Thank god that 2020 is over!
Last year was certainly one for going back and being nostalgic over some classics. If you’re looking for some light-hearted entertainment to help get you through, these two series are definitely ones to consider!
The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour
(2014, S1, 12x24mins) Comedy, Slice-of-Life
Kazunari (left) is a high school freshman that moves into the Kawai Complex when his parents move for work. His excitement at an independent future, however, is soon curtailed when he discovers the hostel’s ‘quirky’ guests, including a masochist, an alcoholic and a man-eater. However, he finds himself falling for another housemate, Ritsu (right), a shy bookworm that goes to his school.
Basically Plot: Kazunari moves into the Kawai Complex hostel where he lives with a bunch of quirky housemates, including a shy fellow student that steals his heart.
This series is adapted from the manga of the same name, a popular series that ran for many years. You can see the longevity of this story’s source material in this show, as it almost floats through episodes without much development regarding any story. Many of the great slice-of-life series take this approach, and this is another good show in the genre.
Kawai Complex has an element of added maturity to it compared to the many school slice-of-life series out there. While hopeful, the main character is far from dream-filled, while many of the older characters carry the show with their desperate and absurd behaviour.
Despite being so direct, the characters here never really feel one-dimensional. Unfortunately, that is perhaps the biggest weakness of this show’s storyline. While the show’s floaty nature is enjoyable, the story never really gets anywhere. Many of the episodes become stuck on the relationship between Kazunari and Ritsu, when the chemistry of the other characters is more entertaining.
That being said, this show definitely adds something to the saturated world of slice-of-life anime. With a host of devilishly entertaining characters and mature topics, it offers something slightly different to the usual school anime fare. It’s far from perfect, but for fans of comedic anime, this is certainly worth a watch.
ANIME RANKING: #85 – A solid ranking for a solid show, putting it alongside series such as Occultic;Nine and DanMachi.
If you liked this, you’ll love: Grand Blue (#37) – If you enjoy the more mature storylines in this series, you’ll likely enjoy this college comedy. Following a hopeful boy that moves out and becomes involved with a rowdy diving club, Grand Blue features a lot of drinking, a spot of nudity and plenty of other happenings in one of the most mature slice-of-life series out there!
The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments
(2018, S2, 24x24mins) Fantasy, Action-Adventure
Following the events of season one, while the Seven Deadly Sins celebrate their victory, the possessed Knight Dreyfus manages to collect all remaining parts of an ancient seal that has protected the world from the demon race. With the seal broken, a group of legendary demons called the Ten Commandments are summoned. Stronger than the Seven Deadly Sins, the kingdom’s heroes head on another adventure to save the world before the demons can wreck havoc.
Basically Plot: The Sins are faced with a bigger threat than ever before in the shape of the Ten Commandments, a group of elite demons that rain havoc on the kingdom.
As mentioned in our review of season one, SDS is almost the dictionary definition of a Japanese action-adventure. It has everything you could possibly need for a great entertaining anime, but that felt slightly let down by an undercurrent of sexism regarding its characters and their mannerisms.
I’m glad to say that the sexism side of that good-bad argument felt noticeably less apparent in this second season compared to the first. There is likely an element of acclimatisation here and it’s still far from perfect (as with much of Japanese anime), but as characters and stories were developed, it felt notably more palatable in that regard.
The story itself does a good job of building on the momentum of the first season. The character development is paired with new, stronger friends and enemies that keep the action interesting. Considering it’s 24 episodes long, it’s hard to remember many moments where this series dragged.
On the face of it, The Seven Deadly Sins is hard to fault from an entertainment perspective. However, that perhaps points to the reasons why it’s rarely mentioned when it comes to the best anime series. There’s an element of this series that feels a bit predictable and safe – you half-know what you’re going to get in every episode, despite there being enough high-quality action scenes to keep it interesting.
The Seven Deadly Sins delivers vibrant characters in an engaging world full of colour, matched with some excellent animation and a really entertaining story. It doesn’t do much to win over critics, but as far as action-adventures go, there are few series that deliver as consistently as this.
ANIME RANKING: #28 – A one-place increase in our rankings thanks to a solid second season!
If you liked this, you’ll love: Akame Ga Kill (#15) – With a remarkably similar plot following rogue warriors, Akame Ga Kill delivers a similarly colourful and diverse action-adventure. As the title might suggest, Akame delivers a slightly grittier and more mature show, but if you enjoy a vibrant character list, you’ll find joy in this show!
2020 was a slower year for us when it comes to reviews. However, we’ve still been keeping track of the anime-sphere and hope to have a 2020 recap for you to see in the coming weeks!
Subscribe to The Culture Cove for regular anime reviews and recommendations! Keep an eye out for episode 71, featuring sports anime classic Haikyuu!!