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)

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SuperMario
That's all I can think for now. I'm sure K-off and others will have more inspiring suggestions down the line
SuperMario
For pychological edge: Haute Tension, Lake Mungo, Three... Extremes (actually the 3 shorts are all interesting), The Tunnel 2011 (underaprreciate Aussie found-footage)
SuperMario
For sick minds, Man Bites Dog, a Serbian film, Der Tolesking, Human Centipede (1&2)
SuperMario
Alright, for pure horror pleasures: Necromantik (1987), Green Inferno, Dead/Alive (my childhood's nightmare), Children Shouldn't Play woth Dead Things (more like a guity pleasure)
SuperMario
Haha scary indeed
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The scariest thing about the haunting was that a remake of it exists that betrays the original.
SuperMario
Now, let me check my own horror list for more reccomendation
Kaiser Eoghan
Hahaha! Possession predates urotsukidouji =P in terms of the tentacle monster thing.
SuperMario
And I heard that the Haunting (1963) is good as well. Some david lynch movies (Lost Highway for example) could be claasified as horror too
SuperMario
Shame he passed away early this year. But he did say that the violent relationship in that movie was based on his own divorce.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I think Polish directed films are apparently rooted in theater. Though I believe he is a Dadaist.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Apparently Possession and diabal, all of his works are full of hidden political messages.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: That director is genuinely off-the wall insane, silver globe and l'amour braque actually make that look sane.
SuperMario
Possession the movie that Isabelle Adjani stared in? God, that movie exhausted me
Kaiser Eoghan
Innocents was so much better than its remake the others, the atmosphere was a lot lot stronger too, black and white really adds to the mood too.
Kaiser Eoghan
ha! I loved those.
This year I'm looking for silly horror movies predominently.
SuperMario
Let scare Jessica to death; the innocents 1961, Kill List, goodnight Mommy
Kaiser Eoghan
My alltime favourite horror film is Possession.
Kaiser Eoghan
No fuck it, no sequels. Currently it stands at under the shadow, return of the evil dead 1, dagon, from beyond, re-animator.
SuperMario
Too lazy to check out which horror movies that you've watched, but sure I can reccomend you some, from shitty to pure camp.
Kaiser Eoghan
Actually wait, under the shadow is out next week so that means I only need 5 more.
Kaiser Eoghan
Or maybe a 12 days is more feasible, easier. So that brings it down to six more. Guilty pleasures accepted.
K-Off
Any room for shitty horror in that list?
Kaiser Eoghan
I have to do a 30 days of halloween list soon. Want to limit it to horror films I haven't seen. So far I have the return of the living dead trilogy , dagon, from beyond and the re-animator.
Kaiser Eoghan
I also recently watched stranger things. I felt it did right by its 80s throw back, straight down to the references, score, costumes. Pretty cool monster too and the younger actors I thought were mostly good. Kind of slightly reminded me of the goonies to a small extent. I think it succeeded in being fairly heartfelt. Although I did find it a bit padded.
SuperMario
About the new season, I'm more interested in how these dark horse titles will turn out: Flip-flappers, ClassicalLoid, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Yuri on Ice
SuperMario
@Aidan: I had Stranger Things on my queue list for a while now, but don't plan to watch it anytime soon. Glad you enjoy it.
K-Off
ReZero is the only show I finished in about 2 seasons. Hopefully the Working spinoff is up to par.
AidanAK47
Hoping things change when the first episodes start airing of the new anime season.
AidanAK47
Things have gotten quiet here. I plan on getting my Mob psycho review up today. I have to say that the next season doesn't interest me very much. There's some great stuff coming next year but the fall is looking pretty...meh.
AidanAK47
Finally got around to watching Stranger Things. Good show, I like the nostalgic way they tell the story though at times its too Spielberg/King. I admit that I can't say I was blown away by it. It's good and I will be watching the second season. But it's a tad.. predictable. Those child actors did a great job though.
K-Off
@Bam I'm not certain the email I have is one you actually use, so here it is: (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QWnGcuVQuXfOJuh80SDgtiZH4X6Zya_XEG2ZOM6u-5k/edit?usp=sharing)
It's pathetic right now, I'm sorting out my arrangements for Seoul first.
K-Off
@Bam I'll send you the itinerary in a few hours. Appreciate the offer for guides but I'll decline on that, otherwise it wouldn't hurt to have additional contacts in japan. The person I'm traveling with is half Japanese, so I trust that we won't run into tourist traps.
SuperMario
It logged me out again. Oh well! That was me Bam
Anonymous207007
@Bam: the first time I've ever heard of Chinchilla. Sorry to hear about your pet. Don't feel bad about the late post, it's perfectly fine. After all, we all volunteer to contribute here, so no pressure on the timing. Just write whenever you feel like it really.
Bam
Can anybody else see these?
Bam
@K-off: right on m8, I'm excited for you. Email me your itinerary and I can not only recommend some spots that aren't just basic tourist-traps, but can also hook you up with some friends to take you around and show you what the real Japan is all about.
Bam
I was planning to release the posts just as scheduled, but my Chinchilla suddenly got ill, and given the exotic nature of such pets I've been in and out of dozens of veterinary clinics. Over a week later and $600 spend, the poor thing finally gave out. I've been pretty out of since it happened, but again sorry for just disappearing.
Bam
I am actually still breathing. Sorry again for the unceremonious absence.
K-Off
@anon196168 I'm all ears for suggestions.
Anonymous196168
If youre going to japan maybe you could do something more unique than just taking pictures of locations? Plenty of those already on Google.
Kaiser Eoghan
Noticing a server error showing up on the shoutbox there.
AidanAK47
Good point, normal users generally just stay anono. ke69Vin?...69...really....that's just sad humor right there.
K-Off
That was most definitely little Kevin as well. 9vinke6 is obviously an anagram.
AidanAK47
@9Vinke6, I don't know what you are trying to share but it ain't an image. Deleting your comment as I don't want dodgy files on the site.
Anonymous181098
Are you kidding??!! Tokyo is amazing if you want excitement & you want to experience social life. But I agree go to Osaka. If tokyo is like Quebec then osaka is like toronto. More laid back
Anonymous180231
OPM was a shoe-in. It's showing very good success on Adult Swim on US TV and Viz is throwing big dollars to keep the gravy train rolling
AidanAK47
One Punch Man season 2 was announced. Expected but most certainly welcome.
...now I need Re:Zero season 2.
CJayTiiii
Honestly, if you are going to Kyoto essentially no shrine is worth visiting in Tokyo because none of them are as nice as the ones in Kyoto and they are essentially all tourist traps.
K-Off
If you guys insist I'll give Osaka serious consideration. But again I'd hate to gloss over Kyoto or Tokyo. But anyhow my 4 week stay in Seoul will be eternity compared to the Japan trip.
CJayTiii
Ikebukuro is probably used almost as much as shibuya? Specifically for durarara right around the station (east side) is used a lot. Kabuki-Cho in shinjuku is definitely used a lot but I couldn't tell you in what off the top of my head.
CJayTiii
Also as someone who lived in Kyoto and now lives in Tokyo, I would suggest spending as much time as possible in Kyoto as there is just so much stuff to do there. Tokyo there honestly really isn't that much stuff to do here other than going out to drink I feel. Lol also Osaka is only a 30 min train ride (about 5$ USD) from Kyoto so it's easy to go there for a couple hours
K-Off
@Mario I'll be home by new years unfortunately, I'll have to settle for Christmas in tokyo.
@CJay Thanks, any suggestions for Tokyo? I'm trying to avoid cliché locations for anime-related scenery. Like Shibuya.
CJayTiii
For Kyoto, Tatami Galaxy is probably the best anime for side by side comparisons. Kamogawa river, Kiyamachi street, and shimogamo shrine are famous areas that pretty much constantly make appearances throughout the show.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Disney Tokyo? haha If it was me I've chosen somewhere more... locally. But who I am to judge as I celebrated last New Year Eve in Times Square, the most tourist spot of them all. But I really hope you can spend some time to go to some shrines for the New Year in Tokyo.
K-Off
@Mario The person I'm travelling with wants to spend Christmas at Disney Tokyo, and unsurprisingly nearly all places will still be open, same as NYC. Christ, I'm more worried about my wallet.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Makes sense. I'd say better stick in one place for long days rather than short trips in several places. Even 10 days for those 2 places wouldn't be enough imo, well especially during Xmas since the streets will be busy and many places could be closed (I guess?)
K-Off
@Mario It doesn't seem like I'll go to Osaka, the goal is to explore Kyoto and Tokyo and much as possible for a week and a half. If I can squeeze it in there I will, but that means spending less time in Kyoto and/or Tokyo. The bulk of my trip will be in Tokyo for now.
SuperMario
Yeah, Kenshin had a whole Kyoto act, but it was more historical anw and I feel it didn't explore the city that much (more of a ruined city)
Really, only uchoten Kazoku, tatami galaxy and durarara come to mind. Are you planning to go to Osaka as well? I heard from my friend Osaka is about an hour drive from Kyoto only.
K-Off
@Anon174851 Ah good one.
@Mike Thanks. Durarara is a good suggestion, but I haven't watched Rurouni Kenshin.
Mike
@Kaiser Sure, the story doesn't do anything for me but it's not a waste of time.
@K-Off You can do pretty much anything in Tokyo I'll bet. Anime in general aside from shows like Durarara don't emphasize the setting very much... Kyoto is more interesting, rurouni kenshin is the first thing that comes to mind.
Anonymous174851
uchouten kazoku is a really good one set in kyoto!
K-Off
Haven't heard of it. Anyways, do you guys have any suggestions for favorite anime series set in Kyoto or Tokyo? I'm planning my itinerary and the idea is to take a lot of side by side comparison pictures from their anime depictions to RL. I have YuruYuri, SYD, Detective Conan, and various KyoAni spots in mind, but my brain isn't remembering others.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm considering finding some War/military manga to read, has anyone read Gunka no balthazar? Is it worthwhile?
AidanAK47
@Anon164960, They announced a second season for it so they ain't done with that trainwreck yet.
Anonymous165129
Gate
Anonymous164960
So Rewrite took the "Bad End" route. Interesting. Their choice, not the show of course which was a freaking mess from start to finish.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, reminding me that I have not left Ireland since 2012 when I went to Rome. Although I have floated around the idea of maybe going to Slovakia.
K-Off
@Mario Thanks, although I'll be working the whole time I'm at Seoul with sundays off. Expecting about 40-50 hours of work a week. Sucks that your trip got canned, in the Winter there's no place you'd want to be other than southern California.
SuperMario
Congrats K-Off. Hope you enjoy the trip. I myself originally planned to go to US on this December but now the plan got wrecked. Should be fun spending Xmas in Japan especially
K-Off
Got my international drivers permit from AAA today, and it also looks like I'm stuck with over half the travel fees since I've signed myself off the agency plan. It's now official, I'm going to Seoul and then spending my christmas holidays in Tokyo. Been a long time since I left the country, last time was in 2011.
SuperMario
That was me Mario
Anonymous140274
@Masky: it wasn't, but Gui Niao did mention the pipe has multi-purpose functions: do far he uses the pipe to write, to create a hallucination smoke, to make an actual bushfire, to open the lock, now to be a sword-pipe. What's next? To be a wifi modem? to be a boomerang? to shapeshift into an umbrella?
Masky
So Thunderbolts Fantasy :D Totally called the pipe being a sword (assuming it wasn't shown earlier and I just forgot about it)
AidanAK47
@Anon146321, typos are hard to avoid when you write fast. What's really important to is that the point gets across, which it did.
Anonymous146321
Medium not meduim
Masky
I wonder if trolls consider people explaining why their trolling is bad a successful trolling .-. I mean, my experience is that most of trolls aren't really smartest or most creative of people, I think most of them are happy if people just talk about them.
AidanAK47
@Anon141285, oh come on boy. Put some effort into trolling. You need to get people to actual think you believe what you are saying. Here you have already messed up because you use the old "Chinese cartoons" which is supposed to piss of anime fans because it suggests you are ignorant of the meduim but then you reference the nukes showing full well you know where they are from. You have failed.
Anonymous141285
Chinese cartoons proof that two nukes weren't enough. Or were too much depending on the perspective
SuperMario
oh, talking about teenage horror female movie, make sure to check out Raw whenever its available online. That is one hell of a fun cannibal ride!
SuperMario
my point is we tend to spend our stupid 20s phase feel like its wasted, but really it does help develop our hobby/sense/wisdom, whatever it is.
Kaiser Eoghan
I find myself now that I've grown up wanting to punch kid characters from horror films lol
Kaiser Eoghan
About the watching stories with younger female characters...its starting to feel like I shouldn't be or that it doesn't feel appropriate, actually sort of awkward/skeevy.
SuperMario
True enough. But remember that even Quentin Tarantino had his 20s basically just a movie-clerk, watched movies like a maniac and he made that classic Pulp Fiction when he was like 33
Kaiser Eoghan
Looking back It feels dickish that I laughed reading NHK.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean look at Re-life, I mean ow, everyone went through that.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think we'll find that stage where we'll get irritated by stories reminding us of our stupid 20s phases eventually just as some teenage focused anime/manga annoyingly remind us of being teens.
Kaiser Eoghan
In terms of anime/manga, much as I'd still see myself liking NHK I could see myself getting more frustrated with the lead character now being in my early 30s.
Kaiser Eoghan
In the past year I've been looking at hentai/ecchi imageboards not as often as I used to.
Kaiser Eoghan
Judy Delphy and Juliette Binoche have aged surprisingly well...
Ah its less fancying/finding them attractive, moreso taking notice of them.
SuperMario
I can understand the others but Meryl Streep too? Man, you're aging I can tell
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Sreep, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: like whom if I may ask?
SuperMario
But I'm always interested in women issues myself so Mustang just hit me hard
Kaiser Eoghan
Its a sign of me aging I guess too. I'm noticing older actresses too now where I wouldn't have in the past.
SuperMario
Looking forward to Under the Shadow too, also really keen to see how The Bad Batch would turn out to be
SuperMario
Strangely I've become more engaged with teen, coming-of-age films recently (well, Aku no Hana is sort of teen drama as well),but yes, old man's psyche is my thing too
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Synecdoche, the passenger, winter light, anomalisa , wild strawberries , la notte for example.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The day is coming where drama centred around twentyboppers won't have the same level of effect on me. Had I seen buffalo 66 5 years ago I would have been all over it. Old man/middle age angst is becoming more my thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm honestly having a harder time getting into films that focus on young girls/teenagers.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Theres only a few upcoming films left I'm looking forward to, Elle, Valley violence, whispering star and under the shadow.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I appreciate mustang for the issue it deals with and addresses but I felt it predictable and the drama didn't hit harshly enough. It feels like an academy/oscars film.
SuperMario
Kaiser: remember I mention about watching those 96 Cannes line-ups? I think I will get to watch them soon, since I downloaded all the movies already
SuperMario
@Kaiser: btw, you hated Mustang? It's also one of my favorite film so far.
SuperMario
but maybe think of it that way will make the manga more entertaining...
SuperMario
You see Aku no Hana as a dark comedy? haha I'm speechless
Kaiser Eoghan
Like you Mario I don't care for heavy infodumping and that took me out of the new world.
Kaiser Eoghan
Bebop had that problem for me in that I saw outlaw star and trigun first.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still feel aku no hana is a guilty pleasure manga, a crazy dark comedy or maybe thats just my humour.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hataraku had me laughing up to episode 7, while Amagi felt stale from the start.
Looking back on Baccano I still like Claire and Russo but the other characters not so much, the main series is enjoyable enough but the extra episodes hold back the score.
I've never watched Habane straight through although I have finished the series. Ghost vs ergo? Ergos final episode wrecked the show.
Topgavin
I thing Hataraku was a lot more consistent, but Amagi had some standout episodes. For me the OVA, the pirate ship episode and the school episode were great. "Simply put, we have to go lewder" is one of my fav quotes
K-Off
How was that by the way? I never bothered to watch Amagi Brilliant Park all the way through because I felt so cynical about it after the first two episodes. Hataraku Mao Sama on the other hand was genuinely refreshing for the first half of the season.
SuperMario
In other news, The Eccentric Family is getting 2nd season. Now I'm filled with joy
SuperMario
Still feel bad to compare an 1-cour series (Baccano) to an 4-cours one. But in this case Baccano would take my cake.
Topgavin
I reckon The Devil is a Part Timer vs Amagi Brilliant Park would be a fun one, and I wouldn't know which would win.
AidanAK47
Baccano vs Durarara might make a good matchup. Baccano is the better one but Durarara does seem to be more popular.
Syndrome
Yeah it is a bit obvious and they dont share much in common anyway. Just that they are two of the most well known anime out there. I enjoyed NGE more than Cowboy Bebop, but I agree on the later beeing overall a better anime.
AidanAK47
Oh look. Berserks Manga is on Haitus again. Muira...just..at this point I ain't even mad. Just disappointed.
SuperMario
Well, new post on Flowers of Evil is out. Come eat it up.
SuperMario
@Syndrome: was thinking about that match-up (NGE vs Cowboy Bebop) but isn't it too obvious? I always intend to pick something that caught you guys off-guard haha
AidanAK47
@Syndrome, no contest. Cowboy Bebop wins outright.
Syndrome
On a serious note, for related anime, I would be curious about something like Ergo Proxy against Ghost in the Shell
Syndrome
Go for NGE vs Cowboy Bebop and watch the world burn
SuperMario
Yeah, I agree it's one of the main factors, but even so From the New World had a higher grade too. But I wouldn't pick Haibane Renmei against From the New World if I didn't think it had a chance to win. Those who loved the former really loved it, while people more appreciate From the New World than actually love it. Well, can't beat the consensus I guess.
Topgavin
I'd say a major reason for that would be the popularity difference. On MAL, Haibane has a following of 110k people, with FTNW having 270k.
SuperMario
I'm personally quite disappointed with the results. Will try harder for a more competitive match-up next time
AidanAK47
@Mario, if you say so. I say by now the victor has been decided.
SuperMario
@Aidan: we don't need to sticky the Versus Show again, as I will put up the Aku no Hana post tomorrow anyway
AidanAK47
Yeah the brightness got a bit much in some places after episode 18.
Topgavin
I thought the brightness was done well in the episode with Rem sitting beside Subaru's bed and her smiling/crying, but yeah this was too much
SuperMario
@anon125687: my thought exactly. While I was watching it I thought to myself that it's too bright!!
Anonymous125687
Why do final episodes overdo the blur effect and fuzzy lighting its literally over dramatic cancer. Just let it end normally ffs
afgm
Well, it's hard, since it doesn't really feel finished, so even if you know it will eventually end well if given a chance, you can't really put your full confidence behind those bets
AidanAK47
Got a bit long winded in that review and yet I feel like I really didn't get across what makes the series so good.
AidanAK47
Well that's the Re:Zero review written up. I will get to work on 91 days next and maybe Prisms Illya maybe after that. Lost all entuasim after they messed up that last episode in Illya. Overall it's been pretty disappointing.
AidanAK47
As for that twist. I think they could work it easily into a first episode. The impact would still be there for people marathoning the thing in the future and it would be a good "Oh Shit!" moment to start the second season. If they jump ahead a bit to a certain moment it would actually make for a great opener.
AidanAK47
I say the only chance of season two not coming would be if White Fox doesn't like money. Considering that the pace which the light novel adaption has sped up from every few months to a release every month I guess that they want to make that second season as badly as we want it. At this pace they could start a second season in maybe a years time. Maybe every half a year depending on cour length.
Syndrome
Also, if season 2 ever come (that would be a surprise if not, and truly annoying), I dont know how they will manage with the "twist", as something this impactful would come way too fast without any kind of setup. Wait and see, I guess.
Syndrome
After seeing the last Re:Zero I couldnt help but spoil myself, and I kind of understand why WhiteFox went with that kind of ending, skipping what would be a giant shtstorm on the internet. Even though, in a sad world where there would be no season 2, Im still a bit disappointed with the ending. Its nice to wrap it up this way but its a stale regarding the plot and there is no food for thought.
SuperMario
@aidan: you sure are fast when it comes to Re:Zero haha. Alrighty, we'll go with that then
AidanAK47
@mario,I am putting up a Re:Zero post. Tommarrow. I will unsticky it for a day and then we can sticky it again.
reaLjustified
@K-Off No worries, it's so messed up. Stay safe.
SuperMario
@Aidan: if you going to post Re:Zero review soon, you can unsticky the Versus Show post, otherwise I will take it down in 2 days
SuperMario
@K-Off: I feel for ya. Glad that there were only minor injuries. I heard a blogger claimed that he did it because of the gay rights. Sound bullsh*t to me
K-Off
Shit ton of manga have gotten updates but I don't feel like talking about them for a while, lost my appetite.
K-Off
@Kaiser Living in NYC all my life I remember 9/11, flight 587 crash in Queens, the Hudson River water landing, and now this.
AidanAK47
So far it seems most of the people calling it disappointing are those who know whats comes after that last scene and were looking forward to how the fanbase reacts to it. But it would have been a pretty terrible as well as evil way to end the series.
Topgavin
Yeah, I thought it gave enough closure for us to be satisfied yet still desperately wanting the next season.
AidanAK47
@Anon120947, I really don't see what's so disappointing about it. I thought it was a pretty solid way to end the series.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think at most the worst thing that happened in my area was two conmen going around and an gangster attack on a nearby hotel.
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