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
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh well, there you go, Mario was quicker on the uptake and his post got through before mine.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Kalandra: He maintains a background presence on the site, paying for it, lately he has gotten his groove back, he every so often comes back to make a comment here and there or post a monthly summary.
I vaguely remember you.
SuperMario
@Kalandra: He was burned out of anime for about 2 years, but now he's back for monthly summary where he reported what he was watching that month. In fact, you can come back tomorrow for his April summary.
Kalandra
Hi, old reader just checking up on this blog. I notice that the reviewer isn't psgels anymore. Is he still doing reviews?
SuperMario
@anon1058019: yep, and we'll get an original film no less. Welp, I don't mind for more Yuri but everything sounds vague for now. Let wait for more details coming
SuperMario
@Tatami: I'm only watch anime but I'm not a fan at all with the show so I can't really help you on that. In fact this season I couldn't get pass episode 2
Tatami
For guys who only watched AoT anime and not the manga, Im curious what do you think of the current season?
Tatami
The recent 2 epsiodes of AoT pretty much confirmed my guesses of who are the Armored and Colossus titans
Anonymous1058019
Yuri on ICE!!! movie has been announced. Prepare for incoming fangirls. :.D
Spike
Zestiria finale was pretty mediocre at best... Ufotable writers really fizzled at the end. :(
Anonymous1057532
Konstantinos here: I have to disagree. I liked the episode and felt they did a good job giving exposition. I like Meteora. That said when Alicertia meets Selesia. Oh boy, that will be a rumble.

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

Shingeki no Bahamut: What exceptional animation.
AidanAK47
It really does feel like this show is aiming to be something akin to Fate/Zero as that too did have a exposition heavy beginning. Difference here is that series had Urobuchi writting and while the man my be more famous for his murderous treatment of characters, he is a master of presenting exposition.
AidanAK47
I hope that's the majority of the exposition done for Re:creators. We established the stakes, rules and factions. So now would be good to focus on the creator and creation interactions plus badass battles.
Honestly I really regret Meteora coming into the story when she's being pretty much a massive exposition device.
Konstantinos Travlos
Hmm the "The Man who Knew 75 Languages" reminds me of the game "The Last Express". Great game. Definitely interested.
Anonymous1056824
moster keaton
Anonymous1056607
ditective conan
AidanAK47
@Anon, Pretty sure you are just trying to pick a fight more than defend the show but a decent show to me would be one that is deeply flawed but enjoyable to some degree. Sagrada reset is not this. It goes out of it's way to be unenjoyable. To me it's a 3/4 out of 10 show. Interesting concept but with a presentation so alien that the viewer can't empathise with anything on screen.
Lenlo
I mean, decent warrants about a 5-6. That, in theory, should be an "Average" show.
Anonymous1055365
It's a decent show. You're being overly critical.
SuperMario
In the Out of Competition slot (you think that I'm finished?), 2 films in particular that catch my interest are the Korean Lost in the Moonlight which looks like a fun and lightheart adventure, and the Norway-Poland co-production adult-oriented The Man who Knew 75 Languagues about the star-crossed love between the Queen of Romania and a titular man, I guess
SuperMario
Rounding up the Main Competition are Animal Crackers, a 3G American family film which I don't have good feeling about; Big Fish and Begonia - a Chinese indie film that divided the critics, but gathered skyhigh commercial success in its mainland China; and finally Zombillenium which sounds like an enjoyable European children film
SuperMario
From other countries, most notable films are the Loving Vincent - the first feature length hand painting; the Chinese black comedy Have a Nice Day that premiered in Berlin earlier this year; Ethel and Ernest which already gained a strong reviews from the UK; Tehran Taboo- a German production about the lives of 3 women in Iranian community, which sound exactly like my kinda of film.
SuperMario
Alright, I'm here to bring you news about the selection of this coming Annecy AKA one of the best animation festival out there. 3 of anime features: A Slient Voice, In the Corner of the World and Masaaki Yuasa's Lu over the Wall will compete for the main competition.
SuperMario
I'm a fan of thought-provoking anime (see Lain, Boogiepop Phantom) but I need to care about the story and characters first before I make an effort to dig deeper to the theme. Sagrada Reset failed on that fronts.
SuperMario
It's not really about being smart/dumb here. As a creator, they already have an advantage to know how the story and plot will play out. I don't mind this advantage because otherwise the plot will become a hot mess. But don't use that advantage as a way to widen the gap between them and the audience.
AidanAK47
Ugh...Ray Gigant was pretty much mediocre up until this point but now it;s utterly asinine. Whoever decided on this endgame needs to be fired. When you are ready to end a game, no player want a ten floor dungion with a boss on each floor coupled with a goddamn boss rush halfway. Just...fuck.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It must be worse than oremo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw some pages of the eromanga sensei manga and my reaction was that I was sad that it actually existed and stated "why would you even" after looking at it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an anime example, sekaisuru kado has lots of dialogue but it seems like it could actually be engaging.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So basically no I don't think we're dumb for not liking sagrada reset, given that myself and Mario are capable of watching genuinely smart wordy things and getting them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I can imagine watching Sagrada reset and thinking I'd rather be watching a Bergman film instead , something also with lots of dialogue and themes but actually engaging/clever and NOT pretentious or obnoxious about it.
Anonymous1054942
is it possible that you are all just dumb?
Anonymous1054269
@Mario: I like how you described it as giving a middle finger to the viewers. It's so true. Like, it tries to be intelligent and make the viewer feel stupid, but it just comes off as obnoxious/pretentious.
Lenlo
CGI remains the worst part of it, but we are getting more and more 2D art which I actually enjoy the style of
Lenlo
Its an improvement. The art is better, and maybe its because I prefer this arc, but the pacing is better as well. I gave last season a 3, but this one is more deserving of a 4 and if they can nail certain scenes coming up I may bump it to a 5.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: How's Berserk doing so far? Haven't picked up last week and this week's episodes.
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
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