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
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want a muv-luv anime that isn't a spinoff.
Because I'm too lazy to read the VN.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always get those funny looks when I say Saya is my favourite VN.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must ashamedly say that I did read Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o, if only just to read a VN that was all about the ecchi/H.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've also played phenomeno.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Been meaning to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've played sharin, maou, saya, cartharga, fate/stay night, swan song, planeterium, narrcissu, Eden, both kara no shoujo games, some of fata morganna, some of comyu.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know forest either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like one thing I read by the ever 17 author, it kept annoying me to get any worthwhile end out of it. Even though I liked the premise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: I enjoy the stories VNs offer, Aidn recommended me a share, but while I've liked them, the format I needed to get used to and yes the time commitment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not key, but Phenomono or narrcisu seems safer a bet, unless you hate horror then avoid phenemono.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like any of the Jun Maeda Key melodrama anymore, but there are all ages versions of their visual novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Aidan still needs to read kara no shoujo 2 . I don't know what Ignarock or sharnoth is . What is the name of the post(or was it pre) apocaypse shoujo-ai visual novel?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I played saya first because of story, atmosphere, short length.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually based on his reactions, recommend him the freeware stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: I was also going to say I was worried about recommending any visual novel then. I said kira kira, sharin and g senjou because they seemed safer, but there is H scenes in them, but not tonnes.
Amagi
@Sash https://vndb.org might be useful. You can search with tags there, including technical aspects like "voiced", "moving mouths" and stuff like that.
Sash
Or rather, none hentai
Sash
I also tend to be open to most genres, but please keep it PG...
Amagi
lone = long
Amagi
Thinking back I am pretty sure Saya no Uta actually was my first VN. It was popular back then and rather short so it was kind of a good entry level VN (for me), same as with narcissu and Planetarian which I read right after that. Think my first lone VN was either Ever17 or Sharin no Kuni.
Sash
@AidanAK47: Yes, it such a huge time commitment! That's the sole reason I don't share your sentiment. As for what my taste is... I don't know since that was my first ever Visual Novel. For now I would like ones with voice actors in it.
Amagi
I should really read more stuff I haven't read any VN the last year for some reason.
Amagi
Speaking of VNs I wish one of this utsukushii series would get an anime adaption someday. Maybe Sharnoth or Inganock. I loved Forest as well which had a similar style and other stuff with Meteor involved (of courise including the Fate series).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Allow me to re-phrase in layman's English: "If he could handle something as explicit or dark as saya no uta we could suggest it if he thought he was up for it, he could read it at some point if he thought he could handle it, sash, do you think you can handle something messed up like that, if not, perhaps you should play sharin no kuni instead"
Kaiser-Eoghan
It isn't even annoyingly edgy to me. Just why even bother watching/reading it at all was my reaction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've seen bits of the ovas for euphoria, I stress bits of them. Not something I'd dwell on or bother to watch more fully, it went too far to where it just produced a numbing effect where I just don't react to it, to where it neither becomes shocking or laughable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I mentioned tolerance level was because I wanted him to respond to confirm if he cold handle those darker games because hell if I know what he's able for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also kirakira is another safe recommendation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I stated sharin and maou were safer recommendations.
AidanAK47
Jesus Kaiser, why not chuck Subihibi and Euphoria on top of that if you are so determined to traumatise him. None of those should be first time recommendations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ideally we could recommend him saya no uta, kara no shoujo or Swan song, but we don't know his tolerance level. Based on that Sharin no kuni and G senjou maou might be the safest recommendations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm wondering if he played a version without the H-scenes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Aiyoku no Eustia and Comyu adaptation and full translation WHEN.
AidanAK47
@Sash, That's good to hear. Also fair play on playing it as it is a pretty huge time commitment. If you haven't I would recommend checking out other visual novels as you might find something that would be more for you. I can even throw out some recs if you are interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*allows us
I will probably watch shojo kageki dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen behind on shoujo kageki and sirius.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....was lovingly semi-oneric.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That kids backstory is so depressing in happy sugar life. Nail pulling scene messed me up. I also watched the new satsuriku no tenshi episode, this is definately going at a quicker place, they skipped a whole character and by doing so, also a flashback involving Cathy. Though I'm not too bothered by it as it also us to get to the big bad quicker and focus on Zack/Rachel. First bit of this episode
Anonymous2592902
This is Sash by the way, name keeps changing back to anonymous
Anonymous2592902
@Kaiser-Eoghan: yes... I meant that...
SuperMario
Talking about being born in a digital age huh?
Lenlo
@Kaiser, for my old roommate maybe. I dont think ive ever bought a magazine in my life
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: Do you mean visual novel?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Admit it Lenlo, you would buy that magzine with Ash and Eiji on it.
Sash
@AidanAK47: i have recently read the light novel of Fate Stay Night and, though I don't share your sentiment, I do see why you love it so much
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sword art is one of those things that everywhere you look you'll see it hated, yet in rolls in the money.
Lenlo
Well, its hated by certain parts of the community. Usually western parts.
AidanAK47
@Mitsuko, yep we are well aware. But as an FYI, SAO is hated heavily in the anime community. So another season isn't exactly a cause for celebration but rather a dejected sigh.
Lenlo
Banana Fish, back on track. Also, this ED is my favorite of the season.
Mitsuko
@Lenlo i agree that was one of the best i cried in that part
Lenlo
Oh I know it is. Doesnt mean I have to acknowledge it. Mothers Rosario was the only SAO arc I actually liked, and Kirito had almost no involvement in it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mitsuko: Its gone on for too long.
Mitsuko
i dont know if anyone said this already or that you know but sword art online is coming out with a season 3 in october right
Adimar
i miss Shino god i hope there is another season were she gets out of her coma and haseo and Shino get together if that happens then god it will be amazing
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't think I brought this up, but I've only seen one season of Bleach, random episodes of DBZ, few episodes of Naruto and two volumes of one piece, most I got was 32 episodes of hunter x hunter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another example is I can't get into most shounen because it isn't seinen. Too often I can't separate shounen jump stuff from each other in my head even if I know they are different.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose I do experience exceptions , I could probably find one dark moe show that'd work for me like Happy sugar life, but in general I utterly despise mixing moe cute girl antics with horror.
@Anon: Its because often the time travel/reset thing is used in those stories as an extra lives/chances cheat.
Lenlo
I can agree that, largely, avoiding a genre or style you dont like is fine. It just means you will miss the occasional exception. Because there is always an exception that fits the mold, but is good enough you enjoy it anyways.

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

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

....WITH each other
Masky
I'm watching Planet With!
Amagi
We all know the cliffhanger fight between Takashi and * +revelation of you know what wouldn't have happend before episode 10 in any other anime. This show manages the time perfectly and it doesn't feel rushed.
Amagi
It's exactly how I want a show: you are allowed to use tropes and generic settings but be creative, switch the roles, turn stereotypes upside down and make every episode unique and non-repetitive. It's what this show is doing and it's doing this perfectly.
Amagi
@Aidan: I love it too. I am pretty surprised how few people are watching this considering that it is still shounen'ish and how hyped Bisquithammer is.
Amagi
Ehhh-? Now got summer Marie with 3 quartz in FGO and Martha with 12 a few days ago Aidan was right about the second summer rate up banner.
AidanAK47
Such a shame that nobody seems to be watching Planet With.
AidanAK47
Damn, Planet with pretty much concluded and there is still six episodes left. This episode was damn satisfying and it seems the training wheels are off here..
Anonymous2563449
How do you expect men and women to act when they reach the end of economic growth
Anonymous2563449
The idol industry is just a reflection of the broken social contract/financial repression
K-Off
It'd be interesting if the documentary talks about the effect on men as well, that kind of obsession driven culture can't be healthy.
K-Off
Still remember that idol (was it akb48?) who filmed herself crying on film with a shaved head because she was caught with a boyfriend
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also planning on picking up A drifting life soon, biographical manga about the 60s gekiga manga period.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch some Japanese documentary tomorrow that goes into wide detail about how terrible their idol industry is and the effect it has on women.
Lenlo
The only thing I really liked out of Ahin was the villain. That dude was quite intimidating, running around shooting himself every time he got tranqed.
AidanAK47
And though I didn't mention it in the review it is rather annoying how the series shafted both Tamamo and Hakunon.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, It was a series that had good ideas, I give it that. But it was a mighty dull watch. Some better protagonist could have helped a bit at least.
K-Off
Speaking of which, I picked up an Astolfo plushie at anime expo and this alone is making me want to play FGO
K-Off
Yea Ajin flows really strangely and there's really no overarching story, plus nobody has much motivation to do anything. But that's also its appeal, for people interested in an insane antagonist who wants nothing but chaos
K-Off
Ah Fate Extra sounds disappointing, I STILL haven't watched any of the series and was hoping it'd be a good entry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ajin is one of those things I just ended up completely forgetting about, although for pretty much no reason.
K-Off
Also: Ajin is getting pretty freaking crazy with the recent chapters, I love how Sato is so Joker-like and he's actually succeeding at every thing he's doing
K-Off
The manga is fantastic, feels pretty quaint as comedy manga go nowadays. Also the chapters flow really well with its comedic timing, love the pacing
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually intending to move on to the manga sometime, as I was using the anime as an introduction/taster for it.
AidanAK47
Yeah I find Grand Blue just isn't working for me like the manga did. I feel like it needed better animation and a better director. I thought the Gintama director would do good but didn't take into account that with such a long running series he's likely accustomed to doing comedy within a small budget.
K-Off
Feels like manga with great comedic timing don't translate very well animated, or maybe it's because I've already read the same joke before the adaptation
K-Off
Woops forgot i wasn't logged in on mobile
Anonymous2559865
So far in the season pretty sad to see Grand Blue not living up to the manga
K-Off
(i also updated my email on my profile, if you need me for anything let me know there)
K-Off
Ahaha nah, its the real McCoy, last time we talked was about the backend server iirc
AidanAK47
...hmmm is this a fake Psgels situation I wonder.
K-Off
Ive been too hooked on Azur Lane lately
K-Off
Hello everyone, feels like its been a while!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Budget really shows in grand blue now, I wasn't really into the first half of this episode, but by the second half it got me laughing again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Including shots AT Mayuri =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yet, somehow I will find a way to someway forgive the show as hard as I can be on it I can never be 100% mad at the series.
Lenlo
And if it cops out with Mayuri's death, I agree. I wont be happy
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I mean, there are OTHER Mayuri shots I could have posted this week
Kaiser-Eoghan
Godammit Kana Hanazawa, just destroy me already OWO;;;
Kaiser-Eoghan
Be sure to skip past the credits in this weeks satsuriku no tenshi as there's a scene after them. Also Btfo Cathy, this was the part in the manga where I was surprised what Rachael and Zack did in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Posting those shots of best girl looking sad =<.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm being cynical about it because I don't want to be overly disappointed is such a cop-out occurred.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it would probably bother me somewhat if the show decided to cop-out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As much as I got the feels from that final scene with Mayuri and yes, I would, for the sake of drama, wish for it to remain that way. I'm not entirely convinced that the series won't pull a convenient twist to cancel it out, even though now it seems impossible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@anon: Shinsekai sorayori shiratori.
Anonymous2553705
sora yori
Lenlo
Lentahlo? Ill take it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Apparently this guy gets compared to Wong-Kar-Wai: https://letterboxd.com/director/lou-ye-1/
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Featured Posts

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

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

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

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

Banana Fish – 7 [The Rich Boy]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Fish – 6 [My Lost City]

Banana Fish, Banana Fish, does whatever a crime drama does. Drives a van, shoots a father-figure, lookout its Banana Fish. Simpson’s references aside, this week Banana Fish gives us a dark look into Ash’s past and both starts and completes our road trip. Lets jump in! Starting off, this week was probably the weakest so far […]

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 06 [Everyone’s Own Path – Chio-chan Eludes]

Chio-chan… well… doesn’t go well this week. Not necessary because of the reappearance of crash fanservice gags – which for now I pretty much roll with, but because it’s a replication of Chio-chan’s previous (and better) segments. It adds up with the fact that both segments this week feel longer than they needed be. Take […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

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

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

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

Megalo Box – 86/100

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

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

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

Hinamatsuri (2018 Spring) Review – 79/100

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

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

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

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

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

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

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