Posted on 18 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

After the break last week (due to the Hokkaido earthquake), we are back with this final match between Ayano and Nagisa. While I can’t say I care too much about this match, Hanebado begins in a solid note. Having our two main characters flashback to their previous match, each questions the exact same concern: “what do they play badminton for?”. Although Nagisa and Ayano have different issues regarding their struggles, they all come down to that very question and I believe Hanebado nails it right there. Ayano plays badminton to win her mom’s attention again, while that match crushes Nagisa’s confidence to pieces. They all have good reasons to play this final match, except that… Ayano doesn’t take it very seriously at all. It’s just a bit of a shame that Hanebado portrays her as a one-sided boss who apparently need to learn her own lesson during this match.

Hanebado seems pretty comfortable now at showing Ayano’s multiple personalities. While previous episodes I have issues with her inconsistent character, this episode I feel that they did an alright job for Ayano, probably due to how they downplay it (still, watching Ayano turns from absent-minded mode to creepy mode in a span of an eye-blink is still… a feat to the eyes. Ayano’s mom, the person who is behind all this, is still… how do I put it… passive at best. It’s good that finally someone close to her (Elena) decided that she can’t stand this current Ayano so she confronts the bad-mom about it. Whatever they payoff gonna be, we will have to wait and see next week.

It’s Nagisa who do most of the lifting this week. Make no mistake, she regards this final match more as a match to overcome herself rather than to win Ayano. She carefully watches the video where Ayano played (which is implausible when you think about it. This is regional, amateur tournament after all) and she decides to throw Ayano off by not playing her smash. The match pans out alright so far, buy which I mean the first two points. Animation-wise it’s stellar, but they can’t escape two factors. First, the annoying analysis that tries to over-explain the situation. Why don’t you let us understand by the visual alone, Hanebado? Second, I’ve noticed for a while but Hanebado tends to place its focus way too much on the beginning points of the match. As someone who already been through this, I’d tell you that the starter points don’t always mean anything. Badminton is after all about the endurance, about momentum and about how you outlast the opponent so I just don’t feel the weight of these two points at all. The night is still young, girls.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Planet With

Forgive me for not covering this last week but believe me when I say it wasn’t due to lack of interest. Planet With still remains a show that just tops itself with every episode. Though I don’t have much to say about episode ten other than it being another episode which could have acted as a finale to the entire series. It’s interesting that the names of Generalissimo and Sensei turned out to be Karellen and Rashaverak which are the names of the alien overlords in Author C Clarkes “Childhoods End”, a reference which truthfully I can’t quite discern the meaning of. I mean there is a certain similarity in themes of humanity evolving and aliens interfering with humanity in order to guide them towards a certain path but admittedly it could just as well be a small reference. The fight between the pacifist faction and the sealing faction was some good old mecha showdown action the likes I have not seen since Gurren Lagann. It could have very well have tied this series up with a satisfying bow but we have a time sip where we face off against the final boss of the series, the dragon on the dark side of the moon. Episode eleven really felt like a set up episode as it primarily focused on where everyone was after five years. Most ended up working for Nebula and even Nozomi is becoming a very powerful telepath. So now Ginko is a christmas cake, Takazou died choking on mochi,(Honestly thought it would be the steak to do him in) Benika, Hideo and Yousuke are working with Nebula with it not being established if any romance happened, Miu and Harumi spent college forcing Souya into the judo club so they could kick the crap out of him and bully him regularly(Might be a bit of spite involved there but there does seem to be a flirtatious vibe to it too.) and Nezuya has an alien girlfriend, because of course he does….man, I love this show.

It’s pretty heavily implied that Souya and Nozomi got together but I would like confirmation. normally shipping would annoy me but I like these characters too much and all hell will break loose if they don’t kiss at least once. I really must applaud just how well this show is concluding as this episode pretty much answers every lingering question one could have. What is the dragon? A member of the people of paradise who refused to give up his body and built psychokinetic armour around himself till he lost his human form. Why are the people of paradise helping? The person helping Souya is the older brother of the dragon and wishes to save him. Was Takashi related to the dragon? Yes, he was a part of his psychokinetic armour that fell from the moon and formed into a human being which the dragon ”dreamed” of.(Was it that a dragon dreamed of being a human or that a human dreamed of being a dragon?) How is humanity dealing with the weird incidents from five years ago? Still debated but most have moved on with their lives. Even as far as where everyone is currently at in their lives and how they developed has been answered and the only unfinished business is dealing with the dragon himself.

Standout of the episode was Ginko and Souya’s talk on the roof as it really does highlight how they have developed a brother sister relationship against all odds considering they are from two previously waring races. It’s nice to see Souya move past vengeance and seek out retribution for the things his race did highlighting that no one in this show is truly evil, but rather has their own perspectives which can clash badly. Even the Dragon seems confused and lost as he lost his place when his rare evolved past bodies, leaving him without anywhere to go back to. In fact the Dragon feels like he is in the same place that Souya was at the start of the series, having lost everything he ever cared about and lashing out. His actions in destroying Sirius were mainly motivated in his sense of justice and believing Siriuains were beyond hope. Now he himself is in the position of being beyond forgiveness, yet still being forgiven by the same race whom he deemed beyond hope. I admit that these things are rather cheesy, especially when talking about evolution of love but is feels like the right kind of cheesy for this kind of show. That is the thing, for a show featuring mass genocide, this show is remarkably positive throughout. Everyone is trying to go there own way in life even if that way leads them to make some awful decisions. But not everyone is beyond hope provided they are willing to reflect. Of course not everyone will reflect and that’s when you need to punch them in the face with a steel clog. That will put things in perspective…probably. Well on that last note I will say that if the final episode does not end in a clog punch that I will be greatly disappointed.

Posted on 17 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The narrative beat of Revue Starlight has reached its new tempo with the end of the audition. All the things that Revue Starlight has been building up to begin to payoff this week. I must say though, it comes out a bit too predictable this week. We have the last stage audition with literally the supporting cast was put on the audience sits, the duet duel that decides the ultimate pair. But before that we have both Karen – Hikari pair and Tendou – Claudine reaffirm their roles and their relationship again. And then the ending which parallels exactly with what going on in the Starlight play. Mind you, there are still two episodes left so it’s possible (there’s a high chance it will happen eventually) that Karen and Hikari will rewrite the Starlight’s written fate. That can’t hide the fact that Revue Starlight this week lacks a factor to truly wow us.

“The central pair” emerges as the main theme of this week. Revue Starlight cast functions in pairs (poor Mahiru) and in this instance the final test is to decide the ultimate pair. Last year’s Tendou and Claudine against our Karen and Hikari. Before that final audition, we have a glimpse to Karen and Hikari’s time together, which sadly plays out as an extended episode 4. We don’t learn much of new thing regarding their relationship, and that’s the main thing that makes the final scene where Hikari “betrays” Karen doesn’t feel earned. You don’t see much of Hikari’s motive and I suppose she does it because she’d be the one who sacrifice. It makes more sense in that context so I just want to learn the true ending of Starlight play. Is that one girl fall of the cliff while the other one reaches for the star the true ending after all?

We also learn more about Tendou Maya – Claudine relationship and for me it fares better. They can’t hide the fact that they’re rivalry, but they also have deep respect for each other’s talent. It’s like they’re your typical fated rivalry where both try to improve themselves to surpass the other. Claudine and Tendou lose, with Claudine crying in French can be a little cheesy for my taste, but I love how Tendou accepts it quickly. She (and Claudine) have tried their best, so there shouldn’t be any regret, right?

It’s this episode where we also get the real sense of “supporting cast”. Personally, I would prefer to have develop every member of the cast more, in this episode they’re only there as your typical side-characters. It feels as if the climax (or the closing act, depend on how you view it) has no place to flesh them out more, which for me is a wasted opportunity. Maybe it’s me who was fond of the Banana-arc so that now when they address the main arc I don’t feel it as exciting. Hopefully Revue Starlight stays away from the soap opera and still manages to catch us off guard again, like what it did in the first episode and the Banana arc.

Posted on with categories: Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro, Currently Watching:

Well, no surprises here. Chio-chan flips back to its usual self. Chio-chan has always been a minimalist-set show, with mundane set up in which only a handful of characters carry the gag. It rings especially true this week, as Chio’s antic makes up the first half and Manana’s wild imagination drives the second. As per usual with the show, it has some amusing little moments but it can’t help but drag out a fair bit, plus the fact that the punching lines are underwhelming in both segments.

The first bit can totally be summed up as Chio-chan has a late-game night. I must say I pretty enjoy Chio’s game persona. The fact that she would betray her comrades for the cash is totally in character. And her supreme instinct when it comes to… get away from her mom is certainly funny and relatable (I swear I used to be very good at that, so do all of us I believe). She gets so excited that she can’t get back to sleep again, and that waking up at 4am thinking that she was late certainly doesn’t help. So now our Chio has two options: sleep again and risk being late at school; or game away and feeling like shit in the morning. With our Chio, the answer is obvious, but she makes sure to have an insurance: calling Manana up to wake her up and hide her face in a bag so that no one can find out it’s her. While the whole thing goes pleasantly enough, it lacks the necessary punchline to make this segment memorable.

In the second half, Chio and Manana rehearse on what Asobi Asobase did few weeks ago: sniffing at each other’s armpit to find out if they smell. The saving grace in this segment is how Manana goes from pity to blaming Chio for many completely unrelated failures in her life. We witness how that train of thought goes (well, her thought-process makes sense to me) and how she reacts “crazily” to the eyes of people who can’t follow her thoughts. So she brings Yuki in, as a “Death Scythe Hosokawa” who brings the cold truth (more like a splash of water) to the victim. She did, not to Chio’s “Wild Game” odor (as soon we learn that it’s because of the dog) but to the truth about the boy Manana has a crush on: he just likes pretty girls. With only one episode, I just hope Chio-chan goes all out for once.

Posted on 16 September 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Welcome to another week of Banana Fish. This week it slows down, gives us some heartwarming character scenes and the beginnings of a gang war. Lets jump in!

So, starting off, the general stuff. Overall I enjoyed Banana Fish this week, but we have started to see issues with the breakneck pace it’s had until now. Banana Fish tried to cover so much this episode that the tone felt all over the place. One scene we are enjoying some light hearted banter and fun between Ash and Eiji, then the next there’s a tragic heart to heart over Shorter. Throw some serious paranoia in there and it just feels… off. Individually each of these scenes were great, I enjoyed each one. But the pacing Banana Fish has had really hurts it in these slower moments. There’s just not enough time to really soak it in before something else happens. It’s a shame because in the action segments, the pace helps everything flow, so nothing drags. But slow moments are supposed do that, at least a little.

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Posted on 13 September 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Steins;Gate 0

This week Steins;Gate 0 gave me, most, of what I wanted. It gave us a journey through the future, a Time Leap chain and the return of our favorite mad scientist. However, for all that I love it, its to little to late. Lets jump in!

So, where to start. Leaving the big spoilers for after the read-more tag, Steins;Gate 0 did a lot right this week. For example, Okabe’s VN did a fantastic job of changing just a bit for each scene as he went back in time each scene. In particular, its noticeable when we get to hear his Kyouma voice, which was radically different from our “normal” Okabe. Loved it. The music was also on point, giving us some classics from the original series along with some Steins;Gate 0 specific tracks. I never thought the music in any particular scene was out of place, and it did actually add to a number of them. I have also read that, supposedly, the entire reverse time leap sequence is anime original. That the VN just had a black page with text. If so, then good job White Fox. Because that sequence, mostly, worked.

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Posted on 11 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the one who changed the fate, figuratively), and it introduces the Starlight play, in which serves as a foreshadowing to our pairs. Last week, I criticized the episode for abruptly put Banana against Hikari without us to learn about how she feels now. Turns out that the last episode only raises the stakes for Banana’s broken dream this week. First, she sees how everyone in her class moves on to the 100th Starlight play with enthusiasm, leave her completely behind (with the old script). Second, she comes to a realization that it wasn’t Hikari who changed the fate, it was Karen who crashed the stage in the first episode that cause the audition to have 9 members instead of 8. Finally, Revue Starlight raises her situation into desperate level, where she knows that losing mean that her hope to revive the 99th Starlight will be gone.

That raises the stake to this week’s duel (Duel of Bonding) where you can see Nana’s increasingly frustration through her heavy blow and her eyes. I especially like how Revue Starlight conveys her emotion visually. The sword she draws hiding her eyes, indicate that she rather turns her eyes away from the present. As she draws the 99th Starlight show poster on the stage, and Karen refuses to be a part of it anymore, it’s almost heartbreaking. Nana lose is written very clear in the first moment, not necessary because Karen is a better opponent, but it’s more because Nana loses the fight mentally. We also learn that the last audition will happen next week, which I think is appropriate. After all, the overarching climax is about Karen and Hikari so there has to be more beyond the audition part.

I’m also glad that we learn about the Starlight play in full context. It’s rather clear (too clear in fact) on how the Starlight act parallels to Hikari and Karen’s relationship. The two mains of the play: Claire and Flora is your ultimate star-crossed lovers. They go through their promise (tick), one of them lose memory (tick), but they meet again and both reaching for (Hikari’s hairpins) the stars (tick), just so that the other fallen off the cliff. It foreshadows clearly enough that Karen will go through some sort of sacrifice for Hakari, although in all fairness Karen is always the one who breaks the rule so we will have to see on which route Revue Starlight will ultimately take.

But the calm moment after the duel is what seals the deal for me. It’s true that with this episode, Nana won’t be an ultimate villain but it does the job to close her arc off with a rewarding development. Junna has a great moment of comforting her friend. I love the way Nana rather curious reaction to see Junna breaks out of her strict personality for her friend. It’s that, even if things never be the same again for Nana, they will keep making new memories, go through the stage light again in a brand new experience. And again, this new “side” of Junna, or “Bananice” can only happen in this timeline.

Posted on with categories: Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro, Currently Watching:

We seem to have a routine of one below-average Chio-chan’s episode, follow up by one above-average as of late. This week is amongst Chio-chan’s better ones as it fleshes out two side characters with great effect. As you might remember, Momo wasn’t that memorable when she first appeared. Her uptight attitude is a nice foil for our Chio and Manana, but taken as an individual, her character is damn plain. Adding her having a weak spot for sweet, however, is awesome. Seeing her just go loose and dandy while eating sweets make this segment sooo worth it. Appropriately Chio and Manana step back out of spotlight for Momo’s wild and adorable reactions (“I’m in Hokkaidoooo”). It also helps that her obsession towards Gotou-sensei allows her to do something out of character: going to the sweet shop to get the taste of why students eating candy. This segment also benefits from its escalation to hyper-Momo doing an acceptance speech for mixing candy ingredient into soda. It’s a good gag through and through

The second segment also benefits from giving the side cast some more texture than first appeared. I should’ve seen this coming that Chiharu is Andou’s imouto (I mean… with hair colors and stuffs) and extra point for her contrasting appearance (she wears rich-girl school uniform) with her personality (disappointed that her brother comes clean… or in her own words: “uncool”). That set up quickly escalates to Chio admits that it was her who changed Andou (in a hilarious but believable way). Kudos for Andou and Chio’s combined silliness that things can’t go like planned. And Mamana late arrival gives the whole situation an interesting mix. The only issue I take with this segment is… why boob groping, Chio-chan? Sigh

Speaking of how Chio-chan trying new things, the epilogue comes out as a nice surprise for its change of pace. Completely void of any dialogue, with watercolor simple designs, it still manages to tell a quirky, lovely tale of Andou and the cat. Chio-chan accomplishes what it does best this week: fleshing out side-characters and building up this simple premise to a right degree. Here’s hoping next week Chio-chan will break its own routine.

Posted on 9 September 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Banana Fish, so consistently good that I am running out of interesting ways to start these posts. This week we have a jailbreak, miscommunication and a blond haired Rambo. Lets jump in!

General stuff first, Banana Fish was all go this week. Really, its sorta been that way for awhile, but this episode was explosions and bullets and death, oh my. There were some small issues with the animation I noticed this week. It was stilted in places, and really any scene without Ash didn’t seem to get as much attention. It’s nothing back breaking, as the entire episode still works and didn’t hurt enjoyment much, but it did catch my eye. Luckily Banana Fish’s thin line design and sort of muted colors, in contrast of normal anime’s bright and vibrant ones, makes it very hard to notice most of the time. The music also continues to be on point, really adding to every scene. Every instrumental Banana Fish puts out knocks its scene up another notch in quality. Non-spoilers out of the way, time to go into specifics.

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Posted on 7 September 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Steins;Gate 0

Sometimes, even problem children will surprise you. This week, Steins;Gate 0 did just that. I was not expecting a leap to the future, and now that I have seen it, I want more. Sadly I don’t think I will get it. Not much anyways. Lets jump in!

So, outright, this episode wasn’t bad. I like that we got to see the dystopian future in more than just flash backs (flash forwards?). But after the initial enjoyment, all it really did was remind me of what a waste of potential this series is. Take this future episode as the perfect example. Why should we care about Ruka or Suzuha or Ferris here? Suzuha just “died” 2 episodes ago, and now Ruka is “dying”, but we are about to go back to 2011. Steins;Gate 0 hasn’t spent enough time with these characters to make me care about them. We didn’t see them suffer through this war, we didn’t see any of these experiences. Its like they are copy-pasted from the 2011 timeline into now, with military redesigns. Animosh, from our chatbox, said it very well. Everyone but Okabe feels like a character from a mediocre fan-fiction.

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