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)

CHANGE USERNAME
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
SuperMario
But I'm not entirely sold on the show yet. I feel the relationships are a tad too heavy-handed. The light hearted tones don't work well for me but I really feel a From the New world's vibe from the show
SuperMario
@Amagi: I will talk about Children of the Whales here in the chatbox since we don't cover it. Damnit the cliffhanger. That series really focuses on the theme of repress their own feelings. From the children in the Mud Whales with their custom of not to cry in the funeral or their lacing their hands to express their gratitude. Episode 2 has that monster who basically eats others emotions
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by extension, I would hope that it would encourage adaptations of older fantasy manga aswell.
Amagi
I really hope this type of fantasy will become a new trend instead of the classical world of warcraft type of isekai
Amagi
There is just something really atmospherical about a few characters exploring an unknown world alone that is either almost or entirely devoid of humans or just weird like in Kino's Journey.
Amagi
Shuumatsu Shoujou, Houseki, Kino 2017 and Children of the Whales are shaping up to become my favorites this season. It's funny that they have so much in common, same with Made in Abyss, which also was my favorite of the last season.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, well there were fellows down in cork that decided to go Kite Surfing. They had to send out a boat to rescue the dumb bastards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw that there were some profoundly stupid people ignoring the warnings, some guy even decided to go out swimming despite it.
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