Posted on 14 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shangri-La



Well, this is going to be my hardest review to write this season: explaining why the heck I considered Shangri-La among my favourites for the past half year. Even though there is a lot to dislike this series for, it’s really a series that proves to be very solid entertainment for those willing to suspend their disbelief.

I think it’s best explained as follows: imagine a series with a straightforward story, a simple and small cast and a slow pacing. Now imagine a series with a huge setting, a large and diverse cast of characters who all have their own motives and stance, a multi-layered story with a fast pacing that delivers buckets of plot twists each episode. Now, which of these two is likely to have more plotholes? And which one is probably going to be more exciting?

That’s basically the thing with Shangri-La. Granted, throughout the series Kuniko does a number of things that are rather hard to suspend your disbelief at (including breaking the laws of physics), and plotholes are also pretty common for those who pay attention. But at the same time, it had just about everything I look for in an anime.

The concept of Carbon Trading might seem weird at first, but it’s a pretty neat idea for this series to work with, and the setting that this series built around this concept is rich and imaginative. There are lots of different parties with all different priorities, morals and values, and the same goes for the cast: there are a lot of characters, and yet there are hardly two characters with the same outlook on life: everyone feels like an individual, and is interesting to watch and develop. My personal favourite was Karin, who gets the most development in this series.

My favourite part of this series was the plot, though. Throughout the majority of the series, you’re never going to know what to expect. Especially a good portion of the middle part of this series is features an truly excellent mystery plot, in which every revelation only makes the setting even more intriguing than it already was. Every character has so his or her own secrets, that together form a multi-layered storyline that just keeps delivering.

Unfortunately, this series plays the “lazy”-card right at its ending, which is without a doubt rushed. I’m not sure why there are only 24 episodes for this series because it definitely could have used two more episodes to wrap up the story better. The story right now just wants a happy ending a little too badly, even though it has to use lots of deus ex machina to get there. A shame.

The visuals for this series are an interesting beast. They range from rushed to absolutely gorgeous. Especially the first couple of episodes suffer from a collection of rushed shots and drawings, but at the same time some episodes feature the single most visually pleasing shots that I have seen for the past half year. The animation also picks itself up very nicely in the second half, and delivers some really good use of CG and shading to make this a very aesthetically pleasing series. The soundtrack of this series is also among my three favourite soundtracks of the past half year (with the other two belonging to Phantom and the Guin Saga).

So yes, you’re going to have to bring a cup of suspense of disbelief when you want to watch this series, and if you’re not trying to turn over every stone in search of a flaw you’ll be rewarded by a great story with a great setting that always manages to bring something new to the table, instead of dragging at the same point over and over. It’s a fun and diverse series, but I can understand why many hate the plotholes with passion.

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



And so this series has come to an end. Unfortunately it wasn’t the epic ending I hoped for though. In this episode, Kuniko simply kills everyone evil, and this episode unfortunately was rushed in order to get to a happy end. I expected better from this series. There were also a bunch of deus ex machinas, like Miiko suddenly popping up from nowhere and blocking bullets that were aimed for Mikuni. It was explained later, but it still feels cheap.

There also was that matter of Kuniko, somehow not becoming Himiko’s reincarnation. Why did Ryouko not know that that was going to happen? Also, Takehito was just pathetic in this episode. What, he just appears and blows himself up? Come on, that deserves more build-up. Everything just went too easy in this episode. It didn’t really build up to Kuniko’s development of becoming a leader, she simply smacked her way through everything because she happened to be a digma (thankfully she wasn’t Ryouko’s daughter, but instead a clone).

But there’s one thing I really liked about this episode: Karin’s end. She really feels like she developed her character and I liked how despite being in despair, she still managed to stop Medusa in time, and it was very nice to see Claris and Jean appear in the end. Her ending was really cute.

But yeah, overall I’m really afraid that this downer ending is going to leave me with a rather negative impression on this series, which is a shame because the middle part of this series really was everything I look for in an anime. Thinking back, I think the turning point was the burning of Tokyo: after that, the stories started to converge with each other, and it lost that bit of chaos that it was so good at in the middle part. In a way the hardest part of a mystery series is its ending: making the revelations count.

In any case, I do hope that this isn’t going to form the ending of Gonzo. Like ’em or not, they do have the guts to take risks, even when they’re about to go bankrupt. Risks like these are much better than playing it safe. Shangri-La… if it were well executed it would have belonged to my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, the shoddy execution made it less impressive than it could have been. Still, it’s still likely to end up somewhere at the end of my top 10 for 2009, unless the fall season turns out to be really, really good. Which I really doubt until proven wrong.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 7 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, what an awesome episode. With such a huge series with so many different subplots and such a frantic pacing, I was really expecting some sort of trainwreck for the final episodes. And yet the opposite turns out to be true, and instead the finale developed into a thriller to stop Ryouko from trying to destroy the world.

And really: it works. Because the rest of the series fleshed Ryouko out so well compared to most villains out there, she’s far away from those stereotypical evil overlords and really stands out as a huge threat to the lead characters. Her mindset is demented, yes. But at the same time as a villain, she’s very competent: she knew exactly how to place the chess pieces right in order to get her way; so far, she only made one mistake throughout the entire series in terms of her own ideals: she didn’t know that the daggers could be removed from the altar, and she didn’t know that they could cut through any kind of steel. And I admit: you’ve got to think pretty far-fetched in order to have seen that one coming if you didn’t know anything about it.

I also love how she also averts one of the tropes that most villains of her kind strangely get away with. Suppose you were working for an evil overlord, and found out that your master was planning to destroy the world, you included. Would you still support this boss? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Ryouko did well to keep all her plans to herself, right until it wouldn’t matter anymore who would find out. I mean, her plan to hold Kunihito’s parents hostages would never have worked for long, but it did buy her the necessary time to take Mikuni away from Kuniko.

And yeah: this episode finally explains what happened to Karin’s parents: they turn out to have been dead all along. Talk about an awesome plot twist here: all the wealth she attained, everything she gained when she created Medusa: it was all just a case of denial in her case.

Okay, so one episode is left. The set-up for the final episode is fairly straightforward: Ryouko wants Mikuni to destroy the world, Kuniko is here to stop her. What I want to see from this series is an ending which is more than “Kuniko and Ryouko have a fight and Kuniko wins”. I’ve seen too many series who have fallen to this trap, but if there’s any series who is able to evade this, it’s Shangri-La. This series really has exceeded my expectations at this point. These past few episodes took it away from its image of “yet another trainwreck” when it showed that it’s very well capable of writing a solid finale. What more could you want?

And yeah. Who cares that Kuniko descended the tube with her dagger? It’s science fiction. Who knows whether that dagger has magical slowing-down powers?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, how awesome! Just when I thought that this show had already passed its best point, it just keeps the surprises coming. Seriously, with this series I was expecting the final episodes to be all over the place, like what it did in the middle part of the story, which had so many different plot twists about so many different characters.

Instead, the past few episodes have been the most solid and focused episodes of the entire series. Because of that, it lost the erratic pacing that I liked so much in the rest of the series. Usually when a series pulls this, it gets rather boring, but this episode really was surprisingly good. In fact, it was awesome, and well for the fact that this series has much more than just that pacing: it still has its great sense of characters, plot twists, visuals, music, et cetera. And the slow pacing leading up to the ending actually improved on them: we now can really focus on the central themes of the series. And hey, this series has completely shifted its style of storytelling before, so for once it doesn’t feel like the creators lack inspiration for the finale.

I really liked the reason why Sayoko was freed by one of Ryoko’s henchmen: he discovered that Sayoko was his older sister he had never known, so he decided to be a good brother for once and let her go. While it seems like a rather flimsy reason at first, the more I think about it the more it fits within this series: it ties in very much with this series’ themes of family bonds: families being torn apart, growing away from each other. You see it everywhere in this series: Sayoko lost her daughter, Takehito having lost his little sister, Kuniko taking her grandmother for granted and getting into a fight with her, Karin and the distance from her parents, and there is of course also my theory of Ryouko, being the mother of Kuniko, Mikuni and Kunihito, which is getting more and more likely, which I’ll get into below.

Most of this episode was spent on Mikuni, trying to decide whether it was worth destroying the world for the sake of revenge. The thing is however, that she’s just a little kid: very easily influenced by the scary Ryouko. Ryouko on the meantime really proved to be an excellent villain here, if you can accept that she’s so screwed in her mind that she’s willing to destroy the world, and it was her who hacked into Medusa earlier.

So in the end she did turn into another villain who’s planning to destroy the world, but in my opinion she stands much higher above the usual villains of this type. In a villain, I’m not looking for someone who necessarily has to be morally ambiguous, like these misunderstood good guys. Those people also have their sets of problems. What I’m looking for in a villain is a personality: a well fleshed out character who isn’t a cheap excuse for a bit of conflicts. Well backed-up reasons are a plus, but not necessarily required: I mean, how many evil overlords in the real world are screwed in the head? The reason why I dislike most villains in anime is because they’re too often just paper bags who are there for the sake of having a villain.

And yeah, I’m getting more and more convinced that Ryouko is the mother of Mikuni, Kuniko and Kunihito. The final twist this episode really was an awesome one: I love it when these character who infiltrate the enemy tell nobody of what they’re doing, not even the viewers themselves. I already found that it was strange that he’d suddenly get so close to Kuniko, I already found it weird for the creators to suddenly start establishing a strange romance between him and Kuniko. Now everything makes sense!

And really, Ryouko looked so much like an angry mother who’s urging her child along when she took Mikuni along with her. She really had that feeling of parental authority when she dealt with her. And besides that, I can’t think of any reason why she would want to obey the successor of Atlas, other than some sort of strange and deranged case of family bonds, in a series which is full of broken up and dysfunctional families.

Out of all the shows that are going to end in the coming month, the ones that are promising some outstanding endings to look out for for me are the new Mazinger, Shangri-La, Tokyo Magnitude and Phantom. These are the shows which were excellently planned across their total airtime, and are promising to close off with a finale in which everything comes together. There are only a few shows of this caliber every season, and I’m glad to see that this season again has a fine selection of them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 25 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Three episodes left, and we finally move to something that resembles a climax. This episode was much like episode five, in which a lot of focus was spent on trying to hack Medusa out of trying to destroy the world, especially focusing on Karin vs Kuniko. In this episode, Karin finally has to learn to grow up a bit, and the highlight of this episode was Kuniko, trying to talk some sense into her.

In the next episode, we should finally get some light of what the hell Ryouko has been up to throughout the series, as she finally seems to be ready to execute whatever plan she was scheming. Finally we see her taking one of the digmas (Mikuni) back to her. It could be that she was simply waiting for one Digma to collect all of the daggers, and figured that it might have gone faster if she’d just Karin collect the daggers, rather than send her own men to do the job. Probably she also did this in order to avoid suspicions on her part. That still leaves the question why she’s willing to let Atlas succumb to earthquakes, though.

I’m surprised that this episode was relatively quiet, especially since this series still has a lot of work to do in its final hour to wrap everything up. I suspect that this was really the last calm before the storm and I really wonder what the creators are planning to end this series with. Endings are always really tricky to really pull of well. This series does have the ingredients to make it work, but I’ve seen many awesome series with unimpressive endings, so I’m just going to keep my expectations low for this one.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 18 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



And so the finale for this series has begun. This episode was mostly building up, but as usual with this series it came with tons of revelations. And heck; the creators might actually be able to pull of a satisfying conclusion at this rate.

I’m glad to see that even though we’re nearly at the end, the creators still show a bit of what happened to the folks of Duomo after they were evacuated inside Atlas. With this, Kuniko also got her wishes through that every last bit of space in Atlas would be used for the people, rather than simply letting them be wastes of space.

In this episode something that rather gets in the way of my “Kunihito is Kuniko’s brother”-theory, when some actual romance starts to develop. Thankfully though, there wasn’t a lot of cheese among the two and the situations that made them realize their crush was pretty creative (Come on, Kuniko hugging Kunihito when she tried to find out where the sudden lights came from was really cute). It’s a bit disturbing though, because aside from the blushes, their “lover’s quarrel” looked more like the fights that siblings would have, rather than lovers.

And then the pattern with Atlas in the middle. It turns out that it was supposed to be the whole pillar that would make Atlas the most influential city of the world. When Nagiko and Sergei was younger, this was their motivation to construct Atlas. It was an attempt to escape earthquakes, but it failed. That’s why they created the Hiruko: young sacrifices that would end up stopping the effects of the earth on Atlas, and which is also what killed Takehito’s sister.

In the meantime Karin (apparently Akihabara was spared in the bombings) has been stalking Kunihito with her subordinates, and so obtained the final dagger. Apparently, this is going to make Mikuni the true heir of Atlas (so that’s what was the purpose of these daggers). Medusa in the meantime is getting rather out of control, though Karin realizes it a bit too late when it’s already planning to crash the entire market through Antarctica. Now that’s going to be the turning point for her wealth, it seems.

The whole deal around Titan confused me a bit, especially since we never actually get to SEE it, but we’re very much given the impression that it’s an aerial fortress of Titan came to Tokyo after Ryouko tipped them off that the person behind Medusa is in Akihabara. Because of this, it launches a pillar of light at Karin. She probably hasn’t died yet, because we’ve yet to see her actually die, but someone else did die: Hiruko, aka Miiko. WTF.

So wait… Ryouko actually meant to kill Hiruko?! And we only just learned that it’s Hiruko that prevents Atlas from collapsing under its own weight. What the hell could her purpose be? I mean, if she wanted to crash Atlas, couldn’t she just have used a bunch of explosives? With this however, the finale has really been set up. I have no idea what’s going to happen to Atlas right now, but it’s definitely setting up for some sort of grand finale.

I’m also really glad to see that at this point, the budget still hasn’t run out. The final scenes, in which Miiko showed her last moments, were really well drawn and they looked absolutely beautiful. It’d be awesome if Gonzo is saving the last remains of its budget to go all out on that final episode.

With four episodes left, this series has a lot cut out for it, but if it manages to do everything right, then this finale is going to rock. Right now, it really seems like Ryouko is going to be the final villain. She might or might not be planning to use Titan for the final episodes, but it’s now clear that she’s really planning something that really shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and four episodes seem just about right to flesh it out enough, after all the build-up that she’s received up till now. Karin and Kuniko are probably going to form the centre of her opponents. And also, what’s the carbon trade going to do in the final episodes? Is the market really going to crash, or will Karin be able to salvage enough of her money to set up a small army?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Hehe, and here I thought that the creators were going to save the bombing of Tokyo for the grand finale of this series. It seems that there’s still much more that’s going to happen after it: there are still so many problems that are left to be solved, not to mention that the creators still don’t seem to have played all of their trumps for this series!

The way this episode was executed was also something I really didn’t expect. With the entire city of Tokyo burning down, you’d expect them to create a huge action-packed spectacle out of it, but instead this episode had a much more melancholic atmosphere. It’s something completely different from what we’ve seen of this series so far, and it really works. That’s yet another reason why I’ve grown to be such a fan of this series: you’re never going to know what to expect.

This episode was surprisingly slow paced for this series, but because of that the impact on Kuniko, having to burn down the place she grew up in really made an impact. Her emotions were handled very subtly here: she didn’t break down crying, or she didn’t refuse to drop the bomb at the last possible moment like your average anime lead. She knew very well what she had to do to save the ones around her, because otherwise they’d just be overthrown by the Daedalus. This episode portrayed that feeling of saying goodbye really well. Kuniko might seem like nothing special at first sight, but you don’t often see a main character who has to serve as a leader like her.

Oh, and the eye candy! While not as gorgeous as episode 13, the visuals were nevertheless gorgeous as they showed Duomo going up in flames. You could see that especially the background artists were on fire in this episode (not literally of course), but also the CG looked really good during the fiery bits.

Now, the question is going to be: how are the creators planning on filling up the final quarter of this series. The Daedalus hasn’t fully disappeared: it’s still inside Atlas because that’s a part that can’t exactly be burned down. At the same time, the end of this episode shows Medusa finally losing control of itself, after Karin pushed him too far in her attempts to take advantage of the huge carbon emissions from the forest fires. and to think that for a moment she was like the richest person in the world. She was bound to overstep her borders at one point, but I still wonder what the creators plan to do with Medusa going out of control: is she simply going to lose Medusa, or is her entire fortune coming along with it?

It’s very interesting: for most series at this point, you’re going to have a good idea what its finale is going to be about: what the main goal is going to be to overcome. With Shangri-la, I have no bloody clue. Sure, there is busting Ryoko from Atlas, people are going to have to rebuild their homes, Karin is going to have to cope with Medusa, but which one is going to be taking the main focus? What is Ryouko going to do now after cooperating with Kuniko? There are still so many questions left open.

At this point, there are five episodes left. That’s enough for this series to wrap up everything with a conclusion, and let’s hope that everything isn’t going to end up rushed!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 3 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Okay, so this episode was mostly building up and it wasn’t as filled with as many plot twists as the previous ones, but nevertheless it had some great ideas and scenes thrown into it. One in particular was an awesome one. It’s a major spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet you might want to skip this entry.

Because holy crap: Kuniko is Mikuni’s sister! Momoko’s earring turns out to be something she stole from Nagiko, of all people. That gives that whole subplot a whole new dimension and a lot of things make sense now. But most importantly: Kunihito!?

If my theory indeed is true, then that means that the digmas are not just a bunch of random people chosen, but instead the three of them are siblings, and the grandchildren of the founder of Atlas! That’s what makes them so special! That explains why they all have “Kuni” in their names (which probably was a strange idea from their mother). It also explains why Kuniko and Kunihito got along so well: this series wasn’t trying to turn Kunihito into Kuniko’s love interest; they just got along as siblings would!

This makes me even more curious about that mystery mother, who seems to be at the center of all of this. In fact, I’m getting more and more the suspicion that Ryouko actually is the one who fits this description. As disturbing as it may sound, for the three of them to be the next heirs of Atlas, it must mean that their mother holds a very important place at Atlas for them to be considered so special. That can’t be anyone OTHER THAN Ryouko! Talk about a screwed up family. And speaking of which… who exactly is Kuniko’s father?

If that indeed turns out to be true, then we had a nice family reunion in this episode, in which Nagiko manages to arrange a meeting between Kuniko and Ryouko, about trying stop Daedalus. Apparently, even though it was meant to prevent fires Daedalus can seem to burn, otherwise Ryouko would have pointed that out.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Another great episode, if only because of Karin’s awesomeness. I already suspected that we didn’t see the last of her when she got busted out of her room by Atlas, but for her to end up buying the entire Akihabara! That’s a nice one. To think that it’s actually Karin who unites all of the good guys, rather than Kuniko, but it’s definitely an interesting twist for Karin to try and collect all of the Digmas (or Triple As, as she calls them). We still don’t know though what makes them so important, and why Ryouko bothered to let them go in the first place. Now that Claris seems to be gone, an interesting split personality on her side also seems to surface.

In other news, Takehito seems to have discovered that Kuniko is a Triple A Atlas member. What we do learn in this episode is that one of the Triple As is meant to inherit Atlas in the future… wtf?! But in any case, Takehito’s grief for his dead sister seems to be a bit too big for him to accept that Kuniko is part of Atlas (he’s probably not going to like it when he finds out about her grandmother either). We see him jump off a cliff in this episode, but in true Shangri-La fashion, I really doubt that that was the last we see of him. :)

But the juiciest plot twist in this episode: Kuniko plans to burn down the ENTIRE TOKYO in order to stop the Daedalus from spreading. This plot just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? My big hope is that Gonzo has saved its budget for that particular scene, because if it’s going to mean that the the entire city of Tokyo, including Atlas, is going to end up in flames, then that’s going to make for some potentially awesome eye candy.

What also striked me in this episode is that there are a lot of people who have an aversion of something major: Karin hates public places, Mikuni can’t go out in broad daylight, while Medusa can’t seem to survive without water. I keep trying to look for a link with something else in the story, but it seems pretty random. If you take liberties in this definition then you could argue that Sayoko can’t live without a “daughter”-figure to take care of, and Momoko and Miiko turned away their manlihoods, but there still doesn’t seem to be a pattern I can spot here. Especially since Kuniko and Kunihito don’t seem to fit in this theme at all…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Muaha! I just can’t help but love this series. This episode yet again was an awesome instalment for Shangri-La, mostly focused on a battle of wits between Ryouko and Mikuni, of all people, and it definitely delivered. The thing I love about Ryouko is that the creators remembered to give her the screen-time she deserves as a villain. This really made her into a dangerous character, and a serious threat to the lead characters instead of letting her be an incompetent idiot who never can seem to get anything right.

And really, this episode was yet again full of juicy plot twists. While they weren’t as big as “Kuniko’s Grandmother Founded Atlas!?!?!1!!11”, every single one was a nice touch, surprising and full of potential for the rest of this series (EDIT: on second thought, some of them really are big…). To give a small run-down:
– Kunihito decides to leave the military. Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind.
– Miiko doesn’t just get arrested, she becomes the next Hiruko!
– Mikuni has had it now that all of her loved ones are gone, and gathers all of her followers to forcefully take Miiko back.
– The new plants that showed up turn out to be called Daedalus. When left alone, they threaten to swallow up the entire forest.
– Momoko studied biology in her early days?!
– Ryouko finally stopped complaining about Shion’s work as her personal servant.
– Ryouko… can’t be hit by bullets?! wtf?
– Ryouko brings Mikuni to Miiko. Sayoko, who apparently had been hiding, shows herself, takes Hiruko Miiko hostage and runs away with Mikuni!
– Again, Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind because Hiruko seemed to be one of Tarsian’s plans.
– For some reason, the episode ends with Takehito putting a gun against Kuniko’s head.

I mean, seriously? How many plot twists can you include in one episode anyway, at the same time preventing the episode from feeling rushed, creating even more questions and potential plot twists for the future as well? On top of that, the characters were also at their best in this episode: Kuniko was awesome in how she managed to quickly recover from the disappointments of the previous episode. Mikuni rocked because she finally was able to do something for herself. Ryouko rocked for being so badass that even bullets can’t face her among others. Sayoko rocked for the lengths that she’s willing to go through to save Mikuni.

And really, this makes it even bigger of a puzzle of what the Digmas are. I always thought that Ryouko was meaning to collect them, but in this episode she doesn’t do anything to stop Digma 3 from leaving the military (calling him inferior to the other two Digmas), and she even seemed pleased when Sayoko took Mikuni away. What the hell was up with that?

And ON TOP OF THAT, this episode again rocked in terms of graphics. This episode had some utterly beautiful shots. Not in the way of episode 13, but the aesthetics were right in just about every shot. You could see nothing of the rushed animation that plagued the first bunch of episodes. The music also rocked beyond belief in this episode.

My only worry is that Daedalus is going to turn into your stereotypical evil plant that’s going to be the final boss, but hey: even the amazing Kaiba suffered from this. And the thing to wonder about: why was it introduced this early in the series, if there are still about eight episodes left for this series? Is Daedalus simply going to grow slowly, or did the creators realize this, and are planning a twist even there?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
To sum that up, don't bully my waifu or I will end you.
AidanAK47
@Mario, She only killed him once and tortured him for information once. Both times because he had something which showed he had a connection to the witch. Besides, the anime mainly showed off her good points but she still has a crushing inferiority complex and a rather delicate mindset.
SuperMario
Oh I have one. How about Lovepon? lol
SuperMario
@Topgavin: it was sarcasm actually, if we do it again next year we might cut down some categories. But I totally agree that we're lacking of good villains. Biba and that teacher are the worst as they actually dragged their shows down.
Topgavin
Honestly though there's been a real lacking of good villains last year. I hear some guy from Jojo was pretty good, but other than that they've either been okay or lackluster. Makes you wonder how FMA:B managed to get so many villians right in so many ways when shows usually fail to get even 1 half as good.
Topgavin
@Supermario Biba or Teacher-dude from Erased surely...
SuperMario
Maybe we should include the best villain next time, haha. I honestly don't know who to pick...
SuperMario
oh Rem, that demon girl who tried to kill Subaru many times over. Why is she the best girl again?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I watched Moonlight last night in cinema and it was great. I had high expectation for that and it pretty much delivered. Also Janelle Monae was so freaking hot.
SuperMario
OMG, that 3rd episode of Rakugo was so greattttt. @Lenlo: don't need to understand the meaning of the rant thou, Yotaro doesn't understand either
Kaiser Eoghan
Think of the fine children/breeding stock Aidan and rem would offspring =P
Kaiser Eoghan
Dye their hair, make things confusing ;)
AidanAK47
@Anon, hahahaha, cool joke bro.....
...............................Don't make me destroy you.
Lenlo
The one with red hair of course
Anonymous765953
rem? who's that?
Lenlo
Having read the books, theres afew inconsistencies and I dont like some of the choices for actors.
Kaiser Eoghan
*couldn't
Kaiser Eoghan
Buh buh but Aiiiidan you still have the koe no katachi movie and thaaats kyoani =P But lol phantom world was so poor I couldn't get past the second episode. A shame that they could go with the darker spin the author ended up apparently going for in later volumes.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I am currently eh on it as well. Only at the second episode so far. I find it interesting but it has a lot of things that turn me off.
Lenlo
7 YEARS I SAT ON THAT BOAT!

Still havnt finished Flip Flappers. I like it, its pretty, each episode is different, but I can barely tell what the over-arching narrative is and thats a big deal to me
Lenlo
ITS REAL
Lenlo
BOAT TIER
Lenlo
@Aidan, Series of Unfortunate Events was eh. I wasnt a big fan of the TV adaptation, though I did like Neil Patrick Harris
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: BOAT TIER lmao.
Kaiser Eoghan
Thats why I LOVED flippflappers so much, where else can I get THAT anywhere, totally its own thing/beast.
Lenlo
My big ones for the year were easily Rakugo and Re:Zero. Disappointments, biggest one is Berserk. Ive been following it for years, have the entire series on my shelf, and I watched it like a captain going down with his ship
Kaiser Eoghan
At the same time well, yes its still good to see a non-highschool story in ANYTHING.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, you see I don't really award points to an anime doing something unique to anime, I judge by all mediums as a group/whole. 91 days may be a mafia drama, kabaneri may be a zombie show but theres already plenty of those in the world elsewhere.
Kaiser Eoghan
I could see myself getting some oldskool charm out of alderman if I watched it. I was waiting for yuri on ice to be dubbed. Drifters for all its problems was some of the most fun I've had in ages.
Kaiser Eoghan
The only thing I saw that I truly abhorred though was the new shinkai film.
Kaiser Eoghan
Most of the other stuff I didn't really bother watching. Its pointless for me to shit on about 91 days and re:zero because I was guaranteed to dislike both before seeing either.
Kaiser Eoghan
Biggest disappointments for me were erased , berserk and joker game. Whereas my surprise was lost passage. My favourites of the year were flippflappers and Rakugo. I wanted Kabaneri and dimesion w to save anime and bring back some oldskool charm but that didn't happen.
AidanAK47
Alright I spent over an hour formatting this thing and now I am knackered. Readers, this summery is over 23 pages long so be prepared as this thing is pretty huge. Don't say you were not warned.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Watch it. I bet it will be up your alley.
Kaiser Eoghan
Thats a problem with adaptations, put a voice on certain characters and it can become irritating.
Kaiser Eoghan
And to be fair on scums wish, that it deals with the sex bit in a teen story, well that makes it more daring and thats points for it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Largely stayed away from that series as I assumed it was for young children.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Additionally the relationships in that manga got too convoluted, the comedy stands out worse in the anime too. Still though I DO dig the idea behind the show of two kids who are in a fake relationship.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, you think that's hard to watch try watching Netflix's A series of unfortunate events. Because boy do I want to brutally murder the banker and his family. That may sound severe to you but trust me, you will feel likewise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You were right about it being harder to watch scums wish than read it. I want to hit the twin tails girl with a hatchet.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm laughing now remembering an old ANN review where they stated golgo 13 was a stress reliever for 30 something Japanese office workers, I get that so much more now lol
Kaiser Eoghan
But seriously violence in fiction, anime/manga included is so damn therapeutic.
Kaiser Eoghan
As such I genuinely was able to enjoy the new M night shaylman flick lol
Kaiser Eoghan
Venting here largely because I can, I now imagine the teenage/twenty something audience members at horror/thriller films as the victims in the films, makes it more tolerable to deal with their existence in the cinema.
Lenlo
I cant help but feel theres some cultural aspect I am missing to the Rakugo rant scene. Makes me sad.
Lenlo
Rakugo, continues to be great and gets another time skip. Im always surprised by how engrossing it is just listening to these people talk.
Lenlo
Makes me sad, just like Berserk. Got an entire shelf dedicated to it but its just so slow. stupid boat.
Lenlo
Vagabond was phenomenal, but its been on hiatus for years now hasnt it
Kaiser Eoghan
....well without spoiling towards the middle of that rakugo episode and all throughout during that middle part, my opinion on Yotaro's character went far up.
Kaiser Eoghan
Struggling to remember the name of that josei samurai manga from the 90s (or earlier 2000s), had a gender bending theme.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've already read kenshin and vagabond, I loved shigurui death frenzy and sword of the stranger but found samurai champloo uneven. Theres a kagemusha manga but I haven't read it and I've yet to see/read blade of the immortal.
Kaiser Eoghan
At a glance I'll go against the grain and say I think demi-chan is funnier than konosuba, going on one episode of each.
I've been watching a fare share of samurai films in the last two years and lately so I'm open to wathing more anime/reading manga dealing with samurai.
SuperMario
Hand Shakers, how I love to watch it jumping off the cliff. This show contains lines like "I don't understand... even if I did understand... but I don't understand." It isn't a dialogue that we encounter too often I'm sure.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Sounds good to me. With me covering Little Witch Academia, Saga of Tanya the evil and Rakugo this season is well covered.
SuperMario
so I've decided to blog 3-gatsu, Scum's Wish and ACCA this season. A bit worry about the latter as I still don't have much to talk about that. Let's try it and see what happens; I say
SuperMario
Okay, I'm not hot on Onihei this week, as if the main theme about these two episodes were "people can be corrupted" then I'm not buying it. ACCA, on the other hand, was still very solid of building up the world and its big events to come.
AidanAK47
I have played all the big roguelikes and found they have the same problem. I argee on procedural generation. Even if the map is different every time you are essentailly going through the same rooms and doing the same things.
Masky
Though to be honest, I don't like procedural(or designed room and then game connects them randomly) games much. I much enjoy hand designed dungeons since I rarely play games through more than once anyway so roguelike's appeal of "Every time you play it through its different!" doesn't appeal to me much and hand designed dungeons are much more memorable
Masky
Can't really comment further on that since I don't know which roguelikes you have played, and neither I have played gungeon so I don't know if its badly designed to the point you can't do anything if rng says so. Though I guess there is nothing wrong about liking luck based games, if roguelike in question is truly unbeatable if rng says so, well, its really badly designed one if you ask me.
AidanAK47
Take my last run. Made it up to the fourth floor. Got plenty of guns but none were really useful. Even then ran out of ammo for all of them and the game was cheap about giving out ammo. Plenty of money but shops with nothing worth buying. Over 5 heart containers but no goddamn health. Died on the boss because I rolled out of a bullet into another bullet. Pretty much unavoidable.
AidanAK47
@Masky, that's the theory but in pretty much every roguelike I played its not the case. If the RNG decides you are going to have a bad time then you are going to have a bad time. Skill can only bring you so far. I have played this game for 7 hours and I know I could have finished it in 2. Only thing stopping me is a dice roll.
Masky
Like, the thing with roguelikes is that they can get easier/harder depending on luck, but well done one should be completable even without any upgrades at all if you are skilled enough.
Masky
Thats not the really case with roguelikes though, unless game design is bad and includes insta kill traps and such that are unavoidable if you are unlucky
AidanAK47
I hate roguelikes. Been playing enter the Gungeon and I just lost all patience with it. Getting real tired of my victory being decided by a RNG. It never feels satisfying to finish a roguelike because I know my victory was determined by pure luck.
AidanAK47
So we got to rely on fansubs for it when it's airing.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Nope. I think because netflix only puts up full seasons they are only planning to put it up when it's finished airing. Or when it's dubbed.
SuperMario
But how does the Netflix thing work? So of I have a Netflix account I can watch the show weekly?
SuperMario
@Aidan: that's a dumb way to do things really because unless you watch the show weekly, everyone gonna forget that it even exist. Just look at Re-Life last year
Lenlo
thought*. Words are hard.

Eventually found the actual first ep though and enjoyed it.
Lenlo
Was funny. I tried to find the first Ep for Little Witch, found original short made afew years ago, watched it and though "This is very similar to the original... Whats new".
AidanAK47
Little witch is one of the best shows this season and yet I can't get subtitles because Netflix doesn't release shows weekly. Motherf*cker.
Lenlo
Ore Monogatari I enjoyed. It was a nice romance that actually explored what happens after the confession. Also the 2 leads are just precious.
Lenlo
Alright but unmemorable seems like a good summation.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: one good thing about Seiren is if you don't like this romance, the whole thing gonna reset after episode 4 so there's a chance that you might end up like it. Agreed that the comedy wasn't very good. Alright but unmemorable
SuperMario
@Topgavin: I watched like first 3 episodes and stopped because I didn't have much time there, but I enjoyed what I saw. A well-written and endearing show in my book
Topgavin
Has anyone here watched Ore Monogatari before? Because in the 4 years I've watched anime, I've never heard of it (I guess it did come out 2 years ago) and yet it's turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Always great going into a show expecting nothing and getting pleasantly surprised.
AidanAK47
Only one more impression to go. Should have it up tomorrow.
Lenlo
Im really not feeling Seiren. Its "comedy" isnt for me and I just dont find it very enjoyable to watch so far. Im curious if it gets any better but 2 episodes in it just isnt that good.
HelghastKillzone
That ending scene is an entire side-story compressed into that. Don't expect anymore of it from here on out as the it sticks to ruthless military/fantasy pretty well.
LookingForKeys
@Topgavin I think it was good, making it the second episode. That way the first set up the world the story will be in, and showed how much of a monster the "little girl" really is right at the end, and then made ep.2 the explanation. Nothing against Tanya trying to rip "God" a new one.
That after-credits scene, though...
SuperMario
Hmm, as much as I like Seiren's omnibus format, it doesn't turn out really hot this second episode. Demi-chan, on the other hand, still maintains its endearing tone. Might blogging Demi-chan instead
Topgavin
Yeah, that second episode was much better than the first. Dunno why they didn't start with that to be honest, waste of an opportunity for a good hook episode. The voice for the main girl still sounds weird to me though; I get it's supposed to sound weird because it symbolizes 'her' being out of place and her personality and body being a mismatch, but it'll certainly take some getting used to.
AidanAK47
Youjo Senki, now we are talking. Like Helghast said, Did the god scene way better than the LN and manga. Made it less comedic and more intimidating.
Lenlo
Oh man that Rakugo intro. Not sure what to think, but first time seeing it I liked it
Kaiser Eoghan
I sort of like good will hunting because I kind of saw a bit of myself in Damon's character when I watched it ages ago.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Remaking psycho and ruining the shower scene, for shame van sant, for shame.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its easy to ripoff some obscure thing though and get away with it. The dogtooth director essentially stole an old Mexican film to make that.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, that following some guys from behind like they were on a RPG games, which I think actually fit with the tones of Elephant. I have such mixed feeling with Gus van Sant too. Don't really think he's a great director.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Although Istvan Szabo is probably a little more well known for that Mephisto film that updates the Faust story. Zoltan Fabri's the fifth seal is a very thought provoking war movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I remember seeing a film documentary that featured Gus van sant in one section, they showed clips of tarrs films, Sant ripped of the cinematography and stole the style from some British short film to make Elephant.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree on the other Hungarian filmmakers, I don't know much about them either.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Scorsese's Silence was a big comeback. I really really emotionally connect with spiritual crisis stories.
SuperMario
@kaiser: yep, definitely check wreckmeister down. Althought I admit that watching his 2-hour plus films will feel like 5-hour anyways
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm more tolerant of darker teenage/coming of age films/stories. Les Demons was a big surprise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Though its kind of frustrating, I do think Tarr probably takes attention away from other hungarian filmakers because no-body knows who the hell the others are.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Man, wreckmeister was so visually arresting I started getting dreams from it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I would consider Tarr to be kind of a poor mans Janco, Angelopolus and Tarkvosky rolled into one. I don't entirely "get" wreckmeister and man from London but they are great atmospheric mood piece experiences.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I had been wanting to watch Belar Tarr's Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies for so long now. Well, Fat Girl is shocking haha, but I'm normally drawn into those kind of films anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Margaret took like 5,6 years to release because he couldn't cut it down in the way he wanted. The final cut if I remembered correctly was edited by Martin Scorsese
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Only a HDcam for moonlight now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I looks like my lineup is witch academia, rakugo and youjo senki, well the most latter one until I get bored.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I sense a directors cut for manchester, it feels like it need another 30 minutes.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right up my valley. Watch Kenneth Lonergan's previous works Magaret and You Can Count on Me. Magaret is very messy but have a raw dialogue and interactions as well
SuperMario
Now the first episodes are over, I will keep on covering 3-gatsu, as for the other twos atm I have 3 options: 1) full romance/anti-romance high school Seiren/Scum's Wish. 2) slice-of-life moe monster girls Demi-chan/Maid Dragon and 3) Mature,dark Onihen/Acca (which although I like them I don't have much to talk about).If you guys have any preference on which shows you like covered then let me know
Kaiser Eoghan
@Helghast: At this point I'm watching youjo senki as an entertaining guilty pleasure.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Too many reboots upcoming, will wait for the dvds instead. I want to explore more of manchester by the sea's director's work. I also want to finally get more into Bela Tarr's stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I was rather shocked by A Ma souer/fat girls final act. Scenes with the Italian in the bedroom were initially creepy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's a nice review Kaiser, a bit jealous with you that you've seen those 3 films which are touted as the best films of 2016. Also Fat Girl, haha, I love that movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
Poor yotaro =< you have so much stuff going down on you =<
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki episode was so good today. That revamped scene with God just fitted so right.
AidanAK47
A official release of that game in the west is apparently coming but it's been a few years and not much news about it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Ah yes that was the one.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Had to think for a moment on that one but I think I was talking about this. https://vndb.org/v3144
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I'd hardly consider myself a studio trigger fan, but I watched the first witch academia episode there, it was actually kind of fun, got the same reaction from me as flipflappers did, that magical, special feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also, of interest reviewed Kenneth Lonegrans new film: http://letterboxd.com/shao_liu_ringon/film/manchester-by-the-sea/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Moonlight got some feels out of me though it could of been more, it ends abruptly and with 20 extra minutes they could have spent a bit more time on each section of his life.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I checked out lala land, ending was very well executed, one of three scenes in the film that were impressive visually. The whole thing looked pretty and Gosling and Stone had some decent chemistry. Although it didn't resonate emotionally as strongly as the musicals of Jacques Demi did.
Kaiser Eoghan
MOM I want aiyoku no eustia and I want it now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've never heard of himawari or tokyo babel. The hellsing comparison at least interests me in dies irae. What was the name of that visual novel again that was coming out soon, Aidan you described it as "And Kaiser would love it because its supposed to be really fucked up".
Kaiser Eoghan
I vaguely remember the anime for 11 eyes, it was very forgettable, even the voice acting was poor, hated the childhood friends and the pacing was poor, those black knight things were kind of interesting though.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You'll have to add me onto the list of those unsatisfied with the ever 17 writer, I read one of those games and felt it was a bunch of interesting bait that never paid off.
AidanAK47
Anyway I plan on doing a review of 11eyes here when I finish it.
AidanAK47
Can't say I was a fan of Ever17. That was a really good twist but when it came to explaining it their was a lot of contrived development. Generally not a fan of the writer. Looseboy, Ryukishi, Gen and Nasu are more my kinda thing
AidanAK47
@Anon, it is nice that so many VNs are on steam but I wish they wouldn't be stupid with the whole no adult content thing. Not so much for myself but to prevent idiots from writing negitives reviews because the game doesn't have sex. VNs can grip you in a way anime simply can't and while they require pathence and time those can be some pretty powerful stories.
Anonymous678956
@Aidan, I am so happy steam's so VN-friendly now. I think it's a very good type of media. Like anime, it has nice visuals, music and some movement but also the inner monologue and text amount of books. It's the perfect combination. Plus, the routes, which are often puzzle pieces and PoVs you have to go through to understand the whole story. True routes like the one of Ever17 blew my mind.
AidanAK47
Hopefully the two VNs I bought of steam turn out better. Tokyo Babel is supposed to be alright and I heard really good things about Himawari.
AidanAK47
I am about a third of the way through the game and really not much of worth has happened. The concept is interesting but the execution is sorely lacking.
AidanAK47
I went in expecting it to be a mixed bag and it's pretty below my expectations. It's just not really well written and the protagonist is a moron. THere isn't really routes and instead you are pretty much stuck with his childhood friend as the main love interest. Problem with that is her character begins and ends with loving the main.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, damn. 11Eyes is on my reading list as well. Although I almost expected it to not be as good as I thought it'd be (back then). Guess I would have enjoyed it if I was able to read it while the (shitty) adaption aired, maybe I have seen/read too many series by now. Guess I'll still give it a try some day though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I haven't heard the OST or watched the intro video. I only know it be reputation and have decided to walk into it as blind as I can. Still slightly worried as I was somewhat looking forward to reading 11Eyes for a couple of years and now that I am reading it it's well...not good.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, same here. I was waiting years for this, since I saw the intro video for the first time. Also, that OST!
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki is already leagues better than Izetta. It's going to be top anime of forever and ever. (maybe not)
AidanAK47
And finally Dies Irae is funded. May actually be able to play and finish the game before the anime airs. If the hype is real behind this baby it could be a new personal favorite Visual Novel of mine. Already looking promising with it being like a cross between Hellsing and Fate/Stay Night. Two things I most certainly like.
Lenlo
@Masky, in regards to style over substance thats where im at with Gurrne Lagann.
Topgavin
Yeah, I'll probably watch the next episode to see whether it can redeem itself. Hopefully it can but considering 1st episodes usually get a lot of budget, there's some severe doubt in there.
AidanAK47
I actually argee with character designs and voices are bad in regards to female characters. Still the next episode might change your mind if we get more into the main characters head.
Anonymous671470
It's boring
Topgavin
Also, it seems I disagree with a lot of people in thinking Youjo Senki will be a massive trainwreck. The character designs are awful, the voice acting is mismatched but most of all the premise just seems so very dumb. If I wanted to watch a badass kill people I'd go watch Hellsing or Drifters, because at least those don't have some op, disproportionate loli as the mc.
AidanAK47
Gets even more complicated when you account for Satire and Parody. You could equally argue all examples listed as being as such.
AidanAK47
Little Witch Academia is a decontruction of Harry Potter....I don't believe that but honestly if I tried I could put some reasoning behind that statement.
Topgavin
In the end, it always comes down to opinion (as with every discussion about anime, for some reason). You could spin any and every series as a "deconstruction", which is why people shy away from using the word. You could argue NGE, Madoka and Re:Zero are all deconstructions yet also argue Gundam, Precure and SAO are depending on what points you weigh more importantly.
Masky
Like, if deconstruction is supposed to be just "break the elements and then play story how it would realistically go down" well I haven't watched NGE, but as far as I know it does have stuff that isn't typical to mecha genre besides the "It would fuck up kids" thing plus "realistically how it would play out" is pretty subjective thing. I mean, its mainly about how cynical bastard the writer is :P
Masky
Like I said, I don't fully agree with it because I find video's speaker's attitude annoying, but I found it semi convincing. Main thing I don't find convincing about it is that I don't think its hard to turn video's own arguments agaisnt it and say that by its own logic NGE isn't deconstruction either, like Aidan just said earlier
Masky
And I don't really have energy for checking out the "correct" one. If there even is one. Anyway, the hipster video I was talking about was titled "What Actually Is A Deconstruction?" if you want to check it out.
Masky
Hmm, well, it does depend on definition you use. Like if you use "realistic" thing, well, Magical Girl shows don't usually have "You turn into monsters" thing going on and reason why NGE's pilots go crazy is from dangerous situations rather than evas making them do so. But honestly, I don't really have strong opinion on matter since word seems to be one of those with several different meaning
SuperMario
for me Madoka IS a deconstruction of Magical girl, and yeah like what Aidan said
SuperMario
I think part of Utena is a deconstruction of "prince riding horse and save the girl" because that notion is just a foundation for Utena to become a prince herself and save other girl. That's breaking it apart and resemble it again in its own way. Don't have to be dark/ don't have to be real either
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's just debating semantics. Besides that difinition would pretty much mean that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn't a decontruction either. Madoka isn't a decontruction because it's dark. It's more in its aspects of criticising why a girl should throw her ordinary life away for something as dangerous as being a magical girl. It does take plenty of the typical tropes and turn them on its head
SuperMario
@Masky: Genre deconstruction is such a tricky word that I normally try to avoid using because there's really no set characteristic about the term and different people have different opinions about what constitute "deconstruction". For me, I disagree that deconstruction have to be dark and real, hmm can't say it well but I will give you an example:
Masky
But yeah, I guess I could try to find the video if you guys are interested, though like I said, I got hipsterish feel from the video and felt rather annoyed through it even though I did get what the point was and found it sort of convincing besides my annoyance
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