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.

Posted on 25 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

If you had any doubt before that Juuni Taisen is written by Nisio Isin, this episode should clear that out front. It’s talking and talking through and through this week, but this episode also restores my faith that the reversed Zodiac order only serves as a narrative one, and not for the death order. It’s Monkey and Rat who have the most screen time this week and I certainly enjoy the various themes these two explore, be it their own approach on war, the act of saving lives, and the Zodiac War itself. Monkey, as the Rat (and everyone points out), is a pacific, but what sells her ideal is that she isn’t simply an optimistic, idealistic naive person. She has experienced through all the crimes, the hardships, the brutality of war and still, she tries to make peace with her best efforts. Monkey might save more lives than any warrior in the game, but it also means that she has failed more lives than she ever wanted to. The flashback about her trying to ceasefire in a long-winded border conflict between two nations clearly points out that although her intervention comes from a good intent, the effort could end up backfire and might lead to more severe conflicts.

Although Rat didn’t mind following on her peace agreement, he has lots of criticisms regarding her method. First, he points out that with her current skills (which, by the way, is awesome. She can transmute any substance between physical states, being teach by the Three Wise Monkeys no less), it’s much quicker (and more effective) to achieve her goal by killing/ destroying bad weeds rather than negotiating and hoping she can change their minds. It’s just her way of using her weapons though, and I greatly appreciate her for that. Second, Rat laments that saving all the people also means that they have to save rubbish people who don’t deserve to be saved, and by protecting them, they would assume that protecting/saving is someone else’s job. Although he has his point here, I have a feeling his argument mostly comes from his own frustration rather than pointing directly at Monkey’s method. We have his way of thinking here, but without the context it’s hard to know what Rat’s personality is at this moment. Finally, he argues that the Zodiac warriors, more than any other people, are a dangerous bunch who can only find meaning in fighting each other. Are they worth saving at all? Whatever the case, Monkey more than holds her own in this episode. She might be a pacific, yes, but her method never feels unrealistic and I don’t think she’ll be sent off any time soon.

The action does pick up at the end when Bunny team ambushes Rat and Monkey using zombie birds (the ones that Boar killed last week) and now it’s 2-and-2 battle. Now, pure speculation. Toward the end, one line from Rat actually throws me off guard: He remarks at Monkey’s decision to restrain the Mad Rabbit peacefully as “you’re always like this – as “all the time”. Now I have two theories behind his statement. 1) Rat is specifically assigned to join this Zodiac battle to tag along and control/support Monkey. This theory fits with the fact that the warriors in this edition of Zodiac War are more aggressive than usual and they might seek a bigger goal beside gaining one’s wish. Whatever that goal is still in the dark right now, but it does seem that Rat knows pretty well about Monkey’s ability and method. Or 2) Rat has time-rewinding ability. It might sound crazy but consider that he always knows what going on next, and the fact that almost every other warrior has that déjà vu sense when they meet him, which might indicate that they in fact face him all over and over again. That also explains his bored attitude since the guy might have repeated the cycle endless time (let’s say it’s 15,521st time), and if that’s the case, what makes this loop any different than the others? Anyways, I suspect the talky nature (and the lack of body count) might turn some viewers off, but for me we still have a pretty solid episode at hand. Next week will be the old wise Sheep’s turn and I expect we get a good one-off story out of this old man before he’s killed by whoever it is (Frankly, I see him has no chance to win this tournament). Doesn’t matter, I’ve fully embraced Juuni Taisen by now.

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Horse (maybe), Chicken

Favorites to win: Bull, Rat, Monkey, Rabbit, no-one

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 […]