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

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

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

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

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Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

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

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

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

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

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