Posted on 27 February 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

A calm episode of Boku Machi this week but certainly a very strong one. The teacher looked to be removing suspicions on him this episode with his efforts to get child services to finally catch Kayos mom. However my prime suspect remains him and if anything I think hes proving his guilt. Removing the camera shots that make him look suspicious; we have some things here linking him to the killer. For one, the kids discovered that the bus they were keeping Kayo in was also being used as the killer’s hideout. Kenya mentioned that the bus was used by the school and abandoned. Which stands to reason that the killer knew that the bus wasn’t being used as well and is connected with the school. The teacher is the one calling social services on Kayos mom; which stands to reason that he’s the perfect person to tip her off about the visits. But then why get social services to investigate in the first place? Well it looks like he isn’t the only one concerned with Kayos situation and Sachiko is involved as well. He might be doing it for the sake of appearance. His knowledge that Satoru had hidden Kayo is also suspicious; it’s possible to come to that conclusion but I feel he was so certain because he knew that they were using his hideout as a place to hide her. You can’t fool me, mister teacher. You are still my prime suspect.

Satoru thankfully takes my advice and decides to trust in his mother after the base is compromised. If Sachiko hasn’t won the award for best mother in anime before this; she certainly has now. Taking Kayo in and giving her all the care in the world made the second half of this episode truly heartwarming. Also a bath scene that wasn’t pandering fanservice. See anime? You can do it if you try. It could be argued that we are spending too much time on Kayo and putting the main storyline to the wayside. Especially as we are reaching the end of the series and still have a large amount of material to cover. I do have my concerns about that but frankly this was an excellent episode. In particular the scene with Kayo crying at the sight of a lovingly made breakfast was truly powerful and moving. Truly masterfully done. The thing that makes it all the more effective is that Kayo up till this point had been very mature child. She never cried at being abused by her mother, or at anything she would have every right to cry about. But when faced with genuine unconditional love, all the barriers she set up melted away and she became a kid once again. I am impressed by that scene and particularly annoyed when Yuki Kajiura wormed her piano song into in and started get me thinking how it’s too damn similar to Fate/zero and that using piano for this scene is so damn lazy and goddamn it Yuki! Gah! Personal gripes with that aside it was well executed scene.

I remain in a strange position with this show. For you see I do think this has been done wonderfully so far and I want to lavish praise on it. But part of me is reserved on doing so because this show isn’t over and I feel if I begin to push it as anime of the season I risk jinxing the remainder of its run. Then there is the big worry, the fact that this anime has been confirmed to portray the manga ending, yet it has only covered about half the manga so far and we have only four episodes left. I am praying in my heart that there is a second season in the works or at least a small series of OVA episodes because no matter how good the execution has been so far, I cannot see the situation of shoving twenty one thirty page chapters of manga into a short time frame ending well. Of course, I want to be wrong on that, I want this to all work out. Well in coming back to the episode we have Kayos mom getting antsy now that Kayo isn’t around to let her take out her frustrations. But this episodes cliffhanger looks like she will finally be getting some just desserts.

Posted on 25 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Things are looking up for Yakumo, he’s finally found his rhythm, he’s becoming more popular and his talent is being recognized. The only problem is that girl that keeps forcing him to go on dates. Yakumo’s romantic affairs are strange in that he never actively searches for love but inadvertently finds himself in relationships despite that. In his love life it’s often the girl that’s coming on to him instead of the other way around. I don’t think Yakumo ever looked at these girls in a sexual way as his interactions with them often feel distant. I never seen him light up red even when a girl is throwing herself at him. Likewise I feel this is evidence enough that he’s not homosexual as well as he’s never got embarrassed bathing with men either. The time he was most embarrassed and vulnerable was when he was dressed as a woman for the play. Which leads me to believe he has no interest in sexual interaction at all. It was sort of a blessing that Yakumo’s previous girlfriends never stuck around long enough to realise he wasn’t that into them. A blessing our dear Miyokichi does not have. It’s a tragic development that the first man Miyokichi truly falls for is someone who isn’t romantically interested in her at all. Which is one of the main reasons she fell for him in the first place. However with Yakumo’s career taking off it looks like now he’s decided to finally cut her out but from the looks of it this isn’t out of malice or annoyance. I think it’s pretty clear he does care for her seeing as he let her push him into a relationship. But he won’t feel the same love for her as she does for him and is likely nipping the relationship in the bud before things get too serious. It’s cruel but necessary and Miyokichi likely knows that better than anyone. I personally see this as the beginning of her targeting Sukeroku, mainly to get a reaction out of him.

Rakugo wise we have a shift in power as Yakumo looks to be becoming more popular than Sukeroku. Even their master acknowledges Yakumo’s skill over Sukerokus by taking him touring with him which considering how he was previously left behind during the war, must truly mean the world to Yakumo. Sukeroku’s reaction to this is hard to gauge, it could be jealously or him being happy for Yakumo. His demeanor doesn’t change much besides some small reactions. This is just my own thoughts but I think Sukeroku is hiding some more complex feelings under his facade. This is the time when Sukerokus weaknesses are becoming more apparent when contrasted with Yakumo. His disrespect for his seniors, his impulsive experimentation, bad time management and shabbiness of his appearance. Yakumo is trying to help him in his fussy responsible sibling manner but Sukeroku isn’t the man to listen to words asking him to change. I say that it is Sukerokus eccentricities that likely made the master choose Yakumo over him as his Rakugo remains good. Yakumo and Sukeroku have always been opposites and now it seems that just like Yakumo’s weaknesses lay in performing, Sukerokus weaknesses lay outside of it. I think we have moved on to how Sukeroku will improve as a performer and something tells me that the thing to make him straighten up is a certain geisha girl.

Posted on 23 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

These latest episodes of Schwarzesmarken have started to show the shine I once saw in the MuvLuv Alternative visual novel. Characters remain underdeveloped but the show has benefited from having the characters defined by the situation and thus we can ignore that fact that they are very thin personality. The BETA battles are excellently animated too and really show off how much of a difference it makes between fighting laser class and heavy laser class. The Static sprites of the visual novel made it difficult to convey the level of threat each BETA strain posed. You were told of course, but when it came to combat all BETA were the same. Combat is fast and tense, I just wish I felt more for the characters to let it put me on the edge of my seat. Though Theodor just went up a notch in my book and for one simple reason. Dear readers I have seen so many anime that try to make you think the that the main character is about to get laid. So much so that I practically assume that no matter how good the situation looks, something will prevent it. So when I heard that Theodor genuinely slept with Lise I had to do a doubletake. I thought that maybe it wasn’t what it sounded like but they made it abundantly clear, Theodor had sex with her. Well Theodor you are now above over 95% of harem protagonists just by being able to do the deed. Even if you choose to do it with the worst person possible.

Well Lise is a Stasi spy, just as I figured. Her allegiance looks to be with the Russian faction of the Stasi and the move looks to have caught Theodor off guard. Theodor wasn’t a complete idiot and held on to the possibility of his sister being a spy and it seems he slept with her to keep her under his thumb. Logically speaking that’s a decent move as it does look like Lise truly loves Theodor but Theodor simply isn’t good at manipulation. He’s too oblivious to others feelings and far too straightforward to be able to effectively keep her under his control. One of the biggest issues are that it’s clear to anyone that he holds feelings for Irisdina and very nearly confessed to her at the end of the episode. I am guess this was the main motivation for Lises choice of hostage at the end of the episode. Theodor made it abundantly clear to Lise just how much Irisdina meant to him when she asked him to run away with her. Though thinking of that, she likely suggested this to prevent him from seeing her do the dirty work of killing his teammates. The second is that Theodor greatly underestimates his step-sister. Truly who knows what kind of dirty work Lise had to do while within the stasi. She is not the same little girl you knew back when you were kids.

Things are looking bleak, the BETA are performing Zerg rush tactics, the Stasi have instigated a Coup d’etat and now they have captured the Schwarzesmarken team. From my speculation I would say that the move to capture the team and the Coup d’etat are the two factions working separately. The Coup seems like Axemanns work and the capture of the team looks like Beatrix’s work. Based on this I would say the Russian faction is planning to use the team as bargaining chips to get the upper hand over the Berlin faction. I doubt the Stasi is unified in this Coup d’etat as while it has a high chance of success when in the middle of a BETA attack, once you have managed to overthrow command, then the Stasi will have to be the one to deal with the BETA attack. Considering they spent most of their time overthrowing isn’t of defending against the attack, it’s doubtful things would end well. As with many a war, it’s always the idiotic commander who happens to mess things up for everyone. There’s may be giant robots and Aliens about but in the end, war never changes.

Posted on with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

From back to the future to back to the past and not a moment too soon. Satoru’s plan is something I find a little strange as despite his efforts to save Hinazuki’s it making it easier for her to get killed. Taking Hinazuki away from her mother is a good call, leaving Hinazuki alone in an abandoned location is not the right call. It’s a little bit of pity that Satoru was stopped before pushing Hinazuki’s mom down the stairs, even if Kenya made a good call in stopping him. That fall could very likely kill her and as satisfying as that would be, it wouldn’t put Satoru in the best position. This time around it’s nice to see the little details as this is Satoru’s third third going through all this and he’s a bit more in control. One really interesting detail is that when the surprise party happened, the reaction from Satoru was more forced than his initial reaction the first time. When looking at his eyes you could tell he was expecting it.

Satoru’s plan this time around was far from perfect and I believe his first mistake was trusting Kenya. Due to my suspicions of the teacher I never quite trusted Kenya, especially with his unusual level of maturity. Also he was eagerly forward to help Satoru this time around and while he did talk with Satoru many times after Hinazukas disappearance last time, I feel like Kenya is aware that this isn’t the first time they have been through this. Personally I believe Satoru has a perfect allie around who would prove to be far more trustworthy and useful than Kenya. That of course is Sachiko, Satoru’s mom. If Satoru sat down and explained everything to her I am sure Sachiko would believe him. She’s had his back before when facing off against Hinazuki’s mother so I have full confidence that she would be behind him if he said it was for Hinazuki. However it is possible that our mystery visitor at the end of the episode is Sachiko. She was aware of Satoru leaving in the middle of the night and she does have a tendency to follow him if she’s worried about him.

I hope so as to see Hinazuki die a second time would be heartbreaking. Over the years I may have found myself distancing my feelings for characters if I was under the slightest suspicion that they would be killed off but Hinazuki holds that factor that makes her endearing. He definitely gives you the feeling of wanting to protect her and I am aware that’s generally a moe character thing but Hinazuki does not hold the traits that often make moe characters very irritating. I would say I good example of this would be the female characters in a Jun Maeda work. Often to make the tragic twist hit all the harder, he makes his female characters as innocent as possible. As a result the girls in his works don’t really act like teenage girls, they act like kindergarteners. Hinazuki is at the age where it would be justifiable to make her act like a Jun Maeda heroine but she holds a much higher level of maturity and intelligence. She doesn’t try to act cute, she’s just loveable the way she is.

Posted on 17 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

This episode was a bit of a re-thread as after Yakumo has discovered his talent for Rakugo, he’s now wondering as to who he’s doing it for. We have a rather pointless flashback to when Yakumo was a child and it seems before they took him to become a Rakugo performer, they tried to make him a Geisha. I wasn’t aware that boys could become Geisha, and this episode seems to agree on that. Which makes me wonder what cruel mistress would toss him away into a profession where he is doomed from the start. I believe the point of this was to remind us that Yakumo was pretty much abandoned once he lost his ability to dance due to a leg injury. Hence him coming to the realization of wanting somewhere where he belonged. This would be fine but we have already established this before and this just seems like an unnecessary reminder. Sukeroku has displayed that there may be more to him that meets the eye as it’s possible that his actions of getting Yakumo to star in the play and push him to do more racy Rakugo could be Sukeroku helping Yakumo’s talent blossom. There definitely seems to be a method in his madness as even in this episode he helped Yakumo realise something important for his Rakugo by bring up his reason for performing. Yakumo does look to hate receiving guidance from Sukeroku as it makes him feel inferior to him. Even upon realising that Sukeroku was the first to suggest he perform racy Rakugo caused him to tremble with irritation. I think Sukeroku knows this on some level and hides his guidance under drunken stupor or his easygoing attitude. Sukeroku might just be more that meets the eye or he could just be doing this subconsciously. Either way it looks like he and Sukeroku are now equals on the Rakugo front and Yakumo has gained a huge boost of confidence.

Rakugo once again takes up a huge portion of the episode but that is by no means a bad thing. You really can see just how the characters improve their acts but I don’t necessarily like how the stories they tell are getting more visually represented. Understandably it does show they are painting a picture of their stories better and the show does avoid giving a completely clear picture. Plus we have to give those artists someway to put in their creative side. One nice little touch I liked was that before the performance, Yakumo was shown in black with just white outlines. It was interesting as his expression in that shot mirrored the expression he had when he lowered his head to the floor at the end of his performance and you could see the reflection of his face. Perhaps it was to show his new found confidence for Rakugo in that he knew that he would perform well before he even started. Or symbolism of the uncertainty over why he performs and then his clear resolution by his stories end. On another note, I can safely say that Shouwa Genroku is a anime that is outright impossible to dub. A pity as I feel the stories would have more impact if they were heard instead of read but truly there is no way this could be dubbed satisfactory. Not only would the stories humor be lost in translation, but the voice actors would need to present a slow progressive performance of showing how the characters improve at Rakugo. If there are english voice actors who can pull off such a feat, I would certainly be impressed. So with the main conflict out of the way, I wonder just what this series will focus on next and from the looks of the preview we will be delving a little into Yakumo’s romantic troubles.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

In a pleasant turn of events, this was the best episode of Schwarzesmarken to date. We didn’t have much mecha action but instead we have a high focus on Schwarzesmarken’s strongest asset. Namely its setting and internal politics. (Strange as with a Gundam series I tend to hate those aspects) there were some nice bits of character development, though Gretel’s should have been established much earlier. We learn that the Stasi is not united and is instead undergoing a power struggle between two factions. One lead by Axmann who wishes to cut ties with all foreign nations for the Stasi to stand on it’s own and other lead by another man who has Beatrix under his thumb and wishes to strengthen ties with the soviet’s. With that the suicidal nature of the Stasi makes so much more sense. The Stasi isn’t just trying to take over the military but is also fighting for power within itself. Everyone is so concerned with solidifying their position that they don’t take into account the inevitable demise of the country by the hands of BETA. Much like any apocalypse story, the most dangerous thing on the planet are humans themselves. We have a number of players on the field, the two factions of the Stasi, the military and minor factions such as Theodors group and this new group. Even in modern times, the game of thrones continues on.

The second half of the episode focuses on a particular dilemma, whether Lise is a Stasi spy. For Theodor this is troublesome as he what’s to believe in his sister but as things go on she just gets more and more suspicious. So much so that the entire team is on hand to take her out by episodes end. Even Katia joining the witchhunt. Axmann stirred up the pot, likely because he thinks Lise is a spy for the Russian faction of Stasi and this isn’t helped but Lise’s suspicious actions. Her efforts to get the team to dismiss the thought of her being a spy and her efforts to try to get Katia and Theodor to admit to fighting the stasi only serve to damn her further. Her last action this episode seems to be a move of pure desperation as she tries to seduce Theodor. You could write this off as typical harem nonsense but I have never seen a harem girl make a move so daring.

So do I think Lise is a spy, that sweet innocent girl who only wants the best for her brother? Well…she’s a spy without doubt. How am I so certain of that? The most damning piece of evidence is her conversation with Katia. True her insinuations about having Theodor to herself if Irisdina was out of the picture is pretty telling when she’s the one making the move on him at episodes end. But that’s not what gave her away. For you see when Lise gave back Katia’s necklace she said “You should be careful carrying around a picture of you and a westerner” and here’s the thing. Katia burned the picture of her and her father in an earlier episode. This episode showed her replacing it in the necklace with a newspaper clipping of their victory at the BETA battle. So how did Lise know what picture was in the necklace before? This is a most interesting turn of events as Theodor must now come to terms with his sister being a spy as I highly doubt her seduction will work. But if Lise is found out I doubt the Stasi will let her live so Theodor, what will it be? Let your sister be sent to her death a second time or sell out your team to save her life? Now this Schwarzesmarken, is my kind of entertainment.

Posted on 15 February 2016 with categories: Yearly Summaries

2015 from what I have been hearing has been a good year for music and games but that’s not what we are assessing here. The true question is, was it a good year for anime? In truth it may depend on your tastes and this year was divisive to say the least. The best anime tended to be love it or hate it affairs but at least there was some interesting things at work. Personally I consider it the year of strong starts with weak finishes. There were plenty of anime whose first episodes held light of a new potential greats but it never quite managed to reach that level.

So Aidan, what made you late this time you ask?(You likely didn’t ask but please, humor me) Well when gearing up to write this summary I came to the shocking conclusion that I just plain forgot to watch some standout titles this year. Putting them on the backlog while I get though my ever expanding pile of steam games. It would be a shame to leave up potential candidates for the top ten simply because I neglected to watch them. That said there were sacrifices, I never got around to watching “Arslan Senki” after all. I also still remain halfway through Jojo stardust crusaders. So I ask for mercy should your favorite show not end up on the list below and keep in mind that top tens are ridiculously arbitrary. I don’t even consider the order to have any meaning as plenty of these can change places. I would say the list below is just ten interesting anime this year listed in no particular order.

So without further ado, the 2015 summary.


Worst series

Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki

I could have went the easy route and stuck something like Punchline or Lances du Mask but anime such as these you just expect to be bad. When I ask myself on just what this year really made me regret anticipating it was most certainly this. Bad anime which are expected to be bad don’t hurt anyone but a bad anime that could have been something great is something to mourn. Chaos Dragon was based on a tabletop role playing session which featured three of the best writers in the industry. It could have been a great experiment to see what improv storytelling these people could dream up. Sadly by based on, they mean they took the setting and characters and pretty much nothing else. For someone seemed to think that they could make a better story and proceed to turn the thing into a Akame no Kill knockoff with poor pacing, inconsistent animation with bad CGI and a plot that just doesn’t make sense. It could have been something great but sadly now it never will be.

Worst First episode

K Return of Kings

Sometimes during the first impressions of an anime seas I feel like a judge on one of those music talent shows. I watch acts come and go till eventually I get some cocky person so convinced that they will blow me away with their performance. In the end they present a sub-par no effort show and yet still hold a ego more obnoxious than my own. Well that’s this show’s first episode for me. A story that’s making no effort to explain itself to the viewer, fanservice that has no idea which target market to aim for, dialogue so obtuse that it might as well be replaced with foghorns for what little it provides and visual so shaded under a blue gradient that just annoys without end once noticed. Was I interested in seeing what the rest of the show had to offer? No, no I was not.

Best Opening

Death Parade

One would think that a show about life and death would have a much more somber piece for its opening animation. But Death Parade threw that all out the window and decided to have an opening with the cast getting together and having a great time. Tonally the opening is a complete opposite of the show with its peppy catchy tune and fast beat that can make you tap along. Accompanied but visuals of dancing and messing around, it really hard to skip when you turn on a episode. A complete contrast to the grim subject matter of the series but perhaps that’s the point. The business of death need not be a somber one and if you are getting sent to either heaven or hell, at least you can be sent off with a party.

Biggest disappointment

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

Death Parade was also a disappointment but it didn’t quite let me down as bad as Subete did. Personally, I love the murder mystery genre and wish I had more anime to sate that thirst. Plenty have tried the mystery angle but often resorted to stories that require little thought and are mainly spectacle. Then here comes Subete promising me exactly what I wanted and getting me fully on board for an exciting tale. However Subete ultimately played its cards too early and left the majority of the series attempting to stretch out the paper thin plot to fit the runtime. Enduring its tedium rewards watchers with a conclusion that’s obvious, nonsensical and overall pretentious. So once again I sit with an itch for some great murder mystery and wondering if I should replay Umineko no naku koro ni when it is released on steam.

Most pleasant surprise

Gakkou Gurashi!

Gakkou was a show that truly surprised me, not because of the shows hidden nature as I was already clued into that aspect, but rather how well directed it was. On all accounts Gakkou lives and dies on a gimmick, that being Moe slice of life mixed with a zombie apocalypse. Both are tired concepts yet this show managed to make both feel fresh by using the discrepancy between the genres. It has a rather predictable ending and one or two unnecessary filler episodes however it makes up for its shortcomings through some fantastic execution.

Best animation studio


This was a pretty good year for Lerche, having a pretty consistent track record throughout the year with at least an interesting or entertaining show each season. Monster musume remains one of the most enjoyable harems I have seen in years and Gakkou was a pleasant surprise. Even Ronpa was at least an interesting experiment and Assassination classroom is a fun show. As a studio my opinion of them has gone up as they managed to not only adapt source material well but elevate it. (With the exception of Ronpa which disregarded it completely.) I look forward to their future projects and I hope they can keep up the good work.

Best Guilty Pleasure

Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai

Monster Musume also deserves a mention for doing something different with the tired old fanservice harem but Shimoneta wins with just pure vile creativity. Taking place in a dystopian society that embodies censorship taken to its logical extreme, you could think that this is a commentary on the nature of repression. However whatever commentary Shimoneta provides is either in your face or accidental. No, the real goal of Shimoneta is to make as many sex jokes as humanly possible. The story manages to break expectations as things happen like the shows most boring Mary Sue character becoming the primary show stealer and the utter ludicrous as one episode features a tutorial on how to make a homemade onahole. It does have its weaknesses such as a villain introduced in its later episodes but manages to entertain regardless.

Best animation

One Punch Man

A no brainer without doubt. Fate/unlimited bladeworks second half did air this year but its splendor did not match its first series. Even if it did I think I would give the award to One Punch Man regardless as the animation here truly had heart and passion. The final bout in the final episode is worty of this title alone but the series managed to keep a relatively high quality of animation throughout with some of the best talent in the industry working on it. The result is a jaw dropping portfolio of visual glory, even if there were times were the art lacked consistency. There are those who truly dislike this show but I think few would discredit its animated feats.

Worst character

Magata Shiki

Let me say this, teenagers are irritating creatures. At one point we were all one and chances are you hated the person you were then. Because teenage years are when you think you have figured out the world and believe that you are somehow special in some unspecified way. There are those of us who outgrew this phase and learned to deal with simple truth. The only way to get acknowledgement for being special is to prove you are special through hard work and dedication. Some never outgrew this however and that brings me to Magata Shiki. Magata is the teenage mindset on full display. She thinks she’s figured out life, thinks she is special and therefore makes some of the most idiotic decisions possible. The problem is that the series treats her like she is special, that her mindset is new and oh so deep. No one attempts to challenge her mindset or more importantly, point out how utterly juvenile it is. Magata Shiki is the result of what happens when you isolate a egotistical teenager and allow them to fester in their own flawed logic. The result is an ignorant child who is under the impression that they are a genius. Even if the show demands to see her as some visionary philosopher, she remains proof that just because someone is smart, does not mean they are wise.

Best character


With the soaring popularity of One Punch Man, Saitama is becoming a bit of an anime icon. With fanart of him taking on Superman and Batman, as well as a Fallout 4 parody. All that’s really needed for his popularity to skyrocket is an English dub, which should come any day now. But what exactly makes Saitama’s character so special. Well it could be because if his very nature being a parody of the overpowered Shounen protagonist or his personality that walks the tightrope between badass and goofy. Previously only handled by Eikichi Onizuka. But personally I believe his loveabity comes from the fact that dispute his overwhelming power, Saitama’s greatest challenges are the everyday tasks everyone needs to face. Where all is his power is worthless. Non the less it will always be fun to see him respond to the greatest threats to humanity with bored disinterest.

Top 10 anime of the year

10: Kekkai Sensen(Blood Blockade Battlefront)

Remember when I said it was a love it or hate it year? Well this anime is the representative of that view. To those of you who disagree with my number one pick, let it be known that I know how you feel. For Kekkai Sensen was that anime for me. On a technical level I can see how Kekkai can be a good show. I can even see greatness and creatively in its premise and some episodes. Yet despite all this I find it quite mediocre. Kekkai Sensen is very much style over substance and if you are looking for something with a deep plot I suggest looking elsewhere. The plot is a thinly tied thread that goes through a series of episodic adventures introducing characters and then proceeding to use them for absolutely nothing. All to end with an underwhelming conclusion which is open for a potential sequel. This anime holds the number ten spot for one reason, because I know there are those who could truly love this show. Particularly if you are a big fan of Durarara this will be right up your alley. I give it this spot because I admit it has merit for others, just none for me.

9: Death Parade

In my review I stated that Death Parade is a show that is half great. I still stand by that though in retrospect I may have been a bit harsh on it. The premise of Death Parade is deliciously novel and filled to the brim with potential. Half the series capitalized on that potential. The other half didn’t. Regardless this series truly did have some fantastic moments and should Madhouse take up the unlikely chance of creating a sequel I would be on board for a second visit to Quindecim. If we were given a sequel that took the best parts of this series and made the entire season of that then it would certainly make it into the top five.

8: Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

In any story when humanity meets beings from another world, we are generally the technologically inferior. Gate is here to shown that we humans have made some impressive killing machines and if faced with a RPG fantasy world we will certainly give them a run for their money. I will be the first to admit that gate isn’t perfect. It’s comedy is bad, the pacing is a slow burn with no real climax in sight and its missing something to truly make it great. But the story does work with some great ideas and how it deals with the issues that arise with the appearance of another world. Countries hungry to mine it for resources, the difference in political structures, the technological gape in power, culture shock…there are a lot of great things to work with here and the story does make some use of it. It will be the conclusion of the second season that ultimately decides the quality of the show so for now I believe this spot is earned.

7: Ushio to Tora

In truth Ushio to Tora never surpassed exceptions or provided anything besides what was promised. But it did deliver on what was promised. A fun Shounen adventure about a boy and his demon tiger. This title will have viewers filled with that nostalgic feeling previously brought by the likes of Dragonball or Yu Yu Hakuso. Bundled together with an opening that never fails to get me in the mood for some Shounen battle action. It’s a pity the show itself never quite lives up to the battle scale presented in the opening but even that is reminiscent of old style Shounen. This anime managed to keep me constantly entertained throughout and prevented it from getting stale by changing up the formula before it runs out of steam. It’s the anime of yesteryear, today!

6: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works second season

Yes, I am well aware that my old bias is at work here but it would betray my love for the franchise to not have this here. At least take solace in the fact that it is not in the top five and I certainly would be willing to put it lower. This season was much weaker than the first and suffered from too much filler and a dragged pacing. That said it did have a great conclusion, it still is the best adaption of the route to date and its still a beautiful series to look at. I just pray that Ufotable can bring the brilliance of Heavens feel out with the film without the weaknesses displayed in this second season.

5: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

In the middle of this list seems an appropriate place for this as the story did deal with characters being in the middle of someone else’s conflict. SNAFU didn’t quite excel its previous season, instead providing more of the same which in SNAFUs case is not a bad thing. In a medium filled with rosy depictions of school life and all its wonders, SNAFU is the show to tell it like it is and present a more realistic depiction of school life. The protagonists brand of cynicism never gets old though the fact that he has a harem is always a mystery. In guise of school events, SNAFU shows you many future troubles that those of us in the workforce are all too familiar with. In particular the school planning meetings are so true to life that it’s rather scary. That said this season was bogged down a bit with a ongoing plot about the characters relationships that borders on over melodramatic. That and a ending which is sort of cliffhanger that outright demands a third season.

4: Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans

Mari Okada and Gundam is a match that would make anyone raise an eyebrow, yet it has produced one of the better Gundams in recent years. I would hesitate to call myself a Gundam fan, quite the opposite actually. But Orphans has a quality that I like a lot. There’s something engrossing about a bunch of underdog slaves revolting and becoming a significant power. Perhaps it’s because the politics of this series gas been put more to the background or simplified. I was never fond of Gundams nature to get too caught up in politics and even less so when it starts preaching about how war is bad. Orphans does have cartoonist aspects to it and a love triangle it would be better without but makes up for it with some fine Mecha action and a glorious soundtrack.Wherever you stand on this, at least we can argee its better than Reconguista.

3: Junketsu no Maria(Maria the virgin witch)

A while back I remember doing a first episode impression on Junketsu no Maria and being surprised at how good it was. So I made a note to watch it some time later and went on. Now with writing this summary I thought it was the perfect time to go back and watch it. I thought I might find it to be something worthwhile. What I was astonished to find was an absolute gem of an anime. I didn’t just like this anime, I loved it. The moral quandaries, setting, themes, really this anime was everything I originally expected from Young Blackjack. So much so that I regret not blogging it when it was airing. The parallels to Joan of Arc are pretty obvious.The villains have great character arcs and I love how it shows the dangers of blind faith as well as the negatives of refuting god without picking a clear side. That’s this shows strength, there isn’t a good or evil here. Maria may stop war temporarily but she’s called into question plenty about whether what she’s doing is truly helping in the long run. Of course the show isn’t without negatives, the ending for one is suitable but very cheesy. It does tie up all the loose ends of the series nicely though so that there is no need for a sequel. The art can have a few hiccups now and then and I feel that one character wasn’t really given the time to make use of his full potential. There’s plenty of sex jokes as well and Maria is pretty much mocked for her virginity all the time. But in my time watching this show made me remember just why I love anime so much.

2: Gakkou Gurashi!

Breathing life into two overdone genres is already worthy of merit. Being genuinely good is all the better. Gakkou is just a really well done series that exemplifies that a good idea can become a great one with creative direction and smart adaption. The balancing act between soft Moe fluff and grim zombie apocalypse is a recipe that doesn’t always work but when it does, it heightens the effect of both. Watching Gakkou is akin to watching puppies play in a house slowly getting filled with toxic gas. You know the tragedy is coming and the tension carries throughout the series as you wait for it all to come tumbling down. In the hands of another it would be an unremarkable series but here it happens to be one of the most visually arresting things I have seen all year.

1: One Punch Man

Was there any doubt? One Punch Man is one of the most impressive feats of animation made in recent times. The comedy of each episode just makes you smile and Saitama is a loveable goofy superhuman who can turn any threat into a joke. It’s a series that genuinely has more action in the show than it does in the opening. I do admit that this show isn’t for everyone. Truly it’s something that thrives on its cool factor. It doesn’t present any considerable deconstruction of Shounen tropes and its storyline does hit the same beats of a threat showing up each episode for Saitama to one punch it to death. However if One Punch Man is to your tastes then you are bound to love it. If not, at least you saw a display of some of the best animation the industry has to offer.

Posted on 14 February 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

Before I begin to talk about this episode, let me soapbox a little about the English title for this series. The English title for this series is ERASED and I really dislike it. It has a rather lazy feel to it and sounds like it was designed to be noticeable instead of having any connection to the story itself. After all this story is not about Satoru trying to erase his past but rather change it for the better. You could argue it could stand for Satoru erasing the current present but that stretching it. The English translation of “Boku dake ga Inai Machi” is “The Town Where Only I am Missing” which is obviously referencing Hinazuki’s essay from episode 2. I feel that’s a better title than ERASED but I understand that it’s not very marketable. So what could be a better title? I am hardly the best at naming things but maybe something like say “String Theory”? There is a theory that could relate to time travel known as Cosmic String Theory and the nature of things being made up of strings instead of particles does seem to match the stories themes of connections to the past and people. However I am absolutely no physicist so the above could be completely misunderstood. I just feel that there could be a better English title for this, even if I struggle to find one. If any of you have a good name, feel free to put it in the comments below.

Well that’s enough of that. First the good news, Airi is not dead! She was saved from the fire thanks to the timely intervention of Satoru and..the manager. I guess it’s nice to show that he’s not a complete villain by having him rescue Airi and even letting Satoru go. But his timing is a little convenient. I can buy Satoru arriving on time but the manager also happening to be around is very suspicious. I mean was he staking out her house just in case? He shows up right on time just to take all the credit and we do know he has a connection to our red eyed glasses friend. Perhaps his timing wasn’t just coincidence? But well maybe he’s just a creepy stalker. After that Satoru is now accused of arson and murder, and Airi is determined to help him no matter what. Which is rather unfortunate considering the episodes end. Airi still proves herself an excellent character, telling Satoru to not get discouraged and see thing through till the end.

We have a new suspect to the list, hinted by the red eyes that seem to appear on various people. Sachiko’s co-worker and freelancer investigator. I am not sure what to make of this guy yet. He’s suspicious in how he was the final person Sachiko talked to about finding out who was responsible for the murders. He’s a likely person to rat her out to the murderer. Or murderers in this case. I am fairly certain that this case is the work of multiple people. That being the reason why the red eyed glasses man’s name wasn’t in the list of suspects on Sachikos friends computer. Our glasses man looks to be the one to cover things up but he doesn’t resemble the abductor featured in episode 1. There could be two or three people involved in this, and I am still betting the teacher in the past is one of them.

Things couldn’t look worse, Satoru is in handcuffs and getting escorted to prison. This episode actually looked to foreshadow this as we have Satoru earlier helping kids fix a paper plane which bring a resemblance to Yukki. And of course we have onlookers immediately assume that he could be a potential pedophile. That’s the problem with being a man sometimes, if you act remotely nice to a kid then people automatically assume you are a pedophile. Of course, we have certain individuals to thank for that social prejudice, don’t we? It does bring a parallel though, as Yukki was branded just the same. He also see him recognising the red eyed glasses man amount the police and there’s a familiar blue butterfly that seems to signal another time travel trip.

Posted on 11 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Congratulations Yakumo. You finally discovered your spark for Rakugo. And all you needed to do was dress up like a woman to do it. This may harken back to what his master said, his Rakugo is too perfect. So this play put on by Rakugo performers was really the thing he needed. By dressing him up like a woman they placed him in a vulnerable position, so much so that he was getting cold feet beforehand. Sukeroku’s advice was the turning point to make Yakumo recognize the audience. I believe that before Yakumo treated his Rakugo as a job, systematically reading his lines without taking the audience into account. With this play they stripped him bare and forced him to pay attention to the eyes watching him. With that we have Yakumo awakened, hitting his Stride at the finale of the play where we see the man we saw at the beginning of the series. Even bringing out the characteristic pipe he will use in his future performances.

Though what amuses me is just how oddly sexual his realization was. Throughout the performance Yakumo was constantly remarking at people watching him, and his remarks sound much like those of an exhibitionist. Coming from someone so disinterested in relationships it’s a rather odd, but it does make sense that his Rakugo would improve from this as it was often commented that he would work well with racy stuff. You could argue that this could be a sign of him “coming out of the closet” so to speak but I would disagree. What seemed to really excited Yakumo was the feeling of control he had over the audience. He did comment on how he could change their focus just by a simple movement. It’s funny to put this in a positive way but I believe Yakumo has learned the joy of manipulation.

Miyokichi and Yakumo’s relationship remains a mysterious attraction. Miyokichi’s desire for him looks genuine but I believe she is aware that he’s rather reluctant. So her advances are forceful, often pushing Yakumo to be with her. Yakumo’s feelings seem a lot more subdued. I believe he cares for her but not on the level she desires. The fact that he’s willing to open up to her about his insecurities and not to Sukeroku shows that he does hold her close. I am having trouble discerning if he’s really sexually attracted to her as while Miyokichis advances are pushed on him, he’s hardly putting up much of a fight. It’s possible that he does desire her but he puts Rakugo above those feelings. Maybe Miyokichi is aware of that and making him get out of his own way? Either way it does seem like Yakumo finds women bothersome, which only makes him all the more popular. Though I don’t think that’s a case for him being homosexual as he seems equally apathetic about men. Besides Sukeroku, Yakumo doesn’t look to have many acquaintances. From my deduction, I would say he prefers solitude in his life which is mindset I can certainly relate to.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

For something that definitely feels rushed, this was a pretty good episode for Schwarzesmarken. I really cannot emphasize enough at how much of a shame it is that this series looks to be cut down to fit into a single cour. If given a two cour run I think Schwarzesmarken could really shine but sadly unlike its predecessors it is saddled with one. But well at least we get to enjoy the setting and political status this world has to offer. We have a conflict as the West German pilots try to pick a fight with the East German pilots. I have never been to fond of these kinds of characters who seem to exist to provide conflict. Such as those thugs that are in every anime that go after any pretty girl in the street so our hero can jump in and look good. It seems like a complex issue, as east Germans hate west German because they feel they sold out and are taking it easy while they are holding of the BETA hordes. Whereas the West Germans dislike the East because of their dystopian society and previous failures in major operations. Basically they think that East Germany makes West Germany look bad but there are likely other factors. Luckily the fight is broken up by the west German commander, showing that not all west Germans are one dimensional stereotypes.

The battles between TSFs and BETA are still a excellent sight and I admit that I started to feel the exhilaration I once felt while reading the visual novels. Some moments if dodgy CGI but otherwise it’s quite excellent. We got some good exposition on just how America handles BETA which is interesting. The Americans like to play it safe and focus on long range bombardment as their TSFs are not suited to close range combat. Fun little fact from the VN, American TSFs are mainly designed with the focus of taking out other TSFs, not BETA. Which might give some light to where their priorities are. America got off rather light when it comes to the BETA war, mainly because when a BETA hive landed in Canada they decided to nuke Canada halfway to hell to ensure BETA didn’t reach America. But of course there inexperience with fighting BETA shows when their plan is destroyed once a horde of BETA show up outside of their defense line. Giving the 666 squad a perfect reason to jump in and save the day. Then everyone is almost killed by the reason which affects every war’s outcome, an idiotic commander. Looks like Gretal was under pressure to distinguish the squad in battle to give the Militia the upper hand over the Stasi. Really wish they established this beforehand instead of having Irisdina throw it out like an afterthought.

Now that Commander isn’t too keen on helping the Americans and is determined to let them die out of pure spite. So we have a short wait till Gretal comes around and tells him to go to hell. Again it feels like we missed a huge chuck of character development we were supposed to have at this point and the pacing makes the suicide mission seem not as difficult as they made it out to be. One thing I must applaud is how menacing they made the fort class BETA look. In the VN these guys were not all that treating but here they really are a dominating presence. So the day is saved and our heroes are free to go home and get screwed over by the Stasi, who look to be cooking up something nasty.

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