Posted on 26 March 2015 with categories: Parasyte

Parasyte, along with Gugure Kokkuri-San, are the only two shows from the last season that I’ve actually finished, and that’s actually saying quite a lot–seeing as how I haven’t been watching (much less blogging) anime at all this past season. However, I figured I should at least write a final review for Parasyte, just because it’d been such a consistent and solid series.

A lot of time in this series is spent building up Shinichi’s humanity (or rather his loss of it) as he meets a creature named Migi. It’s not even anywhere near as slow paced as Shiki, another anime similar in theme and story, but this show still puts emphasis on creating an atmosphere to draw the viewer in, and this is also what makes this show good; the contrast between surprisingly relatable characters, and the really intense scenes.

Most of the time with a lot of mediocre horror shows, the directors spend almost no time on the less significant characters, and Parasyte was no exception at first. Yet what separated this from the others was that this series fixed a lot of its initial problems very well over 24 episodes. I mentioned several months ago how Shinichi wasn’t a very good character to show the gradual loss of humanity because we didn’t know him at all before he met Migi–but as we saw more of his own humanity, we saw Shinichi turn into a much more self-reflective character for the better. In addition, his change as a character is so completely different from early on that it’s commendable that the producers did it so seamlessly. Migi, on the other hand (excuse the pun, I had to make it), was an amazing character from start to finish, and it was interesting to see his character wrestle with problems that were the exact opposite of Shinichi’s in that he gradually learns what it means to value human compassion. Because of that, the ending was great in that Migi, the initial source of Shinichi’s inhumanity, saves Satomi’s life through a spur of human compassion–a very fitting ending, I have to say.

The show has great control over every climax. It evolves very nicely as we learn what’s going on with the characters, and loves to drop random tense encounters with the Parasytes everywhere–which really spices up its scenarios. Because of this, Reiko was definitely a highlight throughout the entire series. While this show doesn’t answer everything like the lingering questions about the parasites, the closure it gives at the end does wrap things up well. So in the end, Parasyte remains a thrilling “horror” story that never really dragged on longer than it needed to.

Final Verdict: 82.5/100

Storytelling: 7/10 – Lots of action, and does this well, knowing how to balance it out with its plot.
Characters: 10/10 – Simple, but effective and likable.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Alright soundtrack. Animation has a lot of weaknesses, but still remains pretty solid for an action series.
Setting: 8/10 – The backstory actually does what it needs to do to make this series interesting for a full 24 episodes.

Ultimately, I gave this show an 82.5/100 because of all of the great qualities I’ve already raved about above–yet the fact that it fumbled the pacing of the first handful of episodes as well as the existence of Shiki, which accomplished what Parasyte did and even went above and beyond in just the span of 22 episodes (excluding the OVAs) means I just can’t see myself giving it the 9/10 I would’ve initially given it. However, it goes without saying but 8/10 is not a low score by any means, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Suggestions:

Shiki

Posted on 24 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

So we are reaching the final conclusion and things are coming to a head. Chiyuki’s memories are restored and we find that in life she was an ice skater. An odd choice but it did lead to a rather beautiful scene of Chiyuki skating on Ice as she recalled her past. Admittedly I did try to ignore the obvious reasons as to why the camera avoided looking at her feet (Those feet skating movements would have been tricky to animate.) as I found the nature of the scene poignant and picturesque. Though Chiyuki’s backstory was rather underwhelming.  While it is true that considering Decim’s inexperienced standing as an arbiter that he wouldn’t get someone with a extreme past but when the series has been eluding that her past held some deeper meaning it’s rather disappointing to find its not really that significant. An ice skater who got an injury that prevented her from skating anymore and killed herself. I find the nature of her suicide somewhat strange as it didn’t look to me like she was all alone in this. Is it a Japanese thing to remain passive and hope they pull themselves out of their depression? Despite it being one of the worst things you could do in that situation? Really when she considered herself worthless after losing her ability to skate, I think leaving her be afterwards only confirms that thought.

Yet the best part of this episode was with Ginti and of all people, the girl from episode 6. With Harada’s soul going to the void, Ginti presents the choice to sacrifice another to save his soul. The person to be sacrificed just so happened to be a cameo of Light Yagami from Death Note. In that case you really should have pushed that button Mayu. Yet despite Ginti’s attempts to get her to reconsider, Mayu decides to go to the void together with Harada. This is a really well done scene that I would applaud in normal circumstances. But it rather falls apart when you take into account that she is quite literally going to hell for a boy band member she obsessed about. A boy who she barely knows anything about. Not the love of her life or a dear family member. Just why was this character given such a great scene? Episode 6 just destroys what could have been a powerful scene. I like the meaning behind Ginti being unable to push Mayu into showing her inner darkness. That an arbiter that took sadistic joy in judging couldn’t make up his mind about how to judge one girl. But I think this was the wrong character to do this with. Mayu didn’t deserve main character treatment in this matter. So we have one more episode to push things to a close. I must admit that much like Ginti I have trouble judging this. When taking in the show as a whole I could define it as half-great. The weak and strong moments of the show are in equal measure. But an ending can change everything.

Posted on 16 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

So Onna name is finally revealed and newly christened Chiyuki plays a game of old maid with a storyteller. Death parade, you are doing it again. You are drifting from what should be the focus of the series and really pushing this ongoing plot thread. So we learn a number of things. One, that Chiyuki’s time in quindecim is limited and soon she will return to being a dummy. As for what happens to her soul…well it’s not specified. That Decim is starting to want to abandon his role as arbiter as he respects humans lifes too much to judge them. That Nono is getting Quin to retrieve Chiyuki’s memories and Oculus has learned of the whole scheme after doing….something to the elevator operator. Well if you are going to push this on me then fair enough, I will give this my full attention.

If I was to describe my feelings for these developments I was say I was apathetic. This could be attributed to the fact that I care more for the games than this ongoing plot. However I believe there is another reason why I do not care for this. Simply put, I do not know the stakes. So Oculas finds out that Nona put human emotions in a arbiter. So what? Is he going to kill her? Fire her? Congratulate her? And if this is so risky then why is Nona trying to do this? I understand that it’s not good to spoonfeed everything to the audience and that keeping a person’s intentions secret is used to promote intrigue and thought. But we do not have the slightest idea of even how this world functions. We only have a vague understanding of how the arbiter process works. I said before that it’s good to keep things in the dark but if you are going to go this route then at least show a basic understanding of what’s at stake. For I cannot fear for these characters lives if I am not certain whether they can die. So how does them getting in trouble a threat when essentially they cannot be punished? Well besides being separated but I don’t have the attachment to the characters to really feel for them. I like Decim and Chiyuki is alright but I don’t really know enough about them to form a big attachment. That I believe is the real reason that I do not care for these developments. I am just too much in the dark to see how these things affect these characters.

While things may speak to the contrary, I don’t hate this plotline. I can find myself getting drawn in if it was more clarified. However this is at odds with the death games as a majority of those are now mostly filler. They may have affected the characters slightly but the main goal of making Decim question the system was really the only matter that needed to be driven home. So with regards to the main plotline the death games are…time fillers. I do not like this. The game in this episode is a prime example of that. The game of old maid didn’t bring any new revelations to the characters besides Chiyuki learning her name. I don’t see the reasoning as to why Nona would bring this guest as she didn’t provide anything the audience didn’t know and her life didn’t serve to do much besides affirm Decims beliefs. Which is counterproductive when Nona is telling Decim to continue to judge as an arbiter. So how is this old woman supposed to change his mind on the methods of judging? This is exactly why I keep saying the focus on the games. Because unless you can answer these questions satisfactorily this plotline will end weakly.

Posted on 10 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

 

In reflection I think Durarara may have been a poor choice to blog. The reason being that when I sat down to watch this episode I was fully intent on finding something I could comment on. Then as the end credits roll I find myself at a loss to what to write about. With something like Death Parade it comes naturally but here I just come up blank. I could of course bring up the events of the episode itself such as Verona chasing after Celty with glee or Shizuo avoiding fighting the yakuza because he’s been framed and doesn’t want to raise any more problems. Yes, I could say it was funny when the yakuza underlings tried to explain Shizuo’s absurd fighting style to their boss. However that’s just me summarizing the episode, not reviewing it.

The cogs are in motion and something is coming but I cannot formulate an opinion on it. I do admit that this season has so far been inferior than its predecessor now that nostalgia factor has long worn off. We are now 35 episodes into Durarara and yet characters are still being introduced and the story feels like it’s setting up stages. Many animes would be moving on to getting the main event started and those shows are lucky to even get a second season. Let alone a two cour one. In the impression, I warned people not to expect progression with this series. Now I find it hard to follow my own advice. I am sorry for the lack of episode review here but I recommend trying to review just the events of this one episode in the comments. I think you might understand why then. All I can really say is this. Mikado better have made made a choice by the end of this arc as his indecision would test the patience of Buddha. I am hoping the next episode will give me something to work with as otherwise I will be forced to drop this and maybe replace it with kaleidoscope. Or an one post impression on another ongoing series.

Posted on 7 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Well the end of the episode did get over melodramatic but still, a very good episode. It is rather amusing to see two people bond over a shared goal of revenge. Their thinking slowly edged towards a dangerous outlook it became clear that one of these two is not on the same wavelength as the other. The detectives attitude throughout the game became worse the more he remembered and when the two remembered their sins, he was the one stating that they were not wrong. In truth, is he right? Murderers and rapists are not the kind of people who you can just chuck into a jail cell for a couple of years and hope they learn the error of their ways. You cannot force someone to change their thinking. The person themselves needs to recognise their own mistakes. Of course, even if you were to get three ghosts of past, future and present to show them the error of their ways chances are that they would be completely apathetic to it. So perhaps we would be better off without these kinds of people. However then the problem with this kind of thinking rears it’s head in this episode. When the detective got his revenge he lost his goal and when that happened he took of the role of what could be described as a living arbiter. He watches peoples sins and then judges them for it. Thus the problem is this, when you adopt the methods of a killer in order to remove scum from society then you in turn become scum. You cannot judge without being coloured by those you judge.

So in this death game we have a practiced serial killer and a impulsive killer. Both motivated by revenge for a loved one. The detective in turn egging on the young man to finish his revenge and giving him determination. The ultimate poetic justice comes that he has already taken his revenge and did so by pure stroke of luck. For the second person who just watched and didn’t lift a finger to help his sister was the detective himself. I find the logic somewhat flimsy as I think attempted rape and assault is more than enough reason for the detective to intervene. The reasoning that the person needed to commit an act first when he had very intent to do so just seems to be here to make the detective more villainous. In fact that would be my problem with this episode. The detective just changed to a villainous persona and started taunting the young man. For someone who was cold and indifferent that’s an odd change. But it did lead to an interesting development. The opportunity for the young man to take his revenge a second time. With the detective inciting him to do it and Onna begging him to put it aside. Even going as far as to spill the beans about void and reincarnation. I am not sold on Onna’s outburst here. I understand that she had misgivings about the process as a whole but I didn’t get the impression that she was this opposed to it. On the contrary I thought it was more than she didn’t like when the arbiters manipulated the process and not the process itself. So was sighing a bit seeing Onna attempt to convince the young man not to take his revenge and succeeding…nearly. Though the effect she had on Decim was fascinating with how she got him to question the very nature of his role. So I now see the pattern of this show, a death game is always followed by an intermission episode. I am not happy about it as the background dealings of the death games are significantly less entertaining than the death games themselves. With the amount of time left in this series I would prefer if these plot threads about the storybook and Nona hiding things from the boss be abandoned in favour of focusing on it’s strengths.

Posted on 4 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

No animation issues this time around thankfully. Really like the touch of Irelands flag on the cup Shinra gave the girl at their apartment. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Celty is indeed Irish. Probably one of the few Irish characters in anime. And here we learn that the one who told the little girl to kill Shizuo was in fact Izaya. (No surprise there) Shizuo reaction to this is the most unexpected and pretty funny scene. A ridiculously off putting smile as he goes off laughing to kill Izaya. Naturally Izaya goes to lengths not to face Shizuo directly. Even framing him for murder and getting a gang after him. Izaya’s plan looks to be coming to fruition. With him even taking Masaomi out of town so that he doesn’t mess up his plans for Mikado. He is currently suspicious but hasn’t caught on to the real reason Izaya sent him to the countryside. Verona’s gearing for a rematch and Ladies man is picking a fight with Kadota. Things for this arc look to be coming to a head.

Mikado’s section basically involved him being offered the position of the leader of the blue squares. The impact of this scene is lost on me. Because it relies on Mikado denying his desires and having someone else point them out. The problem with this is that Mikado is not unaware of his desires. They are the very reason he moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. He himself pointed this out to us in his flashback. So having him deny this and claim he wants an ordinary life is just out of character. Why does he need someone to bring up something something he already knows? That Izaya brought up with him only an episode ago. I like the idea of Mikado taking up a position of power. I am just not fond of the execution.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why do you do this to me death parade? You dodge your true potential and instead focus on background exposition or, of all things, comedy. Then just as I was about to lose interest and give up, you present the best episode of the series so far. Now this, this is what I was talking about.  A death game between a detective and a young man with one of them being a murderer. I was hooked from the very first minutes. This episode really worked because it focused on the core characters. Namely Decim, Onna and the players. No distractions. No off tonal moods. Most importantly, no boy band fangirls. The detective was clever in gauging the situation and the young man’s dilemma of speaking to a cop when he had a severed hand in his bag made the conversations tense. What I truly loved was they changed over the course of the game. In the beginning neither of the two looked like killer material and both seemed to be good people. But then they’re memories started coming back. More and more reasons why these two could kill came up and their personalities did a turn as they remembered. The light-hearted detective turned cold and determined and the young man desperate and anxious. Truly it is a scary thought that one memory changes someone so much.

A few bad notes however. While this was minor, it’s the first part of a two part episode. While that’s fine it was disappointing when the episode ended just as things were heating up. Another thing is that game they played wasn’t very interesting and felt like an afterthought. The added “pain factor” was really just a rehash of the first games(and death billiards) gimmick. Finally the greatest offender was the after credits scene. I was having a lot of fun speculating as to who of the two guests was the killer. But then Onna goes and says the answer. Why did Onna have to spoil the surprise? This twist have been more effective if it was unveiled in the next episode. I don’t get the reasoning of revealing it here. While I am still interested in how this will play out, one of the things that made this episode so engaging has been removed. But negative points aside, colour me surprised. This episode is a great set-up for the next episode and hopefully a turning point in the series.  You have my attention again Death Parade. So please don’t mess this up.

Posted on 25 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens got sick. The animation in this episode was bare bones. Movement to an absolute minimum. I mean damn, at several points there was no inbetween frames at all and you were graced with magic teleporting statues supposed to represent characters. It wasn’t done out of artistic sensibility. Of that I assure you. The fight between Vorona and Anri was really hurt by this. With the two portraying the furiosity of two mannequins in a staring contest. Even Vorona’s backstory had moments where the only background was a colour gradient.

That really did ruin the episode but truthfully the episode wasn’t that eventful. It was yet another backstory of yet another crazy character. In another story Vorona’s character might be a main antagonist or anti-hero. But here she’s the goon picking a fight with characters she is greatly underestimating. A one note conflict. So really it’s just a waiting game of seeing when she will discover what the audience already knows. Meanwhile Mikado looks to be disregarding every warning he was given about Izaya already and letting the guy play him like a fiddle. Though it is good to see the issues with Mikado’s indecision regarding his position in the dollars being pushed into his face. Speaking of which, it looks that the dollars conflict seems to have reached his doorstep.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional of the arbiters. So are the others faking emotion? Is is a guideline and not a reinforced rule? Are the feelings they have not really emotions? Is this a logic plot hole or a philosophical inquiry? Well in either case I don’t like it because I am not watching to debate what is truly real. I am here for the death games.

There was one in this episode briefly though it was more an afterthought as the episode focused more on the arbiters. Admittedly seeing how Decim became an arbiter is interesting and insight as to why he has the hobby of building dolls. Though this brings up the question of if the guests bodies are dolls then how is it that they can drink, spit, bleed, etc. I suppose you can just say that it’s the afterlife and that’s just how these things work. But that’s why I oppose explaining it’s process or applying a sense of logic to it. Because if you apply logic to this part of it you must also have to apply logic to the whole process. That my friends, is where plot holes and inconsistencies raise their ugly heads.

Alright I think that’s enough complaining. This was a better episode than last week’s train wreck.  There are intriguing elements to the direction this show is taking with this subplot of sorts. Its clear that Nona has violated the rules and is trying to keep the leader from noticing that Decim has an assistant that he clearly shouldn’t. The new character, who I mistook for a boy from the opening, is a nice foil to the straight laced, business only Nona The end of the episode even teases a death game between a trousome pair normally given to more experienced arbiters. I welcome a return to what should be the focus of the series.

Posted on 18 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I was worried about Celty in the slightest. True to that, Celty is fine and ready to get payback. The time leaping is getting a bit out of hand with things happening in this episode that take place in the middle of last episode abound things happening around the same time as other things and past is future and future has past and ouch…my head. I would have better luck mapping out the Doctor Who timeline. Our new characters this time are a cold analytical assassin by the name of Vorona and her eccentric boss who gets hung up on odd questions which the girl then answers. So that’s why men have nippiles. Honestly wondered about that one myself. They have an interesting gimmick but thats about it. The would need to bring something new to the already bloated cast. Vorona though seems disappointed in how easy it was to take down Celty and is annoyed over the job of abducting a child. There’s some visage of a heart in that impassive exterior.

Shinra has got to be given credit. I don’t think there’s anyone else with the courage to openly mock Shizuo to the face and not end up in a hospital. Other than that we have the Dollars kicking up trouble without Mikado’s direction. This is something that I find odd about Mikado. The plot has clearly shown that he desires a more interesting life. Hence why he moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. Yet he seems to actively avoid using his power over the dollars and keeps preserving his normal life. His actions seem contradictory. He wants the excitement of the unknown and unusual, yet avoids and fears the consequences of such and sticks to a normal routine. It would be good for the series to push him into making a decision about this. The episode ends on the note of someone attacking Anri. I would be concerned if Anri didn’t happen to be the possessor of a sentient sword and didn’t have a legion of loyal followers to get her out of this. If it was Mikado then this might hold weight but Anri? It may be a better option than picking a fight with Shizuo but you still get beaten to a pulp. Or in this case, slashed to ribbons and turned into a mindless zombie.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:19 PM)
    There’s plenty of in battle explaining. I don’t think there’s been a battle without in battle explaining. You got the first time villain that ends up a good guy. You got powerups and levels of quinques. There’s a ton of shounen elements.
    Just because something has gore does not make it seinien. Deadman wonderland is Shounen and it has just as much gore and torture.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 02:52 PM)
    @Emma: ah, yes.
    @Aidan: How so? A variety of weapons and abilities does not turn something into a shounen battle manga.
    I’d need a lot more random in-battle explaining secret powers to your opponent, and a lot more mercy to not consider it seinen.
    Also, torture, balls and limbs being chopped off as a sick joke, slicing people in half without warning, breaking half their bones…
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:44 PM)
    I felt that the story became too shounen battle manga When at first it was portrayed as seinien. Especially with the quineqes and such.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:06 PM)
    @Raggers: His past with the old lady ghoul where he was castrated =<
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    Oh, the priest? Yeah, definitely an awesome touch. Wonder how he feels about Amon’s death…
    Juuzou? I’d complain about Arima more, the guy is hax beyond belief. Juuzou was just a nutcase who was skilled with knives – and has pretty good development in the manga.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Emma: I think the pacing thing isn’t a problem if read as a whole – that’s a bit like complaining about slow chapters in books if you read them week-by-week. For a story like Tokyo Ghoul week-by-week just isn’t a good way to read it, I don’t think.

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I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens […]

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