Posted on 5 May 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Alright guys, here’s my last post: a series of short takes on the final four episodes of 3-gatsu no Lion. These are a month late, as usual – it wouldn’t do to break tradition just before my departure. I might pop in for joint film reviews or special occasions, but apart from that, this is the end. Thanks for reading!

41: After the big showdown between Yanagihara and Shimada, 3-gatsu opted to decompress by focusing on its side stories for a bit. I’m of two minds about this episode. Everything involving Chiho-chan is a home run for me, so working her plum syrup into the festival story gave me a reason to care about the Kawamotos’ sweets business. Hinata’s determination to support her friend, plus her growing satisfaction at helping the family financially, are taking her character in a good direction. All the plans she has for special confections hint at a future where Hina takes over Crescent Moon, relieving her big sister of the burden left by their departed mother. Rei pitches in at the festival, too, and there’s even a cameo from Takahashi, lending a sense of community to the first chapter of this episode. As for the scenes from Hinata’s school near the end, I remain unimpressed by the series’ unwillingness to tackle Takagi’s character in detail. As her prospective homeroom teacher says, she doesn’t feel remorse for her actions, but if your goal is that she feel remorse, you won’t get through to her by instructing her to conquer her anxiety. See my post on episodes 35/36 for more on my issues with this subplot.

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Posted on 3 April 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Another month, another 3-gatsu post for episodes that aired a month ago. And what a couple of episodes they were – the “Burnt Field” chapters are among my favorite in the manga, and though the anime treatment didn’t stun me as the source material first did, it still managed to create an emotionally dense hour of television for which Shaft can be proud. The title of this miniature arc comes from the mouth of Yanagihara’s old friend Gan-chan, who describes his post-layoff sense of purposelessness as being in the middle of a burnt field. Something I’ve always appreciated about 3-gatsu is its presentation of diverse perspectives, and that continues here as the story chronicles the Kishou Championship fought between two older men, one of whom is the most senior Class A player in their region, if not all of Japan.

The night before the last game of their best-of-5 match, Shimada (the challenger) complains of the “away game feeling” that Yanagihara creates by inviting so many of his friends and contacts to drink at the championship venue. Despite the apparent advantage gained from that warm, lively environment, however, both Gan-chan and Yanagihara himself feel isolated by their age and circumstances. Gan-chan is uncertain of what his future will look like in the wake of his forced retirement, but Yanagihara has the opposite problem; as the oldest remaining player of his caliber, he is forced to carry the hopes and dreams of countless retired professionals. Umino-sensei visualizes these burdensome dreams as tasuki, best translated as “sash,” and that’s the word that Crunchyroll used in their translation of the anime. Seeing Yanagihara swallowed up by these white sashes is striking enough when you consider what they represent in 3-gatsu, but understanding their common use gives the scene a new dimension. Tasuki is (among other things) the term used for a sash passed between runners in long-distance relays, so Yanagihara’s possession of so many sashes indicates that he’s the only man still running in a race he once shared with dozens of competitors and friends. Contrast this lonely sense of duty with the fun party about which Shimada gripes, and it becomes clear that the older man is struggling with a burden his opponent can’t yet understand.

The tasuki metaphor isn’t the only sign of weariness that the show provides for us. We get an intimate look at Yanagihara’s morning routine, which includes the taking of various pills, medicines, eye drops, and the application of pain patches to his shoulders and back. He moves slowly through the entire process, and later, once the fifth and final game is underway, he slumps forward onto an armrest, his body wracked with pain and exhaustion. Though Shimada also lives with debilitating physical pain, he plays the role of young upstart in this fight, and seems at multiple points to have the upper hand. But the turning point comes when Yanagihara inwardly embraces his role as a representative for his generation, clutches the tasuki that once constricted him, and turns to run in the opposite direction (calling the “race” idea to mind once more). 3-gatsu has always done well at leveraging these metaphors so the uninitiated viewer can follow its shogi matches, and this episode was no exception. As Yanagihara brought his king further up the board, I was excited to see which player would triumph, even though I don’t possess an ounce of knowledge about the game. The poster for the Kishou Championship may have been on the dull side, but the contest itself was anything but.

After 169 moves, Yanagihara wins the game and the title of Eternal Kishou, having defended his position for ten consecutive years. With his legacy cemented this way, the moment must have been among the proudest of his life, and he opts to share it with all the people whose faith in him was rewarded. If I had been under that much external pressure, I can confidently say that my decision would have been to sit for the post-mortem and make everyone wait for me, their new shogi god, rather than spend that time justifying their abandonment of the game of the game I love. The thing about Yanagihara, though, is that he plays not just for the love of the game, but for the love of others, difficult as that may be. He even invites Shimada to be in the photo commemorating his big win – but he’s not so gracious that he won’t bitch to the Chairman over drinks that everyone expects too much of him. It’s an interesting way to end the episode, given how profound his moment of acceptance was, but that’s another thing I really like about this series; nearly all of its characters are made to suffer at some point, but rather than escaping their pain and revolutionizing their lives, they must settle for merely continuing to live. Yanagihara’s aching bones won’t heal as a result of his victory, nor will the solitude of his position in the shogi world be abated. Instead, he’ll keep complaining to his close friends about whatever’s bothering him, and keep fighting for the people and things he believes in.

Posted on with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Random Posts

3-gatsu no Lion has just finished its 2nd season (on that notes, rest assured that Wooper will cover it till the end of this season and I’ll chime in to give a full post). After Burnt Field mini-arc – which was a solid arc by all means – it came rather natural that the last few episodes focus more on low-key drama instead of focus on another arc. All the better in my opinions since these last episodes elevate Hinata as one of the best girl on Earth and one side chapter that hit me hard on a personal level. So much that despite my laptop is currently broken and I still have two full reviews to write (that’ll come, I promise), I just wanna let this all out first. Keep in mind this is not a review, nor does this reflection piece have any point to make; just merely what I feel about it.

Consider how the second season ends in a satisfying note, I was quite surprised the show follows very closely to the manga’s structure, with only one chapter was adapted out of its order, and that chapter was “Other Home”, and for me it’s probably the best choice that Shaft made. Other Home sheds some more light to the crippled relationships and between him and the family members and the breakdown of the family. The trick here is the shift of perspective. This chapter gives a voice to the voiceless member of the his foster family. Damnit it’s such a brilliant character study in display here. The first notion that really grabs me personally is how this family represents accurately the family dynamic of Asian culture (East Asia to be more specific), so much so that it reminds me a great deal of my own and the one that the more I grow apart from it, the more I can look at it with different perspective. We have a Father who decides the best method to teach his own kids how to face their problem is to smirk “haha” and does nothing. We have a Wife who does housework everyday, stands there in the kitchen making dinner and wait for her husband and kids come home, even without anyone contact her. We have a Mother who constantly blames herself for raising her kids the wrong way, as if the way they turn out HAS ANYTHING TO DO with the way she raises them. And we have the only one member that tries her best to hold everything together since everyone else just stuck up in their own little worlds.

The framing device is pretty on point as well. We don’t hear any conversation between her and Rei, as if their conversation is just merely a facade, the mask that both of them put on. Throughout the chapter we rarely see her face, we see mostly behind her back, when she’s busy doing housework. Those motifs match with the way she smiles, and all the formal lines she about to say, but holds back. Here they sit, opposite to each other, afraid to look at each other’s eyes, and words come out their mouth are pointless. The home that never feels like a home. And it certainly shreds my heart when I realize that the only member Rei feels like his real family is their old dog.

And that comes to another brilliant part of this chapter, the chemistry (or the lack thereof) between Rei and her. I am always find one of the most intriguing relationship is the one like this. The one that always rely on other factors to work, and then when you pull these factors out of the equation, what’s left between them? From her perspective, her husband just agrees to bring another boy to live as a family, so what she’d do best is to support him. Then she sees her own children crumbled right before her eyes because of the presence of that boy, and the family keeps falling apart beyond her hands. Underneath all that she knows it all and she knows that Rei understands it too. What kind of emotions and what kind of behaviour will she act when she meets Rei alone, then? I love it that she has a dream that night that Rei were her own child. That maybe the closest distance that she ever regards him to be.

Posted on 9 March 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

If you had to take a wild guess at the atmosphere of these two episodes based on the above screencaps, you’d probably settle on, “Somber, with some levity near the end,” and you’d be exactly right. Given the typhoon that dominated this doubleheader, and the snowy theme associated with Meijin Souya’s character, it fell to Nikaidou and the Kawamotos to inject a bit of color into the proceedings here. That’s not to say that there wasn’t good material in the Rei/Souya match, or their ensuing adventure through storm-stricken Japan, but I got the most joy from watching Nikaidou celebrate after his post-hospitalization victory. While it’s true that 3-gatsu adapts its source manga in a straightforward manner, its careful arrangement of the Souya and Nikaidou matches creates a big contrast not just in style, but in their impact on the series’ protagonist. Rei typically alternates between viewing shogi as a curse and a beacon of salvation, but with these episodes, a new dichotomy emerges. In his match against Souya, shogi is a safe, quiet world unto itself; in observing Nikaidou’s game, it’s a raucous, jubilant affair that reflects the best parts of the real world. As he is right now, I think Rei would describe his ideal game as closer to the first of these options, but I hope that, given time, he’ll pick the latter.

The match against Souya has an odd structure to it, with little time spent over the board, and the game’s conclusion being told to us, rather than shown. I can’t say that I prefer this method, as if Souya is a “final boss” of sorts, we ought to see Rei’s defeat in full, so his eventual victory (hypothetically speaking) would be that much sweeter. But 3-gatsu isn’t a typical sports anime, since it treats the game’s post-mortem as more significant than the match itself. When Souya nods and flashes the slightest of smiles after Rei realizes how he might have moved differently, the show establishes a connection between the two characters, which is both promising and frightening. It’s nice to witness a bit of kinship between the current Meijin and the boy who has been following in his footsteps since childhood, but Souya’s life is a lonely one, and not just because of his position atop the shogi world. We learn in the first of these two episodes that he suffers from intermittent deafness, which forces Rei to act as the adult when they have to find lodging during the typhoon. The Meijin’s silent gazes point Rei in the right direction as they aim to leave the train station, so he’s clearly competent, but when you combine his hearing loss with a detached personality and possible social disorder, he’s also a tragic figure. That Rei is so drawn to him and his solitary existence is just a little troubling, given Rei’s own history of isolation and depression.

Of course, it was good of Kiriyama to care for Souya the way he did, and their cooperation during the storm was fun to watch. Episode 38 even puts a spin on things by reusing footage from the previous episode, but removing all the dialogue, demonstrating again that the two competitors have a certain wordless connection. After the typhoon has passed, Rei continues to think about their match, and even begins to study Souya’s old game records, which this show often uses as a clue that a character has discovered more fun or motivation within shogi. When Shimada delivers the news that Nikaidou is out of the hospital, Rei goes to the hall to await the result of his friend’s match, but continues to study those game records, still absorbed in Souya’s quiet mastery of the game. But as time passes, he sets his papers aside and looks in on Nikaidou’s match for a while, which I was quite happy about, especially since it meant that he caught the moment his opponent conceded. What followed was two minutes of pure exhilaration, as Nikaidou bragged about the new move he’d been working on for ages, and wondered at the top of his lungs whether the tactic would be named after him. Nikaidou wasn’t always a favorite of mine, but it’s tough not to like him when even Rei (who usually brushes off his rival’s weird behavior) bursts into laughter at his antics. Seriously, that scene may have contained his longest and most genuine laugh of the series thus far, and I hope he remembers it for a long time to come. Watching Rei chase the Meijin dream is great, but knowing he’s in for this sort of happy, colorful future is how I hope everything ends someday.

Posted on 9 February 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

It’s been exactly a month since my last 3-gatsu post, and the show has delivered a plethora of great material since that point. Or at least, I’m assuming it has, because I wrote this post without having seen the most recent pair of episodes. The series is on hiatus for the duration of the Winter Olympics, though, so I’m not in a big hurry to catch up. The anti-blogging bug made its way into my bloodstream several months ago, and at this point it’s hard to say whether it’ll leave before I do. But that’s enough about me – let’s kick back and chat about some weeks-old episodes of 3-gatsu no Lion.

The moment I saw Akari sorting through the mail in “Small Palm,” I paused the video and went to grab my tissue box. Having read the manga a few months back, I knew that stack of letters contained a message from Chiho-chan, and whenever she appears on my TV screen, my room is guaranteed to get a bit dusty. This time was no exception, as Asuka Nishi’s fragile voice work and images of Chiho smiling and meeting new people combined for a heartstring-tugging scene. When her teacher at the rehab facility suggests making friends with someone her own age, Chiho immediately remembers Hinata’s past kindness, and writes to the girl who may be her closest friend in the world, “I really miss you.” But the real killer is the way she asks Hina whether it’s okay to expect that she’ll visit during summer break. The phrasing of her request is so gentle and so tentative that it breaks my heart. I know they’re just characters in a silly cartoon, but I wish I could give a hug to her teacher, the kindhearted ranch workers, and especially her parents for continuing to care for Chiho, even after her sense of self-worth was brutally stripped away.

For me, nothing else in these episodes comes close to the high of that letter, especially not the material that precedes it. The ease with which Kokubu-sensei dispels the months of mistreatment and oppression in Hinata’s class is too miraculous, and what 3-gatsu leaves behind is a series of conversations where he implores Takagi to show remorse for her actions. Though Takagi’s issues with “ganbaru” culture are indeed a smokescreen to distract him from his mission, the way he brushes them aside goes against the show’s usual spirit of examining every character in detail. I hate what Takagi and her friends did to Chiho and Hinata, but I don’t hate her as an individual, and the series might have benefitted from a closer examination of her life (we know that her mom is a bully and a taskmaster) or her issues with Japanese society. The pressure of succeeding early in life with no guaranteed benefits, and working hard simply for hard work’s sake, must be troubling for kids who feel trapped by their circumstances, as Takagi probably does.

But hey, the series can’t juggle too many plates at once – this isn’t an Urasawa manga. It needs to leave room for a bit of fun once in a while, like Hinata baking cookies at a classmate’s house, or half of episode 36, which took jabs not just at the “old and frail” duo of Shimada and Yanagihara, but even at the Meijin himself. The guy kept it together for most of the pre-exhibition party, but he must have exhausted his supply of preloaded interview responses, because he wasn’t making a lick of sense by the end. Honestly, Souya’s behavior here caused me to wonder whether he’s on the autistic spectrum. I’m not a psychologist, and I know that speculating about fictional characters’ mental disorders is trendy in the worst way. But his non-reaction to the wine spill, the mismatched responses to the reporters, and the show’s branding of him as a “shogi demon” (hinting at savant-like obsession) seem to point in that direction. An anxiety-prone Rei spends most of this episode admiring the Meijin’s apparent poise, but he’s back to revering him as a force of nature by its end. When Souya enters the playing room decked out in a white kimono, the contrast it creates with Rei’s school uniform instantly tells you that our boy is about to get blown back. Personally, I’m interested to see not whether he can keep it close, but how he responds to his inevitable defeat at the hands of his childhood idol.

Posted on 8 January 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

It’s been three weeks since my last 3-gatsu post, a gap owed in part to the break the show took around New Years’. Perhaps it’s because of all that time away from the series, or maybe it’s due to the massive difference between these two episodes, but I had a tough time connecting with the characters here. Episode 33 revolved around the quirkier members of the 3-gatsu family, and came out mostly comedic, while its follow-up focused solely on Hina’s bullying drama, and came out mostly not. And while I consider myself a 3-gatsu anime apologist, both of these offerings were disappointing to me. Episode 34, in particular, is my least favorite adaptation of Hinata material yet, featuring a multitude of distracting shot choices and some phoned-in character animation. Shaft’s unmistakable, borderline-invasive style is often the first criticism that people lob at this show, and though I usually view that as a matter of taste, I have to join their ranks this time.

That’s probably enough negativity, yeah? On to “Where the Sun Shines/Small World,” which featured appearances from plenty of fun side characters, both shogi players and members of the Shogi Science Club. Though the most significant developments in this episode were the reveals of two upcoming matches, my favorite moment was a clash between Gakuto and Shimada. Their contrasting personalities were showcased not just visually, but sonically, as well. Listen to the full band that plays behind Gakuto’s mountaineering-based “special attacks,” and then the quiet woodwind performances that underlie Shimada’s calm, calculated moves. That switching of styles makes their face-off a lot funnier, but the show quickly moves to a more reflective mood after Shimada’s victory. He’s dehydrated and exhausted after the win, but also shivering with excitement at having secured the right to fight Yanagihara in the Kishou Championship title match. This mix of the comical and the emotional is where I like 3-gatsu best.

The impending Shimada/Yanagihara battle is only second in importance to Rei’s upcoming match, however. The Chairman has arranged for his young star to go up against Meijin Souya in a commemorative match, all for the sake of maintaining their sponsors’ interest in shogi. Though the event’s planning may be a result of financial concerns, just hearing the news stuns Rei to his core. He looks up to Souya as though he were a god, and because of the parallels that 3-gatsu has drawn between them in the past, we know that this will be the most important match of the series thus far. Later, Rei becomes even more flustered at the outpouring of support that he receives from his school club after earning the Newcomer King title. All of this is enough to drive him to tears midway through the episode, but even that emotional scene failed to get a similar reaction from me. Attached to this show as I am, it’s hard to put my finger on why that is, so I’m not going to spend a lot of words trying. I will note that Rei’s realization (that happy memories can always be called upon, even if your circumstances are unhappy) is a powerful one, though.

“Black Mist/Light” is much bleaker than what came before, what with the breakdown of Hinata’s teacher and the stress placed on Akari as her makeshift parent. The two characters who shine most brightly here are Hina herself (whose determination to “win” against her tormentors is almost feral), and her new instructor Kokubu-sensei, whose zero-tolerance approach to bullying marks a turning point in this story. Kokubu’s sudden need to juggle two separate classes leaves him totally overworked, but I’m guessing he was assigned to Hinata’s class because of his ability to handle these sorts of situations. Unlike his predecessor, he doesn’t let Takagi (or her mother) run him over, which is great news, but the anime’s treatment of his character is too worshipful compared to the manga. Still, this episode had its bright spots, most notably the love shared between the older Kawamoto sisters. Akari is still plagued by worries about her suitedness as a caretaker, which have even started to invade her dreams. The image of her mother on a hospital bed, crying and apologizing for leaving her oldest daughter with such a heavy burden, is hard to watch. But Hinata, full of appreciation for her sister’s appearance at her parent-teacher conference, manages to be strong for the both of them. As Rei pointed out weeks earlier, it’s thanks to Akari that Hina has that strength of character – I just hope she takes those words to heart before too long.

Posted on 18 December 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

3-gatsu has been on the road for a couple weeks now, with much of the action taking place in Osaka and Kyoto rather than good old Tokyo. The results have been mixed, although neither of these episodes were bad by any means. It’s the two-part chapter “Kingdom” (which aired last week) where my issue really lies – nothing about it grabbed my eye or my heartstrings until the final scene, where Rei found Hinata by the river on her school trip. The bullying arc has been and continues to be spectacular, but fetching more water from that well right after an underwhelming final shogi match didn’t do much for me. Luckily, “River Scenery” from the subsequent episode elaborated on their meeting in Kyoto, which was just what the show needed. What it didn’t need were the two flashbacks in episode 31 that recapped conversations from just ten minutes prior… but rather than obsess about that dreadful technique, let’s address the elephant-sized shogi player in the room.

His name is Yamazaki Junkei, and he’s a buff, bald brute of a man. At least, that’s what 3-gatsu would have had you believe during his game with Rei. Their clash in the finals of the Newcomer Tournament begins with his towering appearance, gets smothered by a wall of loud, somber strings, and suddenly ends with Rei’s victory. I’m happy that our boy fulfilled his promise to Hinata by winning, but we hardly learned a thing about Yamazaki before or during the game to make it interesting for non-shogi players. It’s true that he took advantage of Nikaidou’s illness and timed him out in the semifinals, and my guess is that Umino-sensei gave his character as little attention as possible so we would root against him, but the result of that strategy was an underwhelming title match. Take Rei’s semifinal game against Hachi as a point of comparison – that scene gave us a full picture of the opponent’s character, and was much more involving for it.

Yamazaki’s backstory doesn’t come until “Silver Wings” in episode 32, but taken on its own, it’s a terrific slice of a series that excels at these sorts of character portraits. Though the man in question is merciless enough to push a sick child to the brink to keep his title, he’s not without a heart. If anything, his heart is too big and too weary to yield to a kid whose passion he can’t understand. Frustrated by his own lack of improvement, and fearing Rei and Nikaidou’s reckless dedication to the game, Yamazaki sees the two boys as “insane.” But it’s Nikaidou himself who inspires a change in his opponent’s attitude, as just before collapsing, he smiles ferally at Yamazaki, a sign of recognition from one competitor to another. That image is burned into the older man’s mind, and it seems to me that it rekindles his love for shogi (as indicated by his study of Rei’s game logs). That renewal is further symbolized by Silver the pigeon’s return, and the blooming of the chrysanthemums in his garden, which he gives to Nikaidou as a get-well present. Though Rei’s “Go to hell!” was appropriate, given the dirty way that Yamazaki sneaked into the finals, I was quite happy to spend these eleven minutes learning more about the man.

All of this brings us to Rei and Hinata, who have grown closer than ever after this week. I’m really appreciating 3-gatsu’s slow approach to romance, which it’s safe to say is the plan for these two characters at this point. Hina may not transform in a blushing, stuttering mess every time Rei is around, but it’s clear that she relies on and appreciates the great lengths that he goes to where she and her family are concerned. As for Rei, his momentary lust for Akari seems to have been a one-time thing, and his strongly-worded dedication to Hinata is looking more and more like love. It’s not the kind of love you find in supernatural high school love triangle series (thank anime god for that), but the kind that’s tentative and selfless, and doesn’t complicate their friendship. It’s especially nice that Rei knew where to find her based on his own history of isolation on school trips, and that he took a page from her grandpa’s book and praised her for hanging in there despite her troubles at school. Watching Rei learn from others and use his own struggles to empathize with them has been some of the most believable character progression in anime this year.

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

Look at me, posting this review just hours after episode 30 showed up online! This must be the start of a new chapter in my blogging career, and my reward is a pretty good episode of 3-gatsu. I say “pretty good” rather than “great” because, as is often the case with this show, one of the manga chapters it covered was much better than the other. Thankfully, the team at Shaft seemed to recognize this, because they devoted a lot more time to Nikaidou’s story than to the dialogue between Rei and Hayashida-sensei. This is the second of these student-teacher chats that we’ve seen this season, and while they’re important for establishing Hayashida as a fatherly presence in Rei’s life, this one wasn’t as strong as the original. The close-ups, head tilts, and repetition of past jokes (countering “monster parents” with other monsters) were particularly distracting this week. Really, the only thing I gleaned from this scene was the way in which the Kawamotos’ father disappeared – he found a new girlfriend, abandoned his family, and started a new one somewhere else, just like that.

There’s more that could be said about “Midday Moon,” but the Kawamoto family wasn’t the real focus of this episode. That honor belongs to Nikaidou, who some 3-gatsu fans cite as their least favorite character due to his role as a loud, hotheaded rival character. If there were ever an episode capable of changing their minds, though, it would be this one, which explored his history as a shogi player, his struggle with chronic illness, and his fierce competitive mentality. Shimada is the perfect conductor for these flashbacks due to his status as Nikaidou’s shogi “brother” and his recent mentorship of Rei. Even more than his present relationship to their characters, however, his initial dislike of Nikaidou is what sells “Adventures” as a complete story. Shimada first dismisses him as a rich kid looking for kicks, resenting his wealth because of the poverty in which he himself grew up. But after perusing his semifinal match records, he realizes Nikaidou is an obsessive student of shogi, and that his sickness must have created the conditions where he’d be able to fully devote himself to the game.

Knowing this about Nikaidou, it’s easier than ever to draw a parallel between him and Kiriyama, his arch rival. Rei was essentially forced into shogi in both his biological and adoptive families, and continued to use it as an unhealthy mode of escape even after becoming independent. For both boys, the game functions as something of a curse, but it’s also a life preserver in an ocean of pain both psychological and, in Nikaidou’s case, physical. He can’t bear the thought of anyone going easy on him, because for him, shogi is the only contest in the world where he’s on a level playing field with everyone else. That’s why he begs Shimada not to tell Rei about his illness – not only does he want to avoid burdening his friend, but he also wants to maintain their rivalry as a means of personal growth. As I watched this scene, I remembered Kyouko’s past strategy of telling Rei about the strained family life of another shogi player, hoping to sabotage her stepbrother by generating sympathy for his opponent. The hurt that Rei experienced in childhood makes him scared of hurting others, so it seems Nikaidou was on the right track by concealing his condition from his best friend.

The question of whether Rei can still treat Nikaidou as a rival is left unresolved here. Shimada reveals that his opponent in the semifinals forced a second game after a threefold repetition, which has a direct equivalent in chess. In that game, such deadlocked board states are typically avoided, but can be intentionally pursued to manipulate the game clock, which appears to be what Nikaidou’s opponent had in mind. Whether he purposely took advantage of the boy’s poor health isn’t clear to us yet, but either way, Rei has an opportunity to avenge his friend in the finals. That match will function as a landmark moment in Rei’s shogi career, but Shimada is more interested in whether he can still be merciless Nikaidou, as his opponent was. And although Rei is determined to win his next match, he dodges Shimada’s question, which signals to me that he now sees Nikaidou in a totally different light. Even if the finals end in victory for Kiriyama, it’s going to take a lot more than a trophy and a promise of vengeance to bridge the gap that has formed between them.

Posted on 26 November 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Before I launch into things here, allow me to express my apologies for the double episode review. 3-gatsu is the type of show that ought to receive weekly coverage, but I’ve been busier than usual during the past month. Among my list of preoccupations was a marathon of the 3-gatsu manga, which I couldn’t stop myself from reading once the bullying arc began. Before I knew it, I was caught up, and the agonizing year-long wait for new material had begun. How great is it that there are still fifteen episodes left this season to help tide me over? I can’t wait to watch each one, and hopefully blog about them not too long after they’ve aired. (For anyone wondering how the manga compares to the show, I’d say it manages to be even more emotional despite the limitations of its format – I can’t recommend it enough.)

For several episodes now, Rei has been thinking about what kind of help he can offer to Hinata during this difficult period. He has a plan to support her financially, should that become necessary, and he’s made himself a constant presence in her life, keeping the promise he made by the river in “Ladybug Bush (Part 2).” But now he’s approaching the problem as directly as he can, by asking her to describe her school life little by little. Rei even uses his connection with Hina’s schoolmate (and crush) Takahashi to provide her with an escape route during her unbearable lunch hour. Though Takahashi is certainly doing her a favor by springing her from that oppressive environment, he misses the mark in another way. As the two of them play catch, his hard throws cause Hinata to yelp in pain, but he denies that the pitches were fast enough to warrant that response. He can’t understand that stinging sensation because he doesn’t share her perspective, the same way that those who minimize the negative effects of bullying don’t realize how damaging it is. Maybe I’m reading too far into the scene, but it seems like the show is presenting this solution to Hina’s isolation as a temporary, imperfect one.

Of course, Takahashi does more to help than just injuring Hinata’s glove hand. He remembers Chiho, who once gave him half of her lunch during a school trip, which gives Hina an opportunity to talk about her. He also invites Takagi (the head bully) and her friends to play catch, only to intimidate them by using his full strength, sending a clear message that his friends aren’t to be messed with. But his involvement in their class backfires when the jealous Takagi (or one of her flunkies) scrawls an insulting message on the chalkboard, and their teacher sidesteps the issue by calling Hinata “uncooperative.” The look on her face at the end of “Letter” closely resembled one of Kyouko’s bitter facial expressions, which is a scary parallel to consider. Hina describes the anger she feels in the episode’s most striking segment, which featured violent colors splashed on a dark background, closely matching her desire to beat the bullies in her class to a pulp. Despite her bottled-up rage, though, the conclusion to this scene was more sad than anything else, as we learn that Chiho is now at a rehab center, having failed to attend her new school. For all that Hina has had to endure, she’s proven to be resilient, but the same treatment was enough to break her sweet friend.

Even Akari is a victim of this awful situation, facing feelings of inadequacy as a mother to her younger sisters, and dreading the inevitable parent-teacher conference that will be arranged if Hinata continues to keep her chin up. Though Rei managed to find the perfect words to reassure her several weeks ago, he’s so moved by her plight here that he loudly proclaims his support for her before God and several dog walkers. Akari charmingly accepts, which apparently causes the younger boy’s heart to thump, but it isn’t just his heart that responds; as Rei rides the train to his next shogi match, he recalls that seeing Akari smile against the sunset like that caused a bolt of desire to shoot through him. This poses a sizeable predicament for him, since he already cares very strongly for her younger sister, though not in an overtly romantic sense. It’s hardly a surprise that Rei would feel something for Akari – not only has she showered him with attention and care since they met, but she’s a beautiful woman with a highly desirable body. The natural way that this attraction was introduced came as a relief, since there are plenty of other series that would linger on the subject for too long. We’ll see how willing the show will be to explore it as the season progresses.

Rei is forced to shut down that line of thinking before his match with Hachiya, AKA the Irritated Prince of the East. All of his ticks, from tongue clicking to fast, aggressive play, really pulled me in during their showdown. 3-gatsu is generally good at making shogi interesting for those of us without any knowledge of the game, but it slipped a bit during the back half of its first season. For me, this was a return to form, but the most interesting thing about Rei and Hachiya’s match came after its conclusion, when Yanagihara and Smith declared them to be totally alike. Like Rei, I didn’t agree with that assessment one bit – at least, not at first. During their match, Rei assumes Hachi to be totally self-absorbed, because he doesn’t think about how his noise-making affects his opponents. But despite Rei’s willingness to consider the needs of others, especially in this arc, he does have a tendency to focus inwards, likely because of the isolation he experienced at school and in his second home. This intense introspection can make him blind to the feelings of others, especially Nikaidou, whose friendship he often takes for granted. There will be an even better example of this limited perspective in a few episodes, though, so I’ll put a pin in this theory until then.

Posted on 15 November 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

This episode of 3-gatsu felt like a companion piece to the heart-wrenching drama of the previous week. In fact, the “Feelings” chapter from this installment, where Rei asks Hayashida-sensei for advice, was a direct continuation of the same chapter from last time. Until this point, I felt that the series had approached the subject of bullying very naturally, without lecturing or feeling like an after-school special. There was a bit of preachiness to Hayashida’s dialogue this week, though it would have been tough to avoid that sensation, based on the straightness with which Rei asks for “anti-bullying measures.” Listening to the teacher’s speech on the difficulties of dealing with bullying, one gets the sense that this chapter was a sort of soapbox moment for Umino-sensei. Given the overall strength of this arc so far, though, I’m willing to handwave its less subtle bits. Plus, I admire anyone who integrates the social issues they care about into their art, especially when the end product is actually good.

There were two elements of Rei and Hayashida-sensei’s conversation that made it a success on a level apart from “bullying is a tough nut to crack.” The first was the humor, which came as a relief for me, since Shaft’s brand of comedy doesn’t always find its way to my funny bone. I credit a lot of the laughs to the keyboard track that starts around 1:40, and again at 7:30. Combine its playful Wurlitzer melody with some goofy voice acting and inventive visual gags (Hayashida turning into a wooden statue springs to mind), and you can generate a lighthearted tone that balances the chapter’s heavier moments. The second, more significant element was the show’s flirtation with the Rei/Hinata pairing, as seen through Hayashida-sensei’s eyes. In my last 3-gatsu post, I mentioned that the two characters are quite suited for one another, but that was in regards to their temperaments and personal histories. The three year difference between Rei and Hina makes it difficult to think of them as romantic partners, and Honey and Clover was famous for its couple-related curveballs, so I don’t want to make any serious predictions at this stage. Hayashida is certainly convinced that Rei has a crush, though, if his disappearance into the rushing river of adolescence is anything to go by.

I appreciate that “Confession” continued to explore the effects of Hinata’s bullying on other members of the Kawamoto family. Akari carries one of the heaviest burdens in the 3-gatsu universe, having acted as a mother to her sisters since the age of 17, and for this to be added to her plate must be nearly unbearable. She feels even worse after comparing her own defensive, questioning response to Someji’s reassuring one, which isn’t an observation that a lot of other series would make. Poor Akari – she declares herself “no good” because of her failure to comfort her baby sister, but she’s the most traditionally “good” character the show has to offer. Thankfully, Rei draws an inspired parallel between Hina’s courage and the values with which Akari raised her, and gives her a much happier reason to cry. Even though Rei made such a bold commitment to Hinata last week, I think he actually demonstrated more growth here by attending to this subtler form of grief. Finding the perfect words like he did in this episode proves that Rei is on a path of real transformation, and I plan to accompany him until he reaches its end.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*allows us
I will probably watch shojo kageki dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen behind on shoujo kageki and sirius.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....was lovingly semi-oneric.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That kids backstory is so depressing in happy sugar life. Nail pulling scene messed me up. I also watched the new satsuriku no tenshi episode, this is definately going at a quicker place, they skipped a whole character and by doing so, also a flashback involving Cathy. Though I'm not too bothered by it as it also us to get to the big bad quicker and focus on Zack/Rachel. First bit of this episode
Anonymous2592902
This is Sash by the way, name keeps changing back to anonymous
Anonymous2592902
@Kaiser-Eoghan: yes... I meant that...
SuperMario
Talking about being born in a digital age huh?
Lenlo
@Kaiser, for my old roommate maybe. I dont think ive ever bought a magazine in my life
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: Do you mean visual novel?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Admit it Lenlo, you would buy that magzine with Ash and Eiji on it.
Sash
@AidanAK47: i have recently read the light novel of Fate Stay Night and, though I don't share your sentiment, I do see why you love it so much
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sword art is one of those things that everywhere you look you'll see it hated, yet in rolls in the money.
Lenlo
Well, its hated by certain parts of the community. Usually western parts.
AidanAK47
@Mitsuko, yep we are well aware. But as an FYI, SAO is hated heavily in the anime community. So another season isn't exactly a cause for celebration but rather a dejected sigh.
Lenlo
Banana Fish, back on track. Also, this ED is my favorite of the season.
Mitsuko
@Lenlo i agree that was one of the best i cried in that part
Lenlo
Oh I know it is. Doesnt mean I have to acknowledge it. Mothers Rosario was the only SAO arc I actually liked, and Kirito had almost no involvement in it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mitsuko: Its gone on for too long.
Mitsuko
i dont know if anyone said this already or that you know but sword art online is coming out with a season 3 in october right
Adimar
i miss Shino god i hope there is another season were she gets out of her coma and haseo and Shino get together if that happens then god it will be amazing
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't think I brought this up, but I've only seen one season of Bleach, random episodes of DBZ, few episodes of Naruto and two volumes of one piece, most I got was 32 episodes of hunter x hunter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another example is I can't get into most shounen because it isn't seinen. Too often I can't separate shounen jump stuff from each other in my head even if I know they are different.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose I do experience exceptions , I could probably find one dark moe show that'd work for me like Happy sugar life, but in general I utterly despise mixing moe cute girl antics with horror.
@Anon: Its because often the time travel/reset thing is used in those stories as an extra lives/chances cheat.
Lenlo
I can agree that, largely, avoiding a genre or style you dont like is fine. It just means you will miss the occasional exception. Because there is always an exception that fits the mold, but is good enough you enjoy it anyways.

Like im not normally a fan of rom-coms or melodrama, but I enjoyed Toradora. Never would have watched it under normal circumstances either
Anonymous2585479
@Aidan, Well Evangelion was a bad example as I had read a bit of the manga version at one point.
A better example would have been Steins Gate which I avoid for the simple reason that time travel stories annoy me, especially if they involve changing the past.
Thing is though, I don't agree that this is any different from avoiding fanservice or "standard crap", even those can surprise rarely.
Lenlo
There were some I knew I wouldnt like and tried anyways, like Clannad, but some that pleasantly surprised me like Space Dandy.

@Aidan, yeah. I had to experience it. I just... there was so much wrong in the episode I am having a hard time writing it up without feeling like im just ragging on it non stop
AidanAK47
@Anon, I don't really argee with that mindset as I feel you don't really know if something is for you until you see it for yourself. Not saying you have to plough though it even if you hate it. But giving it at least one episode I think is needed. Well unless it's something like a fanservice show or standard crap.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I was thinking about warning you when I seen you got excited about that but decided it would just be better to see for yourself.
Anonymous2584737
Happens to me with plenty of things, for example I refuse to touch Evangelion since I know enough about it say that I have no interest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There has to be a moment where you just accept somethings just not going to click for you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For example I will never watch darling in the Franxx because of kill la kill.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Have you reached the point where you no longer care when you hate something popular or refuse to watch it out of sheer disinterest?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Do you all think there comes a time, where you get to where you know you don't need to even bother watching a certain show because you know yourself enough to know there is no hope it'll be your thing? To where you simply pass on it, not even watching the first episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Hanebado death stare is real, the eyes THE EYES man the eyes =O
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stupid steins; gate, why must it bully Lenlo. Although I've not watched the episode yet....am I right in saying things may be heading in the direction we feared?
Lenlo
*sigh* Steins;Gate physically hurt me this week. I am disappoint
Kaiser-Eoghan
In general I tend to turn my mind off to scientific inaccuracy in fiction and because honestly, I have a fairly poor memory for much of the facts.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember school biology classes, couldn't bring myself to cut an animal heart/frog/worm and tapped out of doing it. I remember being told, someone thinking it was all a laugh and they threw one of the hearts into a bush somewhere on the school grounds.
SuperMario
Then again, biology is amongst my least favorite subject :(
SuperMario
@Vonter: I'm still following Cells at Work but I have long since given up on making a real life connection. But let's see, i think your first statement was right but I'm not sure about the second one
Vonter
I've been watching Cells at Work! And I'm not sure if I get the analogy of an allergy. The allergens makes the body counter act with a chemical that in turn makes the body over release another chemical that irritates and produces sneezes. And an steroid counteracts the allergy by breaking down in a small degree that section of they body?
Lenlo
Honestly, im not sure if its intentional or not, because the rest of the english in the paper is actually pretty good.
Lenlo
The Dairy Cod? Oh yes
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did you happen to notice the L/R error/ no differentiation in the top left screenshot in your banana fish post? Sayss Dairy Cape cod instead of daily cape cod.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*these
Kaiser-Eoghan
I keep listing to those mixtape and vaporwave things on youtube very frequently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh so that was the name of that show where I saw Urasawa and Itou being interviewed.
Lenlo
Look up Manben on youtube. Its basically where they do an hour long episode on a Mangaka, film their process, and talk about their philosophies while making it
Lenlo
If your interested in the manga process
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now that I remember, there was a part where they were praying for the idols. Someone said it has become like a pseudo-religion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see some documentaries about anime/manga and more about Japan .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Adding to what I said though, as bad as Japans idol thing is, the music industry everywhere has its awfully sleazy side.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In a way, I sort of feel like I can't fully judge the guy who paid for 100s of idol concerts....when admittedly I've spent my fair share over the years on hentai.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw that documentary I talked about a few comments ago, because the post would have been 500 words long, I put it on pastebin: https://pastebin.com/D7CuaA4F
Lenlo
I dunno, I quite enjoy the characters. Endeavor had an arc recently that was particularly good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I want to specify on that comment, I'm not looking down on hero academia, more suggesting the broadness of its appeal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In terms of planet with, I've only seen the first episode of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have found though that Academia, much like titan, is partially an anime for people who don't watch anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On Hero academia, on my end it would probably be more accurate to say that its not a case of hating it, moreso not my thing.
AidanAK47
I don't hate Hero Aca. My problem is that it really isn't doing anything new. Every beat traced from shounen legacy. It's executed well no doubt and I am sure animation wise it trumps old shounen. And if it can avoid the trap of every long running shounen of going past it's due then it could end up the most polished. But it's still a new dog doing old tricks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness. Regarding Planet with, sometimes you have to care for whats been subverted before you can get anything out of the subversion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: If you don't like my one-liners, you should sea my ocean liners, they're practically to drown for.
AidanAK47
On Fate GO, yeah I really think that some banners are more generous than others. Hoping the Prisma banner is generous because I need to get together the Emiya family.
Lenlo
Really? I quite like Hero Aca, its probably my favorite current shounen, granted this current arc isnt the best. Granted I also keep up with the manga so know how it all plays out.
AidanAK47
And subversion in a good way. Not like Fate Extra over here which subverts expectations by having the endboss leave the show offscreen but instead subverting to keep you on your toes while keeping the satisfaction of a well conculded fight. That moment when he pulled out the clog for a finisher was unexpected, hilarious and amazing.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Yep. To me Boku hero is how to use tropes and settings wrong, essentially recycling them wholesale. Planet With uses them but uses them to subvert your expectations when you think things will go according to the trope but NOPE.
AidanAK47
UGH.
I am close to banning you for that pun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everyone is watching planet with....
......

....WITH each other
Masky
I'm watching Planet With!
Amagi
We all know the cliffhanger fight between Takashi and * +revelation of you know what wouldn't have happend before episode 10 in any other anime. This show manages the time perfectly and it doesn't feel rushed.
Amagi
It's exactly how I want a show: you are allowed to use tropes and generic settings but be creative, switch the roles, turn stereotypes upside down and make every episode unique and non-repetitive. It's what this show is doing and it's doing this perfectly.
Amagi
@Aidan: I love it too. I am pretty surprised how few people are watching this considering that it is still shounen'ish and how hyped Bisquithammer is.
Amagi
Ehhh-? Now got summer Marie with 3 quartz in FGO and Martha with 12 a few days ago Aidan was right about the second summer rate up banner.
AidanAK47
Such a shame that nobody seems to be watching Planet With.
AidanAK47
Damn, Planet with pretty much concluded and there is still six episodes left. This episode was damn satisfying and it seems the training wheels are off here..
Anonymous2563449
How do you expect men and women to act when they reach the end of economic growth
Anonymous2563449
The idol industry is just a reflection of the broken social contract/financial repression
K-Off
It'd be interesting if the documentary talks about the effect on men as well, that kind of obsession driven culture can't be healthy.
K-Off
Still remember that idol (was it akb48?) who filmed herself crying on film with a shaved head because she was caught with a boyfriend
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also planning on picking up A drifting life soon, biographical manga about the 60s gekiga manga period.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch some Japanese documentary tomorrow that goes into wide detail about how terrible their idol industry is and the effect it has on women.
Lenlo
The only thing I really liked out of Ahin was the villain. That dude was quite intimidating, running around shooting himself every time he got tranqed.
AidanAK47
And though I didn't mention it in the review it is rather annoying how the series shafted both Tamamo and Hakunon.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, It was a series that had good ideas, I give it that. But it was a mighty dull watch. Some better protagonist could have helped a bit at least.
K-Off
Speaking of which, I picked up an Astolfo plushie at anime expo and this alone is making me want to play FGO
K-Off
Yea Ajin flows really strangely and there's really no overarching story, plus nobody has much motivation to do anything. But that's also its appeal, for people interested in an insane antagonist who wants nothing but chaos
K-Off
Ah Fate Extra sounds disappointing, I STILL haven't watched any of the series and was hoping it'd be a good entry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ajin is one of those things I just ended up completely forgetting about, although for pretty much no reason.
K-Off
Also: Ajin is getting pretty freaking crazy with the recent chapters, I love how Sato is so Joker-like and he's actually succeeding at every thing he's doing
K-Off
The manga is fantastic, feels pretty quaint as comedy manga go nowadays. Also the chapters flow really well with its comedic timing, love the pacing
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually intending to move on to the manga sometime, as I was using the anime as an introduction/taster for it.
AidanAK47
Yeah I find Grand Blue just isn't working for me like the manga did. I feel like it needed better animation and a better director. I thought the Gintama director would do good but didn't take into account that with such a long running series he's likely accustomed to doing comedy within a small budget.
K-Off
Feels like manga with great comedic timing don't translate very well animated, or maybe it's because I've already read the same joke before the adaptation
K-Off
Woops forgot i wasn't logged in on mobile
Anonymous2559865
So far in the season pretty sad to see Grand Blue not living up to the manga
K-Off
(i also updated my email on my profile, if you need me for anything let me know there)
K-Off
Ahaha nah, its the real McCoy, last time we talked was about the backend server iirc
AidanAK47
...hmmm is this a fake Psgels situation I wonder.
K-Off
Ive been too hooked on Azur Lane lately
K-Off
Hello everyone, feels like its been a while!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Budget really shows in grand blue now, I wasn't really into the first half of this episode, but by the second half it got me laughing again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Including shots AT Mayuri =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yet, somehow I will find a way to someway forgive the show as hard as I can be on it I can never be 100% mad at the series.
Lenlo
And if it cops out with Mayuri's death, I agree. I wont be happy
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I mean, there are OTHER Mayuri shots I could have posted this week
Kaiser-Eoghan
Godammit Kana Hanazawa, just destroy me already OWO;;;
Kaiser-Eoghan
Be sure to skip past the credits in this weeks satsuriku no tenshi as there's a scene after them. Also Btfo Cathy, this was the part in the manga where I was surprised what Rachael and Zack did in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Posting those shots of best girl looking sad =<.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm being cynical about it because I don't want to be overly disappointed is such a cop-out occurred.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it would probably bother me somewhat if the show decided to cop-out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As much as I got the feels from that final scene with Mayuri and yes, I would, for the sake of drama, wish for it to remain that way. I'm not entirely convinced that the series won't pull a convenient twist to cancel it out, even though now it seems impossible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@anon: Shinsekai sorayori shiratori.
Anonymous2553705
sora yori
Lenlo
Lentahlo? Ill take it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Apparently this guy gets compared to Wong-Kar-Wai: https://letterboxd.com/director/lou-ye-1/
Kaiser-Eoghan
>Lenlo-tahlo
>Revolutionary girl Utensil
>Obersteins; Gate ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
*all
And the modern setting rears its head, filthy iphone in muh Bananna fish.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also its ll out on the table now, regarding banana fish itself, the series continues to connect everything together quite well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I felt the so far, the combining bleakness and the violence was at its best here so far. One of the kills being particularly cold.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Even though criticized for being too much of a Chinese stereotype Yau-say (or however you spell it) was still one of the more developed villains in banana fish, he'll be appearing soon. I love how this series never lingers and with only a few scenes between Jim and Ash we don't need tonnes of infodump/flashbacks to get their relation to each other across.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even consider most of what the academy worship to even be real films.
AidanAK47
Not as if it makes that much of a difference. The Oscars are already a joke.
SuperMario
It's so absurd it feels unreal. Just a desperate attempt from the Academy to pander the mass. Duh
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I thought that wasn't real at first.
SuperMario
The Oscar just announced a brand new category this year: Best Popular Film. Holy cow. They want to become another MTV awards? Can't take them serious anymore
Lenlo
Oh thank goodness, Steins;Gate 0 has finally committed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I had this stupid idea when I was a kid of Robotnick swinging bowser around like he does with that ball and chain thing in Sonic ones Green hill boss fight.
Anonymous2550388
I wonder if Boss Rush returns given the stage the Rathalos was shown doesn't have anything. Also that segment with Dracula also didn't had the platforms and the stage looked flat. If that's the case I hop Eggman and Dr. Wily get a chance to be bosses.
Anonymous2550388
Smash games regardless of look and modes always feel different. Each version feels a bit different.
Anonymous2550388
I use Kirby in 64. Samus in Melee. Metaknight and ROB in Brawl and I'm playing more with Dark Pit and Palutena in Smash 4.
Kaiser-Eoghan
>Want to play as Dracula
> Can't
> OmO
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think we all disliked the scrolling stages though, it always felt like being killed by the level.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember my brother and friends wouldn't let the items be turned on though =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Being able to use the miis was kind of cool, my brother made an IRA Mii and Gerry Adams one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My brother always used mewtwo, wolf, falco or fox . Friends would always play as link or Kirby.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember douchey players exploiting DKs grab moves to walk off screen with them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Smash bros N64: I always played as luigi or DK
Melee: Either Marth, Roy or Ike
Brawl: Lucina or Marth.
AidanAK47
That said, chances are there will be more Smash games but this game won't be topped. It's got pretty much every character wanted, most if not all of the stages and them quailty of life improvements and new modes look damn sick. Give it a story/single player and it's prefect.
AidanAK47
@Anon, It truly is Smash Bros ultimate. With Smash 4 the series had pretty much reached the highest it could. Graphics can;'t really get better, Mecanhics are fine tuned to perfect and pretty much can only add stages and characters to it. Smash Ultimate honestly feels like a swan song of the series taking everything great and putting it in one package.
Amagi
What's up with all series ending in a cliffhanger this week
Anonymous2548623
I just don't know how much more they could add to Smash Bros. Other than some sort of story mode. 71 characters, 103 stages, over 800 songs. It's just too much. I don't know if a videogame could ever be tapped in terms of valuable content, but it feels this game is getting closer and closer to doing so.
Lenlo
Bout to watch it. Hoping it keeps everything up
Kaiser-Eoghan
The episode was fairly free of antics.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Steins;gate 17: Mayuri gets brought up to speed, Leskinen (pressumably) makes his move involving Amadeus , also *feelsfistclench*
Amagi
@Kaiser: Planning on reading SnT as well, but most likely after the anime has ended. There is also an untranslated LN as far as I know.
Amagi
@Aidan: ha, got Martha Ruler now at least (30 sq/10 tickets). Will either stop now or use ~20 other quartz at best so she's probably my only summer servant. I liked her the most though.
Masky
Huh. Odd to see anime adaption that uses LN designs and realizing "Huh. Manga version of designs was much better than original LN"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking back, I never finished Ai yori aoshi, last exile, Eureka 7 or Shangri-la , I'm thinking of rewatching last exile which I dropped halfway through when I was a teenager, I never saw the sequel. Part of me wants to give it a second chance.
Kaiser-Eoghan
What I read does explain itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I ended up deciding to read the manga adaptation of satsuriku no tenshi, 8 volumes if you include the prequel. I like the art style more in the manga, the manga also adds some small backstory scenes not in the anime. The main bad guy will probably show up in a few episodes. I won't say anything but I was surprised by three scenes the anime hasn't gotten to yet.
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Banana Fish – 7 [The Rich Boy]

This is it, this is what I needed this week. Banana Fish has become my weekly dose of great drama. This week we meet up with Max’s family, Shorter learns just how terrible gangs are, and we meet a new villain. Lets jump in! Starting off with the general stuff, what blew me away the […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 18 [Altair of Translational Symmetry -Translational Symmetry-]

This must be what a disappointed father feels like. You want to believe the best, but they just keep letting you down. This week, Steins;Gate 0 has let me down. Hard. Lets jump in. So, where to begin. First off, once again, Steins;Gate 0 proves its not an action series. So many still shots and […]

Planet With – 05/06[Paladin Break 1/Paladin Break 2]

Well that’s the end of Planet With and what a satisfying ending it was. I mean that final fight was something that would do Gurren Lagann proud and while there are some loose ends the majority of things were tied up quite nice…what do you mean this is only episode six? Hold on, there are […]

Hanebado! – 07 [I’ll Mop the Floor With Her]

I was wrong. I don’t enjoy this dead-eye expression of Ayano at all. It feels as though we’re watching a completely different Ayano characters compared to the first few episodes. That just means in no way I’m identified with this anti-hero version of Ayano. Again, I understand the intention. Ayano has that unhealthy obsession of […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 05 [Is Sparkle Even Possible]

Revue Starlight is back to business this week with its bizarrely entertaining duel. In a way, this duel is a long way coming as this is one of the development I expected to happen sooner or later. What I didn’t expect, however, is the overall light-hearted tone with cartoonish paper cut-out design and Mahiru -Karen […]

Banana Fish – 6 [My Lost City]

Banana Fish, Banana Fish, does whatever a crime drama does. Drives a van, shoots a father-figure, lookout its Banana Fish. Simpson’s references aside, this week Banana Fish gives us a dark look into Ash’s past and both starts and completes our road trip. Lets jump in! Starting off, this week was probably the weakest so far […]

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 06 [Everyone’s Own Path – Chio-chan Eludes]

Chio-chan… well… doesn’t go well this week. Not necessary because of the reappearance of crash fanservice gags – which for now I pretty much roll with, but because it’s a replication of Chio-chan’s previous (and better) segments. It adds up with the fact that both segments this week feel longer than they needed be. Take […]

Fate/Extra Last Encore – 11-13[Resurrected Sword of Victory – Excalibur Galatine -/Turner of the Wheel – Chakravartin -]

It’s been a while but the final episodes of Fate/Extra are out and I thought that I couldn’t really add anything to what I previously said about this series. The last three episodes did nothing to change my opinion on the series as a whole, if anything it solidified my previous opinion and pretty much […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 17 [Altair of the Hyperbolic Plane -Beltrami Pseudosphere-]

Finally, Steins;Gate 0 has fully committed. There’s no going back from here. This week we have the continued fallout of episode 16, Daru being a good father, and a Mayurii sized dose of suffering. Buckle in, because this is a long one. Lets jump in! First, some obvious stuff. Steins;Gate 0 continues to not be […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

To many the Fate series is daunting with its numerous incarnations and spinoffs and here in the year of many a Fate adaption we get another one by Studio Shaft which was first thought to adapt the story of the PSP game Fate/Extra. Fate/Extra could basically be considered Fate with a sci-fi twist as this […]

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

In following anime seasons it can be quite an experience to follow a show as it airs as the hype and rollercoaster of reactions can be entertainment in its own right. In that regard Darling in the Franxx was a hell of a ride as week by week peoples feelings for it ran hot and […]

Hisone to Masotan (2018 Spring) Review – 73/100

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let […]

Megalo Box – 86/100

Ah boxing, the quintessential manly man sport of beating each other unconscious. In anime, the sport was first forged in the fires of Ashita no Joe, and some would say later perfected by Hajime no Ippo. Both fantastic series in their own right. Both filled to the brim with epic clashes of wills, phenomenal characters and […]

Legends of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These Anime Review – 80/100

This is a remake of a series made way back when which is one of the most highly acclaimed anime in the medium. It is of legendary status but you would be hard pressed to recommend it as to many the barrier of entry is too high to consider. A 110 episode OVA with dated […]

Hinamatsuri (2018 Spring) Review – 79/100

Comedy anime doesn’t always yell out confidence, so imagine our hype when there’s one that been on everyone’s lips since the manga come out, Hinamatsuri. The show starts with simple premise: a girl with supernatural power unexpectedly drops into the house of a yakuza, hilarity ensues. This concept sums up very well the source humors […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – I Prestige Flower Anime Review – 90/100

We have seen an influx of Fate adaptations over the last year and sadly each has proven to be disappointing except for a cooking slice of life short series which is weirdly better than it has any right to be. This movie was the last of the Fate adaptations that I needed to see but […]

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

Violet Evergarden’s existence has surely been a public one. Acclaimed before everyone lick a taste of it (it was awarded for grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014 – read, KyoAni awards), it goes without saying that Violet Evergarden is one of the most anticipated show of the sparse Winter […]

A Place Further than the Universe (Winter 2018) Review – 77/100

Cute girls doing cute things is a genre that been done to death at this point. Even within this Winter 2018 we had been overloaded with big eyes fluffy face girls doing a lot of different things of interest. It takes a standout concept or a deeper narrative to make one stand out from this […]