Posted on 31 May 2009 with categories: Guin Saga



Aah! This show so badly deserves better animation! Having Satelight as the animation production company is both a bliss and a curse: the graphics sure look imposing. The designs for this series are absolutely beautiful, but the animation is just incredibly messy and full of cut corners and very obviously rushed. What a bloody shame, because this series really deserves to look beautiful.

As for the rest of this episode: Guin Saga yet again showed that it excels at detailing and describing all sorts of different cultures and people. This episode gives a proper introduction to the giant people that Guin went after, and again a lot of imagination went into designing these people. Standalone, they’re a bit stereotypical, but when put in context with the rest of the series they fit so well. With such a huge cast, this series has already shown that it isn’t the best at characterization: for Guin Saga it’s really the bigger picture that makes it stand out.

This episode also shows Istvan’s part of Guin’s plan come to fruition as he successfully manages to kill off one of the major generals from the Mongols. It’s also interesting how he never seemed to take his mission personally, and actually came to like Marius before he killed him off. It’s good to run into a series that doesn’t have the “I can’t kill him! He’s my friend”-mentality.

Rating: * (Good)
Sub-par animation, but that’s not stopping this series from delivering a fantasy-epic.

Posted on with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



Yeah, this episode proves it: the creators really were trying to rush through the first bunch of chapters for the sake of those who already watched the first series. This episode was much slower paced than the previous eight episodes, and it allowed for a lot of time to flesh out the characters. For once we have an episode without action that instead focuses on characters, and although quite a few parts of this episode did return in the anime at one point, it was an enjoyable episode.

The comedy was a bit overkill, though. It was definitely funny, but some of the jokes missed the mark; especially the ones in which Ed started yelling. Energetic jokes don’t suit this series: its humour is at its best when it’s subtle, not when the characters are jumping around and yelling like a bunch of overexcitable teenagers.

One big issue that was solved pretty fast was Al’s doubts about Ed’s intentions. If I recall correctly, in the original series it took him tens of episodes of emo-ing before he spoke up his mind, though here they managed to set their differences within an episode. It’s two different approaches which both make sense in their context. My only complaint about the way it was handled in the original series was that Al’s development wasn’t really moving in the time he was wondering whether he was brainwashed by Ed.

There was also a nice Easter-egg when Izumi and Sig Curtis walked past in the train station. That’s the second time that we see familiar faces at a train station, so perhaps it’s going to be used in the future again.

Another big difference with the first season is that the Humonculi don’t seem to want anyone to find out about the philosopher’s stone. They seemed to be using Lior in order to track down the idiots who were searching for it, kept track on them and whenever they’d get too close they seem to be destroying the evidence that was left. Their motive in the original series was to become human, but I don’t think that that’s their intention here.

Rating: (Enjoyable)
While the comedy didn’t always work, the new parts of this episode were pretty good.

Posted on with categories: Cross Game



Oh, I must say that after watching the first season of Major, it’s so delightfully refreshing to watch another baseball match in which the lead pitcher isn’t god-moded beyond belief. This episode showed the very first baseball match of this season (a practice match between the good team and the bad team), and I must say that I’m very surprised.

I really was convinced that Kou was hiding some sort of superhuman abilities, but at this point he’s actually worse than Aoba. The thing with him is that he’s got a lot of uncontrolled power, and he lacks a lot of experience when compared to Aoba, who really knows every single detail about the sport (and also shows this in this episode, detailing exactly what the weaknesses are for every player in the opposing team. This power does make him a very good hitter, though, but even with that I may be wrong, since all he did was hitting a home-run off Senda. He has yet to prove himself in front of a real pitcher.

I also love how Senda actually proved to be useful in this episode. From the outside he looks a lot like your typical idiot, but unlike most series who just use characters like him for comedy, he does have his points where he’s useful, and is actually a pretty good short stop. In terms of tactics, this series really pays very detailed attention to every character’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s very ironic how this series looks so childish and simple, and yet it yet again establishes itself as the smartest series of the season.

One thing that I really hope now is to see Aoba in action again. She really showed her experience in this episode despite being so young, and it’d be a real shame if from now on she’d just watch behind the sidelines to see Kou pitch, improve himself and get his power under control. It’s in these cases a huge shame that there also isn’t a girl’s team at the high school.

Rating: ** (Excellent)
First match of the series, and it delivers.

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

My opinion on this season? Awesome. It really is one of the best seasons we’ve had in years, and especially the series I’ve been blogging haven’t disappointed at all so far. This season is especially excels in characters: there are lots of series with excellent characterizations and that make use of lots of quiet moment in order to flesh out their cast. A lot of the series this season are slow paced, but there are also some roller-coaster rides among them and overall, I’m very satisfied. I’m not sure whether this correlates to an almost complete lack of series from the mecha-genre (apart from two shows, but those are either so delightfully different from all of the mecha-series that we’ve been seeing for the past years, and/or know that they’re not supposed to be taken 100% seriously).

Rankings, like last month are a bit strange again, I basically tried to generate the rankings for each show, compared to the others that are currently airing. Say, for example that Show A has a really good setting, and there are only a few other shows with a better setting, it’s going to rank higher than if there are many shows with excellent settings, and vice versa. I know that it’s a bit weird, but for some reason it does more accurately reflect my feelings about the shows this season.

#25 (31) – Higepiyo – (6,75/10) – I dropped this show after episode six or something. It’s a shame that the only gimmick this show really had was the moustache. Apart from that it’s just been reusing its jokes over and over again.
#24 (20) – Koukaku no Regios – (7,5/10) – Okay, so the finale has finally started. This is the point where everything is supposed to come together, and sure enough: the characters are developing quite nicely… If only the plot knew where it wanted to go. For some reason the filth monsters have suddenly become incredibly weak, characters are conveniently zapped from one place to the other without much explanation, there are lots of pacing issues and with all the build-up of the rest of the series, it still feels like things haven’t been built up and introduced well enough. I hope that the finale can prevent this series from becoming a true disappointment, but things aren’t looking good.
#23 (11) – Kurokami the Animation – (7/10) – Aah! Sunrise, what are you doing?! There was a lot of potential going for this series once it hit its second half, but this month completely raped any potential this series had left. The way Keita came back to life without any explanation whatsoever, combined with a truckload full of other badly planned Deus ex Machina completely destroyed all the credibility this series had going for it. The final nail in the coffin for this thing was Reishin’s comeback, including his complete loss of any kind of personality whatsoever. Reishin’s background and the explanation why he became the bad guy was also laughable at best.
#22 (25) – Saki – (7,75/10) – You know, this series would have been much better if the creators actually knew a DAMN THING about Mah-jong. Right now, the matches are all “ooh look at how incredibly strong she is!” and “wow she’s even stronger”. There’s too much moe, there’s too much fanservice, but I have yet to drop this series because the characters do remain charming.
#21 (18) – Valkyria Chronicles – (7,5/10) – I’m still looking for a reason to continue watching this series, because it’s getting duller and duller now that some sort of generic ancient civilization of the Valkyrians has been introduced. Seriously, Guin Saga is currently doing just about everything better than this series is.
#20 (13) – Sengoku Basara – (7,75/10) – I want to like this series, but something is stopping me from it. My impression is that it’s in a bit of an identity crisis: it keeps hopping back and forth between GAR and epic manliness and historical politically correct warfare, but it doesn’t succeed in bringing out the best in either of them and they seem to be working against each other, rather than complementing.This really isn’t the best GAR series this season, and for historical warfare in feudal Japan we have Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto which has done a much better job at that, so I’m running out of things to recommend this series for.
#19 (19) – Chi’s New Address – (8,25/10) – There’s a really big difference with the first season now that Chi no longer has to stay in the house, but it’s still a really funny comedy. Right now the creators are introducing all sorts of interesting characters (I especially loved the return of the pet shop saleswoman) and Chi really is as lovable as ever.
#18 (new) – Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – (8/10) – Well, it’s pretty much what I remember it to be: whenever Haruhi opened her mouth I wanted to punch the screen, but as soon as that annoyance left and the focus returned back to Kyon, Mikuru and Yuki it suddenly got a lot more interesting. I’m glad to see that this show hasn’t lost its wit yet. Now if only the fan-base would get less annoying and overwhelming.
#17 (22) – Gintama – (8,25/10) – Now this is more like it! I’m not sure what exactly happened, but this month Gintama showed that it most definitely can continue on with its new director, and that the guy can actually be funny and compelling. While still nowhere as good as it once was, the past few episodes released on fansubs have been a large step into the right direction.
#16 (16) – Shin Mazinger Shougenki! Z-Hen – (8,5/10) – Now this is pure entertainment! I really have a weakness for that retro cheese, but the new Mazinger is shaping up to be a really enjoyable series that tries just about everything to make an as big spectacle as possible, without falling into the same pitfalls as the likes of Code Geass by sacrificing solid storytelling for entertainment. I especially like how the creators seem to realize that mecha-battles alone are boring, so they made sure that most of the action happens outside of Mazinger, while they still keep Mazinger central to the plot by simply making him god-like whenever he gets the chance (not often) to show his awesome powers.
#15 (10) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8,5/10) – There really is just one word needed to describe this series: brilliant. I especially love it when this series starts messing with cultural differences (especially the “in heaven” and “in hell”-songs were priceless), and I still find it a bloody shame that the Netherlands isn’t a character that’s made fun of.
#14 (12) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10) – Oh, this series doesn’t make one iota of sense, but I like it so much. Every episode, there’s just so much weirdness going on, and I absolutely love the huge amount of creativity that the creators have. I’m glad to see that this show doesn’t seem to be ending after only thirteen episodes, because that’s just too little in order to show everything about this very strange setting in which Marie Curie bakes radioactive cookies and Newton is in love with apples.
#13 (14) – 07-Ghost – (8,25/10) – 07-Ghost has been a very strange beast. Unlike some other shows this season, it doesn’t have something it stands out in particular. It’s not the most ambitious series, its setting is on purpose kept very small, fillers are used to flesh out the characters. But what it does, it does very well. The characters are very enjoyable to watch and especially the fights and battles are very well coordinated and written, with just enough dialogue and just enough action without any of the two getting in the other’s way.
#12 (21) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,5/10) – In eight episodes, this show did what the original series took more than 21. Still, I already like it much better than the original series: the comedy and action mix well, there’s always something going on and the characterization is just so much better. Now that the two series are finally about to diverge from each other, I’m interested to see where the creators can take this.
#11 (5) – Guin Saga – (8,5/10) – Now that this series has also included medieval warfare between large armies, it really has caught my attention. About the only downside to this show is the really inconsistent animation (which really needs to be top-notch with this kind of series), but the whole setting, Guin, the enemy Mongols. Everything is compelling to watch further, despite the slow pacing.

#10 (3) – Pandora Hearts – (8,5/10)

Not as good as the previous month, but still an excellent series with great chemistry between the three lead characters. It’s obviously building up right now, so I’m eagerly waiting what it’s planning to do with the rest of the series, considering the creativity that it has already shown us. I just hope that the bit of the cheese shown in a few episodes between Oz and Raven isn’t going to return.

#9 (8) – Basquash! – (8,5/10)

Ah, Basquash. I’m still amazed at how behind the childish characters, weird fanservice and weird plot, there’s a surprisingly deep story lying. The characters are very well written and enjoyable to watch, though the fanservice can become a bit too overwhelming at times.

#8 (7) – Ristorante Paradiso – (8,5/10)

It’s interesting how all of the characters seem to have their own issues in the past, and yet this remains such a charming and quiet slice of life series. At the moment, the characters are getting fleshed out really well, and it’s enough to just watch this series for the characters and their daily lives, spiced up with a bit of their pasts. I felt like I really got to know these people.

#7 (15) – Hajime no Ippo – (8,75/10)

Now this is more like it. The Brian Hawk-arc took a long while to build up, but it’s been SO intense so far. Especially after the fighting started, I just can’t wait until that next episode gets released.

#6 (6) – Natsu no Arashi – (8,75/10)

This show has really proven a great execution, with a very nice combination between comedy episodes and serious ones, which both deliver in their own way to the main storyline. The comedy-episodes are really hilarious (thanks to Jun), and really: at the beginning of the show, did anyone expect to see the characters standing amidst a sea of fire in the midst of World War II?

#5 (1) – Eden of the East – (8,75/10)

Well, so while this show isn’t the best of the season anymore, it still is rock-solid with believable and likable characters. This month was mostly used for building up, though my one gripe is that it’s going to be such a long wait until the movie is going to come with all of the answers.

#4 (17) – Shangri-La – (8,75/10)

At first sight it’s stupid, silly and very incoherent, but as it turns out Shangri-la has much, much more to offer than just that. It’s a clever, compelling and confronting series with a lot of creativity in the story-writing. Every one or two episodes, the mood, themes and atmosphere completely change when the focus falls on something different, while the series still remains strong as a whole. Definitely one of the dark horses of the season.

#3 (2) – Cross Game – (9/10)

Possibly the smartest series of the entire season. This series has wit, but more importantly it has such a lovable cast of characters. Everyone is simply compelling in their actions, antics and development, and this series is just a must-watch for any slice of life fans, even those who have nothing with baseball.

#2 (4) – Phantom – (9,25/10)

What a fantastically subtle characterization of the lead couple. This series without a doubt stands among the top of this season and is definitely recommended if you’re looking for deep and well developed characters (and it’s only been nine episodes so far). This has a really good chance of becoming Bee-Train’s best series after .Hack//Sign.

#1 (9) – Konnichiwa Anne – (9,25/10)

After the first two episodes, I never expected that right now this series would already have been as good as it has shown now. You’d expect that in these first few months, this series would be quiet and nothing much would happen, but instead EVERY SINGLE episode has been awesome this month, ranging from Elisa leaving the house to childbirth to Ben’s drinking problems. There’s always something to make something special out of this series. And what a bittersweet series it has turned into!

Posted on 29 May 2009 with categories: Phantom



With this episode, Phantom yet again proves that it’s one of the top shows this season. It’s much quieter than the previous episode, and yet there was so much growth in Ein an Zwei’s character(or should I say, Reiji and Helen’s). Especially the conversations between Reiji and Helen were utterly astonishing. The creators have got such a great feeling for their characters.

Helen, who has so far only worked for Scythe, and only lived for the guy finally realizes that there is someone else who cares for her. It must have been a complete shock for her to learn how far Reiji is willing to go for her, even to the point of throwing his entire past away. It turns out that the only reason she appeared so strong in front of Reiji was because Scythe ordered her to.

I was also really surprised at how early Scythe managed to find Helen, and how easily Inferno tracked down Reiji and that they showed hardly any mercy to them. Reiji got punched over and over in order to get information out of him, while who knows what happened to Helen after Scythe found her. The next episode should prove to be yet another treat. There’s no doubt that Reiji is going to succeed in killing Scythe, but just imagine what kind of effect that would have on Helen. I can’t wait!

Rating: ** (Excellent)
A very quiet episode, but Reiji and Helen made it worth every single second.

Posted on with categories: Basquash!



This series is weird. Really weird. This episode again: it’s one of these episodes that’s not supposed to be good… and yet it is.

To give a quick summary: this episode had a hot spring sequence, including the girls comparing each other’ breast sizes. The three idols turn out to be able to play basketball. They challenge Team Basquash for a match. Then one of the idols accidentally bumps into Dan and the two fall in love, while one of the other idols falls in love with Iceman. Later this episode, our little princess (still pretending to be a guy) professes herself as one of the idol group’s top fans and starts singing while the rest plays basketball. I have truly lost count of the amount of fanservice clichés that this episode used.

I’m still not exactly sure why I didn’t hate this episode. Perhaps it was the fact that at this point you’d really expect crazy things like this from this series, Perhaps it was that point at which Pink Idol (I’m too lazy right now to look up their names) got hit by one of Iceman’s crazy Destroys, started crying like a little girl, and Dan completely forgot about his embarrassments and the game because it reminded him of Coco’s accident.

But yeah, I should have seen it coming that Dan would end up as a couple with Pink Idol, with Shoji Kawamori as the chief director and all. Still, in this case it’s a pretty fresh concept, since for once we don’t have a shounen lead falling in love with one of the lead females. But yeah, on the other side the inclusion of idols of course pretty much fits with the themes of this series: this is a series about fandom, and of course idols have their completely different fandom when compared to the basketball players like Dan.

Rating: (Enjoyable)
Fanservice, fanservice and more fanservice… and surprisingly fresh romance.

Posted on with categories: Pandora Hearts



I must say, I like Echo a lot with this episode. Her antics are really fun to watch.

This episode also sheds a bit more light on the mysterious Vincent Nightray, who seems to be central to the plot’s mysteries. The guy looks a lot like the one that was with Alice when she was young, and for some reason he’s very interested to see the potential in either her grown up version or Oz himself. I have reasons to believe that he was the one who sent Break after Oz in the first place. There seems to be a lot going on in that Nightray family that’s being kept secret of us.

In any case, the rest of this episode showed Oz a situation he can relate to very much: fathers. Because he grew up with such a terrible father he really wishes for nobody to go through the same things as he did (speaking of which, what happened to that bugger in the past ten years anyway?). And sure enough, this features a kid who is about to lose his father to a monster of the Abyss. Yet again it’s an episode that’s meant to enforce the bond between Oz on one side and Gilbert and Alice on the other side, who both never had a parent in the first place (or can’t remember them anyway) and can’t relate to how much Oz wanted to have respect from his father.

Rating: * (Good)
Building up, but this show is still going strong.

Posted on with categories: Eden of the East



Okay, this episode is probably the one that sets up the story for the final arc of this series. With three episodes left until the movie, I have to say that this show turned out to be quite a bit different than I imagined. With 12 Selecao, you’d expect each episode to focus on a different one of them to see how they decided to try and change the world, but the creators cleverly tried to stay out of that formula and instead are going to explore what lies below everything.

Having said that, this wasn’t the most exciting episode though. I really wonder how Akira knew that Shiratori had wings, and what is it with his dreams about “Johnnies”? The parts with Oosugi were also quite annoying, especially when he got jealous for Saki and all. I really don’t know what a pointless love triangle is going to add to this series, especially when there’s no doubt that Akira and Saki are going to end up together.

Still, I like Micchon a lot. Finally we see an actual believable programmer (seriously, most programmers you see in anime nowadays are nothing but l33t hax0rz instead of the software developers that you’d assume them to be, but that’s just me being the computer science student that I am) and that Pants-guy intrigues me, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they’re going to deal with the Selecao system.

Also, I’ve been wondering: what’s up with those squares on everyone’s faces? Are they meant to be subtle shadows or something?

Rating: * (Good)
Quiet building up episode.

Posted on 28 May 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Misleading previews are very misleading. Really, the first episodes showed the big climaxes of their next episode, and so with the way the next-episode previews are so forcefully inserted after the end of the episode, it really makes you create expectations for that next episode. So, let me ask why the heck the previews for the past few episodes were so incredibly misleading. I was believing that this episode would turn into a date between Nicoletta and Claudio, only for the majority of this episode to focus on Luciano and the date turned out to be an incredibly small thing meant for building up.

So yeah, this was a really good episode about the birthday party for Luciano’s grandson. And really, you can’t get more slice-of-life than this, and it was such a great way to look into Luciano’s character. It’s SO devoid of any sort of clichés, and it really was such a charming episode, seeing everyone prepare and celebrate Francesco’s birthday.

At this point, you can really consider me a fan of Mitsuko Kase, the director. After this series, I’m convinced that she(he?) has her own style: she doesn’t care being mainstream, and what she excels in is subtly fleshing out her characters, with that kind of subtlety that’s really hard to put into words, and yet I’ve noticed the same with both Saikano, Crystal Blaze and Ristorante Paradiso. Her biggest fault is that she tends to be a bit too emo at times (for which Rispara is of course a great way to get rid of that nasty habit). I have really enjoyed the characterization of her works so far (yeah, I don’t care whether I’m the only one who believes so, but Crystal Blaze rocked).

With this, there are only four episodes left. Two will be spent on the remaining members of the cast (Teo and Furio), while the final two will probably wrap up the story between Claudio and Nicoletta, and I wonder what kind of path the creators will go into. This series has already shown that it isn’t of the type “and they killed the dragon and lived happily ever after”. In fact, it doesn’t seem to follow any formula at all, and I really wish that the creators can keep this up, while doing something with the romantic tension between Nicoletta and Claudio at the same time.

Rating: ** (Excellent)
A Luciano episode, still as calm and fresh as ever.

Posted on 27 May 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



It’s probably no surprise that romantic comedies are among my least favourite genres in anime. The reason for that is that 90% of the bunch just looks way too damn much like each other, is too afraid to go beyond the usual genre tropes, and/or just plain lazy. Nevertheless, I definitely enjoy that remaining ten percent that manages to avoid these pitfalls. Full Metal Panic belongs to those 10%, and is another example of a Good Gonzo series.

Full Metal Panic is a story that combines this romantic comedy with futuristic military combat (mechas included), and it tells the story of a teen-aged army sergeant (Sousuke) who grew up as a child soldier that ends up protecting a not-so-regular high school girl (Chidori). These two really are the reason why you would want to watch this series: even though the series is seven years old by now, they’re still fresh and dynamic, and the relationship between the two of them really grows on you. Sousuke’s socially inept antics will delight any fan of deadpan humour, while Chidori herself quickly sets herself apart from all other overused tsunderes with her wit. The two shine in the comedic part with some fresh jokes, but they definitely impress the most when they get serious.

Overall, this series has made a good use of its airtime; it consists out of four arcs, which all serve their own purpose: the first arc serves as introduction, the second fleshes out, the third one provides background and in the fourth one everything comes together in a great climax. This series knows how to build up and finish off with an impact, though my one complaint is that the comedy and drama don’t try to mix at all: an episode is either focused at completely at comedy or completely at drama; there’s hardly any in between.

Full Metal Panic is a series that shines in the way it takes a bunch of cliches, and makes them actually believable. Mechas and romantic comedies have been done to death before, but in this series, it’s actually made plausible: the situations that the characters are thrusted in make quite a bit of sense. The military side of the story is fleshed out really well and the battles are pretty realistic for anime’s standards. And take the seemingly oddball character of Tessa: she’s a young girl who commands an entire crew of a hyper-modern submarine. Throughout the course of the season, you can and will be wondering why the heck she is at such a position. And yeah, while there is of course no way that this would ever happen, her actions at the end of the series will have you convinced that she at least deserved her position.

Unfortunately, there were cliches that even this series didn’t escape (I’m looking at you, walking-into-bathroom-naked) and the building up during the drama parts does take a bit of patience when everything is being set up because during these parts there isn’t a lot that is going to make you keep watching, but the climaxes will definitely deliver in the end. My biggest complaint is that the main villain lacks any sort of background whatsoever: he’s definitely one of he smarter vilains out there, but he could have become so much better if we actually KNEW WO HE WAS. There are a few annoying side-characters (I’m looking at you, Chidori’s classmates), but overall Full Metal Panic can boast a well developed main cast, and I’m interested to see what Kyoani could have added to their development when they took over the franchise.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
It really does feel like this show is aiming to be something akin to Fate/Zero as that too did have a exposition heavy beginning. Difference here is that series had Urobuchi writting and while the man my be more famous for his murderous treatment of characters, he is a master of presenting exposition.
AidanAK47
I hope that's the majority of the exposition done for Re:creators. We established the stakes, rules and factions. So now would be good to focus on the creator and creation interactions plus badass battles.
Honestly I really regret Meteora coming into the story when she's being pretty much a massive exposition device.
Konstantinos Travlos
Hmm the "The Man who Knew 75 Languages" reminds me of the game "The Last Express". Great game. Definitely interested.
Anonymous1056824
moster keaton
Anonymous1056607
ditective conan
AidanAK47
@Anon, Pretty sure you are just trying to pick a fight more than defend the show but a decent show to me would be one that is deeply flawed but enjoyable to some degree. Sagrada reset is not this. It goes out of it's way to be unenjoyable. To me it's a 3/4 out of 10 show. Interesting concept but with a presentation so alien that the viewer can't empathise with anything on screen.
Lenlo
I mean, decent warrants about a 5-6. That, in theory, should be an "Average" show.
Anonymous1055365
It's a decent show. You're being overly critical.
SuperMario
In the Out of Competition slot (you think that I'm finished?), 2 films in particular that catch my interest are the Korean Lost in the Moonlight which looks like a fun and lightheart adventure, and the Norway-Poland co-production adult-oriented The Man who Knew 75 Languagues about the star-crossed love between the Queen of Romania and a titular man, I guess
SuperMario
Rounding up the Main Competition are Animal Crackers, a 3G American family film which I don't have good feeling about; Big Fish and Begonia - a Chinese indie film that divided the critics, but gathered skyhigh commercial success in its mainland China; and finally Zombillenium which sounds like an enjoyable European children film
SuperMario
From other countries, most notable films are the Loving Vincent - the first feature length hand painting; the Chinese black comedy Have a Nice Day that premiered in Berlin earlier this year; Ethel and Ernest which already gained a strong reviews from the UK; Tehran Taboo- a German production about the lives of 3 women in Iranian community, which sound exactly like my kinda of film.
SuperMario
Alright, I'm here to bring you news about the selection of this coming Annecy AKA one of the best animation festival out there. 3 of anime features: A Slient Voice, In the Corner of the World and Masaaki Yuasa's Lu over the Wall will compete for the main competition.
SuperMario
I'm a fan of thought-provoking anime (see Lain, Boogiepop Phantom) but I need to care about the story and characters first before I make an effort to dig deeper to the theme. Sagrada Reset failed on that fronts.
SuperMario
It's not really about being smart/dumb here. As a creator, they already have an advantage to know how the story and plot will play out. I don't mind this advantage because otherwise the plot will become a hot mess. But don't use that advantage as a way to widen the gap between them and the audience.
AidanAK47
Ugh...Ray Gigant was pretty much mediocre up until this point but now it;s utterly asinine. Whoever decided on this endgame needs to be fired. When you are ready to end a game, no player want a ten floor dungion with a boss on each floor coupled with a goddamn boss rush halfway. Just...fuck.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It must be worse than oremo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw some pages of the eromanga sensei manga and my reaction was that I was sad that it actually existed and stated "why would you even" after looking at it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an anime example, sekaisuru kado has lots of dialogue but it seems like it could actually be engaging.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So basically no I don't think we're dumb for not liking sagrada reset, given that myself and Mario are capable of watching genuinely smart wordy things and getting them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I can imagine watching Sagrada reset and thinking I'd rather be watching a Bergman film instead , something also with lots of dialogue and themes but actually engaging/clever and NOT pretentious or obnoxious about it.
Anonymous1054942
is it possible that you are all just dumb?
Anonymous1054269
@Mario: I like how you described it as giving a middle finger to the viewers. It's so true. Like, it tries to be intelligent and make the viewer feel stupid, but it just comes off as obnoxious/pretentious.
Lenlo
CGI remains the worst part of it, but we are getting more and more 2D art which I actually enjoy the style of
Lenlo
Its an improvement. The art is better, and maybe its because I prefer this arc, but the pacing is better as well. I gave last season a 3, but this one is more deserving of a 4 and if they can nail certain scenes coming up I may bump it to a 5.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: How's Berserk doing so far? Haven't picked up last week and this week's episodes.
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
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
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What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that […]