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Magic is the Reserved List or: How I learned to stop complaining and accept reality

“The Reserved List is a net positive for the game.” You will not find a more controversial position in the Magic: The Gathering community than that simple sentence. Neither statements regarding how Sensei’s Divining Top should not have been banned in Legacy nor how Splinter Twin was hindering deck diversity in Modern can incur the wrath of a million voices against an individual like public support of the Reserved List does. Someone brave–or at least daring–enough to make that comment on internet forums such as Reddit or The Source or MTG Salvation knows how the majority of the online community feels about that list, that all-but unwritten contract containing several cards that Wizards of the Coast has promised to never reprint or reintroduce in a functionally similar manner. But what if they are right? What if, despite all the emotion behind either argument, that the Reserved List is a boon, not a bane, on the world’s most successful trading card game?
The Reserved List is bad for the game
Opponents of the Reserved List tend to rely on three main arguments against its policy. The first is that it limits the quantity of a card in circulation, thereby making it vulnerable to high prices, whether driven by organic supply and demand or price manipulation. Due to the limited quantities of a card that is crucial to build a competitive deck in formats where that card is a staple, it also creates a cap on maximum number of players that can competitively participate in that format. While it is true that a finite supply of cards will inevitably lead to a finite number of players allowed to participate in a given format, Magic has never (and likely will never) reach the point where the Vintage and Legacy player bases reach their ceiling.
If we consider that original dual lands from Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Revised are the bottleneck to player quantity, there have been over three hundred thousand copies of each dual land printed, and that’s including the fact that Volcanic Island was mistakenly left off the sheet during Alpha. This number does not even take into account the foreign copies of each card. That means that over seventy-seven thousand players would need to own a playset of every dual land before the player bases for Vintage and Legacy have reached their cap. Even if you want to generously estimate that half of those duals have become lost to forgotten collections or destroyed, that still means over thirty-five thousand players of Vintage and Legacy would have to exist to prevent any new players from entering those formats.
If we are talking strictly about competitive play, a format like Modern, which includes no cards on the Reserved List in its card pool and therefore no theoretical player cap, cannot pull more than sixteen thousand total players at its Grand Prix events throughout the course of a year. That player count came during 2014 when Modern was arguably at the height of its popularity. That is assuming every one of those sixteen thousand players is unique, which is far from likely. That is also assuming that every player who owns a competitive Modern deck will attend a Grand Prix event, which is not true. However, it is inconceivable to think that for every Modern player with a competitive deck that attends a Grand Prix there is another who has spent the resources to acquire an equally competitive deck only to not attend at least one event with that deck in a year. In other words, the type of player who spends the money building a competitively tiered deck in Modern is the type of player to test their mettle at a large event like a Grand Prix, and therefore there will be more players who have competitive Modern decks who have attending Grand Prix events than not. With that in mind, we can assume that this sixteen thousand number captures a large proportion of the Modern player base. If a format with more accessibility than Vintage and Legacy cannot draw tournament attendance greater than half of the latter two’s theoretical overall player cap, then it seems impossible that those eternal formats will themselves ever reach their card-quantity-limited player cap.
The second most used argument against the Reserved List contends that cards that have been around since the start of the game in Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited not included on the Reserved List that have been reprinted since then still maintain their high values, so the same should hold true for cards on the list should they see reprints. Proponents of this argument point to cards like Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Mage, both staples across all formats they are legal in, both not on the Reserved List, both maintaining relatively high price tags despite seeing multiple (but not copious) reprints. An iconic card from the beginning of the game commonly used as an example is Birds of Paradise. If we look at the value of Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited Birds of Paradise, the secondary market values are roughly $3000, $1200, and $200, respectively, according to MTGStocks.com. Pretty good retention for a card that has been reprinted over twenty times in various sets.
However, what this camp fails to realize–or intentionally ignores–is that Alpha and Beta and Unlimited cards make up just 7.3% of the total quantity of copies of every rare printed in Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Revised era. They conveniently leave off Revised in their assertions because the print run for that set was substantially larger than that of its three predecessors. If we look at the value of a Revised Birds of Paradise, it is around $12. Instantly, the argument that old versions of Reserved List cards would maintain their value falls apart. Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited are effectively non-players in the demand-driven price of Reserved List cards, specifically dual lands, as their value is more tied to their relative rarity than their value as a crucial game piece. If we are to talk about how cards like dual lands will remain expensive after reprints, we have to look at the value of their most numerous version–Revised–prior to a reprint.
Revised dual lands are in an interesting position within the Vintage and Legacy player base. Their quantity is limited but no one really desires them. What that means is while they tap for the same mana as their Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited counterparts, their value is not driven by rarity; they are expensive because they are affordable. That sounds like an oxymoron but when you consider that most players do not like using Revised duals, and in a heartbeat would gladly trade them up for Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, or Foreign Black Border if given the opportunity and financial means to, it starts to make sense. A player looking to get into Eternal formats will most likely not drop high dollar amounts on black bordered dual lands, but instead opt for the cheapest versions available (Revised). Because of this, Revised duals are often treated as a steppingstone to get into Eternal formats should the player wish to save up resources (money, other cards of value) to obtain more desirable versions. For that reason, it is not such a stretch to conclude that Revised duals hold value for utility, not collectability, and that the price of a Revised dual land is more influenced by organic demand rather than scarcity.
Another aspect contributing to the undesirability of Revised duals is the fear of counterfeits. While there have been attempts at selling counterfeit black bordered dual lands, many players seeking to purchase black bordered cards are more than knowledgeable and cautious enough to do research on the card they are purchasing, leading to a much higher failure rate on part of the counterfeit seller. Not so when it comes to Revised dual lands, at which the bulk of counterfeit duals are targeted. While it is still uncommon to unknowingly purchase a counterfeit Revised dual land, it does happen more often than it should, and that possibility gives many players some apprehension when buying such an expensive card. If Wizards of the Coast were to reintroduce original duals into the game, they would be making them black bordered as well has holofoil stamped for authenticity. These two characteristics of newly introduced cards will instantly make them more desirable than Revised duals. Adding in the fact that Revised duals are played out of necessity and not desirability, one would be able to predict that their value would immediately fall to unimaginable lows (for cards with the sort of price history dual lands have had) if Wizards of the Coast were to reprint original dual lands in the modern card design.
Finally, games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon Trading Card Game are pointed to as evidence that games with liberal reprint policies can still succeed and generate revenue. The idea that because Magic is a game–while ignoring the collectible component–means nothing should be expensive. However, this argument fails to consider that Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon are franchises built off of other forms of media unrelated to table-top gaming. Yu-Gi-Oh was a manga introduced in September of 1996, nineteen months prior to the airing of its first anime episode and three years prior to the launch of its trading card game. Similarly, Pokémon started as a video game and a limited initial trading card game print run by Media Factory in 1996 and expanded to include anime and manga beginning in 1997. The Pokémon Trading Card Game would not see its first print run in the United States until late 1998, when Wizards of the Coast began printing English cards for the North American market.
Unlike the two Japanese franchises, Magic: The Gathering did not have a video game, a manga or comic, an anime, or even a sister tabletop game to generate interest and hype around its brand. It was the first ever trading card game of its kind, developed by Richard Garfield, Ph.D, in 1993, after being inspired by another fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons, though Magic was never officially linked with D&D. To this day, despite both being published by Wizards of the Coast and each drawing inspiration and themes from the other, the two games have never been canonically intertwined (until the announcement of Forgotten Realms to be released in 2021). And yet, in spite of not having other forms of media like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon do to spread brand recognition, Magic: The Gathering continues to be the world’s premiere collectible card game.
Could it not be possible that the reason why Magic has been able to develop such worldwide brand recognition is because it has the allure of cards costing hundreds to thousands of dollars? Black Lotus enjoys name recognition outside of tabletop gaming circles similar to Dark Magician or Charizard not because it is an old card but because it is iconic for being the most expensive card in the game. The layperson sees values in the thousands to hundreds of thousands depending on print edition and condition and wonders why and what game could possibly be worth so much money. They Google “black lotus” and find out about this game called Magic: The Gathering. As much as the anti-MTG finance community will try to deny, the allure of possibly obtaining such expensive cards through packs and/or trading is a large part of what generates hype and interest in Magic: The Gathering. That would not be possible without the existence of a policy that promises that certain rare cards will continue to be rare and therefore hold their collectible (and monetary) value.
Revisiting the idea that Yu-Gi-Oh’s and Pokémon’s card games are successful in the absence of cards costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, one has to wonder if they would see the same success without the benefit of books, television, and video games to grow their brand. Perhaps they would suffer fates more similar to more obscure card games like Force of Will and Weiss Schwarz, though the latter has licensing rights to create cards based on manga and anime characters despite not having its own franchise. Force of Will was introduced in 2012 and gameplay is similar to that of Magic: The Gathering. It even contains “mana” producing cards that are functionally similar to dual lands. However, those cards, along with many other staples, have been printed several times and in many different versions. As a result, their secondary market value is on the magnitude of tens of dollars. The most expensive Force of Will cards are promotional editions obtained from events or as rarities in packs, but none is worth more than $1000.
The economic viability and profitability of a game is a very real consideration for local hobby stores when they decide what product to carry. If there is no potential for profit on part of the consumer (i.e. through opening a $30 card from a $3 pack) there is less incentive for the casual player to purchase that product. Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and Force of Will products are not big money makers for local game stores. Their products, especially the first two, are largely aimed at a younger generation with less disposable income, interested in the game because they saw it on television. Children are less concerned with secondary market value, yes, but that also means they are less concerned with acquiring expensive and powerful cards, whether through single purchases from a store’s collection or buying packs in bulk hoping to open it naturally. But children cannot be the sole source of revenue for any product, never mind just card games. Their desire and notion of what is “cool” rarely overlaps with what is “powerful” or “valuable” and does not sell as many packs as players searching for the latter.
The Reserved List is good for the game
Many of the following arguments will not be common knowledge. That is not because they are obscure or weak, however, but because those who support these ideas are not ones to post them everywhere on the internet because they know their words will fall on deaf ears and, in the case of Reddit, be actively silenced to the point where no one will see them. Like their opponents, supporters of the Reserved List make three main arguments as to why the existence of a restrictive reprint policy is good for the game. Firstly, the game would have died without the introduction of the list after the disaster that was the Chronicles set released in 1995. That set reprinted hundreds of rare cards in relative extreme quantity with devastating effects on the core characteristic of what a collectible card game is: collectability. Suddenly, cards that were crown jewels of a collection were able to be obtained by anyone, making them less collectable. This justifiably upset many collectors. What was the purpose of trading with fellow players to obtain your personal “Holy Grail” card if you could just buy a $3 pack and open it yourself? The sense of accomplishment is lost, along with any value a card might have had for being rare. Players and collectors threatened boycott of the game if Wizards of the Coast would not protect the collectability of their product, and soon after the release of Chronicles introduced Reserved List reprint policy to the game. It maintained interest and grew hype in the game, and it continues to do so today though likely at a reduced magnitude. However, it is undeniable fact that without the Reserved List Magic: The Gathering would not have grown to be what it is today.
Another argument in favor of the Reserved List is that its existence protects against power creep. The policy states that “Reserved cards are cards that will never be printed again in a functionally identical form and that a card is considered functionally identical to another card if it has the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.” Considering that the some of the most powerful cards in the game are on the list, the wording subtly suggests that strictly better versions of the cards will also not be printed into the game as that would defeat the purpose of protecting collectability.
Consider if the Reserved List was abolished that Wizards of the Coast reprinted dual lands and Power Nine to the point that the newest copies were only a few hundred dollars at their most expensive, thereby making them extremely accessible to the vast majority of the player base. These cards would still only be able to be used in older, non-rotating formats as they are certainly too powerful to be introduced into Standard and Modern. Once everyone has their set of forty dual lands and Power Nine and is able to play Vintage and Legacy to their heart’s content, what incentive do they have to keep purchasing product from Wizards of the Coast? The cards are already the most powerful versions ever printed, so anything new would be strictly inferior and therefore undesirable. Sometimes a card can make it from Standard to become a Modern or Legacy or even Vintage staple as we have seen with certain three-mana Planeswalkers, but those are few and far between and certainly no lands are going to unseat original duals without being strictly better. Then what can Wizards of the Coast do to increase sales if players will not buy new product in profitable quantities? The best answer would be to make those old cards obsolete and force players to purchase strictly better versions.
If Wizards of the Coast made a Moxen that gained its owner 1 life upon entering the battlefield with no other effect or drawback, it would make the original Moxen obsolete. As a result, their value (both monetary and non) would crash as demand shifted to the new versions. One could argue that some amount of collectability would remain by virtue of the cards being older, and that is certainly true. However, Magic: The Gathering is not only a collectible but also a game, and in order to be competitive you must play the most optimal cards available. Many people who own cards on the Reserved List also play with them, and so logic would dictate that they would forgo the old versions for the new ones to gain that competitive edge. That shift would further drive down prices of the old cards. This would lead to the secondary market economy being unviable, with stores and individuals alike not wanting to trade in old product since it would not be profitable to do so. Opponents of the Reserved List (and expensive cards in general) would consider that a good thing, but they would forget that Magic’s popularity is tied to its value on the secondary market. Sure, Magic will probably not lose any significant number of players to such a move, but if we look at the history of how card games got to be so popular, it would likely not continue to grow in popularity at the same rate as it currently is, either. Black Lotus being a $300 card is not nearly as impressive as it being a $3000 card, and as such would not have the same allure to the casual observer.
A very salient effect of power creep is already playing out in the game and does not need to be speculated on: it is killing older formats. 2019 and 2020 have been disastrous for all three of the major non-rotating tournament formats in the game. Take Legacy as an example. While the Sensei’s Divining Top and Death Rite Shaman metagame in Legacy was a sore spot for many Legacy players, it was one of the most diverse and balanced metagames in recent memory. That all changed after the bannings of those two cards, which left a power vacuum first filled by Wrenn and Six which was banned less than six months after introduction to the game. Arcum’s Astrolabe (currently legal), Oko, Thief of Crowns (currently legal), and Underworld Breach (banned) followed, and most recently the Companion cards from the Ikoria set (functionally errata’d) have caused such a disturbance in Legacy that many players do not feel that they can continue playing their most favorite format because of worry that with the next set a new wave of broken cards will ruin the metagame once again. The metagame shift in Modern was even worse during the same time period. Oko was banned almost immediately, and Astrolabe saw the axe just the other month. And Teferi, Time Raveler, is certainly on the short list of potential future bans that Wizards is watching.
And that all happened without the need to actively push power creep to sell product. It is not hard to imagine how terribly things would turn out for such beloved formats like Legacy and Modern if Wizards of the Coast needed to continually power creep new cards. One only needs to look at the Yu-Gi-Oh card game’s continual power creep to get an idea of how power creep can ruin metagames and kill confidence in the secondary market. Complaints from Yu-Gi-Oh players regarding the health of their game share a common theme of disapproval of how the game is handled at the tournament level. Bans are used less to police metagames and more to force players out of one deck into the current new hotness. It would feel really bad if someone needed to buy a playset of a card for $40 each to build a competitive deck and then the next month that card was banned. Actually, that already happens in Magic thanks to the design philosophy of 2019 and 2020. And people are understandably very upset by this. Imagine how enraged they would get if this became the norm as a result of built-in power creep.
Turning attention to secondary markets of the other trading card games, one only needs to look at the Yu-Gi-Oh economy to predict how Magic’s would evolve in response to liberal reprint policies. Yu-Gi-Oh secondary market is built on promotional versions of cards found in packs. These versions of cards are often only obtainable from limited print sets or tournaments. Some of the Magic community is already upset by Wizards of the Coast’s decision to introduce limited promotional product by the name of Secret Lair, citing small print runs and increased prices as business practices unfair to the average consumer who would desire to own these versions of cards. And this is in response to special versions of cards; a “cheap” Thalia, Guardian of Thraben taxes your opponent’s noncreature spells just as effectively as one from the March 2020 Secret Lair, yet players on Reddit still complained that $50 was too much money for the set of four. This was during a time where the original Dark Ascension printing was less than $8 for a copy (the foil hovered around $20). It is no secret that fans of Magic want to have cool things that are hard to obtain and that no few players have, and these cool things will have higher price tags. Currently, it is the market that determines what is cool. The World Magic Championship Qualifier Promo Thalia is roughly $40 per copy on the secondary market today. Imagine how the community would respond if Wizards of the Coast decided to gift every local game store one hundred copies that foil version of Thalia to distribute for free and if one wished to differentiate themselves from the rest of the player base they would have to buy a limited edition Secret Lair foil Thalia direct from Wizards themselves for $100.
One final argument in support of the Reserved List, intertwined with the other two, is that it gives some players a goal to work towards, thereby maintaining their investment in the game. Proponents of abolishment often say that players who play non-rotating formats are not sources of revenue for Wizards of the Coast. That is certainly true, so just think how much that “problem” would be exacerbated if there were suddenly many more players of those formats. While not every player as aspirations of owning a full set of Power Nine or even a single dual land, there are many who do have those goals. Some may choose to go direct and buy those cards, others may want to keep playing the game and buy new sets as they come out and build their collection to trade up. Most Magic players cannot afford the first option, so they default to the second which means more money spent on product, money that eventually makes its way into the coffers of Wizards of the Coast–profit. That profit then can be used to develop new sets and continue to grow the game. But if you grant those players the ability to own every one of their desired cards instantly and for cheap, they have no reason to continue to purchase new product. That translates into even less money for Wizards as the player bases of Vintage and Legacy grow. They will have traded one problem (card availability) for another (new product sales). Only one of those problems has ramifications for the future of the game as a whole.
Lawsuits and Law Suits
I am not a lawyer. However, Wizards and Hasbro have lawyers. Better ones than any you will find posting on the Magic subreddit. So I won’t try to speculate on the potential legal outcomes of a lawsuit that will come with an abolishment of the Reserved List. What I will discuss is the potential publicity effects of what is sure to be a high-profile lawsuit. The parallel I will draw is the 90’s classic Beanie Babies by Ty Inc.
Anyone who was old enough to remember the craze doesn’t have fond memories of it: Children trampled, collections divided up in divorce court, entire life savings sunk into a handful of plush toys. These and other controversies surrounding the innocent bean bag has created a generally negative decades’ old public opinion of the once-universally beloved collectible. In public relations they say that, “Any press is good press.” And that’s generally true: United Airlines, one of the most despised corporations, is frequently in the news for some transgression of some sort. Yet, despite public backlash, their stock price continued to rise (prior to COVID-19). However, that’s because United is what you can call an “adult” company. What I mean by that is, United is a ubiquitous household name, like Apple or Kroger or Honda or Amazon. They’re an integral part of global culture and it will take more than a few negative incidents to make public opinion do a 180.
Wizards is not like United. Wizards is like Ty Inc. They make niche products with very little household recognition. Even today, Magic: The Gathering is seen as demonic worship by several religious families. Even today, Magic: The Gathering isn’t the archetypal tabletop game that the casual observer will name when asked for examples of the genre. The top Magic-related post on Reddit was by Sid Blair. You know exactly which post I’m talking about (the one about low-riding beltlines.) Like it or not, that's the prevailing image and public opinion that the average layperson will have when asked, “What are your thoughts on Magic: The Gathering?” That it’s a game played by unhygienic, overweight nerds. Even now, on subreddits that have nothing to do with tabletop gaming, when there's a Magic reference there's almost guaranteed to be a reference to the infamous Crackgate. And while, yes, many players fit that stereotype, we know that’s not even close to being the dominating demographic. But that’s what your average Joe thinks about nerd culture.
So how does any of this play into the potential result of a lawsuit against Wizards for an abolition of the Reserved List? Well, when such a lawsuit is filed, there is sure to be media coverage. “Collectors Sue Game Publisher for Damages for Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Lost Value.” That would be the objective headline. If you read that, what would you think? Would you side with the plaintiffs? The defendant? Would you be indifferent? The knee-jerk reaction I have to reading that title as a Magic player is, “That’s f*****g ridiculous!” And that’s probably the reaction that many non-players will have. But the difference is, when you or I read on, we know the backstory, we know the circumstances, we know what it’s like. But when someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to collect game pieces reads on, they’ll balk at the idea of slips of cardboard being worth thousands of dollars, wondering how something so insignificant became so expensive. They may even side with Wizards, thinking like many of us would, “It’s just a game, there’s no reason for cards to be worth so much.” But, that doesn’t mean that come away having a positive opinion of the game. More than likely they’ll call us “dumb nerds” who play that “silly card game” that we spend way too much money on.
For a game that isn’t a universally accepted entity, that kind of negative press will irreversibly damage the brand’s image, making it that much harder for the game to grow its playerbase by attracting otherwise non-tabletop gamers. It will be a Beanie Babies 2.0 fiasco.
The Reserved List is here to stay, and that’s a good thing
I don’t like the Reserved List. I would love to own official foreign, black bordered sets of Power Nine. However, I understand the purpose of the Reserved List and see its utility beyond the superficial effect of keeping cards expensive. Its existence is the reason why Magic has become the most successful trading card game in the world. It generates interest and allure in the game, keeps players investing money in new product, and serves as a benchmark for Research & Development to design cards around to keep the game healthy. Is the logic initially used to create the list outdated? Of course. But like the game, the List’s purpose has evolved over time. The Reserved List is as much a part of Magic’s identity as Mark Rosewater is, and to remove either would irreparably damage the game.
submitted by rWNModsHaveTheBigGay to MTGLegacy

Should You Watch It? Summer 2020 Edition

Spring 2020 Edition’s Thread
(All perspectives are based on the first three episodes of each series unless otherwise noted!)


Banjo’s Perspective

Must Watch It
A trawling, mechanical goliath. Creatures filled with important green goo. The era of the post-apocalypse. Deca-Dence combines these three base elements with expert ease, crafting a very promising project from the get-go.
And that statement is true across the board. Natsume leads as a growing protagonist, developing the relationship with her mentor Kaburagi amidst her own flaws and his own troubles. The plot takes on a ton of intrigue that drives it forward with mettle and challenge aplenty. Its themes on escaping the cog-in-a-machine lifestyle find parallels in multiple areas: the contrasting nature of the situation, the free-flowing anti-gravity combat, the control the characters have over their destiny.
Similarly, the production values reach nice heights. From the details and styles of the art itself to the fun designs and reaction faces to the movement and the directing of the scenes, the visuals provide the show another boost. Same goes for the music, effects, and the voice acting on stage.
Truth be told, the anime sits atop a precarious spot, for it has (more so than usual) a high chance of crashing and burning at any given moment when considering the premise. Until then, though, it can rest well knowing that it holds onto some form of opulence.

Another Perspective, courtesy of QBB123XX:

Must Watch It
In a world invaded by hostile creatures, you live inside a huge moving fortress with the remnants of civilisation. Do you accept your predicament, or will you fight for lasting peace?
That is the premise of Deca-dence. The story revolves around Natsume, a young girl. She wishes that the war with the Gadolls would end as soon as possible. Yet, her injuries forced her to be relegated to cleaning the Deca-dence, under Kaburagi's supervision. Determined to fight for humans' survival, she begs Kaburagi to teach her how to fight, thus embarking on a journey for Natsume, Kaburagi and the Deca-dence. The main cast has been outstanding so far. Natsume is very positive and has high hopes for the future. Meanwhile, Kaburagi is down-to-earth, believing that there is no use trying to end the war. These contrasting ideologies make for very interesting interactions between the two and their surroundings. Couple that with funny scenes and facial expressions, and you have a highly engaging show.
The story itself is intriguing too. Despite the common dystopian theme, there are many new elements to make the story refreshing. In fact, Deca-Dence Major Spoilers!
So, if you are a fan of dystopian stories, or want to see how different personalities interact with each other, Deca-dence is the anime for you. Even if you don't, watch an episode or two! You'll be surprised at how much you can enjoy in this anime.

Dokyuu Hentai HxEros

(English Title: SUPER HXEROS)

Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
You can’t spell “hero” without “ero”, and so Retto, Kirara, and the other forces for good in Dokyuu Hentai HxEros step up to fight for humanity using the only tool for justice they know: an overwhelming sex drive.
The anime takes on the form of a lewd Power Rangers setup. The five color-specific-design leads channel their inner libido to defeat evil monsters who seek to disrupt and ruin the erotic desires of civilization, forcing the world into an emotionless lifestyle. And this campiness works in its favor when Retto’s clothes explode off his body from his sheer might or when the enemies literally die in a single hit without much cause for fanfare.
But the anime doesn’t lean into this campy feeling enough. Not only does the comedy not have enough of that punch but also the ecchi content fails to be either interesting or different to warrant such a ridiculous situation. Not to mention that the uninspired art, the weak music selections, and the lame characters further suppress its chances.
To be fair, Retto and Kirara may go against the norm of this medium with a realized romantic relationship down the line, but that possibility is highly unlikely given the format of the show and their general aptitude for the status quo. That is to say, “ero” is needed to spell “zero”, too.

Another Perspective, courtesy of metalmonstar:

Consider It
Honestly you should wait until the uncensored version before giving it a try. The show is basically ecchi power rangers but the censorship is rampant. Basically an evil race of bug aliens have come to Earth to steal our erotic energy. Luckily for Earth a team of Super Power (horny) teenagers assemble to defeat the invaders. Of course they all live together and with only 1 guy to a group of girls you can bet hijinks will ensue. Wouldn't be ecchi without a harem thrown in. Nothing too complex going on in the show, best to just kind of turn your brain off. As the villains motivation is fairly inconsistent and nonsensical. The power system also makes very little sense when scrutinized. If you are considering it I must reiterate to wait for the uncensored version. Large portions of the show are covered in beams of light, steam, or just outright starbursts. It is pretty disruptive at times. A good example is in one episode the protagonist is looking up a girls skirt (typical ecchi stuff) but all we get to see is a bright light. It takes like 15 seconds of the shot panning before you realize what you are looking at. So if you don't mind ecchi and need something light to watch give it a try.


Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
In Gibiate, the Gibia monsters have forced humans into hiding as they attack and turn them into more of their grotesque kind. With a potential vaccine on the way, the present time still requires help. So, a samurai, a shinobi, and a monk are whisked from the past and flung to this future to fight the new war.
But this show pretty much has no future. Indeed, this project is going down the route of history (or more specifically infamy) in the making, for its current trajectory pins it as one of the worst anime from recent seasons.
It has a nonsensical plot filled with odd decisions and ridiculous scenarios. The cast are beyond hopeless in their characterizations, personalities, and motivations. Action sequences are a mixture of terrible setups and lackluster events. Comedy and drama fall flatter than chalk on the sidewalk.
Not to mention the horrendous artistry on display. Still frames. Wonky CG. Stiff movements. Off-model representations. Awful camera usage. This hodgepodge of abysmal mishaps and horrible decisions are downright inexcusable. Suffice it to say that the audio pieces fare about the same, what with their ineffective music, bland voice acting, and coarse sounds.
In short, this one deserves only to exist among the other discarded giblets of the medium.

Another Perspective, courtesy of Groenboys:

(Based on the first two episodes)
Drop It
Imagine this: You have an anime about a samurai and a ninja being send into the future in an apocalyptic version of tokio where a virus that turns humans into monsters has infected the whole world and now the samurai and ninja have to fight against the monsters and virus to safe humanity. Well at first the premise sounds like a random word generator having a stroke, it also sounds like the most dumb fun premise ever, but it somehow manages to be ungodly boring.
This is mainly due to the lackluster characters and the awful animation. The characters dont really have a personality and they make really odd decisions that only frustrate the viewer. The voice acting doesnt help either since some dont even sound right for their character designs. And then the animation. It is a slide show with loads of CGI that look like they belong on the PS2. I guess I am supose to be threatened by these CGI monsters but I end feeling nothing for them.
I would be lying if this anime didnt make me laugh at times, but that is because I laughed at the anime, not with it. “So bad that it is good” anime are fun to watch, but this is less “So bad that it is good” and more just bad. Don’t waste your time on this.

Great Pretender

Banjo’s Perspective

Must Watch It
Cunning thieves can make a pretty penny by swindling unsuspecting folks. Makoto Edamura believes himself to be a star in such a field based on his successful exploits. But after a chance encounter here and a forced hand there, Great Pretender finds him in a rather unpredictable place with thrills galore.
This anime has achieved fantastic status already. One can hear it in the audio where the chaotic energy of the jazzy music complements the pace and the fervor of the narrative extremely well. One can see it in the artistry when the colorful setting and the awesome cinematography create splendor on the screen. One can feel it in the clever storybeats that test the acuity of the audience currently watching.
The show doesn’t stop. The main cast have distinct strengths and charisma that fit the tone and the purpose of the plot. It blends dramatic backstory and comedic timing without worries. And its thematic basis on truth and truths reinforces both the characters and the story at large.
It’s mature. It’s fun. It’s interesting. With top-tier execution every which way, there’s no need to pretend about the greatness of this project.

Another Perspective, courtesy of SmurfRockRune:

Must Watch It
“Great Pretender is one of the most underwatched anime I’ve ever seen in my time watching airing anime. Everything about it is just fantastic, from the characters, the plot, and even the production values.
The story follows a group of conmen as they try to pull off a heist against a mob boss, stealing a lot of his money in the process, but constant hurdles get in their way making it way harder than it would appear to be. This show will keep you on the edge of your seat constantly as you’re trying to figure out how the characters could possibly get themselves out of each bind, as they just keep getting pulled further and further into this lie they’ve weaved for themselves.
In addition to the tension, the show Great Pretender Spoilers and am continuously blown away by the schemes that the mastermind Laurent pulls off, even if they don’t all work immediately. You will never know just how much planning and preparation he’s done in advance until it all hits you like a truck.
So definitely watch Great Pretender. It’s a shame it’s stuck in Netflix jail where it will never be as appreciated as it should be, but it’s worth it 100%. It’ll be on Netflix outside of Japan on August 20th if you would rather wait for a legal way to stream it.”
And also, it has a Freddie Mercury song as the ED.

Kanojo, Okarishimasu

(English Title: Rent-A-Girlfriend)

Banjo’s Perspective

Watch It
Being in love often brings happiness and joy. However, when that love is lost or not reciprocated, darker thoughts usually win over. Kazuya Kinoshita is experiencing the latter circumstance, and so, refusing to wallow in complete despair, he rents himself a new girlfriend. Thus begins Kanojo, Okarishimasu.
The anime is doing things right. A college environment brings in a more mature, more realistic environment for the scenes and the relationships to play out. Moreover, the designs for the ladies are no doubt attractive. And, perhaps best of all, Kazuya is a peculiar person due to his major thematic roots in loneliness and failure while he upholds his “loser” status as a dejected, disheartened, and damaged individual.
But it’s also doing things wrong. The number of conveniences and just-so-happens are off the charts, causing many plot woes and eyebrow-raising moments. It also doesn’t help that the comedy doesn’t quite counterbalance the drama and tension going on.
Yet it goes back to doing things right with the unabashed portrayal of “frustrations”, a clear motif on facades, and the palpable second-hand embarrassment that fills the air. Some good voice-acting performances and music offerings further improve the show’s chances.
This combination of right and wrong is rather volatile and can explode in either direction indefinitely depending on its next few choices and inclusions. For now, though, it’s at least worth renting.

Another Perspective, courtesy of DoctorWhoops:

Consider It
At first glance, you might be inclined to write off ‘Kanojo, Okarishimasu’ as a romcom harem that, like most others, is filled with girls slowly falling in love with a loser protagonist, a narrative carried by misunderstandings, and loads of semi-sexual implications.
Saying ‘Kanojo, Okarishimasu’ is nothing like that would be a lie, but there is appeal in the series even if you’re not into that (like me). Being about rental girlfriends, ‘Kanojo, Okarishimasu’ does a pretty decent job of portraying the protagonist’s desperation for romantic contact, and the social pressure at that age to be romantically- and sexually active. The protagonist's self-loathing and self-awareness for using the service clashes with the feelings that led him to use it in the first place, which is decently well-portrayed.
This aspect is what makes ‘Kanojo, Okarishimasu’ somewhat notable, in addition to its decent presentation. Its bearing on the narrative is minor but prominent enough that I can appreciate it, even if it means sitting through the show’s more mediocre romcom/harem aspects. These other aspects are pretty decent considering the low standard for this type of show, but are unlikely to carry it for you. Three episodes in I’m not confident it’s worth finishing (as it could go downhill), but if my description above sounds reasonably appealing then I’d say at least try it. You might surprise yourself.

Another Perspective, courtesy of Hurttrain:

Watch It
Rom-com that is based around falling in love with an escort. This one isn't set in high school which gives it a breathe of fresh air, but still has lots of typical Rom-com scenes. Another bonus is one of the love interests dislikes the protagonist, but not in the tsundere way. This is the main item that item that could bump this anime from a watch it to a must watch for Rom-com fans. The two main characters don't bring anything new to Rom-com, but seeing how they react to this wrench being dropped into the system will be interesting. The animation, sound, and music are all lovely, but they are not rememberable. It is all crisp and clean but doesn't push or test any boundaries. There are some scenes where the texturized background, the sort that the American show Chowder was known for, is used and it feels off, but not terribly so. The story and pacing are set at a regular speed for a Rom-com, and would feel very natural for those who enjoy the genre.
If you like Rom-coms you will enjoy this piece, if you dislike them this will not be the show for you

Koi to Producer: EVOLxLOVE

(English Title: Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice)

Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
Watashi, an independent woman leading a myth-centric television program in lieu of her passed father, requires a new concept to keep their struggling ratings afloat. Simultaneously, she learns of so-called EVOL users who have impossible abilities during everyday life. Coincidentally, Koi to Producer EVOLxLOVE has her crossing paths with this unknown side in her determined pursuit.
Sadly, while the show earns points for the attractive designs of the men and a clean setup for its art, much of the rest of the show does not impress.
Watashi is a weak lead who contributes very little with her actions or on a writing front. Those four main men likewise seem less like strong characters and more akin to partitioned cutouts that fit a quota. The slight supernatural angle isn’t misplaced, but the events and the situations surrounding them are not all that entertaining.
Other problems include other major items. Mediocre thematic ideas. Forgettable music. A boring mystery plot. While the anime may have a pretty outer layer, digging deeper here simply reveals that there’s not enough strength to carry its choices, queen or no.

Another Perspective, courtesy of punching_spaghetti:

Watch It
The phrase "adapted from a Chinese mobile VN" might not inspire confidence, but the fine people over at MAPPA have taken the source and turned it into a weekly bit of soapy fun. Our protagonist Watashi is a smart girl with a wardrobe of cute outfits, and the four male leads (a brusque CEO, a cop who doesn't play by the rules, a pop star, and a genius scientist), all easy on the eyes in the typical reverse harem way, provide fun interactions with Watashi and even have a few secrets for us to discover.
Add to this an intriguing, slow burn mystery plot about people who have access to a special power called EVOL, Watashi's struggles to keep her late father's internet show about the supernatural and unexplained afloat while forging her own path as a business woman, and an easy to look at visual style, and you have the recipe for a solid, entertaining show. This won't be the best show of the season, but I'll easily consider it overlooked if it stays the course.
At the very least, you can tune in for your weekly dose of demeaning Tomokazu Sugita.

Lapis Re:LiGHTs

Banjo’s Perspective

Consider It
In a rustic land of fantasy and magic, Lapis Re:LiGHTs follows a girl named Tiara who has traveled from abroad to study at a prestigious academy. There, she teams with her childhood friend and a set of eccentric ladies, building friendships and discovering her path in life.
Maybe surprisingly, the anime has been rather deliberate in its first three episodes. It has taken the time to build its world by showing off various magic uses, provided a look into the setting itself, and brought in more side characters and bonds between the cast. Doing so has established a neat trampoline from which the narrative will surely bounce off of for the remainder of the season.
Yet the major drawback right now stems from that trampoline possibly not providing enough height. That is, there’s been an awkward handling of what is meant (or at least what appears) to be the focused premise of the show: idols. Hints and displays of this focus have occurred, but, since it has not been incorporated into the crux of the story, the entire show comes off as a barely average slice-of-life anime instead.
Thankfully, the visuals, the comedic script, and what music has been heard bolster the trampoline, lighting the way for a positive experience should it find its footing.

Another Perspective, courtesy of jackachu100:

Watch It
Lapis Re:LiGHTs bills itself as a show that “blends fantasy, magical girl, and idol elements”. So far, it’s leaning more towards a CGDCT show with magic than an idol one. The show follows Tiara who has travelled to Mamkestell in hopes of joining Flora Girls’ Academy. There she reunites with an old friend, Rosetta, joins her group of friends, and CGDCT antics occur.
A CGDCT show heavily relies on its cast and while Lapis’s characters are fairly archetypal, they all feel unique and fun. The show has a large cast that gets introduced at a very fast pace, which is a bit overwhelming. The supporting characters have each had some funny moments and the main casts’ antics have been great fun. The world itself is just unique enough to be interesting.
The overall production values of Lapis have been mostly great so far. The character designs are all unique and really stand out with the beautiful art style. The backgrounds are stunning, showcasing a range of architecture at both the academy and the Mediterranean-inspired buildings of Mamkestell. The OST is great both on the BGM and idol side of things. The show walks a fine line between being generic and uninteresting, and an enjoyable show that’s great fun to watch. Personally, it lies on the latter side, but I could easily see it going the other way for people.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e

(English Title: The Misfit of Demon King Academy)

Banjo’s Perspective

Consider It
Anos Voldigoad was the once and future ruler of the demon forces 2000 years ago. He still is, too, for his reincarnation has finally occurred. In this era, people do not know his name, but that matters not to him as he will make them remember in Maou Gakuin no Futekiousha.
Indeed, it’s almost impossible to ignore when his methods exceed the capabilities of everyone nearby. That’s not an understatement; Anos is one of the most overpowered dudes ever. It results in ludicrous moments that are fun to watch and in some comedic asides that work as a contrast to the dark tone of the show.
But it also damages the plot because, despite his actions, nobody seems to understand or to care that the person they’ve been searching for has blatantly appeared. Even disregarding this odd sidestep, Misha and Sasha, the main female leads, are nowhere near as intriguing as the show would have the audience believe.
Nevertheless, the anime boasts good lighting for its scenes, and his parents make for nice supporting cast members that keep the anime grounded, even if only a teeny tiny bit. Altogether, this anime remains at the minimum entertaining for now, avoiding a misfit label.

Another Perspective, courtesy of Tavera27:

Watch It
As a new season comes out, we find ourselves once again submerged into a fantasy world. After 2000 years, the Demon King Anos Voldigold has finally reincarnated and went to the academy for Demon King candidates, but to his surprise, he was found “inadequate”. Now Anos will have to use all of his power and knowledge to once again, make himself the demon king.
Anos is OP and he knows it, he has that face of “no one can even make me tear a sweat” and it becomes really fun to watch how he is better than everyone at everything, he’d beat the strongest student easily and would correct a teacher for making mistakes. He just knows everything and does it better than everyone, even though he is inadequate. This is one of the few times where it doesn´t matter that the main character has an absurd power, it is pretty hilarious to see him just how he is, a cynic, honest, loving, over powered (emphasis on over powered) demon.
Without a doubt it is really fun to watch and you get to emphasize with Anos and his ideals, lets say he is not what one could expect from a Demon King these days. If you take on this journey you will be laughing out loud and will enjoy it to its final minutes.

Monster Musume no Oishasan

(English Title: Monster Girl Doctor)

Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
In another land and another time, humans and monsters coexist in peaceful harmony. Glenn (a human) and Saphentite (a lamia) prove this statement at their clinic where he works as a doctor and she works as his assistant. Together, they look after various monsters and their well-being, giving Monster Musume no Oishasan its apt title.
Admittedly, the show holds onto some interest with its descriptions and procedures related to the many animal terms and biology that the two handle. While not exactly educational or thorough, there’s knowledge to learn. If nothing else, their explanations curate some world-building opportunities.
But that’s about it; the rest of the anime flatlines. Glenn is far too straightforward of a protagonist with his low emotions. Saphentite and the other monsters are similarly tiresome and below-average. Its artistic direction is a bit rough in spots. The sparse ecchi content is neither erotic nor relevant. Narrative aspects like comedy and drama are an afterthought.
There are simply too many negatives piled onto this project, keeping health professionals away with or without apples.

Another Perspective, courtesy of Stalwartheart:

Consider It
“When talking to my Dungeons and Dragons group after a session, we stumbled upon the topic of a daily life of a werewolf. Would their hands burn if they touched silver coins? Would they ask restaurant staff if they used silver cutlery like an allergy? These “what if” scenarios are what drew me into this show. This is the main premise of Monster Girl Doctor, “What would a doctor’s visit be like for a non-human creature?” This harem, slice of life, borderline ecchi show is more than simply fan-service to the monster girl community; despite offering that in spades. You will find world building that answers the niche questions of what living as a non-human creature is like. The formula for this show is pretty clear from the get-go: Dr. Glenn Leitbeit and his lamia assistant Saphentite Neikes (who is clearly in love with him), help monster girls every episode; exploring medical issues that plague them. The monster girl falls for him too, rinse, repeat. The good doctor is either fantastically good at deflecting every girl’s advances or blind as a bat. While this pattern is predictable, the interesting world building surrounding the girl’s lives are enough to keep me satisfied. If you can overlook the fanservice for what it is, ask yourself “what would life be like as a ____?” and give this show a try.”

Peter Grill to Kenja no Jikan

(English Title: Peter Grill and the Philosopher’s Time)

Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
Peter Grill to Kenja no Jikan stars the titular Peter Grill, the newly crowned strongest man in the world. By winning the tournament, he believes he has certainly secured his future with Luvelia, the love of his life. However, other women from other races have learned of his victory, and so they seek him out for their own genealogical desires.
At about twelve minutes per episode, the anime has a quick runtime that does help in keeping events on topic and to the point. It can even get some comedy going with its willingness to be more upfront with sex or with particular characters such as Luvelia’s insanely protective father.
Otherwise, the show has a tough time justifying its numerous other decisions. The premise itself is rather bizarre and off-putting with just how aggressive and mean-spirited the advances reach, especially when his romantic relationship is not only established but also understood by the other women. Moreover, the legitimate ecchi content is tacked on and devoid of staying power despite the length of the episodes. And both the visual and the audio quality aren’t anything noteworthy whatsoever.
So, in this case, there’s no need to spend time musing over the philosophy of this show.

Another Perspective, courtesy of Almondweeb:

Drop It
“To preface this review, I am going to critique this as I would with Interspecies Reviewers – not as a hentai but an anime. Lets start off with what I liked. The guildmaster / dad is funny.
Now onto what I disliked about the show. All of the other characters and the (nonexistent) plot. Unless you really like the sex scenes that make up 7-8 minutes of the 12 minute episodes, I can’t recommend it. This is coming from someone who loved Interspecies reviewers, because the sex scenes were important to the story and world, and not just fanservice.
Now to address the biggest issue I have with this show, rape. Because Peter is the strongest man in the world, every lady lusts for his seed. He has no interest however, because he has a fiance. So they blackmail or straight up rape him in his sleep. Now rape scenes in general don’t inherently condemn a show, take Goblin’s Slayer rape scene; Goblin Slayer Spoilers Same with Plunderers panty peaking scenes, as it not only sets up initial dislike for the main character, but also Plunderer Spoilers. Those anime show off scenes in a way that actually add substance, as apposed to this show which is glorifying it.”
Thank you all for reading my first ever hentai review.

The God of High School

Banjo’s Perspective

Drop It
Only the best fighters in the world have a shot at claiming total victory within the The God of High School as techniques and stances clash in tournament-duel fashion. The winner will have their wish granted, and the trio of Jin, Han, and Yu will do what they can to see their dream become a reality.
To its credit, the project contains a lot of nice art for the designs and neat animation for the sparring and choreographies at play. Nevertheless, this all-style-no-substance anime cannot deliver in its other areas.
That’s by its own design, for the show foregoes a substantial story in favor of a bunch of fights stringed together one after another. The pacing is way too fast for its own good, skipping over narrative tidbits or ruining buildup for the battles (or both). In turn, powers are all over the place and lacking proper comparisons. Which then causes the main and side characters to miss out on stronger foundations. And so on and so forth.
Arguably, it can teeter into outright disaster territory if the quality of the fighting ever dips later in the season. It’s not quite at such a bottom-of-the-barrel level yet. But, with tacky, overt in-universe ads for “Webtoon” and “Crunchyroll” acting as ominous flags already, it is on the floor, praying to a higher being for much-needed guidance.

Another Perspective, courtesy of rip_intonation:

Must Watch It
This anime follows Mori Jin, a Korean high schooler, and his two friends Daewi Han and Mira Yoo, as they battle it out in a fierce martial arts competition—The God of High School—for the chance to have their greatest wish realized. However, this competition seems to be hiding something far more sinister...
From the start, we are introduced to Mori Jin, our main character, and we are instantly hit with the two other important characters in the series (quite literally). GOHS doesn't waste its time to establish that, yes, this is a fighting anime, and there's going to be a lot of it. Yes, not that much has really come together story-wise, but we're shown small moments that foreshadow some potentially big events in the near future.
The animation is fluid and the fight scenes are beautifully constructed (no less from MAPPA). With each punch, throw, and kick executed, you can really feel the weight behind each movement, which brings it all to life.
Of course, as another webtoon adaptation, GOHS gets compared to TOG from the spring season. I can tell you for a fact that GOHS is much more promising, and seems to be doing a better job at fully adapting the webtoon into an anime.
Whether you're an anime only or a reader of the webtoon, you'll definitely enjoy watching this fun and action-packed adaptation.

Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!

(English Title: Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!)

Banjo’s Perspective

Consider It
Shinichi Sakurai has no qualms with his lonesome college experience – but Hana Uzaki cares a lot. So, as the title Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! describes, she goes really out of her way to meetup with, talk to, or otherwise befriend him (much to his chagrin) with her never-ending teasing nature.
A slice-of-life format follows these two disparate personalities, their feuds fueling the comedy as they go about their daily activities. It’s quite simple, but this simplicity works, if only because the supporting characters don’t get in the way, the grounded, university setting aims for realism and maturity, and they have good chemistry together (even if a romantic pairing is so beyond unlikely to happen given the focus and intent).
Uzaki herself can be seen as intrusive, but her heart is in the right place. Shinichi can sometimes be harsh, but he still appreciates what she does for him (when she isn’t being completely obtuse). In combination, they create a bunch of cute scenes that again aid the anime.
Average art, missing themes, and a stretched runtime work against this project. However, solid voice acting, visual meta jokes, and modest ecchi content ensure that hanging out with it may, in fact, be an okay want.

Another Perspective, courtesy of saxman2112:

Watch It
“Hana Uzaki is excited to start her freshman year when she bumps into Shinichi Sakurai, her senior by one year who she knew in high school. While Uzaki is excited for the college experience she notices that Sakurai spends his time being a loner and not participating in college life. After a montage year goes by Uzaki is determined to hang out with Sakurai to help him become less introverted.
I started this show because of memes, expecting it to rely entirely on ‘hurr durr oppai.’ While that is still present to some degree, Uzaki-chan is actually a strong character driven show. To some, Uzaki-chan is a bully, but she clearly cares for Sakurai and values their friendship. Uzaki is still a bit childish, which some interpret as bullying, but I find her teasing adorable. Sakurai, on the other hand, intimidates people with his stony gaze, but also has goals and emotions he merely keeps to himself. This juxtaposition of extroversion and introversion drives the plot and their adventures. Uzaki and Sakurai bicker constantly, but they are also positive influences on each other, pushing each other toward being well-rounded adults.
These characters feel real, more real than a lot of SOL shows, which makes me want to follow their innocuous fighting as they grow and develop as people.”
Banjo's Top Three Picks:
1 Great Pretender
2 Deca-Dence
3 Kanojo, Okarishimasu
Volunteer Consensus:
(General estimation based off every potential volunteer and their feelings across all anime)
Tier 1 (Mostly “Must Watch It” Range):
Great Pretender
Tier 2 (Mostly “Watch It” Range):
Tier 3 (Mostly “Consider It” Range):
Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e
Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!
The God of High School
Kanojo, Okarishimasu
Lapis Re:LiGHTs
Monster Musume no Oishasan
Dokyuu Hentai HxEros
Tier 4 (Mostly “Drop It” Range):
Peter Grill to Kenja no Jikan
Thank you so much for reading!
Also, give the volunteers a round of applause for their efforts!!
I hope that the community continues to enjoy this Summer 2020 anime season to its fullest!!! :3
submitted by BanjoTheBear to anime

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