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
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And because of the negative space in the picture and guy in the background, it might also emphasize distance.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: This was an obvious shot choice (come on, because they KISSED), but the one I liked the most was the top right one. The characters aren't in the center of focus, and a bit too close to the screen tell us how much Chinatsu wanted to get close to Kotarou, at the same time we feel a bit uncomfortable just like him (too close). Smart visual telling there
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should start giving attention to shots in anime as I do in art films. You've chosen a good one for tsuki ga kirei on the bottom right.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Speaking of shots....some of the static photography is Tsai ming liangs Goodbye dragon in is stunning. I saw an Ozu film where the framing was absolutely masterful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The eyeball scene in the restaurant OMO, scenes like that had very good way of creeping up on the viewer.
SuperMario
... and the fireworks in the end. Emotionally satisfied for that bleak film
SuperMario
Thanks Kaiser. Still think Black Coal is a very stylish and well-done neo-noir. One shot in particular still stick with me is the one long, unbroken shot that combine the past with the present.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*reviewing
It was your review that got me interested in the film mario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I know that feeling, having to get out all my thoughts immediately. I also stream of consciousness what I write whether it be a poem or review then go back to edit, shows the passion a person has for what they're review.
SuperMario
It was just 3 years ago. I think I MUST review everything as soon as I finish, otherwise I will forget. Getting old now. Dang it
SuperMario
It was a great review, Kaiser. I also feel comparing Black Coal to Memories of Murders don't do this film justice too (although to be hinest I don't see the comparison). Your review just reminds me that I did review that film on Letterboxd, thou for the life of me, when I read ny own review I had no clue that i did write it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Constantine was really the only reason I would have considered seeing the film, as I enjoyed some of the comics he appeared in.
Lenlo
Yaaay! Favaro is back!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, now I remember, I stopped watching ghost hound at around episode 14 or 15 years ago.
K-Off
Justice League Dark ended up being one of the weakest among the recent animated dc films. The opening was intriguing but it drops the ball as soon as it focuses on Zatanna and Constantine...The demonic manipulation of people isn't tied well enough to the villain, so that premise ends up feeling pointless, everything is inconsequential by the end. Why was this even made?
SuperMario
And for once, I feel that developing the characters isn't a appropriate choice for this type of show. The main cast need to develop, yes, but most of the supporting cast was presented as ambiguous and mysterious, thus making them change in the end feel just wrong
SuperMario
The main kidnapping was never addressed thoroughly, and it should be the main overarching arc, instead of this ending.
SuperMario
So... I've just binged through Ghost Hound. It starts as a compelling psychological mystery series, and ends up being... thriller of sort? The first half, building up stage was its best, and then unfortunately it run out of steam
KTravlos
Hey Favoro is like a good whiskey. You gotta drink it slow and enjoy it :)

I liked Predators.
Spike
8 episodes in we finally get to see who we were all waiting for in Bahamut! ...for 2 seconds.
Vonter
I did watch the version with the alien coming out of the ox. I haven't watched Predators, AVP1 was ok, like the newer movies its just the human element that has consistently gotten worse and unmemorable. I think that element in particular made me enjoy watching Alien 3 now, than if I had watched it in order, considering how it begins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thankfully the franchise can never fall as low as the predator reboot or alien vs predator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Be sure you're watching the extended version.
Vonter
I liked 3/4s of this film, as the plans to kill the alien got more cumbersome the film got more tiring. And I think it was obligated to annihilate the cast considering they take the time to take out a whole bunch of them. I also think it's very noticeable the tiring production this had, and while people praise practical effects now, this movie sadly didn't integrate well the alien puppet.
Vonter
I've just watched Alien 3, the only Alien movie I hadn't seen do to the diviseness towards it. I think I went with the best expectations considering now on hindsight newer movies have made it look more competent, having more weight. This movie has characters, integrates the religious motiffs better, the Alien more than a closet monster is a formidable force of nature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
.....It just dawn on me looking through my letterboxd account...I have never seen afro samurai...
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm on hold with SukaSuka as well after 5 episodes. Ejoyable so far but its LN's tendencies hurt the show
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, like I said in one of my weekly post, Tsuki ga Kirei is simple, but isn't easily obtained. At this point, I'm truly invested in these kids that it makes me tense just to see how they keep up with their relationship, haha.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have yet to catch up with sukasuka and don't care about bahamut all that much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel its sweet and sensitive approach has a rhythm to it that I started going along with.
It’s obviously slow but I began not noticing the time go by as I watched more.
The art makes me think of Shimura Takako’s and makes me wonder what the series might have been like if she wrote it.
The dub is mediocre so after 3 episodes I switched to subs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The relative quietness and how scaled back in comparison to other anime romances is welcome and it never becomes dramatically or comedically obnoxious which I think is in its favour.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to catch up on tsuki ga kirei. We said this before, but that scene where he meets the publisher about his writing is a stand out one.
For the show overall so far itself, above all I see it as something simple, un-demanding to watch, its good a break from all those old/art films I have to concentrate on harder to follow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe Goth would count but its more o a mystery manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not familiar with shibito or sugar life. May as well recommend everything by Kazuo Umezu and Junji ito. 6000 ended disappointingly, I fell behind in dead tube. Does sugar dark count?
Lenlo
I am a Hero is a personal favorite of mine
AidanAK47
@Anon: Uzumaki, Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi, Happy Suger Life, 6000 and Dead Tube. I suppose.
Anonymous1116992
What is some good horror manga
K-Off
@Mario I also noticed that korean thrillers are way too obnoxious with shakycam.
Lenlo
@Mario, about LWA, that was how I felt. Its just not as magical, as special, as the original OVA was to me. I suppose thats to much to ask for a 25 ep series, but it turned me off
AidanAK47
@Mario, TV Diana has some charm points but I think OVA Diana provided a better dynamic. I mean sure, She was essentially female Draco Malfoy but her attitude made reveals like her being a secret Chariot fan more impactful. Plus her tsundere act torwards Akko was rather adorable.
SuperMario
about LWA again, unlike Aidan I actually enjoy this version of Diana. I know she's one note, too perfect but she's charming. Too charming haha which serves well as a contrast to Akko
SuperMario
...just pop one random film from him. His films are not without its bad side thou, in particular I find the dialogues shapeless and dragging. But well it does add to the naturalness of his films
KTravlos
on LWA I would also recommended it. It is a fluffy show, with a sense of wonder. Some episodes are better, some are more flat, and the over-arching storyline leaves me bored. But it does have that sense of childlike wonder, which I had missed among all the "grim" shows.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a bit of problems with Korean movies lately as now they're heavily thriller style-over-substance films, so films that have very simple style like Hong-Sang-Soo's joints are the welcome change of air. One thing about his films thou, If you watched one of his film, you've watched them all. They're so similar in tones and concepts that I reckon if you feel like watching his films...
SuperMario
So I say it's still worth finishing. It's good but I don't feel the sparks that made it so great from the OVAs anymore
SuperMario
@Lenlo: about LWA. Plus side: Those hijinks. I mean the show is fun and magical. Negative side: I wish the show's storytelling is a bit tighter, each episode feels so loose it doesn't add up much and more like different variations of Akko + one member of the cast's hijink. Doesn't help either that the other casts just disappeared until they have an episode for 2 for themselves
SuperMario
@Anon1113829: I "enjoyed" Beyond the Boundary, but that show was a mess. The episode 10 was stand out for me, and the ending was kinda... a wreck. Certainly interesting but quality-wise I wouldn't reccommend it
Anonymous1113829
@SuperMario KyoAni fan? What did you think of Kyoukai no Kanata? I really wanted to like it, I thought it had some potential, but IMO nothing worked right.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It's good. Fun to watch certainly. Though sadly it falls short of being great.
Lenlo
So question: Is Little Witch Academia worth finishing atm? I started it last season, but for some reason it just fell off my radar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thankfully, while not entirely satisfying, day he arrives is just the Korean film I've been looking for, refreshingly more low key, quieter and I enjoyed the new wavy combined with raw style, making it all feel very natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Well then, thanks for the rec on Hong-sang-so, I looked at The day he arrives. Y'know the reason I sometimes dread going into films featuring romance is because I'm conditioned from seeing the bad ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I may actually read this, the last time I read a manga steeped in politics was Sanctuary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle:_The_Making_of_an_Asian-American_President
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I actually have very limited experience with Ellis as a comic book writer, only read Transmetropolitan, I know he's writing the Castlevania adaptation.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I heard the same thing; can't help being a completist though so I'll eventually get to them
AidanAK47
@Mario, From what I heard, it doesn't get better.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that scene from the 1st episode of Phantom world lost me... but even then I'm willing to give the show another chance. That's how far I would go ^^ https://mobile.twitter.com/aaapodcast/status/687148875052892160/photo/2
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Looks like they are putting some real effort into it. May actually turn out pretty good after all.
@K-Off, Under the Red hood is a damn fine movie. Likely one of the best of the DC animated universe. Though try Superman vs the elite out. It's pretty good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Even phantom world Mario...even phantom world ? =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just the teaser trailer, not much to go on, but heres a short preview of that netflix castlevania thing that got mentioned on here a while back, up the quality to 360p:
SuperMario
At this stage, I'm pretty much KyoAni fanboy now so with every new material, I'll hype it up to the sky ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did follow it up with The spy who loved me though to cheer myself up =P Given that Rodger Moore just died =)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just looked through what Short Men Behind the Sun is about: "human experiments carried out by Japanese army during WW2?" Already sound grim and too real. Then "a graphic depiction of the human experiments" haha no wonder you felt unsettled Kaiser
VyseLegendaire
My favorite Exploitation Flick is An Inconvenient Truth 2.0
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Long story short men behind the sun is finally the exploitation flick that defeated me and actually made me unsettled.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I remember you talking about how Salo really affected you as an exploitation film, generally exploitation films don't shock or disturb me, but I just watched the cantonese dubbed version of Men behind the sun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the worst thing about beyond the boundry and phantom world, it discolours my opinion of kyoani as a whole, making me negatively reflect on older work they did .
AidanAK47
Yep, that's the new KyoAni one. Like Puran I don't have any expectations of it. The premise certainly seems like the closest they have come to breaking out of there usual format but I am sure they will find a way to shove in Moe antics. Though based on what is seen so far it looks like they are trying to emulate Key.
Puran
Is that a new KyoAni anime?.. I have lost faith in them a long time ago. Last Anime from them that I cared about was probably Hyouka
SuperMario
Bring you some news, Violet Evergarden will be aired as an anime TV. Though many sources saying it gonna air this year, it has a better possibility to air next year
SuperMario
Well, aesthetically, he's pretty much on par with Yang and Wong. It's just that his films are often emotionally distant, feel more like watching the paint dry hahaa
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I connect more emotionally with Yang and Wong.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I went in expecting Edward Yang and Kar-wong-wai levels of quality, which may have been quite unfair standards to put him up against.
SuperMario
I myself find his films difficult to watch, but when the films end they usually hold up very very well. Both The Assassin and 3 Times in particular are my favorite of the year
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I completely understand your reaction because his films are demanding as hell. I remembered watching The Assassin in big screen, 3 people next to me fall asleep, one of them snoring and the other one fall asleep within the first 10 mins. That Hou Hsiao's movies for you
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its such a shame because he makes gorgeous cinema and City of sadness is actually pretty informative account of the times....I just can't jive with him and I actually like "slow cinema" but watching his work is insanity inducingly boring for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I'm really sorry, I don't mind long slow even spiritual, talky, non-narrative, old, complex,meditative , art films but I'm really really finding it hard to watch Hou Hsiao's work, I've tried time to live and the Assassin and I just bailed after 2 out of 3 hours on city of sadness.
KTravlos
I have to say Akko is developing nicely as a character in LWA. Also Magane in Re:Creators reminds me of Hannibal as palyed by Mads Mikkelsen. There is that same est for life married to sociopath that is a bit charming :) Mamika's character is also just cool. Beyond that AofT and Bahamut both delivered competent episodes, with Bahamut a good mix between comedy and tragedy.
K-Off
@Aidan Assault on Arkham was fantastic. Between that and Under the Red Hood, a classic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a lot to say in this week's Eccentric Family. Review will come up later tonight when I get back home from work.
AidanAK47
Seen Assault on Arkham or what it should be called, The animated Suicide Squad movie. Thinking of checking out Dark.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Have you seen assault on Arkham or the justice league dark film?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: It isn't so much because its Talia x Batman, moreso that it feels odd shipping Batman with anyone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While kind of amusing, initially I wasn't too into Uchouten this week, the hot spring part got me groaning, but then someway through dramatically it really picked up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From reading comics a few years back, I still feel that they adapt better to animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: And I say this as someone who was able to defend Alien 3 and Ressurection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Covenent felt like an Infantilized version of Alien.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't call either John Wick film or free fire amazing or anything but they had great fight scenes that were actually visually coherent , of course they weren't given a proper release.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not watching/paying for anymore of these reboots/remakes/shakey cam pg rated action films anymore. I'll stick with my balls to the wall Hong-Kong/Chinese ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: It also had really uneven pacing aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: ....The dialogue is so embarassing, they don't do enough with this backstory, they just keep teasing, none of the new characters have the same charisma , the editting in the action scenes shakes all overtheplace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I gave Covenent a fair chance, I thought it would be an exception to the reboot thing. I'll admit theres the sets, the atmosphere, Fassbenders performance , the idea to expand on the franchises mythos is cool but....
Kaiser-Eoghan
It really really hurts as a film fan, trying to find older, genuinely quality foreign films , finding that no-one is seeding them and theres no proper/in print dvd release anymore. Then finding some awful shakey cam modern American superhero film with billions of seeds and a bluray release.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I don't know. Todd was more the imperfect son always aiming for batmans approval. Damian is more an assasin wondering why the hell he can't just kill his enemies. I hear that Comic Damian works better than Animated Damian. I do think that if given a personality he could work but as he is currently you are right that he's essentially a mishmash of past robins.
Vonter
I watched Alien Covenant and I don't know if it improves by being more dumb and less pretentious or if it os the final nail in the Alien franchise coffin. Not since the StarWats prequels there has been a retcon that changes your view of the original movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can recall enjoying a certain Jason Todd centered story called Batman:death in the family.
K-Off
Well, even when Damian does completely cross the line and become a villain, he's not even that interesting, i.e Injustice. Yup, Jason Todd already covered everything, but better.
AidanAK47
Problem is that he's an edge lord cocky piece of shit that just doesn't have enough likeable traits for this to be compelling. What really pushed him over the edge was mocking Nightwing over his parents deaths. That shit is not on.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the contrast that Batman refuses to cross the line and kill but Damian has crossed that line. As well as his potentail to become a villain. Tim and Dick didn't really have that though Jason sort of did. Damian's arc is more about teaching him the morality of a hero.
K-Off
@Aidan I'm not sure I like Damian's concept to begin with. The Bat-son dilemma's inherently addressed by the Robins for all intents and purposes. Damian just goes through the same motion, only difference being he's biologically related.
K-Off
Yup. Wonderwoman either doesn't need to have a love interest, or it needs to be with Steve Trevor, the two have a solid backstory that the movies unnecessarily removed.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I don't mind the Taila X batman pairing. Makes more sense than Batman and Batgirl. But if there's one pairing pushed in the new movies that I just find wrong is the Superman X wonder woman. I just don't get that one.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the concept of Damian as a character. But it's executed so badly.
Anonymous1105941
Teen titans needs one more season to wrap up all the loose ends. Such as what happens to Slade, and Blackfires revenge. The creators clearly wanted to explore those plot lines but got cut short.
K-Off
Teen Titans hasn't aged very well, but one thing I still do like about it is how contained and local the setting and cast were for the first half of that show. When godly superpowers are involved, that appeals to me. Much of the same reason why I like Logan and Raimi's Spiderman so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Very rarely watched teen titans when I was younger, I was vaguely interested in slade, stopped watching around when Terra appeared. I actively avoided comics where Damien appeared, never liked that Talia x Batman pairing much, I can only imagine how much worse it is to listen to Damien than read him.
K-Off
@Aidan, I like some aspects of those movies, but I'm not a big fan of the new continuity and art style in general...and yeah it doesn't help that Damian is irredeemably unlikable.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, There is also the DC animated Teen Titans movies like Teen Titans vs Justice Leage and Teen titans the Judus contract. Though it's not the same as the the TV series and Damian is such a dick.
K-Off
@Anon I don't think Teen Titans needs another season. The last season wasn't that good, but the movie ended the series on a high note and Young Justice pretty much rebooted everything, at least in terms of replacing people's want for a more mature DC cartoon about the Titans.
K-Off
Yeah it's become more of a hassel (for myself and my friends) to set aside time to go to a theater.
SuperMario
I guess in the end it all comes down to how easily it reaches the viewers. Give us a hard time and we don't give a damn to check the new movie/show out
SuperMario
... otherwise have to wait for a year, even more before it reaches Australia. But many companies will raise in the wake of Netflix and that will be where problems arise
SuperMario
This trend isn't happening within the anime industry, but it's happening in the movie world as well. In the past 2 years, Netflix starts to exclusively distribute many films, meaning that they won't have theatrical release, but straight to Video on Demand which caused quite a stir in the industry. Personally, I actually don't have much problem with it as now I will get a chance to see a film that
SuperMario
Dive!! , a series that will air next season on noitaminA slot will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Not that I'm eagerly looking forward to Dive, but that news again makes me frustrated. No one will watch it and then all the hypes it might have will die down eventually.
Anonymous1105394
Considering I didn't even expect a season 5 it's more than I could've evr wanted. Now if only if only Teen Titans could get the same chance.
Lenlo
Oh yeah, it turned out well. Didnt mean to say it didnt.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Considering that the ratio of great to alright episodes is 8 to 2 I say that it turned out pretty well.
Lenlo
I have to say, the Samurai Jack season started stronger than it ended imo
AidanAK47
So this is how Samurai Jack ends. 16 years in the making. Honestly considering how much needed to get wrapped up I knew the ending would be a bit flawed. Really think Gen should have givin it one more episode to flesh out the ending and then it wouldn't feel so rushed. Overall despite it's flaws, it's a decent ending. Not prefect by any means but it will do the job.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lol theres a surprise, seriously, Black Lagoons manga is updating again.
KTravlos
worst recap ever for me? Gangsta. That was a stupid recap episode. Really like a Public Announcement. Useless, stupid, and ruining atmosphere. Utter stupidity. There I got it our of me :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Unfortunately too far behind in the sequel manga to catch up, I did take a look at THAT in the latest chapter though.
Masky
Huh, for some reason thought Tokyo Ghoul was under shonen when its seinen. Welp now that makes more sense, I was thinking story about cannibalism would be kinda absurd for shonen.
Spike
They serve no purpose except to fill airtime when production gets fucked up. They have 2 bad choices - run a recap or run an unfinished episode. Recap is generally the less dogshit choice. I've seen a few anime that ran the episodes with unfinished animations and still frames.... the backlash was about 100x what a recap is.
SuperMario
I'm about to say that to you as well Kaiser, maybe watch the recap and then continue on. The only thing I kind of take from the recap episode is the editting: how they chop off the fat of 6 episodes to still give you important developments. But as a way to catch up/ to reintroduce the series, it's freaking useless
Anonymous1104087
I don't think anyone should start from the recap episode. Unless there was a long hiatus, a recap in between episodes is unnecessary for new viewers and old
Lenlo
I mean, aside from whatever happens with Mugaro.
Lenlo
Next episode seems early, out of 24 episodes, for Nina to learn the Prince is Chris, yet that seems to be what the confrontation is leading towards, and then she freaks out and he learns shes the dragon. Becomes the conflict for the rest of the season?
Lenlo
Seems I was right, Azazel didnt predict that Nina might not be so easily riled up as she once was. To bad so sad Azazel, she has someone she loves now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How useful are these recap episodes anyway/actually? Hypothetically lets say I was feeling lazy and decided to watch tsuki ga kirei starting from the recap episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
[link src="https://www.anirena.com/?s=blame

http://anilinkz.io/blame-movie"]
Lenlo
So long as there are consequences for how hes acting, then I am ok with it. I just dont want him to turn into some MC hero when hes acting like this.
AidanAK47
And in Re:Creators Sota is still being a goddamn pussy. Now that the exposition has gone down I am really starting to hate this kid.
SuperMario
It's the presentation that they differ. Ghost Hound focuses more on the atmosphere, so those details I mentioned before work for their benefits; whereas Sagrada Reset focus on plots (and confusing themes) so those stick out like sore thumb.
SuperMario
4 episodes into Ghost Hound so far. This show also reminds me a bit of Sagrada Reset this season- the way they both emotional distant, complex plots; keep viewers away at arm's length, and feature characters that have robotic facial expressions. Yet I enjoyed Ghost Hound so far and couldn't engage in Sagrada Reset at all.
SuperMario
@Spike: I was like... "tsuki ga kirei has a recap episode, so let's move on to Kado"... another recap. Tsuki ga kirei I'm not too worry as it confirmed that it'll have 12 episodes, but I'm not confident on Kado
SuperMario
@lenlo: in a sense you have to suffer it all alone. No worries thou as I intend to binge watch it when this season's over
Spike
Kado team crumbled under the pressure. Recap this week.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, im happy I dont have to compete with anyone to cover Berserk :P Got it all to myself to whine about, though its been ever so slowly improving.
Anonymous1100725
Ranka is ranka in any verse.
Anonymous1100725
Bahmut no spoilers. Ranka Lee. She just doesn't get it so everyone dies. As she stands around wondering.
SuperMario
In fact, Okja will play in the Sydney film festival next month, but seeing that it will stream in Netflix at the end of June I think it's best to wait until then
SuperMario
@Kaiser: great, I'm super hyped to watch Okja. Always enjoy Boon's movies. The critic's reviews from Cannes on Okja should come up soon I believe.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I watched Lain many times over as well but I'm sure that I didn't pick up everything. That show required multiple-viewing anyways.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Good news, netflix will stream Okja at the end of this June.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its not often that I rewatch things, but years ago I've seen Lain at least three times, its also one of those few anime series where I felt to look up deeper analysis into it. It had a tremendous atmosphere and was ahead of its time.
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This episode has really nailed home for me just how defanging Diana has been a bad choice. In the OVA episodes Diana was bratty and stuck up but at least then she had character. In the TV series she’s more or less a mary sue through and through which is sadly a much more boring […]

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