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.

(more…)

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
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
Anonymous2785164
Nothing is more annoying to me than nerd doing the stereotypical nerd voice to mock people
Anonymous2785164
Either way, I kinda dislike majority geek youtubers because I find them all to be hypocrites. Like for example, complaining about commentors correcting them or nitpicking them when all of them are nitpickers themselves :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, he has habit of commenting on things way too early only to later on to be proven wrong by end of the anime :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, I don't remember Mother's Basement being that bad besides that he for most parts really sucks when talking about video games despite apparently having studied game development
Anonymous2785164
@AidanAK47: I don't actually like any of anime youtubers. They all seems to be pervs to me and I'm actually rather prude person :p
Anonymous2785164
Hmm this chat is being buggy again and I can't change username from anonymous right now :P ANnoying~
SuperMario
@Lenlo: Readers will enjoy us more if we can throw some meme references... proof that we're still not out of touch with current trends ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I mean the opposite, the posts here are good because they don't use quips. They aren't fanboyish either.
Lenlo
Are you telling me I need to insert more quips. jokes and one-lines into my posts? Cause I can do that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Drop grand blue if its taking up too much time, I know you are busy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I enjoy reading blog articles like on here. I feel the writers on here never sound like awful fanboys or quiplords.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*I have
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its down to an idea have about vloggers/youtubers, that the videos will be full of unfunny quips and unrestrained fanboyism due to the guy doing the video can't keep himself in check.
Lenlo
Digibro isnt worth listening to imo
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never even really pursued listening to digibro. Although I probably should listen to eyepatchwolf apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should say the anime youtubers I've actually watched pertain to: Gigguk, one video by blackanimecritic, a few countdowns by Mistychronoxia and Animeman . I think I've watched maybe two of glass reflections reviews.
Anonymous2781300
I don't know, r/anime probably is also not the best sources; Youtube and Reddit are just the places I generally go to for large-scale anime discussion
Anonymous2781300
Oh my previous comment didn't post; basically I was saying that Anitube isn't super representative of audience popularity, at least as a whole, but it might offer some insight to at least a portion of it.
Anonymous2781300
*audience you're looking at: there's the Japanese audience and Western audience, but I feel like there's also like, another half of the world that most be people don't consider.
Anonymous2781300
It kind of depends which audience you
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even watch gigguks videos anymore.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never really cared enough to overexplore any of those anime youtube critics for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If someone keeps talking about something, eventually it'll sometimes work out and get through, then I'll at least have to see some of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I watched it because you kept saying not enough people were watching it.
AidanAK47
@Masky, cause Mothers basement did a video on it? Well hopefully it gets it some attention. Don't really like MB though. I mean "Gurren Meets Earthbound"? Jesus Christ.
Masky
Hmm, seems like Planet With is slowly getting more attention to it
Lenlo
I know im Shonen trash, but Hero Aca continues to be fantastic.
Animosh
You know, one person ends up broken through no fault of her own, and then ends up hurting herself and/or others to protect the only happiness she knows. And so the cycle continues.
Animosh
I thought Shio's backstory was really sad too. But yeah, although the show (and many of its characters) can be silly a lot of the time, there's a beating heart behind all of the craziness. Its main characters all have believable - if misguided - motivations, and the show portrays the cyclical nature of trauma very well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I think the scene with satou breaking down near episodes end were the standout. I often laugh at this show for its overthetopness, then makes me feel like a jerk by pulling something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Escaflowne ended too soon and abruptly. I haven't seen rayearth but I have read the manga, so I don't know if the anime original content is as good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've noticed that the voice acting tends to be worse in reverse harems then regular harems.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Regarding otome, one of the worst cases though had to be hakuouki though, just a bag of complete wasted potential.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I didn't dislike Red river, I have the unpopular opinion of preferring Basara because I found the central relationship more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Yes that was babylonia no shishi.
Amagi
I wish we could get isekai like Rayearth, Now and Then or Escaflown again.
Amagi
Sadly these series usually fail elsewhere, with the typical problems shoujo and otome series tend to have
Amagi
@SuperMario: strangely enough this is somewhat typical for shoujo whereas generic isekai can't get off that fake-rpg spleen. There is also a shoujo in which feMC gets transported into some old turkish setting and one with babylonia (think the latter was done by that mangaka that also did Cantarella).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres also a shoujo manga called babylonia no shishi.
SuperMario
maybe it's one of the earliest example of isekai if you don't regard isekai setting as strictly fantasy world.
SuperMario
" Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan." -> actually they did just that. One of the old classic shoujo, Crest of the Royal Family, is about a girl transported into Egyptian royal family. https://myanimelist.net/manga/5284/Ouke_no_Monshou?q=Crest of the Royal Family
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the success is, if a series can distract you and still make you feel something, even if there should have been more to the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Beyond Arthur and Dino, who always came off to me as "the bad guys to be defeated", I think I might have been so into Ash that I didn't really pay as much attention to his character development as you and Mario did.
Animosh
Happy Sugar Life was pretty intense again. It's not subtle, but it's certainly effective. For me, anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*gamer
You could see that he probably enjoyed online games and knew his stuff, wheras it seemed in sword art the writer felt liking he was shitting on everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not much of a game and I know it was a fantasy show, but I guess log horizon is isekai, but in that one from what I saw, I thought the writer seemed to be making more of an effort.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But given how lazy isekai tends toward, while yes a scifi world would be a nice change up, the inherent genre laziness would probably holdback on properly building that world.
Anonymous2771364
Why Isekai are limited to the fantasy worlds? What about one with a creative retro futuristic setting (like Jetsons, John Carter or Flash Gordon). Maybe a western setting. Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan. Anything at this point will be genius if done right.
Anonymous2771364
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Didn't watch Gate but it wasn't kind of like that? Adapting an alien fantasy world to the real world?
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a total tangent. Imagine an isekai that dealt with immigration issues ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Ash says a line in the manga at some point that he stopped counting the amount of times he was raped.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose I minor issue I have, is that Yut-lungs design feels somewhat out of place.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You could say that there's fujoshi baiting in some of Ash/Eijis interactions, perhaps even n the recent episode. Very obvious, but I'm not complaining ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually glad that the series restrains from being too graphic regarding Goldzine's pedophilia actually , it could have been worse.
Animosh
Its previous attempts at character development (Ash's ridiculously tragic past, Golzine's pedophilia, Arthur's desire to get back at Ash) were a hit and miss at best, and often just had the effect of making the characters more black and white rather than more complex. But I don't know what was skipped, so who knows, maybe it would have made the characters better!
Animosh
And more generally, although most characters are a lot of fun to watch, they're not very deep. Ash and Eiji are both very tropish, and the villains aren't particularly interesting either (with the exception of Yut Lung, though he's rather clichéd too of course). So I'm not sure seeing them interact more would work in the show's favor.
Animosh
@Kaiser: thanks for the explanation! Not sure if I'd want to see more dialogue though personally. I like the Ash/Eiji moments and all, but they can also be a bit ... cheesy? Now I feel like there's a good balance between the various plot threads, but more emphasis on their blossoming love/friendship could easily have made it obnoxious for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know most probably didn't care about these, but I really get nostalgic over stuff like Rune soldier, Lodoss war. I also liked Denyuden and wished it had gotten another season. I never finished the utawerumono sequel, but it had nice character interactions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also kind of looking forward to Goblin slayer a bit because its a fantasy that isn't an isekai .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But not so much dicking around that it gets boring.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know what I was thinking about there lately, with the saturation of so many isekai, part of me has a longing for a non-isekai fantasy, but some really REALLY cosy thing about a bunch of friends re-uniting/getting together, most of its banter and SOMETIMES they get into story shit.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Angel Eyes as an OVA would be amazing. Its the only part of Banana Fish I have actually read, to avoid spoilers.
Lenlo
@Mario, I think thats just a translation thing. Japanese language is a lot more formal than English so they have to choose. Go for precise translations, or modify it to attempt to fit it better.

As for how they did it, I assume they poisoned his Secretary with the drug. They have Senators and such in on it afterall
Lenlo
If the gang war is done right, I think I will enjoy this next arc. I really liked that last ending scene on the train and if thats how this war is going to play out, lots of subtle street violence to avoid the cops, then I am all for it
Lenlo
Im quite happy with Banana Fish personally. I do think Ash is a bit to proficient at everything, like I think I mentioned in one post how I dont like him being a computer whiz and all that.
SuperMario
Then we have many of half-baked subplots. For example, "to think you'd kill the next presidential candidate". No one talks like that. How did papa Dino plan to do it again? Sometimes I don't feel the clear pasage of time in Banana fish. Like in the prison arc, you'd see Max switch in and out between Ash's cell without much explain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think I remember the last time I actually cried.
SuperMario
And have a sensitive side at heart. I love this kid but sometimes the show just reminds me time and again how implausible his character trait, and many actions, are
SuperMario
@anon: I'm not too enthusiasm on Banana Fish as a whole. While I must say I still enjoy the ride every week, the main offender for me is how they glamor Ash so much. This kid has been through some serious shit, again and again, and again, yet he has immerse talent of basically everything (gun skill, acrobatic skill as we saw last episode, elegant enough to tell the wine brand with just sniffing...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like this upcoming arc too much because it felt like just a street thugs vs street thugs thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I hope they do the Angel eyes side story as an ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'll never spoiler this show, but if the final arc is done properly and the anime elevates it, its going to really impact.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will be very very angry if they change the ending to suit/pander modern audiences.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One thing the anime is avoiding is the anti-communist thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh by the way, Dino is in with alot of people, including the French foreign legion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Nearly went too close to haphazard exploitation route than cool exploitation route.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Previous episode had some animation/art issues, Abraham and Arthur are a bit cartoony, while the mansion episodes and the one where Ash meets his dad, the drama, while tense and interesting very almost skirted with being overboard.
Anonymous2765784
Hope the trend continues
Anonymous2765784
But seriously just loving the anime; most of my favorite anime are old, but recently some quality stuff has popped up like this, Rakugo, (Mushishi half counts)
Anonymous2765784
Yeah, I think I can tell that it's almost as if we're switching arcs now, so it's going to take a while to build back to that extreme heightened tension of the past few episodes.
Anonymous2765784
Also, what are some criticisms you guys have about Banana Fish anime so far? Just curious to see what other people think. I'm just enjoying the ride, whether it's speeding through a burning mansion or cruising around a 9 million condo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say it a second time round, the bits before this is where the manga peaked for a while, then it took me a few volumes to get back into.
Anonymous2765784
I'm actually also interested on what's left on Banana FIsh's cutting board. As an anime-only, it feels like the pacing can be a bit fast recently, but overall it seems fine. In fact, I felt this episode slowed down a bit as we transition between arcs and giving us a chance to breathe.
Lenlo
And I understand not having words for Steins;Gate 0. I have to write it every week.
Lenlo
Shh, im gonna watch it soon
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually this episode was slow compared to previous ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now, for episode 11 of Banana fish, I enjoyed this, specifically I liked seeing Dinoget kind of btfo'd near episodes end. But the highlight for me, is the Eiji/Ash interactions, i like these because they add a human aspect to the show, humanize Ash and flesh out the twos relationship.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was a scene in the manga where Ash crossdressed. But honestly what I mean is, the manga felt alot talkier with its dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I don't have words for steins; gate 0 anymore. Too hard to say anything else now, run out of them. =<
Animosh
What kind of stuff does the anime generally leave out? Slice of life scenes? Scenes with minor characters? World-building? Something else?
Animosh
Not sure what was skipped, but as an anime-only I thought it was another good episode. Some sweet character moments, some nice set-up for the conflicts with Arthur and Golzino ... I didn't really feel like anything major was missing.
Lenlo
Ah, did it suffer this week? Shame. Looking forward to watching it though
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think banana fishes sped up pacing is definitely starting to show, but as much as I like the manga, it is the kind of thing that needs to be cutdown for the sake of better flow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall watching Raxephon as a teenager, but it never really went anywhere from what I saw.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bokurano which I enjoyed for its nihilism, had a second half that didn't live up to the first.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did years years later eventually come round a bit on Evangelion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gasaraki I also remember watching, which was ambitious but flawed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nadesico worked for me, probably because I watched it over 20 years ago and it was a pisstake on the genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding mecha, outside of Gundam and one or two mazinger things, I can't say I feel as strongly about other stuff in the genre. No interest in watching darling in the frannx , aldonoah zero, regret watching and enjoying code geass years ago. Never got the appeal of gurren lagann and didn't finish eureka 7.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And with mizukami satoshi in mind, I've never read spirit circle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to be specific, I don't hate planet with by any means.
Lenlo
As is, atleast something actually happens every episode. The pacing is a bit fast, but it all still feels good
Lenlo
It could. Sadly, the 12 episode cours has sorta killed the non-standard episode count though
SuperMario
Whereas in banana Fish they have to burn through 19 volume for only 24 episodes, and it causes the show moving with no brake. Banana Fish could benefit much better if it has, say, 40 episodes
SuperMario
I agree with Animosh. It's true Planet With crams too many plot threads together but I believe its best format is 1-cour. Or to be more specific the creator makes Planet With with 1-cour in mind and it shows. It's one of the few shows where it could stop at any given episode and we still have a wholly satisfying closure. It's like a pancake on top of the others
Animosh
The visuals and soundtrack are really mediocre though. They're serviceable, but pretty forgettable. A better studio may have been able to turn this script into something great.
Animosh
I also quite like how Mizukami often puts a new spin on some old ideas. The show is filled with tropes, but it somehow still feels quite fresh. I'll never be a big fan of mecha shows, but this is much better than most.
Animosh
As for Planet With, I actually really enjoy its fast pacing. It's kind of similar to Banana Fish with how it manages to do a lot in very little time without making its climaxes feel forced or its characters superficial. And because of its fast pacing there's never a dull moment.
Animosh
@Kaiser: that's understandable, Steins;Gate has been pretty forgettable lately after all. ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
*the not though
Finally going to catch up with shoujo kageki somtime this week.
Lenlo
So, Steins;Gate wasnt bad this week. It tried. It didn't necessarily work, but it tried and had good ideas. If the setup to it hadnt sucked, this could have really worked
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Benika's flashback and though green haired maid girl was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Show had me half rooting for The sealing faction guys. I think another strength of the show is that, even though it feels too condensed and every episode feels like a resolve, it still stays understandable and keeps manages to keep coming out with more.
Total users: 18

Star Crossed Anime Blog

6 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Hanebado! – 11 [Because I Love Badminton]

After the break last week (due to the Hokkaido earthquake), we are back with this final match between Ayano and Nagisa. While I can’t say I care too much about this match, Hanebado begins in a solid note. Having our two main characters flashback to their previous match, each questions the exact same concern: “what […]

Planet With – 10/11[Karellen and Rashaverak/Azrabarakura]

Forgive me for not covering this last week but believe me when I say it wasn’t due to lack of interest. Planet With still remains a show that just tops itself with every episode. Though I don’t have much to say about episode ten other than it being another episode which could have acted as […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 10 [The Show Must Go On]

The narrative beat of Revue Starlight has reached its new tempo with the end of the audition. All the things that Revue Starlight has been building up to begin to payoff this week. I must say though, it comes out a bit too predictable this week. We have the last stage audition with literally the […]

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 11 [Chio in the Middle of the Night/ Apocri!]

Well, no surprises here. Chio-chan flips back to its usual self. Chio-chan has always been a minimalist-set show, with mundane set up in which only a handful of characters carry the gag. It rings especially true this week, as Chio’s antic makes up the first half and Manana’s wild imagination drives the second. As per […]

Banana Fish – 11 [The Beautiful and Damned]

Welcome to another week of Banana Fish. This week it slows down, gives us some heartwarming character scenes and the beginnings of a gang war. Lets jump in! So, starting off, the general stuff. Overall I enjoyed Banana Fish this week, but we have started to see issues with the breakneck pace it’s had until […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 21 [Rinascimento of Image Formation -Return of Phoenix-]

This week Steins;Gate 0 gave me, most, of what I wanted. It gave us a journey through the future, a Time Leap chain and the return of our favorite mad scientist. However, for all that I love it, its to little to late. Lets jump in! So, where to start. Leaving the big spoilers for […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 09 [On the Night of the Star Festival]

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the […]

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 10 [Shinozuka-san, Sugar Content, and the Press Conference/ Thousand Spring/ Andou and George]

We seem to have a routine of one below-average Chio-chan’s episode, follow up by one above-average as of late. This week is amongst Chio-chan’s better ones as it fleshes out two side characters with great effect. As you might remember, Momo wasn’t that memorable when she first appeared. Her uptight attitude is a nice foil […]

Banana Fish – 10 [Babylon Revisited]

Banana Fish, so consistently good that I am running out of interesting ways to start these posts. This week we have a jailbreak, miscommunication and a blond haired Rambo. Lets jump in! General stuff first, Banana Fish was all go this week. Really, its sorta been that way for awhile, but this episode was explosions […]

Latest Reviews

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

Watching Mirai, there are two observations that spring right up to my mind: Mirai is Hosoda’s most grounded, personal film and it plays out completely different from what I expected based from the promotional materials. My feeling is confirmed when I later learned that Hosoda based the concept from watching his own children’s react, and […]

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 […]