Posted on 29 December 2012 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Most Annoying Character

Sword Art Online – The Cousin

Nisemonogatari wins the award for having the collective most annoying set of characters, but when I started thinking about the single character that just got on my nerves with every appearance, then I just have to come back to the cousin. How she doesn’t belong In the story and came with that incredibly pointless incest subplot, the way she just pushed Asuna aside from the seat of lead female, despite not really doing anything. The creators taking all of this seriously was the final straw for me. She symbolized the wasted potential of the second half of this series.

Worst Character

Guilty Crown – Shu Ounuma

Shu is not a character: he is a plot device. Whatever the plot needs him to be, he becomes, whether this is Hitler or Jesus. And yet the entire show revolves around him. The show keeps pulling more and more stuff out of its ass to keep true to this. Yeah, he was by far the worst character of 2012.

Best Cast of Minor Characters

Uchuu Kyoudai

Beyond having Mutta himself, Uchuu Kyoudai has also the cast of most delightful minor character, every single one of them who feels real and believable. The cast is incredibly diverse. And all of them are adults. It’s like this show wants to make us care about every single one, and it has used its slow pacing brilliantly to bring these guys to life. It does this so much better than any other series this year.

Best Voice Acting

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Absolutely without contest whatsoever. The voice acting of Natsuyuki Rendezvous blows every other show completely out of the water. Matsuo Kou’s method of recording the voices before animating the characters has given the cast so much freedom to really focus on expressing their emotions right, and just look at the heights this got them. The range of the motions that they can do is great, and it the tensions they managed to create with just the acting had me constantly on the edge of my seat.

Best Character Development of a Single Character

Takashi Natsume

It’s a bit boring to keep handing out this award to Natsume, but here is the thing: he already was an incredibly well developed character, and then the fourth season came and added even more to him. The focus on his parents in particular was amazing, but he also changed in the way that he interacts with the people around him. If there ever is a fifth season, will he continue to just get better or something?

Best Character Development of an Entire Cast

Sakamichi no Apollon

This one had me contemplate for a while: Uchuu Kyoudai has an awesome cast, but it’s also a huge cast, so there were a few characters that have always stayed the same. Natsuyuki Rendezvous also has amazing character interactions, but again: development is not the main focus. This brings me to Sakamichi no Apollon, where the development of the entire cast IS the main focus. Not just the lead characters, but everyone around them. Especially the epilogue of the series brings so much change and growth in these people, and they really change constantly throughout the series.

Top 5 Side-Characters

#5: Sakamichi no Apollon – Junichi Katsuragi

For me, the fifth place goes to Sentarou’s older brother who he always looked up to: Junichi. This guy especially in the first half knows his role as a role model really well, not to mention that he’s a really good trumpeter: out of all of the rotoscoped musicians in this series, he always looked like he had the most passion. It’s his development over the second half of the series that lande him on this list though.

#4: Uchuu Kyoudai – Kenji Makabe

The thing with Uchuu Kyoudai is that it’s got so many awesome characters, it’s hard to just pick one. In the end I just went with Kenji over Serika because of how much time this series spent on his fatherhood. Why he still decided to become an astronaut, even though this meant neglecting his family, and how much he cares about his little daughter.

#3: Hyouka – Satoshi Fukube

This is the first time that I put a character like Satoshi on my list of favorite characters. Normally, his type of characters are a dime a dozen: the best friend that is not as talented as the lead character. Then Hyouka came and turned this around, and made this a very strong point about him; it actually started exploring that side of him. It resulted in a well rounded character who actually has many reasons to be likable.

#2: Zetsuen no Tempest – Samon Kusaribe

I remember last year, my list of favorite side-characters was dominated by manliness: larger than life characters who were confident and arrogant. This year is completely different and the most prevalent is characters struggling with their own flaws. By far the best example of this is Samon, the guy who desperately tries to avoid his own fate. Saying any more would be a huge spoiler, but this guy completely sold me with his passion in trying to overcome his own weaknesses.

#1: Hunter X Hunter – Chrollo Lucilfer

I was debating whether to put this guy on first place, simply because it’s nearly the exact same Chrollo of the 1999 Hunter X Hunter series. But in the end: yeah. The organization this guy set up is the single best evil organization in any shounen series. Bar none. The people he gathered, the bond he created, and how intelligent they keep working. He’s intelligent and comes up with some brilliant plans. I just could not give the number one position to any other guy.

: Top 5 Male Characters

: Honorable Mention: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Joseph Joestar

This is a bit of a strange list this year. Mostly because some of my favorite characters only appeared for one month of the entire year, even though they’re very clearly main characters. One of them got a proper space in this spot for very valid reasons, but Joseph… we just haven’t seen enough of him to really warrant a proper placement. However, I will say this: this guy has a really good chance to become the single best main character in a shounen series, ever. This guy just screams everything that is awesome, it’s ridiculous.

#5: Sakamichi no Apollon – Kaoru Nishimi

I love this guy’s character development. Regular teenaged boys are nothing new as main characters, but he added something different, both with his piano skills, as how his romantic development is way faster than his peers. His short temper also was something you don’t often see, which was always the source for great drama and development from the other members of the cast.

#4: Hyouge Mono – Sasuke Furuta

Hyouge Mono only aired in January, but I still decided to include Furuta Sasuke in this list, just not on number two anymore. Yes, the best male characters of 2012 were actually better than the top male characters of 2011. Furuta Sasuke is still a character you have to see to believe though: completely silly and with no sense of shame while he rambles on about aesthetics. The climax took its time, but it also had some great effects on his character becoming more serious. I still remember the final scene of this show vividly with what he ended up doing.

#3: Natsuyuki Rendezvous – Ryousuke Hazuki

The two themes around my favorite male characters this year: they’re either really, really eccentric, or realistically portrayed stubborn guys. Hazuki is the most stubborn of them all with his attempts to hit on Rokka, but what he’s thrown into as the result of that is just wonderful. His weaknesses are illustrated beautifully throughout the series and his wit also is a delight to watch.

#2: Natsume Yuujin-Chou – Takashi Natsume

Natsume is also quite stubborn in how he refuses to let people into his life, but the fourth season of Natsume Yuujinchou made him an even better character (yes this guy was my favourite character of 2011, just imagine). Especially the arc around his parents was amazing and added so much to him.

#1: Uchuu Kyoudai – Nanba Mutta

Nanba Mutta is just amazing. Not just the best male character of the year, but also the years before it. His sense of humour is amazing, he’s developed in such a realistic way. One moment I laugh so much with him, the next he manages to move me to tears with his desire to become an astronaut. He also works off so incredibly well with the rest of the cast, bringing out the best out of all of them. I really did not have to think long before deciding my number one spot on this list.

: Top 5 Female Characters

#5: Kamisama Hajimemashita – Nanami Momozono

Lots of good shoujo this year, and the past Autumn brought in a good selection of shoujo romances that were really quite good. Nanami stood out perhaps through a personal bias: I love strong female characters like her who at the same time aren’t afraid to show their own weaknesses. The romance around her was by far the best portrayed teenaged romance I’ve seen this year, and her energy and wit kept every single episode fresh.

#4: Lupin the Third – Mine Fujiko

2012 had a lot of reboots of all sorts of franchises. Mine Fujiko… I don’t know how she was in the original Lupin III because I have not seen it, but here she was this character who knew exactly what she wanted, and did not hesitate at all to use whatever means necessary to get there. She flaunted her sexuality just about every time she could, but that added to her charms thanks to the way in which this series portrayed it.

#3: From the New World – Saki Watanabe

I’ve said this before: I like strong female characters a loot. Saki is what you get when you test the limits of such a character. It’s not like Saki is independent, because of how she was raised, and despite her strengths, she is just chockful of insecurities about the bizarre culture that she’s living in, At the same time though, she does not shy away from confront ing it. Her development and subtle actions regarding this earned her a place in this list for me.

#2: Chihayafuru – Chihaya Ayase

Chihaya is awesome. She is not the most complicated character: her mind is entirely on Karuta, a card game. But in the process she drags just about everyone along with her with the passion she has for the game. The creators did such a good job of portraying this. As Chihayafuru went into its second half it started to develop this passion: show her flaws and where she could improve. That made her character even better

#1: Mouretsu Pirates – Marika Katou

Marika really was a delight to watch. Here she was, just a regular high school girl, and then she suddenly was the captain of a pirate ship. Because the creators let her play out like she wanted, she really gradually grew more and more into her role of an actual leader. The plans she comes up with are always creative and especially near the end of the series she really managed to blossom and take control of just about everything.

Top 30-16 TV-Series

#30: Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

Jinrui was a strange series that thrived on creativity: it had these fairies of which you never knew what they were going to do, which lead to quite some interesting situations. On top of that, it aired its episodes in random order and brought in lots of satire to the mix. It came a bit late with its character development, but thankfully it managed to just in time give Watashi (the lead character) a solid backstory.

#29: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

The shounen romantic comedy with lots of fanservice…. actually done right. The fanservice in this series is quite different from usual, because removing it would make the series less good. Sakurasou had from the start a great chemistry between its different characters: it really knew when it needed to be sharp with its dialogue. For a while it also had this annoying harem theme, but as the show goes on it moves more and more away from that. It’s got a bunch of great lead characters, but also the side-characters have some really interesting sides to them.

#28: Kimi to Boku

Kimi to Boku continued from its first season with one very big advantage: it already had really well developed characters. In its second season, it used that really well, to the point where the characters just weren’t annoying anymore and they all had their charms that got explored really well for this series. Every episode developed a different character, and with this show’s subtlety it lead to some really charming moments.

#27: AKB0048

I was set to hate AKB0048. I hate idols and how they’re often just corporate exploits without much focus on actual talent. But then, something interesting happened: instead of glorifying idols, this show actually started to bite the hand that fed it: you need to read between the lines for that a bit, but it highlighted how competitive the idol business is, how actual talent is not the most important part, and some of the other uglier sides of the business, while still being this cheerful tale of reaching your dreams. It just sold me despite the ridiculous premise.

#26: Uta Koi

So, the show had its animation issues. Its budget was clearly limited. Nevertheless, to whoever made this series possible: THANK YOU! It’s such a refreshing change of pace to see a show that explores the stories behind a collection of poems, especially if the same poems were used by Chihayafuru: it also added some wonderful background on an entirely different show in the process. This was such a great history lesson, even though some of the romances tended to be a bit cheesy.

#25: Zetman

Zetman had some HUGE pacing issues, but what really caught my attention was how much passion the creators still managed to put into it. They rushed through the manga in a record pacing in order to be able to stuff everything in, but they still managed to come out with a pretty good product here that looked at what it means to be a superhero, although some of the character development was a bit out of whack as a result. Still, what I love is how much the creators were able to do with the limited means that were given to them. The budget was limited, yet there was a selection of stunning action scenes, the time was limited, yet the story closes itself off rather than hinging on a sequel hook that will never get there. It still has a likeable cast and feels complete to anyone who has never read the manga.

#24: Aquarion Evol

Aquarion Evol. The product of the collective deranged minds of Shoji Kawamori and Mari Okada, some of the biggest trolls active in the business. This show was glorious in its symbolism and how ridiculously cheesy it could get at times, not to mention its godly soundtrack. It had its annoying moments, but this show is so dedicated to teenaged hormones, orgasms and its themes of males versus females that it was just amazing to watch. Even for someone like me who did not watch the first series.

#23: Inu X Boku SS

The prime example of a show that takes its time to get going. This series caught my attention with its excellent first episode, but hen it dulled in a bit. It’s not like K where it wasted too much time on uninteresting stuff, it was just regular slice of life that was.. enjoyable I guess, but never really hit any highs. And then it just completely blew me away with its final two episodes, which were brilliant. Did it waste time? Most definitely. Does it have flaws? Hell yeah, some side characters in particular are too one-sided. But the two final episodes were so good that they made up for everything, especially since throughout the show, you could see this series carefully setting up the minor details required to make it work.

#22: Another

Another was THE horror series of the year. Sure there were other series with horror elements, but none went as far as this series. I loved the mystery it had and how it slowly unraveled its storyline, not to mention how intense it could get when it really hit its heights. It also got really brutal at times, so this series really is not meant for those with a weak constitution.

#21: Tsuritama

Tsuritama was ridiculously fun to watch in the Noitamina timeslot: it really managed to combine whimsical fun along with this impending thriller, especially in its second half where it really got creative. Plus, it’s a show about fishing. You just have to have that idea and create an anime about it. The characters did have some moments in which they were rather dull, especially in the first half of the series, but as the series spiraled out of control, it definitely made up for it.

#20: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

The first season was out of its mind, but it still had some grounds in logic. Then the second season came, and it just went all out. It’s completely random and crazy on every single level, it’s unbelievable. It had some of the most hilarious episodes I’ve seen all year, counterbalanced by some episodes that ended up a bit dull for too long. I just find it hilarious though: the original concept of Milky Holmes was a bunch of detectives that solve problems. The alternative OVAs that came out later this year are a testament to how bad that premise was. The creators just took that and tried to parody it as hard as they could by inserting as much randomness and stupidity in it as they could, turning the characters from capable detectives into incredibly incompetent nut-jobs. All of that accompanied by some really creative animation.

#19: Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki

The reason I’m putting Poyopoyo so high on this list: for the past year, every single Sunday it managed to put a smile on my face with only 2 minutes of airtime that sometimes feel like 10. Every week it put so many sketches in so little time, and it made sure that all of them worked. Every joke managed to hit its mark with me as it tells about the very relatable daily lives of a bunch of pet owners. Unlike most shows about animals, it really is about owning the pets, rather than just the pets themselves. It managed to become such a charming series because of that and I’m really sad that it has nearly ended.

#18: Kamisama Hajimemashita

Kamisama Hajimemashita had an execution that for me blew all of the other shounen and shoujo romances out of the water. Akitarou Daichi behind the direction made sure that every episode had a really charming ending that fitted exactly. It’s not the most complicated romance show by far, but because of that it shines with its simplicity: the quibs between the two lead characters were always fun to watch and the res of the cast also had its hilarious moments. The timing that this series had was particularly impressive: it knew exactly what to say and when to say it.

#17: Hunter X Hunter

I really have been debating where to put Hunter X Hunter on this list for this year, because throughout the year it has moved from cringe-inducing rushed build-up to absolutely amazing, not to mention that I already watched the entire story before. A quick summary would be that Nippon Animation did the Hunter Exam better, Madhouse was better at the Killua and the Heavens Arena, the Yorkshin Arc was done brilliantly by both and then Nippon animation was again much better at the Yorkshin Finale Arc. Because of the flaws and how it rushed a bit past some of the best parts, I at least decided to not include it in my top 15 of this year. Whether it will next year though… it all depends because we finally get into the bloody new material in a few months from now.

#16: Natsuiro Kiseki

I loved the character study that was Natsuiro Kiseki: you have four girls and this rock that keeps trolling them with all sorts of magical powers. Sortof like Kokoro Connect, really, but with much shorter arcs and stories. It may have lacked Kokoro’s wit, but what it did have was a really well developed cast of characters as it kept forcing them into different situations that forced them to develop and change. It’s a very forced show because of that, but it did make wonderful use of that.

Posted on 28 December 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, K

Sometimes this happens: the point where I’ve nearly written off a series, and then it pulls something that drastically changes my opinion of it. For a long time, I was just planning to write my review of K with the base of “gorgeous, but unambitious and boring”. Then the final episode turned out to be the best of the entire series and a second season got announced. Now it suddenly is a solid show that devotes a bit too much time to building up.

The thing with K at first sight was that even though it seemed really ambitious at first sight, the story delved into some very simple murder mystery, alongside a war between two different clans. It never really went beyond that and it also did not try to spice things up much, aside from some gorgeous visuals and action scenes. It had some talk about seven different kings that for a long time didn’t really go anywhere other than explaining why some people in the world are ridiculously powerful. It just did not make sense with the mindset that this would be just a 13-episode series.

But yeah, it all turned out to be just build-up. With the way this series is, I would not recommend it on its own, but it set a solid base for its second season. A big problem with a lot of this series was that there also was hardly any character development. The final few episodes finally also brought that in. Doable for a series with 26 episodes, but not for one with 13.

Oh about the animation by the way: K wins the award of the best animation of the season, or at least the biggest production values can be found here with tons of smooth animation, realistic character movements and well coordinated fight scenes. It’s also got a pretty good soundtrack. My only complaint is that the creators like to abuse lighting effects, to the point where every short has some sort of obnoxious filter over it.

So yeah, I’ll be checking out the second season. Then we’ll know whether the build-up in this series was actually worth it.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Good build-up, just forgets to deliver through most of its airtime…
Characters: 7.5/10 – The characters stay rather bland through most the airtime. Emphasis on “Most”, because they do come together in the finale.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous animation, nice soundtrack.
Setting: 7/10 – Doesn’t really do much with its setting and the seven kings backstory feels a bit empty.

Heat Guy J

Posted on 27 December 2012 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Top 10 OVAs

Overall 2012 was not such a good year for OVAs in terms of quantity compared to other years. Because of that I’m including series-based OVAs this year in the rankings because otherwise I can’t make a proper top 10 this year.

#10: One Off

One Off is Sato Junichi’s latest slice of life work after Tamayura. It too focuses on the lives of a bunch of teenaged girls who live in a remove village. It’s not as good as Tamayura though, mostly because it feels too much like a copy, and because there is one really annoying quasi-british character who tends to ruin the mood whenever she’s in the spotlights. Still, good enough to make number 10.

#9: Computer Kakumei

Computer Kakumei was part of a two-part OVA along with Kyou no Asuka Show. The latter was crap, but Computer Kakumei was short but sweet, using 10 minutes to paint an interesting picture of science fiction in combination with school life that was surprisingly well acted.

#8: Eureka Seven Ao: Jungfrau no Hana-tachi

Eureka Seven Ao’s OVA was pure fanservice. With that I don’t mean that it had a lot of nudity, but it’s just there to please the fans. The thing is though that as a fan, I was incredibly pleased with what this show did. It was completely non-sensical how it forced this in (how on earth did the characters get the appropriate clothes for it), but this ended up as a wonderful homage to both the first and second series, despite being completely stupid.

#7: Gyo

Gyo was the first anime adaptation of a mangaka whose works are known to be completely disgusting and disturbing. And oh god, this showed. The fish things were just horrible and even though I prefer my horror with a bit more subtlety (this OVA had like, none of that whatsoever), it definitely succeeded in weirding me out. Definitely not for those with a weak stomach.

#6: Natsuiro Kiseki

The OVA for Natsuiro Kiseki was short, but really worth it. In like six minutes it actually added a lot of character development to the mix. It’s an incredibly simple idea and i”m not going to say here what that was, but if you’re fan of the series, then you just need to watch this one.

#5: Pukapuka Dudu

The Young Animator Training Project was without a doubt the biggest source for good OVAs this year. Only Buta disappointed, and apart from that they all are worth watching. This one was a really charming tale about a girl and her father. It’s been done before, but not like this. Usually it’s one of them saving the other, but here they really contribute to each other, making for a heart-warming story for both of them. All based on this adorable floatee that came to life.

#4: Shiranpuri

Young Animator Training Project again, this time with a unique looking OVA about bullying. Or rather, being the guy who just stands there and doesn’t do anything. This one was quite thought-provoking as it also showed what happened to all the kids involved and how they changed. They really turned this into a character-study in just 30 minutes, which is quite an impressive use of time.

#3: Wasurenagumo

Like I said, the Young Animator Training Project was excellent this year. The best was Wasurenagumo, otherwise known as that show that has a really annoying title to type correctly. This one really took me by surprise. One by how good and how well characterized it is, and also by some events that happen throughout its runtime. I mean most of the OVAs from the YAT are aimed at children. This one pulls some stuff that you really would not expect while taking this into account.

#2: Another OVA

Another had the best OVA this year. Like Natsuiro Kiseki, it added some much-needed character development that really changed your perspective of the cst, but this one did it even better, by showing what happened to the female lead before the start of the series. Not only do we get to see a totally different side of her, but it also serves as the final piece of the puzzle in her story. After watching the OVA, the story really feels complete.

#1: Kyousogiga

Kyousogiga completely sold me. This was a collaboration of some of the best guys in Toei just having fun with something they like. The series of 5 OVAs are random side-stories about the different characters, but they’re all incredibly charming in their own ways, accompanied by really creative animation. There is no point to the story, so I can only hope that there will be more of it, because this is just one of those franchises that has so much heart put into it.

Top 10 Movies
This year had a very good selection of movies. Not the best, definitely though. That will very likely be reserved for 2013, which is looking to be the best year for movies in… well pretty much a decade, perhaps even more. Of course I’m talking about the movies that got released on DVDs, not their actual airdates. If I reviewed it in 2012, then it’s eligible for this list.

#10: .Hack//The Movie

Hack The Movie was entirely in 3D, and can be seen as the spiritual successor to .Hack//Quantum, with a similar story. It again is about life in an MMORPG that get out of control, but what mostly made this movie worth watching is the interactions between the different characters. The whole thin is well acted, especially the parts that take place in the real world. The story is simple,but it worked quite well.

#9: Kokuriko Zaka Kara

Goro Miyazaki’s next work, and with this it’s clear that there is one thing that this guy is really good at: portraying characters believably. Sure, the story nor the attention to detail may be nothing like what we’re used to from his father, but the realistic characters were quite charming and down to earth and that made this movie work. Nothing special happened through its course though, and unfortunately, I have already forgotten most that happened in it. That’s a bit of a downside.

#8: To Aru Hikuushi he no Tsuioku

This movie had a simple, but effective story: an excellent pilot having to transport a princess in a tiny plane. The character development was interesting and this movie knows that it should stay simple, rather than being too epic. It’s a shame that the romance got rather corny, though.

#7: Code Geass: Bokuko no Akito

This is the first of four movies, so it was obviously building up to a lot of stuff here. But here is the thing: the creators did manage to get me hooked on Code Geass’s setting (a series that I did not like, by the way). This series both takes its freedom and actually makes the setting work to be more than just something nationalist by focusing on immigrants, and the tensions around them. Add some really solid action to that and yeah: I can see this one becoming awesome for me.

#6: Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – The Sacred Star of Milos

For this movie, Bones pulled out some really good animators, making it a feast for the eyes. The story, well it was obvious that it wouldn’t live up to the TV-series of Ful Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood: it was just a random side story. And as a side story, it did its job of being interesting enough and having good characterization, without hitting many heights. This really is a solid action movie, nothing more or less.

#5: Hotarubi no Mori he

Hotarubi no Mori he: you can pretty much see this as a glorified episode of Natsume Yuujin-Chou without Natsume in it. Because of that, it’s perfect if you’re looking to check out whether Natsume Yuujin-Chou’s style is something for you, because if you like this movie then there is a very good chance that you will also like the series. The story is really heart-warming so by all means give it a chance if you’re interested.

#4: Un-Go Inga-Ron

More glorified episodes with the Un-Go prequel. Normally I don’t really mean that in a positive way, but both Un-Go and Natsume Yuujinchou are awesome series, so glorified episodes are like, even better than usual. Here too the prequel has a very definitive point to make as it explains how the two main characters met each other, in the same style of storytelling that made the TV-series so addictive with some great twists along the way.

#3: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc: The Egg of the High King

It really is annoying: the second movie is out but not subbed yet. Because of that, the movie is not yet on the list. Berserk’s first movie promises a lot, though: great atmosphere and they actually managed to condense the story to movie format with its own style different from the TV-series. Only disadvantage is that the CG is rather messy at times.

#2: A Letter to Momo

The premise: you have a child living somewhere in a village, and this child meets supernatural beings. Lots of movies pull this, but A Letter to Momo has definitely been the best attempt of this in years. The reason is how well it portrayed these supernatural beings: gorgeously animated and hilarious to watch in their antics. Great climax as well.

#1: Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha

Osamu Tezuka’s adaptations are AWESOME! Buddha’s first installment was my favorite movie of the year due to its scope and storytelling. Movies about buddhism already are quite rare, but the style of storytelling is also really typical for Osamu Tezuka’s mature works, with just tons and tons of character development stuffed in one movie, characters who change immensely over the course of years and hard-hitting morals. On top of that there were some really good animators working on it, making this not the most polished looking movie of the year, but definitely one of the most interesting visuals to look at.

Top 45-31 TV-Series
#45: Last Exile – Ginyoku no Fam

Ginyoku no Fam suffered from putting its main character too much in the center of the story. Fam had to do everything and she was the key to bringing peace. Thankfully it made up for it with its gorgeous 3D graphics and its world building: the world it created was full of life and had many interesting locations and cultures, and I really liked how this show fleshed them out. The plot also wasn’t an entire disaster. It just lacked creativity. It definitely does not live up to the original Last Exile, but it could have been much worse.

#44: Moyashimon

Moyashimon: after the juggernauts of Nodame Cantabile and Honey and Clover it was the first Noitamina series to get a sequel. Was it really necessary? Nope. The second season is not as good as the first and lacks the charms it has, and most importantly the germs don’t really feel like the main character anymore: they’re sometimes there to give a bit of explanation. Beyond that though, the sequel still had plenty of reasons to make it enjoyable. The chemistry between the characters still is great, it’s still chockful of creativity about the germs and it still was a very enjoyable ride with talking germs.

#43: Shirokuma Cafe

Shirokuma Cafe is a show that took the concept of a panda and a penguin that walk into a bar, and turned that into an entire series. It’s a deadpan comedy at heart, with lots and lots of dry humour and animals trolling each other. There were plenty of times through the series at which I just cracked up and laughed hysterically. The big problem with this series however is that it’s too long: it’s slated for 50 episodes, and it has nowhere near enough material to fill everything with fresh jokes. The result? Padding.

#42: Btooom!

This was a simple, flawed but effective action series around bombs. It had a solid atmosphere, and particularly impressive side characters that kept the story going. The side characters made sure to keep the series fresh and new, and because of them every battle was different. Taira in particular was a great character, but yeah: you do need some suspense of disbelief when the main character escapes this large blast that would have killed off any other character…

#41: Saint Seiya Omega

Here is a tricky one to judge. The thing with Saint Seiya is that it takes forever to get anywhere. For a large part of the series you’ll be bored by the repetitive fighting and over the top yells. At a certain point though, something changes, and this show just gets more addictive, bit by bit. It takes care to develop all its characters properly, and bit by bit the action gets more and more intense. You definitely need patience for this though, because it really is nothing but fighting for the most part.

#40: Rinne no Lagrange

This series ended up much lower on the list than what I expected when I first started it. The reason for that is that I didn’t quite get the idea that the plot knew where it wanted to go, which became especially apparent in the final quarter of the series, in which the series wandered around a bit aimlessly in search for a conflict. Mind you, the reason why it was searching for a conflict in the first place is one I really like though: instead of waging an all out war, this series emphasized reaching out to others and trying to talk. This was possible with down to earth characters and a big emphasis on slice of life. Not the most exciting, but definitely relatable.

#39: Magi

I have long debated where to put Magi on my list for 2012. In the end it was a bit low because for most of this year, I got the feeling that I was missing something, which wasn’t so much the case as the ones that I’ve ranked higher than this one. It’s a great adventure series though with very solid production values. It starts off rather light, but the dark focus on slavery works quite well. It just needs to blossom in its second half.

#38: Legend of Korra

2012 was the year in which I finally set my biases aside and checked out other mediums: western animation and manga. I’m not going to put the manga in this list because I wrote a compilation that was good enough, but I do want to include the Legend of Korra in this list, the spiritual successor to Avatar The Last Airbender. I liked it a lot, and its focus on what it means to be a hero in times of peace. The fight animation and choreography also was really good in this series, and also very consistent. Its downside was that the romance subplot didn’t really go anywhere, and the final few episodes grossly simplified the conflict of the series, and went against a lot of the build-up earlier in the series, leading to an unfortunate disappointment.

#37: Phi Brain

Ah, Phi Brain. A show that just boggled my mind in how the producers have ever been able to make three freaking seasons for it. And the thing is: that the first two seasons were actually worth it! The characterization really was good there, despite the silly premise, and compare that to Bakuman, which also goes on for three seasons, but was something I dropped. So yeah, this series definitely did a lot of things right… but it also did a lot of things wrong. Oh god, where to start here? The way it refuses to make good use of Nonoha’s character (she is really talented, except at puzzles. So just make her either do puzzles or stand on the sidelines! Yay!), or how about that time in which the creators had us watch the same puzzle four episodes in a row? Or take how long it took me to get used to the fact that NONE of the villains in this series can think straight (Seriously, this is an actual plot point!). Oh boy.

#36: Nazo no Kanojo X

A show that explored this not so average romance between two teenagers with lots and lots of hormones. At first I did not think that this would work, but the really charming soundtrack along with the down to earth portrayal of the characters actually made it work surprisingly well. We really got into the head of the male lead as he explored what his relationship with his new girlfriend meant and all. Great job.

#35: Sukitte Ii na Yo

2012 had a lot of very good romances, actually. Sukitte Ii na Yo was the same as Nazo no Kanojo: before the start of the series I had seen it described as smut, but it is not smut at all. In fact, it’s a genuine look at a shy teenaged girl’s first romance as she learns to accept herself more for who she is. This is what Kimi ni Todoke should have been: it just cuts right through the crap by having its characters actually talk about their feelings, rather than padding out incredibly long. It’s a great example of angst done right, and I love how it takes care to develop all of its characters in its short airtime of 13 episodes.

#34: Kokoro Connect

More really good romance with Kokoro Connect that I initially wrote off. In this series we have this alien thing that toys with the main cast by forcing all sorts of powers on them and observing how they react. Unlike the above Sukitte Ii na Yo it did not have full control of its angst, which sometimes got a bit out of control (especially in its second half), but it definitely made up for this with its really sharp dialogue that really delved deep into their minds. It’s a bit of a shame that the best arc was the first one so the rest of the arcs did leave a few things to be desired here and there, but still it was a very interesting watch.

#33: Robotics;Notes

Robotics;Notes will probably end up a lot higher on the list next year, but so far I really like what it’s doing so far. It has believable character and a ton of subplots running right through each other that all try to do… something. It’s spending a lot of time on building up and it’s still unclear what it really wants to do, but that’s what makes it compelling. The pacing is a tad too slow for my liking, but even then this series has already delivered a lot of interesting climaxes.

#32: Jormungand

If it was just for the first season, Jormungand would have ended up a lot lower on this list, and I still fault that season for not making that good use of its time. Something happened in that second season though. A complete change of direction in which the plot actually got really interesting and Koko elevated herself as a main character. Finally the characters started to do other things than just trying to be as snarky as possible, and show who they really are with great results.

#31: Mirai Nikki

Mirai Nikki, otherwise known as “Plot twist: The Anime”. While the first half of the show was tedious, the second half just kept delivering the plot twists right after each other, and it just kept going. The show had plotholes, but it was always fun to find them and nit-pick on why they didn’t make sense. It succeeded in making its lead female the school example of all yandere as well, which is a pretty nice achievement.

Posted on with categories: OVA Impressions

I’m currently writing up my list of favorite OVAs and movies this year, but while compiling that list I noticed that I still needd to watch a few big ones. Here are some quick impressions of them. I’m sorry for this chaos on this site about covering OVAs, but I just can’t find one format about covering them that I really like: sometimes I like to dedicate an entire post about them, sometimes, these compilation posts are better.

Arata Naru Sekai

Arata Naru Sekai is a project across multiple mediums: an anime a manga and a novel. I know that I’m not going to read the novel, and the manga doesn’t seem to be out yet, but it’s definitely interesting to see all of the works combined: a group of time travellers who goes to save the future (anime), past (manga) and present (novel). Ideally, they should do more with this, though. This episode of the anime was very down to earth, but it didn’t get much chances to really explore this premise. Everything boiled down a bit too much on high school girls. The pacing was slow that made them quite relatabe, but the setting here is so interesting and I feel that that got a bit underdeveloped (but who knows: perhaps will get mor explored in the manga and novel). The thing mostly is that they’re supposewd to be saving the world, yet end up looking for a time capsule among others. That makes it quite personal, but also a bit pointless. Really though: make a full fledged TV-series out of this.

Kyosogiga 05

What an incredibly charming way to close off Kyousogiga’s second installment: a romantic music video featuring the lead female’s parents. For a while I was really wondering what the creators were up to, but once it became clear where they were going, I was completely sold. Again the animation is not as over the top as in some of the previous installments, but it all just fitted. And it still was incredibly stylish. Together the five OVA episodes were incredibly different and sometimes silly, but they all had something unique to them in fleshing out the main cast of this series. The style was just amazing. The end of this episode hinted at more. PLEASE, MAKE MORE OF THIS.

Inferno Cop – 01

What the hell was that? Inferno Cop is the first ful production from Studio Trigger, which was founded by Hiroyuki Imaishi, the director of Panty and Stocking and Gurren Lagann. But really: don’t bother with it. It was just a project for the creator to goof off a bit. The animation is total crap, the voice acting sounds like one guy did every single voice and the humour is incredibly banal. Only go for this if you like your humour to be of the gutter level.

Posted on 26 December 2012 with categories: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

And suddenly, the ED makes sense.

This episode really impressed me. Nyaboron at the start was quite the interesting animation project, and I like how the creators showed the whole thing. You could really see traces of everyone (including some of Shiina’s voices because there was no other good sound person available). Most interesting was how Jin screwed up the script with the word “love”, although that did lead to quite a memorable and for me quite confrontational scene.

In real life I’m struggling with my own shyness, so when Shiina started yelling it really hit home to me. Not to mention all of the confessions that followed after that. Just about every couple moved forward here in a really charming way. Two relationships seem to be put on a bus at the same time though (Rita went back to America and the guy who had a crush on Nanami got rejected), but I’d really like to see if the creators did more with them in the second half. These people were actually quite good in making this show move away from its harem format: turning this show into a show about multiple couples, which is much more interesting than watching a bunch of girls like one guy of who it’s entirely obvious who he likes and will end up with. Just… don’t bring back the sister.

Also, a few years ago I remember getting really annoying about all of the misunderstandings that romance anime kept pulling in order to create artificial drama. Thankfully the romances of the past years have moved away from this trend. This episode had one big misunderstanding, but it was resolved in this episode, fit the characters and actually was just a troll move from Rita that lead to quite a good confession
Rating: 5,5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 25 December 2012 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Top 19 OSTs
I mentioned this before, but one way in which 2012 stood out, was its huge amount of stunning soundtracks. Seriously, where I could count the number of soundtracks that really caught my attention in 2011 on one hand, here I’ve got nearly 20 shows that delivered beyond expectations in the audio department. Because of that I’m dedicating this part of this year’s summary to the soundtracks.

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

Merry Christmas everyone! As usual the December Summary is a bit earlier than usual so that I have the time to write my 2012 summary. My impression of the past Autumn Season is that I’m really astounded at how many awesome series it produced. And so many of them are continuing over to next season, that will also have Chihayafuru’s long awaited return. I’m really enjoying this, even though I’ve had some issues trying to schedule everything.

#21 (21) – Sword Art Online – (7.25/10) – Well, thankfully this show didn’t have a bad ending, because finally it actually did something with that villain of its. The whole quasi-incest around it though was just pointless on so many levels, and I can’t believe that Asuna didn’t do a single thing through the entire ALO arc. “Yes, I am your damsel in distress. I will wait for you”
#20 (17) – K – (7.5/10) – K this month went for its action packed climax. And this is where I really realized how bland the characters are.There has hardly been any character development. There has hardly been any depth in the cast. The characters are all pretty much one-sided without much depth, and instead this show kept going on about those seven kings that in the end didn’t really amount to anything other than explaining why a few guys are ridiculously powerful in this world.
#19 (20) – Medaka Box – (7.6/10) – I’m behind. But episode 10 finally was an episode that caught my attention. It’s about bloody time. And I’m getting really tired of Nisioisin because of this: tired of wading through him padding his own stories, just to get to the good stuff. There’s building up, and there is just not being interesting for way too long. If there’s a third season, I’m really not sure whether I want to continue or not (despite my bitching I’ve watched every adaptation of this guy so far…).
#18 (18) – Teekyu – (7.75/10) – Well, nothing much happened here. It’s still completely random, and I’m still watching it. It’s pleasant enough for that and I can still turn my brains off for it. It was short but sweet. It also didn’t help that that tenth episode had such a cheesy resolution…
#17 (19) – Little Busters – (7.75/10) – I’m a bit behind on this series (even for my standards at the moment), but I still want to continue with this series. The girls here are annoying, but still charming when they’re not. The male characters meanwhile are as interesting as they have always been. This still can go all ways.
#16 (14) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8/10) – I’ve said this before, but in a way, Polar Bear Cafe is too long. It’s still funny, but I also find that I need to push myself to keep watching it because it really keeps boiling down to the same over and over at this point. The creators should have boiled this down to just 26 episodes by cutting down the best parts. And again, this month made me laugh again, but I’m not as enthusiastic about this show as I used to be anymore.
#15 (16) – Saint Seiya Omega – (8.1/10) – Strangely enough, this show is still watchable, even though it’s just fighting over and over. It’s what happens during the fighting that makes me still return to this show, alongside the excellent soundtrack. I first thought that the over the top fights would be boring and all, but the creators found a way to make them engaging.
#14 (13) – Btooom! – (8.1/10) – I liked the ending a lot actually. Instead of trying to go too epic the battles were kept interesting, while also closing off with a bang. It’s a shame that the series ended with a sequel hook, but it’s a logical point in the series. The female lead, while contrived, did make for a number of interesting twists here. But still, Taira really convinced me that he’s my favorite character in this series.
#13 (12) – Sukitte Ii na Yo – (8.25/10)

Jealousy… that was done surprisingly well here. It was genuine, yet it didn’t drag itself out like what I’ve seen in so many other romance series. The big difference between this series and Kimi ni Todoke is that the characters actually talk to each other. This feels much more down to earth and enjoyable because the pacing allows it to explore various kinds about the relationship between the two leads, rather than being another “will they won’t they”-show.

#12 (11) – Magi – (8.25/10)

Magi’s story definitely improved and got more solid this week. I always was missing something from this series, but this feeling has gotten much less apparent this month with the impending war coming in, and the focus on Alibaba’s leadership and worries, and how this brushes off to the rest of the cast.

#11 (9) – Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – (8.25/10)

Sakurasou turned up the drama this month and threw in a lot of focus on working hard for your dreams, with some pretty neat effects. It’s still quite sharp, although not as sharp as it used to be. Still, we’re only halfway there.

#10 (15) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8.4/10)

To my surprise, the creators did not go with any sort of forced climax at all, and just continued with the slice of life like they always have, just this time with a winter and Christmas theme. That’s what I like much more and the series returned to be as funny as it has ever been, with many adorable and relatable moments.

#9 (10) – Robotics;Notes – (8.4/10)

Robotics;Notes still is in its build-up phase, but things are working out very nicely with slow character development, deconstructions of the super robot genre and the few twists that it brings definitely have impact. Now it’s up to the second half to make use of all of this build-up

#8 (7) – Kamisama Hajimemashita – (8.4/10)

Kamisama’s biggest, and for me only, problem is that it’s too short: the story of the manga goes on even though the anime ends, so the creators are going to have to come up with an alternative ending that unfortunately isn’t looking too good.. Beyond that the chemistry still is fantastic and this show uses its climaxes still wonderfully.

#7 (8) – Jormungand – (8.5/10)

Koko revealing what she has been up to for all this time, that definitely was awesome and unexpected. It’s a shame that the first season was so monotone, because this show has improved in so many ways. I haven’t seen the finale yet, but I definitely am glad that I kept with this series.

#6 (2) – Hunter X Hunter – (8.6/10)

I think my reaction to the end of the Yorkshin Arc has pretty much summed up my feelings of Hunter X Hunter this month: “it’s over already?” I really wish I could say otherwise, but this was one part that Nippon Animation’s version did better. We’re now heading to a part that the current version will most likely do better again, but I’m dropping this for now until the Greed Island arc is over again, because I feel I just won’t have enough to say about it to blog it weekly. And than we finally can get to stuff that we haven’t seen before…

#5 (4) – Psycho Pass – (8.6/10)

Psycho Pass stands out in certain ways, not just one. It’s got a thought-provoking setting and especially the past couple of episodes have shared a lot of psychology that really made an impact. The style of this series also is something to write home about, as it combines the classical with the psychotic. Its themes are slowly getting more and more solid, and I really like how this show has done it so far.

#4 (3) – From the New World – (8.75/10)

From the New World got cruel this month. Sure, it was already really dark and all, but this got taken even further when this month revealed the fate of the main cast. It was all really well done and built up even more for its second half. You can really see that this was based on a novel, rather than a manga.

#3 (6) – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – (8.9/10)

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is insane. It’s completely out of its mind, especially now that it headed into its second arc. Joseph… this guy could very well be the best shounen lead ever, but even putting him aside there is just so much passion in this show. This is one of the best portrayals of manly action I have seen, it’s unbelievable.

#2 (5) – Zetsuen no Tempest – (8.9/10)

One word: mindfuck. With this month, Zetsuen no Tempest went from a solid series, to something mind-blowing. It took all of its build-up and continues to just turn its tables around, make its logic go out of control, and force its characters to play mind-games with each other. It all comes together wonderfully, backed up by the fantastic soundtrack of this series.

#1 (1) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9.25/10)

In this month, Uchuu Kyoudai’s pacing was slower than ever, but at the same time it really managed to hit new heights. I’m not going to spoil how in these compilation posts, but the result was incredibly heart-warming, and brought tears to my eyes one moment, and laugh out loud the other.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Sword Art Online

Um yeah. Sword Art Online. While it doesn’t beat Guilty Crown as “trainwreck of the year” for me, it still is a show I had very mixed feelings about. In order to explain why, I’m going to have to diverge a bit from my normal spoiler policy, though. I won’t outright spoil things, but I do have to say things about the plot progression here and what happens at certain stages. Because Sword Art Online has for me been the prime example of jumping the shark for the past half year.

Like Guilty Crown, SAO is what happens if you focus your series way too much around your male lead. Thankfully, Kirito is an actual character. A bland one, but an actual character, rather than a plot device. It’s nearly everything around him that’s a plot device instead though. The first half of the series however thankfully has enough to make up for it.

I mean the setting behind this show is fascinating: you’ve got an MMORPG that traps its own players. Wonderful! The despair of the people who are trapped inside it for an incredibly long time was great. A unique culture evolved that was really interesting to watch. Add that to great fight animation and a great climax, and you’ve got a very solid story. For the first half.

The show’s problems already shine through in the first half, but not bad enough. By far the worst issue I had was the harem element. Picture this: you’re on an mmorpg server. The females are in a big minority. And yet, nearly all of them end up falling for Kirito, the lead. He’s the first who truly cares about them when he meets them, he’s the first who makes them feel comfortable, even though he’s a completely antisocial guy. Yeah, this is wish fulfillment that is pretty thinly veiled. Kirito’s sole salvation here is that he actually ends up in a very good couple, and that the chemistry between him and the female lead actually works. The lead female is strong, and they complement each other quite well. The combination between action and romance works out quite well as the first half goes on and gets to its climax.

So yeah, the second half… it took about two episodes for me to completely give up hope on this series afterwards. That arc is just so inherently wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to really start.

But imagine this: the bland male lead is happy in a couple. Then the female lead gets kidnapped for an entire season, and he starts flirting with his cousin (who he grew up with believing her to be his sister), leading to a completely pointless romantic quasi-incest subplot that doesn’t really go anywhere. Seriously, nearly the entire second half of this series is dedicated to just that, rather than the much more interesting other things aobut this series.

The second half is also littered with plotholes that this show just pulls right out of its ass, just to be more convenient and make the plot go as intended. It’s just too spoilery to go into details, but items appear from out of nowhere, the games in this series are riddled with design decisions that just boggle my mind, characters act irrational for no reason, and half the time this show doesn’t know whether it’s in a virtual world or not, which gets really annoying. Oh and the villain there. He’s one of the most stereotypical evil villains I’ve seen in a long while.

Thankfully this is an A-1 production, so the graphics look good and the fight animation is very creative. Yuki Kajiura behind the soundtrack is also solid, although with this series she really starts to reveal that she has run out of inspiration and that all of her music is just starting to sound the same.

Sword Art Online gets a lot of love. I don’t think that it deserves that. Sword Art Online also gets a lot of hate. And I also don’t think it deserves that either. Sure, its second half is pretty bad and all, but it does have its things to make up for it. Its setting has its traces of brilliance, and the first half was pretty solid there. Nevertheless. There’s better out there. It’s just too flawed to really recommend. The only thing I’m really angry at this series for is how it disrespects its female lead in its second half. That’s the one thing that I really find unforgivable. Apart from that the second half is just bad storytelling. Nothing more, nothing less.

Storytelling: 6.5/10 – Good build-up, but waaaay too many plot devices.
Characters: 6.5/10 – There are some interesting characters here, and the lead couple is quite good in the first half. This show completely disrespects the female lead in its second half by having her kidnapped, making her do nothing and have the male lead head off to a pointless incest subplot.
Production-Values: 8,5/10 – Great animation. It’s overall a very solid looking show at the very least.
Setting: 7.5/10 – The show gets some points for being interesting and having some really nice ideas. It loses points for not making any sense. Especially in its second half.

– .Hack//Sign

Posted on 24 December 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

So, Btooom. A suspense series that tries to see what you’d get if you turned Bomberman into a real game. With real bombs. Or at least, that was the intention of the original creator.

The show got the suspense part right, but with the action scenes, you do need to turn off your brains, because the bombs in this series seem to favor the lead character: blasts that kill others are ones that only manage to scratch him, he manages to dive away from situations that were seemingly impossible to avoid, and all that is coming from a hikkikomori who never exercises and never leaves his room.

So yeah, the side characters for this series are much more interesting, but here is where this series surprised me, because these guys are actually really good. Like the main character, they too have been thrust into a game in which they’re forced to survive using real bombs, but unlike him they lack the magical main character powers, and really have to fight for their lives there. The way the creators do this is actually quite interesting, and I especially want to tip my hat for Taira, who really stole the show for me as this burdened old guy who you hardly ever see in such an important role as he is here.

They also are something else: varied. There are kids, adults, muscled army officers and weak accountants among them. This has an interesting effect for the action: every battle in this show is different and fought in a different way. It’s not immediately apparent and I only realize this as I’m writing up this review, but they really help to keep this series fresh and new through its 12-episode airtime. The show ends with a lot of things unresolved (hoping for a second season there…), but it does end at a logical point in the story and makes for a short but sweet and intense ride.

Having said that though, the thing remains that some things in this show are very contrived. A lot of them have to do with the lead couple. I won’t reveal the big twist around them, but it’s a really bad one that you could have seen from miles away. The two play of each other nicely, but you do get the feeling that the lead female is just there so that the lead male can have a girlfriend.

There are a few exceptions to that, though. One thing that this show loves to explore is the darker side of human nature, and when it starts playing with that it goes into some pretty interesting directions. All of this isn’t enough to make it stand among the better series of the season, but for what it did it did well.

Storytelling: 8.5/10 – Varied battles using bombs that are all different from each other and make for good suspense.
Characters: 8/10 – Great side-characters, contrived main characters.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Stylish look, solid music, nice animation, though nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – A potentially very interesting setting, but the show doesn’t really use this much in favor of the characters.

High School of the Dead
Shikabane Hime

Posted on with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

This episode… the creators actually succeeded in making it feel so unreal. The whole point of this episode was to let everything sink in, but really: if you skipped 20 episodes and just went to this episode, the outcome wouldn’t surprise you in the slightest. This show just succeeded in making me incredibly happy that all of them managed to make it. That is SO hard to do.

One thing I do hope is that one of the future episodes will explain why Mutta got hired. I mean, we have enough hints: he’s incredibly perceptive, he holds people together, he’s very social, he’s Hibito’s older brother, but I wonder what sealed the deal. This episode showed that it can answer questions that it asked months ago with Ya-san’s little comment.

And after all this time, the humour of this series still is rock-solid. I loved how the creators used Apo in the middle of that nerve-wrekcing speech that Mutta had to give in front of the press. But also Ya-san’s comments about Serika were hilarious. It has never been explicitly said that other people knew about Mutta’s crush, even though it’s obvious. This just was the perfect time to show this. “Now the entire country knows!”
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Like, having read hundreds of harem manga over the years, a majority of the ultimate love interest always happens to be the first girl the protagonist meets.
Wait wait wait wait. Aidan and K-Off. I get that dialogue in cartoon can seem like it was written by a script writer, but at the same time, lots of anime have characters whose sole purpose is entirely scripted. The whole spectrum of "deres" and everything. What do you think is worse? Unnatural dialogue, or unnatural character types?
You guys should really go fuck yourself, it's a solution and it's nothing short of great!
You guys should really watch the first 4 episodes of Bungo, it's a prequel and it was nothing short of great!
omg!! I just realized To be Hero was one of the show that I reviewed its 1st episode back in Chinese Animation post. I watched raw then though
forgive me if I'm a bit too overwhelmed by Flip Flappers... For this episode alone I took like 25 screenshots...trying to write a review now...
I have absolutely no idea what is going on in Flip Flappers plot. And yet for some reason I am OK with that.
Anyone out there that's a fan of crude humor should go watch ep.3 of To Be Hero. Certinately stepped it up a notch from the last two humor-wise.
One downside I can think of already is that I'm bound to lose or break one of the detachable controllers. The cost for those pieces is what I'm most interested in.
Nintendo Switch hmm? Honestly it looks too good to be true. I expect some major downsides to this thing.
I like cartoons, don't get me wrong. Certainly good for a change of pace. But there is something about the way they are written that I find rather distracting.
I don't know, maybe if I said it's like the difference from how characters talk in movie vs how characters talk in a sitcom?
@K-Off, I said one liner's or jokes. Not one liner jokes. It's hard to explain. Basically when I hear a conversation in anime even if it is based in stereotypes, it at least feels like a conversation that's being had in the moment. In cartoons however there is a layer of artificiality and it feels like characters know what a person is going to say and has a response prepared.
That's probably why some of my favorite anime in recent years haven't been very heavy on character archetypes, or were either parodies of it.
Comedic dialogue with anime in recent years have leaned too much on the idea of playing off character archetypes. The collected character vs the energetic character, for one. I'd like to see more variety. Some more word play, hyperbolic humor, body humor, etc etc.
@Aidan Not quite sure what you mean by that, because it's certainly not even a majority of cartoons that rely on cheap one liner jokes. I suppose it's entirely up to taste, but I can appreciate the energy in cartoons like Steven Universe or Regular Show when compared to the increasingly repetitive dialogue found in some recent anime.
@Topgavin: I just read that review and his main reason being Shelter is pretentious. oh well! Can't never please anyone.
Thought I'd check out the reviews for Shelter on MAl and the top review is a 1/10. Apparently because it's a cute girl we sympathise with her more, which is bad because reasons. I mean.. what? MAL never ceases to amaze me
@Mario, no. It's more that the dialogue keeps trying to push out one liners or jokes regardless of whose talking.
@Aidan: maybe because they spoke in your native language do you can feel that it's artificial, ya know? I know I have the same problem with Vietnamese drama/ cartoon and maybe Japanese people have that same issues with anime?
By which I mean, the way characters talk in cartoons is very...artificial. Like you can tell that the dialgoue was clearly written beforehand and it never really sounds natural. At least to me.
@Anon, I wouldn't. The writing and structure are too cartoon. What with the episodic nature and dialogue that generally pushes for a comedic tone.
Kaiser Eoghan
Flanagan also directed absentia which I haven't seen yet but I think someone I came across of 4chan linked it to being lovecraftian?
Kaiser Eoghan
Oculus was a film of two halves for me. Hush was a pretty standard home invasion thriller, making the victim deaf was an interesting twist but not as unique as you might think, still suspenseful though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never saw the first oujia film. Though Mike Flanagan who did the sequel, he's never made a bad movie but he's never really made a great one either.
Kaiser Eoghan
I stick to the firm belief that cartoons and anime, visually should do and be their own thing. I'll prefer a western artstyle for cartoons rather than one pretending to look like anime style.
But this is a good topic and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions so I'm looking to hear some more arguments
@anon352392: no they aren't. For me not because of where their production based, nor their intended audience, but rather their styles, both visually and storytelling-ly, are different
Anime,” they assert, is not a “style” of illustration or animation.
That's where I differ to those guys. For me, anime is a style. In that sense, I consider RWBY, and Canadian-produced short Flutter as an anime. Thunderbolt Fantasy is not and anime-influence shows/movies that are intented for Western audience like AniMatrix or Afro Samurai are anime
@Anon nah they wouldn't be because they aren't made by a japanese producer for the japanese market. Quality isn't the question, production is
NX and Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers tomorrow.
They are good series and i honestly like them alot more than most anime series, would their quality make them anime?
What about cartoons like Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Star Vs The Forces Of Evil?
In other news a sequel to an absolutely terrible horror movie called Ouija is out and it's...actually pretty good? Wondering if critics were paid off or it is legit good. Well it did have the guy who was behind Oculus and that was a pretty good movie.
Simplify the term down enough and anime is literally anything animated but the whole point of the term is to distinguish it. For to call Spongebob an anime makes me want to projectile vomit. Point is this, you say you watched a cartoon, people think Tom and jerry, Scooby doo etc. You say you watched an anime, people think Cowboy bebop, Attack on titan, etc. Whole point of the term.
For example, I don't consider Avatar or RWBY to be anime for while they use anime style, the writing is fundamentally structured like an American cartoon. Through I would consider Bloodivores an anime even though it was made by a Chinese animation company, making it technically a Chinese cartoon.
As far as what is and isn't anime I honestly think of the term as a means of distinguishing it from cartoon which gives the impression of being for children. It's like Graphic novel is to comic book. Though techically graphic novels are issues of comics bound in book form, the term Graphic novel is often used to distinguish works that go above superhero comics and whatnot.
Basically I think it was due to Porter Robinsons involvement that they didn't consider it anime.
@Aidan: Did the mods give any concrete reasons why they didn't consider it an anime?
@Mario, It wasn't the community that had the problem. It was the mods. The community made it pretty clear that they considered it anime.
So despite the art style is obviously anime, the character speaks in Japanese, and the production was animated by A1 Studios, it's not an anime? Sometimes I feel sad that the anime community keeps limiting themselves with such fixed minds.
I saw it yesterday and yes it was good. For a 5-minute story, they don't make it too overwhelme with details, and still pack an emotional punch. Moreover it elevates the song. Good stuffs.
Shelter was quite good though. It works well and the animation was beautiful. Song is not bad either. It's got a nice emotional punch to it though it's a bit simple a story.
Well anyway I only saw all this because I checked out the video for the first time and wanted to see how others thought of it with a quick scan through reddit. And I get this shitshow instead.
Playing the victim is the one really pisses off the internet. For refusing to admit you f*cked up only encourages people to shove how you f*cked up into your face. That's what really grinds peoples gears.
Yep, seen that too. The mods even put up another tread about the video and tried to guilt trip people by saying they got death threats. Look, internet rules 101. If you said or did something stupid admit to it and just walk away. Do not try to deflect blame or play the victim, that only adds fuel to the fire.
@Aidan oh yeah saw that live lol. Porter himself even commented on twitter about it, gotta love internet drama
So did anyone happen to catch the big old shitstorm of that Shelter music music when a mod of the Anime subreddit decided it wasn't "Anime" enough and removed the discussion post about it? Oh internet drama...what silly nonsense.
Finally caught up with JoJo. Diamond is Unbreakable has turned out to be much better than Stardust Crusaders. Should have waited for the season to finish through as I really loved marathoning it.
I had a feeling that might be the case considering the source materail for luger.
@Mario Oh I watched that, certinately worth it. Packed more story that some 12-episode shows do nowadays and gorgeous animation.
and I will check out "Shelter" music video to see what all the fuss is about
*this weekend to be exact.
Sounds like Luger Code 1951 is an OVA that will air next week, the same air date with "my" Zaregoto OVA.
@Mario: doesn't sound real at all to me lol
@Mario, I might be able to manage. If all else fails I can talk about the past of these historical figures.
While I don't mind watchinng Drifters, I swaer if I had to cover that show, I couldn't come up with anything to say.
Do you guys know what language the fairies speak in Drifters? It does sound like a genuine language
@topgavin: humanity has declined is a great show. It has good writing and dark, witty sense of humor. I could talk about it in length but psgels pretty much covered it all. He was really impressed by that show however.
That should be me covered till the weekend. Why do all my shows air on the weekend...
@Mario nah I've watched the whole thing but I'd heard about it at the start of this year and put it off. The dialogue between her and the fairies was great stuff, probably gonna rewatch it this weekend now that you mention it
Alright, I got three posts written up and will be throwing them out in about two hours or do.
I thought you've finished it. Yeah I love her character a lot, so cynical but witty. My favorite moment was when she read about fairy's plan to invent religions. She was like "so religions are invented?" (beat) "I've learn something new today". Priceless
@Mario Oh nice, it was one that I had heard about but never got round to. To put it in simple anime terms, Watashi is best girl
@topgavin: I just finished the series yo mentioned the other day: humanity is declined. Man, I love it. I know now I have a thing for dark twisted absurdist anime
@Ano340004: the name is Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or to put it short Motete. I have fun with it but i'm not that enthuastic
@anon the english name is Kiss him, not me. Search through the first impressions if you need the jap name.
then that girl really loves BL (boy love)
what is the name of the anime that the girl is fat and then she got depressed because her favorite boy anime died then she got thin?
Season 7 is awesome so far too. It feels like the tone of the show is finally back to normal and it feels like Adventure Time again.
Whew, I binged all seasons of Adventure Time this weekend. The show hit a low spot in Season 6 but I think it needed to happen...Poor Finn needed the serious character development after what he did to FP.
You guys are too hard on it
Motete is very funny
Kaiser Eoghan
When it comes to gag manga and four-koma, I just eventually reach a stopping point with a comedy series in that format. Even with hidamari sketch.
I think it was typical light novel trash based on what was in the PV. I laughed that despite it being horrible that the crowd still cheered anyway, likely because it had a bath clip in it.
The PV was hilarious. I had no idea what the anime was about.
@Aidan I'm good, I'll stick with Working.
@K-Off, you could switch to something like Gi(a)rlish Number if you like. I for one am really digging the satire of the show. Plus I like that it's basically showing how an utter train-wreck of an anime can be made. That PV in the last episode was truly painful.
Feeling pretty disappointed with Working. I haven't gotten any more cynical with comedies, at least I don't think, and its flaws are so irritating.
@Adam Le, I find that with Comic book dialogue. Which is one of the reasons I have gone off marvel movies. Cartoons have it to a degree as well.
I love the instagram shots in Yuri
Maybe I can have a watch through those live action films and do a compare/contrast to see which version works better. After all movie and tv series are 2 different medium, and live-action vs animation is the topic that we never get tired of
speaking of which, the overlap between anime and live-action adaptation from manga is overwhelming. For this year alone, there were Erased, 3-gatsu no Lion, Fune o Amu, orange, and Chihayafuru (part 1&2). Those were just the ones I know.
@Adam: Don't know which genre you're into but you can try Fune o Amu (The Great Passage)
Adam Le
I can't seem to get into any of these new shows. I don't know, the dialogue always seems off to me and the forced comedy is a big turn off.
Reminds me of a thought I had when I was last at the Getty art museum. People walking past works of art hundreds of years old, but only taking a second-long glance before moving on to the next one. Not their fault really, it's only the professional critics who can understand what they see with depth.
I'm the opposite really, they're getting paid for what they said so they better know their shits
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose I'm slightly envious of professional critics somewhat.
Sometimes you're just meant to experience the ride you know. I don't watch those explained video anymore because after all it's just one guy's opinions.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
And I mean people who art professionals or students.
Kaiser Eoghan
I guess I'm just unsure of something, how many people watching "arty" stuff are able to pick it up on their own. By looking up an "explained video" or "explained essay" to get it, am I copping out?
Kaiser Eoghan
I feel like I've begun getting on board with the european art stuff but am really only scratching the surface with the Chinese and that stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
And find myself missing whats going on sometimes.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll admit I do find it frustrating, that even though I can like art films, emotionally connect at times, appreciate the visual techniques and admire them for being so different without looking up analysis by people far smarter than myself I honestly feel lost sometimes as to the meaning.
@Kaiser: Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are so otherworldly and spiritual that I wouldn't dare to call them "dreams" anymore. Check out his "Uncle Boonmie", "Syndromes and a Century", "Cemetery of Splendors". he has such singular vision that just watch and experience his films are rewarding enough
@afgm: well, if we really go over-analyze it, bunnies can represent desire for example ^^
like eating sweet snow is so randomness for me
@Badesh: the things you said might be something I might do in the future. After all I love dissecting symbolism. But for Flip Flappers I need to know more what are intentional and what are randomness first
So Papika is corrupting Cocona? That would make some sense I guess
I mean I guess bunnies represent purity? Maybe?
@Kaiser: I mean yeah I get that things can be beautiful just because they're beautiful. But the effort comes in trying to connect that beauty and symbolism to the story as a whole, which is something I honestly struggle to do with Flip Flappers. It just seems pretty gratuitous at this point.
I don't know I think flip flappers is probably deeper than people might give it credit for. I just don't have the time or energy to piece together the abstraction. Doesn't mean that the meaning doesn't exist, it's just hard (and possibly misguided) to uncover it on the first run through.
but i don't want to get into a "who is right" argument. it was just a wish of mine to get to know the persons view of the world and not just be part of his daily mood
yeah, but i could happen that you grow intelectual but not personal ;)
Kaiser Eoghan
But theres no shame in watching a heavily thematic arthouse thing, liking it then going "didn't quite get/catch that" then looking up what it means.
Kaiser Eoghan
But for going into things, analyzing them, I wasn't saying thats wrong, when I meant overanaylsis I meant people making shit up that isn't actually there.
Kaiser Eoghan
And going too deep into thinking about that image shows the person is failing to understand that they were supposed to interact with it on an emotionally or spiritually intellectual level.
Kaiser Eoghan
Rather than de-mystifying that image or losing its enigma.
Kaiser Eoghan
I just think sometimes people forget that things can be entirely impressionistic or expressionist, people sometimes forget that images don't necessarily need a giant essay behind them or meaning or analysis. What I mean is you can have a 15 minute stretch of gorgeous looking images but the point is that you feel that or see the imagination and creativity because its beautiful.
It requires an understanding and a concept of life of the reviewer that highlights the right things, the things that widens the readers perspective, based on the narrow popculture consicousness that we have, sorry to be that dramatic...
Yeah, i don't mean that kind of overanalyzing :) so i.e. that beautiful picture of flip flappers to the left is so much more than the "character floating through an imaginary world" if you start to go into that, what it does with the viewers heart, you can write an essay weather it was the creators intention or not. that's the kind of thing i dream about and care to read
Of course afterwards they will certainly claim that they planned everything from the colour of toothpaste used but I take that with a grain of salt.
Plus the basic idea that the creator of a materiel is a complete mastermind who has internally planned out a massive series of symbolic comparisons and intricate threads which the vast majority of viewers would completely fail to see. And quite frankly, people just ain't that smart and have no reason to put in such massive effort.
The problem with overanalyzling however is that it's usually down to a series of simplifed concepts held together by a flimsy logical foundation. Like the ring theory of star wars.
...which is only achieved through what you call overanalyzing - at least in the internet world where only words count.
I wish people would "overanalyze" more. For me it get's pretty boring pretty fast to read something along the lines of "this wasn't good/perfect because i have seen better" - that's interesting as long as i need anothers opinion to get a feel for the materia. once you are somewhat experienced in life you only care for this sort of things if you know that persons view of the world...
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Would you say the Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are worth looking into as "dream" films, always wanted to get into his work but it seems....daunting.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'd imagine if you went looking you could probably find people who overanalyzed Eden of the east (as with anything) to where they saw something none of us could (or that they wanted to see). Something about young peopl in society was one look at it. But for me eden of the east was an undercooked thriller merged with a bad chick flick and the films ruined whatever good will I had for it.
I'm almost giddy with the possibility of this being the closest thing I get to Utena this decade (besides actual ikuhara works of course haha)
@ano327926: Boy, how true. agreed 100% with you here
"liberate pure illusion" is the new "revolutionize the world"
@mnei, that's hardly the only thing in Eden of the east that didn't make any sense. It was a great idea but boy...did the writing fail hard.
Anyone here watched Eden of East and got fucking confused as I do about why Akira had to wipe off his memories and ship NEETS to Dubai? He wasn't really deceived (in my opinion). He didn't have to send the NEETS anywhere either.
@Mario and from what I've heard, they skipped out a whoooole bunch of fanservicey training sessions that happened before the 1st episode. Dunno whether I'm happy or dissapointed with that
I swear Keijo's everyday training is much more intense than Saitama's
I goddamn love Drifters opening.
@Anon, the story improved in volume 3 but I don't think your issues with the show have really disappeared. So yes, it did get better but it still has it's issues.
Did RWBY get better in vol 3? I watched the first two and hated them but the designs of the girls are nice and the characters are even good, I just can't stand these graphics and that shitty plot or the comedy scenes in which it tries to copy anime humor. The "western" comedy is nice.
So RWBY volume 4 airs next week. Nice. I was actually going to write a review on RWBY and just never got around to it. Seeing as it's somewhat anime I say it's suitable for the site though honestly while it is anime styled, the writing is pure cartoon.
So that's Raising project, Drifters and Occult Nine for me.
@Topgavin, seeing as it was pretty much Top of the Preview poll(Besides Natsume but I am not the man to do Natsume.) I will do Occult Nine. I can at least have fun ripping it apart and comparing it to its contemporaries.
@Mario, for starters you can stop calling her a bitch. Flip Flappers is a classy lady so put you fapping aside and treat her good. So yep, it fine by me.
@Topgavin: He'll be fine.... I hope
Guess it'd be Raising project, Drifters and Keijo/Occult Nine..?
@Mario poor aidan, what shows are there left to cover?
@Friend: Ha! I'm really looking for RWBY 4 as well. At one time I was intended to blog RWBY 4 here but even for me (who tend to go off track), I know that covering RWBY would not be appropriate for this site. But I'll give each season a proper review in the World Animation section, I promise!
@Topgavin: I'm a bit underwhelmed with Izetta 2nd episode, but it's still a better-than-average show out there this season. Anw I'm now settled for Flip Flapers
@Vonter: Agreed with everything you said. I remember one of anime blog that I visited had that format: they break the episode down by time, and give their witty comments (sometime pics) alongside. I could see that format work very well for comedy, slice-of-life and shows with heavy symbolism...
So this season I'm blogging Sound Eupho 2, 3-gatsu no Lion and Flip Flappers
Aidan, having watched Flip Flappers, I'd say she's my bitch man. Not sure how to handle her yet but I promise I'll take good care of her ^^
...and you are banned for a day.
@psge1s usually fake names with capital i's work better than a 1
gettin' pussy foh days here
Kaiser Eoghan
Damn, sorry that flipflappers/sangatsu comment was meant to have an @Mario before it, my mistake.
I admit there isn't anything interesting to me this season. But! I'm really looking forward to RWBY! Volume 4 looks so great :D
@Mario could try covering Izetta, even if it might fall off later it might not. All Out/Keijo could work too, but they're quite simple so they'd be short reviews
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