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
Anonymous870083
mm okay thanks!
AidanAK47
@Anon1, Think you might just have to go with a torrent. It's pretty hard to find direct download anime these days.
Anonymous870541
the latest episode of rakugo just made my heart sank. i didn't think it would get better than it already is. i thank god that i didn't read ahead
Anonymous870083
does anyone know where I can download the remastered version of the Utena series? without torrent?
SuperMario
the same very thought here Lenlo. What I considered the weakest part turned out to be so layered. Sorry for ever doubting you, Rakugo.
Lenlo
And that smirk at the end, beautiful
Lenlo
The weakest plot point of S1 has just become the best part ever.
Lenlo
OOH MAN. I was not ready. The entire first season was all a setup. I cant. What. HOW DOES IT GET BETTER
Lenlo
Cant wait to watch Rakugo tonight, just got home and im lookin forward to it,.
AidanAK47
I think before grabbing the protest signs it might be worth considering if the thing you are demanding be uncensored is even worth it. Oh yeah, now you can see genitalia in crap sex scenes that were crow bared into the plot. No more need to use your imagination.
AidanAK47
Some protest because they want there porn. That I suppose I can understand even if I think they would be better off buying some nukige. But then there are those who demand it just for the sake of standing against censorship. They don't give a crap about the game or the fact we are getting the exact same thing the japanese got. What? Censorship of sexual organs? DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP!
AidanAK47
There are people actively proclaiming they won't buy the game, because they can't see dicks. That is not hyperbole. This is literally exactly whats happening here. And they just act so goddamn self righteous about it. Porn is not the goddamn point of these games. Shouldn't even be in them in the first place.
AidanAK47
So another Sekai Kickstarter is up for a trilogy of Visual novels called A Clockwork Ley-Line. Chipped in my bit as I am going to be buying this regardless but like goddamn clockwork you get the idiots yelling for Mosaic removal. No matter how I try to rationalize it, this just sounds stupid.
Kaiser Eoghan
Just whenever I think Rakugo may be dragging its feet it comes out a gives me three big strong moments in this weeks episode, you will know them when you come to them.
K-Off
Dubbing in more subdued performances work fine. It just becomes unbearable when it involves shouty dialogue, which idescribes most of the Japanese games I play.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I think at the time it allowed Bagel (where did he go?) to find some exploit/gap in the sites security too.
SuperMario
I mean the spoiler code in the comment section. ^^. Like I don't mind if readers give (potential) spoilers but I don't want to ruin the fun of other readers as well
AidanAK47
After all it wasn't a intended feature of the old shoutbox. We were pretty much hacking the thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
I seem to remember all those old html codes stopped working on the old shoutbox too at one point.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was also originally an ability to animate text too of the shoutbox and have gifs appear in the message box but not as links.
AidanAK47
I remember some HTML code worked with the old shoutbox but nope. But I suppose you could change the colour of text to white...though that would effect everything you write.
SuperMario
Btw, do we have spoiler tag here Aidan?
SuperMario
@anon861679: Agreed. They have big ambitions, but they seems unsure on what to do next. I mean engaging your readers to give their thoughts is good, but if it is a mean for you to get inspiration to write essay about isn't that great. Well, give them say 6 months until they can settle down (they just launched this site for 3,4 months only)
Kaiser Eoghan
Despite being fine with anime in English, I've almost always felt that voice acting in videogames isn't as good.
Anonymous861679
Hey mario, that anime feminist blog was well, kind of awful. While they're well intentioned, it felt like they were pushing tumblr stuff onto chan stuff and that always ends up in a smoking mess.
SuperMario
Okay I'm going to erase my memories right now
SuperMario
I swear I'll stay off reddit for good. Have been spoiled by the development of ACCA by one of their "theory". As soon as I realized it's freaking spoiler I stopped but what done is done. Ahhhhhhhhhh
K-Off
Christ Fire Emblem Heroes is pretty addicting, micro transactions are not necessary at all. Though it irks me that I can't get Japanese voices. Dubs just make me cringe every time.
SuperMario
@ckspike: Hand Shakers, the very quality that makes you brain cells die while watching it. Well, I actually think the music is one of the best part of the show, now that you mention it like that...well...*slap my forehead*
ckspike
... my roommate just told me the background music when I'm watching Hand Shakers sounds like a bad porno... Now I can't unhear it. Fuck!
Lenlo
I havnt kept up with Academia, for some reason it just didnt catch me as well as the movie first did.
AidanAK47
You know what's funny? I thought little Witch Academia would be the hardest one to blog. Yet halfway into the current season and it's the one I write the most about.
Lenlo
I actually dont read many blogs. Mostly just this place and the occasional pop on reddit
Anonymous859067
I'd like to present to one of my favorite blogs, A work I just created: Greed Island! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tc2r.greedisland
AidanAK47
I go to Reddit anime myself but I don't really like the upvote system. Basically the majority rule opinions get put to the top which more often than not are jokes.
HelghastKillzone
I listen to podcasts on youtube and others places as well as going on Reddit Anime to hear a thousand people yammering away.
Kaiser Eoghan
I irregularly follow the episode reviews on ANN and sometimes read standing on my neck. I fell out of the habit of following random curiousity.
SuperMario
Anime Feminist (animefeminist.com), while sounds ambitious on paper, hasn't been too hot unfortunately. I know they aim to be "big" so they're still figuring out how to do it best. Well, good luck for them!
SuperMario
Oh, I know I've mentioned this site before but you guys should read it (blog.sakugabooru.com), this site is one of the only few blogs that I actively subscribed to read their post. They have some insights to the anime industry that is very informative and inspiring
SuperMario
I also think that this chatbox here plays a great role to keep a fair amount of readers for the site, as many sometimes just come here to give their two cents on certain anime.
SuperMario
I just checked out rabujoi blof for the first time, (https://rabujoi.wordpress.com) and I think they're in pretty good shape. Content-wise are solid (as far as I read), and they update their post pretty regularly (comparing their amount of posts last month (80) to ours (28), ouch)
SuperMario
Just really wonder, what are other anime sites that you guys follow beside this? Well, ANN and RandomC are a given, but I found myself haven't bothered to read ANN's episodic reviews lately (mostly due to time constraint)
AidanAK47
Don't tell me this is gonna be a regular thing.
Lenlo
There we go
Lenlo
Oh god JSON objects. I thought that nightmare was over
SuperMario
Mine is working probably as well. Thanks a bunch K-Off and glad to hear back from you.
K-Off
No problem.
K-Off
I really need to figure out how to get those damn tooltips working again on the sidebar thumbnails. It'd be useful to have the descriptions popup.
AidanAK47
Cleared my cache and it looks to be fixed. Thanks as always K-Off. I would be completely screwed without you around.
K-Off
Alright I think that did it. Let me know if it pops up again. If you still see it, clear your browser cache and let me know if its still there.
AidanAK47
Messages still get sent. You just might have to reload the page. We are working on getting it fixed.
Vonter
AidanAK47 I can't get into Fate since like with Nanoha there's a lot of stuff with those names in it. Zero was the most straightforward, yet the buildup was very dragout but the payoffs where very worthy.
HelghastKillzone
testing message.
AidanAK47
This is what I get for updating the bloody plugin.....
AidanAK47
He finished it and was telling me what he thought of Saber defeating Gilgamesh. Minute he said that I was like "OH GOD..." He watched the Deen 2006 adaption. Sadly it loos like he's not going to bother watching UBW TV despite me showing him part of the berserker fight. With Fate/Extra, Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Oath under the snow and all the rest this problem will happen again.
AidanAK47
You know I wish the Fate series did a better job naming it's series. I was introducing a newbie so I gave him Fate/Zero first. He loved it so I specifically told him to watch the UBW TV Series and don't mistake it for the movie. He then went and watched the movie. I told him to watch the TV series regardless and brought up the MAL page to show him which one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, there's definately no harm in doing further reading on more arthouse stuff before reviewing it/watching/after watching, it extends our understanding and is pretty much required.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Go for it, you might sell me on reading it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah, I generally only write reviews every now and then, and they tend to be kept simple and to 200-300 words. My writing ability only really works when I write in stream of consciousness.
Anonymous855550
Zestiria is such a feast for the eyes... The colors and backgrounds are so vivid and magnificent. Story has improved on the game's weaknesses too!
Lenlo
Given enough time, im sure I could write something, but as I writer I tend towards quick, decisive statements of what I think and why. Engineer, so technical documents are like the only thing I know how to write.
Topgavin
@Supermario ah, I'd say I'm the opposite in that I sometimes don't know why I like something so much, and when I read a review about it I can relate my own experiences and put it in my own words pretty well. Can thank Highschool eco for that
SuperMario
But to tell you guys the truth, I never think that I'm cut out as a reviewer (even now), because I'm a type of viewer who more perceive (I know why I like/ don't like stuffs) than express (just can't never explain stuffs well)
SuperMario
@Topgavin: it's depending on what grabbing you really; as I always find shows with heavy symbolisms like Penguindrum or Flip Flappers the easiest to dig deeper. But those are always my kind of show to begin with
Topgavin
I'd find it really hard to write something about a show without reading about it first; watching it one time by myself I usually only notice the big things. Stuff like Flip Flappers I had no clue what half the episode's hidden meanings were, can't imagine reviewing a show like NGE or penguindrum.
SuperMario
that's exactly how I write my reviews anyways
Lenlo
I cant imagine writing a review, id just repeat myself with different words but the same intended meaning over and over again
AidanAK47
Wonder if I should write a review of this. Might be hard without giving too much away.
AidanAK47
(Finishes Sweetest monster Visual novel)
.....well....fuck.
(Buys all authors visual novels on steam.)
Lenlo
Sadly, I doubt Nioh will get a PC port. Sony is pretty stingy on their exclusives, like Bloodborne. But I am so very happy with Nioh. I love technical combat like this
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose this means I'm looking into this rpg maker game thing now isn't it? Might aswell.
Kaiser Eoghan
I remember the word animerican used to describe things like avatar last airbender. Filthy word =P
Anonymous853606
God no. Jiro Taniguchi died.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I have been hearing very good things about Nioh. Really hoping it gets a PC port.
@Topgavin, No real surprises there.
Topgavin
I'm sure most of you have heard, but looks like New Game is getting a season 2 out of all things. Apparently they had good sales, and I can certainly see why. CGDCT with yuri undertones and clean animation is hard to get wrong, let alone not sell.
Lenlo
Just started with Nioh, and oh my goodness do I love it.
Anonymous852887
anyone play resident evil 7? its so good.
AidanAK47
Thought that's because the term American Anime just feels wrong to me on all levels.
AidanAK47
@Anon, they do not. They are cartoons.
Anonymous852775
DO people call D.C. Comics animated movies American anime?
AidanAK47
@Anon, I am certainly interested in seeing the next episode. Those minisodes were pretty good too. One thing I thought the writting faltered on though was the comedy. It really was a little too slapstick considering how serious the drama was.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: ah remind me the time I went to Texas (Corpus Christy) before X-mas time and I was wearing short pants and thongs (nice!!!), then went all the way up to Niagara Falls and I was almost freezing there.
Lenlo
See, I love winter, but its almost non-existent in Texas
Anonymous852268
@Aidan: I agree. I loved To the Moon. It's so good seeing emotional drama that isn't centered around high-school kids. Seeing the ups and downs of a whole long life of a person gives everything that happens way more impact.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: An Australian friend put it as "A sunbaked rock in summer, a giant zoo, that actively tries to kill its population"
SuperMario
Not that I'm enjoying the winter either. Why autumn always go so fast?
SuperMario
Believe me but summer here is way too much. When it's too hot and dry it starts bushfiring really badly. And it's too hot that even a big fan straight in front of you don't do you any good
Kaiser Eoghan
What is this mysterious creature known as summer you refer to? =P My country is grey as a black and white film =P
SuperMario
I'm wondering how freezing you guys have to endure right now, but the place I came today in Aussie just reached 50 degree celsius this noon. So hot I felt myself burning
Lenlo
I think the part I liked the most, was just how satisfying those mud splatter sounds were. I dont know why, but its in my head
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki 6 subs came out at 11pm PST.
Lenlo
Atleast Rakugo didnt get held up. Still amazing as ever
AidanAK47
Well I spent my time waiting for it to come out by playing and finishing To the Moon. Got to say, it takes some real skill to make a game in RPGmaker that can make you really feel something. But maybe I am just a sucker for this kind of story.
SuperMario
Hey, I would be very frustrating if Hand shakers got delayed. But I agree this delay is caused by Being X. And Scum's Wish, haizzz, this is the show we love to get pissed at. Haha
Anonymous850298
I blame Being X.
AidanAK47
Sigh, Youjo Senki 6 is delayed. Why is it always the best shows that get delayed? If an episode of hand Shakers was delayed no one would give a crap but nope. Gotta be the show you want to watch right away.
AidanAK47
@Anon, in both anime and manga I never liked that character much.
Anonymous849783
Meh, dropped Masamune-kun. Seriously why do they always have to shove in these one dimensional characters with a crush out of f* nowhere. It never made any of these shows more interesting, it's always the opposite.
Vonter
@Kaiser Eoghan - I find it weird having the teacher being so unashamedly evil. In a way I like that, but at the same time I can't relate to the notion of people like that existing IRL.
Kaiser Eoghan
As I continue to watch scums wish, it becomes an anger inducing as much as it is engrossing experience.
AidanAK47
Or the UBW movie over the TV series. You just don't do that.
AidanAK47
That's like recommending someone to watch NGE death and rebirth instead of the TV series.
Kaiser Eoghan
Meh, I just got fed up with the padding in the tv version.
AidanAK47
Jojo has the kind of entertainment that clicks with you or doesn't so I understand if you didn't get into it. Though to give it a fair chance I would recommend trying the first episodes of Battle Tendency. It starts at episode 10 of the first season, you can jump to it. If that doesn't catch you then Jojos really isn't for you.
AidanAK47
Don't listen to Kaiser. The OVA is bad.
Kaiser Eoghan
....found out where a friend had been off to lately, making a movie and he ended up actually making and finishing and I got first dibs. Had a hard time commenting on it as I know the guy personally.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Totally with you on the academy thing.
@Lenlo: If you ever try jojo again and get onto part three go for the ova instead as it trims down an overly bloated arc.
Lenlo
For JoJos, I couldnt get through the first season. It just didnt hook me
Lenlo
What I dont understand is how anything other than Mob Psycho won best animation, cause my god.
Lenlo
I think Erased lost not because of the libido, but because Yuri was "gay" and "progressive" and most important of all, recent. Yuri had just finished airing so it was stuck in everyones heads. Of course it was going to win everything
AidanAK47
Erased truly deserved to win that category and it only lost because people voted with their libido instead of their head.
AidanAK47
If there's one thing that really makes me angry about these awards it's Yuri on Ice winning most heartwarming moment for "The Kiss". Because A) It wasn't a fucking kiss and B) Even if it was that isn't heartwarming. Oh I am sure something is getting warm but it sure as hell isn't your heart.
AidanAK47
Likely the main reason Kira didn't win main villain because Jojo has grown to a episode count which makes people hesitant to pick it up. Not to mention many would lose interest by Stardust crusaders midpoint.
AidanAK47
When it comes to judging quality you have to leave it to the people who have experienced enough of the medium to truly be able to critical judge it. Pretty darn sure most who voted didn't even bother watching everything worthwhile each season and just gravitated towards whatever they were exposed to.
AidanAK47
Lets not forget someone voting multiple times and bot voting. Because yes, people really do that. As you two pointed out, a public vote was never truly going to be a accurate gauge of quality. For you are not only opening the vote to anime lovers but also newbies and those who simply haven't refined their tastes yet.
SuperMario
so they either abstained their votes (which actually was reasonable); voted for something popular or even voted based on what their kids liked the most (which was flat out unforgivable).
SuperMario
This from my own frustration mostly when it comes to awards like this. But I've been following the Academy Awards for way too long now and every now and then you heard something that really disheartened about their voting process. Like for example many of the Academy members admitted that they don't care to watch anything animated because... it's kiddy stuff
SuperMario
TL;DR: my point is I have mixed feeling about the whole Crunchyroll awards. One more thing that I noticed about the nomination is that the pool was dominated by shows from the first half of last year.
Lenlo
I dont think public voting is the way to go is the thing. Popularity contests are horrible. With popularity contests moe is going to be near the top every time, while shows like Rakugo never really have a chance. And I think there is little doubt that Rakugo was one of the best shows last season
SuperMario
@Lenlo: there is an issue with the first thou, because reviewers like us don't actually represent the whole public opinions. So it's all come down to the very reason they create an award in a 1st place (your second point). But with voting we can't really reason why the winners win the trophy, right?
Lenlo
The problem with awards like that is for them to mean anything they need 2 things. 1) A board of voters who are actual reviewers who have watched a large portion of what was on shelf that season. 2) Reasons for why each thing won its award. An award without reasons means nothing
SuperMario
Other issue about voting for these awards is that the nominating body and the voting body aren't always the same. Usually the voting body is broader and more generic in taste, so I'm not at all surprised when shows like Rakugo couldn't win. Too art-house for their liking. Well, at least it got nominated which for me is good enough.
SuperMario
That's the thing. When it comes to awards, they are more 'popularity' contest than actual quality, since people tend to vote for the safer choice (the one that are both popular and mildly critical success), YOI fits the bill here.
Lenlo
Those awards were not the best and little more then a popularity contest imo.
SuperMario
Actually with that line-up I had no problems with YOI taking the top spot
SuperMario
I actually forgot about the Crunchyroll Anime Awards so I came to check the winner. Guess which show won AOTY huh? Alright, at least it wasn't Kabaneri or Jokers Game
Kaiser Eoghan
But the best one was Mask of Phantasm.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: And return of the joker also.
Kaiser Eoghan
It has aged admittedly very poorly, but I always got a great kick out of that old 1994 spiderman cartoon.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I think its fair to use the term K-anime or C-anime for the Korean and Chinese influenced stuff, or maybe just anime would be just as appropriate. If some Argentinian guy can write/draw a manga for a Japanese manga magazine (big comic superior thats the magazines name) and have it actually be called a manga, it should be the same for China/Korea.
Lenlo
Mhmm. Marvel had the movies, but DC had the animated series
AidanAK47
Man, I loved the villains of Batman Beyond. Inque and Shriek had such interesting powers. The DC animated shows tended to be the one that didn't treat you like a kid while watching.
Lenlo
Well, they released a trailer for Samurai Jack S5, so its coming. Batman Beyond I also enjoyed
AidanAK47
Ah Samurai Jack. Wonder how that Adult swim revival is going? Batman the Animated Series as well didn't need Batman to crack off jokes every minute to be great.
Lenlo
Agreed. Samurai Jack was one of my favorite cartoons for that very reason. It ran the gamut of genres, each episode being something different.
Also I used Nichijou cause it was the first to come to my mind as a "Kids Show", though Love-Ru works as well
AidanAK47
One thing I think Cartoons could do to move away from the stigma of being for kids is having more genres than Comedy and Action adventure. Or at least stop putting comedy in everything.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Every fanbase has it's fanatics. There are idiots everywhere.
@Lenlo, I thought this might come up though I was expecting more of "placing Berserk and To Love-Ru in the same category" thing. Honestly I don't have a rebuttal for that. What is an isn't anime is really a matter of what anime is to you.
Lenlo
Now Aidan, you say putting Berserk and Scoopy doo in the same category is wrong, but what about Berserk and say.. Nichijou? A similar problem comes up and I think thats more to do with Berserk being a pretty major outlier (And I love it for being so. Have all the original Dark Horse volumes on my shelf)
Lenlo
Really though, reading Reddit arguments about it is so much fun.
Lenlo
I do think that recently, a number of shows have been trying to move cartoon, and animation in general in the west, away from meaning "For Kids".
Lenlo
Im not sure sure about that Anon, look at the Steven Universe and MLP fanbases.
Anonymous840067
Aidan, that isn't true... Anime has a 'special' name because it's fan base is a lot more fanatical than the cartoon fan base.
AidanAK47
Though I think the whole "Its not for kids" is the main push. Looking at my anime collection the majority is rated 15 with a few 12s. It's like the way you have Young Adult and mature, Comic books and graphic novels, or Visual novels and Eroge. They are essentially the same thing but appeal to different audiences.
AidanAK47
Though I think what really pushes this argument is that the term anime at least has a badge of honor. You don't see people demanding a show to be called a cartoon.
AidanAK47
Honestly the term anime is just a distinction to separate it from the more kiddy stuff. The term cartoon in the western world is too ingrained with the likes of Hanna Barbera or loony toons. No matter how you put it, putting Scooby Doo and Berserk in the same category is just wrong.
SuperMario
Then would you consider Korean, Chinese anime-influenced shows as anime? (I would) and those anime that aimed for Western audience (like Animatrix) as anime? (I would too)
SuperMario
But then we have something like Thunderbolt Fantasy lasy year which if I go for this defination (style) then it isn't anime at all, yet I would categorize it as anime
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