Posted on 31 March 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

This month… was crazy. It was completely different from any other month, there was just so much going on. It’s not just a month of one of the worst catastrophes to hit Japan since the Second World war. Also in terms of anime releases this month was just unique. It’s been a month of extremes for me, best explained through numbers.

First of all, this is the sixth March summary I’ve written on this site. Throughout all these six years, I don’t think I ever have watched as little as 15 series at the same time. This isn’t on purpose either: I just don’t think that there are any other TV-series that were worth my time this season, especially considering how bloody few series continued over from the past Autumn Season. This really turned out to be a series of quality over quantity: three series were completely amazing despite being really short, and they were the ones that made such a small season memorable.

And yet, despite these low numbers, AND having a job that keeps me busy for 36 hours each week, I have never been as active on this blog as I have been during the last month. With this post, I have just broken my own record of the biggest amount of posts made in one month: 86 of them. The movie spree I’ve been having and Supernatural had a big influence in this, but it’s not just that.

Even though there were few TV-series this month, I don’t think I have ever seen a month where so many OVAs and movies were released. Seriously, they just all kept coming, it’s like everyone and his dog released something here, even when not taking Supernatural into account. The quality of most of these OVAs and Movies also was really good. There was a lot of interesting stuff amongst them, both from one shots and from larger ones. It all culminated into one wonderful month of anime.

#15 (18) – Dragon Crisis – (5,5/10)

This final month was the worst we’ve seen so far here! I mean, the last three arcs were completely stupid and moronic. They made no sense whatsoever and their only purpose was to increase Ryuuji’s harem. Overall this was one huge waste of time.

#14 (14) – Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? – (6,25/10)

This entire month of Zombie was dedicated to the incredibly stupid drama around Hellscythe. It’s a shame, because if it focused on the creativity of the first half then it could have been very enjoyable.The nail in this one’s coffin was the abysmal episode 12, though. I’d like to thank this episode for leaving a really bad aftertaste for this series. Even worse than that multiple Deus ex Machina ending.

#13 (13) – Gosick – (6,5/10)

Gosick episodes have a spark of potential in them. Unfortunately, this spark was completely gone this month. Only two episodes aired, but those were completely unnecessary in this series.

#12 (16) – To Aru Majutsu no Index – (7,75/10)

This is what the entire series should have been. I finally get the feeling that this series is actually moving somewhere again. It’s still not as good as the first season, but at the least I’m glad that this show did not annoy me in the slightest this month.

#11 (15) – Fractale – (7,75/10)

Fractale is an adventure series whose biggest problem is that it has no idea what it’s doing. As a light-hearted adventure series this would have worked nicely, but at the same time this series is also trying to sound deep. And that’s where it fails completely. As a whole, this series is enjoyable. It’s just that the individual ingredients don’t mesh together at all.

#10 (11) – Wolverine – (8/10)

Again, the lack of depth isn’t going to make Wolverine into anything amazing. But as a simple action series this month kicked ass. The finale really was fun and exciting and the creators threw a lot at Wolverine in order to keep things interesting. It did justice to all of the characters, as simple as they were and overall I had a lot of fun watching and blogging this.

#9 (8) – Bakuman – (8,25/10)

Overall, Bakuman is one of those shows where the pacing could have gone up a notch. Still I have to give the past episodes credit for making me think that they were moving kindof fast, while in fact they actually weren’t. It’s still a solid show about making a manga, though. The characters are continuing to grow as well.

#8 (12) – Kimi ni Todoke – (8,25/10)

Episode 9. That was the episode that by far stood out above all of the other Kimi ni Todoke episodes. FINALLY, after so much waiting, this show finally got down to business, and it was glorious.

#7 (7) – Yumekui Merry – (8,25/10)

Before I’ll get enthusiastic about this show again, I first want to see some kind of second season announcement. Yumekui Merry is amazingly written. Episode 13 just isn’t the right time to end it. Not with a villain like Mistletain.

#6 (4) – Star Driver – (8,25/10)

The thing with Star Driver at the moment is that with still one episode remaining, it’s currently balancing on the edge of a cliff. The build-up to the ending has been completely unconventional, and if it can make this work it’ll be brilliant. If it can’t though, this will mean a very rushed ending. Whether or not this month’s episodes were good is entirely dependent on that final episode, but at least the play episode was awesome.

#5 (5) – Supernatural The Animation – (8,5/10)

Supernatural’s biggest problem turned out to be its acting. I don’t mean the voice acting, but instead the way that the creators manage to portray the characters on the screen. It feels stiff and undynamic, and does get in the way of making them believable, especially in Sam’s case. Apart from that though, it has some excellent stories to tell. The first twelve episodes have ranged a bit in quality, but there were some real gems among them. The graphics also look consistently excellent.

#4 (6) – Letter Bee – (8,5/10)

The Cabernet turned out to be a big weakness here. The creators just couldn’t do anything interesting with it in the end. As for the rest of the show though, I have to praise the creators for actually doing pretty good stuff with the characters here. This show actually received closure. Something rare amongst manga-based series where the manga hasn’t finished yet.

#3 (2) – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – (9/10)

Madoka Magica only aired two episodes but the episodes that it did air were amazing. The background story is deep, and continuing this series’ trend to deconstruct the mahou shoujo genre. Bring on that finale!

#2 (1) – Level E – (9/10)

So, in the end it did turn out to be impossible to reach the stellar heights of the first arc. Nevertheless, Level E has been an incredibly varied and interesting series that can both tell great stories and be side-splitting hilarious. Especially the baseball episode was an awesome mystery story, but just about every episode here was incredibly addictive, even when they weren’t funny. This series always has me on the edge of my seat.

#1 (3) – Hourou Musuko – (9/10)

Hourou Musuko ended magnificently It closed itself off perfectly, and yet the final episodes put in a massive amount of character development. Nitori’s development was just amazing, I just loved how the romance in this show worked out, and the introduction of Doi gave a completely different twist to this series. Just about every episode had something amazing, and some of the plot twists just blew my mind. This month did show 5 episodes as compared to Madoka Magica’s only having two, but BY GOD did it make use of them!

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Hourou Musuko




The past season had three series that really stood with head and shoulders above the rest. They were all genuinely good and took their genres into new and fresh directions. Hourou Musuko takes a look at cross dressers. Most of time when they’re portrayed in a medium, they’re portrayed for laughs or flamboyance. Hourou Musuko however is entirely built around showing the issues that boys who feel like they are girls (and vice versa) run into while growing up. And it does so brilliantly.

For starters, this is one of those series that has a slow pacing, yet somehow manages to make a ton of stuff happen in each episode. It’s full of subtlety, and because of this it can get a ton of genuine drama out of the characters using its limited time of only 11 episode excellently.

This show actually made quite a bold statement by not animating the first X volumes of the manga it’s based on, but instead starting somewhere in the middle. The great thing about this show is that despite this, it still doesn’t feel incomplete. Characters sometimes refer to things that have happened to them in the past, but it’s apparent enough to the viewers to figure out what happened. This method gave the characters both a rich past and future and it gives the impression that there really is much more to them than what we see in the series. It’s a terrific way of characterizing them, and the entire cast of this series pretty much feels incredibly genuine and believable. Oh, and finally we’ve found another show that takes a realistic look at romance, as opposed to the overly sappy view you see in nearly every anime.

It’s a series for which I’ve had hardly anything to criticize for. The story is perfectly balanced, the plot twists are amazing in their subtlety, the cast is amazing, the animation brings both the cast and setting come alive and there is hardly anything that this show does wrong. If I had to nitpick at something then it’s that the characters are portrayed a tad too mature for their age. But so what? This is a wonderful portrayal of growing up. The cross-dressing is only a tiny part of this series. There’s so much to this show, and it’s only 11 episodes long.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Wonderfully subtle, with some amazing plot twists.
Characters: 10/10 – Amazing portrayal of young teenagers growing up,and their issues dealing with it. Wonderful development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – This show is really good at far away shots, with restrained animation, still bringing its cast to life.
Setting: 8/10 – Excellent portrayal of a school in japan. This show knows how to ring its environments to life.

Suggestions:
Aoi Hana
Asatte no Houkou
Sasameki Koto

Posted on with categories: Hourou Musuko



Okay, so this was supposed to be episode 12, even though it was labelled everywhere in the episode as episode 11. It contained no recycled material whatsoever however, so I guess it’s safe to assume that it was really episode twelve. I’m not the only one who is a bit confused, right?

In any case, this was an excellent closure to an excellent series. Even with an episode cut out, Hourou Musuko felt like it had no weaknesses whatsoever to me. It consistently engaging, from start to finish. This episode really ended at the perfect point, with Nitori’s voice changing. It denotes the start of a huge change for him. The time where his body starts changing has finally arrived, and within a few years, he’s going to make the decision whether or not to get surgery.

And yet there was so much more that happened in this episode that developed so many other characters: Doi, Chiba, Takatsuki, Anna: this show took its chance to give all of them even more development than they already had.

Overall, Hourou Musuko understood what it means to be a Noitamina series: you only get 11 or 12 episodes, and that’s the length that you have to work with. They took an excellent part of the manga and made it feel like a complete story: characters have lives that continue on both before and after this show takes place, and yet the series feels complete. I especially loved that talk that Nitori and Anna had, right before the play started.

I’m looking forward to next year’s Noitamina. C is bound to be awesome. Even Kuchuu Buranko, Kenji Nakamura’s least impressive work, was really enjoyable and interesting. Anohana meanwhile is one of those shows that doesn’t seem to belong in Noitamina at first sight. Along with Hana Saku Iroha, it’ll have to take Hourou Musuko’s place as the serious teenaged slice of drama of the season. If they’ll end up as well balanced and written as Hourou Musuko, we’re really in for a treat here.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: OVA Impressions



Yeah, this is pretty much Junjo Romantica 3. It doesn’t even try to hide this: the character designs are very similar, albeit a bit more detailed, the set-up is the same, the style is the same, and the way that the characters interact with each other is the same. I know that this is all from the same creators and all, but couldn’t they at least have tried to look a bit different?

In any case though, the irony is that Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi has a good chance of becoming the best show of Studio Deen so far this year. I mean it’s not like Chiaki Kon is a bad director or anything. It’s not original at all or anything, and the whole set-up is… contrived to say the least, but like Junjo Romantica , at the very least it has a good dialogue and chemistry between the lead characters. It also avoids a bunch of gay show tropes, like acknowledging that females actually EXIST.

But yeah, that set-up. It was definitely trying way too hard here. We have this guy who finds out that he’s been stalked by one of his underclassmen and confessed to. It’s someone who he did not know before. So, what’s his first reaction? Yeah. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have some sex”. I know that later in the episode he says that he has huge family problems and all, but that makes this show even more emo.

Based on just this episode, I don’t think that I’ll keep watching it. Like Junjo Romantica, it knows when to be funny and especially the inner monologues are pretty nice here. I just don’t feel like watching something I was lukewarm about a second time.
OVA Episode Rating: 7,5/10

Posted on 30 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kimi ni Todoke




Each year, before the start of each Autumn Season, I hold a little poll in which you can all force me to blog a series I wouldn’t normally even consider to cover. The only time at which I could not complete such a series was in 2009, with Kimi ni Todoke’s first season. It had very solid production values; Production IG made sure of that. However, as a romance it just had no idea what it wanted to do. Any scene that focused on Sawako’s (the lead character) growth as a character was overshadowed by its romantic drivel that refused to go anywhere.

It really was the classic syndrome of romance shows, where the creators just refuse to let relationships play out normally, in favour of forced and artificial cheese and drama. It’s because of this that I wasn’t looking forward to its second season. But lo and behold: it actually redeemed itself a bit. The biggest surprises of this season definitely lie in its sequels.

This second season really shows that the creators took a good look at what happened to the first season, with the intention to fix its major flaws. They put aside the romantic nonsense and simply constructed a series with the sole purpose of resolving the romantic relationship between the two lead characters. It’s an in-depth look at how the relationship between the two lead characters grows. It’s no longer another simple “will they won’t they”-story, but instead the series changes into a “when, how and why will they hook up”. A much more interesting premise, and to make matters even better: the creators also figured out how to use slow pacing. Instead of using it for stalling, they use it to slowly build up everything they need, deliver one hell of a climax, and afterwards carefully wrap up everything that needed to be wrapped up. It’s a massive improvement over the first season.

At the same time though, I wouldn’t say that this is the second coming of White Album. The fact remains that the first season just left a lot to be desired, and it didn’t even seem to build up for this second season. The second season does make use of some of the things that happened throughout the first season, but it mostly feels like the creators went “oh crap, we actually need to develop these people”. Kimi ni Todoke still is an overly pure portrayal of teenaged romance: great to swoon away, but at the same time it’s not like the story behind it is really deep and thoughtful. The characters remain one-sighted teenagers who only seem to think about romance and the drama still is based entirely around the fact that they refuse to talk to each other. They’re just much better written and portrayed than in the first season.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Has exactly what the first season lacked: focus. Carefully builds up its simple but effective romance.
Characters: 8/10 – They refused to develop in the first season. In the second season however, they do, and IT’S ABOUT BLOODY TIME.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Production IG is solid as expected, though there are too many distorted faces.
Setting: 8/10 – Nothing special nor nothing bad here aside from an overly idyllic portrayal of teenaged life. But then again, something tells me that was very much intentional.

Suggestions:
Bokura ga Ita
Aoi Hana
True Tears

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?




That’s it. With this I’m done giving these generic looking moe shows a benefit of doubt. Kore wa Zombie Desu ka is not as bad as Dragon Crisis. In fact, it has a few parts that are actually good, especially in its first half. It lead me to believe that, in fact, we might get a very enjoyable fanservice show here. Unfortunately though, this show then proceeded to run all of my hopes into the ground.

Let me start with the good stuff: this show is quite creative when it wants to be. When it wants to, it can use its cliched ingredients, insert some good chemistry between the characters, throw in some crazy plot twists and create an excellent tension. There really are a few excellent episodes in this series, especially the first and the one about the slasher. It’s just that there’s just so much crap in the rest of this show.

Zombie is at its best when the chemistry around its characters is dynamic. It’s got well written banter that works well with its nonchalant zombie main character. It’s quite enjoyable when it doesn’t take its own cliches seriously and instead tries to put them into a creative scenario. Most of the time though, it just forgets this and devolves into dull moe hi-jinks. Eventually, it just gives up trying to be interesting and just opts for lazy slice of life that’s just there to fill up time. The characters in this show are nowhere near well written enough to remain enjoyable when they’re not funny.

The big nail in this one’s coffin though is that it has no bloody clue how to tell a good story. The drama in the first half can actually get quite good when the show still is a collection of random episodes about the important characters, but it completely falls apart when it tries to build up for some overall storyline. The drama gets incredibly cheesy, and the worst part is that the creators don’t even realize this, so they just keep stretching the cheese ad nauseum.

The entire second half of this series is based around complete stupidity from one character that ends with one heck of a Deus ex Machina (several of them, actually). And then, when the climax is over and you thought that things couldn’t get any worse… episode 12 will destroy any good memories that were still left with one giant middle finger to both its audience and cast of characters.

Studio Deen. Please put some people who can actually tell a story on your next series. I mean, you’ve showed in the past that you can make genuinely good moe shows with Touka Gettan and YamiBoushi. Why so much laziness?

Storytelling: 7/10 – When it wants to, it can be very enjoyable and dynamic, but this doesn’t happen often enough and gets ruined by some terrible episodes and drama.
Characters: 6/10 – Try to be serious, but fail. Try to be enjoyable, but fail as well. Only when they try to be themselves they work well.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty decent animation. Certainly not the worst.
Setting: 7/10 – Has nice ideas, but doesn’t use them often enough.

Suggestions:
Touka Gettan
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

Posted on 29 March 2011 with categories: Level E



Awesome to see the entire main cast together again for the finale of this series. I mean, these are the kinds of characters who are awesome to watch, no matter what they do. Having an entire arc focus on them was exactly what this show needed to close off well.

Also, I finally spotted an overused cliche in this series: the seemingly helpless girl who manages to hit a home-run against all expectations. But then again, as an alien it makes perfect sense, and this episode even poked fun at the “walking into the shower”-scene that baffles me of why it was the first one to do that.

Overall, it’s true that the first arc of Level E was without a doubt its best: it had the element of surprise and used it utterly brilliantly. What happened after that is very interesting, though. Instead of joining the bandwagon of trying to make more episodes in the same vein, the rest of the episodes continued to experiment with all kinds of different stories and characters surrounding aliens on earth. Standalone it’s indeed easy to just compare the to the first three episodes and label this as a show that goes downhill, but nevertheless I find the way in which this series paints together a complete picture, making use of its momentum and constantly changing its focus and characters, to be quite brilliant and the single most enjoyable show of this season.

The thing is that I rarely give very high ratings to comedies, even though it’s a huge genre in anime. Level E has opened my eyes on how good the genre can be when it has some actually interesting stories to tell. This way, it can also be good whenever it’s not funny. Call it the X-Factor of comedies. With most comedies I’m just disappointed when they’re not funny, because besides being funny they fall apart without their humour. For Level E though, I think that it also would have worked as a series if it didn’t have its humour. It’d obviously be less awesome, but I can imagine that it would still keep my attention.

What’s more: a lot of comedies seem to be trying to solve this by going all serious in the final two episodes. I’ve only seen very few of them that actually pulled off such a good climax, though (Hyakko being one of those rare examples). This series however showed that you can just as easily tell serious stories that fit in 1 to 3 episodes that can work just as well as long arcs if they all succeed in coming together and form a whole and creating its own universe.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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



The adults in Gundam Unicorn… are actually portrayed really well. Their maturity works quite well. And like I said before: the execution here is incredibly solid and if this wasn’t bound by Gundam cliches, I definitely would have liked it even more than I am now. There are plenty of characters here who take themselves seriously, are intelligent and make for a great war drama.

What annoys me about Gundam Unicorn is something that annoys me about a lot of other Gundams as well. They’re certain ideas and tropes that just continue to run throughout all kinds of Gundam Series that I just can’t get behind, and seeing those repeated over and over… I have to admit that those are killing my enjoyment of this series a bit.

To take this episode:
– The main character is the vehicle for a lot of “war is bad” drama.He inherently believes that killing is evil… and yet he flies around in a giant killing machine.
– There also is that mentality of “oh, us adults are old and fail. Let us sacrifice ourselves so that the youth can shine” that I just can’t get behind, even though the adults are portrayed as far more useful and reliable.
– Then it also suddenly brought up the skilled minor bad guy who does nothing but frantic yelling. Especially Gundam 00 abused this one heavily.
– Oh, and let’s not forget the lead character unlocking his hidden powers once he sees one of his friends killed. Realistic warfare? Hah.

Nevertheless, this all could have been much, much worse. You can see that Char actually is aware of all these tropes around the lead characters, and has constructed a pretty solid plan around them with much more details than you usually see. Meanwhile, while the main character isn’t the best advertisement for “war is bad”, his romantic interest is actually trying to resolve conflicts using diplomacy as the “Relena” of this series. That’s one cliche that I don’t have any qualms about: it’s good to have a voice of reason in Gundam series: someone who doesn’t constantly think about fighting.

Also, I have yet to see my to biggest annoyances of the Gundam franchise: the endless yelling and angsting, and the long strings of monotone battles that they tend to devolve in. If Gundam Unicorn can actually avoid these in its second half, then it can really get quite good. However, this episode already contained a hint to the former (that guy who just kept yelling). As for the second annoyance, though: those usually are the result of this series remaining too long in space, where there really isn’t much to do apparently. The end of this episode showed the characters descending to earth.

A descending scene that was really good, by the way. The song behind it was ridiculously cheesy, but somehow the direction made it all work all the characters finally taking a break between all the fighting in order to actually get through the atmosphere safely. That’s good build-up here, to end the episode with a completely different mood.
OVA Episode Rating: 8/10

Posted on 28 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Dragon Crisis




The past Winter Season was a dark season… for Studio Deen in any case. They came out with more series than any other series, and all of them were disappointing even despite my low expectations. I mean, I am a fan of them and all, but the reason for that is most definitely not their consistency!

I originally wanted to be a bit more generous with my rating for this series, but the more I thought about this show, the more I realized that it just doesn’t have anything redeemable. There’s no reason to watch this thing; everything it does has been done better a thousand times already. Dragon Crisis at heart is a boring cliche-fest that lacks any sort of ambition.

The structure of this series consists out of six two-episode arcs. This show somehow manages to do the impossible and become progressively worse with every successive arc. Seriously, just when you think that this show couldn’t get any worse, it manages to finds some way to prove you wrong until at the end, the creators just outright give up. Every arc is pretty much focused on adding someone to the lead guy’s harem. Yeah, that loses its charm really quickly.

Beyond that the writing is just outright stupid. This is the kind of show that was written by people who think that teenagers (its target audience) have the mental capacities of a lobotomized squirrel. Characters act solely on what’s convenient to the plot and make the most bizarre leaps in logic at times. Any attempts of this show to become genuine is overshadowed by their complete stupidity. Add that to a plot that is just chockful of plot evices, deus ex machinas and inconsequential techno-babble that too make no sense whatsoever. All of that really is not helped by a really annoying cast of cliches and stereotypes that are supposed to be characters in which hardly anyonee stands out.

One of the big eslling points of Dragon Crisis looked to be its animation, with Masashi Ishihama (the guy behind the gorgeously animated Read or Die and Welcome to the Space Show) as its animation director. But even factoring in the lower budget that this series received, the animation is surprisingly bland: it’s not used well, the characters are all carbon copies of each other with just different hairstyles and despite a relatively high framerate for Studio Deen’s standards, none of the visuals stand out as particularly impressive.

The reason why I still consider a series like Fractale to be good, despite the way in which it too has a lot of flaws, is because it still is a very enjoyable adventure. There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about Dragon Crisis. None of the drama works, its stories are completely void of any creativity, its characters are just there to get in the lead guy’s pants and it just had no intention of trying to do anything even remotely interesting.

Thats the big problem with Studio Deen: they’ve been losing their talent left and right and just aren’t trying hard enough most of the time. They need some incentive: something to really get them to produce the really good stuff again, because this… this just is a complete waste.

Storytelling: 4/10 – Completely unambitious, doesn’t know what it wants to do and therefore is full of deus ex machina and plot induced stupidity.
Characters: 5/10 – None stands out. It’s just one big harem with all the cliches in place.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not as good as you’d expect, but doesn’t cause this show to get any worse than what it already is.
Setting: 5/10 – This show looks like it adctually has a complex background with its dragons and rare artifacts, but in the end it’s nothing but mere cliches and techno-babble.

Suggestions:
Dragonaut The Resonance (Yes, I’m actually recommending Dragonaut over this one. At least that one had some ambition!)
Fractale
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Posted on 27 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Now this is more like it! Episode 12 was definitely the best episode of the second batch of Supernatural episodes. It not only showed a completely different perspective from usual, it also gave a lot of new depth to the overall story and on top of that, it was a terrific standalone story as well.

It really was a great idea to have an entire episode focused around Sam and Dean’s father: this episode was entirely devoid of those two, safe for one photograph. Their father (John) also makes for an excellent central character: he knows when to remain in the shadows and when to be useful and do something. This allowed the story of this episode to really shine.

I really liked the story of Grey and Lilly Baker. It’s also what really established the demons as a real threat here. They’ve got a tragic father-daughter relationship, but this episode was really genuine. For once the acting did not get in the way, and was amongst the best this series has shown so far.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

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