Book Review – A Catalogue of Catastrophe, Jodi Taylor

A Catalogue of Catastrophe is the 13th instalment in the Chronicles of St Mary’s seriesa sci-fi, historical fiction series that focuses on the idea of using time travel to accurately document historical events, and let’s be honest, where things often get out of hand. This particular instalment follows our trusted protagonist Maxwell as she sets out to bring down the big bad organisation on who we have been gaining traction on throughout the series, but it seems all her time-travelling is beginning to catch up with her.

Considering that A Catalogue of Catastrophe is the 13th instalment of the series, I’m sure it’s already pretty clear I simply adore the Chronicles of St Mary’s series as a whole. I love the concept of combining time travel and history in the simple context of learning. Jodi Taylor’s writing of historical events is just so compelling, factual and yet fantastical in elements to keep things constantly interesting. The three main historical events we see in this instalment are; the signing of the Magna Carta (1215), the Battle of Lincoln (1217), and the Gunpowder plot (1605) – all pivotal moments in English history that are under threat. I really enjoyed stepping back into English history, as my personal knowledge is very limited and Taylor also ensured that each location had various elements to draw in the reader, from action, to danger to plotting and nervously waiting. 

All the characters across the Chronicles of St Mary’s series are brilliantly written, all having individual, fleshed-out personalities and stories. I especially enjoyed A Catalogue of Catastrophe because Markham, my all-time favourite from the series is a prominent player in the plot. I really do relish, how even after 13 instalments (and plenty of side-novels/novellas), Taylor can still show us character growth and strength and still introduce new, different characters in the same breath. 

The plot of this book does follow a slightly different formula to that of the others, seeing as in the 12th instalment, (Another Time, Another Place), we saw Max left on the outs with the beloved St Mary’s Institute. Taylor has really managed to mix things up whilst keeping the heart of her stories, this time adding a bit of tension and anger into the underlying emotions of both the characters and plot.

Usually, I like to give a rounded review and also state a point or two where I feel the story may have been lacking (not a critique, but a purely personal opinion), however, I am really struggling to think of something for A Catalogue of Catastrophe. After 9 years of building this universe (and building further upon it in the newer Time Police series), Taylor really has found the perfect balance for her novels and for her characters. 

As I’m sure you’ve garnered, I loved reading A Catalogue of Catastrophe and I eagerly await the opportunity to read even more of these characters I love so much. I fully intended to delve my way into the Time Police series soon and cannot thank the publishers, Headline, enough for allowing me the opportunity to not only read this instalment in advance but to be part of the blog tour (details of which you will see in the photo at the top). I would recommend the book/series to any lover of sci-fi and history, although I do feel those who enjoy new adult and general adult fantasy/sci-fi may find the series more enjoyable due to Taylor’s writing being more relatable for those slightly older readers. I must also shout out the audio-book version of this series (as this is how I have consumed the majority of this series) because Zara Ramm does an amazing job of bringing these characters to life and it just translates to listening material perfectly. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks again to NetGalley and the Headline Publishers for providing me with this novel in exchange for an honest review

2022: March Challenge Summary

This year is simply going by too fast! I have a lot of life changes in the works at the moment, but looking forward to it and as always, hopefully doing some more writing.

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter with the hashtag #RT2022Challenges.

Here are all the challenges I’ve made no progress on at all yet. I’ve just got to keep on the game grind for the time being:
– Complete 3 Games
– Platinum 3 Games

Read 40 Books
So in March, I decided to do a Read-a-thon (although we did no where near 24-Hours) with Jade (from Culture Shack) and so I got a fair few titles shifted out this month. My favourite book I read in March is The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling, it was nothing amazing but a nice feel good, funny, fantasy romance.

4 Books in March
– Forgotten, House of Night Other World #3, P.C. Cast
Another Time, Another Place, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #12, Jodi Taylor
Found, House of Night Other World #4, P.C. Cast
The Ex Hex, Erin Sterling

Read 15 Manga/Graphic Novels
As expected by this point, I haven’t managed to read loads of manga or graphic novels in March, but I was lucky enough to be provided a couple from NetGalley in exchange for reviews! My favourite manga/graphic novel from March is Sakura’s Dedication.

2 Manga/Graphic Novels in March
Sakura’s Dedication, Vol.1, Fuyu Yukimiya
– Having and Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best!, Vol.1, Mito Aoi

You can check out my review of Sakura’s Dedication here.
You can check out my review of Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! here.

Watch 12 Anime Movies
I’m actually quite proud of my anime movie progress in March! I got a couple in which is more than can be expected most months. My favourite anime movie of the month is (obviously) Jujutsu Kaisen 0.

2 Anime Movies in March
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
– Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Watch 45 Movies
Movies did much better in March, with just me taking the effort to actually sit down, stop and commit to them being the biggest factor! My favourite movie I watched in March is either Zootopia or Tell Me Who I Am, but they both have such different vibes I can’t begin to compare them against each other.

5 Movies in March
West Side Story (2021)
– Old
– Zootopia
– House of Gucci
– Tell Me Who I Am

Watch 45 TV Shows 
Looking back, I am actually quite amazed at how many TV shows I managed to steam through this month! It’s so hard to choose a favourite this month, so I’m simply… not going to! My top watches of March are Catching Killers, Hawkeye and It’s A Sin.

8 TV Shows in March
Queer Eye S06
Cheer S02
Kim’s Convenience S03
Worst Roommate Ever
– Hawkeye
– It’s A Sin
– Catching Killers S02
– Bridgerton S02

Watch 28 Anime Series 
I finally managed to watch some anime (praise)!!! A lot is down to Jade giving me deadlines which they pushed me to watching. I love anime so much but I just can’t get out my funk of not giving myself the mindset or time to be able to focus on episodes. My favourite anime for March has to be Tokyo Revengers, I think this is a cracking show.

2 Anime Series’ in March
Tokyo Revengers (Best Boy: Baji Keisuke)
No Game, No Life

Manga Review – Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best!, Vol.1

Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend
is the Best! Vol.1
Art & Story by Mito Aoi
Published by Kodansha Comics
Published on 01 March 2022

Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! is a comedy romance manga that follows Akari Tachibana and Onda-san as they traverse the line between friends and being a couple; all whilst staying committed to their respective idols and supporting each others’ idol worship! 

I chose to read Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! because it seemed fun. The title in itself eludes to the silly-ness and comedy that can be found inside, and I can say it didn’t disappoint in that respect. The plot is pretty basic in terms of the ‘romance troupes’ you can expect to see in a manga such as this, however, it is really fleshed out by the uniqueness of the idol worship – something that I know is very real and have experienced myself to some extent. 

What I enjoyed about the storyline of Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! is that the characters aren’t changed by their relationship. Yes, they might now get a little nervous around each other but who they are at their core, and their love for idols is never hindered by the relationship, it is often encouraged and accepted. This I think is often unusual to be seen as something so easily accepted and I like the message it gives that there is someone out there who doesn’t believe you need changing.  

The end of the volume itself promises progression with both idol devotion and the relationship between Tachibana and Onda so I am looking forward to the next instalment! I would recommend Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! to anyone who wants a bit of fun, light-hearted and cute romance that doesn’t require too much focus to read. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this manga in exchange for an honest review.

Manga Review – Sakura’s Dedication, Vol.1


Sakura’s Dedication
Art & Story by Fuyu Yukimiya
Published by Kodansha Comics
Published on 22 Feb 2022

Sakura’s Dedication is a romance manga with a hint of comedy, that follows Sawa Hanasaki as she navigates a new relationship with the adoring Sakura-san as he keeps confessing his love for her despite her rejections (and later embarrassment). 

I chose to read Sakura’s Dedication as the title page looked fun, sweet and I wanted something with a simple plot to follow. Based on my expectations, Sakura’s Dedication did not disappoint! As a whole, the manga was incredibly wholesome and cute. Showing the shyness and intensity of young love alongside having a simple charm. 

Sakura is an incredibly loveable character, initially rejected for not being Hanasaki’s ‘type’ he persists to confess his love for her and constantly just sprouts affectionate comments to Hanasaki throughout. On the other hand, I also love the characterisation of Hanasaki, as I can relate to her as she constantly struggles to handle Sakura’s compliments and had to adapt to the idea that there is another person who can like her so completely, and has to figure out how to express that like in return. 

The end of the volume itself does not promise anything or leave a cliffhanger, and yet I am so excited to get my hands on the next volume as this tender story is something I want to follow through and see how the characters progress as they get to know each other better. 

I really enjoyed Sakura’s Dedication and would recommend this manga to anyone who is looking for an easy and warm romance that just makes you feel a little mushy inside. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this manga in exchange for an honest review.

2022: February Challenge Summary

Wow, another month gone and I still haven’t done any other posts. I am halfway through a book series review and I promise I will try to get better at this! My challenges are going quite well in my opinion, but let me know what you think of my progress.

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter with the hashtag #RT2022Challenges.

Continuing the layout from January, here are all the challenges I’ve made no progress on at all yet. I’m going to try and pick up anime again in February and obviously I’ll keep grinding on the games:
– Watch 28 Anime Series
– Complete 3 Games
– Platinum 3 Games

Read 40 Books
My books are still going strong this year! I haven’t got through the HON OtherWorld series yet, but I have mini plan for getting through my ‘to read’ pile and I can’t wait to start. My favourite book I read in February has to be Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep.

4 Books in February
Hope For The Best, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #10, Jodi Taylor
Midnight Frost, Mythos Academy #5, Jennifer Estep
Killer Frost, Mythos Academy #6, Jennifer Estep
Plan For The Worst, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #11, Jodi Taylor

Read 15 Manga/Graphic Novels
I finally made a teeny bit of progress on my Manga/Graphic Novel challenge in February one more instalment of No.6.

1 Manga/Graphic Novel in February
No.6, Vol.3, Atsuko Asano & Hinoki Kino

Watch 12 Anime Movies
I kicked off my anime movies this year in February and boy what a film it was! I can’t tell you how much I adore the film Belle and I cannot wait to have it on release (seeing as I already listen to the songs non-stop)

1 Anime Movie in February

Watch 45 Movies
Not a massive movie month in February but it is already on the rise for March. Seeing as I only had the one movie in February, I’d have to say my favourite was The Tinder Swindler.

1 Movie in February
The Tinder Swindler

Watch 45 TV Shows 
TV’s shows are especially strong at the moment. There is plenty of true crime and dramas for me to get stuck into and up the numbers. I think The Puppet Master was my favourite TV Show in February.

4 TV Shows in February
Canada’s Drag Race S01
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman
When Missing Turns To Murder
Kim’s Convenience S02

2022: January Challenge Summary

I can’t believe we’ve already reached February and I haven’t finished a single thing to review yet! So here I am jumping straight into my January Challenges Review. I do have a book series lined up for review, but I’m going to look at the series as a whole rather than each novel so you’ll have to give me a little more time for this. I also have a small travel diary to write up but that might take a little while yet as I need to get the photos out on my Instagram first. 

Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about my start to this year of challenges. I have stormed ahead in some and made absolutely no progress in others, but I guess I still have some time to go 😉

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter with the hashtag #RT2022Challenges.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first, here are all the challenges I’ve made no progress on at all yet. I’m going to try and pick up anime again in February and obviously I’ll keep grinding on the games:
Read 15 Manga/Graphic Novels
– Watch 28 Anime Series
– Watch 12 Anime Movies
– Complete 3 Games
– Platinum 3 Games

Read 40 Books
After my slump last year, I’m super happy with my 2022 books so far! I’m still happily enjoying the Chronicles of St Mary’s, which I’ve almost caught up with now and had a happy surprise with Mythos Academy being really enjoyable. I’m looking forward to reviewing Mythos when I’ve made my way through them all and then I’ll be back on the House of Night Otherworld train with another series review for you all 😊

6 Books in January
Lies, Damned Lies and History, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7, Jodi Taylor
And the Rest is History, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #8, Jodi Taylor  
Kiss of Frost, Mythos Academy #2, Jennifer Estep
Dark Frost, Mythos Academy #3, Jennifer Estep
Crimson Frost, Mythos Academy #4, Jennifer Estep
An Argumentation of Historians, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #9, Jodi Taylor

Watch 45 Movies
Not as strong as a start as last year but still not a bad go for one month I think. After the shock I had from my movie numbers last year, I’m still pretty optimistic about achieving this one. I’m so happy I managed to get myself out to see Spider-Man: No Way Home in January, as it was an amazing film and I’d definitely have the fomo about it if I hadn’t!

4 Movies in January
The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorised Bash Brothers Experience
Spider-Man: No Way Home

The Amazing Spider-Man

Watch 45 TV Shows 
Another pretty solid start I think, easy shows like Kim’s Convenience and Drag Race are going to be popping up quite a lot I think as they are so easy to watch whilst working and studying. I also managed to get through Outer Banks in January which I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it, time to roll on S02! Also, I’m very sad Discovery of Witches is over ☹

4 TV Shows in January
Dynasty S04
Kim’s Convenience S01
Outer Banks S01

A Discovery of Witches S03

2022 Challenges!

I’m going to go for a much shorter intro this year as I really don’t have much to say about 2021. I am however, so happy about all the theatre trips and shows I got to see this year so that’s a bonus.

Anyway, sticking to the short and sweet, here are my challenges for 2022! I think my challenges are much more reasonable this year, upping those I had much too low, have lowered a few of the unachievable ones and kept some the same that I think I slacked on.

  • Read 40 Books
  • Read 15 Manga/Graphic Novels
  • Watch 28 Anime Series
  • Watch 12 Anime Movies
  • Watch 45 Movies
  • Watch 45 TV Shows
  • Complete 5 Games 
  • Platinum 3 Games

So there we are. Once again, no conventions or theatre challenges this year because I don’t want to jinx the freedom we’ve had so far!

If you have any ideas for other additions to the challenges, let me know!  

As before, my challenge progress will be tracked on Twitter using the hashtag #RT2022Challenges

2021 Challenges Review

Challenge recap time! Going into 2021, I was still a bit lost as to what to set numbers wise for my challenges, as I wouldn’t have as much free time (aka Lockdown) as I did in 2020. However, I gave things a good guess and everything is learning curve! I’m now confident I can set some harder (but achievable) challenges for 2022 now. As an overall look at 2021, it was okay. It went quick, I got to back to the theatre, see my friends but it’s also been tough on mentally and physically. I am very much looking forward to hopefully moving on and up in 2022.

Read 40 Books
So, before we start the roundup, I know it’s been a couple months since an update so here are my October, November and December reads:
17 Books in Oct, Nov & Dec
– Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian, Percy Jackson and The Olympians #5, Rick Riordan
– P.S. I Still Love You, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #2, Jenny Han  
– Always and Forever, Lara Jean, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #3, Jenny Han
– Shame the Devil, Twilight Court Series #13, Amy Sumida
– Meant to be Immortal, Argeneau #32, Lynsay Sands
– Mile High with a Vampire , Argeneau #33, Lynsay Sands
– Loved, House of Night Otherworld #1, P.C. Cast
– Lost, House of Night Otherworld #2, P.C. Cast
– Just One Damned Thing After Another, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #1, Jodi Taylor
– A Symphony of Echoes, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #2, Jodi Taylor
– A Second Chance, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #3, Jodi Taylor
– A Trail Through Time, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #4, Jodi Taylor
– No Time Like the Past, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #5, Jodi Taylor
– What Could Possibly Go Wrong, The Chronicles of St Mary’s #6, Jodi Taylor
– The Library of the Dead, Edinburgh Nights #1, T.L. Huchu
– Faeries Gone Wild, Godhunter Series #34, Amy Sumida
– Touch of Frost, Mythos Academy #1, Jennifer Estep

Wow! Okay, so now that’s done let’s look at the totals…Sadly, I only managed to read 34 books in 2021. I know I didn’t manage to reach my target last year so I thought the lower 40 would be much more achievable. I also had to make a last ditch effort in November/December to get the numbers up (as you can probably tell). However, similarly to 2020, I had a rough start at the beginning of the year which put me behind majorly. But alas, I still think 34 is pretty damn good go for the first half/post lockdown year and am looking forward to hopefully smashing this in 2022.

My top reads of 2021 are The St Mary’s Chronicles; an amazing audiobook of mystery and time travel, and Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) as I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much and I was hooked!

Read 20 Manga/Graphic Novels
Again, a couple titles to update from the last few months: 
2 Manga/Graphic Novels in Oct, Nov & Dec
– Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol.2, Gege Akutami
– Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol.3, Gege Akutami

My manga/graphic novel intake was pretty poor in 2021, and honestly I have no excuses. I got to a total of 12 manga/graphic novels in 2021 and seriously need to up my game in 2022! Despite the lack of reading I seem to be doing, it doesn’t stop me from buying so this is deffo one to focus on in the future.

My top manga for 2021 are the Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign instalments as I just love the characters and the world so much!

Watch 25 Anime Series
I didn’t watch any more anime in October, November and December so not too much to look at here. I managed to just hit my target with 25 anime series’ watched in 2021! It’s sad I’ve been in such a slump over the past few months but I’ve still got plenty to be watched and hope 2022 will be a good one.

My top anime(s of 2021 are SK8 the Infinity; full of love and passion and friendship, and both Horimiya for the adorable slice of life goodness.

Watch 10 Anime Movies
Another one that took a last minute effort to reach the complete 10 anime movies of 2022, so here’s my updates to start:
6 Anime Movies in Oct, Nov & Dec
– Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop
– The Cat Returns
– The Garden of Words
– The Secret World of Arrietty
– Flavours of Youth
– Pom Poko

Anime movies was a tough one for me to reach, when I was in the mood for anime I tend to reach for a series and then I’ve been in this massive slump for months which didn’t help. Another one I want to continue pursuing as I have plenty to watch, but not at a massive push.

My top anime movie of 2021 is Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop

Watch 20 Movies

As per every month, the movies rocketed again!
6 Movies in Oct, Nov & Dec
– Cinderella (2021)
– To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
– To All The Boys: Always and Forever
– Lovehard
– Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes
– Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
– tick, tick…BOOM!
– Last Christmas
– Encanto
– Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
– Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald

I cannot believe the amount of movies I have watched compared to what I thought I would watch in 2021. I managed to reach 41 movies in 2021 and honestly the number had potential to be much higher. I am definitely going to be upping this for 2022.

My top movies of 2021 are Paddington and Paddington 2. No questions. I’d die for that bear. And tick, tick…BOOM!

Watch 25 TV Shows 
Time for the catch up!
7 TV Shows in Oct, Nov & Dec
– Sex Educations S01
Sex Educations S02
Sex Educations S0
Married at First Sight UK S06
– YOU S03
– Loki
– A Discovery of Witches S02

Another challenge that surprised me, I lowered both my TV and Movies challenges thinking I wouldn’t have the time for them…boy was I wrong! I hit a total of 38 TV Shows in 2021, some easy binge series, some great fantasy shows and some cracking true crime.

My top shows of 2021 are Gilmore Girls (great, upbeat easy watching), WandaVision (loved the styles and twists) and The Ripper (super interesting and a mad story).

Create 2 New Cosplays
Okay so… short and sweet, I didn’t do this. I made minor progress on my Celestia Ludenburg wig but not much else going on here. 

Complete 5 Games
Games was also slow going for 2021, with no progress towards the end of the month. This isn’t for lack of enjoyment or games to play, I just really struggle to allow myself to sit down and play. I still have Trails of Cold Steel on the go and hope I can finish that up spit spot soon! Overall, I hit a total of 3 completed games in 2021.

My top game for 2021 was Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, all the Danganronpa games are incredible with amazing plot twists and great characters.

Platinum 3 Games
Seeing as I didn’t get all my games done, I think it’s probably unsurprising I didn’t platinum three games either, I did manage to get 2 Platinum Trophies in 2021, so I wasn’t too far off I guess!

That’s all folks! My 2022 Challenges have already been decided, I just need to get it written out and posted in the next few days ☺️

2021: September Challenge Summary

So I’ve just realised we’re already 11 days into October and I haven’t done my September update! Man, the days are just flying by. I think I did pretty well in September with challenges but I’m still super lacking on anime movies. I have some time off work in October, so maybe I’ll get some in then!

Read 40 Books
Still a slow uptake on the books, according to Goodreads I am 12 books behind schedule which is a little daunting, but I think I’m getting a bit quicker with my reading so I’m still trying to stay hopeful for this challenge. 

2 Books in September
– Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse, Percy Jackson and The Olympians #3, Rick Riordan
– Percy Jackson and The Battle of The Labyrinth, Percy Jackson and The Olympians #4, Rick Riordan

Read 20 Manga/Graphic Novels
Again, September gave us a miracle in that I finished two whole mangas! I have access to the Jujutsu Kaisen books on the Libby App so I’m hoping I may get through them a bit quicker than my other book-form mangas (through ease of having it available to me all the time)

2 Mangas/Graphic Novels in September
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. #21, Takaya Kagami & Yamato Yamamoto
– Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol.1, Gege Akutami

Watch 25 Anime Series
The anime slump is still ongoing, but I’m trying hard to get through my stuff from Autumn season as so much is now starting again. Nevertheless, I’ll take anime easy as and when I can.

1 Anime Series in September
– Moriarty the Patriot: Part 2

Watch 10 Anime Movies
Unsurprising, (and once again), no anime movies in September. I really, really, really need to crack on with this and I have no excuses.

Watch 20 Movies
Probably quite a weak movie month for me in September, but not to say I didn’t make progress. I was very against watching Paddington initially but now I can say I love it so much so I definitely got some good additions in!

3 Movies in September
– Paddington
– Paddington 2
Bikram: Yogi, Guru Predator

Watch 25 TV Shows
TV shows will always be a constant to me, and I had a real range of shows to watch in September – from comedy/reality to fantasy, to crime drama – but they were all worthwhile watches for sure.

3 TV Shows in September
– RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars S06
– A Discovery of Witches S01
– Mindhunter S02

Complete 5 Games and Platinum 3 Games
And the surprises keep rolling in!! I FINALLY managed to finish Danganronpa V3 in September!! This game has taken me a long time to finish due to mentality but I just adore this series and I’m so glad (and sad) to have it done and know the story. I need to work on my platinums but I get so distracted by new games or other hobbies I just never seem to get around to them.

1 Completed Game in September
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Anime Review – Backflip!!

Backflip!! (or Bakuten!!) is a sports anime that follows Shoutarou Futaba (a newcomer) and Ryouya Misato (an experienced gymnast) as they join the small Ao High Men’s Rhythmic Gymnastics team. Shoutarou trains hard so he can ‘soar’ (also known as a backflip… get it😉 ). The story follows the team as they bond, learn, train and compete to achieve their shared dreams and passions.

Backflip!! is an anime from ZEXCS based on a manga serialization from Kodansha’s Dessert Magazine, has 12 episodes and is available to stream in the UK on Crunchyroll. An anime film has also be announced to follow the series.

Backflip!! follows a pretty standard plot used in most sports anime, the protagonist joins a new team, the team steadily progresses and they enter into various competitions. However, I am also a total sucker for sports anime and so the simple plot is a welcome break (especially considering all of the heavy shows around at the moment) and makes for a great feel-good watch.

The animation of Backflip!! uses two styles of animation to really portray everything as best as possible, for normal everyday life you can expect that typical animation we all know and love, whilst routines are often shown in a CG/3D style to ensure it can properly portray the movements that come in a sport such as rhythmic gymnastics (flips, handstands, jumps, etc.). I’m not usually a massive fan of this second style, but it worked really well in the context of why it was used and definitely adds to the experience when watching. Both animation styles run seamlessly together to create a smooth and easy to follow show.

With anime, I often find that sports anime is considered a genre in its own right and has its own troupes, etc, that are expected of any sports-related anime. In this sense, Backflip!! totally meets the criteria with the perfect blend of comedy, relationship building and tension (in both the team’s abilities and in competitions). I also found that the anime had a good balance of both wins and losses from the Ao High team, keeping it realistic and therefore allowing the viewer to connect with the characters more.

There is plenty of character development to be seen in Backflip!!, starting with newbie Futaba, who goes from zero to valued member and also quite noticeably Misato who learns how to value and respect his teammates. Simply put, each member of the Ao High team has their own miniature arc and also have distinct personalities, showing the typical feel-good message of ‘anyone can come together through sport!’. I did find that the main rival team Hukumei, had very similar character personalities to the members of the main team, almost like a parallel. This definitely feels like something intentionally done by the creators to give each individual team member their own personal rival within the competition as well. I don’t particularly love this representation, because I like to see how rivalries change as the characters grow and also different interactions between multiple members, however, that’s not to say that I was put off from the show by any means.

Overall, I really enjoyed Backflip!! And am keen to watch the anime movie on release (given it’s a sequel and not a recap). It’s a perfect sports anime to warm the heart.

I rate Backflip!! as an 8 out of 10.

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