Posted on 23 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Megalo Box

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the hypest episode of the season, as Megalo Box lays everything on the table for next week’s finale. Lets just jump right into it.

Megalo Box has a lot going on this week. We saw the return of multiple characters and got updates on their lives. We were shown backstories for our leads, and best of all Yuri made his choice. But we will get to him.  First up, the ending rap. I am not normally a fan of rap, and what Megalo Box and Devilman Crybaby of last season made me realize is, that’s because I hate the subject matter. The “gangsta” lifestyle makes for terrible music to me. But lyrics about people, their struggles, who they are? Reminds me of Eminem’s “Mockingbird” and “When I’m Gone”, the only rapper I could ever stand. That plus the uniqueness of hearing Japanese rap, so very distinct from English, just really sells it. If nothing else this season, Megalo Box has succeeded in getting me to buy its soundtrack on the 27th.

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Posted on 22 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Steins;Gate 0

Welcome to Steins;Gate 0, this week with the most “final” middle of a series episode ever. We have drama, we have guns, we even have probable time skips! Lets jump in.

This was an overall solid episode. It tried to wrap up, or tie together, a lot of plot threads and resolve character arcs before jumping into its second half. None of the drama really felt forced, though I do think Maho’s bathroom scene shouldn’t have been played for comedy. In general it was just a solid wrap before things start to get crazy. I say start to because episode 12 is when the original Steins;Gate really kicked into gear, so I expect White Fox to be going for a similar pace here. Now, on to specifics!

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Posted on 20 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Welcome to Bates hotel!!

Alright, make no mistake, this is the funniest episode of Golden Kamuy we will ever have. Still dark, have very little to do with the main plot, but it’s spooky fun. Even trashy fun with all the dick jokes. This is Golden Kamuy at its loosest shape. Which is not a bad thing at all, although I must admit that the humor remains hit or miss to me. In this episode 11 (!), we have another mad tattooed prison of the week, this time revolves around a former doctor who regains youth (and changes sex somehow) by killing and cutting off parts of the victims. Nutcase she might be but it’s one of the strongest part in Golden Kamuy in general. Not only the side-villains are memorable, they fit the show’s theme like a glove. Ienaga, the hostess who runs a murder hotel, is lust with immortality and youth, both themes in which Golden Kamuy has consistently explored. Her design is decidedly goddess-like which contrast very well with the plain-looking of other characters, especially the soldiers. In Golden Kamuy, the weapons these characters using could tell you whole lot about their characters: Nihei with his one-bullet rifle; Henmi with his sickle, and now this new villain and… syringes. Way too awesome.

Another notch for the design of the hotel itself, in which it’s designed like a maze, and we have this wonderful shot (screenshot above) of the interior of the hotel which for me remains the episode’s best single shot. I’d love more if the episode spends more time with the hotel’s layout. But being Golden Kamuy, it’s pretty busy with other stuffs as well. And that other stuffs are the (coincidently?) arrivals of both our gang and Ushiyama on the same night. Ienaga recognises two of them, but in its twisted turn of event these two have a lust for her (pure lust this time) and chase her around the corridors. It’s when Golden Kamuy becomes some sort of a farce pulpy mystery in the same vein of Cluedo board game that somehow torture room, licking the eyeball, bombing, wall-breaking, bombing (it deserves to be mentioned twice) and dick jokes make their appearance. While I can live without Asirpa participating all these dick jokes and the mild rape jokes to boost, it almost succeeds because it never takes itself too seriously. Speaking of tone, one thing I realize is that the more Golden Kamuy gets into these new adventures, the less serious and more goofy it becomes and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

More significantly, the Immortal Sugimoto finally meets Undefeated Ushiyama and apparently they’re both to awesome that they’re engaging on the fight just by the handshakes. Okay, I still don’t like this Ushiyama dude since he’s all about brute force but even I can’t deny that he’s up to the level of Sugimoto. The star of the hour, however, is Shiraishi; the one who argurably goes through hell (and back) and all his expressions are just so hilarious. On the more serious side, he’s supposed to meet Ushiyama the next day, which for my money to hand these tattooed skins to him. The plan fails, although Ushiyama has another tattoo after this, but by this development I actually think that Shiraishi won’t betray our Sugimoto and Asirpa. Then again, we still need to keep an eye on Kiroranke, who can just sit back and wait for the right opportunity to strike. I don’t see the anime ending anytime soon at this rate, so just hope we’ll have some kind of conclusive ending and pray for the next season to be announced.

Posted on 19 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Pretty visual aside, I wonder how much fuel left for this aircraft before it runs out of ideas. HisoMaso has never been a show with detailed world building, or even thick plot to begin with, and as the usual case for me, nothing much happened in this episode. The biggest plot point of this week is that Hisone and Hoshino now have to choose between love and career because somehow fallen in love is like a toxic for your dragons. I guess Okada’s point is that she raises one of the most common issues normal working woman will have to face: family or career, but even putting this story in that light, I can’t help but think HisoMaso is sexist. Guys are free to flirt around, guys at the top twitch the noses of our girls, and our girls take all the fall. Not only Hisone and Hoshino, but now Natsume is officially a Binden – literally a sacrifice (even that poor girl can’t have the man she loves, damnit). So by having Hisone decides to quit the job at the end, it also mean she strays away from the restriction, the repression. Hopefully I read that right because to be frank, part of me still thinks that Okada’s just trolling us around.

We get to know more about this Natsume – Okonagi’s romance and I’m not in a bit surprised here. It goes to the most common trope of unconditional love from Natsume, while Okonagi part-oblivious, part-see her as his sister- bullshit. I don’t really appreciate the way he dodges the kiss, but the blowing air to the nose part itself is quite a lovely bit (guess that mean that Masotan will have a chance to blow her nose in the Ritual). Another detail is about the village dedicated to this Ritual, where they raise young boys and girls to be shrine maidens and… what? Priests? How many priests they need in the ceremony anyways? (the answer is one). And how long in between each ceremony (the answer is 74 years). You get that? The whole generations of shrine maidens and priests were wasted because the dragon won’t wake up. This tells me that they haven’t thought the world-building out well, because the more you think about how it works the more it falls apart.

But we still have some nice moments in this episode. Nao has a chance to shine. Being somewhat written out towards the latter half of this series (the reason is simple: she doesn’t have a dragon), it’s nice to see her piloting Masotan again, an evidence that she has finally came to terms with being who she is, and piloting Masotan also means she helps out Hisone and her dragon as well. She has some nice chemistry with the designer (but wait, doesn’t she have a crush on this guy? Why can she piloting then? Guess the saying remains true: each girl tastes differently, right Masotan? In short, this is a so-so episode in an underwhelming last arc so far.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

The theme of this week is the kind hearts of our cast, and we have 2 parts that take the idea and go into different directions. Remember when I mentioned before how Hinamatsuri would be if Anzu takes Hina’s place? That’s exactly the idea behind the second half. I’m glad that Nitta has some major focus this week. After all, he’s still the poster boy, right? The fun begins when Daisuke, a dedicated journalist decides to make a realistic documentary program about Nitta – the yakuza who becomes some sort of urban legend now. Daisuke prepares everything, even his will, except for one thing: the expectation level. Nitta turns out to be a pretty nice dude, even nicer now that they film his daily activities. The guy finds himself in a bind, so he provokes Nitta and later stages the whole thing. Reality be damn, now he has the ultimate heartless devil yakuza that every love to hate.

This segment works in two deeper level apart from the sheer ridiculousness of the premise (come on, filming a yakuza’s daily activity? It’s like asking the magician to reveal his tricks). First, it serves a commentary to the extent of public manipulation the press/ the media can do to twist the truth for more attention-grabbing exaggerating details. Second lesson, just don’t judge people based on your impression. I particularly enjoy how Nitta’s bosses join in this little fraud. They must have so much fun observing how Nitta reacts.

The second segment plays out like any dad’s wildest dream when Anzu trades in Hina’s place for a few days and effectively reminds Nitta how much of a douchebag Hina is. Anzu is nearly perfect in every ways, helping him with housework, complements him and happily enjoys the time with him. Compared to the first time we know her when she’s basically a brat, it’s amazing to see how much she has grown, and Nitta seems to have the same opinion. So Nitta does what a sensible douchbag does (I swear Nitta and Hina deserve each other), spoils her to bring back her selfish self, except it backfires. I would’ve found this segment more hilarious if Nitta succeeds in his plan, in order to see the other side of Anzu. They have a great time together (especially digging the angel-Anzu and devil Hina metaphor), until he realises it’s time for her to go back her home. Which means ‘back to reality’, where Hina disappears in a school ski trip. With only one episode left for Hinamatsuri, I figure it this final event will have something to do with Mao (otherwise, why’s she there?) and it’s a school trip so my girl Hitomi will be there as well, yay! As a final note, not only Utako but now Hina gone in the final credit. I get the intention, but man somehow it creeps me out.

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

Huh…wasn’t expecting that to be resolved so quickly. So as predicted Zero Two makes it to Darling and as predicted they power up and drive off the aliens. Also as predicted Zero is is now dead…or dying…or in a coma…or in some state that leaves her dead eyes by episodes end. I admit to be rather ambivalent about this development. As a matter of fact this episode despite the high stakes and dash to get Zero Two to the finish line, was rather by the numbers. Or it was more that I just felt rather bored as the events unfolded. I also wasn’t fond of how things played out here as we had sudden revelations that only served to make the plot more mundane. For one Ikuna used some sort of super attack to clear rubble which resulted in her aging rapidly which seems like a very left field development as previous episodes hinted more that the rapid aging was a side effect of being clones with a shortened life span, not connected to the operation of Franxx. This just feels like a cheap excuse to negate the shortened lifespan and shows to me that Trigger is gunning for a happy ending. There is also the matter of the Nines whose origin is explained and despite them being an antagonist rival since the halfway point of the series, are tossed aside faster than you can say wasted. I don’t understand, i thought they were going to act as some sort of villain vanguard and they were certainly built up as much but instead here they are just getting decimated which makes me question why they are even here.

We get another exposition dump from the Klax queen who proceeds to reveal everything there is to know about the Klax history, who they are, were they came from, everything. Yet again it proves to be far less interesting than what was previously speculated. Not to mention a rather lazy means of exposition, it is odd for Frannxx to hold it’s cards so close to its chest for the majority of the series, only to just fling everything out lazily by series end. Then there is Franxx who gets some sort of redemption by sending Zero Two to Hiro but again sort of killed the deeper more morally ambiguous aspect to his character. Maybe that might explain my apathy in regards to this episodes content, for Franxx has taken the elements that I previously found interesting and turned them rather rudimentary and mundane. So the Aliens are driven off with them saying they will get those pesky humans next time so I wonder just what the last three episodes of Franxx are even going to be about. We could have Hiro and the rest preparing for a counterattack and have the series end with one more fight or we could just end the series with Hiro and rest setting up some new kind of humanity with the promise that they will fight off VIRM the next time they return. The first ending is predictable but at least could be enjoyed for the spectacle but the second ending would be a terribly unfulfilling conclusion. Which is bad because i get the feeling they are aiming for the second ending more than the first. Regardless I just feel rather tired of this show by now, it had its ups and downs while being a decently enjoyable watch but these last few episodes I will finish more out of obligation rather than genuine interest.

Posted on 16 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Megalo Box

Incredible Megalo Box… Simply incredible. This week was perfect in every way but one, and at this point that one is easily overlooked. Let’s skip this preamble and jump right in!

Megalo Box had a lot going on this week as we see the culmination of a lot of characters big arcs. Starting off, lets go with Joes. The symbolism of his shoddy gear, which we only saw him wear back as Junk Dog, falling off through the fight was amazing. We saw that each time his gear fell off he took the lead in the fight, hitting Burroughs hard. It was a rather obvious, but still great, metaphor for Joe refusing to be/fighting back against “Junk Dog”. We saw that Joe didn’t want to throw this fight, but was content to stay “Junk Dog”. Atleast until Nanbu and Yuri/Sachio stepped in that is. What’s interesting to me is Yuri is Joe’s dividing line. Yuri is what separates Joe from Junk Dog, ever since their first fight which woke him up. I love everything about it.

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Posted on 15 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Steins;Gate 0

Welcome one and all to another week of Steins;Gate 0! This week we have fluffy, lovable dates, awkward fan service and terrible revelations. Lets jump in!

So overall this week felt mostly like a filler episode. I understand that some of the contents were necessary for relationship building and such. That it was a sort of “Calm before the storm” as things begin in earnest. That doesn’t change the fact that, outside of Okabe’s “date” with Maho, nothing much really mattered this episode. The contents ranged from lovable cute character moments to terribly awkward fan service, which I will get into in a moment. My hope is that this is the slowest Steins;Gate 0 gets. That after this, with Okabe outing himself to Maho and her revelations with the laptop, the central conflict will come back into play. We will have to wait and see. Now though, lets get into specifics.

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Posted on 13 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

New episode, new season, new plan, new scenery and possible new set of enemy too. Considered Golden Kamuy’s track record, I won’t be surprised if the new face Kiroranke, at the risk of Asirpa slaps me on my face for saying so. He’s in the interesting position in all this, both an ex-7th Unit Hokkaido, and as an Ainu people who happens to be a very close friend of Asirpa’s father. The look in his eyes regarding Shiraishi tattooed skin, however, inform me that he wants that flesh badly. For whatever reason, I think it’s a bad move from Sugimoto to reveal this important piece of information, and at his friend’s risk to boost. It should be clear that Kiroranke is also interested in finding the gold, although for what purpose would prove to be a calling card on his character. I doubt he does it for greed, for instance, and I double doubt he does it for the Ainu people (remember the Ainu community considers the gold cursed?). What motivate him, as I’m guessing now, has to do with the relationship between him and Asirpa’s father.

The ball has dropped but I’m quite surprised that it isn’t at all dramatic. In fact, I’m a bit let down by the revelation, both on how Asirpa and Sugimoto take it almost too well, and how the truth is come out from a total stranger that we don’t even know before. It feels info-dump at best, my friend. One interesting bit we can take away from his story, however, is that Nopperapo guy, and Asirpa in effect, are only half-Ainu. My first reaction was that I don’t want Golden Kamuy goes into this direction, since the story would make more sense if they’re full Ainu. In some sense this show is an exploration of the Anui and the interaction between them and Japanese people. But now thinking back, the representation of the Ainu culture has been portrayed with respect with (as far as I know) accurate details. Moreover, from the small pieces we gathered so far, with green eyes and all that, they could very well have Russian blood. It’s an interesting way Golden Kamuy is leading here for sure, but with only few episodes left how the hell they can seal off the deal here? I’m not sure if we even get to meet this Faceless guy at this rate.

In other parts, we have the continuation of the hunt last week, and my God that was a smart plan from Tanigaki until Lt Tsurumi appears out of nowhere (gosh, he’s everywhere) with his team that effectively kill off all the tension it built up so far. And do we really believe that Ogata and Nikaidou would be that dumb that don’t notice a whole unit tailing them? then whole string of absurdist events happen: The CGI bear makes a comeback, Missing Brain dancing while slicing an ear off (yep, I referred to the infamous scene in Reservoir Dogs), Tanigaki somehow gets away unscathed (do the unit forgets that he’s still a soldier?) and somehow because Missing Brain is enjoying slicing ears and noses that he forgets to pursue Ogata, hmm? Part of me still glad that Tanigaki made it alive and now live back with the Ainu people, except that… Ogata is still alive somewhere, you know.

This episode again touches at the immortality theme and the thrust to obtain that power with the tale of mermaid and a girl who eats its flesh to remain young. In fact, Golden Kamuy always has this fascinating perspective to death and immortal. At one point, Sugimoto said that he is immortal because he misses his chance to die. Both Hijikata and Lt Tsurumi seek immortal in some ways as an ultimate power. But like the tale of mermaid illustrates, to obtain that treasure can become a curse, as they can do nothing but watch the people they love pass away eventually.

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

Suddenly, Aliens. If you are surprised by this sudden plot twist then I am guessing you are new to Trigger works. For in some form or another space gets involved. Indeed this is fairly reminiscent of Kill la Kill or Gurren Laggan and I will toot my own horn about somewhat anticipating it. I at least was right on the money about Father and the leaders being of extraterrestrial origin. But well here’s the deal. Turns out the Klax were the good guys all along who were trying to protect the planet from alien invaders who tried to drain it’s resources. They kicked the Aliens ass before and went underground to prepare for a second attack in the future. Meanwhile humanity surfaced on the planet and the Aliens, in a mark of rather genius manipulation, infiltrated their society, introduced Manga energy to get them to slowly kill the planet and even got humans to fight off the Klax for them. The Alien race is named VIRM and as a Reddit poster pointed out, VIRM and APE are a clear anagram of VAMPIRE. So yep, now they have revealed themselves and disabled the Klax queen while setting the planet to self destruct because we need a big finale.

Naturally the ground troops are wondering just what in the hell is going on and we got complications with the team in regards to Kokoro and Mitsuru. Both seem to be remembering unconsciously as they call each other by name, promoting an obligatory headache. Actually it is a common trope in regards to memory stuff but why is remembering always followed by some kind of headache? Shouldn’t it be more along the lines of just them accidentally recalling and wondering how they knew? I suppose the boring answer is that APE put in safeguards to [prevent them from recalling old memories. But in that regard this isn’t so much memory erasure but rather locking away memories. Well memories or no memories there is a problem, Kokoro is pregnant. But nobody knows she’s pregnant and sees it as some regular illness. So she’s going to get real surprised when her belly swells and suddenly she has contractions. Not sure how Darling is going to handle this particular plot point so close to the end goal but it’s going to be troublesome if they need to pilot.

I can’t say I appreciate the whole thing with the Loli Klax queen basically NTRing Zero Two. Much like the previous episode regarding Ichigo getting between Hiro and Zero Two, this feels like a forced development. It’s obvious that they are setting up Zero Two coming back to Hiro and just powering up the new Strelizia into some super form to take down the aliens. I doubt this series is going for an end of evangelion ending despite how hard it’s foreshadowing such a turnout. I said before that if this series was going to take a dark turn, it would be at the halfway point so now is too late. At most it will be Zero Two dying by series end which is very hinted at. But if they go that route then…this would basically be repeat of Gurren Lagann’s ending? Minus the giant battle on the milky way while using Galaxies as shurikens. Of course not exactly the same but the beats may be quite similar which leaves me with mixed feelings. For throughout the entire series there has been constant foreshadowing and hints at much darker tidings to come and I don’t believe that is just me looking too deeply into things. To me this series felt like it was promising to dive into deeper more mature themes but ultimately skirted the edge without truly risking anything. So i do feel cheated in that regard, much like watching something that was putting up a front of being deeper than it was. I do feel like they could have taken more interesting routes but didn’t and instead played the safe game. Which can be fine but rather underhanded when you promise more than what you are.

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