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.

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.

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.

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.

Dragonaut The Resonance (Yes, I’m actually recommending Dragonaut over this one. At least that one had some ambition!)
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)

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 ^^
like eating sweet snow is so randomness for me
@Badesh: the things you said might be something I might do in the future. After all I love dissecting symbolism. But for Flip Flappers I need to know more what are intentional and what are randomness first
So Papika is corrupting Cocona? That would make some sense I guess
I mean I guess bunnies represent purity? Maybe?
@Kaiser: I mean yeah I get that things can be beautiful just because they're beautiful. But the effort comes in trying to connect that beauty and symbolism to the story as a whole, which is something I honestly struggle to do with Flip Flappers. It just seems pretty gratuitous at this point.
I don't know I think flip flappers is probably deeper than people might give it credit for. I just don't have the time or energy to piece together the abstraction. Doesn't mean that the meaning doesn't exist, it's just hard (and possibly misguided) to uncover it on the first run through.
but i don't want to get into a "who is right" argument. it was just a wish of mine to get to know the persons view of the world and not just be part of his daily mood
yeah, but i could happen that you grow intelectual but not personal ;)
Kaiser Eoghan
But theres no shame in watching a heavily thematic arthouse thing, liking it then going "didn't quite get/catch that" then looking up what it means.
Kaiser Eoghan
But for going into things, analyzing them, I wasn't saying thats wrong, when I meant overanaylsis I meant people making shit up that isn't actually there.
Kaiser Eoghan
And going too deep into thinking about that image shows the person is failing to understand that they were supposed to interact with it on an emotionally or spiritually intellectual level.
Kaiser Eoghan
Rather than de-mystifying that image or losing its enigma.
Kaiser Eoghan
I just think sometimes people forget that things can be entirely impressionistic or expressionist, people sometimes forget that images don't necessarily need a giant essay behind them or meaning or analysis. What I mean is you can have a 15 minute stretch of gorgeous looking images but the point is that you feel that or see the imagination and creativity because its beautiful.
It requires an understanding and a concept of life of the reviewer that highlights the right things, the things that widens the readers perspective, based on the narrow popculture consicousness that we have, sorry to be that dramatic...
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