Posted on 25 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens got sick. The animation in this episode was bare bones. Movement to an absolute minimum. I mean damn, at several points there was no inbetween frames at all and you were graced with magic teleporting statues supposed to represent characters. It wasn’t done out of artistic sensibility. Of that I assure you. The fight between Vorona and Anri was really hurt by this. With the two portraying the furiosity of two mannequins in a staring contest. Even Vorona’s backstory had moments where the only background was a colour gradient.

That really did ruin the episode but truthfully the episode wasn’t that eventful. It was yet another backstory of yet another crazy character. In another story Vorona’s character might be a main antagonist or anti-hero. But here she’s the goon picking a fight with characters she is greatly underestimating. A one note conflict. So really it’s just a waiting game of seeing when she will discover what the audience already knows. Meanwhile Mikado looks to be disregarding every warning he was given about Izaya already and letting the guy play him like a fiddle. Though it is good to see the issues with Mikado’s indecision regarding his position in the dollars being pushed into his face. Speaking of which, it looks that the dollars conflict seems to have reached his doorstep.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional of the arbiters. So are the others faking emotion? Is is a guideline and not a reinforced rule? Are the feelings they have not really emotions? Is this a logic plot hole or a philosophical inquiry? Well in either case I don’t like it because I am not watching to debate what is truly real. I am here for the death games.

There was one in this episode briefly though it was more an afterthought as the episode focused more on the arbiters. Admittedly seeing how Decim became an arbiter is interesting and insight as to why he has the hobby of building dolls. Though this brings up the question of if the guests bodies are dolls then how is it that they can drink, spit, bleed, etc. I suppose you can just say that it’s the afterlife and that’s just how these things work. But that’s why I oppose explaining it’s process or applying a sense of logic to it. Because if you apply logic to this part of it you must also have to apply logic to the whole process. That my friends, is where plot holes and inconsistencies raise their ugly heads.

Alright I think that’s enough complaining. This was a better episode than last week’s train wreck.  There are intriguing elements to the direction this show is taking with this subplot of sorts. Its clear that Nona has violated the rules and is trying to keep the leader from noticing that Decim has an assistant that he clearly shouldn’t. The new character, who I mistook for a boy from the opening, is a nice foil to the straight laced, business only Nona The end of the episode even teases a death game between a trousome pair normally given to more experienced arbiters. I welcome a return to what should be the focus of the series.

Posted on 18 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I was worried about Celty in the slightest. True to that, Celty is fine and ready to get payback. The time leaping is getting a bit out of hand with things happening in this episode that take place in the middle of last episode abound things happening around the same time as other things and past is future and future has past and ouch…my head. I would have better luck mapping out the Doctor Who timeline. Our new characters this time are a cold analytical assassin by the name of Vorona and her eccentric boss who gets hung up on odd questions which the girl then answers. So that’s why men have nippiles. Honestly wondered about that one myself. They have an interesting gimmick but thats about it. The would need to bring something new to the already bloated cast. Vorona though seems disappointed in how easy it was to take down Celty and is annoyed over the job of abducting a child. There’s some visage of a heart in that impassive exterior.

Shinra has got to be given credit. I don’t think there’s anyone else with the courage to openly mock Shizuo to the face and not end up in a hospital. Other than that we have the Dollars kicking up trouble without Mikado’s direction. This is something that I find odd about Mikado. The plot has clearly shown that he desires a more interesting life. Hence why he moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. Yet he seems to actively avoid using his power over the dollars and keeps preserving his normal life. His actions seem contradictory. He wants the excitement of the unknown and unusual, yet avoids and fears the consequences of such and sticks to a normal routine. It would be good for the series to push him into making a decision about this. The episode ends on the note of someone attacking Anri. I would be concerned if Anri didn’t happen to be the possessor of a sentient sword and didn’t have a legion of loyal followers to get her out of this. If it was Mikado then this might hold weight but Anri? It may be a better option than picking a fight with Shizuo but you still get beaten to a pulp. Or in this case, slashed to ribbons and turned into a mindless zombie.

Posted on 17 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But I was under the impression that this was a psychological thriller. Not a slapstick comedy.” This is just one of those creative decisions that just has me baffled. To think that a team went over this and thought it was a good idea is something I have difficulty comprehending. But well here it is. This weeks Death Parade attempted to be comedic with a game of twister between a boy band member and one of his rabid fans.

One good thing to come out of this was seeing Ginti’s style of judgement. It definitely seems less professional and more sadistic than Decims methods. The boy band fellow also had potential in his past. I like the idea behind his guilt but find his death to be ridiculous.  A girl getting revenge on him by first sleeping with him and blowing him up with a heart shaped bomb. I think poison would have been more cost effective and wouldn’t require you putting your incriminating DNA all over him. But then there was the main problem of this episode. The girl who is apparently so important that she’s in the opening for a few seconds. A girl who sports the dumbest death in the series so far(slipped on and bar of soap in the bathroom and cracked her head) and the most pointless backstory. A girl with a personality so aggravating that she deserves to be sent to hell just so she can be removed from existence entirely. At any point when the episode looked to be improving this girl just needs to say a line to drag it back down.

There was tonal whiplash everywhere. For example, at one point the girl was going to sacrifice herself and the boy was distraught over it do to his past of driving a fan to suicide. It could have been a moving scene but the only reason the girl is giving up is because she’s too ashamed of pissing herself in front of him. It jumped from comedy to serious business.  Not certain whether it wanted to make us laugh or get emotionally invested. The final insult is that this episode was pointless. It could be removed and nothing would be lost. True the series is only half over but besides an introduction to two characters I wish to never see again we learnt nothing new. With the series half over I can only see Death Parade as yet another premise with wasted potential.  Unless the last six episodes are consistently great this is likely to be a testament of misguided direction.

Posted on 12 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves only the purpose to bring another conflict to the city. However he did spring a change to one of the characters. Shizuo, whose purpose up till now was to walk in and start beating people up, is getting some attention. It is good to see Shizuo express emotion beyond blind rage. Seeing him treat someone with respect for challenging him directly and admitting that he got jealous when the man remarked that he had a cute girl who would help nurse him back to health. Even shrugging off a taser attack from a little girl trying to kill him. Shizuo getting the spotlight at last.

The three plot threads we have this time is a motorcycle gang planning a all out attack, a little girl who is trying to kill Shizuo and Celty being tasked with finding said little girl. The only carryover was the motorcycle gang leader challenging Shizuo over the guys he beat up last episode. But even that is tossed aside pretty fast as he learns why one of the towns rules is to never pick a fight with the man dressed as a bartender. We also have yet another new character who ends the episode by trying to behead Celty. A fruitless task to be certain. But Narita, seriously. Keep adding characters like this and the opening won’t have time to cover them all. A fun little tidbit I noticed is with the Orihara sisters. Strangely when posting on the Internet, Mairu(the talkative one) writes very little. Yet Kururi(the quiet one) posts walls of text. Wonder what dice they rolled to get these traits? It’s too early to say where this is going but if this is a story about Shizuo then thats always welcome in my book.

Posted on 10 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between random people which shift between heartwarming to tragic. Yet we have exposition episodes about the state of afterlife. By appearances it’s episodic yet this episode looks to be setting up an ongoing plot thread. These paths each have interesting merits yet I think the show is trying to pull them all off. In truth I am reminded of a genius violinist who has a set path to greatness. Yet he insists that his true destiny lies in rock in roll and aims to play better guitar. Rather than choosing a path he wavers between the two, never doing either satisfactory.

So Onna is human. Though I had assumed so from the beginning. Actually I was given no indication that arbitrators were inhuman. As I was under the impression that Onna was being trained to be one. The interesting idea of game where one of the players played before is shot down before it could bloom. Instead bringing in a exposition episode that provides more questions than answers. There are details I like about the after world’s design such as the control center with wine glasses and raining blood. But this would need to be leading up to something. The battle segment was ridiculously out of place. I am glad the boss put a stop to it. I prefer my shounen battles in shounen anime thank you.

The storybook segment looks to be a symbol of Decim’s and Onna’s relationship. I question how someone dreams in storybook though. While I like Decims implied fondness for Onna, this story thread does not intrigue me. The conclusion of this looks obvious and potentially fatal. I am glad Maria Okada isn’t the writer of this series or this particular element would get dragged to the forefront and beaten for every forced emotional dollar. The new character is sadly just as figured. Hot headed and constantly pissed off. While his status as the former bartender of quindecim is a good point, his personality is just too stereotypical. And next week looks to be a flashback episode to when Ginti was the bartender. While it is a good way to flesh out his character I think this is just diverging into another unnecessary tangent. My interest is waning Death Parade. Please, prove me wrong.

Posted on 4 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to new characters and they did get integrated into the cast. But other than that this arc didn’t really do anything. The bounty on Celty disappeared as fast as it appeared. The biker gang have been wiped out by Shizuo. Hollywood and the russian hitman have no loose ends to cover.(Well unless you are interested in Hollywoods family. Or the budding love between her and Shizuo’s brother) And the Orihara sisters were introduced and that’s about it. Really this was a story of how Celty lost a lot of money and unknowingly reclaimed it thanks to a little plotting of the Orihara sisters, featuring special guests. Because Hollywood, the Russian hitman and the Orihara sisters did more or less nothing despite getting a significant amount of screen time.

And here is one of the major problems with Narita. Here we have a story that was by all means self contained. Because in truth Narita is an episodic writer. By arcs end, everything returns to zero. Yet Narita always seems to try and present this as “only the beginning” Like this arc was just setup for a greater overarching plot. However if previous experience says anything it’s that the only thing that lies in the future is a weak climax and a return to zero. Yet here he is again building up a conflict within the dollars, Saika growing out of control and Izaya plotting something big. But I know how this works. These things will get wrapped up quick and then other things will be foreshadowed which also will get wrapped up quickly and unceremoniously. If you want to write episodic stories Narita then do so. But stop trying to tease the possibility that you will move beyond that. It’s a pet peeve really. Even if Durarara is essentially the daily hijinks of the eccentric cast it would still be entertaining.

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