Posted on 9 July 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hisone to Masotan

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let down towards how HisoMaso progresses and wraps up. It’s a show with many highlights, mind you, as I consider the production as one of the best of the year so far: simple yet expressive character designs, stunning backgrounds and crisp animation. All you could ask for really. It has some interesting ideas, but that precisely pains me even more that the world-building just doesn’t support the ideas HisoMaso has.

To begin with, let’s address my main issues regarding this production. Unlike other anime shows which bring themselves down by treading the same tired path, HisoMaso is a show with many fresh concepts. I would applaud anyone who can think of the idea of them inside the dragons and piloting (note: not riding) as a military fighter jet. It’s a wonderful and whimsical mix concept that fit into the easy-going tone and the simple character designs. In fact, the first few episodes still carry this concept forward due to the fact that it never takes itself seriously. That’s when the issue arises when we need something more substantial when the appeal wears out, and it becomes increasingly frustrated to see the plot progresses without any backup. As an example, the show introduces the whole “ritual” concerning the whole giant dragon which “wakes up” every 82 years. It opens a whole new can of worms regarding the whole village who dedicated themselves solely for this event and even the process of it all. Equally under-developed and underwhelmed is the anastomosis bit, which for me is the prime example of creating conflicts solely for the sake if conflicts. As it stands, HisoMaso often feels like a first draft on a novel, many wonderful ideas but all of them are half-baked because the creators just don’t spend enough time to think this through.

The half-baked approach spread into the characters themselves. These girls have many quirks that distinct them to the rest of the cast, but at the end of the day there simply isn’t much development for them, or the development feel calculated and forced. Take Kinutsugai and Hitomi, the D-pilots who appear at the poster and the ED, HisoMaso just doesn’t know what to do with them. Same thing regarding the dragons, which feel more like mascots. The main lead Hisone embraces what could be the worst tendency of HisoMaso’s attempt of developing characters. Like the show, she tends to tell us out loud what her issues are, and like the show she tends to make rather weird decisions. Many of her conflicts are raised and solved within an episode, as a result the development doesn’t feel earned.

Speaking about making weird decisions, I can’t still put my fingers on the central message of HisoMaso. In some ways, Mari Osada underlines the struggles of working women in Japanese society, as they have to choose between career and family. Having Hisone and Hoshino fall in love that could potentially cause negative impact on piloting the dragons is part of that strategy. But how do they deal with it? By having the entire army unit work on “make them fall in love then crush their love apart”. That’s mean-spirited to the point of stupidity. On that note, they didn’t resolve the love’s conflict thoroughly either. Second, HisoMaso marks the relationship between the dragons and their pilots, as we see in how Hoshino struggling as she considers herself “a pilot” – not dragon caretaker; and we see the theme reflected by the titular characters. But the problem with its is the way Hisone regards her dragon. She considers Masotan as someone who see the specialness in her, and piloting dragon is something that make her worthwhile, as a result in episode 3 we have something as obscure as her demanding Masotan to “take responsibility” because he picked her. That level of dependence repeats later on, when Hisone argues with another girl solely about a boy. This questionable treatment to women is unacceptable, especially with a show about adult women written by an adult woman. As a result, HisoMaso become the first show from 2018 that receive a minus (-) mark from me.

But what HisoMaso makes up for the under-cooked story is the sheer power of visual presentation. Everything looks great, the characters are on the simple design, but that’s exactly why the studio can go wild on their facial expressions and characters movement. What it’s lack from the character depth is replaced by their mannerism, in which each character moves differently and has different tones. The background designs are simply gorgeous with bright color palette, and the animation are crisp and a feast to an eye. If you don’t mind the lack of deeper layer, HisoMaso’s aesthetic alone would serve as a visual treat. Indeed, at top of my mind only the recent FLCL’s production is on the same level with this show for the first half of this 2018 calendar year.

So yeah, HisoMaso is a show with many highs and lows. Its visual strength is amongst the best of the industry right now, and it’s an easy watch all around with some emotional resonance. The lack of a well thought-out world, however, hurts the show since it’s crumble as it moves along. It’s still a show worth checking out, but don’t delve too deeply into it.

Posted on 4 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

And we come to a close of this Dragon Pilot show and I’m still indifferent on how this anime wraps up. It’s not a bad ending per se, it has a good emotional payoff and it does somewhat wrap up the story. The more it gets into the conclusion, however,  the more I see inconsistencies in its world building that just throw me off even more. Hisone, as we suspected last week, after learning about the sacrifice, decides to defy the ritual and save the girl instead. She then, in her Hisone mood, sacrifices herself to put the dragon to sleep. But Masotan saves her at the end. It’s all fine and mighty, although I would be much more appreciate if HisoMaso explains me about the “stabbing” beforehand. It just feels as if they create that step to raise the conflict. Indeed a lot of “conflicts” in HisoMaso is designed that way. I know I’m mainly disappointed by the inconsistencies of its world building but it’s the first and foremost factor to sell me on the story as a whole. Failing that and it pampers my personal investment to the show and it makes me question the credibility of every plot’s progression.

At the end though, it saddens me to say that I don’t learn that much from the cast. Except for Hoshino and Sada who have a bit of development, all the side characters are under-written in general. The dragons are cute but again they are just that, cute. I do like the way they’re all confident that Hisone and Masotan will come back somehow in the end. The visual is still a wonder, which pains me even more that it can’t save the show from going downhill because of the weak writing.

Full review will come later but here’s some dot points of what get on my nerve in this finale:

-Grandma pilot Sada with her back story: if she feels that devastated how the hell she didn’t cause anastomosis to Masotan then?

-How comes all the back-and-forth exchanges between a girl who wants to save another girl is all about some other guy? It’s a under-representation of women role. Even with Bechdel test it fails fails fails miserably.

-Okonogi doesn’t fare any better. His childhood friend is on a verge of death and all he thinks of is Hisone

-At the end, even Natsume is more fleshed out than Kinutsugai and Hitomi, and I hardly regard her character as flesh out.

This show just disappoints me to no end.

Posted on 25 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

What’s there to say about HisoMaso? I’ll be blunt but I see this whole final arc a missed opportunity. It builds from neat ideas, but the way the show creates and resolves its conflicts are hammy at best. Take the two main struggles this episode: Hisone decided to quit the job altogether and the grandma possible yuri relationship with the old miko. All of these are established and quickly resolved in about 15 minutes, and I can’t say I feel anything about their conflicts. For Hisone, I can ‘barely’ get the reasons for her quitting. She doesn’t want to hurt the people she love. But for me it’s just an easy way out, she’s running away because she can’t deal with it. Now, I realize that this is HisoMaso’s point all along, but consider this: why the show introduces this drama too late of a game? Is it creating conflicts for the sake of conflicts? This new development effectively kills little interest I have left for Hisone character.

And then we have a brand new conflict in the name of Sada and that opens up another can of worms. Sada formed a special “relationship” with the old miko, just so that she witnessed the death of that shrine maiden and still hanging on it. It’s a nice little drama in concept, as it questions the necessity of sacrifice someone. But in practice, we have HER piloting Masotan instead of Nao, which for me makes completely no sense. Isn’t it another case of creating conflicts for the sake of conflicts? And then all this plot is building up for HISONE JUMPING INSIDE MASOTAN. Have you ever heard of the expression “Jumping the shark”? Well, it’s the same here (Jumping the dragon!). And it comes up with some more issues. First, how the hell it’s okay now that there’s two pilots inside the dragon and second, it feels that all these developments feel utterly calculated, and I must say, cheap.

Regarding how this story gonna closes up, I’m guessing that Hisone will find a way to save Natsume and all them come back safely. Remember they are inside the great dragon, right? Couldn’t they pilot or do something the same like what they do with Masotan and other dragons? One more thing that struck me is that the old lady might not die yet. We see her shredded clothes but surprisingly not her body, and regrading it’s HisoMaso we’re talking about, it could go in any direction. I still feel a bit betrayed how Hisone gets off and comes back a bit too quickly and easy, and worse the worldbuilding just isn’t strong enough for me to completely suspend my disbelief. For me it’s just another case of creators don’t think about this world hard enough.

Posted on 19 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Pretty visual aside, I wonder how much fuel left for this aircraft before it runs out of ideas. HisoMaso has never been a show with detailed world building, or even thick plot to begin with, and as the usual case for me, nothing much happened in this episode. The biggest plot point of this week is that Hisone and Hoshino now have to choose between love and career because somehow fallen in love is like a toxic for your dragons. I guess Okada’s point is that she raises one of the most common issues normal working woman will have to face: family or career, but even putting this story in that light, I can’t help but think HisoMaso is sexist. Guys are free to flirt around, guys at the top twitch the noses of our girls, and our girls take all the fall. Not only Hisone and Hoshino, but now Natsume is officially a Binden – literally a sacrifice (even that poor girl can’t have the man she loves, damnit). So by having Hisone decides to quit the job at the end, it also mean she strays away from the restriction, the repression. Hopefully I read that right because to be frank, part of me still thinks that Okada’s just trolling us around.

We get to know more about this Natsume – Okonagi’s romance and I’m not in a bit surprised here. It goes to the most common trope of unconditional love from Natsume, while Okonagi part-oblivious, part-see her as his sister- bullshit. I don’t really appreciate the way he dodges the kiss, but the blowing air to the nose part itself is quite a lovely bit (guess that mean that Masotan will have a chance to blow her nose in the Ritual). Another detail is about the village dedicated to this Ritual, where they raise young boys and girls to be shrine maidens and… what? Priests? How many priests they need in the ceremony anyways? (the answer is one). And how long in between each ceremony (the answer is 74 years). You get that? The whole generations of shrine maidens and priests were wasted because the dragon won’t wake up. This tells me that they haven’t thought the world-building out well, because the more you think about how it works the more it falls apart.

But we still have some nice moments in this episode. Nao has a chance to shine. Being somewhat written out towards the latter half of this series (the reason is simple: she doesn’t have a dragon), it’s nice to see her piloting Masotan again, an evidence that she has finally came to terms with being who she is, and piloting Masotan also means she helps out Hisone and her dragon as well. She has some nice chemistry with the designer (but wait, doesn’t she have a crush on this guy? Why can she piloting then? Guess the saying remains true: each girl tastes differently, right Masotan? In short, this is a so-so episode in an underwhelming last arc so far.

Posted on 12 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

After a pretty excellent episode last week, HisoMaso goes into the direction I’m afraid the most: exploring the romance aspect that by all means we don’t really need in the first place. And they frame it in a manner I cannot get behind. Lets see, due to these girls develop a certain feeling, they intoxicate their dragons and now the mission can potentially be halted? So now loving someone is a national crime now? Why do you need to put love in the middle of everything, certain writer? To put more salt to that wound, those romances aren’t that good  to begin with. On one side, we have a love triangle in which that love rival just basically stalks the girl. And then… Look, you don’t suddenly realize you have a feeling for someone like a lightning bolt like this (with all the screaming and stuff). On the other side, we have a crush between the two people who don’t even have normal conversation, and then that old cliche “falling down the stair and accidently kiss”? This trope is so old and tired that it might be older than myself. Seriously, it kills the little interest I have left for HisoMaso.

We also learn one crucial detail for this upcoming ritual, which is there’s going to be sacrifice, as they put it “the chosen one “ (and somehow the episode title sums up perfectly my feeling, eeeek!!), and if it isn’t quite clear right now that person would be Natsume, who has a crush on Okonogi. Consider how long we know this girl (ehhh, 20 minutes?), it’s hard to feel anything even if she ends up as a sacrifice, which I doubt. The question at hand, however, is how they treat the dragons out of their stomachache (okay, the technical term is anastomosis)  and how they discipline poor Hisone and Hoshino (aaaahhhh). I’m never fond with those love webs but now as they are in it, let’s just see how HisoMaso rolls. To be honest, I think the show would turn out better if they focus on the miko instead of these dragon pilots who experiencing their aching first love.

Posted on 4 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Readers who read my previous coverages on HisoMaso would know that I wasn’t very happy with the direction this show took. There’s a mean-spirited tone, and just downright nonsensical with the plot to make our girls fallen in love and then crush their hearts to pieces. But with this episode, I’m happy to say that HisoMaso finds a much stronger shape and it justifies most of the events happened before. So, the main plot going forward gonna focus about the ritual, which actually to move the giant big legendary sleeping dragon to its new bed, and that process can take up to 3 whole days without stop. The real challenge with this is the girls have to fight not to sleep for the whole 72 hours, otherwise that gigantic dragon would go off track. That actually sounds refreshing, for once the overarching plot isn’t going to be “saving the world and destroy bad guys” like I afraid, and there’s still some actual stake in there. Moreover, this ritual speaks well to this strange yet whimsical world.

We also know the true identity of the yogurt old lady (it’s about goddamn time). Turns out she was a OTF pilot back in the last time they carried the mission, and she proves to be a good addition to this cast. Her wise advice regarding how they fight with the lack of sleep, for example, is to sleep, on the ground that they have to be in sync with the dragons in order to ride them normally even when they’re asleep. After a brief argument with Hisone (in which I find her reason a bunch of rubbish. Man, her reasons never make sense to me), the old wise woman proceeds to do just that: let them relax and just listen to the sound of their dragons. This goes well in the end and for me, the episode brings me back to the show after a somewhat disappointing middle part.

So we’ll have a celebration (in which HisoMaso phrases it as “Ritual” huh? Will there be any sacrifice here?), we have the torii gate, the dragons and their pilots as the main players, and naturally we need to have shire maidens too. Which comes to the aspect I’m not confident about HisoMaso: the romances. While I personally enjoy the growing chemistry of Hisone and Okonogi, I can’t say the same with Hosino and the captain whatever-his-name-is. It feels hamfisted at best that they need to show us that these girls have some romantic feeling beside piloting dragon. Furthermore, the reveal in the end, the Okonogi is an important figure of “Divinity department” and his apparent love-interest put Okonomi-Hisone relationship into another light and I’m not sure if I’m on boat with this twist. Now that relationship becomes a three-way love which… is how anime plot tends to do, which is too say it’s repetitive and tiresome. I’m growing fond with Okonogi, however, and I especially like the part where Hisone tells him about the “original shitty horror movie which just released in Bluray” part, so yeah at least for now it’s not a deal-breaker. This episode does a pretty admiring job of pulling this show back from their weak and misfired last couple of episodes, at least for now I’m looking forward to see how HisoMaso going to wrap itself up.

Posted on 28 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Hmmm, I do feel like I’m watching some propaganda in HisoMaso this week, in which it tries to sell us the ideas that women’s low self-esteem and insecurity are the best way to “soulmate” their dragons, and worse, learning the whole conspiracy method of crushing these poor girls’ hearts to make sure they’ll ever love again, so they can devote all their hearts to pilot the dragons? WHAT? Okay, propaganda is a bit exaggerating, but I can’t help but feel the mean-spiritedness in this approach, especially virtually no one in the higher-ups question about it or that Ilboshi guy’s decision morally, instead they just roll with it. Haizz, they play those up for laugh, and I guess they set all this up so that the girls can overcome those, but still I feel a bit uneasy watching all these play out. Especially seeing the young mug Okonogi tries his damnest to slide between following his orders and just have fun with Hisone. I figure my uneasiness lies in the fact that these girls, our D-Pilots are the victims and clueless about all this. Ways to depreciate our women and their intelligence here, Mari Osada.

SO the plan is to figure out all the girls’ potential romantic interests, push it a bit and then squeeze that love like breaking an egg. Haizz. This plot gets thicken fast as Okonogi is granted a chance to go to a date with Hisone, watching some lame horror movie (wait, is it the same film with the one in After the Rain?). Meanwhile, Kinutsugai becomes an informant (because of Kingdom!) by that guy Ilboshi again. He now becomes a sore thumb here as beside babblings all those bullshits about white lovers, purity and what’s not, he acts equally stupid and manipulative too. To make things worse, this week our dragons get left out, in place for these stupid romantic threads (that include Hoshino and “the guy who ticks all the boxes” and Hitomi’s multiple interests).

The show’s writer is most infamously known for injecting unnecessary and drawn-out romances and it seems like she again hits the streak in this episode. It’s not enough to bring HisoMaso down, at least not yet, so I’ll reserve my final feeling when this all business about the ceremony is dealt with, but for now I’m not that keen on the direction it laid out. It should focus on the dragons – their pilots relationship, or even focus to develop our girls, not this. And HisoMaso still holds their cards too close regarding the real identity of the yogurt lady. Too much sniffing and licking without revealing won’t tease people anymore. I’m a bit concerned with HisoMaso now, it looks like it will head dive into the deep ocean full of sharks and I’m not sure if it ever going to recover from that.

Posted on 23 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

At one point during this episode I almost felt that Hoshino was just too overboard. Being stubborn is one thing, but when you’re too stubborn you outright hurt others’ feeling without backing down, it’s irritating to watch. The issue with Hoshino, as we come to learn during the flashback, is that piloting an F2 has been her lifelong dream. And she tries, amongst the male-dominated world, to reach that dream. Then this dragon picks her and she determines to push forward to make her dragon a F2 plane. The dragon understands that so he tries to stay in Foxtrot form all the time. It’s a classic abusive relationship if I’ve ever seen one. The main thing is, for Yoshino it’s her desire to fly, not piloting a F2, that hooked her in the first place and their flight together in the end further reminds her of that.

Meanwhile, the other three manage to survive for few days and initially forgets all about their training objective. No big deal, when the dragons are happy they can just take wings and fly off (And eventually they did). These girls encounter the shrine inside the cave with Masotan and other dragons’ symbol in there, so I reckon that this island is a spiritual place where the dragon pilots – white lovers, shrine maidens, whatever exchange some form of mutual relationship with the dragons. They all have the same dream that night of a lady riding a dragon, which I guess for now is either the yogurt old lady or Nao’s mom. Well, we have all the elements in place now: the maidens, the shrine, the dragons, the last thing left is the ceremony itself so let’s see how HisoMaso eventually get into that part.

While I feel the drama and the overall serious tone are just passable, it’s the comedy that fares much better this time. In particular, the comedy duo Hisone and Nao’s puppet head provides some nice gags, including one of the most tragic faux “death” in recent history (Hisone’s face is priceless). The voice acting also work wonderfully well, especially the licking gags of Hisone – just to show you how weird our main protagonist is. Nao and Iboshi’s current crave for kiwi doesn’t really work for me, but it ties its thread well with the final revelation. As of now, I feel HisoMaso just doesn’t have enough of a central plot to make a proper impact, and it relies instead on the gorgeous visuals and quirky character expressions. It’s a nice show to watch and enjoy, but when it’s all done you realize the story doesn’t progress much, and sometimes it feels like the plot just stands still and doesn’t go anywhere at all.

Posted on 16 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

There’s one thing you can count on original shows, you can never know for sure what the plot is going next. Sometimes, it surprises you with its sheer originality and sometimes, it could go to weird places. HisoMaso falls into the latter this week, literally where it’s taking us to an uninhabited island for the survival test. It’s this week that the show goes for more serious tone, and I’m not quite sure if this seriousness works for the show’s benefit. First, I don’t buy any talk from Administrative Vice-Minister Iiboshi at all. He seems to be the one who knows the most about the connection between OTFs and their pilots, but all his “white maiden” metaphors scream all pretentious with no real substance for me. I mean, the show’s pretty obvious with their visual motifs in support for this white-maiden tale: the traditional festive in the beginning, the torii gate and the rice cakes but now all seem vague and contrived to me.

Second, the way Iiboshi (and the show) frames that the main reason the dragons choose the pilots is because of the girls’ self-loathed. Now THAT I have issues with. Hisone puts it better than anyone: Without Masotan, she’ll be just a social awkward girl who talks to herself too much and is unfit for society. The girls themselves admit later on that they regard their dragons as a way to close themselves off to the people around them. Now thinking back, this has always been Hisone’s perspective towards Masotan since they first met. She said to her dragon the same thing before that she was flattered by the dragon’s choice because she feels special; and her speech to Masotan to “take his responsibility” for choosing her. It’s a flawed way of regarding your partner (and definitely not better than Eri who regards the dragon as the tool) but things might change for the better once the girls have more confident in themselves.

The gist of this episode is, however, to show us how dysfunctional those girls are. It feels to me that these girls are the protagonists of their own story, and then awkwardly assemble them altogether. As such they belong to their own story and have absolutely no chemistry put together. It’s a compliment actually since this episode works its way up to improve the girls’ dynamic together (and also, their relationship with the dragons). In terms of set-up, this is as classy as possible: throw the girls into a deserted island with their (somehow useless) dragons, and force them to interact for the same goals. Matters got worse when Hitomi’s dragon eats all the food supply. Everyone has their own way to deal with it, mostly sleeping and wander aimlessly, and working together remains their last option. Disappointed Hisone soon finds out that despite their team work is close to non-existent, each of the girl can still offers something useful, and together they can manage to survive… for few more days.

Their objective for now is to let the dragons have fun until they get hungry, they’ll fly again. But isn’t it better to figure out why the dragons can’t fly there? That brings us to Eri. While the point of this mission might be improving the team work, it also works as a way to improve yourself and understand your dragons better and Eri needs that now. She’s determined to abandon the dragon to accomplish the mission, but as HisoMaso hints us she opened her heart to the dragon once, so now is the good time to revisit the very moment her dragon picks her in the first place. HisoMaso so far gets away with a lot of its stupid ideas because of its incredible ability to not take itself seriously, so I hope when they finally get serious they have to find a way to hold everything up together, because eye-candy visual alone can only go so far.

Side note: I’m not a fan at all of this overlong, LN-inspired title. Remind me in a bad way of the episode titles in Kiznaiv… wait, that anime was written by Mari Okada too? Never mind then.

Posted on 9 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

With this episode the main plot thread of HisoMaso starts to emerge. Not only we have a new character this week, but all three of the remaining cast joined in in spectacular fashion. And befitting with the oddball personalities of both Hisone and Nao, they are a bunch of eccentric characters whose characteristics are all over the place. We have Ririko (codename Jimmy) – a shy and introvert girl, Hitomi (TAC name Morris) – a kind-hearted soft spoken big (and lazy) girl and Eri (TAC name Penguin) – a self-serious and overachiever. Looking at this cast, one has to wonder how unfit those girls are in military context. I mean, army is supposed to be uniform, consistent and those girls are as faraway from those as possible. But maybe that’s the point, that driving (AKA massaging the inside of) dragon is a job that only oddballs can do (And to think that Nao now is the one being left out – 4 dragons and 5 girls, seriously?). I’m still not very convinced about the characters of Hitomi and Ririko so far, given most of the time HisoMaso play their weirdness mostly for laugh.

It’s Eri who takes the main stage in this episode and she’s responsible for HisoMaso’s first real thematic depth: whether to regard themselves as pilot or dragon caretaker, thus regard the dragon as their friend/pet or as the airplane. With a show that been dancing around its theme so lightly so far you’d know what their solution is. Eri’s point has her merits, she wants to be the first big female pilot in the military force and she’s determined to make the boys recognizing her talents, or in the broader sense to make military women more than just an object/ a weakness, but by doing so she’s objectifying her dragon as something no more than a tool. The fact the dragon is too tense that he remains in aircraft mode even after the flight is sad as hell. As a result, he goes over his limits and transforms into the dragon form when Eli pushes him harder.

Again, Hisone nearly ruins the mood of her new comrades by saying mean things as they are, but in some way there’s always a charm in her meanie thought-out-loud. There’s no chemistry between her and the rest of the cast whatsoever, but that’s precisely the joy to see this band of misfits doing missions together, arguing over the most meaningless things while inside the stomach of dragons. The girls’ facial expressions remain as expressive as ever and the visual is certainly top-notch and gorgeous. I’m not too sold with the new cast so far, mostly because it’s Eri-centric episode but I reckon I’ll warm up with the other two as time goes by.

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

Kaze Ga Tsukyoku Fuiteiru – 3 [A Single Flower]

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SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

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