Posted on 11 November 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Currently Watching:

It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to single episode reviews, as I promised last time, because these two didn’t leave me with a whole lot to talk about. Much of “Performer” was spent bringing Tatara and Chinatsu back together after their spat from the previous installment, but since I didn’t buy into that conflict in the first place, it ended up feeling like more of a hangout episode (with plenty of fanservice and shipping to boot). We got some uncommon character pairings, too, like Chinatsu/Mako and Tatara/Shizuku, the latter of which is a rarity these days. And while these sorts of cast shake-ups might have delighted me a couple months ago, they seemed rather utilitarian here, given the need for our main couple’s big breakup to be reversed. Thankfully, the chill-inducing conclusion to “Competitor No. 13” justified the show’s clumsier machinations – but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Ballroom e Youkoso has devoted what seems like a dozen monologues to the ideas that 1) Tatara is a poor leader, and 2) he and Chinatsu aren’t a good fit. There’s a glaring issue with this constant hammering of the same couple points, and it’s one I’ve tried not to mention too often, since it’s such a widely repeated criticism of the show. Maybe this episode was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though, because I’m compelled to bring it up: the dancing direction isn’t strong enough to communicate the same messages. We hear it verbally, but we rarely see Tatara failing as a leader. What we see are a lot of still shots, anguished expressions, and reactions from judges or crowd members. Moreover, Ballroom hasn’t properly shown its audience what successful leadership looks like in motion. We’ve just been trained to equate confidence with skill, and as anybody who’s ever played a sport knows, they’re not the same at all.

Without the choreography necessary to convey Tatara’s failures, the show falls back on dialogue to destroy and rebuild his new partnership. A lot of Chinatsu’s grief seems to stem from jealousy, which comes to the surface after she learns about the past Tatara/Mako partnership. I felt really proud of Mako for keeping her patience with Chinatsu, even after the older girl implied that dancers with consistent partners led breezy, carefree lives. Mako’s maturity aside, however, this scene boiled down to Tatara’s leadership being verbally praised, and Chinatsu deciding to give him a second chance as a result. The Tatara/Shizuku scene involved even more lip service, but was somehow less convincing – if Tatara is capable of impressing a veteran like Shizuku, why is his lack of leading ability constantly being harped on? As this scene played out, with one of Japan’s best amateur dancers calling him “a mystery,” I couldn’t help but think that Tatara has always been portrayed as an open book.

Alright, that’s enough criticism of the show’s visuals. As important as they ought to be in a show about ballroom dancing, the characters are the main attraction, and they really came through in the second of these two episodes. Being in a competitive setting once again, Tatara and Chinatsu really seemed to be click, despite their occasional bickering. The appearance of the dancers’ family members was a lot of fun, as well, especially Mine-san’s wife and child, from whom he kept his continued dancing a secret. But the thing that really sold me on the start of this arc was the final scene, where Tatara’s intensity started to overtake Chinatsu, represented both by smoke and by blood cells entering her body. Ballroom pulled out a couple of neat dance sequences for the start of the Metropolitan tournament, but taken alone, those wouldn’t have been enough to convince me of Chinatsu’s sensation. This show tends to hit a home run whenever it uses visual metaphors this way, so I’m glad it went back to that well. It’s no small task to convince your audience that someone as stubborn as Chinatsu would give control to another person, but the creative team took a good first step with this episode.

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 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Apocrypha

I won’t say that blogging is a hard job, really the only thing truly troublesome about it is the amount of time it takes, but sometimes covering a show can be a painful experience. With great shows the trouble comes in that there is only so many ways you can praise something and eventually you start nitpicking at any flaw you can find so that you can have something to say that isn’t gushing compliments. With a bad show it’s similar but in opposite as you attempt to find something worthwhile in a dung pile. However what I truly find painful to write about is when a show has so many good ideas and shows potential in the beginning. Only to have it slowly squandered over the course of it’s run. That is Apocrypha in a nutshell. By which I mean that I really like the ideas in this episode. Jack the Ripper being a bundle of curses from all the children that died pitiful deaths on the streets of London is something I can really get down with. It’s not outlandish for the world of Fate and it fits with the lore of Jack the Ripper in general. Though no matter what I cannot justify the dominatrix stripper outfit, even the rag she wears in this episode is a better alternative.

I really love how they connect Jack to Atlanta who feels the most for the children due to her own trauma of being a child abandoned by her parents. But her change of heart and development is just far too sudden that it’s hard to truly get a grasp on whether these are her own feelings or if she is being manipulated by Jack. And Joan, who takes the role of executioner. Understanding that the cursed children that form Jack can only either continue as a curse on humanity or be cleansed into oblivion. It truly connects to her nature of adhering to the greater good while showing that even if she knows it must be done, it’s still weighs on her. But Atlanta can never accept it and thus vows to kill Joan. Again, there are good ideas here. Nay, great ideas. But it all just falls so flat because the characters are not developed, these conflicts feel forced and staged, the animation is too crude and the general plot feels like lost opportunity. I spoke before about a scenario in which Avicebron’s defeat could have been made so much better and there are plenty of ways this episode could have taken better turns. I even at one point considered Sieg turning into the main villain after Jack exposed him to the evil in this world and having him turn into a Kiritsugu like figure of resorting to any means necessary to remove suffering from the world. Sure it likely wouldn’t fix his character but god it would be at least something.

Instead we go the boring route and have Jack the Ripper defeated by compassion. Or more that Joan gave her a bit of a lecture and Jack just gave up. There is a reason as to why sappy “Love defeats the villain” type ends are often so weak a conclusion. The virtue of it may be right but it doesn’t stop it feeling trite and cliche. In truth we all know what happens when we attempt to get a wrongdoer to see the errors of their ways and appeal to their compassion. After all, we have all gotten into an internet argument at one point or another and the sad truth is that people will always do everything in their power to avoid admitting they are wrong. So seeing someone as childish and psychotic as Jack just give up is not only out of character but utterly absurd. I could rationalize it somewhat if it was because she wanted to join her master in death but that doesn’t even seem to be the case. For some last notes, I am still not on board with this whole JoanXSieg ship and goddamnit can we give Shakespeare something to do?

Posted on 6 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mahoutsukai no Yome

I am torn on this weeks episode of Mahoutsukai no Yome. On one hand there we have stunning art and animations, while on the other pacing issues and odd character choices. Lots to talk about this week, so lets jump right in.

Lets start positive, with the animation and general art. Most everything here was great. In particular I enjoyed the background/scenery, with forests and the beautiful field of blue flowers at the end. More than just being beautiful though the scenes did a great job of showing rather than telling. The inside of Matthews shed, with a single lantern flame and the cats hanging from the ceiling, looked great. Could have been lighter in places so we could see some more details, but I understand why that wast the case.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

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

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

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

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

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Although Girls’ Last Tour can be described as a dark moe, there’s no denying that the show is the most comforting, healing anime of this season. What Girls’ Last Tour achieve flawlessly so far is its appreciation for small happiness in life, for little magical moments in an otherwise bleak and empty world. Episode 5, even more so than previous episodes, depicts those magical moments on screen, something that they haven’t done before. Case in points, remember last week, the girls crashed into one of the stone statue (they are the only vehicle left in the world, I must add)? That moment played mostly for slapstick humor, but this episode when Yuu hits Chi-chan in the head (to see if her head is empty, my my), there’s colorful sparkling symbols out of her head. Or when the two sitting comfortably in the chair and imagine the furniture they want to fit in the room or most noticeably during Chi-chan’s dream sequence; these moments are brightly, almost too cartoony, something that contrast with the natural, wash-out world Girls’ Last Tour has established so far. Yet, those moments somehow never feel out of place. I suspect they get away with those moments because they never intend to be real. Those are happy thoughts, quirky dreams that again speak to the “enjoy the little happiness” theme without betraying the bleakness of its world.

Again, Girls’ Last Tour is succeeded on addressing the most mundane everyday questions, but because they live in the world where those concepts have lost its meaning; their topics, therefore, are simple but straight to its core. This week, the girls find themselves a “house”, a cozy room where people used to live in. A room with a view, with sofas, functional water, and most importantly, with a door and a roof. They imagine themselves living in the place; and fill in whatever they want into the room. A bookcase for Chi-chan, a pantry for Yuu, a bunk bed for both. That moment really drives it home for me because it what “house” really is: a place to return to, a place to settle down, where they can sit down and relax. But in this vast place of nothingness, the only mean to survive is keep on going, and the girls know it. The last section, music, plays out equally impressive. Music is always considered as an expression of emotions. As the music grows more complex and layer, sometimes we forget that it can come from some something so natural and simple: the sound of rain, the sound of random noise from bottles. It’s not the arranged set of sound, but rather it’s the music for those who have keen ear for natural sound, and the music is the music of their hearts. I’m ashamed to say this consider how much I love dense, complex and progressive music, but the sounds the girls manage to capture right there is music in its purist form.

I have to say that the manga by itself is a pretty formidable beast. After all, asking many deep, philosophical theme in a casual manner like this is a hard string to pull, and yet Tsukumizu (not sure about the gender of the mangaka, anyone here has any idea?) manages to pull it off. But the direction of this anime not only keep the right spirit of the source, they also enrich the manga with the advantage of visual and sound. This episode, once again, speak to that strengths that make this anime even more impressive compare to the manga. I read the manga chapters where this episode adapted from, and one thing I noticed is that with the lack of visual flare (like in “Nap” chapter) or sound (in “the Sound of Rain” segment), the manga can’t come off as alive as in the anime. That ED song in the end, for example, is a great addition to the source and it really captures the magic and ends the chapter in a literally high note. The colorful, playful visual in first and second chapters, in addition, strengthen the magical feel of the show. Girls’ Last Tour has received a top-notch adaptation from White Fox, who obviously love every moment of making this show into something so comforting, yet consistently great. I really have no complain whatsoever with Girls’ Last Tour at this moment.

Posted on 4 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Inuyashiki

This week on Inuyashiki, we get a self-contained story about the growing heroics of everyone’s favorite old man. Its filled with outright evil yakuza, a brave salaryman and some disturbing questions, let’s jump right in.

Our story this week focuses on a young couple, Satoru and Inoue, and their run in with the giant Yakuza Samejima. This isn’t Inuyashiki’s episode, this is theirs. As a whole, this episode appears to be a one off. A separate story from the main one with Shishigami, meant to show Inuyashiki’s evolution as a hero. The main parts worth talking about here are Satoru and Inoue, clearly, Inuyashiki and finally Shishigami. That last one may surprise you, since he never actually showed up in this episode, however I believe that Inuyashiki and Shishigami are much more alike than we initially thought. We will get to that in a bit though.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Now this is the Kino I remember. Somber stories that aren’t about Kino showing up and being cool but instead about people and fascinating food for thought. We have two stories this week which both include heroes. The first story involves Kino paying a visit to a museum in honor of a traveler who saved the country. It started off slow but it does present an interesting way of showing how people glorify idols and forget they are human as they are. The tour guide constantly dresses up everything this traveler did and owned as if it has some grand meaning while Kino and Hermes silently establish the cruder truth between each other. This is a bit too much of a segway but it reminds me a lot of how some talk of Evangelion and it’s creator Anno. I have seen people speak of Anno like he was some incredible mastermind who always knew what Evangelion would be right from the beginning and weaved an intricate canvas of direction and detail to make it what it is. In reality Evangelion was more lightning in a bottle that became what it was more due to a dwindling budget and Anno’s mental state at the time. But that is it, after the fact people dress up the accomplishment as some grand effort of genius which glorifies the moment of it’s conception. Sort of how some may dress up how they met there lover as some grand event when it could have been much more mundane in reality.

Thus enter the motorrad, a sentient being whose been propped up for display and the only other motorrad to be introduced aside from Hermes. Again the tour guide fashions up a grand story of the motorrad going silent perhaps in mourning of his previous master or having died with him. But the reality is that the motorrad is in pure display at being put up for display and denied the freedom of riding the lands as a motorrad should. The people have glorified the object as a memory of a great man but in doing so have denied that thing it’s very purpose. There was real emotion in seeing the bike pled Kino to take him out of there or destroy him, only to fall into despair again when Kino revealed that she could do neither of those things. This is the Kino I know, she listens to the stories of the people but never interferes. Instead letting things play out, regardless how they may turn out. Still she did at least throw a little hope the motorrads way by telling a boy to reveal his desire to travel to the bike, perhaps resulting in the boy starting to travel much in the same way Kino did.

I liked the first half of this episode but it was the second half that truly stole the show. The story is of a country full of liars as this episode is named after but much like any other Kino story, the title is not quite what it appears. It is true that this country is full of people lying to each other but the intent is rather different from one might expect. This story flips the table many times and your opinion on the situation completely changes with it. We have a bitter story of a man waiting for his lover to come back to a story of a man gone mad after accidently killing his lover in a revolt against the country’s king, to the story of the lover returning to look after her now insane lover who no longer recognises her to an oddly heartwarming reveal of the man not being insane at all and choosing to pretend to be because he is happy with the situation and doesn’t wish to disrupt it.

It’s an odd situation where everyone is lying to each other and yet out of that everyone is still happy to continue lying because their life is better. It’s so conflicting that no one knows the truth and yet are content in the lives they live. In an old episode of Kino there was a situation where everyone could read each other’s minds and that tore society apart while this episode is almost a antithesis of that story. Where no one truly knows what the other person is thinking and hiding and yet are happier than those that know everything about everyone else. The hedgehog’s dilemma laments that people cannot get close to one another without hurting each other but if there is distance through deceit then can a more meaningful relationship be formed? Even if everyone is lying to you does that mean you will be unhappy? Ahhh…this kind of thought…I missed you Kino.

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 2 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Apocrypha

You know what? I think I have been been wrong about Joan in how I pair her and Sieg as the things dragging down this series. Joan isn’t all that bad, in fact she could be an interesting character if she just had someone who could get her out of her comfort zone. Yes, the problem isn’t Joan but rather Sieg is all to blame for this. He’s a shameless self insert character whose personal existential crisis is stereotypical and his general personality is just a void without emotion or any real character. He’s a Kirito or take your pick of any of the bargain bin light novel protagonists. Nothing quite exemplifies this more than this episode where “Insert your face here” goes out on a date which this series primary waifu bait. They try to excuse it as an attempt to draw out Jack the Ripper but the plan itself is rather flawed seeing as Jack really should know that Joan is a Ruler class and she also knows something is up with Sieg.

Anyway this date was a painful experience and truly out of line from what i expect from this franchise. True, the first series also features a date between Shirou and Saber but god dammit at least Shirou had character to work with. This episode was about Joan attempting to interact with a piece of wood! I swear I can see how much she seems to struggle with her role here as she attempts to get Sieg to say anything remotely interesting. As they montaged though the event of their “date” it was as though Sieg was some random background character in the images rather than the main protagonist. However I am thankful to A-1 for cutting out a part of the date that involved Sieg asking Joan about whether servants can get pregnant. That was certainly a conversation that I really don’t need to hear. Sadly A-1 also cut out a large part of the Jack fight which would have been really interesting to see and this seems to be a common thing with A-1. Ruining the characterisation and fights that were in the source material. The Apocrypha source material did start out really strong and while I have heard that the source does end up wasted potential, I feel it deserved better than this adaption. But well, C’est la vie.

THere is a nice parallel between Joan and Shirou here as both were killed but have different ways of looking at it. Shirou hated the people that killed him but tossed aside that hatred for the greater good. While Joan couldn’t even bring herself to hate those that killed her. Joan is a saint in every sense of the word and thus she is more deserving of the role to bring salvation to mankind. Can someone like Shirou, who harbors hatred in his heart and resorts to any means necessary to achieve his goals, truly bring humanity’s salvation? Honestly no, because he’s the villain and something’s got to be wrong with his plan. Otherwise we have the Shakugan No Shana final problem where the villains have a plan that’s great for everyone and the heroes only fight them because they are the villains. I remember feeling very confused that the show wanted me to cheer Shana on when by all accounts she was completely in the wrong.

So to clarify, the attack that Jack used on Joan was supposed to be an instant kill technique and was nullified by Joan’s attributes as a ruler. What was supposed to happen was Jack using children wielding knives to attack Joan so she could get away. This was important for two reasons, the idea of Jack giving knives to children and getting them to attack Joan is wonderfully dark. And this was the real reason that Atalanta joined in the fight as seeing Jack take advantage of children really pissed her off. We were also supposed to get Atalanta’s backstory which was to explain just why she has such a soft spot for children. The Apocrypha anime really is shafting a lot of the character development just to move the story forward and I think it would have been a better idea to remove Sieg’s presence entirely and use any screen time he took up to flesh out the cast. Jack and her Master also lost a lot of characterisation as there was a whole series of chapters detailing how Jack was summoned and how she killed her master and decided to be a servant to the hooker that was intended to be a human sacrifice. It’s a pity as I really do love the whole demented Mother/Daughter relationship that these two have. Seeing her master sacrifice herself to save Jack could have been a very good moment, in fact it was executed rather well. But it just didn’t have the screentime to justify it. We got the payoff with none of the buildup and so it just falls hollow.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
And its quite natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Florida project succeeds through its free flowing nature/narrative and manages to be hilarious all the while managing to never allow you forget its also a kitchen sink drama, the best performances come from William Dafoe and the girl. At the end it gut punches the audience emotionally.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: also expecting Florida Project, 3 Billboards, and The Shape of Water in my end
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, Kino was a bit too slight this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just Lu, disaster artist and happy end left now for the year. Maybe the new Godzilla.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I felt that Sion Soni's Noriko's dinner table did the irl acting thing better.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm going to watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Consider I regarded The Lobster as one of the best film of that year and Dogtooth and Alps impressed me a lot; I have high hope for this one
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mooooommm, I want my Lu over the wal subs and I want them now OMO!
Niello
...Can't torrent where I am, grrrr.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm quite fond of Go Nagai's devilman, so I'll be interested in seeing Yuasa's adaptation of it whenever it comes out.
SuperMario
@Kasier: ha! thanks Kaiser. Finally it's out... gonna download it now
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Here is a link to Night is short walk on girl English subbed: https://nyaa.si/view/979508
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: OR JUST MONIKA Amirite =P
SuperMario
in all seriousness though, I hope they can use one week break to smooth out their production.
SuperMario
so Just Because's taking a break this week. The reason: just because
Lenlo
Mhmhmm Inuyashiki was great this week. I just love this show.
Amagi
The hell- no didn't know that. I really wouldn't have expected tribute songs to this series
Niello
@Amagi: Did you know this exists? And it's by Igorrr no less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhQQ57N-9ys&list=PL9ku-W0xIzd4EYUL9bUG2CZXBIy7cCiSk
Niello
And yes, I'm just waiting and waiting for the day the anime get announced. No doubt it'll becomes a classic.
Niello
@Eoghan, I don't think it becomes a mess though, the story threads all come together amazingly well.
KTravlos
I too recommend at least watching 2nd episode of Tanya before passing judgement.

Looking forward to the Urasawa manga as well!
SuperWooper
@Anonymous: Thanks! Reading blog posts used to be my go-to distraction when I took breaks at work. Now I have to take breaks from writing them. It's a grind at times, but Star Crossed ought to be alive for a while yet.
Amagi
Adaptions for series like these only work when they're passion projects. If they're not they end up like the Dies Irae anime.
Amagi
It's another one of those series I really wish to see as an anime with music, movement and so on. But same as with Made in Abyss, it needs a cometent director and one that is in love with the work or else it will be a letdown
Amagi
@Niello: Yes and I fucking love it. The gritty style, the setting, the characters and designs and so on. @Kaiser didn't know she was under Nihei that's cool. I love these sketchy styles
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: yes and more people I believe should so, despite that its kind of become a mess, I take the thing as one big black comedy. The woman who drew it interestingly enough apprenticed under Tsutomu Nihei.
Niello
Anyone here read Dorohedoro?
Anonymous1566521
Just passing by to say like the place, it's kinda perfect to read for whenever I take a break. And most importantly I haven't read anything stupid. Hopefully it won't die anytime soon:0
Vonter
Masky - Overlord has an OP isekai, yet I find that series compelling do to the world building, and how even with power and influence, the MC plays like a chessmaster and not brute force his way into doing something.
AidanAK47
@Masky, I wouldn't write off Tanya so fast. Make it to episode 2 at least.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel I need to actually properly get into Godzilla for some frame of reference before the anime film, I've only seen the new one and the original.
Amagi
Or the Hiroshima movie
Amagi
I know you can't have everything but considering that we currently have Blame, the Itoh movies, Lu over the Wall, Godzilla or Napping Princess this is rather a let down
Amagi
Meh, not really happy about the anime film festival decision here - a few good movies are there: heaven's feel, motherfucka (from the tekkonkinkreet guy) and another one that sounds great but other than that a lot specials like conan movie #718 or something, the third part (why?) of persona 3 and other movies that are just specials of series I dropped at some point
Masky
*WWI
Masky
I mean, op isekai mc is boring whether they are hero or villain, thats how tired I'm of that trope at least
Masky
So was wondering what was up with that Tanya the Evil show and was disappointed to find out its "Isekai were MC is evil and WWII esque fantasy setting"
Anonymous1566013
dragon ball kai
Anonymous1566013
dragon ball z
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: That Godard biopic you mentioned is showing tonight and on sunday afternoon, at the very least I'll be checking out Le Chinoise in preparation for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and right after I just watched Loving Vincent in theatre, it's available online
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! got released ages ago and no one watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Out in cinemas in Dublin in 3 weeks though, might aswell wait.
SuperMario
Also Lu over the Wall is out, with Russian subtitle. So anyone here who can understand Russian, you're in luck
Amagi
@Kaiser: Thanks, I love quite many anime movies. Guess I have something to watch this weekend.
AidanAK47
Not many I am afraid. Though I do like it's music.
Anonymous1565678
who is fairy tail fan here
Kaiser-Eoghan
For those interested anime Godzilla is out in a few weeks. Also Genocidal organ, napping princess and in this corner of the world are out as is the Fate/ilya movie.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm interested enough to read more of that Urasawa manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't point out errors (although its part of my job at work to lol) but I feel that one thing was noticeable in the Kino review, soap instead of soup is mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I quite like it when anything deals with religion or conviction in a mature way, it makes me feel things.
AidanAK47
Not really keen on following a Urasawa manga while it's ongoing considering how much of a slow burn his stories usually are.
Amagi
To the English only people: the Urasawa manga is translated into English now - it's on Mangastream (so beware of the watermark, but better than nothing)
Anonymous1565136
The anime?
SuperMario
... still on course with the anime (my phone acting up again)
SuperMario
@afgm: welcome back mate. It has been awhile. Hope you're
Anonymous1564565
@Amagi, The sign post with Iyami's teeth symbol read something like Buddhist reseach facility, which only makes it weirder.
Amagi
Also that Iyami clone seems to be the same as the running guy on page 2 (which was also the promo page posted on sites like ANN)
Amagi
Thank you very much anon. I love how international this chat is. But what you said makes the story feel even weirder. Really wonder what this is about but I can't say I am not interested now
Anonymous1564565
This is weird, really weird.
Anonymous1564565
[spoiler] As expected, now he's in another trouble. ...He mistook a crow for a blue bird that will bring happiness. And then we go back to the scene at the beginning when he hallucinate about someone calling. ...Is that Iyami from Osomatsu-san?
Anonymous1564565
[spoiler]Then because Trump is currently popular, their plan to is mass produce the mask with the guy's factory? (He's totally getting dupe isn't e?)
Anonymous1564565
[spoiler] The wife won a lottery and got a free vacation ticket to a luxurious cruise ship. She then left the husband with another guy. The Trump parody hag person is Beverly Duncan. Then one of the husband coworker put on a mask of Trump and start mocking.
afgm
I feel like the site is finally coming back into its own :)
afgm
(and great old writers)
afgm
Great new writers on the site
Anonymous1564565
[spoiler] He's trying to look at tax avoidance and discuss it to his fam. The turns out the gov start checking so that plan was a bust. Now they are looking at potential confiscations, including their flip flop factory.
Anonymous1564565
[Spoiler] So the guy seem to be having some kind of hallucination of someone calling him, even though there's no one in that direction.
Anonymous1564565
@Amagi "but it's in Thai", :)
Amagi
I am really looking forward to the Pluto anime. But I guess it won't come earlier than spring 2018 or something.
Amagi
If it was Japanese I'd at least understand a few parts (and almost everything if it was French) but now I have not the slightest idea what this is about but it does look interesting. I also liked Urasawa's earlier one shot. The one after Billy
Amagi
Not sure if I am allowed to link scans so here an indirect (last post) one I found, but it's in Thai (I hope someone who understands it will translate that chapter into English) https://www.reddit.com/r/manga/comments/780rve/sl_how_long_until_we_see_the_1st_chapter_of_naoki/
Anonymous1564517
It shows a lot of shots though that bring back memories of Urasawa's earlier works. Its great that he's going weird; Urasawa is one of the best at producing unique series, even if his methodical writing and storytelling style is always evident.
Anonymous1564517
Is it Mujirushi? I saw some French advert for it, (nothing said except that it's launching soon), but I can't find anything else on it.
Amagi
There is a (sadly, non-English) scan for Urasawa's new manga and it looks weird. Hundreds of masks of some presidential candidate that looks like a female Trump and a weird and shady guy at the end.
Lenlo
That said, why is PUBG on any of these lists. Its still in beta
Lenlo
Horizon on the other hand is easily understood and fits the open world mold well. I like Nier more, but Horizon is still a really good game.
Lenlo
Everyone knows it exists, but not everyone likes it/could finish it/understands it.
Lenlo
Thats the thing, it still is a niche. Its in the same category of Souls games now
Niello
Nier may not be a new IP, but it's an IP that finally rise from obscurity after being a really niche cult hit for years.
Niello
Why would being weird a negative for Nier? Doesn't that imply creativity?
Vonter
I suppose because Horizon is a new IP and also less weird than Nier. I haven't played it, but presentation alone has marked a great impression of that game.
Niello
Why is Nier in only 3 categories and Horizon Zero Dawn so many even where it's not deserve?
Niello
I still think Maho Yome is super overrated. The show so far has been more about spectacles than anything. I get it, the manga is pretty good, still not one nearly even one of the best though.
Vonter
PUBG I feel its an odd choice. Mainly because it's the only game listed that I wasn't aware it existed.
Vonter
The game awards are near, and so here are the nominations for all categories:
http://thegameawards.com/awards/
Anonymous1562244
KT Here. they did not force it. They let the circumstances do the talking and it was powerful.
Anonymous1562244
KT Here: Yes psgels is a man, yes for a long time I was under the impression he was a woman. Now and Then, Here and There is indeed excellent. The thing was exactly that, a frank depiction of what child soldiers go through. Considering how most shounen shows are essentially about kids engaging in war, the frank and gritty depictions was welcome if dis-concerning. And as Super pointed out they did
SuperMario
Yeah, I can give the show a full review (says the guy who is currently behind on his weekly post). But be mindful that as this show is in my top 10 anime, my rating might be even higher than psgels' (Usually my taste is different than his but in Now and Then we are pretty much on the same page)
SuperMario
The shounen element is for me, intentional as Now and then plays by the typical shounen rules (with a bery typical shounen protagonist) entirely in its first episode before slaming every brutal things towards him. Yep, they imply many dark contents make it much more disturbing. That girl (I think her name is Mary)'s circumstance ripped my heart
Nielllo
@Mario: I'd be interest in that! The atmosphere to me is like Jing the Bandit King but less surreal and more shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The scene where the girl is raped/abused in the prison. It stands out for the fact they imply it rather than showing.
SuperMario
Actually, I can re-watch it over the weekend and give it a full review. Again, it has been awhile so I'm intrigued to see how the show's holding up for me now
SuperMario
They're brutal but not for the sake of being brutal, I never feel the show as heavy handed on its brutality, or sugarcoating the optimistism of the main character. The show is about the scar of war and for that imo they really deliver the message
SuperMario
That's what happen when I prepared to write a long comment, but work held me up so I had to cut it short. It's been awhile since I last saw Now and Then, but I feel the show has a frank and down to earth depection of the terror of war...
Nielllo
@SuperMario, You'll need to explain it to me man...
Anonymous1561608
@Psgels is woman
Anonymous1561597
Really???
SuperMario
@Niello: i love Now and Then. One of the rare series that I rated 10/10. I feel all the drama is raw, and effective
Nielllo
The last time I check, the scanlation group doesn't have the translator position filled up. At this point I'm probably going to order the remaining volumes at some point and just try to read it in Japanese. The worse thing is it's a josei so the text doesn't have furigana and I'll be stuck with just Kanji.
Nielllo
That sums up my feeling for Now and Then, Here and There really well.I took a look at the raw of the last chapter and it pretty much ended like how I think it would (mostly the epilogue, so not much spoiler)
Kaiser-Eoghan
With how slow the updates are for Amatsuki's manga I will probably re-re-read the whole thing again when it ever finishes. I disliked the protaganist of now and then here and there , while I did enjoy the misery the characters went through as it made for good drama and that dictator guy was suitably effective, I never got the FEELs watching it.
Nielllo
My taste generally align well with psgels (hurray for seeing potential in Amatsuki? that one surprised me, really didn't expect a 90/100, not complaining of course), but can someone explain to me, the appeal of Now and Then, Here and There?
Kaiser-Eoghan
*are many
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose we do live in the introvert age, so there probably are who have plenty of time to burn.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree about the having more time when your young thing definitely though, I'd argue I probably had too much of it, we probably don't use that time as well as we should come to think of it looking back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which means I also have more time because I'm not in a relationship.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this will sound terrible, but I don't really bother associating with women beyond necessary interaction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*or hikkimori
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not upset about this, just means theres extra time to be filled because everyones too pre-occupied in their spare time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I save well and don't have many people to buy for , I also pirate everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't call myself a NEET of hikkikomori, but genuinely do have absolutely no life, so I pretty much only leave my home for part time work/food/cinema trips. I don't party or drink and I see old friends once or twice a year (They've all moved), maybe my brother slightly more but not as often as most people would.
SuperMario
@Vyse: haha, you have a wild imagination. I'm pretty sure he's man
SuperMario
@anon1561372: pretty much what Kaiser said. He did came back a few months ago for monthly summaries but it seems life's swallowing him again. Would love to see him back to be honest
SuperMario
@Aidan: well, I'm at a stage where I don't have either enough time or money or anything concrete for my life. So I envy those who have plenty times to burn
Kaiser-Eoghan
Psgels professional and social life became more demanding and had a bout of writers block. Going by the photograph and voice on some of the podcasts he did, psgels is very much a man.
VyseLegendaire
psgels is a female
Anonymous1561272
@SuperMario Where did he go? Did he just stop completely?
AidanAK47
Well his posts were not as long as ours and I think he did them mostly in his secondary school years and you have plenty of time to burn back then. I remember I used to make a point of finishing games 100% back then and I replayed a ton of them over and over again.
SuperMario
And back in the day, psgels could blog like 3 or 4 posts per day, many of them on the same day of its airing. How the hell could he do that consistently for almost 10 years?
SuperMario
Fell asleep yesterday while writing Houseki review. Now that bastard will have to wait until later tonight (It's morning here). Apologize for that
Niello
Really? I thought the manga art is gorgeous. The beginning, not so much, but her art really improved. I love how whimsical it is. Other characters not so much, but Mahmut's design is really a step down from the manga.
KTravlos
ah you will hate me. Much as I love the story, I just cannot find the character art pleasing. On that one point for me the animated version was better. For example I much preferred the depiction of Einstein in the anime than in the manga. Now this is a personal thing, but I am shallow, and I do read manga partly for the art. So I am torn. I prefer the manga for the story but the anime for the art
Niello
@KTravlos: As a fan of the manga, I wouldn't say it's for us manga reader at all. I dropped this abomination long ago, I just can't stand it. It got butchered just like Amatsuki was, and tha's by the same director. I really really hope he never get to touch on an adaptation ever again.
KTravlos
also the Altai episode this week showed all the problems of the series. The pace was just too fast. Essentially this was just an episode for manga readers. Very very problematic
KTravlos
@SuperMario. I actually think that a double review of Altiar and AS would work better, as a way to talk a bit more expansively on the whole genre
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh hey awesome, new black mirror episodes in December.
Anonymous1558371
it's not really a plot twist, but it is a drastic change.
Anonymous1558371
I honestly don't know how well the anime will handle it. I'd like to think they will surpass the manga because they put a lot of care into the scene. It involves a fight scene and they have been handling those well, so I'm hopeful.
SuperMario
@anon1558097: will that shock plot twist whatever-it-is even make it this season? I'll be honest but if I have to compare the current anime to what I've read from the manga so far (first few chapters), The manga is more inventive and awe-inspiring for me
Anonymous1558097
@Mario: DON'T. I'm having a much better time enjoying the show ever since I stop comparing it to the manga. Still a shame I won't be getting the initial shock reaction from what's going to happen in the second half though.
SuperMario
Now you guys are really tempting me to read on the houseki manga, but I WON'T
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really wish that we could see more of the snail race things in houseki , the Gems and moon people have had their turn.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honey and clover had a much stronger balance of humour and drama, with sugatsu I feel its the drama that stands out best.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay major major MAJOR houseki spoilers....sensei is really....
.....
.....Saitama from onepunch man.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've only seen the first season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And anyone who breaks your Dia(mond) must be destroyed.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just look at the lastest episode (27), juggling, bouncy, silly in the first half and then emotional depth in the second. Well, that's a 3-gatsu's tone we pretty come to expect now
SuperMario
@Kaiser: ANYONE DARE TO MAKE MY HINA CRIES WILL HAVE TO PAY. I share the exact same sentiment with Rei
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will say this...it is...an un-evenly paced series...but always jolts you before you get too bored with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Looks at 3-gatsu screenshot*
Hina =< ; _ ; QmQ *cry**tears*
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am reasonably satisfied with how the houseki manga is in its latest chapters, coming together and the answers it gave.
SuperMario
@Nielo: wow, thanks. I'll definately pay more attention to that. Love to pick up those little details like that so I'm all ears if you pick up something else
Kaiser-Eoghan
I noticed that discord button. If more show up on it I'd consider joining it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: What will happen is that I'll end up marathoning it when more episodes get released, much like I did with first. The guy from the first series (Germain his name was) was a hard act to follow , so far I do think this is more enjoy than the little of the second season I saw.
SuperWooper
LOL, thanks for catching that.
SuperMario
@Wooper: I always enjoy "deep-friend" chicken as well. Tasty, taysty
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