Posted on 30 October 2013 with categories: Nagi no Asukara

Okay, so everyone aside from Hikari: I really like them. Dramatic, perhaps, but they work really well together, and this series has a knack of writing compelling drama for all of them, and this episode continued that trend. This was some really good character buiding here: no character here is completely onedimensional and even the typical high school bullies have a point and purpose, rather than just being the same streetpunks who are inserted for cheap drama, like what you usually see.

And yeah… Hikari. This guy is complicated. Last week he got completely on my nerves, but this time it changed. I still cringed when he zerged those classmates of his whenever he saw the first possible reason to do so, but the thing is that his sensible side is starting to shine through more. Whenever he didn’t go into “angry bear”-mode he too was an interesting member to the cast who plays off very well with the others. He can sympathize with others when he wants to. The whole apology scene was weird, but definitely a step in the right direciton.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 29 October 2013 with categories: Yozakura Quartet

Okay, I’m not going to defend this. This episode was just bad, and I really am not sure what happened here on the production-side, but with this episode this series suddenly lost all of its charm. There were too many signs that showed that the creators didn’t really put much thought into this episode.

Up till now the fanservice was tolerable, but the first half of this episode being nothing but a pointless pool skit? That really was nothing but an excuse to show the entire female cast in bikinis. It’s completely shameless and un-subtle. If you want to do fanservice: make it fit into the story. Don’t just randomly throw in a pool. I might care about the reasons that it was really hot, if only that those reasons were mentioned again, but mysteriously that extreme heat is never mentioned again.

The rest of the episode was just a mess. This kid who is running for major comes in, and thins just start happening for no reason whatsoever, and it’s all just so flimsy. There’s this random politician who yells a lot and the girl somehow gets assaulted by this mechanical thingy out of nowhere. And then Akina suddenly comes with this incredibly dry and soulless info-dump that apparently everyone already knew aside from Kotoha. It both baffles me that they couldn’t just mention this last episode (I mean, what was revealed was a pretty important detail there to just not mention…). Also, why was Kotoha not informed of this? Again, having demons flood into the city is pretty major. A mayor should have no reason NOT to know about this. The reasons the characters mention make no sense whatsoever.

Also, what happened to the background music? It was so well timed previously. And yet here we have this generic goofy music for the silly parts, along with generic broody music for the serious parts. Seriously, what happened?
Rating: 3/8 (Lacking)

Posted on with categories: Gingitsune

This episode of Gingitsune brought a new character, combined with a really annoying chibi-fox who pretty much acts like a cocky little kid despite being eighty years old. It was a really dramatic episode, with a lot of hammy voice actors. And yet somehow this episode managed to bring a few tears to my eyes. I have no idea how they did that…

Seriously, amidst all of the elaborate series this season, Gingitsune really shines in its simplicity. What was this series about? A bunch of kids who ran away from home. And yet, they pretty much did things right here. The guy in any case is a compelling character here: he defied expectatios several times throughout this episode, and he also didn’t waste any time to shed light on some of his backstory.

Gingitsune seems to focus on the saying “there’s more than meets the eye”. Not every character has that (the female lead in particular pretty much wears her heart on her sleeve), but there have been plenty of characters who hide large parts of who they are, either consciously or unconsciously.

With this episode, Gingitsune also took a big step away from Natsume Yuujinchou. What I mean by that is that the youkai in Natsume Yuujinchou have short childhoods, despite having a very slow concept of time. In Gingitsune meanwhile we have this kid of eighty years old running around. And yeah, it’s true that Natsume Yuujinchou is much more refined and polished than this series. But yet I just can’t help but empathize with these characters as well,much more strongly than I anticipated.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 28 October 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

Gingitsune – 03: Not blogging this episode because nothing much really happened, but still an adorable little episode to dream away to. I stand by my case that that fox is adorable. The turtle was a one-off character, but he did illustrate the concept of time really well, which is quite important for our white friend’s development.

Golden Time – 03: I was surprised by the weird cult that appeared out of nowhere, but I guess that weird obsessions are a theme of this series. However, what happened afterwards was quite interesting: two characters just sat down and had quite a long talk for anime standards, in which they got to know each other much better. Lots of interesting stuff happened there.

Noucome – 03: I just realized how hard it is to animate characters laughing. Most of the time you get these awkward squeals with blushes that feel incredibly forced. But yeah, another hilarious episode. Everything about this episode was just so wrong, but for once the show actually acknowledges this, which is something you don’t often see. Of course it then goes and pulls in some twists that are as bad as the things it’s parodying, but still, even the drama here is done tongue in cheek.

Yowamushi Pedal – 02 & 03: Okay, my verdict after the first real cycling match is that I’m not going to continue watching. The reason for this is that the creators are rather dragging them out, resulting in a lot of repeating lines that don’t really add anything other than padding things out. For cycling anime, the two Nasu OVAs do a much better job at portraying the sport than this.

Golden Time – 04: This episode. Did it really only take up 20 minutes? I mean how much can you stuff in one episode, especially for a regular drama series. Talk about things escalating quickly here. The good news is that there is great character development. The bad news is that we seem to be heading into a generic love triangle, so try to stay away from that, okay?

Hajime no Ippo – Rising – 04: Aoki’s fight actually got more episodes than Ippo’s. Perhaps a few too many penis jokes, but still this was a really enjoyable build-up and thankfully it set up the stage a bit better than with the first arc here that just boiled down to how deep the sea was. I like how this episode really shows Aoki in a serious light, yet didn’t shed away his goofiness. Lots of other anime have failed pretty badly in the past attempting this

Posted on 25 October 2013 with categories: Kill La Kill

Okay, so this was the ultimately pointless side story that receives none of the best animators and is just there for the creators to have some fun and goof off, resulting in a completely crazy episode that makes no sense whatsoever but was heaps of fun to watch. Yeah.

But yeah, the creators sure know how to keep this series varied with such a weird episode, even for this series’ standards. You could definitely see that near the end, the creators ran out of budget, but I suspect that the budget for this episode wasn’t that big to begin with. Hiroyuki Imaishi actually wrote the storyboard of this episode himself, which I think was to try and distract from this as much as possible.

First of all he definitely succeeded, because I had a lot of fun to watch this episode. And second of all, I really like this practice of using your best talents in order to make up for the flaws in your production team. Studio Trigger is new, so they still lack the staff to make a full fledged 2-cour series perfectly, but with this mentality they actually manage to keep things interesting, rather than using this episode as a way to stall time by just wasting their worst resources on this episode due to its lack of significance.

Oh and yeah, this episode brought on the guns. I suddenly got loads of flashbacks from Dead Leaves for some reason.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Samurai Flamenco

Okay. That was awesome.

I already considered this series among the best of this season, and with this episode it surpassed itself, and this only is the third episode of 22. But just… this episode introduces this new character and he brings a totally new dynamic to the series that completely takes the piss out of both the mass media and the superhero business.

The characters here were brilliantly used. Turning the idol that Samurai Flamenco was based off into this semi-impersonator awakened so many different feelings in Masayoshi, and afterwards this spiralled into this bizarre publicity stunt in which Samurai Flamenco became Red Axe’s assistant, followed by some very unexpected character-development from Hidenori. Heck, this episode couldn’t have made better use of the trope of superheroes having to conceal their identity.

And yet, the characters in this series feel real. Of course there are nutters like Masayoshi walking around and all, but he too has common sense. When people fight here, they don’t use supernatural powers. Even Joji Kaname is just this really muscular guy; he doesn’t punch with superhuman strength, and yet the creators manage to portray him as this crazy stuntman. This is something that very few anime get right: juggling the balance between realism and entertainment.

But seriously, the chemistry between the characters just keeps getting better and better.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 24 October 2013 with categories: Galilei Donna

A building up episode with a bit of action, neither the best nor the worst of its kind, but it did flesh out the characters, and it did so well and quite believably. What struck me here is that this show has very clearly defined the talents of the three main characters, up to the point where two of them were just completely useless now that nothing’s happening aside from some mecha battles, one of them in particular.

Hozuki basically deals with the science and mumbo jumbo in this series: her innocence combined with exploring the supernatural, and she handles the mecha battles. Hazuki meanwhile as the law student handles all of the diplomacy and is the most sensible in that area, keeping everyone together as well. Kazuki meanwhile just seems to excel at hand to hand combat, which there wasn’t anything of in this episode. So she had plenty of time to worry about the unneccessary stuff. It’s quite believably done, don’t get me wrong, but she also needs to get her time to shine after this, in the same way that the creators need to give Hozuki some flaws. Or at least something that doesn’t make her a god-moded teenager here who can do anything.

That’s the one thing that has me rather puzzled: this series went so out of its way to create a diverse cast, and here it has put one in a coma, one doesn’t want to go on an adventure, and one is missing in action for who knows how many episodes. There are two possible reasons for this: building up for later when all hell breaks loose, cleverly holding its cards back, or just making the girls as special as possible.

So yeah, the key is variety. But really: what are they going to do after this? That will be the key. Make things interesting!
Rating: 4,5/8 (Good)

Posted on with categories: Kyousogiga

I remember how a few years ago, the Munto OVAs also got a full fledged TV-series in order to flesh out their setting. Well that turned out to be the cheapest way out: they just recapped the OVas 1 on 1 and slapped some flimsy conclusion at the end with some sequel bait, which was removed at the movie of the thing… Kyousogiga however is the complete opposite: with this series, newcomers to the franchise aren’t left out at all, and know right away that they need to go for the TV-series that has everything in it, and they managed to stuff everything in really well.

Also, unlike the previous episodes, this episode tells three stories at once: one third of the episode is about monk guy, one third about the scientist girl (also including episode 2 of the OVA) and the third part is about the present, which also ties the abovementioned two together perfectly so that this episode becomes more than just three mini-episodes packed together.

My favourite part was about the monk, though. I did not expect a character like him, who always was in the background, to gain so much depth. It’s quite astounding to see how much the creators did in so little time with this guy, but I love how this series is really trying to give depth to its entire cast. It really makes the setting also come alive.

Also, here’s another thing: am I the only one who noticed that most anime are quite lazy when it comes to aging characters? I mean, make characters a bit bigger, their hair a bit longer or shorter, and voila. Here, it took me a while to link the two monks to their younger versions: they really grew up and changed significantly, but parts of their childhood remained. A small but very clever detail.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 22 October 2013 with categories: Yozakura Quartet

Having superpowered characters who are really hard to kill does take away a bit of the tension, but it fits strangely wellin the light-hearted tone of these past episodes. This episode was about the background of some of the characters here, and the nature of the setting of this series. The villain only made an appareance like, once or something?

But yeah, this was solid build-up, because we now have a good grasp on who the main character is like, having bascially the responsibilit of sending demons to this unknown dimension that might not even exist, basically potentially killing them: that’s great conflict, and this episode cleverly showed us how he chose to deal with this by holding out on this until the last moment, and first showing all of the different sides to the issue.

Also, there was that scene with the car that came out of bloody nowhere. That really grabbed my attention for a bit due to how raw the action was. This show is really light, with these sudden dark spots inbetween, and it mixes really well. However, the creators do need to be building up for something: this light hearted stuff is fine and all, but only for build-up. Stuff needs to actually get darker after a while. If only because that will show more opportunities for the animators to work their magic.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 21 October 2013 with categories: Nagi no Asukara

Holy crap, that main character! This episode really was great! I really liked how this episode elaborated on the cultural differences between the fish people and regular humans, and all of the trouble that comes with trying to hook up with someone of the other side. The star crossed lovers here are done really well because of how this episode explored all of the implications it had, and how it involved the perspectives of a lot of different people here: elder, teenagers, adults, students. They showed many sides of the same coin.

But dear god, this kid acts like this angry bear in the way he constantly lashes out at everyone. I mean on paper he’s not a bad character and the point of his character makes sense, but his aggression is just waay overdone. He constantly screams, he constantly acts like he owns everyone, he constantly thrusts his nose into other people’s business. This guy really tries his hardest to be unlikable.

Character-development. The creators are definitely going for that, and I know from experience that Mari Okada can turn annoying characters around. But even then this guy is currently just stomping all over a perfectly fine show and his flaws are just caricatures. On top of that they just hurt the show by turning everyone off of it.

So yeah, unfortunately the creators here have done better. Mari Okada’s script for Ano Hana was much better, because it actually balanced the characters together. The same goes for the first three episodes of Hana-Saku Iroha (despite its really weird third episode), True Tears, The director, Toshiya Shinohara, is a guy guy who seems to need plot twists: that’s where he really knows how to deliver, as shown with Bantorra and Kuroshitsuji II. Nagi no Asukara unfortunately is at the moment too much of a standard series, and while you can see that the creators really try to throw in some good plot twists, the way in which the kids stand in this spotlight only ends up hurting this series.
Rating: 4,5/8 (Good)

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