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
Vonter
Or are the 50s the new late 30s or early 40s?
Vonter
Are japanese people vampires? https://ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Toru_Furuya
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: If you look at the voice list, that Japanese voice actor for Mario in that anime movie is the same voice actor for Amuro Ray from the original Gundam.
Vonter
Also considering Baby Bowser was raised by Kamek. I suppose those beings could be made by magic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - My head canon is that Bowser made them himself. Kinda Lord Zedd or Rita from Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still subscribe to the headcanon that Peach is the mother of Bowsers children.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember growing up with the relatively poor American cartoons, none of them featured Wario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have committed videogame genocide apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everytime I broke or hit a brick in the Mario games I was probably murdering a toad.
Vonter
The ending it's "interesting" considering the relationship Mario and Peach have isn't something as close, as Link and Zelda.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's weird but at the same time it does use elements from the game. Like the music, and story bits from the manual from the original Super Mario Bros. (Where it mentioned Bowser uses magic to turn Toads into the bricks, clouds and other objects of the game).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never did end up watching the Mario anime movie that came out in the 80s.
Vonter
Also someone is putting the effort of making a Bowsette adventure doujin. This is the type of stuff that could be it's own original thing since it strays far from what's Mario. Despite the occasional mild nudity it's quite fun so far, despite also how weird it is.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - At the very least it'll be interesting to see where it goes. It happens also every time something comes back. Times change and so the way we make stories. Also the original run had a curtain call chapter, so this is more a new story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is often what happens with episodic stuff for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I essentially read Fraken Fran until I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, I feel that Franken Fran pretty much ran it's course though. Not sure what a new series could bring.
Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

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Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

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Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 13 [And Then Start Running]

Kaze Fui returns, contending with and maybe even beating Mob Psycho for best episode of the week! We have introspection, backstory, and the team coming together to protect their emotionally stunted friend! Lets charge in! Everything about Kaze Fui this week was fantastic. From the narrative to the VA’s. But one I want to hit […]

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

Hello and welcome to show number two for me of the new season! Dororo is an interesting one, based on a 1960’s manga, with this being its second adaptation. This week we meet another demon, learn our leads name and that not all spirits are bad. Let’s dive in! Visually, Dororo is sort of a […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

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