Posted on 30 September 2013 with categories: Rozen Maiden 2013

The best ending of the season? I think that was from Gatchaman Crowds, closely followed by Silver Spoon. Rozen Maiden had the potential to top both of them, but no, they had to come with that damn cliff-hanger!

And that is pretty much the only complaint I have about the final two episodes. The character development really was great, for a lot of the cast. Hina Ichigo, beautifully redeemed herself for a season of absence, Jun grew in both his versions and Suigintou… the reason she did not take Souseiseiki’s Rosa Mystica promises great things for the future.

The same goes for Jun: he always looked up to his younger self, and now it becomes apparent that younger Jun was great because he just never challenged his own weaknesses. Putting him in a coma will have a great effect on the rest of the cast, and put them into the roles that he previously occupied. Which brings me back to how this is the end of the season.

So yeah, whoever is producing this: you had better have planned a second season, instead of using this as a stupid sequel hook, putting off the decision for a sequel based upon whether or not the sales are right. Nothng has been announced yet, and that cliff-hanger could have been completely omitted and we would have had a satisfying finale. A bit of anime original aftermath for Jun, and Voila! That would have worked easily, and Tomomi Mochizuki can write that without a doubt to make it leave a good impression.

It’s not like I can hunt you down or something… but yeah. I’m watching out for that sequel…
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Shingeki no Kyojin

With this I see why people complained that Shingeki no Kyojin went off-track a bit, because the whole cellar has been pushed more and more to the side of things. But in the show’s favor: the characters did have a really good reason to get sidetracked like that, because both the political games and that female Titan put up quite a big wall in front of that cellar. That first needs to be broken down before they can get to it.

But did Shingeki no Kyojin drag on? To answer that question, we need to wonder what makes it worth watching. The fantastic action, excellent acting, really well thought-out scenarios and the setting which really managed to convinced that humanity is on its last edge… The pacing is slow, but I would not say that this was rushed. It always had enough to offer, and the final four episodes were no different. They presented the identity of the female titan so well. It really took me a while before it hit me what was actually going on.

It was a trade-off that the creators made here. The pacing of the manga is ridiculously fast. At a certain point I just flew through each chapter. Instead they opted to pad things, and use the length for extra atmosphere building. And that worked for nearly the entire run. Perhaps only some episodes somewhere in the middle of the series lacked a bit momentum because people were just preparing.

Now, as for the ending: it seems that the producers haven’t greenlighted a second season yet, but really: this is one of those cases where it’s just a matter of time. With the sales of both the manga and the anime, there are plenty of reasons to come out with a sequel. My biggest guess as to why it hasn’t been greenlighted yet probably has to do with financing. I don’t have solid facts, but I would be very surprised if Shingeki no Kyojin wasn’t the most expensive series of the year. With all that stellar animation and with all those action scenes, it requires a much bigger budget than usual, and getting the funding for that takes time.

These final four episodes were amazing as usual, but there was also something very freaky going on that the creators very subtly tried to sneak past: the nature of the walls. Especially the last episodes were full of hints that something was really really wrong with them. First there obviously was that huge wall of text at the eyecatch. It may seem weird, but to me, it also seems really important, and there was no way for the creators to otherwise put that tidbit in. Also, how did Annie just jump back and forth between the forest and the walls in the city? The chance of her getting caught while trying to climb the walls would have been pretty high. And then there were the final words of the episode, hinting that it’s the walls that keep humanity trapped. And what the hell was that titan doing in that wall!?

So yeah, I don’t mind to wait for the creators to get the sequel just right. Just don’t pull a Durarara, okay? (Did they ever explain why THAT series didn’t get a second season).
Rating: 6,5/8 (Amazing)

Posted on 29 September 2013 with categories: Uchoten Kazoku

The final third of Uchoten Kazoku to me… is probably its worst part. Allow me to elaborate why:

Basically it boils down to that the conclusion was too cliched for its own sake. And I don’t really say that for the sake of it being cliched, but rather the implications that this had on the rest of the series. Two implications really stood out:
– The frog, the second son. I really liked how he actually felt responsible for the death of his father. That was some really good drama, and I loved the episode earlier that was dedicated to his feelings about it. But no, the father was just caught by his brother who turns out to be this stereotypically evil bad guy who just justs after some woman. True, without being drunk there was a chance that the father would have seen through the trick, but nevertheless he doesn’t feel guilty anymore about his actions.
– Wat made Uchoten Kazoku great? Its dialogue and its focus on cultural values, customs and legends. The whole succession story just took too much time away from that, and unlike the first two thirds of the series it brought relatively few new things to the table. You can also see this in the character-development, which while there, could have been much more if the plot was a bit more catered to it. Benten for example: we never really got to see what goes on inside her head.

Does that make these four episodes bad? Nah, just not as good as what they could have been. These episodes still were fun to watch, and at least it did try to stay somewhat true to itself by never forgetting that the simple minds of the characters who on one point can be entirely serious, and then can be goofing off or really stupid again. The chaos in the final episode was a neat anti-climax, and the whole frying tram rocked. Uchoten Kazoku was definitely unique and really refreshing as an anime.

Yojou-han, Uchoten Kazoku. This writer needs to have more of his stories adapted to anime!
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 28 September 2013 with categories: Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

God?! Screw God! We’ve got a timeloop story that we need to wrap up!

But granted, that ending was really quite good. It again made use of this show’s weird talent make random characters sympathetic from out of absolutely nowhere by suddenly blaming the source of the timeloop to be the classmates of Alice (yes, Alice, don’t ask me why he has a girl’s name) and Dee.

Perhaps basing your story on a misunderstanding isn’t the strongest, but for what it did, the series wrapped that subplot up really nicely. It wasn’t about the misunderstanding anyway. The main issue of the arc was escapism: fearing change, people stayed in the timelooped world because it was safe. You could really see that with Scar and Yuri: the environment felt so safe and trusted to them.

What made this ending was the point at which it was time to move on for everyone. The time to head back into the real world again after 14 years. Alice ‘surviving’ was a bit of a cop-out, but yeah: that’s a bit the premise of this series: he’s still dead, he just lives as a ghost and Ai ust doesn’t bury him.

And there the series just ends. I would have preferred some sort of epilogue, but at this point I think that the ending here is that eveyrone just keeps living until they die, and then keep wandering around until all of the gravekeepers have buried everyone. Quite a bleak ending there if you look at it that way.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Gatchaman Crowds

Oh, what a wonderfully glorious mess this was! Kenji Nakamura once again proves that he really knows how to create an ending with impact. And don’t get me wrong: things in these four episodes… did not make any sense when you start thinking logically about them. But as a thought experiment they were amazing. And ridiculously fun as well.

I mean who cares if in the real world you’d never get a prime minister yelling to all of the negative twitter reactions that he gets while making a speech: Gatchaman celebrates the internet unlike any other series has done so before, while also acknowledging the incredible mess that it can turn out to be. It uses these “Crowds” as a took to ask the question of how society would look like if everyone had the power to become a hero. The urge that we all probably have once in a while.

Kenji Nakamura: for god’s sake have your next series be a 2-cour one. Your series are always incredibly original, but with Gatchaman Crowds I feel like you could have done so much more .And with such a length there would have been much more time to explore such a great setting and allow for even more episodes dedicated to interesting ideas, or with creative set-ups.

Heck, episode eleven was half a recap, and yet it worked incredibly well because of how it was set up. At the start of this series I noted that the success of this series entirely depended on the female lead: regardless of the quality of the rest of the series, her annoyance would contribute greatly to whether or not this would become an enjoyable watch. And they actually did it, and that recap examplified it. At the start you’d indeed wonder if the creators didn’t go too far with glorifying her, but that was the entire point of the series: they wanted to turn society completely upside down with these last four episodes. In the end, the Gatchaman just came blatantly out of hiding, and a huge power was given to every single person.

What I also really liked: do you know what lately has been one of the most commonly used motivations for villains beyond just “being evil”? It’s the villain who wants to evolve the world (and in the process doesn’t really care about making a few sacrifices in the process). It’s common because it’s not entirely evil, but it has started to become a bit lazy, and usually I find that these guys are often unfairly demonized or that the sacrifices that they make are just used as plot devices to make them the bad guys. Gatchaman Crowds has turned that trope completely upside down: this time everyone is just evolving society, with Rui and Hajime at the frontline. The bad guy’s aim is just to have fun and create chaos. Perhaps not the most complex of all, but he’s the perfect embodiment of the internet troll, and I think that that served as the inspiration for this guy.

Overall: messy series, but a great watch. Looking forward to Kenji Nakamura’s next work.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 27 September 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tamayura


I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series.

Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: why did this series, of all shows, get a second seaso? What can it add to the OVA and the first series? The big problem with this show is that now that it’s ended, I still haven’t gotten an answer to that question. Yeah.

So what does this second season end up doing? Well, in terms of characters… Potte starts a photography club. You’d think that that would train her leadership skills, but in the end only one girl ends up joining it. That one girl gets the most character-development out of the entire series, but it’s surprisingly similar to the development that Potte went through in the first season. The best part was probably the attention to Potte’s dead father. Again most of it was already done in the first season, but there was one particular episode that brought something new to the table.

And as for the side-characters… oh dear god. They were definitely the worst part of this sequel, because all of them have been reduced to simple stereotypes. In the first season they were diverse character. Here however, they eitehr are neutral, or force their quirk way too much, with hardly anything else. This series seems to think that once you have developed your characters, you can just leave them as they are and they’ll keep magically working. Quite a misguided idea!

As for the stuff that the characters do in this season… it’s okay. It’s still a good show to relax with and all, but everything they do is again so surprisingly similar to the first season: they go on random trips with Character A, they go to visit Character B;s house, they drop by Character C. Everything just strikes me as if the creators had no idea what to really do with this series once it started, and then just settled with some vague idea that just kept the status quo.

Tamayura was supposed to be the spiritual successor to Aria. Aria’s second season took its characters and developed them to actual characters. Tamayura’s second season likes to repeat itself. Perhaps those with more patience than me will appreciate it for what it is, but I’m quite a bit disappointed.

Oh and if you want to know why the second season has such a weird subtitle: ‘More Aggressive’ is just a bad translation to which the creators got the contextual meaning completely wrong. Sortof like that guy who got a Chinese tattoo on his arm.
One-Sentence Review: It’s not really necessary to watch this: it doesn’t really add anything to Tamayura, nor its characters.
Suggestions:
Aria
Kaze no Shoujo Emily
Maria-Sama ga Miteru

Posted on 26 September 2013 with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

The past four episodes: character-development. It’s slow and steady, but definitely there, and in all kinds of forms. Mutta changed and finally realized his strengths, gaining lots of confidence from it, and also becoming mature enough to forgive his former employer that he gave the Zidane, Sharon’s condition subtly gets worse, the chief of Nasa gets some unexpected background (also I love that small scene of a young Deneil Young). And whoa, Hibito actually left with a big post-traumatic stress disorder after what happened on the moon.

I like that recently, the series has at least remembered to be varied: a few months ago I remember complaining that the arcs take too long, and that the series got too monotone. This arc again solves this by focusing on many things at the same time, so that we’re not just stuck with just one scenario. It’s still nowhere near the levels of the first 40 episodes, but I can’t deny that these events really pushed the characters further.

This reminds me of the reason why I don’t consider the Legend of Galactic Heroes to be the best anime ever. Sure, it’s amazing. Among the smartest anime out there. However, like Space Brothers, it was just so incredibly long. At times it really felt like a chore to try and sit through it, and it sometimes spent a bit too much of its time meticulously developing its cast and storyline, at the expense of pacing. The same has happened with Space Brothers: technically it’s doing everything right, but I want to see that amazement again of Mutta hearing that he gets to become an astronaut. The meticulous team building in an environment you could trust nobody thanks to the red cards. The longer a series goes on, the more chance it has of becoming stale in one way or the other. I’d like to view this with a bit of a broader perspective, using other, really long series and how they coped with their length. Generalizations will follow:

– Monster actually did this perfectly. The key was that it was built up meticulously: as it went on every single episode continued to deliver thanks to the build-up of the early episodes.
– Gintama also could not keep up for me after 100 episodes. The reason for that was that it ran out of jokes and started trying too hard. The other side of the extreme.
– Touch also had points where it got really stale, but what saved it was that it kept you on your toes. Although it only barely got away with this.
– Maison Ikkoku is another odd one. Helped by immense character-development and a ridiculously strong climax. It also didn’t play all of its cards immediately.
– Hajime no Ippo is a strange one: it also suffered from getting stale a bit, due to the entire series being about boxing, not the most varied topic. And yet the second season came and improved upon it by being much more over the top and doing this really well.
– Hikaru no Go had some amazingly strong episodes, but it too suffered from being stale despite how it just kept being intelligent. Again, the way in which every episode was about Go had something to do with that.
– Kodomo no Omocha is also a weird one, because its worst arc was in the middle of the series, and it picked itself back up afterwards
– Jigoku Shoujo was helped by that it was about three distinct parts that all had a clear beginning and ending and purpose.
– Hunter X Hunter is only now getting really good because we’ve finally gotten to the actual point that everyone has been waiting for ever since they first announced the new series.

I can see the following patterns from these series:
– Monotony can make things get stale, but not always.
– It’s not enough to only be ridiculously knowledgeable about your subject material. It’s just a very important and welcome ingredient. like having a steak dinner be so much better if it’s the meat from one of those Kobe cows or something.
– The best solution is: meticulous planning. Knowing exactly what you’re building up for, and knowing exactly what you want to do with it. That can excuse a lot.

How to relate this to Space Brothers: what I feel like it’s missing is planning. Up to the arc in which Mutta became an astronaut, the creators felt like they were in full control. Right now it feels like they’re just adapting the manga chapters as they come along with a steady pace, without really giving the extra mile.

so yeah, another reason why it’s wrong to adapt manga that are still currently ongoing. If you don’t know where the plot is going, then you’re going to be limited in one way or the other. I get that it makes sense from a commercial standpoint, but there are more things that do that that are just not right.
Rating: 4,5/8 (Good)

Posted on 25 September 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Silver Spoon


When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up forever: last season saw a rerun, and this time there only is one new anime, with the name of Silver Spoon. But it’s worth the watch!

The series you can compare this to the most easily is probably Moyashimon. Both series are about agricultural college with an oddball entering. Where Moyashimon focused on plants and germs, Silver Spoon focuses mostly on actual farming, and farm animals. The big differences come in the way the series are laid out: Moyashimon is random, silly, and overall rather shallow, compared to Silver Spoon being very meticulously constructed, and deep. And don’t get me wrong, it can get silly at times, but even that is very well plotted out. Compare it to how precise the comedy in Full Metal Alchemist always was.

Watch this show for the depth though: this series takes a look at the less pleasant sides of farming. And it does so with such grace! It doesn’t shy away from showing the fact that the animals in this series are destined for the slaughterhouse. It managed to create these very sympathetic characters who all have different roles and views on it, and they’re all affected by each other’s actions: some people accept it like it’s normal, others really need to take more time. The main character in this series is actually a really good one, because he challenges that view in nearly all of the characters. Of his age, in any case.

Beyond that it’s just an all around fun series to watch that goes into a lot of detail in some of the other aspects of working on a farm. There’s a second season coming up, but you can just as easily view this series standalone. There are a few episodes that perhaps break a it of the flow, or go on for a bit too long with the drama, but overall it’s a series that’s well worth the watch.
One-Sentence Review: This show is about farming, and it shows this in depth.
Suggestions:
Moyashimon
Nodame Cantabile

Posted on 24 September 2013 with categories: Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon: you definitely have earned the right of the saddest death of a pig in any anime ever. The final four episodes of the first season put the focus back from the part time job, to the little piglet we saw in the first number of episodes. For me this was by far the most profound part of the series.

It definitely does help that there was a lot of development between the main character and the pig. I mean, it really had impact when the date for its trip to the slaughterhouse got closer and closer, and he just kept on growing.The creators played well with that, and it’s definitely done better than with Moyashimon: the series feels much more cohesive and with a purpose. The central themes of this series? Brilliant!

If I had to pick a least favorite part of this series, then I’d say that it’s the part that took place in the holidays. It feels detached from the rest of the series, it abandoned half the cast, which broke the flow of the series a bit. In Moyashimon it would have fitted, but not here where the series is so well constructed otherwise. Anyway, looking forward to the second season!
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 19 September 2013 with categories: Rozen Maiden 2013

Rozen Maiden, I applaud you. This series definitely has the best plot of the Summer Season series. In these three moments, this series really displayed that it was building up to something.

It’s great to see series that actually pay off. There are too many series that seem to be building up to stuff, only to not really do anything and go for a standard climax that just boils down to “defeat that bad guy” while doing drama things. Things like those are boring, and most often just pointless. Yeah, I guess that it’s all about the satisfaction of seeing an all-powerful being break down and all. But we’ve all been there. You need to spice things up.

I usually try to stay away from using other shows as examples, but ah. Screw it. I’m going to list some series that did this wrong (in my humble opinion, of course!). Slight spoilers may follow, but I’ll try to be as vague as possible.

K is a good example of a show that started off with promise, but didn’t do anything with it. And yeah, I know that it has a sequel coming, but that is no argument: I’ve said before that I don’t want to sit through an entire season if it’s just going to be build-up. It had all this build-up about these kinds… yet all of it didn’t really amount to anything: it was all very predictable, the characters took the most predictable turns in order to try and prevent things from going stale… not once did I feel like the creators were being really creative in where the plot was going.

Another area where this series could have gone wrong is in devolving into plain bad storytelling and devolving into plain stupidity. For that Tamako Market is a good example: you build up this nice and interesting family, who live in this interesting neighbourhood, only to completely derail the plot with that stupid prince subplot that never really went anywhere. And in the end, none of the build-up was really used.

Here, however. The first half of the series focused on the world of Jun who didn’t wind the key. It withheld a lot of characters. It put the entire cast of the show on a bus, save for Shinku and Suigintou, and focused on the intimate development between a very small set of characters. In these three episodes the characters went back to the other dimension, and it was glorious. Instead of one group of characters completely dominating the other, everything was balanced! Every character got his or her chance to shine and make impact!

A great example: in the second season of the original Rozen Maiden, Suigintou also made way for a different villain. However, here, her role as an anti-hero is SO MUCH BETTER. I love how she pretty much acknowledged that the reason why she held onto Suiseiseiki’s Rosa Mystica is pointless, and that she’s all doing it for “Father”. She’s neither good nor evil, she just has a huge price and doesn’t care about anything other than herself, and the creators haven’t overdone this by making her derail into either good or evil so far: she stayed true to herself, yet she also developed slightly, in the way that she stopped letting her pride get in the way of things that really don’t matter.

Also, Jun. I love what the creators did with him. For a while it was a bit weird how he created this new body for Kirakishou and all, but his development really put everything into place. The entire series is about people being trapped, trying to get out. In the past three episodes, a lot of characters actually succeeded in that. Jun did so by finally making decisions for himself. Going after his own feelings, rather than going with the flow. And the thing is: episode nine emphasized that his strongest bond is NOT necessarily with Shinku, the main doll of the series. Instead, Souseiseki is the doll HE made for himself. Not a replica or anything, it’s something he put together, outside of Shinku’s knowledge. The end of episode 11 remained vague about the outcome with the much hinted collapse of Shinku that could go either way here.

These episodes had so many things intertwine with each other, Really well done!
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:08 AM)
    Ah but that would frustrate me in muv-luv, I’d be the one suffering as a result of having to wait for the characters suffering to start.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:06 AM)
    I’ve heard kickstarter being used for crowdfunding indie films, honestly as a film buff I really should get on that and start supporting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:41 AM)
    I generally don’t pre-order unless its a gift for someone else, so I can guarantee for 100% sure I can get it for them and it won’t sell out.

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Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

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Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

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Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]