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/

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperWooper
EPIC post, anon!
Anonymous1825128
Of course, as ardent fans of anime, the writers of this site would not deign to agree or even entertain the idea that their passion is no longer the same artisanal endeavor it once was.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Oh. Actually surprised I forgot about that. Yeah, when it comes to something being described as edgy I think Goblin Slayer fits that definition perfectly.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, You can still throw down your take if you want.
Anonymous1824209
AidanAK47 - Or the women shields.
Lenlo
You know, sometimes I dont regret forgetting about this chatbox. Missing the "anime is dying" conversation? One of those times
AidanAK47
Oh, Goblin Slayer is getting an anime adaption. I was rather lukewarm on it but I wonder how the anime is going to handle the rather unsavoury aspects. Like the rape. Lots and lots of rape.
AidanAK47
I remember the last guy said he would make a chart and I thought it was a brillent idea as at least something useful could come out of this old dead horse. Then his chart turned out to be a useless jpeg with series thrown to the left or right.
AidanAK47
It does stir up conversation but it's really just the same conversation repeated. I remember stating the exact same points Nayrael and Bokusen are saying around a year ago when this last came up.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Indeed Ratings are subjective but it would at least be a general mainstream consensus of the quality of anime over the years. Not final but at least it's better evidence than one persons general assumption. And other factors are impossible to quaitify.
Nayrael
A good parody of the "Anime back then and now - what happened? meme (if the links are not blocked here): https://i.imgur.com/JZqxz6f.jpg
Nayrael
Not to mention that back in the olden days you didn't see every Anime that aired. Official translators and fansubbers selected the best stuff, which resulted in you seeing the best shows and never even knowing about the shit-tier shows.
Bokusen
I think that people who say "anime is dying" are just getting too nostalgic. It's easy to remember the hit series from earlier seasons. It's less easy to remember all the forgettable generic series that you dropped after 1 episode, and so anime tends to "seem better" back then because of people's tendency towards selective memory.
Anonymous1820731
Why are there more bad anime? Because there are more anime being made. That means the good ones are buried under the lots of bad ones. But saying "anime is dying" from that is like saying "music is dead because I don't like Britney Spears." Why does this conversation always come up, its obvious conversation bait.
Anonymous1820589
@Aidan: You are the first to obsess over the fact that reviews are subjective. And since they're subjective, looking at anime 'ratings' over time does nothing to gauge the measure of effort and artistic talent that goes into making anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which I got my answer by the way.
SuperWooper
>average review scores
What do those have to do with whether anime is "dying" or not? You'd need to look at the money.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to add that I agree with both you and Aidan, only brought up those two topics back there because I wanted to know what shows now will be popular in the future.
SuperMario
I'm on the side of Aidan regarding to this. For me it's not neccessary means the anime industry has become "better" or "worse", it's just that it takes new shape and trends and based on the number of anime produced, the industry isn't going down soon
AidanAK47
Am I really going to draft up a chart gathering average review scores of the past 25 years just t shut up this talk of anime dying?
But even if I did that won't toss aside this nonsense.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this is complete guesswork.
AidanAK47
Plus the industry is dying? Bloody hell, we got major companies FUNDING anime. Streaming services and more anime coming out that ever before. You can argue that this new anime is weaker but honestly it's just misguided. It takes time but great shows are still coming out. Just like back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well thats kind of what I meant, what, when passage of time comes into it are going to end up being classic based on that, speculatively speaking.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats probably a much better way of phrasing it, inheriting mantles. I'm going to say that promised neverland is presently along with Titan a BIG modern shounen.
AidanAK47
Anyway my point is that the shows of the past, the so called classics, are just as flawed as the shows of today. It is only through the passage of time that they become classics. When Stein;Gate finished airing, I seen no one call it a classic. Same goes for Madoka and Fate/Zero. Now, you have people putting up the pedestals.
AidanAK47
Though if anything has inherited the Shounen mantle, it's likely Boku no hero.
AidanAK47
There is no big three Shounen and that's honestly for the best. Because in generally the declining aspect of Naruto and Bleach was mainly due to the pressure on the mangaka to put out chapters on a weekly basis. In fact it's pretty much the primary factor in Bleachs decline.
AidanAK47
Bebop is great but even it is hit and miss by nature. Doubt many remember much about the casino episode and the Alien spoof episode is likely not anyone's favorite. Eva is massively flawed but no one wants to admit it due to the massive amount of praise it receives and influence it has on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what is the new big three shounen?
AidanAK47
If we go further back to DBZ, that has tons of issues with filler, dragging out episodes, animation shortcuts, and even complaints of it doing the same thing over and over again with it's story. No to mention the underutilised cast and the everlasting act up putting Goku on a greater pedestal.
AidanAK47
But let us dissect this viewpoint of yours. You claim the Shouen-jump canon as a great, guessing that refers to the shounen big three. But aside from One piece, the other two are emmensily flawed. Naruto is 50% filler and Bleach drops seriously in quality after soul society.
AidanAK47
Also Fate series is trash? That definitely seems aimed at me. What first series are you referring to? Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night 2006? Fate/UTW? The same thing over and over again? Sure each series has a holy grail war, but none of them every turned out the same. I am more than willing to admit that the spinoff series outside of the main canon are lesser. Calling them trash however is hyperbole.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Not this crap again. The old "Anime isn't as good as it used to be", how many times have I heard that over the years, and each and every time it proves more untrue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One point I'm trying to get at is, I don't get throwing the word bad taste around when I know I was probably in the same position as that other fan years ago.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another thing, for shows we talk up and obviously I've been just as guilty of this, how many of these am I going to be able to recite off by heart years down the line?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like Madoka but thats a good example of a modern classic that'll keep in peoples minds, people still care.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*its a
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The reason I want to see a new show become a modern classic is because I'm tired of this "fleeting masterpiece" way of thinking, where I a show is super popular during the season and gets talked up as if it'll stick in the mind years on, then weeks later it disappears from memory.
Anonymous1819907
And anime watchers tend to be attracted to series that are just plain boring. The Fate franchise is case and point. The same thing over and over again. It really is a disgrace, to be honest--in my opinion. The first series was great, and I look forward to the movie. But everything in between is trash. But they still get the views, since people are sheep.
Anonymous1819907
The shonen-jump canon, shows like bebop and eva were huge in their time. The industry is just not the same--it's really dying. There isn't the same desire to blow shows up like there used to be. Shonen jump is still at it, but those shows are rarely worth watching, even if they're popular
Anonymous1819907
its a good anime, but it doesn't have the same staying power since it was not an entire industry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for the long post, I want to get people talking again here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would love for this to happen with, say, made in Abyss, that becoming a show that we remember decades from now and still talk about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something else I want to bring up, what shows do you all REALLY believe will still be talked about in the future . Bebop and Eva still come up regularly to this day, what new shows do you think will become big classics.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To base taste on things you watched ages ago doesn't really work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring that up because I remember a comment somewhere I read that said, the people who trashed guilty crown, forget geass was 10 years ago and if guilty crown had came out back then instead of geass they would have embraced it instead at the time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the bad taste thing, I could easily say Mahouka or sword art are terrible, but back when I watched and loved code geass people where probably bashing it as overhyped shit in the same way people like to do with sword art/mahouka now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I sure years ago I would have been all over violet evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For example most anime/manga melodrama has lost its effect on me, I hate Clannad and Kanon now and I won't watch the new code geass season because I want to crop it and death note both up to a teenage error and mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it only takes five or so years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If not that, it’s the show no one gave a shit about that you loved or it’s a recent gem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it hit me, the stuff you often end up loving, becoming a measure of your true taste, in my case at least are the re-discoveries, the show you HATED or didn’t get the first time round, maybe you watched it again soon after or years later, but then it does something for you that tops anything you watched in your early days.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then I remember theres a huge amount of big shounens I never cared for and popular writers that I never liked or if I did found somewhat overated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Given that I’m in my thirties and have been watching anime, reading manga since I was 11, that’s led to a very very large re-watch list, something things I will NEVER get the time to go back to re-assess , for all I know they could actually be terrible series. Then there’s when I DO go back on shows and let’s face it most DON’T hold up (of course its good when they do hold up).
Kaiser-Eoghan
This has been on my back/mind for a bit now, to where I’m actually somewhat confused by this “tastes” thing in relation to myself.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Out of nowhere comment don't you think? Besides it ain't that I have perfect taste. It's just that my taste is the only one that matters.
Anonymous1819624
@Aidan you don't need to keep pretending you have perfect taste in anime. we are all aware your taste is often questionable, as all of ours are at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its kind of a pity because there were moments where I saw potential in it and thought maybe this would be some kind of exception.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But to more calmly review this, I do think its possible to present topics like this, though in a more accessible way, I think even someone more versed in this would be bothered by this presentation, in addition to this manga never flowing properly, the dialogue just feels it was ripped directly from an article or book.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose in all fairness, its right to say I never studied any of these subjects in much detail that it brings up and never did anything sciencey for more than two years at school so I was probably doomed from the start.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know the expected response to what I said there is "why do you read/continue to read things you know you won't like" but if I don't come out of my comfort zone theres no chance of me being surprised.
AidanAK47
Hehe..well Kaiser, I don't remember saying it was good. I just said it was an insane ride. I found its concept interesting but the presentation was just terrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for ranting but this makes my blood absolutely seethe and boil.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got to the last two chapters and just stopped caring, the info dumping, the multiple lives thing, especially the my own father/mother thing and magical girl part....fuck...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yes I'm talking about Qualia....this...was....abject...punishing headwrecking agony to read.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay fuck it, just fuck it, I refuse, absolutely refuse to touch anything involving many worlds interpretation, time travel, shared memory,multiple runthroughs/loops ever again under any any circumstances, this is the worst form of storytelling I can possibly sit through from my perspective , I cannot finish this its impossible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've given away/sold/thrown out anime/manga before, including figures and posters while keeping others , can't remember off hand, but it was to free space.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Together we make....tiger and dragon....Toradora =O
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To be clearer, any interesting series/films they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Anything else interesting they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm year of the tiger, Aidan is year of the dragon.
SuperMario
And today is the Lunar New Year, happy new year guys! It's a year of the Dog so for those who is born in the year of the Dog... my condolenses since it is supposed to be your bad luck year
SuperMario
I think they move away so they just throw all their dvds there. There were other live action movies and series in there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Strange that if he truly didn't want it that he never decided to just sell it.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I tested it and all of the DVDs are playable. The package includes the whole show and the movie. Not a scratch either
Kaiser-Eoghan
pppftt, not leaving it in the trash and instead going out and getting the blurays instead =P
Lenlo
Ha, shouldnt be surprised you read it to
AidanAK47
Everytime I read a newly translated Re:Zero chapter I just hunger for a new anime season. The latest chapter would be fantastic animated
AidanAK47
@Mario, Maybe the discs got scratched and the don't work anymore? Otherwise this is blasphemy if the highest degree.
SuperMario
Don't know how should I feel about that :))
SuperMario
Can you believe it? Someone in my apartment just threw away the Cowboy Bebop boxset. Normally I don't pick up someone's trash but it's a crime NOT TO in this case. %$^&&
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will hearby read Murasakiro Qualia!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very good voice casting decision with hourou musuko, the voice actor for the protaganist was an actual 14 year old and sounds kind of androgynous anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it comes as no surprise for me if the mangaka of Housou Musuko is a lesbian, since the show has a honest feeling if someone who actually experience those issues
Kaiser-Eoghan
So that probably came after or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
None of those episodes 30 involved this ant-arc Aidan mentioned as I recall.
Bokusen
0_o What the heck...It must take a long while to get good then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
All I was told by a hunter x hunter fan on here was after I said I'd watched 30 episodes was "I wonder if the next arc will change your mind"
Bokusen
Does Hunter x Hunter really take 40 eps to get good? I've been thinking of watching it since I really liked YYH & it's the same mangaka. I got hooked on YYH by episode 7, but if HxH takes 40 eps to hook me I might get tired of it before then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it can represent an temporary escape from the self.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an odd, maybe interesting relevant point, in some cases, well I think most a non-mtf , both a physical and psychological male, if they wear female clothing, the body reacts as if its like contact with a woman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Or for a very old manga on that theme: http://mangakakalot.com/chapter/claudine/chapter_0
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anime worked suprisingly well despite the decision to start in the middle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As much as I absoslutely love hourou musuko I do need to raise some flaws with the manga, the ending is rushed and underveloped and it is true the characters are too precocious.
Anonymous1811397
Is very slow, and I did reach a point of feeling nothing was happening. I did like the anime pacing things faster. Also like with the anime Aoi Hana it did have a poignant line. In Aoi Hana was the response to the tomboy that wanted to reengage with the MC, and in Hourou Musuko was coming out with his girlfriend.
Anonymous1811397
@SuperMario - Yep, it's maybe the most innocent yet mature take on transgender themes I've seen on a manga. I like it also tackles both genders, since we see women can wear more masculine clothing and be fine with it, but a man doing it is still weird, and unfitting. Also I think it's also the first time I've seen someone going to a catholic church to pray in a japanese setting. However, the manga
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I was reading Qualia as it was being translated then fell behind, something that needs to be read in one go probably.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*musuko
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I believe the author of hourou mysuko is a lesbian.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I believe that was discussed on here some years back between myself, you and wicked and how the manga could alienate readers with the sciencey dialogue.
AidanAK47
So I read a manga called Murasakiiro no Qualia. And boy, that was one insane ride.
SuperMario
it addresses such a touchy theme with so much grace
SuperMario
boy, just one episode into Housou Musuko and I already fall head over heels for it. Only one issue is the character designs are kinda similar, which took me quite a bit to follow the cast
SuperWooper
Hey, anon. ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel there's too much pressure on people to watch the "YOU HAVE TO WATCH" because its popular anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just comparing level Es art to hunter x hunter shows how he isn't playing at his A-game with Hunters artwork.
SuperMario
I hated John Wick 2. The plot is just an excuse for too much dull action
SuperMario
Holy cow
SuperMario
If I follow Hunter x hunter one episode a day quota for everyday, I'll finish it in... 5 months
AidanAK47
Oh found Fate/Strange Fake Translated. Got my reading materail for the week.
AidanAK47
His drawing can get rather lazy as well. The chimera ant arc manga artwork really looks like he isn't even trying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently the hunter x hunter writer takes alot of breaks/hiatus' from working on the manga. You'd be waiting a while after catching up.
AidanAK47
Like it was building for a greater confrontation but the author got bored and decided to cut the arc short.
AidanAK47
@Anon, It may take a bigger investment than that for it to truly grab you. Truth be told I don't hold the series as highly as others do. I just found it fine while I thought the chimera ant arc was the best the show had to offer but was still a bit disappointing. Honestly every arc basically felt like it ended anticlimactically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Teppu and shamo should be adapted .
Kaiser-Eoghan
So you're telling me that when that cgi city fell to ruin we see NO-ONE die? lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
The problem with PG 13 action is the lack of consequence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I actually preferred it, expanded somewhat on the first, better action when it happens and looked more polished.
Anonymous1808795
is john wick2 as good as the 1st one ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be well well up for a non-supernatural martial arts manga/anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll never understand people going apeshit over superhero action films when John wick 2 and Hardboiled and the killer exist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A physical fight feels more raw and exciting to me rather than magic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'm far far too into Kung-fu/heroic bloodshed/wuxia/politizitesschi/spaghetti westerns to get anything out of superpower action stuff for the most part.
Anonymous1808795
but its so highly rated everywhere, probably gonna try to watch a coulple more eps
Anonymous1808795
2011 version
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember a heart being ripped out in an earlier chapter if I recall correctly.
AidanAK47
@Anon, 2011 or 1999 version?
Your mileage may vary. Hunter X Hunter is rather standard Shounen up until the Phantom trope arc. But even then it's still Shounen with some small interesting twists.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I just stopped, even when I was younger I found shounen jump stuff impossible to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been told I need to watch at least 40 episodes, I got through thirty, I liked Hisoka at least and it kind of feels seinen-y with the violence I guess?
Anonymous1808795
is hunter x hunter worth it ? im 5 episodes in and it feels like generic shounen stuff
AidanAK47
Candy and Cigarettes, great opening chapter. Please don't start to suck.
Anonymous1803500
Yuri on ice made it to the olympics lol. Definitely needs a second season now
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think you've put alot on your plate with this but good luck with it all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I go into detail with that long post Mario, is that I want to prepare you before you start watching and also so you know whats worth watching or not.
Lenlo
Pfft, have fun Mario with all 146 episodes of HunterxHunter for your retrospective
KTravlos
I really do like the development of Mahoutsukai no Yome
Anonymous1802232
Im so glad this back on
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Tiger & Bunny is indeed getting second season. I'm currently burning through shows from Qualifying List so you'll hear my thoughts on some of those shows you just mentioned soon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Need to get used to posting these long messages in the comments section instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised with how the supernatural anime adaptation was able to make the stories flow despite halving the tv dramas episode runtimes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will watch kaiji SOMEDAY.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always thought there'd be a second tiger and bunny season but it never materialized, which was diasspointing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Wandering son really jived with me and I thought it was a respectful take on its topic rather than most shows playing that for a laugh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ano hana for the larger part hits its emotional notes and is well animated but I thought some characters could have gotten more development and the drama in the last episode veered on silly levels looking back in its execution.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never seen C or showa, Kamisama or phi brain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel ao no exorcist took a more drama approach at points which suited me better, Aidan saw the movie and thought it was crap though and swore off films based on long running shounens.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't remembrt anything about penguindrum, Zombie and IS only work as guilty pleasures.
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