katmic (Level 10)

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Nakama power, most of us know what this is, the worse thing, and i mean THE WORST THING TO EVER COME OUT OF MANGA AND ANIME.

I don’t know how accurate it would be for me to claim that Nakama power isn’t a particularly new element in anime, because i haven’t really watched that much anime or read that much manga before the year 2000.

It is possible that Nakama power is a relatively new element, an invention of recent times; but it could be something relatively old that has only exploded in recent times. I spoke in a post sometime back about how it was likely that most tropes were not always tropes, the idea that the clichés of Dragon Ball Z weren’t particularly cliché when they first appeared on screen, and indeed could have been something inventive at the time.

Same thing with nakama power; it could have been a relatively acceptable attribute of anime years before manga and anime series and movies began inundating their stories with its presence.

+So a question to those of you who have been watching anime for a quite a long time, or have had the opportunity to encounter older anime and manga titles; Is nakama power a recent creation or did it exist even in those ancient days of anime.


It occurred to me a few weeks back that there might be a positive twist to nakama power that i had never considered, which is the purpose of this post; to find the lighter less infuriating side of nakama power.

But first, what is Nakama power? That is if you are relatively new to anime and have no idea what we keep raging about.

Think back to those old Kung FU movies; Jackie Chan has finally arrived at the climax of the story, challenges his clearly stronger final foe and is getting his ass kicked all over the battle field; that is until the enemy makes the stupid mistake of revealing to Jackie the fact that he killed his master.

And suddenly Jackie is on his feet, rejuvenated with new greater strength and brings his foe to his knees.

That is basically Nakama power, a sudden surge of strength generated within a clearly weaker protagonist, empowering him or her to defeat a sometimes near invincible foe, elicited by thoughts of one’s Nakama.


Nakama is the Japanese world for friend, and basically refers to one’s non romantic love for another; usually used to show a deep attachment and fondness between characters.

In some cases (One piece) the term will refer to a group of people who share a closeness surpassing that of family.

Nakama is what drives most characters in anime and manga, both heroes and villains, to do what they do.


Before trying to see the possible pros that Nakama power might have, it might be prudent to understand exactly why some of us otaku not only hate but loath this element in anime and manga.

Thinking about it, you can probably remember a point in time, probably a few years back, where the presence of Nakama power, even in excess amounts like Fairy Tail, did not irk you.

This hate for nakama power seems like a fairly recent creation, and i would impute it to the injection of a realistic perspective into the fictional world of anime and manga.

Yes, we understand how fictitious anime and manga is. These big haired characters do not exist, cannot exist and as such we as viewers understand the fact that the laws of realism will be broken at some point in time; anime doesn’t have to make sense in relation to the real world, it just has to entertain, no matter the context.

This, based on some people that i have spoken to, is the mind set that initially prevailed and probably continues to prevail today. No one can expect realism to rule in the context of a fictitious universe.

Except that i believe we actually do; most otaku that i know today cannot simply accept the rules and laws governing an anime and manga universe just because it isn’t real.

As anime and manga fans, there is a part of us that expects a sense of logic and rational to rule; no matter how crazy One piece gets, we will, at one point in time, expect the goings on of the series to keep to some common sense, even while following their own virtual regulations.

Nakama power grates on many otaku minds because it is, for lack of better terms, complete and utter nonsense. It throws out even that tiny essence of realism and logic we expect to find in any anime and manga out the window.

The idea that the outcome of EVERY SINGLE FIGHT that the protagonist will ever partake in is predetermined, that one can expect us to believe that the feelings a character has for friends and family can somehow transform into raw power…that simply stretches even otaku imaginations to a breaking point.

When a story becomes sappy to the extent of Nakama power, when one can break the rules of their own world (which is the one golden rule in anime and manga, that a story strictly follow its own rules) as well as ours to beat the odds, the story loses its appeal; their is no point in rooting for a hero that doesn’t relate to anything remotely real.

Frankly all this hate for nakama power (from a few) comes down to two points:

-It’s cheating- and why should we care about a hero that can only overcome challenges, not through hard work and determination, but by basically breaking the rules of his universe (which, if i think about it, is what all that business regarding the heart of the card was, in YuGiOh!…still enjoyed it though).

Now that i think about it one could impute the success of Game of thrones to a warped sort of Nakama power, only this time it’s the villains that control it.

-It’s lazy writing- and this is what it usually comes down to for most series i have come across, villains so powerful that it almost seems like the writer has no idea how the hero could possibly win in a fair match (here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen with Madara…it would sort of suck if Naruto and killer bee defeated Madara moments after he owned the kages).

Give me a random power up any day; heck, even Goku’s power ups had more rational than nakama power, because Goku had the advantage of being a Saiyan. Beating Frieza was within his limits. Even if he had to reach Super Saiyan 10 to beat Bils, he is a Saiyan. Achieving greater super saiyan levels is a rational progression…i think.


Considering how many times i keep have raged against nakama power, it might come off as odd that i would write a post attempting to defend it. And in truth that isn’t exactly what i am trying to do.

I spoke to an anime fan a few weeks back that actually put up a defence for the concept; well, defence is too strong a word, rather the fellow simply expressed his positive interest in the nakama power idea, and sufficing to say i was flustered.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe him, but i eventually came to the realization that for a while now i had made some blanket judgments about otaku and how every ardent anime and manga fan obviously had to hate the idea of nakama power.

It never occurred to me that there might be people out there who actually support the idea of nakama power, or at least don’t possess the same kind of hate for the idea that i do.

That is what got me thinking, attempting to consider nakama power objectively and how it might actually positively impact a story.

-When Nakama power is appropriate-

Yes, there are times where nakama power isn’t a total nuisance, especially in shonen series; only one situation in fact, when the impact of nakama power is minimal with regards to the outcome and only serves to accentuate a specific element about the protagonist.

In other words even with all his speeches about nakama, it is difficult to cry ‘nakama power’ against most of Luffy’s victories because, considering all the strategies he has deployed previously, as well as his gear abilities, Luffy always stood a favourable chance of attaining victory.

The idea of appropriate nakama power use is to present evidence of a rationale to support victory. IN other words if nakama power really only serves as a means of strengthening one’s will, bolstering mental strength, which in turn allows one to use pre existing abilities to defeat an opponent within his sphere of strength, then nakama power can prove acceptable.

Beyond that, outside of shonen, i have seen arguments for nakama power in shoujo and romance anime and manga; i cannot comment further on the truth of that idea because i rarely indulge in those genres. But it is an interesting consideration, that shoujo somehow benefits from nakama power.

Then again that brings up the question of what exactly nakama power is, and if such elements in a romance or shoujo series could be called nakama power. And what exactly would that look like? Anybody that reads or watches shoujo and the like, i am curious as to your take on the matter of nakama power in such circumstances.

-There are moments in a story where nakama power on exists to bring heart to a series, allow the ideals of friendship and the like to proliferate a plot, only ever done well when nakama power in this case is secondary.

Just look at Naruto; i can hardly complain about Naruto’s many speeches about his nakama; because while someone like Ichigo makes his speeches as he prepares to unleash some silly and random power up, Naruto Uzumaki does so-at least in most cases-after the main event, when his enemy is down and beaten, debilitating the very idea of Nakama power.

- I guess one can forgive comedy, whose purpose is to use all elements available to its writers to entertain; which is why i am only now learning to appreciate fairy tail. Take it too seriously and the nakama power elements in the series will infuriate you. Learn to understand what it is, light heartened and fluffy, and you will start to enjoy it, no matter what Hiro throws at you.


After trying and failing to come up with anything that might resemble a benefit of nakama power, it occurred to me that i might be looking at it wrong. Rather than some silly and lazy tool to force protagonists to the fro of a story, has any one ever tried looking at Nakama power as just that, a power?

It is possible that there might be some sort of mistranslation from Japanese to English; that maybe nakama power isn’t some wishy washy feeling that somehow creates new power out of nothing, but a genuine power, like ki.

It is possible that we have all along been misunderstanding the purpose behind the stories these mangaka tell; that Natsu isn’t simply wishing himself more strength, but instead tapping into an actual tangible ability within his spirit, which he transforms into raw power, like haki or something.

That would change everything, that there is a legitimate and rational explanation for nakama power. Who came up with that term anyway? Nakama power, i mean?

Take that into consideration and Natsu beating Laxus was little different from Goku finding a well of ki within him, from which he defeated Vegeta.


What is the problem with nakama power? Simply put, it is everywhere, it is irrational even by the standards of a fictitious world; it makes every story and every fight predictable. It is unfair against the antagonist, basically cheating.

And within any serious anime or manga story, it should seize to appear.

But what do you think? Given time and imagination, could nakama power possibly find a place in anime and manga?

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This was a disappointing Ubel Blatt chapter, the first in quite a long while; which is quite surprising, because where the chapter failed wasn’t the plot per say but the art, which somewhat floundered.

I really don’t have that much to say about chapter 121; following the advent of the order of Gungnir last month, mayhem predictably ensued.

As with everything related to the so called King Glenn, they tapped into psychopathy in trying to brutally murder everyone that they perceived irrelevant to Glenn’s cause.

Poor men and women could only sit back and watch as Brank Fan and Gedouza began cutting through flesh and bone with their new found strength, overwhelming even Rosen’s sword skills and the reputation of his knights.

Interesting i guess, but we expected this, Rosen finding himself face down in front of the very power of his former master, which he was unwilling to submit his body to because of its dark nature.

It is truly the dawning of a new day, where the honor of the seven lances (fake or not) has been allowed to die away, with lords and heroes left and right bowing to King Glenn, most having their minds warped in pursuit of a greater power.

And of course Koinzel had to come to the rescue of the dying group; that was the highlight of the chapter, knowing that the arrogance of the new order would finally be defeated, Glenn’s disciples understanding the simple fact that they were far from unmatched.

But truth be told i would have preferred to have Ato continue her duel with Gedouza, any chance that allows her to further develop her abilities and character independently of Koinzel.

But even taking into account the sword Koinzel gifted her with, i guess her opponent proved too overwhelming to fight against.

Whatever the case, the art in this chapter was just…off; not the art itself but the arrangement. Too many panels seemed wholly unnecessary, almost like Shinono was just trying to get the page count up during his battle sequences, which also failed to flow organically from panel to panel.

Too many moments left me confused as to what had just happened.

RATING: 2/5, pretty basic chapter, nothing interesting to see besides Koinzel, whom i have been waiting to make an appearance for an age. I have always thought that Koinzel and Glenn each pursued goals so far removed from each other that they had no need to fight against one another.

However with this fight against Gungnir, there can be no stopping the conflict.

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CLAYMORE is the only manga i know that could possibly stand a chance of competing with Naruto for my adoration; dark, violent yet moving seinen manga series do not come as a good as this (though Ubel Blatt is pretty close).

Chapter 148 was amazing, somehow managing to generate more entertainment juices than even the last two chapters; i know, pretty difficult to believe, especially when considering what transpired in chapters 147 and 147.

But chapter 148 actually managed to bring more than chaotic action to the table (of which their was actually plenty of). We got some AMAZING Claire and Raki action-with the pair getting the best panels out of the entire chapter, an emotional death and a foreshadowing of the end.


Claire and Raki double team Priscilla. A dire situation begins to unfold.


There is this nagging voice at the back of my mind that keeps asking me why the hell the manga is choosing to extend the Priscilla conflict across so many chapters; because it is definitely starting to feel like it’s been forever since this battle first began.

But then again that is a voice i can ignore, not when you consider the foreshadowing in that last panel. I mean, if Priscilla is completely revived and is about to go crazy, what the hell can we expect but destruction on a massive scale.

What has set the last few chapters of Priscilla’s battle with the ghosts apart is the nature of her opponents; which is why i spoke of a tiny voice, because you cannot help but appreciate what we have had the opportunity to witness on paper.

Far from a Goku Vs. Freiza scenario, Nagi made the smart decision to keep the roster of combatants dynamic, a rational outcome if you take into account Priscilla’s strength.

Her power is such that any one enemy that faced her would have come under meteoric strength, losing in the most spectacular manner. So of course it made sense to keep her opponents dynamic, throwing at her everything from awakened beings to abyssal ones to ancient male claymores and so on.

It is only because of how brutal the last few chapters have been, the sorts of enemies that she has come against, that we can believe the logic of Clare bringing Priscilla to such a low point. So, i guess, this hasn’t ran too long, just yet.

+I will admit to feeling some anxiety over the logic Nagi would use to explain Raki’s success at striking Priscilla; truth be told this wasn’t the ass pull i thought it would be.

AND WE GOT TO SEE ISLEY, quite a treat, as he could be my favourite character of the series; did anyone else find the means of his passing a little sad, if not harsh?

Speaking of which, what happened to those undead creatures we saw back during Isley’s fall; i believe the organization referred to them as abyssal hunters of some sort, so powerful that even Isley was fleeing from them…just when you think we might have come to the crux of the claymore world, a closer glance reveals how much more we still have to explore.

Anyway i loved that flash back and i could believe Priscilla casting Raki out of her mind once she cut him down, so much so that he could sneak upon her undetected; it is an interesting consideration how much planning and resolve Raki poured into his mission, that all those moves he made after the time skip were aimed not only at finding Clare but placing himself in the most opportune place to put Priscilla down.

Oh and that flash sword panel/panels…EPIC. This is why i love Claymore so much, how visceral and crisp the art feels; and in a way it makes Priscilla out to be more of a monster than we assumed.

Looking at those panels carefully, Clare clearly dissected her into several thousand tiny pieces within that instant; and what, she healed herself? Regenerated her matter? How? And to what extent can she keep it up, because one then has to wonder how anyone can stand a chance against her.

That last panel said quite a lot; with the ghosts exhausted, exactly how will ANYONE stop Priscilla. Keep in mind how crowded the battle field was a mere ten chapters ago, the anti Priscilla army now reduced to a select few fatigued Claymore, most of whom aren’t likely to master the will to fight.

+Admittedly Tabitha’s death in this chapter was better than what i thought would be a quick demise in the last chapter. Rather than fading away instantly, there was greater impact following the opportunity imputed to her to say good bye to her friends.

Nagi orchestrated the scene beautifully, making it look like she was about to heal her self, close all her wounds, rise to fight once more, only to use the last of her strength imparting some words of wisdom to Miria. Epic stuff. Epic death for a truly Epic Claymore, one who probably didn’t receive nearly enough recognition and appreciation ( i will admit to forgetting most characters outside of Clare, Miria, Deneve and Helen).

PREDICTIONS: We still have Miata standing, and everything we have seen so far suggest that she was on a path to transforming into another Priscilla type claymore, equally demented and just as unnaturally powerful.

Though we can all agree that Miata doesn’t fall anywhere within Priscilla’s range, power wise; no one does, besides Dauf and the destroyer both of whom are long dead.

And we still haven’t seen the hunters yet; minus any of these appearances, well, this is the first time we have seen Priscilla go truly crazy, actually losing her self to the monster.

All Hell is about to break loose…again.

RATING: 10/10 perfect chapter, great art, heart warming final minutes for Tabitha and of course the raging demon god (as they called her) that is Priscilla, about to be unleashed.

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Have i said it before, how AWESOME this manga is? Because it is, the perfect balance of action and story in each and every single chapter. Having reached this point it is becoming more and more difficult to wait each and every week for a single 22 page chapter.


Gowther concludes his fight with Threader; Hellbram, Dreyfus and Gilthunder break free of Hauser and Geera’s constraints.


At this point it no longer matters to me how long we will have to wait till Arthur and Meliodas meet. Because the Dreyfus battle is proving to be the most diverse and dynamic conflict we have seen in the entire manga.

What i love is how unpredictable these fights are turning out to be. Gowther Vs. Threader was amazingly drawn, not in terms of art quality per say but the flow of events, the fight scenes amazingly choreographed and the outcome so…organic.

I like manga that have come to understand the idea that a good battle need not end with a knock out; having watched the sins expend considerable energy trying to verbally clear their reputations, it was interesting watching Gowther basically allow Threader to reason the problem out by himself.

Rather than batter him with reason, Gowther simply nudged and prodded, providing him with enough hints and questions for the violent fellow to generate his own doubts; and even without that verbal ending, gowther’s battle with threader managed to be both extremely short and unbelievably entertaining.

And now that we have arrived at the crux of this section of the conflict, with Diana and Geera and Hauser basically saved, we need only sit back and wait for the opportunity to see just what Gowther is made of.

I for one cannot wait to see him let loose.

+On a side note, has anyone considered the possibility that the sins might be a little too overpowered? Think about it, two arcs prior we saw Meliodas, with his singular power, overcome Hellbran and the collective power of several new Holy knights.

Now of course he was in his demon state, but that is none the less saying quite something. And then there is Diana who possessed more power in that one strike of her hammer than Hellbram, a bunch of new Holy knights and HENDRICKSEN HIMSELF put together.

That says quite a lot, and i am not complaining per say, merely stating an observation; this doesn’t disparage my enjoyment of the series. The fact is, though, Diana only came so close to death in the last two chapters because she was ambushed, took a ton of damage while trying to get her bearings, and once she seemed to have finally gathered her wits, had a bunch of holes blasted through her.

Then there was than business of saving human lives. Whatever the case you could say that every single sin that we have met so far possesses the ability to thrash the likes of Dreyfus and Hendricksen single handed. Again, not a bad thing, merely something i have noticed.

Or maybe this says something about Dreyfus, his superiority to Hendricksen. Admittedly he looked quite badass in this chapter.

RATING: 10/10, seriously, this manga is on fire, this arc is on fire, this chapter was on fire. At this point The Seven Deadly Sins is going to have to struggle really hard to mess things up.

HIGHLIGHTS: Threader breaking Gowther’s neck.

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I sat down sometime in January and attempted to write a ‘Worst of everything in 2013’ post, basically listing all those elements of anime and manga that most irked. Unfortunately i didn’t have nearly enough data to complete that post, specifically in the area of worst manga, villains or even heroes.

Though truth be told the anime section came quite easily, not only consisting of BlazeBlue, Valrave the liberator and the like but chiefly led by this anime, Arata Kangatari; one of the worst anime series i came across in 2013.

In fact Arata Kangatari topped my worst protagonist/hero list (Arata standing along side Korra from Avatar) as well as my Worst villains/antagonists of 2013 list (this referring primarily to Kadokawa).

That’s how bad i found Arata Kangatari to be, absolutely lacking of anything that could be mistaken for quality in every field that i could think to judge it in.


Every 30 years, a new princess is chosen from the Hime family to serve the Hayagami. The time has come again, however the Hime family hasn’t produced a daughter in 15 years; save for one, the 15-year-old Arata.

The only problem is, Arata is actually a male. Forced to disguise himself and take the place of the princess candidate until a formal one can be found, he attends the festival only to witness the current princess, Kokuri-hime, murdered by the hand of the princess' personal guard, the 12 Shinshou. As he runs for his life, Kannagi of the 12 convinces everyone that Arata is the one who murdered the princess instead, and now everyone in the Imperial Court is after his head.


Okay, let’s look at what Arata Kangatari might put forward as its hook. While fleeing from the murderous intentions of an imperial court, and indeed nation, beguiled into seeking his blood for the most heinous crime ever committed in their world, young Arata is thrust out of his fantastical realm into modern day Japan, a world devoid of all magic.

Modern day Arata, while struggling to remain afloat amongst the chaos of high school life is suddenly thrust out of modernity and dropped into a fantasy land, where magic reigns and legendary beings walk.

Two boys with the same face struggle to come to terms with the new hand they have been dealt. Now does that sound like something you would want to watch? Well it intrigued me.

Because with such a situation what you can expect is confusion to ensue; as both parties struggle to assimilate into their new environments, feathers are bound to be ruffled, secrets brought to the light and unknown demons confronted, the resulting contention making for some pretty engaging conflicts.

And what makes a quality story if not conflicts on an epic scale, the purpose of which is to draw viewers into the complex web that form’s our protagonists’ attempts to overcome hardships

So what did Arata Kangatari deliver instead? Well, conflict of course, confusion, chaos, challenges to overcome and all that. Which can only mean great success for the series, right?


+But before that. I have to ask; was Arata Kangatari really a 2013 anime series? Is Wikipedia really trying to convince that Arata Kangatari only made its debut in 2013? With production values such as was presented?

When a writer/director sits himself down to pen an anime, in no way can they guarantee the success of the story that will eventually appear on screen, and that’s because it’s impossible to determine which way personal tastes will swing.

SO does that mean that one can only sit back, anxiously waiting for the fates to decide how an anime will appeal to its viewers? Well, no, because an anime creator still has in his hands the power to control how the anime is received; at the very least making certain that, in the worst case scenario, where otaku happen to be completely disgusted by the plot and characters of the story, they do not walk away from the experience utterly distressed.

Rather its within the hands of an anime creator to ensure that every creation has a little something that will positively impact their crappy story, one or two elements that should at least keep the audience glued to an anime till the end.

And this couldn’t be easier to achieve in shonen fantasy, because all you need to keep us viewers interested is decent animation, great action scenes, intricate battle structures, either so mind blowing as to wow us, or so complex as to engage us intimately with regards to the strategies in play.

Combining these elements together along with a great musical score, its more than possible to entertain the hell out of anime fans even in the presence of garbage story telling (though thinking about it, this can’t be true; because Blazeblue was just that, great animation, art, decent music, action scenes and a garbage story line. In the end it still sucked to no end).

But what the hell did Arata Kangatari deliver? Mediocre art, less than mediocre animation, terrible action scenes, negligible musical scores, basically zero production values worth talking about.

And what exactly did they assume would keep me glued to the screen, great story telling? Or maybe compelling and well developed characters? Because even these they couldn’t deliver.

Back to the story. Arata Kangatari is terribly written and not because it lacked compelling plotlines. And you can’t really complain about the concept either; the series fails at the execution stage.

It’s almost like the writer marked off all major points in his story map, couldn’t really figure out how the story would jump from one point to another, figured it didn’t matter and threw whatever he thought would work into the picture so long as it brought about the desired outcome.

And this is my problem with Tales of the Abyss, an even worse anime (that i can’t believe am still watching). All these series seem to assume that the end always justifies the means; that we don’t care how that epic battle comes about, who did what and why, so long as we get epic battles at one point.

+Though it might be argued that the story truly began to flounder at the character stage. I don’t think i have ever come across as sappier, needy, self centred twat of a primary protagonist (not even sure what twat means, but it fits the bill here).

As a hero Arata fails, firstly because he whines all the time for no justifiable reason. Seriously, this dude could be worse than even Shinji; everything is about him, all the suffering he has undergone during his years of torture in school, all the horrors of normal life.

He doesn’t move without some sort of pep talk pulling him back from an abyss of passiveness. And i never could really figure out the logic of his misery. Again it’s like the authors needed a hero that had suffered certain horrors yet couldn’t figure out why these actions were targeted towards him and why it affected him so intensely.

Arata Kangatari basically states a lot of facts and expects you to just swallow them; its infuriating how dumb this series got. I want anyone who watched it to try and reason out to me the rational of Kadokawa and his hate for Arata.

I mean this guy just came off as little more than a psycho hiding under the guise of mentally tortured soul turned bully. None of these characters made sense. Every single one of them existed for the sole purpose of being positively affirmed by someone else.

It’s like if they didn’t receive their fair share of ‘That’s a good boy.’ pats on the head, they couldn’t truly accept the potential they carried within them, and could only wait to crumble under some vague mental or physical burden.

…thinking about, i want to scream at this anime. Pondering on what i watched, it is only hitting me now just how pointless Arata was, how dumb his rivalry with Kadokawa was, how irrational Arata’s weaknesses were, only in existence to allow for some ridiculous and none existent character development to occur in the end.

We had to wait 12 episodes just to see everyone recognise just how amazing Arata is, like that was the magic bullet he needed to spur him forth. It might seem like i am placing so much emphasis on Arata, but am not.

Every other character in the series pretty much falls into this same mould, except for the real Arata, whose role in the series was pretty negligible.

VERDICT: Arata Kangatari is basically a telenova, where chaos ensues because people always face each other on the field of battle, could lay their souls bare, could easily clear up all the misunderstands, but instead choose to fight, only to laugh about everything at the end, never acknowledging how stupid they were, that by choosing to not leap to conclusions over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, the world would be at peace.

Arata Kangatari is without a doubt the worst anime of 2013, at least that i watched. The series spends more time dramatizing tiny moments during its run that trying to tell a compelling story.

RATING: 0/10, i have never awarded anything a 0 before; but this most definitely deserves it.

HIGHLIGHTS: The Kannagi/Akachi feud almost irritated me as much as the Kadokawa/Arata rivalry; with a cast full of attention hungry irritations there isn’t one moment worth highlighting.

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