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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CJayTiiii
Honestly, if you are going to Kyoto essentially no shrine is worth visiting in Tokyo because none of them are as nice as the ones in Kyoto and they are essentially all tourist traps.
K-Off
If you guys insist I'll give Osaka serious consideration. But again I'd hate to gloss over Kyoto or Tokyo. But anyhow my 4 week stay in Seoul will be eternity compared to the Japan trip.
CJayTiii
Ikebukuro is probably used almost as much as shibuya? Specifically for durarara right around the station (east side) is used a lot. Kabuki-Cho in shinjuku is definitely used a lot but I couldn't tell you in what off the top of my head.
CJayTiii
Also as someone who lived in Kyoto and now lives in Tokyo, I would suggest spending as much time as possible in Kyoto as there is just so much stuff to do there. Tokyo there honestly really isn't that much stuff to do here other than going out to drink I feel. Lol also Osaka is only a 30 min train ride (about 5$ USD) from Kyoto so it's easy to go there for a couple hours
K-Off
@Mario I'll be home by new years unfortunately, I'll have to settle for Christmas in tokyo.
@CJay Thanks, any suggestions for Tokyo? I'm trying to avoid cliché locations for anime-related scenery. Like Shibuya.
CJayTiii
For Kyoto, Tatami Galaxy is probably the best anime for side by side comparisons. Kamogawa river, Kiyamachi street, and shimogamo shrine are famous areas that pretty much constantly make appearances throughout the show.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Disney Tokyo? haha If it was me I've chosen somewhere more... locally. But who I am to judge as I celebrated last New Year Eve in Times Square, the most tourist spot of them all. But I really hope you can spend some time to go to some shrines for the New Year in Tokyo.
K-Off
@Mario The person I'm travelling with wants to spend Christmas at Disney Tokyo, and unsurprisingly nearly all places will still be open, same as NYC. Christ, I'm more worried about my wallet.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Makes sense. I'd say better stick in one place for long days rather than short trips in several places. Even 10 days for those 2 places wouldn't be enough imo, well especially during Xmas since the streets will be busy and many places could be closed (I guess?)
K-Off
@Mario It doesn't seem like I'll go to Osaka, the goal is to explore Kyoto and Tokyo and much as possible for a week and a half. If I can squeeze it in there I will, but that means spending less time in Kyoto and/or Tokyo. The bulk of my trip will be in Tokyo for now.
SuperMario
Yeah, Kenshin had a whole Kyoto act, but it was more historical anw and I feel it didn't explore the city that much (more of a ruined city)
Really, only uchoten Kazoku, tatami galaxy and durarara come to mind. Are you planning to go to Osaka as well? I heard from my friend Osaka is about an hour drive from Kyoto only.
K-Off
@Anon174851 Ah good one.
@Mike Thanks. Durarara is a good suggestion, but I haven't watched Rurouni Kenshin.
Mike
@Kaiser Sure, the story doesn't do anything for me but it's not a waste of time.
@K-Off You can do pretty much anything in Tokyo I'll bet. Anime in general aside from shows like Durarara don't emphasize the setting very much... Kyoto is more interesting, rurouni kenshin is the first thing that comes to mind.
Anonymous174851
uchouten kazoku is a really good one set in kyoto!
K-Off
Haven't heard of it. Anyways, do you guys have any suggestions for favorite anime series set in Kyoto or Tokyo? I'm planning my itinerary and the idea is to take a lot of side by side comparison pictures from their anime depictions to RL. I have YuruYuri, SYD, Detective Conan, and various KyoAni spots in mind, but my brain isn't remembering others.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm considering finding some War/military manga to read, has anyone read Gunka no balthazar? Is it worthwhile?
AidanAK47
@Anon164960, They announced a second season for it so they ain't done with that trainwreck yet.
Anonymous165129
Gate
Anonymous164960
So Rewrite took the "Bad End" route. Interesting. Their choice, not the show of course which was a freaking mess from start to finish.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, reminding me that I have not left Ireland since 2012 when I went to Rome. Although I have floated around the idea of maybe going to Slovakia.
K-Off
@Mario Thanks, although I'll be working the whole time I'm at Seoul with sundays off. Expecting about 40-50 hours of work a week. Sucks that your trip got canned, in the Winter there's no place you'd want to be other than southern California.
SuperMario
Congrats K-Off. Hope you enjoy the trip. I myself originally planned to go to US on this December but now the plan got wrecked. Should be fun spending Xmas in Japan especially
K-Off
Got my international drivers permit from AAA today, and it also looks like I'm stuck with over half the travel fees since I've signed myself off the agency plan. It's now official, I'm going to Seoul and then spending my christmas holidays in Tokyo. Been a long time since I left the country, last time was in 2011.
SuperMario
That was me Mario
Anonymous140274
@Masky: it wasn't, but Gui Niao did mention the pipe has multi-purpose functions: do far he uses the pipe to write, to create a hallucination smoke, to make an actual bushfire, to open the lock, now to be a sword-pipe. What's next? To be a wifi modem? to be a boomerang? to shapeshift into an umbrella?
Masky
So Thunderbolts Fantasy :D Totally called the pipe being a sword (assuming it wasn't shown earlier and I just forgot about it)
AidanAK47
@Anon146321, typos are hard to avoid when you write fast. What's really important to is that the point gets across, which it did.
Anonymous146321
Medium not meduim
Masky
I wonder if trolls consider people explaining why their trolling is bad a successful trolling .-. I mean, my experience is that most of trolls aren't really smartest or most creative of people, I think most of them are happy if people just talk about them.
AidanAK47
@Anon141285, oh come on boy. Put some effort into trolling. You need to get people to actual think you believe what you are saying. Here you have already messed up because you use the old "Chinese cartoons" which is supposed to piss of anime fans because it suggests you are ignorant of the meduim but then you reference the nukes showing full well you know where they are from. You have failed.
Anonymous141285
Chinese cartoons proof that two nukes weren't enough. Or were too much depending on the perspective
SuperMario
oh, talking about teenage horror female movie, make sure to check out Raw whenever its available online. That is one hell of a fun cannibal ride!
SuperMario
my point is we tend to spend our stupid 20s phase feel like its wasted, but really it does help develop our hobby/sense/wisdom, whatever it is.
Kaiser Eoghan
I find myself now that I've grown up wanting to punch kid characters from horror films lol
Kaiser Eoghan
About the watching stories with younger female characters...its starting to feel like I shouldn't be or that it doesn't feel appropriate, actually sort of awkward/skeevy.
SuperMario
True enough. But remember that even Quentin Tarantino had his 20s basically just a movie-clerk, watched movies like a maniac and he made that classic Pulp Fiction when he was like 33
Kaiser Eoghan
Looking back It feels dickish that I laughed reading NHK.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean look at Re-life, I mean ow, everyone went through that.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think we'll find that stage where we'll get irritated by stories reminding us of our stupid 20s phases eventually just as some teenage focused anime/manga annoyingly remind us of being teens.
Kaiser Eoghan
In terms of anime/manga, much as I'd still see myself liking NHK I could see myself getting more frustrated with the lead character now being in my early 30s.
Kaiser Eoghan
In the past year I've been looking at hentai/ecchi imageboards not as often as I used to.
Kaiser Eoghan
Judy Delphy and Juliette Binoche have aged surprisingly well...
Ah its less fancying/finding them attractive, moreso taking notice of them.
SuperMario
I can understand the others but Meryl Streep too? Man, you're aging I can tell
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Sreep, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: like whom if I may ask?
SuperMario
But I'm always interested in women issues myself so Mustang just hit me hard
Kaiser Eoghan
Its a sign of me aging I guess too. I'm noticing older actresses too now where I wouldn't have in the past.
SuperMario
Looking forward to Under the Shadow too, also really keen to see how The Bad Batch would turn out to be
SuperMario
Strangely I've become more engaged with teen, coming-of-age films recently (well, Aku no Hana is sort of teen drama as well),but yes, old man's psyche is my thing too
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Synecdoche, the passenger, winter light, anomalisa , wild strawberries , la notte for example.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The day is coming where drama centred around twentyboppers won't have the same level of effect on me. Had I seen buffalo 66 5 years ago I would have been all over it. Old man/middle age angst is becoming more my thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm honestly having a harder time getting into films that focus on young girls/teenagers.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Theres only a few upcoming films left I'm looking forward to, Elle, Valley violence, whispering star and under the shadow.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I appreciate mustang for the issue it deals with and addresses but I felt it predictable and the drama didn't hit harshly enough. It feels like an academy/oscars film.
SuperMario
Kaiser: remember I mention about watching those 96 Cannes line-ups? I think I will get to watch them soon, since I downloaded all the movies already
SuperMario
@Kaiser: btw, you hated Mustang? It's also one of my favorite film so far.
SuperMario
but maybe think of it that way will make the manga more entertaining...
SuperMario
You see Aku no Hana as a dark comedy? haha I'm speechless
Kaiser Eoghan
Like you Mario I don't care for heavy infodumping and that took me out of the new world.
Kaiser Eoghan
Bebop had that problem for me in that I saw outlaw star and trigun first.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still feel aku no hana is a guilty pleasure manga, a crazy dark comedy or maybe thats just my humour.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hataraku had me laughing up to episode 7, while Amagi felt stale from the start.
Looking back on Baccano I still like Claire and Russo but the other characters not so much, the main series is enjoyable enough but the extra episodes hold back the score.
I've never watched Habane straight through although I have finished the series. Ghost vs ergo? Ergos final episode wrecked the show.
Topgavin
I thing Hataraku was a lot more consistent, but Amagi had some standout episodes. For me the OVA, the pirate ship episode and the school episode were great. "Simply put, we have to go lewder" is one of my fav quotes
K-Off
How was that by the way? I never bothered to watch Amagi Brilliant Park all the way through because I felt so cynical about it after the first two episodes. Hataraku Mao Sama on the other hand was genuinely refreshing for the first half of the season.
SuperMario
In other news, The Eccentric Family is getting 2nd season. Now I'm filled with joy
SuperMario
Still feel bad to compare an 1-cour series (Baccano) to an 4-cours one. But in this case Baccano would take my cake.
Topgavin
I reckon The Devil is a Part Timer vs Amagi Brilliant Park would be a fun one, and I wouldn't know which would win.
AidanAK47
Baccano vs Durarara might make a good matchup. Baccano is the better one but Durarara does seem to be more popular.
Syndrome
Yeah it is a bit obvious and they dont share much in common anyway. Just that they are two of the most well known anime out there. I enjoyed NGE more than Cowboy Bebop, but I agree on the later beeing overall a better anime.
AidanAK47
Oh look. Berserks Manga is on Haitus again. Muira...just..at this point I ain't even mad. Just disappointed.
SuperMario
Well, new post on Flowers of Evil is out. Come eat it up.
SuperMario
@Syndrome: was thinking about that match-up (NGE vs Cowboy Bebop) but isn't it too obvious? I always intend to pick something that caught you guys off-guard haha
AidanAK47
@Syndrome, no contest. Cowboy Bebop wins outright.
Syndrome
On a serious note, for related anime, I would be curious about something like Ergo Proxy against Ghost in the Shell
Syndrome
Go for NGE vs Cowboy Bebop and watch the world burn
SuperMario
Yeah, I agree it's one of the main factors, but even so From the New World had a higher grade too. But I wouldn't pick Haibane Renmei against From the New World if I didn't think it had a chance to win. Those who loved the former really loved it, while people more appreciate From the New World than actually love it. Well, can't beat the consensus I guess.
Topgavin
I'd say a major reason for that would be the popularity difference. On MAL, Haibane has a following of 110k people, with FTNW having 270k.
SuperMario
I'm personally quite disappointed with the results. Will try harder for a more competitive match-up next time
AidanAK47
@Mario, if you say so. I say by now the victor has been decided.
SuperMario
@Aidan: we don't need to sticky the Versus Show again, as I will put up the Aku no Hana post tomorrow anyway
AidanAK47
Yeah the brightness got a bit much in some places after episode 18.
Topgavin
I thought the brightness was done well in the episode with Rem sitting beside Subaru's bed and her smiling/crying, but yeah this was too much
SuperMario
@anon125687: my thought exactly. While I was watching it I thought to myself that it's too bright!!
Anonymous125687
Why do final episodes overdo the blur effect and fuzzy lighting its literally over dramatic cancer. Just let it end normally ffs
afgm
Well, it's hard, since it doesn't really feel finished, so even if you know it will eventually end well if given a chance, you can't really put your full confidence behind those bets
AidanAK47
Got a bit long winded in that review and yet I feel like I really didn't get across what makes the series so good.
AidanAK47
Well that's the Re:Zero review written up. I will get to work on 91 days next and maybe Prisms Illya maybe after that. Lost all entuasim after they messed up that last episode in Illya. Overall it's been pretty disappointing.
AidanAK47
As for that twist. I think they could work it easily into a first episode. The impact would still be there for people marathoning the thing in the future and it would be a good "Oh Shit!" moment to start the second season. If they jump ahead a bit to a certain moment it would actually make for a great opener.
AidanAK47
I say the only chance of season two not coming would be if White Fox doesn't like money. Considering that the pace which the light novel adaption has sped up from every few months to a release every month I guess that they want to make that second season as badly as we want it. At this pace they could start a second season in maybe a years time. Maybe every half a year depending on cour length.
Syndrome
Also, if season 2 ever come (that would be a surprise if not, and truly annoying), I dont know how they will manage with the "twist", as something this impactful would come way too fast without any kind of setup. Wait and see, I guess.
Syndrome
After seeing the last Re:Zero I couldnt help but spoil myself, and I kind of understand why WhiteFox went with that kind of ending, skipping what would be a giant shtstorm on the internet. Even though, in a sad world where there would be no season 2, Im still a bit disappointed with the ending. Its nice to wrap it up this way but its a stale regarding the plot and there is no food for thought.
SuperMario
@aidan: you sure are fast when it comes to Re:Zero haha. Alrighty, we'll go with that then
AidanAK47
@mario,I am putting up a Re:Zero post. Tommarrow. I will unsticky it for a day and then we can sticky it again.
reaLjustified
@K-Off No worries, it's so messed up. Stay safe.
SuperMario
@Aidan: if you going to post Re:Zero review soon, you can unsticky the Versus Show post, otherwise I will take it down in 2 days
SuperMario
@K-Off: I feel for ya. Glad that there were only minor injuries. I heard a blogger claimed that he did it because of the gay rights. Sound bullsh*t to me
K-Off
Shit ton of manga have gotten updates but I don't feel like talking about them for a while, lost my appetite.
K-Off
@Kaiser Living in NYC all my life I remember 9/11, flight 587 crash in Queens, the Hudson River water landing, and now this.
AidanAK47
So far it seems most of the people calling it disappointing are those who know whats comes after that last scene and were looking forward to how the fanbase reacts to it. But it would have been a pretty terrible as well as evil way to end the series.
Topgavin
Yeah, I thought it gave enough closure for us to be satisfied yet still desperately wanting the next season.
AidanAK47
@Anon120947, I really don't see what's so disappointing about it. I thought it was a pretty solid way to end the series.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think at most the worst thing that happened in my area was two conmen going around and an gangster attack on a nearby hotel.
Kaiser Eoghan
@K-off: Honestly, glad to hear you're safe. And having a bomb go off nearby would make me feel paranoid.
@Anon: I'm waiting, waiting for reviews written after the show ends.
Anonymous120947
Feels like it has been done this way in case of a never happening season 2... to kind of close it.
Anonymous120947
Wow, that last episode of Re:Zero was pure straight disapointment... finishing like this feels is real suffering.
K-Off
Well, we don't know yet. We don't know who did it, if it was connected to the pipe bomb explosion in jersey, etc. But the second device found on 27th street does seem to point the situation towards terrorism.
afgm
Luckily it doesn't seem to be a terror attack
K-Off
Yeah. I was a good 8 blocks away inside a restaurant so I didn't even know until later. It must have been a pretty small bomb since all the injured have apparently already been released from the hospital.
AidanAK47
Damn. Just looked it up. Good thing you weren't at the area when the bomb went off.
K-Off
Fucking hell, transit is so congested I still can't get home. Luckily it seems like there's no fatalities according to the initial reports, there are still a shit ton of people around central for shelter. I didn't hear or feel the explosion at chelsea, and currently I'm at lenox with my bicycle. So congested it looks like I'm going to have to walk my bike a few more miles before I get picked up. L
AidanAK47
Watched The Empire of Corpses. I makes me sad to see a great idea be turned into such a mediocre movie. I think this concept could have been put to much better use but instead it decided to go with the blandest option.
SuperMario
The guy who will direct it is a live-action director who only had Psycho Pass the Movie (not a good one) as an anime director. WTH? Don't know what to think about this new FLCL now
SuperMario
and it will be co-produced by Adult Swim on top of that?
SuperMario
How comes I just noticed this old news that FLCL will get two-seasons sequel...
Masky
And by that I mean "Huh, haven't checked the blog for two days"
Masky
Yay commenting on two days old blog posts
AidanAK47
Finished rewatching Re:Zero and now ready for the finale. Let's see how this goes.
AidanAK47
I will be mourning the now dead hope of a somewhat decent Berserk adaption.
The last few episodes were not bad but purely on the merits of the source material and not the adaption.
SuperMario
@Bam: I'll be mourning indeed.
@Anon 112098: I haven't watched Chef, but it has more to do with me not interested in chef's life whatsoever. Is it good?
Bam
I'm out of town until Sunday evening. The Berserk finale post will hopefully be up early Monday mourning, followed by the overall cour review a bit later in the week.
Anonymous112098
Habe u seen Chef with John Favreau?
AidanAK47
I am quite upset with how Sliver link handled that scene. It was the one scene I wanted done right. Just that one scene...and they screwed it up.
SuperMario
He scored the Prince of Egypt? I didn't know that, but yeah I remember it had a great score. Also "When you believe"
K-Off
Well, a lot of his earlier work is just brilliant. Prince of Egypt in my opinion is his greatest work.
SuperMario
*nothing wrong
SuperMario
Well, Hans Zimmer could do nothing really; but that's a reason why I have a bit of problem with his scores. Everything he made are solid but ultimately sound the same to me.
SuperMario
Agree that the music has been excellent. Not only the soundtrack thou, but the sound editting in general is great (that ringtone during the Great Whale for example).
AidanAK47
@Mario, Understandable. As much as I love this show, I admit that it has elements I am sure could turn off people.
Also I really should have talked about the music in this series more. It really is a phenomenal soundtrack. I hear they were going with a more cinematic approach to it with Hans Zimmer being a primary inspiration.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it has been a fun ride, I'm glad I stick with it till the end; although I'm not as enthusiastic about it as you are. :)
AidanAK47
Re-watching Re:Zero in preparation for the finale. Still is awesome a second time through. In fact the middle part of the series I felt dragged fairs a whole lot better when marathoned though. Noticing a number of things watching the second time. For one Roswell has a really goddamn annoying way of talking. I say I will be giving this on a very favorable review.
Anonymous110962
Hugh Mungus
AidanAK47
@TopGavin, I haven't watched it yet but I hope what you said about the animation isn't too bad because this is where they need to be on top of their game.
Topgavin
So that fate episode was interesting, lotsa stuff happened. Seemed like the animation was worse than usual and my god how could the subs screw up the incantation.
reaLjustified
@Aramus Why would you want to send the picture to your friend? Tell 'em to see it for themselves at the site! lol.
Friend
Most of the time they meant no harm, I think it's always about getting recognition. They quickly take them down after I send them a polite email, and I let them save their ego without smearing them on their page.
afgm
(ok maybe a little fault should go to them lol)
afgm
@Friend: That sucks, but its definitely understandable. People can be pretty thoughtless at times (no fault to them of course).
afgm
tiger mask did make it into the upper quartile though, which is surprising
Friend
@afgm I don't have a large internet presence with my work exactly because I've had situations with theft on Pinterest. For work, I just carry USBs with my portfolio pieces in them :/
Friend
@Aramus Heya, thanks for the inquiry. Unfortunately the fell image won't be available openly unless for commercial purposes, but otherwise feel free to contact me in my business email! :)
afgm
ah you know what? I read the title Time Bokan 24 and thought it had 24 votes x)
SuperMario
@afgm: Time Bokan receives 0 vote the last time I checked it. I'm more surprised that people love Haikyuu that much
SuperMario
Such a shame because I enjoy writing it a lot
SuperMario
2 more episodes on Thunderbolt Fantasy and I might break the sites' record (hall of shame really) for covering a show without any comment, haha.
afgm
Also what is Time Bokan and why does it have more votes than 95% of the other anime in the poll haha
afgm
well it's always iffy giving out images without the creator knowing. You can never know where its going to end up. I strongly suggest you contact Friend.
aramus1
@Afgm Sorry, I was the anon. The weird username thing is bugging out. And was going to send it to a friend, did she not want it out there?
afgm
@anon: you better not be thinking about refistributing the image without her consent. youre better off contacting her on her homepage...
AidanAK47
@Anon108797, In the comments he mentions that it's an April Fools joke. So there is hope for humanity yet.
Anonymous108797
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bBa44-FIqk Why does this even exist
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