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
Kaiser-Eoghan
*poorly forcing
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that is one of the biggest advantages the show has for me, after being annoyed by so many shows ending up with tonal shifts and forcing cute designs into something more serious it is nice to see that girls last tour avoids that problem.
Amagi
My texts are always too long..
Amagi
It isn't enough to just say "look there is a dark subplot somewhere or a backdrop dystopia and we will get to it whenever it seems convenient". Last Tour is the opposite, it is moe, but the girls are part and product of the world they live in, + the cute and serious parts don't feel like two different series being glued together.
Amagi
Girl's Last Tour is the good type of moe show for me. There are many that have or pretend to have some serious undertone, be it some dystopian setting or politics or whatever. But the difference between the good and the bad shows is that the former are actually connected with their serious part in everything they think or do while the bad shows only use the other topic as cheap way to alure fans.
SuperMario
@Bokusen: I'm not sugarcoating it, but Houseki tends to be the title that split the audience. Give it a try at least. If you can tolerant the first three episodes, chances that you will enjoy the rest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Now if only someone will translate the side story manga aswell.
KTravlos
Happiness! New chapters of Gunka no Baltazar!
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
Total users: 30

Featured Posts

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 3 [The Balance Distinguishes Not Between Gold and Lead]

This week, Mahoutsukai moves into a slower pace. Showing off more of its world and delving a bit deeper into magic and how it connects to the world. Lets jump in. There are two main points I want to touch on for this episode of Mahoutsukai. The first being the actual main focus of the […]

Ballroom e Youkoso – 15/16 [Taking the Reins/Four-legged]

Boy, this was really a Tale of Two Ballrooms. One of these episodes was almost certainly outsourced, based on the visual inconsistencies that extended even to key poses, but handled its character moments dutifully. The other looked markedly better than most of this show’s recent offerings, but rushed through so much material that its conclusion […]

Houseki no Kuni – 03 [Metamorphose]

It just occurred to me since I watched Bakuman (the first season of it, anyways) fairly recently, but watching Bakuman made me realize how tough it is to have your manga publicize, let alone become a popular one. For those who have watched the anime or read the manga of Bakuman, remember the early Golden […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 03 [Streetlights]

Welp, I never would have thought Girls’ Last Tour can get any better, but this week’s episode is straight up phenomenal. Episode 3 manages to make some new tricks to its well-established formula: introduces another human survivor to the mix, askes a deeper philosophical question about the meaning of life in that stark world (and […]

Inuyashiki – 2 [Hiro Shishigami]

Woe be unto thee who passes further, for today we are talking about Episode 2 of Inuyashiki! A lot happened this week. New characters, dark twists and the start of what I can only imagine is the central conflict of the season. Lets jump in! First and foremost, we need to talk about Hiro Shishigami. […]

Juuni Taisen – 03 [Cutting a Chicken with a Beef Cleaver]

I’m starting to worry about Juuni Taisen. Like what we all predicted last week, this week indeed follows a reverse zodiac order. We have Chicken served as our main POV and at the end she’s the one who get sendoff (with no small help from the episode title. What a huge spoiler). Judge by the […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 15[Differing Paths]

It’s funny that only now, when we are well into the halfway point of the series that it takes some time to flesh out its cast. Sisgou has gotten some backstory, Fiore was fleshed out a little and even Gordes got some time to prove he’s not a complete caricature. The last one is something […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 02[Colosseum]

In an odd turn of events, the second episode of Kino’s Journey 2017 is a retelling of a story done in the original 2003 version. Where Kino is forced to participate in deathmatches upon reaching a country. I find this choice odd as I would consider the Colosseum story in the original to be the […]

Dies Irae – 02[Twilight Girl]

There may be those of you who ask why I would cover this series despite it’s rather disastrous prequel episode. Even I will not be attempting to defend this adaption as I sorely believe it will be rather poor indeed. But when you truly think about it, isn’t it the case that I would be […]

Latest Reviews

The Reflection Review – 45/100

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is […]

Made in Abyss Review – 91/100

There are few series which can capture the mystery and wonder of a fantasy world as well as Made in Abyss. Their world is dangerous, brutal and unforgiving but beautiful, wondrous and exciting in it’s presentation. The story is of a ordinary girl called Riko and a mysterious cyborg boy called Regu traveling down the […]

Classroom of the Elite (Summer 2017) Review – 54/100

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for […]

18if (Summer 2017) Review – 68/100

Allow me to skip over the last episode coverage for this full review of 18if, since I was too underwhelmed by the finale to have anything concrete except pointing out how messy the ending was. The first thing you need to know about 18if is that it’s a multimedia project (along with a mobile game […]

Princess Principal (Summer 2017) Review – 82/100

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul Review 80/100

“Dance!” I have been a  reader of this blog for a long time. Indeed it would not be wrong to say that psgels and the current crop of writers have helped maintain my interest in anime for the last decade. So now here is my chance to give something back to this excellent blog. Shingeki […]

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Review – 63/100

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

Kakegurui Review – 61/100

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members […]

Re:Creators – 22 [Re:CREATORS] – 75/100

There was never going to be a epic fight with every creation squaring off against the overpowered and invincible Altair. That possibility died when the creators threw the copycat of Blank at her only to have that plan backfire horribly. Besides, it wouldn’t have been a satisfying conclusion to Altair’s story to have her be […]