Posted on 11 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, The Reflection

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 one such result of this union. The Reflection tries to do a lot, succeeding on some and failing terribly at others. The end result is a an inconsistent mess of seemingly stitched together episodes and story moments.

Lets jump in.

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Posted on 2 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, The Reflection

In the penultimate episode of The Reflection, we finally get to see Wraiths master plan come to fruition and the Idol group finally becomes relevant. Lets jump in!

Reflection starts off with a flashback to 3 years ago, to the event of the Reflection. We see a young Elen looking out her window, as she is hit by both the black smoke and the green light. Hopefully we get some more explanation as to what this does. Did it bring her dead brother back to life? Split personality? Who knows, but considering its become a main plot point, it better get explained. Afterwords we cut back to Wraith, X-On and Steel Ruler in the underground cave. Wraith does a minor monologue about how she/he needed to remove Elen from themself, but that Elen had to do it herself. This raises more questions, was she not real? Which one is the original? Does it even matter?

Regardless, after the monologue and a quick side jaunt to lecture X-On, we cut to the desert. Here there is a ring of woman, the Allen women I presume. We are given a glimpse of a map of the United States, with purple and green dots all over it. Forcing them to use their powers far beyond their ability, we see the Allen women all begin to glow green. In a flash of light everyone, every Reflected in America, is teleported to White Sands New Mexico. Yes, that does include our illusive Idol Group. Turns out even Wraith was so fed up with them that they literally teleported them into the middle of the plot. This combined with their general uselessness has caused myself and many others to fear they are going to pull some deus-ex machina idol song to save the day in the final episode.

With the Idols part in this episode done, we not pan over to X-On and our heroes. They are all standing together on the top of a hill. I-Guy prepares to soar up to Wraith and deliver a beat down but X-On, now bearing ‘Flaming Furys’ fire power, holds him back. Wraith steps forward at the top of a dune and prepares to make another speech. Luckily, its not a speech about destroying humans but about how they number to few to do anything against the humans. There doesn’t seem to be much purpose to it now, but later on in the episode we see that this is all setup. X-On however gets a random cell-phone call at the end. The ringtone got me, I was unprepared for this, so credit where credit it due. The call itself from the government woman, as she has something to tell him.

Apparently the US Army is reacting to their sudden appearance in the desert and is bringing in a number of helicopters. We see them approach on the horizon, in formation. The soldiers yell over the intercom, asking the Reflected to leave peacefully. With this all part of her plan however, Wraith has one of her cronies make the Soldiers fire on the Reflected. In reaction, the Reflected naturally fight back. We get to see some interesting powers on display here, as the Reflected attack the soldiers, X-On and co hold the Reflected back, and the Soldiers retaliate. It will be interesting to see if, in the final episode, X-On manages to take all of these powers.

Our heroes aside though, this is all a very clever plan from Wraith. She/he makes it out as if the military is starting this conflict. By bringing them all in one place however, she is the one to have instigated this. She becomes a savior to the Reflected. Over the course of this fight, through Michael’s Reflected vision however, we see some of the Brightstar Reflected become Darkness Reflected. There was zero evidence of this earlier in the series, but it seems sufficient anger or whatever will cause a Reflected to change. I suspect it works in reverse as well and that is where the Idol group will come in.

With X-On and the others interfering in her plan though, Wraith is not content to sit idly by. She sends Steel Ruler and her other minions out to stop them, though Ruler appears to hesitate. Disappointingly, we see the Bat Man return, this time in a shiny new metal costume. Say what you will about evil, it has great health care apparently. After getting his wing blasted off by I-Guy and apparently not dying, he has returned for one final showdown. With all of the fights set, Wraith reaches out and shoots dark electricity out at all of the Reflected gathered. Is she taking their power? Mind controlling them? We have no idea what her power is, so there is no way to tell. Finally, The Reflection pans over to our Idol Group, who have found their luggage and are ready to save the day!

All in all, another disappointing episode of The Reflection. There’s no consequences, no one gets hurt (Except for I-Guy) or stays dead (Except for I-Guys team). The writers took their time with the story in the first half, but have sped through it in the second. The pacing is all over the place and we still don’t know the Idol groups powers! There’s far to much to cover in a final episode, I just dont see how they will get it done well.

Suppose we will see next week on, The Reflection! See you then.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Princess Principal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 29 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

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 and Akibas Trip. I bring this up not because this is a new event, but because the anime I want to talk about today, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, is one such anime.

Ranbu is based off of the online video game Touken Ranbu, along the same lines as Kantai Collection. It focuses on a group of warriors who are the human personification of famous weapons, sent back in time. Their task? To protect history from the forces of the Time Retrograde Army, who seek to change history for an unknown reason. Ranbu focuses in on the 2nd Unit, newly minted and formed from a group who have never worked together before. Together they will face the hordes of the Retrograde Army and defend the past from the future!

Let’s jump in.

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Posted on 26 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, The Reflection

This week The Reflection finally gives us some quality time with our main villain, as Wraiths plan hits its final stages. Lets jump in.

Reflection opens on Elen arriving at the mansion we saw at the end of last week, meeting evil!Stan Lee. Deciding that her decision to give herself up for the sake of others was a poor one, Elen immediately starts running through the mansion. Teleporting from intersection to intersection, rather than simply… exiting out a window? Not sure what she is doing here, but its necessary for the big reveal at the end. Meanwhile, our crew continues to follow Vy as she leaps through the streets. Eventually she reaches the mansion, busting in through a side window! Inside, as Lisa and co arrive, we see evil!Stan Lee sipping a nice cup of tea, expecting them. Apparently, he was the one telling Vy where to go and how to reach him, leading her to this very room, but surprise! Its a trap!

The mansion begins to burst into flame, as the Russian Ninja and Human Thunderbolt appear in the room. The man who can phase through walls comes up from the floor and whisks Stan Lee through a wall to safety. Unprepared, our heroes are quickly overwhelmed. The floor gives out, causing them all to fall. As they do, we see Elen through a doorway, walking down a hall. Its a slow-motion shot, with her looking into the room, so clearly this isn’t real. Could it be the one who can create illusions from before? (more…)

Posted on 25 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Welcome to the final week of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, where the plot is rushed and the art is at its best. Lets jump in.

Ranbu opens this week with the title card, skipping the OP. Looks like they want all the time they can get. Picking up where they left off, Ranbu has Horikawa go and get the young Tetsunoske at Hijikata’s request. Reenacting the flashback we saw in earlier episodes, Hijikata tasks him to take his sword back to his family. During this, Horikawa walks out and meets Kane in an empty part of the fort. The direction here is good, with shots mostly showing them together but with objects such as a cannon between them. The two talk for awhile and we learn that for the past 3 years Horikawa has been fighting the Retrograde while working for Hijikata. During that time, apparently he still has not made a decision about whether or not to save Hijikata. Had their breakup lasted longer than an hour for Kane, it would almost be touching.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

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

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

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

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

Posted on 19 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, The Reflection

This week The Reflection continues on towards its finale. Finally all of our characters are in one place and raring for a fight.

Reflection starts off right back with the Idol group, being unable to decide between beef or fish. Apparently an episode named for the dilemma wasn’t enough. Reflection quickly cuts back to Elen and Steel Ruler though, in the street where we left them. A van pulls up and Elen quickly gets in, riding away with Steel Ruler and her group. Right behind them however is the Government woman and her squad, tracking them. I am curious if Elen knew about this and set it up, or if this is happening without her knowledge. I would also like to know what assurance’s Elen has that the hostages will be released, since she so meekly stepped into the van.

With Elen on her way, Reflection cuts back to X-On, Lisa and the Detective. Its very quiet as Lisa is “asleep”, X-On is brooding and the Detective is drunk. Its a pretty weird scene that hangs for awhile, panning from each character doing nothing. Suppose we deserve to know what everyone is doing right now. We cut back to Elen and see the Government Woman tailing her, very very closely. Its almost ridiculous, as no one could fail to notice them. Steel Ruler tells one of her lackeys, Conman we learn, to do something. We saw him in action briefly before, and it appears his ability is to cause illusions. He fills the Government truck with fake snakes and it almost causes them to drive off the road.  Unfortunately for them, the Government Woman holds out and takes control of the wheel, keeping them on the road.

With that plan foiled, Steel Ruler tries something else. Using the ability we have seen before, they begin to phase the car through buildings, driving as if they weren’t there. This allows them to completely ignore roads. However, somehow, the government managed to put a tracker on their car and through clever driving manages to keep up with them. Somehow in all this, the streets of LA are empty and not a single person sees any of this, but hey, budget concerns I suppose. Eventually Steel Ruler and the Government are driving along a large storm drain. With all of her previous plans foiled, Steel Ruler only has one thing left, raw power.

We see the Lightning man, from Vy and Michael’s first episode, leap out the back of the moving van. The Government smashes into him and goes flying, no doubt because of his electricity. As he approaches the wreck to finish the job, Vy arrives to hold him down. Its a quite fight, before the helicopters and such appear. He steps into the water and zips away, using his power intelligently. Before we continue however I have a quick question. If you had helicopters and that large a group, why not use them to track Steel Ruler? They clearly weren’t being stealthy about it already and a squad of helicopters is much more difficult to take down. If flown high enough they are also difficult to notice. It all seems rather poorly planned to me.

The helicopters arrive and take Vy and Michael away. We cut back to the motel and find it surrounded, with X-On and Lisa taken into custody. They are escorted to an underground base and briefed on the situation. The entire time X-On hasnt said a word, yet everyone here seems to know who he is, whispering his name as if hes Voldemort. We are given a quick repeat of a few scenes and some more explanation as to the Darkness and the “Brightstar”, but none of it is particularly interesting. During all this, we see Lisa and Vy wanting to leave, though for different reasons. Lisa just hates the whole situation while apparently Vy is being “drawn” to Steel Ruler/Wraith. Deciding that’s a good thing, X-On tells Lisa to let Vy go and she escapes through the ceiling. Apparently the military wasn’t prepared for giant robots and metal monsters.

Soaring through the air after Vy, they are seem by Ian who is driving along looking for more punks to smash. He diverts course to follow them, meaning he will definitely be at the upcoming final battle. While driving away, Ians fancy new car passes by the Idols school bus, marking them as finally being in LA. The episode ends with Elen arriving at a nice house and meeting evil Stan Lee. Apparently, Wraith is ready and waiting.

Not much happened this week, and little of what did was interesting. Lots of bad shots and weird directing, but the car chase at-least was nice to watch. A good amount of action and some nice animation. The Lightning Man in particular, with the flat blue shades, looked great. Most important of all this week though, the Idol group is final in place to actually do something. Will we learn their names? Maybe their powers? Will we get to see them do anything near what they have been hyped/built up for? Find out next week, on The Reflection.

Later.

Posted on 18 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Welcome to the penultimate episode of Ranbu! Unable to end with a small, personal story, Ranbu prepares for the largest battle yet! Lets jump in.

Ranbu opens up right were last week left off. Kane’s sword falling, to strike Horikawa. Instead, it cuts into the dirt at his feet, moved aside at the final moments. I mentioned last week that I would be disappointed if this ended with Horikawa surviving. If some magical power of friendship caused him to return to the Citadel. However, I failed to consider another option, where it was Kane who faltered. Unable to kill his partner, he fails his duty and lets Horikawa walk away, and I can accept that. For Horikawa to survive, one of the two had to fail/betray their beliefs. Horikawa would have had to leave Hijikata to his fate and Kane had to let a clear threat to history leave unchallenged. All in all, a good way to open the episode.

With the arrival of their Master Saniwa however, everything starts to go down hill. Saniwa teleports in right next to them and starts one of the dullest scenes in the series. In this scene, Kane and Mutsunokami explain what has happened and Saniwa simply… accepts it. He says, why not do both? Why not protect the innocents and history, as if it was that simple. Does this mean he just didn’t care before? The only thing I gathered from this conversation is what I suspected weeks ago. That Saniwa has no personality and is purely a springboard for plot/explanation.

As it is, that is exactly what Saniwa does. After their chat he teleports them to the battle of Hakodate, 3 years in the future-past. This isn’t made clear however, as they simply teleport and the battle is suddenly underway, without any indication that time had passed. What this means however is that Horikawa has been here, waiting for time to pass normally, for 3 years. Whether or not this has had an effect on him, I cant wait to see. This also means though that Tonbokiri, Tsurumaru and Yagen were left to watch-over Ryoma, so our 2nd Unit must fight without them.

After a quick explanation of what is going at the Battle of Hakodate, Saniwa deduces that the Retrograde will no doubt be here. As he finishes, supposedly 50 Retrograde solders are teleporting in, causing Mutsunokami to question if they are trying to change the course of the whole battle. I doubt 50 soldiers could accomplish that in a battle of thousands, but we will leave that alone for now. Kane and Mutsunokami quickly cut down some stragglers before meeting the full force. Knowing they cant do it alone however, Saniwa summons in some reinforcements. In a pretty, sakura flower effect, the 1st Unit arrive and they make short work of the group of 50.

During this whole segment, the character moments aren’t worth mentioning, but the combat itself is quite good. We get a number of quick blade exchanges with actual choreography. Clearly they were saving it all for this grand finale, as we soon learn that the Retrograde are sending in a staggering 1000 soldiers. What confuses me about this, is that the Retrograde has never done this before. Do they have limitless soldiers? If so, why not over run any other time period instead of sending groups of 10-20? This inconsistency in tactics and numbers makes this whole event feel like the typical Shounen bump in the stakes of the fight. Like most, Ranbu fails to realize that the best Shounen arcs tend to be those with the more personal stakes. The ones that don’t require ridiculously strong or large number of enemies. But I am getting sidetracked here.

After leaving the First Unit, Kane splits up with Mutsunokami so that he can track down Horikawa. He runs through the fields towards the Shinsengumi encampment and manages to sneak inside. Curious what their guard situation is like for him to do this, but once again we will ignore it. Kane arrives at Hijikata’s personal room, the room we saw in the flashback. He examines the map with the armies laid out, the sword that both sits on the desk and at his waist. While doing so, Kane hears a voice and footsteps approaching. He quickly hides out of sight, seeing Hijikata enter the room. No doubt this is the scene we saw before, where Hijikata gives the sword to the young man, to return to his family.

However, instead of the young entering the room, its Horikawa! During his 3 years stuck in this time, it would appear that Horikawa has taken the young soldiers place. Its  clever reveal, as I had not considered Horikawa taking his place, yet when the flashback was first showed I thought they looked similar. Now the only question is, what is Horikawa’s endgame? Does he plan to return to the battlefield, giving Hijikata the sword, so that Kane can participate in the battle? Will he try to kidnap Hijikata and remove him from the field? Perhaps he spent the last 3 years attempting to talk to him, get him to change his mind. What about the ridiculous, 1000 Retrograde soldiers?

Regardless, it all comes to a head in next weeks final episode of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. Talk to you then folks!

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
Finally back after several days that I didn't feel like blogging at all. Hope that was just a small slump of burnout and nothing too serious
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with you on On Body and Soul, the otherworldly dream sequences are the best part, the romance is so-so and the investigation is fairly weak that I still don't know its importance to the story
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: It was you that got me to watch it actually, your posts.
Lenlo
@Kaiser I am glad you think so on Inuyashiki. Ive loved every episode of it so far
Kaiser-Eoghan
But Dies Irae is the best comedy of the season.....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unless he means Kino? In that case I've never read the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni taisen is also better watched as it expands on its source material.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If you mean girls last tour then thats better off watched too as its more immersive that way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Inuyashiki is a definite watch as the pacing is much better than the manga, houseki elevates its source visually so theres that.
Amagi
@Anon: It really depends on the series. If you mean a current anime, then watch. Because the current season is full of good manga adaptions (if you mean Dies Irea, then read)
Amagi
I am not even one of those who condemn fanservice in anime like Illya for example, but this.. welp. Guess I rather watch the new MahouTsukai episode now.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Why do they want to do that? I don't think this is a good idea. Man the whole world seems to go back instead of going forward the last yers
Amagi
Seems like it was actually 5 child prostitutes that's even worse. Maybe not even that but just school girls I can't into kanji and I only see the *chan thread right now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Apparently in France they want to lower the age of consent now. They are also still protecting Polanski.
Amagi
Kaiser-Eoghan: Just saw it too, just wanted to see if the Kenshin mangaka thread was still there and now this too.
Anonymous1582168
Watch or read? Which do you recommend more?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I see Toriko's author was caught with teenage prostitutes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And now I'm thinking, some of my enjoyment of the original Kino was partly due to watching it dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Its is true that I would prefer kino to go deeper than it is allowed to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: mild Asperger syndrome , in my case its a touch discomfort thing.
Amagi
Also, damn - I just a saw a thread regarding the Kenshin thing
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Agree with Kino, there are a few things I prefer in the older version too. Although I have to admit that many plot points I would have viewed as deep 10 years ago feel very simplistic and naive by now, like how simple minded the people are, especially if plot dictates them to be. Welp. Also, there is another autist here?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Maybe not, but you'd probably do well to watch the show.
Anonymous1581844
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Is Weed really for kid though? -.- Also, the pups are cuter in this one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Bitches don't know about my Ginga densetsu weed =P
Niello
This is very much a kid version of Wolf's Rain.
Niello
I finally found this thing. Been looking for it for years. The problem now is even if I know the name it's going to be hard to find a way to watch this thing again... https://myanimelist.net/anime/3355/Fortune_Dogs
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kenshin author was caught with images of child sex abuse. Things have turned into a fallout since the Weinstein case.
Lenlo
I like to keep deadlines. Adds some consistency to things. Appreciate it though
Anonymous1581244
@Lenlo: No need to apologize lol. I don't think anyone expects you to drop everything in order to blog. XD Just do what you can and keep up the great work. d=(^_^)=b
Lenlo
Sorry for the slow turnaround on Mahoutsukai this week. Moving into a new apartment and work is abit busy. Should be up tomorrow though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I dug the premise and though there could have been more dream sequences its prettily shot, especially within those sequences, I was surprised by the suicide attempt and didn’t see it coming and it succeeded in being uncomfortable.
Although I did find the film sometimes a bit sterile and overlylong
Kaiser-Eoghan
@@Mario: I'm torn on Body and soul, speaking as someone who has autism, I genuinely felt that the depiction of the female protagonist was solid and was backed by good acting, as autism is generally overly associated with male characters, seeing it through a female focus was a bonus.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its an odd season, with shows I had no expectations of being favourites and one I looked forward to being a disappointment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know we mentioned before on here but I honestly did wish that one episode, the 6th one WAS an additional backstory, it would have elevated the episode for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The original had a grittier artstyle that clashed less with the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think some of these episodic shows could benefit from two parters, this kino season especially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But its not a good sign when I forgot some episodes content of this new adaptation less than a week after their airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I don't say it lightly about the original having a strong degree of consistent quality, even the best episodic series often can't avoid being uneven but again I never felt the original ever fell into that trap .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its the consistency I miss in this version, I enjoyed all the episodes in the original, this being more of a mixed bag sticks out like a sore thumb.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to specify I did love the Murder country episode and the Liar country episode, the ship country episode was an episode of two halves, the latest episode was too slight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I think I'll play it safe with the new Kino and just wait till it ends and pick the most recommended stories.
Anonymous1580206
The ED of Silver Spoon Season 1 is also amazing.
SuperWooper
"Fighter" by Bump of Chicken is the best I've heard in the last few years (3-gatsu ED 1)
SuperWooper
"Ride on Shooting Star" by The Pillows is my favorite (FLCL)
Nie
Also Akatsuki no Yona ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nepa6vDr-gM
Nie
Seriously though, Freedom Opening is too underappreciated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbIy0zMukn4
Nie
if not just song then: Eden of the East, ERASED, both SSY EDs, FMA ED2, Welcome to NHK, Kekkai Sensen, Conan 40
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I skip the op/ed themes for everything, there are some I haven't even heard.
SuperMario
@anon1579752: personally don't care much about EDs, since I hit the close button as soon as the episode's over. But this one is easy, Flowers of Evil ED
Anonymous1579752
321...best anime EDs of all time...GO
Nielo
Oops nvm IGNORE MY COMMENT
Nielo
@KTravlos: Which part of Chielo? How many heads?
KTravlos
Finally a great Altair episode. For once the pacing was a boon rather than a bane, and I loved the idea of Chielo.
Nielo
I have the Vagabond volumes...still haven't touch it. I just don't feel like starting another manga I'll have to wait forever.
Lenlo
Vagabonds only issue, to me, is the lack of release. I love it, its beautiful, and my god I have waited years for it to update. Its like Berserk all overagain
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I could changed something about kujira no kora, it would be toning down that overthetop shounen-kid villain henchman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel as if I would read more of vagabond if the author ever finished it, the art however is beautiful.
KTravlos
A thing I really like about there stuff is that since they are set post-One Year War, most characters are veterans and they actually behave like veterans. Thus battles are more than just curbstomps etc. I really suggest their gundam stuff. Manga wise start with the Plot to Assassinate Gihren.
KTravlos
I have to say the ARK Performance gundam-verse is one of the favorite uses of the gundam concept . They really do a good job tying their stories together and with the original series.
Lenlo
If were talking manga as well, since I dont realy VNs/LNs, Vinland Saga, Vagabond, Berserk and Basara are all way up there for me
Anonymous1579124
I can probably disect pages on end of Kyousougiga. As for Sun Knight, it's translated from Taiwanese, so the chance of it getting an anime is a big fat zero. Not to mention that it is probably one of the hardest thing to translate into video format, movies or series, animated or not.
Anonymous1579124
@SuperMario Animation vs. Animator?
SuperMario
Kyousougiga was a creative and passionate anime. You can clearly see the love of the creators put into it. But of the year 2013 nothing can beat The Eccentric Family and Flowers of Evil for me
SuperMario
@Niello: I'm willing to give Sun Knight and Dorohedoro (or I should wait for the anime adaptation in few years?) a try but not anytime soon. My next of queue is Night is Short and re-watch of Now and Then. Sorry if I sound like a broken records but lately I haven't had that much time for myself.
SuperMario
..."Mario, what the heck is this??". so we stopped. My friends weren't trying to be rude so I didn't feel any offense, but the thought of watching a stick figure never cross their mind, hence the reaction. Anime fares much better in that regards since people still willing to watch it
SuperMario
(about people's hesitance towards animation medium): Tell me about it. Few years ago I had a Saturday movie night with my mates, one time I convinced them to watch a short animated film "Come one, it's one of the best thing I've seen this year" "It's only 15 minutes so you guys can watch them easily". So they agreed but as soon as the stick figure comes onscreen. My friend turned off...
Anonymous1578845
Lol just found out that there's a Sense8 (on Netflix) easter egg in "Just Because" ep 3 xD, made my day!!!!
Anonymous1578826
Forgot to say this, but anyone willing to give the Sun Knight novel a try, in some ways, it is quite similar to Houseki no Kuni. While it is mainly comedy....it also has a lot of suffering.
silver
@Niello/Anaon1578774?: I watched Kyousougiga maybe 6mos. ago, so I think I'll enjoy it more when I rewatch it sometime in a year or so. Seems most of my top picks cemented their place after a second viewing
Anonymous1578774
@Silver It speaks to me on a personal level no other fiction has comes close to matchin. so it has a very special place in my heart. It's also one of those that get better with each rewatch. I seem to have a penchant for liking what often get described by others as convoluted, this is one of them. I also adore Matsumoto's directing and all the symbolisms.
silver
@Kaiser: I neglected film in my youth as well.. and also in adulthood. A popular gag amongst my friends is that, "silver's never seen any movie ever." I hadn't seen star wars until a girl I dated in uni forced me to watch 4-6...
silver
Hah when I posted about liking works adapted from every medium I wondered if it was going to spark a 'top 10' discussion, but when I was trying to mentally rank them I remembered how hard it was...
@Niello: interesting that Kyousougiga is your all-time #1. I thought it was lovely but probably doesn't make the cut for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Novels are somewhat alien territory to me as I tend to watch adaptations be they film or otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I've watched thousands in the past few years because I neglected the medium in childhood.
Nielllo
Unless you mean animated only.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: I don't think I watched enough films at all, and that's made even worst when I forget most of them after a couple of years.
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I really recommend The Legend of the Sun Knight novel. Think it's something you'll probably enjoy quite a bit. It's quite cleverly written. You can read the official fan translation online.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A top ten film list for me is even harder, I can't even attempt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akumetsu> death note
FITE ME.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gunslinger girl gets such a strong mention from me because I feel that action stories often work better when you care about the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
<No Freesia adaptation
<No Eden adaptation
<No full production IG Alita film series
<why live =<
Nielllo
@SuperMario: There are some anime I'm not going to watch just because the manga is superior, period. Good examples are Monster and One Piece.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: Oh, I knew about Wolfram mangaka's apprenticeship already :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: First however, When mountains may depart, By Jia Zhangke, I am full romance mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planetes and Vinland saga have to go somewhere on a list. Oddly they share the same creator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Reminds me Dreams by Kim-ki-duk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I mentioned Dorohedoro's author was Nihei's apprentice, but heres another interesting one, the mangaka for Wolfram apprentice under BOTH Kento Miura and Kaoru Mori.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gladly. On Body and Soul is a weird mix of romance drama, character study and a weirdly magical bond between two people who share the same dream. That weirdness is what make the movie so memorable, although I do feel the ending stays out its welcome
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nihei, Umezu and Itou belong somewhere among my favourite mangaka.
SuperMario
I don't know why you'd mix manga/anime together, but my own top 10 is in my profile (click over my username), I've included anime/ movies together but if the list is purely anime shows I'd add Haibane Reimen as #9 and Humanity Has Declined as #10
Nielllo
Apart from Kyousougiga which is always no.1, and The Legend of the Sun Knight, Dorohedoro, Shinsekai Yori and Monster whose places are swappable, the rest I'm quite flexible with. Saint Seiya is in if it's a favorite list, and out among the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality list, with the exception of The Lost Canvas.
Nielllo
Hmmm, atm it's 1. Kyousougiga (a) 2. Monster (m) 3. Dorohedoro (m) 4. Shinsekai Yori (n) 5. Baccano! (a) 6. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai (m) 7. Saint Seiya (my guilty pleasure, I can't defend it in anyway) 8. Franken Fran (m) 9. The Legend of the Sun Knight (n)(1st tier comedy) 10. Haibane Renmei/Toradora!.Honorable mentions to Gamaran, Beck, GTO, Mushishi, Kaiba and Grave of the Fireflies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Damn....its a harder question to answer than it looks =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although Cruel God reigns in heaven would com close.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, nothing would dethrone Gunslinger girl for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even Utena but I feel it somewhat overated as I do Bebop despite enjoying both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of those on the top ten could easily be switched for honey and clover.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also love the works of Shimura Takkako, early takahashi and early Clamp.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Shiki would work its way onto a recent favourites list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite visual novels are Kara no shoujo, saya no uta and Sharin no kuni.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've a soft spot for ah my goddess, basara, 7 seeds , nanoha and Red river.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I was making more modern lists for recent favourites I'd probably add flipflappers somewhere or yuasas works.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh my top ten by mixing manga and anime into the same list? 1. Gunslinger (both) girl 2. Ghost in the shell (anime) 3. Earl cain saga (manga) 4. Angel Sanctuary (manga) 5. Texhnolyze (anime) 6. Lain (anime) 7. Perfect blue (anime) 8. Fruits basket (manga) 9. Monster 10. Kare kano.
Nielllo
I don't think anything will ever dethrone Kyousougiga for me though.
Nielllo
I still need to watch Tatami Galaxy and a bunch of other staple shows...
Lenlo
We could put out a site-author Top 10 list sometime maybe... Some of mine are Mushishi, Steins;Gate, Tatami Galaxy and Your Lie in April. Its got a spectrum of genre.
Nielllo
So what are people's top 10?
silver
Certainly on my top 10 list I have works adapted from VNs, manga, novels, LNs, and originals. I just think originals have a higher rate of efficient visual storytelling compared to adaptations
silver
@Kaiser: I like SEL and Haibane and texhnolyze is on my ever-growing list of things to watch. I also really like Gurren Lagen and Kill la Kill although they're both better if you've seen enough anime to know what they're parodying. My ex who loathed most anime because of the aforementioned over-exposition issue also introduced me to Dennou Coil which I really enjoyed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Body and soul just got released on a webdl , sell me on the film if you can =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Silver: Texhnolyze/Lain/Haibane are excellent examples.
silver
I think original anime offers a different experience than adaptations, particularly regarding 'show don't tell.' By necessity most anime source material is dialogue and exposition heavy and can't always utilize the medium efficiently. Of course, I've watched masterpieces adapted from every kind of source, so it's all good
Niello
I'd love to see this thing animated some day. Preferably with movie budget: http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Ex position/312
Niello
@Eoghan: Try searching in some Asian languages and you might have better luck.
silver
Most open-minded people I talk with don't have anything against animated entertainment. Shows like Bob's Burgers, Archer, and Bojack Horseman have carved a modern niche for 'adult' animation. Having a show about talking alcoholic horse would be pretty cheesy with live action.
Niello
Never mind, Mario said it. But I also don't agree that idol shows or incest shows are intrinsically bad. On top of idol being a trend in Japan first and anime pick it up because it's part of the culture.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason people see the worst side of things, is because that is what is made most on the surface and immediate,
Niello
@Amagi: Considering that all the ones you listed are originally manga, I think you should give manga more credit...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by finding I mean, hard to buy or torrent .
Kaiser-Eoghan
The infuriating thing is how poorly distributed some things are. I hate seeing Godammn blurays of shit hollywood films everywhere and I have to struggle to find some old/quality eastern film.
Amagi
I think it's the same problem as with endless shounen. Sometimes series get dragged on purpose to make more money.
Amagi
The tons of seasons is what scares me away sometimes
Kaiser-Eoghan
I keep thinking, why pad a 90 minute-9 1/2 hour story in a billion one hour per episode seasons.
Amagi
Yeah it's always like that, with cinema movies too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also hate ensemble/mosaic storytelling for the larger part, with some exceptions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this excuse won't work with people who love serialized live-action tv dramas but...I don't like most tv shows because of how padded they are and that they go on far too long and the acting is tv standard and not film standard.
Lenlo
I dont want TV that much, but my experience has been there are very few shows worth watching. Just like anime.
Lenlo
Well, in the argument that anime has alot of bad trends to, I would say so does regular television. How many TVs per year are as good/acclaimed in the "best" anime of each season are in the community?
Amagi
I think it's just sad that there are so many people (the big majority) that refuse to watch cartoons in general because they consider them as either childish or a worse version of "real" series. They'll always miss the good sides anime/manga have and therefore certain sub-genres as a whole.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Yeah you're right. I should have specified it to Japanese drawn media in general (VNs too). And yeah most anime/manga are rather trashy or blatantly bad. But the good series are often something live acting can't create and we'd miss without Japan. There are good cartoons too, though
SuperMario
... original ones: Cowboy Bebop, EVA, Flip Flappers, Kaiba, etc
SuperMario
@amagi: I almost agree with everything you said, but we might give anime too much credits. Remember it's a medium that responsible for many, many bad trends: idol shows, incest shows, tentacle hentai shows and so on so forth. The shows you listed here are come from manga as well, and they are strong manga materials to begin with. If I choose an example of what anime can achieve I'd point to some..
Amagi
This season is really good and it shows how lacking fiction would be without anime. Stuff like Shuumatsu, Houseki or even Mahoutsukai can only exist as anime. It's something live acting script writers would never come up with, not to mention that a lot would be lost without the respective drawing styles, be it the moe blobbs of Shuumatsu or the CGI hair, grass and camera movement of Houseki.
KTravlos
btw I really liked this Mahoutsukai no Yome episode. Finally we are getting somewhere
Amagi
@Kaiser: You're right, totally forgot that. Looking forward to this. Also I could have sworn I heard about a new project from Iso (Dennou Coil) last year but I guess I either confused him with someone else or with Children of Ether in which he's involved in some kind of way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That series was going to be devilman crybaby .
Amagi
Wasn't Yuasa also doing a series of some sort this year? Haven't watched the movies yet but I loved most of his stuff so far, with Kaiba being my favorite.
Anonymous1575628
Wow, Houseki did not disappoint for me this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed it for what it was. But I'd say even if you didn't read the subs you probably wouldn't have much trouble following it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually had a look and lu over the wall, coincidentally , there are moments of where Yuasa's imagination/visuals shine through and its a genuinely charming film at times, but it does almost outstay its welcome and there's a sense Yuasa was somewhat restrained this time round, it IS a kids movie and that kind of does need to be taken into account, its not AS mad as mind game or kemonozume.
Amagi
Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta is subbed, but no idea if the subs are good
Kaiser-Eoghan
And its quite natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Florida project succeeds through its free flowing nature/narrative and manages to be hilarious all the while managing to never allow you forget its also a kitchen sink drama, the best performances come from William Dafoe and the girl. At the end it gut punches the audience emotionally.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: also expecting Florida Project, 3 Billboards, and The Shape of Water in my end
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, Kino was a bit too slight this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just Lu, disaster artist and happy end left now for the year. Maybe the new Godzilla.
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Featured Posts

Juuni Taisen – 08 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 2)]

Can’t say I am fond of a huge flashback where they advance almost nothing to the plot, let alone an extended flashback-within-a-flashback. It hurts as well as the production takes quite a disastrous turn this week, with many off-model and inconsistent animation. Haizz, I’d love to be proven wrong but so far Juuni Taisen has […]

Houseki no Kuni – 07 [Hibernation]

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Dies Irae – 06[Golden Beast]

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Mahoutsukai no Yome – 7 [Talk of the Devil, and He is Sure to Appear]

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Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 07[Historic Country]

Let me start this post by saying that this is indeed a fun episode of Kino. Once again the mantle of protagonist is taken from the duo and instead it’s Kino’s Master who leads this episode. Though the story is told by Kino as she approaches the country that is in the story. It is […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 07 [Labyrinth – Cooking]

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Inuyashiki – 6 [People of 2chan]

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Juuni Taisen – 07 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 1)]

For a character who officially dead before Juuni Taisen started (and thus, render him “useless” to win the tournament), Snake is surprisingly one of the most fearsome warrior of the race so far. He assisted Rabbit to kill Boar in the first episode, he cornered Rat to every holes Rat could hide, he KILLED Horse, […]

Dies Irae – 04/05[Spider/Reunion]

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The Reflection Review – 45/100

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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 […]

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