Posted on 28 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. All that remained was for the creative staff to carefully transfer Takeuchi Tomo’s manga to the small screen, and they mostly succeeded – at least, in conveying its individual images and moments. But sports anime have evolved beyond an upper limit of simple panel-by-panel adaptations, and in the end, Ballroom didn’t manage to keep pace with its contemporaries. While its characters deserve some praise, both for their designs and their personalities, the series is limited by shounen clichés, haphazard progression, and an inadequate sense of movement during dance competitions.

The show’s lead character is one Fujita Tatara, whose general listlessness is gradually transformed into passion after he accidentally discovers ballroom dance. Tatara’s timid nature stands in stark contrast to the more dominant personalities he encounters throughout the series, and the show makes good use of that difference to portray Tatara’s personal growth in tandem with his improvement as a dancer. Though he is initially intimidated by rival characters both aloof and hotheaded, he learns from and ultimately befriends them as the series goes along. His relationships with three girls, all of whom serve as his dancing partner for some length of time, are even more central to Ballroom’s formula. Tatara struggles with the traditional notion of male-dominated performances, and aims to cooperate with his partners as best he can. There might have been some interesting social commentary to be had here, but the show smothered that potential during its second half by pushing the idea that its protagonist ought to become a perfect leader, but never satisfactorily explaining what that meant or how to do it.

Despite some muddled goal-setting, Ballroom’s characters are fun to spend time with, and worth learning about in detail. The show frequently explores performance anxiety, feelings of inferiority and stagnation, and even digs into the dark personal lives of its cast once or twice. But more common than these positive tendencies are competition-interrupting flashbacks and clunky comments from nameless observers, which become more common and more frustrating the longer the show goes on. Even Tatara’s biggest rival, an unflappable genius by the name of Hyodo Kiyoharu, begins seeing into the heads of other dancers by the show’s end, describing exactly what they’re feeling and perfectly evaluating their performances as a stand-in for the writers. This may have been necessary, however, in light of the show’s most glaring issue – for a show about ballroom dance, there isn’t nearly enough dancing to be found.

Many of the show’s problems intensify in its second half, but its poor dance animation is more noticeable in the early episodes. Even with an eventual uptick in the number of prolonged choreographed sequences, however, the damage is done at the start, with plenty of panning stills, reaction shots, CG dancers, and speed lines instead of honest-to-goodness dancing. Audience members aren’t given a proper introduction to the sport in motion, so we have to fall back on snippets of verbal speculation about whose stamina is giving out, or whether Tatara has finally learned how to execute a proper hold. This robs several key scenes of the impact they deserve, though others are bolstered by Ballroom’s frequent use of visual metaphor during competitions. If you cut your teeth on sports anime from the 90’s or early 2000’s, these techniques may not be too bothersome, but fans of newer titles in the genre may find the lack of dynamic movement disappointing.

This aspect of the show does improve as the series draws to a close, but there’s a trade-off to be made. Several characters are marginalized to make room for a brash newcomer, and her transition from manga to anime is less than seamless. The series also succumbs to a shounen tradition with which most anime fans will be quite familiar, though for the sake of potential viewers I won’t get too specific. Still, Ballroom ends well, and my original affection for the show did return for the final episode, so there’s reason to hang in there if you’re already halfway done. There’s little hope for a season 2, based on the lack of remaining source material, but if you’re reading this in the future and a sequel has emerged, you may be wondering whether the original is worth your time. My advice: if you’re a fan of sports anime, sample three episodes and see how you like it. Otherwise, give this one a pass.

Posted on 23 December 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

This is going to be a loose, informal series of takes on the last four episodes of Ballroom e Youkoso. We’re saving the professionalism for the series review post. If you think this show is the best thing since sliced bread, or just a competent anime series that you happen to enjoy, you’ll want to avert your eyes.

21: I recently had a conversation with my brother about whether art can be objectively labeled “good” or “bad.” Take anime, for example. Show the same episode to 100 different people, and you’ll get 100 varying ideas about how “good” it was. There’s no perfect metric that can be used to determine the quality of an artistic work – or so I thought, until I watched this episode. It is now my belief that you can fairly and impartially measure how bad an anime is by the length of its flashbacks and digressions. This episode was full of them, and it all started with a two-and-a-half minute free association exercise by our resident rival character, Hyodo Kiyoharu. We got scenes of him grilling his mom about her coaching technique, his opinions on the strengths of different dance partners, and a breakdown of stretches that can increase mobility, all in the middle of Tatara’s performance. This was just the beginning, as the show proceeded to bring Shizuku, Mako, Gaju, and a couple of sideline reporters in on the fun. No amount of metaphorical door kicks could save this episode from distracting itself to death.

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Posted on 23 November 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

It seems that the closer Ballroom e Youkoso gets to the end of its run, the further it moves from my strike zone. The series’ wide-ranging cast is its greatest asset, so you’d think that an extended flashback exploring Akira and Chinatsu’s shared past would be a slam dunk, but these episodes left me cold. There are too many hurdles for the show to overcome, between a lack of expressive motion, inconsistent portrayals of skill and compatibility, superfluous dialogue, and poor scene transitions. Assuming I continue doing double-episode posts, I’ve only got two more to go, but I’m dreading the final review that lies beyond them. Takeuchi Tomo, the original creator, has given us the heads-up that the Ballroom anime may receive an original ending due to delays in the manga’s release schedule, which only adds to my apprehension. Then again, the show has been pretty faithful to its source and still ended up in this rut, so maybe some fresh material is just what it needs.

There was a minor controversy surrounding Ballroom’s 41st chapter (from which “Rival” draws) a while back. When it was first published in Monthly Shounen Magazine, it contained a page where Akira thought to herself, “What I love is something else.” She expresses a similar thought in this episode (though Amazon’s subs use “like” instead of “love”), a reference to her affection for Chinatsu, rather than the sport that binds them. However, when chapter 41 was included in a compiled volume of the Ballroom manga, that text was removed, probably because it suggests a same-sex attraction on Akira’s part. Coming into this episode, I was curious which way the show would lean, and to my pleasant surprise, they included the line. In fact, this episode was heavy with lesbian subtext, from Akira’s descriptions of heart-pounding excitement at being around Chinatsu, to her “embarrassment” at studying the nape of her neck, to her jealousy at the thought of anyone else teaming up with Chinatsu.

Now we know that Akira is gay (or at least bisexual), and that her attraction to her former partner has shaped their relationship coming into adolescence. We even delve into her psyche a bit, as she manipulates Chinatsu into dancing the boy’s part because she prefers her in a “male” role, and labels her feelings as “wretched.” Despite its success in telling their story, however, Ballroom fails to connect it to the larger picture of the current arc. Akira dances to be close to Chinatsu, not because of a particular love for competition; Tatara’s current goal is to become a better competitor by understanding what it means to lead. Those ideas don’t have much to do with one another, although you could argue that the show has lost sight of Tatara’s arc, as well. The show is constantly giving us mixed messages about both him and Chinatsu. Take Mine-san’s evaluation of the pair, for example: “They have childish faces, but their childishness has disappeared.” Hello?! How does this explain Chinatsu’s relentless mocking of Akira in this episode (which kind of undercut the emotional aspect of their backstory), or Tatara’s exasperating timidity?

That brings me to my next point, about the lack of consistency surrounding the show’s treatment of the Tatara/Chinatsu partnership. Just a couple weeks ago they were in the zone, flying through the early rounds of the competition, and using their clashing personalities to push each other to new heights. We even got that scene where Chinatsu was viscerally influenced by Tatara’s movement, so much so that it threatened to overtake her. Then we get to these episodes, and the entire peanut gallery is shit-talking them, Chinatsu is acting totally aloof, and they’re literally stepping on each other’s feet. Then we move to the slapstick second half of “Friend,” which features a scene where Hyodo sits on Tatara’s back and “separates his muscles” over his anguished cries, while Chinatsu and Akira nonchalantly eat bananas in the foreground… I’m cool with anime moving rapidly between different styles and tones, but only if they establish that versatility as a part of their DNA, and Ballroom has never been as wacky or felt as conflicted as it was here. The majority of this doubleheader’s appeal was lost on me, but hey, there’s only four episodes to go.

Posted on 11 November 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to single episode reviews, as I promised last time, because these two didn’t leave me with a whole lot to talk about. Much of “Performer” was spent bringing Tatara and Chinatsu back together after their spat from the previous installment, but since I didn’t buy into that conflict in the first place, it ended up feeling like more of a hangout episode (with plenty of fanservice and shipping to boot). We got some uncommon character pairings, too, like Chinatsu/Mako and Tatara/Shizuku, the latter of which is a rarity these days. And while these sorts of cast shake-ups might have delighted me a couple months ago, they seemed rather utilitarian here, given the need for our main couple’s big breakup to be reversed. Thankfully, the chill-inducing conclusion to “Competitor No. 13” justified the show’s clumsier machinations – but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Ballroom e Youkoso has devoted what seems like a dozen monologues to the ideas that 1) Tatara is a poor leader, and 2) he and Chinatsu aren’t a good fit. There’s a glaring issue with this constant hammering of the same couple points, and it’s one I’ve tried not to mention too often, since it’s such a widely repeated criticism of the show. Maybe this episode was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though, because I’m compelled to bring it up: the dancing direction isn’t strong enough to communicate the same messages. We hear it verbally, but we rarely see Tatara failing as a leader. What we see are a lot of still shots, anguished expressions, and reactions from judges or crowd members. Moreover, Ballroom hasn’t properly shown its audience what successful leadership looks like in motion. We’ve just been trained to equate confidence with skill, and as anybody who’s ever played a sport knows, they’re not the same at all.

Without the choreography necessary to convey Tatara’s failures, the show falls back on dialogue to destroy and rebuild his new partnership. A lot of Chinatsu’s grief seems to stem from jealousy, which comes to the surface after she learns about the past Tatara/Mako partnership. I felt really proud of Mako for keeping her patience with Chinatsu, even after the older girl implied that dancers with consistent partners led breezy, carefree lives. Mako’s maturity aside, however, this scene boiled down to Tatara’s leadership being verbally praised, and Chinatsu deciding to give him a second chance as a result. The Tatara/Shizuku scene involved even more lip service, but was somehow less convincing – if Tatara is capable of impressing a veteran like Shizuku, why is his lack of leading ability constantly being harped on? As this scene played out, with one of Japan’s best amateur dancers calling him “a mystery,” I couldn’t help but think that Tatara has always been portrayed as an open book.

Alright, that’s enough criticism of the show’s visuals. As important as they ought to be in a show about ballroom dancing, the characters are the main attraction, and they really came through in the second of these two episodes. Being in a competitive setting once again, Tatara and Chinatsu really seemed to be click, despite their occasional bickering. The appearance of the dancers’ family members was a lot of fun, as well, especially Mine-san’s wife and child, from whom he kept his continued dancing a secret. But the thing that really sold me on the start of this arc was the final scene, where Tatara’s intensity started to overtake Chinatsu, represented both by smoke and by blood cells entering her body. Ballroom pulled out a couple of neat dance sequences for the start of the Metropolitan tournament, but taken alone, those wouldn’t have been enough to convince me of Chinatsu’s sensation. This show tends to hit a home run whenever it uses visual metaphors this way, so I’m glad it went back to that well. It’s no small task to convince your audience that someone as stubborn as Chinatsu would give control to another person, but the creative team took a good first step with this episode.

Posted on 23 October 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

Boy, this was really a Tale of Two Ballrooms. One of these episodes was almost certainly outsourced, based on the visual inconsistencies that extended even to key poses, but handled its character moments dutifully. The other looked markedly better than most of this show’s recent offerings, but rushed through so much material that its conclusion had hardly any impact. I suppose it’s a good thing I watched them together, since they make up for each other’s weaknesses, but episode 16’s abrupt finish left a sour taste in my mouth to end the doubleheader. A word of warning before you read any further: this is going to be one of those reviews were I make reference to the Ballroom manga more than once, and the eternal anime buzzword “pacing” will probably make an appearance before too long. If that sounds like something you can tolerate, at least for a few more paragraphs, then let’s unpack these episodes together.

My favorite part of “Taking the Reins” was the introduction of Kugimiya, who made an excellent transition from page to screen. He’s a blunt, imposing figure, whose tall stature and thin eyes make him a good aesthetic foil for Tatara. They’re opposites in the way they approach dance, as well; Kugimiya speaks harshly to his partner (who he’s nicknamed “Banshee”), and considers the strength of a couple’s leader to be of paramount importance. When Tatara objects to that philosophy, Kugimiya uses his undeniable skill to toss Tatara (occupying the female role) around like a ragdoll. Even Kugimiya’s theme, with its schizophrenic bassline and backwards piano, is brash and off-putting – the anime staff did an A+ job with his character. Off-putting though he may be, he’s right about how important the leader’s role is in ballroom dance, a fact that Hyodo’s mother Marisa reiterates more clearly than ever before. As Tatara’s new coach, it’s her job to make her pupil take a more active role in his routines, but it won’t be easy given his typically passive attitude.

Tatara’s old coach makes an appearance in this episode, as well, with Sengoku’s return to Japan after a month-long timeskip. The kids attend Japan’s International Dance Championships and watch as he and Hongo place third on the world stage, a feat which leaves Tatara in awe of his former mentor. After sharing a few laughs throughout the day, teacher and student have a nice moment together when Tatara works up the nerve to call him “sensei” for the first (and probably last) time. I thought it was swell of Ballroom to acknowledge the influence Sengoku has had on his old student’s development, especially because its newly-heightened narrative pace risks leaving some characters behind. Sengoku could have been a little more sentimental about it in the moment, but he had some encouraging words for Tatara during their classic train station farewell, so I’m happy. If there’s one criticism I’d level at this scene, it’s that it played a bit like a final goodbye, but it shouldn’t have, since I doubt this is the last time they’ll see one another. And speaking of scenes that don’t feel right…

Here’s a tip for all you aspiring storyboard artists out there: USE THE MANGA PANELS WHEN PLANNING YOUR ANIME. The beauty of series with existing source material is that some of the work is already done for you, and comics in particular lay things out really nicely. You can deviate from the manga, of course, but since anime is presented to the viewer at a fixed tempo, it’s important to note panels that indicate the passage of time, and use a similar device in your adaptation. Elaborate on them, do a montage, or throw a few stills on screen set to a throwaway piece of music – just make sure the episode is paced appropriately. Here’s what not to do: finish a scene with Marisa telling Tatara and Chinatsu that they can’t compete in a Grand Prix, fade to black, and transition immediately to the two of them on a train to the Grand Prix one month later. You might do this for humorous effect, but that’s not what Ballroom wanted to achieve here, and their omission of the manga’s dance training and end-of-school panels made the end of the episode feel super choppy.

The same problem carried over to the next episode, where Tatara’s obsession with a peculiar sensation he experienced while dancing led to his disqualification from the Grand Prix. He zoned out while sitting on the sidelines, you see, and when he came to, the competition was over. That’s what you might think, anyway, given that the anime only presents us with a shot of Chinatsu’s anguished look, then cuts straight to them in street clothes at a train station. Gone are her repeated attempts to rouse him, his slow return to reality, the call from another competitor asking if he should be on the dance floor, and the indication that the heat is still going on and they only missed it by a minute or so. The show was so preoccupied with showcasing its (admittedly cool) four-legged animation that it forgot how to sequence itself. I can only guess whether anime-only viewers found these scenes to be sloppy, but I know that similar transitions in other series have bothered me, even without knowing a thing about the original work.

There’s a whole half-episode of content left to discuss, but I don’t want this review to hit a thousand words, so I’m calling it here. Looks like I’ve still got plenty to say about Ballroom, so we probably ought to go back to single episode reviews. I’ll touch on whatever I missed from “Four-legged” in the next one.

Posted on 10 October 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

The unstoppable Anime Catch-up Train continues with a Ballroom doubleheader. These two episodes weren’t aired on the same day like 4 and 5 from the previous cour, but they might as well have been, given the way they complimented one another. Chinatsu has stolen not only the spotlight, but every bulb in the damn house at this point, but her peculiar personality needs explaining, and that’s what these episodes set out to do. For all the popularity that the tsundere trope enjoys, I’m glad that Ballroom decided to dive into Chinatsu’s background and explore what makes her tick, rather than carelessly dropping her into the cast and coasting on Japan’s love for girls who play hot-and-cold. If it hadn’t taken the necessary time to examine her character, her clashes with Tatara would be even more frustrating than they are now (even if the OP blatantly foreshadows them).

When I first read the Ballroom manga, I had a theory that Chinatsu was a lesbian. It might not be the most open-minded assumption in the history of fan theories, but there was at least some justification for it: her initial fangirling over Sengoku is revealed to be a smokescreen for her obsession with Hongo (his total babe of a partner), and her rivalry with Akira has the faintest hint of yuri undertones to it, given their history as dance partners. Because of the anime’s faithfulness to the manga, I was reminded of that past speculation when watching these episodes, but something else jumped out at me, too – Chinatsu’s desire to be normal. In a quiet scene where she’s doing a bit of spring cleaning, she appears torn between repairing and giving away a pair of dancing heels, but when her mom asks whether she’s thinking of getting back into the sport, she recoils at the notion. Similarly, she initially mocks and rejects Tatara for his interest in ballroom dance, but agrees to practice with him even before roping him into a scheme to humiliate Akira.

The thing about Chinatsu is that she suffers from role confusion. Having been forced into the leading position in her juniors partnership, where girls dance together, she tends to take the lead in other situations, as well – but only if she gets a clear signal that it’s okay. So when Tatara confidently admits to the class that he participates in ballroom dance competitions, she keeps her passion hidden; but when he nervously abandons a request for her to practice with him, she coolly agrees, and steers the flow of their waltz to boot. Chinatsu wants to be normal, but she knows that leading isn’t “normal” for women, neither on nor off the dance floor, which results in that signature hot/cold personality. Tatara isn’t exactly charmed by it, asking himself some variation of, “What is with this girl?” probably ten times over the course of these two episodes. This became exasperating after a while, but I can understand his bewilderment, since Chinatsu is so different than either of the other partners he’s had thus far.

The conflict between our resident redhead and her old partner Akira was beautifully set up, with Tatara caught in the crossfire at his new part-time job. Seeing him standing diligently at attention in his spiffy new uniform, even after his boss told him to take it down a notch, got an audible laugh from me. The atmosphere in the café became a lot frostier once Chinatsu walked in the door, though, as Akira pays her ex-leader a series of scathing backhanded compliments, all while asserting her superiority as a dancer and a woman. Although she looks like a high school boy’s dream, Akira is more than capable of going for the jugular, and in her rush to scrape together a rebuttal, Chinatsu declares that she and Tatara will partner up and defeat her at the Mikasa Cup. Despite their incompatibility, they perform well at a qualifying novice round, but first place is snatched from them by a pair of dancers under the tutelage of Marisa Hyodo, who appears just before the credits roll. Always the provocateur, she accuses Tatara of forcing Chinatsu to do all the work in their routine, cementing his dawning realization that he doesn’t know how to properly lead. From this point on, the series will be intensely focused on his journey to understand both the rigid requirements of ballroom dance, and the thoughts and feelings that drive his new partner. Without spoiling anything, I can reveal that it’ll be a long time before he manages either task, so I hope you’re strapped in for the ride.

Posted on 28 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

We’ve reached the halfway point of Ballroom e Youkoso’s projected 24-episode run, and along with a new high school life for Fujita Tatara comes a new OP/ED combo. Unison Square Garden returns to do the intro for the second cour, and I’m loving the new song choice. Both openings have been serviceably energetic for a shounen series, but I prefer the backbeat-driven danceability of the new one to the vocal theatrics of the original. The new ED trades clever waltz-pop fusion for even more J-rock, though, which is a definite step down. One notable thing about both visual sequences is their heavy emphasis on Chinatsu, the redhead that we glimpsed last week and to whom we were briefly introduced this time around. The OP’s use of a thunderstorm as the setting for her dance with Tatara tells us everything we need to know about her personality, and the contentious relationship she’ll have with her eventual partner. But that’s a topic for another time, as the present episode features Gaju and even Sengoku more strongly than any one newcomer.

Unfortunately for our hero, Tatara’s first year at his new school doesn’t get off to the blossoming start he’d hoped for. The cute girl sitting in front of him mocks his hobby, which he was brave enough to mention during his class introduction, and a new gang of thugs recruit him to be their errand boy on day one. The poor kid just wanted to make some new friends in high school – he even thought to himself on the way to homeroom that five was plenty! A hooded figure appears to save him from a year of subservience, though, who is eventually revealed to be our favorite mullet-head Gaju. It’s great that the elder Akagi sibling happens to go to the same school, and that he properly befriends Tatara after beating up the bullies who were on his case, but I’d love to see Tatara meet new people or stand up for himself using some of the confidence he’s learned from dance. For now, though, I’m glad he’s got somebody he can talk to between classes, even if Gaju’s the kind of weirdo who gets upset that his sister has started wearing a bra. Anime keeping it classy as always.

Something I noticed while watching this episode were the minor tweaks Ballroom made to its characters in the move to its second cour. There’s been a bit of a timeskip since the Tenpei Cup, which could explain a slight shift in their attitudes, but it was still troubling to me in a couple spots. Gaju’s sheepishness when asking for Tatara’s cell number was one instance, since it doesn’t gel with his brash personality. It felt like the show was working overtime to make him sympathetic, since he functioned as a bully himself just a few weeks ago, but in most other scenes he was his usual hotheaded self. The bigger sin, from my perspective, was turning Shizuku into a blushing Tatara fan and beacon of encouragement. Her speech about enjoying the Tenpei Cup because of his presence bore zero resemblance to her ice queen demeanor at the event itself, and while we know that was just a façade, I don’t understand why she’d drop it so completely now. Nor am I able to grasp why she wants to compete with him again so badly, since she’s light years beyond his skill level. Their whole conversation was a setup for Tatara’s new goal of finding a partner and rising through the JDSF rankings, but Shizuku needn’t have become the Perfect Girl for that to be communicated.

The show’s second act was devoted to a professional dance competition where Sengoku (and his partner Chizuru) were the main attraction. Tatara and Gaju go to watch them perform, which is a rare opportunity now that he’s traveling abroad once more. There’s a distinct sense here that the world of Ballroom is expanding, as Tatara realizes that Sengoku spends most of his time overseas, being a major figure in the DanceSport world, and that it’s a miracle he managed to attract his attention. Tatara’s self-doubt comes to the forefront in this scene, leaving him unable to make eye contact with Sengoku as he leaves the floor, but as his former coach passes by, he instructs him to “watch closely.” What follows is an exhibition of skill that the show really needed to nail, and I think they pulled it off nicely. There were several clear, fluid dance sequences here, nestled amidst the disorienting effects used to illustrate Sengoku’s unorthodox movement. (Even the CG background dancers looked better than usual, although that could have been my imagination.) His performance is so captivating that a mob of screaming fans chase him as he leaves the arena, and who else should Tatara happen to spot among them but Chinatsu? Hearing her explain away that earlier dismissal of ballroom dancing ought to be good, but then, so will everything else involving her character – she’s my favorite!

Posted on 21 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

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, Finished Series: Sports

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, Finished Series: Sports

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.

CHANGE USERNAME
Animosh
@Kaiser & Amagi: I also had lots of political discussions with my father. Didn't know that was such a common occurrence. Boys will be boys I guess? And he's actually a former Marxist too, having grown up in the 60's-70's and all. Now he's just a boring socialist though. ;)
Animosh
RErideD seemed really promising in theory: an original time travel anime written (at least in part) by Abe, with the director of Steins;Gate in charge? Count me in. But unfortunately the reviews so far seem to be uniformly negative. So I'll probably avoid it for now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Four episodes of RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida got uploaded at the same time earlier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Yes, although probably just for the Saturday, usually the best day to do so because thats when the sellers are there, usually everythings gone by Sunday. Friday is generally anime pub quiz.
Lenlo
Its just a saturday, so busy. And Kaiser, nice. Gonna go to the con at all?
Lenlo
As a writer for it, I dont believe so?
Anonymous2818178
is this site dead?
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is an animecon here in two weeks. That eyepatchwolf youtuber will be there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still have old single issues of fushigi yugi, inuyasha, Ah my Goddess, narutaru laid around.
Kaiser-Eoghan
They used to realease them like single American comic book issues in the west.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not talking bound volumes but actual 20-30 pages chapters and these would be expensive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Who remembers RENTING anime dvds and RENTING videogames? Does anyone else remember buying each individual manga chapter as they came out when the official English translations rolled around?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anyone willing to post their desktop? https://ibb.co/buc4Zz
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or things like Mischief makers .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know vonter mentioned Mystical ninja 64. But I remember after I'd moved on from the snes to the N64 when I was younger, growing up with that obscure castlevania game on it, or stuff like those 3D bomberman games no-one cared about. Or obscure stuff like body harvest, jet force gemini, blast corps , turok, quest 64 and shadowman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love coming across those online lists of literally WHOtier, WHOcares , games literally only YOU liked and heard of/played. Makes me feel less alone.
Amagi
I was also always discussing about politics with my father. Whenever we started with this my mother just said "porca putana" and went into another room to watch tv in peace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animemosh: lol I have daily political discussion with my Marxist-Leninist father just like that =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I should state, even though I'm not as bothered by the modern setting, I actually do prefer the cold war narrative.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The documentries name was Battle of Chile by Patricio Guzman.
Amagi
Especially since I don't think that the typical BF audience is of a kind that would lose interest because a series is taking place in the past. It was just written for the 80s, people can't just change that without changing the story itself to some degree.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I thought the anime did such a good job with Shio's backstory , that I didn't miss what was omitted. The anime is now up to date with the scans. I do agree that Satou's obsession with Shio is non-pedophilic but I think the scene itself is kind of going to give the wrong message.
Amagi
@Animosh: one of the many reasons why I would have prefered Banana Fish's original setting.
Animosh
By the way, apparently the backstory of Shio's mother - which supposedly is really tragic - was largely skipped. Guess I'll have to read the manga.
Animosh
I get what they're going for, recreating the ritual and all, but I also thought the Shio-Satou moment was a bit forced. I still think their relationship is platonic though. Satou has never been shown to lust after Shio: she just fills her with warmth and happiness. They're more like messed up siblings than (romantic) lovers.
Animosh
@Kaiser: sounds interesting! Chile is an excellent example of the kind of Cold War intervention that I really don't see happening today. Although you never know with an impulsive narcissist in the White House.
Animosh
End of monologue. Sorry about this. :p
Animosh
Long story short: I think the Banana Fish conspiracies fail to adequately represent the current situation. At the very least, it fits the Cold War world order much better.
Animosh
That includes the US (backing the Kurds and the rebels), but also Turkey and the Arab states (Sunni rebels), Russia and Iran (Assad), and so on and so forth. You can't act like this is the fault of one party. Hell, I'd say Russia and Assad are more responsible for failing to a peaceful resolution when they had the chance.
Animosh
As for Syria, it's a mess, but the US is only one of many parties responsible. And oil isn't particularly important in this conflict. It's a civil war that's been made much worse by the influx of money and weapons from many different parties vying for regional influence.
Animosh
So what does it do? It gives military and financial backing to militias with shared interests (which is much less than Russia does, by the way), orders drone strikes, and perhaps the occasional tactical strike. But overthrowing countries and setting up puppet regimes? I don't see it happening. That's basically declaring war on the other big powers.
Animosh
And even when it does intervene militarily, it rarely goes all out. The US has learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't want to be dragged into another endless conflict, or see its efforts end in another brutal civil war that destabilizes the region.
Animosh
So although the US occasionally still intervenes militarily in other countries' affairs, other means of pressure are now more popular. The sanctions against Iran and North Korea are a good example of this.
Animosh
The current landscape is much more complex. America is still powerful, of course, but relatively speaking it is in decline, and that means it can get away with much less. Today's world is closer to a multipolar world, with many sides fighting for influence. And because the ideological conflict is much less pronounced, the US is much less willing to go against its purported values.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Coincidentally I recently watched a series of Chilean documentaries regarding the murder of Salvador Allende and the installation of the Pinochet Junta.
Animosh
And that meant both that America was far more powerful than it is now, and that much more intervention was considered acceptable - including shamelessly backing dictators that oppressed and exploited their people. After all, a defeat meant evil would prevail.
Animosh
Obviously the US still interferes in other countries. Quite a lot, actually. But there's a big difference between its current policy and that during the Cold War. Back then the geopolitical landscape was very different. It was bipolar, with two big Isms (capitalism and communism) fighting it out.
Animosh
@anon: not sure if this is the right place for a political discussion, but whatever. I like politics, so here we go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*was no exception
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: If, out of the many moments in happy sugar life that I'd consider unsettling, it would be the one's with the aunt and this weeks episode was an exception. That last part of the episode will be interpreted as shoujo-ai bait by people though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking forward to Angels of death next week, I think we're getting answers, glad to get answers on bad guy even if he is a simple villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now this is an interesting coincidence as last night I just got done watching a documentary about cyberwarfare against Iran.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats alot more detailed than what I was going to say. I was just going to say that it reflects current foreign policy.
Anonymous2808488
however the current stalemate in Syria is a reflection of the intransigence of the monied elite to not let go of ill-gotten gains, constantly provoking conflict with Russia/Assad/Iran
Anonymous2808488
Its a documented fact the US/EU promoted the Arab Spring/ISIS rebellions and it was stopped by patriots with a conscience
Anonymous2808488
replace with the mexican cartels/Hezbollah, and oil money promised to Cheney-connected Genie enerrgy
Anonymous2808488
its a pretty accurate description of the current reality minus a couple silly things like the mafia and mind control drugs
Anonymous2808488
You guys realize this plot is unfolding in Syria just replace drugs with oil money
Lenlo
Its hokey in the now, but in the original context the series was written, the Cold War, I think it could fit really well.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what felt awkward to you? I thought the pumpkin stuff in particular was pretty hilarious. Eiji is an evil guy. :p
Animosh
Yeah, the conspiracy stuff feels a bit wacky in the present. But in the context of the Cold War, it makes perfect sense. The USA supported plenty of bloody coups after all, especially in Latin America. Hell, they even backed the Taliban in their war against Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the future I want to make a bigger effort to follow MORE of whats being covered on here seasonally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Red
https://manganelo.com/manga/red_naoki_yamamoto Two history manga, wonder if they'll be fully translated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine most will probably agree with you anon though. I have alien taste/opinions. I also love conspiracy stuff =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Originally, in the manga version of that part, it was attacking communism in south America.
Anonymous2805624
I don't know; I kinda find the whole Middle East stuff a bit hokey; maybe that's just me.
Lenlo
Im about to watch it. Looking forward to it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its only one line, but that they still mention skip and shorter, even its just their names, at least the show keeps them in mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
With episode 12, Banana fish has successfully contemporized its political/cospiracy aspect for me . Eiji is semi-uselful. Humour in this episode for the first time feels awkward, fast pace kind of means that the quieter slower scenes , though I still enjoy them, feel slotted in.
Lenlo
Most of my emotions this week came because of the original and my love of it, not this one
Lenlo
I agree, Steins;Gate 0 had all the potential, and there are some specific episodes that realized it. Like this episode had a lot of touching scenes cause it slowed down to play up Okabe's relationship with Amadeus. But most of the time, it fails to reach that potential. So as a whole it just feels... lacking
Kaiser-Eoghan
Plebs, not combining both into a single dessert.
Anonymous2802297
I'm talking about that sweet saccharine Chocolate Mousse, the Ganache, or the Chocolate Gâteau. Your puny muffin stands no chance. Mwahaha!
Anonymous2802297
Blasphemy. As a proud American, I can't stand for anything less than pure unadulterated diabetes-inducing sugar in chocolatey cake form. Anything less is an insult to my great nation. /s
SuperMario
@anon2801739: that's a nice analogy but I can't say I agree as I prefer chocolate muffin much more than chocolate cake :)))
Anonymous2801739
Steins;gate 0 is all potential but generally it's wasted. Whenever it actually seems promising they manage to jump plot points to boring nonsensical melodrama for a century. It was supposed to be a chocolate cake. Instead what we got was a muffin with tiny chocolate chips buried few and far between. Yeah it's still sweet at some points, but most of the time you're chewing through pointless fluff.
Lenlo
Like I said in my last post on it I think, the pacing is fucked
Animosh
I did like that the lab members finally acted like scientists again, methodically thinking through their options and all, and there were some pretty touching individual moments and nicely tied up ends. But mostly I'm just annoyed by all the unfulfilled potential of this show.
Animosh
I also hated the backtracking in the beginning. Don't make such a big deal of The Return if you're going to throw it out of the window in the next episode.
Animosh
I really don't understand Steins;Gate's pacing. It slows down to a trickle in the largely irrelevant middle part, and now that things are finally getting somewhat interesting again it just speeds through everything without building things up properly? I don't get it. And how on Earth are they going to resolve everything satisfactorily in one episode?
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
Anonymous2785164
Nothing is more annoying to me than nerd doing the stereotypical nerd voice to mock people
Anonymous2785164
Either way, I kinda dislike majority geek youtubers because I find them all to be hypocrites. Like for example, complaining about commentors correcting them or nitpicking them when all of them are nitpickers themselves :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, he has habit of commenting on things way too early only to later on to be proven wrong by end of the anime :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, I don't remember Mother's Basement being that bad besides that he for most parts really sucks when talking about video games despite apparently having studied game development
Anonymous2785164
@AidanAK47: I don't actually like any of anime youtubers. They all seems to be pervs to me and I'm actually rather prude person :p
Anonymous2785164
Hmm this chat is being buggy again and I can't change username from anonymous right now :P ANnoying~
SuperMario
@Lenlo: Readers will enjoy us more if we can throw some meme references... proof that we're still not out of touch with current trends ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I mean the opposite, the posts here are good because they don't use quips. They aren't fanboyish either.
Lenlo
Are you telling me I need to insert more quips. jokes and one-lines into my posts? Cause I can do that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Drop grand blue if its taking up too much time, I know you are busy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I enjoy reading blog articles like on here. I feel the writers on here never sound like awful fanboys or quiplords.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*I have
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its down to an idea have about vloggers/youtubers, that the videos will be full of unfunny quips and unrestrained fanboyism due to the guy doing the video can't keep himself in check.
Lenlo
Digibro isnt worth listening to imo
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never even really pursued listening to digibro. Although I probably should listen to eyepatchwolf apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should say the anime youtubers I've actually watched pertain to: Gigguk, one video by blackanimecritic, a few countdowns by Mistychronoxia and Animeman . I think I've watched maybe two of glass reflections reviews.
Anonymous2781300
I don't know, r/anime probably is also not the best sources; Youtube and Reddit are just the places I generally go to for large-scale anime discussion
Anonymous2781300
Oh my previous comment didn't post; basically I was saying that Anitube isn't super representative of audience popularity, at least as a whole, but it might offer some insight to at least a portion of it.
Anonymous2781300
*audience you're looking at: there's the Japanese audience and Western audience, but I feel like there's also like, another half of the world that most be people don't consider.
Anonymous2781300
It kind of depends which audience you
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even watch gigguks videos anymore.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never really cared enough to overexplore any of those anime youtube critics for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If someone keeps talking about something, eventually it'll sometimes work out and get through, then I'll at least have to see some of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I watched it because you kept saying not enough people were watching it.
AidanAK47
@Masky, cause Mothers basement did a video on it? Well hopefully it gets it some attention. Don't really like MB though. I mean "Gurren Meets Earthbound"? Jesus Christ.
Masky
Hmm, seems like Planet With is slowly getting more attention to it
Lenlo
I know im Shonen trash, but Hero Aca continues to be fantastic.
Animosh
You know, one person ends up broken through no fault of her own, and then ends up hurting herself and/or others to protect the only happiness she knows. And so the cycle continues.
Animosh
I thought Shio's backstory was really sad too. But yeah, although the show (and many of its characters) can be silly a lot of the time, there's a beating heart behind all of the craziness. Its main characters all have believable - if misguided - motivations, and the show portrays the cyclical nature of trauma very well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I think the scene with satou breaking down near episodes end were the standout. I often laugh at this show for its overthetopness, then makes me feel like a jerk by pulling something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Escaflowne ended too soon and abruptly. I haven't seen rayearth but I have read the manga, so I don't know if the anime original content is as good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've noticed that the voice acting tends to be worse in reverse harems then regular harems.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Regarding otome, one of the worst cases though had to be hakuouki though, just a bag of complete wasted potential.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I didn't dislike Red river, I have the unpopular opinion of preferring Basara because I found the central relationship more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Yes that was babylonia no shishi.
Amagi
I wish we could get isekai like Rayearth, Now and Then or Escaflown again.
Amagi
Sadly these series usually fail elsewhere, with the typical problems shoujo and otome series tend to have
Amagi
@SuperMario: strangely enough this is somewhat typical for shoujo whereas generic isekai can't get off that fake-rpg spleen. There is also a shoujo in which feMC gets transported into some old turkish setting and one with babylonia (think the latter was done by that mangaka that also did Cantarella).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres also a shoujo manga called babylonia no shishi.
SuperMario
maybe it's one of the earliest example of isekai if you don't regard isekai setting as strictly fantasy world.
SuperMario
" Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan." -> actually they did just that. One of the old classic shoujo, Crest of the Royal Family, is about a girl transported into Egyptian royal family. https://myanimelist.net/manga/5284/Ouke_no_Monshou?q=Crest of the Royal Family
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the success is, if a series can distract you and still make you feel something, even if there should have been more to the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Beyond Arthur and Dino, who always came off to me as "the bad guys to be defeated", I think I might have been so into Ash that I didn't really pay as much attention to his character development as you and Mario did.
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Banana Fish – 12 [To Have and Have Not]

Welcome to the halfway point for Banana Fish. This week Ash prepares for his final showdown with Arthur, he has some moral quandaries, and gets terrified by pumpkin pie. Lets dive in! So, general stuff first, Banana Fish’s pacing this week felt a bit fast to me. Banana Fish covered a lot of ground, from […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 22 [Rinascimento of Projection -Project Amadeus-]

This week Steins;Gate 0, once again, brutally reminded me of the potential it started with ~5 months ago and subsequently wasted. We have lab-member shenanigans, emotional heart-to-hearts and overdramatic time travel sequences. Let’s dive in! So in general, Steins;Gate 0 worked this episode. It really did. The emotions were on point and there was a […]

Hanebado! – 11 [Because I Love Badminton]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Fish – 11 [The Beautiful and Damned]

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

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

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

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

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

Latest Reviews

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

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

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

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

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

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

Megalo Box – 86/100

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

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

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

Hinamatsuri (2018 Spring) Review – 79/100

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

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

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

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

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