Posted on 31 August 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

This month was an interesting one, definitely. There were unfortunately a few series who took a bit of a dip, or a bit of a wrong turn, but what charcterized the series who didn’t do that: charater development. Tons and tons of character development. Characters who one seemed one-sided gain a ton of depth, and just about every series turned out to be excellent in fleshing its cast out and giving more depth to it.

At this point, I won’t be able to tell whether or not this season really belongs among the best summer seasons we’ve had, because a lot of these series depend on their endings. The past spring will be very hard to beat in terms of awesome endings, but if there’s any season that can do it, it’s this one.

OVA Releases
#2: Carnival Phantasm – (5/10) – Okay, so I tried to watch this while not having played Fate/Stay Night. So obviously I did not enjoy watching all kinds of random references that flew over my head. Heck, I even have trouble imagining how those jokes would have worked if you DID know the meaning behind them. If you haven’t played Fate/Stay Night: don’t even bother with it. If you have though… prepare for something really silly.
#1: Milky Holmes OVA – (8/10)

This… was bizarre. It’s pretty much the same as the series, which is a good thing Its high energy just kept on going and going, with surprisingly good animation. It was incredibly cheesy, but knew it and played that for laughs, which worked nicely. My one complaint is that it was entirely fanservice. Especially turning one of the cast members into an is a very trite twist, but thankfully it was nowhere near as badly done as with series as Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka.

TV Series
#19 (20) – Sacred Seven – (7,25/10) – Sacred Seven: just take your characters, design a bunch of interesting looking monsters and just throw one monster at your characters for every single episode. That would have been more interesting than what the creators are currently doing, because the main plot of this thing is so completely and utterly boring. Apart from Arama, there really is nothing that stands out.
#18 (9) – Ao no Exorcist – (7,75/10) – Ao no Exorcist has gone off into anime original material, and I just have one major problem with that: I don’t care about the plot. It’s just not interesting. I’d rather wtach these characters interacting with each other. Satan? Who cares about Satan! Can’t the characters just all have a sleepover or something? That’s something that this show does really really well.
#17 (15) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8/10) – I’m a bit behind on this series and haven’t watched the latest two episodes yet. This has to do with business, but also because the show is currently building up and so we’re in the middle of a training arc. I do not want to watch yet another season that’s entirely dedicated to build-up! There are hints of things getting better though: the villain looks interesting at the very least. Now, let’s not let her derail like the last one, okay?
#16 (8) – Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8/10) – Aaand here is the point where this series lost my grip on it: in the end, the pachinko arc was too long. This month featured two episodes that just dragged on and kept repeating themselves. The thing is, that with so few arcs, this thing has lost its dynamic: it’s just waiting for the inevitable to happen. It’ll probably be an adrenaline fest when we get there, but Kaiji: you can also create series of 20 episodes long. It’s been done before. It’s even gonna save you some budget…
#15 (18) – Sket Dance – (8/10)

This month, Sket Dance was testing my patience, both in a good and bad way. The thing remains that it’s not as funny and dynamic as it used to. It however still is creative and is willing to try out risks. Just as I gave up on it, it pulls these strange episodes like the one entirely dedicated on bad jokes, or the double date. At first they may not seem much, but they’re surprisingly clever when you think about them afterward. I in any case want to see where the creators are going with this.

#14 (17) – Dantalian no Shoka – (8,25/10)

At first, Dantalian no Shoka seemed to have an excellent pair of main characters. Now, they’re the biggest weakness of the show, simply because they refuse to evolve. In Dalian’s case, she actually devolved. The rest of the cast, and the stories they run into are wonderfully imaginative, though. They’re incredibly far-fetched, but that’s what makes them fun and interesting. Gainax’s animation also helps.

#13 (16) – Blade – (8,25/10)

Yeah, something has to go really weird for Blade to not end up as the best Marvel series. Sure, its action isn’t as good as some of the other installments, but apart from that it has them beaten in pretty much every other category: the story takes actually interesting detours and has surprisingly engaging (albeit a bit cheesy) sideplots, the cameos are used in the best way so far, so that they actually enhance the characters playing a cameo, the characters have received much more depth than the previous ones and the bond between Blade and the people around him is much more interesting than that of the X-Men and Wolverine, and in terms of setting the characters aren’t wandering around random places, but instead are traveling all across southeast asia. Often visiting places that anime almost never (if they do it at all) touches upon.

#12 (14) – Ikoku Meiro no Croisée – (8,25/10)

Out of the slice of life series that I’m still watching, Croisee is the most overly sappy one. Because of that though, it can also get really genuine, which is an interesting trade-off. Its main selling point is its focus on cultural differences, which is really explored well. There’s a ton of interesting stuff discussed each episode, which very neatly relates back to the characters, instead of being just a kaleidoscope of random peculiar cultural differences.

#11 (10) – Usagi Drop – (8,25/10)

The interesting thing about the slice of life series this season is that they’re all excellent in totally different ways. For Usagi Drop, it’s the realism that really shines. Before I’ll fully judge this series though, I want to see how the creators are planning to end it. It won’t have the infamous trainwreck of the manga ending (which I thankfully have yet to be spoiled about) , but the anime still is going to have to tie itself together and I’m really curious how they’re gonna do that.

#10 (11) – Blood-C – (8,5/10)

It’s actually been a while since I’ve blogged such a controversial title. With that, I mean that Blood-C joins the ranks of series of which people have hugely diverging opinions. Personally, I’m at the positive side of the spectrum: I find this to be a very effective horror series with a gripping atmosphere and top notch fight choreography all around. The cast of characters admittedly aren’t the most interesting of the season, but they do really well in holding my attention and remaining plausible.

#9 (13) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,5/10)

The thing that sets Hana-Saku Iroha apart? Its drama. The characters themselves are… annoying to watch at times, but the drama between them is excellent to watch. It’s creative, gets some terrific development out of them, it shows new sides of them, the script is surprisingly well written when tit wants to and it weaves its various sideplots surprisingly creatively together. Because of that I find this to be a very engaging series, desipite how much the characters may get on my nerves.

#8 (6) – No.6 – (8,5/10)

Number 6 has only one problem. That didn’t change at all during the past month. It’s still wonderfully written, makes great use of its time to stuff as much plot and character development into its episodes, is really well animated, has an excellent plot and setting… but there still is no way that this one’s gonna end well.

#7 (7) – Kamisama Dolls – (8,5/10)

This still is rock solid entertainment: this month in particular upped the ante by giving the cast some depth to the main cast. Former one-sided characters actually were put in interesting situations and dilemmas, and gained a lot of depth. The storyline is also very effective and keeps making things interesting and entertaining to watch. Sure, there’s some badly placed fanservice, but that’s a minor issue.

#6 (12) – Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou – (8,5/10)

Finally in this month Kami-Sama n Memo-Chou stopped goofing off and showed one heck of a great storyline. Four episodes of undiluted awesomeness with a tight script, creative twists, excellent characters and a wonderful pacing. This is what mystery I expected from this series. It still has the JC Staff Cliches, but it executed them in a completely different manner compared to how they usually do them. Overall this finally lived up to its promise.

#5 (5) – Natsume Yuujin-Chou – (8,75/10)

There was one two episode arc and three episodic stories this month. The arc was great, but the episodic stories really stole the show here. The big advantage of the third season is that Natsume is developing like hell here. Every episode is dedicated to his growth. When you’ve also got heart-warming stories added to that, you’ve really got an amazingly charming series.

#4 (4) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)

The one annoying part about Hyouge Mono this month was that it took a two-week hiatus, so we only got two episodes. What we got though, was absolutely wonderful. The acting in this series just gets better and better, and is without a doubt the best of the entire season. Just about everything is portrayed with the utmost subtlety, only to break that again with the bombastic emotions, and the cast plays excellently off each other. It’s still incredibly slow, so if you don’t have patience this really isn’t the thing for you, but for those who have it really is rewarding. But yeah, the dialogue is still incredibly complicated, so the chance that it will e picked up by subbers is very slim.

#3 (2) – Steins;Gate – (8,75/10)

Steins;Gate showed itself as the series with the best plot of the season. It’s full of intricacies of time-travel and its multi-layered plot is really starting to pay off now, and I especially like how suddenly, the first half of the series gets a completely different meaning. The least impressive part still is its characters, but they are nowhere near bad. They’re well developed, but perhaps just not as dynamic as they could have been.

#2 (1) – Tiger & Bunny – (9/10)

The plot with which Tiger&Bunny decided to go into its finale with was just awesome. Well built up, imaginative, but most importantly the characters were just awesome to watch. Just about every character shined during the past month and it’s incredibly fun to watch these people together. So yeah, it uses a plot device here and there. Who cares when it’s this awesome?

#1 (3) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (9/10)

Now this one without a doubt stood on top of all of the other shows this month. It’s got a rock-solid direction and just keeps throwing the viewer for loops over and over. It’s chock full of red herrings and symbolism, the animation has a ton of neat details in it, the acting is absolutely wonderful, the characters all stand out and are wonderfully fun to watch. Seriously, if the other episodes are as good as this, then it’s a very strong contender for the best show of 2011.

Posted on 30 August 2011 with categories: Natsume Yuujin-Chou



Another amazing episode. At this point, things have to go really weird if the third season isn’t going to end up as better than the second one. It even has the potential to still surpass the first one. I haven’t seen an episode that beat the Hotaru episode, but apart from that the new season has just about everything running in its favor, and it has two very important things that the first season didn’t have: consistency and development.

Natume’s development really is THE major selling point of this third season. And heck, this episode added even more of it. I mean, the power of friendship is cheesy and all, but this show completely nailed it. Natsume’s concerns for his friends, and their concerns for him were incredibly heart-warming. It’s a wonderful way to show how much the cast has grown since the start of the series: back in the first season, the characters were still way too distant for this episode to have happened.

School festival episodes are overused, but thankfully not the biggest cliches out there. Those go to the hot spring episode, the beach episode and the pool episode, simply because everybody always does the bloody same there. Of course there are the bad festival episodes that are just there to waste time, but the good ones manage to show the cast in a different light, allow the characters to show themselves off, or highlight development. The best ones re the ones who want to make points that could not have been made without the choice to go with a school festival (so, no cheesy “let’s wait until the festival to confess to each other or something). Here, so much stuff gets thrown at Natsume, and he finally gets the chance to show himself off in the center of the attention by being the store clerk. The festival was a perfect chance for that.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 29 August 2011 with categories: Hana-Saku Iroha



Um… people; I just realized something: 1.

That’s the number of currently airing series where both parents of the main characters are still alive. Usagi Drop is the freaking ONLY one who has confirmed that! With Hana Saku Iroha we could thus far still dream that Ohana’s father was some horrible bastard who left his girlfriend as soon as he got her pregnant. What happened to the days of Noein, where parents could simply get… divorced or something? The best thing we can hope for at this point is for Sket Dance’s Yusuke’s father to be a raging workaholic who is never at home or something.

Having said that though: I loved this episode, for a lot of different reasons. First of all: the creators did not wait until the last episode to resolve the Tohru subplot. Tohru now knows about Minko’s crush on him, he won’t be misinterpreting hints from her anymore, and with Ohana totally uninterested in him, it will be a matter of time before his crush on her fades.It’s nice to see all of this happen gradually, but more importantly: the creators had other plans for the climax. Plans that indeed involve dissolving the Kissuiso, allowing everyone to go their own way. It’s the best way for everyone to really shine, and to pack in a ton of character development for everyone. I applaud the creators for going that route!

The characterization for the wedding also was wonderful, making this a really heart-warming episode. Enishi and Takako really came together as a couple here, and the subtle details, like them holding hands were nicely animated as well. Ooh, and Ohana’s mother has finally returned! Next episode she seems to be making an even bigger appearance, which is going to make that finale even more awesome.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée



Now, don’t get me wrong, this episode was wonderful. However, it did feature the big one; the cliche of cliches: the childhood friends. Instead of having Claude and Camille dating at their fifteenth or sixteenth, the creators consciously chose to show a romance between young kids of around ten years old. Here it makes sense: the theme of this episode would not have worked with older characters, but this is really something that lazy anime just keep using over an dover again.

This is something that has always baffled me about Japanese culture: how serious they view the romance between children. Instead of just playing tag, with everyone going his own way afterwards, anime seem to place a huge value on the memories they made as a kid. Instead of looking back at those childhood romances as an adorable quirk, every anime seems to believe those memories will decide your fate for your entire life. With this episode I was originally planning to question the Japanese culture again, only we’re talking about French kids here. But then again, I’m not French either. Are the French obsessed over childhood romances as well?

Anyway, the reason why I consider it to be such a bad twist is because it’s forced and overused. The big problem being the former, and the latter is the thing that made it worse. Nine times out of ten, when a childhood friend becomes involved, this is just reduced to a flashback, and a cheap excuse to get the main couple dating. It’s like saying: “I’m too bland for you, but we used to play tag together!” – and anime just keeps using that as an excuse.

In this episode things are different, though. It definitely had its purpose; this is a series about cultural differences. Not just between the French and the Japanese, but also between generations and between social classes. The childhood romance wasn’t used as a cheap romance, but instead to give Claude and Camille even more character. It added a ton of things to both the cast and the setting, on top of being adorably executed. And seeing Claude’s father was a plus too.

Here’s the thing with this show: it’s forcing me to reconsider the stereotypes I have in my mind about anime cliches. It’s not like Ao no Exorcist, which just has a bunch of cliches and executes them well, no this is really thought-provoking and it’s forcing me to take a different look at things I took for granted. Now that’s great storytelling.

Also, the tea ceremonies immediately gave me flashbacks to Hyouge Mono. I can not watch those anymore without picturing these overly obsessive faces along with it. It was quite good though: again it was a neat way to show how different something simple like tea can be. Plus, the way in which the Japanese sit. Because the bodies of Asians are slightly different from Europeans, they can sit like that much more naturally. I find it particularly murderous for my legs when I’m forced to sit like that for more than ten minutes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Ao no Exorcist



The problem with the fillers is that they derail certain characters at times. This time the most obvious was once again Yukio, but Mephisto also acted weird and inconsequential. First this guy gets all serious, and after a really random intervention from the Vatican that he could have stopped easily, he just walks away, abandoning his students that are held hostage. Make up your mind, will ya?

But yeah, Yukio: I still am not buying his subplot. It’s annoying and just feels forced. Like the Konekomaru arc, he’s overreacting way too much and just keeps on angsting about having to protect his brother. That’s just not interesting and gets annoying really fast. It’s not the kind of subplot you’d hold secret for the viewer, especially since they’re being so un-subtle about it.

The rest of this episode had the right spirit, though. Rin’s classmates have been handled quite well in this original story, and this episode solved the biggest barrier between him and them: Rin’s flames. He may have learned to control them a bit too sudden (isn’t it more logical if you gain control of flames like that gradually over time?) and that teacher also was surprisingly interesting. Again pulling his wife in was a bit cliched, but there definitely is more potential in him now than Satan.

Also, why does Yukio shoot with tranquilizers? I mean, with Rin I can understand and all, but against monsters who threaten the lives of his friends. Dude, get a bazooka or something. Anything better than those “it may look like I’m carrying a lethal weapon, but THOU SHALT NOT KILL, KIDS!”-phony weapons.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 28 August 2011 with categories: Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou



Yup, now that this arc has officially finished, I can say that it’s the best arc of Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou so far. The two extra episodes really did it, and allowed this series to really create a surprisingly interesting story with some very creative twists. Oh, and Narumi… he actually popped up as a very good leader; that’s not something that many of his counterparts can boast here.

So I have been rather busy lately, so I don’t have as much time as I’d like to really speculate what’s going on. Because of that the truth behind the mystery really came out of left field for me, and that made it all the more satisfying. I love how nearly all makes sense with the build-up that these past four episodes have put into it.

the only thing that I’m a bit iffy about is the Fourth’s reasons for keeping silent. I mean, I understand them, but Renji was willing to destroy everything he built up, which basically involved him putting the lives of everyone loyal to him on the line. Was that really worth it for a simple pride issue? The only thing I can think of is that he didn’t expect Renji to go as far as he did.

I really wonder: can the final four episodes top this? It al depends on what kind of material they’re gonna adapt. The thing is: I do not think that this will get a second season. The thing with JC Staff is that they in general are very loyal with their series… and yet Aoi Hana did not get a sequel (this has been confirmed: disappointing sales were the reasons). Based on recent years this was about the only series of theirs that really left with an open end and that did not get a sequel along the way… but then Uragiri and Yumekui Merry came around, both with disappointing sales. In the same way, I really can’t see Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou’s sales to turn out good. It does have the typical JC staff tropes, but it executes them in a completely different way from usual, to the point where there’s hardly any cliched moe left at this point. Even Alice’s antics are nothing like her counterparts (we can thank her excellent voice acting for that; I shiver at the thought of them putting Rie Kugimiya on the job again…). The problem is that this is just all speculation, of course. It’s gonna take years before we fully know whether this is true.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Tiger & Bunny



Um yeah. That’s possible too. I really kept wondering on how the creators would end up solving the memory alterations of Maverick. The previous episode built up an epic plan to do that, and it really looked like Tiger was going to have to try his best to both convince everyone, while not being too cheesy at the same time. Or just wait for Kaede to show up and zap everyone back.

It’s a bit weird at first, but as the episode went on I really appreciated what a great anti-climax this was. After all, this episode did avoid exactly what I was afraid of: cheesy monologues for every single one of the side characters. Instead, Tiger’s attempts were shown to have some subtle influences, but they just weren’t enough for the team mentality of the heroes who worked together. In the meantime, Sky High’s brilliant action of touching Kaede on the shoulder still leaves the perfect opportunity for Kotetsu to really scrape the barrel in trying to get the memories of his friend back: for a lot of different characters, this indeed would have been rather weird.

Added to that was that the characters were just incredibly enjoyable throughout the entire episode. Just about everyone shined and was fun to watch. The cast of Tiger & Bunny really has what I’d like to call the X-Factor for me: it’s hard to describe, but beyond well developed and acted, they put in this extra bit to make them even more interesting, and make them consistently enjoyable, even when they’re not doing anything. For me, this is one of the greatest heights a cast can reach. This series has had episodes that hinted to that very much in the past, but this episode sealed the deal.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 August 2011 with categories: Hyouge Mono



Finally, after two weeks we’ve got more Hyouge Mono again. While the wait was terribly long, it did make me realize again how special this series is, and how this series just does not care about how many conventions it screws.

The details in the animation once again were sublime. This series may not have a big budget or anything, but the animation when Hideyoshi performed that dance was just amazingly smooth and powerful. On top of that, the amount of detail this series puts in its characters’ facial expressions still is completely un-rivaled. This makes it able to bring its characters alive in such a unique manner.

Even though this was a lot of building up, it’s still a ton of fun to watch Sasuke build up his own… um… “empire”, while at the same time, the focus is really starting to shift towards Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who after Oda Nobunaga rose up to try and unite Japan. I really wonder how this series is planning to use its length. It seems the most logical point to end would be where Tokugawa Ieyasu manages to unite japan successfully. It’s just… how will Hideyoshi and Sasuke play their parts in this? I mean, according to History the hostilities between the Hashiba and Tokugawa clans will end with Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s influence. At this point, I can still so many barriers before that’s gonna happen.
Rating: ** (Excellenty)

Posted on with categories: Blood-C



At first sight it may seem that Clamp are just reusing the same things, though they’ve actually succeeded quite well by now in building their own universe. The wish in this episode was the best example of that so far for this series: it’s of the same type of wish as with xxxHolic, Tsubasa Chronicle and Kobato, but instead of just being the same, they strengthen each other and are all different ways to look at the same concept. This episode is all about the nature of wishes: is this one going to be a good or a bad one?

This again was a very powerful episode, as it revealed that Saya’s father had pretty much been deceiving her. It’s also where the build-up of the earlier episodes comes into play again, and nothing really turn out what they seemed to be. If the earlier episodes would have immediately stated this, this revelation would not have been as powerful.

On the animation front, it is a bit of a shame that the creators couldn’t hold on to the amazingly fluent animation of the first few episodes; probably due to budget issues, but I’m glad to see that they’re still trying. Especially when that giant swordsman attacked: you could actually see him put his weight into his blows (Saya really needed her supernatural strength in order to be able to defend from forces like that!), and he really felt like he made an impact on the scenery whenever he went, destroying just about everything he stepped on, rather than just leaving giant foot-prints like a lot of other shows like to do. The attention to detail still is abundant.

Also, and this is something I just realized while up this entry… we have a dog who is the owner of a shop who sells wishes… voiced by Jun Fukuyama. Could it be? I’m getting some serious Kobato flashbacks here.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



WTF, Penguin Drum. Just… wtf…

The first half of this episode was predictable enough. Heck, it was even so predictable that I was ready to label it as the least interesting episode of Penguin Drum so far. That actress is shrewd, and this episode pretty much was dedicated to showing the announcement of her engagement with Tabuki for its first half, with the most worthwhile parts being the references to classic shoujo. Ringo still didn’t really do anything worthwhile to stop it and was about to give up, so probably she shouldn’t have any more need for the diary, which would pretty much allow Shouma to take it. Or at least, that’s what I thought would happen.

Then came the toad scene. What the hell were the creators smoking when they came up with that one?

Ringo in this episode…. got completely deranged. I knew she was a bit weird, but this episode just made her outright crazy. And I don’t mean in the way that anime usually portrays crazy people, with lots of yelling and over the top laughing and stuff. Instead her plans to outright rape her teacher completely took me out of left field. I knew that this series had balls, but I did not expect them to be this big. This looks like it’s full of romantic cliches, and then it just keeps subverting the hell out of them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous1057532
Konstantinos here: I have to disagree. I liked the episode and felt they did a good job giving exposition. I like Meteora. That said when Alicertia meets Selesia. Oh boy, that will be a rumble.

On other notes: Attack of the Titan. If they do not pull a bait and switch, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Shingeki no Bahamut: What exceptional animation.
AidanAK47
It really does feel like this show is aiming to be something akin to Fate/Zero as that too did have a exposition heavy beginning. Difference here is that series had Urobuchi writting and while the man my be more famous for his murderous treatment of characters, he is a master of presenting exposition.
AidanAK47
I hope that's the majority of the exposition done for Re:creators. We established the stakes, rules and factions. So now would be good to focus on the creator and creation interactions plus badass battles.
Honestly I really regret Meteora coming into the story when she's being pretty much a massive exposition device.
Konstantinos Travlos
Hmm the "The Man who Knew 75 Languages" reminds me of the game "The Last Express". Great game. Definitely interested.
Anonymous1056824
moster keaton
Anonymous1056607
ditective conan
AidanAK47
@Anon, Pretty sure you are just trying to pick a fight more than defend the show but a decent show to me would be one that is deeply flawed but enjoyable to some degree. Sagrada reset is not this. It goes out of it's way to be unenjoyable. To me it's a 3/4 out of 10 show. Interesting concept but with a presentation so alien that the viewer can't empathise with anything on screen.
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.
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