Posted on 8 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that it was greenlit at all was mind-blowing enough, but the most absurd things was the audience it aimed: the anime medium. Because no matter how you look at it: this isn’t an anime at all. Well, not even an animation to begin with. I’m not going to detail about it as I already addressed it in my weekly post. The fact that this is a wuxia puppetry show already makes it a unique show among anime world and all the more reason to watch it. But on top of all that, the show’s writing and execution are really excellent and refreshing. If the show just relies on its gimmick of being a puppetry show, it will fall apart very quickly, but Thunderbolt Fantasy understands that their characters are the real stars of the show, so they spend a huge amount of them talking to each other, explore their philosophy of life and the campy dialogues are entertaining and humorous.

Set in a fictional Eastern Asia settings, the show tells a story of a merry band in the quest to retrieve a legendary sword that was stolen by Mie Tian Hai, a skilled swordsman with a history of black magic. Our MC Shang Bu Huan is a mysterious swordsman who came from another area, that’s why he doesn’t know much about this place and thus got tagged along to the quest by Gui Niao, a cool-head strategist and the bunch of misfits including the naive guardian girl, the One-Eyed archer, the young Spear-wielder, a demon necromancer and the bloodthirsty assassin. The group, each has their own unique appearance and personalities with different set of goals head up to the Seven Sins Tower, and there were double-crossing, triple-crossing, blood-splattering, heads rolling and even demons, undead, skeleton birds join in along the way. Indeed, half of these characters here are easily villains in other story and the fun here is to see their huge ego crashing with each other.

Because this is a puppetry show, there are many elements that you won’t find in other anime. The characters, for example, have very static faces. Especially when they are in close-up, it’s hard to tell apart what they are thinking because of the lack of expression in their faces, but this issue actually works in the show’s favor, for how else would one portrait a group that double-crossing is the norm? Second, the practical effects are truly what set it apart from other anime. There is little amount of action for a true-action show, but when the action kicks in, it’s a feast to the eyes. Bloods squirming all over, bodies blowing up, heads rolling that you can actually feel the weight of the blood dripping are refreshing to say the least. Lastly, I have to highlight the costume designs because they really go all in for the costumes to make the characters as distinctive and stand out as ever.

The characters themselves is easily the show’s best strength. Each character is elegantly designed and all of them have their own unique mannerism, assisted greatly by the use of puppetry, something that ordinary anime usually lack. My favorite characters in that vein is the demon lady Xing Hai, as whenever she talks, it feels like she’s singing and whenever she walks it feels just like she’s dancing. Like Mayoiga, those characters all have interesting traits and utterly over the top but here in this show they can actually get loose and carry the story. Like for example, the show spends half an episode for Sha Wu Sheng the Roaring Killer Phoenix challenging Mie Tian Hai (and then loose despite knowing it all), simply because these characteristics are unmistakably Sha Wu Sheng. In Thunderbolt Fantasy, those characters embrace their roles to the bitter end. As a main character, Shang Bu Huan is like our blank-state who unfamiliar to this world (like ourselves) and he’s being the most sensible person in this whole madness. I particular love his stunning reactions every time something absurd happens. Moreover, he bounces off other characters very well, creating a rather great chemistry between them and the dialogues maintain the campy sense that so entertaining to watch. There are pure gold moments throughout the series like when Shang Bu Huan talks to each member of the group to find their real motives, or simple quick remarks like “the temple smells offensive” or even “it’s already a sitting fight before the sword fight” because of course they’re too awesome to fight it normal way. Like a puppetry show, these characters are just there to perform their larger-than-life roles, but they perform it so well that I have a very good time following them.

But this show is not only about characters having fun, there is a theme for the show if you want to look deeper. The notion of the sword is both mentioned various times throughout the series and the show twists that notion around quite wonderfully. In this world, swords represent power of destruction. Mie Ting Hai seeks out the most famous sword because he believes his technique deserved the best. The demon Yao Tu Li was put to sleep for 200 years because of the sword. The characters kill off hundreds of people through their swords… As long as you are good at swords, you have the ultimate power in this world. But not for our two mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao. In fact, the series showcases two extreme spectrums from Shang Bu Huan that go directly against with the above notion. The “sword’ that Shang Bu Huan always carries around is just a piece of wood painted silver, because he doesn’t want to cause more deadly troubles with the swords, but when in needed, he could pull out 36 legendary swords (that he said he was about to expose them, sly guy!) to send the monster to the black hole (quite literally!), Gui Niao also hates using swords as a mean of killing. The legendary sword that everyone seek in the end was destroyed meaninglessly.

Thunderbolt Fantasy is the most entertaining series you will encounter this year. Plain and simple. Urobuchi writing is excellent in this show, both leaving enough room for the group to act, and maintaining the plot that both is fast and unpredictable, but always makes sense and a lot of fun. It appears that we will have an entirely new cast on the second season, plus our mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao and if that’s the case then I’m totally on board. After all, Shang Bu Huan’s only weakness is his trust towards people and Gui Niao happens to be the master of manipulation; so I’m eager to see how our MC get himself dragged into Gui Niao’s little scheme next time. Like this first season already demonstrated, the world is simply too small for the two of them.

Posted on 4 October 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

As expected, Thunderbolt Fantasy ends with a blast. While it does close the arc nicely, I can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed by the climax. This final episode ties up two main storylines: Gui Niao challenged Ming Tian Hai in swordfight, and Shang Bu Huan faced the fearsome demon god Yao Tu Li, and provides us a nice little epilogue in the end. Well, not the end exactly because it was announced that Thunderbolt Fantasy will have a second season. Way to go anime industry. The world needs more puppet shows. I already feel blessed with the news myself.

Back to where we left of last episode, Gui Niao decides to ridicule Ming Tian Hai on what the antagonist truly proud of: his swordfight. Turns out that Gui Niao is an overpowered badass who not only good at deceiving people, but also a master swordsman. To put it more coherently, because he’s so good at sword fighting he eventually gets bored and becomes a master thief instead. This of course doesn’t bode well for Ming Tian Hai. I died laughing at the ridiculous of it all, so was the guy. Literally. The battle is so over the top that it shook the world, apparently. At this point, Reigan’s voice on the other show keeps popping in my head: These guys are children who failed to grow up. The way Ming Tian Hai felt crushed because he is defeated by Gui Niao, that he has to break down the sword, let the world destroyed, and died laughing. These actions are not unlike those kids who their favorite toys taken away from them, so they just make a nonsensical scene. But Gui Niao actually falls for that. He expects Ming Tian Hai submitted himself as loser, so when things don’t go as plan he loses his cool for the very first time. Oh pride, the most serious sin of them all.

I love to point out how important the swords represent in this series. For villains like Mie Tian Hai or the Screaming Phoenix Killer Sha Wu Sheng, the swords represent power and destruction. Mie Tian Hai seeks the ultimate power in the legendary sword, while the Phoenix Killer mercilessly kills everyone stand in his path. Our two mains don’t see it this way. Gui Niao realizes that using the swords excessively would eventually lead him to the path of killing and villainy, which he despises. Shang Bu Huan witnesses many people misuse the swords, so instead he collected them in order to dispose them altogether. The sword he eventually carries around is a piece of wood that he painted silver, same as Gui Niao with his pipe-sword. The legendary sword, on the other hand, ends up being destroyed meaninglessly. That irony plays very well with both the tone and the theme of Thunderbolt Fantasy. The show never intends to be a straight wuxia show, so it only makes sense that Gen Urobuchi flirts with all the tired cliché and makes something new of it. Furthermore, In the world of Thunderbolt Fantasy, swords are ultimately just a tool for human, as Shang Bu Huan puts it: “Whether it cuts something or protect someone just depends on who uses it.” It’s nothing deep I know, but it’s thematic relevance.

Shang Bu Huan steps up for the climax against Yao Tu Li, the female demon god. It’s interesting that the only two demon gods we see in this series are female. It should make sense though because like a notion of life and death is meaningless among demons, the same could be said for their gender. The way they reproduce is more of the process of replication, right? It is then revealed that not only Shang Bu Huan has a legendary sword for himself, he has 36 of them. When the right time comes he would choose the checklist of his swords’ inventory like you’d choose a weapon on your crappy online games. By the way 36 is not some random number, that number (and its multiplication) have been widely used in traditional Chinese literature/text (36 Stratagems; The Monkey King knows 72 transformations, there are 108 outlaws in Water Margin) and I’m again amazed that Gen Urobuchi takes note of that. While this fight is amazing, I can’t help but feel that all this resolution is way too quick, and thus too easy, for our main characters, especially since last week they built the stake up really high. In the end, both Gui Niao and Shang Bu Huan are just too overpowered that all the suspense is gone through the back door.

But in the end, I had a lot fun watching Thunderbolt Fantasy, considered that I know nothing about its existence up until the first episode came out. Now 3 months later it’s one of the most entertaining anime I’ve seen this year. Well, I will tell you in details once the final review comes up. But definitely you will see me talking about this show again when the second season is aired.

Posted on 26 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Now, we just have one episode left, but things get even more intense and crazy by the minute, to the point I don’t really know how they would wrap it up neatly. At the beginning Shang Bu Shuan was mocked by Juan Can Yun that he should be titled “Edgeless Blade”, because his sword-style is all for show and has no edge at all. The sword that Shang Bu Huan is wielding, as it turns out; is not a dull blade after all. Well, to call it a sword would be an exaggeration. He just takes a piece of wood and paints it over, because apparently if he uses a sword with sharp edge he would cut the mountain in half (just from seeing how he cuts a person in half with this piece of wood). The trick is that he’s a master of using energy flow (Qi) to form force, so even a piece of wood (or his more extreme examples: a cloth or hair) can split flesh if using the right force into it. If we put it that way it feels much more like a martials art than a swordfight, but nevertheless it remains awesome.

After this episode, I’m more convinced that Shang Bu Huan might actually been in the demon realm already. He’s already in doubts that the demon Yao Tu Li was in the demon realm, which pretty much set up nicely to the last half’s development. If the demon Yao Tu Li isn’t in the demon realm, and it has disappeared from the human realm for nearly 200 years; where has it been then? The answer is he has been sleeping under the seal of Tiang Xing Jian sword. The nature of that sacred sword is become much clearer in this episode, that sword is never meant to kill the demon god (because the demon gods can’t be killed, when it’s destroyed it’ll transform to other forms), or send them back to demon realm (because then they will cause havoc again the minutes they come back to human realm), but to put the demon to ‘eternity’ sleep. I can understand that rationale, but I doubt this is the only function that sacred sword Tiang Xing Jian can perform. I’s amused to see how this most powerful sword be handled by Shang Bu Huan (famously known as the man who doesn’t need sword). That moment will come my friends.

Now we head to the clash between demon and human, which I admit that I had never thought it would turn out that way. Xing Hai once again steals the episode’s best moments (or is it just me? I simply can’t get enough of her) as it is revealed that she goes along the plan of stealing the guard back, just so that they can release the demon Yao Tu Li. She even singlehanded strangled her partner Shou Yun Xiao to death, disrupting his plan to seal the monster back again. The most similar comparison I get about those characters are those of Baccano. In Baccano, the writer Ryougo Narita once mentioned that his characters write the plot. He thinks about how those characters would act in that specific situations, and then manage the plot accordingly. As a result, there are many characters who are more active than others, but they would never betray their set of standard. In addition, there’s always a room for those characters to breathe. I have this exact same feeling about this set of characters. They have their own over-the-top way of acting, their worldview, their philosophy and they stick to those principles till their last breath. Sha Wu Sheng the Screaming Phoenix Killer never forgets that he’s an assassin, or Xing Hai always reminds us that she’s a demon through and through.

Finally, to our master thief Lin Xue Ya, I’m amazed that even at this point (when the most fearsome demon is about to wake up), he only thinks of the way to steal from Mie Tian Hai. It comes as rather childish to me. He eventually figures out that the legendary sword Tiang Xing Jian is NOT what Mie Tian Hai treasure the most, but it is his own swordplay. He’s too proud of his skills that he thinks only the scared sword would be worthy for he to wield. As a result, Gui Niao intends to fight him, if he wins the duel then it would prove that Mie Tian Hai’s swordplay is not that extraordinary… you know, that kind of logic. But how well Gui Niao is at wielding sword? Especially that pipe-sword? Thunderbolt Fantasy is getting to an end, but there’s still plenty of tricks up its sleeve and I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up.

Posted on 18 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week things escalated pretty quickly. Our helpless MC Shang Bu Huan shots himself in the foot pretty quickly. I already suspected it’s a matter of time before his scam will be exploited by Mie Tian Hai, but I surely never would have guessed it’s that early. Shang Bu Huan, hilariously, is just plain terrible in whatever he’s acting; and curiosity got the better of him that he actually discusses with Mie Tian Hai (already a bad move, but then again these characters in Thunderbolt Fantasy love to chit-chat) on his motive of acquiring the legendary Tian Xing Jian sword. The sword, apparently, is the only sword that can actually destroy monsters, while other “low-ranking” swords can only send monsters back to the death realm, which the only exception is Yao Tu Li. That monster, unsurprisingly, is the most fearsome monster that somehow still got stuck in this world; therefore, Mie Tian Hai wants to attain Tian Xing Jian sword to slay the monster. It’s actual very noble of him when you think about it. But due to the very late nature of this reveal, plus the fact that Gen Urobuchi love to toy with our expectation, I suspect that the monster Yao Tu Li was already slayed by Shang Bu Huan. It’s not based solely on assumption though, judging the way Shang Bu Huan actually understands exactly what Mie Tian Hai implied about the death realm.

For once, the always-sneaky Gui Niao is actually behind everything happening and he spends this episode to get all the clues and try to catch up with everyone. For all the little details that he managed to get, it’s awesome that he actually figures out all the players in play and now plans to getting ahead (he’s no Shang Bu Huan after all). When he realized that the safe was empty, he understands that the main boss has something up his sleeve, the way he confidently carries out the piece with him. Along the way, Gui Niao gave one of the most ridiculous (thus, the best) speech about opening the keyhole is even more delicate and temperamental than a fine lady (whatever that means). When he saw two addition plates on Mie Tian Hai’s dinner table, he immediately figures out that his comrades the Archer and the Necromancer had sale him out. Finally, when he recognized that the lock in Dan Fei’s cell is unlocked from the outside, he understands that Juan Can Yun has helped the girl to get back the real guard. Upon figuring out all that, he decides to head to the temple that hold that blade to set out his traps. Well, getting the legendary sword sure is complicated.

Meanwhile, in a Limitless Temple, it turns out that Dan Fei and Juan Can Yun have been followed by the Archer and the Demon Lady all along. And they appear to be who they truly are, a villain. After all, getting the Tiang Xing Jian sword is what they’re after, so it doesn’t matter who they tag along with to achieve that goal. It’s still a very cool way to know about the Giant Spirit tree and its Spirit Veins that lead to the temple (also I feel kind of glad that we finally head back to the sunlight after spending too many episodes in the dark. At least now I can get much better screenshots). I’m also a fan of the elegance of Xing Hai, the way she dances around and proudly announces that her student would have noticed they’ve been followed at least 5 TIMES. The two pairs fight, but it comes to no surprise that the wiser team is a much better team. Still, poor Juan Can Yun gets shot in the eye by his ex-mentor and lose the guard; thus Dan Fei has to retreat. This very action marks the grow in Dan Fei’s character. She used to be the one who fight to death for her honor, but now because she doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt, she’s willing to step back. It’s nice to see her grow more trust to other people, and they really make a good pair if you ask me.

Next week we will witness the fight between our Shang Bu Shuan and Diao Ming, one of the subordinate of Mie Tang Hai. Although we pretty much know the outcome, it’s still interesting to see our MC get into a real battle the first time after the first episode. I’m also eager to see what kind of traps Gui Niao will prepare this time? Are they all going to fall for it? Until then, mi amigos.

Posted on 13 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week is a calm before the storms episode, as this episode is all about scheming and no actual action. But things slowly progress to an epic final.

Shang Bu Huan again gets the short straw by letting Gui Niao manipulates him into his plan. With the help of the magical hood that transforms anyone wearing it into… wait for it…. Gui Naio himself, he makes the laughable impossible scenario become possible. Shang Bu Huan, in Gui Niao disguise, will travel with Mie Tian Hai to retrieve the real guard (I thought it was a handle last episode); while the real Gui Niao will stay at the tower to steal the handle. Sound like they could pull it off, right? Until you realize that the plan only needs one Lin Xue Ya in play: the best option would be him to go with Mie Tian Hai, and TELL Shang Bu Huan about the whereabout of the handle and how to open the safe. Our poor MC not only could be easily exposed by the big boss (remember by just a glance he could tell that the guard is fake), he also has nowhere to run, and worst of all he doesn’t even know where the guard actually is. How did you agree on such a lame deal like that Shang Bu Huan? All odds are against him indeed.

One thing that I didn’t pick up last week was that Shang Bu Huan carries a dull blade. That explains a lot on his not-too-sharp attacking style a while back. Now either his dull blade functions like Kenshin’s reverse blade sword that reduce the damage to the opponents (because he’s too awesome to carry a real sword), or this is a legendary ridiculous long-lost sword style that no one but him could master. From the reaction of Gui Niao though I think it’s more of a latter, as he himself called it a dreadful weapon. It happens too often with the wuxia/ martial arts universe, sometimes those ridiculous fighting styles just pop up from nowhere and become an ultimate martial-arts moves that make absolutely no sense in real life whatsoever. My favorite has to be a drunken boxing style (which actually based on a REAL martial art, Zui Quan), where you have to be… ahem… drunk to triggers all the secret moves; and of course the only one who could master it was the only person who allergic with alcohol.

The ridiculous humor in this show still bright shines, as I can’t help but laugh with the claims Gui Niao made on his schemes that help putting the villains to live out their days quietly (Sha Wu Sheng, for example, had been quietly killed off everyone that might have a connection with The Enigmatic Gale); or Juan Can Yun after 5-minutes of extreme cautious when rescue a damsel-in-distress Dan Fei, suddenly came to realize that Shang Bu Huan, along with his actual prison-cage, were vanished. Keep that humor up Thunderbolt Fantasy.

It seems like the final battle will be at the Limitless Temple (remember that place? Yes, the place with offensive smell that is). Looking through a preview next week, there will be a big stand-off there. There are Shang Bu Huan and Mie Tian Hai group, Juan Can Yun and Dan Fei also make their way to the temple, and most surprisingly, Shou Yun Xiao the archer and Xing Hai the necromancer will be there as well. Gui Niao has mentioned to our MC that the main reason to he included Shang Bu Huan in the first place is to serve as a distraction for those two, so that they don’t have time to scheme anything against him. Well, it still doesn’t justify how Gui Niao so desperately to keep the man that he offers his own head to Sha Wu Sheng, but I let this pass for now. For now, what I’m interested the most is the intrigue role of the Archer and the Necromancer. Are they going to be comrades and help the gang to get back the sword safely; or are they going to be every man for himself, Tarantino-villain mode where every heads will roll? Right at this moment I would say the latter, but really the story could go anywhere depending on how high Gen Urobuchi was when he wrote it; and that thrill is precisely the reason why I’m still waiting for more Thunderbolt Fantasy week after week.

Posted on 4 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

“Three to test, five to press, and the final ninth strike”

That’s the number of moves Mie Tian Hai will put Sha Wu Sheng to eternal rest. Sha Wu Sheng, never loses his cool, attacks him anyway despite knowing full well the outcomes. I suspect that this fight is some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy in play, the way he still leaves his back exposed after that eighth move. Or I think he would be sensible enough to kill Gui Niao BEFORE propose to fight with Mie Tian Hai. He tags along all the way just for the sake of Gui Niao’s head, and now he misses the chance and vows to wait for the guy in the afterlife. Oh well. I can sense the master thief’s chuckle there.

But before all that happens, the trio of legendary anti-foes (that would be Xing Hai the necromancer, Shou Yun Xiao the archer, Sha Wu Sheng the Screaming Phoenix Killer) reveal the initial plan of Gui Niao: the letters he sent to them explicitly said that he requires assistance to swindle the legendary sword from a helpless girl. They then proceed to actually LEAVE the two good-heart comrades behind to pursue for their shares. At the same time inside the tower, Gui Niao is trading with Mie Tian Hai. The sword handle turns out to be fake (with his “10-second look, 5-second touch” technique), and Gui Niao intends to sale the real thing with big golds. But for me this isn’t a simple trade-off. As he said so himself he always aims for more challenging goals, so this trade could simply be his front for something more ambiguous. And I know that I might so boring here but things might go EXACTLY like what he had planned, yes including the Phoenix Killer sudden appearing and Shang Bu Shuan’s jailbreak (literally!). In the next episode I’m pretty sure we will get to know Gui Niao true intention on keeping our main guy and his main goal from all of this.

If there is any specific theme this episode is going for, it is how they explore the ego of many characters. Juan Can Yun the spear wielder learns a hard truth for his mentor Shou Yun Xiao, as being a hero means you have to sacrifice and moreover hide the mistake/ dirty stuffs that you made. I understand that it’s mind-blowing, dear Mister Spear Wielder. I feel for ya. The Screaming Phoenix Killer still tries to push forward despite knowing that the duel will end up in defeat, he still does it because his ego won’t allow him to back down. Even the big boss’s hobby of collecting swords makes him feel invincible whenever he’s taking hold of the power of destruction itself. As I mentioned above, Gui Niao admits that he enjoys stealing because of “ethos of a champion” – the feeling of superior when you steal something considered invaluable. Also, our poor Dan Fei’s ego is shattered when she learned the truth about the identity of Gui Niao, as well as feeling guilty for dragging Shang Bu Shuan into the whole mess. That emphasis on ego furthers demonstrate the rationale and the way of thinking from each characters, and I say this is a successful approach to this story, especially when the characters in Thunderbolt Fantasy are already too over-the-top and often act like they’re performing a play. Letting them stick to their ego and their roles till the very end is of course the most appropriate course of action.

Posted on 31 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This is yet another typical Thunderbolt Fantasy episode, in which our MC Shang Bu Shuan just had enough with these guys and headed to the evil tower alone, but somehow still find himself tricked by Gui Niao and then gets captured near the end of the episode. Maybe the main reason Gui Niao needs him to stay so desperately is just for the sake of bullying the poor guy. There’s one interesting bit about Shang Bu Shuan that other members of the group figure out and that is while he’s a skilled swordsman, he’s not really confident with his skills; in a way he’s more natural with defensive skills than attacking. Still, leaving our main character literally to fight those monsters alone just to test him out is way too hilariously cruel; and I can see his frustration towards the group that he just heads off by himself. But as fate would have it, Dan Fei and Gui Niao just won’t leave him alone, and the three immediate find a shortcut to get through the tower without passing the magical labyrinth, just to find themselves heading directly to a trap.

Gui Niao’s true identity has finally been revealed to be a master thief. It’s about a goddamn time if you ask me. Master thief is also a common character’s trope in wuxia, but as far as I see he’s no Saito Kid or Robin Hood. Gui Niao is sneaky as hell and he’s also a master of manipulation. In order to advance his plan, he tricked the emotional outburst Dan Fei into having a fight with Shang Bu Shuan (by using hallucination smoke or whatever it’s called) and thus single-handed assist the enemy to put them in cage. At first, I find myself hard to believe that Mie Tian Hai would be stupid enough to trust this guy, but upon a closer look, it’s apparent that Gui Niao already gets a hold of the legendary sword’s handle and it’s a matter of time for him to negotiate with Mie Tian Hai. But there is a plot hole regarding all this ‘masterplan’ though as I find it hard to believe Mie Tian Hai actually forgets about the other members and keeps his guard down like that.

For next week, we will have two main developments: on the one hand there will be a negotiation between Gui Niao and the big boss and until then we can find Gui Niao’s true motive and whatever relation between those two guys. The 200-year history is a good starting point to keep delving into and I believe the main development for its last arc will be around the sacred sword, the War of the Fading Dust, and that cursed wasteland that split the two countries. It will be no surprise for me if Shang Bu Shuan might be ‘the one’ who can control the legendary sword. On the other hand, our main character and the rest of the group will keep heading to the main tower to catch up with whatever results that caused by Gui Niao. It still remains a big question regarding Gui Niao’s true intention: Is he friend or foe? Or is he just a league of his own? Time will tell, my friends.

Posted on 23 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week our band heads up to the evil mountain and needless to say they possess absolutely no teamwork spirit whatsoever. It’s as you would expect from a group of seven egocentric members. Our main character Shang Bu Shuan repeatedly gets teased by their comrades, as he finds himself fighting the enemies alone without the help of others. But I have to note that it all comes from his carelessness to begin with, and all the ignorant from others towards him play more as a comic relief than anything else. Still it’s hilarious to see Sha Wu Sheng the Screaming Phoenix Killer just sits down, relax in his conform zone without helping our main guy out, or that the band continues to praise Shou Yun Xiao the one-eyed archer like nothing happen after he misses the target deliberately and only manages to save Shang Bu Shuan when he fell off. But really to no surprise of no one, our MC passes the obstacles with flying colors. It’s all child’s play for the group it seems.

In terms of plot, there is nothing special in this episode as we know how it head several episodes before. Like I mentioned last week, the main boss Mie Tian Hai appears in front of the group truly for a little chit-chat (everyone sure loves to chit chat in Thunderbolt Fantasy), even feels so generous that he ‘allows’ the group to proceed. The person who has the most development this week is Dan Fei, after she was directly ridiculed by Mie Tian Hai. She fires up and practices too hard, but Juan Can Yu sees through it and even figures out the defect in her technique. Now, this is an interesting bit. Usually from your typical wuxia show, it’s either the swordsman is already skilled or he tries his best to master the skills. There’s never a situation where a swordsman was pointed out that his techniques are ineffective, moreover because the techniques are not suitable for girl. This is something you don’t see so often. It’s much more in the same vein of learning sports’ skills and I have to applause for Gen Urobuchi for actually gives it a thought and makes it interesting.

There is another refreshing nonsense little details in this episode that I find myself enjoy it tremendously. It is the condition of a lullaby to put the undead to sleep. Apparently you have to know which era the undead comes from, and “There’s a subtle pitch shift in the song that depends on when they died” as Xing Hai the necromancer puts it. Talking about perfection in art! I mean this bit of details come from nowhere, but makes totally sense the way they explain it. Even more ridiculously, Gui Niao steps up to be a lullaby conductor (or lullaby composer, depend on how you look at it). It feels like the creators must be on some sort of drugs when they think about the script.

So how things going to happen from now on? From the pacing of this episode, I’m guessing next week they’ll pass the third obstacle and then on their way to face off the main antagonist. This week we learn that the zombies were created 200 years ago, the same time of the War of Fading Dust, and the divide between the two countries. I know it’s absurd but the one who actually feels or those undead is none other than the heartless Sha Wu Sheng. This guy really cares much more about the dead than the living. I guess that the great event has something to do with the powerful sorcerer who used to own the Seven Sin Towers. My take is that mysterious sorcerer is someone we already know, but at the moment only Gui Niao seems like a good fit. Mie Tian Hai, on the other hand, doesn’t even acknowledge Gui Niao so I’m not really sure if he knows much about his true identity. We will, however, have a much better idea about his identity next week, as the title is “The Enigmatic Gale” – one of Gui Niao’s alias. Anyway, we still have 5 episodes to go and with that much refreshing in terms of ideas and its campy sense of humor, I am sure that this Thunderbolt Fantasy train won’t stray off its track anytime soon.

Posted on 13 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

I imagine those of you who expect Thunderbolt Fantasy a full-blown action series, the first half of this week would prove to be a disappointment. There’s too much talking and the plot just floats upon a river, slowly crawls into its destination. But really Thunderbolt Fantasy never intend to be a true-ish action show, the staffs go for it knowing full well it’s a campy B-genre show. They really understand that the band of misfits is a real stars of the show (as oppose to the attention-catching premise which is a puppetry wuxia show written by Gen Urobuchi) and as a result the show spends a considerable amount of time just for the characters interacting with each other. I’m fairly content with it because if the show just relies on its gimmick, it will wear off very quickly. Thankfully again, when the actions indeed kick in, it’s a feast to the eyes. There’s way too much explosions and gores actions (in a puppetry form to boost) that you would never see in anything else, anime-wise.

Our main character Shang Bu Huan, having the same state of mind as myself, has doubt about Gui Niao’s true intention in this whole affair (frankly, offer his head to secure the magic flute shows how desperate he is) and literally spends a good first half talking to everyone in the group. By the end of those talks he never gets the answer he wants to know, but instead learns two most valuable lessons: that his comrades have different sets of personality and they surely don’t look eye-to-eye in almost everything, and that everyone never trust each other, especially against our main character. The only things those people have in common are they’re going to retrieve the sacred sword, and Gui Niao. He’s a tape that stick everyone together and making them perform their roles. Whatever his intention will be, I’m really amazed the way he pulls all the strings behind the scene. Now, I have a theory about the intention of Gui Niao, and that has something to do with the information we gathered this week. It’s about the divided countries of Xi You and Dong Li. From the information we gained there was a sorcery of the demons that formed the Wasteland of Spirits, that split the two countries for almost 200 years. I come to believe that gaining the sacred sword, plus the fact that Shang Bu Huan come from Xi You, there is a fair chance of them to undo the effect of black magic, get rid of that Wasteland, and unite the two nations.

But to give more attention to our group also means that the enemy side gets undeveloped. We hardly see any of them long enough to have any impression, nor do we care much about them. For now, they are just too bland. It’s interesting to note about the character designs of the villains. Besides their black clothes, they don’t look as “evil” as some members of our groups. And I didn’t expect the main boss Mie Tian Hai appears to soon to fight off the group, so his appearance either will limit to talk to our allied group in the next episode (get right to the show’s comfort zone), or he is not the boss at all. From the way the show keeps delving on the nature of all the “archetype” characters (like the demon lady is not quite evil, but actually a bit elegant; or the “sheltered young lady” is the one who sees positive things most characters tend to overlook), I expect a bit of deconstruction on the main boss. Hopefully we will know more about him next week. Overall, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s still going strong. I really enjoy all the gestures and mannerisms each of the possess and hilarious lines like “let’s put aside a cultural difference for now” (when the characters talking about demon and human) are always welcome in any show.

Posted on 8 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Thunderbolt Fantasy

This week’s Thunderbolt Fantasy runs a much slower pace compared to last week, which has only one main development: Sha Wu Sheng the Screaming Phoenix Killer agrees to join the band, as we can probably figure out last week. That’s my only complaint though, because the episode still provides a lot of gold moments. I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculous “it is already a sitting fight before the sword fight” situation or campy lines like: “I thought as much. I knew you’d be the one who come”, because when you really think about it, our main character is the LEAST likely person who would’ve come. It will be more reasonable if Gui Niao pays a visit to the guy, or the three who fought him in last episode. Even Dan Fei would make more sense if she’d come. Prior to this episode, we see the story through Shang Bu Huan point of view- a somewhat ‘normal’ guy, compared to an eccentric cast around him, and I come to really love his stunning reaction whenever something absurd happens. The world around him is too crazy for him to comprehend, apparently. But it’s nice to see that he has a lot of room to develop this episode, and he actually turns out to be a very sincere guy at heart who decides to turn up because he doesn’t want to see his new friend getting killed the next morning. At first I thought he and the Screaming Phoenix Killer knew about each other, judging by the way they already anticipated the moves of the opponent, but it was not the case. Shang Bu Huan hints that he come from Xi You (the other side of Wasteland of Spirits), which apparently is impossible to cross over. Well, at least we know now that he is not an ordinary guy, his skills are even on the same level as Sha Wu Sheng. The fighting scene, although brief and anti-climax, is still very impressive.

You see, the band heading to the Seven Sin Towers with very different goals in minds; Dan Fei has to achieve the legendary sword; Xing Hai the demon necromancer concerns about that sword that might affect her world; Juan Can Yun the spear wielder wants fame. Sha Wu Sheng wants revenge and Shou Yun Xiao the archer follows the gang because he just wants to help out Gui Niao (I know it’s a lame reason but in the world of wuxia, where you are skilled and you have nothing to do beside screwing around, make yourself useful by helping your friends out surprisingly makes a lot of sense). It’s the more dangerous that we don’t really know the motive of Gui Niao. Seriously, he’s the worst allied friend you could ever wish to have in your team. He really needs to keep Shang Bu Huan on the team to the point of offering his head to the Screaming Phoenix Killer, despite that our main guy doesn’t have much role on the plan. But in fact, everyone here pretty much has pretty solid purpose in this journey: The demon girl for The Village of the Dead, the archer for The Valley of the Doll, the Screaming Phoenix Killer for Labyrinth of Darkness; Dan Fei retains a part of the sword and Juan Can Yun for killing the enemy guards. What role would it be for our main character then? My guess would be Gui Niao needs him to be the one who control and wield the legendary sword when the parts are finally in place; so that he could kill the main antagonist and everyone on the way, including Sha Wu Shang and save his head at the end of the day. Sounds sinister, right? But it might not be as far-fetch. Next episode is called “Seven Comrades”, which will be about our seven characters head towards the Seven Sins Tower, and we will have seven days to wait for that journey; and now I’m head off to drink Seven-Up.

~SuperMario~

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Lenlo
As most likely the biggest Berserk fan in this chatbox, its better but that doesnt make it good. Spraying fabreeze on crap doesnt make it any more appealing. Yet I will watch it anyways.
Anonymous1018231
You don't even know
Anonymous1018231
Lies Aidan it is soooo much better
Anonymous1017807
Tbh I'm enjoying Alice to Zouroku so much simply because I identify with the old guy's no-nonsense attitude. It's fun to see the annoying loli get put in her place. X.D
AidanAK47
Anyway Bam is supposed to be covering it. Seeing as he covered the first season.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I watched the first episode of the second season. Better? Yes, but only slightly.. It has all the same problems as the first season.
Anonymous1017501
and nobody's covering it lol
Anonymous1017501
Like dramatically
Anonymous1017501
It really is much better
Anonymous1017501
You know guys its not too late to start watching Berserk Season 2...
AidanAK47
I just get annoyed when interaction is like "HUMAN, YOUR EMOTION RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT. I THEORIZE THIS IS THE REASON YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT."
Their is a definite layer of pretentiousness in how it's written, seeing how nobody gets annoyed when every character tries to psychological profile them.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I have heard word that these two episodes were a prologue story and the real story is going to kick into gear next episode. But if the characters keep talking like this then it's not going to matter what happens. It will just be terrible.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Jojo part 5 died for this. That makes it all the sadder. Plus it's two cour so this show is gonna be on for half a year.
SuperMario
Being said all that I will follow it for 1 more episode
SuperMario
And then that girl who passed away because of the reset. I feel my emotions drying up at that point. Tasteless. Heartless
SuperMario
Wanna say the same thing regarding Sagrada Reset as well. I have the feeling the show tries to sound smart that ultimately if I hear someone talks like this in real life, I would go punch his face. Manipulating the social worker by slitting your own wrist? WHAT? Asking a girl about her rules, then whenever she answers you give your own warped opinions on it to sound like you know it all? WHAT
Anonymous1016169
@Aidan: Lol, Sagrada reminds me of how I used to write. Pretentious, overly complex dialogue that nobody would use in real life unless they were trying too hard. It grits on my ears so much that I don't think I can keep watching it, especially because this is probably how it's going to be for the whole series.
Anonymous1016169
@Amagi: I feel your pain. I used to enjoy those types of shows, but I've found more and more since getting out of high school that they just make me want to take a nap. It doesn't help that they're everywhere. X.D
AidanAK47
God Sagrada Reset is frustrating. So many good ideas, all absolutely ruined by the dialogue and characters. If you just changed the dialogue a bit and made the characters emote more then this would be so very interesting. But they manage to drain the life out of the story.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, in most cases you can easily write off the ones not worth your time based on the summery. Occasional those kinds of show can turn out to be worth watching but it just doesn't happen often enough.
Amagi
Nothing against those types of anime in general, but it's just not aimed at me I guess. - I also should specify: school (semi)harem, not school alone. I enjoy Tsuki ga Kirei.
Amagi
I really love this season but I should stop testing the school- and shoujo stuff. It's almost never worth the time and it always bores me so much that I have to stop watching anime for a few hours.
Anonymous1016169
@Travlos: Why does a hobbyist artist care when someone critiques their art or a fanfic writer care about reader feedback? When you do something you enjoy, it's normal to want to improve and other people's opinions are important for that.
SuperMario
@Travlos: because 1) We still need to listen to what readers say to improve and 2) we're debating more about rating system, which I also feel the need of upgrading. btw, any shows that catch your interests so far this season?
Konstantinos Travlos
Why do you guys care about what someone thinks about your reviews? You are doing a good enough thing as is, and t is a hobby. Do your thing and do not lose time on this.
Anonymous1015915
I think I'm just gonna follow sukasuka and re:creators this season. Seem to of shown the most potential universally.
Anonymous1015442
Soy and almond milk are also available as alternatives for the lactose intolerant.
Anonymous1015442
From the manga it seems like it would translate well into an anime with the right production values so I think I'm going to try it. I was mostly concerned that they'd push the melodrama even more through the roof, haha. I did see some of the reviews on it here and they made me hopeful that it was fairly well-executed.And of course the milk can be chocolate. Just not vanilla, vanilla milk is yuck i
Lenlo
Its certainly making me happy I waited until the end of the season to binge it.
SuperMario
I'd have the milk as well... Need more milk to my life.
SuperMario
Hope Scum's Wish entertains you, Lenlo. ^^
Lenlo
I will say the sound design has been great for Scums Wish though I have not read the manga to see how it matches up
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