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.

Suggestions:
Durarara
Heat Guy J
Karas

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.
(more…)

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.

Suggestions:
– .Hack//Sign
.Hack//Roots
Amatsuki

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.

Suggestions:
Blade
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)

CHANGE USERNAME
Amagi
@Lenlo & Kaiser: I expected this to happen. I was only unsure because I didn't know how deeply integrated Yuri's gear was. It's the only good way to conclude his character arc and the series as a whole. Kinda hope that all those "die"-death-hints are actually just a metaphor for the death of gears and the commercialised power-augmentation in sports.
Amagi
@Aidan: yeah and they're overinterpreting stuff. When you really love a series and watch it 10+ times you'll notice things nobody else will ever see and things that are most likely not even there or at least not planned. Then they see a sequel or somethign for the first time and of course they won't see the same 100 hints and deepnesses they believe to see in the original
Lenlo
Alright. Personally, I am pumped for Megalo Box's finale. I am so glad I was right in what Yuri did. It was great at building it up. Heres hoping it doesnt throw it away next week
AidanAK47
Like that's what really annoys me about Evangelion fans. The way they talk about the show, they assume that Anno was completely aware of the impact the series would have from the start and planned every intricate detail to perfection regardless of importance. But that's not just untrue by opinion, but is objectively proven untrue.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, There are some legitimate complaints like the audio Muxing not being great. But I hear stuff like the original character in the first season being SO much deeper and think "What?". If it's one thing that really annoys me, it's when people start talking about a show like it's a planned masterpiece.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Risky move there by Yuri in megalobox ep12.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes the voice acting isn't good in both versions, Elfen lied and the original flcl didn't have great voice acting either in English or Japanese.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got into the habit some years ago of watching most anime with dual audio because I used to do short reviews once upon a time and switching back and forth between subs and dub while marathoning a show gave me best of both and I could talk about both the English and Japanese versions when reviewing.
Amagi
I usually don't even watch dubs but considering that there is no other option here (yet) I did it and think it's pretty good, especially Haruko.
Amagi
@Aidan: Was thinking the exact same thing about FLCL. I fail to see how the original is much different than the sequel. For me it's pretty much the same thing - they tried to keep the style but change the frame to avoid copying it 100%. I enjoy the new series and love the characters.
AidanAK47
Dubs pretty good. Watched it dubbed myself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Probably a good thing then that I haven't seen the original in a long time then, which I thought was alright but got better as it went along. How is the dub? Only the dub is out as far as I looked on Nyaatorrents.
AidanAK47
Alright, finished the 3 episodes out. I enjoyed it. It was a fun watch. But I gotta say that the reaction online is rather annoying. I see the original series getting placed on a higher and higher pedestal. Part of the reason I may be enjoying this series is because I didn't examine the previous series under a mircoscope and pretty much acknowledge that it was just a animators showcase.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Probably not as GREAT as Onizuka though.
AidanAK47
So I started watching the new FLCL and let me say that this new teacher is the greatest teacher I have ever seen.
AidanAK47
Don't think it's on Netflix. Though I think that Stardust crusaders is airing dubbed.
Amagi
Is this series on Netflix? It was always one of the few anime that were very popular in the West while still airing weekly and with subs (and despite the fact that we didn't even have the manga in the West)
Amagi
Man that's awesome. Also I have to admit that part 6 is probably my favorite so it's great to know that they'll most likely animate everything.
Amagi
What the hell
AidanAK47
JoJo's part 5 anime announced and it's about goddamn time.
Lenlo
Id agree to that. Im mostly interested in where it goes after what looked like a pretty final ending. Im guessing timeskip of some kind, or World Line switch
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't think any of the drama in this episode rung false.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pretty satisfied with steins;gate this week, kept things moving and the stilted style of the show didn't get in as much the way of the setpiece that was in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm quite surprised by how I've gotten over a 100 chapters in and Asirpa hasn't been fanserviced explicitly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
HH Holmes had a death hotel actually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I think one of the criminals was based on a real person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The author really likes referencing real people to, Bonnie and Clyde , Ed Gein, some American agriculturist and the inventor of some refile .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its very true that golden kamuy does get goofier and thats true for the manga also, though theres a prisoner weirder than the one in episode 11 he does advance the plot further. One of the soldiers gets some backstory too. Sometimes the goofiness works but at others doesn't.
SuperMario
I'm watching the new FLCL and planning to review it once it's done. Maybe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In my quest and love of historical manga I wound up running into this, these guys are translating it over at their site: https://blog.manga.club/blog/mangaclub-blog-vol-10-jose-rizal-serialization/
Lenlo
Not yet, no. Plannin on it this weekend
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are three episodes of the new flcl out. I haven't seen it yet and its been ages since I saw the original, has anyone watched any of the new series?
Lenlo
I can understand that. Anything less than a 3 I often dont finish/deem worthy even being talked about. In anime or movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its too hard to give 1/5s or 2/5s.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite my complaints I gave it a 3/5.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....feck sorry about that. I didn't think anyone else on here would have been interested =< Thanks for removing it.
AidanAK47
Come on Kaiser, even if I didn't get anything out of it doesn't mean that other people won't. Best not to put a big spoiler on the front page of the site.
AidanAK47
Just deleting a spoiler there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That production company tend to do quite poor trailers that misrepresent their films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would probably punch someone for laughing/talking during a horror film though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Babadook did the grief horror better. Though honestly my favourite horrors this year weren't American ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Upgrade might end up being more fun, which is an action horror comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: While terribly schmalzy and lacking a proper ending, quiet place had a better idea and atmosphere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In the end it just felt like comparisons to Rosemary's baby and the Exorcist hurt the film. I just thought it was an awkward mix of commercial and indie horror. Like a lesser version of the conjuring.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I didn't laugh but I also couldn't really feel it/connect with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I also disliked how it answered its questions and story rather than leaving stuff unexplained and the actual exposition in the last act was quite awkward.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw it on Thursday, it doesn't live up to the witch or even it comes at night. On one hand I appreciate limiting the jumpscares and gore, going more for atmosphere and character drama. Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne kind of hold it together for me. But the two kids, like in most horror films were awful.
AidanAK47
Just seen Hereditary. The so called scariest film since The Exorcist.
So scary that people in the cinema were laughing.
Vonter
I've been playing Hollow Knight on Switch. It's perhaps the longest metroidvania game I've ever played. The game has a nonlinear progression with a lot of optional areas, which add wonder to the somber and mysterious tone of the game.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like how much Nagai overstylizes, overdesigns his characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that its abandoned its comedic elements.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: The twin tailed girl got impaled and its gone in a somewhat darker direction yes.
Sash
apparently cutie honey is getting devilman vibes.. haven't watched it though so take this with a grain of salt
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Somewhere in my head is an image of Baraka from mortal combat in the same picture as Himiko Toga.
Lenlo
Hero Aca, still my favorite Shounen.
AidanAK47
Just got the Re:zero Blu-ray a whole ten days before it's officially released. Gotta be the first to see the dub.
Lenlo
Yeah. Her whole scene was terrible. As much as I loved Maho in a pando costume, it should have stopped there. We didnt need the groping.
Kaiser-Eoghan
FERRIS NYAN-NYAN OmO kill it, kill it with muh-fire, kill it with muh-fire.
Lenlo
Also, Megalobox, hot damn. I love it. I love it all. Mmmm I cant wait.
Lenlo
Partly, yeah. Im mid writeup for it. Suffice to say the fan-service was... alittle awkward to me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Filler episode of Steins; gate this week.
Lenlo
I cant wait to see it, ive heard good things
Amagi
Damn I love Megalobox so much it's my favorite series this season.
AidanAK47
I can't wear a suit to work everyday
Kaiser-Eoghan
*wotaku's
Kaiser-Eoghan
You are now aware that you un-intentionally stealth cosplay as watoki's protagonist each time you go to work.
AidanAK47
Pretty sure Psgels is paying to keep the site up but it's not a sum that one would consider significant. Site is dirt cheap.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've thought about using MPC as an extra player, while mainly using vlc, but vlc can be buggy for me sometimes in that it lags and pixelates the video often , I've used MPC on videos that vlc bugs-out on and they work better.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Out of curiosity, what videoplayer (example media player, realplayer, winamp, vlc, mediaplayer classic)do all of you use for watching anime?
Lenlo
You silly old people
Kaiser-Eoghan
lol how do you think I feel, I've been at this for 20 years =P
SuperMario
All these "confessions" just underline how old we all are; and still keep on that stupid hobby after all those years :))
SuperMario
I first visited the site around 2009, 2010 but was pretty much a lurker until I started writing for the site.
SuperMario
As far as I know, psgels gave the admin privilege for K-Off and Aidan, and it's K-Off who pays for the site now (other admins pls confirm)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course I have no idea how much it costs to keep the blog up, he could always end up stopping paying for it if he needed to cut costs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually curious in estimating how much longer the blog has left. Obviously psgels must be still paying to keep the site up, but he is, of course only mortal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The blog began in 2005, but I started reading it in 2009, began posting on the chatbox in 2010.
Amagi
I wonder which weekly review was the first one I've read on psgels. I remember .hack//roots but not sure if it was the first one. Could very well be the case, though.
Amagi
Nevermind, despite being an old as shit reader I never actually read the whole text of the about-part.
Amagi
How old is this blog anyway? I am a regular reader since 2006 or something although it was only recently that I started talking here.
Lenlo
Oh I know all about that Kaiser. It was amazing to read about
Raggers
Wow, this is still going? Good on you guys
Kaiser-Eoghan
*wiki article
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Read the cultural impact of the original ashita no Joe on the youtube article, Japanese actually mass mourned him
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some writers just know how to get an un-explainably effective rhythm going.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always struggle with commenting/reviewing mood pieces and slice of life mood pieces especially, even when I finish something in the genre sometimes I'll go "I don't understand why this worked so well for me, why wasn't it boring?"
Anonymous2194677
Microsot E3 Press Conference was nuts, they showed too many games.
Anonymous2189608
Hey guys, I made/edited my very first video about a show I greatly love, hope you'll give it a watch too:

https://youtu.be/PdjwePOIbQA
Anonymous2187735
Yeah, and an NES prequel to Bloodstained Ritual of the Night launched a couple of weeks ago. And while easier than NES castlevanias it's quite fun. Also very cheap only $10.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Alas, I've not kept up much with the videogame scene in a number of years. I know there's a spiritual successor to castlevania being made though.
Anonymous2187735
Sorry Nightmare Creatures its what it's called.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually come to think of it, the 64 games probably had more vampires than the others I played.
Anonymous2187735
Have you played the game that inspired this Castlevania? Deadly Creatures?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never did get round to playing as Henry though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember the garden stage being especially frustrating as Schneider because of how slow he moved.
Anonymous2187735
Also that game demands you to play on normal or higher to play beyond that nitro stage.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember having to finish the game in a day because I was saddled with constantly rubbish memory cards for my N64.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry, I post fast and long so some of what I say probably might get missed/skimmed over.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I did mention it, called it the nitro stage.
Anonymous2187735
Still I think despite the flaws it's has become fun for me because I surprisingly get better each time I play it. and last time I make the game chug because of how fast I was progressing.
Anonymous2187735
Yeah. But I'm surprised you don't mention the worst part. The Nitro and Mandragora level. In which you have to go across several rooms without jumping.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I remember the game punishes you for using the item seller guy too much aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember the mansion level being creepy back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the werewolf thing was pretty rad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And then there was that crumbling labyrinth stage. I remember on hard mode you have to fight the chainsaw gardener too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The art tower stage is also annoying if you run out of day/night cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also it wouldn't let you finish it properly if you took too long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The N64 castlevanias have so many flaws, weird controls , bad camera , the day and night feature is kind of cool but it also puts a timer on things and certain parts become a pain because of it. They had frustrating bits too like the ice castle part with the weird jump sections and the nitro carrying stage.
Anonymous2187417
Lords of Shadow was another IP the developer had to accomodate into a known IP kinda like Star Fox Adventures.
Anonymous2187417
The other Castlevanias I haven't played are Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. LoS was ok but very long. and it's interquel Mirror of Fate put me off playing LoS2.
Anonymous2187417
I haven't played that one. Seems like a mixed bag. Like Zelda 2 or Metroid 2.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've seen playthroughs of simon's quest, but we all know why thats a notorious mess.
Anonymous2187417
Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness are also my guilty pleasures. I think if Konami still made Castlevanias it would have tried aping the Souls type of gameplay.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember some very very silly voice acting and dialogue in symphony of the night.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I preferred when they were just platform games. Later ones incoperated level up elements if I recall.
Anonymous2187417
After SOTN I think the game coming closer to that greatness is Order of Ecclesia if anything it keeps the difficulty of the classic Castlevanias and puts it in the Metroidvania formula. It has a platforming challenge level that's very satisfying to play.
Anonymous2187417
I've played most of them. Castlevania 3 is a very tough game, but that also makes the journey feel long and rewarding. Rondo of Blood feels like the cornerstone of the series since it's the Castlevania that got most of it's sprite reused in later games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminds me, the game, clocktower is vaguely inspired by an old Italian horror film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And symphony of the night.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually feel I should have played more castlevania back in the day, I've played bloodlines, castlevania 4, Dracula X, legacy of darkness, admittedly the last one isn't a good game and is more of a guilty pleasure.
Anonymous2186526
They could still meet Grant in the Clocktower.
Anonymous2186526
I wonder if the second season will be the journey to the castle like in the game. And the third season is entirely in the castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Already a season 3 announced.
Lenlo
Oh god yes. I cant wait
Kaiser-Eoghan
New netflix castlevania episodes out next month.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Was going to mention that. Wish more shows would do o.
Lenlo
Yeah, a lot of plot threads are converging and I like it. My favorite part though was Iglesias and their commitment to non-japanese languages. They were good!
Kaiser-Eoghan
*his bit
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Glad that sachio gets hit bit of backstory and that its well connected to the rest of the overall plot.
Lenlo
Alright Megalo Box was pretty good this week. So much to say
KTravlos
Indeed the Alliance system is atypical of mass democracy. There seem to be no organised parties and lists. Instead administrations seem to be formed on a personalist basis(me and my chums). And the Assembly seems to have very weak powers of oversight. A very flawed institutionally system. But I digress . It is still anime and even from Tanaka I do not expect deep discussion of democratic politics
KTravlos
I mean if two of 9 ministers in an administration resigned in any current representative/competitive election system it would be a big news and embarrassment to the goverment. My guess is that they were blackmailed to stay on, or were too afraid of the war party.
KTravlos
busy weeks (finals and deadlines). Watched the latest LOGH:NT episode. It was ok. A bit dry, but so are many of the episodes of NT or the Original on their own. One think it led me to think is that neither the books , nor the OVA, nor NT explain why Rebelo/Lebello and Huang Rui (the two politicians opposed to the Invasion of the Empire) did not resign in opposition. (Turnhit also opposed but..)
Lenlo
I think its cause of Daru's voice. Hes so overt about it and his voice makes it so clear hes not really being serious about any of that, cause it completely changes when hes talking serious subjects
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah I am watching CCS but funny enough I fell behind too, so it might be someone else you're thinking of
Kaiser-Eoghan
Always felt that Daru strikes a hit when it comes to pervy/otaku characters. Most of them tend to be incredibly annoying.
Lenlo
This episode was nice and chill while still moving stuff forward. I enjoyed it. It does seem like we are hitting the main conflict though, with Amadeus and Maho
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I feel with this episode the plot is really moving along now.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Thats the question aint it? How to savem both? We know he does, cause of the original, but alot happens along the way. Its a great ride
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad light novels would make for good fire and burning material =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I think it was you who was keeping up with the new cardcaptor sakura? or may that was bokusenou? I fell behind in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Given Japan is often thought to be a racist society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose though its saying something though, about them dropping that LN author for racism , its probably, considering its Japan, progressive that they called him out for his racisim.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Angel cop's Japanese version I think had some rant about Judaisim in its last episode too I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I try not to seek out stories about how awful certain creators are if I can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Viz decided not to run Kenshin's followup/side story manga. But oddly they decided to keep going with toriko even though toriko's author also got in trouble for pedophilic charges.
AidanAK47
Looking at that Isekai anime I say we we saved from something truly terrible. Though I find it odd that it was dropped because the author was a racist not because of it well...being goddamn terrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I watched a random episode, laughed more than I should have.
Amagi
btw Is anyone besides me watching Tiramisu? Am I the only one that finds this shit funny?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'd only read the ANN article title and decided I wouldn't entertain the comments by reading on.
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Featured Posts

Steins;Gate 0 – 11 [Pandora of Forgotten Existence -Sealed Reliquary-]

Welcome to Steins;Gate 0, this week with the most “final” middle of a series episode ever. We have drama, we have guns, we even have probable time skips! Lets jump in. This was an overall solid episode. It tried to wrap up, or tie together, a lot of plot threads and resolve character arcs before […]

Golden Kamuy – 11 [Everybody, Get Together! It’s a Murder Hotel!]

Welcome to Bates hotel!! Alright, make no mistake, this is the funniest episode of Golden Kamuy we will ever have. Still dark, have very little to do with the main plot, but it’s spooky fun. Even trashy fun with all the dick jokes. This is Golden Kamuy at its loosest shape. Which is not a […]

Hisone to Masotan – 10 [Melting in Love]

Pretty visual aside, I wonder how much fuel left for this aircraft before it runs out of ideas. HisoMaso has never been a show with detailed world building, or even thick plot to begin with, and as the usual case for me, nothing much happened in this episode. The biggest plot point of this week […]

Hinamatsuri – 11 [A Man Thirsty for Blood, Violence and Money]

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Darling in the Franxx – 21[For You, My Love]

Huh…wasn’t expecting that to be resolved so quickly. So as predicted Zero Two makes it to Darling and as predicted they power up and drive off the aliens. Also as predicted Zero is is now dead…or dying…or in a coma…or in some state that leaves her dead eyes by episodes end. I admit to be […]

Megalo Box – 11 [A Deadmarch]

Incredible Megalo Box… Simply incredible. This week was perfect in every way but one, and at this point that one is easily overlooked. Let’s skip this preamble and jump right in! Megalo Box had a lot going on this week as we see the culmination of a lot of characters big arcs. Starting off, lets […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 10 [Pandora of Provable Existence -Forbidden Cubicle-]

Welcome one and all to another week of Steins;Gate 0! This week we have fluffy, lovable dates, awkward fan service and terrible revelations. Lets jump in! So overall this week felt mostly like a filler episode. I understand that some of the contents were necessary for relationship building and such. That it was a sort […]

Golden Kamuy – 10 [Fellow Traveler]

New episode, new season, new plan, new scenery and possible new set of enemy too. Considered Golden Kamuy’s track record, I won’t be surprised if the new face Kiroranke, at the risk of Asirpa slaps me on my face for saying so. He’s in the interesting position in all this, both an ex-7th Unit Hokkaido, […]

Darling in the Franxx – 20[A New World]

Suddenly, Aliens. If you are surprised by this sudden plot twist then I am guessing you are new to Trigger works. For in some form or another space gets involved. Indeed this is fairly reminiscent of Kill la Kill or Gurren Laggan and I will toot my own horn about somewhat anticipating it. I at […]

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Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

Violet Evergarden’s existence has surely been a public one. Acclaimed before everyone lick a taste of it (it was awarded for grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014 – read, KyoAni awards), it goes without saying that Violet Evergarden is one of the most anticipated show of the sparse Winter […]

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After the Rain (2018 Winter) Review – 89/100

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

Junji Ito Collection Anime Review – 40/100

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Yuru Camp (Winter 2018) Review – 74/100

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

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