Posted on 14 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, The Reflection

For years in the anime community there has been a question about what exactly qualifies as an anime. Many argue that anime specifically means animation made and produced in Japan alone by the Japanese. Others argue that anime is shorthand for animation and thus should be extended to western inspired pieces such as Avatar the Last Airbender, Teen Titans and RWBY. But what about those in between? What about pieces created by the West but produced by the East? It is in this middle ground that Stan Lee’s The Reflection lies. The Reflection doesn’t being airing until July 22nd, and because of its unique position, I thought it would be good to take a look at it. To take the opportunity to talk about what The Reflection is, where it’s coming from and what we can look forward to in this upcoming season.

To start, lets introduce out key players, Stan Lee, Hiroshi Nagahama and Studio Deen. I find it difficult to believe there is someone in this day and age who doesn’t know about Stan Lee but here is a quick primer. Stan Lee is the man who brought us Marvel Comics and is basically the father of western comics, with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko the artists at his side. With the recent advent of Superhero movies, Stan Lee is back stronger than ever and is preparing to make another foray into anime. His previous works in the east include Heroman and the Ultimo manga series made in conjunction with Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei.

Next we have Hiroshi Nagahama, a longtime Key Animator and Director. Nagahama started out at Madhouse before eventually going freelance. On his own he worked on the design for Revolutionary Girl Utena and began doing animation direction for Ojarumaru. Eventually, he came to direct his own critically acclaimed pieces such as Mushishi, Detroit Metal City, and The Flowers of Evil. Today, we are fortunate to have him directing The Reflection.

Finally, we have Studio Deen, a place many of you know well. Studio Deen is one of the old hats in animation and have been doing it as far back as the 80’s with pieces such as Angels Egg and Ranma 1/2. More recent examples of their skill include Log Horizon Season 2, Hetalia, and one of my personal favorites Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. With recent quality like that and the heavy hitters as mentioned before, The Reflection has a good baseline to start from. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much information on how these three came together, but no doubt after his time with Bones working on Heroman, Stan Lee has a few contacts in the industry for The Reflection.

With its pedigree laid out, lets take a look at The Reflection, coming to simultaneous distribution July 22nd. As expected with Stan Lee, we are looking at a Superhero story, though this one is more along the lines of My Hero Academia than Superman. Our story begins with an event called The Reflection (early title card!), after which many individuals all over the world are discovered with super powers. These powers range from our hero Xon who can copy and stockpile other peoples powers, I-Guy who can generate a concussive blast with his voice and Deadwing a man turned bat who fights with ultrasonic waves. With these powers some naturally choose to use their powers as villains, so of course heroes must appear to oppose them. Over the course of this conflict we will no doubt learn about The Reflection, what caused it and if there was a deeper plot behind it.

With Stan Lee as the creator, the man who has made some of the most loved comic book characters in history, and Nagahama as the director, with his experience from Mushishi, I expect we will be treated to more than your average super hero fare. The Reflection has yet to receive a rating and will consist of one cour, airing on Funimation and Crunchyroll starting July 22nd at 11 pm. Be sure to check it out!

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Creators

Re:Creators starts off it’s second half of its series with a brand new opening credits from Sawano using the two same singers of gravityWall. Titled as shØut, it takes the same melody as AL:Lu and closely follows the first opening in its presentation. I thought it was about the same quality as the first one with a bit more action like having fighter jets coming out of Meteora’s Gate of Babylon and explosions everywhere. What information can be gleaned is that Selesia will eventually get back her prized Vogelchevalier and that two more creations, in addition to Charon, will be joining the show. The first is apparently is Yuuya’s rival in which his sister was killed by our sword wielding stand user. This is going to be turn out to be very explosive as these two are going to butt heads as one seeks vengeance for a murdered family member. The second character is so bizarrely out of place in her normality as she seems to be a character from one of those generic romantic visual or light novels. Other than her warm and kind heart, I don’t see any powers that could stand toe-to-toe with Altair’s dance of swords or every other creations wielding their massive abilities. Re:Creators has surprised me before and I’m sure they will surprise me with her.

Unfortunately, it’s been nearly a month since anything really awesome has happened and since then, it’s just been mostly just theorizing and coming up with an elaborate plan to engage Altair and defeat her. Episode fourteen is no different with briefings and characters standing around talking to each other. It does answers several questions like having Altair being deliberately written to be weaker and confronts a few loopholes that the audience might have thought to exploit. I didn’t really enjoy all the info dumping and for the rest of the episode, the creative process takes center stage in how each creators approach their craft from being on a salary working for a client with specific needs to being utterly devoted to maintaining the artistic purity  of their work and totally independant. People like Kentaro Miura, of Berserk fame, comes to mind when it comes to telling a story that does not compromise in its quality, subject matter, or release schedule that sometimes takes years between the release of chapters. I was annoyed that they decided to omit the details of Sota’s little plot insertion as the episode was already so dry. At the very least, a date is given to us about when the grand event is to occur, which happens to exactly fall on when the sixteenth episode is aired. I expect it to be awesome because the last few episode certainly haven’t been given all the buildup that has been happening.

Posted on 10 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Our story resumes immediately from where we left off, our six leads battling their way across the rooftops to some undisclosed location. Just like last week, we are greeted with some beautiful visuals ranging from a halo in the clouds to the best bullet casings I have ever seen in anime. Truly Ranbu is a feast for the eyes. Sadly, that is all the series seems to have.

This episode can be easily split up into three distinct sections. The opening fights, a boardroom meet’n’greet and the buildup. For the opening fights section, we get brief glimpses of what each of our leads can do and just how strong they are compared to their opponents. There are a lot of issues with this section, such as where did the fire from last episode go, how does no one from this era notice the red bolts of lightning summoning zombie swordsman and the fact that these time police are using swords and spears when they could easily use guns and bullets. This is explained later on, but that explanation only opens more questions.

Next after our team dispatches the remaining Revisionist forces, the leader of our motley band must leave, as cannot stay in the same period for to long, assigning Kane to be the team leader. Our party heads out, finds an inn and rests up, waking up to the aforementioned meet’n’greet. This section has the most meat of the episode, but the dialogue and how it is presented is agonizingly slow and boring. They essentially do “State your name, home city and one interesting fact”, as if they were freshman university students. Contrived, but we do get a lot of information from this.

Our main cast, and supposedly everyone else in their task force, are apparently weapons once wielded by historical figures. This explains each characters predilection for the weapon they once were, it explains their personalities since they are similar to their old wielders and it explains some of their dynamics. For example, Mutsunokami (Gunman) and Kanesada (Our Mentor MC) were wielded by Sakamoto Ryoma and Hijikata Toshizo, two commanders on different sides of a war, explaining their hostility towards each other. Sakamoto Ryoma also had an interest in military technology, such as guns and ships, explaining some of Mutsunokami’s reverence in regards to such technology. It helps a good bit with fleshing out the characters, but it opens up the question, how did these ancient weapons become time police? Hopefully that will get answered in the future.

Finally, we have our buildup to next episodes inciting incident. It appears the Revisionists plans are to spark a war between the Dutch and Japan. For a bit of background, the Dutch were the only Europeans allowed to trade in Japan after the Christian Rebellion, so a break in their relations could cause serious harm to Japans economy and technology at the time. Not a bad plan all things considered, and the Revisionists don’t seem to be stupid as they ignore our Leads and instead attack the Dutch steam ship scheduled to sail home. Had the meet’n’greet been half as long, this episode might have gone somewhere. Instead we are faced with one of Ufotables greatest weaknesses, writing.

Ufotable is fantastic when it comes to things like animation, sound and visual effects, but so far nothing they themselves have written has been good. Tales of Zestria, while beautiful, lacked substance, just as Ranbu does. All of our characters seem like cardboard cutouts, and the story itself feels hollow. I am sure those who played the game will get a lot more out of it than people like myself, but from where I am standing the only redeeming factor is the art. Its a shame, because we know from anime such as Fate/Zero that Ufotable is capable of making an episode with 90% dialogue engaging. Just go watch the Feast of Kings episode as proof! Yet here we are treated to a 10 minute info dump, which while necessary, could have been done in a number of different ways.

So it’s clear Ranbu has issues, but we are only two episodes in. With time and patience, its not to late to recover, as a large cast takes time to flesh out. Assuming some quiet character moments and less info dumps, it could work. I am not expecting it to, but it could. At the very least, we will be getting some gorgeous wall papers and action scenes from this season.

As a final aside, all future reviews for Ranbu will be posted the Sunday after that episode airs. With being brought on as a writer, the transition and all that, episode one was a bit late. From here on out we are on a schedule!

Posted on 8 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoukoku no Altair

As a fan of both historical fantasy and MAPPA, the studio behind this series, I had high hopes for Shoukoku no Altair coming into this premiere. Its Middle Eastern setting and young, eager protagonist make it a dead ringer for Arslan Senki, the first season of which I enjoyed. Arslan was a bit dry, and its battle scenes were riddled with CG elements, but it also had the disadvantage of being produced by Liden Films. My thinking was that with a more trustworthy animation house behind it, Altair had a shot at being the complete package.

The going is still early, but after one episode, my expectations have been appropriately tempered. Altair is a distinctly average show from a visual perspective, with most of its flair coming from the ornate Turkish outfits and architecture (Turkiyean, to use the show’s vocab), rather than its composition or sense of movement. I haven’t done much more than skim through the first chapter of the manga for this one, but it would surprise me if the art were this standard in its original form. Seeing how much material was crammed into these 22 minutes, though, makes me think that the episode director had a lot more on his mind than making the show look pretty.

Despite only introducing a handful of characters in its first outing (with plenty more to come if the OP is any indication), Altair feels jam-packed with content. I’ve seen it written that the show will likely burn through its first couple arcs to get to the good stuff, and if that’s the case, we ought to be rewarded down the line. For now, though, we’re relying on flashbacks, rooftop statements of purpose, and narrated exposition to learn about the world of Rumeliana. Turkiye is a small fish in a much larger pond, and until all the major players have been introduced, I don’t expect this style of delivery to change.

The most significant player in this story is Tugril Mahmut Pasha, “Pasha” being a title for Turkiyean generals. As the youngest person ever to join that distinguished assembly, he’s clearly being set up as a prodigy. His mother is dead, and he’s so inexperienced with women that he opts to sleep on the roof when he finds one in his bed, so he’s ticking all the normal boxes as far as anime protagonists go. Mahmut discovers a plot by the neighboring Balt-Rhein Empire to frame Turkiye for the assassination of their Prime Minister, who is given the name “Franz” in one of the silliest World War I references ever. Our hero conveniently overhears the name of the conspirator from a band of assassins, sets his army of eagles on them, reveals the identity of the traitor to the Emperor of the opposing nation, and saves the day. If that sounds like a lot of material for a first episode, that’s because it is, and that’s without the handful of characters and plot points I’ve neglected to mention. Still, Altair makes itself easy to follow, even as it moves rapidly through its material.

The person that interests me the most is Zaganos Pasha, a young general who wants war with the Empire despite their superior numbers, and with whom Mahmut immediately clashes. There’s a possibility that he’s feeding information to Louis, the Imperial conspirator, to achieve his goal, but his level-headed demeanor makes it hard to predict whether that’s truly the case. The Emperor of Balt-Rhein is also a bit of a question mark – his refusal to listen to all of Mahmut’s testimony indicates prior knowledge of Louis’ plot, but there’s no confirmation that he orchestrated the whole thing. Hopefully these characters, along with those who have yet to be introduced, will lend a bit of spice to a show that could really use it.

Posted on with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

Much of the conversation leading up to the premiere of Ballroom e Youkoso has focused on its English distribution. Amazon, who continue to wade deeper into the anime marketplace, snapped up the series to headline their Anime Strike channel, and plenty of digital ink has been spilled about how its double paywall spells doom for the future of legal streaming. The first episode of Ballroom also had its worldwide debut on Twitch, where a live audience of thousands welcomed its delayed subtitles with KappaPride emotes, copypasta, and an obsession with the size of the characters’ necks. But let’s put all this aside for a moment and ask ourselves: did Production I.G. succeed in preserving the appeal of the manga in its journey from page to screen?

For me, the answer is “pretty much.” Ballroom is a plucky, well-paced series in manga form, and I.G. kept things rolling during the first episode, as well. They had to cut a few corners to get there, however, and one of them cost me some attachment to Fujita, our middle school protagonist. The manga presents him as a willing participant in his first group lesson, having been inspired by a professional dancer named Sengoku, who rescues him from a trio of bullies. The animated version of the story keeps Sengoku’s role the same, but omits the group lesson, and skips straight to a coerced partnership with Shizuku, his schoolmate and newfound crush. As a result, it was much harder for me to swallow the idea that Fujita wanted to go pro by the end of the episode, or that he’d lose track of time and practice the box step for what must have been twelve hours straight.

Luckily, the rest of Ballroom’s characters more than pull their weight. Sengoku initially appears to be a good-natured role model, but after witnessing Fujita’s sudden insistence on becoming a professional dancer, he seamlessly transforms into a drill sergeant with a chip on his shoulder. Similarly, Shizuku is suspicious of her temporary partner’s motives, and asks him directly whether he’s just a pervert looking for kicks. It’s only after he demonstrates some proficiency at a beginning technique that she gives him the time of day. This prickly behavior lets us know that ballroom dancing is no walk in the park, and that experienced dancers won’t take kindly to upstarts who haven’t put in the hours. Hopefully, the series will permit Fujita to struggle for as long as possible, and give us a glimpse at the mental fortitude necessary to compete even at the amateur level.

Perhaps the most worrisome thing about this premiere was the lack of any one expressive dance scene. Production I.G. has done some great work on Haikyuu!!, and given the visual similarities between that series and Ballroom, I assume that it’s being handled by the same team. My expectations were high coming into the episode, but even during the scene where Fujita gawked at a dance competition on DVD, there were low-detail models, panning stills, and even what looked like CG dancers in a couple spots. On the plus side, the character designs are strong, even if they’re not identical to the manga, and they’re expressive enough to cover for the holes in the animation department. Still, the first major burst of painstakingly-drawn dance choreography should be a treat to behold.

All in all, this was a good start to an adaptation of a manga that certainly deserved one. I’m already looking forward to the next episode, and to covering the series from week to week.

Posted on 6 July 2017 with categories: Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first post on the blog! Today we begin our series on Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Ranbu henceforth), by Ufotable and directed by Toshiyuki Shirai. Now lets hop into it!

To start, lets quickly talk about two of Ufotables most notable qualities that are also present in Ranbu, those being the art/effects and the music. Right off the bat we get hit full force by the digital effects team with some beautiful rain shots, both up close and with some 3D tracking. The 3D used on the enemies is well placed, especially compared to Berserk 2017, it gives them an otherworldly style compared to the rest of the characters we see. In regards to the lighting, throughout this episode we get both flashes in the darkness and fire on the horizon. None of it stands out or catches the eye, which is typically the sign of good lighting, that it seems natural. Finally, for music we get some sweeping orchestra tracks, moments of silence, and decent fight music. Nothing stands out, but it also manages not to overstay its welcome, knowing when silence is better than loud instruments.

Now lets get into the story and characters. We are introduced to our main duo, Kane and Kunihiro, and their pet future cat-dog thing. I can’t help but draw a parallel between Kamina and Simon from Gurren Lagann between these two in regards to their relationship and color pallet. I would not at all be surprised if our resident Mentor Kane died in the future to give Kunihiro the motivation he needs to step out of his shell. For our story, it looks to be a sort of Time Police gig. Its a time-travel premise I have not seen before in anime, and by its nature directly addresses the issues most time travel stories have with things like the Butterfly Effect. Our main duo is introduced en medias res fighting against the forces of the “Time Retrograde Army” or “Historical Revisionists” as they are later called, who appear to be the main antagonists for this story. They have been sent to this time to prevent these Revisionists from changing the past, for what purpose we do not yet no, but it is no doubt nefarious!

Next Ranbu takes some time to explain some of its rules, such as how their as of yet unnamed organization can only send 2 people but the Revisionists can send dozens. Our resident mentor Kane also explains to his student, and by effect us, some of the moral quandaries of their job. As a fire breaks out in the middle of the night, Kane explains that their job is not to save people but to preserve history, which means we may run into a scenario in the future where the Revisionists are trying to save someone and our heroic duo actually has to commit murder to preserve the future. It would be a great character moment… if Ranbu didn’t immediately go and break its own rules by having Kane save a young girl and then joke about coming back to kill her. Imagine how hard hitting the moment would have been, how ironclad that rule would have seemed, if we simply got a shot of the beam falling and then silence. We would be left with a beautiful character moment in the future as a result, where Kane breaks this one rule. But now we already know it means nothing to him.

This is one of the main issues I have with Ranbu right now, even though it just began. They setup their rules, their moral quandaries, their main conflict, and then break their own rules. Cant save people? Unless its a little girl. Cant have more than 2 people in an area/period because of limited resources? Well lets just beam in 5 more people to help with a fight our duo can’t seem to win. In the end the only rule that matters in Ranbu is the titular “Rule of Cool”, which I am sure everyone is familiar with. Finally at the end, we are introduced to 5 more character (Wow that is a lot of characters for episode one), names Tonbokiri the large spear man, Unnamed Male Ninja #1, Musunokami the Gunman, and Saniwa the boss-man. At this point I care for none of them, but they have 11 episodes left.

There is more I could get into, for example we could disect the Ending Song, but with how long this post is already I will save that little bit for a slow week and do the Opening Song with it as well. I give this opening episode a 6/10. Beautiful to look at, engaging at the start, but breaks rules as soon as they are established and ruined what little tension was left for the end of the episode. They still have time to fix it though, so lets just sit back, enjoy the visual roller coaster and hope it works out.

 

Posted on 3 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Creators

Seeing the previews for this week’s episode, it was obvious that the main narrative was going to be taking a break with a recap episode. The question is if this was worth watching at all. Thankfully, Re:Creators pulls off an above average clip show that actually has some new animation, is aware of the loathed nature of recaps, and pokes fun at itself.

As most recaps show are usually all recycled footage, I was surprised at the amount of new animation like seeing Altair get her ass completely shredded by an alternate sexualized version of Meteora. While that was very entertaining to see, I thought that her alternate personality could still use a bit more spark as her mannerism didn’t match with her new physical appearance. The nonlinear format of showcasing characters breaks up the tired template of reliving though the series in twenty minutes while Meteora trashes-talks them. There is actually some new backstory information like Yuuya’s past as he was part of a special unit before he murdered a whole bunch of people and became the antagonist of his own universe. Finally, the ending scene is completely meta as Meteora breaks the fourth wall to kindly explain the reasons for a recap episode and puts to rest any concerns about its quality. I don’t think this will turn into the shining example of being the best recap episode ever but it still worth a watch if you’re in Re:Creators as does a thing or two to keep things interesting.

Posted on 1 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Tsuki ga Kirei

There sure is a lot of crying going on in this finale (mine included, MANY TIMES), and that was one significant factor Tsuki ga Kirei pulled off in their last episode – they go for big emotions here – for better or for worse. The “worse” part, this emotional outburst goes completely against the show’s quiet tones presented in earlier episodes, and those scenes unfortunately bring Tsuki ga Kirei into an ordinary romance anime territory with all their usual cliché – “boy gets girl, boy loses girl” stuff. The “better” part then, after following their relationship for 12 episodes, Kotarou and Akane more than earned the emotional impact they presented here. The stakes are much higher now, as they have issues both from external threats and internal fallouts. Having Kotarou screaming “I Love You” to a running train, or Akane crying whenever she has a chance feel rightfully resonate with us viewers. Just like hidden waves just keep bubbling up under the surface to transform into massive tsunami, this is a stage where those two need to be actively acknowledge how much they are meant to each other. So in the end, not the best ending I could have hope for, but still an emotionally satisfying one.

I love how Tsuki ga Kirei wasted no time telling us the main conflict, as Kotarou receives a “rejected letter” seconds into the episode. Thus, the two will have to do with long-distance relationship, but will they survive? Akane is insecure about their status: her sister feels it’s better for both of them if they break up, her best friend Chinatsu tells her AGAIN that she confessed to her man, and Kotarou doesn’t address that issue, or any issues at all, instead taking the load all by himself. Now about Chinatsu, I know many of you would absolutely hate her by now, what’s up with all the confession again and again that she knows would hurt Akane and break their friendship? I just say it’s how extrovert works, they have to let it all out and no hard feeling after all said and done. They move on. Akane understands that trait of her friend so she can take it well.

But she won’t take it as well when it comes to Kotarou, because he doesn’t tell her any of that. Indeed, he doesn’t tell her lots of things, one of them is his ongoing online novel – about their relationship (poor Akane just aware of its existence by Chinatsu, again – just to show you how attentive Chinatsu is with the world around her). His novel, I take it as the literary version of this series, takes a lot of viewers’ hearts for its true and honest depiction of first love. But the true question remains, raised by a random user named Akane “What happens next?”. That’s for you to know and for me to find out, kids – It’s an ongoing question that both Kotarou and Akane need to search for themselves, and in that extend all the lovers out there. I think this question hits home hard, so that I remain a bit baffled by the ending credits. Cute and heart-warming, yes, but we don’t really need to know the outcomes. We’re here to witness their first love in a very first stage, and whether they gonna be together for the rest of their lives or not isn’t our main concern. In fact, I believe this story is stronger if the two can’t make it till the end (yes, I’m cynical). This end credits make me again want to pair up Tsuki ga Kirei with Flowers of Evil as a companion double-edge piece: one depicts the light, the brightness of first love relationship, and the other details how such relationship can go horribly dark and twisted.

As a whole, Tsuki ga Kirei has been a wonderful ride. I won’t say much here as I will save my thoughts for the final review. Just let me say I really respect the efforts studio Feel put in for this little gem. I know they were having productions issues in the latter half of its run, judging by the constant delay in their broadcast. But knowing all that made me even more impressed with the final products, as save for one episode they were exceptional. Also, I’m very happy you made it till the end, Kotarou and Akane-chan. Bravos.

Posted on 30 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

Up until the last few minutes before the ending, I almost written this arc off as the one with no real drama, since the events play out too easy for our characters. But as Yoshino’s concern arises, I realize that it was all intentional and with that, this episode closes up nicely the first half of Sakura Quest. On the surface, the Founding Festival is nothing but a huge success: the number of attendance reach their whole year’s target, Manoyama town got promoted by the popular programs and the girls are given spotlights that they deserved; even the town locals have a chance to sell their foods and products. But those successes are not sustainable – the plans rely too much on the band Plotemaios (pronounce as Plus Minus!!) and their appearance indeed overwhelmed all the efforts of the girls. The quiz program shows little interest to the travelers, though they still manage to carry on till the end. Their coupons are greatly ignored and the girls are framed as the ones who invited the band over and their quiz panel is completely ignored in the broadcast. Look at the aftermath of the quiet town where the only trace left from the big events was trash and lost coupon flying around, Yoshino wonders if all her efforts are truly worth it.

When Yoshino questioned that whether getting people to come to the town is good enough, well, it is important. After all, getting people come to town constantly is the first and foremost goal in the tourism industry. The constant flow of visitor can indeed affect the town, as many local products aim at tourists can blossom, but it has to be “constantly”. Many of those past events from previous arcs (save the woodcarving and the cooking ones), plus this event are one-off events, meaning that most of the time, after such events end, things turn back to normal for the town. Improve some of the town’s traditions and unique features so that it can attract outsiders is one of the option, but Yoshino, bear in mind that maybe most people in the village just want to live quietly this way. She clearly upsets with how things turn out now and finding motivation, plus looking for a better alternative sound like a good direction for me. The event itself, putting all those pretentious thoughts aside, still provides heaps of funs with many little character moments. I enjoyed Ririko’s idea of putting map as a wrapper; or Yoshino sings that cute little anthem song. The scene-stealer of the event, again, is Sandal, as he correctly guesses the answer even without hearing the full question (he OBVIOUSLY knows the answer, rightttt?) and then proceeds to announce Mr. Kindaichi to be his partner for Guam trip (haha, seriously made me laugh).

Half way through, Sakura Quest has its ups and downs. It has never been bad, mind you, as I quite enjoy many elements from the show. After all, I am within this show’s target audience and when the show uses their characters as windows to explore adult’s insecureness and their real struggles with their current lives, it speaks too close to home. On the other hand, Sakura Quest’s sometimes just too light-heart and sitcom-y for its own good, and tries to cook up too many ideas that many of them turn out to be half-baked. The chance of me continuing cover this show the next season will be slim (though not set in stone yet), as for me it just isn’t that exceptional or personally resonate with me to spend another 3 months talking about it. Hope things turn out well for the Queen and her people in the second half.

Posted on 29 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Id-0

With this finale, we come to a happy ending of ID-0 and overall this was a satisfying conclusion. When the character Jennifer was brought up from the flashback, I wondered myself if she going to reappear, seeing that both Kane and Addams are here now. Turn out she was our Alice all along as she herself transported her mind to the Orichalt and now that she regains most of her memories, she determines to find Alice again. Thus come to the quest of both saving the humanity, and looking for Alice and it just so happens that Alice’s consciousness is nearby due to the large chunk of Orichalt and Rajeev around. See the plot convenience there? But that’s the one I’m happy to look pass as it gives our group one last time to work together as a team. I like the way the show portraits the concept of the space within the Orichalt – it’s just like we are delving into the world of consciousness when we eventually lost a sense of self and wandering around like a lost soul. Although the final solution to resolve this man-eating wandering planet crisis is to teach them the POWER of LOVE from human aka the most cheesy way ever imagined, I’m quite happy with the final outcomes.

For our main group, this final episode gives a deserving spotlight to Grayman and his daughter Claire, the one who was underdeveloped the most out of the cast. Her speech in favor for the pain and the loss her father had experienced is wonderful, and Amanza acts a bit out of character is very nice to see. One of the most impressive decision of this episode, howerver, is the interesting choice of music when the band charged through the Orichalt – It’s so out of place that somehow enhance the excitement and the thrilling of that scene. Seeing all of them charge through for the same goal reminds me greatly about one of the strongest element in ID-0: the great characters’ chemistry. The ending might seem a bit too fairytale with the criminal group all come clean due to saving the humanity, but it did tie the plot neatly and it was so entertaining that I have no complain whatsoever. Lastly, the show nails it with its after-credit stills about the whereabout of our cast: Maya and Karla are the ones who left the misfit band, join and contribute to the society. The ones who don’t have physical bodies of course stay on board, and most amusingly, Amanza left the army the join the team, and I have a good laugh at Fa-loser finally “reconciles” with Rick in a very drunken and moody English ED song.

As a final impression, to be honest I didn’t expect much from ID-0 so I’m genuinely surprised week after week how much it kept surpassing my expectation. I originally took it as a goofy fun show, but it turns out to be an understatement, ID-0 is a legit solid and entertaining show. Furthermore, ID-0 serves as another good example of how to use full CG right in anime and the animation is consistent from beginning through end. So bravos to Sanzigen and their great efforts. As far as I know, there is no official announcement when Netflix will release this piece, and until then I guess this one will fly under the radar for most anime watchers out there. Guys, whatever you do, give ID-0 a chance because it certainly deserves more acknowledgement – at least I know those who had watched this show till the end all found it rewarding.

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SuperMario
and this week's Sakura Quest is damn great as well... This backstory of Chitose and Kadota rocks
SuperMario
Just watching the 2nd episode of Gamers, It was actually pretty good. I can't believe they fleshing out that annoying hot guy into such a relatable guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall the extent of my interest in Linkin park in my early teens was strictly the breaking the habit video and that was it.
SuperMario
The frontman of Linkin Park commited suicide by hanging himself... sad news. Never been his fan but I feel sad nonetheless
AidanAK47
Actually forgot with all the impressions and whatnot but I do believe we said we would review the Castlevania Netflix series. Now that everything has calmed down I will see if I can do a write up next week.
AidanAK47
I was busy trying to discern whether the story had any point besides "Life is shit"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Again, while I enjoyed punpun, the excessive internal narration, when marathoned, I had to take a break.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come to think of it, I don't even have a phone that does that, haven't bought a new one since 2004.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, you see I could never force myself to browse/type/use the internet on a phone, too used to using a desktop exclusively for that.
AidanAK47
Oh bloody hell. Stupid phone autocorrect. Yeah I meant Punpun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Read Freesia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
umi no onnanoko is probably the exact thing ninjarealist would be interested in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*oyasumi punpun
I found it alot more accessible than nijigahara holograph. deded-demon-destruction while enjoyable, is beneath him. Solanin is probably his easiest work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I assume you man oyasui punpun. Its been about five years since I read in, the final couple of volumes stay in my mind the most, all the stuff with him, the girl and his uncle also, I love Asano Inios art and the surreal elements but I got lost/bored somewhere in the middle and most of the other side characters and the cult thing I didn't really care about.
AidanAK47
Finished reading Goodnight Pumping. Really not sure on what to think of it. The story kept me reading but it just felt really empty.
Anonymous1276500
There are 2 Nyaa's now. This one is considered the 'real' one: https://nyaa.si
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like anirena is down for me. Although it looks like nyaa went back up as this: https://nyaa.pantsu.cat/
SuperMario
Aidan: Fate/Apocrypha, Made in Abyss, Kakegurui
Mario: Princess Principal, 18if, Youkoso
Lenlo: Touken Ranbu, The Reflection
Wooper: Ballroom, Shoukoku no Altair
Helghast: Re:Creators
SuperMario
Note: I'm deciding to take Classroom of the Elite as my third show to cover. So, for this season we are covering 11 shows.
Vonter
Just to end, it kind of shows than even if a story is predictable on where it is going. Characters can make up for that, if they're funny, interesting, and perhaps not agreeing all the time and having different agendas and points of view despite all sharing the same boat.
Vonter
Yet as a game Tales hasn't felt deep since Symphonia, (at least from the ones I've played). I'm wondering if it'll leave me wanting check the anime of Zestiria, since apparently Berseria is a prequel to that game. And many say the anime is better than the game. (I can see why).
Vonter
I also like the reused Tales beats from Phantasia and Berseria. It those have moments like when Lloyd was exiled and Cless had his village attacked. It has clear antagonists unlike Vesperia, and trying harder than the cartoony villains of Graces.
Vonter
I've been playing Tales of Berseria, and it seems to be the anti Tales of Graces. In which I'm caring about the story and characters, but the gameplay is a drag. This is the first time I've been autoplaying an JRPG. But unlike Gravity Rush 2, I'm not dropping it because I'm liking the interactions of these characters even if it gets, campy, overdramatic, or edgy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean I watch anime and films subtitled but sometimes my reading speed can be slow if theres a lot of dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I do that sometimes, mostly to check for message updates or on occasion to read reviews of what I am watching or to download more/check downloads.
SuperMario
For instance, I watched Okja yesterday and I had to take 15', 20' minute break in between for snack, surfing webs and playing mobile games...
SuperMario
I watched Fanny and Alexander... don't really remember which version I watched thou. I think it's a TV version since it divides into 4 separate parts
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it just that... my attention span has shortened greatly and I just can't stay focus on movies over an hour mark. In cinema, it's alright since you can't move anywhere but now it's abig task to finish a 2 hour and a half movie for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
And is good enough to keep up the quality for that long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say this, for every medium, to me the length of something isn't so much the issue, if you have a writer good enough to keep something going for ages then the length shouldn't be an issue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If something goes over three hours I treat it as a miniseries and watch one hour or two a day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol if you thought thats long, have you seen the extended versions of scenes from a marriage and fanny & alexander by Bergman? I can't wait to get my hands on the tv versions I hear they're completely different.
SuperMario
Okja is pretty entertaining with pointed social commentary. I don't really feel Tilda Swinton's double roles add up much but everything else is great. Bong has never disappointed me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: good luck with Satantango then. I guess now if I watch an 8-hour long film it would take me a whole week to finish it :/
Kaiser-Eoghan
Made in abyss and vatican keep staring at me. Although I'm not chancing them yet or anything else until I hear a bit more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My once massive film backlog is nearly cleared. I can try watching stuff this season hopefully.
K-Off
Same boat here. For the first time in a long time I spent almost half the day catching up on all of my manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll have two weeks leave, I will finally watch Satantango, all eight hours of that film.
AidanAK47
I did a double take when I saw this. One of these things is not like the other.... http://gematsu.com/2017/07/blazblue-cross-tag-battle-announced
SuperMario
Well, finally have a bit of precious free time to watch something else and I have too much things to watch. Castlevania, the final Kizumonogatari movie, live-action Okja and some books planned to read... I guess I'll go with Okja today
Ninja
Looking forward to that Dies review
Lenlo
Yaaay! Time to enjoy your blogging time
AidanAK47
And now we are up to date. Just need to finally get that Dies Irae Review posted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again I'll watch almost every horror film I can, don't even mind the awful acting most have.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pet cemetary was a guilty pleasure of mine when I was a teenager.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know how I'd feel if I rewatched salems lot, although a positive is that it did have James Mason in it and it was done in that 70s style of slow burn horror that I love.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The IT film has aged horribly and thats one case where I would advocate a remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stand by me was a perftly watchable coming of age film and it surprised me, seeing a non-horror King story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay theres one way to settle this =P Lovecraft > all of them ;) I have actually enjoyed some King adaptations even though I know the Shining took liberties , I also enjoyed Carrie and Apt Pupil.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, please. Early King > Richard Matheson > Modern King. Kings early works were good.
Lenlo
@Aidan, its true that Monty was the mind behind the fights. Sad, but I think the other directors are starting to come into their own instead of trying to copy Monty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But we all know Richard Matheson > King.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He did some collabs with Stephen King I believe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Like the dead films he's trying to be thematic, although this one is clumsily put together, I kind of like how it hybridizes the 50s with 70s style exploitation, it has its moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
hmmm the only non Dead trilogy film I've seen by Romero is the Crazies, feels like he's still finding his voice with it.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Part of the reason is that they started using better animation software. But despite that there was a downgrade in fight chorgraphy when Monty died. Though the story I find is getting better.
AidanAK47
@Kinseryu, I think it's ridiculous to everyone but there are those that choose to ignore it.
@Anon, That's a bit harsh. It is true that his later works never truly panned out but he did pretty much popularise the zombie apoc. Even if Day of the Triffids did it before him.
Lenlo
Every season RWBY gets just a little bit prettier. Rooster Teeth really does have some of the better 3D animation skills out there.
Anonymous1272531
goerge romero was a hack trying desperate to stay relevant.
Kinseryu
Tenshi3P... I thought it was just me that this show was just ridiculous by putting three ten years old girl that knows how to play electrical instruments. They are insulting the people who plays these. But good thing I found this site with your first impression. I laughed and I feel better. Lol.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: he passed away? damn. He was the Father of Zombie genre. So like him or hate him, he was influential to say the least. RIP.
Kaiser_Eoghan
...holy shit George A Romero died? Now I have to watch the rest of his films.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Rei Hiroe is really dicking around with black lagoon lately, he's still releasing wasted chapters, just like re:creators, the most recent chapter of black lagoon was a slog.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Maybe the conversation and lives of others could sort of count as espionage stories to an extent.
Kaiser_Eoghan
If you're interested in spy fiction, Spy who came in from the cold, most wanted man, Smiley's people, deadly affair and tinker tailor soldier spy are your best bet.
SuperMario
@Travlos (regarding yoir earlier comment): yeah, it hit me as well that most of regular readers have been here even longer than myself. So thanks for sticking around mates
SuperMario
@Travlos: playing catch up with both Re:Creators and Virgin Soul yesterday. Agreed that last week's Re:Creators was weak because it focused on the Creators (they're not good) but last episode was on par again. Virgin Soul, I loved that episode that the girls go bacl to Nina's hometown
SuperMario
@anon1272074: I still haven't had the time to watch Pripri yet (probably in few more hours), but you bet I'm looking forward to it
Anonymous1272074
Then again, James Bond does count as a spy. I meant not a realistic one.
Anonymous1272074
Princess Principal 2 was pretty good. Still more James Bond via little girls than spies, but this episode was more about intrigue and stuff than action.
Lenlo
Started catching up with Kakegurui. The OP is the sort of mind games I remember from Mob Psycho. Dunno what that means for the show, but I like it.
KTravlos
Quite happy with this week's RE:Creators. Blitz is cool, Aliceteria looked so scary. It washed out the taste of last week's episode.

Bahamut is going interesting places.
BTW. Speaking of spies from Princess Principal. I watch TURN. That is a good spy show.
KTravlos
I mean you see the use of those heavy revolvers as clubs in westerns. Mythbusters did a experiment, and being hit by one could kill you just fine. But in anime, I do not remember seeing it often
AidanAK47
Homura used Gun-kata in the fight against Mami in Rebellion. Can't think of anyone who exclusively uses it though. After all Gun-Kata is more or less a flashy art that has no real benefit.
Anonymous1270604
amazing!
Vonter
Is Gun Kata the fighting style of Noel Vermillion from BlazBlue? I suppose I'm mainly thinking about how guns are handled in fighting games. Where the shots are mainly concussive. I suppose those are mainly energy blasts.
Lenlo
Ranbu took a step in the right direction I feel. Used the morals of whether or not to change history and it focused in on one of its characters.
Lenlo
Final Fantasy has had some gun swords. Cant think of any with guns in melee though. There are some with gun-kata like cowboy bebop though
Vonter
Just for curiosity, have anyone watched an anime, movie or game that uses a gun as a melee weapon. Or one in which the gun is mainly concussive but still has impact?
Spike
18if ep2 was a bit wacky... main character seems to be off his rocker.
AidanAK47
Alright. Time to finally play catch up with those series I need to blog.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time acknowledging love for creativity is more important in the end than making a profit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I was using death of artist/deceased artist as a term to suggest peoples careers in the area are too often killed before they get a chance.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Moreso also to save the guy the embarrassment of misinterpreting it so awkwardly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Nothing too extreme , moreso that the piece itself feels inappropriate/tainted to have up/leave around/submit. Ended up taking it down out of taste.
Puran
Did that change how you feel about your writing? I had a somewhat similar experience, where something I was writing was similar to a real situation some I knew was going through. After I found out I stopped writing it. Not sure why.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wasn't all that close to either of them much but yeah, weird coincidence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He thought I already knew the guy was dead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*earlier
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all okay now...but fuck that was was awkward.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....Oh jesus christ...oh christ this is a creepy creepy coincidence...I showed an acquaintance a bit of writing I did early, it mentions death of an artist, thing is I was writing something based on a conversation with my editor friend, turns out said acquaintance's artist friend died (who he knows that I've spoken to in the past) and he thought the piece I showed him was about the dead guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe I began visiting this site in 2008.
As for humanity has declined, I found it bizzare and darkly funny for a while but felt it ran dry in its second half and I kind of fell out of following it.
KTravlos
You know it hit me. I think I have been following this blog for a decade now, perhaps more. Cool that it is still around.
Lenlo
I do agree it had alot more western influence than eastern though
Lenlo
Eh nothing wrong with that I think. Astro boy was very much the same after all
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I personally saw it as more of a Saturday morning cartoon than an anime.
Lenlo
@Masky, Heroman was a decent giant robot show. It looked and sounded good, though the acting was off in places. Alot of people panned it thinking it was the West invading the east when really it was trying to bridge that gap
SuperWooper
@Kaiser: Hey, Humanity Has Declined was great.
KTravlos
need not be

not

need to be
KTravlos
Masky it was not an issue of writing about politics. It is an issue of writing just about your preferred politics. A good political work need to be politicized if you understand what I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
...what the hell tsuki ga kirei was directed by Seiji Kishi? He was actually capable of making a good anime?
Masky
Anyhoo, lol. Haven't mentioned Jitsu wa watashi wa in long time, but I really find it hilarious that its only actually evil character's competence is just "they aren't a idiot" xD As in, they don't even seem that diabolically intelligent, they just don't get wrapped into hijinxs.
Masky
@KTravlos: Well, depends on your views. Some people think artists should have their work speak about politics and world instead of just good stories. I'm kinda neutral about that since while stories about nature of world can be great, most of them don't really teach anyone anything new or change anyone
Masky
Huh, another anime work with Stan Lee being involved? I wonder how well Heroman did
KTravlos
Yup. A mangaka that could had been another Urasaw imho is Kawaguchi Kaiji. I really like his art, and it evokes some of the elements that I love in Urasawa. He also has interesting stories. But I fear he has let his political and ideological prejudices get the better of him. Which is a pity. Definitely a missed chance.
Masky
Did Urasawa do that billy bat manga?
SuperMario
As for Urasawa, I mentioned here before but I read 20th Century Boys few months ago and the manga was a straight out masterpiece. Fillers, yes but they are still in service for the main plot. Although out of his work my favorite's still Monster
AidanAK47
Alright. Only one more. Though the two superhero shows won't air for another week. Seeing as one is reflectiona nd the other is that marvel kids show maybe we shouldn't bother covering them in the impressions.
SuperMario
@Amagi: agree with you on the Friday's anime (well, for me it's technically Saturday) but Kakegurui, Fate and Princess Principal are worth following as well
SuperMario
@Kaiser: if you're still deciding if you should check out the manga or novel then I say novel since it's the novel that was influential, not the manga
Kaiser-Eoghan
So based on that fantasy itch I had thought about Altair, but hesitated because it was labeled as a shounen action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was a time where I was hugely into the shoujo fantasy/historical thing. I've actually been thinking of out of curiousity looking into some old obscure ovas such as Books of Y and Crystania.
Amagi
Man as much as I love the Friday's anime this time, and whenever Altair airs, but the rest of the working-week is weak as hell. At least now I will finally have more time for games, VNs and creative stuff I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was kind of nice to hear an announcer coming in before Genocidal organ started, mentioning that for a few months their cinema will be playing anime and Japanese films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Surprised to see an anime reference Kafka and Katyn.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have not yet checked out empire of corpses.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now, I'll have to consider the manga or the novel as I heard some of the philosophical stuff got chopped. This was however a more successful and accessible film for me than Harmony.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Manglobe was always a bit mediocre when it came to animation and voice actor direction, but this wasn’t a bad film for them to go out on.
It lives up to its name, it gets quite visceral with the action that’s there, if you don’t like seeing child soldiers getting slaughtered there’s your warning, but I appreciated getting this kind of violence I want to see more of again in anime/manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I just got back from my local arthouse cinema, from watching a special screening of that anime film, Genocidal organ, this is the sort of thing where you do wish that it had more time to explore its thematics but they at least offer a good enough flavouring to a solid man on a mission scifi thriller.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just to state I don't hate Urasawa's work, rather I find it sort of difficult , I could say the same about Asano Inio regarding oyasumi punpun.
KTravlos
Urasawa is supposed to be working on Master Keaton Remastered. But it seems to be on hiatus. A pity because I loved Master Keaton (I adore Monster)-in general I love this person's work.
Amagi
20thCB would be my favorite Urasawa I think but I can't imagine it as an adaption. Kinda want to know what Urasawa will do next. He already announced that he's working on a new series months ago.
Amagi
I am really looking forward to the Pluto anime. I wanted this one the most, there is a serious lack of good sci-fi anime out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
...billy bat is....scattered and directionaless fro what I read but shows interesting historical scenarios.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pluto was reasonably short, so this wasn't much of a problem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And while from the film adaptations I could tell that the original manga for 20th century boys likely had a very good storyline , I couldn't get through the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite watching monster a few times I feel I've missed or forgotten things about it, largely because although I understand its importance and did like it, its length and pace always made me watch it on and off with gaps in between.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by how attached I got to Grimmer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Monster is a good example of slow burn tension done right and has one of the most memorable villains out there. Though it isn't without its fillers.
Lenlo
You want a mystery, I heartily recommend Monster.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I also sometimes write impressions/reviews in my spare time, its hard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although the first season probably did have just that bit better atmosphere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I may have been one of the few who enjoyed true detective season 2 as much as the first however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not sure anymore if I'm entirely happy or not with having less time now , yes I can see the frustration, but at the same time it stops me from filling in dead moments with terrible shows/films when there ends up being literally nothing else to do.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again I can only enjoy a select crime/mystery things .
Kaiser-Eoghan
It would take a very good writer to make case of the week episodes work, a mystery wrapped up in one or two episodes can just stop it from unfolding naturally or organically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've probably mentioned a few times, I pretty much go by what I'm told to watch and not watch , mostly to play it safe.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here. If the supernatural feeling is part of a series it's better if it's rather just hinted at to retain the aura of mystery but that the actual cases are just involving "normal" crimes that get resolved by detective work. Something like True Detective or Name of the Rose.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, that's good. I love a good mystery and hate it when it's ruined with magical wizard space ghosts.
Amagi
@Aidan: If people who know the original were telling the truth explanations will be rational and the series is rather an actual mystery instead of anything supernatural.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I haven't even watched the second episode of Apocrypha yet. Also behind on Re:Creators. Wonder if I will leave it. So far planning to get two more impressions out by end of day. Got one wrote up and just need to work on the other. Next up Tenshi no 3P...this is going to be painful.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, truly appreciate it. If Vatican can slow down it could really be something else. But I wonder how much of a supernatural element is going to be present in the series.
SuperMario
And now after I've watched all new shows save Gamers, I'll blog Princess Principal and 18if this season. I will watch second episode of Vatican and Centaur to decide the third choice, if I'm unconvinced by both I'll blog Tsurezure Children
SuperMario
@Amagi: Thanks, it's our pleasures. I like checking out new shows myself buy gosh it's time consuming. Have been behind on both Re:Creators, Virgin Soul because of this.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I also really hope that the pacing of the Vatican's series will slow down. Maybe they wanted to shove in as much as possible for episode 1 to attract more viewers. Love this dark and sacral atmosphere, it would be some wasted potential if they'd kill it by speeding through the story. Music is good as well.
Amagi
Don't blame yourself, your're doing this for free and there are a ton of new series. I also think that most people rather read impressions to know how others felt about the episodes and not in order to decide which series they should check out. You two are usually better at pointing out flaws than me, which is why I quite enjoy reading the reviews.
AidanAK47
Thing is that our impressions are usually late. Purely my fault of course as Mario does his write ups quickly. I am usually late with mine due to a lack of time to check shows out.
Amagi
I am usually fair and watch every first episode but sometimes I just stop after the fifth school series of the same anime season.
Amagi
I like how much Aidan's and Mario's first impressions match my own. This saves me quite some time since I don't even have to check the series that didn't look interesting to begin with.
Total users: 30

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