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
SuperMario
@Animosh: don't mention it. I'm glad you enjoy it. I don't take credits in this case since I myself haven't watched it yet. I love it how this community is willing to try other medium and not exclusively anime
Animosh
Really surprised this isn't more well known. Not that there's been much competition, but it's easily the best (western) cartoon I've seen this year.
Animosh
@SuperMario: thanks again for recommending Lastman! I just finished it, and it was a lot of fun. It doesn't have much depth, but it was incredibly entertaining: it just keeps throwing these bizarrely over the top action set-pieces at you without pausing, it oozes style, and its soundtrack is killer (it reminded me a bit of Hotline Miami). And it can be pretty damn funny too. It even ends strongly.
SuperMario
"I swear if I see some nonsense like her not being able to stay “Professional” due to having a boyfriend then I will have to strangle something" --> is that why you had screenshot of kitties up there?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: little sister has a strong chance to be a protag in the last arc. I'm genuinely surprised that Futaba is the main girl in this arc thou
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see the little sister looking scared in bunnygirl agrain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yay! Sing and eiji are doing something and Ash's freakout while melodramtic and ridiculous was still bleak, learn a bit more about Blanca which is good. Didn't like the goofy bit with yut-lung.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Not intellectually non-intellectual enough for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bunny-girl has redeemed itself. Also my favourite part of this weeks episode was 7 or 8 minutes before the end .
SuperMario
I mean, just reading that title alone I might check out what this movie is about. lol
SuperMario
Well, I come across an unusual film title today. A Japanese film called "When I Get Home, My Wife Always Pretends to be Dead"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Lafalle arc (as thematically I probably engaged the most here)and the final arc both elevated this series for me, even though I did enjoy the bit with Vann early on.
I’ve heard people don’t like the ending it hit with me.
Really solid.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dramatically this even kind of clicked for me and the antagonist surprised me as did twintails girl and bestghosts eventual roles, comedy isn’t exactly funny but I did laugh at points.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently I got third time lucky with Mizukami, because I found this a very fresh take on the re-incarnation genre while actually DOING something worthwhile with it, his pacing/story telling style definitely feels a better fit to me in a short manga like this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After a degree of indifference to planet with and only liking Biscuit hammers last arc, I ended up approaching Spirit circle expecting to not really have any opinion on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just my kind of weird.
Anonymous3093267
sword eyes
SuperMario
Here's another experimental animated short for you, Kaiser, Tango (1981) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo8O8lYDzIU
SuperMario
@Animosh: yeah the second part was released in VOD earlier this year and I watched it. Prefer the 1st one much better
Vonter
I don't know why, but I thought you were talking about Tomorrowland. That Disney movie that bombed and everyone seemed very lukewarm about. I suppose because I don't know exactly what was the problem with it, didn't see much discussion about it.
Animosh
@SuperMario: I think I've seen World of Tomorrow, but not 100% sure. There's apparently a second part out though, and I definitely haven't seen that!
Animosh
And Umfeld (https://vimeo.com/umfeld) is also worth mentioning. It kind of consists of shorts, it's technically animated (at least in part: it mixes real footage and CGI I think?), and it's definitely weird. It's a very polarizing work though. I love it, but it wouldn't surprise me if most people here hate it.
Animosh
Some other things that came to mind: Tim Burton's "Vincent" (it's stop-motion, but whatever), Loom (https://vimeo.com/24069938) and E-Baby (https://vimeo.com/25435555). And the stop-motion shorts by Lee Hardcastle are pretty fun, if you're in the mood for some needlessly disgusting horror.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I enjoyed embrace of the serpent which has the same director as Birds of passage so I'll keep an eye out for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm going to see Roma and Birds of Passage this weekend. Really excited for both
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for the she-ra thing well, as I've gotten older I probably have avoided kids stuff more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to see tokenism being seen as acceptance when it isn't, it feels that people are putting forth the idea that something is only being/can be accepted because its being portrayed in a tokenistic way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its fine, obviously to have strong female characters, Ripley in Alien, Sarah Conner in Terminator, awesome....Rey in star wars....no.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think too often shows and films, American ones today, are tokenistic or clicheed with inserting issues, merely just throwing them in or tacking them on for the sake of ticking boxes rather than any earnesty or doing anything.
Anonymous3086853
@SuperMario - I do. Yet at the same time it was a bit outside of my comfort zone, watching something like this considering that (let's be honest) msot shows are men oriented. Even the ones with great female characters. This one despite having tomboyish girls is mainly about these girls with male characters having supporting roles. I suppose that's were the uneasiness lies in my case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just got done watching both earlier, his dark humour jives well with me and I liked the concept.
SuperMario
@Kaiser @Animosh: if you haven't seen World of Tomorrow plsssss check it out. I can't recommend it highly enough
SuperMario
@Vonter: Maybe it's a good things that shows for general audiences like this have queer context. Don't you think?
Anonymous3086853
Also because I'm a bit immature, this show is kinda gay. There's a lot of ship baiting moments, one same sex couple in the last episode and rainbows, pastel colors, emasculated male characters and some female crossdressing.
Anonymous3086853
The weakest aspect is that several secondary characters get lost in the shuffle. Kinda like Big Hero 6 in which the team had personalities but just didn't had the time to develop in any meaningful way. Still both the main cast and villains were good and like I say the protagonist and antagonist had strong arcs for a first season.
Anonymous3086853
So I now finished watching She Ra, and it got even better as it was building towards the season's end. Thes strongest aspect is the rivalry between Adora and Catra, the chemistry is very strong, kinda like Optimus and Megatron or Xavier and Magneto. In which both parts seem equally capable and to have mind games with the other.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh hey cool, rain town is done by the Penguin hhighway anime movie guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It looks like I haven't seen Don Hertzfedlts World of tomorrow films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also Prince Achmed and How Wang-Fo Was Saved.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah. yes, thanks animosh, I had a look at Rain town there, I like the style it was done in, it achieves the emotions its trying to convey well without needing dialogue, piano score actually helps rather than hinders.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glassy ocean, that was another short I watched lately.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh inka isha is country doctor.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know Mario has seen this style on animation, but anyone else see any oil on glass animation?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually prefer robot carnival to genius party but liked both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Zepo, The Pride of Strathmoor were recent animated shorts I watched.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Recently I watched two shorts, death and the mother and pleasures of war.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd say any eastern european short films would be worth anyones time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not familiar with rain town or Inaka Isha .
Amagi
Kaiser: Have you seen Inaka Isha from Kafka?
Animosh
In the meanwhile, though, I'd also be very interested in recommendations! The shorts I mentioned are among my favorite animated works, so if you know anything similar, please let me know. :)
Animosh
For western animation I really like the Don Hertzfeldt shorts. And there was this short called "Rain Town" that was really impressively animated. I'm sure there were others, but my long-term memory is pretty lousy. If something else comes to mind I'll let you know.
Animosh
I'm pretty sure you're already going to be familiar with all of my favorites, but here you go: Morimoto's shorts are all fantastic (Dimension Bomb, Beyond, Noiseman Sound Insect, etc), and two others that come to mind are Cat Soup and Kigeki (or Comedy) by Nakazawa. There are also some great collections out there (like the Genius Party ones), but again, you've probably seen those already.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If anyone has any suggestions for weird short animations, I'm looking for excuses to watch some more and I'm in the mood for them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Mario's youtube link had cgi models of rem and ram in the video.
Masky
I'm confused when was Rem even mentioned
Kaiser-Eoghan
I only ever watched he-man and stuff related to it in passing when I was younger, Conan was more my thing back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For so long I'd always referred to she-ra as she-man.
AidanAK47
@Mario, What is this heresy!
....
....Rems always cute.
Anonymous3084910
Hilda is fine, though is very laidback kinda like a young reader's novel. It has its moments but its fantasy with slice-of-life coming of age.
Anonymous3084910
@SuperMario Yeah I know, She Ra is the twin sister of He Man. But strangely it seems Dreamworks may not have the right to those characters. It was a marketing idea trying to bring more girls to that universe but like most girls show from the time it had a very flat depiction of what little girls want to see.
SuperMario
Sorry Aidan, I know it's blasphemy but I have to post here. Enjoy the OP song with the twins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9MUjISNm0U&index=4&list=PLU56jBSlcHw8-ol9Hi4lJ0GR0tU6EOf2a
SuperMario
I'll probably check out Hilda. Heard a lot of hypes about that show
SuperMario
@Vonter: I've heard of She-Ra, she's the female counterpart (well, sister) of He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe and the secret identity of Prince Adam). Sounds silly but I'm not even kidding
Vonter
All in all, despite not being a big thing, I think is an enjoyable recommendation. My only nitpick is that it maybe too light hearted for some kinda like above My Little Pony but below something Voltron. Also despite being less childish than the original is still kinda of girly with lots of pastel colors although it balances it a bit having girls being more tomboyish in different degrees.
Vonter
Like with Voltron it amuses me seeing anime tropes being played through western lens. Since I'm a bit hesitant to say that could this count as a harem series despite not being male gaze moments? Also having the most sensible hotspring episode I've seen.
Vonter
In this one this She Ra has pathos. A bit like Korra there's doubt in her role and also a complicated relationship with her rival. I do like the role reversal in the knight's tale this clearly is, in that most roles that would be played by men are played by women in this story. Matriarchy, displacement of both femminine beauty but also empowerment.
Vonter
So I've watched some of the new She Ra from Netflix. So far I'm in, it's not deep but it's quite charismatic. I do like there's more pathos in regards to these characters which pretty much were confined to their archetype to an extreme like the original Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It manages to make watching something like running engaging, when I'd otherwise probably not watch the sport. Also, last week the show ended up popping into my head when I was sitting around doing pretty much nothing and made me think "Ok fuck it, not sitting around doing nothing, going to go out for a run around the block"
Lenlo
I also agree, characters losing in sports is important. They can't start at the top, it makes the series lose meaning
Lenlo
I quite enjoyed Kaze Fui this week. I think your correct that the one who got the reality check was Kurahara, who thought he was the only one able to actually make it. I also thing that he has a competitive streak a mile wide, and might be a little afraid of failure. Doesnt think the team can make it, so why bother
Kaiser-Eoghan
Think I wasn't i the mood for honda-san this week even though I laughed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I like it when sports series actually show the characters you know...actually lose.
Anonymous3083989
Huh, interesting in this episode of Kaze ga that it's Kakeru who got a reality check during the track meet since he was beaten by two other runners. I think we're due for an episode soon where he has to confront his past demons instead of fleeing from them.
Anonymous3083626
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aging in fiction, I think has more to do with the story than the characters. I mean the jokes about Ash Ketchum, Detective Conan, Archie. The Flinstones tried to make different stories by aging Pebbles and Bam Bam. Or Batman having two Robins graduating into their own heroes. But in the end dynamics change, hence why most cartoons don't age the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is why when aging does occur in anime/manga, such as in vinland saga or nanoha for example, its appreciated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course, animated characters often don't age much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember enjoying the simpsons movie back when I watched it, but thinking about it it really was just an extended episode. Really the show peaked with the who shot Mr Burns episode. Catching bits of recent episodes and seeing them use modern stuff while they never age seems weird too.
Amagi
I do think series are allowed to move forward though, I am kinda interested in the Pkmn movie for example. But certain shows should just end, Simpsons for example was a parody of the 90s, it just can't work in a more modern setting IMO.
Amagi
I stopped with the Simpsons when Maude was killed/died, it was just a step in the wrong direction they should have never done and it killed the series for me. I disliked it before already though, I think I noticed the series getting worse since season..9? Or 10, not sure anymore.
Amagi
Anime for Dorohedoro announced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Therefore ruining the fanservice fun for everybody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite beach episodes are ones where it rains and they end up not being able to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After that it was just the film for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually, regarding the simpsons, the episode I stopped on was sometime in the early 2000s, Homer was stuck on some island resort or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose it was just as much a case of falling out of watching/playing too and then there being so many episodes/games catchup was impossible. I probably should read the manga someday.
Anonymous3081957
@Kaiser-Eoghan -Kinda like Sponge Bob, Power Rangers or The Simpsons, I can't blame those who move forward, It's imposible for a show to go that long without losing steam. I did check the Sun and Moon first season and while I think the personality and energy is better it doesn't exactly push the concept forward. Still somehow Pokemon is still a phenomenon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Very strange hearing a Pikachu talk with Ryan Reynolds voice. But my days of pokemon are behind me.
KyokoHyuga
?????
KyokoHyuga
who likes pokemon here
SuperMario
@Amagi: I think the person who made the sub for Maquia did a pretty neat job. Not perfect but the translation flows well
Vonter
We've seen realistic Pokémon fanart, but how does a movie looks when it attempts it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CKgQFo5U8
Amagi
How are the subs for Maquia? I only heard anons complain about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*dealing with
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you should really torrent it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is 1080p stream on kiss anime, if you hate deal with the ads on that site the 4up stream on anilinkz has the best quality of the available links
Lenlo
Where did you see Maquia online? I still need to watch it. PM it to me on discord maybe? Pretty please? <3
SuperMario
One fact that not many people know is that Penguin Highway is penned by Tomihiko Morimi. It indeed has many Morimi's signature inputs
SuperMario
This year, I'm doing well with catching up anime films (kudos for Australian's Madman who always license these titles very quickly). So far, I've watched Mirai, Maquia, Penguin Highway, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas and My Hero Academia the Movie
SuperMario
So I watched two anime movies this last week, Penguin Highway in theatre and Maquia online. Both of them are pretty solid in general, especially Penguin that has magical realism elements and some great chemistry. Whereas Mari Okada's writting still rubs me in the wrong way sometimes
Lenlo
D: He did, back in August actually apparently
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I heard Dino's voice actor died.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we all took Goblin slayers attitude to trolls, then we would more easily ignore the trolls =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Big twist in the golden kamuy manga.
Animosh
@SuperMario: remember that in the voice drama Rikka mentioned talking to Yuuta in their classroom during the ball game. Pretty sure it's about that.
SuperMario
@Animosh: i just watched the episode and noticed the lyrics as well. "The Promise" seems vague at the moment. Could be between Yuuta and whoever fits but I agree the "save someone from boredom" is about Akane
Animosh
You learn something every day. ;) Honestly though, I actually skipped the opening, so I hadn't even noticed that it had been translated until others pointed it out. And most of the time the lyrics are just cheesy one-liners, so I usually don't pay much attention to them either. But once in a while there's some nice hints hidden in there...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never really ever paid attention to the lyrics in anime openings, I'd never thought to.
Animosh
The Gridman OP has been translated for the first time, and there's some pretty interesting reveals in there: it mentions a "promise" made in a classroom (so now we know how Yuuta and Rikka bonded in the past - glad it wasn't a simple confession), and talks of "rescuing" someone (presumably Akane) from boredom. So I guess she'll join the good guys eventually?
Lenlo
1200 words. I need to stop writing so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't seen last weeks episode of Irozuku or this weeks =< I'm waiting now for a bit to see if the series paysoff.
Animosh
Goddamn those magic segments in Irozuku were stunning! It's a shame its humdrum drama can't live up to its visual beauty, but I'll take it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think Ash's design is based a bit on River phoneix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry Eiji but your Ash is in another castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@CoolerAnon: I was about to say that. Kidnapping gets used alot in shojo.
Anonymous3072040
Yeah Ash is basically Princess Peach
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I share your concerns, I don't know what studio is doing it. Some people want it to be mappa, some don't want it to be polygon pictures to adapt it. Its and long and violent manga, with some very funny at times dark humour, it could end up rushed and/or censored.
Anonymous3072021
As much as I love Dorohedoro I'm unsure if I should be happy or worried at it getting an adaptation, it isn't exactly the kind of story I imagine being easy to adapt well.
Lenlo
Yeah, I am touching on that in my writeup as we speak. The compressed story is causing Ash to be captured every other week.
Animosh
I agree Banana Fish was great this week though! My only gripe is that I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Ash get kidnapped again and again. He just escaped a couple of episodes ago! And he's just a lot more fun to watch when he's out there doing stuff.
Animosh
In a way the fights actually feel more realistic to me than those in Banana Fish. Sure, they're fantastical, bizarre even, but its battle system has a clear internal logic, and generally no power is infallible (each has its limitations). In Banana Fish the fights are rather poorly thought out by comparison. Their purpose is more to make Ash look cool than to give him realistic hurdles to overcome.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what sets Jojo apart from other battle shounen for me is how ridiculously creative its fights can get. Part 2 already shows some signs of this, but the introduction of the Stand system in Part 3 pushes it to another level, and in Part 4 the fights are consistently awesome. There are no simple beam struggles here: every fight is a battle of wits, between people with wildly different powers
Niel
Vinland Saga anime, and Now Dorohedoro just got announced. i'm really liking this trend.
Lenlo
Lots to writeup on Banana Fish this week.
Lenlo
Just finished it, I really like Blanca.
Lenlo
Because Jackie Chan and his stunt crew are some of the best in the world. There is a reason he has to insure his guys from his own pocket. No agency will take them
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have no idea how the hell Jackie Chan is still alive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Action works best for me when I really feel that theres danger involved. Thats why when some actors do their own stunts, you can fear for the actors life, and also the character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And thats why I'm a big fan of all that Chinese martial arts stuff from the 60s and 70s, that really expertly crafted chereography.
Lenlo
As for action, I like good choreography more than any super powers. Its why Cowboy Bebop, Seirei no Moribito, Sword of the Stranger and some Naruto fights are fantastic.
Lenlo
Im about to watch this weeks episode, so this chat makes me hopeful. I agree Ash and Eiji are the backbone of the series, and yeah me and Kaiser both agreed that the Gang war aspect was pretty weak, though I thought the finish with Arthur wasnt half bad
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think Banana fish has a great grit to it for this reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even more thankful to Banana fish too for that it keeps the action within the bounds of out of fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've always been kind of a guns and swords and kungfu gut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Black lagoons great example of anime action I can get behind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always found weapon combat and fist/kicking combat more raw and real,tangible than beamspam.
Anonymous3070972
But yeah if you're not a fan supernatural power fantasy action shounens, then maybe not your cup of tea, and that's totally cool
Anonymous3070972
Oh also if I'm recommending a fight from part 4, I'd say check out Highway Star
Anonymous3070972
Kira is a pretty cool villain though; he's always underpowered compared to the main heroes, but manages to somehow get out of the situation with luck or smarts; if nothing else, I'd recommend watching some Youtube clips
Anonymous3070972
*Turn off. lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its more than, even when I was younger supernatural power fantasy action shounen never appealed to me.
Anonymous3070972
Admittedly JoJo always has bad with exposition though, and always will be just due to the style, so that can definitely be a turn on for some people
Anonymous3070972
If you like slice of life with hijinks and a murder mystery combined with cool battles, you'll like part 4
Anonymous3070972
Yeah I can see why you might not like part 1 & 2, they were made in the 80s; I'd recommend part 4 and part 5 (ongoing rn) tbh, I feel like those are better for a modern viewing experience
Anonymous3070972
I used to think that BF's greatest strength was the plot; know I realize it's really about Ash & Eiji's connection first and foremost: as good as the plot can be, Ash & Eiji's relationship is absolutely the backbone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Also that scene where Ash is thinking to himself, looking over Eiji.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, I pretty much gave up on jojo midway through part 2.
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