Posted on 3 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Houseki no Kuni

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production phase. Unlike normal anime products, Orange studio approached the material as early as nearly 2 full years before its initial broadcasting, and the production went through many unusual phases that took much longer time for the studio to complete. This is to say it was a rough path that they decided taking on and the result showcases how much confidence they adapt the material. This season feels much more as an introduction to an epic story and at its core Houseki serves as an coming of age story to our protagonist Phos, while exploring the insecurities of those gems towards their own roles. As I compare the manga and the anime adaptation together, I still regard the manga as a more astonishing version, but by all mean it’s not a criticism against the anime. Houseki the anime approaches the source in the best way it possibly can, both highlights the unique appeal of its gems cast, striking visual metaphoring and dynamic fights sequence that make it one of the best adaptation in my eyes: both respect the core themes that make the manga stands out, at the same time is vibrant with its own personality.

Houseki is a show of pure beauty. Its world building is ethereally fresh and rich, at once strange and full of mysteries yet to explore. Houseki features the world where the three races: the Lunarians who live over the Moon, the Gems who live in land and the Admirabilis who live under the sea. Underneath that surface where we follow the Gems doing their daily patrol and fight off the invaders Lunarians, the three races are hinted to be the three basic components that form the human race: the Soul, the Bone and the Flesh, respectively. Houseki is the work that is dense with Buddhism symbols, images and philosophy. This is further underlined in the way the character designs are drawn: the Moon People are identical entities, the Gems have their lower bodies almost the same, only the Gems-reflected in their hairs are vastly different and the Snails have their own distinctive, over-designed body with clear sexual traits. Speaking of the ambiguous of gender issues, Houseki might be the only series I could give a plus (+) rating for its sensitive approach to the non-gender beings, something that is rare even in today’s standard and something that speaks further to the originality of Houseki.

In order to approach the strange beauty of the Gems and the stylish dynamic of their fights, Houseki decided to go full CG – a decision that freaked out the manga fans considering the bad track of full CG shows. The computer generated might get some time to get used to, but the more Houseki displays its visual the more it reaches its new height. The characters look gorgeous in their CG models, the CG allows Houseki to experiment with many unusual shot angles and long shot tracking that really hard to pull in a traditional hand-drawn production. The sequence where Dia runs away from Shiro, for example, stands out for all the right seasons. In addition, this CG style uses its shortcomings in computer production (its lightweight movements and somewhat awkward character actings) into an asset, making the Gems feel offbeat and whimsical – the very quality that make them charming and pleasing to watch. The physical comedy, as a result, hits the mark most of the time. But not only the CG takes all the credits here, I have to praise the 2D production as well since the characters have 2D facial features that allow many subtle facial expressions. Orange studio really makes the most out of what they have, capturing the feeling of the manga using the tools of a different medium, and they pull off beautifully.

But exploring this mysterious world and its grand cast is only one of Houseki’s many concerns. This season is all about the growth of our main character, Phos, as they breaking apart, metamorphosing, and changing themselves for better or for worse. They experient some of the sharpest character development I have seen in awhile, both physically and psychologically. The more they losing parts of their body, the more useful and mature they become, the less memory they have. At the end of the day, what’s left of the original Phos? Phos certainly carries their own magnificently with their own charm and witty remarks and a natural voice acting from the talented Tomoyo Kurosawa. Moreover, Houseki underscores the identity and the insecurity of the Gems towards the own roles. Many of the gems, from Phos, Cinnabar, Dia are all struggling with their position. Those vulnerables make them so relatable and real. All other Gems of the cast have their own quirks, but they never sell themselves short. They share great natural chemistry to each other and each of them is memorable, grounded and overall a total joy to watch.

Aside from the colorful yet memorable characters, Houseki benefits from the stunning background arts that not only stand out on its own, but they fit to the narrative seamlessly. Take note how the color of the background changes according to the Gems in spotlight – a beautiful trick that both convey the aura of said character, but also is very appropriate to show the sparkling ability of those Gems. The anime visual has a lot of symmetric shots that from what I know isn’t apparent in the manga, but it’s a welcome upgrade since the techniques reflects very well the theme of Houseki. The soundtrack is another highlight that really elevate many sequences to another level, especially during the fight scenes.

But still, Houseki is much more than beautiful visuals. What I impress the most about Houseki is how they manage the overall tones of the show. Sometimes we have silly, offbeat fluffy comedy, at times it goes full on devastating that showcase a very realistic portrayal of grief; in other minutes Houseki is thrilling with monster chase, crazy Gems and dynamic fights. Strangely, all of these moments above feel really Houseki-y. It’s the show that is full of identity. Rarely I see an anime show that feel so unlike any other shows I watch out there, and manage to be so passionate on what it does, that I can let all my complaint about the show down under the kitchen sink. Unique, strange, beautiful, devastating, ambiguous, and charming all at once, Houseki is an one-of-a-kind series, and I mean it in the best possible way.

Posted on 26 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

And this phenomenal anime has come to an end, at least for now. This finale is pretty much a calm before the big arc coming up, and further solidify the extend Phos has been growing so far. Well, Houseki isn’t very subtle on this by showing the parallel between this finale and the first episode. Again, we have the meeting between Phos and Cinnabar as the emotional chord, now with Phos’s offering the new job to their Crimson friend. Again, mirroring the very first sequence of the show  we have other Gems calling out for Phos to meet Kongou-sensei. While in the first episode Phos was lying on the grass doing basically nothing, this time they’re standing at the edge of the cliff and clearly have a goal in mind. It comes to a full circle, which is kind of appropriate for a heavily-Buddhism theme like Houseki. Many viewers might consider this ending anticlimactic, but I really like the steady progression of how the story unfolds and particularly how Phos has matured slowly but firmly since the start of the season. Even Phos reflects on the change with sad sentiment, a loss of innocence that they will never go back to the way they were before. This is one of the most well-developed anime character arc I have seen in awhile. Well done Houseki.

But not only Phos, this episode also shines on bringing other Gems to light with many hints of their backstory, while further highlights their colorful personalities with surprisingly relatable traits. Take Padparadscha for example, the beautiful Swiss-cheese holes Gem just waking up, having a walk at the shore and then falling back to sleep all too soon, but they sure catch up well with the situation and leaves a lasting impact. They’re the one who give Phos a much-needed advice: keep their composure and be mindful with their actions. Adding to that wise advice is the way he wears the uniform: loose shirt, uneven pair of socks and cool demeanor make him a total winner to me. But even Alex (Lexi), Zircon and Yellow Diamond all give their own stories that rooted deep in their insecurities when it comes to their roles and the fear of losing their dear comrades. Phos, on that note, had experienced both those issues, but it becomes apparent this time that the other Gems also have experienced them in some degrees too. Alex determines to learn all about the Lunarians as a reminder that they took Chrysoberyl away (the way they love trivia and cosplay Kongou sensei, by the way, are awesome). Zircon, on the other hand, feels deeply nervous around Bort, and their insecurities of having Phos surpassed him despite being the same age.

The biggest hint about the Lunarians comes from Phos’ attempt to isolate one of the Lunarian and try to talk to the figure. The Lunarian’s eyes come back into focus, or to put it better, they regain conscious. They even mutter something before got swept away by the toxic of Cinnabar. This makes me thinking what if the Lunarians are mind-controlled as well, just like the poor Admirabillis? All we know at the moment is the Admirabillis were captured and lose their consciousness in the Moon land, and the Gems are systematically controlled by Kongou-sensei, so it’s reasonable to assume the same fate with the Lunarians? Kongou-sensei obviously is the key to open the door full of secrets here, although Phos’ current decision to come over the Moon to see their side of story is a very logical move. After the Moon, the next target should be the Snails, right?

I still can’t put my finger on how much Phos still remembers Cinnabar and their promises, but it sure isn’t a good sign that Phos starting to lose their memories and Houseki suggests that as time goes on, when Phos loses more of their body parts, they will no longer have those important memories too. But their last encounter brings a lot of raw emotions to the forefront. Cinnabar still leans on what Phos promise, every single word of it, and the scene where they ran off Phos and showed their vulnerability speaks volume considering how they tend to avoid showing any emotions towards other Gems. It’s a hard job, and not necessary a rewarding one, where they team up with Phos to offer an opinion, or rather a contrasting opinion. I’m looking forward to see how the outcast duo will fare when they go up to the Moon for an enlightment.

Overall, what a ride! While I still bemoan for Houseki ending too soon and we have to wait for a certain amount of time for the sequel to come, if ever, I would definitely say that Orange studio had succeeded on their gambles of using fully computer generated to the entire show. The animation is dynamic and inventive, the visual is striking with symmetrical visual, moody color palette and the comedy is unexpectedly slapstick-y that somehow fit the tones of this little gem. Houseki is a treasure and I really hope they greenlit for the second season. This story is deserved to receive a full adaptation. The Gems must live on.

Posted on 19 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

With “Secrets”, Phos’ now in the middle of “loss of innocence” personal crisis. Well, they did reach that stage when Phos’ suffering over Antarc’s loss (in which he still hallucinates about Antarc’s present even now. Good job, Houseki), but in this episode, it comes to full force. Phos starts to break their trust towards Kongou-sensei, their teacher plus father figure (“breaking” in both metaphorical sense and visual motif). Not without a good reason though as the formidable beast (turns into fluffy harmless puppies this week, but that’s for later paragraph), as soon as he meets Kongou-sensei, he comes and greets him like a dog meets his old master. Kongou-sensei even plays several tricks and calls him by his name, with a manner that even closer and sincerer than with the Gems himself. Only Phos overhears his conversation. And only Phos, and Cinnabar to an extend (great choice of costumes there as only Phos and Cinnabar still wear the same old uniform instead of the new Spring uniform like the rest of the Gems, signify that they are different than the rest of the Gems), have that real suspicion about their Sensei. For others, that suspicion is like a moral code they don’t dare to cross, but Phos’ willing to cross it as their next move is to willingly be taken to the Moon so that they can learn about the Moon’s side of the coin. A promising adventure that will become a central plot thread for the second season, if one ever comes at all.

For me, it all makes sense regarding how Kongou-sensei has established a long history with the Lunarians from way, way back. I have tackled this before but Kongou remains an exception of the rules about the Houseki’s world so far. He’s the closest to “Human” to that world, the combination of both Flesh (gender-specific), Bone (he can crush everything) and Soul (all the Gems and what-seem-like all the Lunarians worship him). He obviously has something in mind to run things the way it is now, and that might not for the benefits of the Gems. The way he withholds many information about the Lunarians and the way he knows almost everything all suggest that he’s the mastermind behind this world, and at this rate I suspect that he will be the last person standing when Phos continues to transform themselves and learn all the answers.

Leave aside all the seriousness, never in my wildest dream that I could anticipate Shiro, the scary beast last week, turns out to be so cute, kawaii and fluffy like this. Or even the Gems steal their scenes by comedically stay true/ break a bit of their characters. Tale Alex/Lexa for example, who would’ve thought as soon as they look at the Lunarians, they turn into a maniac killing machine? Or Bort who enjoyed fighting so much couldn’t dare to hit those puppies? Or the first reaction Dia has when they wake up was upset because they didn’t have a chance to play with those puppies? I tell ya, they will fall head over heel if they ever watch a moe anime. How Houseki fuse seamlessly between thrilling action from last week and screwball misadventure this week without losing a hair of their identity is beyond me. For all the comedic tone this episode establishes, most of them work very well. What doesn’t work well, however, is the unnecessary Rutile – Padparadscha story that feel way too abrupted and way too late in the game. I admit I mildly interested in Rutile’s obsession of bringing the old Gem back to life, and the visuals are striking, but for the character that we haven’t heard once before, at the second last episode of this cour, in addition with Phos’ ongoing conflict on top of it, that shift is a total whiplash. It might work better in the manga version since there will be a progression to this Papparadscha character, but as the one-cour anime I would look for a tighter story because simply we don’t have much time to tell everything. Houseki, learn to cut off some parts of your body and patch it up somewhere more useful.

Posted on 11 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat package I have no complain whatsoever. Viewers might point to the second half of this episode as Houseki’s most memorable moments, and they’re indeed correct, but for me the first half is just as equally impressive, despite… well, nothing really happens. Take the first segment for example, where Phos just sits in one place and other characters pop in and out of the picture, in sequence, it feels like we’re in a play. Indeed, that segment is constructed like a theatre play, with Phos sometimes sits in the middle of the “stage”, talks to one cast member at a time and then narrates themselves. Moreover, just by the way Phos interacts with different Gems we can learn immediately about Phos’ current role in this gems’ society: helping out Lexi about Lunarian’s types, taking a patrol job from Jade, still a topic of curiosity from Rutile, partnering up with Bort, and most importantly, we learn that Phos is still haunted by the loss of Antarc. All that and Houseki never betrays its quirky sense of humor. The moment those jellyfishes jump off their pots totally win me over. I didn’t even notice that the Gems use jellyfish as a light source before. That explains the light changes color depending on which Gems taking a spotlight was the jellyfishes deciding to change color, and obviously has nothing to do with Houseki’s artistic liberty.

Dia’s reaction towards receiving the news from Phos has to be Houseki’s most expressive reaction in the whole season, because it fits Dia’s character too well. Shock at first, but Dia quickly accepts that fact and even forces Phos to accept the personality of Bort. I know they’re Gems so they have different concept than us human when it comes to pairing/ partnering, but for me the Gems’ break up is just as hard as ending a relationship. Dia takes those sad feeling all to themselves – of course they’re never worthy enough to be paired with Bort. Of course now that Phos is stronger, it’s only natural for Bort to team up with Phos. The moment Dia just sits there picking flowers in complete loneliness, follow immediately by them looking at their old partner from afar is both sad and heartfelt. Houseki is really spot on at delivering those little character moments. Dia’s arc comes to a satisfying closure at the end of the episode, when Dia gets out of their own insecurity to face the beast head on, and later on when they see Bort again in their own shattered state, Dia fully lets all their burden go. “I’m glad we spilt up” and “From afar, I see just how much you mean to me”. Both are true, spoken from the bottom of their heart (if they ever have one).

Finally, holy cow! The animation, the choreography and the camera work really something else altogether. I would expect that level of excellence in theatrical movie or a top-notch 3D game, not in a “budget” anime show. To put it simply, Houseki is a prime example of an anime that uses the CG right. The two fights are stunning with some of the best cinematography that play almost entirely in one single cut. Just watch the fight sequence of Dia and Shiro in full movements and the long take makes us feel like we were participating in the fight along with Dia. Or the sequence before that when we follow Dia hiding behind the box, we get to see they leaning forward and back in real time, then the camera just zooms out while Dia hides so we can feel in sync with the situation Dia is in. Also I have to note that the way Dia uses their own leg and their own sharpness as a weapon is a smart move, since diamond is weak under impact but extremely lethal when it comes to cutting. At long last, Shiro is cut in half… and split into two smaller Shiros. With only Bort fighting them, how can they pull it off? We have one of the best action-sequence of this whole year and for my money one of the best episode of this season. Houseki goes completely insane this week and ends up outdone themselves. The only issue remains… All these cliffhangers are really bad for my blood-pressure.

Posted on 4 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki approaches summertime this episode and this week feels like a breather after the intensity from the last few weeks, by that I mean Phos didn’t get into any real trouble by the end of this week. Not to say this episode is anything less amazing compared to last several weeks. One of the factor that I still regarded Grimgar quite highly despite its shaky overall production is that they nailed the feeling of grief admirably, something that the anime medium usually glosses over too quickly. The loss of someone close/ dear to you usually leaves a lasting, permanent impact, so naturally I found myself tuning out whenever the main protagonist overcomes that loss just several episodes like nothing ever happen. Here in Houseki, the loss of Antarc still lingering over Phos, and although Phos doesn’t have any significant alteration in their physical body, this week marks a tremendous change in Phos’ personality. At the beginning of this episode, we see the more collected, no-nonsense Phos and they still mourn over the loss of Antarc, whom they feel their capture was entirely their fault. The nightmare/hallucination of Phos about Antarc, in particular, is a powerful and realistic moment about people gem who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.

Back to spring, when all the gems wake up from hibernation with a new job, and new pairs of spring uniform. Phos receives unanimous popular for their new alloy arms, which can stretch, turn, attack and making a wall at will. The other gems, behave exactly like children who receive new toys, at first scare of Phos’ arms, but then the curiosity takes a better of them. With the old Phos, the sudden popularity and recognition from their peers are all they could ask for, but now that Phos actually has all the attention, they don’t know how to deal with it. “Not a single good thing has come from it”. This line nails perfectly how the current Phos feel. Phos is now strong at battle, can single-handed hold off the Lunarians’ attacks, just like what they wished right at the beginning of the series. But everything else is off. They still can’t fulfil what they promised to Cinnabar, they lost what they consider their best comrade. My favorite moment of this episode has to be when Phos cries their gold tears, in which Kongou sensei calmly responses “This is merely a defect found in ancient organism and nothing to fault yourself for”. Somehow this line really sums up Houseki’s eye-opening world flawlessly.

One thing I didn’t pick up on my last coverages is how the Lunarians have several different types attacking the Gems. I guess the different in types all depending on the Jewel materials they used to attack the Gems. My take is that the old, classic type is the type that has none of such material. Which comes to a fascinating scenario: Imagine how Phos would react when the Lunarians use Antarc’s fragments as their core materials. Granted, Antarc is fragile in nature so there is a low chance that would happen. One more interesting factor in this episode is how Phos slowly lost their memories as well. Not sure when they response to Rutile that they don’t remember Cinnabar is just a total scam or the truth, but with Phos slowly losing their memory (due to their loss of fragments), changing both in their personality and appearance, what’s left to the original Phos except their gorgeous Tomoko Kurosawa’s voice? Are they considered the same gem then? As this is the episode dedicated to the new personality of Phos, the background visual appropriately has more colourful setting with the yellow reflection from the sun. The visual motif changes as well, as previous episodes we often see Phos lying on the grass, this time though they’re standing on it, but still feel lost and directionless. The visual and the music is as dead on as ever. This might be a slow episode, but Houseki again successfully establishes Phos as a compelling protagonist, and I really hope in the last 3 episodes, we gonna have a powerful arc that close up this magnificent, unique anime in a satisfying manner.

Posted on 29 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki’s just getting better and better huh? This episode is a knock-out, this series is truly a knock-out. It must be Houseki’s most devastating episode, leaving Phos, Antarc and Kongou-sensei the deep wound that won’t easily be healed. Let’s get to the main turn of event upfront: Antarc is taken away by the Moon people. This result, in a way, is a paid price for Phos getting their new arms. Just two episodes since their first appearance, Antarc has earned more than enough to become a reliable, yet surprisingly poignant and humane character and they’re undoubtedly one of my favorite characters in Houseki. Just two episodes since their first appearance, but the loss of Antarc feels profoundly impactful, not only with us viewers (since Antarc was the very first gem from our point of view to be taken by the Lunarians), but also with both Phos and Kongou-sensei, the only two beings who share a deep connection with Antarc. But boy, the Iced Gem does put up a good fight. In a way, it’s more like Antarc is unlucky when they encounter a string of bad luck all by their own: Phos’s in the situation where they can’t help (another instance where Phos being useless when it counts the most), the sky is unexpectedly clear, Kongou-sensei being hold up and most of all, the Lunarians attack them TWICE. They’re a persistent bunch, to put it very mildly.

But Antarc’s character strength shines through all over this episode with many, many great character moments. From the very early on, where we can clearly see their frustration towards Phos’ losing the forearms. Diving deep into the sea of ice, risking their own safety and nearly losing their hand, all we can hear was “they’re gone”. It’s more like the far cry from Antarc that they blame the loss of Phos’ forearms as their own lack of teamwork experience. Or their furious later on when they wanted to take their hand back because they don’t want to lose any memories with the sensei. Or even later when they literally breaking apart, they do their best to take care of Phos and tells Phos to take care of sensei and carry on the winter job in their place. Antarc sure will be missed; an unsung hero who exits the field almost too soon, leaves a big impact to those remaining players, especially Phos.

Like how we expected last week (and frankly this was the only plot development that comes as expected, the rest is fairly unpredictable), Phos’ getting a new pair of hands and they’re much stronger, albeit much harder to control, than Phos’ previous arms. This is a true “body-horror” element if you ask me, unfamiliar limbs attached to the host and then grow accustomed and spread all over the body and go out of control. At first, these golden arms take completely out of hands, building themselves up into the golden jelly, then golden solid cage which completely “swallow Phos whole”. However, with the devastating feeling of watching Antarc broken apart, then being taken away by the Lunarians, Phos goes pass their own limits to control those freak arms and manage to make them a useful, powerful weapon. This is the first time, however, that we witness the desperation in the eyes of Phos. The laid-back, why-so-serious character becomes angry, distraught, and later, deeply disappointed about themselves that they can’t do anything to bring their friend back. Big part of why Phos is still very likable despite their seemingly-annoying attitude lies in the dynamic voice acting work from Tomoyo Kurosawa, who did a marvellous job voicing Kumiko in Sound Eupho last year. In an interview, the staff comment that they build Phos’s body acting based mostly on the nuance of Miss Kurosawa’s voice (which is not a common practice by all mean since usually the voicing session comes much later in the production phase), and here we can see the easy dynamic from Phos that made them click like a stick.

Houseki again drops another crucial setting: A Chord Shore where supposedly all the Gems are born in, and for my money, where it all begins. We get the see the brief part of an incomplete crystal who washed up, drop into the ground and become nothing. Only in rare occasions, the complete Gems are born, and they were taken immediately into the swings of Kongou-sensei, who teach them about the world and assign them to their jobs. All I’m getting at is that Kongou-sensei definitely controls their income of knowledge and he obviously hides something underneath the surface. Even Yellow Diamond, the oldest gem, admits that they already forget the reasons they fight the Lunarians. All other gems don’t know either the reasons they fight except that they were told to fight. I guess the main reason here has to do with Kongou-sensei, in the sense that those gems fight the Moon people to protect himself from the Lunarians. Just looking at the way the Lunarians “ambush” the Monk: for me their actions all hint towards to “worshipping” Kongou-sensei, and I suspect that they gather the Gems in order to make the best material to submit him. But what intrigue in the settings doesn’t lessen the fact that Houseki has delivered some of its most emotional-wrenching moments to date. I have a strong feeling that Houseki keeps building itself up to an epic drive, both in terms of emotion, as well as its narrative scope.

Posted on 22 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Ho boy, I know Houseki’s world-building is unique but the idea of gems’ hibernation in winter due to the lack of sunlight? What a creative idea it is. This winter landscape makes a nice contrast to the lively green field of grass we’ve encountered in previous episodes. The new world that feels both empty, vast and alien. Like how the color fillers in Houseki adjust depending on which Gems taking a spotlight, this white icy winter represents the new centre character this week: Antarctictite. A lone-wolf germ by design more than by choice, while the other gems fall asleep during winter, Antarc hardens their solid form and carries on the duty to protect the sleeping gems along with Kongou-sensei. Antarc might become one of my favorite Jewel people out of just this episode, the way they’re attentive to their duty, carry out many lines of job, from chopping down ice foes, clearing the icy paths, to more bizarre jobs like babysit and protect the other gems (putting the blanket onto them and they will fall back asleep, what a quirk!) and even Kongou-sensei himself. I also like the way Antarc behaves towards our Phos: wary at first, but once they hear the frustrating of Phos, Antarc assists Phos to all their ability.

The two prominent themes of Houseki so far has again developed greatly in this episode. First is the struggling for their own roles in the eyes of Phos and Cinnabar and second is the theme of transformation. Phos feels utterly frustrated because they couldn’t do anything to help their partners, yet receives almost no trouble from their peers, as if the other gems have no expectation whatsoever toward Phos. That moment and the one earlier when Phos just runs and meets Cinnabar in their night patrol, unable to talk to Cinnabar ring hollowly true. These might be gems, but they feel more humane than most characters I have encountered this season. Secondly, after having their legs repaired (and for the better), this episode suggests the idea of Phos need to repair their hands (and that might be for the better as well), the hands from supposedly the Lunarians to begin with. And that exactly what happened in the end. Phos’s stumbling into the icy pool; and lost both of their forearms. This leads to two interesting implications. First, it’s pretty much intended that this story is the journey of Phos who transform by replacing parts of their body to make them stronger. First the limbs, and I suspect the next one would be their body and their head and what I found the most interesting is the desire of Phos to cut off their limbs. If so, what happened to Phos’ own memory? When they lose their own gems their memory is fade away as well, will Phos remain as Phos as they attach the new materials into their body? Moreover, what happened if the remains of Phos’ fragments joined into the new whole body? Will that be Phos as well and carry the same personality with this current Phos? Man, this is going to be intriguing.

And of course I can’t pass this review without mentioning the most important new character in this episode: the ice floes. What exactly are they? They share the same appearance with the Lunarians, have a harrowing voice and sometimes whispers uncharacterised words, except that Phos clearly understands what they said. Kongou-sensei regards them as “sinners”, which sound eerily similar to the human race, but consider that it’s Christian, not necessary Buddhism, context that regards human as such, my guess is that the ice floes don’t represent the human race. More like they are an incomplete state of the Lunarians, which we all know is representing the “Soul”. The ice floes call out for Phos, but it might be that Phos’ current state of mind who do the talking, since they have a knowledge of Cinnabar, whose Phos’ desire the most to help out. Until next episode should we know more about Phos’ new forearms and what those ice floes really are, but this episode might be the best episode of Houseki so far: striking landscape with memorable new characters and the world-building that both deeper, more fascinating but strangely beautiful at the same time. Houseki is building up to be one of my favorite anime this year has to offer.

Posted on 14 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

Houseki maintains its impressive streak this week, with Phos learning their new role patronizing, a job once again clearly isn’t suitable for our main character. While you could say Houseki follows the same formula from the very first week: first introduces a huge array of Gems’ cast, then leaves Phos out in some kind of trouble that needed saving, then reverts back to status quo with Phos learning something new; the world-building gets even deeper and more mysterious. And like how others described about Phos – a good-for-nothing, selfish, loud brat – it’s surprising to say that Phos has grown a lot on me. Through many transformations Phos still comes off and behaves exactly like themselves: excited for a chance to wield the sword and go for battle, but too weak to even hold the lightest blade (great touch of comedy here), extremely cautious about the Moon people to the point of straining themselves both physically and mentally. It’s interesting to note about Phos’ growing so far, since they are all the different aspects of changing: first as an emotional bond with Cinnabar, then as a speaking ability to the Admirabilis, the physical transformation of the new leg, could it be this time about their inner spiritual growth? The more I see, the more I come to learn that Phos’ transformation might be one of Houseki’s dominant theme. It makes sense in the long run since I suspect the central conflicts of Houseki will be about the three races and their transformation/ hybrid into a fully-formed human being as a final phase of transformation. Speaking of “human”, it’s the only term that the now-forgotten Phos mutters, and needless to say Kongo-sensei is furious about it. From the look of it Kongo-sensei seems to know exactly what Phos means, and he’s hiding that fact from other gems, for whatever intent (goodwill or ill-will) we have yet to know.

The new cast this week, consist of Yellow Diamond, Amethyst, Zircon and even Obsidian (who I assume as swords’ designer. How cool!) are already a delight. Despite having a relatively short screen time, they all have their own unique voice and personality that I can never get tired of without being too over the top. Not a small feat at all for a show that feature such an extensive cast (and the fact that Houseki keeps introducing handful of new characters every week), but so far every single one of them – except for the Lunarians, which for my money is intentional – is memorable, expressive and bounce off each other very well. Yellow Diamond, in particular, is a big brother of the Jewel people, but Yellow don’t feel they deserve the respect since their partners were all taken to the Moon. Not their fault, but they are the main catch from the Lunarians. Amethyst, moreover, is such fascinating character(s) and their laid-back attitude (even more laid-back than Phos, that says something) makes it fun just to follow them and Phos for their patronizing. When Amethyst eventually get captured, shattered apart by the Moon people, the terror isn’t come from the fact that we sympathize for the character (after all, we just know them for, like, 10 minutes), but come from the realization that those Gems are crushing apart and kidnapped to the Moon is a very real thing (Their last word “Run, Phos” echoed my remark last week. My my). Consider that Bort, and then Kong-sensei come to intercept just in time, Amethyst can count themselves lucky this time.

I haven’t touched much on the CGI and the visual motifs of Houseki so far, so lets me address them a fair bit in this last paragraph. I agree that the full CGI of Houseki can take some time to get used to, but now I’m digging this computer-generated style. The action sequences are stunning, dynamic, breathtaking and overall pleasing to the eyes. The scene where Yellow grabs Phos, for example, astonishes me. But I see another (probably unintentional) quality of the CGI: its physical comedy. The way the characters move (like how Phos’s stumble with their blade, or how the Gems run for their lives when Kongo-sensei’s furious) somehow adds a whimsical sense that normal, traditional art can’t match. Last week I mentioned about the image of Phos losing their legs and one eye to show how pathetic Phos’ current situation was, this time I will address the visual motifs about Phos that we’ve seen from the very beginning: the image of Phos’ lying on the grass field. That image was literally the very first thing we saw when Houseki introduced Phos, whenever they feeling down they would lie on the grass, fast-forward to this episode when the Lunarians attack and Phos remains there entirely during the fight. Another visual motif that I really like is the symmetrical visual, which you can see from Amethyst’s twin design; or whenever the Gems prepare to fight off the coming Moon people. I’m pleased with the overall package so far. Houseki is an exciting, inventive, sometimes emotional wrenching gem but always fascinating in every aspect. Sounds exactly like my kind of anime.

Posted on 6 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

So… Phos got new pair of legs. Not only that, they make a Forest-Gump leap that not only they can walk properly with the new legs, they can run like a wind. Although we’re still at the introduction phase of Houseki, it becomes apparent that Phos’ starting to move away from an ordinary Gems, first learning the Admirabilis’s language, now literally fuse with their hard shell into Phos’ own body. One main underlying theme Houseki has explored so far is the role struggling of these Jewel people. Cinnabar sees themselves as a step child that no one wanted, even the enemy. Dia feels weak and useless amongst Diamond rank, and especially our protagonist Phos keeps finding themselves to one trouble to the next. Now, in this episode, Phos ends up as a bait for Ventri to trade her bother back from the Moon people, then nearly get kidnapped again before gets sent back ashore, with a barely functional body. Phos’s losing an eye and their legs speak volume how pathetic and weak Phos’ current situation is, and yet Phos can’t bring themselves to hate Ventri for betraying them.

This first half centres around Phos and Ventri in a dark cloud of the Lunarians. I have to admit that it was a sloppy job from the Moon people who want more than they agreed on, then breaking the deal, attacking Ventri, releasing Ventri’s brother Aculeatus, managing to break him free and getting themselves all killed. What? It makes no sense at all and it was a mess of writing if I ever see one. I agree with Phos that Acule’s admirabilis form is kawaii, even if he finds Phos is nothing but… delicious food. His humanoid form is a great contrast to his sister’s in term of design and somehow they really complement each other, but I can’t get behind his stupid pride. At the same time at land, all the Gems prepare themselves to go under the sea to find the trouble gem. As much as they don’t really care for the good-for-nothing gem, the extend they go in order to search for Phos, at the expense of their own exhausting bodies (it’s at night so they can’t absorb any light), and their willingness to help Phos to get used to the new legs, are something to behold.

Cinnabar again has a very solid development despite always lurking in the background. When you think about that, Cinnabar is a pretty miserable character, in a sense that they despite themselves to the point that a single promise from someone else could mean a lot to them; and Phos does take the promise seriously. I like the newfound chemistry between Dia and Cinnabar, arguably the only two gems who care deeply for Phos, in their own different ways. Cinnabar also has a great moment with Phos, when the latter washed ashore, felt beaten and lost all purposes. Phos apologizes to Cinnabar that once again they fail to find the new job for the Toxic Gem, even out at sea and experienced the backstab from their talking snail friend (but it was true, Phos went out the sea to look for Cinnabar’s new job). Another solid development is when Ventri decided to bring Phos back because she says she wanted to be different from the Lunarians, but in truth because she also comes to care to Phos.

While this episode is obviously in the early stage of Houseki, I’m glad that Houseki’s successful at  providing many well-grounded chemistries and developments from the cast, and I also have to give the attention to the gorgeous score of Houseki that fit the show like a glove. My only concern is the same with Mahoutsukai no Yume in that those shows nearly reach half of the cour and they’re still in an introduction stage. Mahoutsukai will have 24 episodes, so that’s not really its problem, but the same can’t be said to Houseki since they might never receive a second season, meaning that this intro chapter might be the only adaptation we’ll ever get, and honestly it would be a crying shame. For next week with the title of “the First Battle”, along with Phos’ newfound ability, let’s hope everything going alright for our protagonist this time. But whatever situation Phos find themselves into, just remember: “Run, Forest Gump Phos, run”.

Posted on 30 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

It’s incredible how much of a problem-prone Phos is, since almost every episode ends with Phos find themselves in deep shit.  If I go with the logic in Monogatari series it’s because Phos themselves attracts the attention from all kinds of trouble. Nothing much happened this week… is what the plot leads us to think. Underneath its surface, however, there’s a lot going on here. In truth, this episode is incredible. With this episode, they explore what I believe the core concepts of Houseki, and if the first dream sequence hasn’t signalled you clear enough, Houseki is rooted very deeply in Buddhism symbols and ideas. It’s funny to raise comparison between two shows I’m blogging this season: Houseki no Kuni and Girls’ Last Tour, but while this week Girls’ Last Tour explores the idea of God and religion, those themes are far removed from Houseki’s context despite being influenced heavily from Buddhism’s concepts. You see, Houseki is more interested in the separation/ independence between body, mind, and flesh and for me they really take core ideas of Buddhism to heart without relying on religious angle. Pretty awe-inspiring is what I say.

Let’s talk about this week’s title, because it’s important. Flesh, bone and soul. Three elements to form a human being. As the old tale from Ventricosus’s planet suggests, the fifth moon where the human used to live (AKA us) was destroyed, resulting in them split apart into 3 separate kinds of being: Gems, Admirabilis and Lunarians. One important thing to note is that those species are created in their most basic forms: Gems as their most basic elements – the bone, Snail is the one of the most basic type of lifeform – the flesh, and with the soul – symbolized by the religious images. Now that the character designs make so much sense and I’m in awe with the creativeness that the mangaka Haruko Ichikawa has thought up (bravo!). Then the idea that The Lunarians purposely fight off and kidnap the Gems and Admirabilis in order to become human again is seriously blow my mind. This division of beings also brings up one intriguing question: what is Kongo-sensei then? He’s obviously no Gems and based on how the Lunarians bow to him in his dream meditation, he could only be a human. So why does he help the Gems to fight off Lunarians here? My take for now is that he doesn’t want those beings reverse back to human form. Last week I had undermined Phos’ new ability of talking to snail as a silly quirk, but after this episode it’s clear to me that Phos holds the keys to open the that exploration between the three races.

Heavy themes and ideas aside, this week I’m quite surprised myself that the show’s humors hit the marks very well. Those moments like Phos purposely mistranslates or the snail being all bibbidi-doo over Kongo-sensei, or Red Beryl as a costume designer? What a cool job she has. Talking about Ventricosus, just look at the amount of transformation she done this week. From being a giant snail who basically brainwashed, to a little snail with soul (funny how we can see the souls of those gems and snails but those who suppose to be “the Soul” – the Lunarians, are portrayed as soulless) and then transforms into a beautiful being who look not unlike the Gems with big boobs (sorry but it’s kinda important in Houseki). I suspect transformation (or even hybridisation) will serve as another main theme of Houseki going forward. The idea of transformation, again, is rooted in Buddhism’s concept as transformation centers around the concept of death (welp, I think I’m still doing alright here despite being a non-religion myself). With this episode alone, Houseki opens to more thematical deep, and I’m already impressed how original and symbolic Houseki continues to be. Turn out last week I was trying too hard to sell Houseki’s appeal because with this episode 4 I can confidently say that Houseki will become something special. Mark my words.

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous1835766
Kaiser-Eoghan - I think the closest might be Makishima Shogo in Psycho Pass. Just in the opposite sense, showing how flawed an absolutistic system is. Also a scene from that anime, that subverts the notion of how people are shocked by violence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Moreso than the girls death obsession, I thought the stuff with the mother in the first chapter of yakedo has the potential to go in a more messed up way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But he fails miserably and no one learns from his crimes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Why can't there be a BENEVOLENT killer character that commits horrible acts solely to shock people and show how horrifying those acts are, out of the delusion that it will inspire a reflection and change in people to NOT, to NEVER do those things.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*higher
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe an abused character is a servant in a historical setting with a hierarchy, trapped in societal rules and defeats the obsession with the attacker and raises up against the class system/character of hire social standing that abused them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps the cannibal killer character in the story has abandonment, severe paranoia and lonliness issues and sees his crimes as taking people inside him so they'll never leave him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
of psychological depth instead?
Kaiser-Eoghan
For the willingness to throw messed up stuff into stories, I wouldn't mind seeing an analysis thrown in, doing a story about a cannibal character? How about instead of just a gore fest, get inside is head and ask, why does he do this? I hate Ntr and its used as a throwaway turn-on involving rape eroticism, but is there any any way that a story involving that could be framed with some sense
Kaiser-Eoghan
Back on to stuff like goblin slayer, they can take out the rape scenes I wouldn't miss them, although I find them less uncomfortable, BECAUSE they are shown as how wrong rape is, instead of say a doujin playing it up for titilation .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite all the talking up of tsunderes, I actually love kuuderes, in the end probably the biggest reason is for how flat chested they are.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Slapstick violence always plays second to dry, dark, screwball or surreal humour.
Bokusen
Also, on tsunderes, me too. I can't stand people using physical violence on someone unless it's in self-defense, or a Fate-type scenario where they all know everyone is trying to kill everyone else. Random physical violence played up as comedy is the worst.
Bokusen
@Kaiser Ah, so it was referring to bondage. I was skimming through posts and must've missed that. Bondage still creeps me out a bit, but if it's a fetish thing I can at least understand the whole exaggerated gender roles thing.
AidanAK47
In regards to Tsunderes, yep that was a bad choice of words there Kaiser. But over time I have come to find Tsunderes more agavating. Tsunderes like Rin are fine but those that beat the crap out of the guy they like and are expected to be forgiven cause they get embarrassed can go straight to hell.
AidanAK47
Also who cares who Korra ends up with? She a goddamn horrible character. I hated her so much.
AidanAK47
Korra was a show that had love realistionships come out of nowhere(And not well written in general) but that one really was just pandering to the Korra/Asami shippers. Not sure where the hell that ship came from to begin with.
Lenlo
I agree Aidan, the love at the end of Korra came out of Left field really
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bokusen: It was inappropriate and I shouldn't have said it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Heck one of the reasons I prefer seeing another character with another character or a character simply on their own in a fetish situation is because I can distance myself from it and not feel like I'm touching anything/one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If anything I meant role reversal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bokusen: I apologize, reading it back it sounds terrible, I was actually referring to bondage where the tsundere pretends to hate it initially but consents .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bokusen: I should state clearly that that is merely a fantasy. The anger on both sides makes it easier because even if things became more physical or intimate it would feel more distant if the talking part was she and myself saying how much we hated it , despite actualily liking it.
Bokusen
"The thing is I utterly hate the personalities of tsundere characters in bitch/dom mode, sends me into a fervor to put them in their place." OK, reading that just creeped me out.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, well you like screwed up stuff so no surprise.
Try Yakedo Shoujo. Get the feeling you will like that one quite a bit.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Legend of Korra? There was no yuri in that one. No evidence whatsoever. They just had Korra and Asami walk into some light and then announced them gay over twitter. Honesty I didn't see it in the show itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Also was it you that recommended happy sugar life to me? That was a pretty good psychological horror manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Going back several messages, I kind of liked goblin slayer oddly.
Anonymous1832169
Kaiser-Eoghan - Read Sakuranbo Syndrome.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: At the same time I really think more series like after the rain need to come out, showing more sensitive approaches.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nudity/sex just isn't used functionally well enough or dramatically as it should. Come on, give us a story about passionette characters, sensual/erotic rather than only porn. Or do a scums wish where miserable people are doing it because saaaaad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
kuuchuu is really one of those things I need to re-watch, I became so much more open to weirder shows in the past number of years than I would have been ages ago.
Anonymous1832169
I think my excuse in hentai, is that despair, and subjugation adds drama to a very simple thing. Though Dawn of the Silver Dragon may be the peak of objectification.
Anonymous1832214
Sure, np, though I must be off. Again, nice to chat casually. Been off forums for a while. Bye.
PS: thank you gift for anyone not familiar https://myanimelist.net/anime/6774/Kuuchuu_Buranko?q=kuuchuu
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lets talk about the spring 2018 anime season chart: http://anichart.net/spring-2018
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mods, I'm sorry for hostaging/dominating the chat like this I'll change subject.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think official/canon pairings of characters make more sense definitely, non-canon ones can kind of cheapen characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really want to say though, I totally am not okay with rape in hentai though and I don't like 50 shades of grey.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To get off this subject, funny little random memory here of reading manga in public, back when I was still into fate, some street person sat down next to me and saw a picture of berserk and said "Oh, he's quite ripped isn't he"
Anonymous1832214
@Anon could be
@Kaiser Srsly youd hate Young's Aflame Inferno - narcissistic manipulative elite MC guy plays a sub to a playful manipulative OP demon woman. I love that so much..!
Kaiser-Eoghan
The old artists valued some interesting takes on beauty too, all of those middle aged larger bodies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Someone has read this and gone off and done an Akira x Satan devilman doujin haven't they?
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the beauty and the beast thing, I wonder if characters like Elias from Mahouyome will become more popular. Monsterboys might end up catching on.
Anonymous1832169
Anonymous1832214 - I think so, I mean we paint angels following that idea.
Anonymous1832214
Thx for the talk guys (and girls). Btw. I'm the guy with weird nicks, Evaluation, Strength, Victim, etc in case anyone's wondering.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think regarding role switching and whether I prefer being dom or sub is definately based on which gender I'm playing, this goes back to the cliches of girl=the submissive character man=is the non-submissive.
Anonymous1832214
There's something about androgynous features, is there?
Kaiser-Eoghan
accept of course for the sensei, who looks like one-punchman.
Anonymous1832214
Seems consistent with your preferences towards domination. Open your heart more and feel the love. They cant help themselves. They need you to get it out. Why not play the mature person, not play the game and accept their flawed selves?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Specifically due the ambiguity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Houseki's character designs and art is fascinating.
Anonymous1832169
I like the idea of women pretending to be men and men pretending to be women. Not necessarily transgender, just in the sense of playing the role like Hercules and Diomedes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hating them makes it easier/better aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The thing is I utterly hate the personalities of tsundere characters in bitch/dom mode, sends me into a fervor to put them in their place
Anonymous1832214
I wouldnt mind being a dominated by a (good-hearted) Pandora. So I guess I have no idea how you can even say that...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lol now we're getting into liking certsin things because their so non-pc =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of me taking on a female role and being dominated by a woman is bizzare to me , taking on a female role and being dominated by a man, yes.
Anonymous1832214
Yeah got it. Like Senjougahara? Lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But she still holds on to the delusion that she's in control.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Wait, to be more specific, I was saying I liked the idea of making a tsundere girl submit, with the tsundere becoming the sub.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Youngs manga work better than say, something like ikkitosen/highschool dxd/seikon no qwaser/highschool of the dead because they go all out with the exploitation .
Anonymous1832169
I do see a correlation between the feminine guys in yaoi and the token girls in otome. I swear I don't get why otome and other young girl series, like to play the bad boy and misogynistic treatment of women. I think they we might have lost the point in Beauty and the Beast.
Anonymous1832214
Kaiser... do you know Im Dal Young's manga? Freezing, Unbalance x Unbalance, etc. He often puts the women in the dominant role. He's gotta have a thing for it. I love that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think going back to the complaints of yuri on ice not having enough bite to it, its the same as the fanservice in josei manga with the ambiguous bromances.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a really pretentious guy, I love going into the psychology of it all.
Anonymous1832169
@Kaiser-Eoghan - As one teacher told me, the most memorable characters are the contradictory ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The western side often feels more tokenistic at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The feminine male character exists as a safe zone for the female reader.
Kaiser-Eoghan
No wonder I enjoyed haru deiteita so much, it did the reversal thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet people don't understand this when I say I find tsunderes attractive, what could be more appealing to me than a tsundere ending up losing the dominant role and becoming submissive?
Anonymous1832169
@Kaiser-Eoghan - I think I like that dichotomy, because since manga is already androgynous one does accept it more. Especially since of anime thread the line of making their male characters submissive. Also in a more design sense it might be because there's a power dynamic at play. That's why there's also harassment.
Anonymous1832214
I also agree that yuri is more established and accepted. Particularly in western media, which are starting to catch up? (lesbians everywhere...) Legend of Korra anyone?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The weirdest thing is from my own perspective, when I play the female role in the relationship I understand taking on a more submissive role, yet in a male role, with a women I find being in a non-dominent role impossible.
Anonymous1832214
@Kaiser I'm not going to defend KnM, valid points. Again, it's done enough. And - I have a thing for tragic/platonic love so KnM clicked...
Anonymous1832169
Yuri can be cold, harsh and seduction is usually a weapon. Though a tiring trope is that most stories treat the couple as kind of sister type of affection. Or so I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In terms of the pairings, my headcanon doesn't understand the petite-man thing in male to male relationships relationships/pairings , yet petit women I am obsessed with.
Anonymous1832169
Kaiser-Eoghan - I do agree. I suppose for me or at least when I did start watching it, it felt more risque, since at least in media lesbians seem more accepted than gay or flamboyant men. So I think the draw for me might be emasculation, because of the uke and seme dynamic. It is said the reason for that is to project their female audiences in more of a dominant role or something like that.
SuperMario
Hmm, I watched few episodes of Sekaiichi Hatsukoi and it's the romance that turned me off. It's just plain secual harassment
Kaiser-Eoghan
In some way its easier to physically work it out mentally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which leads to the interesting phenomenon of fudanshiism.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bizzarest thing is I am significantly more attracted to women than men yet find shounen-ai/yaoi more of a draw, while admitting the shoujo-ai/yuri stories out there are better.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I recall actually liking the music in gravitation at one point.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As silly melodrama it was somewhat watchable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I felt that a certain off colour scene with Chikane felt like character assassination.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the characterization and mecha fights are particularly messy in kannazuki, especially bringing the manga into it where the villains didn't even get 1 second backstories and the framing of the art and panels is poor, with some of dialogue, at least in the dub sounding very silly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding kannazuki, I'm not going to doubt that it a kyoshiro aren't rip roaringly hilarious guilty pleasures, not that this dimnishes the anons take on the female lead.
Anonymous1832214
KnM is trash anime, but very endearing and a treasure. I love it.

(Just passing by, I'm straight male with a thing for yuri genre).
Anonymous1832169
And I think Gravitation is also because music is also part of the plot and not solely the romance. I think the last one I enjoyed was Love Stage but that only had a thing going with one side being biconfused. Though it didn't do anything with that.
Anonymous1832214
Kannazuki no Miko has a heroine who readily accepts her feelings and is in a position where it is very difficult not to empathise. Her love seems very pure and to me is very rewarding to watch.
Anonymous1832169
Kaiser-Eoghan - Yeah but then you have Utena, Aoi Hana, Noir, El Cazador de la Bruja, Madoka, and several other series that just happen to have lesbian couples. In terms of good or recognizable shounen ai, it's harder, since I think the most recognizable is Gravitation, followed by (maybe) the Nakamura ones (Seikachi Hatsukoi and his other series).
Kaiser-Eoghan
The manga is even worse than the anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are truly terrible yuri series though I'm sure, no idea how Kannazuki no miko became a cult thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Sadly there's too much rape in yaoi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Oh, the gender roles thing is terrible in those things. Plenty of gay men are masculine irl.
Anonymous1832169
Borrowed from Japanese 百合 (yuri, “lily”), by analogy to 薔薇 (bara, “rose”), indicating gay men.
Anonymous1832169
Shoujo AI and even Yuri, are more romance than eros. There could be like 10 or more chapters without any intimate action and I suppose that's also part in why yuri tends to achieve better stories.
Anonymous1832169
Also the formula is so transparent that one scrolls to the end, to see ehem, the good part.
Anonymous1832169
And finally like the typical chick flick there's rarely anything important beyond the relationship. I even say those who try a little may be the better ones in this genre.
Anonymous1832169
Now you know what you should expect. Because that's the issue. In Shounen Ai or Yaoi for the most part. Secondary characters have no issue with these relationships. Second problem is that the couple both are put in the male and female part of the relationship.
Anonymous1832169
In defense of yaoi. Do anyone know the meaning behind that word? From Japanese やおい (yaoi), an acronym of Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi (ヤマなし、オチなし、意味なし), "no climax, no point, no meaning
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually not even overly interested in either show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, its stupid that yuri on ice didn't go all the way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe citrus is actually aim at girls, going by the magazine its serialized in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And a yuri manga would probably be more explicit than shoujo-ai.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well you're comparing shounen-ai to yuri , so of course citrus will be more explicit , just like yaoi would be more explicit than shounen-ai.
AidanAK47
And I am not arguing that gay people can't have fanservice shows. As a matter of fact I am arguing why the bar is so much lower. Yuri on Ice has people fangirling over an "implied kiss" while I look over to the other side to see Citrus reaching second base.
AidanAK47
@Anon, not say you can't like the show but it was queer baiting. The show was comical in how it it made it clear it's characters were gay but didn't even have the balls to show a kiss on screen. Meanwhile you have Citrus here showing two girls having full make out sessions without trouble. I have no interest whatsoever in seeing two men kiss but even I can admit that is bullshit.
KTravlos
interesting conversation. Must say I do not usually react much to the sexuality of characters in anime, but this is partly because I might not see the problem, or because most of the anime I watch have sexuality only incidentally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course I don't want to dismiss the fact that hentai manga for gay men exists,if one wanted it there is seinen yaoi, ie Bara manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which I attribute it to being less passive than just watching something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will say, I do think self-insertion is more effective in relation to videogames.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On this I as a bicurious man agree, when I read a romance story, I just want ad like a romance ore relationship story, its not special to me what the race or orientation of characters are.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My brother also felt that romance stories involving homosexual characters often falter in a space where the same sex pairing becomes more about pure novelty than just being a love story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Imredjimmy, who posted on here as a user before, he himself homosexual had issues with yaoi manga, feeling that it didn't address issues properly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He feels "All romance stories belong in the romance section and shouldn't be too categorized and that most yaoi/yuri isn't really for the homosexual audience"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Is it really fanservice for a homosexual audience though? I do find both male and female characters attractive as a bicurious man but it has to be admitted, shounen-ai and yaoi is really a thing for girls and bi men, I can admit that. My brother, a gay man is very critical of yaoi/shounen-ai as well as yuri/shoujo-ai.
Anonymous1831032
You are overly critical
Anonymous1831032
why can't gay people have 'fanservice' without being compared to fish blindly poking for worms and being caught by some manipulative fisherman? It's 'normal' for weebs to watch 'cutesy' or 'moe' shows.
Anonymous1831032
Who cares dude. I liked the show. The term 'queer baiting' is fucking insulting.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - I agree with that, there is a lot of meandering in Hourou Musuko manga, it makes it feel more realistic and grounded. But there's a reason many storytellers don't tell the most boring aspects of real life, like constantly pondering about what the future may bring.
Vonter
Pokemon and Zelda let the community make the conjectures and the creators mostly shy away from explaining them, because they fear they'll write themselves into a corner.
Vonter
I mean, not all things should make statements. Ranma 1/2 is recognizable, despite being a comedy. Conan is iconic and its just contained mystery stories, despite the themes of Evangelion the creators have admitted the use of christian elements was because of aesthetics, moreso than delivering a statement.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Some felt that the manga for hourou musuko felt more low key in tone than the anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Travlos, I've noticed the site seems to be giving you trouble setting a username sometimes, best to just create an account instead.
AidanAK47
@Anon, that respect seems on different levels for people though. I mean I seen people championed Yuri on Ice as a major win for LGBT representation in anime while I myself just saw it as queer baiting seeing as the series itself couldn't admit it's characters were gay.
Anonymous1829806
Travlos here: I know many of the AoTitan fans hate the new direction of the manga, but I love it. Gimme more war!

While I love the ideas in Birdy the Mighty, the pace of the mangaka is maddening.
Anonymous1829447
Well, one last thing. I understand that anime like games or movies are a refuge for people who want to escape from politics for a second. But when mangakas bring those topics up themselves with stupid yaoi, gender bender, or yuri fan service, they're the ones politicizing anime and manga, not people like me. If they'd treat it with respect, then there would be no need for outcry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Eh sorry about that, I almost launched into a rant about tumblr.
Lenlo
Yeah, id prefer not to get to political in this chat, but I agree with Aidan. Theres a limit, and I strike that limit at the + of LGBTQ+. There comes a point where your just making things up to be special
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking back I probably read hourou musuko initially to get a better understanding of the topic it covered.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not looking for cares/attention/fellating/self promoting, just felt a moment to pseudo-intellectualize because it was related to the identity topic.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From a psychological standpoint, apparently this is linked in with autism to some level.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of cosplay as a thing is fascinating honestly as an escapist thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I imagine it would probably be easier to interact in a relationship as someone else, of course with them being aware of that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
More in a religious/spiritual sense however and having a greater sense of identity/feeling through temporarily taking on the role of someone else.
Kaiser-Eoghan
but the person themselves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did have ideas after hourou musuko and also finding out someone was trans that that might have applied to me and I still use female names in some sites but I really just came to realize it wasn't about trying the female clothes thing numerous times, wasn't trans(vestite or sexual), really pretty much found out I temporarily can take on roles of what/who I dress as, not due to gender
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, tumblr sjws are a parody of leftism /activism .
AidanAK47
People have the right to be whatever they want to be. That said there is a line when it comes to respecting peoples choices. For example, I don't think we need Tumblrs 40 different Genders.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I haven't read the lesbian experience one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Love my life was another good one, a serious shoujo-ai manga.
Anonymous1829213
That's unfortunate. TvT
Anonymous1829200
no thanks
Anonymous1829213
In the future though, I'd like to see something exploring sexuality as a whole even further. Even LGBT in and of itself implies a gender/sexuality binary. Let's get into the gender neutral/fluid, pansexuality, and so on as well. :.D
Anonymous1829200
and i like the
Anonymous1829200
i have one
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