Posted on 9 July 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

Welcome to the Biba show where it all comes down to a cage match between steampunk megaman Ikoma and the Titan Kurokeburi version of Memui for the fate of Japan.

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With Ikoma out of the picture, Biba’s revolution comes strolling into the Shogun’s capital with the ease of a hot knife going through butter. I was expecting a bit more resistance out of the Shogun’s amazing artistic main city but the brisk pace of Kabaneri demands that everything must explode and the story hurried along before getting too far into the details. As quickly as the top dogs of Shogun are introduced, they are discarded in favor of Biba and the antics of his Hunters. Even when it comes to glimpses of Biba’s past, which could have been fascinating, are much too brief to provide any meaning commentary or salvage Biba’s flaky backstory. Biba’s reveal as a Kabaneri is particularly guilty of that since it begs the question of how he went from a twelve-year-old general to a mad scientist.

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Since I’ve already beaten the narrative horse to death, what about the main draw of having Ikoma come in and save the day while explosions go off everywhere? Sadly, the climax of the finale was fairly lackluster despite all the pretty colours and great animation that has been consistent throughout the series. The music was nice with 1coma and Aimer’s version of Through My Blood making their first appearance but it didn’t quite fit right with Ikoma powering up to Super Saiyan levels. His appeal as an engineer that could innovate out of any situation was ignored in favor of having him obtaining lazer powers that could flip over a freight train coming in at full speed. It had the spectacle but none of the foundation of the earlier episodes. It was only after that Biba was dead that Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress became instantly better with Memui throwing Ikoma into a improvised trampoline and shedding the taint of the last five weeks.

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress ends up resetting its narrative back to episode six with the train speeding off into the sunset with the addition of the remnants of the Hunters. The Kabane still roam across the entire the country and our heroes are still on the move with their outlandish dreams of rice paddies fields and start fresh again without the downward spiral of his introduction unlike how Guilty Crown had to go through an entire 26 episode slog before being put out of its misery. Hopefully once Biba is disposed off, the shackles of his failed legacy can be disposed and focus on what made the series so great in the first place.

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There is immense potential in continuing this new franchise from Studio WIT as I love the steampunk/historic Japanese mashup, the aggressive characters, action, music and visual style. For the first seven episodes, it was extremely entertaining and fun and it would have been an easy 9 or 9.5 score if it could keep up the momentum. Unfortunately, the story and character development didn’t live up to the hype and I left with a show that was one half utterly amazing and one half Guilty Crown. I would love to see more Koutetsujou no Kabaneri in the future but there is no doubt that this is the disappointment of the season for me.

7.5/10

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Posted on 23 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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After the Horobi’s laser light show and having Biba-sama completely dominate the narrative with his super cool looking henchmen, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is back on track although it’s on different rails for here on out.

Imprisoned by the Hunters and being caught in the middle of the impending final conflict between the Shogun and Biba, the crew of the Koutetsujou manages to recapture some of the things that I loved about the series up until the end of episode seven. Having the Ikoma and his crew come up with a plan to overcome the odds while jabbing at each other with their character interactions  and break out of imprisonment is exactly what is needed to bring this show back into focus. The music was an improvement over the unsettling soundtrack of the last two episodes although it didn’t reach the highs that had been set earlier by Sawano. The only thing that couldn’t be helped but be mediocre is main target of Biba-sama as an over-dramatic bore that drag downs Kabaneri’s second half.

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Biba-sama’s backstory is certainly brimming with potential as he was casted out as a pawn between two political factions that had different views on how to deal with the Kabane. Being twelve years old and in charge of a military campaign draws a lot of parallels with Arslan Senki which could have garnered some sympathy for this dashingly handsome villain in his tale of being betrayed and slowly dismantled by the Kabane. However, the few scenes that featured the young Biba-sama only highlights the problems with the twelve episode format of Kabaneri as his villainy have a far greater emotional impact if the show could have spend just ten minutes on fleshing out his initial campaign against the Kabane instead just a few moments.

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This is the second time that Ikoma is being casted off the train and it doesn’t look like it he’s going to get back on anytime soon. A brainwashed Memui booting him off and his most certainly dead bro of Takumi are the two biggest shockers of the episode. I’m not too fond of using the mind-altering drug trope as it strip a character of its agency and reduces them to a plot device, but at least Memui put up a decent fight before getting the needle treatment and the green stone is obviously the trigger to snap herself back.

While Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress isn’t a trainwreck, especially when compared to the other flaming dumpster fires of this season, it could have been much better. Episode ten did much to slow the but the final forty minutes has it work cut out to keep it from descending further into the mediocrity that is Biba-sama.

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Posted on 16 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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What do you mean this episode writeup is weeks late? What you mean that I have to combine them?

Screw it, we doing live.

The plot thicken as Koutetsujou no Kabaneri continues to barrel on through with but the new additions to the story are a sign that its hype engine is starting to overheat and catch fire. Featuring mortars, steam-powered motorcycles, night vision headgear, and a handheld gatling gun, Biba’s Hunters reminded me of the Equalists from Avatar: The Legend of Korra but with a far more menacing look and firepower that doesn’t disappoint. Equally impressive was the tactics that they employed which offered greater mobility and flexibility compared to the static firing lines of the Bushies guardsmen. Even the new addition of the new Kabaneri, Horobi, offers a new fighting style that focuses on adding to the gymnastics of Memui as opposed to the brute force of Ikoma.

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While the action has remained good with tons of Kabanes and human being killed left, right and center, the tone surrounding all the flashy moves has been changed to being more gratuitous

and lacks the buildup for it to be effective. Having Horobi go from being Biba’s lover to a Kurokeburi doing a rendition of Attack on Titan to an Alex Mercer copycat (Prototype) spewing a lazer cone of death had me experiencing a bit of whiplash and apathy for the sudden escalation of everything while sacrificing story quality and character development. This problem can also be attributed to background music as it goes for the dramatic and dark choirs and drums as I find myself missing the cheesy insert songs that flowed so much better in the previous action sequences.

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The biggest shift tone and direction in Kabaneri can be placed on the shoulders in the arrival of the main antagonist, Biba-sama. Teased and hinted throughout the series, his presence throws supercharges the narrative to outlandish proportions with his experimental technology and superweapons. As a character, he has some nice quirks like being mechanically inclined like Ikoma and also dashingly handsome but the twisted ideals forged by a past that is filled with betrayal by his own government are the dark edgy cliches that I expect from an mediocre anime. On the surface, his future without fear seems to have many things in common with Ikoma. As his hostile takeover and massacre of the current station shows, his vision involves wiping out the Shogun authority and creating a new order with his freak experiments unlike Ikoma’s ideals of cooperation and a brighter future. He certainly reminds me of Gai Tsutsugami of ill-fated Guilty Crown where the seemingly good guy is turned in the big baddie that everyone else has to take down although Kabanari is in a better position to be the superior product.

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For a twelve year old Kabane killing machine caught between her loyalties of her newfound companions and personal savior of Biba-sama, Memui acts quite predictable in this clash of opposing ideals. Going from her carefree attitude to being an easily manipulated tool of Biba isn’t a bad way to interject some character development and drama but the compressed season format isn’t the right fit to do so given all the other wacky shit that been going on in the past two episodes. I’m willing to give a pass on the erratic behavior from Memui provides she sees the errors of her ways and goes back to kicking ass alongside with Ikoma. Judging by her actions which directly resulted in another station being overrun by the Kabane and becoming a victim for Biba’s sickening experiments, she is definitely having second thoughts about aligning herself with Team Biba.

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In Ikoma’s case, he has gone completely from seizing the initiative to merely reacting to the ever encroaching influence and power of Biba-sama. It a little sad see a character who is able to mygver his way out of situations with his piercing steam gun and be the unifying force for the Hayajiro be reduced to repeating the same few lines begging to Memui and fighting with his back against the wall.

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From the onset of the series, I made a prediction that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri would lie somewhere between the megahit Attack on Titan and the disappointing dumpster fire of Guilty Crown given that both shows. These past two episodes have taken a markedly different tone than the rest of the series which has me leaning towards the latter rather than the former. However, unlike my fellow blog writers who have declared that the Kabaneri Hype train was going to turned into a literal train wreck from the very beginning, I have hope that it will right itself and deliver an epic finale. My outlook isn’t based on blind optimism but rather that I can still see a path where Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress could redeem itself. By having all our protagonists team up and take down Biba-sama in the fun loving way that defined the first half of the series while hopefully patching up its storyline. In contrast, Guilty Crown was way past the point of no return by the time it reached the latter half of its runtime.

But seriously, the amount of Kabane lazers needs to be toned down.

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Posted on 2 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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Can the best show of the season to continue be even more epic than a giant Kabane chasing after a train armed with a tank cannon?

Get ready to be disappointed because the Kabaneri hype train stops for a shopping trip in this episode.

After six episode of running away from Kabane and fighting off enemies on a speeding train, it is inevitable that Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress would give its cast a chance to wind down and let loose before the next leg of their journey. The show does a good job of balancing out its supporting characters by giving them meaningful screen-time alongside our main characters. Between Memui’s first shopping experience with the ladies of the Hayajiro, the bromance of Ikoma and Takumi sticking it to the Bushi and the constant shipping between Ayame-sama/Kurusu, there is plenty of lighthearted humor to go around.

The Tanabata was a good excuse for all the ladies to dress in Yukata clothing.

It’s not all fun and games in the station as the cold and hard reality of the Kabane infection rears its ugly head in a couple of place even though not one of the those glowing zombies shows up. As the encounter shows with the Hayajiro conductors and the boy, whose father was sent flying into the station as a Kabane, there is no place for sugarcoating the bitter truth. However, the latter half of the episode, while it acknowledges that the world is a hellish unforgiving place, pushes a narrative that is hopeful and looks forwards. Just look at Memui’s cynical views on her own dual nature and Ikoma’s rebuttal of his goal of reversing the Kabane side of her.

It’s more than just mere survival.

It’s about going past that and dreaming about a bright future. While Memui’s wish for a belly full of rice is laughably simple and Takumi ‘s appetite for three hot beautiful wives, it all points to a place where the Kabane simply doesn’t exist anymore.

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With Memui’s brother/Hunters coming into town, it sets up the main conflict for the latter half of the show with its attention turning towards other human factions having ulterior motives and setting their plans into motion. Afterall, he is the one who turned little Memui into a Kabane killing machine and the foreshadowing of a sinister plot is bound to have the squishy humans turn their weapons on each other.Even though the action is missing from a show that is all about killing Kabane in the most brutal and spectacular way possible, Studio Wit still manages to deliver a less hectic episode that can stand on its own through its characters interaction and cheesy music while pushing the story ever so slightly.

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Posted on 21 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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If you haven’t heard by now, the second season of Attack on Titan has been delayed till 2017 because Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is far too awesome for Studio Wit to handle in a single year. I really couldn’t care less about the delay since I already know what’s going to happen in season two but Koutetsujou no Kabaneri doesn’t concede an inch when it comes to future episodes. I certainly couldn’t predict the evasive maneuvers the Hayajiro pulled off when escaping the Kabane-Titan is chasing nor the epic showdown in the end but there are few details to note before we get to the fireworks.

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These past two episodes have been Memui-centric with her mysterious origins playing into her current brooding about being weak or strong. Haven’t been bitten by a Kabane, it raises the question of how she became a Kabaneri either through being injected with the virus or some other means. There is also the issue of the fused colony and how that thing came into being. Instead of being a collective Kabane or manifestation of the Kabane in its purest form like I suggested last week, it more of single special Kabane that centrally manages all the biomass on itself, either living or dead. If Memui’s brief hesitation before delivering the final killing blow is any indication, the Kabane shei recognized is probably someone from her ill-fated group.

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Whereas Icoma’s backstory had a Kabane chomping on his sister, Memui is a victim of the fear and paranoia seeping into the people that are to supposedly defend the remainder of humanity. I’m just glad that Icoma just doesn’t really care all that much about the philosophical nonsense and proceeds to blow through a horde of Kabane. Just look at his setup at ensnaring the Kabane and using explosives to funnel in his opponents. I did felt cheated that we didn’t get to see the full fight between Icoma and the Kabane because it would have been awesome to see him in his gladiatorial style when compared to Memui’s far more elegant method of Kabane-killing gymnastics. The second half of the episode more than made up for that omission with its fast-paced high-stakes action sequence.

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This is where the Rule of Cool trumps any concerns for the actual physics when it comes to standing in front of a massive Type 48 Cannon, releasing the pressure limit by undressing or having enough weight to influence a speeding train from derailing. There was a show that aired not too long ago called Rail Wars! and it had the exact same situation where the occupants had to shift their weight to prevent the train from derailing on a turn. Physic calculations were done and it was concluded that it had practically no effect in preventing the train from derailing. Another nitpick that I make is the line of rifleman standing in front of the Type 48 Cannon. A gun of that caliber would produce a shockwave strong enough to throw those dudes right off the train when it fires.

Infantry stay behind this arrow so that they don’t get BTFO.

Infantry stay behind this arrow so that they don’t get BTFO.

I could go on about all about the unrealistic things but when the entirety of KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS is blasting in the background while the Hayajiro is just one step from doing a multi-track drifting maneuver and everyone is fighting for their lives, those inaccuracies tend fall to the wayside. I just love the imagery of the entire scene as there was so much good frantic action taking place in the approaching dusk as it reminded me of what made Attack on Titan so popular. Studio Wit continues to up the ante when it comes to delivering jaw dropping set pieces and episode six doesn’t fail in the least.

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Posted on 18 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Other:

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This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime shows. His musical style tends to emphasize heavy rock, orchestral, choirs and electronica in a bombastic manner. It not that he isn’t capable of other genres as he has shown to be quite proficient but his loudest and epic soundtracks receives the lion’s share of attention. Some of his works featured in shows like Blue Exorcist, Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, Seven Deadly Sins, Aldnoah.Zero, Seraph of the End, and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Sawano also composed the soundtrack for Xenoblade Chronicles X as well as various Japanese live-action drama throughout his career.  

If there is one legitimate complaint about Sawano’s music, it’s that he tends to rely too heavily on the same few singers for the vocals in his anime compositions.Thankfully, he incorporates more singers into his latest work including EGOIST, Eliana, Cyua (performed for Guilty Crown and Kill la Kill ) and Aimer. Describing his latest work on Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is little tough since he likes to reuses the same style but it would be something along the lines of the dramatic vision in Attack on Titan combined with the epic beats of Aldnoah.Zero.

Standout Tracks:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS, Warcry, JAnoPAN, Through my Blood, 88城, Grenzlinie, Ktetsu上-abdli, 1coma, icon

Strong Background Tracks:

KGK, ComeBack音, noname

Impressions:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS – The main theme of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri with Eliana being the main singer and is what ət’æk 0N tάɪtn was to Attack on Titan. While ət’æk 0N tάɪtn had an absolutely sick drop with Mika Kobyashi vocals, I felt that this theme was more consistent in its buildup and execution.

Warcry – As heard in episode two and five when Memui goes to town on those pesky Kabanes, this insert song comes with all the terrible and cheesy lyrics of mpi

JAnoPAN – This odd track is more along the lines of SiTE-n0w1 (Aldnoah.Zero) where it had this funky dancefloor beat and peculiar voices. I have been never been a fan of mpi as his English singing really sucks but the intensity of the latter half has me interested in where they decide to insert this as Memui goes further down the hole.

Through my Blood – Featured in episode four, it’s a tossup between Mika Kobyashi and Aimer’s version bundled with the ED CD single.

88城 – I didn’t get all that riled up by the first half of this song even though it was had this sweeping sound that you find in your typical introduction in a movie. It is the second half that got me excited as it was

Grenzlinie – Uplifting song with Cyua on vocals that starts off soft and ends off in on an epic note.

Ktetsu上 abdli – Not a big fan of piano solos but the first half of the track has this depressing jazz-like feel to it like a person who is moping about and wailing at random things. It’s not a bad thing as it does sound quite lovely in a morbid kind of way as it spirals down in oblivion in its second half. Featured in episode three where Memui impales a pregnant lady that had the misfortune of turning in a Kabane.

1coma – The definitive theme for Icoma. I would says that this describe about the resolve of our main character that grows into this epic orchestra version of Through the Blood as he gains the means to realize his purpose of protecting people by kicking ass with his own steam gun.

icon – Different version of the ED where Eliana sings in English as opposed to EGOIST/Aimer’s Japanese. I prefer the original version as the Japanese and interplay between the two voice makes for a more pleasant experience and the cheesy English lyrics proves to be too much.

Should you purchase this soundtrack? The answer would be a resounding yes as I found myself placing ten out of sixteen soundtracks onto my music player. Hiroyuki Sawano manages to find his way again after his rather subdued work on Seraph of the End and comes out with a smashing OST to a show where the there are definitely no brakes on the zombie-killing train.

Posted on 14 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

Sometimes being a badass isn’t enough.

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On the journey towards the Shogun’s stronghold, the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress hype train finds itself staring down a massive glowing thing while Memui is fracturing between her newfound companions and her past. Memui’s motivations aren’t all that hard to see given her ability in smashing Kabanes into the ground and following the young master’s orders. An old acquaintance, that looks like Snake from Metal Gear Solid, observes that this is only her redeeming value and it does much to blunt the progress she made in connecting with the people aboard the Hayajiro. There was this picture in my mind that Memui’s master had a super awesome plan to save humanity but the scene where Memui’s friend is executed makes it seem that he isn’t all the benevolent to begin with. References to weapons being stored up for human targets by the Shogun authority will no doubt pay off later down the storyline but more pressing issues are at hand like the Black Smoke and removing the obstacle off the track.
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The action doesn’t disappoint with Memui’s assault on the boiler room that mirrors her fight in episode two with a few additions like using a cloud of suicide bags as an offencive tool. Even the music is the same but with the lyrics taken out lending itself to being a foreshadow of the limits of her personal fighting power. It’s just too bad that the sheer volume of enemies proves to be too much for Memui’s as cool as that entire action sequence was. I prefer her when she was just cheerfully murdering Kabane with a carefree demeanor as opposed to recklessly fighting out of a sense of pride and desire to be a useful tool.     .

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What exactly is that massive Titan-Kabane that everyone refers to as the “Black Smoke”? It is simply a bunch of individual Kabanes glued together to form a megazord or is this an entirely new creature that is the physical manifestation of Kabane virus? The close-up view reveals all the Kabanes being mashed together but the eerie sludge-like movement and glowing eyes say otherwise. Those new upgrades to the firepower to the steam rifles and Katanas better come in handy because this “Black Smoke” Kabane doesn’t like a pushover at all.

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I showed my friends, who have seen Attack on Titan but were not following current airing anime, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and were instantly hooked. It then turned in a marathon session where we caught up to the current episodes and they told it was already better than its predecessor because of its pacing, music, characters, setting and the maddening wait for the next episode. I would be inclined to agree as it ends with the Hayajiro standing alone against a zombie-titan while the Kabaneri duo are off doing their own thing.

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Posted on 6 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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Episode four comes out swinging with tons of action, resolves its internal tensions and looks forwards to its second arc with hopeful optimism. There are no brakes on the Hayajiro, especially when the Kabane launches a surprise offensive and interrupts the cliffhanger that was going nowhere fast thanks to Kurusu’s intervention.

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I was worried that the continuous bickering over the Kabaneri and retarded decision making  would be an annoying barrier but thankfully, those concerns were swiftly dashed away.  Nothing was more satisfying than seeing a sword-wielding Kabane slice his way through the would-be conspirators and then a good chunk of the hapless passengers unlucky enough to be caught in the wrong place. It is worth noting that Memui recognize the Kabane type as a Wazotori only adds to her mysterious origins and that she knows much more than she lets on.

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Wit Studio knows how to animate fight scenes and they definitely do a good job having some well-executed sword fighting mixed up with ranged combat. All the fighting inside and on top of the train carries the Attack of Titan vibes that catapulted that production studio to the forefront. That being said, there were some animation quality issues that I could see in several scenes such as the still frames and other oddities in the more fluid sequences Hopefully, it won’t be a repeat of what happened in the latter parts of Attack of Titan, where there was a significant drop as the animators scrambled to complete episodes.

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Ayme continues to turn the corner from being a timid daughter living in the shadow of her father to being a rather daring leader. Pivoting around from being relinquished of the masterkey and picking up a weapon to lead the defense from the Kabane horde, she continues to grow as a character that speaks of courage and badassery especially when it comes to her awesome steampowered bow. While the mechanics of how such a bow can operate are highly questionable, it is no doubt a very unique and cool looking weapon in a setting that is already steeped in steampunk design philosophy. Another great part is the music that is layered on thick and heavy with Sawano’s traditional styles that only ramps up the intensity as the fight progress through the train as well as the two insert songs. I felt that while the first song was pretty good, it went on for far too long with the key change being evident of that fact. However, the extended outro that coming from a different part of the full ED was a nice touch in rounding off the first arc.

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All the distractors are either dead or send cowering into a corner, everyone gets along and the Hayajiro is chugging along into the sunset. The first four episodes of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress were highly enjoyable to me and as the numbers from MAL indicates, this is the most popular and highest rated show (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable doesn’t count) airing this season. Buy your tickets and get onboard because the wild ride is only getting started.

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Posted on 30 April 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

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There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck in terms of the story and characters, I boldly predicted that this will end up become the anime of the season for the many in the anime community and episode three absolutely does not disappoint in the least.

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For an episode dealing with the aftermath of fleeing a overrun station, it was jampacked with stunning moments like Ikoma blow up his zombified sister, Ayame-sama getting in some stabby brinkmanship, Mumei impaling a infected pregnant women with two swords and revealing the feeding necessity that all Kabaneri process. I did find that the prejudice of the Bushi guardsmen and the civilians to be tiring with all the finger pointing going around. Thankfully, Memui makes all the right moves in response to this hostility by never backing down from a fight and goading her agitators into a brawl instead of pointlessly pleading her case like Ikoma. By following up on a rigorous training regiment to make him a more effective shield consisting of beating the shit out of him over and over, there is something deeply refreshing about having a female anime character that stands out so drastically from all her cookie-cutter counterparts. With the revelation that is steeped with the likes of Valvrave’s own vampiric protagonists, perhaps the prevailing fear and prejudice against the Kabaneri isn’t baseless after all. It takes our misunderstood and underappreciated heroes and switches them into powerful beings burdened with a necessary evil. Mumei already relishes in this aspect and given Ikoma’s motivations and his history with the Kakane, he is going have a very bad time coming to grips with the dual nature of Kabaneri.

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Three episodes in, there are a multitude of questions that remain unanswered like where the big storyline of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is heading and the nature of the Kabane. There are glimpses of the bigger picture with Mumei’s overall objective of reaching the Shogun’s main stronghold and the Kabane research facilities but the immediate needs of the Hayajiro with its ongoing concerns of food, water, repairs and survival will probably take precedent for the next little while. If the episode four previews are anything to go by, there will be plenty of gory action before this train pulls into the next station.

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Out of every single anime show that is airing this season, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has the all the best action, animation, music as well as being the single show that I look forward to the most watching each week. I can’t tell you whether or not it’s going to turn into a flaming mess but it is certainly going to be one pretty wild ride before it concludes.

~HelghastKillzone~

Posted on 20 April 2016 with categories: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

If you been following this site for a while, you may have noticed that someone new has made his first post. My name is HelghastKillzone and I’ll be the newest writing member of the Star Crossed Anime Blog. Before I go into the finer details, here is a little history on what anime means to me.

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Just like any typical person growing up in the 90s, anime in my childhood consisted of rushing home on weekdays from elementary school to watch Sailormoon, Pokémon, Gundam Wing and whatever Fox Kids or YTV  decided to throw in on Saturday mornings including the short-lived Escaflowne. Over the years, I picked up series here and there, from Hellsing to Evangelion to 5cm per Second but I never followed anything week to week until the Fall 2013 season. My actual blogging career started that year in the spring with MeepingAnime.com (now known as azureminds.com), ProjectOtaku.com (now defunct) and finally, SeaSlugAnime. I have covered such shows as Chaika, Captain Earth, Aldnoah.Zero, Zankyou no Terror, Psycho-Pass 2, Seraph of the End, Unlimited Blade Works and ERASED on an episodic basis as well as having written up on older shows, movies, seasonal preview and the low-hanging fruit of top ten lists.

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My tastes tend to lend towards the more mature and darker end of anime but I’m not closed off to indulging myself in the more lighter, moeblob, ecchii side of this wonderful animated medium. I will admit that there are large gaps in my viewing experience like the staples of Cowboy Bebop, Stein;Gate and Ghost in the Shell. It’s on my to watch list but I have a hard enough time in keeping up the latest and greatest but I would still love to hear your suggestions on what I should watch next. If you trouble grasping on what I would enjoy, my online alias and accompanying display picture is a perfect example of what exactly you’d expect from me. HelghastKillzone is from the Sony’s FPS franchise of Killzone for which I love the gunplay, visuals and aesthetics but the story is something left to be desired. The display picture, though, isn’t from the video game but instead, taken from the movie of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, which is one of the very few anime I have awarded 10/10. If you are still unsure what where I stand, I suppose writing up a top ten anime show article for myself would do the trick.

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As for my personal life, I live in Vancouver, Canada in the North America unlike the my other European contributors on this site. I hold a political science degree with some other lesser diplomas and certificate to go along with it. I do find it a little sad and ironic that my best phase of writing came after I received my bachelor degree where it was all about analyzing perspectives and pumping out papers. As for my working life, I’m actually a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces for the last eight years and is looking to further my career within governmental agencies  In my spare time, I play extensively in this little-known MMOFPS game call Planetside 2 under the same name. If you have heard of this peculiar game then I suggest you hit up the Connery server for some sexy times.

For the spring season of 2016, I will be covering Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. Unfortunately, due to a work-related trip, I won’t be able to do episode three piece until this Monday.

Calling it now. Anime of the Season.

LINKS

Go on and say bad things on my MAL Profile:

http://myanimelist.net/animelist/HelghastKillzone

Previous Articles:

http://www.seaslugteam.com/author/helghastkillzone/

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SuperMario
I intend to re-watch Akira soon, probably this weekend. It has been almost 10 years since my first watch and now I don't remember much about that one. Thought it was intriguing and complex but not as acclaimed as people hyped it to be (I'll pick Ghost in the Shell anytime). Wonder how I'd feel now after re-watching it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I remember you mentioned that you were going to watch In this Corner of the World today right? How was the movie Kaiser?
Lenlo
Oh cool, food wars is getting a 3rd season
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ballroom youkoso appears to be leading the polls.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fumiko is a female mangaka yes. Also I found bokura no hentai worth reading.
SuperMario
yep, I finished that manga too and I have conflicted feeling about it. Yuri(!) part and fanservice are to blatant but they have a purpose. This mangaka (not sure but I think she's a girl) has some unique voice.
AidanAK47
....well I skimmed that manga. And it was weird
SuperMario
By all appearances,Sakura is normal,albeit sheltered junior high school girl who enjoy talking about love and walking home from school together.However,they also happen to inhabit a strange and supernatural world populated by mysterious,gigantic beings and unusual plant and animal life.Amid their peaceful lives,Sakura becomes very interested in something only alluded to exist in old books: dicks
SuperMario
Here's a synopsis of other manga from the same author, I think you'll have a better idea of his theme -
Sakura no Sono
AidanAK47
Pretty much what Masky said. I am not really praising it. Anyway I plan to read one or two more chapters to see where it's going. But if it's going in the direction I think it's going then I am dropping this one fast.
Kaiser_Eoghan
There is of course the underlying concern that it will go a very ugly route with that development or it could become edgy/horribly minipulative, but for now it is as mario said, a hook.
SuperMario
Well. overall I don't dislike what I read there. It has good hook and I'm intrigued to know more what the hell will happen. Good set-up for me. I'm in
SuperMario
@Masky: it's fine Masky, since I will chec itk out any way and see it for myself ^^
Masky
So since you guys started being interested, I checked it out and uh.. Yeah, not reading. I think ye guys misunderstood Aidans warnings since that was just fucked up and not in the interesting way.
Lenlo
@Aidan: Berserk will never again go more than 3-4 months without a hiatus.
SuperMario
Hmmm, that manga Cutie Mutie sounds good to me. I might check it out later today
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: But had you not alluded to that scene, I may have seen the cover of that manga and skipped over it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I had a feeling, sort of, sad, I am intrigued to read more.
AidanAK47
Hyping and warning are not the same thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well with Aidan hyping up the horrors of cutie mutie I may as well glance at it to see what he' on about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are three manga with the name rec.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am familiar with the artist for cutie mutie, she did that manga about the three kids dealing with gender/orientation issues.
AidanAK47
Oh look Berserk is on Haitus again....
.....the sad thing is that it comes as expected now.
AidanAK47
For reference the two I read were Cutie Mutie and Rec. Be warned, the first one goes to a rather uncomfortable level.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Read two manga. One started lighthearted and then went to really dark territory. The other one looks like it's about a really dark subject but turned out to be something more lighthearted.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Alright. Tested it now so it such be fixed. Try again.
Masky
@Aidan: Huh? What you read that turned dark/didn't turn dark? .-.
SuperMario
"too many answers selected for question 1! only 3 answers allowed!"
SuperMario
@Aidan: I still have the same issues. Weird
AidanAK47
@Mario, Wasn't my intent. Try it now and you should be able to pick as many as you want.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm not allowed to vote more than 3 votes. Is it your intention Aidan?
AidanAK47
Well that was weird. I read something that looked innocent but turned out to be really dark. Then something that looked really dark only to become innocent.
Masky
Yeah, nothing that interests me I see :D Like my strongest reaction to season preview was "Someone made isekai with smartphone? Really? REALLY? Thats best idea you had"
Masky
Ah Knighs and Magic, found that manga. It was boring enough for me to forget its name. Also besides being boring, I kinda find MC unlikeable since their only personality is that they like mechas and were a programmer before renicarnating as short bishie kid
Masky
Woo, time to vote stuff
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that movie In this Corner just getting more and more acclaimed huh? Thou I think it'a a type of movie that if you have high expectation for it you will likely be disappointed. It works best as a sleeper hit
SuperMario
As for cute monster girls, most of the time I don't find them cute at all. I know I'm being racist, but...
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'm guilty with that cute girls genre, as i enjoyed K-On tremedously for example. Or If I have more time I'd follow Hinako Note this season ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
They don't always adapt all that well or work as well outside of manga format, especially 4-komas.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*three
Kaiser-Eoghan
The only two of any interest were hidamari sketch, azumanga daioh and yuru yuri and that was largely down to being in the mood for them a few years ago.
Lenlo
@Mario: Personally, I have 0 interest in this Monster girls doing cute things subgenre, just like I have very little interest in the cute girls doing cute things major genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As it turns out I DID read in this corner of the world. I'll also be seeing it next thursday.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: at this moment I'm very skeptical with the whole Monster girls doing cute girl subgenre, so I'm approachig Centaur with a caution. Of course, it all depends on how I feel after the first episode
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Happy End isn't as bleak aa his other works. But it's certainly Hanake's films, as it explores many of his favorite themes: the voyeurist of camera in his Benny's video, the detachment to the world and the underlying violence. Not his best thou but it's still very good
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'd be up for watching jigoku shojo, its been a long time since I watched the original two seasons and this one won't be as long, so it won't get as repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I voted centaur no nanami on the poll, think Mario could cover it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: How did did you get on with Happy end? I heard its like a mix of his best works. Is it as dark and depressing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have vague memories of in the corner of the worlds manga, unless I'm mixing it up with something else.
SuperMario
Some news, Lu Over the Wall won the best prize at this year's Annecy (the 1st anime won the award since 1995's Pom Poko), with In the Corner of the World took the Jury Prize. Quite a good showing for anime this year.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Hello.
SuperMario
Really, still no vote for Kakegurui?? I thought it would take the top poll for sure
SuperMario
That 18if, even the poster doesn't make much sense, but it looks dazzling ^^
Lenlo
go-go licensed products!
SuperMario
@Lenlo: and Madhouse is the studio behind that Marvel rip-off. Are they really going that low for profits?
Lenlo
Lookin forward to Kakeguri next season, but thats the only thing thats really caught my eye
Lenlo
Well, you have to watch Marvel next season right?
AidanAK47
And done. I swear these previews take a lot out of me.
AidanAK47
Almost done....almost done...
KT
Attack of Titan, ended ok. But man the production values had gone down.

Virgin Soul had a okish episde

Re:Creators continues to rock for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I liked the 70s version ending, it was mean spirited =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The original used its one room location quite well and dim lighting in parts, very closed in/claustrophobic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just finished the Beguiled and it was much better than I expected. Like, I didn't expect it to be that well shot. The guy was put in a passive role than active here, which help the theme imo. Also, the ending admitedly isn't for everyone but I liked it just fine
SuperMario
@Kaiser: using a black girl? The girls in this one are all white :(
AidanAK47
Sato in Re:Creators isn't doing himself any favors is he? Honestly the more I learn about him, the less likable he becomes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was a good film though, one of scarjos better moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As for Sofia, I'm only familiar with lost in translation, which I haven't seen since it originally came out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Everyone goes on about Francis' for the Godfather, the conversation is massively underated and apocalypse now is better, but it has to be the theatrical cut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I guess it was probably seen as progressive in its day by way of using the black girl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very very cynically 70s of course.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Actually just happened to finish it there, I felt it stood out for its somewhat successful gothic feel and aesthetic and Eastwood's performance which shows how well he can command the audiences attention even when he isn't shooting people. Kind of liked how it got slightly grisly later on. It makes a small effort in giving one line backstories .
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the original movie isn't that well-received. It's more like an exotica film where the main guy (Clint Eastwood) hooks up girls of all ages. This one I heard has a good spin on feminist angle. I'm sure is intrigued but Sofia Coppola's filmography has been mixed for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I doubt any one has ever heard of this....I know I didn't, I haven't read it either but I came across some weird old Blacksploitation manga, probably from the 90s, Blast knuckle or something...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Still remaking the beguiled might be good, we need more modern westerns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I suppose I can busy myself with the original 70s version of beguiled. At the moment I've been focusing on old Japanese films, they had such a good film industry, it makes it hurt so much more now knowing that all they do now is shit live action adaptations.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gonna be a long day for me with the screenings of The Beguiled, Wind River, The Other Side of Hope and Happy End
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now I need to re-watch 08th ms team.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I watched 4 hours straight of Gundam the origin, hit me with a hard punch of nostalgia, actually seeing his backstory rather than hearing about it is a good thing, I enjoyed the action scenes, it was high-melodrama but well used and more Char is always a good thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'll just put Kado on hold for now and see whats being said about future episodes of it, I'm too unsure of it being worth it or not at the moment.
Vonter
I want to comment on a humble indie game called Sakuna of Rice and Ruin. Is a simple hack and slash similar to Muramasa and Dust: Elysian Trail. The game has a scarf mechanic that is very fun to use to evade attacks and throwing stuff. It kind of reminded me of those Mickey games from the Snes and the visuals reminded me of Pocky and Rocky. Its a game to play on a sunday, simple, fun and relaxing.
Vonter
From the stuff I played Dragon Ball FigtherZ seems legit at capturing the speed of the battle and feel of the action.
Vonter
Back from E3. Nintendo is still my main jam. The Rabbids game seems better than I think anyone could imagine. Odyssey seems like a good time. Xenoblade and Metroid 2 remake look like hype.
KT
On Gundam OG, the new Origin Manga, and the movies based on it are very good. Recommended.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember reading the first chapter of that manga, but it was a long time ago and the updates were slow.
AidanAK47
A manga about Ballroom dancing? Yeah there's no way I am into this.
(Starts reading)
(Reads ten chapters)
Crap...I am into this.
Anonymous1166615
Feel I need to re-visit gundam again through 08th MS team, unicorn and Origin as I'd enjoyed the 70s series, its sequel and chars counterattack. Seed turned me off the franchise for ridiculously long and 00s movie and second season wern't as good as the first .
Anonymous1166615
Looks like I have another Yuasa work to look forward to, he's doing his own take off on Nagai's devilman , hopefully he can reign in Valvraves writer though.
Masky
*first manga in couple last weeks I've seen
Masky
Da fuq. Found manga called Kemono Jihen, but it somehow already has tv tropes page(I tend to check randomly whether works have tv tropes page to see how notable they are) O_o I mean this is first manga with 1-3 chapters that has that, so I guess author is really popular or something in some circles?
Lenlo
Huh. Guess they figured out rewriting a story for Re:Creators.
Masky
Ya know, even if i hadn't heard that Suka Suka is based on one of more tragic light novels, the death flags, all of the death flags :D
HelghastKillzone
I'm a patron of someone who is writing mass effect fanfiction at 2 million+ words. It combines games, writing and fan creativity. So there is that....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, while I listened to some Lovecraft audiobooked, I felt as if I was copping out by listening instead of reading.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A horror manga often works well episodically in a short story format.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Had a flick through Shibito, of what I read I liked how ridiculously camp and gleefully, proudfully nutso it was combined with the silliness of the violence. While not my favourite chapter, the one about the actress stood out for me because she was clearly a reference to Setsuko Hara, one of Japans most famous actresses lol
AidanAK47
I try out a number of things from time to time. Books, movies, music, comics and the like. But I always come back to anime.
AidanAK47
I have dabbled in quite a few mediums myself. My recent experiment is audiobooks which I am currently using to get through Moby Dick. And Jesus H Christ is this book padded to hell and back. It may be well written but it is an awful story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what this film venture has shown me is that while I've gotten much out of it, it shows just how STRONGER the connection I have to anime/manga is.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And definately, I don't get the "people focus on only one media thing". One of the reasons I started branching out was because I felt "Fuck, I'm in my 30s and I've neglected a whole medium by being too focused on cartoons"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The sign you're at something too long is when the suspense of waiting for the next part to come out isn't there or when you find yourself not picking up on whats going on!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Manga/visual novels/anime I've noticed especially now are much much easier to stay awake during when you're wrecked tired.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And to be honest, I've gotten busier and more tired lately, getting home on a weekday later after a new job, I'm not alert enough to watch art films, just started leaving them till the weekend.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I know exactly what you mean. That is one of the reason why I like to mix up what I watch: sometimes books, other time manga and even music to get me away from burning out from 1 medium
Kaiser-Eoghan
*eventually get back
Kaiser-Eoghan
The short of that is, I think a good scale back with ANY hobby is a good thing because it can feel special all over again when you get back on it more mainly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But now that after three years of mainly focusing on films moreso than anime/manga as much, because I'm now incredibly burnt out from watching films 4 times a day, I feel now I can watch ANY anime or read any manga and get that fresh feeling/some of that old passion back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Remember that feeling you got when you first really got into anime/manga and pretty much excitedly/panic watched EVERYTHING and almost everything felt great? I've been thinking how a few years back now, I sort of re-lived that feeling again...however for films.
AidanAK47
(Finished watching SukaSuka 10)
Awwww...that was a sweet episode end....
.....
.....They are all gonna die.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Kids off school pressumably in Japan with more time to watch stuff and more shows.
AidanAK47
God why is there so many anime during the summer season.
AidanAK47
Of course there are the really obvious recommendations of Grand Blue and Kaguya wants to be confessed to.
AidanAK47
I say the only other recommendations I got are Jagaaaaaan, Maou no Hisho, Ore wo Suki Nano wa Omae Dake ka yo and Yuuutsu-kun to Succubus-san. Though I still think Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi would be up your alley.
Kaiser-Eoghan
By all means keep posting random manga you've all come across, I will read them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I thought route end did a good job on the protagonist's feelings regarding his mothers death.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my interest in Route is largely due to it was the most lurid of the selection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I felt route end holds the most interest of that selection of recommendations, although before reading it I thought it would be an episodic manga, similar to a series called death sweeper.
Lenlo
@K-Off, well I think both the manga got handed down to the assistant, and the anime got handed down as well. The original author/director for both arnt working on Boruto
K-Off
@Lenlo Probably, haven't checked. But the manga and anime are completely different so I don't know.
AidanAK47
The Streisand effect in full force.
SuperMario
*Now the media...
SuperMario
No the media storms over it and eventually want to check out this film. It has gain more publicity after this shameless incident
SuperMario
oh god, really? Chinese government tried their best to force Annecy (Animation film Fest) to remove a Chinese animated film name Have A Nice Day from screening there because of its "sensitive content"
AidanAK47
Still think Sawano needs to lay off the vocals. It can get really distracting in Re:Creators.
KT
oh my the RE:Creators OST is all I wanted.
Lenlo
Well, Boruto isnt being run by the original manga author is it? I thought he handed the series off after Naruto to his chief assistant.
K-Off
The contrast between wanting to do something different yet using the same character traits is just too jarring.
K-Off
Gave Boruto a shot, and while it isn't bad, it's so detached from the original series that it might as well have been unrelated. I appreciate that the plot is different, but the modern setting, and lack of any clear character motivations (for now) makes it such a chore to watch. If they were going for something different, why did they use the same character designs and archetypes?
SuperMario
Sorry guys for the delay of Eccentric Family post, just can't bring myself to finish the post. Not that many of you following the show but Yeah, I will plget it done later today. Also, hell yeah for Pluto. Urasawa is my God
SuperMario
@Aidan: I kinda imagine Isekai Shokudou would be like Time of Eve upon reading the synopsis. Like each week about some peculiar customers. Well, if they focus more on food, then... *heartbroken*
AidanAK47
Two Metroid Game announcements and an anime of Pluto.
Today was a good day.
Anonymous1161527
KT here:YES!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: One of his better works, despite reading it twice I've forgotten too much as its been too long since reading it, good though as when I watch the anime the manga won't be as fresh in my mind.
Anonymous1161483
Urasawa's Pluto anime announced! Get hype! Looks like they're keeping designs faithful just like they did with Monster (at least judging from the poster)
AidanAK47
By the way Mario, that Isekai show you were interested in is basically food porn.
AidanAK47
Man that was a lot of procrastination. I haven't even written up that Little witch academia post yet...and then there's the preview.
AidanAK47
I agree with most of your assessments though Kusuriya no Hitorigoto is something I can really get into. I admit Talentless Nana is a bit iffy at the moment but am willing to give it a big chance because I love the authors other works.
Masky
Come to think about it, huh, those "people are forced to play sadistic game that breaks friendships because of debts or something" like Tomodachi Game and Liar Game(I think thats the original one? Wonder if there are other copycats with same idea like it)I forgot are like that on psychological side .-.
Masky
This isn't related to those series I commented on btw, just that I've lately seen too much "let's emotionally/physically torture characters before giving them hope and then killing them" that I'm at this point wondering that it would probably be much more disturbing if authors would depict their lives after that traumatizing experience rather than ending it.
Masky
Ya know, reading dark mangas with lot of death and stuff makes me wonder if some writer is eventually going to be trying to out do all of other wannabe dark stories by making a story about serial mutilator :P
Masky
Out of these, I think Route End and Kusuriya no Hitorigoto might be best. I'd say King of Idols is third best, but thats just because it feels safest to follow out of rest of them, you kinda know what its going to be like while with rest of them I'm not sure if they are going to be darkness to point of apathy or not.
Masky
n historical works much. Though second chapter might be enough to hook in, not sure.
Masky
Route End seems intriguing and dark mystery. Bit worried though if it can handle subject matter well since I feel like quite a lot of japanese works could handle topic of suicide better. Our Lonely War feels like eva clone in that "mecha with dark twist" thing, but needs second chapter to see whether its just angst or not. Kururiya no hitorigoto seems interesting and good, but I'm not interested i
Masky
Like, feels bit contrived for me. But then again, would need to see second chapter to get good grasp on what its really about
Masky
Besides, even with that good a twist, I'm just leaving wondering "So I'm not sure if she is crazy or acting on future knowledge, but how the heck someone whose ability is nullifying abilities is that dangerous? Heck, not sure why everyone else is amazed considering that if they ability is nullifying stuff, does that even affect the enemy"?
Masky
Like, ok, I did wonder early on if the talentess character was the other one since they had same sort of name and they didn't do anything that would disprove them being talentless, but while that is good twist, feels more like one shot material than series if this is tone for it. Then again, I have no idea what the manga is going to be about because of this twist on tone coming right at the end
Masky
t going to be title character killing off other classmaters for some mysterious reason(which seems to be how many human casualties they are going to cause in future) then its just really dark to the point of not giving shit about any character.
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