Posted on 3 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Houseki no Kuni

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production phase. Unlike normal anime products, Orange studio approached the material as early as nearly 2 full years before its initial broadcasting, and the production went through many unusual phases that took much longer time for the studio to complete. This is to say it was a rough path that they decided taking on and the result showcases how much confidence they adapt the material. This season feels much more as an introduction to an epic story and at its core Houseki serves as an coming of age story to our protagonist Phos, while exploring the insecurities of those gems towards their own roles. As I compare the manga and the anime adaptation together, I still regard the manga as a more astonishing version, but by all mean it’s not a criticism against the anime. Houseki the anime approaches the source in the best way it possibly can, both highlights the unique appeal of its gems cast, striking visual metaphoring and dynamic fights sequence that make it one of the best adaptation in my eyes: both respect the core themes that make the manga stands out, at the same time is vibrant with its own personality.

Houseki is a show of pure beauty. Its world building is ethereally fresh and rich, at once strange and full of mysteries yet to explore. Houseki features the world where the three races: the Lunarians who live over the Moon, the Gems who live in land and the Admirabilis who live under the sea. Underneath that surface where we follow the Gems doing their daily patrol and fight off the invaders Lunarians, the three races are hinted to be the three basic components that form the human race: the Soul, the Bone and the Flesh, respectively. Houseki is the work that is dense with Buddhism symbols, images and philosophy. This is further underlined in the way the character designs are drawn: the Moon People are identical entities, the Gems have their lower bodies almost the same, only the Gems-reflected in their hairs are vastly different and the Snails have their own distinctive, over-designed body with clear sexual traits. Speaking of the ambiguous of gender issues, Houseki might be the only series I could give a plus (+) rating for its sensitive approach to the non-gender beings, something that is rare even in today’s standard and something that speaks further to the originality of Houseki.

In order to approach the strange beauty of the Gems and the stylish dynamic of their fights, Houseki decided to go full CG – a decision that freaked out the manga fans considering the bad track of full CG shows. The computer generated might get some time to get used to, but the more Houseki displays its visual the more it reaches its new height. The characters look gorgeous in their CG models, the CG allows Houseki to experiment with many unusual shot angles and long shot tracking that really hard to pull in a traditional hand-drawn production. The sequence where Dia runs away from Shiro, for example, stands out for all the right seasons. In addition, this CG style uses its shortcomings in computer production (its lightweight movements and somewhat awkward character actings) into an asset, making the Gems feel offbeat and whimsical – the very quality that make them charming and pleasing to watch. The physical comedy, as a result, hits the mark most of the time. But not only the CG takes all the credits here, I have to praise the 2D production as well since the characters have 2D facial features that allow many subtle facial expressions. Orange studio really makes the most out of what they have, capturing the feeling of the manga using the tools of a different medium, and they pull off beautifully.

But exploring this mysterious world and its grand cast is only one of Houseki’s many concerns. This season is all about the growth of our main character, Phos, as they breaking apart, metamorphosing, and changing themselves for better or for worse. They experient some of the sharpest character development I have seen in awhile, both physically and psychologically. The more they losing parts of their body, the more useful and mature they become, the less memory they have. At the end of the day, what’s left of the original Phos? Phos certainly carries their own magnificently with their own charm and witty remarks and a natural voice acting from the talented Tomoyo Kurosawa. Moreover, Houseki underscores the identity and the insecurity of the Gems towards the own roles. Many of the gems, from Phos, Cinnabar, Dia are all struggling with their position. Those vulnerables make them so relatable and real. All other Gems of the cast have their own quirks, but they never sell themselves short. They share great natural chemistry to each other and each of them is memorable, grounded and overall a total joy to watch.

Aside from the colorful yet memorable characters, Houseki benefits from the stunning background arts that not only stand out on its own, but they fit to the narrative seamlessly. Take note how the color of the background changes according to the Gems in spotlight – a beautiful trick that both convey the aura of said character, but also is very appropriate to show the sparkling ability of those Gems. The anime visual has a lot of symmetric shots that from what I know isn’t apparent in the manga, but it’s a welcome upgrade since the techniques reflects very well the theme of Houseki. The soundtrack is another highlight that really elevate many sequences to another level, especially during the fight scenes.

But still, Houseki is much more than beautiful visuals. What I impress the most about Houseki is how they manage the overall tones of the show. Sometimes we have silly, offbeat fluffy comedy, at times it goes full on devastating that showcase a very realistic portrayal of grief; in other minutes Houseki is thrilling with monster chase, crazy Gems and dynamic fights. Strangely, all of these moments above feel really Houseki-y. It’s the show that is full of identity. Rarely I see an anime show that feel so unlike any other shows I watch out there, and manage to be so passionate on what it does, that I can let all my complaint about the show down under the kitchen sink. Unique, strange, beautiful, devastating, ambiguous, and charming all at once, Houseki is an one-of-a-kind series, and I mean it in the best possible way.

Posted on 26 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

And this phenomenal anime has come to an end, at least for now. This finale is pretty much a calm before the big arc coming up, and further solidify the extend Phos has been growing so far. Well, Houseki isn’t very subtle on this by showing the parallel between this finale and the first episode. Again, we have the meeting between Phos and Cinnabar as the emotional chord, now with Phos’s offering the new job to their Crimson friend. Again, mirroring the very first sequence of the show  we have other Gems calling out for Phos to meet Kongou-sensei. While in the first episode Phos was lying on the grass doing basically nothing, this time they’re standing at the edge of the cliff and clearly have a goal in mind. It comes to a full circle, which is kind of appropriate for a heavily-Buddhism theme like Houseki. Many viewers might consider this ending anticlimactic, but I really like the steady progression of how the story unfolds and particularly how Phos has matured slowly but firmly since the start of the season. Even Phos reflects on the change with sad sentiment, a loss of innocence that they will never go back to the way they were before. This is one of the most well-developed anime character arc I have seen in awhile. Well done Houseki.

But not only Phos, this episode also shines on bringing other Gems to light with many hints of their backstory, while further highlights their colorful personalities with surprisingly relatable traits. Take Padparadscha for example, the beautiful Swiss-cheese holes Gem just waking up, having a walk at the shore and then falling back to sleep all too soon, but they sure catch up well with the situation and leaves a lasting impact. They’re the one who give Phos a much-needed advice: keep their composure and be mindful with their actions. Adding to that wise advice is the way he wears the uniform: loose shirt, uneven pair of socks and cool demeanor make him a total winner to me. But even Alex (Lexi), Zircon and Yellow Diamond all give their own stories that rooted deep in their insecurities when it comes to their roles and the fear of losing their dear comrades. Phos, on that note, had experienced both those issues, but it becomes apparent this time that the other Gems also have experienced them in some degrees too. Alex determines to learn all about the Lunarians as a reminder that they took Chrysoberyl away (the way they love trivia and cosplay Kongou sensei, by the way, are awesome). Zircon, on the other hand, feels deeply nervous around Bort, and their insecurities of having Phos surpassed him despite being the same age.

The biggest hint about the Lunarians comes from Phos’ attempt to isolate one of the Lunarian and try to talk to the figure. The Lunarian’s eyes come back into focus, or to put it better, they regain conscious. They even mutter something before got swept away by the toxic of Cinnabar. This makes me thinking what if the Lunarians are mind-controlled as well, just like the poor Admirabillis? All we know at the moment is the Admirabillis were captured and lose their consciousness in the Moon land, and the Gems are systematically controlled by Kongou-sensei, so it’s reasonable to assume the same fate with the Lunarians? Kongou-sensei obviously is the key to open the door full of secrets here, although Phos’ current decision to come over the Moon to see their side of story is a very logical move. After the Moon, the next target should be the Snails, right?

I still can’t put my finger on how much Phos still remembers Cinnabar and their promises, but it sure isn’t a good sign that Phos starting to lose their memories and Houseki suggests that as time goes on, when Phos loses more of their body parts, they will no longer have those important memories too. But their last encounter brings a lot of raw emotions to the forefront. Cinnabar still leans on what Phos promise, every single word of it, and the scene where they ran off Phos and showed their vulnerability speaks volume considering how they tend to avoid showing any emotions towards other Gems. It’s a hard job, and not necessary a rewarding one, where they team up with Phos to offer an opinion, or rather a contrasting opinion. I’m looking forward to see how the outcast duo will fare when they go up to the Moon for an enlightment.

Overall, what a ride! While I still bemoan for Houseki ending too soon and we have to wait for a certain amount of time for the sequel to come, if ever, I would definitely say that Orange studio had succeeded on their gambles of using fully computer generated to the entire show. The animation is dynamic and inventive, the visual is striking with symmetrical visual, moody color palette and the comedy is unexpectedly slapstick-y that somehow fit the tones of this little gem. Houseki is a treasure and I really hope they greenlit for the second season. This story is deserved to receive a full adaptation. The Gems must live on.

Posted on 19 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

With “Secrets”, Phos’ now in the middle of “loss of innocence” personal crisis. Well, they did reach that stage when Phos’ suffering over Antarc’s loss (in which he still hallucinates about Antarc’s present even now. Good job, Houseki), but in this episode, it comes to full force. Phos starts to break their trust towards Kongou-sensei, their teacher plus father figure (“breaking” in both metaphorical sense and visual motif). Not without a good reason though as the formidable beast (turns into fluffy harmless puppies this week, but that’s for later paragraph), as soon as he meets Kongou-sensei, he comes and greets him like a dog meets his old master. Kongou-sensei even plays several tricks and calls him by his name, with a manner that even closer and sincerer than with the Gems himself. Only Phos overhears his conversation. And only Phos, and Cinnabar to an extend (great choice of costumes there as only Phos and Cinnabar still wear the same old uniform instead of the new Spring uniform like the rest of the Gems, signify that they are different than the rest of the Gems), have that real suspicion about their Sensei. For others, that suspicion is like a moral code they don’t dare to cross, but Phos’ willing to cross it as their next move is to willingly be taken to the Moon so that they can learn about the Moon’s side of the coin. A promising adventure that will become a central plot thread for the second season, if one ever comes at all.

For me, it all makes sense regarding how Kongou-sensei has established a long history with the Lunarians from way, way back. I have tackled this before but Kongou remains an exception of the rules about the Houseki’s world so far. He’s the closest to “Human” to that world, the combination of both Flesh (gender-specific), Bone (he can crush everything) and Soul (all the Gems and what-seem-like all the Lunarians worship him). He obviously has something in mind to run things the way it is now, and that might not for the benefits of the Gems. The way he withholds many information about the Lunarians and the way he knows almost everything all suggest that he’s the mastermind behind this world, and at this rate I suspect that he will be the last person standing when Phos continues to transform themselves and learn all the answers.

Leave aside all the seriousness, never in my wildest dream that I could anticipate Shiro, the scary beast last week, turns out to be so cute, kawaii and fluffy like this. Or even the Gems steal their scenes by comedically stay true/ break a bit of their characters. Tale Alex/Lexa for example, who would’ve thought as soon as they look at the Lunarians, they turn into a maniac killing machine? Or Bort who enjoyed fighting so much couldn’t dare to hit those puppies? Or the first reaction Dia has when they wake up was upset because they didn’t have a chance to play with those puppies? I tell ya, they will fall head over heel if they ever watch a moe anime. How Houseki fuse seamlessly between thrilling action from last week and screwball misadventure this week without losing a hair of their identity is beyond me. For all the comedic tone this episode establishes, most of them work very well. What doesn’t work well, however, is the unnecessary Rutile – Padparadscha story that feel way too abrupted and way too late in the game. I admit I mildly interested in Rutile’s obsession of bringing the old Gem back to life, and the visuals are striking, but for the character that we haven’t heard once before, at the second last episode of this cour, in addition with Phos’ ongoing conflict on top of it, that shift is a total whiplash. It might work better in the manga version since there will be a progression to this Papparadscha character, but as the one-cour anime I would look for a tighter story because simply we don’t have much time to tell everything. Houseki, learn to cut off some parts of your body and patch it up somewhere more useful.

Posted on 11 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat package I have no complain whatsoever. Viewers might point to the second half of this episode as Houseki’s most memorable moments, and they’re indeed correct, but for me the first half is just as equally impressive, despite… well, nothing really happens. Take the first segment for example, where Phos just sits in one place and other characters pop in and out of the picture, in sequence, it feels like we’re in a play. Indeed, that segment is constructed like a theatre play, with Phos sometimes sits in the middle of the “stage”, talks to one cast member at a time and then narrates themselves. Moreover, just by the way Phos interacts with different Gems we can learn immediately about Phos’ current role in this gems’ society: helping out Lexi about Lunarian’s types, taking a patrol job from Jade, still a topic of curiosity from Rutile, partnering up with Bort, and most importantly, we learn that Phos is still haunted by the loss of Antarc. All that and Houseki never betrays its quirky sense of humor. The moment those jellyfishes jump off their pots totally win me over. I didn’t even notice that the Gems use jellyfish as a light source before. That explains the light changes color depending on which Gems taking a spotlight was the jellyfishes deciding to change color, and obviously has nothing to do with Houseki’s artistic liberty.

Dia’s reaction towards receiving the news from Phos has to be Houseki’s most expressive reaction in the whole season, because it fits Dia’s character too well. Shock at first, but Dia quickly accepts that fact and even forces Phos to accept the personality of Bort. I know they’re Gems so they have different concept than us human when it comes to pairing/ partnering, but for me the Gems’ break up is just as hard as ending a relationship. Dia takes those sad feeling all to themselves – of course they’re never worthy enough to be paired with Bort. Of course now that Phos is stronger, it’s only natural for Bort to team up with Phos. The moment Dia just sits there picking flowers in complete loneliness, follow immediately by them looking at their old partner from afar is both sad and heartfelt. Houseki is really spot on at delivering those little character moments. Dia’s arc comes to a satisfying closure at the end of the episode, when Dia gets out of their own insecurity to face the beast head on, and later on when they see Bort again in their own shattered state, Dia fully lets all their burden go. “I’m glad we spilt up” and “From afar, I see just how much you mean to me”. Both are true, spoken from the bottom of their heart (if they ever have one).

Finally, holy cow! The animation, the choreography and the camera work really something else altogether. I would expect that level of excellence in theatrical movie or a top-notch 3D game, not in a “budget” anime show. To put it simply, Houseki is a prime example of an anime that uses the CG right. The two fights are stunning with some of the best cinematography that play almost entirely in one single cut. Just watch the fight sequence of Dia and Shiro in full movements and the long take makes us feel like we were participating in the fight along with Dia. Or the sequence before that when we follow Dia hiding behind the box, we get to see they leaning forward and back in real time, then the camera just zooms out while Dia hides so we can feel in sync with the situation Dia is in. Also I have to note that the way Dia uses their own leg and their own sharpness as a weapon is a smart move, since diamond is weak under impact but extremely lethal when it comes to cutting. At long last, Shiro is cut in half… and split into two smaller Shiros. With only Bort fighting them, how can they pull it off? We have one of the best action-sequence of this whole year and for my money one of the best episode of this season. Houseki goes completely insane this week and ends up outdone themselves. The only issue remains… All these cliffhangers are really bad for my blood-pressure.

Posted on 4 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki approaches summertime this episode and this week feels like a breather after the intensity from the last few weeks, by that I mean Phos didn’t get into any real trouble by the end of this week. Not to say this episode is anything less amazing compared to last several weeks. One of the factor that I still regarded Grimgar quite highly despite its shaky overall production is that they nailed the feeling of grief admirably, something that the anime medium usually glosses over too quickly. The loss of someone close/ dear to you usually leaves a lasting, permanent impact, so naturally I found myself tuning out whenever the main protagonist overcomes that loss just several episodes like nothing ever happen. Here in Houseki, the loss of Antarc still lingering over Phos, and although Phos doesn’t have any significant alteration in their physical body, this week marks a tremendous change in Phos’ personality. At the beginning of this episode, we see the more collected, no-nonsense Phos and they still mourn over the loss of Antarc, whom they feel their capture was entirely their fault. The nightmare/hallucination of Phos about Antarc, in particular, is a powerful and realistic moment about people gem who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.

Back to spring, when all the gems wake up from hibernation with a new job, and new pairs of spring uniform. Phos receives unanimous popular for their new alloy arms, which can stretch, turn, attack and making a wall at will. The other gems, behave exactly like children who receive new toys, at first scare of Phos’ arms, but then the curiosity takes a better of them. With the old Phos, the sudden popularity and recognition from their peers are all they could ask for, but now that Phos actually has all the attention, they don’t know how to deal with it. “Not a single good thing has come from it”. This line nails perfectly how the current Phos feel. Phos is now strong at battle, can single-handed hold off the Lunarians’ attacks, just like what they wished right at the beginning of the series. But everything else is off. They still can’t fulfil what they promised to Cinnabar, they lost what they consider their best comrade. My favorite moment of this episode has to be when Phos cries their gold tears, in which Kongou sensei calmly responses “This is merely a defect found in ancient organism and nothing to fault yourself for”. Somehow this line really sums up Houseki’s eye-opening world flawlessly.

One thing I didn’t pick up on my last coverages is how the Lunarians have several different types attacking the Gems. I guess the different in types all depending on the Jewel materials they used to attack the Gems. My take is that the old, classic type is the type that has none of such material. Which comes to a fascinating scenario: Imagine how Phos would react when the Lunarians use Antarc’s fragments as their core materials. Granted, Antarc is fragile in nature so there is a low chance that would happen. One more interesting factor in this episode is how Phos slowly lost their memories as well. Not sure when they response to Rutile that they don’t remember Cinnabar is just a total scam or the truth, but with Phos slowly losing their memory (due to their loss of fragments), changing both in their personality and appearance, what’s left to the original Phos except their gorgeous Tomoko Kurosawa’s voice? Are they considered the same gem then? As this is the episode dedicated to the new personality of Phos, the background visual appropriately has more colourful setting with the yellow reflection from the sun. The visual motif changes as well, as previous episodes we often see Phos lying on the grass, this time though they’re standing on it, but still feel lost and directionless. The visual and the music is as dead on as ever. This might be a slow episode, but Houseki again successfully establishes Phos as a compelling protagonist, and I really hope in the last 3 episodes, we gonna have a powerful arc that close up this magnificent, unique anime in a satisfying manner.

Posted on 29 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki’s just getting better and better huh? This episode is a knock-out, this series is truly a knock-out. It must be Houseki’s most devastating episode, leaving Phos, Antarc and Kongou-sensei the deep wound that won’t easily be healed. Let’s get to the main turn of event upfront: Antarc is taken away by the Moon people. This result, in a way, is a paid price for Phos getting their new arms. Just two episodes since their first appearance, Antarc has earned more than enough to become a reliable, yet surprisingly poignant and humane character and they’re undoubtedly one of my favorite characters in Houseki. Just two episodes since their first appearance, but the loss of Antarc feels profoundly impactful, not only with us viewers (since Antarc was the very first gem from our point of view to be taken by the Lunarians), but also with both Phos and Kongou-sensei, the only two beings who share a deep connection with Antarc. But boy, the Iced Gem does put up a good fight. In a way, it’s more like Antarc is unlucky when they encounter a string of bad luck all by their own: Phos’s in the situation where they can’t help (another instance where Phos being useless when it counts the most), the sky is unexpectedly clear, Kongou-sensei being hold up and most of all, the Lunarians attack them TWICE. They’re a persistent bunch, to put it very mildly.

But Antarc’s character strength shines through all over this episode with many, many great character moments. From the very early on, where we can clearly see their frustration towards Phos’ losing the forearms. Diving deep into the sea of ice, risking their own safety and nearly losing their hand, all we can hear was “they’re gone”. It’s more like the far cry from Antarc that they blame the loss of Phos’ forearms as their own lack of teamwork experience. Or their furious later on when they wanted to take their hand back because they don’t want to lose any memories with the sensei. Or even later when they literally breaking apart, they do their best to take care of Phos and tells Phos to take care of sensei and carry on the winter job in their place. Antarc sure will be missed; an unsung hero who exits the field almost too soon, leaves a big impact to those remaining players, especially Phos.

Like how we expected last week (and frankly this was the only plot development that comes as expected, the rest is fairly unpredictable), Phos’ getting a new pair of hands and they’re much stronger, albeit much harder to control, than Phos’ previous arms. This is a true “body-horror” element if you ask me, unfamiliar limbs attached to the host and then grow accustomed and spread all over the body and go out of control. At first, these golden arms take completely out of hands, building themselves up into the golden jelly, then golden solid cage which completely “swallow Phos whole”. However, with the devastating feeling of watching Antarc broken apart, then being taken away by the Lunarians, Phos goes pass their own limits to control those freak arms and manage to make them a useful, powerful weapon. This is the first time, however, that we witness the desperation in the eyes of Phos. The laid-back, why-so-serious character becomes angry, distraught, and later, deeply disappointed about themselves that they can’t do anything to bring their friend back. Big part of why Phos is still very likable despite their seemingly-annoying attitude lies in the dynamic voice acting work from Tomoyo Kurosawa, who did a marvellous job voicing Kumiko in Sound Eupho last year. In an interview, the staff comment that they build Phos’s body acting based mostly on the nuance of Miss Kurosawa’s voice (which is not a common practice by all mean since usually the voicing session comes much later in the production phase), and here we can see the easy dynamic from Phos that made them click like a stick.

Houseki again drops another crucial setting: A Chord Shore where supposedly all the Gems are born in, and for my money, where it all begins. We get the see the brief part of an incomplete crystal who washed up, drop into the ground and become nothing. Only in rare occasions, the complete Gems are born, and they were taken immediately into the swings of Kongou-sensei, who teach them about the world and assign them to their jobs. All I’m getting at is that Kongou-sensei definitely controls their income of knowledge and he obviously hides something underneath the surface. Even Yellow Diamond, the oldest gem, admits that they already forget the reasons they fight the Lunarians. All other gems don’t know either the reasons they fight except that they were told to fight. I guess the main reason here has to do with Kongou-sensei, in the sense that those gems fight the Moon people to protect himself from the Lunarians. Just looking at the way the Lunarians “ambush” the Monk: for me their actions all hint towards to “worshipping” Kongou-sensei, and I suspect that they gather the Gems in order to make the best material to submit him. But what intrigue in the settings doesn’t lessen the fact that Houseki has delivered some of its most emotional-wrenching moments to date. I have a strong feeling that Houseki keeps building itself up to an epic drive, both in terms of emotion, as well as its narrative scope.

Posted on 22 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Ho boy, I know Houseki’s world-building is unique but the idea of gems’ hibernation in winter due to the lack of sunlight? What a creative idea it is. This winter landscape makes a nice contrast to the lively green field of grass we’ve encountered in previous episodes. The new world that feels both empty, vast and alien. Like how the color fillers in Houseki adjust depending on which Gems taking a spotlight, this white icy winter represents the new centre character this week: Antarctictite. A lone-wolf germ by design more than by choice, while the other gems fall asleep during winter, Antarc hardens their solid form and carries on the duty to protect the sleeping gems along with Kongou-sensei. Antarc might become one of my favorite Jewel people out of just this episode, the way they’re attentive to their duty, carry out many lines of job, from chopping down ice foes, clearing the icy paths, to more bizarre jobs like babysit and protect the other gems (putting the blanket onto them and they will fall back asleep, what a quirk!) and even Kongou-sensei himself. I also like the way Antarc behaves towards our Phos: wary at first, but once they hear the frustrating of Phos, Antarc assists Phos to all their ability.

The two prominent themes of Houseki so far has again developed greatly in this episode. First is the struggling for their own roles in the eyes of Phos and Cinnabar and second is the theme of transformation. Phos feels utterly frustrated because they couldn’t do anything to help their partners, yet receives almost no trouble from their peers, as if the other gems have no expectation whatsoever toward Phos. That moment and the one earlier when Phos just runs and meets Cinnabar in their night patrol, unable to talk to Cinnabar ring hollowly true. These might be gems, but they feel more humane than most characters I have encountered this season. Secondly, after having their legs repaired (and for the better), this episode suggests the idea of Phos need to repair their hands (and that might be for the better as well), the hands from supposedly the Lunarians to begin with. And that exactly what happened in the end. Phos’s stumbling into the icy pool; and lost both of their forearms. This leads to two interesting implications. First, it’s pretty much intended that this story is the journey of Phos who transform by replacing parts of their body to make them stronger. First the limbs, and I suspect the next one would be their body and their head and what I found the most interesting is the desire of Phos to cut off their limbs. If so, what happened to Phos’ own memory? When they lose their own gems their memory is fade away as well, will Phos remain as Phos as they attach the new materials into their body? Moreover, what happened if the remains of Phos’ fragments joined into the new whole body? Will that be Phos as well and carry the same personality with this current Phos? Man, this is going to be intriguing.

And of course I can’t pass this review without mentioning the most important new character in this episode: the ice floes. What exactly are they? They share the same appearance with the Lunarians, have a harrowing voice and sometimes whispers uncharacterised words, except that Phos clearly understands what they said. Kongou-sensei regards them as “sinners”, which sound eerily similar to the human race, but consider that it’s Christian, not necessary Buddhism, context that regards human as such, my guess is that the ice floes don’t represent the human race. More like they are an incomplete state of the Lunarians, which we all know is representing the “Soul”. The ice floes call out for Phos, but it might be that Phos’ current state of mind who do the talking, since they have a knowledge of Cinnabar, whose Phos’ desire the most to help out. Until next episode should we know more about Phos’ new forearms and what those ice floes really are, but this episode might be the best episode of Houseki so far: striking landscape with memorable new characters and the world-building that both deeper, more fascinating but strangely beautiful at the same time. Houseki is building up to be one of my favorite anime this year has to offer.

Posted on 14 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki maintains its impressive streak this week, with Phos learning their new role patronizing, a job once again clearly isn’t suitable for our main character. While you could say Houseki follows the same formula from the very first week: first introduces a huge array of Gems’ cast, then leaves Phos out in some kind of trouble that needed saving, then reverts back to status quo with Phos learning something new; the world-building gets even deeper and more mysterious. And like how others described about Phos – a good-for-nothing, selfish, loud brat – it’s surprising to say that Phos has grown a lot on me. Through many transformations Phos still comes off and behaves exactly like themselves: excited for a chance to wield the sword and go for battle, but too weak to even hold the lightest blade (great touch of comedy here), extremely cautious about the Moon people to the point of straining themselves both physically and mentally. It’s interesting to note about Phos’ growing so far, since they are all the different aspects of changing: first as an emotional bond with Cinnabar, then as a speaking ability to the Admirabilis, the physical transformation of the new leg, could it be this time about their inner spiritual growth? The more I see, the more I come to learn that Phos’ transformation might be one of Houseki’s dominant theme. It makes sense in the long run since I suspect the central conflicts of Houseki will be about the three races and their transformation/ hybrid into a fully-formed human being as a final phase of transformation. Speaking of “human”, it’s the only term that the now-forgotten Phos mutters, and needless to say Kongo-sensei is furious about it. From the look of it Kongo-sensei seems to know exactly what Phos means, and he’s hiding that fact from other gems, for whatever intent (goodwill or ill-will) we have yet to know.

The new cast this week, consist of Yellow Diamond, Amethyst, Zircon and even Obsidian (who I assume as swords’ designer. How cool!) are already a delight. Despite having a relatively short screen time, they all have their own unique voice and personality that I can never get tired of without being too over the top. Not a small feat at all for a show that feature such an extensive cast (and the fact that Houseki keeps introducing handful of new characters every week), but so far every single one of them – except for the Lunarians, which for my money is intentional – is memorable, expressive and bounce off each other very well. Yellow Diamond, in particular, is a big brother of the Jewel people, but Yellow don’t feel they deserve the respect since their partners were all taken to the Moon. Not their fault, but they are the main catch from the Lunarians. Amethyst, moreover, is such fascinating character(s) and their laid-back attitude (even more laid-back than Phos, that says something) makes it fun just to follow them and Phos for their patronizing. When Amethyst eventually get captured, shattered apart by the Moon people, the terror isn’t come from the fact that we sympathize for the character (after all, we just know them for, like, 10 minutes), but come from the realization that those Gems are crushing apart and kidnapped to the Moon is a very real thing (Their last word “Run, Phos” echoed my remark last week. My my). Consider that Bort, and then Kong-sensei come to intercept just in time, Amethyst can count themselves lucky this time.

I haven’t touched much on the CGI and the visual motifs of Houseki so far, so lets me address them a fair bit in this last paragraph. I agree that the full CGI of Houseki can take some time to get used to, but now I’m digging this computer-generated style. The action sequences are stunning, dynamic, breathtaking and overall pleasing to the eyes. The scene where Yellow grabs Phos, for example, astonishes me. But I see another (probably unintentional) quality of the CGI: its physical comedy. The way the characters move (like how Phos’s stumble with their blade, or how the Gems run for their lives when Kongo-sensei’s furious) somehow adds a whimsical sense that normal, traditional art can’t match. Last week I mentioned about the image of Phos losing their legs and one eye to show how pathetic Phos’ current situation was, this time I will address the visual motifs about Phos that we’ve seen from the very beginning: the image of Phos’ lying on the grass field. That image was literally the very first thing we saw when Houseki introduced Phos, whenever they feeling down they would lie on the grass, fast-forward to this episode when the Lunarians attack and Phos remains there entirely during the fight. Another visual motif that I really like is the symmetrical visual, which you can see from Amethyst’s twin design; or whenever the Gems prepare to fight off the coming Moon people. I’m pleased with the overall package so far. Houseki is an exciting, inventive, sometimes emotional wrenching gem but always fascinating in every aspect. Sounds exactly like my kind of anime.

Posted on 6 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

So… Phos got new pair of legs. Not only that, they make a Forest-Gump leap that not only they can walk properly with the new legs, they can run like a wind. Although we’re still at the introduction phase of Houseki, it becomes apparent that Phos’ starting to move away from an ordinary Gems, first learning the Admirabilis’s language, now literally fuse with their hard shell into Phos’ own body. One main underlying theme Houseki has explored so far is the role struggling of these Jewel people. Cinnabar sees themselves as a step child that no one wanted, even the enemy. Dia feels weak and useless amongst Diamond rank, and especially our protagonist Phos keeps finding themselves to one trouble to the next. Now, in this episode, Phos ends up as a bait for Ventri to trade her bother back from the Moon people, then nearly get kidnapped again before gets sent back ashore, with a barely functional body. Phos’s losing an eye and their legs speak volume how pathetic and weak Phos’ current situation is, and yet Phos can’t bring themselves to hate Ventri for betraying them.

This first half centres around Phos and Ventri in a dark cloud of the Lunarians. I have to admit that it was a sloppy job from the Moon people who want more than they agreed on, then breaking the deal, attacking Ventri, releasing Ventri’s brother Aculeatus, managing to break him free and getting themselves all killed. What? It makes no sense at all and it was a mess of writing if I ever see one. I agree with Phos that Acule’s admirabilis form is kawaii, even if he finds Phos is nothing but… delicious food. His humanoid form is a great contrast to his sister’s in term of design and somehow they really complement each other, but I can’t get behind his stupid pride. At the same time at land, all the Gems prepare themselves to go under the sea to find the trouble gem. As much as they don’t really care for the good-for-nothing gem, the extend they go in order to search for Phos, at the expense of their own exhausting bodies (it’s at night so they can’t absorb any light), and their willingness to help Phos to get used to the new legs, are something to behold.

Cinnabar again has a very solid development despite always lurking in the background. When you think about that, Cinnabar is a pretty miserable character, in a sense that they despite themselves to the point that a single promise from someone else could mean a lot to them; and Phos does take the promise seriously. I like the newfound chemistry between Dia and Cinnabar, arguably the only two gems who care deeply for Phos, in their own different ways. Cinnabar also has a great moment with Phos, when the latter washed ashore, felt beaten and lost all purposes. Phos apologizes to Cinnabar that once again they fail to find the new job for the Toxic Gem, even out at sea and experienced the backstab from their talking snail friend (but it was true, Phos went out the sea to look for Cinnabar’s new job). Another solid development is when Ventri decided to bring Phos back because she says she wanted to be different from the Lunarians, but in truth because she also comes to care to Phos.

While this episode is obviously in the early stage of Houseki, I’m glad that Houseki’s successful at  providing many well-grounded chemistries and developments from the cast, and I also have to give the attention to the gorgeous score of Houseki that fit the show like a glove. My only concern is the same with Mahoutsukai no Yume in that those shows nearly reach half of the cour and they’re still in an introduction stage. Mahoutsukai will have 24 episodes, so that’s not really its problem, but the same can’t be said to Houseki since they might never receive a second season, meaning that this intro chapter might be the only adaptation we’ll ever get, and honestly it would be a crying shame. For next week with the title of “the First Battle”, along with Phos’ newfound ability, let’s hope everything going alright for our protagonist this time. But whatever situation Phos find themselves into, just remember: “Run, Forest Gump Phos, run”.

Posted on 30 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

It’s incredible how much of a problem-prone Phos is, since almost every episode ends with Phos find themselves in deep shit.  If I go with the logic in Monogatari series it’s because Phos themselves attracts the attention from all kinds of trouble. Nothing much happened this week… is what the plot leads us to think. Underneath its surface, however, there’s a lot going on here. In truth, this episode is incredible. With this episode, they explore what I believe the core concepts of Houseki, and if the first dream sequence hasn’t signalled you clear enough, Houseki is rooted very deeply in Buddhism symbols and ideas. It’s funny to raise comparison between two shows I’m blogging this season: Houseki no Kuni and Girls’ Last Tour, but while this week Girls’ Last Tour explores the idea of God and religion, those themes are far removed from Houseki’s context despite being influenced heavily from Buddhism’s concepts. You see, Houseki is more interested in the separation/ independence between body, mind, and flesh and for me they really take core ideas of Buddhism to heart without relying on religious angle. Pretty awe-inspiring is what I say.

Let’s talk about this week’s title, because it’s important. Flesh, bone and soul. Three elements to form a human being. As the old tale from Ventricosus’s planet suggests, the fifth moon where the human used to live (AKA us) was destroyed, resulting in them split apart into 3 separate kinds of being: Gems, Admirabilis and Lunarians. One important thing to note is that those species are created in their most basic forms: Gems as their most basic elements – the bone, Snail is the one of the most basic type of lifeform – the flesh, and with the soul – symbolized by the religious images. Now that the character designs make so much sense and I’m in awe with the creativeness that the mangaka Haruko Ichikawa has thought up (bravo!). Then the idea that The Lunarians purposely fight off and kidnap the Gems and Admirabilis in order to become human again is seriously blow my mind. This division of beings also brings up one intriguing question: what is Kongo-sensei then? He’s obviously no Gems and based on how the Lunarians bow to him in his dream meditation, he could only be a human. So why does he help the Gems to fight off Lunarians here? My take for now is that he doesn’t want those beings reverse back to human form. Last week I had undermined Phos’ new ability of talking to snail as a silly quirk, but after this episode it’s clear to me that Phos holds the keys to open the that exploration between the three races.

Heavy themes and ideas aside, this week I’m quite surprised myself that the show’s humors hit the marks very well. Those moments like Phos purposely mistranslates or the snail being all bibbidi-doo over Kongo-sensei, or Red Beryl as a costume designer? What a cool job she has. Talking about Ventricosus, just look at the amount of transformation she done this week. From being a giant snail who basically brainwashed, to a little snail with soul (funny how we can see the souls of those gems and snails but those who suppose to be “the Soul” – the Lunarians, are portrayed as soulless) and then transforms into a beautiful being who look not unlike the Gems with big boobs (sorry but it’s kinda important in Houseki). I suspect transformation (or even hybridisation) will serve as another main theme of Houseki going forward. The idea of transformation, again, is rooted in Buddhism’s concept as transformation centers around the concept of death (welp, I think I’m still doing alright here despite being a non-religion myself). With this episode alone, Houseki opens to more thematical deep, and I’m already impressed how original and symbolic Houseki continues to be. Turn out last week I was trying too hard to sell Houseki’s appeal because with this episode 4 I can confidently say that Houseki will become something special. Mark my words.

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

Planetes – 2 [Like a Dream] – Throwback Thursday

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

Kaze Ga Tsukyoku Fuiteiru – 3 [A Single Flower]

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

SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

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

Goblin Slayer – 02[Goblin Slayer]

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

Zombieland Saga – 02[I ♡ HIP HOP SAGA]

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

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

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

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

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

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 – 02 [The Stolen Sorcerous Blades]

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

Banana Fish – 14 [Tender is the Night]

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

Latest Reviews

Planet With Anime Review – 90/100

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

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

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

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

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

Steins;Gate 0 Anime Review – 60/100

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

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

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

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

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

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

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

Megalo Box – 86/100

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