Posted on 30 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

Up until the last few minutes before the ending, I almost written this arc off as the one with no real drama, since the events play out too easy for our characters. But as Yoshino’s concern arises, I realize that it was all intentional and with that, this episode closes up nicely the first half of Sakura Quest. On the surface, the Founding Festival is nothing but a huge success: the number of attendance reach their whole year’s target, Manoyama town got promoted by the popular programs and the girls are given spotlights that they deserved; even the town locals have a chance to sell their foods and products. But those successes are not sustainable – the plans rely too much on the band Plotemaios (pronounce as Plus Minus!!) and their appearance indeed overwhelmed all the efforts of the girls. The quiz program shows little interest to the travelers, though they still manage to carry on till the end. Their coupons are greatly ignored and the girls are framed as the ones who invited the band over and their quiz panel is completely ignored in the broadcast. Look at the aftermath of the quiet town where the only trace left from the big events was trash and lost coupon flying around, Yoshino wonders if all her efforts are truly worth it.

When Yoshino questioned that whether getting people to come to the town is good enough, well, it is important. After all, getting people come to town constantly is the first and foremost goal in the tourism industry. The constant flow of visitor can indeed affect the town, as many local products aim at tourists can blossom, but it has to be “constantly”. Many of those past events from previous arcs (save the woodcarving and the cooking ones), plus this event are one-off events, meaning that most of the time, after such events end, things turn back to normal for the town. Improve some of the town’s traditions and unique features so that it can attract outsiders is one of the option, but Yoshino, bear in mind that maybe most people in the village just want to live quietly this way. She clearly upsets with how things turn out now and finding motivation, plus looking for a better alternative sound like a good direction for me. The event itself, putting all those pretentious thoughts aside, still provides heaps of funs with many little character moments. I enjoyed Ririko’s idea of putting map as a wrapper; or Yoshino sings that cute little anthem song. The scene-stealer of the event, again, is Sandal, as he correctly guesses the answer even without hearing the full question (he OBVIOUSLY knows the answer, rightttt?) and then proceeds to announce Mr. Kindaichi to be his partner for Guam trip (haha, seriously made me laugh).

Half way through, Sakura Quest has its ups and downs. It has never been bad, mind you, as I quite enjoy many elements from the show. After all, I am within this show’s target audience and when the show uses their characters as windows to explore adult’s insecureness and their real struggles with their current lives, it speaks too close to home. On the other hand, Sakura Quest’s sometimes just too light-heart and sitcom-y for its own good, and tries to cook up too many ideas that many of them turn out to be half-baked. The chance of me continuing cover this show the next season will be slim (though not set in stone yet), as for me it just isn’t that exceptional or personally resonate with me to spend another 3 months talking about it. Hope things turn out well for the Queen and her people in the second half.

Posted on 29 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Reviews by SuperMario

I remember, back in our first impression of this series, Aidan remarked that Grimoire of Zero isn’t your typical LN-adaptations, but he didn’t know what to make of it. To be honest, after watching an entire cour, I’m still unsure what to make of it myself. This show has some serious flaws, yet despite all that I never find myself losing interest in it. I guess the biggest strength this show offers is the rock-solid chemistry between Zero and the beastfallen Mercenary, and in the end, I do get out of it wanting more of these two’s adventures. They also put some serious thought into its sorcery world building and overall while Grimoire of Zero can never raise above exceptional level, I have quite a good time watching it.

One of the first head-scratching factor about this anime is the decision to adapt the whole full season for a single first volume. I watched a fair bit amount of Light Novels-adaptations anime so I know that usually it’d take between 6 to 8 episodes for one volume AT MOST. Here they intentionally stretch out to 12 episodes, meaning some of the time the plot has too stretch a bit thin; and for my money with all the developments, they could condense the story into 6 episodes – half of its actual length. For example, Grimoire of Zero took quite a bit of time until we get to meet Thirteen (episode 5), then it took 3 whole episodes for Mercenary and Zero to finally reconcile. On the other hand, stretching the story enhances the slice-of-life feel in the first few episodes, and making the show much more room to breathe. That decision of adapting only first volume, to sum it up, has a fair share of good and bad points, but that was one of the reason that made Grimoire of Zero different from its LN fantasy offerings.

Second factor that baffled me is the show’s tones. I don’t know how to explain this clearly, but I always feel this series is mono-tone. When they try to mix with other tones, it’s embarrassing. They failed miserably at comedy because of that mono-tone. For the most glorious example, the sequence where Zero and Thirteen stopped in the middle of the fight for lunch break was so off-putting it was actually (unintentionally) hilarious. Or when it wants to tackle seriously about the dark, cynical side of human (part when the girl using the Mercenary to protect herself from other beastfallens) or the true flesh-lust nature of beastfallen, it didn’t leave much of an impact. Other times, when the show tries to amp up the romance (“what is Kisssss?), it falls completely flat. Yet, despite all that, the tone the show usually goes for – not quite slow, methodically but not action-packed either – is always strong and engaging that it still holds my interest till the end. Weird, since I can’t still put my finger on what exactly the show’s general tone is.

Then the characters, which are decidedly a mixed bag all around. All the main players are developed smoothly throughout its run. Apart from the amazing chemistry between Mercenary and Zero (which for me light up the screen every single time), Albus, Holdem, Thirteen and most notably Sorena all have their time to shine. Other characters, unfortunately, are quite plain and sometimes quite offensive (I’m looking at the guy who has a fetish for Zero’s clothes) and this is unforgivable considered that the show has so much time to develop those characters if they really want to, but they just didn’t give a damn. There are inconsistencies at the end for example: the Sorcerers of Zero attack the kingdom to kill Thirteen, and the guards fight back. After Zero negates the use of magic, you expect them shaking hands in peace immediately? *you might say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one lala*. Albus and Holdem are a good addition to this arc, strong enough for me to care about them, but just about enough so that when they gone I don’t miss them much. This, after all, is the adventures of Zero and the Mercenary.

The sorcerer and witch backdrop is an intrigued world building itself and at first I enjoyed seeing there are many races from completely different backgrounds that live independently in this world. Not sure if this is just this arc, but later on the show goes heavily on those sorcerer’s themes which detail the division amongst the witch’s world: the Sorcerers of Zero, the Rouge witch and Sorcerer of the State; it doesn’t bring much impact. Moreover, I do feel that the final reveal revolving Thirteen’s role is a bit of a convenient one, and despite the whole witches’ war just don’t do much to me, I still find it provides some great details regarding its world settings. So, great details, but shaky development.

In term of production, this show is slightly above-average. There nothing exceptional to speak of, although the animation quality is rather consistent. In the end, one thing for sure that Grimoire of Zero never fails to be intriguing, whether or not it is intentional is up for debate. Despite its uneven approach, I’m still looking forward for its sequel, as the main catch of the series, the chemistry between Zero and Mercenary, will become more prominent in later volumes. And honestly that is more than enough to get me on board.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Id-0

With this finale, we come to a happy ending of ID-0 and overall this was a satisfying conclusion. When the character Jennifer was brought up from the flashback, I wondered myself if she going to reappear, seeing that both Kane and Addams are here now. Turn out she was our Alice all along as she herself transported her mind to the Orichalt and now that she regains most of her memories, she determines to find Alice again. Thus come to the quest of both saving the humanity, and looking for Alice and it just so happens that Alice’s consciousness is nearby due to the large chunk of Orichalt and Rajeev around. See the plot convenience there? But that’s the one I’m happy to look pass as it gives our group one last time to work together as a team. I like the way the show portraits the concept of the space within the Orichalt – it’s just like we are delving into the world of consciousness when we eventually lost a sense of self and wandering around like a lost soul. Although the final solution to resolve this man-eating wandering planet crisis is to teach them the POWER of LOVE from human aka the most cheesy way ever imagined, I’m quite happy with the final outcomes.

For our main group, this final episode gives a deserving spotlight to Grayman and his daughter Claire, the one who was underdeveloped the most out of the cast. Her speech in favor for the pain and the loss her father had experienced is wonderful, and Amanza acts a bit out of character is very nice to see. One of the most impressive decision of this episode, howerver, is the interesting choice of music when the band charged through the Orichalt – It’s so out of place that somehow enhance the excitement and the thrilling of that scene. Seeing all of them charge through for the same goal reminds me greatly about one of the strongest element in ID-0: the great characters’ chemistry. The ending might seem a bit too fairytale with the criminal group all come clean due to saving the humanity, but it did tie the plot neatly and it was so entertaining that I have no complain whatsoever. Lastly, the show nails it with its after-credit stills about the whereabout of our cast: Maya and Karla are the ones who left the misfit band, join and contribute to the society. The ones who don’t have physical bodies of course stay on board, and most amusingly, Amanza left the army the join the team, and I have a good laugh at Fa-loser finally “reconciles” with Rick in a very drunken and moody English ED song.

As a final impression, to be honest I didn’t expect much from ID-0 so I’m genuinely surprised week after week how much it kept surpassing my expectation. I originally took it as a goofy fun show, but it turns out to be an understatement, ID-0 is a legit solid and entertaining show. Furthermore, ID-0 serves as another good example of how to use full CG right in anime and the animation is consistent from beginning through end. So bravos to Sanzigen and their great efforts. As far as I know, there is no official announcement when Netflix will release this piece, and until then I guess this one will fly under the radar for most anime watchers out there. Guys, whatever you do, give ID-0 a chance because it certainly deserves more acknowledgement – at least I know those who had watched this show till the end all found it rewarding.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Creators

Re:Creator’s greatest flaw flares up again as it spends yet another episode standing around in a room capping off Sota’s tale of guilt and formulating a plan to cage in Altair for a final showdown. This show is fascinating with its thought-provoking ideas and unique premise but I just wish it didn’t take so long in getting to the actiony bits. The conclusion to Setsuna’s story dragged on into its ugly conclusion and it could all been explained in the previous episode. His acceptance of responsibility could have started off the episode instead. It doesn’t help that the plan to defeat was just a bunch of talking heads in a room. I did like the fanmade Youtube videos of Altair and if they would have some more animated graphs and charts, it would have made it more easier and fun to understand.

The most interesting part of the episode was certainly Alice coming to the long overdue realization that Altair, not Meteora, was the one who killed off Mamaika. Those who were frustrated at her unrelenting zeal to save her own fantasy world got to finally see some substantial growth to her character. With Mamika out of the picture, having Alice taking on her role as the cliche archetypes turned into enlightened creation is the next logical narrative step. I’m glad to see that Sota’s words go further than being a delaying tactic by planting that doubt into her mind. The conversation between Alice and her creator was a really fitting end in that the hero the one who can make the decisions where the writer can only makes the ends meet. I don’t think that same argument is going to work for Blitz though. His motivation for following Altair might be that he is tired of living after the death of her daughter and finding out that his whole world is just someone’s fictional creation is enough to have him wish for the world’s destruction. With his creator being one of the main architects of this new plan to ensnare Altair, meeting her is going to explosive to say the least.

With Charon in the picture now, things are going to start to complicating very fast as this is the first time two creations have come from the same franchise. Selesia will have the benefit of an entire cour worth of character development along with her creator which could turn this into Prodigal Son situation where the father has to deal with two very different offsprings.

Posted on 28 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Reviews by SuperMario, Uchoten Kazoku

(Note: Since psgels didn’t give his final review to the first season, this review is for the entirety of Eccentric Family. If I had to grade the second season alone, it’s 90/100).

Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the Eccentric Family is a unique show, in a way it feels and tastes like no other shows out there, both in and out of itself. Everything surrounding it feel magical just like its world: the series is the only anime show that promoted as a city ambassador (Kyoto Special Goodwill Ambassador), the second season that no one see coming (especially at the time the first season ended the second book hasn’t even written yet), P.A Works studio became the leading unit in production committee of this second season, meaning they are passionate about this series and they have total artistic control over it (as for how influential the anime studios usually have over the decision of their work. Nil. Most of the time they are slave who draw and deliver what were told. Sad fact). This is one of few series where I can see a lot of love was put into those details, from the love of their characters to its rich world settings, to Yasaburou’s various adventures. Of course P.A Works does a magnificent job to visualize that world, but I also credit the success on Tomihiko Morimi’s adept writing. Eccentric Family is at heart a character-driven series, and he’s simply one of the best in this industry when it comes to character writing: eccentric cast of characters who distinctive, whimsical but always insightful and intriguing. I have a lot to say about this world so let get right down to it.

The Eccentric Family’s first and foremost strength comes from its magical-realism Kyoto world where human, tengu and tanuki live together in harmony. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that this setting is my personal favorite anime settings ever. Magical-realism has always been right up my alley: the mundane, ordinary world that mixed in with magical elements that serve as a normality to their world. And sure, in this world a lot of strange things happen: tanuki who transform into human shape and fool around until they get caught and turn into a hot pot tanuki, human who float in the air in broad daylight, a tiger (and bear) appear in the middle of the city. Just by the look of it, this world promises to provide a lot of fun, but this show even goes much more further than that: all the settings that not only gorgeous to look at, they all have strong sense of personality that feel like they get stuck in that specific moments: when you see the rooftop you immediately link to Benten, Yasaburou and the moon; when you see a flying house you would think right back to the Daimonji Festival and the stupid fights between Shimogamo and Ebisugawa’s family.

And to support for both its sense-of-wonder attitude and its magical-realism settings, The Eccentric Family is a masterclass at portraying an impossibly huge interior space that looks much grander than it supposed to be***: the Painting of Hell that literally pull you through hell with Onis doing wrestling and eating ramen; the 3-stories bus that has an upper floor of open air onsen and bamboo pathway; or a shogi board that can suck you into a secret room. Not only that warped sense occurs in space, it happens in time as well. There is a 2-epsiode worth of playtime that dedicated to Yasaburou’s various adventures in a span of a single day, where he enjoyed a public bath, went through hell, watching Oni wrestling, enjoyed mixed onsen, having crazy dinner party and witnessing his uncle got shot. See, those events feel much longer than it supposed to be. This is on purpose, of course, since what is a better way to highlight the enjoyment of busy carefree life by crazy events one after another?

In addition, the Eccentric Family’s greatest strengths come from its characters. The first season contains a great diversity of cast, but that quality really shines through in the second season as the new additions not only fit very well with the old cast, they even outshine them in many moments. Each of them has their own voice, has great arc to develop and their chemistry are natural, warm and insightful. Here comes one of the decision from the P.A Works that I find worth applauding, they never probably introduce a new character to us. Most of the time the new characters just walk in and have a normal conversation with our main casts and we have to work out their name and their role to the story. It helps that nearly every single one of them has their own way of speaking and their own personalities, so it’s not that hard to differentiate one from another, despite a relatively huge cast. It also helps that through we can tell so much about their characters through subtle gestures, so much as the Eccentric Family is one rare show that I can fall for new characters within the first few minutes (I remember you very fondly, Seiran). Our main protagonist, Yasaburou, is an interesting character to follow, throughout the course although all we see about him is having as much fun as possible with no consideration for responsibility, he takes care of everyone arounf him in his own way and in the end, he reaches a personal grown on balancing between those two factors. It’s up in the air if he’s constantly thinking of everything or constantly thinking nothing at all being led by his fool’s blood; but for him anyway, these are the same goddamn thing.

But by all mean, even 95 percent of the time this show treats their characters thoughtfully, the remaining 5 percent whenever the idiotic twins and Soun appear, they unfortunately drag the show down. These characters are the type that we all love to hate, so they possess their annoying traits… all the way, being annoying for the sake of annoying. I have since warmed up to Soun, but the way he came back to life kind of demerit his meaningful death. Another factor that happen in second season, is that sometimes they reprise the events of the first season (the Daimonji festival, the Nise-emon election), and whenever they do that they can’t bring the same impact as the first and seem like they rely on the beaten path.

While the first season focus more about familial bond, the responsibility one would strive to do versus the fun one has to experience through life, the second season follow that freedom sense, but touch on other themes such as self-identity (in term of Nidaime and Benten: one is a tengu who refuse to be one, the latter is a human who wants to become a tengu. None of them are happy), and the fate of love. The romance part is what surprise me the most as I would never expect I would ship for almost all the lovey cute little love here. I also give my hat off to the character designs, as each of the tanuki have human and tanuki counterparts, and we have such huge cast here but nearly every one of them is distinctive and attractive. The animation is thoroughly consistent and the music is really, really well done. In term of production value, I really have no complain.

The Eccentric Family has a lot to recommend on, I would argue that distractors can read the show as un-focus at times, because it feels like they set up for one crazy set-piece after another without a central conflict; but take heed that the majority of its 2-season runtime is about Yasaburou wanders around his city, tries to live the life to the max so it has its merit. I just say this simply; this show is brimming with love in every scene and with shows like this I know why I fall in love anime medium in a first place. The Eccentric Family already has a special place in my heart.

 

***If you want a real-place equivalent to this, I’d say it’s like the Old Quarter in Hanoi. From the outside you can only see a small pathway between 2 old houses that only wide enough for a bicycle to get in, then you get through that pathway, turn to some small alleys, go up-stair, pass through some small apartments and TADAH: a bookstore, a store and a café located inside all that maze. I was utterly amazed but there’s no chance an outsider would know such a place without the help of the local. And I do worry what going to happen if there is a fire there?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Little Witch Academia, Reviews by AidanAK47

The Little Witch Academia series has been something that’s a long time coming. Ever since Studio Trigger made the original Anime OVA back in 2013 I have been hotly anticipating the time when it would be fleshed out into it’s own anime series. I love both the original OVA and the enchanted Parade so this series was one I was really looking forward to. So the question remains. Is Little Witch Academia a good series? Absolutely, out of the 25 episodes of it’s runtime I only didn’t enjoy one episode. This series was very fun and a worthwhile watch. However, is Little Witch Academia a great series? And therein lies the greatest problem with this series as a whole. For you see my friends, Little Witch Academia holds the potential for greatness and very closely skirts the line to becoming a truly great series. There are standout episodes which show a small glimmer of what this series could have really been. However instead the series plays it safe and sticks to a rather cartoonish format of episodic stories. It’s excellent character cast is unfortunately underutilised aside from some single episode stories and the main plot it develops within it’s second half more or less fizzles out into something more tame.

So to those watching it can be frustrating to see how this series opens up roads to great storytelling possibilities only to take the road of least resistance. Thus my greatest advice to any viewer is to not let yourself be fooled into thinking that this show will have a dynamic shift into a greater story arc. Throughout it’s run this is a simple story with simple objectives. Thus if you can come to accept that then you can enjoy what Little Witch Academia has to offer. Again, this really is a good show and has the kind of fun sensibility that very few anime can pull off. It’s a show that wouldn’t look out of place if put in a Saturday morning cartoon block and for those that woke up on mornings to tune into these kinds of shows as kids it will certainly hit that sentimental spot. If you aren’t part of that demographic then this may be a harder sell as I could see others get tired of the inconsequential episodic stories and a general lack of character development. Some characters get small changes but for the most part have simple characterisation. Akko in particular tends to have sporadic development as she tends to waver between growing as a person and then falling into her old ways.

Animation can have hiccups but is pretty stellar and charming throughout the board. You can really tell that a lot of heart went into this series production, even if it likely drove the animators to exhaustion. This show has it’s fair share of Sakuga sequences that show there is some real talent at Trigger. There are also references galore throughout the series from callouts to old cartoons(Hanna Barbara, Disney, Dexters lab) to previous trigger works and to even oddballs like 1984, Pawn Stars, Hellboy and Dinotopia. Keep a keen eye and you can spot dozens of callouts within the framework. OST is suitable but has some great versions of the main theme and a very good opening theme. Overall I do recommend this series. It isn’t what it could have been but what it is is hardly anything to scoff at. It’s one of the surprisingly few anime you can show to a young child without worry and maybe even blossom another fan of this medium. If you feel burned out by current anime and need something that’s a bit of a change of pace then LIttle Witch Academia is a fine recommendation indeed.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Little Witch Academia

I am glad that Trigger managed to pull through and bring a bombastic finale to this series. Admittedly there are some signs of cutting corners with some still frames that lingered for a little too long but otherwise this was a great episode to go out on. That said i do have my problems with the final villain being some random program of Croix’s going out of control and attempting to start a world war. Introducing a rogue element when the entire second half of the season has been building up Croix as the main villain is somewhat cheap. Now that it’s all over it really makes Croix to be a major idiot who had no idea what she was doing and why didn’t Chariot stop her before it escalated to this point again? Well I do like Akko insinuating that they are all the brand new nine witches as it does suggest that the original nine witches were also a ragtag group elevated to legendary status. Having the entire crew play a part in the final episode was also something I really appreciated as it’s nice to have them do something after being brutally ignored by the show for so long.

So our ending does at least leave some room for a sequel though it’s not a bad way to finish the series right here. Personally I would be on board for a sequel despite my discontent with how the series turned out. I still believe that this series has great potential and a second season could really begin to bank on that potential now that this Croix and Chariot business is out of the way. In particular I would really love more scenes like the end of this episode, with all the character interacting with each other. Quite honestly, that’s what this series needed more of. Still I did truly love seeing trigger crank up the insanity to 180 and make the finale explosively fun. Highlights being the combined Akko and Diana Shiny Arc, the return of the shooting star and frankly the entire end sequence. Magic turned out to be in the hearts of the masses after all which really makes me think that Croix is pretty poor Scientist to not try to look for safer magic alternatives. The reveal of a believing heart being magic is rather cliche and a deus ex machina but I am more than willing to give it a pass just on how they managed to run with it.

As a final note I would like to take my hat off to Asenshi subs for succeeding where Netflix’s failed. As anyone who has kept up with this series likely knows, Netflix has licensed the series and in a truly boneheaded move has not simulcast it as it airs. The only legal means of keeping up with the series is to wait till the 30th of June where you will only get 13 out of the 25 not aired episodes at once. Considering the delay on release I would better see these things dubbed. If Netflix is to be a major player in anime simulcasting then they really need to sort out a model that benefits online internet discussion. I do not deny the benefits of binge watching shows but there are those of us that like following the discussions that aside from weekly watching. Having the series at once really kills any mid series theorising and makes it that you can only talk about the show as a whole rather than individual episodes. I believe it really killed the momentum that this series could have had. So I wholeheartedly give my thanks to Asenshi subs to allow me to experience this show as it airs and not to mention their top notch sub work. Truly they went the extra mile to give this show the quality it deserves. So much so that I think official subs will end up inferior to their fantastic work. Honestly guys, you did the anime community one hell of a favor. Thanks for that.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Seikaisuru Kado

I hold many, many grievances with this turn Kado has taken but all things considered the show hasn’t become a trainwreck as I previously thought it would. The developments are rather forced but they at least work from a narrative standpoint. We have effectively transition to a story about the effects of pushing advancement and it’s consequences to humanity vs evil Aliens. I don’t like the transition at all but I can’t say the show has become terrible. It’s lesser but still watchable as a series. but boy do I lament the loss of what it could have been. In this episode we have the prime minster looking out to the city stating that “The events of these last few months have advanced humanity hundreds of years.” Indeed, imagine how fantastic it would be if we could actually see the effects and consequences of such drastic incorporation of revolutionary technology. We pushed off the consequences of Wam by having it that not everyone can make one. However with the introduction of Sanza that problem has been remedied while bringing in a whole new revolution of people who no longer need sleep. However aside from one news broadcast that was abruptly cut off by one of our main characters, we have no real knowledge of just how these things have affected society. The way the prime minister speaks of it suggested that nothing has happened yet which is such a cheap way of avoiding discussing the issue.

Now we have a universal controller getting introduced to the entire world and what, the UN are fine with this? Surely there must be world leaders heavily concerned over how screwed the economy is after these groundbreaking bombshells? See Za Shunina didn’t need to become a villain. There are plenty affected by his changes that can fill the role just as well. Hell why isn’t anyone attempting to assassinate ZaShunina? Sure we don’t know if it’s possible but that shouldn’t stop them. What even are the world governments doing with ZaShunina already throwing everything out of whack with yet another gift. By all accounts they should be painting him as a villain and trying to turn the populace against him. After all, ZaShunina has declared that he dislikes the nature of government and believes it is a broken system. ZaShunina vs the government, now that’s a conflict that makes for far more interesting storytelling and would really put Shindo’s talents as a negotiator to the test. Certainly a more interesting development that ZaShunina vs Super Saiyan Saraka and bio boosted armour Shindo.

They really are tossing any sense of ambiguity to Za Shunina now. They at least were showing him regretting killing Shindo and holding doubts over this whole thing. But then to nail his villain status full on we have Za Shunina monologuing his evil plan to ominous music while surrounded by dead Shindo clones. People claim this isn’t out of character but it truly is. ZaShunina is practically god and has been studying humanity since he landed. There is no possible way he could misunderstand the value of human life. But now suddenly he cannot understand our puny mortal emotions and it is up to humanity to teach him about wuv. Bloody hell, he’s a godlike being who created the universe, I think he can figure out how emotion works. Still i liked the kiss between Shindo and Saraka even if I find their recent romantic development to be rather forced and trite. But I think the reason i liked it had to do with the natural way it was animated. On that note, one thing I truly must give this series credit for is that it is one of the few CGI animated shows that managed to mostly avoid the janky execution of CGI.

In fact this entire series has been a very impressive effort and shows that fully CGI shows can truly match that of 2D animation. Other shows, like berserk 2017, could certainly take notes on how well this show manages it CGI aspects. In truth at times it does interchange between 2D and 3D animation but the fact that these changes are not as jarring as they would be in previous CGI shows goes to show that finally Japanese animation has found a way to incorporate CGI into anime naturally. Perhaps the engine by Arc System Works could have influenced the level of quality of CGI animation. Seriously check out the Dragonball Fighter Z game by them and be amazed at 3D animation that could very well convince you that it was 2D. If they tinker more that that then we could very well get CGI anime near indistinguishable from 2D anime.

Posted on 26 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Uchoten Kazoku

Oh god, this climax. Other shows, take note. This is how you SHOUD NOT do on your final battle. How this show can jump from Yasaburou, Yaichirou fighting the Fellow Friday for their lives last week, to the conflict of Soun and Tenyama (that they eventually ended up in Hell again), to end with Benten and Nidaime’s face-off in a span of 5 minutes is way beyond me. It’s all over the place, and just like some oldschool screwball comedy where crazy events just keep stacking up by the minutes. But somehow this climax freaking WORKS. After all, that Kyoto world is fantastical crazy, so isn’t it the most fitting idea to have the craziest showdown ever for that fateful night? At the end of the day you won’t learn much how Soun faked his death or the reason why Nidaime come back to Kyoto, but whatever the case, the emotional development is clear. Soun pathetically uses all means possible to attain the Nise-emon title; and doesn’t matter the reason Nidaime comes back, he’s clearly unhappy and frustrated. With that Eccentric Family tied up all of the core casts’ character arc magnificently. I won’t lie when I say that this is the climax only Eccentric Family can pull off, with satisfying conclusions and feature almost everything you love about this series: warm, whimsical with heart. This show ends in a very high note.

Benten and Nidaime finally have a long-awaited battle. Well, all the previous events all build up to this battle and for a while I thought that Benten would have her first win since Nidaime is clearly angry, thus vulnerable. From before that fight there was interesting opposite visual metaphor for these two: Benten appears with ice cold atmosphere, while when Nidaime gets out of control, he burst out of flame. The battle between Ice Queen and Flame Boy has some great set-pieces, but that powerful fight slowly descends into the fight between kids as they desperately try to grab each other’s hair, and mouth and dirty trick are in play too. That fight feels sad. The two comes out of it both feel like losers. This is the first time we see both of them cry, in a way that they feel frustrated with themselves. Akadama sensei, a mentor for them both, faces his son eye-to-eye for probably the first time in decades, concludes nicely “If you feel frustrated, grow stronger”.

After that crazy night, the rest of the episode feels like a welcome epilogue where Yasaburou meets all the casts for the last time. Congrats to Yaichirou and Gyokuran for their tying the knot (imagine Yaichirou’s most nervous moment isn’t when he ends up in a hot pot but when he looks at his bride in gown. Puff!!). Kureichirou (the real one) makes amend with the Shimogamo again, and Yasaburou finally asks Kaisei for her hand paw, with some wry wisdoms from Yasaburou’s grandma, despite that means he can’t transform freely in front of her. The sweet last sequence where the three of them exchange to each other is probably the fitting ending to this fluffy tale. Here they are, as she grasps on the edge of his jacket, and they walk on for new adventure. That, my friend, is the red string of fate. I die a happy man now.

This second season certainly is a great season on its own. As to the question whether or not it surpasses the original season, let me just say that sequels most of the time are inferior to the originals (well, unless you’re The Godfather or Mad Max, but even with the former, the original still holds more cultural landmark than the second, and I am talking about complete story here – Light Novels where they will expand the world in 20 plus volumes are out of question), so the real angle would be if this second season is a WORTHY follow-up to the first? The answer is obvious, Yes. The Eccentric Family 2 not only improves the settings and the themes of the original, the new additions have been phenomenal and they are even more WOW set-ups than the first, most notably the Painting of Hell and the Moon parts. One thing that I feel this season improves on the first is the romantic part as all the romances feel grounded here. The Eccentric Family is considered as a signature work for P.A Works, mostly because how the staffs clearly love this world and I can totally see the love breathes through in every scene here. You say anime is looking doom in the future? As long as there are works like this, created by the passion of the staffs because they just fall in love the project like this; I don’t see anime dying anytime soon. The full review is coming soon but take note that since psgels originally covered the first season without a final impression, my review will be about the two seasons of The Eccentric Family.

Posted on 25 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Tsuki ga Kirei

Tsuki ga Kirei again manages something I thought was difficult to achieve: it surpasses itself once more time. I was afraid that after the Kawagoe festival, there isn’t much left drama for the lovebirds now that Takumi and Chinatsu are all out of the picture; turn out that not only this episode enhances their relationship through their cute Christmas date, they showcase attentively Kotarou’s efforts for the exam and address beautifully on how much parents can sacrifice to support their child, even most of the time those kids don’t care about it. There’s only one episode left but at this point I can safely say that Tsuki ga Kirei has been a consistent ride, and I come to genuinely care about Kotarou and Akane more than I need to. Tsuki ga Kirei scratches the itch I don’t know I have.

This whole episode details Katarou’s utmost efforts to study for the upcoming exam. His grades are low, thanks mostly to his writing and the Hayashi practice, so he must study hard, night after night, to get a good enough standard score to apply for Koumei school. The results are not that rewarding though, for getting better grades is a long process, not a quick shortcut. He also feels that he needs to try harder to prove his parents that he made up his mind. I admit that I feel a bit irritated of the way Kotarou communicate with his parents about his school’s choice because I did the exact same things when I was his age. It hits a bit too close to home for comfort. Now that I’m more than double his age, I can clearly see how stupid and miscommunicated his actions just to show his little rebellion: hunger strike (when he clearly needs food to survive), avoid talking to the parents and didn’t inform them the school he picked. I totally understand his points of view, but that’s why I wanted him to be more open. Talk to them what you really want instead of this silent treatment, kid, your parents deserve better than this. At long last, upon knowing how his parents support him for his decision, he finally says something that he should’ve done to his mother long ago: Arigatou.

One of this episode’s best moments, however, come from Kotarou’s Mom as we witness how much she, like most of our parents, really, care for their own child. We have the impression before that she’s the type who want her son focusing on a good career path, and every step to that goal needed to be well-planed and perfect. Imagine her shock then that not only her son decided to pick school against her knowledge, it’s 2 hours away because of some girl he likes attending to that school. Must be a blow for her but one thing I really appreciate about her, it’s that she’s not a control freak. She gives Kotarou a necessary space for his own, and upon seeing how hard Kotarou is currently trying; she asks his homeroom teacher to give him a chance. The whole sequence when she talks to the homeroom teacher gives me a great impact from its show-don’t-tell approach, as we are only allowed to witness them exchanging gestures through the window. Subtle has always been a definitive style of Tsuki ga Kirei, but here it adds extra context: her action is supposed to be restraint, quiet, out of spotlight; just like how she makes him rice balls in the middle of the night for him to study, just like how she’s despite against the idea, still supports him because it is what he wanted; just like all the things that parents do for their kids and they just take them for granted.

And Kotarou and Akane’s love still progresses solidly. As they don’t have much time for each other during this study period, they LINE-ing each other and go out during Christmas. Akane makes him a handmade scarf and I swear her messy scarf is worth ten thousand times better than she was to buy one. Her sister makes a really good point of the burden the two gonna face if that love dies down (and from previous experience, I’m talking about her accurate thoughts on Chinatsu, I say you should listen to your sister, Akane, and listen well). Their time spending together, doing various activities alone just like a normal date would be, feel so warm and intimate. Whatever future (and the final episode) comes, I come to feel certain that the kids going to be happy together for a long time. This Tsuki ga Kirei’s ride has been a real treat, I swear. I will be sad to see it finally concludes.

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