Posted on 30 September 2015 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare examples of an adaption which improves its source material by making use of the animated medium. With visual subtext and better presentation this adaptation took something that could have ended up a mere gimmick of a show and made it so much more. The direction is simply marvellous with little details hidden throughout to reward those who pay close attention. Be it in the slight changes in the opening from episode to episode or the minor details hidden in the background.

The characters are likable though not particularly deep and I fear that shallowness might be a turnoff for some. In a twelve episode series building deep characterization is a challenge that even the often praised Madoka didn’t manage. But Madoka managed to keep the plot in center focus and didn’t wander between it’s two moods. Some of the plot developments are foreshadowed too heavily leaving little surprise when they are finally revealed, though the reveal is often great to see for execution alone. Music can provide the necessary mood though for the large part it’s fairly unnoticeable. Art and animation are adequate with the real effect of scenes being mostly on the presentation of certain scenes.

There are flaws with this odd combination of genres of course and Gakkou still makes use of a lot of the fluff present in moe slice of life, even if it has a purpose now. There are a two or three episodes dedicated to random hijinks that act more to delay the plot. But when the plot takes a dark turn it’s often very effective with some excellent scenes that make use of music and camera shots to the best effect. Ultimately I wish there was more darkness in this show and the manga does have scenes which could have remedied that problem. But alas they were not made use of and I blame the largely unnecessary pool episode for that. The ending is another issue as it does make use of far fetched plot contrivances to provide an ending which could leave viewers cheated or disappointed.

Gakkou remained a consistently good watch throughout it’s run and it is a series which would benefit greatly from a second season. Fans of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica who are looking for a similar show might scratch that itch with this series, for others however the mix of Moe and horror elements might be too off putting or schizophrenic to enjoy. But to me the juxtaposition of the two sides of the show are what make it the most effective. If either element was played alone this show wouldn’t be quite as interesting but with the two placed together it makes you appreciate both all the more. Or to put it in other terms, Despair is at it’s peak beside the greatest hope

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

The ending to Gakkou leaves me with a feeling similar to that I felt after watching Madoka’s final two episodes. The ending isn’t inherently bad but I can’t help but feel like I have been cheated. When you tease darkness and provide instead light its hard to appreciate. Contract to popular belief, not everyone loves a happy ending. There lies my problem with this ending, its far too happy. The grim situation is defused far too fast with Yuki making use of the zombies lingering memory to get them to abandon the school. It’s a bit far fetched of a solution but still feasible so I will leave it be. But the speech was rather cringeworthy. I understand the need for finality and the parallel to the first episodes words is a neat link but the cheese was far too much.

At least the show knew there had to be some grim turn in this last episode and here we have it. Just when I was about to roll my eyes at not just Kurumi, but Taromaru coming out of this alright as well, Taromaru dies in Miki’s arms. Well when you trip that many death flags its unlikely you would come out unscathed. It was a really well done scene and pretty effective. Being a man whose heart has been tempered into apathetic cold steel, I was surprised to feel tears almost well in my eyes over Taromaru’s last look at Miki being him saying thank you. Curse you for making me feel feelings again, you manipulative puppy plot device.

Other than that we have graduation which is less death and more the girls moving away from the school now that the self sustaining machines are broken. The Graduation tried to tug at my heartstrings but it felt rather hollow and overly dramatic. So with episodes end I decided to check out the manga to see how things went there and its very different from its anime counterpart. For one it wasn’t Zombies that took down the school in the manga, but a crashed Helicopter which started a fire and destroyed it. Kurumi’s infection and Megumi’s death by shovel where solved before this pretty fast. Overall the anime handled the story better but there were small things in the manga that I wish made the transition. Like Miki arriving with the medicine only to find Yuuri poised, ready to kill Kurumi with the knife or how Yuki’s snap to reality was handled in the manga. Overall the ending does leave it open for a potential second season which I would be most interested to watch.

Posted on 27 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gangsta

Gangsta has a serious problem on its hands. So far the past 11 episodes have been building up something and it’s clear that this buildup will not be utilised in the remaining episode. We got a setting, characters(though aside from the main trio a number of them need development) and an antagonist but we don’t have a plot. The last two episodes look to be setting one up but by now in the series it’s far too late and will not have a satisfactory conclusion. A second season seems highly unlikely what with there not being enough material for one. If Gangsta is to end here then the result of this anime would be a alright but an overall unsatisfactory experience, ultimately a anime that would feel half finished. After all it’s the second last episode and the series is still introducing new characters. I already stated that I don’t appreciate the action sequences and while the character moments can be great, it’s only the main Trio that truly carry the show. When looking at it from this perspective the previous episodes are like fueling up a car that’s going to get thrown into a car compactor. No matter how much fuel that car has it won’t matter if it isn’t going anywhere.

So that’s why Doug was suddenly so much more psychologically stable, so we can feel sorry for him when he dies. Nice try but no dice. Much like many of the other side characters, Doug didn’t really have enough screen time to form an emotional attachment to. We also learn why we were informed about Marco and Connie’s relationship, so Connie can play damsel and get kidnapped by Marcos old acquaintances. I find the kidnaping to be a weak development as for the love of god girl, you run a gun shop in one of the most dangerous places in the world. Might be good to be a little suspicious of the strange lady acting creepy in front of your shop. The anime could have at least shown her cocking a gun as she was getting the cigarettes to show she had her guard up. As for our evil Twilight gang, I find they are just trying a little too hard to be cartoonishly evil. Miss Lollipop chainsaw is a primary offender with the suggestive lollipop licking and a manner of speaking that truly couldn’t be any more condescending. In other important news, Miss Balalaika is a Lesbian with her lover being the red haired glasses girl. Sexual diversity is always a welcome addition to have especially when it isn’t there primarily for fan service or cheap jokes. It does explain why the redhead was particularly vicious when someone threatens Miss Balalaika. So as the events of Ergastulum come to a close I find myself with less reason to care about its conclusion

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

 

It’s a good thing a second season of Gate was announced as it ending on this episode would be a poor round up to the series indeed. The biggest hanging thread is the Dark elf and her dilemma of returning to the village to tell them that help is not coming or resorting to dirty tactics in order to get Itami to lend a hand. One thing that has trouble translating well is the language barrier between the Japanese and the other worlders. The first half of the episode mainly deals with her difficulty to get the Army to listen to her without knowing Japanese but the series has a confusing way of presenting it. They show both parties speaking clear Japanese and never really clarify which they are talking in. Leading to a scene where we have a Dark Elf looking to be speaking clear Japanese yet the army doesn’t understand her. There should be a clear difference between the two tongues or at least a transition to show which is being spoken. Of course eventually she found out that the Japanese military can’t exactly march in an attack force into the country and kill a dragon. One particular thing I liked was the army soliders estimate of just how much firepower it would take to kill a dragon, even with heavy firepower a medieval Dragon isn’t something that goes down easy.

Other than that we have the princess finding out about Itami’s achievements, Lelei experimenting with applying scientific principles to magic and the princesses soldiers eating desserts and talking about translating BL doujinshi. The last one had me rolling my eyes as it had the girls praising how Japan could make even desserts an art form. This may be ignorance speaking but I was always under the impression that France was the place to go for fine cuisine. Further cemented that the pastry the girls were eating was indeed French and I was really waiting for that butler to point out that the girls praises would be better directed at France and not Japan. Japan didn’t invent Mille Feuille Glace and no matter how well it’s prepared by a Japanese chef that fact isn’t change. You don’t see us praising America for the Super Nintendo, now do you? Come on mister author, at least give some other countries a little bit of credit.

My feelings on Gate at this halfway point would be that it’s a pretty solid show that’s missing something to make it great. I cannot discern what that something may be however, as looking over the series there not really a way of doing it differently. I liked watching Gate but something prevents me from being as invested in it as I am with Gakkou. I guess the primary offender could possibly be the slow pace of the story which seems like a slow buildup to something that couldn’t possibly be resolved in this season or the next. I felt the same about the manga, its a slow burn of a show. There’s also the issue of the weak comedy which winds down to making jokes about Itami being a Otaku or just dull slapstick. Can the characters be better? Is there a better way to frame this story to make it more impressive? I am honestly not sure but perhaps the second season might have some remedies for that.

Posted on 23 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for our four heroines as Yuuri can’t bring herself to kill Kurumi, Miki is trapped on the lower floors and zombies have subsequently knocked out the power and overrun the school. Leaving a surprisingly stable Yuki to save everyone’s hides. The zombies knocking out the power by destroying the generators through pure coincidence is a rather far fetched development but current developments call for more bad luck and this shows the school is beyond saving.  I mainly expected Yuki’s snap back to reality to be a morbid change as she learned just what was waiting for her but it’s turned out to be a fairly positive change. Admittedly the second half of the episode does deal a bit too much on Yuki accepting Megumi’s death when time is short and while Yuki’s staring at flashbacks of her past, her friends are getting closer to their deaths. The emotional draw didn’t quite work for me considering that every second Yuki stares blankly at a visual memory is a second Kurumi inches near the point of no return. We already got plenty of emotional weight behind this so I don’t see the point of adding more when the situation calls for drastic action.

Miki’s encounter with Taromaro was brief and could possibly be a encounter they are saving for the finale. Miki killing Megumi for good was a great scene as well as her running around with the shovel trying to imitate Kurumi to weak effect. It shows that Kurumi isn’t so easily replaceable and without her the group is going to be missing some vital offensive force. But Miki managed to do what Kurumi couldn’t and kill Megumi. At first however it looked like she was making a beginners mistake in zombie films and was attempting to speak with it while the zombie gets within striking distance. Miki left things pretty close her as Megumi was right on top of her before she swung the shovel down. I get paying respects to the dead but perhaps you should do it with a room’s worth of distance just in case. It’s not as if Megumi would take offense…or would she?

One thing that Gakkou zombies have that most others don’t is residual memory. That last time I saw this explored was in George Romero’s Day of the dead or the “A Ride in the Park” sequence of VHS 2. The zombies of Gakkou have a higher level of memory than other kinds, Megumi being a prime example. She continues to write in a journal despite her writing being nothing more than random scribbles and hangs around the basement where the medicine is. The medicine case itself has bloody landmarks on it, suggesting that Megumi tried to reach it while she was still human or has been trying to open it while undead. It asks the question, just how aware are these zombies? It’s a scary thought that under that facade could be a person internally screaming for help.The big question now is whether Gakkou can tie things up satisfactorily for the final episode as no word of a second season has come. A life goes on ending would be the likely choice and not a bad option as it does leave the possibility of a sequel. But the enticing idea of a full tragic original ending is a delight far too rare. That said the chances of that seem slim as this episode shows that the direction is aiming for a more hopeful outcome.

Posted on 20 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gangsta

So our girl Erica turns out to be the twin of Delio and I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t remember who Delio is. He’s the white haired guy who’s a weak twilight that works as a bodyguard for Monroe. It’s revealed that she was abducted when she was a kid and this is the first time anyone has seen her since then. Now this may be just that I a not quite that invested in this show but this revelation only elicited a response of “Is that so?” Personally I feel that if she was the daughter of the police officer this reveal would have far more impact and potential story significance. Delio hasn’t had enough stage presence or development for this to be all that important. So Erica is Delio’s long lost sister? What of it? I am far more interested in her connection to Worick and Nicholas than Delio’s blood relation. It really is odd when I care more about minor characters Marco and Connie being a relationship than a matter regarding one of the villains. Speaking of which, it would have added much more tension to the fight scene previous episode if we knew about that when he was facing off against the twilight kid.

Art quality remains a concern as Alex’s face had a number of awkward distracting proportions this episode. With Alex’s brother on the evil twilight squad it’s really only a matter of time before the two encounter each other. One particularly notable thing in this episode was Worick momentarily mistaking Alex for someone. That someone is likely the same girl Nicholas was visiting in the brothel on episode 3. What this says to me is that Alex isn’t the first girl to hang out with the handymen. I couldn’t help but notice how psychologically stable Doug is now compared to previously. When he was attacking the handymen he seemed downright psychotic yet now that he’s no longer an enemy he’s a whole lot more calm. It’s especially evident which you have our new miss lollipop chainsaw coming along and chopping people up just like Doug did not to long ago. I hope this doesn’t start a trend within the show of characters being more psychotic when in the role of the villain but going though quick personality changes when they have been defeated because that’s yet another shounen trope.

Posted on 19 September 2015 with categories: Seasonal Previews

How the time flies. It wasn’t too long ago I was writing the preview for the last season and yet it’s nearly over. However while Summer was a season of surprising quality, fall looks to be weaker. There still could be some hidden gems here as my usual methods of checking source material came up short but I don’t see Fall being a season to remember. That said, even a bad season can have one good or even great anime.

As usual Straw poll is below to vote on what you want me to cover. Three animes are covered, two my choice, one yours. Voting ends by the time second episodes start airing. One of my Choices is One Punch man and the other undecided. Should my second choice anime be top voted of the Strawpoll, I will cover the second highest show on the poll.

http://strawpoll.me/5522575

First is the sequels, as usual if you liked the previous season then by all means continue. Otherwise I will save time and not cover them.

The sequels I don’t care about

Aikatsu! 4
Diabolik Lovers More,Blood
Haikyuu!! 2
Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus 2
Yuru Yuri San☆Hai!
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??
World Trigger: Isekai Kara no Toubousha
Noragami Aragoto
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R 2

Series I don’t look forward to

Brave Beats

The story follows Hibiki Kazaguruma, a sixth grader who meets an amusing little robot named Bureikin while coming home from school one day. Bureikin, a dancer from an alternate-dimension dance world, challenged the dance king for the throne and lost. He has been deprived of Dance Stones (the stones of dance power) and sent to the human world. To restore his power, bureikin must collect all the Dance Stones scattered around Earth.
Meanwhile, the Dance Stones cause chaos on the human world. To retrieve the Dance Stones, Bureikin fuses with Hibiki and transforms into a Dance Hero.

It would be a huge surprise if this turned out to be remotely good. At most a harmless kids show, at worst a bad kids show. Still either way it’s likely going to be better than Teen Titans Go. Sigh…it’s sad when you see something you loved turned into a complete joke.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou

The stage is set in “another Japan” as a banquet of diverse superhumans unfolds… In an imaginary “age of gods” about 20 years after the war, Japan has grown and developed by leaps and bounds. What if all the superhumans ever written about in fictional stories existed at the same time? Superhumans who came into existence through different circumstances, and who are special in different ways — Titans from outer space, lifeforms from a mystical world, phantoms and goblins from ancient times, cyborgs created by scientists, relics that rose out of the ruins of ancient civilizations, and the list goes on. One segment of these superhumans makes no secret of their existence and has gained popularity in society. Others cloak their identities and fight in secrecy. There are enemies of superhumans as well, organizations that operate in the shadows. The Japanese government has taken many measures to secure peace and order. One is the establishment of an organization under the Ministry of Health and Welfare — the Overpopulation Research Laboratory, a.k.a. the Superhuman Bureau. Their mission is to identify and approach superhumans, then oversee and safeguard them. One member of the Superhuman Bureau, Jiro Hitoyoshi, is protagonist of this series.

I actually thought for a moment when watching the trailer that this might be trying to portray a chuunibyou disillusion as the premise and is about chuinbyou characters like KyoAni’s chuuni show. However it doesn’t look to be the case. Bones seemed to have picked up a bit from Blood blockade battlefront but this show I don’t hold much hope for. Mainly because it’s penned by Shou Aikawa. A man who’s currently writing one of the worst titles of the current season, Chaos Dragon and whose output is either great to outright terrible. Currently his writing has not been very good lately though perhaps I am just still angry over him ruining Red Dragon. The artstyle is odd to say the least and the animation is bones usual vibrant movement but I can easily see this being another Bones flop.

Garo: Guren no Tsuki

Producer Masao Maruyama announced at animation studio MAPPA’s Otakon panel that the second Garo: Honoo no Kokuin television anime series is slated for this October. Unlike the first Garo anime, this series will be a jidaigeki (period drama) set in the Heian period. It will have a female protagonist.

Studio Mappa is a pretty interesting studio. While Bahamut and Zaku no terror were far from perfect, they still were rather unique series. This too looks interesting but it has a big problem. Shou Aikawa. Yes, Aikawa is doing series composition for two series and that’s bad news in my book. Of course it depends on how much control he has but there’s also the issue of the director mainly being experienced in Shounen shows. A female protagonist is a good thing in my book but a show like this needs a mature feel. With these two at the helm I doubt it will be able to provide that. The series has four other script writers, all of which don’t have much experience with this kind of show.

Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan

The story follows Hakone, a hot spring spirit who descended to a spa resort on Earth. However, with her long slumber, she looks like a little girl on the outside. (The “Yousei” in the title is a wordplay on the Japanese words for fairy and a young child.) The high school boy Touya stumbles across her at a hot spring and ends up joining Hakone in retrieving her original powers.

Studio doesn’t have any heavy hitters, this is the director’s second anime and there’s really no potential in the story. It’s really about the hijinks of a hot spring spirit who can vomit hot spring water. Other than That I expect a good bit of fanservice.

Dance with Devils

The story revolves around Rikka Tachibana, a female second-year high school student who attends Shiko Academy in Shiko Town. She enjoyed her school life while living with her mother Maria, but one day, that balance fell into ruin. The anime is a story of Rikka being loved and being attracted to demons.

I would like to give Brains base the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s more to this that meets the eye. However from looking at it, despite it being an original series it looks to be exactly what it looks like. An age old bargain bin reverse harem. The staff haven’t worked on anything notable and I am highly skeptical this will bring anything other than a bunch of pretty boy devils fawning over a girl with no distinct desirable features.

Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai

The school action fantasy is set in a world where people with magic powers are close to being wiped out. Just as the balance of power and military might had once shifted from swords to sorcery, it shifts once again to guns. Takeru Kusanagi goes to “AntiMagic Academy,” a training facility for Inquisitors of Herectics who crack down on the dwindling threat posed by magic users. However, Takeru cannot use guns at all and can only fight with a sword. As a result, he is relegated to the 35th Test Platoon, the motley “small fry platoon” for poor students. One day, Ouka Outori, the ultra-elite pistol master who already has her qualifications for witch-hunts, joins the platoon.

I am tempted to add a category for generic light novel anime so I don’t have to repeat myself ad nauseum. Main is in a group where he’s the only guy and all the girls in the team are romantically interested in him or are going to be. Main also happens to be a secret badass as usual. There’s accidental boob groping, walking in on a girl in a state of undress, poor humor and one dimensional villains.

Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama

Cocotama are tiny gods born from the thoughts and feelings of objects that people use with great care. The fact that Cocotama wear part of the egg they hatch out of as underwear is proof that they are still apprentices. The Cocotama use a mysterious magic, and they train hard to be of use to humans and to become full gods. They live inside human houses and stealthily move around to help humans find things they have lost, although they make many mistakes.

Gah, it’s so sweet it makes me want to puke. Truth be told there’s nothing really offensive about this one. It’s a fluffy kids show made by a company who does kids shows. It’s simply just not for me. Even as a kid I wouldn’t watch this.

Hidan no Aria AA

A young girl idolizes the world-renowned S-ranked butei Kanzaki H. Aria and plans to follow in her footsteps. However, her test grades her out as only an E-rank! All is not lost, however, as Aria agrees to give her some pointers. Can Aria help this newcomer become a first-rate butei?

In the bargain bin of Light novel adaptions Hidan no Aria would be the one at the bottom with the 90% off price tag. The first season was terrible with storytelling that would make even the worst writer shake his head. Coming across as a poor knockoff of Shana with no interesting characters and a story involving the descendants of famous characters that is just downright ridiculous. Aria lost all semblance of suspension of disbelief when the main heroine was confirmed to be the descendant of Sherlock Holmes. God, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must be rolling in his grave. I remember a arc involved the characters facing off against Count Dracula for crying out loud. And if I remember, I heard something about how later down in the novels a man survives four bullets to the heart. This is just terrible tripe that might only qualify as so bad it’s good. Yet here I am, a man who would kill for a another season to Spice and wolf or Kino’s Journey, staring at a sequel to what may be one of the worst anime to grace the medium. Life can be cruel and unfair.

Lance N’ Masques

The battle action novel series revolves around Youtarou Hanafusa, a young man who is part of the last remaining order of knights in the 21st century, “Knights of the World.” As he fights as the mysterious Knight Lancer, he must hide his identity behind a mask.

The author of this piece of work wrote scripts for animes such as Campione, Gj-bu, Aki-Sora and a harem involving girls who are transformed soda cans called Akikan….I highly doubt I need to continue.

K Return of Kings

In modern Japan, where history has strangely overlapped with reality. There, seven “Kings” with great superpowers existed. Along with their clansman to whom they shared their own power with, the kings each formed clans. Order bound by blue, red flames that cause chaos, irregularities that shine in white, and reforms branched off into green. The Kings, each with their own abilities, now… With “jungle” once again jumping back into action, the fates of the various Kings are brought together.

The disappointments continue. K was a poor attempt to cash in on a anime which targeted every demographic it could and yet focus on none. The story was a mess, the characters were dull and fanservice laughable. It always just made me laugh seeing two male characters fight yet get their faces within kissing distance. Thats not just me assuming, the way those scenes where shot it’s obvious just who they were pandering to. When you are targeting both the shounen crowd and Fujoshi’s in one scene, I think its time to rethink the plan. People felt it had good animation but in my opinion it felt like average animation put into Photoshop, layered with Photoshop filters and blue hues. I knew a sequel was coming and just as I thought back then, it doesn’t deserve one. Gohands haven’t been doing the best either as their last anime Copelion was a truly legendary train wreck to behold. Frankly for the cool city filled with wacky badass characters senario, we already have another season of Durarara coming. I don’t think we need the poor second cousin who’s desperate for attention.

Owari no Seraph 2

A direct continuation from the first season. The story takes place in a world where an unknown virus has killed the entire human population except for children under 13. Those children were then enslaved by vampires. The manga centers on Yuichiro Hyakuya, a human who dreams of becoming strong enough to kill all vampires.

I haven’t taken the care to continue watching the first season beyond two episodes but from what I heard it reached a level of terrible that’s downright laughable. Nothing worth your time.

Owarimonogatari

A display from the Shosen Book Tower book store in Tokyo has revealed that NisiOisin’s three-volume Owarimonogatari novel will be adapted into a television anime. The display also reveals the anime’s October premiere date.

If you seen a Monogatari series anime then you likely know what you are in for. Heavy amounts of dialogue, fanservice galore and highly stylised Shinbou limited animation madness. I have never really been a fan of the series as I see it more of a harem being hidden under mountains of pointless dialogue and utterly nonsense visual metaphors. I find the series exhausting more than anything as attempting to follow the spitfire conversations for more than two episodes is mentally draining. This looks to be the final season of the series and with that I say so long and thanks for all the headaches.

Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan

The “school sword action” story revolves around Magic Knights, modern magic-users who fight with weapons converted from their souls. Ikki Kurogane goes to a school for these Magic Knights, but he is the “Failed Knight” or “Worst One” who is failing because he has no magical skills. However, one day, he is challenged to a duel by Stella, a foreign princess and the “Number One” student. In this duel, “the loser must be obedient for life.”

The best comparisons for this would be Sword art Online or Mahouka. So like Mahouka we have a magic user who’s known for being the weakest when he’s actually the strongest Gary Sue fantasmo. And like SAO it has the odd choice of deciding the main heroine in the first arc and then subsequently adding more girls to the harem afterwards, even though it’s pointless. The protagonist has some odd saying of boasting about how he will beat people with his weakness which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It might be translation issue or simply a poor attempt at being cool. Other than that it’s the usual fare for Light novel plots.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk

In the previous century, humanity was attacked by an unprecedented disaster… The impact “Invertia.” The whole world was destroyed. However, humans acquired a new potential…”The Genestella.”

Originality is something that is near impossible to achieve. Even if you do come up with an uncommon idea, chances are you with be making use of a good amount of tropes on the TvTropes archive. But there are ways to make tired stories feel fresh and it is evident when you didn’t really try. As an example of not trying here we have Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, a by the numbers light novel story. This has been seen a dozen times and you know what’s the ultimate proof of this? See Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan up above? Both that and Asterisk start off exactly the the same, no joke. The first episodes of these shows will be near identical with its setup. Though regardless of which is first to do this idea, which is neither of them,I pick out this as the lazier of the two. Within its first chapter it sets up a Shounen hierarchy with an elite group known as page ones (they are definitely running out of names for these groups) and barrels of exposition which is essentially the same as other stories but with different terminology for the same things. If you want this kind of story you will likely be watching the above series. This one isn’t really worth your time.

Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou

The school comedy story is set in a junior high school and centers on the original manga’s characters such as Eren and Mikasa as they battle with Titans. The spin-off incorporates gags while using Shingeki no Kyojin’s story and notable scenes as its basis.

Nobody asked for this. Did anyone ask for this? I certainly didn’t ask for this, I didn’t see anyone else ask for this. Who was it that watched Attack on Titan and said “You know what would make this show better? If we set it at a high school!” Well let it never be said that I don’t give things a chance because I read the first two chapters of the manga. And it is awful. It’s just so cringe inducingly awful. The setup is basically that Titans are now bullying upperclassmen and taking things from the show and attempted to get a laugh by making the reasons stupid. For example, Eren still wants to kill all the Titans but not because one ate his mother. Instead a Titan stole his lunch when he was a kid and ate his cheeseburger. Yes people, that the golden comedy we are in for. Even if you were a fan of the show I highly doubt you would want to see this. The only value it has is taking familiar characters and seeing how they do in a school setting and doubt even fans are interested in that.

Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha Burst

The second season of Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha.

Sigh…I hate it when I am right. Somewhere deep down in my gut I knew this would get a second season. It’s just the kind of show that just gets lapped up. I can dismiss this as garbage, not recommended.

Hokuto no Ken: Ichigo Aji

The spinoff centers on a fun version of the Holy Emperor Souther as he tries to find ways to become friends with Kenshirou, demonstrates his party techniques, and sometimes plays with the Gosha Sei.

I have yet to check out Fist of the north star but I don’t think this would serve as a good introduction. It’s certainly a very…fruity show. Well for a show like this, it all comes down to the comedy factor.

Star Mu

The story starts when Yuuta Hoshiya enters Ayana Academy, a school focusing on show business activities, specifically music. The academy has a group of the three students with the highest grades in the musical department, and they are known as the Kao Kai (Cherry Blossom Flower Association). This organization stands at the top of the pecking order within the academy.

It’s the first work by a new anime studio with a team who don’t have anything under their belt. That line is becoming the new mantra for this season. Well the director did do Tsubasa but that’s really it. I don’t really expect much as this really looks to be a title made to earn some starting money.

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

Part of the Valkyrie Drive project which will include a console game, a smart phone game and an anime. The “beautiful girl sexy battle action” anime is set on five artificial islands.

It’s hard to make a good anime, potentially harder to make a good game. Attempting to make both at the same time and a phone game is just a recipe for disaster. Anime Game adaptions don’t have the best record either. But all hope was lost on the words “beautiful girl sexy battle action” the trailer had girls getting strong weapons and power through the magic of yuri. From the looks of things they need to get intimate with a girl to turn them into a weapon to use for combat. The target audience is clear and it’s a lost cause.

Osomatsu-san

The series follows the characters from the Osomatsu-kun manga after they’ve become adults.

I checked out the Osomatsu-Kun manga and found it to be a gag manga about six identail sixuplets. The humor was on the level of a Garfield or Archie comic so unless this anime is taking on a more mature tone this will be some squeaky clean comedy show. Comedy in anime is already a miss for me so this holds no interest.

 

Series I am middling on

 

Comet Lucifer

The story takes place on the planet Gift, where precious crystals called Giftjium are buried in the earth. A young man named Sōgo lives in Garden Indigo, a prosperous mining town. Sougo’s hobby is to collect rare crystals. One day, he gets wrapped up in a riot caused by his classmates Kaon, Roman, and Otto, and he loses his way until he finds a lake deep under the ground’s mining ruins. There, he meets a mysterious girl with blue hair and red eyes that gaze straight ahead. The story follows the adventure of what happens after this meeting.

Anime like this are the most troublesome for me. No source material, staff have only partially worked on some big name series and a trailer that explains absolutely nothing about what the shows about. That said it was a interesting and admittedly nice looking trailer. The animation studio is 8bit however, and I still haven’t forgiven them for those botched adaptations of Grisaia. Their output doesn’t inspire much confidence with such knockout titles as Infinite Stratos, Absolute Duo and Walkure Romanze. The best things on their portfolio is Aquarion Evo and Tokyo Ravens which were admittedly decent. No anime fan wishes for bad anime and I would like to hold hope that they can bring something great to the table. After all it does have a good artstyle and could be fun.

Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!

The manga revolves around middle school student Shuri Komori, who is too kind and is unable to say no when someone asks her for a favor. However, she has gained various amazing abilities as a result.

The main impression I got of this from reading the manga is that it’s a poor man’s Lucky Star. It’s a 4 koma manga whose main gimmick is that the lead character cannot refuse anyone’s request. Because of this she’s become really strong from carrying things, really smart from helping people with their homework, etc. That’s really all there is to it. I didn’t find the comedy funny but there nothing really horrible about it. It’s harmless mild entertainment.

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans

300 years after a great conflict between Earth and Mars known as the “Calamity War,” a woman named Cordelia sets out on a journey to Earth to speak for the independence of the Martian city of Chryse, which is under the control of the Earth government. Escorting her is the private security company CGS members Mikazuki Augus and Orga Itsuka. When a group named Gjallarhorn attacks CGS and Cordelia, Orga sees this as a chance to rebel against CGS and launch a coup. Mikazuki and Orga are thrust into a new conflict. To fend off Gjallarhorn, Mikazuki rides an old mobile suit from the Calamity War, powered by a nuclear reactor, the Gundam Barbatos.

This is a complete oddity in my eyes. My impression of the Gundam series as a whole is something that was never really my thing. The series advertises itself as a mecha combat show when it’s more a political thriller with some Mecha combat and the age old “War is bad” preaching. Still what makes this entry of the series so strange is who’s writing it. The writer of the series happens to be Mari Okada, a writer well known for Anohana and series often focused on teenage adolescent slice of life shows. She does happen to have other more varied series under her belt but is mainly known for shows surrounding teenage angst. I for one do not think Okada is a bad writer, as a matter of fact she can be a very good one provided that you can keep her under control. But this is the first time she’s been anywhere near a Mecha series and while Gundam has its share of love problems and angst she may have difficulty incorporating love troubles as the cast is predominantly male…well unless homosexuality is involved. Okada could turn it up to unbearable levels of ridiculous melodrama. However this is a show that’s different from her usual fair and If she is planning to use this to expand her writing skills into other genre that’s something I can respect. But another concern is that the director has only experience with slice of life romance so this could really end up being a unGundamlike Gundam show.

Heavy Object

The science-fiction war action story revolves around Objects — powerful, massive weapons that change the course of warfare — and Elite Object pilots. An odd Elite girl named Milinda meets Quenser, a student who aims to become a Object mechanic, with the soldier-in-training Heivia on a snowy battlefield.

On the surface Heavy Object sounds like a show with high potential. A series detailing the adventures of a group who find ways to exploit weaknesses to beat what are essentially Metal Gears. But then you take a look at the adaptor JC Staff and the original writer Kazuma Kamachi for that excitement to drain away. Kazuma is most well known for his Certain Magical Index series which may in fact be one of the titles to birth the Light novel formula used in every single unimaginative LN adaption to date. It is also the series which beat the Light novel formula to death and the author has been pushed to make two other protagonists to cover the fact that he has been remaking the same story arc again and again. Having read the first volume of the Light novel, I can say Heavy Object suffers from the same problems as his other works. Lame humor, characters defined by a gimmick and an endless conga line of girls falling in love with the protagonist. What could save this is the Metal Gear battles(Or..sigh…Heavy Objects) as it is interesting in how normal people find ways to take down giant robots.

Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni “Shomin Sample” Toshite Gets-Sareta Ken

In a hidden school surrounded by mountains, young ladies of good families are taught everything a high class lady needs to know. They are also completely cut off from the outside world, keeping them sheltered and innocent. However, a problem has come up recently—more and more graduates are failing to cope with the modern world after graduation. To deal with this problem, they’ve decided to kidnap a male commoner student, and enroll him as a student. They hope that this will be a gentle way to introduce the girls to the outside world. Kagurazaka Kimito is chosen for this dubious honor, mostly because he seems utterly average. However, the school leaders also seem to have concluded he’s a homosexual with a muscle fetish. When Kimito hears that the alternative may be castration (to protect the girls’ purity), he eagerly plays along with this misconception. Now he’ll just have to survive the attention of many high class young ladies that are completely out of touch with the world!

I have read the manga for this one before the anime announcement and overall found it to be decent. The focus of the show is more on comedy than harem hijinks and that comedy is actually pretty funny at times. The main bulk of the story has to do with a commoner club which is set up to introduce normal things to high class girls ignorant of the world. Naturally hilarity ensues as they misunderstand or take too well to foreign concepts. There is fanservice but it actual is a fairly enjoyable story with characters which are different from the usual stereotypes. With the right execution it could be a very watchable anime.

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiruu

The novel series revolves around Shoutarou Tatewaki and Sakurako Kujyou. Shoutarou is a normal high school student with a serious demeanor who likes to show off his girlfriend Sakurako. Sakurako is an extraordinarily beautiful woman in her mid-20s from a rich family who loves “beautiful bones.” The two live in the city of Asahikawa in Hokkaido, and they get involved in various incidents regarding bones.

This has a promising hook but a few things have me concerned. It’s seems that romance may overshadow the “incidents regarding bones” seeing how much of the synopsis focuses on it. That isn’t inherently bad but requires your two main characters to have good onscreen chemistry. Spice and wolf has proven that a good character dynamic can carry the show even when the topic of said show is generally dull. In this regard the main male lead doesn’t inspire confidence having the general “average male high school student” design. The main female lead so far only has a gimmick of loving bones which looks to be something that will grow tiresome quickly. Other than that I predict the typical Sherlock and Watson relationship in regards to solving cases. But there are some pluses however, as it is a light novel adaption and from the looks of things has a notable absence of a harem.

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen

When I came to, I realized I was standing in the middle of a vast, snowy plain I knew nothing of. I didn’t know how I got there. And to add to that, I couldn’t remember anything, not even my name. I stood there, dumbfounded at my absurd situation. But then, as if to spite me further, a gigantic monster suddenly appeared, an insect-like creature that began to bear down on me. I tried desperately to run, but it cornered me into a hopeless situation. It was then that the girl appeared. Her name was Kuon. It was this beautiful girl, who bore an animal’s ears and tail, who saved my life.

I have watched the first episode of the first Utawarerumono anime and played the game/Visual novel which was a strategy game in the same lines of Fire Emblem. The game itself was decent with mediocre gameplay and a good enough story. It did have difficulties juggling what were slice of life hijinks and strategy gameplay. My biggest issue with the game was the deeply weak villains whose motivations barely went beyond being evil because they have high status. The director of this new anime has a large resume with some highs(legend of the galactic heroes, Katanagatari) and a lot of lows(School days,Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!) But my overall worry is this. This anime is based on a game that comes out at the exact same time as it’s airing. It’s clear that the anime is for the sole purpose of pushing game sales so how much effort is put into may be questionable. Making a good anime and a good game is hard enough one at a time but making both could make the two lesser. The game itself reminds me of Fire Emblem Awakening which I loved so it interests me but the anime I feel has a lot of hurdles to overcome. Tears to Tiara was anime of a game made by the same company and was done pretty well. But even so it was a decent anime at best. At most I see this being an average watchable anime that won’t really impress.

Young Black Jack

Young Black Jack is a prequel to Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga series about a brilliant maverick doctor who practices without a license.

Biggest concern here is that the one who penned the manga happens to be the same Mangaka behind Wolf Guy:Ookami no Monshou, which was…well a mess of rape and gore. But he also seems to be behind Akumetsu, a seinen manga which seems to have a positive reception from what I see. So I highly doubt this will be tamer than Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack manga, rather chances are the dark themes and gritty storytelling are going to get amped up. Which isn’t a bad thing in itself but dark storytelling requires a good writer or it ends up simply juvenile. I don’t have any experience with the original Black Jack manga though I have heard of the character but this could act as a decent introduction to the series. The animation studio seems very traditional having a majority of their works be Osamu Tezuka manga adaptions. I hope their animation is not also suck in traditional ways as there isn’t really a need anymore for speed lines and drawn out scenery shots. Or the heavily overdramatic overacted nature of old school anime. The amount of info on the series is limited so really it could go any way on this, still the concept of the manga intrigues me and I am always up for some dark themed stories.

 

Series I do look forward to

One Punch Man

The manga revolves around the titular super hero who has trained so hard that his hair has fallen out, and who can overcome any enemy with one punch. However, because he is so strong, he has become bored and frustrated with winning all his battles so easily.

In Shounen anime the common theme is the drive to be the very best. The best fighter, best cook, best monster collector, etc. But what would happen if you actually became the best? If you really were the strongest guy around who could beat anybody with one punch? Well enter Saitama, the hero of this story who shows us just how exciting being the best is. Namely being bored out of his skull because he hasn’t had a challenging fight or anything that requires him to go all out. One Punch man can be comparable to the manga Ratman or the anime Tiger and Bunny. It involves hired superheroes and the disasters which face the city. Disasters which Saitama usually solves instantly without anyone really knowing about it. This story isn’t a deconstruction of the Shounen genre but it is a highly entertaining and a funny action story. Madhouse does have its work cut out for them though. The manga is based on a webcomic with poor art, but the manga’s art is top class having been drawn by Yusuke Murata, best known for Eyeshield 21. The art of the manga is so good that there are pages of intricately drawn scenes which when put together in gif format can form some pretty impressive animation.(Look here to see: http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/03/06/chapter-of-one-punch-man-manga-turned-into-incredible-animated-gif) Madhouse is a trustworthy adaptor so I can easily see this being the highlight of the season.

Subete ga F ni Naru

The story of the original Subete ga F ni Naru novel revolves around Souhei Saikawa, a member of the Saikawa Research Lab. He goes on a vacation held by the lab, and Moe Nishinosono, the daughter of his mentor, joins the group on their vacation despite not being a part of the lab. There, the two end up finding a corpse. The two work together to solve the mysteries of what becomes a serial murder case.

This and Sakurako make difficult shows to talk about as neither have source material that’s translated. The anime is based on a novel published in 1996. So I briefly checked out the first episode live action drama series made about the novels. What we have here looks to be a quite traditional murder mystery which I do quite adore. Nothing really makes you think more than a well written whodunit story. Though the beginning of the episode was very surreal hinting at the possibility of a supernatural element. I admittedly skimmed the episode mainly because I didn’t want to spoil myself on the show and secondly because the acting was pretty terrible. Most notable thing about the animation staff is that the director of Elfin Lied and Denpa Teki na Kanojo is directing this. Other than that genuine murder mystery is always welcome in my book, as long as it’s not the type of no thought required mystery Ranpo Kitan is showing. Truly good mystery stories require a clever writer that can make use of misdirection and setup. From my light viewing of the drama it looks as though this series will be presenting the viewer with the ingredients to solve the mystery themselves. The question is whether the characters can be interesting while presenting the mystery itself. A common problem with classic murder mystery is that the presentation of the mystery is first and foremost, thus the characters are limited in characterisation as their characters must remain enigmatic enough to be suspected. In this regard they can come across as plot devices for exposition about the mystery rather than genuine characters. I wonder if this story can dodge that particular problem but even if it can’t, this genre is one that is far too lacking in anime media.

Posted on 15 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

If it’s one thing this episode has taught us it’s that you should never cockblock a Goth-loita demi-gods plans for the night. Anime truly is the greatest teacher one could have, even more so than a yellow squid creature that moves at mach speed but not quite on the level of a gangster leader with a tendency of destroying Cresta cars. But all things considered, I highly doubt Rory even needs a plan to seduce Itami. Just grab him, throw him into a bedroom, lock the door and he’s yours. He wasn’t completely unwilling the last time you tussled so all you need to do is give him a push. Still Rory’s purposeful sabotage of the dark elf’s request for the green men to help her is unknowingly cruel on her part. That, and quite frankly I want to see the JSDF take on that fire dragon she wants them to kill. This dark elf however is quite naive for her age, as anyone with common sense would know that it’s a bad idea to show that you have something immensely valuable on you. If that piece of adamantite isn’t stolen from her in the next few episodes then I consider this shows representation of humanity to be completely unrealistic.

In other parts of the world we have Pina in a bath planning out negotiations for increasing the number of nobles in favor of a peace treaty. Admittedly I scoff at the idea of the military not using threats or a monopoly of goods to gain an advantage in negotiations and only play it non violently. That may be another of the authors nationalistic tendencies coming through. We also have Tuka and her delusion of her father being still alive. I find it funny the way that anime seasons can randomly land on similar topics sometimes as Tuka isn’t the only delusional girl this season. It’s pretty clear with the reemergence of the fire dragon threat that Tuka is going to be involved somehow. Itami has a point with helping Taku, one cannot just half heartedly do the job. It has to be something to commit to no matter what but with how this show is going it likely Itami who will take that position. He’s already got Rory and Lelei charmed, Tuka looks to be next on the list.

Animation had a bit of a hiccup here as Rory crying was shown with two frames of jittery animation that was just odd. The CGI animation though I must admit has gotten better. There’s potential for this style of adding drawn lines to CGI models. The Harrier jets at the end of the episode had points where you could have been fooled into thinking they were actual 2D animation. The dragon still looked off putting when flying, but when breathing fire and roaring it worked well. Ultimately it comes down to how much movement frames the models are allowed, as it can make or break the illusion. But any attempt to blend 3D more naturally into 2D is certainly applauded. Next episode looks like our dark elf isn’t going to get exactly what she was expecting.

Posted on 13 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

Murphy’s law has come into full effect and I must say that you will either watch this episode with a sadistic smile or with a worried interest. The episode started slow with what could be a fourth wall breaking moment of Miki discussing the book she finished. Her words about having read the translated version of the book and that it’s only natural that the original version would end the same seem directed at the manga readers. Basically a wink to let us know that what’s coming isn’t going to change from the source. But I must admit there is some masterful misdirection here. As we all no doubt guessed, Taromarou is now dead or undead in this case as he was bitten. Hardly a surprise as the dog’s death was heavily foreshadowed for the past few episodes. The opening even has gone through even more changes as now zombie Megumi is shown and Taromarou is missing completely. Not to mention Yuki’s hat at the end of the opening is now covered in blood. So we all knew this dog was going to die, yet under this obvious twist was a far more surprising one. I am fairly certain that nobody(who is watching anime only) saw Kurumi’s death coming.

I knew about it but only because I accidentally spoiled myself on that matter and am currently kicking myself for it. I mean out of anyone in the group, I thought Kurumi had the greatest plot armour. She’s a fan favourite and is the group’s main attacker and scout. Killing off Kurumi puts the rest of the group in a much more dangerous situation and her character was one who could get them out of dangerous spots. Well to be honest she isn’t confirmed dead yet as there still some mention of medicine in the lower floors but if that turned out to save her it would be a fairly cheap plot device. Part of me wants there to be something to save her as I do like her character yet I feel her dying lends much more to the story to come. In looking at the situation it looks very likely that she will die and doing so puts Yuuri in a awkward position of killing her turned friend. She did take out a familiar cloth wrapped knife from the ending and she did make a promise to end her life if she ever got bit.

What might surprise people is that Taromarou didn’t originally have this big a role in the manga. In the manga he was briefly shown in a flashback and was already bitten by the time he joined the gang. He had no connection to Miki and was originally found by Yuki and died before Miki joined them. The connection between Taromarou and Miki leads itself greatly to the story now as with Kurumi on her deathbed Miki has to go down and look for medicine. She isn’t quite aware that there’s still a zombie Taromarou in the lower floors. Though to make matters worse the zombies have broken down their barricade and are making their ways to the upper floors. The cherry on top of the tragedy is that Yuki by episodes end looks to have snapped out of her delusional fantasy and now sees things as they really are. Next weeks episode really cannot come fast enough. One concern however deals with the number of remaining episodes as it seems that there isn’t enough to cover the remainder of this arc from the manga. It’s possible they will attempt to make a original ending or they might cut the story off in the middle of the arc. Neither outcome is quite desirable as I am interested in seeing how this all plays out and would like another season.

Posted on 10 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Naturally Rory’s seduction is cut short before this series can get a M rating. The interrupter being a well timed phone message. For future reference for those who might not be quite as familiar with this, in anime when a character is about to get laid, it will be interrupted 95% of the time. Its 100% if he’s the one getting seduced. Rory does proceed to slaughter the approaching special forces teams in a prime moment of pure chaos. The action scene was probably one of the best in the series so far though it does highlight the toning down of gore with the anime adaption. The Manga could be especially brutal with its depictions. But I consider it a plus that the gore and sexual themes were toned down as they were mainly there for shock value. With that I believe it’s time to address the elephant in the room. For those who don’t know, the author of Gate is apparently a right wing nationalist.

I say apparently as I have avoided the novel to not tarnish my view of the series. The Manga and Anime seem to tone this down a bit but you can’t see parts of it still remain in the story. The complete can do no wrong idealistic view of the military and Japanese government and the general nature of portraying other world nation leaders with the moral complexity of Captain Planet villains. The novel is apparently so sickeningly nationalistic that it turns a lot of people off but from my viewing of the anime the only real thing that’s changed for me is that instead of “America, Hell Yeah!”, its ” Japan, Hell Yeah!” Considering that neither of these countries is the actual best country in the world, Ireland, this means very little to me…put down your pitchforks. I am clearly joking. I mean have you seen our government? It’s pure trash, they keep stealing more of my paycheck and tell me it’s to fix the economy they screwed up in the first place. And it’s so hard to find good anime around here…sorry. Got sidetracked. What I mean really is that I have long come to accept that wherever a film or anime is made then that place is the center of the universe.

Itami and his ex-wife have some great chemistry together which is a shame seeing as she is remaining in Japan. The two work well together on screen and you can tell there’s a real history between them. Yet they must return to the other world and his Ex-wife future appearance looks far off indeed. The CGI crowd at the end of the episode was surely fooling no one. If you are going to to animate a crowd of people using CGI then at least give them more movement frames otherwise you end up with crowd of animatronic robots.As for the gifts the girls brought back, I wonder just what a mage will do with a laptop as her disposal.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*poorly forcing
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that is one of the biggest advantages the show has for me, after being annoyed by so many shows ending up with tonal shifts and forcing cute designs into something more serious it is nice to see that girls last tour avoids that problem.
Amagi
My texts are always too long..
Amagi
It isn't enough to just say "look there is a dark subplot somewhere or a backdrop dystopia and we will get to it whenever it seems convenient". Last Tour is the opposite, it is moe, but the girls are part and product of the world they live in, + the cute and serious parts don't feel like two different series being glued together.
Amagi
Girl's Last Tour is the good type of moe show for me. There are many that have or pretend to have some serious undertone, be it some dystopian setting or politics or whatever. But the difference between the good and the bad shows is that the former are actually connected with their serious part in everything they think or do while the bad shows only use the other topic as cheap way to alure fans.
SuperMario
@Bokusen: I'm not sugarcoating it, but Houseki tends to be the title that split the audience. Give it a try at least. If you can tolerant the first three episodes, chances that you will enjoy the rest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Now if only someone will translate the side story manga aswell.
KTravlos
Happiness! New chapters of Gunka no Baltazar!
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
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