Posted on 30 September 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

This month was not as good as what it could have been, because here the big flaw of this season really surfaced: the length. A lot of shows unfortunately were held down by it, but on the other hand: a lot of shows were not. We got to see some excellent finales, although granted, perhaps not as consistently good compared to the spring season.

In any case, I’m looking forward to the upcoming autumn season, because it really does not have the same problem: just about every show is planned to go on for more than 13 episodes. Instead, the major flaw will be the series composition writers: there aren’t many solid ones floating around, and a lot of them don’t fit the shows they’re assigned to. On the other hand though, this will be the perfect chance for them to really set themselves apart.

#23 (19) – Sacred Seven – (6/10) – For the final two episodes, the creators just gave up and went “what the heck, we know this is bad so let’s just overact the hell out of it in order to make it at least a bit fun”. It worked, in the way that the finale wa so bad that it was good. It was enjoyable, but it remains bad. Especially the main villain was an overacting mess.
#22 (new) – Battle Spirits Heroes – (6,5/10) – For the standards of kiddie shows, it’s not the best nor the worst. It’s still is blatant commercialism, but at least it avoided a few cliches here and there and it wasn’t as painful to watch as some of the other series of the genre.
#21 (16) – Ghakkyou Burai Kaiji – (7/10) – There were too many manly tears, there were too many moments who dragged out. It’s a shame, considering how hyped the pachinko arc was. If only this show was six episodes shorter, it would have worked a lot better and the creators wouldn’t have had to repeat themselves so often, but even then I have no idea what happened to the characters near the end. Here, they really reached the point of overacting and acting out of character.
#20 (new) – Busou Shinki Moon Angel – (7,25/10) – This one turned out to be decent. That however is not good enough considering the people who created this. It’s just a blatant commercial, unfortunately.
#19 (19) – Working!! – (7,5/10) – Well, I guess that the slice of life parts of this series turned out to be better than expected. That part of this show was nice to watch. This show completely lost me with its comedy though, with a lot of jokes that I remember from the first episode of the first season.
#18 (18) – Ao no Exorcist – (7,5/10) – The anime original material had potential. For most part it stayed true to its characters, and especially the episodes in which nothing happened were fun. For the climax however, the creators wanted to go too much with a “by the books” ending, which resulted in a very cheesy and predictable climax.
#17 (12) – Shinryaku! Ika-Musume – (7,75/10) – So far, I wouldn’t call the first episode of Squid Girl 2 among its better episodes, but it still had its funny moments. It will need to pay attention to not repeat its own jokes too much though. That’s by far going to be its biggest potential pitfall.
#16 (15) – Sket Dance – (7,75/10) – The Switch arc didn’t really work for me as well as I’d hoped. It probably has to do with how it was bound to have a twist: The really bad part of this month was the Gintama cross-over, though. It s big problem was that it had no idea what it wanted to be, so it jumped back and forth between Jump commercial, recap, Gintama-episode and parody. The pacing was just weird, and the second part of the episode was way too rushed. The random powers and plot twists that the creators pulled out of their ass was just way too much, and only served to remind me that I’m done with Gintama’s style of humour.
#15 (17) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (7,75/10)

The problem with Nurarihyon no Mago is that it’s still building up. Get down to business for god’s sake!

#14 (8) – No.6 – (8/10)

Right from the start it would be obvious that No.6’s problem would be its ending, but I really did not expect that it would be this BIG of a problem. Pulling just about everything out of its ass, it closed off with a very bad aftertaste. And that, while the episodes before it were so good!

#13 (13) – Blade – (8,25/10)

It was a fairly straight-forward ending, but really: I liked Blade a lot. I’m a bit baffled as to why AniDB‘s rating is so abysmally low; I mean, it had solid action, great characters, a terrific soundtrack. Sure, it tended to get a bit cheesy at times, but is that really a reason to give it such a treatment?

#12 (2) – Tiger & Bunny – (8,25/10)

It’s a shame, but the final month of Tiger & Bunny wasn’t its best. Overall I ended up enjoying the episodic stories of this series a lot more than the climaxes, with the best of the series taking place back in August. The final plot just wasn’t as interesting, and while the main villain was excellent, he was a bit underused, and his underlings were just one dimensional villains. The main characters however were still great to watch.

#11 (11) – Usagi Drop – (8,25/10)

And thsi show ended with quite a charming finale. Overall, I would have preferred a bit more character development, but it was a nice little series to watch, and very realistically told.

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

This show had an adorable ending that finally made Claude come out of his shell. It was a very nice climax for the main cast, and it was the emotional height of the series. Looking forward to Tamayura next season.

#9 (7) – Kamisama Dolls – (8,25/10)

Inconclusive, but at the very least a solid finale with a lot of focus on Kyouhei himself. Overall the new girl really was the worst character of the series, but even then the finale was as action packed as it should have been.

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

This month, this series surprised with a lot of very strong standalone episodes. There was of course the Osamu Kobayashi episode, but also the episode with the airplane pilot was really good and very atmospheric. However, after 11 episodes, what’s still missing is something that ties the series together. Why did the penultimate episode suddenly introduce a bunch of new characters?

#7 (9) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,5/10)

Hana-Saku Iroha really delivered a wonderful ending with a lot of strong character development. The graphics also looked better than ever, and I’m really glad to see that every single character here received a satisfying conclusion.

#6 (6) – Kamisama no Memo-Chou – (8,5/10)

The show ended very strongly, even though this series is incomplete. The final story was excellent and used the main cast well. The solution to the mystery was tragic, yet made sense. The cast developed a bit, and overall I’m very happy… if it weren’t for the fact that this really needed to be longer.

#5 (10) – Blood-C – (8,5/10)

In the end, I do have to say that this is my third favourite series of the shows that premiered in the Summer Season. The characterization had its problem, but overall this was one heck of an emotional ride with an amazing conclusion that paved a great road for the upcoming movie to follow. I really hope that in the upcoming fall season, there will be a series that will take as many risks as this series did.

#4 (4) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)

Sasuke was on fire this month, which was especially dedicated to his rise as a daimyou. His antics still haven’t gotten stale, and he’s consistently evolving. The rest of the cast meanwhile is building up a very solid back-story, that has me really intrigued in where it’s going to take us.

#3 (3) – Steins;Gate – (8,75/10)

Steins;Gate’s ending did pull a bunch of twists convenient for the sake of storytelling, but overall the ending was amazingly executed and short, but sweet. The story made great use of its red herrings and came together wonderfully.

#2 (5) – Natstume Yuujin-Chou – (9/10)

This show closed off with two wonderful standalone episodes that did an amazing job developing Natsume. They were wonderfully told and a perfect ending to the third season.

#1 (1) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (9,25/10)

This show is amazing. And yet, in this month it even surpassed itself. It came with huge twists, huge character development, the graphics got wilder and more imaginative, the background art in particular was a very creative. And it just keeps on building intrigue. This was by far the top of the Summer Season

Posted on with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



Oh my god, Penguin Drum. You just didn’t! Tell me that you just didn’t!

Here I was expecting the entire episode to revolve around the parents of the trio, only for this show to quickly wrap that up and laugh at everyone for thinking that the penguin hat would be a permanent solution. Did they seriously kill off one of the best characters of the series?

This episode was absolutely amazing. Also, why did Tabuki’s hands look like they were cut off? What happened to the parents (heck, at least the father is still alive!?) where did the bunnies come from? Who the hell is the pink-haired guy, who are his assistant and what is that apple he’s holding? That just makes no sense when put next to the symbolism of the previous episodes!

And then there’s Kanba, probably the best part of this episode was when he arrived at Himari and started talking about some sacrifice he gave her. Was that that kiss that was shown in the first episode?

This episode again looked gorgeous. I really like that the creators still are trying to insert a ton of visual ideas that are creative, yet consistent with each other. This show is chaos, but there is a very well defined order within its chaos. In any case, I’m really looking forward to the second half of this show.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 29 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Blood-C




Blood-C is a very difficult series to recommend. The thing is that this is one series where if you like it, you’ll like it a lot. However, if you dislike it, you’ll grow a deep seated hate against the main cast of this show. I belong in the camp of the former (hence the high rating for this review), but I do want to give out a warning, because this is a rather hard series to get into.

For starters, at heart Blood-C is a mystery horror series, with a high emphasis on building up and atmosphere. It has the building up pacing of a Bee-Train series, but differs completely in the characterization department. What this means in practice is that the entire first half will be spent on nothing but very mundane daily life, intermixed with various battles and action scenes, with very few hints towards the overall storyline. The characters all are very mundane and by far the weirdest part is that this show for a long period of time hardly ever tries to give them some depth. Instead, they’re just like the random people you might run into in a class room or on the street. Oh, and the characters have strange tendencies to make weird decisions at times.

Now, I refuse to spoil the exact how and why of things, but the second half is where this series really shines, and slowly begins to uncover its mysteries. Its plot is so constructed that as a viewer, you can be able to figure out what’s going on by yourself, but even then the final episodes in which everything is revealed pack a great punch and justify a lot of the weird things that happened throughout the series. If, at least, they didn’t get on your nerves too much. The thing is, that that is very easy, and as soon as this series loses your suspense of disbelief with it (which is rather easy with annoying characters), the atmosphere also stops being captivating, and you’ll be even more bored.

It does remain a wonderful atmosphere though. The creators make excellent use of the soundtrack handed to them, and the storytelling combines gory horror together with classical Japanese horror, which tries to capture its viewer through its slow storytelling. Especially the juxtaposition between the very mundane slice of life and the intense fights creates a wonderful tension that can be cut with a knife as the series goes on.

Also, the action scenes. Blood-C really sets itself apart through these things, and they are absolutely brutal and really well choreographed. Instead of the usual shortcuts, Saya is fully animated as she struggles with all sorts of blood thirsty monsters who make it a huge challenge to be actually beaten. The animation in the first number of episodes in particular is just absolutely wonderful, but even in the latter episodes as the budget dies down, the creators still aim to tell as much as possible through the action scenes with as much life-like animation as possible. The gore also is gore on a completely different level in this scene. It absolutely spares nobody. Usually when people die, the camera conveniently focuses on a different shot. Not here: here we can see all of details. Or at least, in the DVD versions we will.

There are a few acting problems here and there, and in particular the characterization has some major flaws in not trying hard enough to flesh out the cast, but overall I really liked this show for what it accomplished, and for the huge risks it took. This really isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself not able to get into the atmosphere because of the characters, then it’s very likely that you’re not going to enjoy this series. If you do however, you’re in for one heck of an intense ride.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Hard to get into, but excellent atmosphere, excellent sense of mystery and build-up and great plot twists.
Characters: 8/10 – Leaves things to be desired in the characterization department, but nevertheless an enjoyable cast that especially gets interesting near the end.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Absolutely wonderful animation and action scenes. Production IG really are un-matched when it comes to hand to hand combat.
Setting: 9/10 – A great concept, great ideas behind the whole story, and it’s great to see how many risks this show takes for the sake of its plot.

Suggestions:
Kurozuka
Gilgamesh

Posted on with categories: Blood-C



So that was both an excellent ending an an excellent hook for the upcoming movie. The whole story of the village is wrapped up nicely, while the main villain is still alive and proving to be an awesome foe for a movie storyline.

And heck, I’ll say it: for me this was the most emotionally intense ending of the season. I mean, gore is one thing. Gore animated by Production IG is of a whole different level. This episode was incredibly disturbing in how this episode surpassed the previous episodes. Even when censored it was hard to watch, so imagine what the DVD version must look like. The animation and especially the choreography made it one heck of an intense ride.

My one complaint of this episode was that I still don’t get why the extras never suspected anything. I mean, I can understand that they all used this as a last resort: we’ve seen what the main bad guy can do: grant certain kinds of wishes. The main cast was lured in with their magical bells, but how were the extras prevented from just running away? Were they just not informed that their counterparts died by clever logistics?

Overall, I have a message for the ones who hate this show, and yet decided to keep watching it: this is a series that heavily relies on its atmosphere and suspense of disbelief. If this series manages to successfully suspend your disbelief, it will be able to build up an awesome horror atmosphere that never lets up. If this series doesn’t manage to suspend your disbelief though, you’re not going to get anything out of this series. It’s flawed storytelling in the sense that the creators made no back-up plan in the case that your suspense of disbelief was broken (which granted was rather easy), but bad storytelling? Nah, I disagree with that.

Especially after this episode explained the entire series. I love the ideas that the creators put into the overall plot. It had some often used Clamp tropes, but there was more than enough to set itself apart. The whole idea that the happy and simple minded Saya was just a creation of the main villain, and was what he wanted her to be is especially an idea that worked really well with me. Especially now that we got to see the real Saya. The entire series was an attempt to get her away from that persona of her.

I wouldn’t call it character development, but what I really like about this episode is how it gave the main side characters a totally different meaning. Saya’s “father” suddenly became someone who is the closest to who she really is, and Yuuka was a nice subversion of the high school girls you usually see in fiction who look way too old for their age.

There are also still plenty of mysteries left for the movie to solve, but what I’m particularly intrigued about is Saya’s background: this entire series teased us with such a false persona, and the movie will be a great chance to really get to know her, and find out why she can’t kill humans, or what makes her want to kill humans so badly.

There were things that this show did wrong, but here is the thing: this show took risks. Huge ones. And for that, I really appreciate it.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 28 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji




I personally had a hate/love relationship with the first season of Kaiji. Of course the concept was awesome: gambling and mind games? this series would have been awesome to watch… if only it didn’t take forever to get from A to B. The first season just consisted out of four arcs, but in the end it was just too dragged out for me to really recommend it. Now, the second season only has two arcs. And yes, it’s just as long.

Again, it sounds wonderful on paper: this series continues with Kaiji having to find a way to win seemingly simple gambles, which prove to be exceptionally devious. The first arc is actually very good: it’s got excellent build-up and knows exactly what it wants to be. There is a good balance of Kaiji to figure out a plan to win his bets, the execution is short but sweet and it overall reaches a very satisfying and adrenaline filled conclusion.

The problem with this season lies with its monstrous second arc: the pachinko arc. Oh my god, that was way too long. In total, this one takes up a whopping seventeen episodes, even though its story really isn’t that complicated. The creators could easily have done this arc in about 11 episodes. The result? is that the remaining time is spent on stalling time.

Now, delaying the inevitable on its own can be quite effective. This show however takes it way too far. It starts off nicely with a crazy premise, intriguing build-up and an atmosphere that just tightens with every episode. After a while though, the creators just start to repeat themselves to increase tension. They repeat over and over how characters are feeling, they explain over and over what’s going on, and this just goes on and on, without going even further. On top of that, they just keep inserting these pointless and inconclusive symbolism scenes that all try to be different yet all just try to say the same thing. This show tries to build up an over the top atmosphere filled with adrenaline, but it lacks the substance to keep it up. I’m willing to say that if you marathon the first season, you’ll get an adrenaline filled roller-coaster ride out of it. I can not say the same for the second season, however.

To make matters even worse, this season also features its share of character derailment, especially near its end. The old man of the first season devolves into a deranged lunatic for no discernable reason whatsoever. Kaiji himself also starts to act really weirdly and against his character near the end, and the final episodes are also way too filled with manly tears. There’s a difference between acting over the top and overacting, and this series ends up crossing that line. And this takes into account the first season, in which that line wasn’t crossed.

What also makes this less adrenaline filled as what it could have been is that the stakes at the final arc… really aren’t that severe when you compare it to what Kaiji had to go through in the first season. That season was completely crazy in what Kaiji all had to do in order to win. When you compare the gore with each other, the second season is really tame. In the first season Kaiji was pretty much scarred for life or even dead in the case of a lost bet. The second season reduces the stakes to life time imprisonment. I mean, that’s pretty bad too and all, but not for watching a hot blooded adrenaline show.

There were months in which I rated this second season quite highly, and its first fifteen episodes or so pretty much do what they need to do. Looking back though… I really can’t recommend this show in its entirety. Just watch up to the Chinchiro arc for a nice conclusion, but there’s no need to bother with the incredibly long pachinko arc. It’s just not worth it.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Is way too long for its own good and drags on needlessly by repeating itself. It’s a shame, because the first arc is well written.
Characters: 7/10 – The final parts are bogged down by tons of bad overacting.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The unusual art style is definitely appreciated, and the animation does what it needs to do, although it’s nothing amazing.
Setting: 8/10 – This show does have the uncanny ability to portray gambling well. The best parts of this second season are the plans that Kaiji comes up with.

Suggestions:
Kurozuka
Touhai Densetsu Akagi
Rainbow

Posted on 27 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




If there was any studio that stood out this summer season, it has to be Brains Base. In fact, they were completely dominating the entire season. Out of the three seasons they released, Kamisama Dolls was the lesser one. And it still is very good.

Kamisama Dolls’ formula is in fact very simple: you have a storyline with a lot of drama, comedy, action, and a whiff of romance, and put it in 13 episodes. The result is some top notch entertainment that balances those four elements together into a very enjoyable series from start to finish. If you’re looking for something quick and exciting, then this series is a pretty solid choice.

The setting to back it up is solid with the backdrop of a corrupt village that houses ancient fighting machine. The cast too knows what it is, and is accurately developed, fleshed out, and in particular the acting fits the series perfectly: the main cast in particular knows how to keep the balls into the air and keep the story exciting. In fact, this really is a series whose story is dictated by its characters, even though this may not be apparent at first sight.

There are some weaknesses, though. The biggest being that it’s ridiculously incomplete, and another case of “read the manga if you want to know what happens next”, cutting off its story right in the middle. There are also a few characters who bog the show down by being way too over the top, and this show tries to be a harem show and a straight romance at the same time, which really doesn’t fit together: there is an obvious main couple in this series, and yet the creators somehow find it a good idea to introduce a crush on the male lead’s sister and a completely over the top childhood friend. Especially the latter is the worst member of the cast of this series, and it’s a good thing that the pacing of this show is nice and quick, so these things become just minor annoyances.

This show isn’t really trying to be anything deep (heck, the majority of the plot is based on characters acting unreasonable for various reasons), so don’t expect really deep characters, or many attempts to subvert cliches or tropes, but what it does, it does well. It’s nice, straight-forward and well produced entertainment.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Ridiculously unfinished, but a nice combination between action, comedy and drama.
Characters: 8/10 – Solid and fun characters, with a few particularly good ones, and a few particularly annoying ones.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Top notch action scenes, well directed and animated characters.
Setting: 8/10 – Its themes have been done before and better, but nevertheless it’s quite solid to support its series.

Suggestions:
Narutaru
Seto no Hanayome

Posted on 26 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Natsume Yuujin-Chou




Finally, after two long years of waiting, Natsume Yuujin-Chou continued into its third season. And how! It probably even surpassed itself!

The reason why this series sets itself apart is simple. The first season consisted out of all sorts of stories around youkai. They were the ones who stood in the center. The second season’s focus was on intrigue; it explored themes as humans versus youkai. The third season is about Natsume himself. Yes, this entire season is dedicated to the character development of just one character.

This season goes back to the more episodic nature of the series, with only two arcs that last two episodes. They tell all kinds of stories about Natsume encountering all sorts of youkai, but every single one of them contributes to his character, and is meant to either show how far he has grown, how he is growing, or how he will grow. The creators always manage to find fresh ways to do it, and make excellent use of the side cast of characters in the process.

And don’t think that the side characters get ignored for the sake of Natsume himself: every story in this series focuses on a different one of them, and every story ends up contributing to them to. This series still has excellent characterization, it is still wonderfully told, with a calm and relaxing atmosphere, a wonderful sense of build-up and a great sense of conclusion.

Now, not every episode is as good as the other: there are some that work better than the others, and in particular the two-episode arcs take up a tad too much space in the series while not having the same charm as the short but sweet other episodes. But even then, I’d say that its consistency is even better than the first season. Really, Natsume Yuujin-Chou was second to only Mawaru Penguin Drum this Summmer Season.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Still wonderfully told. Great direction, great pacing, great script.
Characters: 9/10 – Natsume’s development is just fantastic. The rest of the cast is also excellent.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Restrained, but very vivid if it wants to. Excellent and soothing soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Still a great depiction of how youkai would live, much more realistic than most other shows who try to do this.

Suggestions:
Windy Tales
Mushishi

Posted on with categories: Natsume Yuujin-Chou




I’m not going to say that this was the best ending of the season for two reasons. The first is that this show hasn’t actually ended yet (the Winter season can’t come soon enough). The second is that this ending was completely different from any other ending this season.

But still: if this would have been the ending of Natsume Yuujinchou, I would not have complained at all.

This episode was so different from your usual ending, and yet it was the perfect way to end the third season. This was by far the episode with the most positive outlook of the entire third season. There was no evil youkai to take care of, and instead the creators chose this to just show a bunch of youkai having fun (playing hide and seek, or Kakurenbou with Youkai; ah, the irony). It was a wonderfully fun and heart-warming episode that showed the cast just having fun, while at the end it also had a powerful message when Natsume’s friends arrived: he’s not alone. Neither in the world of youkai, and the world of humans.

I also want to yet again applaud Brains Base for understanding the importance of an ending. Here is the interesting thing: final episodes often have a lot of budget, meaning a lot of animators are put on them. That’s nice, but also constraining: because of that you hardly ever see final episodes with interesting direction, animation, or plot progression, like what you sometimes see when a particularly talented team is behind just one episode. This episode instead brought together a bunch of excellent animators, who really got to do as they pleased during the hide and seek game. This brought the characters even more to life than they already were.

I would love to say that Brains Base’s endings this season are awesome, however Kamisama Dolls doesn’t seem to fit in that picture. Instead though, I do have to praise Sadayuki Murai for adapting this story, and getting the best out of it. This wasn’t just animating a bunch of random chapters. Every single episode was dedicated to Natsume’s development, and the final two episodes were just the perfect ending. He also seems to be doing the fourth season, which is yet another reason to look forward to it.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 25 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hana-Saku Iroha




Hana-Saku Iroha…. is an interesting one. Probably the best way to start a review about it is to warn that it can be quite misleading when you start watching it. This series has two wonderfully written opening episodes that have a ton of well written drama, only followed by episodes of random slice of life hi-jinks.

This is a criticism, it takes time to get used to, but also: once this show finds its pace, it delivers a unique slice of life series. The thing is however, that it doesn’t care whether or not it annoys its viewers. This can be great for realism, but this series always tries to take this a bit beyond the comfort zone by inserting random stupidity at times. Throughout the series there will be plenty of teenaged romance angst, random yelling, characters who turn a mosquito into an elephant. Oh, and a depraved writers of smutty romance novels.

And on the other hand we have this series’ brilliant ability to write drama. Seriously, the characters in this series can get annoying, but their development is absolutely wonderful. When it wants to, it can create strong conflicts, character-development focused scenarios and heart-warming dialogue without getting cheesy. Especially in the second half the cast (and with that I mean nearly the entire cast, not just the main characters) develops into engaging characters, with everyone making some sort of impact.

What also helps is that PA Works really put in effort to make this series a feast for the eyes. The art and animation is crisp and fluid, the background art is gorgeous. This was really intended as their celebration for their 10th year anniversary, and they really succeeded here. Hana-Saku Iroha celebrates working and taking responsibility. And through its characters, it really turned that into a wonderful message.

Storytelling: 8/10 – There are scenes that come off as stupid and annoying, especially in the first half. When this series gets serious though, it really delivers excellent drama.
Characters: 9/10 – They will get on your nerves, but their chemistry is excellent, they’re really well used, and their development is top notch.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Clean and crisp. A feast for the eyes.
Setting: 8/10 – Good themes, although it does tend to ignore the borders of realism at times.

Suggestions:
True Tears
Konnichiwa Anne
Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

Posted on with categories: Hana-Saku Iroha



What a wonderful ending. The creators did a wonderful job at adding in some final character development, while the epilogue at the end that showed where everyone ended up at was exactly what I was hoping for. This was really heart-warming, and out of the slice of life endings this season (Usagi Drop, Croisee), this was my favourite.

The stars of this episode were Sui and Ohana. Ohana’s wish-tag, where she claimed to want to be like her grandmother was wonderful. Sui meanwhile, saying goodbye to her memories of the Kissuiso and wanting to pick up being a waitress again. those two things made this ending really worth it. My only criticism: the Kou storyline was cut off. Anime, let’s face it: running into two characters as they are about to romantically confess is a dead horse. Stop beating it!

In the end, I think that the biggest problem with this series is its first two episodes. And don’t get me wrong, they were two wonderful and amazing episodes, but they also caused me to sit with an annoyed face at the subsequent eight episodes. The big reason for that is Ano Hana: the first two episodes gave off too much of an impression that this show would be similar. Anohana was meant to be a romantic tear jerker. Something which it did really well, however during its airtime, Hana-Saku Iroha just couldn’t get out of its shadow. Only now, in the summer season it really was able to show ts worth, and stand out on its own.

I mean, the first half of this series did have its share of charming episodes, but the second half is superior because of how the cast grew. The cast growing together was done wonderfully and gave this series a wonderful closure, even though there were enough points that were rather annoying. PA Works, I applaud you.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
@Masky, I believe I told you to watch Fate/Zero and apologize.
Masky
@AidanAK47 three days ago: Harsh words :D
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do echo the frustration though with shows you like not getting enough episodes. And then there are of course shows where I wonder, did they really need so many episodes/seasons.
Anonymous2142344
You an always watch the old 160 episode ova of Legend of Galactic Heroes. Differences to date are minor
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Follow up films coming though.
Anonymous2142275
Galactic Heroes, is starting to grow on me, is a shame, that's only 12 episodes so much potential being wasted. What happened to those times when long animes, could have at least 50 episodes ( Gundam Seed, Code Geass) and still be viable. feeling hopeless
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A female director you could also look into is Moufida Tlatli , especially silences of the palace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On golden kamuy, from reading on in the manga, there will be a big reveal regarding Asirpa soon. Also I feel the prisoner guys are becoming monster of the week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm glad to be reviewing stuff again on letterboxd.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I...actually momentarily forgot about the PM system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Watch Bombshell, secrets of a hollywood star or calling hedy lamarr, Bombshell is a recent documentary about Lamarr.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Von Triers new film looks darkly funny though to a degree and I love the self-indulgent first per3son narration.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I have no idea how Stellan Skarsgard (who works alot with Von trier) produced Alexander Skarsgard, the latter is far too attractive to come from that. I feel the same about Asia Argento, I refuse to believe Dario could have produced such a fine creature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm rarely about morals or understanding as an importance when it comes to film, I care most about how it hits me on a visceral/emotional level, how daring it is in its imagination, visuals, madness , creativity.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: thanks, received it. God, Von Triers new film is entirely something else. Full-on provocation. And I already think his Nymphomaniac was too much
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Also I'm dying to see Von Trier and Chang-dongs new films, especially the priors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
Lenlo
That said, the key drama scenes were still great. Okabe's VA continues to make me happy. Im just not sure how much of this is nostalgia.
Lenlo
Steins;Gate is at its best in moments of character drama and character interaction. All of its value lies in its characters. Any action, with this muted style, is going to come off stiff and dull. A con of the art-style decision.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm glad you said that, because I felt visually it looked stiff this week and that brief scene in the beginning wasn't much to look at. But Okabes meeting with Baldyguy-san and the cliffhanger and after credits bit were good scenes.
Lenlo
So yeah, this was probably the weakest week of Steins;Gate so far. Its pretty clear its not an action series and that its style doesnt suit itself well to combat scenes
SuperMario
... watching and reading many shounen titles (Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest, Bleach and the likes), shounen isn't my cup of tea at all
SuperMario
While I grow up
Lenlo
@Anon, I love Shounen. BnHA is one of my favorites every season its on. Doesnt mean I like Black Clover though
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thank you for that anon, when I watched the episode earlier I wasn't aware there was a post credits scene.
Anonymous2141254
oh well, we still are early on in S;G 0 too. Plus, there seems to be a huge development at the end of the episode
Anonymous2141254
idk, i can't help but feel that besides the amadeus plotline, everything else feels "fillery"
Anonymous2141254
I must say though that I'm still waiting for it to get good, idk maybe my expectations are too high because the original was great after the first few episodes
Anonymous2141254
Don't forget to watch end credits fo Steins Gate 0
KTravlos
I like some shonen. I just think that they are popular enough as not to be worth reviewing ihmo.
Vonter
@Anon2140150 - I do. Though Shounen do have the issue of being derivative in certain aspects like power scales and several doing the FMA Brotherhood climax (of what I've watched). Also they're made to be endless. It can be intimidating jumping to one that has several seasons.
Anonymous2140150
Does everyone here don't like shonen anime?
Amagi
Really, if there is one piece of information (aside from otome maybe) that makes me ignore a series forever it's a LN about a LN author or illustrator. The selfinert wish fulfillment couldn't be more obvious.
Amagi
Another LN greenlit for an anime production and the synopsis starts with "* is a light novel illustrator and..".
Amagi
@KTravlos: I don't know why modern anime hate curly- and/or wild hair so much. The old hair style gave Reinhard a more royal look, whereas he looks like a normal highschool boy now. Not that I am complaining about the anime as a whole. Also, I like some of the new designs.
KTravlos
and a part of me things it is indeed the hair. It comes to low, giving Reinhard a slovenly, lazy feel. When Yang feels more energetic you know there was a mistake.
KTravlos
and yes, this Reinhard fares poorly in comparison to the OVA one. He is dull. I need more Yang :p
KTravlos
ai vay vay. The Castrop Rebellion remains waste of time. And this time it was worse. The older depiction was tacky but at least it showed Kircheis ability in a logical manner. This time I had no idea what the hell happened. It felt cheap.

The rest of the episode was ok. Not completely sold on all the renditions of imp. admirals though I still love the uniforms.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*those
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hearing these , I find myself much more tolerant of anime voice acting even if the dub might only be okay.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its actually less of a sync issue, as I'm talking about 60s dubs , alot of people think the voices in old anime English dubs from the 90s are dated, but the old sixties kungfu and western dubs are shocking, far worse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't mind sometimes satirical dubbing like on tiger lily , dialectics break bricks and kung pow however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And those can be difficult to acquire sometimes in Italian or Chinese.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Live action films, this is especially annoying sometimes because I love Spaghetti westerns and Chinese martial arts films and old Italian cop thrillers.
Anonymous2137430
@Kaiser-Eoghan Are you referring to foreign animated films of foreign live action films because dubbing live action is a different beast as I'm sure you're aware. The idiosyncratic nature of watching moves and facial expressions not properly match voices really pulls the viewer out of the experience
SuperWooper
LoGH is airing a special next week because of scheduling delays, so that's one less thing to do.
AidanAK47
Well to those whom it might concern, expect my posts to be later than usual this week. Work is hell at the moment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say, this is probably a bit hypocritical, but while I enjoy dubs of anime I really really can't stand dubs of foreign films.
Lenlo
Simo Hayha would make a pretty crazy Archer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine a fate strange fake adaptation will materialize eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But everyone seems to want that Finnish sniper as a Fate servant .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still no Mao, still mad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I have lost track of the historical characters in the fate lineup.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, to expand on that point the following historical figures are now female: Nero Claudius, Leonardo da Vinci, Frankenstein's Monster, Xuanzang, Jing Ke, Quetzalcoatl, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Miyamoto Musashi, Okita Souji and many more to come.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I find it's an enjoyable watch though flawed. If you can get past some odd fanservice around the first ten episodes then I say it's worth watching.
Anonymous2133468
So i was thinking if i start watching, darling in the franxx, is worth it? or is just another 6/10 anime?
Lenlo
God damnit. Why Nasu. Just why.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, that ain't even Lewd.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In all seriousness its ridiculous, the Japanese will make a cute/moe girl out of anything.
AidanAK47
....Should I also mention that Francis Drake is a big boobed pirate queen?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Posting lewd images on a respectable chatbox.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, But none of these characters are in the anime adaptions. Well besides Jack and Saber.
Lenlo
Aidan, all this conversation did was prove that my decision to only ever watch the Ufotable adaptions was the correct decision.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, you can blame Extella for the Attlia the Hun thing. I wasn't too fond of it myself. Also should mention Attila is female as well.
https://pm1.narvii.com/6414/528599445b739909c02993cfdbfc9f277d088cf2_hq.jpg
AidanAK47
Also Masky I will be the first to admit to the ridiculous aspects of the Fate Franchise but do take note that you are commenting on something you know literally nothing about. Which is the very definition of ignorance and is quite annoying. Fate/Zero nails the themes it's going for. So go watch Fate/Zero, come back and apologize.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Give it time. Genghis is getting in there eventually with Grand Order. We just had Anastasia and Salieri introduced after all. And it's not as if this story introduces Servants willy nilly, they need actual story purpose. Genghis Khan wouldn't have fit the Narrative that Fate/Zero was going for.
Lenlo
Wait Attila is an Alien and Edison is a Lion? God damnit Fate. Why are you doing this to me. I was already annoyed at your treatment of Musashi
Masky
(aliens existing in the show is good example of that missing on themes part xP)
Masky
*most successful conqueror
Masky
Honestly was just amused most conqueror of all time not being featured in the show :D But wait, whats this about aliens?
AidanAK47
Anyway the important thing to take into account is that in the Fate universe, King Arthur is a woman, Attila the Hun is an Alien, Thomas Edison is a lion and Jack the Ripper is a little girl in a dominatrix outfit. Any questions?
AidanAK47
And while you don't need to watch something to be given divine right to comment on ideas or themes, it does leave you ignorant of how that show handles those ideas and themes.
AidanAK47
As for the Historical Alexander, he wasn't given the title of King of Couquerors. Fate/Zeros interpretation of him was. As generally accurate Fates interpretation of Servents history can be, they can make changes to suit the narrative.
AidanAK47
In that Regard Alexander was doing the conquest thing before Ghengus did. Ghengus likely has some other title. Hell he may only have the title because public consciousness was is more familiar with Alexander than Ghengus.
AidanAK47
Yeah, looking it up seems the King Title lost quite a lot of meaning in the Nasuverse. Though the King Title is rather flimsy. I mean Arthur is the King of Knights cause of the Knights of the round table. Gil is king of heroes because his tale was the first Heroic myth.
Lenlo
I think Alexander was just the first one they thought of, and they couldnt retroactively give it to someone else.

That said, Broskander deserves it <3
Masky
(And no, you don't need to watch something to be given divine right to comment on ideas or themes of it.)
Masky
(just to note in case I need to note, I do tend to do at least cursory research when I make comments on stuff I don't watch)
Masky
That first part is semantics as Fate gives title "King" to historical figures who weren't kings already :D Also, you can make that argument about historical Alexander the Great? Since that seriously sounds like kind of weak reason.
AidanAK47
Also sees Rider as deserving of title of "King of Conquerors" because that which he strives to conquer most is not lands or material wealth, but the hearts of people, the toughest conquest that can be undertaken by anyone.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Ghengis Khan wasn't a king. He was a Khan.
Lenlo
Ghengis is always a Rider in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, Ghengis would be an appropriate beserker servant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: I know, it feels so wrong I'm still mad I can't summon Karl Marx or Stalin.
Masky
So wait, Fate series is about historical figures with super powers, but "King of Conquerors" title isn't given to Ghengis Khan? :D Seriously? Thats just so wrong
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't feel any point in finishing it, it feels like something that I'd just randomly drop , not because its a bad show, but because I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
I am actually going to drop blogging it.
AidanAK47
@Sash, indeed. I have been watching it but not blogging it for the last few episodes because it just hasn't givne me anything to say. I don't think it's a bad show but I have pointed out the flaws and strengths of it already so there is truly nothing more to say on it.
Sash
I think wotakoi is starting to feel repetitive..
Kaiser-Eoghan
You are now aware Shana and Batman Ninja Harelequinn are both voiced by Rie kugimiya.
Lenlo
I did. It was... It was a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Did you end up watching Batman ninja by the way?
Lenlo
Music is great, yeah. When the music is on point, everything goes up. Everytime the sync the fight/punches to the music I just get hyped. Like the rotating shot with Aragaki or the first fight in episode 1.
Lenlo
Ill do my best to be clearer in the future on that front. Yeah, I dont mind twists like this. Makes the inevitable Mikio fight, narratively, even better.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel the music does alot of the lifting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, so that was it.
Lenlo
Sorry if I never made that clear.
Lenlo
I would rather have fewer, amazing, fights than a lot of low-quality fights. This is a one cour show, the more meaning/impact they can give each fight the better.

Like Aragaki, narratively, was great. Loved it. Its just in animation/choreography that it falls flat.
Lenlo
Im disappointed with the animation of the fights. Narratively, I think they are quite good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*disappointed with the fights in past episodes
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Pretty much what I said I thought of the episode. Although I was surprised how took the episodes ending, I expected you to see it as a slap in the face after being disappointed with the fights.
Lenlo
Also, @Kaiser, I thought Megalo Box did something unique this episode. I wasn't expecting Joe to *not* fight. And the Mikio/Yukiko proxy war is an interesting character motivation. Im betting Yukiko will get Joe a full citizenship, effectively getting her on his side.
Lenlo
I wish I was physically capable of watching Megalo Box without thinking of Hajime no Ippo. I really do. But everytime I watch it, it makes me want to watch Ippo again to.
Anonymous2120908
I watched some more of the Chimera family chinese anime. (Wasn't aware it was monthly released). And geez, I like the concept, the background art is very pretty and contrasts with settings that have become tired in other anime. Yet sadly the animation and script are WEAK. I haven't grasped the quality of what's expected of these types of production but I want to believe, they're trying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not much in the way of action in megalobox this week, but I did like the focus on Yukkiko getting a small character moment and then the big moment at episodes end .
AidanAK47
@Anon, That's some lazy ass trolling buddy. Should have stopped before the hashtags.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even sort of looking forward to supposedly less respectable stuff like Goblin slayer and happy sugar life.
Vonter
Also E3 is almost here. And I can't wait. I think Nintendo will have a good show considering they're revealing the new Smash with a tournament. There's rumors of the new game by Retro Studios (Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong) and maybe they'll reveal something about how Pokemon will be on the Switch.
Vonter
Also there's always the chance of something new being discovered. Not everything needs expectations behind. Sometimes great things come out of nowhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So yes, there are some at least decent shows coming out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Muh Baki, Muh Bananna fish, muh made in abyss season 2, muh Vinland.
Anonymous2119906
The rest of this year looks like shit for anime and 2019 doesn't look great either #fuckmoe #makeanimegreatagain
Anonymous2119214
@Kaiser yeah it happened in half the amount of eps this time around for steins gate 0; which i expected considering there's a lot of ground to cover
Anonymous2119106
@Supermario Something like Fate or the LOTR films are a different case. I get where you're coming from about your preference, but I'm arguing that if a large story is going to be split into 3 films, it helps that the 3 films feel cleanly cut. Infinity war, even though we know there's a second part to the story, feels like it has that cohesive narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end
Anonymous2119106
@Super Mario yea but the marvel movies are a different situation so i don't think the comparison is as appropriate. Marvel movies are "episodic" in nature rather than a continuous narrative. The films are largely isolated stories that are happening in a similar universe that only happen to "congeal" narratively because of a few overarching details shared between films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I remember when the original series suddenly shifted and got going and it was a really depressing episode.
Lenlo
Oh baby. The storm has finally come in Steins;Gate. Let the true suffering commence
SuperMario
@anon2118276: that's why I don't like LoTR trilogy. It's still a whole body chopped up in 3 parts, despite how clean the cut is. Whereas for me it works better if it was like a branch in a tree. The Marvel movies (despite my disinterest on those) are a good example of this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I did feel some of this weeks steins gate felt fillery, I do like see these characters interact and given the episodes conclusion, this episode acted as a calm before the storm.
Lenlo
Ill agree with you on King Kong. As for the Ralph Bakshi LotR, I have. I am still to this day impressed by the overlay of 2D art onto real/overexposed footage. It makes for shockingly fluid animation in places and has its own distinct style
Anonymous2118208
@Lenlo - Have you watched the old Ralph Bakshi adaptation of the first two books? It's uneven, but it's interesting comparing and contrasting certain decisions. As good as Peter Jackson is, I feel he makes very longwinded films, I like his version of King Kong a lot, but it is too long.
Anonymous2118276
@supermario i disagree; the point is that even though the LOTH films have cliffhanger endings, they still feel like fils. they have a defined first second and third act with well paced tension and release throughout them. They follow a storytelling macrostructure necessary for films to feel like cohesive narratives even if they are to end on a cliffhanger
Lenlo
I quite liked the individual LOTR movie just fyi
Vonter
Marvel surprisingly has kept their movies simple enough, that while you might miss details nowadays, you can tell what's happening.
Vonter
Another bad case is like with Assassin's Creed, which like Lost, just tried to tease a lot of things, then it grew tired of trying to piece them together and let the last games work more standalone, with little hints of a larger lore.
Vonter
Metroid does both, it has a standalone story and a hint to what a sequel might bring. Though that hint rarely matters by the time the new game is released.
Vonter
@SuperMario - Some videogames trilogies also do that. Gears of War and God of War had good standalone beginnings but by the second game they put cliffhanging endings. Kingdom Hearts does that and I expect 3 to also do it. Megaman Legends and Half Life had incomplete stories, which might be the worse case in regards to trying to make a continuous story.
SuperMario
It ruins the appetite
SuperMario
I actually think Lord of the Rings' trilogy is a bad example to follow. These films are meant to be viewed as a whole, so each film doesn't hold much as an individual story. I just can't digest films that have "to be continued" sign at the end. Imagine having a first course meal and then have to wait for few days for second course
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the current topic, I would be well for the production of a long running, ambitious ova series.
Anonymous2116425
then again, i don't take too much issue with these films feeling like movie-sized eps...the wait just sucks is all
Anonymous2116425
clearly the films need each other to tell the whole story, yet they can be taken for what they are in isolation as well
Anonymous2116425
I don't mind the trilogy trend at all; like Aidan said, when everything is said and done, all the films will be available to watch. I just think a stronger attempt should be made to make them feel like complete films. Something like the lord of the rings trilogy is a great example of how to do this
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am in full confidence that neither I nor Miura will survive to the end of berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course maybe they won't have a future , think about it that way, then they'd never see it, life has that weird way of being unpredictable like that =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
You can always rewatch them just before watching the one after.
AidanAK47
Of course not. But that's the thing. The wait is only a temporary problem. Anyone in the future will have all movies ready to view.
SuperMario
So it's best to wait for another 2 years to watch Heaven's Feel? Hell NOT
AidanAK47
When all the movies come out though you can basically barrel through it like a TV series.
SuperMario
Dangit, it's me Mario
Anonymous2115918
I still don't know if I like this trilogy trend. We've had a fair bun h of those in recent years (Berserk Golden Age, Madoka, even Kizumonogatari). I guess doing it that way, they'd make much more profits, and we have higher production values, but the wait is way too long and I don't think it works as movie-format
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of the very rare times where self-awareness works.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can be nice and say of course Ryan Reynolds+ violence, comic was funnier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: But I'm sure if you think it over, the first deadpool was trapped in origin story mode, as an advantage, the sequel, is probably free of that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Deadpool 2 had John Wicks director, which at the least means something in terms of action direction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: There was a whole run of deadpool issues called Cable and deadpool, which I suppose that pairing together gets the best out of the character.
AidanAK47
Seen Deadpool 2 tonight and I have difficultly deciding if it's better or worse than Deadpool 1. Still it's quite fun and I enjoyed it.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I feel somewhat similar in regards to Franxx. When this series finishes I won't be singing high praises for it. Yet I do feel that it's worth watching.
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Featured Posts

Golden Kamuy – 07 [Complication]

This week ties up one plot thread that is Nihei and Tanigaki and their quest for hunting down the wise wolf and overall it does a decent job at that. Continuing from where the last episode left of, this final confrontation works for me because everyone has a moment to shine. Sugimoto proves that he […]

Hisone to Masotan – 06 [I’ll Shout Your Name]

At one point during this episode I almost felt that Hoshino was just too overboard. Being stubborn is one thing, but when you’re too stubborn you outright hurt others’ feeling without backing down, it’s irritating to watch. The issue with Hoshino, as we come to learn during the flashback, is that piloting an F2 has […]

Megalo Box – 7 [The Road to Death]

Hello everyone, and welcome to the most surprising episode of Megalo Box yet. This week we have family drama, Joe’s declining health and a shocker of an ending. Lets jump in! So starting from the top, lets talk about this ending. I never thought Megalo Box would pull something like this, with its limited number […]

Hinamatsuri – 07 [Anzu Is a Greeter Now]

At this halfway mark, I want point out that the comedy of Hinamatsuri isn’t as sharp as the first few episodes (except for the segment including Hitomi’s classmates). There’s still absurdist sense of humor, sure, but it doesn’t make me laugh out lout or even make me chuckle. That is to say I come to […]

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Steins;Gate 0 – 6 [Eclipse of Orbital Ordering -The Orbital Eclipse-]

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Golden Kamuy – 06 [Hunter’s Soul]

Well, (animal) shit. Golden Kamuy starts slow this week and ends with a bang. This episode presents many of Golden Kamuy’s ups and downs so it’s best to dissect them one by one. For the negative part, the pacing is still off. This episode spends too much time on Sugimoto and Asirpa hunting that poor […]

Hisone no Masotan – 05 [Do You Really Think That There’s Anybody Who Likes Being Disliked?]

There’s one thing you can count on original shows, you can never know for sure what the plot is going next. Sometimes, it surprises you with its sheer originality and sometimes, it could go to weird places. HisoMaso falls into the latter this week, literally where it’s taking us to an uninhabited island for the […]

Darling in the Franxx – 17[Eden]

Indeed Franxx appears to be doubling down on a darker more serious tone though I still am wondering if it will truly follow through on this or dismiss it fast and go full on happy ending. Personally I always feel cheated when a series foreshadows dark things to come only to turn tail when it’s […]

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