Posted on 31 May 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to perhaps the weirdest episode of Lain yet. This week we get preached at, Lain’s sister gets lobotomized and Lain herself becomes a National terrorist. Lets jump in!

Starting off, the production. Lain got, to put it simply, weird this week with the visuals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was definitely very striking. From the flashbacks (?) with Lain, to the Sister’s slow fall into the Wired. In some cases this was incredibly interesting. I loved some of the visuals at the end. With the Sister, and Lain herself staring into the monitor. Those were cool! In other cases though it was just weird and I couldn’t follow what was going on. This is mainly aimed at the flashbacks, which are my biggest problem with the episode. We will talk about those in detail later. Visually, they weren’t terribly complex. But they came from nowhere and were so disconnected with everything else going on, that they really confused me. Because of this, and their story beats, they really halted the pace of the series for me.

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Posted on 30 May 2019 with categories: One Punch Man S2

Welcome one and all to another week of mediocrity, as OPM continues to flounder. This week OPM speeds up dialogue, almost blinds me with flash-fades and in general just disappoints me. So, that said, lets get into it! And fair warning, this is going to be a short one.

Now, I could rail against a lot of things this week. From the continued use of flash-fades, to the terrible impact or just covered up animation. However, I feel like a better way to spend our time, is to dial in on a specific issue each week. This week, I choose to rail OPM’s pacing, in both animation and dialogue. You see, OPM’s big issue in this department is it never gives anything room to breathe. It burns through dialogue and fights at light speed. It knows exactly where it wants to end, but to get there, it has decided to just hit the 2x speed button. An exaggeration on my part, slightly, but the point is made. Take this week for instance, ending on a dramatic cliff-hanger instead of the humorous one the manga did. As if they don’t know what kind of show OPM is.

Take for instance Snek and Max this episode, along with the monster conversion of the fighters. In the first, because OPM is speeding through dialogue, it removed a meaningful pause in their appearance with Suiryu. Where in the manga this appears as a “That’s a stupid question”, sort of reaction, here it’s an immediate “We are good guys”, sort of thing. Minor to some, perhaps, but it was a much more interesting scene in black and white. Meanwhile with the fighters, OPM really skipped over some of their dialogue, along with Suiryu’s musings. As if it was to eager to jump into the next fight. Season 1 used fights to fit between the comedy, with the comedy and absurdism as the punchline. OPM Season 2 though seems to be going for the other way around. Focusing on fights it doesn’t have the chops to pull off.

So basically, to finish off my complaint this week, OPM has no calm. Its either doing nothing, or trying to do everything. Early episodes had little happen. Sitting in one place with pointless conversations happening. Recent ones though are now burning through content at a rapid pace. I understand some of that is the sheer amount of fights going on this season. It’s a lot. But I could forgive cutting some of the less important ones short (though they are already pretty short) for the benefit of these more important scenes. All that said though, those aren’t the only issues. Join me next week, as I rage against sound design, and how CS:GO gun sound effects made their way in as bird monsters punching. See you then!

Posted on 29 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sarazanmai

Well, I’m back. After 2 weeks of summer breeze and rain like crazy in Cannes, along with films frenzy (I managed to watch 37 movies while I was there), now I’m back in the Down under with severed cold (and rain), jetlag and lots of anime to catch up. But enough of my vacation dairy, let’s get back to where Sarazanmai left off. While previous weeks I said that I felt Kazuki’s characteristic to be inconsistent, episode 5 does a magnificent job on exploring the complex chemistry he has towards his little brother Haruka. The tricky part of it is that it’s not merely one dominant feeling he has for his brother, but a whirlwind of conflicting emotions that tear him apart and that he still tries to make sense. First off, despite claiming at the end of episode 4 that he hates Haruka, the well runs much deeper than that. It starts with a realization that he isn’t blood-related to any member of his current family, thus lead to him feeling “the odd one out”. In Sarazanmai, the underlying theme is the thrive to connect to one another, and placing him as the “perfect stranger” makes sense.

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Posted on 28 May 2019 with categories: Dororo

Welcome one and all to the beginning of the end for Dororo. It’s a contentious week for me, as a weak villain goes from terrible to interesting, Hyakki gets angry and the Dororo gets plot armor. Let’s dive in!

Starting off, let’s talk production, as I actually felt good about Dororo this week. Animation wasn’t anything to special, but that has rarely been Dororo’s strong point. Instead it was the Direction that really stood out to me this week. Whether it be how Hyakkimaru was framed at the end of the episode, backlit by the sun, or the overlap between Hyakki and Saburota. The episodes message got across very well and lead to some pretty nice scenes, as you can see. Its a real step up from the mostly disappointing 2nd Cour. Like MAPPA is really stepping up and trying to finish strong. Story wise though, thats where I get conflicted about Dororo this week. As no matter how strong the visuals might be, if there isn’t any content behind it, it will just feel hollow. So that said, spoilers below.

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Posted on 27 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

Here’s the second of two substitute posts this week. I’m a lot less enthusiastic about Fruits Basket than I am about Carole & Tuesday, though, especially after the former’s most recent episode, which was repetitive and tedious. Flashbacks and recap segments shouldn’t be condemned automatically, as animation is time-consuming and expensive to produce, but a franchise like Fruits Basket should be handled less delicately than it has been thus far. This is its second TV incarnation, for crying out loud – even if the manga had this much hand-wringing from Yuki and Kyou in these chapters, they could have cut some of it in the transition to TV. Their unceasing fixation on Tohru might be romantic in the eyes of young Japanese girls, but I’d label it amateurish, especially when their inner thoughts are so similar across episodes. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Hit the jump to read my take on these three installments of Fruits Basket (I sort of liked one of them!).

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Posted on 26 May 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

Sorry for the delay in covering these episodes, folks. Mario has been overseas for a few weeks now, but he’ll be returning home soon to pick up the pen once more. In the meantime, I’m planning to blog these episodes of Carole (plus Fruits Basket 6-8 tomorrow) to lighten his workload a bit. Shinichiro Watanabe is one of my favorite anime directors, so I’m glad to have this opportunity – his Road Show Trilogy is comprised of three of my favorite TV series, and even his lesser works are packed with visual style and mood-enhancing music. Can the same be said of Carole & Tuesday in Wooper’s opinion? Read on to find out.

My biggest issue with the show so far lies with its two lead characters. We have a bit of interesting information about them: Carole was an orphan raised in a refugee camp who changes jobs as though they were clothes, and Tuesday is the runaway daughter of a politician. They became fast friends based on their love of music, and now they’re trying to make it in the big city. And… that’s about it. We’ve got a decently-realized Martian future on our hands here, but the show is content to place them on the outskirts of it, instead of right there in the thick of things. Think back to the major beats of these three episodes. The girls play a gig for 10 people, then play a festival for tens of thousands, and then try out for an American Idol knockoff called Mars Brightest.

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Posted on with categories: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome, one and all, to another fantastic week of Kimetsu no Yaiba! This time Muzan’s voice gets sexier, Yaiba gets trippy and Nezuko becomes the cutest little thing ever. Lets dive in!

Recently I have been skipping the visual aspect of Yaiba, because I gushed about it often. This week Yaiba managed to stand out beyond the norm though. It was simultaneously beautiful and horrifying, comedic and somber. The flower sequence at the start was beautiful, flowing across the screen like water. I would love to know how much of that was computer generated digital effects vs hand-drawn. Meanwhile, Muzan’s sequence in the alley with the woman was terrifying. Ufotable left nothing to the imagination with that, and as horrifying as it was, I couldn’t look away. I was enthralled with how they depicted a person literally melting. The only downside to the whole episode were 2, 3-4 sec sequences at most. Involving CGI walks that really exist only to save them time on the most minor of shots. It’s a nitpick, and one I will gladly ignore for everything else.

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Posted on with categories: About, Random Posts

Applications are closed. To everyone who submitted, thank you for your interest!

In June of 2017, I applied to be part of the team here at Star Crossed. Now, nearly two years later, I’m writing our new recruitment post. Time flies when you’re blogging anime.

With Aidan’s recent departure, it’s time for us to shore up our roster a bit. More writers means we’ll be able to cover more series, include more perspectives in our First Impressions posts, and perhaps introduce new features like Lenlo’s Throwback Thursday. Seasonal anime will always be our bread and butter, so we’ll be asking new recruits to give us a hand starting with the Summer 2019 season. If you watch anime week-to-week and want an established platform to write about it, then we’d love for you to apply.

Text blogging isn’t a glamorous job in this era of video sharing sites and social networks. If your application is accepted, your only rewards as a writer will be a sense of accomplishment and the rare message from an appreciative commenter. Keep at it long enough and you may even get one or two not-so-appreciative messages! Mario, Lenlo and I will be grateful to have you, though. We’ve all got different tastes, so you’re sure to find somebody you click with. We’re also flexible regarding upload schedules and show selection, though we’ll begin to expect a bit more once you’ve settled in.

Still keen on applying? Hit the jump for details!

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Posted on 24 May 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to another week of Throwback Thursday, posted on a Friday, for Serial Experiments Lain! This week Lain answers a lot of questions, introduces a lot more and dives into the surreal. So lets jump in!

Starting off, like I said Lain answers a lot of questions this week. Addressing the drugs, Wired, Lain’s prevalence in the world and how they all fit together. All without explicitly tying them together with direct callouts. Meanwhile it also introduced many more questions in regards to the Knights, and the line between the Wired and reality. Yet with all of this ground covered, it all felt like natural consequences of the story. Saving spoilers for after the break, I was very impressed with how so little managed to connect so much. Giving so much relevance to an episode title or the smallest grin from a character. I said last week I have to be in the right mind to watch Lain. This episode reinforces that belief for me. Enough dancing around the spoilers though, let’s talk about suicide, woo!

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Posted on 22 May 2019 with categories: One Punch Man S2

Congratulations OPM, you found a new way to disappoint me. This time, OPM actually straight up cut content from the manga to try and fit it all conveniently into a single episode. All the while, gloriously screwing it up. Lets jump in, I promise this will be fast.

Starting off I would like to say, thank you Kenichiro Aoki for making this watchable. This man is responsible for every reasonable looking cut in the season. From Tank Top Master vs Garou to part of this week’s Seiryu vs Saitama. I don’t know how much work they have given him, nor is it the best I have ever seen. But by god is it the best animated parts of OPM S2. Everything else is just littered with issues. From ridiculous, almost sped up seeming pacing to weightless combat and flash fades, god the flash fades. I don’t know how much more I can say about OPM S2’s production before I start repeating myself. Assuming I am not already repeating myself, which I suspect I am. Suffice to say, if I do repeat myself I apologize. These posts have mostly become venting about the death of a series for me.

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Fall 2019 Anime Coverage & First Episode Awards

Mario: If you ever wonder what is the current state of anime right now, well look no further than this final season of the 2010s as the Anime Goddess has offered us … half a dozen isekai shows. To be fair though, I have a feeling we’re reaching the post-isekai era where these shows appear […]

Fire Force 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa

Welcome back to Beni town!  After a two week break, Fire Force has awkwardly picked back up with its penultimate episode (for the first cour).  Missed Shinra and the gang?  Unfortunately, there’s some Catgirl this week, but aside from that, we have another solid effort all around.  Let’s get into it!

Vinland Saga – 14 [The Light of Dawn]

This is a big week for Vinland. One of the best episodes, not just of the season, but the year for me. So many things just came together to really nail it. As this week Askeladd makes us question who we are rooting for, and really throws the brutality of war in our face. Let’s […]

Mononoke – 10 [Goblin Cat, Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, apologies for the delay, and welcome to the final arc of Mononoke! This is perhaps the most unique one yet. As we skip forward to a modern era, set the entire thing in a single location, and have ourselves a murder mystery. So, lets dive in! Right off the bat, as always, I […]

Vinland Saga – 12/13 [The Land on the Far Bank/Child of a Hero]

Hello again everyone and welcome to a double feature for Vinland Saga. Apologies for the missed week, but even I am not totally immune to sickness. So this week we cover episodes 12 and 13. Where we learn quite a bit about Askeladd, Canute finds his voice and winter starts to turn. In we go! […]

Dr.STONE – 14 [Master of Flame]

And so begins the 2nd cour of Dr.STONE, complete with a whole new OP and everything. However for us, we are just picking up right where we left off. With Kinro’s fight, Senku’s science and an old friend returned. Let’s dive in! In general I think this week was better than the last. Yes, the […]

Mononoke – 9 [Japanese Chimera, Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

And so ends another arc of Mononoke, in a way I never would have expected. As this week we solve a murder mystery, once again question our perceptions of the world, and get another new “favorite arc”. Apologies for the wait, sickness waits for no man, but let’s dive in. Starting off, as always, the […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 13 [FINAL]

I can’t help but feel disappointed when the epilogue of  Lord El-M skips the entirety of the epic use of Rhongomyniad, and Hecatic Wheel smashing into each other. It doesn’t make for an exciting climax when the antagonist just simply teleports away before those two noble phantasm meet each other in a violent explosion. I […]

DanMachi2 – 12 [ Goddess/Child (Song of Love) ] FINAL

DanMachi2 is the kid in class who everyone knows is smarter than their grades reflect.  If only they would get it together and take things seriously.  In the finale of this mess of a second season, DanMachi finally rouses itself and delivers an episode worth watching.

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