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.

 

Posted on 21 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

 

I will admit it, I laughed at the beginning. The episode started with a pretty funny joke related to Meliodas and Elizabeth sleeping in the same bed. Maybe because this one didn’t have a second agenda of providing fanservice at the same time. Actually I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the previous. Maybe because the humor was better than usual or maybe because the animation budget seems to have returned. But I think the primary reason is that the cast has now a selection of contrasting personalities. Before it was just Meliodas, Elizabeth and the pig. So the dialogue between the three was mainly melodas harassing Elizabeth with the pig playing straight man. Now we have Ban and Diane on the team so the banter between characters has become more varied.

This cast is only going to get bigger and now we have King entering. Hes had a rather interesting introduction so far. Meliodas told a story of how upset king was at Ban stealing a large amount of childrens stuffed toys for a laugh and spent the entire night returning them. This rather sensitive image is changed when he stabs Ban through the chest with a spear pretty cold heartedly. (I find it odd that he found this perfectly acceptable to do with two children there to see it.) But then he runs away in embarrassment after seeing Diane. A interesting combination with his battle and regular demeanor. He is also the one who looks completely nothing like his wanted poster. So much so that while Diane and Melodas recognised him, Ban had no idea who he was. Speaking of which, this episode had parts of a later chapter put into it. That being Bans backstory of how he became immortal. And this backstory looks to be the main reason as to why King wants him dead. The fight looks to be a good match up as Ban is a close quarters brawler while King is an indirect fighter who uses his flight and floating spear to his advantage.

Ban’s past relationship towards the forest guardian looks to play a part in the next episodes as the crew journey into the capital of the dead. The also a new villain has entered the fray. A female one to boot. I will give Seven deadly sins some credit. At least theres more diversity than your average sausage fest shonen.

Posted on 16 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

I was mistaken in the previous review. The action scene I thought we would be getting today has been postponed till next week. This week we have a calm before the storm episode as things seem to be setting up for the fight scene to come. I am a little disappointed with this weeks fare as the animation seems to have finally dropped. Movement has gone down and the number of still frames, face shots and environment shots have gone up. It is understandable that they decide to save the animation budget on this particular episode, as they will need to animate some high level fight scenes next episode and this episode was mainly dialogue driven. Still I did find the off shots of windows and the environment during conversation to be a little distracting. it’s a small complaint I know but when something is presenting high level animation and then suddenly drops you notice it all the more.

Lets talk about Shinji Matou for a moment. I have never liked Shinji’s character, though not for the obvious reasons such as him just being a horrible person. Shinji to me has always seemed more a plot device than an actual character. He is designed to be hated to the core, from his high handed talk, his petty anger and to his downright pathetic cowardice when faced with an actual threat. His only saving grace being just how satisfying it is to see him get taken down a peg. In Fate/stay nights fandisc/sequel of sorts, Hollow/Ataraxia, he at least gains more to his character when stripped of his low level villain status. While he still doesn’t become likeable it at least then makes sense as to how him and Shirou could have been friends once. However here he’s just going to become worse as the story goes on. In particular there is one scene involving him in this route which UFOtable is going to have to thread carefully with as it is a rather distasteful moment in a otherwise great story. But the reason I bring this up is that I find Shinji’s presence on screen to be off putting. He is an emotionally manipulative character and even though I know he is designed with the sole purpose of irritating the viewer, I still get irritated all the same. And considering that I see this is the writers intent it just comes off detrimental to the experience and rather insulting. My advice would be to keep him out of the spotlight as much as possible though that is unlikely as he is a driving plot device after all.

On a positive note, I commend the anime for using a shorter explanation for Shirou’s strengthening magic. Because Nasu’s explanations are remarkably long winded and roundabout. Nasu will never tell you outright how something works. He will proceed to explain it in the most obtuse way possible and then repeat that explanation in a number of different beating around the bush ways till you figure it out. It is a way of making the reader misinterpret the thing being told to them as complex and deep because it took effort to figure out, when really they just were given a faulty explanation. Here however we have Shirou explain his magic in the simplest way possible, saving us from listening to a long tedious monologue. I will admit to being let down with this weeks episode of Fate but that does not mean it was a bad episode. It was a rather weak one but did have it’s share of small moments.I liked the talk between Archer and Shirou. As well as Rin and Shirou’s banter as they cleared up the seals. I would say the main thing thats irking me here is that I now have to wait another week to see a fight scene I thought would be in this episode.

Posted on 14 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

There was quite number of still frames this episode so I hope that the animation budget isn’t starting to hurt. So our heroes triumph over the villains with a little help from Elizabeth. She showed some actual enginuity for once. As I was about to sigh as the villain was preparing to blab on about how his power works and give our heroes the exact right information to figure out how to combat it, he is cut off when he realises that Elizabeth already figured it out and made her move. Got to say it was an impressive feat to take the bell from the mans staff as he hit her with it. It would be nice to see her continue to be this inventive but sadly I believe this is a one time moment. She reverts to princess mode pretty soon afterwards.

With the bell out of commision the Sins cleaned house soon enough. Even when one of the villains pulled out his trump card, a spell to seal them away in the prison forever, it was unintentionally broken by the reunion of Meliodas and Ban. Not only did they destroy the spell but also bring down the entire prison with friendly arm wrestling. I am beginning to worry that these characters may be too strong. While I said before that to get around this one can put them in disadvantageous situations but when you disarm the situation it really just becomes a matter of when they win. It is hard to feel they are in true danger in a pure fist fight.

Ah yes and the doctor isn’t dead.To no ones surprise. This is one of the problems I have with shounen battle anime. They are all for having dire situations but there are not many who are willing to follow through with the consequences. I generally dislike fake deaths. I find them to be cheap emotional manipulation that only works once and loses all impact after the reveal. Even then if you can see it then it won’t even work once. This as well takes away the effect of a character genuinely dying as many would just be waiting for the reveal rather than get taken in the characters true final moments. It isn’t even properly explained here. He just go healed somehow and they brush it off pretty quickly. I admit there is something later on that could explain this but right now it’s just lazy way to prevent the daughter from having to deal with the loss of her father. The next episode looks to add a new sin to the head count so we can only see how this King plans to introduce himself.

Posted on 11 November 2014 with categories: Shingeki no Bahamut

Ah, the story progression that I was looking for. I finally find myself having a reason to get attached to Leone and Kaisar, because this episode devotes an entire episode to their rivalry and is just all around an improvement from last episode.

I’ve talked about how the slow pacing hurts this show, and this is one instance where taking a break from the monotony of side activities does a lot to build the story. In this episode, we follow Leone and Rita (possibly my favorite character so far) as they try to get Kaisar and Amira back, who were captured by demons in the last episode. The old rivalry between Leone and Kaisar finally come to a head, and it’s been delivered in such a satisfying manner here- the rising action was not contrived in any way and it was packed with a lot of tension. Regardless, there remains much to be worried about when talking about where this anime will end up-take Amira’s exponential “moe-ification” and the sluggish pacing, which appeared plenty of times in the last few episodes. Those will, without a doubt, stay relevant as the show moves forward.

In addition, Jeanne D’Arc and the Knights had at most 3 minutes of screen time ever since the series began, so I do think that it’s a mistake for Sato to put them on the sidelines for so long. Jeanne D’Arc is probably the only well-known historical figure in the anime, and she’s yet another character being cast off as a minor supporting character when she has so much potential.

Posted on with categories: Parasyte

Let me put up a disclaimer: When I first started to review this series, I didn’t foresee the obvious outcome that this show would end up so mediocre. I debated whether or not I should write reviews in groups of 2-3 episodes versus reviews that would drone on about the same issues every single episode, and I ultimately decided on the former. Parasyte is yet another anomaly- because while the pacing and story are solid as hell, various weaknesses in character development and a total failure to create an effective setting ultimately bring the show down.

First, I think we can all agree that Migi is by far the best character in this show. But besides him, who else do I genuinely care about? Shinichi’s “dehumanization” continues to occur far too rapidly for us to care about it very much, yet the writers seem to keep beating us over the head with evidence that he’s changing- when Mr. A is approaching Shinichi in episode four, Shinichi feels strong remorse about having to kill A, even though he ultimately kills him out of self-defense. So I was initially under the impression that Shinichi doesn’t want to kill any organism regardless of their threat level, because his actions had demonstrated that very same idea up to that point. However, when a pregnant Miss Ryoko is literally causing zero harm to anyone, all of a sudden, Shinichi wants to kill her- what a textbook definition of beating us over the head with character development.

This also directly correlates with the failure to create tension whenever Shinichi goes outdoors.  With a premise as this reminiscent of vampires, there was so much potential here. Although this is obviously a minor issue in comparison to something like character development, creating an unnerving tension whenever Shinichi goes outside to interact with other humans would take the story this show seeks to tell and drastically further push the narrative. How awesome would it have been, had the writers shown Shinichi suspecting every person he saw in the city simply because one of them might be a parasyte? Because so far, the only things that remind us that there are other parasytes out there are the “boss fights” we get every episode.

Overall, although I’ve only listed the negative aspects of the show fron episodes 3-5, the parts this show does right remains the same as what I wrote for my episode 2 review. Regardless, the soundtrack is definitely now a problem- the big emotional reveal in the fifth episode was ruined for me because of the badly composed dubstep (a genre of music that I normally enjoy.) Ultimately, the positives and negatives of this show make this series a fairly average one so far.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Your Lie in April

Episodes 4 and 5 of Your Lie in April were crucial ones in terms of how the series would develop. Episode 4 was a very important episode in the series as we see Kousei reintroduce himself to the music world after his mother’s death left him unable to play the piano. How the writers would handle this situation was extremely important. I was personally worried that Kousei’s and Kaori’s performance would go too smoothly, almost belittling Kousei’s trauma. Instead, the writers took a more agreeable path than that in which encouraging signs for Kousei’s progress were mixed with frustration and familiar problems that showed that he is definitely not out of the woods yet.

After the performance, we’re left with Kaori’s sudden collapse. I was immediately worried that this was going to be an extremely cheap use of melodrama to inject some drama into the show that would ultimately be completely negligible to the series as a whole, but we learn in episode 5 that this has been a recurring issue for Kaori and will almost definitely be a very important part of Your Lie in April going forward. The rest of episode 5 showed a stronger focus on the relationships within the show with some monologues from Tsubaki and Kousei as they ponder their feelings. Episode 5 ends with Kaori pushing Kousei to enter a piano competition, which will be another important step in Kousei’s progress overcoming his trauma.

The good from these two episodes is that the pacing and production values have remained very strong. Good pacing is always nice since it feels rather rare in the medium, and especially rare in the drama/romance genres. The show also managed to beat out my worst expectations that I detailed a little bit in the above paragraphs, relating to how Kousei’s accompaniment of Kaori would go and Kaori’s collapse. As for the bad… I really wasn’t a fan of the writers hanging the botched performance over Kousei’s head. I can understand Kousei being hard on himself, even if he was pushed into the performance. I think it would be a natural reaction. I was less understanding of Kaori bringing it up at the end of episode 5. At the end of the day, I think it was merely to get him to do the piano competition, continuing to try to help him overcome his issues, but I’m still iffy on hanging that over his head to get him to do it. This is also a good time to mention the sappy lines I forgot to mention last time. They’re back in full force, particularly during the monologues. The biggest issue with these lines is that they really just suck me out of the show. Nobody talks like that.

Overall I’d say the quality has remained fairly consistent through these five episodes. Kousei’s upcoming piano competition should be the next major event and it’ll be interesting to see how the writers choose to move along the plot from where we are now. Also, of course, it’ll be interesting to see how Kaori’s health develops going forward.

Posted on 9 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

Always elegant. That is the motto of the Tohsaka household and the mask of Tohsaka Rin. The meaning clearly that no matter what you do, do it with style and grace. It is the creed which Rin upholds by playing the honor student. Though as you can see, at times cracks can appear in the facade.  We had two great action sequences today but in my opinion this were not the meat of the episode. That is because this episode has started to delve into what makes these characters who they are. Even starting the episode with the conversation that would dictate Shirou Emiya’s life. So after the last episode had Rin declaring that she would kill Shirou if he approached her while not understanding his position, the very next day Shirou does exactly that. It’s a stupid move on his part but frankly I can’t blame him. Considering how Rin has been helping and been sending him mixed signals I would likely do the same. After all she may have warned and made that point clear but often it felt insincere and hard to take seriously. But while Shirou searching for information on the now missing Ayako from the previous episode, Rin takes the opportunity to ambush him and show that she means business.

Though truth be told I doubt her heart was in it. Shirou managed to put up a great fight and Rin didn’t seem to be pulling punches. But with her warm attitude to Shirou before it’s hard to think she could really kill him. But then came the highlight of this episode. When the fight is interrupted by a scream, Rin and Shirou run to the source. Upon finding an unconscious girl Rin administers treatment but is nearly killed by a sneak attack that Shirou blocks with his arm. And then we see the mask come off. Rin sees the blood and the ever cool, collected girl panics. Seeing Rins expression to his injury really set the message home that even if she’s a master magus, Rin has never been in a kill or be killed situation. But Shirou having seen worse keeps his cool and takes control of the situation. Even if his actions are not the smartest. This is quite the interesting dynamic they have. Much like say a master tactician and a rookie soldier with front line experience. When the battle is over we much like shirou are clueless as to what Rin wants and even she herself seems to have a hard time seeing it. Her reaction to Shirou’s magic tutelage was also telling of her character. Her indignation as a mage but her jealousy as a daughter. Ending the episode on the not that Kiritsugu put being a father to Shirou ahead of being a mage. In terms of how they were raised, they are almost complete opposites.

That’s enough about Rin, what about Shirou? He certainly had moments. His reaction to Ayako’s disappearance and his quick thinking during the fights. Shirou is by no means a genius but UFOtable managed to make his character really shine here. One thing I really wish though is that they tone down the hints any time that certain character shows up. I am fairly certain that anyone watching already has an idea of this mans role thanks to the music queues and foreboding atmosphere. It’s minor and honestly not a big issue but still, subtlety would be nice. Animation remains steller with art following. Though a bit of advice. I understand that it’s just the way the characters are drawn but try not to focus on their noses. It can become quite distracting if you stare at it long enough. Well with the next episode we have yet another action scene coming so lets see if the fan name Unlimited budget works continues to hold true.

 

Posted on 4 November 2014 with categories: Currently Watching:

One of the problems facing this series is the presentation of threats. In many other shounen you can just bring out some powerful villain and have him force the protagonist to get stronger. In seven deadly sins however our main characters are already veteran legendary warriors with tremendous power. So just adding in a strong warrior would undermine their status as legendary. So the author has to find ways to place the Sins in disadvantageous positions. The two villains in this episode did just that.

Our first villain attempted to poison Meliodas but when didn’t work he used the princess as a way to prevent Meliodas from going on the offensive and forced him to defend her. On top of that the villain had what seemed to be a method of teleportation. So the threat was not to Meliodas but to those he was protecting. This made Meliodas think out of the box and presented a better fight than a battle of who call pull out the biggest deus ex machina. The second villain also used a troublesome technique, making Daine mistake Meliodas for a holy knight and for Meliodas likewise. Leaving the episode with the two unknowingly fighting each other. This is a great threat to a character who is already powerful. Using their power against them.

While I find the villains costumes ridiculous at least their methods are interesting. But there were some small issues here. The fanservice for one. When escaping Ban the third sin stripped a female knight of her armour. Which turned out to be a waste of time because it didn’t fit. All so we could have her be embarrassed in her underwear. Well we do need the money shots don’t we? Still Ban is at least proving to be a enjoyable Sin, even with the unoriginal personality. It was good seeing him in the flashback egging on the Meliodas to strike him in anger only to see him get angry for the first time. He’s going to need a little more fleshing out to differentiate himself from the many other battle manic type shounen characters.  Another was the doctors death. This because it was pretty obvious what the intent was and this being a shounen series I have to wonder if he’s genuinely dead. Shounen characters have survived swords through the chest before gentlemen. This series so far has been solid but future episodes depend on whether they can keep these overpowered character’s battles interesting.

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  • Asuka111
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:42 PM)
    Wouldn’t that be crazy, lol
  • Asuka111
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:39 PM)
    Lol you guys are hilarious. Even funnier when you realize we’re talking through a little box on an anime blog, but I digress. Heck, all of you could be automated response bots for all I know.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:21 PM)
    I decided to drop psycho pass this week, only really watched the second season because I was told I’d like it more, alas though I’ve tired of the dumb fun it was providing me.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:19 PM)
    And oh liam Neeson…tying yourself to that awful Million ways to die in the west movie and a pox on you McFarlane for thinking you qualify as a modern Mel Brooks…for shame.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:16 PM)
    Never could get into the family guy spinoff or American dad and family guy itself just ran out of effect eventually, has gone on too long, nothing stringing its humour together and I’ve long outgrown the series. I won’t be bothering with Ted 2 in any case.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:14 PM)
    For the first forty minutes or so Ted had its moments and the flash Gordon/80s references worked, but it got pretty stale and ran out as it went on and further signified the fall of Seth McFarlane in my eyes.
  • Enka
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 08:04 PM)
    Ha, hindsight’s 20/20. But the joke I was referring to was the “you must be great at parties” thing, because that’s the one that set him off I guess.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 07:35 PM)
    @SomeAnonGuy, Um..yeah. Hi.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 07:34 PM)
    @Enka, Bam is taking this a little too personally though I do agree that your joke was terrible. Wasn’t even a joke to be honest. It was like that moment in that Ted movie where the guy goes to the fat kid “Back off Susan Boyle!” It’s not really a joke, just a random reference that makes no sense.
  • Enka
    (Friday, Nov 28. 2014 06:05 PM)
    And who started it? I said a harmless joke (if it was a crap joke or not) and you got your feelings hurt. Not my problem.
    @Emma I see. But for me, SnK had so much wasted potential that I feel like spinoff stories give me what thr main series lacked. :/

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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Let me put up a disclaimer: When I first started to review this series, I didn’t foresee the obvious outcome that this show would end up so mediocre. I debated whether or not I should write reviews in groups of 2-3 episodes versus reviews that would drone on about the same issues every single episode, […]

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Episodes 4 and 5 of Your Lie in April were crucial ones in terms of how the series would develop. Episode 4 was a very important episode in the series as we see Kousei reintroduce himself to the music world after his mother’s death left him unable to play the piano. How the writers would […]

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Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

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Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]