Posted on 1 April 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Schwarzesmarken

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain in how they impose a level of Orwellian control over East Germany which makes characters hold suspicions about another being a Stasi spy. All the while an Alien threat pushes East Germany into a corner as it deals with enemies both inside and outside. On top of the divided west Germany standing on the sidelines to see who schemes his way to leadership. All the while other countries dip their fingers in attempts to use Germany for its own ends. It’s all a tangled web of power struggles for a country facing total destruction which makes for some great situations which this show can become most engaging.

The strongest element of this show is its setting which is surprisingly authentic to real Germany of that time. A good amount of research went into various elements of this show. From the type of cars used to trains and even stories read to children. The internal politics of the situation are engaging and it does have a strong set of episodes around its middle regarding a character called Lise. Watching the power struggle between the governing parties helps remedy the insufficient level of character development present in the series. Characters can have drastic changes and it often feels as though a chunk of their character arc had been tossed aside to fit a one cour series. Characters who barely shared two sentences can switch from indifferent to each other to being close trusting allies. Frankly it’s jarring and makes you feel as though you accidentally missed an episode. The thing that makes this disappointing is that it’s not as if the characters are boring, if anything they do seem quite interesting. But no time is devoted to letting the viewer get to know them. So when a character dies or faces tribulations you just feel indifferent to their plight because you don’t know enough about them to truly care. The art of the show is fairly basic but the Mecha battles are fairly impressive feats of CGI animation. Music is also good but lost in the level of noise in the Mecha battles.

There is currently a demo for the visual novel of this story on Steam Greenlight. If it is well received there’s a chance of the Schwarzesmarken visual novels being brought over to the west. If that happens in the future I would recommend those Visual Novels over this anime in a heartbeat. It is pretty much guaranteed that the story is done better in the VN than in this anime and I find myself disappointed that I experience this story in its current form. For Muv Luv fans this anime should be good fanservice and it does act as a cliff notes for those not interested in the visual novel alternative. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend this as while it does have potential, its hampered by a need to rush its way through its story in order to cover its entirely. Which has resulted in an anime which feels detached and lacking.

Posted on 31 March 2016 with categories: Schwarzesmarken

So Schwarzesmarken ends and the cheesy speeches not withstanding it not a bad ending. The Stasi are dismantled, West and East Germany have joined forces and things are looking up. However it turned out we have some causalities. The first being that white haired girl pilot whose name I can never remember and Irisdina. Not much fanfare was give for miss white hair but Irisdina got the full works. She has the satisfaction of taking out Axemann and died overlooking the birth of a new Germany. All of which is touching…if it wasn’t undermined by how she died. I give credit to her for beating the hell out of Axemann while handcuffed but she truly was screwed over when her teammate arrived with a gun and threw it to her. Instead of that teammate you know…shooting Axemann herself. It’s really hard to feel for a death that could have so easily been prevented and no matter how I try to rationalize it I can’t see any reason why she would have thought throwing the gun was better than shooting it. You can’t say she wasn’t acostumed to firearms because firearms training is a requirement for pilots. Those previous seconds shouting and throwing could have so been used to save her life and I am pretty annoyed that girl doesent hold any guilt over this.

Beatrixs goal is revealed to be a desire for Germany to sacrifice all personal identity in order to become a well oiled machine for the sole purpose of destroying BETA. Thus saving the world at the cost of East Germany’s individuality. Meanwhile Katia puts forwards that East and West Germany should put aside their differences and fight BETA together and with both their powers combined they would truly prevail. Beatrix dismisses this as idealistic nonsense and here’s the thing. I agree. Katia’s plan is really not a solution but more of a optimistic approach. That said I don’t find Beatrixs plan much of a solution either. At most her plan would end up with the same result as Katia’s which is not winning the war but rather prolonging the impending defeat. Simply put, these two people have truly no idea just how doomed Humanity is. For you see the BETA have Humanity on its last legs at this time and they haven’t even brought out the big guns yet. It would take some massive world leaping timey wimey stuff to score what could be considered a victory against them. So when hearing all this talk about hope and such I can’t help but pity these fools. I read the visual novel, I know what you face and you don’t stand a hope in hell. So all that’s left is the final battle and I find my thoughts on this series to be mixed.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Boku dake ga Inai Machi

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood to prevent the deaths of children at the hands of a series killer. This series has some great presentation and direction though it does make it somewhat predictable in how it highlights what’s to come. Predictable does not mean boring though and this tale has a lot of heart. There are a number of great scenes that can play with your emotions and each episode does leave a feeling of dread for a tragedy to come. Though those episode cliffhangers do build up expectations which the ending fails to deliver.The female cast is ridiculously strong with Satorus mother being one of the best parenting figures one could have. Especially seeing as her initial impressions make her seem like a deadbeat parent. What is a shame is that one girl(Airi) in the cast is neglected despite having a great personality.

This is very much a slow paced show and a large amount of the shows runtime is devoted to one of the victims of the killer(Kayo) and Satoru’s efforts to free her from an abusive household. The tale is a moving one but it does push the main plot to the sidelines for quite a while. The mystery while not particularly deep provides the right level of intrigue to keep a viewer on their toes and a motive to keep a close eye on proceedings. There is a good bit of misdirection to keep you thinking and there are nice small touches throughout like the synchronisation of Satorus dialogue and monologue as well as the letterboxing of the past to give the feeling of being an outside observer. Some admittedly is a bit too forward in its execution but there is a lot of minor details that makes the story more interesting.

It does have its weaknesses as a show. Yuki Kajura provided a ill suited and uninspired soundtrack, the pacing can be too fast at times, the “villains” are exaggeratedly evil and to those looking for a smart mystery you will be disappointed. However I believe it’s positives do outway its negatives. Ultimately what decides your enjoyment of this show is your level attachment to the characters. The focus is clearly character driven and if you find yourself not caring for them, I am afraid the plot will not hold anything to compensate. But if you find yourself getting drawn into these character then I believe your experience with this show will be a positive one but remember to walk into it with the right expectations.

Posted on 27 March 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi

As I said before, an ending can change your entire perception of a series and in Boku machi’s case the ending is …decent. I can’t say I have any problems with it and I could consider it good. In all honestly it was hard to imagine a case where we could get an ending better than this considering the circumstances of how the last episode ended. A bombastic showdown between Satoru and Yashiro would be uncharacteristic of the show so far and Satoru’s current state stops them from having any real confrontation. So what it all boils down to is Satoru giving him a mental probing and egging him on to push him off a ledge. All to incriminate him so they can arrest him. Presentation wise, I like it. But when looking at it from a closer perspective I admit that Satoru’s plan looked to require a lot of assumptions. For one, how did he know Yashiro would push him off the roof? How did Yashiro manage to poison one of the medicines used in that girl’s surgery? How did they prevent that from happening? How did Satoru’s friends manage to inflate a cushion without drawing suspicion and where did they get one? There was also issues with the large amount of padding in this episode as it flashed back to scenes that happened not all that long ago.Lastly, no matter how it’s presented, having friendship be shown as the reason Satoru beats Yashiro is cringe worthy. Friends and connections are great and everything but when you outright state that your victory is owed to a little help from your friends then it always sounds lame. The biggest issue of all was the feeling of padding through this episode. The pacing has always been fast but for this episode things slowed down to a crawl as we go back to how Satoru got his memories back, have several sappy unnecessary speeches and reiterate what has already happened in the series. When looking over the episode you can see that not a lot actually happened in it and if this was the case I would have preferred to forgo the speeches and flashbacks for more scenes of the epilogue. One thing in particular that I felt needed much more fleshing out was Airi. It was an odd decision for Airi to be given such limited screentime if in the end she was to emerge the “Victor”. To someone watching the series, Satoru’s reaction to Airi looks to be a major overreaction so putting some extra time in the end for the two to bond under the bridge would have made a better conclusion than ending on an emotional reunion between our main and a character with very little screentime.

As per usual, I tend to check episode reviews on a show before writing these in order to gain an idea on the consensus of what was presented. The end of this show looks to have caused a division in the fanbase. Some express disappointment while others feel satisfied. I went out of my way to watch a youtube video from someone(Who I shall not name) who actively disliked the show. It was interesting to say the least as there were aspects of his argument I argeed with but didn’t see quite as detrimental to the series as he believed. What I found most fascinating was when this person made a comparison between this series and Steins Gate as he looked to deem that flawless while many of his problems he had with this series reflected my problems with Steins Gate. Such as a beginning which made it hard to invest myself in the story or some rather arbitrary rules for time travel.(One of the particularly amusing things I find about Steins Gate is that it’s explanation for Time travel isn’t time travel. It is in fact sliding as Okabe is traveling between alternate realities. Not traveling through time.) Through when thinking about this I noticed that the two shows do hold similarities. Now, I am aware that if you break down a show to it’s base components you can find similarities between virtually anything but still. Both shows hold a lie in its premise. Steins gate being that it alludes to be about a ragtag group taking on a elusive corporation with aid of a makeshift time machine. What it is actually about is a more traditional tale of someone trying to right a wrong after abusing time travel. Boku Machi in turn alludes to a tale about a mature man returning to his childhood to have a cat and mouse game with a serial killer. What it is actually about is more a character drama and thriller with Satoru attempting to right the wrongs in his past. In this regard I believe I see how there are those who were disappointed in how this all ended. Cliffhanger endings of each episode keep building up expectations the show wouldn’t deliver so I think what will determine your enjoyment of this series will depend on which aspects you focus on. I could go further but if I was to be perfectly honest I would state Boku Machi is the stronger of the two; simply because it took less time to get to it’s point. Say what you will but I am sure much of the praise for Steins Gate is for it’s second half and not it’s rather story light first half.

Certainly through all my moaning and complaining you might believe that I am discontent with this series now that it has finished; with that you would be incorrect. I may be acting overly critical but I am still quite pleased with how the series turned out. This may be because I lost interest with the manga over time and found the series kept that interest better than reading the story on paper. If I had a problem with the series it would be with Yuki Kajura because she really did not try with this soundtrack. It didn’t match the series in the slightest. Honestly Yuki; you can do better than this. I also consider this ending to be better to the manga equivalent which was disappointingly anti-climatic. You may consider this ending anti-climatic as well but in the manga we had over ten chapters building up a showdown between Satoru and Yashiro that ultimately gets resolved in a second. I found it rather dull and would swear that the manga was axed at just how quickly it all resolved. In that regard I think the anime did it better. Was there a better way to end this series? Maybe, but I pick the ending that didn’t set up the finale to be more than what it was.

Posted on 22 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

Everything looks to be gearing up for the finale but with the death of Lise goes a heavy amount of emotional commitment. I fear a key problem with this show has returned and that is that it’s difficult to get invested in the events on screen when we have no attachment to the characters. Lise is dead, Irisdina is captured and Katia has been relegated to an off screen position. That leaves us with Theodor and Gretel to carry the show. Neither of the two have been all that engaging though Gretel does have moments. Theodor has reached the end of his arc at this point; as other characters just have pointed out. What remains here is the endgame of defeating the Stasi and the question of just what they are going to do about the BETA horde at their doorstep. I am at least glad that Beatrix has taken up the lead role as main villain after discovering that her superior was a KGB operative who was planning to make east Germany a bulwark for Russia. I like that she didn’t make the stupid move of uncovering his motives without a backup plan. Guess Schmidt should have checked who his officers were getting orders from and he ends up with a bullet to the head from the officers he calls in to take down Beatrix. Now she’s in full command of the Stasi and that’s just the way I like it. Schmidt was never an interesting villain; he’s far too impersonal to the members of the Schwarzesmarken team. Beatrix makes for a much better threat coupled with the fact that she’s a great TSF poliet. We also get some insight into her motivations with her conversation with Irisdina. It’s looks like both Beatrix and Irisdina are trying to fulfil Irisdina’s brothers wishes in two different manners. Both seem to be trying to save Germany in their own way though Beatrix’s methods are more ruthless and unforgiving. It’s possible Beatrix might have been romantically involved with the brother as well which would explain the level of hate she has for Irisdina who had to kill her brother to save herself.

I really dislike the character who walks into Theodor mourning his sister and congratulates him on killing her. No matter how much of a horrible person someone is; you don’t walk into their funeral and congratulate their lover on becoming single. It’s just not something people do. I can’t say Theodor has been an interesting character as his arc has been one big sister complex. Now he’s that Mecha protagonist who’s really good at piloting and has a constant case of low self confidence. Meanwhile Gretel has been taken to the Stasi files Archive where Axemann reveals his agenda to come under Beatrix’s command and offers Gretel a chance to join the Stasi. However Axemann isn’t a pilot and didn’t take into account the communications transmitter Gretel has in her suit. The rebels rush in and Gretel gets shot and is now presumably dead; leaving the series in the hand of Theodor. This could have been a great scene had it not been for the fact that I truly don’t know Gretel well enough to emit an emotional response. I have more or less ground this point to dust but this really is the biggest problem with this show. The focus has been mainly on presenting the events of the story fast and foremost that no time has been spent on letting us get to know the characters. Which makes character moments within the story just feel empty. Lise worked because of the main stories big focus on her but when it comes to other characters it’s either out of nowhere or just not effective. One thing I haven’t commented on with this series is the music and it really is quite good. I felt it often gets overshadowed by the heavy amount of Mecha clashes and bullets but I like the German feel they went for. Mecha battles are quite excellent as well with some great CGI work. So all that’s left is the final battle and I find my thoughts on this series to be mixed. Though in all things considered this could have gone a lot worse.

Posted on 18 March 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

When Satoru was almost killed I expected him to survive and I thought that it was likely going to result in him getting pulled out or time travel. What I didn’t expect was a time skip. Satoru was indeed pulled out of the car; however because of the incident he was put into a coma for fifteen years. All the while Sachiko was once again proving she’s likely the best mother in anime; what with her not only taking care of him all those years but even going out of her way to exercise his limbs so that that his muscles aren’t dead from underuse. This isn’t in the episode but there was a point where doctors attempted to convince her to pull the plug on Satoru and her answer was a short and resolute “Fuck you”. Well we are back in a new future and with it we have a massive change in characters and the narrative. A large part of this episode was dedicated to Satoru attempting to regain his now scrambled memory. A nice touch to the episode is that his inner monologue is now narrated by his child self rather than being narrated by his older self. Another nice touch was removing Satoru from the opening. Showing that he hasn’t quite regained his standing. What is likely to scorch many a viewer was the revelation about Kayo who is now happily married and with a child. I admit that even myself am not entirely unscathed by the revelation; especially when the series hinted heavily at them becoming an item. Though personally it makes sense that Kayo wouldn’t wait for a guy she knew only for a short period during childhood and while I don’t look at it this way, it removes the thought that Satoru “won” Kayo. I am sure there are those who could look at this as a Genji Monogatari situation if Kayo ended up becoming Satoru’s wife so at least that notion can be tossed aside and we can see that Satoru truly is just happy to see her living a full life.

Due to hearing that this episode diverged quite a bit from the manga, I made it a point to read up on how the manga dealt with the events in this episode and I can confirm that the anime has more or less gone anime original. Is that a bad thing you wonder? Well truthfully I am uncertain. The manga does expand upon questions of what went on while Satoru was in a coma and the process of him reclaiming his memory is a much more gradual process than the almost instant revelation at the end of this episode. One particular thing I wish was kept was Yashiro’s backstory which a small part was given during this episode’s opening but their is much more to his past. If you are interested then you can read chapter chapter 32 of the manga as it is dedicated to detailing his past. Another thing I wish they hadn’t changed was the change of having Yashiro prevent the photographers from deframing Satoru instead of Airi. Airi encountering Satoru was a big part of helping him regain his memory though I believe the reason it was left out was because it also caused him to slip into a coma again for another year. That and Airi hasn’t had much of a presence in the anime series. But as I said before, this doesn’t mean I think the manga did it better. It is true you get more detail and a more gradual recovery from Satoru but it’s very uneventful. When watching this episode I was already getting impatient with Satoru as it really was just a waiting game of him realizing what the audience already knows. The manga is ten thirty page chapters which are mainly about Satoru recovering his memory. It is long, drawn out and I found myself getting bored as I read. This is good moments in this but if animated I could certainly see people getting frustrated with the almost agonizingly slow pace. I can only imagine how manga readers felt as each monthly chapter moved the plot along at a snail’s pace. The anime pretty much trimmed the fat and gave us the cliffs notes on what happened though the final confrontation is different.

We missed a small cat and mouse game between Yashiro and Satoru as they prevent him from taking another victim and skip right to a head on conflict which is a little bit of a shame. But we do have tension as Yashiro gets closer to Satoru as a friend to likely keep an eye on him. I find it engaging as it tempts the situation of Yashiro saying something to trigger Satoru’s memories or the potential possibility of him deciding to silence Satoru for good. The anime’s pacing is faster and more to the point, perhaps too fast. So you may understand my indecisiveness in deciding which handled the story better. On one side you have a fast to the point version of events which leaves out the finer details and on the other you have a far too slow version which gets boring at points but has far more of a build up. I guess the deciding factor on which approached it the best will be the next episode of the anime as I certainly have no idea what Satoru has planned considering he revealed that he has his memory back to the killer when he’s in no position to fight back. That isn’t the only thing the next episode decides as I have said once before on the finale of Madoka. This last episode is what decides Erased/Boku Machi’s status for the future. Either a must watch classic every anime fan needs to see or it being that show that was really good up until the ending. An ending can change your entire outlook on an anime and I certainly hope that this one doesn’t disappoint.

Posted on 15 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

The BETA are still coming and with the Stasi in full control we now have rebels working to overthrow the Stasi. All the while West Germany watches from the sidelines as it tries to figure out which side to support. To make up their mind they send Kirke to East Germany to survey the situation because of her relationship with the Schwarzesmarken team. You remember her? The girl who first treated the team with utter contempt but somehow off screen became BFFs with them? Another character who was negatively affected by the time constraints. Anyway I found the little bit of humor they threw in about her “Wiping her own ass”. Crude humor tends to work me sometimes. With her coming the rebels decide to use Theodors plan to make use of her as bait to lure the Stasi into an ambush. Which works like a charm thanks to the Stasi squadron commander being a complete imbecile. Lise tried to warn you guys but you brush her off with a “Your brother is with the rebels so your opinion is worthless” I suppose without Beatrix there to whip some sense into them and Lise is too preoccupied with her brother to give a damn what happens to the rest of her squad. I love the way she jumped out of the way of a bullet, letting it hit her comrade behind her, it shows that she truly has no love for her Stasi comrades. One particularly grisly detail about this battle is that the rebels didn’t evacuate the town before fighting in it. Which meant that quite a number of civilians got caught in the crossfire. That’s sort of a glazed over part of mecha anime though chances are a Gundam explored it. When you have giant robots fighting all about the place then collateral damage is a guarantee and while Kirke wasn’t in favor of it, at least the team saw it as necessary. After all they couldn’t orchestrate mass evacuation without alerting the Stasi of their ambush.

So Lise is dead. I don’t even need to know if Theodors gunshot hit her to confirm that. With the amount of shrapnel lodged in her body you can already tell that she was done for. This acts as a nice parallels to the start of the series, where Irisdina shot one of their comrades after she was horribly wounded in a BETA attack after sacrificing herself to save another. Even the delicious irony that Theodor originally hated Irisdina because she apparently shot and killed her brother. Yet here he is, putting a bullet in his sister. She had it coming and I am glad that Theodor actually had the guts to do it instead of a third party jumping in to save him the trouble. Lise was too far gone, too broken to salvage. All that was left was to give her the death sentence but at least she got it from her brother. I still state that Lise is far from forgivable in what she has done but it is disheartening to see her reach such a tragic end. Her will and love was beaten and defiled till it was twisted to help her best serve the Stasi. Even on her last words she was speaking of how stupid it was to oppose them, for she knew all too well what they are capable of. After all the torture; having her mind,body and soul twisted beyond repair to save the one person she cares about; her final reward is a bullet to the head. This may be the only character moment Schwarzesmarken got right though it did get a tad overly melodramatic. Still we know the history between the two, a complicated relationship of family and lovers, and it certainly must have been excruciating for Theodor to pull that trigger.The final shot was reminiscent of a certain scene from Madoka Magica and I liked how you had to really listen to hear the gunshot. With Lise out of the picture or heads turn to our new main threat, that being Beatrix and her werewolf battalion. We don’t have much left to the series so she won’t have much time to shine. Still I would like her to have a nice climactic fight with Irisdina at least, considering that they seem to have history.

Posted on 12 March 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

Satoru and friends have saved Kayo and now with very little effort; have saved the other two targets as well. I am a little disappointed at how quickly and easily this was resolved when you consider how long it took to save Kayo. I originally considered this a victim of the anime adaption trimming the manga down to fit the runtime but after having read the manga up to this episode I found that is not the case. The problem was fixed just as fast there and the only major difference is more focus on Kayo which I am glad they cut out. A lot of it was really unnecessary and was more just an additional unneeded epilogue. So one target is saved when she gets a crush on one of Satoru’s friends and starts hanging out with them. The other is saved simply by them hanging out with him more. In regards to this the other two victims feel like an afterthought. Though Satoru is well aware that taking away the murderers targets isn’t going to stop him and one of his friends brings up that thanks to his previous actions; a new girl is now a new perfect target for the killer. So he decides that he will save her as well.

Then we have the wham moment; the point we have all been waiting for. The murderer is revealed to be…Yashiro, Satoru’s teacher. I would shout in glee that I called it if it wasn’t so obvious that many others would be doing the same. If you have been watching close enough it would have been clear that the murderer couldn’t be anyone other than Yashiro and so the obvious suspect from the start turns out to be the murderer. Now, I don’t like beating a dead horse but I must bring up another anime which did this exact same thing in order to get my feelings across; Subete ga F ni Naru. That too had a mystery that ended up with a murderer that was completely obvious. It spent a majority of its time dangling a carrot in front of the viewer when any average person’s logical deduction could figure out just what the carrot was. So why is it that when Subete revealed its obvious murderer I was immensely disappointed; yet when Boku Machi does essentially the same thing why am I am not angry? Well I believe it’s a matter of substance. With Subete, everything depended on the mystery. Truly it had nothing else and if I was willing to rewatch it I would be bored as with the mystery revealed all that remained would be pretentious dialogue and a romance with no payoff or investment. With Boku Machi that isn’t the case. There are plenty of great characters and moments I would love to see again; the reveal doesn’t devalue the events before it. Sure, it’s predictable but boring? No. Ultimately this wasn’t a show that was primarily about the mystery aspect but rather more about the people surrounding it. If anything I am glad they decided to pick someone who makes sense as opposed to making it some background character with little screentime solely for shock value. There is also value in that despite being so sure it was him; this show actually made me unsure momentarily about it at times. As others have said, he was so obvious that many had concluded that he couldn’t be the killer and was just a red herring. Like Satoru we had the facts staring us in the face but the teacher was such a likable guy that we didn’t really want to believe it.

From the moment Satoru entered the car it felt ominous. Really with the nervous tapping of Yashiro on the steering wheel and his increasingly worrisome statements getting a bit extreme you could tell the reveal was coming. It was only a matter of when Yashiro would say the words and when he did, it hit Satoru like a truck. On the reveal I feel the manga’s version of Yashiros face as he unveils it trumps his anime counterpart. The anime made his triumphant smile a bit too much like a scumbag; his smile in the manga was more constrained and with that a lot more disturbing. Admittedly what follows is essentially a villainous monologue about how he couldn’t believe that Satoru was anticipating all his moves and that he may just know that Satoru came from the future. Saying that he respects Satoru for beating him and thanks to his efforts the town is now safe from Yashiro. Though now Satoru pays for that victory with his life which gives some context to the title “A town only without me”. The cliffhanger this week isn’t much of one as it suggests Satoru might die drowning in Yashiros car. We have two episodes left, Satoru has time travel powers that could kick in at any moment and he shouted a line at Yashiro which would certainly have him considering pulling him out to hear what he has to say. I am hoping they elaborate on just why Yashiro is doing all this; they gave hints with him speaking about using illegal methods to fill up the hole in his life but I would like more concrete reasoning. But with the limited time left and a lot of manga to cover that could be a tall order.

Posted on 9 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Schwarzesmarken

For the past few episodes we were able to get past the lack of character development by focusing on the situation at hand. However with an episode like this which depends on emotional investment in the characters; Schwarzesmarken really shows this animes weaknesses. Lises situation is unfortunate though she still remains nonredeemable. Pham’s death didn’t invoke any emotion from me as her screen time in the anime has be rather limited. I guess they tried to make it more meaningful by having her comfort Theodor and Theodor admiring that he always thought of her as an older sister. But this scene felt contrived and forced due to the interaction between these two being absolutely minimal throughout the series. I would even bet this is the first time we seen them talking to each other alone. It’s clear that a lot of content is missing here and likely cut due to the anime’s time limitations. This is adapting seven volumes worth of light novels after all. In that line of thinking this may be best an anime seen after reading the visual novel or light novels; as then you would have the context needed to be affected by the struggles of these characters. If anything this show displays the importance of downtime in a story. You need to lay back; let your characters talk and interact. Allow the audience to know the person behind the giant Mecha. Then when the time comes to have them face challenges it won’t fall flat like this.

Axemann entering the fray again wasn’t exactly a surprise as he’s a bit too good of a villain to be killed off screen like that. His presence does present a dilemma in that to defeat the Stasi they are forced to work with Stasi. Especially someone like Axemann whom is hardly trustworthy. While allying with him it increases the chances of overthrowing the Stasi; it also presents the possibility of repeating history all over again.Axemann wants a seat of power in the new government and if they give him that well…it’s only a matter of time before he begins to take over again. Though I doubt he’s going to survive this series as he just has far too many enemies about. Even background characters are out for his blood.

So when a hefty amount of character interaction is chopped out this makes Pham’s sacrifice very unnecessary and illogical. What does she hold such faith in Lise and why is she going to such lengths to go outside with a rocket launcher and attempt to disable her TSF? It makes you question whether Pham was just an idiot seeing as she seemed to be banking on Lise not firing back at her after she hit her with a rocket launcher. Personally she might as well have just jumped into a TSF and used that to disable Lise. You could say she was too weak for that but she did just carry a rocket launcher through snow for a considerable distance. Pretty sure she could manage a TSF. Taking this into account I can only look at Pham’s sacrifice as pointless which lessens the tragedy of it. A tragedy I find much more compelling is that Lise’s current stance. This episode Lise revealed just to what lengths she went to in order to protect her brother. Sold out her friends, sold her body, killed dozens and even sacrificed her humanity by becoming Axemanns “pet”. She did the absolutely unthinkable and all for the day when she could be with Theodor again. And now she stands baring everything she is to him and he can’t possibly forgive what she’s become. Her efforts ultimately ensured that Theodor would never be with her and the sad fact is that she is far beyond redemption. The only thing Theodor can do for her now is put a bullet in her head which he sadly cannot bring himself to do. Considering just how broken Lise is; I think he’s going to really regret that. After all Lise has already shown the depths she will resort to if it means she can be with her dear “Onii-chan”

Posted on 5 March 2016 with categories: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Currently Watching:

We come to the climax of Kayos arc and the time when that mother of hers gets what’s coming. Admittedly I would have preferred that the payback was a little more forceful as they essentially cornered her and killed her with kindness. A character like Kayos mom is a difficult one to make deep, as many writers just resort to the minimum effort of characterisation. An abusive parent whose abusive because they are. By making a character unapologetically evil and them being unaware of the right of their actions just spurs a feeling of wanting to slap some sense into these idiotic simpletons. While this shows efforts didn’t quite make Kayos mom a more complex individual; at least it tried to give some logic behind her actions. I truly appreciate that it recognised that Kayos mom had gone too far to become sympathetic by showing the onlookers to be largely unaffected by Kayos breakdown into tears. I now understand just how she came to beat Kayo; namely because of the stress of being a single mother and that Kayo was a reminder of a previous incredibly abusive relationship she had with her husband. But while I understand why she came to do what she did; that doesn’t excuse the fact that she’s beating the crap out of her daughter. I feel her plight is even more apathetic when you consider that we have a perfect example of a single mom in Sachiko to contrast her with. Cry all you like; I am not going to forget that just minutes ago you nearly took Sachiko’s head clean off with a snow shovel. I admit that this resolution to Kayos problem is a little too quick and clean. Though having this all done does serve to benefit the story seeing as the heavy focus of Kayo put the main plot to the sideline a bit too much.

On that note this show certainly is making an effort to remove suspicions from the teacher being the murderer and I find myself questioning it. Before I was dead set that he was the one but now he has become so suspicious that I begin thinking he’s a red herring. He remains prime suspect due to the fact that there is no other characters who fit the bill but that would make Satoru’s view as a father figure quite tragic. The big reveal of a stash of candy in his car compartment almost seems like a dead giveaway but his explanation behind it is so quirky that I find myself believing it. So with Kayo out of the way we have moved on to the other two victims of the killer and I fear Satoru is making a big mistake. He’s continuing as through the pattern of murderers will follow the same path but he has interfered with it. The episode ends with an ominous shot of the girl who previously attempted to fame Kayo for stealing money following Satoru’s friends. Heavily hinting that she may be the next victim. Personality this looks like a fake out as it’s likely the animators thought they needed to carry the tread of ending every episode with a cliffhanger. Chances are she will follow the boys and get involved with what’s going on. Though the chance of her ending up as a new target is quite high. It would act as a perfect wake up call for Satoru to realise how his actions have consequences.

As this episode ends the ever looming question remains. Just how do they plan to cover the rest of the manga in the remaining episodes. We have reached a point where they have too much to cover and yet have gone through the story so much that there’s not enough left for a second season. As I see it we have two outcomes to this. One is that they plan on announcing  a OVA or movie at series end to conclude the series. The other is that they plan to rush the remainder of the content at mach speed. Considering the level of care that has gone into this adaption; outcome two seems unlikely. There is no way they planed out these episodes and didn’t see the issue of the remaining content. That would just be a densely grave oversight. A movie seems like the most likely option and the best one. It would give them the remaining time they need to conclude the story and up the production values. Boku Machi is a show that deserves a worthwhile ending.

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  • Rey
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 02:56 AM)
    Can someone send a request shiz to make a movie about the Sonata of Darkness of Melody? It would be pretty interesting…
  • k-off
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:49 AM)
    Langrisser certainly makes me appreciate Fates a little bit more, this is the video game equivalent of The Asylum’s rip-off movies.
  • Bam
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:23 AM)
    @Hellfire: lol I do too. This had good lyrics as well, but the line in Hellfire which says “he made the devil so much stronger than a man!” hits really hard.
  • SuperMario
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:12 AM)
    @Bam: yes, This performance was a gem, but truthfully any version would be more faithful than the Disney one. I still prefer Hellfire though :)
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.

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