Posted on 27 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Juuni Taisen

With a battle royale concept about 12 Chinese Zodiac warriors fighting against each other for a grand wish and penned by Nisio Isin, Junni Taisen had a lot of high expectation from the anime fandom. We’re pretty much guaranteed to have colorful larger-than-life characters, creative killings, cool lines and exciting battle sequences. The involvement of Nisio suggested that the show might be a tad bit talkier, focus more on characters instead of the overall battle and it could be a deconstruction to the battle royale premise. Well, in the end, Juuni Taisen isn’t what you expect it would be, but not for good reasons. What we have instead is a half-baked story that never quite spend enough time for its cast, a plot that has too much flashback and too little present plot-progress and a production that falls apart like a mutilated zombie.

In order to understand how Juuni Taisen structured the way it was, it’s best to look into their own backstory. Juuni Taisen is an adaptation of a Light Novel that served as a prequel to an one-shot manga about granting one’s wish (my thanks to the commenter who pointed it out), as a result, with the winner pretty much known and the basic groundwork about the Zodiac Wars already established, Nisio decided to narrate the Zodiac War in the reserve-order of the Zodiac signs, as well as its death order. Which comes to straight to the first issue of Juuni Taisen, it becomes predictable that kill half the fun of the battle royale concept. “Predictable” isn’t the same as bad, I must add. But my issues lie in the fact that this tournament doesn’t need to be predictable. Unless you have a sound reason to kill the Zodiac Warriors in that order (which the show doesn’t), it makes no sense whatsoever to rely on such arrangement.

Which also comes to my second point, if viewers come to Juuni Taisen expect a spectacular, brainless action show, they will bound to be disappointed. The fight sequences are decided short and anticlimactic. The pacing doesn’t flow very well because sometimes it spends too much time on flashbacks. There is a significant chunk in the middle part where the present-day moves so little it adds nothing to advance the plot. The huge amount of flashback, its talky nature and the decision to focus on one character per episode mean that Juuni Taisen is more a character-driven piece than action-oriented.

In fact, memorable and colorful characters are Juuni Taisen’s greatest assets. They are not particular deep but they all stand out in their own ways and fit to the narrative of this show like a glove. At its best, Juuni Taisen can develop characters with heart and soul, characters who we can identify and root for. The female cast, in particular, all are developed just about enough for us to care and still want more from them. Chicken, Monkey and Tiger’s stories all have their tragic side that make them utterly relatable. At its worst, Juuni Taisen can ponder too long to the flashbacks that halt the story progression, and worse add next to nothing on what we already know about the characters (hello Snake and Dragon) or too short that we don’t have time to learn more about them (Horse’s flashback is entirely about him trying to enhance his physical body. Dog’s flashback, likewise, is all about his strategy). In the last episode when the show spends some more time to flesh out the entire cast by having Rat asked them about their wishes, it hits home again because those characters are vibrant enough to lighten up the show.

Judging Juuni Taisen in a story department, in the end I consider this story branch fairy weak and uninteresting. Since this is a story about Rat as a protagonist it comes as a given, but I would love to see the retake of other possibilities as I still believe many characters still aren’t developed to their full potential. Not only the characters, but the settings and the implication that powerful people use the Zodiac War as a real-world proxy war are under-explored. For example, the tournaments that occur every 12 years sound nice in concept but inadequate in practice, because it suggests that the tournaments only happen in one animal sign only. Running through the series I still don’t know for sure how popular the Zodiac War is to the common people. If this War is supposed to be a Warrior’s pride then the show fails to develop it properly too.

Aside from the plot progress of the current tournament, the Warriors’ flashbacks usually fall neatly into 2 extreme settings: their mundane normal lives (Monkey, Sheep, Tiger, Rat) as a way to show those Warriors as normal people, and the battlefield (Boar, Chicken, Sheep, Horse, the twins, Tiger, Bull) where it serves to underline our characters as Warriors. Juuni Taisen seems to have a cynical attitude towards the war. War does affect badly to some of our warriors, and the violence of war is sudden and cruel, but that’s the world they live in so they have to accept and make the most out of it. You see, its central message isn’t really profound, or plausible, but I suggest don’t delve too deep into that because Juuni Taisen doesn’t seriously care about it either. All the show cares is to displaying those characters with different viewpoints and attitudes about war and the violence it brings.

Graphinica studio is mostly known as a CG anime studio, and with Juuni Taisen as their first full hand drawn project, it does hint us something about the production values of this show. For the first few episodes, the production was solid with some dynamic fight sequences, but as the show goes on it starts to fall apart with off-model characters, clunky animation and overall unattractive aesthetic. The character designs, on the other spectrum, is so outrageously ridiculous and over the top they stand out as one of the most memorable feature in the series. I would never forget a character with stripper suit, a bunny tail and a high heel. As a whole, Juuni Taisen is decidedly not an action campy show it allures people to be, and that’s not often for its benefits. But still, I would recommend Juuni Taisen to other viewers, since it can provide many deliciously striking sequences, memorable dialogues with its memorable cast. You will have a delicious – if a bit uneven – time, just don’t expect a full-blown action show or a solid show with deep message.

Posted on 21 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

This last episode of Juuni Taisen centres on Rat pondering around, deciding on his ultimate wish after winning the Zodiac War. In a way, Rat is the perfect protagonist to explore the nature of wish-fulfilling, because unlike other warriors who have strong personality and have their wishes fixed in mind, all Rat wanted was to survive the Zodiac War. To add more trouble to that mix, he’s totally pessimistic and has little interest in what he really wants. So all Rat does is to weight all the options, and ask his past companions about their own wishes. The results are vastly different from one character to another, because simply they have different sets of value so the “wish” only works for them. To a certain extent, wish is a form of self-fulfilment, as you only wish for something that you don’t or can’t have, as a result what the characters wish for bring out their own insecurities. While I didn’t and still don’t care much for Rat character and his wish, this finale manages to flesh out the cast who have depth in various unexpected ways. As a consequence, although I don’t buy at all Rat’s ultimate wish (for me it’s anticlimax and nonsense as fuck), I still think we have a solid last episode that present well the nature of wish and give the big cast the last victory lap before the show itself fades out.

As we see the various deleted branches in Rat’s hundred possibilities, it’s worth noting that right at the beginning of this series, even before Boar steps into the building, we’re already on Rat’s winning route. The reason why? In other possibilities, Snake was still pretty much healthy and alive; and in one of the route especially, Snake was chopped down by Bull so that he can use the flamethrower to destroy Rabbit’s maniac Necromantist ability and in another reality, Rat is killed even before he entered the elevator. Sheep and Boar don’t give us much of what we already know about them (except for the mannerisms, Boy do I love Boar’s joy and pride when she says her wish). Chicken and Horse give us exactly what they fear, their own weaknesses. But it’s Dog and Rabbit who completely caught me off guard by breaking a bit of their characters, giving them a bit of soft side that we now know maybe just little more about them. Dog rescues a girl and becomes a guardian of that girl and the girl gives him a purpose in life (I know it sounds cliché but frankly, I can live with that). Rabbit, with his obsessions of making everyone his friends, and he’s truly committed to do that. It’s the one wish I’m glad didn’t happen because if it was, the world will become a freaking zombieland.

For all the strengths of his ability, it appears that the ability is more like a curse to Rat because he’s the only one who remembered all the deleted routes, meaning he experienced and remembered vividly all the other 99 occasions in which he had been killed. Again and again. Having option for all the possibilities also means that when it comes to making a proper decision choice, he’s slow and undecided and on the verge of nervous breakdown. Wanting to forget all that happened makes sense to Rat, since he won’t be bothered to remember all the possible paths and thus, becomes a bliss of ignorance – what you don’t know cannot hurt you no more ‘yeah yeah’.

Overall, I consider Juuni Taisen a missed opportunity. When Juuni Taisen remembers to flesh out the characters, it shines on. The Zodiac War, on the other hand, is poorly constructed. I still don’t get what the hell is up with all the “people” behind the big screen? Or I wonder do normal citizens know about the game at all? If they do, why no one recognize Rat? If they don’t, why the Zodiac war important at all? The plot progress didn’t manage enough twist and turn, with many unnecessary extended flashback and what’s up with Rat who disappeared 80% during the game? The production fall apart like Rabbit’s zombie patched body as the show went on. This might be my second least favorite show of this Fall season but I don’t regret the time spending watching and blogging it, because Juuni Taisen is still a fun and perfectly functional mindless trip. Just don’t look too critical on it.

Posted on 14 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

To the surprise of no one, Rat wins the race by breaking in the right place at the right time with the right weapon. This is by no mean a coincidence, because later on we learn about Rat’s real power: “Hundred Paths of Nezumi-chan”, in which he can see 100 various outcomes and thus picking out the route where he can survive (the only route out of 100 scenarios). To save a certain plot progress, he “locks in”, just like in a game. Admittedly, his ability does make a good twist, but I can’t help but feel it’s way too overpowering. Your chance isn’t 1% anymore when you know exactly the route to the top of the mountain, right? With his win, in retrospective, I certainly appreciate Juuni Taisen more on their decision to kill off Monkey earlier. It was the move that turns the table to the entire race and flips the route expected from this kind of battle story. In other routes, Monkey might be our true protagonist and she might survive till the end, but this story is all about the Rat, so Monkey unfortunately draws a short straw here. Even Bull in the first half admits the same thing, that the moment Monkey turns into Rabbit’s zombie henchwoman, Rabbit becomes the force to be reckoned with.

Juuni Taisen also delivers one of its most twisted and awesome moment – almost at the same time, which I can argue that this single moment sums up pretty well the brilliance of Juuni Taisen: Monkey jumps out from the inside Rabbit’s freaking body and successfully catches Bull off-guarded. What the fuck? But then again, why don’t they kill Bull immediately? Doesn’t the Zombie who kill off the opponents can still bring them back to life? That explains the zombie birds, right? That explains why Rabbit was so furious when he couldn’t turn Horse into his zombie friend, right? Then, supposed that only Rabbit can do the trick, why doesn’t he shoot his blade like what he did last week? Again, this story isn’t given much thought into it, which is extremely frustrating. Juuni Taisen might have some interesting ideas, but not enough love or skill to carry out such intriguing premise.

Even Rat’s ability doesn’t execute well enough. We have a first-handed experience on how his power works: a game-inspired loop of whenever Rat fails to achieve the mission, he starts back and tries again. Except in this case he loses all the time. Imagine if the winner is either Bull or Monkey they would have left the place unscratched. So what Rat does instead is to explain his ability in an over-explanatory fashion. I’m vaguely interested in the deleted routes, however; like how he and Tiger form a grudging alliance in one path, or he and Rabbit unexpectedly hit it off in another. In any cases, it STILL doesn’t explain the decision to kill warriors in a reverse Zodiac mode, which eventually made the race boring, predictable and pointless. Alas, there is one wish that will be granted, and I bet it will have to do with the peace treaty Monkey has been prepared all along. Rat is the most unexciting character in this Zodiac Wars, so it’s hard for me to even care what he will wish for. Let’s just give him a good night’s sleep, I say. He earns it at least.

Posted on 6 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Juuni Taisen again expands a huge flashback in the middle of the current story, but this one hits all the right notes because naturally its heart is in the right place. It’s episode like this that I am glad I’m still sticking with Juuni Taisen and regain my faith to the overall quality of this show. Forget my slam on the representative of women warriors in Juuni Taisen few weeks ago, because with this episode, Tiger becomes one of my favorite character and the whole female cast is up there as the show’s best written characters (3 out of 4 if you ask me with Monkey, Tiger and Chicken are all spectacular, only Boar isn’t that developed but since she was out after the first episode, I can get behind that). Continued right the last episode left off, the long-awaited duel between Bull and Tiger is permanently interrupted by the Zombie Rabbit – a typical move from Nisio’s writing. Despite the fact that I can forgive the carelessness of both warriors, given they didn’t know that Rabbit was a necromantis (something we learned right at the first episode), hence aren’t prepared for his sneaky, underhanded attack; I still don’t get why Rabbit bites his tongue could activate his self-control zombie mode ability. Self-sacrifice by biting off his tongue? Listen, the main reason you die from biting your own tongue is due to the amount of blood loss (bleeding to death), so it doesn’t make any goddamn sense here, technically. Only reason I can come up is that Rabbit was a zombie from the very beginning (look at his red eyes and his unpredictably moves), but then why does he think it’s a good idea to get his body chopped off like this? He can’t regenerate his body, can he?

I must admit I wasn’t ready for another flashback of Tiger, and I certainly didn’t anticipate that flashback to be this poignant and bittersweet. Snake and Dragon’s 2 part-er, take note. This flashback not only builds from the previous one about Tiger who eventually lost herself to drinking and killing because of the mad world, but also adds another dimension to her character development, with charming dynamic between Bull and Tiger to boost. Like I mentioned last week, in many ways, Bull and Tiger share the same fighting styles, but not necessary the same mentality. Tiger kills enemy recklessly because she’s lost and suffering, so to see Bull killing them with a calm demeanour, she can’t help but think Bull knows exactly what he’s doing – a warrior who always does the right thing. When confront with that question himself, Bull comes up with an answer: first, you choose to do it, then do it (the way he demonstrates the idea is priceless by the way). The moral here is the intention. That encounter eventually leaves a big impact to Tiger that she finally has a goal in her life: to meet him again and get him to acknowledge her.

Life is always a little bit more beautiful when you have something to look forward to, so naturally seeing Tiger having her personal goal is already a joy to watch. And I won’t lie when I say I’m eager for her sobering up and doing everything in her power to get into the Zodiac Wars just to meet the person who changed her path of life. She saves Bull without even thinking – her very act of doing the right thing. This episode also sells me on the warm chemistry between Bull and Tiger as we can see the spark of their relationship not only from Tiger’s, but from Bull’s perspective as well. Bull is the man of action, which is to say he doesn’t talk much or think much because his resolve is always clear as the sky. Yet within his time spent with Tiger he talks the most, he isn’t willing to let her die because he has never been saved by anyone before, not knowing that it was the debt she’s repaying him. In addition, Bull never has any intention to kill Tiger as far as I concern, and that makes their final conclusion: he has to finish her off (as Tiger requested) before she turns into a zombie, the more bittersweet and heartbreaking. Bull finally acknowledges Tiger as a warrior just as she wished, and I as well acknowledge her for having such a compelling and moving character arc. The race is now a three-way battle between Bull, Bunny and Rat, and with Rat’s nowhere to be found it’s not a good sign. With only two episodes left, I expect Rat teaming up with Bull to kill an annoying zombie plague and maybe put my beloved Monkey into an eternal rest. At the same time, I am content with Juuni Taisen for now because we’ll always have Paris this episode to linger on.

Posted on 29 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Oh fuck… Turns out Dragon’s plan all along was to chime in, just so that he is immediately taken down by the flying Rabbit. Lame. What a load of crap. I mean, Dragon has been contributing absolutely zero significance to the plot so far. The reason he wasn’t the first one to have his head chopped off? Because he was standing behind Snake. The reason he survived within the top 5? Because he’s freaking flying and hiding. And just when he makes a speech last week and decides to fight, bam, his body gets cut in half. Duh. I don’t feel like I care anymore.

Maybe Dragon’s very purpose in the story comes afterward, when the now Zombie-Dragon again combines Zombie-Snake as an invincible team to battle Bull and Tiger. I honestly don’t get Bull’s plan part that suggest Tiger taking the ice tank because Bull could have done it himself without relying on the not-to-good-with-thinking Tiger. Anyways, I kinda enjoy the dynamic between Bull and Tiger. Believe it or not they’re quite similar when it comes to fighting style: all aggressive, lone-wolf, no strategy style (simply because they’re too strong and quick to even need a strategy). That is exactly why their style doesn’t work well against zombies, whose body parts keep risen again after getting chopped up. Fortunately, Tiger finally caught on with the plan and uses the ice tank from Dragon to finish those annoying zombies off.

I was curious to see how Juuni Taisen tackles this Rabbit episode, arguably the most mysterious, maddening character of this series. He is the only one who doesn’t have a prolife page in the Light Novel, implying that his backstory is a mysterious one. As it reveals, this week we have… Tiger’s extended backstory instead on how she was a spirited fighter and then broken down due to the ugliness of war and thus turns her into the bloodthirsty beast who drunk on blood and booze and stop worrying about anything else. If there is a central message in Juuni Taisen: their world is harsh, grey-morally and mad and those who still keeps a bright, hopeful sentiment (like Monkey and in an extend, Chicken) will be the first to die. What I find amused about this particular backstory is how Tiger was raised in such a traditional dojo, something that when we saw her fighting stance in few previous back we wouldn’t have guessed correctly. Drinking away, stop thinking and worrying too much in a way free herself to all the commitments and her moral dilemma about the pointlessness of it all. She starts to lose sense of time, of the faces around her and her life seems to be an extended, endless day with more soldiers to kill and booze to drink.

Bull and Tiger meet the formidable Rabbit and to our surprise, they kill Rabbit at a single whoop. But consider Rabbit has fair amount of dirty tactics, I come to suspect that this is all his plan along. Anyone noticed he bites his tongue before getting chopped off? After all he’s a necromantic so it only makes sense that he could raise himself back from the death. In addition, he still has Monkey lurking around somewhere and her ability is simply too powerful. The production this week fares a bit better than the poor execution last week, although the obvious CG still stands out too much in a bad way. A lot of fight scenes this week, however, will somewhat compensate for the lack of any fighting in previous few weeks. So I expect next week will be a fair fight between the best-dynamic fighters to date, and then we will see how Rabbit comes back from the death to haunt those two. In a meantime, Rat just waits out for everyone killing themselves and then claim a victory lap by doing absolutely nothing.

Posted on 22 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Can’t say I am fond of a huge flashback where they advance almost nothing to the plot, let alone an extended flashback-within-a-flashback. It hurts as well as the production takes quite a disastrous turn this week, with many off-model and inconsistent animation. Haizz, I’d love to be proven wrong but so far Juuni Taisen has done nothing to impress me at all. The entirety of this episode focuses on the twin’s motive through a case, where each of them assigned to two opposing parties and in the end, they are the ones who take the whole cake. If there is one positive note I’d give about the flashback (there isn’t many), it’s that Juuni Taisen keeps twisting the notion of what kind of warriors/ heroes Snake and Dragon are. First, they implied that the twins doing all the killing for money, which at first sight seems kinda appropriate with their mottos, well… “Killing for Money”. But later on, the show hints that they share their stolen money for the poor, Robin Hood style, most notably through the story of two little brothers. In the end though, it’s clear that they’re doing the way the do is simply because it’s fun and excitement

The twins rather work as one unity team this week so it’s hard to look further on their bond except that now we know why Dragon shares no remorse towards the death of his twin brother, because they don’t see the value in the concept of mourning. Heck, it’s hard for me to even pinpoint if they truly love someone beyond their own because they seriously lack empathy. Dragon points out during the court that their moral sense is vastly different from normal people, thus applying normal people’s judgement into their case isn’t really appropriate. I am honestly not sure how he can get away with that argument, although it’s clear that he did and in the end, every bad deed they had done is nothing more than amusing themselves and makes their lives more fun.

Back to the main event, Bull and Tiger narrowly escape death. Like what I guessed last week it’s the burning that kill those zombies for good (or if you have crows by your side), and both Bull and Tiger are determining to finish Zombie Snake once and for all before having their own match, but Dragon has different plan. At this point, I feel the plot has padded out too thin, both doesn’t do much to advance the plot, and the backstory doesn’t catch much of my interest either. Add that to the poor quality of production that feel like they could break apart at any moment, and we have Juuni Taisen at its lowest point. Still think they have something up their sleeves for the final round but I won’t hold my breath after disappointment after disappointment.

Posted on 17 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

For a character who officially dead before Juuni Taisen started (and thus, render him “useless” to win the tournament), Snake is surprisingly one of the most fearsome warrior of the race so far. He assisted Rabbit to kill Boar in the first episode, he cornered Rat to every holes Rat could hide, he KILLED Horse, his head helped Rabbit to finish Monkey and now his limbs alone are strangling both Bull and Tiger into their suffocation. Like how Rat mentioned last week, he feels more alive and battle-ready than many of other warriors in the race, especially his brother Dragon who still does nothing except flying and observing the race from the sky. We also have a glimpse of the dynamic between Snake and Dragon and I like that their relationship is still pretty vague, a combination of both partner in crime, sibling rivalry, familial bond but at the same time not really either of these. For those who wonder about the weird sibling bond between Snake and Dragon, especially in Western culture where dragon is a fire-breathing creature with aggressive connotations, dragons in Asian culture are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. Moreover, their close relationship with snake dates back to ancient times so there’s some truth behind the Tsumita clan who claim that the Warriors of Dragon and Snake have always been pair for generations (but if they put it that way, both Dragon and Snake have to know they will have to kill off each other beforehand, right?)

We have some fragment flashbacks about the twins, mostly about their heists and their nomination ceremony for the Zodiac Wars. Between those two, Dragon is a calmer, more collected and Snake is the more aggressive warrior. Dragon owns the sky as he flies through the field, whereas Snake has a special ability to feel and connect the Earth. Dragon uses what I assumed an ice thrower, whereas Snake used flamethrower. Putting together, they make quite a dangerous pair precisely because they are two-headed monster whose abilities complement one another. But like I said, I like how their relationship is neither of these expected tropes. At first, they show no remorse when they heard the news that one of them will have to die in the Zodiac War, for them it’s more like a part of a deal they all have to follow. They do compete with one another, but they question it immediately “Since when it becomes a competition?”. They tell each other “a fool”, but they clearly enjoy their times together. They can survive on their owns, but always enjoy the company of the other and watch each other’s back. Their ability is “killing for money” but from what I see money isn’t really all they look for. I enjoy it when the siblings keep redefining who they are and aren’t, but there certainly is a big risk that Dragon especially can come off as bland with no real personality. Hopefully the next episode Juuni Taisen will do a justice to his arc because so far he contributes absolutely nothing to the race.

Elsewhere, Rabbit is disappointed because he can’t resurrect Horse, for whatever reason. I suspect it has to do with the heat/burn because it’s the very same method that Bull decided to use against Snake’s arms. As expected, Tiger has a real grudge against Bull and they agree to settle for a battle once they getting out of the current mess they are in now. Which of course will come after Dragon and Rabbit’s episodes, and by then we will learn why Tiger hold such hatred towards poor Bull (love quarrel? I’d love that). Even more so with the Dragon character, I have a feeling Juuni Taisen knows where it’s heading and still have enough tactful tricks to surprise us, but it’s better be rewarding because the ride so far has been slow, and surprisingly safe and uninspiring. Knowing Nisio I believe he can come up with a solid ending, but it won’t be an excuse to make the middle section this mild and boring.

Posted on 8 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Like what I predicted last week, halfway point and we have multiple deaths this week and the betting is officially kicking into gear. Unlike what I predicted last week, it’s not two but three players are leaving the game. One of them completely takes me out by surprise, not in a good way. For the main reason is that the three death warriors are respectively: Monkey – Goat and Horse; and that falls neatly to the reverse Zodiac order AGAIN. As for now, I pretty much think the death order is intentional, but I can’t see the reasons behind that. Why follow the same pattern? Why make it predictable? Why those who have a brief background end up taking the short straws? Honestly, I am disappointed, and a little pissed since Juuni Taisen killed off my favorite character, Monkey. Granted, Monkey might not be gone yet (again with rule number 1: nothing is certain unless you see the dead body), but I’m still a bit curious to see Monkey in her zombie form and what her role remains in later events, because I still see her pacifist attitude can still be relevant as the show reaches the climax. One thing I come to certain now: Rat is likely to win after all, both because he’s the least favorite to win (everyone loves an underdog), and because his role is getting more and more significant now. A modern Death Reaper, perhaps? Comes to signal the death of fellow warrior and then vanishes into thin air?

It’s Horse episode this week so naturally we learn a bit about him. All the flashbacks pointed to him training his body to become a human armor, with the current situation serves to explore his psychology. That bit is still one of the factor that I’m digging in Juuni Taisen: various warriors have different personalities, fight styles, and their game philosophy towards the Zodiac War. For Horse, it’s all about defence. He’s great of defending himself; his main ability, likewise, is “stirrup”, the ability to allow him to increase the toughness of his body beyond that of normal human limits. After losing confidence over the one-sided fight with Bull earlier, he holes himself up into well-guarded bank vault, and that ultimately is how he loses his life. Rat criticizes Horse method of “doing nothing but surviving” is no better than death itself, since the world that everything stands still is basically a dead world. He might not be the great warrior or has high chance to win the race, but Horse’s role and his philosophy still adds up considerably in Juuni Taisen.

In another battle, Tiger proves herself to be a badass with her drunken fist style… boy, I love how messy and ridiculous she often behaves, but when it comes to action she does a quick and clean job. Bull basically just walks around, looking goofy. And like how Rat describes the Zombie headless Snake, he comes as more alive and threatening than most the players out there, especially his twin-brother counterpart, Dragon, who still nowhere to be seen at this moment and still managed to be in the top 6. Geez, I don’t like that kind of one character per episode focus. We will have a two-part episode next week, which is rather appropriate since the next episode will focus on the Snake – Dragon dynamic, and I’m 80% sure now that after it ends, Dragon will be the next to die. As of now, I still enjoy the Juuni Taisen’s solid set of characters, but in the grander scheme my interest has waned quite a bit. Don’t even care who will win the race for one thing (but let’s hope it won’t be Zombie Snake, or better yet, Zombie Monkey).

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Chicken, Monkey, Goat, Horse

Favorites to win: Rat, Bull, Rabbit

Posted on 3 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Sorry for a slight delay of this post, as for the last few days I took a little break from anime to catch up with other stuffs. Turned out that instead of catching up, I ended up surfing the webs meaninglessly, shopping unnecessary stuffs online, sleeping way too early and still manage to feel tired and wrecked the next day. Very counterproductive I must admit. At this rate, I might get back to the project sooner than I think. Now back to Juuni Taisen, this week Juuni Taisen has one of its worst showing, with the pacing drags big time here. The plot progression is just an extension of what we already know or what we could have guessed. Monkey can’t seem to get through her peace message to Rabbit’s head (Surprise! Surpise!). Horse didn’t die the last time, but that raise a big head-scratching issue for me: Bull isn’t a guy to let his opponent escape that easily – I hope there is something else beneath it, otherwise it’s a very weak development for me. Rat’s experiencing a hard time escaping Zombie-headless Snake (why Zombie Boar can barely move, but Zombie Snake can run, sense the opponent’s movement, and approach Rat with a sound tactical attack?). In fact, this episode keeps stalling on forwarding the plot that the only plot progression we gain towards the end is that Sheep might team up with the Tiger (Tigress?)

But we do learn some context about the Zodiac War. The big battle is watched by a group of faceless rich and powerful people, in a War-room inspired meeting room, to gamble and might possibly change the world based on who will win the battle. A proxy war so to speak, but the one that I don’t particular care for (come on. They’re faceless people here). But this reveal does sign us the direction Juuni Taisen might go in the future. Maybe this is what Chicken means by persuaying the warriors not to kill each other. Could it be that she wanted the Zodiac warriors to team up and destroy the Zodiac War system, once and for all? Anyways, it doesn’t make a dash of sense for me that they have to wait for 6 remaining warriors to bet. Isn’t it, like, defeat the whole purpose of horse betting? Apparently, Nisio wrote a spin-off story about this tournament from the point of view of one of these faceless people. Wonder who might it be? The… yellow faceless figure there? The figure… with woman voice? My guess is as good as anyone here.

As this is a Sheep’s episode, we have an extended flashback about him and we learn a bit of everything about his life. A weapon specialist, an experienced warrior, a former Zodiac War winner (which happened in a SPACE!!! Damn, I want one of those stories) and ultimately his happy life spent taking care of his grandson. Basically a skilled soldier who married into a family with great Zodiac tradition, it’s his normal family time spent that make him one of the most humane character of the cast right now. One other factor that makes his story stands out is that he has fulfilled a happy life, and now the only reason to join the battle is to protect his grandson. A solid reason, but unfortunately, not a refreshing one. If there is one warrior of this tournament is ready to die without any regrets left, it’s Sheep.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t put up a fight to survive. He was the one who ready to blow up everyone before Monkey intervened by breaking the floor. He was one of the few who didn’t swallow the poison. Now, he works his way through, chess-style, to figure out the favorites and the ones that he should team up. It’s fun to see the wise man reasoning and mapping out his plan, but when we have more information than him regarding who’d still on the battlefield, I can’t help but feel that the time spent for him serves very little purpose. And for a wise man who knows everyone’s, including his own, position, he makes a grave mistake of underestimating someone else. Rat and Tiger are considered the weakest warriors by Sheep, and as I considered Rat an underdog, with this episode I can confirm that Tiger will have something up her sleeves as well (and the fact that she’s the last third of the reverse Zodiac order helps significantly too. She can’t die before her arc comes, right?).

In the end, episode 5 of Juuni Taisen is the show’s weakest episode so far. The plot’s stalling at times, Sheep’s backstory isn’t that special, the battles feel unnecessary long and no one dies this week. Consider that the faceless VIP waits for half of the field is gone in order to bet, and the fact that the next episode will be half of the show’s run, I expect a multiple, (and hopefully brutal) deaths next week.

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Chicken

Favorites to win: Monkey, Rabbit, Bull, Rat

Might remain within top 6: Tiger, Dragon, which means Horse and Sheep might leave the field next.

Posted on 25 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

If you had any doubt before that Juuni Taisen is written by Nisio Isin, this episode should clear that out front. It’s talking and talking through and through this week, but this episode also restores my faith that the reversed Zodiac order only serves as a narrative one, and not for the death order. It’s Monkey and Rat who have the most screen time this week and I certainly enjoy the various themes these two explore, be it their own approach on war, the act of saving lives, and the Zodiac War itself. Monkey, as the Rat (and everyone points out), is a pacific, but what sells her ideal is that she isn’t simply an optimistic, idealistic naive person. She has experienced through all the crimes, the hardships, the brutality of war and still, she tries to make peace with her best efforts. Monkey might save more lives than any warrior in the game, but it also means that she has failed more lives than she ever wanted to. The flashback about her trying to ceasefire in a long-winded border conflict between two nations clearly points out that although her intervention comes from a good intent, the effort could end up backfire and might lead to more severe conflicts.

Although Rat didn’t mind following on her peace agreement, he has lots of criticisms regarding her method. First, he points out that with her current skills (which, by the way, is awesome. She can transmute any substance between physical states, being teach by the Three Wise Monkeys no less), it’s much quicker (and more effective) to achieve her goal by killing/ destroying bad weeds rather than negotiating and hoping she can change their minds. It’s just her way of using her weapons though, and I greatly appreciate her for that. Second, Rat laments that saving all the people also means that they have to save rubbish people who don’t deserve to be saved, and by protecting them, they would assume that protecting/saving is someone else’s job. Although he has his point here, I have a feeling his argument mostly comes from his own frustration rather than pointing directly at Monkey’s method. We have his way of thinking here, but without the context it’s hard to know what Rat’s personality is at this moment. Finally, he argues that the Zodiac warriors, more than any other people, are a dangerous bunch who can only find meaning in fighting each other. Are they worth saving at all? Whatever the case, Monkey more than holds her own in this episode. She might be a pacific, yes, but her method never feels unrealistic and I don’t think she’ll be sent off any time soon.

The action does pick up at the end when Bunny team ambushes Rat and Monkey using zombie birds (the ones that Boar killed last week) and now it’s 2-and-2 battle. Now, pure speculation. Toward the end, one line from Rat actually throws me off guard: He remarks at Monkey’s decision to restrain the Mad Rabbit peacefully as “you’re always like this – as “all the time”. Now I have two theories behind his statement. 1) Rat is specifically assigned to join this Zodiac battle to tag along and control/support Monkey. This theory fits with the fact that the warriors in this edition of Zodiac War are more aggressive than usual and they might seek a bigger goal beside gaining one’s wish. Whatever that goal is still in the dark right now, but it does seem that Rat knows pretty well about Monkey’s ability and method. Or 2) Rat has time-rewinding ability. It might sound crazy but consider that he always knows what going on next, and the fact that almost every other warrior has that déjà vu sense when they meet him, which might indicate that they in fact face him all over and over again. That also explains his bored attitude since the guy might have repeated the cycle endless time (let’s say it’s 15,521st time), and if that’s the case, what makes this loop any different than the others? Anyways, I suspect the talky nature (and the lack of body count) might turn some viewers off, but for me we still have a pretty solid episode at hand. Next week will be the old wise Sheep’s turn and I expect we get a good one-off story out of this old man before he’s killed by whoever it is (Frankly, I see him has no chance to win this tournament). Doesn’t matter, I’ve fully embraced Juuni Taisen by now.

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Horse (maybe), Chicken

Favorites to win: Bull, Rat, Monkey, Rabbit, no-one

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous3437600
dragon ballsy
one piece
one piece
Kaiser-Eoghan
ahahahaha so that was it, she is voiced by Kana Hanazawa.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that came to mind when watching that quintuplets show, somehow the archetype I ended up going for was Ichika's character somehow. Never usually the case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know usually its fairly consistent, traits I notice/like/am attracted to most in a character's appearence and then there are those odd cases where I somehow end up finding a character attractive or something that I'd usually never.
AidanAK47
Search box is up there ^^
Anonymous3433242
overlord
Anonymous3433242
overlord
SuperMario
Glad to here you have brand new one coming up Kaiser
Kaiser-Eoghan
New computer on its way now, 24 inch screen, wireless everything, 1000gb, got it for only 800 euro.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The current laptop I've got on loan I'm using is kind of a pain to use, makes doing anything including typing/posting/watching slow, its a ropey old windows millenium edition laptop that I'd stopped using years ago.
@Amagi: Also a sequel to legend of koizumi has been translated.
Amagi
@Kaiser: thanks for the links!
Amagi
Just bought the parts for a new gaming PC and assembled them. Love my old PC but modern shooters and HD rpgs are lagging too much as well as drawing programs. Welp.
Anonymous3430884
Get well soon, Kaiser’s CPU!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dammit, my main computer crashed suddenly, see you all in a few days to a week maybe =< borrowing someone elses laptop.
Anonymous3429052
Dororo or Durarara. That is the question
Vonter
The cutscenes in that game kinda look a bit off, like with the Dragon Prince show they look a bit choppy.
Anonymous3425269
Personally, I'm really hoping that Orange did them so they can gain more recognition working on a big franchise.
Anonymous3425269
I'm guessing Orange, Polygon or GEMBA did the CG cutscenes for the new Fire Emblem. They look too different from Echoes' CG cutscenes to come from Khara.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was always the second Zelda game I never played, that one is frowned upon.
Vonter
I see Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time as two halves of a single whole. Ocarina had the standard story but expanded from what was set in A Link to the Past. Majora's Mask has more in common to Link's Awakening being more about the characters you meet, and even Link himself. I think one has what the other doesn't. Ocarina had better dungeons, but Majora had more involved and menaningful sidequest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The remastered ocarina of time soundtrack is some of my favourite videogame music out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also loved the freaky-ass whip arms final boss too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It seemed darker too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hold the unpopular opinion of liking majoras mask more than Ocarina, it was a harder game and it felt bigger, there was more side quest stuff to do aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Similarly, its be so very long since I played it, it was all the way back in 1993.
Vonter
I don't remember disliking it but I don't recall a lot of things. I mainly remember the ending, the animals and bit with a Goblin king that reminded me of The Hobbit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember loving the end theme music too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its not ranked among the best Zelda games, but links awakening was the first zelda game I played in the early 90s, I also remember they re-released a colour version of it too that allowed you to do extra stuff with the gameboy camera and printer.
Vonter
So Nintendo had a Direct. A sequel to Mario Maker, a remake to Link's Awakening, a Tetris Battle Royale game, a new game from Platinum games called Astral Chain, a school type Fire Emblem, etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Also new Putin isekai chapter is out.
Vonter
Apparently there's gonna be another iteration of Bem. With whole new character redesigns. I suppose at some point they felt they needed to update them, since 4 iterations looked very similar and may come off as too retro for today. https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-02-11/twitter-user-compares-latest-yokai-ningen-bem-designs-to-previous-installments/.143177
Lenlo
I just hope they actually do something with the leg. Its been used as a cliffhanger 1 to many times for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was good seeing a more serious side to the twins and I think Haiji's leg issues will provide some good drama.
Anonymous3421320
lol I think it's more like an orthopedic check-up. That strain from the race must've gave him concern about if he's able to run the Ekiden or not under this condition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Ahem* excuse the gory joke =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh my God! Imagine if it like got cut and amputated off or something like that scene in gone with the wind! It'd be like....GONE with the run with the wind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like we're getting more on Haiji's leg again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I guess if I was asked why I did anything, including if it was some game/sport or if I was a runner I'd probably answer the question by saying I was in it for a laugh or for a genuine good time because it'd be something I'd be enjoying.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Dororo was awesome. This was a great week and arc. Mio is best girl.
Lenlo
Look, if the ending can make it work, I will forgive the CGI runners. But you have to admit, they don't look good
Anonymous3419991
@Lenlo But for now, you'll just have to grin and bear it when the next preliminary races prior to the Ekiden use CG for the background runners.
Anonymous3419991
I heard from a novel reader that the book is 10 chapters long, and this is currently adapting chapter 8. Chapter 10 covering the Ekiden is the longest part of the novel and will probably be covered in 3 episodes. Hope IG is saving all their resources on this finale judging by the CG used in previous episodes.
Anonymous3419991
It's also great to see how far Kurahana has come since the start. Even when confronting Sakaki being arrogant and all.
Anonymous3419991
And so this episode of Kaze ga is a breather episode, but we do get some more character development with the twins. It's nice to see Fujioka again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I would happily have watched two more episodes of this arc in dororo.
Lenlo
Well alright
Fuurophausiyuder
Speaking of loving hell fonts, I notice that the review body text, and this text here are both sans-serif; which sort of princess of variable typefaces is not present for this readability bit to land?
Fuurophausiyuder
Dororo is awesome for just the hell fonts. I kind of expect on-brand gazebos (the temple to the 10 demons) to sell well this summer at Lowe's, Restoration Hardware, RH, wherever it is actually okay stuff derives, etc. I was kind of hoping the transitional story would lift all transitional boats, but that storyline has gone to soil microbes in the USA diaspora (though you know, stay classy PR.)
Fuurophausiyuder
Kemurikusa is like Kemeko DX if all the chemicals were fentanyl and the promise of a plot muted by lingering death were only ever expected to be a possibility. What had anyone watching ep. 3...5? Clinical use?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also glad that tv anime like this is allowed to be so violent in this day and age.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest it really is the only new show this season I currently especially care about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read the whole Dororo manga and I think this weeks episode was every bit as moving as the manga was while building on it. I think if adapted correctly dororo (the character)'s backstory, the stuff with Daigo's son will be a highlight. I do think they could get rid of shounen shark guy though later on and not bother including him.
Anonymous3415569
The other thing, is how both this and She Ra have the same premise of the main character changing from the villain to the heroic side. I don't know if that's a good pattern but it's and interesting way to build a female character in which the relationship with their old friends is a way to add pathos.
Anonymous3415569
It felt like a new version of inspector Gadget could be do like this. Considering how it frames the criminal organization (for kids). And also maybe a crossover could work?
Anonymous3415569
I watched the Carmen SanDiego Netflix series. It was ok. I did like the simple visual style and Saturday morning vibe. It's clearly more for a younger audience, yet it wasn't that boring. Still all I could think about while watching it were 2 things:
SuperMario
Kaiser, make sure to check your inbox
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bothanons: Issues on both sides of the spectrum.
@Wooper: Its the politest take you could get on that premise.
@Mario: I think the anime skipped some stuff from the after the rain manga, I should probably read the manga.
Anonymous3412482
Edgy 14 year olds everywhere
Anonymous3413183
moralfags everywhere
SuperWooper
I heard that show was about a teenage girl's crush on an older man. Sounds pretty problematic to me. I'm with the rest of the Internet on this one.
SuperMario
Apparantly the other side of anime fandom (the internet) doesn’t watch Koi wa Ameagari
Lenlo
The reddit anime awards are done! I did it! I was on stream! Oh joy. Can talk about this now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I have decided to adopt the same approach for the new True detective season also.
niello
@Eoghan: Exactly my thought three episodes in. I wish I realise it before I picked up the show, because I definitely need to watch those three episodes again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to watch new boogiepop at some point, but I'm just hoping it ends so I can just marathon the show, it'd be too confusing to watch once a week, instead of straight through in one go.
Amagi
Oh I just realize it's the same team as HnK well that explains that.
Amagi
@Aidan: Unsure too about the trailer but it reminds me more of Houseki, qualitywise, and less of all the other bad CGI shows. I have hope. Same with Vinland. Trailer had some CGI and Thorkell's design feels a bit different but aside from that it was good.
Anonymous3402245
sangatsu
SuperMario
@Kaiser: The selection isn’t out until April. Heck, they haven’t annouced the head jury yet
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should really watch Shirobako one of these days and on the manga end, read Kurozuka as I remember the bit I did read was quite different from the anime (which I loved).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I don't know if the film selection for Cannes this year is out yet. Though it'll be a while before I get to see them.
SuperWooper
Noice.
SuperMario
Is it OK to brag here? I’ve just got the acrreditation to Cannes Film Fest this year baby. Will look forward for that one
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched it years ago and thought even though the first half was poor it picked up in the second. Maybe if I rewatched it my thoughts would change.
Anonymous3400512
Majestic prince is really bad man
Anonymous3399383
kemurikusa
SuperMario
Damn, just looked at the teaser of Beastars and I’m hooked. I’m hyped for the show
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Beastars is a good choice for them yes, as was Houseki no kuni, Majestic prince which they co-made was really underated back when it aired.
niello
I like how Orange Studio seems to have good eyes for manga. And it looks as if they are trying to go for stories that lets them avoid animating normal humans. So, ones that are more compatible with their CG visual. It'd be nice if this lead to some manga adaptation that won't happen otherwise.
Vonter
I think people get too worked up on Shield Hero. While not a great show, I have found it entertaining. I suppose the underdog aspect also got meta. With that said, I think if instead of the heroine reapplying the slave contract they should have made a contract or something like that, that felt one-sided.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually have more confidence in the cgi if its done by the houseki team.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: When I talked to amagi about Beastars I don't think I ever heard your views on it. Also from what I recall you haven't read Vinland?
AidanAK47
Yep, full CGI for Beastars. I am somewhat half and half on it as the clip isn;t bad but I am a bit too used to the style of the manga.
https://youtu.be/S6H1qskbEIg
Lenlo
I dont expect the CGI to be bad. WIT has experience because of AoT now, and the boat/open ocean can profit from it a lot more than character models.

For Beastars, if its the Houseki no Kuni team, I wouldn't worry until we see a PV
Vonter
Maybe CGI wouldn not be as distracting if characters aren't humans? I mean the Star Fox Zero short was very good looking and it was full CGI.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Full cgi I think for beastars adaptation, although done by the people who did houseki no kuni so there could be exceptions made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't expect them to try and cover his post childhood. They will probably stop at the farm arc. There will be cg, I hope it won't be intrusive.
Lenlo
Ey Vinland pv is out! Looks good! I cant wait
Animosh
@Kaiser: I'm pretty sure Yuki's family issues will be addressed later on, this just wasn't the time for it. So far the show has always followed up on the character arcs it has introduced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that feels very different about huge detailed art aswell on the other end more simpler styles, in comparison to alot of the generic moe style we mostly see now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And while I am on different artstyles, I bloody love Ryoichi ikegami and Suehiro murao also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Complete different art too, cartoony even.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Years ago I read almost of Yoshihiro's stuff, although I never got around to finishing a drifting life by him, I also read that Mizuki guy manga i mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been wondering about this for a bit, is anyone on here familiar with the Gekiga period/wave of manga from the 50s and 60s to very early 70s? Such as stuff the by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and also Shigeru Mizuki's Onward toward noble death?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I was right in there with them waiting to hear the results.
Anonymous3391737
They took the words I was about to say right out of my mouth.
Anonymous3391737
Late to the party, but man this was a good episode, iffy CG runners aside (though I hope that'll be addressed in the BDs). I'm so glad they were able to qualify.
Lenlo
Hmmm I cant wait to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
This cast has grown on me. Also while I would appreciate followup on Yuki's family, I actually don't mind if the show didn't, because this series manages to say much by saying little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm glad that even though it showed then in a top ten list, they weren't up the top of it. Its more believable that way. Also who'd of though a race would be so tense?
Animosh
Also happy to see that the twins will get some spotlight next week. Aside from Musa they've had the least development so far, so they can use the attention. I also like that someone's finally raising the question what the point of it all is. If you have no chance of winning, why compete? It's a valid question, and I'm looking forward to hearing Haiji's answer.
Animosh
Haiji's injury was less of an issue than I expected: he even finished as "best of the rest" (excluding the leading group). Looks like it'll keep simmering under the surface for now. The fact that it was highlighted again probably means it is going to play a big role in the story eventually though.
Animosh
Anyhow, you can't always get everything you want, so whatever. It's still a very good adaptation overall, with some of the most impressive animation out there, and with some luck the cuts were just a one time thing and the rest of the season will be consistently well-paced. And if not ... well, the Claw arc is less "deep" anyway, so cuts will be less of an issue there I think.
Animosh
And just to be clear, I also agree that the episode elevated the source material in many ways: the aspect ratio nonsense aside, the episode looked incredible, no question. But my complaint is not with the animation, but with the storytelling, which - although by no means awful - could have been a hell of a lot better.
Animosh
@Anon: I agree the two chapter rule isn't perfect, and when there's a lot of fighting a faster pace is often preferable. So maybe an additional episode would have been too much - again, I don't remember how much was cut exactly. And of course, in the end pacing is a matter of preference. I loved this arc in the manga, and I'm probably more negative about cuts than you guys just because of that.
Anonymous3390450
@animosh Ill always remember this episode and laud it for it was able to accomplish. There are so many things it did to elevate the source material. Everything it covered from the source material was elevated in animation; the only issue was that shit got cut, and it's a bit unfortunate because i think it could have been easily avoided. Like lenlo said: a part of our gripe comes from our manga exp
Anonymous3390450
@animosh as a product of the previous season and episodes leading up to this, but it would have been even better if we got to share the experience mob had in mogami's would. The dread and isolation mob was meant to feel was communicated artfully; but that third element; the experience; that was what was needed to complete the trifecta and cement this episode as THE perfect adaptation.
Anonymous3390450
@animosh influences mob, we are missing one more element that would have completely sealed the deal. By BONES cutting out what they did, they took away from the viewer the EXPERIENCE mob went through. Losing that aspect, watching mob's journey through mogami's illusion, slightly hampers the overall impact his breakdown and his use of his powers against people. Most of the impact is still there
Anonymous3390450
@animosh despite my criticisms, i thought this episode was fucking great. I think the directing captures the dread and haunting oppressiveness mogami's illusions were meant to have on mob quite well. The adaptation communicates well what mob went through and why it broke him. What my criticisms amount to is that while the direction communicates well how mogami's macabre thinking eventually
Anonymous3390450
@Animosh that 2-3 chapters pace is not really a reliable rule, because that standard is completely dependent on how much content is in a particular chapter. The second half of this Mob psycho episode adapted like 3 or 4 chapters without feeling rushed; why? because those chapters the second half of the episode adapted were all action scenes, which when animated, take up less runtime
Animosh
Maybe I've just been spoiled by that other big Bones adaptation, My Hero Academia, which not only has great pacing but even adds high-quality filler to improve on the source material. Compared to that ... this was rather disappointing. But as Lenlo said, the episode did still do a lot of things right, so I didn't hate it or anything. It's just that it could have been much better still.
Animosh
@Anon: maybe that would have been enough (it would certainly have been an improvement). It's been so long since I read the manga that I don't know how much was cut exactly. But in general 2-3 chapters per episode is the pace adaptations should aim for, but these two episodes covered a whopping 8 chapters. That's just too much, especially for an arc where build-up is so important.
Lenlo
I think a longer episode, cut the OP, squeeze out every minute, would be better than a whole nother full episode.

Thing is, I think we are only a bit disappointed because we were manga readers. For anime only, this probably still hit all the right notes. And really, the entire episode is just straight fire animation wise
Anonymous3390290
@Animosh Nah; i don't think giving it 1 more episode would have been the answer, all it would have done is drag things out. What this episode needed to tape into its full potential was to be an extended episode; a 27 min ep that cut both the op and ed. If mediocre shows like re:zero can get 26 min eps commissioned out the wazoo then why can't a great show like mob psycho get that shit?
Animosh
I did still enjoy the episode as a collection of well-animated action set-pieces, but as a story arc just one more episode could have made it so much better imo.
Animosh
To use your example: no, an episode filled with suffering wouldn't have been fun. But now we barely got a glimpse of what Mob went through. The boy went through hell, and he was stuck there for six (!) months. Even so, he decided to forgive Minori, and his positive emotions beat Mogami's negative ones. In the manga that felt like a triumph, here not so much.
Animosh
But as a viewer (and a manga reader who's a fan of this arc), I thought it was somewhat disappointing. Yes, without the cuts the episodes may have been a bit less engaging, but I think that would have been fine all things considered. Build-up episodes are always less fun than the dramatic highlights, but they're necessary to make them land.
Animosh
@Lenlo: I understand why Bones did it this way, and I agree it would have been harder to make each episode engaging, get them to end at good points etc otherwise. It's also very possible they were contracted for a certain number of episodes, and if they want to get to the end of the Claw arc in 12 episodes some short cuts were inevitable.
Lenlo
Theres more, but I need to sleep and save some of it for the post
Lenlo
Both of them sacrificed their bodies for others. Her to make money for the kids, but willingly. Hyakkimaru for his family and clans prosperity, but unwillingly.
Lenlo
I think it would have made a fine cliffhanger, but not as good as this. Because this is a fantastic parallel I am writing about for the Dororo post.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Would that have made for a good cliffhanger
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: What would you think if the episode had ended with the shot of dororo's reaction and the scene with the girl and samurai was reserved for the start of next weeks episode?
Lenlo
Also, fun fact, the episode ending? The part involving Hyakkimaru? Anime original.
Lenlo
Great episode
Lenlo
She also covers herself up when Dororo mentions Hyakki can see the color of peoples souls. More foreshadowing. I loved it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A yes, re-winding and paying more attention to her expression at the episodes start after finishing the episode and then going back to it I see the foreshadowing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Ah what better eyes you have for things than I do =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Perhaps yes it did show everything openly but I think it did it in a bleak, grim, non-exploitative, non-minipulative, non -overdramatic way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Shows how shitty it was too for women back then too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: But this is another great example of how gritty this can be and not holding back in terms of the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Also that we see it through the most innocent characters eyes. I wonder if the manga or old series had that in there.
Lenlo
Yeah. I suspected it from the start, seeing her washing herself in the river, but it was very... blatant. Nothing to the imagination
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I was rather surprised at the frankness of the final scene.
Lenlo
Dororo so sad this week ;_; I love it
Lenlo
@Animosh, I was pretty happy with this weeks Mob really. I understand the pacing concern, but I don't see how they could have adapted it without having a single episode full of just suffering. It works for a webcomic, but not for a weekly animation I dont think. I plan on rewatching it in a bit and will see if my feelings change, but I enjoyed it. Still mulling it over narratively though
AidanAK47
@Firechick, New Anime reviews are automatically added to the review index on the header.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The choice to draw the characters as animals makes for something different to, with the character designs.
Animosh
@Kaiser: that sounds pretty great! I'll be looking forward to the anime then. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Dororo this week, that him getting his hearing back would actually be initially something he'd have to get used to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I actually only very recently saw zootopia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I initially mistook beastars as being a slice of life school series that had bits of comedy and that the animal thing would be just a gimmick. Ended up getting a gritty drama with well realized characters and world building and an addictive pace.
Animosh
The designs weren't as good as they could have been either (from the rather unimaginative ghost designs and sparkly eyes Mob to the dull background environment), and the action was a bit hard to follow at times (which wasn't the case in the manga). It was my favorite manga arc back when I read it, but it certainly won't be my favorite arc from the anime.
Animosh
Still not a fan of how Bones adapted this arc. The pacing was way too fast again, and the emotional climaxes didn't really land for me as a result. And although the animation was excellent as expected, I really didn't like the change in aspect ratio. The intention was probably to make the experience more cinematic, but the main result was that everything looked smaller, and therefore less intense.
Animosh
That's the manga series you and Amagi were talking about a while ago, right? Is it good? The plot description reminds me a bit of Zootopia.
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Featured Posts

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 06

The treasurer of the student council, Ishigami Yuu, finally got a proper introduction this week. I’d say this episode was his time to shine, but it’s actually the opposite – he’s so preoccupied with Kaguya’s apparent hatred of him (as well as his own social faux pas) that it was actually his time to mope. […]

Paranoia Agent – 4 [A Man’s Path] – Throwback Thursday

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Mid-Season Review of Kakegurui××

For all of you who are disappointed that we didn’t cover the sequel to the show that even Elon Musk watches, I felt that this season of Kakegurui would benefit more from an periodic overview rather than following it week from week. Kakegurui was never about the mechanics nor tense stakes as it relies on […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 17 [Searching for the Answer]

Welcome to the feel good relaxation week of Kaze Fui! This time the Twins confront Haiji, they see the track and Sakaki continues to be a dick. Lets jump in! Starting off, this episode was a very subdued one. Similar to Mob, Kaze Fui slowed down this week. Giving the characters room to breathe again […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 6 [Poor, Lonely, Whitey]

Welcome to a very poignant episode of Mob Psycho 100. This week Mob shows us his growth, Reigen his lack-there-of and things start to fall apart. Lets jump in! Starting off, almost anything would look inferior when compared to last week. Almost as if knowing this, Mob Psycho decided to be very light on animation […]

Winter 2019 Summary – Week 4-5

We are reaching towards midway of this season where shows start to settle down and we have a firm ideas of which shows we wanna follow till the end. As for me, I decided to skip both Asuka and Domestic Girlfriend for now. I’m still mildly curious about then, but in the season where I […]

Dororo – 6 [The Story of the Moriko Song, Part 2]

Hello and welcome to Dororo, your weekly dose of suffering for the season. This time Hyakkimaru get’s revenge, Mio proves herself Best Girl and Tahomaru gets some development. Lets dive in! Starting off, this episode looked fantastic. Dororo is often very subdued with its animation. Either reducing details or going slow. This week however proved, […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 04/05 [Elite Stronghold/ The Splendid Aleshma]

It has been fun over the last two weeks of Kotobuki, where we get to learn more about two members of the squad and some more fun times with them fighting against air pirates. One thing first, I still greatly enjoy the tongue-in-cheek conversations Kotobuki employs. It’s fast-paced, it’s irrelevance, it’s silly but Kotobuki is […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 06-07 [VS The Imaginator 3-4]

Boogiepop thickens its narrative considerably this past 2 weeks. Instead of peeling the skins to its already complex narrative, it feels as if Boogiepop adds more layers to it, each layer matters differently to the big picture. While I feel the first arc Boogiepop and Others suffers from rushing too much (it scraps many side […]

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