Posted on 25 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional of the arbiters. So are the others faking emotion? Is is a guideline and not a reinforced rule? Are the feelings they have not really emotions? Is this a logic plot hole or a philosophical inquiry? Well in either case I don’t like it because I am not watching to debate what is truly real. I am here for the death games.

There was one in this episode briefly though it was more an afterthought as the episode focused more on the arbiters. Admittedly seeing how Decim became an arbiter is interesting and insight as to why he has the hobby of building dolls. Though this brings up the question of if the guests bodies are dolls then how is it that they can drink, spit, bleed, etc. I suppose you can just say that it’s the afterlife and that’s just how these things work. But that’s why I oppose explaining it’s process or applying a sense of logic to it. Because if you apply logic to this part of it you must also have to apply logic to the whole process. That my friends, is where plot holes and inconsistencies raise their ugly heads.

Alright I think that’s enough complaining. This was a better episode than last week’s train wreck.  There are intriguing elements to the direction this show is taking with this subplot of sorts. Its clear that Nona has violated the rules and is trying to keep the leader from noticing that Decim has an assistant that he clearly shouldn’t. The new character, who I mistook for a boy from the opening, is a nice foil to the straight laced, business only Nona The end of the episode even teases a death game between a trousome pair normally given to more experienced arbiters. I welcome a return to what should be the focus of the series.

Posted on 18 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I was worried about Celty in the slightest. True to that, Celty is fine and ready to get payback. The time leaping is getting a bit out of hand with things happening in this episode that take place in the middle of last episode abound things happening around the same time as other things and past is future and future has past and ouch…my head. I would have better luck mapping out the Doctor Who timeline. Our new characters this time are a cold analytical assassin by the name of Vorona and her eccentric boss who gets hung up on odd questions which the girl then answers. So that’s why men have nippiles. Honestly wondered about that one myself. They have an interesting gimmick but thats about it. The would need to bring something new to the already bloated cast. Vorona though seems disappointed in how easy it was to take down Celty and is annoyed over the job of abducting a child. There’s some visage of a heart in that impassive exterior.

Shinra has got to be given credit. I don’t think there’s anyone else with the courage to openly mock Shizuo to the face and not end up in a hospital. Other than that we have the Dollars kicking up trouble without Mikado’s direction. This is something that I find odd about Mikado. The plot has clearly shown that he desires a more interesting life. Hence why he moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. Yet he seems to actively avoid using his power over the dollars and keeps preserving his normal life. His actions seem contradictory. He wants the excitement of the unknown and unusual, yet avoids and fears the consequences of such and sticks to a normal routine. It would be good for the series to push him into making a decision about this. The episode ends on the note of someone attacking Anri. I would be concerned if Anri didn’t happen to be the possessor of a sentient sword and didn’t have a legion of loyal followers to get her out of this. If it was Mikado then this might hold weight but Anri? It may be a better option than picking a fight with Shizuo but you still get beaten to a pulp. Or in this case, slashed to ribbons and turned into a mindless zombie.

Posted on 17 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But I was under the impression that this was a psychological thriller. Not a slapstick comedy.” This is just one of those creative decisions that just has me baffled. To think that a team went over this and thought it was a good idea is something I have difficulty comprehending. But well here it is. This weeks Death Parade attempted to be comedic with a game of twister between a boy band member and one of his rabid fans.

One good thing to come out of this was seeing Ginti’s style of judgement. It definitely seems less professional and more sadistic than Decims methods. The boy band fellow also had potential in his past. I like the idea behind his guilt but find his death to be ridiculous.  A girl getting revenge on him by first sleeping with him and blowing him up with a heart shaped bomb. I think poison would have been more cost effective and wouldn’t require you putting your incriminating DNA all over him. But then there was the main problem of this episode. The girl who is apparently so important that she’s in the opening for a few seconds. A girl who sports the dumbest death in the series so far(slipped on and bar of soap in the bathroom and cracked her head) and the most pointless backstory. A girl with a personality so aggravating that she deserves to be sent to hell just so she can be removed from existence entirely. At any point when the episode looked to be improving this girl just needs to say a line to drag it back down.

There was tonal whiplash everywhere. For example, at one point the girl was going to sacrifice herself and the boy was distraught over it do to his past of driving a fan to suicide. It could have been a moving scene but the only reason the girl is giving up is because she’s too ashamed of pissing herself in front of him. It jumped from comedy to serious business.  Not certain whether it wanted to make us laugh or get emotionally invested. The final insult is that this episode was pointless. It could be removed and nothing would be lost. True the series is only half over but besides an introduction to two characters I wish to never see again we learnt nothing new. With the series half over I can only see Death Parade as yet another premise with wasted potential.  Unless the last six episodes are consistently great this is likely to be a testament of misguided direction.

Posted on 12 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves only the purpose to bring another conflict to the city. However he did spring a change to one of the characters. Shizuo, whose purpose up till now was to walk in and start beating people up, is getting some attention. It is good to see Shizuo express emotion beyond blind rage. Seeing him treat someone with respect for challenging him directly and admitting that he got jealous when the man remarked that he had a cute girl who would help nurse him back to health. Even shrugging off a taser attack from a little girl trying to kill him. Shizuo getting the spotlight at last.

The three plot threads we have this time is a motorcycle gang planning a all out attack, a little girl who is trying to kill Shizuo and Celty being tasked with finding said little girl. The only carryover was the motorcycle gang leader challenging Shizuo over the guys he beat up last episode. But even that is tossed aside pretty fast as he learns why one of the towns rules is to never pick a fight with the man dressed as a bartender. We also have yet another new character who ends the episode by trying to behead Celty. A fruitless task to be certain. But Narita, seriously. Keep adding characters like this and the opening won’t have time to cover them all. A fun little tidbit I noticed is with the Orihara sisters. Strangely when posting on the Internet, Mairu(the talkative one) writes very little. Yet Kururi(the quiet one) posts walls of text. Wonder what dice they rolled to get these traits? It’s too early to say where this is going but if this is a story about Shizuo then thats always welcome in my book.

Posted on 10 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between random people which shift between heartwarming to tragic. Yet we have exposition episodes about the state of afterlife. By appearances it’s episodic yet this episode looks to be setting up an ongoing plot thread. These paths each have interesting merits yet I think the show is trying to pull them all off. In truth I am reminded of a genius violinist who has a set path to greatness. Yet he insists that his true destiny lies in rock in roll and aims to play better guitar. Rather than choosing a path he wavers between the two, never doing either satisfactory.

So Onna is human. Though I had assumed so from the beginning. Actually I was given no indication that arbitrators were inhuman. As I was under the impression that Onna was being trained to be one. The interesting idea of game where one of the players played before is shot down before it could bloom. Instead bringing in a exposition episode that provides more questions than answers. There are details I like about the after world’s design such as the control center with wine glasses and raining blood. But this would need to be leading up to something. The battle segment was ridiculously out of place. I am glad the boss put a stop to it. I prefer my shounen battles in shounen anime thank you.

The storybook segment looks to be a symbol of Decim’s and Onna’s relationship. I question how someone dreams in storybook though. While I like Decims implied fondness for Onna, this story thread does not intrigue me. The conclusion of this looks obvious and potentially fatal. I am glad Maria Okada isn’t the writer of this series or this particular element would get dragged to the forefront and beaten for every forced emotional dollar. The new character is sadly just as figured. Hot headed and constantly pissed off. While his status as the former bartender of quindecim is a good point, his personality is just too stereotypical. And next week looks to be a flashback episode to when Ginti was the bartender. While it is a good way to flesh out his character I think this is just diverging into another unnecessary tangent. My interest is waning Death Parade. Please, prove me wrong.

Posted on 4 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to new characters and they did get integrated into the cast. But other than that this arc didn’t really do anything. The bounty on Celty disappeared as fast as it appeared. The biker gang have been wiped out by Shizuo. Hollywood and the russian hitman have no loose ends to cover.(Well unless you are interested in Hollywoods family. Or the budding love between her and Shizuo’s brother) And the Orihara sisters were introduced and that’s about it. Really this was a story of how Celty lost a lot of money and unknowingly reclaimed it thanks to a little plotting of the Orihara sisters, featuring special guests. Because Hollywood, the Russian hitman and the Orihara sisters did more or less nothing despite getting a significant amount of screen time.

And here is one of the major problems with Narita. Here we have a story that was by all means self contained. Because in truth Narita is an episodic writer. By arcs end, everything returns to zero. Yet Narita always seems to try and present this as “only the beginning” Like this arc was just setup for a greater overarching plot. However if previous experience says anything it’s that the only thing that lies in the future is a weak climax and a return to zero. Yet here he is again building up a conflict within the dollars, Saika growing out of control and Izaya plotting something big. But I know how this works. These things will get wrapped up quick and then other things will be foreshadowed which also will get wrapped up quickly and unceremoniously. If you want to write episodic stories Narita then do so. But stop trying to tease the possibility that you will move beyond that. It’s a pet peeve really. Even if Durarara is essentially the daily hijinks of the eccentric cast it would still be entertaining.

Posted on 31 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Now this is more like it. An arcade game between two strangers with dark pasts. Excellent. But both did have a similar problem. That being they are both people who couldn’t see past themselves. It’s nice to see people react differently to the game. Here we have the two of them mistaking it for a reality tv show. But slowly realizing that something is off. The emotional breakdowns when things get dire were perfect. Misaki’s desperate bargaining and Yousukes deep regret over realizing what he gave up. Personally the most striking moment was the image of a despaired Misaki rhythmical tapping the attack button on the game after beating Yousuke unconscious. The fighting game itself was odd, like a joke game. I suppose it would be interesting to see their fighting game characters as how the general public viewed them. In Yousukes case, a typical shut in otaku. In Misaki’s a cheery vain tv actor.  This marks the first game that Decim interfered with to bring out the darkness of the players. It was a curious position for him being unusually cold. But looking carefully you could tell that he truly hated it. That look he gave the device he used to rig the game at the end of the episode showed how conflicted he was about it. I really like that about his character. He’s forced to play the role of the villain and yet is still compassionate. That last hug he gave the players betraying that façade truly moved me.

But here’s the question. Did Misaki truly deserve to go to hell? Herein Lies the problem with judging with a good or bad scale. There are always people who fit into neither category. Misaki wasn’t a nice person, that much is for certain but was she evil? Not quite. In truth she is more ignorant to the feelings of those around her. She was so caught up in her problems and misery that she failed to take into account how her actions affected others. The very thing that lead to her death. Misaki had a hard life that shaped her to be who she is. If she made a better choice for a lover she might have become a completely different person. With that said, in my opinion I agree with Decims judgement. Nothing was as telling as Misaki slamming Yousuke’s face into the arcade machine. She did regret it, yes. But only after she had done the deed. There were plenty of telling things in her flashbacks and her actions. I for example found it interesting that her special attack in the game where the children came to help and the only useful one was the baby. The only one too young to recognise his mothers faults. It wasn’t her fault but her experiences had corrupted her. She was past the point of no return. If given a second chance at life I fear she would only repeat her mistakes. Yousuke however recognised his mistakes and saw what it was he threw away. Therefore he was more deserving of redemption. Still Misaki’s end was a cruel one and one deserving of pity. Next episode we get to met the red haired fellow from the opening so I wonder what he will bring to the table.

Posted on 29 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

If its one thing you to can credit Narita for it that just when you think he cannot possibly make a stranger character, he then does. So the monster that Shizu smashed into the air in the last moment gets their story told and I am sure there are not many who would have guessed what was under that makeup. Yes not only is the serial killer Hollywood female but she also happens to be a famous idol called Ruri Hijiribe. Really question how she fits killing into what is most likely a packed schedule. My issue with this is that on the episode in which she is introduced is also the episode she essentially reached the end of her character arc. Her problem was that she felt like a monster that couldn’t be understood. Only to find that this town is filled with monsters living normal lives. I really don’t see how her character can evolve from here. At most she’s now just a love interest for Yuhei. Yuhei is also quite the character having reacted to his guest trying to kill him with the same apathy one would reserve for a school play. Well according to him he was actually quite scared but is bad at expressing himself. Saving his life by weirding out or potentially charming Ruri. The dialogue between these two was so off that you can’t help but feel they are strangely made for each other.

The time jumping is getting rather confusing now. Seeing as this episodes beginning takes place at the start of the first episode but jumps to the middle of the second episode and it turns out the Orihara section of the second episode took place before the beginning of the first episode and…like I said. Laying out the timeline is likely an endeavor. On one note it’s a little unbelievable that the guy who was previously dying in the last episodes ends up fine with some bandages. It’s true that if he did die that would mean that Shizuo murdered someone under false pretenses but it’s a little hard to believe that this guy survived a hit like that. But then again this is a world where a man can pull up lampposts to use as makeshift baseball bats. The Orihara sisters still manage to be endearing despite their incredibly messed up personalities. Just what kind of childhood can create monsters like this? They seem to have taken on the job of the injured Russian and look to be getting wrapped up in what looks to be this arcs climax.

Posted on 27 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Well this isn’t quite what I expected. This episode was a much more lighthearted fare with it being about love. It was better than the last episode but still not to the level I expected from this series. The game this time barely factored into the story at all. The twist on it was that they were bowling with each others hearts. It didn’t really factor into anything besides a truly disturbing moment we’re the man was getting turned on from having his fingers inside the area of her heart. Just…seriously what is wrong with you? But things looked up when the arbitrators whispered about a secret the girl was keeping. My mind started spinning tales from her being a serial killer or her being a man. So in truth it was my own fault that the reveal was so lackluster to me. But really it was something so small that I didn’t get why everyone made a big deal out of it. So if you have not watched the episode yet I recommend to stop reading here as I am about to spoil it.

Alright my main problem here is that this girl wanted to catch this guy’s attention so much that she got full plastic surgery in order to look like a girl from his childhood. Small inquiry here. If you were willing to go that far then why was talking to him out of the question? Would that have been too embarrassing? And hey Instead of getting full facial surgery why not just go for a boob job? If anime has taught me anything it’s that is bound to catch his attention and it would have been cheaper too. I can sort of get what the message here. The two just needed to talk to each other and only got the chance when they died. But I just feel the extreme she went to was just too extreme. Well the two got their date and we learned that both people can go to heaven which means of course that both can be damned to hell as well. This is info that will make the next games interesting.

I wouldn’t have minded this episode if it was in the middle of the series. In fact it does feel like a middle episode as Decim and Onna seem oddly used to working together. I found it strange when Decim remarked that Onna was getting used to the game. Especially when to our knowledge this was her first time working as assistant. This is bad as I was looking forward to seeing the two warm up to each other and build chemistry. But the story seems to have skipped that process. In fact this is my main problem with this episode. I wouldn’t have minded a change of pace if this was the seventh or eighth episode. After a few grim episodes having a light hearted game would have been refreshing. But here it’s oddly out of place. We have only started and the characters are treating it as though we have been through a number of games. The two death games so far have kept things on the light side. I hope the next episodes delve more into the dark parts of humanity. Next time we got an arcade game and things look to be more on the side that I like.

Posted on 22 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

If this episode had a focus then the stars would be Celty and the Orihara sisters. Though there were other events such as Anri and Mikado going to karaoke with Erika and Walker but it wasn’t really all the important and seemed to be there to foreshadow a new character and set up what looks to be future hijinks. Though we have the standard of Narita storytelling going on, namely jumping around in time to past and future events with little to no context.

Celty truly is a interesting character from an animation perspective.  Its easy to overlook but when you think about it she must be one of the trickiest characters to animate. Why you ask? Well how do you show a character is sad without words? The easiest is to turn her eyes to the ground and give them a frown. Add in a tear and a slight head droop if they are really sad. But in Celty’s case, how would you do that? The girl doesn’t have a head therefore removing the large emotional range a face can provide. Of course they could have easily made her a deadpan snarker but instead Celty is presented as a fairly emotional character. All of this through body language.  I am reminded of the Raimi Spiderman movies where Tobey needed to exaggerate his movements to act when Spiderman. Celty twirls when happy, fidgety when embarrassed and puts her hand to her chin when thinking. In a strange way it makes her seem the most human character in the show. Odd considering that she is by definition, not human. Its this that makes her so likeable. The voice actress does deserve credit but the animators really did a great job.

Though it was the Orihara sisters that stole the show. They certainly prove to be Izaya’s family, being completely strange and insane. If Izaya’s word can be trusted they chose their personalities on the roll of a dice. But ended up with a disjointed disconnect between personality and appearance.  So we have a girl with the look of a quiet library girl being talkative and proclaiming to be a outgoing bisexual. And a girl in a gym outfit whose sullen and quiet. Naturally the two stand out and I sighed as the stereotypical bullying starts. But luckily the bullies a taken care of quickly. Its good that these throwaway villains were just put in to point out that the Orihara sisters are just as dangerous as their older brother. I am willing to bet the two have become fan favorites by episodes end. Though I wonder what their role will be in this particular arc? From the looks of things they are getting involved as near the episodes end they find a dying man that Shizu bashed into the air. Well we have set up two dynamic characters so at least make use of them Narita. Don’t toss them to the sidelines.

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 06:39 AM)
    @Afgm: You’d hope that one would be shocked by it though. It’d be pretty narcissistic to get off on the notion someone would be doing that to an image of you…
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 05:47 AM)
    @afgm: Surreal was the word I was going to use for it yes.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 05:37 AM)
    That must be surreal having random people pleasuring themselves to a cartoon version of you.
  • Nessie
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:51 AM)
    I still figure Shirobako is a dream the writers had of wanting attractive young girls working in their dingy workplace that they’ve realized into a series.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:48 AM)
    I know theres a hentai doujin out there of the big glasses guy and he’s based on seiji Mizushima =<
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:43 AM)
    Oh..dear…knowing that shirobako, that some of the characters are designed after a few real people thats going to be awkward if I ended up finding any of them attractive lol
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:29 AM)
    :facepalm: I meant the Asus looks decent
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:28 AM)
    Aidan: the Aidan looks decent, and supposedly has good fans that aren’t horrendously loud so that’s a plus. You will still need headphones though, and it’s not too expensive so can last you a couple years, at which point I would recommend getting another one for the next 3-4 years.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:14 AM)
    Also shirobako was referred to once somewhere as this generations Honey and clover, that got my attention.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 1. 2015 04:13 AM)
    I have very little issue with your review of shirobako Aidan, in fact it actually encourages one/me to actually go out and watch it, however, I can’t say I like the “Required to watch” line, often I find things like that sound like the reader feels “forced” after reading it. I’m not going out of my way to be insulting as I said its a good review, its just something I learned/was taught/picked up.

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