Posted on 31 December 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that make this show such an install success since it came out: the puppetry technique makes it an unique viewing experience amongst anime fandom; the larger the life characters whose characters are the central protagonist in their own stories; the camp value of cheesy lines and back-and-forth conversations; and the somewhat unpredictableness of the plot. It serves as an entertaining and engaging ride on its own right, but to be fair, it’s pale compare to the freshness of the first season.

In this second season, we have a whole new supporting cast aside from our hero Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao the Enigmatic Gale. The cast includes Lang Wu Yao – the ginger singer with his talking pipa, the Princess of Cruelty Xie Yinglou, the Dirty Cop Xiao Kuang Juan and the amoral monk Di Kong. While Thunderbolt proves once again it more than has its chops when it comes to make these characters as stand out as possible, for this season it falls more into straightforward side.There’s a clear line between the good guys and the bad guys, which makes a lesser impact compare to the ambiguity of good/evil in the original series. Princess Cruelty, for example, has haer redemption arc that, while still good, is the most conventional arc Thunderbolt has done so far.

The main storyline is another straightforward aspect of this season. It has a clear set of goals and well planned-out (too well indeed) goals: Shang Bu Huan wanted to get rid of his Index of Swords, unfortunately the plan fails and the enemy gets a hold of two evil swords. One thing that this season does improve is that we get a chance to see more legendary swords and their dangerous powers. These two new swords, Seven Blashphemous Deaths and the Night of Mourning, have a distinct designs and formidable powers. The former especially has quite a character for her deadly charming voice and her femme fatale personality. My favorite addition, however, is the one-wing Dragon who spits fire and talks human language.  

Speaking of characters, I’m glad to say that all the main players this season fit into this universe like a T. They’re over the top, but not simple. They’re all too proud of themselves and they bounce off with each other extremely well. Normally it’s an one-on-one conversations where these different personas clash, and most of the time it’s a treat to watch. Di Kong and Lang Wu Xao serve to be an excellent cast on its own, the former on how he’s dangerous purely because he has no evil temptation, and the latter because of his strict sense of justice. The Dirty Cop’s character is your love-to-hate type and his corruption is a bit to extreme to leave any ambiguity, and it’s a shame his character is the least relevant to the main plotline.

The visual has gotten much more flashy too. Characters doing their own “remarks” while speaking, the special effect, namely the spitfire and the blood-gushing are still something to behold. Even the way these characters run have a quirk of its own, making Thunderbolt a product that never fail to be anything less than spectacular. I think we’re in good chance for the final season that closes everything here. Witty, refreshing, never take itself seriously and always have the right amount of campiness and flashiness, puppets are here to stay.

Posted on 18 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Boy, it sure feels great to see the biggest douchebag gets punched repeatedly to the face by his own dirty tricks. It also feels good when the femme fatale Seven Blashphemous Deaths Sword feels threatened towards Monk’s declaration of love. If there’s one thing that I still enjoy in Thunderbolt, it’s that the cast keeps redefining their roles. Who would’ve imagined that collected Monk can be this love obsessive and embrace the “Till death do us part” vow to heart? In term of general plot, I feel that this season is weaker than the first. While in the first season we have a band of misfits with a shared immediate goal, here we have many branches of characters who have different goals that don’t join together towards the climax. Dirty Cop basically just wants to screw around and gets his hands on more swords now. Our team wants to retrieve the Evil Swords, and the Fallen Monk just wants to dedicate his life to his wife Sword. The issue remains that the cast doesn’t really connect to each other in a big narrative sense. It’s until this late in the game that the Monk has some reason to fight against Shang Bu Huan, just because Femme Fatale Sword wants to buy some more time.

Moreover, while it’s still a joy to watch these larger than life characters behave on screen. This is the first time where I see the implausible characters behavior in Thunderbolt. So Dirty Cop fights our Ginger Singer and decides to turn the table by handing his evil sword to him, thus force him to take care of these manipulated soldiers. I could totally understand if Shang Bu Huan hesitates to harm these guys but with Lang Wu Yao? He’s the kind who will save his ass first rather than saving innocent people who get into his way. I still remember him warning Shang Bu Huan for not killing those puppets in early episodes so I just don’t get the change of heart here. Whichever the case, Shang Bu Huan appears right on time (almost too perfect timing if you ask me), and shoe Dirty Cop how he can handle orchestrating the whole puppet soldiers without any sweat. At the end, Enigmatic Gale Joins the gang on his own amusement. The back-and-forth bouncing off between him, our Hero, and the Singer is still campy and pretty hilarious.

On the other side of the battle, Fallen Monk and his wife find themselves in the Wasteland of Spirits. In another reversion of our expectation, it’s revealed that the Monk has never fallen for the magic charm of the Sword in the first place, but love it in his own will. It could’ve been greater if we witness the moment he met and acquired the Sword though. At the moment we just take it as what he told us. Then my MVP character appears, the indestructible dragon who raises up from the ground and gets killed by the Monk just as quick. Poor little dragon who always picks the wrong fight. Now, with the finale of the final showdown between our hero team and the Monk, with Dirty Cop will somehow chime in as well, I just hope for a bombastic and explosive climax.

Posted on 11 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week we see something that rarely happens: Gui Niao is in a fault mood. As it turns out, this little war between Enigmatic Gale and Dirty Cop is more about the Vape Wiz’s ego rather than the Glassed Boy. The usually collected-Gui Niao shows off a whole range of emotions this episode: from being a complete troller (his exaggerated reaction when he heard the “news” is priceless) to bewildered and finally frustrated with Dirty Cop’s decision. Everything goes according to Enigmatic Gale, but one thing that he hadn’t taken into account is that Dirty Cop has stooped so slow, he has no such “pride” whatsoever. Things go against his plan, his life is ruined but he shakes it off and moves on. Well, Gui Naio being a boy with huge ego, who enjoys crushing other boys’ huge ego, is taken a big backlash that he doesn’t want anything to do with Dirty Cop. Well, I must say while this turn of event is silly at best, it’s always welcomed to see the weak side of Gui Niao, the guy who live or die by humiliating other people.

It’s also very welcomed to see the ex-spear wielder now-swordsman Juan Can Yun from the first season back, now more responsible and all. Our Shang Bu Huan decides to leave the sword index to his old comrade, so that he can come back and fight against the evil sword, which for me is a very Shang Bu Huan thing to do. What cracks me up, however, is that the blonde one-eyed dude can hold the sword index… for a week. I mean, to walk into the hiding place, it already takes that amount of time. That aside, it provides a deadline for Shang Bu Huan to do his thing and come back to claim the sword index. Gotta say though, it still feels wrong the way Juan Can Yun wields a sword from his wife instead of his trademark spear.

Our Ginger Singer has an encounter with the Monk and his wife Sword, and I count it lucky when he can escape that fight without losing his life. He had a death flag all over when he decided to pursuit the villain alone, but I guess he’s too beloved to be killed off just like this. Apparently, he only appears in the side story, but because Gen Urobuchi loves his character so much he includes the bloke to this sequel. The way he fights based purely on his hearing proves to be a formidable thread for the Monk, but he himself is wise enough to deceive our Singer. At the moment, it feels like the last retreat before an all-out war, with pretty much everyone cools down or power up right now before the climax. This episode isn’t a game changer or anything, but it still maintains the endless fun of seeing these larger than life characters act and bounce off each other.

Posted on 4 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week, Thunderbolt takes a left turn to resolve side conflicts, or even new minor conflicts it thought of, mostly to boost up the status of our main cast. It’s still enjoyable, in an admittedly predictable way. We have a guy literally flirting with his sword, a yaoi love where a guy willing to put his life at stake to save his partner, and a backstab where we have this ridiculous line as a climax: “These are… swords!!!!!”. First off, I hope Enigmatic Gale scheme against Dirty Cop goes beyond this humiliation as it’s underwhelming at best. It’s true that it takes guts for him to trick the Dirty Cop in a factor that he was most confident in: his special glasses. It’s the scheme goes right in front of his eyes, but he’s too arrogant to realize the trick. Freak-out Dirty Cop is nice and all, but I hope this is only a warning from Gui Liao.

Lang Wu Yao, on the other hand, is on his way to the suicide mission. This must show how much he cares (in an unhealthy way, that is) for Shang Bu Huan since I don’t see the reason why they would just join forces to beat the enemy. Isn’t two head is always better than one? This leaves Shang Bu Huan the opportunity to sneak out to his other boyfriend, Gui Niao. The moment I see the man having enough time and pleasure to go fishing again with the glasses on no less, it gives me such joy.

Finally, Di Kong, under a new alias Lou Zhen Jie, basically goes through episode talking about how much devotion he is with his sword, and further demonstrates how he isn’t necessary a vessel under her power. I must say the subplot regarding these guys from the Sen Chin Fortress a bit unimportant, especially at this late in a game. But it does offer an interesting scenario: the holy swords wielded by these guys versus this massive evil sword. I’m a bit disappointed that Seven Blasphemous Deaths loses its cool the moments it sees its krypnotye – by her power it should be more excited the more powerful the opponent has. But the Fallen Monk proves once again he doesn’t need the power of the sword to triumph, as he destroys the holy swords by his bare hands. The only take out from this turn of event is that it isn’t the sword, but Di Kong himself, will prove to be the final threat for Shang Bu Huan and the gang. Hopefully, Enigmatic Gale finds someway to be relevant with this feud as well. He’s hardy connected to the main plot, given he himself hasn’t met Di Kong, nor the Evil Sword, onscreen at all.

Posted on 29 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

As soon as our Princess Cruelty has her redemption moments, I immediately realize this might be the last we see of her. This proves to be the case, well, this is Thunderbolt world we’re talking about – the strong survives and the weak dies, but I believe Thunderbolt gives her characters just about enough growth. She had gone through one hell of a challenge as the prideful evil Sword berates her and nearly uses her blood as a sacrifice (well, it’s another kind of physical and mental abuse if you think about it). While her short duel with Shang Bu Huan doesn’t really change anything – she knows the guy is much stronger than her – I enjoy the moments in many ways. First, unlike Thunderbolt’s other duels so far this sword fight is short and sweet. It takes just one move for Shang Bu Huan to defeat the Princess. Second, like what Shang Bu Huan comments, it’s rather impressive that Princess Cruelty can shake off the evil sword and fight in her own will. She mentions how using the powerful sword makes her realize how weak she is, but in truth the person who can realize their own limitation goes a long way. Thunderbolt has always addressed the quest of becoming invincible by the means of swords, and this Cruelty plot further demonstrates this quality to great extend. You’ve done well, Cruelty.

In the other side of the battle, admittedly with a much lower stake, Dirty Cop ‘asks’ Gui Niao (not very nicely) to make a deal with him of swapping “stolen goods” and sell them with high price. Well, this Dirty Cop sure is corrupted, but points for him for stripping down all the pretense. Still, his puppet’s teeth gonna give me nightmare, I swear. Gui Niao is playing along with his scheme for now, but I won’t be surprised if the man is waiting for a right opportunity to turn the table.

And finally, the evil Sword has a new sword-wielder. Can’t say I’m surprised with this new turn of events, but I’m sure with the guy as amoral as this Monk, his combination with the Seven Blasphemous Deaths makes him a formidable threat. His new design is certainly awesome and moreover, it’s interesting to see how the evil sword and him will play out. This guy is not the type who can be easily controlled for sure, so whatever the case he will this sword: as a tool, or as a soulmate, or as a master, it remains to be seen. But I’m sure hyped for how Shang Bu Huan and his partner can overcome this powerful beast. The lesson Shang Bu Huan needs to learn here, is to listen to your goddamn partner, dude. This Ginger Singer knows best.

Posted on 20 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Thunderbolt mixes things up nicely this week. This week, the overpowered Princess has a fair shot of killing off our Shang Bu Huan, but predictably leaves him so that he can suffer. As often the case, when you’re too powerful you tend to act arrogantly, and… stupid. Thunderbolt is one good set piece piling up to another right now, as it often pairs 2 members from the main cast and let them bouncing off each other. First, I’m glad to see how the Dirty Cop Xiao Kung Juan (which for now I’ll refer as Dirty Juan) manages to catch Gui Niao off-guard. The table has turned quickly on that side and for now, Gui Niao works under the command of Dirty Juan. I know Gui Niao will eventually finds the opening in a matter of time, but it’s nice to see a battle where sword isn’t directly involved in Thunderbolt. It’s certainly amusing to see that Dirty Cop loses himself for the ‘charms’ of Seven Blasphemous Deaths and kicks the pile of woods uncontrollably. Boy, the campy sense of fun is still going strong here.

Second, we have a meetup between our Hero and the nihilist monk Di Kong. He’s still pretty much a wildcard here since I still can’t put my finger on his role in the grand scheme. Will he become an ultimate villain? Will he join up with the good gand to repress the evil sword? Will he change at all? Everything is up in the air now and he remains as mysterious as ever. Shang Bu Huan seems to agree with me on this, as he’s still baffled on the Monk’s mindset. He shows no remorse on learning the fact that the girl he saved runs amok and kills everyone on sight. He even comments on how pointless he was as trying to save people just so that they were killed in the end. Shang Bu Huan remains too soft, as always, given he tries to reason with the guy, to no avail of course. I love the way how Shang Bu Huan already meets all kind of eccentric personalities, but his “are you for real?” expression is still refreshing and never gets old.

Third, we have a total unexpected match between Cruelty Princess Xie Yinglou (with a feminine-talking sword) and Red Hair Musician Lang Wu Yao (with a masculine-talking instrument). Damn, along with the real battle between Princess and Musician, it’s also a battle of wit between two talky instruments right there. It’s clear that Princess Cruelty has taken something much more than she bargained for, and now she’s slowly consumed by it. The dream sequence where she meets and destroys her boss, apart from some stunning background designs here, suggests how Seven Blasphemous Deaths keeps manipulating her deepest thoughts, even turns herself against her goal for living. In addition, it marks the first time Thunderbolt experiencing with its puppetry form visually, as it uses special negative color effect to illustrate Red Musician’s unique technique of fighting by hearing sense. He even has an edge towards Cruelty Princess until our Gui Niao and Dirty Cop poke their noses in (Really. What do you expect from the Enigmatic Gale but poling his nose where he doesn’t belong?). Thunderbolt is, to put it simply, unstoppable right now.

Posted on 15 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

My apologies that I missed a post last week, it’s not due to the lack of interest of Thunderbolt given the show is as exciting as ever, but more about my hectic life. These past two episodes have many game-changing events, and many Gui Niao’s wittiest lines and expressions to boost. The moment the Vapewiz puts his finger to his cheek I know the show loses none of its charms. In episode 6, the monk Di Kong becomes more prominent into this whole affair. As we predicted, the monk can prove to be an interesting villain, given how immoral he is. That is not to say he loves to wreak havoc or seeks out for fame and power like the villains in the first season. It’s that he has no sense of judgement and justice and has no value of human life (even his own), and that could prove very dangerous if he falls for the wrong cause, or simply, if he can’t find the right path to lead.

When he meets our team Shang Bu Huan and Lang Wu Yao who are in pursuit of Princess Cruelty (more on her later), he decides not to help out our guys. That sets off the evil-detector of Lang Wu Yao, and he’s in killing mode again – or as Gui Niao puts it, it’s hard to deal with a person who doesn’t talk. Well, he might be right to assume that Di Kong will be dangerous, but there’s no way he can just blast off and determined on destroying people like that. Later on, he “sweet-talks” our Princess Cruelty (more like completely destroy her ego but you know what I mean) into re-access her whole philosophy of life. Well played, dude.

Speaking of the female assassin, she’s vulnerable in every possible way. Beaten down by her enemy Shang Bu Huan, backstabbed and got sword-stolen from the corrupted cop, and now the monk mind-fucking her ego, she does what a loyal dog would do: bring the antique sword back to her Master. For a ruthless villain who only has a single mission of killing our hero, strangely I really feel for her struggles there. And that’s important that we feel sympathy for her because it justifies her action much later, which moves the plot in an interesting way: she’s drawing the Seven Blasphemous Deaths and ho boy, what a sword!! It enslaves the wielder and draws everyone’s desire once they look at it, and gain ultimate power with the blood it slays. While now, it proves to be the ultimate hazzard for our heroes, I still kind of feel bad for Scorpion girl. She won’t get out of this alive.

On the other side of the battle, that cheeky Gui Niao has his next target, the glassed cop. Curiously enough, that Dirty Cop has gained some valuable information about the Enigmatic Gale, which honestly make this game way more interesting now that they are on the same level. My biggest pleasure is to see Gui Niao fishes the information out of Shang Bu Huan, and honestly seeing their vibrant chemistry as they bounce back and forth it brings a warm feeling to me (and that fishing scene is pretty awesome too). This mind game between two unpredictable figures could prove to be as interesting as the devil Sword. Also special shout out for weapons that not only can talk, they make much more sense than the human counterparts. Thunderbolt is charging ahead in full gear now. There’s no stopping this puppet train now.

ps: why do people still hesitate on regarding Thunderbolt as anime?

Posted on 2 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Now, things escalate pretty quickly. In a Thunderbolt Fantasy fashion, the moment Lang Wu Xiao gets a hand of the dragon’s horn and the formula, he double-crosses Gui Niao. But I can’t hate this guy, given his motive is purely because he cares for his partner Shang Bu Huan. The allied from the other side of the war is also bound to be broken very soon, as it’s clearly the Catching Fox is manipulating the Princess of Cruelty now. It’s one of the rare moments where we see Shang Bu Huan is vulnerable. It’s also one of the rare moments where we see the Princess of Cruelty having a conscience. The Monk’s words last episode clearly affects her and I would love to see her go through some sort of character arc. Now all that is just the beginning now that Shang Bu Huan has an antidote and is now “a hundred times more alive”.

But the absolute peak of this episode (and the whole season so far) is the battle of wits between our Gui Niao, Lang Wu Xiao and the one-wing dragon. It has everything that I want from Thunderbolt DNA, and then some: it has absurd dragon’s design, it has the sheer ridiculousness of the whole situation, it has campy quality, it has the grand visual spectacular and most of all, it has one of Gui Niao’s wittiest lines. Just imagine the ridiculousness of a giant fire-breathing dragon raises from below the ground (how on earth does he hide underground in the first place? To sleep? I think not), or that he’s powerful enough to speak human language (consider how there’s no human in the Wasteland of Spirits). This quality proves to be his fall from grace, as Gui Niao is an expert of deceiving everything by his words. It’s certainly charming as heck to see him politely asks the dragon for his horn (more than mocking based on his tone of speech), before runs like a maniac in a very quirky manner that only puppetry can produce, and finishes with a line: “doesn’t matter how nice you ask, anyone would be angry for that request”. Damn you, Gui Niao

Also only in a puppetry show that you can see a dragon throwing up flames that absurd. It mixes nicely between Thunderbolt’s trolly tone with how it takes itself seriously enough. If that isn’t eye-popping and ridiculous enough, we have the climax where Lang Wu Xiao has to sing (the fact the he admits his singing beyond hopeless make it way funnier, too) to attract the Dragon’s attention so that Gui Niao can set his favorite illusion trap. How the show transform for the usual two swordsmen fighting the monster into singing and talking while dodging wall of flame is nothing short of a stroke of genius. And don’t forget how Gui Niao isn’t in the least surprised when Lang Wu Xiao double-crosses him. Ridicule everyone has been his lifelong passion, so it’s only natural that he just gets used to people turning against him. I don’t care how Thunderbolt will go from here, as long as it maintains its quirky, campy nature like this dragon battle I’m more than happy to follow it everywhere.

Posted on 24 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

I’m glad to say that Thunderbolt Fantasy slowly goes back to its own charms, namely the witty banters between all the cast where they bounce off each other to reach a sort of agreement. This episode has two such cases. First, the villain side decides to team up together since they have the same goals: destroy Shang Bu Huan. Second, the allied side decides to cooperate because they also have the same objectives: to save Shang Bu Huan’s ass. The injured Shang Bu Huan is in the middle of all this and lurking behind the scene is the monk Di Kong and whatever his goal is. My suspect last week is proved wrong as Di Kong and the Princess of Cruelty don’t know each other, but there are two other takeaways from their meeting. First, Di Kong is far superior in terms of combating than the female assassin. He just decides not to. Second, what the hell happen to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths? I mean, is it still there? What if Di Kong is in possession of it? It’d be cool to see a guy who is adept of channeling toxic handles the ultimate toxicity sword. The more I think about it the more I feel he’s the only person who can control that evil sword.

My biggest enjoyment from this episode comes from the interaction between Xiao Kuang Juan and Cruelty-Hime. It’s the moment where their true personality is clearly presented. And in this case you can see how corrupted and how much of a bastard Xiao Kuang Juan is. Basically, his idea is that he wants to Sword Index returns to his hometown so that he can enjoy the luxury life he has. So teaming up with Cruelty-hime, they could potentially kill Shang Bu Huan and have a full control of the Sword Index. Regarding this ally, I’d say thay the assassin girl gets the shorter straw here. This guy is wise and I’m sure the moment Xie Yingluo has her hand on the Index, he’d double cross her to have it all by himself.

The not-as-bad side (Note: there’s no such thing as good side in thunderbolt Fantasy), on the other hand, is formed through the ever-curious Gui Niao and the reluctant Lang Wu Yao. I pretty enjoy the bits where he test the toxic (such refreshing method, mind you) and the way he comes up with the solution feels as effortless for him as walking on water (I love his train of logic here). So in order to get the antidote back to Shang Bu Huan, they need to retrieve the horn of the dragon, whom they happen to cross in the Wasteland of Spirits. It’s also hilarious to learn that the said dragon’s wing was chopped by Shang Bu Huan in a manner of us catching a fly. Gui Niao, being surprisingly honest in his intent, says that the reason he’s in is because he’s curious about Shang Bu Huan. He also tries to test the Lang Wu Yao, which the latter in turns test him back. Such bombastic energy and the newly formed allyship that you aren’t quite sure if you can trust the others are what essentially make Thunderbolt Fantasy such a fantastic show to watch. Thunderbolt Fantasy is officially back, in full force!!

Posted on 19 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Now that’s more like it. Until you see the puppets’ blood-squirting and head-rolling you know that Thunderbolt Fantasy is back in full force. On a narrative side, this season has been more straightforward than the first. The hero’s and villain’s sides are pretty clear-cut so far, and with this episode the last member of the promotion art claims his first appearance. This dude Di Kong is a saint. Well, nearly since he’s a travelling monk who help cure the toxic for no gain, even putting himself in danger. He makes one hell of an impression, but my gut tells me that he’s the guy not to be taken lightly. There’s still one missing piece in the grand scheme so far, and that is Cruelty-hime boss, Kasei Meikou. He’s the guy who is so fearsome that Shang Bu Huan had to cross the Wasteland of Spirits in order to protect the swords index (okay, official term Sorcerous Scoll Index) from him (guess crossing the Wasteland of Spirits becomes trendy lately, huh?). Really, I believe this yin yang monk fits all the bill as the final boss for this whole affair.

At first, I took it that Princess Cruelty (I might stick to that name to avoid confusion) and the sneaky Xiao Kuang Juan are on the same team. This episode makes it clear that they are on different agenda and don’t necessary see each other as an ally. Well, they do have a same goal for now (kill our poor Shang Bu Huan) but their super-ego prevents them from seeing eye to eye to the matter. Thunderbolt Fantasy also makes damn sure to let us know how cruel this General is. He blames all his killing to the innocent villagers to Shang Bu Huan, the cruel thing is how he sees his actions as “justified”. That action even ticks our “always cool” Gui Niao off. But so far, it’s interesting to see how much of a wild card Gui Niao is. Unlike the people in this side who already acquainted to the legendary Lin Xue Ya, these villains from Xi You know next to nothing about him and thus, the more arrogant they act the more they become Gui Niao’s plaything. One thing to remember, always keep this guy amused. Who knows what on earth we would do if he gets bored.

Thankfully, when it comes to Shang Bu Huan, Gui Niao’s definitely interested. As for our main hero, he barely makes it with the toxic from Princess Cruelty. The other running thread involves her and her temptation to use the sword Seven Blasphemous Deaths. It has such a strong aura that it tempts her to use it several time. Apart from “it has mind-control effect” and “it’s one of the most badass sword) we still know next to nothing about it. Which is good since now I am hyped. Now that our two leads Gui Niao and Shang Bu Huan finally meet (to the dismay of the latter), things would get more snappy soon. In truth, I kinda miss the characters bouncing-off each other that made the first season a gem to watch, but I hope that now that Thunderbolt Fantasy finishes setting up the new characters and the main conflict, it’ll delve more for characters’ interaction and killer one-liners.

CHANGE USERNAME
Vonter
I suppose we've had this talk. But; do women have a different type of power fantasies? Or you could essentially do the same thing as any other Isekai but with the genders flipped?
Vonter
@niello - Most power fantasies eventually lead to harems (like Hyrule Warriors). I did like the interactions of the two main characters in Shield Hero. And with Slime is sorta like watching a Let's Play as the main character visually gets more powerful along with his village, but like with Dr. House it seems it's a one man's show.
niello
Shield Hero is actually quite similar to Slime as after a while the MC basically settle down and make his own village to cultivate fighting force. The downside is that at that point it started to turn into a harem.
niello
It'd be nice if the new Franken Fran series could get it an anime, but that chance is probably near 0%...
niello
He does look young though
niello
Didn't Furuya ruined his voice with his smoking habit? It's coarser and deeper now. Judging from his Seiya voice a few years ago.
Vonter
Or are the 50s the new late 30s or early 40s?
Vonter
Are japanese people vampires? https://ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Toru_Furuya
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: If you look at the voice list, that Japanese voice actor for Mario in that anime movie is the same voice actor for Amuro Ray from the original Gundam.
Vonter
Also considering Baby Bowser was raised by Kamek. I suppose those beings could be made by magic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - My head canon is that Bowser made them himself. Kinda Lord Zedd or Rita from Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still subscribe to the headcanon that Peach is the mother of Bowsers children.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember growing up with the relatively poor American cartoons, none of them featured Wario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have committed videogame genocide apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everytime I broke or hit a brick in the Mario games I was probably murdering a toad.
Vonter
The ending it's "interesting" considering the relationship Mario and Peach have isn't something as close, as Link and Zelda.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's weird but at the same time it does use elements from the game. Like the music, and story bits from the manual from the original Super Mario Bros. (Where it mentioned Bowser uses magic to turn Toads into the bricks, clouds and other objects of the game).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never did end up watching the Mario anime movie that came out in the 80s.
Vonter
Also someone is putting the effort of making a Bowsette adventure doujin. This is the type of stuff that could be it's own original thing since it strays far from what's Mario. Despite the occasional mild nudity it's quite fun so far, despite also how weird it is.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - At the very least it'll be interesting to see where it goes. It happens also every time something comes back. Times change and so the way we make stories. Also the original run had a curtain call chapter, so this is more a new story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is often what happens with episodic stuff for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I essentially read Fraken Fran until I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, I feel that Franken Fran pretty much ran it's course though. Not sure what a new series could bring.
Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

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Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

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Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 13 [And Then Start Running]

Kaze Fui returns, contending with and maybe even beating Mob Psycho for best episode of the week! We have introspection, backstory, and the team coming together to protect their emotionally stunted friend! Lets charge in! Everything about Kaze Fui this week was fantastic. From the narrative to the VA’s. But one I want to hit […]

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

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The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

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