Posted on 17 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Magical Girl Raising Project

Mahou Keikaku continues steady ahead though it’s writing still leaves something to be desired. In particular I was surprised as to just how lackluster the reveal was that whoever drops out is killed. The previous episode made it seem as though Fav was intentionally keeping that aspect in the dark with how he removed the girl from the chat room to prevent people noticing her die and it did seem like he was being facetious with the matter. However as it turns out it was really a matter of the girls never asking him so he didn’t tell them. I find the nature of this reveal to be lacking as to have the girls just so happen upon a log of a conversation between Fav and another magical girl talking about it is just lazy exposition. Compare this to Madoka Magica where an entire episode was build around the reveal concerning the soul gems and it had more dramatic gravitas. Here it’s revealed that half of them will die and the reaction is fairly restrained. You could argue that the audience already was well aware and they just wanted to get the characters on the same page but psychological breakdown is going to be the core of the appeal for this kind of series and if this is how one of your big reveals goes down them I fear for future developments. Though at least we do have factions being made up and potential betrayals with the Magical girl team and the robot magical girl teaming up with the cowgirl.

The bulk of today’s episode was dedicated to the magical girl team, particularly a girl called Swim Swim. I feel fairly confident in saying that Swim Swim is likely the girl who Nemurin visited in her last dream and I think there are signs of the effect she had. In particular when questioned by the leader who is called Ruler, Swim Swim mentioned Ruler stating the qualities of a leader. Which seems to suggest that if Ruler was to act in a manner unworthy of leadership then Swim Swim might take drastic action. In particular she was certainly keeping her eye on Ruler doing nothing while everyone was cleaning up the illegal dump site. We could have the potential beginnings of a villain here and while here ability doesn’t sound all that dangerous, being able to swim in any material like it was water, I can certainly think of some terrifying uses for it.

The other members of the team seem to have their own agenda’s, Ruler badmouths them all the time but it is odd as to why she continues to be in a team regardless and does seem to care if any of her team drops out. Meanwhile the twin angels are looking to gain popularity on the internet with the help of Tama, who is someone I would be genuinely surprised to see survive this whole ordeal. Considering the level of attention this group has been getting I say it’s a safe bet that Tama is next in line to reenact Old Yeller. This may be what spurred on Ruler to attack Koyuki as she likely knows Tama is next on the chopping block. There is a matter that has been brought up in discussion regarding this shows adaption and it seems as though side stories are being intercut with the main plot. General opinion deems this as good as it give characterisation to people who would have been killed off unceremoniously.

However there is a problem of important information being left out. In this case it’s regarding how the new update of “trading” candies works. Looks like I was right on the money about Fav setting up a system where girls could steal each others candies but this episode neglected to go into detail on how that works. The main gist of it is that you can trade candies with anyone, even if their phone is off, so if you were to make a trade with someone who had their phone off in their pocket, you can effectively steal all their candies. In this case it makes Ruler’s attack not be a matter of her killing Snow White personally as they don’t have to in order to steal her Candies. Of course if Snow happens to have the lowest count then she will die but i have a feeling Ruler isn’t quite as cold hearted as she is trying to be.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Drifters

I originally wasn’t all that impressed with the Drifters manga but when looking at it in motion it truly shows its worth. i guess that is because of the very nature of this series being what it is. Looking at drawing of a man being cut in half and seeing a man be cut in half in animation are quite different experiences. In this it could be possible for this show to obtain the gleeful sadistic joy of Hellsing ultimate and i certainly can approve of that. For it is hard to argue against fun. Let me say first that the opening of this series has to be the best opening of the year for me. Maybe the main reason for that is because instead of a J-Pop band they used “Gospel of the Throttle” by Minutes Til Midnight which is an American band that I quite frankly never heard of. Though they seem to have had their music featured in a number of TV shows. This looks to be a choice by Yasushi Ishii who scored the original Hellsing TV soundtrack and is working on this alongside the man who scored Hellsing Ultimate.

I have my problems with the original Hellsing TV series(That terrible filler ending for one thing) but the soundtrack is certainly not one of them. It had a level of experimentation that I think Kajura and Sawano should really take notes from. Quite simply, anime needs less Jpop and more Jazz, Rock or Jazz and Rock. I want to see more openings like this which really capture the feeling a mood a show wants you to be in. I take dynamic slow motion character shots, planes shooting down dragons and sketch style animation over the standard of anime characters running in openings.(Look it up on youtube, there is a ridiculous amount of running in anime openings.) I normally try to save time watching shows by watching the opening once and then skipping it for the rest of the series but with this show, I don’t think I could watch an episode without seeing the opening. It’s just that good.

This really is likely going to be a show that’s going to get hard for me to review as it’s appeal is a highly selective thing. You have to be the kind of person who can put aside heavy criticism and simply enjoy visceral action and gore for this series is certainly not going to have introspective characterisation or complicated themes. Or at least not intentionally. However if I am to start taking a more critical look at this show I should pick out the obvious flaw that pretty much everyone unanimously agrees on. That of course being Kouta Hirano’s brand of humor. Every so often the heavy outlined and gritty art style is dropped in favor of these rough simplistic sketches to show a comedy skit. These skits tend to come straight out of nowhere and are completely at odds with the rest of the series, always jarring no matter what. Almost as if Hirano finishes his work and then lets his son draw a few panels to fill up space before sending it off. You make think that it’s because the anime is poorly adapting the humor for animation but you would be wrong. I found the switch equally as jarring when reading the manga. However I don’t not think that these scenes don’t work because Hirano has a poor sense of humor.

Actually I think his jokes can be quite good, it certainly brought a smile to my face to see Hannibal(No. Not Lecter, the other Hannibal.) and Scipio arguing with each other at the start of the episode.  It’s a joke that likely flew over the heads of people who know nothing of the second punic war(Google, Extra history, Rome: The Punic Wars. Watch the series of videos because it is well worth your time and a badass story.) but it really was funny to see these two fighting like playground children. Seeing the main characters compare ages also got a smile out of me. Overall I say Hirano has a good sense of humor but his jokes are killed because viewers can’t adjust to the style change fast enough to feel the punchline. For example, the joke about Oda mocking Toyohisa’s comment about killing anyone who couldn’t speak japanese and then Toyohisa forcing the elfs to say help me in japanese to avoid going back on his words could have really worked if they just stuck to the original artstyle.

Actually  it would have potentially worked even better as they are generally shown as badass in the original art style so seeing Toyohisa act so childish with such a design would have at least brought a smile. Instead the art style changes and it’s almost as if we are looking at completely different characters. By the time we adjust and know who’s who the joke has been said and we are right back to business as usual. This is what is killing the humor of this show. Well I didn’t think I would have this much to talk about here so I might elaborate on the particular ways the drifters are imposing their moral standards and potentially corrupting the elf race for another episode. We still got a lot to go and I say bring blood and thunder.

Posted on with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

I’ve read some wonderful articles about Akiyuki Shinbo’s role at Shaft and let me lay this out for you. Anime fans seem to love/hate him for all the wrong reasons. Because his name always pop up in almost Shaft’s shows, together with Shaft’s very distinctive styles (to put it very mildly), anime viewers have often mistaken him as being a sole lead director of Shaft. Well, far from it. If you really take notice, more often than not in Shaft shows there are two directors: Shinbo and someone else. Usually that someone else is the main director, and Shinbo, well, if I can put his role more accurately, he’s more like an artistic supervisor than an actual director. Since he took his role in Shaft back in 2004, his main roles have been tutoring the young staffs to bring their own visual styles, and ensuring that every Shaft’s shows are consistently weird. After all, being distinctively and consistently weird means that they have a brand. Shaft’s brand. All that lead to two things. First, Shinbo has always been a director, but in that sense, he has directed Shaft the studio than really directed any Shaft’s show. Second, he didn’t solely direct any shows because he couldn’t; considering all his commitments. Prior to the airing of 3-gatsu no Lion, I originally thought the show’s going to be his first sole effort in director chair, but then I checked again and apparently Kenjirou Okada is a co-director. So, that means they repeat the circle again. Well, c’est la vie.

Now on to the actual episode itself, it seems like 3-gatsu no Lion formula is one half of Rei and his shogi life, and the other half about him having great time with the sisters. Contrast to last week’s lack-of-dialogue first half when we followed Rei gets on the train to compete with his adoptive father, this first half is loud and sometimes silly with many eccentric shogi players. Those characters might lighten up the screen a bit, but they are far from the show’s best moments. Actually, I think it is intentional to introduce those high-energy shogi players. They are here to contrast with Rei’s loneliness, almost emptied living space and as a result they kind of spark a little life into the guy. Judging from that I think those parts work as a whole but there are still some tonal imbalances between this first half and the rest. We were witnessed to the real shogi match and while I have no idea about shogi, the show did a great job of NOT creating any tension towards this match, but instead show the match as Rei’s professional everyday life. The reason why this guy Issa wanted to win so badly is conveyed very well and that shed a new light into his character. That’s what I love about this show’s writing. Through little moments or little details that we gather, we can understand more about their personalities. Many of those characters already feel like human.

The shogi senpais drag Kei to Misaki bar where Akari works and this is where the two parts connected. From last week we already know that Akari helps her grandpa to set up shop in the morning, now we get to learn her day job. Akari looks just gorgeous here but her natural gestures towards Kei and her friendly attitudes towards the senpais make her really feel like a different person. Through her story we get to know that the first time Akari met Kei, he was drunk and was dumped by the other upperclassmen. Rei’s now living alone all by himself so that makes him an easy target for those guys to play around with him. At least things could’ve been worse I suppose. If there is one thing that I really like about Shaft’s adaptation to this manga, it is their editing. They are not smooth per se but each cut they make, they highlight very well the theme of the show. The motif of water bubbling, ice bubbling, and papers flying up all represent his isolations and the feeling he hide inside that keep boiling over the surface.

In the second part, Rei joins the three sisters preparing for the Obon festival. It is a Japanese 3-days custom to remember the ancestors of one’s family because it is believed that on those 3 days the spirits of them will revisit their former households. This custom of course fit very well with the show. We learned that Rei’s parents passed away, so did the three sisters’ mother ad grandma (I’m not sure about the father though). The Obon festival, without saying, is the one event that they want to forget. Rei did forget about the time right after his parents deceased, and I totally understand that. At those time he felt like he’s floating (which again match up with the motif), saw the world around him in black and white (kudos to Shaft’s visual art style again), and felt lost. Those three sisters are something reminiscent of the family he would’ve have.

For now, just two episodes, the show already establishes a solid fundamental emotional core. 3-gatsu no Lion maintains its very confident pacing. Shaft’s aesthetic visual styles actually strengthen the show right now, reinforce the emotions without become too distracting. The show follows slowly to the manga (2 episodes for 4 chapters? This will be a long ride indeed). I know so far the show’s not perfect, but there’s no denying that just in 2 episodes, 3-gatsu no Lion is already a poignant little beast.

Posted on 16 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, WWW.Working!!

A-1 Pictures is a studio that created a lot of my favorite comedies, which have always been hit or misses. Yet they seem to have fallen off the deep-end on comedies recently, as they haven’t put out anything worthwhile (excluding sequels) since Silver Spoon in 2013. Maybe Zveda if I’m feeling generous…Either way, this one doesn’t seem to break that trend strong enough. What I said about episode 2 still stands, and on top of that, I can summarize my problem with episode three in two words: So. Flat.

Now, I love flat humor as evident in my review of Gugure Kokkuri-San awhile back, but there’s such thing as too much of a good thing. It only works for me when it’s contrasted with high energy to sort of highlight its silliness, but here, a majority of the cast are too dull, soft spoken, and deadpan.

That won’t be a problem for long if the characters don’t stay so one dimensional, so I’ll have to see how the show progresses, but it isn’t looking very good. The issue right now really is the cast itself. There are too many characters that are the quiet, soft-spoken “deadpan” type for there to be much variety in the delivery of the jokes. Delivery is really important for me. But Muranushi, Kondou, Kamakura, Shindou, and the MC don’t look like they’re going to stop their flat acting anytime soon. This episode doesn’t get much more than a small chuckle out of me, with Miyakoshi still being the only character that isn’t completely dull.

I really do want to find bigger things to praise this episode for, but I’d be grasping at straws. The way we’re already being loaded with Shindou’s uninteresting background story (continuing since the last episode) confuses the tone, and like I mentioned previously, the pacing is still an issue. I feel like this show already revealed everything it had to offer way too quickly, and even then what I saw wasn’t very interesting. 

However as I stated earlier, I have enough faith in Karino and A-1 to hope for the best. A weak start doesn’t mean anything, and if nothing else, the show has charm. The point is, this show has problems that can easily go away once it can vary up its comedic voice and create dynamic characters. Also, please let character interactions be more than just two or three talking amongst each other. That gets old really quickly, I’d love to feel like all the characters could actually exist next to each other.

Posted on 15 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

While I admit that I was impressed with the first episode of Flip Flappers, I had my worries as well. With a show that relies heavily on wild visuals, on their own brand of logic and very loose sense on plot, it walks a really tightrope to hold everything together for a full core season, and when it falls it’ll fall hard. Being said that I would never have imagined that this second episode plays out almost the same formula with the first, and ends up even more remarkable.

The ambitious relationship between the leads Cocona and Papika is one aspect that I found rather intriguing. I know this is the most bizarre comparison you will ever see but the duo’s relationship reminds me a lot of the two women in the classic movie Persona by Ingmar Bergman. In that movie, the strange bond between the two women keeps involving into something twisted and destructive, and then the movie implied that the two leads are part of the same person, like an actress put on some other persona on herself to escape the reality. Now, I’m not imply that Cocona and Paprika are one person (it would be boring if they are), but looking at them thematically, they might as well represent the dual sides of girlhood. For once, they are extremely contrasted each other in terms of personality: Cocona is timid but secure, Papika is playful and head-on. Granted, mismatch duo has been done a million times before but the thing about this couple is they never seem mismatched, instead they function like two sides of the same coin. Then we have Pure Illusion which basically mean the two have to tuning together in order to go to that fantasy world. Lastly, this second episode intentionally draws the parallel line with the first when this time, this is Papika who powered up and saved Cocona. Those two make up a great pair and I think that ambition creates a strange but poignant chemistry between them that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I’m enjoying it all the more.

While people often highlight the second part when the girls travel to that other worlds as Flip Flappers’ highpoint, this is the first part on Cocona’s schoolday that I’m more impressed. If you think of the second part as an acid dream, the first part functions as Cocona’s lucid dream. After all, the first thing we witness in this episode was Cocona waking up from her bed. And by that I don’t mean she’s literally in her dream state the whole episode, but rather the show follows her dream logic. Supporting characters pop in and out like ghosts (especially the yellow-hair girl Yayaka and the art-club girl who weren’t even introduced). Again there is that sense of isolation: Except from the bus scene and the class sequence, most of the time there are just the leads and no one else. And finally, that weird mascot character: Uxekull. Uxekull’s strangely afraid of Papika (played mostly for laugh though), and then get sucked under the Thinking Man statue (because WHY THE HELL NOT?), so the girls going down there as well to get him back. Well, this time it seems like they were put in another Pure Illusion that heavily influenced by Uxekull’s mind: the girls transform into bunnies and have an urge to gnaw on hard things. Now, you can take that as an “instinct vs. reason” or as a sexual innuendo all you like, I’m not going that far. Then Cocona got sucked in that giant washing machine, pulled off to the cage that descended to hellfire (not unlike the hellfire in Utena, indeed I think this gem share many similarities to Utena) and was rescued in time by Papika. Uxekull’s version in that world looks whimsical and bravery at best so I don’t mind having him around every now and then. Only every now and then.

For anyone who simply watch Flip Flappers for its visuals, there’s still a lot to love here. Optical illusion references are everywhere in the first episode (right in the very first image of the first episode). The animation again is fluid and character’s movements in particular is in top-notch. I even enjoy the character’s designs myself as I see them very expressive. References to fairy tales are all there as well, from Papika’s dress to ‘disguise’ as a new student, to that otherworldly fantasy world, to the catchy ending theme. The overload of colors work for the show’s benefit too, as it displays the colorful fantasy worlds that both invited and twisted at the same time.

After those 2 episodes, the plot was still pretty much kept in the dark. But what do we have so far? Papika has tuned in with other girls before, but apparently, they’re all failed, but what happen to them? There was a brief scene of unconscious girl in the first episode, but whether she’s dead or not is unknown to us. The leads have to go that Pure Illusions world in order to retrieve fragments that can grant true wish (another fairy tale’s reference), but for what purpose? Dr. Salt has mentioned they do that to liberate Pure Illusion, of course it sounds very vague and he seems to use the girls for his own purpose here. The other staffs, on the other hand, seem nice enough. Judging from the OD, that girl Yayaka and the twin from first episode will play some roles here, and I’m waiting to see whether the picture that the girls see building up to anything in the future. The thing is there’s not much info for us to work with, but in a way, it is what makes this show so special. With this type of show, if it makes too much sense, it will loose its sparks so here’s hoping that the show has what it takes to continue to surprise us for 12 episodes.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2

1

It been awhile since I wrote anything for this site as I have been quite busy over the last few months and the summer season of anime didn’t interested me all that much. Having previously covered the first season of Iron-Blooded Orphans (on another site), I’m compelled to cover the second half in its entirety. Having experienced the mediocre quality of the Gundam franchise of Seed Destiny, 00 and AGE of the past decade, Iron-Blooded Orphans is the best alternate universe that has been put out in a very long time. I just love the brutal scrappy nature of mecha combat, music and its harden cast of characters that doesn’t fall into the trap of being whiny teenagers with flaky morals. Season two continues to follow the precedent set by the first season and add more varieties of mobile suits, new antagonists and a shakeup of the players within the Iron-Blooded Orphans universe.

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Posted 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:

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Posted on 13 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

It certainly is weird to cover the second season of a show that wasn’t originally covered here, but I do it anyway because the last season was among my favorite anime out of 2015 (not in my top 5 though). For anyone who will sigh when you heard the words ”KyoAni” and “musical band” together, no, this isn’t another K-On. While K-On focuses more about the band’s members having fun time together, Sound Euphonium takes musical seriously (too seriously!) and explore the huge band members interacting to each other. Contrary to the usual complains about things happen really slowly in Sound Euphonium, I consider it a very dense show. The show might feel slow in terms of plot, but they are rich in character’s interactions, in little character’s movements and in terms of the whole production values. Everything is gorgeous to look at and there are many things that you could take out of just by seeing those characters conversing. This is KyoAni at their most confident and while I don’t consider this show their best works (the top 2 of course are Haruhi and Clannad), the show certainly comes at their near-best, and this doesn’t come lightly considering my long affection for KyoAni.

The second season picks up right when the first one finished. Having won the qualifying tournament, the band aims to reach the National stage. But the drama between the senior class that happened one year ago that resulted in most of them quit (and which we always heard of but never know what exactly happened) keeps bubbling up the surface. Nozomi is among the most noticeable player to quit. She was the president among the group of Minami Middle School concert band. When she getting to high school however, the upperclassmen basically ignored practices and new members that bring frustration to them and cause a big stir between the members. Now, when the band is getting much better and preparing to compete in National stage, Nozomi wants to come back. It doesn’t go well though as Asuka flat-out declines. Our Kumiko has a chance to talk to Nozomi and she now decides to discuss with Asuka about that.

Last week, we were treated with a double-length first episode and I consider it one of the best episode in Sound Euphonium (along with one of the best first episode this season). The great productions and great cast are all there, but moreover they approach the story with confident pacing, to the point that 45 minutes long feels like 15-minutes episode. The second episode though, we were witnessed the usual pitfall for slice-of-life school settings show: a pool/beach episode. As much as I still love the interactions of the cast, and there were some great conversations between Kumiko and Nozomi, I could’ve prefer much better if the setting were someplace else. As far as I concern the cast goes to pool don’t add much to the plot, except knowing the fact that Reina’s chest is still growing because her swimsuit is tight. This was by far not a very good Sound Euphonium moments.

But thank god, aside from the pool settings, everything else rocks. This is the show that enjoys its little moments more than a bombastic over-the-top climax. There are so much of that little moments that really convey the mood of the scene. Take for example, when Nozomi and Kumiko talking about how she quit last year; her sad, melancholic tone was contrasted by the activities of young kids taking showers: pure, fun and innocent. When Nozomi burst out and cries, her teardrops were symbolized by the waterdrop in her cold-drink can. Or in later scenes when Kumiko meets Yoroizuka at night, her question towards her senpai: “why are you continuing with the band (even when you’re hurting)” was echoed by her senpai’s rhythm games pause-screen that asked her to quit or to continue the game. Those are smart and very sensitive storytelling right there that you don’t need to say out loud to make the audience understand it, instead they feel it. This is the best strength of Sound Euphonium. Next week we will have a fiercely confrontation between Kumiko and Asuka so I know we will have a good time. Sound Euphonium’s so far looking confident and strong.

Posted on 12 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Magical Girl Raising Project

While this show certainly isn’t perfect, I really couldn’t let this season pass without covering it. So far this show has played coy with it’s darker elements as these two episode have presented the story like it hasn’t played the dark card already. Thing is that the opening scene of the entire series made it clear from the get go what kind of show we were getting which makes the twist of this episode rather predictable from the start. For the most part Fav has revealed his true colours to the audience as the little demon was saying in the first episode about how there is never too many magical girls only to backpedal and state that he has requested too many for the region. His motives are rather mysterious at the moment but I find his explanation about Magical girls drying up the lands mana to be easily suspect.

I am sure right from the start that this was what Fav intended as it really so too much of a mistake to recruit that many without checking if the land could handle it. As the girls pointed out as well he even recruited another girl after confirming the land was at the breaking point. On the note of the girls, it’s rather interesting to see all the different types. Cowboy magical girls, Ninja Magical girls, witch magical girls… and it seems like our Cowboy is the one Soujo was warning Koyuki about. He/she certainly seems the most dangerous and ready to kill. She’s likely going to end up a major antagonist or a red herring that’s killed off quickly.

We haven’t entered full on battle royale yet because the other girls are completely unaware that whoever is knocked out of the running doesn’t just lose her magical powers but also dies. As I said who was going to die and that last place was going to die was pretty obvious. I am a little surprised that Fav is trying to keep it from the other girls though as he does seem to be gearing this little competition into a bloody battle. Rules are simple, whoever has the least amount of magical candies at the end of each week is knocked out of the running. In this case it seems like the loser actually had a large number of candies but because they were earned in dreams Fav apparently doesn’t count them. What I find interesting about his competition is that our main character Koyuki happens to be the one earning the most candies and is therefore in no real danger. However as mentioned by the girls in the flashback, Fav has talked about an incident involving magical girls fighting each other and how facing another magical girl is far more dangerous than fighting another humans.

Considering how Fav thinks I am fairly willing to bet that there is some sort of PVP system in place and if a magical girl kills another magical girl then that means she takes the losers candies. Now who has the most candies, Snow white Aka Koyuki. What power does she have? The power to read the minds of people in trouble, which also happens to be the weakest offensive power out of the group left. So the one with the most candies also happens to be the one easiest to take down in a fight. If you are at the bottom of the ranking and know that means death awaits you at the end of the week, then picking a fight with Snow White is going to be rather tempting. It’s a good thing Koyuki already has obtained a loyal knight to protect her.

Another interesting thing in this episode is what Nemurin was doing in her last moments alive. I am a little sad she was taken out of the running as it would have been interesting to see her go all Freddy Kruger on the other magical girls. However her actions may have a lasting impact on the series. She entered the dreams of a little girl waiting for a “princess”, a princess who just so happened to look an awful like the leader of the Magical girl group that the shrine. Nemurin told the girl that she could be a princess too and in doing so may just have planted an idea inception style into one of the members of the magical girl group. I am fairly willing to bet this girl was one of the younger looking members of the group and that she will now have a sudden idea of taking the role of the leader. Nemurins last act could have very well unintentionally planted the seed of mutiny that would tear this group apart. Though it might take awhile to get to that point. I get the feeling this show will only really start to pick up once this death game starts in earnest but that too may be the point which it falls down. Despair is a delightful thing for me to see but it really is something that requires the ability to play with expectations. Considering how predictable this episode was i am a little worried about whether this writer can really pull it off but I guess we shall see in the coming episodes.

Posted on 11 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Occultic;Nine

Short Synopsis: An occult professor gets murdered, a boy wants to improve traffic to his occult website, a girl curses people for profit and far too many things happen.

The first forty seconds of this episode are the most confusing and utterly disjointed thing I have seen so far this year. This dialogue is so spitfire that it would make Bakemonogatari shout to slow down and I really don’t understand just why this is. What’s being shown doesn’t need this much dialogue and because everyone talks at the same speed no one has any time to act or sound distinct. What more, are we really going with that character design for the female lead? I had to do a double take when I saw her in the opening but yes, you really went with that. Not even Keijo airing this season gave a girl breasts of such stupid size. The big problem with this is that the size of her breasts don’t match that of the rest of her design making her look just really anatomically disportionate and alien. So if the point was to make her attractive I fear you have failed because her design is too visually confusing to elicit the correct response. I hear this episode covered a whole light novel volume worth of content and how anyone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. I feel like this was trying to push for the Durarara feel and be cool as it jumped between characters but the editing is so jarring that it only makes it disortating when it cuts to another scene with no rhyme or cohesion. The writing isn’t much better, while we have a good set up the amount of exposition spouted by our main character is utterly ridiculous and I would like to point out that you cannot claim to be a NEET if you in second year of high school. When I saw that bloody knife I was like “Don’t pick it up, don’t pick it up, don’t…” and then he goes “Cool! A bloody knife!” and picks it up. The pacing may so down in later episodes but in general with this author’s works it’s the beginning where he is strongest. After that is generally when things get stupid and if this is how it starts I say things are going to get stupid fast. I didn’t think they could top Robotics;Notes in terrible writing but they may just have.

Potential: 10%

Mario: Occultic;Nine proves to be the most uneven show that I have seen this season. With one of the most interesting premise that tackles paranormal science and the murder case that served as its catharsis, how on earth that the execution managed to be that terrible? Firstly, the pacing is wrong. I usually don’t mind fast pacing and rapid fire dialogue, but it goes too fast and jumps around between 8,9 people that there’s no room for any of that moments to breathe. Secondly, when given a spotlight to shine, most of those characters instead either use strange phrases (“unravel poltergeist”, “eaten by a demon”, “terrible odor” – give me a break) that it’s hard to take them seriously, or like the lead keep babbling about his websites and boobs. Thirdly, the tones are all over the place as well: sometimes it tries to be funny, sometimes it goes dark, occasionally it wants to be a mystery… and none of that work well together. Lastly, I know that the story will make more sense in later episodes but at least in this first episode nothing make any damn sense. I see it having some real meats so I’ll continue to watch it, but if it doesn’t handle the tones right, it is doomed to be a failure.

Potential: 40%

 

3-gatsu no Lion

Short Synopsis: A student professional Shogi player tries to forget his family troubles by having dinner with a family of sisters.

Did we really need that ten minute slow sequence of the main going to a Shogi match and playing it? This is already an immensely slow paced story so by slowing it down further you just kill any dwindling interest I may have had. I said it before in the season preview but it bears repeating, if you want a single slice of life show from this season then this should be your pick. It certainly has the best production values and the most effort put into the story. Though personally I have just grown tired of this genre and find this story has a hard time balancing it’s comedy and drama. The tone with the mains backstory is deathly serious but any time the sisters show up this swings into comedy so bubbly that it wouldn’t be out of place in last seasons show “Sweetness and Lightning”. I cannot deny that this will certainly have a pull for people into this kind of story but as for myself I prefer anime as a means of escapism so a show that aims to emulate real life only serves to hinder that objective. I don’t mind having a slice of life every now and again but as of now I have enough slice of life to make a couple of pies.

Potential: 70%

Mario: Arguably one of the most anticipated shows this season, this show has to do a lot to impress. I’m happy to say that this show delivers its premise very well. The first part of this episode focuses on Rei on his way to play a match with his adoptive father, and that part is where the show shines the best. The lack of dialogue, the emptiness of his rooms, the repeated use of bubbling water, all express the disconnection and the emptiness inside the guy. He’s not a happy guy and the show succeeds in showing us that, coupling with that lovely song on the train (is it in French?). The sound editing, the shots composition, and the editing all works very well in that first part. The second part contrasts very neatly to the first, as we see the overjoy and full of life from his neighbors. It comes as a tonal disruption, but well, it’s intentional to show that those people care about him and they would guide him to become a happy person too. The cast is endearing, even the cats are charming (I’m a cat person!). I love the watercolor, simple backgrounds and the productions so far is top-notch. The heavy emotional roller coaster is there, but will these funny, endearing moments fit well with its sad tones or will it become a distraction? At least in this first episode it works like a charm.

Potential: 80%

 

Long Riders!

Short Synopsis: A girl decides to buy a bike and go cycling after falling in love with a bicycle.

The beginning of this practically mirrors that of Stella no Mahou. Cute girl is at school recruitment and can’t find what she wants to do. Suddenly spots a mysterious activity and gains a massive interest in it. Tries it and finds it’s the most fulfilling thing in the history of existence. They might be going a bit overboard with the level she falls for her bicycle as it really does treat it like she has literally fallen in love with it. To a degree that by episode’s end I wouldn’t be surprised if she was using this bike to reenact a certain scene from Golden Boy episode 5. I said before that out of the cute girls cute things in this season that Stella no Mahou was likely the best one of the season and this series hasn’t changed my mind on this matter. In fact this one was much more forgettable as when it comes to it, Cycling just don’t have much substance. Whereas there is so much more to do with Indie gaming. Harmless but ultimately unremarkable.

Potential: 10%

Mario: I begin to suspect that this show is funded by a government to encourage young teen to bike to school. The reason for that because going through this episode, not only the show sells us that biking is “the best” activity ever, but the show has time to do educational advice to eat breakfast before doing any exercise. Well, well I might be sold to buy a bike after watching this, except for the fact that I already had one. Alright, let’s get serious now. This is your typical cute girls doing cute things anime, so of course all the girls are harmless and even the bike has a name and it’s cute. I think plot-wise they will eventually form a club and maybe play in a tour. This show is an unremarkable entry and by the end of the episode you will likely to forget everything except biking is cute and everyone should name their bikes.

Potential: 10%

 

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari

Short Synopsis: When returning to his hometown a man finds a strange tanuki boy in his father Udon shop.

If you had a hole in your life since Sweetness and Lightning ended then I think this should fill it. It holds the same sort of appeals with the kid filling your heart with that fluffy protective feeling and it looks like the main focus is going to be pushing the man to take on his father’s business to sell Udon. The supernatural element is rather strange as the child appears to be a Tanuki in human form and this looks to be the reason why this guy will likely end up raising him. Overall it’s a decent show and could act as a fun easygoing watch in between shows. Not much to say about it other than that, if you need some spiritual healing this season I say this show has got you covered.

Potential: 60%

Mario: How could I resist it? A slice of life drama about 30 something man raising up a kid? I’m already a fan of Usagi Drop and to a degree Barakamon so this is right in my wheelhouse. This show works in both area: he raises a tanuki and in a process, comes to appreciate his hometown, his father’s udon restaurant and his family too. Well, raising a kid is never easy but it’s rewarding. The tanuki here is as adorable as she could get and their interaction already feel genuine and warm. The plot implies heavily on him to open the shop again, and their misadventure in the future would be a rewarding watch. The fact that she’s a tanuki would serve as some kind of conflict in the future. Now, this is exactly my kind of show so it’s a given that I will continue to follow this, for those of you who like a light weekend watch between heavy shows, this show is the best treat for you.

Potential: 60%

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