Posted on 17 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Starting off, let me apologize for the lateness of this weeks Lain post. I tend to try and digest an episode before writing, and Lain makes that… difficult. As this week we get into the human psyche, the line between reality and the Wired blurs and Lain becomes multiple people. Lets hop right in!

Starting off, this week was weird. Like, really weird, but also very interesting. I loved the use of consistent imagery, connecting different events of the show. For instance the red dots in the car window, mimicking the red dot of the gun last episode. Building upon Lain’s trauma with it. The empty house which Lain comes home to, apparently each night, and how Lain mills about like this isn’t anything new. Really nailing home how alone and disconnected from everyone she is. Idling away her hours on the computer. I actually stopped Lain for a second and looked around my apartment, realizing I had been doing the exact same thing. Its a really weird feeling to get from a show made in ’98. Even the name of the chip Lain gets this week is filled with connotations. So much so I probably missed most of them. It’s ridiculously layered.

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Posted on 16 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man S2

Sigh Welcome once again to the sinking ship that is OPM S2. This week we see a fantastic character done dirty, botched pacing, and more boob shots than you can swing a stick at. Lets dive in.

As always, production, and oof. OOF. JC Staff screwed the pooch this week. I won’t even talk animation, because that’s obvious. Instead lets talk about how JC Staff screwed up direction and shot composition, when Murata had already laid it out for them. Throughout this episode, we have 2 conflicts going on. Genos vs the Monsters, and the Tournament. OPM cuts between the two, progressing both at once. However, what happens in the manga is the tournament comes first in ever sequence. Showing a martial arts technique and its effects, then cutting straight to Genos performing an S-Class Super Hero version of the same thing. High Voltage Fist, Machine Gun Blow, Rocket Stomp, all these mimic techniques of the martial artists. Yet JC Staff couldn’t even do that right. Showing them out of order, with no impact or connection between them. This is a staggering level of incompetence.

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Posted on 15 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

Welcome one and all to Dororo’s redemption, the episode that takes us back to first cour quality. We have demons, sword fights, and poignant character moments. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t be disappointed in 2 months. Lets jump in!

First up, thank you MAPPA, for getting production right this week. Every aspect was, at the least, decent. There are still small nitpicks that could be made, but they are just that. Nitpicks. The actual big picture is that this episode felt like one from the first cour. Sure, the demon shark fight was rather fast, but that wasn’t the focus of the episode. That was Hyakki vs Tahomaru and co, and I enjoyed this. It was animated much better than previous episodes, really moving the “camera” around and giving us full body shots. Yes some detail goes away at points, but in its place we get a much more movement. To top it all off, the music was great and there were lots of picturesque shots that adored. It’s entirely possible my standards have fallen, but I am just glad Dororo is actually animated this week.

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Posted on 13 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome everyone to another episode of Yaiba! We are 1/4th of the way through now and Yaiba is 3 arcs in, with no plans of slowing. We arrive at the town, a hunt ensues and combat begins with our first super powered Demon. Lets jump in!

As always, production first. I could go on and on about how pretty Yaiba is. How much I love the water effects and uneven line work, etc etc. I have done that every week though, so this time let’s talk sound design, cause whoo. It’s good. Not only is it a Yuki Kaijura OST, always a plus, but Yaiba is just nailing the folly work. Seriously, whoever did the sound of the gnashing teeth deserves a raise. That was a suitably creepy and hair-raising, a unique sound I have no heard before in anime. As a whole it all comes together for a simply fantastic sounding episode. My only real complaint with it is the CGI crowds/walking. Yaiba is finally starting to show some cracks in the CGI, with the wide shots. Luckily all of the closeups are still 2D. That aside though, onto the story. (more…)

Posted on 11 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mix

Two weeks ago, I wondered how long Mix’s middle school arc would stretch, given that its ultimate destination was the Koushien tournament. Apparently the show had a similar question on its mind, as these two episodes pushed through an entire year’s worth of story. In fact, it was episode 6 that did the majority of the time skipping, with its focus on the changing seasons. I much preferred episode 5 for its comparative calmness and light foreshadowing, though it also concluded the first Tokyo Tournament with some haste. After making a late appearance on the mound, Nikaidou quickly lost the game for his team by giving up five runs in a single inning, and the show didn’t even mount an attempted comeback for the home team. This was all in service of the later reveal that Nikaidou was dealing with a potentially fatal heart condition, thus explaining his father’s doting behavior and his coach’s bullheadedness. The narrator provides even more context near the start of episode 6, detailing the friendship between the two men and the father’s past as a pitcher. Personally, I would have loved to witness a conversation between those two, rather than being fed a bunch of secondhand information about their relationship.

Thankfully, the narrator wasn’t as involved during the rest of these episodes. Perhaps my favorite part of either one, and the one involving that “light foreshadowing” I mentioned above, dealt with Nishimura’s fixation on the Tachibana brothers. He went so far as to visit their house and coax them into visiting the high school where his dad coaches baseball. As the boys biked to their destination, Nishimura named another team – Kenjyou High, formerly Sumi Tech – that served as the opponent in Touch’s Koushien final. Since they’ve been introduced at this early stage, both schools are likely to appear as obstacles in Meisei’s modern day path to glory. There was also a flashback from Nishimura’s father, who was reminded of someone named “Uesugi” after watching Touma pitch. You might expect Uesugi to be some unbeatable ace, given the prodigy to whom he’s compared, but he actually gave up a walk with the bases loaded in that flashback, losing the game for Meisei. Could this be a clue that Touma will experience a similar loss in the future? If Adachi ever wanted to mix things up, dealing the protagonists a loss on a grand stage would be the way to go.

Visiting another high school was an effective way to follow up Touma’s interest in leaving Meisei, but that lack of attachment was probably due to the snubbing he received from his old coach. After playing for a new one during his final year of middle school, the only thing that held Touma back from a deep playoff run was a sliding door that he slammed on his own fingers. Yes, this is the actual excuse that the show used to skip its ninth grade baseball season. The show manages the transition with some grace by introducing two new characters meant to carry us into the high school era: Goro and Haruka Oyama, a father and daughter pair who move to Tokyo in preparation for dad’s new job as the coach of Meisei High’s baseball team. Souichiro meets Haruka by chance on moving day and stares after her, obviously smitten. His eventual pursuit of the girl next door may be complicated by his stepdad’s existing friendship with Goro, however. That friendship was formed at Meisei 30 years ago, which is where most prior events in this series seem to have taken place. I’ve got to say, this style of connecting most characters and plot points to a shared past isn’t in keeping with the naturally-evolving web I was expecting. I do like Mix, and I’ll probably like it even more once we get into high school territory, but I’m ready for it to take another couple steps out from under Touch’s shadow.

Posted on 10 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome to week 2 of Serial Experiments Lain, or as I like to call it, Screw With Lenlo. This week 4 friends walk into a club with drugs and a gun. Sounds like a good time, so let’s jump in!

Starting off, I really need to remember when Lain was made. I got half-way through this episode critiquing its “animation saving” cuts, before I realized Lain was made in 98. Granted this isn’t a get out of jail free card, Cowboy Bebop was also made in 98. But it did renew my appreciation for cell-animation. It’s a very different aesthetic from digital, much… not rougher but maybe rustic? Regardless, as limited as it is I watched this coming off of One Punch Man Season 2 and whew. Lain is drastically more engaging. There is much less motion on screen, and yet the framing and direction make it visually interesting. Whether it be framing a man’s face through a doorway or some almost hallucinogenic sequence, Lain drew me in. Considering I still understood almost nothing of this story and was still engaged, I would call that a job well done.

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Posted on 8 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man S2

God damnit OPM. I thought we were past this, I thought we could get along. It was my hope, after these last two episodes, that you could make it. I was wrong. This week OPM disappoints me, and I once again get to go on a rant. Jump in if you dare.

Right off the bat, and I am gonna do this for a few hundred words, let’s talk production. My god, did OPM trip and fall down a ditch this week. There’s so much to talk about here, I have to split it into sections. Starting off, animation. Not only was it limited, reusing it in the same god damn fight, but what little good OPM had was covered up. Flashing screens, cut to black with flashes of light and shaky cam ruin whatever punch any of the fights could have had. Combine that with terrible direction, ruining the flow of blows, and it just becomes a mess. One redditor described it aptly as “The fight wanted itself to end”. Then there’s Metal Knight, flying around like a static image through the sky. This sequence could have been amazing and instead we got… a PowerPoint presentation.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

Welcome one and all to the best episode of Dororo this cour! The animation is still disappointing, but the story is returning to form. Lets jump in!

Starting off, I have to say, it’s good to see Dororo getting back in form. Not production wise of course, no it’s a mess on that front. With delayed blood sprays and reused clips. It gets even worse when compared to the flashback clips shown in this very episode. No no, I am talking about the story, because this week we finally get back to the family drama. For the first time since the 2nd cour started up, Dororo has returned to its primary plot. Focusing not on combat or side stories, however they might connect into the story, but on the characters and what has happened to them. Suffice to say, this made me really happy, however bad it looked. So that said, spoilers after the break, and let’s go.

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Posted on 6 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

For me, watching Fruits Basket is like watching a classic play. It’s the show where despite its familiar story beats, it still pulls out a satisfying emotional core because its heart is in the right place. This episode is a prime example of that. I know this will eventually happen, Tohru moving to Souma’s house has always been a temporary plan and it’s only a matter of time before she has to choose between this new family and her own. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, however, as it does just right after the introduction phase. Like a good old play, the plot is fairy predictable, but the lines are there where they needed to be, and the characters deliver those lines with so much weight. Take the scene-stealing character of this week, Grandpa, for example. He serves as a comedic relief; he mostly stays out of his family’s affair but when he decides to jump in, he more than delivers the blow. What makes his speech so great is that not only he points out the assholeness of his family (damn, they’re true bitch), but he allows Tohru to pick the one she feels like home. He might mistake her name to her mother’s, but he sure knows about her more than the rest of the family does.

This is the first time that the titular “Fruits Basket” comes into play, and it further engraves the core theme of the show nicely. The very theme of Fruits Baskets is the feeling of belonging, and the sadness of feeling left out. When Tohru plays the game as a child, she was labeled something that isn’t even a fruit, and thus waiting forever to get called out by her friends. It parallels to her current status where she doesn’t really have anything to belong (up until she knows about Souma’s family). To that extend both Yuki and Ryou suffer from the same sense of alienation. Ryou for not being an original zodiac and desperately try his best to be included, and Yuki for the exact opposite reason, him as a member of the Zodiac that is too “weird” and “exclusive” to even have friends. These main characters more often or not are too aware of their loneliness, and momentarily accepts that as their fate. Tohru has learn a big way to step out of that mindset, and “being selfish” for once. Because, being selfish means she does care about her relationship to both Kyou and Yuki.

It’s also nice to see Kyou and Yuki are both on edge with the departure of Tohru. Although vastly different in their personality, this week is the first time where they share the same things: not only their attraction to Tohru, but also their stubbornness to even acknowledge that they care. This is Fruits Basket as its most emotional satisfying (so far), and I can’t wait to see more of the supporting cast. I don’t know how the original anime handles the material, but this version succeeds because it honors the source material, by understand what makes the source great and faithfully transfer it on screen, even at the cost of the polishness of its production values.

Posted on 5 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Another week, another saturday morning cartoon episode of Yaiba. This week we finish up the exam, Nezuko wakes up and Tanjiro gets a fancy sword. Lets jump in!

As always, the visuals are great. Ufotable does right by Yaiba every week on this front. I have gone over the big stuff multiple times though, so instead, I want to take not of some smaller details. For instance, I love how Yaiba is employing the masks. They inform a bit about a person’s character, and also saves them time on animation. Letting them instead do a lot of character animation, such as Haganezuka’s waving arms. It’s something I think is worth pointing out. Another detail was the sound design this week, specifically the music. There were a lot of moments that were enhanced by it. I can’t comment or not on how “traditional” it actually is, but I quite enjoyed the string’s aspect of it. With Yuki Kaijura at the helm here though, this isn’t really surprising. However repetitive her style can be, fact is, it’s a good style.

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Serial Experiments Lain – 3 [Psyche] – Throwback Thursday

Starting off, let me apologize for the lateness of this weeks Lain post. I tend to try and digest an episode before writing, and Lain makes that… difficult. As this week we get into the human psyche, the line between reality and the Wired blurs and Lain becomes multiple people. Lets hop right in! Starting […]

One Punch Man S2 – 6 [The Uprising of the Monsters]

Sigh Welcome once again to the sinking ship that is OPM S2. This week we see a fantastic character done dirty, botched pacing, and more boob shots than you can swing a stick at. Lets dive in. As always, production, and oof. OOF. JC Staff screwed the pooch this week. I won’t even talk animation, […]

Dororo – 18 [The Story of the Cape of No Mercy]

Welcome one and all to Dororo’s redemption, the episode that takes us back to first cour quality. We have demons, sword fights, and poignant character moments. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t be disappointed in 2 months. Lets jump in! First up, thank you MAPPA, for getting production right this week. Every aspect was, at the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 6 [Swordsman Accompanying a Demon]

Welcome everyone to another episode of Yaiba! We are 1/4th of the way through now and Yaiba is 3 arcs in, with no plans of slowing. We arrive at the town, a hunt ensues and combat begins with our first super powered Demon. Lets jump in! As always, production first. I could go on and […]

Mix – 05/06 [You’re a Pitcher, Right?/When Spring Arrives]

Two weeks ago, I wondered how long Mix’s middle school arc would stretch, given that its ultimate destination was the Koushien tournament. Apparently the show had a similar question on its mind, as these two episodes pushed through an entire year’s worth of story. In fact, it was episode 6 that did the majority of […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 2 [Girls] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome to week 2 of Serial Experiments Lain, or as I like to call it, Screw With Lenlo. This week 4 friends walk into a club with drugs and a gun. Sounds like a good time, so let’s jump in! Starting off, I really need to remember when Lain was made. I got half-way through […]

One Punch Man S2 – 5 [Martial Arts Tournament]

God damnit OPM. I thought we were past this, I thought we could get along. It was my hope, after these last two episodes, that you could make it. I was wrong. This week OPM disappoints me, and I once again get to go on a rant. Jump in if you dare. Right off the […]

Dororo – 17 [The Story of Questions and Answers]

Welcome one and all to the best episode of Dororo this cour! The animation is still disappointing, but the story is returning to form. Lets jump in! Starting off, I have to say, it’s good to see Dororo getting back in form. Not production wise of course, no it’s a mess on that front. With […]

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For me, watching Fruits Basket is like watching a classic play. It’s the show where despite its familiar story beats, it still pulls out a satisfying emotional core because its heart is in the right place. This episode is a prime example of that. I know this will eventually happen, Tohru moving to Souma’s house […]

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