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
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Lenlo
As most likely the biggest Berserk fan in this chatbox, its better but that doesnt make it good. Spraying fabreeze on crap doesnt make it any more appealing. Yet I will watch it anyways.
Anonymous1018231
You don't even know
Anonymous1018231
Lies Aidan it is soooo much better
Anonymous1017807
Tbh I'm enjoying Alice to Zouroku so much simply because I identify with the old guy's no-nonsense attitude. It's fun to see the annoying loli get put in her place. X.D
AidanAK47
Anyway Bam is supposed to be covering it. Seeing as he covered the first season.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I watched the first episode of the second season. Better? Yes, but only slightly.. It has all the same problems as the first season.
Anonymous1017501
and nobody's covering it lol
Anonymous1017501
Like dramatically
Anonymous1017501
It really is much better
Anonymous1017501
You know guys its not too late to start watching Berserk Season 2...
AidanAK47
I just get annoyed when interaction is like "HUMAN, YOUR EMOTION RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT. I THEORIZE THIS IS THE REASON YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT."
Their is a definite layer of pretentiousness in how it's written, seeing how nobody gets annoyed when every character tries to psychological profile them.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I have heard word that these two episodes were a prologue story and the real story is going to kick into gear next episode. But if the characters keep talking like this then it's not going to matter what happens. It will just be terrible.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Jojo part 5 died for this. That makes it all the sadder. Plus it's two cour so this show is gonna be on for half a year.
SuperMario
Being said all that I will follow it for 1 more episode
SuperMario
And then that girl who passed away because of the reset. I feel my emotions drying up at that point. Tasteless. Heartless
SuperMario
Wanna say the same thing regarding Sagrada Reset as well. I have the feeling the show tries to sound smart that ultimately if I hear someone talks like this in real life, I would go punch his face. Manipulating the social worker by slitting your own wrist? WHAT? Asking a girl about her rules, then whenever she answers you give your own warped opinions on it to sound like you know it all? WHAT
Anonymous1016169
@Aidan: Lol, Sagrada reminds me of how I used to write. Pretentious, overly complex dialogue that nobody would use in real life unless they were trying too hard. It grits on my ears so much that I don't think I can keep watching it, especially because this is probably how it's going to be for the whole series.
Anonymous1016169
@Amagi: I feel your pain. I used to enjoy those types of shows, but I've found more and more since getting out of high school that they just make me want to take a nap. It doesn't help that they're everywhere. X.D
AidanAK47
God Sagrada Reset is frustrating. So many good ideas, all absolutely ruined by the dialogue and characters. If you just changed the dialogue a bit and made the characters emote more then this would be so very interesting. But they manage to drain the life out of the story.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, in most cases you can easily write off the ones not worth your time based on the summery. Occasional those kinds of show can turn out to be worth watching but it just doesn't happen often enough.
Amagi
Nothing against those types of anime in general, but it's just not aimed at me I guess. - I also should specify: school (semi)harem, not school alone. I enjoy Tsuki ga Kirei.
Amagi
I really love this season but I should stop testing the school- and shoujo stuff. It's almost never worth the time and it always bores me so much that I have to stop watching anime for a few hours.
Anonymous1016169
@Travlos: Why does a hobbyist artist care when someone critiques their art or a fanfic writer care about reader feedback? When you do something you enjoy, it's normal to want to improve and other people's opinions are important for that.
SuperMario
@Travlos: because 1) We still need to listen to what readers say to improve and 2) we're debating more about rating system, which I also feel the need of upgrading. btw, any shows that catch your interests so far this season?
Konstantinos Travlos
Why do you guys care about what someone thinks about your reviews? You are doing a good enough thing as is, and t is a hobby. Do your thing and do not lose time on this.
Anonymous1015915
I think I'm just gonna follow sukasuka and re:creators this season. Seem to of shown the most potential universally.
Anonymous1015442
Soy and almond milk are also available as alternatives for the lactose intolerant.
Anonymous1015442
From the manga it seems like it would translate well into an anime with the right production values so I think I'm going to try it. I was mostly concerned that they'd push the melodrama even more through the roof, haha. I did see some of the reviews on it here and they made me hopeful that it was fairly well-executed.And of course the milk can be chocolate. Just not vanilla, vanilla milk is yuck i
Lenlo
Its certainly making me happy I waited until the end of the season to binge it.
SuperMario
I'd have the milk as well... Need more milk to my life.
SuperMario
Hope Scum's Wish entertains you, Lenlo. ^^
Lenlo
I will say the sound design has been great for Scums Wish though I have not read the manga to see how it matches up
Lenlo
I dont think "enjoyed" is the right word for this kind of show, but I do know im going to finish it.

Also, can the milk be chocolate?
Anonymous1015350
@Lenlo: That's true, but I also feel like everyone here needs some milk. And I've been reading the Scum's Wish manga and can't decide if it'll be worth it to watch the anime.
Lenlo
Scums Wish, 4 episodes in, has been the perfect little dose of depression I crave from each anime season.
Lenlo
I have to say, its a pretty fun break from super srs anime discussion sometimes
Anonymous1014938
There's so much sass in this chatbox sometimes I can't even. :.D
AidanAK47
Also please note that if data gathering results do not support your hypothesis that there will be no refunds
AidanAK47
I will have you know my data gathering services are quite expensive and I don't operate until paid.
Anonymous1014125
Aidan is providing the data for us.
Lenlo
You do know that for the scientific method, you make a hypothesis and then you run experiments to produce data to prove or disprove said hypothesis. It cant just sit in limbo and then you go "I was right". You have to provide data at some point. At this point, you have yet to provide any data to support what you say.
Sir Robin
You seem to have never heard of the scientific method then Aidan. You don't need proof before you formulate an hypothesis. Fortunately this most recent development of you being wrong supports it.
AidanAK47
I am sure Sir Robin would be delighted to hear this but I think I was wrong in my assessment of SukaSuka(Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?) That insert song at the begining of the episode was masterful and a number of things have changed my mind about it. It may be more interesting than I first expected. First novel was still pretty boring though.
AidanAK47
Should have another impressions post up today. As for what I am covering that's Little Witch Academia, Attack on Titan and Sekaisuru Kado.
AidanAK47
At least we never have to fight tooth and nail to cover something as what we want to cover never clashes.
SuperMario
Which mean 2 PA Works, 2 original shows and 3 slice-of-life shows. Well done Mario for being predictable and consistently boring as ever
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