Posted by KTravlos on 29 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shoukoku no Altair

It would not be an exaggeration to say that my favorite type of anime is the political-military epic. This comes partly out of my profession, I study war and politics, but also my hobby, as military and political history is something I enjoy. When it comes to anime there is a clear sub-category that can be called political-military epics that covers elements of politics and war. These shows are characterized by some commonalities. First of all direction wise, is the large cast. When your characters are introduced with subscripts for titles, you know you are in political-military epic territory. Second, there is narrator who plays a crucial role in moving the story along.

Story wise the shows can be place into a continuum anchored by the great Chinese epics. On the one side you have those stories which are closer to the thematic of the Chinese “Journey to the West”. Political and Military events provide a backdrop, but the stories essentially focus on the story of a hero within the world. On the other side are stories in which the politics and the military events are the protagonist. There is no real protagonist per se, but instead central characters through which we see the events unfurl. The literary example of this in Chinese cultures is “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Stories that go further and relegate characters to a truly secondary role cross into thematic territory that is more in synch with the ancient Greek history, “The Peloponnesian War”. Anime wise, a recent example of the first type was “Akatsuki no Yona”. Stories in the theme of the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, including directly based on it abound in anime, with “Shouten Kouro” being the most recent example in my mind. Finally, “Legend of Galactic Heroes” stands the closest to the “Peloponnesian War”, though it is still anchored around two protagonists.

Due the central role of the politics and military events in these stories, characters are either decision makers, or people who are privy to decisions. This is what differentiates from me the political-military epic, from what I would call only military anime (in which many times the characters are not privy to decisions-for example a lot of the Gundam franchise). Thus are protagonists are ministers, princes, kings, and generals, or the people who put into effect the decisions of such personages.

The two shows I will review here both wish to tell an epic story of politics and war. The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Arslan Senki) is the creation of the author behind Legend of Galactic Heroes, Yoshiki Tanaka. Thus we have a author who has experience in telling such epic tales. The animated version I am looking at is the recent one directed by Noriyuki Abe, based on the manga interpretation by Hiromu Arakawa, of Full Metal Alchemist fame. This is quite the pedigree of creators. There was an older anime based on Tanaka’s work, which I personally liked a lot, but which did not cover much of story (which is in progress). So I was looking forward to this new interpretation. The other show is based on a manga by Kotono Kato, a historian by trade, and is their first work of note. The anime was directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi who has some solid work behind them, but nothing exceptional per se. SuperWooper reviewed the first 12 episodes, but I decided that show deserves a full review, and he kindly let me take care of it.

Before going into the particulars let me summarize my review. Both shows suffered from a number of issues that denied them the character great, let alone exceptional. But ultimately I felt that Altair promises a lot more, and was able to craft the more interesting story. This was surprising, and to be frank after watching Arslan Senki I wondered if it really was written by the same person who wrote Legend of Galactic Heroes. It is not that it is per se a bad story, but quite underwhelming especially in the crucial area of characters. So let us go a bit more into the reasons for my conclusion.

Story

Ultimately a good political-military epic tells a good story. It posits a conflict that is both expansive and epic, but something that is beyond just a mere territorial spat. In LOGH Tanaka weaved into the story a whole semester worth of political science material ranging from questions about the trajectory of history, the meaning of war, to the relative merits of democracy and enlightened autocracy. I literally use parts of it in my lectures. Altair as a show is much closer to LOGH and the “Peloponnesian War” or the “Record of Three Kingdoms” than Arslan is. The word is more expansive, with many more powers, the politics are thus richer. Both shows try to invoke uniqueness by using as the basis of their world historical cultures that are not the usual staple of anime (or even western media). In Altair our protagonists are part of an idealized Ottoman Empire, active in a world with state that are inspired by ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, and with the antagonist being a much more aggressive version for the Holy Roman Empire. In Arslan, the titular character is a prince of Pars, a setting inspired by Sassanid Persia, facing a fanatical stand-in for European Crusaders, and surrounded by states inspired by Turkish and Hunnish tribes, and Indian medieval princes.

While both settings work to enrich their regions, I ultimately felt that Altair did a better job of showcasing its world, compared to Arslan. And this is despite its pacing issues it has (more on this later). To put it simply, I found the city -tates, empires and kingdoms of Altair much more intriguing, than those of Arslan. A lot of this might be though that Arslan in its first arc is more like a “Journey to the West” story, focusing on the travels of the protagonist and his coterie of characters. Now, Altair also does this. But here is the difference. In Altair the story of individual travel is well-meshed to the story of the politics. In Arslan it is not. Turghil Pasha in his travels not only to get companions, he crucially meets decision makers and comes to understand, and show us, the politics of his world. In Arslan, Arslan meets companions, and he learns about the world, but he learns by being told about it by said companions, rather than by experiencing it. This was crucial difference.

I also felt that despite the pacing issues of Altair, the political decisions there made sense. That was not always the case with Arslan.

The different approach to the story also meant that Altair could get way with weak characters, while in Arslan they doomed it. In Altair, you could forgive some of the characters because the characters were always enriched by the environment. The cultures of Rumeliana (the Europe of Altair) were all so unique and interesting, that they enriched characters who stood as their proxies. In Arslan that was not the case. In general I felt the story of Altair to be richer, and more intriguing, than that of Arslan. While both had an element of a coming to age story, I felt that Altair was more able to mesh it to the political and military situation. And this helped the characters. Speaking of characters,

Characters

It is unavoidable that with their massive casts, political-military anime while have a slew of underdeveloped characters. As long as those characters are given some singular trait that makes them interesting, and as long as the protagonists are fleshed out, this is not an issue. As long as characters are not caricatures, they can be forgiven a bit of thinness. This is why story and environment play such an important role. This of course cannot be forgiven with the protagonists. A good political-military anime will have multiple protagonists, shared by the two main warring factions, and even more. They will be decision makers, or close allies of decision makers. They will be essentially our eyes and ears into why things happen, and provide some investment in the politics by having their fate and beings tied to it. The problems start when the central characters are either uninteresting, or relegated to a secondary role by the other protagonists. Altair succeeds in avoiding this, while Arslan fails.

Now both Mahmud Turghil Pasha and Prince Arslan share some character traits. They are both seen as politically naïve by others, and they are both struggling to find their place in a complex world. The starting arcs of both anime are focused on their journey to maturity and wisdom. The problem is that while we can see and appreciate Turghil Pasha’s growth, Arslan’s is not as easy to learn. This is not because he does not grow. But his growth is tethered and ultimately smothered by his companions. Too much of Arslan is about Arslan asking his chief strategist Narsus (a bad character inspired for Zhuge Liang from “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”) about what to do. There is a lot of that. As a result, Arslan’s growth is always feeling as pedestrian, predicted, boring. Turghil Pasha is never completely eclipsed like that. His growth is not always predictable, and we always see it in action.

It does not help that by a large the secondary cast in Arslan is boring. Of his companions that only two I found interesting are the warrior Daryun, who is not a rich character, but he is a well done example of the warrior template, and the fun and adventurous bard Gieve. The others did not stand out. This expands to the secondary characters on the side of the heroes. Most are bland, and boring. In Altair, despite the fact that many of the secondary characters are just as “thin”, I did not find them boring. Whether Halil Pasha, Suleiman Pasha, or Kiros and Abriga, they never seemed to hold the show down. The mayors, princes, kings that populate Rumeliana are not anymore developed than the characters in Arslan, but the combination of smart focusing on a specific trait, and their close connection to their cultures makes them interesting.

The issue becomes worse for Arslan when it comes to the question of antagonist. Now it is true that neither show comes close to the almost excellent balance of characters on both sides that LOGH had. But Altair comes closer. To put it simply ad brutally, the enemy in Arslan is boring. You have the always scowling, yelling, always angry Prince Hermes. You have the scheming, scowling, perpetually frustrated Guiscard. You have the caricature coward, scowling Bodin. Indeed there is a lot of scowling and furrowing of brows, and yelling going on. And that that is it. None of these people are remotely interesting. What drives them is boring, and thus their schemes are boring. No great questions can be put forward by such characters, and thus the battle really is more like a black and white fight, despite the continuous talk by characters that this is not the case (for the sake of all that is holy, one of the secondary antagonists chose the enemy side simply because he felt it would not be fair if there is no one on the side of the guy with he himself does not consider ready to be a king!). Hell, the most interesting opponent of Arslan is his frenemy Rajendra, who is pretty much an interesting character because he has a level head on his shoulders. The more interesting questions in Arslan are always about Arslan’s plans for the future of Pars, and that is pretty much an intra-ally discussion.

On a first glance Altair could also be considered weak on the enemy front. If there is one criminal failure for Altair, is that it never invests as much as it should in the enigmatic figure of Prime Minister Louis (a characterized for Machiavelli and Richelieu). This is partly because for a long part of the anime the “antagonist” is the equally interesting Zaganos Pasha. But the show in its second course presents us with an interesting array of Imperial opponents that give us an insight into what drives the Balt-Rhein empire forward. Their motives are much better than those of Arslan’s foes, and between Turghil, Zaganos, and Louis some major questions are put forward about the nature of hegemony, pacifism, and practical politics. The contrast between the perpetually yelling Hermes and Guiscard, and the calm Zaganos and Louis (whose voice actor is great) is in a way the encapsulation of the difference between the two shows.

Direction

Both shows suffer from direction issues. In a way they suffer for exactly opposite reasons. Altair suffers from an insane pacing, which leaves one bewildered about why and how things happen. Characters enter and leave before we have a chance to understand them or their place in the story. Essentially the fact that Altair is an advertisement for the manga can be seen in the terrible pacing, which tries to cram as much material as possible into the 24 episodes. . Arslan on the other hand, has pacing that is too slow, which means we get too much Narsus, being Mr.Perfect (I dislike Narsus, don’t I?), or Hermes scowling (GGRRR GRRRR). The pacing issues in Altair ruin a bit the enjoyment of unraveling the politics behind the scenes. But at least the politics unravels. In Arslan , we go through 36 episodes to just get back were we started, Arslan and companions on a trip.

Speaking of direction, the narrator, which is a character in these shows, was a bit more useful in Altair than that in Arslan. Also despite it pacing issues, I felt Altair was able to create some set-pieces that were quite nice, more often than Arslan. That said there was only so much the direction could do with the animation the shows got.

Animation

Well to put it simply animation in both cases was not something to write home about. While there were some well animated scenes (the fight between Turghil Pasha and Rod Orm, the fights between Hermes and Daryum), in general the animation was lackluster. Massive battles are the bread and butter of these shows and neither did a good job at it. Arslan opted for using CGI graphics, and the battles ended up having a rather Total War Rome feel to them (only TWR had more model variation). Altair, perhaps wisely, eschewed that for mostly still frames and traditional animation. They both get their story across, but there is none of that wow I got from the massive battles of LOGH.

Art

While I like Arakawa’s art I felt it plain compared to that of Altair. In general the world of Altair was more colorful and varied than that of Arslan. The Turkish, and Italian Renaissance basis of the clothes showed in Altair. There were some bad choices (the naval uniforms are too much One Piece like for my taste, and the uniform of the officers of the Balt-Rhein empire too LOGH Empire style) but in general they nailed the look. In Arslan the looks are servisable, but that is about it. One of the other blog commentators said that there was something whimsical in the art of Altair, and while initially I did not like it, it came to grow on me. I believe that if Altair had the animation budget of Arslan it would had been a much more beautiful show.

Music

The Opening and Endings of Arslan and Altair were in general generic and boring. I found the second Opening of Altair the most interesting, partly due to the good direction. When it came to soundtrack, Arslan had the better one, with the track Tenchi Rai Sanka standing out and being well used in the series for memorable scenes (Sher Senani! Sher Senani!). Altair was not graced with a soundtrack that was as good. It does its job, but that is it.

Final “Feel”

Ultimately I felt that the story that Altair tried to tell was a more epic and nuanced story, in a richer world. I felt that the political principles at stake were more expansive and interesting. It is not that Arslan does not have a good question at its center (the nature of kingship). It is more that the story failed to work with it well (since Narsus, has all the answers!). To be fair, nor does Altair really do a good job fully exploring its question. Indeed it more teases it. Perhaps the biggest thing holding Altair back, is that it is an anime conceived as a advertisement for the manga, with all associated issues in pacing, characterization etc. And to be frank it does that job well. Despite my initial dislike of the manga art, I came to be interested in it. Arslan’s issue is much more fundamental. It does not know what it wants to be. Is it a story of development like “Journey to the West”, or a war and political epic like “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. This is never clear, and to be frank from some summaries I have read of the books not animated, it gets worse, with fantasy elements invading with increasing vehemence.

Thus both shows fail to reach their potential. And perhaps I ask for too much. I mean LOGH had over 150 episodes to develop a sweeping and epic tale. That would be a fair rejoinder. But not in a world with Tanya Senki (Tale of Tanya the Evil). Tanya Senki is also a political-military epic. And despite its short course of 12 episodes, tight direction gave us tale that was rich enough. Tanya proves that you can tell a good political-military epic in 12 episodes. And thus the inability of both shows to do better in double the episode length is disappointing. With that said though, I believe Altair has the promise to tell a tale worthy of LOGH down the way. Arslan less likely.

Final Scores
Characters: Altair Record of Battles: 80/100; Heroic Legend of Arslan:70/100
Plot: Altair Record of Battles:80/100; Heroic Legend of Arslan: 70/100
Art: Altair Record of Battles: 70/100 ;Heroic Legend of Arslan: 70/100
Sound-Music: Altair Record of Battles: 70/100 /Heroic Legend of Arslan: 75/100
Final:
Altair Record of Battles: 75/100
Heroic Legend of Arslan: 70/100

4 Responses

  1. SuperWooper says:

    Thanks for contributing this unique dual review, Travlos. I wasn’t able to make it all the way through Altair, but yours is one of several reviews I’ve seen that praise the antagonists’ roles during the second cour, so it seems the show stabilized later on. As for the half that I saw, while I agree that the series was headed in a more nuanced direction than Arslan, its occasional incoherence was frustrating for me.

    I liked the first season of Arslan when I watched it a couple years ago, but hated its eight episode sequel, Dust Storm Dance. It might be that if I rewatched the first season now, I’d find it similarly boring. But you know, I kind of value how straightforward and efficiently laid out Arslan was, even if Narsus robbed its hero of any complexity. Now what I need to do is track down that 90’s OVA and see whether it fixes the problems of the modern adaptation.

    • lesterf1020 says:

      If you have issues with the Altair adaptation I would strongly advise against tracking down the 90’s OVA of Arslan. While the pacing and animation of the first episode is fine you need to bear in mind that in 5 episodes the show covers the whole of modern Arslan’s first season and some events from the second season. From episode 2 onwards the show is a blizzard of names, faces locations and events with a lot of material skipped or heavily truncated. To make matters worse the romanization of names changed between the first episode and the others making things more confusing. The 90’s OVA is not a place to go if you are looking for something straightforward.

  2. KTravlos says:

    the pacing in Altair was terrible. But the story was still promising more. Arslan is more straightforward but see that was the issue. It was straightforward thanks to some really weak characters. Also Arslan’s world is much smaller in scope.

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Vonter
@Niello - That's 'cause Miayano isn't Pepe Macias: https://youtu.be/nCL6e5TmVG8?t=34
Lenlo
Personally I like this Miyano voice, but only because it sounds like Old Okabe before 0 ruined him
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Wouldn't go that far. But as I've said this show did not click with me at all on most levels.
Niello
Am I the only one who think Miyano sounds annoying in Zombieland Saga? It was the same in Tadakoi too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Castlebros4life.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I forgot to mention, what I like about this guy is that he actually does have a plan rather than just milling it into the goblins.
Lenlo
Castlevania hype! I cant wait for season 2
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm more looking forward to reading The year one side story which is more about Goblin slayer himself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, I've caught up to the 28th chapter of Goblin slayers manga chapter, in spite of being rinse and repeat with not much depth, so far its remains fun. There will definitely be a "human shield" scene that won't appear in the anime. I'd hoped the side story manga would go into priestess girls past our something but it doesn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Castlevania season 2 is out next week.
AidanAK47
Damn, Youtubes down
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mamoru Miyano is the same voice actor for the producer and Okabe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think they are doing other genres in zombieland too, I think one is vaporwave.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It would be very strange if the guy who is the past version of Hitomi's grandfather started falling for her.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That leads me to consider , should the search bar be moved?
AidanAK47
Pretty Sure he mistook the chat window for a search bar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fell behind, part 3 too long aswell.
SuperMario
@anon: it's just too little too late...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Interested in seeing more of that horse guy who showed up in the recent beastars chapters. Also liked how they co-relate lion guy with louis' dad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I'm knocking Honda-san, as that simple/minimalist style is another thing that makes these gag comedies work also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Animation's a bit BARE BONES though wahaha!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm quite amused by the surrealism of it all, a skeleton working in a bookshop =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A quick random fact, one of the manga the blonde girl in episode 1 is asking for is a legendary, old shounen-ai classic from the 70s. The short format suits these gag comedies because I feel that stretching them out to 20 something minute runtimes kills the joke.
Lenlo
Honda-San continues to be the funniest thing I have seen in awhile
AidanAK47
@Vonter, That should not go together as well as it does
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Goblin slayer did nothing wrong.
Animosh
It's dumb, but I can't deny it's uplifting. :)
Animosh
The slime anime really offers the perfect counter to Goblin Slayer. In Goblin Slayer murder is the answer to everything, peace is impossible and revenge will haunt you forever. In the slime series? A short speech about the benefits of kindness and cooperation and the pitfalls of revenge is enough to convince everyone to get along (and that includes two races who were on the verge of war).
Vonter
Also because I just had to: http://vmashup.com/yvDoiQhU
Vonter
Zombieland gives me Scooby Doo vibes. With a silly premise of reviving moe girls to make a band. How they're prey to their instincts and I do like the music aspect doesn't feel as artificial as other shows that may also promote the songs to be sold. Since the music seems more to play for the story than to be good songs. Not remarkable but enjoyable I'll say.
Vonter
So far I've more issue with what the maid says than what she does. Since the anime wants to paint her in a good light but some of the things she says are very creepy. On the other side, there seems an underlying sadness since she seems capable but dumbfounded on how to live her life.
Vonter
I checked UzaMaid! and Zombieland Saga, which were funny and silly and entertaining, nothing major, but I also don't found them bad. The first one treads the line so far of having creepy implications, but it has a bit of John Hughes slapstick thrown a bit. I'll like it more if the little girl were a bit more like Kevin from Home Alone or Junior from Problem Children.
Amagi
Seems like a part of the background has changed after the post-kaiju fight reset in Gridman. I wonder what's even real in this series.
SuperMario
Gosh, how I love the improv dialogues and the indie Kemono-Friends level of visual flourish in Himote House
Masky
Like Zero Escape series itself goes through pretty much everything related to psychology
Masky
In general I don't really get what is up with japanese fictional works running different scientific paradoxes or theories into everything unrelated ._.
Lenlo
Mmm Im so glad I started throwback thursday. 2 episodes in and I already love Planetes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think might know it off by heart now I hear it mentioned so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I hope I haven't doomed you, I voted for Goblin slayer .
Amagi
Hate that too and I actually got my hopes up in episode 1 since it seemed like they wouldn't explain it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I was hoping someone else would bring that up.
Niello
Bunny Girl is pretty good so far, but I do have to say that I rolled my eyes at another rundown of Schrodinger's cat. What's with the obsession?
Amagi
Drama never works for me with Key and even most of Kyoani's works in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I already mentioned about how surprisingly solid/serious bunny girl senpai takes itself for the better, but I'd like to add, the drama doesn't feel obnoxious either such as in a Key work.
Amagi
I love those first impression reviews of bad series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah, it's why I never picked HxH up again as well. I also think there are still tons of issues with SAO although most of them come up later. AW will always be way better in my opinion.
Anonymous2948346
Glad the Imouto review was good for something, niello. The show itself certainly isn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't deny that for some a series could improve as it went on, but with sword art, its now three seasond and a movie , thats alot to watch and quite the ask to get to the "good" part.
Amagi
@niello: I meant that key visual https://d38fgd7fmrcuct.cloudfront.net/1_3p7wgf1obds2mkioy1cmi.jpg - but as said it doesn't mean anything. I will only get hyped once I see the first animated scene and confirm that the boats aren't CG or at least a good kind of CG.
Lenlo
Oh baby. Spring 2019, One Punch Man S2 and Hero Aca S4. Can't wait
niello
@Amagi, Vinland Saga promo pic looks good? Aren't those just manga cover pictures that they showed in the promo...
niello
"Ore ga Sick of this Shit dakedo Shit Keeps Getting Made", I laughed so hard, thanks.
Lenlo
Will probably do a final review but not weekly episodes
Lenlo
But I watched it. Its alright, im gonna watch it to the end.
Lenlo
@animosh, I dont know about them.
Animosh
Oh, that sounds very promising! I've always found thematic explorations of virtual reality very interesting. You know: What is "real" and what isn't? Does it even matter? And what place should virtual reality have in society? In previous seasons those themes were a bit dumbed down, so I'd be up for seeing them explored in some more detail. And with four cours, there's plenty of time to do so.
Amagi
I am not yet sure how much SAO III will suffer from the lacking inner monologue though. The interesting part fo it was the world building and the taboos and how it was the first actual simulation and creation of humanity and the birth of a virtual culture, with mods and admins being literal gods in the VR, like some matrix thing. The anime skipped a lot and actions they do feel more casual there.
Amagi
@Animosh: Well the author did improve a lot, I actually consider most of Accel World as pretty good, especially the later arcs. Thanks for reminding me to buy the last two volumes by the way.
Animosh
I'm sure it won't be great (hell, given SAO's track record, it'll almost certainly end up punishing me for getting my hopes up), but there are at least signs that the author has recognized what went wrong in previous seasons and is trying to correct his mistakes. So with some luck, I might just end up enjoying this season! Maybe. Not getting my hopes up too much though.
Animosh
And where previous seasons barely made any attempts to build up the various virtual worlds, this season is taking it slow so far, which makes it feel more like a well-realized world than a generic fantasy blob. And last but not least, it seems Kirito will have to start over, so even if he'll inevitably end up OP again, he'll probably have to work for it, which is something the series really needed
Animosh
For example: the old cast has been stuck in the harem-mold for a long time, and that makes them incredibly dull. Most of them only exist to make Kirito look good, and barely have any agency of their own. But the new characters are different (so far at least). The most prominent new character (Eugeo) is male, and has clear goals of his own.
Animosh
By the way, did you guys skip Sword Art Online for your first impressions posts? I know you're not fond of the series (and rightly so, because it's way too popular for such a mediocre series), but I actually think it's been pretty decent so far. A fresh start with a largely new cast is exactly what the series needed, and there are some promising signs it's heading in a positive direction.
Animosh
@Amagi: I felt the same way after the episode. It's a very predictable move, but somehow I still didn't see it coming. I guess I should have known better than to trust a happy-go-lucky love interest (although I'm rooting for Rikka) after Darling in the Franxx.
Animosh
But in their own ways they still offered the kind of wild and wacky ride through adolescent insecurities that FLCL is known for, and the characters were likable enough (even if underdeveloped). The OST remains strong too. So although the series could definitely have been better, overall I think this has been a pretty enjoyable revival of the series.
Animosh
After its slow start I'm glad FLCL at least managed to end on a fairly strong note. I still think it's a shame none of the two series really managed to replicate the surreal craziness and visual inventiveness of the original (though Progressive did try), and the wider focus of both series compared to OG FLCL (with the same number of episodes) backfired a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Sometimes the offscreen content can allow our imaginations to work and disturb us more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Deception more like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girl wasn't even pregnant, show telling lies, too lazy to draw pregnancy too probably .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Was your internet acting weird today? Don't know what provider you're using but mine only came back an hour ago or so, lots of people in Dublin were reporting connection issues and in other counties too.
SuperMario
@Amagi: still haven't watched the second one but the first episode did surprise me
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Still ain't watching it
Amagi
Okay I didn't really see the content of ep 2 of Gridman coming. I feel like I should have seen this coming, but I didn't.
Masky
I'm honestly confused about Conception since I'm under impression that Conception games are about "Do some sort of weird ritual to create "Star Child" which doesn't actually involve pregnancy". Like did game also go this far, did anime change this or is this setup for second episode to start with "lol just kidding" or what the frick
Amagi
I think deaths are often the best examples of failed attempts to keep the audience invested. Regardless how many tears there are and how tragic the death is, I won't care when the series itself is bad, the character not flashed out or the scene forced. I have seen series in which one died offscreen that hit me harder than a full episode of whining over some dead moe blobb.
Amagi
There are a lot anime like that since the presentation is important. There are many of those convoluted trainwrecks with 10 different plot twist where one or two of them are actually good on paper but do nothing when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding those crap light novel shows...it really is a sign isn't it, that its so bad sometimes, that even if it does something that appeals to you/would titillate you, you still don't care and won't watch it, because its so shit.
Lenlo
A poll assumes people would actually vote in it. I guess I can try it out and see if people care enough for it, sure. Still, would need things to put on said poll, so feel free to suggest
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes with these shows you just have to let them wash over you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps I could say similar about irozuku as I do Yagate.
Amagi
I am kinda happy I managed to avoid all bad series this season with the exception of Release the Spyce which I only tried because I gave it the benefit of doubt due to having enjoyed Princess principal to some degree despite its many flaws.
SuperMario
I'm back after a week vacation and the first thing I watched again was Conception. I mean I was prepared but this show is one of the reason we all need break to stay sane
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need a refresher on the early bits of vinland and Viking Count Dooku (Askeladd) arc so watching the anime would be a great recap oppurtunity.
Amagi
I really hope Vinland Saga will have a good budget. The promo pic looks pretty damn good but I also liked the very first promo pic of the last Berserk series and we all know how that one turned out.
Amagi
And yes Legosi also always makes me think of Bela Lugosi. I guess I watched too many old movies.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I strangely also lost interest in some game series I liked as little kid, Megaman too for example. I guess there are just series that can work on NES and SNES but not that well as 3D series on modern consoles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I come away from irozuku feeling I watched an aethetically pleasing, somewhat cute show but not much else, but that may not be an entirely bad thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@lenlo: Alternatively you could put up a poll.
Lenlo
Thats a good idea Kaiser! I read all the comments, so if there are any you think would be good feel free to suggest them. I can compile a list and pick one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: To make things easier, perhaps each season, for variety, the throwback Thursday thing could pick a different genre for it each season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every time I read his name in Beastars, I kept thinking the actors name "Bela Legosi" because the wolf's name was legosi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Weird tangent, looking up Irozuku on google image search reveals theres a porn actress with the same name as the lead female character =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes I think the fans had better ideas for the games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I hated any of his games though, but they did have diminishing returns and weren't always consistent in quality. It was disappointing when they started going for some kind of story, then kind of dropped it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was a big fan of megaman growing up, but like sonic, unlike Mario and Zelda, his games got increasingly diluted the more the franchise went on, megaman didn't work in 3D either. Also the second nes one has a really neat soundtrack =)
Vonter
Megaman 11 made me want to play the old games. So I bought the first Legacy Collection pack which has a rewind feature. The first game is hard and cheap at some spots. It also feels a bit stiff. Still it's funny spotting things that were changed in every other entry. Like the boss checkpoints having enemies and traps. Also I think this is the only game showing Dr. Light's house from the outside.
Lenlo
Ah, that anon was me! Was on my phone
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: My beastars post would have gone into spoilers. I decided to private message instead.
Anonymous2930785
I am very happy that Shorter isnt a one and done event.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In regards to humour. However in terms of anime humour, something like hoozuki no reitatsu would have me losing my shit laughing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I love stuff by Bunuel or Roy Anderson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I prefer sardonic, sad bastard, bleak, dry/depressing or particularly serious but surreal comedy, humour/comedy played straight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, yes as expected with Zombieland saga, I gave it a second episode chance, but this is an easy drop for me, its just how comedy goes sometimes, but I didn't laugh once during this episode , just left me cold/blank to it.
Amagi
It's like that season that had SoraYori, I watched like 7 other shows but I only remember SoryYori by now.
Amagi
I think for the last season (counting finished series) this is only true for Planet With. I do remember Chiochan when I think a bit but spontaneosly I couldn't come up with anything else if I had a time limit of 20 seconds or so.
Amagi
I often only really become aware about which series I liked the most when I try remembering the respective season months later. I often enjoy a bunch of shows and watch even more, and yet, at the end of the day, there is always onely one or two that actually stick in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say again, I'm glad that Shorter is still being remembered episodes after him leaving the show. Thought they could have held that scene with yut-lung longer, its obvious he despises Eiji. Sudden gag in this episodes middle threw me off. lol at that killing attempt in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also a horror manga about Robert Johnson, me and the devil blues.
Amagi
Speaking of great manga series, everyone should try Shiori Experience, the Jimmy Hendrix manga. There is barely any series that hypes me up as much as this one and I read a lot. This could be the anime of the year if it would get adapted by a competent team and get a good budget and appropriate OST.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think I will marathon the rest of Dorohedoro the next days. And then looking forward to her next series.
Amagi
Zombieland Saga is the only new anime that actually surprised me. I am not talking about good or bad here, there are a bunch of other pretty good series airing right now but Zombieland is the only one that caught me off-guard in a positive way.
AidanAK47
Okay, I think I love Zombieland Saga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've embraced bunny-girls approach to its dialogue/drama now with the second episode, also they go a bit into her past in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'll be posting my thoughts later. Also, there's on one chapter of dorohedoro left.
Amagi
There are 7 new Beastars chapters out, I really liked the climax here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a tangent, damn you mappa, adapt Freesia already .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I needed to watch red garden twice to really "get" it, as in for it to click for me, its a show that picks up near the middle.
Amagi
It had scenes you rarely see in anime that do happen all the time in real life, like friends talking across each other, people talking at the same time or interrupting others.
Amagi
@Niel: Have you seen Red Garden? A lot of people agreed that it had the most natural dialogues of the anime that aired that year so maybe you would enjoy that too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animmosh: josei yuri I would welcome being adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Hana wa saku, yuutsu no asa and Acid town adaptation WHEN.
Animosh
Yuri gets all the hype, but yaoi gets all the glory.
Animosh
So, yeah, if other folk here haven't seen it yet, give it a try! By the way, it's interesting how what probably were my two favorite shows of the past season (Banana Fish and this one) were both BL shows. Can't say I saw that coming.
Animosh
It's kind of reminiscent of classics like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with some anime tropes added to the mix (the bubbly main character and his tsundere love interest), and with less emphasis on politics and more on horror and fantasy. And for a Chinese series, the animation is really solid, in spite of the occasional CGI hiccup. The backgrounds in particular are very easy on the eyes.
Animosh
I don't remember who it was, but thanks for recommending Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation! It's surprisingly good for a show I had heard so little about. I love historical epics, and the main characters are built up very well and have a lot of chemistry. I do wish the antagonists were more interesting (they're very black-and-white), but the protagonists are all a lot of fun to watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*didn't work for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niel: Garo didn't work for outside of the fantasy setting.
Niel
The exceptions to this are usually shorts and films. You don't get to see them often in TV series. As for the story, I don't have nearly enough patience for monster-of-the-week formula as I did years ago, so if it's just going the generic tokusatsu route then you'll hear from me. but since Garo wasn't too bad I have hope that they will do something interesting with this.
Niel
The environments also feel so much more like places where people live and hang out. Take the school room for example. Anime rarely portray school rooms as this place where teenagers gather and play during break. It's usually only consist of people talking with no mischieve whatsoever. And when there are scenes of bedroom they often feels more like a showroom than a place where someone live in.
Niel
@Lenlo @Aidan Your impressions of Gridman are fair. I'm just really excited for Gridman because two of my main pet peeves with anime are the unnatural dialogue, and bland and sterilised background environments. Here when characters talk, it actually seem so much closer to the conversation flow you'd see more in everyday life, and I'm kind of starving for that in my anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although with drugs and anime in mind, I do wish that a sports anime that addresses cheating through performance enhancing drugs would be made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Release the spyce and drug use? I find this odd, I think I heard that the Japanese had a thing about depicting that (drugs) in animation/on tv when it came to young charcters.
Masky
Like, sure, it has tactical goblin slaughter action, but its more about how broken mess of person Goblin Slayer is and how he learns to connect with people. Its surprisingly insightful at times, but the trashy parts really clash with the actual tone of series considering its only purpose is pretty much "Goblins are horrible" which is point you got with gore in first place
Masky
Anyhoo, yeah, made already comment about it on the blog, but I really feel like trashy parts of Goblin Slayer clash with what it is about
Masky
Oh yeah, that was surprisingly hilarious. Mostly because English was surprisingly good
Lenlo
I should not like Honda-San as much as I do. But I love it.
Masky
Like, lot of writers, game developers, comic artists, etc, they clearly base their works on stuff they were fan of. Lot of people get inspired by stuff they enjoyed during their childhood for example. There is no real difference between "Being inspired to do same type of thing you liked" and "You copied something popular" besides the level of half assedness
Masky
@SuperWooper: What I feel like is that there is nothing new under the sun. Whenever something feels like original, its mostly that you yourself just haven't seen it before or the execution feels fresh or the cliches and tropes haven't been used in a while
Amagi
I really don't like the highschool boy suddently getting super power and mega robot-kind of trope so they better add some more original stuff to make up for this.
Amagi
I might still enjoy this series though depending on the ideas the writers might have. As usual, much of my enjoyment depends on the antagonist. If this should really be nothing than a typical toku show with evil villain I will probably drop it too.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I only watch sub, I kinda feel like the first half was good dialoguewise but I know what Aidan and Lenlo mean, I generally didn't like the second half of the episode.
SuperWooper
Being a writer for an anime blog, I'm not really qualified to say.
AidanAK47
@Wooper, what is originality?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although personally I won't be watching gridman due to not being a fan of trigger.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In Goblin slayer I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I just glad that the protaganist is a guy in his 20s for a change.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did you all watch gridman in English or Japanese? I ask because, perhaps the dialogue might have been an issue with the dub or something?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, it seems I wasn't really paying much attention to the animation in Goblin slayer, I was having too much fun with it.
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Featured Posts

Kaze Ga Tsukyoku Fuiteiru – 3 [A Single Flower]

Hello and welcome to week 3 of Kaze Fui! This time our boys start running, Kurahara meets someone from his past and poor Akane ups and dies. Lets jump in! So general stuff first, Kaze Fui continues to look just beautiful. The running animation really is nice, and its unique for each runner. From Kurahara’s […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

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Goblin Slayer – 02[Goblin Slayer]

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Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 – 02 [The Stolen Sorcerous Blades]

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Planetes – 1 [Outside the Atmosphere] – Throwback Thursday

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A quick and dirty review of Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion

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Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

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