing appreciation after seeing some of Miyazaki’s work. I mean, how could I not? The art work is simply put stunning and the rest is just .. there’s no words in any language to describe how it makes me feel.

sailor moon grateful anime
Sailor Moon

Personality changes

I used to watch like insane amounts of movies, then switched to TV shows and anime. From the bunch I rarely got any true feel of connection or recognised myself in the portrayed characters. Sure, there were some I will forever hold dear, but the true ice breaker for me was Howl’s Moving Castle and Sophie. She is so like me it literally hurts to watch. But I do it anyway, again and again until I feel like I’ve cried all the tears there are. Stopped counting how many times I’ve watched that anime, but it helped me a lot. Break out of my shell, move forward, forgive and sort of forget. We all see what we want in our favourite characters, so to some this may make no sense at all. But to me, at that point in my life, it changed me and my view on the world.

Live in the moment

I am truly grateful for loveable, well-developed characters that imprinted on me and left lasting memories. Somehow I lost perspective along the way on things that really matter – like true and honest relationships with others, being there for people I call friends. And all of that comes to focus in the little things. Once I started paying more attention to the moments and appreciate the little things, I was finally able to move forward. It sounds silly, such a small thing changed, but it shifted my whole perspective. The comical and often exaggerated way of communication between characters made me realise I was taking certain things way too seriously, making myself rigid and unapproachable. Anyone else loves the slow sections showing summer rain or tea being swished around in the cup? I live for those moments, nothing calms me down more than such serene scenes.

Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä

Friendship is the key

Along the way I kinda got into anime reviews and realised I actually enjoy writing them. Got to know quite a number of people sharing some similar interests, which is always a fun thing to do. But the main plus side is they gave me ideas. Inspirations, creative spark I have missed for a while now. The work they do and how they do it makes me rethink how I do things. Not just how I do them, but also how I approach them. I ended up improving things about myself I had no idea even needed improving. I thought I was fine, doing just fine. You know, like a grown up, having my stuff together and just moving forward. I am forever grateful to anime for bringing certain people into my life.

Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa

Never going back…

This is completely personal post and based on how anime influenced me. However, I never forget about the people creating these masterpieces. They are often underpayed and overworked.  From animators, artists, character designers to voice actors, together they are creating magic we get to enjoy on a daily basis. I can not imagine my life without anime anymore, it added that little something to my life that I was missing.

Why are you grateful for anime? 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Love, Polona

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Chronos Ruler is an anime about time and memory.
Anime Reviews

To Rule Time Or To Be Consumed By It?

Andressa Andrade

Do you wish you could turn back time? Think again!

In the world of CHRONOS RULER, that’s a very dangerous wish. When regret sets in and people desperately want to go back, that’s when the horologues attack. Time-consuming monsters will literally eat your lifetime. It doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal to look a couple of years younger, right? Or take another chance on things you have let slip by?

But horologues are insatiable creatures. So they’ll just keep on eating your time until you become a baby, then a fetus, then… nothing. You’ll turn back into inexistence.

So? Still want to relive those good ol’ days?

To be a Chronos Ruler

To every chaos, there’s a sort of rule and structure. CHRONOS RULER focuses on the battle between the two factions, creating a black and white world. The horologues pray on humans remorse and steal away their time, promising they will return things back to the way they were. But there’s no “devils contract” stopping the demons from eating up too much and eventually killing.

As Victor struggles to survive and the monsters hold on him is slowly taking its toll, he gets to meet people who call themselves Chronos Rulers. A secret organization that not many people know about is struggling alone to keep people safe. As their numbers are drastically declining and not many are left, they are joined by Victor and Kiri.  Understanding time and appreciating it gets a whole new meaning.

Victor and Kiri’s story

Chronos Ruler Victor PutinVictor Putin’s regrettable actions, such as gambling and neglecting his family caused him to come in contact with a strong horologue. It stole Victors time and ate it, together with his precious memories. Now Victor, who should be 39 years old, barely looks 15. Not only he didn’t get to save his wife, but now he’s on a quest to find that horologue and claim back his lost years. To do that, the blue-haired boy uses his Oath Of Time, a tool that allows him and other Chronos Rulers to control the time around certain elements. For Victor, those are gambling cards, which he uses both to attack his adversaries and to attract cute girls with party tricks.

Kiri and Victor Putin, the Chronos Rulers

Victor’s companion in this adventure is Kiri. The smart, red-eyed Chronos Ruler uses his Oath Of Time to control water. He has sworn to get Victor’s time back no matter what. He’s also the responsible adult around, making sure Victor and his reckless attitude don’t put their mission — or themselves — in danger.

To new and old acquaintances

The Chronos Ruler Mina Later, Mina joins them. This young and cute Chronos Ruler can control air and swears she’s Victor’s long-lost wife. Of course, Victor has no memory of that, but that won’t stop Mina from doing everything in her power to protect her darling.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Blaze! This hot-tempered Chronos Ruler likes to play with fire — literally. He has set off to be the world’s biggest villain and will leave no stone unturned in the way to achieve that. Blaze, the Chronos Ruler of fire

The party of four sets out together from the Chronos Ruler headquarters to find the horologue that ate Victor’s time. As each of them has a different ability and fighting style they complement each other rather well.

No time wasted in the first season

CHRONOS RULER first season has just ended — it aired between July and September this year.  It served only 13 episodes and man, we can’t wait for the next one!

Having watched one too many anime where the production seems to waste a lot of time with pointless subplots and filler scenes, watching this one was quite a relief. Every little scene and dialogue serves a purpose. You’re always learning something new about the characters and the plot continues to move forward every minute. The creators of the series clearly know the value of time, and they honored it.

The characters have proven to be very charismatic, making it one of the best traits of this anime. It is impossible not to love Victor and his childish manners. And the others don’t fall behind, with well-rounded, complex personalities that we didn’t expect to find in such a short anime.

Victor Putin is a Chronos Ruler with an eternally childish heart

CHRONOS RULER adds more depth in the later episodes, making us see the emotional bonds as it were our own everyday life. The bond between a father and son, a husband and a wife and the most painful to watch – between a mother and a son. All the regret, shame, and pain gathered in some intense moments really made us love this show.

When memories fade away

As much as this show seems light-hearted and fun, there’s a slow transition to a more complex anime by the middle of the season. Episodes that depict the raw human emotions and the decisions that follow them have been the most satisfying to watch. As stated before, these parts of the anime are never stretched out and fillers, but rather bridging elements. CHRONOS RULER ended up being more of a family anime than one of friendship. The connection and relationship between Mina and her older sister and the whole Putin family often take the spotlight but rarely disappoint. The way things are developing in the first season makes many wonder if getting the years and memories back is still a good idea.

We need more time. And better music.

Not everything is perfectly shiny in this anime, though. Looking at it objectively, there are some aspects of it that need improvement. Many viewers commented that the show is just too full of plot holes and has some major logic issues, plus lacks structured continuity. Not to say that these comments are irrelevant or untrue, some scenes really don’t need too much explanation as this anime serves up a supernatural world.

As for the graphics, some scenes were poorly executed, especially noticeable at the beginning of the season. Later on, the overall look of the anime improved and stayed like that until the end of the season.

Music is always an essential part of any anime. With this one, we get some very interesting combination that might not be to everyone’s liking. The jazzy kind of music during fight scenes felt anticlimactic, like purposefully trying to detach the viewer from the violence. We hope that potential next seasons will get more time and develop the anime even more, with a greater care for the details.

Time stands still

The story mixes up the exact amounts of action, drama, and comic relief.  Along with some great laughs, it also made us shed a few tears. This anime may appear light and trivial at moments, but it does have a lesson to teach us. Instead of making mistakes and thinking we can always just fix things later, it pushes forward the value of time and memory. It makes us want to seize the days with more passion and make the best of them.

The ending of the season was very satisfying. They managed to close every arc that had been opened, without rushing things nor leaving loose knots. But they also made clear that Victor’s tale is not over, and we can’t wait to see what awaits him in the second season. While that is not possible, we recommend that you check this first one. All 13 episodes are available for streaming on Crunchy Roll.

 

Have you watched CHRONOS RULER? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And be careful with what you wish!

 

Andressa & Polona

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Special Features

S.O.S. – Everything right with Elfen Lied

Polona

A lot of people associate anime with cartoons and deem them suitable only for children. Along with this mentality also follows the notion that anime depicts only light and fuzzy themes, showing happy kids and their carefree school days. When they include war or anything resembling violence they are usually labeled as something inappropriate. As it’s Halloween season, a bit darker anime is definitely in order.

Whether it be a drama anime, psychological one or horror, there are some anime that are simply special and so well made they serve more purpose than merely having fun watching heads being chopped off. Here’s why I think you should watch Elfen Lied!

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AnimeAnime ListsAnime ReviewsInterestsSpecial Features

Back To School From A Teachers Point of View?!

Polona

September is upon us again and the promise of endless text books and studying surely is making all of you, who are still studying, super excited. Even though there will be a lot of work and then some extra curricular activities, you can still have some fun. Every year there’s that one teacher that’s somehow special or even weird. Here are the five sensei to check out and follow their example……or not, it’s up to you.

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AnimeAnime Reviews

Another summer anime or should you watch DIVE!! ?

Polona

It’s been a month since Dive!! anime started and there are six episodes already.  Since this is a summer oriented anime, I felt like I really have to pitch in my five cents and talk about it. A lot of people compared this anime to Free! but it’s not really that similar. This one is just about diving and focuses on specific characters rather than a group of friends. I included some SPOILERS, sorry guys!

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AnimeInterestsOpinionWeekly Topics

F.I.A. – Friendships run the world!

Polona

I’ve been thinking of communications in anime a lot lately. Relationships in general as well as the most common and repetitive form – friendships.  Even when it’s not about teenagers, but includes adult characters, the theme of friendship and companionship is always somewhere close at hand.

 

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AnimeInterestsLifestyleOpinionSpecial Features

S.M.S. – A Splash of Water on A Hot Summer Day

Polona

Ever wondered why water is such a frequent sight in anime? A common scenery that we get to see in almost every anime is a character at the beach, by the river bank or by the pool. Especially important as an element for Japanese gardens, it seems like a part of defining time and giving life a deeper meaning.

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attack on titan
Anime ReviewsSpecial FeaturesWeekly Topics

The World of Titan Shifters And Unknown Forces

Polona

Attack On Titan season 2 has been much-anticipated and it finally happened this year. In 12 episodes we were left excited, speechless, bored, confused and more. For those of you who read the manga and are up to speed with it, I am sure the anime tells a completely different story. As this season opened a number of new questions for me, I am about to read the manga as well. So here’s what happened this season!

Where to start …

If you haven’t caught up to the anime yet, you might want to skip on this blog post for now, as it includes spoilers. Remember how season one ended? Well, season two doesn’t jump right in, but rather they chose to go with a new story arc first. The anime opens with a huge titan head in the middle of the wall. For some reason it’s there and no one can explain how it got there. Furthermore, it must be protected from the sun. Unfortunately, we never really got any answers about that. There was a sense of strong foreshadowing and suspense from the first two episodes. From there the pace of the show completely changed. It went slow, felt detailed with a lot of backup stories. Some of those really were crucial for understanding another character, but most of them felt like extensive character building.

titans

Beast titan

Ending of first episode shows a huge, hairy monkey-like titan. He was later named Beast titan and actually only shows two more times until the end of the season. We don’t get to know much about him, but everything points in direction of him being more present and important in the next season. If my theory is right, then he is either Eren’s father or some other relative. He has shown new abilities, that many didn’t know titans could have. Abilities like talking, thinking and commanding other mindless titans. I am also convinced that he can turn people into titans, like it happened with the Ragako village. This was also confirmed by Ymir in episode 9, or was she just guessing? About this, at least, I am sure we will get more information in the next season.

Ymir needs to start living for herself

A lot of the season went to developing Ymir and Christa, their relationship and both of them as characters. Ymir has a couple of surprises for us. We get to see how she started to care for Christa and how attached she is to her. She’s a titan shifter as well. Later in the season explanation is offered on how she became one. The most we get to know about her origin as well as the origin of titans, comes from the glimpse of her past. As a child she was an orphan, taken in by a cult. The cult placed her as a marionette on the leadership chair, however she seems pretty passive about it. They were betrayed and banished, punished by making them turn into titan forms. That was over 6o years ago, making you wonder what her true age is.

Christa’s true identity

Christa is a character that is more easily understood than Ymir, though her origin is still not completely known. We get to know that the Wall Cult has had their eye on her and that she is somehow a descendant of someone important. Christa becomes her true self and accepts her birth name, Historia Reiss. By the end of the season we see her fight titans, no longer hiding in the back. She seems to also understand Ymir better than anyone else, or at least better than I do. Ymir should be dubbed Enigma, as I was never able to predict her actions or quite understand them. In the end, Ymir decides to help out Reiner and Bertholt. I really thought she would go with Historia though, but I guess it was a perfect opportunity to see what will happen in their »hometown« next season.

Bertholt & Reiner

These two are a lot of things, but for some reason I’ve never expected them to be shifter titans as well. And not just any titans. They are the Colossal titan and Armored titan. They came along with Annie and Marco, who ended up being Ymir’s lunch, granting her shifting power. The betrayal of these two runs deep and shines a different light on some scenes from season 1. They are shown as two people doing what they had to and at the same time two completely broken personalities, that holds especially true for Reiner. The additional information we got from these two is that every shifter titan can have a sort of specific, special power. Reiner is quick and has hardened skin, so attacking his neck won’t help. Bertholt is strong, albeit very slow and cumbersome. He can protect himself with a cloud of steam, making Survey Corp gear useless.

Coordinator Eren

Eren becomes the focus of the season after episode 7. The one epic fight he has in his titan form happens in the latter, when he almost breaks Reiner. He ends up defeated and kidnapped by the two shifter titans. Recovering from the loss of his limbs and except for spiteful words and acting like an angry kitten, he is basically harmless. Who would want Eren alive? He must be wanted by someone important (maybe Beast titan?). It’s not until the season finale that they finally show us why Eren is so special. He discovers a new power, similar to the one the Beast titan has – he can control other titans. The extent of that control is unknown for now. The new power may be the reason behind Reiner calling him Coordinator? Eren has become a dangerous tool and a fight over who has him will no doubt continue.

Mikasa goes soft…

Even as kids, it seems Mikasa was constantly thinking instead of Eren and always protecting him. The deep relationship they have developed over the years is admirable. After he gets kidnapped, Mikasa is determined to find him and save him, no matter what. The level of dedication displayed is immense, providing a new look into Mikasa. She is in position where she gives Eren a pep talk of sorts, in a way also confessing her emotions for him. Eren kinda dodged her confession and her attempt to maybe kiss or hug, I am still confused what that was supposed to be. The translation into English here might not be detailed enough, but his response seems to promise a possibility of him reciprocating the same emotions in the future. She is finally seen being taken care by him. I’m inclined to ship them, so I hope this gets sequence.

Titan origins…

Based on Ymir’s flashback story, there was a “hometown” that Reiner and Bertholt mention and it existed already for a long time. A cult was formed and they have been banished along with her. Being hurt and pushed over the wall made them turn into titans. But these were the mindless kind of titans, that could not turn back into humans and were forced to stay like that. Ymir gives up on herself, stops, lays down and wakes up about 60 year later. So for one – titans don’t decompose, they also don’t show signs of ageing and only some of them can turn back into humans. I think it’s ok to presume they were men made, making this a war of men against men.

 

What else do we know about titans?

Different shifter titans manifest distinct powers, they can be also weaponized. Henge confirms that walls are indeed made from titans hardened skin, which makes it look like titans are protecting other humans from titans. We have no answers about the role of the Wall Cult yet or why they think Historia Reiss is important. Also, the cult mentions that as long as Ymir is with them they will be blessed with immortality. My guess is that they somehow gain that by becoming titans. Remember how I described Ymir after she was rotting underground for 60 years? If the origin of titans is actually humans, that means Survey Corp is killing their own people. Does this make them heroes for saving other humans or mass murderers? Furthermore, does eating humans in titan form count as cannibalism?

Overall impression

The season included crazy amount of flashbacks. Some of them were relevant or funny, but the timing of those in separate episodes seemed off. Looking back on the whole season though, it gives a lot more information and a basic feel of where this is all going to go in the future. For example, flashback to Mikasa and Annie having a fight was in the middle of Eren and Reiner’s fight. It seemed to slow and ruin the momentum of the fight scene, but it clicked together later. The flashback served to show us Bertholt was actually making eyes at her back then. It’s a minor detail, but you get the gist. In general, I liked this season, but I can’t really say whether is was good or bad.

Is this transit over now?

I have too many questions now, therefore reading the manga is in order. I have one year to catch up, as season 3 is already announced for next year! Again, these are just my ramblings about the season. I hope this blog post gave you some more orientation or clarified certain information. There were a couple of amazing fight scenes, like in episode 4 and later in episode 7. A lot of funny moments as well, like Armin and Mikasa munching on soldier rations for dear life! A bit of everything really, but what killed my enthusiastic mood was the extremely slow pace and the feeling we are not moving anywhere with this story. Looking back on the whole season, we do have a lot of new information! Overall, the season feels like a transit one. One long preparation and a lot of character building for something epic, I hope!

Have you seen season 2? Feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

If you liked this blog post, don’t forget to like it, share it and follow Unime for more!

 

Love, Polona

 

**Photos used are screenshots of the anime.

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