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
Vonter
Or are the 50s the new late 30s or early 40s?
Vonter
Are japanese people vampires? https://ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Toru_Furuya
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: If you look at the voice list, that Japanese voice actor for Mario in that anime movie is the same voice actor for Amuro Ray from the original Gundam.
Vonter
Also considering Baby Bowser was raised by Kamek. I suppose those beings could be made by magic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - My head canon is that Bowser made them himself. Kinda Lord Zedd or Rita from Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still subscribe to the headcanon that Peach is the mother of Bowsers children.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember growing up with the relatively poor American cartoons, none of them featured Wario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have committed videogame genocide apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everytime I broke or hit a brick in the Mario games I was probably murdering a toad.
Vonter
The ending it's "interesting" considering the relationship Mario and Peach have isn't something as close, as Link and Zelda.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's weird but at the same time it does use elements from the game. Like the music, and story bits from the manual from the original Super Mario Bros. (Where it mentioned Bowser uses magic to turn Toads into the bricks, clouds and other objects of the game).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never did end up watching the Mario anime movie that came out in the 80s.
Vonter
Also someone is putting the effort of making a Bowsette adventure doujin. This is the type of stuff that could be it's own original thing since it strays far from what's Mario. Despite the occasional mild nudity it's quite fun so far, despite also how weird it is.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - At the very least it'll be interesting to see where it goes. It happens also every time something comes back. Times change and so the way we make stories. Also the original run had a curtain call chapter, so this is more a new story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is often what happens with episodic stuff for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I essentially read Fraken Fran until I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, I feel that Franken Fran pretty much ran it's course though. Not sure what a new series could bring.
Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

Many of you might wonder why I decided to blog this show, despite the first episode spent two third of its time in one single aerial combat, which can be fascinating to watch but bring extremely little to talk about. While I agree that Kotobuki has its fair share of underwhelming aspects (which I will […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 04 [VS The Imaginator 1]

It starts with a girl jumping off the building. I’m always a sucker for this sort of opener (clue in to Lain and Satoshi Kon even though Kon never technically did that for opener), and it feels like a decent start for the next arc to come. It basically repeats the same formula as the […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

WARNING: This review of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai has been authored by a non-manga reader. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! Boy, is this show a treat. I know we’re only two weeks into the winter season, but Kaguya-sama is my […]

Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

Thus the story of the Promised Neverland starts in earnest now that the first episode has revealed it’s book and the nature of the orphanage is revealed. As someone aptly put it, this is like Chicken Run, the anime. It’s quite interesting seeing things from a new perspective now that the curtain has risen as […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 13 [And Then Start Running]

Kaze Fui returns, contending with and maybe even beating Mob Psycho for best episode of the week! We have introspection, backstory, and the team coming together to protect their emotionally stunted friend! Lets charge in! Everything about Kaze Fui this week was fantastic. From the narrative to the VA’s. But one I want to hit […]

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

Hello and welcome to show number two for me of the new season! Dororo is an interesting one, based on a 1960’s manga, with this being its second adaptation. This week we meet another demon, learn our leads name and that not all spirits are bad. Let’s dive in! Visually, Dororo is sort of a […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

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The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

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