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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Topgavin
Just finished watching the Madoka Magica series, 4th rewatch but 1st time on blurays. The show is such a work of art, and I was surprised by the sheer quality of the backgrounds in the blurays. It looked 3x as expensive to make as the normal show, Shaft must've poured a lot of money into post-screening editing.
SuperMario
They are all just average shows to be honest, but at least they're deserved to have full reviews.
SuperMario
and just an update for readers, I intend to give full reviews on shows that I followed but haven't covered here, starting from this seasons. The verdicts are: Seiren, Demi-chan, Dragon Maid and Hand Shakers
SuperMario
Do we really need to know all the historical context to enjoy/ appreciate Tanya? I think making a comparison does have influence in your expectation of the show in later events.
Lenlo
But this is all from wiki articles, since the last time I actually studied WW1 & 2 was in highschool. So im alittle rough on the subject :P
Lenlo
I thought, time-wise, we were past WW1, but this was in reference to how Germany at the end of WW1 was defeated, but not destroyed, which allowed them to rebuild enough to start WW2. You know, that famous quote "This is not peace, this is an Armstice for 20 years".

Thought it was a reversal of that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just one more note on silent voice, only one of those three omitted subplots I felt worth taking issue with, they leave out a couple scenes that flesh out Shoko's mother more.
AidanAK47
@Helgast, while that fairly obviously hinted at, don't spoil future events.
HelghastKillzone
@Lenlo We are way past the stalemate of WW1 and onto this anime's interpretation of the Battle of Dunkirk. Season Two is gonna be fighting against the Brits, Americans, the French Resistance and the Soviets.
Lenlo
I did some reading up, since WW1 & 2 arnt the points in history im really into, and I get her anger now. If they get a second season, possible time skip to WW2 because of it?

The episode was great btw, she just seemed to come out relatively unscathed for what she went through
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It annoyed me that she got injured but then magically healed within the next scene but otherwise I loved the episode. It may be difficult to grasp in the show but if you know your history then you would realise just why Tanya was so bent out of shape. In truth this was Tanya's first major loss. One that renders her previous victories utterly worthless.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Your gonna have to elaborate on that "Most." When it comes to the three shows I was covering this season I thought I was praising them quite a bit. Only thing really bothering me is Rakugo stretching out it's ending. Otherwise this is one of the best seasons of anime I have seen in quite a while.
SuperMario
Hell yeahh, OwariMonogatari will air next Summer season. I'm hyped. Thank you Shaft
SuperMario
But it's good to hear your opinions on that. Like you said, honest opinion is good so I hope to hear more from reader's comments
SuperMario
@Anon958618: We writers are here to give you readers our personal impressions, and of course if we don't like a show we'd give the reasons why we don't like it, we can't really say otherwise if we found an episode to be sub-par. Personally, I have nothing but praise on my posts to the point I think I have to be stricter :)
Anonymous958618
I used to like reading this blog, but I find that most of the posts now are overly negative. Although I think honest opinion is good, it's a bit of a turn off in my opinion for readers...
Lenlo
Its nice to see everyone grown up in Rakugo. Old Yotaro and Konatsu. Also, how in the heck is Matsuda stil alive. That man was old when Yakumo was young. Finally, people need to stop telling that story if its gonna haunt everyone, I mean jeez.
SuperMario
It's Tanya for me next ^^
SuperMario
It ends happily. But go and see the twist. They make it like the most natural thing of all
Lenlo
Watchin Rakugo next. It end well?
Lenlo
Tanya disappointed me alittle. There was a change to actually hurt Tanya, but nope, she still comes out of it unharmed. She hurt herself more when she blew herself up than when someone else blew her up. Least shes seemingly drunk on war.
SuperMario
so sad to see Rakugo end... And that little twist. How can they make that twist so poetic?
SuperMario
@Lenlo: me & Kaiser? We were talking about the movie Koe to Katachi/ A Silent Voice
Lenlo
I must have missed something, because I have no idea idea what is being talked about.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I purposely put off the manga so I could watch the movie with fresh perspective. 2 weeks until we have a screening here
SuperMario
@kaiser: woah, thanks Kaiser. I know packaging a 6-volume manga into a feature film means they have to cut quite a lot of subplots, I just hope the main plot is going to be rewarding
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually, there aren't that many manga that portray disabled characters, not even hentai.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: One of the people I got talking to after the film talked about Clannad and we both laughed about "what if Lars van Trier worked at Key"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rakugo you are now on hold again until you end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I look forward to your review of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There were, because I talked to the audience afterwards and looked around, people who weren’t familiar with anime there, so it does have a wider appeal.
While cheesy/melodramatic obviously its nonetheless heartfelt and well executed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The voice actress for Shoko is required to well, I can only call it deaf-voice-talk and she pulls it off quite well, it’s never cringy or forced.
Comparatively to other anime dealing at any point with bullying this does fare better and because it’s animated by kyoani, visually it’ll catch interest. The protaganists regret and redemption story still remains a very watchable one/theme.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Putting a voice on Kawai and Ueno will make you rage at them more.
While I didn’t think it was too bad/overly used, you’re going to have to do with the maudlin piano score Kyoani gives it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: At 130 minutes it’s a little lengthy, especially for an anime film, there is the feeling of attempting to stuff in the manga, three subplots at least have been removed/shortened yet at the same time despite the skipping in parts it does still feel long/aimless. Based on that I did feel it flows better in manga format.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: @Mario: I just came home from seeing koe to katachi/silent voice. Can't really say enough to fill a review, but it gets the general 3 1/2 out of 5 from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Warning the next few posts contain words words words:
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I can take or leave Kaiju stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Wheras Mothra was the most fun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Aside from that, I've seen a few Godzilla films, Mothra vs Godzilla, shin Godzilla, Garth Edwards Godzilla, 90s American Godzilla and original 50s, the 90s one has aged horribly, the recent American one felt more faithful, the 50s one and the new Japanese one feel most socially relevent.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Wait...whah, why'd I get logged out I registered =<
AidanAK47
I previously had no interest in a Godzilla Anime film. But after reading the concept here I am now very very interested: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2017-03-24/godzilla-anime-film-reveals-full-title-story-new-visual-november-premiere/.113863
SuperMario
@Kaiser: they are still around. And believe it or not the actual band members are Damon Albarn (former lead singer of Blur) taking care of all the music and Jamie Hewlett who taking of the animation. I love alternative music, I can enjoy hip-hop music and I'm a fan of animation => this band basically has everything I personally love
Anonymous956164
@Mario: Kaiser here, posting from public computer. I had no idea the gorillaz were still around, many years ago I would have listened to their Clint Eastwood song, aswell as dirty harry and feel good inc, I also remember the artstyle of their videos catching my attention.
SuperMario
Anyone here listen to Gorillaz? They're one of my favorite band and their new song Saturnz Barz is great. Excited for their coming album now
Kaiser-Eoghan
I guess I'm considering blood blockade also because I'm burnt out o demanding and old films to some extent.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I really enjoyed the first season of Blockade. It's one of those cases where I think the delayed of the last episode killed all the exciment regarding the show. I actually fall behind and then catched up again as soon as the last episode was out so I enjoyed everything so much more
SuperMario
@Aidan: makes me really wonder why some of the studios are very uptight about their show's details. Like, they have to know if it is a short series or not, right.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet its not exactly a show that fits into being my thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Blood blockade battlefront is one of those shows that is always in the back of my head, despite negative biasI managed to at least enjoy some of gungrave, I grew up, sort of with trigun, so with blockade having Yuji Nightow involved theres always that part of me that says to watch blood blockade battlefront.
AidanAK47
This is one of the annoying things about previews. You got o the trouble of looking it up and writing on it only for it to get delayed or turn out to be a short series.
SuperMario
ohh, Blood Blockade Battlefront moves back to October airing. I might have a chance to cover it after all. Though look at how it gets delay and the change of director, it yells more concerns than optimism
AidanAK47
Yep, Manga is completed at 6 Volumes. But it's kinda weird that the series managed to cover 6 volumes when it's so slow paced. I normally thought that 5 to 6 episodes was needed to cover a manga volume on average.
SuperMario
@anon954341: ACCA will finish in 1 cour, as the manga is already completed and from what I heard episode 11 & 12 cover the last 5 chapters of the manga.
Anonymous954341
is Acca 13's story going to finish in 1 cour, or is it still ongoing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly do wonder how much longer anime blogging will be a thing and how much they have to compete with popular youtuber's channels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I once had some idea of doing a forum with a friend, it never went anywhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Aidan gave good advice anon, I still found old posts from when I was teenager archived somewhere online and it made me facepalm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I wanted to throw myself into Mario and your conversation about personalities by talking about myself, force of habit.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Not sure what this rambling is about but good for you...I guess?
AidanAK47
@Anon, Blogs take a lot of work for very little in return. I wouldn't try starting one unless you are ready to make a huge commitment. Besides at your age(Based on that comment) it would be best to not put too much on the internet. The internet never forgets and it can come back to haunt you later in life.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I bring some of this up is because I think that even if someone isn't the most emotional person out there, they shouldn't ignore/bash on certain shows/genres because of that, even if you don't get feelings out of it, the story/drama/characters could still be worthwhile.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think getting pissed off though is much easier irl than doing it online where it doesn't bother me as much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it surprises me alot that I followed so many romance manga years ago, enjoyed them, but I've never been a romantic person irl at all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also hate incompetence/failure and am generally not especially patient.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I care about others and appearances mainly to extent it either is of benefit, if I have to or it avoids hassle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
People tend to think I'm cold, articulate, blunt irl too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not a sentimental or passionette/emotional person irl, I don't like wasting time with other peoples shit and don't bother with it, avoid looking at people or touching them physically, talk in long dry speeches and in general come off as a quiet, reserved but snarky/cynical person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably unknowingly come off as different on this site than I would irl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I'd veer towards depressing or surreal/strange/messed up work more out of just wanting to see weird and depressing stuff happen and little else, just interests me, I can't remember the last time I cried.
Anonymous953782
um i wanted to make my own blog but it wants a email but i dont want my parents finding out
AidanAK47
It is weird how we never clash on what we want to cover on each season. Anyway I need someone to contrast my egotisical self so it's all good.
SuperMario
haha, Aidan: heartless grumpy monster & Mario: sentimental sappy bloke. Readers, you got yourself quite an odd combination of writers here.
Anonymous951955
We'll see; trailers can give false impressions
Anonymous951955
Not that all changes from source adaptations are terrible, but in this case, at least the trailer makes it look pretty bad.
Anonymous951955
It looks not great; I understand the need to change it a bit to suit the format/audience, but at what point does it turn from adaption to "loosely based on"?
HelghastKillzone
I'm glad we're past the phase of moe club shows.
AidanAK47
@Helghast, now that's something I never thought I would hear.
HelghastKillzone
Hell ya. We are in a golden age of anime that is filled with options and quality.
Anonymous951809
What a great week! Iron Blooded Orphans, Onihei, Little Witch Academia and ACCA 13 all had great episodes! I am spoiled!
Anonymous950847
@Anon and @Aikan

The LoGH manga remake has been out. It did not work for me.

I hope he anime goes its own way. I do trust Production IG, so I hope. I think it might not be this year. No lgoic, just a hunch.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Only info I can find is that it's coming out this year and it will be by Production IG. But I think you are right in that if it;s coming this year it will definitely be winter.
Feeling rather cautious about the remake myself. LoGH is dated visually but in a way it is a product of it's time and things you could forgive in the old version wouldn't be so forgivable in the new.
Anonymous949997
Does anybody know when that LoGH readaptation is coming? It's supposed to be this year right? Probably winter right?
SuperMario
But I will give it a full review anyways because all the amount of time I spent in that series should be paid off somehow, right?
Kaiser-Eoghan
But serious Gohands is a studio that had potential its just a shame its wasted on rubbish writers. Although I did like mardock scramble, because cyberpunk =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I met handshakers in public I'd refuse to shake its hand =D
SuperMario
Oh, it's actually just an extra Hand Shakers episode that serves as a prequel story. Not that bad then
SuperMario
Not to disregard Hand Shakers, but the best way to describe how I feel about that series is mind-numbing
Kaiser-Eoghan
They tried with that Military guy and his daughter but not by much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I do agree that there needs to be more to the characters, right now its JUST Tanya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for Tanya, having caught up with it, its a nice trashy guilty pleasure, especially due to the protagonist and I enjoy the setting because I'm a war film fan and like some of the action/politicking. I still do wish it was aesthetically a bit better. The dub isn't that bad and I'd welcome a second season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In an ideal world Kino's journey would have been a good model for what light novel adaptations can be and SHOULD be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we must have more light novel adaptations, I would prefer them to be like Tanya, Muvluv, okay hardly breathtaking, but still better than that thing Aidan linked.
Lenlo
*Sigh* It looks exactly how I imagined it would and its terrible.
Lenlo
Please dont tell me thats an actual title.
AidanAK47
In another world with my smart phone light novel to get an anime.

Oh my god...This literally sounds like a joke title you would see within an anime. Tried giving it an honest chance by reading it and it's just shit. Just pure terrible.
AidanAK47
If people in Japan are actually buying blurays thinking its a good show then something is seriously wrong with the world.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, maybe too many people watched it because it was so terrible. I haven't watched past episode 1 but it doesn't sound like it improved.
Topgavin
Just incase you guys were avidly waiting for the announcement, Hand Shakers is getting a prequel season because it's apparently selling well......
SuperMario
Should be happy for it, though I'm a bit disappointed that I can't be able to cover it
SuperMario
Inside Mari gets live-action series adaptation. Why not anime?? Duh
Spike
Little Witch Academia finally tips it's hand on the overall plot! I'm pretty pleased and think some direction might help bump it up from just being 'good' overall.
HelghastKillzone
@KTravlos Still watching it week by week and I'll write up a review on the second season of Iron-Blooded when it ends.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It is however the kind of anime film that would have the wide audience appeal though, as in anime for people who don't watch anime.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just prove that people has paid attention to anime. That's an encouraging sign actually
Kaiser-Eoghan
Feck, silent voice was booked out when I got there just now....should have booked in advance, showing at 7:00 on Friday booking it now.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: I haven't, but that more because I'm not a big fan of Mecha genre. I believe one of our writer HelghastKillzone still follow the series
KTravlos
No idea, if you are all still watching MS Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. I am, and while the 2nd Season toned down some of the elements that made the 1st Season good, it is still pretty good with the last episode doing a great job. If it keeps it, it definitely is head to head with Turn A Gundam for my favorite long-form Gundam Series (I am doing Gundam Origins for the original story)
Lenlo
Mhmm. It was one of those shows it weave adult themes into a kids show, so it had something for both. Now I can also appreciate the artstyle that doesnt use hard black outlines for everything.
AidanAK47
If anything I get so much more out of Samurai Jack now than when I watched it as a kid.
Lenlo
Love that dude Aidan. And yes Kaiser, I think anyone get enjoy it now. I love that its back, but even without that its easily standing on its own
Kaiser-Eoghan
How much of this love of samurai jack is a nostalgia driven thing? I'm not knocking that nostalgia but would it be possible to get something out of the show now if I never watched it when I was younger?
Lenlo
Yeah, that conversation was great. Really shows you how messed up hes become. Its also amazing when you realize that was the last set of spoken dialogue in the episode. There was not a single word uttered in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The audience who enjoyed samurai Jack has grown up, them bringing up seppuku and blood is possibly a part of that.
AidanAK47
Scene with the coffins was awesome as was the fight in the dark. My personal favorite part of the episode though was Jack arguing with his old design self. And young jack suggesting committing seppuku made my eyebrows raise. I mean..damn.
Lenlo
I agree Aidan. That quick shot of Jack vs the Daughter, with the sudden blood, suprised me as much as it did Jack. I really loved the scene with the coffins. The music nad sound was just great there.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It was a really great episode. I love the meta of Jack being worn down by the wait and the wait the viewers had to endure for the new season. I is rather odd seeing blood in Samurai Jack though but it does make that particular moment have so much more impact.
Topgavin
April 16th for NZ. It is a lesser known movie than Kimi no na wa though, so I do wonder how available it's going to be in cinemas
Lenlo
This second episode of Jack was really just amazing. Its making full use of the new budget/tech for the art and of the new rating, along with the impact the timeskip would have on Jack. The cinematography was superb as well.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Koe ko machi will creen in Aussie in the beginning of April as well. I'll go to watch it; but I would love to jear your thoughts on the movie.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a preview screening of koe to kachi on Monday night, depending I may go, I may review it or at least talk about it on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm dying waiting for the Blame! anime film adaptation to come out in May. I've wanted an adaptation for years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I'm too much of a cheap-ass to actually buy anything, don't even use legal streaming for films or anime/manga/comics, pirate almost everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or shelves for that matter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen out of the collectors thing pretty much entirely. I don't like to advertise any of my interests on my bedroom wall either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some years ago I ended up selling almost all of my anime dvds/vhs and manga, comic books aswell, took down my posters and moved what figures I had left into attic boxes , just no space for it and it was a good way to get some quick extra cash.
Lenlo
I love Rakugo as well, im not meaning to bad talk it at all. I simply also agree with Aiden that slow rolling us with Yakumo's death was poorly done and that its feeling stretched.
Topgavin
Nevermind, the $30 price tag made that decision for me
Topgavin
Weird how I see $8 movies on youtube as a ripoff yet a $90 series as a bargain. All these $300 box sets made me think it'd be in the hundreds. Wonder if I should get rebellion too
SuperMario
I'm still pretty much a fan of Rakugo this season. It goes much darker than the first season, something I didn't dare to think before consider this isYotaro's story. Would love to see more about rakugo's industry but this season does flesh out a lot of our core characters
Kaiser-Eoghan
I said it before but I'll bring it up again, the slow pace allows for, when big things happen to have a larger impact when they do.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*In
**and(not on) waiting for the series to finish
Anonymous935946
Season 1 showed a lot more, different periods and times, the development of Rakugo, the tragedy of Sukeroku & Miyokichi (or at least one version). In contrast, season 2 was basically about Sukeroku's legacy in the form of Yotaro and Konatsu and their kids, and Yakumo's relationship with death, changing from fatalistic to happiness over the course of the series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think it might be 13 episodes, the first season had 13.
Anonymous935946
To be honest, I understand your point: It's hard to actually describe what happened in season 2. I guess I became invested into Yakumo in season 1, and then warmed up to Yota and Konatsu in this season.
Anonymous935946
Yeah, I think they certainly could have compressed the front half of the season. There wasn't too much plot going on, but I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, so I didn't mind the deliberate pacing.
Lenlo
I still really like Rakugo, its really good, it just probably didnt need 12 episodes. That said, really lookin forward to the timeskip
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've never actually seen any of Olivier Asayas' films come to think of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But going back to that dragging on, that did factor in almost making me hold off on waiting for the series to finish before going back. The anon's comment was what got me to watch this weeks episode right now rather than waiting till later.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rakugo remains at this point still going in too long, but in fairness to the anon, yes the episodes conclusion was effective on emotional level and I bought into the dreamy atmosphere, largely due to the good cinematography the series uses.
Lenlo
Really? Im torn. Im glad they didnt bait and switch us again, but I always liked how grounded Rakugo was so im not sure how ok I am with the supernatural part and some of it felt like fanservice in regards to bringing characters back. The VA though is fantastic as always and I am definitely looking forward to this last timeskip. Cant wait to see the kids grown up.
Anonymous935526
Rakugo was otherworldly today. Not going to lie, was fighting tears back, but failed at the end.
SuperMario
@Topgavin: the bluray goes by region as well so you can only buy it in Australia/NZ region (region 4). For Madoka I still find it easiest to just go to JB Hi Fi and buy it. Sometimes I find it cheaper from JB Hi Fi than even their original distribution company.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, I ordered my Madoka bluray's from Amazon.co.uk.
Topgavin
Where do you guys buy your merch? Was looking into buying the Madoka blurays but can't find a reliable place to ship to NZ.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: nah, Personal Shopper isn't even a horror. It's just a failed arthouse that have little to say except grief.
SuperMario
...even now. For Raw, I would never expect the positive reactions from mainstream. I think the film really push the tolerance of the voewers, but it was a refrrshing watch.
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