Posted on 26 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Phi Brain



So, Phi Brain. A show that baffled me for the past year more than any other series, and it did so in many ways. It was the source of many frustrations, but also many surprises. When the first season started it seemed like just an ordinary shounen series with very good characters. Then a second season got announced and things started. The thing is that the first season was very conclusive and didn’t really leave many plot threats behind. On top of that, it was all about Kaito and his history, and it really had this storyline that used its main cast at its best. So how on earth were they going to top that?

Well indeed, the second season didn’t turn out to be as good as the first, but it did so for complete different reasons than what I imagined. The creators actually came up with a new set of very good villains here. The charm of the first season, it surprisingly good characterization: it stayed here. There was cheese, Oh GOD, there was cheese, but it used this cheese really well to create memorable villains and actually ended up very heart-warming with a very good chemistry between all of the different members of the cast. The themes were great and it ended with a satisfying climax that really exceeded my expectations. So what went wrong?

Well, the balance is all over the place. The thing is that the stories of the first and second season are about equal in size, but the way in which they spend their time is very different. The first season had random stories: a first half of completely unrelated stories to flesh out the cast. In the second season however, every episode is important to the plot in a direct way. The problem however is that this show doesn’t have the material to fill 25 episodes. The result? Well, four episodes of solving the exact same puzzle over and over again. In a series that prides itself with its creative puzzles, that indeed is as fun as it sounds.

On top of that, the way in which this series manages its cast in this season is really bizarre and questionable. It all works out in the end, but oh boy, it has a lot of hurdles. Most importantly, the central focus of the plot is brainwashing. The entire cast of villains is brainwashed into acting weird and illogical. You do not want to know how long it takes for this to get properly fleshed out and some actual depth, because this series has spent nearly its entire airtime to get to that point. At the start the characters come off as shallow stupid and illogical bastards.

And then there is the great cast of characters of the first season, who honestly have trouble figuring out what to do in the sequel here. In one way it’s good, because the characters who did not have a focus in the first season can now really shine here (with the best example being Ana Gram), but it also is a bit of a shame to see once strong characters wander around slightly aimlessly and looking for things to do. Gammon especially suffered here, but also Nonoha is pretty bad. She keeps wanting to do something, and yet the creators hardly ever let her, despite hinting at how she still is important. Only near the end does that start to matter, and in the meantime she is just there for the token female to cook dinner.

Beyond that, the usual issues with Phi Brain still stand: when you think about it, it just makes no bloody sense. Especially the way in which this series seems to think that you can hack anything and do some mumbo jumbo in order to gather data are really bad if you start thinking about it even once. This show just has a story to tell and doesn’t care how illogical it gets, and yet it does this better than the likes of Horizon, because the story it does end up telling becomes pretty damn good when it wants to and is actually focused. I mean you can say a lot about Phi Brain, but it has a damn good cast of characters.

Storytelling: 7/10 – You call that balance?! Riddled with issues, way too long (we’re at 50 episodes now and a third season has been announced!), yet surprisingly focused and well built up.
Characters: 8.5/10 – The saving grace for this series. Very good and heart-warming all around. A bit too heavy on the cheese though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Definitely not Sunrise’s dream team here, though it has its moments at the beginning and end where it looks really pretty.
Setting: 8.5/10 – I have to give points for this series: it took a setting that seemed impossible to make believable: people fight using puzzles and brainwash each other in order to evolve human kind. And it pulled it off. Sure it took a lot of trouble, but it did.

Suggestions:
The Law of Ueki
Spiral
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Posted on 26 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This episode thankfully wasn’t as bad as the previous episodes, and instead it was just a build-up. Unfortunately though, it showed a lot about the structure of this series and how much time it has actually wasted. But before I comment on that: we finally see Rook again… only to have him state the obvious and disappear again. Great use of him, guys!

Now, about this episode: it actually went back to the brainwashing again. Even though this disappeared for nearly half a season, here it is back like nothing happened. So yes, this series will turn Kaito’s friends against him. So really? What were those previous episodes about anyway? A random repetitive tournament that revealed the motivation of the Orpheus Order and a random beach episode. None of them really said anything about any of the characters, save for that very corny backstory and returning Nonoha back to the kitchen. They did absolutely nothing with the theme of brainwashing people

If these episodes were mentioned to flesh out the characters, then they pretty much failed because none of the characters emerged as better from those episodes and some of them even regressed and became more generic. Only this episode finally tried to delve deeper into the characters, even though it had plenty of annoying moments with everyone and his dog running for president. You could have made so much better use of these episodes. Take control of a few more side-characters; continue trying to recruit Gammon again by using his sister or something. Give Nonoha a puzzle she can actually solve. There was so much potential for these episodes. You obviously don’t care about having a puzzle in every episode so you could have taken one episode off to dedicate to the past of one of the characters.

I think it’s pretty clear by now: the first season was completely planned out when Sunrise suddenly came with the announcement for a second season. And my guess really is that the script was rushed in order to get the second season to continue immediately after the first season. Sunrise has very solid planners, so keeping the animation quality up was no problem. But thinking of a completely new series with complete new threats was way too much. This is especially the case considering that Sato Junichi switched from the director to the series composition: it’s very likely that he wrote this second season while directing the remaining episodes of the first season. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a shoddy writing-job from his side, because there are just too many things wrong with that string of six episodes.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 18 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The beach episode actually wasn’t done yet? We’re spending one more episode in that resort? Why, Phi Brain? Did you run out of ideas for a setting or something?

It’s a good thing that this episode had a completely different premise than last week. Although I am not really sure what the point of it all was. Basically, after more than thirty episodes Nonoha finally realizes that she doesn’t fit in with the other main characters. Even though there were plenty of people who also went along with the trip and who were also bad at puzzles that she could have hung out with.

In any case, tired of doing nothing but cooking, Nonoha finally realizes that she also wants to do something and starts to solve puzzles along with the rest of the main cast. This really is the chance for the creators to find something specific or unique that she’s good at. Midway through the episode, we are re-introduced to Nonoha’s amazing memory, which is the perfect ingredient for giving an extra bit of dynamic to solving the puzzles. Unfortunately, Nonoha doesn’t realize that, completely fails at any kind of new puzzle she’s handed, and ends up back in the kitchen where she started. And feminism marches on!

I really don’t get what the creators are doing with Nonoha here. I mean, she has a ton of potential to contribute, but she completely fails to use them. Compare this to a series as the Law of Ueki: that series had a similar character to Nonoha: Mori. She usually stood on the sidelines as the main supporting character as well, but once in a while the creators did put her in the spotlight by finding a situation which would allow her to be able to show off her character. The result was beyond awesome, among the highlights of the series and part of the reason why that turned into my favorite comedy ever. Compare that to Phi Brain, where Nonoha gets a mid-life crisis episode that doesn’t really go anywhere.

And here is the bizarre thing: it’s not that hard to show her potential. She is the most athletic member of the cast. Give her an action puzzle or something. Get her to save Kaito by having someone attack him or something. Or what about her incredible memory? Put her in a maze or something!

Instead of that, the most creative that the creators have done with her is making her swim for six hours, which is completely unrelated to anything that this series is about. In the first season, she had a clear purpose: give support to Kaito as he was losing his mind. That worked. In the second season Kaito still needs support, but now Cubic and Ana have taken over that role, rendering Nonoha’s part in this series completely useless. Out of all the places the creators could have gone with Nonoha, they chose that damn kitchen!
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 11 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Who the heck was behind this episode, and what on earth was he smoking while writing it?

This episode already started off bad by both having Elena transfer into the Root Academy, and being a beach episode. I did not expect it to be such a bizarrely written one, though. I’m not sure whether this was in a good way, because what made it so bizarre was the incredibly stupid ideas behind it.

So, let me get this straight… the POG actually owned another tropical island. They used that for filming a giant monster movie named “puzzla”, and they still keep some of the props, including a giant monster model, hidden in a cave on that island. Where the hell did that come from? Why would that professor Pythagoras have ordered a thing like that?

The more I think about this episode, the more I realize that it really is quite bad. I mean, on one hand I guess the stupidity was funny and all, but on the other hand: it actually nullified some of the development that has been handed to the characters. There is that bizarre movie plan from the POG, but also:
– This episode had everyone going crazy from puzzle withdrawal, including Cubic and Ana, even though the two of them weren’t really passionate about puzzles. In the series we mostly see them paint and do science stuff respectively. This episode lumped their character way too much together.
– Elena also gets reduced to a generic side-character. Remember in the first season how there were hints of a romance between her and Gammon Well, this episode apparently didn’t.

Episodes like this are supposed to give the characters more colour, not make them grayer!

Some more comments:
– Apparently this show forgot that lock-picking is also a puzzle.
– Being in puzzle withdrawal is one thing. Gammon however has made plenty of puzzles for himself. Really, it’s not that hard to make them and instead the characters decide to go into that bizarre puzzla chase.
– Nonoha swimming for six hours and fishing up the key that Elena threw away is just plain bad.
– Death to slide-show montages!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 4 June 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

This was just bizarre. It seems that the editorial department realized that the writing staff intended to have the same puzzle in five episodes in a row, and they probably were just in time to salvage this and reduce the whole time of this arc by one episode by having the last match be a team-up. The thing is, that Sato Junichi most likely wrote this (he went from being the director in the first season to writing the series composition in the second season). He should know better, right?

And yeah. I didn’t think it was possible, but the creators actually provided an explanation for all of the other complaints I’ve been having over the past episode: nobody can think straight because they’re consumed by these orpheus rings. That’s why every villain is gay for Kaito, they make such ridiculous leaps in logic and have these extremely out of place mood changes that seem to come from out of nowhere.

And with this, the goal of this series has changed from “defeat the orpheus order” to “save the orpheus order”. Now, the question remains whether or not it’s interesting to watch an entire season dedicated to mentally deranged villains. It’s impossible to relate to them in any case, so instead this show is really going to have to develop these guys as victims instead.

The big potential pitfall is going to be making the ofpheus bracelets god-moded: justify every stupid leap in logic through them and relaying every dumb or over the top statement that these guys make just on “they weren’t thinking straight”. It takes away all character from the orpheus order, and it’s just lazy storytelling: normally writers have to take suspense of disbelief into account, and have characters acting reasonable. If you’re going to play with mental issues, do so with rules and structure, and don’t just blame everything on the “stupid virus”.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 28 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 22 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

And from out of nowhere this episode reveals the big motivation for Freecell. And to be honest… it’s kindof lame. I mean, it’s clear now that in this series there are quite a few characters gay for Kaito, but this guy’s reason for being so seems to be the flimsiest of the bunch.

So, to recap: in the Crossfield academy Kaito stood out as a genius, amongst all the other kids who were being pushed to be the next Phi Brain. We know that Kaito had a really difficult time there: he lost his parents and suddenly was placed to some random school he didn’t know; it was Rook who probably got him back up to his feet.

During that time, he talked to Freecell exactly once, and promised to meet and play again. He broke that promise because it happened on the same day that Rook disappeared, which is logical. On the same day, Freecel’s mother died and because he was sad that Kaito didn’t meet him, his was sad to see him sad and so she died unhappy. And Freecell has been unable to move on for 10 years, to the point of devoting his entire life to get back at him.

Of course, things aren’t as simple as “this episode made no sense”. After all, these characters were kids. This episode raised some amazing points that really should not be overlooked: forcing kids to perform beyond everything, and neglecting to let them evolve emotionally. From the looks of it, the POG did not care about this at all and was such an unhealthy environment for kids to grow up, with the result of mental delusions. This builds further upon what the first season started, and it also showed how hard Jin’s task was to get everything under control: he could give guidance to kids like Kaito, but there were much more kids that he ignored. Probably because he was doing this in secret so his actions had to be limited. This is something I actually really like: the kids who were forgotten and not as lucky as Kaito.

The thing that bugs me lies in the storytelling and how it took some very convenient loops. First of all: having the mother die at exactly the right moment is a tad too convenient here. But my biggest beef: Kaito only talked to Freecell once. That’s all. There is no reason for this to have such a significant impact on Freecell. There was no time to develop their relationship. Losing your mother is a terrible thing, but even taking that into account I find it hard to believe that Freecell would bear a lifelong grudge against someone who made him sad on the day that his mother died.

Rook was an awesome villain because he had time to spend with Kaito: he changed. Freecell’s entire character is dominated by this revenge. The upcoming episodes will need to fix that and give him an actual character.

And on a side-note, Phi Brain: you disappoint me. Are you really planning to have five subsequent episodes, focusing on the same puzzle? That’s just lazy.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 16 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

Okay, so in the end the whole brainwashing subplot was all just a build-up. It wasn’t meant to give depth to the entire cast with its formula, but instead it was meant to show the Orpheus order as a formidable foe, explain what they were doing and why they were doing it. The fact that two side-characters got fleshed out was just a neat side-effect.

Instead this has very much the tendencies of a mystery story: inbetween the puzzles it really slowly continues to reveal a bit more about the Orpheus order. This episode was about Cubic again, who always struck me as the least interesting member of the cast. He’s genuine, but in comparison to the rest of the characters he lacks something. It probably has to do with how he is this series’ plot device: if something needs to be explained, he just goes “science!”, and things somehow become clear. This episode was about this too. The punchline of this episode was that he lost, yet he did manage to gather “data” which will somehow be of importance later. It’s all very vague, in a series that thrives on math.

In any case, this seems to be an arc in which the Orpheus order will show a bit more about their true characters; a way to flesh them out, in having a tournament-style match-up. I do wonder why Nonoha forced herself into the picture though, especially when Jikugawa would have been a much more sane choice to bring along. Right now she has no role in this series. Her role in the first searon was clear: support Kaito as he was having the living brains kicked out of him. Right now though.. Kaito doesn’t really need help… yet.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 7 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

I like how this series pretends that it’s got the plot of a series that’s fifteen years old, taking a formula only to nearly immediately deviate from it again. I really thought that for now we’d just get a string of episodes that would feature the POG taking control of some side-character. Instead, they are making visible progress in their goals. And this episode was all about Gammon.

And yeah, this was the best episode of the second season so far. Gammon just got even better. At first I didn’t really know where it was going to go to when Gammon was suddenly invited to join the Orpheus Order, especially since Gammon generally joins the side that is against the side that pisses him off the most. But then it turns out that this was actually a follow-up on last week after which the Orpheus Order tried to get ahold of his sister. She’s fine now as they lost interest in her, but this really made an impact on Gammon. This episode was meant for him to resolve this and emerge as a better character instead.

And in the end this episode made use of the first season, relating back to the time Kaito and Gammon first met by having Kaito play for a Giver for once. Gammon was hilarious to watch by being thrown off his element like that, and I also really liked how Kaito did things for a completely different reason (he was pissed off at Gammon himself). It was very refreshing to have these two actually play each other’s roles for a change. It was an awesome way to flesh them out.

Having said that though, the characters in this series are idiots. In a way, the Orpheus Order might have gotten Gammon to join them. Hell, if they paid him for it he probably would have done so. But what on earth made that Doubt-guy think that he’d still join them.. after they openly threatened the life of his sister? Gammon on the other hand: I know that you gained control over your own anger again at the end of this episode. But still: you know the location of people who openly endanger innocent people… and you don’t use it?! Why?
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on 30 April 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

You know, the actual goal of the orpheus order isnt’ bad at all. If they can figure out the kinks in the Orpheus bracelet and remove the parts that destroy the wearer’s brains, it could mean a very good way for humanity to evolve, and it’s certainly better than “let’s have humanity evolve by killing everyone.” It’s just that their methods are questionable, having them resort to use involuntary human guinea pigs who can easily die when things go wrong.

Also, this episode broke up the formula that the first episodes tried to set already: Gammon prevented his sister from getting brainwashed. Still, you could say that this all was part of the plans in order to challenge Kaito to a puzzle. This episode pretty much failed for the Orpheus order, because the reason why Kaito nearly became “Phi Brain” was by putting him under constant stress. That’s very hard to do with five of them together like that, supporting each other. Also, this episode revealed all of their names, and they are indeed as weird as the rest of the cast. The main villain of this series is a random card game.

In any case, the bad thing of breaking up this formula is that we didn’t really get to see much more about Gammon’s sister. The most logical solution for this will be that the Orpheus order will find some other way to use her. Can they keep these methods fresh enough for the entire side-cast?
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
Castlevania actually has good action scenes too. Very pretty.
Lenlo
The Netflix Castlevania series, one episode in so far, is actually pretty good. It does justice to the old series, more than any other videogame adaptation ive seen.
SuperMario
And I know this is way off the mark but whenever I hear Baltimore I'm thinking of Beach House band
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I feel you that the action scenes feel no weight.
Lenlo
Three degrees of Nazi. We always get there somehow
Lenlo
The story seems setting up to repeat to me as well, with the mutant/normie racial problems. Hopefully the Reflection event/mystery over takes that though.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Vatican's mysteries have gotten to a ridiculous level. This week throws up sexual abuse, drug use, corruption and somehow Nazis are involved as well. It's just too much for me
Lenlo
They could have kept the comic book feel though by doing what Ping Pong did, with the panel layouts. I feel the low framerate did nothing but hurt it. Had the action scenes been done differently it could have worked, but it was a traditional fight scene so it didnt work.
SuperMario
Speaking of 18if, I still consider that show an experiment wreck, but a fascinating wreck it will
SuperMario
I don't really mind the low frame rate in the Reflection. I think the choice is deliberated to resemble the comic motion. I'm more worried about the story as they have some random fights that I feel even more dreamy than 18if
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I quite liked the Reflections art but the animation, or lack thereof, held it back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Once again my anime taste falls in with Marios =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you can only imagine if shinbo or Yuasa were to work on 18...if.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I do think 18..if is exactly what I need right now, I am not certain it will top flipflappers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The premise for ballroom is of no interest to me.
I’m hearing Vatican is quite silly in a campy horror way
which appeals to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While visually the show seemed to improve with episode 3, I wasn’t all that emotionally invested with that story.
I would take this protagonist over IdiotMCx100 any day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
18..if is the most interesting thing I’ve looked into so far, largely due to it being the most un-conventional/abnormal, the concept interests me and poor as the animation is , the worlds it shows/creates, the imagination of the show gets close to forgiving that, as it was the most macabre, episode 2 has been my favourite so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I’ve begun (at last)checking out some of the series airing this season.
The reflections style is complete push away/turn off for me. I feel made in abyss could grow into something and I’d like it to actually properly get going/start, the buildup is slightly dull.
K-Off
@Vonter Graces is nothing compared to the pandering mess that Symphonia 2 was. Just embarrassing.
SuperMario
"There's a white house waiting for us in Casablanca" haha, can't help but laugh at its wordplay
Lenlo
Im planning on mentioning it, but yeah. Alot of the combat didnt really have an 'impact' to them. There are other shows, like Ping Pong, that I think do this sort of style better, if alittle differently.
Anonymous1283104
I think the main issue was the animation being kind of simple, the scenes didnt have 'motion'
Lenlo
@Anon, yeah The Reflection moved at the pace of a glacier. The art style was unique and should have lead to good looking fights, but instead it moved at the pace of a glacier. Ill have a write up on it later today
KTravlos
very nice episode of Virgin Soul. Really liked seeing Favoro look like Favoro again.
Vonter
Tales of Graces sadly might have the most childish, and pandering story of the series.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - Tales of Graces worked around having to both attack and defend to continue attacking. If just attacked you made less and weaker attacks. It was a way of cooldown that was more reliant on the player thinking about the attacks it used. Later games followed a more typical cooldown and combined special attacks with the regular ones.
Anonymous1282493
Reflection was kinda painful to watch, I didn't expect anything in the first place and was disappointed nonetheless.
Lenlo
I cant snowboard or ski at all so its ok.
SuperMario
I did hit my head on the ground (for the first time) but I was lucky that I was wearing helmet. I curse S turn
SuperMario
@lenlo: it's fun but it's a lot of pain as well.
Lenlo
Sounds like fun
SuperMario
I'm literally covered in snow right now with my butt numbed. Will get back home in few hours to catch up on 18if
Lenlo
Havnt had the chance to watch it yet, but Reflection apparently looks like a comic book but has weird fight scenes? Ill get that write up tomorrow once I watch it tonight.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*hear
Jesus Christ what happened to my spelling
AidanAK47
That's one of the things that mainly turned me off. The battle system is essentially button mashing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The regular complaint I here from Tales of naysayers is a dislike of the battle mechanics/system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I avoided the anime adaptations of the tales games mostly because I assumed they presumed previous knowledge of the games. I actually only saw Phantasia due to having been familiar with the games story when I was younger.
HelghastKillzone
No Re:Creators this week. I get a week off which is good since I'm stuck on an army base.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, A lot of people say Vesperia is their favorite as well. I only have played Abyss so far and was really not impressed with it.
K-Off
@Kaiser Damn, Detective Conan has a long way to go then.
K-Off
Phantasia was my first Tales game (and its anime is the best amongst anything after) but Symphonia really did take it to another level. In general I think most fans will agree with Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia in their favorites.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Kochikame is the longest running manga of all time 1,960 chapters, 200 volumes, actually does have a record.
K-Off
@Aidan I remember you saying how it's funny that no two fans of Tales will have the same favorite title. But that's definitely because Tales has changed very little over the years, and they've always been solid games, and so for most fans they'll remember the first title they played.
K-Off
@Vonter With you there. The art direction in Tales hasn't been really that exciting since Xillia, and as a long time fan of the series I finally got sick of the gameplay after Vesperia.
K-Off
Jeez, detective Conan is reaching its 1000th chapter. Pretty sure it's a milestone for some Guinness record.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Embarassing
**Here
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also agree about complaints made about the mumbled dialogue when it does occur.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thin red line is a good thing to bring up hear as throughout much of Dunkirk I was thinking about how much more Mallick's film did for me, how I should have been re-watching that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet at the same time I couldn't connect with it, it became repetitive, disjointed and the shots/Zimmer score towards the end were embaeassing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There were definitely aspects to praise, to be fair there is no shortage of action, it eschews exposition and tries to visually immerse the viewer to make them feel as if they are present.
Lenlo
Im ready. Reflection comes on tomorrow, so heres hopin its worth it
Anonymous1279803
it was trash. just british propaganda
Vonter
I finished Tales of Berseria. And I'm conflicted. I really liked the story and the characters, essentially a Tales of were the story is told form the perspective of the villains. I also saw the episodes Ufotable made of the beginning of the game, and I want moar. It's was a waste as game, considering the archaic and dull game design. It mainly came up to buying time in regards to things to play.
KTravlos
I also watched it. I thought it was a great war film. Very intense and unrelenting, but still at points the images reminded me of Thin Red Line. My only quip was the end. The film did a great job in getting me to feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt. So great that the attempt at making a "happy" end was forced and fell flat. Beyond that I liked it.
Anonymous1279184
I already lost interest when I saw Inception which I didn't really like. My favorite Nolan movie will always be Memento.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, saw Dunkirk, I think at this point I'm done with giving Nolan any more chances, this like his other works, I can appreciate them to some extent but come away honestly not giving a damn.
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.
Total users: 28

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