Posted on 24 May 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

This episode wasn’t quite what I expected. It is true that I didn’t get the big fight I was looking for, though there were clashes going on. However this still was a very good episode. So on the matters of Kirei, Rin, Lancer and Shinji it was all done perfectly. Well there was this weird moment of Kirei slowly moving his hand down Rin’s chest but considering that it’s Kirei we are talking about he was likely just positioning his hand to rip her heart out. But thank god for Ufotable treating that unsavory scene with some dignity. You see in the visual novel Shinji attempted to rape Rin after Lancer put Kirei down. It’s a pretty bad part of the visual novel and I honestly was dreading it being adapted. However Ufotable instead changed it to Shinji choking Rin. I approve this change on so many level. It makes more sense, it’s easier to watch and it at least doesn’t make Shinji even more of a unsalvageable mess than he already is. Though it does give this series a strange thread of woman getting strangled. Both in Zero and somewhat here as well. Actually…a Tosaka being strangled by a Mato desperate for her affection? Now I wonder if that’s intentional nod. Afterwards it’s greatly satisfying to see someone put Shinji down a peg. Lancer just was brilliant in this moment. The show really doesn’t give him enough credit. After taking a fatal wound he kills Kirei, chases off Shinji, cuts Rin’s bonds and sets the place on fire. All while dying, that battle continuation skill isn’t there for nothing. It’s also amusing to see him remark that he wished he could have had a master like Rin. In the game Fate/extra he is actually Rin’s servant but sadly they don’t make the most of it there. But Lancer what are you talking about saying you had no luck finding good woman? Fate/Grand order just put out the design for your master, Scáthach and that’s most definitely a fine woman. Amazed you could keep your mind on training. This is the last we will see of Lancer here but at least he went out with a bang.

One of the biggest complaints of this episode is Archer using Unlimited Bladeworks again. Admittedly yes, this is a huge waste of mana when he is already nearly out of it and yes, instead of making use of the reality marble he seems to just be using it to make a point. The big question that I really need to ask is….do I really care? The answer to that is no. No I do not. Because A) even without this huge expense of mana, Archers mana problem don’t make any sense to begin with and B) this means that Archer actually uses UBW for more that just some weak one off attack on Saber. And finally C) Shirou and Archer get to fight in unlimited bladeworks, which is a perfect place for them to fight and is badass. Thankfully the CGI for unlimited bladeworks is much much better. I wonder why it was they couldn’t do this for it’s previous appearance. So far it’s less of a fight and more Archer hammering in the points that anyone annoyed with his hero complex has wanted to say to him for a long time. I can’t really fault Archer for this. If I met myself from ten or fifteen years ago I would likely beat him bloody myself. But it is interesting to see Saber react to what he is saying as a lot of it applies to her as well. Archer isn’t speaking to her but you can tell his words are cutting her to the core. Even Shirou is getting dispirited.

Then there was the Shirou monologue and realization. Where in the battle Shirou is knocked down and the show basically shows a mental landscape and memories to represent what he is thinking. And damn, this was done magnificently. The imagery of Shirou pulling out the sword from the ground, mirroring Saber pulling the sword from the stone. Shirou walking into the hell he experienced ten years ago to show him taking the path that will lead him to his ruin. Pulling scenes from Fate/zero and showing Kiritsugu giving him Avalon. Just, perfect. Truly. I always worried how they would handle representing the monologues in this route but this made use of the visuals and dialogue to get the point across for more poignantly that the source even did. My one criticism is the song used. The song itself isn’t bad but when the chorus comes into it, it clashes a bit with the mood. It’s a little too cheesy. I see they tried to explain Avalon healing Shirou’s wounds here but this is another reason why it may be best to watch Fate/zero before this. As this really does seem like it comes out of nowhere if you don’t know about Avalon. That is something that has become strange with this series. The original way to experience it was Fate, unlimited bladeworks, heaven feel and then Fate/zero. However due to the deen version of Fate being subpar and Fate/zero being more accommodating to newcomers, the other to view this story is a little skewed. Diehard fans still claim that UBW must be watched before Zero but in all honestly that may not be the best method to experience it. UBW is dependant of knowledge gathered from the Fate route. You are not supposed to dive into it first. Fate/zero gives the knowledge that is needed for UBW and as a whole may be a better introduction to the series than the Fate route is. Sure Fate/zero spoils elements of Heavens Feel but Heavens Feel also spoils elements of Fate/zero, so really no matter what you start with, you are getting spoiled on something. Finally if we are to recommend that anime only watchers view UBW first then we might as well tell them to wait about five years or so for the Heavens Feel movie/movies before checking out Zero seeing as that is the intended order and that’s downright unreasonable. Hoping for more action next week but Ufotable, good job.

Posted on 21 May 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:

So far the focus has been pretty heavily on Tsumugi, the chimera. Who is strangely moefied. Its really odd to see what is essentially a giant  tentacled monster display the characteristics of a innocent cutsy little girl. Still she is to me one of the better characters of the show. Untainted by the negative aspects of Sidonia and it’s easy to see why Tanikaze and Izana have bonded with her so fast. On another note the Chimera opposition subplot has been dropped as fast as it arrived. For understandable reasons, considering that you can’t protest the creature that nearly sacrificed its life to save all your hides. That said, she is holding the show to a standstill as the focus is placed heavily on her and less on the developments going on behind the scenes. I understand they are likely using it as either build up for future developments or as a means to pass time without resorting to a timeskip. Sidonia is at it’s best when things are dire and dangerous so having the show take a more easygoing lighthearted tone isn’t making these last episodes too strong.

Izana losing an arm and leg was a pretty surprising development but it’s nice to see some consequences instead of wrapping her up in bandages and saying she’s healed. However her character is still hindered by her attraction to Tanikaze and much of the interesting aspects of her neutral gender are only used for harem moments with him. At this point I see her as a complete girl so I don’t even understand what the point was of making her gender neutral in the first place. I truly could not care less for Izana’s attraction for Tanikaze as from a romantic standpoint she’s hasn’t got a hope in hell of getting together with him. Speaking of which, at times it really does feel like those harem moments are a separate show altogether. Maybe it’s the CGI but in a setting as do or die like Sidonia, having a moment where a woman punches a guy to the wall for pushing his face in her breasts just feels unreal.

Will it ever be addressed as to why the cafeteria lady is a talking Bear? Its funny that it’s gone on so long and yet no one has really questioned it. The villains endgame remains mysterious and his intent unclear. So far his works have saved Sidonia from obliteration but I would eat my foot if this guys plans were just to aid Sidonia. He has the chief under his thumb and looks to be pushing her to take a more aggressive stance against the Gauna. Tsumugi is undoubtably part of his plan and I think he hasn’t liked that she’s gotten rebellious. I don’t see a happy end for this chimera. It’s possible that Kunato needs to reach the Gauna homeworld and is pushing the chief to use more Gauna based Weaponry as a means to take over once they reach the homeworld. It would be best if things kick up before these hijinks get tiresome.

Posted on 17 May 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Oh my god, I can’t believe that Archer is the future Shirou Emiya!….said no one who watched this episode. But yes the cat is out of the bag. Archer is Shirou turned cynical and jaded after playing executioner for a couple of decades. There was a small bit showing how he contracted with the world and there were some flaws with how it was presented. Namely that in the flashback Archer still had red hair when it should at least start turning white. Do I really care though? Nope, not in the slightest. It’s a minor detail and you can just wave it off as him gaining the hair later. Admittedly the reveal and explanation was the weakest part of the episode as it does show the flaws of Nasu’s writing. Namely the long winded and roundabout approach of explaining the simplest of matters. In a previous post on this series I basically summarized the topic of counter guardians that took well over five minutes to explain here. The visuals did there best to keep things interesting but I bet the animators had a tough time figuring out just how to make over ten minutes of roundabout dialogue engaging. This my friends is why I unlike many type moon fans say that including the inner monologues would not make things better. Quite honestly any time I see Archer lecture on about heroes I am reminded of a skit in Fate/Hollow Ataraxia called “Justice and the kitten”. In it Archer saves a kitten from a tree and three girls thank him for it and call him a hero of justice. Which in turn spurs Archer into a big speech about how heroes of justice are bad and that his action may have been a bad thing for the kitten. The skit makes it seem like Archer was just really embarrassed and his little speech was him just acting tsundere. So every time I see Archer monologue on I can’t help but smile and recall that skit.

I do think this is a better episode than the last few weak ones. You could get invested in the dialogue and the events happening with Rin were very engaging. First of all, props to Ufotable for not going too far with Shinji feeling up Rin. We are not out of the woods yet but at least this scene was made as painless as possible. This gives me hope that the distasteful scene to come is treated with restraint. Plus I really cannot stop watching Lancer punch Shinji to the floor. On first viewing I rewound and watched that shot at least three times. Truly satisfying. Kirei’s entrance made this all the better with Shinji dumbfounded at the side while Lancer, Rin and Kirei have a serious discussion. Like a kid standing at the side while the adults talk. Really Unlimited Bladeworks isn’t Kirei at his best as this is still the point where he was still a rather generic villain in the Visual novel. With knowledge of Fate/zero this scene has a lot more impact. Having Kirei admit to killing Rin’s father was excellent and even Rin saying that she suspected it. It’s actually rather interesting. Kirei’s father never seen his true nature, neither did his wife or Rin’s father for that matter. But Rin may be one of the few to see him for his true nature from even a young age.

Once again, Lancer gets the short end of the stick and to those who watched Fate/Zero this might be an ironic end for him. Having Rank E luck will do that to you. It’s a pity he wasn’t given more screen time as he only was really starting to shine here. Admittedly the scene isn’t over yet but the next events will be brief to say the least. The end of this episode is what really stood out to me though as it promises great things for the next and gave me the thing that Fate/Zero’s music composer Yuki Kajura did not. Fate/Zero did have a good soundtrack and while she delivered on the iconic song “Sword of promised victory”, she neglected the other most iconic song from the game soundtrack. Yet as the episode closes, Archer and Shirou walk towards one another to fight and my ears hear that beautiful melody. Undeniably it’s “Emiya”, the theme tune of both Archer and Shirou and when it plays that means things are about to get awesome. Ufotable, the next fight is a defining moment. It is a time to wash away any distaste I may have. Break open the budget, bring out all the guns and make this the anime fight to end all anime fights. Make it beautiful Ufotable. Make it beautiful.

Posted on 12 May 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Well here it is. The name drop. The very thing the route is called after. And its….its…kinda bad. Of all the places to make the first visual blunder, why did it have to be here? Well Archers reality marble/noble phantasm Unlimited Blade Works was unleashed and Ufotable thought the best treatment would be to render it entirely in CGI. If it was just the sky and swords given the treatment it wouldn’t have been too bad but the ground was CGI as well and it shows, especially when the camera is panning. The texture on the ground is so flat that it resembles an early PlayStation one game and when you stick those colourful drawn characters in it the difference in looks becomes glaring. A lot of the core problems with this episode where in this scene. Fans criticized it because Shirou didn’t counter Archers sword rain the way he did in the visual novel but to me that’s minor problem. They also disliked how Archer materised the swords in the air instead of lifting the ones around him but again that’s minor to me. The main problem is that Archer pulls out Unlimited Blade works for nothing. He takes it out, tries one attack and then it disintegrates again. Even in the Visual Novel I remember after reading that scene thinking “Is that it?” Archer taking such a huge gamble and effectively doing nothing with it was always a head scratcher to me though Archers thoughts and actions during this route have been rather nonsensical.

This could have been the time to get the most out of UBW. All the fights of the second half have so far been short lived. This could have been the point where you could add material that would have benefited the story. Previous new material was nice to have but not needed but a fight here, even if it ends unconcluded, would have done wonders. True they could be saving the budget for the finale. Which makes sense as that’s the best time to go all out. But I am starting to get worried. This could be the beginning of a disappointment. I had full confidence in Ufotable last season but these last couple of episodes have shaken it. Now I fear that when I see the final confrontation I will be unmoved by it. Also as I have brought up many times before, there are 6 episodes left, yet at the rate they are burning through the material they will reach stories end by 3 or 4 episodes. I even heard word that the last episode will be forty minutes long. Just how do they plan to fill out that time? With more nice to have but not needed material? Fans say the story is rushing but honestly I believe the last thing Fate should do is slow down. What Fate needs to do is deliver. The build up has been built and the stage is set, it’s time for the fireworks.

A standout moment in this episode was Archer admiring that he should never have been a hero. There was a lot of emotion in that line and you could see Saber resonated with it. As her wish is similar. Rins explanation of Archers past was good though potentially confusing to those who don’t know what a counter guardian is in the Nasuverse. To those who don’t know, a counter guardian is basically a glorified hitman. Whenever mankind is threatened with potential extinction the earth summons up counter guardians to remove the cause. In other words, kill the person or people who are pushing humanity’s self destruction. They have no control or will of their own when summoned. Archer is a fellow who contracted with the earth to receive power in life and as a result was used as a killing machine after his death to bring stability. Hence resulting in him becoming cynical and jaded by the very ideal of heroism. Rins explanation on his past was fairly vague so I think anyone who doesn’t know the details will just be lost. But I say you get the basic idea. But the sure are driving the nail in about his identity at this point. I won’t say it until it’s stated outright but come on. The characters know and the audience know. If anyone is genuinely surprised when it comes out I will be shocked. The next episode has a scene I have been dreading and coincidentally is Shinji’s worse moment as a character.(In this route mind you. We still have Heaven’s feel and hoo boy…) Be cool Ufotable and handle this delicately.

Posted on 30 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:

Even after a long break its nice to see that Sidonia hasn’t lost its edge. The story is still engaging and CG robot battles dynamic. However…was the CG this bad before? I remember it took some time to get used to the CG animation of the last season but this seems especially stiff. The easy answer would be that it was the same but in the last season I became accustomed to the jerky movements and uncanny valley. If that is the case then this really is some terrible CG animation. If a free web series by the name of RWBY can avoid this then I see no reason as to why a full animation production cannot do the same.

But moving on. Season two starts with introducing us to a new antagonist who has taken over the mind of Kunato. The the nature of the takeover is unsettling and disturbingly creepy. As a threat he’s a good one with his actions and capabilities. But his personality and beliefs are too stereotypical. Mad scientist sums up his character to a T. It is questionable as to why no one is wondering why this student is suddenly inventing things out of nowhere. But it does bring in interesting developments. The assassination of the elders, the push to use forbidden technology and now a representative for Gauna who the public distrusts yet need. Not to mention the unstable nature of the chimera and her, admittedly unsettling, crush on Tanikaze. Add in the cutsy girlish voice and that she may potentially be the mutated form of the now missing Benisuzume and we have a weird new addition to the cast.

Visuals aside, the music and story are top notch. Some characters can be annoying. Especially with Tanikaze’s haremettes who don’t add much to the story besides silly antics and a romance that might not be needed. Though Yuhata does hold potential to serve a better role with her position as commander. The mecha action is bright and fast. Often combat situations remind me of the visual novel Muv Luv Alternatives atmosphere considering the unfathomable alien enemy that constantly seems to push characters to the brink of despair. Considering that particular visual novel has a slim to none chance of being adapted, it nice to see a show replicate the feel that made it a great read. So far its a very strong start to the season and hopefully they can continue the pace.

Posted on 27 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

So at the start of this episode featured the big moment of Gilgamesh ripping out Illya’s heart and it was surprisingly underwhelming. It is true that in context this makes more sense and fits his character better. But it is a little disappointing. Strangely this wasn’t how it was in the visual novel and this is a rare moment where the Deen UBW movie is closer to the source than this TV remake. Basically Gilgamesh did first cut Illya’s eyes first rendering her blind but he ripped out her heart while she was still alive. There was images dedicated to showing him ripping the heart from her chest. Its a moment everyone remembers from the visual novel so to have it absent, even if it was to better the story, is a bit of a downer. Shinji once again shows up to point out that he still is a smug moron but again it comes across as rather funny. Maybe because it’s clear to everyone but Shinji that he’s in way over his head. It’s sort of endearing just how oblivious he is to his own situation. Also helping is that everyone is taking the time to knock him down a peg any chance they get.

Thus in front of Illya’s grave do we subtly bring up the core message behind this series…yes that wording was indeed sarcasm. If at this point you do not know that Shirou regards others lives more important than his then I would claim you were either blind or asleep while watching the series. But take note that there are people who want this series to have more of Shirou’s inner monologues from the source and trust me when I say that compared to the visual novel, this is subtile. I am a fate fan and I say we don’t need ten thousand monologues reminding us that Shirou is selfless and suffering from survivor’s guilt. This is a pretty key aspect of the story however as it is an interesting one. To be selfless is an ideal, but to achieve selflessness in it’s truest form is just wrong. The very nature of a hero is built on being selfless and helping those in need but Fate brings up that it’s important to enjoy and do such a thing for yourself. That’s what makes Shirou so broken. He’s selfless but does not enjoy being selfless. He does it out of an obligation and while it’s admirable you can’t help but find it alienating. Many of the servants have pasts related to being alienated or suffering due to their heroics. Saber being betrayed because no one could see her as human, Hercules driven mad against his will to murder his family and even Lancer was put into the position of unknowingly killing his son. The point is that being a hero isn’t a good way to live a life and that it’s important to value yourself as much as others.

Lancer once again proves that he is a criminally underused character and I am truly glad they choose the option of Shirou letting him join them under one condition. There was another option with Shirou letting him join with no conditions which had both Rin and Lancer lamenting how dense Shirou was to Rin’s affections. Typical harem protagonist nonsense really. So I am glad they avoided that pitfall. I would like to bring up the background art for a moment cause I must say that it’s marvelous. Yes, it is rather redundant to bring up Fate’s ridiculously high production values but its truly amazing the level of detail in these backdrops. On seeing Rin sitting on a bench I can look at the bench and see the grain of the wood with some chips on the edges. The greenery in the surroundings is landscape art piece worthy. From the cracks, clouds to the cobblestones it’s truly awe inspiring just how much work went into parts of the show that most would just glance over. But this to me is what makes Ufotables work stand out as it does and makes it special. Next week looks to be the big reveal based on Rin’s last words of the episode. Of course I highly doubt you do not know what it is at this point. If by some miracle you somehow managed to avoid the couple of hundred fans shouting spoilers at every chance they get, the foreshadowing is so in your face that you likely have a very good idea. Even in the visual novel at this point it was obvious. But lets not forget that we have a big action scene next week with Lancer vs Archer round 2 and that I am most certainly looking forward to.

Posted on 20 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

The word that encompasses this episode in a nutshell would be brutal. Whether you love her or hate her, I say few would believe that Illya deserved this fate. The tragedy is ever more pungent if you know the full details of her past. Anime only viewers may not get the most out of this episode however as even with Ufotables efforts to make Illya more sympathetic, it’s hard to truly feel for a character who hasn’t been present for most of the series. Quite honestly while the flashbacks do explain how Illya became so ruthless and amoral, I would have prefered to forgo them for more action sequences. I think Ufotable missed an opportunity here. Now people do give Studio Deens 2006 Fate/stay night a lot of grief(And some even are audacious enough to claim that Ufotables version isn’t doing the source justice) but one of the most memorable scenes from that anime is a fight that was never present in the source material. I am speaking of Fate’s Archer vs Berserker fight, which is what many Fate fans refuse to admit was the one of the very few things that Deen did right. In the visual novel this took place all offscreen and only portrayed a weak conclusion but Deen took this moment and made it the highlight of the series. Ufotable could have done the same here. They could have took what was originally a one sided slaughter fest and made it into a full blown showdown. But instead the focus was on flashbacks to Illya’s past which was for the most part anime original.

My reaction to this material is mixed. As I said before, it does provide a reason for Illya’s psychotic nature but if does bring up some questions. People only starting from this anime will have no idea what’s going on and even I as a Fate fan am not certain as to what it was. Is it simply Illya’s imagination leading her to dark conclusions or a connection to a certain dark entity? The second option is feasible…I guess. But I am not certain if I am happy with it. It is understandable that they wished to give Illya some more attention before the big scene and this in turn does bring one of the faults of bringing Fate/stay night into anime. For you see the three routes of the Fate/stay night visual novel are not meant to stand independently. Each one is there to strengthen the others and are meant to be viewed in order. The fate route helps build a bond to Illya’s character so that her scene here would affect the reader more so than the characters themselves. But without it this does come across with weaker impact. The scene with the homunculi in the water chamber was also pretty bad. Just clunky exposition that wasn’t needed and doesn’t make much sense in context. The start of the wolves scene was also awkward with Illya standing up and more or less explaining to the audience what’s going on by talking to herself.

However seeing the wolves knock Illya down and proceed to attack her was a difficult scene to watch. That wasn’t the only scene that was hard to watch. Anyone who read this route knew it was coming as it is one of the most defining moments of the route itself. And make no mistake, Illya’s death was just as sad as it was there though missing a certain heart wrenching finale. Made all the more tragic by Rin desperately holding down Shirou to prevent him from running out to try and save her which I thought was a good change as in the visual novel he just waited and ran down the stairs when it was already too late. It makes more sense for his character to jump into action immediately rather than watch over silently.  There is some disgust with the fanbase over Berserker breaking the chains of Enkidu as that should by all means be impossible. In the visual novel it’s just said that he escapes it somehow but doesn’t break it. Honestly though, this is the Nasuverse, where every unbeatable thing has an exception or several. I will admit that I am disappointed as to how this was handled. The flashbacks broke up the action and messed with the pacing. The new material was not the best. And cutting out the last part of the scene, while understandable as to why they did it, still left me wanting. Well now things are not looking too good for Rin and Shirou with the man turning his blades at them and them no servant to hide behind. But from the look of the preview a neglected fellow is about to get some spotlight.

Posted on 12 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

As a reader of the Fate/stay night visual novel I can confirm that the majority of this episode was anime original content. However instead of being about castors history like I thought, it’s of his backstory with her first master. In all honestly making the episode be about her history with Jason would have been a better way to make her more sympathetic but still I am not against this either. This is the first time Castors former master has made an appearance as in the visual novel he was only briefly mentioned. I am not exactly keen on making him so one sidedly jerkish for the purpose of making Castor look better in comparison. Though the thing I find odd is his acceptance of technology which in the visual novel is something that Magi abhor most of all. (Hence why Rin is so terrible with machines.) But he did mention that his family was new to magic. The pacing was a little fast for this backstory but from what I hear it’s been confirmed that seven minutes of content was cut from this airing episode. Hoping for that Lancer vs Castor fight or Media’s history.

Now my main concern is that while this material is nice to have, it isn’t necessary. I said before that I worry as to how UFOtable plan to fill out the rest of this season as they already have gotten though a large amount of the visual novels route. If their plan is to expand the route with scenes like this then I am in favor though I hope they have more impact besides adding in action scenes or filling up space. For example, giving Lancer more scenes to show off his character because if there is one character who is greatly underused it’s without a doubt him.

Though the placement of comedy may be questionable, I really laughed when Illya only lightly shocked Shirou with her field but blew away Rin when she entered. It was priceless. The extra scenes really showed off Sella and Leysritt who were actually barely present in the visual novel at all. It’s nice that the two of them had some time to shine bullying Shinji before the blond servant came in. And Shinji…they sure are playing him for laughs. So much so that it’s sort of becoming his thing. Being ridiculously overconfident and then undermined at the slightest threat. It a good way to go with his character, seeing as his role as a minor villain is one dimensional. By making him someone who has no idea just what he has got himself into actually by some miraculous oddity, makes him slightly likeable. Though if they are to continue this route there is a rather distasteful moment involving him in the future that would need to be treaded carefully. If it can be that is. There was a surprising amount of gore in their deaths, though with ridiculous amounts of blood but hey, anime. It looks as though the next episode will focus on Berserker and Archer fight which I am fully geared for. I am all set for an animated explosive brawl that wasn’t even present in the visual novel.

 

Posted on 11 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to be an RPG pimp

I am getting SAO reminders already. Let me talk about something for a moment. You see when I first played the game dark souls I was frustrated and angry at myself because of my own failings. But then I worked hard. I learned the enemy tells, figured out how to balance my stats, learned what was useful to what was not. I got good, nay, I got great. And when I struck the final blow on the last boss I knew that I got here from my accumulated effort, by challenging myself and now I could carry that experience into other games with pride. Now I imagine if I was given an ability that doubled my stat growth from the get go, handed all the best equipment and basically given regenerating health. Even if I steamrolled through the game my victory would be hollow. Because I didn’t earn it. I won not because of me, but rather because of what was given to me. It is for this reason that power fantasy such as this show does not interest me. Our protagonist has three girls already interested in him, an outright broken skill that gives him huge stat grown and the over powered equipment is coming. So with that out of the way, the writing is flimsy and contrived, that goddess girl is more annoying than I remember from the manga and the setting is just an rpg game. I will pass on this.

Potential: 0%

 

Denpa Kyoushi

Short Synopsis: A Otaku traumatises three girls for life to teach a life lesson.

Perhaps calling this a poor man’s GTO was a bit generous. It does have the same setup but the protagonist is certainly less likeable. Its hard to get on the side of the gifted prodigy who couldn’t care less about using his talent for anything besides otaku interests. Even worse when he’s a Gary sue who knows everything. It is odd that despite his actions being portrayed as heroic for giving bullies payback, his method seemed rather villainous. I mean the bullies did do something too far but threatening to publish all their personal information on the net, even as a joke, is going way too far. The character designs are not really pleasing and animation is fairly passable. But this is looking weaker than the manga. Or simply the flaws of the manga are getting illuminated.

OP: Very very annoying.

Potential: 40%

 

Arslan Senki

Short Synopsis: A young prince faces the task of inheriting his father’s throne.

This starting episode sets up a solid base for the remainder of the series. Two factions of different beliefs each with pros and cons. Motivations for what seem to be future important players. Excellent animation and art. Topped off with a persian arabic high fantasy setting. The main character is rather stereotypical but has much room for growth. The designs make it very clear that fullmetal alchemists author is in place though she didn’t write the original story. One negative however is the poor CG. Its understandable considering the number of people fighting on screen but it does look like rusty robots in motion at times. There are small pans which use CG as well which don’t look very natural. High fantasy is not often seen in anime nowadays so if this plays it’s cards right we may be looking at a potential highlight of the year.

Potential: 90%

Posted on 5 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Gunslinger Stratos

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist falls into an alternate world full of trigger happy people.

I am fairly certain that Gen is not writing this. You can see part of him in the concept but not anywhere else. The episode gave me a mixed impression. I hate the characters and find the main to be too much of a “Ordinary highschool student.” The action of the episode was quite good and I like the matter of dealing with alternate worlds even if in practice it’s a very bad idea. The art felt off at points as there were points when the protagonist turned his head and his face just looked strange and not proportionate. One thing that assures me that Gen is not the writer is the few lines which were embarrassingly awful. Two examples of which being when the main and female love interest encounter a blood soaked body and proceed to ask it if it’s ok. And this funny exchange of words

“No, that was an explosion!”

“An explosion? What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.”

I would like to think of this as a translation error. Or at least I hope it is. I am willing to give it another episode but I don’t see this becoming something worthwhile.

Potential: 40%

 

Seraph of the end

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to kill all vampires

This show has a number of parallels to attack on titan. It would be a lie to say it was exactly the same as it does at least differentiate itself enough in setting and story. However if there is one thing I wish this show would have avoided that was a major negative of Attack on titan.  Namely the lack of subtlety. Seraph of the end is told so heavy handed with pretty much everything shoved in your face. So much so that the ever so predictable tragedy that came at episode’s end left me sighing. But while I feel the execution is poor I do like the ideas here. There is a good bit of potential in this story. However there are harbingers of decay in the future, namely this “Prophecy” mentioned and the worst thing that always cripples story potential, a school setting. Though really I am rather cautious because this was essentially the setting up episode and the next episode is likely the true beginning. I have a firm suspicion that this will go downhill very fast. But provided that it can restrain itself a bit and move the story as far away from that school as possible this could be something.

Potential: 50%

 

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Short Synopsis: The cynical adventures of captain buzzkill and his crew

There is a noticeable upgrade in art and animation. Though one complaint I have in that department is that Hikigaya looks like he’s been bishied up a bit. The pacing does look quick and I noticed moments were it seemed that scenes were cut out altogether. That said I don’t think anything cut out looked significant. One of my major concerns about this season has not yet been put aside. That being that harem antics overtaking the plot. I question as to why these girls pretend to show disdain for hikigaya despite their affection for him being maxed out. But admittedly not much has changed from the first season. Hikigaya’s cynical disposition and snark is delightful as ever as how the other characters play off him. (Though for once I would like to see a fujoshi character whose main purpose is not a one note joke) The first episode at least promises more of what made the first season enjoyable which is fine by me.

OP: The guitar riff is catchy and the tune is pleasant. The visuals colours are somewhat washed out but nice use of geometric shapes and stripes.

Potential: 80%

Shoutbox

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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