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
@Mario: its back up now though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its front page has server issues from time to time sometimes for hours.
SuperMario
I just read some manga on kissmanga a week ago, is the site down already?
Niello
Well to be fair batoto is down because of the site owner personal reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So Mangahere, mangachapter, baoto, animea seem to be gone and kissmangas front page is down , mangafox is slow, whats next to go down....
Niello
I don't currently see an anime this season that really stands out from the others. Right now if I have to rank them
1) Miira no kaikata
2) Kokkoku
3) Sora yori mo tooi basho
4) Koi wa ameagari no you ni
5) Takagi-san.
Not counting Devilman Crybaby since it's already finished.
Niello
@Eoghan I love Urobuchi and still find the Godzilla film weak.
SuperMario
I just looked through the nominations for the Crunchyroll Anime Awards and to my surprise, it's a pretty solid lineups. Find myself agreeing with most of their choices there
AidanAK47
Actually forgot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know why you don't just read kara no shoujo 2 instead.
AidanAK47
And Himawari is actually boring me. It's proving difficult to push myself though just to see where the point that makes it highly regarded comes in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In the end I was pretty much curious about it.
AidanAK47
Yep, that's it. Gonna stop discord displaying what I play from now on. It's weird when people comment on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now my current rankings: 1. Devilman
2.Junji itou
3. sangatsu
4. Cardcaptor sakura
5. Pop team
6. Evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Aidan
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm joking obviously, but I am surprised to see you playing Himawari Aiden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh Aidan you and your lolicon visual novel you =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Shin Godzilla had the evolving godzilla thing and that freaky ass final shot too, it also justified itself quite well i think by showing how relevent he is today, given the nuclear thing and that it drew on the Fukushima incident essentially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Thats a far better and shorter way of putting it than I.
Alonaria
I wish I'd just waited for the other parts of the Godzilla movie trilogy to be released. As it is, I'm just going to remember it as "that incomplete movie." And the character designs kind of blurred together for me, which was really disorienting.
Anonymous1746949
Oh psgels is back
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I've seen other Godzilla things so I pretty much was supposed to see this anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or you know you could always take what I said with a pinch of salt, because you know....I don't get on with Urobutcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea behind it is definately cool and a different spin for the franchise though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe I was held back a bit by the cgi or the mediorce voice acting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'd need to see its followup before properly assessing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Godzilla often makes for silly films, but lke alot of silly older films the silliness and seriousness combine without clashing, this one is too Poe faced .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw that Godzilla anime film, I'd describe it as watchable in parts but far too caught up in setup mode and an unlikeable protaganist , it could go somewhere with what it raised at the start but this is an example of a first film in a trilogy that suffers from being unable to currently stand on its own.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I generally feel that Itou's stories have a winning track record but theres exceptions, Uzumaki and Gyo in manga form struggle toward the end and the first episode story the anime chose to adapt is, while fun one of the weaker offerings.
Alonaria
Honestly, the shorter stories have been more effective at getting a reaction out of me, though. I actually didn't really enjoy the first episode's first story, mostly because I found the MC too obnoxious. :.D Maybe because my younger brother chased me with a bug once and it was really unpleasant. XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It wasn't just it coming out of her mouth, but when they were stamping on them too.
Anonymous1743747
@Kaiser: Yah, I was horrified for like 5 seconds but the other characters made me crack up. :.D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although it was mixed in with laughing my ass of eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of all the Itou stories to be un-nerved by, its the second half of this third episode oddly that does it for me and I never get uncomfortable during anything .
AidanAK47
@Anon, We are working on it.
Anonymous1742736
Are you planning on making a top anime of 2017 list?
Amagi
Yeah Mash is one of the few good ones it seems.
Amagi
Oh damn, good that you remind me, I didn't pick anything yet. But I guess I will go with Altera, considering that some of them don't look that good and I own her anyway. Would have wanted the Scat one but the drawing looks weird.
AidanAK47
Which Bond CE did you pick for the 2 mill? I went with the Mash one. Only only whose artwork I liked.
AidanAK47
Might settle for making Bryn my endgame lancer though.
AidanAK47
As I said in my Apocrypha post, I have no interest in any version of Jeanne. My top priorities for my endgame team is Isekander, Scathach and assassin Shiki. And Shiki is a welfare so only need to worry about the other two.
Amagi
Yeah, I was considering to keep rolling for the new 4* at first but I really want Jeanne Alter and she's coming soon.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I tried rolling for Karna and got nothing. Though I think Bryn is better. I plan on rolling one more time with the saint quartz we are getting to try for NP2. Though we do have the valintines event coming.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here, just got Brynhildr. Even though I already got Karna last month. But I wanted her, nice design, finally a single-targed 5* and she's even one of the few servants related to my country.
KTravlos
@SuperMario. The contemplation of the death of humanity, and the loneliness, both were very disturbing to me. Kinda like thinking of my grave.
AidanAK47
YANDERE GET. Bryn's mine baby.
AidanAK47
Gonna try rolling for Brynhildr tomorrow. Bit annoyed they chose to translate it as Brynhild. I mean it's not incorrect but her name is far more recognisable as Brynhildr
AidanAK47
@Amagi, The grind wasn't that bad for me. Mordred carried me for it. Though I managed to get Siegfried in the gacha despite not being on rate up. I admit that the event was rather lackluster. Story wasn't that fun and the whole saber restriction was a pain. Also gonna take me a while to readjust to regular damage.
Amagi
Man that FGO Saber Wars event was annoying. I am happy finally I have 2 mio. altrium now and am done with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminder that netflix Godzilla anime is later today.
Amagi
Damn I didn't noticed that ankle band of the little demon from the intro scene of FranXX 01, now I feel stupid.
Lenlo
Yuasa is great! Ping pong and Tatami Galaxy are still some of my favorites
SuperMario
Oh fuck, the lead singer of the Cranberries passed away. I literally just listened to their music yesterday. Damnn, sad news
SuperMario
@Kaiser; thanks for considering me but I believe Wooper is much more a Yuasa's fan than I am
SuperMario
Far out!!!
SuperWooper
Yuasa will be answering questions on Reddit's anime board on the 20th.
SuperMario
@Niello: what do you mean regarding Yuasa?
SuperMario
@Travlos: I agree that Girls Last Tour is a special little gem, but in what ways it's disturbing?
Niello
Holy cow, Masaaki Yuasa AMA!! What magic is this?
Niello
Meawhile, Japan took a different approach and we ends up with a bunch of .hack rehash and diving more and more into escapism. Until we eventually got isekai and then it just spiraled into a sea of mediocrity.
Niello
While that opened its own can of worms, at least it opens up element about making ends meet, managing irl relationships, earning extra income for a poor family, getting cheated etc.
Niello
in the characters real life just fine. Something more a long the line of Net-juu but more technologically advanced. And I would say that plenty of those have been superior to Japanese online game and isekai story shenanigans. That said, it doesn't mean that those don't have their own kind of traps they usually fall in. A bunch of those instead focus on the aspect of making money off of games.
Niello
...Getting stuck in a virtual reality game and being transport to another world that happens to be like a game are completely different though. I don't know what is it with Japan and getting stuck in game plots considering that there are loads of other game-base Asian novels that came before it that manage story lines where they manage to tell compelling stories in game while balancing what happen
KTravlos
I finally finished Girls Last Tour. What a profound, fluffy and disturbing masterpiece. Bravo.
Amagi
Yeah. I feel the world swap is pretty much pointless when real life isn't relevant anymore. It's just a stupid as hell excuse to combine fantasy wish fullfilment with self-inserts, which is why these main characters tend to be 29 by now, just like the big part of the otaku community.
Lenlo
Of those you listed, no, I dont think they get explained? I mean, SAO did, but I dont think that falls into your category.

Thats why I liked .hack//sign over alot of more modern game Isekai. Also .hack//sign did explain what happened to Tsukasa.
Amagi
Considering how bad most of these are I wouldn't wonder if they wouldn't even bother with an explanation and just end it with the characters being happy in that game world and that's it. Or magic and the whole harem gets transported into reality at the end because power of love and such.
Amagi
I have no problem with a sci-fi fantasy mix, I liked .hack//sign for example, but it annoys me that such an incredibly bizarre situation gets never explained. Or maybe it will but it never happened so far because none of these LNs was ever finished and concluded yet. I just wish to know how they explain that.
Amagi
I mean all those shows in which the character just finds himself stuck in a real world that's (coincidentally?) the same as the game he recently played. Be it Overlord, Death March, Log Horizon or the 300 other series with that premise.
Amagi
Some thing that always bothered me about game isekai for which I never got an answer so far: did any of those series ever end and/or explain how the warp has happened and why the MC is in the game? - Not talking about .hack, SAO and such where the action of getting trapped is part of the premise
Niel
@Eoghan - Btw, Kokkoku isn't a time travel. it's stasis, apparently. Looks very promising so far. Though if I am to trust the manga score, it's shit.
Niel
But is Toradora really slice of life? As far as I can see it's straight up romance.
Lenlo
And Mario, ill rag on SOL all I want! :P

Wooper, its true good shows transcend genre, as there are still some like Toradora I like, but those are exceptions that prove the rule so to speak.
Lenlo
@Niel, yeah I base my potential % on the odds something gets/stays good.
AidanAK47
I am of similar mindset about Franxx. I want it to get better but I don't really see it doing so. Unless the other characters get a majority personality boost or the MC stops being a plank.
Niel
XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
I confess....I only sat through just over half an episode of aldonoah.
Niel
Since it's Trigger, I will give the benefit of the doubt. I'm just very skeptical about this whole formula.
Niel
The way I can see this series improving is through world building. And if other aspects are going to improve too, it's going to revolve around that.
Niel
It leaves about as much impression on me as much as the first episode of Aldnoah did, and I dropped that one straight away. The character chemistry doesn't look like it will go places that's not cliche. The gimmick doesn't seem like it has much potential either.
Niel
So you're all betting it on "this is going to get better". I mean, I hope it gets better. Though right now this feels more Kiznaiver than Kill la Kill or LWA.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd nominate Mario to do the devilman review as he's the most immediate Yuasa fan to do it and Bam is too awol to write it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cute girl shows just bleed and blend in my mind now, same with the isekai shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Devilman, my show of the season, unless after the rain ends up having some emotional wallop.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So for me its looking like: Junji itou, Cardcaptor sakura, keeping up with sangatsu, wait and see on amegari . Not watching a time travel or trigger show and I remain unable to sit through Mahoutsukai .
Amagi
The story itself is generic so far but so are most Trigger series at the beginning so not sure. Maybe it will stay weak, but in general I prefer series that start with the weaker episodes and get better and better over time over the many series that use up all of their budget and trump cards in the first episode and drag on after that.
Amagi
I really love Trigger's esthetics and their characters. I am happy they're more often involved in non-trigger-only productions because I honestly think that most of the stuff I enjoyed about FranXX was heavily influenced by them.
SuperMario
@Nielo: Franxx's first ep was stellar for me. Storywise, it's lackluster (and I see the similar in tropes between this and Beatless) but production-wise it's excellent
SuperMario
I think I just keep watching it on a weekly basis. Still trippy as hell
SuperMario
Okay, I just watched second episode of Devilman Crybaby and it's still pretty good.
Nielo
By the way, what's up with Darling in the Franxx? I thought it's a very weak first episode.
Nielo
@Lenlo: Slice of life isn't my thing either, and I usually avoid series set in high school.
Nielo
@SuperMario: Takagi-san is cute, I'll admit that, but since I already read the manga it's not new to me. Sora Yori is good, but it's not particularly cute. I found Hakumei to Mikochi and Yuru Camp very boring. Haven't got the chance to watch Mitsuboshi Colors or Gakuen Babysisters but I don't think they could be more cute than Mii-kun.
SuperWooper
HOT TAKE: Genre is irrelevant. What matters is whether a show is good.
SuperMario
Don't knock off MY genre Lenlo. It's one of the reason I got into anime in the first place :)
Lenlo
Im not saying it doesn't do what it sets out to. I just don't think what it sets out to do is all that... great.
Lenlo
@Niello, Slice of Life was never my Genre in the first place :/ I typically avoid them. I have my own life to deal with and already graduated high school, why would I want to deal with a melodramatic anime highschool, is my line of thought.
SuperMario
@Niello: okay, let's see:Takagi-san (the titular character), Mitsuboshi Colors, Gakuen Babysisters (Toddlers!!), Hakumei to Milochi (tiny girls) and two more slightly more mature but equally cute: Sora Yori and Yuru Camp's casts
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I'm sure this is where our definition of "cute" parts way, but I'll ask anyway, what are those 5 shows?
SuperMario
@Niello: seems so because I can eaisily pick 5 more shows that are cuter, and better than Mummy this season ;)
Nielllo
...So I suppose I'm the only one who's kinda bored out by a lot of the slice of life shows that's trying to be cute this season and only perked up by the Mummy anime because it's actually do what it's meant to do and be legit cute.
Lenlo
I am interested in Koi, but still have concern about the relationship itself.

@Vonter, the mummy anime would be better as short vignettes together I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koi amegari is surprisingly tasteful, subdued and pretty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*to where
Kaiser-Eoghan
Try as I might, my love of kyoani tv anime has largely evaporated did where I no longer want to bother at this stage, I'll just wait and see. I'll just stay quiet on the franxx anime, theres little value in me trying to get through a trigger work at this point.
SuperMario
I get the exact same feeling with Takagi-san. It's pretty good on what it does but 20 minutes of the same thing for a whole season doesn't sound that promising
Vonter
The chibi mummy anime
Vonter
It's a shame it isn't a shorter 10 or 5 minute series, I think that format would make it shine more, since it does what it's trying to do.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I liked the second episode of Kokkuko or whatever the name is even more than the first one.
Amagi
I really have a problem with all these shows that rely on one single thing, joke, shenanigan or whatever. Be it something cute, some certain kind of interactiong or whatever. It doesn't matter how good it is it will bore me with episode 2.
Lenlo
Like, yeah, the mummy was cute. But the cute became rote/bland really quick. There has to be more than "cute" to be worth watching for more than a single episode to me.
Lenlo
@Niello, I was harsh because its not aimed at me. I wanted to drop it 5 minutes in, kept up for the post, then was thankful it was over. There wasnt anything overtly bad about it. Its just there was nothing good either.
AidanAK47
To be fair it's not as if we are lacking cute in this season.
In fact it's in danger of inflation.
SuperMario
@Niello: yes, the mummy is cute, the show is cute but beside that it's pretty mediocre. That show in particular is the only show that I have the damnest time to give it a potential rating.
Niello
It's not even down because of legal reasons, since the site pull down contents that are lincensed. It's down cause it's too much for the site owner to manage. Much of it also have to do with too many bots, which comes back to how a lot of other sites are relying on batoto.
Niello
@Masky: Not enough manga titles are getting translated. Batoto is the site scanlation groups basically rely on, and where other aggregation sites pull their content from. No batoto no obscure titles, a big blow to small scantation groups and one big manga/scanlator community down.
Niello
Why are you guys so harsh on the mummy show? It's so darn cute. Give it some credit. If a comedy show can be good because it does comedy well I don't see why a show ike Mummy can't be good if it can make people go "aww".
Masky
I don't really know why that is the case, maybe marketing budget and UI friendliness when done right? :P
Masky
Eh, wouldn't say it will kill manga industry. I mean, more and more official methods of reading manga online is starting to pop up and legit channels to pay to get access to manga can surprisingly enough harm free channels to get manga.
Masky
Anyway, I do find it funny how how the isekai character dies can be so meaningless that is joke in most of them
Niello
Batoto is going down, how this affect the manga reading is going to be interesting. Hope it's not slowly dying.
Masky
(at least that one, besides forgetting to introduce what the heck is gimmick besides generickness, acknowledged how most of otaku mcs shouldn't erally want to get transferred to fantasy world since they never get to see how their favourite mangas end :P )
Masky
Anyhoo, it gets annoying since its not just isekai being cliche, sometimes is just them being kind of badly written(or at least adapted to manga). Like, I found one new isekai today, but I have no idea what its gimmick is(from what I understood, its that "cute companion" that character gets is hideously op because mc didn't spefy cute girl when he asked god manager dude for cute companion)
Masky
Slime one is one of better from the more generic ones weirdly enough :P I mean I still wouldn't call it good, but at least MC character isn't god tier, just top tier and it has sort of village building simulation feel to it. Plus at least naming things giving monsters more powers is something funny regarding jrpg mechanics
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or alternatively the car was on a boat with the character or parents in it and the boat and car were hit by a falling plane lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its always "car accident" that sends the characters to another world or in harem cases "Lost parents due to car crash", for christs sake doesn't anyone die in out of control plane or speedboat crashes anymore, at least make it a motorbike....
Nayrael
Ah sorry, should probably not have touched the colors...
Nayrael
Trust me, Isekai is better when it doesn't try to be imaginative. When it tries to be original then... Isekai with a Smartphone... Isekai where the MC turns into a Slime... and my favorite: Isekai where the MC became a Hot Spring popular with sexy girls.
Masky
Assuming "new" things can happen under the sun
Masky
Anyhoo, I do wonder what the heck will be next "popular genre trope that will become so overused cliche that everyone groans whenever show uses it even if its actually good show"
Masky
Like, seriously you could do really interesting story variant on isekai with that if done right. Suddenly becoming characters you have roleplayed would be trippy as hell espicially if one of characters went really into detail with backstory while one of them is just "Bob the fighter, he likes fighting" and has to deal with what happens when you assume life of such a person
Masky
But I wouldn't honestly be surprised because of my anger issues related to amount of unimaginative isekai :P Though I guess trpg based one would be more imaginative in comparison
Masky
I'd assume not since I assume tabletop rpgs are much more niche than jrpgs in japan
Masky
So has anyone yet done isekai where guys getting transferred were playing trpg? :P
KTravlos
quite happy with most recent Attack of Titan manga chapter.
SuperMario
Alright, one more impression post to go before we really get on to new season
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, I just fixed it. Thank you
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than just the reviewers names
Kaiser-Eoghan
A slight problem with the coding there in the newest impression, showing code gobbledeegook rather than the reviewers names above their impressions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm seeing it on 2nd of February.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Late screeners generally leak shortly after the uk release, so maybe early Febbruary it'll be online?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, Phantom Thread. Could be Daniel Day Lewis's final performance. Is it available online already?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Did you know that Paul Thomas Anderso8n has a new film coming out? Also I found out there is a Polish semi-knockoff of purple rose of cairo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Awesome, just got myself an invite to a secret private torrent site =)
K-Off
@Kaiser When I was in University, I was a waiter at a Korean-owned Japanese Sushi restaurant with a kitchen staff of entirely Mexicans with poor English. The owner, while he provided the rest of his staff with small meals during our lunch or dinner shifts, never game any to the kitchen staff. The guy even ranted to a customer about how "lazy" or "ignorant" they were.
K-Off
Buses are pretty common in America, even outside the major super-cities like LA, NYC, or Chicago. It's public rail you're thinking of that we don't have much of outside the cities.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I brought up the racisim/aunt story wondering if anyone had any horror stories about where they worked?
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Featured Posts

After the Rain – 02 [Rain Drops on Green Leaves]

It has been exactly a year since I last blogged you, noitaminA shows, and this time again it’s another romance drama. Unlike Scum’s Wish last year, however, Ameagari has one simple premise, but it executes the idea with such grace. This second episode is even stronger than the first, setting the stepping stone for Tachibana […]

Violet Evergarden – 02 [Never Coming Back]

I’m thankful that this second episode plays out much quieter and more subtle than the first, because I’m not a fan at all with the grandeur approach of the first episode. This makes the second week of Violet slightly better than last week, but I still find myself not totally satisfied with the whole experience. […]

Kokkoku – 2 [The Second Moment]

Hello and welcome to the 2018 Winter season! This time, we have an interesting little time-based drama called Kokkoku. It has mystery, it has cults, it has dead-beat parents and apparent god-like beings. Lets jump in! To start, a quick blurb about our characters. Personally, I like them so far. They are all flawed and imperfect […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 03 [The Follow Backs Don’t Stop]

“I could just die right now” That line, spoken by our new member, Yuzuki, bookends this week’s Universe. It marks the shift in the new girl’s character growth. Last week, the Expedition girls mentioned they have a plan to raise fund, right? Turns out it’s not the mother, but the young girl herself, is used […]

Junji Ito Collection – 02[Fashion Model, Long Dreams]

After the first episode started off as a black comedy, I was worried that this series may suffer the same problem as Kino’s Journey in that the weaker stories in his work would be chosen for adaption. Lucky this does not appear to be the case but there is another problem which is not quite […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 13/14 [East, West, Homes Best]/[Looks breed love]

Hello and welcome to the new year! New Year, a new Cour for Mahoutsukai no Yome, this time with slightly more plot. These past two weeks have been a bumpy ride of Mahoutsukai, with plenty to talk about. So let’s jump in! To start off, the new OP is terrible. The music isn’t as good […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 02 [Kabukicho Fremantle]

I’m glad that this second episode addresses straight out all my worries from the first episode: the actual implementation to make that trip a reality, because boy, it’s no simple matter. Universe apparently does its research, telling us exactly places they need to go, the initial trip ahead and the amount of money they need […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 33/34 [Where the Sun Shines…Light]

It’s been three weeks since my last 3-gatsu post, a gap owed in part to the break the show took around New Years’. Perhaps it’s because of all that time away from the series, or maybe it’s due to the massive difference between these two episodes, but I had a tough time connecting with the […]

Dies Irae – 10/11[Einherjar/Self-Destruction Factor]

Quite late in covering this one though out of the three shows I covered for the fall season my level of interest in this series has more or less evaporated. Truth be told, while this is a episode review of ten and eleven, i honestly cannot even remember what happened in episode ten. I think […]

Latest Reviews

In This Corner of the World (2016) Movie Review – 90/100

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, […]

Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

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 […]

Fate/Apocrypha Anime Review – 64/100

I was quite excited for Apocrypha and in the so called year of Fate adaptations, it looked to be the crown jewel. Sadly, partly due to lacking adaption and the source lacking in areas, this anime turned out to be not quite the jewel I thought it would be. It’s hard to call this a […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World Anime Review – 73/100

One of the surprises of the year was to see the return of Kino’s Journey, a very well regarded and more unique anime among those deemed classic. Many, myself included, were very much looking forward to the return of Kino and her talking Motorrad. Though due to some factors this series doesn’t quite live up […]

Girls’ Last Tour (Fall 2017) Review – 86/100

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak […]

Two tales of War: Reviewing The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Altair: A Record of Battles

It would not be an exaggeration to say that my favorite type of anime is the political-military epic. This comes partly out of my profession, I study war and politics, but also my hobby, as military and political history is something I enjoy. When it comes to anime there is a clear sub-category that can […]

The Night is Short, Walk On Girl (2017) Movie Review – 92.5/100

“How many decades have passed since our drinking contest?” “It hasn’t been that long. It was only a few hours ago, this very night!” That gap in time perceiving plays a significant role in Night is Short. For you see, it all depends on how our perception of the surroundings and time itself can affect […]

Ballroom e Youkoso Review – 65/100

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. […]

Inuyashiki Review – 80/100

Do you know what the average age of an anime protagonist is? Neither do I, but I’d wager its in the upper teens. For obvious reasons, most anime focus on high school and have high school aged protagonists with similarly aged problems. Its not often that we get a good older main character, who has […]