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)

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SuperMario
Just stumbled through "The Most Boring Anime Taste" video essay by Digibro and I found it bullsh*t. He attacked other's taste just because it was too "safe"? Who is he to judge? Why does he get so work up on that nonsense 3x3 mosaic? Why do I even bother to listen to it (and I did). Words fail me.
K-Off
Christ, the site now loads in 77 milliseconds in Europe. You poor Australians with your 7 seconds. Although, I want to do something about that.
@Aidan All ages? Bit weird considering I don't expect many kids to play that game anyways, so I understand fans' gripes. But in the end, people always get up in arms over the dumbest shit like censored nudity.
SuperMario
People actually said that men tend to treat their partner (when they're living together) exactly the way they treat their moms, so here you go.
afgm
I wonder if your attitude towards moms is correlated with your relationships with and attitudes towards women in general.
Anonymous68919
mothers are mothers, if they are bitches, leave them, but don't hate them. never
Anonymous68919
look nice. i prefer the one at the top. just looks more vast to me... and i's a change of pace to the current
AidanAK47
@Anon68842, depends on the type. If it's the abusive drunk ignorant type then yeah, fuck em. But if we are talking the ordinary variety I say give them a break. They do more for you that you might think.
Anonymous68842
fuck them
Anonymous68842
we agrees that moms are bitches
AidanAK47
And in Visual novel news, Dies Irae is getting a localisation. That's another one off the VN bucket list. I heard it was notoriously hard to translate. Though people are making a stink over it being all ages but I couldn't care less. All ages just means no shoehorned sex scenes and that's fine in my book.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, I never quite got that from Honoka but I prefer a character to be imperfect rather than perfect. Saints are boring and having a character always do right is predictable. While I somewhat understand the appeal, one thing that never sat right with me regarding "cute girls,cute things" shows is how utterly manufactured the characters are.
Topgavin
Started watching Love Live and it's made me wonder; is it better to have an mc that does things annoyingly wrong or satisfyingly wrong? Like, Yui from k-on does a lot wrong but it never leads to anything wrong or bad, but Honoka's rather selfish and ends up screwing things up for people. I know doing this is good for char. development but I honestly enjoy these shows more as moeblob peacefulness.
Anonymous66886
Hey
afgm
i did summer session so I have a midterm every two weeks
K-Off
@afgm Midterms? Most university/college systems would be starting school right around this time.
afgm
Midterms have been slowing me down considerably haha
afgm
@K-off: yeah I did! thanks for that. I've been looking through the code stuff, just getting to know it.
reaLjustified
I think the rabbit character does the job
reaLjustified
I think the banner might look even better without the girl. Or make her tiny and off in the distance. I don't know, I'm not an artist by any stretch so that's just me.
K-Off
Finally bought my first new car, a 2015 Altima, my used Sentra served me well for 3 years but damn was it a pain in the ass, and of course its trade in value was fuck-all. But luckily my credit is good enough for me to land a relatively low annual interest rate. Which is excellent because I need to shave off my remaining student loans to maximize my dti since I want to purchase a home
Kaiser Eoghan
You might say the new banner will be...Friendtastic!
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm fairly content with either the top one or the bottom one either way. Though the current banner does have the character standing on the left.
K-Off
@Friend Looks great, and I prefer the bottom one. Maybe it's just me but the tree hugging the leftmost edge makes it look a little inclusive.
@Afgm Forgot to tell you but I did change your status a few days ago, hope you noticed it.
afgm
It's beautiful, Friend
Fri3nd
@Anonymous Thank you, it's my values, a quick lasso selection and a levels adjustment should give that a quick fix :P
Anonymous60656
Looks really nice. some lighting variation to create a sense of depth and atmosphere would be nice @Friend. It looks quite flat for some reason even though you have four layers to play with
Ikhta
@Kaiser Eoghan Yeah I think the same too. Hopefully. Thanks Kaiser
Friend
Here is what it will more or less look like by the end (https://i.imgur.com/hnB8lpd.png) I'm going to render the rest and add more atmosphere with some wisps of light. Let me know which one you prefer! If I'm not happy with it by the end I might even just scrap it, I don't want to force a design for the site :D
afgm
heard*
afgm
Unfortunately, I have heared that Amanchu is actually propaganda from an alien species set on annihilating civilization through cultural and religious dominance
Kaiser Eoghan
@Ikhta: You can relax on that front and breathe easy, Amanchu is basically simple, cute slice of life quasi-sports comedy that kind of gets more moe-ish later on.
Ikhta
Oops sorry. After I send a msg, I can see my previous msgs. Sorry about that. Weird, why is the chat box like this o_o
Ikhta
I just reloaded the page my msgs are gone. Wth is wrong with this website? Why was msg deleted?
Ikhta
Does anyone know?
Ikhta
Hi can anyone tell me is Amanchu illuminati or not? I'm a christian. I don't want to be watching it if its demonic,anti christ or illuminati.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I'm syked for baldr sky and that other apparently fucked up one thats getting translated soon we talked about with ninja.
Kaiser Eoghan
...damn you shoutbox...auto-hyphening me as you do...
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, how things change, at 19? I think I was at the time I remember un-ironically thinking school days ending/second half was clever/different/subversive. Now I find it idiotic, silly and manipulative regarding the protag being a cheap attempt to get the audiences hate.
Kaiser Eoghan
Some don't seem to like the second season of EF as much as the first, just putting that out there. I remember its visual style being a selling point and shaft at their A-game stylistically. Wish I'd watched it dubbed though, the eyepatch girls voice was irritating as all hell in Japanese.
AidanAK47
EF is alright. I can promise it's not another school days.
Anonymous59512
Bleh 91days running behind schedule and had to run a recap episode. Doesn't bode well.
Anonymous59460
Do you recommend that I watch EF? I don't want another School Days.
AidanAK47
Yep. They are making it out that shes a relative of Luvia.
Masky
I mean, I didn't even realize she was supposed to be a Finn before you said that, I didn't caught on that when anime called Miyu "transfer student from Finland", its because Luvia sort of adopted her into Edelfelt family or something?(iirc)
Masky
Anyway, so regardless of subjective experiences, does anyone have a clue why Luvia Edelfelt is a Finn anyway? .-. I'd have thought she is anime British... Is there actual reason besides "let's pick random European country"?
Masky
Yeah I wouldn't mind message deletion on those ones
AidanAK47
If you want I can delete those messages. Anyway this chatbox refreshes every two minutes so you might need to refresh the page to see new posts.
Masky
I mean, like, you pointed out that I was talking about superficial stuff right before I point out that I was referring to superficial stuff :'D So yeah, blergh, wasted time writing that
Masky
Also ah dang it, you posted something right before I posted it so you just ninja'd me .-.
Masky
Meant to write "(so countries that aren't England, German, France-)" xD
Masky
Oops typo there
Masky
Well yeah, I haven't checked how many times each of different European countries are mentioned in variety of Japanese media, all I said was that out of lesser known countries(England, German, France, Spain, etc) I have seen Finland referred most and that weirds me out xD
AidanAK47
Anyway I get what you mean but I feel you just focus too much on drawing connections on a superficial level. If you simplify something down you can draw connections between anything but it's the details that make all the difference.
AidanAK47
@Masky, But whats the point of making a statement if that statement isn't true or at least holds ground? Generalized statmements are annoying because they are often said in ignorance because the one making the statement hasn't bothered to verify it and is basing it entirely on an unreliable and selective memory.
Anonymous58340
Things that are generally true tend to be true generally
Masky
This is why generalized statements are annoying, because someone always take them too seriously and nitpicks "but it doesn't happen that often" or "when you say always it isn't always" xD
Masky
I dunno why I bother sometimes, since its not like you want to understand what I mean anyway : D
Masky
@Aidan: Bah, meanie~
afgm
the technology isn't super refined yet, but it definitely has the potential to make drawn animation obselete
afgm
The setting is especially enriched by the CGI
afgm
Berserk is amaaaziiing! Oh my god! The animation is so detailed, movement wise! You can't get that with drawings.
afgm
@SuperMario: lol yeah
AidanAK47
@Mario, That sucks. Though I often find realistionships too troublesome to bother with.
AidanAK47
@Masky, no you often don't. You tend to make random generalized statements. Hence why I assumed this was also a generalisation based on small cases. And it still is.
SuperMario
But Flowers of Evil is a great series, I agree
SuperMario
@afgm: you talking 'bout the anime, right? Because the events after the anime are when sh!ts just got real.
afgm
It's one of my favorite series
afgm
@SuperMario: Flowers of Evil is anti-romance, but it is a celebration of love apart from it. Nothing makes me more hopeful than to watch a protagonist recover from a prolonged and debilitating manic episode.
Masky
So I guess technically she does have Finnish name even though it doesn't really sound like it to my ears...
Masky
Just to note Luvia is tiny municipiality here, never heard of it before though. Edelfelt sounds like it has Swedish origin, but it is name that is name of apparently somewhat famous Finnish painter. I haven't heard of that guy, but I don't really know many Finnish painters because I'm not into art history.
Masky
Joking aside, like I said, Finland is mostly mentioned in otaku pandering material for some bizarre reason. For example, I once saw review of game that is about stripping vampires(not hentai game, can't remember name though) and I noticed it had one random Finnish character who actually did have Finnish name.
Masky
@Aidan: Hah, take that for being arrogant "its on your head" : D I know what I'm talking about most of the time
SuperMario
But isn't it fitting that the anime/manga I'm currently following is Flowers of Evil, a pretty much anti-romance manga. Well, might as well write a reflection on the manga if I feel up to it :)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I wish I were joking, but it's okay. I don't want to bring the atmostphere of the shoutbox down by my personal affairs.
@afgm: thanks man. Well I'm just keep moving on, no use thinking back too much on that.
Kaiser Eoghan
Oh. whoa whoa, I thought Mario was taking the piss/joking with that post...thought wrong.
afgm
@SuperMario: That sucks man. How are you holding up? I know long distance relationships can be hard to maintain -- it gets pretty lonely.
Kaiser Eoghan
Really glad to see that Vinland saga has gotten properly good again, it was starting to get back on track slowly but surely, now it, with this new chapters revelation fully has,
Kaiser Eoghan
Ireland was mentioned in Nabari no ou and an episode of original gundam, two of gundam 00s characters are Irish.
Kaiser Eoghan
I don't like generalized statements, much prefer Colonelized ones actually.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was a dating sim adaptation by studio deen in 2003 that did a girl of the week format, one of the girls was finnish.
SuperMario
Just broke up with my girl after 3 years. Figure that it never works out for a long-term relationship... (That's a generalized statement right there)
AidanAK47
So that's one. Can't say I remember seeing Finland elsewhere besides that show where all the countries are turned into anime characters.
AidanAK47
Luvia Edelfelt is from Finland?! Well damn you learn something new every day.
AidanAK47
And now I find a screenshot of them saying Miyu is from Finland. Which is weird because nothing of the sort was mentioned in the manga.
AidanAK47
Most I seen was anime characters saying Norway which was generally used as a means of saying NO WAY.
AidanAK47
@Anon48363, its sad that when I see a comment like this my first reaction is suspecting its a Bot. Thanks though.
@Masky, nope. No they didn't. I think this may be in your head.
Anonymous48363
Been enjoying the site for 7-8 years, if not longer. Thank you for your efforts in keeping the editorial line intact wrt reviews and happy to discover new content in the process. Keep up the good work!
Masky
Anyway, speaks of your "high taste" I guess. Finland gets brought up in some of otaku fanservice material for some bizarre reason. I'm weirded out by that since Finland is most obscure backwater place I've seen mentioned most out of other obscure countries xD
Masky
Of course it is possible I'm remembering wrong too(and did read wrong) and they did mention it only once :P
Masky
How funny you say that and then mention that weird magical girl spinoff right after wards xD The part where they introduce Miyu to rest of class has teacher saying she is transfer student from Finland, unless I read subtitles wrong
AidanAK47
Gonna wait on the Prisma Illya episode post. Figure I cover two episodes in one considering the slow pace isn't giving me much to work with.
Got to say I thought this would give me much more to talk about.
AidanAK47
I don't remember Finland ever being brought up in anime. Or video games. Or anything for that matter.
Speaking of the preview I have at least checked the source material. Just need to buckle down and start writing it.
Masky
@Bam: I know right? :D
Bam
I agree with K-off regarding keep the business end of stuff off the shoutbox- I just have no means of communicating with all of ya'll. We can Skype, but I suggest Google hangouts for conferencing. That way we may be able to record special podcasts, and now's probably a good time to get this to the next level.
Bam
I also volunteer to help with the workload for the season preview. I would be down to cover two series, but they have to appeal to me, cause there's no way I can be fair and PG-13 with the reviews of aweful shows.
Bam
@Masky: "Generalized statements are in general rather annoying". Hehe, that awefully sounds woefully like a generalized statement to me m8.
Bam
First Dark Souls III DLC titled Ashes of Ariandel just confirmed for an Oct 25th release. Thankfully this time, all regions and platforms are getting the expnasion on the same day. Here is a reveal trailer to launch the Hype Zeppelin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu1NCPMC7D0
Bam
Friend: please send me, or post, the finished banner once you have it complete. I would like to take a gander. Thank you.
Masky
...Espicially since characters supposedly from there rarely have names that sound Finnish.
Masky
So anyhoo, so why is Finland one of countries that tends to get name dropped a lot in anime/manga/japanese video games? As Finnish person that weirds me out
K-Off
@Friend Damn, kind of surprised to see how abstract some of those concept art are for Mulan. But generalizations are just easier to make if all they care about is validation.
Masky
Generalized statements are in general rather annoying, but everyone loves to make them anyway for some reason :D
Friend
I'm nearing completion with our banner, in terms of work-hours Id say 3 hours? But in real life that equates to about 4 days because of stuff.
Friend
Something that annoys me: when a fellow artist makes a generalized statement about the industry by saying something silly like "japanese animated films have more creative input involved." Uggh Google "Alex Nino Mulan Concept" and tell me if you still think that. Sorry about that X/
SuperMario
And it might sound weird to you guys, especially majority of you are in one of the hottest days of summer, but I'm gonna head off to snow mountain for skiing this coming weekend. So expect the weekly posts will be a bit later than usual.
SuperMario
I don't know if that guy @Bond is still lurking around here, but I'm still interested In doing that thing with him
SuperMario
@Aidan: imho, those numbers don't really mean if we have nothing to compare them to. I'll say the ratio between original/ all anime for particular seasons would tell us a lot better
AidanAK47
But it does counter the point of "We don't get enough original anime anymore" which in itself was a pretty silly statement.
AidanAK47
Of course just because they are original doesn't automatically qualify them as good.
AidanAK47
@Anon44887, that logic would apply if it was an exception. 9 original shows last season, 14 original shows this season. 20 in the next. Are they three seasons all an exception?
Anonymous44887
@AidanAK47: An exception that proves the rule
Vonter
Just to ask does any of the shows being reviewed have a great soundtrack. Just asking for asking.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I recall he posted under the name Bold/bond, the same poster who made the chart.
AidanAK47
Who was it again bemoaning that we don't get enough original(Not adaption) anime anymore? Cause there are 20 original shows next season. Great for anime but hard for me cause what am I gonna write in the preview?
AidanAK47
I am a bit too stubborn to burnout.
@afgm, I didn't change a thing.
Anonymous38539
I hope AidanAK47 would not suffer an Anime Burnout. I love this site and it pains to think that one day, no one will be writing the seasonal previews and yearly summary.
SuperMario
@Aidan: you have 91 days's episode as 9 instead of 7
AidanAK47
Bloody hell, even the spambots are referencing Pokemon Go now.
K-Off
For future reference, let's direct admin dialogue to email, apart from direct feedback.
@Mario We're working on allowing users to set up accounts.
SuperMario
And the constant anonymous names just keep bugging me. Can we make it back to the old shoutbox, where you have to put down your name in order to write message?
SuperMario
I think it's one thing leads to another. he's getting too burnout that he doesn't know what to write anymore.
AidanAK47
@Anon36049, pretty much what he said. Though it seems to be a combination of anime burnout and writers block.
Anonymous36271
He suffered from anime burnout and is getting on with real life.
Anonymous36049
Hi guys I havent been around for a long time. Does anyone know what happened to psgels? I see that the new posts are not his.
AidanAK47
Disgaea 2 coming to steam. Sweet.
Gotta finish Disgaea 1 and hope they don't screw up the port on release day again.
AidanAK47
Illuminati are everywhere, regardless of wherther it's anime or not. Sword Art Online was the work of the illuminati. All in the name of the gaint magic eyeball triange god do they rule the landscape of entertainment medium.
Also Magic Eyeball-kun also argees that Rem is best girl. And none shall dare denounce that claim.
SuperMario
@Anony35181: never thought they're that much interested in anime thou
Anonymous35181
@supermario, illuminati confirmed
SuperMario
Is it just me or couple of messages from the shoutbox just gone missing?
Topgavin
Haven't been watching it myself, but apparently in Taboo Tattoo, that large-chested high school girl died while running *onto a live battlefield* to check on her boyfriend with a shirt that said "flag". 10/10
K-Off
@afgm Sent you a message.
@Friend Looks good, I'd be interested in seeing multiple witches as well.
Anonymous32745
Chemotherapy is a cause of cancer rather than a cure.
Anonymous32745
If you know someone dying of cancer, immediately inform them that allopathic medicine will kill them and turn them to natural remedies which often work.
Anonymous32745
"Medicine and science are powerfully institutionalized, but no institution or profession has existed for the purpose of encouraging people to act reasonably." - Ray Peat
afgm
.
afgm
@Friend: yeah it's a problem
@Koff: I emailed you a while back. did you get it?
Fri3nd
Huh, I can't use my username.
@Bam You're right, I'll work on it.
Bam
@K-off: It's moments like these that really remind you of mortality. People pull thru tho. medical science has come far in that field; but definitely not far enough.
Bam
@Friend: It's looks pretty good. I like Mario's suggestion of a series of witches, but a solitary one is more in-tune with the current banner. I would say however that there is too much dark in the negative space to the right. Could be just me tho.
Bam
@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Total users: 34

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