It’s once again that time of the month (except we skipped last one.) As the title suggests, I use a site called RandomAnime.org to generate a single anime that I have to watch and talk about. It can be any genre and of any length. Anything goes, which is part of the fun. I also get a nice little high from seeing what we’ll get.
The only rule is that I don’t need to watch every episode of something if it’s super long, but if it’s in the 12 to 25 range, I usually do. So what’s my pick that will never be right this time? I kind of want to watch Fruits Basket. I think that would be fun.
Oh, boy. This one looks like it might be a dud if the three stars on Crunchyroll and the average of 6/10. A 6 isn’t that bad in general. But to most people, that’s like the equivalent of a 3.
“Ren Homura has just moved back to his hometown of Kaminohara, but he isn’t able to remember much about the time he spent there other than vague flashbacks. When he retrieves his cell phone which he had sent to a shop for repairs, he finds that a mysterious game titled “Monster Strike” has been installed on it. Unaware of its purpose or how it got there, Ren decides to open it, an action that will change his life forever as he finds himself suddenly attacked by a strange man. Now trapped on the roof of his school which strangely has been designated as a “stage,” Ren is shocked to see the man summon a realistic monster from the game, one that is more than capable of inflicting damage on a human. His only chance of getting out of this situation alive is by summoning the dragon Oragon, who tells Ren that he will crush the opposing monster for him. Unfortunately, it turns out that Oragon is a tiny dragon that is completely useless!”
So, just from the synopsis, it sounds pretty good. I’m getting generic popular game anime vibes, like a Yu-Gi-Oh or a Beyblade, you know what I mean? It has that vibe that can be fun in its own way. Do I think it will be good? No. I think it will probably range from pretty bad to generic, but the only way to find out is to watch it. No, I’m not watching all 51 episodes. See you then. Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say 51? I meant over 100. This is why we have that rule in place, people.
So, what is Monster Strike? It’s actually a mobile game, which I was kind of expecting. It’s a gacha puzzle game that plays kind of similar to pinball or billiards, where the goal is to flick monsters into other monsters to hurt them.
While it doesn’t sound incredibly interesting, being more physics-based is actually kind of cool for a puzzle game, at least more so than being some tile matching thing. Now, if you’re thinking this would make a weird anime, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Frankly, I love this anime. I don’t care if people call it trash. It’s good trash. It’s nice, refreshing, tasty, funny trash. I’ve binged 14 episodes in a row, and I’m still having a good time with it. Granted, the episodes are only 9 minutes apiece, so it is easier to do so.
You might be wondering how you add a plot to flicking monsters around a battlefield with your phone or how you even animate something like that in the first place. Well, it’s easier than you’d think. You just have people flicking giant Yu-Gi-Oh monsters around the city with their phones. Simple.
Does that look dumb? Kind of. I mean the whole trying to actually murder each other with giant beasts in a real-life setting is pretty sick, really, but the fact that they’re doing it by flicking Sonic Spindash versions of the monsters around with their phones kind of kills the tension.
The plot is doesn’t really have much, though. There is some overarching narrative, but it’s basically that people are being controlled, and for some reason, that makes them want to play real-life Monster Strike and try and murder each other, specifically Ren, the protagonist.
Ren, straight up, is fantastic. I love him. Ren returns to a town he used to live in but has no memories of, and the story is about him and his Yami Yugi counterpart uncovering the reasons he lost his memories through battle.
This anime would be really bad if it was handled a different way. It doesn’t have very good parts. It has a pretty generic plot, really awkward battles, and some decent animation that’s trying to sell us a mobile game. That’s not enough to make a good series. What actually makes it rather enjoyable is the way it’s presented to us.
You can tell the staff had no intentions of taking this story seriously whatsoever. Monster Strike is a complete joke, and it’s absolutely ok with laughing at itself. That’s the whole sell of the series, practically.
Ren is a complete joke in pretty much every way. He randomly looks at the camera and breaks character. He tells you to go rewind the episode. He breaks the fourth wall constantly and treats the entire story and characters as if it’s nothing but a joke. He acts like he’s watching the series with us half the time.
This means you might not be able to take any of the more serious moments, well, serious, but what can you expect out an anime that has 9-minute episodes. It really doesn’t take itself that seriously, even when the characters are in life or death situations. There’s always room for a joke or two somewhere.
It creates this actually really funny series. Like a lot of the humor lands pretty well, and I think that’s because of the vibe and direction the series has. I think the fact that it was made to promote some random mobile game and even includes some ads in the episodes makes it even funnier.
For some odd anime about Monster Strike, it’s surprisingly charming and, weirdly enough, feels like it has a lot of heart put into it. More heart than any advertisement I’ve ever seen, I’ll tell you that.
Does it make me want to grab my phone or DS and play some Monster Strike? No. The game doesn’t really look that good, just somewhat interesting. I guarantee you the anime is likely a better time.
I enjoyed this mess of an ad so much that I’ll probably end up watching all of it. Short episodes are nice. Super easy to burn through them. If you want to see the funniest, most charming ad in anime form I’ve seen, go watch some Monster Strike!
Thank you very much for reading
Series like these are why I watch random anime. Good, hot garbage, fresh out of the dump!