2022 summer anime ranked from my favorite to least favorite (Part 2)

Continuation of my original blog post.

5. When will Ayumu make his move?

Urushi is shocked and embarrassed because of Ayumu making an unexpected compliment to her If that wasn't enough, it's time for another slice of life, this time, that takes place in high school. Last season, I talked about my favorite 2022 spring anime TV series, In the heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, which was a TV show based off of a manga drawn by Sōichirō Yamamoto, a mangaka that is also known for Teasing Master Takagi-san. Well, he also drew the manga that this show is adapted from. And while Teasing Master Takagi-san and In the heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki are both charming stories that are very entertaining, this one falls a bit short. It's not a boring story, per se, but this is the point where the shows I'm listing didn't excite me anymore, nor did they leave me wanting for the next episodes, as much as the previous entries in this ranking did. But enough talk! What's this show about? Well, it's about a high school freshman named Ayumu Tanaka and his relationship with a second year student in the same school as him named Urushi Yaotome. Together, they form the shogi club in their school (at least unofficially, as having only two members is not enough to qualify them as an official after-school club). Using the school's storage room as their unofficial club room, the two play shogi in their free time. Ayumu is a very affectless and serious character who is very honest with his feelings and shows little restraint when speaking his mind. He is secretly in love with Urushi and wants to reveal this to her but, per the tradition that was very common back in his middle school years, he keeps this to himself and promised to only reveal his feelings to her if he ever defeats her in shogi, in a fair match. The problem? He is very bad at shogi and Urushi, who has been playing shogi ever since she was very little with her grandfather, always easily defeats him even when she's playing with handicaps against him. Given the current status quo, Ayumu is afraid that he'll never become good enough at the game to properly confess to her. Urushi, herself, is suspecting that Ayumu has feelings for her, as he almost always blurts out random statements about how he finds her very cute, how he wishes to spend more time with her and how he constantly wants her to be happy, always stopping just short of confessing to her. And she keeps on trying to force him to confess his feelings to her but, as Ayumu had promised himself to not reveal his crush on her until he beats her in shogi, he always refuses to give in. Besides these two, the story includes other colorful characters as well such as Maki (Urushi's best friend who likes to tease her and tries to find ways to hook her up with Ayumu whenever she gets the chance to), Takeru Kakuryu who is another male first year student at the same school and who used to go to the same middle school as Ayumu and has also been childhood friends with him and Sakurako Mikage, another one of Ayumu's childhood friends. There's also a secondary relationship blooming in the background of this show between Takeru and Sakurako, in parallel with the main relationship. Sakurako likes to hypnotize Takeru to always do her bidding, usually moving him out of the way whenever he's too dense to realize that he'd get in the way between Ayumu and Urushi when they're trying to be alone. The characters are all very colorful and have interesting interactions between them. The two romances that this show follows develop quite slowly but they do make progress towards the end. My main gripe with this show is that it takes things very slowly, and focuses more on their high school lives more than on romance, covering things such as getting enough newcomers to join their club to officially register, going on school trips and dealing with family issues. Granted, the reason I prefer this show compared to Shikimori is not just a cutie is because the characters here are so charming and interact in such interesting ways with each other, whereas in Shikimori, all the characters felt very dull and uninteresting. Moreover, while Shikimori did try to cover various engaging arcs such as the gymnastics competitions between their classes, these felt very boring to watch as they didn't feel anything more than menial detours that acted as filler rather than focusing on the romance story instead. Here, these side stories also act as filler, but they feel more natural and less forced into the plot. And whenever side stories like these ones take place, the show still doesn't miss a chance to sneak in some romantic moments between the two leads whenever it gets the chance. The show doesn't end on a particularly high note and I will say that the ending of season 1 was pretty disappointing, all things considered. I was hoping that they would evolve Ayumu and Urushi's relationship a bit more than they ended up doing but, alas, this is one of those shows that will require a season 2 to fully develop. If a second season is announced for this, I'm sure I'll watch it. On its own, though, season 1 isn't particularly amazing. It does a good job at introducing these characters and making us root for their relationships to bloom but that's as far as it goes. It was enough to make me want to watch more of this story unfold so I'll keep an eye out for another season in the future.

6. Tokyo Mew Mew New

Ichigo at the end of her transformation into Mew Ichigo Didn't expect for a magical girl anime to be on this list, did you? This is probably the strangest entry on this list and the reason for that is the background for this show. Tokyo Mew Mew was a manga that was published between 2000 and 2003, written by author Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi and which was also adapted into an anime TV series by Studio Pierrot, that aired in Japan between 2002 and 2003. For any American audience, you may recognize it by its 4Kids localized version called Mew Mew Power. The Studio Pierrot adaptation of this manga had 52 episodes in total (Mew Mew Power was canceled prematurely and only localized the first 26 episodes). The original anime was a wide success in Japan back when it aired and now, it's cemented as one of the all time classics in the magical girl genre in that country, along with other great staples like Sailor Moon. It's lesser known outside of Japan due to its canceled localization but some fans are still aware of its existence, at least. So, why am I talking about this now? Well, because Tokyo Mew Mew New is not a sequel to the original Tokyo Mew Mew anime, but a remake. Yes, they decided to remake this two decades old show, for whatever reason, going back to adapting it from page 1 of the manga. This is such a baffling decision to me, I can't even begin to describe it. I suspect the reason for the existence of this show might have been the early death of the manga's original illustrator, Mia Ikumi, that happened in March 2022. Whatever the reason, I decided to give this remake a shot, mainly because I did follow the original Tokyo Mew Mew and wanted to see if the remake was as good as the original one was. And....well.....I guess I can safely say it's not as good as the original but it's not technically bad either. The show follows a first year high school girl named Ichigo Momomiya who has a crush on the most popular boy at her school, Masaya Aoyama (like all the other girls there). However, one day, she gets lucky enough to meet with him and ends up deciding on going on a date with him even, at a local zoo nearby. Fast-forward to their date, together, and, suddenly there is an interruption, she becomes separated from her date and is taken by a mysterious girl to an isolated location where she is struck by a strange ray of light. She wakes up after this ray of light had hit her, meets up with Aoyama again but, as they are about to leave, a giant monster attacks them and threatens to kill them. Ichigo tries to protect Aoyama as best as she can but he is hit and goes unconscious. She tries to face off the monster on her own until a stranger instructs her to transform into Mew Ichigo and use her powers to destroy the creature. She receives a golden pendant and uses it to transform, eventually leading to the monster's complete destruction from her final move. In the end, she managed to save the day. The overall theme of the show is about protecting endangered species and saving the environment. Ichigo, along with four other women, had been imbued with the DNA of various endangered species of animals across the world, giving them supernatural powers to fight against evil aliens who want to take over Earth by using pollution to exterminate the human race. That's the general gist of the story. She has to protect her secret heroine identity from her friends and classmates, maintain a balance between her high school, social and heroine lives, and also keep her activities hidden from Aoyama, while also trying to develop a relationship with him. All the while she has to gather the other women imbued with animal DNA, lead their team and also deal with the instabilities that her new cat powers created in her body, such as giant cat ears and a cat tail popping out of nowhere on her human body whenever she gets flustered. It's a simple story, yet quite effective. I didn't re-watch the original Tokyo Mew Mew to properly compare this remake with it, so my memory of the original is a bit hazy, but I will say that I did notice some glaring differences between the original and the remake right away. The most obvious of the differences is Ichigo's age. In the original Tokyo Mew Mew she was only 12 years old, at the beginning of the story, which means that she was in middle school. In the remake, she's already in high school, which makes her significantly older. I don't know the reason for the remake aging her up like this, nor do I know which version is more faithful to the manga, as I never personally read it. If I had to take a guess, I'd probably say that the original is more faithful but that's purely speculation on my part. Other differences include Mint having her brother be shown on-screen, her having to make difficult life changing decisions in this show, Ryô Shirogane having a slightly altered personality in which he is less bossy and less abrasive with Ichigo compared to the original and other minor changes. Also, the remake feels more like an educational anime, as each episode feels like it's striving to have a moral lesson towards the end, which is something I don't remember about the original at all. Basic life lessons like “learn who your true friends are”, “know when to ask others for help”, “give enough time to difficult life changing decisions” and “trust and have confidence in yourself so that your true potential can come out”. All of these are good lessons to teach, mind you, but it gave the already “monster of the week” formulaic show an even more paint-by-numbers feel to it. Overall, though, the original and the remake don't diverge too much from the main plotline from the manga. While these differences are significant, the overall beats and story points presented in the manga are showcased in both of them quite faithfully, which means that the two shows cover around the same story, pretty much. Meaning that if you already watched the original and were satisfied by it, there's really not much to see in this remake. You could watch a more updated version of the story for improved animation and more colorful visuals, sure, but that's the most you'll get out of it. However, if you were a huge fan of the original or if you're old enough to have children and want to introduce them to the same stories that you grew up with when you were a kid, this is a new way of presenting them the same old story as back then. The visuals are improved and they're very pretty looking, so at least that's something the remake has over the original. And while this is indeed a remake and its entire purpose is to replace the original completely, it does pay homage to the original in the very last episode of season 1, where it played a modified version of My Sweet Heart in the background, which was the original's opening theme song. I personally found that to be a polite nod to fans of the original. So I'm split on this one. I don't think it's a bad show by any means. The modern character designs and more fluid animation are a nice improvement over the original, but I still have to designate the original as the superior show for this story, if nothing else, at least because it finished the full story of the manga in its 52 episode run. Tokyo Mew Mew New, as of the writing of this blog post, only ran for 12 episodes, which is the standard nowadays, meaning that it left the story hanging until/if a season 2 of this show is approved, to continue it. And until Tokyo Mew Mew New will fully manage to cover the entirety of the original manga the same way that the original did, I'll always deem the original to be the superior show because it is a complete story. Until then, this is a cute little alternative but an inferior piece, nonetheless.

7. My Stepmom's Daughter is my Ex

Yume has her back turned to Mizuto in an indignant manner Don't you just love it when a story's description is right in the title? Yes, this one is exactly what it sounds like. Back in middle school, a reclusive bookworm boy named Mizuto Irido and a shy and nerdy girl named Yume Ayai decide to begin dating. They enjoy their days at school, relaxing together, laughing and going on dates, making full use of their free time. However, after a series of issues that arise in their relationship and an ever-growing period of silence between the two, it soon becomes apparent that their romance is destined to never come to full fruition. When they graduate and enter high school, they decide to formally break up and move on with their lives, even though they end up in the same school and even the same class. Knowing that their relationship is ended, they believe that outside of school, they will not have to interact with each other at all any longer. Unfortunately for them, fate has a sick sense of humor, and only two weeks after their breakup, they are reunited in the most surprising of circumstances: Mizuto's father and Yume's mother, by pure coincidence, have not only met each other as well, but they also decided to marry. This means that now, Irito and Yume are step brother and step sister, and they will, from now on, be forced to live together in the same house. Their parents are oblivious to the fact that their children had dated before, so they don't see any issues with this arrangement. They think that this is the first time Irido and Yume met. Not wishing to divulge their secret past to them, Irido and Yume, after seeing how happy their parents are together, decide to bury their past and start their relationship anew, this time as step siblings. Will they manage to succeed and build a life of family together, or will their past attraction to each other resurface back and complicate things again? This one, I had high hopes for. Incestuous relationships have always been a taboo topic in the anime community but I've always found the idea fascinating, personally. I'm always open to seeing how anime explores such themes in a way that's refreshing. Hell, for this reason, Yosuga no Sora is one of my favorite anime of all time, just because it took the incestuous route and ran with it all the way through. So I was curious to see what direction a plot like this would take. But aside from the fact that this premise is quite interesting, I soon realized that this show might not be to my liking as much as I hoped. The idea behind some of the episodes is nice. Basically, Irido and Yume try to make it a game that whenever one of them does something that's unlike what a sibling should do, then they lose and then have to owe the other a favor. And they go out of their way to try to act as siblings to each other, for the sake of their parents, even though there are times when old feelings of attraction and sexual tension make things very awkward between them. But the reason I came to dislike this show as much as I do is a very simple fact: Mizuto and Yume hate each other a lot. And they don't even hide this. They bicker over the most menial of things. They are sarcastic to each other, try to one-up each other in conversations, make snarky remarks to one another, and generally like to squabble all the time. This happens almost every time they are alone on screen together, and it drives me insane. I get the fact that they are ex-lovers and have a lot of vitriol for each other, but this show makes it so unbearable to watch these two interact. And this is a problem when the show is a romance in the first place! You want for the main couple to be together, that's the whole point of a romance, and yet, the more episodes I digested, the more convinced I became that if these two ended up together a second time, they would make for a horrible couple. It's not that they had no chemistry together, they had negative chemistry. Watching this show felt grating. The sexual tension between them played a role only in the first couple of episodes. After that, it gets ignored entirely, and every move they'll make on each other from that point onwards is entirely because of unfavorable social circumstances that forces them to get closer. And this is something I hate in bad romance plots: the fact that the two characters that should end up together would not normally get back together on their own, but circumstances around them force them to. If two people aren't compatible enough to make a good couple, having the world around them push them to be together feels not only like a cheap move from a simple storytelling perspective, it also feels unwelcome because it sounds like they just so happened to fall in love again and they aren't even meant for each other. When all that drives a couple together is destiny's hand and not the chemistry between the partners, I usually dislike the story. And this, sadly, is one of those shows that feels like this. The story also has other cliches which I'm not particularly fond of. One of them is that of the perfect male lead. Irido has the uncanny characteristic of being the perfect calculated and cool male protagonist. He always comes across as intelligent and laid-back but, when push comes to shove, he always proves to be very reliable and even kind. One example of this is when Yume tries her best at learning at home and preparing for a set of exams at their school, she studies diligently and does her very best to come out on top of their class, and, despite her best efforts, Irido still manages to easily beat her in terms of exam scores, he even is intelligent enough to intentionally hold back his own scores just enough so that she can beat him occasionally too, just because he wants to be kind to her. How he manages to be better than her at learning even though he's lazy and doesn't struggle at all with learning like she is, is never explained. He just is portrayed by the story as being smarter than her and better at learning. That's just it. Or how all the mistakes and issues in the relationship are shown to be caused solely by Yume is also a point of contention for me. He never is shown making any mistakes, the plot always taking his side. And it's always left to Yume to realize that she's the one that's been selfish all along, and that she should recognize that she was in the wrong, having deep monologues of self-guilt. Don't get me wrong, Yume is selfish and very emotionally insecure, the story goes a long way of stating this. So it makes sense for her to realize that she's the one always at fault. My complaint is that Irido never makes any mistakes though, and the story never has to force him to realize that he also has flaws and weaknesses to explore, just like Yume does. In this sense, the male lead of the show is portrayed as mysterious and cool and the female lead is just portrayed as the “girlfriend that's wrong and should learn from her mistakes”. From this perspective, the show feels very biased towards Irido. Other times, the characters make decisions which make very little sense. For most of the season, Irido is presented as being calm and calculated, always putting his father's happiness above his own and wishing to go past his history with Yume and deciding to fully endorse his new role as purely a step brother to her and nothing more. In another episode, Irido is portrayed as having frequent interactions with a girl from the same school, Isana Higashira. She's a very nice and energetic girl, she gets along really well with Irido, they are very casual with each other and like to spend time together and they almost never argue with each other. Moreover, Higashira shares the same reading hobby as Irido does, so they constantly have subjects to talk about with each other. Their chemistry together came across as much better than the chemistry between Irido and Yume, so much so that I was starting to hope for an alternative relationship between Irido and Higashira instead. And when the story teases such an alternative in one of its latter episodes and Higashira finally confesses her love to Irido, he turns her down, simply because, in his own words, “he still has feelings in his heart for someone else”. That someone else is heavily implied to be Yume. Yes, even though he had decided long before this that his relationship with Yume should end, and that he should treat Yume as no more than a step sister for his own father's sake, he still ends up turning down a much more viable and better romantic route because he still has “left over” feelings towards her that he still couldn't get past. That felt so illogical and contradictory to me. He had never been shown up until that point as having lingering feelings towards Yume. He had never had internal struggles with himself or didn't even seem to seriously consider Higashira's offer. He just revealed out of nowhere that he still has feelings for Yume. Even though he constantly bickers with Yume at every chance that they get and is shown, multiple times, to be even annoyed by Yume's actions. The one thing I can say that did impress me ever so slightly, was this show's ending. I was expecting this show to chicken out and take the easy way out with its ending, going with a non-commital resolve between the step siblings that while they might still have leftover feelings for each other, they will acknowledge that their parents' happiness is more important than their own and, as such, they decide to continue exploring platonic ways of being together, making Irido's turning down Higashira's confession towards him, an incredible waste. This was what I was 85% expecting by the time the final episode rolled in. And, I will say, the show didn't take this route. While I can't spoil the ending, I will say it didn't do that but, instead, it took the riskier and more morally ambiguous route of pulling them closer into a taboo relationship that goes contrary to what they had initially set out. One of them decides to go against their own agreement and pushes the boundary to something that isn't in step-sibling territory anymore, leaving the other confused and marking their future as step siblings very uncertain. It advanced the romance significantly and it made for an unclear conclusion over what they should do from that point on. I liked that. Had they gone with the aforementioned easy route, I guarentee you, this would have ended up at the bottom of this ranking. But its ending was risque enough that it saved it just enough to make this my second to last TV series in this ranking, instead. Make of that as you will. If a season 2 is announced, chances are I will wanna watch it, if nothing else, at least to see how they continue after such an ending.

8. Vermeil in Gold

Vermeil has a demonic smile And last but not least, the final romantic comedy of the season is here! This show....it was pretty obvious it wasn't gonna be that great even from the first episode. A first year high school student named Alto Goldfield is a very diligent and well mannered student at the prestigious Ortigia Academy of Magic, except that he is very bad at summoning his own familiar, a basic class that, if he ends up failing, will have disastrous effects on his academic life. Being given one last chance by the teacher, Alto commits to mastering summoning magic and tries to finally summon his own familiar beast. Using an old book which he just so happened to come across, he managed to summon a demon woman named Vermeil, though. Summoning demons is something unheard of in that world. Moreover, demons are feared creatures that possess extremely potent magic. Knowing that the school finding out that he had summoned such a dangerous creature might get both him and his new familiar in trouble, Alto decides to make up a lie and pretend that his familiar is actually a normal human, concealing her nature as a demon (even though, mages having humans as familiars is also unheard of and also is bound to attract attention). Vermeil has the shape of an easygoing and seductive mature woman, with horns on her head and with an insatiable thirst for Alto's mana. She is very much attracted to Alto's mana and wishes to extract it from him via kissing and other intimate means. Alto, at first, is resistant in partaking in such activities with her but, ultimately, she always manages to convince him to give in and feed her so that she can maintain her physical form in that world. That's pretty much the premise for this show. Alto wishes to become a top-tier mage as he grows older, despite the difficulties that such a feat would require, and is not willing to allow anyone to stand in his way. Along the way, Vermeil's loyalty towards Alto will be tested by bad actors, as well as her true nature being revealed to a few other people too. Yes, this is an ecchi show and, to give it some credit, it does imply that a lot of action takes place between Alto and Vermeil at night; action which isn't particularly family friendly to describe. And if that's enough to convince you to watch it then great! This show is absolutely for you. But unlike many other ecchi anime TV series, this one doesn't have a harem. There is another girl that is a potential love interest for Alto: his childhood friend, Lilia Kudelfeyt. She is also a very talented and diligent student, from the same class as him, and she also has a one-sided crush for him. She gets jealous over Alto very easily, especially after she finds out about Vermeil's existence as his familiar. But, while Lilia is a strong ally for Alto, the show rarely treats her as a love rival for Vermeil. Instead, Vermeil is the one getting most of the attention from the story, her being the focus for one antagonist's evil plans, and with the latter episodes even being dedicated to Vermeil's past life, the one she had lived before being sealed in the book that Alto had released her from. Alto will discover later on about Vermeil's past and learn the one secret that she never wanted him to know about her: about the mistake she had made when she was a child, a mistake so grave that convinced her to self-seal her own self into that book, willingly. OK, let's get some things out of the way: when this show is pure romantic comedy and ecchi, it's funny. I like the rivalry between Lilia and Vermeil, I like Alto's wimpiness and embarrassment whenever Vermeil becomes proactive and tries to seduce him to give her more mana and I love how the show tries to force nudity and lewdness whenever it can. I like all of this stuff. What I don't like is when the story starts taking itself seriously. That's when it gets very cliched and boring. Alto is very smart and always knows how to figure out a strategy to surpass everyone else in his class. That's simply a given for this story. Not only that, but he also just so happens to possess huge natural reserves of mana in his body, that feed Vermeil and allow her to become very powerful once she absorbs them from him. This makes her almost invincible when she is fully powered up, allowing Alto to pretty much steamroll anyone that opposes him. Yes, a little strategy is required in the very first battles when Alto has to figure things out on how to win, but, later on, all that goes out the window and it doesn't take any thinking anymore. He just ends up relying on Vermeil to do most of the work, he gives her the mana she needs and that's pretty much it. Alto's ridiculous mana reserves almost become comical in a later episode, when he has to put out a magical flame in a giant crystal. He far surpasses everyone else just with the amount of mana he can put out. Stories like these when the protagonist is just naturally giften are very boring to me. The show never explains why he has such huge mana reserves, he was just born with them. Simple as that! And, combine that with Vermeil, who can take from those reserves and then obliterate anyone that stands in their way, and you can very easily see how much of the tension in battles is very quickly evaporated. Vermeil is simply strong enough that there's no reason for me to even worry that they'll lose. She just is that powerful. And that makes things boring for me, because I know that Alto and Vermeil will always win, whenever they're together. When I learn not to worry that the main characters might lose just because they are extremely overpowered, that's when the story loses me. Towards the end of the show, the story mixes things up a bit by revealing to Alto Vermeil's secret past and making her become emotionally weak and powerless, but that doesn't add much in terms of quality. The story tried to pull a forbidden love motif by revealing to Alto a terrible mistake that Vermeil had done when she was a child, something which she is very ashamed about, forcing him to confront the reality that his familiar is dangerous and that he should not trust demons. The forbidden love trope is a trope I am very much a fan of. My favorite love story of all time is a story between a man and a man-eating monster. To me, when a forbidden love story is done right, particularly when it has tragic undertones, it can have a very emotionally powerful effect. This, however, lacks in execution. While the idea of the protagonist falling in love with a terribly evil entity has the potential to be very interesting and controversial, the actual story is as shallow as it can be. Alto does indeed end up siding with Vermeil in the end, declaring that he does love her and accepting her for who she is, regardless of her being a demon and regardless of the terrible mistake she had made in her past. This allows her to grow in power once again and ruin the bad guy's plans at the end. The reason this forbidden romance story falls flat is because of the simple fact that Alto isn't really risking anything when making this decision. Yes, had Vermeil been indeed a malevolent and demonic creature that wished for humanity's ultimate destruction, Alto declaring his love for her and being willing to overlook such a fact would be very controversial and thought provoking. But, in reality, Vermeil is far from being malevolent. Despite her being a true demon, she has no evil plans whatsoever, she is a kind person and, while she does have self-serving interests, she never wishes harm on anyone. The mistake she had committed in her childhood is hardly anything anyone could blame her for, as the story goes out of its way to portray her in a good light during that flashback and ensuring that even the bad stuff that she does is never out of true malice. Consequently, the only controversial aspect about Vermeil and Alto's relationship is simply the fact that Alto is in love with a demon. The fact that this demon has no ill intentions whatsoever makes Alto's decision to side with her very boring and clean. There is no controversy about his committal, because there's nothing he stands to lose. He isn't supporting a being that wishes to destroy humanity, he is just in love with a woman that just so happens to be a demon. That's all there is to it. What made My Stepmom's Daughter is my Ex a better TV show than this one was the fact that it took a risk towards its end. It decided to not end with a cliched ending in which the step siblings wish for the greater good and decide to not continue with a romantic relationship anymore, but, instead, it went with a more ambiguous route in which they become selfish and decide to follow their own love and interests in the end, a very human and understandable approach. That was a controversial ending because, many would argue, the moral way of handling that is for them to commit to being step siblings and drop any form of romantic attraction between themselves. And yet the show goes against this and takes an immoral direction, despite this not being a clean ending. Vermeil in Gold took no such risks. It simply says the cliched line “Don't judge someone just because of their race”, a more specialized lesson than “Don't judge a book by its cover”. And while that is undoubtedly a good lesson to teach, I won't argue that, it's also a very boring moral to shout. Wouldn't it have been more interesting had Vermeil actually been demonic in some way, maybe having innate desires to destroy the world? Would Alto still be willing to fall in love with such a being, had he known of such a deep and visceral desire? Or would he struggle far more and be indecisive about it, due to the deep moral implications that a relationship with such a demon would have? If his love for her would overcome that barrier, then it would be a far more impressive expression of affection than what he actually ends up showing. Couple that with a stereotypical boring overpowered villain that has no remarkable personality traits outside of being laid-back and uncaring and doesn't even have a plan (at least not one that's ever explained to the audience) and you get a very by the numbers show. The romance between Alto and Vermeil is also very boring, as despite him being willing to declare his love for her by the end of the show, the nature of their relationship remains as stagnant as it was in the very beginnings. Alto never learns to truly appreciate Vermeil's personality, he never grows lustful over her invitations, every single time her having to force herself on top of him whenever she becomes hungry for more mana and Alto just passively accepting her, just barely. He never reciprocates any feelings to her, which makes his declaration of love to her all the stranger when you realize how out of nowhere it was. This show was boring, uninteresting, paint-by-numbers, an overall mediocre execution of a good idea that had a lot of potential. Granted, it's still better than my least favorite TV show from last season (i.e. Shikimori's not just a cutie) because this one at least attempted to have an interesting story (it failed at it but there was at least AN attempt). If a season 2 is announced, I genuinely doubt I will be picking this up again. There are good ideas behind it, for sure, but it just didn't have the guts to go through with some of its ideas. Which is a shame because I genuinely like forbidden romance stories. Alas, even for my least liked show of this season, I still don't regret having watched it. It had its fun moments and I appreciate the effort at least.