Posted on 31 January 2013 with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

Holy crap, Space Brothers, what are you doing to me?

Oh my god, the cliff-hangers just get more and more aggravating with this series, especially now that Hibito’s life is on the line. And here this episode comes and makes things even worse. Not by picking the cheesy route by making things escalate even further. No, Space Brothers is evil. It uses the fact that it takes twenty minutes for a buggy to arrive at his place. And puts in another Brian reference at the end of the episode. Holy crap, you are so evil, space brothers.

Also, I didn’t think it was possible, but it happened: Space Brothers will continue past 50 episodes! In fact, it’s getting moved to a Saturday evening timeslot. That’s prime time there! I don’t know who the producers are who made this possible, but whoever you are: you rock! Heck, this means that there is a very good possibility that this series will end up with a hundred episodes. And it already was one of the best of the airing series when it started! I can’t believe that there will be another series with that kind of length, that isn’t a shounen series.

The disadvantage will be that it’s a very intimidating series to watch. But heck, 100 episodes of Space Brothers, consistently delivering heart-warming and nail-biting episodes. This will make sure that the creators can really take their time. The danger of dragging on of course still remains, but I think that this has been wonderfully balanced so far. Even this episode: the reason why it rocked was because it kept dragging on the fate of our two astronauts. That’s how you make use of slow pacing. This is not like the series is padded for the sake of padding, it really adds something.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: From the New World

And suddenly, the lead characters of this series are older than I am. The more time goes on, the rarer this becomes.

And the change in tone is immediately noticeable. The previous arcs were all about the cast growing up, and it explored what would have been expected of them. This to the point that three members of the main cast couldn’t make it. Here though, the cast has grown up. They have jobs and duties now. And with that sorted out, the series can go back to the conflicts between the Queerats again.

Queerats who have become even more dangerous. They’re already numbering almost a million in total. With this I now really get why children are kept away from them. Without cantus… it’s really easy to just get a child killed like that. This episode showed how ruthless some of the battles went on, and with this, we already have guns and advanced military tactics. Not to mention that Squealer is trying really hard to take advantage of the humans in order to get rid of the Giant Hornet Colony.

I really like the politics of it all. I’m normally a big fan of politics anime, and it has been a while since the last good politics series (Hyouge Mono, if I’m not mistaken), and this series also delivers here. The way it stands out is how it puts humans on the high ground: they are gods with their powers and if they tried, they could just wipe out an entire colony of Queerats. With those restrictions, the Queerats have to do battle. I’m also starting to see now why Saki is special: she and Satoru were the first who realized that the Queerats caught one of those snails.

And here is the thing: why did Cantus appear? It’s not like humans have always had their Cantus. It just appeared in the state in which they were as a really advanced civilization. Take it as symbolism as you’d like: too much growth ended up creating something that really bit them in the back. But here is the thing: who says that the same thing won’t happen with the Queerats if they continue to evolve like that? They are currently at the medieval stage and just continue to improve more and more. What if they get so advanced, that at a certain point they also start to develop these cantus powers?
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Zetsuen no Tempest

Most of the second halves of the series of the past Autumn season have changed into predictable directions: Jojo got more epic, Sakurasou got more dramatic, Psycho Pass started to delve into its setting, Robotics;Notes started to tie its various subplots together. Zetsuen no Tempest though… I did not foresee this change… The show has actually gotten much more light-hearted.

And yet, it still rocks. This episode shined in the details. From various small hints to indicate the building chemistry between the characters, ranging from subtle to hilarious (Samon buying Mahiro some flashy underwear?), to people dressing up that mage of Exodus guy as a superhero and having him destroy the tree of Genesis. This episode was stuffed with those fine moments that just made me smile. The dialogue was just brilliant here.

Best of all was the romance, though. I loved both Exodus-kun making fun of Mahiro’s sister complex (and how everyone knew EXACTLY what he was talking about), as well as Hakaze realizing that she has a crush on Yoshino, complicating Aika’s death even more because she, if she wants to, could have easily killed Aika unconsciously with her Genesis powers. Yes, Hakaze, wanting to couch his earlobes is perfectly normal. Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 30 January 2013 with categories: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Shounen series on average have more female fanservice than male, particularly the blatant one. And here you have this series, in which a bunch of oiled up muscular men climb a giant pillar by using only their fingers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shounen series with so many yaoi-references…

Anyway, the training arc. Jojo had 33 days to train, at the end of this episode there are only 7 of them left. This was not the best Jojo episode, but as far as training episodes go it again was crazy compared to its peers. Most training arcs start of slow, only to find a major challenge at the end. This episode already threw the characters into a giant death trap. At least it doesn’t take its time as usual, although the end of the episode did not conclude this training arc…

Particularly intersting in this episode was everything that this show did with liquids. Especially that blast of oil was really creative, however what this episode failed to explain was why on earth it was all important. Again, what would have worked was a simple training episode. It rather braks up the momentum for this series to have it last longer.
Rating: 4.5/8 (Good)

Posted on 29 January 2013 with categories: Robotics;Notes

With this episode, it’s time to address the premise of this series: gamers saving the world. With gamers for some strange reason becoming more and more celebrities, it had it coming that there would be more series that would cater to them, resulting in creators finding more and more alaborate ways to somehow put these people in the spotlights. It’s not as bad as the typical loser, but yeah… you probably get what I mean.

Attempts so far failed for me. Kirito from Sword Art Online was just giant wish fulfillment. Accel World, from what I watched of it, looked the same. Btooom was better, but still gave the male lead way too much plot armour. With this, Robotics;Notes has given me the first gamer male lead that I actually like, and I feel is done well.

Either way this was so much better than the examples mentioned above. For one, the entire series doesn’t just revolve around Killballad, but the game is just a small part of the whole conspiracy that’s going on in this series. That means that the series doesn’t automatically revolve around the male lead, but it has to offer more than just him being good at this game. Second of all, it allowed the creators tocreate this weird mish-mash of subplots that somehow managed to link a robots, solar flares, an evil organization, an anime and brainwashing together, and actually get away with it pretty nicely. Sakurasou also has this variety of not just being based on one thing, which really helps for the diversity.

This episode had a climax for the gaming subplot. The robots can only be stopped if you manage to beat a game. It’s a completely crazy security system, but if you take into account that it was made by someone who was mentally screwed while also brainwashed… it’s still silly. And yet they pulled it off by using Kaito’s time slowing powers, which were previously established to be really intense. On top of that, some very convincing romance between him and Frau.

I usually hate love triangles for being pointless, so please: Akiho. Move on. Just… get over your crush. I know that this is unheard of in anime and all, but people can get over love. This series has intelligent writing, so make use of that.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 28 January 2013 with categories: Psycho Pass

And the system just continues to break down. Previously we were introduced to the rare case in which someone kills whilbe being perfectly mentally healthy. This time the dominators are limited even more by devies that mimic the Psycho Passes of others. I can only see this escalate and get better.

Also kudos to the directors in this episode. First of all, the gore in this series really hits the mark, especially the part where that woman was being beaten to death and how everyone just looked on. It most of all showed how desensitized to problems and violence this society is, and I was really at the edge of my seat. Later, when Makishima started kicking ass I noticed that we’re really talking about Production IG here: it’s been a while since they’ve done a fight scene like that, but I really like the style of trying to be as realistic as possible. That only makes it hurt more.

The one criticism I do have is that everyone is lumped together in this series. I would have liked to see in the minds of those bystanders for example, and why they found it interesting to film that incident. That really was the first time where we really got a good view of what was wrong with the Psycho Pass society, but it’s not in much detail. I’d like some attention on tha in the next few episodes, because it also serves as a good backup for Makishima’s motivations.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 25 January 2013 with categories: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Aagh! The sister has returned!

She still sucks for being in love with her brother, but nevertheless I liked this episode a lot. We got introduced to Sorata’s hometown and to his parents, which does explain why he felt at home at Sakurasou so much, since his parents are completely weird. I laughed a lot at their antics in this episode, and especially Sorata’s father rocks.

Furthermore, this episode actually did try to make up for the horrible decision that this series made for allowing the sister to fall in love with her brother: what I had been fearing was that she too would end up in the same school as Sorata so that she’d be even more prevalent in this series, but in this episode it became clear that she probably won’t make the entrance exams. This really helped to put things into perspective, and also hinted that she will move on.

Especially in contrast with the rest of this episode, which focused on doing what you love to do for the one you love. Especially in the case of Misaki and Shiina, but the entire main cast has this. It again was full of little details, for example Misaki as she kept playing with the cat when she was down. That was actually really adorable. I also like this surprising relationship between Jin and the student council president. I did not expect that guy to get so much attention in this series, but the two of them work really well together. Now do the same thing with that one guy who has a crush on Nanami.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: AKB0048

I hate, hate, hate CG dance sequences. Every single time they’re done, they look incredibly fake and out of place. But even that I can’t fault AKB0048, becaus its CG dance sequences are the best I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, they still stand out. But they’re kept short and concise, and the dance choreography is actually worth something.

Setting that aside, I still have no clue why this show manages to move me so. I mean, I am a fan of this series and all, but still I loved the end of the episode even thoughit was just the general election for the characters, preceeded by another performance for the idols.

Also, as for the walking boob joke. I have no idea whehter the creators heard me or something, but she showed a totally different and actually quite inspiring side of her in this episode. Heck, I really loved the climax when it was her who got to stand in the spotlights, instead of Chieri or Nagisa. In fact, both of them really had interesting roles in this episode: Nagisa still is in her underdog position, with no signs yet of moving out of it. Chieri meanwhile got to find out first-hand what it feels like to become popular, just because you’ve got influential connections. They’re still there: the subtle bites at the fans of the idols.

By the way, this series also sees its EDs as an extension of the series. The ending of this episode was wonderful because of how the ED extended the big surprise that preceeded it, instead of continuing with the usual ED. This is something that is easy to do, yet most series are too rigid for it. It’s a sign of good production and people using their heads there.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 24 January 2013 with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

Damn you Space Brothers and your cliff-hangers! Seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve watched such addictive ones. You can see them from miles ahed, but just keep hoping that the show will extend a little bit further, or that by some stroke of miracle there is a double episode this week or something. One point of criticism though: if you want to retain tension, don’t name your episodes “80 minutes left to live”. Just sayin’…

And seriously, how little of Mutta has there been during the past two weeks. He only appeared at the end of the episode for a very small, but very significant role. I really like how he instantly realized that Hibito would try to make his way out of the cave. We also saw a completely different Mutta than usual. For the past two weeks, all silliness has been removed from this series. Normally this is like signing a series’ death warrant. Here though, it fleshes out the characters even more. This episode still had me at the edge of my seat from start to finish.

What I also really like about this episode… they revealed that Brian Jay had an older brother. I’m not sure whether it’s my memory being buggy again, or whether they really saved that revelation for this episode. But still: 30 seconds was enough to create yet another really interesting character in this series. As if the series didn’t already have enough of them!
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 23 January 2013 with categories: From the New World

This was a very interesting episode. The thing is, that it’s clear that it had hardly any budget, yet it did have a couple of very talented animators and artists. This episode threw away a lot of conventions, looked inconsistent, spent its first half on recycled footage, and yet looked really gorgeous.

The new footage showed the cast when they were young children, which contrasted really well with what they went through later. And then came that incredibly weird dream that Saki had afterwards. I can only imagine the symbolism that was in there for the final half of this series, but the thing that caught my attention the most was how it stated that it was no use to bring Mamoru and Maria back. That they were better off dying. I mean, dreams in anime are always with a purpose. What was that dream trying to tell her?

I really liked Maria’s letter and how it was written. But really: the writing in this entire episode was just excellent, how it was entirely focused on Saki’s worries about the loss of her friends; it really went in-depth there. Saki and Satoru, they have lost three really good friends now, and they’re pretty much alone at this point. This episode wasn’t really clear whether or not they will return to the village, or also run away. Either way, it’s going to be really tough for them.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

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