Posted on 31 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Orange

Unfortunately for us, this is not a good orange episode. Hell, I could say this is one of its worst episode. orange has always relied on the regrets of the main cast, and the foreshadowing suicide of Kakeru as their main emotional impacts. When they steer away from those, this episode just loose its punch. While the character’s interactions are still there and those moments are one of the only high points of this week’s viewing, there is an issue with it as well. You see, there is no damn fun when everything goes entirely according to plan, when all the moments are just too perfect. I have no problem if this was about making Kakeru talk honestly about his suicide thoughts couple of weeks ago, but creating every moment with Kakeru too flawlessly (like the umbrella incidents this week, the “good morning” exchanges) make the whole situation feels rather forced, and to make it worse I feel Kakeru was manipulated by the group here, even if the intention comes from a good place.

But my biggest problems with this episode lie in its pacing. Last week we dedicated half of its episode for joining up team for the upcoming relay events, and this week the episode strangely drops any of the preparation phase, instead focuses on the revelation that all the cast has their own letters, worries about Azusa’s birthday, cares so much about the weather, and concerns about whether or not Naho and Kakeru should hold hands. Then they jump STRAIGHT to the events. The inconsistency of plotline occurred before in one of the episode when Naho pushed Kakeru to talk about his mother for the first time. After that Kakeru and Naho had a rather uneasy tension until it was revealed that Suwa had received the letters himself, then suddenly Naho and Kakeru again talked to each other normally like nothing happened. Well, I understand that they have to jam in many plot details to both heighten the relationship and carry the emotional weight, but I am not quite fond of letting the story just moving on its own like that.

As I mentioned in my last episode, orange is a weird shoujo production, and I will say in more details this time. For a shoujo romance-drama anime such as orange, they have an unusually high quality director and an equally unusual below-the-standard budget. So what we have here is a show that stands out in its artistic merits, as many of the director’s choices shine through this week. For example, the sequence from Asuza’s point of view is nicely displayed, as the characters are more colorful, childlike and whimsical than Naho’s point of view. In another case, the director displays Kakeru’s feeling of detachment from the rest of the events by showing him standing awkwardly among a disappearing crowd, with the wash-out color background and a slightly disorientated sound designs. Those are great moments because we really know more about these characters just by experiencing the same thing they do. The art designs of other background characters though, are just too rough and inconsistent. As a result, what we have in the end is the episode that glorious at certain important scenes, but meh and below quality in general. The sport events haven’t concluded yet, as we still have that relay to look for. Here’s hoping for a rewarding relay (and episode) ahead.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This is yet another typical Thunderbolt Fantasy episode, in which our MC Shang Bu Shuan just had enough with these guys and headed to the evil tower alone, but somehow still find himself tricked by Gui Niao and then gets captured near the end of the episode. Maybe the main reason Gui Niao needs him to stay so desperately is just for the sake of bullying the poor guy. There’s one interesting bit about Shang Bu Shuan that other members of the group figure out and that is while he’s a skilled swordsman, he’s not really confident with his skills; in a way he’s more natural with defensive skills than attacking. Still, leaving our main character literally to fight those monsters alone just to test him out is way too hilariously cruel; and I can see his frustration towards the group that he just heads off by himself. But as fate would have it, Dan Fei and Gui Niao just won’t leave him alone, and the three immediate find a shortcut to get through the tower without passing the magical labyrinth, just to find themselves heading directly to a trap.

Gui Niao’s true identity has finally been revealed to be a master thief. It’s about a goddamn time if you ask me. Master thief is also a common character’s trope in wuxia, but as far as I see he’s no Saito Kid or Robin Hood. Gui Niao is sneaky as hell and he’s also a master of manipulation. In order to advance his plan, he tricked the emotional outburst Dan Fei into having a fight with Shang Bu Shuan (by using hallucination smoke or whatever it’s called) and thus single-handed assist the enemy to put them in cage. At first, I find myself hard to believe that Mie Tian Hai would be stupid enough to trust this guy, but upon a closer look, it’s apparent that Gui Niao already gets a hold of the legendary sword’s handle and it’s a matter of time for him to negotiate with Mie Tian Hai. But there is a plot hole regarding all this ‘masterplan’ though as I find it hard to believe Mie Tian Hai actually forgets about the other members and keeps his guard down like that.

For next week, we will have two main developments: on the one hand there will be a negotiation between Gui Niao and the big boss and until then we can find Gui Niao’s true motive and whatever relation between those two guys. The 200-year history is a good starting point to keep delving into and I believe the main development for its last arc will be around the sacred sword, the War of the Fading Dust, and that cursed wasteland that split the two countries. It will be no surprise for me if Shang Bu Shuan might be ‘the one’ who can control the legendary sword. On the other hand, our main character and the rest of the group will keep heading to the main tower to catch up with whatever results that caused by Gui Niao. It still remains a big question regarding Gui Niao’s true intention: Is he friend or foe? Or is he just a league of his own? Time will tell, my friends.

Posted on 29 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

Well the battle against the witches cult has started and…ended. I didn’t quite expect my words in the last episode review to turn out prophetic as Betelgeuse and his minions are taken out so quickly and anticlimactically considering how much this arc has built them up to be the main villain. Through Subaru seems to share my concerns as things go too smoothly that even he is suspicious. This feeling is throughout the first half of the episode as the white whale taught us that when things are going too well then there is a gut punch coming up. I commend Subaru from learning from horror movie tropes and inquiring as to whether Betelgeuse is really dead after Wilhelm chopped him in half. Prompting the little animal girls to incinerate his body to ashes. Despite this it seems Betelgeuse comes back in the form of his follower which is a girl who has his unseen hands and his rather eccentric mannerisms. However it isn’t long before he’s cut down by Wilhelm yet again and props to the clever idea of using falling water to allow Wilhelm to see the hands. Subaru and Co dismissed this as this girl being the true sloth archbishop and the first man was a proxy or the possibly that all members are the archbishop.

I however have my own theory that Betelgeuse doesn’t actually take to the field himself and instead sends his followers and has the ability to possess one of them. It fits with the sloth theme in that the sloth archbishop stay home while controlling others from afar and it leads me to have an interesting thought. When Betelgeuse number 1 got immensely aggravated with Subaru, he started convulsing and blood came out of his eyes which suggests that his body is breaking down. I think it’s possible that all of Betelgeuse’s spasms and erratic moments may actually not be because of his personal insanity but rather because Betelgeuse’s control of the body lessens as he gets more emotional. Thus in these moments the original owner wrestles to gain control of their body. So the biting fingernails, the arching of his back, the self inflicted harm is all the screams of someone trying to remove Betelgeuse’s dominance. There is a question of whether Betelgeuse himself has an original body or is some kind of spirit jumping between bodies. Though this is all just purely speculation.

So it seems that the cult of the witch recruits people by sending out a gospel to those suitable and it’s uncertain as whether this gospel brainwashes people into joining or it contains information that encourages people to. Betelgeuse made a particular interesting comment when he said that the gospel did not mention Subaru at all which seems to suggest it’s some sort of book foretelling future events. Which might explain as to how it could get people to join, after all if it states that the Jealous witch will take over the world or enact some sort of judgement day then people would prefer to join the side that doesn’t get slaughtered in the future. He also insinuates that Subaru is Pride once again and considering that Subaru picks up the gospel it may very well be something to come into play in later arcs. It’s nice that despite apologizing for fighting Julius, Subaru still has a petty grudge against him. As I said before you don’t put a bandaid on trauma and call him cured.

Subaru came close to falling back into a stupor after getting four people killed in the cult attack but Wilhelm managed to keep him focused by telling him to fight and be strong. This speech will likely act as determination for later and I like how when Subaru said he needed to get stronger WIlhelm interrupted to say that he doesn’t need to get stronger but instead be strong. This seems to suggest that what Subaru needs is not physical strength but instead mental strength. This is true as it’s is not Subaru’s job to beat the bad guys but instead to lead the right players to the right places to get the job done. In this the only thing stopping him is his own mental fortitude. When you have the power to try again infinitely then victory is certain. It’s just a matter of how many times you can bring yourself to try.

Our episode ends with Subaru separated from his group with a grim looking Ram looking down on him. The nature of this twist confused me on first seeing it as it seems to suggest that Ram was betraying him. Though considering previous loops and Ram’s history with the cult this is a nigh impossibility. However whether Roswell is a member of the cult is another matter entirely and Ram would obey his orders, regardless of what they were. In fact it is odd that he tends to disappear when the witches cult is about to make a move. He didn’t seem to be present when Puck froze the manor and if he was then taking out the cult members would have been an easy task. In fact taking into account the combat potential of Emilia, Beatrix and Ram it is rather odd that they lost to the cultists. Possibly because Subaru caught them off guard that they didn’t have time to put up a real fight but I still think that with how easily they were killed by Wilhelm and the others that they is likely something else at play here. Perhaps Betelgeuse was only one part of the group coming to attack the manor or there is another enemy to deal with in this arc. WIth three episodes left I think Re:Zero has something entirely different planned for it’s season finale.

Posted on 25 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Well I promised I would do a review of this visual novel quite a while ago and believe it or not I only just got around to finishing it. If the fellow who requested it is still here then here you go, I kept my word. Anyway it has been a while since my last game review and I have been itching to cover more visual novels on this site. What better way to jump back into the fray than with The house in Fata Morgana made by Novectacle in 2012(2010 if you consider the trail version) but recently localised by Mangagamer and published on Steam on May of this year. Now this game is a strange beast for a Visual novel. Usually a VN has a main protagonist who lives in Japan and has a number of female friends who act as alternate routes and stories depending on who you choose to partner up with. Fata Morgana doesn’t have that and just in case you were thinking it, it’s not an Otome novel either. (AKA, what i just described but with male friends) Instead what we have here is a visual novel set in the west forgoing the usual anime style for a more comic book/gothic portrait style with a story that is akin to anthology of tragedy tales. For those concerned about censorship, there is none here as this game was all ages, meaning it holds no pornographic content. Don’t take that to mean that it isn’t dark or gory because I can assure you that is most certainly not the case. In a world where in the vast majority of cases you primary concern is choosing your first waifu, this game sticks out and very much in a good way. Don’t take it that I consider visual novels to be generally trash, this is more like the anime industry were for very interesting title you have a truckload of terrible fanservice fantasy harem battle anime. Only difference here is that unlike the anime industry, the dozens of visual titles coming out are not all translated, leaving potential greats sitting in the visual novel database unread due to no English translation. As a prime example, Baldr Sky which has held a spot in the top 5 visual novels of all time in VNDB since 2009 is only just now getting an English translation. It honestly pains me when i think of the numerous potential great titles which escape my grasp due to a lack of a translation. But alas let us move on.
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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Mob Psycho 100

The fall of Ritsu is rapid, perhaps too rapid as the pacing of this series has sped up. Before it wasn’t really apparent that the anime was skipping material to get to the good content but here you can really tell that a significant amount of time has been removed which showed Ritsu’s more gradual descent. With Dimples help Ritsu manages to unlock his dormant psychic powers which appear to have awakened due to his actions in framing delinquents for crimes under Shinji’s orders. The two look to have become heroes of the school despite their nefarious efforts though Shinji clearly revels in it while Ritsu only feels guilt. Shinji’s karmic payback was quite beautiful when after falsely accusing delinquents in order to keep them in line, he in turn is falsely accused by delinquents of being a person called White T Poison and is promptly beaten up. White T Poison being the mantle that Ritsu has adopted despite it originally being a title given to his brother Mob. This episode attempts to tightrope between comedy and tragedy. WIth all honestly I am not certain it succeeds. On one side you have a series of schools delinquents named after condiments with Mob being conned into buying a vase. On the other you have severe cases of bullying and a boy drowning in power. The stories art style keeps a light hearted tone but as the plot darkens it becomes somewhat mismatched with what’s happening on screen. Sort of like watching Jojo if it took itself way too seriously.

Thematically I like the ideas behind this as it shows the main idea off power better residing in those who are apathetic about it. Ritsu seeked power and is now drowning in it while Mob seeks normalcy but is constantly pulled into strange events because of his power. Teruki attempts to pass on the lesson he learned from Mob to Ritsu(While wearing a fairly hilarious wig) but Ritsu is just far too gone to listen. And while all this is going on, Mob is busy being fooled by con artists. This side story feels out of place amidst the telling of Ritsu’s fall from grace while it does show more examples of Seigan caring about Mob. Though I laugh at Mob berating con artists in front of another con artist. Though it does make me wonder as to just why he is keeping up this act in front of Mob. Obviously it could be to exploit his powers for his own gain but I feel like there is another agenda under his facade. Animation looks to have fallen in this series as of late as I notice the number of still frames pop up. It could be due to the lack of a need for flashy animation during this particular arc. It is a wonder just how Mob will react to his brother gaining psychic powers and just what he has done to obtain them. There is also the matter of the mysterious hooded man who appears to be an esper as well. Next episode looks to be an action packed one.

Posted on 24 August 2016 with categories: 91 Days, Currently Watching:

Avilio’s machinations are truly coming to fruition and his plan is looking more Monte cristo-eqe as it unfolds. Fango has a new hairstyle and is itching to take down the Vanettis and the Galassias but I must admit that for someone as psychotic as him it’s strange how he allows his girlfriend to steal his lines. As she continued to cut him off I was expecting him to pull out a gun and kill her, or at least get her to shut up. Yet it seems he is more whipped than expected or has a soft spot for her. Either way it looks like his craziness has calmed down and I would personally prefer it that way. The big focus of today’s episode is a falling out between Nero and Frate as tensions between them lead to one taking out the other. The true victim in all this is Fio whom got a lot of screentime before she was put on a train and likely out of the plot forever. From the looks of things, she married Ronaldo to protect her brothers despite having no real love for him. Yet despite her efforts Nero and Frate ended up fighting each other with Ronaldo pushing for Nero’s death despite Fio’s pleas.

A lot of reasoning was happening to try and work for a peaceful outcome, which Nero wasn’t all that against. They sent his uncle to smooth things over and even Fio tried to talk the two into a truce and very nearly succeeded. But peace isn’t in Avilio’s plan and this is where is revenge gets muddy. He fooled Nero’s most loyal man into attacking Frate and killed any chance for a truce. Though heres what I don’t particularly like about this episode as it appears a large amount of time passes after the attempted hit and the two appear to have been in a gang war for quite some time. However this is all represented in a few newspaper page montage before returning to the story within seconds and suddenly Frate is worn down by a war that only started a few seconds ago. It felt far too sudden and that moment would have been perfect to have a good old mob massacre montage like in the opening.

Frate was a pawn though and though. He never truly realised it though. When things got tough he ran to Ronaldo who pretty much dictated his decisions and appeared to have gotten him hooked to a drug which he supplies. What that drug is, is a matter of debate. It doesn’t seem to be cocaine seeing how he attempted to ingest it through his mouth. Opium is a safe bet though considering Frates symptoms I would think it was some sort of drug to keep him submissive, like toluene. Despite Fio’s efforts it looks like even if Avilio didn’t push for this outcome that Ronaldo likely would have. Perhaps that’s what lay in the note Avilio gave her along with the flowers and the gun. Ronaldo underestimated the level of stress he was putting on her and likely didn’t quite realise that having a child be a bridge between mafia families wasn’t the best way to rescue his wife. Still this move was a big risk for Avilio as while he did give her a nudge in the right direction, there was no guarantee than she would have what it takes to shoot Ronaldo. But perhaps he had more contact which her than was suggested based on how he whispered to her before boarding the train. Honestly Avilio’s plans seem to require a lot of luck and great foresight or just him rolling with the situation.

Him removing the bullets from Frates gun with slight of hand looked to be an impulsive move to stop Nero getting gunned down. The beauty of it was that Frate pulled the trigger first before Nero shot but the gun only clicked. It was almost as if it was a test to see if he really would kill Nero but I am uncertain if Nero was truly aware that the gun was empty. Having killed his brother Avilio steps up to be Nero’s most trusted companion but it’s possible that he intends to get rid of him soon. He has taken out one of his targets with Nero’s father, Nero and the mystery man remaining. I am having second thoughts over Corteo being the fourth man, thematically it would make sense of his reaction to the letter and his efforts to convince Avilio off the path of revenge as well as being a kick to the gut of Avilio’s motivation. I would actually prefer it as he is one of the few in the story to have a constant presence and thus the reveal would have more weight to it rather than some person introduced at a later date or someone who has stuck most to the background. I don’t think he was a gangster back then but perhaps played a role in informing the murderers for money or in a potentially interesting turn, revenge. However i admit the reasoning is somewhat flawed and it’s highly doubtful he sent the letter to Avilio. Though it’s possible the letter was not sent by the fourth man but rather an outside party. We have had a slow burn of a story so far but I hope with the coming episodes we can have some great set pieces to give 91 days a memorable note to go out on.

Posted on 23 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Orange

This week, Naho and Suwa face a dilemma of whether or not they should follow what written in the letters. The relay is coming and Kakeru is appointed to be an anchor. They have been followed the letters very closely, but the original reality becomes too different from this reality that the content is not really relevant anymore. Should they follow the letters because clearly the older-selves have all the answers, or should they rely on themselves to act according to Kakeru’s happiness? Naho and Suwa at first decided to ask him not to join the relay team, since the relay could affect badly to Kakeru. But Kakeru, being himself, feels insecure that he might let the team down so he’s agree to pull out, but he’s clearly not too happy about either decision. Kakeru has been afraid to make a choice. He doesn’t want to repeat the same problems and have more regrets, even to the point where he confesses his feeling towards Naho, but too afraid to date her. Naho and Suwa realize they have been way over-protective to Kakeru, because really without taking a step forward, how could Kakeru move on to his next stage? The rest of the group pick up on that as well, and they together make an awesome decision: let the group run for the relay, so that Kakeru can run and moreover they can run together. Now I understand the running part in the Opening Credit. Yes, it has its purpose and this is not some cliché opening credit where everyone runs for no reason from all over directions, right? RIGHT?

But as I mentioned in previous posts, some of the incidents can’t change and those lead directly to the sad outcomes. Because the group invited Kakeru on the first day, his mother commit suicide. Because Naho couldn’t bring herself to talk directly to Kakeru, he dated Ueda. This time they ignore the letters, but could it be the reason the letters don’t want Kakeru to join the relay is because of his health? Earlier in the episode he passes out and with the stress he’s currently building up, his physical gotten weaker and weaker. I’m not imply he’s in some kind of terminal disease and I really hope the show won’t go that way, but it’s possible that they might not be able to ‘save’ Kakeru the way they want to.

This is now confirmed that the rest of the cast also receive the letters from their 26-year-old selves. All they want is to support Naho and Suwa to save Kakeru, and all Naho and Suwa have to do is to share it with them. Now this lead to a fundamental issue of the show: all the developments emphasis on the same united purpose: saving Kakeru. For that I say they’re trying a bit too hard for the sake of Kakeru (really? 5 adult people sent letters to their younger selves so that they can do their best effort to save him?), and other aspects of friendship will be ignored. Now, every time Suwa and Naho talking to each other, it’ll be about Kakeru. They grow through their interaction with Kakeru, not wuth themselves. I kind of miss the interaction between the group in the first episode where I can see more angle about their friendships, see how they bound off each other in a natural way.

But really, the more I see orange the more I think this is a kind of weird production. The director Hiroshi Hamasaki is not well-verse in shoujo drama, the budget is tight and that hurts. The rough quality and still-frames are more prominent now than ever. It’s a shame because orange works best if the production values can express those emotions, but the level shown in orange simply couldn’t match it.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week our band heads up to the evil mountain and needless to say they possess absolutely no teamwork spirit whatsoever. It’s as you would expect from a group of seven egocentric members. Our main character Shang Bu Shuan repeatedly gets teased by their comrades, as he finds himself fighting the enemies alone without the help of others. But I have to note that it all comes from his carelessness to begin with, and all the ignorant from others towards him play more as a comic relief than anything else. Still it’s hilarious to see Sha Wu Sheng the Screaming Phoenix Killer just sits down, relax in his conform zone without helping our main guy out, or that the band continues to praise Shou Yun Xiao the one-eyed archer like nothing happen after he misses the target deliberately and only manages to save Shang Bu Shuan when he fell off. But really to no surprise of no one, our MC passes the obstacles with flying colors. It’s all child’s play for the group it seems.

In terms of plot, there is nothing special in this episode as we know how it head several episodes before. Like I mentioned last week, the main boss Mie Tian Hai appears in front of the group truly for a little chit-chat (everyone sure loves to chit chat in Thunderbolt Fantasy), even feels so generous that he ‘allows’ the group to proceed. The person who has the most development this week is Dan Fei, after she was directly ridiculed by Mie Tian Hai. She fires up and practices too hard, but Juan Can Yu sees through it and even figures out the defect in her technique. Now, this is an interesting bit. Usually from your typical wuxia show, it’s either the swordsman is already skilled or he tries his best to master the skills. There’s never a situation where a swordsman was pointed out that his techniques are ineffective, moreover because the techniques are not suitable for girl. This is something you don’t see so often. It’s much more in the same vein of learning sports’ skills and I have to applause for Gen Urobuchi for actually gives it a thought and makes it interesting.

There is another refreshing nonsense little details in this episode that I find myself enjoy it tremendously. It is the condition of a lullaby to put the undead to sleep. Apparently you have to know which era the undead comes from, and “There’s a subtle pitch shift in the song that depends on when they died” as Xing Hai the necromancer puts it. Talking about perfection in art! I mean this bit of details come from nowhere, but makes totally sense the way they explain it. Even more ridiculously, Gui Niao steps up to be a lullaby conductor (or lullaby composer, depend on how you look at it). It feels like the creators must be on some sort of drugs when they think about the script.

So how things going to happen from now on? From the pacing of this episode, I’m guessing next week they’ll pass the third obstacle and then on their way to face off the main antagonist. This week we learn that the zombies were created 200 years ago, the same time of the War of Fading Dust, and the divide between the two countries. I know it’s absurd but the one who actually feels or those undead is none other than the heartless Sha Wu Sheng. This guy really cares much more about the dead than the living. I guess that the great event has something to do with the powerful sorcerer who used to own the Seven Sin Towers. My take is that mysterious sorcerer is someone we already know, but at the moment only Gui Niao seems like a good fit. Mie Tian Hai, on the other hand, doesn’t even acknowledge Gui Niao so I’m not really sure if he knows much about his true identity. We will, however, have a much better idea about his identity next week, as the title is “The Enigmatic Gale” – one of Gui Niao’s alias. Anyway, we still have 5 episodes to go and with that much refreshing in terms of ideas and its campy sense of humor, I am sure that this Thunderbolt Fantasy train won’t stray off its track anytime soon.

Posted on 22 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

I didn’t think I would be saying this again but here it is, if this was the end of the series then I would consider it a satisfying ending. Sure there would be loose ends left hanging but the level of conclusion to this particular dilemma would leave me content with the series. But this certainly isn’t the end and we have the battle against the witches cult coming up which admittedly were put out of my mind once the whale showed up. Wilhelm turns out to not be dead as the old man cuts himself out of the whale and has likely earned a place in any fan’s top list of badass anime characters. We even got a conclusion to his flashback where he trained to a level to take Theresia’s sword saint rank and confessed his love for her. I for one am surprised at having such an attachment to this small side story for Theresia only showed up last episode and yet this love story hits harder than many anime devoted to the very concept. In words, this was powerful and the image of Wilhelm declaring his love for his wife after taking revenge on the white whale just makes my heart well up with emotions I thought long whittled down from years of anime watching.

I have heard some argue that Wilhelms desire to take the sword from his wife’s hand was somewhat misogynistic but I feel that is greatly misinterpreting his intent. From what I understand it, Theresia never wanted to be a sword Saint but was forced into it because of her family. If anything Wilhelms efforts were to give his wife the opportunity to be what she really wants to be by taking her inherited mantle from her. Quite frankly this episode was a compilation of great moments fighting the whale. From Crushes speech, Subaru’s daring gamble and even him and Rem having a moment after it was all over. Looking over it I can only see it as just satisfying and perhaps this is the relief that after several loops of Subaru failing miserable we are finally at the first success. Thus this looks to be confirmed to be the last loop of the series.

Still to bring up two bothersome aspects I must point out that Subaru’s gamble was more on the ridiculous side. I appreciated the Gainax callout with Subaru doing the pose many would recognise from Gurren Laggan.(Or if you are really savvy, GunBuster) but I really do think that what he did was something an ordinary person couldn’t accomplish on their first try. I mean he jumped on a ice projectile and jumped off and landed perfectly on the whales horn, not affected by wind resistance in the slightest. I know this is really something you should just say anime logic and leave it at this but come on, this is pushing it. The other thing mainly has to do with something that was left out of this episode and was in the original source material. You see apparently in the last scene Rem was supposed to make it out that she was injured with the tree fell and thus it was made out that she was dying. Subaru then starts confessing that he loves her just as much as Emilia and whatnot before Rem reveals that she was pulling his leg. I actually am rather glad this was left out as it does make Subaru’s declaration of loving Emilia somewhat flimsy but also because this seems to suggest that Re:Zero is going for something that a lot of Another world/reincarnation web novels go for.

That being, Polygamy. In the examples I have read the other world aspect is used to justify polygamy which in turn is really just a convenient way of giving the ultimate wish fulfillment. After all, why choose one waifu when you can have all the waifus? The first time I encountered it in a story I was rather fascinated as I hadn’t really see a story deal with it and ultimately it’s better than have the protagonist remain indecisive even till the end for fear of angering the fanbase. However in other stories it really became a means to show off how godlike amazing the main character is and how he doesn’t need to have just one women, a allurement which just makes me want to retch. I say by now it would be folly to claim that I am not a fan of Rem but even so I am not fond of the idea of Subaru gathering a trophy set of wives. I prefer it that girls be more like Crush here, who admits that his actions pulled her strings a bit but ultimately sees him as a comrade. An important factor that this story needs to keep in mind is that Subaru should not obtain the perfect protagonist status that has caused many another world/Reincarnation story to fail. It would make the stories efforts to portray his weaknesses ring insincere and hollow.

I did wonder as to how Subaru was going to deal with the witches cult and my guess that the army would be fairly devastated by the whales attack seemed on point. However it looks like Subaru has gained a large amount of allies with this feat, the most important of which looks to be Wilhelms loyalty which considering his battle prowess is no small matter. Honestly I think that old man could take them all down before Betelgeuses brain has time to tremble.Though after a battle such as this I wonder if the Witches cult can provide a suitable climax to the series.

Posted on 20 August 2016 with categories: Berserk(2016), Currently Watching:

Episode 8 starts with a cold opening that retreads the fateful rendezvous of Guts and Casca. I actually thought that this was a good move, as this is a very big moment in the overall story of the last few arcs. After the Golden Age section we get very few deep character moments, and a lot of the pathos of the story has been replaced by mere action. I’ll take the time to reiterate my opinion that the Golden Age Arc is quite honestly the very best part of the story. The focus on the characters and their relations, combined with the world building which masterfully portrays a dark fantasy realm that borders close to our own, yet at the same time concealing an inundation of supernatural evil slithering under the surface, are what have made Berserk the masterpiece that it is. After the events of the Eclipse a lot of that imperative was washed away, and replaced by a revenge story which is heavy on plot, yet slim on thought-provoking ideas with deep emotional impact. This little scene of reunion hearkens back to those glory days, even if ever slightly so.

All that said, after the opening we are thrown right back into the action. The fight choreography is taken directly from the manga, but turned up a few notches. As intricate and detailed as Miura’s drawings are, it’s still sometimes hard to follow his action panels. Compared to Tezuka, or the more contemporary mangaka such as Naoki Urasawa and Takehiko Inoue, Miura’s panels seem to be displaying the key frames, and leaving out the dynamics of the action to the readers’ imagination. So at least here we get a more direct interpretation of the fight scene, which while completely sufficient, fails to really enhance on its source, as say a studio like Ufotable would’ve managed to do. We even get the near miss of Guts almost losing his only functioning eye, but he manages to use a little bit of strategy to neutralize the Goat before resorting back to brute force and finishing the job.

We next get to see Farnese using the situation to try and kill two birds with one stone, and coercing the troops of taking care of Guts along with the rest of the ghouls.  Azan tries to be the voice of reason, but is soon shut down, and being well aware of his rank, simply continues to follow the orders. Azan reminds me of a certain knight in Final Fantasy IX named Steiner, who while taking himself seriously, is still relegated to comic relief; although both characters aren’t exactly push-overs.

It’s brought to Farnese’s attention that Serpico is missing. This leads in to our next action set-piece, which proves to be a bit more personal. This duel has been long in the making, since although Serpico has no qualms with Guts, his devotion to Farnese compels him to remove the threat that has been plaguing her mind. There also seems to be a bit of a clash of egos at work here. Serpico is a pragmatist, using the best tactic to set up the match to his advantage, with no apparent regard for honor. He has always somewhat reminded me of Griffith, and I think the parallels are too striking to be completely coincidental. The fast fighting style, the cunning calculation, the pride, all point to a resemblance in their world-view and personality.

The narrow landing prevents Guts from drawing his sizeable weapon, but he isn’t particularly new to being in the corner either, and starts the face-off with a flurry of arrows and explosives. Serpico manages to regain his footing and then precedes to send a wave of rapid thrusts. Guts catching the rapier’s blade with his hand is again reminiscent to the surprising way he caught Griffith off-guard by biting the edge of his sword. Looking at the hilt of Serpico’s rapier, it resembles a German Pappenheimer, which means contrary to common belief the blade is not only pointed for thrust attacks, but also edged for slashing. It’s also somewhat historically accurate that such fine rapiers were often quite brittle; making the shattering of it not much beyond the realm of possibility.

Down in the valley we have Farnsese going off on her men. The prospect of Guts surviving is taking a toll on her, and we see her scabbard-smashing her men in front of a concerned crowd of knights. On the other side we see that Guts nearly pushed to the same limits over Isidro losing Casca, but he manages to subside his rage. I feel that this is in part due to what took place at Godo’s house, and how this situation was quite similar to his unwarranted outburst against poor Rickert.

At the end, the gang heads towards the Tower of Conviction, as the Skull Knight vague ramblings foretell an ominous encounter. Inside we get a glimpse of Nina and Casca, and a small window into Uncle Mozguz’ House of Terror.  The stage is set, and the pieces are assembled. The next Episode is titled Blood Flow of the Dead, so I’m guessing that it will be the first part to a double, or perhaps triple, episode, that will be covering the main part of the chapter we’ve been waiting for. These recent episodes have been following the manga extremely closely, and all the while moving at quite a rapid pace. My only issue is still the execution, and how the show has yet to go beyond what they are directly drawing from. One could only hope that there is some budget being set aside for a more memorable finale, and at least now we can anticipate the trajectory of the rest of this cour. Until next Friday and more Berserk, stay tuned my friends.

~Bam~

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