Posted by psgels on 14 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Please, don’t congratulate me on being back. It’s a pattern you see everywhere: an old blogger/writer returns after a long absence, gleefully announces a comeback, makes a few posts, only to disappear again. I want my return to be sustainable. In the past two years I’ve been bugged by a really annoying writer’s block, and I have not finished a single series, and I finally want to be able to sit something through entirely again. I’ve tried a few things here and there, but nothing worked so far, but this season I really will try to actively follow it again, starting with first impressions of every single series that newly came out (ignoring any past shows, because otherwise I’ll never get rid of my backlog). Oh, and please don’t worry about me. At this moment in real life, I’m at a better place than what I’ve ever been. Really busy as well, but not too busy to not have time to write.

I do want to thank everyone, in particular Aidan, K-off and Mario, for keeping the site alive after so long. I really couldn’t have hoped for anything better. You are all amazing, and I am sorry for not responding to anything.

So here it goes, in approximate order of air-date. I have not looked at any promotional material or reviews in advance, so these impressions are completely blind:

Heybot

Like most seasons, we start off with the toy commercials. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this one, since every single one I’ve covered has proven to be notoriously bad, however this one… struck me in a different way. It’s still terrible, don’t get me wrong, but at the very least it’s an improvement. Where in the past, these shows were devoid of any creativity, this one surely does not, as it attempts to sell little robots who seem to deliver puns if you screw screws in them. Yes it doesn’t make any sense, but after Bedaman what else did you expect? Throughout this episode we see some weird screw-loving screw-prince receiving his first actual screw, runs totally randomly into a robot, and starts his journey of screw-battles (yes, the symbolism of screws is EVERYWHERE here). The creators here seem to subscribe to the school of “anything goes, no matter how random”, and as a result the weirdest ideas fly across the screen, even if they don’t make any sense whatsoever, in a bad way. They throw just about everything at you desperately in the hope that something works (spoiler: random humour does not work like that). Because the main theme of this show revolves around screws, there also were a ton of bad innuendo jokes. But yeah, the nail in the coffin here is the characters, who only serve to either annoy, and nobody bothers to introduce themselves. It’s one of those shows in which everybody is trying incredibly hard to be random and quirky. I’m glad that the marketers who wrote this finally are trying something, though now they need to learn how to properly tell a semblance of a story again.

Dream Festival

One of the reasons I burned out two years ago was due to the worrying direction I watched the scriptwriting for anime go into: there were very few good writers remaining in the business, and the good ones either kept leaving or were spread way too thin across too many series. There were programs to develop talent for animators and directors, but not for how to actually write a good anime episode. Dream Festival is a good example of how to do everything wrong in terms of writing. Beyond the premise making no sense whatsoever, and everything about it being just bland (it’s a show about a creepy old guy collecting bishies for his group of idols), the final nail in the coffin comes when you start to pay attention to the actual dialogue between the characters. I want you to imagine the creators taking the scenario for this episode, and asking a robot to provide the lines for each character to say. The output of that robot is what the creators seemed to have inserted into this episode, because nobody had any personality. They all just said exactly what they needed to say, without anything else, or to spice things up. This was all completely calculated and lifeless, and that is not how you write characters. The voice actors here are professionals so they at least tried to make something from these lines, but there really is a limit if they have nothing to work with. This is the perfect example of what you get when a bunch of bored businessmen try to cobble up an anime together.

Nyanbo

The mangaka for the popular Yotsuba&! once said that there would be no way for the manga to ever get its own anime. Now, years later, we have one of the cardboard robots, turned into cat-form, getting its own stop-motion show. I have no idea what Yotsuba’s fans feel about this… In any case from a marketing standpoint a series like this makes sense: these critters are very easy to turn into toys, and a little bit of an show around them for promotion purposes is sure to bring in some extra cash. However, don’t bother watching this one. The creators put these 3D models of these toys in top of live-action footage, but nothing at all was clever about the way they did it. The transitions are all clunky and especially the part in which they try to interact with a cat was just cringe-worthy. The rest of the episode was just them goofing off without anything interesting happening. Just… stick to the toys. They’re cute little gifts to buy.

Kaijuu Girls

I see that the genre of “badly animated cute girls for five minutes” hasn’t left yet. The gimmick for this one is that all girls are based on kaiju: giant monsters. Now this might have been somewhat watchable if this episode featured some bizarre moe Godzilla or something, but in the end everything is bland. They talk a bit, introduce some stuff, and nothing really hints to “this is fun”. I mean, as badly animated as this was, this is not a doomed genre. I remember enjoying Teekyu a lot, and that was also utter nonsense about a tennis club. But the thing there is that the creators did whatever they could to bring some laughs into each episode. This episode just was “oh hey, we’re kaiju girls now.” “Oh look, an unspecified explosion.” “Oh look, this girl took care of it like some glorified cleaner”. And that’s it. I know nobody in the industry reads this and all (that’s the one disadvantage of being a fan of something foreign whose majority cannot understand your language), but be bold!

Tiger Mask W
Another type of show that still seems to be going strong: the remake. Here too the creators took a popular show from the seventies or eighties, and gave it a modern makeover, and a strange thing that a lot of these shows have in common is the nostalgia: you can see that this was made by people who were a fan of the original. The original Tiger Mask was a show that took professional wrestling to the ridiculous extreme, and this episode attempted to do just that. And with crisp animation that attempted to replicate the look of the old sixties’ show, combined with a surprisingly good soundtrack. This is what would happen in a world in which people started to ignore that pesky concept of “rules”, from the show, including the rules of physics, and unfortunately common sense as well. I have only seen one episode of the original TV-series, but if you are a fan, then my guess from these two fragments would be that you will like this thing. And yet, this episode did not grab me. In this post-Jojo era, despite the violence, this episode felt too… tame to me. There was just a bunch of yelling and wrestling moves, but I can’t tell what direction the creators want to go in. One moment we have a character easily back-flipping an angry bear, the next we see them use technical wrestling moves. There is yelling, but it’s all inconsequential due to bland and boring characters who are all just a bunch of boring stereotypes without any chemistry. It’s all so badly acted, unfortunately, because at the same time I see enough people involved in this project who love the original Tiger Mask.

Time Bokan 24

Another remake of a classic series! In this case, the original Time Bokan is a show from the early seventies that was one of the first series win which a bunch of kids travel through time to have adventures, meeting all sorts of famous characters. Knowing that however, did not prepare me for what I saw here. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of these series now, and I can honestly say that I have never been more baffled by one of them than what I witnessed here. For starters, the creators kept the formula and basic themes the same, but they changed a whole lot beyond that to give it a modern makeover, from what I can gather from information on the original (I have unfortunately never seen anything from it). While I always applaud this: go into your own direction, instead of sticking too much to old ideas, the direction the creators went into was… rather problematic. In the original series, the kids were basically roaming time, looking for their professor who disappeared, and the bad guys were there to stop them. Simple enough. Time Bokan 24 however, changes things: throughout history things were not written down properly, meaning that certain major events did not actually happen the way they did as written down into the history books. Major things from history are actually WRONG, and it’s up to the “heroes” to expose the “true history”. The “villains” are authors of history books, and get into the way of the “heroes” because they don’t want to deal with the paperwork in updating all of their work to the “correct” format. There… is so much wrong with that I don’t even know where to start. And I know that you’re saying that this is just a simple innocent kids’ series. I mean, I too grew up watching some Time Bokan inspired series, and I remember loving seeing all of these historical characters represented, only finding out that they featured so many inaccuracies when I started to look deeper into them. However this series goes one step dangerously into the wrong direction, claiming that their version is actually “true”. This being a kids’ series, many kids will end up watching this with the impression that the history books are actually wrong, and while on one hand it’s commendable to teach kids to be critical, I get a few too many flashbacks of the Japanese refusing to acknowledge some bad stuff that actually happened. This show will make that worse, I’m betting on it. Especially in the way they treated Cleopatra in the second half of this episode. Like holy crap WHAT DID I WATCH THERE!?

ViVid Strike!

This franchise originated in the previous decade (have we already decided a collective term to call them? The noughties? ): the Nanoha franchise, although it seems that the creators let go of Nanoha a long time ago. I guess you couldn’t really do much more with her character, that was already apparent in StrikerS, so the creators just decided to flesh out more different stories in the same… world? Universe? Theme? I’m not sure where this series really stands in the grand scheme of things because I was expecting another space fighting adventure, where instead what we get here is a martial arts series between cute girls. And don’t get me wrong: this was the first episode this season that I actually liked. The Nanoha-franchise was always a step above the others with how well it managed to flesh out its characters, and they did that here as well. At first the characters may seem a bit stereotypical, however in just one episode they managed to make me care about the main character by showing a few different sides of her, a proper antagonist, some compelling side characters. Plus the actual fighting between the characters actually kicks ass. This show keeps reinventing itself, which is most definitely a good thing. Now it’s the job of the creators to actually deliver on this promise.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

It’s really rare to run into a show in which the intro is so incredibly different from the actual first episode. We start off all bloody and gritty, in a “oh look at me, I’m edgy!”-way, followed by a really generic opening, only to be greeted by an incredibly saccharine episode about cute magical girls. I mean, I get what the creators are doing here: they’re trying to pull another Madoka Magica. This episode was all sweet and stuff, but it was just a bit TOO sweet, and it treated itself just a bit TOO seriously not to get suspicious. So yeah, this can go a lot of different ways: the creators can go full Rambo at one point (probably episode 3) and turn into a complete gore-fest. It can be a bit more subtle and actually follow in Madoka Magica’s footsteps, or it can just chicken out and feature just a sappy love story with some occasional fighting. Technically though, this was a good episode. The dialogue was well written, it was composed and actually took its time to introduce the different characters, we got into the head of the lead female, and they showed how she thinks and how her head works. They took their time to explain the basic settings, there are lots of characters, nothing really annoying happened. I see potential here. There is a small chance that this will be a killer series if everything goes right.

Bloodivores

I was dreading a show that dared to call itself “Bloodivores”. Before starting up this episode I was already envisioning a bad anime version of twilight, or at least a show with lots of vampires, angst and bishies. And the way this episode started didn’t exactly help by showing a bunch of very inept teen bankrobbers doing their thing and failing (the computer scientist in me died a little bit during the “hacking”-scene). The main character in particular had a bad case of “the cool”, trying so hard to be relaxed and cool that it just becomes bad and funny. And then… something happened. I refuse to spoil that, but let’s just say that it got better. It proved me wrong. A big thing that this episode went for is continuity: actions have consequences. You can’t just pull off a giant action scene and car chase leaving a ton of damage behind, and just walk away like nothing happened. Now that the series has set this standard, it has to live up to this: they have to make sure that the actions of the characters have consequences throughout the entire series, otherwise it will all have been for naught. The show also needs to work on its acting, because this episode was really quite corny at times due to bad delivery. However I smell potential here if handled well. Under the right hands, this could become something interesting in the long run.

Shuumatsu no Izetta

I’m really trying to be skeptical with this season right now. I mean, I see potential, but at the same time I remember the autumn season of a few years ago. I’m not sure if it was 2014 or 2013, but in any case it was that season in which just about every series that showed promise ended up being a complete disappointment; it was a big cause for dropping me into that stupid writer’s block. However, I’m finding it very hard to be skeptical here. Heck, I can hardly come up with proper criticism here. Oh wait: it has some bad use of European languages, its budget cannot animate everything in the background properly so there has to be some CG or clunky scenes. Oh and I guess that it’s a “cute girls can’t die”-series, although due to the context of the series and the deaths so far that also makes sense so far. It’s not forced. But yeah, this could very well be the series that I’ve been waiting for for more than five years. An adventure series that just pushes all of the right buttons in what an adventure series should be. This episode alone brought us from a train in the mountains to an opera house to an airplane sequence, all with a unique feel and they keep things fresh and interesting. The back-story is well fleshed out: not overly complicated, but complicated enough to throw the storyline in a lot of interesting directions. Like I said, characters die, and these deaths feel by no means inconsequential. The deaths made impact. And the main character. Good lord, she isn’t just well written, she inspires. She’s a strong character, and at the same time not a Mary Sue. Everyone is well acted, just about every character has presence, there weren’t really any bad apples among them so far. I could also see no really weird leaps in logic. Could this be it? The next actually good no-nonsense adventure series that doesn’t dabble in the useless stuff, or doesn’t devolve into stupid antics due to incompetent writers?

Monster Hunter Stories Ride On

I hate to say it, but I’m getting too old for this stuff. And I don’t mean shows about a bunch of kids goofing off, but rather RPGs. Everything about them. I used to be a big fan of them, but I just have to face it now: they don’t make any sense and I don’t want to watch stories about worlds in which the rules have to be bent into such bizarre twists to make any sort of game possible. Most other games suffer from the same. Even the best ones still have the utterly inconsequential quicksave-ability that just totally doesn’t translate to the big screen at all. And you can say that “who cares, it’s fantasy”. But here’s the thing, I want my fantasy to be relatable. II don’t care anymore about a world in which a bunch of kids can go randomly into a forest and find some random shrine with an egg that contains some sort of uber-dinosaur. Like, the monsters in this show feel more like props than anything else. I do not want to watch a series with an annoying talking cat and where mushrooms and honey together combine into a strength potion. Game adaptations need to realize that the way to go is to do it like Popolocrois or Gungrave: just create a story that works on its own. Do not make it feel like a game. I mean going fighting monsters is one thing of course, but the moment it feels like the characters are just characters in a game, I tune out.

Magic-Kyun! Renaissance

There was a time in which I found the moe shows derivative. I was naive. If only I knew what the bishie-genre would devolve into…. Magic kyun yet again feels like a combination between so many other shows that came before it. And yeah, I guess that after enough bad stuff there might accidentally arrive a good one, like what happened with the moe genre, but that’s more like throwing random stuff at a fridge and hoping something sticks. This genre does not deserve that either! Anyway, magic kyun… how is it? Quite bad. The thing with this show is that it’s about art prodigies. There’s this whole gimmick about the better the art, the more magical sparkles it produces and stuff, but that’s mostly used as a disguise how bad the actual show is at showing how good the art is. It’s more busy showing how dazzling all of the male characters look than actually giving an in-depth look into what the characters are producing. Especially the characters who focus on music are just abysmal. The “king”, the supposed best student of the show, an incredibly gifted singer… his voice was painful to hear. I know this is just frivolous crap to entice fangirls and stuff but dammit if you want to have a show about the arts, then you’d better actually know what good art is!

Ao Oni the Animation

This one’s three minutes long per episode, and seems to be animated cheaply in flash. It’s… supposed to be a parody of the horror genre. I say “supposed”, because parodies are supposed to be funny. This one… I guess it tried. It tried really hard to be edgy and subvert all of the most common cliches, but its “jokes” all failed to be funny. They were all so trite, boring, predictable and dumb. It threw in some censored gore in an attempt to both shock and entertain, but it failed to do both. Its sole salvation is that this was better than Kaijuu girls because at the very least it attempted to add a bit of energy. The attempt failed miserably, but it was an attempt nonetheless.

Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru

Look, as an anime-fan, I like the Japanese culture. I find Shinto interesting, and all of the implications it has on Japanese society. So despite Touken Ranbu’s ridiculous premise, I get where it came from. The whole concept of a bunch of swords, turned into very feminine men who travel through time to fight monsters is not inherently bad. The creators could have done something with this. Heck, there are so many characters in this series and the OP hints at even more of them, with the right writing you can make that interesting. The thing is though, that the writing isn’t very good here. This is another one of those cases where it’s hard to explain, but see it like there are a lot of pointless lines. Lines that just serve to kill time and drag things out. Because of this, this episode was just dragging on and on despite having so many characters. Not to mention that the entire cast consists out of a bunch of cardboard cutouts. This episode had so much goofing off that didn’t really flesh out anything and was just boring to watch. The one good thing is that there is no romance here, but ultimately this is just boring in this type of execution.

Gakuen Handsome

This season has a loooooot of bad bishie shows. Because of that I immediately flinched when I saw this title pop up (I went into this season completely blind: not looking at anything whatsoever). Perhaps that’s the reason why this one felt so refreshing, perhaps it’s just that good. Either way this was the first show that made me laugh. This is what a parody should be. It should expose the flaws of the genre it’s poking fun of without just adhering to them. And this is a badly produced 3-minute episode series. The animation is terrible, but because of that the voice actors get a bit more freedom with their deliveries, and they take it. Nothing really noticable, but juuuust enough to be funny, especially with the ridiculous character-designs. And mock them if you wish, but these characters look more unique than all other characters from all other bishie shows so far!

Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume

Aaah, the dreaded “cute girls club”-series. I was wondering when one might rear its ugly head again. I’ll be honest: there’s no way I’m going to continue watching this. The characters were just too annoying and I’m done giving these type of series a chance. There are already so many series like it, it’s a genre that needs to move on. But let’s flip it around: suppose you are a fan of these kinds of series. From that perspective, was this series any good? I’d say you’d like it. I can see this easily being better than a show as Saki. We see some solid characters here, the ping pong matches were a bit interesting. And the lead female is a bit different from usual: she has flaws beyond the usual. The characters may be idiots, but I saw no ridiculous leaps in logic so far, and the story might actually get somewhere: there’s a clear goal for the series to work towards, instead of just making the characters goof off for an entire season. Will this win over people who aren’t fans of the genre? Nah. There are a lot of characters here trying really hard to be cute and annoying. That’s quite a barrier to try and ignore.

Trickster

Trickster consists out of two parts. One is a bunch of private investigators tracking down some terrorist who likes to disguise himself, and this was actually quite interesting. The cast is colourful and varied, and it could actually make for an interesting cat-and-mouse game between the two opposing sides, amidst a world that’s a bit more technologically advanced than ours. Peach Pit has always had a thing for designing interesting characters. The writing was a bit vague, but not in a bad way to lose my interest. The other half though… I don’t know what to make of it. The best way to describe it is that it was pandering to emos, featuring an all-powerful character who keeps going on and on about he wants to die. This could have been made a bit more bearable if the acting was good, but this kid was the only one where the creators missed the mark, and because of this he just comes across as an incredible whiner. My guess is that the creators tried to create some contrast between the two halves, and I can see where they’re coming from, but it’s waaaay too much “oh woe is me! Look at me I’m so sad!” – If the creators can fix this then they’ve got a solid series though.

Nobunaga no Shinobi

Another short one: this one has an episode length of three and a half minutes. And lo and behold: an actually competent writer sneaked aboard here. I was fearing that this would be yet another one of the bad ones with such a title and premise (we have a cute girl serving as the ninja for Oda Nobunaga), but to my surprise this episode had its moments of wit. The female lead in particular is very sharp. Really, the thing is not that I instantly dislike these short-episoded series. It’s more that 95% of the time, they are completely boring and uninspired. It’s actually a pretty decent format for a quick-fire comedy in the right hands. But as long as they have a reputation for being incredibly cheap, the vast majority will remain just plain bad and Nobunaga remains the exception that proves the rule.

Soushin Shoujo Matoi

This show is very good at build-up. The characters when they’re not doing anything are quirky and work quite well together. The diversity is also a plus: it’s not just high school girls, but we see two generations at work, and while the focus is definitely on the younger generation, the older generation has plenty of times to shine and they are way more than just the regular back-up that they usually get degraded to i these kinds of series. It was fun, seeing the characters play off each other’s banter. The action scenes though… yeah. That opening sequence was so bad, and not just because of some of the worst Engrish I’ve heard in years. The action sequences here are all bark and no bite: incredibly flashy with lots of budget put into it, but in the end it’s just a transformation scene followed by a big zap, and the enemy is dead. The novelty of this will wear off quick, and most of all: if the enemy gets blown away so easily it takes a lot of the build-up away. Seeing the characters struggle to get to track the bad guy down was the fun part. Make that matter!

Nanbaka

Ooohhh… the pain. The horrible pain! I naively thought that I’d be done with the bad bishie-series by now, or that perhaps there’d still be a dull harem left or something. But this!? What happened in the past two years for us to deserve this?! Nanbaka is bad, but it’s not the boring kind of bad. It’s the “what the hell were they thinking?!”-kind of bad. I’m all for creativity, but when you make the Yugioh-characters raise an eyebrow about your hairstyle you’ve gone a step too far. And the entire show is entirely aware of itself, and it bathes in its own stupidity! It’s always asking itself “how bad can we go this time?” and because of that it’s a special kind of bad: there’s order to this chaos. It was painful to watch, but a consistent and calibrated pain. Now, obviously I laughed a number of times due to how ridiculously BAD this got. The question is though: is this the type of comedy we should be celebrating? The kind of comedy that goes “oh, we’ve got this overdone genre, let’s see what happens when we make everything about it even worse?”. The incest genre had that a number of years ago and the results were incredibly ugly (thank god that trend seems to have stopped now!). This show is like putting a chicken in a toaster. Sure it’s creative and stuff and you might get a childish cheap laugh at it but at the end of the day you still have a big burnt mess to clean up while questioning your own morals.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go

Yeah okay, this had by far the best episode of the season. But it’s cheating, with its four seasons of stellar build-up that came before it. On top of that, the previous four seasons all tended to ignore the big elephant in the room for this series: Natsume Reiko, the deceased grandmother of the main character Takashi, without whom there would be no story whatsoever. The previous seasons all dealt with Natsume’s character development, his friends, the youkai around him or his parents. Reiko always existed a bit in the background but never did we get a good image of who she was; just hints. And then this episode comes along and quite blatantly shows us more of her than than ever, immediately setting the direction of what we’re about to get for the Go-installment. There was no decline in quality noticeable anywhere, the characters still are as rock-solid as ever (not to mention that with every season of added development they get better), it’s ridiculously consistent, so I can see no way for this not to deliver. Famous last words, I know. But what I do hope for at this point of the series is coming towards some sort of closure. Resist the urge to keep going on indefinitely, and find a good way to make this climax. Make it form a whole, instead of leaving it to linger on. With such a top-notch series in every way, it deserves it!

Yuri!!! on Ice

The example of why you should not judge a book by its cover. Yuri!!! on Ice is not about a lesbian high school figure skating club. Instead it’s a bunch of characters in this show who are called Yuri. Fair enough. But on top of that: this is the real deal; this one is ambitious. I’d first want to point out how good the OP of this show is (thank god finally! Every other OP this season so far has been either bad, boring or just adequate). But beyond that the characterization of this series is a huge level below the others. In the first 20 minutes the creators did just about everything they could to make the male lead as rounded as possible. Did I mention that he’s already 23 years old? This show stands out because he already has an entire history behind him. He went to the world championships of figure skating and failed. And this series is about him rekindling the passion for figure skating that he once had. A passion that was unhealthy to begin with because he only did it in the hopes of getting attention for the girl he liked. On top of that: this show loves to play with emotions: there’s always something going on, and the energy of the characters really radiates from the screen. This is something incredibly difficult to do and keep consistently because usually this devolved into monotone emotional outbursts. The story also really attempts to break new ground: I see what the creators were trying to do in this episode; they were trying to break through the standard conventions of the underdog storyline. It sets up this basic storyline of an underdog trying to win from the popular ones… and then it doesn’t. Things are very different from what you would expect. And finally one more compliment for the creators for actually making the main character gain weight in a way that isn’t done for comic relief. It’s part of his character. The creators actually seriously went there. The last time this was done well was back in 2008 with Real Drive. Or am I missing a series? (and no, Accel World doesn’t count)

Brave Witches

In this post, I am covering all new series, I am skipping all sequels where I have not watched the previous season. Spin-offs though, I’ll cover as well. What can I say? I like to be as complete as possible. Anyway Brave Witches is a spin-off of Strike Witches, and it’s the perfect example of how not to do a spin-off, because it’s exactly the bloody same! Sure, they swapped some characters’ relations with each other and this episode was a bit slower in its introduction, but this could just as easily have been the opening episode of the first Strike Witches if you ignore one insignificant scene. Nothing changed, the bad guys still are as present as ever, there are no technology upgrades, nothing. The lead female has the exact same personality as the lead female of the original. And the horrid nonsensical fanservice hasn’t gotten any better either. If the first season wasn’t milking a cash cow, this one is definitely doing it.

Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crame Game Girls Galaxy

This one has episodes of 13 minutes, but really: it belongs among the 5-minute series. The fact that it’s so bloody long makes this even worse because the others are over quickly instead of this thing, plus the animation was the worst out of the entire lot of them. The only thing this show really has going for it is the banter between the characters, which was… meh. It’s got nothing, it was all useless and trite fluff. On top of that, it’s a step further in the question of “how more blatant can advertisers get?” I mean due to the title it should be no surprise what this show is trying to do and all, but I did not expect the full two-minute rant the villain has at the end of the episode about how people aren’t going to arcade centers anymore, and about how arcades have changed, and how you can even play at home and… how is this legal?

Cheating Craft

Oh boy: they’ve fond another topic that hadn’t yet gotten the “Japan-treatment”: cheating on exams. Oh Japan, please never change. This episode was glorious! It was cheating (hah!) a bit by not showing the main characters interacting with each other, and instead this entire episode was dedicated to give an as bombastic introduction to the actual setting this show will take place in. They build up and build up and build up, to ridiculous heights. They take something mundane like tests, and take it to the absurd, and it worked so well. This show has this camp dramatic flair that it pushed to its limits and I loved the ridiculous ways in which this episode just spiraled out of control. And that’s all this episode was: it had some characters, but they were just meant as an example: the actual characters just flashed past in the Opening, and near the end of the run-time. The only thing I can say about them is that their character-designs are boring but there’s nothing inherently wrong about them yet. But oh lord this episode provided a wonderful stepping stone for them!

Ani Tore! XX

Next in the line of bad ideas: the show with the most boring main character ever. Ani Tore is told from the main perspective of some random guy or girl who, together with a group of cute girl, starts living together in a mansion. The entire episode is shown through its eyes. It doesn’t speak, even though the characters act as if it did. So yeah, we never get to see nor hear anything about this because we as an audience are really meant to insert ourselves into the role. Seeing as there are only girls to focus on (not to mention a ton of useless fanservice), this pretty much is “Hentai Game: The Animation”. This is the show that other shows use as an example of a bad parody, pulled completely straight, down to a T. Okay I take back what I said with Cheating Craft. You can let go of things like this now, Japan…

Kitarou Shounen no Youkai Enikki

Okay, when telling a story, there are a certain amount of basic rules you should follow. I don’t care how experimental you want to be for example: everything needs an introduction of some sort. Even if you have three-minute episodes like this series, I need to know what I’m watching. You can’t just play random stuff and hope to get away with it. This episode just throws the viewer into a bunch of fighting monsters from Japanese folklore, then it turns out to be all a joke, and they they get into this weird motivational tangent complete with feel-good music about how good peace is. There is NO CONTEXT here, nothing makes sense. You can’t just go from scene to scene without any transition and hope to get away from it! Who is teaching these people how to write?

Nazotokine

“Quick! We have this character, but she needs to have an interest that is relatable to our audience!” – “Ah, nobody but the hardcore otakus watch this anyway, just make her like anime to make them feel special!” – “Alrighty then, no further questions!” – This is not the first show where I suspect a conversation similar to this one happened. In any case, Nazotokine’s episodes are six minutes long and it’s about a girl in her twenties who gets stuck in some sort of dimension where she needs to solve puzzles to escape. Not for a reason or anything, she’s living her life and suddenly *poof*, without any significance. Beyond that is a lot of padding and boring dialogue so we didn’t actually get to the point of showing any of the riddles, so I can’t even comment on how good or bad these are.

TO BE HERO

The reason why I keep covering these short episode series is because they are not inherently bad. There are so many good things you can do with them. Heck, that cheating show was half-length. This season just has an influx of really bad ones for some reason. To be Hero however, is special. This one actually uses the format properly to deliver the funniest first episode of the season so far. And the comedy here is dark, pitch-black. If that’s your thing, then by all means give this one a chance because this just kept throwing jokes at the screen in high succession. The voice actors here steal the show though: they talk with so much passion, so much energy. You can really hear them having a great time, and it translates over to the characters, especially in how sadistic the show gets at times.

Flip Flappers

At first sight, this series seems to be very ambitious. Everything about this series looks slick, the animation budget is also huge, and this episode was a visual feast. When it comes to the visuals, the creators put down an incredibly solid first episode. The characterization also was pretty good: the episode took its time to show just two characters together as they get to know each other. Nothing special, but solid and dynamic enough for an introduction. There’s one thing I’m missing though: context. And that’s a pretty major one. I mean, I don’t expect explanations right from day one, but at least set some stakes or something. Aside from the two main characters, this episode set up nothing overarching. They’re just… at team now. I stress this because in the long run, this show really is gonna need some thing that keeps pulling the characters ahead. You can’t just have characters being cool and doing nothing for an entire series. Even the shows that are about nothing do so with a very deliberate direction, and this did not have that. The characters introduced so far are fine if we’re going to follow them on some kind of colourful adventure, but if we’re just going to view a slightly more visual “cute girls doing nothing”-show, then I’m out.

Keijo!!!!!!!
I was really tempted to just type “What?” for his entry. I mean Japan, you’ve reached some new depths here: a sports series in which people are only allowed to touch each other by their boobs and butt. I wish I was making this up. Unfortunately this is part of a tradition that I’ve been noticing for quite a while now: the constant need to one-up each other. After series like Seikon no Qwaser, the race is on to become the next raunchiest or ridiculously sexual series. Because history has proven that these kinds of series sell. And because of how these kinds of shows just keep getting made, the stuff they keep pulling gets more and more normal, so they can get away with more. I’m already happy enough that they managed to stop the incest trend in its tracks, because that took some sort of miracle. Unfortunately, fanservice is so broad and mainstream that without interference, it’s not gonna go away and the crap like this we see is just gonna get weirder and weirder. I’m also going to stop supporting these series, no matter whether they’re good or not. Simply because I want this trend to die. It’s gotten enough chances already. If you want boobs that badly, just go for a full fledged hentai instead. That’s what these shows are made for.

All Out!!

In the past I dismissed quite a few sports series after their first episode, resulting in angry fans of the mangas pointing out how wrong I was. However I still stand by those decisions: since sports series have a tendency to go on forever, I want to see from day one that it’s gonna be really good. There have been plenty of examples of this in the past: Giant Killing from second one made it clear that it was going to become something special. The first episode of Cross Game immediately showed why you want to watch it till its completion. Even Ookiku Furikabutte had plenty of hints for the magic that would come on later in the show. For All Out… I’m not really sure whether it’s gonna be worth it though: this episode had its flair for the dramatic, it looked cool, it had its moments of passion, the characters were pretty well laid out.. yet it had nothing to really grab me; nothing to really catch my attention. The only thing that really came close was the dynamic between the short guy and the tall guy. That one was the one hint that made this episode stand out. Unfortunately it might have been drowned out a bit by how annoying the two main characters are. All in their own way: the short guy is a brat and the tall guy is a wimp. And yeah, these are obviously generalizations of them, but they took over a bit too much for comfort.

Bernard Jou Iwaku

Bernard Jou Iwaku: Judging a book by its cover: the anime! And I mean that literally by the way: this entire show consists of name-dropping famous pieces of literature, with the main joke being that the lead female doesn’t read anything but just likes to look at books and the characters then proceed to rant about the covers of all kinds of books. The bizarre thing is that what it does, it does well. Seriously it actually seems quite knowledgeable about book covers of all things and for what it is, it is pretty harmless. It doesn’t offend like most of the other three-minute episode series, and because the dialogue is sped up in true comedy fashion so that there is no way for it to get boring, not to mention that when characters start talking right through each other in the same space, on top of famous book titles, it gets quite a challenge to follow every single line that’s being said. It’s nothing special, but this is what I expect when I watch a three-minute episode.

ClassicaLoid

This was just amazing. Utterly fabulous. I’ve always said that my favourite types of series are the ones that make everything come together, and this episode did just that. It looks gorgeous, the animation is full of life, the soundtrack is the best out of the entire season, the voice acting is amazing, the character development in this one episode was already intriguing, endearing and hilarious. Throughout this episode the characters made me laugh, annoyed the hell out of me, I felt together with the female lead, it went from one emotional high to the other, through a wonderfully colourful cast of characters. There’s only one eensy teensy weensy problem… nothing makes sense! In a way that’s good though: that made it possible for this episode to be so off-the-wall bonkers. And this isn’t a pure comedy by the way: there were enough serious parts that really made you feel for the characters in a way that comedies hardly ever do. Really the acting is rock-solid and the OP and ED hinted at so many characters that have yet to be introduced. But when I say nothing makes sense… yeah… just watch it….

Long Riders

Long Riders: cute girls on bicycles! Thankfully the creators chose the heart-warming route so this was not as annoying to watch as what it could have been, but apart from that this was pretty average. In a way, it’s a good show for teenagers because it really starts you off with the basics of the basics of cycling. The lead female makes just about every beginners’ mistake you can make in the field and is ignorant about everything, so that the audience has a chance to learn just in case they too want to get into cycling. That does make her quite annoying to watch if you have been cycling since childhood or anything, and even without that her antics take a bit of a thick skin to get used to. But like I said, things could have been worse: things actually happen in this show, and the rest of the cast is not as grating as the lead female. And even she actually gets developed in the way that she learns and broadens her horizon through the episode and presumably through the entire show. Good enough to keep watching though? Nah.

Drifters

This is a show that got handled gold, though I’m not sure whether it really realizes it… The whole premise is that all throughout history there’s this weird guy who keeps kidnapping famous figures in their final hours and sending them to a fantasy world in which they live on. On paper that sounds really amazing, and my favourite part of this episode was where they got to inform each other about what happened in the normal world: how different history took its course from what they were expecting. If it can delve deeply into that issue this will be an amazing series. Unfortunately this episode seemed to be more interesting in cool action scenes. That could all work together well, but I really fear that this show suffers from the “bad main character”-syndrome. I mean he behaves like a gorilla throughout the entire episode, and this is delivered without a shroud of irony or sarcasm so we’re meant to identify with this buffoon. He can’t do anything really interesting with this premise while he’s like that, so we’re stuck with a cool action show. You could see that the soundtrack really wanted to do something special when they suddenly throw in Jazz, but that too is just a gimmick now. The art style too really wanted to make something flashy, yet that also makes things very hard to animate. This show wants to do too much, but doesn’t really know how to make everything mesh together.

Sengoku Choujuu Giga

Speaking of famous historical figures… a totally different way to handle them is this thing. It’s again one of those 3-minute episode thingies, but this is a weird one where Oda Nobunaga is portrayed as a sassy cuckoo. The aim for this one is deadpan. This was just complete nonsense in 3 minutes, but everybody acts like it’s just another afternoon. And then the ED comes and everybody does a little silly dance sequence. There was only one thing that impressed me here: Oda Nobunaga’s voice actor. He did a nice job of combining apathy with sassiness. Apart from that though, this was just boring and silly. There are lots of better ways to spend 3 minutes.

Lostorage incited WIXOSS

This one’s another toy commercial, this time for a card game. This one aims at a teenaged audience, and it’s a bit more serious than the other toy commercial series you see around. But unfortunately what hasn’t changed is the ridiculous lengths they have to bend the plot through in order for any of it to make sense. I mean this episode was complete bollocks once they started playing the game. Characters just exchanged a number of nonsensical flashes until one of them goes down. If you play, you have the option of making the game play for you. The reason why the characters are playing is also beyond me. You just get selected randomly and forced to do something you did not agree to. And if you refuse you die (or you get sent to the shadow realm, in this show’s case…). There’s no way for the creators to make sense of any of this, no matter how many episodes they devote to explaining things; this isn’t about me missing an entire season, even if I did see the previous WIXOSS installment there is no way for this to make any sense. Beyond that there’s nothing to really save this series though. The characters are all boring and predictable, the animation is nothing special, the music is generic. This really had nothing.

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari

Yes, this is it. I did not expect to run into a series that makes me wonder “how did this get green-lighted?”, but I am very glad that this one popped up. Amidst all of the teenagers that always plague anime, even if it stars an actual adult cast, the age is nearly always in the early twenties. Only some inspectors or action-heroes get to break the magical barrier of 30 years old. And here we have a slice of life series of all things. Heck, I had given up on ever encountering a character whose age is so close to mine at this point. And yes, this is a good one. The lead guy was so relatable, and yet he’s not the blank slate that main characters usually are: he had a life. He has his own history, choices that he made, hardships that he overcame. He really is one of the most realistic characters of the entire season. This episode starts as he’s about to find his purpose in life after simply living his life for a number of years, and it’s done with a lot of heart. He’s a very down to earth character, and I guess that’s why the story has him taking care of a shapeshifting tanuki who inserts the light-hearted and cute moments, but so far they’re a good combination. This episode was both relatable, subtly heart-warming, enjoyable. Definitely a show I’d like to become influential.

Occult;Nine

Yeah, it’s obvious that this one is based on a light novel. So much dialogue! That’s actually something I like by the way, and this episode had a colourful cast of side characters who were all doing something different in order to flesh out the setting, and combine that with lightning-fast dialogue where you have to continue to pay attention to follow everything and you’ve got a pretty good concept. Occult;Nine is about whether or not the occult exists, which is a pretty good concept to fill a show with. But yeah, it’s the side characters who are interesting. A lot of them caught my attention. The main character though… oh dear lord. I’m afraid that this is one of those series where one character ruins everything, because this kid was SO. DAMN. ANNOYING. The side characters all had a limited amount of airtime, so what they said was relevant and interesting. This guy though. He just keeps on yapping and yapping and most of it is either useless banter or fanservice or repeating over and over what he already said before. He’s obviously trying to be quirky and funny, but these attempts fail so miserably and make every scene he’s in a chore to sit through. And yeah, I see what the creators did there: they made him a blogger. So he’s nice and relatable to all of the prominent people who are writing about him. WELL I REFUSE TO TAKE THAT BAIT! If you include a blogger then you’d better make sure to portray this as an actual character who is likable and doesn’t feel like obvious pandering. This brat gets everything wrong!

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda

I was talking at Yuri on Ice about chubby characters hardly ever being done right. When they’re not done right, you get stuff like this show, where it’s just a gimmick. Also I’m not sure whether fat shaming is a big issue in Japan, but nearly every gimmicky fat character has this really weird voice as if there are marshmallows in their cheeks or something. So yeah, at first sight this show seems incredibly bad: a standard harem wish fulfillment. However, as the episode goes on, it becomes more and more apparent how self-aware this show is. It really was surprisingly clever, and actually a pretty good example of what a parody should be: it really poked fun and exposed a lot of flaws of the harem genre. If you ignore the bad fat acting, the guys in the series actually are a bit more believable than usual in bad reverse harems, and this show actually uses that really well in the second half of the episode. Unfortunately there is one really big problem here: did the show blow all of its best material in its first episode? Will it be able to keep this up for the entire series, or will it just give up and become a straight reverse harem after this? Signs are unfortunately pointing towards this happening.

3-gatsu no Lion

Yeah, this one is really trying to be the next big thing. Everything about this episode was incredibly solid, with gorgeous art, animation that could actually breathe life into the characters, backgrounds that portray an incredibly detailed view of Tokyo, very solid characterization, an inspired soundtrack and an OP and ED by a famous band.The creators spent a lot of thought into how to make this one work best. The episode itself too also was very promising in the way that it didn’t really follow any kind of formula. At first you’d think that this is a shougi series, but as the episode goes on it becomes more and more apparent that this is just a show in which the main character just happens to be a shougi player. It’s got a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing really formulaic about it. This show doesn’t care about cheap tricks, it’s the real deal. And so far I have not seen any weaknesses yet. There are things it doesn’t do as well as some other shows so far, but if there’s any show that’s guaranteed to turn out well this season, it’s this one.

Soul Buster

Let’s… just call it “misguided”, the artistic direction this show decided to go for. I mean, I get it. Your budget is very small, and you still want to make things look a bit flashy and mysterious. The answer to that? Filters, of course! You can do a lot of neat things with that. What that doesn’t mean though, is putting the exact same bloody filter on every single shot! I’m not kidding: every single scene has these weird brush strokes across it, to the point where it just becomes hilarious. My entire verdict for this show is that it’s just incompetent. I mean they want to have this show in which high schoolers fight with monsters that come from cards, but the characters are all dull and uninspired, the dialogue is boring, the action is bland. The creators need to learn a bit more about how to capture an audience. This was nearly exactly that WIXOSS show, but even worse because at least that show seemed like it knew how to do that.

Stella no Mahou

’tis the season of misleading titles! Yuri!!! on Ice doesn’t have any lesbians, 3-gatsu no Lion has no lions, and Stella no Mahou has no iota of magic in it. Instead it’s a high school girls show about making a doujin game. For a high school series though, it’s not bad. It too decided to go the heart-warming route, and it helps that it set itself a goal: produce a game by the end of the series. This helps the show to not become one of these series about nothing. If you’re into the genre of high school girls doing cute stuff, then this is one to check out. If you’re not though, then this is not going to sell you because the show is every bit as formulaic as you’d expect from a high school show. Two years have passed since I last finished a series, but I still have run out of patience for these types of series. Even though this one is slightly different because they’re making a game, it still just looks exactly like all those other high school shows because really: how often can you pick the exact same setting in a series before it gets boring? Hundreds of series could just as well have taken place in the same damn school if pushed.

Fune wo Amu

Holy crap! Another series with an actual adult as the main character? Is this some fluke, or has the entire year been like that? In any case though, Fune wo Amu is exactly what anime needs. It is ambitious in an intellectual way. Where the Udon series went for a heart-warming feeling by adding a cute kid-like character, and killing off the main character’s parent for some extra sympathy, this show has none of that other than some really weird intersection that serves more as background than anything else. Aside from that, all characters here are adults. There is hardly any comedic relief, there are no shortcuts or tricks. It tries to draw in the viewer purely by its characters and its content: writing a dictionary. And really, these characters are the most well-acted of the entire season. The way they’re animated, together with the voice actors and how they’re portrayed. You can hardly get more realistic without sacrificing brevity. The creators manage to stuff so many tiny details in both the verbal and non-verbal communication, and especially the non-verbal communication here is commendable since this seems to be based on a novel. It shows that the creators understood exactly what it is that they’re animating. Heck, actually having the balls to animate a novel deserves bonus points. And yes, this is a series about words. The meaning behind them, their interpretations, synonyms. And that too was done really well. It makes me wonder how deep this show is planning to go, considering this was only the introduction. Yes, out of all the shows this season, this is the one that needs to be influential. It would be lovely if every season, we can expect a show like this one popping up.

So that’s everything this season. Overall, I’m impressed. Perhaps no instant classics, but it’s full of incredibly solid series in a volume that I have not seen in a long, long while. Natsume Yuujinchou, Shuumatsu no Izetta, Yuri on Ice, Udon no Kuni, 3-gatsu no Lion and Fune wo Amu in particular are all just really well made, and I actually have high hopes for them. Perhaps not the most exciting, but these are incredibly solid and well put together, and that’s exactly what anime needs to focus on. Another reason I got disillusioned two years ago was by the incredible amount of sloppily written and produced series. This season is a really got step into the right direction for that. Sure, there is the array of bad shows, but that’s something of all times.

13 Responses

  1. RiderSomething says:

    The worst thing is, i actually watched Keijo(from your description i assume you didn’t) and actually had fun watching it.

    It’s perverted but nowhere near as much as it looks and the fight scenes are actually fun to watch, i was more entertained by the fights in Keijo than the ones on Tiger Mask W, hell, even on fight choreography alone, Keijo wins when compared to Tiger Mask.

    The boobs and butts only get attention because those are the weapons used, but it’s presented at such straight face value that i actually did not care, the boobs and butts also stop being important outside of the fight scenes.

    The characters are generic though, likeable but generic, but the sheer fun factor of the series means i will watch the rest of it.

    But seriously, of all the fully fanservice anime shows out there, Keijo is easily in the top 5 for most fun to watch, it literally treats the boobs and butts as weapons in the fight scenes and for some jokes in the fight scenes too, and the fanservice is just somehow so seemingly innocent and just there i ended up not caring.

  2. AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

    It is rather nostalgic to be reading your first impressions again. No need for thanks, I mostly did it as a hobby.

    If you want to catch up on particular notable titles you may have missed in your absence I could get you a few. In particular I think you would love Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.

  3. Aramus says:

    Hey psgels, welcome back! I’ve been reading the blog for 5 years, 4 countries, and 3 jobs (and who knows how many writers at this point) so I just want to say I really appreciated (and hopefully will continue to!) your blogging!

    As a software engineer as well, I rarely have time to watch the first eps of all the anime every season so these season previews are fantastic.

    Maybe a reason for this burnout is because you watch so many series per season. Maybe stick to a fewer ones (like 3-Gatsu or Fune wo Amu) to prevent it.

    Anyway, once again, welcome back!

  4. meow says:

    OMG, he’s alive! Thank God. WB, psgels. :)

    Good to finally take a peek at your take of things. Still lurking in the shadows here. Your blog is in good hands. Hope you get out of your writer’s block soon.

  5. justfun says:

    Great to read something from you again, psgels! Hopefully you will find one or two series this season that you can enjoy or even write about. Or you could try a few from the last years – there have been series that were really great and should cater to your taste.

  6. Hogart says:

    Welcome back! Here’s hoping this season was a good one for your return!

  7. Dr. Pest says:

    This 30 year old MC thing is actually somewhat common now, I, too, noticed this some time ago. Not many series but we usually get one or two anime per season with that premise. Things like BokuDake, GATE, Subete ga F ni Naru and others come into my mind.
    If you should ever check out some finished anime again try Barakamon. It was another series with a 30y-adult who moves to a rural area to get inspiration for his work. The start was pretty similar to Udon no Kuni and the characters were among the best things I saw that year.

  8. ratsgnoF says:

    Glad to see you back! Looking forward to more of your content :)

  9. Gabriel says:

    Welcome back!

  10. Sasa says:

    Oh my, we are in the same situation: Life is too busy for anime, but pretty good! I think you should be congratulated for that :D

    I also agree that this season looks particularly great, with Natsume back, and “Yuri on Ice” and “Fune wo Amu” being some of the most promising shows of the last few years. I second that Barakamon and its spin-off Handa-kun are brilliant, but I have also given up on catching up with “old” shows hahaha
    Here’s hoping that we hear more from you again!

  11. KT says:

    Happy to see you back.

  12. Fusionsnake says:

    Fine, fine, I won’t congratulate you on being back, but it’s really nice to see a post from you. Glad you’re in a good place!

  13. Ronbb says:

    So great to have you back and thanks for taking the time for writing such a giant post! Agreed with your recommendations — Natsume Yuujinchou, Fune wo Amu, Yuri on Ice, Udon no Kuni, Shuumatsu no Izetta, and 3-gatsu no Lion are all on my watch list. I know this may not be your recommendation, but I’m following Haikyuu as well. Take your time to ease in.

Leave a Reply

CHANGE USERNAME
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.
Anonymous2785164
Nothing is more annoying to me than nerd doing the stereotypical nerd voice to mock people
Anonymous2785164
Either way, I kinda dislike majority geek youtubers because I find them all to be hypocrites. Like for example, complaining about commentors correcting them or nitpicking them when all of them are nitpickers themselves :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, he has habit of commenting on things way too early only to later on to be proven wrong by end of the anime :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, I don't remember Mother's Basement being that bad besides that he for most parts really sucks when talking about video games despite apparently having studied game development
Anonymous2785164
@AidanAK47: I don't actually like any of anime youtubers. They all seems to be pervs to me and I'm actually rather prude person :p
Anonymous2785164
Hmm this chat is being buggy again and I can't change username from anonymous right now :P ANnoying~
SuperMario
@Lenlo: Readers will enjoy us more if we can throw some meme references... proof that we're still not out of touch with current trends ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I mean the opposite, the posts here are good because they don't use quips. They aren't fanboyish either.
Lenlo
Are you telling me I need to insert more quips. jokes and one-lines into my posts? Cause I can do that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Drop grand blue if its taking up too much time, I know you are busy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I enjoy reading blog articles like on here. I feel the writers on here never sound like awful fanboys or quiplords.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*I have
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its down to an idea have about vloggers/youtubers, that the videos will be full of unfunny quips and unrestrained fanboyism due to the guy doing the video can't keep himself in check.
Lenlo
Digibro isnt worth listening to imo
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never even really pursued listening to digibro. Although I probably should listen to eyepatchwolf apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should say the anime youtubers I've actually watched pertain to: Gigguk, one video by blackanimecritic, a few countdowns by Mistychronoxia and Animeman . I think I've watched maybe two of glass reflections reviews.
Anonymous2781300
I don't know, r/anime probably is also not the best sources; Youtube and Reddit are just the places I generally go to for large-scale anime discussion
Anonymous2781300
Oh my previous comment didn't post; basically I was saying that Anitube isn't super representative of audience popularity, at least as a whole, but it might offer some insight to at least a portion of it.
Anonymous2781300
*audience you're looking at: there's the Japanese audience and Western audience, but I feel like there's also like, another half of the world that most be people don't consider.
Anonymous2781300
It kind of depends which audience you
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even watch gigguks videos anymore.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never really cared enough to overexplore any of those anime youtube critics for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If someone keeps talking about something, eventually it'll sometimes work out and get through, then I'll at least have to see some of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I watched it because you kept saying not enough people were watching it.
AidanAK47
@Masky, cause Mothers basement did a video on it? Well hopefully it gets it some attention. Don't really like MB though. I mean "Gurren Meets Earthbound"? Jesus Christ.
Masky
Hmm, seems like Planet With is slowly getting more attention to it
Lenlo
I know im Shonen trash, but Hero Aca continues to be fantastic.
Animosh
You know, one person ends up broken through no fault of her own, and then ends up hurting herself and/or others to protect the only happiness she knows. And so the cycle continues.
Animosh
I thought Shio's backstory was really sad too. But yeah, although the show (and many of its characters) can be silly a lot of the time, there's a beating heart behind all of the craziness. Its main characters all have believable - if misguided - motivations, and the show portrays the cyclical nature of trauma very well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I think the scene with satou breaking down near episodes end were the standout. I often laugh at this show for its overthetopness, then makes me feel like a jerk by pulling something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Escaflowne ended too soon and abruptly. I haven't seen rayearth but I have read the manga, so I don't know if the anime original content is as good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've noticed that the voice acting tends to be worse in reverse harems then regular harems.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Regarding otome, one of the worst cases though had to be hakuouki though, just a bag of complete wasted potential.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I didn't dislike Red river, I have the unpopular opinion of preferring Basara because I found the central relationship more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Yes that was babylonia no shishi.
Amagi
I wish we could get isekai like Rayearth, Now and Then or Escaflown again.
Amagi
Sadly these series usually fail elsewhere, with the typical problems shoujo and otome series tend to have
Amagi
@SuperMario: strangely enough this is somewhat typical for shoujo whereas generic isekai can't get off that fake-rpg spleen. There is also a shoujo in which feMC gets transported into some old turkish setting and one with babylonia (think the latter was done by that mangaka that also did Cantarella).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres also a shoujo manga called babylonia no shishi.
SuperMario
maybe it's one of the earliest example of isekai if you don't regard isekai setting as strictly fantasy world.
SuperMario
" Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan." -> actually they did just that. One of the old classic shoujo, Crest of the Royal Family, is about a girl transported into Egyptian royal family. https://myanimelist.net/manga/5284/Ouke_no_Monshou?q=Crest of the Royal Family
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the success is, if a series can distract you and still make you feel something, even if there should have been more to the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Beyond Arthur and Dino, who always came off to me as "the bad guys to be defeated", I think I might have been so into Ash that I didn't really pay as much attention to his character development as you and Mario did.
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Featured Posts

Banana Fish – 12 [To Have and Have Not]

Welcome to the halfway point for Banana Fish. This week Ash prepares for his final showdown with Arthur, he has some moral quandaries, and gets terrified by pumpkin pie. Lets dive in! So, general stuff first, Banana Fish’s pacing this week felt a bit fast to me. Banana Fish covered a lot of ground, from […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 22 [Rinascimento of Projection -Project Amadeus-]

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Hanebado! – 11 [Because I Love Badminton]

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Planet With – 10/11[Karellen and Rashaverak/Azrabarakura]

Forgive me for not covering this last week but believe me when I say it wasn’t due to lack of interest. Planet With still remains a show that just tops itself with every episode. Though I don’t have much to say about episode ten other than it being another episode which could have acted as […]

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Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 11 [Chio in the Middle of the Night/ Apocri!]

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Banana Fish – 11 [The Beautiful and Damned]

Welcome to another week of Banana Fish. This week it slows down, gives us some heartwarming character scenes and the beginnings of a gang war. Lets jump in! So, starting off, the general stuff. Overall I enjoyed Banana Fish this week, but we have started to see issues with the breakneck pace it’s had until […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 21 [Rinascimento of Image Formation -Return of Phoenix-]

This week Steins;Gate 0 gave me, most, of what I wanted. It gave us a journey through the future, a Time Leap chain and the return of our favorite mad scientist. However, for all that I love it, its to little to late. Lets jump in! So, where to start. Leaving the big spoilers for […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 09 [On the Night of the Star Festival]

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the […]

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Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

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