Posted on 30 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



And as today is the last day of June, this is going to be the last post for my Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope. I am not sure what I’m going to do next season though: whether I’m going to do a Summer Kaleidoscope and blog six full series, or blog seven full series instead: it’s entirely going to depend on that seventh series. Plus, it’s got two huge question marks as well in the form of Appleseed and Last Exile. They’re both two series that aside from the regular line-up I really want to blog.

In any case, this episode was build up, build-up and even more build-up. The creators made sure to make it into a gripping episode though, especially when Kaiji brought in Endou of all people: the guy who was responsible for getting him into his mess in the first place. This episode was really being mysterious in the way that it refused to reveal Kaiji’s plans (much like the previous arc), so a lot of this episode consisted out of cryptic hints at how supposedly awesome his plans are going to be, although the negotiations with Endou really kicked ass in how intense they were.

Now, the big pitfall for this series is going to be the the suspense of disbelief. There is one big difference between Akagi and Kaiji: Akagi was superhuman. It’s not about seeing really smart plans, but about psychology. Kaiji meanwhile belongs in the category of series that specialize in plans and schemes. The biggest pitfall of those kinds of series is to take their plans a step too far and make them just ridiculously complicated, a la Death Note or Code Geass where in the end things depend on the most precise coincidences. That’s also one of the reasons the first season annoyed me, in the way in which Kaiji miraculously danced across death on the beam arc.

In terms of characters though, this arc does have the most interesting side-kick for Kaiji that we’ve seen in this series yet. His Buddhist roots, his incredible temper: all of it works really well and it’s quite a step away from the usual young guys. The villain though has yet to prove himself. He’s just this posh underling, and nowhere as interesting as some of the best villains of this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

This was one of the best months we’ve seen in a long while in anime. It may not look like I followed many series (there WAS a lot of crap this season), but the shows that were good were really, really good, and a ton of them were just amazing. This month showed some rock-solid endings, twists, turns and executions. It turned out to be an incredibly diverse season with series that all stood out in their own ways and not just one genre dominating. More seasons like this, please.

#22 (19) – Astarotte no Omocha – (7/10) – So I ended up dropping this, quite early in this month. It just went nowhere, it just devolved into a generic romantic fanservice comedy: the exact thing that it should not have done with such a premise. It was good when it still focused on drama, but in terms of romance it has nothing and just kept repeating itself. The worst were the idiot prince and the way in which Asuha completely devolved into someone who can’t stop talking about not wearing any panties. This all was really badly written.
#21 (21) – The World God Only Knows – (7,25/10) – The final teacher arc had the poor luck that it ended in a completely nonsensical way. After that the series decided to end with an episode that would have been good, had it any sense of comedic timing. The end result was a horribly forced ending that was a pain to sit through, and only cemented at how tired I am of this series.
#20 (20) – Inazuma Eleven – (7,25/10) – In the end, I decided to drop this. It’s indeed dark for a kids’ series, but my main issue was that the characterization left much to be desired. In five episodes it introduced like, 30 different characters. Now, who are these characters? Why should I care about them? What makes them different aside from their character designs? Only four or five of them really matter, and they are the typical shounen cliches. In fact, this mostly feels like a rip-off of the original Beyblade series (yes, I watched that one).
#19 (22) – Hen Zemi – (7,5/10) – After twelve episodes, was it really worth it watching Hen Zemi? Unfortunately, I have to say no. The reason why the OVA worked so well wasn’t just the fact that it had much better writing, but also because it was short but sweet. The TV-series now is just an endless string of gross things and fanservice: it gets boring once the shock factor wears off. By now we expect Hen Zemi to be disgusting. It is, and hardly brings any extra spice in that aside from that.
#18 (14) – Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San – (7,75/10) – I’ll get to more detail about this when the final episode airs, but what interestingly seemed to be the biggest pitfall for this series was that it ran out of inspiration for jokes. The otaku arc in particular just seemed to not know what kinds of jokes it should make. The final arc was better, but again: it was a tad forced and predictable in the way it played out.
#17 (11) – X-Men – (7,75/10) – When comparing the X-Men to Wolverine, I still like the X-Men better, but that’s just because Wolverine had a really simple story and had lots of issues with its acting. The X-Men unfortunately did dull in a bit in their final arc when the drama all boiled down to teenaged emo. The big problem is that the creators shafted the main cast in favor of Hisako and Takeo, who were by far the least interesting characters of the entire series.
#16 (18) – Gintama – (8,25/10) – The past arc of Gintama was a great one, although it ended rather xenophobic (but then again, that’s Gintama: the aliens are nearly all portrayed as mind-numbing idiots, punching bags for Gintoki or completely evil bastards). The arc however did deliver a lot of depth to Otose and the people from her past and it certainly was a major improvement over the comedy episodes of the previous months.
#15 (new) – Appleseed XIII – (8,25/10)

Forgive me, but I can’t seem to remember for the love of me where I managed to find the first episode of Appleseed XIII. I liked it a lot though. It’s chock full of symbolism to the ancient Greek mythology and the characterization is a lot better than in the movies. Deunan really acts like she’s on her period, though.

#14 (13) – Fireball – (8,25/10)

Fireball remained a great watch throughout its entire run. Now it’s of course not hard to remain interesting for only two minutes, but this did it with a style that I really enjoyed. The comedic timing and the graphics were still as great as ever.

#13 (11) – Showa Monogatari – (8,25/10)

Irregular releases are still irregular, but we’re nearing the end. This month showed actually some very interesting drama around Yuuko in quite a realistic way. Sure, the acting could have been better, but the themes, and drama really relate back to problems anyone could have had. Of course you have to like history in order to be able to enjoy this, but this by far doesn’t deserve the negligence in terms of fansubs.

#12 (16) – Ao no Exorcist – (8,25/10)

Ao no Exorcist at the moment is surprisingly enjoyable. The fleshing out of the earlier episodes has paid off and at this point there hardly is any boring moment left, despite the generic set-ip. Characters are used well, the banter has gotten funnier, the drama has gotten more sincere. This is the right direction, although it does need to stop putting so much stupidity in its filler episodes.

#11 (7) – Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8,25/10)

The Pachinko arc was intense, but it did suffer a bit from Kaiji’s formula: again we have a set-up that consists out of a lot of money on the line, a seemingly easy game and a predictable outcome. What I liked was the introduction of the old man, who seems different from the other sidekicks that Kaiji had so far. Also, that daughter. What the hell are the creators building up to?

#10 (8) – Sket Dance – (8,5/10)

This month saw the best and the worst episode of Sket Dance so far, but the tournament arc really made up for it by being really fun, yet somehow taking its characters seriously. Now all that’s left is to wonder how long this series can keep up this excellent pace.

#9 (4) – Tiger & Bunny – (8,5/10)

This month we got to see the halfway climax for Tiger & Bunny. It;’s a solid story with a ton of character development, but it also spent a lot of time building up. There’s a lot of promise in this show becoming even better for its second half.

#8 (9) – Deadman Wonderland – (8,5/10)

It really is a bloody shame that Deadman wonderland doesn’t have the time to fully show off its story, because it’s still one heck of an exciting series inside an insane setting. The animation has its ups and downs but when it has its ups it really looks gorgeous, and beyond the insanity, the characters are still surprisingly good. There’s some nice character development, not to mention that the delivery also really knows how to make its scenes count. Only complaint is that Ganta at times may angst a bit too much. At others though, he’s a great lead character.

#7 (3) – Gosick – (8,5/10)

This month wasn’t as good as the previous one, but it really does come close to that. The climax was a wonderful one and the stories again were full of intrigue and imagination. At this point the character development has also really kicked in, which really paid off here.

#6 (15) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,75/10)

Now this is a major improvement! The past arc for Hana-Saku Iroha has been amazing, and chock full of character development. It kept pushing its characters into situations where they were forced to confront their flaws and weaknesses and especially the acting was just wonderfully detailed, both in terms of voice acting and animation. If this is the pacing that this show can keep up, we’re in for a major treat.

#5 (6) – [C]The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – (8,75/10)

C was really rushed, and yet it pulled off an amazing finale. The main themes and subplots managed to come together, the direction got better than ever and aside from the way its plot evolved, it was just a damn entertaining series to watch. Especially the ending was really well delivered and brought some great closure to this series.

#4 (5) – Steins;Gate – (8,75/10)

Steins;gate’s plot really got interesting this month, but what’s more is that the execution also got rock and rock solid. The animation makes excellent use of its limited budget, the acting just gets better and better, the pacing and atmosphere hardly ever show a weak moment and it looks like this series has only just started.

#3 (10) – Dororon Enma-kun Meerameera – (8,75/10)

The ending to this sereis was absolutely fantastic. It just released all breaks and delivered one absolutely crazy roller coaster ride full of old references and that just kept upstaging itself in terms of downright insanity. This was entertainment at its finest and I had one hell of a time. Oh, and the background music also was as solid as ever. I can’t wait to hear what the same composers end up delivering for No6.

#2 (2) – Hyouge Mono – (9/10)

This month showed an even bigger focus on politics than this show already had before, still with the rock-solid execution and acting of this series, combined with an amazing plot twist along the way. What I especially like about this series is how much balls the delivery has. There’s a ton of detail put in the way that these people interact with each other, making this an awesome “lots of talking”-series.

#1 (1) – Ano Hi Mita no Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai – (9,25/10)

And with its final month, Anohana somehow managed to actually surpass itself. Its conclusion brilliantly weaved together everything this show needed and give every character a chance to show a bit of himself, leading to a heart-wrenching ending. It’s perhaps not entirely realistic and yeah, it had its share of overacting, but everything remained well within the boundaries of my suspense of disbelief thanks to the script that just kept pushing the characters forward and once again left no moment wasted.

Posted on 29 June 2011 with categories: Random Posts

Sorry for wasting the time of everyone else again, but between July 9th and July 14th, I’ll be on holiday in Germany, so there won’t be any posts published during that time. On July 11th, 12th and 13th I’ll be in Berlin, so if you happen to live there: how about we meet up?

Also, on July 23rd I’ll be on Antwerp’s Atsusacon, so the saem goes there to the people who were also planning on going.

I’ve never used this blog to try and organize meets like this, but I figured who cares. It might lead to something interesting.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews




Milestone time! This is going to be the 750th review I’ve written for this site. Only 250 more until I achieve my goal of 1000 ones! And what a random show to end up reviewing with Fireball Charming that just consists out of 13 2-minute episodes that just feature two robots talking to each other and do random things.

It’s the perfect series for if you’re looking for a quick watch, though. The original Fireball series already was this, but Fireball Charming actually manages to improve on the original series in a lot of different ways. Instead of going with much of the same formula, Fireball Charming aims to be bigger, faster, more random and more dynamic and creative. And it succeeds.

What you often see with comedy sequels is that they end up running out of inspiration, and yet none of this applies for Fireball. Heck, I could listen to Drossel and Gedachtnis for ages at this rate. The creators try to stuff a lot more dialogue in each episode than even the original Fireball, making every second interesting. One nasty side-effect of this is that it really jumps around: there’s no lead-up to anything. and the characters just randomly jump from one topic to the other as you’d expect from two hyperactive robot who have been stuck in the same castle for thousands of years.

The biggest difference with the first season is that this time, the creators really like to show off how good their animation is. Not only does this show look absolutely gorgeous and makes full use of 3D technologies, it also takes every chance it gets to show interesting images, animation and it really likes to throw in as much creativity as possible.

Now, random humour alone isn’t necessarily funny: if Fireball would just have been randomness for the sake of randomness it would have gotten boring really quickly, even for its length. However, it has a great comedic timing and a very eccentric sense of humour that is hard not to like. Not to mention that it has two very likable main characters.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Short but sweet. Completely random and jumpy but consistently interesting to watch.
Characters: 8/10 – No depth whatsoever, but a likable cast this certainly is.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Absolutely gorgeous CG. A feast for the eyes.
Setting: 8/10 – Has a virtually limitless supply of random things to throw at the viewer, and interestingly uses its own setting.

Suggestions:
Kimagure Robot
Marie & Gali

Posted on with categories: Showa Monogatari



Okay, so I know that this isn’t getting subbed and all, and the fact that it has only one cute girl and no hot guys were bound to make it ridiculously ignored, but seriously: someone sub this. I know the acting isn’t at its best, but I keep seeing more and more people who want realism in anime. This is by far the most realistic series of the season!

It’s surprising how few anime seem to focus on bad boyfriends, the only recent one that I can think of right now is Colorful. Are moe girls really that pure that they only attract guys with no personality or something? While previous episodes of this show may have been a bit overacted, this episode hit all of the right notes: it never was too dramatic, and yet it revealed that the guy that Yuuko had a crush on was both a criminal and cheating on her. It’s not like these problems resolved themselves in 50 years time in Japan, right?

This was a pretty great portrayal of the teenaged years. It had angst, but this didn’t come with the cliches that you usually see in anime and it really was about problems that anyone could have had. I really liked this conclusion to Yuuko’s arc. I imagine that the final two episodes will be about Kouhei’s brother. He’s been strangely ignored during the past few episodes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 June 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Okay, so I’ve complained that the characters in this series are too one-sided. Okay, I take that back. With such brilliant acting as in this episode, Okabe and Mayuri have more than shown that they are awesome characters. This episode was just amazing.

Let alone the plot twist at the end of this episode, it rocked because of Okabe and Mayuri’s rock-solid performance. The trust between everyone also was incredibly well detailed, and I especially liked Mayuri as she got dragged around without knowing what’s going on, and how Okabe traced back what she had been doing in the past episode. With this episode the relationship between the two of them really shined.

The biggest questions were asked at the beginning of the episode, and most of them revolve around the part-timer: why didn’t she warn about the obvious villain of Shining Finger, but instead was so hung up over Makise Kurisu? She seemed to know her when she talked to her with those cryptic lines. Also, “42”? Was that really meant to reference the answer to life, the universe and everything or is it just technobabble that we’re only supposed to understand over a few months?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 27 June 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




The second season of The World God Only Knows has some good points. At the very least the girls that Keima has to conquest (read: get a kiss from) aren’t as terrible as the idol or the rich girl of the first season. Unfortunately, there just still is too much wrong with it for me to really rate it any higher than its predecessor.

Really, I only barely managed to finish this series. If I had to give a tip for anyone checking this out: don’t expect anything from it. The world God Only Knows doesn’t aim to be anything big or spectacular. It’s just there for really light entertainment and to provide some interesting observations about dating sim games. It’s not deep, it’s not funny, it doesn’t have any good characters, nor does it have particularly impressive animation (this is without a doubt Manglobe’s least visually impressive series; just about everything looks generic here). In every area, it does just enough to be watchable.

There are a number of good arcs in this series, in particular the middle one that actually makes use of the build-up that the first season provided (something that unfortunately the rest of the arcs don’t do). It’s here where this show jumps away fro its formula, delivers its best characterization and the most interesting and least stereotypical character of the series. The problem is that all of the other arcs left something to be desired with.

This series follows the same format as the first: we first get a long arc detailing a “conquest”, followed by a short arc detailing something random about either the world of this series or dating sims in general. The long arcs suffer from stereotypical and one-sided characters along with nonsensical conclusions. The short arcs suffer from being completely stupid and moronic. Really, those episodes are completely terrible.

The thing with this series is that it does take care to give its characters interesting back-stories. That’s why I’m not giving this one a terrible rating, and all of the main arcs have their points that make them worth watching. But there’s just way too much fundamentally flawed with this series. This series doesn’t feature a series where a guy needs to save random girls who are infected by evil spirits, it feels more like a guy who needs to collect various characters who magically escaped from his games.

The characterization in this series leaves much to be desired: everyone in this series just has one side, sometimes that side has a twist, but there is nothing other to these characters beyond that twist. Even the main characters suffer from this! I could forgive the first season for that due to the lack of time, but come on: it’s already been 24 episodes and they’re still the same stereotypes.

This series advertises itself as a light-hearted parody, but the problem is that it’s just not funny. This show just doesn’t know how to write comedy: Elcea still is the most obnoxious character, and any joke this show attempts to make falls flat on its face due to poor timing: everything in this show is slow and mellow, even the delivery of the jokes. This show includes a lot of references to other stories, but that’s just what they are: random references that try to be clever, yet aren’t.

At the very least Elcea doesn’t try bathing with Keima anymore, and that second arc finally took this show somewhere other than just a cliche fest, but the main reason why I’m rating this series lower than the first is because it’s a much bigger chore to sit through. The terrible, terrible side-arcs are part of this, but the big factor is that this show has had 24 episodes now and I’m getting really tired of it. I don’t enjoy watching the majority of this series. It’s a miracle that I even kept with it, but that is mostly because people keep telling that the future arcs get better. I’ve been hopelessly caught in this series, hoping for it to finally turn good, fueled by a few good parts here and there that affirm this and yet this bloody show keeps testing my patience over and over with its cliches and complete stupidity.

Storytelling: 7/10 – It’s sufficient, but refuses to try and stand out. There’s a lot of meh in the way it delivers its story, most notably on how slow and monotone it can get.
Characters: 7/10 – It’s a character study, so the characters at least are well explored. They’re all (with the exception of perhaps one) still game stereotypes, though. If they were enjoyable to watch then okay, but more often than not they’re not!
Production-Values: 8/10 – Adequate. But for Manglobe’s standards it doesn’t stand out in any way.
Setting: 7/10 – Offers nice trivia at times, but most of this series isn’t about games, it’s about games in the eyes of an obsessed fanatic. This show did the opposite of what it was supposed to do and made my (someone who never plays visual novels) image of dating sims even more jaded than it already was.

Suggestions:
Kuragehime
Hanamaru Youchien
Skip Beat

Posted on with categories: Ao no Exorcist



Just… what?

So it was clear that we were getting a filler episode in this episode, and a beach episode at that. Obviously I wasn’t looking forward to it. But what was that? Who the hell wrote this? There was so much wrong with this episode, but I have no idea whether it was in a bad way. In either case it was completely stupid. And next week we’re going to an amusement park?!

Rather than a filler, this feels like we’re in a completely different series. The beach part doesn’t even matter anymore. From out of nowhere the creators suddenly introduce a young boy who acts like he’s been part of the main cast for ages. The show does the same with a guy who obviously looks like he’s cross-dressing in his spare time and then it suddenly comes with a giant squid story. The subsequent fight establishes the squid as the dumbest monster alive, only followed by a completely bizarre anti-climax.

T=Here’s the thing: as stupid as this episode was, I enjoyed it. The creators actually tried to do something different, and I admit that that climax had me in stitches and the episode overall was a unique experience that was definitely creative…

But it also completely destroyed the credibility of this series…
Rating: @!# (???)

Posted on with categories: Hana-Saku Iroha



This was a wonderful conclusion to the past arc. Instead of using the midway climax as the most dramatic of the episodes so far, it was actually really warm-hearted and entirely focused on character development. Ohana’s mother’s visit was very down to earth and it showed something new about pretty much the entire family. Ohana’s mother’s advice and presence really brought change to this series.

I especially loved that the characters weren’t afraid to use liquor in this. That always turns out to be a great way to flesh out characters. It’s a bit weird for Ohana to get drunk on soda, but the way it finally made her lay out her feelings was really worth it. It also was quite unexpected that Ohana’s grandmother suddenly started drinking. Through this episode you could really see that Ohana, her mother and her grandmother are related: they’re all big workers, even though their personalities are completely different. The only oddball here is Ohana’s uncle: this episode really established him as a third wheel, and I suspect that the rest of this series is going to make use of that.

Also, since next week will be a beach episode, it’s clear now what format this show is going to follow. Setting aside the fact that beach episodes are bloody overused, this show will follow about the same format as Tiger & Bunny: the first half has random episodes with a long climax, the second half also has random episodes followed by a bit of a longer climax.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. When an episodic series is done well, it’s the second half where its episodes really start to shine because it’s there where the characters really start to show themselves off, and it’s here where the creators can really play with their development.It’s been a while since we’ve had series like this, so I’m quite interested to find out whether Hana-Saku Iroha and Tiger & Bunny can pull them off again. It’s a format that I really like because it can lead to a lot of variety. Whether or not we’ll already see this with the beach episode though… I’m not sure…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 26 June 2011 with categories: Tiger & Bunny



And wit this we conclude the first half of Tiger & Bunny. This episode was… interesting, because it wasn’t exactly the best episode of the TV-series. Because the previous episodes built it up so meticulously this episode pretty much did everything you’d expected, without much surprises aside from Kotetsu using his head again. It’s good build-up though: Barnaby and Tiger will receive a lot of development from this episode.

The thing with Tiger & Bunny is that it’s really entertaining when building up, and it looks like the random episodes will continue again after this arc, so this is definitely promising to become even better. It’s there where this series can really start using its build-up of the first half. I expect the second half of this series to continue with a similar pattern as the first half, with it ending with a climax that focuses both on Lunatic and the fact that the entire city looks like the Ouroboros logo.

What I do hope is that that final arc will use its characters more. That’s the only thing that really bothered me in this episode: in the end everyone aside from Kotetsu and Barnaby was pretty useless and the only parts where they actually helped to solve things were just… cut out. I want to see the creators come up with a story that doesn’t just require the powers of everyone, I want them to come up with a scenario that puts all of them in the spotlights. They’re all great characters, they deserve that.
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
I mean, decent warrants about a 5-6. That, in theory, should be an "Average" show.
Anonymous1055365
It's a decent show. You're being overly critical.
SuperMario
In the Out of Competition slot (you think that I'm finished?), 2 films in particular that catch my interest are the Korean Lost in the Moonlight which looks like a fun and lightheart adventure, and the Norway-Poland co-production adult-oriented The Man who Knew 75 Languagues about the star-crossed love between the Queen of Romania and a titular man, I guess
SuperMario
Rounding up the Main Competition are Animal Crackers, a 3G American family film which I don't have good feeling about; Big Fish and Begonia - a Chinese indie film that divided the critics, but gathered skyhigh commercial success in its mainland China; and finally Zombillenium which sounds like an enjoyable European children film
SuperMario
From other countries, most notable films are the Loving Vincent - the first feature length hand painting; the Chinese black comedy Have a Nice Day that premiered in Berlin earlier this year; Ethel and Ernest which already gained a strong reviews from the UK; Tehran Taboo- a German production about the lives of 3 women in Iranian community, which sound exactly like my kinda of film.
SuperMario
Alright, I'm here to bring you news about the selection of this coming Annecy AKA one of the best animation festival out there. 3 of anime features: A Slient Voice, In the Corner of the World and Masaaki Yuasa's Lu over the Wall will compete for the main competition.
SuperMario
I'm a fan of thought-provoking anime (see Lain, Boogiepop Phantom) but I need to care about the story and characters first before I make an effort to dig deeper to the theme. Sagrada Reset failed on that fronts.
SuperMario
It's not really about being smart/dumb here. As a creator, they already have an advantage to know how the story and plot will play out. I don't mind this advantage because otherwise the plot will become a hot mess. But don't use that advantage as a way to widen the gap between them and the audience.
AidanAK47
Ugh...Ray Gigant was pretty much mediocre up until this point but now it;s utterly asinine. Whoever decided on this endgame needs to be fired. When you are ready to end a game, no player want a ten floor dungion with a boss on each floor coupled with a goddamn boss rush halfway. Just...fuck.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It must be worse than oremo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw some pages of the eromanga sensei manga and my reaction was that I was sad that it actually existed and stated "why would you even" after looking at it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an anime example, sekaisuru kado has lots of dialogue but it seems like it could actually be engaging.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So basically no I don't think we're dumb for not liking sagrada reset, given that myself and Mario are capable of watching genuinely smart wordy things and getting them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I can imagine watching Sagrada reset and thinking I'd rather be watching a Bergman film instead , something also with lots of dialogue and themes but actually engaging/clever and NOT pretentious or obnoxious about it.
Anonymous1054942
is it possible that you are all just dumb?
Anonymous1054269
@Mario: I like how you described it as giving a middle finger to the viewers. It's so true. Like, it tries to be intelligent and make the viewer feel stupid, but it just comes off as obnoxious/pretentious.
Lenlo
CGI remains the worst part of it, but we are getting more and more 2D art which I actually enjoy the style of
Lenlo
Its an improvement. The art is better, and maybe its because I prefer this arc, but the pacing is better as well. I gave last season a 3, but this one is more deserving of a 4 and if they can nail certain scenes coming up I may bump it to a 5.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: How's Berserk doing so far? Haven't picked up last week and this week's episodes.
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Lenlo
As most likely the biggest Berserk fan in this chatbox, its better but that doesnt make it good. Spraying fabreeze on crap doesnt make it any more appealing. Yet I will watch it anyways.
Anonymous1018231
You don't even know
Anonymous1018231
Lies Aidan it is soooo much better
Anonymous1017807
Tbh I'm enjoying Alice to Zouroku so much simply because I identify with the old guy's no-nonsense attitude. It's fun to see the annoying loli get put in her place. X.D
AidanAK47
Anyway Bam is supposed to be covering it. Seeing as he covered the first season.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I watched the first episode of the second season. Better? Yes, but only slightly.. It has all the same problems as the first season.
Anonymous1017501
and nobody's covering it lol
Anonymous1017501
Like dramatically
Anonymous1017501
It really is much better
Anonymous1017501
You know guys its not too late to start watching Berserk Season 2...
AidanAK47
I just get annoyed when interaction is like "HUMAN, YOUR EMOTION RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT. I THEORIZE THIS IS THE REASON YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT."
Their is a definite layer of pretentiousness in how it's written, seeing how nobody gets annoyed when every character tries to psychological profile them.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I have heard word that these two episodes were a prologue story and the real story is going to kick into gear next episode. But if the characters keep talking like this then it's not going to matter what happens. It will just be terrible.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Jojo part 5 died for this. That makes it all the sadder. Plus it's two cour so this show is gonna be on for half a year.
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