Posted on 20 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Thunderbolt mixes things up nicely this week. This week, the overpowered Princess has a fair shot of killing off our Shang Bu Huan, but predictably leaves him so that he can suffer. As often the case, when you’re too powerful you tend to act arrogantly, and… stupid. Thunderbolt is one good set piece piling up to another right now, as it often pairs 2 members from the main cast and let them bouncing off each other. First, I’m glad to see how the Dirty Cop Xiao Kung Juan (which for now I’ll refer as Dirty Juan) manages to catch Gui Niao off-guard. The table has turned quickly on that side and for now, Gui Niao works under the command of Dirty Juan. I know Gui Niao will eventually finds the opening in a matter of time, but it’s nice to see a battle where sword isn’t directly involved in Thunderbolt. It’s certainly amusing to see that Dirty Cop loses himself for the ‘charms’ of Seven Blasphemous Deaths and kicks the pile of woods uncontrollably. Boy, the campy sense of fun is still going strong here.

Second, we have a meetup between our Hero and the nihilist monk Di Kong. He’s still pretty much a wildcard here since I still can’t put my finger on his role in the grand scheme. Will he become an ultimate villain? Will he join up with the good gand to repress the evil sword? Will he change at all? Everything is up in the air now and he remains as mysterious as ever. Shang Bu Huan seems to agree with me on this, as he’s still baffled on the Monk’s mindset. He shows no remorse on learning the fact that the girl he saved runs amok and kills everyone on sight. He even comments on how pointless he was as trying to save people just so that they were killed in the end. Shang Bu Huan remains too soft, as always, given he tries to reason with the guy, to no avail of course. I love the way how Shang Bu Huan already meets all kind of eccentric personalities, but his “are you for real?” expression is still refreshing and never gets old.

Third, we have a total unexpected match between Cruelty Princess Xie Yinglou (with a feminine-talking sword) and Red Hair Musician Lang Wu Yao (with a masculine-talking instrument). Damn, along with the real battle between Princess and Musician, it’s also a battle of wit between two talky instruments right there. It’s clear that Princess Cruelty has taken something much more than she bargained for, and now she’s slowly consumed by it. The dream sequence where she meets and destroys her boss, apart from some stunning background designs here, suggests how Seven Blasphemous Deaths keeps manipulating her deepest thoughts, even turns herself against her goal for living. In addition, it marks the first time Thunderbolt experiencing with its puppetry form visually, as it uses special negative color effect to illustrate Red Musician’s unique technique of fighting by hearing sense. He even has an edge towards Cruelty Princess until our Gui Niao and Dirty Cop poke their noses in (Really. What do you expect from the Enigmatic Gale but poling his nose where he doesn’t belong?). Thunderbolt is, to put it simply, unstoppable right now.

Posted on 19 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

The last two episodes GRIDMAN has cleared up many things and handily suggests the road it will ultimately take for its last half. First, it’s the reveal that the world our characters live in is belong to Akane’s, as she can destroys, and rebuilds again as she likes. Second, it’s a strong hint that she might not be the last boss of this war, that she’s being manipulated by Alexis, the alien. Like I has discussed over the past few weeks, I reckon the main emotional conflict is going to be between Akane and Rikka. While their past is still a mystery (which now I’m leaning to the theory that they used to get along but fallen out as they grow up), the two things (more appropriately, two people) that tie them together are Yuuta and Anti. We know for a fact that Rikka and Yuuta had a history before he got amnesia (that ball game rally – in fact, this week in audio drama we learn that it has something to do with a headband). This week, we’re leaning to the other side here with Yuuta and Akane. Take it as pure fanservice or not, the sequence where Akane doing in Yuuta’s bedroom is full of sexual tension.

While Yuuta’s friends have a hard time to believe his story (thanks to the poor way he puts it, he even doubts himself), he has much better success when confronting with Akane. The bit where she comes to the restaurant where their friend got ‘murdered’ by her without any remorse really speak clearly enough about her character. She thinks of herself as a Goddess, thus she can’t stand where things go against her way (Gridman) or when something going on beyond her knowledge (Anti). It’s a sneaky scheme Alexis prepares here. As he puts it: the more hatred the person has the more powerful the kaiju is. Anti sure hates Gridman more than Akane, and now when she realizes her place as a Goddess is challenged, she’ll be more determined.

It’s Anti who goes through a lot of action this week. He comes to school and confronts Yuuta before stealing all the breads. Soon he’s inspired to create a kaiju to kill Gridman, and failed. I can’t help but feel sorry for him the awful way Akane treats him, which plays as a huge contrast to how Rikka treats him in previous episode. The parallels are there: Akane consistently gets close to Yuuta, but he’s more attracted to Rikka. Akane treats Anti like pure dirt, while Rikka cares for him a whole lot. Whether or not Anti can develop his character (he’a still a kaiju after all) and where his loyalty lie will prove to be significant for the next few episodes. At the same time, we learn that there is another upside-down city up in the sky. For now, I suspect it as “the end of the world”, but we will know more about its significance soon enough, I hope. For now though, enjoy all these lingering shots (this episode has 3 of those, each of them lasts for good 10 seconds) that might or might not be relevant in the future.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara

And with this episode, my patience for Irozuku has started to run dry. It’s that, I learn very little about about them this week. The plot is on the standstill and it’s a whiplash that the cliffhanger for last week, namely Hitomi can see in colors, reverses back to the status quo. Which begs me a question on why they did that (gave her a brief moment of colorful sight) in the first place. Since the episode where Kohaku comes back home, all they have been doing are club activities that add next to nothing to the plot, in fact it feels as if our cast is in search for a plot. This week, Irozuku focuses on a side character, Kurumi and her little growing-up crisis. There’s some neat material here and there, as I can relate to her feeling inferior towards her older sister, and her issues of not having anything she could give her all to. But all this doesn’t necessary work out well in the end, given how little we know about her sister, or even herself, for that matter. Irozuku also develops the chemistry between her and Chigusa, her underclassman who is obviously has a thing for her, but the way Irozuku shows it leave a lot to be desired.

This issue is the show’s overall issue. For a show that is supposed to be a character-focus, Irozuku’s cast is underwhelming. They aren’t that deep and they act like one group’s personality most of the time. These characters are given space to develop only when the show decides to do so. Take Chigusa this week for example, normally he’s the most out-there character, but this episode because it’s Kurumi-focus so the show gives a lot of screen time for him and underplays other characters’ involvement. He has some nice chemistry with Kurumi, admittedly, but for me it doesn’t feel enough. That climax where they all run to catch up the ship (when they could easily take the pics on the other side of the bridge), tells you exactly all these problems. The group, smiles as they go along with Chigusa’s sudden decision, and at the end I feel like it wasted its 20 minutes.

Hitomi and Aoi takes one small step forward this week, as Aoi gives her the painting he’s currently working on. I don’t know why the show downplays the moment, and I’m sure as heck don’t know the significance of her telling her friends the truth about her colorblind. Look, she only has two secrets: that she’s colorblind and she comes from the future. When the group acted with little surprise and and treated her literally like nothing happen, I can see that this reveal ain’t going to affect them much. Which brings me to the next point: goddamnit Irozuku, make something, anything, happens. There’s a line between gradually build up and nothing moves at all. Irozuku for now, is too afraid to move the plot forward.

Posted on 18 November 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Another week, another episode of Banana Fish, this time with 100% more depression! This week Ash starts to break, Yut gets what he wants and Eiji steps up to the plate. Lets jump in!

So in general, this week was weird for me pacing wise. Certain sections felt slow while others passed at a blistering pace. This week alone hit multiple plot points and resolved them in the same episode. No doubt this is an effect of the sheet size of Banana Fish’s manga and how much is getting adapted for this series. I enjoy that there isn’t much downtime, something is always happening in Banana Fish. But we have no idea what or how much is getting cut. If anyone has any idea how much is being cut, then please let me know down below. I am very curious how this adaptation is doing on that front. Now though, let’s get into details, cause a lot happened.

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Posted on 16 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai

So we are on to the next arc and the next girl with adolence syndrome and while I give this series credit for breaking LN cliches, I feel like we could have the cast not be predominantly female. Well at least they are not all in love with the main character so I can give it a pass. Well unlike the cliffhanger last episode would suggest, the next girl is not Shoku but is instead our resident science girl, Futaba.(This is the second glasses girl I encountered recently who is named Futaba. Odd.) Our adolescent syndrome factor this time is that Futaba now has an identical clone whose going around living her life. The science explanation for this one happens to be quantum teleportation where in it seems that Futaba’s cell structure was duplicated and teleported somewhere else but this seems like a rather flimsy comparison to be blunt. The cause for her particular bout this time seems fairly obvious in that the past few episodes have established that she is madly in love with Sakuta’s friend but cannot make a move on him due to him having a girlfriend. Personally I think the guy should dump that trash he calls a girlfriend and get with science girl but perhaps this arc can give more development to his girlfriend so that I don’t want to punch her face in every time I hear her voice.

These two Futaba’s appear to be in the most part identical in both looks and personality. The defining difference her is that copy Futaba appears to be making an effort to pretty herself up a bit having switched to contacts and most noticeably, posting risque pictures to twitter. I admitly am having difficulty to understanding just why she is doing that but perhaps it’s some sort of confidence thing wherein she gets a thrill over people commenting on her looks.If I had to guess I would think that copy Futaba is the real one and has decided to take on a more aggressive stance to catching Kunimi’s attention but her mind is in two places about the idea which cause her to split in the first place.

Mai and Sakuto remain a pretty great couple with some excellent banter and I really like how their relationship is developing despite Mai not being the focus of the arc. But I really hope that small moment of her talking about her boyfriend to her producer doesn’t lead to what I think it might. I swear if I see some nonsense like her not being able to stay “Professional” due to having a boyfriend then I will have to strangle something. As a final note, the moment of ptsd Sakuto’s sister had when Mai’s phone rang really does leave a strong impression with how much her previous incident traumatized her. One moment is enough to show just why Sakuto threw his phone into the river. But of the love of god girl please stop with the incest jokes. I figured you aren’t serious but after long years of anime cliche I can never be 100% certain to rule out incest.

Posted on 15 November 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Ah Planetes, one of the few things I look forward to every week since starting this. This time we have a number of background characters coming back in, Space continues to kill and Yuri gets some character. Lets jump in!

Planetes actually managed to surprise me this week, if I am being honest. I was not expecting the opening segment of the first episode to actually be relevant. Nor for Hachimaki’s previously unnamed mentor to re-enter the series. But continuing its streak of introducing or expanding on a new character each week, that is precisely what Planetes did. I will get into more depth on each of them later on, but right now I want to talk about a pattern I am noticing. Planetes keeps introducing these characters for one-off episodes, while still not having a central plot to advance. This makes me think that all of these characters are going to come back in the 2nd half. Aiding in whatever the final arc is. It’s a clever strategy, since it saves time on introductions in the future. I just hope Planetes manages to juggle them all well.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

My apologies that I missed a post last week, it’s not due to the lack of interest of Thunderbolt given the show is as exciting as ever, but more about my hectic life. These past two episodes have many game-changing events, and many Gui Niao’s wittiest lines and expressions to boost. The moment the Vapewiz puts his finger to his cheek I know the show loses none of its charms. In episode 6, the monk Di Kong becomes more prominent into this whole affair. As we predicted, the monk can prove to be an interesting villain, given how immoral he is. That is not to say he loves to wreak havoc or seeks out for fame and power like the villains in the first season. It’s that he has no sense of judgement and justice and has no value of human life (even his own), and that could prove very dangerous if he falls for the wrong cause, or simply, if he can’t find the right path to lead.

When he meets our team Shang Bu Huan and Lang Wu Yao who are in pursuit of Princess Cruelty (more on her later), he decides not to help out our guys. That sets off the evil-detector of Lang Wu Yao, and he’s in killing mode again – or as Gui Niao puts it, it’s hard to deal with a person who doesn’t talk. Well, he might be right to assume that Di Kong will be dangerous, but there’s no way he can just blast off and determined on destroying people like that. Later on, he “sweet-talks” our Princess Cruelty (more like completely destroy her ego but you know what I mean) into re-access her whole philosophy of life. Well played, dude.

Speaking of the female assassin, she’s vulnerable in every possible way. Beaten down by her enemy Shang Bu Huan, backstabbed and got sword-stolen from the corrupted cop, and now the monk mind-fucking her ego, she does what a loyal dog would do: bring the antique sword back to her Master. For a ruthless villain who only has a single mission of killing our hero, strangely I really feel for her struggles there. And that’s important that we feel sympathy for her because it justifies her action much later, which moves the plot in an interesting way: she’s drawing the Seven Blasphemous Deaths and ho boy, what a sword!! It enslaves the wielder and draws everyone’s desire once they look at it, and gain ultimate power with the blood it slays. While now, it proves to be the ultimate hazzard for our heroes, I still kind of feel bad for Scorpion girl. She won’t get out of this alive.

On the other side of the battle, that cheeky Gui Niao has his next target, the glassed cop. Curiously enough, that Dirty Cop has gained some valuable information about the Enigmatic Gale, which honestly make this game way more interesting now that they are on the same level. My biggest pleasure is to see Gui Niao fishes the information out of Shang Bu Huan, and honestly seeing their vibrant chemistry as they bounce back and forth it brings a warm feeling to me (and that fishing scene is pretty awesome too). This mind game between two unpredictable figures could prove to be as interesting as the devil Sword. Also special shout out for weapons that not only can talk, they make much more sense than the human counterparts. Thunderbolt is charging ahead in full gear now. There’s no stopping this puppet train now.

ps: why do people still hesitate on regarding Thunderbolt as anime?

Posted on 14 November 2018 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome one and all! This week in Kaze Fui we meet the final boss, Kurahara gets a reality check and our team runs their first track meet! Lets jump in!

To start off, I have to say I loved the feel of Kaze Fui this week. Vague, I know, but hear me out. Kaze Fui did a great job with the atmosphere of the track meet. Everyone stretching, running, preparing. There was an air of tension as we jumped between some competitors. It also built on our character’s a bit with how they all reacted to it. Nico seeming to feel at home, Musa panicking, and Prince reading. All in all, well done there I feel. Kaze Fui also shined this week with the running animations, the 2D ones at least. Crunchy-Roll dimmed the scenes a bit sadly, but what we got still looked gorgeous. Their long limbs flowed and their hair tossing in the wind as they ran was fantastic. It’s only failure was the wide-shot CGI, which detracted from a number of scenes. At least the characters worked.

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Posted on 13 November 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Welcome fellow book lovers, to another dip into Honda-San! This week was a bit dull as we learn about the difficulties of stocking, but the second half manages to pick it back up. Lets jump in!

So overall this week of Honda-San was pretty disappointing for me. Like usual it had some good gags in there, but nothing has yet to match up to the first episode. Take the first segment of this week for example. It was interesting for a bit. We learned about stocking books, and the magic of the Distribution department. But the jokes simply weren’t funny. It conveyed more technical knowledge than it did humor. The best part of it was the segment with the older customer and their love of a now deceased author. It was sweet, and something I am sure happens. But Honda-San is a sketch comedy series, and the comedy this week was simply not there.

The second segment was better. Once again the festival aspect, since we don’t have book store festivals in the West really, fell flat. However the turnabouts with the book-marks was humorous. Customer’s doing a complete 180 once they find out there was no problem at all. Then Honda basically being dead on his feet. There was some great visual comedy going on. I have said it time and again, but Honda-San is at it’s strongest when dealing with customers. I enjoy the rest of the cast, but every time we focus on them or the back, it’s more technical than anything else. The one time we focused on the back that was funny was the sketch about BL and porn. The reason that one worked was because the focus wasn’t on the technical aspect either.

All in all, while I still don’t think Honda-San wasted my time, it could be a lot better. It makes me very glad that the series is only an 11 minute short, as it would fall apart in larger formats. As is, Honda-San was just short enough that I managed to stick it through until it got amusing this week.

But what do you think? Is Honda-San losing steam, or is my taste in comedy abysmal? Let me know below, and I will see you next week!

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

“They shouldn’t making episodes without kaiju in them “
It’s very cheeky of GRIDMAN to meta-comment on this episode, as indeed there isn’t any big fight between Gridman and kaiju monsters this week. We still get an introduction of new kaiju, however, and the fight in human forms. That’s the thing about GRIDMAN, it’s a show that knows full well all the formula of tokusatsu genre, and it does something interesting with these formulas. The main characteristic of GRIDMAN so far is minimalist. There isn’t a constant background music in this show but once it’s there, it matters. There isn’t too many people in the show (my favorite bits are the ones where the cast riding an empty public transportation), but once you see them, they have an impact to the story. Even the angles in which GRIDMAN places its shots are decidedly deceptive as hell, in a sense that if you look at certain scenes in another angle, that world might appear to be a different world.

And with this episode, this sense of “off” comes into the forefront. In an essence, this is a rather interesting episode, not only because it shakes up its own usual recipe, but that it connects different pairs, parallel them in an interchangeable way (the use of the same settings and same plot device for example) so that all the dots are linked at the end. We have 3 interweaving meet-up from our three main characters: Yuuta with the mysterious kaiju Anoshiras (his name isn’t mentioned in the episode); Rikka with Anti that proves to be a nice contrast with how Akane treats him; and finally Akane herself and Shou. The same motifs are there: they all eat something, while being surveillanced by a member of the Squad, down to Yuuta – Anoshiras eating the same bread at the same place in the same shot as Rikka and Anti moments ago. Now, normally I wouldn’t appreciate the info-dump from a side character to the main lead like the way Anoshiras spills the bean about the Akane’s true nature (it’s screenwriting 101 that the main protagonist has to work to gain info by himself), this reveal succeeds in two ways. First, now it’s the first time that the Good side is on the same level with Akane, now they have the same amount of information regarding each other’s secret. Second, this reveal opens up to more intriguing questions, and hint that the battles we’ve seen so far are maybe just a proxy war for something much bigger.

So the meat of the episode is that Yuuta (and us) come to a realization that the world they’re living in now is purely Akane’s creation. In the same way Haruhi constantly demolish and rewrites her world, but for Akane it’s consciously. She has a bitchy attitude when she wants to destroy everything that she finds annoying, and she has the power to do so. This episode reveals, however, that the mastermind behind all this isn’t Akane, but the figure who always talks to her on her computer screen. Now Akane’s role in the story changes rapidly. She might be just a victim of this guy’s manipulation so it could mean she joins the good side at the end (well, the OP highly suggests this). The mysterious kaiju, on the other hand, explicitly states that he isn’t created by Akane and he helps Yuuta because his master owned Yuuta a favor. The stakes are getting much higher now that another important piece comes into the picture. This could be a a game-changer that changes everyone’s role in the story, but let’s wait and see how well GRIDMAN deal with this new development.

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