Posted by SuperMario on 21 September 2016 with categories: Random Anime Recommendations, Uncategorized

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Well, after the Versus Show, how about some in-depth anime discussions this time? In this section I will talk in more details about anime/ manga that I’m passionate about. Please note that this is not an actual review. Honestly, I never truly agree with the concept of reviewing (and rating for that matters) at arts, at something we suppose to feel subjectively. If I want to review that much I’d rather be critic. But I’m not, at heart I’m an anime fan who love this medium just like you guys. This in-depth piece not only give me a deeper look at the works that cut me deeply, it’s also serve as a reminder of why I love anime in the first place.

Lately, the world of The Flowers of Evil just can’t seem to escape me, which is quite reasonable to be honest because psychological drama is always my thing. After all, one of my favourite director is Ingmar Bergman. For those who say this is a horror work: NO, it’s not. It feels more like TERROR for me, something that can happen in real life (while horror’s main intention is to scare you, period). I re-watched the anime again after its airing back in 2013, and this time I managed to read the manga to see how it all ends up. Thank god that the manga is finished so I don’t have to wait for months for the next chapters to come. Flowers of Evil is one of the best anime/manga out there to really understand the dark side of growing up, the detachment to the world they live in, the self-confusion, the teen-angst and the obsession and destructive relationships. I will discuss in details below, really whatever springs on my mind. As this is obvious a spoiler-heavy post, please read it at your own risk.

The Anime Adaptation

Shuzo Oshimi (the original manga creator) said in one of his interview that the anime adaptation, along with the manga, formed two versions of the story from his original idea. I think that’s the best way to sum up about the anime. For me, a great adaptation is the one that takes what is essential from the source; be it the theme or tone; and then makes it their own version. If the adaptation becomes too faithful with the source material, then I don’t see the reason why we don’t read/watch the source instead. In that sense Flowers of Evil anime really sets itself apart from other adaptations because it looks awfully unlike the manga, and even goes more extreme than the manga. Is it make it a better version? Let’s get down to it.

Flowers of Evil 02

The live-action cast of Flowers of Evil. In case you don’t know, the prettiest girl who stands right in the middle is our main guy.

First, the one thing that the show does absolutely right is its decision to end where it ends. It’s easy to miss that crucial change in theme of the first and second part and I come to really respect the director’s decision to stop there. This conclusion marks the change in character’s act of Kasuga (he’ll be more aggressive rather than passive, more on that later) and covers the introduction of the story, because after that is things just get more intense by the minutes. The second best thing about the anime is its infamous moody, atmospheric tone, repeated scenarios and snail-walking pace. There is a lot of scenes where characters just walking and do nothing else. That 10-minutes of our two mains walking from one end to the other could easily put viewers off, even to the most patience ones. But reading the manga, especially the later college-part, it becomes more apparent that the manga is less about shocking and more about the wounds and how to deal with that scars left behind. The show nails that mood right off the bat, it’s even more amazing given that prior to the anime airing, the manga was just in its beginning of the college part.

Now, to the most controversial aspect of the show: the rotoscoping techniques. I’d say that while rotoscoping indeed makes the show looks unique, it has its fair share of problems as well. People often complains that because the rotoscoping is a cheap technique, it should not be recommended as a plausible technique. For that I say it really depends on how to use it. The rotoscoping in this series mainly conveys the uneasy, creepy sense and it intends to give that impact to the viewers. On that front they pretty much succeed on what they set out to do. There are two main advantages I find from this series’ rotoscoping that normal anime couldn’t deliver too well. Firstly, the rotoscoping allows more movements on character’s gestures and their body languages, the way each character moves, the way they tilt their heads. We also get to see the main casts’ reactions to these uncomfortable feeling and that tells a lot about their inner thought or their position towards the world around them. Secondly, the voice acting is phenomenal. It makes sense when you think about it because the cast have to act as well, so there is a chemistry in their interactions that easily surpassed an ordinary anime voice acting from the recorder room.

But being rotoscoping means that the character designs are vastly different from the manga, and that for me is the show’s biggest flaw. And I don’t mean to say that the cast is unattractive like most people tend to say because I find them charming the way they are. But character designs have always been a crucial part in Shuzo Oshimi’s world because it says a lot about the characters and the show just fails to capture it. Take Saeki for example, in the manga she has a thin, fragile figure because as she said herself she’s a weak person at heart. Her constant smile functions like a mask because that’s what she put upfront, but when it comes to issues revolving Kagusa she’s very determination. When she tells Kasuga she doesn’t want to break-up, it’s that determination that speaks a lot to her character. Saeki in the anime just doesn’t have that vibe, her softly spoken in that same scene doesn’t translate too well for me. Nakamura in the anime also just gives off a wrong impression as well. Nakamura always has that otherworldly aura, that cold grinning that the show just never managed to capture it. In addition, the facial expression isn’t the show’s strong suits, and that hurts because the eyes play such an important role in Oshimi’s style of conveying expression. Many character’s inner feelings and impressions are expressed through the eyes (even Nakamura sometimes would take her glasses down to do just that!) and the anime unfortunately don’t interpret it quite well.

Flowers of Evil 03

Just looking at the eyes, you could gather whole range of expressions from Saeki and Kasuga. All of this was conveyed without any single dialogue. I wish many shows should be like this, it’s Show, Don’t Tell right there.

Ultimately, I consider Flowers of Evil anime a worthy adaptation to the manga, but not a superior one. The director Hiroshi Nagahama really understands what make the manga so appealing and he strengthens many strengths from the manga, on top of that make it unique to a fault (he after all directed Mushishi, Detroit Metal City- all good stuffs). I would love to see the second season of this anime, because simply it’s crime not to adapt the best part of Flowers of Evil. This is exactly how Oshimi put it: an alternate interpretation from the manga.

The Structure – The Coming-of-Age Story at heart

Readers of the manga tends to divide the story in 2 parts: the young and the college part of Kasuga, but as the anime suggests, I believe this is much clearer for Flowers of Evil to split in 3 parts. As much as my distaste with the 3 act structure, this is one of the strength of Flowers of Evil. Oshimi knows how to heighten the drama, escalating the stakes and making the conflicts more and more complex, and it fits pretty well with the 3-act. That 3-act also ties the character development of Kasuga.

Part 1: The Loss of Innocence

Flowers of Evil 04

If I have to pick the image that best represents the 1st act, it’d be this: Kasuga standing there bare-naked, Nakamura holds him back and Saeki keeps reaching for him.

This is basically what the anime covers. This beginning arc at first paints a seemingly “normal” life of a teenage school boy, Kasuga; then slowly tears down all his “walls” – his social life and his identity so to speak. Kasuga in the beginning loves reading books, sees his crush Saeki as a “goddess”, and hates his boring town. His favorite book is Fleurs du Mal, and even he admits that he doesn’t really understand the meaning of the book, he likes it for being “different”. These are basically his identity up to that point. Nakamura succeeds in tearing down all of his identity to the point that by the end of this act he no longer the boy he was, with all of his previously self-identity now gone through the windows. The book at this point symbolises the last self-identity his old-self Kasuga has, as a result having him treading the Fleurs du Mal book is an ultimate action of him losing his innocent self. In addition, by having Saeki throws the book, Kasuga steps on it and finally Nakamura tears it apart; it reflects the rejection of the trio towards a bright, normal life, and foreshadows the next act where basically all hell breaks loose.

Kasuga in this stage is portrayed as passive, because frankly he doesn’t know what he wants. He doesn’t know who he is for that matters. His submissive when the two forces (Nakamura and Saeki) pulling him towards their sides are pretty reasonable and his indecision to choose between them is the main point of this arc. After all, growing up is never easy. At this stage we often put on many personalities because we’re not sure what we are. Oshimi would later revisits this same theme again in Inside Mari (Boku wa Mari no Naka) and I would argue this is an essential stage as part of growing up to really understand who you really are.

Part 2: The Other Side

Flowers of Evil 05

The best moment of 2nd act: To jump or not to jump? That is a question.

This arc is the climax and the heart of Flowers of Evil. It’s the act where you could see our three main characters slowly descend to madness and this is the act where the relationships between the trio become twisted and destructive. Kasuga is much more energetic at this stage, having make up his mind to follow Nakamura and planning do to more deviant acts. This is a much more aggressive, destructive stage and that’s maybe one of the reason people takes the Flowers of Evil as a statement towards the meaning of freedom. They might have their points as the way Kasuga leans towards Nakamura can be seen as his detest towards what society has obstructed him to be. He doesn’t want to be a part of that society anymore and instead wants to do things beyond society comprehension just to express that freedom, that’s also where the very idea of “social norms” is challenged.

Oshimi has stated that in Flowers of Evil he really wants to tackle the very concept of “deviant”, which he felt was misunderstood. In our society, there are certain sets of rules and sets of characters conduct that everyone have to follow in order to be appropriate to others. Any actions outside of that sets of conduct therefore will be deemed “inappropriate”, thus people who violates all that will be classified as deviant people. Kasuga and Nakamura are by that very definition a deviant people, but they are different for the normal deviant people, they have purposes. For me, it’s more of a form of teen-angst where you’re dissatisfied with the world around you, and you want to do something “worthwhile”, even if it means to destroy everything you have.

Obsession plays as another important theme for this act. Not only in this part Kasuga becomes obsessed with making Nakamura happy, but even more so with Saeki keeps chasing down the shadow of Kasuga to the point of nearly break herself down. The main story might focus more between Nakahara – Kasuga relationship, but it’s Saeki’s blindly reach towards Kasuga that add much more context to the story. Their obsessions would eventually become harmful, both too the people around them, but worse to even themselves as well. This corruption is heightened really well by both on how far they gone to achieve what they desire; and on the real damage that they done. Well, there is criticism on the super Deus Ex Machina climax when Nakamura’s father comes out of nowhere to save the day. But really, I think it’s the most appropriate ending out there. After all, the only thing that could stop those 14-year-old kids from self-destruct is the role of the adults themselves. Remember many instances where our kids were disrupted by the adults (the mountain scene in the anime, the burning the sack incident and now this). It’s clear that this story is also about the isolation from kids towards their parents, but when their struggles end up in actual consequences, it’s adult’s roles to step in and prevent those damages as quick as possible.

Part 3: The Afterneath

Flowers of Evil 06

The only time that Nakamura laughs her heart out, purely. I suspect she’d never laugh like that ever again in her life.

By this last arc, it’s clear that Flowers of Evil’s true intention isn’t meant to provoke and shock the audience. Well, it does, but it sets its sight way beyond that. This act might feel as a new story of sort because of the sudden time-jump and the tone is much slower and tender than the previous two acts, in addition the lack of appearance of two girls in the main cast, but for me this is still a very worthy act.

The main theme in this act revolves around consequences. Unlike most other story where the main characters usually can get away with whatever bad cause they have done, in Flowers of Evil there are real consequences and the trio all have to face with the mess that they made. Kasuga witnesses the resentment from people of his own towns, the broken down of his own parents and the hole inside his soul. Facing these scars is never easy and Kasuga wanders around like a ghost since the incident, feels nothing, never belong to the new environment and tends to run away from whatever make him hurt. Saeki then reappears and counters him and urges him to face with the consequences he left behind. To accept the mess he left with is to be able to move on with his life. In order to that he has to face Nakamura again to really put that painful experience to the past.

The notion of the other side is a recurring motif of the story. At first, it was mentioned by Nakamura as “the other side of the mountain”, where she imagines the world in that other side would be different than this world, the place where she can really escape from this dreadful world. It’s a wishful thinking, of course, since she knows that there is no other side for her, wherever she goes. Kasuga takes this idea further by saying that the other side is within her, wherever she feels happy that is her other side. As a result, he tries to do all the deviant works just to please her. When Saeki succeeds on preventing them, that’s when they choose to go the ultimate other side: the afterworld. After that, they would never find that other side. Well, technically they did, in the name of the town where Nakamura now lives, to signify that Nakamura herself is already in her own other side (in a not-belong-to-this-world-anymore sense– she’s now completely isolated)

The Characters and Their Poisonous Relationships that Know No Brake

Flowers of Evil 07

Ahhh, those moments. My heart aches

The characters of Flowers of Evil is easily the strongest parts of the story. I really admire Oshimi of the way he keeps these relationships so ambiguous, but ultimately show how these relationships effect on the characters later on. Many people falsely assumed (heck, even many of my real-life friends) that when it comes to male-female relationship there will only be friendship or romantic relationship, and nothing in between (Even this classic rom-com argues that there will always be sex stands in the way of male-female friendships), but there is never a clear explanation on the relationship between Kasuga and Nakamura. Kasuga even said that to Nakamura’s father himself that he doesn’t really know what their relationship is, and that’s what he’s going to find out. If I could put it myself I think partner in crimes would be the best to describe it.

Nakamura, on the other hand, is a social outcast. She is the one who just doesn’t see the way the society sees. She just genuinely hates the society she lives in to the very core. She sees no point of achieving fame, wealth or career or even social standard because to her all of these are pointless. For her it’s a complete waste of time. Nakamura represents that part of social outcast thus she’s become more like a symbol for Kasuga to follow. The last chapter nicely portrays the world in her point of view. That is the very first time we can get into her mind and it’s rewarding. Her view world is of course flawed but she remains an interesting and quite mysterious character till the very end.

So why did she push him of the stage back then? That question lingers till the end for Kasuga and even then he doesn’t get the answer from Nakamura. Is it because Nakamura realizes that even with Kasuga chooses to stay with her, she will ultimately be isolated? Is it because she knows Kasuga is not a deviant person like she is so it’s better she’s doing it alone? Is it because Kasuga is the only person she loves so she doesn’t wish for him to die? It could be all those answers and I’m glad that the creator respects us enough to not spell out anything.

Saeki is my personal favorite characters out of Flowers of Evil and hell, what transformation that she had been through. Unlike Kasuga’s dating Saeki already came from a crumbling ground (he has been manipulated by Nakamura since then), her love for Kasuga was at first as pure as it gets. She recognises his passion for the book Fleurs Du Mal and comes to admire him for that. She’s the one who keep insisting Kasuga to be open with her, then to actually forgive him when she found out that he stole her gym clothes and accept him the way he is. It then becomes an obsession as she keeps pushing herself to follow him around, then taking action on what she believes to pull Kasuga out of his mess. That’s one hell of descending to madness and for me this is a textbook example of how to it right.

Flowers of Evil 09

This is, in contrast, a textbook example of how Not to do when you write about a character losing his sanity. I just choose this example because this is the most recent example. For once, you show their insanity by the way they act, not on how they literally transform into evil; excerpt from Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace

But where do all of her actions come from? In the name of love? Her friend Ai at one time points out that her affection for Kasuga is just because someone actually asks her out for the first time, and this is nothing more than a crush, she’s just in love with “love”. What Ai said is right. Goddamn it, it’s totally right, but the whole affair is much more complex than that. We all know that love grows stronger when you can’t have it. In Kasuga, she feels like she can be her true self and not pretend to be composed or anything (the theme again would be resivited in Inside Mari); that is why her determination on spying on him and getting him back become much more heartbreaking. After all, the poor girl just wants to let out what was really in her heart. Why is it getting so wrong? She asked herself. Maybe it was wrong right from the start. She’s just fall for the wrong guy.

Lastly, Aya appears in the last arc only and she’sa representation of a healthy love relationship Kasuga has. Aya is the one who brings back his interest in books. For the first time since the incidents, he’s again passionate about something. I admit that I found the scene where he proposed to her sudden and a bit out of context, but other than that she fits nicely to the story. Aya, just like anyone around her, builds a wall in front of her so the others couldn’t reach to her. She couldn’t tell any of her friends that she loves books because she’s afraid it’s going to weird them out. When she learns about the past of Kasuga, she insists on facing it together with him and that’s for me how a healthy relationship should be. For all my heart to support Saeki – Kasuga relationship to happen, especially in the third arc, I know that relationship has become too poisonous for them to be together.

Flowers of Evil 08

This image alone tells me a lot about how Aya’s love for Kasuga. Remember those 3 guys are Kasuga’s friends. She didn’t talk to them much because she’s in different class. Now, she’s just natural with those guys, even when Kasuga’s away. That’s the best kind of relationship if you ask me.

Last but not least, to the very central question, is Kasuga really a deviant person? I guess everyone have a deviant, dark side self of themselves. People argues that Nakamura is manipulating Kasuga to the point that he sometimes behaves out of himself. But really, how do you define “out of character”? Because he acts different than he normally would have done? Because he doesn’t act the way others expect him to do? If he doesn’t have that deviant side he’d never steal the gym clothes in a first place. Is it then make him a pervert person? No, unlike Nakamura who already seen the world as ugly and twisted, this dark self is a part of him, he will need to embrace that dark self in order to grow up and become a normal person. I know this might seem ignorance for me to say this, especially after this guy single-handed wreck his family, his life and the two girls that he loves the most, and the trio still pretty much struggles with their past; but I’m glad these things happened to them. Because otherwise, they would never become the person they are today, for better or for worse.

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Of course, this piece won’t be completed without the mention of the ED. The most unsettling, haunting, creepy score you will ever listen in anime; in other words, just about perfect for Flowers of Evil*.

*Aku no Hana ED: Give it a listen here if you hadn’t already.

3 Responses

  1. Jedman says:

    Nice article, I found the flowers of evil anime was really intense and gripping to watch, it’s a shame that the visual style turned so many people off as despite this the anime is amazing. I didn’t mind the visuals so much I think they added to the atmosphere in a way.

    Really do hope we get a sequel at some point as this is one of my all time favourites. I couldn’t wait any longer and read all the manga but think I would have preferred to see it as an anime as the story works really well in anime form, the first half of the story especially has such an intense atmosphere on screen.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Thanks Jedman, as I said in my piece I consider the anime and manga as 2 interpretations to the story, to that end I would recommend people to try them both. They’re all very good in their own ways.

      The sad truth is that I think we’ll never get a sequel, considering how the anime was quite divisive at the time (heck, even now). If they go for a sequel though I wish they change the college part into something completely different. That part is not bad per se but I always feel the disruption between it and the first two parts.

  2. Strength says:

    I’d love to see the manga version of this post…

    But damn! Seeing Nakamura laugh like that (in the picture) just hit me hard! She is laughing, but it makes me depressed! You nailed it with the caption. I forgot how amazing that was! Unbelievable! That meeting! Those feels! Such catharsis! It is beautiful and so painful. I must go read it again now, it has been a while!

    As for my fav character:
    I applaud the depth and complexity of Nakamura’s character, I pity and feel for Saeki – she is truly a good person deserving love, but Aya is without question my favorite. She is an anchor and as you said – she has the power to heal Kasuga. She is different, not (just) damaged or tragic (as Naka or Saeki are), she is a great person. These kids are too self-involved to help each other, but she is better than that. I’d have to read the manga to go into details though.

    As for Saeki:
    I agree with your points, her smile is a mask (she even said once that she thinks she is weak, even though everyone says she is strong) and her love for Kasuga was more of a gratitude for receiving the comforting feeling of love for the first time. But I disagree that the main motivation for her obsession was that with Kasuga she could be her true self. I think it was the way she identified herself – by how others saw her, or rather, how she thought others saw her/were supposed to see her (which is probably an image her parents put into her head…).

    Saeki played the perfect student, the perfect child, the perfect friend and the perfect girlfriend. It’s really easy to see – from the moment she starts suspecting Kasuga of hiding something, the only thing on her mind is to become the pillar for him to deal with it, disregarding any well-being of her own, or his for that matter. If accepting someone is what a partner should do (and she believes that), then accepting that the other does not want to be accepted or have his secret revealed is too what she should do. Except she does not, because she pointlessly chases an image of a perfect girlfriend, who no guy could ever leave for no good (or bad) reason. She is not aware that she acts out this role, partly because on the outside it appears she abandons the idea, but no. Losing her social status, her parent’s and peers’ recognition does not signify losing her role, quite the opposite. Being able to sacrifice everything for Kasuga is the pinnacle of girlfriend material that becomes at some point more worth than everything else – to maintain her role she was assigned by the society. The only way to conform is to lose everything and destroy herself.

    She is obsessed with Kasuga, because saving him would give her everything back, along with the illusion that her identity is hers. Not saving him would cost facing the fact that her identity is manufactured by others, given to her and that she accepts it, because she has none of her own. That’s what she truly meant by saying she is weak – she already knows deep down… But, she is unable to admit her true self so she desperately tries to maintain the ‘truth’ about herself.

    That sounds a lot like borderline personality disorder.

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Amagi
Yeah Mash is one of the few good ones it seems.
Amagi
Oh damn, good that you remind me, I didn't pick anything yet. But I guess I will go with Altera, considering that some of them don't look that good and I own her anyway. Would have wanted the Scat one but the drawing looks weird.
AidanAK47
Which Bond CE did you pick for the 2 mill? I went with the Mash one. Only only whose artwork I liked.
AidanAK47
Might settle for making Bryn my endgame lancer though.
AidanAK47
As I said in my Apocrypha post, I have no interest in any version of Jeanne. My top priorities for my endgame team is Isekander, Scathach and assassin Shiki. And Shiki is a welfare so only need to worry about the other two.
Amagi
Yeah, I was considering to keep rolling for the new 4* at first but I really want Jeanne Alter and she's coming soon.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I tried rolling for Karna and got nothing. Though I think Bryn is better. I plan on rolling one more time with the saint quartz we are getting to try for NP2. Though we do have the valintines event coming.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here, just got Brynhildr. Even though I already got Karna last month. But I wanted her, nice design, finally a single-targed 5* and she's even one of the few servants related to my country.
KTravlos
@SuperMario. The contemplation of the death of humanity, and the loneliness, both were very disturbing to me. Kinda like thinking of my grave.
AidanAK47
YANDERE GET. Bryn's mine baby.
AidanAK47
Gonna try rolling for Brynhildr tomorrow. Bit annoyed they chose to translate it as Brynhild. I mean it's not incorrect but her name is far more recognisable as Brynhildr
AidanAK47
@Amagi, The grind wasn't that bad for me. Mordred carried me for it. Though I managed to get Siegfried in the gacha despite not being on rate up. I admit that the event was rather lackluster. Story wasn't that fun and the whole saber restriction was a pain. Also gonna take me a while to readjust to regular damage.
Amagi
Man that FGO Saber Wars event was annoying. I am happy finally I have 2 mio. altrium now and am done with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminder that netflix Godzilla anime is later today.
Amagi
Damn I didn't noticed that ankle band of the little demon from the intro scene of FranXX 01, now I feel stupid.
Lenlo
Yuasa is great! Ping pong and Tatami Galaxy are still some of my favorites
SuperMario
Oh fuck, the lead singer of the Cranberries passed away. I literally just listened to their music yesterday. Damnn, sad news
SuperMario
@Kaiser; thanks for considering me but I believe Wooper is much more a Yuasa's fan than I am
SuperMario
Far out!!!
SuperWooper
Yuasa will be answering questions on Reddit's anime board on the 20th.
SuperMario
@Niello: what do you mean regarding Yuasa?
SuperMario
@Travlos: I agree that Girls Last Tour is a special little gem, but in what ways it's disturbing?
Niello
Holy cow, Masaaki Yuasa AMA!! What magic is this?
Niello
Meawhile, Japan took a different approach and we ends up with a bunch of .hack rehash and diving more and more into escapism. Until we eventually got isekai and then it just spiraled into a sea of mediocrity.
Niello
While that opened its own can of worms, at least it opens up element about making ends meet, managing irl relationships, earning extra income for a poor family, getting cheated etc.
Niello
in the characters real life just fine. Something more a long the line of Net-juu but more technologically advanced. And I would say that plenty of those have been superior to Japanese online game and isekai story shenanigans. That said, it doesn't mean that those don't have their own kind of traps they usually fall in. A bunch of those instead focus on the aspect of making money off of games.
Niello
...Getting stuck in a virtual reality game and being transport to another world that happens to be like a game are completely different though. I don't know what is it with Japan and getting stuck in game plots considering that there are loads of other game-base Asian novels that came before it that manage story lines where they manage to tell compelling stories in game while balancing what happen
KTravlos
I finally finished Girls Last Tour. What a profound, fluffy and disturbing masterpiece. Bravo.
Amagi
Yeah. I feel the world swap is pretty much pointless when real life isn't relevant anymore. It's just a stupid as hell excuse to combine fantasy wish fullfilment with self-inserts, which is why these main characters tend to be 29 by now, just like the big part of the otaku community.
Lenlo
Of those you listed, no, I dont think they get explained? I mean, SAO did, but I dont think that falls into your category.

Thats why I liked .hack//sign over alot of more modern game Isekai. Also .hack//sign did explain what happened to Tsukasa.
Amagi
Considering how bad most of these are I wouldn't wonder if they wouldn't even bother with an explanation and just end it with the characters being happy in that game world and that's it. Or magic and the whole harem gets transported into reality at the end because power of love and such.
Amagi
I have no problem with a sci-fi fantasy mix, I liked .hack//sign for example, but it annoys me that such an incredibly bizarre situation gets never explained. Or maybe it will but it never happened so far because none of these LNs was ever finished and concluded yet. I just wish to know how they explain that.
Amagi
I mean all those shows in which the character just finds himself stuck in a real world that's (coincidentally?) the same as the game he recently played. Be it Overlord, Death March, Log Horizon or the 300 other series with that premise.
Amagi
Some thing that always bothered me about game isekai for which I never got an answer so far: did any of those series ever end and/or explain how the warp has happened and why the MC is in the game? - Not talking about .hack, SAO and such where the action of getting trapped is part of the premise
Niel
@Eoghan - Btw, Kokkoku isn't a time travel. it's stasis, apparently. Looks very promising so far. Though if I am to trust the manga score, it's shit.
Niel
But is Toradora really slice of life? As far as I can see it's straight up romance.
Lenlo
And Mario, ill rag on SOL all I want! :P

Wooper, its true good shows transcend genre, as there are still some like Toradora I like, but those are exceptions that prove the rule so to speak.
Lenlo
@Niel, yeah I base my potential % on the odds something gets/stays good.
AidanAK47
I am of similar mindset about Franxx. I want it to get better but I don't really see it doing so. Unless the other characters get a majority personality boost or the MC stops being a plank.
Niel
XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
I confess....I only sat through just over half an episode of aldonoah.
Niel
Since it's Trigger, I will give the benefit of the doubt. I'm just very skeptical about this whole formula.
Niel
The way I can see this series improving is through world building. And if other aspects are going to improve too, it's going to revolve around that.
Niel
It leaves about as much impression on me as much as the first episode of Aldnoah did, and I dropped that one straight away. The character chemistry doesn't look like it will go places that's not cliche. The gimmick doesn't seem like it has much potential either.
Niel
So you're all betting it on "this is going to get better". I mean, I hope it gets better. Though right now this feels more Kiznaiver than Kill la Kill or LWA.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd nominate Mario to do the devilman review as he's the most immediate Yuasa fan to do it and Bam is too awol to write it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cute girl shows just bleed and blend in my mind now, same with the isekai shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Devilman, my show of the season, unless after the rain ends up having some emotional wallop.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So for me its looking like: Junji itou, Cardcaptor sakura, keeping up with sangatsu, wait and see on amegari . Not watching a time travel or trigger show and I remain unable to sit through Mahoutsukai .
Amagi
The story itself is generic so far but so are most Trigger series at the beginning so not sure. Maybe it will stay weak, but in general I prefer series that start with the weaker episodes and get better and better over time over the many series that use up all of their budget and trump cards in the first episode and drag on after that.
Amagi
I really love Trigger's esthetics and their characters. I am happy they're more often involved in non-trigger-only productions because I honestly think that most of the stuff I enjoyed about FranXX was heavily influenced by them.
SuperMario
@Nielo: Franxx's first ep was stellar for me. Storywise, it's lackluster (and I see the similar in tropes between this and Beatless) but production-wise it's excellent
SuperMario
I think I just keep watching it on a weekly basis. Still trippy as hell
SuperMario
Okay, I just watched second episode of Devilman Crybaby and it's still pretty good.
Nielo
By the way, what's up with Darling in the Franxx? I thought it's a very weak first episode.
Nielo
@Lenlo: Slice of life isn't my thing either, and I usually avoid series set in high school.
Nielo
@SuperMario: Takagi-san is cute, I'll admit that, but since I already read the manga it's not new to me. Sora Yori is good, but it's not particularly cute. I found Hakumei to Mikochi and Yuru Camp very boring. Haven't got the chance to watch Mitsuboshi Colors or Gakuen Babysisters but I don't think they could be more cute than Mii-kun.
SuperWooper
HOT TAKE: Genre is irrelevant. What matters is whether a show is good.
SuperMario
Don't knock off MY genre Lenlo. It's one of the reason I got into anime in the first place :)
Lenlo
Im not saying it doesn't do what it sets out to. I just don't think what it sets out to do is all that... great.
Lenlo
@Niello, Slice of Life was never my Genre in the first place :/ I typically avoid them. I have my own life to deal with and already graduated high school, why would I want to deal with a melodramatic anime highschool, is my line of thought.
SuperMario
@Niello: okay, let's see:Takagi-san (the titular character), Mitsuboshi Colors, Gakuen Babysisters (Toddlers!!), Hakumei to Milochi (tiny girls) and two more slightly more mature but equally cute: Sora Yori and Yuru Camp's casts
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I'm sure this is where our definition of "cute" parts way, but I'll ask anyway, what are those 5 shows?
SuperMario
@Niello: seems so because I can eaisily pick 5 more shows that are cuter, and better than Mummy this season ;)
Nielllo
...So I suppose I'm the only one who's kinda bored out by a lot of the slice of life shows that's trying to be cute this season and only perked up by the Mummy anime because it's actually do what it's meant to do and be legit cute.
Lenlo
I am interested in Koi, but still have concern about the relationship itself.

@Vonter, the mummy anime would be better as short vignettes together I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koi amegari is surprisingly tasteful, subdued and pretty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*to where
Kaiser-Eoghan
Try as I might, my love of kyoani tv anime has largely evaporated did where I no longer want to bother at this stage, I'll just wait and see. I'll just stay quiet on the franxx anime, theres little value in me trying to get through a trigger work at this point.
SuperMario
I get the exact same feeling with Takagi-san. It's pretty good on what it does but 20 minutes of the same thing for a whole season doesn't sound that promising
Vonter
The chibi mummy anime
Vonter
It's a shame it isn't a shorter 10 or 5 minute series, I think that format would make it shine more, since it does what it's trying to do.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I liked the second episode of Kokkuko or whatever the name is even more than the first one.
Amagi
I really have a problem with all these shows that rely on one single thing, joke, shenanigan or whatever. Be it something cute, some certain kind of interactiong or whatever. It doesn't matter how good it is it will bore me with episode 2.
Lenlo
Like, yeah, the mummy was cute. But the cute became rote/bland really quick. There has to be more than "cute" to be worth watching for more than a single episode to me.
Lenlo
@Niello, I was harsh because its not aimed at me. I wanted to drop it 5 minutes in, kept up for the post, then was thankful it was over. There wasnt anything overtly bad about it. Its just there was nothing good either.
AidanAK47
To be fair it's not as if we are lacking cute in this season.
In fact it's in danger of inflation.
SuperMario
@Niello: yes, the mummy is cute, the show is cute but beside that it's pretty mediocre. That show in particular is the only show that I have the damnest time to give it a potential rating.
Niello
It's not even down because of legal reasons, since the site pull down contents that are lincensed. It's down cause it's too much for the site owner to manage. Much of it also have to do with too many bots, which comes back to how a lot of other sites are relying on batoto.
Niello
@Masky: Not enough manga titles are getting translated. Batoto is the site scanlation groups basically rely on, and where other aggregation sites pull their content from. No batoto no obscure titles, a big blow to small scantation groups and one big manga/scanlator community down.
Niello
Why are you guys so harsh on the mummy show? It's so darn cute. Give it some credit. If a comedy show can be good because it does comedy well I don't see why a show ike Mummy can't be good if it can make people go "aww".
Masky
I don't really know why that is the case, maybe marketing budget and UI friendliness when done right? :P
Masky
Eh, wouldn't say it will kill manga industry. I mean, more and more official methods of reading manga online is starting to pop up and legit channels to pay to get access to manga can surprisingly enough harm free channels to get manga.
Masky
Anyway, I do find it funny how how the isekai character dies can be so meaningless that is joke in most of them
Niello
Batoto is going down, how this affect the manga reading is going to be interesting. Hope it's not slowly dying.
Masky
(at least that one, besides forgetting to introduce what the heck is gimmick besides generickness, acknowledged how most of otaku mcs shouldn't erally want to get transferred to fantasy world since they never get to see how their favourite mangas end :P )
Masky
Anyhoo, it gets annoying since its not just isekai being cliche, sometimes is just them being kind of badly written(or at least adapted to manga). Like, I found one new isekai today, but I have no idea what its gimmick is(from what I understood, its that "cute companion" that character gets is hideously op because mc didn't spefy cute girl when he asked god manager dude for cute companion)
Masky
Slime one is one of better from the more generic ones weirdly enough :P I mean I still wouldn't call it good, but at least MC character isn't god tier, just top tier and it has sort of village building simulation feel to it. Plus at least naming things giving monsters more powers is something funny regarding jrpg mechanics
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or alternatively the car was on a boat with the character or parents in it and the boat and car were hit by a falling plane lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its always "car accident" that sends the characters to another world or in harem cases "Lost parents due to car crash", for christs sake doesn't anyone die in out of control plane or speedboat crashes anymore, at least make it a motorbike....
Nayrael
Ah sorry, should probably not have touched the colors...
Nayrael
Trust me, Isekai is better when it doesn't try to be imaginative. When it tries to be original then... Isekai with a Smartphone... Isekai where the MC turns into a Slime... and my favorite: Isekai where the MC became a Hot Spring popular with sexy girls.
Masky
Assuming "new" things can happen under the sun
Masky
Anyhoo, I do wonder what the heck will be next "popular genre trope that will become so overused cliche that everyone groans whenever show uses it even if its actually good show"
Masky
Like, seriously you could do really interesting story variant on isekai with that if done right. Suddenly becoming characters you have roleplayed would be trippy as hell espicially if one of characters went really into detail with backstory while one of them is just "Bob the fighter, he likes fighting" and has to deal with what happens when you assume life of such a person
Masky
But I wouldn't honestly be surprised because of my anger issues related to amount of unimaginative isekai :P Though I guess trpg based one would be more imaginative in comparison
Masky
I'd assume not since I assume tabletop rpgs are much more niche than jrpgs in japan
Masky
So has anyone yet done isekai where guys getting transferred were playing trpg? :P
KTravlos
quite happy with most recent Attack of Titan manga chapter.
SuperMario
Alright, one more impression post to go before we really get on to new season
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, I just fixed it. Thank you
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than just the reviewers names
Kaiser-Eoghan
A slight problem with the coding there in the newest impression, showing code gobbledeegook rather than the reviewers names above their impressions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm seeing it on 2nd of February.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Late screeners generally leak shortly after the uk release, so maybe early Febbruary it'll be online?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, Phantom Thread. Could be Daniel Day Lewis's final performance. Is it available online already?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Did you know that Paul Thomas Anderso8n has a new film coming out? Also I found out there is a Polish semi-knockoff of purple rose of cairo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Awesome, just got myself an invite to a secret private torrent site =)
K-Off
@Kaiser When I was in University, I was a waiter at a Korean-owned Japanese Sushi restaurant with a kitchen staff of entirely Mexicans with poor English. The owner, while he provided the rest of his staff with small meals during our lunch or dinner shifts, never game any to the kitchen staff. The guy even ranted to a customer about how "lazy" or "ignorant" they were.
K-Off
Buses are pretty common in America, even outside the major super-cities like LA, NYC, or Chicago. It's public rail you're thinking of that we don't have much of outside the cities.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I brought up the racisim/aunt story wondering if anyone had any horror stories about where they worked?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bokusen: Buses don't seem to be a thing in America, meanwhile over here, despite traffic, public transport is much more of a thing, couldn't imagine not getting a train or bus somewhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi. I must say you changed my positive view of the German education system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And yet Austria gets the far right party in power and Israel also has a far right apartheid leader.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If any good came from it, her boss got banned from facebook .
Amagi
Two years ago the alt/new right hold a rally here since they're successful elsewhere with their anti-immigrant/PoC speeches. In the end it was 35 nazis vs 29.000 counter-demonstrators. The joke: when they had to leave with police protection they shouted "We are the people". Yes 35 hated bigots are surely the people, not the 29k. I laughed.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: That aunt story is pretty shit. I am kinda happy about smartphones nowadays, you can often make photos or record speech if you are witnessing something. Also, thank God the racists in my city are very rare since antifa and leftwingers took hold of it decades ago - now 70% of people are immigrants so racists don't even tend to show up anymore.
Nielllo
Great. I don't think most of what I wrote actually appeared in the chat.
Niello
what I'm going to do in the long run.
Niello
While Liberal art colleges are really good for developing writing and reading skills, the truth is in science classes you still don't do much of that. it's also limited by general lack of equipments that you get at bigger Uni. My college don't even have engineering.
Bokusen
@Kaiser Darn it, I hate it when racists try to justify their beliefs. That guy sounds like a major jerk!
Bokusen
@Niello Ah, yeah I think I might have preferred the UK system too if they give a month to study for exams! Wow...That sounds much nicer. Oh, and yeah, I wish the US had better public transport too... After seeing Japan's public transport system, I wish the US's could be more like it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The landlords love to kickout people through unfair prices a stick their friends in instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Since we're on careers, it reminds me, one of my aunts telling me what a bastard her boss was, guy was a racist, she complained about it then he got rid of all the evidence linking him to it and made it seem as if she was the rascist and humiliated her in front of her Arab friends.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think we all end up getting this huge kick in the ass moment where we learn andget it together.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It gets better thankfully, grew up and am happy with this postal clerk job.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The landlord story is a common one, they still think themselves feudal lords.
Amagi
And yeah, all this neet time. Although not moving out isn't that uncommon here anymore, considering how the rent increases, especially in my region (European bank city). And if I look at my friends it seems like they've the same problems. Even those who have found their dream jobs are otherwise living a nerdy life, going to pubs at night and so on. I think a part of us will always stay twenty.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: This "career" was exactly the same for me. I am pretty sure I wasn't even capable of thinking about my future up until, as you said, mid-twenties. There were just so many other things that interested/bothered me, school wasn't even among my top 30s or so.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Oh how I regret not getting into novels, noe my concentration is too shit to read them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I don't think teenagers even really know who they themselves actually are .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Youth is wasted on the young.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember wasting so many chances to properly appreciate and get into certain things when I was younger too, when I actually had the time. We have no idea how to use it at that age.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The answer is down to the kid themselves wising up early and adults needing to find a way to REALLY motivate kids.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hated being in that position, leeching off my parents/the state.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember as a teenager thinking watching films/anime/playing videogames with my friends/brother would last forever, then getting a dose of reality that everyone just moved on .
Kaiser-Eoghan
and between short contracts you spend months as a neet.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You just end up bouncing between go nowhere evening/day courses that are more about putting asses on seats than actually getting anyone anywhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
and then you find out you dossed off so much in school you can't get to grips with university.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't recommend anyone doing what I did in my teens and early 20s, dossing off all the time, then finding out you have to wait five years to go to college as mature student, your school results are middling and not job/college useful, end up taking forever to get to the stage where you can start building up temporary job experience because no one will hire you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Heck, as a teenager I remember pretty much living in the moment, never even thought seriously about what I wanted to do, I don't think I even thought about that my adolescence would end, pretty much rushed through my homework and never studied, stayed up all night watching anime/reading manga and playing videogames allday.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think I actually matured/grew up until I was in my mid twenties.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My school never did a career prep class.
Kaiser-Eoghan
in the end thats how I got to where I am now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I took a different path in life to working, doing temp and voluntary work over time to buildup experience all over the place and working out what I wanted to do that way.
K-Off
@Kaiser @Amagi Besides the characters, Emma would not work if not for the sheer passion for Victorian history that you see in every single frame. Reading Emma reminded me not to avoid historical manga entirely as I'd done before.
K-Off
Probably why Community College is one of the best things to ever happen to the United States' education system, since it catches those students who need some time to figure out what they want to study. I went through three years of it before transferring to University.
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Featured Posts

Kokkoku – 2 [The Second Moment]

Hello and welcome to the 2018 Winter season! This time, we have an interesting little time-based drama called Kokkoku. It has mystery, it has cults, it has dead-beat parents and apparent god-like beings. Lets jump in! To start, a quick blurb about our characters. Personally, I like them so far. They are all flawed and imperfect […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 03 [The Follow Backs Don’t Stop]

“I could just die right now” That line, spoken by our new member, Yuzuki, bookends this week’s Universe. It marks the shift in the new girl’s character growth. Last week, the Expedition girls mentioned they have a plan to raise fund, right? Turns out it’s not the mother, but the young girl herself, is used […]

Junji Ito Collection – 02[Fashion Model, Long Dreams]

After the first episode started off as a black comedy, I was worried that this series may suffer the same problem as Kino’s Journey in that the weaker stories in his work would be chosen for adaption. Lucky this does not appear to be the case but there is another problem which is not quite […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 13/14 [East, West, Homes Best]/[Looks breed love]

Hello and welcome to the new year! New Year, a new Cour for Mahoutsukai no Yome, this time with slightly more plot. These past two weeks have been a bumpy ride of Mahoutsukai, with plenty to talk about. So let’s jump in! To start off, the new OP is terrible. The music isn’t as good […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 02 [Kabukicho Fremantle]

I’m glad that this second episode addresses straight out all my worries from the first episode: the actual implementation to make that trip a reality, because boy, it’s no simple matter. Universe apparently does its research, telling us exactly places they need to go, the initial trip ahead and the amount of money they need […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 33/34 [Where the Sun Shines…Light]

It’s been three weeks since my last 3-gatsu post, a gap owed in part to the break the show took around New Years’. Perhaps it’s because of all that time away from the series, or maybe it’s due to the massive difference between these two episodes, but I had a tough time connecting with the […]

Dies Irae – 10/11[Einherjar/Self-Destruction Factor]

Quite late in covering this one though out of the three shows I covered for the fall season my level of interest in this series has more or less evaporated. Truth be told, while this is a episode review of ten and eleven, i honestly cannot even remember what happened in episode ten. I think […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 12 [Better to ask the way than go astray]

Welcome to the end of Mahoutsukai’s first cour! Apologies for the lateness of this review. I had expected another to come out over Christmas and to simply do a double feature, but Mahoutsukai pulled on over on me! This week we finish up Chise’s wand, get to see Grandfather Nevin again and have an almost […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 24/25[The Holy Grail War/Apocrypha]

Forgive me for my lack of updates with the series I am blogging but as I am sure you all know, holidays tend to keep us busy for one thing or another. Believe it or not i only recently got around to finishing this series last two episodes and they didn’t really surprise me all […]

Latest Reviews

In This Corner of the World (2016) Movie Review – 90/100

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, […]

Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production […]

Fate/Apocrypha Anime Review – 64/100

I was quite excited for Apocrypha and in the so called year of Fate adaptations, it looked to be the crown jewel. Sadly, partly due to lacking adaption and the source lacking in areas, this anime turned out to be not quite the jewel I thought it would be. It’s hard to call this a […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World Anime Review – 73/100

One of the surprises of the year was to see the return of Kino’s Journey, a very well regarded and more unique anime among those deemed classic. Many, myself included, were very much looking forward to the return of Kino and her talking Motorrad. Though due to some factors this series doesn’t quite live up […]

Girls’ Last Tour (Fall 2017) Review – 86/100

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak […]

Two tales of War: Reviewing The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Altair: A Record of Battles

It would not be an exaggeration to say that my favorite type of anime is the political-military epic. This comes partly out of my profession, I study war and politics, but also my hobby, as military and political history is something I enjoy. When it comes to anime there is a clear sub-category that can […]

The Night is Short, Walk On Girl (2017) Movie Review – 92.5/100

“How many decades have passed since our drinking contest?” “It hasn’t been that long. It was only a few hours ago, this very night!” That gap in time perceiving plays a significant role in Night is Short. For you see, it all depends on how our perception of the surroundings and time itself can affect […]

Ballroom e Youkoso Review – 65/100

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. […]

Inuyashiki Review – 80/100

Do you know what the average age of an anime protagonist is? Neither do I, but I’d wager its in the upper teens. For obvious reasons, most anime focus on high school and have high school aged protagonists with similarly aged problems. Its not often that we get a good older main character, who has […]