Posted on 31 January 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Darling in the Franxx

Today on relationship symbolism with Darling in the Franxx, NTR. Well jokes aside this episode was easier to take seriously as there were less sex jokes and more drama. Not quite certain what to make of it as I still find the robots a bit too silly to take seriously and overall the plot is just fine if a bit predictable. For example, we knew exactly what was going to happen when Mitsuru decided to control the Franxx with Zero Two. It was obvious from the word go that this was to prove that Hiro was the only one who can handle her in a cockpit. Same with the newbie robot pilots going out on their first missions, obviously something was going to go wrong which would push for Hiro and Zero Two to be sent out. It’s understandable why they are taking the story this way but rather annoying when the reasons for doing so seem rather forced. For example, there is no reason whatsoever for command to be reluctant to send out Hiro wit Zero Two. Not even to fight but just for a test run would be good enough as he’s already proven that he can handle her and the only reason he’s getting shafted is due to him not being an official pilot. But it just seems so arbitrary when they are willing to send out a rookie with her despite Hiro having proven combat experience with her.

Point is that we all know that Hiro’s going to end out piloting with Zero Two and these events are just delaying the inevitable fact. Though this delay does give us some perspective from the other pilots in which it seems that Hiro was originally the golden boy who happened to give them all their names. But after Hiro ended up not being able to handle a robot he was tossed aside but still given special treatment despite his failures. So the other pilots, at least Zorome and Mitsuru appear to resent him for that. They place their hopes on him and he ended up disappointing. Though in Mitsuru’s case it appears he has a bit of an complex due to being stuck with Ikuno and his performance being shaky. The obvious factor is likely due to Ikuno feeling like the a weak link and the two not really having much of a connection. Very much like a couple that were pushed into an awkward relationship. It seems obvious that performance is based on how well the two pilots get along with each other and can be shaken when one loses trust in the other.

So Mitsuru’s performance is going to take a nosedive because of him openly revealing that he does believe that Ikuno is the reason behind their lacking performance and confirming her insecurities. If that’s the case there relationship could take a rather sour turn. On the upside Zorome seems to be growing more attached to Miku and easing up on the cocky little shit act which is promising. Though Ichigo looked to be having some backlash due to her failure with Hiro. I feel sorry for Goro in this situation as it looks like he’s the third wheel and is fully aware of it. I also wonder what is going on with this strange letterboxing in certain scenes. Is it to make it seem more cinematic or place extra emphasis on what is being said in this scene?

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Junji Ito Collection

Today’s stories fell a bit flat for me as one of Ito’s tendencies to not explain his horrors actually somewhat backfired. In the first story we had a tale about a jade stone which cursed people with a disease that causes holes to open up on their body. The story itself was relatively simple but I can’t help but notice some logical inconsistencies. For one they state that the girl next door had been afflicted with this hole disease for all her life and yet when other people are infected they die within days. So what was this girl so special that she lived so long with the disease? The disease itself doesn’t make much sense either and while Ito does tend to stretch credibility to make his monsters come to life, here is another example where I feel he pushing things too far. This hole disease does create holes in the body as shown by the last victim who even had one of his eyeballs falling out of it’s socket due to a hole under his eye. Yet the victim can still somehow live which makes me wonder just how blood circulation works when the body is full of holes. Who was the doctor and why was he connected with the stone? Frankly I feel the horror of the story fails because we as the audience just know far too little of the situation to get what is even happening. At most we can speculate and even with that we have far too little information.

The Marionette Mansion story also has issues but at least there is more to work with when it comes to that story. Being about a brother that comes back to town and mysteriously his family are controlled by strings like puppets. The key factor her appears to be the puppet at the end who somehow must have been in control of all the strings. If i had to guess I would believe that the brother never actually came back to the town and the family which our protagonist was talking to was just puppets controlled by Jean-Pierre. The reason I believe was to somehow trick the protagonist and his sister into joining the house as it appears the older brother abandoned the puppet, he needs a human to be “complete” so to speak. Though in this puppets case he wanted the roles to be reversed. Again this story has it’s holes, namely that if the main protagonist found the house to be so suspicious then why did he keep coming back to it? He was clearly wary of the house and it’s puppet antics and yet he still let his sister stay there and kept coming back. Also why did the puppet freak out so much over the jealous girlfriend and attack the protag? How does the house ever work in regards to being controlled by strings all day? How do the puppeteers know what they want to do? The final reveal just kinda felt on the weak side as it was pretty obvious that was the case.

If there is a big flaw with these stories though it would be the endings. I have noticed this so far with all the stories but they tend to end far too suddenly. There isn’t really a sense of finality to the conclusion, instead it feels like the story just stops suddenly and is rather unsatisfying as a result. Even if that is the stories ending in the manga it would be better to dwell on it a bit to let the ending sink in before cutting to the credits. Another issue is with the presentation which while fine is still far too similar to watching a slideshow of the manga. Their is very little animation or attempts to truly adapt these stories to screen. They are essentially the manga put into an animated format without any real adjustment. Which may be fine for purests but when the anime just ends up an inferior version of the manga then people might as well just read the manga instead.

Posted on 30 January 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction, Mahoutsukai no Yome

Welcome to another week of Mahoutsukai! This week we have an anime staple, the Christmas episode, with a dash of tragic backstory. Like always there are ups and downs this week, so lets jump right in.

As I said, this is our token Christmas episode. There are presents, shopping, misunderstandings and snow. Such pretty snow. There are some interesting bits though. The time spent prepping for Yule, with no dialogue just music and motion, was good. I enjoyed that not everything was explained, like the Centaur and his Lady, and how Elias hid from this. It reintroduces some mystery that Mahoutsukai had lost. The same goes for the Yule Twins. When it comes to the world and magic, sometimes a little whimsy goes a long way. The other half of the episode consists of a shopping trip, which is fun enough. There is more random danger for Chise, as she can’t seem to leave the house without something happening. However this time it served a purpose, allowing us to get Alice’s past. That story has its own issues, but the danger at least had purpose.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Extra Last Encore

To newcomers of the series this first episode of Fate/Extra must have you thinking “Just what in the hell is going on?” but have no fear for as this sites resident Fate expect I can safely tell you that…yeah, I have no idea either. While this is Fate/Extra, it has been confirmed that Nasu is writing a brand new story for this one so while some beats of Extra may be followed, the story may end up being very different. An important thing to note is that despite familiar faces showing up here, this is indeed an entirely different world and therefore that means that even though Rin is here, she is not the same Rin who went through the events of any of the other Fate Adaptations. The same goes for Kirei though it seems that no matter what world he is in, Shinji is always Shinji. We have less animation this time around but I do admit that Shaft makes up for it with style though this episode was unfortunately dampened thanks to the dimming of action scenes due to epilepsy concerns. For a first episode this is a strong effort as while the characters are not particularly interesting yet, there is air of mystery and intrigue that keeps you sucked in. This anime appears to be building on Extra’s story and adding another layer to it as the opening starts off with the female protagonist getting decimated before changing to the male protagonist. I hope there is a greater effort to characterise him as the protagonist of Extra was very much a blank slate for the player to insert himself into and after Apocrypha I really don’t want another one of those.

However the protagonist isn’t the only one I am worried about here as this success of this series does depend on him and also on Nero, otherwise known as Red Saber. I don’t really think I need to hide her identity considering that it’s widely known and otherwise impossible to guess. But yes, the success of this series depends partly on her or to be more exact, which Nero is here. What do I mean? Well my friends let me tell you a tale of Nero from Extra. Nero was a cocky little narcissist who loved tooting her own horn and that was actually quite charming. She came across as what would happen if you injected some of Gilgamesh’s ego into Blue Saber and ended up a loveable dolt who had the kind of confidence you just wish you had. I mean the woman wears a see through dress because she thought it would be a shame to deprive the world the beauty of her thighs. What made her particular fun was when she spoke pure bullshit on her achievements and if you called her out on it she would get meek and sullen.

I actually quite liked her then but it seems I didn’t nearly like her as much as the writer Hikaru Sakurai does. The writer of Fate/Extella and the Septem section of Fate Go, Sakurai has proven that she quite likes Nero. In fact, she absolutely adores her but sadly this results in Nero undergoing a massive character shift when one plays Extella or Septem. For Fate/Extra’s Nero was a cocky loveable brat who always touted herself as the best thing since sliced bread but Fate/Extella’s Nero is not only being claimed to be just as great as she makes herself out to be but actually even underselling her godly essence. Sakurai’s Nero is a mary sue of the highest caliber and the plot does nothing but to constantly wax on about how great and magnificent Nero is that it turned my opinion on her from like to hate. With Nasu writing this instead of Sakurai I am hoping for a return of the Nero that I liked provided that Nasu isn’t getting Sakurai to ghostwrite for him.

So what exactly happened here in this episode? Well it appears to be some sort of elimination round before the holy grail war. They got a hefty amount of masters here so they are whittling them down to a certain number of masters to fight in the war. The process appears to be sticking them in some sort of school simulation and having them eliminate each other through tests? Seems like for a while that people were getting killed off and brought to the infirmary before being thrown into the incinerator. This has been going on for a while until Kirei pulls sudden death with the last masters being chosen based on whoever kills someone else first. The good news is that the school setting appears to be gone though I do believe that the series is really pushing sense of disbelief with the main characters durability. Guy was stabbed several times, fell down a hole, pierced through with an arrow and even after all that the man is still kicking.

Part of this is sort of justified by the digital looking nature of the world but still, with that level of damage the MC should have been long dead. As a last note, I really like that the stone servent that brought the main character near death before summoning a servant was Archer from Fate/Stay Night. As in Fate/Stay Night it was Cu who wounded Shirou before he summoned a Saber which is whom Archer was fighting when Shirou saw them. So it makes for a nice parallel to have Archer instead be the one to chase down the MC before he summons a Saber. Even the stone nature of the servant referring to his position as a counter guardian and that he was also a servant you could choose in Fate/Extra. Sadly like Tamamo and the alternative Female MC, he appears to have been Shafted.(Pun not intended)

Posted on 29 January 2018 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Another year and another tick down on the death counter but it certainly has been a pretty good year for anime. We had some stinkers, some major disappointments but there were certainly shows that will be remembered and even some that will be touted as being the best of the best.

The other writers and I have decided that the choices for this list will be based on majority vote between the five of us. You can complain that your own preferred show didn’t make the final list but there is a very good chance that it was nominated and slowly knocked out as we tallied the votes together. Also, do take note that we haven’t seen everything this year had to offer so there are anime that have slipped under the radar. It is only our opinion and thus is nothing ironclad nor is it contractually binding. You may like something that we hate and that is perfectly fine (provided it’s not Eromanga Sensei because bloody hell…).

Each writer has taken it upon himself to write a section about the winners but keep in mind that just because someone wrote it, does not mean they specifically nominated it. Down below, you will see each of the writer’s ballot for their own top ten choices. With that being said, let’s put Star Crossed Blog’s final stamp on the anime year of 2017.

The Worst

Worst Show

Hand Shakers

Mario: I’m not at all exaggerating when I consider that encountering a total wreck like Hand Shakers is as rare as running across any modern classic. For Hand Shakers to be a product that goes wrong in almost every department, with its rage-inducing visual mess with fisheye lens, random camera zoom, distracting CG that moves on different frame rate than the 2D models, incompetent writing filled with of illogical leaps, INCEST, terrible treatment to the female cast, the consistently one-dimensional outlandish characters, and softcore porno sounding OST. Given the main theme of the show is about meshing connections, it’s rather remarkable how the presentation is this constant battle between all the elements of the show trying to intertwine with each other. Hand Shakers is also a glaring example of how an anime studio pushed way too hard on showing off their “signature’ style without considering if it fits the material to the point where it becomes a gimmick (Shaft, beware!). The saddest thing is that its failure doesn’t come from a lack of care, as I can see real effort were put into it, but to make a show this terrible is no small feat. Hand Shakers redefines what we perceive as bad, and maybe THAT is how it will be remembered for years to come.

Runner-ups: Berserk (2017) – For poorly adapting of one of the most acclaimed manga.  Eromanga Sensei For the exact opposite reason of Berserk (2017), where there was solid production values for a show that represents everything that is wrong about modern anime, which makes it even more painful to watch than forgettable fluffs.

 

Biggest Disappointment

Seikaisuru Kado

Lenlo: It’s difficult to write this category, because for all of its faults, I still enjoyed Seikaisuru Kado. The problem is that it could have been so much more. For the first half of its run, Kado did a great job of setting up its characters and running with the theme of “alien contact changing our world”. The CGI, while not beautiful like Houseki no Kuni, was used inventively to simulate 3D shapes in creating interesting scenes. However, in a single episode, it plummeted from being an intriguing sci-fiction to an unmitigated disaster of a shounen. Plot threads got abandoned, dialogue was thrown out the window in favor of flashy combat and the philosophizing was pointless. Because of its fantastic start and subsequent disgusting end, Seikaisuru Kado is the most disappointing and soul-crushing anime of 2017. It only beats out Berserk (2017) because no one expected anything from that trainwreck in the first place.

Runner-up: Berserk (2017)
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Posted on 28 January 2018 with categories: After the Rain, Currently Watching:

Gosh, the romance tension sure escalated quickly, which for my money is for the better. This week we have Tachibana in both her lowest and highest (AKA entirely in her unstable mood), the 45-year-old clueless victim who tries his best to brake the relationship from going too far, and a coming date of the two at the end. The last part stands to me as the only sour (last) note to this extraordinary episode. You see, that “date” is obviously a plot device so that the two of them can spend more time together, and it breaks the established mood although by that point I was already invested in the two of them and their romance to let it pass. The factor that I appreciate the most out of this episode is of course, Kondou’s reactions to Tachibana’s confessions. Ameagari skates the thin ice in this sensitive issue but the show manages to pull it off with even more sensitive approach. The guy not only act like a normal 45-year-old guy would do, but he convinces her with many sounding, sensible reasons and appropriate actions. Responding straight to Tachibana about her confession, for one thing. Giving her two main reasons to reconsider her options, one of them because of the huge age-gap (which she couldn’t care less), and the other because of his own empty self (an empty middle-aged boy with no dream or hope – so much honesty here). The second reason is important here, he feels himself unfit for someone like Tachibana, whose life is just at the beginning of her stage, and she’s attractive on top of that.

But it’s the emptiness that seemingly bring the two together. That brings me back to the first half of this episode, Tachibana meeting the track club members. After seeing them enjoy running and making progress, she’s deeply frustrated and left. A brief montage of the events led to her injury further demonstrate the fact that 1) now that her track career is gone, Tachibana feels empty, thinking that she has hit the thick wall ahead. And 2) she meets Kondou in the exact time when she was at her lowest point, the moment really gets into her that she finds the spark in the man. Many could say that it’s unrealistic, but I totally believe that’s how young people fall in love, especially the love at first sight. That frustration from seeing her being left behind by the wheel of present and the track field which once made her special lead her to pursuits the love to Kondou AGAIN, in the rain (it sure rains like hell in Ameagari). And when the message is out there’s no holding back there, for both of them.

This third episode makes it the first time we entirely see the events play out from Kondou’s point of view. After he tries his best to avoid the love message from Tachinaba in every possible way he can think of: first seeing it as a formal compliment from the girl, then taking it as a dream, then as a prank (there are nice little sequences play out in his head there); he deals with her the best way anyone could. What really sells me is the way Ameagari displays his perspective in an insightful and subtle manner: we could see his nervousness through his drinking the can that had cigarette ash in (he experiences the true bitterness of that love, as some might say), or through him searching for cigarettes but couldn’t find it. His thoughts as well, are so personal but well-placed and honest. Despite all the “you should reconsider this” stuffs, I can see how her confessions affect him in a good way. He feels flattered by the thought of someone attracted to him, he feels young again (with the smart visual of him in his teen self), he feels love and being loved again. And honestly, what is wrong with two people falling in love?

My bottom line: this is the best episode not only for Ameagari, but I consider it the best of episode I’ve seen so far this Winter season. I’ve heard someone compare this to Wong Kar Wai’s romance films. While at first I thought this’s too early a game to make any concrete statement, with this episode I do feel a resemblance here, especially the way they develop well-grounded characters we care for and their mature love relationship.

Posted on 27 January 2018 with categories: Other:, Uncategorized

It has been quite a while since the last time we had this, right? Now, game on for some new match-ups. This time I pick 2 shows from recent years, both dealing with the death of a childhood friend(s), and arguably both of them received commercial and critical success in their run (as of this writing they receive a very close rating over MAL). Both deal with grief, confusion, and the allusion of fixing one’s mistake. Both have a diverse cast with their own emotional growth, strength and weakness. Both produced some of the most heart-breaking, tear-jerking and emotionally roller-coaster we have witnessed for the last few years. Both are made by A-1 Pictures. One is a drama, the other is a thriller, but ultimately they’re both character-driven shows. Without further ado, please welcome on stage, ERASED and AnoHana

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)


Studio: A-1 Pictures

Season: Winter 2016

Episodes: 12

Source: Manga

MAL Rating: 8.57

When tragedy is about to strike, Satoru Fujinuma finds himself sent back several minutes before the accident occurs. The detached, 29-year-old manga artist has taken advantage of this powerful yet mysterious phenomenon, which he calls “Revival,” to save many lives.

However, when he is wrongfully accused of murdering someone close to him, Satoru is sent back to the past once again, but this time to 1988, 18 years in the past. Soon, he realizes that the murder may be connected to the abduction and killing of one of his classmates, the solitary and mysterious Kayo Hinazuki, that took place when he was a child. This is his chance to make things right.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi follows Satoru in his mission to uncover what truly transpired 18 years ago and prevent the death of his classmate while protecting those he cares about in the present.. (from MAL)

Excerpt from our site’s original review:

“This series has some great presentation and direction though it does make it somewhat predictable in how it highlights what’s to come. Predictable does not mean boring though and this tale has a lot of heart. There are a number of great scenes that can play with your emotions and each episode does leave a feeling of dread for a tragedy to come. Though those episode cliffhangers do build up expectations which the ending fails to deliver.The female cast is ridiculously strong with Satorus mother being one of the best parenting figures one could have.

Ultimately what decides your enjoyment of this show is your level attachment to the characters. The focus is clearly character driven and if you find yourself not caring for them, I am afraid the plot will not hold anything to compensate. But if you find yourself getting drawn into these characters then I believe your experience with this show will be a positive one but remember to walk into it with the right expectations.”

Versus

 

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.


Studio: A-1 Pictures

Season: Spring 2011

Episodes: 11

Source: Original

MAL Rating: 8.56

Jinta Yadomi is peacefully living as a recluse, spending his days away from school and playing video games at home instead. One hot summer day, his childhood friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma, appears and pesters him to grant a forgotten wish. He pays her no mind, which annoys her, but he doesn’t really care. After all, Menma already died years ago.

At first, Jinta thinks that he is merely hallucinating due to the summer heat, but he is later on convinced that what he sees truly is the ghost of Menma. Jinta and his group of childhood friends grew apart after her untimely death, but they are drawn together once more as they try to lay Menma’s spirit to rest. Re-living their pain and guilt, will they be able to find the strength to help not only Menma move on—but themselves as well? (from MAL)

Psgels’ original review:

“Ever heard of the phrase “short but sweet”? This is the key to the best Noitamina-series out there: most of them can only be eleven or twelve episodes long, so they really need to know how to use their time, and this series is a brilliant example of how this timeslot should be used. It leaves no moment wasted, it never drags, and it’s always developing its characters, delivering heavy drama, and moving back and forth between showing new things about its characters and fleshing them out.

If you are looking for an emotional roller coaster however: watch this. Few series can boast to be this well laid out, especially when so small. Everything fits just perfectly. I’m not a fan of moe, but this show is so good that it immediately won me over.”


Which team do you pick this time?
138 votes · 5 answers
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HAPPY VOTING GUYS!

Posted on 26 January 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

Well, we have another original anime-material this week and I consider this episode slightly stronger than last week, although its main shortcomings still remain. The biggest improvement in terms of narrative, is how Violet Evergarden shifts their perspective to another secondary character. I still have issues with Violet the character, so it’s a nice change (and more bearable) to see her issues through someone else’s lenses. This week, our Violet attends the Auto Memories Doll class and we have a pretty much Violet’s routine here: her salute, her precise at receiving orders and her mechanical arms. And like all of us could have predicted, she excels on typing and grammar, but totally fail on transferring emotions to the letter. Only three episodes in and I’m already tired with all those same beats. It doesn’t even make sense to me how Violet ghost-writes Luculia in such a dry report-like, given her personality she could just write exactly what the girl says. The thing is, Violet not only has difficulty of expressing her own, or other’s emotions, she has a hard time understanding the feeling others have. She hardly expresses any emotions at all except when it comes to Major whathisname. As a result, her letter in the end, and her graduation because of it, don’t feel earned to me. They feel too quick, too compressed for such a change from Violet.

Thankfully, aside from our little Violeta’s development, we also have the story of Luculia and her own struggles with her brother. In a way an indirect victim of the war (the War settings are put into good use here), her brother is tormented for the dead of their parents, whom he feels that he failed to protect. That lead to his own destruction: drinking, fighting, being useless. Luculia feels unable to communicate with him, as all the raw emotions are botched up inside that it becomes impossible to be normal again. Communication, or to be more precise, the ability to communicate, is by far and large the central theme of Violet Evergarden and Luculia story succeed of deepen that theme with some emotional affecting moment and the strong visual flair that brings out the emotions just by the way they tone down the melodramatic moments. Most of my complaints about the show so far come from its script, namely its obvious and predictable narrative beat and its boring titular character. In fact, Luculia herself sometimes feels like a vehicle to unlock Violet’s emotion, thus she doesn’t really flesh out as a true character. We never know her own reason for becoming a Doll, for example, or why she becomes invested to Violet – the driest girl on Earth. Even the Auto Memories Doll workshop itself seems too rushed for its own good.

It’s the masterful visual storytelling so far that raised the bar to this material. The settings are beautiful and gorgeous. When Violet and Luculia get into the top of the tower and see the city from up high, the city looks attractive and impressive, yet somehow bring the strong feeling to the forefront. The visual focuses more on the character’s little gestures and their eyes than any big emotional overacting, which for me fare much better in terms of emotional impact. The first “letter” that Violet is decidedly simple; but express all the feeling that Luculia want to transfer across to her brother. I suspect this is the format we will get as the show moves on from its prelude phase, Violet encounters different people with different stories, and ghost-write and learn about their emotions in the process. I’m fine with that, as long as the show doesn’t get repetitive and gives a reasonable development to Violet to get her out of this robot shell.

Posted on with categories: A Place Further than the Universe, Currently Watching:

Universe takes another firm step towards the Antarctica trip, this time more about the actual preparation: parents’ approval, training and the likes. We’re still far away from the final destination, and I suspect it’d take a few more episodes before the girls arrive to the South Pole. Not that I complain because these build-ups make this journey much more believable. It helps that the direction so far smartly conveys the tones it tries to bring across. Take the scene where Mari tries to get her Mom’s approval for example. The show knows how to play up the fear of Mari of being caught red-handed for arranging her trip without her Mom’s knowledge (Mari, it’d be wiser to ask your Dad instead). It constantly builds the atmosphere up, and then play out in a spooky playful nature (remember what did the little sister do when they realize their Mom knows? She shuts the door. I’m outta here. Case closed). Priceless. Or take the scene where the girls being underwhelmed inside the old van? Universe shows us not only their disappointments, but the condition of the car: the girls crammed up in small seats, stack of papers about funding, the small note sticking at the cassette telling them it’s broken, an expensive car passing it to put more salt to the wound… Those little details certainly help make this preparation phase more entertaining.

On to the 4-day training trip, I certainly feel related to how clueless the girls are when they have to do the actual field trip. Simple matters like which eye they should use, your left or my left, take note about altitude… the basic of mountain climbing, but there’s always first time for everyone. On that field trip, the girls meet their captain, Toudou Gin, whom sharing with Shirase the same pain: the loss of Shirase’s mother. It creates quite a tense tension between the two, so I expect we will learn more about her mother through their chemistry once they’re arriving to Antarctica. One potential conflict before they’re reaching the destination, though, is how Megumi (Mari’s best friend) feels a bit “uneasy” towards Mari’s plan. She has been the voice of reason for Mari to walk the fine line between “reaching your dream” and “taking realistic actions”, but her warming about feeling regret when you’re trying to hard but not achieving it sound off to me. It’s the opposite, and it’s not like her to say something like that. I guess we will have to wait until next week to see what Universe has in store for us regarding this plot thread.

One of my fear after the quartet is finally formed, is how then they will become less dominant and exist only as the group’s member with no real personality. Well, so far Universe hasn’t fall into that trap yet, given the cast still produces some neat chemistry together, and give both Mari and Shirase some more ground to develop. In Universe, Shirase has always been the one who drives the plot forward, and Mari is our emotional investment. This time again, when talking to Gin, she makes it clear that although Shirase was the invite them to the trip, it’s ultimately HER trip now – the place where she herself really wants to go and explore, along with all the friends she has made. Antarctica show is still looking strong at the moment.

Posted on with categories: Kokkoku

Welcome to another episode of Kokkoku, the premier time based anime of the season. This week we have growing mysteries and intelligent villains. Lets jump in.

To start off, I want to talk about our main cast and the mystery surrounding them, as that seems to be the core of Kokkoku. Blood and family ties have come up often, both in regards to our heroes and the villains. Blood is what is used to activate the Stasis Stones, though we don’t yet know if it matters whose blood is used. It also appears that each member of our leading family has some sort of ability. The Grandfather is able to teleport short distances while Juri is able to expel people from Stasis. So far neither has been able to use the others abilities, though it is possible they might learn them in the future. If blood does matter however, I am curious what abilities the villains will develop, as they also have a stone and can enter the Stasis. Next up is the mysterious spirits.

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CHANGE USERNAME
Vonter
Or are the 50s the new late 30s or early 40s?
Vonter
Are japanese people vampires? https://ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Toru_Furuya
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: If you look at the voice list, that Japanese voice actor for Mario in that anime movie is the same voice actor for Amuro Ray from the original Gundam.
Vonter
Also considering Baby Bowser was raised by Kamek. I suppose those beings could be made by magic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - My head canon is that Bowser made them himself. Kinda Lord Zedd or Rita from Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still subscribe to the headcanon that Peach is the mother of Bowsers children.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember growing up with the relatively poor American cartoons, none of them featured Wario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have committed videogame genocide apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everytime I broke or hit a brick in the Mario games I was probably murdering a toad.
Vonter
The ending it's "interesting" considering the relationship Mario and Peach have isn't something as close, as Link and Zelda.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's weird but at the same time it does use elements from the game. Like the music, and story bits from the manual from the original Super Mario Bros. (Where it mentioned Bowser uses magic to turn Toads into the bricks, clouds and other objects of the game).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never did end up watching the Mario anime movie that came out in the 80s.
Vonter
Also someone is putting the effort of making a Bowsette adventure doujin. This is the type of stuff that could be it's own original thing since it strays far from what's Mario. Despite the occasional mild nudity it's quite fun so far, despite also how weird it is.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - At the very least it'll be interesting to see where it goes. It happens also every time something comes back. Times change and so the way we make stories. Also the original run had a curtain call chapter, so this is more a new story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is often what happens with episodic stuff for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I essentially read Fraken Fran until I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, I feel that Franken Fran pretty much ran it's course though. Not sure what a new series could bring.
Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 04 [VS The Imaginator 1]

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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

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Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

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Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 13 [And Then Start Running]

Kaze Fui returns, contending with and maybe even beating Mob Psycho for best episode of the week! We have introspection, backstory, and the team coming together to protect their emotionally stunted friend! Lets charge in! Everything about Kaze Fui this week was fantastic. From the narrative to the VA’s. But one I want to hit […]

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

Hello and welcome to show number two for me of the new season! Dororo is an interesting one, based on a 1960’s manga, with this being its second adaptation. This week we meet another demon, learn our leads name and that not all spirits are bad. Let’s dive in! Visually, Dororo is sort of a […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

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