Posted on 28 February 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Extra Last Encore

So we have basically established that the events of Fate/Extra’s game story did in fact happen as Maximilian has a flashback to the point where he lost in Fate/Extra’s game. So it is rather odd that I still can’t make much sense of the plot here. What I can gather is that he was somehow revived as this floors master and effectively decided to throw away his chivalrous attitude and focus on killing a master to advance up the floors. However because he is a previously deceased master he can no longer advance up the floors but Robin and him still kill masters because…then they don’t lose? What is this motivation here? Are you telling me these two killed people for a thousand years only because they were sore losers? Yep, I think it’s time to admit it. The honeymoon period is over and I have started to lose a lot of interest here. So far the main drawing point of this series has been the mysterious nature of it’s plot but there’s a point where it’s too hard to care about something when you end up with more questions than answers. Not to mention the mystery is primarily presented through massive amounts of exposition and the characters just remain uninteresting. The only other drawing factor is the action which once again has a servant be taken out anticlimactically by Nero. The way these servants just go down so fast has started me making a pet theory that they all have pretty much given up over the thousand years and just let nero win, which would be delightfully cathartic if that was the case. Nero has previously staged fights in her life where the fight was rigged so she would win and the idea of her victories in this war being nothing more than servants just letting her win would be so suitable. Ultimately meaning she’s not really that strong a servant and is just getting full of herself.

The annoying factor is that the fights so far have a great setting for a showdown with the Sniper battle with the master and Robin hunting in the woods are great setpieces for an epic battle. These floors make for explosive battlegrounds for these servants to wreak havoc and yet the battles often just feel like they are cut off too soon with no real satisfaction. Topped off with the fact that Nero is the only one in danger here as we have more or less established that Hakuno cannot be killed. His dead face powers are far too vague at the moment as it’s not even clear if he can activate them at will or why he’s keeping them secret from Nero. What these powers can even do is a mystery as he somehow materialized a gun to shoot max and I don’t know if that’s part of his powers or not. It doesn’t matter if Hakuno gets shot by Max, he won’t die so there no real tension. Sure Rani can die but quite honestly who cares about Rani? She was introduced last episode, has the emotional range of a teaspoon and has done nothing but spout exposition. Am I supposed to be sad when she gets shot and dies? But this could be another trend with this shows formula as I recall Rin being on the bottom floor as Shinji flooded the city, meaning she could be dead. But then who is the Rin at the end of this episode you ask? Well I have gotten fully on board with the Rin is Tamamo in disguise theory. Though I think that only applies to the Rin that traveled up the elevator with them and then mysteriously disappeared during the events of this little skirmish.

Regardless despite this info I just find myself rather…apathetic. Tamamo fans might rejoice if she shows up but I don’t particularly care if she shows up or not. Fanservice can only go so far and I need something to get me interested here. The characters are not doing it for me cause our main heroine has nobody to work off besides the soulless husk that is Hakuno and everyone else just feels like exposition devices. The action scenes are lacking so no eye candy to keep me interested either. My point is, I want to care. I want to like this show, I want it to not be as disappointing as the other non Ufotable Fates have been. I remember referring to UBW with disappointment during it’s airing but over time I think it did a better job than Apocrypha and Extra here. As far as I see it, this show needs something to grab my interest again, perhaps a new character to join our duo to make their interactions more fun to watch? Maybe give Hakuno a bloody personality? Perhaps an upgrade to the fight scenes? Or maybe we can stop being all mysterious here and start telling the audience just what in the holy hell is going on, or at least a framework that allows for us to start making theories. What I don’t want is another Nero bath scene, another encounter of the new master and servant antagonists only to be interrupted by some new random serventless master who takes in the two, followed by another barrage of barrels of exposition, with another anticlimactic final confrontation while leads to the elevator and wash, rinse, repeat. As a wise man once said, Variety is the spice of life.

Posted on 27 February 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction, Mahoutsukai no Yome

Hello and welcome another episode of Mahoutsukai. This week it makes the best of a bad narrative decision, introduces more tertiary characters and sprints through story arcs like nothing. Lets jump in!

Starting off, I am a bit disappointed in how quickly the auction/dragon bit was resolved. Its as if Mahoutsukai can’t let any given story or arc last longer then 2 episodes. At this point Mahoutsukai is less of a drama and more a “monster/problem of the week” type show. That might be an unfair criticism, as many drama such as Rakugo, Steins;Gate and Your Lie in April also lack the typical “arc” format. However in those the story always seems to make sense, it… it flows, for lack of a better word. One event always lead into the next. In Mahoutsukai just feels like its moving from one story beat to the next, trying to hit all the notes it can along the way, without considering how those beats link up. Regardless how good those stories are alone, they often don’t fit together well.

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

Today on Darling in the Franxx…a beach episode. A beach episode. Really? I mean i suppose even one of my favorite shows, Gurren Lagann, had a beach episode but in that case the story wasn’t taking itself too seriously so it was fine. It even took shots at the concept by having the main fanservice girl go conservative and disappointing the crew. Here though, Darling in the Franxx can’t seem to find a level between being serious and not taking itself seriously. I mean we are in a mostly destroyed world where humanity lives in rolling plantations but there’s a small patch of land with foliage and a beach to have a beach episode. The group has swimsuits despite not having an ocean or a indoor pool at their birdcage. We have the boys getting all excited by swimsuits and asking about kissing, alongside confirmation of humanity abandoning cities to ruin and foreboding dark tidings. I feel conflicted on this show, truly. Based on what I have seen so far I can say it does have merit but alongside that merit is is the ridiculous and similarity.

I had to stop myself rolling my eyes at having the council of Papa Seele declare being surprised about Hiro being her partner(Despite evidence that was the case) and then declaring that Zero Two would bring him to the Grand Crevasse to start human instrumentality or whatever they are calling it in this one. These guys don’t really add anything, they just sit around, reference vague terms and twiddle their thumbs assuming that everything will work out exactly as planned with no effort on their part. Just like Seele. If they are to be here then let them have a presence or at least some meaning on the plots events. So far they are just there to justify the plot contrivance of not getting Hiro in the Franxx sooner.

Another issue potentially rears its head as I fear that this series may be on the verge of developing Kiznaiver syndrome. Wherein the plot is derailed by introducing various love triangles and troubles which proceed to dominate the show with frustrating love antics. In this episode i am already seeing a chart forming with various lines of who likes who. Kokoro appears to be forming feelings for Mitsuru while Futoshi clearly has a bit of a thing with her and Mitsuru seems to be forming some kind of trust between his old partner Ikuno. Zorome and Miku seem mutual though both wouldn’t admit it. Meanwhile Hiro digs Zero Two, Ichigo digs Hiro and Goro has pretty much confirmed that he likes Ichigo though seems unable to recognise his own heartbreak. We got a whole host of feelings and whatnot that could be easily escalated into teenage love troubles as people pine about senpai not noticing them while simutanously lacking the balls to take the indicative to confess. Made all the worse by these kids clear lacking sex education and you got a big boiling pot of teenage angst just ready to overflow. So I am hoping they take a more ambitious route instead of resorting to shipping wars. Like i don’t know? Start killing them off one by one? Ah even that might be a bit on the predictable side.

The most interesting aspect of this episode is the discovery of the town and the kids reaction to it. This could end up being these kids version of the data creature in From the new World, something which throws off their worldview. We do see Kokoro take a book that looks to be about raising babies so I am guessing that would lead to her getting some big questions. Zero Two appears to know the most about the situation and remarks about the city being abandoned. Note her choice of words isn’t evacuated but instead suggesting that humans willfully left the town to rot. Biggest theory I have now is of humans migrating to some sort of data like existence and abandoning physical living together. Hence what the kids protect are actually giant servers containing the virtual population. Thus these mecha pilot kids may be the only real true humans on the planet. These spects interest me about Darling in the Franxx and despite misgiving this could still go in a interesting direction provided the writer takes the opportunity. Though it’s still going to be hard to put forth a serious plotline when we got mecha controlled by female asses.

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

Well I don’t know what kind of production trouble hit Deen, but this was the worse animation of this show to date. Honestly this was near the level of just having powerpoint animation as still frames were abundant and any scenes with animation were made far away enough to excuse lacking detail. There is a scene with clowns running on stage and I swear their running animation is literally three frames. So yeah this series has hit a new low despite the stories being relatively interesting. Our first story details a woman with amnesia who has her former fiance attempting to get her to accept his proposal and remember him. However the woman is clearly rattled by the mans strange sickly father and her nightmares involving giant centipedes. The final twist is stranger than her imagination as the man brings her with him to his father’s death bed only to see him getting devoured by some strange centipede creature. Turns out that seeing this creature is what caused her to be traumatised enough to lose her memory and to make matters even more strange the strange caterpillar creature is actually the collective brains of all the man’s ancestors. So it is family tradition that your brains eaten and joined with all the other brains in the centipede creature. Making for some kind of immortality as all the brains ingested appear to still has sentience. Makes for a decent scary story but it does have its share of holes, such as why is it that the man somehow thought she would change her mind on marrying him if she saw the caterpillar creature again. This one also has a non-ending as the woman just gives up on running away and is presumably…forced into the family? Hard to justify why the entire family is on board with the whole centipede eating your brain thing. I mean you can claim insanity but even the insane have some logic.

The second story was on the weird side as the circus has come to town and men from all over come to see the beautiful tightrope walking girl who captivates all that see her. However the show gets progressively more disturbing as the performers each die horribly during their acts.The level of nocalanence the ringmaster presents to each of their bodies getting dragged off stage makes this seem like a common occurrence. Ultimately it’s revealed that the top performer in the circus gets to marry the beautiful tightrope performer and each performer is gearing to win her affection. Though it’s a scam as the ringmaster appears to have some supernatural ability to sabotage performances so they have gruesome results. At the end of it all the ringmaster states that all the performers are dead and asks for volunteers from the audience with the prize of winning the tightrope girl as their bride. I was originally thinking there might be a bait and switch when the tightrope girl started claiming the ringmaster was a demon collecting souls for I thought it was rather on the nose to declare the supernatural entity. If anything I originally pegged the girl as the demon for she’s the one attracted the men to the tent in the first place by walking around town before the show. However it does appear to be that simple and I really question the logic the male characters show here.

I mean it could be there is some sort of spell keeping them blinded with love and stopping them seeing the trick to it all but I don’t think that’s quite the case. I mean the girl straight up tells the trapeze artist, whom she seems to have genuine love for, that if he tries to perform that he will die and the ringmaster has sabotaged the act somehow. But he’s like “No, I will perform perfectly, have no fear my love!”, thus the trapeze breaks and he falls and dies. Almost comical the timing of it. The final clown at the end with his oh so brilliant plan to announce running away from the circus, by shouting it up to the girl while the ringmaster was quite literally right beside him was just…really I am not sure we can blame magic on that level of stupidity. So we are well past the halfway point of this show and we can be pretty sure this is what we are going to get for the remainder. It appears that Junji Ito’s works just are not suited to the animated medium, or at least they won’t be getting a fruitful effort any time in the future. We have an anime for those not particular interested in reading manga but honestly the manga is just the better option as you get these stories with better artwork and more details that the anime cuts out. But I will say that Ito’s work very much is a matter of interesting ideas not quite fleshed out into full stories even in manga form.

Posted on 26 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Chihayafuru, Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou

If you want a comparison to psgels’ reviews:

Chihayafuru

Heaven’s Memo Pad

Chihayafuru (Madhouse)

Chihayafuru is a sports show that done right. Moreover, it combines many good aspects of both josei and sports, making it thrilling to follow, while provide enough growth and conflicts for the main characters to achieve. Let’s me first point out how niche this sport Karuta is (and all the more reason to applause the show for bringing this niche sport to mainstream audience). Karuta is the sport that embrace the old to the modern Japan, it has a mixture between sport and poetry, it can be play competitively by people of all genders (can you think of other modern sports that allow this?), and lastly, unlike shogi players where they are full-time professional, all karuta players – even the Master and the Queen – aren’t. Most of them have office job or currently in college/ high-school. The latter, in particular, is one of the reason that make Chihayafuru interesting. For you see, people come to this sport purely by their passion. Chihayafuru’s core theme is the exploration of discovering and following your own passion. Each character has their own reason to play karuta, but they share the same love for the sport and it’s inspirational to see the team keeps trying their hardest and keeps improving themselves for the thing they love.

Chihayafuru also benefits from the fact that it understands sports, in general. I have some sports background so trust me when I say this: unless you’re incredibly talented, losing is always your best mate. You tend to lose way more than you win. And losing freaking hurts. EVERYTIME. In addition, your number one opponent is always yourself. Through the course of this season, Chihaya loses lots of times, some of them she was expected to win but failed due to her own lack of confidence. The show understands that losing is a natural part of the game, and never shy away from that. Secondly, I’m really digging how Chihayafuru underlines the fact that each player has their own karuta game; as in you can see their own personality reflected through the styles they play. Chihaya is quick-tempered; she’s born with fast style and quick reflex. Taichi relies more on his memory, while Desktomu uses statistic and analysis and Kana through her knowledge of the one hundred poems (if I were to approach karuta I’d be like Kana, as the “competitive” part is my least concern). These styles fit the personality of each player and as a whole, it’s a firm reminder that there is multifaceted approach to the game and more than once Chihaya learns how to improve her game by observing the good quality of other players.

It helps that the josei part of the show, the undertone relationship of the three mains, remains as a backbone and never overwhelm the whole show. At least for now the romance is kept at the right balance, while allow our characters growing, both in the game skills and in their maturity. I still don’t buy much about the affection of Chihaya towards Arata but I can live with that. If I have one main complain, however, it is that because the sports drama is so well done, when Chihayafuru tries to create its own conflict, it usually falls flat. At the top of my head I could name 2 instances like that (the bully act when they were primary schoolers – actually this show has a very insensitive depiction of bullying; the little drama of Desktomu trying to quit in the middle of the tournament). Other mild complain I would have is how the show can be damn overbearing at times with so much tears. I’m starting to wonder whether it caused by the source materials or by Madhouse volume up the emotional response.

All in all, Chihayafuru is a clear winner. The pacing and the production are top notch, the matches are exciting and thrilling and the characters are relatable with both their quirks, their chemistry and their deep. This is one of those rare show that has universal appeal, given I can pretty much recommend Chihayafuru to any other viewers, anime fan or not, without much hesitation. Can’t wait to watch its second season.

Rating: 83/100

Heaven’s Memo Pad (J.C.Staff)

Well, I’m thoroughly bored.

And I already put aside many of its obvious issues (like NEET detective agency – yeah it doesn’t make sense to me. Or after finishing the show I still don’t get the title at all. I know KamiMemo explained it somewhere but I failed to grasp it).

But let’s be positive. I will address many of the show’s strengths first before touch upon its problematic parts. The production values of this show are surprisingly above par for a low-tier title. The art settings remain its best assets. Each of the setting has a personality of their own and I certainly remember the ramen store, Alice’s room and even the garden rooftop fondly. I also like the way each case takes up usually about 2 or 3 episodes, which for me is a right length to introduce, develop and resolve each case (Un-Go suffered from this). The actual cases are a bit mixed though, as I only enjoyed the first and the last cases. Each arc revolves around a character in Narumi and Alice’s circle, so it’s a good opportunity to flesh out the said characters too.

Or so I thought.

Here’s the biggest issue with KamiMemo: All the characters feel pretty empty. You often see how I complain about characters betraying their own personality, right? Now, this is the exact opposite problem. All the characters of KamiMemo have significant traits that made them stand out at first glance, but they keep that same lines of thought for an entire season and thus they become a bunch of cardboards who say “cheese”. It feels to me that I was reading some typical Visual Novel about stereotyped stock characters. Take Doki Doki Literature Club, using those empty lines with a purpose. In this show they serve no purpose other than making the characters look cool. And cool dish gets cold really fast without any substantial support. As a result, it’s hard to care for any of the character, and it’s a big bummer because those cases based around those said characters. The main duo Alice and Narumi, likewise, still feel very plain and her tsundere act is not something that I need to see again. Alice sounds pretentious all the time and Narumi always shines when the plot calls for it; which again are just plain weak and terrible.

The actual cases themselves, are nothing worth bragging about. It’s neither realistic, nor well-made enough. Many contrived details in the service of moving the plot forward, many big words that trying too hard to impress and Alice has overpowered ability so that when she’s on board, everything is pretty much solved without much sweat. I figure the reason I like the first case is because the cast still feels fresh and I believe the last case redeems the show a fair bit (look, KamiMemo, at least Ayaka has some deeper level). KamiMemo still works as a mild mystery detective case, and the presentation is competent enough to keep viewers engaged, but the serious lack of well-developed characters makes it hard to invest to the show on deeper level.

Rating: 71/100

And done. Tell me your own thoughts on Chihayafuru and Heaven’s Memo Pad if you have seen either of these. Next post, to celebrate one of the most anticipated sequel of next season (no, not Legend of the Galactic Heroes), we will head back to the future for Steins;Gate and its diary in the future Mirai Nikki. Should be a fun ride, Doc. Till then.

Posted on 24 February 2018 with categories: After the Rain, Currently Watching:

Dang it, this episode. Before you know it, a typhoon comes right in sweeping everything away. At first few minutes no one would never have guessed Ameagari evolve in such a complex way, even though we still know next to nothing about that Chihiro person. How should I take on the action of Kondou hugging his underaged employer while they’re alone in his house? I don’t know and none of the main duo seems to know either. But first, let’s tackle the episode’s earlier conflict. When Kondou is increasingly bothered by the book by that Chihiro person, Tachibana keeps blurting out about how wonderful a person Kondou is. Kondou knows he is everything but, so he straight up cuts their conversation short with “you don’t know anything about me”. He doesn’t mean any ill, but there’s a lot of truth behind that statement. The truth remains that they live in a different lifestyle that it feels like they live in two different worlds: Tachibana with her high-school life and lives in the centre of Yokohama, and Kondou lives alone in the crappy apartment trying to make ends meet and raise a kid. Even such a simple topic like a chatroom apps for staffs would remind her how difference a gap between her and the middle-aged Koudou is.

Moreover, Tachibana for the first time feels some resistance from her manager, and it pains her that she might become a nuisance to her crush. That thought totally wrecks the poor Tachibana (and I always think Tachibana isn’t the kind who let her personal feel affects her work) to the point she comes into his apartment, in the freaking typhoon, to… what exactly does she come into his house for? The depressed girl announces that she wants to know more about him, echoing her lines in last few episodes. But Kondou has his own reasons for feeling irritated with all the praises Tachibana says about him. For him, Tachibana holds the idealized version of him that he knows he never going to be. The version that everything about him, although flawed, is kira kira in her eyes. But maybe it’s her who sees through him, it’s her who see many great characteristics from the wear-down, failed and awkward middle-aged man. He doesn’t feel that Tachibana is a nuisance. Quite the opposite that it’s her youthfulness reminds him of many feeling he thought he had forgotten, in which he’s grateful.

Seeing the crying Tachibana, in the moment of brief black out (which unassumingly creates a perfect mood), he hugs her – the first physical contact between them, all the while thinking to himself that he “will close my umbrella and get wet in your rain” – whatever that means. Is it then, the fleeting feeling of love from Kondou? It’s hard to pinpoint, and I’d argue that it’s best not to delve into it too much. The hug, even as a friend or more than that, is still just a hug (we just know one thing for sure that’s is how Kondou transferred his cold to poor Tachibana). Everything in that moment is perfect, from the music, to the lighting and the atmosphere. Definitely one of Ameagari’s best moments to date. We also have quite a treat to see Tachibana again fantasying about that moment hugging Kondou… naked. Gosh, those developments could easily become distasteful and too much in other series, so why on earth Ameagari delivers them so heartfelt and graceful here? As our commenters point out last week, the manga will end soon so there is a high chance Ameagari will finish as the manga approaches its last few chapters. Completed story is always a plus for me and judging how Ameagari performs so far (in other words, flawlessly), I have my high hope that we will have a satisfying ending waiting ahead.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s a full-blown soap opera in this week’s Violet Evergarden, in more ways than one. On one side of the coin, we have a playwriting and a process of bringing a children story to life, the story that tied very well to his feeling towards his deceased daughter. On the other side of the coin, this week marks a clear improvement for Violet’s emotional growth and put a catalyst into her personal arc. It’s the goddamn time that Violet need to learn about the death of Gilbert, but then why make him only disappearing huh? Learning and accepting the death of her love and moving on will be Violet’s own personal growth from this point on. One thing we did learn from Hodgins is that it’s Gilbert who pushed her away before the bomb exploded and saved her life. Violet Evergarden often deals with loss, and more specifically, the loss relationship between parent and their child. For once I believe that theme is appropriate within the settings of Violet Evergarden, the post-war era where there is a clear gap between young and older generation; the settings where the consequences of war still somewhat linger around, like in the form of the robotic Auto Memory with mechanical hands.

This episode is an adaptation from the very first chapter of the light novel, but if you catch on KyoAni’s pattern by now, yeah, they alter a lot from the original story. The playwright, for example, is completely original and it’s one of my favorite part of this episode. Maybe it’s just me who like children’s story but I like what we heard about their story so far: a girl who fight monsters, befriend with all kind of friendly spirits and she must get home because her Dad is waiting at home. Well, what makes this story resonates lies in how well it connects to Oscar’s own story. He’s not alright to begin with, he’s now in a pitiful state, drunken and messy. The play is obviously inspired and modelled after his lost daughter, and he determines to write a story to finish her one-day wish that he’s always longing for. In one of the show’s most beautiful moment, Violets cross the lake by jumping and hopping from fallen leaves on the lake. Oscar’s story is compelling in its own right, but this climax further elevates the drama and strengthen the emotions in the best possible way.

Violet is surprisingly active and expressive throughout this untitled episode. Not only she cares for the play she transcript (She actively asks how the story will go. The old Violet wouldn’t even care to bother), she expresses empathy towards the main character of the play. Empathy plays another big role in Violet Evergarden, as the whole premise is about learning other people’s feeling through the power of writing. It also struck me how the plays from Oscar personally parallel Violet. The play at the beginning ends with “I must live with my sin now for the rest of my life”, and Violet experiences exactly that. She has grown to realize the bad seed from her time at war, killing off countless people, ending countless “one day” dreams. She comes to feel the pain of her own action, and plus to the fact that now she realizes Gilbert is as good as death, it further pushes her into some sort of despair. That isn’t bad by any means, given at least she has a strong feeling towards something. This episode is a clear step up from last week and for me easily the strongest episode to date, coupled by strong visual presentation and a neat story, even it still feels heavy-handed at times.

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

Aah seasickness. It sure brings back some memory. I remember once I got so sick on the boat that I still had that hangover feeling several days afterward where every food into my mouth tasted like cat food. But enough about me and let’s talk about this week’s Universe, where our girls experience the toughness of Mother nature for the first time, even before setting foot into Antarctica. This episode of Universe tackles two main ideas: the huge gap in physical and mental preparation between our girls and the rest of the crew; and those hardness the girls experiencing right now is relatively nothing compare to the South Pole. But what makes it tick is how Universe does it light-heartedly, all the while still serious enough to let the drama sinks in. The girls’ interaction remains a pleasure to watch, as those little silly moments still strengthen each of the girls’ personality. I’m still pretty much on board with this trip.

In the first half, we follow the girls adjusting to the life on board. Filming, doing a kitchen hand, following the crew’s daily routine (and it’s a harsh daily routine to boost, with all the timing and heavy workload). The girls find themselves out of their depth with all the running, weighting lift and only barely makes it there. And they were merely the preparation for the Antarctica trip to come. And things turn out even worse when the seasickness begins to kick in. Speaking of which, seasickness is a clear symbol to show how inexperience our girls are and serve as a great contrast between them first-timers to the rest of the team. Throwing up, unable to sleep, unable to eat, throwing up again. Les miserablés. And that’s not to mention the situation will eventually get harsher. The strong wind current and waves also cause the boat rocking, 50, 60 degree (That’s why we all need a hammock chair to prepare for these kind of situations). And all that was still relatively a child’s play compare to the extreme weather in Antarctica.

The girls have it worse, but they’re even more frustrated to see other crew members seemingly don’t affect by these conditions at all. As Yuzuki puts it, they have “different kind of organism”. Yeah, the idea of high school girls going to the South Pole is kinda fantasy-filled and unrealistic to begin with, but Madhouse team understands it and makes that premise utterly believable and relatable. It’s never easy for mere high-school girls to participate such a life-changing event without learning the hardness of all this. The girls feel themselves hard to keep up with everything, let alone contributing to the expedition team. But as Mari says it firmly in the end. It’s not that they don’t have a choice, it’s more like they always have a choice but they chose to go through all this. It’s just a change in the way you look at it. I’m quite surprised myself that Universe takes a sweet time in between (after their Japan’s stage, before the South Pole destination) but it’s a journey story and I enjoyed the journey thoroughly so far. Now the icebergs are in sight. Welcome to Antarctica, the place of true South where the sun rises and sets only once a year; and no official time-zone occurs given all lines of longitude emerge there. In a way, that makes the place timeless, doesn’t it?

Posted on 21 February 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction, Kokkoku

Hello and welcome to another bi-weekly checkup of Kokkoku. This time we have one episode of action and mystery, while the other is the first dud of the season for Kokkoku. Apologies in advance, this is going to be a shorter one as there simply isn’t much to talk about. Lets jump in!

To start off, Kokkoku has been flagging recently. The cliffhangers for instance all fall short, as immediately upon starting the next episode they are resolved. Its like Kokkoku is afraid to leave the fate of its characters in question. Atleast in regards to the main cast. Then since this cliffhanger is over, Kokkoku chooses to throw more trouble Tsubasa’s way as he gives in to Stasis and slowly becomes a Handler. Really, if he was going to get pushed out or needed to be in danger, why not just continue it with the knife fight? I recognize that mystery of the Handlers and how Sagawa is planning to use them is central, but I don’t see the point of Tsubasa’s conflict anymore. The only interesting thing that can still happen to him would be for another spirit to choose him.

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Posted on 20 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Hourou Musuko, Tiger & Bunny

It bares repeating for those of you who don’t know:

– For rating, I will use psgels’ 100 score system, but keep in mind that my barometer might be different than his. For instance, I consider 60/100 (not 50) as a line between mediocre and passable shows. 75/100 to 89/100 are recommended shows and from 90/100 upward are the masterpieces. In some rare occasions, I will include plus (+) and minus (-) but remember that they don’t have anything to do with the quality of the shows. (+) is awarded for shows that address the gender role thoughtfully, including shows that have strong feminine message. (-) is casted for shows with insensitive treatment to gender roles.

– There will be mild spoilers, as I will address the main theme of each show.

Wandering Son (AIC)

Boy, I know I’d come to enjoy this series given its thoughtful subject matter, but I’d never expect the show gets under my skin the way it did. Wandering Son turns out to be even better than what I expected. Yes, they nail it on the struggles transgender youth must face during their puberty, but at heart this is a coming of age story about coming to term with their own identity. Crossdressing is a way for the kids to express who they truly are, the self that they feel most comfortable with. One thing that struck me the most is how simple the show seems to be, but it’s anything but. From the soft watercolor background, to the simple and plain character designs (those are in the service of the show, as the main leads have their asexual appearances), to the way the story focuses on slice-of-life drama, to the equally soothing soundtrack. Everything seems light-weight at first glance, but inside it, there are many complex relationships and even more complex narrative. The transgender aspect never becomes to preachy or heavy-handed, for once, and the show makes itself clear that it never judges any of these characters. It’s just simply a normal growing up tale from a boy and his friends, nothing more, nothing less.

I also appreciate the anime for the fact that it left out entirely the first section of the manga, so many drama and characters have already been introduced before we get to know them. Fear not, since everything we need to know about the characters and their dynamic are showed and hinted subtlety over the course of its run. For me, the best parts of the show aren’t the subject matter it deals with, but the rich cast and their complex dynamic together. Take the latter for example, many characters form a very special relationship to each other (many has complained the characters behave too mature for their age, which I digress. We need more of these). And it’s these special bonds that made every single one of them interesting. Take Chiba’s love for Shuu: doesn’t matter how he changes, he will always be the special person to her. The same can be said for Yuki and Takatsuki. It often feels like they reach to a mutual understanding that other people can’t never comprehend. And I suppose sharing the same deep bonds as these makes up the reason why they can always rely on each other, even overcome their own issues to reach out for each other.

Shuu and Takatsuki made up two strong protagonists for this show, both because they’re trans who bothered by their own biological bodies, but also their special bond as well. Noted that while Wandering Son deals heavily in transgender issues, all the romantic relationships in the anime are heterosexual – most notably, Shuu and Anna’s love. Why? Because, of course Shuu loves her. Not in a physical attraction sense since I guess Shuu would never desired to kiss her, but in the intimacy sense where he loves her and cares for her like a sibling love. Is it make their relationship weird? Maybe. But it’s powerful nonetheless. Although I already enjoy the first half of the anime well enough, where they focus on the kids and their gender-bender Romeo and Juliet play, the second half is when Wandering Son hits me real hard. Insecurity plays another major role to these kids, as they are constricted by social norms, by the code of rules that dictates how boy and girls should wear and behave. Takatsuki comes a long way until she decides to cross-dress as a boy to school, but Shuu has it much harder by trying the same thing. The escalated tension when Shuu gradually believes that he should dress up in girl’s uniform because he feels comfortable doing so is one of the moment so powerful that it won’t leave my head anytime soon. It’s one hell of a statement right there and it’s more compelling than any LGBT campaign because it comes from very personal lenses.

As a side note, despite people often complain the show for the lack of proper closure, for me it ends in the best possible way. In that final moment, Shuu literally takes a step forward to the stage. That single image can signify many things: that he’s taking anew step towards the spotlight with his new body; that he finally let the dark and bullied past behind; that he moves on to the next puberty stage of his life. Shuu and his friends continue to live on beyond the scope of this little story.

Rating: 92+/100

Tiger & Bunny (Sunrise)

It’s amusing to note that these two shows received the same rating 87.5 here in by psgels, my opinions on these two couldn’t be more varied. Let’s start from its best components first, Tiger & Bunny is the show that has novel concept, a commercial Superhero reality TV show in the neo-modern city that looks like a glamourous version of Gotham. It’s a pretty cool idea and moreover, the concept of commercial superheroes and their ability “NEXT” have potential to develop into heaps of interesting scenarios. It helps that the show makes these superheroes and their moves as flashy and over the top as possible. Another plus for the shameless corporate sponsorship’ logos that pop up in the team uniforms. Flashiness and cool factor have never been this appropriate. The art design is awesome, especially the city itself that feels lush, noisy but gritty at the same time. The production values, for the most part, fulfil their roles quite remarkably. The fights are dynamic, and those action sequences are always damn fun to follow to say the least. The CG department, however, is wacky and looks out of place whenever the two leads are in the combat suits. Take Tiger & Bunny as a purely action show, it certainly satisfies your cravings.

But Tiger and Bunny is more than a mindless action show. It consistently develops into overarching arcs with more serious tone, and that, my friend, is where the show becomes hit and miss. On positive notes, these arcs make Tiger and Bunny more ambitious than your normal Superhero show and the main leads do grow a bit in their character development. The titular Tiger and Bunny, in particular, share some solid chemistry together. The show, on the other hand, has the Western Superhero and Hollywood as their inspiration and it unfortunately inherits the stupidity of Hollywood’s script as well. There is little to no grey area, the heroes are mostly your hero of justice and the villains get more and more evil as the story progresses. I don’t mind about some casual plot holes or some character inconsistencies because… you know, ACTION show, but the last arc, in instance, is so ridiculous and laughable bad that I have to mark the show down several notes. In this last arc, the whole superhero team suddenly becomes puppets with no personality, or even worse, betray their own personality. Kotetsu is being hunted by the police and being broadcasted live, and suddenly, all these developments are set aside for some more plot twists that go nowhere, fighting with Barnaby for no good logical reason and some other bullshits about androids. And I can never get why the main antagonist thinks it’s such a great idea to brainwash dozen of superpowered and influential people, instead of just eliminating Kotetsu in silence.

Character-wise, I regret to say that although spending 25 episodes with them, at the end of the day I don’t know, or care much about them. Both Bunny and Tiger are your stereotyped JUSTICED superheroes, with Barnaby’s backstory is the one we all heard before (Batman, anyone?). Other heroes each have their own episode that flesh them out a bit, but still ain’t enough to make them stand out at all. Villains are over the top in a no-good way and Lunatic (an anti-hero of sort) has never developed into his full potential. Overall, Tiger & Bunny is an adequate take on the same old Superhero genre that make some good use of the old ideas, especially in their brilliant main concept. The mixture of buddy actions, hero of the week, drama make this show consistently entertaining to follow, despite more often than not they follow the same old formula that been around since the creation of Western Comic.

Rating: 78/100

Welp, turns out I finished these two faster than I originally planned. Have you watched either Wandering Son or Tiger & Bunny? What is your take on those shows? Next time, we will meet a girl who plays karuta and a girl who is a NEET detective. Yep, I will review Chihayafuru and Heaven’s Memo Pad. See you in 2 weeks or so (this time is for real). Until then.

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
That was an interesting comparison. Cool to see how far anime has come.
Lenlo
I cant wait to watch Kaze Fui tonight to answer those questions Kazier!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Someone has done a comparison video for Dororo for a scene in the new one, comparing it with the old one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j38anJY3BtA
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe some people found the flashback scenes too dramatic, but I didn't mind, they worked for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo:One thing that has come to mind, how would it go if he encountered the coach again, but in the present?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo:I also liked how the flashback was done in a grainy looking style.
If I found someone who was finding it hard to get into this show, I think that this episode would win them over and it’s the episode I found myself feeling the most.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Episode 13 of Kaze ga tsuyoku is the fitting and perfect culmination of what has come before it and all is now essentially out on the table dramatically and all the better for it because of how well this series has built itself up.
Animosh
In essence it is still a battle shounen though: even if the fights always have narrative weight (it's not just fighting for the sake of fighting), the characters are to a significant extent developed through fights. So if that's not your thing it might be a hard sell even with its amazing animation and sympathetic cast.
Animosh
@Lenlo/Kaiser: the problem with Mob though is that its first two episodes are by far the worst of the series. So if you give it a try you should watch at least until the third episode, and possibly even episode 4/5 (since it's the first really good arc of the series imo).
Animosh
Yeah, it must be tough to blog three shows in the span of two days, especially with how long your posts tend to be. I find it hard enough already just to keep up with everything!
Lenlo
Ugh. Didnt get to Kaze Fui tonight. A shame. This whole Dororo/MobPsycho then Kaze Fui air schedule is gonna be a pain. You can expect Kaze Fui's maybe... Thurs? Not sure yet. Busy night
Kaiser-Eoghan
*newer not old
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some additional things I always notice in certain things, sometimes in these old medieval films or shows, in the American ones the characters occassionally don't look earthy enough.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koyomi from clannad i mean
Kaiser-Eoghan
Somewhere in my head Koyomi is this weird anime take on an autist.
Amagi
All she did what stupid, but everyone was saying that she was a genius that would probably soon develope the theory of eversthing so it must be real even if she's only ever smart when the plots needs her to do some sudden computer hack or something.
Amagi
Smart characters can only be written by smart writers. So sometimes writers just tell that the characters are smart but you don't actually witness it. It's either shown by using such wise one liners or just because someone else is telling the audience they're smart. Reminds me of that one Kyoani genius girl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Can't do the walk, don't do the talk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can buy it more for a tough old dude.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On more thought, alot of it has to do with who is saying them. Men who look like children with no charisma.
Amagi
I absolutely hate these one liners too. Especially when you can already hear them in the trailer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hate it when scripts coverup for awful characters by spamming quips at you.
Amagi
It's why I dislike so much stuff that gets released today. All these run-of-the-mills, copies, clones, alternative universes, sequels and so on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But, beyond cgi, its the modern take wise-ass stuff that drives me nuts.
Amagi
Even if you're just drawing a landscape you need creativity. Where are the shadows, the lighting, what atmosphere should it trigger and so on. Maybe even a hidden motif.
Kaiser-Eoghan
ANARCHY KINO-MACHE!
Amagi
Yeah creativity is, well, should be among the most important things out there. I mean movies, anime, etc are actual art, art is meaningless without creativity. At least the narrating type of art.
Amagi
Kinda miss these anime. They're rare to begin with but I can't imagine anyone creating such a thing nowadays. Like Blame/Ergo/Texhno, even Lain. They never sold though, so I can even kind of understand it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ergo worked for me up until the ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think clever is too often a miused word by people when they describe things. They reduce it to being "Just a smart storyline", when really it is more suited a word to something in tune with its creative side.
Amagi
Ergo Proxy even had a dense/heavy plot that was developing while you're busy figuring the setting out. And many things were shown indirectly. It was one of the rare anime I had to watch twice to get it. Texhnolyze is also such a thing but more bizarre in my opinion, less logical than Ergo, but still great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Its really really nice knowing that I can talk to someone like you about this on my level .
Amagi
It's why I love series with strong settings so much. See Blame for example. Even Made in Abyss. You never know what kind of landscape you will see next and in Blame everything is fucked to behin with.
Amagi
Yeah. Well we do watch movies to feel excitement, and you can't really feel that if you can guess what happens next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now obviously these types of things can end up a coin toss of it either works or it doesn't, but I appreciate the risk taken.
Amagi
I tolerate it for games because whereas I still don't like it there, at least the game as an additional value which is the gameplay. So even with weak atmosphere I am still enjoying it for being a good game. But when I watch a movie I want get sucked in to some degree instead of being aware that I am just the audience (or the player).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like that feeling of I don't know whats going to happen next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like the idea of a madman getting to do a movie and running with his imagination.
Amagi
It's like dreaming and suddently hearing your real life cat meowing and realising that it's just a dream, you're in the bed and about to wake up. And yes this is exactly why I dislike CGI
Kaiser-Eoghan
But sometimes people cry pretentious wrongly, when there wasn't really any intended thing to get.
Amagi
It's why I am so easily angered over little errors or writing problems. Because they destroy the atmosphere more than anything else.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean, I do like themes, characters etc, but my favourite experience is nightmare/dreamscapes.
Amagi
If the atmosphere is missing it doesn't matter what story you are telling, everything feels kinda hollow. Doesn't mean that show with weak atmo and great plot is bad, but it would be ten times better with the proper atmosphere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hate this modern idea of "It HAS to be coherent or mean something or follow some kind of linear or logical thing or some kind of rules"
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah it's why I often say that atmosphere is the most important part of a story, actually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
With cgi I am constantly reminded I am watching a film.
Amagi
Don't know all of the titles you mentioned, will probably look into a few of those I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
What I love about these old slavic art films, is no longer being aware of the world around me when I watch them. They use actual crafted cinematography so they can still feel like you're living it, despite being so unreal.
Amagi
Technobabylon and Gemini Rue are my favorites. These games capture this fucked up feeling of noir-punk and dark cyberpunk perfectly and have a bunch of great twists and character arcs.
Amagi
I like this type of darkness somehow, as well as trash punk and noir stuff. I do enjoy the Wadjet Eyes games for that reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Naturally I loved both
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hard to be God and On the silver globe are insane, there's this sense of what the utter hell am I watching? But you feel like you've been transported someone else entirely.
Amagi
"We" (Мы) is also a Russian dystopia novel, it shared a bunch of similarities with 1984 but was written long before Orwell had had even started with 1984.
Amagi
STALKER has also made me check out a bunch of Russian/Ukrainian novels. I love their ideas. Their dystopias and everything.
Amagi
Slavs are doing good games right now. Looking forward playing this Russia Fallout clone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't remember the name of the Soviet animation with the robot that keeps on working after everyone's dead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But crappy puns aside. Dead mans letters, letters never sent, Ivan's child hood, Andreii Rublev, Cranes are flying and I am Cuba have amazing cinematography.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wanna b a Potemkin master....
....like no-one ever was =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dead mans letters is up there with Threads as being one of the best apocalypse films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*evangelion
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or would that be Nyguen genesis Evagelion =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You'll always be my ho chi main man minh Mario =)
SuperMario
I love Soviet cinema. Yeah the Mirror has that monochrome part. And they aren’t that big as they used to be but Soviet animation has great history
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stalker is an excellent science fiction film and not neccesarily because of need to anaylze it, but because it works of a visual-psychic level.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Zerkalo/mirror is a great example of this, just a stream of the directors thoughts, all visual impressionism, there might be a scene where I couldn't tell you the why or the what, but it'd make me feel something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Basically where to understand, is simply to feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Its always fascinating that some filmakers have the ability to just let the film wash over you and move you with intricately crafted arthouse visuals. That they can do that, without character arcs/intellectual message/monologues.
Amagi
Speaking of soviet stuff I kinda want another movie or maybe even a cartoon like some of these old soviet movies that were partly monochrome and partly colored during important scenes. Didn't solaris have that too? - I know the monochrome parts were done to save money, but it was kinda impressive seeing colorless movies turning colorful ones during emotional scenes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Definately something that would appeal to me in terms of alternate style of animation. I'm actually quite a fan of different, out there animation styles.
Lenlo
Heres the ED
Lenlo
Yup, paint on glass. The entire ED for the first season was done in that style. Mob loves to use obscure or generally unusual art styles to sell the other worldlyness of its spirits.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That sounds pretty cool.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Excuse me....paint on glass effects in Mob? There was a Soviet animator that used that style.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*earlier
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Again you psychically read my mind =P I was just thinking that about Farnese arlier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I think I've accepted there are some manga I need to wait until they're finished before go back to them either due to slow scans or because they've gone on so long or go on hiatus.
Amagi
I think the later half as well as the hiatus killed it for me. Can't deal with that two chapters per year policy.
Lenlo
I, however, am still a rabid Berserk fanboy. :D
Amagi
I am also never a fan of characters completely changing personalities once they're redeemed. Farnese was an interesting villain and while I agree that she needed to overcome her trauma the current Farnese is just some soulless helpful big sister type. She only exists to care for Cjaskar and at some point even Cjaskar's eternal problem was starting to get on my nerves.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Same opinion on Berserk again. The arc before that with the inquisition tower was one of the highpoints of the manga, everything went downhill once Schierke had joined which is kinda sad since it was one of my favorite series before that.
Lenlo
Mob is much more character focused than OPM. OPM riffs on Shounen, while Mob is a much more character driven drama kinda series, with shounen elements. I would give it a shot for an episode or two.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Berserk started losing me when he started travelling around with those kids.
@Amagi/Animosh: Do you believe that Mob has better choreography than onepunch?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi:I will give exceptions to magical elements if a show can produce an adventure narrative worthwhile or if it’s a magical girl show.
If magic is featured in an occult horror fashion or in an exploitative way, I will also lean toward allowing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I very much doubt Mob would be my thing, given how I generally felt indifferent to onepunch man and bias against shounen action, yes the art for Mob, when elevated by an anime adaptation lends itself to something unique looking and I can praise that.
Lenlo
I think ONE's style fits Mob better, and Murata's style fits OPM better. So yeah, Bones chose well on that front
Amagi
Not only are overdesigned characters really bad for movement which is actually needed to make a series and their characters feel alive but they also often look really bad in my opinion and there is a limit on how overdesigned a character can be until I stop taking them seriously at all.
Amagi
Yeah. I also honestly think that many anime are suffering from overdesigning.
Animosh
And I like Mob's artstyle a lot as well. It gives the series a unique look, and it gives the animators all the freedom they could wish for to play around with the characters (and basically everything else) as they see fit. Add Bones to the mix, and you have one of the best-looking series out there.
Animosh
I prefer the full ONE experience too. It's part of the reason why I slightly prefer Mob Psycho. OPM looks great and all, but there's way too much meaningless fighting going on in the manga lately. I prefer the tighter and more consistently subversive storytelling of the webcomic, although I still enjoy the manga a lot as well (and the story climaxes in particular tend to look freaking amazing).
Amagi
Different example since this is actual fantasy but I also prefered the early Berserk series over the later parts. When the supernatural horror stuff was more of a hidden thing appearing around Guts and otherwise just on special occasions, while most people didn't even believe such things exist. I prefer that over the high (dark) fantasy we have now although I get what Miura is aiming at.
Amagi
I guess I just have a thing for this secret-club mentality. I prefer it over worlds with blatan magical powers everyone uses and knows about.
Amagi
It's weird but I almost always hate anime with and about magic, the more fantasy it is the less I like it (usually, not always), but then again occult stuff is always totally my thing.
Amagi
I am quite happy they stick with the original Mob Psycho designs from ONE for this series. The OPM manga is probably one of the best looking things out there but ONE's artstyle has a lot of charme and makes characters more unique, especially if looks as polished as in the anime adaption.
Lenlo
Mmm cant wait to watch it. Kaze Fui, still great
Anonymous3309336
I really like how Kurahana admitted that he let his emotions get to him when he threw that punch at the coach back then. Now he feels remorseful about that day and how he made enemies from his former teammates.
Anonymous3309336
Meanwhile, looks like the next episode will focus on Prince again and his attempts to further improve his time.
Anonymous3309336
Meanwhile, his new teammates understand the pain he's been going through and want him to move on from that. Definitely as some of the best writing of this season.
Anonymous3309336
That punch he threw at the coach was certainly well-deserved, but I can see why the other teammates including Sakaki would come to despise him.
Anonymous3309336
This episode of Kaze ga... was great as always, as we see more of Kurahana's past and how his awful coach made Sakaki and the rest of his former team turn on him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't have minded reading several volumes of seeing Satou on the run.
Animosh
Thanks! That's good to know. An alternate ending could have been fun, but I suppose the ending of the anime was fitting, and if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Amagi
Looks like it's going to end. I guess it ends the same but we can't say for sure yet.
Animosh
For those of you still reading Happy Sugar Life: is the manga continuing past the anime? Or does it look like it's going to end in the same way? If it takes a different path it might be worth checking it out.
Anonymous3307077
children of the whales
Lenlo
Holy crap. Mob Psycho 100 is the best thing since sliced bread. BONES thank you.

And thanks Kaiser!
Amagi
well we have a döner kebab ship at least.
Amagi
I am from Frankfurt, another one of the biggest German cities but there isn't much to see here aside from skyscrapers and banks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*had **taught
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hah had some notion that the Japanese didn't really know English or it wasn't well thought over there?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo's taste continues to be impeccably based.
Kaiser-Eoghan
lol I thought coolass47 was covering Kaguya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Germany, both Koln and Berlin, especially Koln felt like a home to me and felt the less alienating/foreign.
Kaiser-Eoghan
.....probably embarassing but, I think I'd be put off sleeping on the floor in a futon or using one of those weird Japanese toilets.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Truly I am the Kaiser Eoghan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Beyond that I've been to Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never been outside of Europe. I didn't have problems getting around Germany though when I went because my then girlfriend was from there and I knew enough to cope on a Holiday.
Amagi
also no matter which country I visited till now people were always friendly
Amagi
Yeah, now thinking about it, I could even find everything in Iran so I guess Japan should work too. Most people knew enough random English or German words to somehow lead you to the place and you want to visit unless it's some really weird relief or a small town that's difficult to reach but tourists usually stick with the big stuff.
SuperMario
... years ago and Japan is pretty safe and the signs are easy to follow in general. Even the locals who don’t speak English they are pretty friendly and help you the best they can. You don’t need to be worry on that front
SuperMario
I did it alone few
Amagi
Not sure how he did it (he went completely alone too) but it seems to be possible somehow. Not sure if I would make it though.
Amagi
Someone I know managed it alone and he isn't even that good in English.
Lenlo
I think I can manage. Lots of English signage in places like the rail systems and such. That plus the small amount I am learning in preparation and how much english they teach them over there, I should be ok
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Do you feel you'd be able to get by in Japan? As far as I know you don't speak any Japanese.
Animosh
Mob was great again too. The adaptation is really knocking it out of the park. And looks like we'll be getting one of my favorite side stories next week.
Animosh
I love how upbeat Slime continues to be. If only all wars were resolved like this. And then he goes on to improve everyone's lives by building homes, infrastructure, and coalitions based on common interests? Rimuru for president!
Anonymous3303364
I retired from the force in middle school enjoying my retirement, I still see the faces of the comrades we lost when we defeated the big bad and saved the world, I haven't seen my cute marketable mascot in 3 years, but I like this new life I'm living, I thought I found peace but the battlefield always calls out to me, why? Because war never changes.
Anonymous3303364
I love this comment since it's more well put on what this dark magical girls show really is:
Vonter
Perhaps in ten years when the next trope comes. I wonder if some will look back to the tropes from now with different eyes. Like they say, you don't know what you have until you lose it.
Vonter
Yeah, maybe I could watch some of that schlock. In a way some of it has become more endearing over time. Since times have changed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Vampire wars was fantastic though, used shitfuck as a word from what I remember.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yes! Finally they're saying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Watching a compiliation of dub cursings for angel cop, not enough F-bombs yet.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always wish some of these old ovas got to go on for longer, especially AD police and bubblegum crisis. I'd have loved a full gunsmith cats or riding bean show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to watch Angel cop some day I really do.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think vonter, if magical girl ops can't achieve the exploi angle then it has failed all the further. We'll have to see.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I was disappointed when I saw the more modern anime! Because it didn't have the art I liked in the ovas.
Vonter
I do remember now. Did you watched the Birdy The Mighty OVA (not the series, the OVA). That one I remember liking because it was cheesy, visceral, had IMO better designs for the aliens than the ones in the TV series and I digged the dynamic of the two leads. However it was cut short. Perhaps it was too derivative for the time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes I can actually take ridiculousness much better when its a live action exploitation thing if it happens to fail in animated form. That Jeanne d'arc anime and maybe magical girl spec ops would have made hilarious 60s/70s Eurotrash films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of the only modern anime to do the exploitation angle right was Freezing.
Vonter
I want to believe there's something like that already out. But I'm blocked. I can only mention that I now want to rewatch some of Devilman Lady. It does have a female lead battling monsters with an 80s sci fi horror vibe, I don't know it reminds me for some reason to movies like Godzilla 1985 or King Kong Lives.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Or go mental.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Thats one I still need to get around to. If I have to have a darker magical thing, it either has to be camp and goofy enough while taking itself dead seriously or keep some of the fun .
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - If you haven't check a couple of episodes of Lady Devilman. Despite being formulaic, the monsters on that anime are really well made and feel creative, morbid and creepy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: lol Damn, now I want to see Go Nagai's take of Magical girl ops.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I love how some old ovas would sometimes take place in America, but in this IDEA of it, getting it wrong.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I love how they added in those stupid curse words every few minutes aswell, wonderfully incompotent.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Mad bull 34 was lovingly perverse , like a Japanese equivalent to those wonderful Italian police things.
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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 […]

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 – 2 [Urban Legends ~Encountering Rumors~]

Hello and welcome to the first outright perfect episode of anime of 2019! Mob Psycho 100 knocked it out of the park this week in every respect, so let’s just jump right in! Right off the bat, Bones is out in full force animation wise. Everything about this episode, visually, was fantastic. Even in drab, […]

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 02/03 (Boogiepop Does Not Laugh 2/3)

Welcome to Boogiepop, one of the hallmark franchise in the history of this medium. The Light Novels itself dated back in 1995 and is still considered as one of the earliest Light Novels ever released and is often credited as starter of the Light novem trend in Japan. The anime adaptation in 2000 remains one […]

Zombieland Saga – 10-12[NO ZOMBIE NO IDOL SAGA/A One-of-a-Kind SAGA/Good Morning Again SAGA]

And so Zombieland ends…or more that it just decided to drop off for a bit. The last few episodes decided to focus on Sakura with the first being her overzealous preparation for a big concert and Kotaro’s efforts to just get her to chill out and relax, the second being the return of her memories […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 12 [Summer Prank]

Ah, the break is over, the New Year is here and Kaze Fui has returned once more! This week a few more of our boys get qualifying times, Kurahara loves his team and everyone goes camping! Lets dive in! Starting off, I have to make it known how happy I am for our boys in […]

Mob Psycho 100 II – 1 [Ripped Apart ~Someone Is Watching~]

Winter 2019 hype! The new season has begun, First Impressions are going up, and me? I’m writing about the second season of Mob Psycho 100, one of my favorite series of 2016. So everyone, lets dive in! Mob Mob Mob! Right off the bat let me say I loved this premier. It hit a little […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai – 09-13[Sister Panic/Complex Congratulations/The Kaede Quest/Life is a Never-Ending Dream/The Dawn After an Endless Night]

It’s hard to believe that I so easily forgot that this series was written by the same person who wrote the The Pet Girl of Sakurasou but these last few episodes really gave me a solemn reminder of that. The Sakurasou series had a pendant for serious melodramatic antics and while I did appreciate the […]

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Planetes Anime Review – 89/100 – Throwback Thursday

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

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 […]

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 87/100

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 86/100

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018 Fall) Anime Review – 73/100

In the last few years, it’s great to see P.A Works has slowly created their own studio identity, putting more original works with consistent production values. Just in 2018, they produced 4 shows (quite a good number if you ask me), 3 of them were original: Maquia, Sirius the Jaeger and Irozuku. As I said, […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai Anime Review – 82/100

In the wake of many a school based light novel show this may be the small bits of fresh air was can savor out of this overdone setting. Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl(Or by its japanese title above) is a series not about rascals or bunny girls but instead about contextualising common high […]

Banana Fish Anime Review – 72/100

Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 73/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]