Posted on 31 October 2010 with categories: Shinrei Tantei Yakumo



It’s rushed, it’s full of coincidences, I know that. But damn, this episode was surprisingly good here. I really want to praise the creators here, that even though they had to cut god knows how much from the manga in order to make this fit into just one episode, they still managed to make it work. This show is indeed visibly flawed, but it also avoids the single biggest pitfall for any rushed anime: the fact that the plot doesn’t come together.

This episode just kept building up its tension, right from the start, and within these 20 minutes, they really did lot here: they gave the doctor a good backstory, it fleshed the rest of the cast, especially Gotou tried to squeeze a bit of personality as much as he could without getting in the way of the story or the rest of the characters, we know a bit more about the new intern (who despite his whining is surprisingly useful), and most importantly: we now know who Yakumo’s father is. That certainly added a neat twist to this series.

The atmosphere was particularly wonderful in this episode. That’s where it really helps to be a Bee-Train series, because that soundtrack definitely kept me to the edge of my seat, and it worked great with the storytelling and the pacing of the series. This balance is probably the thing that makes this show works so well: the characters and story are very well balanced in each episode, and the creators make sure to give all of them equal time to show themselves off. Its definitely not the most solid series, but to me it does feel like everything comes together like it should.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, OVA Impressions



Now that we’re two hours in, it’s gotten time to start asking in what way Gundam Unicorn sets itself apart from the other Gundam series. Unfortunately, I’m hard-pressed to find that answer…

I guess that the closest that this episode came to standing on its own was the point at which it showed that random Zeon family. It of course already was established that the Zeon aren’t completely evil by the very first Gundam series thirty years ago, but this episode did give a bit more depth to that by showing the people that the Zeon are trying to protect.

But apart from that though… the main problem with Unicorn really is its completely generic story, setting and characters: it’s all just “been there, done that”. There’s yet another boy who through some loophole in the rules gets his hand on the most powerful mobile suit known to man, there is yet another romance with a girl from the enemy (and hey! she’s even a princess this time), there again are strings of mecha battles. It’s all just too safe.

This all could have been forgiven with the right characterization, but… the lead character. I mean, most Gundam leads do fairly well to stand as solid characters, but this guy is completely generic. It’s not really the fact that he’s able to pilot a really powerful mecha: there are tons of other anime who do that. Instead, he just feels so out of place. Here we have a serious story about the war between two big fractions, and right there in the middle there’s this brat who keeps whining because he just discovered that people die in a war. Because of him we had to listen to strings of cheesy morals, instead of focusing on the story.

The same happened to Char here: in Zeta Gundam he was pretty interesting, in the first Gundam he was an excellent villain, but here, he looks like he lost all his charms, relying just on his cool-factor. The action also was something I got bored with. It’s the exact same type of action that we’ve been seeing over and over again. It was indeed solid, but the only thing that set it apart from all of the other Gundams was its airbags and the way in which the lead character vomited in his suit. okay, that’s admirable, but that’s not something you want to advertise yourself with.

Gundam Unicorn is solid, I’m not going to deny that. I did like the parts that didn’t feature the male lead. Minerva thank god shows how to not be annoying as a teenager, and also all of the adults knew exactly in what kind of situation they’re in, and they stand behind their choices. There was this interesting bit of intrigue going on, and at least most of the adults here felt very natural.

But that’s the thing: it’s got such a solid base here, and it doesn’t use it. This is Gundam: it’s got a huge graphics budget here; its direction is very solid and thought out; it’s got all of the ingredients for at least a solid story, grounded in realism. It just feels like it put its ambition in the wrong places.

Of course, it wasn’t bad either. I really hope that this episode was simply building up, so that we can at least get to see something interesting in the final episodes. I first want to see that before I’ll buy that, though. My biggest hope right now resides on that box. If that gets to be more than just another McGuyver, then this could still get interesting.
OVA Episode Rating: 7,75/10

Posted on with categories: Star Driver




After watching all of the shows that debuted this autumn season, I’m really sure now: Star Driver has by far the best direction and animation, and it’s one of the few series that didn’t blow its biggest budget in its first episode, and actually kept a consistent quality throughout all its episodes. And the great thing is that the animation here really helps in bringing the cast alive: some of the inbetween animation in this episode was really smooth and detailed. At that level, it really adds something extra to the characters.

Also, this episode was weird. There was this school nurse who used her cybuddy to make herself as young as a teenaged girl again, but the weirdest thing was that she was a huge raving fangirl for bishies. It was quite ridiculous, but the creators actually managed to make it work. It again managed to make this nurse into a great character to follow, even though she would have been obnoxious in most other series with a sub-par direction.

Also, regarding the battle: this episode convinced me: they’re going to be great. So far, none of the battles really looked like the others. Takuto managed to win in every one of them, but again: him winning every battle he’s in is trivial in a series in which there’s so much else going on. I liked how the creators actually went with the twist in which she is defeated by her own fetish and carelessness.

On top of that, you can also see that the creators aren’t forgetting the rest of the cast here: while the first few episodes focused on these relatively minor characters, they were also busy fleshing out the main cast, and this episode was no exception. That’s the sign of a good episodic series. I’ve said this before, but I really don’t mind an episodic series when it’s done right. If they can use these stories to build up the series as a whole, it’s only going to make the series better.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Heartcatch Precure




This series really is unbelievable: it uses some cliches that have been beaten to death in the mahou shoujo genre by now, and yet it manages to avoid all of the pitfalls. Now that the power-up arc is finally over, I really have to say that I’m delighted with how it turned out: it was built up really well, the characters knew the disadvantages, and yet they also knew that in order to beat Dune, it really was a power they needed. In the past two episodes, Dune finally arrived close enough to earth to start sending his own monsters, and they’re a complete league apart from what they’ve faced so far.

And then there are the transformation scenes: this series just has so many different ones, and they’re all completely gorgeous in their own ways. This episode again was a visual orgasm: it may not have had the incredibly smooth framerate of Cure Sunshine’s transformation, but it was incredibly varied, especially for a transformation scene (usually they just have one theme and stick with it with really not a lot of creativity). There was so much going on in that scene, and it looked really gorgeous. If I had to give a criticism, it’s that CG hand of Blossom: it’s here where the CG stood out a bit.

As for Cure Blossom, the creators did a wonderful job on her, accepting her shy side. I really love the choice of having her take much longer than the others, because it made her character stand out even more, even though she had to do the same as everyone else. It’s the difference in which they all managed to accept their flaws that really made this a wonderful arc.

I’m so curious to that final quarter of this series now. I mean, when was the last time that we had a random story in this series? The past number of episodes have all had their purpose, so I really doubt that this show is going to close off by going back to the desatorians. What I really want to see here is 13 episodes of quality time, dedicated to fleshing out and developing Dune and the people from Sabaku. That really would be awesome.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

Here’s the thing with this season: when you look at the top, it’s quite lonely: there are very few series that have the potential to become a classic. There’s perhaps one, maybe two, out of all the shows that debuted that really has the potential to become an amazing series. This season however shines with the rest of its series: for an autumn season, there really are very few series that are just crap or completely uninspired. The largest majority of the series here have their charms, do something right and are worth watching. Because of that I consider this to be an average Autumn Season: it’s better and more varied than Autumn 2007 and Autumn 2009, but it also gets nowhere near the standards set by Autumn 2005, 2006 and 2008.

#31 (new) – Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – (4/10) – Without a doubt the worst show of the season. Everything about this series is just bad, save from the fact that they used a nice filter over the art style. The acting is terrible, the plot makes no sense, the action is badly written, the comedy is dull, the fanservice is pointless… stay away from this one. Dropped.
#30 (39) – To Love-Ru – (5/10) – Okay, so it’s not Xebec’s worst, but To Love-Ru still sucks. It’s shallow comedy, built completely around fanservice and nothing else. The characters are still paper thin and cliched. I really see no hope for this one. Dropped.
#29 (new) – Iron Man – (5,25/10) – I really hope that the other Marvel anime aren’t going to be of the same standard here. Iron Man is completely stupid and uninspired.
#28 (new) – Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai – (6/10) – I really tried here. I gave three episodes a chance, and I couldn’t get through all of them. Beyond the ridiculously un-subtle premise, the subject matter of this series is also milked completely dry: yeah, they’re otaku, yeah, they bitch and moan about their hobbies, yeah they have to visit Akihabara as soon as possible. I don’t care at all about it, nothing really feels fresh and nothing stands out. Dropped
#27 (23) – Hakuouki – (6,5/10) – Here I also tried, but ultimately this show is just so dull and boring that I just couldn’t take it anymore. This pretty much is Studio Deen with its bishies again, in one of the worst possible ways. Dropped
#26 (new) – You Are Umasou – (7/10) – Harmless yet ultimately uninteresting kiddie show. Dropped
#25 (31) – Sora no Otoshimono – (7,25/10) – My interest in this series died when we saw the stereotypical leader of the Synapse. This show started off funny, but the latest episodes didn’t even get a chuckle out of me. The episodes just consist out of Tomoki harassing a bunch of random girls, getting beaten up afterwards, and that gets old really fast. The gimmicky fanservice also has seen its expiration date by now. Overall, this series is wasting too much time; the back-story could have been good, but it spends way too little time on it. Dropped
#24 (20) – Super Robot Wars OG – (7,5/10) – This… is a soap opera. Or at least, that’s my impression without having watched the first season. It does have some interesting parts in its plot, but the drama is shallow and superficial.
#23 (27) – Arakawa Under the Bridge – (7,5/10) – I can understand how this is supposed to be a series about a bunch of nut-cases who all together hang out under a bridge. I actually like that, you can do some interesting things with that. My biggest issue with this series is just that I don’t find it funny. The humour is all just either predictable or downright cheesy. I guess I sort-of like the characters and all, but it’s this humour and delivery that makes it really hard for me to even sit through this series.
#22 (new) – MM! – (7,5/10) – What a surprise, this show actually takes itself seriously. Really, I completely expected this to be some shallow comedy based on a simple gimmick and fetish, but instead curing deep and heavy traumas turned out to be a major theme of this series. That’s not to say that this series is perfect, though: it’s way too dramatic and uses shallow plot devices to create its drama. The episode around the science girl also took way too many liberties.
#21 (new) – Yosuga no Sora – (7,75/10) – This show is smut; the fanservice is just… way too much and obvious here. But the thing is, that for once we have a teenaged romance that has some actual balls: it doesn’t shy around the fact that teenagers can have sex, it knows how to flesh out its characters and create a good cast. It definitely sets itself apart from all of the other shows of its genre, but it does so in both good and bad ways.
#20 (25) – To Aru Majutsu no Index – (7,75/10) – The Orsola Aquinas arc isn’t the worst, but still below average for Index’s standards. Strange fanservice aside, its story just isn’t as interesting as some of the other Index arcs, despite the nice twists that it included.
#19 (new) – Togainu no Chi – (7,75/10) – It’s not the fact that the romance is gay here that turns me off, but it’s the way in which it’s so incredibly forced and awkward. Togainu no Chi suffers from bad acting, but the atmosphere itself is quite good.
#18 (new) – Fortune Arterial – (7,75/10) – Episode four really showed it: this series looks bloody generic, but the male lead stands miles apart the other harem leads in the way he managed the sports festival. Finally we have someone who isn’t a complete pussy or the most generic guy you can think of. This series still has its problems, like lots of cheap fanservice cliches (“oh! I tripped and landed with my breasts on you!”), and overall this definitely isn’t the most exciting show, but it holds potential. ‘
#17 (new) – Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt – (7,75/10) – Most of of Panty and Stocking failed to live up the action of the first episode: episodes 2, 3 and 4 were mostly dull comedies with outrageous fanservice jokes. Episode five really impressed me, though. It was completely disgusting, but I loved the animation of its second half. That really was not something I expected from this show. And to think that it was pretty much one big middle finger to all of the people who bitched about Gurren Lagann’s fourth episode, back in 2007.
#16 (new) – The World God Only Knows – (7,75/10) – Here’s the thing: this series pales in comparison to some of the other shows this season. It’s far from the best parody and I don’t really see this paying off as a deconstruction yet. The series works as a character-study, but it’s far from the best this season as well, and Elcea doesn’t really help to make things better here.
#15 (new) – Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – (8/10)

Yeah, the lead characters’ voice acting is bad, the title screens are really annoying (hey, they’ve been in just about every Shaft Series for ages), but to be honest: this is my favourite Shaft series since Natsu no Arashi. It’s just an unambitious little slice of life series, without all of their usual pretension and instead they really focus on the characterization here. The chemistry between all of the different characters works, none of the characters really feels cheap or rushed. So yeah, I’m impressed. It’s really been ages since I’ve had this with a Shaft series.

#14 (22) – Yumeiro Patissiere – (8,25/10)

This show is a bit childish, but damn, when it wants to deliver it packs some good drama here. Setting up your own shop here and making it profitable, that’s something I really did not expect this show to have the balls to do and despite the obnoxious American stereotypes it’s working out well.

#13 (14) – Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu – (8,25/10)

It’s getting better! The past few episodes really showed an improvement for Denyuuden, with both the plot and characters becoming more interesting. The question now remains whether they can keep it that way.

#12 (new) – Bakuman – (8,25/10)

Solid. At the moment I don’t have a lot to say about this series, but it’s definitely interesting to watch the basics of the manga creating process.

#11 (12) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8,25/10)

I’m very intrigued in the way that the creators of the anime have managed to add so much content to the story of the manga without making it feel out of place at all. It really made the cast and plot a lot more solid this way.

#10 (new) – Otome Youkai Zakuro – (8,25/10)

Okay, so while I did not end up blogging this series, I do want to say that it’s got some excellent characters. The past number of episodes did a great job in giving some depth to them. The main reason I’m still a bit iffy about this series is the unambitious story, which really is much of the same: I don’t sense enough potential for this series to set itself apart from the others. It’s really good at what it does, though, make no mistake about that.

#9 (new) – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – (8,25/10)

This show is killing me. Perhaps it’s not the most solid comedy, but it did make me laugh the hardest of all of the shows this season. It just keeps on coming with jokes and parodies of the moe and the kaitou-genre. It’s completely over the top in just about everything it does, but nearly all of the jokes are fresh and funny. Definitely the biggest surprise for me this season.

#8 (new) – Shinrei Tantei Yakumo – (8,25/10)

It’s not up to par with Bee-Train’s usual standards: it’s too rushed for that. Yet, this fast pacing of trying to stuff as much as possible within just 13 episodes does have its charms. The plot moves fast, and yet all of the stories do deliver when they need to. On top of that, the soundtrack is still excellent, the overall plot is intriguing as heck, so I’m quite happy with how this series turned out so far.

#7 (7) – Katanagatari – (8,5/10)

Now that we’re nearing the end, I have to say that everything is coming together quite nicely. Togame and Shichika developed into a great couple, the dialogue has my attention from beginning to end. I’m just a bit worried about how we don’t really know much about the final bosses, but apart from that, I’m glad I stuck with this series.

#6 (new) – Shinryaku! Ika-Musume – (8,5/10)

A very effective comedy: the jokes are fresh, varied and hilarious. Especially Squid Girl is a wonderful character in the way that she acts, is animated and delivers her antics with a great comedic timing. There are a few repeated jokes here and there, but apart from that this has been non-stop hilarity.

#5 (new) – Kuragehime – (8,5/10)

I’m really surprised at how well the chemistry between the different characters turned out here. The energy behind them is consistently addictive, and the creators are especially good in toying around with emotions.

#4 (4) – Shiki – (8,5/10)

We didn’t get to see much due to Noitamina’s bloody hiatuses, but what we saw was a completely desperate turn of events here that I really didn’t see coming.

#3 (new) – Star Driver – (8,5/10)

Hell yeah, this promises a lot as the spiritual successor of Utena. The characters are diverse and well fleshed out, and on top of that it’s one of the very few series that really comes with something new here. It’s flamboyant, of course, but that really gives it a unique charm.

#2 (5) – Letter Bee – (8,75/10)

Well, the first season really ended at the moment where Letter Bee got really good. Letter Bee has really gotten amazingly charming over the past month, with both top notch episodic stories and a main plot that gets more and more intriguing. Definitely one of the top shows of the Autumn Season

#1 (2) – Heartcatch Precure – (9/10)

Heartcatch Precure… actually surpassed itself yet again this month. Really, it’s based on a very flimsy premise, and yet no scene was wasted this month: it was chock full of character-development, and in between there was the school festival arc, which was wonderfully portrayed. Seriously, it’s been ages since a mahou shoujo took up my first place in these rankings, but this was one well deserved.

Posted on 30 October 2010 with categories: Letter Bee



This episode was definitely meant to thicken the plot here. At first it seemed like another delivery from Lag, in which he had to deliver another letter full of lies, but the creators cleverly used it as a device to introduce a couple of new characters. Who are pretty much immediately a delight to watch and a worth addition to this series’ cast.

Reverse really has something for collecting skilled ex-bees here. First Gauche, and now it also turns out that one of the most skilled Bees of thirteen years ago is working on his side. This episode also gives us the first real hint beyond the nature of the Akatsuki that the government is really pulling off stuff behind the scenes, but again in this episode we just got to see the side of the Reverse.

Either way though, as characters they’re really charming. Valentine as a veteran Bee works really well: he’s mature, has experienced a lot and forms a real contrast with Lag. His dingo meanwhile is one of those lovable tough guys who gets the formula right with a neat balance between charms and temper. I especially loved the scene between him and Wasiolka.

Also, this episode again spoke of this mysterious “head bee”, but really: what do we exactly know about that? All we know is that it’s the best of the Letter Bees, but we’ve never seen it: neither Gauche or Valentine, despite being the most talented around due to rumours, didn’t manage to become one. So what does it take to make a head bee anyway? And who is the current head bee?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Bakuman



Next episode should promise to be interesting. This episode showed Akito and Moritaka create some sort of pilot, now they have to convince the manga publishing magazines that their work is good enough. That should really prove to be interesting. This episode established this series as a “hard work”-anime, which has definite potential. Moritaka is a perfectionist, and you can see that Akito is getting caught up in that.

I also like the story they came up with here, with the clones and all. It would be interesting if Bakuman would also end up talking not just about manga artists, but mangas themselves. Moritaka’s art… it looks a bit cliched, but at the same time it’s very detailed, and he’s definitely a talented artist.

The romance at this point feels like comedic relief, though. Normally I don’t think I would have minded so much, but I know the standards of Kenichi Kasai, and I know that it just pales in comparison to some of his other works. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s just… there. Not really interesting, and all I’m doing during those scenes is waiting for the focus to fall back on the manga creating process.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week, I would like to rant a bit. On the downright lazy job that Madhouse did on Iron Man. They’re usually known for their imaginative and well thought out series. They had the freedom to really go anywhere, and yet they chose this. There’s something wrong with just about every part of this series apart from the music. The soundtrack really is wasted on such a series.

Starting with the visuals. I know that it’s shallow, and I usually only dismiss character-designs when they’re too generic. But dammit, when your main character looks like a freaking GOAT, that’s where I draw the line here. Tony Stark, a suave businessman with a ton of experience, looks ridiculously stupid, and the rest of the cast also doesn’t look much better. It really looks like a cheap outsourced series where no real effort went into making this look good, where most of the action is simply CG because it’s easier to animate.

Not to mention that the action scenes themselves don’t make any sense. This episode took place in space. You know, an open world with nothing in the way. And yet this episode dared to pull off the fact that you can hide from the vision of your enemy. TWICE.

As for the plot, I usually don’t have anything against episodic series. Iron Man is a bad example, though: it’s just a string of random unrelated cases that Iron Man has to solve. Only one of them really dealt with Tony’s past, for the rest it was all filler: nothing showed anything new about the characters, nothing really fleshed them out, and nothing really built up to the rest of the series. If the stories themselves were good, then this could be forgiven, but… they’re crap.

This episode… what exactly where the bad guys thinking? They put in a huge amount of money and effort in order to launch a parasite satellite that somehow can manage to beam into people and have them cough up blue blood. Leaving aside how ridiculously impossible this is, what baffles me the most is what they want to achieve with this: people end up coughing blue blood, and yet when they’re brought to a hospital and rest for a while they turn out completely fine. I mean, if I were to design such a thing, I’d at least make some kind of beam that is… you know… deadly and stuff. On top of that, they didn’t even hit the guy they meant to hit, thanks to Stark’s radiation shield. I mean, there are the kinds of stupid villains who screw up during a shoplift, but wasting so much money on something completely pointless. That really takes the cake here.

We’re five episodes into the series now, and what do we really know? The reporter still is as annoying as ever, Tony likes to go after women and his assistant is perfect in her preparation. Oh, and that there are some guys after Tony’s life for some reason. There’s no depth, no effort at all is spent asking “why”: we’re just spoonfed everything without much of a coherence between anything. I mean, I can forgive a cheap budget, but you can write a good story with any kind of budget: there are no excuses for such a sloppy script.

And the worst thing is… that we haven’t even gotten started yet. Is it known at this point whether or not Wolverine, the X-Men and Blade will also have the same staff here? That would be pretty disastrous. And it’s not like series based on comic books are doomed to fail here, because there have been a number of good examples throughout the years: Ultraviolet, Batman and Witchblade put down very respectable anime that stood on their own, and even beyond that there are the Animatrix and Power Puff Girls, which also translated very well to anime. And yet, we first had Heroman, and now this. I’m not really sure what went wrong in 2010, but they all just feel so dumbed down and safe, taking so little risks. It’s a bloody shame.
Rating: — (Bad)

Posted on 29 October 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




It has really been a while since I watched a movie that had an introduction that was as good as King of Thorn’s. It is a movie with a ton of action, and yet the first 20 minutes have none of it whatsoever: this movie takes a great deal of effort to introduce its plot, build up the setting, and introduce its characters. Especially the latter, had my utmost attention, even though it’s not like we learn an awful lot about them. It’s just the build-up to the inevitable point in which all hell breaks loose that was perfectly executed, well timed, and had a top notch atmosphere. It really took its time to let everything progress naturally, and only afterwards it really went all out with its action.

Regarding the action and the rest of the visuals: it’s a very stylish movie; especially the landscapes are gorgeous, but the action too is well paced and keeps you to the edge of your seat. The only problem was that Sunrise lacked the budget to fully animate them, so at times they randomly switch to cell shaded CG; yes, even for the characters. Let’s just say that it looks out of place.

If this was a movie that was only carried by its action, I really could recommend a ton of other ones that did a better job. But really: King of Thorn does have an excellent story that keeps it together, and really makes it much more interesting than your average movie. Usually with these kinds of movies, they try to stuff too much into their story, or fail to stuff in anything at all. King of Thorn however is an hour and fifty minutes long, and fits this exactly. The plot is neither too big or too small: there are plenty of interesting plot twists, it has a detailed and imaginative concept, yet this concept isn’t so big that it shoots itself in the foot. Everything really gets the chance to play out naturally, with the help of perhaps a bunch of plot devices here and there to keep things on track.

The characters really made the first twenty minutes my favourite parts of the movie, but even during the rest of the airtime they remain interesting. This movie doesn’t really take its time to give them a lot of sides, or make them feel realistic, but it does develop the main cast effectively. Especially the ending: it’s a really good one, especially for a movie and I liked it a lot.

The movie does have a number of cliches, that’s something it doesn’t escape from. However, for every cliche that this movie uses, it also comes with a very neat idea. But really: this is how an action movie should be done: a plot that prevents it just from turning into a string of boring fight scenes, a cast who can carry that plot, enough scenes without any action in them whatsoever that don’t feel like mere time filler. Oh, and a stunning soundtrack. That also really helped here.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent build-up, decent action, well paced and never gets boring, excellent ending.
Characters: 8/10 – Spectacular they are not, but they are solid and developed enough to carry the movie.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Again, movie standards: it had its gorgeous frames, but the action are sometimes done in 3D cell shaded CG. The soundtrack is great, though.
Setting: 9/10 – Creative, and just the right complexity for a movie of two hours.

Suggestions:
Mobile Police Patlabor – WXIII
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
First Squad

Posted on with categories: Armored Trooper Votoms - Phantom Arc, OVA Impressions



I must say, that I’m really impressed with how this OVA turned out. This isn’t just there for its storytelling or action. Instead, it’s all about its plot. It’s very unlike what we’re expected from Ryousuke Takahashi at this point, yet it has the elements that are so typically his style, like the large focus on religious mumbo jumbo.

As expected, this episode went to Quent, or at least Quent’s twin planet. And finally we get a bit more of an idea what this OVA was meant to be about: the so-called Child of God. A kid who is supposed to be Wiseman’s successor. It’s interesting that it’s going to take the place of Chirico, who somehow was chosen by Wiseman himself as the new ruler. Could it be that Wiseman knew about his demise and the new birth of the child of god, so he at least tried to pick his own successor?

In any case, with this I can really see enough material for the upcoming three Votoms Movies. The Gen-ei arc and the Pailsen files were really meant to tie everything together: the Pailsen files filled in the missing details of Chirico’s past, while Gen-ei hen prepared for the real conclusions of the franchise: the three upcoming movies. On top of that, it really feels like an omnibus, which contains a bit of everything that we’ve seen so far: mecha action, the comic relief, the religious focus, the politics and of course the way that each of the episodes revisited the four arcs of the TV-series.

Either way, it’s great to see so many great series-based OVAs this year: we’ve had Darker than Black, xxxHolic Rou, Black Lagoon, Yozakura Quartet and all of them really had the guts to be different and go with their own direction and focus.
OVA Episode Rating: 8,5/10

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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