Posted on 9 October 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

Well, this is awkward. I’m so behind on Altair that even a double episode review isn’t enough to get us caught up. Two months ago, I made the decision to discontinue my coverage of this series once it hit the halfway point, and even though episode 13 functions as the true conclusion to this arc, I’m content to finish things here. There’s no sense in laying out each of my issues with the show – you can read past reviews for that – but to put it broadly, the entire production feels hurried, and not just in terms of its breakneck narrative speed. There’s some good dramatic material in Altair’s story, but in the hands of a conservative director and an overworked studio, it rarely came alive for me. There was a big exception to that rule in one of these two episodes, though, so let’s talk about it… after refreshing ourselves on the details of the anime.

Several weeks ago, we left off with a plot to assassinate the sultans of the Turkiyean territories, who would all be in one place thanks to Prince Orhan and Aishe’s wedding. Now, word of this plan makes its way back to the Divan in Turkiye, who send a pro-sultanate representative to the ceremony. The envoy makes a pit stop at Balaban’s doorstep, however, and spills the beans regarding the trap waiting for him in Kuluch. Armed with this information, Balaban (and the other sultans) choose to march their armies to the wedding and conduct a preliminary strike against their would-be killers. But this leaves their territory undefended, and Zaganos quickly moves to seize control of their major cities. The show later frames this as a cause-and-effect scenario, and given Balaban’s blinding pride, it kind of is, but I do wonder what would have happened if he had refused to attend the wedding. The political fallout from that disrespect is nothing compared to the potential loss of your country, or even your life. Uzun, in particular, should have called in sick on invasion day – his only interest ought to be the completion of the trade route that would secure his nation’s financial independence from Turkiye.

All of that aside, “The Prince of Swords” gets good right at the end, when Orhan’s father goes back on his pact with Mahmut. Fearing for the safety of his people if the bloodthirsty Balaban breaks into the city, he attempts to kill Aishe and offer her head as a gift to him. Orhan, driven by love for his bride-to-be, kills his father to save her life. What makes this an especially remarkable move is that, earlier in the episode, he had learned that Aishe was in love with her uncle, and had no desire to be married. This is a character who was played strictly for laughs until this point, so when he came before his royal guard and confessed to the murder, decrying his father’s cowardice and proclaiming his own ascension to the throne, I got chills. Whoever provided Orhan’s voice did a fabulous job with this material – I almost looked to see who it was, but then decided I don’t want to associate that performance with any other characters. Even though I won’t be watching beyond these episodes, I hope that Orhan has some part to play in Turkiye’s post-rebellion landscape.

Speaking of the rebellion, most of the second episode is dedicated to the military struggle between Balaban’s forces and Mahmut’s. Though our heroes are outnumbered 4 to 1, Balaban brings only 5000 men into battle, not wanting to lessen the glory of his victory with superior numbers. This turns out to be his undoing, as Mahmut is able to eliminate most of his troops before luring the survivors into a narrow valley. It’s in this remote setting that Beyazit’s trump card from last month is finally put to use, as his musketeers use their revolutionary firepower to pierce the shields of Balaban’s strongest soldiers. As for the Red Tiger himself, he dies in his brother’s arms, despairing at the fact that the only person who truly loved him also helped to engineer his downfall. There were several flashbacks to younger versions of Balaban and Beyazit throughout these episodes, and while none of them particularly moved me, they did establish the two men as fated opponents, despite their affection for one another as children and young adults. Balaban was too big and too colorful a character for the rigid world of Rumeliana, so if he had to go, at least it was with a bit of nuance.

That’s it from me where Shoukoku no Altair is concerned. There’s still another cour to go, so if you’ve been enjoying the ride, I hope the show stays on course. The new fall season has produced a handful of worthwhile shows so far, so I’m itching to start blogging one of those instead. Whichever series that ends up being, I hope you’ll stick around as we transition to a new story and a new set of characters. Thanks for reading.

Posted on 17 September 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

This was the busiest episode of Altair yet, with a script that pinballed between Turkiye’s four stratocracies, introduced a handful of new characters, and chronicled the formation of both alliances and rebellious plots. To try and recap everything that happened this week would require hundreds more words than I’m willing to expend, so let’s assume we’ve all seen the episode and jump to its most important reveal: Beyazit’s demonstration of the musket’s power just before the closing credits. These last few moments marked the first time in a while that Altair has kept my full attention – it was a great choice to cut the background noise and put reverb on the sounds of the gun being loaded, then raise the orchestra after its firing. As the music indicates, the introduction of handheld firearms into this world has history-altering implications, which is lucky for Team Mahmut, since he’s been tasked with leading revolutions in all four sultan-led territories. Beyazit claims to have 77 of these deadly weapons at his disposal, which is enough to convince an important new character to join forces with him.

That character is Ismail, prince* of Buchak, which is perhaps the most important of the four stratocracies, narratively speaking. That’s because of the trade route its sultan Uzun is constructing between his country and Balt-Rhein, which has promised to support them after they break from Turkiye. This road is the key to Buchak’s financial independence, which means the coup that Mahmut is engineering must succeed before the route’s completion. Ismail’s willingness to betray his father, though, should give our plotters an advantage in their dangerous game of thrones. Another of their allies, Aishe (princess of a different stratocracy – how nice for Mahmut that these connections have fallen into his lap), concocts a plan to gather all the sultans in one place. She’s engaged to be married to Orhan (yet another prince, this time of Kuluch) and proposes to his father that he announce a date for their ceremony, which ought to be attended by all the people that Mahmut aims to take down. The masked sultan Selim, who only submitted to the Empire for the safety of his country, agrees to Aishe’s gamble, and thus anime’s version of the Red Wedding is set to occur within an episode or two.

(* Although the show uses non-Western titles for its stratocratic royalty, I’m opting to use familiar terms for my own sanity. The subtitles I’m reading are inconsistent with their terminology and spelling in the first place, so this makes things easier for me.)

That’s enough plot summary for this week. Let’s talk about fight scenes – specifically, the one that opened this episode. Rod Orm have never been especially threatening on a small scale, but Mahmut still managed to look like a badass here, calling Iskender to claw open one flunkie’s back and slicing another across the chest himself. Watching a newly one-handed Eleanor plead for her life was satisfying, especially since it gives us the sense that both Mahmut and the show have undergone a significant evolution. The former general isn’t taking prisoners at this stage in the game, especially with a shot at redemption in Turkiye on the line. He does let eyepatch girl escape, but Altair can hardly afford to give her another second of camera time, given how quickly things are moving elsewhere in the world. Blood is about to be spilled in Kuluch, and with time running out for the rebellion, no one is exempt from the dirty business of killing.

Posted on 11 September 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

The world of Shoukoku no Altair has been widening by the episode, but it underwent its biggest expansion yet this week. In exploring the ripple effects caused by the Empire’s defeat of Phoinike, the show opted to jump all over the map, introducing stratocracies and sultans left, right and center. The most significant of these were the satellite nation of Muzrak and its colorful leader Balaban, a sultan with a taste for both warfare and beautiful men. The concept for Balaban’s character is wasted on this show, which saddles him with dry dialogue and immediately connects him with the show’s primary antagonists, but his motivation – to be recognized as the head of an independent country – is one that grows Altair’s universe in an interesting way.

Turkiye, it seems, is a nation with four surrounding stratocracies, all of which protect and receive economic benefits from the central state. In response to the recent Imperial aggression in Centro, each of these neighboring city-states sends their leader to vote on the formation of a Turkiyean Federation, which would effectively bring all of Turkiye under one banner. Zaganos stands in firm support of this plan, which tells us exactly what the mainland stands to gain from its passing: a stronger, more unified military force. Yes, Zaganos is still on his quest to command the mightiest military in Rumeliana, even with the older Suleyman Bey at his side for this half hour. Unfortunately for the Poison General, the sultans (including Balaban) vote unanimously against the proposal, and when he suggests that Turkiye simply annex those territories, one of their representatives warns him that any aggression on his part will be returned in kind.

Zaganos eventually convinces his boss that overthrowing the sultan-led governments of their territories is the way to go, but Mahmut doesn’t have such an easy time out in the world. With Kiros and Abiriga in tow, he finds himself in a place called Liman, where the kulak is revealed to be Balaban’s younger brother. The poor guy has locked himself beneath the local water temple for fear of his older sibling, who wants his head for sheltering their traitor niece. This whole plotline would have been way more effective if we had known about their family for more than ten minutes before the gloves came off, but you know what they say about beating dead horses. Luckily, there’s some redemption for this story in the form of a conversation between Mahmut and Balaban, whose hunger for power and autonomy clashes with Mahmut’s loyalty to the country that demoted and effectively exiled him. Balaban offers the former Pasha a place in his Yenicheri (a force of 10,000 men hand-picked by the sultan himself), and brings up Turkiye’s unjust punishment to goad Mahmut into switching sides. With this meeting on the books, the Red Tiger manages to escape mere one-dimensionality, though the last third of the episode keeps him locked at two.

Here’s where things get silly. Eleanor (the woman who works for Imperial Minister Louis) makes an appearance at Balaban’s palace immediately after the arrival of Mahmut and company. She chides her apparent ally for letting the boy live, but Balaban, not being the type to follow orders, brushes her off. I would have preferred for this connection not to have been revealed for at least a week, since it removes the suspense from the political situation in Muzrak – another dead horse, I suppose. Mahmut, sensing that he needs to make a dash for freedom at the nearest opportunity, enlists the help of walking plot device Abiriga, who procures some Yenicheri uniforms for the boys. When the sultan’s troops are called to assemble, though, Balaban spots them and decides to heed Eleanor’s advice. Unfortunately for him, Abiriga single-handedly karate chops at least fifty of his goons into submission, and our heroes escape the city with nothing but a couple bruises. Earlier in the episode, too, Abiriga put his ear to the ground, did a quick number crunch, and calculated that there were 500 people inside the water temple. Ever been torn between insane martial arts prowess and supersonic hearing as a trait for your ideal guy? Get you a man who can do both!

Posted on 5 September 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

The conflict between realism and idealism became clearer than ever on this week’s Altair, with the show using precisely those terms to describe its own thematic underpinnings. Perhaps it’s due to the contrast with Kiros’ brash personality, but I thought Mahmut demonstrated some real patience and political savviness during his time in Venedik. He certainly came closer to camping with the realists than ever before, despite being known to Doge Lucio as “the Pasha who despises war.” That such a title would be a clear identifier tells us all we need to know about the strangeness of Mahmut’s allergy to conflict, at least in this world of uprisings and betrayals. As he continues to meet new people and encounter different perspectives, perhaps he’ll earn a more flattering reputation. “The Pasha who formerly despised war, but now understands that sometimes countries must fight to protect their own interests,” perhaps?

Mahmut is actually a Binbashu now, rather than a Pasha, which is a demotion I’d nearly forgotten until Doge Lucio made sure to mention it during their face-off. Lucio’s explanation for his betrayal of Phoinike is a technical one: Venedik deployed a fleet, as the treaty between the two nations required, but because it said nothing about the ships’ arrival, they were free to remain at sea while the Empire invaded and conquered their former ally. Mahmut bristles at this deception, and at the Doge’s willingness to form a new trade agreement with Balt-Rhein, but Lucio insists that going to war with the Empire wouldn’t have benefitted his people. As the two young men began to answer questions with questions, it became clear that their opinions regarding the political landscape of Centro were irreconcilable. Thankfully, this wasn’t another instance of Mahmut taking a hard-line stance and getting BTFO immediately afterwards – he later admitted to Kiros that his opponent’s views were justifiable, even if they left a bad taste in his mouth. I’d say that’s a good bit of progress, considering how slowly the game of international relations is mastered.

The rest of the episode deals with a plan, orchestrated by Captain Brega and a spice merchant named Mora, to frame Abiriga (who we met last week) for a crime he didn’t commit, thus exiling him from Venedik and freeing him to travel with Mahmut. I was surprised to learn that Abiriga wasn’t a member of Suleyman Bey’s spy network, though it wasn’t a shock to learn that Bey had tried to recruit him years earlier, given his status as an outsider. Abiriga’s refusal stemmed in part from loyalty to his adoptive country, whose citizens hold him in high regard; Brega calls him “highly trusted and accomplished,” which made me doubt the necessity of the cloak and dagger routine. If Venedik wants a good relationship with Turkiye, and Abiriga has the support of the people, why not make him an official emissary? Keeping it a secret allowed the conspirators to test Mahmut’s character (he passed, in a manner so silly that it doesn’t bear recounting), and to keep from “attracting unwanted attention,” but the whole thing felt like an M. Night Shyamalan film to me. The real goal must be to keep the Empire in the dark regarding a potential Turkiye/Venedik alliance, but Kiros has concerns of his own – with Abiriga being likely to pass information back home during their voyage, how much longer will Mahmut and company be able to travel undetected?

Posted on 30 August 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

Shoukoku no Altair ran a double feature last Friday to reclaim some lost ground after its brief hiatus earlier this month. I’ll be covering both episodes here, but this post won’t be any longer than normal. Truthfully, although Altair moves through its plot at a rapid pace, it’s often a struggle for me to generate worthwhile commentary about the series, and its latest offerings are no exception. This week, I watched as Imperial forces utilized a two-pronged attack to conquer Phoinike, after which point Mahmut was smuggled from the city and rescued by a friendly ship, recovered from a life-threatening wound for nine days, arrived in Venedik, and was granted an audience with their leader. That’s a lot of stuff packed into 42 minutes, but the show is so matter-of-fact in its presentation that I haven’t a shred of desire to speculate about its characters, or what fates will befall them. “The Sinking City” ends with Mahmut getting straight to the point (that’s all anyone seems to do in this world) and quizzing Venedik’s leader about the betrayal of their former ally, but I doubt the show will do anything other than handwave the question and jump to the next story beat when it resumes.

One curious sequence from the first of these two episodes occurs during its opening minutes, when an Imperial ship helmed by unwilling soldiers begins to take on water. Immediately after this scene, there’s a shot of Glalat (the blond nobleman) sharpening his sword with a whetstone. The implication is that Glalat sank one of his own ships, predicting that the disgruntled men within his ranks would use that opportunity to escape and beg Phoinike for asylum. For his ploy to stay on track, Phoinike would then need to fall for this obvious bait and lower the chains that restrict entrance to the city, allowing Glalat’s ship to break into the bay, but only if a tailwind arrived to push it through precisely as it began its approach. This is some Death Note-tier planning, complete with a character furiously scribbling nautical calculations on a piece of parchment as the scene unfolds. Of course, the Empire’s strategy is successful, but what was intended to be a pulse-pounding miracle of a defeat for our heroes instead feels ridiculous. Implausibility isn’t the only issue here, however – the bigger problem is that we know so little about the Phoiniken characters that the events around them have no dramatic weight, despite all that we’ve heard about the city’s past invincibility.

The second episode was marginally better, despite feeling like it was playing in fast-forward for most of its length. Kiros got the best material, including a runner where he tried to feed Iskender multiple times before finally managing not to get squawked at. The kulak and the eagle are two of a kind, really, in that they’re both slow to trust; Kiros was immediately suspicious of Abiraga, the red-haired leader of the fleet that picked them up, even after he allowed Mahmut to recuperate in his room for more than a week. Kiros’ mistrust is likely misplaced, as we audience members know from the OP that Abiraga will eventually accompany Mahmut on his journey, but in the meantime, his smiling opacity lends his character a dash of intrigue. My guess is that he’s another kulak, and that we’ll get some backstory sooner rather than later, but I’d be happy to be wrong on one or both counts.

Posted on 19 August 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

After a three-week break, Shoukoku no Altair returned today with an episode reminiscent more of its first three than its last. If you’ve been reading these posts for the last couple months, you’ll know that’s not a good thing, at least from where I’m sitting. We were awash in exposition and timeskips again this time around, and looking at the off-model characters scattered throughout the episode, I suspect it may have been outsourced (or else MAPPA is spread too thin with Kakegurui and Bahamut also airing this season). Still, the show’s weekly barrage of new characters, nations, and locales lends Altair a briskness that makes it easy to blog. You know the old saying: when the show’s too thin to analyze, suck it up and summarize.

Actually, there was one theme at work in this episode that I felt was rather effective, and that’s the struggle between realism and idealism within Mahmut. When we first met him, he was tactless and naïve, despite his military status – he spoke without thinking, abandoned his city to help his friends on more than one occasion, and was regularly taken aback by the machinations of enemies and political rivals. His do-gooder streak remains, as we saw this week when he refused to leave Phoinike even after they declared war on the Empire, but he’s becoming more pragmatic and self-aware all the same. The decision to sail for Venedik and gain their support was motivated not by emotion or instinct, but by the fact that if Phoinike falls, the Empire will have Mahmut’s homeland of Turkiye surrounded. The former Pasha was also able to recognize a display of overconfidence in a friend, flashing back to his own trust in Ibrahim, who betrayed Turkiye just a month ago. I don’t expect that Mahmut will transform into a battle-hardened cynic before the series concludes, but the nuance is appreciated.

The man who will facilitate the aforementioned departure for Venedik is the newcomer Kiros, who you may have recognized as one of the riders flanking Mahmut during the opening theme. Kiros is another one of Zaganos’ spies, although his idea about what constitutes an effective disguise might make him ill-suited for the job. (Seriously, what’s with the Jack Sparrow cosplay?) His acquisition was handled by Suleyman Bey, who preyed on Kiros’ hatred of his politician father’s two-faced greed in order to bring him into the fold. This flashback was among the more interesting scenes of the episode, as it depicted the grittier side of espionage. Although Mahmut actively seeks out the company of intelligence gatherers, it might be a while before he gets his own hands dirty, so for now I’ll make do with the backstories of shadier men.

Konstantinos is the other significant character who made his debut this week. Though he appears friendly at first, he quickly reveals himself to be a dead ringer for Zaganos, who will use whatever (or whomever) is handy to achieve his ends. Konstantinos invites Mahmut to a government meeting in a fancy amphitheater, where the Phoiniken senators are set to debate whether they should allow the Balt-Rhein Empire to use their ports. Rather than allowing his guest to voice his opinion, however, it becomes clear that Konstantinos has only allowed Mahmut to attend the debate as a symbol of imperial defeat. With the support of both the people and his fellow senators, he declares war on the Empire, and what follows are a series of bloody conflicts along the wall that presently keeps them out. Altair’s politics are about as complicated as a mud pie, but its battles are much more interesting – Lady Lelederik is back, with a plan to scale Phoinike’s crystal cliff and infiltrate the city for the first time in 1800 years. Now it’s a race between her troops and the reinforcements Mahmut hopes to bring, and though the victor is all but assured, the contest may be compelling yet.

Posted on 28 July 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

Shoukoku no Altair seems to be settling into a rhythm. For an episode containing as much new terminology and backstory as this one, “The Eagle’s Joint Struggle” moved from beat to beat with an ease I wasn’t anticipating. That tone is partly owed to the character of Baskan Suleyman, whose competent yet approachable personality dominated the proceedings this week. As one of just two survivors of the Tughril people, you might expect him to be a darker, less forgiving figure, but his competence and charm made him my favorite cast member thus far. Mahmut seemed to have a similar opinion, which transforms his journey into one of purpose, rather than exile. It was great fun to see the two falconers swap stories and team up on a few of Louis’ flunkies. Mahmut now has his first real comrade, as opposed to the mentors, friends, and enemies he’s encountered until this point, and that’s a welcome addition to the series.

It wasn’t all fun and games this week, however, as the episode-opening dream sequence made the horrors of our hero’s past more vivid than ever before. During the first of these visions, Mahmut was literally rooted to the ground while his mother was murdered before his eyes. One new detail I spotted in this scene was the baby she cradled as her attackers advanced – this couldn’t have been her first child, since Mahmut was five years old when his village was burned, so perhaps his younger sibling was tragically taken from him that night, as well. Even more interesting would be if a third Tughril tribesman still lived, perhaps as a member of the Empire, having been captured during the raid. We aren’t given too much time to reflect on these possibilities, however, as the dream shifts to feature shadowy figures that prey on Mahmut’s self-doubt and tear at his eyes and ears. This is a new, more serious tone for the show, so it’s good that some friendly faces were introduced later to provide some balance.

Those faces belong to Barbaros, a kulak (Turkish for “ear”) in Zaganos’ spy network, and the aforementioned Suleyman, both of whom reveal themselves to Mahmut when he pays a visit to his home village. The show wasted no time in demonstrating the function of the Pyramis from last time; when held under a fountain at particular shrines, it emits a beam of light that Zaganos’ people can identify, and which Barbaros quickly spotted this week. It’s such a clever device that I’m already past worrying about how easily it fell into Mahmut’s lap, and ready for him to travel to more shrines and meet more potential allies. Not that I’ll forget Suleyman any time soon – his goal of using the spy network to prevent war stands in fascinating contrast to Zaganos’ apparent desire for it, so there may be an ideological clash in their future. Perhaps the larger arc of the series will be Mahmut flipping the spy network’s ultimate purpose from one of conflict to one of peace. Then again, maybe the Poison General isn’t as war-hungry as he appears, and everything we’ve seen from him so far has been part of a much longer game.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the smaller details this week that really helped the episode breathe, including the brief ritual Mahmut performed upon his arrival at Yeni Tughril. What really impressed me about this scene was its lack of explanatory voiceover – we know from context that the water is intended to pay respect to the dead, and while the finer details may escape us, the silence makes the moment that much more poignant. (That being said, anyone who wants to offer additional commentary on that scene is more than welcome to do so!) Also worth noting is Mahmut’s observation that the area’s wild eagles will migrate north soon, so he won’t be able to use them in combat for a while. These quiet moments gave the show a healthier, more natural air this week, so I’ll be on the lookout for them next time, as well.

Posted on 22 July 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

With this episode, Altair’s first arc comes to a close. Mahmut Pasha, teenage prodigy and commander of eagles, is now simply Tughril Mahmut, a disgraced former general set to leave Turkiye on a journey of discovery. Though its main character didn’t fare so well this week, I thought the show wrapped everything up nicely in its third effort, considering the amount of material it needed to cover. It put a bow on the conflict in Hisar, lovingly kicked our hero from grace while confirming his suspicions of an impending war, and introduced an important plot device that will drive the story going forward (more on that in a bit). Though Altair hasn’t become the polished production I’d originally hoped for, the stage is set for a new, hopefully more fruitful chapter in the show’s history.

Last time, after hearing that his friend Ibrahim was in trouble, Mahmut left for Hisar without saying a word to anyone. Though he was successful this week in rescuing Ibrahim and the hostages that had tied his hands, his reward upon returning to Turkiye was a demotion. The council’s justification: in addition to acting rashly at first, Mahmut later made the decision to free all the Araban people (subtlety isn’t one of Altair’s strong suits) who had been lured into Hisar by the evil Minister Louis, in the hopes that they could persuade their countrymen not to carry out a larger invasion. Mahmut’s fellow generals would have preferred that he let only a fraction of them carry the message, but they also want war with the Empire, and it’s this second motive that seems to be the real reason for the dismissal. This sudden reversal of fortune doesn’t carry a lot of emotional weight, since it comes so close to the beginning of our story, but it’s the best and boldest decision the show has made so far. Stripped of his rank and without a means of aiding his country, Mahmut is now free to hit the road and meet the two young men who appear at his side during the opening theme.

My previous suspicions about Zaganos were off the mark, though it turns out I was right not to trust him completely – he’s the type of guy who controls a spy network that spans the entire continent, which explains why his troops were located so conveniently in the last episode. Though the Poison General gives his court rival no credit for the happy ending in Hisar, he’s kind enough to give him a necklace that functions as the key to contacting these spies. Why Zaganos would give such a valuable trinket to a man intent on leaving the country is a mystery to me, but maybe a more observant viewer or helpful manga reader can ease my confusion in the comments below. Perhaps Altair is just the type of series to create more questions every time it answers one, à la LOST (though hopefully not as opaque). In any case, this handy plot device ought to provide the thrust for the rest of the narrative, so how it fell into Mahmut’s lap is less important than where it takes us next. After this week, I’m looking forward to seeing where that will be.

Posted on 15 July 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

After last week’s runaway locomotive of an episode, I had hoped that Shokoku no Altair would find a lower narrative gear during its second offering. That dream remains unrealized, however, as the show continues to introduce settings and push its plot without giving its cast much time to breathe. The first two episodes thus far share a similar structure: Mahmut attends court and learns of a conflict that puts Turkiye at risk, objects to his rival Zaganos’ plans, is shot down, runs off to fix things himself, and stumbles upon a conspiracy orchestrated by the Empire. Altair’s premiere had a fun festival scene that introduced Ibrahim and Shara, at least, but this time all we got were a couple of clumsy flashbacks before being thrown into another dispute between Turkiye and the opposing Imperial forces.

On one side of this dispute is Zaganos Pasha, who is almost too eager to ride for the Turkiyean territory of Hisar and quell what seems to be an uprising there. While most of the primary characters have been playing with their cards face up, Zaganos Pasha is someone whose motives were in question after a single appearance. His thirst for war seemed to hint at an alliance with the enemy, but this episode revealed that he and Imperial Minister Louis (who was behind the whole thing once again) were on different pages regarding the plot in Hisar. Time will tell if Zaganos is a simple foil for Mahmut, or whether his military aspirations are more deeply rooted.

If there’s still hope that Zaganos will reveal himself to be more than a puppy-kicking villain, the same can’t be said for Louis, whose lack of a twirl-able mustache is a big missed opportunity.  Whenever there’s an establishing shot of the castle where Louis confers with the Emperor, a comically evil piece of organ music starts up, just in case you were unsure who the bad guys were. I had high hopes for the Emperor at first, but his awareness of Louis’ schemes was more concrete this time around, which robs their scenes of any potential complexity. Much more interesting is Lady Lelederik, whose brief introduction revealed her cooperation with Louis to be tenuous at best. I’m no expert on monarchical titles, but I expect this new Duchess to trump the Minister in the coming weeks.

It occurred to me during this episode that Altair’s score is distinctly western, despite being set in an alternate version of the Ottoman Empire. The string section alternates between bombastic and mournful, but they’re nearly always audible, even during some of the characters’ inner monologues. We only get a break from this sameness during the dance scenes, where the music is cheerier and more varied, but not quite Turkish or even Middle Eastern, at least not to my untrained ears. (Feel free to call me out in the comments if I’m off base here.) Altair’s backgrounds and buildings look authentic, but its unremarkable music may be contributing to my lack of engagement with the series. Its ending theme, though, meshes traditional and pop music to create an entrancing beat for which I always stick around – that’s one department where Altair never lets me down.

Posted on 8 July 2017 with categories: Series which were Dropped, Shoukoku no Altair

As a fan of both historical fantasy and MAPPA, the studio behind this series, I had high hopes for Shoukoku no Altair coming into this premiere. Its Middle Eastern setting and young, eager protagonist make it a dead ringer for Arslan Senki, the first season of which I enjoyed. Arslan was a bit dry, and its battle scenes were riddled with CG elements, but it also had the disadvantage of being produced by Liden Films. My thinking was that with a more trustworthy animation house behind it, Altair had a shot at being the complete package.

The going is still early, but after one episode, my expectations have been appropriately tempered. Altair is a distinctly average show from a visual perspective, with most of its flair coming from the ornate Turkish outfits and architecture (Turkiyean, to use the show’s vocab), rather than its composition or sense of movement. I haven’t done much more than skim through the first chapter of the manga for this one, but it would surprise me if the art were this standard in its original form. Seeing how much material was crammed into these 22 minutes, though, makes me think that the episode director had a lot more on his mind than making the show look pretty.

Despite only introducing a handful of characters in its first outing (with plenty more to come if the OP is any indication), Altair feels jam-packed with content. I’ve seen it written that the show will likely burn through its first couple arcs to get to the good stuff, and if that’s the case, we ought to be rewarded down the line. For now, though, we’re relying on flashbacks, rooftop statements of purpose, and narrated exposition to learn about the world of Rumeliana. Turkiye is a small fish in a much larger pond, and until all the major players have been introduced, I don’t expect this style of delivery to change.

The most significant player in this story is Tugril Mahmut Pasha, “Pasha” being a title for Turkiyean generals. As the youngest person ever to join that distinguished assembly, he’s clearly being set up as a prodigy. His mother is dead, and he’s so inexperienced with women that he opts to sleep on the roof when he finds one in his bed, so he’s ticking all the normal boxes as far as anime protagonists go. Mahmut discovers a plot by the neighboring Balt-Rhein Empire to frame Turkiye for the assassination of their Prime Minister, who is given the name “Franz” in one of the silliest World War I references ever. Our hero conveniently overhears the name of the conspirator from a band of assassins, sets his army of eagles on them, reveals the identity of the traitor to the Emperor of the opposing nation, and saves the day. If that sounds like a lot of material for a first episode, that’s because it is, and that’s without the handful of characters and plot points I’ve neglected to mention. Still, Altair makes itself easy to follow, even as it moves rapidly through its material.

The person that interests me the most is Zaganos Pasha, a young general who wants war with the Empire despite their superior numbers, and with whom Mahmut immediately clashes. There’s a possibility that he’s feeding information to Louis, the Imperial conspirator, to achieve his goal, but his level-headed demeanor makes it hard to predict whether that’s truly the case. The Emperor of Balt-Rhein is also a bit of a question mark – his refusal to listen to all of Mahmut’s testimony indicates prior knowledge of Louis’ plot, but there’s no confirmation that he orchestrated the whole thing. Hopefully these characters, along with those who have yet to be introduced, will lend a bit of spice to a show that could really use it.

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Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
SuperMario
But I'm not entirely sold on the show yet. I feel the relationships are a tad too heavy-handed. The light hearted tones don't work well for me but I really feel a From the New world's vibe from the show
SuperMario
@Amagi: I will talk about Children of the Whales here in the chatbox since we don't cover it. Damnit the cliffhanger. That series really focuses on the theme of repress their own feelings. From the children in the Mud Whales with their custom of not to cry in the funeral or their lacing their hands to express their gratitude. Episode 2 has that monster who basically eats others emotions
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by extension, I would hope that it would encourage adaptations of older fantasy manga aswell.
Amagi
I really hope this type of fantasy will become a new trend instead of the classical world of warcraft type of isekai
Amagi
There is just something really atmospherical about a few characters exploring an unknown world alone that is either almost or entirely devoid of humans or just weird like in Kino's Journey.
Amagi
Shuumatsu Shoujou, Houseki, Kino 2017 and Children of the Whales are shaping up to become my favorites this season. It's funny that they have so much in common, same with Made in Abyss, which also was my favorite of the last season.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, well there were fellows down in cork that decided to go Kite Surfing. They had to send out a boat to rescue the dumb bastards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw that there were some profoundly stupid people ignoring the warnings, some guy even decided to go out swimming despite it.
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Latest Reviews

The Reflection Review – 45/100

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is […]

Made in Abyss Review – 91/100

There are few series which can capture the mystery and wonder of a fantasy world as well as Made in Abyss. Their world is dangerous, brutal and unforgiving but beautiful, wondrous and exciting in it’s presentation. The story is of a ordinary girl called Riko and a mysterious cyborg boy called Regu traveling down the […]

Classroom of the Elite (Summer 2017) Review – 54/100

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for […]

18if (Summer 2017) Review – 68/100

Allow me to skip over the last episode coverage for this full review of 18if, since I was too underwhelmed by the finale to have anything concrete except pointing out how messy the ending was. The first thing you need to know about 18if is that it’s a multimedia project (along with a mobile game […]

Princess Principal (Summer 2017) Review – 82/100

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul Review 80/100

“Dance!” I have been a  reader of this blog for a long time. Indeed it would not be wrong to say that psgels and the current crop of writers have helped maintain my interest in anime for the last decade. So now here is my chance to give something back to this excellent blog. Shingeki […]

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Review – 63/100

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

Kakegurui Review – 61/100

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members […]

Re:Creators – 22 [Re:CREATORS] – 75/100

There was never going to be a epic fight with every creation squaring off against the overpowered and invincible Altair. That possibility died when the creators threw the copycat of Blank at her only to have that plan backfire horribly. Besides, it wouldn’t have been a satisfying conclusion to Altair’s story to have her be […]