Posted on 12 September 2014 with categories: Anime Reviews

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 was like what we saw there. A year later, he completely rewrote the classic story of Hashire Melos to the point of brilliance, while he still kept incredibly faithful to the original work. This guy’s hands were pure genius. Afterwards, he left Madhouse, the company he was under contract of, and he started working freelance.

Now the problem with working freelance is that it’s a lot harder to land really good jobs. The best example of that is Dai Sato, a brilliant writer (think Erbo Proxy, Eureka Seven), who in the meantime of writing episodes here and there has resigned to writing kiddie shows in order to pay the bills. Ryousuke Nakamura thankfully fared better, but even then he has not gotten the golden opportunity that will give him complete freedom yet. The only television-series he did was Aiura, which was a 5-minute episode show about a bunch of girls that do nothing. It was incredibly well executed and all, but you can’t do anything with that kind of a setup. Beyond that he’s done all kinds of jobs here and there, from episode directing to storyboards, to production progress, to also just animating.

There is only one serious thing that he took the main seat as the director at… and its biggest focus is a romance between middle schoolers. That’s also its biggest problem right there: Monster! A tense thriller across Germany! Mouryou no Hako, a ground-breaking mystery chockful of Japanese folklore after World War II. Aoi Bungaku! A look into the mind of the writer of Hashire Melos! Nerawareta Gakuen! A teenaged romance with time travel!

So yeah, there are cliches. He doesn’t shy away from that. In some cases, he even takes cliches, gives the illusion of subverting them, only to subvert those subversions again and adhere to the cliches, repeats that several times after. And yeah, when you take into account that there will be lots of teenaged hormones… this pretty much is a beautifully executed movie. It takes care to make its four main characters well rounded, the side cast all are enjoyable and likable, the story brings in enough twists. With the cliches ingredients, it tries to make as much of it as it can and the themes that it uses, and the ideas that the whole story revolves around are actually pretty damn interesting. This also is not one of those romances in which nothing happens. Stuff does happen. It’s cliched obviously, but the most important part is this: both the characters and the relationships between these characters are constantly evolving.

Visually this show is perfect. You can see lots of the signature tricks that Ryousuke Nakamura loves to pull for his series. There obviously are the shots that are spammed with sakura leaves, but also the more subtle things. When characters move, they move full of energy and inspiration. Their facial expressions are full of emotions. All of this leads to a cast that feels very believable and relatable. This movie is already more than a year old and I didn’t notice any sort of buzz around it. It’s a pity, because it’s pretty damn charming for what it is. I’d say that the acting in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo was a bit better than this one, but it’s definitely not by much.

Then there is the ending. I want to talk about it, but I’ll be as vague as possible for the sake of spoilers. At first sight the ending seems to suggest that it was rushed. Things happen fast. However, I believe that it somehow worked out very well. It’s the kind of ending that doesn’t explicitly spell everything out for you. It allows you as a viewer to fill in the blanks, and it’s even a bit open to interpretation at some points. I would not call it rushed to the point where it becomes flawed. Instead it makes the ending work and gives you something to think about. Not bad for a movie targeted at kids.

Posted on 7 September 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Okay, let me first eplain a bit what happened: most people probably noticed that I’ve been posting less and less often. The reason for that is that my personal life has changed completely compared to how it was in the early years of this blog. I both have a job, and a lot of real life friends, so I can’t just dedicate all of my time to the site like I used to. I hit my limit when I returned back from my holiday to America: I sat down to watch the latest episodes of Ping Pong, and that’s when I realized that I had no energy to actually watch anything, let alone write about it. As soon as I realized that, I cut off everything with the site. I didn’t watch any anime, I didn’t post, I didn’t read any comments. I was completely burnt out and purposefully decided to step away and do nothing for a few months, in order to regain my mojo. I needed time away. It wasn’t that the anime had gone bad: with Mushishi we had the single best series in the past years, so this was no matter of quality. Just me, burning out.

Now over the past months, I realized that I still enjoy anime, but I’m not going to write episodic reviews anymore. These were really toxic for me. They ate up all my attention to the point that I couldn’t do anything else anymore. Instead though, I do still enjoy writing previews (hence this post) and full series reviews. As for the site, we’re planning to introduce some big changes, in order to keep the site sustained and alive.

Now as for this season: it’s awesome yo! There’s a lot of big names involved, some very good sequels, new stuff from people I thought were already long gone. And also surprisingly few series that are just utter crap or nothing but fanservice. It’s a big season for the fantasy crowd. Lots of shows about fantasy kingdoms and royalties, shows that created their own universes.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Ore, Twin Tail ni Narimasu

Why I don’t like it: I think that we’ve found another candidate for the most pathetic villain motivation ever. This series is solely meant for people with a fetish for people who dress their hair in twin tails. So yeah, this is basically porn.

Hi sCoool! SeHa Girl

Why I don’t like it: Only in Japan, can they get away with such a silly title. I mean, I know that most Japanese people aren’t very good at English and all, but at least they must realize that this looks stupid, right? But yeah, this is coming from the guy who gave us gdgd Fairies, a totally absurd and low-budget comedy series, so that could be the reason for it. Apart from that… what can I say about it? It looks terrible! Next!

Orenchi no Furo Jijou

Why I don’t like it: Dear god! That face is going to haunt me in my dreams! Did you have to draw him in that position, with that particular expression? I mean I am not of innuendo at all to even I am getting the creeps here. Also who the hell comes up with these ridiculous premises?

Le Fruit de la Grisaia

Why I don’t like it: Yup, this one’s bad. It’s got the warning-signs: a group of five overly cute girls, lack of male characters, a hentai game adaptation. Moving on!

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Why I don’t like it: Hoods (you know, the guys who gave us Seikon no Qwaser) bringing us a hentai game adaptation. Yeah, you can see where this is going. This one’s bad, nothing to see here. In the trailer, the creators just gave up and showed us shots of the game instead of the animation.

Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete

Why I don’t like it: Generic hentai game adaptation romance. Not offensively bad or anything, just incredibly boring.

Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie

Why I don’t like it: Generic reverse harem by Silver Link, moving on.

Girl Friend BETA

Why I don’t like it: This is another one of those terrible gimmicky series that they need to stop making: it’s based on a dating sim where the male lead can pick between more than one hundred girls. While I admire how there are more than the usual five this time, how on earth were you going to put all of them into one series without making them all cardboard boxes? This is for hardcore voice actor fans only, and even that’s stretching it.

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

Why I don’t like it: They’re apparently starting a new timeslot called “animeism”, but if the first show of that slot is a very generic school comedy with magic directed by Seiji Kishi, then yeah, you’re pretty much screwed right from the start.

Wolf Girl & Black Prince

Why I don’t like it: Another shoujo romance, though this one’s a bit creepy, about a girl who is forced to be treated like a dog or be exposed as a liar. Is this really what gets popular these days? Fantasies of being abused and treated like an animal?

Inou Battle Within Everyday Life

Why I don’t like it: Well, so much for Studio Trigger then. Their follow up of Kill La Kill, a school battle series, is another school battle series. Only this one looks ten times more generic. I mean, the premise is really just this: a bunch of high school kids awaken with super powers and nothing happens. Aside from a bit of romance. What can they really do with that. Any shred of potential left is dispelled with the trailer, which looks uber-generic.

Trinity 7

Why I don’t like it:This story advertises itself as a “romantic comedy but sometime serious magical school story”, so yeah, we basically know what time it is when the promo art only features ONE GUY. This one seems for the Index and Railgun crowd, but I’m not in the mood for any more magical school series, unless they promise to be really good or anything.

Terra Formars

Why I don’t like it: When I first saw this one, it made me mildly optimistic: it had science fiction, the director of Steins;Gate and Shigurui was on board, the premise suggested themes of intergalactic colonization, the cast didn’t consist out of teenagers. However, the more I looked into it, the worse it started to look. Apparently this show is about humanity that sends a bunch of cockroaches to Mars, only to find out that 500 years later they mutated into these weird human-like killing machines, and it’s up to the main characters to kill ’em all. Now not only is this ridiculous, it brings up many red flags: when you look at the trailer, all of these mutated cockroaches look more silly than threatening, and they all have the same designs. That’s really bad monster design and it takes away all tension: those copy-paste armies never have been good for that, not to mention that they’re not sentient. This is the anime equivalent of Bug Squasher or something.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Why I don’t like it: Tatsuo Sato is actually doing both the direction and series composition for this series, but alas it’s the premise that’s really not good here. The fact that this is a light novel adaptation should already say enough, but this show has the premise of a generic guy getting to be the slave of a magical girl in sexy outfit. You can see that Tatsuo Sato did his best to at least try and make something out of this (the art for example of the anime looks so much better than the light novel art), but what can you do with the plot here? I mean the magical girls will fight each other with over the top flashy powers and the main characters will kick ass and hint at a romance that will never be there. You can’t do anything with this.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Why I don’t like it: There are some big names behind this one: Kyoto Animation is returning with the team behind Full Metal Panic to adapt another one of the author’s stories. I’m suspecting that this will be the next Fumoffu. Only problem is that I didn’t really like Fumoffu: I gave it about one episode and it failed to make me laugh even once, and ultimately I preferred Gonzo’s version of Full Metal Panic over theirs, but in the end I never really was a big fan of FMP. It also doesn’t help that the premise for this one is riddled with silly teenaged romcom cliches, so I really doubt that this one will end up topping Full Metal Panic.

Denkigai no Honya-san

Why I don’t like it: This one’s weird. At first this seems like just another slice of life shows about nothing, but it’s being supervised by the team behind Milky Holmes (the good ones, at least), who are completely crazy, especially when together. The trailer was weird, had unnecessary fanservice, but in the end there was enough visual comedy for me to want to give it one episode. That’s the thing though: I see no reason whatsoever for why this show could even be remotely entertaining past episode one when they ran through their best jokes about working in a book store.

Donten ni Warau

Why I don’t like it: Well, so it took about a year before the Shingeki no Kyojin-wannabes start appearing (do not tell me that that promo art did not remind you of that). Besides that, this anime confuses me. The creators seem to try and do whatever they can to hide that this is a bishie-series, it seems. Nothing seems connected to each other: if you were to look at the character-designs, premise and promo art, you would not suspect that they were all about the same series. I mean, this is Dogakobo. Can they really pull off another Natsuyuki Rendezvous without a skilled director accompanying them?

Fate Stay Night

Why I don’t like it: Stop milking out the Fate franchise, for Christ’s sake. Ufotable, you’re better than this. You’ve amassed enough talent over the years, now do something original with it. This one is especially grating because Studio Deen already made a movie about this. I mean I’m all for remakes and all, but this is just getting too caught up in the past. Do you want to know when the last time was that Ufotable made a series that wasn’t of the Fate franchise? 2007, with Manabi Straight. And there seems to be even more Fate set for 2015.

World Trigger

Why I don’t like it: I must say, I really dig the promo art for this one. Plus, it’s got a soundtrack by Kenji Kawai. No doubt will this one be a feast for the senses! The story is the problem here: it’s a shounen jump adaptation of a battle manga: aliens invade, and a bunch of kids fight back with alien technology. Been there, done that! I get why this is made though. Naruto is about to end and this sounds like a good time for the companies to start to search for a replacement.

Nanatsu no Taizai

Why I don’t like it: A-1 coming with an adventure series, seems like it’s going to be classic fantasy. The “Seven deadly sins” part of the title is very misleading, because apparently they’re just the nicknames of a bunch of really strong warriors. There are a few problems here: the way in which the story is rather generic, and how it’s set up there is only one way for the story to end: with overthrowing that evil government. Problem is that we’re dealing with a manga adaptation that to my knowledge hasn’t finished yet. So yeah, good luck fitting in that story…

Shirobako

Why I don’t like it: Basically a circlejerk series: PA Works doing a show about making an anime, obviously featuring a bunch of cute girls. My guess is that this one will be on the opposite side of Bakuman: whereas Bakuman tried to add too much drama, this one will add too little. Why do I want to watch this? Perhaps it might be nice to watch how an anime gets made and all, but there are enough behind the scenes videos and these are a lot more authentic. The characters here look just boring.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Why I don’t like it: I’m spotting an annoying trend here. Ever since Ano Hana the Noitamina producers seem to think that we want teenaged dramas. No, I’m a fan of Ano Hana because it was such an emotionally heart-wrenching story, not because it was about teenagers. But here is the real thing with this series: yeah sure it’s very polished. A-1 Pictures has made sure to make everything look pretty, the acting is good and not stereotypical. And yet, I see no reason to watch this series. There’s nothing that stands out: it’s just a bunch of teenagers talking with a bit of standard romance. Why would I want to watch that?

Sora no Method

Why I don’t like it: The writer of Kanon and Sola is behind this one. You can see that this one is better than most visual novel adaptations, because there is AN ACTIAL MALE ON THE PROMO ART. He’s in the background, but at least it’s something. Here’s the thing: I liked Sola. It actually had a very nice plot there. I’m not feeling this yet though. The character-designs for example: while they look nice at first sight, the creators basically used the same faces, only to swap hair- and eye color (and in one case the facial expression to the typical deadpan). It all looks… a bit too manufactured. This one could get a benefit of the doubt though… it’s also gonna depend on how annoying the female characters are…

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Summary: “A little girl named Kohina ends up summoning by a Kokkuri-san, a lower-ranking ghost in Japanese folklore. The Kokkuri-san she calls ends up being a white-haired handsome, young man. Although he had intended to merely haunt her at first, he becomes worried about her terrible eating habit of cup ramen for every meal, so he decides to haunt her in order to protect her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike

Impressions: This one… it intrigues me somehow. It actually looks like a solid comedy that can keep fun for several episodes. It’s basically going to take jabs at the Japanese folklore, but I have to say that I like the idea of a spirit watching over a young girl because she only eats instant ramen. That’s a bit more than what you usually see with these premises. If there’s enough for an entire season though, that remains to be seen.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sanzoku Musume no Ronja

Summary: “Ronja is the only daughter of Mattis, a bandit leader who lives in a castle in the middle of a large forest. When Ronja grows old enough, she ventures into the forest to interact the strange and magical creatures that live there. She learns to live in the forest through her own strength, with the occasional rescue from her parents. Ronja’s life begins to change, however, when she happens upon a boy her own age named Birk.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Polygon Pictures (and Ghibli)
Director: Goro Miyazaki
Series composition: Hiroyuki Kawasaki

Impressions: Here’s a weird example of how history came full circle. Before founding Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata worked on a few of the World Masterpiece Theatre series from Nippon Animation. Now that Nippon Animation has buggered off creating new series after their long-time producer passed away, there was a long silence of nobody adapting classic children’s literature. The one to break that silence? Studio Ghibli, now in trouble themselves now that Miyazaki has retired. It’s a really weird construction because they work together with Polygon Pictures, who do everything in CG and it’s especially jarring when you compare it to Knights of Sidonia, which worked much better when fully CG’d. Hiroyuki Kawasaki is an excellent adapter though, and they can get some great stuff out of this story if they do it well.

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Gundam Reconguista in G

Summary: “Some time has passed since the end of the Universal Century, a history marked by space colonization and space warfare. Humanity’s prosperity, which ushered in a new era known as Regild Century (R.C.), was believed to endure alongside the global peace. It is the year R.C.1014. The Capital Tower is an orbital elevator that rose above the Earth’s surface and linked Earth and space. As the conduit of the Photon Battery energy source to the surface, it is regarded as sacred. Beruri Zenamu is in the middle of training for the Capital Guard (established to protect the Capital Tower), when the tower is attacked by G-Serufu — a highly maneuverable mobile suit with technology that is not from any known country.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Impressions: Wow. Here is something I totally did not expect: Tomino directing another television series. I mean, coming November he’ll turn 73. No matter how you look at it: this is going to be his final series. He could have been retired at this point, and he’s got nothing to lose for his final magnum opus in the Gundam Franchise. It of course depends on how much Sunrise is willing to let him get away with, but one theme of all of his post-depression works is that they’re all very colourful and creative. Even in Turn-A Gundam where Sunrise restricted this, you can see lots of subtle jabs against them in the storytelling. The whole premise embraces the campy nature of what Gundam has devolved into over the years. The trailer is very good: it shows his directional style very well, in which he just keeps throwing stuff at the viewer and keeps pushing the scenario forward, instead of dragging on and on.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo

Summary: “Due to humanity obtaining the data technology that has evolved to a great amount- called “Mana”- the human race is able to subjugate all wars, starvation, pollution, and other problems on Earth by using its power, which is similar to magic. Earth has obtained the utopia of complete peace and no wants. First princess of the Misurugi Empire, Angelize. As with everyone else, she also had no wants or worries. She was celebrated by the people of the empire, and was supposed to wear the crown. However, she realizes the shocking truth that she is a Norma. “Norma”: An irregular existence that cannot use Mana, and are treated as heretics and as “things” rather than people. Having everything stolen from her, she isolates herself on a remote island. What was waiting for her there was a fateful meeting with a group of Norma girls who know nothing but battle. The girls spend their days riding humanoid robot weapons called “Barameiru” hunting giant dragons that have come from another dimension to invade. Having her name taken from her, what will soldier Ange see at the end of the fight? What can she believe in? What will she obtain? The story of a single girl’s fortitude starts now.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Series composition: Tatsuto Higuchi

Impressions: Not only does this actually sound really interesting, it’s being directed by the guy who directed Mahou Shoujotai. My favourite anime ever and the single series that got me into blogging in the first place. The trailer was great to watch, and the music was fantastic! I like how they take the usual story of a princess, that anime is obsessed with, and basically take all that away. The only problem here is the character-designs: they suck and are pretty generic.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Akatsuki no Yona

Summary: ” King Il of Kouka, a land said in legends to have been founded by four dragons, has only one remaining heir, a daughter named Yona. She lives a happy life in the palace with her cousin Soo-won, who she loves in spite of her father’s opposition to them marrying. Her life is turned upside down when Soo-won murders her father and steals the throne. Yona, with her childhood friend and bodyguard Hak, must retreat to gather allies and reclaim her place as ruler of the kingdom.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Kazuhiro Yoneda
Music: Kunihiko Ryo

Impressions: Finally a show about a strong female character who isn’t trying to shove her boobs into your face. Like, the way it’s supposed to be. Kunihiko Ryo as a composer makes sober, but very authentic music so that also fits really well. The director of this one is a new guy so I can’t say much, but I think that he can do a very fine job. The trailer for this one is awesome by the way. It foregoes the flashy graphics and instead shows the things I’m actually looking for. There is change: the lead characters changes multiple times through the trailer ALONE. Plus, I love how it used facial expressions. That really hit me. Here’s the potential sleeper hit of the season.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Summary: “Shinichi Izumi is a normal high school boy whose right hand has become infected with an alien parasite that names itself “Migi” (“right”). Migi is the first parasite to develop a symbiotic relationship with its host, as he and Shinichi slowly develop a grudging friendship. Migi isn’t the only Parasite on earth, however, and as cases of Parasites killing humans begin to emerge, humans seek to kill off Parasites. Shinichi and Migi find themselves caught in between these two sides of the struggle over planet earth.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Kenichi Shimizu
Series composition: Shoji Yonemura

Impressions: Based on the manga Parasite, which is supposed to be an awesome manga, so I’m very curious what this one’s gonna turn into. Madhouse is a very solid choice for adapting it. It’s got a newbie director with lots of experience, and Shoji Yonemura adapted Guin Saga, co-wrote Fantastic Children, wrote Figure 17 and is overall a very solid writer. The premise looks solid, the promo art looks very intriguing and immediately caught my eye. Bring it on!

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Summary: ” Mistarcia is a magical world where humans, gods, and demons mingle together. In the past, the black-and-silver winged Bahamut has threatened to destroy the land, but humans, gods, and demons overcame their differences to fight together and seal its power. The key to that seal was split in two, one half given to the gods and the other to demons, so that they would never be united and Bahamut never released. Now, two thousand years later, the world is in an era of peace – until the day a human woman steals the gods’ half of the key.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Keiichi Satou
Series composition: Keiichi Hasegawa
Series composition: Yoshihiro Ike

Impressions: This one immediately looks awesome to watch. It created its own universe and lore, it looks utterly gorgeous so far, it has the director of Karas, Asura and Tiger & Bunny, Yoshihiro Ike for the soundtrack and Mappa behind the animation completing this dream team. These guys can make something very enjoyable together.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

Summary: “Mendosa, the chief adviser of the king of Valiante, begins a campaign to hunt down “witches,” resulting in the deaths of many magical knights and their sorcerer assistants. Anna, a sorceress married to the knight Herman Lewis, gives birth to a son before her execution. Herman takes their child, Leon, and flees, raising him to be the heir of the legendary Golden Armor. By the time Leon grows up, Valiante is completely in the control of Mendosa, who drives out Prince Alfonso and his mother. Alphonso decides to seek out the man who inherited the Golden Armor to reclaim the throne and save his people.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Yuuichiro Hayashi
Series composition: Yasuko Kobayashi
Original creator: Keita Amemiya

Impressions: Yeah, I pretty much fangasmd when I saw who the original creator behind this series is: the guy who created Mahou Shoujotai, my favourite anime ever. I mean, I can’t believe this: one season with a series from the director AND the original creator from my single favourite series. what the hell?! This one has lots of nostalgia value for me, but even then the setting is creative, the visuals look gorgeous, courtesy of Mappa and with a writer like Yasuko Kobayashi (she also wrote Casshern Sins, adapted Shingeki no Kyojin and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) we really are good. The director is someone completely new, so I really wonder what he can do with this gem.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Psycho Pass 2

Summary: ” The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” in the anime’s title refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kogami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani
Series composition: Tow Ubukata
Story concept: Gen Urobuchi

Impressions: A big change between the first and second season of Psycho Pass is that Gen Urobuchi is taking a step back. He’s now just there for the “Story concept”, which probably just means that he came up with the whole concept. Thankfully the guy taking over is also a very good and creative writer: Tow Ubukata came up with Le Chevalier d’Eon, he wrote Fafner, he wrote Heroic Age. This guy really is a science fiction writer through and through. His only issue seems to be pacing, but that doesn’t really seem to be much of a problem here with Psycho Pass and what they already built up.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Mushishi Zoku-chou Season 2

Summary: “Mushi; the life-blood of nature. They exist everywhere in various forms: micro-organisms, fungi, bodies of water. Sometimes, they’re even mistaken to be plants, animals, or spirits. But regardless of their appearance, they exist, nonetheless, living the only way they know how. At times, their actions can cause strange or unexplainable phenomena. Enter Ginko, the Mushishi (mushi master), as he continues encountering, studying, and dealing with the mysterious mushi along his journey into the unknown.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Artland
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama

Impressions: Well, what’s there left to say? The single best anime of the past number of years continuing on to its second season. I haven’t finished the first season yet, but I sure as hell am planning to do that, because this series is better than any other series of its kind. It was a long wait, but the perfect way of storytelling carried through into the second season and there is no sign whatsoever of it stopping. All stories so far are beautifully told and with this we get 12 or 13 more stories to finish things off, based on the manga. You really cannot expect better than this.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*poorly forcing
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that is one of the biggest advantages the show has for me, after being annoyed by so many shows ending up with tonal shifts and forcing cute designs into something more serious it is nice to see that girls last tour avoids that problem.
Amagi
My texts are always too long..
Amagi
It isn't enough to just say "look there is a dark subplot somewhere or a backdrop dystopia and we will get to it whenever it seems convenient". Last Tour is the opposite, it is moe, but the girls are part and product of the world they live in, + the cute and serious parts don't feel like two different series being glued together.
Amagi
Girl's Last Tour is the good type of moe show for me. There are many that have or pretend to have some serious undertone, be it some dystopian setting or politics or whatever. But the difference between the good and the bad shows is that the former are actually connected with their serious part in everything they think or do while the bad shows only use the other topic as cheap way to alure fans.
SuperMario
@Bokusen: I'm not sugarcoating it, but Houseki tends to be the title that split the audience. Give it a try at least. If you can tolerant the first three episodes, chances that you will enjoy the rest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Now if only someone will translate the side story manga aswell.
KTravlos
Happiness! New chapters of Gunka no Baltazar!
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
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