Posted on 27 July 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Orange

Orange takes it very slowly this week, even slower than its standard. Indeed, we can summarize the plot of the first 15 minutes just by one sentence: After Kakeru dating with another girl, Naho feels brokenhearted and avoids Kakeru like a plague. Which actually makes sense. After all, the guy already had a girlfriend so if you are truly his best friend, it would be for their best interest just to avoid any close interaction like they used to, right? Except that both Naho and Kakeru feel very awkward with each other. Naho feels powerless that she can’t control the way she wants, so she bounds for another regret: What if she said to him face-to-face instead of sending letter? Or blaming her future-self for having it way too easy. Those feelings are genuine but it’s truly exhausted to follow her feeling. Ueda the new girlfriend sadly doesn’t shed enough light for her own character, and because we see Ueda through Naho’s and the group’s perspective, Ueda comes off more as a negative object (girlfriend who steal their best friend away) more than an actual person.

For the last few episodes, I always feel that the letters work more as a plot device. It is those letters that made Naho changing the future, but I like the fact that in this episode, it’s not those letters but the friends who actually encourage Naho to take action. Yes, this is a right step because, like she stated last couple episodes, those letters can’t change who she is, it is by the support of friends that she could make her effort. Furthermore, I can understand the change in attitude of Kakeru with Naho. Unlike their original timeline, the feeling of Kakeru towards Naho and his hesitant towards Ueda comes directly from her response “No” last week, because now he knows what she’s thinking. But still I can’t see how the friends know what she needs and support her this time, and not in the other timeline? Maybe because this time they sense that Naho is hiding something from them (the letters) so they can sense that she’s been depressed? Or the other way round? I don’t really see the link here.

And to save the best for last, let’s talk about the stand out elements of this episode: the technical aspects. Except from the present day when the group visits his house after 10 years, the rest of the episode feels really off. Now, to be frank, this episode is doomed to be a disaster. After all, making an entire episode basically about love despair with no main action until the very end of episode is not ideal, to say the least. In addition, the restrain of the budget is shown visibly here: so many still frames; our characters in long shots look so shabby. Instead the show tries to be different. There are many out of place elements in this episode that constantly put us off: The CGI part of the vending machine; the mixing of dialogues with montages; the heavily use of frog motifs (which I’m not sure what for); random conversations from other people, and most jarring, the use of rock music in a supposedly sad and melancholic episode. This episode just basically screws over the consistency Orange had built in their first 3 episodes. It’s a risk move, of course; because most of the time I’ve been wonder if I watched the same show. I remember certain episode from “From the New World” run with that very same idea and went all out with their own styles. All this for the service of the climax scene, and boy, it works wonderfully. The confrontation between our lovebirds in the end really pays off what come before. I like the Orange now. Orange’s still going strong, but our Naho won’t and thus our hearts will burst into flames along with her.

~SuperMario~

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

With this episode we basically get an idea where the show will head for the rest of the series and I pretty much enjoy the direction they taking so far. Of course it makes sense that in order to get past those obstacles, the band needs to ally with others who are most suitable for the jobs, even if it happens to be a female demon who practiced necromancy, oops. Well I certainly don’t want anything to do with the demon in my group but I have an impression that she has been frightening people so that they would just leave her be herself. From what I see in the opening intro the other guy (I presume to be the guy who has that Soul magical blah blah blah Flute) looks even more peculiar. Lin Xue Ya proved again to be the mastermind who really plan everything ahead and it would be boring and cliche if he were the master sorcerer, so I hope the show avoids that. But he seems so confident to deal with the demon Xing Hai here, so I guessing Xing Hai has deep appreciation for him, just like Shou Yun Xiao the archer. I like the fact that this series acknowledges that not all demons are necessarily evil, which would add a little bit of context to our demon lady next episode. I also like the whimsical reverse-gender role of her “cutting off parts of 100 beautiful men to make a perfect living doll”, it’s just fantastic when you try to imagine her doing that.

The most interesting bit is of course the three obstacles the cast have to overcome. Well, setting up the Seven Sin Tower in the borderline of human and demon realms is a nice touch, because the show can dwell into dark magic and devil territories. I can see the clash of light and dark arts between the girl Dan Fei and the demon Xing Hai, and I hope they can explore that tension a bit in coming episodes. The three obstacles: The Village of the Dead, The Valley of the Doll, Labyrinth of Darkness; are not at all unique, instead we have encounter some of these before in other anime, but for this one I have high hope that Gen Urobuchi could make those materials interesting.

For a wuxia-action show, this episode in particular surely takes its time, as the first two-third of this episode was dominated by these characters talking to each other. But when the action kicks in, it sure looks wonderful and fun. I have said it before but there is certain charm of practical effects in puppetry that we can’t see in animation, like the body-exploding last episode. With this episode it was head-chopping. But the action is not even the highlights of this episode, it is the dialogues that maintain the campy sense that so entertaining to watch. There are many silly moments like when our main character Shang Bu Huan frustrated of the idea of him tagging along with the group, but get slightly annoyed when those characters proceed to introduce themselves and ignoring him (“Quit trying to move this conversation without me”); or when Dan Fei confronts him on the importance of protecting the legendary swords, instead our main character just ranting about the very idea of putting your own lives to protect the swords (which actually a very valid argument); or even the two most silly guys of the show Juan Can Yun and Shang Bu Huan talk about picking up girl and accuse each other of being pervert. Those moments create a weird chemistry between the cast but I hugely enjoy them that way. Like a puppetry show, these characters are just there to perform their larger-than-life roles, but they perform it so goddamn well that I have no complain whatsoever.

~SuperMario~

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei

Plenty of action this week as we have faceoffs between Beatrice and Illya with Gil and Angelica firing legendary weapons back and forth. I wish there was a bit more fight animation here as while it was the same in the manga, it’s still a shame to have the scene cut away just when the combatants start to fight. True, they shouldn’t blow the budget just yet but the fights in this episode were essentially two people talking and just when they are about to fight the scene cuts over to the other fight where the combatants have just stopped fighting. Still I can’t say there were not great moments in this episode. For one Gilgamesh getting angry at Angelica for using Enkidu, the chain named after his closest friend. I have no idea why but having Gilgamesh say Mongrel just fills my heart with glee. Funny thing is that I think it only became a signature of him when the Fate/Zero dub came out as before it was regularly translated as bastard or lowlife.

I will admit that Illya just so happening to pull out Ruby from a stack of mystical items out of pure chance was a cheap coincidence. But it’s nice that she finally figured out how to install the cards and now we can see Illya cosplay as heroic spirits. Though she says she learned it from Chloe, though how she remembers when she installed archer and how Chloe knew how to do it is still a bit of a mystery. Bah! It’s the nasuverse. Here it follows the logic of who cares as long as it’s cool. If a gym uniform girl can take a direct hit of lightning from the hammer of the gods then who am I to question validity? Speaking of which that seemed odd even to the characters themselves. Tanaka has proven herself to be a strange anomaly as she seems by all accounts to be invincible. She’s clearly not from that world and can’t seem to remember anything besides her mission to destroy the Ainsworths. Considering the world’s current state and it likely being mainly the Ainsworths fault, I say the chances of Tanaka being a counter Guardian sent by the world is high. Despite her being for the most part comic relief, I prefer her to those classmates of Illya as at least she plays a role in the overall plot and isn’t an existence whose only purpose is the pad out the length. Plus she can be genuinely funny at points but maybe that’s because I relate her and illya’s relationship to Taiga and Illya from the Tiger Dojo. Actually in the manga I was certain that Tanaka was a younger version of Taiga due to not seeing her hair colour. If you dye her hair blond she would bare a striking resemblance.

It may be an odd thing to say but I am rather glad that Prisma Illya’s magical girl transformations are much more reserved than that of usual magical girl anime. A particular awkward thing about watching Nanoha is how the transformation sequences go a bit too far with the nudity. I am sure lolicons rejoice but for me it just makes me fear someone walking in and having a huge misunderstanding about my preferences. Illya may be technically eighteen(I assume she is in this spinoff too considering Shirou’s age.) but she certainly doesn’t look it and I have no interest whatsoever. This is why the heavy fanservice aspects of Zwei were particularly awkward for me. It’s a bit like Bayonetta for me, the thing itself is trying to make her as physically appealing as possible but I just am not into that so it just leaves me blank faced and uncomfortable. Well uncomfortable in Prisma’s case; Bayonetta I more just find somewhat amusing. Looks like Bazzett and Chloe are joining in next episode and I hope Chloe is bringing more than just lesbian lolita antics.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 26 July 2016 with categories: 91 Days, Currently Watching:

Seeing as things didn’t quite go to plan for Avilio last episode, it’s now time for him to prove his innocence to Nero. Avilio is playing his cards right and things would have gone to plan if it wasn’t for the man who lead them to Fango before. He states out of curiosity that he followed Vanno and found both their bodies. Then decided to sell Serpentines body to the police. Personally I doubt it was concern that drove him but rather his own greed as when pressured he did mention that he got too greedy. Chances are he knew what was going down and decided it would be a good chance to make a profit. So todays episode was essentially Avilio tracking down the body in order to show Nero that his story wasn’t made up. Having done that it looks like Nero believes he is in the clear but I think otherwise. Nero may be acting normal on the surface but looking closely he has been showing signs of suspicion about Avilio. I don’t think him taking Avilio with him on his little vacation is because he trusts Avilio but rather him practicing keeping his enemies close.

Fango returns once again to liven things up and I will give him credit in that his character allows him to add a little chaos into the mix. Having him follow Avilio and Nero resulted in a pretty excellent scene with him exchanging hostages. I still think he’s more a loony tunes character than a Mafia underling but that move with him noticing that it was Avilio under the hostage hood and then brushing it off unless he was close enough to pull out a derringer was quite ingenious. His relationship to the Don is interesting as well in that they seem to hold the same opinion on food. However it does feel like Studio Shuka is trying to make him their version of Ladd Russo in places. There is a possibility of him taking over his family and ending up the main antagonist and in regards to that I am not sure on what to think of it. Maybe if he can dial down the crazy he can become a compelling character but otherwise I fear he may steer the show in the wrong direction.

If the title is anything to go by it looks like Avilio’s revenge is going to be a long process and a time skip may be coming soon with this incident escalating into a war between mafia families. Avilio and Nero are leaving before things get too dangerous but it’s possible that when they come back the family will be no more with Nero left to rebuild it. This could create an interesting dynamic between the two as Nero would need Avilio’s intelligence but at the same time Avilio would be taking every opportunity to kill Nero. However chances are that Nero is Avilio’s final target and before him are people Avilio also plans to take out. That look in his eyes as he lights up that cigarette makes me think he’s got some machinations in the works. Though first it looks like the two of them have to deal with a hitman being sent on their trail.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 25 July 2016 with categories: Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

While I did enjoy this episode and think that some interesting things have been brought up, I must admit that even my patience is starting to run out. I blame this mostly on the fact that I am watching this weekly instead of binge watching it all as the progression in these episodes has slowed down. This is part of the problem with adapting something which wasn’t tailored to be shown in portions over weekly periods. While I see value in the characterisation and failing of Subaru, at this point his redemption is long overdue. The level of suffering he’s going through has gotten excessive to the point of reaching torture porn status. I am certainly not above the primal pleasure of tragedy, it is something that I was looking forward to after all, but I am not in favor of it when it halts progression. That’s what is missing here as I watch Subaru fumble around and make mistakes.

At the moment Subaru is like a child with a shape puzzle in that the solution is there but instead of stopping to think, he just shoves random shapes in and gets further frustrated when he doesn’t get a result he was after. Of course I don’t think that Subaru should immediately become a perfect being and start making all the right moves as that would defeat the purpose of his downfall here. Subaru’s problem is not something a happy ending can immediately fix and requires time. What I need is for him to start getting on the track that gets him close to solving this, even if for the wrong reasons. Instead of running around in circles I need him to start taking steps in the right direction, so even if he hits another bad end then at least he has made some progress on resolving the matter. If it takes him the entire second cour to start doing this then I can’t say I would look fondly back on this.

This episode be get a big introduction the the White Whale whose powers are quite terrifying. It seems that those who fight the white whale are removed from everyone’s memories and even have their existence completely wiped from the world. What makes this especially terrifying is that the Whale has erased Rem who was practically main heroine at this point and she now no longer exists. The impact of this detail was somewhat removed for me thanks to some youtube commenter spoiling it in an unrelated video so Mister commenter I say you can sincerely go to hell.(Why do people do that, it’s such an ignorant thing to do.) Now I fear that even if Subaru does die and respawns at the apple stand then Rem could still be erased from the world. I would like to believe that such a development would be far too sadistic to include but considering the writers intense desire to make Subaru suffer as much as possible I think it’s a high possibility. Even if that were the case I at least am confident that she wouldn’t be removed from the story completely as the opening hints at a confrontation with the White Whale. Speaking of which one of the most surprising things about this episode was that it had an opening. I actually forgot that this show had those considering their lack of usage, well it’s a good opening and those singers were paid for a reason so why not.

I don’t blame Otto for kicking Subaru out of the carriage as his words wishing for Subaru to die likely echo the fan base’s sentiment at the moment. His words about how he and Subaru were weak are also things Subaru needs to hear. Though I must say that he mentioned something quite interesting in that a Master Swordsman faced the White Whale and died. In this series there are two characters with the title of swordsman. One is Wilhelm and the other is Reinhart. Considering that Reinhart has been considered away on business for a while I have a firm suspicion that he was the one recently killed by the whale. Part of how Subaru fixes all this could do with him helping Reinhart defeat the whale to get him in debt to Subaru. With that he would have the leverage to ask him to defeat the witches cult. There was also the matter of Subaru trying to make a good move of warning Emilia even at the cost of his own life but the curse killed Emilia instead of him.

It’s possible that the curse actually only affect those he tells and the first part is a warning. Or the Curse was being malicious at this moment to let Subaru know that even if he steels himself for death the curse won’t be bypassed so easily. I like the second option as it suggests that this curse isn’t some kind of automatic function but rather someone who is watching Subaru and threatening him. In his case the obvious suspect would be the jealous witch. Her attachment to Subaru may have grow as well seeing as he can now see Betelgeuse’s power when he couldn’t before. I suppose I shall close this post out by saying that it was nice to see Beatrice again and she certainly had a great moment where she refused to kill Subaru. From her words it seems she has gone through a rough time in her life and at least begrudgingly cares about Subaru. Maybe next week some closure is coming, like Betelgeuse getting impaled on one of Pucks icicles for example.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 22 July 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Truth be told, I’ve never seen any of the EVA franchise, and it’s not normal since EVA is a must for any anime viewer. I don’t really know the reason why I keep myself from watching it, maybe both because mecha is not my favorite genre, and the hype of EVA is just overwhelming that I just don’t want to be any part of it. Asking any anime fan, especially from Western culture, “what series they think is the best” or “what is the first series they saw that got them into anime”, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop would likely to appear on people’s lips (I’m guilty of the second, with Cowboy Bebop). With that said, better be late than never. Since psgels himself never actually covered the original show or even rated it, I think this is a good opportunity for me to give EVA a retrospective review (not much of a retrospective really, since this show is new to me), at the same time give readers who already burnt out from new anime something they can chew on every week. Again, and I really stress it this time, I write this because I want to, but if you rather prefer me not to review shows in the past, all you need is shout out in the comment and we will take it into our consideration.

Now looking at this first episode, it struck me hard how desperate and pathetic team human is. The first episode wastes no time to show us the high stakes situation here with all the chaos and the ruined city caused by the Angels. The Angels, moreover, are overpowered beings with their own intelligence to boost. Our human’s ace card, N-2 mine – which mostly destroyed our own buildings and almost the whole city, couldn’t bring the Angel down. The whole situation got so desperate that they had to force a child, who never actual pilot anything before, to control Eva. It is also a bold choice to show us the very first image of Rei, when she was a TOTAL MESS.

Shinji and his father’s relationship is of course the real meat of this first episode. The way Shinji always looks for the recognition from his father, and the way Gendo uses his son with no emotional attachment whatsoever aren’t the most comfortable things to witness, to say the least. Calling him down so he had to pilot the damn thing when he’s clearly not ready, and then about to dismiss him when he back out? Ways to go Gendo! As far as I can see, this cold relationship hits directly to the insecurity of Shinji, and honestly his passive behaviors, while believable, could be a pain to watch later on.

From the technical side, as far as the look and feel of EVA go, I’d say that I pretty enjoy it. The chaos settings and destruction motifs (falling buildings, bombing, even the destruction of characters themselves) really give you clear idea what this show is going for. The characters do not appear to be real or deep yet, but still are functional enough for this first episode. If there is one thing that doesn’t really translate well to me, it’s the character designs, they look kinda bland and exactly what you expect from the 90s anime show (in other words, dated). But well I’m never much of a fan of the 90s character designs (with only Cowboy Bebop for me still stood well after all this time, but even in that regards Faye’s big boobs turn me off every now and then). The visual looks great, there are many of shots that visually frame how Shinji struggling with the decision, especially the part where he stands in front of the Unit 01, his will-be partner, or more correctly, a part of himself in the future.

Alrighty, that’s it for now. I will try to get the second episode in couple of days so that we can catch this up with the new anime’s current week. Let us know what you think about the EVA series and if you still remember anything from the first episode. It must have been a long time since you guys last watched it, right?

~SuperMario~

Posted on 20 July 2016 with categories: Berserk(2016), Currently Watching:

Forgive me for the delay on this particular post but I must admit that in light of Berserks quality my interest in covering it has somewhat declined. I know that for every episode to come I will have to dance around the elephant in the room but this series isn’t making that easy for me. As when coming close to enjoying the show I am constantly pulled out of it. My experience of watching Berserk is essentially a game of denial as I try to pretend the ugly visuals don’t exist. Perhaps I should find it cathartic as Berserk is a series which by its very nature is ugly. The things that make Berserk stand out as a series is it’s pure unapologetic brutality. Rape, gore, death of children and every uncomfortable theme you can think of is par for the course for Berserk. It is very much a pulp fantasy work and likely one of the finest in manga history. Plenty have tried to imitate but few have matched it’s glory. A true Berserk anime should be quite nightmarish considering the creatures that could have walked out of a Clive Barker novel, however the anime looks to be nightmarish for entirely different reasons.

Todays episode bring in some anime original content and if hearsay is to be believed, this was written by the mangaka of Berserk himself, Kentaro Miura. However when examining the content itself I must question what was the need for it. My original thoughts were that Miura was supplanting the less TV friendly aspects of the series by adding in different content. However the dark aspects are still here so I wonder why the change was needed. In the manga Gut fought a bunch of demon dogs till dawn and Farnese was nearly raped by a possessed horse. In this anime the exact same thing happened but instead we have the addition of a mansion and a encounter with a demon apostle. The encounter doesn’t add much of anything besides confirm that Guts is after revenge. It reminds me of a point in the manga where out of nowhere Miura decided to dedicate two chapters to a flashback with Gut’s meeting a fairy. The story itself was good but it’s reasoning and overall presence in the plot is utterly insignificant. It came at a time when Miura needed to get a move on and push the story to a climax but instead he decided to put in a filler story. This feels much the same, the fight against this dog demon is rather entertaining but when you plan to cover over sixty 30 page chapters in a single cour I think you don’t have time to waste on events that put the main plot on standstill.

However what really bugs me is that they adapted events of the manga and made them lesser. In particular there is a line Guts says about the demons reminding him of how he felt when he started all this. In the anime Gut’s just throws out this line upon meeting the apostle and it doesn’t have the same impact. In the manga Gut’s sees the horse about to rape Farnese and is suddenly reminded of Griffins rape of Caska. Which cause him to be filled with rage and say that line. It was a pretty powerful line and it just confuses me as to why they would keep the horse attempted rape and yet move the line to a different scene. What’s also puzzling is the sound design where they essentially decided that everything Guts hits with his sword will make a clang sound. I understand the idea of emphasising that his sword is more a huge hunk of metal instead of a blade but it really doesn’t make sense to have a sword clang when he’s cutting transparent beings or dogs made of flesh and bone.

It becomes quite distracting once you notice it. There is also the matter of Farnese’s non existence nipples. It’s likely something to be fixed in the blu-ray releases but I find it funny the priorities censorship has. Apparently the depiction of female’s nipples is out of the question yet showing a scene of forced Bestiality is apparently fine? I mean sure you darkened the scene but you still show her getting clearly molested by that horse. What is the point of censorship when it doesn’t censor the most damning aspect? This is the kind of thing that leads to weird fetishes forming. Where the story goes from now is a good question, Farnese has gone through an ordeal which has shaken her faith and put her in a rather compromised position. In particularly her rather kinky possession which lead her to nearly kill Guts while asking him to split her in two with his sword is certainly a story she wouldn’t want circled around the Knights. Her pride could very well lead her to hunt Guts down till her dying breath. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned after all.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 19 July 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Orange

So this week we finally encounter a love rival. Of course with a romance drama show like Orange there had to be someone who would stand on their way right? Except there’s not much of a rival really since Naho never stands a chance against the new girl Ueda. As she learns hard and clear this week, some small incidents can be changed, Kakeru this time decided to join the football club, instead of quitting like last time; Naho had her chance to prepare lunch for him, something that her previous “timeline” couldn’t do. But those occurrences changed doesn’t mean that the core could be changed. Naho, with or without the support of the letters, could never bring herself to confess her love to Kakeru; and the fact the Kakeru will choose Ueda over her is something that will happen all over again, regardless of how many times she tries.

Immediately after watching this episode (yesterday), I quickly dismissed Kakeru’s closeness actions towards Naho in a beginning as a behavior of flirting; kind of like he opens himself more to Naho, a potential lover, until he sees a better opportunity from Ueda so he chooses Ueda instead. After all, no normal friend would expect other to cook lunch for them, you know. But today as I am somehow wiser than my own-yesterday self, I can see the reasons behind his actions towards Naho. Kakeru always looks at her as a female/mother figure, since he now lacks the real mother’s care. The way he suggests Naho to cook lunch for him, telling her that she behaving like a Mom, or tell her to alarm him at 5 in the morning, or even ask for her advice if he going to date Ueda; all these point towards his desire to have attention and to be taken care of by a female figure. All that to say there might not be any love interest towards Naho to begin with. Well we’ll know that for sure in future episodes.

As much as I enjoy Orange so far, I still have some concerns about Orange. Especially at the end of this episode where the adult cast read Kakeru’s letter, his comments on every member of the group feel strangely unconnected to me, since the majority of time we follow Kakeru – Naho relationship, the cast as a result don’t have any chance to develop. If I have to compare the cast of Orange with the cast of ReLife right now, ReLife has put much more attention to flesh out the cast. Except for Hiroto who is sensitive enough to know what’s going on and I love their natural interactions with each others, the rest of cast just simply too bland right now and I would expect much more from them in next episodes. All that said, three episodes in, Orange still maintains its slow but confident pacing and its very expressive, atmospheric art designs, and except for those teary eyes this last minutes, there is surprisingly less emotion outburst than I have expected. Keep it low like that Orange!

~SuperMario~

Posted on with categories: 91 Days

At this point I think it’s clear what kind of show we are getting. It’s not Hitman Reborn which essentially uses its mafia inspiration as window dressing for shounen battles. Nor is it Baccano with a silly yet funny atmosphere combining the prohibition setting and supernatural. No, what we have here is the old school classic Mafia drama. A big tip to that this episode had a number of references to the godfather, even the series logo is reminiscence of it. I am actually rather worried about studio Shuka in this regard as this is an anime more for western audiences as I am sure it won’t sell well in Japan. They are likely safe considering they have Natsume to fall back on. I must say though that anime needs shows like this. Too long have we had the high school self insert harem supernatural battle fantasies and I say that it’s shows like this that display what anime can really do. Two episodes in and I feel like I am getting something from anime that I have been aching for a long time. Of course I hold my scepticism as Joker Game certainly betrayed me into thinking it was something is simply wasn’t. However 91 Days is showing great promise and I would like to believe in it.

This episode had great development for Vanno and I really took a liking to him. He’s a booze runner but he doesn’t drink. He seems to be quite religious as he prays before eating but holds no hesitation in killing someone. He’s hot headed but not stupid. And from the looks of things he has a connection to the girl getting married in this episode. I liked the guy in the first episode but this episode cemented him as my favorite character of the show. So I was truly genuinely shocked to see Avilo/Angelo kill him off. I thought Vanno was someone who was going to make it all the way to the end and I actually lament his loss. He was a truly great character, how could you keep Fango alive and yet kill Vanno?! However while I am disappointed in his loss, I truly respect the decision to kill him off. This show went to the lengths to establish his character, give him depth and make him likeable before putting him in the guillotine. Still, we could have had him around for a couple more episodes couldn’t we? Such a shame. Avilo is also a great character as well and I like that the anime is showing him to be intelligent without spelling it out for the audience. It’s also great that he isn’t being shown to plan things out perfectly and can make mistakes. Avilo is a really clever guy who lacks the precognition ability that so called masterminds seem to have, that to me makes him much more human.

Fango is another story. When this anime is fairly grounded in all other aspect, Fango is like a cartoon caricature standing out like a sore thumb. By some miracle he managed to avoid being burned by the molotov cocktail thrown at him last episode and now this episode we see him getting whipped by a dominatrix. Fango is the guy who seems to know he’s being watched, so he acts as crazy as he can when the camera is on him. In a series like Baccano that character was Ladd Russo but he fit the mold of what the series was trying to be. In a world as crazy as Baccano someone like Ladd Russo is expected. In a series like 91 Days, Fango is just too crazy to be taken seriously. Well at this episode’s end we finally see Avilo’s objective as it looks like his target is the very men he’s signing up to work with. Whether those are actually the men who killed his parents is another thing as he was given the details by an anonymous source. Still it should be rather interesting seeing Avilo play the part of ally while taking out people behind the scenes. The mafia family looks to be in a perilous position at the moment and it is possible that Avilo is being manipulated to stir things up and bring its downfall. His story could very well end here as he has stirred up suspicion when he lead Nero to Vanno’s body. I say he will make it out of this alive but Nero is most likely going to keep an eye on him.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 18 July 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Sometimes there’s a show that so campy and fun that you just can’t help but enjoy watching it, and then sometimes there’s a show that completely takes you by surprise by how unique it is. Thunderbolt Fantasy offers both of these in a neat package and further showcases the richness of animation as a medium too. As a guy who always support diversity in animation, the show like this is all I could ask for. The fact that Thunderbolt Fantasy got made in the first place is nothing but astonishing, but for me the most fascinating fact is how on earth this show falls into anime radar in a first place, because this is surely not an anime show (I suspect it’s all because of Gen Urobuchi here). Damn, it is not even technically ANIMATION to begin with. Theoretically speaking, animation requires photographing successive drawings or positions of models to create an illusion of movement, whereas puppetry usually recorded live so there’s an actual movement in puppetry. Here’s an example to illustrate the difference: to make 1-minute of a stop motion animation, it could take hours even days for a shot-to-shot sequence, since there’s usually 15-24 frames per second and you can do the math. But for 1-minute of puppetry it would take just that- a minute of actual filming.

Now let’s get to the actual episode. This second episode offers a much slower pace than the first, with the main storyline here concerns our main character Shang Bu Huan chit-chatting with the helpless girl Dan Fei, and the mysterious Lin Xue Ya, he then gets ambushed by the bad Xuan Gui Zong clan, and escaped with the help of the brothers Juan Can Yun (kind of show-off comedic relief guy) and Shou Yun Xiao (the one-eye archer. Look, I’m trying to familiar myself with those names here). So far this is a very standard wuxia affair, with the plot so far ticks all the boxes of many wuxia’s conventions. The villains of this show so far are sadly bland and over the top. But what the show succeeds is how it still maintains the sense of exciting, the staffs clearly had fun while they were making this and we can feel it too, from the way each of character has their own mannerism, the practical effect (the feeling that you can sense the weight of blood dripping and body exploding (no sh!t) is refreshing), to the utterly ridiculous dialogue; all in the service of making this show as unique and entertainment as ever. This is, after all, a very different medium so I really treasure the experience that I can only find in puppetry. My only complaint from the technique itself is how the camera tends to keep too close to the characters. There are very few long shots in these first 2 episodes, mainly medium shots and lots of close up. That is understandable since the staff has to create all the models, set decorations by themselves; but sometimes the lack of establish shots confuse the hell out of me.

On last note, I have watched many wuxia shows before, but all of them are 30 plus episodes based on already established franchise materials, so I’m eager to see how Gen Urobuchi pull this off: an original wuxia that condensed into 12 episodes. Although Gen Urobuchi is not my favorite writer, I have to tip my hat off to him on this series. Without him, Thunderbolt Fantasy couldn’t exist. Without him, the Taiwanese puppetry will always be a mystery outside of its homeland. Damn, I haven’t even heard of them before this show. That fact alone is already something worth celebrating.

~SuperMario~

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  • KaZuHiRo
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:46 AM)
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PSGELS!! If you’re still lurking around that is…
  • Vonter
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:48 AM)
    I’m kinda bummed that the Killing Joke adaptation is likely gonna be another feminist driven criticism. As for my opinion its just not as good as it could be because it seems 2D animation in general is having less commitment adapting complex artstyles. Not as distracting as Berserk, but the Bruce Timm artstyle doesn’t strike the tone of this particular Batman story.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:48 PM)
    @topgavin, I am not gonna deny that’s a large part of what I like about it as well. And practically everything really does become a side plot when the other guy is introduced.
  • topgavin
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:19 PM)
    I think, after watching the recommended episodes for kaleid and watching the first 3 eps of it, I’m solely watching for Gil. All the other stuff (and girl mc’s) is a side-plot to Gilga-f******-mesh wrecking people.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 05:43 AM)
    @Aidan: You know how a boomerang works.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:08 AM)
    @RealJustified, pretty sure that’s Kevin pretending to be afgm.
  • reaLjustified
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:49 AM)
    @afgm How so? I’ve rarely even seen you on here, plus trolls aren’t even a common occurrence.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:40 AM)
    this chat is ass, to be honest
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:35 PM)
    @Krista, relax. He’s the only one that riles people up like this. Normally this chat is fairly civilized.
  • Krista
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:24 PM)
    The chat’s becoming too angry for me, thanks for the recommendations guys! I’m gonna try to find another place for this kind of stuff.

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