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.

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

So RWBY's back. I actually miss the whole RWBY team. Still prefer Ruby's old custom more. Nora looks cool.
With the fourth episode, Vivid Strike seems to have crossed an invisible line that makes it more like the original Nanoha shows rather than Vivid. The kind of brutal beatdown delivered by the co-protagonist and the build up to it is something quite alien to a normal SoL/Sports anime show.
Ep. 4 of Tiger Mask was a lot better than the last 3, quite a hyped fight that was a full 6mins long. Will continue watching in hope of an awesomely long final fight.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
Going back to the fanservice topic, its very easy to complain about it in anything but then something actually comes along that actually does it for you. I mean I always say that I don't watch a show/movie for its fanservice elements and stick with pictures on image boards, but then I ended up seeing a film where I actually got something out of the fanservice while watching the film its.
Kaiser Eoghan
The oujia prequel was competent genre fare, the director cared about the characters and every now and the built up a decent mood. Although jump Scares are there . And I always appreciate a horror film having a mean spirited ending. One of the rare cases where the young actors do well in a horror film. The pace is a bit uneven, rushed and a bit laggy .
Kaiser Eoghan
In the sense of how messed up/especially bleak those two episodes were.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was the sense too with both those episodes of "Jesus...I wasn't ready for that...."
Kaiser Eoghan
Though the first episode of the first season and the third episode of season 3 are very hard to beat. Adding to what I thought of s3 ep3 I felt that one hit me on the same level as s1 ep1 did so.
Though in previous seasons I generally only really liked 2 out of the 3.
@Kaiser, though the previous seasons where only 3 episodes long and you enjoyed 3 out of 6 in this season. So yo essentially get the same amount of enjoyment as previous seasons.
Kaiser Eoghan
Based on my comments, it looks like I had a mixed reaction to the third season. Three out of six, but the great was was great and forgives it but I still feel that there was more of a consistentancy in quality in the other seasons. I enjoyed every story in seasons 1 and 2.
Kaiser Eoghan
The final episode felt like a movie all on its own, I'd have gladly watched another thirty minutes of it, ending was a nice punch in the gut.
Just finished black mirror season 3. I hear people basically complaining that it's not as strong as the previous two season but I disagree. I really enjoyed this and this is a show that deserves much more episodes. Personal favorite is between shut up and dance and hated in the nation. Worst I thought was San Junipero. Overall thought each episode was interesting.
Kaiser Eoghan
On the upside I loved black mirrors fifth episode, I'm a sucker for war/action-dramas and I particularly liked the tech in this one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah this is impossible for me to sit through, the romance part is also rather dull.
Kaiser Eoghan
Eh, this fourth episode is plodding and trite, feels like a bad, poorly dated 90s film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Third episode also instilled a great sense of paranoia.
@Kaiser: thanks for that mate. I have too much to say for Flipflappers but to put them all in coherent flow is goddamn hard. And like I said I still fell I left many details out: that gung-ho potato or Yayaka and the twins
@Friend: jugding from the last convention I went to, people loved Re:Zero customs (Emilia and Rem, Ram were highlights. Or you could try RWBY characters (I for once love to see someone cosplay Pirrha Nikos or Velvet Scarlatina)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Didn't care much for new black mirrors second episode, then again I'm not really the target for that story. The third episode while a bit heavyhanded and predictable was suspenseful, nasty/mean and I liked that about it, did in 50 minutes what some thrillers fail to achieve in two hours.
Holo is a good one :0
Materials aren't a problem at all for the most part, except for anything too crazy like working in brass. I'd prefer it to be characters I'm familiar with.
Does it matter to you that they're from shows that you like, or are you just in it for the challenge?
@Friend Aidan has some good ones there. I'd also give the cast of Akame ga Kiru a shot, I don't like the series but it has a lot of neat character designs.
I was thinking simple as I didn't know what kind of materials you got on hand. I was also thinking of Holo from spice and wolf or Kino from Kinos journey either.
Mm, Tatsumaki might be not challenging enough to design for. Doesn't Shiki simply wear either a coat or Japanese kimono? I do work in set design and not in character prop design, but I'd love to try something that would let me reasonably challenge myself.
@Friend, Spit balling here but Tatsumaki from One Punch Man? I know the costume for that one would be simple enough. Or maybe Shiki from Kara No Kyoukai?
*I don't want to do anything too complex for my first try, but I also don't want to do anything boring. Boring would be a character like Rukia or Celty. Any ideas?
I remember talking about this with Emma/Kaiser before, but has anyone here gone cosplaying at an expo before? I thought it would be neat to try designing my own costume and try something else beside drawing on a computer.
@Kaiser, I am up to episode 4. 3 has been the best one so far.Though in all these episodes I pretty much figured out the twist from the get go. Still this shows always tends to get you thinking.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think the roles/identity thing with flipflappers, at least with the protaganist does fit in well with adolescence.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I've only seen the first episode so far. I felt the acting was intentional and reflected the satire Brooker was going for on the shallow nature of society. Bleak as ever but gloriously grotesque.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario:Good in depth reviewing there Mario of flipflappers episode three.
Good god this first episode of black mirror is hard to watch. I know exactly how it's going to turn out but it's just so damn painful to watch.
Well, tbh up to where I've seen there's not much explicit yaoi in yuri on ice, only a lot of fujoshi fuel.
@Kaiser. thanks for the torrent. Gonna blaze through this today.
@Topgavin, as someone who watches a metric ton of anime I am rather surprised at that estimate that 90% of it contains Yuri.
My god those gay scenes in Yuri on Ice are hard to watch for me. Wonder if this is how it feels to be a girl watching 90% of normal anime nowadays.
okay, Flip Flappers episodic review was up. This is my lengthiest weekly review so far and I still feel I missed a lot of points. Damn you Flip Flappers
Kaiser Eoghan
You have seen the light, not needing to know everything thats happening to enjoy something ^_^
Kaiser Eoghan
I've given some consideration to reviewing that oujia film followup.
Whether you see one or the other is entirely up to your preferences, so it makes no difference to me which is worse. I have gotten very tired of generic character types, but again that's just because of the things I decide to regularly follow.
I will say if it must come down to either unnatural dialogue or unnatural character types, at leas the character type is speaking their own words and not the words of the script writer.
Or was that a black and white fallacy? Maybe it was a little of both.
@Realjustified, K-Off wasn't agreeing with me. That's a Moving the Goal Posts logical Fallacy but well I will answer regardless. Honestly it's preferable to have neither. The big mistake you are making here is that you are putting down a condiction that a show must have one or the other. But both cartoons and anime can have both. I just think it's a lot more prominent in cartoons than anime.
Like, having read hundreds of harem manga over the years, a majority of the ultimate love interest always happens to be the first girl the protagonist meets.
Wait wait wait wait. Aidan and K-Off. I get that dialogue in cartoon can seem like it was written by a script writer, but at the same time, lots of anime have characters whose sole purpose is entirely scripted. The whole spectrum of "deres" and everything. What do you think is worse? Unnatural dialogue, or unnatural character types?
You guys should really go fuck yourself, it's a solution and it's nothing short of great!
You guys should really watch the first 4 episodes of Bungo, it's a prequel and it was nothing short of great!
omg!! I just realized To be Hero was one of the show that I reviewed its 1st episode back in Chinese Animation post. I watched raw then though
forgive me if I'm a bit too overwhelmed by Flip Flappers... For this episode alone I took like 25 screenshots...trying to write a review now...
I have absolutely no idea what is going on in Flip Flappers plot. And yet for some reason I am OK with that.
Anyone out there that's a fan of crude humor should go watch ep.3 of To Be Hero. Certinately stepped it up a notch from the last two humor-wise.
One downside I can think of already is that I'm bound to lose or break one of the detachable controllers. The cost for those pieces is what I'm most interested in.
Nintendo Switch hmm? Honestly it looks too good to be true. I expect some major downsides to this thing.
I like cartoons, don't get me wrong. Certainly good for a change of pace. But there is something about the way they are written that I find rather distracting.
I don't know, maybe if I said it's like the difference from how characters talk in movie vs how characters talk in a sitcom?
@K-Off, I said one liner's or jokes. Not one liner jokes. It's hard to explain. Basically when I hear a conversation in anime even if it is based in stereotypes, it at least feels like a conversation that's being had in the moment. In cartoons however there is a layer of artificiality and it feels like characters know what a person is going to say and has a response prepared.
That's probably why some of my favorite anime in recent years haven't been very heavy on character archetypes, or were either parodies of it.
Comedic dialogue with anime in recent years have leaned too much on the idea of playing off character archetypes. The collected character vs the energetic character, for one. I'd like to see more variety. Some more word play, hyperbolic humor, body humor, etc etc.
@Aidan Not quite sure what you mean by that, because it's certainly not even a majority of cartoons that rely on cheap one liner jokes. I suppose it's entirely up to taste, but I can appreciate the energy in cartoons like Steven Universe or Regular Show when compared to the increasingly repetitive dialogue found in some recent anime.
@Topgavin: I just read that review and his main reason being Shelter is pretentious. oh well! Can't never please anyone.
Thought I'd check out the reviews for Shelter on MAl and the top review is a 1/10. Apparently because it's a cute girl we sympathise with her more, which is bad because reasons. I mean.. what? MAL never ceases to amaze me
@Mario, no. It's more that the dialogue keeps trying to push out one liners or jokes regardless of whose talking.
@Aidan: maybe because they spoke in your native language do you can feel that it's artificial, ya know? I know I have the same problem with Vietnamese drama/ cartoon and maybe Japanese people have that same issues with anime?
By which I mean, the way characters talk in cartoons is very...artificial. Like you can tell that the dialgoue was clearly written beforehand and it never really sounds natural. At least to me.
@Anon, I wouldn't. The writing and structure are too cartoon. What with the episodic nature and dialogue that generally pushes for a comedic tone.
Kaiser Eoghan
Flanagan also directed absentia which I haven't seen yet but I think someone I came across of 4chan linked it to being lovecraftian?
Kaiser Eoghan
Oculus was a film of two halves for me. Hush was a pretty standard home invasion thriller, making the victim deaf was an interesting twist but not as unique as you might think, still suspenseful though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never saw the first oujia film. Though Mike Flanagan who did the sequel, he's never made a bad movie but he's never really made a great one either.
Kaiser Eoghan
I stick to the firm belief that cartoons and anime, visually should do and be their own thing. I'll prefer a western artstyle for cartoons rather than one pretending to look like anime style.
But this is a good topic and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions so I'm looking to hear some more arguments
@anon352392: no they aren't. For me not because of where their production based, nor their intended audience, but rather their styles, both visually and storytelling-ly, are different
Anime,” they assert, is not a “style” of illustration or animation.
That's where I differ to those guys. For me, anime is a style. In that sense, I consider RWBY, and Canadian-produced short Flutter as an anime. Thunderbolt Fantasy is not and anime-influence shows/movies that are intented for Western audience like AniMatrix or Afro Samurai are anime
@Anon nah they wouldn't be because they aren't made by a japanese producer for the japanese market. Quality isn't the question, production is
NX and Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers tomorrow.
They are good series and i honestly like them alot more than most anime series, would their quality make them anime?
What about cartoons like Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Star Vs The Forces Of Evil?
In other news a sequel to an absolutely terrible horror movie called Ouija is out and it's...actually pretty good? Wondering if critics were paid off or it is legit good. Well it did have the guy who was behind Oculus and that was a pretty good movie.
Simplify the term down enough and anime is literally anything animated but the whole point of the term is to distinguish it. For to call Spongebob an anime makes me want to projectile vomit. Point is this, you say you watched a cartoon, people think Tom and jerry, Scooby doo etc. You say you watched an anime, people think Cowboy bebop, Attack on titan, etc. Whole point of the term.
For example, I don't consider Avatar or RWBY to be anime for while they use anime style, the writing is fundamentally structured like an American cartoon. Through I would consider Bloodivores an anime even though it was made by a Chinese animation company, making it technically a Chinese cartoon.
As far as what is and isn't anime I honestly think of the term as a means of distinguishing it from cartoon which gives the impression of being for children. It's like Graphic novel is to comic book. Though techically graphic novels are issues of comics bound in book form, the term Graphic novel is often used to distinguish works that go above superhero comics and whatnot.
Basically I think it was due to Porter Robinsons involvement that they didn't consider it anime.
@Aidan: Did the mods give any concrete reasons why they didn't consider it an anime?
@Mario, It wasn't the community that had the problem. It was the mods. The community made it pretty clear that they considered it anime.
So despite the art style is obviously anime, the character speaks in Japanese, and the production was animated by A1 Studios, it's not an anime? Sometimes I feel sad that the anime community keeps limiting themselves with such fixed minds.
I saw it yesterday and yes it was good. For a 5-minute story, they don't make it too overwhelme with details, and still pack an emotional punch. Moreover it elevates the song. Good stuffs.
Shelter was quite good though. It works well and the animation was beautiful. Song is not bad either. It's got a nice emotional punch to it though it's a bit simple a story.
Well anyway I only saw all this because I checked out the video for the first time and wanted to see how others thought of it with a quick scan through reddit. And I get this shitshow instead.
Playing the victim is the one really pisses off the internet. For refusing to admit you f*cked up only encourages people to shove how you f*cked up into your face. That's what really grinds peoples gears.
Yep, seen that too. The mods even put up another tread about the video and tried to guilt trip people by saying they got death threats. Look, internet rules 101. If you said or did something stupid admit to it and just walk away. Do not try to deflect blame or play the victim, that only adds fuel to the fire.
@Aidan oh yeah saw that live lol. Porter himself even commented on twitter about it, gotta love internet drama
So did anyone happen to catch the big old shitstorm of that Shelter music music when a mod of the Anime subreddit decided it wasn't "Anime" enough and removed the discussion post about it? Oh internet drama...what silly nonsense.
Finally caught up with JoJo. Diamond is Unbreakable has turned out to be much better than Stardust Crusaders. Should have waited for the season to finish through as I really loved marathoning it.
I had a feeling that might be the case considering the source materail for luger.
@Mario Oh I watched that, certinately worth it. Packed more story that some 12-episode shows do nowadays and gorgeous animation.
and I will check out "Shelter" music video to see what all the fuss is about
*this weekend to be exact.
Sounds like Luger Code 1951 is an OVA that will air next week, the same air date with "my" Zaregoto OVA.
@Mario: doesn't sound real at all to me lol
@Mario, I might be able to manage. If all else fails I can talk about the past of these historical figures.
While I don't mind watchinng Drifters, I swaer if I had to cover that show, I couldn't come up with anything to say.
Do you guys know what language the fairies speak in Drifters? It does sound like a genuine language
@topgavin: humanity has declined is a great show. It has good writing and dark, witty sense of humor. I could talk about it in length but psgels pretty much covered it all. He was really impressed by that show however.
That should be me covered till the weekend. Why do all my shows air on the weekend...
@Mario nah I've watched the whole thing but I'd heard about it at the start of this year and put it off. The dialogue between her and the fairies was great stuff, probably gonna rewatch it this weekend now that you mention it
Alright, I got three posts written up and will be throwing them out in about two hours or do.
I thought you've finished it. Yeah I love her character a lot, so cynical but witty. My favorite moment was when she read about fairy's plan to invent religions. She was like "so religions are invented?" (beat) "I've learn something new today". Priceless
@Mario Oh nice, it was one that I had heard about but never got round to. To put it in simple anime terms, Watashi is best girl
@topgavin: I just finished the series yo mentioned the other day: humanity is declined. Man, I love it. I know now I have a thing for dark twisted absurdist anime
@Ano340004: the name is Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or to put it short Motete. I have fun with it but i'm not that enthuastic
@anon the english name is Kiss him, not me. Search through the first impressions if you need the jap name.
then that girl really loves BL (boy love)
what is the name of the anime that the girl is fat and then she got depressed because her favorite boy anime died then she got thin?
Season 7 is awesome so far too. It feels like the tone of the show is finally back to normal and it feels like Adventure Time again.
Whew, I binged all seasons of Adventure Time this weekend. The show hit a low spot in Season 6 but I think it needed to happen...Poor Finn needed the serious character development after what he did to FP.
You guys are too hard on it
Motete is very funny
Kaiser Eoghan
When it comes to gag manga and four-koma, I just eventually reach a stopping point with a comedy series in that format. Even with hidamari sketch.
I think it was typical light novel trash based on what was in the PV. I laughed that despite it being horrible that the crowd still cheered anyway, likely because it had a bath clip in it.
The PV was hilarious. I had no idea what the anime was about.
@Aidan I'm good, I'll stick with Working.
@K-Off, you could switch to something like Gi(a)rlish Number if you like. I for one am really digging the satire of the show. Plus I like that it's basically showing how an utter train-wreck of an anime can be made. That PV in the last episode was truly painful.
Feeling pretty disappointed with Working. I haven't gotten any more cynical with comedies, at least I don't think, and its flaws are so irritating.
@Adam Le, I find that with Comic book dialogue. Which is one of the reasons I have gone off marvel movies. Cartoons have it to a degree as well.
I love the instagram shots in Yuri
Maybe I can have a watch through those live action films and do a compare/contrast to see which version works better. After all movie and tv series are 2 different medium, and live-action vs animation is the topic that we never get tired of
speaking of which, the overlap between anime and live-action adaptation from manga is overwhelming. For this year alone, there were Erased, 3-gatsu no Lion, Fune o Amu, orange, and Chihayafuru (part 1&2). Those were just the ones I know.
@Adam: Don't know which genre you're into but you can try Fune o Amu (The Great Passage)
Adam Le
I can't seem to get into any of these new shows. I don't know, the dialogue always seems off to me and the forced comedy is a big turn off.
Reminds me of a thought I had when I was last at the Getty art museum. People walking past works of art hundreds of years old, but only taking a second-long glance before moving on to the next one. Not their fault really, it's only the professional critics who can understand what they see with depth.
I'm the opposite really, they're getting paid for what they said so they better know their shits
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose I'm slightly envious of professional critics somewhat.
Sometimes you're just meant to experience the ride you know. I don't watch those explained video anymore because after all it's just one guy's opinions.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
And I mean people who art professionals or students.
Kaiser Eoghan
I guess I'm just unsure of something, how many people watching "arty" stuff are able to pick it up on their own. By looking up an "explained video" or "explained essay" to get it, am I copping out?
Kaiser Eoghan
I feel like I've begun getting on board with the european art stuff but am really only scratching the surface with the Chinese and that stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
And find myself missing whats going on sometimes.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll admit I do find it frustrating, that even though I can like art films, emotionally connect at times, appreciate the visual techniques and admire them for being so different without looking up analysis by people far smarter than myself I honestly feel lost sometimes as to the meaning.
@Kaiser: Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are so otherworldly and spiritual that I wouldn't dare to call them "dreams" anymore. Check out his "Uncle Boonmie", "Syndromes and a Century", "Cemetery of Splendors". he has such singular vision that just watch and experience his films are rewarding enough
@afgm: well, if we really go over-analyze it, bunnies can represent desire for example ^^
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