Posted on 31 December 2008 with categories: Yearly Summaries

I originally wanted to wait with posting this until Porfy no Nagai’s final episode got released, but its time is nearly running out here. The Share-uploaders have a very cruel sense of humour: out of all the episodes they could have picked to delay, it became that one. In any case, here’s the second half to my review of 2008.

Most Pleasant Surprise

Kaiba

Well, here’s a no-brainer. When I wrote my preview (apologies for the lack of images there), I originally ignored this series, mistaking it for a simple kiddie show. Then when it was finally time for the show to air, it totally blew me away. Other nice surprises this year were Chi’s Sweet Home (never knew that cats can be so awesome) and Blassreiter (which for a Gonzo action series turned out to be actually really good).

Best Action

Bonen no Xamdou

This was a tough one to decide, as there wasn’t exactly one series that really stood out in the action-department. Blassreiter featured some amazing fast-paced camera work because of the CG, the very few fight scenes of Real Drive were detailed and exciting, and Shikabane Hime featured some great typical Gainax-action scenes. But I guess that none of them really is able to beat Bonen no Xamdou: amazingly detailed animation, an amazing soundtrack and characters made for the best action scenes I watched this year.

Best Comedy

Gintama

Obviously, Gintama takes this award for the second year in a row. It’s not just funny, it’s been funny for nearly 100 episodes, and it still simply getting better and better. Runner-ups as Hyakko, Skip Beat and Chi’s Sweet Home may have been hilarious, but they still just didn’t match up to some of the most hilarious episodes of Gintama this year.

Best Old Series I Happened to See This Year

Mysterious Cities of Gold

Yeah, so what if the series is already 26 years old. It’s still everything an adventure series should be: a fast non-linear pacing, original setting, there’s always something going on. The cast of characters was awesome, especially Mendoza was brilliant, and it’s got to have the best soundtrack of any anime of the seventies and eighties. Runner up is Air (more than simply a bittersweet series).

Best Character-Development

Porfy no Nagai Tabi

Yeah, it’s probably no big surprise that a WMT-series is running off with this award again. This series has 52 episodes of nearly pure development in not just Porfy, but every other important character of the series, making them feel not only incredibly real, but also extremely dynamic, with lots of different sides. Especially Porfy is an excellently rounded character, and it’s an award well-earned. Runners up include Saiunkoku Monogatari (obviously) and in terms of shorter series: Blade of the Immortal (the growth of Rin, and the bond between her and Manji is definitely memorable).

Best Animation

Bonen no Xamdou

I can’t really give this one to Macross Frontier. Sure, it had a huge budget, but nevertheless the characters art kept looking inconsistent. A good use of messy animation would be something like Kurenai: things didn’t always flow well, but it was nevertheless full of life and detail. The only series that managed to beat Kurenai in that aspect this year was Bonen no Xamdou: the animation shined in everything through the series, and the creators really managed to pay attention to some small details. While not as good as the series that got this award last year (Seirei no Moribito), the work that the animators did on Bonen no Xamdou remains very impressive.

Best Script

Casshern Sins

From the outside, Casshern’s individual episodes seem like mere fillers, and yet the creators manage to use the time of each episode to the full potential through imaginative dialogues that get the best out of each characters. The scripts of the runners-up as Amatsuki and Mouryou no Hako was also very impressive.

Most Imaginative Setting

Kaiba

This is an award that I didn’t hand out last year, but I decided to include it this time for the series that have spent a significant amount of time to flesh out the world they’re set in, with the key word being imagination. Real Drive is an excellent example of this, with the vision of the world in sixty years it tried to create. Bonen no Xamdou also has some excellent ideas that are hidden in its setting, from the Xam’d designs to the imaginative locations that the series visits. But yeah, none of them can match up to Kaiba: there was hardly anything about the series that didn’t feel imaginative.

Best Slice of Life

Mokke

The definition of Slice of Life is of course a bit ambiguous, as it can mean different things depending on how you look at it. Still, I consider the daily lives of Shizuru and Mizuki to be part of the genre, and the combination of the two of them made for a compelling slice of life drama, with both parts equally interesting.

Best Thought-Provoking Anime

Mouryou no Hako

Runner-ups as Kaiba (questions what it means to have a body) and Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae (never afraid to be completely politically incorrect and yet it’s very critical of this) were already very interesting, but none of them really match up to the dialogues of Mouryou no Hako. There’s always something going on, and even when the characters aren’t discussing the plot, they’re delving into some sort of topic that vaguely has something to do with it, in order to flesh it out.

Best Supporting Character

Vanilla – Kaiba

The guy remains a total bastard for some of the things he did, but you can’t help but love the guy as the story unfolds. His quirks were a lot of fun, and also the serious scenes around him were downright awesome. The runners-up for this category probably are the side-casts of Amatsuki and Shion no Ou: thanks to them, there always was something interesting going on in their respective series.

Best Male Character

Akihiko Chuzenji – Mouryou no Hako

A bit of a strange choice, but let me try to explain. In 2008, there wasn’t really a male character that stood out for me in a way like: “Yes! He’s going to be the best male character of the year!”, so I had to turn to the runner-ups: characters that didn’t stand out per se, but nonetheless were excellent to watch. Those were Gintoki (Gintama, whenever he appears you know you’re going to crack up), Watanuki (xxxHOlic, I really liked how his character grew through the second season) and Akihiko. While we hardly know anything about him, compared to other characters in other series, the guy has an air of presence, similar to Ginko of Mushishi.

Best Female Character

Shion – Shion no Ou

When I watched the series, Shion struck me as a very headstrong character, despite all of the things that she had to cope with. She grew into an absolutely adorable one by the end of the series, and it was always fun to watch her rise in the tournament. Runner-ups are Minamo (RD Sennou Chousashitsu, a downright lovable character) and Hatchin (Michiko e Hatchin, sarcastic, independent and awesome to watch).

Best Mystery

Mouryou no Hako

Since mystery is one of my favourite genres, I was a bit let-down by 2007 due to the very small amount of good mystery-series in that year, but thankfully 2008 came back with some excellent series of the genre. Kurozuka was simple, yet effective, and Kaiba made optimal use of the unknown in creating its downright awesome storyline. Still, Mouryou no Hako gets this award for me, due to the sheer complexity and creativity of all the weird things that happen throughout the series. The questions are satisfying, but the eventual answers even more.

Best Drama

Shion no Ou

It’s always a bit vague what really belongs in this category, since nearly all anime has some sort of drama. The best drama I watched this year came from Shion no Ou, though. It was powerful, and yet never really melodramatic.

Best Story

Kaiba

Even though it only had 12 episodes, in those episodes Kaiba accomplished what most other series can’t even do in 26 of them. Kaiba’s story is complex, multi-layered and continuously interesting. Runners-up: Mouryou no Hako, Shion no Ou, Bonen no Xamdou.

Top 20 Anime of 2008: #10 – #1

#10: xxxHOlic: Kei

A very worthy successor to the original xxxHolic series. While the series was a bit short and the Kohane-arc disappointed a bit, the beginning and ending were downright excellent, and definitely the best stories that the series has shown us thus far. Even with the many crossovers to Tsubasa Chronicle in the manga, this series still kept its identity as an anime about modern folklore, and I really enjoyed it.

#9: Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino

Perhaps a controversial entry on this list, since according to many people it ruined the first season. I, however, don’t care, since the story was downright excellent. Artland’s adaptation was definitely different, yet at the same time a very enjoyable series, with an especially haunting cast of characters.

#8: Amatsuki

Amatsuki is one of the two big “lots of talking”-series this year. Still, it worked really well, not only because of the depth of the dialogue, but also the strength of the storytelling and characters. At times it may have been a bit difficult as a raw-watcher to understand what went on, but nevertheless it was one of the highlights of the past spring season.

#7: Ghost Hound

2008 may have been a relatively bad year for Production IG, but none of this reflected in Ghost Hound. It’s a unique series with its extreme emphasis on sound effects and psychology, but nevertheless it was a very interesting series to watch, and it did the seemingly impossible by making a bunch of teenaged brats into excellent characters.

#6: Porfy no Nagai Tabi

Ah, the latest World Masterpiece Theatre series. Unlike Les Miserables, it didn’t have an enormous story to work with, and instead it was a simple travelling series, but it put such an amazing amount of detail into just about everything. Porfy and Mina are some of the most rounded characters of the year due to their non-stop development, and I haven’t even mentioned the amazing background art yet.

#5: Bonen no Xamdou

Really, if there was some sort of book called “the ultimate guide to writing a good story”, then Bonen no Xamdou would be mentioned everywhere in it. It never takes anything for granted and slowly builds up just about everything that might be important to the storyline later on. There are no forced climaxes, and yet the attention to detail is amazing.

#4: Himitsu ~ The Revelation

If Madhouse’s domination in this year’s anime wasn’t already obvious enough: 3 of my top 4 series come from them. Himitsu had a concept with so much potential handed to it, and it used this to deliver one awesome series during the past spring-season. It was delightfully unpredictable: you never knew what the next story would be focusing on, or whether an episode would be simply entertaining or downright awesome. I also really grew to like the cast of characters more and more, and especially the series’ final quarter was one hit after the other.

#3: Mouryou no Hako

Mouryou no Hako really took me by surprised. Before it aired, I was almost certain that nothing would be able to beat Amatsuki this year in terms of complex dialogues, and then this series came and either equalled or even surpassed it in just about every aspect. Even though the series is filled with dialogues, the creators also succeeded in a very subtle chemistry between the characters, and wasted no moment to further flesh out its cast through either this dialogue or through their expressions. Clamp’s character-designs and the very solid production values made it continuously pleasing to look at, and the plot itself also was really well written.

#2: Kaiba

This year I again had a lot of difficulty choosing my number one. Both Kaiba and my number one pick for 2008 were downright incredible and just as good -if not better- than my top picks of 2007, though in the end I put this one on number 2 because of its rushed ending. Apart from that, though, this series felt like one that was its time far ahead. Masaaki Yuasa succeeded in delivering by far his best work. It’s series like this one that show the beauty of experimental series to its fullest.

#1: Shion no Ou

In the end, I really have to give my top pick of the year to Shion no Ou, the only series of 2008 to make it in my top 10. I hardly knew anything about Shougi, and yet it turned into an awesome series that managed to exploit the tournament setting to its fullest. The awesome cast of characters also made nearly every episode a success and the addictive pacing never let any episode get anywhere near boring. The animation was also daring, but ultimately it gave the series a unique and excellent look. I’m hoping to run into more series like this one in 2009.

Okay, that was it from me for 2008. A happy new year everyone, and the best wishes for 2009!

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Mouryou no Hako


The past fall season aired a lot of good and great series, but none of them was as good as this series: Mouryou no Hako, Madhouse’s latest masterpiece. This is one series that did just about everything right. Obviously it’s not for those who don’t like people talking over and over again, but it’s perfect for those who are looking for mature and complex anime. This is how mystery should be done!

I honestly can’t recall any other anime apart from a Mamoru Oshii-production that puts more emphasis on talking as this one. The series follows a string of bizarre murders, and the people who try to solve it. This whole mystery is multi-layered, it’s full of flashbacks and references, you’ll never know when something that passes the screen is important for the future. There are lots of scenes that don’t necessarily have any direct meaning, but instead are there to flesh out the setting or throw the viewer on a side-track, and yet the series itself never loses track of its goals, and everything comes together in the end in one of the best endings I’ve seen.

Another big selling-point of the series is its cast of characters. They hardly get as much screen time or background as your average anime, and yet they’re utterly amazing. The animation knows exactly what it needs to do to show their subtle movements and gestures in order to flesh them out while many other things happen, and the background that’s there is meaningful and has a huge impact. Every character has his or her own distinctive presence, with the best ones being Kanako and Akihiko, both for very, very different reasons. The entire cast is colourful and a delight to watch, despite the huge amounts of talking within this series.

Also, if you thought that shows as Code Geass is disturbing, then you haven’t seen anything yet. I refuse to spoil anything here, but like a few other Madhouse productions, this series breaks taboo after taboo. This is nothing near your average tame detective story.

Then the visuals: they look utterly incredible. Especially in the beginning episodes and episodes, the characters all look crisp and very detailed. The animators throw the most beautiful shots and visual effects at the viewer. Combine that with an awesome soundtrack, and you’ve got some amazing production values.

The only possible turn-off is, like mentioned above, the large amounts of talking: if you don’t like it, then it’s going to be hard to enjoy this series. There are two particular consecutive episodes, where nothing else happens apart from three guys, sitting in a room and talking to each other. This anime isn’t afraid to take risks, even though it might turn off some people.

So overall, this has been an amazing series. The script is fresh and creative and has a huge impact. There’s a lot of symbolism, both visual and in the storyline, and an excellent recommendation for those who look for a short mature series. The storytelling is strong yet subtle, and it’s yet another masterpiece by Madhouse.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Mouryou no Hako





Short Synopsis: It’s finally time to reveal who is the real culprit behind this series.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 9/10 (Fantastic)
What an awesome way to close off 2008! I must say, this episode was absolutely incredible. It was the best episode of Mouryou no Hako yet, it had some of the best visuals of all the series I watched in 2008, it’s the second-most disturbing episode of 2008 and it has without a doubt the best ending of 2008, and in fact one of the best endings I’ve ever seen. Oh my god, how everything came together in the end!

So in the end, the culprit was Amemiya. I’m pretty surprised that I forgot this myself, but amongst all the clues that were thrown around, two of them pointed at the real culprit really clearly: the time when Kiba saw him outside of the research institute: he was trying to get Kanako’s limbs back, though didn’t take into account that Kiba would be there. Then, later as we saw Kanako lying in bed, it was indeed he who was watching her from the peek in the door. He then met Suzaki, who just smuggled Kanako’s head outside and killed him, taking away her head. It then seems that he met Kubo in the train, and showed him Kanako’s head, JUST LIKE IN THE STORY. It turns out that the story from Sekiguchi was from Kubo! Kubo then became jealous and wanted to create something like that too, not realizing that it took some advanced science to keep her alive in that state and… ah, forget the bloody summary, Hayase does a much better job at it.
And I must say that this is one disturbing story! Mimasaka slept with his actress daughter and got her freaking pregnant! People chopping up girls’ bodies, keeping them alive and distributing their limbs all over the country.

I must say, that of the past fall season, Mouryou no Hako has definitely been the best series of all airing shows. I already was convinced of that after the previous episode, and then it came with this episode. Even though Casshern Sins, Michiko to Hatchin and Bonen no Xamdou are already amazing, they’re going to have to be really good in order to be able to top this one. I realize how much of a hassle this series is to translate, but it would be such a shame if this gem would remain unsubbed.

My only question left is: what happened to Amemiya and Kanako’s body? Were they found? Did they disappear?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


Well, time for a quick review about another very obscure OVA from a few years ago. It’s basically about fifteen minutes ling, and what you’d call a minimalist anime: there’s no real animation, but instead the story is told by showing a number of drawings in quick succession, combined with sound effects, a bit of music here and there and two voice-actors. The result is a nice way to spend 15 minutes.

What’s especially nice is that the short starts with one big question-mark, and as it goes on it gradually starts explaining itself, until everything makes sense at the end. There’s a continuous haunting atmosphere, and especially the few fights simply delve into the surreal. The characters aren’t anything special, but so what? Who cares, it’s only fifteen minutes.

I like these kinds of short movies that only take up such a relatively short time. They’re able to experiment a lot with different animation techniques and concepts, which would be too risky for full fledged movies or even TV-series. Things as Genius Party, Robot Carnival or individual shots as Atama Yama, She and her Cat and Comedy. They lack the time to fully flesh out their storyline and characters, but nevertheless, they’re all interesting to watch. G-9 seems to be part of the GA-Nime franchise, and I hope to see the rest of it subbed some day.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on 30 December 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


A modern Japanese cruiser that somehow through some strange cosmic reason travels back in time to 1942. Of course, for these sorts of premises it’s easy to simply fall into a “let’s use this chance to show those American pigs how superior we are”-formula, though it’s one that Zipang does pretty well at avoiding these clichés. Instead, it becomes an intense and thought-provoking war-drama.

The interesting thing is that despite this being a series about the Second World War, there’s hardly anyone that’s really portrayed as a bad guy, apart from a number of high Japanese officials who hardly ever get any screen-time. This series isn’t looking to provide excuses for what happened back then, but instead focuses on completely different issues: if you had the power to prevent the loss of thousands of lives, yet this involved a radical change of history in who knows what kind of direction, would you do it? And what do we people who have lived in these times of peace, know about what being in a real war is like?

It’s a surprisingly intense series, and what makes it so interesting is that every single character has a different view on the events that happen through the series. Everyone has different ideals and priorities, which quite often clash with each other. Characters like Kusaka, Yonai and Kikuchi and their ideals are a delight to watch.

As for downsides, this series showed me why Studio Deen’s series hardly ever feature any major use of CG: they’re just not good at it. They were unable to evade it with this series, and the CG-warships look pretty fake. It’s a shame, because the characters look excellent and down to earth, not to mention the terrific soundtrack. Then there’s also that final episode: it’s rushed, doesn’t really solve anything, and simply stops at a point where the manga went further. Sure, I can understand that the series was planned for 26 episodes, and that the manga’s storyline simply doesn’t fit in such a length, but at least some kind of closure would have been preferred.

Overall, Zipang is for those who are looking for series about realistic warfare, which lacks humanoid mecha and instead focuses on traditional military weaponry. In fact, most of the action here is psychological warfare, rather than fast-paced and flashy dogfights. Thumbs up to Kazuhiro Furuhashi, the director of Chevalier, Amatsuki and Rurouni Kenshin Tsuiokuhen.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

Well, it’s the time of the year again for the obligatory posts that look back at the highlights (and some of the lowlights) of the past year. This time, I decided to split this entry in two halves, otherwise the list would simply become too huge. I’ll post the second half tomorrow, after Porfy no Nagai Tabi and Mouryou no Hako finish.

Overall, what has struck me the most about 2008 is the surprising amount of series that just took up 13 episodes. When compared to previous years, there was a much bigger share of series that just went on for one single season, or that divided its airtime up in multiple of those short seasons. It’s perhaps because of this that there weren’t as much top-tier series as in previous years, and yet at the same time the average quality of the series that aired did rise, and this year had a fine selection of outstanding series.

Biggest Disappointment

Nijuu Mensou no Musume

Disappointments are the worst if created from high expectations, and that’s exactly what happened for me with this series. It went so well during the first half, the premise was intriguing, the plot twists kept you guessing, and then it all went down the drain because of that lacklustre final arc. Such a shame. Also disappointing were Hatenkou Yuugi (promising manga ruined by downright lazy staff members) and Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei (went from absolutely hilarious to incredibly dull in just one season, but then again it had it coming).

Worst First Episode

Akikan

At the start of December, I was certain that I would be handing out this award to Bihada Ichizoku, the cheesy shoujo series that was advertising make-up products to young kids. Then KissXSis and Akikan aired, surpassing even that one in terms of badness with their ridiculous premises. In the end, Akikan gets the award because of the most pathetic excuse to get a guy and a girl to kiss each other.

Worst Series

Chocolate Underground

Of course, this only goes for series that I managed to finish. Who knows, perhaps Bihada Ichizoku became the best thing since sliced bread after its first episode? In any case, this one pretty much goes to Chocolate Underground. I kept watching it because I had faith in Production IG, and I’d like to thank this series for destroying that faith…

Best Cheese

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Um, yeah. I just had to include this series somehow. ^^; There’s good cheese and bad cheese. I’m not going to deny that Suteki Tantei Labyrinth was bad at times; it really had some horrible parts, and yet it never ceased to be amusing, especially the second half was just full of weirdness and delicious cheese.

Most Promising Studio

P.A. Works

In 2008, these guys for the first time went and produced a series of their own, rather than simply assisting random projects. The result was True Tears, a very solid romance series with equally excellent animation. If their future projects are as solid as that one, then these guys are something to watch out for.

Best ED

“Candy Line” by Hitomi Takahashi – Gintama

There were not many EDs that stood out for me this year. The ones that did the most were Mission E (way too much sweetness and yet somehow it worked), Shikabane Hime (Excellent vocals and nice imagery) and Gintama’s fifth ED: an excellent song, that also succeeds in putting its cast into a completely different setting and making it actually seem plausible. No really, Gintama: The High School Days would actually have lots of potential.

Best Movie 2006/2007

Kara no Kyoukai – Remaining Sense of Pain

I didn’t watch that many movies this year, so I don’t have many choices for this one. I’ve yet to see Ponyo and the Sky Crawlers, which I suspect would have gotten this award if I did. Still, the third Kara no Kyoukai movie was a good movie, with excellent visuals and a nice story to keep the viewer busy for an hour.

Best Suspense Series

Himitsu ~The Revelation

In terms of Suspense, Himitsu really was the best this year. A number of episodes was simply mind-boggling. The creators knew exactly how to keep the viewer’s interests, revealing just enough information at a time while keeping the viewer hungry for more. Also excellent in this depart are Kurozuka and the third season of Jigoku Shoujo.

Best OP

Mononoke Dance – Hakaba Kitarou

Lots of great OPs this year, but the best of them definitely was the one from Hakaba Kitarou. It’s a funky song, and the comic-book effect that pays homage to the original Gegege no Kitarou manga really works. Other series with great OPs this year include Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei (so the show went pretty downhill, but at least the opening rocked), Ultraviolet (surprisingly good Engrish), Mokke (just cute), Shikabane Hime (great vocalist) and Kaiba (haunting). I was also going to list Kurozuka, but then again, that’s basically a song you get when you drink too much and happen to be near a recording studio…

Best Romance

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora

This was a tough award to decide, since I’m usually not that much into romance, although there were a few series that really stood out. Porfy no Nagai Tabi had a very strong episode dedicated to it, and Saiunkoku Monogatari and True Tears also were really good in this aspect. Still, in the end the best has to be Natsu no Sora, with its incredibly subtle storytelling that really shows the best and most natural form of romance, rather than the overblown and overly cheesy one.

The This-Needs-A-Sequel-So-Badly Award

Amatsuki

Gunslinger Girl, Blade of the Immortal and Amatsuki: three excellent series that have so much potential left if they receive another season. The most annoying is Amatsuki, though. It really ended just as things were getting good, and it’s a Studio Deen-series: it usually makes sequels for every one of its series that needs one, APART FROM THIS ONE.

Best Background Art

Porfy no Nagai Tabi

Sorry Macross Frontier, you may have a very amazing backgrounds here and there, but in no way did it match up to Porfy no Nagai Tabi: every single episode treated us with the most amazing and detailed backgrounds, perfectly representing the area that Porfy was in at the time, and it did so for fifty-two consecutive episodes.

Best Music

Blade of the Immortal

And for the third year in a row a Bee-Train series walks away with this award. It’s not as much overkill as in last year with El Cazador, though. The soundtrack from Himitsu, Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino, Kaiba and Bonen no Xamdou were also simply awesome, but Blade of the Immortal’s soundtrack really delves in the surreal at times. It’s completely unpredictable and will work on many people’s nerves, and yet for me it strangely really worked.

Best Animation Studio

MadHouse

No question possible here. Sure, they may have had a few screw-ups here and there, but some of the strongest series of the year came from their hands. In this year, they’ve proven to create a wide variety of different series with imaginative premises and excellent executions. Runners up for me were Studio Deen and Nippon Animation. I’d love to list Production IG with them, but for that to happen they really need to break their ties with Trans Arts…

Best Horror

Ghost Hound

With horror, I obviously mean the Japanese psychological kind, that tries to capture the viewer with intense storytelling, rather than lots of scary images (anime never was that scary anyway). The best horror this year came from Ghost Hound for me, since I absolutely loved the way it emphasized sound effects to create its creepy atmosphere. The other excellent horror shows this year were of course Kurozuka (combining horror with action) and Hakaba Kitarou (combining it with comedy).

Best-Looking Graphics

Casshern Sins

For this category, I’m not looking for animation quality, but simply a series that “looks good”. Madhouse was very good in this department this year: Himitsu ~The Revelation~ was a visual feast, despite the at first sight simple character-designs, and Kaiba too looked very original. Outside of the studio, Michiko e Hatchin also had lots of eye candy, but I’m going to give this award to Casshern Sins, the series with definitely the best character-designs of the year, and the architecture of some of the buildings also looks downright gorgeous.

Top 20 Anime of 2008: #20 – #11

#20: Saiunkoku Monogatari

This series isn’t as high on the list as usual, due to the constant hiatuses that the series kept taking and that it ended at the point where the juicy part was only about to begin. Still, despite that the series’ final episodes were great at building up, and making every character count despite the already huge cast of new and old characters.

#19: Blade of the Immortal

This turned out to be an experimental series, where Bee-Train was trying out a few new things here and there. The result was a series witha number of creative and interesting fights, surrounding a very enjoyable leading couple. The only shame is that there still isn’t some sort of second season announced.

#18: Hakaba Kitarou

Combine horror with comedy. You just have to think of it. Hakaba Kitarou stood out in the past winter season as a series with incredible amounts of imagination stuffed into it. The different goons that Kitarou would run into were all fun to watch, and it made this series nothing like its Gegege-counterparts.

#17: Natsume Yuujin-Chou

Brains Base have proven themselves yet again to be a high-quality animation studio. Natsume Yuujin-Chou is the perfect summer series, with a calm atmosphere, and yet very impressive episodic stories and characters. Not to mention the awesome Nyanko-sensei.

#16: Michiko e Hatchin

Anime that are set outside of Japan are already a minority, but setting a series in South America is nearly unheard of (I can only recall two other series that did the same, but both are more than twenty years old at this point). Michiko to Hatchin may have only just started, but it’s already an engaging and true to life series, with a staggering contrast between on one side the cute adventures of a ten year old, and on the other side the brutal and complex inner struggles of gang wars.

#15: Gintama

As usual, Gintama is the best comedy on this list. What makes this series so special, and a step above 95% of all other comedies is that it’s not just funny, but it’s been funny for NEARLY 100 EPISODES ALREADY, and the series is just getting better and better. Not to mention that the best moments of the series actually aren’t the comedy-ones, but the moments when the serious storylines pop up, filled with manly tears.

#14: Crystal Blaze

This year, I became a big fan of the kind of short series that don’t try to go extremely deep, and simply want to tell an interesting story or create a nice atmosphere. These shows were Ultraviolet, Kurozuka and Crystal Blaze, of which I enjoyed Crystal Blaze the most. From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special, and yet it succeeded in making optimal use of its short length by providing a thriller. It was a lot of fun to watch from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m including this series on this list.

#13: RD Sennou Chousashitsu

So it had a few balance issues, but nevertheless RD Sennou Chousashitsu or Real Drive did succeed in creating a very imaginative view of what the world would look like in sixty years time. The genre combination between slice of life and science fiction really worked and it was overall a very interesting series.

#12: Casshern Sins

If this series would already have been finished, I just know that it would have ranked even higher on this list. Casshern Sins has already proven to have an excellent sense of storytelling. The individual episodes may be episodic, but they’re masterful in fleshing out the characters that appear in them. It’s a very emotionally powerful series, which you wouldn’t suspect from a series that is about robots.

#11: Mokke

Yeah, this series completely sold me with its heart warming and sappy atmosphere. It’s not the first time where we have a series where the lead characters interact with youkai, but Mokke did it with personality. Mizuki and Shizuru were just too cute to not watch.

Well, so that’s the first half of the list, the rest follows tomorrow. In the meantime: what were your favourites of 2008?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


I remember how I one had a very strange bias against sports anime. I’m still not sure exactly why it was, but after watching shows as One Outs and Princess Nine, this bias is completely gone. Princess Nine makes baseball look fun.

You shouldn’t go into this series as a baseball-fan, however. At heart, this is a typical shoujo series about a bunch of characters who simply happen to play baseball. If you want baseball action, you should go and watch One Outs. Princess Nine is really about its characters. To give you an indication: episodes 1 to 20 only feature two official baseball matches. The rest of the time is really used to flesh out the cast, and give them depth. It’s a formula that works surprisingly well, although it’s not the most perfect execution.

Nevertheless, the creators succeeded in bringing an entire baseball team alive, including coach and manager. What especially shines is the series’ team spirit, as a baseball team that’s made up of girls tries to break through in a male dominated sport. It’s very well explained: while overblown a bit, but if you take talent from the entire country and gather it in one team, then you’ve got a pretty strong team that’s able to compete with males in a professional level.

The problem with this series come from its shoujo roots. The creators just love to let things play out like a soap opera, by throwing in lots of dramatic plot twists whenever they can. Think of random punks that arrive, just before a male and female character are about to meet each other, and especially the love triangle between the main characters gets a bit too melodramatic as the series goes on.

The series’ finale is without a doubt the weakest point of this series: not only does the love triangle really get in the way of everything that makes the series good, but the creators also tried to stuff an entire tournament in only four episodes. There’s no way to make these short matches have any impact, and so every unnamed player becomes a total noob, rather than the formidable opponents that they were portrayed as in the earlier parts of the series. I also think that the creators made the powers of their female lead a bit too powerful, up to the point that she only throws weak balls when she’s feeling lovesick, rather than standing against powerful opponents.

Nevertheless, I really liked this series, if only because of the downright awesome soundtrack. The creators managed to get the Warshaw Philharmonic Orchestra to perform for this series, and it shows: the soundtrack is rich, varied and epic. The series is most definitely overblown, but the characters nevertheless remain lovable, and of the kind that you can’t help but root for, despite that the matches themselves are perhaps a bit predictable.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on 29 December 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Blade of the Immortal


Blade of the Immortal is Bee-Train’s latest series, based on the rumoured excellent manga of the same name. It’s a series that’s definitely not for everyone, especially fans of the manga who are hoping to see a faithful adaptation, neither is it for those who have a very slim taste in music. However, if you’re looking for a number of well-coordinated fights and engaging characters, then you’re at the right address.

The series basically follows an immortal samurai (Manji), helping a weak but determined young girl (Rin) in exacting revenge on the death of her parents. What makes this series especially worth watching is the growth of Rin, as she questions what it means to take revenge, and whether it’s going to be worth it, and what her purpose is if she just keeps going to be rescued by Manji. In only 13 episodes, she grows into a strong character, despite her weak physique. Manji himself doesn’t exactly grow too much, but instead the creators manage to flesh him out really well in a relatively short amount of time, and he becomes a fun and interesting character to watch.

Fights also form a large part in this series, and for those who were afraid that Bee-Train has lost the ability to create good action-scenes, this series is there to prove them wrong. It’s daring, but the creators decided to go for an experimental animation style for the battles. The characters look fairly normal, and the animation budget isn’t particularly high either, but the series is full of interesting and creative camera-angles and poses. Overall, it’s a really nicely choreographed series.

But the biggest experimental feature of this series is the music. Bee-Train was already know as the studio with awesome music, but they carry that even further with this series: the soundtrack is unlike anything ever heard in an anime series. Kou Otani managed to produce an incredibly varied piece of work that feels incredibly random, yet somehow works. It’s a soundtrack you’ll either love or hate.

The biggest weakness of this series? It’s too damn short! The series ends just at the point where the series is done warming up, and there’s so much potential left in it that it would be a huge shame not to have some sort of second season. Blade of the Immortal is an excellent horror-series that may not be really faithful to the original manga, but nevertheless managed to create an excellent atmosphere.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Blade of the Immortal



Short Synopsis: Rin tells Manji about who she met last episode.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
Okay, so this felt absolutely nothing like an ending. The final battle? A sparring match between Rin and Manji. This episode was much more about the side-characters, and actually introduced much more than that it wrapped up. Is this really the end of the Blade of the Immortal anime? I most definitely hope not!

The most important event of this episode was the death of Taito’s sister, through the hands of Shira. It seems that he is indeed working together with Hyakurin and Giichi to get rid of the Ittou-Ryuu. The question now remains whether we’re ever going to see that one animated. This episode also shows how Rin comes to accept that she’s weak, and that she wishes to improve (hence the sparring match between her and Manji at the end).

But what I loved most about this episode is that the music really went all out on this episode. The soundtrack of this series is truly original, even though many people will dislike it. The wide variety of instruments and mood changes felt awesome.

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Akikan

Short Synopsis: Our lead character turns a can in a cute girl (no, really).
Chance of me Blogging: 0% (No way in Hell)
So, this is an early start to the upcoming Winter-season, and I hope that this isn’t some sort of premonition, because oh my god. The creators of harem anime are getting desperate here. To what kinds of depths do you have to sink to create an anime about cans that turn into girls, for goodness’ sake?! Out of all the uninspired premises I have seen this year, this has got to be one of the worst ones. On top of that, the dialogues are very poorly pasted together. Still, I admit that it made me chuckle one or twice. Still, the comedy is one thing, but the drama in this episode was downright abysmal. It was forced, non-sensical and way too cheesy for its own good. I can really see that lesbian in love with the lead character by the end of the series…

Maria Holic

Short Synopsis: Our lead character enters a prestigious high school.
Chance of me Blogging: 10% (Very slim)
If you’re wondering about the “Chance of Blogging”-bits, it was requested, and I personally think it as appropriate as well, rather than those ambiguous episode ratings that were quite inaccurate the last time I used them. In any case, Maria Holic started out incredibly dull: the character-designs are bland and uninspired, the maid feels out of place, and the concept of a girl entering a prestigious high school has been done many times before. Then, however a nice twist in the second half made the show a bit more interesting, and at least the second half enjoyable. My fear is just that I’m not sure whether the premise is large enough to fill 12 episodes. The cast still feels most like stereotypes. Also, even though this seems to be a Shinbo-series, it feels like the blandest thing that he’s managed to produce since Tsukuyomi Moon Phase. What this series needs to do is develop the characters beyond their stereotypes, but we already know that Shinbo is simply not good at that.

Kurokami The Animation

Short Synopsis: Our lead character lives in a city where trucks like to hit people.
Chance of me Blogging: 20% (Only if the rest of the season is baaad)
With a title as “Kurokami”, I pretty much guessed that it would involve somehow around a female character with black hair, and indeed: that was spot-on. What we have here is again a seemingly random guy who meets a mysterious girl and gets involved with a huge plot. What’s interesting about it is the concepts of doppelgangers. I’m not sure about everyone with a doppelganger being hit by a truck, but there’s nevertheless a lot of potential with such a concept. The show also featured a number of pretty and varied background arts, so that’s all good. What wasn’t so interesting was that female lead… The male lead is actually pretty decent: he has a lot on his mind with the death of his mother, but he doesn’t seem like an idiot and instead is curious. The female lead was very annoying, however. The main villain also seemed too much like a “Muahaha, look at me: I’m evil because I’m evil!”-villain, which also could cause lots of problems for this series in the future.

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
So we got to rely on fansubs for it when it's airing.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Nope. I think because netflix only puts up full seasons they are only planning to put it up when it's finished airing. Or when it's dubbed.
SuperMario
But how does the Netflix thing work? So of I have a Netflix account I can watch the show weekly?
SuperMario
@Aidan: that's a dumb way to do things really because unless you watch the show weekly, everyone gonna forget that it even exist. Just look at Re-Life last year
Lenlo
thought*. Words are hard.

Eventually found the actual first ep though and enjoyed it.
Lenlo
Was funny. I tried to find the first Ep for Little Witch, found original short made afew years ago, watched it and though "This is very similar to the original... Whats new".
AidanAK47
Little witch is one of the best shows this season and yet I can't get subtitles because Netflix doesn't release shows weekly. Motherf*cker.
Lenlo
Ore Monogatari I enjoyed. It was a nice romance that actually explored what happens after the confession. Also the 2 leads are just precious.
Lenlo
Alright but unmemorable seems like a good summation.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: one good thing about Seiren is if you don't like this romance, the whole thing gonna reset after episode 4 so there's a chance that you might end up like it. Agreed that the comedy wasn't very good. Alright but unmemorable
SuperMario
@Topgavin: I watched like first 3 episodes and stopped because I didn't have much time there, but I enjoyed what I saw. A well-written and endearing show in my book
Topgavin
Has anyone here watched Ore Monogatari before? Because in the 4 years I've watched anime, I've never heard of it (I guess it did come out 2 years ago) and yet it's turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Always great going into a show expecting nothing and getting pleasantly surprised.
AidanAK47
Only one more impression to go. Should have it up tomorrow.
Lenlo
Im really not feeling Seiren. Its "comedy" isnt for me and I just dont find it very enjoyable to watch so far. Im curious if it gets any better but 2 episodes in it just isnt that good.
HelghastKillzone
That ending scene is an entire side-story compressed into that. Don't expect anymore of it from here on out as the it sticks to ruthless military/fantasy pretty well.
LookingForKeys
@Topgavin I think it was good, making it the second episode. That way the first set up the world the story will be in, and showed how much of a monster the "little girl" really is right at the end, and then made ep.2 the explanation. Nothing against Tanya trying to rip "God" a new one.
That after-credits scene, though...
SuperMario
Hmm, as much as I like Seiren's omnibus format, it doesn't turn out really hot this second episode. Demi-chan, on the other hand, still maintains its endearing tone. Might blogging Demi-chan instead
Topgavin
Yeah, that second episode was much better than the first. Dunno why they didn't start with that to be honest, waste of an opportunity for a good hook episode. The voice for the main girl still sounds weird to me though; I get it's supposed to sound weird because it symbolizes 'her' being out of place and her personality and body being a mismatch, but it'll certainly take some getting used to.
AidanAK47
Youjo Senki, now we are talking. Like Helghast said, Did the god scene way better than the LN and manga. Made it less comedic and more intimidating.
Lenlo
Oh man that Rakugo intro. Not sure what to think, but first time seeing it I liked it
Kaiser Eoghan
I sort of like good will hunting because I kind of saw a bit of myself in Damon's character when I watched it ages ago.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Remaking psycho and ruining the shower scene, for shame van sant, for shame.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its easy to ripoff some obscure thing though and get away with it. The dogtooth director essentially stole an old Mexican film to make that.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, that following some guys from behind like they were on a RPG games, which I think actually fit with the tones of Elephant. I have such mixed feeling with Gus van Sant too. Don't really think he's a great director.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Although Istvan Szabo is probably a little more well known for that Mephisto film that updates the Faust story. Zoltan Fabri's the fifth seal is a very thought provoking war movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I remember seeing a film documentary that featured Gus van sant in one section, they showed clips of tarrs films, Sant ripped of the cinematography and stole the style from some British short film to make Elephant.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree on the other Hungarian filmmakers, I don't know much about them either.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Scorsese's Silence was a big comeback. I really really emotionally connect with spiritual crisis stories.
SuperMario
@kaiser: yep, definitely check wreckmeister down. Althought I admit that watching his 2-hour plus films will feel like 5-hour anyways
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm more tolerant of darker teenage/coming of age films/stories. Les Demons was a big surprise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Though its kind of frustrating, I do think Tarr probably takes attention away from other hungarian filmakers because no-body knows who the hell the others are.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Man, wreckmeister was so visually arresting I started getting dreams from it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I would consider Tarr to be kind of a poor mans Janco, Angelopolus and Tarkvosky rolled into one. I don't entirely "get" wreckmeister and man from London but they are great atmospheric mood piece experiences.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I had been wanting to watch Belar Tarr's Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies for so long now. Well, Fat Girl is shocking haha, but I'm normally drawn into those kind of films anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Margaret took like 5,6 years to release because he couldn't cut it down in the way he wanted. The final cut if I remembered correctly was edited by Martin Scorsese
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Only a HDcam for moonlight now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I looks like my lineup is witch academia, rakugo and youjo senki, well the most latter one until I get bored.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I sense a directors cut for manchester, it feels like it need another 30 minutes.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right up my valley. Watch Kenneth Lonergan's previous works Magaret and You Can Count on Me. Magaret is very messy but have a raw dialogue and interactions as well
SuperMario
Now the first episodes are over, I will keep on covering 3-gatsu, as for the other twos atm I have 3 options: 1) full romance/anti-romance high school Seiren/Scum's Wish. 2) slice-of-life moe monster girls Demi-chan/Maid Dragon and 3) Mature,dark Onihen/Acca (which although I like them I don't have much to talk about).If you guys have any preference on which shows you like covered then let me know
Kaiser Eoghan
@Helghast: At this point I'm watching youjo senki as an entertaining guilty pleasure.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Too many reboots upcoming, will wait for the dvds instead. I want to explore more of manchester by the sea's director's work. I also want to finally get more into Bela Tarr's stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I was rather shocked by A Ma souer/fat girls final act. Scenes with the Italian in the bedroom were initially creepy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's a nice review Kaiser, a bit jealous with you that you've seen those 3 films which are touted as the best films of 2016. Also Fat Girl, haha, I love that movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
Poor yotaro =< you have so much stuff going down on you =<
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki episode was so good today. That revamped scene with God just fitted so right.
AidanAK47
A official release of that game in the west is apparently coming but it's been a few years and not much news about it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Ah yes that was the one.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Had to think for a moment on that one but I think I was talking about this. https://vndb.org/v3144
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I'd hardly consider myself a studio trigger fan, but I watched the first witch academia episode there, it was actually kind of fun, got the same reaction from me as flipflappers did, that magical, special feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also, of interest reviewed Kenneth Lonegrans new film: http://letterboxd.com/shao_liu_ringon/film/manchester-by-the-sea/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Moonlight got some feels out of me though it could of been more, it ends abruptly and with 20 extra minutes they could have spent a bit more time on each section of his life.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I checked out lala land, ending was very well executed, one of three scenes in the film that were impressive visually. The whole thing looked pretty and Gosling and Stone had some decent chemistry. Although it didn't resonate emotionally as strongly as the musicals of Jacques Demi did.
Kaiser Eoghan
MOM I want aiyoku no eustia and I want it now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've never heard of himawari or tokyo babel. The hellsing comparison at least interests me in dies irae. What was the name of that visual novel again that was coming out soon, Aidan you described it as "And Kaiser would love it because its supposed to be really fucked up".
Kaiser Eoghan
I vaguely remember the anime for 11 eyes, it was very forgettable, even the voice acting was poor, hated the childhood friends and the pacing was poor, those black knight things were kind of interesting though.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You'll have to add me onto the list of those unsatisfied with the ever 17 writer, I read one of those games and felt it was a bunch of interesting bait that never paid off.
AidanAK47
Anyway I plan on doing a review of 11eyes here when I finish it.
AidanAK47
Can't say I was a fan of Ever17. That was a really good twist but when it came to explaining it their was a lot of contrived development. Generally not a fan of the writer. Looseboy, Ryukishi, Gen and Nasu are more my kinda thing
AidanAK47
@Anon, it is nice that so many VNs are on steam but I wish they wouldn't be stupid with the whole no adult content thing. Not so much for myself but to prevent idiots from writing negitives reviews because the game doesn't have sex. VNs can grip you in a way anime simply can't and while they require pathence and time those can be some pretty powerful stories.
Anonymous678956
@Aidan, I am so happy steam's so VN-friendly now. I think it's a very good type of media. Like anime, it has nice visuals, music and some movement but also the inner monologue and text amount of books. It's the perfect combination. Plus, the routes, which are often puzzle pieces and PoVs you have to go through to understand the whole story. True routes like the one of Ever17 blew my mind.
AidanAK47
Hopefully the two VNs I bought of steam turn out better. Tokyo Babel is supposed to be alright and I heard really good things about Himawari.
AidanAK47
I am about a third of the way through the game and really not much of worth has happened. The concept is interesting but the execution is sorely lacking.
AidanAK47
I went in expecting it to be a mixed bag and it's pretty below my expectations. It's just not really well written and the protagonist is a moron. THere isn't really routes and instead you are pretty much stuck with his childhood friend as the main love interest. Problem with that is her character begins and ends with loving the main.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, damn. 11Eyes is on my reading list as well. Although I almost expected it to not be as good as I thought it'd be (back then). Guess I would have enjoyed it if I was able to read it while the (shitty) adaption aired, maybe I have seen/read too many series by now. Guess I'll still give it a try some day though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I haven't heard the OST or watched the intro video. I only know it be reputation and have decided to walk into it as blind as I can. Still slightly worried as I was somewhat looking forward to reading 11Eyes for a couple of years and now that I am reading it it's well...not good.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, same here. I was waiting years for this, since I saw the intro video for the first time. Also, that OST!
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki is already leagues better than Izetta. It's going to be top anime of forever and ever. (maybe not)
AidanAK47
And finally Dies Irae is funded. May actually be able to play and finish the game before the anime airs. If the hype is real behind this baby it could be a new personal favorite Visual Novel of mine. Already looking promising with it being like a cross between Hellsing and Fate/Stay Night. Two things I most certainly like.
Lenlo
@Masky, in regards to style over substance thats where im at with Gurrne Lagann.
Topgavin
Yeah, I'll probably watch the next episode to see whether it can redeem itself. Hopefully it can but considering 1st episodes usually get a lot of budget, there's some severe doubt in there.
AidanAK47
I actually argee with character designs and voices are bad in regards to female characters. Still the next episode might change your mind if we get more into the main characters head.
Anonymous671470
It's boring
Topgavin
Also, it seems I disagree with a lot of people in thinking Youjo Senki will be a massive trainwreck. The character designs are awful, the voice acting is mismatched but most of all the premise just seems so very dumb. If I wanted to watch a badass kill people I'd go watch Hellsing or Drifters, because at least those don't have some op, disproportionate loli as the mc.
AidanAK47
Gets even more complicated when you account for Satire and Parody. You could equally argue all examples listed as being as such.
AidanAK47
Little Witch Academia is a decontruction of Harry Potter....I don't believe that but honestly if I tried I could put some reasoning behind that statement.
Topgavin
In the end, it always comes down to opinion (as with every discussion about anime, for some reason). You could spin any and every series as a "deconstruction", which is why people shy away from using the word. You could argue NGE, Madoka and Re:Zero are all deconstructions yet also argue Gundam, Precure and SAO are depending on what points you weigh more importantly.
Masky
Like, if deconstruction is supposed to be just "break the elements and then play story how it would realistically go down" well I haven't watched NGE, but as far as I know it does have stuff that isn't typical to mecha genre besides the "It would fuck up kids" thing plus "realistically how it would play out" is pretty subjective thing. I mean, its mainly about how cynical bastard the writer is :P
Masky
Like I said, I don't fully agree with it because I find video's speaker's attitude annoying, but I found it semi convincing. Main thing I don't find convincing about it is that I don't think its hard to turn video's own arguments agaisnt it and say that by its own logic NGE isn't deconstruction either, like Aidan just said earlier
Masky
And I don't really have energy for checking out the "correct" one. If there even is one. Anyway, the hipster video I was talking about was titled "What Actually Is A Deconstruction?" if you want to check it out.
Masky
Hmm, well, it does depend on definition you use. Like if you use "realistic" thing, well, Magical Girl shows don't usually have "You turn into monsters" thing going on and reason why NGE's pilots go crazy is from dangerous situations rather than evas making them do so. But honestly, I don't really have strong opinion on matter since word seems to be one of those with several different meaning
SuperMario
for me Madoka IS a deconstruction of Magical girl, and yeah like what Aidan said
SuperMario
I think part of Utena is a deconstruction of "prince riding horse and save the girl" because that notion is just a foundation for Utena to become a prince herself and save other girl. That's breaking it apart and resemble it again in its own way. Don't have to be dark/ don't have to be real either
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's just debating semantics. Besides that difinition would pretty much mean that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn't a decontruction either. Madoka isn't a decontruction because it's dark. It's more in its aspects of criticising why a girl should throw her ordinary life away for something as dangerous as being a magical girl. It does take plenty of the typical tropes and turn them on its head
SuperMario
@Masky: Genre deconstruction is such a tricky word that I normally try to avoid using because there's really no set characteristic about the term and different people have different opinions about what constitute "deconstruction". For me, I disagree that deconstruction have to be dark and real, hmm can't say it well but I will give you an example:
Masky
But yeah, I guess I could try to find the video if you guys are interested, though like I said, I got hipsterish feel from the video and felt rather annoyed through it even though I did get what the point was and found it sort of convincing besides my annoyance
Masky
(not that liking NGE is hipsterish, its just that I find NGE to be more style than substance sort of series <_< Anyway, guy didn't dislike madoka or anything, he just seemed to dislike people using word deconstruction wrong in his opinion)
Masky
(especially with how much they seemed to praise Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Masky
I mean, I think the guy was being somewhat hipsterish, but its true the being darker take on genre isn't same as deconstructing the genre
Masky
@AidanAK47: Some other guy on youtube did video that had actually pretty good point about how Madoka isn't really deconstruction, if you go by definition of "Break it down to parts and then play them straight to show how horrifying it would be in real life"
Anonymous670441
Gente - Ristorante no Hitobito
Kaiser Eoghan
If anything its the hate I have for certain characters that makes it more effective.
Kaiser Eoghan
The obsessional level of attachment is just uncomfortable to me, I don't want to get THAT attached to a non-real character.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its literally just a case of "Okay lets look at this picture of this character, she looks interesting, no feelings or expression from me, apply this fetish, fap, get release, go home. "
Kaiser Eoghan
Or drooling/dribbling/heavy breathing/grinning over the characters. I abhor alot of the anime girls I find attractive or am indifferent, even when looking at ecchi/hentai drawings I'm straight and clinical with it.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean to each their own. But I really hate the level of emotion/devotion to moe/finding the characters attractive. Such as celebrating their birthdays, going on about how cute/hot they are, how important it is that they're virgins. Or not being being self-aware of how irritating the characters are.
Lenlo
Anime hipster is pretty accurate. His general treatment of the current state of anime is annoying, as is his obsession with moe. Maybe its cause I cant stand moe most of the time, but it bugs me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: Essentially my brothers view on digibro.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I don't usually feel the need to correct errors in your reviews as the errors are generally un-important, but I think you meant to say apprentices rather than appearences in the Rakugo review, just bringing that up as it felt like kind of a throw off.
AidanAK47
Which is kinda like saying Madoka wasn't a magical girl deconstruction because Sailor Moon and Nanoha had dark elements too.
AidanAK47
Went and read the reddit comments on it and seems I was right on the money.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, He's basically a anime hipster. For example, I saw a thumbnail of his which had Saitama on it and below it "Is There Meaning In "Subverting" Shounen Tropes?" and I thought "Okay, he's going to go on about how OPM isn't subversive and then list a bunch of arbitrary examples in an attempt to redefine what is actually subversive"
Lenlo
I have lots of issues with Digibro. Dude has some good points, but other very horrible ones. Some issues he feels strongly about and gets kinda biased on imo.
Anonymous669202
acca looks visually interesting, and I personally really dig this kind of show, but it seems that it's definitely not for everyone
AidanAK47
Time to live up to my word. Four posts incoming.
AidanAK47
Man, Little witch Academia was so good. I disagree with the whole Digibro thing about being able to recognise a great show in it's first episode but watching this makes me think that this really is going to be something special.
AidanAK47
Alright, gonna put in effort today and have 3 or 4 first impressions posts done. That should knock out near half the season.
Kaiser Eoghan
Had a flip through handshakers. Garish is the word I'd use to describe it visually, it takes you out of the show.
Topgavin
ASuperMario From the first minute I can already tell it's by the same people that made K. Those colour filters and the extremely jarring/obvious city CGI is unmistakable.
SuperMario
Hand Shakers, literally makes my hands shaking. It's an abosolute mess. Highly recommended to check it out because it's so terrible it's great to watch
Vonter212
Yeah, and it's also a literal woman in refrigerator plot device, since that the thing that pushes the story forward.
Masky
I'd say that having to hide your sister's body in fridge would count as daaaaaaark and edgy, but when the body is wearing only underwear, and for some reason main character put metal things in fridge to keep body standing(I guess to not knock fridge open from inside?) I think it goes to "exploitation" you are talking about
Vonter212
@Masky - Did someone said doing dark things for drama? That's the bread and butter to get despair. Unless it's for the sake of perversion. Then it's just exploitation.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Masky: His other works dead tube and scumbag go further in the unhinged regard.
Masky
*relies on easy "let's do [x dark thing] for drama!" thing
Masky
Geez, Mayonaka no X Giten is fricking disturbing/disgusting ._. I'm pretty sure that writing relies on e, but I can't help but think mangaka is trying to make corpses sexy.
SuperMario
I found Onihei to be quite good, actually one of the most solid new episode I watched this new season. Guys, check them out
Vonter
I just hope it doesn't fall into the same misstep Kabaneri or Inuyasha or Bleach fall by making a villain so over the top that it crossed the line of not having a satisfying downfall.
Anonymous657941
@Vonter I think they just moved on. I lost interest rather quickly and I guess even the fans did that at some point, like with some other long-running series. There is much more new and more direct "fujo" stuff out there, many of them probably switched. Don't know what happens in the manga but maybe the story got worse or contained things some people didn't like.
Vonter
January will be loli dictator month (for me) :p. World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil (new), Seraph of the End. For some reason I stumble into three curious series with little power hungry girls. If I can ask, why did Owari Seraph's hype died, I remember back it was mentioned more often. It still has the fujoshi fanart but still, I don't see people bringing it up.
SuperMario
@CATski: well, if you didn't like its first 3 episodes I dont think the rest gonna change your mind. Have you finished Erased then? How did you like it?
SuperMario
But I understand it's difficult to speak in front of camera, get some time to get used to it
SuperMario
@kaiser: I won't commend on poem as I'm terrible at it myself but younneed to work more on presentation Kaiser. Small little things like looking directly at the camera or say "thanks for listening" in the end can connect you to the audience better
Anonymous657071
Ok. I'll give the thing another chance. *clicks torrent* XD. CATski.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Topgavin: You might like centaur no nanami if you like demi-chan.
Kaiser Eoghan
Damn...repeated myself =<
Kaiser Eoghan
There are these things called slam sessions done in bars where people get up and read out stuff in front of a crowd and read stuff out. Actually watching rakugo made me think about practicing for that kind of thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: the video I did was of me reading out a short piece of writing I did, a poem. lol I uploaded it to the wrong youtube account too I just realized =P
[link src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypBZ2hBDBYs&t=11s
I"] was recording this from my mothers laptops inbuilt cam while reading off my desktop.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I think it's a good idea for you to try out reviewing movies/stuffs in youtube channel. I'll be very interesting to listen to them
SuperMario
@Topgavin: Agree. Demi-chan was so charming. Definately one of my favorite so far this new season
Topgavin
Demi-chan's first episode was good. Like, really really good. That blonde-haired girl was hilarious, the teacher-student relationship between the MC and the girls is really interesting and the social/practical problems the demi's face make it look like my favorite show so far.
CATski
Ah... ok. Is it really that good or it's just one of those "artsy" animes that tend to get overrated by their ardent fans? I didnt find the rakugo bit interesting.... probably the weakest aspect of the show for me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Why did I read that chapter. Why did I do that to myself.
Kaiser Eoghan
Admittedly yes the premise is not for everyone, but if you stick with it, the flashback arc had some good character work in there.
CATski
Rakugo has a season 2? I watched ep 1 - 3 of season 1 then promptly deleted it. The loud "yankee" dude was annoying. And the anime was boring.
Kaiser Eoghan
Oh man, I've been thinking lately of trying to start some kind of youtube channel. I did a few trial run videos. Its much much harder than it looks, didn't realize how nervy being in front of a video camera was.
Kaiser Eoghan
*a declining art and rakygo halls are closing down
Kaiser Eoghan
As the show continues to mention how "its declining art", that got me thinking of the modern day, how while things like tv and cinemas probably hurt attendances for rakugo performances, the internet has replaced theaters .
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, now I've watched it. It'll be interesting to see Yotaro's relation to sukeroku's daughter develop. By all intents he should be an irritating character and not as interesting a yakumo based on his personality, but I can't help but like him, example of a goofball character done right.
Anonymous654016
ElDlive is looking good
Kaiser Eoghan
I haven't gotten around to rakugo's second seasons first episode yet =<
Kaiser Eoghan
Just looking at masamunes female protaganist I want to punch her.
Kaiser Eoghan
Vapid would be how I'd describe it, I didn't care about Masamune no revenge but at least there was some life to it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, suzuka I remember a friend telling me when I got halfway through the anime to literally run from it and not continue. I flicked through fuukas first two episodes and played count the cliches.
Kaiser Eoghan
While I definitely got something out of Yojo senki's manga, I found the first episode easier to get through than the manga, in terms of pace and exposition.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Fuuka chapter 135. Read and be amazed.
Masky
Ah sorry ._.; And wait, there is another twist later on? What
AidanAK47
@Masky, Even if it's a crap show don't go posting spoilers on the chatbox.
Oh and that's just the begining, a really dumbass twist happened recently in the manga.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm away a whole day again so I'll be a bit late on my impressions.
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