Posted on 31 July 2009 with categories: Pandora Hearts



I must say that this episode turned out completely different from what I expected. Now that the setting has become your average high school, I was expecting a more light-hearted chapter, and the way this arc started indeed seemed to suggest so. So I was wrong.

Because this was the last place I expected the Baskervilles to show up at. I’m not exactly sure how they knew that Oz was visiting his sister this day, but the Tragedy of Sabrie turns out to be a bigger mystery than expected, especially since the ones who instigated it don’t even know everything that happened. I suspect that they want to know the exact details of what Jack did back there in order to prevent it from gobbling up the entire country.

The most interesting thing in this episode was the piece of meta-fiction in terms of the Holy Knight series, which seems to be a series of popular books in the Pandora Hearts universe. I loved how both Oz and Eliot (the new guy, who seems to be part of the Nightray family, of all things) had completely different ways of interpreting a guy named “Edgar”. Oz, being cast in the abyss and all, has lost just about all of his self worth, but it turns out that he even thought little of himself before he was cast into the abyss, which again brings us back to the way he was raised by his parents. This episode shows that he still fails to see the many people that care about him (Ada, Gilbert and especially Alice). Those words from Eliot made a lot of impact.

And on a side-note: what kind of school has a barbecue club? Seriously?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Phantom



Haha! This is the episode where we’ve all been waiting for, and it SO does deliver! It’s a very slow-paced episode, but the build-up was so incredibly good that it had me on the edge of my seat for the entire twenty minutes. Not only did this episode have some incredibly subtly emotional scenes, but it also created some awesome potential for this series finale (heck, we still have eight episodes to go and this episode had plot twists that you’d usually include in episode 24 or something).

Helen really had me fooled. Ack, I should have known that we were only shown the story from Reiji’s perspective. While it looked like she transformed into the emotionless doll that Scythe wanted her to be, it was far from the case and instead she too had as many internal conflicts as Reiji. Heck, if Cal wasn’t there, the fight in this episode would have ended rather nasty, because I suspect that without her, Reiji would have been a little too obsessed over Helen to think straight. Now that he thinks she’s dead he only has Helen left, and that’s what made him convinced that he wasn’t going to seriously fight Ein.

But Cal sure as heck ain’t dead! We just don’t have a bloody clue as to what happened to her: all this episode showed were a surprisingly clean gun and watch: signs that she indeed was away when it happened. Still: why did she go back to that place? Where is she now? What made her go away right at the moment of the bombing? What is she thinking of doing next. And how the heck is she going to react to Helen being back!?

Amidst this awesomeness, it almost feels like second fodder that Claudia freaking died! It turns out that her biggest reason to join Inferno was to get her revenge on her brother, and she’d get this revenge even if it meant betraying her friend Lizzie (who looked awesome when she was younger, by the way)
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0



Four episodes in, and this series still hasn’t show any signs of dulling in. This episode yet again was amazing and heart-wrenching. I was already suspecting that the creators were going to crash Tokyo Tower at one point. That happened here. Interestingly enough though, it was far from the highlight and main focus of this episode.

Media coverage on such disasters like Earthquakes and the like always tend to be rather one-sided: they always focus on the people who have been hit the worst. These disaster documentaries like the ones you see on National Geographic Channel always tend to pick out the ones with the most spectacular cases and all. That’s why it’s incredibly refreshing to see that this series picked out a bunch of random people who got caught up in the earthquake. This brings things surprisingly close to home: “it could happen to you”. And I think that that’s what makes this so engaging.

The first half of this episode was about… Mirai trying to go to the toilet. Perhaps it’s not the most appealing of side-plots, but for a child her age to suddenly get bothered by a bad stomach… it indeed could happen and this episode showed that even that proves to be full of troubles in such a situation in which millions are stranded.

What struck me also here was that scene in which Mirai and the others tried to get some food. The way Mirai judged that person who walked away with two cups instead of one is exactly what’s going on in just about everyone’s mind in such a situation. We have no idea whether this guy took advantage of the situation or whether he really had a good reason to be carrying two cups, but that single scene said so much about the situation everyone’s in.

The second half of this episode showed Mari leaving the two kids alone as she tried to get information on where to go, at which point Mirai and Yuki get into a fight. At that point, Mirai really felt miserable because of everything that happened to her, not to mention that at that age, you really find your little brother’s whining annoying no matter how good he means it. In the end they both have a good cry and make up.

I’ve always been a fan of realism in anime, so I really love the touches of realism in this series. Yuki may be a bit too nice for a boy his age, but I definitely could see a character like his in real life. And besides, I don’t think that he’s ever seen his sister in so much distress as here, so I don’t think that he had any time to panic for himself. I think that that’s why his tantrum in this episode was so good for him, because it finally allowed him to blow off some steam.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Basquash!



It’s interesting how the new staff got an entirely new soundtrack to work with. It, along with the new direction gave a totally new atmosphere to this series. I’m surprised to say it, but it actually works. It’s not better in every single way (the loss of the subtlety is one example), yet somehow it works. This episode was mostly meant to introduce the upcoming (and probably final) major arc, but it was a solid and enjoyable build-up nonetheless.

But yeah, the loss of subtlety does stand out. This episode really showed that in the fanservice: previously, this series had a lot of fanservice as well, but the jokes it made around it were creative. So obviously, this episode shows moon giant-kun running into Sera as she comes out of the shower. *headdesks*

Anyway, in this episode Iceman quickly takes care of the bounty hunter, getting revenge on the guy who cut off his arm and leg at the same time, by unleashing a new power: the Destroy Tornado. Interestingly enough, he then gets left behind by the others as they receive a sudden chance for another attempt to go to the moon. It seems to be the main prize of a tournament that’s held in some city, and I suspect that either the moon giant or Flora is going to replace Iceman.

In the meantime, Rouge’s manager is evolving into a real bad guy here, when he even tries to kidnap Coco (ransom, I guess), but Mr Perfect manages to avoid it. That does make me wonder about James’ sense of space. He really seems to be able to appear whenever he’s needed, doesn’t he? Is that some kind of secret power of his, or just a case of lazy scriptwriters?

And yeah, my prediction of Rouge turning into a damsel in distress was wrong. She looks more to be developing into the final boss at this rate. Something tells me that that was Shoji Kawamori’s idea…
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

I must say, that we’ve got ourselves an awesome Summer Season here. Sure, there aren’t many series, but a significant majority of the new series succeed at what they intend to do. There may not be a lot of shows with awesome and ambitious story-lines, but in terms of slice of life and characterization, this really couldn’t have been better. Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to Valkyria Chronicles: I dropped it. It just became too tiring to keep track of it, especially with so many other great series going on.

Rankings, like the past months 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.

#33 (new) – Element Hunters – (6,5/10) – So yeah, there’s not much hope for this series. It tries to be educational, but the creators have no idea what they’re talking about. The characters behave like your typical shounen leads (really, you can’t get any more typical than these guys), and overall it’s something you show kids when they’re whining too much. Dropped
#32 (new) – Kanamemo – (7/10) – Amongst all of the other slice of life and yuri series this season, Kanamemo is simply overshadowed in the way that there really is nothing special about it whatsoever, and the first episode just felt forced to me. Dropped.
#31 (new) – Princess Lover – (6,25/10) – I originally dropped this, but because so many people seemed to like it and recommend it I stuck with it. My question is: WHY!? What is so good about this series? I can see that the animation is above average and all, but the whole set-up is even more generic than your average harem. The scenarios are very predictable and very much written to suit the story, rather than evolving naturally. Especially the lead character doesn’t seem to be able to decide what personality he wants to be. It’s just way too forced to make any sort of impact.
#30 (new) – Bakemonogatari – (7,25/10) – Watching Bakemonogatari is like watching someone read the Bakemonogatari novels in front of a slide-show. I can see that Nisioisin is a great writer in the way that he uses wordplay through his stories, but Shinbo has been incredibly lazy in adapting it. The characterization is just utterly bland, and we’re given no way whatsoever to sympathize with them with this style. I’d really wish that Shinbo had the chance to watch Mouryou no Hako before adapting this series; now THAT’s how you should adapt a story with lots of dialogue.
Award: Best OP of the Month (the first one)
#29 (19) – Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – (7/10) – It’s a shame really. I remember how I used to laugh like crazy over this series, but now all it gets from me are a bunch of chuckles during the good parts. The “social commentaries of the week” are still getting more far-fetched and formulaic by the minute. The only thing that still has my interest is that every single episode has a different OP and ED.
#28 (new) – Needless – (7,5/10) – Well, so this series deserves the reward of featuring the single biggest moron to grace any show this year (“yes, I’m looking for a guy named Adam; do you know such a person?”). It’s an incredibly stupid series and it’s clear that Madhouse’s worst staff has been working on this thing. Yet, for brainless entertainment it does the job. The banter between the different characters is varied and fun to watch at least.
#27 (new) – Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou – (7,5/10) – I’m really not sure what to think of this series. I know that I’m enjoying it so far and I like the concept of programmable magic; it’s not a chore to watch it in any way, and yet it has these cases of hopelessly bad acting and a collection of utterly terrible action scenes, and yet the characters themselves remain strangely enjoyable enough to watch. What puzzles me the most though is this series’ really weird fanservice. Are you getting bullied? Well, just throw your panties in the bully’s face! That will shut him up!
#26 (19) – 07-Ghost – (7,75/10) – Meh, it’s a shame but 07-Ghost has been getting a lot less entertaining. The focus has been getting much less at the church and more at the overall plot which turns out to be surprisingly dull and angsty. Finally my patience seems to be running out with this series…
#25 (16) – Chi’s New Address – (7,75/10) – Chi’s New Address has been getting a bit dull lately. That may be because of the slow subs (I switched to the subs for this series because the raws are near-impossible to keep track of), but granted: the first series also had this. It needs something to spice things up a bit, like the first season did with the big black cat.
#24 (new) – Kuruneko – (7,75/10) – I originally thought that this was going to be another one of those dull kiddie shows. Then I found out who the director was, headdesked and reminded myself why I always check out every single show at the start of each season. Kuruneko only has 3-minute episodes, but they’re really charming so far. I like how the old lady always tries to voice over her own cats, and with the most consistent comedy director in the business behind this series, I can see little that can go wrong.
#23 (22) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (7,75/10) – This month really saw an overabuse of dull Liechtenstein jokes, however after that this series very neatly picked itself back up. Especially the second season had a very nice start.
#22 (13) – Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi – (7,5/10) – Well, I’ve dropped this series at this point. The first four episodes were nice slice of life, but eight is going way too far. I’m not that angry with the series because I’ve never really been a fan, but I can understand the current fans a bit. If Amatsuki were to pull the same thing then I’d be raging too.
#21 (4) – Konnichiwa Anne – (7,75/10) – Ouch, this series has fallen badly this month. The Marysville arc has just been one big mess, full of really cheesy moral speeches that just WOULD NOT STOP and characters ripped off from Emily of the New Moon. The Thomas Family is still as awesome as ever, but characters like the teacher Henderson really manage to bring this series down right now.
#20 (15) – Saki – (8/10) – Okay, so the OP and ED haven’t stopped being annoying and the Mahjong matches have been based on luck more than ever now, but I’m still surprised at how good Saki has become. The reason for this is the cast of characters. They’ve been sufficiently fleshed out and developed right now, and they get more and more engaging with every episode. It’s strange, because apart from that this series has nothing else that makes it special whatsoever.
#19 (new) – Sora no Manimani – (7,75/10) – I originally dropped this, but then I learned about the director. Overall it has been an enjoyable series, but the comedy has been a bit too hit-or-miss, and the creators’ attempts at being heart-warming just end up as cheesy.
#18 (new) – Taishou Yakyuu Musume – (8/10) – For the past year we’ve seen an interesting increase in baseball shows: One Outs, Major 5, Cross Game and now Taishou Yakyuu Musume appears and still manages to stand out individually. The whole gender issues of eighty years ago are nicely touched upon, and the characters themselves are surprisingly likable.
#17 (18) – Gintama – (8,25/10) – Despite my rantings a few months ago, I must say that the new director has been getting better and better. The past arc has been surprisingly good at Gintama’s trademark of taking just about everything to the absurd.
#16 (17) – Basquash! – (8/10) – In this month, Basquash has been trying to get into the right track. Emphasis on “trying”, because I still have no idea whether this series is going to be a success or a total train-wreck. We’ve reached the point now at which Kiss Dum’s director has taken over, so let’s hope that he can give this series the ending it deserves.
#15 (21) – Umineko no Naku Koro ni – (8,25/10) – I’m still having a bit of trouble connecting to the characters, but Umineko definitely has been the most intriguing new series this season. In the first month we seem to have gotten only a little taste of what is to follow, but it’s promising to be a really entertaining mind-screw.
#14 (14) – Shin Mazinger Shougenki! Z-Hen – (8,5/10) – You know, for a homage of the series that popularized the monster of the week genre, the story is surprisingly non-linear. The Germany arc had a surprisingly good conclusion, and now that the past few episodes have started to introduce a whole new layer of depth in the whole story Shin Mazinger has gotten even more epic than it already was. I can always count on this series for my weekly dose of manly entertainment.
#13 (new) – Canaan – (8,25/10) – Canaan really has an awesome set of production values to work with, courtesy of PA Works. Everything looks really crisp and detailed with an excellent direction. Sure, the premise and characters still need some work, but there isn’t anything wrong with the execution so far.
#12 (new) – GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class – (8,25/10) – Talk about the dark horse of the season! I’m really enjoying this series, not just because of the characters, but also because I’m really interested the main topic for this series: Art Design. I love all of the nice ideas that the creators throw into this series, and the creators have really shown that they’re very knowledgeable about this subject. I’m just not sure why they found it a good idea to focus an entire episode on a bunch of unrelated side-characters, but perhaps they’ll return later somehow.
#11 (21) – Umi Monogatari – (8,25/10) – For a Junichi Sato series, Umi Monogatari feels a bit too one-sided, but nevertheless it has a powerful cast of characters and succeeds as a heart-warming drama. The “monster of the week”-theme only turned out to be something of the first few episodes in order to flesh out the characters.
#10 (10) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10)

This series continues to be my current favourite comedy. It still hasn’t lost any of its charms, and it’s still as funny as ever with all of the weird stuff that the creators throw into it.
Award: Funniest Series of the Month

#9 (6) – Cross Game – (8,75/10)

Cross Game yet again has been a truly excellent series this month. The characters are advancing very subtly and the wit of this series doesn’t seem to be getting less interesting at all.

#8 (3) – Pandora Hearts – (8,75/10)

So yeah, the Cheshire Cat arc rocked. It really pushed the story into a different direction and the characters gained a lot of depth through it. My big worry is the same as the manga readers’ right now: where the heck is that second season!?

#7 (8) – Guin Saga – (8,75/10)

This month, Guin Saga turned to politics and lots of character-development, with some excellent results that really managed to solidify this series’ epic atmosphere. This series has become very solid fantasy and I’m loving it so far.

#6 (8) – Spice and Wolf – (8,5/10)

The first season took a while to get going. The second season didn’t. These past four episodes have been intelligent and complex in the merchant business, and at the same time they showed Lawrence and Horo at their best surpassing the subtle chemistry between them that made the first season so good.

#5 (9) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,75/10)

17 episodes in, and I’m confident to say that Brotherhood has surpassed the original series. The new series is shaping up to be much more interesting, and the way the creators toy around with your emotions, with which you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, is just brilliantly done.

#4 (new) – Aoi Hana – (8,75/10)

Amazing attention to detail, that’s what this series stands out in. Because of that, this has turned into one of my favourite series of the new summer season. A lot of care has been spent into subtly fleshing out and developing all of the different characters, with some amazing results already within five episodes. Noise rocks!
Award: Best First Episode of the new Season

#3 (2) – Phantom – (9/10)

Phantom has continued to slowly build up its current arc, and you can still see enough of its brilliance throughout. I really like what Cal turned into, and the characterization on Reiji has been truly excellent all the way. This is why I’m such a big fan of Bee-Train.
Award: Best Characters of the Month

#2 (1) – Shangri-La – (9/10)

I really have to praise Shangri-La for its ambition. The storyline is really evolving into something epic right now: there are lots of different sides, every single episode nowadays comes with a truckload of plot twists that hardly ever feel out of place and only make the setting even more intriguing. It’s a lot of fun to watch due to the excellent cast of characters. It’s as a series very rough around the edges, with the direction feeling jerky at times to say the least, but considering how awesome the rest of the series has turned out, I’ve really stopped caring about this series’ flaws long ago.
Awards: Best Storytelling of the Month; Best Setting of the Month; Best ED of the Month (the second one)

#1 (new) – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – (9/10)

What an utterly amazing start to this series. I’m really glad to see that the creators chose a realistic approach: they didn’t create a worst-case scenario, but instead a “what if”-scenario. Mirai really works as a flawed lead character, and the creators added a lot of subtle details to her character that make her a really sympathetic lead.
Awards: Best Production-Values of the Month; Best Episode of the Month (02)

Posted on 30 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Well, here’s an interesting one. Imagine your average Super Sentai show like the Power Rangers: our hero has to fight a wave of bad buys and monsters every day in order to protect the world from getting taken over. Now imagine the complete opposite. That’s what Tentai Senshi Sunred is.

I’m still not sure whether this was a case of brilliance, or just a case of a drunk idea that got taken too far, but Tentai Senshi Sunred takes the average Super Sentai Formula, transforms the titular Sunred into a lazy temperamental sadist, and the villains into a bunch peace-loving incompetent idiots who seem to be more interested in housekeeping and making a living than “doing evil stuff”. In fact, especially the lead villain is a peace-loving flower child who is a master at house-keeping and always puts the feelings of others before his own. And so this series chronicles the useless attempts of our peace-loving villains to try to beat Sunred, while at the same time living as respectable members of society. And somehow, it works.

As a comedy, it may not be continuously funny, but it has its moments of brilliance throughout the entire series. It gets a lot of inspiration from its unique setting, and makes good use of this by driving things even more into the absurd. The characters also have their quirks which have a number of priceless moments and some of the running gags also really work well (I especially loved Godom and Sodorrah, even though the two of them didn’t do ANYTHING throughout the entire series). There are a few sketches that do tend to get on your nerves though, like the Host Dog and Vamps Cooking Tips, but overall it’s not too long to get boring or repetitive.

And the nice thing is, that at the moments that this series isn’t funny, it still is a very enjoyable and detailed slice of life with a good cast of voice actors. Really, this series is a pretty realistic portrayal of the trials of young adults if you ignore the fact that most of the characters are silly monsters that nobody seems to find scary or weird. I especially liked the subtle relationship between Sunred and his girlfriend, which for once was not overly romantic like you see in most other anime.

But yeah, the animation is quite lazy. A lot of the characters conveniently have masks on or some other excuse that would prevent the animators from animating their mouth when they speak. Instead, the characters wiggle around a bit when they try to move and speak. And really, it’s not like the animators can’t animate either: there’s one particular segment in which Sunred is walking in the background of a life-action scene, which is animated so smoothly that it actually becomes really hard to see whether he’s drawn or part of the live action.

But then again, to the question “does this show really need to be well animated?” the answer obviously is “no”. Sunred isn’t the best of the comedies out there, but it’s still worth it if you grew up watching shows like the Power Rangers or anything similar, just to see this series completely taking the piss out of those premises.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Aoi Hana



Oh, I so love how this series managed to bring its characters to life. The non-verbal communication between the characters says much more than what the dialogue can even hope for and the creators manage to do this with a lot of subtlety. It really gives all of the characters complex stories, rather than “A is in love with B but B is in love with C so A hates C”, or the like. There definitely is a love triangle going on here, but these five episodes have added a lot of detail to them to make them far away from your average love triangle out there.

In this episode, Kyouko finds out why she was rejected by Yasuko, and how Yasuko is in love with Fumi. I didn’t see any hate for Fumi at her, but just about every other negative emotion was present on her. Because of this, Fumi stops accompanying Yasuko to her rehearsals because she fears having to deal with Kyouko’s sad face again. Throughout, Akira keeps acting as the straight man in this romance: she isn’t loved or in love with anyone, but instead provides support for both Fumi and Kyouko in this case.

And I have to say that Yasuko has a very interesting way to show her affections. While Fumi act like a shy puppy around her, Yasuko instead shows her feelings very subtly: she mostly puts on a straight face in order to be the strong shoulder for Fumi to lean on, but there are a few times here and there in which you can see that she really likes to be with Fumi.

Kenichi Kasai isn’t the most consistent director I’ve seen. What I saw of Major (the first season) shows that he’s terrible at shounen series, and Kimikiss, while it did have genuine characters, did drag on for way too long, but his best works really are something else. Nodame Cantabile was awesome, and Aoi Hana also looks to be standing out in its own way with its attention to detail. And yes, some day I’m going to watch Honey and Clover. ;)
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Umineko no Naku Koro ni



As much as I don’t care about the original visual novel, I have to admit that this episode stretched even my suspense of disbelief. Battler just acted way too weird in this episode, it just doesn’t make any sense.

So basically, the bodies continue to fall when Natsuhi commits suicide. Butterflies then appear again, Battler tries to shoot them, the eye-catch appears… and suddenly Kanon, Sharon and Natsuhi are perfectly fine and everyone acts like nothing happens! Sure, I can see how Beatrice is screwing with everyone’s mind by magically reviving everyone and all… but what happened to the others? There isn’t even a single mention of them! And besides, everyone was talking like they just returned from a Beach resort, instead of a murderous mansion.

Then Battler’s refusal to believe in the existence of witches. Sure, I believed that too until the end of the previous episode. HOWEVER he completely seemed to accept that everyone and his dog came back to life, and yet he never even questions it, and yet he doesn’t want to believe that Beatrice killed them. That just doesn’t make any sense.

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed that it really was Beatrice who killed off everyone, but let’s see what the rest of the series can do to spice things up. This show now seems to be developing into a battle of wits between Beatrice and Battler, but I wonder how the creators are going to make this interesting without making Beatrice Mary-Sueing Battler over and over.

I’m intrigued by that letter in a bottle from Maria, though. What was up with that, and could that one explain what happened to the real Maria? So that Maria was basically killed and replaced by some thing that could keep an eye around for Beatrice?

Oh boy, this really reminds me back to the first season of Higurashi. I remember how my love for that series was also as inconsistent as he series itself.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 29 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



I’m not the biggest fan of romantic comedies, mostly because a lot of them are pretty cliched and boring. Nevertheless there obviously also are a lot of gems. His and Her Circumstances is Gainax and Hideki Anno’s addition to this genre, and while it may on the outside seem like the umpth variation of the same formula, it rises above most others through its dialogue, deep characters and snappy direction.

I have to grant it to Hideki Anno: as infamous as Gainax has become over the years, HaHC features some of the best direction I have seen in a romantic comedy. It doesn’t feel like a moment is wasted here, the dialogue is elaborate and meaningful and he really managed to bring out the depth of the characters from whatever manga this was based on. It turns this into a very accessible series: it’s very easy to watch and hardly ever gets boring. It may not be consistently funny, but it is consistently entertaining (well, with ONE major exception, but I’ll get to that below).

The dialogue overall flows very naturally, and of course the trademark Gainax Animation is very evident through the series, but you can see that along the way, the budget of this series becomes smaller and smaller. Nevertheless, the creators of this series solve it really well, and in a completely different way from how a limited budget is usually masked (by things like distorted faces and an overabundance of still frames). This series excels in its smart and creative tricks to save budget; the art remains crisp and consistent and the creators never forget to have lots of things going on at the same time. Two episodes in particular stand out in this: one consists out of uncoloured character-sketches, while the other is basically a living storyboard in black and white. They were a lot of fun to watch because even though it definitely looked cheap, there was always something going on in the screen and the characters never ceased to be captivating.

This does get taken too far in one aspect, though: Hideki Anno’s really weird obsession with recaps. Seriously, this show is full of the: nearly every episode starts with a recap of what happened up to that point, sometimes even lasting for three minutes. If this series had a complex story then okay, it might have been excused, but for a romantic comedy? In the middle, there also is a string of two completely useless recap episodes in the middle, and my guess would be that the total amount of time this series has spent on recapping is about the same as Wolf’s Rain’s recap block. And that one was aired for a good reason. And not spread across the entire series.

Nevertheless though, this series is a great example of a romantic comedy that’s deep and entertaining at the same time. Sure, it does have a bit of an inconclusive ending, but it’s nowhere near a bad conclusion. It’s a great example of how to correctly save budget without sacrificing style. And hey, after watching this series I finally know what the favourite anime of Akiyuki Shinbo is. ^^;

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on 28 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Another great episode, if only because of Karin’s awesomeness. I already suspected that we didn’t see the last of her when she got busted out of her room by Atlas, but for her to end up buying the entire Akihabara! That’s a nice one. To think that it’s actually Karin who unites all of the good guys, rather than Kuniko, but it’s definitely an interesting twist for Karin to try and collect all of the Digmas (or Triple As, as she calls them). We still don’t know though what makes them so important, and why Ryouko bothered to let them go in the first place. Now that Claris seems to be gone, an interesting split personality on her side also seems to surface.

In other news, Takehito seems to have discovered that Kuniko is a Triple A Atlas member. What we do learn in this episode is that one of the Triple As is meant to inherit Atlas in the future… wtf?! But in any case, Takehito’s grief for his dead sister seems to be a bit too big for him to accept that Kuniko is part of Atlas (he’s probably not going to like it when he finds out about her grandmother either). We see him jump off a cliff in this episode, but in true Shangri-La fashion, I really doubt that that was the last we see of him. :)

But the juiciest plot twist in this episode: Kuniko plans to burn down the ENTIRE TOKYO in order to stop the Daedalus from spreading. This plot just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? My big hope is that Gonzo has saved its budget for that particular scene, because if it’s going to mean that the the entire city of Tokyo, including Atlas, is going to end up in flames, then that’s going to make for some potentially awesome eye candy.

What also striked me in this episode is that there are a lot of people who have an aversion of something major: Karin hates public places, Mikuni can’t go out in broad daylight, while Medusa can’t seem to survive without water. I keep trying to look for a link with something else in the story, but it seems pretty random. If you take liberties in this definition then you could argue that Sayoko can’t live without a “daughter”-figure to take care of, and Momoko and Miiko turned away their manlihoods, but there still doesn’t seem to be a pattern I can spot here. Especially since Kuniko and Kunihito don’t seem to fit in this theme at all…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Customize
AidanAK47
@Anon164960, They announced a second season for it so they ain't done with that trainwreck yet.
Anonymous165129
Gate
Anonymous164960
So Rewrite took the "Bad End" route. Interesting. Their choice, not the show of course which was a freaking mess from start to finish.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, reminding me that I have not left Ireland since 2012 when I went to Rome. Although I have floated around the idea of maybe going to Slovakia.
K-Off
@Mario Thanks, although I'll be working the whole time I'm at Seoul with sundays off. Expecting about 40-50 hours of work a week. Sucks that your trip got canned, in the Winter there's no place you'd want to be other than southern California.
SuperMario
Congrats K-Off. Hope you enjoy the trip. I myself originally planned to go to US on this December but now the plan got wrecked. Should be fun spending Xmas in Japan especially
K-Off
Got my international drivers permit from AAA today, and it also looks like I'm stuck with over half the travel fees since I've signed myself off the agency plan. It's now official, I'm going to Seoul and then spending my christmas holidays in Tokyo. Been a long time since I left the country, last time was in 2011.
SuperMario
That was me Mario
Anonymous140274
@Masky: it wasn't, but Gui Niao did mention the pipe has multi-purpose functions: do far he uses the pipe to write, to create a hallucination smoke, to make an actual bushfire, to open the lock, now to be a sword-pipe. What's next? To be a wifi modem? to be a boomerang? to shapeshift into an umbrella?
Masky
So Thunderbolts Fantasy :D Totally called the pipe being a sword (assuming it wasn't shown earlier and I just forgot about it)
AidanAK47
@Anon146321, typos are hard to avoid when you write fast. What's really important to is that the point gets across, which it did.
Anonymous146321
Medium not meduim
Masky
I wonder if trolls consider people explaining why their trolling is bad a successful trolling .-. I mean, my experience is that most of trolls aren't really smartest or most creative of people, I think most of them are happy if people just talk about them.
AidanAK47
@Anon141285, oh come on boy. Put some effort into trolling. You need to get people to actual think you believe what you are saying. Here you have already messed up because you use the old "Chinese cartoons" which is supposed to piss of anime fans because it suggests you are ignorant of the meduim but then you reference the nukes showing full well you know where they are from. You have failed.
Anonymous141285
Chinese cartoons proof that two nukes weren't enough. Or were too much depending on the perspective
SuperMario
oh, talking about teenage horror female movie, make sure to check out Raw whenever its available online. That is one hell of a fun cannibal ride!
SuperMario
my point is we tend to spend our stupid 20s phase feel like its wasted, but really it does help develop our hobby/sense/wisdom, whatever it is.
Kaiser Eoghan
I find myself now that I've grown up wanting to punch kid characters from horror films lol
Kaiser Eoghan
About the watching stories with younger female characters...its starting to feel like I shouldn't be or that it doesn't feel appropriate, actually sort of awkward/skeevy.
SuperMario
True enough. But remember that even Quentin Tarantino had his 20s basically just a movie-clerk, watched movies like a maniac and he made that classic Pulp Fiction when he was like 33
Kaiser Eoghan
Looking back It feels dickish that I laughed reading NHK.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean look at Re-life, I mean ow, everyone went through that.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think we'll find that stage where we'll get irritated by stories reminding us of our stupid 20s phases eventually just as some teenage focused anime/manga annoyingly remind us of being teens.
Kaiser Eoghan
In terms of anime/manga, much as I'd still see myself liking NHK I could see myself getting more frustrated with the lead character now being in my early 30s.
Kaiser Eoghan
In the past year I've been looking at hentai/ecchi imageboards not as often as I used to.
Kaiser Eoghan
Judy Delphy and Juliette Binoche have aged surprisingly well...
Ah its less fancying/finding them attractive, moreso taking notice of them.
SuperMario
I can understand the others but Meryl Streep too? Man, you're aging I can tell
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Sreep, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: like whom if I may ask?
SuperMario
But I'm always interested in women issues myself so Mustang just hit me hard
Kaiser Eoghan
Its a sign of me aging I guess too. I'm noticing older actresses too now where I wouldn't have in the past.
SuperMario
Looking forward to Under the Shadow too, also really keen to see how The Bad Batch would turn out to be
SuperMario
Strangely I've become more engaged with teen, coming-of-age films recently (well, Aku no Hana is sort of teen drama as well),but yes, old man's psyche is my thing too
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Synecdoche, the passenger, winter light, anomalisa , wild strawberries , la notte for example.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The day is coming where drama centred around twentyboppers won't have the same level of effect on me. Had I seen buffalo 66 5 years ago I would have been all over it. Old man/middle age angst is becoming more my thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm honestly having a harder time getting into films that focus on young girls/teenagers.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Theres only a few upcoming films left I'm looking forward to, Elle, Valley violence, whispering star and under the shadow.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I appreciate mustang for the issue it deals with and addresses but I felt it predictable and the drama didn't hit harshly enough. It feels like an academy/oscars film.
SuperMario
Kaiser: remember I mention about watching those 96 Cannes line-ups? I think I will get to watch them soon, since I downloaded all the movies already
SuperMario
@Kaiser: btw, you hated Mustang? It's also one of my favorite film so far.
SuperMario
but maybe think of it that way will make the manga more entertaining...
SuperMario
You see Aku no Hana as a dark comedy? haha I'm speechless
Kaiser Eoghan
Like you Mario I don't care for heavy infodumping and that took me out of the new world.
Kaiser Eoghan
Bebop had that problem for me in that I saw outlaw star and trigun first.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still feel aku no hana is a guilty pleasure manga, a crazy dark comedy or maybe thats just my humour.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hataraku had me laughing up to episode 7, while Amagi felt stale from the start.
Looking back on Baccano I still like Claire and Russo but the other characters not so much, the main series is enjoyable enough but the extra episodes hold back the score.
I've never watched Habane straight through although I have finished the series. Ghost vs ergo? Ergos final episode wrecked the show.
Topgavin
I thing Hataraku was a lot more consistent, but Amagi had some standout episodes. For me the OVA, the pirate ship episode and the school episode were great. "Simply put, we have to go lewder" is one of my fav quotes
K-Off
How was that by the way? I never bothered to watch Amagi Brilliant Park all the way through because I felt so cynical about it after the first two episodes. Hataraku Mao Sama on the other hand was genuinely refreshing for the first half of the season.
SuperMario
In other news, The Eccentric Family is getting 2nd season. Now I'm filled with joy
SuperMario
Still feel bad to compare an 1-cour series (Baccano) to an 4-cours one. But in this case Baccano would take my cake.
Topgavin
I reckon The Devil is a Part Timer vs Amagi Brilliant Park would be a fun one, and I wouldn't know which would win.
AidanAK47
Baccano vs Durarara might make a good matchup. Baccano is the better one but Durarara does seem to be more popular.
Syndrome
Yeah it is a bit obvious and they dont share much in common anyway. Just that they are two of the most well known anime out there. I enjoyed NGE more than Cowboy Bebop, but I agree on the later beeing overall a better anime.
AidanAK47
Oh look. Berserks Manga is on Haitus again. Muira...just..at this point I ain't even mad. Just disappointed.
SuperMario
Well, new post on Flowers of Evil is out. Come eat it up.
SuperMario
@Syndrome: was thinking about that match-up (NGE vs Cowboy Bebop) but isn't it too obvious? I always intend to pick something that caught you guys off-guard haha
AidanAK47
@Syndrome, no contest. Cowboy Bebop wins outright.
Syndrome
On a serious note, for related anime, I would be curious about something like Ergo Proxy against Ghost in the Shell
Syndrome
Go for NGE vs Cowboy Bebop and watch the world burn
SuperMario
Yeah, I agree it's one of the main factors, but even so From the New World had a higher grade too. But I wouldn't pick Haibane Renmei against From the New World if I didn't think it had a chance to win. Those who loved the former really loved it, while people more appreciate From the New World than actually love it. Well, can't beat the consensus I guess.
Topgavin
I'd say a major reason for that would be the popularity difference. On MAL, Haibane has a following of 110k people, with FTNW having 270k.
SuperMario
I'm personally quite disappointed with the results. Will try harder for a more competitive match-up next time
AidanAK47
@Mario, if you say so. I say by now the victor has been decided.
SuperMario
@Aidan: we don't need to sticky the Versus Show again, as I will put up the Aku no Hana post tomorrow anyway
AidanAK47
Yeah the brightness got a bit much in some places after episode 18.
Topgavin
I thought the brightness was done well in the episode with Rem sitting beside Subaru's bed and her smiling/crying, but yeah this was too much
SuperMario
@anon125687: my thought exactly. While I was watching it I thought to myself that it's too bright!!
Anonymous125687
Why do final episodes overdo the blur effect and fuzzy lighting its literally over dramatic cancer. Just let it end normally ffs
afgm
Well, it's hard, since it doesn't really feel finished, so even if you know it will eventually end well if given a chance, you can't really put your full confidence behind those bets
AidanAK47
Got a bit long winded in that review and yet I feel like I really didn't get across what makes the series so good.
AidanAK47
Well that's the Re:Zero review written up. I will get to work on 91 days next and maybe Prisms Illya maybe after that. Lost all entuasim after they messed up that last episode in Illya. Overall it's been pretty disappointing.
AidanAK47
As for that twist. I think they could work it easily into a first episode. The impact would still be there for people marathoning the thing in the future and it would be a good "Oh Shit!" moment to start the second season. If they jump ahead a bit to a certain moment it would actually make for a great opener.
AidanAK47
I say the only chance of season two not coming would be if White Fox doesn't like money. Considering that the pace which the light novel adaption has sped up from every few months to a release every month I guess that they want to make that second season as badly as we want it. At this pace they could start a second season in maybe a years time. Maybe every half a year depending on cour length.
Syndrome
Also, if season 2 ever come (that would be a surprise if not, and truly annoying), I dont know how they will manage with the "twist", as something this impactful would come way too fast without any kind of setup. Wait and see, I guess.
Syndrome
After seeing the last Re:Zero I couldnt help but spoil myself, and I kind of understand why WhiteFox went with that kind of ending, skipping what would be a giant shtstorm on the internet. Even though, in a sad world where there would be no season 2, Im still a bit disappointed with the ending. Its nice to wrap it up this way but its a stale regarding the plot and there is no food for thought.
SuperMario
@aidan: you sure are fast when it comes to Re:Zero haha. Alrighty, we'll go with that then
AidanAK47
@mario,I am putting up a Re:Zero post. Tommarrow. I will unsticky it for a day and then we can sticky it again.
reaLjustified
@K-Off No worries, it's so messed up. Stay safe.
SuperMario
@Aidan: if you going to post Re:Zero review soon, you can unsticky the Versus Show post, otherwise I will take it down in 2 days
SuperMario
@K-Off: I feel for ya. Glad that there were only minor injuries. I heard a blogger claimed that he did it because of the gay rights. Sound bullsh*t to me
K-Off
Shit ton of manga have gotten updates but I don't feel like talking about them for a while, lost my appetite.
K-Off
@Kaiser Living in NYC all my life I remember 9/11, flight 587 crash in Queens, the Hudson River water landing, and now this.
AidanAK47
So far it seems most of the people calling it disappointing are those who know whats comes after that last scene and were looking forward to how the fanbase reacts to it. But it would have been a pretty terrible as well as evil way to end the series.
Topgavin
Yeah, I thought it gave enough closure for us to be satisfied yet still desperately wanting the next season.
AidanAK47
@Anon120947, I really don't see what's so disappointing about it. I thought it was a pretty solid way to end the series.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think at most the worst thing that happened in my area was two conmen going around and an gangster attack on a nearby hotel.
Kaiser Eoghan
@K-off: Honestly, glad to hear you're safe. And having a bomb go off nearby would make me feel paranoid.
@Anon: I'm waiting, waiting for reviews written after the show ends.
Anonymous120947
Feels like it has been done this way in case of a never happening season 2... to kind of close it.
Anonymous120947
Wow, that last episode of Re:Zero was pure straight disapointment... finishing like this feels is real suffering.
K-Off
Well, we don't know yet. We don't know who did it, if it was connected to the pipe bomb explosion in jersey, etc. But the second device found on 27th street does seem to point the situation towards terrorism.
afgm
Luckily it doesn't seem to be a terror attack
K-Off
Yeah. I was a good 8 blocks away inside a restaurant so I didn't even know until later. It must have been a pretty small bomb since all the injured have apparently already been released from the hospital.
AidanAK47
Damn. Just looked it up. Good thing you weren't at the area when the bomb went off.
K-Off
Fucking hell, transit is so congested I still can't get home. Luckily it seems like there's no fatalities according to the initial reports, there are still a shit ton of people around central for shelter. I didn't hear or feel the explosion at chelsea, and currently I'm at lenox with my bicycle. So congested it looks like I'm going to have to walk my bike a few more miles before I get picked up. L
AidanAK47
Watched The Empire of Corpses. I makes me sad to see a great idea be turned into such a mediocre movie. I think this concept could have been put to much better use but instead it decided to go with the blandest option.
SuperMario
The guy who will direct it is a live-action director who only had Psycho Pass the Movie (not a good one) as an anime director. WTH? Don't know what to think about this new FLCL now
SuperMario
and it will be co-produced by Adult Swim on top of that?
SuperMario
How comes I just noticed this old news that FLCL will get two-seasons sequel...
Masky
And by that I mean "Huh, haven't checked the blog for two days"
Masky
Yay commenting on two days old blog posts
AidanAK47
Finished rewatching Re:Zero and now ready for the finale. Let's see how this goes.
AidanAK47
I will be mourning the now dead hope of a somewhat decent Berserk adaption.
The last few episodes were not bad but purely on the merits of the source material and not the adaption.
SuperMario
@Bam: I'll be mourning indeed.
@Anon 112098: I haven't watched Chef, but it has more to do with me not interested in chef's life whatsoever. Is it good?
Bam
I'm out of town until Sunday evening. The Berserk finale post will hopefully be up early Monday mourning, followed by the overall cour review a bit later in the week.
Anonymous112098
Habe u seen Chef with John Favreau?
AidanAK47
I am quite upset with how Sliver link handled that scene. It was the one scene I wanted done right. Just that one scene...and they screwed it up.
SuperMario
He scored the Prince of Egypt? I didn't know that, but yeah I remember it had a great score. Also "When you believe"
K-Off
Well, a lot of his earlier work is just brilliant. Prince of Egypt in my opinion is his greatest work.
SuperMario
*nothing wrong
SuperMario
Well, Hans Zimmer could do nothing really; but that's a reason why I have a bit of problem with his scores. Everything he made are solid but ultimately sound the same to me.
SuperMario
Agree that the music has been excellent. Not only the soundtrack thou, but the sound editting in general is great (that ringtone during the Great Whale for example).
AidanAK47
@Mario, Understandable. As much as I love this show, I admit that it has elements I am sure could turn off people.
Also I really should have talked about the music in this series more. It really is a phenomenal soundtrack. I hear they were going with a more cinematic approach to it with Hans Zimmer being a primary inspiration.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it has been a fun ride, I'm glad I stick with it till the end; although I'm not as enthusiastic about it as you are. :)
AidanAK47
Re-watching Re:Zero in preparation for the finale. Still is awesome a second time through. In fact the middle part of the series I felt dragged fairs a whole lot better when marathoned though. Noticing a number of things watching the second time. For one Roswell has a really goddamn annoying way of talking. I say I will be giving this on a very favorable review.
Anonymous110962
Hugh Mungus
AidanAK47
@TopGavin, I haven't watched it yet but I hope what you said about the animation isn't too bad because this is where they need to be on top of their game.
Topgavin
So that fate episode was interesting, lotsa stuff happened. Seemed like the animation was worse than usual and my god how could the subs screw up the incantation.
reaLjustified
@Aramus Why would you want to send the picture to your friend? Tell 'em to see it for themselves at the site! lol.
Friend
Most of the time they meant no harm, I think it's always about getting recognition. They quickly take them down after I send them a polite email, and I let them save their ego without smearing them on their page.
afgm
(ok maybe a little fault should go to them lol)
afgm
@Friend: That sucks, but its definitely understandable. People can be pretty thoughtless at times (no fault to them of course).
afgm
tiger mask did make it into the upper quartile though, which is surprising
Friend
@afgm I don't have a large internet presence with my work exactly because I've had situations with theft on Pinterest. For work, I just carry USBs with my portfolio pieces in them :/
Friend
@Aramus Heya, thanks for the inquiry. Unfortunately the fell image won't be available openly unless for commercial purposes, but otherwise feel free to contact me in my business email! :)
afgm
ah you know what? I read the title Time Bokan 24 and thought it had 24 votes x)
SuperMario
@afgm: Time Bokan receives 0 vote the last time I checked it. I'm more surprised that people love Haikyuu that much
SuperMario
Such a shame because I enjoy writing it a lot
SuperMario
2 more episodes on Thunderbolt Fantasy and I might break the sites' record (hall of shame really) for covering a show without any comment, haha.
afgm
Also what is Time Bokan and why does it have more votes than 95% of the other anime in the poll haha
afgm
well it's always iffy giving out images without the creator knowing. You can never know where its going to end up. I strongly suggest you contact Friend.
aramus1
@Afgm Sorry, I was the anon. The weird username thing is bugging out. And was going to send it to a friend, did she not want it out there?
afgm
@anon: you better not be thinking about refistributing the image without her consent. youre better off contacting her on her homepage...
AidanAK47
@Anon108797, In the comments he mentions that it's an April Fools joke. So there is hope for humanity yet.
Anonymous108797
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bBa44-FIqk Why does this even exist
Kaiser Eoghan
Can't believe I still haven't read Dragon head or the world is mine yet...I need to fix that.
Anonymous108669
@afgm Awesome! Is there any way to get the source image though, her portfolio doesn't have it unfortunately.
afgm
the footer has the source. it was made special by her
Aramus
Yo, can anyone give a source on the new wallpaper thing? it looks awesome!
AidanAK47
@Mari, no problem. Thanks for for the thanks.
I argee that the fall looks to be pretty weak but it's hard to tell until the season really starts. I have been blindsided by series before.
MariShandy
AidanAK47 and those who helped you, thank you for the season preview. Time to pick the series that I will follow. You make this much easier for me!
Anonymous107505
#nochin
afgm
it reminds me of Durara
afgm
Well Occultic;Nine does have pretty good promotional material, too, and the concept is pretty cool.
AidanAK47
I think the majority of our readers are Steins;gate fans seeing as Occultic;Nine is currently in the lead on the poll.
AidanAK47
Updated the preview with the more tag so episode posts don't get pushed down to the end of the page.
SuperMario
haha so watch the anime with us then
Kaiser Eoghan
Too many chapters of both out at the moment for me to marathon/catch up lol
SuperMario
Good choice, Kaiser. Good choice!!
Kaiser Eoghan
My vote is for drifters and 3-gatsu no lion. Will jump onto the manga where both leave off after.
SuperMario
For reader's info, I've gone ahead and marked this season preview on top page. It deserves to be there for at least few days :). New posts (there's already one) will be under this preview post.
Total users: 44

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Red Turtle a

The Red Turtle Review – 93.5/100

Welcome to my first movie review on World Animation section, the column where I wholly dedicated to indie/ art-house animated features around the world that hardly got coverage anywhere really (but rest assure our since sometimes I will review anime movies as well). And what’s a better way to start this section by reviewing one of […]

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Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]