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.

Posted on 12 November 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

During the bizarre cold open of this makeshift two-parter, the thought flashed across my mind: are we getting one last bit of frivolity before the other shoe drops, or is wackiness the new normal for 3-gatsu? Over the last couple weeks, we’ve witnessed a lot of exaggerated behavior from characters like Hiyashida-sensei, Nikaidou, and even Rei himself, and as much as it pleases me to see everyone enjoying shogi and loving life, I’ve been waiting for the series to take a dramatic turn. I’ll even confess to experiencing a sinking feeling as Rei’s self-proclaimed rival engaged in his usual hysterics during “June,” wondering if the rest of this season was going to be more of the same. But if you’ve seen both of these episodes (which you almost certainly have, since this post is weeks overdue), you already know that my worrying was in vain. From the moment Akari opened that door to reveal her sister’s mismatched shoes and teary eyes, this show put me through an emotional wringer as powerful as anything from its first season. 3-gatsu, I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

Apart from the inherent injustice of Hinata’s circumstances, what makes her story particularly effective is how strongly Rei can relate to her. He’s been bullied for a good portion of his life, whether it was being labeled a robot on the class chalkboard, having a classmate refuse to sit next to him on a field trip, or getting cans full of rocks chucked at his head. As a quiet, introverted kid, made more quiet and introverted by the death of his biological family, Rei was a perfect target for bullying by exclusion. The show even refreshes our memory on the subject just before telling Hina’s story, so it’s easy to identify her withdrawal at home as a symptom of bullying. When the truth finally comes out, Rei is horrified to realize that the pain he once felt is now being visited upon someone who has always supported him. And when Hinata bolts from her house, filled with shame and self-loathing, there’s no question of who will follow. The only thing he manages to say before sprinting after her is, “I will.”

Bullying in Japan is often characterized by its intensity, and the scope with which it’s carried out. Entire classrooms can ally themselves against individuals in the name of conformity, and even teachers may be complicit, as they are in this case. Though Hinata’s sensei refuses to acknowledge the abuse occurring just under her nose, kind-hearted Hina could never abandon a friend, so she sits with Chiho during lunch and sticks up for her in class. But Chiho eventually changes schools, and the bullies shift their sights to the closest remaining target. After Hinata recounts all of this to her family, she begs through her sobs for Akari to tell her what she ought to have done to save her friend. But later, as she confesses her fear and sorrow to Rei on that bench by the river, she starts on the long journey of putting herself back together. With big Ghibli tears dripping down her face, she raises her voice and screams in defiance of her classmates, teachers, and culture that what she did was right.

That was the moment where I lost all control. How could Hinata, who never goes anywhere without a smile, be reduced to this scared and angry state? How could the incompetents running that school allow any of this to happen? The girls who stole her shoes could work their whole lives and still fail to pay for the hurt they caused her. I was furious – but Rei, despite all the bullying he’s endured, had a different reaction. His promise to Hinata, to stay with her and to spend the rest of his life paying her back for her kindness, closely resembled a marriage proposal, and his commitment felt just as strong. He even got down on one knee before making his big declaration, which I’m sure was a conscious decision on Umino-sensei’s part. When Rei described the feeling of being saved by Hina’s courage, it struck me that both of these characters are uniquely positioned to help the other. Hinata’s good nature allows her to extend warmth to people who dwell in dark places, and Rei’s familiarity with that darkness enables him to lead others out of it. This episode, more than any other, has convinced me of their suitedness for one another, and of my love for this series. May it continue for years to come.

Some other thoughts about these episodes:

  • Though Rei’s initial reaction by the river is one of dedication and compassion, he later thinks to himself that he wants to rip Hina’s tormentors limb from limb. Episode 26 even closes with him wracking his brain for a way to improve her situation, so we haven’t reached the end of this story yet.
  • The symbolism behind the ladybug in “Ladybug Bush (Part 3)” was a stumper for me, perhaps because of the language barrier. I did a little Googling, and it turns out that aside from the general superstition of ladybugs bringing good luck, they can also represent impending happiness, or the idea that one’s troubles have come to an end. Hinata would welcome either possibility, I’m sure.
  • Someji’s commendation of his granddaughter’s courage warmed my heart (and what a fantastic lesson for little Momo), but even more moving were the contents of the dinner that Akari prepared for her little sister: deep-fried chicken, potato salad, and cream stew, all of Hinata’s favorite foods. The fictional moments that touch me most are always the ones where people are good to each other.
Posted on 30 October 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Ask the average 3-gatsu fan who embodies the heart and soul of the show, and they’re likely to say Momo, the precocious preschool-aged sister in the Kawamoto trio. Another popular pick would be Hinata, whose sensitivity and unflagging support for Rei make her an invaluable member of the cast. Yet despite their big fanbase and importance in balancing the series’ tone, we hardly got a glimpse of them in the last episode, and they were nowhere to be found in this one. Though I haven’t read the manga, I’ve heard that Hinata will be the focus of a big arc in the near future, so I guess Umino-sensei is saving the ever-popular sisters for that moment. In the meantime, we got to reconnect with plenty of familiar faces in this episode, including Nikaidou, Smith, Gotou, and Kyouko. How nice to be reunited with friends!

I talked a lot last week about Yanagihara, who became one of the show’s most captivating characters practically overnight, and he cemented that feeling for me in “Chaos.” The man really commands a room, shutting down Rei and Nikaidou’s antics and forcing others to accommodate his need for space as the Meijin title match continues. Many other pros tolerate the eccentricities of their fellow shogi players, but Yanagihara puts the game above all else – including people, one suspects. Not even Gotou, whose imposing frame and viper’s tongue cause people to tread carefully around him, can phase the old master as he studies the Souya/Kumakura match. Still, there’s a chill in the air during their scene together, with mournful strings blaring in the background as they size each other up. Based on Rei’s dislike for Gotou (who is sleeping with his adopted sister), one might assume this tragic background track is meant to foreshadow a conflict between the prodigy and his most hated opponent. It seems to me, though, that Yanagihara and Gotou will be the ones sitting across the board from one another before too long. Their personalities and schools of thought are too different not to clash with shogi as a metaphor.

Contrary to my prediction about the Meijin match, Kumakura managed to take it to a seventh and final game. Given the way Souya checkmates him to protect his title, however, it’s safe to say there’s still a sizeable skill gap between the two. I was impressed by the way the show handled this scene: the match commentator and nearly every pro in the shogi hall couldn’t make sense of the move, but after thinking for a while, Kumakura gracefully admitted defeat, stunning nearly everyone. Apart from the two men engaged in combat, only Yanagihara realized it was mate in 17 moves, and only after playing it out did the truth become obvious to everyone else. 3-gatsu isn’t exactly a top-shelf psychological anime, but I’m always intrigued by the way it portrays its 9-dan players as existing on another plane of reality. Souya typically looks so fragile that a strong gust might blow him to pieces, but the wind in his world blows where he commands it. The show keeps giving us peeks into Shimada’s home, where the former challenger appears to be playing along with the current TV broadcast, never leaving his house or contacting anyone. If getting swept 4-0 can do this much damage to a man, how much anguish must Kumakura be experiencing, having tasted victory only to get blown back by Souya’s superhuman foresight?

Even with such a pivotal match taking place this early in the season, the highlight of this episode was what we learned about Gotou after he left the shogi hall. Rei’s biggest problem with the man isn’t just that he’s sleeping with Kyouko, but that he’s having an affair with her, and for anime-only fans, that fact has stained our perception of his character… until now. In a very tender hospital scene, the show reveals that his wife Misako is in a coma, and that the skincare products Kyouko bought for him were intended for her. Kyouko knows this, and asks if she ought to accompany him during his visit, but despite their continued intimacy, Gotou doesn’t want a lover’s comfort while visiting the woman he married. The show generates nothing for pity for these characters here, including Kyouko, whose feelings of loneliness and paternal abandonment drive her to show up at Gotou’s apartment later that night. She sweet-talks her way in, overriding his protests in a brief moment of levity, but the mood becomes sorrowful again as Kyouko observes his physical and emotional exhaustion. Forced to put her selfishness aside, she finds that she can’t get angry with him, which leaves her with only their shared pain to consider. This type of emotional gut punch is one of the things I love most about 3-gatsu, but deep down I’m waiting for the moment when Rei must contemplate his own pain and loss once again, since that’s what drew me to this show in the first place.

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

When 3-gatsu no Lion first aired in the fall of 2016, there was a heated controversy among manga fans about the appropriateness of Shaft’s adaptation. The show was undeniably faithful to its parent material in terms of story, but its abstract visuals and quirky mood shifts gave it a different flavor than its predecessor. Although Umino-sensei personally requested that Shaft handle the TV series, the decision was met with resistance by part of her fanbase, some of whom swore off the anime completely. Happily, I approached 3-gatsu last year with no prior expectations to weigh me down, and it became one of my favorite series in recent memory, and a virtual lock for my top 10 list in a couple months. Despite my love for the work, I opted not to read the manga during the offseason (a self-imposed restriction I’ll be sure to lift one day), so these blog posts will be written without knowledge of future events. I also want to say a quick thank you to Mario, who has graciously allowed me to continue where his coverage of the story left off six months ago. Cheers, mate!

After the previous season concluded on such a hopeful note, I was curious about which version of Rei we’d get in this opening episode: sadsack Rei or social Rei. Despite his clear growth leading up to this point, 3-gatsu hasn’t been afraid to isolate its main character as he struggles to break free of his anxiety and depression. The show opted to continue where its hopeful season finale left off, though, so we got to spend a delightful half hour with a friendly, optimistic Rei. Seeing him in a teaching role within the new Shogi Science Club was really satisfying – some of the best teachers are driven to give to others the type of care they never received, which I sensed from him in this opening scene. His style of instruction was gentle, but occasionally urgent, as if knowing just when Noguchi (the mustachioed senpai of the club) needed a push to continue with his frustrating shogi training. I really enjoyed the back-and-forth between these two, since Noguchi is much more mature than Rei, but maintains a willing attitude as a student for the benefit of his new friend. Their relationship isn’t just a one-way street, either, with the elder boy walking Rei through the process of creating homemade ramune candy, which he eagerly brought back to the Kawamoto household to share with the girls.

The lack of screen time given to Akari, Hinata, and Momo was a little disappointing, but the majority of this cast is interesting enough to have entire episodes structed around them. This one cut between the club’s viewing of the Meijin title match, the match itself, and the private musings of two legendary figures, who I’ll talk about in a bit. The current Meijin, Souya, is an unstoppable force in the shogi world, but it’s his opponent who dominated their scenes together. We only got a glimpse of Kumakura Kengo last season, but we received much more than that here, as he positively devoured the sweets that were brought to him during the match. The peculiar shots of delicate cakes being crushed, all set to a heavy electric guitar riff, were about as Shaft-y as you can get in a scene featuring two adult men eating. This was the one spot where the show’s visual presentation was distracting for me, but it was certainly a memorable way to convey Kumakura’s strength and intensity. Stern-faced and looming in stature, Kumakura appears to present a difficult obstacle for the Meijin, but given Souya’s place as 3-gatsu’s “final boss,” I doubt he’ll struggle too long before putting away his challenger.

The first of the two legends I mentioned earlier is Jinguuji Takanori, the chairman of the Japan Shogi Association. We’re already familiar with the fun-loving, responsibility-shirking chairman from his multiple appearances in the previous season, but his character took on a different dimension in his conversations here. The man sitting across from him was Yanagihara Sakutarou, whose name I only found by Googling, since it wasn’t mentioned in the episode. I really appreciated that 3-gatsu went for naturalism during his first appearance, rather than putting a title card on screen to inform us of his name, date of birth, JSA rank, blood type, and favorite foods. From the dialogue between these two men, we learn that Yanagihara is set to face Souya in a future tournament, where even the reigning shogi champ will occupy the role of challenger. Yanagihara is nearing 60, but his wry sense of humor is very much intact; though he confesses to fearing the Meijin, his tone verges on disrespectful as he describes Souya’s talent. The chairman even labels his playstyle as “mocking,” an accusation which his friend protests only half-heartedly. Based on their playful, layered conversation, I’m already looking forward to the moment when Yanagihara steps into the ring to face his destined opponent.

Posted on 20 March 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

We get to an end of 3-gatsu run but it feels more like a new beginning. Like what I feared last week the last episode doesn’t really have a conclusive ending, instead offers us the new semester of Rei and his childhood and his shogi, which in all fairness are the weaker parts of 3-gatsu. In part I understand it’s tricky to make a conclusive ending point when you’re in the middle of the story, especially for a slice-of-life drama like this one, and the series does attempt to bring some out of order material to shows us how Rei has maturing up to that point. Fortunate for us, they greenlighted the second season which will air in this Fall season (I will be there blogging) so I’m not that dread over this “ending”; but they totally could turn last-week episode into the final episode and I’d be completely content with it. Okay, I’m done rambling now so let see what this episode has offered us.

Rei starts a new semester and again he finds himself unable to make new friends. Hayashida-sensei (becoming my favorite teacher that is) suggests him to form a shogi club, so that Rei can make new friends and he can still be Rei’s adviser. In all honesty, I would love to see his shogi club instead of the “shogi science club” and I find that students have zero interest in the old game kind of stretching it a bit (I’d join myself, especially if I know a professional player is the club president). But the merging of the club make sense narratively: if you want result, you need to take action. Rei still wants to go back to study because he wants the feeling of not running away, and lately he actually enjoys himself a bit more so I’m sure joining with those guys will be a great experience for him. Also, Noguchi’s moustache is great.

While this first half is generally light-hearted, the second half delves into Rei’s personal problems from way back: the feeling of a lone wolf that doesn’t feel belong to anywhere and scare that the sit next to him will forever be empty. That little trip in his childhood underlines his loneliness. He hides himself from everyone and eating bento all alone, looking at the ants and reading shogi all by himself. There’s also a sad feeling concerning his childhood, so he devotes himself to shogi. With him, shogi is not only the place to belong, but also the place that offers him his companions, offers him the seat where he knows for sure would be taken by his opponents. Then we have a metaphor of he’s riding a train of shogi, with all the shogi players tagging along into the great shiny shogi paradise. But here lies an interesting bit, the show has constantly showed us that the path of shogi is a path that people keeps wandering ahead in the wasteland-like, lonely and suffered; here we have the totally opposite visual metaphor. I guess it just depends on perspective, on how you choose to look at it huh?

In the end, I still have plenty of good time with this episode but it isn’t among its great ones, let alone be worthy enough to be a final episode of this season. I mean, there’s no three sisters, no Kyouko, even no shogi match this week. Normally I would give the show a proper full review, but since it’s confirmed that we will have a second season, plus the fact that I believe with this kind of story we’re better reviewing it as a complete story, I will hold off my full review for now. Overall, I still believe Shaft did a great job of adapting it, and while the shows still have some tonal issues and problems of adapting too faithfully to the source material, the show really shines whenever it digs deep to the characters and fleshes out their relationships. Rarely a show can write characters that deep and heartfelt so I feel overall pleased that we have the next season to look for. Until then.

Posted on 13 March 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

I have a serious recall on the first episode while watching this episode. Like that premiere, this episode is divided sharply into two half, one focuses on Rei with his shogi life, the other pays attention to three sisters and Rei; and also like that premiere, each half is compelling on its own and brings out the feels that make the whole episode so rewarding. I could go so far to say that this episode IS the warmest episode of 3-gatsu we have encountered yet, to the point that this episode’s warm-heartedness might be the best way to end this season (but then again, we still have 1 more episode). Almost every character has a happy, joyful times. Well, they pretty much deserve to have a rose-color moments once in awhile, especially after weeks after weeks of depressions from Rei and then Shimada.

Coming back to Shimada’s hometown for a shogi festival, which many fun events like Human Shogi or 100 Move events, Shimada can’t help but feeling that he let people in his town down. He expects the old folks would cheer him up, tell him it’s alright despite him losing straight matches, and that make him feel even more guilty. What he doesn’t expect is that the old people in the town don’t even really mind about that title match. They love him and support him in different ways, not by the mere win – loss that Shimada always pushes himself to. The last part when the old men tell him to not rush forward make him realize that he has been pushing himself a little too much. The support from his hometown is always meant to give him strength, not as a pressure that he needs to achieve. It’s great if he can succeed on the road he choose, but either way they will always love him all the same, because simply he means much more to them than the shogi master title. And it’s so warming to hear the extend he goes to provide his old folks a community that they can share time together, playing shogi, eating food and getting daily necessities back home.

Seeing Shimada have a moment of relaxation and smiling with his folks are rewarding on its own, but Rei again is pretty in sync with the place as well. “I felt connected to it”, this might be one of those rare times that Rei really feels like he belong to somewhere, and it’s great to see him passionately talk about Shimada in front of the reporter. Although threatened by the “unexpected” rain, the Shogi festival turns out to be a lot of fun. Harunobu fits this festival so well and you can really see the pride of all people emerge themselves to this events. Every Human Shogi player has their face high up, every person in the 100 Move event waits excitingly, yet patiently to play with the professionals. This might be strictly my own preference but this kind of events I prefer much better than the professional shogi tournaments. This is the kind of events where fun is FUNdamental, where everyone just need to enjoy themselves to the fullest and worry about nothing else.

And I’m glad the Kawamoto sisters are back. I missed them so much to the point that I wouldn’t really mind if the entire second half just focus on them and their own little cute problems, be it their struggle over the new sweet creation, or their bigger struggle of staying away from sweet cake; but then it ties with Rei in the end so well that it brings the most heartfelt moments in this already-solid episode. In this episode, they recalled the sisters’ mom again with such achingly fond memory, and that tender moment really tugs my heartstring. The comedy in the second half mostly works well, Momo again steals the scene and Hina still shines with her directness persona, and I swear if they selling that Puffy Daruma I will be the first in line to try it. In the end, I get out of this episode feeling wholly satisfied and warm, something that I never expect the show could achieve so flawlessly. Now if only the last episode could give me that satisfaction. And a conclusive ending point (with the next chapter named “The New Semester” though, I do have my worry).

Posted on 6 March 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

With this episode we come to an end of Shimada’s title challenge matches against Souya, and somewhat close his arc down. Shimada time has been very effective and touching time and he proves to be a very worthy addition to the cast. In this episode we get to see his dream: the dream sequence depicted the life Shimada could have been had he given up on shogi. In that dream, he lives a normal, happy life in his village with all the smiling and warmness from his hometown people. While this sequence sure is bittersweet, I can’t help but feel it was a tad heavy-handed. Now, “heavy-handed” is a term that I don’t normally use for 3-gatsu, even I don’t mind those sequences about Rei’s depression, as it lays bare the emotions Rei has been struggling to live his life. But the reason I find this dream a bit forceful is because when you make a career out of something, anything really the feeling of burden and “just stay on your feet and keep walking slowly ahead” are bound to happen. Not just shogi. Here the show tried to paint us that it was the life he sacrificed for his shogi professional path. Well, it’s not like his girlfriend left him because he chose shogi for one thing; moving to the big city to make ends meet and trying to survive is the very struggle of majority of people out there, and shogi career isn’t that bad. It could’ve been much worse. My point is that his dream feels like a wishful dream, and maybe that is the show’s point. Just like any sweet dream, it’s just too bright and too perfect to be real. In this life though, the stomach pain he got represent the responsibility he been carry through from the people from his village. He has to carry that weight and that pain for the rest of his life; but like he acknowledges later on, he embraces that pain because the pain makes him feel alive.

The match between him and Souya ends up in another straight loss for Shimada. Boy, here I thought with all that build-up, the show would just make him win this match so that he could play in his hometown; guess I was underestimated the show’s writing. One interesting thing (and how true) I noticed is that doesn’t matter how Shimada tried his best to climb his way up slowly and steady; in public eyes, at least for now he will be remembered as “the challenger who loss straight matches”, “a loser whose skills ain’t that great to be in the title match”. It’s a shame though the way publicity works, sometimes you just see the ice tips on the surface and ignore the rest of the iceberg. And he comes this close to win that match without even realizing it. The same thing. “Almost winning” still doesn’t mean anything to others but maybe himself, Souya and Rei. All his efforts weren’t rewarded this time, but now he knows that he still has a potential to actually beat the master.

Rei, on the other hand, has become really active lately and I believe he has matured a lot in this trip. It’s great to see him actively feel concern for someone he cares, and moreover express his feeling towards Shimada in the final moments of the match, something that the timid Rei in the beginning of the series wouldn’t dare to do. Witnessing Shimada struggling through matches, his will to play, and finally that “last move” have given him a lot of valuable lessons as well. After he sees the weathered Shimada sleeping soundly on the train back home, he learns that what lies on the other side of the storm is just more furious and non-stop storms. Pretty deep stuff here. At the same time, it reaffirms that our Rei is, in fact, special (surprise surprise! He’s our protagonist after all) to find the final move that only Souya could see afterwards. Kidding aside, it draws the parallel between Souya and Rei, as in term of shogi, they pretty have the same style and the same instinct. The real difference is that while Souya is always portrayed as a perfect inhuman being (time stop around him, snow falls, he doesn’t age), it comes with a price too: he’s so far removed from the rest of the world. With Rei thought, he’s human, he’s imperfect and although he feels lonely at times he has others who actually care for him. They’re not the same in the least. With only 2 episodes left (meaning 4 more chapters), all I can really hope is for 3-gatsu to have a proper ending point. But I really doubt that, since like in real life; we, and life itself, just keep moving on.

Posted on 27 February 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

This week we have an episode that dedicated to Shimada the 8th Dan and overall it was a satisfying episode. Looking back to his first introduction, I’m even more amazed how the show pulled his character off by purposely made him insignificant when we first met him both by his plain appearance and by Rei’s occupied thoughts on Gotou; until he demanded Rei’s and our full attention. He might be plain and always seems to be lurking in the background (and the show keep pointing that out as well), but as this episode proves magnificently, even ordinary everyday man has his own personal compelling tales to tell, just like real people we meet in our lives. Chica Umino is a masterclass when it comes to character writing and I’m in overall happy with what she accomplished to Shimada’s character here.

Starting off by Shimada’s flashback on his rural hometown and how he gotten into shougi, we followed his perspective on the struggle he had to stand on his own in the shogi world. We usually find this kind of flashback in other anime as well, the whole episode focused on certain character’s backstory to flesh out the character, but in this case I would argue this flashback is an example on how to use it right. Because in addition of giving more depth to Shimada, this flashback never at once feel out of place or even disrupt the flow of the story. Everything they showed in that flashback was just deepen what we already know about Shimada. That night bus keeps squeaking as it runs through the night perfectly sum up thematically his struggle towards just barely make it there to shogi, become “a small fish in a sea of sharks” and keeping the hope from the people in his town (man, how I love this writing). I had been in night buses before (and night planes that took forever) so I can relate to it all to well. Waking up and there’s a different, unfamiliar world awaiting you; but the moment when you’re alone in those buses waiting to get there was the loneliest time ever. His stomach pain also represents his pressure towards the kindness and hope of the people in his village; but those hopes (and that heartfelt banter) are something that keep him going, that make him try harder and harder in his shogi path.

I’m honestly quite surprised about Rei, as he takes a very good care of Shimada in this episode; because let me tell ya, taking care of a person is a freaking demanding job. He felt a bit responsible for Shimada’s current stomach pain so he decided to accompany him to Kyoto (that place! One of my favorite place that is). Rei has gotten more active roles lately and I’m glad that he starts to take care (AKA giving his support) to others because then people can rely back to him. It’s the right step in the right direction for our protagonist. It’s interesting to note that he’s actually shared the same thinking with Souya regarding shogi, because mostly they play the same all-rounder style and both relatively “genius” among his peers. Well, the Souya comparison will get more apparent as Rei’s getting better at his game I’m sure, but it’s still nice to see that Shimida acknowledged it sooner than anyone else. Also, we learn a bit more about Souya. He’s like an outcast, I don’t think he feels belong to this shogi world, but he keeps getting forward without looking back and apart from that he doesn’t care for anything else at all, just wandering around places with his mind in the sky. There’s really a thin line between a genius and a fool after all. Next week, we gonna see how the title match in Kyoto progress and I hope this time Shimada can break through so that he could play shogi in his hometown. You have my full support Shimada.

Posted on 20 February 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

We have a fairly typical 3-gatsu this week, in which its level of quality is what we come to expect now. Its awkward shift in tone and the lack of big thematic plot points are still prominent in this episode, but we also have many heart-warming little moments, occasional touch of visual greatness and the plot that focus balancedly on Rei in his professional shogi life, his social life and his personal life. The notion of hometown, in particular, plays a big theme in this episode. As Shimada talks about his hometown to Rei, there’s really nothing in his town, just farmland, yet he tries his best so he can play the title match in that town again. Doesn’t matter where you end up living, the place where you spend childhood will always give a special, nostalgic feeling to you. And where is the place that Rei consider his home anyways? His true life was taken away from him when he was too young; spending 10 years in a house with little to no happiness; and now living alone in an empty apartment? Is it the sisters’ house then, the house he was just accustomed himself to recently? That song “Hometown” in the end really brings the sad, quiet feeling and it was one hell of a way to end the episode. Nice craft, Shaft!

Although I would be more interested to see the title matches between Souya and Gotou instead, bringing Shimada to face Souya actually benefits the story better. Shimada is still at the level that isn’t out of Rei’s reach, so to see the man’s commitment to face off the top shogi player is a valuable experience for Rei. While I feel that they overplayed the part where Darth Vader and Yoda shogi fighting and the endlessly shogi rambling (still, steamed bun joke was very good), I like the way Rei feel unsettling about the situation in the workshop. He’s the allrounder type, so he tends to focus more on the overall situation than the specific puzzle, unlike those two. The water motif again is very on point this week, depicting Shimada’s spirit and his will through the influx of water that nearly swept Rei away. I’m glad that Rei has gotten really over his depression few episodes ago and now keeps trying to improve his game, both tactically and mentally.

It’s his time with Hayashida-sensei, however, gives the episode a lot of heart. Hayashida has become more and more important to Rei’s current life and he feels like one of a prominent character now, the way he makes his best effort to keep Rei engaging his school life socially. He is one of the best sensei Rei could’ve had (on a second thought, not really, since he actually encourages Rei to skip class and nearly cost the poor boy another year), not only helping him get along with his study life, but moreover gives him many valid advices and heartfelt comments. Rei always has a feeling that he’s currently in a standstill: he doesn’t get along well at school, barely make it pass the year, his ranking isn’t improving… but Hayashida pointed out correctly how he has been fighting all this time at an age that normally shouldn’t be bothered to try. While I’d would give the exact opposite advice if I were him- someone in Rei’s age needs to go get out more and explore the world- his sincere comment at least reaffirm Rei’s worth, his life isn’t empty as he think it is. He carries a big burden especially for someone his age and it’d be much better if he understands that his friends are more than happy to carry the load along with him.

And here comes more Hina and Momo moments. I was a bit afraid that having the sisters meet Kyouko would disrupt the balance of the tone of the series, but thank god it didn’t. The three sisters are always brimming with light and warmness, while Kyouko’s always surrounded by dark nights and cold detachments, so how can they mesh together on the same screen? After all, how often you see the sun and the moon together? And isn’t it those times when they are together a special occasions? This week, it’s nice to see Hina and Momo get into Rei’s apartment for the lamest excuse (yeah, like they need that bento box that urgency!), but Hina’s emotional directness always work for someone who always hide his feeling like Rei. Rei makes that moment even sadder when he admitted that Kyouko is his sister, but clearly they don’t share any siblings chemistry at all. It’s perfectly normal when siblings having a fight with each other once in awhile. It isn’t when they having a fight every single time. In fact, the only close-to-sibling-ly moments they shared together was when Kyouko teased Rei about the three sisters. Only Arika sees through this complex relationship and I hope we have a more touching moments the next time Rei encounter the three sisters. Now, allow me to end this post here so I can watch some Squirrely-sensei programme and go to that Mouseland for some adventure!!

Posted on 13 February 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Wow, this episode! This is one of the strongest 3-gatsu episode that we’ve encountered so far, both rich in effective little moments, strong characters interactions and smart visual executions. Speeding up to three chapters per episode might be this episode’s most successful trick, because 1) these 3 chapters are interconnected by the same narrative themes and 2) it allows strong moments to sink in faster, and much sharper and 3) the amount of solid characters moments is definitely much higher than normal 3-gatsu episode and this is one of the rare times in 3-gatsu experience that I do feel like I’ve been sink at the bottom of the sea with too much of a good things, for good reasons. The episode produces one of the most breathtaking visual that directly convey the mood and themes of the story. The water motif have been applied effectively throughout the series’ run, but here it adds another layer: both Rei and Kyouko are lost deep within the sea of life, suffocated by the pressure of everything around. The dim lights of her phone to create that light waves of sea is one of the show’s most sensitive visual-storytelling for me. Or the moment the rain just stop after Rei noticed Souya is equally impressive. Shaft carries this show with style, and this episode especially they brings out the best from its source, even the lighter scenes are brimming with finely-tuned touch.

Harunobu, as long last, has catched up with Rei, not only in their professional ranking sense, but also about their maturity. As Rei struggled with his forms and several depressions, Harunobu makes one steady step forward at a time, while fixedly aim at his goal ahead. Harunobu has gained a lot of strong material here and as of now I don’t mind to have his accompany at all. On the other spectrum, the sudden appearance of Souya gives the show the almost dreamlike quality. Souya here is portrayed as someone out of this world, the one who can stop the time, who is unchanged in his appearance after 10 odd years, an angel that so pure and powerful that it brings the force of destruction instead. When people compare him to demon, guess what really remind me of? The old shogi player Matsunaga commented about Rei himself as a “beautiful reaper”. Guess there’s not much difference between Souya and Rei then.

Kyouko also makes the most out of her screen time this week and this might be the first time we have a full picture of Kyouko and her relationship with Rei. In this episode, she’s in her usual spiteful mood at one time, become spirited and playful at other and then deeply vulnerable the next. Her bashing out on the sisters is heavy and malicious, yes, but it comes from her own pain and belief that Rei was the one wrecking her family. What she said isn’t entirely wrong though, As Rei found himself very much at home at the sisters’ house, but still hearing those intentions from a dark and mean perspective certainly is hard. Afterwards, after staying over Rei’s house though, Kyouko amps up her playfulness and really that light tone between them isn’t something we see very often, if at all. The comedy mostly works here and they give off a great chemistry with each other. Kyouko then breaks down, she’s unsure about how to deal with her life. At heart, both of them are pretty insecure individuals, sharing almost the same pain of trying to figure out the way through life. Their relationship, moreover, become much complex and Rei remarks so true in the end “we also haven’t been able to become siblings nor remain strangers”. This was a beautiful chapter.

But the greatest moments for me was when the sisters appearing while Rei and Kyouko having an arguments. At long last, the two forces of nature: the warm, light side from the sisters and the dark, destructive side from Kyouko finally collided and the result is a weird mixed of raw, dark feeling with surprisingly warm-hearted touch. Momo again steals her scene, Hina again is the voice of “follow your heart” sentiments and watching Hina fighting Kyouko might be the greatest pleasure ever (also: Momo calling her “witch”). Those contrasted forces produce such unique sparks that in my book this is one of the show’s brightest and most effective moments. 3-gatsu no Lion is going stronger than ever, and this solid episode comes totally expected because it draws from the current strengths the show has been well established throughout its run. The only downside with it is that now I won’t expect less from it. I know I have been spoiled with too much Kyouko’s and three sister’s moments but give me more doses of excellent characters writing please. Otherwise I would get really pissed-off, just like Hina-chan.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kenshin author was caught with images of child sex abuse. Things have turned into a fallout since the Weinstein case.
Lenlo
I like to keep deadlines. Adds some consistency to things. Appreciate it though
Anonymous1581244
@Lenlo: No need to apologize lol. I don't think anyone expects you to drop everything in order to blog. XD Just do what you can and keep up the great work. d=(^_^)=b
Lenlo
Sorry for the slow turnaround on Mahoutsukai this week. Moving into a new apartment and work is abit busy. Should be up tomorrow though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I dug the premise and though there could have been more dream sequences its prettily shot, especially within those sequences, I was surprised by the suicide attempt and didn’t see it coming and it succeeded in being uncomfortable.
Although I did find the film sometimes a bit sterile and overlylong
Kaiser-Eoghan
@@Mario: I'm torn on Body and soul, speaking as someone who has autism, I genuinely felt that the depiction of the female protagonist was solid and was backed by good acting, as autism is generally overly associated with male characters, seeing it through a female focus was a bonus.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its an odd season, with shows I had no expectations of being favourites and one I looked forward to being a disappointment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know we mentioned before on here but I honestly did wish that one episode, the 6th one WAS an additional backstory, it would have elevated the episode for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The original had a grittier artstyle that clashed less with the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think some of these episodic shows could benefit from two parters, this kino season especially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But its not a good sign when I forgot some episodes content of this new adaptation less than a week after their airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I don't say it lightly about the original having a strong degree of consistent quality, even the best episodic series often can't avoid being uneven but again I never felt the original ever fell into that trap .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its the consistency I miss in this version, I enjoyed all the episodes in the original, this being more of a mixed bag sticks out like a sore thumb.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to specify I did love the Murder country episode and the Liar country episode, the ship country episode was an episode of two halves, the latest episode was too slight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I think I'll play it safe with the new Kino and just wait till it ends and pick the most recommended stories.
Anonymous1580206
The ED of Silver Spoon Season 1 is also amazing.
SuperWooper
"Fighter" by Bump of Chicken is the best I've heard in the last few years (3-gatsu ED 1)
SuperWooper
"Ride on Shooting Star" by The Pillows is my favorite (FLCL)
Nie
Also Akatsuki no Yona ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nepa6vDr-gM
Nie
Seriously though, Freedom Opening is too underappreciated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbIy0zMukn4
Nie
if not just song then: Eden of the East, ERASED, both SSY EDs, FMA ED2, Welcome to NHK, Kekkai Sensen, Conan 40
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I skip the op/ed themes for everything, there are some I haven't even heard.
SuperMario
@anon1579752: personally don't care much about EDs, since I hit the close button as soon as the episode's over. But this one is easy, Flowers of Evil ED
Anonymous1579752
321...best anime EDs of all time...GO
Nielo
Oops nvm IGNORE MY COMMENT
Nielo
@KTravlos: Which part of Chielo? How many heads?
KTravlos
Finally a great Altair episode. For once the pacing was a boon rather than a bane, and I loved the idea of Chielo.
Nielo
I have the Vagabond volumes...still haven't touch it. I just don't feel like starting another manga I'll have to wait forever.
Lenlo
Vagabonds only issue, to me, is the lack of release. I love it, its beautiful, and my god I have waited years for it to update. Its like Berserk all overagain
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I could changed something about kujira no kora, it would be toning down that overthetop shounen-kid villain henchman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel as if I would read more of vagabond if the author ever finished it, the art however is beautiful.
KTravlos
A thing I really like about there stuff is that since they are set post-One Year War, most characters are veterans and they actually behave like veterans. Thus battles are more than just curbstomps etc. I really suggest their gundam stuff. Manga wise start with the Plot to Assassinate Gihren.
KTravlos
I have to say the ARK Performance gundam-verse is one of the favorite uses of the gundam concept . They really do a good job tying their stories together and with the original series.
Lenlo
If were talking manga as well, since I dont realy VNs/LNs, Vinland Saga, Vagabond, Berserk and Basara are all way up there for me
Anonymous1579124
I can probably disect pages on end of Kyousougiga. As for Sun Knight, it's translated from Taiwanese, so the chance of it getting an anime is a big fat zero. Not to mention that it is probably one of the hardest thing to translate into video format, movies or series, animated or not.
Anonymous1579124
@SuperMario Animation vs. Animator?
SuperMario
Kyousougiga was a creative and passionate anime. You can clearly see the love of the creators put into it. But of the year 2013 nothing can beat The Eccentric Family and Flowers of Evil for me
SuperMario
@Niello: I'm willing to give Sun Knight and Dorohedoro (or I should wait for the anime adaptation in few years?) a try but not anytime soon. My next of queue is Night is Short and re-watch of Now and Then. Sorry if I sound like a broken records but lately I haven't had that much time for myself.
SuperMario
..."Mario, what the heck is this??". so we stopped. My friends weren't trying to be rude so I didn't feel any offense, but the thought of watching a stick figure never cross their mind, hence the reaction. Anime fares much better in that regards since people still willing to watch it
SuperMario
(about people's hesitance towards animation medium): Tell me about it. Few years ago I had a Saturday movie night with my mates, one time I convinced them to watch a short animated film "Come one, it's one of the best thing I've seen this year" "It's only 15 minutes so you guys can watch them easily". So they agreed but as soon as the stick figure comes onscreen. My friend turned off...
Anonymous1578845
Lol just found out that there's a Sense8 (on Netflix) easter egg in "Just Because" ep 3 xD, made my day!!!!
Anonymous1578826
Forgot to say this, but anyone willing to give the Sun Knight novel a try, in some ways, it is quite similar to Houseki no Kuni. While it is mainly comedy....it also has a lot of suffering.
silver
@Niello/Anaon1578774?: I watched Kyousougiga maybe 6mos. ago, so I think I'll enjoy it more when I rewatch it sometime in a year or so. Seems most of my top picks cemented their place after a second viewing
Anonymous1578774
@Silver It speaks to me on a personal level no other fiction has comes close to matchin. so it has a very special place in my heart. It's also one of those that get better with each rewatch. I seem to have a penchant for liking what often get described by others as convoluted, this is one of them. I also adore Matsumoto's directing and all the symbolisms.
silver
@Kaiser: I neglected film in my youth as well.. and also in adulthood. A popular gag amongst my friends is that, "silver's never seen any movie ever." I hadn't seen star wars until a girl I dated in uni forced me to watch 4-6...
silver
Hah when I posted about liking works adapted from every medium I wondered if it was going to spark a 'top 10' discussion, but when I was trying to mentally rank them I remembered how hard it was...
@Niello: interesting that Kyousougiga is your all-time #1. I thought it was lovely but probably doesn't make the cut for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Novels are somewhat alien territory to me as I tend to watch adaptations be they film or otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I've watched thousands in the past few years because I neglected the medium in childhood.
Nielllo
Unless you mean animated only.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: I don't think I watched enough films at all, and that's made even worst when I forget most of them after a couple of years.
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I really recommend The Legend of the Sun Knight novel. Think it's something you'll probably enjoy quite a bit. It's quite cleverly written. You can read the official fan translation online.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A top ten film list for me is even harder, I can't even attempt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akumetsu> death note
FITE ME.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gunslinger girl gets such a strong mention from me because I feel that action stories often work better when you care about the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
<No Freesia adaptation
<No Eden adaptation
<No full production IG Alita film series
<why live =<
Nielllo
@SuperMario: There are some anime I'm not going to watch just because the manga is superior, period. Good examples are Monster and One Piece.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: Oh, I knew about Wolfram mangaka's apprenticeship already :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: First however, When mountains may depart, By Jia Zhangke, I am full romance mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planetes and Vinland saga have to go somewhere on a list. Oddly they share the same creator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Reminds me Dreams by Kim-ki-duk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I mentioned Dorohedoro's author was Nihei's apprentice, but heres another interesting one, the mangaka for Wolfram apprentice under BOTH Kento Miura and Kaoru Mori.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gladly. On Body and Soul is a weird mix of romance drama, character study and a weirdly magical bond between two people who share the same dream. That weirdness is what make the movie so memorable, although I do feel the ending stays out its welcome
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nihei, Umezu and Itou belong somewhere among my favourite mangaka.
SuperMario
I don't know why you'd mix manga/anime together, but my own top 10 is in my profile (click over my username), I've included anime/ movies together but if the list is purely anime shows I'd add Haibane Reimen as #9 and Humanity Has Declined as #10
Nielllo
Apart from Kyousougiga which is always no.1, and The Legend of the Sun Knight, Dorohedoro, Shinsekai Yori and Monster whose places are swappable, the rest I'm quite flexible with. Saint Seiya is in if it's a favorite list, and out among the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality list, with the exception of The Lost Canvas.
Nielllo
Hmmm, atm it's 1. Kyousougiga (a) 2. Monster (m) 3. Dorohedoro (m) 4. Shinsekai Yori (n) 5. Baccano! (a) 6. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai (m) 7. Saint Seiya (my guilty pleasure, I can't defend it in anyway) 8. Franken Fran (m) 9. The Legend of the Sun Knight (n)(1st tier comedy) 10. Haibane Renmei/Toradora!.Honorable mentions to Gamaran, Beck, GTO, Mushishi, Kaiba and Grave of the Fireflies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Damn....its a harder question to answer than it looks =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although Cruel God reigns in heaven would com close.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, nothing would dethrone Gunslinger girl for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even Utena but I feel it somewhat overated as I do Bebop despite enjoying both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of those on the top ten could easily be switched for honey and clover.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also love the works of Shimura Takkako, early takahashi and early Clamp.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Shiki would work its way onto a recent favourites list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite visual novels are Kara no shoujo, saya no uta and Sharin no kuni.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've a soft spot for ah my goddess, basara, 7 seeds , nanoha and Red river.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I was making more modern lists for recent favourites I'd probably add flipflappers somewhere or yuasas works.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh my top ten by mixing manga and anime into the same list? 1. Gunslinger (both) girl 2. Ghost in the shell (anime) 3. Earl cain saga (manga) 4. Angel Sanctuary (manga) 5. Texhnolyze (anime) 6. Lain (anime) 7. Perfect blue (anime) 8. Fruits basket (manga) 9. Monster 10. Kare kano.
Nielllo
I don't think anything will ever dethrone Kyousougiga for me though.
Nielllo
I still need to watch Tatami Galaxy and a bunch of other staple shows...
Lenlo
We could put out a site-author Top 10 list sometime maybe... Some of mine are Mushishi, Steins;Gate, Tatami Galaxy and Your Lie in April. Its got a spectrum of genre.
Nielllo
So what are people's top 10?
silver
Certainly on my top 10 list I have works adapted from VNs, manga, novels, LNs, and originals. I just think originals have a higher rate of efficient visual storytelling compared to adaptations
silver
@Kaiser: I like SEL and Haibane and texhnolyze is on my ever-growing list of things to watch. I also really like Gurren Lagen and Kill la Kill although they're both better if you've seen enough anime to know what they're parodying. My ex who loathed most anime because of the aforementioned over-exposition issue also introduced me to Dennou Coil which I really enjoyed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Body and soul just got released on a webdl , sell me on the film if you can =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Silver: Texhnolyze/Lain/Haibane are excellent examples.
silver
I think original anime offers a different experience than adaptations, particularly regarding 'show don't tell.' By necessity most anime source material is dialogue and exposition heavy and can't always utilize the medium efficiently. Of course, I've watched masterpieces adapted from every kind of source, so it's all good
Niello
I'd love to see this thing animated some day. Preferably with movie budget: http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Ex position/312
Niello
@Eoghan: Try searching in some Asian languages and you might have better luck.
silver
Most open-minded people I talk with don't have anything against animated entertainment. Shows like Bob's Burgers, Archer, and Bojack Horseman have carved a modern niche for 'adult' animation. Having a show about talking alcoholic horse would be pretty cheesy with live action.
Niello
Never mind, Mario said it. But I also don't agree that idol shows or incest shows are intrinsically bad. On top of idol being a trend in Japan first and anime pick it up because it's part of the culture.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason people see the worst side of things, is because that is what is made most on the surface and immediate,
Niello
@Amagi: Considering that all the ones you listed are originally manga, I think you should give manga more credit...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by finding I mean, hard to buy or torrent .
Kaiser-Eoghan
The infuriating thing is how poorly distributed some things are. I hate seeing Godammn blurays of shit hollywood films everywhere and I have to struggle to find some old/quality eastern film.
Amagi
I think it's the same problem as with endless shounen. Sometimes series get dragged on purpose to make more money.
Amagi
The tons of seasons is what scares me away sometimes
Kaiser-Eoghan
I keep thinking, why pad a 90 minute-9 1/2 hour story in a billion one hour per episode seasons.
Amagi
Yeah it's always like that, with cinema movies too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also hate ensemble/mosaic storytelling for the larger part, with some exceptions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this excuse won't work with people who love serialized live-action tv dramas but...I don't like most tv shows because of how padded they are and that they go on far too long and the acting is tv standard and not film standard.
Lenlo
I dont want TV that much, but my experience has been there are very few shows worth watching. Just like anime.
Lenlo
Well, in the argument that anime has alot of bad trends to, I would say so does regular television. How many TVs per year are as good/acclaimed in the "best" anime of each season are in the community?
Amagi
I think it's just sad that there are so many people (the big majority) that refuse to watch cartoons in general because they consider them as either childish or a worse version of "real" series. They'll always miss the good sides anime/manga have and therefore certain sub-genres as a whole.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Yeah you're right. I should have specified it to Japanese drawn media in general (VNs too). And yeah most anime/manga are rather trashy or blatantly bad. But the good series are often something live acting can't create and we'd miss without Japan. There are good cartoons too, though
SuperMario
... original ones: Cowboy Bebop, EVA, Flip Flappers, Kaiba, etc
SuperMario
@amagi: I almost agree with everything you said, but we might give anime too much credits. Remember it's a medium that responsible for many, many bad trends: idol shows, incest shows, tentacle hentai shows and so on so forth. The shows you listed here are come from manga as well, and they are strong manga materials to begin with. If I choose an example of what anime can achieve I'd point to some..
Amagi
This season is really good and it shows how lacking fiction would be without anime. Stuff like Shuumatsu, Houseki or even Mahoutsukai can only exist as anime. It's something live acting script writers would never come up with, not to mention that a lot would be lost without the respective drawing styles, be it the moe blobbs of Shuumatsu or the CGI hair, grass and camera movement of Houseki.
KTravlos
btw I really liked this Mahoutsukai no Yome episode. Finally we are getting somewhere
Amagi
@Kaiser: You're right, totally forgot that. Looking forward to this. Also I could have sworn I heard about a new project from Iso (Dennou Coil) last year but I guess I either confused him with someone else or with Children of Ether in which he's involved in some kind of way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That series was going to be devilman crybaby .
Amagi
Wasn't Yuasa also doing a series of some sort this year? Haven't watched the movies yet but I loved most of his stuff so far, with Kaiba being my favorite.
Anonymous1575628
Wow, Houseki did not disappoint for me this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed it for what it was. But I'd say even if you didn't read the subs you probably wouldn't have much trouble following it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually had a look and lu over the wall, coincidentally , there are moments of where Yuasa's imagination/visuals shine through and its a genuinely charming film at times, but it does almost outstay its welcome and there's a sense Yuasa was somewhat restrained this time round, it IS a kids movie and that kind of does need to be taken into account, its not AS mad as mind game or kemonozume.
Amagi
Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta is subbed, but no idea if the subs are good
Kaiser-Eoghan
And its quite natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Florida project succeeds through its free flowing nature/narrative and manages to be hilarious all the while managing to never allow you forget its also a kitchen sink drama, the best performances come from William Dafoe and the girl. At the end it gut punches the audience emotionally.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: also expecting Florida Project, 3 Billboards, and The Shape of Water in my end
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, Kino was a bit too slight this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just Lu, disaster artist and happy end left now for the year. Maybe the new Godzilla.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I felt that Sion Soni's Noriko's dinner table did the irl acting thing better.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm going to watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Consider I regarded The Lobster as one of the best film of that year and Dogtooth and Alps impressed me a lot; I have high hope for this one
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mooooommm, I want my Lu over the wal subs and I want them now OMO!
Niello
...Can't torrent where I am, grrrr.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm quite fond of Go Nagai's devilman, so I'll be interested in seeing Yuasa's adaptation of it whenever it comes out.
SuperMario
@Kasier: ha! thanks Kaiser. Finally it's out... gonna download it now
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Here is a link to Night is short walk on girl English subbed: https://nyaa.si/view/979508
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: OR JUST MONIKA Amirite =P
SuperMario
in all seriousness though, I hope they can use one week break to smooth out their production.
SuperMario
so Just Because's taking a break this week. The reason: just because
Lenlo
Mhmhmm Inuyashiki was great this week. I just love this show.
Amagi
The hell- no didn't know that. I really wouldn't have expected tribute songs to this series
Niello
@Amagi: Did you know this exists? And it's by Igorrr no less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhQQ57N-9ys&list=PL9ku-W0xIzd4EYUL9bUG2CZXBIy7cCiSk
Niello
And yes, I'm just waiting and waiting for the day the anime get announced. No doubt it'll becomes a classic.
Niello
@Eoghan, I don't think it becomes a mess though, the story threads all come together amazingly well.
KTravlos
I too recommend at least watching 2nd episode of Tanya before passing judgement.

Looking forward to the Urasawa manga as well!
SuperWooper
@Anonymous: Thanks! Reading blog posts used to be my go-to distraction when I took breaks at work. Now I have to take breaks from writing them. It's a grind at times, but Star Crossed ought to be alive for a while yet.
Amagi
Adaptions for series like these only work when they're passion projects. If they're not they end up like the Dies Irae anime.
Amagi
It's another one of those series I really wish to see as an anime with music, movement and so on. But same as with Made in Abyss, it needs a cometent director and one that is in love with the work or else it will be a letdown
Amagi
@Niello: Yes and I fucking love it. The gritty style, the setting, the characters and designs and so on. @Kaiser didn't know she was under Nihei that's cool. I love these sketchy styles
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: yes and more people I believe should so, despite that its kind of become a mess, I take the thing as one big black comedy. The woman who drew it interestingly enough apprenticed under Tsutomu Nihei.
Niello
Anyone here read Dorohedoro?
Anonymous1566521
Just passing by to say like the place, it's kinda perfect to read for whenever I take a break. And most importantly I haven't read anything stupid. Hopefully it won't die anytime soon:0
Vonter
Masky - Overlord has an OP isekai, yet I find that series compelling do to the world building, and how even with power and influence, the MC plays like a chessmaster and not brute force his way into doing something.
AidanAK47
@Masky, I wouldn't write off Tanya so fast. Make it to episode 2 at least.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel I need to actually properly get into Godzilla for some frame of reference before the anime film, I've only seen the new one and the original.
Amagi
Or the Hiroshima movie
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Featured Posts

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 07[Historic Country]

Let me start this post by saying that this is indeed a fun episode of Kino. Once again the mantle of protagonist is taken from the duo and instead it’s Kino’s Master who leads this episode. Though the story is told by Kino as she approaches the country that is in the story. It is […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 07 [Labyrinth – Cooking]

After one of the most plot-heavy episode last week, Girls’ Last Tour goes back to its minimalist root this time, with only the girls and two interior settings. This could be Girls’ Last Tour’s simplest episode, with the plot can be summed up as those girls go to the ration production facility, at first slightly […]

Inuyashiki – 6 [People of 2chan]

This week Inuyashiki fulfills last weeks predictions in a rather unexpected way. Strap in for some suicide, mass murder and the tail-spin of everyone’s favorite sociopath. Lets jump in! Rather than being a parallel between our two heroes like usual, this episode is focused almost entirely on Hiro. To me, this episode hits loosely on […]

Juuni Taisen – 07 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 1)]

For a character who officially dead before Juuni Taisen started (and thus, render him “useless” to win the tournament), Snake is surprisingly one of the most fearsome warrior of the race so far. He assisted Rabbit to kill Boar in the first episode, he cornered Rat to every holes Rat could hide, he KILLED Horse, […]

Dies Irae – 04/05[Spider/Reunion]

Forgive my tardiness in not covering Dies Irae last week. I had a few things going on and a serious lack of motivation. I am certain all two of you(Might be an overexpression of the number) that read these Dies Irae reviews were deeply disappointed. We have two episodes this week, one which was rather […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 27 [Feelings/Confession]

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 […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 19[Dawn of the end]

We near the finale and Apocrypha gears up to bring things to a close, even if that setup is essentially mentioning that the battle is coming to an end over and over again. it’s more than a little strange to see this episode start up and it is though the entire three episode arc of […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 06[In the clouds]

I would say there were plenty new watchers fooled into thinking this was Kino’s origin story and I admit to having the thought that the remake may be creating a new origin for her. But alas this is an episode focused on someone else entirely. Still I consider it a strong episode even if it […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 6 [The Faerie Queene]

Welcome to what is, in my opinion so far, the most beautiful episode of Mahoutsukai. Stunning art, world-building and character progression await you inside. Lets jump in. The best part of Mahoutsukai this week to me was easily the art/music and the world-building. I bring these up first because they were easily the most standout […]

Latest Reviews

The Reflection Review – 45/100

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is […]

Made in Abyss Review – 91/100

There are few series which can capture the mystery and wonder of a fantasy world as well as Made in Abyss. Their world is dangerous, brutal and unforgiving but beautiful, wondrous and exciting in it’s presentation. The story is of a ordinary girl called Riko and a mysterious cyborg boy called Regu traveling down the […]

Classroom of the Elite (Summer 2017) Review – 54/100

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for […]

18if (Summer 2017) Review – 68/100

Allow me to skip over the last episode coverage for this full review of 18if, since I was too underwhelmed by the finale to have anything concrete except pointing out how messy the ending was. The first thing you need to know about 18if is that it’s a multimedia project (along with a mobile game […]

Princess Principal (Summer 2017) Review – 82/100

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul Review 80/100

“Dance!” I have been a  reader of this blog for a long time. Indeed it would not be wrong to say that psgels and the current crop of writers have helped maintain my interest in anime for the last decade. So now here is my chance to give something back to this excellent blog. Shingeki […]

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Review – 63/100

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

Kakegurui Review – 61/100

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members […]

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There was never going to be a epic fight with every creation squaring off against the overpowered and invincible Altair. That possibility died when the creators threw the copycat of Blank at her only to have that plan backfire horribly. Besides, it wouldn’t have been a satisfying conclusion to Altair’s story to have her be […]