Posted on 25 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Phantom



Okay, time for me to review my favourite anime of the past Spring and Summer Season: Phantom, or Requiem from the Phantom. It’s based on a visual novel by Nitroplus, and while it starts off as a Noir clone at first, it develops into something much more. It shows a story about a couple of assassins inside the modern American mafia.

It sets itself apart with an amazing cast of characters. Especially Ein and Zwei develop into a bunch of strong and sympathetic characters, but also most of the side-characters are memorable. They’re all incredibly well acted; the voice actors really managed to capture their characters, and there’s always a lot of subtlety in their actions and development.

This is all accompanied by a terrific execution. Dialogues between people often move slow, but a lot of things are said in-between the lines. The creators have a great sense of build-up, and know exactly how to deliver the plot twists with as much of an impact as possible. Despite the subtlety, the action-scenes also pack a punch. This show knows that gunfights between excellent marksmen can last very short, and they made excellent use of this in their build-up.

Since this is a Bee-Train series, the music is without a doubt excellent, but at the same time you can see that they’re trying out a few new things here and there. The use of music throughout the series is downright excellent, but what amazed me the most is the incredible size and versatility of the different background tunes. Hikaru Nanase, who also did the soundtrack of Noein and Zone of the Enders, created an incredibly versatile set of tracks for this series. The drawings are also continuously crisp, without hardly any distorted frames, and the animation itself is also pretty decent.

A bit of a lesser point of this series is that there are sometimes strange leaps in logic. One character may have escaped death a bit too narrowly, and this series also forces you to assume that with the right training, a bunch of teenagers can become much better at handling guns than any adult out there.

Nevertheless though, I personally loved this series. It’s a show that’s constantly evolving, even within its distinct three arcs. The major theme of this series, in which the best course of action doesn’t always get taken due to a sad combination of circumstances, is excellently explored by the cast. The characters in this series are deep and complex, and often you find them saying things while in reality they actually believe in something completely different. With an ending that you’ll either love or hate, this is a great recommendation if you like dark yet slow-paced series and don’t mind teenagers in your anime.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Phantom



Whoa, wtf…

Throughout this episode, I had no idea what the people in the shoutbox were talking about. I mean, it was an awesome episode that did just about everything it should have done: exciting gunfight, after which Scythe dies and Reiji and Helen live on, trying to search for Helen’s origins. After a bit of searching, they find that she was taken from Mongolia when she was little. It was a very fitting ending for my favourite series for the past half year.

Then the episode actually ended, and I understood. That really was daring from the creators: just when everything seems solved, they pull such a surprise ending that nobody saw coming, and they don’t even dare to explain what happened. Out of nowhere, a gunshot sounds, and both Reiji and Helen die. No extremely long death speeches, no overdramatic buildup. It’s just there, and less than a minute later they’re dead. it’s entirely left up to our imagination what happened.

And yet, somehow it made me like this ending even more. My theory of what happened is that McGuire is behind it. Something like “don’t mess with the mafia”, and he probably ordered assassins to track Ein and Zwei down. He previously left this to Scythe Master and Drei, but since the two of them failed he tried to do this a bit more subtle. Whatever assassins came, they figured that the most likely place that they would be able to find them was Ein’s place of birth. They knew this through Scythe, and they probably picked up a hint somewhere that Reiji and Helen were searching for it. After that, they only had to wait and snipe them when they arrived.

It just shows that there’s nothing like a happy end in the mafia. I really liked this ending because it didn’t try to overglorify the death of the two protagonists. It was a really subtle finale, and that’s something I can really appreciate. I admire Bee-Trains’s guts for trying to pull such an ending.

Overall, this has been such a wonderful series. It’s definitely in my Top 3 of Bee-Train series, along with Popolocrois and .Hack//Sign. It had such an amazing sense of subtlety, and yet at others it packed such a punch. With a fantastic soundtrack and a terrific sense of characterization (well, for me at least), I really consider this series to be the best of the past half year, and I’m looking forward to Bee-Train’s next series in 2010, whatever it may be about.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

EDIT: crap, I misunderstood this ending. Only Reiji died, Helen remained alive. Still, that doesn’t change my opinion, this episode rocked. Unless you want happy endings, of course. ;)

EDOT2: Major SPOILER for El Cazador!
After this, I still want to add a bit to the huge rage of people that seem to be unhappy over this episode. Watch El Cazador. that one has a happy ending in which the two progaonists live together happily ever after. Ironically, I remember how that ending also wasn’t well received. Ironic, isn’t it?

Posted on 18 September 2009 with categories: Phantom



Oh boy. It took two calm before the storm episodes to get here, but damn. This was such an awesome episode. The style it was told in was completely different from what I expected, but this episode was SO WORTH THE WAIT. It really reminded me why, despite Tokyo Magnitude, this is my favourite series of the past half year.

With finales like this one, you really expect something over the top: really fast pacing, an epic gunfight or a very long action scene or something. Instead, this episode just played out very sloooowly. The background music was calm and quiet, and instead it very slowly moved to the inevitable: Cal’s death. It was really focused at getting the best out of the characters. Instead, Ein was delivering on the action, while Reiji and Cal’s fight ended in just one shot. The two of them are great marksmen, so it would indeed have been strange if the gunfight would have lasted any longer.

Cal’s eventual motive, to just be noticed, was a nice twist at the end. In the end, the Scythe Master managed to manipulate her, but not to the point at which she would hate Reiji with passion, but rather that she desperately wanted to be noticed by him, instead of Ein. Because of those talks from Scythe Master, she didn’t get convinced that Reiji was a horrible person, but rather she fully believed that Reiji didn’t care about her. That makes all her actions even more irrational than they already were, but I believe that that’s the point this series is trying to make: while we would like to make the best decision 100% of the time, those pesky emotions and especially love tend to get in the way a lot.

The next episode should prove to be an action-packed finale, at this point, it’s easy to think of what to expect. At this point, I can see no way in which the creators are ever going to be able to screw this up anymore. I personally suspect that the creators are going for an ending similar to El Cazador’s: simple, but effective.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 12 September 2009 with categories: Phantom



Aha, the calm before the storm episode. There’s nothing much to say about this one: it was as solid as usual, while the plot sets up for the big climax of this series, which is probably going to happen in the next episode. The past few episodes have really been able to very subtly build up to this finale, and I can’t wait to see how all of this has paid off.

So, in this episode Reiji first manages to convince Helen to leave Cal to him, because he doesn’t want to lose anyone else, however Helen in the end refuses to listen to him and decides to kill Cal off herself. It’s here where Reiji’s big weakness comes into play: his naivety. He believes with his heart that he’s going to be able to convince Cal to stop killing him, yet Helen who has the more realistic mindset sees no chance in that happening. The last she wants to happen is a dead Reiji, and so she chose for the option that would leave his life in as little danger as possible.

Scythe Master in the meantime also hasn’t been sitting still, when this episode introduces Vier, Funf, Sechs, Sieben, Acht and Neun. I’m not sure what they can add to the story at this point in the series, but it was only natural for him to put his experiments to a larger scale at one point.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 4 September 2009 with categories: Phantom



Okay, the calm before the storm episode. Most of this episode was very quiet, and yet at the same time a lot of things happened, were built up and had me glued to the screen.

With the biggest event being Lizzie’s death. At this point, it wasn’t meant to be a shocking plot twist, but rather to symbolize how much has gone wrong with Drei. Throughout the series, she has always been the most solid and stable character: she had no hidden agenda, and instead she worked with a mindset with a healthy balance between friends and money. She was the one who watched Cal train in her Drei-form, and in this episode you can really see that now that she has found out what drove Cal to be an assassin, she really regrets to see what she turned into.

In this episode, the inevitable indeed happened that Drei was forced to shoot Lizzie. She really doesn’t care at all about her job, as long as she gets to kill Reiji, and in this episode we see her kidnap Mio, to prevent him from running away. In the end though, Helen takes the bait. The next episode is going to be awesome, I can feel it. But yeah, this episode still rocked. At this point, the characters can be drinking tea and I’m still going to love them.

Also, how large is this soundtrack anyway? This episode introduced yet two new tracks. I’m growing into more and more of a fan of Hikaru Nanase. At first I believed her to be some sort of one trick pony, with Noein’s soundtrack and all. But after watching this show, and finishing Zone of the Enders, I really have to take that back: Hikaru Nanase really is an amazing composer, but she does need a great show to draw out her full potential.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 August 2009 with categories: Phantom



Oh my God, Cal just becomes more and more awesome with every single episode. Up till now we’ve only seen glimpses of her new version, and what she turned into ever since she was abandoned by Reiji and taken in by Scythe, but only in this episode we get a full grasp of her deep-seeded hate against Reiji. And this episode yet again was absolutely amazing. People have often asked me why the heck I’m such a big Bee-Train fan. Now THIS is why! Time and time again they end up creating a truly awesome cast of characters.

And while it’s indeed true that they sexed up Cal a bit too much, they do get the point across: someone who started out as a sweet little girl is now cursing all over, lost any trace of compassion, living solely for revenge and has no future at all if she does manage to kill off Reiji. What hit me the most was when Reiji asked her to leave Helen alone. It then all hit her that Reiji indeed was the bastard she imagined him to be, who left her for dead and instead is willing to protect Ein with his life.

At this point, Reiji’s apologies and the words that he thought she was dead obviously can’t easily put things right anymore, since they’re just going to come off as cheap excuses. The fact remains that Reiji just walked off without confirming Cal’s dead body, because he was too occupied by Helen. It’s completely understandable, but it completely destroyed Cal’s chance of growing up happily.

Also, I’ve said this many times before, but I really feel the need to repeat that I absolutely love the soundtrack for this series. In this series, it has become much more than simply a bunch of songs that play into in the background. Bee-Train was already experimenting with this kind of soundtrack during Blade of the Immortal, in which it really worked, and for this series they again compiled a crazy soundtrack that’s full of many different songs, ranging from the quiet ones to the mindfuck tracks. These songs aren’t meant to be simple elevator music, but they’ve become a very important part of the storytelling itself, and I really love the way it turned out.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 21 August 2009 with categories: Phantom



Oh boy, this series has been nothing but awesomeness since the start of the Tokyo Arc. Sure, it’s true that Cal’s body grew a bit too much over two years, but if you blame puberty it could have happened. It’s not really something to be overly obsessive about, because I don’t think that it really gets in the way of the rest of the series.

Even though this turns out to be the adaptation of a H-game, I was quite surprised with how honest Reiji was about Cal. In your average anime you’d guess that for some bit of extra tension the characters would just keep these secrets from each other, but then again: this series already has enough tension as it is. No need to be melodramatic at all, because the characters have reached the point where they are more than able to carry the series along. Cal busting up the rivalling gang for example, was nothing short of kickass. This does show that Scythe has some sort of strange methods of getting the best potential out of his Phantoms.

I was actually hoping for this episode to delve a bit more into the Cal vs Reiji, but it seems that the creators are still saving this for later. Instead, this episode’s end showed the next best thing: Cal vs Helen. Next episode surely is going to rock!

If the rest of the finale continues to be as good as this, Phantom is definitely going to be my favorite Bee-Train series since .Hack//Sign, and out of the shows that premiered during the past spring season, it’s pretty likely that this series is going to end up as my favourite. Sorry Shangri-La, but this series has simply gotten that good.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 14 August 2009 with categories: Phantom



Hell yeah! This episode was all kinds of awesome stuck together! Talk about a complete change of atmosphere.

The way this episode started out… out of all the things that the Japan Arc would be about, the last thing I expected was that the show would end in a high school setting. The OP… was so much different from what I expected and fitted these final six episodes so well. There’s a lot of chaos going on, and yet this episode has been more slice of live than this series has ever shown! That shows some awesome possibilities, and I know that Koichi Mashimo is going to be able to get the best out of this.

So basically, two years (!) have passed since the last episode. Reiji and Helen have travelled the world; they first came to the Philippines and now have moved into Japan half a year ago, and they’ve been pretending to be brother and sister, since it would have been a bit awkward if a teenaged couple suddenly moved in and started following classes. They’re also back again acting, like they did in one of the beginning episodes. Especially Reiji has gotten a lot better at it now.

But yeah, just about everything in this episode was perfectly executed. Reiji’s time spent with his potential girlfriend did exactly what it needed to do: show how he and Helen changed, and how they’ve come to live their lives now. It’s a perfect build-up, since we also got to know much more about them, and the setting which they moved into.

But the real moment of epic in this episode was obviously the point at which Cal shows herself. Typical of Bee-Train’s storytelling, but it works so incredibly well.

And to think that even in this episode, so close to the ending, there still are new background tunes being played, and they rock just as much as the rest of the soundtrack while at the same time being completely different in tone: the first arc had a really dark and melancholic soundtrack, the second arc was more upbeat and pimpin’, while right now we got more… colourful atmosphere, if that makes any sense. The soundtrack here has a lot more warmth than we’ve seen so far.

In any case, this is one of these rare series in which you can really see that the creators spent lots of time thinking of how to make it work in the absolute best way, and where it actually works out incredibly well. In 2009, I can only recall 3 other series which managed to do the same: Ristorante Paradiso, Tokyo Magnitude and Birdy the Mighty 2.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 7 August 2009 with categories: Phantom



Agh! What is up with those bloody recaps today?! I’d be more patient if Basquash didn’t just pull the exact same thing. Blegh.

Oh, and on the few minutes of new material: ZOMG CAL!!
Rating Recap: — (Blegh)
Rating Non-Recap: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 31 July 2009 with categories: Phantom



Haha! This is the episode where we’ve all been waiting for, and it SO does deliver! It’s a very slow-paced episode, but the build-up was so incredibly good that it had me on the edge of my seat for the entire twenty minutes. Not only did this episode have some incredibly subtly emotional scenes, but it also created some awesome potential for this series finale (heck, we still have eight episodes to go and this episode had plot twists that you’d usually include in episode 24 or something).

Helen really had me fooled. Ack, I should have known that we were only shown the story from Reiji’s perspective. While it looked like she transformed into the emotionless doll that Scythe wanted her to be, it was far from the case and instead she too had as many internal conflicts as Reiji. Heck, if Cal wasn’t there, the fight in this episode would have ended rather nasty, because I suspect that without her, Reiji would have been a little too obsessed over Helen to think straight. Now that he thinks she’s dead he only has Helen left, and that’s what made him convinced that he wasn’t going to seriously fight Ein.

But Cal sure as heck ain’t dead! We just don’t have a bloody clue as to what happened to her: all this episode showed were a surprisingly clean gun and watch: signs that she indeed was away when it happened. Still: why did she go back to that place? Where is she now? What made her go away right at the moment of the bombing? What is she thinking of doing next. And how the heck is she going to react to Helen being back!?

Amidst this awesomeness, it almost feels like second fodder that Claudia freaking died! It turns out that her biggest reason to join Inferno was to get her revenge on her brother, and she’d get this revenge even if it meant betraying her friend Lizzie (who looked awesome when she was younger, by the way)
Rating: *** (Awesome)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Mario's youtube link had cgi models of rem and ram in the video.
Masky
I'm confused when was Rem even mentioned
Kaiser-Eoghan
I only ever watched he-man and stuff related to it in passing when I was younger, Conan was more my thing back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For so long I'd always referred to she-ra as she-man.
AidanAK47
@Mario, What is this heresy!
....
....Rems always cute.
Anonymous3084910
Hilda is fine, though is very laidback kinda like a young reader's novel. It has its moments but its fantasy with slice-of-life coming of age.
Anonymous3084910
@SuperMario Yeah I know, She Ra is the twin sister of He Man. But strangely it seems Dreamworks may not have the right to those characters. It was a marketing idea trying to bring more girls to that universe but like most girls show from the time it had a very flat depiction of what little girls want to see.
SuperMario
Sorry Aidan, I know it's blasphemy but I have to post here. Enjoy the OP song with the twins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9MUjISNm0U&index=4&list=PLU56jBSlcHw8-ol9Hi4lJ0GR0tU6EOf2a
SuperMario
I'll probably check out Hilda. Heard a lot of hypes about that show
SuperMario
@Vonter: I've heard of She-Ra, she's the female counterpart (well, sister) of He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe and the secret identity of Prince Adam). Sounds silly but I'm not even kidding
Vonter
All in all, despite not being a big thing, I think is an enjoyable recommendation. My only nitpick is that it maybe too light hearted for some kinda like above My Little Pony but below something Voltron. Also despite being less childish than the original is still kinda of girly with lots of pastel colors although it balances it a bit having girls being more tomboyish in different degrees.
Vonter
Like with Voltron it amuses me seeing anime tropes being played through western lens. Since I'm a bit hesitant to say that could this count as a harem series despite not being male gaze moments? Also having the most sensible hotspring episode I've seen.
Vonter
In this one this She Ra has pathos. A bit like Korra there's doubt in her role and also a complicated relationship with her rival. I do like the role reversal in the knight's tale this clearly is, in that most roles that would be played by men are played by women in this story. Matriarchy, displacement of both femminine beauty but also empowerment.
Vonter
So I've watched some of the new She Ra from Netflix. So far I'm in, it's not deep but it's quite charismatic. I do like there's more pathos in regards to these characters which pretty much were confined to their archetype to an extreme like the original Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It manages to make watching something like running engaging, when I'd otherwise probably not watch the sport. Also, last week the show ended up popping into my head when I was sitting around doing pretty much nothing and made me think "Ok fuck it, not sitting around doing nothing, going to go out for a run around the block"
Lenlo
I also agree, characters losing in sports is important. They can't start at the top, it makes the series lose meaning
Lenlo
I quite enjoyed Kaze Fui this week. I think your correct that the one who got the reality check was Kurahara, who thought he was the only one able to actually make it. I also thing that he has a competitive streak a mile wide, and might be a little afraid of failure. Doesnt think the team can make it, so why bother
Kaiser-Eoghan
Think I wasn't i the mood for honda-san this week even though I laughed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I like it when sports series actually show the characters you know...actually lose.
Anonymous3083989
Huh, interesting in this episode of Kaze ga that it's Kakeru who got a reality check during the track meet since he was beaten by two other runners. I think we're due for an episode soon where he has to confront his past demons instead of fleeing from them.
Anonymous3083626
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aging in fiction, I think has more to do with the story than the characters. I mean the jokes about Ash Ketchum, Detective Conan, Archie. The Flinstones tried to make different stories by aging Pebbles and Bam Bam. Or Batman having two Robins graduating into their own heroes. But in the end dynamics change, hence why most cartoons don't age the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is why when aging does occur in anime/manga, such as in vinland saga or nanoha for example, its appreciated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course, animated characters often don't age much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember enjoying the simpsons movie back when I watched it, but thinking about it it really was just an extended episode. Really the show peaked with the who shot Mr Burns episode. Catching bits of recent episodes and seeing them use modern stuff while they never age seems weird too.
Amagi
I do think series are allowed to move forward though, I am kinda interested in the Pkmn movie for example. But certain shows should just end, Simpsons for example was a parody of the 90s, it just can't work in a more modern setting IMO.
Amagi
I stopped with the Simpsons when Maude was killed/died, it was just a step in the wrong direction they should have never done and it killed the series for me. I disliked it before already though, I think I noticed the series getting worse since season..9? Or 10, not sure anymore.
Amagi
Anime for Dorohedoro announced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Therefore ruining the fanservice fun for everybody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite beach episodes are ones where it rains and they end up not being able to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After that it was just the film for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually, regarding the simpsons, the episode I stopped on was sometime in the early 2000s, Homer was stuck on some island resort or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose it was just as much a case of falling out of watching/playing too and then there being so many episodes/games catchup was impossible. I probably should read the manga someday.
Anonymous3081957
@Kaiser-Eoghan -Kinda like Sponge Bob, Power Rangers or The Simpsons, I can't blame those who move forward, It's imposible for a show to go that long without losing steam. I did check the Sun and Moon first season and while I think the personality and energy is better it doesn't exactly push the concept forward. Still somehow Pokemon is still a phenomenon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Very strange hearing a Pikachu talk with Ryan Reynolds voice. But my days of pokemon are behind me.
KyokoHyuga
?????
KyokoHyuga
who likes pokemon here
SuperMario
@Amagi: I think the person who made the sub for Maquia did a pretty neat job. Not perfect but the translation flows well
Vonter
We've seen realistic Pokémon fanart, but how does a movie looks when it attempts it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CKgQFo5U8
Amagi
How are the subs for Maquia? I only heard anons complain about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*dealing with
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you should really torrent it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is 1080p stream on kiss anime, if you hate deal with the ads on that site the 4up stream on anilinkz has the best quality of the available links
Lenlo
Where did you see Maquia online? I still need to watch it. PM it to me on discord maybe? Pretty please? <3
SuperMario
One fact that not many people know is that Penguin Highway is penned by Tomihiko Morimi. It indeed has many Morimi's signature inputs
SuperMario
This year, I'm doing well with catching up anime films (kudos for Australian's Madman who always license these titles very quickly). So far, I've watched Mirai, Maquia, Penguin Highway, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas and My Hero Academia the Movie
SuperMario
So I watched two anime movies this last week, Penguin Highway in theatre and Maquia online. Both of them are pretty solid in general, especially Penguin that has magical realism elements and some great chemistry. Whereas Mari Okada's writting still rubs me in the wrong way sometimes
Lenlo
D: He did, back in August actually apparently
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I heard Dino's voice actor died.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we all took Goblin slayers attitude to trolls, then we would more easily ignore the trolls =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Big twist in the golden kamuy manga.
Animosh
@SuperMario: remember that in the voice drama Rikka mentioned talking to Yuuta in their classroom during the ball game. Pretty sure it's about that.
SuperMario
@Animosh: i just watched the episode and noticed the lyrics as well. "The Promise" seems vague at the moment. Could be between Yuuta and whoever fits but I agree the "save someone from boredom" is about Akane
Animosh
You learn something every day. ;) Honestly though, I actually skipped the opening, so I hadn't even noticed that it had been translated until others pointed it out. And most of the time the lyrics are just cheesy one-liners, so I usually don't pay much attention to them either. But once in a while there's some nice hints hidden in there...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never really ever paid attention to the lyrics in anime openings, I'd never thought to.
Animosh
The Gridman OP has been translated for the first time, and there's some pretty interesting reveals in there: it mentions a "promise" made in a classroom (so now we know how Yuuta and Rikka bonded in the past - glad it wasn't a simple confession), and talks of "rescuing" someone (presumably Akane) from boredom. So I guess she'll join the good guys eventually?
Lenlo
1200 words. I need to stop writing so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't seen last weeks episode of Irozuku or this weeks =< I'm waiting now for a bit to see if the series paysoff.
Animosh
Goddamn those magic segments in Irozuku were stunning! It's a shame its humdrum drama can't live up to its visual beauty, but I'll take it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think Ash's design is based a bit on River phoneix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry Eiji but your Ash is in another castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@CoolerAnon: I was about to say that. Kidnapping gets used alot in shojo.
Anonymous3072040
Yeah Ash is basically Princess Peach
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I share your concerns, I don't know what studio is doing it. Some people want it to be mappa, some don't want it to be polygon pictures to adapt it. Its and long and violent manga, with some very funny at times dark humour, it could end up rushed and/or censored.
Anonymous3072021
As much as I love Dorohedoro I'm unsure if I should be happy or worried at it getting an adaptation, it isn't exactly the kind of story I imagine being easy to adapt well.
Lenlo
Yeah, I am touching on that in my writeup as we speak. The compressed story is causing Ash to be captured every other week.
Animosh
I agree Banana Fish was great this week though! My only gripe is that I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Ash get kidnapped again and again. He just escaped a couple of episodes ago! And he's just a lot more fun to watch when he's out there doing stuff.
Animosh
In a way the fights actually feel more realistic to me than those in Banana Fish. Sure, they're fantastical, bizarre even, but its battle system has a clear internal logic, and generally no power is infallible (each has its limitations). In Banana Fish the fights are rather poorly thought out by comparison. Their purpose is more to make Ash look cool than to give him realistic hurdles to overcome.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what sets Jojo apart from other battle shounen for me is how ridiculously creative its fights can get. Part 2 already shows some signs of this, but the introduction of the Stand system in Part 3 pushes it to another level, and in Part 4 the fights are consistently awesome. There are no simple beam struggles here: every fight is a battle of wits, between people with wildly different powers
Niel
Vinland Saga anime, and Now Dorohedoro just got announced. i'm really liking this trend.
Lenlo
Lots to writeup on Banana Fish this week.
Lenlo
Just finished it, I really like Blanca.
Lenlo
Because Jackie Chan and his stunt crew are some of the best in the world. There is a reason he has to insure his guys from his own pocket. No agency will take them
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have no idea how the hell Jackie Chan is still alive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Action works best for me when I really feel that theres danger involved. Thats why when some actors do their own stunts, you can fear for the actors life, and also the character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And thats why I'm a big fan of all that Chinese martial arts stuff from the 60s and 70s, that really expertly crafted chereography.
Lenlo
As for action, I like good choreography more than any super powers. Its why Cowboy Bebop, Seirei no Moribito, Sword of the Stranger and some Naruto fights are fantastic.
Lenlo
Im about to watch this weeks episode, so this chat makes me hopeful. I agree Ash and Eiji are the backbone of the series, and yeah me and Kaiser both agreed that the Gang war aspect was pretty weak, though I thought the finish with Arthur wasnt half bad
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think Banana fish has a great grit to it for this reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even more thankful to Banana fish too for that it keeps the action within the bounds of out of fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've always been kind of a guns and swords and kungfu gut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Black lagoons great example of anime action I can get behind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always found weapon combat and fist/kicking combat more raw and real,tangible than beamspam.
Anonymous3070972
But yeah if you're not a fan supernatural power fantasy action shounens, then maybe not your cup of tea, and that's totally cool
Anonymous3070972
Oh also if I'm recommending a fight from part 4, I'd say check out Highway Star
Anonymous3070972
Kira is a pretty cool villain though; he's always underpowered compared to the main heroes, but manages to somehow get out of the situation with luck or smarts; if nothing else, I'd recommend watching some Youtube clips
Anonymous3070972
*Turn off. lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its more than, even when I was younger supernatural power fantasy action shounen never appealed to me.
Anonymous3070972
Admittedly JoJo always has bad with exposition though, and always will be just due to the style, so that can definitely be a turn on for some people
Anonymous3070972
If you like slice of life with hijinks and a murder mystery combined with cool battles, you'll like part 4
Anonymous3070972
Yeah I can see why you might not like part 1 & 2, they were made in the 80s; I'd recommend part 4 and part 5 (ongoing rn) tbh, I feel like those are better for a modern viewing experience
Anonymous3070972
I used to think that BF's greatest strength was the plot; know I realize it's really about Ash & Eiji's connection first and foremost: as good as the plot can be, Ash & Eiji's relationship is absolutely the backbone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Also that scene where Ash is thinking to himself, looking over Eiji.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, I pretty much gave up on jojo midway through part 2.
Anonymous3070771
Also, anybody notice Blanca's VA is Kira (from Diamond is Unbreakable)? What a wonderful duwang!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: The producer guy Miyano is voicing, much like the show is irritating because the show has this "look at me look at me" feel to it, it just comes off as desperate to me and this is just going by the one episode I watched and hated.
Anonymous3070771
What's that damn piano song that plays when Ash and Eiji are talking about Japan. It's too good. For some reason, it's really magical
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I was the one who said that.
@Niello: You don't need to see steins; gate zero, myself and lenlo discussed it to death as it was airing, its all over the place. I like the original too but after a while of the first half being fun, I just wanted it to start.
Anonymous3070771
Phew, great episode of BF; whoever said the gang war stuff was the weakest point was right. this stuff is getting fantastic again.
Niello
Also I agree, Zombieland first episode was amazing, second episode is still rather great, and then the other episodes have just been meh.
Niello
In Zombieland it doesn't help that the character he's voicing with that tone is an asshole, which isn't a good combination because it's making him more annoying by the episode.
Niello
Steins;Gate is pretty good, but I don't think I like it nearly as much as most people do (I gave it a 7/10). I also haven't bothered with Steins;Gate 0. And although I didn't mind Myano in Steins;Gate, I didn't particularly like his voice there either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the sombreness of Blanca's character. Poor Ash, so broken in this episode.
AidanAK47
Yeah after episode 2 it's been a downgrade. Zombieland is still alright to watch but it really has become what it parodied.
Vonter
Zombieland sadly has winded down. I mean it was expected but still I was hoping some more creative attempts to use in the typical genre. It'll have been better if they had waken up more slowly in order to flesh the archetypes a bit more. It still has charismatic moments though.
Lenlo
Really Niello? See, I like it because it's the voice we never got in Steins;Gate 0. Its Okabe's Kyouma voice, and I have a nostalgic love for it
Masky
Wasn't gyary isekai another one that existed?
Niello
I hate Miyano voice in Zombieland Saga and find him annoying tbh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am getting sick of self aware humour though. I see this show as something that was fun to make (such as Miyano seems to be feeling based on performances) but not fun for me to watch and that kind of extends to the manager who while I agree would be the best part of the show, I stopped finding funny after the joke was done.
Lenlo
For me, the main selling point of Zombieland Saga was always Miyano. I love this mans crazy voice.

And in regards to Isekai, discounting this most recent one, SAO actually is pretty good this season so far. Kirito is still bland, but its taking things a lot slower and actually building the world. Its taking its time with 52 episodes
Kaiser-Eoghan
By the sound of it, if some who liked the first episodes don't care for the ones beyond those two episode, then I'm glad I stopped watching.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did flick through episode 2 but the rap battle thing was particularly awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I couldn't stand the humour and have up on the show after the first half of episode 1.
Anonymous3065780
What Zombieland does have that Ore doesn't is better animation and Miyano hamming it up. But that's all it has going for it at the moment.
Anonymous3065780
You have a few "ha ha look at this" moments scattered here and there like how Ore episode 5 was basically one big middle finger to the nature of anime production, or Zombieland's Tae Yamada. But the parody value from the first two episodes is all but gone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its in part my own fault , I jumped the gun in the first half of episode one then all goodwill I had for it died after the first couple of minutes.
Anonymous3065780
@Kaiser Same here. Very disappointed that Zombieland is going down the same route that Mahou Shoujo Ore went down: basically becoming what it purported to parody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every isekai that pops up in recent seasons, I simply just ignore it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On another note, surely I'm not the only one who dropped zombieland saga? I'm not alone am I?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean, I've never seen an episode of konosuba or rezero and refuse to , no game no life is a series of two halves, I barely watched any of gate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the only one I can say I care about is Tanya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I think I've done a fairly good job at avoiding the modern isekai thing, I've never actually cared enough to sit through one fully beyond the first season of log horizon, 4 seasons of zero no tsukaima. Other than that I've seen maybe 7 episodes of sword art . Never seen a single episode of overlord and won't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm also glad their mentioning stuff like the peoples will, the historical assassination of the Russian emperor. I enjoy the tidbits of historical reference for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: But I don't think the animation is as good as it should be in the anime adaptation and its not as violent as the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I am up to date on the manga, the post first scene chapters that have caught my attention most have been Edogai, the big scenes in the prison and that bonnie and clyde duo.
Anonymous3065196
@SuperMario Are you watching GK s2? Any thoughts on it since you aren't covering this weekly?
Anonymous3065196
I think I laughed more from this than most of the comedies airing right now thanks to these bizarre situations and characters they're introducing.
Anonymous3065196
The anime is now covering the parts in the manga where things get a lot more dramatic, and a lot more weird and oddly hilarious.
Anonymous3065196
Wonder if anyone is still watching Golden Kamuy? We're way past the embarrassing CG bear.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A polar bear isekai exists.
AidanAK47
@Anon, it will be after in another world but a polar bear but before the gyarus in another world Isekai.
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Nobody could care about world building not really making sense or being inconsistent if it didn't have the grimderp parts that cause internet flame wars
MaskyAtPublicComputer
So it goes back to what I said: GS at its core is about (at least seemingly) about cool gorey tactical action with some character study of what its like to be broken person like GS is, but rape stuff just kinda ruins it for most people and it doesn't handle subject well
MaskyAtPublicComputer
gear doesn't rust and break down
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Anyhoo, I might remember wrong, but didn't GS purposedly use lower quality gear that has danger of breaking down in middle of combat? Thats kinda what I meant with "apparently using average quality gear is too dangerous", especially since its kinda hard to believe goblins could repurpose armor used by humans for themselves. I'm completely okay with him not using magical gear since D&D wise magical
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Like, you can't be like "Aha, characters think they are in JRPG, but its actually tabletop rpg oh wait no, it still follows realistic logic instead of tabletop rpg rules"
MaskyAtPublicComputer
See, barbarians in D&D don't wear armor because they are stronger without it, sure they have lower AC, but they have lot of health so they can tank a hit. So showing barbarian adventure dying in one hit because they were stupid enough to not wear armor just comes across as "So wait, is this supposed to be realistic, tabletop rpg or JRPG or what?"
MaskyAtPublicComputer
@AidanAK47: That IS actually part of reason why I said GS' author isn't thinking it through with world building. See, I actually think world being gods' D&D campaign does actually explain lot of details about how things don't make sense and it does fit with GS being D&D inspired, but that is another example of how GS is inconsistent.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps not the strongest episode of honda-san, but the golden kamuy and Brazilian guy bit made up for it.
Lenlo
I might give it a watch after Kaze Fui finishes and write that up, just for you then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anime kind of feels a bit live actiony, which I know sounds confusing to hear, what I mean is the character designs.
Anonymous3060338
I'm very interested in doing a comparison between the anime adaptation and the live-action adaptation of Kaze ga once the series concludes next year just because these are two different mediums adapting the same novel. I would really like to know what they had to change or cut to get it down to 2 hours, compared to this two-cour series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*storytelling
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Featured Posts

Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San – 6 [The Man with a Secret Power/Our Fair-Day War]

Welcome fellow book lovers, to another dip into Honda-San! This week was a bit dull as we learn about the difficulties of stocking, but the second half manages to pick it back up. Lets jump in! So overall this week of Honda-San was pretty disappointing for me. Like usual it had some good gags in […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN – 06 [Contact]

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Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara – 06 [Golden Fish]

Irozuku takes us to episode 6 for something significant happen, but even then it’s decidedly under-dramatic. This week, we have a whole lot more of magical moments that certainly are the feast to the eyes, and develop many underlying themes of its narrative. The central of the conflict this week is Hitomi and Aoi, as […]

Zombieland Saga – 04-06[Warming Dead SAGA/The Nice Bird SAGA in Your Heart/Because It’s Sentimental SAGA]

Forgive me for my lack of coverage on this series but you may have guessed that my enthusiasm for it has died down considerably. I always felt that Zombieland Saga was in danger of losing what made it great in its first two episodes and sadly that has come to pass. This show has ultimately […]

Banana Fish – 18 [Islands in the Stream]

Ah Banana Fish, back in form this week. Ash and Eiji act like a married couple, Blanca show’s everyone whose boss and Yut continues to have no idea what’s going on. Lets jump in! On a general note Banana Fish is really picking back up. The Gang War/Hospital were easily the weakest part of the […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai – 05-06[All the lies I have for you/This world you chose]

Thus we hit the end of another arc and admit it wasn’t a particularly interesting one due to not much being at stake. The characters helped keep it from getting boring but the main conflict was obvious from the start and the solution even more so. So to get things in perspective, Koga and Sakato […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 6 [The Emperor’s New Clothes]

Hello and welcome to another, if slower than normal, week of Kaze Fui! This time we have friendship, training and Haiji continues to get off scott-free! Lets jump in! Now Kaze Fui this week was, in my opinion, a bit of a non-starter. I don’t think it really addressed or dealt with many of the […]

Planetes – 7 & 8 [Extraterrestrial Girl/A Place to Cling To] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to another week of Planetes, continuing Throwback Thursday! This week we have a beautiful contrast of Life and Death in space followed by a lighthearted affirming of the group dynamic. Lets jump in! Before I get into actual plot elements, I want to once again praise Planetes for its use of […]

Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San – 5 [It’s a Book Signing!! Everyone Gather Up / A Fascinating Erotic Story]

Another week, another 10 minutes well spent with Honda-San. This time we have Golden Kamuy references, a Brazilian and lots, ridiculous amounts really, of gay Erotica. Lets jump in! To be honest, Honda-San started off worrying me this week. It wasn’t until maybe the 3 minute mark that it seemed to pick up. I think […]

Latest Reviews

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 72/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]

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In a year where comedy shows gain an unexpected strong showing, somehow a show about 3 cute girls and their pass-timer club emerges as one of the best comedy around. Yep, forget Hinamatsuri, forget Grand Blue, forget Chio-chan, Asobi Asobase delivers some hilarious absurdist laugh-out-loud moments for the ages. It helps that we were in […]

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Planet With is an anime that likely leaves many unimpressed when they look at the cover and makes for a solid proof that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover or even by it’s first episode. Many have overlooked this show in it’s season but for those that did give it chance it went […]

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Ah, the movie tie in. A right of passage for all aspiring Shounen series. Some, like One Piece have weathered it and come out Golden, while others are better forgotten (Looking at you Bleach). My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, in my opinion, is closer to former. Animated by BONES , Directed by Kenji Nagasaki and […]

A quick and dirty review of Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion

What it claims to be about: Angolmois (a reference to a Nostradamus prophesy which is rather irrelevant for the show, as he lived several centuries after the events) focuses on the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274. Specifically it focuses on the early phase of the invasion when the Mongols attack Tsushima, which essentially […]

Steins;Gate 0 Anime Review – 60/100

Before I begin this review in earnest, I have to ask, who doesn’t know about Steins;Gate? The amazing, beloved original series that Steins;Gate 0 is an offshoot of. Well if you don’t, if you haven’t seen the original, then stop now. Steins;Gate 0 is not worth it. It is not for you. Without having seen […]

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

Watching Mirai, there are two observations that spring right up to my mind: Mirai is Hosoda’s most grounded, personal film and it plays out completely different from what I expected based from the promotional materials. My feeling is confirmed when I later learned that Hosoda based the concept from watching his own children’s react, and […]

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

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Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

In following anime seasons it can be quite an experience to follow a show as it airs as the hype and rollercoaster of reactions can be entertainment in its own right. In that regard Darling in the Franxx was a hell of a ride as week by week peoples feelings for it ran hot and […]