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
Animosh
Well, you still deserve credit for suggesting the series, because otherwise I wouldn't have even known it existed. :) But yeah, I like that people here are so open-minded. Anime is great and all, but there's plenty to discover outside of it (though to be fair, I'm lagging behind with many of them: following anime seasonally is great for discussion, but it can eat up a lot of time).
SuperMario
@Animosh: don't mention it. I'm glad you enjoy it. I don't take credits in this case since I myself haven't watched it yet. I love it how this community is willing to try other medium and not exclusively anime
Animosh
Really surprised this isn't more well known. Not that there's been much competition, but it's easily the best (western) cartoon I've seen this year.
Animosh
@SuperMario: thanks again for recommending Lastman! I just finished it, and it was a lot of fun. It doesn't have much depth, but it was incredibly entertaining: it just keeps throwing these bizarrely over the top action set-pieces at you without pausing, it oozes style, and its soundtrack is killer (it reminded me a bit of Hotline Miami). And it can be pretty damn funny too. It even ends strongly.
SuperMario
"I swear if I see some nonsense like her not being able to stay “Professional” due to having a boyfriend then I will have to strangle something" --> is that why you had screenshot of kitties up there?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: little sister has a strong chance to be a protag in the last arc. I'm genuinely surprised that Futaba is the main girl in this arc thou
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see the little sister looking scared in bunnygirl agrain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yay! Sing and eiji are doing something and Ash's freakout while melodramtic and ridiculous was still bleak, learn a bit more about Blanca which is good. Didn't like the goofy bit with yut-lung.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Not intellectually non-intellectual enough for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bunny-girl has redeemed itself. Also my favourite part of this weeks episode was 7 or 8 minutes before the end .
SuperMario
I mean, just reading that title alone I might check out what this movie is about. lol
SuperMario
Well, I come across an unusual film title today. A Japanese film called "When I Get Home, My Wife Always Pretends to be Dead"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Lafalle arc (as thematically I probably engaged the most here)and the final arc both elevated this series for me, even though I did enjoy the bit with Vann early on.
I’ve heard people don’t like the ending it hit with me.
Really solid.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dramatically this even kind of clicked for me and the antagonist surprised me as did twintails girl and bestghosts eventual roles, comedy isn’t exactly funny but I did laugh at points.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently I got third time lucky with Mizukami, because I found this a very fresh take on the re-incarnation genre while actually DOING something worthwhile with it, his pacing/story telling style definitely feels a better fit to me in a short manga like this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After a degree of indifference to planet with and only liking Biscuit hammers last arc, I ended up approaching Spirit circle expecting to not really have any opinion on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just my kind of weird.
Anonymous3093267
sword eyes
SuperMario
Here's another experimental animated short for you, Kaiser, Tango (1981) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo8O8lYDzIU
SuperMario
@Animosh: yeah the second part was released in VOD earlier this year and I watched it. Prefer the 1st one much better
Vonter
I don't know why, but I thought you were talking about Tomorrowland. That Disney movie that bombed and everyone seemed very lukewarm about. I suppose because I don't know exactly what was the problem with it, didn't see much discussion about it.
Animosh
@SuperMario: I think I've seen World of Tomorrow, but not 100% sure. There's apparently a second part out though, and I definitely haven't seen that!
Animosh
And Umfeld (https://vimeo.com/umfeld) is also worth mentioning. It kind of consists of shorts, it's technically animated (at least in part: it mixes real footage and CGI I think?), and it's definitely weird. It's a very polarizing work though. I love it, but it wouldn't surprise me if most people here hate it.
Animosh
Some other things that came to mind: Tim Burton's "Vincent" (it's stop-motion, but whatever), Loom (https://vimeo.com/24069938) and E-Baby (https://vimeo.com/25435555). And the stop-motion shorts by Lee Hardcastle are pretty fun, if you're in the mood for some needlessly disgusting horror.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I enjoyed embrace of the serpent which has the same director as Birds of passage so I'll keep an eye out for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm going to see Roma and Birds of Passage this weekend. Really excited for both
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for the she-ra thing well, as I've gotten older I probably have avoided kids stuff more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to see tokenism being seen as acceptance when it isn't, it feels that people are putting forth the idea that something is only being/can be accepted because its being portrayed in a tokenistic way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its fine, obviously to have strong female characters, Ripley in Alien, Sarah Conner in Terminator, awesome....Rey in star wars....no.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think too often shows and films, American ones today, are tokenistic or clicheed with inserting issues, merely just throwing them in or tacking them on for the sake of ticking boxes rather than any earnesty or doing anything.
Anonymous3086853
@SuperMario - I do. Yet at the same time it was a bit outside of my comfort zone, watching something like this considering that (let's be honest) msot shows are men oriented. Even the ones with great female characters. This one despite having tomboyish girls is mainly about these girls with male characters having supporting roles. I suppose that's were the uneasiness lies in my case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just got done watching both earlier, his dark humour jives well with me and I liked the concept.
SuperMario
@Kaiser @Animosh: if you haven't seen World of Tomorrow plsssss check it out. I can't recommend it highly enough
SuperMario
@Vonter: Maybe it's a good things that shows for general audiences like this have queer context. Don't you think?
Anonymous3086853
Also because I'm a bit immature, this show is kinda gay. There's a lot of ship baiting moments, one same sex couple in the last episode and rainbows, pastel colors, emasculated male characters and some female crossdressing.
Anonymous3086853
The weakest aspect is that several secondary characters get lost in the shuffle. Kinda like Big Hero 6 in which the team had personalities but just didn't had the time to develop in any meaningful way. Still both the main cast and villains were good and like I say the protagonist and antagonist had strong arcs for a first season.
Anonymous3086853
So I now finished watching She Ra, and it got even better as it was building towards the season's end. Thes strongest aspect is the rivalry between Adora and Catra, the chemistry is very strong, kinda like Optimus and Megatron or Xavier and Magneto. In which both parts seem equally capable and to have mind games with the other.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh hey cool, rain town is done by the Penguin hhighway anime movie guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It looks like I haven't seen Don Hertzfedlts World of tomorrow films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also Prince Achmed and How Wang-Fo Was Saved.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah. yes, thanks animosh, I had a look at Rain town there, I like the style it was done in, it achieves the emotions its trying to convey well without needing dialogue, piano score actually helps rather than hinders.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glassy ocean, that was another short I watched lately.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh inka isha is country doctor.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know Mario has seen this style on animation, but anyone else see any oil on glass animation?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually prefer robot carnival to genius party but liked both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Zepo, The Pride of Strathmoor were recent animated shorts I watched.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Recently I watched two shorts, death and the mother and pleasures of war.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd say any eastern european short films would be worth anyones time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not familiar with rain town or Inaka Isha .
Amagi
Kaiser: Have you seen Inaka Isha from Kafka?
Animosh
In the meanwhile, though, I'd also be very interested in recommendations! The shorts I mentioned are among my favorite animated works, so if you know anything similar, please let me know. :)
Animosh
For western animation I really like the Don Hertzfeldt shorts. And there was this short called "Rain Town" that was really impressively animated. I'm sure there were others, but my long-term memory is pretty lousy. If something else comes to mind I'll let you know.
Animosh
I'm pretty sure you're already going to be familiar with all of my favorites, but here you go: Morimoto's shorts are all fantastic (Dimension Bomb, Beyond, Noiseman Sound Insect, etc), and two others that come to mind are Cat Soup and Kigeki (or Comedy) by Nakazawa. There are also some great collections out there (like the Genius Party ones), but again, you've probably seen those already.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If anyone has any suggestions for weird short animations, I'm looking for excuses to watch some more and I'm in the mood for them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Mario's youtube link had cgi models of rem and ram in the video.
Masky
I'm confused when was Rem even mentioned
Kaiser-Eoghan
I only ever watched he-man and stuff related to it in passing when I was younger, Conan was more my thing back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For so long I'd always referred to she-ra as she-man.
AidanAK47
@Mario, What is this heresy!
....
....Rems always cute.
Anonymous3084910
Hilda is fine, though is very laidback kinda like a young reader's novel. It has its moments but its fantasy with slice-of-life coming of age.
Anonymous3084910
@SuperMario Yeah I know, She Ra is the twin sister of He Man. But strangely it seems Dreamworks may not have the right to those characters. It was a marketing idea trying to bring more girls to that universe but like most girls show from the time it had a very flat depiction of what little girls want to see.
SuperMario
Sorry Aidan, I know it's blasphemy but I have to post here. Enjoy the OP song with the twins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9MUjISNm0U&index=4&list=PLU56jBSlcHw8-ol9Hi4lJ0GR0tU6EOf2a
SuperMario
I'll probably check out Hilda. Heard a lot of hypes about that show
SuperMario
@Vonter: I've heard of She-Ra, she's the female counterpart (well, sister) of He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe and the secret identity of Prince Adam). Sounds silly but I'm not even kidding
Vonter
All in all, despite not being a big thing, I think is an enjoyable recommendation. My only nitpick is that it maybe too light hearted for some kinda like above My Little Pony but below something Voltron. Also despite being less childish than the original is still kinda of girly with lots of pastel colors although it balances it a bit having girls being more tomboyish in different degrees.
Vonter
Like with Voltron it amuses me seeing anime tropes being played through western lens. Since I'm a bit hesitant to say that could this count as a harem series despite not being male gaze moments? Also having the most sensible hotspring episode I've seen.
Vonter
In this one this She Ra has pathos. A bit like Korra there's doubt in her role and also a complicated relationship with her rival. I do like the role reversal in the knight's tale this clearly is, in that most roles that would be played by men are played by women in this story. Matriarchy, displacement of both femminine beauty but also empowerment.
Vonter
So I've watched some of the new She Ra from Netflix. So far I'm in, it's not deep but it's quite charismatic. I do like there's more pathos in regards to these characters which pretty much were confined to their archetype to an extreme like the original Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It manages to make watching something like running engaging, when I'd otherwise probably not watch the sport. Also, last week the show ended up popping into my head when I was sitting around doing pretty much nothing and made me think "Ok fuck it, not sitting around doing nothing, going to go out for a run around the block"
Lenlo
I also agree, characters losing in sports is important. They can't start at the top, it makes the series lose meaning
Lenlo
I quite enjoyed Kaze Fui this week. I think your correct that the one who got the reality check was Kurahara, who thought he was the only one able to actually make it. I also thing that he has a competitive streak a mile wide, and might be a little afraid of failure. Doesnt think the team can make it, so why bother
Kaiser-Eoghan
Think I wasn't i the mood for honda-san this week even though I laughed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I like it when sports series actually show the characters you know...actually lose.
Anonymous3083989
Huh, interesting in this episode of Kaze ga that it's Kakeru who got a reality check during the track meet since he was beaten by two other runners. I think we're due for an episode soon where he has to confront his past demons instead of fleeing from them.
Anonymous3083626
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aging in fiction, I think has more to do with the story than the characters. I mean the jokes about Ash Ketchum, Detective Conan, Archie. The Flinstones tried to make different stories by aging Pebbles and Bam Bam. Or Batman having two Robins graduating into their own heroes. But in the end dynamics change, hence why most cartoons don't age the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is why when aging does occur in anime/manga, such as in vinland saga or nanoha for example, its appreciated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course, animated characters often don't age much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember enjoying the simpsons movie back when I watched it, but thinking about it it really was just an extended episode. Really the show peaked with the who shot Mr Burns episode. Catching bits of recent episodes and seeing them use modern stuff while they never age seems weird too.
Amagi
I do think series are allowed to move forward though, I am kinda interested in the Pkmn movie for example. But certain shows should just end, Simpsons for example was a parody of the 90s, it just can't work in a more modern setting IMO.
Amagi
I stopped with the Simpsons when Maude was killed/died, it was just a step in the wrong direction they should have never done and it killed the series for me. I disliked it before already though, I think I noticed the series getting worse since season..9? Or 10, not sure anymore.
Amagi
Anime for Dorohedoro announced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Therefore ruining the fanservice fun for everybody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite beach episodes are ones where it rains and they end up not being able to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After that it was just the film for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually, regarding the simpsons, the episode I stopped on was sometime in the early 2000s, Homer was stuck on some island resort or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose it was just as much a case of falling out of watching/playing too and then there being so many episodes/games catchup was impossible. I probably should read the manga someday.
Anonymous3081957
@Kaiser-Eoghan -Kinda like Sponge Bob, Power Rangers or The Simpsons, I can't blame those who move forward, It's imposible for a show to go that long without losing steam. I did check the Sun and Moon first season and while I think the personality and energy is better it doesn't exactly push the concept forward. Still somehow Pokemon is still a phenomenon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Very strange hearing a Pikachu talk with Ryan Reynolds voice. But my days of pokemon are behind me.
KyokoHyuga
?????
KyokoHyuga
who likes pokemon here
SuperMario
@Amagi: I think the person who made the sub for Maquia did a pretty neat job. Not perfect but the translation flows well
Vonter
We've seen realistic Pokémon fanart, but how does a movie looks when it attempts it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CKgQFo5U8
Amagi
How are the subs for Maquia? I only heard anons complain about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*dealing with
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you should really torrent it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is 1080p stream on kiss anime, if you hate deal with the ads on that site the 4up stream on anilinkz has the best quality of the available links
Lenlo
Where did you see Maquia online? I still need to watch it. PM it to me on discord maybe? Pretty please? <3
SuperMario
One fact that not many people know is that Penguin Highway is penned by Tomihiko Morimi. It indeed has many Morimi's signature inputs
SuperMario
This year, I'm doing well with catching up anime films (kudos for Australian's Madman who always license these titles very quickly). So far, I've watched Mirai, Maquia, Penguin Highway, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas and My Hero Academia the Movie
SuperMario
So I watched two anime movies this last week, Penguin Highway in theatre and Maquia online. Both of them are pretty solid in general, especially Penguin that has magical realism elements and some great chemistry. Whereas Mari Okada's writting still rubs me in the wrong way sometimes
Lenlo
D: He did, back in August actually apparently
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I heard Dino's voice actor died.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we all took Goblin slayers attitude to trolls, then we would more easily ignore the trolls =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Big twist in the golden kamuy manga.
Animosh
@SuperMario: remember that in the voice drama Rikka mentioned talking to Yuuta in their classroom during the ball game. Pretty sure it's about that.
SuperMario
@Animosh: i just watched the episode and noticed the lyrics as well. "The Promise" seems vague at the moment. Could be between Yuuta and whoever fits but I agree the "save someone from boredom" is about Akane
Animosh
You learn something every day. ;) Honestly though, I actually skipped the opening, so I hadn't even noticed that it had been translated until others pointed it out. And most of the time the lyrics are just cheesy one-liners, so I usually don't pay much attention to them either. But once in a while there's some nice hints hidden in there...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never really ever paid attention to the lyrics in anime openings, I'd never thought to.
Animosh
The Gridman OP has been translated for the first time, and there's some pretty interesting reveals in there: it mentions a "promise" made in a classroom (so now we know how Yuuta and Rikka bonded in the past - glad it wasn't a simple confession), and talks of "rescuing" someone (presumably Akane) from boredom. So I guess she'll join the good guys eventually?
Lenlo
1200 words. I need to stop writing so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't seen last weeks episode of Irozuku or this weeks =< I'm waiting now for a bit to see if the series paysoff.
Animosh
Goddamn those magic segments in Irozuku were stunning! It's a shame its humdrum drama can't live up to its visual beauty, but I'll take it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think Ash's design is based a bit on River phoneix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry Eiji but your Ash is in another castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@CoolerAnon: I was about to say that. Kidnapping gets used alot in shojo.
Anonymous3072040
Yeah Ash is basically Princess Peach
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I share your concerns, I don't know what studio is doing it. Some people want it to be mappa, some don't want it to be polygon pictures to adapt it. Its and long and violent manga, with some very funny at times dark humour, it could end up rushed and/or censored.
Anonymous3072021
As much as I love Dorohedoro I'm unsure if I should be happy or worried at it getting an adaptation, it isn't exactly the kind of story I imagine being easy to adapt well.
Lenlo
Yeah, I am touching on that in my writeup as we speak. The compressed story is causing Ash to be captured every other week.
Animosh
I agree Banana Fish was great this week though! My only gripe is that I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Ash get kidnapped again and again. He just escaped a couple of episodes ago! And he's just a lot more fun to watch when he's out there doing stuff.
Animosh
In a way the fights actually feel more realistic to me than those in Banana Fish. Sure, they're fantastical, bizarre even, but its battle system has a clear internal logic, and generally no power is infallible (each has its limitations). In Banana Fish the fights are rather poorly thought out by comparison. Their purpose is more to make Ash look cool than to give him realistic hurdles to overcome.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what sets Jojo apart from other battle shounen for me is how ridiculously creative its fights can get. Part 2 already shows some signs of this, but the introduction of the Stand system in Part 3 pushes it to another level, and in Part 4 the fights are consistently awesome. There are no simple beam struggles here: every fight is a battle of wits, between people with wildly different powers
Niel
Vinland Saga anime, and Now Dorohedoro just got announced. i'm really liking this trend.
Lenlo
Lots to writeup on Banana Fish this week.
Lenlo
Just finished it, I really like Blanca.
Lenlo
Because Jackie Chan and his stunt crew are some of the best in the world. There is a reason he has to insure his guys from his own pocket. No agency will take them
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have no idea how the hell Jackie Chan is still alive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Action works best for me when I really feel that theres danger involved. Thats why when some actors do their own stunts, you can fear for the actors life, and also the character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And thats why I'm a big fan of all that Chinese martial arts stuff from the 60s and 70s, that really expertly crafted chereography.
Lenlo
As for action, I like good choreography more than any super powers. Its why Cowboy Bebop, Seirei no Moribito, Sword of the Stranger and some Naruto fights are fantastic.
Lenlo
Im about to watch this weeks episode, so this chat makes me hopeful. I agree Ash and Eiji are the backbone of the series, and yeah me and Kaiser both agreed that the Gang war aspect was pretty weak, though I thought the finish with Arthur wasnt half bad
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think Banana fish has a great grit to it for this reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even more thankful to Banana fish too for that it keeps the action within the bounds of out of fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've always been kind of a guns and swords and kungfu gut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Black lagoons great example of anime action I can get behind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always found weapon combat and fist/kicking combat more raw and real,tangible than beamspam.
Anonymous3070972
But yeah if you're not a fan supernatural power fantasy action shounens, then maybe not your cup of tea, and that's totally cool
Anonymous3070972
Oh also if I'm recommending a fight from part 4, I'd say check out Highway Star
Anonymous3070972
Kira is a pretty cool villain though; he's always underpowered compared to the main heroes, but manages to somehow get out of the situation with luck or smarts; if nothing else, I'd recommend watching some Youtube clips
Anonymous3070972
*Turn off. lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its more than, even when I was younger supernatural power fantasy action shounen never appealed to me.
Anonymous3070972
Admittedly JoJo always has bad with exposition though, and always will be just due to the style, so that can definitely be a turn on for some people
Anonymous3070972
If you like slice of life with hijinks and a murder mystery combined with cool battles, you'll like part 4
Anonymous3070972
Yeah I can see why you might not like part 1 & 2, they were made in the 80s; I'd recommend part 4 and part 5 (ongoing rn) tbh, I feel like those are better for a modern viewing experience
Anonymous3070972
I used to think that BF's greatest strength was the plot; know I realize it's really about Ash & Eiji's connection first and foremost: as good as the plot can be, Ash & Eiji's relationship is absolutely the backbone.
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