Posted on 31 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




There is this undeniable charm of Windy Tales, or Fuujin Monogatari. It’s not just its unique art style here, but really the combination of everything, from the characters and the slice of life to the soundtrack and the dialogue. It really is a relaxing slice of life series with a wonderful execution.

And seriously: the direction by Junji Nishimura, supervision by Mamoru Oshii and a soundtrack by Kenji Kawai… if that isn’t a great combination then I don’t know anymore. The dialogues in this series are wonderfully subtle and down to earth, and they do a great job in fleshing out the characters. Kawai’s soundtrack does an excellent job of enhancing this feeling.

This is an episodic series, where every episode focuses on a different event or theme in the lead characters’ lives. I really liked how each episode was chosen with a particular purpose in mind, rather than just being plain random. They’re all very varied episodes, and they do a great job of taking whatever character they’re focusing on under the loop. Ranging from the main characters to the side ones, they’re all enjoyable to watch.

Character-development is an interesting issue of this series, as it really takes a back seat here. Most of it is basic, apart from the final episode, which goes into a very interesting, yet very natural direction. Instead, the series spends most of its time portraying its cast as realistic and natural as possible. And yeah, because of that this isn’t a series for everyone, because the pacing tends to get really, really slow at times. And that for a series with 13 episodes.

But yeah, it remains cool to see cats flying into the air with the unique visuals of this series. And beyond that, there really are a number of gorgeously animated scenes present in this series. It’s a visually experimental series through and through, and you can see the animators try out a lot of different stuff. Probably what I liked the most is how many different ways this series has of drawing ‘wind’. It’s really a major theme of the series, as it explores many different sides and subtle meanings behind wind. Even though the episodes are rather unconnected, it’s this that really ties everything in the series together.

But yeah, if you don’t like experimental graphics you’ll have a hard time getting into this series. It’s obviously not meant for everyone, and it certainly isn’t the most eventful series. It’s restrained on purpose. But the thing is, that I have hardly any complaints about how this series was executed here. They pretty much did everything right here, and I feel like any attempt on getting more character-development, or throwing in more action, a faster pacing or more overacting would just have taken away some of the qualities that this series has right now.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very realistic and yet very imaginative; excellent dialogue. It’s a bit slow, though.
Characters: 8/10 – likable and charming.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Excellent animation among its experimental graphics, and the soundtrack also kicks ass.
Setting: 9/10 – A very interesting premise was created, along with a very good portrayal of school life. A lot of thought was also put into the themes of wind here. Tons of symbolism.

Suggestions:
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class
The Sky Crawlers
Kino no Tabi

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Well… here’s a tough one to recommend.

Now don’t get me wrong here, Kimagure Orange Road is a very good series. The way in which it fleshes out its characters leaves most teen-aged romances far behind. Especially Madoka is amazing as the main female love interest. With 48 episodes, this series also excels in its character development. That’s all fine and dandy. However, this series also made me want to bash in the screen, multiple times per episode.

Kimagure Orange Road is a very, very annoying series. Basically, nearly the entire series is about teen-aged hormones running around. It’s not just one character that becomes unbearable because of this, there’s a whole bunch of them that makes this series a chore to watch.

Starting with the most obvious: the two horny classmates. Granted, these two have actual personalities and are more than just stereotypes, but that doesn’t make them more likable when they consistently drool over cute girls, trying to get into their panties. For one episode that might not have been too bad, but these guys are present throughout THE ENTIRE SERIES. That’s a lot of time to get on your nerves.

Beyond that, there’s the secondary love interest for the lead character, along with another guy who is secretly in love with her. The former is annoying especially in the beginning, before her character develops. She continues to spoon up to the lead character with the most annoying voice. The latter is annoying because he never develops: he just keeps screaming and acting like comedic fodder.

Then there is the lead character, who just isn’t the most likable guy around. The series basically turns into a love triangle, and even though it’s obvious from the beginning with which girl he’s going to end up with, he refuses to MAKE UP HIS MIND about which girl to go out with. And it’s not even realistic! Some of the things he does are just completely stupid, even for teen-aged standards. This does get more bearable in the second half as THANK GOD this guy develops, but good luck getting there.

The episodes are mainly spent on standalone events that happen around the characters. Most of the times, there is some misunderstanding, some character who does something stupid, or the lead character’s telepathic powers (yes, the lead character is an esper) doing something to cause trouble. The episodes are pretty disjointed, and there are a number of continuity errors. It’s all very much forced in order to spice up the relationship between the lead characters as much as possible.

All of this makes this a very difficult series to rate. I mean, despite all of this, Madoka really was one of the best female love interests in a teen-aged shounen romance here; her portrayal throughout the series is really outstanding. Was her development worth sitting through so many episodes of annoyance? I’m still not sure, really. I mean, there definitely have been romances before that have had their incredibly annoying parts, and yet turned out to be very memorable to me (for example White Album and Bokura ga Ita), but even compared to those… Kimagure Orange Road was a bit much. It also doesn’t help that this series popularized episodic tropes that would later, especially in the past ten years, become milked to death cliches.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Good slice of life, decent but forced episodic stories.
Characters: 8/10 – The character-development is really excellent here, let that be clear. Some of the characters however make it an incredible chore to watch.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty good for its time, the animation does what it’s supposed to do.
Setting: 8/10 – There are some continuity errors, but overall the creators did a pretty good job in portraying the city that the series takes place in.

Suggestions:
Maison Ikkoku
Aoi Hana
White Album

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

This isn’t a season as dry as the past Winter season:there are a number of excellent series, the mediocre series could have been much worse and there are a number of series with a lot of potential… just not a lot of them. This season heavily lacks in quantity, especially since a lot of the best shows ended last month. Instead, there are a ton of moe series this season again. They’re nothing special, but they could have been much worse.

#27 (new) – Tono to Issho – (1,75/10) – This is just unbelievably blatant. A recap of an OVA I already hated. One of the worst series in recent memory? I’d like to believe so.
#26 (26) – Stitch! – (4,5/10) – Being a kids’ show is no excuse for being bad. I’d just wish that series like this would realize that. It’s got an interesting premise and all, but this just has too many lazy plot-holes, stupid villains and uninspired scenarios.
#25 (new) – Shukufuku no Campanella – (5/10) – This series is just beyond rescue. It’s just an endless string of pointless discussions between a huge group of cute girls. This show is really about nothing other than how pretty the lead cast is…
#24 (new) – Digimon Xros Wars – (6,5/10) – This series… unfortunately turned into a disappointment. I would have loved to see another good Digimon series, but this is just a silly kiddie show with brainless action that might be nice for one episode, but not an entire series.
#23 (new) – Seitokai Yakuindomo – (6,75/10) – Gohands put a ton of budget into the animation. So why not in the jokes? I mean, this series just keeps repeating the same jokes over and over again, and most of the time they’re not even good ones. I just don’t feel like finding out whether or not there’s going to come a point in which they stop doing this. Dropped.
#22 (21) – Hetalia World Series – (7/10) – Enough with the Romano already! Seriously though, I’m now going to drop this series. Expanding the series to the entire world could have given this series the potential to become fresh again, but instead it just keeps repeating the same unfunny jokes and just sticks with the same bloody characters. This isn’t the “World Series” of Hetalia, but instead it’s the “Europe Series with Japan”. I know that the manga doesn’t have many other characters beyond that either, but that is no excuse: the creators of the anime could easily have come up with new characters to represent more countries. They could have easily picked out the best parts of the manga and animated them. This is just a show that has gone on for too long.
#21 (23) – Strike Witches – (7/10) – Out of all the sequels this season, this probably is the series that needed it the least, leaving aside marketing stuff. The episodes so far have been quite dull, and they strangely all have been episodes that belonged in the first season, including a very blatant training arc that had no point being there.
#20 (new) – Amagami SS – (7,25/10) – My issue with Amagami SS isn’t necessarily its set-up or fanservice. The lead character is annoying, but he also isn’t my main gripe with this show. It’s actually decent, although not very entertaining, with its slice of life. But the character-development is just terrible so far. It’s all very poorly built up, the first arc’s climax was incredibly rushed and it’s clear that the creators try to stuff way too much into too little.
#19 (new) – Asobi ni Iku Yo – (7,5/10) – My mind is very much split on this series. On one hand, it’s everything a bad harem series is: the ridiculously convenient amount of girls that ends up living together with the lead character, the incredibly bland character of this lead character, along with the hopelessly energetic lead female. It’s all there. On the other hand however, there’s more to this series than just that. The action part is brainless, but surprisingly entertaining.
#18 (new) – Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi – (7,5/10) – There are some characters in this series that I like. The president for example, and Ookami herself isn’t that bad either. Still, this series relies way too much on tropes from otaku pop culture for my tastes. The popularity contests, maids, breast obsessions, battles with nameless punks and yuri hints… they all fall flat for me.
#17 (36) – Kuroshitsuji – (7,75/10) – The first episode was just awesome. The second episode was just terrible. The rest of the episodes were somewhere in-between that spectrum. I admit that it’s a nice mystery series, and I’m enjoying both the new characters and this mystery, even though I haven’t seen the original Kuroshitsuji. It’s just… the random filler stories really need more work. They’re all shallow and very uninspired.
#16 (22) – Sekirei – (7,75/10) – The thing with this series… is that its plot remains pretty good. The second season continues to build further upon that and aside from some really weird gender changes it’s pretty decent to watch. The problems of course include the HUGE amounts of fan-service, the bad comedy, and Musubi as the lead female completely lacks development compared to the rest of the cast.
#15 (19) – Heroman – (7,75/10) – The problem with Heroman really lies in its cliches. While it’s great to see that the creators went with an actual continuing story, the series still feels limited by the huge amount of cliches that have been put into it. On the bright side though, Joey has matured quite nicely, and the plot has also developed quite well. Still, this show just doesn’t live up to Bones’ standards.
#14 (new) – Mitsudomoe – (7,75/10) – This series tries really hard in order to be funny. There’s a lot of dirty humour here, but hey: some kids at that age really have a dirty mind. Either way though, the problem with this series is that when a joke falls flat, it really falls flat and becomes just painful to watch. The jokes that work however are pretty funny, and I admit that this series has made me laugh quite a few times.
#13 (20) – Marie&Gali – (8/10) – I’m beginning to like this series again, but for a completely different reason than before. It still lacks the magic of the first season, but its scenarios are just so utterly bizarre that they’re starting to become hilarious in their own ways, despite the annoying new character.
#12 (15) – Katanagatari – (8/10) – It’s a bit of a shame that the budget wasn’t that good for such an important episode in the series, but it still was a very good episode here, that I definitely didn’t expect at this point in the series.
#11 (13) – Anymaru Tantei Kiruminzoo – (8/10) – Looking back, now that we’re about to get to the climax of this series, I do believe that the creators could have made a better use of their time. Throughout the series, there were a few too many episodes that were just repeats of previous episodes, or silly stories that didn’t really add anything (for example the recent monkey burglar episode). I expected a little more guts from this series, especially considering how it has 52 episodes.
#10 (new) – High School of the Dead – (8/10)

Do I consider this series to be better than Kurozuka? Nah, Kurozuka was way better than this. Still, High School of the Dead has its charms with its solid production-values and atmosphere. It’s got a good atmosphere, the characters are all likeable and it’s solid entertainment, though not much more.

#9 (18) – Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru – (8,25/10)

I must say, I’m impressed by this series, and how good its characters have become. This month really was dedicated to giving depth to the cast. This really prevented it from becoming yet another one of those bishie series.

#8 (20) – Sengoku Basara – (8,25/10)

A massive improvement over the first season. Finally this series is able to bring justice to its premise with a passionate execution. It really manages to bring the different aspects of this series (the surprisingly well animated action scenes, the politics, the characters and the setting itself) together, not to mention the epic soundtrack.

#7 (new) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8,25/10)

It’s a bit childish, and has a number of shounen cliches here and there, but I like the series. It has great designs, a pretty good atmosphere, and the drama so far has been pretty good, even though it has just been building up.

#6 (new) – Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu – (8,5/10)

Yeah. If you plan to give this series a chance: wait till episode three before forming your conclusion. This definitely was my biggest surprise of the season. It’s got huge mood-whiplashes, the back-story is surprisingly good and most of its characters are pretty interesting.

#5 (new) – Shiki – (8,5/10)

So far, the first four episodes have been worthy of the Noitamina-timeslot. The mystery is built up quite well, but especially the atmosphere here works with a great use of background music and the unique visuals here. The character-designs take a bit getting used to, but heck: we’ve got the first Noitamina series since Nodame Cantabile that goes beyond 12 episodes. I’ve got high expectations from this one.

#4 (8) – Rainbow – (8,5/10)

I have gotten annoyed over the overacting in this series in the past, but the recent developments in this series have totally made up for it. Talk about character-development, the second half of this series really is different from the first with some terrific results.

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

Perhaps not the best month, because it spent a ton of time to carefully introduce the third main character, but this definitely has been a month of promise. Cure Sunshine is awesome, and she’s bound to give a new dynamic to the second half of this series.

#2 (new) – Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin – (8,5/10)

Now here’s an excellently produced series. It’s got a great cast of characters, an imaginative scenario, detailed animation and an awesome sense of humour. The only downside is the lead male, who is too much of an idiot. His antics alone are one thing, but he gets way too much screen-time that could be used to develop the other, more interesting characters.

#1 (4) – Giant Killing – (8,75/10)

The current arc is again completely different from the previous ones, and it again centres around completely different characters. I love how many things this series is able to do at the same time, and it’s this attention to detail in fleshing out its characters that really made this into one of my favourite series of the currently airing anime.

Posted on 30 July 2010 with categories: Shiki



You can see that this series is using most of its time to build up at this point, but it still has quite an excellent atmosphere. The horror is already quite good, and even though this seemingly wasn’t a major episode at first sight, the episode did end with one heck of a cliff-hanger.

At this point, I think it’s clear now that we’re dealing with Vampires here, and they seem to be more similar to the classic vampires compared to what vampires have evolved into in modern pop culture. It’s true that we’ve seen none of the potential vampires appear at daylight, right? The older stories about vampires have also talked about how Vampires first need to get invited, before they can claim their victim. This is why they’ve tried to get friendly with everyone here.

Natsuno’s delusions are something I haven’t figured out yet. If the OP hints at anything, this show seems to be developing its own army of dead people turned into vampires, but I’m not yet sure whether the end of this episode actually happened, or whether this stayed in Natsuno’s head. We know that that cat guy is trying to get into Toru’s house, but why he decided to bring Megumi along is a bit of a mystery to me.

In the meantime, the animators. I can understand that they can’t make all of the drawings as detailed as in the manga, but you can see that they’re having fun with the visuals here. Like the church scene for example, that looked really good, but the visual effects they pulled on the climax of this episode also looked quite interesting here.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 July 2010 with categories: Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu



The mood-whiplashes in this series… I’m really beginning to like them. This show moves from light-hearted and outright silly comedy to serious politics, it’s already busy with character-development and in the meantime continues building its world, along with its characters. I love that when characters are introduced, they immediately tell their basic background.

The humour may not be as good as the humour of Occult Academy, but it still has its moments in which it’s really hilarious. The bickering between Raina and Ferris is of course one thing, but the two of them also toy with fantasy cliches surprisingly often (like in this episode where Ferris was able to enter a library because she was a cute girl). Ferris’ sister however may have been a bit too much, as a lot of her airtime consisted just out of screaming and yelling, rather than witty remarks.

This series also likes to play with things that aren’t as they seem. The blue haired guy in this episode for example. He was most definitely evil, but yet he didn’t end up as an enemy, and instead he ended up offering his services as a killer. Shion on his turn seemed like a righteous ruler so far, however that line from him at the end was quite a cliff-hanger. It just shows already how he’s changing as a ruler, and is willing to order this guy to kill his father, in order to make sure his services are genuine, in order to accomplish his ambitions.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Kuroshitsuji II



Now this is more like it. I was really beginning to get tired of these half-assed build-up episodes, and this episode was a huge improvement as it returned back to the main story of this sequel. Finally, we get to see Alois return. The thing with Alois is that he may not be developed yet, but he’s such an enigmatic character. He’s so unashamedly full of himself here, and his presence is for me just enough to keep watching this series.

On top of that, though, the mystery is finally getting interesting. The previous three episodes were deliberately kept so seemingly out of continuity, and this episode finally gave a bunch of hints about what happened. Sebastian explained it as “amnesia”, and apparently he asked some of Ciel’s friends to keep this a secret, and pretend nothing happened.

So, for some really strange reason here… Sebastian actually revived Ciel, along with those three servants (who also died at the end of the first season, right? At this point, I really fail to see the point of a demon who makes a contract with some human, just to be able to eat his soul… only to revive him again. I hope that the eventual reason behind this is going to be more than just a McGuffin. With these kinds of things, you can just define a bunch of magic rules that explain everything. The question is going to be how well these fit, but we’ll see.

I’m mostly curious to see where Alois fits in all of this: what was Sebastian doing in his mansion, and why that somehow ended up bringing Ciel back. Claude especially seems like more than just another butler who is harvesting souls. I also hope that this episode marks the end of the stupid adventures of the previous three episodes. I can see why they’re necessary to build up and all, but that’s no excuse for their poor execution.

Oh, the servants however… they were as annoying as ever. This episode also introduced a bunch of Indians (who have their own theme music, apparently), and they too are obnoxious. I really don’t want to know how often they appeared in the first season…
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 27 July 2010 with categories: Rainbow




Awesome, it really looks like we’re going to get an arc about the future of each of the lead characters at this pace, if this episode was any hint at least. On top of that, the creators also put in a lot of effort to make all the different arcs flow into each other: this episode neatly wrapped up the main story between Mario and Setsuko, while it also showed some depth for Baremoto and Cabbage, before moving on to Joe’s future as a musician.

I love the way in which Setsuko’s marriage was wrapped up here: it’s clear that the two love each other, but at the same time the series didn’t chose the cheap way out by devolving in cheesy quest for love abandon her chance for real happiness with her new husband, who will be able to take better care of her compared to Mario, due to his background. Because of that, the romance in this episode was powerful, yet not drawn out or overblown. That smile of Mario, when he saw Setsuko at her wedding, pretty much said it all.

Baremoto meanwhile, in the really rare moments of comedy in this series, gets introduced by Suppon to some old hag in his quest to find some kind of woman. I’m not sure what was up with that, but it’s probably some sort of build-up. Either way though, it’s great to see that everyone is now building their own future here, which was even more symbolized by Mario leaving for Tokyo. I’m really interested in whether Cabbage will join him. He’s always been this simple, lovable type, and while he never really got an arc for himself, I still like the way he turned out.

Meanwhile, Joe. The creators really wanted to use the build-up of the earlier episodes here. And it’s a very strange plot twist here, for him to get into a situation where sleeping with some influential woman in order to make it big in the music industry. Usually a plot twist like that would get rejected immediately, but I’m not sure whether the creators intend this to symbolize how Joe should look at the bright sides of his past, whether he should simply accept what happened, or whether they meant to make some kind of point about how childrape victims can turn out. They already showed a different perspective in this with An-chan’s friend who committed suicide.

And god dammit what happened to his sister?! I mean, I know that he accepted that both of them went into different directions, and he probably has no idea where she is right now, but bloody Nora. She was adopted by someone who looked like a freaking mass rapist for god’s sake. Can’t we at least get a slight hint of what happened to her? Think of the character-development here!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto and its sequel Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Natsu no Sora are two completely different series. Not only do they share no similar characters whatsoever, but their execution, focus, themes and atmosphere are completely different, with the only similarity being that they take place in the same setting. I can fully imagine people liking one of the series, but not the other, and vice versa. Personally I like Natsu no Sora better, due to its extra layer of realism and the subtlety in its characters, but the first series also has a lot to like.

For the ones who never saw any of those series: the Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto franchise takes place in a world in which certain people are able to use magic. It explores young mages in training as they are prepared to make a living for themselves. It’s very much a realistic approach to the question of “what if magic really exists?” Way more than Natsu no Sora, the first season looks at what it means to be a mage: are magical powers really that convenient and can you just use them in the way you want? It also addresses the impact that magic has on society: what the general opinion of mages is, and the trouble it can cause in the wrong hands.

The series is much more episodic than Natsu no Sora, and each episode takes one particular character under the loop (about half of the episodes are dedicated to the main cast, the other to random people), and tries to tell the story of this character. At the final episode, the creators do a pretty good job at bringing everything together. It’s not the most emotional series out there, but this series definitely has its points at which it’s heart-warming.

At this however, it perhaps is a bit too enthusiastic at times. The main flaw of this series is that the creators are a bit too keen to spread around death and accidents. I know it’s necessary for its drama and all, but when everyone and his dog lost someone precious to them in some kind of tragic event, it loses some of the tension.

Overall, this series isn’t the best, and a few episodes and individual stories can be a tad shallow, but in terms of the big picture, it’s pretty impressive. It lacks the rock-solid execution of Natsu no Sora, and the drama can get a tad cheesy at times, but in the end I’d say that it has enough things that make it interesting, most notably the attention it has put into its themes, and how all of the characters relate to them.

Storytelling: 8/10 – A tad cheesy, but the stories are well told and come together well in the end.
Characters: 8/10 – Not as good as Natsu no Sora, but their issues and personalities are well portrayed.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation does what it needs to do, though not much more. The soundtrack is quite good, though.
Setting: 9/10 – Great themes, makes good use of its setting, puts a lot of emphasis on the morals of magic.

Suggestions:
Aria the Animation
Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Natsu no Sora
Hataraki Man

Posted on 26 July 2010 with categories: Nurarihyon no Mago



I’m still not exactly sure why I like this series so much when it has just been building up. There’s also the amount of cliches and overused tropes here and having a kid as the lead character here also not the best for first impressions. Unlike Giant Killing, which started off immediately with a bang where it mixed often used tropes with very nice ideas, and immediately started to play with its characters, Nurarihyon no Mago has more shounen tropes against it and instead is clearly saving its trumps for later here.

The premise of this episode also was another kidnapping, which pretty much happens everywhere. I think it’s a combination of things that makes up for these cliches, which caused me to just mostly ignore them. The way in which the story is clearly promising to get more interesting is one thing, but on top of that I’m also really getting into the atmosphere here. The first half of this episode, for example was very good at that, and there definitely was this sense of urgency. The stories themselves are also well told and paced, and the characters are very good at conveying their emotions. I’m not sure whether this comes from the manga or the anime staff, but whoever is responsible is doing a very good job of putting everything into context.

My only real issue with this episode was that it devolved a bit into an “overkill fight”. You know, the part in which the good guys come with so much force at the bad guys that it works a bit as an an anti-climax. I know that it had its purpose in the story, but it also killed the tension that the rest of the episode had been building up to.

Now, something strange happened with the graphics in this episode. I’m not sure if it was there before (in that case I just didn’t notice), but there were some panels that were reduced to simple black and white lines. Now, I wonder whether the creators are going to use that more in the series. When they’re going to be consequent about it, it can lead to some neat effects. Speaking of the visuals here, that rat at the end of the episode looked really awesome. Kudos to the manga author for portraying such an interesting-looking transformation. If the rest of the manga has more of those scenes we’re in for some eye candy here.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin



Okay, so now Fumiaki has reached the point where he’s just gotten annoying. In the previous episode he was still cute, but for the creators to carry this through in even this episode… it’s starting to get on my nerves. Especially considering that he’s gobbling up time that could be spent on the real main character here: Maya, who is a much more interesting character.

Characters like Fumiaki are always a bit of a double edged sword. I can understand flaws and all, but this episode was trying a bit too hard to make him look like an idiot. We’ve got enough anime with idiots already, can’t this series just be about genuinely interesting characters? Heck, I’d much rather watch that strange-haired weirdo and his friend at this point. At this point, I can only hope that the creators know what they’re doing with this guy.

This episode still had some really good jokes, though. Generally, all of the parts that didn’t focus on Fumiaki were really quite interesting and enjoyable. I loved the joke the creators made, when that moth chased Maya and Fumiaki behind Smile and JK. We also get confirmed even more that Maya surely knows a lot about the occult.

Most series about the supernatural just look at one direction: it’s either Shinto, or Viking legends, the Greek gods, or Chinese mythology or any other kind of popular kind of folklore. Only a few combine two of them, so Occult Academy is actually quite rare to actually look beyond the individual legends, and rather examines patterns and similarities between all kinds of different folklore across the world, like with the giant tree in this episode.

Finally, another thing that has me rather worried is the following, but it might just be something about this episode, and not the rest of the series. In terms of mystery, this series is really excellent at building up. But this episode showed that when it comes to revelations behind its questions… it doesn’t pack a whole lot of punches. Fumiaki’s background is pretty much what we could have guessed when he first explained it and the missing girl also predictably was found here. I want to see this series play around more with revelations.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

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K-Off
@anon196168 I'm all ears for suggestions.
Anonymous196168
If youre going to japan maybe you could do something more unique than just taking pictures of locations? Plenty of those already on Google.
Kaiser Eoghan
Noticing a server error showing up on the shoutbox there.
AidanAK47
Good point, normal users generally just stay anono. ke69Vin?...69...really....that's just sad humor right there.
K-Off
That was most definitely little Kevin as well. 9vinke6 is obviously an anagram.
AidanAK47
@9Vinke6, I don't know what you are trying to share but it ain't an image. Deleting your comment as I don't want dodgy files on the site.
Anonymous181098
Are you kidding??!! Tokyo is amazing if you want excitement & you want to experience social life. But I agree go to Osaka. If tokyo is like Quebec then osaka is like toronto. More laid back
Anonymous180231
OPM was a shoe-in. It's showing very good success on Adult Swim on US TV and Viz is throwing big dollars to keep the gravy train rolling
AidanAK47
One Punch Man season 2 was announced. Expected but most certainly welcome.
...now I need Re:Zero season 2.
CJayTiiii
Honestly, if you are going to Kyoto essentially no shrine is worth visiting in Tokyo because none of them are as nice as the ones in Kyoto and they are essentially all tourist traps.
K-Off
If you guys insist I'll give Osaka serious consideration. But again I'd hate to gloss over Kyoto or Tokyo. But anyhow my 4 week stay in Seoul will be eternity compared to the Japan trip.
CJayTiii
Ikebukuro is probably used almost as much as shibuya? Specifically for durarara right around the station (east side) is used a lot. Kabuki-Cho in shinjuku is definitely used a lot but I couldn't tell you in what off the top of my head.
CJayTiii
Also as someone who lived in Kyoto and now lives in Tokyo, I would suggest spending as much time as possible in Kyoto as there is just so much stuff to do there. Tokyo there honestly really isn't that much stuff to do here other than going out to drink I feel. Lol also Osaka is only a 30 min train ride (about 5$ USD) from Kyoto so it's easy to go there for a couple hours
K-Off
@Mario I'll be home by new years unfortunately, I'll have to settle for Christmas in tokyo.
@CJay Thanks, any suggestions for Tokyo? I'm trying to avoid cliché locations for anime-related scenery. Like Shibuya.
CJayTiii
For Kyoto, Tatami Galaxy is probably the best anime for side by side comparisons. Kamogawa river, Kiyamachi street, and shimogamo shrine are famous areas that pretty much constantly make appearances throughout the show.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Disney Tokyo? haha If it was me I've chosen somewhere more... locally. But who I am to judge as I celebrated last New Year Eve in Times Square, the most tourist spot of them all. But I really hope you can spend some time to go to some shrines for the New Year in Tokyo.
K-Off
@Mario The person I'm travelling with wants to spend Christmas at Disney Tokyo, and unsurprisingly nearly all places will still be open, same as NYC. Christ, I'm more worried about my wallet.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Makes sense. I'd say better stick in one place for long days rather than short trips in several places. Even 10 days for those 2 places wouldn't be enough imo, well especially during Xmas since the streets will be busy and many places could be closed (I guess?)
K-Off
@Mario It doesn't seem like I'll go to Osaka, the goal is to explore Kyoto and Tokyo and much as possible for a week and a half. If I can squeeze it in there I will, but that means spending less time in Kyoto and/or Tokyo. The bulk of my trip will be in Tokyo for now.
SuperMario
Yeah, Kenshin had a whole Kyoto act, but it was more historical anw and I feel it didn't explore the city that much (more of a ruined city)
Really, only uchoten Kazoku, tatami galaxy and durarara come to mind. Are you planning to go to Osaka as well? I heard from my friend Osaka is about an hour drive from Kyoto only.
K-Off
@Anon174851 Ah good one.
@Mike Thanks. Durarara is a good suggestion, but I haven't watched Rurouni Kenshin.
Mike
@Kaiser Sure, the story doesn't do anything for me but it's not a waste of time.
@K-Off You can do pretty much anything in Tokyo I'll bet. Anime in general aside from shows like Durarara don't emphasize the setting very much... Kyoto is more interesting, rurouni kenshin is the first thing that comes to mind.
Anonymous174851
uchouten kazoku is a really good one set in kyoto!
K-Off
Haven't heard of it. Anyways, do you guys have any suggestions for favorite anime series set in Kyoto or Tokyo? I'm planning my itinerary and the idea is to take a lot of side by side comparison pictures from their anime depictions to RL. I have YuruYuri, SYD, Detective Conan, and various KyoAni spots in mind, but my brain isn't remembering others.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm considering finding some War/military manga to read, has anyone read Gunka no balthazar? Is it worthwhile?
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)
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