Posted on 26 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shikabane Hime



The first season of Shikabane Hime was a very solid build-up, it had great horror, and may have had some pacing issue in the beginning, but it was one of the stories that gets better and better as it goes on. Shikabane Hime Kuro (the continuation), however promised to decline into the standard shounen clichés again, where the two lead characters form a romantic couple and battle a bunch of bad guys in a very overdone way. And in some ways, it did, but with so much style.

Shikabane Hime Kuro is an expert in managing expectations. From the beginning to the end, it sets different expectations for the viewer, only to deliver either something completely different, or exactly what it promised only five times better and more impressive. This leads to bizarre situations, like a couple of very crappy first episodes, followed by a string of awesomeness, followed by a Gainax-ending.

The biggest strength of this series is the cast of characters, though. Because it already had an entire season worth of build-up put into the lead characters, it now really has the chance to play with them and even then the development of the cast doesn’t stop. There’s hardly any episode wasted and both the side characters as the antagonists receive more than adequate attention to flesh out their characters well.

There are lots of nice themes that this series explores. While there are many elements that fall into the shounen clichés in this series, it also provides lots of new and fresh content, with an interesting storyline and plenty of effective mystery. Ouri and Makina are also far away from your typical shounen couple, for once, and a lot of attention in this series if focused on the two of them, trying understand each other, rather than simply one of them serving as a glorified damsel in distress.

But in the end, what it all comes down to is the following: Shikabane Hime is a terrific action-series, that knows exactly what it is. While the first few episodes of Kuro will disappoint, it quickly picks up with a string of gripping action scenes, with some of Gainax’ trademark animation (though used in moderation this time) and a rocking soundtrack, combined with a strong cast and imaginative plot twists that are going to keep you busy throughout the entire rest of the series.

I’m not exactly a fan of shounen series, but I love it when they’re done well, and that’s exactly what Shikabane Hime is. It’s found a very nice combination between style and substance here, and Gainax and Feel did a really good job at bringing the manga alive. It’s also interesting how for a manga adaptation, the creators managed to fit the stories perfectly into 25 episodes: there are hardly any signs of rushed scenes, major plotholes or pacing issues. Exactly what a good manga-adaptation should be.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: The finale of Shikabane Hime
Episode Rating: ?/10 (wut?)
Uhm… yeah. This is without a doubt one of the more original endings I have ever seen, but… what?

But yeah, this is what you get when you combine Gainax with the director of Gilgamesh: both infamous for their unconventional endings. Here I was, expecting a really action-packed ending… and most of the bad guys die within five minutes, all the major threads left hanging are solved, nearly everything is carefully wrapped up into a rather quiet but rather anticlimactic epilogue… and the series seriously ends in the middle of a big fight between Makina and Hokuto. Has that ever been done before?

Still, I like the approach that the creators took. It’s definitely going to make this series memorable to me; it’s something I totally didn’t see coming, it’s anticlimactic how easy things really were in this final episode, and yet it strangely worked. In a way, we really didn’t need to know whether Makina or Hokuto would win the fight. That’s just the same predictable shounen crap, but in the meantime the creators did have enough time to explore on the main themes of the show. It’s interesting how despite all of the warnings, Ouri still sees Makina as a human being, but he never really fell in love with her and I think that that separates himself from Akasha and Sougi, who both fell in love with their Shikabane Hime: he never could fall in love with Makina because of Keisei’s influence and instead they grew more to become good friends.

I’m a bit disappointed that the final two seven stars didn’t receive their background, but at least the two of them aren’t complete paper bags, and the bit of depth that they received in this episode was appreciated. The old guy basically was someone who wanted to live desperately (it would have been interesting, though: why would he return as a Shikabane when he died at such an old age? And without a grudge as well…), while the bug guy simply was obsessed with Hokuto, and the reason why he acted so cruel through the majority of the series was because he didn’t really care about anyone other than his beloved Hokuto.

Overall, though, it’s definitely been a fun and awesome series. I had some doubts when I started blogging this show, but I’m glad that I did in the end, because it’s been a lot of fun praising (and yelling at the constant fanservice in) this series. While Gainax isn’t one of my favourite production companies, they really hit the mark this time with a very effective shounen series.

Posted on 19 March 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Akasha finally reveals why he’s doing the things he did.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Seriously, is there no end to this series’ awesomeness? While the second season started out with a bunch of really bad and questionable episodes, it picked itself up so well after that, and delivered one hit after the other. I really must thank this series for giving me back my faith in shounen fighting series. Ever since the Law of Ueki, I’ve found myself disappointed by these series so many times, but this series really has been everything a good shounen series should be. This is exactly what I was hoping for when I found out that the director of Gilgamesh was behind it. Love it or hate it, but it had lots of interesting and imaginative stuff, and Shikabane Hime is the same: it knows exactly how to deal with its viewers’ expectations, and go completely beyond that.

And really, to think that this series is a manga adaptation. I really wouldn’t have suspected this: Ever since episode seven of the first season, there hasn’t been any filler, there are no wasted episodes, there are no pacing issues, and it looks like everything is going to be solved in the next episode. It may be that the story of the manga fits the 25 episode format exactly, but what’s more like is that the creators tweaked the storyline a bit so that it would fit into this time-frame. Seriously, a lot of series should try to follow this show’s example.

And this episode yet again continued this show’s string of awesomeness. We were promised Akasha’s background, but we got so much more. From the BEGINNING, he was planning on betraying the seven stars and use the strange cube to take control over Hokuto. The reason why he looked like such a weakling for the past number of episodes was because he simply let himself get pushed around, since at the time he couldn’t risk it to go against the bug guy. His duty was to protect Hokuto, and since the previous episode pretty much distracted him from this task, he grabbed his chance.

His background also rocked beyond belief. And while it was the kind of “I lost my loved one so I want revenge!”, there is so much more added. He actually was the victim of something that happens to every monk who makes his Shikabane kill 108 corpses. When that happens, they simply turn back into an ordinary Shikabane, just as if their contractor was killed. His Shikabane Hime also was his former girlfriend, fully tying this into the theme of “Shikabane Hime aren’t people, they’re a bunch of dead bodies” that has been explored by both Ouri and Sougi in detail, and continues to build further upon it.

So yeah, right now you can pretty much consider me a fan of the director, Masahiko Murata. Both Shikabane Hime and Gilgamesh were simply awesome, and I’m getting more and more interested in his other works and see what he can do. This guy really has talent, and is not afraid to use it.

In any case, only one episode left, and it really is promising to be yet another action-packed one. The big difference is that the first season really was building up to that big climax of its, while most of the build-up at this point has already been used. Let’s see whether the creators can give us one final surprise with this series.

Posted on 12 March 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Hokuto, Akasha and whatshisname (the bug guy) carry out their plan to destroy the Kougonshuu (that’s what it was called, right?)
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Great to see that even though the finale is near, this series has yet to show any signs of weakness. That’s what I like to see, and I really have to say that Shikabane Hime grew into one of the best shounen series out there. I’m still not sure who exactly was responsible for it: the director of Gilgamesh, Gainax or feel (although the latter seems unlikely, looking at its past record), or a combination of the three of them, but any fears I had over the second season were proven wrong, and it’s the definite proof that you can have a few overdone clichés here and there as long as the execution is right. Yes, you can put a bunch of teenagers in the middle of adult conflicts, but if you want to do that you really have to know what you’re doing. ^^;

What surprised me in this episode though was that there was no background on the final two members of the seven stars, and most of it was building up, meaning that their stories are saved for the final two episodes. I remember when Kekkaishi did this, it felt really out of place. It was like… “Muaha, the climax is about to begin… but first let me tell you about my past”. Still, Shikabane Hime might actually pull it off. Nearly all of the backgrounds of the seven stars have been huge revelations and juicy plot twists. I can see how they can be used to spice up these final two episodes, and I’m actually quite eager to find out about them.

I also liked how this finale has a deeper meaning than “all hell breaks loose so let’s just send a wave of zombies to make this even more apparent”. Because there now are so many shikabane out there, it was going to be pretty easy for all of the Shikabane Hime to gather their 108 kills needed in order to go to heaven. Since they think just like regular people, it adds an interesting dimension of staying versus saying goodbye while saving those around you and going to heaven in the process.

And I guess that even though the two remaining seven stars didn’t get their background, Akasha did. His final revelation is saved for the final two episodes (either that or I missed a very important part), but we now know that his Shikabane Hime managed to slay 108 Shikabane, and then something really bad happened. Is this the case for every single Shikabane Hime (in that case a lot of monks must have been screwed that way), or did something happen between the two of them involving the Kougonshuu?

And finally, Hokuto seemed more like a human than she ever did in this episode. Was this all because of her fight with Makina? Did she find her reason to continue to exist even though she lacks a grudge this way? I also like how the creators aren’t trying to make her into a sympathetic villain like most series out there. Sure, her past was fucked up, but she never tries to put herself into the victim’s seat.

And on a really final note: that background song rocked. Choirs FTW!

Posted on 6 March 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Finally! The cat!
Episode Rating: 9/10 (fantastic)
Amazing! The second season just continues to get better and better! I know I have ranted a lot about the second season so far, but the past few episodes have been utterly incredible! This could very well turn into my favourite Gainax production at this pace. This is EXACTLY what a good shounen series needs to be!

And seriously, if this episode wasn’t horror, then I don’t know anymore. We have a slaughtered group of children, a frog shikabane who brutally eats the corpses of these children, yet another group of children who are nearly crushed by a bunch of exploding cars, Hokuto who brutally kills everyone within her sight by squeezing them to death. Oh my god… you can really see that the creators were in their element when they made this episode.

So in the end, it turns out that Hokuto was simply someone bred to be sacrificed to the gods. That’s why she turned into a shikabane without any grudges, making her a simple killing machine. Makina’s ancestors were the one who killed her, and that’s why she was turned into a Shikabane: to give her a grudge. In the meantime, the cat turns out to be the shikabane of every kid who was slaughtered by Ouri’s mother. It was interesting how they saw him as a companion, rather than someone killed them in the case of Hizuchi.

Those revelations also came surprisingly early: three episodes left and most of the mysteries are gone now. The only thing that I still want to know is the background behind the final two members of the Seven Stars. In the meantime, the end of this episode definitely made all hell break loose. Usually I’d raise an eyebrow again, since this means that the show is going to turn into an even bigger fight-fest than it already was, but this series has surprised me enough times already. The creators really seem to plan to go all out with the show’s finale, and I can’t wait to find out what they have in store!

Posted on 26 February 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: The seven stars put Makina and Hokuto in one room. Fighting ensues.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
I’m still amazed at this series. I keep having these fears, for the huge amount of pitfalls that this series can fill into. And here it comes, and proves me wrong time and time again. The characters just keep saving this series whenever it’s about to fall apart. When boob-sama first appeared, I feared that she was just going to prove to be a source of annoyance, in the same veins of Saji and Louise in Gundam 00, and how she’d come back as a Shikabane Hime in order to form Ouri’s harem when she ‘died’. And here it turns out that she couldn’t be saved, and actually died for real with a pretty impressive finish. In the last episode, I remember noting how the rest of the seven stars looked like they were going to simply fight Makina in standard shounen fare, and this episode comes and it continues to provide very interesting back-stories for these guys. Heck, even the simple bash-fest between Makina and Hokuto turned out to be awesome somehow. I really didn’t see this coming when the second season started, but at this point, this series can hardly do anything wrong for me anymore. That’s how much I’m already caught up in this series’ pace.

So as it turns out, there’s a whole lot more to that simple flashback scene of Keisei and his former comrades than just them being at the same spot at the same time. It turns out to be a very important scene, having to do with Ouri’s origins. I didn’t understand it completely, but there seems to have been a shikabane that collected children, presumably this was Ouri’s mother. In their attempts to rescue them, Keisei and the others failed, and every child except for Ouri got killed off, and Ouri was brought to the orphanage. Also, did I understand this correctly and did Ouri’s mother turn into the cat? In any case, the biggest revelation in this episode was that one of these dead children was Hizuchi.

What I now want to know is why it’s so important for the Seven Stars to have Hokuto fight Makina, though this will probably get clearer once the creators start on her background.

It’s only a pity that the animation doesn’t feel as rich as in the first season. While it’s still much more than a bunch of still frames, and I can’t exactly put my finger to the big difference. I guess that the animation in the second season feels more standard and less inspired than what we saw in the first, if that makes any sense.

Posted on 12 February 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Ouri vs. Boob-sama and Makina vs. the balloon… thing.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
Seriously, this show keeps surprising me. I thought that the Boob-sama story would be plain annoying, and Ouri’s female classmate who appeared from out of nowhere and started acting completely different from her usual character only contributed to that fear, not to mention that she opened up her shirt for no good reason either. Still, this yet again was a really good episode.

Mostly, this was because of the balloon Shikabane. The shounen-roots of this series may have a few serious disadvantages, but this is one of the few shounen-series that so far has yet fallen into one of the pitfalls that killed most of the series of the genre. And this series also has the big strength of the good shounen series: they created some really interesting villains with very imaginative powers. The seven stars really are formidable opponents that are fun to watch, and the balloon thing is the best example of that when this episode reveals that it’s just a little girl with a bunch of balloons, who died together with her family on an amusement park. Nice! The theme-park fight-scene was quite awesome to watch.

It seems that the seven stars are indeed after the destruction of the Hougonshuu, and for some reason Hokuto’s big enemy is among them. Right now, I wonder what the creators have in store with these guys. My biggest fear right now is that Hokuto seems a bit too much like your overpowered evil overlord. The balloon shikabane was so much fun because she used mind games and all that stuff in order to win, though Hokuto seems much more like your typical power monster.

Also, the big question for the next episode: is Boob-sama going to return as a Shikabane Hime or not?

Posted on 5 February 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Ouri vs. Keisei & Keisei & Keisei & Keisei & etc.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
I’m really glad that my fears that the extra shounen roots would ruin the second season proved to be unnecessary, because the creators have found more than enough inspiration to keep this series interesting and exciting, so in the end the only big problem of the second season is simply the lack of subtlety in the fanservice.

This episode eliminates one of the seven stars, and what I especially liked was that the creators managed to squeeze in a bit of background about her before she died. Her death also had quite a bit of impact due to some particularly nice voice acting. Next episode should prove to be even more fun, because finally “boob”-sama is going to play a big role. It’s very nice: the past few episodes have so emphasized that shikabane aren’t humans, and because of that Ouri had no problems with killing all of the fake Keiseis. But here we have the case where a living being has been possessed by the balloon guy (who looked really scary this episode, by the way). Now that’s going even further. On top of that, it’s revealed that Akira and Mabuhiro are planning to kill the head priest, so there’s plenty of fun stuff left for this series.

The only thing that’s a shame about this second season apart from the fanservice is that the animation has also become much worse. It’s still good enough, but nowhere near as dynamic as the animation of the first season. That second episode got me hungry, but apart from the visual effects most of the eye candy isn’t as impressive anymore. Still, in order to make up for it, the creators decided to focus much more on the music. It’s strange, most of the tracks were also there in the first season, but somehow they sound even better right now.

Posted on 29 January 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Sougi takes care of his old friend, while the Seven Stars pull a particularly nasty trick on Makina.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (8,5/10 for the first half)
Ah, who cares about the stupid fanservice! The second season rocks!

I’m really surprised. When the fanservice started coming with buckets at the time, I really thought that the series had hit its height in the first season, and the second season was just meant to cash in a bit more on the DVD sales. Still, Sougi and Itsuki’s past was rock-solid, and the definite proof that the creators haven’t lost their touch yet. Especially the conclusion to their story was fantastic. It’s impressive how easily Sougi was able to kill his once best friend. The guy has really grown from the teenager he once was.

Their arc really signified the message in this show, that Shikabane aren’t the same as people. Even though they’re a bunch of cute girls, they remain a bunch of non-rotting corpses. At the end, where Itsuki also started looking more like a zombie, and asked Sougi how she did her job, Sougi was able to face her with a straight face and told her that she did well, and he was able to do this because he didn’t see her as an ordinary cute girl.

In the second half of this episode, Makina and Ouri finally have the chance to talk and sort out their differences. It turns out that Makina killed Keisei in the end, to prevent his body from turning into a Shikabane, and that’s why she refused to take Ouri as his replacement. The next episode with the fight against the army of Keisei’s should also prove to be interesting, as it’ll finally show Ouri and Makina fighting together.

The question now remains where this show will go from now. will it, despite my praises turn into standard shounen fare now that Ouri and Makina have settled their differences, or will the creators be able to keep this level of character-development up. I’m just a bit worried about “boob”-san, who has just arrived at the mountains. She was one of the more annoying characters in the first season, without any real point to her, so I guess that the creators were saving her for the second season. But what could she possibly add?

Posted on 22 January 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



Short Synopsis: Sougi and Itsuki tell about their background.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
Now this is more like it! This is exactly the reason why I came to like the first season so much, and I’m glad to see that the second season is going to be more than a weak sequel of the first. Sure, this episode was much about a side-plot of this series, but a bit of background never hurts, and this episode definitely shows that the creators haven’t lost their touch, after the rather disastrous fanservice-problem of the previous three episodes.

This episode was all about Sougi and Itsuki, who in their early days looked suspiciously like your average shounen-lead-pair: a dorky male lead gets contacted by a female with power, in this case because Itsuki hit a truck and happened to form a contract with Sougi before she turned into a berserking Shikabane, complete with the introduction-scene at school (again…).

But thankfully there was much more to that episode than just that. While Itsuki wasn’t as tormented as Makina by revenge, the two of them had their own problem. Itsuki was practically a corpse, and yet Sougi saw her as a regular girl, without any special powers. This caused him the huge scars that he has on his body, simply because he wanted to protect Itsuki from getting hurt, even though she could simply regenerate her wounds, while he couldn’t.

So, yes. The fanservice was definitely a problem, but this series does know what it is: entertainment. As much as I’ve ranted on these past three episodes, they never failed to entertain me, and especially this episode was full of adrenaline, even though there were plenty of quiet parts. If the creators can keep the same mood for the rest of the series, with Makina’s storyline and all, then I’ll call this second season a success.

The next episode should be either fun or a complete disaster: Makina is being transported by a group of monks, without Ouri, and suddenly one of the seven stars attacks, impersonating Keisei. Let’s see where that one goes.

CHANGE USERNAME
Vonter
@Niello - That's 'cause Miayano isn't Pepe Macias: https://youtu.be/nCL6e5TmVG8?t=34
Lenlo
Personally I like this Miyano voice, but only because it sounds like Old Okabe before 0 ruined him
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Wouldn't go that far. But as I've said this show did not click with me at all on most levels.
Niello
Am I the only one who think Miyano sounds annoying in Zombieland Saga? It was the same in Tadakoi too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Castlebros4life.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I forgot to mention, what I like about this guy is that he actually does have a plan rather than just milling it into the goblins.
Lenlo
Castlevania hype! I cant wait for season 2
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm more looking forward to reading The year one side story which is more about Goblin slayer himself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, I've caught up to the 28th chapter of Goblin slayers manga chapter, in spite of being rinse and repeat with not much depth, so far its remains fun. There will definitely be a "human shield" scene that won't appear in the anime. I'd hoped the side story manga would go into priestess girls past our something but it doesn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Castlevania season 2 is out next week.
AidanAK47
Damn, Youtubes down
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mamoru Miyano is the same voice actor for the producer and Okabe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think they are doing other genres in zombieland too, I think one is vaporwave.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It would be very strange if the guy who is the past version of Hitomi's grandfather started falling for her.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That leads me to consider , should the search bar be moved?
AidanAK47
Pretty Sure he mistook the chat window for a search bar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fell behind, part 3 too long aswell.
SuperMario
@anon: it's just too little too late...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Interested in seeing more of that horse guy who showed up in the recent beastars chapters. Also liked how they co-relate lion guy with louis' dad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I'm knocking Honda-san, as that simple/minimalist style is another thing that makes these gag comedies work also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Animation's a bit BARE BONES though wahaha!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm quite amused by the surrealism of it all, a skeleton working in a bookshop =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A quick random fact, one of the manga the blonde girl in episode 1 is asking for is a legendary, old shounen-ai classic from the 70s. The short format suits these gag comedies because I feel that stretching them out to 20 something minute runtimes kills the joke.
Lenlo
Honda-San continues to be the funniest thing I have seen in awhile
AidanAK47
@Vonter, That should not go together as well as it does
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Goblin slayer did nothing wrong.
Animosh
It's dumb, but I can't deny it's uplifting. :)
Animosh
The slime anime really offers the perfect counter to Goblin Slayer. In Goblin Slayer murder is the answer to everything, peace is impossible and revenge will haunt you forever. In the slime series? A short speech about the benefits of kindness and cooperation and the pitfalls of revenge is enough to convince everyone to get along (and that includes two races who were on the verge of war).
Vonter
Also because I just had to: http://vmashup.com/yvDoiQhU
Vonter
Zombieland gives me Scooby Doo vibes. With a silly premise of reviving moe girls to make a band. How they're prey to their instincts and I do like the music aspect doesn't feel as artificial as other shows that may also promote the songs to be sold. Since the music seems more to play for the story than to be good songs. Not remarkable but enjoyable I'll say.
Vonter
So far I've more issue with what the maid says than what she does. Since the anime wants to paint her in a good light but some of the things she says are very creepy. On the other side, there seems an underlying sadness since she seems capable but dumbfounded on how to live her life.
Vonter
I checked UzaMaid! and Zombieland Saga, which were funny and silly and entertaining, nothing major, but I also don't found them bad. The first one treads the line so far of having creepy implications, but it has a bit of John Hughes slapstick thrown a bit. I'll like it more if the little girl were a bit more like Kevin from Home Alone or Junior from Problem Children.
Amagi
Seems like a part of the background has changed after the post-kaiju fight reset in Gridman. I wonder what's even real in this series.
SuperMario
Gosh, how I love the improv dialogues and the indie Kemono-Friends level of visual flourish in Himote House
Masky
Like Zero Escape series itself goes through pretty much everything related to psychology
Masky
In general I don't really get what is up with japanese fictional works running different scientific paradoxes or theories into everything unrelated ._.
Lenlo
Mmm Im so glad I started throwback thursday. 2 episodes in and I already love Planetes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think might know it off by heart now I hear it mentioned so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I hope I haven't doomed you, I voted for Goblin slayer .
Amagi
Hate that too and I actually got my hopes up in episode 1 since it seemed like they wouldn't explain it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I was hoping someone else would bring that up.
Niello
Bunny Girl is pretty good so far, but I do have to say that I rolled my eyes at another rundown of Schrodinger's cat. What's with the obsession?
Amagi
Drama never works for me with Key and even most of Kyoani's works in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I already mentioned about how surprisingly solid/serious bunny girl senpai takes itself for the better, but I'd like to add, the drama doesn't feel obnoxious either such as in a Key work.
Amagi
I love those first impression reviews of bad series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah, it's why I never picked HxH up again as well. I also think there are still tons of issues with SAO although most of them come up later. AW will always be way better in my opinion.
Anonymous2948346
Glad the Imouto review was good for something, niello. The show itself certainly isn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't deny that for some a series could improve as it went on, but with sword art, its now three seasond and a movie , thats alot to watch and quite the ask to get to the "good" part.
Amagi
@niello: I meant that key visual https://d38fgd7fmrcuct.cloudfront.net/1_3p7wgf1obds2mkioy1cmi.jpg - but as said it doesn't mean anything. I will only get hyped once I see the first animated scene and confirm that the boats aren't CG or at least a good kind of CG.
Lenlo
Oh baby. Spring 2019, One Punch Man S2 and Hero Aca S4. Can't wait
niello
@Amagi, Vinland Saga promo pic looks good? Aren't those just manga cover pictures that they showed in the promo...
niello
"Ore ga Sick of this Shit dakedo Shit Keeps Getting Made", I laughed so hard, thanks.
Lenlo
Will probably do a final review but not weekly episodes
Lenlo
But I watched it. Its alright, im gonna watch it to the end.
Lenlo
@animosh, I dont know about them.
Animosh
Oh, that sounds very promising! I've always found thematic explorations of virtual reality very interesting. You know: What is "real" and what isn't? Does it even matter? And what place should virtual reality have in society? In previous seasons those themes were a bit dumbed down, so I'd be up for seeing them explored in some more detail. And with four cours, there's plenty of time to do so.
Amagi
I am not yet sure how much SAO III will suffer from the lacking inner monologue though. The interesting part fo it was the world building and the taboos and how it was the first actual simulation and creation of humanity and the birth of a virtual culture, with mods and admins being literal gods in the VR, like some matrix thing. The anime skipped a lot and actions they do feel more casual there.
Amagi
@Animosh: Well the author did improve a lot, I actually consider most of Accel World as pretty good, especially the later arcs. Thanks for reminding me to buy the last two volumes by the way.
Animosh
I'm sure it won't be great (hell, given SAO's track record, it'll almost certainly end up punishing me for getting my hopes up), but there are at least signs that the author has recognized what went wrong in previous seasons and is trying to correct his mistakes. So with some luck, I might just end up enjoying this season! Maybe. Not getting my hopes up too much though.
Animosh
And where previous seasons barely made any attempts to build up the various virtual worlds, this season is taking it slow so far, which makes it feel more like a well-realized world than a generic fantasy blob. And last but not least, it seems Kirito will have to start over, so even if he'll inevitably end up OP again, he'll probably have to work for it, which is something the series really needed
Animosh
For example: the old cast has been stuck in the harem-mold for a long time, and that makes them incredibly dull. Most of them only exist to make Kirito look good, and barely have any agency of their own. But the new characters are different (so far at least). The most prominent new character (Eugeo) is male, and has clear goals of his own.
Animosh
By the way, did you guys skip Sword Art Online for your first impressions posts? I know you're not fond of the series (and rightly so, because it's way too popular for such a mediocre series), but I actually think it's been pretty decent so far. A fresh start with a largely new cast is exactly what the series needed, and there are some promising signs it's heading in a positive direction.
Animosh
@Amagi: I felt the same way after the episode. It's a very predictable move, but somehow I still didn't see it coming. I guess I should have known better than to trust a happy-go-lucky love interest (although I'm rooting for Rikka) after Darling in the Franxx.
Animosh
But in their own ways they still offered the kind of wild and wacky ride through adolescent insecurities that FLCL is known for, and the characters were likable enough (even if underdeveloped). The OST remains strong too. So although the series could definitely have been better, overall I think this has been a pretty enjoyable revival of the series.
Animosh
After its slow start I'm glad FLCL at least managed to end on a fairly strong note. I still think it's a shame none of the two series really managed to replicate the surreal craziness and visual inventiveness of the original (though Progressive did try), and the wider focus of both series compared to OG FLCL (with the same number of episodes) backfired a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Sometimes the offscreen content can allow our imaginations to work and disturb us more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Deception more like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girl wasn't even pregnant, show telling lies, too lazy to draw pregnancy too probably .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Was your internet acting weird today? Don't know what provider you're using but mine only came back an hour ago or so, lots of people in Dublin were reporting connection issues and in other counties too.
SuperMario
@Amagi: still haven't watched the second one but the first episode did surprise me
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Still ain't watching it
Amagi
Okay I didn't really see the content of ep 2 of Gridman coming. I feel like I should have seen this coming, but I didn't.
Masky
I'm honestly confused about Conception since I'm under impression that Conception games are about "Do some sort of weird ritual to create "Star Child" which doesn't actually involve pregnancy". Like did game also go this far, did anime change this or is this setup for second episode to start with "lol just kidding" or what the frick
Amagi
I think deaths are often the best examples of failed attempts to keep the audience invested. Regardless how many tears there are and how tragic the death is, I won't care when the series itself is bad, the character not flashed out or the scene forced. I have seen series in which one died offscreen that hit me harder than a full episode of whining over some dead moe blobb.
Amagi
There are a lot anime like that since the presentation is important. There are many of those convoluted trainwrecks with 10 different plot twist where one or two of them are actually good on paper but do nothing when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding those crap light novel shows...it really is a sign isn't it, that its so bad sometimes, that even if it does something that appeals to you/would titillate you, you still don't care and won't watch it, because its so shit.
Lenlo
A poll assumes people would actually vote in it. I guess I can try it out and see if people care enough for it, sure. Still, would need things to put on said poll, so feel free to suggest
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes with these shows you just have to let them wash over you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps I could say similar about irozuku as I do Yagate.
Amagi
I am kinda happy I managed to avoid all bad series this season with the exception of Release the Spyce which I only tried because I gave it the benefit of doubt due to having enjoyed Princess principal to some degree despite its many flaws.
SuperMario
I'm back after a week vacation and the first thing I watched again was Conception. I mean I was prepared but this show is one of the reason we all need break to stay sane
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need a refresher on the early bits of vinland and Viking Count Dooku (Askeladd) arc so watching the anime would be a great recap oppurtunity.
Amagi
I really hope Vinland Saga will have a good budget. The promo pic looks pretty damn good but I also liked the very first promo pic of the last Berserk series and we all know how that one turned out.
Amagi
And yes Legosi also always makes me think of Bela Lugosi. I guess I watched too many old movies.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I strangely also lost interest in some game series I liked as little kid, Megaman too for example. I guess there are just series that can work on NES and SNES but not that well as 3D series on modern consoles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I come away from irozuku feeling I watched an aethetically pleasing, somewhat cute show but not much else, but that may not be an entirely bad thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@lenlo: Alternatively you could put up a poll.
Lenlo
Thats a good idea Kaiser! I read all the comments, so if there are any you think would be good feel free to suggest them. I can compile a list and pick one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: To make things easier, perhaps each season, for variety, the throwback Thursday thing could pick a different genre for it each season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every time I read his name in Beastars, I kept thinking the actors name "Bela Legosi" because the wolf's name was legosi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Weird tangent, looking up Irozuku on google image search reveals theres a porn actress with the same name as the lead female character =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes I think the fans had better ideas for the games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I hated any of his games though, but they did have diminishing returns and weren't always consistent in quality. It was disappointing when they started going for some kind of story, then kind of dropped it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was a big fan of megaman growing up, but like sonic, unlike Mario and Zelda, his games got increasingly diluted the more the franchise went on, megaman didn't work in 3D either. Also the second nes one has a really neat soundtrack =)
Vonter
Megaman 11 made me want to play the old games. So I bought the first Legacy Collection pack which has a rewind feature. The first game is hard and cheap at some spots. It also feels a bit stiff. Still it's funny spotting things that were changed in every other entry. Like the boss checkpoints having enemies and traps. Also I think this is the only game showing Dr. Light's house from the outside.
Lenlo
Ah, that anon was me! Was on my phone
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: My beastars post would have gone into spoilers. I decided to private message instead.
Anonymous2930785
I am very happy that Shorter isnt a one and done event.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In regards to humour. However in terms of anime humour, something like hoozuki no reitatsu would have me losing my shit laughing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I love stuff by Bunuel or Roy Anderson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I prefer sardonic, sad bastard, bleak, dry/depressing or particularly serious but surreal comedy, humour/comedy played straight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, yes as expected with Zombieland saga, I gave it a second episode chance, but this is an easy drop for me, its just how comedy goes sometimes, but I didn't laugh once during this episode , just left me cold/blank to it.
Amagi
It's like that season that had SoraYori, I watched like 7 other shows but I only remember SoryYori by now.
Amagi
I think for the last season (counting finished series) this is only true for Planet With. I do remember Chiochan when I think a bit but spontaneosly I couldn't come up with anything else if I had a time limit of 20 seconds or so.
Amagi
I often only really become aware about which series I liked the most when I try remembering the respective season months later. I often enjoy a bunch of shows and watch even more, and yet, at the end of the day, there is always onely one or two that actually stick in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say again, I'm glad that Shorter is still being remembered episodes after him leaving the show. Thought they could have held that scene with yut-lung longer, its obvious he despises Eiji. Sudden gag in this episodes middle threw me off. lol at that killing attempt in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also a horror manga about Robert Johnson, me and the devil blues.
Amagi
Speaking of great manga series, everyone should try Shiori Experience, the Jimmy Hendrix manga. There is barely any series that hypes me up as much as this one and I read a lot. This could be the anime of the year if it would get adapted by a competent team and get a good budget and appropriate OST.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think I will marathon the rest of Dorohedoro the next days. And then looking forward to her next series.
Amagi
Zombieland Saga is the only new anime that actually surprised me. I am not talking about good or bad here, there are a bunch of other pretty good series airing right now but Zombieland is the only one that caught me off-guard in a positive way.
AidanAK47
Okay, I think I love Zombieland Saga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've embraced bunny-girls approach to its dialogue/drama now with the second episode, also they go a bit into her past in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'll be posting my thoughts later. Also, there's on one chapter of dorohedoro left.
Amagi
There are 7 new Beastars chapters out, I really liked the climax here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a tangent, damn you mappa, adapt Freesia already .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I needed to watch red garden twice to really "get" it, as in for it to click for me, its a show that picks up near the middle.
Amagi
It had scenes you rarely see in anime that do happen all the time in real life, like friends talking across each other, people talking at the same time or interrupting others.
Amagi
@Niel: Have you seen Red Garden? A lot of people agreed that it had the most natural dialogues of the anime that aired that year so maybe you would enjoy that too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animmosh: josei yuri I would welcome being adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Hana wa saku, yuutsu no asa and Acid town adaptation WHEN.
Animosh
Yuri gets all the hype, but yaoi gets all the glory.
Animosh
So, yeah, if other folk here haven't seen it yet, give it a try! By the way, it's interesting how what probably were my two favorite shows of the past season (Banana Fish and this one) were both BL shows. Can't say I saw that coming.
Animosh
It's kind of reminiscent of classics like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with some anime tropes added to the mix (the bubbly main character and his tsundere love interest), and with less emphasis on politics and more on horror and fantasy. And for a Chinese series, the animation is really solid, in spite of the occasional CGI hiccup. The backgrounds in particular are very easy on the eyes.
Animosh
I don't remember who it was, but thanks for recommending Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation! It's surprisingly good for a show I had heard so little about. I love historical epics, and the main characters are built up very well and have a lot of chemistry. I do wish the antagonists were more interesting (they're very black-and-white), but the protagonists are all a lot of fun to watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*didn't work for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niel: Garo didn't work for outside of the fantasy setting.
Niel
The exceptions to this are usually shorts and films. You don't get to see them often in TV series. As for the story, I don't have nearly enough patience for monster-of-the-week formula as I did years ago, so if it's just going the generic tokusatsu route then you'll hear from me. but since Garo wasn't too bad I have hope that they will do something interesting with this.
Niel
The environments also feel so much more like places where people live and hang out. Take the school room for example. Anime rarely portray school rooms as this place where teenagers gather and play during break. It's usually only consist of people talking with no mischieve whatsoever. And when there are scenes of bedroom they often feels more like a showroom than a place where someone live in.
Niel
@Lenlo @Aidan Your impressions of Gridman are fair. I'm just really excited for Gridman because two of my main pet peeves with anime are the unnatural dialogue, and bland and sterilised background environments. Here when characters talk, it actually seem so much closer to the conversation flow you'd see more in everyday life, and I'm kind of starving for that in my anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although with drugs and anime in mind, I do wish that a sports anime that addresses cheating through performance enhancing drugs would be made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Release the spyce and drug use? I find this odd, I think I heard that the Japanese had a thing about depicting that (drugs) in animation/on tv when it came to young charcters.
Masky
Like, sure, it has tactical goblin slaughter action, but its more about how broken mess of person Goblin Slayer is and how he learns to connect with people. Its surprisingly insightful at times, but the trashy parts really clash with the actual tone of series considering its only purpose is pretty much "Goblins are horrible" which is point you got with gore in first place
Masky
Anyhoo, yeah, made already comment about it on the blog, but I really feel like trashy parts of Goblin Slayer clash with what it is about
Masky
Oh yeah, that was surprisingly hilarious. Mostly because English was surprisingly good
Lenlo
I should not like Honda-San as much as I do. But I love it.
Masky
Like, lot of writers, game developers, comic artists, etc, they clearly base their works on stuff they were fan of. Lot of people get inspired by stuff they enjoyed during their childhood for example. There is no real difference between "Being inspired to do same type of thing you liked" and "You copied something popular" besides the level of half assedness
Masky
@SuperWooper: What I feel like is that there is nothing new under the sun. Whenever something feels like original, its mostly that you yourself just haven't seen it before or the execution feels fresh or the cliches and tropes haven't been used in a while
Amagi
I really don't like the highschool boy suddently getting super power and mega robot-kind of trope so they better add some more original stuff to make up for this.
Amagi
I might still enjoy this series though depending on the ideas the writers might have. As usual, much of my enjoyment depends on the antagonist. If this should really be nothing than a typical toku show with evil villain I will probably drop it too.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I only watch sub, I kinda feel like the first half was good dialoguewise but I know what Aidan and Lenlo mean, I generally didn't like the second half of the episode.
SuperWooper
Being a writer for an anime blog, I'm not really qualified to say.
AidanAK47
@Wooper, what is originality?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although personally I won't be watching gridman due to not being a fan of trigger.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In Goblin slayer I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I just glad that the protaganist is a guy in his 20s for a change.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did you all watch gridman in English or Japanese? I ask because, perhaps the dialogue might have been an issue with the dub or something?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, it seems I wasn't really paying much attention to the animation in Goblin slayer, I was having too much fun with it.
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Featured Posts

Kaze Ga Tsukyoku Fuiteiru – 3 [A Single Flower]

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SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

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