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
Kaiser-Eoghan
*reviewing
It was your review that got me interested in the film mario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I know that feeling, having to get out all my thoughts immediately. I also stream of consciousness what I write whether it be a poem or review then go back to edit, shows the passion a person has for what they're review.
SuperMario
It was just 3 years ago. I think I MUST review everything as soon as I finish, otherwise I will forget. Getting old now. Dang it
SuperMario
It was a great review, Kaiser. I also feel comparing Black Coal to Memories of Murders don't do this film justice too (although to be hinest I don't see the comparison). Your review just reminds me that I did review that film on Letterboxd, thou for the life of me, when I read ny own review I had no clue that i did write it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Constantine was really the only reason I would have considered seeing the film, as I enjoyed some of the comics he appeared in.
Lenlo
Yaaay! Favaro is back!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, now I remember, I stopped watching ghost hound at around episode 14 or 15 years ago.
K-Off
Justice League Dark ended up being one of the weakest among the recent animated dc films. The opening was intriguing but it drops the ball as soon as it focuses on Zatanna and Constantine...The demonic manipulation of people isn't tied well enough to the villain, so that premise ends up feeling pointless, everything is inconsequential by the end. Why was this even made?
SuperMario
And for once, I feel that developing the characters isn't a appropriate choice for this type of show. The main cast need to develop, yes, but most of the supporting cast was presented as ambiguous and mysterious, thus making them change in the end feel just wrong
SuperMario
The main kidnapping was never addressed thoroughly, and it should be the main overarching arc, instead of this ending.
SuperMario
So... I've just binged through Ghost Hound. It starts as a compelling psychological mystery series, and ends up being... thriller of sort? The first half, building up stage was its best, and then unfortunately it run out of steam
KTravlos
Hey Favoro is like a good whiskey. You gotta drink it slow and enjoy it :)

I liked Predators.
Spike
8 episodes in we finally get to see who we were all waiting for in Bahamut! ...for 2 seconds.
Vonter
I did watch the version with the alien coming out of the ox. I haven't watched Predators, AVP1 was ok, like the newer movies its just the human element that has consistently gotten worse and unmemorable. I think that element in particular made me enjoy watching Alien 3 now, than if I had watched it in order, considering how it begins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thankfully the franchise can never fall as low as the predator reboot or alien vs predator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Be sure you're watching the extended version.
Vonter
I liked 3/4s of this film, as the plans to kill the alien got more cumbersome the film got more tiring. And I think it was obligated to annihilate the cast considering they take the time to take out a whole bunch of them. I also think it's very noticeable the tiring production this had, and while people praise practical effects now, this movie sadly didn't integrate well the alien puppet.
Vonter
I've just watched Alien 3, the only Alien movie I hadn't seen do to the diviseness towards it. I think I went with the best expectations considering now on hindsight newer movies have made it look more competent, having more weight. This movie has characters, integrates the religious motiffs better, the Alien more than a closet monster is a formidable force of nature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
.....It just dawn on me looking through my letterboxd account...I have never seen afro samurai...
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm on hold with SukaSuka as well after 5 episodes. Ejoyable so far but its LN's tendencies hurt the show
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, like I said in one of my weekly post, Tsuki ga Kirei is simple, but isn't easily obtained. At this point, I'm truly invested in these kids that it makes me tense just to see how they keep up with their relationship, haha.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have yet to catch up with sukasuka and don't care about bahamut all that much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel its sweet and sensitive approach has a rhythm to it that I started going along with.
It’s obviously slow but I began not noticing the time go by as I watched more.
The art makes me think of Shimura Takako’s and makes me wonder what the series might have been like if she wrote it.
The dub is mediocre so after 3 episodes I switched to subs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The relative quietness and how scaled back in comparison to other anime romances is welcome and it never becomes dramatically or comedically obnoxious which I think is in its favour.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to catch up on tsuki ga kirei. We said this before, but that scene where he meets the publisher about his writing is a stand out one.
For the show overall so far itself, above all I see it as something simple, un-demanding to watch, its good a break from all those old/art films I have to concentrate on harder to follow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe Goth would count but its more o a mystery manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not familiar with shibito or sugar life. May as well recommend everything by Kazuo Umezu and Junji ito. 6000 ended disappointingly, I fell behind in dead tube. Does sugar dark count?
Lenlo
I am a Hero is a personal favorite of mine
AidanAK47
@Anon: Uzumaki, Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi, Happy Suger Life, 6000 and Dead Tube. I suppose.
Anonymous1116992
What is some good horror manga
K-Off
@Mario I also noticed that korean thrillers are way too obnoxious with shakycam.
Lenlo
@Mario, about LWA, that was how I felt. Its just not as magical, as special, as the original OVA was to me. I suppose thats to much to ask for a 25 ep series, but it turned me off
AidanAK47
@Mario, TV Diana has some charm points but I think OVA Diana provided a better dynamic. I mean sure, She was essentially female Draco Malfoy but her attitude made reveals like her being a secret Chariot fan more impactful. Plus her tsundere act torwards Akko was rather adorable.
SuperMario
about LWA again, unlike Aidan I actually enjoy this version of Diana. I know she's one note, too perfect but she's charming. Too charming haha which serves well as a contrast to Akko
SuperMario
...just pop one random film from him. His films are not without its bad side thou, in particular I find the dialogues shapeless and dragging. But well it does add to the naturalness of his films
KTravlos
on LWA I would also recommended it. It is a fluffy show, with a sense of wonder. Some episodes are better, some are more flat, and the over-arching storyline leaves me bored. But it does have that sense of childlike wonder, which I had missed among all the "grim" shows.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a bit of problems with Korean movies lately as now they're heavily thriller style-over-substance films, so films that have very simple style like Hong-Sang-Soo's joints are the welcome change of air. One thing about his films thou, If you watched one of his film, you've watched them all. They're so similar in tones and concepts that I reckon if you feel like watching his films...
SuperMario
So I say it's still worth finishing. It's good but I don't feel the sparks that made it so great from the OVAs anymore
SuperMario
@Lenlo: about LWA. Plus side: Those hijinks. I mean the show is fun and magical. Negative side: I wish the show's storytelling is a bit tighter, each episode feels so loose it doesn't add up much and more like different variations of Akko + one member of the cast's hijink. Doesn't help either that the other casts just disappeared until they have an episode for 2 for themselves
SuperMario
@Anon1113829: I "enjoyed" Beyond the Boundary, but that show was a mess. The episode 10 was stand out for me, and the ending was kinda... a wreck. Certainly interesting but quality-wise I wouldn't reccommend it
Anonymous1113829
@SuperMario KyoAni fan? What did you think of Kyoukai no Kanata? I really wanted to like it, I thought it had some potential, but IMO nothing worked right.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It's good. Fun to watch certainly. Though sadly it falls short of being great.
Lenlo
So question: Is Little Witch Academia worth finishing atm? I started it last season, but for some reason it just fell off my radar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thankfully, while not entirely satisfying, day he arrives is just the Korean film I've been looking for, refreshingly more low key, quieter and I enjoyed the new wavy combined with raw style, making it all feel very natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Well then, thanks for the rec on Hong-sang-so, I looked at The day he arrives. Y'know the reason I sometimes dread going into films featuring romance is because I'm conditioned from seeing the bad ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I may actually read this, the last time I read a manga steeped in politics was Sanctuary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle:_The_Making_of_an_Asian-American_President
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I actually have very limited experience with Ellis as a comic book writer, only read Transmetropolitan, I know he's writing the Castlevania adaptation.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I heard the same thing; can't help being a completist though so I'll eventually get to them
AidanAK47
@Mario, From what I heard, it doesn't get better.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that scene from the 1st episode of Phantom world lost me... but even then I'm willing to give the show another chance. That's how far I would go ^^ https://mobile.twitter.com/aaapodcast/status/687148875052892160/photo/2
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Looks like they are putting some real effort into it. May actually turn out pretty good after all.
@K-Off, Under the Red hood is a damn fine movie. Likely one of the best of the DC animated universe. Though try Superman vs the elite out. It's pretty good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Even phantom world Mario...even phantom world ? =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just the teaser trailer, not much to go on, but heres a short preview of that netflix castlevania thing that got mentioned on here a while back, up the quality to 360p:
SuperMario
At this stage, I'm pretty much KyoAni fanboy now so with every new material, I'll hype it up to the sky ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did follow it up with The spy who loved me though to cheer myself up =P Given that Rodger Moore just died =)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just looked through what Short Men Behind the Sun is about: "human experiments carried out by Japanese army during WW2?" Already sound grim and too real. Then "a graphic depiction of the human experiments" haha no wonder you felt unsettled Kaiser
VyseLegendaire
My favorite Exploitation Flick is An Inconvenient Truth 2.0
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Long story short men behind the sun is finally the exploitation flick that defeated me and actually made me unsettled.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I remember you talking about how Salo really affected you as an exploitation film, generally exploitation films don't shock or disturb me, but I just watched the cantonese dubbed version of Men behind the sun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the worst thing about beyond the boundry and phantom world, it discolours my opinion of kyoani as a whole, making me negatively reflect on older work they did .
AidanAK47
Yep, that's the new KyoAni one. Like Puran I don't have any expectations of it. The premise certainly seems like the closest they have come to breaking out of there usual format but I am sure they will find a way to shove in Moe antics. Though based on what is seen so far it looks like they are trying to emulate Key.
Puran
Is that a new KyoAni anime?.. I have lost faith in them a long time ago. Last Anime from them that I cared about was probably Hyouka
SuperMario
Bring you some news, Violet Evergarden will be aired as an anime TV. Though many sources saying it gonna air this year, it has a better possibility to air next year
SuperMario
Well, aesthetically, he's pretty much on par with Yang and Wong. It's just that his films are often emotionally distant, feel more like watching the paint dry hahaa
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I connect more emotionally with Yang and Wong.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I went in expecting Edward Yang and Kar-wong-wai levels of quality, which may have been quite unfair standards to put him up against.
SuperMario
I myself find his films difficult to watch, but when the films end they usually hold up very very well. Both The Assassin and 3 Times in particular are my favorite of the year
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I completely understand your reaction because his films are demanding as hell. I remembered watching The Assassin in big screen, 3 people next to me fall asleep, one of them snoring and the other one fall asleep within the first 10 mins. That Hou Hsiao's movies for you
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its such a shame because he makes gorgeous cinema and City of sadness is actually pretty informative account of the times....I just can't jive with him and I actually like "slow cinema" but watching his work is insanity inducingly boring for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I'm really sorry, I don't mind long slow even spiritual, talky, non-narrative, old, complex,meditative , art films but I'm really really finding it hard to watch Hou Hsiao's work, I've tried time to live and the Assassin and I just bailed after 2 out of 3 hours on city of sadness.
KTravlos
I have to say Akko is developing nicely as a character in LWA. Also Magane in Re:Creators reminds me of Hannibal as palyed by Mads Mikkelsen. There is that same est for life married to sociopath that is a bit charming :) Mamika's character is also just cool. Beyond that AofT and Bahamut both delivered competent episodes, with Bahamut a good mix between comedy and tragedy.
K-Off
@Aidan Assault on Arkham was fantastic. Between that and Under the Red Hood, a classic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a lot to say in this week's Eccentric Family. Review will come up later tonight when I get back home from work.
AidanAK47
Seen Assault on Arkham or what it should be called, The animated Suicide Squad movie. Thinking of checking out Dark.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Have you seen assault on Arkham or the justice league dark film?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: It isn't so much because its Talia x Batman, moreso that it feels odd shipping Batman with anyone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While kind of amusing, initially I wasn't too into Uchouten this week, the hot spring part got me groaning, but then someway through dramatically it really picked up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From reading comics a few years back, I still feel that they adapt better to animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: And I say this as someone who was able to defend Alien 3 and Ressurection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Covenent felt like an Infantilized version of Alien.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't call either John Wick film or free fire amazing or anything but they had great fight scenes that were actually visually coherent , of course they weren't given a proper release.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not watching/paying for anymore of these reboots/remakes/shakey cam pg rated action films anymore. I'll stick with my balls to the wall Hong-Kong/Chinese ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: It also had really uneven pacing aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: ....The dialogue is so embarassing, they don't do enough with this backstory, they just keep teasing, none of the new characters have the same charisma , the editting in the action scenes shakes all overtheplace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I gave Covenent a fair chance, I thought it would be an exception to the reboot thing. I'll admit theres the sets, the atmosphere, Fassbenders performance , the idea to expand on the franchises mythos is cool but....
Kaiser-Eoghan
It really really hurts as a film fan, trying to find older, genuinely quality foreign films , finding that no-one is seeding them and theres no proper/in print dvd release anymore. Then finding some awful shakey cam modern American superhero film with billions of seeds and a bluray release.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I don't know. Todd was more the imperfect son always aiming for batmans approval. Damian is more an assasin wondering why the hell he can't just kill his enemies. I hear that Comic Damian works better than Animated Damian. I do think that if given a personality he could work but as he is currently you are right that he's essentially a mishmash of past robins.
Vonter
I watched Alien Covenant and I don't know if it improves by being more dumb and less pretentious or if it os the final nail in the Alien franchise coffin. Not since the StarWats prequels there has been a retcon that changes your view of the original movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can recall enjoying a certain Jason Todd centered story called Batman:death in the family.
K-Off
Well, even when Damian does completely cross the line and become a villain, he's not even that interesting, i.e Injustice. Yup, Jason Todd already covered everything, but better.
AidanAK47
Problem is that he's an edge lord cocky piece of shit that just doesn't have enough likeable traits for this to be compelling. What really pushed him over the edge was mocking Nightwing over his parents deaths. That shit is not on.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the contrast that Batman refuses to cross the line and kill but Damian has crossed that line. As well as his potentail to become a villain. Tim and Dick didn't really have that though Jason sort of did. Damian's arc is more about teaching him the morality of a hero.
K-Off
@Aidan I'm not sure I like Damian's concept to begin with. The Bat-son dilemma's inherently addressed by the Robins for all intents and purposes. Damian just goes through the same motion, only difference being he's biologically related.
K-Off
Yup. Wonderwoman either doesn't need to have a love interest, or it needs to be with Steve Trevor, the two have a solid backstory that the movies unnecessarily removed.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I don't mind the Taila X batman pairing. Makes more sense than Batman and Batgirl. But if there's one pairing pushed in the new movies that I just find wrong is the Superman X wonder woman. I just don't get that one.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the concept of Damian as a character. But it's executed so badly.
Anonymous1105941
Teen titans needs one more season to wrap up all the loose ends. Such as what happens to Slade, and Blackfires revenge. The creators clearly wanted to explore those plot lines but got cut short.
K-Off
Teen Titans hasn't aged very well, but one thing I still do like about it is how contained and local the setting and cast were for the first half of that show. When godly superpowers are involved, that appeals to me. Much of the same reason why I like Logan and Raimi's Spiderman so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Very rarely watched teen titans when I was younger, I was vaguely interested in slade, stopped watching around when Terra appeared. I actively avoided comics where Damien appeared, never liked that Talia x Batman pairing much, I can only imagine how much worse it is to listen to Damien than read him.
K-Off
@Aidan, I like some aspects of those movies, but I'm not a big fan of the new continuity and art style in general...and yeah it doesn't help that Damian is irredeemably unlikable.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, There is also the DC animated Teen Titans movies like Teen Titans vs Justice Leage and Teen titans the Judus contract. Though it's not the same as the the TV series and Damian is such a dick.
K-Off
@Anon I don't think Teen Titans needs another season. The last season wasn't that good, but the movie ended the series on a high note and Young Justice pretty much rebooted everything, at least in terms of replacing people's want for a more mature DC cartoon about the Titans.
K-Off
Yeah it's become more of a hassel (for myself and my friends) to set aside time to go to a theater.
SuperMario
I guess in the end it all comes down to how easily it reaches the viewers. Give us a hard time and we don't give a damn to check the new movie/show out
SuperMario
... otherwise have to wait for a year, even more before it reaches Australia. But many companies will raise in the wake of Netflix and that will be where problems arise
SuperMario
This trend isn't happening within the anime industry, but it's happening in the movie world as well. In the past 2 years, Netflix starts to exclusively distribute many films, meaning that they won't have theatrical release, but straight to Video on Demand which caused quite a stir in the industry. Personally, I actually don't have much problem with it as now I will get a chance to see a film that
SuperMario
Dive!! , a series that will air next season on noitaminA slot will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Not that I'm eagerly looking forward to Dive, but that news again makes me frustrated. No one will watch it and then all the hypes it might have will die down eventually.
Anonymous1105394
Considering I didn't even expect a season 5 it's more than I could've evr wanted. Now if only if only Teen Titans could get the same chance.
Lenlo
Oh yeah, it turned out well. Didnt mean to say it didnt.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Considering that the ratio of great to alright episodes is 8 to 2 I say that it turned out pretty well.
Lenlo
I have to say, the Samurai Jack season started stronger than it ended imo
AidanAK47
So this is how Samurai Jack ends. 16 years in the making. Honestly considering how much needed to get wrapped up I knew the ending would be a bit flawed. Really think Gen should have givin it one more episode to flesh out the ending and then it wouldn't feel so rushed. Overall despite it's flaws, it's a decent ending. Not prefect by any means but it will do the job.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lol theres a surprise, seriously, Black Lagoons manga is updating again.
KTravlos
worst recap ever for me? Gangsta. That was a stupid recap episode. Really like a Public Announcement. Useless, stupid, and ruining atmosphere. Utter stupidity. There I got it our of me :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Unfortunately too far behind in the sequel manga to catch up, I did take a look at THAT in the latest chapter though.
Masky
Huh, for some reason thought Tokyo Ghoul was under shonen when its seinen. Welp now that makes more sense, I was thinking story about cannibalism would be kinda absurd for shonen.
Spike
They serve no purpose except to fill airtime when production gets fucked up. They have 2 bad choices - run a recap or run an unfinished episode. Recap is generally the less dogshit choice. I've seen a few anime that ran the episodes with unfinished animations and still frames.... the backlash was about 100x what a recap is.
SuperMario
I'm about to say that to you as well Kaiser, maybe watch the recap and then continue on. The only thing I kind of take from the recap episode is the editting: how they chop off the fat of 6 episodes to still give you important developments. But as a way to catch up/ to reintroduce the series, it's freaking useless
Anonymous1104087
I don't think anyone should start from the recap episode. Unless there was a long hiatus, a recap in between episodes is unnecessary for new viewers and old
Lenlo
I mean, aside from whatever happens with Mugaro.
Lenlo
Next episode seems early, out of 24 episodes, for Nina to learn the Prince is Chris, yet that seems to be what the confrontation is leading towards, and then she freaks out and he learns shes the dragon. Becomes the conflict for the rest of the season?
Lenlo
Seems I was right, Azazel didnt predict that Nina might not be so easily riled up as she once was. To bad so sad Azazel, she has someone she loves now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How useful are these recap episodes anyway/actually? Hypothetically lets say I was feeling lazy and decided to watch tsuki ga kirei starting from the recap episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
[link src="https://www.anirena.com/?s=blame

http://anilinkz.io/blame-movie"]
Lenlo
So long as there are consequences for how hes acting, then I am ok with it. I just dont want him to turn into some MC hero when hes acting like this.
AidanAK47
And in Re:Creators Sota is still being a goddamn pussy. Now that the exposition has gone down I am really starting to hate this kid.
SuperMario
It's the presentation that they differ. Ghost Hound focuses more on the atmosphere, so those details I mentioned before work for their benefits; whereas Sagrada Reset focus on plots (and confusing themes) so those stick out like sore thumb.
SuperMario
4 episodes into Ghost Hound so far. This show also reminds me a bit of Sagrada Reset this season- the way they both emotional distant, complex plots; keep viewers away at arm's length, and feature characters that have robotic facial expressions. Yet I enjoyed Ghost Hound so far and couldn't engage in Sagrada Reset at all.
SuperMario
@Spike: I was like... "tsuki ga kirei has a recap episode, so let's move on to Kado"... another recap. Tsuki ga kirei I'm not too worry as it confirmed that it'll have 12 episodes, but I'm not confident on Kado
SuperMario
@lenlo: in a sense you have to suffer it all alone. No worries thou as I intend to binge watch it when this season's over
Spike
Kado team crumbled under the pressure. Recap this week.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, im happy I dont have to compete with anyone to cover Berserk :P Got it all to myself to whine about, though its been ever so slowly improving.
Anonymous1100725
Ranka is ranka in any verse.
Anonymous1100725
Bahmut no spoilers. Ranka Lee. She just doesn't get it so everyone dies. As she stands around wondering.
SuperMario
In fact, Okja will play in the Sydney film festival next month, but seeing that it will stream in Netflix at the end of June I think it's best to wait until then
SuperMario
@Kaiser: great, I'm super hyped to watch Okja. Always enjoy Boon's movies. The critic's reviews from Cannes on Okja should come up soon I believe.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I watched Lain many times over as well but I'm sure that I didn't pick up everything. That show required multiple-viewing anyways.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Good news, netflix will stream Okja at the end of this June.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its not often that I rewatch things, but years ago I've seen Lain at least three times, its also one of those few anime series where I felt to look up deeper analysis into it. It had a tremendous atmosphere and was ahead of its time.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: watching Ghost Hound made me want to revisit Serial Experiment Lain and give my episodic thoughts on that. Not gonna happen soon as I have my hand full right now but I swear I'll get to that one day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I actually am planning to rewatch ghost hound soon, so I'll give you my new thoughts on it then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always avoided Altair mostly based on it being a shounen action series. Kakeguruis premise involves gambling games, which I don't find interesting.
KTravlos
Kakegurui is on my list. I thought it would be crap (terrible setting etc), but the manga won me over. Princess Principal will be given a chance, so will Shoukouko no Altair.and perhaps Reflection. We shall see. Also Twilight Axis Gundam, as I love the manga team.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Recap episodes exist because of production troubles. Sometimes shit happens when you make an anime.
You are being a bit overally argressive but I do agree with the statement that Ntr is pathetic power fantasy. It really is.
Anonymous1099236
Ntr is a pathetic power fantasy for pathetic people
Anonymous1099236
Why the hell do recap episodes exist. Do they think we're that autistic
Total users: 23

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