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…)

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niello
@Animosh Tbf that was her in middle school, so a few years ago. I'd imagine she's more comfortable with it now. Unless it said she started the bunny thing in middle school and I miss it.
Animosh
@Amagi: going by the preview it'll be about the kickass kouhai. I'm also surprised this arc ended so soon, but I'm kind of happy they didn't drag it out. Memory loss arcs can be really dull if taken too seriously.
Animosh
@Kaiser: yeah, strangely enough the whole bunny girl thing feels really out of place. I mean, Mai quit being an actress (for the time being anyway) because her mother forced her into a swimsuit shoot, but she's okay with walking around in a bunny suit? Seems out of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Someone has uploaded all the chapters of Opus by Satoshi Kon: https://manganelo.com/manga/sw917587
Kaiser-Eoghan
Such lies though, she was only a bunny girl in the first episode =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would like them to develop on this adolescence syndrome thing further too.
SuperMario
*haganai
SuperMario
But I do have a strong urge to rewatch OreGairu or watch Hanagai after watching Bunny Girl... maybe I will watch them again
SuperMario
@Amagi: it's typical for a LN series. I guess the next arc will be about another girl with the same phenomenal. She might likely have a feeling with our protagonist as well, but he has his eyes on Bunny girl senpai so he doesn't accept her feeling. You know, the usual stuffs
Amagi
In general I mean.
Amagi
I didn't even know it would get resolved before the end of the series. So it isn't just about the initial problem but this youth phenomenon as well. I wonder what the next arc will be about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some are saying material is being rushed through though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm surprised that bunnygirls first ark is already done though, this felt like some kind of end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ ore ga suki imouto's animation is unbelievably awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well, thats certainly quite the confession isn't it? @bunnygirl ep 3.
Vonter
@Niello - That's 'cause Miayano isn't Pepe Macias: https://youtu.be/nCL6e5TmVG8?t=34
Lenlo
Personally I like this Miyano voice, but only because it sounds like Old Okabe before 0 ruined him
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Wouldn't go that far. But as I've said this show did not click with me at all on most levels.
Niello
Am I the only one who think Miyano sounds annoying in Zombieland Saga? It was the same in Tadakoi too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Castlebros4life.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I forgot to mention, what I like about this guy is that he actually does have a plan rather than just milling it into the goblins.
Lenlo
Castlevania hype! I cant wait for season 2
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm more looking forward to reading The year one side story which is more about Goblin slayer himself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, I've caught up to the 28th chapter of Goblin slayers manga chapter, in spite of being rinse and repeat with not much depth, so far its remains fun. There will definitely be a "human shield" scene that won't appear in the anime. I'd hoped the side story manga would go into priestess girls past our something but it doesn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Castlevania season 2 is out next week.
AidanAK47
Damn, Youtubes down
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mamoru Miyano is the same voice actor for the producer and Okabe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think they are doing other genres in zombieland too, I think one is vaporwave.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It would be very strange if the guy who is the past version of Hitomi's grandfather started falling for her.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That leads me to consider , should the search bar be moved?
AidanAK47
Pretty Sure he mistook the chat window for a search bar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fell behind, part 3 too long aswell.
SuperMario
@anon: it's just too little too late...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Interested in seeing more of that horse guy who showed up in the recent beastars chapters. Also liked how they co-relate lion guy with louis' dad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I'm knocking Honda-san, as that simple/minimalist style is another thing that makes these gag comedies work also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Animation's a bit BARE BONES though wahaha!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm quite amused by the surrealism of it all, a skeleton working in a bookshop =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A quick random fact, one of the manga the blonde girl in episode 1 is asking for is a legendary, old shounen-ai classic from the 70s. The short format suits these gag comedies because I feel that stretching them out to 20 something minute runtimes kills the joke.
Lenlo
Honda-San continues to be the funniest thing I have seen in awhile
AidanAK47
@Vonter, That should not go together as well as it does
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Goblin slayer did nothing wrong.
Animosh
It's dumb, but I can't deny it's uplifting. :)
Animosh
The slime anime really offers the perfect counter to Goblin Slayer. In Goblin Slayer murder is the answer to everything, peace is impossible and revenge will haunt you forever. In the slime series? A short speech about the benefits of kindness and cooperation and the pitfalls of revenge is enough to convince everyone to get along (and that includes two races who were on the verge of war).
Vonter
Also because I just had to: http://vmashup.com/yvDoiQhU
Vonter
Zombieland gives me Scooby Doo vibes. With a silly premise of reviving moe girls to make a band. How they're prey to their instincts and I do like the music aspect doesn't feel as artificial as other shows that may also promote the songs to be sold. Since the music seems more to play for the story than to be good songs. Not remarkable but enjoyable I'll say.
Vonter
So far I've more issue with what the maid says than what she does. Since the anime wants to paint her in a good light but some of the things she says are very creepy. On the other side, there seems an underlying sadness since she seems capable but dumbfounded on how to live her life.
Vonter
I checked UzaMaid! and Zombieland Saga, which were funny and silly and entertaining, nothing major, but I also don't found them bad. The first one treads the line so far of having creepy implications, but it has a bit of John Hughes slapstick thrown a bit. I'll like it more if the little girl were a bit more like Kevin from Home Alone or Junior from Problem Children.
Amagi
Seems like a part of the background has changed after the post-kaiju fight reset in Gridman. I wonder what's even real in this series.
SuperMario
Gosh, how I love the improv dialogues and the indie Kemono-Friends level of visual flourish in Himote House
Masky
Like Zero Escape series itself goes through pretty much everything related to psychology
Masky
In general I don't really get what is up with japanese fictional works running different scientific paradoxes or theories into everything unrelated ._.
Lenlo
Mmm Im so glad I started throwback thursday. 2 episodes in and I already love Planetes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think might know it off by heart now I hear it mentioned so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I hope I haven't doomed you, I voted for Goblin slayer .
Amagi
Hate that too and I actually got my hopes up in episode 1 since it seemed like they wouldn't explain it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I was hoping someone else would bring that up.
Niello
Bunny Girl is pretty good so far, but I do have to say that I rolled my eyes at another rundown of Schrodinger's cat. What's with the obsession?
Amagi
Drama never works for me with Key and even most of Kyoani's works in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I already mentioned about how surprisingly solid/serious bunny girl senpai takes itself for the better, but I'd like to add, the drama doesn't feel obnoxious either such as in a Key work.
Amagi
I love those first impression reviews of bad series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah, it's why I never picked HxH up again as well. I also think there are still tons of issues with SAO although most of them come up later. AW will always be way better in my opinion.
Anonymous2948346
Glad the Imouto review was good for something, niello. The show itself certainly isn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't deny that for some a series could improve as it went on, but with sword art, its now three seasond and a movie , thats alot to watch and quite the ask to get to the "good" part.
Amagi
@niello: I meant that key visual https://d38fgd7fmrcuct.cloudfront.net/1_3p7wgf1obds2mkioy1cmi.jpg - but as said it doesn't mean anything. I will only get hyped once I see the first animated scene and confirm that the boats aren't CG or at least a good kind of CG.
Lenlo
Oh baby. Spring 2019, One Punch Man S2 and Hero Aca S4. Can't wait
niello
@Amagi, Vinland Saga promo pic looks good? Aren't those just manga cover pictures that they showed in the promo...
niello
"Ore ga Sick of this Shit dakedo Shit Keeps Getting Made", I laughed so hard, thanks.
Lenlo
Will probably do a final review but not weekly episodes
Lenlo
But I watched it. Its alright, im gonna watch it to the end.
Lenlo
@animosh, I dont know about them.
Animosh
Oh, that sounds very promising! I've always found thematic explorations of virtual reality very interesting. You know: What is "real" and what isn't? Does it even matter? And what place should virtual reality have in society? In previous seasons those themes were a bit dumbed down, so I'd be up for seeing them explored in some more detail. And with four cours, there's plenty of time to do so.
Amagi
I am not yet sure how much SAO III will suffer from the lacking inner monologue though. The interesting part fo it was the world building and the taboos and how it was the first actual simulation and creation of humanity and the birth of a virtual culture, with mods and admins being literal gods in the VR, like some matrix thing. The anime skipped a lot and actions they do feel more casual there.
Amagi
@Animosh: Well the author did improve a lot, I actually consider most of Accel World as pretty good, especially the later arcs. Thanks for reminding me to buy the last two volumes by the way.
Animosh
I'm sure it won't be great (hell, given SAO's track record, it'll almost certainly end up punishing me for getting my hopes up), but there are at least signs that the author has recognized what went wrong in previous seasons and is trying to correct his mistakes. So with some luck, I might just end up enjoying this season! Maybe. Not getting my hopes up too much though.
Animosh
And where previous seasons barely made any attempts to build up the various virtual worlds, this season is taking it slow so far, which makes it feel more like a well-realized world than a generic fantasy blob. And last but not least, it seems Kirito will have to start over, so even if he'll inevitably end up OP again, he'll probably have to work for it, which is something the series really needed
Animosh
For example: the old cast has been stuck in the harem-mold for a long time, and that makes them incredibly dull. Most of them only exist to make Kirito look good, and barely have any agency of their own. But the new characters are different (so far at least). The most prominent new character (Eugeo) is male, and has clear goals of his own.
Animosh
By the way, did you guys skip Sword Art Online for your first impressions posts? I know you're not fond of the series (and rightly so, because it's way too popular for such a mediocre series), but I actually think it's been pretty decent so far. A fresh start with a largely new cast is exactly what the series needed, and there are some promising signs it's heading in a positive direction.
Animosh
@Amagi: I felt the same way after the episode. It's a very predictable move, but somehow I still didn't see it coming. I guess I should have known better than to trust a happy-go-lucky love interest (although I'm rooting for Rikka) after Darling in the Franxx.
Animosh
But in their own ways they still offered the kind of wild and wacky ride through adolescent insecurities that FLCL is known for, and the characters were likable enough (even if underdeveloped). The OST remains strong too. So although the series could definitely have been better, overall I think this has been a pretty enjoyable revival of the series.
Animosh
After its slow start I'm glad FLCL at least managed to end on a fairly strong note. I still think it's a shame none of the two series really managed to replicate the surreal craziness and visual inventiveness of the original (though Progressive did try), and the wider focus of both series compared to OG FLCL (with the same number of episodes) backfired a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Sometimes the offscreen content can allow our imaginations to work and disturb us more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Deception more like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girl wasn't even pregnant, show telling lies, too lazy to draw pregnancy too probably .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Was your internet acting weird today? Don't know what provider you're using but mine only came back an hour ago or so, lots of people in Dublin were reporting connection issues and in other counties too.
SuperMario
@Amagi: still haven't watched the second one but the first episode did surprise me
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Still ain't watching it
Amagi
Okay I didn't really see the content of ep 2 of Gridman coming. I feel like I should have seen this coming, but I didn't.
Masky
I'm honestly confused about Conception since I'm under impression that Conception games are about "Do some sort of weird ritual to create "Star Child" which doesn't actually involve pregnancy". Like did game also go this far, did anime change this or is this setup for second episode to start with "lol just kidding" or what the frick
Amagi
I think deaths are often the best examples of failed attempts to keep the audience invested. Regardless how many tears there are and how tragic the death is, I won't care when the series itself is bad, the character not flashed out or the scene forced. I have seen series in which one died offscreen that hit me harder than a full episode of whining over some dead moe blobb.
Amagi
There are a lot anime like that since the presentation is important. There are many of those convoluted trainwrecks with 10 different plot twist where one or two of them are actually good on paper but do nothing when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding those crap light novel shows...it really is a sign isn't it, that its so bad sometimes, that even if it does something that appeals to you/would titillate you, you still don't care and won't watch it, because its so shit.
Lenlo
A poll assumes people would actually vote in it. I guess I can try it out and see if people care enough for it, sure. Still, would need things to put on said poll, so feel free to suggest
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes with these shows you just have to let them wash over you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps I could say similar about irozuku as I do Yagate.
Amagi
I am kinda happy I managed to avoid all bad series this season with the exception of Release the Spyce which I only tried because I gave it the benefit of doubt due to having enjoyed Princess principal to some degree despite its many flaws.
SuperMario
I'm back after a week vacation and the first thing I watched again was Conception. I mean I was prepared but this show is one of the reason we all need break to stay sane
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need a refresher on the early bits of vinland and Viking Count Dooku (Askeladd) arc so watching the anime would be a great recap oppurtunity.
Amagi
I really hope Vinland Saga will have a good budget. The promo pic looks pretty damn good but I also liked the very first promo pic of the last Berserk series and we all know how that one turned out.
Amagi
And yes Legosi also always makes me think of Bela Lugosi. I guess I watched too many old movies.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I strangely also lost interest in some game series I liked as little kid, Megaman too for example. I guess there are just series that can work on NES and SNES but not that well as 3D series on modern consoles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I come away from irozuku feeling I watched an aethetically pleasing, somewhat cute show but not much else, but that may not be an entirely bad thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@lenlo: Alternatively you could put up a poll.
Lenlo
Thats a good idea Kaiser! I read all the comments, so if there are any you think would be good feel free to suggest them. I can compile a list and pick one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: To make things easier, perhaps each season, for variety, the throwback Thursday thing could pick a different genre for it each season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every time I read his name in Beastars, I kept thinking the actors name "Bela Legosi" because the wolf's name was legosi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Weird tangent, looking up Irozuku on google image search reveals theres a porn actress with the same name as the lead female character =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes I think the fans had better ideas for the games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I hated any of his games though, but they did have diminishing returns and weren't always consistent in quality. It was disappointing when they started going for some kind of story, then kind of dropped it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was a big fan of megaman growing up, but like sonic, unlike Mario and Zelda, his games got increasingly diluted the more the franchise went on, megaman didn't work in 3D either. Also the second nes one has a really neat soundtrack =)
Vonter
Megaman 11 made me want to play the old games. So I bought the first Legacy Collection pack which has a rewind feature. The first game is hard and cheap at some spots. It also feels a bit stiff. Still it's funny spotting things that were changed in every other entry. Like the boss checkpoints having enemies and traps. Also I think this is the only game showing Dr. Light's house from the outside.
Lenlo
Ah, that anon was me! Was on my phone
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: My beastars post would have gone into spoilers. I decided to private message instead.
Anonymous2930785
I am very happy that Shorter isnt a one and done event.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In regards to humour. However in terms of anime humour, something like hoozuki no reitatsu would have me losing my shit laughing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I love stuff by Bunuel or Roy Anderson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I prefer sardonic, sad bastard, bleak, dry/depressing or particularly serious but surreal comedy, humour/comedy played straight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, yes as expected with Zombieland saga, I gave it a second episode chance, but this is an easy drop for me, its just how comedy goes sometimes, but I didn't laugh once during this episode , just left me cold/blank to it.
Amagi
It's like that season that had SoraYori, I watched like 7 other shows but I only remember SoryYori by now.
Amagi
I think for the last season (counting finished series) this is only true for Planet With. I do remember Chiochan when I think a bit but spontaneosly I couldn't come up with anything else if I had a time limit of 20 seconds or so.
Amagi
I often only really become aware about which series I liked the most when I try remembering the respective season months later. I often enjoy a bunch of shows and watch even more, and yet, at the end of the day, there is always onely one or two that actually stick in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say again, I'm glad that Shorter is still being remembered episodes after him leaving the show. Thought they could have held that scene with yut-lung longer, its obvious he despises Eiji. Sudden gag in this episodes middle threw me off. lol at that killing attempt in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also a horror manga about Robert Johnson, me and the devil blues.
Amagi
Speaking of great manga series, everyone should try Shiori Experience, the Jimmy Hendrix manga. There is barely any series that hypes me up as much as this one and I read a lot. This could be the anime of the year if it would get adapted by a competent team and get a good budget and appropriate OST.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think I will marathon the rest of Dorohedoro the next days. And then looking forward to her next series.
Amagi
Zombieland Saga is the only new anime that actually surprised me. I am not talking about good or bad here, there are a bunch of other pretty good series airing right now but Zombieland is the only one that caught me off-guard in a positive way.
AidanAK47
Okay, I think I love Zombieland Saga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've embraced bunny-girls approach to its dialogue/drama now with the second episode, also they go a bit into her past in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'll be posting my thoughts later. Also, there's on one chapter of dorohedoro left.
Amagi
There are 7 new Beastars chapters out, I really liked the climax here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a tangent, damn you mappa, adapt Freesia already .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I needed to watch red garden twice to really "get" it, as in for it to click for me, its a show that picks up near the middle.
Amagi
It had scenes you rarely see in anime that do happen all the time in real life, like friends talking across each other, people talking at the same time or interrupting others.
Amagi
@Niel: Have you seen Red Garden? A lot of people agreed that it had the most natural dialogues of the anime that aired that year so maybe you would enjoy that too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animmosh: josei yuri I would welcome being adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Hana wa saku, yuutsu no asa and Acid town adaptation WHEN.
Animosh
Yuri gets all the hype, but yaoi gets all the glory.
Animosh
So, yeah, if other folk here haven't seen it yet, give it a try! By the way, it's interesting how what probably were my two favorite shows of the past season (Banana Fish and this one) were both BL shows. Can't say I saw that coming.
Animosh
It's kind of reminiscent of classics like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with some anime tropes added to the mix (the bubbly main character and his tsundere love interest), and with less emphasis on politics and more on horror and fantasy. And for a Chinese series, the animation is really solid, in spite of the occasional CGI hiccup. The backgrounds in particular are very easy on the eyes.
Animosh
I don't remember who it was, but thanks for recommending Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation! It's surprisingly good for a show I had heard so little about. I love historical epics, and the main characters are built up very well and have a lot of chemistry. I do wish the antagonists were more interesting (they're very black-and-white), but the protagonists are all a lot of fun to watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*didn't work for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niel: Garo didn't work for outside of the fantasy setting.
Niel
The exceptions to this are usually shorts and films. You don't get to see them often in TV series. As for the story, I don't have nearly enough patience for monster-of-the-week formula as I did years ago, so if it's just going the generic tokusatsu route then you'll hear from me. but since Garo wasn't too bad I have hope that they will do something interesting with this.
Niel
The environments also feel so much more like places where people live and hang out. Take the school room for example. Anime rarely portray school rooms as this place where teenagers gather and play during break. It's usually only consist of people talking with no mischieve whatsoever. And when there are scenes of bedroom they often feels more like a showroom than a place where someone live in.
Niel
@Lenlo @Aidan Your impressions of Gridman are fair. I'm just really excited for Gridman because two of my main pet peeves with anime are the unnatural dialogue, and bland and sterilised background environments. Here when characters talk, it actually seem so much closer to the conversation flow you'd see more in everyday life, and I'm kind of starving for that in my anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although with drugs and anime in mind, I do wish that a sports anime that addresses cheating through performance enhancing drugs would be made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Release the spyce and drug use? I find this odd, I think I heard that the Japanese had a thing about depicting that (drugs) in animation/on tv when it came to young charcters.
Masky
Like, sure, it has tactical goblin slaughter action, but its more about how broken mess of person Goblin Slayer is and how he learns to connect with people. Its surprisingly insightful at times, but the trashy parts really clash with the actual tone of series considering its only purpose is pretty much "Goblins are horrible" which is point you got with gore in first place
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Featured Posts

Planetes – 2 [Like a Dream] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome to week 2 of Throwback Thursday, as we continue our dive into Planetes! This week we have a focused character story, some fun humor and lots of beautiful scenery. Lets jump in! So starting off, Planetes continues to look fantastic. From the motion of the characters, to the colors and details in every scene. […]

Kaze Ga Tsukyoku Fuiteiru – 3 [A Single Flower]

Hello and welcome to week 3 of Kaze Fui! This time our boys start running, Kurahara meets someone from his past and poor Akane ups and dies. Lets jump in! So general stuff first, Kaze Fui continues to look just beautiful. The running animation really is nice, and its unique for each runner. From Kurahara’s […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

Me blogging a Trigger show? Well, I’ll be damned myself but life does take some strange turn. Not that I’m a Trigger naysayer but if I’ll be honest, Trigger shows tend to rub me in a wrong way. The studio is seen as the successor of Gainax for one thing, and the overhyped reactions from […]

Goblin Slayer – 02[Goblin Slayer]

The opening to this series is surprisingly more melancholic than I would have expected. When the shows opening started I was waiting for it to break into heavy metal but it stayed low and actually does match the rather dark nature of the series itself. After all this is a series about a PTSD madman […]

Zombieland Saga – 02[I ♡ HIP HOP SAGA]

Zombieland Saga is madness. Pure insanity that could be complete genius or absolute idiocy. So for those who haven’t heard this anime is not the zombie apocalypse show that was initially thought, as a matter of fact the zombie apocalypse footage in the trailer was in fact a video the producer showed the girls to […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara – 02 [I Can’t Stand Magic]

It’s always neat to see a work that feels every inch a P.A Works production. When you think about the studio, you’d immediately associate them with their original shows, chief among them ‘Mature women in workplace’ unofficial trilogy, and The Eccentric Family (I consider the latter their pinnacle work). For the last 5,6 years the […]

Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san – 2 [Let Me Introduce My Crazy Colleagues in This Bookstore!]

Ladies, Gentlemen and everyone in between, I welcome you to the 2nd episode of Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San, the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Lets jump in! Considering Honda-San’s material, I am not even going to bother with spoilers. It’s a comedy short, deal with it. These posts will also be a […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 – 02 [The Stolen Sorcerous Blades]

Fun fact, I had just been to Taiwan and while in their local old bookstores and DVDs, I saw a section of puppetry animation dvds in the corner of the store (should’ve bought one now that I think about it). Apparently wuxia puppetry has a niche market in Taiwan, and so I’m glad that me, […]

Banana Fish – 14 [Tender is the Night]

Welcome to an all new episode of Banana Fish! This time with a new OP, ED and progressed plot points. Lets jump in! So before I get into spoilers, let’s talk about the new OP and ED. The OP is Freedom by Blue Encount, while the ED is Red by Survive Said The Prophet. Personally, […]

Latest Reviews

Planet With Anime Review – 90/100

Planet With is an anime that likely leaves many unimpressed when they look at the cover and makes for a solid proof that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover or even by it’s first episode. Many have overlooked this show in it’s season but for those that did give it chance it went […]

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (Dubbed) – 84/100

Ah, the movie tie in. A right of passage for all aspiring Shounen series. Some, like One Piece have weathered it and come out Golden, while others are better forgotten (Looking at you Bleach). My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, in my opinion, is closer to former. Animated by BONES , Directed by Kenji Nagasaki and […]

A quick and dirty review of Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion

What it claims to be about: Angolmois (a reference to a Nostradamus prophesy which is rather irrelevant for the show, as he lived several centuries after the events) focuses on the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274. Specifically it focuses on the early phase of the invasion when the Mongols attack Tsushima, which essentially […]

Steins;Gate 0 Anime Review – 60/100

Before I begin this review in earnest, I have to ask, who doesn’t know about Steins;Gate? The amazing, beloved original series that Steins;Gate 0 is an offshoot of. Well if you don’t, if you haven’t seen the original, then stop now. Steins;Gate 0 is not worth it. It is not for you. Without having seen […]

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

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

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

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

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

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

Megalo Box – 86/100

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