Formed in 2007 by Iwasa Gaku, a former employee of OLM (the latter studio of Pokemon, Yokai Watch and Komi can’t communicate fame), White Fox has largely found its place as a mainstay of the anime industry, having produced at least one anime nearly every year since then.
The majority of the studio’s titles are based on visual novel games or light novels, perhaps the most popular and common of these being the isekai series. Re:Zero − Starting life in another world. However, White Fox has also produced many other shows, some of them equally popular and a few that are almost criminally underrated.
In a fantasy Japan of the Edo period, Yasuri Shichika, son of an exiled war hero and seventh head of the Kyotouryuu (bare hands) fighting school, lives his banishment on the island of Fushou with his older sister Nanami. That is, until an eponymous strategist named Togame tracks down Shichika and persuades him to accompany him on a mission to find the Deviant Blades – twelve mystically designed “katana” that take distinctly different shapes and have their own specific abilities.
While Katanagatari is technically a rather unconventional action/adventure series, very rich in dialogue and with an equally unconventional element of romance given the usual blushing and stuttering dynamic that many anime tend to adopt. However, this only adds to the charm of the show, and in addition to being well written in general, viewers can also appreciate the extremely crisp and dynamic artwork – both in terms of character design and storytelling. background – as well as the excellent soundtrack, courtesy of composer Iwasaki Taku (whose works might be recognized by fans among Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal/Reflection, gurren lagann, soul eater, black butler and Noragami).
In 2010, Akihabara, self-proclaimed mad scientist Okabe Rintarou is part of a group of amateur inventors creating “future gadgets” as part of their quest to discover a scientific breakthrough. After learning that one of their inventions, the telephone microwave, can send text messages through time, they are attacked by members of SERN, an organization that secretly researches time travel. Rintarou’s friend, Shiina Mayuri, is tragically killed, and the mad scientist must now find a way to alter history and prevent the multiple tragedies that are seemingly destined to befall them.
Now a classic of the medium, Steins;Door can nonetheless be a rather polarizing title, especially given the pacing issues in the first half of the series. However, the setup is worth it, delivering a hard-hitting emotional payoff that makes every second that passed before worthwhile. For anyone who loves stories about time travel or the philosophy of cause and effect at the Butterfly Effect, this anime is a must-watch, with twists that aren’t too predictable, characters that audiences can feel deeply, and smooth animation that still holds up more than a decade later.
The Devil is Part-Time! / Hataraku Maou-sama! (2013)
Demon Lord Satan is about to conquer mankind, and even the whole world, with his huge army of demons. However, he is thwarted at the last minute by Hero Emilia, who forces him and his devoted servant Alsiel into a portal that leads to a strange and unknown world – planet Earth. Now stuck in modern Tokyo with little magic and no money, the pair must find a way to fulfill their evil destinies – while Satan, disguised as a human named Maou Sadao, makes ends meet by working part-time at MgRonald’s .
By far one of the best anime of its year, The devil is part-time! delivers the perfect fish-out-of-water comedy, and between Satan/Sadao’s serious, hard-working character and Alsiel’s play on a housewife who balances the books, there’s plenty of laughs to be had here, even if it wasn’t for the whole angle of MgRonald. Sure, any show can casually name an old WcDonalds, but when the local MgRonald’s is not only a major part of the plot, but also has a fierce rivalry with the nearby Sentucky Fried Chicken, viewers can be sure they are for a good time.
Girls’ Last Tour / Shojo Shuumatsu Ryokou (2017)
In the deep cold of nuclear winter after an unknown apocalypse, Yuuri and Chito, two young lonely girls, ride through the ruins of civilization on their motorbike. Seeking shelter, food, and other supplies while going about their daily lives, they occasionally encounter other survivors on their journey, though as two of the last humans left on Earth, the pair must rely on each other to endure the inhospitable climate and lonely silence of their surroundings.
The disconnect between Chito and Yuuri’s nonchalant cheerfulness and their surroundings is entirely unspoken, but the series is all the more heartbreaking for it, especially since the girls are so young that they no longer properly remember a earlier period; the littered remains of planes and cannons are now only mysterious half-memories of the past, as are those who cared for them. Despite this, the slow, low-key tone of the series is not pessimistic. If anything, The Girls’ Last Tour is a reminder to revel in the simplest pleasures, like the sound of rain falling on the roof, and a message that loneliness can be faced with hope.
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