Posted on 15 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, O Maidens in Your Savage Season

To someone on the outside looking in, the anime medium, or what it has become now, comprises of some incredibly good seasonal shows that never become truly great; behind these, we have a slew of solid ones followed by a sea of mediocrity. And all this covers a fifty feet deep pile of crap that everyone should best avoid as anything constituting it is severely injurious to health. That, is the general perspective of your average semi-aware anime viewer. While it is fairly adequate and won’t hinder their anime experience to a major degree, it would also mean that they fail to unearth the true gems of the medium which sometimes don’t get discovered because they aren’t immediately marketable or popcorn-media. And O Maidens in Your Savage Season is one of these gems.

(more…)

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Kanata no Astra

Welcome to the first week of Kanata no Astra, aka Astra Lost in Space in English localization. The double-length premiere remains a flawed but decent introduction for me, and this sophomore further underlines the strengths, as well as the potential weaknesses of this show going forward. For instance, many of the anime’s changes baffled me. The ratio aspect makes little sense and visually it looks like it has been cropped out from the original frame, as a result we see lots of shots where part of characters’ head being cut off. It’s a good gimmick once we get into the space where the screen “opens up”, but consider how the majority of time we follow them exploring new planets, the feeling of inside-the-box defeats the purpose greatly. Second, in the premiere, in one dramatic event, the anime decided to alter the source and makes it even more dramatic (the human chain) that it sadly disregards the common sense (THE ROPE). I consider that a manipulating tactic where Kanata no Astra purposely creates unnecessary conflicts in order to make us FEEL rewarding once everyone joins hands to save Kanata and Aries. Well, it just didn’t work for me.

This second episode does excel on another strength, however, and that is the background art. As the group encounters the first planet of their journey, Vilavure, they find the planet full of natural resources. The art alone brings to life the richness of that place, and kudos to the animal/ plant designs that bring so much quirks into this planet: the trampoline trees, the parachute flowers and the turkey-dragons AKA tur-gons. I suspect that each planet they’d go will have some specific traits (like in ACCA’s 13 territories), and it’s understandable that the first planet they step in is more about the thrill of exploring a new place completely different than their own rather than any life-threatening events (although there is one).

This episode also establishes the cast whom is skillful in many areas beyond their age (if you can’t tell if I being sarcastic or not by that sentence, I am). Last week, we learn a kid who already experienced life/death situation and a bloke whose IQ is about 200, this week add to that mix is another boy who has a master-level knowledge of biology and a girl with a photographic memory. Shameless over-the-top-ness aside, it further proves the theory that this string of misfortune event is set-up by someone or some organisation. There’s also a reveal of someone in the cast intentionally sabotage the communication system. This is an interesting development for sure to figure out who the traitor is and what is their reason behind all this.

While I am excited for the upcoming plot of exploring new planets as an A plot and finding out the traitor as an overarching plot, I remain mixed on the characters chemistry and character development so far. The jokes, in particular, are pretty bad with typical anime-humor and exaggeration, which for me simply doesn’t belong to this series. By saying that I don’t expect the show to go full dark like Lord of the Fireflies and the likes, but take the sequence in this week, where Kanata and Quitterie bickering about “leader”, something that has already been sold last week, it’s just a total misfire for me. Yes, characters this age can act childish but why the need to amp it up to 11? For character development, this week we deal with Quitterie and her inability to communicate with other people. While I appreciate the amount of backstory Kanata no Astra focus on her character (and I’m sure the rest of the cast will have their shares), it’s a tad bit obvious that the show reminds us again and again about her issues, by her childhood friend Genius, by her bickering, by her backstory with her little sister, by Quiterrie herself when she admits it later on. Show don’t tell, Kanata no Astra, the less said the greater impact you eventually deliver.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Another week, the start of another arc in Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week our trio start to grow, we meet some new villains and some old characters make a return. Hope your not afraid of spiders, cause we have whole host to get through. Lets go!

As far as production goes, I think this was one of Yaiba’s weakest weeks. Part of that is just that there wasn’t really any combat. There was some basic sword swinging, but no true fights. So there wasn’t anything for Yaiba to really go all in on. This isn’t to say it was bad, I still enjoy Yaiba’s artstyle. The thick black lines is right up my alley, helps make things pop and make it clear between objects. Yaiba also had some interesting CGI segments. From the first person walking through the mountain to Inosuke’s Beast Breathing. These were both interesting, thought obviously CGI, but Yaiba did a good job here I feel. CGI works well for detailed environments, its just character models that anime still seems to be lagging on. Still, enough about boring production. Lets get onto the actual story.

(more…)

Posted on 14 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fire Force

Welcome to Fire Force! I’m your infernal host for the season (and hopefully many more), Amun.

Fire Force kicks off as the highly anticipated sophomore work of Atsushi Ohkubo (known for Soul Eater). The most pressing concern I’ve heard so far is the show couldn’t possibly maintain the level of quality from the first episodes for all 4 cours that are slated. Episode 2 helps extinguish some of those fears, although I can see areas where good direction decisions reduce the amount of animation required. The director is a veteren of the Monogatari series, and some of the decisive cuts remind me of that – in a good way. The scenes pack more punch and probably take substantially less effort to make – a double win in my book.

(more…)

Posted on 13 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dr.STONE

Hello everyone, it’s your friendly neighborhood Lenlo here. Ready for another season? Well you better be, cause this might be my favorite season of the year. Starting of course with Dr.Stone, a series I have followed since its first few chapters. So that said, open up your textbooks and let’s dive in!

Starting off, production. Now, I don’t mean this disparagingly, but Dr.Stone is not fantastically animated show. It has it’s fun with facial and body expressions, don’t get me wrong. They are doing their best to adapt Boichi’s art after all, and the man is a master of the reaction face. But in terms of actual fluid animation, it’s a lot more still’s and sliding models than other hard hitters of the season. Such as Fire Force or Vinland (I love this show). Luckily, Dr.Stone isn’t really an action show, so this shouldn’t be a problem. The series focuses more on its backgrounds and its environment. Really selling this stone-age world they are living in now. With the Dr.Stone’s subject being on science and the rebuilding of civilization, I think its a good choice. I just hope the few setpieces there are end up getting the attention they need.

(more…)

Posted on 12 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to a 2 parter for Serial Experiments Lain! Apologies for missing last week. Between end of season reviews, first impressions and a boxing match, I was a bit busy. But we are back on track with some Lain weirdness, so lets dive right in!

Starting off, I once again was forced to appreciate how good Lain looks and sounds. It’s nothing flashing, like your modern sakuga showcases. Lain doesn’t show off the same way Mob Psycho or Attack on Titan do. With huge showcases from big name animators. Lain does much better with pointed imagery and interesting composition. So my eye roams the screen during the stills, and I don’t notice the lack of animation until it’s moved on. At the very least, it succeeds here more than Paranoia Agent did. The sound design also caught my attention. Specifically episode 11’s opening, with the sink and dishes, the dripping water. I don’t know what it stood out to me, such a simple thing. But I still remember it a week after watching the episode. I wonder what happened to get this kind of effect. Still, enough with production. Onto the madness!

(more…)

Posted on 8 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome to another week of Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week we take a break as our trio get to know each other, have some dinner and meet best sister Nezuko. Let’s get into it!

Right off the bat, I am rather split on this episode. Both in terms of production/animation and the actual narrative of it. There are things I really like and things I don’t for both. For instance, Yaiba did a really good job with the hand-to-hand combat animation! That was a pretty sick combat, and it was a nice change of pace from the swords and demons. Something nice and mundane. However, Yaiba also really overused the “comedy” style for my this episode. With the blank faces and really simplistic art style. It’s not the comedy itself, that was hit or miss and I will get into that later. It’s just the style. It works better on some characters than others, clearly. With the simple dots for eyes and round heads. For the most part though, I want to call Yaiba a success this week.

(more…)

Posted on 1 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Another week, another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba, though not a great one. Zenitsu gets less annoying, and the fights are fun, but the pacing is off and the narrative is questionable. That said, let’s get into some details and jump in!

Starting off, like always, production. Animation wise, Yaiba was fine. The rotating room was still great, but it wasn’t as strong as last episode. It felt like Yaiba almost got too ambitious with the whole thing. Leading to some weaker angles that didn’t work. For the most part though, Yaiba looked fine. I still quite enjoy its style, the thick black lines and heavy contrast. Reminds me of some comics. No, the big question for me was narratively, specifically the pacing of it all. Yaiba just felt really weird this week. With a few repeated scenes, or odds timings. For example, at the end, as Tanjiro just stands there for upwards of 2-3 minutes. Or basically repeating Kyogai’s backstory twice, along with his whole defeat. Yaiba has been moving at a fast pace for awhile now, and normally it works well. But it seems to be catching up with itself.

(more…)

Posted on 29 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mix

I missed last week’s post due to a temporary Hearthstone addiction, so here’s a doubleheader for you. These episodes stepped away from the show’s recent focus on romance and character building, opting to broaden the cast in preparation for the East Tokyo summer tournament. Episode 13 actually covers the opening innings of Meisei’s first game, and I have to acknowledge some disappointment at the return to the baseball diamond. It’s a sweet sort of disappointment, though, as I’d been afraid near the start of the series that sports would be the show’s greatest strength. Knowing that the characters are carrying things can propel me through some of the less impressive baseball scenes, which are plagued by static shots and oppressive lighting. Mix’s visual limitations become even clearer when you realize that it refuses to depict characters running the basepaths, cutting directly to the moments when they’re called out by the base umps. Cross Game wasn’t much of a looker either, if I recall – guess I’ve become more critical since then.

The rest of these two episodes make up for the show’s so-so presentation, though. The Tachibana brothers (or Tachibros, as I’ve taken to calling them in my notes) were in fine form for both installments, particularly Souichiro, who’s becoming one of my favorite characters despite the show’s clear Touma bias. His secret desire to pitch may be temporarily squashed as we enter sports anime mode, but the show’s commitment to the story is clear at this point. Coach Goro directly encourages him to pursue the position in episode 12, but Sou is convinced that his brother wouldn’t lose the ace spot so easily. His previous observation that Touma’s ability was buoyed by his own skill as a catcher speaks to his confidence, but that’s one challenge he’s not ready to face yet. Still, he’ll challenge Touma to rock-paper-scissors to use the bath, then offer him the spot without even looking at the result; he’s not above pushing his brother’s buttons regarding their RPS history. The brothers’ reaction to Haruka’s scouting report in the following episode was also quite entertaining. One couldn’t be bothered to read the hefty document, while the other instantly memorized it and used the opportunity to flirt. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which was which.

“Lightly” was most notable for its focus on Meisei High’s past. We finally got the story of Sou and Otomi’s father, the man who took up the mantle of starting pitcher after the school’s miracle run 30 years ago. Though his career was cut short by injury, I can’t say I felt much for the guy, as I’d rather follow the story developing in the current day. It was nice that Otomi got to talk about her dad with a classmate’s mother for a bit, though, especially in the wake of her regret from two weeks ago. As for the story developing in the here and now, much of it centers on Tomohito Akai, power hitter for Kenjo High and older brother to Ryou (the heartthrob of Otomi’s ninth grade class). Tomohito has a massive chip on his shoulder, shooting down Arisa’s attempt to give flowers to his brother and criticizing him for taking too long to deliver a package to Kenjo’s campus during after school practice. It’s Touma who steps in during his terrible treatment of Arisa, setting up their rivalry both on and off the field, but I’m more interested in Ryou’s side of things here. There’s a scene between him and Otomi where she broaches the subject of their difficult relationship, but his reluctance to respond informs us that there’s a bigger story there. I’m looking forward to learning the details of that story in the coming weeks.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

I will admit, this episode of Serial Experiments Lain was difficult to get through. This week we learn about History, both of our and Lain’s world, and get more information on the Knights. So lets just jump into it!

Starting off, this episode felt… weird. I don’t want to say it was a waste, as it introduced the series endgame with Masami. But it feels like beyond that, not much happened. Like a lot of exposition and additional information got thrown at us solely to setup the ending of said episode. That isn’t to say there wasn’t some progress, I think Lain demonstrated Lain’s deteriorating mental state well. With her difference in personality when dealing with Taro, or the Alien who came into her room. It’s making a very clear point that Lain feels isolated from society now. Just like she was, if not more so, at the start of the series. It’s just the conspiracy stuff surrounding that which I felt really broke up the episode for me.

(more…)

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

O Maidens in Your Savage Season – 02 [Es Ee Ecks]

To someone on the outside looking in, the anime medium, or what it has become now, comprises of some incredibly good seasonal shows that never become truly great; behind these, we have a slew of solid ones followed by a sea of mediocrity. And all this covers a fifty feet deep pile of crap that […]

Kanata no Astra – 02 [Wilderness]

Welcome to the first week of Kanata no Astra, aka Astra Lost in Space in English localization. The double-length premiere remains a flawed but decent introduction for me, and this sophomore further underlines the strengths, as well as the potential weaknesses of this show going forward. For instance, many of the anime’s changes baffled me. […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 15 [Mount Natagumo]

Another week, the start of another arc in Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week our trio start to grow, we meet some new villains and some old characters make a return. Hope your not afraid of spiders, cause we have whole host to get through. Lets go! As far as production goes, I think this was […]

Fire Force – 2 [The Heart of a Fire Soldier]

Welcome to Fire Force! I’m your infernal host for the season (and hopefully many more), Amun. Fire Force kicks off as the highly anticipated sophomore work of Atsushi Ohkubo (known for Soul Eater). The most pressing concern I’ve heard so far is the show couldn’t possibly maintain the level of quality from the first episodes […]

Dr.STONE – 2 [King of the Stone World]

Hello everyone, it’s your friendly neighborhood Lenlo here. Ready for another season? Well you better be, cause this might be my favorite season of the year. Starting of course with Dr.Stone, a series I have followed since its first few chapters. So that said, open up your textbooks and let’s dive in! Starting off, production. […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 10/11 [Love/Infornography] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to a 2 parter for Serial Experiments Lain! Apologies for missing last week. Between end of season reviews, first impressions and a boxing match, I was a bit busy. But we are back on track with some Lain weirdness, so lets dive right in! Starting off, I once again was forced […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 14 [The House with the Wisteria Family Crest]

Welcome to another week of Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week we take a break as our trio get to know each other, have some dinner and meet best sister Nezuko. Let’s get into it! Right off the bat, I am rather split on this episode. Both in terms of production/animation and the actual narrative of […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 13 [Something More Important Than Life]

Another week, another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba, though not a great one. Zenitsu gets less annoying, and the fights are fun, but the pacing is off and the narrative is questionable. That said, let’s get into some details and jump in! Starting off, like always, production. Animation wise, Yaiba was fine. The rotating room […]

Mix – 12/13 [Aren’t You Taking Him Lightly?/Because We’re Brothers]

I missed last week’s post due to a temporary Hearthstone addiction, so here’s a doubleheader for you. These episodes stepped away from the show’s recent focus on romance and character building, opting to broaden the cast in preparation for the East Tokyo summer tournament. Episode 13 actually covers the opening innings of Meisei’s first game, […]

Latest Reviews

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]