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.

Posted on 8 February 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

3-gatsu had another solid episode this week, which for now was exactly what you would expect from this show. Rei’s getting more social life, and this episode demonstrates the importance of the tutors’ roles, as both Hayashida-sensei and Shimada continues to guide him to improve himself, both in his personal life as well as his professional shogi life. But “solid” and “expected” also means that I don’t really have a lot to delve into, so instead of doing an usual format, I will try something different this time, running the episode down by key moments and giving you my thoughts on those. Notes that this is just one-off, mostly for the sake of trying something different.  

If you really think about it, this “arson club” is the kind of club that Rei would never be a part of. They are as different from Rei as chalk and chesse. The club is noisy, active and silly, Rei isn’t. They try to make soap to attract girls, the kind of thing that Rei would never dare to try. Yet, they’re getting along well, because the club is determined to help Rei out. This section gets as silly and light-heart that it could get, but this is the light-heartedness that I wanted to see. Like Hiyashida-sensei, just watching Rei enjoying himself with other people is rewarding enough.

But here, we have one of the most satisfied life lesson that one could learn from his sensei for a long while. Heck, this life lesson still resonates well even to me, more than 10 years older than Rei right now. You need to rely on others sometimes in things that otherwise difficult when you do it alone, because then people can rely back to you. Rei is the kind of person who doesn’t want to trouble his friends for his personal problems, which is fair enough, but by doing that he creates a border that others can’t cross, and in turns they keep their distance with him. I haven’t really talked about him in details before but Hiyashida-sensei proves to be one of the most reliable tutor Rei could’ve had for guiding him to be more open in his social life. Rei needs more friends, that’s a given, and seeing him slowly realize the significance of opening up to someone else is really satisfying.

(more…)

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Where you hear that stuff about the translator cause that is news to me. Being skepical about Sekai is fairly understandbale thpugh. I mean hell recently that PSVR VN they are shilling on kickstarter was about to fail but mysteriously got 23 backers put in large amounts which booted up the thing to the goal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish I could enjoy some of the generic ones but I probably wouldn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
When I was about 14 I found out what a visual novel, well, more date sim was due to an episode of Excel saga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: You mean World End Economia. It's a three part VN. Haven't read it yet though.
Amagi
@Aidan: The stuff I read about the translator for this and Sekai in general doesn't sound too good. Guy was kicked from Mangagamer ages ago for lying and bad translations and the project is still at 50% after years. Meanwhile they licence 30 new VNs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The spice and wolf author wrote a visual novel I think. I also remember there was a visual novel, a scifi one set on a space station.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, We will eventually provided Sekai doesn't go under.
But yeah I wouldn't expect any time soon.
Amagi
Man we will never get that English Baldr release.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, that scene is one that you really need to see though the eyes of the protagonist. It is doubtful an anime could capture that moment. It was one moment you truly resonated with the protagonist.
AidanAK47
@Sash, Any VN you can find on Steam is All Ages(Meaning that sex scenes are cut out. Not that it's not graphic as All Ages Vans are certainly not for all ages.) I would recommend Sharin no Junior. There is sex scenes in it but you should only encounter one playing through the main route. The House in fata Morgana is also a good one.
Amagi
They'll never manage to make THAT scene as shocking as in the VN.
Amagi
The VN is great. It's linear story telling but one of those VNs I doubt anybody can adapt properly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want a muv-luv anime that isn't a spinoff.
Because I'm too lazy to read the VN.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always get those funny looks when I say Saya is my favourite VN.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must ashamedly say that I did read Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o, if only just to read a VN that was all about the ecchi/H.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've also played phenomeno.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Been meaning to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've played sharin, maou, saya, cartharga, fate/stay night, swan song, planeterium, narrcissu, Eden, both kara no shoujo games, some of fata morganna, some of comyu.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know forest either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like one thing I read by the ever 17 author, it kept annoying me to get any worthwhile end out of it. Even though I liked the premise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: I enjoy the stories VNs offer, Aidn recommended me a share, but while I've liked them, the format I needed to get used to and yes the time commitment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not key, but Phenomono or narrcisu seems safer a bet, unless you hate horror then avoid phenemono.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like any of the Jun Maeda Key melodrama anymore, but there are all ages versions of their visual novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Aidan still needs to read kara no shoujo 2 . I don't know what Ignarock or sharnoth is . What is the name of the post(or was it pre) apocaypse shoujo-ai visual novel?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I played saya first because of story, atmosphere, short length.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually based on his reactions, recommend him the freeware stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: I was also going to say I was worried about recommending any visual novel then. I said kira kira, sharin and g senjou because they seemed safer, but there is H scenes in them, but not tonnes.
Amagi
@Sash https://vndb.org might be useful. You can search with tags there, including technical aspects like "voiced", "moving mouths" and stuff like that.
Sash
Or rather, none hentai
Sash
I also tend to be open to most genres, but please keep it PG...
Amagi
lone = long
Amagi
Thinking back I am pretty sure Saya no Uta actually was my first VN. It was popular back then and rather short so it was kind of a good entry level VN (for me), same as with narcissu and Planetarian which I read right after that. Think my first lone VN was either Ever17 or Sharin no Kuni.
Sash
@AidanAK47: Yes, it such a huge time commitment! That's the sole reason I don't share your sentiment. As for what my taste is... I don't know since that was my first ever Visual Novel. For now I would like ones with voice actors in it.
Amagi
I should really read more stuff I haven't read any VN the last year for some reason.
Amagi
Speaking of VNs I wish one of this utsukushii series would get an anime adaption someday. Maybe Sharnoth or Inganock. I loved Forest as well which had a similar style and other stuff with Meteor involved (of courise including the Fate series).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Allow me to re-phrase in layman's English: "If he could handle something as explicit or dark as saya no uta we could suggest it if he thought he was up for it, he could read it at some point if he thought he could handle it, sash, do you think you can handle something messed up like that, if not, perhaps you should play sharin no kuni instead"
Kaiser-Eoghan
It isn't even annoyingly edgy to me. Just why even bother watching/reading it at all was my reaction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've seen bits of the ovas for euphoria, I stress bits of them. Not something I'd dwell on or bother to watch more fully, it went too far to where it just produced a numbing effect where I just don't react to it, to where it neither becomes shocking or laughable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I mentioned tolerance level was because I wanted him to respond to confirm if he cold handle those darker games because hell if I know what he's able for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also kirakira is another safe recommendation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I stated sharin and maou were safer recommendations.
AidanAK47
Jesus Kaiser, why not chuck Subihibi and Euphoria on top of that if you are so determined to traumatise him. None of those should be first time recommendations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ideally we could recommend him saya no uta, kara no shoujo or Swan song, but we don't know his tolerance level. Based on that Sharin no kuni and G senjou maou might be the safest recommendations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm wondering if he played a version without the H-scenes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Aiyoku no Eustia and Comyu adaptation and full translation WHEN.
AidanAK47
@Sash, That's good to hear. Also fair play on playing it as it is a pretty huge time commitment. If you haven't I would recommend checking out other visual novels as you might find something that would be more for you. I can even throw out some recs if you are interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*allows us
I will probably watch shojo kageki dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen behind on shoujo kageki and sirius.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....was lovingly semi-oneric.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That kids backstory is so depressing in happy sugar life. Nail pulling scene messed me up. I also watched the new satsuriku no tenshi episode, this is definately going at a quicker place, they skipped a whole character and by doing so, also a flashback involving Cathy. Though I'm not too bothered by it as it also us to get to the big bad quicker and focus on Zack/Rachel. First bit of this episode
Anonymous2592902
This is Sash by the way, name keeps changing back to anonymous
Anonymous2592902
@Kaiser-Eoghan: yes... I meant that...
SuperMario
Talking about being born in a digital age huh?
Lenlo
@Kaiser, for my old roommate maybe. I dont think ive ever bought a magazine in my life
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: Do you mean visual novel?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Admit it Lenlo, you would buy that magzine with Ash and Eiji on it.
Sash
@AidanAK47: i have recently read the light novel of Fate Stay Night and, though I don't share your sentiment, I do see why you love it so much
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sword art is one of those things that everywhere you look you'll see it hated, yet in rolls in the money.
Lenlo
Well, its hated by certain parts of the community. Usually western parts.
AidanAK47
@Mitsuko, yep we are well aware. But as an FYI, SAO is hated heavily in the anime community. So another season isn't exactly a cause for celebration but rather a dejected sigh.
Lenlo
Banana Fish, back on track. Also, this ED is my favorite of the season.
Mitsuko
@Lenlo i agree that was one of the best i cried in that part
Lenlo
Oh I know it is. Doesnt mean I have to acknowledge it. Mothers Rosario was the only SAO arc I actually liked, and Kirito had almost no involvement in it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mitsuko: Its gone on for too long.
Mitsuko
i dont know if anyone said this already or that you know but sword art online is coming out with a season 3 in october right
Adimar
i miss Shino god i hope there is another season were she gets out of her coma and haseo and Shino get together if that happens then god it will be amazing
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't think I brought this up, but I've only seen one season of Bleach, random episodes of DBZ, few episodes of Naruto and two volumes of one piece, most I got was 32 episodes of hunter x hunter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another example is I can't get into most shounen because it isn't seinen. Too often I can't separate shounen jump stuff from each other in my head even if I know they are different.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose I do experience exceptions , I could probably find one dark moe show that'd work for me like Happy sugar life, but in general I utterly despise mixing moe cute girl antics with horror.
@Anon: Its because often the time travel/reset thing is used in those stories as an extra lives/chances cheat.
Lenlo
I can agree that, largely, avoiding a genre or style you dont like is fine. It just means you will miss the occasional exception. Because there is always an exception that fits the mold, but is good enough you enjoy it anyways.

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

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

....WITH each other
Masky
I'm watching Planet With!
Amagi
We all know the cliffhanger fight between Takashi and * +revelation of you know what wouldn't have happend before episode 10 in any other anime. This show manages the time perfectly and it doesn't feel rushed.
Amagi
It's exactly how I want a show: you are allowed to use tropes and generic settings but be creative, switch the roles, turn stereotypes upside down and make every episode unique and non-repetitive. It's what this show is doing and it's doing this perfectly.
Amagi
@Aidan: I love it too. I am pretty surprised how few people are watching this considering that it is still shounen'ish and how hyped Bisquithammer is.
Amagi
Ehhh-? Now got summer Marie with 3 quartz in FGO and Martha with 12 a few days ago Aidan was right about the second summer rate up banner.
AidanAK47
Such a shame that nobody seems to be watching Planet With.
AidanAK47
Damn, Planet with pretty much concluded and there is still six episodes left. This episode was damn satisfying and it seems the training wheels are off here..
Anonymous2563449
How do you expect men and women to act when they reach the end of economic growth
Anonymous2563449
The idol industry is just a reflection of the broken social contract/financial repression
K-Off
It'd be interesting if the documentary talks about the effect on men as well, that kind of obsession driven culture can't be healthy.
K-Off
Still remember that idol (was it akb48?) who filmed herself crying on film with a shaved head because she was caught with a boyfriend
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also planning on picking up A drifting life soon, biographical manga about the 60s gekiga manga period.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch some Japanese documentary tomorrow that goes into wide detail about how terrible their idol industry is and the effect it has on women.
Lenlo
The only thing I really liked out of Ahin was the villain. That dude was quite intimidating, running around shooting himself every time he got tranqed.
AidanAK47
And though I didn't mention it in the review it is rather annoying how the series shafted both Tamamo and Hakunon.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, It was a series that had good ideas, I give it that. But it was a mighty dull watch. Some better protagonist could have helped a bit at least.
K-Off
Speaking of which, I picked up an Astolfo plushie at anime expo and this alone is making me want to play FGO
K-Off
Yea Ajin flows really strangely and there's really no overarching story, plus nobody has much motivation to do anything. But that's also its appeal, for people interested in an insane antagonist who wants nothing but chaos
K-Off
Ah Fate Extra sounds disappointing, I STILL haven't watched any of the series and was hoping it'd be a good entry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ajin is one of those things I just ended up completely forgetting about, although for pretty much no reason.
K-Off
Also: Ajin is getting pretty freaking crazy with the recent chapters, I love how Sato is so Joker-like and he's actually succeeding at every thing he's doing
K-Off
The manga is fantastic, feels pretty quaint as comedy manga go nowadays. Also the chapters flow really well with its comedic timing, love the pacing
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually intending to move on to the manga sometime, as I was using the anime as an introduction/taster for it.
AidanAK47
Yeah I find Grand Blue just isn't working for me like the manga did. I feel like it needed better animation and a better director. I thought the Gintama director would do good but didn't take into account that with such a long running series he's likely accustomed to doing comedy within a small budget.
K-Off
Feels like manga with great comedic timing don't translate very well animated, or maybe it's because I've already read the same joke before the adaptation
K-Off
Woops forgot i wasn't logged in on mobile
Anonymous2559865
So far in the season pretty sad to see Grand Blue not living up to the manga
K-Off
(i also updated my email on my profile, if you need me for anything let me know there)
K-Off
Ahaha nah, its the real McCoy, last time we talked was about the backend server iirc
AidanAK47
...hmmm is this a fake Psgels situation I wonder.
K-Off
Ive been too hooked on Azur Lane lately
K-Off
Hello everyone, feels like its been a while!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Budget really shows in grand blue now, I wasn't really into the first half of this episode, but by the second half it got me laughing again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Including shots AT Mayuri =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yet, somehow I will find a way to someway forgive the show as hard as I can be on it I can never be 100% mad at the series.
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Satsuriku no Tenshi – 05-07[Don’t let me kill you just yet./Zack is the only one who can kill me./Who are you?]

These two episodes felt like Zacks time to get a little development as we get a bit of a look at his childhood. I will admit that this series has a particular problem with showing it’s villains as any villain shown so far has been quite one dimensional. Now I hear that later episodes will […]

Planet With – 07[Sirius]

With that conclusive finale last episode, many of us were left wondering just where things go from here. As it turns out, our main protagonist Souya thought the same. The answer as it turns out is that with the palidains taken down, the sealing faction has risen up to become the new antagonist of the […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 06 [Their Path of Triumph]

With this episode, it becomes clear that Revue Starlight is less about Karen and more about the development of the entire cast. This week we get into the insights of Kaoruko and Futaba through the former perspective. Although spoiled, bratty and not-at-all serious about the Revue audition, I very much welcome her as a person […]

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 07 [Convenience Store Chio-chan – Chio-chan and the Duel – Remnants of That Day]

This episode of Chio-chan sure brings back my memory. I was one of those stupid boys who played that zapping butt game (among other stupid games, like stick a pen where my friends would sit) and let me tell ya, it hurts like hell. To the point whenever I listen to this song I would […]

Banana Fish – 7 [The Rich Boy]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latest Reviews

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

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

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

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

Megalo Box – 86/100

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

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

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

Hinamatsuri (2018 Spring) Review – 79/100

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

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

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

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

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

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

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