Posted on 31 March 2010 with categories: Monthly Summaries

Ah, it’s finally spring. It’s a season of lots and lots of rain that eventually turns into nice weather. Seriously though, the reason I’m looking forward to it because this time it really is a season of opportunities: Noitamina is growing, and besides that there is a ton series that either have a great staff with a dull premise, or a great premise with a dull staff. It really can go anywhere, and that’s why I’m looking forward it to it a lot, despite that it may not be as full as compared to the spring seasons of previous years.

As for this season, I’m actually glad that there were rather few series worth watching, because my schedule has become much busier over the past two months, which really allowed me to get used to it. It’s not my favourite season by far, but it did excel in terms of comedies and kids’ shows. The best company of this season was Toei: they didn’t just come with one great series, they had three of them. Four if you also count One Piece, but I’m not watching that series (WAY too long and intimidating).

As for this month’s rankings, aside from my favourites, my rankings got completely jumbled up in comparison to last month. This mostly is due to some excellent series with disappointing finales, and series that I considered to be only decent suddenly turning awesome.

#22 (new) – KissXSis – (3/10) – This is just.. awful. Nothing but an excuse for porn, with hardly anything else. I don’t think that anyone is going to watch this show for something other than the nude girls here. For me, it’s already the worst of the new season even though only four shows have aired yet.
#21 (new) – Koihime Musou – (3,5/10) – It’s exactly the same as it’s ever been: incredibly stupid moe humor. Bored me to death. Dropped.
#20 (new) – Ikkitousen – (4,5/10) – Here’s the thing: for Ikkitousen, it wasn’t that bad of an episode. If I’m not mistaken, the appeal of this show is fighting + fanservice, and that’s pretty much what that episode delivered on, compared to the godawful Dragon Destiny and Great Guardians. Still, with regular standards the show still is pretty cheesy and full of stupid and stereotypical characters.
#19 (new) – Working!! – (5/10) – I’ve been looking forward to this series, but alas. It’s sense of humour is completely different from mine, and as a result I only was annoyed by the countless teenaged antics that the creators kept trying to push forward. Dropped.
#18 (17) – Ookami Kakushi – (6,5/10) – Well, everything pretty much derailed for this show. While it looked like it was actually trying in the beginning, the ending was just terrible thanks to the useless male lead and the really cheesy villain. The adults all started acting like complete morons, and nothing really got solved in the end. The final gag episode also was a pain to sit through.
#17 (16) – Kimi ni Todoke – (7,75/10) – Granted, this finale was definitely more bearable than the rest of this series, but it never really solved anything. All we got was a message that said that if you ‘liked the story, you should check out the manga and a second season might be made’. Gee, how subtle.
#16 (11) – Cobra The Animation – (7,75/10) – Not the strongest month for Cobra, as I liked it best when it was episodic. The final arc took up four episodes, and it could have been condensed a bit as it dragged a bit for too long. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and kept me busy.
#15 (4) – Sora no Oto – (7,75/10) – The first two thirds of this series were truly excellent. However, I just can’t say the same of what Sora no Oto showed us the past month. It tried to do way too much in way too little time, and it wanted to be way too epic, forgetting that it was supposed to be a slice of life series. The final episode was way too rushed and pulled way too many convenient plot twists. The best that this month has shown was probably the German.
#14 (10) – Tentai Senshi Sunred – (8,25/10) – The final episodes weren’t among the highlights of Sunred’s second season, but I still got a good laugh out of them. It’s sad to see this show go, as it’s been one of those rare comedy sequels to actually surpass its original.
#13 (7) – Marie & Gali – (8,25/10) – So the finale took up this month’s airtime for Marie & Gali, so it wasn’t exactly amongst the series’ highlights. However, it was nowhere near bad. I love how the finale, instead of creating a cheesy climax that had nothing to do with the rest of the series, instead forced Marika to think for herself. That’s of course the perfect ending for a series that’s about exploring the wonders of science.
#12 (5) – Cross Game – (8,25/10) – One thing that I didn’t like about Cross Game this month was that most of its time was spent on its rather boring baseball match in the finale of the regional championships. It was the thing I had been fearing for twenty episodes now, and it indeed was nowhere as good as the truly excellent slice of life of this series. Nevertheless, the actual ending closed off the series really well.
#11 (15) – Katanagatari – (8,25/10) – Episode 3 was heaps better than the first two episodes: an interesting scenario, an interesting villain, the dialogue was much more focused and the fight again was short and sweet. It’s definitely an interesting series to watch like this.
#10 (12) – Anymaru Tantei Kiruminzoo – (8,25/10)

Episode 25 started this series mid-way climax. And it was… unusual. Completely different from the laid-back nature of the rest of the series. I’m actually quite curious what the creators are planning for the second half of this series.

#9 (9) – Kaidan Restaurant – (8,25/10)

I’m also pretty amazed at how well this series is doing in terms of popularity and audience numbers, and it pretty much deserves it. I can very much imagine that kids are loving this little horror series, and it’s still delivering simple but fun and varied horror stories that are consistently scary.

#8 (18) – Hanamaru Youchien – (8,25/10)

I’m a bit sad about that open ending. I mean, if there’s one series that could have easily made up its own ending, it would have been this one, and it would have been much more satisfying than what we got to see right now, which basically was a build-up for nothing. Ignoring that however, then Hanamaru Youchien has gotten significantly better in its final third. The characters came together, the comedy became funnier, the characters developed a bit. Overall a very enjoyable finale.

#7 (14) – Gag Manga Biyori + – (8,5/10)

Absolutely hilarious. Especially the Wolf-man episode was beyond funny, but the other new episodes were also classics.

#6 (8) – Heartcatch Precure – (8,5/10)

It’s great to see that this series is currently working diligently to introduce all of the major characters, rather than wallowing away too much in random stories. It’s exactly what this show should be doing at this point.

#5 (13) – Letter Bee – (8,5/10)

You know, I was just going to casually enjoy the rest of this series and wait for the second season to really start off the plot. But damn… that final episode. The final ten minutes of this show single-handedly increased my opinion of this series significantly. It’s a huge cliff-hanger, but at the same time it was a wonderful way to end the first season with.

#4 (3) – Durarara – (8,75/10)

This month Durarara really managed to elevate itself to a higher level, and became something unique. The dialogue has been really well written in order to get the best out of the characters, and it’s really been working so far. More and more characters are shedding the seemingly stereotypical look that they had in the beginning.

#3 (6) – Kobato – (8,75/10)

Kobato really surpassed itself this month, with a very solid and heart-wrenching conclusion that really made use of its time. For me, it’s had the best ending of the season.

#2 (2) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (9/10)

We’re really moving to the climax now, as this series has been ramping up the action while still developing the plot at a steady pace. Exciting is an understatement to describe this series.

#1 () – Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra – (9,25/10)

The big problem with this show right now is that it should have been 35 episodes long, instead of 27. So yeah, it’s a bit rushed, but seriously, that still doesn’t make it any less awesome than that it already was. I’m still enjoying this show more than any other at the moment and despite the rushed plot the creators did manage to capture the essences of the final chapters of the story. Because of that it’s awesome to see everything finally coming together.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Kimi ni Todoke



Romances often are annoying, which can often be attributed to characters acting completely irrational, illogical and against their own feelings. I’ve watched quite a few series that created a well developed cast this way, like with Bokura ga Ita and White Album. Kimi ni Todoke however… just… didn’t work for me.

The first half of this series really was a pain for me to try and sit through. The premise is simple: a very shy and socially inept girl (Sawako) and a popular, good-looking guy (Kazehaya) fall in love with each other. Fair enough, but the execution left a lot to be desired, especially when the creators started focusing on the love triangles. Hordes of girls turn out to be in love with Kazehaya as well, and the drama that results out of it is horribly dragged out for way longer than it should have, and the creators treat it like some kind of blasphemy if any of the two lead characters even dares to talk to someone of the other gender.

For a series that’s about the high school years of a bunch of people, Sawako and Kazehaya don’t really feel like interesting characters at all. Sawako is way too pure: whenever someone tries to take advantage of her feelings (by making her jealous for example), her incredible naivety just feels incredibly unnatural and it quickly turns into a bit of a lame gimmick. Kazehaya on the other hand is just so bland as a male romantic interest. He’s just… there, with hardly any personality about him other than some guy who just keeps smiling.

What also did not help was this series’ facial expressions, especially the chibi-distortions that you see in most of those other shoujo series as well. Usually they’re used with stylistic purposes; you know, colour each character with these seemingly over the top reactions. Here however, they felt more like “Okay, you can laugh now”-signs. They’re often badly animated in contrast to the rest of this series’ beautiful looks, are forced and hardly ever are actually used in funny situations. This show just continuously tried to be subtle, while it ultimately just wasn’t.

The only subtle part that I actually found about this series was its character-development. THANKFULLY, this show gets better in its second half as soon as the main love rival is put on a bus away from the main plot. From there on the characters change ever so slightly: Sawako learns how to appreciate life more and Kazehaya becomes less bland, but it’s not that the creators try to shove this development down your throat like they did with the love triangles. it really helps for a series if its final arc is the best one, and that pretty much was the case here.

Still, I don’t think that this show is the same as White Album, in which an excellent second half made up for an incredibly annoying first half. In the end I still see Kimi ni Todoke as a bit of a half-baked series with characters that never really stand out at anything. It’s overall something that will keep you busy on a rainy day with not much else to do, but there are a lot of better series out there.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Lacks subtlety, drags on for way too long.
Characters: 8/10 – Decent enough in its focus at being in love, with slight development that at least makes the final parts of the series interesting enough.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Great visuals, as expected from Production IG, but the chibi-drawings annoy.
Setting: 7/10 – Pretty much your standard high school setting Nothing that really stands out.

Suggestions:
Bokura ga Ita
True Tears
Kimikiss – Pure Rouge

Posted on 30 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



BY FAR the most underwatched and underrated series of the past winter-season was Gag Manga Biyori’s fourth season. There were no subs, the first season was already very much unknown, and its random and unimpressive promo-art that lacked any moe whatsoever lead to only few people to give it a chance. On top of that, it also didn’t help that half of this season was a recap: only the odd numbered episoded episodes were new, while the even ones were just episodes taken from previous seasons.

But here’s the thing: never since the best episodes of Gintama have I laughed as hard at an anime as with this series. This isn’t just a case of a series that’s ‘decent despite its popularity’, no. Gag Manga Biyori+ is one of the funniest things I’ve seen since ages. Besides that, it has nothing: there’s no plot, no characters, the graphics suck. But the new episodes were so awesome to watch that I just don’t care. Even the first season wasn’t as good as the episodes here.

Of course, its sense of humour is not for everyone. If you’re into moe humour then you don’t want to watch this series. However, if you’re looking for hyperactivity, then you really can’t get anything more hyperactive than this. This show elevates energetic to completely new levels, the pacing is absolutely through the roof. It never waits for its audience to catch a bit of breath, it just keeps bombarding it with joke after joke after joke, all of them over the top. With episodes of five minutes, it’s also no commitment at all to try and watch this season. My advice is that if you want something energetic to laugh at and happen to know some Japanese, then give this show a shot. If you don’t know Japanese, then you can at least check out the first season, which did come fully subbed.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Absolutely hilarious. I haven’t laughed this hard in ages.
Characters: 8/10 – Um, yeah. Random characters for every episodes. But they don’t really need to be anything more.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Smooth animation, but simple art style and a lot of still frames. But it doesn’t really need to be anything better.
Setting: 8/10 – Um, yeah. It’s knowledgeable about the things it parodies, I guess.

(So yeah, this is pretty much an incredibly subjective review: I’m only rating it this high because I found it so incredibly funny ^^;)
– Excel Saga
– The other Gag Manga Biyori Seasons
Kodomo no Omocha
Sexy Commando Gaiden

Posted on 29 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




The Animax Grand Prix is something like a contest for amateur writers: submit your story, and the winner gets his story animated in a 20-minute OVA. Up till now, the results have been mostly simple kids stories: Yume da Maya Kidan for example was about a girl’s relationship with her brother who got kidnapped by an angry demon, while Takane no Jitensha was about a boy’s relationship with his younger sister. Shoka however, is completely different.

From the screenshots you can pretty much see its unusual art style, and ultimately Shoka is an action OVA: its animation is truly gorgeous. The animation is messy, but detailed and very imaginative. And for once, you can actually see that the animators have put some attention in the lip movement of characters: their mouths don’t just simply move up and down whenever they’re speaking, but you can actually see their mouths form the syllables that they’re trying to say.

The action and animation is really why you should want to watch this little OVA, because apart from that it doesn’t have much else. The story is just there to show the action, and the characters too are pretty simple. The dialogue is also nothing special, as shown in the minute of cheesy comedy that is tacked at the end.

So yeah at the end this OVA knows how to build up tension, and how to write excellent action. But the thing is that these things can all be attributed to the adaptation staff. For once I’d like to see an actually great short story being picked up by the Animax Grand Prix. There are enough amateur writers who are capable of such a thing.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Nice action.
Characters: 6/10 – Just serve as tools for the action; cheesy dialogue.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous and detailed animation.
Setting: 7/10 – Nice idea of calligraphers, but 20 minutes is way too short to really explore it to its fullest

Suggestions:
Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
Kai Doh Maru
– Manie Manie

Posted on 28 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hanamaru Youchien




Here’s a slice of life series that’s slightly different from what you usually see. The lead character is really a typical lead character, but he’s an actual adult. The series takes place not at a high school, but a kindergarten. Add a whole dose of role-play to that, and you pretty much get the formula of Hanamaru Youchien. A fun and relaxing series. And as an added bonus, the characters are well written as well.

Hanamaru Youchien basically spends its time either role playing, or fleshing out the characters. The former is just fun: we get to see inside the imagination of a bunch of five-year olds and their crazy ideas, and all of the adventures that they go on are consistently enjoyable, carrying an air of homage and parody that the creators (both Gainax and its director Seiji Mizushima) are famous for. The latter actually succeeds in making all of the adults into actual characters rather than stereotypes and paper bags.

Especially Tsuchida, the lead character, is one of those rare examples of a typical male lead done right. While he can be a loser at times, he also has enough things that he’s good at, his character is dynamic enough to allow him to evolve, rather than staying in the same one-sided stereotypes. The side-cat is also excellent in their support to the main cast. We get to know the backgrounds and motivations of everyone, and why they become involved as kindergarten teachers. In the end, the adults in this series get fleshed out so well that they actually manage to trump the adventures of the different kids in the series.

The biggest problem with this series however is that it doesn’t know whether it wants to also have romance or not. The ingredients are there: the lead character has someone he’s in love with. she’s just ridiculously clueless and at the end they’re still not together. I mean, if you’re going to set up some romance, at least have the decency to not build a brick wall between the lead characters.

There’s also a bit of an annoying sister, but she only appears in two episodes or so. The rest of this series is light-hearted and down to earth, but still has this sense of maturity that contrasts really well with the younger kids. The drama that’s there is short and focused, and doesn’t come across forced or too dramatic at all, so this series both ended up delivering in its serious and funny parts. On top of that, you also have to love what this series has done with its EDs: every episode has a completely different one, with a completely different style, genre and soundtrack.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Varied, fun and adorable.
Characters: 8/10 – This show confirms why I keep advocating adults in anime.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid animation and cute graphics.
Setting: 8/10 – Not the most creative series out there, but creative enough to fill 12 episodes, and the kindergarten itself and the world around it is also well portrayed.

Similar Series:
Ristorante Paradiso
Yume de Aetara
– Bottle Fairy

Posted on with categories: Hanamaru Youchien



So… for the ones who were hoping for a conclusion: there is none. As it turns out, the creators just decided to animate a bunch of chapters and just stopped when the episodes ran out. Seriously, it’s a bit of a bummer to see Tsuchida and Yamamoto still not together. In the end, Yamamoto’s cluelessness was really one of my two major annoyances about this series. The other was Tsuchida’s sister.

Nevertheless, when you view this as a random episode, rather than an ending, it was pretty good and well written. Anzu’s dream was a bit weird (especially since it contained the ONLY KISS in this series…), but the random character cameos were definitely interesting. The second half, while not wrapping anything up, did show a lot of new things about the characters (including on how Anzu’s parents ended up married), and Anzu also gave up on Tsuchida as well. But yeah, it’s a bit pointless to do all this build-up for an ending that’s never going to be there.

Still, I’ve been very much surprised by this series. I really started blogging it on a whim. The only reason for it was because the rest of the season was so incredibly dry. But it’s been fun. It’s certainly not the most enjoyable series out there, and the director has done a far better job at Ooedo Rocket in terms of light-heartedness. But for what it was, it was a very nice and enjoyable series.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Heartcatch Precure



I really love this: the creators could decide to go lazy and instead animate a bunch of random stories. Instead, it’s focusing its first quarter at establishing every major character. This time, it’s the turn of Erika’s sister, building further upon the third episode in which we learned about how jealous Erika is of her sister.

Again, this episode didn’t claim to fix everything. The Desatorian was created through Momoka’s stress, just at a time at which she happened to be feeling down. It’s not like Momoka needed the help of the Precures to know how to fix her problems. In fact, the reason that these desatorians help is by alerting the people around it about the person’s problems; it’s all about communication.

So, while this episode wasn’t as enjoyable as some of the others of this show, I’m happy enough with it due to its build-up. With every of these episodes I’m getting more and more curious as to what the creators are planning to do with the rest of this series.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Cross Game




It’s easy to dismiss Cross Game as a baseball series, but make no mistake. This is much more a slice of life series about characters who just happen to play a lot of baseball. Cross Game is much more a tale of growing up, with a healthy dose of humour along the way. And it does this oh so well.

Seriously, in terms of slice of life, you can hardly get any better than this. The seemingly endless amount of wit with which the writers spice up the daily lives is incredible, and they love to play with this. Whenever you see a character do something seemingly out-of-character, there’s always some sort of very logical explanation behind this.Think about a character making an important confession at first sight, only to reveal that he’s talking about something completely different. The entire series is chock-ful of these moments that have a ton of fun playing with the characters in this way.

Obviously this gives the show an awesome cast to work with. We see them grow up through the series, from when they’re still small children to their third year in high school. As a viewer we really get to know who they are, and because of that the slice of life works so well: these characters rock right from the first episode of this series, so it becomes a really enjoyable ride to just see what they’re doing in their everyday lives.

The problem with this series is, in fact, the baseball, for multiple reasons. First of all, the slice of life is just that good. Every time a baseball match started, I felt like something was missing, and just kept hoping that they would wrap up as soon as possible in order to get more of the quiet moments in this series. That, and the baseball matches aren’t that good anyway. Especially when you compare them to other series, they’re poorly built up, hand together with cliches and the teams that our lead characters match against are hardly ever fleshed out properly. There’s no tension in them, and all you’re doing is waiting for them to finish.

Cross Game is based on a manga by Mitsuru Adachi, who pretty much can only write one type of series, but he can do that incredibly well. Cross Game is the same, and although I do prefer Touch (due to its longer length and because it did have excellent baseball matches, despite its lack of wit in the slice of life department), Cross Game nevertheless is excellent and its execution is one of a kind.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Wonderfully witty in its portrayal of the characters’ daily lives. Baseball matches suck, though.
Characters: 10/10 – Take perhaps a bit long to develop, but a lot of the cast members end up well rounded at the end of the series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Nothing special, asice from a good soundtrack perhaps.
Setting: 8/10 – Not a fan of the way it portrayed baseball, but did a good job of the high school setting.
Posted on with categories: Cross Game



Awww, what a lovable end. I was a bit afraid that 10 minutes would be too little for the big finale (yes, I do not consider that baseball match to be the finale of this series), but the creators ended up making something nice out of it. Ideally of course, this series should have screwed the Olympics and just have gone for 51 episodes, but even these 10 minutes reminded me exactly why I fell in love with this series.

It’s such a shame to see this series go, though. I mean, I could totally see a series in which we follow the lives of the characters after Koushien, which would rock even more. Still, this has really been a wonderful series.

The baseball series of the upcoming season also promises to be interesting, because it proves to be good at exactly the thing that Cross Game was worst at: the baseball matches. And on the other hand of course, there’s no way that the slice of life of Ookiku Furikabutte is going to be as good as in Cross Game. At least, the conclusion of this baseball match was a lot more enjoyable than the previous two episodes, because it turned Kou into a mere mortal again.

And yeah. Kou and Aoba holding hands together. That was totally worth the wait of these 2,5 episodes of baseball.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



Okay, so we may not have Roy Mustang in action for about twenty episodes or so, same with the people around him, but I loved how in this episode it becomes clear how much he managed to prepare in the time he was away from the spotlights and how many allies he managed to gather. And even Ross and Havoc, who disappeared for even longer, have been carrying out their own agenda in an attempt to assist him. And while they pretty much slaughter the army in this episode, the creators did take care to give every one of these soldiers their own identity with this subtle characterization, rather than just packing a clone army of mindless slaves or something.

The second half of this episode was more about the stealth, as Ed and his father try to get to Father. In the meantime, we have also three homunculi who are trying to do the same (Envy is nearly at Father, Pride will get rescued by Sloth any minute now, and Wrath also should show up somewhere in the next few episodes). Truly promises to be an action-packed finale. Especially considering how at the end of this episode the clones were activated. I really have to give credit to Bones: that was one creepy scene.

In the next episode we should also see the new and final OP, if the creators indeed planned to have a new OP at the start of every season. I wonder whether it can beat the current one, though. It’s been by far the best OP of Full Metal Alchemist yet for me (including the first season, of course). But damn, this really means that at this point the total amount of Full Metal Alchemist Episodes is already in the three digits. The thing I really hope for this season is for its success to inspire more series to just go with the right amount of episodes that their story requires, rather than just stick to 26.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

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AidanAK47
But there are times when it goes way too far and you can barely make out what is even supposed to be happening. Or characters go so off model that they are unrecognizable. It can be immersion breaking. Much like uncanny CGI.
AidanAK47
@Niel, I do agree that it's annoying to see people complain about animation when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Like those inbetween frame screenshot people. But I will say I appreciate on model characters more so than chaotic movement. When the off model stuff suits the tone of the scene like that blade runner part, then it's fine.
niel
I also don't want to see someone imply visual=animation for the hundredth time. Are people really that ignorant of the technical/artistic aspect of the media they consumed?
niel
It just depends on what works best in given scene and the aesthetic they want to go for. People can complain all they want about off-model stuff, but if they really only want that the they won't be getting nearly as much of those impactful scenes as there are now. So many of the ways people complain about it is really irking to me.
niel
normal/low action scenes is different from being on-model during the action sequences and just the ones that need some extra impact in general. https://youtu.be/rrZk9sSgRyQ?t=6m45s
niel
But that depends on the situation though. And I'd argue that being consistent and on-model during
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter/Niello/Mario: Ideally I want it both ways, fluid animation AND consistent model visuals, all the while never sacrificing choreography.
SuperMario
But really, who am I to say. I'm the dude who prefer beautiful shot composition myself
SuperMario
The same can be said with Shinkai's movies since he always prefers static, beautiful shot that people tend to overlook that his animation is quite poorly handled
Vonter
You're right, but art direction does alleviate limited animation, I mean the old Berserk anime, kinda has a lot of slideshow moments. MahoYome has nice backgrounds, and despite the samey faces, at the very least doesn't come from the same mold as other series. Still cutting corners with chibi segments is was a mistake.
SuperWooper
Is it any wonder that people prefer things to be static/on-model? They want to see characters who look consistent and familiar so they can relate to them.
Nie
MahoYome being the biggest offender of people getting triggered to any kind of statement about the show's animation not being good. And it's absurd because the show's animation really isn't great at all. It's good with distracting people with pretty pictures, but animation-wise it's still mediocre.
Nie
@SuperMario: Not much. Just stuff like "Art is part of the animation weather it's beautiful backgrounds or just amazing looking characters. It's not all about how they move. If it was, CG would be considered great animation" multiple times. I've just been finding myself being replied with these kinds of comment non-stop since the start of the season.
SuperMario
@Niello: What happened exactly, if you don't me asking?
Nielllo
If I hear someone says AMB has good animation one more tie I might actually lose it. It's amazing how people who apparently know nothing about it try to defend this and other people who don't know anything are actually supporting the guy.
Niello
So with Fate Apocrypha episode 22 out, I'm just now learning that people think webgen style is horrible and they prefer static scenes with pretty visual over actual quality animation. WTF. I can't comprehend this. Are casual people who watch animation in general really that oblivious to the art they have been watching?
Lenlo
Berserks Dynasty Warriors style game looked better. Also, Mahoutsukai should be up tonight/tomorrow. Turns out, Christmas is a busy time of year at this job.
Amagi
*worse
Amagi
Especially when you consider how good CGI can be by now, look at Houseki or Kado. But Berserk was the worst thing I saw in years, many scenes felt worst than sequences of PSX games
Amagi
@SuperMario: Same. I love Kon and also consider Paprika's OST as the best. @Lenlo: Me too. I honestly even enjoyed the movies but the new series was atrocious
Lenlo
HIRASAWAAAA! HAAAAAI YOOOOO.
I miss the 90s Berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also quite fond of his soundtracks for Berserk. AIIIIIYE FORCES : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYYYew8CUI
SuperMario
@Amagi: I'm a big fan of Kon so I've watched everything from his. Even bought a book about his works. About the soundtrack, I listened to them as well but not regularly, compare to pprika OST which I downloaded and listen to a lot
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although not completely a manga, Usagi yojimbo also has an anthro character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Millennium actress is partially inspired by the actress Setsuko Hara.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: The anthro-animal manga is even a topseller as far as I know. Haven't looked into it yet, though. Maybe I will do so.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I am still hoping Dream Machine will happen some day. Kon died believing it would happen
Amagi
@SuperMario: Have you tried the other Kon movies like Millennium Actress once? Thought they were really good and Hirasawa is responsible for the OST there too. Or Paranoia Agent which was (IMO) very good as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nttSKBJ38k (OP)
Niello
Eoghan: Enjoy... ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't read this, its very strange to see a manga about full anthro animal characters: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Beastars
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: So based on that I will try devil lady. Thanks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: That'd be me who made that post. I thought dororon enma-kun was wonderfully ridiculous and Devilman gorishly entertaining, Shin Mazinger Z was probably some of the most fun I had with an anime, but violence jack took it way too far though so I guess I'm aquainted with nagai's work
Vonter
I don't remember who was looking for something noir in anime. I was looking among several series from Go Nagai. And watched some Devil Lady. I don't remember if noir is exclusively detective stories, but this anime, has those high contrast shadows, eerie music and is shot like some japanese horror movies I've seen. I don't know if it changes along the road but so far it's very suspenseful.
SuperMario
I only know him through his works in Berserk and Paprika but his music never fails to amaze me
Anonymous1626471
@Amagi: Ghost Bridge is my favourite. I just find it very calming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeh5aJsxlbw
Amagi
Susumu Hirasawa is one of my favorite musicians/composers. I don't even know what kind of subgenre this is. There aren't any other music groups I know who do similar stuff
Nielllo
@Mario, Already saw that video before.
SuperMario
Check this out... I don't even know what the freaking instrument he's playing, but it's spellbound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjalQjAomH0
Niello
Just when I thought Houseki no Kuni took the prize for best animation I was treated with Apocrypha. This week is amazing.
Niello
Big name animators all over. They really threw everything they've got here.
Niello
Woooooah! OMG Apocrypha ep 22 animation is sick! So that's why the animation in the first half of the show is so lackluster and basically just darn awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its not entirely odd to bring up Heydrich in relation to the occult either, apparently he was said to be part of some whackjob order.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, that girl from Dies irae, Anna Schwegln is aptly named, also shares her name with the last executed person for witchcraft, who was Bavarian German, which i'm told by an Austrian friend were particular right-est leaning politically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course unfortunately its often the opposite that happens, nothing is worse than an ending that ruins everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, how I love being surprised by something. That feeling where you''re watching something shakily held together, simply okay or good, then suddenly in the second half or last stretch your score of it goes massively up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can kind of understand the wanting to go home and watch something easy mentality instead of challenging but even though I'm guilty of escapism, I'm tired somewhat of "sillier" stuff, its often enjoyable but its get overly reptitive and I wish I could find more philosophical/political/imaginative things.
Amagi
Yeah the show is great because of its theme, the setting and chemistry girls have as well as their (lack of) knowledge about basic human things. Each episode thematizes this in a different way but there isn't much you can talk or say about it when you already explained the topic in detail.
SuperMario
On the other hand, I don't have much to talk about Girls' Last Tour this week. It's still good, but with this episode I feel that I'm running out of concrete thig to say about the show
SuperMario
Haha both Houseki and 3-gatsu have a good showing this week. I have a lot of things to talk about Houseki in particular
Amagi
This week's Houseki is jurassic park
Amagi
*-ati - I think Netflix and so are at least giving a few new impulses which isn't too bad. I don't think the typical anime series will disappear because of that.
Amagi
At least in comparisation
Amagi
I think it's just sad how often I see wonderful series selling 500 BD/DVD or maybe even less. Most series don't sell more than 1500 or so and the rest is usually at ~3000-5000 which is still pretty low.
Amagi
Yeah, it's one of my pro-Netflix arguments as well. Another problem is that anime (not counting manga) only make money through dvd/bd sales since they air at night, whereas Netflix or daytime tv series don't depend on the latter so much and since anime BDs are so expensive the only ones who buy them are the more extreme fans.
AidanAK47
Might be in part due to the workaholic nature of their society that makes escapist fantasy and empty entertainment more appealing than usual. Ultimately these are the people anime is made for so opening up the markets gives more deserving shows a fighting chance.
Though that isn't to say that western taste is perfect either.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, That's part of the reason I think some westernation might be a good thing as from what I seen the Japanese have truly terrible taste in anime. Sales charts from Japan just make me shake my head.
Amagi
God, the preorder anime lists are atricious. The only one that seems to sell acceptable (around 6k) is Mahoyome. Series like Inuyashiki have 80 pre-orders so far, Shuumatsu Shoujo 977. Idol shows sell good of course, including that male/bishounen Idolmaster
AidanAK47
@Anon, I read it but kinda fell out due to it's releases being slow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Actually if you check the manga recommendations section, you'll see there is a post about it here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yes, it was interesting to follow a story that dealt with a characters homosexuallity that was outside of the yaoi/yuri mould.
Anonymous1620968
Out of curiosity, has anyone on here read Shimanami Tasogare?
Niello
Where are we up to with Inuyashiki?
Lenlo
Well alright then. Episode 9 out of 11 and that happens. Was not expecting that
Lenlo
Ooo something happen this week? Im about to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
It feels just as rushed and awkward in the manga.
Amagi
I noticed this too
AidanAK47
Inuyashiki has balls of steel to pull that in this particular episode number.
Nielllo
Finally got around to reading Helck, and it looks like it's going to go into that pile of good-shounen-that-won't-ever-get-animated right alongside Psyren.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Imagine trying to buy the dvds of the show in public.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Gentle remind that the prism ilya movie is out and subbed.
AidanAK47
Still surprised the second and third seasons got dubbed.
AidanAK47
@Angel, I replied to one of your comments before but the rundown is no official word yet but maybe next year.
Angel
Or no? Someone please tell me!!
Angel
Going to happen?
Angel
Is fate/kaleid liner prisma☆illya 3rei dub
Amagi
I dislike it when manga bait me into reading due to the first chapter and end up being some very generic stuff afterwards. Nobody stays for B if he started something for A, authours should expect that.
Lenlo
Really, Juuni should stick with the 3D. That fight in ep 9 looked pretty good. 3D is clearly what they are good at
AidanAK47
@Niello, It's not Chatango. It's a plugin for wordpress called Wisechat.
SuperMario
@Niello: yeah, Juuni caught me off guard this week. The production of Juuni is unfortunately shaky, but well, strong writing can save the day
Niello
Btw is this chat still Chatango?
Niello
This week episode of Juini is surprisingly good compared to how the show usually is with its backstory. Although the part where Ox tries to explain to Tiger could definitely use some visual buff.
SuperWooper
in the future*
SuperWooper
Pretty cool that Juuni Taisen had that kind of emotional heft this week, though. Might be one of the 2017 shows I sample the in the future.
SuperWooper
I think the occasional comments with an episode title and nothing more come from people who mistake the shoutbox for a search bar.
SuperMario
@Anon1614688: juuni taisen... made me tearing up this week. Honestly didn't expect that. Damn you, Tiger
Anonymous1614688
juuni taisen
Amagi
Had some complaints regarding Children of Whales but the latest two episodes were pretty good.
Amagi
@Anon: You explained it better than me.
Anonymous1614307
Kaiser: I actually have the exact same opinion of Natsume and Mushishi. Both are excellent, but Natsume just does a great job with a small core cast and a very simple premise
Anonymous1614456
who likes naruto
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mushishi does have good stories, but it was always a manga I'd dip in and out of, on and off for years, never marathoning it, wheras Natsume was easier to read several chapters of in one go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its because Natsume has more pathos.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*more than
Natsume weirdly ended up becoming this comfort manga for me with a higher consistency rate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will state that I hold the terrible opinion that I like Natsume Yujinchou than Mushishi but at the same time completely recognize that Mushishi is probably the more ambitious, better show.
Niello
So it becomes a cycle of "this is an interesting set up" (except that the new Kino isn't even good at that) and then they fucked up or Kino/Shizu fucked them up even more, then move on. Without the emphasis on philosophical nature of the set up they present like in the original Kino, there really isn't that much point to it.
Niello
With the new Kino it's more about messing people up, occassionally observing and hardly ever improving. The anwsers or solutions to the problem they present is never really talked about in a rational way.
SuperMario
@Anon1614318: maybe you should give the old Kino a try. What I don't like most about the new version of Kino is that both Kino and the new guy are sketched as hero. The old Kino manages the tone right as well. There were some really dark tales and most of them thought-provoking. Can't say the same for say...Country of Cooking
Anonymous1614318
I don't know, it might be interesting to actually dig deep into the differences between episodic series with this kind of style to see what works and what doesn't.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's a matter of the chapter they chose to adapt were not really the better ones but the ones where the protagonist is more of an active role. Not totally against that, but it feels like the protagonist is just OP all the time. At least with Mushishi Ginko isn't able to save everyone all the time.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's supposed to be more allegorical, but most of the time the allegory is not really meaningful enough. I thought it would be more along the lines of Mushishi, which is kind of similar in setup, but better in most other ways.
Anonymous1614318
What keeps me sticking around are some of the nice background arts and generally pleasant use of color, but admittedly most of the episodes aren't really engaging in a meaningful way. Most of the time its just Kino/Shizu show up, find out town's gimmick, then save the day. I prefer the episodes where the townspeople are more than just flat background characters.
Anonymous1614318
It's interesting to see how this new Kino season is being received from folks who've already watched the original. This is my first real exposure to Kino, and I kind of like it, but even without watching the original, I share many of the same complaints Aidan and most of the others have.
Amagi
I am also kinda sad he's just some 2* servant in fgo, but his power is special and he's physically weak, so it's understandable.
Amagi
And again, Shakespeare is just great but the character is, sadly, kinda wasted here considering how much screentime he has.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes. Plus, maybe more characterization or background for some servants. The anime would have that time without Sieg and his romance sub plot.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Those being remove Sieg and more Shakespeare?
Amagi
And man Apocrypha is pretty good but it would be twice as good if it had those two changes Aidan always mentions in the reviews..
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think the male in Kino was a mistake. Having two PoV sounds good, but he's basically just a male Kino, he even looks like her. Someone vastly different would have been way more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd guarantee that sangatsu no lion would be high up, but FINALLY this weekend I'll be catching up.
Niello
@Kaiser, Ugh my phone gitched. What I meant to say was that background was unexpected. Now I see why you're enjoying CotW though.
Niello
@Kaiser, That's unexpected.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed how outright surreal Arakawa was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: It bothers me that they're stuffing multiple tales into single episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, excel saga, I wonder what I would think of it now, its been years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I actually respect Aidan's coverage of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Yes that edgy villain kid in COTWs was annoying though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I don't care much for the male character that leads some of the episodes in this new adaptation.
@Niello: Its a non-mainstream shoujo that isn't set in a school, moves at a quick enough pace and has some nice background art/chara design, I grew up on shoujo fantasy manga also so theres that.
Amagi
I mean there are parts I like. I enjoyed the first episode, and the part about the country of liars. But many other things annoy me and the last episode was the worst. I also feel like the edgy bomb loli and slapstick Kino don't fit to the rest of the show somehow. Maybe I forgot everything, but the "old" Kino felt like a better character to me somehow, this one is more faithful to the LNs though
Amagi
@Kaiser: I honestly gave up on Kino and I think it's only partly the fault of the new series. I am just so tired of how stupid most of the episodic-characters are unless their are friends of Kino, how everyone gets bent being irredeemable evil for plot's sake and how everything Kino and her friends do gets justified. Maybe I am just too old or boring for this fairy tail like moral bending.
SuperMario
Still have Night is Short review to write... i will get there. I will get there
Anonymous1612237
It's like having potty mouth characters. If you have one, it can be funny and a good comedic relief. If everyone does it, it can come out as mean spirited or trashy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I haven't watched A Bad Idea Gone Wrog, as for now my top priority is to catch up with 2017 anime for the Yearly summary. But I will get on to it when I have some free time
Anonymous1612237
Amagi - Chibi stuff I've seen it mainly work in anime comedies with low budgets like Those Who Hunt Elves, Ranma, Excel Saga, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Nanbaka, etc. I think if you really have to use it in a more serious anime, I think it might work if it was part of one character's gag.
SuperMario
Children of the Whales, along with Juuni Taisen, keep falling out on me. Kino is pretty a hit-or-miss at the moment. I don't mind the last episode's multiple tales though
Niello
Problem about AMB chibi jokes are that they arwn't funny in the first place nor do they have a punch line.
Niello
@Eoghan, Really surprise you put Children of the Whales so high, I'm falling behind on some shows but it is still near the bottom of my list (the absolute bottom remains Kino).
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest Kino episode was a real slap in the face/insult, really really thought that one segement would carry on for the whole episode and be a redemptive one/getting the series back on form but then it followed it up with crap comic relief segement.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: For now yes.
Lenlo
Droppin Mahou Kaiser?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I no longer care what Dia's gender is, no longer I will lie to myself and deem them female.
Kaiser-Eoghan
5. would be juuni taisen
Kaiser-Eoghan
My rankings for the season based on what I am following: 1. Houseki no kuni 2. Children of the whales 3. inuyashiki 4. girls last tour dropping mahou and Kino.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't remember Joseph being all that present from what little I read of the manga.
Amagi
Fear so too. I mean it has a bunch of good ideas and good quality and such, but it feels like it won't be much more than the magical being of the week (or two weeks) and some Elias highjinks inbetween
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still say, I've got the feeling mahou will be wasted potential that won't really go anywhere much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Did you watch that indie film you recommended yet? Bad idea gone wrong it was called. I just finished it there, budgetary limitations and outside of Matt Jones the acting isn't great, theres a few limp/dead bits too, nonetheless it has its amusing moments here and there to make for an okay comedy that isn't all that essential but amusing enough in moments if your bored.
Amagi
Yeah I think Mahou has some pacing issues. But I also think it would work way better if it was less episodic or semi-episodic.
SuperMario
I normally don't mind the chibi stuff that much but I agree in Mahoutsukai they break the tone and pacing. Serious at one time, fluffy at another...
Amagi
@Vonter: I honestly never like chibi stuff I think. Didn't care back then but nowadays I consider it annoying. One reason is that jokes only work when they aren't pointed out but just happen, sometimes even so casually that you almost miss them. Turning everyone into a chibi for a joke makes it as fun as repeating, explaining or shouting it again (which many series also do)
KTravlos
I have to give it to Altair. It got me reading the manga. The episode this week did skip over a whole manga story, but to be frank it is not too much of a loss. Pacing issues still exist. One thing I noticed was a degrading in animation. They are probably hoarding for the next two episodes which are the major battle.
Anonymous1611511
Just dropping my 2c here: Isn't it too late for the studio to correct such inherent design issue once eps start rolling out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Angel: The dub wasn't all that impressive in the first place however.
Angel
When Will fate/kaleid liner prisma☆illya 3rei dub come out?
Vonter
The chibi stuff sadly, is like watching someone make the same mistake over and over again, without acknowledging that thing isn't coming across well. At this point it seems like an intentional choice rather than just cutting corners. Kinda like when an anime has a decent dub but has that one character with a really annoying voice.
Lenlo
Its continued this willful ignorance, this virtual refusal, to actually address the issue. Thing about the chibi is, the first scene with Silver worked. Then it just got overused.
KTravlos
Mahoutsukai continues denying itself. We finally had some tough questions asked, but the show just ignored them in the 2nd half (with generous doses of chibi). That said Elias true form is terrifying.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: If you enjoy The Scent of the Green Papaya and Cyclo, you can also check out his unofficial third film about Vietnam: The Vertical Ray of the Sun, which is about the modern day of Hanoi. It's my favorite film of his, although I know that artistically it can't compare to his earlier films
SuperMario
And I can say the mafia aspect of Cyclo is more like Hong Kong than Vietnam. But, whatever. I like this one well enough
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I particularly love the score in Cyclo. No wonder later on Tran Anh Hung asked Joony Greenwood from Raidoohead to score his films. His score has the same uncomfortable feeling with this one
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would have watched an entire story based around that old man in the new Kinos journey episode.
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Featured Posts

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 10 [We Live and Learn]

Welcome to week 10 of Mahoutsukai! Finally, oh so finally, we have are given some backstory on Elias! Our mysterious male(?) lead gets some explanation. We also get the start of a Chise only arc and finally some more information on Lindel. Lets jump in! As the main focus of this weeks episode, naturally I […]

Dies Irae – 09[A Mother’s Sins]

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Girls’ Last Tour – 10 [Train – Wavelength – Capture]

Girls’ Last Tour examines the concept of time and space this week, as the girls riding on a lonely moving train. The train design fits right in with this world: a long metal box that functions all by itself and contains many now-dysfunctional robots – corpses of the machines. Since last week we learnt that […]

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Houseki no Kuni – 10 [Shiro]

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat […]

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Inuyashiki – 9 [Shihjuku People]

Welcome to another week of Inuyashiki! This week we have incredible sequences of terror, fearless Directors and death flags! Lets jump in. Obviously, the first thing we need to talk about this week is Hiro. A lot has happened in the few hours since Hiro attacked the Station. Interestingly, yet weirdly, Hiro has garnered a […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 21[Antares Snipe]

When Apocrypha slows down, it’s story shows it’s cracks. But when it’s an action showcase it actually becomes quite entertaining. The characters don’t have the time to be developed but they shine in combat when they clash, sometimes showing parts of themselves the series otherwise doesn’t allow for. Astolfo for one was actually useful for […]

Dies Irae – 08[Promise]

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Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

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