Posted on 20 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Hourou Musuko, Tiger & Bunny

It bares repeating for those of you who don’t know:

– For rating, I will use psgels’ 100 score system, but keep in mind that my barometer might be different than his. For instance, I consider 60/100 (not 50) as a line between mediocre and passable shows. 75/100 to 89/100 are recommended shows and from 90/100 upward are the masterpieces. In some rare occasions, I will include plus (+) and minus (-) but remember that they don’t have anything to do with the quality of the shows. (+) is awarded for shows that address the gender role thoughtfully, including shows that have strong feminine message. (-) is casted for shows with insensitive treatment to gender roles.

– There will be mild spoilers, as I will address the main theme of each show.

Wandering Son (AIC)

Boy, I know I’d come to enjoy this series given its thoughtful subject matter, but I’d never expect the show gets under my skin the way it did. Wandering Son turns out to be even better than what I expected. Yes, they nail it on the struggles transgender youth must face during their puberty, but at heart this is a coming of age story about coming to term with their own identity. Crossdressing is a way for the kids to express who they truly are, the self that they feel most comfortable with. One thing that struck me the most is how simple the show seems to be, but it’s anything but. From the soft watercolor background, to the simple and plain character designs (those are in the service of the show, as the main leads have their asexual appearances), to the way the story focuses on slice-of-life drama, to the equally soothing soundtrack. Everything seems light-weight at first glance, but inside it, there are many complex relationships and even more complex narrative. The transgender aspect never becomes to preachy or heavy-handed, for once, and the show makes itself clear that it never judges any of these characters. It’s just simply a normal growing up tale from a boy and his friends, nothing more, nothing less.

I also appreciate the anime for the fact that it left out entirely the first section of the manga, so many drama and characters have already been introduced before we get to know them. Fear not, since everything we need to know about the characters and their dynamic are showed and hinted subtlety over the course of its run. For me, the best parts of the show aren’t the subject matter it deals with, but the rich cast and their complex dynamic together. Take the latter for example, many characters form a very special relationship to each other (many has complained the characters behave too mature for their age, which I digress. We need more of these). And it’s these special bonds that made every single one of them interesting. Take Chiba’s love for Shuu: doesn’t matter how he changes, he will always be the special person to her. The same can be said for Yuki and Takatsuki. It often feels like they reach to a mutual understanding that other people can’t never comprehend. And I suppose sharing the same deep bonds as these makes up the reason why they can always rely on each other, even overcome their own issues to reach out for each other.

Shuu and Takatsuki made up two strong protagonists for this show, both because they’re trans who bothered by their own biological bodies, but also their special bond as well. Noted that while Wandering Son deals heavily in transgender issues, all the romantic relationships in the anime are heterosexual – most notably, Shuu and Anna’s love. Why? Because, of course Shuu loves her. Not in a physical attraction sense since I guess Shuu would never desired to kiss her, but in the intimacy sense where he loves her and cares for her like a sibling love. Is it make their relationship weird? Maybe. But it’s powerful nonetheless. Although I already enjoy the first half of the anime well enough, where they focus on the kids and their gender-bender Romeo and Juliet play, the second half is when Wandering Son hits me real hard. Insecurity plays another major role to these kids, as they are constricted by social norms, by the code of rules that dictates how boy and girls should wear and behave. Takatsuki comes a long way until she decides to cross-dress as a boy to school, but Shuu has it much harder by trying the same thing. The escalated tension when Shuu gradually believes that he should dress up in girl’s uniform because he feels comfortable doing so is one of the moment so powerful that it won’t leave my head anytime soon. It’s one hell of a statement right there and it’s more compelling than any LGBT campaign because it comes from very personal lenses.

As a side note, despite people often complain the show for the lack of proper closure, for me it ends in the best possible way. In that final moment, Shuu literally takes a step forward to the stage. That single image can signify many things: that he’s taking anew step towards the spotlight with his new body; that he finally let the dark and bullied past behind; that he moves on to the next puberty stage of his life. Shuu and his friends continue to live on beyond the scope of this little story.

Rating: 92+/100

Tiger & Bunny (Sunrise)

It’s amusing to note that these two shows received the same rating 87.5 here in by psgels, my opinions on these two couldn’t be more varied. Let’s start from its best components first, Tiger & Bunny is the show that has novel concept, a commercial Superhero reality TV show in the neo-modern city that looks like a glamourous version of Gotham. It’s a pretty cool idea and moreover, the concept of commercial superheroes and their ability “NEXT” have potential to develop into heaps of interesting scenarios. It helps that the show makes these superheroes and their moves as flashy and over the top as possible. Another plus for the shameless corporate sponsorship’ logos that pop up in the team uniforms. Flashiness and cool factor have never been this appropriate. The art design is awesome, especially the city itself that feels lush, noisy but gritty at the same time. The production values, for the most part, fulfil their roles quite remarkably. The fights are dynamic, and those action sequences are always damn fun to follow to say the least. The CG department, however, is wacky and looks out of place whenever the two leads are in the combat suits. Take Tiger & Bunny as a purely action show, it certainly satisfies your cravings.

But Tiger and Bunny is more than a mindless action show. It consistently develops into overarching arcs with more serious tone, and that, my friend, is where the show becomes hit and miss. On positive notes, these arcs make Tiger and Bunny more ambitious than your normal Superhero show and the main leads do grow a bit in their character development. The titular Tiger and Bunny, in particular, share some solid chemistry together. The show, on the other hand, has the Western Superhero and Hollywood as their inspiration and it unfortunately inherits the stupidity of Hollywood’s script as well. There is little to no grey area, the heroes are mostly your hero of justice and the villains get more and more evil as the story progresses. I don’t mind about some casual plot holes or some character inconsistencies because… you know, ACTION show, but the last arc, in instance, is so ridiculous and laughable bad that I have to mark the show down several notes. In this last arc, the whole superhero team suddenly becomes puppets with no personality, or even worse, betray their own personality. Kotetsu is being hunted by the police and being broadcasted live, and suddenly, all these developments are set aside for some more plot twists that go nowhere, fighting with Barnaby for no good logical reason and some other bullshits about androids. And I can never get why the main antagonist thinks it’s such a great idea to brainwash dozen of superpowered and influential people, instead of just eliminating Kotetsu in silence.

Character-wise, I regret to say that although spending 25 episodes with them, at the end of the day I don’t know, or care much about them. Both Bunny and Tiger are your stereotyped JUSTICED superheroes, with Barnaby’s backstory is the one we all heard before (Batman, anyone?). Other heroes each have their own episode that flesh them out a bit, but still ain’t enough to make them stand out at all. Villains are over the top in a no-good way and Lunatic (an anti-hero of sort) has never developed into his full potential. Overall, Tiger & Bunny is an adequate take on the same old Superhero genre that make some good use of the old ideas, especially in their brilliant main concept. The mixture of buddy actions, hero of the week, drama make this show consistently entertaining to follow, despite more often than not they follow the same old formula that been around since the creation of Western Comic.

Rating: 78/100

Welp, turns out I finished these two faster than I originally planned. Have you watched either Wandering Son or Tiger & Bunny? What is your take on those shows? Next time, we will meet a girl who plays karuta and a girl who is a NEET detective. Yep, I will review Chihayafuru and Heaven’s Memo Pad. See you in 2 weeks or so (this time is for real). Until then.

Posted on 27 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Juuni Taisen

With a battle royale concept about 12 Chinese Zodiac warriors fighting against each other for a grand wish and penned by Nisio Isin, Junni Taisen had a lot of high expectation from the anime fandom. We’re pretty much guaranteed to have colorful larger-than-life characters, creative killings, cool lines and exciting battle sequences. The involvement of Nisio suggested that the show might be a tad bit talkier, focus more on characters instead of the overall battle and it could be a deconstruction to the battle royale premise. Well, in the end, Juuni Taisen isn’t what you expect it would be, but not for good reasons. What we have instead is a half-baked story that never quite spend enough time for its cast, a plot that has too much flashback and too little present plot-progress and a production that falls apart like a mutilated zombie.

In order to understand how Juuni Taisen structured the way it was, it’s best to look into their own backstory. Juuni Taisen is an adaptation of a Light Novel that served as a prequel to an one-shot manga about granting one’s wish (my thanks to the commenter who pointed it out), as a result, with the winner pretty much known and the basic groundwork about the Zodiac Wars already established, Nisio decided to narrate the Zodiac War in the reserve-order of the Zodiac signs, as well as its death order. Which comes to straight to the first issue of Juuni Taisen, it becomes predictable that kill half the fun of the battle royale concept. “Predictable” isn’t the same as bad, I must add. But my issues lie in the fact that this tournament doesn’t need to be predictable. Unless you have a sound reason to kill the Zodiac Warriors in that order (which the show doesn’t), it makes no sense whatsoever to rely on such arrangement.

Which also comes to my second point, if viewers come to Juuni Taisen expect a spectacular, brainless action show, they will bound to be disappointed. The fight sequences are decided short and anticlimactic. The pacing doesn’t flow very well because sometimes it spends too much time on flashbacks. There is a significant chunk in the middle part where the present-day moves so little it adds nothing to advance the plot. The huge amount of flashback, its talky nature and the decision to focus on one character per episode mean that Juuni Taisen is more a character-driven piece than action-oriented.

In fact, memorable and colorful characters are Juuni Taisen’s greatest assets. They are not particular deep but they all stand out in their own ways and fit to the narrative of this show like a glove. At its best, Juuni Taisen can develop characters with heart and soul, characters who we can identify and root for. The female cast, in particular, all are developed just about enough for us to care and still want more from them. Chicken, Monkey and Tiger’s stories all have their tragic side that make them utterly relatable. At its worst, Juuni Taisen can ponder too long to the flashbacks that halt the story progression, and worse add next to nothing on what we already know about the characters (hello Snake and Dragon) or too short that we don’t have time to learn more about them (Horse’s flashback is entirely about him trying to enhance his physical body. Dog’s flashback, likewise, is all about his strategy). In the last episode when the show spends some more time to flesh out the entire cast by having Rat asked them about their wishes, it hits home again because those characters are vibrant enough to lighten up the show.

Judging Juuni Taisen in a story department, in the end I consider this story branch fairy weak and uninteresting. Since this is a story about Rat as a protagonist it comes as a given, but I would love to see the retake of other possibilities as I still believe many characters still aren’t developed to their full potential. Not only the characters, but the settings and the implication that powerful people use the Zodiac War as a real-world proxy war are under-explored. For example, the tournaments that occur every 12 years sound nice in concept but inadequate in practice, because it suggests that the tournaments only happen in one animal sign only. Running through the series I still don’t know for sure how popular the Zodiac War is to the common people. If this War is supposed to be a Warrior’s pride then the show fails to develop it properly too.

Aside from the plot progress of the current tournament, the Warriors’ flashbacks usually fall neatly into 2 extreme settings: their mundane normal lives (Monkey, Sheep, Tiger, Rat) as a way to show those Warriors as normal people, and the battlefield (Boar, Chicken, Sheep, Horse, the twins, Tiger, Bull) where it serves to underline our characters as Warriors. Juuni Taisen seems to have a cynical attitude towards the war. War does affect badly to some of our warriors, and the violence of war is sudden and cruel, but that’s the world they live in so they have to accept and make the most out of it. You see, its central message isn’t really profound, or plausible, but I suggest don’t delve too deep into that because Juuni Taisen doesn’t seriously care about it either. All the show cares is to displaying those characters with different viewpoints and attitudes about war and the violence it brings.

Graphinica studio is mostly known as a CG anime studio, and with Juuni Taisen as their first full hand drawn project, it does hint us something about the production values of this show. For the first few episodes, the production was solid with some dynamic fight sequences, but as the show goes on it starts to fall apart with off-model characters, clunky animation and overall unattractive aesthetic. The character designs, on the other spectrum, is so outrageously ridiculous and over the top they stand out as one of the most memorable feature in the series. I would never forget a character with stripper suit, a bunny tail and a high heel. As a whole, Juuni Taisen is decidedly not an action campy show it allures people to be, and that’s not often for its benefits. But still, I would recommend Juuni Taisen to other viewers, since it can provide many deliciously striking sequences, memorable dialogues with its memorable cast. You will have a delicious – if a bit uneven – time, just don’t expect a full-blown action show or a solid show with deep message.

Posted on 21 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

This last episode of Juuni Taisen centres on Rat pondering around, deciding on his ultimate wish after winning the Zodiac War. In a way, Rat is the perfect protagonist to explore the nature of wish-fulfilling, because unlike other warriors who have strong personality and have their wishes fixed in mind, all Rat wanted was to survive the Zodiac War. To add more trouble to that mix, he’s totally pessimistic and has little interest in what he really wants. So all Rat does is to weight all the options, and ask his past companions about their own wishes. The results are vastly different from one character to another, because simply they have different sets of value so the “wish” only works for them. To a certain extent, wish is a form of self-fulfilment, as you only wish for something that you don’t or can’t have, as a result what the characters wish for bring out their own insecurities. While I didn’t and still don’t care much for Rat character and his wish, this finale manages to flesh out the cast who have depth in various unexpected ways. As a consequence, although I don’t buy at all Rat’s ultimate wish (for me it’s anticlimax and nonsense as fuck), I still think we have a solid last episode that present well the nature of wish and give the big cast the last victory lap before the show itself fades out.

As we see the various deleted branches in Rat’s hundred possibilities, it’s worth noting that right at the beginning of this series, even before Boar steps into the building, we’re already on Rat’s winning route. The reason why? In other possibilities, Snake was still pretty much healthy and alive; and in one of the route especially, Snake was chopped down by Bull so that he can use the flamethrower to destroy Rabbit’s maniac Necromantist ability and in another reality, Rat is killed even before he entered the elevator. Sheep and Boar don’t give us much of what we already know about them (except for the mannerisms, Boy do I love Boar’s joy and pride when she says her wish). Chicken and Horse give us exactly what they fear, their own weaknesses. But it’s Dog and Rabbit who completely caught me off guard by breaking a bit of their characters, giving them a bit of soft side that we now know maybe just little more about them. Dog rescues a girl and becomes a guardian of that girl and the girl gives him a purpose in life (I know it sounds cliché but frankly, I can live with that). Rabbit, with his obsessions of making everyone his friends, and he’s truly committed to do that. It’s the one wish I’m glad didn’t happen because if it was, the world will become a freaking zombieland.

For all the strengths of his ability, it appears that the ability is more like a curse to Rat because he’s the only one who remembered all the deleted routes, meaning he experienced and remembered vividly all the other 99 occasions in which he had been killed. Again and again. Having option for all the possibilities also means that when it comes to making a proper decision choice, he’s slow and undecided and on the verge of nervous breakdown. Wanting to forget all that happened makes sense to Rat, since he won’t be bothered to remember all the possible paths and thus, becomes a bliss of ignorance – what you don’t know cannot hurt you no more ‘yeah yeah’.

Overall, I consider Juuni Taisen a missed opportunity. When Juuni Taisen remembers to flesh out the characters, it shines on. The Zodiac War, on the other hand, is poorly constructed. I still don’t get what the hell is up with all the “people” behind the big screen? Or I wonder do normal citizens know about the game at all? If they do, why no one recognize Rat? If they don’t, why the Zodiac war important at all? The plot progress didn’t manage enough twist and turn, with many unnecessary extended flashback and what’s up with Rat who disappeared 80% during the game? The production fall apart like Rabbit’s zombie patched body as the show went on. This might be my second least favorite show of this Fall season but I don’t regret the time spending watching and blogging it, because Juuni Taisen is still a fun and perfectly functional mindless trip. Just don’t look too critical on it.

Posted on 14 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

To the surprise of no one, Rat wins the race by breaking in the right place at the right time with the right weapon. This is by no mean a coincidence, because later on we learn about Rat’s real power: “Hundred Paths of Nezumi-chan”, in which he can see 100 various outcomes and thus picking out the route where he can survive (the only route out of 100 scenarios). To save a certain plot progress, he “locks in”, just like in a game. Admittedly, his ability does make a good twist, but I can’t help but feel it’s way too overpowering. Your chance isn’t 1% anymore when you know exactly the route to the top of the mountain, right? With his win, in retrospective, I certainly appreciate Juuni Taisen more on their decision to kill off Monkey earlier. It was the move that turns the table to the entire race and flips the route expected from this kind of battle story. In other routes, Monkey might be our true protagonist and she might survive till the end, but this story is all about the Rat, so Monkey unfortunately draws a short straw here. Even Bull in the first half admits the same thing, that the moment Monkey turns into Rabbit’s zombie henchwoman, Rabbit becomes the force to be reckoned with.

Juuni Taisen also delivers one of its most twisted and awesome moment – almost at the same time, which I can argue that this single moment sums up pretty well the brilliance of Juuni Taisen: Monkey jumps out from the inside Rabbit’s freaking body and successfully catches Bull off-guarded. What the fuck? But then again, why don’t they kill Bull immediately? Doesn’t the Zombie who kill off the opponents can still bring them back to life? That explains the zombie birds, right? That explains why Rabbit was so furious when he couldn’t turn Horse into his zombie friend, right? Then, supposed that only Rabbit can do the trick, why doesn’t he shoot his blade like what he did last week? Again, this story isn’t given much thought into it, which is extremely frustrating. Juuni Taisen might have some interesting ideas, but not enough love or skill to carry out such intriguing premise.

Even Rat’s ability doesn’t execute well enough. We have a first-handed experience on how his power works: a game-inspired loop of whenever Rat fails to achieve the mission, he starts back and tries again. Except in this case he loses all the time. Imagine if the winner is either Bull or Monkey they would have left the place unscratched. So what Rat does instead is to explain his ability in an over-explanatory fashion. I’m vaguely interested in the deleted routes, however; like how he and Tiger form a grudging alliance in one path, or he and Rabbit unexpectedly hit it off in another. In any cases, it STILL doesn’t explain the decision to kill warriors in a reverse Zodiac mode, which eventually made the race boring, predictable and pointless. Alas, there is one wish that will be granted, and I bet it will have to do with the peace treaty Monkey has been prepared all along. Rat is the most unexciting character in this Zodiac Wars, so it’s hard for me to even care what he will wish for. Let’s just give him a good night’s sleep, I say. He earns it at least.

Posted on 6 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Juuni Taisen again expands a huge flashback in the middle of the current story, but this one hits all the right notes because naturally its heart is in the right place. It’s episode like this that I am glad I’m still sticking with Juuni Taisen and regain my faith to the overall quality of this show. Forget my slam on the representative of women warriors in Juuni Taisen few weeks ago, because with this episode, Tiger becomes one of my favorite character and the whole female cast is up there as the show’s best written characters (3 out of 4 if you ask me with Monkey, Tiger and Chicken are all spectacular, only Boar isn’t that developed but since she was out after the first episode, I can get behind that). Continued right the last episode left off, the long-awaited duel between Bull and Tiger is permanently interrupted by the Zombie Rabbit – a typical move from Nisio’s writing. Despite the fact that I can forgive the carelessness of both warriors, given they didn’t know that Rabbit was a necromantis (something we learned right at the first episode), hence aren’t prepared for his sneaky, underhanded attack; I still don’t get why Rabbit bites his tongue could activate his self-control zombie mode ability. Self-sacrifice by biting off his tongue? Listen, the main reason you die from biting your own tongue is due to the amount of blood loss (bleeding to death), so it doesn’t make any goddamn sense here, technically. Only reason I can come up is that Rabbit was a zombie from the very beginning (look at his red eyes and his unpredictably moves), but then why does he think it’s a good idea to get his body chopped off like this? He can’t regenerate his body, can he?

I must admit I wasn’t ready for another flashback of Tiger, and I certainly didn’t anticipate that flashback to be this poignant and bittersweet. Snake and Dragon’s 2 part-er, take note. This flashback not only builds from the previous one about Tiger who eventually lost herself to drinking and killing because of the mad world, but also adds another dimension to her character development, with charming dynamic between Bull and Tiger to boost. Like I mentioned last week, in many ways, Bull and Tiger share the same fighting styles, but not necessary the same mentality. Tiger kills enemy recklessly because she’s lost and suffering, so to see Bull killing them with a calm demeanour, she can’t help but think Bull knows exactly what he’s doing – a warrior who always does the right thing. When confront with that question himself, Bull comes up with an answer: first, you choose to do it, then do it (the way he demonstrates the idea is priceless by the way). The moral here is the intention. That encounter eventually leaves a big impact to Tiger that she finally has a goal in her life: to meet him again and get him to acknowledge her.

Life is always a little bit more beautiful when you have something to look forward to, so naturally seeing Tiger having her personal goal is already a joy to watch. And I won’t lie when I say I’m eager for her sobering up and doing everything in her power to get into the Zodiac Wars just to meet the person who changed her path of life. She saves Bull without even thinking – her very act of doing the right thing. This episode also sells me on the warm chemistry between Bull and Tiger as we can see the spark of their relationship not only from Tiger’s, but from Bull’s perspective as well. Bull is the man of action, which is to say he doesn’t talk much or think much because his resolve is always clear as the sky. Yet within his time spent with Tiger he talks the most, he isn’t willing to let her die because he has never been saved by anyone before, not knowing that it was the debt she’s repaying him. In addition, Bull never has any intention to kill Tiger as far as I concern, and that makes their final conclusion: he has to finish her off (as Tiger requested) before she turns into a zombie, the more bittersweet and heartbreaking. Bull finally acknowledges Tiger as a warrior just as she wished, and I as well acknowledge her for having such a compelling and moving character arc. The race is now a three-way battle between Bull, Bunny and Rat, and with Rat’s nowhere to be found it’s not a good sign. With only two episodes left, I expect Rat teaming up with Bull to kill an annoying zombie plague and maybe put my beloved Monkey into an eternal rest. At the same time, I am content with Juuni Taisen for now because we’ll always have Paris this episode to linger on.

Posted on 29 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Oh fuck… Turns out Dragon’s plan all along was to chime in, just so that he is immediately taken down by the flying Rabbit. Lame. What a load of crap. I mean, Dragon has been contributing absolutely zero significance to the plot so far. The reason he wasn’t the first one to have his head chopped off? Because he was standing behind Snake. The reason he survived within the top 5? Because he’s freaking flying and hiding. And just when he makes a speech last week and decides to fight, bam, his body gets cut in half. Duh. I don’t feel like I care anymore.

Maybe Dragon’s very purpose in the story comes afterward, when the now Zombie-Dragon again combines Zombie-Snake as an invincible team to battle Bull and Tiger. I honestly don’t get Bull’s plan part that suggest Tiger taking the ice tank because Bull could have done it himself without relying on the not-to-good-with-thinking Tiger. Anyways, I kinda enjoy the dynamic between Bull and Tiger. Believe it or not they’re quite similar when it comes to fighting style: all aggressive, lone-wolf, no strategy style (simply because they’re too strong and quick to even need a strategy). That is exactly why their style doesn’t work well against zombies, whose body parts keep risen again after getting chopped up. Fortunately, Tiger finally caught on with the plan and uses the ice tank from Dragon to finish those annoying zombies off.

I was curious to see how Juuni Taisen tackles this Rabbit episode, arguably the most mysterious, maddening character of this series. He is the only one who doesn’t have a prolife page in the Light Novel, implying that his backstory is a mysterious one. As it reveals, this week we have… Tiger’s extended backstory instead on how she was a spirited fighter and then broken down due to the ugliness of war and thus turns her into the bloodthirsty beast who drunk on blood and booze and stop worrying about anything else. If there is a central message in Juuni Taisen: their world is harsh, grey-morally and mad and those who still keeps a bright, hopeful sentiment (like Monkey and in an extend, Chicken) will be the first to die. What I find amused about this particular backstory is how Tiger was raised in such a traditional dojo, something that when we saw her fighting stance in few previous back we wouldn’t have guessed correctly. Drinking away, stop thinking and worrying too much in a way free herself to all the commitments and her moral dilemma about the pointlessness of it all. She starts to lose sense of time, of the faces around her and her life seems to be an extended, endless day with more soldiers to kill and booze to drink.

Bull and Tiger meet the formidable Rabbit and to our surprise, they kill Rabbit at a single whoop. But consider Rabbit has fair amount of dirty tactics, I come to suspect that this is all his plan along. Anyone noticed he bites his tongue before getting chopped off? After all he’s a necromantic so it only makes sense that he could raise himself back from the death. In addition, he still has Monkey lurking around somewhere and her ability is simply too powerful. The production this week fares a bit better than the poor execution last week, although the obvious CG still stands out too much in a bad way. A lot of fight scenes this week, however, will somewhat compensate for the lack of any fighting in previous few weeks. So I expect next week will be a fair fight between the best-dynamic fighters to date, and then we will see how Rabbit comes back from the death to haunt those two. In a meantime, Rat just waits out for everyone killing themselves and then claim a victory lap by doing absolutely nothing.

Posted on 22 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

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 done nothing to impress me at all. The entirety of this episode focuses on the twin’s motive through a case, where each of them assigned to two opposing parties and in the end, they are the ones who take the whole cake. If there is one positive note I’d give about the flashback (there isn’t many), it’s that Juuni Taisen keeps twisting the notion of what kind of warriors/ heroes Snake and Dragon are. First, they implied that the twins doing all the killing for money, which at first sight seems kinda appropriate with their mottos, well… “Killing for Money”. But later on, the show hints that they share their stolen money for the poor, Robin Hood style, most notably through the story of two little brothers. In the end though, it’s clear that they’re doing the way the do is simply because it’s fun and excitement

The twins rather work as one unity team this week so it’s hard to look further on their bond except that now we know why Dragon shares no remorse towards the death of his twin brother, because they don’t see the value in the concept of mourning. Heck, it’s hard for me to even pinpoint if they truly love someone beyond their own because they seriously lack empathy. Dragon points out during the court that their moral sense is vastly different from normal people, thus applying normal people’s judgement into their case isn’t really appropriate. I am honestly not sure how he can get away with that argument, although it’s clear that he did and in the end, every bad deed they had done is nothing more than amusing themselves and makes their lives more fun.

Back to the main event, Bull and Tiger narrowly escape death. Like what I guessed last week it’s the burning that kill those zombies for good (or if you have crows by your side), and both Bull and Tiger are determining to finish Zombie Snake once and for all before having their own match, but Dragon has different plan. At this point, I feel the plot has padded out too thin, both doesn’t do much to advance the plot, and the backstory doesn’t catch much of my interest either. Add that to the poor quality of production that feel like they could break apart at any moment, and we have Juuni Taisen at its lowest point. Still think they have something up their sleeves for the final round but I won’t hold my breath after disappointment after disappointment.

Posted on 17 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

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, his head helped Rabbit to finish Monkey and now his limbs alone are strangling both Bull and Tiger into their suffocation. Like how Rat mentioned last week, he feels more alive and battle-ready than many of other warriors in the race, especially his brother Dragon who still does nothing except flying and observing the race from the sky. We also have a glimpse of the dynamic between Snake and Dragon and I like that their relationship is still pretty vague, a combination of both partner in crime, sibling rivalry, familial bond but at the same time not really either of these. For those who wonder about the weird sibling bond between Snake and Dragon, especially in Western culture where dragon is a fire-breathing creature with aggressive connotations, dragons in Asian culture are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. Moreover, their close relationship with snake dates back to ancient times so there’s some truth behind the Tsumita clan who claim that the Warriors of Dragon and Snake have always been pair for generations (but if they put it that way, both Dragon and Snake have to know they will have to kill off each other beforehand, right?)

We have some fragment flashbacks about the twins, mostly about their heists and their nomination ceremony for the Zodiac Wars. Between those two, Dragon is a calmer, more collected and Snake is the more aggressive warrior. Dragon owns the sky as he flies through the field, whereas Snake has a special ability to feel and connect the Earth. Dragon uses what I assumed an ice thrower, whereas Snake used flamethrower. Putting together, they make quite a dangerous pair precisely because they are two-headed monster whose abilities complement one another. But like I said, I like how their relationship is neither of these expected tropes. At first, they show no remorse when they heard the news that one of them will have to die in the Zodiac War, for them it’s more like a part of a deal they all have to follow. They do compete with one another, but they question it immediately “Since when it becomes a competition?”. They tell each other “a fool”, but they clearly enjoy their times together. They can survive on their owns, but always enjoy the company of the other and watch each other’s back. Their ability is “killing for money” but from what I see money isn’t really all they look for. I enjoy it when the siblings keep redefining who they are and aren’t, but there certainly is a big risk that Dragon especially can come off as bland with no real personality. Hopefully the next episode Juuni Taisen will do a justice to his arc because so far he contributes absolutely nothing to the race.

Elsewhere, Rabbit is disappointed because he can’t resurrect Horse, for whatever reason. I suspect it has to do with the heat/burn because it’s the very same method that Bull decided to use against Snake’s arms. As expected, Tiger has a real grudge against Bull and they agree to settle for a battle once they getting out of the current mess they are in now. Which of course will come after Dragon and Rabbit’s episodes, and by then we will learn why Tiger hold such hatred towards poor Bull (love quarrel? I’d love that). Even more so with the Dragon character, I have a feeling Juuni Taisen knows where it’s heading and still have enough tactful tricks to surprise us, but it’s better be rewarding because the ride so far has been slow, and surprisingly safe and uninspiring. Knowing Nisio I believe he can come up with a solid ending, but it won’t be an excuse to make the middle section this mild and boring.

Posted on 8 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Like what I predicted last week, halfway point and we have multiple deaths this week and the betting is officially kicking into gear. Unlike what I predicted last week, it’s not two but three players are leaving the game. One of them completely takes me out by surprise, not in a good way. For the main reason is that the three death warriors are respectively: Monkey – Goat and Horse; and that falls neatly to the reverse Zodiac order AGAIN. As for now, I pretty much think the death order is intentional, but I can’t see the reasons behind that. Why follow the same pattern? Why make it predictable? Why those who have a brief background end up taking the short straws? Honestly, I am disappointed, and a little pissed since Juuni Taisen killed off my favorite character, Monkey. Granted, Monkey might not be gone yet (again with rule number 1: nothing is certain unless you see the dead body), but I’m still a bit curious to see Monkey in her zombie form and what her role remains in later events, because I still see her pacifist attitude can still be relevant as the show reaches the climax. One thing I come to certain now: Rat is likely to win after all, both because he’s the least favorite to win (everyone loves an underdog), and because his role is getting more and more significant now. A modern Death Reaper, perhaps? Comes to signal the death of fellow warrior and then vanishes into thin air?

It’s Horse episode this week so naturally we learn a bit about him. All the flashbacks pointed to him training his body to become a human armor, with the current situation serves to explore his psychology. That bit is still one of the factor that I’m digging in Juuni Taisen: various warriors have different personalities, fight styles, and their game philosophy towards the Zodiac War. For Horse, it’s all about defence. He’s great of defending himself; his main ability, likewise, is “stirrup”, the ability to allow him to increase the toughness of his body beyond that of normal human limits. After losing confidence over the one-sided fight with Bull earlier, he holes himself up into well-guarded bank vault, and that ultimately is how he loses his life. Rat criticizes Horse method of “doing nothing but surviving” is no better than death itself, since the world that everything stands still is basically a dead world. He might not be the great warrior or has high chance to win the race, but Horse’s role and his philosophy still adds up considerably in Juuni Taisen.

In another battle, Tiger proves herself to be a badass with her drunken fist style… boy, I love how messy and ridiculous she often behaves, but when it comes to action she does a quick and clean job. Bull basically just walks around, looking goofy. And like how Rat describes the Zombie headless Snake, he comes as more alive and threatening than most the players out there, especially his twin-brother counterpart, Dragon, who still nowhere to be seen at this moment and still managed to be in the top 6. Geez, I don’t like that kind of one character per episode focus. We will have a two-part episode next week, which is rather appropriate since the next episode will focus on the Snake – Dragon dynamic, and I’m 80% sure now that after it ends, Dragon will be the next to die. As of now, I still enjoy the Juuni Taisen’s solid set of characters, but in the grander scheme my interest has waned quite a bit. Don’t even care who will win the race for one thing (but let’s hope it won’t be Zombie Snake, or better yet, Zombie Monkey).

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Chicken, Monkey, Goat, Horse

Favorites to win: Rat, Bull, Rabbit

Posted on 3 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

Sorry for a slight delay of this post, as for the last few days I took a little break from anime to catch up with other stuffs. Turned out that instead of catching up, I ended up surfing the webs meaninglessly, shopping unnecessary stuffs online, sleeping way too early and still manage to feel tired and wrecked the next day. Very counterproductive I must admit. At this rate, I might get back to the project sooner than I think. Now back to Juuni Taisen, this week Juuni Taisen has one of its worst showing, with the pacing drags big time here. The plot progression is just an extension of what we already know or what we could have guessed. Monkey can’t seem to get through her peace message to Rabbit’s head (Surprise! Surpise!). Horse didn’t die the last time, but that raise a big head-scratching issue for me: Bull isn’t a guy to let his opponent escape that easily – I hope there is something else beneath it, otherwise it’s a very weak development for me. Rat’s experiencing a hard time escaping Zombie-headless Snake (why Zombie Boar can barely move, but Zombie Snake can run, sense the opponent’s movement, and approach Rat with a sound tactical attack?). In fact, this episode keeps stalling on forwarding the plot that the only plot progression we gain towards the end is that Sheep might team up with the Tiger (Tigress?)

But we do learn some context about the Zodiac War. The big battle is watched by a group of faceless rich and powerful people, in a War-room inspired meeting room, to gamble and might possibly change the world based on who will win the battle. A proxy war so to speak, but the one that I don’t particular care for (come on. They’re faceless people here). But this reveal does sign us the direction Juuni Taisen might go in the future. Maybe this is what Chicken means by persuaying the warriors not to kill each other. Could it be that she wanted the Zodiac warriors to team up and destroy the Zodiac War system, once and for all? Anyways, it doesn’t make a dash of sense for me that they have to wait for 6 remaining warriors to bet. Isn’t it, like, defeat the whole purpose of horse betting? Apparently, Nisio wrote a spin-off story about this tournament from the point of view of one of these faceless people. Wonder who might it be? The… yellow faceless figure there? The figure… with woman voice? My guess is as good as anyone here.

As this is a Sheep’s episode, we have an extended flashback about him and we learn a bit of everything about his life. A weapon specialist, an experienced warrior, a former Zodiac War winner (which happened in a SPACE!!! Damn, I want one of those stories) and ultimately his happy life spent taking care of his grandson. Basically a skilled soldier who married into a family with great Zodiac tradition, it’s his normal family time spent that make him one of the most humane character of the cast right now. One other factor that makes his story stands out is that he has fulfilled a happy life, and now the only reason to join the battle is to protect his grandson. A solid reason, but unfortunately, not a refreshing one. If there is one warrior of this tournament is ready to die without any regrets left, it’s Sheep.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t put up a fight to survive. He was the one who ready to blow up everyone before Monkey intervened by breaking the floor. He was one of the few who didn’t swallow the poison. Now, he works his way through, chess-style, to figure out the favorites and the ones that he should team up. It’s fun to see the wise man reasoning and mapping out his plan, but when we have more information than him regarding who’d still on the battlefield, I can’t help but feel that the time spent for him serves very little purpose. And for a wise man who knows everyone’s, including his own, position, he makes a grave mistake of underestimating someone else. Rat and Tiger are considered the weakest warriors by Sheep, and as I considered Rat an underdog, with this episode I can confirm that Tiger will have something up her sleeves as well (and the fact that she’s the last third of the reverse Zodiac order helps significantly too. She can’t die before her arc comes, right?).

In the end, episode 5 of Juuni Taisen is the show’s weakest episode so far. The plot’s stalling at times, Sheep’s backstory isn’t that special, the battles feel unnecessary long and no one dies this week. Consider that the faceless VIP waits for half of the field is gone in order to bet, and the fact that the next episode will be half of the show’s run, I expect a multiple, (and hopefully brutal) deaths next week.

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Chicken

Favorites to win: Monkey, Rabbit, Bull, Rat

Might remain within top 6: Tiger, Dragon, which means Horse and Sheep might leave the field next.

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
@Niello: just caught up with Darling, I think this last episode was a blast. Interesting framing (wonder who was the episode director) and for me overall rich world-building. The characters are still miss or hit for me thou
Anonymous2148050
Tomorrow’s jow
Niello
@KTravlos My experience with Terror too.
KTravlos
The Terror ended weak for me. A great show up to episode 7 and parts of 8, 9 and 10 just went down the path of gore fest. It will work for many, but it soured for me the excellent first 8 ones.
Niello
And that's it for Franxx, an entire episode dedicated to lame world building. Expecting it to be mediocre was correct.
Lenlo
Well, Mikio's gear was upgrading to V5 we saw, so it may not be as easy as we think. That said, I just want Gear to be relevant. It really feels like just a gimmick to me so far and Mikio could maybe change that, since his is so important
AidanAK47
Oh and I got two card drops, both of which were Shanas.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still need to grind up the damage points. I am close and planning to get it before Rider day ends. But Banana Oni is the hardest challege this game has ever given. And fighting her is always a gamble.
Amagi
Yeah it was a good move. Really want to see how Mikio will fight without the advantage he had till now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
This weeks episode of megalobox gave an added importance to him being gearless .
Amagi
Now that I got the 300mio damage in FGO I finally get card drops that I don't need anymore
AidanAK47
@Masky, I believe I told you to watch Fate/Zero and apologize.
Masky
@AidanAK47 three days ago: Harsh words :D
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do echo the frustration though with shows you like not getting enough episodes. And then there are of course shows where I wonder, did they really need so many episodes/seasons.
Anonymous2142344
You an always watch the old 160 episode ova of Legend of Galactic Heroes. Differences to date are minor
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Follow up films coming though.
Anonymous2142275
Galactic Heroes, is starting to grow on me, is a shame, that's only 12 episodes so much potential being wasted. What happened to those times when long animes, could have at least 50 episodes ( Gundam Seed, Code Geass) and still be viable. feeling hopeless
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A female director you could also look into is Moufida Tlatli , especially silences of the palace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On golden kamuy, from reading on in the manga, there will be a big reveal regarding Asirpa soon. Also I feel the prisoner guys are becoming monster of the week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm glad to be reviewing stuff again on letterboxd.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I...actually momentarily forgot about the PM system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Watch Bombshell, secrets of a hollywood star or calling hedy lamarr, Bombshell is a recent documentary about Lamarr.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Von Triers new film looks darkly funny though to a degree and I love the self-indulgent first per3son narration.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I have no idea how Stellan Skarsgard (who works alot with Von trier) produced Alexander Skarsgard, the latter is far too attractive to come from that. I feel the same about Asia Argento, I refuse to believe Dario could have produced such a fine creature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm rarely about morals or understanding as an importance when it comes to film, I care most about how it hits me on a visceral/emotional level, how daring it is in its imagination, visuals, madness , creativity.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: thanks, received it. God, Von Triers new film is entirely something else. Full-on provocation. And I already think his Nymphomaniac was too much
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Also I'm dying to see Von Trier and Chang-dongs new films, especially the priors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
Lenlo
That said, the key drama scenes were still great. Okabe's VA continues to make me happy. Im just not sure how much of this is nostalgia.
Lenlo
Steins;Gate is at its best in moments of character drama and character interaction. All of its value lies in its characters. Any action, with this muted style, is going to come off stiff and dull. A con of the art-style decision.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm glad you said that, because I felt visually it looked stiff this week and that brief scene in the beginning wasn't much to look at. But Okabes meeting with Baldyguy-san and the cliffhanger and after credits bit were good scenes.
Lenlo
So yeah, this was probably the weakest week of Steins;Gate so far. Its pretty clear its not an action series and that its style doesnt suit itself well to combat scenes
SuperMario
... watching and reading many shounen titles (Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest, Bleach and the likes), shounen isn't my cup of tea at all
SuperMario
While I grow up
Lenlo
@Anon, I love Shounen. BnHA is one of my favorites every season its on. Doesnt mean I like Black Clover though
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thank you for that anon, when I watched the episode earlier I wasn't aware there was a post credits scene.
Anonymous2141254
oh well, we still are early on in S;G 0 too. Plus, there seems to be a huge development at the end of the episode
Anonymous2141254
idk, i can't help but feel that besides the amadeus plotline, everything else feels "fillery"
Anonymous2141254
I must say though that I'm still waiting for it to get good, idk maybe my expectations are too high because the original was great after the first few episodes
Anonymous2141254
Don't forget to watch end credits fo Steins Gate 0
KTravlos
I like some shonen. I just think that they are popular enough as not to be worth reviewing ihmo.
Vonter
@Anon2140150 - I do. Though Shounen do have the issue of being derivative in certain aspects like power scales and several doing the FMA Brotherhood climax (of what I've watched). Also they're made to be endless. It can be intimidating jumping to one that has several seasons.
Anonymous2140150
Does everyone here don't like shonen anime?
Amagi
Really, if there is one piece of information (aside from otome maybe) that makes me ignore a series forever it's a LN about a LN author or illustrator. The selfinert wish fulfillment couldn't be more obvious.
Amagi
Another LN greenlit for an anime production and the synopsis starts with "* is a light novel illustrator and..".
Amagi
@KTravlos: I don't know why modern anime hate curly- and/or wild hair so much. The old hair style gave Reinhard a more royal look, whereas he looks like a normal highschool boy now. Not that I am complaining about the anime as a whole. Also, I like some of the new designs.
KTravlos
and a part of me things it is indeed the hair. It comes to low, giving Reinhard a slovenly, lazy feel. When Yang feels more energetic you know there was a mistake.
KTravlos
and yes, this Reinhard fares poorly in comparison to the OVA one. He is dull. I need more Yang :p
KTravlos
ai vay vay. The Castrop Rebellion remains waste of time. And this time it was worse. The older depiction was tacky but at least it showed Kircheis ability in a logical manner. This time I had no idea what the hell happened. It felt cheap.

The rest of the episode was ok. Not completely sold on all the renditions of imp. admirals though I still love the uniforms.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*those
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hearing these , I find myself much more tolerant of anime voice acting even if the dub might only be okay.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its actually less of a sync issue, as I'm talking about 60s dubs , alot of people think the voices in old anime English dubs from the 90s are dated, but the old sixties kungfu and western dubs are shocking, far worse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't mind sometimes satirical dubbing like on tiger lily , dialectics break bricks and kung pow however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And those can be difficult to acquire sometimes in Italian or Chinese.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Live action films, this is especially annoying sometimes because I love Spaghetti westerns and Chinese martial arts films and old Italian cop thrillers.
Anonymous2137430
@Kaiser-Eoghan Are you referring to foreign animated films of foreign live action films because dubbing live action is a different beast as I'm sure you're aware. The idiosyncratic nature of watching moves and facial expressions not properly match voices really pulls the viewer out of the experience
SuperWooper
LoGH is airing a special next week because of scheduling delays, so that's one less thing to do.
AidanAK47
Well to those whom it might concern, expect my posts to be later than usual this week. Work is hell at the moment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say, this is probably a bit hypocritical, but while I enjoy dubs of anime I really really can't stand dubs of foreign films.
Lenlo
Simo Hayha would make a pretty crazy Archer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine a fate strange fake adaptation will materialize eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But everyone seems to want that Finnish sniper as a Fate servant .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still no Mao, still mad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I have lost track of the historical characters in the fate lineup.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, to expand on that point the following historical figures are now female: Nero Claudius, Leonardo da Vinci, Frankenstein's Monster, Xuanzang, Jing Ke, Quetzalcoatl, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Miyamoto Musashi, Okita Souji and many more to come.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I find it's an enjoyable watch though flawed. If you can get past some odd fanservice around the first ten episodes then I say it's worth watching.
Anonymous2133468
So i was thinking if i start watching, darling in the franxx, is worth it? or is just another 6/10 anime?
Lenlo
God damnit. Why Nasu. Just why.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, that ain't even Lewd.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In all seriousness its ridiculous, the Japanese will make a cute/moe girl out of anything.
AidanAK47
....Should I also mention that Francis Drake is a big boobed pirate queen?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Posting lewd images on a respectable chatbox.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, But none of these characters are in the anime adaptions. Well besides Jack and Saber.
Lenlo
Aidan, all this conversation did was prove that my decision to only ever watch the Ufotable adaptions was the correct decision.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, you can blame Extella for the Attlia the Hun thing. I wasn't too fond of it myself. Also should mention Attila is female as well.
https://pm1.narvii.com/6414/528599445b739909c02993cfdbfc9f277d088cf2_hq.jpg
AidanAK47
Also Masky I will be the first to admit to the ridiculous aspects of the Fate Franchise but do take note that you are commenting on something you know literally nothing about. Which is the very definition of ignorance and is quite annoying. Fate/Zero nails the themes it's going for. So go watch Fate/Zero, come back and apologize.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Give it time. Genghis is getting in there eventually with Grand Order. We just had Anastasia and Salieri introduced after all. And it's not as if this story introduces Servants willy nilly, they need actual story purpose. Genghis Khan wouldn't have fit the Narrative that Fate/Zero was going for.
Lenlo
Wait Attila is an Alien and Edison is a Lion? God damnit Fate. Why are you doing this to me. I was already annoyed at your treatment of Musashi
Masky
(aliens existing in the show is good example of that missing on themes part xP)
Masky
*most successful conqueror
Masky
Honestly was just amused most conqueror of all time not being featured in the show :D But wait, whats this about aliens?
AidanAK47
Anyway the important thing to take into account is that in the Fate universe, King Arthur is a woman, Attila the Hun is an Alien, Thomas Edison is a lion and Jack the Ripper is a little girl in a dominatrix outfit. Any questions?
AidanAK47
And while you don't need to watch something to be given divine right to comment on ideas or themes, it does leave you ignorant of how that show handles those ideas and themes.
AidanAK47
As for the Historical Alexander, he wasn't given the title of King of Couquerors. Fate/Zeros interpretation of him was. As generally accurate Fates interpretation of Servents history can be, they can make changes to suit the narrative.
AidanAK47
In that Regard Alexander was doing the conquest thing before Ghengus did. Ghengus likely has some other title. Hell he may only have the title because public consciousness was is more familiar with Alexander than Ghengus.
AidanAK47
Yeah, looking it up seems the King Title lost quite a lot of meaning in the Nasuverse. Though the King Title is rather flimsy. I mean Arthur is the King of Knights cause of the Knights of the round table. Gil is king of heroes because his tale was the first Heroic myth.
Lenlo
I think Alexander was just the first one they thought of, and they couldnt retroactively give it to someone else.

That said, Broskander deserves it <3
Masky
(And no, you don't need to watch something to be given divine right to comment on ideas or themes of it.)
Masky
(just to note in case I need to note, I do tend to do at least cursory research when I make comments on stuff I don't watch)
Masky
That first part is semantics as Fate gives title "King" to historical figures who weren't kings already :D Also, you can make that argument about historical Alexander the Great? Since that seriously sounds like kind of weak reason.
AidanAK47
Also sees Rider as deserving of title of "King of Conquerors" because that which he strives to conquer most is not lands or material wealth, but the hearts of people, the toughest conquest that can be undertaken by anyone.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Ghengis Khan wasn't a king. He was a Khan.
Lenlo
Ghengis is always a Rider in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, Ghengis would be an appropriate beserker servant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: I know, it feels so wrong I'm still mad I can't summon Karl Marx or Stalin.
Masky
So wait, Fate series is about historical figures with super powers, but "King of Conquerors" title isn't given to Ghengis Khan? :D Seriously? Thats just so wrong
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't feel any point in finishing it, it feels like something that I'd just randomly drop , not because its a bad show, but because I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
I am actually going to drop blogging it.
AidanAK47
@Sash, indeed. I have been watching it but not blogging it for the last few episodes because it just hasn't givne me anything to say. I don't think it's a bad show but I have pointed out the flaws and strengths of it already so there is truly nothing more to say on it.
Sash
I think wotakoi is starting to feel repetitive..
Kaiser-Eoghan
You are now aware Shana and Batman Ninja Harelequinn are both voiced by Rie kugimiya.
Lenlo
I did. It was... It was a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Did you end up watching Batman ninja by the way?
Lenlo
Music is great, yeah. When the music is on point, everything goes up. Everytime the sync the fight/punches to the music I just get hyped. Like the rotating shot with Aragaki or the first fight in episode 1.
Lenlo
Ill do my best to be clearer in the future on that front. Yeah, I dont mind twists like this. Makes the inevitable Mikio fight, narratively, even better.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel the music does alot of the lifting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, so that was it.
Lenlo
Sorry if I never made that clear.
Lenlo
I would rather have fewer, amazing, fights than a lot of low-quality fights. This is a one cour show, the more meaning/impact they can give each fight the better.

Like Aragaki, narratively, was great. Loved it. Its just in animation/choreography that it falls flat.
Lenlo
Im disappointed with the animation of the fights. Narratively, I think they are quite good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*disappointed with the fights in past episodes
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Pretty much what I said I thought of the episode. Although I was surprised how took the episodes ending, I expected you to see it as a slap in the face after being disappointed with the fights.
Lenlo
Also, @Kaiser, I thought Megalo Box did something unique this episode. I wasn't expecting Joe to *not* fight. And the Mikio/Yukiko proxy war is an interesting character motivation. Im betting Yukiko will get Joe a full citizenship, effectively getting her on his side.
Lenlo
I wish I was physically capable of watching Megalo Box without thinking of Hajime no Ippo. I really do. But everytime I watch it, it makes me want to watch Ippo again to.
Anonymous2120908
I watched some more of the Chimera family chinese anime. (Wasn't aware it was monthly released). And geez, I like the concept, the background art is very pretty and contrasts with settings that have become tired in other anime. Yet sadly the animation and script are WEAK. I haven't grasped the quality of what's expected of these types of production but I want to believe, they're trying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not much in the way of action in megalobox this week, but I did like the focus on Yukkiko getting a small character moment and then the big moment at episodes end .
AidanAK47
@Anon, That's some lazy ass trolling buddy. Should have stopped before the hashtags.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even sort of looking forward to supposedly less respectable stuff like Goblin slayer and happy sugar life.
Vonter
Also E3 is almost here. And I can't wait. I think Nintendo will have a good show considering they're revealing the new Smash with a tournament. There's rumors of the new game by Retro Studios (Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong) and maybe they'll reveal something about how Pokemon will be on the Switch.
Vonter
Also there's always the chance of something new being discovered. Not everything needs expectations behind. Sometimes great things come out of nowhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So yes, there are some at least decent shows coming out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Muh Baki, Muh Bananna fish, muh made in abyss season 2, muh Vinland.
Anonymous2119906
The rest of this year looks like shit for anime and 2019 doesn't look great either #fuckmoe #makeanimegreatagain
Anonymous2119214
@Kaiser yeah it happened in half the amount of eps this time around for steins gate 0; which i expected considering there's a lot of ground to cover
Anonymous2119106
@Supermario Something like Fate or the LOTR films are a different case. I get where you're coming from about your preference, but I'm arguing that if a large story is going to be split into 3 films, it helps that the 3 films feel cleanly cut. Infinity war, even though we know there's a second part to the story, feels like it has that cohesive narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end
Anonymous2119106
@Super Mario yea but the marvel movies are a different situation so i don't think the comparison is as appropriate. Marvel movies are "episodic" in nature rather than a continuous narrative. The films are largely isolated stories that are happening in a similar universe that only happen to "congeal" narratively because of a few overarching details shared between films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I remember when the original series suddenly shifted and got going and it was a really depressing episode.
Lenlo
Oh baby. The storm has finally come in Steins;Gate. Let the true suffering commence
SuperMario
@anon2118276: that's why I don't like LoTR trilogy. It's still a whole body chopped up in 3 parts, despite how clean the cut is. Whereas for me it works better if it was like a branch in a tree. The Marvel movies (despite my disinterest on those) are a good example of this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I did feel some of this weeks steins gate felt fillery, I do like see these characters interact and given the episodes conclusion, this episode acted as a calm before the storm.
Lenlo
Ill agree with you on King Kong. As for the Ralph Bakshi LotR, I have. I am still to this day impressed by the overlay of 2D art onto real/overexposed footage. It makes for shockingly fluid animation in places and has its own distinct style
Anonymous2118208
@Lenlo - Have you watched the old Ralph Bakshi adaptation of the first two books? It's uneven, but it's interesting comparing and contrasting certain decisions. As good as Peter Jackson is, I feel he makes very longwinded films, I like his version of King Kong a lot, but it is too long.
Anonymous2118276
@supermario i disagree; the point is that even though the LOTH films have cliffhanger endings, they still feel like fils. they have a defined first second and third act with well paced tension and release throughout them. They follow a storytelling macrostructure necessary for films to feel like cohesive narratives even if they are to end on a cliffhanger
Lenlo
I quite liked the individual LOTR movie just fyi
Vonter
Marvel surprisingly has kept their movies simple enough, that while you might miss details nowadays, you can tell what's happening.
Vonter
Another bad case is like with Assassin's Creed, which like Lost, just tried to tease a lot of things, then it grew tired of trying to piece them together and let the last games work more standalone, with little hints of a larger lore.
Vonter
Metroid does both, it has a standalone story and a hint to what a sequel might bring. Though that hint rarely matters by the time the new game is released.
Vonter
@SuperMario - Some videogames trilogies also do that. Gears of War and God of War had good standalone beginnings but by the second game they put cliffhanging endings. Kingdom Hearts does that and I expect 3 to also do it. Megaman Legends and Half Life had incomplete stories, which might be the worse case in regards to trying to make a continuous story.
SuperMario
It ruins the appetite
SuperMario
I actually think Lord of the Rings' trilogy is a bad example to follow. These films are meant to be viewed as a whole, so each film doesn't hold much as an individual story. I just can't digest films that have "to be continued" sign at the end. Imagine having a first course meal and then have to wait for few days for second course
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the current topic, I would be well for the production of a long running, ambitious ova series.
Anonymous2116425
then again, i don't take too much issue with these films feeling like movie-sized eps...the wait just sucks is all
Anonymous2116425
clearly the films need each other to tell the whole story, yet they can be taken for what they are in isolation as well
Anonymous2116425
I don't mind the trilogy trend at all; like Aidan said, when everything is said and done, all the films will be available to watch. I just think a stronger attempt should be made to make them feel like complete films. Something like the lord of the rings trilogy is a great example of how to do this
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am in full confidence that neither I nor Miura will survive to the end of berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course maybe they won't have a future , think about it that way, then they'd never see it, life has that weird way of being unpredictable like that =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
You can always rewatch them just before watching the one after.
AidanAK47
Of course not. But that's the thing. The wait is only a temporary problem. Anyone in the future will have all movies ready to view.
Total users: 33

Star Crossed Anime Blog

4 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Steins;Gate 0 – 7 [Eclipse of Vibronic Transition -Vibronic Transition-]

Oh boy, Steins;Gate 0 was definitely a thing this week, whatever that means. This time we have clashing styles, interesting plot twists and one hell of a cliffhanger. Lets jump in! To start off, lets get the obvious out of the way. Steins;Gate 0 is not an action series and it shows. The opening “combat” […]

Golden Kamuy – 07 [Complication]

This week ties up one plot thread that is Nihei and Tanigaki and their quest for hunting down the wise wolf and overall it does a decent job at that. Continuing from where the last episode left of, this final confrontation works for me because everyone has a moment to shine. Sugimoto proves that he […]

Hisone to Masotan – 06 [I’ll Shout Your Name]

At one point during this episode I almost felt that Hoshino was just too overboard. Being stubborn is one thing, but when you’re too stubborn you outright hurt others’ feeling without backing down, it’s irritating to watch. The issue with Hoshino, as we come to learn during the flashback, is that piloting an F2 has […]

Megalo Box – 7 [The Road to Death]

Hello everyone, and welcome to the most surprising episode of Megalo Box yet. This week we have family drama, Joe’s declining health and a shocker of an ending. Lets jump in! So starting from the top, lets talk about this ending. I never thought Megalo Box would pull something like this, with its limited number […]

Hinamatsuri – 07 [Anzu Is a Greeter Now]

At this halfway mark, I want point out that the comedy of Hinamatsuri isn’t as sharp as the first few episodes (except for the segment including Hitomi’s classmates). There’s still absurdist sense of humor, sure, but it doesn’t make me laugh out lout or even make me chuckle. That is to say I come to […]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 7[The Capture of Iserlohn (Part 2)]

The majority of this episode was detailing the plan and execution of Yangs takeover of Iserlohn which does seem rather simplistic when you think about it. This is a point where LOGH shows its age a bit and while they tried to bump it up by throwing in a body scanner, there is still the […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 6 [Eclipse of Orbital Ordering -The Orbital Eclipse-]

Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, Steins;Gate 0 has stomped the throttle and cut the breaks. Lets skip the intro and just get right to it. Early on I thought this episode was going to be slow, we were going to focus on our characters and relax a bit. I thought it would be drama […]

Golden Kamuy – 06 [Hunter’s Soul]

Well, (animal) shit. Golden Kamuy starts slow this week and ends with a bang. This episode presents many of Golden Kamuy’s ups and downs so it’s best to dissect them one by one. For the negative part, the pacing is still off. This episode spends too much time on Sugimoto and Asirpa hunting that poor […]

Hisone no Masotan – 05 [Do You Really Think That There’s Anybody Who Likes Being Disliked?]

There’s one thing you can count on original shows, you can never know for sure what the plot is going next. Sometimes, it surprises you with its sheer originality and sometimes, it could go to weird places. HisoMaso falls into the latter this week, literally where it’s taking us to an uninhabited island for the […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – I Prestige Flower Anime Review – 90/100

We have seen an influx of Fate adaptations over the last year and sadly each has proven to be disappointing except for a cooking slice of life short series which is weirdly better than it has any right to be. This movie was the last of the Fate adaptations that I needed to see but […]

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

Violet Evergarden’s existence has surely been a public one. Acclaimed before everyone lick a taste of it (it was awarded for grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014 – read, KyoAni awards), it goes without saying that Violet Evergarden is one of the most anticipated show of the sparse Winter […]

A Place Further than the Universe (Winter 2018) Review – 77/100

Cute girls doing cute things is a genre that been done to death at this point. Even within this Winter 2018 we had been overloaded with big eyes fluffy face girls doing a lot of different things of interest. It takes a standout concept or a deeper narrative to make one stand out from this […]

After the Rain (2018 Winter) Review – 89/100

I suppose that most of us, even the perministic ones, enter After the Rain (Ameagari) with some reservations. After all, the premise about a crush from an 18-year-old girl to the store manager who is nearly 30 years senior raises a lot of red flags here. Yet the show handles this tricky premise with deep […]

Kokkoku – 42.5/100

There are lots of bad anime out there, for one reason or another. Whether it be stilted animation, terrible writing or bad direction, a good portion of each season is simply not worth it. Kokkoku is not a bad anime. It is something much worse. Kokkoku is a mediocre anime. Bad ones get talked about, […]

Junji Ito Collection Anime Review – 40/100

In the realm of manga there is a man whose name is inescapable when the genre of horror is brought up. That man is Junji Ito and his work is considered legendary for its artistic detail, mastery of manga paneling and it’s outlandish imaginative concepts. Up till now his work has yet to have an […]

Yuru Camp (Winter 2018) Review – 74/100

I admit that I underestimated Yuru Camp back in its first few episodes. I took it as a standard, run-on-the-mill slice of life show and I fully expected to give it 3 episodes at max before throwing it into the deep sea of forgotten anime. But as time pass, I can certainly see many good […]

Neo Yokio – 96/100

This may be half a year overdue but I simply can’t accept that none of the writing staff of Star Crossed Anime have cover the the biggest development in anime where Netflix took a hand in producing anime in the form of Neo Yokio. Taking place in the metropolis of Neo Yokio, a mashup between […]

Devilman Crybaby – 83/100

It’s an exciting time to be an anime fan where new business models and players are making big waves within the animation industry. After debuting with the original and excellently-produced Neo Yokio, the juggernaut streaming service of Netflix has decided to revive the classic series of Devilman and gives it the full adaption treatment. By […]