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
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Lenlo
As most likely the biggest Berserk fan in this chatbox, its better but that doesnt make it good. Spraying fabreeze on crap doesnt make it any more appealing. Yet I will watch it anyways.
Anonymous1018231
You don't even know
Anonymous1018231
Lies Aidan it is soooo much better
Anonymous1017807
Tbh I'm enjoying Alice to Zouroku so much simply because I identify with the old guy's no-nonsense attitude. It's fun to see the annoying loli get put in her place. X.D
AidanAK47
Anyway Bam is supposed to be covering it. Seeing as he covered the first season.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I watched the first episode of the second season. Better? Yes, but only slightly.. It has all the same problems as the first season.
Anonymous1017501
and nobody's covering it lol
Anonymous1017501
Like dramatically
Anonymous1017501
It really is much better
Anonymous1017501
You know guys its not too late to start watching Berserk Season 2...
AidanAK47
I just get annoyed when interaction is like "HUMAN, YOUR EMOTION RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT. I THEORIZE THIS IS THE REASON YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT."
Their is a definite layer of pretentiousness in how it's written, seeing how nobody gets annoyed when every character tries to psychological profile them.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I have heard word that these two episodes were a prologue story and the real story is going to kick into gear next episode. But if the characters keep talking like this then it's not going to matter what happens. It will just be terrible.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Jojo part 5 died for this. That makes it all the sadder. Plus it's two cour so this show is gonna be on for half a year.
SuperMario
Being said all that I will follow it for 1 more episode
SuperMario
And then that girl who passed away because of the reset. I feel my emotions drying up at that point. Tasteless. Heartless
SuperMario
Wanna say the same thing regarding Sagrada Reset as well. I have the feeling the show tries to sound smart that ultimately if I hear someone talks like this in real life, I would go punch his face. Manipulating the social worker by slitting your own wrist? WHAT? Asking a girl about her rules, then whenever she answers you give your own warped opinions on it to sound like you know it all? WHAT
Anonymous1016169
@Aidan: Lol, Sagrada reminds me of how I used to write. Pretentious, overly complex dialogue that nobody would use in real life unless they were trying too hard. It grits on my ears so much that I don't think I can keep watching it, especially because this is probably how it's going to be for the whole series.
Anonymous1016169
@Amagi: I feel your pain. I used to enjoy those types of shows, but I've found more and more since getting out of high school that they just make me want to take a nap. It doesn't help that they're everywhere. X.D
AidanAK47
God Sagrada Reset is frustrating. So many good ideas, all absolutely ruined by the dialogue and characters. If you just changed the dialogue a bit and made the characters emote more then this would be so very interesting. But they manage to drain the life out of the story.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, in most cases you can easily write off the ones not worth your time based on the summery. Occasional those kinds of show can turn out to be worth watching but it just doesn't happen often enough.
Amagi
Nothing against those types of anime in general, but it's just not aimed at me I guess. - I also should specify: school (semi)harem, not school alone. I enjoy Tsuki ga Kirei.
Amagi
I really love this season but I should stop testing the school- and shoujo stuff. It's almost never worth the time and it always bores me so much that I have to stop watching anime for a few hours.
Anonymous1016169
@Travlos: Why does a hobbyist artist care when someone critiques their art or a fanfic writer care about reader feedback? When you do something you enjoy, it's normal to want to improve and other people's opinions are important for that.
SuperMario
@Travlos: because 1) We still need to listen to what readers say to improve and 2) we're debating more about rating system, which I also feel the need of upgrading. btw, any shows that catch your interests so far this season?
Konstantinos Travlos
Why do you guys care about what someone thinks about your reviews? You are doing a good enough thing as is, and t is a hobby. Do your thing and do not lose time on this.
Anonymous1015915
I think I'm just gonna follow sukasuka and re:creators this season. Seem to of shown the most potential universally.
Anonymous1015442
Soy and almond milk are also available as alternatives for the lactose intolerant.
Anonymous1015442
From the manga it seems like it would translate well into an anime with the right production values so I think I'm going to try it. I was mostly concerned that they'd push the melodrama even more through the roof, haha. I did see some of the reviews on it here and they made me hopeful that it was fairly well-executed.And of course the milk can be chocolate. Just not vanilla, vanilla milk is yuck i
Lenlo
Its certainly making me happy I waited until the end of the season to binge it.
SuperMario
I'd have the milk as well... Need more milk to my life.
SuperMario
Hope Scum's Wish entertains you, Lenlo. ^^
Lenlo
I will say the sound design has been great for Scums Wish though I have not read the manga to see how it matches up
Lenlo
I dont think "enjoyed" is the right word for this kind of show, but I do know im going to finish it.

Also, can the milk be chocolate?
Anonymous1015350
@Lenlo: That's true, but I also feel like everyone here needs some milk. And I've been reading the Scum's Wish manga and can't decide if it'll be worth it to watch the anime.
Lenlo
Scums Wish, 4 episodes in, has been the perfect little dose of depression I crave from each anime season.
Lenlo
I have to say, its a pretty fun break from super srs anime discussion sometimes
Anonymous1014938
There's so much sass in this chatbox sometimes I can't even. :.D
AidanAK47
Also please note that if data gathering results do not support your hypothesis that there will be no refunds
AidanAK47
I will have you know my data gathering services are quite expensive and I don't operate until paid.
Anonymous1014125
Aidan is providing the data for us.
Lenlo
You do know that for the scientific method, you make a hypothesis and then you run experiments to produce data to prove or disprove said hypothesis. It cant just sit in limbo and then you go "I was right". You have to provide data at some point. At this point, you have yet to provide any data to support what you say.
Sir Robin
You seem to have never heard of the scientific method then Aidan. You don't need proof before you formulate an hypothesis. Fortunately this most recent development of you being wrong supports it.
AidanAK47
I am sure Sir Robin would be delighted to hear this but I think I was wrong in my assessment of SukaSuka(Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?) That insert song at the begining of the episode was masterful and a number of things have changed my mind about it. It may be more interesting than I first expected. First novel was still pretty boring though.
AidanAK47
Should have another impressions post up today. As for what I am covering that's Little Witch Academia, Attack on Titan and Sekaisuru Kado.
AidanAK47
At least we never have to fight tooth and nail to cover something as what we want to cover never clashes.
SuperMario
Which mean 2 PA Works, 2 original shows and 3 slice-of-life shows. Well done Mario for being predictable and consistently boring as ever
Total users: 26

Featured Posts

Uchoten Kazoku 2 – 03 [The Scent of Europe]

Dear, how this show spoils me with its magnificent and whimsical magical realism Kyoto world. Last season, we were treated with many Eureka moments like Benten pulling a whale’s tail; tanuki drinking in a floating house to enjoy Gozan Fire Festival, or a fake train running around the shopping mall. Whatever the case, the way […]

Seikaisuru Kado – 03[Wam]

I admit this show moves at a pace that is rather slow but he concept it sets up is truly brilliant. Normally in alien invasion stories the threat is clear as the aliens blow up the white house and attack humanity. Other versions usually paint humans as the antagonist force attacking something they don’t understand. […]

Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan) – 29[Soldier]

Before I started this episode, I had it in mind to write in this post that the titan designs of this season were far less intimidating and more comical. After this episode however you can consider that though solely retracted. Personal favorite is the titan that appears when Reiner opened the stairway door. If I […]

Tsuki ga Kirei – 03 [Howling at the Moon]

Tsuki ga Kirei sure understands about the life of 14-year-old kids would be like. I’m sure we all have different experience about that pre-teen stage of our life, but the life portrayed here is so vivid and true to life that it brings out our fond memories as well. Personally, while not much really happen […]

Sakura Quest – 03 [The Cry of the Mandrake]

“The one who can change the town is the young fool outsider” Which kind of makes sense, since the outsider’s perspective will give a fresh take to improve the town. That makes our Queen Yoshino the perfect candidate, but as the interview goes on, she learns the truth: she hardly knows anything about the town, […]

Little Witch Academia – 15[Chariot of Fire]

Shiny Chariot rides once again and I think that’s where most of the animation went besides the showcase at the end of the episode. Wise choice though as it shows that Ursula hasn’t dulled much in her later years. She still seems intent on keeping her identity secret from Akko though this may be because […]

Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan)- 28[Southwestward]

It’s more than a little frustrating when you have a character present who has answers to very important questions, yet refuses to speak up for rather contrived reasons. Though we don’t quite know why the priest doesn’t speak up I can’t really think of anything that would possibly be preventing him from doing so. This […]

Seikaisuru Kado – 02[Novo]

This episode answers the question of just what was happening to the plane survivors during the period the government were trying to break into the cube. The answer seems to be that they were interacting with an alien lightform. This episode does feel like the series is still in its introduction stage and likely the […]

Uchoten Kazoku 2 – 02 [The Conjurer Tenmaya]

The Eccentric Family becomes increasingly eccentric this week, with all the business about bear running wild and a strong reference to hell (who would’ve thought that?). But first, I’m delighted with two new returns this week. The first “return” is the OP that were sorely missing last week, in which we have the opening song […]

Latest Reviews

Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon (Winter 2017) Review – 74/100

I remember back in the first impression of last Winter season, I regarded Demi-chan as a better Monster Girls slice of life subgenre over this one. But as the season progressed, while Demi-chan run out of its steam quickly, this one picked up its pace after an underwhelming first episode to become a much more […]

Scum’s Wish (Winter 2017) Review – 80/100

I remember after watched a movie called “Requiem for a Dream” a few years back, I felt devastated for an entire week. The ending hit me so hard that after finished that movie I had to walk around my area for 2 hours in the middle of night to settle my feeling and I thought […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Review – 90/100

When you have watched a large amount of anime you can come to assume that you have learned a lot about Japanese culture. Though I think it’s testament to how limited it is to view Japan through anime when you come to realize that despite watching so much, you have never heard of Rakugo. Rakugo […]

Youjo Senki Saga of Tanya the Evil Review – 80/100

Isekai stories have become somewhat of a tiresome genre as of late. There have been many stories of people being transported/reincarnated into other worlds where they shed their once pitiful exterior and become some legendary figure in another world. In most cases it’s trit, balant childish wish fulfilment and the stories often become tiresome when […]

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (Winter 2017) Review – 83/100

Imagine my utmost amazement when a show that I wasn’t that confident on taking in the beginning turned out to be one of the most solid offering this season had to offer. ACCA is the most recent anime adaptation from mangaka Natsume Omo, which despite isn’t a household name, many of her works (6 titles […]

Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Winter 2017) Review – 62/100

Demi-chan is one of the newest addition to the monster girl subgenre, which usually feature a human helpless male lead get stuck in a harem of mythical creatures, in form of oversized boob girls of course (why usually those monsters are in female forms anyways? Aren’t they sexless?). In this case, we have monster girls […]

Seiren (Winter 2017) Review – 51/100

Let me say this out front, Seiren is NOT a good show, it’s a highly uneven one. Throughout its run, I can see some solid moments and fresh ideas that could potentially raise it above the bar, but ultimately, view it as a whole, Seiren is a show that isn’t worth recommending. At first, I’m […]

Flip Flappers (Fall 2016) Review – 93/100

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that […]