Posted on 21 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

And so the Tenpei Cup comes to a close at last. It took five episodes to get from the first round to the awards ceremony, and not all parts of the competition were created equal, but I’m happy that my girl Mako managed to claim the Ballroom Queen award. After she received the trophy, there were several key players in the crowd who gave Tatara all the credit for leading so well, but I’m chalking that up to shounen hero bias. Mako is the more experienced dancer, with better form and greater stamina, and she’s one who managed to break up the Gaju/Shizuku pair and team with her brother once again. Despite everything that’s been said about their mismatched heights and skill levels, Gaju seemed relatively accepting of the situation (after pouting for a bit, that is), so we ought to see the Akagi siblings pairing together at future events.

Of course, Tatara played an important role in Mako’s victory, but his obvious fatigue and sloppy footwork helped to land them at the bottom of the finalist rankings, which translated to a 7th place finish out of 43 couples. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, considering it’s his first competition (if you don’t count his stint as Hyodo’s body double earlier in the series), but Tatara is ashamed, which is right in line with his character. Immediately after hearing that he hadn’t placed in the top two, he confessed to his coach that he’d been dwelling on his poor dancing abilities for the entire affair. There were tears in his eyes as he made that admission, which I felt were appropriate, but might have been more impactful if Ballroom hadn’t turned on the waterworks at least once a week for the entire Tenpei arc. All Sengoku could do was pat his head and tell him to take the floor with a smile, which he managed to accomplish. Given what we know about Tatara, though, this loss will weigh heavily on his mind for some time to come.

Tatara wasn’t the only character to be deeply upset by the final standings, however. Although Gaju and Shizuku placed first with ease, the loss to Mako in the Ballroom Queen category caused Shizuku no small amount of grief, as we learn from a brief post-competition scene where she cries quietly to herself in front of a restroom mirror. More interesting than her sadness, though, is her frustration, which shone through with the self-targeted accusation, “You’re terrible!” I’ve written a lot over the past few weeks about the similarities between Tatara and Mako, but this critical, unforgiving attitude is the first time I’ve picked up on a real link between Tatara and Shizuku. Their goals couldn’t be more different, but it’s possible that they share more narrative DNA than meets the eye. Both are newly partnerless, as well – could they possibly join forces for the upcoming DanceSport season?

If you watched past the ending credits this week, you were treated to a handful of scenes revolving around Tatara’s high school entrance exams. Near the end of the episode, as he and his dad celebrate his acceptance, a redheaded girl can be seen smiling and walking away from the jubilant pair, though the camera refuses to travel above her mouth. If you’re familiar with anime character introductions, you know that withholding part of someone’s face means they’re an important part of the story. Spoiler alert: this girl is Tatara’s new partner, not Shizuku. The redhead’s name is Chinatsu, and she’s my favorite character in the manga, which begins to focus on Tatara’s high school life after this point. I like Ballroom most when the characters are bouncing off one another outside the competitive setting, so hopefully the anime director has resisted the urge to truncate some of my favorite parts of the story. Fingers crossed!

Posted on 14 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

When I was a kid, my friends and I included my brother in our games, but only reluctantly. He was younger, smaller, and slower than all the other players, whether the contest was bike racing or tag or touch football. If I were a team captain, I’d be sure to pick him for my side, but not until the last round – I didn’t want to arm the neighborhood brats with any reason to pick on me. Obsessed with the safety of my own reputation, I failed to notice his embarrassment until years after that part of our lives had passed. You might imagine, then, that the scene in this episode where Gaju shooed Mako away from his grown-up kickball game sent a pang through my chest. Before this flashback, his primary role had been to mock his sister at every turn, but now we have another piece of the puzzle. Gaju was just another kid who put too much stock in the opinions of others, and he’s carried that concern with him into adolescence.

This week’s opening flashback consisted of more than just the kickball scene, though. It showed us how the Akagi siblings entered the world of ballroom dancing: through Mako’s repeated appeals to her beloved older brother, who eventually caved and became her partner. Gaju may have been ashamed at the idea of dancing at first, but his stubbornness prohibited him from quitting, and his natural athleticism allowed him to excel once he began competing. When that talent was noticed and praised by a judge at one of his first events, his switch was flipped – from that moment on, he was a dancer. This need for recognition is a much stronger motivation than wanting to surpass Hyodo or impress Shizuku, so it goes a long way in making Gaju a human character with internal drives and desires. Those desires were strong enough, though, that he began to heed the whispers of his classmates and the advice of his coach, all of whom assumed that he’d leave Mako behind one day, because she was holding him back.

Now that he’s found a better partner, then, how does Gaju feel in the wake of Mako’s heart-stopping waltz from the previous episode? He’s sufficiently distracted to make a small footwork error that all the dancers and judges in the room notice immediately, and upset enough to get teary-eyed at his failure when he leaves the floor. Most shounen-y of all, he gets angry to the point of punching himself in the jaw, ostensibly to refocus himself on the contest at hand. This scene was more than a little goofy, but it wasn’t bad enough to sap the goodwill that his backstory created. Gaju left his sister because he wanted to be the best (and the way the show frames it, he made the right call, at least from a competitive standpoint), so if he starts making silly footwork mistakes, he’s both letting down his new partner and dishonoring his old one. Luckily, Shizuku is there to pick up the slack as the Tenpei Cup moves into its final group stage.

With Hyodo in the crowd, Shizuku is still aiming to blow the doors off the place, even if she has nothing to prove at an unsanctioned competition like this one. We got a second flashback to one of her practice sessions with a much younger Hyodo, where he nonchalantly informed her that she was more of a rival than a partner in his eyes. This scene did a lot less for me than the carefully-structured opening sequence, but the memory is clearly a strong one for Shizuku, who goes into beast mode during the Slow Foxtrot and wins over the entire room, much as Mako did last week. Even Tatara is stunned, which is not a good look for an underdog trying to highlight his own partner’s appeal. The last segment of the competition will be the Quickstep, but even with Sengoku’s special variation in their back pockets, I’ve got a bad feeling about the outcome of this competition for the exhausted Tatara/Mako pair. With Shizuku on fire and Gaju having found his footing once again, our heroes still have a mountain to climb, and only one dance left with which to do it.

Posted on 6 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

For the last month or so, Ballroom e Youkoso has been keenly interested in expanding and developing its cast of characters. Even with the introduction of the Tenpei Cup, most of the show’s dramatic moments have been rooted in something deeper than dance, be it feelings of inadequacy, a bitter sibling feud, or a budding attraction to a partner or competitor. This episode was a payoff for a lot of the conflict and struggle we’ve witnessed until this point, but it also functioned as a straightforward sports anime, and those aren’t necessarily my favorite. The constant crowd reactions, the special technique names, and the 20-minute runtime that covered five minutes of action all recalled a barrage of lesser series that Ballroom needn’t have imitated at this stage of the game. Luckily, this episode was concerned primarily with honoring Mako, whose transformation from timid duckling to blossoming rose kept the half hour afloat.

The particularly impressive thing about Tatara and Mako’s performance this week was that they rehearsed for only a few minutes before the finals started, and without a particular set of steps in mind. That’s just as well, because Sengoku’s assumption that the Quickstep would be the last hurdle was foiled by Marisa, who convinced the judge to pivot to the Waltz at the last minute. We still don’t know the precise cause of the animosity between these two – the smart money is on her displeasure with Sengoku coaching someone besides her son, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she’s his former coach, or if you want to get really soapy, an ex-lover (even if she’s ~15 years his senior, I could see it happening). Whatever the reason for their bickering, Sengoku ends up with egg on his face, but the brief practice session between his pupils pays big dividends when they hit the floor.

Last week I wrote about DanceSport couples being graded largely on the skill of their male halves, and this time we heard the same thing straight from the mouth of a judge. Tatara and Mako’s partner-centric performance, though, creates a difficult task for their evaluators, who are so mesmerized by Mako that they forget to observe her leader. The show’s limited animation makes it hard to decipher what part Tatara has in this captivating routine, so it falls back on phrases like “Throwaway Oversway from a Double Turning Lock” and “Same Foot Lunge to Right Leg Develope,” which might as well be wrestling terms for all I know. The constant crowd reactions clue us in to the originality and impressiveness of their performance, but they do a poor job of keeping us involved in the scene (even if I got a laugh from the comment that Tatara was “too bland” for Mako). Putting the peanut gallery aside, though, there were two major characters whose impressions of this scene really sold it for me.

The first was Hyodo, who knows just by looking that Mako has worked her ass off to achieve her silhouette. This was a particularly important observation for the show to make, because it tells us that her overwhelming appeal is due to her own effort, rather than yet another aspect of Tatara’s genius. There’s no doubt that he played a role in “making her bloom,” as she requested just moments earlier, because Mako thinks to herself during their routine that he’s providing a solid frame. But in the end, all eyes are on her, including Gaju’s, and it’s his stunned response to his sister’s waltz that matters more than anyone else’s. Ballroom chose to repeat and expand on a previous flashback in this episode, which established Mako as unwilling to express herself for fear of “getting in the way” of her irritable brother. By contrast, she comes alive in Tatara’s arms, not because he’s a better leader than Gaju, but because his biggest concern is that Mako shines. And shine she does – her brother can hardly believe that the radiant young woman on the dance floor is his former partner, and he’s probably kicking himself for failing to bring out this side of her. This is the biggest payoff the show has offered so far, but despite Tatara and Mako’s happiness at having danced so well, it’s not as though they’ve won the event. Gaju and Shizuku are up next, and the continued partnership of both couples is still on the line heading into the next episode. Whichever pair emerges with the Tenpei Cup in hand, though, Mako achieved a significant victory with her performance this week.

Posted on 31 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

Here are a few reasons why Hyodo Kiyoharu was the MVP of this week’s episode: he noticed Tatara’s fatigue and flat-footedness before the kid’s own coach. He kept his cool while everyone else was busy flinging petty insults or embroiling themselves in love pentagons, and provided his rival with both straight talk and sound advice. He watched his mom flirt unashamedly with a guy nearly twice her age, and somehow managed to retain his dignity. He managed to motivate someone as talented as Shizuku to dance her best with his mere presence. And he looked fly as hell with his sweater robe and crutch, even amidst a sea of tailcoats and bowties. If I were a judge at the Tenpei Cup, I’d call off the competition and just award Hyodo the trophy.

Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to evaluate ballroom dancing (or men’s fashion) – only to talk about Japanese cartoons. So despite Hyodo’s greatness, there’s one scene I really want to focus on this week, and that’s the moment when Sengoku instructs Tatara not to do the special Quickstep variation they’d been practicing for weeks. Even without seeing his pupil gasp for breath in the corner of the room just moments beforehand, Sengoku knows that Hyodo is right about his exhaustion. Tatara is already on the floor by the time he can speak with him, though, so Sengoku is forced to shout across the hall not to use their trump card (which would likely result in his collapse). What follows is dead silence, and eventually a shot of Tatara, who looks exhausted and embarrassed, but more than that, he looks crushed. He’s upset that his coach doesn’t believe in him, even though he’s shaking and sweating and barely maintaining his hold on his partner. This is a boy with prior self-image issues being told to alter his routine to account for his lack of experience and stamina; it’s no wonder he sobs and collapses in Sengoku’s arms after his neutered performance.

I’m glad that Ballroom continues to expose this side of Tatara, even if the results are sometimes hard to watch, because it makes him more human even as the shounen clichés pile around him. The Destined Rivals bit that he and Hyodo have going on is farfetched, though the show played it well this week by making Kiyoharu the voice of reason during an emotional scene. “Reality” is the title of this episode, and Tatara’s reality, as explained by his rival, is that he can’t possibly beat Gaju given his current lack of talent and conditioning. The solution is to allow Mako to outperform Shizuku, and that’s a plan I couldn’t be happier with, especially after two months of hearing that the man leads and the woman follows, the pair’s score is largely determined by the leader, etc. I don’t doubt the truth of those statements, since ballroom dancing is quite traditional, but when Mako asks Tatara to “make me bloom” at the episode’s end, it feels great to know that she’s allowing herself to command some attention for a change. That final line also carries with it a hint of romance, given the sensual connotation that blooming holds. Sengoku teased the two kids about a potential relationship midway through the proceedings this week, so I expect that their partnership may become a bit more complicated in the future.

Love is in the air for several other characters, as well, but Shizuku’s crush is the most interesting. She looked stunned after seeing Hyodo at the Tenpei Cup, perhaps for the first time since his hospitalization, which is a total reversal from her invulnerable attitude just hours earlier. Tatara tries to explain away Hyodo’s strategy as a plan to separate her from Gaju, but she still feels him slipping away, as she did back in episode two. Her resolve now is to impress her former partner, which is an okay development in my book. This is an unsanctioned event with nothing on the line for a seasoned pro like Shizuku, so what’s the harm in a little showmanship for the sake of the boy she likes? Besides, her desire to impress Kiyoharu is tied to her need to reach his skill level, and prove to upstarts like Tatara that you can’t waltz into this scene and start winning trophies left and right – pun very much intended.

Posted on 22 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

I spent the majority of the previous review breaking down a single scene, so let’s play catch-up for a bit. This episode features the Tenpei Cup, an annual event held by some rich dance enthusiast. Despite not being an official competition, the stakes are high: if the fledgling pair of Tatara and Mako can outplace Gaju and Shizuku (who are favored to win), Gaju will be forced to take back his sister as his partner. Thankfully, Sengoku has given his full support to his new student, having supplied him with a new tailcoat and a strategy to impress the head judge during the Quickstep round. It’s a relief that Sengoku has quit trying to embarrass and discourage the impressionable Tatara, who needs all the support he can get, given his lack of self-confidence.

Regarding that timid streak, this episode didn’t bring it across as well as the last one. During his previous phone call with Mako, we got a clear picture of how unworthy Tatara felt, both as a dancer and as a young man. This time, he was a simple scaredy-cat, begging his coach not to put him back on the floor after nearly every round, then finding his groove again once the dancing started. I get that the major story of Ballroom is Tatara’s journey to find himself, but we don’t need a miniature version of that arc every six minutes. The show even commented on this practice through Sengoku, who quickly became fed up with what he described as a “rollercoaster mentality.” It’s good that the writers aren’t totally clueless, I guess, but the show’s awareness of the problem doesn’t make it any less boring to watch.

Thankfully, the episode really picked up during its second half, especially after a dance floor collision between Tatara and Gaju. We never got a definitive answer on whether Tatara purposely engineered the crash, but after he watched Gaju and Shizuku steal the show during the second round, I’m choosing to believe that he made a conscious decision to level the playing field by drawing attention to himself. The waiting room confrontation that ensued was highly dramatic, with all the yelling, punching, and crying that you expect from shounen anime. I liked almost everything about it, though. Gaju is a very believable villain, whose insensitivity and tendency to belittle others read like those of a real high schooler. When Mako hits him and runs off crying, it’s at the perfect point in the conversation. My favorite part of the scene, though, came immediately afterward.

When Shizuku sees her teary-eyed competitor flee the scene and asks what all the fuss is about, it comes out that Tatara thinks there’s a chance that Mako will surpass her. At this point, I fully expected the older girl to berate Gaju for mistreating his totemo kawaii imouto~ and run off to make sure Mako was okay, at which point we’d get a scene where the girls talk about how boys are stupid. Instead, Shizuku walks right up to Tatara, gives him an icy stare, says, “Don’t underestimate me,” snaps his bowtie, and walks away. I think I’m in love. After receiving precisely zero speaking lines in last week’s script, Shizuku was due for her moment in the spotlight, and she certainly got it here. Part of me hopes that she still checked on Mako after she was through being a badass, but the version of the argument that we got was the best possible way the scene could have played out.

The story wraps with the introduction of Marisa Hyodo, mother of Tatara’s destined rival. Before she was revealed as a guest judge for the semifinals of the Tenpei Cup, we got a car scene between Marisa and Kiyoharu, who don’t seem to be the closest of parent-child duos. As we might expect from a superstar of the dance world, she works constantly and doesn’t see much of her son, but what’s worse is that she rationalizes her absence by declaring him the type who “likes being alone.” Ballroom is full of parents and authority figures who are less supportive than they ought to be, although I suppose it wouldn’t be anime if it weren’t. When the Hyodos appear at the very end of the episode, Sengoku looks like a kid who’s been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar – does he have an agreement with Marisa not to train anyone except her son, or is there some history between them that we don’t know about? Guess we’ll find out next week.

Posted on 14 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my desire for the show to continually check in with Shizuku’s character – not just to put her on screen, but to show us how she’s thinking and feeling, now that her previous partner is sidelined and her new one clearly wants to be partners in more than one sense. In the fourteen days since the last episode, I developed the expectation that I wouldn’t be wild about this new installment unless Shizuku was a major part of it. And while she did make an appearance, both in the present day and in a flashback, she didn’t have a single line of dialogue, plus she was subjected to some heavy objectification on Gaju’s end. Why, then, was I so happy with Ballroom this week? I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this review, you’ve already seen the episode, so we’re skipping any sort of plot summary and moving straight to my favorite scene, which came near the end of our 22 minutes.

When Tatara comes home from a grueling practice session with Mako, he’s greeted by two things: popped blisters on his feet, and the sound of his father’s drunken phone conversation. The lights are off, and as he passes by his dad, Tatara hears him say, “He’s such a hopeless kid.” Let’s stop right there for a second and consider how dark this scene is. The blisters are, to Tatara, a symbol of his inadequacy, since he thinks to himself that experienced dancers would never have such a problem. So, he’s entering his home with the thought in his head that he’s not good enough, and on the way to his room he hears the only parent in his life confirm his self-diagnosis – talk about mental damage. Until this episode, Tatara’s home life had been portrayed as a happy one, featuring bright mealtime scenes and his dad functioning as a concerned, but understanding, parent. Here we see the exact opposite, and to make things even worse (or so it seems), the person on the other end of the call is Mako.

It turns out she’s been dealing with blisters, too, and her first instinct is to apologize for her lousy dancing. Like Tatara, she lacks confidence, and they take turns apologizing and deflecting until he decides to share that his parents are divorced. The show uses this fact to explain his commitment to restoring the Hyodo/Shizuku and Gaju/Mako dance partnerships, but Mako sees that resolve as a part of his character, and starts to gush about how thoughtful he is. This was the make-or-break moment for the scene, because anime often falls into the trap of praising their heroes for being sooo thoughtful and sooo nice, as opposed to creating stories that allow them to demonstrate those qualities in an authentic way. But Ballroom leapt over this pitfall by contrasting Mako’s opinion of her new partner with his own self-perception. As she assures him that everyone at Ogasawara is watching and admiring his progress, Tatara wonders to himself whether he’s worthy of their gaze. He feels thankful that anyone notices him at all, and considers it a miracle that any girl would want to dance with him.

This is real shit. These are the naked thoughts of a kid from a divorced family, who doesn’t like school, considers himself to be untalented, and comes home to a father who self-medicates with alcohol. As Mako expresses her wish that he’ll keep dancing, we get a shot of Tatara’s feet – they’re the only place he can bear to look, given how foreign and inappropriate her praise must seem. But although his voice is small when he manages to find it again, he says thank you. He’s accepted guidance from coaches and challenges from rivals in the past, but now he accepts the kindness of someone who really respects him, and maybe likes him a little bit. Both kids are blushing by the end of the conversation, and it’s worth noting that Mako must have asked somebody at the dance studio for his phone number in order to make the call, so rumors about the pair may already be buzzing. I’m not totally on board the Tatara/Mako ship just yet, but I couldn’t be happier about the way they serve as anchors for each other in the harsh world of competitive dance.

There was more to the new episode than just this scene, but I’ve written enough as it is. Next week’s Ballroom will feature the Tenpei Cup, with our main couples going head-to-head, so I’ll try to integrate some of the stuff I didn’t cover this time into that post. Feels good to be back on the Ballroom bandwagon (at least for now).

Posted on 3 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

Ballroom aired a double feature last week, so this review is either a few days late or a few days early, depending on how you look at it. Either way, there won’t be a new episode this coming Saturday, with the next one scheduled to appear on August 12th. Personally, I welcome the break as an opportunity to reset my expectations for the show, which seem to have been too high. This series isn’t a mold-breaker of any kind, but rather a traditional shounen anime with non-traditional subject material. “Partner” was likewise a straightforward episode, but it did manage to properly introduce two very different characters, and adjust the motivations driving several of our main players. Not a bad way to wrap things up before a two-week break, all things considered.

With Hyodo occupying the role of brooding genius, the show was missing a more hot-blooded rival character – that is, until now. Enter Gaju Akagi, whose brash personality and loud mouth are perfectly complimented by his ginger mullet. It’s a bit ironic that he insults Tatara’s bedhead just minutes after barreling into the episode, given his own disastrous hairdo. Maybe he lets it grow so long in the back because he’s ashamed of his giraffe neck? Jokes aside, though, Gaju’s dancing is nothing to laugh at, and he supports his claim to become Shizuku’s new partner with some fancy Latin footwork. The last of those three cuts looked rotoscoped to my eyes, but it was also super smooth and a little sexy, which is a tone that has eluded the series until now. I wouldn’t mind if I.G. fell back on this method from time to time in the future.

Gaju’s younger sister Mako can only watch from the sidelines as her partner tries to leave her behind, which is more than a little sad. She’s the meek, sensitive type, which is also a template that Ballroom hadn’t busted out until this week. Tatara is charmed by her shyness the same way he was by Shizuku’s strength, but is unable to sync with her during their first dance (if you could even call it that). Mako’s willingness to be led pays off later in the episode, though, when Tatara activates Prodigy Mode and instinctively guides her where she wants to go, providing some confidence in their future teamwork. Mako will have to exhibit much more improvement if she wants to reach her new goal, though: surpassing Shizuku and convincing Gaju to rejoin her as one of Japan’s best amateur Latin duos.

Also on board with this plan are Tatara and Sengoku, the latter of whom sets up the second meeting between the two shy kids. This might be the first time that Sengoku is actually cooperating with his new student, rather than manipulating or making fun of him, and it’s only made possible by their mutual dislike of Gaju. At the root of that dislike is the shared belief that Gaju is “stealing” Shizuku from Hyodo, but the reality is that Shizuku chose to switch partners of her own will. She claims not to care about Hyodo anymore, but regardless of whether that declaration holds any water, he’s banned from JDSF competitions for six months, so why not let the girl find a new lead? Even if her decision is meant to anger Sengoku, who she rightly calls out for being untrusting, she ought to be allowed to compete for the next half year, rather than being punished for other people’s mistakes. The episode closes on a shot of Shizuku looking pensively into the wall-length mirror at Ogasawara, perhaps wondering whether she’s made the right decision, so the show had better follow up with her character soon – the further she gets from being considered a prize to be won, the better.

Posted on 30 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

If you’d asked me a month ago for my top picks of the season, Ballroom e Youkoso would have been one of them. If you’d asked me two weeks ago to rank the new summer series, this show would have been right beneath Made in Abyss at the top of the heap. If you’d asked me seven days ago whether Ballroom was going to bounce back from its first subpar episode, I’d have wagered it would… but it didn’t. We’re only four weeks into a planned 24-episode run, so this level of pessimism must seem premature to many of you. Part of me knows that it is. The other, much larger part of me is too disappointed to care, so I’m going full nitpick mode for the next 500 words, with the promise that I’ll resume standard coverage next time.

Let’s start with how annoying Sengoku was in this episode, and more broadly, the depths of stupidity to which anime character writing can descend. Hyodo, Sengoku’s star pupil, has been concealing a knee injury that his teacher fears will worsen without rest. His solution is to take advantage of Hyodo’s absence and use Tatara as a substitute, which will disqualify Hyodo, thus preventing him from dancing and compounding his injury. (Let us overlook the fact that he could have simply convinced Shizuku to withdraw, as a later manga chapter will point out.) He then proceeds to blame Tatara, who he roped into this ridiculous plan, for lighting a fire under Hyodo’s ass, claiming that it will be his fault if his rival should bust his leg on the floor. The show hangs a lampshade on how dumb this is by having the background characters accuse Sengoku of being unreasonable, but the show forgets their objections as quickly as it raised them. The kicker is that Mr. Coach of the Year thinks to himself, “I guess it was worth butting in,” when he sees Hyodo dance the tango like a man possessed, and later laughs about the length of his ban from competitive DanceSport.

You might claim that Sengoku is just a dick, but think about the fact that the author delayed the disqualification just long enough for Hyodo to land himself in the hospital, or that Tatara continues to blame himself for Hyodo’s injury and DQ, even though it’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of brain power that neither of those things are his fault. This series is pushing square-shaped story beats through circular holes, and whenever the peanut gallery shows up to remind you that what’s happening doesn’t make a lot of sense, they get swept under the rug. Some of the same problems are present in the manga, but seeing them presented at a static pace and with no adjustments is a real disadvantage for viewers of the TV version.

Where the anime ought to excel is in the dancing scenes, but they’re just not cutting it for me. Ballroom is pulling the classic trick of cutting from panning stills to amazed reaction shots, and hoping that its real-life audience will feel the same sense of wonder as the faces on screen. I’m starting to see a lot of painted backgrounds that are meant to imply movement, as well – they’re not as cheap as speed lines, but they serve the same purpose. The standing ovation that Hyodo’s tango received near the middle of the episode felt utterly phony, given that more than half of it looked like posing rather than dancing, and that sucked the life from everything that happened afterward. Iwakuma’s brief appearance came off as immaterial, and what could have been a real heart-to-heart between Tatara and Hyodo ultimately felt like a convenient way to move the former boy one step closer to his goal. It now falls to the Akagi siblings (the two characters introduced just before the ED) to breathe new life into this once-charming show, or else the next five months of blogging are going to be tinged with regret.

NOTE: This week, I started referring to the show’s protagonist (Fujita Tatara) by his given name, which should become a regular practice going forward.

Posted on 23 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

Well, there’s no going back now. Ballroom just went full sports anime, and it cut the brake lines for good measure. After the relative nuance of last week’s character introduction, the newest episode treated us to more fanservice, more contrivance, and more shounen formula than the last two combined. Sports series have really stepped up their game over the last few years, with Yuri on Ice and especially Ping Pong busting genre conventions every time they hit the airwaves, but I wasn’t expecting Ballroom to reach those heights – just equaling its sister series Haikyuu would be a fine achievement. The going is still early, but since I’m reviewing the show episodically, I don’t have a lot of praise to dole out this time.

Before we get too negative, though, let’s talk about Fujita’s family life for a bit. There’s a sweet mealtime scene between our young hero, his father, and his grandmother, who we met for the first time this week. Fujita does his best impression of a color commentator as a sumo match plays on TV, allowing his nearsighted grandma to follow along. This heartwarming scene further establishes him as a good kid, but he’s still not disclosing his new hobby to his dad, so I have to wonder when Fujita’s sneaking around will come back to bite him in the butt. Ballroom isn’t one of those series that makes its paternal figures into antagonists, but we already know that he’s concerned about his son’s upcoming high school entrance exams. When he inevitably learns that ballroom dancing is coming before Fujita’s studies, we can expect a B-plot’s worth of material from the resulting conflict.

Notably absent from the dinner table is Fujita’s mother. I’ve been on the lookout for a shrine somewhere in their home, but it appears she’s just living apart from her family. I have to wonder whether Fujita would be more comfortable revealing his passion for dance to a mother figure, but it’s hard to speculate, since all the women in this cast are already part of that world. Tamaki-san is the encouraging type, at least, which is a wonderful trait for a young novice to have in an instructor. Speaking of female characters, I took issue with the way that half of the cast was treated in this episode. This is a shounen property, so I was prepared for a certain level of sexual objectification, but at this point Banba’s role in the story is 80% boob jiggle. The more offensive instance by far, though, came when Sengoku grabbed a handful of Shizuku’s dress during a pep talk and inadvertently bared her breasts. Then they threw in a gushing nosebleed and a camera flash for good measure… I was able to get past the changing scene from last week without much trouble, but if this shit becomes a staple in Ballroom’s playbook, it’s going to put a sizeable damper on my enjoyment of the series.

Excessive fanservice isn’t the only bone I had to pick with this episode, either. The “overheard from a bathroom stall” trope was executed with about as much grace as Fujita after just one dance lesson, and it didn’t teach us anything that we couldn’t infer from the studio above his home and his rigorous practice routine. The show’s attempt to frame another competitor for Hyodo’s fall didn’t even qualify as half-hearted, plus we’ve already seen him fall down a flight of stairs at Ogasawara. And the fall itself was a complete contrivance, not only because it allowed Fujita to hit the floor way ahead of schedule, but also because it will prevent Hyodo from claiming his title. This kind of plotting reminds me of sports anime from the mid-90’s: clumsy and lacking any kind of dramatic tension. Sengoku refers to dance competitions as “battlefields” midway through the episode, but the show handled this one as though it were a mere reenactment.

Thankfully, Hyodo’s character remains fascinating, even when the events unfolding around him are not. After seeing Fujita’s excited expression on the dance floor, Hyodo angrily demands that he “give it back,” a clear reference to the passion that he himself has lost. It’s tempting to think that the two trash-talkers from the bathroom got under his skin, but it seems to me that he’s been approaching this breaking point for a while. His enthusiasm for the sport is at a low point, given his lack of challengers and disinterest in training overseas; he may not even want to compete at all, feeling only the need to live up to his reputation or please his parents. Hyodo’s expressions on the floor are often intense, but never are they happy, and that’s where Fujita has him beat. The continued strength of their rivalry will be one of the biggest measures of Ballroom’s success as it goes on – hopefully the rest of the show catches up soon.

Posted on 17 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

After a strong start to its two cour season, Ballroom e Youkoso has managed to waltz its way past all potential stumbling blocks and deliver an even better second episode. There was a lot to love here, including a carefully introduced rival and love triangle, great voicework from Shinba Tsuchiya, and some promising animation during a late solo dance sequence. Ballroom isn’t above including anime tropes like the always-classy ‘interrupted changing scene,’ and lead character Fujita’s latent genius is a bit too evident after just two installments, but the team at Production I.G. is doing a lot more things right than wrong. Let’s break them down step by step.

The episode is named after Kiyoharu Hyodo, the biggest of the three characters it introduces (the other two being Banba and Jinbo, Fujita’s friendly but underqualified dance instructors). Sengoku describes Hyodo as a “monster” who stands in complete dominance of Japan’s amateur DanceSport scene. He’s full of intensity on the floor, but totally aloof when he’s away from it, demonstrating his nonchalance throughout the episode via several cavernous yawns. Even if you think these are intentional, Hyodo is quite agreeable for a rival character in anime, especially given his young age and outrageous skill. He demonstrates a basic waltz step for his new studio-mate with only a slight protest, and keeps his cool when Fujita later interrupts his solo practice. The hitch is that Hyodo is involved in a nine-year dance partnership with Shizuku, on whom our hero has a massive crush.

When Sengoku teases that Fujita might try to steal his partner, Hyodo claims not to care. Shizuku, however, appears to care very much, blushing and pouting at his level-headed response. Thus the love triangle falls into place, with the only question mark being where Hyodo’s affections lie. Attractive and talented as Shizuku is, it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be interested, but he doesn’t seem to be; even when presented with the opportunity to train overseas with her, he’s content to stay in Japan. This is clearly discouraging to Shizuku, who thinks Hyodo is “on another level” and considers herself “lucky he’s my partner.” The hero worship here made me a little wary of potential Sakura Syndrome, where a major female character acts only as a bystander or cheerleader, but the groundwork has been laid for Shizuku to undergo her own arc. Natsu from Baby Steps is a good model for how I hope her character is handled over the course of the series – always improving and competing against rivals of her own, even as she functions as a love interest for two different guys.

On the production side of things, the stills and CG dancers returned for another episode, but all was forgiven during one of the final scenes this week. During a solo practice session of Hyodo’s, the art became more sketch-like and the animation more fluid, giving a powerful, dynamic feel to his movements. Even if it only lasted for a few seconds, this willingness to break model and use a rougher style to capture a different energy is a confidence booster. I especially liked this choice given that Fujita was observing him, and needed to be inspired by what he saw to push the story forward. Speaking of Fujita, Shinba Tsuchiya is a breath of fresh air as his voice actor, imbuing the character with a nice blend of self-consciousness and enthusiasm. Tsuchiya is a newcomer to the seiyuu world, but he’s already drawing comparisons to Daiki Yamashita, who voices Deku on Boku no Hero Academia, so his future looks bright. Hopefully Ballroom’s future remains just as promising as the show starts covering multiple manga chapters per episode.

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
@Amagi: they better have a second season. The way it ends now I don't even have any motivation to write a full review. I'm not really optimistic over it having a second cour because if the producers were confident about its chance, they would've greenlit it already.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Seems like the official radio confirmed PriPri might get a second season if the BD and/or game sales are good enough. - BD sales seem to be around 7k at the moment, but it looks like many only ordered them now, after the last episode, so it might be more.
KTravlos
@Aidan. Oh I did. Thank you for reminding me. I will write the review.
AidanAK47
@Travlos, Just in case you missed it, there is a reply to you earlier in the chatbox.
KTravlos
Kakeguiri also ended. In the end the anime original ending was not really an ending, but just a fan pleasing excursion. The integrity of the manga story remains. It was a good adaption, and I liked it as it brought to life the parts of the manga that make it interesting to me. Also a great Opening and Ending. Good show.
KTravlos
And to sum it up. I think this was a great series. All its episodes were good.
KTravlos
I actually am ok with the PP ending. The 12 episode series is self contained. Sure there are many future potential stories to pursue, but I felt there was enough closure to make the series a good series. This is because the next step of the narrative is really so long term as being more LOGH material than PP (the story of the ascension of Princesss to the throne, and then the story of her reforms)
Lenlo
Alright, I found the read more tag. Now my tendency to write more than I should will be contained.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Got to play catch-up but I am guessing it was very much a non ending?
SuperMario
Gosh, is that how Princess Principal end?
SuperMario
@KAiser: I really have a mixed feeling watching Assayas's films. I always find his works toe touch into pretentious area. Still have much more films from him I want to watch though so that opinion might change
SuperMario
@Kaiser: As Tears go By surprised me a little considering how straightforward it is. It's Wong's most by the book HK romance but it was one of his most commercial success. After this, the studio allowed him to do things he like and that was when he gone banana with his styles
SuperMario
not a fan. Can't even tell the difference between turtle and tortoise
Anonymous1420257
i like turtles
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I hadn't expected some of the dry/dark humour in sils Maria, I liked the themes/aging angst and its comments on hollywood in parts even if it needed to go a bit deeper. Stewart is a revelation in it. That X-men parody scene was fucking funny lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I actually kind of liked As tears go by. Mostly because of my experiences with hong-kong action flicks, much as I like John Woos films, the melodrama he tries to sell between the action never worked for me and left me just waiting around for the action to come round again. Wong was able to put genuine emotion into the hong-kong action film with this one.
Amagi
@Aidan: Somehow. The problem is rather Haruki anyway and it's canonically part of her character. Kei becomes more likeable IMO and the events get much more complicated and/or serious plus there are a bunch of characters getting added to the protag team which makes the whole thing more dynamic. The best comes when some other character joins around the middle though.
Anonymous1416115
Personally, I can digest the emotionless dialogue in the first place since I watch the series with the mindset that the main characters are innately "broken" in some ways.
Anonymous1416115
@Aidan Hmm...one might consider the emotion level increases in main characters' dialogues for Sakurada Reset as baby steps depending on how dramatic one expects a character to act in other animes. (The emotions increase do exist though) There are certainly emotional scenes and characters do develop in ways where one can't just say they're 100% robots.
AidanAK47
@Travlos, If you so wish then you can write a review for Bahamut virgin soul. Just let me know if you are up for it. If so I recommend writing it up on google docs, then when you have it done I can give your account contributer status and you can paste it into a post for us to look over and publish on the site. For screenshots our standard size is H240 X W138.
AidanAK47
Did they ever fix that emotionless dialgoue issue they had going on?
Anonymous1415748
You are not alone. The second half of Sakurada Reset made me so glad that I stuck with the series.
Amagi
Oh and I totally forogt Reset ended now too. Not sure if I am the only fan of that but the whole second half was one of the better things I've seen this year.
Amagi
Okay now thinking three others came into my mind, but that's still not much. A lot of series started interesting and turned out mediocre or cheap after a while.
Amagi
Considering that I love Made in Abyss, PrinPrin, Fate/Apo (so far) and 18if too guess this season was better than I've expected. 2016 was kind of a let down imo, animewise. Off the top of my head I only remember Rakugo, Fune wo Amu and Bokudake I think.
Amagi
I didn't expect to like Virgin Soul as much as I do. Especially the last ~5 episodes got me. The weird thing is that I was disappointed by S1 actually.
SuperMario
@Travlos: I don't mind if you do a guess review on Virgin Soul, but let's me check with other admins first.

On Virgin Soul, I'm not sure if I like the bew development. It suddenly does a 180 degree turn on King Charriot, which I don't feel rewarding.
KTravlos
Kakegurui will have an anime original ending. It might be better than the ongoing manga. We shall see. An enjoyable foray.

Virgin Soul is going for a nice explosive ending. If no one writes a review, I would be willing to write one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*kind of
Kaiser-Eoghan
While its very much in the shadow of the first and the protaganist started out kind annoying, I kind of got caught up in the spectacle and sentimentality of gunbuster 2.
KTravlos
Urasawa is preparing a new manga
KTravlos
yes the episode where Julian watched the documentary was fun. The Caligula like character comes from one of the lesser episodes of the series, when Kircheis beats up some rebelling third rate noble in the Empire.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Goddammit, fail, it just changed the colour of the login name...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I declare in the red truth that the next anime I shall watch is Diebuster.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From what little I saw, I remember a Caligula like character in one episode.
Anonymous1409409
I remember there's an episode where Julian just goes on Space Netflix and just watches a documentary. I actually liked that lol
KTravlos
yup, a LOGH that run like the Altair anime would be bad. It needs to show the sweep of history
AidanAK47
@Anon, I actually liked that aspect. It made the history of the world feel real.
Anonymous1409027
It's compressible, as there are many episodes of buildup, but that's where so many of the interesting details and depth of planning become evident. Some of those episodes read like a history textbook though, so we'll see how the new adaptation handles them,
Anonymous1409027
*pleasantly
KTravlos
Tytania was ok.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the Amakusa Shiro reference in the fate review, I've seen a film about him from the 50s , theres also an old josei manga where the protagonist ends up becoming essentially regarded as him.
KTravlos
Hi Kaiser. Supposedly this is a re-imagining of the original story. Thus independent of the OVAs (old serieis). What exactly re-imagining means is something I and you do not know. We shall see. But it does mean that you do not need to watch the old series to enjoy this one. The OVA was definetly more expansive than the novels. So my guess is they will stick to the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's another anime, called Tytania based on his novels but I haven't seen that series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As in condensable in the way nothing much is lost? I assume there are fillers in the original?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm indifferent to the aesthetics of the new version. What I'm hoping for is that it will be accessible to newcomers and that I'll be able to jump on to the old series where the new one leaves off. I've seen very little of the original and it was a long time ago, is there any way the story is condensable?
KTravlos
The fact that they stayed away from the disgusting new manga is great. I am not too keen on the CGI ships, but they also did not rankle. It looks like it will honor the spirit of the old series, and I cannot ask for more. I am a massive LOGH fan. And the new video out gives me hope of revisiting one of the greatest sci-fi/historical settings out there. I am happy.
AidanAK47
I hope they are using the old anime as a base and not the new Manga adaption. As that Manga adaption is seriously lacking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I like that they blinged up the space battles which is good because those things could get tiresome. But I really hate the design of Yang Wenli. They made him look so much younger and bishi. I don't think i could take this guy seriously if he started one of Wenli's signature hypothesis.
Anonymous1408919
Thoughts on that new LOGH PV? My expectations were low, so I'm presently surprised. Obviously they made everybody pretty boys, and Mamoro Miyano is voicing Reinhard I believe. But art and animation actually looks pretty decent overall. It's a PV, and LOGH's best quality is it's story and characters, so we'll have to see if they remain faithful or not. But it's nice to see it get a visual overhaul.
AidanAK47
By the way this site has the first chapters but check the other versions to find them.
http://mangapark.me/manga/tsurezure-children-wakabayashi-toshiya
AidanAK47
@Mario, Indeed. It's also a pity that over half the couples in the manga were not featured. We only got a small taste of Patricia.
SuperMario
Or maybe I'll try to read the manga. The last time I checked it online, the site doesn't have its first few chapters
SuperMario
@Aidan: man, Tsurezure Children sure is sweet. Really sad to see it ends
AidanAK47
So that's the end of Tsurezure Children.
....I'm gonna need a second season. Now.
....NOW GODDAMNIT! NOW!
KTravlos
As I said I understand the criticisms to RE:Creator, but ultimately I enjoyed most of the show. It could had been better, and it is a missed chance. But I have seen worse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I gave up halfway through, there weren't even enough action scenes and those that were didn't justify waiting around for.
AidanAK47
Could have at least delivered on the action but that was rendered pointless due to the majority of the cast turning good and Altair being a complete cheat character.
AidanAK47
It would have been really fun to see characters discuss their stories with their creators or indulge in what our world has to offer but they really glossed over that part.
AidanAK47
It really should have gone deeper into the whole meta aspect introducing anime characters to the real world. Like they did with Mamika's powers being ridiculously destructive when outside a kid friendly setting.
AidanAK47
@Puran, I at least like the message of the final episode. But as for the show itself it was just missed potential on a lot of levels. I wanted Anime Genre battle royale and instead got a secondhand Shirobako with a crap shounen anime attached.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have been forgiving of Anno as I've gotten older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also just re-watched gunbuster, I'd previously dismissed the ova after a few episodes when I was a teenager, I'd found it too slow, didn't have that issue with the 90 minute version I just finished. I've never see the sequels.
Lenlo
Ill have to finish Creators... at some point
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been dipping back into the Lupin franchise, Gold of babylon was particularly screwball, kind of ridiculous comedy caper/adventure thing you just have to run with....turns out it was directed by a live action filmaker I especially like who made bizzare noir films in the 60s.
Puran
So that explains why Meteora had so much air time in Re:Creators. It's her story....

I hated the ending and I disliked the anime overall.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was a genuine surprise to see that Assayas decided to make a film framed around hentai =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I loved how incoherent demonlover was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The criticisms I'll give wind river, is a slight inconsistent performance from Renner and that very awkwardly inserted flashback scene.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: on Wind River, I agree it's a well-executed case of the week drama, although there are some plot pregressions that I don't get (how did they find out about the man's corspe again?). About Demonlover, man, the film gives me a chill down my spine. Heartless. And a bit misogynist.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: as much as I loved Wong (yeah I too prefer him over Malick), sometimes I do think Western cinema give him too much praise that sadly overshadow other Asian directors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wong is important to me as a hong-kong filmaker, he offers something entirely different from the whole Woo/Lam Hong komg movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On a more positive note Maggie Cheung did mention that she felt her early work with Wong was when she first truly became a proper actress.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I had no idea he had such a sad background.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*investigation drama
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that film also marked/ signified a rather sad period of Hongkong showbiz. Leslie Cheung badically lived the live of the protagonist and commited suicide in 1997. His girlfriend on screen, during the filming, was kidnaped, raped and taken topless picture. The damnest thing is that everyone knowed the culprit but did nothing, and in the press it was just deemed as "kipnapped and assaulted"
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wind river was a big surprise for me, just goes to show that with the right execution an ordinary police drama movie can be elevated higher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thats the interesting thing, tracking a directors career.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just binge watched the new dominion tank police ovas , admittedly these are kind of reptitive and extremely silly but its hard to hate on something so shamelessly fun that made me feel like a child again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: you said it there. DoBW is rather raw and unpolished but that's one of the reason why I am drawn to it more compare to his other works.
AidanAK47
In all honesty, it would be nice to finally see a continuation after fusion as all games after that have just been adding chapters in-between.
Vonter
Finally I wonder, if Metroid Prime 4 will definitely branch out of the main Metroid's continuity. It's curious how an interquel subseries is still going to add things in between the first and the second entries in the main franchise.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - I think is nice we can see both takes. Especially since neither one despite a few qualms are still very solid entries for this franchise. I just hope Metroid moves forward, as IMO this is the only game that really needed a facelift do to the heavy limitations of the gameboy. And I hope the secret gallery at the end is teasing how the producer plans to move the plot forward.
AidanAK47
I thought it might be like that but it's good to know they are at least on a close level. I didn't really want Samus Returns to replace AM2R as the "Definitive" version of Metroid 2. Mostly because a lot of love was put into AM2R andit came at a point when it felt Nintendo didn't give a crap about Metroid.
Vonter
Like Zero Mission there's something added to Samus Returns but I'll just leave it at that.
Vonter
I think both have strong points. Samus Returns have better boss battles, gameplay mechanics and more intense action pieces. AM2R IMO has more atmosphere, takes advantage of elements Nintendo don't even try like the Federation subplot, and the ending portion narratively has more heart in AM2R, while in Samus Returns it feels mostly like "the final level".
Vonter
I also did got lost a couple of times in Samus Returns and aside from the big water section in AM2R, the latter is more linear game.
Vonter
I think the controls in Samus Returns bring more to the table though. The 360 aiming makes for better ways to shoot enemies and some of the bosses take advantage of that. If it weren't for the 3DS giving hand cramps because you're holding L and R at several points it'll be completely the most ideal way to play.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - AM2R is very good, I think it has the advantage that because it uses sprites IMO backgrounds and enemies are more vibrant and easier to appreciate. The Federation soldiers are better executed in AM2R and that secret section with the ship is very eery.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, How does it stack up to AM2R? I bought it and am still waiting on it to be delivered but I have the feeling that AM2R would be the better game when comparing.
Vonter
I took me 12 hours to 100% and I've heard the best ending is beating it in less than 4 hours. I think unlike Zero Mission item percentage don't matter, it's mainly to unlock an art gallery.
Vonter
My main criticism is this being a 3DS game. Small enemies can be hard to see or appreciate. And I think the 3DS wasn't made for heavy action packed games like this or Smash Bros. I got the rubber from the circle pad come off in two occasions. Also unless there was something big in the background, several areas felt lacking in detail. Still Samus and the bosses look good.
Vonter
In terms of difficulty, the game has the enemies packing more damage than in other 2D Metroids. Is difficult in the sense than you can't tank damage as in other iterations, you have to be aware of enemy behavior and bosses mainly get easier do to familiarizing with their patterns, since I did die a lot each time I faced a new boss. And got used to kill them faster as I went along.
Vonter
Ok, so I beat Samus Returns. It's quite good. Unlike Fusion that had dialogue at midst the gameplay. Samus Returns only has a prologue of exposition and any cutscenes mainly accentuate the reactions of Samus confronting a new enemy. The level design is dense, despite having isolated areas like in Fusion and the original Samus Returns, each area is very mazelike.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: =< Awww I kind of like demonlover actually despite all its flaws, it had great sound design and had this cold, clinical, un-nerving mood to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Days of being wild does feel a bit un-realized/un-polished/rough compared to his other work definitely but its probably the rawest I've seen from him and that has its appeal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Haven't seen farewell my concubine come to think of it. Regarding the scifi element I felt I embraced it more further into the film when it started to intermingle more.
While I am more forgiving toward Malick's recent films than most, that decline in quality means I have to pick Wong.
KTravlos
by the way in RE:Creators we probably will be getting a future series focusing on the hunt for Magane :p Meteora probably playing the role of detective. I also bet her novel will be wordy and heavy in exposition :p
KTravlos
i.e his end game might had been a cross-species revolution against him anyway. We will see
KTravlos
In Bahamut Chris proves to not be totally evil, but he is totally crazy. That said I am seeing one of my hunches getting supported, the hunch was that his cruelty towards daemons was with the purpose of bringing them down enough that they would be willing to work with humans as euals (As they are in Jean's army) and thus via that create a more unified world. I
KTravlos
RE: Creators has come to its end. I know the problems everyone has with it, and while it failed to raise to the level of exceptional show, I loved it. As I said, it had been years since a show kept me so excited episode after episode. They blew it at some point, but ultimately for me this is an en-joyful show, and one I would happily binge watch in the future again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: question for you though, between these two directors, which one do you prefer: Wong Kar-Wai or Terrance Malick?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: if you enjoyed both 2046 and In the Mood for Love, by all mean check out Days of Being Wild. The trio forms a loose trilogy and Days of Being Wild was the first film that Wong began his unique unconventional style. It's one of my personal favorite of Wong and it's a chance for you to watch the late Leslie Cheung acted (you might watch him already in Farewell My Concubine)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: 2046 is indeed a passionate film, and one of his best looking film. He tried something different in 2046 too, experimented with scifi (one of the best part in the film for me)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's stritcly Wong Kar Wai's romance we're talking about, since I don't find the rest of Chinese take on romance that interesting. Romance or melodrama is one of his main theme throughout his career
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was slightly overly long however.
I've also seen chungking express, in the mood for love and fallen angels. I think this Chinese take on romance is really clicking with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also thought it was a very passionette film and I love how Kar-wong-wai uses the music in it. I also think its one of his best looking films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I had a look at that Chinese film 2046, very effectively melancholic take on fleeting relationships while also successfully being quite sensual while staying classy and without ever showing too much. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are two beautiful people =P
SuperMario
for those who still want to catch up with 18if, episode 11 has a huge recap, while wrapping up the show with a new overarching plot. Hopefully they don't pull another Matrix here
SuperWooper
It's shounen-y for sure. The competitions have been my least favorite parts of the show so far. If you're still watching, you might appreciate it more once the Tenpei Cup is over.
Anonymous1399692
Damn Ballroom looks so good. But I really can't enjoy it despite that I want to. It has too many of these typical shounen moments and plot points I can't stand.
Anonymous1399684
Omae wa mou shindeiru
Lenlo
Mononoke is actually what made me find Ayakashi. Also a good show.
SuperMario
Regarding Ayakashi, I only watched the Mononoke segment
SuperMario
"It was a long, long trip, and we're coming finally to the end of the journey. Thank you, Manoyama and Chupacabra. And thank you, 5 EURO" - Sandal-san.
Lenlo
Ayakashi was great for me Kaiser. I enjoyed my time with it
Vonter212
@AidanAK47 - The hard aspect has been commented in several reviews with bosses being able to easily kill you. (Although in my experience it might be just getting a pattern). In terms of length most 2D games can be beaten under 3 hours. This one seems to clock at at least 6 to 15 if you want to collect everything. Then again, we'll see in subsequent playthroughs.
AidanAK47
`@Vonter. It's out now but I don't remember seeing anyone claim it's the longest hardest entry 2D wise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch new dominion tank police next and read violence action and Oddman 11.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It took me years to get round to it, but I finally watched Ayakashi and as expected like most anthologies, again its mixed, the first is a solid ghost story that improves after a weak start, but that third one with the cat spirit was great, really liked how experimental that looked.
Vonter
Soo a new Metroid comes out this week. It is said, it's the longest, hardest entry in regards to the 2D iterations. Still not as great as Super, and depending on your fanaticism it might or not be as good as Zero Mission.
SuperMario
But they didn't pull that scene off too well. It's just... unmemorable. In fact the whole show is very unremarkable. Now only 1 episode left I might as well finish it but I won't give it a full review
SuperMario
Koi to Uso has been disappointing so far. Episode 10 featured the sequence that i was looking forward the most in the manga: the former classmate tells the one sided crush of the main girl from her POV. For a romance that contrived and manipulated like this one, hearing this from the third person's perspective prove to be more powerful
Vonter
@HelghastKillzone - Good luck with that. I almost had my car's engine damaged since it has been raining heavily where I live. Had to ask for help the next day to pull it out of mud. Still not as bad as the other three cars that did get stuck in the water.
HelghastKillzone
Dealing with work and the total loss of my car really sucks at the moment so I'm quite tied up for this week.
KTravlos
I do agree to a point, but to be frank all the episodes of Princess Principal to date have been so solid I have a hard time deciding. Episode 5 though was still the best from a holistic point (action, direction, music etc) was the one introducing Chise
SuperMario
Agree. Dorothy has the biggest heart out of all the spy girls. Also "help" that her episodes are all melodramatic.
Amagi
This episode of PrinPrin showed again that Dorothy is the best character by far. Not just herself but her episodes as well are better written than the rest if you ask me.
KTravlos
It just hit me. The characters in Princess Principal may be very well working for IngSoc :p
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, in the seven chapters it's only really two of them that contain dark shocking content. Chapter three being the biggest one in that regard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read a comment where someone said subahibi shocked them more than saya no uta. While I haven't played it yet, I have seen some of a letsplay...it lleft me thinking....how many hours until this actually gets good/truly unhinged .
AidanAK47
After Reading SubaHibi, Made in Abyss's dark turn didn't shock me too much. Maybe I just got desensitised. I will have a review of SubaHibi hopefully up in a week though to clarify my feelings on it after just finishing it, It was interesting but disappointing.
KTravlos
well, well. Both Made in the Abyss and Virgin Soul do not hold back. Grim! RE:Creators is warping up. Comparing with these other shows I can fully appreciate the problems people have with it. But still I am glad I am sticking to the end. Altair's voice actor by the way did great.
AidanAK47
@Helghast, And Kings Field was the Demon Souls before Demon Souls came out.
KTravlos
having binge watched several of this season's shows I would say Princess Principal is the most rounded. Made in Abyss is good. Kakegurui and The Reflection as SuperMario said will depend on your tastes. There is also Shouko no Altair. You will like it if you liked Tanya Saga of Evil, or Legend of Galactic Heroes, or Arslan Senki or manga like Vinland Saga, Gunka no Baltzar, and especially Historie
Anonymous1385641
Jesus...me watching this weeks Made in Abyss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ogzsWhZcmM
HelghastKillzone
So... Demon Souls was the Dark Souls before Dark Souls came out.
SuperMario
@anon1385426: the safest bets aside from Made in Abyss are Welcome to the Ballroom and Princess Principal. Kakegurui and the Refection are for more acqurired taste
Anonymous1385426
Aside from Made in Abyss, what's the best anime this season?
Lenlo
@KT, the pacing and the framerate early on are my two biggest issues. Later on the story starts to get abit more engaging, and they start doin things I didnt expect, but the pacing is still there. Some akward pauses.
Lenlo
Look, Berserk and Dark Souls are both amazing. But I only have 3 Dark Souls games, and 38 Berserk volumes. Im clearly biased
KTravlos
I sat down and watched the first 4 episodes of The Reflection. It is an interesting attempt, and I can see the people making it having fun doing so. But I did notice a pacing issue. For some reason the episodes felt like they dragged a bit too long.
AidanAK47
Dark Souls is the Berserk of Video Games.
Amagi
Dark Souls really went all Berserk if you ask me
AidanAK47
I am not one for putting down law but can we never ever compare anything to Dark Souls ever again? Cause it's actually become really tiresome how everything is the dark souls of something.
Lenlo
No other sentence has made me want to watch Made in Abyss more
Total users: 30

Featured Posts

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Kakegurui – 11[The woman who bets her life]

So…what am i supposed to say here? Yumeko wins, the treasurer loses and now the show looks to be teasing a matchup between the Student council President and Yumeko. I would say it’s a good thing this shows end looms near as my interest in it has just about petered out. I love seeing smug […]

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