Posted on 25 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Crystal Blaze


Some great anime have a very detailed art-style with absolutely gorgeous animation. Others have a smashing soundtrack, performed by a famous composer. Others hired a cast of well-known voice-actors to perform on their characters. Again others put a lot of attention to their dialogue to make this as deep and thought provoking as possible. And more others don’t have any of this and just want to tell a good story. And that’s where Crystal Blaze belongs: an excellent anime on a low budget and the dark horse of the past spring-season.

The production-values are nothing to write home about. The animation is simple, the CG is obvious and not integrated and it doesn’t have a big animation-company working behind it (after all, Studio Fantasia’s reputation is rather questionable). And still, it makes up for everything through its amazing storytelling. The story itself is not very complex, but the way it’s told makes it something special. Throughout 12 episodes, not even one scene was wasted. Every episode continues to develop both the characters and the plot, ending in a very satisfying climax. There are no plot-holes whatsoever, everything gets closed off nicely, there are no stereotypes. For a fan of storytelling such as myself, this series was pure gold.

You should be aware of one thing if you want to watch this series, though. This series became the dark horse of this season for a reason. There’s one particular character which will turn off a lot of viewers: Manami. This is supposed to be a tale about adults, but she’s one of the very few teenagers in it, and she very easily gets on your nerves. She’s not a bad character by any means, and her weaknesses are used well, but the fact remains that the combination of an annoying voice and her continuous whining make her a very hard to like character. Thankfully, she gets less annoying as the series goes on.

Speaking of voice-acting, this is the second series along with Kurenai that did something interesting with its voice-actors. I can’t exactly pinpoint to what it was that the creators did, but conversations end up sounding much more like ordinary conversations instead of coming from a recording-studio.

All in all, Crystal Blaze turned out to be among my favourites this season, due to its great cast and awesome storytelling. This is exactly what a twelve-episode series needs to be, and I hope to see more non-fanservice series from Studio Fantasia in the future!

Posted on with categories: Crystal Blaze


Oh god, the creators actually did it! They actually pulled off a great ending as well. This episode was really good, and amongst the best of the entire series. One thing I’ve noticed with endings that they often feel rather lukewarm. I think that my opinion of this seems to change with every season, but right now, I believe that a good ending comes from an episode that uses the building-up of the rest of the series. Too often I’ve seen endings that never use anything that’s been built up for apart from that bad guy that’s dead now, or something similar.

[SPOILERS sort-of follow for the endings of Ghost Hound, Kurenai, Bokura no and Seirei no Moribito] As much as I hate to admit it, thinking back, Ghost Hound’s ending wasn’t that good. It looked like a series that kept building up, but it never really built up for the stuff that actually happened in the climax. In the same way, Kurenai’s ending where Murasaki proposed to stay also came from nowhere, which is probably why that ending felt rather weird. An example of a good ending is Seirei no Moribito: it was very straightforward, but it kept the same pacing and mood as in the rest of the series. The ending for Bokura no is such an example as well: it remained within the flow of the original series, while also providing a lot of new things that fitted within the series.

Crystal Blaze in the same way stays within the same mood in its final episode, and doesn’t become anything completely different. There’s still its great sense of storytelling present, and it still had a lot going on. There were a few clichés here and there (the self-destruct-button that needed to be stopped, the finish with a big explosion), but the execution was done well enough to make these twists acceptable.

I have to especially give this series credit for the way this episode started. I mean, how many times have we already seen an important character, about to be shot, followed by a fade-out and a cliff-hanger? I nearly forgot that people can actually get shot in these kinds of things. Seeing Sara getting shot in the back was a real way to catch my attention, as ironically, I never saw that one coming, even though she’s got the powers to regenerate and all.

This was also really an episode where the characters really come together. Everyone apart from perhaps Manami (who only played a really small part anyway) was really awesome to watch. The humour was better than ever, and you’ve got to love the return of JJ. As it turns out, the poor guy was never caught, and instead he had been hiding inside the building’s air shafts for all this time.

Now that everything is over, I’m still of the opinion that Crystal Blaze is among the best series this season, and it really knew how to use its limited time of 12 episodes. Especially since the production-values are nothing to write home about, this really surprised me. For those who quit this series due to Manami: don’t worry. Once this series hits its second half, she becomes a regular side-character and the focus shifts to the other ones.

To close off, this series has one of the funniest aftermaths. Even when compared to pure comedies (who never seem to be that good with their aftermaths anyway, for some strange reason). Doc, dressed up as Kitoh was awesome. Although I didn’t wish to have seen that “particular” shot of Porilyn…

Posted on 19 June 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Talk about an excellent first half of a finale! 12-episode series shouldn’t have “calm before the storm”-episodes. It wastes a precious episode that could have been used so much better, and all these episodes to fill time until the next episode, when the big climax is going to happen. Granted, this way you end up with a great climax, but at the same time there’s a dull build-up that breaks flow a bit.

This is why I really like Crystal Blaze’s style of storytelling: first it spends five minutes as an aftermath of the previous episode, sets a few pieces of the puzzle right and prepares a bit, and very soon it heads into a new direction with an action-packed climax. This keeps the series exciting and the flow of storytelling remains roughly consistent. Perhaps I’ve become bored by series who abuse “calm before the storms” and aftermaths too much, who know.

So basically what happens in this episode: Kitoh has to leave his base (obviously because it’s been discovered), so he kills off his entire staff apart from his research subjects, Kirie and Doc. Doc indeed was just faking to have switched sides in order to get a close look at Kitoh’s research, and because of his obsession to finally find a scientist who is interested in his work, Kitoh never doubts this. BW-alpha also turns out to be able to transform into a huge monster, but as expected she’s still imperfect and rather weak to the blood of a humanoid weapon. The episode ends as Sara is about to turn into crystal and Shu is about to shoot her, which will make her blood come into contact with BW-alpha and kill it off.

What surprises me is that in this series, no attempts have been made to make the viewer care about BW-alpha. Even though she’s a little girl, she’s portrayed at nothing but a monster. Usually in anime that don’t focus on children, young girls like that have the “she’s little! care for her!”-mentality (see the Kohane-arc in xxxHolic). Quite refreshing that this is indeed a story about “adults”.

I’m really interested to see where this series will end. There’s one episode left, and we know that Sara is going to die, though considering the rest of this series, it seems unlikely that the creators don’t have a few juicy twists left in store. I must say that Crystal Blaze has been the big surprise this season, along with Kaiba. I admit that I was really looking forward to it when I saw the promo-image, though when I looked at the character-designs, this enthusiasm faded a bit. “Everything looks generic, so it’s probably going to be generic”. Hah, the creators sure managed to deliver an awesome series with these generic ingredients.

Posted on 11 June 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Now that’s an aftermath! I’ve lately noticed that a lot of aftermaths in anime after a big climax are relatively boring, where characters do nothing but angst and try to let the events of said climax sink in. It may be because I’ve seen things like these for too many times, but they’re often disappointing and break a bit of flow.

Crystal Blaze does things right, though. It may be an aftermath, but it wastes no time to not only let the characters catch a breath, but it also wraps up the involved parties and sets up the interesting stage for the next episodes. It was really fun to see all the different parties do their own thing throughout the episode, but that’s just a personal preference of mine.

And of course it was obvious that Manami and Ayaka would screw up and get captured. She still has her attitude of wanting to do something important, and in her worries for the wounded Akira, she forgot to pay attention to hide herself. There was nobody there to stop them, so it’s in any case much better than Shinkurou returning home in Kurenai. What surprised me was how sensei swapped sides so easily. Could this be a trick to fool the enemy, or is he genuinely interested in Kitoh’s research?

I’m curious, though. There are two episodes left, and with a plot this fast, there’s got to be more than “Ayaka and Manami are saved, Kitoh is dead”, especially with the pacing of this series. It would be a shame for the pacing to die down at this point.

Posted on 4 June 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Awesome episode! Only now I realize how similar this series is to Kurenai: we have Shinkurou taking care of Murasaki versus Shu, taking care of Sara. Manami and Ayaka are comparable to Shinkurou’s two neighbours, while Poririn and the tech-guy whose name I forgot are similar to Benika. In Kurenai, the bad guy is a family, obsessed over their own bloodline, while Crystal Blaze has a crazy scientist who’s obsessed over his own research. Both evil parties also have well-trained goons and spend the first 8 episodes, trying to track down the good party.

The big difference is that Crystal Blaze puts a lot of emphasis on storytelling, while the big focus of Kurenai is the dialogue. As a result, Crystal Blaze has a plot that continues to develop with lots of interesting twists and turns, and Kurenai is at its best when characters are just talking to each other. If I had to be honest, then I’d say that I like Crystal Blaze better, but that’s mostly because of how well it handled the beginning of its finale, when compared to Kurenai. I didn’t pay much attention to it when I watched the latest episode of Kurenai, but the fact remains that Kurenai’s wish to go back to his home one more time, even though they were discovered was stupid, while in the case of Crystal Blaze it was only a matter of time before they were found, plus Shu and the others couldn’t move anywhere because Sophia was turning into glass.

And I must say, that Sophia’s death was really built up well, and it turned out really touching. The second episode then wasted no time to give us a small gunfight, and I must say that it was quite an interesting idea to fool the enemy’s night-vision by turning up the heat to body-temperature. I’m not sure whether this actually works in real life as well, but it’s an interesting idea. On top of that, Akira’s gotten shot in his shoulder. With only three episodes left, I’m really curious to see where this one is planning to end.

Posted on 28 May 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


The past week, I’ve gotten a few interesting comments, along the lines of “this post says nothing about the actual episode, what an informative anime blog” (with the last part being obvious sarcasm), and they got me thinking. It’s not the first part that got me (heck, I’m all for constructive criticism), but rather the assumption that every anime blog should have a summary for each single post. I’ve personally never seen Star Crossed as an episode summary blog. It’s more that I write about whatever catches my interest after watching an episode. Depending on my mood, I randomly summarize a bit and add a few thoughts on the episode in question. But are there more people who feel that I should put more focus on summaries?

Having said that though, I do realize how my past posts on Crystal Blaze have been mostly thoughts and hardly any sentence on what happened. I’ve been carried away by the many surprising good points of this series. So, for variety’s sake, here is a summary of the episode. And boy, was it a great one. :)

The episode starts where the previous episode left off: the swat team, who was assigned to put a stop on Kitou’s research, is inside the closed space where Kitou and Kirie unleash a glass woman upon them. This woman quickly slaughters the entire squadron, as bullets seem to not work on her. Kitou explains that with the help of a special ring, the glass woman knows who she should attack and who she should leave alone.

When everyone in the chamber has died, the woman goes after the rest of the swat team, who she defeats easily. Very soon, more glass women come and help her. Meanwhile in the same underground facility, JJ and Sophia witness this bloodbath, as Sophia tapes it, and they’re astounded at the capabilities of the glass women. Because the security is busy with the swat-team, they can move around quite freely and they end up in what looks like the main database. There they find out that Kitou has been using live women for his research, and he’s turned them into experimental subjects.

JJ tries to call the chief of police, though there’s no connection. While he’s rambling on ethical issues, Sophia tries to copy the data she’s found for evidence. Meanwhile back at the glass women: they suddenly freeze and shatter. Kitou’s research has improved, though the HW-series is still imperfect. Kirie then suggests using the BW-series from now on (I’m wondering: what does the “B” stand for? Bio-weapon, or something?). Kitou, however, is still interested in the experiment, mainly because of what a success HW9 turned out to be, which is why he wants to retrieve her: in order to figure out why she’s special. (does he know that she’s about to die anyway?)

Kirie and the rest of security then go on and clean up the rest of the swat-team that wasn’t killed by the glass maidens, while JJ and Sophia are discovered by a random guard that passed by. They manage to make it towards the stairs that lead to the exit, and at that point I guess that JJ wants to hold off the guards so that Sophia escapes. Sophia runs up the stairs and a number of gunshots sound, but we have no freaking idea what happened back then.

Meanwhile, outisde the base, the three members of the swat-team that left behind fail to make any contact to their comrades. Akira meanwhile is still spying on them, and listening to their communications. It’s then that the few survivors manage to make it back outside and report. Akira then tells this to Shu, as the chief of police enters his room. Shu then tells him about what his little nephew and Sofia have been doing, and is surprised how the chief of police didn’t know that.

As Sophia reaches the door to the exit, she realizes that it’s shut and that she can’t get out. She then calls Shu for help. She tells him where she is, but before they can finish the call, one of the guards discovers her and destroys her phone. The chief of police then wants to come along with Shu because of JJ, but Shu tells him, as well as Manami and Ayaka to remain where they are. Meanwhile, Kitou and Kirie inject Sophia with the strange liquid that turns you into glass.

Ayaka meanwhile finds it strange that all sites about the glass women have gone down. Sara meanwhile continues to be troubled by her left arm changing to glass. When Shu arrives at the hidden base Akira waits for him and both of them rush to the entrance, where they find a naked Sophia with one glass arm, and they take her to Doc as quickly as possible. It’s a bit strange that Kitou would just “let” Sophia escape, and indeed: she also received a bracelet when she was injected, and in this bracelet there’s a transmitter.

The strange thing is that Shu is just fine touching Sophia, and doesn’t get burned. The others arrive and are shocked at the glass arm, especially Sara, and the episode ends.

Kitou’s getting pretty decent for a pure villain. Often, the villains that get fleshed out are somehow misunderstood. While this is nice to watch, it’s also good to see someone who really doesn’t have any ethical values and is more than just a stereotype that’s used to keep the story going. He himself is a mad scientist, obsessed by his creations. The guy is much better than most other villains, who only sit in a chair and do nothing but look evil.

Posted on 22 May 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Ah, the standard episode in which a character is angsting and his or her friends spend the episode trying to talk him or her out of it. I now realize how often such an episode can go wrong: it’s obviously predictable, and often it comes across rather lazy. I now realize that series as Suteki Tantei Labyrinth and Code Geass did a rather pathetic job on it: Mayuki and Lelouch did nothing but angst over what happened, then his friends come and say a few words, and they act like nothing ever happened.

Episodes like this one need lots of inspired dialogue. They need introspection, both from the character him/herself and from the ones around him. They mustn’t try to be standalone episodes, assuming that the next episode will continue on like nothing ever happened. And I must say that Crystal Blaze did a pretty good job at it. Manami was definitely depressed, but I like how the creators used a bit of comedy in order to lighten up the mood from all her angst. In this series, the characters actually try to understand both each other and themselves, and that’s what makes this so appealing.

Seriously, Crystal Blaze is one of these series where every major character has become likable, and especially the good guys are a joy to watch. I already sung praises to Shu and Manami, but Ayaka’s caring nature and Akira’s down-to-earth nature are also wonderful. And of course Poririn rocks as well. Th relatively large emphasis so far on the bad guys also really helps. These guys are definitely not your typical misunderstood villains, and they they’re turning out really nicely.

I’m really not sure what exactly it was that the creators did, but this is everything a 12-episode series should be. The reason why I prefer 26 or 39-episode series above series of such a short length is that they can easily go wrong if they’re not focused, and it takes something special to get some quality development out of the characters, something which is much easier for series with 26 episodes, because it usually takes me around 10 episodes to really connect with the cast of characters.

Posted on 14 May 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Hah, I don’t care about the general opinion: this show rocks! It may be the most neglected series of the season, but for me it definitely belongs in the top-10 of the series that aired this season.

In this age of big budgets, it’s good to see that a relatively unknown company as Studio Fantasia is also trying its best to put down a classic. One of the things I don’t like about this season is that nearly every good series is done by the big animation studios, as Madhouse, Gonzo, Deen, etc. The studios that are relatively unpopular don’t seem to be even trying (for example A.C.G.T with its questionable Monochrome Factor).

I’m really glad to see that Studio Fantasia is trying to improve itself. Just take a look at their previous work. Before 2006, they only worked on silly shows which only seemed to focus on fanservice, though they pretty much surprised me with their solid work on Souko no Strain, and now they again managed to create a very enjoyable series that goes right where many other series have gone wrong. So yeah, there are a few low-budget parts in this series, mostly the art, but the rest really shines. This should send out a good message to the other lesser-known studios: you can create a good anime, even on a small budget.

Really, this is what a 12-episode series should be: no scene is wasted, quick development and good characterization. A 26-episode can afford to slowly build up for 10 episodes, but series like this one need to deliver quickly. Seeing a series that builds up for eleven episodes, with a climax of only two episodes is nice and all, but it remains mostly boring.

What’s more: the villains actually have some background to them. This episode actually gave the two of them some depth, beyond their stereotypes. It seems that the guy is obsessed with his own work, and is fascinated when he sees how HW-09 has managed to not turn into glass. The woman meanwhile reveals that she knew HW-09 before she became a glass maiden, and as it turns out: she loathed her.

Also, is it me or do the more low-budget series have a bigger tendency to feature good fights than high-budget series? Seriously, I can confidently say that the fight in this episode was better than what I’ve seen from Soul Eater and Macross Frontier so far, even though these series overflow with budget. It’s the same with Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino: the animation was bad, and yet the fights were amazingly directed. Somehow, it feels to me that the creators try to make up for the lack of budget by detailed direction, and it really works!

Posted on 7 May 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Why I’m not bothered by Manami’s brattiness:
– She’s not THE main character of this story.
– She’s an interesting combination with the rest of the cast.
– She’s fleshed out pretty nicely. She’s an idiot, she’s naive, and yet she’s easily afraid.

The thing I have against most annoying and stupid teenagers isn’t the fact that they’re annoying, but that they’re badly written. Take Lala from To Love-Ru for example. Sure, she’s an extreme case, but the reason why she’s annoying is because the creators spent no effort whatsoever in making her believable. She instantly falls in love with the male lead with no subtlety whatsoever and I couldn’t spot anything that made her really seem like a living being, an being an alien is no excuse.

I think the biggest reason for this is the creator’s desires to make teenagers important at places where they shouldn’t belong. A teenager who occupies a high rank in a military organization doesn’t usually make sense, so writers make these characters a bit too perfect for their own good, in order to help them survive and remain at their position.

The thing is with Manami, that even though she’s an idiot, the creators never portray her as some kind of hero. The only thing that she’s good at is providing emotional support for others, but this episode showed yet again that she often gets way too ahead of herself and tries to get involved in places she shouldn’t belong.

I still wonder why this series has become so neglected, though. Is Manami such a turn-off? Or does this have to do with Poririn? I admit that he was rather disturbing in this episode, wearing the gala-dress and all, and trying to pee while wearing it… Still the reason why I like this series so much is the chemistry between the different characters. The cast of Crystal Blaze is varied and interesting, and one character’s weaknesses are complemented by another.

Posted on 30 April 2008 with categories: Crystal Blaze


Heh, this episode finally featured an actually funny fanservice joke. When the horny doctor first appeared, I feared the worst, but his nurse’s BSDM have turned out to be quite hilarious. Especially the dog’s outfit was brilliant. Really, if series as Kanokon realized this, they would have been quite fun, though instead they just can’t think beyond the tried-and-true formula of groping, blood-noses and panty-shots.

Fanservice aside, I’m still surprised at how much I’m enjoying this show, seeing as it’s turned into one of the dark horses of this season in the rest of the anime-community. The budget is indeed quite low. Studio Fantasia is no Satelight or Madhouse, so the drawings and animation are quite simple. And yet this has never had a weak episode so far, in my opinion at least. This episode again was a great one, and it finally pushes the plot forward again.

We learn that the one who changed all the women to glass was indeed that little girl. This time, she kills Yuumi, who indeed went on her solo-debut, dropping Seiji without him even knowing it. The glass women like her and Sara were meant as humanoid weapons. Hence why the bad guys are so interested in retrieving her. They’re currently in the process of testing out their work, which has finally shown its fruits.

One thing I also like is how this series has managed to make characters likable who would have been really cliché otherwise. Especially Shu and Manami would have been incredibly annoying if they didn’t receive any development. Manami, however, turned into a really sympathetic character, who’s just finding out how naive she’s been in the past episodes. She’s a girl with real fears, instead of contractor-like behaviour (a la Darker than Black) of knowing what to do in any dangerous situation. Shu meanwhile turned into quite a refreshing main character, who neither is a stereotypical ambitious guy nor a carefree “cool dude”. This guy doesn’t care about being the best; he just cares about the people around him. For some strange reason, both of them have really turned into my favourite characters in this series.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*poorly forcing
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that is one of the biggest advantages the show has for me, after being annoyed by so many shows ending up with tonal shifts and forcing cute designs into something more serious it is nice to see that girls last tour avoids that problem.
Amagi
My texts are always too long..
Amagi
It isn't enough to just say "look there is a dark subplot somewhere or a backdrop dystopia and we will get to it whenever it seems convenient". Last Tour is the opposite, it is moe, but the girls are part and product of the world they live in, + the cute and serious parts don't feel like two different series being glued together.
Amagi
Girl's Last Tour is the good type of moe show for me. There are many that have or pretend to have some serious undertone, be it some dystopian setting or politics or whatever. But the difference between the good and the bad shows is that the former are actually connected with their serious part in everything they think or do while the bad shows only use the other topic as cheap way to alure fans.
SuperMario
@Bokusen: I'm not sugarcoating it, but Houseki tends to be the title that split the audience. Give it a try at least. If you can tolerant the first three episodes, chances that you will enjoy the rest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Now if only someone will translate the side story manga aswell.
KTravlos
Happiness! New chapters of Gunka no Baltazar!
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
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