Posted on 2 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Princess Principal

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy girls in an alternate Britain (known as Albion) in the early 20th century. As ill-advised as it might sound, the cute girl designs don’t really bother me that much. If you are looking for a true espionage story; however, you bound to be disappointed because they’re more like James Bond flashy action, somewhat superpower ability and whenever they have a chance, they’ll announce “We’re spy” with pride. Yeah, it’s that kind of mindless over-the-top action series that we need to believe the unbelievable but as an action-spy-steampunk series, Princess Principal delivers what it promised.

The first strength of this show lies in its intriguing world settings. I might have personal issues with Ichirou Okuochi as a whole, but even I don’t deny that he can create an interesting setting that triggers my curiosity. Princess Principal has such fascinating world. In this vision, Albion monopolizes a powerful substance known as Cavorite that made the Kingdom the dominant country in the world. Such development creates a rift between the Royalty and the lower people and as a result, the Wall of London was built in the middle of London where the country is split into The Commonwealth and the Kingdom. The tension between the two nations, however, never really addressed at all and only serves as a backdrop to generate dramatic development for our two main leads, Ange and Princess. In addition, the steampunk setting makes for an aesthetic pleasure and I would argue that it’s Princess Principal’s strongest characteristics.

However, Princess Principal isn’t just merely an action show. The five girls have some interesting developments and each of them is given a solid backstory. Moreover, they have solid dynamic altogether that make the interactions between them a joy to watch. Noticeably, in the latter half when the cases become less prevalent, and the show slowed down the fast tempo mission-heavy established in the first half for more character-focus episodes. The change might turn off some of the viewers who look for quick-paced, entertaining action but it’s a welcoming sign that the show gave a proper time to flesh out the five girls. The relationship between Ange and Princess serves as the show’s central emotional arc and while the swapped-identity backstory had its merits, the show pad it out way too thin during the climax that it couldn’t transfer the emotions to its fullest. Other girls, especially Chise and Dorothy (sorry Beatrice! You have a voice… but nothing else) have so much personality to them and they all add necessarily perspectives (Chise- from the outside perspective; Dorothy- friends come first) to the Principal team. Not that they’re a deepest bunch around but I’m quite happy to spend time with them anytime.

Another factor that add to Princess Principal’s identity is its use of non-chronological order. This technique works for the show’s benefits most of the time because these episodes feel like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle (which admittedly doesn’t add up much at the end), and up in till the climax we can watch these episodes in any order and it still makes sense. This format will work well on re-watch as well since there are some already-established relationships or a piece of information that will make more sense now we know the context. But presenting it non-linearly doesn’t mean the episodes were arrange randomly. The flow from one episode to another is present and moreover, this format helps us gaining context on certain themes, on certain character developments that otherwise would be insignificant in a linear way. For example we gain an extra layer on Chise struggling with the social-class issues through the backstory of Ange and Princess established a week before, something that won’t have much impact if they tell the story in a linear fashion.

Thus, Princess Principal is at its best in episode 5 (the introduction of Chise) where it focused on the exciting mission, while never forget to give our girls an extra depth. In that episode, the fluid animation, flawless fight choreography and the lively character movements help bring the mannerism of our characters to light.  On the other spectrum, the last two episodes bring the show down a notch with its safe open-ended closure that resolve almost nothing. In addition, they introduced new characters (Zelda, the General) and new conflict (the coup) too late in the game without any proper foreshadowing beforehand. Remember Princess wanted to fight that battle till the end? Flashforward and we see her lying on the beach in Casablanca, while holding hand with another girl. It’s a let-down, of course, especially when they hint for a second season which might never come, but to be frank the first 10 episodes were so solid that in the end I consider this show a critical success.

Technically, the production is on the bright side. Off-model here and there, cheap-cuts sometimes and they do have some questionable over-cute character designs, but the action always hold its ground, characters move in their own ways that fitting to their personality and the killer soundtrack, coupling with beautiful steampunk aesthetic and you have a winner all around. Princess might not dig deep to the political conflict between two countries, or develop its Cavorite theme and the enemy side is frankly, weak and underdeveloped; but Princess Principal offers some entertaining action set-pieces, at the same time care enough to develop properly the main cast and their relationships.  Second season- coming might not look promising and the ending lacks bite, but I don’t argue that I had a great time following it the past season. Can’t never get enough of Chise’s precious facial expressions, it appears.

Posted on 25 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Is that seriously how they end Princess Principal? Nothing is resolved at all except Ange breaks down the wall around her heart to welcome her team to the Casablanca’s paradise. Everything screams “second season” and with the sales aren’t that impressive from what I gathered, will they ever get one? It comes hard for me as to whether or not give this “clearly more to come” show a final review. We will see when we have more concrete news. No, I don’t like this underwhelmed ending. We have some solid emotional moments between Ange and Princess, but I never really that invested in their tragic turtledove. I care most about the team getting together for some fun action and in that aspect this finale pleases me, although not by much. On a positive side I still pick this safe ending anytime over some cheap climax that resolve everything too neatly with only one episode, something that Masaki Tanichiba has a habit of doing. I have a theory that maybe he did write one explosive trainwreck ending of Princess Principal before the producer just shoved it and changed to this ending instead. Princess Principal better has second cour coming, damnit.

Ange has a solid character arc that see her desperations for the safety of Princess that she took her to run away, which disappointed Princess deeply. Realizing that she needs to save Princess, she jumps off the airship, goes to enemy’s territory, and finds out that her friends have been waiting all along. This trial not only gives Ange the courage not to run away, but to fight head-on for her own and Princess’s sake, but also give her an opportunity to realize that she has real friends waiting for her, to always give her their hands when she needs to. Saving Private Ryan Princess isn’t an option when they’re spies, but as friends they’d do anything, even risking their own lives. Dorothy proves one last time she has a heart of gold but the way she delivers it is so genuine it’s hard not to cheer for her. Likewise, Chise has a good bit when she requests Lord Horikawa to leave her duty to help her friends. As for Beatrice, well… she’s just fine being Beatrice and supports other team members. It might sound obvious but Beatrice and Ange’s personalities and charms never quite catch the richness of the other three.

In a Princess side, it doesn’t take very long before Zelda know the true identity of her. Which is fine by Zelda, since she knows for a fact that the uprising will end up in failure, and Princess will take all the blame. In a greater consequence, the Royal will fall into chaos if they know the Princess is the leader of the failed coup d’état. Her interaction with the leader of the uprising, Major Yngwie signifies how her ideal matches the need of the commoners. Social hierarchy, class issues have been a solid backdrop for Princess Principal, and with this episode the show addresses this issues in forefront. Princess determines to change the system not by breaking it apart, but by slowly change it from within. Her statement sure reaches the Major’s poor heart, at the cost of losing his life, but this is a great buildup for Princess against the Royal side that we might never have a chance to see it pays off.

It’s assuring to see that L is back to the Control team and expels that General whatever from any the Control. That General had done enough damage already in his short stay. Everything pretty much get back to status quo with the same Control takes over our girls, while they’re doing their mission, at the same time sunbathing in Casablanca. Zelda proves to be a worthy opponent of Ange in term of skills and ruthless, and she controls that Cavorite device just like Ange. Although I must admit that adding her too late in the game with no backstory and no development isn’t a wise choice at all. Speaking of that the opponent side against the Control and the Principal team receive limited attention in this show. We don’t see any specific threats except speculating about The Duke of Normandy’s main motive and all he does was to tell his private spy to eliminate everything, especially now when Princess herself admitted that she’s a fake in front of Zelda, it could lead to an interesting direction. I believe Princess Principal still has a plan for second cour because simply things can’t be inconclusive like that. It’s a weak ending doesn’t matter how you look at it and Princess Principal leaves me feeling unsatisfied, like enjoying a delicious entrée without having any main meal at all.

Posted on 18 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Hmmm, something doesn’t ring true here. As this episode ends, we can assume that the Princess and Ange have a big break-up, Princess plays the role of Ange under the Princess’s disguise, and Ange has gone to Casablanca to live in a casa blanca for good. To be frank, I never really buy all that. I have no doubt that Ange can escape the airship with ease (she has the map that clearly shows the emergency exits), or better yet, I’m thinking that it was Ange who appear in front of the enemy. So, the real-Princess playing the real-Ange playing the Princess playing the fake Ange playing the fake Princess now. Seriously Princess Principal, how much more layers can you get? Thus, the next logical step would be Ange intends to be discovered as the Princess pretending to be Ange. This development would fit what Ange vowed to the Princess when they met again (to deceive everyone, even herself and the Princess to reach the goal), but if that’s the case then the rift between those two at the end of this episode will feel incredibly cheap.

Back to where it starts, this episode is obviously the lowest point for our team, with the Princess is isolated for the rest of the team, and slowly one by one is dropped out of the mission. Dorothy is discharged, Chise is transferred and Ange is tailed by the guards and spies from her own team. The Principal adds up to 8 members, with the exclusion of our core members. It comes as a surprise for me that the Princess takes no caution regarding this change. Usually as soon as someone like Zelda (or Z. as opposite to A – Ange) shows up and declares to be her personal guard, she would fell strange that Ange didn’t contact her as well, so I really think that the Princess knows all about it beforehand and either she plays the role to not let others think she knows, or Ange and Princess have swapped roles since then.

But I might just give Ange and the Princess too much credits.

At the same time, the coup has raised against the Royal, mostly from colonial soldiers who are unhappy with the Kingdom. Well, this new development appears way too abruptly and quickly, as we never even heard of it prior to this episode. But for its credits, abruptly and quickly are the very quality of a coup, and it connects to the main plot line as the coup determines to kill the Queen and replace her with the fake Princess. Sound very reckless and bold but if they play the right cards, with the support from the Control and the Commonwealth’s military, they could really take over the Queen. Wonder who’s the mastermind behind the coup? Certain Duke? But based on what he discussed with his favorite spy, he seems to have no idea who is behind it either. Or maybe it’s Ange’s idea all along.

Of course, I have given Ange far too much credits.

Our other girls don’t have much screen time this week, Dorothy squeezes the best out of little time she got however, as she clearly states that she won’t kill the Princess because she has grown attachment to her. Chise doesn’t leave much emotional attachment to the farewell scene, so it’s a bit disappointing. While the animation and the visual are still on par with the course of Princess Principal, this might be the first time that I find the presentation uninspiring (well, except maybe for the grand clockwork Christmas tree). I can’t really say whether this episode serves its purpose or not until I see how it all plays out, so I’ll reserve my comment until then. This is the time where our girls are the farthest to reach their goals, but I have no doubt that they will raise again, strike back with a big bang.

Posted on 11 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Remember what did Ange vow to the Princess when the two decided to go ahead with the Operation: Changeling? She will deceive everyone, including the Princess and herself to reach that goal. I was expecting how Princess Principal going to pull that feat off. And now we have an answer: Dorothy and Ange are ordered to kill the Princess. If there’s anything we know for sure, Ange would never kill the Princess (well, she has gotten soft, as noticed by Prefect this week). This is a development I was hoping for the climax and I am excited to see how Ange going to deceive the whole wide world. Another thing is, L from the Control “has been transferred”, which significant that he’s either punished by his own incompetence, or the higher up wanted some direct control over… Control and the Principal. Judge by how the new-addition General wants the Princess dead right off the bat, I have no doubt that the Duke of Normandy is the man behind all this. He has always hated the Princess and I’m glad at least he uses Ange for this mission. It could’ve been worse (I did suspect him figuring out the real identity of the Princess, which is much more sinister, though it isn’t the case here).

But back to this episode, Princess Principal again pulled another bittersweet tale about happiness, friendship and betrayal on a Christmas eve. Prefect is a solid one-off addition for this episode, having the same high-level skill sets as Ange, but much more attentive to details. The mission this week, to retrieve some important paperwork with the help of Prefect, turns out to be just a façade for a real mission: figuring out if Prefect is in fact a double agent. Only in this one episode, Prefect already form a very solid chemistry with both Ange and Dorothy. It’s understandable since they have a history together, as they are the “sole survivors” of the Farming (which remind me immediately to the Farm of the Promised Neverland manga – a great manga by the way). Ange is her rival, but when working together they are like a two-headed monster, each working seamlessly with the other without much instruction; and by their exchanges we could see how they understand and respect the quality of one another. With Dorothy, however, it’s all about feeling. The only time Prefect smiled, the only happiness she ever received in her doomed past was when they played at the Funfair during the Christmas exam (young Dorothy is cute by the way) and it was Dorothy’s carefree attitude that the more she’s stuck in her current situation, the more she wants to break free like her friend.

The sadder feeling when you eventually learn that Prefect is addicted to the purple drug provided by the enemy and now completely dependent on it (guess what is the only thing that she brings when she flees?). It’s a goddamn contrived plot but it works in this case because it adds context to the reason she shoot herself as a way to free herself. Someone suggests it’s a Cavorite’s drug but I can’t be too sure since her eyes react differently with the one who suffered Cavorite poisoning in episode 1. The best part of this episode, is when both Ange and Prefect, in their own ways, pull the triggers so that they can save Dorothy from pulling her trigger: shooting her best friend. Out of the five girls, Dorothy has always been the most “humane” girl, the one who actually shows her weak, vulnerable side; which totally makes her a bad spy but I think Princess Principal nails it when they focus the emotion beats on Dorothy. This episode finds Princess Principal back to its action-pack mission-heavy again, while tell a satisfying self-contained story and prepare us for the final showdown between the girls vs. the Duke and possibly vs. themselves. I sure hope for a bombastic climax.

Posted on 5 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Now I can forgive the show for taking too long to introduce Chise; because we have a Chise-focus this week and I’m glad that episode 9 of Princess Principal does everything just right. This episode serves as a glaring proof of how Princess Principal does non-chronological order the right way. Technically, this Case11 happens when Chise just joined the team; still feel insecure about her position within the spy group (Something we learned already in Case9). But the little story this week also addresses the social class issues among the noble kids (this is a Royal School after all) towards Chise – a country bumpkin girl from a forsaken country named Nippon. This issue earns a deeper layer now, since we already know the story of The Princess and the Pickpocket last week (which chronologically happen way forward in Case20) and understand how social order can be quickly flipped around like a flash. This, I can argue, is the strength of non-linear order, you can gain context on certain themes, on certain character developments that otherwise would be insignificant in a linear way (Like how insignificant Haruhi season 2 was. Anticlimactic)

Secondly, “Pell-mell Duel” does a bang up job of fleshing out Chise and gives a much-needed dynamic between her with the rest of the cast, especially with the Princess. Prior to this episode, most of the team’s chemistry has always revolved around Ange, but for my humble opinion, Chise is always a more fascinating character (best girl!!!). Follow the story through her eccentric point of view serve to be this week’s greatest tricks. Chise has amusing perspective to the new life around her, she carries a wide range of emotions and every single one of them brightens the scene. The way she “struggles” to fit in with this Western world, I must note, isn’t come from her culture shock but more because of her never-back-down attitude. It’s endearing to hear her thoughts about other members, her challenging to a duel, even her insecureness on the “weapon that she has yet to acquire” and finally, her warming up on the Princess and other girls. As a result, this episode is entertaining basically from start to finish.

Another thing the episode does right is the fact that the entire episode is mostly set in their school; something that has been nothing more than a decoration in earlier episodes. Usually school setting is a sign for disaster but in this case, it breathes some fresh air to Princess Principal. Not only by doing so the show lets us witness how Chise fitting herself in with the new environment; it allows us to learn the hour details of their study (and how Chise constantly “tops” herself in every subject), introduce us to new character (Lily, turns out to be one of Duke Normandy’s spy) and give that social class tension a necessary conflict for the climax. Talking about that duel, I know it’s just me but I always find the old British duel kind of dull. It feels more like a test of courage of trying to act calm where the gun pointed at you, and usually the one who get to shoot first have a higher chance to win. I know the show mentions that it isn’t easy to hit the target on the first try, but when the rule explicitly says, “the first one down loose” it gives the first person who shoot a clear advantage. Not that the rich kid deserves to win either; because unlike British rule, Anime rule says that when you cheat, you get your ass kicked. Thus, even if her method of shooting bullet is a bit… beyond the rule; justice has been served.

Plot-wise, there are two important developments in this week. First, that new girl Lily serves as a spy to report the Duke of Normandy about the Princess’s activities in case the bodyguards can’t fulfill that job (guess all of them failed miserably as the Princess comes and goes and changes to spy suits and does spy works as she’s please ever since we met her). Lily has some roles in this episode but I can’t help but think she’s a one-off and this development further confirm that the Duke of Normandy will be the biggest obstacle the girls have to face. Second, Chise and the Princess shares some solid chemistry here. The Princess herself supports Chise on arranging the challenge, and that sumo celebration at the end is heartwarming. Chise holds the position of evaluate the two nations and while she’s not sure if Princess will succeed, she genuinely wants her to. I have nothing to complain on this excellent episode, both entertaining (and I admit that I took more than dozen screenshots of Chise’s various facial expressions), and fleshing out beautifully the dynamic between the core cast. Two third of the way, Princess Principal is still running strong; let’s hope that its final arc will be rewarding.

Note: it just hits me that almost all our girls have Daddy issues – not sure about the real Princess – Ange’s father but other girls had fathers that outright abuse them: Beatrice: father experimented on her – Dorothy: father hit her – Chise: let’s just say father betrayed her – Ange: father turn her into pickpocketing machine… I don’t think this Daddy issues will have anything to do with the climax and it doesn’t even fit to the themes Princess Principal established so far. So, I just leave it here as a note, for now.

Posted on 28 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

We have a much-needed backstory of The Princess and the Pickpocket in the Black Lizard Planet this week. The actual case of week 8 was reduced into some minor scenes, but now I become more certain that the main boss the spy girls have to face in the end will be the Duke of Normandy; as once again his personal agent, Gazelle, was up to no good this time around, trying to trick Lord O’Reilly or whatever his name was, defecting to the Commonwealth to trap him. How the hell the girls figure out the whole evil scheme just by recognizing Gazelle is anyone’s guess (maybe because they’re… spy?), but no problem at all since the real juicy part of this episode lies in the Princess and Ange’s backstory and her interaction with the poor kid that remind Ange a lot of her childhood. Three weeks in a row Princess Principal slows down the pacing for more character developments and while the previous two added little to the main story, this one provides a backbone of Ange and Princess’s tragic “love” (see the heart-shaped door frame when the two girls playing piano together?) and with that story we can identify how the Princess has been struggling to become who she is today.

Alright. The juicy part first. Ange and Charlotte indeed swapped places when they were small – being around the same age with same features and same eye colors and everything (hey, they might as well be a twin). One from the royal and one from the dirt poor. The kinds you always see in fairy tale. But this isn’t your regular fairy tale, as the real Princess received a real hardship when she went out of her kingdom and then they got separated after all the high-spirited talks about becoming a real Queen, healing the world and what not. In a serious side though, the flashback gives us much more context about the relationship between Ange and the Princess now; and it’s rather heartwarming to finally learn that the very reason Princess wanted to become the Queen is because that was exactly what Ange wanted before the separation. All their conversations make sense now in retrospect. I also like the way that Ange not only appreciate the Princess for taking her role flawlessly, she also understands and admires her friend for all the hardship the Princess has gone through in order to survive – in order to act and behave like real Princess.

And for me, this part is where the episode truly shines. A certain conman, in the name of Kaiki Deishu from the Monogatari series, argues in Nisemonogatari – itself meaning Fake Story that (sorry for mild spoiler here: you don’t need to read the next sentence if you don’t want to be spoiled, for others, highlight the sentence) – the fake (like himself) has to spend much more effort to look like real and in a process become more real than the real thing.  It might sound like some twisted argument but it’s a kind of argument that I happen to agree with to a degree and here, it makes a whole lotta sense. The poor Pickpocket who suddenly becomes the Princess, who couldn’t write before or couldn’t read any single musical note, had to try harder and harder in order to match with the Princess’s image; along with a constant pressure that if she slips in any moment, she’d be uncover – and in a process, herself becomes the true Princess. The fact that she never regards herself as the real one, but tries hard to become perfecto make it all the more tragic. Chise realizes immediately (very great little moment there) that the Princess doesn’t enjoy all the hard trainings – those simply have become her duty. But when she said the same lines that Ange proposed long ago, it’s the talk of the real Princess – and to me at least, she becomes the REAL princess now.

It’s also nice to see Ange opens up to another little girl, Julie, who reminds her so much of her past. She goes such length to not only teach the girl how to pickpocket, but tell her the story of her life and comes to her factory to rescue the girl and advises her to stay in the orphanage. I don’t know if people notice but the painting that Ange finished (while spying) has Julie smiling in there. I also love the tiny little moments Princess Principal constantly place on other girls: how Chise wears warm clothes on the second night (wait, is she ninja or is she batgirl?), Ange has to dress up as the Princess and Beatrice gets angry at Dorothy because she brought booze to the mission and how the Princess’s hands were shaking while she was riding the horse. It’s a legit visual storytelling right there and I hope Princess Principal relies more on these little moments and sweet interactions than pulling the rug out under our feet with life-changing twists and turns.

Posted on 21 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

This week in Princess Principal … what exactly did I just watch? Suddenly spies do (steampunk) laundry and do business as well? Getting 231% raised in revenue and catch a thief in a process? That’s a bit of a stretch here. And who in the right mind would think it’s a good idea for a spy to step up and buy the business of a place she currently works undercover? She wants to get herself exposed of being a Princess? Phew. This episode is just as necessary to the main plot as the appendix in our body. Furthermore, it’s just dull. The only saving graces I can possibly take out from this episode are 1) their positive treatments to all the female casts: although all brought up in difficult backgrounds, girls can be good at their jobs – without men – and can control their own lives; and 2) the various precious facial reactions from Chise, and to a degree, Beatrice (geez, the moe factor eventually gets into me).

This week, the girls decide to join the laundry team in order to find the Poison Gas Jack (possibly a rip-off to Jack the Ripper), a terrorist whom they believe to be a military man. The plan is to find the uniforms that reacts to a pyridine test. Sound like a well-thought plan, right? Except that they have to go through hundreds of uniforms and there is a chance that the culprit doesn’t leave his own uniform for washing (you can always hand-wash your clothes, you know?); so guess what the show did? The spy girls bought off the place after learning about its debt and the culprit’s uniform was just accidently sent to the laundry service by some unnamed hero military men. Haizz, the more I talked about the plot the more painful I get so here’s the gist: this episode just feels sooo mundane and unrealistic at the same times and it betrays the fast, plot-driven tones Princess Principal has established so far. We don’t feel any tension regarding the actual case, we don’t feel excited because the action happens like… 10 seconds. Chise has a fair bit of interaction with the laundry leader, Marilla, but even that relationship feels half-baked at the end.

Chronologically, this is case16, which should be the second most recent (after last week’s case18) and there is a guy (the loan shark guy) that appears in both episodes. Funny that the only thing that connect him with the spies in both episodes is him being kicked in the butt by Dorothy, and Ange, respectively. Let’s see if he’d appear in later episodes but if he does, I suspect that he’d be the first one to make a connection about those girls who seem to be everywhere (he met 4 out of 5 girls already) and sell off the information to the Duke of Normandy. The part where our girls working together to repair all the steampunk laundry machines is warm that signal us that they’re all genuine people who care to help others (although why Beatrice is the only one who looks dirty?), but others than that, this episode is just unnecessary and the production isn’t that great with many off-models and the laundry girls’ designs are all uninspiring. Filler episode at its most head-scratching quality.

Posted on 15 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

We have a very tender Princess Principal episode this week. Instead of exciting spy action like previous weeks, we get to the place that is largely ignored by the rest of the world: a morgue. A place where they’re near the dead than the living, where time just passes by slowly but endlessly. A place that feel like an endless cycle of corpses stacking up. I’m in awe with this setting. Normally anime shows don’t depict a morgue right; they tend to play up its creepy atmosphere for cheap horror effect; but here, they nail that grim atmosphere perfectly. Certainly didn’t expect this from a stylish spy show with cute girls like Princess Principal. The pacing, when you compare with their previous episodes, is much slower and this case is the least relevant to the main plot. That said, this episode is dedicated to give a spotlight to Dorothy and in that regards, this episode excels. Not only Dorothy becomes the most genuine character in this spy team (something that they remark as being weak), the solid execution towards the ending part successfully make us root for this poor girl without being overly manipulated. We have another solid Princess Principal in our hands.

The case this week, case18 (which is the most recent chronologically) – Dorothy is given a mission by Control to work in London’s morgue and recover a code cipher hidden inside the tooth of a deceased Kingdom agent. She takes Beatrice with her to the morgue and meet the person who is tasked by the Duke of Normandy to find the agent’s body – her father, Danny. Danny is a sore sight though, bursting out all the times, blaming the others for his own misfortune and has debt all over the place. The father-daughter reunion is uncomfortable because Dorothy (her real name: Daisy) has a mixed feeling about him. He’s aggressive and vulnerable at the same time, caring at one time, out of control at others. If I have a say myself, this was a very abusive relationship and she did the right thing of running away from that madman. The episode keeps teasing us on whether behind his loud mouth, does he indeed care for his daughter. Dorothy, on the other hand, has gotten soft. Too soft for a spy really, as when she finds the code cipher, she still intends to hand it to Danny for him to pay off his debts. It is telling that she uses her mother’s name as her alias, as a way that she regards her family as dear and important to her.

And it does seem like most of our girls have daddy issues. Beatrice has her throat sliced altered by insane papa. Chise had to go all the way to foreign land to kill off her insane dad, and now Dorothy was beaten by her insane otousan. I also like the coupling of Dorothy and Beatrice this time. They have a nice chemistry and like Dorothy remarks, only Beatrice can be able to understand why despite all the hardships, Dorothy still comes to trust and love her father and for once, the girls’ relationship feels genuine and base on mutual understanding, instead of lies. This episode gives a necessary development for the last girl of the team, Dorothy, make her the most grounded character out of the spy team. Well, I still prefer they give more time to show how these girls bounce of each other, as Ange, Chise and Princess are all relegated to some minor scenes in this episode. Plot-wise, not much to gain either as this case adds little to the main conflict. I can see Princess Principal divide the audience sharply this week: those who look for non-stop action will end up disappointed; those who look for more character’s development (like me) will have a lot to boast about. Whatever side you’re on.

Posted on 7 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Chise gets a proper introduction this week. Regarding the non-chronological order, I believe this week being case7 makes total perfect sense. Case in point, in case9 (last week), Chise is still struggling to find a concrete role in the group; signals that she’s still quite new to the group. Beside; I don’t really think they will go back to earlier cases anymore, so they will probably go with the chronological order from now on. What do we have so far? In case13 (episode 1), there was a hint of Cavonite leakage that caused victims suffering from Canonite poisoning, and case9 the team goes after cavorite-related technology; if my guess is right the next episode will be somewhere between case9 and case13 to further elaborate about the Cavorite, which has has been consistently lurking in the background for quite sometimes. A Cavonite explosion perhaps? Here’s the thing that I absolutely love about Princess Principal, you can watch all these 5 episodes in any order and it still makes sense. All the episodes are self-contained, yet there are many subtle hints that become clear when you watch other episodes, like Duke Normandy’s real motive this week that really make me question the real intention of suggesting Princess to marry away to the Russian’s Emperor. Either he suspects the Princess or he just hates her guts.

About this episode, though, God, the animation is a major step-up this week. The fight choreography is excellent and the character’s movements in particular, are distinctive, smoothly and full of life (just look how the Princess moves in the beginning or how Ange and Chise run differently from each other). I looked up at the animator and it turns out the episode was handled by Ryouma Ebata, who was a key animator for Shounen Maid, Noen, the first episode of Madoka, Tsuritama OP… this guy totally rocks. Just look how dynamic Chise fights on top of the train or the big swordfight with Todo Jubei, those sequences are really something to behold. The direction was pretty excellent too. Princess Principal hints us the whole assassination scheme through the sequences of: the janitor drops the mop into the big map right where he wants to blow up the linkage; then cut to the Duke of Normandy to signal us that he’s the mastermind behind the assassination; then to Dorothy catches on to the scheme and then the explosion. I don’t usually notice this much but the technical craft of this week’s Princess Principal is so impressive and top-notch that it elevates the material to the new high level.

On top of that, Chise has an amazing entrance as well. It’s not that surprises to learn that Todo Jubei was her father all along (gezz, look at their contrasted costumes, isn’t it obvious?), but when she repeats that magic spell from her late father; my heart skipped a beat (although the explanation later makes thing pretty obvious). I think it’s a nice contrast to see that although Chise regarded Todo Jubei as a traitor, maybe it’s her who turn her back to her clan and serve the Lord instead (remember one guy who said to her -”You would betray us, Chise?”). For my money however, it might be all just an act to gain trust from the Princess and Ange. But her tears in the end are real. Goddamnit. And did I mention that Chise and Ange make a really great and lethal team together? Those are combat girls at highest level and it’s such a blast to see them fight together, or even against each other.

Can’t believe I would say this, but… now we know another function of that “amour” throat of Beatrice. Thanks for the sciencemadness that Beatrice ultimately saved her head, right? Now all the girls have all formed special connections to Ange, which is a great sign, but I would love more if Princess Principal establishes more chemistry between other members of the group. I’ve kept voicing my concern that Princess Principal will fall off its skate; but it turns out that the show is just getting better and more exciting by each episode. Now with all the introductions are in place, let’s see how Princess Principal will take us from there.

Posted on 31 July 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

And we’re back for some James Bond’s cute girls action’s dose of the week and I am happy to report that we have a very good episode in our hands. In fact, I won’t hesitate to say that this is the best Princess Principal we’ve seen so far. Well, case1 builds more groundwork than this week but this case9 has far more exciting case than previous weeks. Not only that, this episode builds up the interactions and hints towards the deeper intentions of all the girls, save Beatrice (seriously, who’s in the right mind to put her as action spy? She’s a dead weight girls. But somehow… I like her that way). But even in Beatrice’s case, now the team knows how to shut off her annoying scream so I’m totally happy with this episode. Moreover, this week is the only time that I can feel Princess Principal slows down the pacing (it’s still fast though) that allows more character interactions, while still maintains the beat throughout and as a result, the episode flows extremely at ease.

This week, the team uses the Princess’s position to gain access to the Cavorite mine and get the prototype from the underground lab. That prototype, a mini Cavorite control unit – looks eerily similar to the one Ange has. I like the way Princess Principal keeps expanding the use of that special device. This episode, she shoots the device to activate scanning the previous objects situated in the room. In other events, the Princess’s grandma and the Duke of Normandy make sure to let the Princess (and us) know that they have a plan for her marriage with the Russian Empire to calm the high tension between the two countries. The actual search for the prototype is interesting enough, each of the girl contributes to one task of the mission, there is of course twist and turns along the way but those don’t overwhelm the story. Moreover, they don’t pull any overpowered, unbelievable skills in there like previous weeks. I actually have quite a great time following the case this week so I hope Princess Principal keeps this tempo from now on.

It appears Princess Principal will go for a non-chorological order; pretty much Haruhi-style, now that we jump to case9 and my hope for a proper introduction of Chise is still in place; although this episode does spill the beans about Chise’s hidden agenda. Damn, I’d pretty much prefer if they keep it more ambiguous but the reveal does tell us a lot about her motives, as well as her current situation. Well, I honestly wouldn’t expect Chise expresses so much cute reactions but let’s see what she has on a serious side. She works under Lord Horikawa, whom I assume is belong to Japanese Imperial Family; who uses Chise as a spy to determine which side to ally, the Commonwealth or the Kingdom. This “White Pigeon” team is indeed an ideal team as they have 2 members from the Commonwealth, and other 2 from the Kingdom; so Chise can have a clear picture regarding the situations of both sides. She feels insecure about her role in the group, however, as she gets really upset by the way Ange constantly puts her out of action field considering she has the greatest combat skills of the group. What she doesn’t know is that Ange uses her as a safety net for the Princess, to which the Princess doesn’t agree with (very great characterizations all around). How does she and Lord Horikawa found out about the team is anyone’s guess right now, but I’m secretly glad that she isn’t here to kill the Princess or Ange off. Or will she?

Dorothy has also grown a lot on me. Now, it becomes a norm and I am really looking forward to her doing a femme fatale’s impressions to seduce whatever male species in the world. But this episode goes further than that, having her in a bind herself to keep a closer watch on the Princess, the person that she obviously grows accustomed with. Just see how Dorothy feels uneasy about the mission, and then relieves when the suspicion is proving wrong; towards her remark at the end: “White pigeon isn’t grey” and you can sense how much she went through to protect what she considers as friends versus her mission. Speaking of “friends”, it’s worth noting that while Ange considers only the princess as true friend, hence over-protective of her; the Princess considers everyone in the team as friends. Will Ange come to trust other members of her team? They all have different agenda anyways so whatever happens, the end-result will be a big battlefield between the casts. And those who fight for their love usually are those will end up being miserable in the end.

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperWooper
EPIC post, anon!
Anonymous1825128
Of course, as ardent fans of anime, the writers of this site would not deign to agree or even entertain the idea that their passion is no longer the same artisanal endeavor it once was.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Oh. Actually surprised I forgot about that. Yeah, when it comes to something being described as edgy I think Goblin Slayer fits that definition perfectly.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, You can still throw down your take if you want.
Anonymous1824209
AidanAK47 - Or the women shields.
Lenlo
You know, sometimes I dont regret forgetting about this chatbox. Missing the "anime is dying" conversation? One of those times
AidanAK47
Oh, Goblin Slayer is getting an anime adaption. I was rather lukewarm on it but I wonder how the anime is going to handle the rather unsavoury aspects. Like the rape. Lots and lots of rape.
AidanAK47
I remember the last guy said he would make a chart and I thought it was a brillent idea as at least something useful could come out of this old dead horse. Then his chart turned out to be a useless jpeg with series thrown to the left or right.
AidanAK47
It does stir up conversation but it's really just the same conversation repeated. I remember stating the exact same points Nayrael and Bokusen are saying around a year ago when this last came up.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Indeed Ratings are subjective but it would at least be a general mainstream consensus of the quality of anime over the years. Not final but at least it's better evidence than one persons general assumption. And other factors are impossible to quaitify.
Nayrael
A good parody of the "Anime back then and now - what happened? meme (if the links are not blocked here): https://i.imgur.com/JZqxz6f.jpg
Nayrael
Not to mention that back in the olden days you didn't see every Anime that aired. Official translators and fansubbers selected the best stuff, which resulted in you seeing the best shows and never even knowing about the shit-tier shows.
Bokusen
I think that people who say "anime is dying" are just getting too nostalgic. It's easy to remember the hit series from earlier seasons. It's less easy to remember all the forgettable generic series that you dropped after 1 episode, and so anime tends to "seem better" back then because of people's tendency towards selective memory.
Anonymous1820731
Why are there more bad anime? Because there are more anime being made. That means the good ones are buried under the lots of bad ones. But saying "anime is dying" from that is like saying "music is dead because I don't like Britney Spears." Why does this conversation always come up, its obvious conversation bait.
Anonymous1820589
@Aidan: You are the first to obsess over the fact that reviews are subjective. And since they're subjective, looking at anime 'ratings' over time does nothing to gauge the measure of effort and artistic talent that goes into making anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which I got my answer by the way.
SuperWooper
>average review scores
What do those have to do with whether anime is "dying" or not? You'd need to look at the money.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to add that I agree with both you and Aidan, only brought up those two topics back there because I wanted to know what shows now will be popular in the future.
SuperMario
I'm on the side of Aidan regarding to this. For me it's not neccessary means the anime industry has become "better" or "worse", it's just that it takes new shape and trends and based on the number of anime produced, the industry isn't going down soon
AidanAK47
Am I really going to draft up a chart gathering average review scores of the past 25 years just t shut up this talk of anime dying?
But even if I did that won't toss aside this nonsense.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this is complete guesswork.
AidanAK47
Plus the industry is dying? Bloody hell, we got major companies FUNDING anime. Streaming services and more anime coming out that ever before. You can argue that this new anime is weaker but honestly it's just misguided. It takes time but great shows are still coming out. Just like back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well thats kind of what I meant, what, when passage of time comes into it are going to end up being classic based on that, speculatively speaking.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats probably a much better way of phrasing it, inheriting mantles. I'm going to say that promised neverland is presently along with Titan a BIG modern shounen.
AidanAK47
Anyway my point is that the shows of the past, the so called classics, are just as flawed as the shows of today. It is only through the passage of time that they become classics. When Stein;Gate finished airing, I seen no one call it a classic. Same goes for Madoka and Fate/Zero. Now, you have people putting up the pedestals.
AidanAK47
Though if anything has inherited the Shounen mantle, it's likely Boku no hero.
AidanAK47
There is no big three Shounen and that's honestly for the best. Because in generally the declining aspect of Naruto and Bleach was mainly due to the pressure on the mangaka to put out chapters on a weekly basis. In fact it's pretty much the primary factor in Bleachs decline.
AidanAK47
Bebop is great but even it is hit and miss by nature. Doubt many remember much about the casino episode and the Alien spoof episode is likely not anyone's favorite. Eva is massively flawed but no one wants to admit it due to the massive amount of praise it receives and influence it has on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what is the new big three shounen?
AidanAK47
If we go further back to DBZ, that has tons of issues with filler, dragging out episodes, animation shortcuts, and even complaints of it doing the same thing over and over again with it's story. No to mention the underutilised cast and the everlasting act up putting Goku on a greater pedestal.
AidanAK47
But let us dissect this viewpoint of yours. You claim the Shouen-jump canon as a great, guessing that refers to the shounen big three. But aside from One piece, the other two are emmensily flawed. Naruto is 50% filler and Bleach drops seriously in quality after soul society.
AidanAK47
Also Fate series is trash? That definitely seems aimed at me. What first series are you referring to? Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night 2006? Fate/UTW? The same thing over and over again? Sure each series has a holy grail war, but none of them every turned out the same. I am more than willing to admit that the spinoff series outside of the main canon are lesser. Calling them trash however is hyperbole.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Not this crap again. The old "Anime isn't as good as it used to be", how many times have I heard that over the years, and each and every time it proves more untrue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One point I'm trying to get at is, I don't get throwing the word bad taste around when I know I was probably in the same position as that other fan years ago.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another thing, for shows we talk up and obviously I've been just as guilty of this, how many of these am I going to be able to recite off by heart years down the line?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like Madoka but thats a good example of a modern classic that'll keep in peoples minds, people still care.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*its a
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The reason I want to see a new show become a modern classic is because I'm tired of this "fleeting masterpiece" way of thinking, where I a show is super popular during the season and gets talked up as if it'll stick in the mind years on, then weeks later it disappears from memory.
Anonymous1819907
And anime watchers tend to be attracted to series that are just plain boring. The Fate franchise is case and point. The same thing over and over again. It really is a disgrace, to be honest--in my opinion. The first series was great, and I look forward to the movie. But everything in between is trash. But they still get the views, since people are sheep.
Anonymous1819907
The shonen-jump canon, shows like bebop and eva were huge in their time. The industry is just not the same--it's really dying. There isn't the same desire to blow shows up like there used to be. Shonen jump is still at it, but those shows are rarely worth watching, even if they're popular
Anonymous1819907
its a good anime, but it doesn't have the same staying power since it was not an entire industry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for the long post, I want to get people talking again here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would love for this to happen with, say, made in Abyss, that becoming a show that we remember decades from now and still talk about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something else I want to bring up, what shows do you all REALLY believe will still be talked about in the future . Bebop and Eva still come up regularly to this day, what new shows do you think will become big classics.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To base taste on things you watched ages ago doesn't really work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring that up because I remember a comment somewhere I read that said, the people who trashed guilty crown, forget geass was 10 years ago and if guilty crown had came out back then instead of geass they would have embraced it instead at the time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the bad taste thing, I could easily say Mahouka or sword art are terrible, but back when I watched and loved code geass people where probably bashing it as overhyped shit in the same way people like to do with sword art/mahouka now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I sure years ago I would have been all over violet evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For example most anime/manga melodrama has lost its effect on me, I hate Clannad and Kanon now and I won't watch the new code geass season because I want to crop it and death note both up to a teenage error and mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it only takes five or so years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If not that, it’s the show no one gave a shit about that you loved or it’s a recent gem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it hit me, the stuff you often end up loving, becoming a measure of your true taste, in my case at least are the re-discoveries, the show you HATED or didn’t get the first time round, maybe you watched it again soon after or years later, but then it does something for you that tops anything you watched in your early days.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then I remember theres a huge amount of big shounens I never cared for and popular writers that I never liked or if I did found somewhat overated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Given that I’m in my thirties and have been watching anime, reading manga since I was 11, that’s led to a very very large re-watch list, something things I will NEVER get the time to go back to re-assess , for all I know they could actually be terrible series. Then there’s when I DO go back on shows and let’s face it most DON’T hold up (of course its good when they do hold up).
Kaiser-Eoghan
This has been on my back/mind for a bit now, to where I’m actually somewhat confused by this “tastes” thing in relation to myself.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Out of nowhere comment don't you think? Besides it ain't that I have perfect taste. It's just that my taste is the only one that matters.
Anonymous1819624
@Aidan you don't need to keep pretending you have perfect taste in anime. we are all aware your taste is often questionable, as all of ours are at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its kind of a pity because there were moments where I saw potential in it and thought maybe this would be some kind of exception.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But to more calmly review this, I do think its possible to present topics like this, though in a more accessible way, I think even someone more versed in this would be bothered by this presentation, in addition to this manga never flowing properly, the dialogue just feels it was ripped directly from an article or book.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose in all fairness, its right to say I never studied any of these subjects in much detail that it brings up and never did anything sciencey for more than two years at school so I was probably doomed from the start.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know the expected response to what I said there is "why do you read/continue to read things you know you won't like" but if I don't come out of my comfort zone theres no chance of me being surprised.
AidanAK47
Hehe..well Kaiser, I don't remember saying it was good. I just said it was an insane ride. I found its concept interesting but the presentation was just terrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for ranting but this makes my blood absolutely seethe and boil.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got to the last two chapters and just stopped caring, the info dumping, the multiple lives thing, especially the my own father/mother thing and magical girl part....fuck...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yes I'm talking about Qualia....this...was....abject...punishing headwrecking agony to read.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay fuck it, just fuck it, I refuse, absolutely refuse to touch anything involving many worlds interpretation, time travel, shared memory,multiple runthroughs/loops ever again under any any circumstances, this is the worst form of storytelling I can possibly sit through from my perspective , I cannot finish this its impossible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've given away/sold/thrown out anime/manga before, including figures and posters while keeping others , can't remember off hand, but it was to free space.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Together we make....tiger and dragon....Toradora =O
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To be clearer, any interesting series/films they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Anything else interesting they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm year of the tiger, Aidan is year of the dragon.
SuperMario
And today is the Lunar New Year, happy new year guys! It's a year of the Dog so for those who is born in the year of the Dog... my condolenses since it is supposed to be your bad luck year
SuperMario
I think they move away so they just throw all their dvds there. There were other live action movies and series in there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Strange that if he truly didn't want it that he never decided to just sell it.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I tested it and all of the DVDs are playable. The package includes the whole show and the movie. Not a scratch either
Kaiser-Eoghan
pppftt, not leaving it in the trash and instead going out and getting the blurays instead =P
Lenlo
Ha, shouldnt be surprised you read it to
AidanAK47
Everytime I read a newly translated Re:Zero chapter I just hunger for a new anime season. The latest chapter would be fantastic animated
AidanAK47
@Mario, Maybe the discs got scratched and the don't work anymore? Otherwise this is blasphemy if the highest degree.
SuperMario
Don't know how should I feel about that :))
SuperMario
Can you believe it? Someone in my apartment just threw away the Cowboy Bebop boxset. Normally I don't pick up someone's trash but it's a crime NOT TO in this case. %$^&&
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will hearby read Murasakiro Qualia!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very good voice casting decision with hourou musuko, the voice actor for the protaganist was an actual 14 year old and sounds kind of androgynous anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it comes as no surprise for me if the mangaka of Housou Musuko is a lesbian, since the show has a honest feeling if someone who actually experience those issues
Kaiser-Eoghan
So that probably came after or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
None of those episodes 30 involved this ant-arc Aidan mentioned as I recall.
Bokusen
0_o What the heck...It must take a long while to get good then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
All I was told by a hunter x hunter fan on here was after I said I'd watched 30 episodes was "I wonder if the next arc will change your mind"
Bokusen
Does Hunter x Hunter really take 40 eps to get good? I've been thinking of watching it since I really liked YYH & it's the same mangaka. I got hooked on YYH by episode 7, but if HxH takes 40 eps to hook me I might get tired of it before then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it can represent an temporary escape from the self.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an odd, maybe interesting relevant point, in some cases, well I think most a non-mtf , both a physical and psychological male, if they wear female clothing, the body reacts as if its like contact with a woman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Or for a very old manga on that theme: http://mangakakalot.com/chapter/claudine/chapter_0
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anime worked suprisingly well despite the decision to start in the middle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As much as I absoslutely love hourou musuko I do need to raise some flaws with the manga, the ending is rushed and underveloped and it is true the characters are too precocious.
Anonymous1811397
Is very slow, and I did reach a point of feeling nothing was happening. I did like the anime pacing things faster. Also like with the anime Aoi Hana it did have a poignant line. In Aoi Hana was the response to the tomboy that wanted to reengage with the MC, and in Hourou Musuko was coming out with his girlfriend.
Anonymous1811397
@SuperMario - Yep, it's maybe the most innocent yet mature take on transgender themes I've seen on a manga. I like it also tackles both genders, since we see women can wear more masculine clothing and be fine with it, but a man doing it is still weird, and unfitting. Also I think it's also the first time I've seen someone going to a catholic church to pray in a japanese setting. However, the manga
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I was reading Qualia as it was being translated then fell behind, something that needs to be read in one go probably.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*musuko
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I believe the author of hourou mysuko is a lesbian.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I believe that was discussed on here some years back between myself, you and wicked and how the manga could alienate readers with the sciencey dialogue.
AidanAK47
So I read a manga called Murasakiiro no Qualia. And boy, that was one insane ride.
SuperMario
it addresses such a touchy theme with so much grace
SuperMario
boy, just one episode into Housou Musuko and I already fall head over heels for it. Only one issue is the character designs are kinda similar, which took me quite a bit to follow the cast
SuperWooper
Hey, anon. ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel there's too much pressure on people to watch the "YOU HAVE TO WATCH" because its popular anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just comparing level Es art to hunter x hunter shows how he isn't playing at his A-game with Hunters artwork.
SuperMario
I hated John Wick 2. The plot is just an excuse for too much dull action
SuperMario
Holy cow
SuperMario
If I follow Hunter x hunter one episode a day quota for everyday, I'll finish it in... 5 months
AidanAK47
Oh found Fate/Strange Fake Translated. Got my reading materail for the week.
AidanAK47
His drawing can get rather lazy as well. The chimera ant arc manga artwork really looks like he isn't even trying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently the hunter x hunter writer takes alot of breaks/hiatus' from working on the manga. You'd be waiting a while after catching up.
AidanAK47
Like it was building for a greater confrontation but the author got bored and decided to cut the arc short.
AidanAK47
@Anon, It may take a bigger investment than that for it to truly grab you. Truth be told I don't hold the series as highly as others do. I just found it fine while I thought the chimera ant arc was the best the show had to offer but was still a bit disappointing. Honestly every arc basically felt like it ended anticlimactically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Teppu and shamo should be adapted .
Kaiser-Eoghan
So you're telling me that when that cgi city fell to ruin we see NO-ONE die? lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
The problem with PG 13 action is the lack of consequence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I actually preferred it, expanded somewhat on the first, better action when it happens and looked more polished.
Anonymous1808795
is john wick2 as good as the 1st one ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be well well up for a non-supernatural martial arts manga/anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll never understand people going apeshit over superhero action films when John wick 2 and Hardboiled and the killer exist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A physical fight feels more raw and exciting to me rather than magic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'm far far too into Kung-fu/heroic bloodshed/wuxia/politizitesschi/spaghetti westerns to get anything out of superpower action stuff for the most part.
Anonymous1808795
but its so highly rated everywhere, probably gonna try to watch a coulple more eps
Anonymous1808795
2011 version
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember a heart being ripped out in an earlier chapter if I recall correctly.
AidanAK47
@Anon, 2011 or 1999 version?
Your mileage may vary. Hunter X Hunter is rather standard Shounen up until the Phantom trope arc. But even then it's still Shounen with some small interesting twists.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I just stopped, even when I was younger I found shounen jump stuff impossible to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been told I need to watch at least 40 episodes, I got through thirty, I liked Hisoka at least and it kind of feels seinen-y with the violence I guess?
Anonymous1808795
is hunter x hunter worth it ? im 5 episodes in and it feels like generic shounen stuff
AidanAK47
Candy and Cigarettes, great opening chapter. Please don't start to suck.
Anonymous1803500
Yuri on ice made it to the olympics lol. Definitely needs a second season now
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think you've put alot on your plate with this but good luck with it all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I go into detail with that long post Mario, is that I want to prepare you before you start watching and also so you know whats worth watching or not.
Lenlo
Pfft, have fun Mario with all 146 episodes of HunterxHunter for your retrospective
KTravlos
I really do like the development of Mahoutsukai no Yome
Anonymous1802232
Im so glad this back on
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Tiger & Bunny is indeed getting second season. I'm currently burning through shows from Qualifying List so you'll hear my thoughts on some of those shows you just mentioned soon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Need to get used to posting these long messages in the comments section instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised with how the supernatural anime adaptation was able to make the stories flow despite halving the tv dramas episode runtimes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will watch kaiji SOMEDAY.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always thought there'd be a second tiger and bunny season but it never materialized, which was diasspointing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Wandering son really jived with me and I thought it was a respectful take on its topic rather than most shows playing that for a laugh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ano hana for the larger part hits its emotional notes and is well animated but I thought some characters could have gotten more development and the drama in the last episode veered on silly levels looking back in its execution.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never seen C or showa, Kamisama or phi brain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel ao no exorcist took a more drama approach at points which suited me better, Aidan saw the movie and thought it was crap though and swore off films based on long running shounens.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't remembrt anything about penguindrum, Zombie and IS only work as guilty pleasures.
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Featured Posts

After the Rain – 06 [Fine Rain]

This week is another light week in terms of central romance development between our leads, as the first half spends its time to Haruka, Tachibana’s childhood friend. Thank God, even with this segment that feels more like a side story, Ameagari still continues to hold up very well. Haruka always feels that she is left […]

Violet Evergarden – 06 [Somewhere, Under a Starry Sky]

This episode of Violet Evergarden, Violet learns the feeling of loneliness, AND I find myself largely indifferent to it. Not a bad episode by all mean but when the show makes same old beats and adds little thing to the table, it doesn’t leave much lasting impact. Let’s get to the positives first, I really […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 07 [The Ship That Sees the Universe]

“I boarded this ship to do catchy, witty, sensational reporting! I want to open the treasure chest of Antarctica that my mother wrote about with my own hands! Everyone, let’s go to Antarctica together!” Although Universe is a show about the girls heading off to freaking Antarctica, the last couple episodes make it clear that […]

Darling in the Franxx – 05[Your Thorn, My Badge]

Today on Darling in the Franxx, Hiro gets a STD. This was a surprisingly good episode as I found myself pretty engaged with the goings on of the plot. Now previous episodes of Franxx haven’t been all that bad besides the excessive sex symbolism but up until this point I would have deemed this show […]

Junji Ito Collection – 06[Window Next Door/Gentle Goodbye]

My friends, I lament to say my interest in this series has fallen to a degree that I really can’t seem to care all that much about it. It’s a shame that it should turn out this way but not entirely unexpected. Our first story has to do with a boy being tormented by his […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 18 [Forgive and Forget]

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Mahoutsukai. This week we some follow up story time, a return of older characters and what is hopefully the start of an actual story arc. Lets jump in! Overall, this week was adequate, or maybe slightly above.  They story was quaint, with some nice follow up, and […]

Fate/Extra Last Encore – 03[Golden Wild Hunt]

I actually wonder if a time will come when I have an actual idea of what exactly is going on in this series. But today marks Hakuno’s first true servant battle as he takes on Shinji and Francis Drake so that he can ascend to the next level. So to surmise what I can understand […]

After the Rain – 05 [The Scent of Rain]

It’s a bit of a slow episode this week, with the appearance of the show best character (Tsubu!), Tachibana becomes a pepping Tom, Kondou’s unexpected popularity amongst his staff and Tachibana plays a motherly role to Kondou’s son. Well, I said “slow” in regard to the romantic development between our two leads compare to last […]

Violet Evergarden – 05 [You Write Letters That Brings People Together?]

That’s more like it Violet Evergarden. With this episode I have the feeling the shows find its right footing. Violet Evergrden works best when it weaves the emotion of human relationship into its larger-than-life narrative. Everything feels grandeur and it’s the right kind of grandeur. Take this episode, we have the Princess and her Prince […]

Latest Reviews

Mary and the Witch’s Flower – 73/100 (Joint Review)

Wooper: Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, which spun off from Studio Ghibli in early 2015. Given Ghibli’s towering reputation, the bar was high for this inaugural flick, which recently made its way to U.S. theaters, giving Lenlo and I a chance to see it on the big […]

In This Corner of the World (2016) Movie Review – 90/100

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, […]

Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production […]

Fate/Apocrypha Anime Review – 64/100

I was quite excited for Apocrypha and in the so called year of Fate adaptations, it looked to be the crown jewel. Sadly, partly due to lacking adaption and the source lacking in areas, this anime turned out to be not quite the jewel I thought it would be. It’s hard to call this a […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World Anime Review – 73/100

One of the surprises of the year was to see the return of Kino’s Journey, a very well regarded and more unique anime among those deemed classic. Many, myself included, were very much looking forward to the return of Kino and her talking Motorrad. Though due to some factors this series doesn’t quite live up […]

Girls’ Last Tour (Fall 2017) Review – 86/100

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak […]

Two tales of War: Reviewing The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Altair: A Record of Battles

It would not be an exaggeration to say that my favorite type of anime is the political-military epic. This comes partly out of my profession, I study war and politics, but also my hobby, as military and political history is something I enjoy. When it comes to anime there is a clear sub-category that can […]

The Night is Short, Walk On Girl (2017) Movie Review – 92.5/100

“How many decades have passed since our drinking contest?” “It hasn’t been that long. It was only a few hours ago, this very night!” That gap in time perceiving plays a significant role in Night is Short. For you see, it all depends on how our perception of the surroundings and time itself can affect […]

Ballroom e Youkoso Review – 65/100

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. […]