Posted by psgels on 1 February 2017 with categories: Monthly Summaries

I know I missed Onihei, but it’s just impossible to find much about it. Perhaps in February I’ll give it some more coverage. Aside from that, this was a good month. I’d say that overall the winter season is more varied than the past autumn season, but at the same time the good series are not AS good. All of course according to my own impressions. Like always spoilers beware, and this list is on order of my own preferences, worst first best last, only about the episodes that aired in January, minus the first episodes that I already talked about. The number after each title signifies the relevant episodes.

#15: Granblue Fantasy The Animation (01)

This one aired a bit later than the other shows this season. It’s also a fantasy series, probably another kind of game adaptation like Chain Chronicle, but I liked that one a lot better though. That I’m not watching Chain Chronicle anymore should say enough for Granblue, but the gist of it that while Chain Chronicle was simply generic, with Granblue I got the feeling of gradually losing brain cells while watching. Granted, a bit reason for that is that incredibly annoying dragon that keeps floating everywhere, but what also ticks me off is that we’re given very little reason to care about any of the characters. The main character doesn’t really have a reason to go along on this life-threatening quest, he just happens to be at the place where a cute girl falls from the sky… and starts following his boner, I guess… Why am I supposed to root for these people? Do the bad guys have any other reason to attack besides being evil? I don’t expect answers to those questions in episode 01, but at least hints or some other kind of nuance. You just can’t think you can get away with this simplistic mess just because you’re a game adaptation, right?

#14: Spiritpact (02)

In the end… I just can’t. Snappy dialogue is one thing, but if everything else is just amateurish i’m not really sure what I’m gaining by watching this and I’ve got many better things to see and do. I can see where they’re coming from, but episode 2 didn’t really convince me to just keep watching. For one it wasn’t as fun as the first episode, but the first episode also just felt worse in hindsight. They introduced this new character who is the fiance of the white haired guy, and obviously she has her issues, but they all seemed to be trying so hard, and nothing really came out of it.

The animation is partly to blame for that. I watch anime because I also care for the “animation”-part of the whole deal. I want to see people bringing characters to life. If you have to use short-cuts then so be it: be clever with the jump-cuts, pull some visual tricks, use your music. It’s not an exact science at all and it’s an art form, however this series doesn’t seem to try any of this, with awkward jerky motions and no attempts to hide it. Japanese anime has the experience in these cheap tricks, but Korean animators still need to find their own way. Mind you, I am not suggesting them to follow anime’s example. Let them go their own way, as long as that way works of course.

#13: BanG Dream! (01-02)

This is another series that came out a bit late this season, about a bunch of middle school girls starting a band. I gave it two episodes because there is one thing it seems to understand: build-up: it’s not like “Wheee band!”, but instead it is carefully building up the different girls, why they’re going for it and how they end up meeting each other. Really, one of the most difficult things about being in a band is actually starting the band and finding the right people. By taking its time, the series makes also sure that the characters are well fleshed out in the process.

Still, I’m not going to continue with it. The teenaged girls are just too annoying, and I think a lot can be contributed to bad acting and voice acting: characters hamming it up a little too much. There is one shy girl and nearly all she does is breathe very loudly. That’s not how shyness works! The main character also feels a bit weird: they really tried to make her this enthusiastic girl whose energy pulls the entire band together, but in the end it just feels fake, like they try too hard. She too has this habit of just breathing very loudly, which after a while just gets distracting. These random squeaks and moans instead of just actual dialogue. This obviously isn’t the only show that does this but that doesn’t make it okay!

#12: elDLIVE (02-03)

elDLIVE could have had potential if they kept the momentum of the first episode going. A fun light-hearted show about alien hunting with quirky characters, but in the end it lost this quite quickly. Episode 02 and 03 pretty much repeated what episode 01 did, only less interesting, and quite witless to be honest. These episodes had a bit of high school hi-jinks, dull aliens, and nothing really interesting. It wasn’t fun, and at times they also got way too dramatic for their own good. You don’t want to be dramatic for a series that involves a bunch of kids busting aliens, that just serves to highlight how stupid the show is, unless you invest really heavily in suspense of disbelief. But ultimately this show lacks any sort of ambition or desire to be special. This one is dropped.

#11: Demi-chan wa Kataritai (02-04)

This one turned out to be not as good as what I hoped. On one hand, it managed to portray this world in which a small percentage of people is “demi”, or half human, half mythical creature like a vampire, dullahan, etc. It’s an interesting look at minorities, being slightly different and a bit of bullying here and there. Its characters are very vocal about their issues and that makes this a very honest series.

On the other hand I really don’t like how this show pulled a Sword Art Online and made every single one of these “demi-girls” fall for the main character. Granted, the verdict is still out on the snow girl, but it’s getting there, trust me! I find that cheap, and it’s also just pointless. This is supposed to be a series about teenaged issues, and the romance just feels shoehorned in. There is no reason why these girls can’t have boyfriends, or at the very least guys interested in them if they also want to handle things like sexualities. This is also in the main character’s favour because now we just end up with him getting demi-boners half of the time, which just turns him into this slime-ball rather than a scientist. It’s a real shame because I feel that there are two groups among the creators: one that really wants this to be a character study, and one that want this to be a romantic comedy. The result gets very awkward in a bad way.

#10: Piace – Watashi no Italian (02-03)

Piace is clever: it knew that if you want to be interesting, you need some kind of material to work with. Slice of life has been done to death and there is no way to make something out of it, and you have to be really funny for a pure plain comedy to succeed. However by basing its setting on an Italian restaurant it can interchange the jokes with Italian cooking. And it’s not like you really learn something about this, but the creators make a point of showing that the characters are making good food. When you combine this with the banter between the different characters, this becomes pretty decent for 4 minutes per episode, because let’s face it: the only jokes in this show are based on the characters’ banter; do not expect any food puns. The characters are also grounded and fun to watch: the voice acting here is good. The slightly-faster-than-usual pacing along with portraying the characters variedly, yet fairly wasn’t something I expected from a series like this.

#9: ChaoS;Child (02-03)

ChaoS;Child is chugging along nicely, along with its own issues. The thing with this series is that it’s all about its mystery. You can see that the story behind this series, the string of weird murders and the strange connection between them is the strongest point of this series. While no Higurashi by any means, I admit that after three episodes I’m curious to learn what is behind everything. Apart from that though… the gore is laughable, the animation is jerky, but my most important issue with it lies with the characters.

When telling a story with a clear main character, the audience needs a way to relate with him or her. A key part of that is the reason for his/her involvement in the story. And this doesn’t need to be complicated, as long as it’s something strong that can take the audience along for the ride. The lead character here is this sulky high school kid who keeps poking his nose in ridiculously dangerous murder cases. He knows this and still goes after them. Even after his loved ones get hurt he still tries to get more and more involved, even though there is no guarantee for the safety of his other friends, he gets told this plenty of times, and he realizes that he’s being incredibly reckless. How the heck are we supposed to relate to that?! I mean the lead of Chaos Head was a loser, but the creators used his panic very well to engage the audience. With him, it’s all so weak that I kept thinking “stop getting involved! Let the cops take care of it! You’re a high school kid, you can’t do anything!”

#8: Masamune-kun no Revenge (02-04)

Four episodes in, and Masamune has still retained its wit that we saw in its first episode. I didn’t think I’d be praising a romance between two high school kids, but it’s enjoyable enough to see just what an incredible dork the male lead can be. For once he’s actually balanced well: he’s flawed, but not a complete idiot, diligent but not perfect, his attempts of hitting on the lead girl are a refreshing combination between desperate and surprisingly effective. The tropes that have been done in other romances, it really tries to subvert them. It’s like a cat and mouse game between the two of them.

However, I’m very afraid that we just saw the best of this series. Episode 04 ended with something really questionable that has ruined many series that came before it. Up to that point, every twist, even though unexpected, sort-of made sense. You could see things happening that way if you put yourself in the characters’ shoes. Then completely randomly there’s this girl that offers herself to the lead’s feet as they’re about to have this serious moment. The episode ended right afterwards, but the creators are going to have to come up with something amazing to try and explain that one, because it also just does not fit the storyline at all, and I really doubt what this show can benefit from her. This was the “will they won’t they”-love-triangle I was afraid of when I first saw the OP and ED of this one, and there’s gonna be another girl! For now I enjoyed this show plenty, but unless episode 05 makes a very good case for itself I’m going to drop it then and there.

#7: Youjo Senki (02-04)

Okay. I did not expect that kind of back-story for the main character. It’s far-fetched, but.. fair enough it works. In fact, episodes 02 to 04 have all pain-stakingly spent time dealing with the issues I had with the first episode, setting everything up and actually doing a very good job at it. At this point I don’t see this as a dumb war-series anymore, but definitely something with its own qualities. Something totally different from what Shuumatsu no Izetta tried to be.

It’s ironic: Shuumatsu no Izetta made sure to portray soldiers as actual people, but in the end it was about the survival of the actual kingdom. Youjo Senki throws heaps of unnamed soldiers under the bus, but in the end its central theme is survival of the individual. Everyone in this series is thinking either about themselves, or their close families. The people next to them. The patriotism feels more like a formality here. In face, what I like is how it takes many serious issues of other war-series, and turns them into formalities. The whole goal of the main character isn’t to win, it’s to live a comfortable life and winning just happens to be very convenient for that goal. It’s a different look at war politics than usual. And the fact that she’s a child… fair enough. It works and they use it well.

#6: Hand Shakers (02-04)

There\s something really interesting going on with the music here. During the fights, notice how the soundtrack is completely different from what you’d usually suspect? It’s all dreamy, instead of the hard, dramatic and edgy sound that series usually go for. It’s very much on the foreground, rather than mostly lingering in the background. That is awesome! Back in the days lots of series had these incredibly complicated soundtracks with creative tunes, to scenes that totally didn’t match your expectations, even blasting over the dialogue and it was glorious! At a certain point this trend stopped though, only resurfacing very rarely. This needs to be brought back! Obviously not in every series, but let’s revive the spirit of Bee-Train! Hand Shakers is obviously no El Cazador, but obviously a step in the right direction.

Aside from that, this show has me pretty baffled. On all accounts, on paper I should hate this show. A boy meets a girl and they use powers to fight others. And yet this show is just so incredibly genuine. I find the lead couple so adorable for some really weird reason. The rest of the cast: I just like them. Everything here is just enjoyable to watch. Like I said, there’s something inherently cute about a show that’s about hand holding, something most romance shows don’t even seem to realize exists.

I am not a fan though of how passive the female lead has been so far: the male lead pretty much did all of the work here. You could replace her with a pet dog and pretty much the only thing that will change is the sexual tension. Don’t think too much behind that comparison…

#5: Little Witch Academia (02-04)

What makes this series special is that the creators really seem to have made this with an international audience in mind. This show is a weird amalgamation between east and west, but some parts really feel like Trigger putting a global audience first, rather than what most shows do: just produce your series for Japan and afterwards just release it internationally because hey, why not? Or make your show so generic that it doesn’t matter what country it’s from. I mean, otherwise no sane writer would include a reference to Hanna Barbara so randomly there. Episode four was also was about fandom, and it felt uch more like we were watching western fandom than Eastern.

Also in this world, everything is exaggerated. Everything. That makes the plot pretty random and stupid, but the energy. Good lord, the energy of this show! This show always manages to conjure up something creative for the magical hi-jinks that the characters find themselves into and especially the main trio just bubbles with personality, and yet they’re grounded and varied. This is what makes characters who usually would have been really annoying, it makes them actually fun to watch. I mean we all know about the blond girl who is good at everything and incredibly posh, but in this show she works. Her henchmen are annoying at first, but we see them do different stuff besides fangirl about how amazing their sempai is.

And beyond that this does just about all of the basic stuff right. These four episodes were random hi-jinks, but they were perfect in fleshing out the characters and making the audience familiar with them. This light-hearted note is something I missed from Kill la Kill for example. Trigger still hasn’t forgotten to do action either, so bring on the rest of this series!

#4: ACCA – 13-ku Karusatsu-ka (02-04)

Okay ACCA, let’s talk for a minute about immersion. Consider the Twelve Kingdoms, a series that also focuses on a world with about a dozen different countries inside it. One thing it did a lot, especially in the beginning, is show a map of the world, including a pointer where the story was about to focus at. This happened a lot, and while tedious at the time, because of this you always knew where the story was in relation to the rest of the setting. It made you feel part of the world. ACCA has a map, but we only see it very occasionally, and only brief, so we as a viewer are constantly having to guess where the heck we are, especially since every episode deals with a different country. What if the beginning of each episode could show for a small bit where on the map we are? You could incorporate it in the OP if time is the issue. It’s a very simple detail, but I feel like it would add a lot to this series.

Now, ACCA is an incredibly ambitious series, and it’s obvious that it can’t fit everything it wants into episodes of 20 minutes, so it has to compromise. The option it went for is to try and get as much information as possible into just one episode. The big difficulty with this approach is keeping thins personal, and I have to say that when taking this into consideration, it’s a very good attempt. Obviously the huge focus on consumables helps. Characters have this “tell, rather than show”-approach to their characters, but this is fixed by the creators using subtle non-verbal clues to flesh out their characters.

The big sacrifice though is continuity. This series both doesn’t have the time to deal with the aftermaths of everything that it does (lots of minor issues are just explicitly assumed to just get resolved), plus the way it leads one thing into the other… just happens. Coincidences pile up and there is no quiet time. It’s impossible to add those and still get everything within 20 minutes. Because what it is doing is powerful stuff. Makes you think, it’s interesting. Not to mention here that the potential for this show is virtually unlimited.

#3: Kuzu no Honkai (02-03)

Okay, so they’re not brother and sister. They just grew up together, with different parents so he always was the person she looked up to. Fair enough, that takes away my big complaint of episode one, but this series is not entirely in the clear. After all the “they’re not really siblings”-schtick was very often used back in the day to give the illusion of incest, while allowing for a back door for the creators to say “what do you mean? It’s not incest! They’re not related!” – we all knew what they were alluding to and it was disgusting. If this show ends up bringing back that trend I will punch it.

So, now that that’s out of the way: this show has been pretty incredible here; it does so many things right here. Episode 02 and 03 showed that it’s really trying to balance like six characters together, all intertwined in a web of crushes and all having their own issues, and we keep hopping back and forth between different perspectives, although the lead girl does seem to be the main character here. The lesbian girl was particularly surprising: for once they took a honest look at what it means to be attracted to the same gender. It doesn’t have the squee-material of the likes of Yuri on Ice, and while there is nudity, it doesn’t feel like fanservice like most other series of the past five years. This is how it should be done: treating them as actual people.

This series really isn’t glorifying anything, and that’s what makes it so great because it’s a side we very rarely get to see because of how wishy-washy romance is in anime. Fune wo Amu showed how you should do romance from the light side, this one flips things around and shows how to do romance correctly from the dark side. This show is ugly, even though it looks so pretty, but the amount of detail they managed to put in here. Mugi’s wet dream: they actually had the guts to do that. Or how the teacher wore the same outfit twice. They don’t explicitly say it, but it’s obvious, and when it hits it’s glorious!

Also can I get a thumbs up for the soundtrack here? It doesn’t just sound dreamy and sad, but it’s also used really well here. Every single note here fits, and there are a lot of tracks here! Someone really put some thoughts into how to place the music, otherwise it wouldn’t fit this well!

#2: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Season 2 (01-04)

I managed to marathon the first season during the past month (though for the sake of this ranking I only consider the first four episode, otherwise it’s impossible to compare). And oh yeah, this is the real deal! I can’t believe they actually made an anime about Rakugo, a performance art where so much is dependent on acting, tonal changes and gestures, and they pretty much got away with it. I still consider Fune wo Amu my favourite series of 2016, but that was because that series managed to breathe life into its characters in a way that I had very rarely seen before. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shunjuu has its own list of things it does incredibly well.

The best being the character-development. Like seriously, there are very few series that can boast the level of detail that this series can put in it. Usually series have one flashback, or a number here and there for each character if they’re lucky, but most of the story takes place in one time frame. This series is the examination of the life of one guy, and every single episode it jumps forth a few years. And we don’t just see him change, a huge emphasis is also put on the side characters: they too change realistically and believably. The voice acting here is also wonderful in changing along with the cast. Top notch! Characters rise and fall, we get to see both their heights and lows right through each other. Every episode manages to change something.

What also makes this series really rare is that it managed to teach me something. And I don’t just praise this because I had no knowledge of Rakugo prior to starting this series, it not only gave an overview of how it evolved, it was an in-depth look at it, through the characters it analyzes, praises and criticizes the format. And it also encouraged me to look up the parts that they assumed the audience already knew. I like that: assume that your audience knows the meaning of Google. You don’t need to hold people by their hand. Inspire; and dare to go deep!

One thing I did not like, or rather one thing I found annoying is a better way to put it, is the romance. I know why things happened the way they did, the creators definitely make a good case for themselves and all, and they really try to make it complex and interesting, and yet I found that the most boring parts of the series. Perhaps it’s because episode 1 already told what was going to happen in the end, you could see them building up to it and the actual moment of the “big death” felt rather… forced. It probably worked well in manga-form but in the anime it just looked silly. And building up the romance… it took some patience to sit through even before it happened.

However the new season the romance is thankfully refreshingly down to earth, if you can call it romance anyway. It’s almost politics, and it knows its place much better. The characters in return are a bit less interesting, but they’re really starting to grow now, which was probably the intentions of the creators: how the heck are these newbies going to fill the shadows of the old masters? Yes, a lot of thought was put into this. More series like this please!

#1: Classicaloid (13-16)

Yeah, yeah. I know that the above series have more substance than this one. I know the characters are complete idiots. I know that the past four episodes of Classicaloid have been completely stupid and have established absolutely nothing. And yet… and yet… I can’t. I can’t label my favourite show of the month as anything other than Classicaloid. It just had me completely in stitches, all four episodes even though they all were completely different. This show just makes me happy whenever I watch it that no other show this season manages to do.

So let’s get things clear: in these four episodes we have people turn into fishes, become idols, make horrible music, and hunt for a merleopon. All of them focused on a different character and were mostly used to flesh them out. All of them were hilarious, but my favourite was the fish episode. There was something magical of following a mute fish around for 20 minutes and looking into the despair that ensued. It also becomes more and more apparent that this show has the second director of Gintama. This is a compliment by the way.

This series takes me back to the good old days. Back when series still understood how to properly fill in a 26-episode series. The first half being a build-up, and the second then using it as a board to jump off of. In this case the first half has made sure that these characters are so much fun, that I just smile whenever they’re on stage. This is what I consider terrific characters. The ones that just make you happy, no matter what they’re doing. When manga and light novel adaptations got more and more the norm, and more and more series only turned to 13 episodes max, this was a format that I unfortunately missed deeply. I don’t want to be that guy who goes “gahw things were so much better in my days, you kids with your stupid trends and stuff” – I used to get very annoyed by these people – but in some areas I really have to give in: we are not living in the glory days of anime anymore. I do have hope though, I want to see anime evolve again. Try to see what it will turn into next. For that we need a constant flow of new talent, because at this point the old guys have mostly all left, while the ones who remain are the only ones still bringing in interesting and fresh stuff. The new talents need to get the confidence and the connections in order to be able to do their own things. They need to step up and realize that the future of anime lies in pushing the medium forward. They have the misfortune that the focus today lies much more on consistency: having clean frames, and a higher resolution makes anime more expensive, and it makes it harder to have experimental series, and therefore it makes it harder for the real geniuses to get noticed. The likes of Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Masaaki Yuasa, they would have had much more difficulties breaking through in today’s atmosphere. Classicaloid is our hope: the director is relatively new, and I remember when he first took over Gintama I disliked the changes he brought forth. Over the past ten years though, Classicaloid showed that he did learn a lot. He’s using his influence clearly, while at the same time keeping the viewer’s attention. Entire episodes are devoted to one really weird idea, yet he knows how to make it tick now. I’m in no way saying that he is among the greats, but what I am saying is that he’s on the right path there, though unfortunately it’s not entirely there yet. Classicaloid is amazing, yet the great series of 9-15 years ago and the volume with which they came really was special.

I really believe that anime is due to improve. We just need to wait for the people who grew up in the golden age of anime go work themselves up to the top. I do not know how many years this will take. 10 years? 20 years? No clue. However I am interested in sticking along as long as fun series like Classicaloid keep getting made, and I also honestly believe that the worst is already behind us.

I know the above two paragraphs are really weird ramblings, poorly formulated and not that connected, but these are thoughts that I’ve been having a long time. I hope that I’ll be able to put more structure to them in the near future…

9 Responses

  1. SuperMario SuperMario says:

    I was actually expecting this post from you to see what you have been following this season. Nice post psgels. Hooray that you finally got around to Rakugo, that one is such a gem. I’m still pretty much digging Demi-chan, and Hand Shakers still fascinates me.
    About your thoughts on the current state of anime, I don’t have any deep comment to add, except that I do think anime is evolving even now, not necessary all in positive ways though. Like you pointed out that the industry cares more for short-cour anime and CGI and whatnot than back in the old days, but it just means that the industry is adapting new trends instead of staying the same. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t but that is always the same in any eras.
    Even I think that mainstream anime with terrible trends (like incest-love comedy, harem light novel shows, most recently idol industry shows) have its merit because without it the more art-house projects cannot survive. After all, those mainstreams anime sells well and brings the money into the industry, so that the art-house sections have resources to do their passion projects (like Little Witch Academia or Yuri on Ice); or create more niche anime like Rakugo or Fune wo Amu that aim at different types of audience. So even the worst kind of shows still support the anime industry in some bizarre ways, right?

    • psgels psgels says:

      Yep, and I do believe that we’re behind the worst parts. We had such a period as well around the year 2000, where just hardly anything good would come out at all, and I think that we’re not going to get any worse than the period around 2013-2014. I haven’t watched anything of 2015, but it also looks like it lacked the positive force forward that 2016 had, and 2017 seems to be continuing that trend. At the very least the really bad writing seems to be much less of a problem now.

      And yes, passion projects are the ways to go forward, I also believe that. Somehow in the glory days of anime, we saw tons of those passion projects or huge gambles air at the same time, and somehow they got away with it, and they were probably part of the reason anime blew up so much as it did back then, with a backing of the big shounen to serve as a backbone.

  2. Spencer says:

    Looks like I need to pick up ClassicaLoid now. Can’t say I’m a Gintama fan, or even a fan of anime comedies in general, but I’m always down to watch a show that makes people happy.

    Glad you went back and watched Rakugo, as that show needs all the love it can get. To me, it was the best series to come out during the two year break you took from the blog, but there were a few other gems during that time. Hopefully you’ll be able to discover them at your leisure.

  3. AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

    Not this again. There has never been a golden age of anime. Ever. That’s just good old selective memory playing tricks on people. There were annoying trends back then just as there are now. Only difference is that there is so much more anime coming out now than ever before. Yes that does mean more bad anime comes out but it also means more chances for great anime to come out. We got better animation, more studios and plenty of perfectly legal ways to watch anime. Way I see it, things are already up, perhaps in the future people will refer to this era as the golden age of anime.

    • Vonter says:

      I think certain vibes change. Like how people embrace the cheesiness of old stuff. How people want their entertainment to be dignified or how the limitations of yesteryears made for a particular tone or mood. (Berserk, DBZ and Rurouni Kenshin come to mind).

  4. Mentar says:

    I’ve got to admit that it made me smile to see that you didn’t drop Kuzu no Honkai in the end, but kept with it, and that you enjoy it as much as I do. Because in my opinion this is a little gem which I once never thought it could be animated for public TV at all, and it’s still a mostly-unrecognized horse in the anime community.

    Those who watch it seem to really enjoy it to a high degree, but it’s nice to see when high-profile anime sites list it and recommend it. Because I love it to pieces and think it deserves more prominence, because it is done SO well.

    About objectionable content: I’m curious what you will think about the show after episode 4 :->

  5. Zoop says:

    I am so happy you are back, you have no idea. Your taste is as unique as always! I look forward to some quality criticism, even if it’s just once a month :)

  6. donhumberto says:

    Thanks a lot for your post Psgels. As usual, it’s a real pleasure reading your thoughts on the series.
    Overall, I think this season is turning out pretty good, what with 3 top tier shows on the schedule (Rakugo, Acca and Onihei- by the way, please, try to watch Onihei, it’s really awesome and the kind of mature themed anime you’d like), apart from a bunch of other enjoyable ones (Scum, Tanja and Yami Shinbai for me). Obviously this is not the best season ever but it’s waaay better than Winter 2013 (by far the worst season in recent memory anime-wise)
    In any case, I do agree with Psgels that we need more ambition in the anime landscape as we had 10 years ago. I mean, as much as I love Rakugo, 91 days or Onihei they are nowhere near shows like Monster, Ghost Hound or Gankutsuou in my book… oh well, let’s hope that at least with the huge success of Yuri on Ice Mappa can get the funds to keep on making great series (they’ve been consistently one of the best studios since they started and 2017 looks set to be their year)

  7. Lord Nayrael says:

    Always glad to see you psgels! :D

    I know that the “love triangle” in the 4th episode of Masamune is making you worried, especially due to how other shows have dealt with this trope, but I suggest you to give it another episode or two even if you don’t like the development. I say this because her purpose here isn’t to be a harem tease, but… well, the writer uses the trope to accomplish something else.

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Amagi
Yeah, the idea of some unworldy girl learning about emotions through ghost writing is great and I love the setting. But the war part makes no sense in that context, and I wish they'd tone down that "I'm mayor's dog" stuff. It's pretty common for these type of people being clingy to one specific person, but they should totally leave out the waifu pandering. Ep 2 was better in that regard though.
Niello
How come Violet went through war and back and still doesn't even recognise, in the slightest, the grim emotions humans sometimes feel such as pain, worry, distrust, anger, hate etc. Then the premise set up that she's going to learn love and all the other emotions, good and bad, though ghost writing and empathise with people. I call bull.
Niello
@Mario: The writing is disappointing and underwhelming, especially the characterisation. I would rant, but I'd rather not. It's just, if this show doesn't have the amazing visual or Kyoani name attached you can just imagine that its fate would be rather bleak.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: hhhmmm, I have good news, the French dvd of that film let the corpses tan is coming out in March, well before the vod release, so it'll probably get fansubbed or something before we have to wait for an official English web-dl/cast.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Was never much of an on stage/presentation man really, I was always rubbish at it, to quiet an introverted person really to get up in front of a crowd and give a lecture/speech.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: And this would be the part where I say it would be great if I even had half your presentation ability or sounded that clever.
Your voice is as imagined it, though I'd pictured you younger looking in my head.
KTravlos
fianlly done with the academic meeting I was organizing. Should get back to some anime watching. Also if you want to see my presentation go here

https://youtu.be/GNjtuf-nJ-s?list=PL7qM1ZYRwV_DbcW31vF_Codobpq7u6ffS
SuperMario
@Niello: Aside from your #1 (which ưe'll agree to disagree here), it's a nice set of shows you're follwing this season. Did you watch Violet Evergarden first episode thou and how did you think about it?
SuperMario
Great. Now I can't even send message here through my laptop.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: i think it's the same issue with kisscartoon. The original site was shut down sometimes ago, and now there are plenty of Kisscartoon's fake domains that are annoying as hell
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: its back up now though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its front page has server issues from time to time sometimes for hours.
SuperMario
I just read some manga on kissmanga a week ago, is the site down already?
Niello
Well to be fair batoto is down because of the site owner personal reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So Mangahere, mangachapter, baoto, animea seem to be gone and kissmangas front page is down , mangafox is slow, whats next to go down....
Niello
I don't currently see an anime this season that really stands out from the others. Right now if I have to rank them
1) Miira no kaikata
2) Kokkoku
3) Sora yori mo tooi basho
4) Koi wa ameagari no you ni
5) Takagi-san.
Not counting Devilman Crybaby since it's already finished.
Niello
@Eoghan I love Urobuchi and still find the Godzilla film weak.
SuperMario
I just looked through the nominations for the Crunchyroll Anime Awards and to my surprise, it's a pretty solid lineups. Find myself agreeing with most of their choices there
AidanAK47
Actually forgot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know why you don't just read kara no shoujo 2 instead.
AidanAK47
And Himawari is actually boring me. It's proving difficult to push myself though just to see where the point that makes it highly regarded comes in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In the end I was pretty much curious about it.
AidanAK47
Yep, that's it. Gonna stop discord displaying what I play from now on. It's weird when people comment on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now my current rankings: 1. Devilman
2.Junji itou
3. sangatsu
4. Cardcaptor sakura
5. Pop team
6. Evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Aidan
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm joking obviously, but I am surprised to see you playing Himawari Aiden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh Aidan you and your lolicon visual novel you =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Shin Godzilla had the evolving godzilla thing and that freaky ass final shot too, it also justified itself quite well i think by showing how relevent he is today, given the nuclear thing and that it drew on the Fukushima incident essentially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Thats a far better and shorter way of putting it than I.
Alonaria
I wish I'd just waited for the other parts of the Godzilla movie trilogy to be released. As it is, I'm just going to remember it as "that incomplete movie." And the character designs kind of blurred together for me, which was really disorienting.
Anonymous1746949
Oh psgels is back
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I've seen other Godzilla things so I pretty much was supposed to see this anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or you know you could always take what I said with a pinch of salt, because you know....I don't get on with Urobutcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea behind it is definately cool and a different spin for the franchise though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe I was held back a bit by the cgi or the mediorce voice acting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'd need to see its followup before properly assessing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Godzilla often makes for silly films, but lke alot of silly older films the silliness and seriousness combine without clashing, this one is too Poe faced .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw that Godzilla anime film, I'd describe it as watchable in parts but far too caught up in setup mode and an unlikeable protaganist , it could go somewhere with what it raised at the start but this is an example of a first film in a trilogy that suffers from being unable to currently stand on its own.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I generally feel that Itou's stories have a winning track record but theres exceptions, Uzumaki and Gyo in manga form struggle toward the end and the first episode story the anime chose to adapt is, while fun one of the weaker offerings.
Alonaria
Honestly, the shorter stories have been more effective at getting a reaction out of me, though. I actually didn't really enjoy the first episode's first story, mostly because I found the MC too obnoxious. :.D Maybe because my younger brother chased me with a bug once and it was really unpleasant. XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It wasn't just it coming out of her mouth, but when they were stamping on them too.
Anonymous1743747
@Kaiser: Yah, I was horrified for like 5 seconds but the other characters made me crack up. :.D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although it was mixed in with laughing my ass of eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of all the Itou stories to be un-nerved by, its the second half of this third episode oddly that does it for me and I never get uncomfortable during anything .
AidanAK47
@Anon, We are working on it.
Anonymous1742736
Are you planning on making a top anime of 2017 list?
Amagi
Yeah Mash is one of the few good ones it seems.
Amagi
Oh damn, good that you remind me, I didn't pick anything yet. But I guess I will go with Altera, considering that some of them don't look that good and I own her anyway. Would have wanted the Scat one but the drawing looks weird.
AidanAK47
Which Bond CE did you pick for the 2 mill? I went with the Mash one. Only only whose artwork I liked.
AidanAK47
Might settle for making Bryn my endgame lancer though.
AidanAK47
As I said in my Apocrypha post, I have no interest in any version of Jeanne. My top priorities for my endgame team is Isekander, Scathach and assassin Shiki. And Shiki is a welfare so only need to worry about the other two.
Amagi
Yeah, I was considering to keep rolling for the new 4* at first but I really want Jeanne Alter and she's coming soon.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I tried rolling for Karna and got nothing. Though I think Bryn is better. I plan on rolling one more time with the saint quartz we are getting to try for NP2. Though we do have the valintines event coming.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here, just got Brynhildr. Even though I already got Karna last month. But I wanted her, nice design, finally a single-targed 5* and she's even one of the few servants related to my country.
KTravlos
@SuperMario. The contemplation of the death of humanity, and the loneliness, both were very disturbing to me. Kinda like thinking of my grave.
AidanAK47
YANDERE GET. Bryn's mine baby.
AidanAK47
Gonna try rolling for Brynhildr tomorrow. Bit annoyed they chose to translate it as Brynhild. I mean it's not incorrect but her name is far more recognisable as Brynhildr
AidanAK47
@Amagi, The grind wasn't that bad for me. Mordred carried me for it. Though I managed to get Siegfried in the gacha despite not being on rate up. I admit that the event was rather lackluster. Story wasn't that fun and the whole saber restriction was a pain. Also gonna take me a while to readjust to regular damage.
Amagi
Man that FGO Saber Wars event was annoying. I am happy finally I have 2 mio. altrium now and am done with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminder that netflix Godzilla anime is later today.
Amagi
Damn I didn't noticed that ankle band of the little demon from the intro scene of FranXX 01, now I feel stupid.
Lenlo
Yuasa is great! Ping pong and Tatami Galaxy are still some of my favorites
SuperMario
Oh fuck, the lead singer of the Cranberries passed away. I literally just listened to their music yesterday. Damnn, sad news
SuperMario
@Kaiser; thanks for considering me but I believe Wooper is much more a Yuasa's fan than I am
SuperMario
Far out!!!
SuperWooper
Yuasa will be answering questions on Reddit's anime board on the 20th.
SuperMario
@Niello: what do you mean regarding Yuasa?
SuperMario
@Travlos: I agree that Girls Last Tour is a special little gem, but in what ways it's disturbing?
Niello
Holy cow, Masaaki Yuasa AMA!! What magic is this?
Niello
Meawhile, Japan took a different approach and we ends up with a bunch of .hack rehash and diving more and more into escapism. Until we eventually got isekai and then it just spiraled into a sea of mediocrity.
Niello
While that opened its own can of worms, at least it opens up element about making ends meet, managing irl relationships, earning extra income for a poor family, getting cheated etc.
Niello
in the characters real life just fine. Something more a long the line of Net-juu but more technologically advanced. And I would say that plenty of those have been superior to Japanese online game and isekai story shenanigans. That said, it doesn't mean that those don't have their own kind of traps they usually fall in. A bunch of those instead focus on the aspect of making money off of games.
Niello
...Getting stuck in a virtual reality game and being transport to another world that happens to be like a game are completely different though. I don't know what is it with Japan and getting stuck in game plots considering that there are loads of other game-base Asian novels that came before it that manage story lines where they manage to tell compelling stories in game while balancing what happen
KTravlos
I finally finished Girls Last Tour. What a profound, fluffy and disturbing masterpiece. Bravo.
Amagi
Yeah. I feel the world swap is pretty much pointless when real life isn't relevant anymore. It's just a stupid as hell excuse to combine fantasy wish fullfilment with self-inserts, which is why these main characters tend to be 29 by now, just like the big part of the otaku community.
Lenlo
Of those you listed, no, I dont think they get explained? I mean, SAO did, but I dont think that falls into your category.

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

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

@Vonter, the mummy anime would be better as short vignettes together I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koi amegari is surprisingly tasteful, subdued and pretty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*to where
Kaiser-Eoghan
Try as I might, my love of kyoani tv anime has largely evaporated did where I no longer want to bother at this stage, I'll just wait and see. I'll just stay quiet on the franxx anime, theres little value in me trying to get through a trigger work at this point.
SuperMario
I get the exact same feeling with Takagi-san. It's pretty good on what it does but 20 minutes of the same thing for a whole season doesn't sound that promising
Vonter
The chibi mummy anime
Vonter
It's a shame it isn't a shorter 10 or 5 minute series, I think that format would make it shine more, since it does what it's trying to do.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I liked the second episode of Kokkuko or whatever the name is even more than the first one.
Amagi
I really have a problem with all these shows that rely on one single thing, joke, shenanigan or whatever. Be it something cute, some certain kind of interactiong or whatever. It doesn't matter how good it is it will bore me with episode 2.
Lenlo
Like, yeah, the mummy was cute. But the cute became rote/bland really quick. There has to be more than "cute" to be worth watching for more than a single episode to me.
Lenlo
@Niello, I was harsh because its not aimed at me. I wanted to drop it 5 minutes in, kept up for the post, then was thankful it was over. There wasnt anything overtly bad about it. Its just there was nothing good either.
AidanAK47
To be fair it's not as if we are lacking cute in this season.
In fact it's in danger of inflation.
SuperMario
@Niello: yes, the mummy is cute, the show is cute but beside that it's pretty mediocre. That show in particular is the only show that I have the damnest time to give it a potential rating.
Niello
It's not even down because of legal reasons, since the site pull down contents that are lincensed. It's down cause it's too much for the site owner to manage. Much of it also have to do with too many bots, which comes back to how a lot of other sites are relying on batoto.
Niello
@Masky: Not enough manga titles are getting translated. Batoto is the site scanlation groups basically rely on, and where other aggregation sites pull their content from. No batoto no obscure titles, a big blow to small scantation groups and one big manga/scanlator community down.
Niello
Why are you guys so harsh on the mummy show? It's so darn cute. Give it some credit. If a comedy show can be good because it does comedy well I don't see why a show ike Mummy can't be good if it can make people go "aww".
Masky
I don't really know why that is the case, maybe marketing budget and UI friendliness when done right? :P
Masky
Eh, wouldn't say it will kill manga industry. I mean, more and more official methods of reading manga online is starting to pop up and legit channels to pay to get access to manga can surprisingly enough harm free channels to get manga.
Masky
Anyway, I do find it funny how how the isekai character dies can be so meaningless that is joke in most of them
Niello
Batoto is going down, how this affect the manga reading is going to be interesting. Hope it's not slowly dying.
Masky
(at least that one, besides forgetting to introduce what the heck is gimmick besides generickness, acknowledged how most of otaku mcs shouldn't erally want to get transferred to fantasy world since they never get to see how their favourite mangas end :P )
Masky
Anyhoo, it gets annoying since its not just isekai being cliche, sometimes is just them being kind of badly written(or at least adapted to manga). Like, I found one new isekai today, but I have no idea what its gimmick is(from what I understood, its that "cute companion" that character gets is hideously op because mc didn't spefy cute girl when he asked god manager dude for cute companion)
Masky
Slime one is one of better from the more generic ones weirdly enough :P I mean I still wouldn't call it good, but at least MC character isn't god tier, just top tier and it has sort of village building simulation feel to it. Plus at least naming things giving monsters more powers is something funny regarding jrpg mechanics
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or alternatively the car was on a boat with the character or parents in it and the boat and car were hit by a falling plane lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its always "car accident" that sends the characters to another world or in harem cases "Lost parents due to car crash", for christs sake doesn't anyone die in out of control plane or speedboat crashes anymore, at least make it a motorbike....
Nayrael
Ah sorry, should probably not have touched the colors...
Nayrael
Trust me, Isekai is better when it doesn't try to be imaginative. When it tries to be original then... Isekai with a Smartphone... Isekai where the MC turns into a Slime... and my favorite: Isekai where the MC became a Hot Spring popular with sexy girls.
Masky
Assuming "new" things can happen under the sun
Masky
Anyhoo, I do wonder what the heck will be next "popular genre trope that will become so overused cliche that everyone groans whenever show uses it even if its actually good show"
Masky
Like, seriously you could do really interesting story variant on isekai with that if done right. Suddenly becoming characters you have roleplayed would be trippy as hell espicially if one of characters went really into detail with backstory while one of them is just "Bob the fighter, he likes fighting" and has to deal with what happens when you assume life of such a person
Masky
But I wouldn't honestly be surprised because of my anger issues related to amount of unimaginative isekai :P Though I guess trpg based one would be more imaginative in comparison
Masky
I'd assume not since I assume tabletop rpgs are much more niche than jrpgs in japan
Masky
So has anyone yet done isekai where guys getting transferred were playing trpg? :P
KTravlos
quite happy with most recent Attack of Titan manga chapter.
SuperMario
Alright, one more impression post to go before we really get on to new season
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, I just fixed it. Thank you
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Featured Posts

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 15 [There is no place like home]

Welcome to another week of Mahoutsukai no Yome. This week continues Chise’s bad relationship with water, Elias’s with Fae and gives Silky a history. Lets jump in! To start off, I want to talk about the best part of this episode, that being Silky’s history and alone time. For the longest time Silky was a […]

After the Rain – 02 [Rain Drops on Green Leaves]

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I’m thankful that this second episode plays out much quieter and more subtle than the first, because I’m not a fan at all with the grandeur approach of the first episode. This makes the second week of Violet slightly better than last week, but I still find myself not totally satisfied with the whole experience. […]

Kokkoku – 2 [The Second Moment]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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