Posted on 24 November 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



… just get on with it already!

Seriously, the pacing of this series is terrible. We’re already struggling to put a 80-hour game into just 26 episodes, and here this episode decides to go and waste time on nothing but teenaged antics and even throws the girls into swimsuits. I mean heck: if you’re going to waste time, at least do it in an interesting way. Why does everything have to be teenaged antics that we’ve seen hundreds of times before? Seriously people, jokes about how girls are bad cooks have been done countless of times before. It’s not funny anymore.

One of the two sole salvations of this episode was that finally Seiji Kishi put his act together and at least delivered a bunch of jokes that actually made me laugh. About three times near the end of the episode. That in no way makes up for the obnoxious rest of this episode. So in the end, the only thing that I again can praise is the camera guy here. This show looks unique and the camera angles show it.

Look, for my preview of the upcoming winter season, I complained relatively little about how there’s nothing but teenagers there. This is because there have been plenty of series about teenagers that were really good. The thing however, is that these series are great for a reason. Just stuffing in random teenaged antics and just hoping that it’ll work somehow… that just doesn’t work.

Because this show won the contest, I’m stuck with it at least until the end of the year, but this has been the worst show that you ever forced me to blog. Even including Kimi ni Todoke. At least that show was well acted.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 17 November 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



Um… seriously? Was last week really all just building up… to this? Did I really want to see that?

Ah well. Seiji Kishi remains a comedy director, so at least he’d know how to deal with a chapter like this week. This episode was more interesting than the previous ones, because finally it did something unexpected and went away from its formula. This episode was fun in a weird way, and at least I like that the cast of main characters will be increasing with every persona that gets defeated, rather than just never mentioning them again like I first though.

But even then, this episode was strangely underwhelming in its execution. I mean, I know Seiji Kishi. I have seen many of his other works, and his comedy has this very distinctive style that relies on strong comedic timing and hard punchlines. This episode instead was a mess in terms of timing. The events didn’t flow into each other at all, and this episode would have been greatly improved if Seiji Kishi used his experience in actually timing this thing properly. It’s not even about the jerky animation: he directed Tentai Senshi Sunred for god’s sake.

It’s again the fault of this show trying to be too faithful to the original game. That’s not going to work. I know that everyone keeps going on about being faithful and all, but game adaptations NEED to have some freedom if they want to succeed on their own. They’re not like manga where you can just copy and paste a bunch of panels and get things over with.

The one praise that I do have for this series: whoever is in charge of the photographic direction really knows what he’s doing here. This show has some very good looking shots and camera angles and while it’s a pity that this constrains the actual animation a bit too much, it nevertheless looks very good.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 10 November 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



You know, I’ve seen a lot of people badmouth the first Persona anime (Trinity Soul), but when comparing the first six episodes of both that show and this series, I really have to say that I prefer Trinity Soul over Persona 4. And considering how that series really took its time to get going, compared this show’s rush to skip those boring parts, that’s not a very good sign.

I mean, series like No.6 and C may have been rushed, but that’s nothing compared to the utter speed at which this show is rushing through its stories. This episode blasted through eighteen days at once. That’s more than half a month’s worth of content. My biggest gripe with it however was that it didn’t really make use of its time. This episode was supposed to be about this typical tough guy with a heart of gold, but by the end of the episode we hardly saw anything of him, and most of the airtime here was spent on random hijinks and characters goofing off. It’s a bad sign that the thing that caught my attention the most was a “s bad it’s good”-scene. The chase scene was funny, but part of it was because how badly it was animated and acted.

Also, did the creators just skip a scene in the TV-world completely, only to pull a Tsubasa Chronicle and talk about that moment in flashbacks? Someone, please tell me that I have not been paying attention in the first four episodes. Pulling such a twist makes this just a show to please the fans. As someone who is trying to get into the story without having played the games, I feel more and more left out.

I can only imagine the games, in which that fighting dude probably did not come off as just another carbon copy of the tough character who actually likes cute stuff. I can only imagine how fun the games can be, where you’re just running around town and try to meet all of the characters at your own freedom. This isn’t a compilation of a game though. This needs to be a standalone story. Compressing a large story into a much smaller anime format has of course been done many times before, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen such a jarring cut-and-paste job.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 4 November 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



This episode was… annoying. In fact, I didn’t enjoy it at all, and I can only hope that the next people that the male lead runs into will be better.

I have no idea why this show suddenly decided that it wanted to be a high school romance for one episode. I mean, that is a really tricky genre to get right: it’s overcrowded and the competition there is huge, and this wasn’t really the best type of execution. I can see how the story of this episode would have worked on paper. Heck, the protagonist here actually got himself a girlfriend, though completely platonic. That already brings him further than 90% of all other male leads. But the delivery of this episode was just bland.

Also, I know that the people from AIC aren’t the best animators, but at least have them try to put a bit of believable emotions into its characters. I mean, there are more studios that have acting problems, for example Madhouse, but at least they try to actually emote their characters, even though they lack the budget for it. Aside from a picture, the male lead in this episode only showed two emotions: bland neutral and badly animated bland embarrassed. It just… did not work. The gimmick of this show is that this guy’s personality grows based on these game-like traits. I’m not seeing that.

There are a lot of these teenaged high school shows that start off promising… only to devolve into badly told stories that don’t go anywhere. Especially the past winter season left me a bad impression with series like this, and this episode was really starting to show the first hints of the likes of Kore wa Zombie, Dragon Crisis and Yumekui Merry. Please let it get better instead of dabbling on in mediocrity like this! The past winter season was bad enough, and I don’t want to lose even more patience than I already have.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 28 October 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



I must say that Persona chose to go with a premise that is very easy to go wrong: its antagonists feed on angst. The most annoying part of the past episode, apart from that bear perhaps, are the speeches of “I am you! I’m actually not as perfect as you thought me to be!”, following by lots of denial. Again, it has to do with a rather annoying formula that isn’t just used by this series (if that were the case I could easily forgive it), but it’s the same kind of set-up that loads of other shows use.

I get what this series is trying to do: we all have our different sides. The lead characters all refuse to accept some of those sides, and those persona thingies will help them accept these sides. It’s a solid base, but I’m still missing something. That will be up for the rest of the series to fill in. Do some interesting stuff with this formula. These internal conflicts are great to give the characters background, but they don’t help in fleshing them out. The other selves are just too different from their usual personalities to the point where they nearly feel as different people.

The part in this episode that I liked was when the conflict was about to be resolved. For once the characters actually talk to each other to resolve their conflicts. These parts were quite charming. My big issue with this show is just that it depends on people’s ability to not think straight in order to create its antagonists.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 20 October 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



I still haven’t forgiven AIC with its bullying away of some of the animators due to mis-management. But I have to admit: I liked this episode.

There are things that are starting to grow on me. The introduction of each episode is actually quite well done with these two figures in the limousine, but also the comedy and the quiet moments were much better than last weeks. In particular the scene in which the two leads got arrested by the police for walking around with fake swords was hilarious, but I also liked the timing of the parts where Yukiko suddenly appeared on the television screen.

The last interesting part still was the fight scene, though. On one hand it’s interesting to see so many things that look like a game, but the battles still follow too strict of a formula. The whole inner conflict in this episode was pretty much identical to last episode, and what’s also weird is that both thi week and last week, the angsty character in question had a strong relationship to someone who hardly ever got any screentime at all. The weakest part was the angst, though. That needs to have better acting in the future.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 13 October 2011 with categories: Persona 4 The Animation



As for the shows I’m not going to blog:
– Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is trying too hard. Both in being moe, and with the main character being a straight man.
– Maken-Ki is just stupid fanservice
– Mashiro-Iro Symphony… poor Manglobe. How deep you have fallen.

As for Persona, it won the contest, so I was guaranteed to blog this one. The worst case scenario has happened, however: it didn’t really have the best staff imaginable.

Now, for the record: I liked the first Persona anime, even though it had huge flaws. It was a good mystery story, with the big flaw that it kept using anti-climaxes over and over: every time you thought that an interesting cliff-hanger would finally spice things up, the next episode just continued like nothing happened. Now, this show will definitely not have this problem.

Seiji Kishi as a director lacks one major thing: subtlety. He likes to deliver things with bombast, which clashes rather with Persona, which apparently depends a lot on quiet moments. He’s more suited for fast-paced stories as Angel Beats and Kamisama Dolls, and his direction can really make those exciting and interesting. As for Yuuko Kakihara… well, let me just say that I never finished any of the series she wrote the series composition of: Sora no Otoshimono got repetitive really fast, Kamichama Karin was also a very uninspired mahou shoujo, and Jewel Pet Sunshine and Stitch were just dull kiddie shows. Her lack of experience on an actual well paced show really shows here, because the script is more busy with trying to cram the exciting bits into 24 episodes, rather than make the writing and pacing actually work. This is opposed to for example a series as Deadman Wonderland, which did cut a lot of exciting stuff, though the stuff that it didn’t cut was given the time and pacing to actually deliver.

And yeah, there’s the matter of the animators getting bullied by the animation directors. It’s just a rumour that originates from 4chan, so I’m not sure whether it is actually true or not, but if it is: AIC, you should be ashamed.

Now, it will be interesting to see whether this series is actually going to work or not, and I mean this in the overall build-up. This episode was a bit awkward, but it wasn’t bad. It rushed through the story of the pee guy, and left a lot of things for the viewers to assume (which isn’t always a problem, by the way) and it left way too little time for scenes to actually play out, but I got the gist of what it wanted to tell. Also a clever idea is the way the creators are using the main character and his personality charts in the eye catch. Both changed subtly compared to the opening episode.

However, please someone put that squeaky bear thing on a bus or something.
Rating: (Enjoyable)
OP: New visuals, and they look great.
ED: I have no idea why the ED is new, but this one too is pretty good. Addictive beat and simple but effective graphics.

Posted on 6 October 2011 with categories: Chihayafuru, Persona 4 The Animation, Some Quick First Impressions

Persona 4 The Animation

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a transfer student with special powers.
Seeing as how this was the most hyped up series of the new season… it felt oddly disappointing. I’m not referring to the characters, although that pee-moment certainly didn’t help, but what striked me the most is that the storytelling was completely off. In particular, this episode didn’t seem to care much about timing or build up. It didn’t seem to know how to create an atmosphere, it jumped around way too much instead of establishing things, and everything happened way too quickly . This episode had a very short attention span, which really hurt any attempts on drawing in the viewer: one moment the main character is in a shop, the next he dives in a tv. It just doesn’t flow well and there were a lot of anti-climaxes in this episode. Was the game really that long, forcing such a fast pacing? Oh, and this is just a small detail, but I consider it very important too: the show had what sounded like a great soundtrack, but it didn’t seem well used at all. There were lots of scenes with no background music at all, and it only started playing at the most predictable moments.
OP: Funky
ED: Again, funky. If only the rest of the soundtrack was like this.
Potential: 60%

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is surrounded by cute girls.
For a while, this episode actually avoided the usual warning signs. When it was just the main male and female together, this show avoided fanservice, the female lead was eloquent, rather than stupid, and about the only big cliche was the deadpan snarker male lead. Then the second female lead arrived, the girls turned tsundere and they wasted no time in making boob jokes. This show… when I first read that it’d be about people who are bad at being friends, I thought that this would be a show about outcasts. Instead, the main cast consists out of two people with foreign looks, suffering from Japan’s xenophoby, and another character who refuses to talk to others because of… arrogance I guess. That was not what I expected. Strangely enough, these people didn’t seem to suffer from insecurities at all. Instead, the emotion that prevailed here was annoyance for not being able to make friends. It doesn’t have the biggest cliches: aside from the boob jokes this episode refrained from beating any dead horses, but it has relatively little that it can call its own. The xenophobia was probably this episode’s biggest asset, but that was handled very one-sidedly: everyone is afraid of the main characters, aside from the really good-looking girls (yay for subtlety!). This was neither the worst moe show of the season, but it also certainly wasn’t the best.
OP: FANSERVICE!
ED: Why the nuns?
Potential: 40%

Chihayafuru

Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays card games.
This had the best animation of the new season so far. Seriously, Madhouse made this series look absolutely gorgeous. The use of cg is excellent, while it completely lacks the acting problems of Madhouse’s usual series. The shots are all creative, the animation is smooth and life-like. It would be awesome if the creators could keep it up like that. The rest of the episode also was wonderful: instead of most series about games, the female lead Chihaya isn’t a complete rookie at the start: she has been playing the card games (and seriously, they’re not what you think: this is miles away from Yugioh) for a few years now. In fact, this series series shows how she got introduced to it when she was still a grade schooler. What especially caught me however was how well it used its animation to portray the game. The soundtrack is also exceptionally well used. This is one to keep an eye out for: rock-solid… though it’s a shame that it’s a manga adaptation. Of a manga that isn’t finished yet.
OP: A bit generic, but certainly not the worst of the season.
ED: Simple, but very pretty visuals, with a decent ballad.
Potential: 90%

Star Crossed Anime Blog

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Mix – 02/03

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Paranoia Agent – 12 [Radar Man] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, and welcome to the Galaxy Brain episode of Paranoia Agent. Apologies for the lateness, but I really needed to wrap my head around this. Threads are brought  together, more questions are raised, and I am somehow entertained, confused and enlightened all at once. Lets jump in! Now I have so much I need […]

Dororo – 13 [The Story of the Blank-Faced Buddha]

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