Posted on 31 May 2012 with categories: Tsuritama

The explanation behind this series… actually turned out to be pretty simple: there is an alien who controls people using water. Haru and his sister are out to stop him. Duck investigates both of them. That’s it, and I’m impressed that the creators managed to make an entire series out of just that.

What this show did was very risky, but still: I like how it didn’t force anything here to put in extra tension. This episode pretty much explained what was going on. There will be one point of confrontation with that alien: the typhoon. The characters took a while to venture out to its location because in the first half of this series, they had no reason to, and they’re not going to go back again because they’re not stupid. This show is about fishing: being patient and letting things come naturally. The downside of this is that you also don’t know if you’re going to catch something.

And that’s the double edge of the series structure that this show picked of letting everything evolve naturally, compared to the series that start out action-packed: I’m not advocating action, but rather characters and storylines who show themselves off and bring up emotions. Having a slow pacing either works out really well because it allows us to really get a feel of the characters, or become completely boring because nothing happens. The trick I use in an attempt to guess how well a series will end up based on just the first few episodes is by looking at its potential: what is it building up to? Is the characterization good? How do the characters work together? And this is where Tsuritama scored really high.

all that’s left now is the pay-off: these final episodes have the daunting task of using all that build-up and delivering a very memorable finale. You can have amazing characters, but if they don’t do anything or don’t get pushed to their limits, then it’s a bit of a shame. The one thing I noticed in this episode was the impact that the scenes about the Bermuda thingy made to me: I got really excited there when the music started playing. Keep that up.

NB: holy crap Natsuki looks different now!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Sakamichi no Apollon

This really was an episode that focused on the different romances going on, to the point where the first couple has been formed. The end of the episode is pretty much the point where this series goes back to being a love triangle, but a very messy one at that, with character A thinking that character B likes character C while she is growing to like character A more unbeknownst to him, at a point when character C has realized that she had a crush on him.

These love triangles are very easy to screw up and devolve into a soap opera, but what I really like is how the creators made use of Rituko’s character development to further complicate things, rather than pulling some random twist for the sake of drama. The way she came to like Kaoru after spending a lot of time with him, knowing he has a crush on her, while trying to move away from Sentarou… it’s plausible for all of this to happen: over the course of the past episodes we were given enough reasons for her change.

The problem I have with series about teenagers is that there are too many of them: it gets harder and harder to stand out. However, when one comes along that is as well acted as Apollon, I’ll gladly shove these biases aside. That doesn’t change the fact that I want to see more variety in anime, especially considering that “seinen”-series that are supposed to focus on young adults feature teenaged lead characters more often than not. I can’t really fault the creators for picking an excellent manga about teenagers and animating it incredibly well.

But still, we’re currently in a very important half year for Noitamina: these are four series that really need to do well after the Guilty Crown disaster. Apollon and Tsuritama for being really well executed. Natsuyuki and Moyashimon meanwhile need to succeed in order to prove that there still is an audience for series about adults.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

What sets this season apart: the sheer amount of great series out there. Seriously, the amount of interesting shows that push boundaries is the best in at lest two years. Now all that’s left is a bunch of great finales: a lot of the series in this seasons will end next month, and a lot of them have quite a bit of potential to end wonderfully.

#23 (25) – Medaka Box – (7/10) – Medaka Box is dangerously close to being one of those “meh” series. What I mean by that is that it’s going to end within one month, even though it hasn’t really done much so far. It has introduced plenty of things with potential, but those were just introductions: it hasn’t really done anything with them because these will very likely be used later on in the series. So yeah, this show is mostly building up to parts that aren’t going to be animated. This is why I really dislike shounen jump series.
#22 (22) – Saint Seiya Omega – (7,4/10) – I’m on the verge of dropping this show, and then episode eight came and was slightly interesting. My main problem with this show is its characterization: it’s all too wooden and one-sided, especially that main character is a one-sided hot blooded idiot and the villains other than that golden saint are all terribly uninspired and stereotypical.
#21 (23) – Sankarea – (7,6/10) – Sankarea is that really annoying series of the season, that has flashes of brilliance, intermixed with flashes of incredible annoyance. Pretty much what Nisemonogatari was last season. Sanka Rea is a pretty interesting character to watch, especially considering the state she’s in. Shenever she takes up the center of attention, this show is great. The cousin however, is annoying. The classmates are annoying. This show also wastes too much time on random fluff. I understand that characters need to get fleshed out, but the balance of these scenes feels missing.
#20 (12) – Phi Brain – (7,75/10) – Oh boy, Phi Brain surely took a hit to the suspension of disbelief this month. I mean, it’s the series nature to be over the top and rather stupid at times, however what it pulled this time is so vital to the overall storyline and characters that it’s really hard to overlook. I really hope that there is more to it, because Freecell, you’re very close to becoming a very pathetic villain here.
#19 (21) – Jormungand – (7,9/10) – If I had to point out one point at which Jormungand, it’s the characterization. I still can’t exactly point out what it is, but most characters fail to capture my interest, there are a lot of very similar characters walking around, or characters who are carbon-copies of other characters or who just try too hard. It’s strange, but for a show that’s supposed to be about gun delaying, I miss this lack of tension.
#18 (20) – Aquarion Evol – (8,25/10)

Aquarion Evol continues to balance between a tense storyline and a heap of cliches, in a pretty bizarre way. It’s over the top and some of the twists are great entertainment to watch. There are characters who really shine here, but on the other hand we have Mikono: the main female character… who didn’t really do anything over the series other than get kidnapped.

#17 (19) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)

We are now at a point of explanation and exposition. It’s a point that also made me tired in the original 1999 series, so watching it in recap is… annoying. On the other hand though: the thing it’s building up to will be something really special. I usually hate remakes that do nothing but recapping, so it has to say something that I’m still stuck with this show after 30 episodes. Nen is very original, and I hope that this show’s success inspires future shounens to also put a lot of attention to detail and creativity in their settings.

#16 (14) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8,25/10)

The bizarre thing with this series is that the jokes are incredibly corny, yet consistently enjoyable. The Polar Bear and the Penguin are the standout characters here. The penguin is great to watch and gets great stuff out of the rest of the cast, while the Polar Bear has some awesome deadpan humour.

#15 (9) – Nazo no Kanojo X – (8,25/10)

In this day and age in which everything is just trying to get more and more fanservice in, it’s great to see a series that puts so much restraint in it. It’s a really good way to flesh out the characters, and I like how they grew closer together a lot here.

#14 (4) – Zetman – (8,25/10)

This month was not as impressive because the budget decreased, but the creators still are trying to make this show as expressive as they can with their limited means. The pacing also actually slowed down in order to have some mid-season build up and extra tension. It really depends on that ending whether this show will work or not.

#13 (24) – AKB0048 – (8,4/10)

Oh, AKB… I want to hate this show. I really do. But it’s such a charming series. It’s obviously pandering, but some scenes are played so straight that I wonder whether they are partially meant as a criticism as well. The cast of this series is huge, and what me impressed the most within these first five episodes is how well it gave every single one of these characters a bit of detail and info, keeping a great balance between all of the characters.

#12 (17) – Hyouka – (8,4/10)

What I like about Hyouka is that the long dialogues are about something. It’s well acted and consistently interesting, which really is a breath of fresh air after all those Shaft-series that attempted the same thing but couldn’t hold my attention. The animation still is very excellent and even though most mysteries are about mundane things, I do find myself drawn in.

#11 (8) – Tsuritama – (8,4/10)

Tsuritama is building up to something. I feel that that finale is going to be the major factor for me in evaluating this series, because it is clear that it has like a deck full of aces hidden in its sleeves and socks. There was one episode that really showed that potential and it was awesome. Now finish things properly!

#10 (18) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8,4/10)

You know what? Poyopoyo actually is the best show about owning cats that I’ve seen. In fact, if you don’t count movies (Night on the Galactic Railroad, Tamala 2010 and the Cat Returns were awesome), this pretty much is the best cat chow I’ve ever seen. It’s all just so relatable, and the pacing is just perfect for five-minute episodes. I know it sounds weird and all, but I’m consistently enjoying this show.

#9 (15) – Legend of Korra – (8,4/10)

The romance in this series isn’t really that interesting. Everything apart from that though is really good. Especially since there are no anime about politics at the moment, this really fills my hunger for the Spring Politics Series. The villains are very credible and a great threat for Korra, and the creators made good use of how out of place she is.

#8 (11) – Kimi to Boku – (8,5/10)

Kimi to Boku really blossomed in its second season. Every episode is standalone, but they nearly all created some very impressive character-development, both for the main cast and for the cast of side-characters.

#7 (13) – Eureka Seven Ao – (8,5/10)

Eureka Seven Ao’s charms are hard to define. In any case they’re different from what made the first season great. It’s the great acting, along with some surreal parts and very good directing that makes it really entertaining to watch, but I think that it’s the acting that really put this series above most other mechas of the past few seasons: kids are treated like kids. There are tons of different parties active, all with their own goals.

#6 (5) – Lupin The Third – (8,5/10)

This show has class. I know it’s a bit weird to say that of a series with so much nudity, but what makes this show so interesting is how well Mine Fujiko is portrayed, along with the guys around her. It’s the storytelling here that really stands out with a great direction.

#5 (7) – Natsuiro Kiseki – (8,6/10)

Every episode of Natsuiro Kiseki so far has been dedicated to character development. We’re now at the point where the rock takes a step back, so that we can really focus on the four main characters, and this series still pushes them into situations in which they’re forced to grow. This show does an amazing job in showing their worries and despite that having them act believably.

#4 (6) – Mouretsu Pirates – (8,6/10)

You know, I’m really enjoying Mouretsu Pirates at the moment. I said it before, but with this, it’s pretty much the best non-sequel to have come out the past winter season. The past arc is especially fun and and this show also gets more and more creative with its storylines.

#3 (3) – Fate/Zero – (8,6/10)

This really has been a month of build-up for Fate/Zero, but what build-up there was was really, really dark. A ton of characters got extra backgrounds, changed, and moved into some really harsh plot twists. A few of these scenes were a bit too harsh (apparently they were better built up in the novels, but this is an anime first and adaptation second), but it nevertheless is excellent and dark stuff.

#2 (1) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9/10)

Really, there are two stand-out series this season. Both of them rock because of their characterization, but both do this in completely different ways. Uchuu Kyoudai is briljant at fleshing out its characters: Mutta’s inner monologues are really sharp, and the rest of the side-cast all fits incredibly well with each other.

#1 (2) – Sakamichi no Apollon – (9/10)

Yes. To say that this show is good would be a huge understatement. This series manages to capture its characters in a unique way and it does it with so much detail and believability that is un-matched by only very few other series. The way this show plays with emotions and awkwardness is exquisite. Add that to the excellent animation (including the parts that aren’t rotoscoped but actually animated) and Yoko Kanno’s awesome soundtrack, and you’ve got a winner. Definitely the best Noitamina series since Ano Hana.

Posted on 29 May 2012 with categories: Zetman

Okay Zetman: if you’re planning to end next month, you’d better make it an awesome one. The past two episodes understandably switched a gear back in order to focus on some character development, and after this you need to pick the right chapters to both give this closure and an action-packed finale.

I really noticed that with series as Kamisama Dolls and No.6 past summer: these series may have been excellent in their start and middle, but their unsatisfying conclusions unfortunately hurt a lot, and lowered my opinion of them significantly. Zetman isn’t the big disaster in terms of pacing this season; that award goes to Medaka Box, but it would be such a shame if this show ended with a lukewarm feeling.

The one standout point in this episode was the fight at the Amagi mansion. That was short but sweet, and there was a very interesting death along the way: someone actually got careless and didn’t run away fast enough. The players actually didn’t charge into the strongest opponents, but tried to attack everyone at random. One criticism here is that it’s again the old ugly guy who died on a whim, even though the girls in this show have been attacked again and again while coming out alive.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on with categories: Hyouka

This episode was interesting. The mystery was pretty simple, but what caught my attention was how it highlighted the cultural differences between Japan and the west. I mean, for a western guy like me, it very quickly occurred to me that the teacher just misread the small capital a and d, but the characters were making such a big deal out of this and building it up for so much. But yeah, these are Japanese kids who have a completely different alphabet.

This show really likes looking at the meaning of words and letters. We don’t really have that: sure, words have origins and all, but when we talk about the origin of a word we mean to refer to the first time in which the word got used. In Japanese, every kanji has a meaning and a way of writing. Hiragana and Katakana don’t, but this focus on calligraphy is completely different from how we in the west see letters. And with this episode this series tried to bring that same mentality over to the latin alphabet. Quite interesting.

And then there was that bit about the seven deadly sins. And in that discussion I have to praise Chitanda for acknowledging this very important thing that these discussions in anime often seem to ignore: balance. I really enjoy series that are about lots of talking, but I get really annoyed with series with characters who talk just for the sake of talking. A lot of Shaft series for example went way too far with the latter. Hyouka is in the middle of this: it’s got a lot of high schoolers talking to each other in random conversations, but it’s always about something interesting and fleshes out the characters.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 28 May 2012 with categories: AKB0048, Aquarion Evol

Next week’s episode of Aquarion Evol: that will be the time for you to show yourself, Mikono. That will be the time where you need to show that you’re more than a damsel in distress. You have been guided, you have been trained, but so far… you haven’t really done anything. You are very close to stepping in the pit of the generic Kawamori female love interests, and that will be your time to either jump over it or go into a completely different direction. Zessica is about to do it, so you can do that too.

For the rest of this episode: this really was action-packed. Nice action, amazing soundtrack, it all was very entertaining, with the spotlights reserved for Shrade. The tension around this guy is actually much more interesting: he and Amata both have huge powers, but the difference between them is that he actually uses it well. Amata doesn’t know how to use his.
Rating: *+ (Great)

AKB and pandering. Of course you can have a cast with females. When it becomes a problem is when the creators start using moe and fanservice as an excuse for not trying, which unfortunately still happens way too often. AKB0048 doesn’t have that… or didn’t at least. I really began to fear that right the first episode after I decided to blog this show, the characters suddenly got a day off, we got a bath scene, a bunch of very stupid antics and this disturbing focus on pheromones.

So yeah, weakest episode of AKB0048 so far. But as it went on, I did notice something: the sheer amount of characters that the creators managed to stuff into just this episode. Heck, I believe that they actually succeeded in fleshing out the entire cast of named characters, giving everyone a bit of a moment or scene to show more about herself. That’s actually pretty impressive to balance well.

Also, this show doesn’t actively criticize, but some of the ideas in this show nearly seem like they were put in to subtly provoke this. I’m mostly referring to the pheromones talk, but especially that bizarre family that breeds idols to look like each other…
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

So, it was a will. It makes sense, and it also changed the mood of this series quite a bit with this episode. There still is plenty of light-hearted stuff, but at the same time it also got Mutta thinking about the more serious issues of spaceflight and how things can easily go horribly wrong. Add that to Serika’s reason for trying to become an astronaut, and you’ve got an episode with a lot of really good mood-swings.

Also, Kenji: a “best friend” character who actually has a stable relationship. Not only that but he is married and has kids. I know that this is a series about adults, but still, it is very refreshing to see his archetype being done completely different. At first I feared that there would be some sort of love triangle between him, Mutta and Serika, but with this that also is very neatly avoided.

I also love what this episode hinted at: a time-skip. Instead of having characters ready within months to go into space, it’s established that it may very well take up eight years before Mutta can join Hibito into space, in which he’ll be in his forties already. Besides death, this episode put an even bigger focus on the passage of time for these astronauts, and how it’s completely different from what we’re all used to.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 27 May 2012 with categories: Mouretsu Pirates

So… in this one episode this show did what I thought would take up the rest of the series. What the?

And don’t get me wrong here: this was really well done. Suddenly the pacing of this episode increased two-fold, and that lead to an incredibly fun race with a ton of action and intrigue and suspense. It was chaotic in a good way and there was a lot going on here and this pretty much stands among the best episodes of Mouretsu Pirates. I really was totally immersed here and I love how despite the slow pacing the creators chose, they are also flexible enough to once in a while just go all out. This brings a wonderful balance between action and slice of life.

Also, with the graphics in this episode you could really see that this comes from the director of Stellvia of the Universe. For the people who haven’t seen that yet: the CG scenes looked really ugly and made no attempt whatsoever to blend in. The dinghies really look like the space ships that they used in Stelliva. Now, this episode took that mentality, and handed it over to Satelight’s CG department, who are known for their eye candy. The result looked very artistic.

I also feel like the end of the episode with Ai was a great shout-out to Stellvia. In that series the pilots didn’t even get to see outside and were forced to navigate though these very abstract and convoluted interfaces. Here though, the opportunity was given to her to fly around without any screens or electronics, and she took it. Although I do wonder how that all would have worked in terms of aerodynamics.

Overall, Mouretsu Pirates turned into a great example of a series that spends a lot of time building up. In the early episodes there were enough hints that his show knew what it was doing: great acting, real character performances and a good amount of creativity and imagination put into the premises. This was enough to keep me confident and interested in this series. And really: it paid off. I’m glad to have kept up with this show.

The show hasn’t ended yet so I can’t say this for certain yet, but I get more and more convinced that Mouretsu Pirates will end up as the best non-sequel series of the shows that premiered in Winter 2012.
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on with categories: Fate/Zero

The second half of this episode took some huge risks. This series has been very composed in terms of acting; with some exceptions, the acting in this series was subdued and even during the over the top parts, the characters knew exactly how to act with just enough restraint whilst still giving off great performances. This episode drops that and descends into overblown melodrama. Not just to show how a character feels, but also vital to the story.

These are the moments when a character completely loses it. They’re not meant to be pretty, they just are about characters completely breaking down and looking very ugly in the process. This is incredibly hard to act right because it’s just all too easy to scream at the top of your lungs and do the most outrageous thing out there. Another key to this is willing suspension disbelief: as a viewer we really need to get the idea that these characters have broken down. Which is why I’m a bit puzzled that the creators chose to do this with the master who has gotten the least amount of airtime to get fleshed out so far. To be honest, that breakdown scene… it didn’t really hit me and looked more silly due to how little we actually know of these two people. It also felt like there was just too little build-up and aftermath for it. Tohsaka killed the woman, walked away and immediately we switch to Archer and Kirei sitting back and having some wine celebrating. It… doesn’t flow well.

Also, an observation that I made before this all happened: in the first season, Rider really was the stand-out character: his charisma and monologues were wonderful and it brought a lot of spark to the series. In the second season… this just doesn’t apply at all. He has been weakened and beaten pretty often, with in this episode him losing his chariot, in favor of characters as Kotomine Kirei and Kiritsugu. This can be quite interesting build-up if the final episodes know how to handle it.
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous2037529
LWA academia is probably the only trigger project i've truly cared about. I haven't watched KlK to completion or luluco for that matter(i got to get around to that) but ive seen everything else and i just don't give a damn about any of em
Amagi
But to say something positive - I liked the second episode of Kamuy way better than the first one. Budget seems to be really bad but the rest makes up for it it seems.
Amagi
I think Luluco was the only one I enjoyed after KlK which already had a bunch of problems - but overall it was far too entertaining for me to seriously care about those.
Amagi
Guess the last 1/3 might be more interesting when they start with the actual world building for once, although they could probably slam the love stuff even more in our faces but who knows. Not fond of any of the latest Trigger anime to be honest.
Amagi
Also they're really overdoing it with all that obvious message stuff and the "love superpower" trope I always hated anyway. Still watching I mean at least it has a plot and tries.
Amagi
I still can't care about anyone or anything in this series I think it's really not made for me. I might have liked Goro but he's too unimportant and the sauros revelation was kind of a letdown since it's the most common twist for these kinds of things.
AidanAK47
Alright Franxx, you are forgiven for episode 14.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do you ever go to those surprise horror/thriller preview screenings? Where they don't tell you what film it is until it starts?
Kaiser-Eoghan
*worrying about
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its saying something, when I haven't seen eternal sunshine since it came out, but even by re-watching the trailer, the feelings, the whole film comes back. At that point I'd grown out of Jim Carey's comedy, so seeing him play against type was refreshing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, I'm more forgiving then, I'm likely to give higher points for sheer imagination that I'm not as bothered by worry about the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Any negative argument against mood indigo by him can be countered by the fact it has Audrey Tatou in it.
Anonymous2035464
jhonrhean
SuperMario
and I just watched A Quiet Place. A solid indie horror one. It builds on atmosphere and it does the family chemistry right
SuperMario
I don't like The Science of Sleep to be honest. Tons of interesting ideas and visually creativeness but the story itself is a mess
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Gondry needs to avoid making any more commercial comedies, he also needs to start working with Kaufman again, they brought out the best in each other, although on his own, he can be playful and inventive with his films, such as mood indigo and science of sleep.
SuperMario
But check out his other movie Eternal sunshine of Spotless Mind. It has an inventive mind control/ mind altering concept in there
SuperMario
Jim Carrey is kind of mind controller himself. I couldn't take my eyes off him
SuperMario
@anon2028818: it was indeed season 5. SORRY FOR MY IGNORANCE :)
Vonter
The Jim Carrey movies.
Vonter
Dorei-ku seems like a Kakegurui. You see one episode you've seen all. It'll be better if it was crazier like Mirai Nikki. Mind control IMO could be a very creepy setup if it's watched through the perspective of the victim rather than the perpetrator. Losing notion or reality and control. Could liar liar and Yes man be considered mind controlled stories?
Vonter
Ore Mahou Shoujo, baffles me, since I had to skip another long musical off key number, which makes me wonder where the budget cut starts and where the trolling begins. Also makes me sad, there aren't a lot of female to male transformations since it'll be interesting watching that perspective. Maybe a love triangle from both genders could apply since females are more accepted to be bi, in media.
Vonter
Megalobox could be something really special, but I hope like with Ashita no Joe, the anime isn't solely boxing. Joe, had social commentary, had a personal struggle do to the protagonist origin, attitude and view of life, since he started very immature and rebellious.
Amagi
Megalo Box, Tiramisu (I find this genuinely funny), S;0, GGO which is so much better than SAO, Wotaku, Hinamatsuri, Cutie Honey, LotGH, Hisone to Masotan and so on
Amagi
I really love this season as well.
Lenlo
Also personally I am enjoying this current season a alot. But I also know/like a good bit of the reboots/sequels
Lenlo
Oh man... 2015 winter was good. Forgot thats when those came out
Anonymous2028818
@SuperMario: Wasn't that Natsume season 5?, pretty sure season 4 was several years earlier.
SuperMario
Another strong anime season for me was 2015 Winter, where we had YuriKuma Arashi, Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, Durarara whatever season, second cour of Shirobako, Parasyte and Your Lie in April
SuperMario
Even so, with this season I'm still willing to give some shows another chance, like Caligula or Cutie Honey Universe(!)
SuperMario
For me, the best season in recent years was Fall 2016 when we had Flip Flappers, Sound Eupho 2, Yuri on Ice, Natsume 4, Fune wo Amu, Drifters and 3-gatsu no Lion. But I know that Aidan would disagree with me on this
SuperMario
@anon2028201: it's me who said this season is a mixed bag. It's like you said, this season is too heavily on sequels/ reboots and only some new anime stand out, the rest of the pack is just meh.
Anonymous2028201
To me this seems like a pretty good seasons, but judging some of the impressions, it's a bit more of a mixed bag for most. Just curious, what were the best seasons for recent anime? This one seems good to me, but to early to tell right now
Anonymous2028201
Lovin this season so far: a lot of reboots/reimaginings and sequels, but I'm enjoying them all. MHA S3, LOGH DNT, S;G 0, Megalobox, Golden Kamuy are what I'm watching right now. I hear Full Metal Panic is good as well, but I haven't gotten around to watching the original series.
Anonymous2028258
so i just recently rewatched fullmetal panic fumoffu and i gotta say that this is easily one of Kyo ani's best works. It's such a surprise that this was their first anime; it's a damn good romance comedy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lol I love B-movie type stuff, because the rules are off.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was the only person who watched Mazinkaiser skl and shin mazinger and skullman.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Takeshi Koike really wanted to really sell it as a grindhouse feature and I ate that shit up; I really dug the tone he was going for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was strange seeing that Goemon short, much as I enjoyed it, thats the goriest I seen lupin get.
Anonymous2026379
Megalo box is pure retro while lupin is a mix of old and new...and you're right; people just think they can't jump right into it. But that's why more people should be talking about it; to let the masses know that you don't need a starting point to get into the Lupin franchise
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a massive fan of the devilman manga and I thought devilman crybaby was better than it.
Anonymous2026379
90's-esque throwback feeling shows like lupin and megalo box have been giving me
Anonymous2026379
Luoin part 5 is definitely mixing the best of new and old. Honestly, I've been having a blast with it as well as this generally 90
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the problem is, people see lupin as this long thing they can't get into, when really its so episodic/standalone mostly you can pick up and watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course getting the best bits out of old and new.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*visual style
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a fan of this hybrid old and new style, megalobox does it too, mine fujiko aswell and casshern sins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by how well the Fujiko mine show came together in the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll be interested in picking up more facts about thrm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come think of it, Akira Kurosawa did some old western (eastern?) in Russian, that had an Ainu in it.
Anonymous2026379
Asirpa is sooooo adorable.....almost feels patronizing to say that about her due to how badass she is
Anonymous2026379
What makes Fujiko work so well as this sexy icon is that she isn't just sexy: she's smart as shit and uses that sexiness to dominate and control her opponents (similar to bayonetta) rather than be chained by the objectification of her opponents (and the viewers for that matter)
Anonymous2026379
I wonder what other obscure cameos we may get this season. And yea you're right about some of Lupin's potentially sexist traits being assuaged by his level of cool and the genuine respect he shows a good deal of the women he has encountered throughout the series
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yet still a fun film at the same time.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Yea, mamo was a pretty dark element introduced to the lupin franchise; and considering the tone of the gravestone of Jigen, it makes sense he would cameo there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Help I want to kidnap Asirpa =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm probably as surprised as you, at finding someone to talk to about Lupin on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: And through comparing/contrasting the jigen grave stone and Fujiko mine, with some of the sillier older ones, it shows the Lupin characters are flexible enough to work both in a darker AND sillier context.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fujiko is precisely how a fanservicey character should work and how built in/essential it is to her haracter, without becoming an irritant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: By all means Lupin himself shouldn't be a character we like, much like Bond, but like Bond theres a coolness to the character that allows us to love him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Another great thing about Lupin is how it uses its 60s cool to get away with what would normally probably be considered fairly sexist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I had a big smile on my face when Mamo made a cameo appearance at the end of one of the recent ones and thats because I remember the Lupin Mamo movie was one of those first anime that I watched about 20 years aago.
Anonymous2026379
not to mention that its one of the few anime this season that actually knows how to utilize dialogue to explore flesh out its characters rather than exposition or contrivance: looking at you darling in the franxx
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser-Eoghan Nice fun facts; but yea Lupin III is a series that has always had an amazing sense of pacing and adventure, traits that are definitely on display this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its a huge franchise too so I'm often never sure where to go next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You may or may not know this, but the voice actor for solid snake voiced Lupin in one of the dubs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched a few episodes of the Italy set lupin show too .
Its a fun franchise due to its cast but its something I have to follow irregularly, lest it get repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fun fact, guy who directed the gold of babylon film was a famous B-movie noir director in the 60s.
Lenlo
Dont trust anything written by the original SAO author. Everything is his fault. Kirito is not in this series.
Lenlo
Even the original SAO author has little to do with it, which is why its actually good
Lenlo
So SAO Alt is basically completely removed from the rest of SAO
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lupin is one of those things I dip in and out of, whatever part of the franchise it is. I've seen birdcage kingdom, Mamo, cagliostro, nostradamus, Jigens grave stone, mine fujiko and the recent Goemon centred special.
Anonymous2026379
it's a damn shame not a lot of ppl are talkig about/watching lupin the third this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
But for all I know with that team behind it, its an improvement, but theres probably not much point in me watching as I dropped the first season after less than 10 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See how he attempts to seduce me into watching something related to sword art.
Lenlo
Huh... I didnt know the writer for SAO Alt was written by the Kino's Journey creator and produced by the Flip Flappers people. Explains a lot
Lenlo
I wish I knew what you meant by shaman girls, and I cant wait
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Oh I know Leskinen. May he find his Japanese Shaman girls one day. But seeing as I know the story I wanna experience it differently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its even set in hokkaido, Korean/Japanese director, Japanese cast, Ken Watanabe is in it: https://letterboxd.com/film/unforgiven-2013/
Lenlo
Also, I love the ED. Really, 2 episodes in, I love S;G all over again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: really? They remade Unforgiven in Japanese?
Lenlo
its*
Lenlo
Like... is good.
Lenlo
But your missing out on the cult of Leskinen. The engrish is actually one of my favorite parts
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Meanwhile I am happily waiting for the dub.
Lenlo
Dangit... I have to wait another week for Steins;Gate 0 now. I cant do this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Japanese remake of unforgiven had ainu people in it.
Anonymous2025797
Also I wonder if budget is distributed according to the director, some animes will spend more in the first episode. Some will spend more in the last ones. It's subjective, but if it's like all business it is looking for the better result at the minimum expense. Hence why I believe Berserk was made the way it did.
Anonymous2025797
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ideally a story should be as long as it needs. But reality seems that a number of episodes is decided before production. And so you either have to stretch or cut material. Kinda like that 300 page manga of Les Miserables, is simply unfeasible translating that book into that few pages.
KTravlos
Oberstein was a great character.
KTravlos
I actually feel Aidan can do a good job on it. Sometimes been too exposed to the material may lead to clouded eyes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm surprised by how I unexpectedly laughed at wotaku, I do wonder if later on it will include any slight drama elements to sustain interest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
OMO; OBERsteins; Gate =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
From watching episode 2 of golden kamuy, yeah, the source material definitely is lifting this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm going to have to wait and see on steins; gate 0, it is encouraging to here this might be darker , at the same time I remember having to sit through too much goofy humour in the first one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was actually surprised, that, while rare, there were some moments of humour, that lightened it for me.
AidanAK47
Throughout the entire series I expected Oberstein to pull some inevitable double cross. And was shocked when he never did.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree with Oberstein. I think antagonists are es important as the mains in fiction and I loved this guy, he's perfect for series like these.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Galactic heroes was an example of where when watching it, when big death scenes occured, I would make noooooo and shouting noises at the screen while clenching my fist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love characters like Oberstein, shrewd, clever, but done right to where I can believe it, not characters like, say Lelouch .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be concerned if the new galactic heroes series skimps on the violence, that kind of thing needs to be in there, in most shows/films and shown to be explicit, consequences need to be shown.
Amagi
*about, not with
Amagi
Sadly, most original 2+ cours series I know feel dragged whereas many 1 cours originals could have needed ~3 more episodes. Talking with series that have an actual plot of course.
Amagi
I really like the 13 episodes thingy for originals but I wish there would be more 26 episodes series, especially for adaptions.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I agree. Nothing kills my interest faster than formularic episodes and repetition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In general I think 50 episodes would be the most I'd watch for an anime, 39 seems ideal.
Amagi
Or worse and the romance drama is the main plot and it's Kiznaiver all over again, while the rest is just flavor to make the romances more forced since they're the MCs are only teens and such. Dunno but I can never bring myself to care about this kind of stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though better 110 episodes of galactic heroes than a long shounen that just repeats itself.
Amagi
Speaking of recent episodes, I unironically thing that FranXX's world (building) is pretty interesting (although I hope those klaxxosaurusses will be more than just random cannon fodder) but I doubt the series will ever get to the main plot again the next time.
Amagi
Same here. It was really the only time I did this. I am usually exhausted by just thinking about marathoning long series. It's the reason why I won't get into FMP for the new series either. LotGH was an exception since I found it easily to watch for some reason.
SuperMario
Man, just image burning through 110 episodes of it and my spirit fades away
Amagi
Watched that whole series ages ago.
Amagi
Just watched the first three Neue These episodes and I surprinsingly liked it. Thought I would hate it due to being an OVA fan, and I still prefer the old designs by far but overall it's pretty good. I think I might even prefer this version of the first battle, but I have to rewatch the old one I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also while I can't remember which episode, Yang picks up a book with the author of the series' name on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Arslan feels so lightweight by contrast/comparison.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think, given your knowledge KTtravlos, that a series review of the new galactic heroes season would probably benefit from you writing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring up the music in my earlier comment, because I can understand your reservations regarding the music choice in the remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And certainly one of those shows, that going back to the first episode after finishing, gives a strong perspective just on how evolving the series was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*despite me not
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite not being monarchist , because the characters were human moreso than cartoon characters I couldn't hate on Reinhard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: I suppose by the time it got to Julian's arc, I was surprised they were still bothering to fight but the fact that they were essentially the last bastion of their beliefs made it special.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Sometimes when I just finish a show, its a case where I HAVE to jump online immediately after and excitedly ramble out an essay on it.
niello
ugh democracy
KTravlos
@Kaiser ultimately LOGH for me was a decisive point in my political life, as I think it made the best defense of democracy in any form I have seen. And it worked partly because the opponent was presented in the best possible incarnation (Rienhard). Yang's continued adherence to democracy, despite recongising its flaws, helped me avoid a personal descent into authoritarian politics.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I am happy you had a good experience. I watched the prequels a while after the main show and I was happy because it was great getting back to those characters. The prequels were also great in fleshing the setting and the characters. So yes, take your time and a break. That way the prequels will be like visiting a place you liked again after a while.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@KTtravlos: I have some other stuff to get through before watching the galactic heroes prequel though =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
YES according to discord poster I'm not a millenial!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for overposting. I have always always being an incredibly verbose person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter; Not that I oppose captilistically made for a buck cinema, it can be entertaining yes, but I set a standard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: As open as I am to trash cinema, I consider the resident evil films, like the superhero ones, anti-art.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand why people don't like Villier, but he did I think work as a device to add extra tension.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel some release at finishing but at the same time sadness at saying goodbye to the show and its characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
, showing its age.
But for something of this length, it kept itself up far better than most long shows and I feel the length its somewhat justified.

On another note….as corny as the third ending theme is, I got the feels listening to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But while the first 50 odd episodes were an easy job for me aswell as all of the 4th season and some of the late 3rd season made it difficult for me to pull myself away from it, the dialogue even though often well observed did become difficult to follow at times and somewhere in the middle theres a stretch of episodes, bar some moments that feel a bit of an endurance test and the animation is at
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its attention to detail I felt was at its strongest in the documentary and the series dedication to filling the view in on its world building/fictional history.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I admired the scope, ambition of this series and the battles eventually grew on me and I was surprised by just how visceral the melee combat got which suited me perfectly. At the same time for all the strategy and action, I found myself more in it for the story, characters and intrigue/politicking. Those battles, due in part to their music choices, had an epic feel to them
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the end the characters stood out for me the best were Reinhard, Oberstein (for being essentially the amazing man with the plan), Reuntal, Kircheis and Rubinsky, I warmed up to Julian, Yang and Schenkop. When important deaths occurred, they felt highly dramatic, in four cases emotionally effecting for me .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, KTtravlos, thank you for pushing me toward watching the original legend of the galactic heroes, my opinion on the series is largely a mixed one, but by the end I felt I’d watched something rewarding and I’m happy its crossed off my list and I should have gotten round to it sooner.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm probably the oldest here, being 32. Which apparently makes me around Yang-wenli's age, which according to someone means I'm middle aged .
Kaiser-Eoghan
To the discord guy who brought it up, its difficult not for me to be political, my father was an activist and is a Marxist , I ended up becoming a contradiction a semi-agnostic, but spiritually inclined/tolerant socialist with internationalist ideology.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Ends in very cliffhanger/abrupt indy way though and the things weakness/how to kill thems too easy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I liked how it explains nothing also and the creature design and how it visual communicates to the audience.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: While I won't say anything, a character death is handled in what I considered a schmaltzy manner. There is a particularly headscratching decision the characters make that you'll either rationalize or hate, but it leads to one of the tenser set pieces later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Quiet place has a good idea at its backbone, that they use sign language in the film to communicate and occassional whispers adds to it, it and the silence allows for a mood to be effectively communicated. It does have jump scares, I wasn't annoyed by them, but I never felt the film required them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read the discord, if you ever need to ask a question relating to film, come to me about it, I will without fail be able to answer 9 times out of 10.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was adequately amused by the first episode of wotaku, but found the male lead funnier, which I'm attributing to him be more deadpan.
Lenlo
We found a convient weekend for everyone
Kaiser-Eoghan
*watching
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would also float the idea of recommendation podcasts every now and then.
Total users: 32

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii – 02[Are We Now Dating?]

After a strong first episode I come back to this show and find a rather middling second episode. There is some good content here, namely the Evangelion references, one of which was butchered by the crunchyroll translators.(Narumi and Hanako were arguing over who was best girl in Evangelion with notes over their head about whose […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 2 [Epigraph of the Closed Curve -Closed Epigraph-]

7 years. It has been almost 7 years since the original season of Steins;Gate. Since Okabe overcame received a mysterious video message, which prompted him to finally save the day. Back then it was a rather clever, if thin, plot device to get a happy ending. Steins;Gate 0 is the story of this video message. […]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 2/3[The Battle of Astarte/An Indomitable Prodigy]

If I was to judge this adaption based solely on the first three episodes I would declare it a resounding success. For while I do really like the old series, it does have a rather slow start. I say i only truly got invested in it around episode 3 or 4 when the more political […]

Golden Kamuy – 02 [Nopperabo]

Leave it to Japanese cartoon that done the Western genre better than the Westerners, at least from what we have seen so far (note: despite my pun, Western the genre doesn’t refer to the Western culture, but to the American Old West). Granted, Japanese cinema and literature has a strong tradition of samurai genre, which […]

Hinamatsuri – 02 [This Is How You Have a ESP Battle!]

Welcome to THE comedy gold of the season. Before I get into anything specific, let’s me discuss about what make this little show about a psychic girl and a yakuza hilarious in the first place. The main source of humor in Hinamatsuri largely comes from situation-based weirdness. Putting these characters out of their comfort zones […]

Darling in the Franxx – 14[Punishment and Confession]

Last time Darling and the Franxx had it’s best episode yet which raised my opinion of the series and gave me hopes for greater things moving forward. So it’s sad that they follow this up with the worst episode of the series to date. This episode was pure frustration to watch because you knew exactly […]

Megalo Box – 2 [The Man Only Dies Once]

Welcome to the Spring 2018 anime season! I am proud to present to you the Ashita no Joe 50th Anniversary project, Megalo Box. Easily the most stylish anime of the season. Lets jump in! With just 2 episodes, Megalo Box has become my favorite for the season. Everything about it feels like it comes from […]

Darling in the Franxx – 13[The Beast and the Prince]

That was the best episode of Darling in the Franxx to date. Truly I am impressed with this though it may be perhaps because the fanservice aspects of the show were not present at all during this episode. Todays episode was spent entirely on the past of Hiro and Zero Two. When this episode is […]

Fate/Extra Last Encore – 08-10[No Second Strike ― Dead End ― /Golden Theater of the Deranged ― Aestus Domus Aurea ― /Unlimited――― ― Unlimited/ Raise・Dead ―]

It hard to have an opinion on the last three episodes of Fate/Extra when the content has been quite similar to the previous episodes of the cour. For now the series has ended with the remaining episodes coming as a special later. Still unknown if that was the actual special broadcast that was originally considered […]

Latest Reviews

Kokkoku – 42.5/100

There are lots of bad anime out there, for one reason or another. Whether it be stilted animation, terrible writing or bad direction, a good portion of each season is simply not worth it. Kokkoku is not a bad anime. It is something much worse. Kokkoku is a mediocre anime. Bad ones get talked about, […]

Junji Ito Collection Anime Review – 40/100

In the realm of manga there is a man whose name is inescapable when the genre of horror is brought up. That man is Junji Ito and his work is considered legendary for its artistic detail, mastery of manga paneling and it’s outlandish imaginative concepts. Up till now his work has yet to have an […]

Yuru Camp (Winter 2018) Review – 74/100

I admit that I underestimated Yuru Camp back in its first few episodes. I took it as a standard, run-on-the-mill slice of life show and I fully expected to give it 3 episodes at max before throwing it into the deep sea of forgotten anime. But as time pass, I can certainly see many good […]

Neo Yokio – 96/100

This may be half a year overdue but I simply can’t accept that none of the writing staff of Star Crossed Anime have cover the the biggest development in anime where Netflix took a hand in producing anime in the form of Neo Yokio. Taking place in the metropolis of Neo Yokio, a mashup between […]

Devilman Crybaby – 83/100

It’s an exciting time to be an anime fan where new business models and players are making big waves within the animation industry. After debuting with the original and excellently-produced Neo Yokio, the juggernaut streaming service of Netflix has decided to revive the classic series of Devilman and gives it the full adaption treatment. By […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 69/100

Fantasy is a rather prolific genre in anime, with a vast majority of Isekai and Shounen fitting snugly into it. Most take place in their own unique setting, either Amestris of Full Metal Alchemist or the made of world of the latest Isekai trash. Few however try to set themselves in our world. To peel […]

Mary and the Witch’s Flower – 73/100 (Joint Review)

Wooper: Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, which spun off from Studio Ghibli in early 2015. Given Ghibli’s towering reputation, the bar was high for this inaugural flick, which recently made its way to U.S. theaters, giving Lenlo and I a chance to see it on the big […]

In This Corner of the World (2016) Movie Review – 90/100

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, […]

Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production […]