Posted on 28 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The last episode of this half of the series. I better make things clear, I do not intend to write a review of this half. The full review will be of the entire series as judging it based on only half the story would be a disservice. But ladies and gentlemen today is a momentous occasion. Not because it is the conclusion of the first half of Unlimited blade works. No, today marks the day that a girl in anime asked out the boy she likes. Hallelujah! Praise the sun! Forgive me if I am blowing this out of proportion. But I have seen dozens of episodes dedicated to a girl trying to tell a guy she likes him, have hijinks ensue at every turn and at the perfect moment where she finally says it and is drowned out by fireworks or something. Followed by a “Oh well, I tried.” Yet here we have a Rin sit down and just says “Hey, we are going out on a date” No messing around, just gets straight to the point. Just, finally. Rin knows full well that Shirou likes her and she’s playing him like a fiddle. It’s refreshing to see and unlike many harem girls, Rin genuinely seems like a person who would be fun to hang out with. The date was essentially fanservice for long time fans with plenty of Saber and Rin faces. And this may be wishful thinking but was that moment where they put glasses on Shirou a Tsukihime reference?

There were changes to the source material in this episode. The best change was the extra scene of Taiga visiting Kiritsugu’s grave. A loving nod to the prequel. However they greatly changed the scene with castor taking Taiga hostage. In the original she did this at Shirous house. I am not very happy with this change. It does not sit well for me and I see the change of scenery for this part was mainly to make it more dramatic. Out of the changes Ufotable has made this is by far the biggest and is the one that I most disapprove of. Other than that it was a very good episode and ended on a cliffhanger that will make the wait unbearable with Saber now under Castors control and Shirou helpless. Though speaking of which here’s a fun fact. There is a version of Saber called Saber Lily. This version has no real backstory and is mainly just a alternative costume for a fighting game. However in an interview with Nasu and Urobuchi Gen when asked about her, Gen proceeded to speak about a backstory he thought up about Saber lily being a Saber who was seduced over to Castors side. Even Nasu noted the genius as in japanese culture Lilies are often being associated with….well a google search will finish the rest. The extra scenes with Kirei were very welcome however brief. Even ten years later the man has still got the moves. But the greatest fanservice was the ending song. A remix of Disillusion(Or This illusion if you prefer), the very first Opening theme of the Fate/Stay Night visual novel. Some may dislike it as it is LiSa performing it but for me the nostalgia factor just makes it beauty to the ears.

While a season review is off the table I don’t think it would be out of line to give my impressions of this half. In terms of adaptation, Ufotable could not have done better. Excellent work all around. That said while I as a Type Moon fan is satisfied with this, I can understand how some could be disappointed in this. Part of the blame would be on the Type Moons fans hyping the series to kingdom come, I myself am guilty on that front. I admit the hot cold pacing of episodes even was getting to me and I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got more action. I have heard that the Blu-ray dvds will have over 90 minutes of new material. That’s about three episodes worth to add. I am hoping for them to expand on some scenes such as Shirou’s battle with Lancer and possible even show Riders fight to the death. But I would like for them to show what the other masters are doing. The biggest question in this was what was Illya doing the whole time. I have heard that she often attacked the temple and was driven back offscreen but it would be nice to see one of her attempts. The second half should have plenty of action and climaxes but I am concerned as with where the anime left off I am not certain there is enough material for another 12 to 13 episodes. The wait till april will be long and hard. May the second half of UBW be as glorious as it has been in my dreams.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:

Sorry for the missing episode review for last episode but when writing the review I looked over it and found that I was mostly recapping the episode rather than reviewing it. There was also the fact that I had a cold and was not in the best mood for it. Still while I didn’t have a lot to talk about last episode I at least have a good bit to comment on with this one. I am disappointed that the match between Meliodas and Daine couldn’t have been longer after Ban went to all the trouble of framing Meliodas to anger Daine. But then when Meliodas takes on the role of a villain and attempts to get everyone to flee to avoid the incoming holy knight attack it brought up something that rather bugs me. In many animes when a character has committed so terrible crime or unforgivable act there was always some reason to absolve them from guilt. Usually some other entity is responsible and the main character only has guilt over not being able to stop it. Personally I would like to see a character who actually did the deed. Someone who truly did wipe out a town or murder someones relative for the reasons believed. I understand that your main characters need to be likable and having them be morally flawed hinders that a bit. But it is rather aggravating to have these scenes of them being accused only to have their so called sin be a misunderstanding.

Though speaking of morality at least they are making it clear that not all holy knights are evil. There are the very stereotypical evil knights that make you wonder how they got the job in the first place but a few show themselves to be better people. Though personally it seems to be a case of good people being on the wrong side. Another problem is that there was a character death. A genuine character death. I spoke previously about how when a show uses fake deaths it would take the impact away from a real one. Well from my knowledge of the manga this is a real death. This girl is gone, finished, dead for good. Yet in the death scene I found it hard to get invested because even I don’t believe that fully. It would be very easy for her to come back into the manga some way or another. But truth be told this could be blamed on the fact that the character had very little screen time. Her significance as a character was given right before she was killed off. To make a death have impact you not only shouldn’t fake out the audience with false deaths but make the character significant enough to affect the viewer. Even the Urobutcher knows to establish in a character to the story first before bringing out the scythe.

Then theres Jericho. She was the holy knight Ban previously stripped and well was apparently hiding her gender. Poorly at that. Her crush on Ban has gotten overboard and now with her powered up with demon blood she presents a threat. But I really don’t feel comfortable with this. What with her claiming that Ban made her a woman and going as far as using his blood as makeshift lipstick. I just don’t like the way her character is going. It’s a bit too…sexist. But on things I liked, the surprise reveal of the announcer being a holy knight was very good. King also is proving himself to be one of the strongest sins with him taking down two knights that previously defeated Ban and Meliodas. He may not be much of a fighter without a weapon but he’s a powerhouse with one. Sooner than expected we have berserker mode Meliodas coming out to cap the episode off. Expecting many cries of “Impossible” and “That can’t be!” in our next episode.

Posted on 21 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Well here’s something you don’t see often in shounen series. Consequences. It’s another quiet episode and due to Shirou pulling that magic trick last episode he is now suffering from after effects. Having what looks to be a painful night and going through the day with the left side of his body numb. Though it is fixed by the episodes end, it was nice to see a character having repercussions for a risky move. I can certainly make a list of times I seen a character go through some new risky power up training with threats that it could kill him or have serious consequences. But it never does. It usually turns out fine and the rookie grows ten times more powerful than the people who actually worked hard for that level of power for years. Though after Archer fixes Shirou up we have another debate on the nature of heroics. Presentation really sold this scene as while it did look good we are just treading on old territory. This really has all be said before and it just getting repeated in a different way. Repeated well mind you, be we are not learning anything new. Other than that we had some good comedy and interesting talks between characters.

I will take a moment to talk about the music of this series. I am sure there are many who lament that Yuki Kajura did not return to do the OST of this series as she had done for Fate/zero. I however was not one of them. She was never a fit for the fate series truth be told and her OST for Zero and Kara no Kyoukai only really worked because of it’s bleak tone. Kajura has talent but a limited range. If you want something with lots of string instruments, tons of choirs and bleak atmospheric sounds then she’s got you covered. If you want something different…well tough. But I think the main issue is that, strange as it sounds, Kajura does not seem to understand that BGM stands for background music. I am sure anyone who has watched one of the series she did the music for can remember a time when the music just jumped to the front and it was by far the most noticeable thing on the scene. This can be effective for some scenes but it also draws attention to the song and it can be distracting. Especially when she has used one song for the umpteen time. Hideyuki Fukasawa on the other hand does not have this problem. He seems to know that the music is not the star of the show. There are some who may claim that he is weaker as his music is less noticeable but I honestly believe he is stronger. His music doesn’t steal the stage, it accentuates it. The music, visuals and sound join into a harmony that I thought was only possible for the visual novel medium. True it never jumps out and catches you. But like a bass player in a rock band, it’s there helping the melody work in harmony. The mark of a truly great soundtrack is to sound just good on it’s own, but when combined with visuals and story become something great.

I would also like to bring up the tsundere archetype. I often felt that Rin was the tsundere which should have been popularised. However the archetype went a different way, going for girls who tend to use physical violence to cover up their embarrassment. The funny thing is that I once saw a manga which took this archetype and put it in a realistic setting. The manga wasn’t really all that good but one moment really stood out. At one point the girl was approached by a boy and he held her hand to take her back to the classroom. To cover up her embarrassment the girl quite literally beat him half to death. The boy was hospitalised for a couple of weeks. But it brought home the fact that in a world where wounds don’t automatically heal, a tsundere of that type is less endearing and more genuinely dangerous. But take note of Rin here. How many times has she beaten up Shirou to cover for her own embarrassment? How many times has she been completely unreasonable with him? Because I can’t think of any occasion. Rin has gotten angry at Shirou but she’s never quite resorted to violence when dealing with her emotions. In this episode she got angry with him because he mentioned that he does not really find magic fun despite putting so much effort towards it. She’s a lot more logical in that regard. Rin as a character likes to be in control and has at times acted flirtatious with Shirou. So it’s only when something unexpected puts her off guard that brings in her tsundere side. In that way, she’s far more charming than that of your standard tsundere as when her emotions get the better of her at least she won’t potentially murder you. If my information is correct, next week is an hour long episode and then we have a break. So it looks like we will be getting a nice helping before the long wait for the second half. Sigh, this is almost sadistic.

Posted on 16 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

Its very easy to disregard the light novel genre completely as it is responsible for the creation of quite a number of unoriginal, bad and shameless pandering anime in recent years. However there still are worthwhile stories within the genre. They are just a little less known.

 

Mushoku Tensei

Description: A 34-year-old NEET otaku was chased out from his house by his family. This virgin, plump, unattractive, and penniless nice guy found that his life was heading towards a dead end. He recalled that his life could actually become much better if he can get over the dark history of his life. Just when he was at the point of regret, he saw a truck moving at a high speed with 3 high school students in its path. Mustering all his strength, he saves them but ended up getting run over by the truck, which kills him. The next time he opens his eyes, he had reincarnated to a world of swords and magic, as Rudeus Greyrat. Born to a new world and a new life, Rudeus declared, “This time, I’ll really live my life to the fullest with no regrets!” Thus begins the journey of a newly made man.

The good: This is pretty perfect wish fulfillment. This book is of a genre that has recently popped up and for now I just refer to it as the reincarnation gerne. It normally details a character getting reincarnated/thrown into a new world and focuses on him grow steadily stronger. This starts the main as a child and the writer has the patience to let him grow slowly and not overpower him from the get go. Unlike many of this genre which the mains undergo what I would like to refer to as “kiritoization” where they become overpowered behemoths whom every girl wants. Take note that this story really does follow his life. Going from boyhood to teenager and adult. Even as far as marriage and parenting. It has a large cast of dynamic characters who while are not particularly deep are still fairly likeable. Honestly there are few stories like this and in my opinion this is so far the best written of its kind. It also follows very little of the traditional light novel formula.

The bad: The protagonist truly starts as the scum of the earth. In the beginning he is highly unlikeable with some of this thoughts raising an eyebrow or two. If you are easily offended then this is not the novel for you. There are a few insulted individuals who mislabel this a “lolicons dream fantasy” even though the content wouldn’t be very titillating for that questionable fanbase. He does grow into a much more respectable character and it is the development that is the main driving force behind the plot. But still those beginning volumes might turn people away. It is also very long at currently 21 volumes and the story is the very definition of a slow burn.

Recommendation level: 75%

Current number of translated volumes: 21, It also has a manga but due to how much story is cut out its not recommended.

 

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

Description: Iwatani Naofumi was summoned into a parallel world along with 3 other people to become the world’s Heroes. Each of the heroes were respectively equipped with their own legendary equipment when summoned. Naofumi coincidentally received the Legendary Shield as his weapon. Due to Naofumi’s lack of charisma and experience, he ended up with only a single teammate while others have several. Unfortunately, on his third day Naofumi was betrayed, falsely accused, and robbed by the said teammate. Shunned by everyone from king to peasants, Naofumi’s thoughts were filled with nothing but vengeance and hatred. Thus, his destiny in a parallel World begins…

The good: The rising of the shield hero is a bit of an odd duck. Reading it is somewhat a masochistic experience. This is a story that will make you filled to the brim with righteous indignation. I make no joke when I say one chapter managed to make me literally red with anger. But because of this the moments where the villains get well deserved comeuppance is incredibly sweet and satisfying.  Its human nature to root for the underdog. So to see the shield hero get stronger and put others in their place is a fun read

The bad: Despite saying how these villains rile you up I will say they are very one dimensional. They are designed with the intent to anger the reader but because of this they have to be made very stupid and ignorant to make it work. They are not well written characters, no matter how much they make you wish for their suffering. The other characters are passable but not standout. But the big strike against it is that at the end of the fourth volume it has what I can only see as an endgame climax. All issues are more or less resolved and the only thing left is the battle against some faceless rpg endboss. It was also disappointing to see harem elements become more apparent. The first four novel had foreboding signs but it at least managed to avoid them becoming too featured in the story. I found my motivation for continuing to be lacking. While not bad per say the content after volume four just felt like an extended epilogue.

Recommendation level: 60%

Current number of translated volumes: 4, through the translations continue to cover the ongoing light novel and are at chapter 197 currently. The translation speed is also lightning fast. There is also a manga and it is adapted faithfully so far. Though the novel is much further along if you are willing to accept some dodgy translation.

 

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria

Description: Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria, or The Empty Box and The Zeroth Maria, tells the story of Kazuki Hoshino, who is almost madly attached to his everyday life, and his antagonist Aya Otonashi, who suddenly transfers into his class at the end of the school year—for no less than the 13,118th time. Without hesitation, she announces her intent to “break” him. Kazuki’s struggle to defend his everyday life begins, and the many secrets it is built on start to come to light.

The good: Highly original concept with good execution.  Characters have interesting dark sides and the “box”s monkeys paw nature is belovedly twisted. To those who saw Kokoro Connect and thought heartseed was a villain too good for the show, “0” is that style of character given justice. There are no magic superpowers to speak of. The only weapon these characters have is their mind.

The bad: The first novel is confusing with an endless eight/groundhog day scenario. It also doesn’t help that some characters have similar names, making it hard to understand whos who. Characters tend to talk in a manner that is heavily logical. Think bakemonogatari, but the long winded ramblings actually being connected to the plot.

Recommendation level: 90%

Current number of translated volumes: 6, with the next being confirmed as the last.

 

Rakuin no Monshou

Description: The countries of Mephius and Garbera have been waging a war for ten years and are trying to put an end to this long fight through a political marriage between the two royal families. Orba, who was driven from his home because of the war and was forced to become a gladiator, looks exactly like the crown prince of Mephius, and it has been decided he will be substituting him during the wedding ceremony. On the other hand, Vileena, the princess of Garbera, has secretly decided to ensnare the crown prince for her own country’s interests.

The good: The main character is Batman-esque with his handling of his alter egos.  Its fantastic seeing maintain the facade of an incompetent prince while secretly planning for victory. I am reminded of code geass though with much better writing and a more high fantasy setting. The first two volumes are excellent and from what I hear the story has an ending at 7 volumes.

The bad: Very slow translation. If theres anyone with more time and can translate Japanese then implore you to work on this. Or better yet get an anime studio working on it. The story is hard to get into at first as it takes a while to grasp the setting.

Recommendation level: 95%

Current number of translated volumes: 2

Posted on 13 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Very nice start to the beginning of the episode with the Unlimited Bladeworks chant. Sure, it has been parodied to kingdom come but I still love it and all it’s broken engrish glory. But now I can say it with certainty. This series is not suitable for being watched weekly. In watching this episode I felt like I was being treated to a spoonful of delicious cake and told to wait a day to get another. Leaving me with not enough to truly savor and fairly unsatisfied. This problem would be rectified once the full series has aired and people can go through it as they wish. But this does bring up the point that a visual novel story is not meant to be cut up into bite sized chunks but instead taken in huge helpings at a time. It’s rather aggravating to be fully immersed by episodes end only to see the ending song come up and let me know that I will have to wait yet another week. To those who have yet to watch this, it may be better to wait till it has finished airing and then marathon it. It is the method which it is closest to it’s original source after all and tailored for maximum enjoyment.

One thing I feared last week has come to pass. Shirou displayed his talent for projection with little foreshadowing to show he was capable of it. To anime only viewers this is a cheap development as it looks that Shirou just pulled the exact ability he needed straight out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started making Kirito comparisons but I hope that are not as cruel to do so. Because compared to Shirou, Kitrito pales in comparison in every area. So to most likely no ones surprise, the master of Castor turns out to be the teacher with the dead fish eyes and whom foreboding music plays every time he’s on screen. But I rather like the cut of his gib as his line of thinking mirrors my own. We didn’t get to see how he and Castor’s relationship goes as here they played the roles of antagonists. Though we know that Castor has been playing the role of his wife and kept Souichirou mainly in the dark. Souichirou on the other hand holds no interest in the war and lets Castor do as she pleases. Even if that means she is killing innocent people. Apathy looks to be the core of Souichirou’s persona.There was also the issue of neglecting to mention why Souichirou withdrew from the fight. In the original source Souichirou ordered caster to leave because Caster is no match for Saber and now that Saber had seen his fighting style she would be able to combat it instead of getting caught off guard. Bring in Shirou’s newfound ability and they were clearly at a disadvantage. But in the anime this was not made apparent. Here it looks like Souichirou retreated for no real good reason when he took out Saber so easily and had the two masters on the ropes. Honestly a minute or two of dialogue could have fixed this with ease but now to an anime only viewer it seems this happened because the plot needed it to.

This episode also brings up one of the reasons I roll my eyes when a character mentions Saber being the strongest servant. True, the human was magically enhanced by castor(Another detail that was left out here) but the fact of the matter is that Saber was very nearly defeated by a human fighter. My opinion of her skills has dropped quite drastically. We also have the appearance of the long awaited eighth servant. Shinji is delighted with him though it seems clear who holds the power in this relationship. His wish seems to have changed though as previously it was to prevent others from collecting the things he believes to be his but now seems focused on removing an excess of worthless humans from the world. I find it amusing that Shinji has no idea that he’s likely part of that category. One last thing, the snow in this episode was spellbinding. Glad to see UFOtable make use of the skills used for the Kara no Kyoukai epilogue. We are approaching the halfway point and if this is the same as Fate/zero then it seems likely that for budget reasons the second cour will air after a break. I at least hope the remaining episodes provide enough to sate our appetite till then.

Posted on 10 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

Fights blew past fast this episode. We had four fights in one episode so my previous fears of this getting dragged look to be untrue.  Notables being the fight between a mystery girl and a holy knight whose head is so disproportionate from his body that you could swear someone took the head of a thin guitarist and stuck it on to a heavy bodybuilder. I found it rather off putting when I noticed that his shoulder is three times the size of his head. At one point in the episode it was even four times the size of his head. I understand that these characters are not supposed to be anatomically correct but I would appreciate it if they looks human at least when they are supposed to be. The animation looks good with a fair amount of movement. Admittedly with fate’s high quality airing at the same time my standards for animation have been set at an unreasonable height. So when gauging Seven Deadly Sins I can at least say exceeds the standard for these kinds of shows. It far overshadows the shounen of old but seeing as I have long given up on many of the main shounen of today I cannot say how it fairs against them. Kings fight turned out to be interesting too though in a way different from the others. Because this is the first time we see king fight without a weapon and learn that king without a weapon is about as dangerous as a defanged kitten. He lost fairly pitifully to an old man.

The mystery girl turned out the Diane,  who was earlier shrunk down to human size by a monster mushroom. Now she is human sized with a mini nude Elizabeth in her cleavage. You stay classy, fanservice. King was sure overjoyed,  now that his love interest can be loved without it being potentially lethal or outright impossible. Though oddly Meliodas wasn’t very impressed. At first not even recognising her but much more shocking is that even with Daine asking him to, he didn’t sexually harass her once. I guess he’s faithful to the girl he constantly molests. Whatever that might count for. The first ten minutes were humourous with antics and all the sins taking it easy through the elimination round. I am saddened to see Ban ditch the kitchen apron once he saw a fighter with the exact same top he used to wear.Convenient, but most shounens don’t give that much with their magical regenerating clothes and explosion proof pants. But I think seeing Ban fighting in a apron would be much more amusing. Next fight is Meliodas vs Ban, so I wonder if there will be a ring left to fight in afterwards.

 

Posted on 8 December 2014 with categories: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The pattern continues with another building up episode. Admittedly I find this somewhat disappointing. I feel that this show would be better marathoned than watched weekly as the wait for what is a essentially a build up to the next episode can hamper the experience a bit. As I said before, this show would work better with forty minute episode runtimes. Kirei had a smaller spot than I had hoped but the man must be commended for keeping his temper in check with Shinji being well…Shinji. Not only that, he managed to manipulate Shinji masterfully. Still it was bothersome to see Shinji somehow form twisted logic as to how none of what happened was his fault. But unlike Mika from Psycho Pass’s second season, at least his thoughts make logical sense and are not him just being twisted to make the choice that is designed to make the viewer hate him more. From the looks of things it’s seems we are drawing closer to the appearance of the fabled golden Pikachu we all know and love.

Taiga also had a small moment at the end with explaining Shirou’s childhood. But Taiga is a character I find is remarkably out of place in the fate series. She’s a comic relief character but she often felt highly cartoonish with her exaggerated motions. Apparently she’s a fan favorite among the type moon staff however whenever I see her on screen she often comes across as a foreign element. Fate/stay night does have it’s comedy moments but she is a heavy slapstick character in what is by all means, a fairly serious story. Speaking of comedy, there was an odd choice to adapted one of the more ridiculous choices of the visual novel. Where in an effort to find out if Issei is a master, Shirou strips him. Literally. It may just be my hearing but I could swear I heard the squeals of a thousand fujoshis. Surely there will be a number of doujin works “inspired” by this scene. It is rather uncharacteristic of Shirou to make this choice, with even Rin giving him an weirded out look upon meaning it. But complaints aside, it was absolutely hilarious. I genuinely laughed my heart out at the scene.

Rin being concerned about Sakura was also a nice touch with hints to the events of the past as well as foreshadowing things to come. I do have to say that so far UFOtable has done a great job of presenting Shirou. He is a much more lovable character and his mentality is more on display. Seeing what makes him tick helps to overlook his shortcomings and admire his tenacity. I do have one problem with this episode as it didn’t show a prototype or mention of Shirou’s “useless” magic. The events of the next episode look to be bringing another of his abilities to the forefront but without sufficient hints it can be very easily labeled a convenient out of nowhere plot development. Remember that the fate route was required to view the UBW route in the visual novel so this would have been mentioned and shown. But to anime only viewers it could be a very cheap development. But then again this is a series where characters gaining convenient powers is a given. Still it could be rectified in the beginnings of the next episode.

Posted on 3 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

The fight between explosives girl and the sins was ended quicker than I thought. When King entered the fight it was settled almost immediately.  King made short work of her as Elaine provided some supposedly badass exposition saying how King is originally known as the king of the fairies, harlequin. I say supposedly because it is hard to consider someone badass when they have a title as flowery as king of the fairies. Still King adds a new dynamic to the group as he’s the most level headed. From his observation the Sins have been significantly depowered as each of them has lost their legendary weapons in various ways. Its amusing to see King be so hard on Ban and Melodas about losing them yet get flustered when faced with Dianes reaction. This show really does get more fun as the team grows. On the villains side, we see some previously defeated villains get a risky chance to drink demon blood and become grey wardens…err..holy knights I mean. With the female knight Ban stripped gaining new power and out for revenge. Or possibly something else. I can’t help but get the feeling this girl may have gained a thing for Ban after his stripping session. A bit confused as to why, as molesting women tends to normally not lead to love.

When Dianes hammer Gideon is found in a village, we get the most obligatory shounen trope around. The fighting tournament. It looks to take over the next few episodes and looks to have the sins (minus Diane, as the village does not allow giants. ) duking it out against each other. It should be fun as long as things don’t get too dragged out. A fighting tournament can go as long as a few episodes to an entire arc. Yu yu hakusho for Instance had a total of 40 episodes dedicated to a fighting tournament. These in general are not really a bad thing though it is a way of letting the author put in a lot of action without having to set up villain motivation and situations. And have the heroes fight tricky one note opponents. Though these arcs tend to have not much plot besides training to fight some endboss character. So far seven deadly sins has brought back the nostalgic value of traditional shounen. But now its going to have to avoid the flaws of traditional shounen.

 

CHANGE USERNAME
silver
Mario, are you blogging 3-gatsu this season?
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.
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