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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CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*in an old
Kaiser-Eoghan
And as another random fact, a young Swedish actor from film called death in Venice was the basis for the design of an old shounen-ai manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now anon, that reminds me, Ash was apparently based off River Phoenix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You cheeky fiend =P
Anonymous2824999
If they ever make a live action Banana Fish, they should cast Kevin Spacey as Dino.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't know double decker was supposed to be related to tiger and bunny.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll be starting shoujo kageki in a few hours.
SuperMario
Needless to say, while this season has been a bit underwhelming, I have like 3 favorite shows that might end up on my Top 10 of the year list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Donkey VietKONG.
Kaiser-Eoghan
SUPER-MAOrio =P
SuperMario
Regarding RErideD and Double Decker, I'm in no rush checking them out now. Will do that after this season wraps up
SuperMario
Regarding politic, my dad was a Communist so he was pretty tight-lipped when it comes to the topic. Most of the things I learned from how the system works is by listening to him and his colleagues talk over while drinking
SuperMario
Regarding Ash, yeah it strikes me the same as Ash is is way too perfect in everything (the new talent we found out the last few episodes: superhacker). When he said to Eiji that he never wanted that "gift" in the first place, I honestly don't know which one he was referring to
Kaiser-Eoghan
I may aswell finish it given that that its the last episode.
AidanAK47
So Planet With ends and the madman actually did it. Besides needing a bit more of a epilogue, that was a great finale.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I try to understand, make sense of the other sides views within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really want a successful fantasy go on an adventure style show though, I feel like I'm genuinely in the mood for one, I've actually considered watching some old ovas of that nature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The most common thing my father and I talk about is Brexit really and how once upon a time we actually went after tyrants.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And even though I have the God thing, never became a burn the witches kind of person. I do want to put the far right/fascist people in gulags though lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kaiser thing, now that I think about it is actually really odd, I speak minimal German, am no monarchist and am a leftist. Yet even though I hate the bougoiuse , I love aristocratic costumes lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again, it may not be overly odd, there were Maoist priests.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: This is pretty common here too. Organized religion isn't popular but most people believe there is a God and, depending on the person and cultural background, that parts of the holy books are true (or not, if they're real agnostics), usually in a metaphorical sense though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*upbringing
Kaiser-Eoghan
That mixed upbringoing of having a communist father and religious relatives is an interesting thing.....for all of the exploitation I watch, I ctually feel nunsploitation is going too far lol I also sometimes check with my dad before watching certain things to make sure it isn't "too anti-left/anti socialist".
Amagi
@Animosh: No problem. I think it depends a bit on how people were brought up decades ago. It's probably different nowadays, no idea. The arguing was kinda fun though, especially for the teen me (I bet I annoyed the shit out of my father).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet having no regard for organized religion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I however am a mutt though, believer in some kind of a God to an extent....while also having communist sympathies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh@Amagi: As it stands neither my mother or brother are communists, actually my mother while very left wing would criticize my father when going "too communist". My parents and my brother are the only members of my family who could be considered leftist/non-religious.
Amagi
@Animosh: Planet With definetely needs some sort of epilogue OVA. You can somewhat guess the dragon's story but it's not the same as seeing it and there are still a few of semi-loose strings like the people who are still dreaming.
Animosh
@Amagi: my apologies for my presumptuousness. ;) My mother occasionally also participated in political discussions, but yeah, for some reason it's often men who have strong political opinions and are not willing to admit defeat in discussions.
Amagi
Also I don't spoil anything but the last minutes of the first episode just feel stupid. I think/hope there will be an explanation later for how something has worked so perfectly that shouldn't have worked at all. In general it seems to be a show that tries hard but can't deliver for some reason. I won't completely judge it yet though.
Animosh
Planet With also wrapped up things nicely. Unfortunately the dragon remains a bit underdeveloped, which makes it difficult for me to care about his fate, and I would have liked to see at least the main ship officially confirmed, but other than that it was an excellent finale that satisfactorily ties up all loose ends. This is how you do a one-cour.
Amagi
Regarding RErideD I have conflicted feelings. As said, the premise sounds pretty good but the budget is damn dab, especially for the beginning of a show. There is a scene in which the MC is so badly animated you can't even recognize what's going on at first.
Amagi
@Animosh: funny enough I am female, but yeah somehow these discussions only exist with fathers while the mothers are just trowing the towel and say "fuck it", I mean it usually doesn't change anybody's mind so it's more of a hobby I guess.
Animosh
It's a bit late, but Hanebado is finally giving me what I wanted from the show: tense, well-animated badminton matches. The match does feel a bit rushed, the overexplaining can be annoying and there's still plenty of melodrama, but it's a lot more enjoyable than what we got in the previous weeks at least.
Anonymous2822860
will be seeing what kind of flaws Ash has. Also, I think this way of characterizing him also fits into the narrative. This strength that Ash has is what pushes his gang members away and see him not as a normal human, but a "king."
Anonymous2822860
That was some interesting insight on Ash as a "perfect" person. While I do think that Banana Fish shows that Ash is an extremely capable person time and time again, he cannot win this "war" alone. There's too many enemies and too many things that need to be done. Also, I think as we get further on into the second cour, we
Anonymous2822162
Also, it's neat watching the first few episodes again after what goes down throughout the first half of the series; you get to see all of the characters together before everything blows up in their face.
Anonymous2822162
When I say perfect characterization, I should say I mean the way he's characterized as this perfect supremely capable person. The other characters do help reveal other aspects of Ash though: Eiji is his age and allows him to be a normal teenager; Max is like a surrogate father and lets him act like a son; Arthur and Dino are kind of evil inverses of that.
Anonymous2822162
When I say perfect charac
Anonymous2822162
Anyways, not to hate on Ash because he's still a fantastic main lead and anchors the whole show. It's just that because he loses sometimes I push some of the problems of his perfect characterization to the side, but when you actually think about it, he seems more like a character than a real person.
Anonymous2822162
Also the fact that Ash has been through a super tragic backstory doesn't help a lot: it seems like the writers are trying to make him a character who has been through all the tragedy in the world and has overcome it and became the most skilled person in the world. I will say though that any onscreen tragedy is 100% believable, it just some of the flashbacks that are a bit too much.
Anonymous2822162
I guess that slightly cheapens Ash's character on retrospection: of course he is still the charismatic lead, but he feels a bit too perfect at everything. Dino must have taught him quite a bit, but Ash is skilled in, like, everything. It just seems a bit too much.
Anonymous2822162
Like the whole Yut-Lung Shorter Eiji situation was beyond Ash (in fact he still knew something was off but couldn't pinpoint what); that wasn't really a mistake Ash made, it was just that he couldn't have known the secret connections Yut-Lung had.
Anonymous2822162
Something I noticed about Ash is that he is, as some of you pointed out, a Gary Stu but it doesn't immediately jump at you. The thing is that Ash still loses quite a bit, so he doesn't seem invincible, yet at the same I think the majority of his losses were beyond his control. It doesn't feel like he makes mistakes, rather that other people outmaneuver him due to factors beyond him.
Animosh
@Kaiser & Amagi: I also had lots of political discussions with my father. Didn't know that was such a common occurrence. Boys will be boys I guess? And he's actually a former Marxist too, having grown up in the 60's-70's and all. Now he's just a boring socialist though. ;)
Animosh
RErideD seemed really promising in theory: an original time travel anime written (at least in part) by Abe, with the director of Steins;Gate in charge? Count me in. But unfortunately the reviews so far seem to be uniformly negative. So I'll probably avoid it for now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Four episodes of RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida got uploaded at the same time earlier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Yes, although probably just for the Saturday, usually the best day to do so because thats when the sellers are there, usually everythings gone by Sunday. Friday is generally anime pub quiz.
Lenlo
Its just a saturday, so busy. And Kaiser, nice. Gonna go to the con at all?
Lenlo
As a writer for it, I dont believe so?
Anonymous2818178
is this site dead?
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is an animecon here in two weeks. That eyepatchwolf youtuber will be there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still have old single issues of fushigi yugi, inuyasha, Ah my Goddess, narutaru laid around.
Kaiser-Eoghan
They used to realease them like single American comic book issues in the west.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not talking bound volumes but actual 20-30 pages chapters and these would be expensive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Who remembers RENTING anime dvds and RENTING videogames? Does anyone else remember buying each individual manga chapter as they came out when the official English translations rolled around?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anyone willing to post their desktop? https://ibb.co/buc4Zz
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or things like Mischief makers .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know vonter mentioned Mystical ninja 64. But I remember after I'd moved on from the snes to the N64 when I was younger, growing up with that obscure castlevania game on it, or stuff like those 3D bomberman games no-one cared about. Or obscure stuff like body harvest, jet force gemini, blast corps , turok, quest 64 and shadowman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love coming across those online lists of literally WHOtier, WHOcares , games literally only YOU liked and heard of/played. Makes me feel less alone.
Amagi
I was also always discussing about politics with my father. Whenever we started with this my mother just said "porca putana" and went into another room to watch tv in peace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animemosh: lol I have daily political discussion with my Marxist-Leninist father just like that =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I should state, even though I'm not as bothered by the modern setting, I actually do prefer the cold war narrative.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The documentries name was Battle of Chile by Patricio Guzman.
Amagi
Especially since I don't think that the typical BF audience is of a kind that would lose interest because a series is taking place in the past. It was just written for the 80s, people can't just change that without changing the story itself to some degree.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I thought the anime did such a good job with Shio's backstory , that I didn't miss what was omitted. The anime is now up to date with the scans. I do agree that Satou's obsession with Shio is non-pedophilic but I think the scene itself is kind of going to give the wrong message.
Amagi
@Animosh: one of the many reasons why I would have prefered Banana Fish's original setting.
Animosh
By the way, apparently the backstory of Shio's mother - which supposedly is really tragic - was largely skipped. Guess I'll have to read the manga.
Animosh
I get what they're going for, recreating the ritual and all, but I also thought the Shio-Satou moment was a bit forced. I still think their relationship is platonic though. Satou has never been shown to lust after Shio: she just fills her with warmth and happiness. They're more like messed up siblings than (romantic) lovers.
Animosh
@Kaiser: sounds interesting! Chile is an excellent example of the kind of Cold War intervention that I really don't see happening today. Although you never know with an impulsive narcissist in the White House.
Animosh
End of monologue. Sorry about this. :p
Animosh
Long story short: I think the Banana Fish conspiracies fail to adequately represent the current situation. At the very least, it fits the Cold War world order much better.
Animosh
That includes the US (backing the Kurds and the rebels), but also Turkey and the Arab states (Sunni rebels), Russia and Iran (Assad), and so on and so forth. You can't act like this is the fault of one party. Hell, I'd say Russia and Assad are more responsible for failing to a peaceful resolution when they had the chance.
Animosh
As for Syria, it's a mess, but the US is only one of many parties responsible. And oil isn't particularly important in this conflict. It's a civil war that's been made much worse by the influx of money and weapons from many different parties vying for regional influence.
Animosh
So what does it do? It gives military and financial backing to militias with shared interests (which is much less than Russia does, by the way), orders drone strikes, and perhaps the occasional tactical strike. But overthrowing countries and setting up puppet regimes? I don't see it happening. That's basically declaring war on the other big powers.
Animosh
And even when it does intervene militarily, it rarely goes all out. The US has learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't want to be dragged into another endless conflict, or see its efforts end in another brutal civil war that destabilizes the region.
Animosh
So although the US occasionally still intervenes militarily in other countries' affairs, other means of pressure are now more popular. The sanctions against Iran and North Korea are a good example of this.
Animosh
The current landscape is much more complex. America is still powerful, of course, but relatively speaking it is in decline, and that means it can get away with much less. Today's world is closer to a multipolar world, with many sides fighting for influence. And because the ideological conflict is much less pronounced, the US is much less willing to go against its purported values.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Coincidentally I recently watched a series of Chilean documentaries regarding the murder of Salvador Allende and the installation of the Pinochet Junta.
Animosh
And that meant both that America was far more powerful than it is now, and that much more intervention was considered acceptable - including shamelessly backing dictators that oppressed and exploited their people. After all, a defeat meant evil would prevail.
Animosh
Obviously the US still interferes in other countries. Quite a lot, actually. But there's a big difference between its current policy and that during the Cold War. Back then the geopolitical landscape was very different. It was bipolar, with two big Isms (capitalism and communism) fighting it out.
Animosh
@anon: not sure if this is the right place for a political discussion, but whatever. I like politics, so here we go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*was no exception
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: If, out of the many moments in happy sugar life that I'd consider unsettling, it would be the one's with the aunt and this weeks episode was an exception. That last part of the episode will be interpreted as shoujo-ai bait by people though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking forward to Angels of death next week, I think we're getting answers, glad to get answers on bad guy even if he is a simple villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now this is an interesting coincidence as last night I just got done watching a documentary about cyberwarfare against Iran.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats alot more detailed than what I was going to say. I was just going to say that it reflects current foreign policy.
Anonymous2808488
however the current stalemate in Syria is a reflection of the intransigence of the monied elite to not let go of ill-gotten gains, constantly provoking conflict with Russia/Assad/Iran
Anonymous2808488
Its a documented fact the US/EU promoted the Arab Spring/ISIS rebellions and it was stopped by patriots with a conscience
Anonymous2808488
replace with the mexican cartels/Hezbollah, and oil money promised to Cheney-connected Genie enerrgy
Anonymous2808488
its a pretty accurate description of the current reality minus a couple silly things like the mafia and mind control drugs
Anonymous2808488
You guys realize this plot is unfolding in Syria just replace drugs with oil money
Lenlo
Its hokey in the now, but in the original context the series was written, the Cold War, I think it could fit really well.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what felt awkward to you? I thought the pumpkin stuff in particular was pretty hilarious. Eiji is an evil guy. :p
Animosh
Yeah, the conspiracy stuff feels a bit wacky in the present. But in the context of the Cold War, it makes perfect sense. The USA supported plenty of bloody coups after all, especially in Latin America. Hell, they even backed the Taliban in their war against Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the future I want to make a bigger effort to follow MORE of whats being covered on here seasonally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Red
https://manganelo.com/manga/red_naoki_yamamoto Two history manga, wonder if they'll be fully translated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine most will probably agree with you anon though. I have alien taste/opinions. I also love conspiracy stuff =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Originally, in the manga version of that part, it was attacking communism in south America.
Anonymous2805624
I don't know; I kinda find the whole Middle East stuff a bit hokey; maybe that's just me.
Lenlo
Im about to watch it. Looking forward to it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its only one line, but that they still mention skip and shorter, even its just their names, at least the show keeps them in mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
With episode 12, Banana fish has successfully contemporized its political/cospiracy aspect for me . Eiji is semi-uselful. Humour in this episode for the first time feels awkward, fast pace kind of means that the quieter slower scenes , though I still enjoy them, feel slotted in.
Lenlo
Most of my emotions this week came because of the original and my love of it, not this one
Lenlo
I agree, Steins;Gate 0 had all the potential, and there are some specific episodes that realized it. Like this episode had a lot of touching scenes cause it slowed down to play up Okabe's relationship with Amadeus. But most of the time, it fails to reach that potential. So as a whole it just feels... lacking
Kaiser-Eoghan
Plebs, not combining both into a single dessert.
Anonymous2802297
I'm talking about that sweet saccharine Chocolate Mousse, the Ganache, or the Chocolate Gâteau. Your puny muffin stands no chance. Mwahaha!
Anonymous2802297
Blasphemy. As a proud American, I can't stand for anything less than pure unadulterated diabetes-inducing sugar in chocolatey cake form. Anything less is an insult to my great nation. /s
SuperMario
@anon2801739: that's a nice analogy but I can't say I agree as I prefer chocolate muffin much more than chocolate cake :)))
Anonymous2801739
Steins;gate 0 is all potential but generally it's wasted. Whenever it actually seems promising they manage to jump plot points to boring nonsensical melodrama for a century. It was supposed to be a chocolate cake. Instead what we got was a muffin with tiny chocolate chips buried few and far between. Yeah it's still sweet at some points, but most of the time you're chewing through pointless fluff.
Lenlo
Like I said in my last post on it I think, the pacing is fucked
Animosh
I did like that the lab members finally acted like scientists again, methodically thinking through their options and all, and there were some pretty touching individual moments and nicely tied up ends. But mostly I'm just annoyed by all the unfulfilled potential of this show.
Animosh
I also hated the backtracking in the beginning. Don't make such a big deal of The Return if you're going to throw it out of the window in the next episode.
Animosh
I really don't understand Steins;Gate's pacing. It slows down to a trickle in the largely irrelevant middle part, and now that things are finally getting somewhat interesting again it just speeds through everything without building things up properly? I don't get it. And how on Earth are they going to resolve everything satisfactorily in one episode?
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
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