Posted on 31 March 2012 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

The Legend of Korra

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is the legendary chosen one.
Allright already! I give in; I’ll watch the first episode of this Avatar sequel. Normally I don’t cover American animation, but with this there were so many people requesting it. My impression is, that it’s indeed a pretty good series based on this first impression. The animation is really good: it is inspired by anime’s level of detail in its art, yet manages to retain the amount of fluidity that’s typical of American animation. There are some cliches in the cast of characters, like the spunky kid in the middle of a dignified Asian-inspired setting, which is quite common in these types of stories, and Korra herself definitely has her annoying moments. I am intrigued however by the politics in this series, although I have no idea what role the main character will end up playing in this. Everyone keeps talking about how she’s special as the avatar, but most of the problems that are presented in this episode don’t really seem like problems that can be solved by someone who just happens to be able to “bend” multiple elements.
ED: Very fast credits. Good music.
Potential: 80%

Ginga he Kickoff

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to found a football team.
Uh so yeah. Don’t ask me why, but we suddenly got treated to the fifth episode of Ginga he Kickoff. As for what happened to the first four… I have no idea. So I just watched the fifth episode of this series, and really, it’s fairly representative of the nature of this series. There were parts I enjoyed. The cast of side-characters is fairly nice. Better than Area no Kishi in any case. It just has one really, really big problem: the main character! Good lord, this kid is horrible. He keeps yelling and whining throughout the entire episode. In this episode he wants a certain person to become the coach of his football team, and do you know how he ends up doing it? By whining and whining and whining until the coach can’t take it anymore. Yes, the parents in the world will be thankful to this series.
OP: Very cheesy J-Pop
ED: Another dull song.
Potential: 10%

Natsuiro Kiseki

Short Synopsis: Our lead characters are a bunch of middle school girls.
Okay. I am intrigues. I’m definitely going to keep watching this series. I’m not going to say why; you just need to watch this episode for yourself. Instead I’m going to talk a bit about this episode in general. Natsuiro Kiseki was a series that I really feared would just become another copy and paste moeblob clone. However, the execution is different from your average series. There is actual tension between the characters, and not in the usual clown-straight man pairing, but it feels much more natural than usual. It still has its problems of being way too angsty. There is in particular a blond girl in this show who needs to lay off the angst, because she kept causing drama that could have been solved by proper communication. Despite that though, this series doesn’t feel random, but the characters are actually talking about something. Some characters are a tad cliched (the deadpan girl in particular), but others are actually pretty inspired (the green-haired girl in this show is actually an interesting variation on the “ditzy girl”-archetype).
OP: Dull J-rock.
ED: Dull J-pop (for those who are new to this blog: yes, I kindof dislike these genres)
Potential: 80%

Posted on with categories: Mouretsu Pirates

Okay, so the princesses are now recurring characters. Yeah, Gruier found it so much fun as a regular student that she decided to stay a while longer on Marika’s school, taking her little sister along with her. It’s a bit forced, but I get what the creators were gong for: they’re princesses, so they should be allowed to be children for a while.

The rest of this episode was a quiet aftermath, mostly dedicated to the everyone passing a year. The captain of the yacht club is gone now, and there are a few new characters introduced. Nothing special, but it did give a good feel of its characters. The downside is that we’re probably going to have to wait a while until things get interesting again. I was hoping that this series would be more like Stellvia, having just one build-up arc at the beginning, but it seems that this is much more arc-based.

My favorite part of this was probably Ririka. She’s a really interesting mother for an anime: she stays in the background, as it’s obviously not her story, but she is not a mother who is there for the sake of having a mother here. In this episode she actually thought to change jobs, in order to find something to do that she really enjoyed. It’s also interesting how Marika addresses her by her first name, rather than the usual “okaa-san” or “mama”.Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

Okay, so during the summer season of 2011, I remember how I kept saying that modern anime are too short, and how more series should try to be longer. Well, the past half year showed the other side of that extreme when a large amount of the big flops were… series that went on for longer than 13 episodes: Bakuman dragged, Persona was terribly paced, Guilty Crown was terribly written, Last Exile had a bit of a bad main character syndrome and Squid Girl II was a pointless sequel.

And at the same time, the three best endings of this season… all were from series based on manga that are still on-going. Hmm…

#23 (new) – Hiiro no Kakera – (4,5/10) – Yet again Studio Deen keeps making the same bloody show that is as lazily executed as ever. Yet again we have a really dull bishie show with cardboard cut-outs. And what I really don’t get is why this show has the character designer of Ergo Proxy. I mean, the characters in this series look utterly terrible. What was the need to bring a guy like him around if you’re not going to use him?
#22 (new) – Gakkatsu – (6/10) – A random flash show, thankfully better executed than usual. It still was very dull and gimmicky, though.
#21 (20) – Guilty Crown – (7/10) – I… guess that this month wasn’t the worst month in terms of plot, but it was the month that convinced me what a huge waste of time it was to keep up with this series. I really got nothing out of it, other than bragging rights that I managed to finish such a dull and badly written series. And heck, even the ending was full of the most stupid plot twists. I am not looking forward to Accel World, considering how it shares the same scriptwriter.
#20 (new) – Ozuma – (7,6/10) – Considering Ryousuke Takahashi’s involvement, this was a bit of a disappointment in how sloppy it was, and how annoying the main character is. I like the idea of a sand submarine though, and with that the creators played a nice homage to the likes of Das Boot and other submarine flicks. There is way too much techno-babble, though. You can really see that this is a story from the early 1980s that got adapted almost page to page, without any attempt to give it a modern edge aside from the graphics.
#19 (18) – Black Rock Shooter – (7,75/10) – Thankfully Black Rock Shooter redeemed itself in its second half. Finally there was a bit of a link between the two worlds beyond both having similar characters. Having Mari Okada as the scriptwriter really helped in making everything come together, even though it also lead to perhaps a bit too much sappiness at times. Still, the action was awesome as well and while it’s definitely among the least interesting Noitamina series, it wasn’t the disaster that Guilty Crown turned out to be.
#18 (17) – Papa no Iukoto ni Kikinasai – (7,9/10) – I disliked the open ended nature of this series, because there still is some stuff that really needs to be tackled for the main characters. Still, I can’t deny that it was a very heart-warming month for this series, that really put emphasis the situation that they’re in. This also was the least annoying month for Papa and I’m glad that I kept watching it, despite the very obvious flaws it has.
#17 (19) – Smile Precure – (8/10) – Heartcatch Precure was immediately awesome: right from the start you knew that you were watching something special, so you didn’t have to sit through a string of really boring episodes, just to know whether it was worth it or not. With Smile Precure, this was not the case: the introduction episodes were really boring. I kept watching because of how it wasn’t entirely stupid, unlike Fresh Precure and Suite Precure. The patience was rewarded when this show actually immediately after the introductions got significantly better. The main character is still really annoying, but the characters are actually getting some very good development already.
#16 (15) – Last Exile – Ginyoku no Fam – (8/10) – Thankfully this series didn’t fall apart with its ending. Everyone thankfully stayed true to his or her character, and that’s what made this ending work. The plan of the final villain still was a bit flimsy, and he definitely should have been better fleshed out, but at least he did close off the series well. The final action scenes were again beautifully rendered, but this wasn’t the amazing comeback that Gonzo hoped for. For that, they needed to put more creativity in the plot and characters, beyond the world building.
#15 (16) – Ano Natsu de Matteru – (8/10) – That final twist with Lemon… urgh. The final episode overall was interesting in how it was completely different from the rest of the series. It worked, but the ending was nowhere near the best of the season, nor the highlights of the series itself. Still, it’s a solid ending.
#14 (11) – Nisemonogatari – (8/10) – The strongest point of this series for me was probably last month. The final arc of this series still was pretty good though, and the time that this show was side-tracked was thankfully rather short compared to Shaft’s other series. The pointless incest wasn’t necessary in the slightest, but the creators got a good story out of the characters when it actually tried to be on topic. The gorgeous animation also helped.
#13 (14) – Danshi Koukousei ni Nichijou – (8,25/10)

The ending was pretty good. The final episode in particular had a lot of sketches that worked really well. Overall the abusive girls parts definitely got annoying and repetitive, but once again this month had a number of great jokes.

#12 (5) – Another – (8,25/10)

Another’s ending was not as good as what I hoped. It put a lot of build-up into it, but the finale was full of strange leaps in logic. Still, the revelation of the ghost was very good, the aftermath was well done, and as a gory horror series, it definitely did its job.

#11 (9) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8,25/10)

Akitarou Daichi for god’s sake: stop doing these small comedy series. Don’t get me wrong, Poyopoyo is awesome and hilarious, but a guy of your caliber deserves to work on an actual ambitious full series. Go and have tea with the people from Noitamina or something, because I really do miss that brilliant serious side of yours.

#10 (10) – Mirai Nikki – (8,25/10)

It took a while to get there, and being spoiled in the process definitely wasn’t fun, but now that we’re getting near the end I have to say that the plot took quite a number of entertaining and intriguing turns. In a way, the second half of this series is everything that Guilty Crown should have been, save perhaps from the production values.

#9 (12) – Rinne no Lagrange – (8,25/10)

Overall this was a very solid midway climax. It actually closed a few things off, while giving a hook for the second season and there was a nice amount of character growth. Overall its first half was probably the weakest of the three sci-fi series of Winter 2012, but still the witty direction also was very enjoyable to watch during its final episodes.

#8 (6) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)

The most annoying thing about watching this series is my patience. I mean, with Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, the recap just took 15 episodes. It was a bit annoying, but it was manageable. Hunter X Hunter has been going on for 25 episodes and we’re still nowhere near any new material, and to this point while there are some minute differences. At this point, I do not feel like it’s worth it to watch this series. Sure, there are hints here and there to later on in the series and all, and when we get to them it will probably be awesome. But still: 25 episodes. Still, at the very least this series goes at a faster pace, which really helps during the building up arcs. This month also delivered the background of Killua, which also again was quite good. What I currently like most about it is how it still keeps changing with every episode. It’s not as strong as when the series first started out, but it’s still very much there. That’s exactly what a shounen jump series needs to prevent itself from dragging on horribly.

#7 (8) – Aquarion Evol – (8,25/10)

Aquarion Evol still is consistently enjoyable. It’s over the top romance action, but it combines them all so well that along with the action and the best soundtrack of the season it remains a ton of fun to watch. The past month spent a lot of time on its characters, which also really helps for the second half of this series.

#6 (7) – Mourestu Pirates – (8,4/10)

The conclusion of the Serenity arc was above all very interesting science fiction. Seriously, the promotional material for this series looked very silly, but the creators did deliver some really good ideas, and twelve episodes in they still take their audiences seriously and they don’t just spoon-feed everything on a silver plate. Overall, out of the three big sci-fi series this season, this one turned out to be the most solid.

#5 (4) – Phi Brain – (8,5/10)

The annoying thing about finales that schedule them on April 1st is that I can’t comment on them in these compilation entries. Damn you, high school basketball for delaying that finale one week! Seriously though, everything so far is heading into the direction that we’re going to get a very good midway climax. I still have no clue how on earth the second season will be able to top this, but this is Sato Junichi: he did this before. Seriously, this month has shown some really good twists that fit in perfectly with the story and characters who keep developing. The focus on solving puzzles has gone to the background now: the creators turned them into very creative action-scenes instead, while at the same time the concept of puzzle solving remains the central theme of the series.

#4 (3) – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – (8,5/10)

Bizarre. Just completely bizarre. The finale of the first season took its ending with a lot of grains of salt, but at least it still was a bit comprehensible. The finale of this season, made no complete sense. Oh, it still followed the general conventions of what a finale should be. But the context was just.. completely weird. The intentional cheese was particularly hilarious.

#3 (13) – Inu X Boku SS – (8,6/10)

And so, out of bloody nowhere, Inu X Boku suddenly got 10 times better in its final two episodes. I did not expect that, but the finale of this show was really well written, and everything just came together wonderfully. This show really is weird. There were long strings of episodes where it felt like it could have been so much better… and here the finale comes and delivers with a great character study. It consistently put a smile on my face, and Miketsukami was the first time in a long while where a show actually did justice to a bishie, and actually portrayed one well, rather than making him a walking stereotype. This still is David Production’s worst series, but damn: this made up for a lot here.

#2 (1) – Chihayafuru – (8,75/10)

One of the most difficult parts about compiling this month’s ranking is deciding my favorite series of the season. Usually I have a clear winner: Penguin Drum, Ano Hana and Level E were obviously the best for me in 2011. Here though, I have no idea: my number 1 and 2 are both awesome. Both were by far the best of the past three months, yet lacked that extra oomph to really give them a rating of 90/100. With Chihayafuru, it’s the lost potential of not having a second season. But really,despite such an obvious disadvantage, this series still delivered an amazing ending that managed to push the characters forward. Yes, all of them. Really, the creators should not have bothered with that sequel hook at all. Without that, this really would have topped this montly list.

#1 (2) – Natsume Yuujin-Chou – (8,9/10)

This month however, I really have to give the edge to Natsume Yuujin-Chou. Here is the thing with the fourth season: when compared to the other seasons, its middle arc isn’t as good in comparison. The beginning and end however, are the best so far. The arc with which the creators decided to end was just wonderful. It was an arc that we’ve been waiting for ages now, and really: if it turns out that no more sequels of Natsume Yuujinchou will be made, then I’ll be happy with this as an end. The third season already developed Natsume incredibly well. With this, he got even better.

Posted on 30 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

The past winter was a pretty interesting one for comedies; we were treated to no less than three good ones: Milky Holmes, Poyopoyo and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. Out of those three, I’d say that I found Danshi Koukousei to be the least funny. But heck, it’s still great to see a comedy that manages to bring so much creativity in something as overused as following the lives of a bunch of high school kids.

Every episode pretty much consists out of a collection of pretty short sketches, ranging from one to five minutes in length. In terms of humour, it uses the shotgun shell approach: deliver as many and as different jokes as possible in the hopes that some hit. Because of that, it’s always a bit of a question whether a sketch will work or not, and the ones who don’t work indeed fall flat pretty badly. I’ve got a lot of praise for the ones who do work, though.

As said before, my favorite thing about this series is how creative it can get when it wants to. It loves subverting generic high school cliches, but it also isn’t shy for random slapstick and it also loves to poke fun at Japanese cultural values. The direction and delivery for the jokes is also pretty well done, and in particular Tomokaze Sugita (who also played Gintoki in Gintama) really is on fire as the voice actor of one of the characters. This series also has the same director as the first 100 episodes of Gintama, so it’s no wonder that this guy’s acting talents are used to their full potential. The cast does have a few problems though, most of it has to do that half of the cast can’t decide what kind of character they want to play, and the other half that did decide on this ended up with a cardboard cut-out. Yeah, characterization is not this show’s strongest point.

Probably the weakest sketches are when this series tries to swap gender roles. I’ll leave it in the dark for the sake of spoilers how it exactly does it, but these sketches are too overused: they drag on for too long, they repeat each other too often and they appear too often. The best sketches can’t really be labeled like that. It’s completely random whenever the creators got a brilliant idea, and part of the fun of this series is waiting for those ideas to come. I’d say the ratio between the good and dull sketches is about 50/50. It’s not consistent enough to be a great comedy, but it’ll definitely give you a few good laughs.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very funny and creative when it works.
Characters: 7.5/10 – A few too many cardboard cut-outs. The characters are funny, but have their moments of annoyance.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid sunrise production values.
Setting: 8/10 – Doesn’t get in the way for a comedy.

Suggestions:
Gintama
Hyakko
Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews

I remember Astarotte no Omocha last year. It was a show that looked like pedo-bait, yet seemed to have something deeper and charming, only to reveal after a few episodes that it turned out to be even worse pedo-bait than what it had originally seemed. I still regret giving that show a second chance, and at the start of this season I really was not keen on doing the same to Papa no Iukoto o Kikinasai, a show about a guy who suddenly finds that he’s the father of three cute girls.

Yet, this turned out to be the surprise of the season. I thankfully picked it back up after a lot of people started to recommend it again. And thankfully, this series avoided the Astarotte route and instead it actually tried to tell a very genuine story. It’s not perfect (believe me, it still has a lot of problems), but this series actually delivers quite an interesting look of what it takes to take care of teenaged girls and a toddler, especially when you yourself are only of college age with a measly paying job. It’s quite a heartfelt series, and I definitely did not expect this when I first learned about it.

Even when you ignroe the first impressions though it’s really easy to look past this series. Because it also tries to appeal to the otaku crowd. The result makes this seris a whole lot more annoying than what it should have been. There is a ton of pointless fanservice in this show, and I mean of the worst kind (characters randomly walking into each other changing or bathing. Over and over again…). There also is one particular character: the fat guy. This guy somehow managed to pull it off by being consistently annoying in every single scene he appears in. No exceptions. You’ll get what I mean when you see him.

So yeah, Papa no Iu Koto ni Kikinasai is a slice of life series that at first sight seems really bad annoying, but is very warm and charming on the inside. I wouldn’t recomment it immediately, because there is a lot of fluff in this show, but it’s not a bad watch either if you want to watch something that’s light, yet with substance. My one complaint about the substance is that the ending is a bit flimsy and doesn’t really solve anything. The final episode like, focuses on a problem that pretends to be the climax, yet leaves a bunch of stuff unresolved that really should have been addressed.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Why on earth did this show try to be as annoying as possible?
Characters: 8/10 – Bad moe cliches at first sight, but the development is actually pretty good and heartfelt./td>
Production-Values: 8/10 – Nothing special, nothign that stands out, doesn’t get in the way, although the character designs are pretty bad here…
Setting: 8/10 – An intersting look at parenting. Perhaps not as detailed as with Usagi Drop, but still good in its own way.

Suggestions:
Usagi Drop
Hanamaru Youchien
Kimi to Boku

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews

The most difficult review to write thsi season is Inu X Boku. Most shows were fairly straight-forward to evaluate: the likes of Chihayafuru and Natsume were really, really good, Guilty Crown was pretty bad, Black Rock Shooter was pretty decent. Inu X Boku however, is slightly more difficult.

Those who follow this blog probably know already that I’m a big fan of the producers behind this series: David Production. They really spend time into making shows work best, they don’t bind themselves to genre conventions and their stories are always very creative. It’s because of this that Inu X Boku is the worst TV-series they have done so far, because for a large majority of its airtime, it didn’t really seem to be doing that. Instead we got a fairly mellow series about a girl and her bodyguard with a bit of a combination of shounen and shoujo elements, paired with a large and mis-managed cast of side-characters. The plot and characters never seemed to be really trying to do anything, and while it certainly wasn’t bad, if you compare it to the standard that David Production has set before, then it just ends up a bit borign.

And yet, this show has flashes of brilliance. For some inexplicable reason, this series, despite its boring moments, was able to put a smile on my face with nearly every single episode. This show spends a lot of time on the insecurities of its main character, and the way they play out is actually surprisingly heart-warming. Despite having obvious trouble to keep finding enough things for the characters to do in only 12 episodes, there are quite a few really heart-warming characters in this series.

And then the final two episodes arrive and deliver one of the best finales of the entire season out of bloody nowhere. It’s only here where the writing suddenly gets 10 times better, the build-up all comes together, the characters develop brilliantly, and for the first time in years I can say that I found a show that does the bishie genre justice. Seriously, this show closes off amazingly.

These flashes of brilliance can be found throughout the series, but the big problem with the first 10 episodes is that they don’t use this often enough. The cast of side-characters in particular didn’t work out for this series, as there are a bunch of characters who have a lot of potential, yet hardly get any screentime, while there are also a few characters who just have one gimmick and keep using that over and over. The fangirl lady is by far the worst offender of this.

But you know what? Because of these flashes of brilliance, I’m going to give this show a relatively high rating, because it at least HAS them. Seriously, there are not a lot of shows I can say that of. It’s not like this show falls apart in the middle and I really have to say that I enjoyed watching it a lot. If you want to know why I’m a fan of David production though, this is not the series that best shows their talents. Instead, go pick up Level E or the Armed Librarians or something.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Surprisingly heart-warming, it knos when to get creative. Amazing finale.
Characters: 8,5/10 – Loses points on its side characters: some are fun, others are badyl written, others are underutilized. The main cast is surprisingly well developed.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Crisp animation, though nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – The seetting is far from the main focus of this series. It’s got some nice dieas, and it’s solid, thtough.

Suggestions:
Tactics
Meitantei Loki Ragnarok

Posted on 29 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

And so, I’ll end this Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope the same way I started it: with Inu X Boku SS. This really was a series that got on my nerves a lot. Not because it was bad or anything, but because it’s David Production. These are the guys who always try to do something extra. They take their series, and add stuff, try to do something new and really put thought into how to make their series work best. Inu X Boku did not have that. There were flashes in which it was really good. That’s the reason I originally picked it up to blog. And yet it got side-tracked so often. It’s not like it was full of filler, but instead all of the episodes didn’t even seem to be trying to be engaging, and the underdeveloped cast of side-characters also didn’t help either. It really was just this series that was fun and watchable, but really not much more.

And then the final two episodes aired. And what do you know? They were actually quite brilliant. In fact, save from perhaps Natsume and Chihayafuru, they were the best final two episodes out of the entire season. I did not expect that. At all.

I’m not sure what happened. Suddenly the writing got like 10 times better. In two episodes this series actually succeeded in breathing a tiny bit of life into the bishie genre, which has been so overly polluted during the past few years by the likes of Studio Deen, A-1, Production IG, etc. For the first time since… Kuroshitsuji II I think we’ve gotten another romance involving bishies that is actually really good. The main couple totally redeemed themselves for me here. Like it’s nothing, this series suddenly took all of the build-up of the first 10 episodes, and brought it together, and did it creatively. In fact, this creativity is what set this series above Ano Natsu de Matteru for me. They both are flawed, but where Ano Natsu depended on well executed cliches, this series actually delivered some creative twists that I absolutely loved.

The previous episode was already wonderful in outlining Miketsukami’s background and how everything fits together, I expected this episode to be a boring aftermath again, and it sure started out this way, save for some well written very last minute character development on random side-characters that suddenly made them a lot better. The bartender and his kid in particular. The time capsule was fairly standard for an inconclusive ending… and then Ririchou from out of nowhere realized that she got two letters mixed up. This is a common trope, but I can’t think of another anime in a long time that did this as well as this episode.

It came out of nowhere that this happened, since everyone was treating this as a very sentimental moment, and afterwards the creators went really deep into the characters’ minds. Both Ririchou and Miketsukami were forced to deal with their own insecurities, after the entire series has built them up as being so distant and afraid to show their own feelings. It was an amazing conclusion.

So yeah, reviewing this series will be a bit of a problem: I loved these past two episodes. The majority of the rest of the series though… not so much. I need to get my thoughts sorted out on this a bit.

Overall though: I’ll be keeping my eye out on this new director, because he has shown to be able to get good stuff across in his adaptations. He has flashes of brilliance, but at the same time you can see that he lacks experience, due to all of the wasted potential of this series. If I had to give him one advice, it’s this: keep a leash on your side characters. There are a few who really ruined the fun a bit. The worst offender is the fangirl: she only did one thing over and over. Balance that character out more. You also had this great and colourful cast of characters in the staff of the hotel everyone is staying in, but you hardly ever used them. Such a waste of potential! I know this is an adaptation, but it’s still the job of the anime staff to choose what to focus on, what to cut, and what to spend extra attention on. You may have excellent source material, but if that results in an adaptation like Persona 4’s, then it doesn’t really matter.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews

Amongst the studios that focus too much on moe, I find JC Staff among the better ones. Sure, they have their bad shows, but you can see that they put more effort into their series, compared to the likes of AIC, Xebec or ARMS and their lazy recycled premises. Ano Natsu de Matteru is a great example of this. Yes, it unfortunately has all the cliches: the main character living together with a hot girl, a childhood crush who is in love with him, him being the bland likable guy, spiced up with the deadpan snarker and the ladies’ man. It’s a very bland romance, but ultimately surprisingly well executed.

The best praise that I can give this series: the romance actually goes somewhere. Yes, in a genre that thrives on indecisive characters and pointless and annoying drama, here for once we have a romance that actually develops naturally. The main characters actually realizes what he wants, and rather than waiting for the final episode to get to some sort of confession, this show deals with that stuff slightly earlier than usual in order to actually give everyone the opportunity to sort out their feelings. The result is a surprisingly good drama.

In the character department this series also demonstrates that you can go an end with cliches when they’re well developed. It unfortunately doesn’t apply to every single character, but half of the cast here is actually pretty interestingly developed. To contrast with unfortunately, there are a number of uninteresting characters that drag this show down a bit. The main character ultimately is too bland to really carry this series. The childhood friend also completely gets caught up in her role as childhood friend, without having much else to offer, and the deadpan snarker also has just one gimmick that gets old fast. There also is this horrid beach arc in the middle that shoehorns two very annoying side-characters into the picture who end up doing nothing other than turn this show into a harem.

With the director of Ano Hana behind this series, Ano Natsu is definitely a step down in comparison. Yeah, it’s probably a bit more realistic due to its slower pacing, but I dislike how this show uses half of its cast as walking plot devices, rather than actual characters, when it on the other hand tries to deliver a somewhat realistic romance. More than anything, this feels like watching a mellow version of the first season of Birdy the Mighty Decode with a lot less emphasis on action and its setting.

Yet, I liked this show, and you can definitely see that a lot of attention went into making it work. The romance that works really works here, and it’s got a healthy amount of character development. The animation is also consistently vibrant, successfully bringing these characters to life.

Storytelling: 8/10 – A romance that actually goes somewhere and that doesn’t drag on. Finally!
Characters: 8,5/10 – Half the cast is bland, but the other half is great and well developed. Does that make them worth watching? Yes, actually.
Production-Values: 8,5/10 – Not the best of this season, but that animation still remains very expressive.
Setting: 7,5/10 – The backstory of this show is nice, but it does have its very flimsy sides that are hard to buy at times.

Suggestions:
Introducing the rating of 81/100 back again (rounded down from 81,25, which would be way too specific). When I scraped this rating I did this because I couldn’t really explain the difference between 81/100 and 80/100. Now I can, though: these are very good series, who have a few highlights here and there that make them enjoyable and worth watching.
Birdy the Mighty Decode
Aoi Hana
Ano Hana

Posted on 28 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Chihayafuru




Most people here will be unfamiliar with the game of Karuta. Its rules are fairly simple: two people sit around a bunch of cards that each contain a half of a poem. Someone on the sidelines starts reading cards that contain the other halves of these poems, and it’s up to the player to get each corresponding card as quickly as possible. At first sight it doesn’t seem like your interesting game that you can make a full series off, unlike games as Go, Shougi or Mahjong. But after 25 episodes of Chihayafuru, I had to change my mind about this. This series really managed to show what makes Karuta a great game.

The execution of this series is simply stunning. When you take a look at the animation, for example, movement is incredibly fluid. Scenes are directed with a lot of force and energy behind them. Every single time a character claims a card, it feels like a ton of energy is devoted to just show how difficult this is. The acting also is really excellent, with just about every character and actor giving off a memorable performance.

What really sets this series apart is the way it handles its characters. Seriously, this episode has a cast of about five main characters. Every single episode manages to add something to these characters. Seriously, from the moment they’re introduced, this series very actively tries to flesh out these characters as much as possible, and every episode feels like we get to know more and more about them. The consistency with which this series does this is almost scary, and even the minor characters are colourful and surprisingly well developed.

What this show also does brilliantly is making the skills in Karuta of each of the characters grow. I mean, most training arcs in anime consist of “character trains for a while, character is stronger”. Chihayafuru goes in-depth to this much more than I at first thought it would. It examines what it takes to get good at Karuta, how the best players out there are playing, and it shows the full train of thought of the characters as they try to get better, and try to find out their weaknesses. I mean, this series closes off with an open-ended cliff-hanger (ongoing manga…), but even here the creators managed to actually make all this focus on training come together wonderfully at the end.

If I had to mention a flaw, then it’s this: the series takes place at a high school and is focused on a club whose members enter a bunch of tournaments. The detail on karuta is amazing, but beyond that this series uses a set-up that has been done so often already. This series is just karuta match after karuta match after karuta match, with very little variety along the way. It really solely relies on the karuta and the characters to spice up its story, and it does so brilliantly, however, it also is a bit of a monotone series because of this.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Amazing direction, wonderful pacing. Needs perhaps a tad more variety in its story, but really brings its story to life. The unfinished ending will leave you wanting more, though.
Characters: 9/10 – Amazing characters who keep getting developed and fleshed out. Every epsode adds something new and interesting about them.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Lots of eye candy, very fluid animation.
Setting: 9/10 – When this series started, I thought Karuta was a bit of a boring game. Right now however, I don’t think that anymore. This show really showed a ton of the different sides of the game.

Suggestions:
Hikaru no Go
Ookiku Furikabutte
Shion no Ou

Posted on 27 March 2012 with categories: Chihayafuru

So it was pretty obvious from the start that Chihayafuru and Natsume Yuujinchou would have the best final episodes of this season. But what about the ending? Ironically the best shows this season are both based on manga that are still on-going. Natsume Yuujin-Chou solved it wonderfully. Chihayafuru’s ending did some things really well, but at the same time, it unfortunately also did what I feared for ever since this show was announced: it made me hungry for more. There is so much potential with that ending… that we’re never going to see animated.

But don’t get me wrong though, I loved this episode. Perhaps it wasn’t as intense as the previous episode, but it really brought this series to a great closure, while pushing the charcters even more forward. And yet again it does that for every single member of the main cast. The King match taught the characters a lot about themselves that flowed so naturally from the rest of the series. This episode emphasized even more how different the playstyles of these people.The creators also brilliantly used Arata at the end. Finally he is thinking in-depth about karuta again, and ironically it was Taichi of all people who he needed to remind to do this as well. Everything fitted together amazingly.

And yet, then the second half came, and that teacher suddenly made the deal that the club will lose their position if they can’t recruit five new members. Five new characters will be joining the Karuta club to add to the current main cast!? Talk about potential here! I mean, fleshing out such a large cast is difficult and all, but this is Chihayafuru: if anyone can do it, it’s these guys. This is by far the series that is in most need of a sequel, out of the entire season.

Overall though, I absolutely love sports series. And yet, I have no interest in sports series whatsoever. In fact, I find myself not looking forward to most sports series, because of their premises. And yet, for some really weird reason, the majority of them is incredibly well executed. And this standard just keeps on going. Sure, we have a Knight in the Area once in a while, and I wasn’t really charmed by Major either, but for those series in return we have such beauties as Chihayafuru, Cross Game, Ookiku Furikabutte, Giant Killing, Touch, Shion no Ou, Hikaru no Go, and that list just goes on and on. Net season will have two new sports series: one shounen jump adaptation and a NHK show about a kid and his football team. These two series are really going to challenge this trend, but heck. I have been pleasantly surprised by so many sports shows already. It’s entirely possible.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous1637770
Also it can be tricky selecting a season sequel since some old series had like 50 to 100 episodes, what counted as a season then?
Anonymous1637770
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's more common in videogames (especially Capcom) than in other mediums. Megaman 2, RE 2, Street Fighter 2, Dino Crisis 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually in a rarity, a sequel season is better than the first.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which makes my enjoyment of sangatsu so strange.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I generally do not like game/sports orientated shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That you slightlySuper-erMario and superwooper!
Kaiser-Eoghan
And my reaction to the show is such, that I enjoyed it enough to make such a huge pot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also I want Akari to be my mom and Hina is adorable without being annoyingly so and Kana Hanazawa is doing a good job voicing her.

And whoever said it is right, the op/ed songs are worth listening to, for once I’m not skipping them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
At this point it feels as if by the end of the series I’ll come off it thinking that I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters.
I don’t think as of just yet it complete lives up to honey and clovers legacy though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never cared about Harunobu initially, but recent episodes have changed this.
Dull parts of the manga are easier to get through for me in the anime due to Shaft elevating the material with one of the better uses of their visual gimmicks.
Giving the series another chance, even though I won’t fully embrace the humour, it does now and then manage to make me laugh a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc centering on Hina and the shows treatment of it is better than most anime bullying stories and has provided the most emotionally rewarding aspect of the show.
Characters that are assholes like Kyouko’s boyfriend, Kyouko herself I’m finding somewhat more sympathetic and want to see more to their personal drama.
Kaiser-Eoghan
However I do genuinely think that the series does a good job of allowing dramatic moments to creep up on the viewer, that early scene of Hina crying over her mother, Rei’s family flashbacks, Akari’s concerns about Hina/the stuff with her dad, all the scenes with Kyouko do carry an effective and solid dramatic weight to them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel it starts very strong, making a great first impression, then kind of has these dull moments that make it sort of a slog at times to get through, unfortunately I have no interest in chess/shougi and no knowledge the show tries to give me is going to stick or allow me to embrace that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Through jumping back and forth between the anime and manga, I can say I have no caught up to where I will now watch March comes like a lion on a weekly basis.
Anonymous1636224
The blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki
Anonymous1636224
Mmmmmm the suffering of all those innocent people feeding his God boner, this is why I love Inuyashiki
Lenlo
Oh yeah, thats not a knock against it. Just noting they dont *need* much animation
SuperMario
Well, the nature of Mahoutsukai is slow-burned, so it makes sense they focus more on static, quiet moments
Lenlo
Was that blade 2022 thing supposed to be an example? Because I wasnt a fan. It was stylish sure, but difficult to follow.
Lenlo
Maho is a good looking show, I wouldnt call it a great animated show.
Lenlo
The issue for me is, theres just not alot being animated most of the time. Usually its a pretty slow moving anime, so most of its time is talking and still shots. It doesnt need alot of animation, so it doesnt have it.
Lenlo
@Niel, I think Mahoutsukai can have good animation when it wants to. Like the water viel in episode 10 looked good (Though im not sure how much of that was after effects)
Anonymous1635607
uhhh creepy
Anonymous1635589
the blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki so much
Amagi
I think the security is the same as here, it's just that Japanese people are less likely to rip stuff (correct me if I am wrong). It seems like ripped anime, manga and so on are basically always uploaded by Americans, Chinese people or someone else.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised heavens feel was camripped I thought security in japanese theatres was stronger.
Amagi
Yeah it's also screening in Germany, I will watch it in February, together with Heaven's Feel, Mutafukaz, Kimikoe and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*on Europa cinema
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nanoha new film to screen next February in the US, come in Europa license it for over here dammit....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did have some down moments though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I guess contrasting Luke with his old self goes some way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Saw the preview screening of the new star wars, still feel the new trilogy stands inbetween the originals and prequels, fufills its duty as a *** star blockbuster , some genuinely hilarious high camp moments, awful tokenism, Snoke is a shit villain, but two scenes with Luke actually have a pathos to them and I liked the chase/action scenes when they happened. Nobody cares about the acting/dialogue
AidanAK47
But there are times when it goes way too far and you can barely make out what is even supposed to be happening. Or characters go so off model that they are unrecognizable. It can be immersion breaking. Much like uncanny CGI.
AidanAK47
@Niel, I do agree that it's annoying to see people complain about animation when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Like those inbetween frame screenshot people. But I will say I appreciate on model characters more so than chaotic movement. When the off model stuff suits the tone of the scene like that blade runner part, then it's fine.
niel
I also don't want to see someone imply visual=animation for the hundredth time. Are people really that ignorant of the technical/artistic aspect of the media they consumed?
niel
It just depends on what works best in given scene and the aesthetic they want to go for. People can complain all they want about off-model stuff, but if they really only want that the they won't be getting nearly as much of those impactful scenes as there are now. So many of the ways people complain about it is really irking to me.
niel
normal/low action scenes is different from being on-model during the action sequences and just the ones that need some extra impact in general. https://youtu.be/rrZk9sSgRyQ?t=6m45s
niel
But that depends on the situation though. And I'd argue that being consistent and on-model during
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter/Niello/Mario: Ideally I want it both ways, fluid animation AND consistent model visuals, all the while never sacrificing choreography.
SuperMario
But really, who am I to say. I'm the dude who prefer beautiful shot composition myself
SuperMario
The same can be said with Shinkai's movies since he always prefers static, beautiful shot that people tend to overlook that his animation is quite poorly handled
Vonter
You're right, but art direction does alleviate limited animation, I mean the old Berserk anime, kinda has a lot of slideshow moments. MahoYome has nice backgrounds, and despite the samey faces, at the very least doesn't come from the same mold as other series. Still cutting corners with chibi segments is was a mistake.
SuperWooper
Is it any wonder that people prefer things to be static/on-model? They want to see characters who look consistent and familiar so they can relate to them.
Nie
MahoYome being the biggest offender of people getting triggered to any kind of statement about the show's animation not being good. And it's absurd because the show's animation really isn't great at all. It's good with distracting people with pretty pictures, but animation-wise it's still mediocre.
Nie
@SuperMario: Not much. Just stuff like "Art is part of the animation weather it's beautiful backgrounds or just amazing looking characters. It's not all about how they move. If it was, CG would be considered great animation" multiple times. I've just been finding myself being replied with these kinds of comment non-stop since the start of the season.
SuperMario
@Niello: What happened exactly, if you don't me asking?
Nielllo
If I hear someone says AMB has good animation one more tie I might actually lose it. It's amazing how people who apparently know nothing about it try to defend this and other people who don't know anything are actually supporting the guy.
Niello
So with Fate Apocrypha episode 22 out, I'm just now learning that people think webgen style is horrible and they prefer static scenes with pretty visual over actual quality animation. WTF. I can't comprehend this. Are casual people who watch animation in general really that oblivious to the art they have been watching?
Lenlo
Berserks Dynasty Warriors style game looked better. Also, Mahoutsukai should be up tonight/tomorrow. Turns out, Christmas is a busy time of year at this job.
Amagi
*worse
Amagi
Especially when you consider how good CGI can be by now, look at Houseki or Kado. But Berserk was the worst thing I saw in years, many scenes felt worst than sequences of PSX games
Amagi
@SuperMario: Same. I love Kon and also consider Paprika's OST as the best. @Lenlo: Me too. I honestly even enjoyed the movies but the new series was atrocious
Lenlo
HIRASAWAAAA! HAAAAAI YOOOOO.
I miss the 90s Berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also quite fond of his soundtracks for Berserk. AIIIIIYE FORCES : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYYYew8CUI
SuperMario
@Amagi: I'm a big fan of Kon so I've watched everything from his. Even bought a book about his works. About the soundtrack, I listened to them as well but not regularly, compare to pprika OST which I downloaded and listen to a lot
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although not completely a manga, Usagi yojimbo also has an anthro character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Millennium actress is partially inspired by the actress Setsuko Hara.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: The anthro-animal manga is even a topseller as far as I know. Haven't looked into it yet, though. Maybe I will do so.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I am still hoping Dream Machine will happen some day. Kon died believing it would happen
Amagi
@SuperMario: Have you tried the other Kon movies like Millennium Actress once? Thought they were really good and Hirasawa is responsible for the OST there too. Or Paranoia Agent which was (IMO) very good as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nttSKBJ38k (OP)
Niello
Eoghan: Enjoy... ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't read this, its very strange to see a manga about full anthro animal characters: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Beastars
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: So based on that I will try devil lady. Thanks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: That'd be me who made that post. I thought dororon enma-kun was wonderfully ridiculous and Devilman gorishly entertaining, Shin Mazinger Z was probably some of the most fun I had with an anime, but violence jack took it way too far though so I guess I'm aquainted with nagai's work
Vonter
I don't remember who was looking for something noir in anime. I was looking among several series from Go Nagai. And watched some Devil Lady. I don't remember if noir is exclusively detective stories, but this anime, has those high contrast shadows, eerie music and is shot like some japanese horror movies I've seen. I don't know if it changes along the road but so far it's very suspenseful.
SuperMario
I only know him through his works in Berserk and Paprika but his music never fails to amaze me
Anonymous1626471
@Amagi: Ghost Bridge is my favourite. I just find it very calming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeh5aJsxlbw
Amagi
Susumu Hirasawa is one of my favorite musicians/composers. I don't even know what kind of subgenre this is. There aren't any other music groups I know who do similar stuff
Nielllo
@Mario, Already saw that video before.
SuperMario
Check this out... I don't even know what the freaking instrument he's playing, but it's spellbound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjalQjAomH0
Niello
Just when I thought Houseki no Kuni took the prize for best animation I was treated with Apocrypha. This week is amazing.
Niello
Big name animators all over. They really threw everything they've got here.
Niello
Woooooah! OMG Apocrypha ep 22 animation is sick! So that's why the animation in the first half of the show is so lackluster and basically just darn awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its not entirely odd to bring up Heydrich in relation to the occult either, apparently he was said to be part of some whackjob order.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, that girl from Dies irae, Anna Schwegln is aptly named, also shares her name with the last executed person for witchcraft, who was Bavarian German, which i'm told by an Austrian friend were particular right-est leaning politically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course unfortunately its often the opposite that happens, nothing is worse than an ending that ruins everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, how I love being surprised by something. That feeling where you''re watching something shakily held together, simply okay or good, then suddenly in the second half or last stretch your score of it goes massively up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can kind of understand the wanting to go home and watch something easy mentality instead of challenging but even though I'm guilty of escapism, I'm tired somewhat of "sillier" stuff, its often enjoyable but its get overly reptitive and I wish I could find more philosophical/political/imaginative things.
Amagi
Yeah the show is great because of its theme, the setting and chemistry girls have as well as their (lack of) knowledge about basic human things. Each episode thematizes this in a different way but there isn't much you can talk or say about it when you already explained the topic in detail.
SuperMario
On the other hand, I don't have much to talk about Girls' Last Tour this week. It's still good, but with this episode I feel that I'm running out of concrete thig to say about the show
SuperMario
Haha both Houseki and 3-gatsu have a good showing this week. I have a lot of things to talk about Houseki in particular
Amagi
This week's Houseki is jurassic park
Amagi
*-ati - I think Netflix and so are at least giving a few new impulses which isn't too bad. I don't think the typical anime series will disappear because of that.
Amagi
At least in comparisation
Amagi
I think it's just sad how often I see wonderful series selling 500 BD/DVD or maybe even less. Most series don't sell more than 1500 or so and the rest is usually at ~3000-5000 which is still pretty low.
Amagi
Yeah, it's one of my pro-Netflix arguments as well. Another problem is that anime (not counting manga) only make money through dvd/bd sales since they air at night, whereas Netflix or daytime tv series don't depend on the latter so much and since anime BDs are so expensive the only ones who buy them are the more extreme fans.
AidanAK47
Might be in part due to the workaholic nature of their society that makes escapist fantasy and empty entertainment more appealing than usual. Ultimately these are the people anime is made for so opening up the markets gives more deserving shows a fighting chance.
Though that isn't to say that western taste is perfect either.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, That's part of the reason I think some westernation might be a good thing as from what I seen the Japanese have truly terrible taste in anime. Sales charts from Japan just make me shake my head.
Amagi
God, the preorder anime lists are atricious. The only one that seems to sell acceptable (around 6k) is Mahoyome. Series like Inuyashiki have 80 pre-orders so far, Shuumatsu Shoujo 977. Idol shows sell good of course, including that male/bishounen Idolmaster
AidanAK47
@Anon, I read it but kinda fell out due to it's releases being slow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Actually if you check the manga recommendations section, you'll see there is a post about it here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yes, it was interesting to follow a story that dealt with a characters homosexuallity that was outside of the yaoi/yuri mould.
Anonymous1620968
Out of curiosity, has anyone on here read Shimanami Tasogare?
Niello
Where are we up to with Inuyashiki?
Lenlo
Well alright then. Episode 9 out of 11 and that happens. Was not expecting that
Lenlo
Ooo something happen this week? Im about to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
It feels just as rushed and awkward in the manga.
Amagi
I noticed this too
AidanAK47
Inuyashiki has balls of steel to pull that in this particular episode number.
Nielllo
Finally got around to reading Helck, and it looks like it's going to go into that pile of good-shounen-that-won't-ever-get-animated right alongside Psyren.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Imagine trying to buy the dvds of the show in public.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Gentle remind that the prism ilya movie is out and subbed.
AidanAK47
Still surprised the second and third seasons got dubbed.
AidanAK47
@Angel, I replied to one of your comments before but the rundown is no official word yet but maybe next year.
Angel
Or no? Someone please tell me!!
Angel
Going to happen?
Angel
Is fate/kaleid liner prisma☆illya 3rei dub
Amagi
I dislike it when manga bait me into reading due to the first chapter and end up being some very generic stuff afterwards. Nobody stays for B if he started something for A, authours should expect that.
Lenlo
Really, Juuni should stick with the 3D. That fight in ep 9 looked pretty good. 3D is clearly what they are good at
AidanAK47
@Niello, It's not Chatango. It's a plugin for wordpress called Wisechat.
SuperMario
@Niello: yeah, Juuni caught me off guard this week. The production of Juuni is unfortunately shaky, but well, strong writing can save the day
Niello
Btw is this chat still Chatango?
Niello
This week episode of Juini is surprisingly good compared to how the show usually is with its backstory. Although the part where Ox tries to explain to Tiger could definitely use some visual buff.
SuperWooper
in the future*
SuperWooper
Pretty cool that Juuni Taisen had that kind of emotional heft this week, though. Might be one of the 2017 shows I sample the in the future.
SuperWooper
I think the occasional comments with an episode title and nothing more come from people who mistake the shoutbox for a search bar.
SuperMario
@Anon1614688: juuni taisen... made me tearing up this week. Honestly didn't expect that. Damn you, Tiger
Anonymous1614688
juuni taisen
Amagi
Had some complaints regarding Children of Whales but the latest two episodes were pretty good.
Amagi
@Anon: You explained it better than me.
Anonymous1614307
Kaiser: I actually have the exact same opinion of Natsume and Mushishi. Both are excellent, but Natsume just does a great job with a small core cast and a very simple premise
Anonymous1614456
who likes naruto
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mushishi does have good stories, but it was always a manga I'd dip in and out of, on and off for years, never marathoning it, wheras Natsume was easier to read several chapters of in one go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its because Natsume has more pathos.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*more than
Natsume weirdly ended up becoming this comfort manga for me with a higher consistency rate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will state that I hold the terrible opinion that I like Natsume Yujinchou than Mushishi but at the same time completely recognize that Mushishi is probably the more ambitious, better show.
Niello
So it becomes a cycle of "this is an interesting set up" (except that the new Kino isn't even good at that) and then they fucked up or Kino/Shizu fucked them up even more, then move on. Without the emphasis on philosophical nature of the set up they present like in the original Kino, there really isn't that much point to it.
Niello
With the new Kino it's more about messing people up, occassionally observing and hardly ever improving. The anwsers or solutions to the problem they present is never really talked about in a rational way.
SuperMario
@Anon1614318: maybe you should give the old Kino a try. What I don't like most about the new version of Kino is that both Kino and the new guy are sketched as hero. The old Kino manages the tone right as well. There were some really dark tales and most of them thought-provoking. Can't say the same for say...Country of Cooking
Anonymous1614318
I don't know, it might be interesting to actually dig deep into the differences between episodic series with this kind of style to see what works and what doesn't.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's a matter of the chapter they chose to adapt were not really the better ones but the ones where the protagonist is more of an active role. Not totally against that, but it feels like the protagonist is just OP all the time. At least with Mushishi Ginko isn't able to save everyone all the time.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's supposed to be more allegorical, but most of the time the allegory is not really meaningful enough. I thought it would be more along the lines of Mushishi, which is kind of similar in setup, but better in most other ways.
Anonymous1614318
What keeps me sticking around are some of the nice background arts and generally pleasant use of color, but admittedly most of the episodes aren't really engaging in a meaningful way. Most of the time its just Kino/Shizu show up, find out town's gimmick, then save the day. I prefer the episodes where the townspeople are more than just flat background characters.
Anonymous1614318
It's interesting to see how this new Kino season is being received from folks who've already watched the original. This is my first real exposure to Kino, and I kind of like it, but even without watching the original, I share many of the same complaints Aidan and most of the others have.
Amagi
I am also kinda sad he's just some 2* servant in fgo, but his power is special and he's physically weak, so it's understandable.
Amagi
And again, Shakespeare is just great but the character is, sadly, kinda wasted here considering how much screentime he has.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes. Plus, maybe more characterization or background for some servants. The anime would have that time without Sieg and his romance sub plot.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Those being remove Sieg and more Shakespeare?
Amagi
And man Apocrypha is pretty good but it would be twice as good if it had those two changes Aidan always mentions in the reviews..
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think the male in Kino was a mistake. Having two PoV sounds good, but he's basically just a male Kino, he even looks like her. Someone vastly different would have been way more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd guarantee that sangatsu no lion would be high up, but FINALLY this weekend I'll be catching up.
Niello
@Kaiser, Ugh my phone gitched. What I meant to say was that background was unexpected. Now I see why you're enjoying CotW though.
Niello
@Kaiser, That's unexpected.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed how outright surreal Arakawa was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: It bothers me that they're stuffing multiple tales into single episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, excel saga, I wonder what I would think of it now, its been years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I actually respect Aidan's coverage of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Yes that edgy villain kid in COTWs was annoying though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I don't care much for the male character that leads some of the episodes in this new adaptation.
@Niello: Its a non-mainstream shoujo that isn't set in a school, moves at a quick enough pace and has some nice background art/chara design, I grew up on shoujo fantasy manga also so theres that.
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Welcome to week 10 of Mahoutsukai! Finally, oh so finally, we have are given some backstory on Elias! Our mysterious male(?) lead gets some explanation. We also get the start of a Chise only arc and finally some more information on Lindel. Lets jump in! As the main focus of this weeks episode, naturally I […]

Dies Irae – 09[A Mother’s Sins]

DIes Irae isn’t making this easy for the anime only watcher, as we get confused montages of Lisa’s backstory and oddly of a character whose relevance doesn’t come till a much later date. I would say it’s rather spoiler-ish if the info wasn’t presented in such a haphazard way that no one could really decode […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 10 [Train – Wavelength – Capture]

Girls’ Last Tour examines the concept of time and space this week, as the girls riding on a lonely moving train. The train design fits right in with this world: a long metal box that functions all by itself and contains many now-dysfunctional robots – corpses of the machines. Since last week we learnt that […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 10[Kind Country]

Another remake of a story from the old series and while this one is adapted quite well, maybe even arguably better than the old version, it unfortunately lacks the same impact. The main problem comes back to the thing which ultimately holds back this season as a whole, story choice. For you see in the […]

Houseki no Kuni – 10 [Shiro]

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 22[Reunion and Farewell]

Breaking my usual routine today just to give an opinion on this episode but this episode made me feel compelled to get out my opinion. We have another action packed episode with three contestants out of the war and boy did they go out with a bang. Many will notice that the animation for this […]

Inuyashiki – 9 [Shihjuku People]

Welcome to another week of Inuyashiki! This week we have incredible sequences of terror, fearless Directors and death flags! Lets jump in. Obviously, the first thing we need to talk about this week is Hiro. A lot has happened in the few hours since Hiro attacked the Station. Interestingly, yet weirdly, Hiro has garnered a […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 21[Antares Snipe]

When Apocrypha slows down, it’s story shows it’s cracks. But when it’s an action showcase it actually becomes quite entertaining. The characters don’t have the time to be developed but they shine in combat when they clash, sometimes showing parts of themselves the series otherwise doesn’t allow for. Astolfo for one was actually useful for […]

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