Tag Archives: Matsutarou

Anifile’s Worst 5 Anime of Spring 2014


The Spring 2014 season has had it share of good anime as seen in my top five list, now let’s see what made its way onto the bottom five. This season, like the top five, was a hard one when it came to choosing a list of the five anime I liked the least. Most of the anime I saw were only mediocre or mildly annoying; of course there are some exceptions but the lower half of the list was harder for sure! Like I mentioned in my previous list, I didn’t get to see about ten anime from last season. I will therefore include a small list of the anime I wasn’t sure of when I mentioned them in my preview posts. With that acknowledged, let’s get to the list!

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#5 – Mischief of the Gods

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FULL REVIEW

I knew exactly what I was getting myself into with this one. A thinly veiled reverse harem anime which is framed like a dating sim filled with pretty boys who just so happen to be gods from different religions and time periods. Not only does it feel as flimsy as a soggy piece of paper but it is also laughably ridiculous! When you first meet the gods, flowers blossom before them and show how pretty they are and clearly states that brains are not required…for the most part. I will give kudos to the writers for doing a little research before creating these characters and retaining certain character traits from history but it doesn’t fully pardon this show from making the list. Its vapid nature is not for me. I know it’s aimed for women but that shouldn’t make a difference. Men and women alike want something with substance…you know substance that doesn’t feel like a wet dishrag.

#4 – Blade and Soul

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FULL REVIEW

An example of an unnecessary anime adaptation. Based on a Korean MMO, Blade and Soul tries to envoke the feelings of the game to a Japanese audience which came out not long after the anime started airing. It’s hard to adapt such a massive universe into a linear story; MMOs are meant to be totally non-linear and unique to the player. Instead we got a boring assassin named Alka who got on my nerves with how bland she was. I understand she may have seen some serious stuff growing up but there should still be some personality lingering around, surely! Paired with an unlikeable main cast, overly busty characters and flawed presentation – this show is not worth watching. Play the game. THAT looks cool.

#3 – Dragonar Academy

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FULL REVIEW

Oh boy, here’s when the list becomes easier to quantify. Dragonar Academy is this season’s Magical Warfare. How? IT’S UNORIGINAL AS HELL! It’s like any other magic school that we’ve seen before and doesn’t even tell THAT well. It feels so stock you could make a broth with it! Not only that but it takes the awesome might of a dragon and turns them into lumbering horse-like animals who look like they need to go on a diet. The main duo are also tired facsimilies of characters that we have long since grown tired of; the angry diminutive magical girl and the ‘hero’ guy. Yeah. I’ll stick to Record of Lodoss War or Slayers thank you very much! Remember, kids! Blandness kills.

#2 – Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!!

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FULL REVIEW

What could make this show end up so high on this list? A lot of things, but the biggest crime is that of being a crushing disappointment. I expected something akin to Wreck-It Ralph in that the angry hulk is a timid soul who simply wants recognition…instead we got a hulk who was mean, uncouth and lewd to everybody for the first few episodes; enough to put off even the most forgiving anime enthusiast. It made me feel so dirty after watching it. How could I find hope in such a thing? It didn’t help that Toei’s recent decline in animation quality for anything not Dragonball or Toriko or anything popular is rather distressing and made itself evident with this production. I was shocked with how such a studio could put out something so shoddy both in animation and writing. I understand that Matsutarou is set in the 1970s where things were less refined than today when it comes to gender equality and etiquette for a country bumpkin like our lead, but kindness is timeless. It feels like an anime adaptation that was twenty years too late. Pass.

#1 – Daimidaler: Prince vs Penguin Empire

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FULL REVIEW

Yes. This is the worst. I get that there are two ways you can look at Daimidaler. Firstly, you can look at it as a spoof of all mecha anime and how things can get pretty ridiculous; or there’s the feeling that it’s gone past parody and just become offensive and sickening. I fall in that category. The parody element flew past me and all I saw was something strange, sexist and mean-spirited not to mention be animated so poorly. I was flabbergasted with how poor it was. Studio TNK, the animators of the series, should be disappointed with their ‘work’. The whole notion that a woman’s place is in the cockpit serving the sexual requirements of the male pilot for the good of mankind is enough to drive me to despair. Sick.

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MISSING IN ACTION

As before, here are the shows which I didn’t think much of which I never got around to reviewing fully:

Hero Bank and Dai Shogun – Great Revolution

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Do you agree with my list? Have your own worst? Cast your vote!

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Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!!


Sumo wrestling is a sport with a proud tradition. A discipline which is highly regarded in its native Japan. If you are a sumo wrestler, you act with honour and with dignity outside of the ring and you’d be treated like the biggest celebrities by the public. It has principles…principles which Matsutarou, the lead of Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!! is keen to shake up and throw to the curb!

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This is a simple story of a very unruly and unkempt roughian named Matsutarou who has grown up in a small town during the Showa period of Japan [most likely in the seventies or eighties judging by the surroundings]. He is still in middle school with kids a fraction of his age and is a no-hoper. He’s the eldest of six siblings and proves to be the world’s worst brother and indeed a candidate for least likeable person in the world. The story adds a schoolyard crush in the form of Minami-sensei, the only reason Matsutarou even shows up to school; to please her. He does a good job at that; getting thrown into jail for kidnapping her, a truck and driving it into a public bath. Instead of drawing Minami closer to him, it riddles her with guilt and she moves back to Tokyo. Distraught, Matsutarou tries to find a job and bumps into some sumo wrestlers and gets into a fight [that’s what he does]. In the end, he ends up impressing sumo wrestling managers and get enlisted…just so he can be close to Minami. That’s the story in a nutshell; you know where it’s going to go – he’ll become a pro wrestler to impress his crush. Cut and dry prognosis, yeah? No.

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This anime is dated. Really dated. You can forgive it since the original manga began publication in 1973 and ran for a good twenty years. It’s a popular manga given such a long run and that would explain the seventies aesthetic and rural settings. The retro feel is present right from the opening credits and the warbling baritone of Matsutarou serenading the audience is reminiscent of classic anime intros; it’s a nice throwback but it doesn’t hide from us that there are problems with this show. Major problems. First off, Matsutarou is REALLY unlikeable. The first episode is devoted in proving to the audience that he is a real jerk to everyone around him and is a no hoper. I can understand why this would make people switch off and label him and this series a lost cause. I get what the creative team behind this were doing; it’s a long term plan to illustrate the sheer transformation that Matsutarou will make by the series’ end. Going from a beast to a sporting hero is a potentially compelling narrative and the amount of character development in said narrative will be through the roof…if people are still watching of course. The majority of the initial audience will have gone elsewhere long beforehand. It doesn’t help that the show looks poor too.

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In the first two episodes, Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!! looks very loose and lazy but its a characterful style which has some personality which is rare in anime these days. It reflects the seventies anime feel well and fans of that thing will appreciate it; but it does mean that refinement is sacrificed. There are many times when extras and props look hideous with no effort put into them and this gets worse with episode three. From episode two to three, there is a monumental decrease in animation quality and my hopes for this show quickly waned. The artwork for the characters is looser than untied shoelaces! I was stunned with how bad it was; especially when you see that this wasn’t made by an amateur outfit. This is made by Toei. TOEI. One of the biggest studios in the anime business. How could this be? Simple. Budget, restraints on resources and low priorities. Toei has tons of enormous properties to take care of like Dragonball Kai, One Piece and up until recently Toriko. The company’s bottom line is built on these huge properties and some more obscure properties can feel like they’ve been pushed to the periphery by Toei. You would think that Toei would have the expertise to make Matsutarou’s tale look good or at least competent; sadly not. It’s a real shame because there was real potential hidden here. Matsutarou is kinda of like Wreck-It Ralph from the film of the same name in that he’s a strong and angry soul with little social grace but has a heart hidden amongst the muscle. The similarties are noticeable but I feel that unlike Ralph, Matsutarou will remain a relative savage. This series needed to tone down the unlikeable first episode a lot; it failed as an opening act to draw viewers, it’s repelled them.

matsutarou_2Do I hate Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou? No. I am disappointed. I wanted to like it but I just couldn’t get behind it. Its shoddy narrative structure and equally dire animation quality failed to capture my dedication; but I still think there’s a glimmer of hope if Toei can get their act together and put more effort into production. I like the seventies throwback vibe though, that was cool but that’s a fleeting plus point which is quickly eroded through repetition. I’m sad that this show is going to be either forgotten or find itself as a candidate for one of the worst anime of this season; certainly one of the most disappointing.

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!! is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CANCEL [It’s with regret that I cannot recommend this series. It’s just too flawed.]

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