Posted on 21 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Well here’s something you don’t see often in shounen series. Consequences. It’s another quiet episode and due to Shirou pulling that magic trick last episode he is now suffering from after effects. Having what looks to be a painful night and going through the day with the left side of his body numb. Though it is fixed by the episodes end, it was nice to see a character having repercussions for a risky move. I can certainly make a list of times I seen a character go through some new risky power up training with threats that it could kill him or have serious consequences. But it never does. It usually turns out fine and the rookie grows ten times more powerful than the people who actually worked hard for that level of power for years. Though after Archer fixes Shirou up we have another debate on the nature of heroics. Presentation really sold this scene as while it did look good we are just treading on old territory. This really has all be said before and it just getting repeated in a different way. Repeated well mind you, be we are not learning anything new. Other than that we had some good comedy and interesting talks between characters.

I will take a moment to talk about the music of this series. I am sure there are many who lament that Yuki Kajura did not return to do the OST of this series as she had done for Fate/zero. I however was not one of them. She was never a fit for the fate series truth be told and her OST for Zero and Kara no Kyoukai only really worked because of it’s bleak tone. Kajura has talent but a limited range. If you want something with lots of string instruments, tons of choirs and bleak atmospheric sounds then she’s got you covered. If you want something different…well tough. But I think the main issue is that, strange as it sounds, Kajura does not seem to understand that BGM stands for background music. I am sure anyone who has watched one of the series she did the music for can remember a time when the music just jumped to the front and it was by far the most noticeable thing on the scene. This can be effective for some scenes but it also draws attention to the song and it can be distracting. Especially when she has used one song for the umpteen time. Hideyuki Fukasawa on the other hand does not have this problem. He seems to know that the music is not the star of the show. There are some who may claim that he is weaker as his music is less noticeable but I honestly believe he is stronger. His music doesn’t steal the stage, it accentuates it. The music, visuals and sound join into a harmony that I thought was only possible for the visual novel medium. True it never jumps out and catches you. But like a bass player in a rock band, it’s there helping the melody work in harmony. The mark of a truly great soundtrack is to sound just good on it’s own, but when combined with visuals and story become something great.

I would also like to bring up the tsundere archetype. I often felt that Rin was the tsundere which should have been popularised. However the archetype went a different way, going for girls who tend to use physical violence to cover up their embarrassment. The funny thing is that I once saw a manga which took this archetype and put it in a realistic setting. The manga wasn’t really all that good but one moment really stood out. At one point the girl was approached by a boy and he held her hand to take her back to the classroom. To cover up her embarrassment the girl quite literally beat him half to death. The boy was hospitalised for a couple of weeks. But it brought home the fact that in a world where wounds don’t automatically heal, a tsundere of that type is less endearing and more genuinely dangerous. But take note of Rin here. How many times has she beaten up Shirou to cover for her own embarrassment? How many times has she been completely unreasonable with him? Because I can’t think of any occasion. Rin has gotten angry at Shirou but she’s never quite resorted to violence when dealing with her emotions. In this episode she got angry with him because he mentioned that he does not really find magic fun despite putting so much effort towards it. She’s a lot more logical in that regard. Rin as a character likes to be in control and has at times acted flirtatious with Shirou. So it’s only when something unexpected puts her off guard that brings in her tsundere side. In that way, she’s far more charming than that of your standard tsundere as when her emotions get the better of her at least she won’t potentially murder you. If my information is correct, next week is an hour long episode and then we have a break. So it looks like we will be getting a nice helping before the long wait for the second half. Sigh, this is almost sadistic.

Posted on 16 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

Its very easy to disregard the light novel genre completely as it is responsible for the creation of quite a number of unoriginal, bad and shameless pandering anime in recent years. However there still are worthwhile stories within the genre. They are just a little less known.

 

Mushoku Tensei

Description: A 34-year-old NEET otaku was chased out from his house by his family. This virgin, plump, unattractive, and penniless nice guy found that his life was heading towards a dead end. He recalled that his life could actually become much better if he can get over the dark history of his life. Just when he was at the point of regret, he saw a truck moving at a high speed with 3 high school students in its path. Mustering all his strength, he saves them but ended up getting run over by the truck, which kills him. The next time he opens his eyes, he had reincarnated to a world of swords and magic, as Rudeus Greyrat. Born to a new world and a new life, Rudeus declared, “This time, I’ll really live my life to the fullest with no regrets!” Thus begins the journey of a newly made man.

The good: This is pretty perfect wish fulfillment. This book is of a genre that has recently popped up and for now I just refer to it as the reincarnation gerne. It normally details a character getting reincarnated/thrown into a new world and focuses on him grow steadily stronger. This starts the main as a child and the writer has the patience to let him grow slowly and not overpower him from the get go. Unlike many of this genre which the mains undergo what I would like to refer to as “kiritoization” where they become overpowered behemoths whom every girl wants. Take note that this story really does follow his life. Going from boyhood to teenager and adult. Even as far as marriage and parenting. It has a large cast of dynamic characters who while are not particularly deep are still fairly likeable. Honestly there are few stories like this and in my opinion this is so far the best written of its kind. It also follows very little of the traditional light novel formula.

The bad: The protagonist truly starts as the scum of the earth. In the beginning he is highly unlikeable with some of this thoughts raising an eyebrow or two. If you are easily offended then this is not the novel for you. There are a few insulted individuals who mislabel this a “lolicons dream fantasy” even though the content wouldn’t be very titillating for that questionable fanbase. He does grow into a much more respectable character and it is the development that is the main driving force behind the plot. But still those beginning volumes might turn people away. It is also very long at currently 21 volumes and the story is the very definition of a slow burn.

Recommendation level: 75%

Current number of translated volumes: 21, It also has a manga but due to how much story is cut out its not recommended.

 

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

Description: Iwatani Naofumi was summoned into a parallel world along with 3 other people to become the world’s Heroes. Each of the heroes were respectively equipped with their own legendary equipment when summoned. Naofumi coincidentally received the Legendary Shield as his weapon. Due to Naofumi’s lack of charisma and experience, he ended up with only a single teammate while others have several. Unfortunately, on his third day Naofumi was betrayed, falsely accused, and robbed by the said teammate. Shunned by everyone from king to peasants, Naofumi’s thoughts were filled with nothing but vengeance and hatred. Thus, his destiny in a parallel World begins…

The good: The rising of the shield hero is a bit of an odd duck. Reading it is somewhat a masochistic experience. This is a story that will make you filled to the brim with righteous indignation. I make no joke when I say one chapter managed to make me literally red with anger. But because of this the moments where the villains get well deserved comeuppance is incredibly sweet and satisfying.  Its human nature to root for the underdog. So to see the shield hero get stronger and put others in their place is a fun read

The bad: Despite saying how these villains rile you up I will say they are very one dimensional. They are designed with the intent to anger the reader but because of this they have to be made very stupid and ignorant to make it work. They are not well written characters, no matter how much they make you wish for their suffering. The other characters are passable but not standout. But the big strike against it is that at the end of the fourth volume it has what I can only see as an endgame climax. All issues are more or less resolved and the only thing left is the battle against some faceless rpg endboss. It was also disappointing to see harem elements become more apparent. The first four novel had foreboding signs but it at least managed to avoid them becoming too featured in the story. I found my motivation for continuing to be lacking. While not bad per say the content after volume four just felt like an extended epilogue.

Recommendation level: 60%

Current number of translated volumes: 4, through the translations continue to cover the ongoing light novel and are at chapter 197 currently. The translation speed is also lightning fast. There is also a manga and it is adapted faithfully so far. Though the novel is much further along if you are willing to accept some dodgy translation.

 

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria

Description: Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria, or The Empty Box and The Zeroth Maria, tells the story of Kazuki Hoshino, who is almost madly attached to his everyday life, and his antagonist Aya Otonashi, who suddenly transfers into his class at the end of the school year—for no less than the 13,118th time. Without hesitation, she announces her intent to “break” him. Kazuki’s struggle to defend his everyday life begins, and the many secrets it is built on start to come to light.

The good: Highly original concept with good execution.  Characters have interesting dark sides and the “box”s monkeys paw nature is belovedly twisted. To those who saw Kokoro Connect and thought heartseed was a villain too good for the show, “0” is that style of character given justice. There are no magic superpowers to speak of. The only weapon these characters have is their mind.

The bad: The first novel is confusing with an endless eight/groundhog day scenario. It also doesn’t help that some characters have similar names, making it hard to understand whos who. Characters tend to talk in a manner that is heavily logical. Think bakemonogatari, but the long winded ramblings actually being connected to the plot.

Recommendation level: 90%

Current number of translated volumes: 6, with the next being confirmed as the last.

 

Rakuin no Monshou

Description: The countries of Mephius and Garbera have been waging a war for ten years and are trying to put an end to this long fight through a political marriage between the two royal families. Orba, who was driven from his home because of the war and was forced to become a gladiator, looks exactly like the crown prince of Mephius, and it has been decided he will be substituting him during the wedding ceremony. On the other hand, Vileena, the princess of Garbera, has secretly decided to ensnare the crown prince for her own country’s interests.

The good: The main character is Batman-esque with his handling of his alter egos.  Its fantastic seeing maintain the facade of an incompetent prince while secretly planning for victory. I am reminded of code geass though with much better writing and a more high fantasy setting. The first two volumes are excellent and from what I hear the story has an ending at 7 volumes.

The bad: Very slow translation. If theres anyone with more time and can translate Japanese then implore you to work on this. Or better yet get an anime studio working on it. The story is hard to get into at first as it takes a while to grasp the setting.

Recommendation level: 95%

Current number of translated volumes: 2

Posted on 13 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Very nice start to the beginning of the episode with the Unlimited Bladeworks chant. Sure, it has been parodied to kingdom come but I still love it and all it’s broken engrish glory. But now I can say it with certainty. This series is not suitable for being watched weekly. In watching this episode I felt like I was being treated to a spoonful of delicious cake and told to wait a day to get another. Leaving me with not enough to truly savor and fairly unsatisfied. This problem would be rectified once the full series has aired and people can go through it as they wish. But this does bring up the point that a visual novel story is not meant to be cut up into bite sized chunks but instead taken in huge helpings at a time. It’s rather aggravating to be fully immersed by episodes end only to see the ending song come up and let me know that I will have to wait yet another week. To those who have yet to watch this, it may be better to wait till it has finished airing and then marathon it. It is the method which it is closest to it’s original source after all and tailored for maximum enjoyment.

One thing I feared last week has come to pass. Shirou displayed his talent for projection with little foreshadowing to show he was capable of it. To anime only viewers this is a cheap development as it looks that Shirou just pulled the exact ability he needed straight out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started making Kirito comparisons but I hope that are not as cruel to do so. Because compared to Shirou, Kitrito pales in comparison in every area. So to most likely no ones surprise, the master of Castor turns out to be the teacher with the dead fish eyes and whom foreboding music plays every time he’s on screen. But I rather like the cut of his gib as his line of thinking mirrors my own. We didn’t get to see how he and Castor’s relationship goes as here they played the roles of antagonists. Though we know that Castor has been playing the role of his wife and kept Souichirou mainly in the dark. Souichirou on the other hand holds no interest in the war and lets Castor do as she pleases. Even if that means she is killing innocent people. Apathy looks to be the core of Souichirou’s persona.There was also the issue of neglecting to mention why Souichirou withdrew from the fight. In the original source Souichirou ordered caster to leave because Caster is no match for Saber and now that Saber had seen his fighting style she would be able to combat it instead of getting caught off guard. Bring in Shirou’s newfound ability and they were clearly at a disadvantage. But in the anime this was not made apparent. Here it looks like Souichirou retreated for no real good reason when he took out Saber so easily and had the two masters on the ropes. Honestly a minute or two of dialogue could have fixed this with ease but now to an anime only viewer it seems this happened because the plot needed it to.

This episode also brings up one of the reasons I roll my eyes when a character mentions Saber being the strongest servant. True, the human was magically enhanced by castor(Another detail that was left out here) but the fact of the matter is that Saber was very nearly defeated by a human fighter. My opinion of her skills has dropped quite drastically. We also have the appearance of the long awaited eighth servant. Shinji is delighted with him though it seems clear who holds the power in this relationship. His wish seems to have changed though as previously it was to prevent others from collecting the things he believes to be his but now seems focused on removing an excess of worthless humans from the world. I find it amusing that Shinji has no idea that he’s likely part of that category. One last thing, the snow in this episode was spellbinding. Glad to see UFOtable make use of the skills used for the Kara no Kyoukai epilogue. We are approaching the halfway point and if this is the same as Fate/zero then it seems likely that for budget reasons the second cour will air after a break. I at least hope the remaining episodes provide enough to sate our appetite till then.

Posted on 10 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

Fights blew past fast this episode. We had four fights in one episode so my previous fears of this getting dragged look to be untrue.  Notables being the fight between a mystery girl and a holy knight whose head is so disproportionate from his body that you could swear someone took the head of a thin guitarist and stuck it on to a heavy bodybuilder. I found it rather off putting when I noticed that his shoulder is three times the size of his head. At one point in the episode it was even four times the size of his head. I understand that these characters are not supposed to be anatomically correct but I would appreciate it if they looks human at least when they are supposed to be. The animation looks good with a fair amount of movement. Admittedly with fate’s high quality airing at the same time my standards for animation have been set at an unreasonable height. So when gauging Seven Deadly Sins I can at least say exceeds the standard for these kinds of shows. It far overshadows the shounen of old but seeing as I have long given up on many of the main shounen of today I cannot say how it fairs against them. Kings fight turned out to be interesting too though in a way different from the others. Because this is the first time we see king fight without a weapon and learn that king without a weapon is about as dangerous as a defanged kitten. He lost fairly pitifully to an old man.

The mystery girl turned out the Diane,  who was earlier shrunk down to human size by a monster mushroom. Now she is human sized with a mini nude Elizabeth in her cleavage. You stay classy, fanservice. King was sure overjoyed,  now that his love interest can be loved without it being potentially lethal or outright impossible. Though oddly Meliodas wasn’t very impressed. At first not even recognising her but much more shocking is that even with Daine asking him to, he didn’t sexually harass her once. I guess he’s faithful to the girl he constantly molests. Whatever that might count for. The first ten minutes were humourous with antics and all the sins taking it easy through the elimination round. I am saddened to see Ban ditch the kitchen apron once he saw a fighter with the exact same top he used to wear.Convenient, but most shounens don’t give that much with their magical regenerating clothes and explosion proof pants. But I think seeing Ban fighting in a apron would be much more amusing. Next fight is Meliodas vs Ban, so I wonder if there will be a ring left to fight in afterwards.

 

Posted on 8 December 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San

So I’ve been gone for a while partially because of work, school, and my political activities, but also because I wanted to try approaching how I review in a (hopefully) interesting way. I’d be interested in hearing your feedback on this, as I am trying to inject more of my own personality into the way I write while avoiding the pitfalls many face in their attempts to write. Anyways, back to the review.

So as a person who grew up in the early 90’s with comedy classics like the Addams Family, a love for satirical humor is something deeply ingrained in me as a person- watching the adults freak out over the latest Marilyn Manson album was hilarious to watch, and even more hilarious when my parents heard me blasting that music in my room. So when I got into anime during my early college years, I quickly noticed a lack of satirical humor, but more specifically, comedic variety in the medium. While there definitely were the antiharems and the romantic comedies, none of them were the hard hitting, alternative humor I’d been blessed with from so many other movies and cartoons. So when a show like Gugure! Kokkuri-san follows most of the standard comedic conventions yet still manages to stand out just a little bit, I definitely have to talk about it.

                                     The Addams Family

Now, am I saying that the show is an excellent example of satirical humor in anime? Because it’s not- the humor falls falls short quite often and some jokes simply fail to connect with anybody as far as I know. But what I am saying, however, is that it is different to that degree to which it becomes refreshing to watch, while injecting a little bit of that comedic variety that I’ve been craving for a long time.

                 The quirky characters are definitely a positive on an otherwise average show

These past episodes were full of surprises which I’d been mistaking all along as inconsistency- this show revels in the fact that it can change from deadpan, dark, satirical, and observational comedy with each scene and it does this with mixed results. This is where the flaws that I previously mentioned set in, but this show, so far, has a little bit of something for everybody- quirky characters, dark humor, deadpan humor, prime meme material, etc, all because of its decision to embrace a wide range of comedic forms. If you’re thinking about watching this show, I’d recommend pushing through the numerous unfunny sections of the anime because there is real value through all of its flaws here, at least compared to most in its genre. The fanservice is only present in one episode so far, and the cast of characters is one of the best in this season.

                                        Genderbent Kokkuri-San and Shigaraki

However, I have to talk about the numerous reoccurring problems I’ve seen in these last four episodes, and those include the lack of continuity in between episodes, lazy narrative, static characters, as well as the laughably boring parts.

This is a gripe I have with some 4koma anime adaptations- the producers get lazy and translate the manga into anime with almost no sense of continuity and as a result, each episode doesn’t feel like an important part of the story. This is true in Gugure!Kokkuri-San, albeit to a lesser degree. Take, for example, episode 8, where we got some romantic development between female Kokkuri and Shigaraki only for the producers to ignore all development in episode 9 and 10. While we can definitely expect the characters to address it in later episodes, that doesn’t excuse the fact that the viewers expect a change when something that drastic and unexpected happens. So while not all 4koma adaptations need a sense of continuity as the original writer may not have intended them to have one, this show clearly wants to tell some kind of story. While this issue is generally restricted to episodes only after 8, it only feels like so large of an issue because the romantic development was simply brushed aside- made even worse when you have romantic development between two characters without so much as a hint of it in the previous 7 episodes.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The pattern continues with another building up episode. Admittedly I find this somewhat disappointing. I feel that this show would be better marathoned than watched weekly as the wait for what is a essentially a build up to the next episode can hamper the experience a bit. As I said before, this show would work better with forty minute episode runtimes. Kirei had a smaller spot than I had hoped but the man must be commended for keeping his temper in check with Shinji being well…Shinji. Not only that, he managed to manipulate Shinji masterfully. Still it was bothersome to see Shinji somehow form twisted logic as to how none of what happened was his fault. But unlike Mika from Psycho Pass’s second season, at least his thoughts make logical sense and are not him just being twisted to make the choice that is designed to make the viewer hate him more. From the looks of things it’s seems we are drawing closer to the appearance of the fabled golden Pikachu we all know and love.

Taiga also had a small moment at the end with explaining Shirou’s childhood. But Taiga is a character I find is remarkably out of place in the fate series. She’s a comic relief character but she often felt highly cartoonish with her exaggerated motions. Apparently she’s a fan favorite among the type moon staff however whenever I see her on screen she often comes across as a foreign element. Fate/stay night does have it’s comedy moments but she is a heavy slapstick character in what is by all means, a fairly serious story. Speaking of comedy, there was an odd choice to adapted one of the more ridiculous choices of the visual novel. Where in an effort to find out if Issei is a master, Shirou strips him. Literally. It may just be my hearing but I could swear I heard the squeals of a thousand fujoshis. Surely there will be a number of doujin works “inspired” by this scene. It is rather uncharacteristic of Shirou to make this choice, with even Rin giving him an weirded out look upon meaning it. But complaints aside, it was absolutely hilarious. I genuinely laughed my heart out at the scene.

Rin being concerned about Sakura was also a nice touch with hints to the events of the past as well as foreshadowing things to come. I do have to say that so far UFOtable has done a great job of presenting Shirou. He is a much more lovable character and his mentality is more on display. Seeing what makes him tick helps to overlook his shortcomings and admire his tenacity. I do have one problem with this episode as it didn’t show a prototype or mention of Shirou’s “useless” magic. The events of the next episode look to be bringing another of his abilities to the forefront but without sufficient hints it can be very easily labeled a convenient out of nowhere plot development. Remember that the fate route was required to view the UBW route in the visual novel so this would have been mentioned and shown. But to anime only viewers it could be a very cheap development. But then again this is a series where characters gaining convenient powers is a given. Still it could be rectified in the beginnings of the next episode.

Posted on 3 December 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

The fight between explosives girl and the sins was ended quicker than I thought. When King entered the fight it was settled almost immediately.  King made short work of her as Elaine provided some supposedly badass exposition saying how King is originally known as the king of the fairies, harlequin. I say supposedly because it is hard to consider someone badass when they have a title as flowery as king of the fairies. Still King adds a new dynamic to the group as he’s the most level headed. From his observation the Sins have been significantly depowered as each of them has lost their legendary weapons in various ways. Its amusing to see King be so hard on Ban and Melodas about losing them yet get flustered when faced with Dianes reaction. This show really does get more fun as the team grows. On the villains side, we see some previously defeated villains get a risky chance to drink demon blood and become grey wardens…err..holy knights I mean. With the female knight Ban stripped gaining new power and out for revenge. Or possibly something else. I can’t help but get the feeling this girl may have gained a thing for Ban after his stripping session. A bit confused as to why, as molesting women tends to normally not lead to love.

When Dianes hammer Gideon is found in a village, we get the most obligatory shounen trope around. The fighting tournament. It looks to take over the next few episodes and looks to have the sins (minus Diane, as the village does not allow giants. ) duking it out against each other. It should be fun as long as things don’t get too dragged out. A fighting tournament can go as long as a few episodes to an entire arc. Yu yu hakusho for Instance had a total of 40 episodes dedicated to a fighting tournament. These in general are not really a bad thing though it is a way of letting the author put in a lot of action without having to set up villain motivation and situations. And have the heroes fight tricky one note opponents. Though these arcs tend to have not much plot besides training to fight some endboss character. So far seven deadly sins has brought back the nostalgic value of traditional shounen. But now its going to have to avoid the flaws of traditional shounen.

 

Posted on 29 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Another episode has come and gone. This episode marking the first casualty of the holy grail war. Looks like Rider is out of the running. It is a bit sad to see her go so unceremoniously and even defeated off screen. Well, we shall see you again in the upcoming heavens feel movie, where you are sure to have a more substantial role. Shinji also fulfils his most important role as a character, that being giving the audience immense joy to see him get his ego some much needed bruising. It’s hard not to smile when seeing Rin kick him down a peg or kick him down literally. Speaking of Rin, I am not normally a fan of tsundere antics and there is the possibility of me being biased due to my love for this series but I did find her scene of bashfully dragging Shirou to eat lunch with her to be most amusing, and somewhat adorable. The two do have a chemistry onscreen that I feel is better than the Saber and Shirou dynamic. The current relationship between Shirou and Saber is far more fitting than that of the shy, overly awkward lovey dovey atmosphere of the Fate route that quite honestly irritates me to the core. While there may be moments of Shirou being overly aware of Sabers femininity, it really is a relationship of mutual respect. It’s far more respectful to her character than putting her as a love interest. Put simply, Saber makes a better friend than a wife candidate.

Shirou was also quite different this episode. The start showing him having a dream of getting torn apart by swords in his body. I get the symbolism but I feel the execution could have been better. It couldn’t really help looking very silly to me. I think this scene could have benefited from a little gore, or at least making the scene more horrific. Still it’s nice to see something signify the changes in Shirou. Cause he certainly has changed. One by annoying Saber in training because he started adopting Archers fighting style and managed to Saber to start taking him seriously. And two by being very proficient in battle against Casters familiars. He has definitely leveled up in battle prowess. Inception foghorns in the BGM notwithstanding, battle scenes remain a treat with a number of CG dragon bone warriors being the cannon fodder.

Now it is true that anime CG has always been not really a pleasant sight as it never blends with the animation. Still, I would consider UFOtables CG to be excellent as while the bone creatures do not blend in, at least they are not horribly alienating. I find the main problem with CG in anime has to be with movement. More often the movement of CG characters is stiff and unnatural. It becomes most apparent in human CG characters. Hence the reason why it’s be used on robots or mechanical vehicles. However the often stiff movement of anime CG works in favor here as the creatures are undead skeletons, so naturally their movement would be jittery. Adding something computer generated into another medium will always look unconvincing but at least here it does not hamper the experience. I only wish modern horror movies would take this fact into account. This episode ends with Rin questioning Shirou’s unnatural calm with dealing with horrific situations and Shirou dropping a line that shows he’s more that meets the eye. Next episode looks to see everyone’s favorite fake priest show up so till then I bid you adieu.

Posted on 27 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

There was a few questionable things here this episode. The episode starts with the new villain quite literally killing herself to enter the kingdom of the dead. Which is a big risk considering it was based on one sentence from a child she was threatening. True being a shounen show there’s likely some magical biology science which somehow makes this possible without actually losing her life completely but still,  for a makeshift decision it’s a little drastic. We also learn that the forest guardian Ban apparently killed was Kings sister and…well Ban had the hots for her. Now take note people, Ban is a character whose design looks that of a 25-30 year old range. Whereas Elaine(The forest guardian) looks 12 years old at best. Am I the only one who finds this quite creepy? I mean sure in the anime world we have thousand year old lolita’s giving them the excuse that it’s legal even if they only look ten. But quite frankly when they claim things like Biscuit(HunterXHunter) being 57 years old and Okabe(Steins Gate) being 18, I prefer to disregard that completely and call them as I see them. So yes, I can’t say I find Ban and Elaine’s relationship to be well…romantic.

I like how Ban brought up the elephant in the room when being confronted by King. It does seem like a no brainer to bring up that killing an immortal for revenge is going to be a tad difficult when that immortal won’t die. To which King answers by turning Ban into stone. But when Elaines ghost comes back to lend Ban a helping hand, King is left rather confused and distraught by it. It seems that while he was blinded by revenge he failed to realize that things may not been as he expected. That and maybe running away and leaving your sister to do your job for a thousand years may have been a bit of a bad thing to do. Honestly it’s the way most expected things to go. I highly doubt anyone believed that Ban really did kill the girl, instead the blame falling on some rather generic demon thing. Our new villainess is putting the sins on the ropes, or at least giving them some trouble with her explosion rapier. Here’s a general rule of shounen characters with closed eyes. They are either mischievous, calculating or sadistic psychopaths. Or in this case, all of the above. The fight is pretty good though filled with shounen talk. I must wonder how irritating it would be to hear people speak like this while fighting. But again the banter between the sins makes it all fun. Lastly it’s nice to see Elizabeth mention that she’s useless to the sins and attempt to assist them instead of asking for Kings help. Not that she’s going to enter a more combat focused role but at least she understands her position and regrets it. The fight continues new episode, so lets hope it isn’t dragged past it’s welcome.

Posted on 23 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

As expected, this week we have another action filled episode. Queue the pretty explosions and fast paced fighting. It felt too short despite the episode length being just the same as the others. I often find that with a good episode of anime it makes you lose the concept of time as you watch. Making things seem longer or shorter than it actually is. Though watching a bad anime can also make you feel like it’s taking an eternity. I thought it would be best to just get a minor gripe out of the way first. I felt they used the same camera shots a bit too often during dialogue. The one showing Shirou and Archer talking with a crater in the foreground was shown at least three times in the same conversation. And at times the shounen talk of explaining attacks and motivations was a little intrusive. But as I am sure many would agree, who cares. We got laser beams and collateral destruction all around to admire.

Still it does make this a hard episode to review because what else is there to say besides get some popcorn and enjoy? Though the standout moment here is not the fight scenes but rather the contrast of Archer and Shirou. As Caster said, they are both similar in ways and yet different in approaches. With Shirou having an unrealistic, rather childish approach to an ideal whereas Archers is more cynical, realistic interpretation. The intriguing thing is that Archers approach is remarkably similar to Kiritsugu Emiya’s of Fate/Zero. The ends justify the means, the many over the few, this is quite interesting to see Shirou be faced with the very mentality of his father and outright reject it. Some Shirou haters might be rather delighted with this episode as Archer has pretty much said everything and done everything they wanted to do to Shirou from the beginning. I too find it is rather good to see Shirou’s flawed hero complex logic get a good beating. Actually the dialogue between the two even during the fights was excellent. Some of which denoted down to childish bickering which was amusing to behold.

That said, I found the Assassin vs Saber fight to be more engaging than the caster fight. The presentation of Assassin’s noble phantasm was well shown. Assassin himself proves to be quite the character, having created a noble phantasm simply because he was bored and had nothing else to do. It is rare to have such a great noble phantasm for an Assassin but much like Castor I don’t really see much worth in Assassin. After all taking a Assassin to the holy grail war is like taking a Go-kart to a NASCAR race. It’s just not a very good idea if you intend to win. True there may be exceptions such as Fate/extra’s Assassin or Fate/Apocrypha’s Assassin’s. But in this world of Fate/stay night where every “true” Assassin is the same, you might as well throw in the towel from the get go if you summon one. The after credits scene now looks to see Shirou making a true effort towards getting stronger. Which is expected as Archer has given him a good kick in the right direction both mentally and literally. Next week looks to feature the ever loveable Shinji once again, lets hope he does not bring down what should be a another great episode.

 

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 10:16 PM)
    @Zo, we love you too.
  • Friend
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 07:48 PM)
    Is anyone going to review the YuruYuri OVA?
  • Zo
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 07:40 PM)
    Man all your writers are lazy as horseshit. This blog sucks.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 03:44 PM)
    @Emma, Can’t. Ninja said he wanted to review it.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 09:55 AM)
    Or as we Persians call it “Yalda’s Night”.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 09:55 AM)
    Happy winter solstice y’all!
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:47 AM)
    Though Aidan this is your chance to throw up a full review as a blog post that isn’t for an ongoing series.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:37 AM)
    Wait, ha I’ve figured it out, most of his work I couldn’t give a toss enough to get immersed in the plots either. Though yes I got immersed in Saya, which really goes to show that if a story is good enough to me I should be able to be fairer and not be too hard on the characterization.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:32 AM)
    Even though his works alienate me with their poor characterization, still still I was able to not care about that issue in Kikokugai and Saya no uta.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:24 AM)
    I forgot to say also a few pages back it needed more action scenes also. I could honestly see myself getting distracted from the thinness of it if there were more.

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