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)

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Anonymous224018
Theres also that russian kid who jumped off his apartment after Itachi died
Topgavin
There's a post about it somewhere I think
Topgavin
Also Mr anon, from what I've seen he's suffered from anime burnout and/or real life getting the better of him, so he doesn't have time for the blog (I think).
Topgavin
So I'm rewatching some random show called Seven of Seven and I must say, the old-school tropes are quite refreshing to the current day ones. Like a current day romcom but old school-style (no overused tropes, less cute girls, simple characters and plot), quite a rare novelty that I'd say is worth checking out if you're bored.
Anonymous223149
ayy, might I ask about what happened to psgels? been gone for far too long.
AidanAK47
Yeah I really can't see that.
AidanAK47
Naruto, for insight into major philosphical question and demi god reincarnation.
Also featuring moon ninjas.
Anonymous222624
*insight* *major philosophical questions* *??????*
Anonymous222458
I can understand that. Before the conclusion the main cast was pretty linear and repetetive character developement wise - the main focus was shounen action for the majority of the series. The conclusion showed us that these characters are reincarnates of sons of a demi god. They build up that past world with such an insight to major philosphical questions but easily understandable & relatable.
SuperMario
People might disagree with this but I like how 91 Days plays out. Low-key but satisfied ending.
AidanAK47
@Badesh, Forgive me if I am rather skeptical on that statement.
reaLjustified
Well when the series is two decades old how is it an accomplishment? There are one shots that make me feel more emotionally attached to the story.
Badesh
Hell, Naruto final arc turned out to be one of the most holistic storytelling i've encountered in a while. The character developement ties in so nicely with the whole universe. It's a great accomplishement growing a pop anime into a mature mystic saga. i highly reccomend it even for newcomers. just watch past great ninja war.
Kaiser Eoghan
*last two
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll leave it to someone else to pick the last one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Might add trouble every day by Claire Denis and Livid by Julien Maury.
Kaiser Eoghan
Thanks for that. So now its under the shadow, return of the evil dead 1, dagon, from beyond, re-animator, haute tension, nekromantik, the tunnel.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah I had forgotten, I'd meant to see Haute tension.
Kaiser Eoghan
Of those I haven't seen nekromantik or dead things.
SuperMario
That's all I can think for now. I'm sure K-off and others will have more inspiring suggestions down the line
SuperMario
For pychological edge: Haute Tension, Lake Mungo, Three... Extremes (actually the 3 shorts are all interesting), The Tunnel 2011 (underaprreciate Aussie found-footage)
SuperMario
For sick minds, Man Bites Dog, a Serbian film, Der Tolesking, Human Centipede (1&2)
SuperMario
Alright, for pure horror pleasures: Necromantik (1987), Green Inferno, Dead/Alive (my childhood's nightmare), Children Shouldn't Play woth Dead Things (more like a guity pleasure)
SuperMario
Haha scary indeed
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The scariest thing about the haunting was that a remake of it exists that betrays the original.
SuperMario
Now, let me check my own horror list for more reccomendation
Kaiser Eoghan
Hahaha! Possession predates urotsukidouji =P in terms of the tentacle monster thing.
SuperMario
And I heard that the Haunting (1963) is good as well. Some david lynch movies (Lost Highway for example) could be claasified as horror too
SuperMario
Shame he passed away early this year. But he did say that the violent relationship in that movie was based on his own divorce.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I think Polish directed films are apparently rooted in theater. Though I believe he is a Dadaist.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Apparently Possession and diabal, all of his works are full of hidden political messages.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: That director is genuinely off-the wall insane, silver globe and l'amour braque actually make that look sane.
SuperMario
Possession the movie that Isabelle Adjani stared in? God, that movie exhausted me
Kaiser Eoghan
Innocents was so much better than its remake the others, the atmosphere was a lot lot stronger too, black and white really adds to the mood too.
Kaiser Eoghan
ha! I loved those.
This year I'm looking for silly horror movies predominently.
SuperMario
Let scare Jessica to death; the innocents 1961, Kill List, goodnight Mommy
Kaiser Eoghan
My alltime favourite horror film is Possession.
Kaiser Eoghan
No fuck it, no sequels. Currently it stands at under the shadow, return of the evil dead 1, dagon, from beyond, re-animator.
SuperMario
Too lazy to check out which horror movies that you've watched, but sure I can reccomend you some, from shitty to pure camp.
Kaiser Eoghan
Actually wait, under the shadow is out next week so that means I only need 5 more.
Kaiser Eoghan
Or maybe a 12 days is more feasible, easier. So that brings it down to six more. Guilty pleasures accepted.
K-Off
Any room for shitty horror in that list?
Kaiser Eoghan
I have to do a 30 days of halloween list soon. Want to limit it to horror films I haven't seen. So far I have the return of the living dead trilogy , dagon, from beyond and the re-animator.
Kaiser Eoghan
I also recently watched stranger things. I felt it did right by its 80s throw back, straight down to the references, score, costumes. Pretty cool monster too and the younger actors I thought were mostly good. Kind of slightly reminded me of the goonies to a small extent. I think it succeeded in being fairly heartfelt. Although I did find it a bit padded.
SuperMario
About the new season, I'm more interested in how these dark horse titles will turn out: Flip-flappers, ClassicalLoid, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Yuri on Ice
SuperMario
@Aidan: I had Stranger Things on my queue list for a while now, but don't plan to watch it anytime soon. Glad you enjoy it.
K-Off
ReZero is the only show I finished in about 2 seasons. Hopefully the Working spinoff is up to par.
AidanAK47
Hoping things change when the first episodes start airing of the new anime season.
AidanAK47
Things have gotten quiet here. I plan on getting my Mob psycho review up today. I have to say that the next season doesn't interest me very much. There's some great stuff coming next year but the fall is looking pretty...meh.
AidanAK47
Finally got around to watching Stranger Things. Good show, I like the nostalgic way they tell the story though at times its too Spielberg/King. I admit that I can't say I was blown away by it. It's good and I will be watching the second season. But it's a tad.. predictable. Those child actors did a great job though.
K-Off
@Bam I'm not certain the email I have is one you actually use, so here it is: (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QWnGcuVQuXfOJuh80SDgtiZH4X6Zya_XEG2ZOM6u-5k/edit?usp=sharing)
It's pathetic right now, I'm sorting out my arrangements for Seoul first.
K-Off
@Bam I'll send you the itinerary in a few hours. Appreciate the offer for guides but I'll decline on that, otherwise it wouldn't hurt to have additional contacts in japan. The person I'm traveling with is half Japanese, so I trust that we won't run into tourist traps.
SuperMario
It logged me out again. Oh well! That was me Bam
Anonymous207007
@Bam: the first time I've ever heard of Chinchilla. Sorry to hear about your pet. Don't feel bad about the late post, it's perfectly fine. After all, we all volunteer to contribute here, so no pressure on the timing. Just write whenever you feel like it really.
Bam
Can anybody else see these?
Bam
@K-off: right on m8, I'm excited for you. Email me your itinerary and I can not only recommend some spots that aren't just basic tourist-traps, but can also hook you up with some friends to take you around and show you what the real Japan is all about.
Bam
I was planning to release the posts just as scheduled, but my Chinchilla suddenly got ill, and given the exotic nature of such pets I've been in and out of dozens of veterinary clinics. Over a week later and $600 spend, the poor thing finally gave out. I've been pretty out of since it happened, but again sorry for just disappearing.
Bam
I am actually still breathing. Sorry again for the unceremonious absence.
K-Off
@anon196168 I'm all ears for suggestions.
Anonymous196168
If youre going to japan maybe you could do something more unique than just taking pictures of locations? Plenty of those already on Google.
Kaiser Eoghan
Noticing a server error showing up on the shoutbox there.
AidanAK47
Good point, normal users generally just stay anono. ke69Vin?...69...really....that's just sad humor right there.
K-Off
That was most definitely little Kevin as well. 9vinke6 is obviously an anagram.
AidanAK47
@9Vinke6, I don't know what you are trying to share but it ain't an image. Deleting your comment as I don't want dodgy files on the site.
Anonymous181098
Are you kidding??!! Tokyo is amazing if you want excitement & you want to experience social life. But I agree go to Osaka. If tokyo is like Quebec then osaka is like toronto. More laid back
Anonymous180231
OPM was a shoe-in. It's showing very good success on Adult Swim on US TV and Viz is throwing big dollars to keep the gravy train rolling
AidanAK47
One Punch Man season 2 was announced. Expected but most certainly welcome.
...now I need Re:Zero season 2.
CJayTiiii
Honestly, if you are going to Kyoto essentially no shrine is worth visiting in Tokyo because none of them are as nice as the ones in Kyoto and they are essentially all tourist traps.
K-Off
If you guys insist I'll give Osaka serious consideration. But again I'd hate to gloss over Kyoto or Tokyo. But anyhow my 4 week stay in Seoul will be eternity compared to the Japan trip.
CJayTiii
Ikebukuro is probably used almost as much as shibuya? Specifically for durarara right around the station (east side) is used a lot. Kabuki-Cho in shinjuku is definitely used a lot but I couldn't tell you in what off the top of my head.
CJayTiii
Also as someone who lived in Kyoto and now lives in Tokyo, I would suggest spending as much time as possible in Kyoto as there is just so much stuff to do there. Tokyo there honestly really isn't that much stuff to do here other than going out to drink I feel. Lol also Osaka is only a 30 min train ride (about 5$ USD) from Kyoto so it's easy to go there for a couple hours
K-Off
@Mario I'll be home by new years unfortunately, I'll have to settle for Christmas in tokyo.
@CJay Thanks, any suggestions for Tokyo? I'm trying to avoid cliché locations for anime-related scenery. Like Shibuya.
CJayTiii
For Kyoto, Tatami Galaxy is probably the best anime for side by side comparisons. Kamogawa river, Kiyamachi street, and shimogamo shrine are famous areas that pretty much constantly make appearances throughout the show.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Disney Tokyo? haha If it was me I've chosen somewhere more... locally. But who I am to judge as I celebrated last New Year Eve in Times Square, the most tourist spot of them all. But I really hope you can spend some time to go to some shrines for the New Year in Tokyo.
K-Off
@Mario The person I'm travelling with wants to spend Christmas at Disney Tokyo, and unsurprisingly nearly all places will still be open, same as NYC. Christ, I'm more worried about my wallet.
SuperMario
@K-Off: Makes sense. I'd say better stick in one place for long days rather than short trips in several places. Even 10 days for those 2 places wouldn't be enough imo, well especially during Xmas since the streets will be busy and many places could be closed (I guess?)
K-Off
@Mario It doesn't seem like I'll go to Osaka, the goal is to explore Kyoto and Tokyo and much as possible for a week and a half. If I can squeeze it in there I will, but that means spending less time in Kyoto and/or Tokyo. The bulk of my trip will be in Tokyo for now.
SuperMario
Yeah, Kenshin had a whole Kyoto act, but it was more historical anw and I feel it didn't explore the city that much (more of a ruined city)
Really, only uchoten Kazoku, tatami galaxy and durarara come to mind. Are you planning to go to Osaka as well? I heard from my friend Osaka is about an hour drive from Kyoto only.
K-Off
@Anon174851 Ah good one.
@Mike Thanks. Durarara is a good suggestion, but I haven't watched Rurouni Kenshin.
Mike
@Kaiser Sure, the story doesn't do anything for me but it's not a waste of time.
@K-Off You can do pretty much anything in Tokyo I'll bet. Anime in general aside from shows like Durarara don't emphasize the setting very much... Kyoto is more interesting, rurouni kenshin is the first thing that comes to mind.
Anonymous174851
uchouten kazoku is a really good one set in kyoto!
K-Off
Haven't heard of it. Anyways, do you guys have any suggestions for favorite anime series set in Kyoto or Tokyo? I'm planning my itinerary and the idea is to take a lot of side by side comparison pictures from their anime depictions to RL. I have YuruYuri, SYD, Detective Conan, and various KyoAni spots in mind, but my brain isn't remembering others.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm considering finding some War/military manga to read, has anyone read Gunka no balthazar? Is it worthwhile?
AidanAK47
@Anon164960, They announced a second season for it so they ain't done with that trainwreck yet.
Anonymous165129
Gate
Anonymous164960
So Rewrite took the "Bad End" route. Interesting. Their choice, not the show of course which was a freaking mess from start to finish.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, reminding me that I have not left Ireland since 2012 when I went to Rome. Although I have floated around the idea of maybe going to Slovakia.
K-Off
@Mario Thanks, although I'll be working the whole time I'm at Seoul with sundays off. Expecting about 40-50 hours of work a week. Sucks that your trip got canned, in the Winter there's no place you'd want to be other than southern California.
SuperMario
Congrats K-Off. Hope you enjoy the trip. I myself originally planned to go to US on this December but now the plan got wrecked. Should be fun spending Xmas in Japan especially
K-Off
Got my international drivers permit from AAA today, and it also looks like I'm stuck with over half the travel fees since I've signed myself off the agency plan. It's now official, I'm going to Seoul and then spending my christmas holidays in Tokyo. Been a long time since I left the country, last time was in 2011.
SuperMario
That was me Mario
Anonymous140274
@Masky: it wasn't, but Gui Niao did mention the pipe has multi-purpose functions: do far he uses the pipe to write, to create a hallucination smoke, to make an actual bushfire, to open the lock, now to be a sword-pipe. What's next? To be a wifi modem? to be a boomerang? to shapeshift into an umbrella?
Masky
So Thunderbolts Fantasy :D Totally called the pipe being a sword (assuming it wasn't shown earlier and I just forgot about it)
AidanAK47
@Anon146321, typos are hard to avoid when you write fast. What's really important to is that the point gets across, which it did.
Anonymous146321
Medium not meduim
Masky
I wonder if trolls consider people explaining why their trolling is bad a successful trolling .-. I mean, my experience is that most of trolls aren't really smartest or most creative of people, I think most of them are happy if people just talk about them.
AidanAK47
@Anon141285, oh come on boy. Put some effort into trolling. You need to get people to actual think you believe what you are saying. Here you have already messed up because you use the old "Chinese cartoons" which is supposed to piss of anime fans because it suggests you are ignorant of the meduim but then you reference the nukes showing full well you know where they are from. You have failed.
Anonymous141285
Chinese cartoons proof that two nukes weren't enough. Or were too much depending on the perspective
SuperMario
oh, talking about teenage horror female movie, make sure to check out Raw whenever its available online. That is one hell of a fun cannibal ride!
SuperMario
my point is we tend to spend our stupid 20s phase feel like its wasted, but really it does help develop our hobby/sense/wisdom, whatever it is.
Kaiser Eoghan
I find myself now that I've grown up wanting to punch kid characters from horror films lol
Kaiser Eoghan
About the watching stories with younger female characters...its starting to feel like I shouldn't be or that it doesn't feel appropriate, actually sort of awkward/skeevy.
SuperMario
True enough. But remember that even Quentin Tarantino had his 20s basically just a movie-clerk, watched movies like a maniac and he made that classic Pulp Fiction when he was like 33
Kaiser Eoghan
Looking back It feels dickish that I laughed reading NHK.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean look at Re-life, I mean ow, everyone went through that.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think we'll find that stage where we'll get irritated by stories reminding us of our stupid 20s phases eventually just as some teenage focused anime/manga annoyingly remind us of being teens.
Kaiser Eoghan
In terms of anime/manga, much as I'd still see myself liking NHK I could see myself getting more frustrated with the lead character now being in my early 30s.
Kaiser Eoghan
In the past year I've been looking at hentai/ecchi imageboards not as often as I used to.
Kaiser Eoghan
Judy Delphy and Juliette Binoche have aged surprisingly well...
Ah its less fancying/finding them attractive, moreso taking notice of them.
SuperMario
I can understand the others but Meryl Streep too? Man, you're aging I can tell
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Sreep, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: like whom if I may ask?
SuperMario
But I'm always interested in women issues myself so Mustang just hit me hard
Kaiser Eoghan
Its a sign of me aging I guess too. I'm noticing older actresses too now where I wouldn't have in the past.
SuperMario
Looking forward to Under the Shadow too, also really keen to see how The Bad Batch would turn out to be
SuperMario
Strangely I've become more engaged with teen, coming-of-age films recently (well, Aku no Hana is sort of teen drama as well),but yes, old man's psyche is my thing too
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Synecdoche, the passenger, winter light, anomalisa , wild strawberries , la notte for example.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: The day is coming where drama centred around twentyboppers won't have the same level of effect on me. Had I seen buffalo 66 5 years ago I would have been all over it. Old man/middle age angst is becoming more my thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm honestly having a harder time getting into films that focus on young girls/teenagers.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Theres only a few upcoming films left I'm looking forward to, Elle, Valley violence, whispering star and under the shadow.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I appreciate mustang for the issue it deals with and addresses but I felt it predictable and the drama didn't hit harshly enough. It feels like an academy/oscars film.
SuperMario
Kaiser: remember I mention about watching those 96 Cannes line-ups? I think I will get to watch them soon, since I downloaded all the movies already
SuperMario
@Kaiser: btw, you hated Mustang? It's also one of my favorite film so far.
SuperMario
but maybe think of it that way will make the manga more entertaining...
SuperMario
You see Aku no Hana as a dark comedy? haha I'm speechless
Kaiser Eoghan
Like you Mario I don't care for heavy infodumping and that took me out of the new world.
Kaiser Eoghan
Bebop had that problem for me in that I saw outlaw star and trigun first.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still feel aku no hana is a guilty pleasure manga, a crazy dark comedy or maybe thats just my humour.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hataraku had me laughing up to episode 7, while Amagi felt stale from the start.
Looking back on Baccano I still like Claire and Russo but the other characters not so much, the main series is enjoyable enough but the extra episodes hold back the score.
I've never watched Habane straight through although I have finished the series. Ghost vs ergo? Ergos final episode wrecked the show.
Topgavin
I thing Hataraku was a lot more consistent, but Amagi had some standout episodes. For me the OVA, the pirate ship episode and the school episode were great. "Simply put, we have to go lewder" is one of my fav quotes
K-Off
How was that by the way? I never bothered to watch Amagi Brilliant Park all the way through because I felt so cynical about it after the first two episodes. Hataraku Mao Sama on the other hand was genuinely refreshing for the first half of the season.
SuperMario
In other news, The Eccentric Family is getting 2nd season. Now I'm filled with joy
SuperMario
Still feel bad to compare an 1-cour series (Baccano) to an 4-cours one. But in this case Baccano would take my cake.
Topgavin
I reckon The Devil is a Part Timer vs Amagi Brilliant Park would be a fun one, and I wouldn't know which would win.
AidanAK47
Baccano vs Durarara might make a good matchup. Baccano is the better one but Durarara does seem to be more popular.
Syndrome
Yeah it is a bit obvious and they dont share much in common anyway. Just that they are two of the most well known anime out there. I enjoyed NGE more than Cowboy Bebop, but I agree on the later beeing overall a better anime.
AidanAK47
Oh look. Berserks Manga is on Haitus again. Muira...just..at this point I ain't even mad. Just disappointed.
SuperMario
Well, new post on Flowers of Evil is out. Come eat it up.
SuperMario
@Syndrome: was thinking about that match-up (NGE vs Cowboy Bebop) but isn't it too obvious? I always intend to pick something that caught you guys off-guard haha
AidanAK47
@Syndrome, no contest. Cowboy Bebop wins outright.
Syndrome
On a serious note, for related anime, I would be curious about something like Ergo Proxy against Ghost in the Shell
Syndrome
Go for NGE vs Cowboy Bebop and watch the world burn
SuperMario
Yeah, I agree it's one of the main factors, but even so From the New World had a higher grade too. But I wouldn't pick Haibane Renmei against From the New World if I didn't think it had a chance to win. Those who loved the former really loved it, while people more appreciate From the New World than actually love it. Well, can't beat the consensus I guess.
Topgavin
I'd say a major reason for that would be the popularity difference. On MAL, Haibane has a following of 110k people, with FTNW having 270k.
SuperMario
I'm personally quite disappointed with the results. Will try harder for a more competitive match-up next time
AidanAK47
@Mario, if you say so. I say by now the victor has been decided.
SuperMario
@Aidan: we don't need to sticky the Versus Show again, as I will put up the Aku no Hana post tomorrow anyway
AidanAK47
Yeah the brightness got a bit much in some places after episode 18.
Topgavin
I thought the brightness was done well in the episode with Rem sitting beside Subaru's bed and her smiling/crying, but yeah this was too much
SuperMario
@anon125687: my thought exactly. While I was watching it I thought to myself that it's too bright!!
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