Posted on 17 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The narrative beat of Revue Starlight has reached its new tempo with the end of the audition. All the things that Revue Starlight has been building up to begin to payoff this week. I must say though, it comes out a bit too predictable this week. We have the last stage audition with literally the supporting cast was put on the audience sits, the duet duel that decides the ultimate pair. But before that we have both Karen – Hikari pair and Tendou – Claudine reaffirm their roles and their relationship again. And then the ending which parallels exactly with what going on in the Starlight play. Mind you, there are still two episodes left so it’s possible (there’s a high chance it will happen eventually) that Karen and Hikari will rewrite the Starlight’s written fate. That can’t hide the fact that Revue Starlight this week lacks a factor to truly wow us.

“The central pair” emerges as the main theme of this week. Revue Starlight cast functions in pairs (poor Mahiru) and in this instance the final test is to decide the ultimate pair. Last year’s Tendou and Claudine against our Karen and Hikari. Before that final audition, we have a glimpse to Karen and Hikari’s time together, which sadly plays out as an extended episode 4. We don’t learn much of new thing regarding their relationship, and that’s the main thing that makes the final scene where Hikari “betrays” Karen doesn’t feel earned. You don’t see much of Hikari’s motive and I suppose she does it because she’d be the one who sacrifice. It makes more sense in that context so I just want to learn the true ending of Starlight play. Is that one girl fall of the cliff while the other one reaches for the star the true ending after all?

We also learn more about Tendou Maya – Claudine relationship and for me it fares better. They can’t hide the fact that they’re rivalry, but they also have deep respect for each other’s talent. It’s like they’re your typical fated rivalry where both try to improve themselves to surpass the other. Claudine and Tendou lose, with Claudine crying in French can be a little cheesy for my taste, but I love how Tendou accepts it quickly. She (and Claudine) have tried their best, so there shouldn’t be any regret, right?

It’s this episode where we also get the real sense of “supporting cast”. Personally, I would prefer to have develop every member of the cast more, in this episode they’re only there as your typical side-characters. It feels as if the climax (or the closing act, depend on how you view it) has no place to flesh them out more, which for me is a wasted opportunity. Maybe it’s me who was fond of the Banana-arc so that now when they address the main arc I don’t feel it as exciting. Hopefully Revue Starlight stays away from the soap opera and still manages to catch us off guard again, like what it did in the first episode and the Banana arc.

Posted on 11 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the one who changed the fate, figuratively), and it introduces the Starlight play, in which serves as a foreshadowing to our pairs. Last week, I criticized the episode for abruptly put Banana against Hikari without us to learn about how she feels now. Turns out that the last episode only raises the stakes for Banana’s broken dream this week. First, she sees how everyone in her class moves on to the 100th Starlight play with enthusiasm, leave her completely behind (with the old script). Second, she comes to a realization that it wasn’t Hikari who changed the fate, it was Karen who crashed the stage in the first episode that cause the audition to have 9 members instead of 8. Finally, Revue Starlight raises her situation into desperate level, where she knows that losing mean that her hope to revive the 99th Starlight will be gone.

That raises the stake to this week’s duel (Duel of Bonding) where you can see Nana’s increasingly frustration through her heavy blow and her eyes. I especially like how Revue Starlight conveys her emotion visually. The sword she draws hiding her eyes, indicate that she rather turns her eyes away from the present. As she draws the 99th Starlight show poster on the stage, and Karen refuses to be a part of it anymore, it’s almost heartbreaking. Nana lose is written very clear in the first moment, not necessary because Karen is a better opponent, but it’s more because Nana loses the fight mentally. We also learn that the last audition will happen next week, which I think is appropriate. After all, the overarching climax is about Karen and Hikari so there has to be more beyond the audition part.

I’m also glad that we learn about the Starlight play in full context. It’s rather clear (too clear in fact) on how the Starlight act parallels to Hikari and Karen’s relationship. The two mains of the play: Claire and Flora is your ultimate star-crossed lovers. They go through their promise (tick), one of them lose memory (tick), but they meet again and both reaching for (Hikari’s hairpins) the stars (tick), just so that the other fallen off the cliff. It foreshadows clearly enough that Karen will go through some sort of sacrifice for Hakari, although in all fairness Karen is always the one who breaks the rule so we will have to see on which route Revue Starlight will ultimately take.

But the calm moment after the duel is what seals the deal for me. It’s true that with this episode, Nana won’t be an ultimate villain but it does the job to close her arc off with a rewarding development. Junna has a great moment of comforting her friend. I love the way Nana rather curious reaction to see Junna breaks out of her strict personality for her friend. It’s that, even if things never be the same again for Nana, they will keep making new memories, go through the stage light again in a brand new experience. And again, this new “side” of Junna, or “Bananice” can only happen in this timeline.

Posted on 4 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Last week, with the earth-shattering revelation of Banana’s secret, I expected Revue Starlight addresses 2 developments. First, Nana and Hikari’s chemistry in the present now that we see the true reason why Nana is so fixated to Hikari and Second, why does Hikari crashes this timeline which she doesn’t in previous loops. As it turns out, we learn most about the Second part this week (and next to nothing on the First part) given this episode plays out through Hikari’s perspective. One important detail in this world-building this episode manages to spill out is that the Revue Audition doesn’t strictly happen at Karen’s school. The extra-dimensional duels occur in London where Hikara studies as well. It becomes quite clear to me that these auditions are a manifestation of all these Takarazuka Revue trainee girls’ drive and competitiveness to be a Top Star and that talking Giraffe is like a guard of that world (but why Hikari? Torture him more! I want to hear him speaking English more).

While this episode isn’t as crucial in term of changing the plot into another direction like last week’s, it’s still a perfectly fine episode that moves the narrative forward. We see again how important Karen and Hikari’s childhood promise that guide them to basically give their all. I was struck at first how Hikari was too energetic earlier compared to her stoic current self, so imagine my satisfaction to learn the reason behind her lack of enthusiasm. She literally has her ‘drive’, or ‘radiance’ (depend on which subs you watched) taken away from her. It’s a high price to pay for the auditions, given that Hikari wasn’t aware to all that. Through her big slump of why she’s doing all that in a first place, the only thing she can hold onto is that promise. So she makes a deal with the devil almighty giraffe, thus appear in Karen’s world and single-handed destroy Banana’s perfect world.

But then, when we learn about the ultimate cost the losers will have to pay, isn’t that what Nana been doing all along is to protect these smiles? Keeping the status quo so that no one can lose their power. What can be more noble than that? Hikari and Nana’s fight isn’t simply a clash between past vs present, it also a conflict of self-ambition vs team mentality. In addition, I particularly enjoy the contrasting in weapons’ choice this week: Hikari with her dagger and Nana with double swords. The duel has a nice dynamic, and the stunning compositions with strong dark red color and shadows motif certainly give a strong impression. Revue Starlight also set itself up for a melodramatic climax, with Karen and Hikari have to fight one another in the end. While we have strong development from one of our main lead, I still feel the way this episode cuts from Hikari’s backstory to their duel a bit abruptive. Hikari and Nana’s clash is certainly interesting in theory, but the lack of their on-screen time together means that we can’t get behind them as much as I like. I also want to see more of Karen – Claudine duel. With 4 episode left I guess it’s time for Claudine to be in the spotlight very soon.

Posted on 27 August 2018 with categories: Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Like this week’s Chio-chan, Revue Starlight reminds me a great deal to the its premiere as it marks some dramatic shift in direction that we all wish we see it coming before (I honestly doubt anyone can see this coming). Like its first episode, the piece at first plays out like some typical idol show. I literally thought that Revue Starlight had succumbed to Idol route with Idol’s concern until again, it pulls the rug out of our feet. This week is about Daiba Nana, AKA Banana, the mother figure of all the girls. Everyone could recall a moment in their lives that they consider perfect. Maybe it’s “perfect” not because of everything runs exactly the way one plan, but to borrow “Inside Out” image, it’s because the moments were so relatable and powerful they stick out to your mind. For Nana, it’s her first Starlight performance with the first-year class.

Now, while the narrative of Nana still leaves a lot to be desired (which I will get to that later), the visual cue you in to her mindset magnificently. All Nana does is to preserve her happy moments: record what they do, take pictures with the cast. Unlike previous episodes when Revue Starlight resolve the cast’s friendship issues through pairings, Nana doesn’t really have “a partner”. She walks from one place to another by herself (the images of her walking in opposite directions each time), there’s always a phone or camera that distant her from the rest (the camera’s images also signal Nana’s “chosen” perspective – that she would rather prefer looking through this lense instead of reality). I also enjoy how other characters tend to move away from the center (look at one of the screenshot), as if they extract themselves from the central force: Nana herself.

In addition, unlike other characters who want to fight to become Top Stars, Nana lacks the ambition to become one, yet she’s the most talented girl out there. That’s why her actions tick Maya off. What’s use of a talent if she doesn’t want to advance herself? Turn out Nana’s answer is: she uses her talent to relive the past. That reveal turns the show into a completely new perspective, but everything adds up because it builds from everything that came before it and gives many characters more significant roles than what they appear before. The yellow-bathed stage where Nana meets the Giraffe, for example, never feels this sinister. Basically it’s Madoka twist all over again, although I would say it’s more appropriate to compare this twist to Yuno’s in Future Dairies. She relives the past year all over again because for her, it’s the perfect moments where everyone she loves participating the Stage together. There hasn’t any girl who dropped out yet. If I have some criticism over this episode, it’s that I still feel her “this moment is perfect” kind of vague. I still don’t really know how much this timeline means to her so that she would trade anything to relive it all over. One thing is clear though, while her intention is selfish, it isn’t without its reason. Who wouldn’t want to relive their best moments over and over.

It would’ve been perfect for Nana if Hikari doesn’t come in the picture. Hikari is an abnormality in Nana’s perfect world, and suddenly both Hikari and Nana’s roles change significantly after this episode. Hikari is the one who will disrupt Nana’s perfect world, and that leads to two interesting factors. First, we learnt from previous episodes that Nana decides to step down in order to assist the stage, but what is her real deal here? Will she plan to duel against Hikari? And second, why is it that Hikari appears in this timeline and not previous loops? We know for sure that with her appearance, the loops are basically gone, but is there more into it than meet the eye? I’m personally feel that Nana won’t be the “ultimate villain” and that her arc could very well be resolved next week (since we have more characters down the line here). As it stands, Revue Starlight opens for more intriguing questions and proves once again it has more ambitious thematic reach (along with great visual storytelling) than most of the anime offering out there. This episode is a pleasant surprise for me, and easily amongst my favorite Revue Starlight episode.

Posted on 20 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

With this episode, it becomes clear that Revue Starlight is less about Karen and more about the development of the entire cast. This week we get into the insights of Kaoruko and Futaba through the former perspective. Although spoiled, bratty and not-at-all serious about the Revue audition, I very much welcome her as a person who offers a different perspective to Revue Starlight. Previous characters have showed us time and again how much effort they work on to be the chosen ones, especially the girl with glasses Junna who compensates her lack for talent with tremendous amount of practice. That leaves Kaoruko as the one left behind since she’s clearly too laid back to put all her effort into improving herself. And like how a spoiled kid acts she behaves selfishly, making decisions just for the sake of making certain people (Futaba) feel bad, and in the end one could argue that she doesn’t really earn it – her character arc and her Starlight audition. While these claims are not incorrectly, for me it’s more about Kaoruko learns to change and be more serious in the process.

Needless to say, Kaoruko and Futaba’s dynamic isn’t Revue Starlight greatest moments. We have seen these kind of friendship breakdown and reconcile before in Revue Starlight, with better success (Karen & Hikari, Karen & Mahiru), add to the fact that 1) they’re side characters with predictable development and 2) this relationship is unbalanced somehow. As for 1), the moments Kaoruko announces she’s going back to Kyoto, we all know for sure that Futaba will run after her and that she’d never leave. It taps on all the similar beats and makes me think why don’t shake thing up a little? For 2), I can totally see that Futaba can be better off without Kaoruko. Futaba has been following the girl’s step in every decision, and this episode is meant to be a trial for Kaoruko to realize and appreciate how much Futaba has done for her. At the end, while she does acknowledge that, things pretty get back to status quo.

In fact, I’m more interested with the other angle Revue Starlight focus on: the parallel between Karaoku and Tendou Maya. This show has been consistently bring up the point between natural talent vs hard work. Take Tendou and Claudine for example, for all the efforts Claudine make, she’s still one step behind Tendou because Tendou has the talent plus the heavy effort. Karaoku is one of the natural talent. She’s the prized kid where her parent is an expert at Japanese dance. But without the will to be on top she starts to fallen behind to Futaba, who practices day in, day out. Because of that Tendou somehow seen through Karaoku. There’s a line that Tendou said to her (it’s pretty vague by the way) that reminds her that she needs to try harder for those who support her and “the feeling that you have a duty to be the best you can be”. The duel, unfortunately, isn’t that exciting compared to previous duels. For the show that consistently surprises us with its smart visual storytelling, this episode is also unremarkable in that regard. Karen is sidelined into a loud, one-dimensional character and I didn’t appreciate that much. Not really Revue’ Starlight’s high point, but it’s still solid enough to make it a damn good time.

Posted on 14 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Revue Starlight is back to business this week with its bizarrely entertaining duel. In a way, this duel is a long way coming as this is one of the development I expected to happen sooner or later. What I didn’t expect, however, is the overall light-hearted tone with cartoonish paper cut-out design and Mahiru -Karen fight literally stage-crashing other duels at the same time. I guess it’s because Mahiru is a kind-hearted person so we see her point of view in a rose-tinted glass with almost too naive outlook. Overall, while I have some nitpicks over the episode, it’s a delightful one from start to finish. My only beef with this week is that, for an episode that is about jealousy, we get little to no exposition of that theme. We see Mahiru feeling left out by the appearance of Hikari, but it plays out mostly for laugh (good one at that though). Moreover, Revue Starlight frames her conflict more as her own insecure with the rest of the cast, with all the country pumpkin imply and “sparkle” stuffs. Which again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that “jealousy” isn’t really much there to begin with.

But what this episode of Revue Starlight does extremely well, it’s how they manage the comedic beat. There are recurring gags about whenever Mahiru doing something “perverted”, Hikari appears with that deadpan expression and walks away. The visual cues sum up very well Mahiru’s situation than many words can tell (it’s show, don’t tell). We have Mahiru’s affection to Karen and we also sense how she feels Hikari invading Karen and her own space. Another notch for great visual gags come later in the duel, where other various auditioning girls get distracted by the duo’s crashing their stage. As for Mahiru, working with all the greatest faces also make she feels unconfident about herself, that she can’t shine like others. It’s her frustration triggers the audition so that she’d have to fight Karen (why not Hikari?) at the revue stage.

The revue duel this week is a total delight with catchy song, humorous, original (even to this show’s standard) and again brimming with many symbolisms that might or might not have a meaning. I mean, I can’t still get my head around the significance of baseball and she hits Karen off. Or even the fact that Revue Starlight animal-codes her as a white kitty cat. As for the duel, well… it’s purposely different from the rest of the duel we’ve encountered so far and I enjoyed every minute of it. With this duel done, however, I hope Mahiru still stay relevant. She’s the odd one out of the 9 members cast and it would be a let down if she remains the least developed character out of this mix. As the final note, two things I can takeaway from this duel: 1) there are simultaneously other auditions happening around at the same time in some extra-dimensional space and 2) I have the most single bizzare image of the week, not from the weird duel, but from our giraffe gets his head down to drink water in the lake with silver coins, while talking no less. Thumbs up for originality!

Posted on 6 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

I bet most of us coming out of this episode feeling a little underwhelming. Where’s all these revue duel? Where is the talking giraffe? To its defense though, this week builds the central dynamic of our main Karen and Hikari, and giving the rest of the cast the whole “we are together” vibe. While one could argue these members looking out for each other plot thread goes against the competitive duels to pick out a “Top Star” Revue Starlight has accomplished for the last few episodes, I think it’s rather appropriate development. These 9 girls, as competitive as they are, still need to work together as a team for the Starlight production. So in fact they’re not unlike idol girls who work together for the group’s benefit. That doesn’t mean I’m selling short these girls’ dynamic towards looking out for Karen and Hikari as they’re well over their curfew, these are charming moments, especially the way Claudine speaks nonsense French and Futaba and Kaoruko have to tiptoe around the hallway to cover these girls. I like what we see so far and I guess I would become more dramatic when these girls who obviously enjoy their time together have to fight on a surreal audition later on.

So this week Revue Starlight focuses on our main duo Karen and Hikari. I enjoy the way the show highlights the girls’ lack of emotional bond by the showing the physical distance. Karen leaves out of campus and Karen goes out her way to look for her. I also enjoy the way their communication getting better as the day progresses. At first we have blurry pictures that prompt Karen to pick a totally wrong location (the miscommunication?), to Keren figuring out of aquarium but ends up in the wrong aquarium, then they have phone conversation together which is actually their first heart-to-heart conversation since Hikari moves back to Japan and finally, they meet up face to face at their destined place, the Tokyo Underground. For whatever the aquariums might represent in terms of their relationship or Hikari’s psyche I have no idea, but them meeting at the Tokyo Tower feels like a long-awaited fated encounter. From this point on I’m certain that they’d work together as the duel.

What they exchange over the phone is also important. They recall on the past they shared together, about the initial inspiration and their promises that basically shape their lives the way they are now. Hikari might be angry with Karen for losing, but it turns out she doesn’t know more about Revue audition compared to Karen. As a result, while this episode is indeed the Revue Starlight’s breather episode, it’s still an important one to establish all the bright sparks that these relationships bring (notice that the cast goes for usual pairs this week, I don’t suppose it remains like that as the story kicks into gear), also develop our main Karen – Hilari so we have reasons to care for their goals, so that when it’s time for these girls to “destroy” each other, it adds up in context. I still feel the confidence from the production breathing through in every detail of this episode.

Posted on 30 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Well, we have a slower week of Revue Starlight compared to the first two episodes, mainly because the first half is more about setting up the girls’ dynamic than introduction. It’s not a complaint, either, since this week we see the girls go for different pairing, as a result they create a more complex web of relationship now. The audition duel this week is a classic “two steps forward – one step back” for our main Karen, as she fight the Top Star and realizes how much of a gap between her and Maya Tendou. If I have one issue during the episode, it seems so random that Karen fights with Maya because there’s no proper setting up prior to the underground audition. Other things stay ambiguous without any actual explanation and so far I pretty enjoy those. There’s apparently another duel happening simultaneously with Karen’s fight, for example, but for whatever purpose and even what those fights even mean remain a mystery.

But in this episode 3, we learn a lot about other cast members of the Starlight team, so let dig it up. First, we have Banana who steps down of the acting role in pursuit for production design. I suppose we learn more about this development once we get into her episode. For now though, it feels like a set-up to get every piece into place. On other notes, we get a better look at the duo Kaoruko and Futaba, but amusingly when they’re separate. Futaba, the most boyish character of the group, is the only member who aware of Claudine’s struggles to surpass Maya, as we see last week she lost to the fight against Maya. That, however, doesn’t explain why they battle at the end of the episode (another note: Futaba uses an axe as her weapon, an interesting choice). At the same time, Kaoruko proves to be more than her sleepy, spoiled appearance, as the way she talks signify that she’s a calculated, and maybe a bit manipulative character. The character that receives the least treatment so far is Hikari. We don’t pretty know much about her apart from her tsundere act which kinda get on my nerve in the beginning of the second arc.

I also noticed there’s a theme for each audition’s sword fight. Last week, it was “Revue of Desire”, this week, it’s a “Revue of Pride”. Now whether it’s mean those are the themes of the week, or about the personality from a character Karen has to fight is up in the air, but I’m leaning more about the latter. Maya is full of pride, and the main conflict between her and Karen is mostly about the idea of every woman for herself (Maya) vs I fight for me and my partner (Karen). The visual motif of the fight shows how out of depth Karen is compared to her opponent. Maya is always stationed at a higher place, and everytime Karen tries to climb up the ladder, she immediately fails. This fight also serves as the reality check for Karen, that in order to achieve her dream, she has to put more efforts. In addition, Hakari isn’t pleased at all the way Karen put everything down the line for her sake. It means nothing for Hikari if Karen is the sole person who work for the goal. Despite it’s a less dense episode compared to what we had seen so far, it’s still a pretty good week for Revue Starlight, all things considered.

Posted on 24 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Please check out the Starlight theme to get in the stage-dueling mood.

This show climbs up to be my favorite show of this season. It has all these elements that personally are my cup of tea: many layers of symbolism, a surrealism sense and a stage duel set piece that is even more impressive than an actual action show.

Disguised itself as an idol show with Love Live-esque character designs, the first half of the first two episodes could fool viewers thinking it’s a harmless idol girls, until the surreal part comes in and sweeps everything out of its way. In retrospect, I couldn’t think any better way to turn the Idol genre inside out than this. In the genre, girls with different personality working together for the same goals, and they regard each other like a family members. Revue Starlight put them against each other instead, making it a whole lot more complex in character motivation and interaction.

But that was just an on-the-surface part of this show, so let’s dig a little deeper. What I love the most about Revue Starlight so far, is its sense of surrealism and its heavy use of symbolism. The way the show uses symmetric images and put Karen right there in the middle, for example, suggest that she’s the one in the central (ground zero), the place where the lead role usually occupy, and signifies that she’s the one who brings the cast altogether. Many have said that Revue Starlight taks an inspiration if Takarazuka theatre, and at the same times criticize some traditional aspect of it. Karen (or BaKaren), is a stark contrast to what the Takarazuka build around, and to a larger degree what this Starlight audition is for. The audition is about exclusion to pick out the top star, yet she wants to include everyone together. In Starlight, the girls fight for themselves, yet Karen fights for the shared dream of her and Hikari. The talking giraffe asks her to leave when she entered the audition ground for the first time, yet she basically gate-crashing the audition. She has a great role so far that compatible to Utena’s role in her series. And that isn’t a far off comparison either since the ballet duel reminds me strongly of Utena duel, for good reasons.

I also like the theme of individualism in the focus of unity. Like the way Revue Starlight shows their costumes are mass-produced or the use of mannequin. To become a star, they need to stand out from the rest. And the girl Junna really shines throughout this two episodes. She’s in the position where she’d devote every effort to become a main star, yet she knows doesn’t matter how hard she tries, she can’t close the gap to the top stars. I reckon that her arc is basically done now that she accepts “her lose”, but knowing this show I know she won’t get sidelined in the service of the plot. We have a total of 9 girls in this series but judge from the way this show treats Junna, I have a good faith that Revue Starlight will develop them thoroughly.

In addition, the stage duel is simply stunning. It’s bizarre, yet gorgeous to look at and it has so much personality on its own. Now, it’s when the surrealism really kicks in. Many of its images: like talking giraffe, Karen get pushed down the Tokyo tower, might or might not be real. But it makes sense. You could take the stage duel as a battle to survive, as an audition,as a performance all you like and it still works. As a final notes, there’s some hints that we’ll have yuri undertone and for that I say: Bring it right on.

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
Most of my emotions this week came because of the original and my love of it, not this one
Lenlo
I agree, Steins;Gate 0 had all the potential, and there are some specific episodes that realized it. Like this episode had a lot of touching scenes cause it slowed down to play up Okabe's relationship with Amadeus. But most of the time, it fails to reach that potential. So as a whole it just feels... lacking
Kaiser-Eoghan
Plebs, not combining both into a single dessert.
Anonymous2802297
I'm talking about that sweet saccharine Chocolate Mousse, the Ganache, or the Chocolate Gâteau. Your puny muffin stands no chance. Mwahaha!
Anonymous2802297
Blasphemy. As a proud American, I can't stand for anything less than pure unadulterated diabetes-inducing sugar in chocolatey cake form. Anything less is an insult to my great nation. /s
SuperMario
@anon2801739: that's a nice analogy but I can't say I agree as I prefer chocolate muffin much more than chocolate cake :)))
Anonymous2801739
Steins;gate 0 is all potential but generally it's wasted. Whenever it actually seems promising they manage to jump plot points to boring nonsensical melodrama for a century. It was supposed to be a chocolate cake. Instead what we got was a muffin with tiny chocolate chips buried few and far between. Yeah it's still sweet at some points, but most of the time you're chewing through pointless fluff.
Lenlo
Like I said in my last post on it I think, the pacing is fucked
Animosh
I did like that the lab members finally acted like scientists again, methodically thinking through their options and all, and there were some pretty touching individual moments and nicely tied up ends. But mostly I'm just annoyed by all the unfulfilled potential of this show.
Animosh
I also hated the backtracking in the beginning. Don't make such a big deal of The Return if you're going to throw it out of the window in the next episode.
Animosh
I really don't understand Steins;Gate's pacing. It slows down to a trickle in the largely irrelevant middle part, and now that things are finally getting somewhat interesting again it just speeds through everything without building things up properly? I don't get it. And how on Earth are they going to resolve everything satisfactorily in one episode?
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
Anonymous2785164
Nothing is more annoying to me than nerd doing the stereotypical nerd voice to mock people
Anonymous2785164
Either way, I kinda dislike majority geek youtubers because I find them all to be hypocrites. Like for example, complaining about commentors correcting them or nitpicking them when all of them are nitpickers themselves :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, he has habit of commenting on things way too early only to later on to be proven wrong by end of the anime :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, I don't remember Mother's Basement being that bad besides that he for most parts really sucks when talking about video games despite apparently having studied game development
Anonymous2785164
@AidanAK47: I don't actually like any of anime youtubers. They all seems to be pervs to me and I'm actually rather prude person :p
Anonymous2785164
Hmm this chat is being buggy again and I can't change username from anonymous right now :P ANnoying~
SuperMario
@Lenlo: Readers will enjoy us more if we can throw some meme references... proof that we're still not out of touch with current trends ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I mean the opposite, the posts here are good because they don't use quips. They aren't fanboyish either.
Lenlo
Are you telling me I need to insert more quips. jokes and one-lines into my posts? Cause I can do that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Drop grand blue if its taking up too much time, I know you are busy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I enjoy reading blog articles like on here. I feel the writers on here never sound like awful fanboys or quiplords.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*I have
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its down to an idea have about vloggers/youtubers, that the videos will be full of unfunny quips and unrestrained fanboyism due to the guy doing the video can't keep himself in check.
Lenlo
Digibro isnt worth listening to imo
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never even really pursued listening to digibro. Although I probably should listen to eyepatchwolf apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should say the anime youtubers I've actually watched pertain to: Gigguk, one video by blackanimecritic, a few countdowns by Mistychronoxia and Animeman . I think I've watched maybe two of glass reflections reviews.
Anonymous2781300
I don't know, r/anime probably is also not the best sources; Youtube and Reddit are just the places I generally go to for large-scale anime discussion
Anonymous2781300
Oh my previous comment didn't post; basically I was saying that Anitube isn't super representative of audience popularity, at least as a whole, but it might offer some insight to at least a portion of it.
Anonymous2781300
*audience you're looking at: there's the Japanese audience and Western audience, but I feel like there's also like, another half of the world that most be people don't consider.
Anonymous2781300
It kind of depends which audience you
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even watch gigguks videos anymore.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never really cared enough to overexplore any of those anime youtube critics for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If someone keeps talking about something, eventually it'll sometimes work out and get through, then I'll at least have to see some of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I watched it because you kept saying not enough people were watching it.
AidanAK47
@Masky, cause Mothers basement did a video on it? Well hopefully it gets it some attention. Don't really like MB though. I mean "Gurren Meets Earthbound"? Jesus Christ.
Masky
Hmm, seems like Planet With is slowly getting more attention to it
Lenlo
I know im Shonen trash, but Hero Aca continues to be fantastic.
Animosh
You know, one person ends up broken through no fault of her own, and then ends up hurting herself and/or others to protect the only happiness she knows. And so the cycle continues.
Animosh
I thought Shio's backstory was really sad too. But yeah, although the show (and many of its characters) can be silly a lot of the time, there's a beating heart behind all of the craziness. Its main characters all have believable - if misguided - motivations, and the show portrays the cyclical nature of trauma very well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I think the scene with satou breaking down near episodes end were the standout. I often laugh at this show for its overthetopness, then makes me feel like a jerk by pulling something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Escaflowne ended too soon and abruptly. I haven't seen rayearth but I have read the manga, so I don't know if the anime original content is as good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've noticed that the voice acting tends to be worse in reverse harems then regular harems.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Regarding otome, one of the worst cases though had to be hakuouki though, just a bag of complete wasted potential.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I didn't dislike Red river, I have the unpopular opinion of preferring Basara because I found the central relationship more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Yes that was babylonia no shishi.
Amagi
I wish we could get isekai like Rayearth, Now and Then or Escaflown again.
Amagi
Sadly these series usually fail elsewhere, with the typical problems shoujo and otome series tend to have
Amagi
@SuperMario: strangely enough this is somewhat typical for shoujo whereas generic isekai can't get off that fake-rpg spleen. There is also a shoujo in which feMC gets transported into some old turkish setting and one with babylonia (think the latter was done by that mangaka that also did Cantarella).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres also a shoujo manga called babylonia no shishi.
SuperMario
maybe it's one of the earliest example of isekai if you don't regard isekai setting as strictly fantasy world.
SuperMario
" Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan." -> actually they did just that. One of the old classic shoujo, Crest of the Royal Family, is about a girl transported into Egyptian royal family. https://myanimelist.net/manga/5284/Ouke_no_Monshou?q=Crest of the Royal Family
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the success is, if a series can distract you and still make you feel something, even if there should have been more to the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Beyond Arthur and Dino, who always came off to me as "the bad guys to be defeated", I think I might have been so into Ash that I didn't really pay as much attention to his character development as you and Mario did.
Animosh
Happy Sugar Life was pretty intense again. It's not subtle, but it's certainly effective. For me, anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*gamer
You could see that he probably enjoyed online games and knew his stuff, wheras it seemed in sword art the writer felt liking he was shitting on everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not much of a game and I know it was a fantasy show, but I guess log horizon is isekai, but in that one from what I saw, I thought the writer seemed to be making more of an effort.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But given how lazy isekai tends toward, while yes a scifi world would be a nice change up, the inherent genre laziness would probably holdback on properly building that world.
Anonymous2771364
Why Isekai are limited to the fantasy worlds? What about one with a creative retro futuristic setting (like Jetsons, John Carter or Flash Gordon). Maybe a western setting. Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan. Anything at this point will be genius if done right.
Anonymous2771364
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Didn't watch Gate but it wasn't kind of like that? Adapting an alien fantasy world to the real world?
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a total tangent. Imagine an isekai that dealt with immigration issues ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Ash says a line in the manga at some point that he stopped counting the amount of times he was raped.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose I minor issue I have, is that Yut-lungs design feels somewhat out of place.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You could say that there's fujoshi baiting in some of Ash/Eijis interactions, perhaps even n the recent episode. Very obvious, but I'm not complaining ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually glad that the series restrains from being too graphic regarding Goldzine's pedophilia actually , it could have been worse.
Animosh
Its previous attempts at character development (Ash's ridiculously tragic past, Golzine's pedophilia, Arthur's desire to get back at Ash) were a hit and miss at best, and often just had the effect of making the characters more black and white rather than more complex. But I don't know what was skipped, so who knows, maybe it would have made the characters better!
Animosh
And more generally, although most characters are a lot of fun to watch, they're not very deep. Ash and Eiji are both very tropish, and the villains aren't particularly interesting either (with the exception of Yut Lung, though he's rather clichéd too of course). So I'm not sure seeing them interact more would work in the show's favor.
Animosh
@Kaiser: thanks for the explanation! Not sure if I'd want to see more dialogue though personally. I like the Ash/Eiji moments and all, but they can also be a bit ... cheesy? Now I feel like there's a good balance between the various plot threads, but more emphasis on their blossoming love/friendship could easily have made it obnoxious for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know most probably didn't care about these, but I really get nostalgic over stuff like Rune soldier, Lodoss war. I also liked Denyuden and wished it had gotten another season. I never finished the utawerumono sequel, but it had nice character interactions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also kind of looking forward to Goblin slayer a bit because its a fantasy that isn't an isekai .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But not so much dicking around that it gets boring.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know what I was thinking about there lately, with the saturation of so many isekai, part of me has a longing for a non-isekai fantasy, but some really REALLY cosy thing about a bunch of friends re-uniting/getting together, most of its banter and SOMETIMES they get into story shit.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Angel Eyes as an OVA would be amazing. Its the only part of Banana Fish I have actually read, to avoid spoilers.
Lenlo
@Mario, I think thats just a translation thing. Japanese language is a lot more formal than English so they have to choose. Go for precise translations, or modify it to attempt to fit it better.

As for how they did it, I assume they poisoned his Secretary with the drug. They have Senators and such in on it afterall
Lenlo
If the gang war is done right, I think I will enjoy this next arc. I really liked that last ending scene on the train and if thats how this war is going to play out, lots of subtle street violence to avoid the cops, then I am all for it
Lenlo
Im quite happy with Banana Fish personally. I do think Ash is a bit to proficient at everything, like I think I mentioned in one post how I dont like him being a computer whiz and all that.
SuperMario
Then we have many of half-baked subplots. For example, "to think you'd kill the next presidential candidate". No one talks like that. How did papa Dino plan to do it again? Sometimes I don't feel the clear pasage of time in Banana fish. Like in the prison arc, you'd see Max switch in and out between Ash's cell without much explain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think I remember the last time I actually cried.
SuperMario
And have a sensitive side at heart. I love this kid but sometimes the show just reminds me time and again how implausible his character trait, and many actions, are
SuperMario
@anon: I'm not too enthusiasm on Banana Fish as a whole. While I must say I still enjoy the ride every week, the main offender for me is how they glamor Ash so much. This kid has been through some serious shit, again and again, and again, yet he has immerse talent of basically everything (gun skill, acrobatic skill as we saw last episode, elegant enough to tell the wine brand with just sniffing...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like this upcoming arc too much because it felt like just a street thugs vs street thugs thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I hope they do the Angel eyes side story as an ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'll never spoiler this show, but if the final arc is done properly and the anime elevates it, its going to really impact.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will be very very angry if they change the ending to suit/pander modern audiences.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One thing the anime is avoiding is the anti-communist thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh by the way, Dino is in with alot of people, including the French foreign legion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Nearly went too close to haphazard exploitation route than cool exploitation route.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Previous episode had some animation/art issues, Abraham and Arthur are a bit cartoony, while the mansion episodes and the one where Ash meets his dad, the drama, while tense and interesting very almost skirted with being overboard.
Anonymous2765784
Hope the trend continues
Anonymous2765784
But seriously just loving the anime; most of my favorite anime are old, but recently some quality stuff has popped up like this, Rakugo, (Mushishi half counts)
Anonymous2765784
Yeah, I think I can tell that it's almost as if we're switching arcs now, so it's going to take a while to build back to that extreme heightened tension of the past few episodes.
Anonymous2765784
Also, what are some criticisms you guys have about Banana Fish anime so far? Just curious to see what other people think. I'm just enjoying the ride, whether it's speeding through a burning mansion or cruising around a 9 million condo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say it a second time round, the bits before this is where the manga peaked for a while, then it took me a few volumes to get back into.
Anonymous2765784
I'm actually also interested on what's left on Banana FIsh's cutting board. As an anime-only, it feels like the pacing can be a bit fast recently, but overall it seems fine. In fact, I felt this episode slowed down a bit as we transition between arcs and giving us a chance to breathe.
Lenlo
And I understand not having words for Steins;Gate 0. I have to write it every week.
Lenlo
Shh, im gonna watch it soon
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually this episode was slow compared to previous ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now, for episode 11 of Banana fish, I enjoyed this, specifically I liked seeing Dinoget kind of btfo'd near episodes end. But the highlight for me, is the Eiji/Ash interactions, i like these because they add a human aspect to the show, humanize Ash and flesh out the twos relationship.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was a scene in the manga where Ash crossdressed. But honestly what I mean is, the manga felt alot talkier with its dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I don't have words for steins; gate 0 anymore. Too hard to say anything else now, run out of them. =<
Animosh
What kind of stuff does the anime generally leave out? Slice of life scenes? Scenes with minor characters? World-building? Something else?
Animosh
Not sure what was skipped, but as an anime-only I thought it was another good episode. Some sweet character moments, some nice set-up for the conflicts with Arthur and Golzino ... I didn't really feel like anything major was missing.
Lenlo
Ah, did it suffer this week? Shame. Looking forward to watching it though
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think banana fishes sped up pacing is definitely starting to show, but as much as I like the manga, it is the kind of thing that needs to be cutdown for the sake of better flow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall watching Raxephon as a teenager, but it never really went anywhere from what I saw.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bokurano which I enjoyed for its nihilism, had a second half that didn't live up to the first.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did years years later eventually come round a bit on Evangelion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gasaraki I also remember watching, which was ambitious but flawed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nadesico worked for me, probably because I watched it over 20 years ago and it was a pisstake on the genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding mecha, outside of Gundam and one or two mazinger things, I can't say I feel as strongly about other stuff in the genre. No interest in watching darling in the frannx , aldonoah zero, regret watching and enjoying code geass years ago. Never got the appeal of gurren lagann and didn't finish eureka 7.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And with mizukami satoshi in mind, I've never read spirit circle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to be specific, I don't hate planet with by any means.
Lenlo
As is, atleast something actually happens every episode. The pacing is a bit fast, but it all still feels good
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Featured Posts

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