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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AidanAK47
Damn it. Didn't get Scathach. I knew my chances were low but...still feels bad.
SuperMario
Finally back after several days that I didn't feel like blogging at all. Hope that was just a small slump of burnout and nothing too serious
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with you on On Body and Soul, the otherworldly dream sequences are the best part, the romance is so-so and the investigation is fairly weak that I still don't know its importance to the story
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: It was you that got me to watch it actually, your posts.
Lenlo
@Kaiser I am glad you think so on Inuyashiki. Ive loved every episode of it so far
Kaiser-Eoghan
But Dies Irae is the best comedy of the season.....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unless he means Kino? In that case I've never read the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni taisen is also better watched as it expands on its source material.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If you mean girls last tour then thats better off watched too as its more immersive that way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Inuyashiki is a definite watch as the pacing is much better than the manga, houseki elevates its source visually so theres that.
Amagi
@Anon: It really depends on the series. If you mean a current anime, then watch. Because the current season is full of good manga adaptions (if you mean Dies Irea, then read)
Amagi
I am not even one of those who condemn fanservice in anime like Illya for example, but this.. welp. Guess I rather watch the new MahouTsukai episode now.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Why do they want to do that? I don't think this is a good idea. Man the whole world seems to go back instead of going forward the last yers
Amagi
Seems like it was actually 5 child prostitutes that's even worse. Maybe not even that but just school girls I can't into kanji and I only see the *chan thread right now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Apparently in France they want to lower the age of consent now. They are also still protecting Polanski.
Amagi
Kaiser-Eoghan: Just saw it too, just wanted to see if the Kenshin mangaka thread was still there and now this too.
Anonymous1582168
Watch or read? Which do you recommend more?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I see Toriko's author was caught with teenage prostitutes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And now I'm thinking, some of my enjoyment of the original Kino was partly due to watching it dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Its is true that I would prefer kino to go deeper than it is allowed to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: mild Asperger syndrome , in my case its a touch discomfort thing.
Amagi
Also, damn - I just a saw a thread regarding the Kenshin thing
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Agree with Kino, there are a few things I prefer in the older version too. Although I have to admit that many plot points I would have viewed as deep 10 years ago feel very simplistic and naive by now, like how simple minded the people are, especially if plot dictates them to be. Welp. Also, there is another autist here?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Maybe not, but you'd probably do well to watch the show.
Anonymous1581844
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Is Weed really for kid though? -.- Also, the pups are cuter in this one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Bitches don't know about my Ginga densetsu weed =P
Niello
This is very much a kid version of Wolf's Rain.
Niello
I finally found this thing. Been looking for it for years. The problem now is even if I know the name it's going to be hard to find a way to watch this thing again... https://myanimelist.net/anime/3355/Fortune_Dogs
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kenshin author was caught with images of child sex abuse. Things have turned into a fallout since the Weinstein case.
Lenlo
I like to keep deadlines. Adds some consistency to things. Appreciate it though
Anonymous1581244
@Lenlo: No need to apologize lol. I don't think anyone expects you to drop everything in order to blog. XD Just do what you can and keep up the great work. d=(^_^)=b
Lenlo
Sorry for the slow turnaround on Mahoutsukai this week. Moving into a new apartment and work is abit busy. Should be up tomorrow though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I dug the premise and though there could have been more dream sequences its prettily shot, especially within those sequences, I was surprised by the suicide attempt and didn’t see it coming and it succeeded in being uncomfortable.
Although I did find the film sometimes a bit sterile and overlylong
Kaiser-Eoghan
@@Mario: I'm torn on Body and soul, speaking as someone who has autism, I genuinely felt that the depiction of the female protagonist was solid and was backed by good acting, as autism is generally overly associated with male characters, seeing it through a female focus was a bonus.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its an odd season, with shows I had no expectations of being favourites and one I looked forward to being a disappointment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know we mentioned before on here but I honestly did wish that one episode, the 6th one WAS an additional backstory, it would have elevated the episode for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The original had a grittier artstyle that clashed less with the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think some of these episodic shows could benefit from two parters, this kino season especially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But its not a good sign when I forgot some episodes content of this new adaptation less than a week after their airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I don't say it lightly about the original having a strong degree of consistent quality, even the best episodic series often can't avoid being uneven but again I never felt the original ever fell into that trap .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its the consistency I miss in this version, I enjoyed all the episodes in the original, this being more of a mixed bag sticks out like a sore thumb.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to specify I did love the Murder country episode and the Liar country episode, the ship country episode was an episode of two halves, the latest episode was too slight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I think I'll play it safe with the new Kino and just wait till it ends and pick the most recommended stories.
Anonymous1580206
The ED of Silver Spoon Season 1 is also amazing.
SuperWooper
"Fighter" by Bump of Chicken is the best I've heard in the last few years (3-gatsu ED 1)
SuperWooper
"Ride on Shooting Star" by The Pillows is my favorite (FLCL)
Nie
Also Akatsuki no Yona ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nepa6vDr-gM
Nie
Seriously though, Freedom Opening is too underappreciated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbIy0zMukn4
Nie
if not just song then: Eden of the East, ERASED, both SSY EDs, FMA ED2, Welcome to NHK, Kekkai Sensen, Conan 40
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I skip the op/ed themes for everything, there are some I haven't even heard.
SuperMario
@anon1579752: personally don't care much about EDs, since I hit the close button as soon as the episode's over. But this one is easy, Flowers of Evil ED
Anonymous1579752
321...best anime EDs of all time...GO
Nielo
Oops nvm IGNORE MY COMMENT
Nielo
@KTravlos: Which part of Chielo? How many heads?
KTravlos
Finally a great Altair episode. For once the pacing was a boon rather than a bane, and I loved the idea of Chielo.
Nielo
I have the Vagabond volumes...still haven't touch it. I just don't feel like starting another manga I'll have to wait forever.
Lenlo
Vagabonds only issue, to me, is the lack of release. I love it, its beautiful, and my god I have waited years for it to update. Its like Berserk all overagain
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I could changed something about kujira no kora, it would be toning down that overthetop shounen-kid villain henchman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel as if I would read more of vagabond if the author ever finished it, the art however is beautiful.
KTravlos
A thing I really like about there stuff is that since they are set post-One Year War, most characters are veterans and they actually behave like veterans. Thus battles are more than just curbstomps etc. I really suggest their gundam stuff. Manga wise start with the Plot to Assassinate Gihren.
KTravlos
I have to say the ARK Performance gundam-verse is one of the favorite uses of the gundam concept . They really do a good job tying their stories together and with the original series.
Lenlo
If were talking manga as well, since I dont realy VNs/LNs, Vinland Saga, Vagabond, Berserk and Basara are all way up there for me
Anonymous1579124
I can probably disect pages on end of Kyousougiga. As for Sun Knight, it's translated from Taiwanese, so the chance of it getting an anime is a big fat zero. Not to mention that it is probably one of the hardest thing to translate into video format, movies or series, animated or not.
Anonymous1579124
@SuperMario Animation vs. Animator?
SuperMario
Kyousougiga was a creative and passionate anime. You can clearly see the love of the creators put into it. But of the year 2013 nothing can beat The Eccentric Family and Flowers of Evil for me
SuperMario
@Niello: I'm willing to give Sun Knight and Dorohedoro (or I should wait for the anime adaptation in few years?) a try but not anytime soon. My next of queue is Night is Short and re-watch of Now and Then. Sorry if I sound like a broken records but lately I haven't had that much time for myself.
SuperMario
..."Mario, what the heck is this??". so we stopped. My friends weren't trying to be rude so I didn't feel any offense, but the thought of watching a stick figure never cross their mind, hence the reaction. Anime fares much better in that regards since people still willing to watch it
SuperMario
(about people's hesitance towards animation medium): Tell me about it. Few years ago I had a Saturday movie night with my mates, one time I convinced them to watch a short animated film "Come one, it's one of the best thing I've seen this year" "It's only 15 minutes so you guys can watch them easily". So they agreed but as soon as the stick figure comes onscreen. My friend turned off...
Anonymous1578845
Lol just found out that there's a Sense8 (on Netflix) easter egg in "Just Because" ep 3 xD, made my day!!!!
Anonymous1578826
Forgot to say this, but anyone willing to give the Sun Knight novel a try, in some ways, it is quite similar to Houseki no Kuni. While it is mainly comedy....it also has a lot of suffering.
silver
@Niello/Anaon1578774?: I watched Kyousougiga maybe 6mos. ago, so I think I'll enjoy it more when I rewatch it sometime in a year or so. Seems most of my top picks cemented their place after a second viewing
Anonymous1578774
@Silver It speaks to me on a personal level no other fiction has comes close to matchin. so it has a very special place in my heart. It's also one of those that get better with each rewatch. I seem to have a penchant for liking what often get described by others as convoluted, this is one of them. I also adore Matsumoto's directing and all the symbolisms.
silver
@Kaiser: I neglected film in my youth as well.. and also in adulthood. A popular gag amongst my friends is that, "silver's never seen any movie ever." I hadn't seen star wars until a girl I dated in uni forced me to watch 4-6...
silver
Hah when I posted about liking works adapted from every medium I wondered if it was going to spark a 'top 10' discussion, but when I was trying to mentally rank them I remembered how hard it was...
@Niello: interesting that Kyousougiga is your all-time #1. I thought it was lovely but probably doesn't make the cut for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Novels are somewhat alien territory to me as I tend to watch adaptations be they film or otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I've watched thousands in the past few years because I neglected the medium in childhood.
Nielllo
Unless you mean animated only.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: I don't think I watched enough films at all, and that's made even worst when I forget most of them after a couple of years.
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I really recommend The Legend of the Sun Knight novel. Think it's something you'll probably enjoy quite a bit. It's quite cleverly written. You can read the official fan translation online.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A top ten film list for me is even harder, I can't even attempt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akumetsu> death note
FITE ME.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gunslinger girl gets such a strong mention from me because I feel that action stories often work better when you care about the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
<No Freesia adaptation
<No Eden adaptation
<No full production IG Alita film series
<why live =<
Nielllo
@SuperMario: There are some anime I'm not going to watch just because the manga is superior, period. Good examples are Monster and One Piece.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: Oh, I knew about Wolfram mangaka's apprenticeship already :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: First however, When mountains may depart, By Jia Zhangke, I am full romance mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planetes and Vinland saga have to go somewhere on a list. Oddly they share the same creator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Reminds me Dreams by Kim-ki-duk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I mentioned Dorohedoro's author was Nihei's apprentice, but heres another interesting one, the mangaka for Wolfram apprentice under BOTH Kento Miura and Kaoru Mori.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gladly. On Body and Soul is a weird mix of romance drama, character study and a weirdly magical bond between two people who share the same dream. That weirdness is what make the movie so memorable, although I do feel the ending stays out its welcome
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nihei, Umezu and Itou belong somewhere among my favourite mangaka.
SuperMario
I don't know why you'd mix manga/anime together, but my own top 10 is in my profile (click over my username), I've included anime/ movies together but if the list is purely anime shows I'd add Haibane Reimen as #9 and Humanity Has Declined as #10
Nielllo
Apart from Kyousougiga which is always no.1, and The Legend of the Sun Knight, Dorohedoro, Shinsekai Yori and Monster whose places are swappable, the rest I'm quite flexible with. Saint Seiya is in if it's a favorite list, and out among the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality list, with the exception of The Lost Canvas.
Nielllo
Hmmm, atm it's 1. Kyousougiga (a) 2. Monster (m) 3. Dorohedoro (m) 4. Shinsekai Yori (n) 5. Baccano! (a) 6. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai (m) 7. Saint Seiya (my guilty pleasure, I can't defend it in anyway) 8. Franken Fran (m) 9. The Legend of the Sun Knight (n)(1st tier comedy) 10. Haibane Renmei/Toradora!.Honorable mentions to Gamaran, Beck, GTO, Mushishi, Kaiba and Grave of the Fireflies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Damn....its a harder question to answer than it looks =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although Cruel God reigns in heaven would com close.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, nothing would dethrone Gunslinger girl for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even Utena but I feel it somewhat overated as I do Bebop despite enjoying both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of those on the top ten could easily be switched for honey and clover.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also love the works of Shimura Takkako, early takahashi and early Clamp.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Shiki would work its way onto a recent favourites list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite visual novels are Kara no shoujo, saya no uta and Sharin no kuni.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've a soft spot for ah my goddess, basara, 7 seeds , nanoha and Red river.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I was making more modern lists for recent favourites I'd probably add flipflappers somewhere or yuasas works.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh my top ten by mixing manga and anime into the same list? 1. Gunslinger (both) girl 2. Ghost in the shell (anime) 3. Earl cain saga (manga) 4. Angel Sanctuary (manga) 5. Texhnolyze (anime) 6. Lain (anime) 7. Perfect blue (anime) 8. Fruits basket (manga) 9. Monster 10. Kare kano.
Nielllo
I don't think anything will ever dethrone Kyousougiga for me though.
Nielllo
I still need to watch Tatami Galaxy and a bunch of other staple shows...
Lenlo
We could put out a site-author Top 10 list sometime maybe... Some of mine are Mushishi, Steins;Gate, Tatami Galaxy and Your Lie in April. Its got a spectrum of genre.
Nielllo
So what are people's top 10?
silver
Certainly on my top 10 list I have works adapted from VNs, manga, novels, LNs, and originals. I just think originals have a higher rate of efficient visual storytelling compared to adaptations
silver
@Kaiser: I like SEL and Haibane and texhnolyze is on my ever-growing list of things to watch. I also really like Gurren Lagen and Kill la Kill although they're both better if you've seen enough anime to know what they're parodying. My ex who loathed most anime because of the aforementioned over-exposition issue also introduced me to Dennou Coil which I really enjoyed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Body and soul just got released on a webdl , sell me on the film if you can =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Silver: Texhnolyze/Lain/Haibane are excellent examples.
silver
I think original anime offers a different experience than adaptations, particularly regarding 'show don't tell.' By necessity most anime source material is dialogue and exposition heavy and can't always utilize the medium efficiently. Of course, I've watched masterpieces adapted from every kind of source, so it's all good
Niello
I'd love to see this thing animated some day. Preferably with movie budget: http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Ex position/312
Niello
@Eoghan: Try searching in some Asian languages and you might have better luck.
silver
Most open-minded people I talk with don't have anything against animated entertainment. Shows like Bob's Burgers, Archer, and Bojack Horseman have carved a modern niche for 'adult' animation. Having a show about talking alcoholic horse would be pretty cheesy with live action.
Niello
Never mind, Mario said it. But I also don't agree that idol shows or incest shows are intrinsically bad. On top of idol being a trend in Japan first and anime pick it up because it's part of the culture.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason people see the worst side of things, is because that is what is made most on the surface and immediate,
Niello
@Amagi: Considering that all the ones you listed are originally manga, I think you should give manga more credit...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by finding I mean, hard to buy or torrent .
Kaiser-Eoghan
The infuriating thing is how poorly distributed some things are. I hate seeing Godammn blurays of shit hollywood films everywhere and I have to struggle to find some old/quality eastern film.
Amagi
I think it's the same problem as with endless shounen. Sometimes series get dragged on purpose to make more money.
Amagi
The tons of seasons is what scares me away sometimes
Kaiser-Eoghan
I keep thinking, why pad a 90 minute-9 1/2 hour story in a billion one hour per episode seasons.
Amagi
Yeah it's always like that, with cinema movies too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also hate ensemble/mosaic storytelling for the larger part, with some exceptions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this excuse won't work with people who love serialized live-action tv dramas but...I don't like most tv shows because of how padded they are and that they go on far too long and the acting is tv standard and not film standard.
Lenlo
I dont want TV that much, but my experience has been there are very few shows worth watching. Just like anime.
Lenlo
Well, in the argument that anime has alot of bad trends to, I would say so does regular television. How many TVs per year are as good/acclaimed in the "best" anime of each season are in the community?
Amagi
I think it's just sad that there are so many people (the big majority) that refuse to watch cartoons in general because they consider them as either childish or a worse version of "real" series. They'll always miss the good sides anime/manga have and therefore certain sub-genres as a whole.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Yeah you're right. I should have specified it to Japanese drawn media in general (VNs too). And yeah most anime/manga are rather trashy or blatantly bad. But the good series are often something live acting can't create and we'd miss without Japan. There are good cartoons too, though
SuperMario
... original ones: Cowboy Bebop, EVA, Flip Flappers, Kaiba, etc
SuperMario
@amagi: I almost agree with everything you said, but we might give anime too much credits. Remember it's a medium that responsible for many, many bad trends: idol shows, incest shows, tentacle hentai shows and so on so forth. The shows you listed here are come from manga as well, and they are strong manga materials to begin with. If I choose an example of what anime can achieve I'd point to some..
Amagi
This season is really good and it shows how lacking fiction would be without anime. Stuff like Shuumatsu, Houseki or even Mahoutsukai can only exist as anime. It's something live acting script writers would never come up with, not to mention that a lot would be lost without the respective drawing styles, be it the moe blobbs of Shuumatsu or the CGI hair, grass and camera movement of Houseki.
KTravlos
btw I really liked this Mahoutsukai no Yome episode. Finally we are getting somewhere
Amagi
@Kaiser: You're right, totally forgot that. Looking forward to this. Also I could have sworn I heard about a new project from Iso (Dennou Coil) last year but I guess I either confused him with someone else or with Children of Ether in which he's involved in some kind of way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That series was going to be devilman crybaby .
Amagi
Wasn't Yuasa also doing a series of some sort this year? Haven't watched the movies yet but I loved most of his stuff so far, with Kaiba being my favorite.
Anonymous1575628
Wow, Houseki did not disappoint for me this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed it for what it was. But I'd say even if you didn't read the subs you probably wouldn't have much trouble following it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually had a look and lu over the wall, coincidentally , there are moments of where Yuasa's imagination/visuals shine through and its a genuinely charming film at times, but it does almost outstay its welcome and there's a sense Yuasa was somewhat restrained this time round, it IS a kids movie and that kind of does need to be taken into account, its not AS mad as mind game or kemonozume.
Amagi
Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta is subbed, but no idea if the subs are good
Kaiser-Eoghan
And its quite natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Florida project succeeds through its free flowing nature/narrative and manages to be hilarious all the while managing to never allow you forget its also a kitchen sink drama, the best performances come from William Dafoe and the girl. At the end it gut punches the audience emotionally.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: also expecting Florida Project, 3 Billboards, and The Shape of Water in my end
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, Kino was a bit too slight this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just Lu, disaster artist and happy end left now for the year. Maybe the new Godzilla.
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Featured Posts

Juuni Taisen – 08 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 2)]

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Inuyashiki – 6 [People of 2chan]

This week Inuyashiki fulfills last weeks predictions in a rather unexpected way. Strap in for some suicide, mass murder and the tail-spin of everyone’s favorite sociopath. Lets jump in! Rather than being a parallel between our two heroes like usual, this episode is focused almost entirely on Hiro. To me, this episode hits loosely on […]

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