Posted on 2 January 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, SSSS.GRIDMAN

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was never a dull moment. On the surface, it shares many of the studio’s (good) trademarks: an unconventional storytelling, bombastic action sequences and and eye for arresting visual. Yet its approach is completely different that the visual approach becomes a character of the show itself. On the next surface, GRIDMAN is a love letter to those tokusatsu shows, the Gridman franchise and even Transformers franchise that we see the sheer love from the staffs to all these homages. While you don’t need any of prior knowledge in order to follow this show, the ones who do know about these homages might enjoy the show more wholly. For my money, along with Revue Starlight, GRIDMAN is one of the best visual directed anime this year 2018 has to offer. A visual where not only it’s striking to look at, but also support its themes and laid out many small details about its world-building.

The main vibe GRIDMAN offers in the first few episodes lie in how offbeat everything happens on screen is. Character waking up with an amnesia; there are kaiju monsters standing motionless in the background. The school appears to be normal a day after its destruction. This offbeat sense could very well turn many viewers off, but not until later do we find out about the truth of this world and its characters that everything starts to fall into place and its visual choice starts to make a whole lot sense. If I have to point out another quality of GRIDMAN, that would be there’s a clear line between “minimalistic” and “going all out”.Usually, the battle scenes go is bathed with its bright color, dynamic CG sequences and epic feeling, but in its quieter moments (which usually happening ⅔ of the episode), it goes for saving-energy mode: minimal music, repetition shots, realistic dialogues, “camera” is in static mode. This is a bold choice since clearly dividing its segments like that would cause a tonal inconsistency or even not holding audience’s attention at all, but it’s a rewarding one because GRIDMAN creates a real sense of its mysterious world that feel wholly unique and unforgettable.

Some could argue that because of these clear dividend, GRIDMAN is a show of two halves: its mundane slice-of-life half through the point of view of Rikka, and its Gridman vs Kaiju monsters origins narrated by Yuuta. In fact, part of the claim is true. Looking back, GRIDMAN doesn’t seem to have a clear protagonist, as we were introduced to this world through Yuuta’s eyes, himself is a blank state, then all the emotional core is progressed through Rikka as she goes through her normal life and then the show leaves its climax arc to Akane, her God-like status and her existential crisis. Not all of these work well (Yuuta’s part is clearly GRIDMAN’s weakest part), but I’m surprised that this show brings another level of complexity to Rikka and while I’m a bit let down by the ending, the dream episode remains the best episode I’ve seen in 2018, and the single sequence of Akane jumping off the crane remains one of my favorite scene of the whole year.

GRIDMAN is also one of these shows where it embraces “show, don’t tell” school the the fullest. The visual style always give the sense of scale between the characters and how huge the kaiji monsters are. It features many distorted lenses, further informs us visually that the world these characters inhibit in are not necessary real. Most impressive of all, in my humble opinions, is how the show uses the distance between its characters to signify their chemistry. The best examples of this approach is Akane and Anti’s relationship, where you can see the clear distance, most of the time Akane is in higher position, looking down at Anti. In addition, My favorite one is in episode 3 that details Rikka and Shou’s getting sucked into their own misery. The visual framing, which frames these two looking different ways through mirror is the textbook example of how to inform character’s inner struggle purely through visual alone.

This show is also in love with putting as many details in its world-building, a bit obsessively like the way Wes Anderson usually spend to his worlds – mostly through the objects that surround the characters. While these details might not necessary relevant to the main plot, uncover these Easter eggs might prove rewarding and might open up to more interpretation this show aims to be. This is the show that the more you dig into it, the deeper the Rabbit hole goes, but damn I really do prefer if the show confirms some of its theory. The live-action sequence at the very end of show, for example, nicely sum up this show thematically, at the same time raising a hell lot of ambiguity to the table.

And for me, that is exactly the kind of anime I’m yearning for. It might not be perfect, it might be for an acquired taste (although I heard that it sells surprisingly well in Japan), it might not wrap up the best way it can, but it never afraid to take risk and ultimately it comes off as its own thing. I sure hold Akira Amemiya in high regard now.

Posted on 24 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

GRIDMAN closes off its story on a grand spectacular finale and as far as spectacular goes, it does its job nicely. Personally I’m more impressed with this show in its quiet moments so I enjoyed it more in its last 6,7 minutes. I don’t know how much relevant GRIDMAN the anime is in regard to its original live-action. I mean, what’s the deal with the kaiju girl Anoshiras II and what’s the true role of GridKnight, but taken as an individual piece this ending is both straight-forward and confusing in the same manners. The straight-forward part is how the climax goes all out with its action: we have Gridman in full form versus Alexis in full form, and we do have all these cheesy lines that I’m sure serve as a homage to its original “Here comes my special moves – Fixer Beam” “Nanii? How can you have such godsent power?” “The power of MORALITY to destroy the immorality”. It’s fun to hear these campy dialogues out loud, and it’s even more entertaining when they’re boasted by the stellar animation. While I admit that the battle never wowed me, I can sense the love from the staffs to every single details of this battles.

What slightly bugs me, however, is the narrative led up to the final showdown between Gridman and Alexis. First, the way Alexis “uses” Akane is pretty inconsistent and abrupted. Here, in a span of 10 minutes, Akane turns into a kaiju (her scream is awesome, though), gets rescued by Anti, and immediately gets swallowed again by Alexis. In terms of narrative progression, you can easily cut down the “Akane becoming kaiju” part and nothing (except for the kaiju design) is lost. The same goes for Anti where he desperately tries to save Akane (which I thought was wierd to begin with because it’s not Yuuta or Rikka, but the least of all people Anti who saves the princess) just so that moments later he gets stabbed by the villain and was thrown aside for the rest of the battle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Anti. He’s, after all, the only character who grows the most in this show, signified by his blue eye color at the end, but I can’t shake the feeling that his own narrative arc is a bit shaky and not totally well planned-out.

But then, it comes to the “afterneath” section and while most of normal shows would retreat back to the new status quo, GRIDMAN manages to do something interesting here. We have a few-minute but feel like half-an-hour long sequence (hey, I’m not complaining) of only Rikka and Akane in a room together, further showcase how GRIDMAN is at its most comfortable when it strives for minimalism. Here, in a near-empty room, Akane has her redemption and Rikka has one of the best moments of the whole episode, as she gives the card holder gift to Akane, and wish that they could always be together, at the same time tells Akane not to let that wish come true. After all, Akane needs to move on from this cyber world, and the characters created by her will stay behind and have lives of their own. It’s a neat ending, but the decision to only let Rikka says goodbye to Akane sure leaves a lot of ambiguity here, which I will get to it later.

In a surprising move (which for me is a touch of “genius”, until I learn that it’s inspired by EVA’s ending), we have a live-action closure, a girl that looks awfully like Rikka that literally wakes up after the long sleep. The searing score was the one that played softly back from the beginning of the first episode. The ending will leave a lot of speculation of what is real and what not for sure, but ultimately I don’t think it matters that much. The main narrative is clear: Akane has her redemption arc and moves on, while Gridman and the Squads return to their hyper world and Rikka, real Yuuta and Shou stay back and live on.

As a whole, while I was a bit letdown to its final stretch, I’m still impressed with how much love and attention this show has for their world-building (it has a Wes-Anderson level of details here – the kind where it relies on the rich range of surrounding objects to defy the characters) and how it translates its themes by its visual craft – it’s one of the best visual directed show, along with Revue Starlight, that I’ve seen this year. Plot-wise, looking back I’m rather curious on how this show has many faux-protagonists to the point where you can’t really say whose narrative we are supposed to follow (it’s not necessary a bad thing), we start with Yuuta as we see the world through his eyes and his amnesia, but then in the middle Rikka demands us with her emotional tones and manage to sell them successfully as a normal girl trying to go through her life, then in the final arc it’s Akane takes the central stage. Not all of these transitions work, but it never fails to be anything less than intriguing, and that is a big compliment come from me.

P/s: pure speculation: it’s no fun to not give my own take on what happened at the end, right? Here’s my own two cents: the girl who wakes up at the end is Akane (we have her *real life* uniform, the card holder and the broken Iphone, and the name Akane in the picture). But why does she look awfully like Rikka? Is Rikka the part of herself she doesn’t wish to acknowledge? That might be the case but then again, the ED hints to the fact that Rikka might be real after all. Visually, the silhouettes has Akane’s mannerism, but is there anything more than meets the eyes?

Posted on 17 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

I have a sense that GRIDMAN regresses considerably since its magnificent episode 9. Well, major events are still happening. Last week, Anti transformed into GridKinight and this week, it’s revealed that Yuuta is indeed Gridman, hence the reason the boy doesn’t remember anything before waking up is simply because he has no memory to speak of. But here where I see GRIDMAN falters. It brings up a lot more questions and I’m not so sure if they can address them all in just one final episode. Moreover, the main narrative core, which is about Akane, is stalled for the last two episodes. As a result, we ended up seeing her wandering aimlessly in her own makeshift town, stabbing someone and then wandering aimlessly again. Maybe it’s just me who expected more than this but we still haven’t gotten into Akane’s backstory, if there was one, at all. Nor do we have a good idea of what Alexis wants behind all this or exactly what Anti were in related to Akane. For Akane, we only have a vague sense that she had some trouble in her real life that she escapes to this world and makes it any conceivable way she wants. For Alexis, if his objective was to destroy Gridman, then it makes little sense to summon all those kaiju monsters again. I have to note that the reason for Anti assuming the GridKnight role is because of those kaijus. Without them, he has no reason to fight. Lastly, it’s unclear why Anti was so dependent on Akane. From my point, we (and Anti himself) know that he isn’t the kaiju created by Akane, and I feel that Anti becoming GridKnight is incredibly forced. He can become anything. A kaiju with heart. Anything. So why GridKnight in particular?

We can’t pass this episode without mentioning the big event of this week: the reveal that Yuuta is indeed Gridman. That’s the whole reason why he can’t wake up until the Neon Genesis Squad figures out that they need to fix the old junk. It makes a whole lot sense regarding how Yuuta doesn’t have any prior memory and how they need to fuse in order for Gridman to work, but it also opens up for more questions I’m not sure if the show’s equipped enough to deal with. First, what about Yuuta and Rikka’s previous encounter? GRIDMAN has been hinted bit by bit that the meeting is kinda important for both him and Rikka, but now I don’t know what to make of it. Second, what about Yuuta’s real body now? I guess this doesn’t matter much, he’s a NPC anyway. Finally, what to make of this revealing? Is the fact that Yuuta is indeed Gridman change anything on this chessboard? I have no clue to be honest but I suppose the show will tackle that question in the final episode.

This week’s audio drama we have a mundane but much-needed conversations between Shou and Rikka. The reason I said “much-needed” is because on screen, I’m more strucked on how they can’t communicate their own thoughts to each other. Back in episode 3 we had a brilliant segment (which is still one of my favorite moments of the show) of them sucked into their own personal space. We have a glimpse of that again when these two are in hospital beds, waiting for Yuuta to wake up, as each of them is lost to their own thoughts. Rikka has a lot on her minds, mostly regarding Akane, but I rather enjoy how Shou addressing his own crisis of a best-friend trope: that he doesn’t really contribute to any of the fights. He succeeds on performing a role of a character who has no more role except sitting there helplessly.

Finally, my hope for Akane’s flashback might not turn out to be true, regarding how Alexis, in his ultimate decision, turns Akane into a kaiju too. While there are much more kaiju battles in the last two weeks compared to what we previously got, I don’t really see the weight of these battles. The reason for that is because Akane’s pretty much absent-minded, so even more than before we know how the results are gonna turn out. I must say, I’m a bit disappointed that GRIDMAN didn’t deliver in this final stretch, but there are still plenty of reasons to get excited about the final showdown next week.

Posted on 10 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

After a crucial episode last week where GRIDMAN reached its highest bar to date, it’s understandable that everything that follows it would be a letdown. Nothing in this new episode can beat the moment Akane jumped off the crane last week in terms of sketching her depression. This episode is where the entire cast goes through some sort of existential crisis. Yuuta, Rikka and Shou are processing the thoughts that they might be some sort of non-playable characters, being created and programmed to in the service of Akane. The Neon Genesis Squad is also going through their own Gridman’s identity – are they Gridman themselves or just parts of it. Anti goes through crisis regarding his kaiju origin and finally, Akane for her very purpose of creating this world in the first place. Akane receives the most damage as it stands, but it doesn’t help us that the episode doesn’t get into her own point of view, as a result we’re more like observer from outside looking in. Nor does we gain any more characteraction from Yuuta, Shou and especially Rikka this week.

So, let’s start with the end of this episode, where we have a surprised cliffhanger: Akane takes the matter into her own hands. Yuuta gets stabbed, but I don’t think that’s the end of him, considering he might not be a real person to begin with. His backstory has always been fishy, and his life starts after the amnesia. Although we learn that he had some history with Rikka before his mind went blank, for Yuuta himself and for us, the audience, it might as well just be the memories planted by Akane. Although it’s now fair to say that Akane is the goddess of this world, there are still many elements that go beyond her knowledge, namely the existence of Gridman. Whether it’s Alexis who brings Gridman to this world, or possibly the wise kaiju girl who did it, still remain a mystery. By having her confronting Gridman head on, we might know then the reason behind all that, and even the long-awaited Akane’s backstory that has been hinted throughout the show’s run.

Anti sure is busy this week, and I’d say that it’s kind if abrupted the way he switches side from Gridman’s eternal enemy to GridKnight, Gridman’s sidekick. He has another encounter with Akane, where Akane finally acknowledges him, not as a kaiju, but a living thing with beating heart because “kaiju can read people’s heart”; so it’s up to him to find his own purpose. And yes he did by fighting against Gridman at first, then fighting to protect Gridman, all in the span of 10 minutes. The kaiju battles, in keeping with GRIDMAN’s tradition, are colorful, well-animated, short and sweet. The first one, the half-formed murk of clay, represents Akane’s half-hearted attempt since she’s in no mind to create kaiju anymore; but the second one is the manifestation of Akane’s heart: powerful, unpredictably and proves to be Gridman’s greatest threat, until Anti – argubly the only one who understands Akane the best, beats her. Not that she gives any of these much thought, anyway.

Still, there are some little moments that I greatly enjoyed throughout the episode. One of those is how whimsical it is that the gang decides to go to Akane’s house to confront her, and literally walks to the house next door (kudos to Amagi who picked it up as early as episode 2); or these side characters that were based on Amemiya’s previous web novel. We lost a bit of Rikka’s charm lately, unfortunately (those moments regarding Rikka going through her normal life remain my favorite parts of GRIDMAN), and I hope the show close off on a high note. One thing for sure, GRIDMAN can still manage to surprise us, and I believe it still has some cards close to its chest to pull that feat off.

Posted on 3 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

Before this episode, I was thinking that it must take a full bag of magic to make me care about Akane, being an irredeemable bitch as she is. Episode 9 did just that, and then some, in its own fashion no less. It’s by the strength of its visual storytelling that show us how desperate she wants our characters to like her, and how ultimately let-down when she fails to do it. With a show that is so strong about its visual identity, a bus full of passengers suddenly feels off. What is a better way of displaying Akane hitting rock bottom (and her God-like power) than this single sequence? I can’t remember the last time I see the image and sound of the train crossing line symbols each dream segment? Heck, this episode is on its way to be my favorite GRIDMAN’s episode so far, and that says a lot. Not only it flirts around with dream/reality boundary that is one of my jam, it also deepens Akane’s narrative in most unexpected way.

The most genius part for me happens right in the beginning, when Yuuta wakes up and finds Akane in Rikka’s home. It’s a rehearse to the premiere with Akane now is in place of Rikka, and acts in a total Akane-way. That sequence is more screwing with us audience than it does with a confused Yuuta, since we have a knowledge that this happened before. The same things happen the same with Shou and Rikka, as they meet Akane in their separate dreams and can’t get out of such dreams. It’s masterful of GRIDMAN to start all the dream sequences in Yuuta, Shou and Rikka’s point of views, respectively, before pulls out to reveal that they are tangled in Akane’s manipulation. As for their dreams, it’s interesting to note that, while with Shou and Rikka, Akane choses the moments when she is alone with them in the “real timeline” – or put it better, the timeline where we has been following – with Yuuta, it’s the beginning where Yuuta wakes up from his amnesia, with the knowledge that normally Akane can’t possibly know. This detail further confirms that 1) Akane is indeed the goddess of the world we have been following, and that like our Hero team comes to suspect, that world might be entirely Akane’s dream to escape the real world and 2) unlike his friends Shou and Rikka, Yuuta might no be a real person. He has no memory before the event to begin with, which makes him a boy without a past.

But it’s interesting that as hard as she wants her followers to wordship her, the three comes to their sense because they reject this ideal world. “It’s all too good to be true”, Shou said that at one point. Yuuta looks at his reflection over the tomb he and Akane visit, which the kanji characters form into his tear, Rikka push stop button when she wants to get out of the dream – the moments speak more powerful than any conventional mean, and fittingly they cut to Akane’s pride the deepest. The more desperation she tries, the harder they pull out. The harder the pull out, the bigger blow she receives. I also enjoy Gridman’s reflections towards every single reflective things out main cast see. Those sequences, where Akane standing on top of the giant crane, above everyone but ultimately alone, best summarize her own struggles towards creating the perfect world, and fails to convert the people that she cares the most.

While the main plot of kaiju vs Gridman takes a backseat this week, they still offer plenty of fresh take on that formula. It’s the first time that this kaiju works in more… deceptive way. The kaiju puts Yuuta, Shou and Rikka to sleep and keep them hostage in their own dreams. What makes it all the more dangerous is that it can be seen, but can’t be touched by this realm of reality. It’s the first time where the Squad forms a version of themselves without the main host, Gridman, and it further reveals that Anti is more than just a regular kaiju. Now that I think about it, Anti might not be Akane’s creation and he’s more along the same line with the kaiju girl that Yuuta met in previous episodes. The animation, in addition, really bring the characters to light. It’s one of the rare time where both the animation and character design (especially Rikka) are looser than normal, hence the movement is much more expressive. From what I heard, this episode is storyboarded by Kai Ikarash, a newbie but the quality certainly has my attention. There’s just too many alternative routes GRIDMAN can take at this moment, and I mean it in the best possible way since for while some time that I feel this intriguing about a show at this stage: both revealing just about enough thematic depth, at the same time as vague and open as ever for more surprises on the horizon.

Posted on 28 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

Is it just me or Akane’s face is too pink this week?

GRIDMAN doesn’t break its formula this week. Structure-wise, it’s another first-half minimalist building up and second-half grand battle between kaiju of the week and Gridman. It’s up the stage for sure, this kaiju is promised to be the strongest one yet, and it’s the first time where Gridman manages to get all the boost-up items at once. But by all means I still enjoy GRIDMAN greatly. After all, repetition is the game here. These last episodes it has been opened itself up a lot to reveal many crucial points. This week, it’s a reveal from Akane that Rikka is created in a way the she can’t possibly hate Akane, by her kaiju no less. Well, I take all Akane egotistical view with a grain of salt, but it begs a question on how real everything is. If Rikka – the only cast member who acts like real human – is fake, then what about Yuuta (who has amnesia) or Shou in general?

Gotta say I really enjoy the way GRIDMAN counts down the cultural fest. It builds up a sense of anticipation, although with the main cast it has little to do with the fest itself. Akane challenges the Gridman’s team head-on by announcing her plan of kaiju’s attack on the day, in which our team responses by attacking first instead.By doing so, the students are forced to evacuate before Akane does the real damage. It’s still hilarious to see the scale-down Gridman against the giant monster nearly double his size and the real battle is GRIDMAN’s most over-the-top set pieces so far this season. There has been an ongoing claims over GRIDMAN’s blatant plagiarism from its inspiration but I don’t buy it. One of GRIDMAN’s aim is to pay homage to its source, from Gridman franchise to NGE so it doesn’t surprise me if the show uses many of its inspiration’s iconic scenes.

Meanwhile, Anti shows up at the gang’s hang out looking for Rikka. While he missed her this time, it bounds for a development between them since it marks the first time where Anti looks for someone else other than Akane, and that he doesn’t join the battle to kill Gridman. Is it a change of heart of a temporary retreat? I suppose it’s a latter but I won’t be surprised if Rikka can change him. Now that Akane is lost for an x time, and that we reach to the point where both Akane’s kaiju and Gridman are in their best form, I guess it’s time where they end this Gridman vs kaiju stage and reach to the next stage with a new final boss.

Posted on 19 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

The last two episodes GRIDMAN has cleared up many things and handily suggests the road it will ultimately take for its last half. First, it’s the reveal that the world our characters live in is belong to Akane’s, as she can destroys, and rebuilds again as she likes. Second, it’s a strong hint that she might not be the last boss of this war, that she’s being manipulated by Alexis, the alien. Like I has discussed over the past few weeks, I reckon the main emotional conflict is going to be between Akane and Rikka. While their past is still a mystery (which now I’m leaning to the theory that they used to get along but fallen out as they grow up), the two things (more appropriately, two people) that tie them together are Yuuta and Anti. We know for a fact that Rikka and Yuuta had a history before he got amnesia (that ball game rally – in fact, this week in audio drama we learn that it has something to do with a headband). This week, we’re leaning to the other side here with Yuuta and Akane. Take it as pure fanservice or not, the sequence where Akane doing in Yuuta’s bedroom is full of sexual tension.

While Yuuta’s friends have a hard time to believe his story (thanks to the poor way he puts it, he even doubts himself), he has much better success when confronting with Akane. The bit where she comes to the restaurant where their friend got ‘murdered’ by her without any remorse really speak clearly enough about her character. She thinks of herself as a Goddess, thus she can’t stand where things go against her way (Gridman) or when something going on beyond her knowledge (Anti). It’s a sneaky scheme Alexis prepares here. As he puts it: the more hatred the person has the more powerful the kaiju is. Anti sure hates Gridman more than Akane, and now when she realizes her place as a Goddess is challenged, she’ll be more determined.

It’s Anti who goes through a lot of action this week. He comes to school and confronts Yuuta before stealing all the breads. Soon he’s inspired to create a kaiju to kill Gridman, and failed. I can’t help but feel sorry for him the awful way Akane treats him, which plays as a huge contrast to how Rikka treats him in previous episode. The parallels are there: Akane consistently gets close to Yuuta, but he’s more attracted to Rikka. Akane treats Anti like pure dirt, while Rikka cares for him a whole lot. Whether or not Anti can develop his character (he’a still a kaiju after all) and where his loyalty lie will prove to be significant for the next few episodes. At the same time, we learn that there is another upside-down city up in the sky. For now, I suspect it as “the end of the world”, but we will know more about its significance soon enough, I hope. For now though, enjoy all these lingering shots (this episode has 3 of those, each of them lasts for good 10 seconds) that might or might not be relevant in the future.

Posted on 13 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

“They shouldn’t making episodes without kaiju in them “
It’s very cheeky of GRIDMAN to meta-comment on this episode, as indeed there isn’t any big fight between Gridman and kaiju monsters this week. We still get an introduction of new kaiju, however, and the fight in human forms. That’s the thing about GRIDMAN, it’s a show that knows full well all the formula of tokusatsu genre, and it does something interesting with these formulas. The main characteristic of GRIDMAN so far is minimalist. There isn’t a constant background music in this show but once it’s there, it matters. There isn’t too many people in the show (my favorite bits are the ones where the cast riding an empty public transportation), but once you see them, they have an impact to the story. Even the angles in which GRIDMAN places its shots are decidedly deceptive as hell, in a sense that if you look at certain scenes in another angle, that world might appear to be a different world.

And with this episode, this sense of “off” comes into the forefront. In an essence, this is a rather interesting episode, not only because it shakes up its own usual recipe, but that it connects different pairs, parallel them in an interchangeable way (the use of the same settings and same plot device for example) so that all the dots are linked at the end. We have 3 interweaving meet-up from our three main characters: Yuuta with the mysterious kaiju Anoshiras (his name isn’t mentioned in the episode); Rikka with Anti that proves to be a nice contrast with how Akane treats him; and finally Akane herself and Shou. The same motifs are there: they all eat something, while being surveillanced by a member of the Squad, down to Yuuta – Anoshiras eating the same bread at the same place in the same shot as Rikka and Anti moments ago. Now, normally I wouldn’t appreciate the info-dump from a side character to the main lead like the way Anoshiras spills the bean about the Akane’s true nature (it’s screenwriting 101 that the main protagonist has to work to gain info by himself), this reveal succeeds in two ways. First, now it’s the first time that the Good side is on the same level with Akane, now they have the same amount of information regarding each other’s secret. Second, this reveal opens up to more intriguing questions, and hint that the battles we’ve seen so far are maybe just a proxy war for something much bigger.

So the meat of the episode is that Yuuta (and us) come to a realization that the world they’re living in now is purely Akane’s creation. In the same way Haruhi constantly demolish and rewrites her world, but for Akane it’s consciously. She has a bitchy attitude when she wants to destroy everything that she finds annoying, and she has the power to do so. This episode reveals, however, that the mastermind behind all this isn’t Akane, but the figure who always talks to her on her computer screen. Now Akane’s role in the story changes rapidly. She might be just a victim of this guy’s manipulation so it could mean she joins the good side at the end (well, the OP highly suggests this). The mysterious kaiju, on the other hand, explicitly states that he isn’t created by Akane and he helps Yuuta because his master owned Yuuta a favor. The stakes are getting much higher now that another important piece comes into the picture. This could be a a game-changer that changes everyone’s role in the story, but let’s wait and see how well GRIDMAN deal with this new development.

Posted on 6 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

I feel like it’s inevitable that we eventually get to this episode. It’s an episode where the cast will wear some sort of bikini and swimsuit and show as much skin and flesh as possible. We’re also talking about Trigger for Christ sake, one of the leading studio when it comes to fan-service. Right at the opening scene we would see Akane is sexy swimsuit with suggestive pose. While normally I’d say “yuck” in disgust in the same way kids behave when eating pepper, the fanservice here in GRIDMAN does so in conjunction with its theme. There’s always a disparity on what happens on the surface and what it’s actually about in GRIDMAN. All these fan-service tendencies, from Akane in bikini in the first few minutes, to Yuuta finding the swim suit, to the girls having fun with Shou’s chubby belly to that suncream sequence, all create an artificial surface that soon to be broken down by Akane’s true motive. Again, GRIDMAN turns what could be a disaster into something relevant to its detached world. All the more impressive that this seemingly field trip of rafting-exercise is soon to be a battlefield that come neatly together at the end. The settings this week rightfully become another character in this episode.

More than any other anime, GRIDMAN is a show that has many striking shots that are so condensed with details, and so integrate with its narrative that these shots alone inform you so much about the cast’s dynamic. I will address 3 such shots here (with the exclusion of the suncream scene between Akane and Rikka as I already talked about them last week). The first one is the sequence where Akane interrogates Yuuta to find out whether or not he’s involved with Gridman. The way GRIDMAN frames the shot, however, of them sitting in a symmetry manner suggests you how the show suggests them as a different side of the coin. Villainous as she is, Akane regards that as her duty, just like how Yuuta feels. As a result they share some special dynamic that go beyond from interrogation or bad guy vs good guy relationship.

The second shot happens later on, between Anti and Akane. It’s the moment when without any word, Anti just lowers his body to carry Akane around the burning bush. It delivers some raw emotions here, the way it’s Anti way of caring for Akane, but he’s also determined to carry his own mission, which is kill Gridman by himself. I found that he ends up helping Gridman’s team more often than not, but he remains the elements of surprise for the ongoing battle between Gridman vs kaiju monsters. Later on, the scarf the he gave to Akane, was pushed aside coldly by Akane. The show doesn’t put any sentimentalism on that but the way that scarf keeps lingering on the screen displays some powerful emotion. Last but not least, the sequences concerning the cast riding the train. Apart from an iconic shot of kaiju monsters in the background (and how little it affect the main cast as they’re pretty much used to it), it again has some GRIDMAN’s signature touch: the train ride is otherworldly, it’s empty and the quirks where there’s a strange mist that put everyone to sleep are a welcome one.

These past few episodes I haven’t mentioned much about the CG battles, not because it’s unremarkable but more like it’s the aspect I pay the least attention to. Now, I just want to give a moment to say that the CG battles between Gridman and kaiju monsters have always been consistently awesome. Usually CG fights stand out in a bad way (like in Planet With where you can tell right away the awkward moves. Here these scenes were handled skillfully, it’s the timing that is always consistent that sometimes it doesn’t feel like watching a CGI battles. Gridman continues to be its own thing, and I’m glad to say that so far I enjoy every moments of it, even more so with its understated moments. There’s only one mystery that I hope the show can address in the future: How the hell did Rikka’s mom (voiced by the VA actress of Haruko Haruhara in FLCL) work out that exact number for the Junk’s price? It might be a bit too expensive for an old junk that barely work, but it’s never too pricey to save the entire world.

Posted on 29 October 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

Before discussing this week’s episode, I feel the need to mention the weekly voice drama (thanks a bunch for bringing it to my attention, Animosh) of GRIDMAN that provides more context and dare I say, more personality to the cast. As much as I like the current style of GRIDMAN, its strength is purely on the adept direction by Akira Amemiya and its solid visual craft where the dialogues are hardly relevant. As a result, by making these characters having an actual communication, it adds up a whole lot and helps explaining many of the loose threads in the anime. For example, listening to the audio drama, we learn that Rikka and Yuuta definitely had something going before the amnesia, that “ball game rally before summer” sounds like a perfect setting for a date if you ask me. These voice drama, along with the content of this week 4, also marks a shift in GRIDMAN’s perspective and now I come to suspect that Rikka is a crucial character that hold the emotional core in this anime. I mean, the voice drama of episode 4 (4.4) raises a red flag about Rikka’s life threat and based from what happened this week, I have very goods reason to believe that would be the case.

The main key to that plot thread lies in the relationship between Akane and Rikka. Granted, the main reason why Rikka approaches our girl in this episode is purely to confirm whether Yuuta is Gridman or not (and she fails miserably on that, but boy, did she try); but there’s hints about their already gone established friendship, and slowly Rikka comes to the realization that all the incidents happen around her. That might just be her hormone’s actin’ up (that everything revolves around her), but I come to suspect the core reason for Akane becoming a psychopath has something to do with her and Rikka. Talking about the Queen of Cruelty Akane (opps, lame references to another show I’m blogging), this week she decides to kills the V-bloggers boys because they keep pestering her (could it be a warming message for all the Youtubers out there?), and the way GRIDMAN displays her, by extreme dutch-angle shot, by her still acting nice but can’t hold back anymore when she’s alone, tells you pretty how unstable her feeling is. She isn’t merely killing people for fun, she kills them in the manner of farmers cropping up weeds.

As for our battle this week, things get even more crowded with the appearance of a new insectoid kaiju. This Kaiju succeeded on killing 3 of the boys, and on the verge of defeat our Gridman… until Anti interferes given he wanted to be the one who defeat Gridman. It’s interesting to note that Anti pretty much acts according to his principle, so he’s no longer an Akane’s puppet (the way Akane constantly throws her phone is amusing, too). On the other side of the battle, the Neon Genesis members, and Gridman himself, are freeze as soon as all of them entering the Junk (it’s overloaded – speaking about old machine, huh?). Their solution? Unplug the machine and load it up again (this sure brings back memories, but it’s also the fastest way to destroy your computer’s memory). Rikka’s quick decision sure brings a smile to my face. The Neon Genesis squad so far is a delight, they don’t harbor too much deep but they bounce off each other well, especially Samurai Calibur whose deadpan delivery goes well with the show’s emphasis on visual. I’m still down to see the other two members’ real power in the next few episodes.

Episode 4 also spends a healthy amount of time developing the high school romantic saga that involves a group date, a stalking and many more. Most prominent of all is the pair Yuuta and Rikka, as the last few episodes we see more of their chemistry from Rikka’s point of view, so it comes as a bit abrupt that in this episode we see Yuuta already fallen head over heels over Rikka (well, abrupt to me anyways). Yuuta still remains the most boring character out of this cast, but it’s fun and a bit cute to see how both him and Rikka are too dense to make any progress. Like how Max points out, it’s painful to see them trying to talk to each other. The offbeat tone still works wonder here. I very much enjoy the snarky comment from Yukka’s friends Namiko and Hass “who speaks like that these days?”, or Akane’s squid train pass card, which might or might not be relevant in the future. There’s still a lot to admire about GRIDMAN, even to the non-fan of its TOkusatsu homage and Gridman franchise like myself.

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

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

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

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

Many of you might wonder why I decided to blog this show, despite the first episode spent two third of its time in one single aerial combat, which can be fascinating to watch but bring extremely little to talk about. While I agree that Kotobuki has its fair share of underwhelming aspects (which I will […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 04 [VS The Imaginator 1]

It starts with a girl jumping off the building. I’m always a sucker for this sort of opener (clue in to Lain and Satoshi Kon even though Kon never technically did that for opener), and it feels like a decent start for the next arc to come. It basically repeats the same formula as the […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

WARNING: This review of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai has been authored by a non-manga reader. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! Boy, is this show a treat. I know we’re only two weeks into the winter season, but Kaguya-sama is my […]

Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

Thus the story of the Promised Neverland starts in earnest now that the first episode has revealed it’s book and the nature of the orphanage is revealed. As someone aptly put it, this is like Chicken Run, the anime. It’s quite interesting seeing things from a new perspective now that the curtain has risen as […]

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

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

Dororo – 2 [The Story of Bandai]

Hello and welcome to show number two for me of the new season! Dororo is an interesting one, based on a 1960’s manga, with this being its second adaptation. This week we meet another demon, learn our leads name and that not all spirits are bad. Let’s dive in! Visually, Dororo is sort of a […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

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

Latest Reviews

Planetes Anime Review – 89/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

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

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 87/100

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 86/100

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018 Fall) Anime Review – 73/100

In the last few years, it’s great to see P.A Works has slowly created their own studio identity, putting more original works with consistent production values. Just in 2018, they produced 4 shows (quite a good number if you ask me), 3 of them were original: Maquia, Sirius the Jaeger and Irozuku. As I said, […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai Anime Review – 82/100

In the wake of many a school based light novel show this may be the small bits of fresh air was can savor out of this overdone setting. Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl(Or by its japanese title above) is a series not about rascals or bunny girls but instead about contextualising common high […]

Banana Fish Anime Review – 72/100

Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 73/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]