Posted on 17 January 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

This week we have 2 disjoined chapters, which are different in tones and more importantly in their point of view. We go through the first section from Smith-san perspective detailing his own thoughts towards the match against Gotou, and the latter part Rei took the stage, being on his way to challenge Gotou in next match, except things weren’t go according to plan either. If there is any mutual theme out of these two chapters, it’s this: know your own place in the shogi world.

3-gatsu no Lion sure has a very slow pace, and it’s most apparent here in the first 6 minutes when all the actions can be displayed in one brief sequence in other anime, but the show goes on and on, both in a good and bad ways. Look, for a show that relies heavily on building up and tender atmosphere, it makes sense that some scenes they need to drag out a bit longer to provide the mood; but truthfully, I don’t get the recap here. We don’t need that, tell me something else instead. The latter part, in contrast, followed Smith-san having breakfast (eating fresh, whole tomato!) played like a gif animation with its jerky movement and upbeat music and I’m digging it very much. If you decide to go off the track, then make it with styles. Thank you Shaft.

But to be honest, spending an entire chapter focused on Smith-san feel like a filler, side story because at the end of the day it doesn’t add up much to the mother narrative. Smith-san has never been anything other than Rei’s shogi-mate before so it’s hard to relate to him more than that. Telling the story in his point of view, however, still has its purpose because one-part of 3-gatsu is still stories about the life of shogi profession players anyways, and Smith-san’s perspective provides a more mature look at shogi than Rei’s, as he’s now in the middle of his career path. It’s true that when one becomes a professional, the only thing he knows best is his own ability comparing to others. This isn’t simply the lack of confident, but more in terms of actual level, the actual talent that separate those great players and the rest. Here in this chapter, Smith-san went all he got despite knowing full well that gap; but in the end what he found really was that he still has a long way to reach to the top, to perfect his style. It’s fine though, since not only he found these things, but a black tray cat in need of aid as well. Kudos for the show’s consistency of providing the world full of cats. Hungry cats, stray cats, owl cat, warrior cats, you name it.

It’s Rei, on the other hand, who needs to learn a hard lesson about knowing his own place in this shogi world. As his mind was occupied by the provocation of Gotou, he steps into the match against Shimada the 8th dan with his head in the cloud. The show smartly conveys that sense of thoughts as we see Shimada as a shadow, unimportant figure until Rei pays full attention to him. I love the smart storytelling that later fleshing out Shimada in his best possible way in just few details, both underlines how he truly cares about the kid Harunobu (“I want you to split Rei’s head in half”. What a great friend Harunobu is), and how good he’s actually is in shogi (well, he’s in 8th dan for a reason); leading Rei all the way to his destruction without him realizing it. Rei does need something like that (I don’t mean that splitting head in half metaphor. Too graphic! I’ll go with slapping in the face) for him to know that he isn’t that talented to underestimate other players and there is a long way for him as well to be ready for that fateful match. This is a minor 3-gatsu episode, but even so there’s still plenty good moments to recommend.

Posted on 10 January 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

3-gatsu no Lion is back again in the new year with another stellar episode. Structure-wise, I think this is one of the most confident episode 3-gatsu no Lion has delivered for a while, as the show handled multiple tones and aspects in Rei’s current life in one neat package. This episode begins with a deep look inside Rei’s depression, then move on to the noise and colorful life of his shogi life from his shogi-mates, then deliver one of the most intense moments when Rei meet Gotou, and later on back to the warm and cozy atmosphere of the sisters; the result is like a roller coaster of feeling: disturbing one moment, warm and heart-felt the next, all wonderfully tie up with Rei’s own emotion right in the center. Let’s get down to each of them below.

Shaft has always been superb when it comes to depicting Rei’s inner psyche, especially his insecurities towards the life he been living. Sharp lines with black and white imaginaries, water bubbles, the loud noises of his clock and his air conditioner, and even their extreme close-up, all successfully visualize his mental breaking point. It actually gives us the nausea effects that Rei is suffering, put us into his mindscape and for me this is one of the most real depiction of depressions in anime. Rei compares the three sisters’ house as kotatsu, a place so warm that it makes every other place seem colder and pale in comparison. Now he’s sitting in his house and realizes how lonely he is and he knows full well that he can’t rely emotionally to others; because once you rely on something you become dependent, and vulnerable as well, yet at the same time he can’t help but longing for one. I’m myself amazed with the complexity of personal struggles the show given to Rei. It’s not only his struggles but the same for all of us, it isn’t a temporary battle but a lifelong one and even then we might never find a true answer at the end of the road. Must be suck being human.

In a steep contrast to that dark void of his inner voice, the professional shogi players all serve as an energetic and hilarious facet to spice up his life a bit. All the matches this week aren’t about competition or ranking progression like other sport shows, but function more as bright, light moments in his life. The ninth dan who played against him this week fit well into that vein as his antics are decidedly quirky. I personally love the moments Smith-san won the match, the two were just staring and dissecting Smith’s tactics because it’s so damn unprofessional but simultaneously show how they love shogi at hearts. The shogi chairman also kicks things up a notch with his fishes. A lot of fishes. It’s a brief sequence but I’m totally feel the care of him towards Rei so I’m up to see more about him in the future.

But never before, even in Kyouko’s moments, the show has reached that much intense when Rei (to be more exact, we) finally meets Gotou in person. Unlike Kyouko where Rei’s feeling for her is a mixture of love, guilt, and heaps of pain, there is only pure hatred from him when it comes to Gotou; not that the guy has any better opinion towards Rei either. Now it sheds a rather intriguing twist to Gotou and Kyouko’s relationship: Gotou calls her “a stalker” and wants to get rid of her. Talking about perspective! Either they had been in an affair (his wife is “still” in the hospital) and now Gotou wants to cut his ties or all the intense love from Kyouko are just her feeling alone. Those possibilities are still pretty much unclear at this point; but one thing for sure that Kyouko is in a deeper sh*t than she thought and that Gotou is not a sane guy. Things pretty much set up for the match between those two (poor Smith-san) and I know everyone is pretty hyped up for that moments to come. Well, you better be.

The episode ends with the warmness moments inside the Kawamoto’s house and the show again handles those scenes with styles. Rei now aware that he feels at home in that house but in order to keep forward, he has to step out and walks on his own two feet. The moment when Rei hold Momo tight gets me every time for how emotionally honest it feels. This episode by far is the most tonal inconsistency the show had to encounter so far, but by focusing squarely on Rei’s feeling, those uneven in tones actually become an asset to underline the highs and lows of Rei’s current life; as a result this episode is one of the richest 3-gatsu no Lion had ever pulled off.

Posted on 25 December 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Christmas and New Year are on its way so it is very appropriate that we have a warm, sweet episode from 3-gatsu no Lion. After missing in action for the last few weeks, the Kawamoto sisters are back and they truly are a breath of fresh air from the heaviness of last week. While last week was about negative feelings Rei had to embrace and let it all out, this week was about positive feelings that Rei has to realize and share with those he loved. Being bed-ridden for few days without any food, medicine and cut off from the outside world, Rei absorbs on his own sickness that he doesn’t realize that there are still people around who care about his wellbeing. Akari brushes him off on “living on my own” feel so true that it makes him understand about his own thoughtlessness. As much as he always sees the line that separate him and his adoptive father, the father treats him like his own child and genuinely cares about him. The same goes with the Kawamoto sisters and that last scene of the new year eve is so heartfelt and emotional that I can’t help but feel truly sad for those characters. Trying to cope with your pain and loneliness takes a lifetime, so sharing those happy little moments together with the ones you care for is a step forward that both the sisters and Rei ultimately need to embrace. There’s sadness linger in every corner of this show.

This is the first time that the Kawamoto’s father is mentioned, albeit very briefly. Exactly what happened to him is rather vague right now, but judging from the way the sisters avoided to talk about him, I’d assume he runaways from home. Elope with another woman maybe. Also in this episode Rei has 2 dreams which are actually relevant to his mind state right now. The first dream of him going up in long escalator without a way back signifies the shogi path, and in larger extend, the life he’s taking right now. As of now he’s considering shogi as his life (the only life he has actually), and as the dream further reveals, it’s a long, lonely way up top and when he gets to the top, there is no turning back. The second dream is about his memory way back from his youth, as his sister and him got scolded by their Mom for putting up stickers on her table. As he soon realizes, he feels this Kawamoto sister’s house like his home, even though he just knew them for a short period of time. Finding the place where you belong is never easy, finding a place where you could call home is much harder. It’s still a progression from Rei as he recognizes the warm feeling he has and bit by bit he can consider the sisters as his family.

This episode also addresses quite sensitively about Akira’s own life. What is better  for her? Taking care of the house, doing house works all day; day by day the same process until she’s worn out? Is this occasionally dressing up to work on a bar to assist her aunt’s pub good for herself? As the fella who really care about woman’s life and issues, this surely piqued my interest. Akira has always been a responsible type so it’s no question that she will commit herself to fulfill mother’s role, at least at this stage. Personally I’d argue that this is not the best for her life, sometimes you should be a little selfish and do what you want to do, but leaving those kids and an old man behind is ruthless as well. She’s in a situation where she has no other choice but to commit to it, but the way she gives it her full without even have time to consider her own feeling or her own dream made me want to hug her so bad. This is again a very subtle character’s writing from Umino Chica. This work feels like a heart and soul of her. Halfway marks and I would say two of the show’s best strengths are the sharp and sensitive in its character’s writing, and the creative, thoughtful visual that really dig deep inside Rei’s depression by Shaft that we witnessed last week. That’s a great combination if you ask me and I personally don’t mind to follow Rei’s depressing mindscape for another season. Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted on 19 December 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

The lion is roaring loud this week, both figuratively as the show comes back strong after an unremarkable episode last week, and narratively as this is the first time we see Rei breaks down and screams out loud. I have always enjoyed Shaft’s deliberate pacing for this show, not only because the material is slow-burn in nature, but this pacing really demands us not to look away from the Rei’s raw emotions. Whenever he’s alone, he is in deep, dark and depressing thoughts that if the show rushes over those inner feelings, those emotions can become lousy. Even when Shaft decides to take extra time focus on “nothing happened” sequences like Rei riding train or the match of him and Mr. Yasui; which you can easily tell that part wasn’t in the manga (beautiful score by the way); they nail the mood so right that we can feel the feeling Rei has going to the match. While the way Shaft sometimes focus on quick cuts of extreme close-up shots is somewhat questionable, the pacing is one of those parts that Shaft actually improves on its source material. I’m quite satisfied knowing that the show is in good hands.

Man, that looks from those kids really kill me. For those kids at that time shogi means acceptance from their father so it’s very understandable that those kids were hurt. You can blame the father for being so insensitive but I can understand his point of view. Usually the parent only wishes for one of their child to follow their footstep, and out of the three children obviously Rei fits the bill the most. That’s also the reason he wanted Kyouko to quit shogi. After all, there are many other things outside of shogi they can try out and be good at, right? He certainly undermined the feeling of his own children but I wouldn’t blame him for that. Speaking of Kyouko, she backs again too soon this week to gives Rei another hell. Her own ambiguous relationship towards Rei is one of the show’s rawest and most complicated one. I take that there are two things from Rei that she despites him the most: the fact the he became a member of her family (“you took someone else’s father”. Man, that’s harsh) and his shogi, so when it comes to those two things, she’s as dangerous as a snake and willing to hurt Rei because his very presence hurt her. The hatred becomes too deep that she abused him when they were living together. But I also sense as she growing up now she grows to care for Rei, although just a little bit. After all, many of her little actions suggests that: she fixes the scarf for Rei and came to his apartment to check on his well-being. It seems like her real intention for her venomous talk is not for Rei to lose (she knows Rei’s talent too well), but for Rei to feel guilty if he wins. Every step he walks forward to the path of shogi, she makes sure that Rei FEELS the bones and fleshes of those sacrifices that paved up the path.

The story this week is about Mr. Yasui, who normally a modest guy but when he loses he goes berserk. Unlike the happy ending last week, this time Rei could not improve the situation: it’s his last Christmas with his daughter, but if he loses it mean he’d be in bad mood and really Rei had nothing to do about it. It’s interesting to see Mr. Yasui’s personality through the shogi play, as at first he was composed because he didn’t want to lose, but with one mistake he basically gave up the game. Things never work out the way we want and I’m glad that there is no happy ending for this episode. Actually, when I think back of last episode, the outcome of Mr. Maysunaga makes the result of this week even more impactful. Rei can’t make people happy all the time, and playing great shogi certainly isn’t his crimes. I hope we know about the conclusion of Yasui’s daughter but really even want to know that mean the story already affects me emotionally.

Again, Rei suffers through a hell lot this week. That twisted relationship between him and Ryouko isn’t one-sided after all. He’s all too aware that those words would pierce through his heart but he can’t help but wanting to listen to these. He tries to do something different but those words come back to haunt him, moreover when the consequence plays out exactly like he fears, he feels like he’s a beast who eat up everything in its way. He looks at that hand, the hand of a death god who take away happiness from others, until he can’t take it anymore and explodes. The final sequence is one of the highlight moments not only for this episode, but for the whole season so far. What he screaming might not as relevant to his nature, but the fact alone that he expresses his emotions out loud is something we don’t see very often. He might feel down now and collapse out of sorrow, but one of the best quality that human have is the ability to stand up and walk again after falling down. That I can look forward to.

Posted on 12 December 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

“The calm mind is the way”

It becomes true to both Rei and our old man Matsunaga this week, since their minds are totally tangled with so many unnecessary thoughts and feelings. In more than one way, Mr. Matsunaga is a stark contrast to Rei. While Rei is a young shogi prodigy who become a professional a bit too early, he’s the old man who still hanging on that shogi rope for a bit too long. Rei respects him for spending 40 years dedicated to shogi, whereas the man envies him for being too bright. A rising star vs. a faded star.

And they both have their issues before the match as well: Rei is occupied by the poisonous words from Kyouko: “strangle the old dog”. That first long, uncomfortable sequence of Rei standing on the train, together with frantic close up cuts are really spot on, that what Shaft does best of course but this is one of the rare times that their own style fit perfectly to the material of 3-gatsu. Mr. Matsunaga feels exactly the same way, and of course doesn’t feel really good about that. Well, I came to this episode expecting a tense and emotional match between those two, as a result I didn’t prepare myself for the silly, upbeat beat the old man behaves throughout this episode.

The older you get, the more childish you behave. This is true with Mr. Matsunaga here, as the show frames his behaviors as nothing more than those of a child. All his actions: his silly praying, his clumsy behaviors, his random shogi strategies, his bad manner when losing, his often-contradicted statements; all show his immature (or should I say: over-mature) side of him. The randomness of his shogi surely gives Rei a hard time, for how can you beat a person who you can’t figure out their motives? That gives the match a much more lousy and silly tones than you would normally have expected from any professional shogi match. (Thank goodness there were no jokes about the old man’s bad back, that joke is just… painful and insensitive. But we have him falling down instead. Ouch!)

But consider this, I used to play in competitive level sport before so I know this well: when is the time that you know your time in the sport has come? It is when you don’t have a drive to win anymore. Mr. Matsunaga knows this well, and he’s prepared himself for that moments to come. I love the moment he describes Rei as a “beautiful death god”, it’s just amazing how impressions often work in accordance with our own inner psyche. Except that just like facing with death itself, the closer that moment approaches, the more desperate you want to keep hanging on. His feelings are totally legitimate here, that makes him still feel like an actual human despite his often over-childish behaviors. So comes to my next point, is it really a good option for Rei to encourage Mr. Matsunaga to continue on shogi? As I said earlier I don’t think so, especially the old man even admits one of the reasons he doesn’t want to quit is because of the housework at home. This guy needs a good spanking in a butt.

Kyouko remains a force to be reckon with, as she knows exactly how to hurt Rei. Her calling to Rei to “comfort” his feeling is nothing but abuse his mind but this time only her plan backfires. It’s more about understanding other people, Rei is now more willing to trust and shares feelings with others and this is one step up from the former-Rei. I agree this episode is a minor episode for 3-gatsu, it doesn’t add much in the big picture and especially a let down from last week’s standout episode but it still does its job. Still the show remains incredibly sensitive when it comes to character’s drama so even with a lesser episode like this one, the characters still shines bright.

Posted on 6 December 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

We’re back with 3-gatsu no Lion after a week hiatus from sick leave (I know everyone got sick last week, be it in springtime in this corner of the world, or the start of winter elsewhere) and I’m glad that the show returns in good form. Kyouko might be the most distinctive character the show has created so far. Like a true femme fatale, her sheer present demands our full attention, her sparks gleam that we couldn’t take our eyes off, and her venomous words keep sinking in Rei’s heart. Rei aside, I’m pretty sure that we’re having a good time here.

Harunobu continues his self-assigned mission as “Rei’s best friend” to full extend, both having fun showing the magic of shogi, and later crashing on Rei’s couch that night (except that it’s Harunobu’s brand new futon couch so why complaint?). We heading on from last episode’s “shogi for dummy” with all the warrior cats making fancy moves and dancing around. While it sure is cute to see shogi explained in such simple and funny way, this part is obviously my least favorite of this whole season. Look, whenever this show focus too much on the mechanics of shogi, it fails because the show is ultimately a character’s focus piece. Later part where Issa and Smith remarked on Harunobu’s passionate commentary feel oversold as well (I thought they tried to bring a point that Rei’s move wasn’t that bad at all but that isn’t the case). But later when it comes to his own reflection towards Harunobu’s action, it again picks up its steam. The overly enthusiasm from his friend makes him feel lousy, because that energy is something that he doesn’t have. But it’s great that Rei’s taking one step at the time, as of now he even hates himself for feeling that way in front of his friend.

We have a nice flashback from Kei over his “image” of his father. I love that little moments so much as the little Rei tried to get better at shogi just to observe that raw expression of his own father (stripped down from all social’s niceties). That again gives us two things about his relationship with shogi. First, as the show already pointed out before, the very reason Rei got into shogi was not because of his love for shogi, but because he wants to spend more time with his father. Here in this episode, we learn that he wants to be really good just purely to get that expression out of his father. Second, he sees himself as a person who now continue in the world of shogi that his father had always yearned for. Those two points tell us a very personal but ultimately troubled perspective of Rei. For once, unlike Harunobu, he isn’t that happy to play shogi; he doesn’t even love shogi that much (that was pointed out by Kyouko later), as of now he’s just hanging there, playing shogi because it’s the only way of living he knows. And even imaging himself as the son who accomplish his father’s unfulfilled dream? That seriously is a troubled thought because unless he plays shogi for himself, he will always be stuck (like he is now) and can never get forward to his way of shogi.

That distant thunder we saw couple episodes back has finally appeared in the form of goddess Kyouko. The reason why her roles are such compelling in this show is because she has very conflicting emotions towards Rei, and all her actions aggressively contradict each other from time to time, sometimes even in the same line of exchange. While Haunobu and the shogi-sensei represent a bright, full of energy side and the sisters represent a warm, caring side, Kyouko is Rei’s utter dark and stormy side, and it only makes sense that her appearance is in late at night. We don’t really know much about her in this episode; considering that we look at her this time through Rei’s perspective, and for Rei, Kyouko is a totally mystery; but there’s still heaps of thing that we can take out from her night of visit. He doesn’t know how to deal with his sister, but her words often pierce through his heart the deepest. It’s so obvious that she still brings a deep hatred towards Rei, the way her bitterness towards Rei’s moving out on his own, and most noticeable of all, her plain resentment towards Rei’s shogi. When you think about it, it all makes sense. The kids fight for their father’s attention through shogi, and it’s that shogi that break them apart. She’s unsurprisingly know great details about his next opponent, and she’s trying to manipulate him to give that match up. Such a sly move but Rei won’t grow unless something directly challenged him like this occur so the next match will actually be a fight inside his head. Can’t wait for it.

Some of her actions, on the other hand, signal how much she grows to care about him. Keep in mind that you won’t spend the night with someone you hate, given that she could’ve slept in her friend’s house and not necessary Rei’s. Maybe the reason is she wants him to get back to the house, since she knows that it would make her father happy, but I don’t think that’s the case as well. I love her remark that after 10 years living in the same roof, she didn’t know Rei much, because even realize such things mean that now she actually cares a bit more about him, but then she’s able to recognize the new futon doesn’t have Rei scent yet. Her looking straight through his eyes and checking if there’s any scar is one of the most powerful scene. After all, wound can be healed but scars will always remain. Whatever her motivation is, she remains the most striking character out there in this series and her presence alone is something Rei ultimately needed in order to break out of his shell.

Posted on 21 November 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Oh, the vitality of youth and first crush! It’s fun to see Hina’s under that crush spell and making a big fuss over Takahashi coming for dinner. As for Takahashi, he climbs up from being “an object of desire” from last few episode to a very straightforward and a bit serious boy now (anyone seen him smile once?) but his cold appearance is a nice contrast to Hina’s nervous sicken state. Well, enjoy it while it lasts girl because you ain’t gonna feel it again when you’re getting older.

It seems the show now covers the source material a bit faster now (2 and a half chapters per episode), but if that’s the case then I’m not totally on board with it. The main reason being each chapter is a self-contained story, even with chapter that begins as mundanely such as this one, being “Takahashi comes over for dinner and the family enjoy the night together”, it still manages to pull off a satisfying punch; that’s why breaking the chapter apart feels a bit disruptive to the flow of the story and could potentially lose its emotional earnest. This episode gets away with this issue this time, because of the continuity of Takahashi appearing in two chapters, but I’m not so sure if they can manage that next time. I would prefer they either stick with 2 chapters or they can speed up with 3 chapters per episode, but since I’m enjoying the deliberate pacing as it is now so I hope they won’t change that much.

As I mentioned above I very much enjoyed the chapter-style of the show so far, as each chapter manages to give a different angle to Rei and the people surrounding him. In contrast with the dark and sad story from last week, this episode shines with light touch and upbeat tone that actually signals the grow of Rei, even just a slightly bit. Firstly, through his honest-but-shabby explain to Takahashi, he’s actually able to reach him. Human interaction and connection is one of the most important fragment in our life, and sadly Rei is always out of touch with it. With just a little affection from Takahashi, it means a world to Rei, but it’s true that everyone would feel this happy when others understand exactly what you mean, especially someone who often self-doubt like Rei. Secondly, he’s now willing to take risks as well. With his old-self, for a shogi move that he feels too dangerous, he’d retreat instead; but now he’s heading over it to see if he can handle it. Although it costs him the match, I’d say it’s important for him to take that risk so that he could learn from his mistake. Finally but most importantly, he’s exploding over Harunobu’s comments, and that step is extremely important because it shows that he cares. As contrary to his fear last week, he actually cares for shogi and he cares for himself so he cannot stand to be talked down like that. At least he still feels something. You’ve grown Rei!

The supporting cast also works like a charm this week. For once, I feel Botoro’s (oh, I mean Harunobu’s) passionate advice from a shogi commentary no less as sincerely and heart-felt instead of annoying and I feel this is one of the strongest moments in this episode. He’s always the opposite to Rei in term of personality, as Rei always keeps his feeling inside himself, he is the one who says out loud what he feels and those advises are what Rei needed to hear (again and again in recorded tape or VCR that is). He really cares for his friend and even him appearing in later part to teach Hina and Momo shogi come off as necessary contrast to Rei’s stiff and machine-like teaching. Takahashi also shows his passionate side for baseball, and he fits like a glove to the rest of cast and his looking-up to Rei as a (sort-of) role model making them a weird (but nice) pair. Lastly, I know it isn’t much but look how shy and stiff Hina was at the beginning of the dinner, and then to her smile as she giving a piece of fruit to Rei and acting so herself in front of Rei, I feel a warm feeling inside me.

This episode might be a bit too light for 3-gatsu no Lion, but it’s by no mean a filler or even a mediocre episode. There’s still so much details to enjoy here and this episode is just so fun to watch. It’s great to see Rei has matured from time to time and seriously, who would say no to a shogi cat-warrior dance? Damn entertaining!

Posted on 14 November 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Okay, I think I need to let this out first: What is that screenshot right at the end of preview chapter? I know some other mangaka draw this (Like Miura did in the first episode), but this image of big boob Akira is totally inappropriate with the show. This is a total disaster if you ask me.

This episode takes an unflinching look into the mind of Rei again, but unlike last week where the events were already happened in his past, this episode concentrates squarely on his inner thoughts: on how he perceives the world. The main strength of 3-gatsu no Lion has always been the way the show dig deep in Rei’s insecure self, and this episode really takes a step deeper and darker. While his past is certainly tragic and compelling, if the show relies too heavily on his past to draw sympathy from us, it won’t go anywhere because Rei doesn’t progress. Instead, this episode focuses on Rei’s attitude towards the past and how it affects him even now. Kyouko abusive voice again lingers in his heart, basically devalued his self-worth, but the sad thing is he’s submitted to it. He’s afraid that he doesn’t belong anywhere, this again reflects on his complicated relationship with shogi. Last week, we learned that he chose to play shogi not because he loved it, but because he wanted to spend more time with his father, and later as a ‘contract’ to get out of his trapped life; this week he sheds another light to it: he’s into shogi as a place where he feels himself belong to. But does he really feel belonging? As he continues to swim over countless waves to reach its destination, he begins to lose sights on the big world around, on his next stop. He reaches the island, he reaches his goals but now too afraid to make any more move. That is one hell of depressing thought.

The introduction of Touji Souya, a current meijin (one of the most prestigious title in shogi) serves as a great reference to Rei. The two of them share many things in similar: they are both become shogi professional shogi player when they were middle schools (the 4th and 5th people who do so), and their playing styles are strikingly similar as well. All those players who became professional in middle schools would all later become masters (including Souya), and that made Rei feel pressure towards those “achievements” that the shogi world expected of him (curiously enough when you realize his adoptive father never really give him that kind of pressure). His recent losing streak certainly brings him down and that again made him afraid whether or not he’s worth it. Well, that kind of pressure is not what he needs to care, but thankfully the teacher Hayashida was there to cheer him up. He, along with the three sisters, are the friends that Rei really need to bring him out of his depressions. I am really amazed that the show goes this far to bring out the dark inside Rei, we get to know him better and better now and he becomes one of the most fully realized characters that I’ve encountered in recent years. Thank you Chica Umino!

Speaking of her, I think I need to address on the comedy of this show. Many people complain that the comedy is the weakest part of the show, but for now I interpreted it differently. When you really think about it, for a quiet, slow coming-of-age story, voicing over the cats (and dogs) don’t really make much sense, but here it’s working. The thing is those light moments aren’t supposed to be humorous, or to get chuckles from us, but they serve as a cute, light-heart moments to balance out the dark, heavy inner Rei. There are some comic relief moments, sure, but their main objectives are to contrast with the lonely world of Rei, not for comedic effect; thus to judge it based on its poor ‘comedy’ doesn’t really ring true for me, because it isn’t strictly a comedy.

Lastly, this episode is a perfect example to dissect how well Shaft adapting this manga. When you really look at it, Shaft is one of the most unlikely studio to adapt this story. Of course Shaft is talented enough to bring the right pace and feel to the story, but being Shaft, sometimes they have to make somethings stand out. And stand out is the worst enemy for this kind of slice-of-slice show. With this episode, their marks are all over the place with varying degrees. When Shaft dwell into the mindscape of Rei, the visual language is easily the most striking 3-gatsu no Lion could ever have achieved. A small figure swimming in a dark red ocean, or the very next scene when Rei arrived in a blue island, are Shaft at their finest and those choices fit the theme perfectly. The close-up shots while in a conversation between characters and the head-tilts, on the other hand, are distracting the flow of the story and standing out too much and that were rather mediocre choice. All these cutesy moments are hit or miss at the moment: sometimes it works; sometimes not but I especially enjoy the sound designs of those sequences (like the part when Hina says something unintelligible “Zumomomo” and then run off). All in all, this episode got to be the darkest episode of 3-gatsu no Lion, as it never afraid to show the dark depressing side of Rei and for that I really appreciate it. Rei is a very flawed kid, but that’s exactly why he feels exactly like a human.

Posted on 6 November 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

In a typically 3-gatsu no Lion fashion, the first chapter “Agreement” starts in the show’s most comfort zone: flashbacks inside Rei’s head. When you really think about the overall structure of this chapter, you can see that it’s the busiest chapter so far of the show. They begin with Rei’s memory on the father’s best friend (soon to be his adoptive father), continue with the current day detailing Rei picking up Momo, then dig deep into his thoughts again reflecting the day that his adoptive father decided to bring him home. Those three parts are masterful reflected his very journey to eventually end up in the household of Kouda family; with little happiness and a lot of sadness. And that theme is exactly what made this chapter one of the most complex chapter this show ever put on.

The first part of this first chapter is a memory of Rei towards his adoptive father, Kouda, as his father’s best friend and long-time shogi rivalry. Kouda, along with his own father, were in the Association together when they were young. The Japan Shogi Association has a society where all the players under 24 years old trained to become professionals and basically the only way to become to a shogi pro. Those who can’t achieve 4-dan by the time of that age will be automatically discarded. He’s the only one outside of his real family who would treat him with respect, so he was always looking to play shogi with him. There’s a brief but happy moments for Rei, as he enjoys himself playing shogi, something that later in his life becoming more like a “contract”, more like a thorn among the roses.

Later, when he picks up Momo from school and tends the wounds for her, her little helpless arm reminds him a lot of his deceased little sister. That must be one of the sadness, darkness period for Rei when suddenly, all the people that were once important for him were gone forever, and he was too young to fully understand that they will never come back, nor did him know about the situations surrounding him. Then his father’s rival came, asked him if he really loved shogi, and he lied. With Rei, he was never passionate about shogi, he just did it to please his father(s) and moreover he just happened to be very good at this. His accepting to live with Kouda family really reflect the complexity of Rei’s character. He knew that it was a chance for him to not end up in the orphanage, so he took that chance and as far as he is now, he achieved what his adoptive father expected of him. Could anyone blame him for that?

Unfortunately, there were still someone who blamed Rei for what he did, as we witness later on the next chapter, Over the Cuckoo’s nest. Those were the children of Kouda’s family, Kyouko the sister and Ayumu, about his age. In a family with a strong and proud tradition of shogi, the children know that they had to be good a shogi in order to catch their father’s attention. You might think of that as an exaggeration but believe me when I say that in a sports or art’s family, this happen more often than you would think. The family spends their entire time to work on the sports/ arts they loved and they eventually have their standards that they want their children to follow, and sometimes to the child those standards set by their parents become their institutions. Things started to fall apart within the Kouda family when Rei was better at shogi than the two. Kyouko begin to lash out her temper at Rei, while the little brother holed himself up in his room playing video games. Now we know the person that harassed Rei in his memory from last week was Kyouko (but they seem to be older in that flashback). Having a very strict personality himself, the fallout of his own kids doesn’t mean that he had anything against Rei, as he continued to support Rei (the strongest shall survive), but that very attitude made Rei feel guilty towards the two so he decided to move out. When your own success results at an expense of others, how could he be happy with that? The symbols of cuckoo’s life appropriately reflect his situations, and towards his feeling to his adoptive father, he’s still very much respect the man and in his own way care about him.

As I said before, the show is at its strongest when it digs deeper to Rei’s sad past and further reflects his inner emotions as he is now and eventually learn to express and live a happy life through the help of the sisters and his friends. While his past is indeed heavy, this episode never cheapens his emotions by showcase how miserable his life was, but by detailing how he was able to continue to climb up and progress despite things might turn out ugly at times. 3-gatsu no Lion remains a very solid show.

Posted on 1 November 2016 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Seems like overalls it’s not a good week for my anime blogging, as all the shows that I’m covering haven’t fared very well this week. Not that they are disasters but all the shows veer off from their greatest strength to a more mediocre approach. For Sound Eupho they went for big climatic drama instead of their focus on dense little moments. For Flip Flappers they abandoned their wild Pure Illusion world for a more mundane and aimless plot, and for 3-gatsu no Lion they passed on their intimate look on real characters for… well… cartoonish characters. 3-gatsu no Lion is at its strongest when the show concentrates on Rei’s inner emotions and how the characters around him in a way change his very perception to be more open and honest to himself. Sadly this episode has little of those moments and instead relies on exaggerated silly moments which simply isn’t as engaging.

As soon as I knew the next chapter was going to focus on Hina, I was actually looking for this since Hina is my favorite character out of the three sisters. But boy, they decide to fall on the usual pitfall of portraying preteen middle school girl: through romance and first crush. Takahashi is the tall boy, baseball-ace from her school and she makes up her mind to cook a bento for him. Takahashi is almost an object of affection from the outside looking in, literally; as Rei stands from outside the field looking into the boy. Hina wants to make the most perfect bento out there, and the whole plan goes as everyone would expect: failed miserably. It’s fun to see her struggling with making foods, each time goes more and more horribly wrong and completely running out of time. But when it’s time for her to give the bento, she couldn’t bring herself to do it.

While so far this chapter stumbles a bit because it ticks all the cliché teen romance plot, at least the chapter ends in a solid note. The ending works because the show still understands its character very well. It explores the insecurity of Hina, something fairly normal for someone her age: about her shyness got the better of her, about feeling vulnerable compared to the “near-perfect” sister. There is a huge age difference between the three sisters, but that makes sense in this context because the three sisters represent different stages of women’s life (I know, I know I might be obsessed with women’s issues but please bear with me this time). This theme becomes apparent here as Hina’s efforts remind Akari of her own, years ago and I believe although they’re different in term of personality, this is a phase that they all had to go through. Furthermore, this chapter ends with the most brilliant execution in this episode, as the voice-over switched gently from Rei to Akari. Up until now, we always follow Rei’s train of thoughts so it’s a nice change to hear other characters say what they’re thinking, and Akari sincere voice really gives of a warm and sweet feeling (unlike the first love) that the chapter wanted to achieve.

On the second half, things got real noisy for Rei as Harunobu came to his house unannounced to practice shogi with him. I certainly like him as a character, since last week the show gives more light to his character, but he also turns me off whenever he’s in that loud and hyperactive mode. Sadly the first half of this chapter was full of this and only when the duo meet the three sisters, things get more interesting. It turns out that he’s getting along well with kids, which actually is unsurprising because he himself still acts like a kid. I like the way the show makes references that obviously inspired by real-life counterparts. Well, others might say Bodoro is a blatant rip-off to Totoro, for me I say that this Bodoro has his own charms. Then it’s Akari who has a weird fetish: she likes everything soft and fluffy and has a affection for Harunobu considering his… ahem… body. Now, that actually becomes an issue. Like I mentioned last week I think the best strength 3-gatsu no Lion has is those characters feel like real people. This episode making their quirks so cartoonish (no, I’ll rephrase: so anime-ish) that they don’t feel like actual people anymore. I know maybe this problem comes from me so if the show still goes with these cartoonish traits then I’ll have to re-evaluate my own judgement.

Overall, besides being the show’s most unremarkable episode yet, I find some of the jokes actually landed well, like all the parts involving “some other people’s kids” or the last scene with Harunobu’s butler Hanaoka and I still think Shaft adapting the show quite effectively so far. There is a lack of Rei’s inner voice this week which actually hurts the show a bit, but we got one brief scene when he’s mentioning ‘love’ and it seems like he was in some kind of abuse with a girl before. This week is just a slightly misstep so I’m not worry too much. 3-gatsu no Lion is still a strong show and I can’t wait to spend more time with them next week.

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
The one with red hair of course
Anonymous765953
rem? who's that?
Lenlo
Having read the books, theres afew inconsistencies and I dont like some of the choices for actors.
Kaiser Eoghan
*couldn't
Kaiser Eoghan
Buh buh but Aiiiidan you still have the koe no katachi movie and thaaats kyoani =P But lol phantom world was so poor I couldn't get past the second episode. A shame that they could go with the darker spin the author ended up apparently going for in later volumes.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I am currently eh on it as well. Only at the second episode so far. I find it interesting but it has a lot of things that turn me off.
Lenlo
7 YEARS I SAT ON THAT BOAT!

Still havnt finished Flip Flappers. I like it, its pretty, each episode is different, but I can barely tell what the over-arching narrative is and thats a big deal to me
Lenlo
ITS REAL
Lenlo
BOAT TIER
Lenlo
@Aidan, Series of Unfortunate Events was eh. I wasnt a big fan of the TV adaptation, though I did like Neil Patrick Harris
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: BOAT TIER lmao.
Kaiser Eoghan
Thats why I LOVED flippflappers so much, where else can I get THAT anywhere, totally its own thing/beast.
Lenlo
My big ones for the year were easily Rakugo and Re:Zero. Disappointments, biggest one is Berserk. Ive been following it for years, have the entire series on my shelf, and I watched it like a captain going down with his ship
Kaiser Eoghan
At the same time well, yes its still good to see a non-highschool story in ANYTHING.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, you see I don't really award points to an anime doing something unique to anime, I judge by all mediums as a group/whole. 91 days may be a mafia drama, kabaneri may be a zombie show but theres already plenty of those in the world elsewhere.
Kaiser Eoghan
I could see myself getting some oldskool charm out of alderman if I watched it. I was waiting for yuri on ice to be dubbed. Drifters for all its problems was some of the most fun I've had in ages.
Kaiser Eoghan
The only thing I saw that I truly abhorred though was the new shinkai film.
Kaiser Eoghan
Most of the other stuff I didn't really bother watching. Its pointless for me to shit on about 91 days and re:zero because I was guaranteed to dislike both before seeing either.
Kaiser Eoghan
Biggest disappointments for me were erased , berserk and joker game. Whereas my surprise was lost passage. My favourites of the year were flippflappers and Rakugo. I wanted Kabaneri and dimesion w to save anime and bring back some oldskool charm but that didn't happen.
AidanAK47
Alright I spent over an hour formatting this thing and now I am knackered. Readers, this summery is over 23 pages long so be prepared as this thing is pretty huge. Don't say you were not warned.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Watch it. I bet it will be up your alley.
Kaiser Eoghan
Thats a problem with adaptations, put a voice on certain characters and it can become irritating.
Kaiser Eoghan
And to be fair on scums wish, that it deals with the sex bit in a teen story, well that makes it more daring and thats points for it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Largely stayed away from that series as I assumed it was for young children.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Additionally the relationships in that manga got too convoluted, the comedy stands out worse in the anime too. Still though I DO dig the idea behind the show of two kids who are in a fake relationship.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, you think that's hard to watch try watching Netflix's A series of unfortunate events. Because boy do I want to brutally murder the banker and his family. That may sound severe to you but trust me, you will feel likewise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You were right about it being harder to watch scums wish than read it. I want to hit the twin tails girl with a hatchet.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm laughing now remembering an old ANN review where they stated golgo 13 was a stress reliever for 30 something Japanese office workers, I get that so much more now lol
Kaiser Eoghan
But seriously violence in fiction, anime/manga included is so damn therapeutic.
Kaiser Eoghan
As such I genuinely was able to enjoy the new M night shaylman flick lol
Kaiser Eoghan
Venting here largely because I can, I now imagine the teenage/twenty something audience members at horror/thriller films as the victims in the films, makes it more tolerable to deal with their existence in the cinema.
Lenlo
I cant help but feel theres some cultural aspect I am missing to the Rakugo rant scene. Makes me sad.
Lenlo
Rakugo, continues to be great and gets another time skip. Im always surprised by how engrossing it is just listening to these people talk.
Lenlo
Makes me sad, just like Berserk. Got an entire shelf dedicated to it but its just so slow. stupid boat.
Lenlo
Vagabond was phenomenal, but its been on hiatus for years now hasnt it
Kaiser Eoghan
....well without spoiling towards the middle of that rakugo episode and all throughout during that middle part, my opinion on Yotaro's character went far up.
Kaiser Eoghan
Struggling to remember the name of that josei samurai manga from the 90s (or earlier 2000s), had a gender bending theme.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've already read kenshin and vagabond, I loved shigurui death frenzy and sword of the stranger but found samurai champloo uneven. Theres a kagemusha manga but I haven't read it and I've yet to see/read blade of the immortal.
Kaiser Eoghan
At a glance I'll go against the grain and say I think demi-chan is funnier than konosuba, going on one episode of each.
I've been watching a fare share of samurai films in the last two years and lately so I'm open to wathing more anime/reading manga dealing with samurai.
SuperMario
Hand Shakers, how I love to watch it jumping off the cliff. This show contains lines like "I don't understand... even if I did understand... but I don't understand." It isn't a dialogue that we encounter too often I'm sure.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Sounds good to me. With me covering Little Witch Academia, Saga of Tanya the evil and Rakugo this season is well covered.
SuperMario
so I've decided to blog 3-gatsu, Scum's Wish and ACCA this season. A bit worry about the latter as I still don't have much to talk about that. Let's try it and see what happens; I say
SuperMario
Okay, I'm not hot on Onihei this week, as if the main theme about these two episodes were "people can be corrupted" then I'm not buying it. ACCA, on the other hand, was still very solid of building up the world and its big events to come.
AidanAK47
I have played all the big roguelikes and found they have the same problem. I argee on procedural generation. Even if the map is different every time you are essentailly going through the same rooms and doing the same things.
Masky
Though to be honest, I don't like procedural(or designed room and then game connects them randomly) games much. I much enjoy hand designed dungeons since I rarely play games through more than once anyway so roguelike's appeal of "Every time you play it through its different!" doesn't appeal to me much and hand designed dungeons are much more memorable
Masky
Can't really comment further on that since I don't know which roguelikes you have played, and neither I have played gungeon so I don't know if its badly designed to the point you can't do anything if rng says so. Though I guess there is nothing wrong about liking luck based games, if roguelike in question is truly unbeatable if rng says so, well, its really badly designed one if you ask me.
AidanAK47
Take my last run. Made it up to the fourth floor. Got plenty of guns but none were really useful. Even then ran out of ammo for all of them and the game was cheap about giving out ammo. Plenty of money but shops with nothing worth buying. Over 5 heart containers but no goddamn health. Died on the boss because I rolled out of a bullet into another bullet. Pretty much unavoidable.
AidanAK47
@Masky, that's the theory but in pretty much every roguelike I played its not the case. If the RNG decides you are going to have a bad time then you are going to have a bad time. Skill can only bring you so far. I have played this game for 7 hours and I know I could have finished it in 2. Only thing stopping me is a dice roll.
Masky
Like, the thing with roguelikes is that they can get easier/harder depending on luck, but well done one should be completable even without any upgrades at all if you are skilled enough.
Masky
Thats not the really case with roguelikes though, unless game design is bad and includes insta kill traps and such that are unavoidable if you are unlucky
AidanAK47
I hate roguelikes. Been playing enter the Gungeon and I just lost all patience with it. Getting real tired of my victory being decided by a RNG. It never feels satisfying to finish a roguelike because I know my victory was determined by pure luck.
AidanAK47
So we got to rely on fansubs for it when it's airing.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Nope. I think because netflix only puts up full seasons they are only planning to put it up when it's finished airing. Or when it's dubbed.
SuperMario
But how does the Netflix thing work? So of I have a Netflix account I can watch the show weekly?
SuperMario
@Aidan: that's a dumb way to do things really because unless you watch the show weekly, everyone gonna forget that it even exist. Just look at Re-Life last year
Lenlo
thought*. Words are hard.

Eventually found the actual first ep though and enjoyed it.
Lenlo
Was funny. I tried to find the first Ep for Little Witch, found original short made afew years ago, watched it and though "This is very similar to the original... Whats new".
AidanAK47
Little witch is one of the best shows this season and yet I can't get subtitles because Netflix doesn't release shows weekly. Motherf*cker.
Lenlo
Ore Monogatari I enjoyed. It was a nice romance that actually explored what happens after the confession. Also the 2 leads are just precious.
Lenlo
Alright but unmemorable seems like a good summation.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: one good thing about Seiren is if you don't like this romance, the whole thing gonna reset after episode 4 so there's a chance that you might end up like it. Agreed that the comedy wasn't very good. Alright but unmemorable
SuperMario
@Topgavin: I watched like first 3 episodes and stopped because I didn't have much time there, but I enjoyed what I saw. A well-written and endearing show in my book
Topgavin
Has anyone here watched Ore Monogatari before? Because in the 4 years I've watched anime, I've never heard of it (I guess it did come out 2 years ago) and yet it's turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Always great going into a show expecting nothing and getting pleasantly surprised.
AidanAK47
Only one more impression to go. Should have it up tomorrow.
Lenlo
Im really not feeling Seiren. Its "comedy" isnt for me and I just dont find it very enjoyable to watch so far. Im curious if it gets any better but 2 episodes in it just isnt that good.
HelghastKillzone
That ending scene is an entire side-story compressed into that. Don't expect anymore of it from here on out as the it sticks to ruthless military/fantasy pretty well.
LookingForKeys
@Topgavin I think it was good, making it the second episode. That way the first set up the world the story will be in, and showed how much of a monster the "little girl" really is right at the end, and then made ep.2 the explanation. Nothing against Tanya trying to rip "God" a new one.
That after-credits scene, though...
SuperMario
Hmm, as much as I like Seiren's omnibus format, it doesn't turn out really hot this second episode. Demi-chan, on the other hand, still maintains its endearing tone. Might blogging Demi-chan instead
Topgavin
Yeah, that second episode was much better than the first. Dunno why they didn't start with that to be honest, waste of an opportunity for a good hook episode. The voice for the main girl still sounds weird to me though; I get it's supposed to sound weird because it symbolizes 'her' being out of place and her personality and body being a mismatch, but it'll certainly take some getting used to.
AidanAK47
Youjo Senki, now we are talking. Like Helghast said, Did the god scene way better than the LN and manga. Made it less comedic and more intimidating.
Lenlo
Oh man that Rakugo intro. Not sure what to think, but first time seeing it I liked it
Kaiser Eoghan
I sort of like good will hunting because I kind of saw a bit of myself in Damon's character when I watched it ages ago.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Remaking psycho and ruining the shower scene, for shame van sant, for shame.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its easy to ripoff some obscure thing though and get away with it. The dogtooth director essentially stole an old Mexican film to make that.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, that following some guys from behind like they were on a RPG games, which I think actually fit with the tones of Elephant. I have such mixed feeling with Gus van Sant too. Don't really think he's a great director.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Although Istvan Szabo is probably a little more well known for that Mephisto film that updates the Faust story. Zoltan Fabri's the fifth seal is a very thought provoking war movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I remember seeing a film documentary that featured Gus van sant in one section, they showed clips of tarrs films, Sant ripped of the cinematography and stole the style from some British short film to make Elephant.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree on the other Hungarian filmmakers, I don't know much about them either.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Scorsese's Silence was a big comeback. I really really emotionally connect with spiritual crisis stories.
SuperMario
@kaiser: yep, definitely check wreckmeister down. Althought I admit that watching his 2-hour plus films will feel like 5-hour anyways
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm more tolerant of darker teenage/coming of age films/stories. Les Demons was a big surprise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Though its kind of frustrating, I do think Tarr probably takes attention away from other hungarian filmakers because no-body knows who the hell the others are.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Man, wreckmeister was so visually arresting I started getting dreams from it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I would consider Tarr to be kind of a poor mans Janco, Angelopolus and Tarkvosky rolled into one. I don't entirely "get" wreckmeister and man from London but they are great atmospheric mood piece experiences.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I had been wanting to watch Belar Tarr's Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies for so long now. Well, Fat Girl is shocking haha, but I'm normally drawn into those kind of films anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Margaret took like 5,6 years to release because he couldn't cut it down in the way he wanted. The final cut if I remembered correctly was edited by Martin Scorsese
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Only a HDcam for moonlight now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I looks like my lineup is witch academia, rakugo and youjo senki, well the most latter one until I get bored.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I sense a directors cut for manchester, it feels like it need another 30 minutes.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right up my valley. Watch Kenneth Lonergan's previous works Magaret and You Can Count on Me. Magaret is very messy but have a raw dialogue and interactions as well
SuperMario
Now the first episodes are over, I will keep on covering 3-gatsu, as for the other twos atm I have 3 options: 1) full romance/anti-romance high school Seiren/Scum's Wish. 2) slice-of-life moe monster girls Demi-chan/Maid Dragon and 3) Mature,dark Onihen/Acca (which although I like them I don't have much to talk about).If you guys have any preference on which shows you like covered then let me know
Kaiser Eoghan
@Helghast: At this point I'm watching youjo senki as an entertaining guilty pleasure.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Too many reboots upcoming, will wait for the dvds instead. I want to explore more of manchester by the sea's director's work. I also want to finally get more into Bela Tarr's stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I was rather shocked by A Ma souer/fat girls final act. Scenes with the Italian in the bedroom were initially creepy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's a nice review Kaiser, a bit jealous with you that you've seen those 3 films which are touted as the best films of 2016. Also Fat Girl, haha, I love that movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
Poor yotaro =< you have so much stuff going down on you =<
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki episode was so good today. That revamped scene with God just fitted so right.
AidanAK47
A official release of that game in the west is apparently coming but it's been a few years and not much news about it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Ah yes that was the one.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Had to think for a moment on that one but I think I was talking about this. https://vndb.org/v3144
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I'd hardly consider myself a studio trigger fan, but I watched the first witch academia episode there, it was actually kind of fun, got the same reaction from me as flipflappers did, that magical, special feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also, of interest reviewed Kenneth Lonegrans new film: http://letterboxd.com/shao_liu_ringon/film/manchester-by-the-sea/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Moonlight got some feels out of me though it could of been more, it ends abruptly and with 20 extra minutes they could have spent a bit more time on each section of his life.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I checked out lala land, ending was very well executed, one of three scenes in the film that were impressive visually. The whole thing looked pretty and Gosling and Stone had some decent chemistry. Although it didn't resonate emotionally as strongly as the musicals of Jacques Demi did.
Kaiser Eoghan
MOM I want aiyoku no eustia and I want it now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've never heard of himawari or tokyo babel. The hellsing comparison at least interests me in dies irae. What was the name of that visual novel again that was coming out soon, Aidan you described it as "And Kaiser would love it because its supposed to be really fucked up".
Kaiser Eoghan
I vaguely remember the anime for 11 eyes, it was very forgettable, even the voice acting was poor, hated the childhood friends and the pacing was poor, those black knight things were kind of interesting though.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You'll have to add me onto the list of those unsatisfied with the ever 17 writer, I read one of those games and felt it was a bunch of interesting bait that never paid off.
AidanAK47
Anyway I plan on doing a review of 11eyes here when I finish it.
AidanAK47
Can't say I was a fan of Ever17. That was a really good twist but when it came to explaining it their was a lot of contrived development. Generally not a fan of the writer. Looseboy, Ryukishi, Gen and Nasu are more my kinda thing
AidanAK47
@Anon, it is nice that so many VNs are on steam but I wish they wouldn't be stupid with the whole no adult content thing. Not so much for myself but to prevent idiots from writing negitives reviews because the game doesn't have sex. VNs can grip you in a way anime simply can't and while they require pathence and time those can be some pretty powerful stories.
Anonymous678956
@Aidan, I am so happy steam's so VN-friendly now. I think it's a very good type of media. Like anime, it has nice visuals, music and some movement but also the inner monologue and text amount of books. It's the perfect combination. Plus, the routes, which are often puzzle pieces and PoVs you have to go through to understand the whole story. True routes like the one of Ever17 blew my mind.
AidanAK47
Hopefully the two VNs I bought of steam turn out better. Tokyo Babel is supposed to be alright and I heard really good things about Himawari.
AidanAK47
I am about a third of the way through the game and really not much of worth has happened. The concept is interesting but the execution is sorely lacking.
AidanAK47
I went in expecting it to be a mixed bag and it's pretty below my expectations. It's just not really well written and the protagonist is a moron. THere isn't really routes and instead you are pretty much stuck with his childhood friend as the main love interest. Problem with that is her character begins and ends with loving the main.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, damn. 11Eyes is on my reading list as well. Although I almost expected it to not be as good as I thought it'd be (back then). Guess I would have enjoyed it if I was able to read it while the (shitty) adaption aired, maybe I have seen/read too many series by now. Guess I'll still give it a try some day though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I haven't heard the OST or watched the intro video. I only know it be reputation and have decided to walk into it as blind as I can. Still slightly worried as I was somewhat looking forward to reading 11Eyes for a couple of years and now that I am reading it it's well...not good.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, same here. I was waiting years for this, since I saw the intro video for the first time. Also, that OST!
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki is already leagues better than Izetta. It's going to be top anime of forever and ever. (maybe not)
AidanAK47
And finally Dies Irae is funded. May actually be able to play and finish the game before the anime airs. If the hype is real behind this baby it could be a new personal favorite Visual Novel of mine. Already looking promising with it being like a cross between Hellsing and Fate/Stay Night. Two things I most certainly like.
Lenlo
@Masky, in regards to style over substance thats where im at with Gurrne Lagann.
Topgavin
Yeah, I'll probably watch the next episode to see whether it can redeem itself. Hopefully it can but considering 1st episodes usually get a lot of budget, there's some severe doubt in there.
AidanAK47
I actually argee with character designs and voices are bad in regards to female characters. Still the next episode might change your mind if we get more into the main characters head.
Anonymous671470
It's boring
Topgavin
Also, it seems I disagree with a lot of people in thinking Youjo Senki will be a massive trainwreck. The character designs are awful, the voice acting is mismatched but most of all the premise just seems so very dumb. If I wanted to watch a badass kill people I'd go watch Hellsing or Drifters, because at least those don't have some op, disproportionate loli as the mc.
AidanAK47
Gets even more complicated when you account for Satire and Parody. You could equally argue all examples listed as being as such.
AidanAK47
Little Witch Academia is a decontruction of Harry Potter....I don't believe that but honestly if I tried I could put some reasoning behind that statement.
Topgavin
In the end, it always comes down to opinion (as with every discussion about anime, for some reason). You could spin any and every series as a "deconstruction", which is why people shy away from using the word. You could argue NGE, Madoka and Re:Zero are all deconstructions yet also argue Gundam, Precure and SAO are depending on what points you weigh more importantly.
Masky
Like, if deconstruction is supposed to be just "break the elements and then play story how it would realistically go down" well I haven't watched NGE, but as far as I know it does have stuff that isn't typical to mecha genre besides the "It would fuck up kids" thing plus "realistically how it would play out" is pretty subjective thing. I mean, its mainly about how cynical bastard the writer is :P
Masky
Like I said, I don't fully agree with it because I find video's speaker's attitude annoying, but I found it semi convincing. Main thing I don't find convincing about it is that I don't think its hard to turn video's own arguments agaisnt it and say that by its own logic NGE isn't deconstruction either, like Aidan just said earlier
Masky
And I don't really have energy for checking out the "correct" one. If there even is one. Anyway, the hipster video I was talking about was titled "What Actually Is A Deconstruction?" if you want to check it out.
Masky
Hmm, well, it does depend on definition you use. Like if you use "realistic" thing, well, Magical Girl shows don't usually have "You turn into monsters" thing going on and reason why NGE's pilots go crazy is from dangerous situations rather than evas making them do so. But honestly, I don't really have strong opinion on matter since word seems to be one of those with several different meaning
SuperMario
for me Madoka IS a deconstruction of Magical girl, and yeah like what Aidan said
SuperMario
I think part of Utena is a deconstruction of "prince riding horse and save the girl" because that notion is just a foundation for Utena to become a prince herself and save other girl. That's breaking it apart and resemble it again in its own way. Don't have to be dark/ don't have to be real either
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's just debating semantics. Besides that difinition would pretty much mean that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn't a decontruction either. Madoka isn't a decontruction because it's dark. It's more in its aspects of criticising why a girl should throw her ordinary life away for something as dangerous as being a magical girl. It does take plenty of the typical tropes and turn them on its head
SuperMario
@Masky: Genre deconstruction is such a tricky word that I normally try to avoid using because there's really no set characteristic about the term and different people have different opinions about what constitute "deconstruction". For me, I disagree that deconstruction have to be dark and real, hmm can't say it well but I will give you an example:
Masky
But yeah, I guess I could try to find the video if you guys are interested, though like I said, I got hipsterish feel from the video and felt rather annoyed through it even though I did get what the point was and found it sort of convincing besides my annoyance
Masky
(not that liking NGE is hipsterish, its just that I find NGE to be more style than substance sort of series <_< Anyway, guy didn't dislike madoka or anything, he just seemed to dislike people using word deconstruction wrong in his opinion)
Masky
(especially with how much they seemed to praise Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Masky
I mean, I think the guy was being somewhat hipsterish, but its true the being darker take on genre isn't same as deconstructing the genre
Masky
@AidanAK47: Some other guy on youtube did video that had actually pretty good point about how Madoka isn't really deconstruction, if you go by definition of "Break it down to parts and then play them straight to show how horrifying it would be in real life"
Anonymous670441
Gente - Ristorante no Hitobito
Kaiser Eoghan
If anything its the hate I have for certain characters that makes it more effective.
Kaiser Eoghan
The obsessional level of attachment is just uncomfortable to me, I don't want to get THAT attached to a non-real character.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its literally just a case of "Okay lets look at this picture of this character, she looks interesting, no feelings or expression from me, apply this fetish, fap, get release, go home. "
Kaiser Eoghan
Or drooling/dribbling/heavy breathing/grinning over the characters. I abhor alot of the anime girls I find attractive or am indifferent, even when looking at ecchi/hentai drawings I'm straight and clinical with it.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean to each their own. But I really hate the level of emotion/devotion to moe/finding the characters attractive. Such as celebrating their birthdays, going on about how cute/hot they are, how important it is that they're virgins. Or not being being self-aware of how irritating the characters are.
Lenlo
Anime hipster is pretty accurate. His general treatment of the current state of anime is annoying, as is his obsession with moe. Maybe its cause I cant stand moe most of the time, but it bugs me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: Essentially my brothers view on digibro.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I don't usually feel the need to correct errors in your reviews as the errors are generally un-important, but I think you meant to say apprentices rather than appearences in the Rakugo review, just bringing that up as it felt like kind of a throw off.
Total users: 48

Featured Posts

Scum’s Wish – 02 [I’m here for that warmth]

Welcome to the roller coaster of the emotional manipulative anime of this season, are you with me on this ride? Scum’s Wish has the exact opposite issues with ACCA in that it tries to overwhelm us with lots of raw feelings that sometime it touches the line of manipulation. This episode, fortunately, still pretty much […]

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. – 02 [The Partner in Crime’s Name is Nino]

I admit that although I think ACCA is one the most solid show this season and I in particular like how they set up the settings and the events to come, the first two episodes didn’t grab me that much personally. As a result, in prepare for this post, I went ahead and watching them […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 15

It was inevitable that Yotaro’s past with the Yakuza would come back to haunt him but boy did it really bite him in the ass. I was wondering as to how the show would work with Yotaro and give him conflict but then this episode comes along and gives him plenty to worry about. He’s […]

Little Witch Academia – 02[Pappiliodya]

I may regret choosing to cover this series as what makes it great is a quality that cannot really be held up to professional scrutiny. Much like Triggers other works, it’s not what’s being presented that matter but rather how it’s presented. You can make the argument that Trigger doesn’t necessarily innovative but rather take […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 13 [Black River (part 2) – Beyond the Door]

This week we have 2 disjoined chapters, which are different in tones and more importantly in their point of view. We go through the first section from Smith-san perspective detailing his own thoughts towards the match against Gotou, and the latter part Rei took the stage, being on his way to challenge Gotou in next […]

Saga of Tanya the Evil – 02[Prologue]

As I initially thought, this series becomes a whole lot better when you can see the disparity between the main protagonists thoughts and how those around her view them. The first episode jumped ahead in the story to where Tanya had established herself somewhat and I believe the intent was to mislead the audience with […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2, Chaos;Child, Marginal#4 KISS Kara Tsukuru Big Bang and Scums Wish

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 Short Synopsis: Kazama stands trial after accidentally blowing up a lord’s manor while saving the town. This show certainly hasn’t lost it’s charm. I had the biggest smile on my face while watching and it even managed to get me laughing out loud at points. I will admit […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Onihei, Gabriel DropOut and ACCA – 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Onihei Short Synopsis: A captured thief joins the police to hunt down his old leader. For a studio’s first work this is quite a solid offering. The beginning reminded me of samurai champloo though this seems more a traditional samurai story. Animation isn’t anything too impressive but it does the job and there is some […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Hand Shakers, Kemono Friends and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Hand Shakers Short Synopsis: A boy holds the hand of a girl he finds in a hospital room and ends up in a supernatural battle to the death. GoHands, you know what would be great? If you know, instead of slapping on lens flares and colour filters all over the place, you just don’t do […]

Latest Reviews

Flip Flappers (Fall 2016) Review – 93/100

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that […]

Fune wo Amu (Fall 2016) Review – 81/100

This series is, in retrospect, a really appropriate title that speaks to the very spirit of noitaminA block: an adult drama slice of life about the making of dictionary that surely don’t try to target the young audiences. Sound as dry as it is, Fune wo Amu’s actually one of the strongest noitaminA show come […]

Your name. (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full […]

Occultic;Nine Review – 0/100

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was […]

Magical Girl Raising Project Review – 65/100

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to […]

Yuri!!! on Ice (Fall 2016) Review – 83/100

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough. I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true” That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here […]

Strange Frame – Love & Sax (2012) Movie Review – 76/100

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy Review – 84/100

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that […]