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
See that was my problem with full metal panic, genuinely disliked the school comedy bits and wanted it to focus solely on the war story.
Anonymous2049774
Besides that for the most part I'm really enjoying. The backgrounds are great, I think the CGI is actually pretty good with the ships, only thing missing is that classic Imperial/FPA themes, but I suppose they have to make new ones.
Anonymous2049774
Actually, Julian also looks pretty young right now, but that's probably because... he is at this point in the story. But I just hope throughout the series we get to see his character design grow.
Anonymous2049774
I agree. I honestly don't even mind most of the designs, there are only a handful of characters I feel like they missed the mark; only problem is most are pretty important characters (most notably Kircheis, I think Yang's design is somewhere in the middle for me)
KTravlos
just one issue. Annerose's weird eyelashes. They stood out. More than Reihards. But they did.
KTravlos
Episodes 3 and 4 of the new LOGH have won me over. Very good, good use of music, and economic but to the point. Episode 3 did a better job than the original in getting across the depravity of the nobility. And Jessica in episode 4 was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have successfully managed to ignore Darling in the Franxx.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: I keep up with it because I'm so far in, some of the intrigue is gone, their just fighting the monsters now.
AidanAK47
Funny enough whle I was really into the promised Neverland before, I now have no real interest in it. After the first arc ended my engagement died out
Masky
Hmm, *bother to care at all makes more sense I think
Masky
If what is pretty much best of it that is out nowadays is just "semi" on level on caring, why ye care to care about shonen at all? :D
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: One of the very few shounen I semi-care about.
SuperMario
Good news, the Promised Neverland will be adapted into anime https://www.animefeminist.com/the-promised-neverland-gets-anime-adaptation/
AidanAK47
Heard of it, don't know anything of it.
Anonymous2043546
anyone know OpenGL
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rather nice inclusion that they had the voice actors actually speaking Ainu in Kamuy's third episode.
Anonymous2040262
its almost like he could be an antagonist
SuperMario
For me I don't mind if I have to pay to watch the series/ films, but damn it don't restrict me to access it. Entertainment medium is meant to be an exposure (for the lack of better terms), it's supposed to be available to the mass and nobody care for a series that isn't available for streaming. We have way too many other options out there
SuperMario
"Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem". Someone said that and I couldn't say it better
SuperMario
@Amagi: which part of Firework that you stopped? It's the movie that make less and less sense as the story goes on so I feel you on that
Amagi
I really wonder what's up with this guy. Considering the hype and VN screens he gets he seems to be more than just random side-protagonist. Looking forward to the rest of this series.
Anonymous2039704
One of my favorite OPs this season
Amagi
Now I textwalled again and feel bad.
Amagi
In short: be it indie-products or official series or papers, just upload everything on a virtual plattform and you'll get a bigger audience, many of them even willing to pay as long as they get what they want in high quality.
Amagi
Something might only become popular 4 weeks later but it doesn't matter because it's still there and people can watch it whenever they want and the other series don't matter since it isn't a classical rivalry as we know it from tv.
Amagi
"Less people watched the first episode than the 1000th iteration of [insert some "classic" movie old people watch for the sake if it]. With streaming plattforms like Netflix and others series just get dumped and are always accesible.
Amagi
Another reason for why I prefer streams and stuff: TV and quotes are a horror. They often cancelled series after one or two episodes because the quotes didn't live up to what they wanted. Instead of giving a new series some time. It needs time to get a fanbase and people often need weeks to even know about a new series, but nope.
Amagi
In the end such things are usually screened in ~3 places around the country for a day or two. So if you aren't living nearby or have work to do on that day: good luck.
Amagi
Sometimes it isn't their fault though, like when there is an anime or some indie guy from my country is making a movie - and nobody wants to show them.
Amagi
Same here. I really want to give small companies or indie/artists a chance, but it's not always easy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
What baffled me was the British film institute blocking Irish users using their legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Believe it or not I actually WANT to support.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I do pirate alot, in cases where an obscure film actually gets a cinema release I make sure to pay to see it at the cinema, I support all the rare anime screenings too.
Amagi
There is so much stuff I had to pirate or I would have had to relinquish it completely. Even with non-fiction books for my university studies.
Amagi
lmao. But I 100% agree. Maybe you're lucky if you live in the US but otherwise you are often enough f*ed. Bad marketing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Point I was trying to make is that, region blocking is only encouraging piracy more.
Amagi
narf~ couldn't manage to finish that Firework movie, do I miss much? It seems like something that might have a bunch of good ideas for the later part but the first half just bored me and I couldn't get into it for some reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Release your damn indie project on a reputable site or at least offer a paypal option and if its something off-colour in content, send the bloody thing digitally and not as a dvd.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh look, funimation releases eng dub trailer...think I'll...wat....oh wait this video is not available in your region"
Kaiser-Eoghan
"This video cannot be streamed outside of"
"Sorry we do not deliver to Ireland"
"Sorry this film from less than a decade is out of print"
Yeah, fuck legal streaming, just for that I'm pirating you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Truly you have become the most super of Marios.
SuperMario
Finally pulling those reviews out. Guys, if you're expecting for Hinamatsuri and Masotan posts, the former will be done tomorrow and if I have more time I will do the second one too. Enjoy for now
Anonymous2037529
LWA academia is probably the only trigger project i've truly cared about. I haven't watched KlK to completion or luluco for that matter(i got to get around to that) but ive seen everything else and i just don't give a damn about any of em
Amagi
But to say something positive - I liked the second episode of Kamuy way better than the first one. Budget seems to be really bad but the rest makes up for it it seems.
Amagi
I think Luluco was the only one I enjoyed after KlK which already had a bunch of problems - but overall it was far too entertaining for me to seriously care about those.
Amagi
Guess the last 1/3 might be more interesting when they start with the actual world building for once, although they could probably slam the love stuff even more in our faces but who knows. Not fond of any of the latest Trigger anime to be honest.
Amagi
Also they're really overdoing it with all that obvious message stuff and the "love superpower" trope I always hated anyway. Still watching I mean at least it has a plot and tries.
Amagi
I still can't care about anyone or anything in this series I think it's really not made for me. I might have liked Goro but he's too unimportant and the sauros revelation was kind of a letdown since it's the most common twist for these kinds of things.
AidanAK47
Alright Franxx, you are forgiven for episode 14.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do you ever go to those surprise horror/thriller preview screenings? Where they don't tell you what film it is until it starts?
Kaiser-Eoghan
*worrying about
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its saying something, when I haven't seen eternal sunshine since it came out, but even by re-watching the trailer, the feelings, the whole film comes back. At that point I'd grown out of Jim Carey's comedy, so seeing him play against type was refreshing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, I'm more forgiving then, I'm likely to give higher points for sheer imagination that I'm not as bothered by worry about the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Any negative argument against mood indigo by him can be countered by the fact it has Audrey Tatou in it.
Anonymous2035464
jhonrhean
SuperMario
and I just watched A Quiet Place. A solid indie horror one. It builds on atmosphere and it does the family chemistry right
SuperMario
I don't like The Science of Sleep to be honest. Tons of interesting ideas and visually creativeness but the story itself is a mess
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Gondry needs to avoid making any more commercial comedies, he also needs to start working with Kaufman again, they brought out the best in each other, although on his own, he can be playful and inventive with his films, such as mood indigo and science of sleep.
SuperMario
But check out his other movie Eternal sunshine of Spotless Mind. It has an inventive mind control/ mind altering concept in there
SuperMario
Jim Carrey is kind of mind controller himself. I couldn't take my eyes off him
SuperMario
@anon2028818: it was indeed season 5. SORRY FOR MY IGNORANCE :)
Vonter
The Jim Carrey movies.
Vonter
Dorei-ku seems like a Kakegurui. You see one episode you've seen all. It'll be better if it was crazier like Mirai Nikki. Mind control IMO could be a very creepy setup if it's watched through the perspective of the victim rather than the perpetrator. Losing notion or reality and control. Could liar liar and Yes man be considered mind controlled stories?
Vonter
Ore Mahou Shoujo, baffles me, since I had to skip another long musical off key number, which makes me wonder where the budget cut starts and where the trolling begins. Also makes me sad, there aren't a lot of female to male transformations since it'll be interesting watching that perspective. Maybe a love triangle from both genders could apply since females are more accepted to be bi, in media.
Vonter
Megalobox could be something really special, but I hope like with Ashita no Joe, the anime isn't solely boxing. Joe, had social commentary, had a personal struggle do to the protagonist origin, attitude and view of life, since he started very immature and rebellious.
Amagi
Megalo Box, Tiramisu (I find this genuinely funny), S;0, GGO which is so much better than SAO, Wotaku, Hinamatsuri, Cutie Honey, LotGH, Hisone to Masotan and so on
Amagi
I really love this season as well.
Lenlo
Also personally I am enjoying this current season a alot. But I also know/like a good bit of the reboots/sequels
Lenlo
Oh man... 2015 winter was good. Forgot thats when those came out
Anonymous2028818
@SuperMario: Wasn't that Natsume season 5?, pretty sure season 4 was several years earlier.
SuperMario
Another strong anime season for me was 2015 Winter, where we had YuriKuma Arashi, Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, Durarara whatever season, second cour of Shirobako, Parasyte and Your Lie in April
SuperMario
Even so, with this season I'm still willing to give some shows another chance, like Caligula or Cutie Honey Universe(!)
SuperMario
For me, the best season in recent years was Fall 2016 when we had Flip Flappers, Sound Eupho 2, Yuri on Ice, Natsume 4, Fune wo Amu, Drifters and 3-gatsu no Lion. But I know that Aidan would disagree with me on this
SuperMario
@anon2028201: it's me who said this season is a mixed bag. It's like you said, this season is too heavily on sequels/ reboots and only some new anime stand out, the rest of the pack is just meh.
Anonymous2028201
To me this seems like a pretty good seasons, but judging some of the impressions, it's a bit more of a mixed bag for most. Just curious, what were the best seasons for recent anime? This one seems good to me, but to early to tell right now
Anonymous2028201
Lovin this season so far: a lot of reboots/reimaginings and sequels, but I'm enjoying them all. MHA S3, LOGH DNT, S;G 0, Megalobox, Golden Kamuy are what I'm watching right now. I hear Full Metal Panic is good as well, but I haven't gotten around to watching the original series.
Anonymous2028258
so i just recently rewatched fullmetal panic fumoffu and i gotta say that this is easily one of Kyo ani's best works. It's such a surprise that this was their first anime; it's a damn good romance comedy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lol I love B-movie type stuff, because the rules are off.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was the only person who watched Mazinkaiser skl and shin mazinger and skullman.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Takeshi Koike really wanted to really sell it as a grindhouse feature and I ate that shit up; I really dug the tone he was going for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was strange seeing that Goemon short, much as I enjoyed it, thats the goriest I seen lupin get.
Anonymous2026379
Megalo box is pure retro while lupin is a mix of old and new...and you're right; people just think they can't jump right into it. But that's why more people should be talking about it; to let the masses know that you don't need a starting point to get into the Lupin franchise
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a massive fan of the devilman manga and I thought devilman crybaby was better than it.
Anonymous2026379
90's-esque throwback feeling shows like lupin and megalo box have been giving me
Anonymous2026379
Luoin part 5 is definitely mixing the best of new and old. Honestly, I've been having a blast with it as well as this generally 90
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the problem is, people see lupin as this long thing they can't get into, when really its so episodic/standalone mostly you can pick up and watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course getting the best bits out of old and new.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*visual style
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a fan of this hybrid old and new style, megalobox does it too, mine fujiko aswell and casshern sins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by how well the Fujiko mine show came together in the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll be interested in picking up more facts about thrm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come think of it, Akira Kurosawa did some old western (eastern?) in Russian, that had an Ainu in it.
Anonymous2026379
Asirpa is sooooo adorable.....almost feels patronizing to say that about her due to how badass she is
Anonymous2026379
What makes Fujiko work so well as this sexy icon is that she isn't just sexy: she's smart as shit and uses that sexiness to dominate and control her opponents (similar to bayonetta) rather than be chained by the objectification of her opponents (and the viewers for that matter)
Anonymous2026379
I wonder what other obscure cameos we may get this season. And yea you're right about some of Lupin's potentially sexist traits being assuaged by his level of cool and the genuine respect he shows a good deal of the women he has encountered throughout the series
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yet still a fun film at the same time.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Yea, mamo was a pretty dark element introduced to the lupin franchise; and considering the tone of the gravestone of Jigen, it makes sense he would cameo there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Help I want to kidnap Asirpa =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm probably as surprised as you, at finding someone to talk to about Lupin on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: And through comparing/contrasting the jigen grave stone and Fujiko mine, with some of the sillier older ones, it shows the Lupin characters are flexible enough to work both in a darker AND sillier context.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fujiko is precisely how a fanservicey character should work and how built in/essential it is to her haracter, without becoming an irritant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: By all means Lupin himself shouldn't be a character we like, much like Bond, but like Bond theres a coolness to the character that allows us to love him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Another great thing about Lupin is how it uses its 60s cool to get away with what would normally probably be considered fairly sexist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I had a big smile on my face when Mamo made a cameo appearance at the end of one of the recent ones and thats because I remember the Lupin Mamo movie was one of those first anime that I watched about 20 years aago.
Anonymous2026379
not to mention that its one of the few anime this season that actually knows how to utilize dialogue to explore flesh out its characters rather than exposition or contrivance: looking at you darling in the franxx
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser-Eoghan Nice fun facts; but yea Lupin III is a series that has always had an amazing sense of pacing and adventure, traits that are definitely on display this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its a huge franchise too so I'm often never sure where to go next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You may or may not know this, but the voice actor for solid snake voiced Lupin in one of the dubs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched a few episodes of the Italy set lupin show too .
Its a fun franchise due to its cast but its something I have to follow irregularly, lest it get repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fun fact, guy who directed the gold of babylon film was a famous B-movie noir director in the 60s.
Lenlo
Dont trust anything written by the original SAO author. Everything is his fault. Kirito is not in this series.
Lenlo
Even the original SAO author has little to do with it, which is why its actually good
Lenlo
So SAO Alt is basically completely removed from the rest of SAO
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lupin is one of those things I dip in and out of, whatever part of the franchise it is. I've seen birdcage kingdom, Mamo, cagliostro, nostradamus, Jigens grave stone, mine fujiko and the recent Goemon centred special.
Anonymous2026379
it's a damn shame not a lot of ppl are talkig about/watching lupin the third this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
But for all I know with that team behind it, its an improvement, but theres probably not much point in me watching as I dropped the first season after less than 10 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See how he attempts to seduce me into watching something related to sword art.
Lenlo
Huh... I didnt know the writer for SAO Alt was written by the Kino's Journey creator and produced by the Flip Flappers people. Explains a lot
Lenlo
I wish I knew what you meant by shaman girls, and I cant wait
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Oh I know Leskinen. May he find his Japanese Shaman girls one day. But seeing as I know the story I wanna experience it differently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its even set in hokkaido, Korean/Japanese director, Japanese cast, Ken Watanabe is in it: https://letterboxd.com/film/unforgiven-2013/
Lenlo
Also, I love the ED. Really, 2 episodes in, I love S;G all over again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: really? They remade Unforgiven in Japanese?
Lenlo
its*
Lenlo
Like... is good.
Lenlo
But your missing out on the cult of Leskinen. The engrish is actually one of my favorite parts
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Meanwhile I am happily waiting for the dub.
Lenlo
Dangit... I have to wait another week for Steins;Gate 0 now. I cant do this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Japanese remake of unforgiven had ainu people in it.
Anonymous2025797
Also I wonder if budget is distributed according to the director, some animes will spend more in the first episode. Some will spend more in the last ones. It's subjective, but if it's like all business it is looking for the better result at the minimum expense. Hence why I believe Berserk was made the way it did.
Anonymous2025797
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ideally a story should be as long as it needs. But reality seems that a number of episodes is decided before production. And so you either have to stretch or cut material. Kinda like that 300 page manga of Les Miserables, is simply unfeasible translating that book into that few pages.
KTravlos
Oberstein was a great character.
KTravlos
I actually feel Aidan can do a good job on it. Sometimes been too exposed to the material may lead to clouded eyes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm surprised by how I unexpectedly laughed at wotaku, I do wonder if later on it will include any slight drama elements to sustain interest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
OMO; OBERsteins; Gate =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
From watching episode 2 of golden kamuy, yeah, the source material definitely is lifting this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm going to have to wait and see on steins; gate 0, it is encouraging to here this might be darker , at the same time I remember having to sit through too much goofy humour in the first one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was actually surprised, that, while rare, there were some moments of humour, that lightened it for me.
AidanAK47
Throughout the entire series I expected Oberstein to pull some inevitable double cross. And was shocked when he never did.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree with Oberstein. I think antagonists are es important as the mains in fiction and I loved this guy, he's perfect for series like these.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Galactic heroes was an example of where when watching it, when big death scenes occured, I would make noooooo and shouting noises at the screen while clenching my fist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love characters like Oberstein, shrewd, clever, but done right to where I can believe it, not characters like, say Lelouch .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be concerned if the new galactic heroes series skimps on the violence, that kind of thing needs to be in there, in most shows/films and shown to be explicit, consequences need to be shown.
Amagi
*about, not with
Amagi
Sadly, most original 2+ cours series I know feel dragged whereas many 1 cours originals could have needed ~3 more episodes. Talking with series that have an actual plot of course.
Amagi
I really like the 13 episodes thingy for originals but I wish there would be more 26 episodes series, especially for adaptions.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I agree. Nothing kills my interest faster than formularic episodes and repetition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In general I think 50 episodes would be the most I'd watch for an anime, 39 seems ideal.
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Hisone to Masotan – 02 [I’ll Name the Dragon Masotan]

It’s already 2 episodes in and I still have absolute no idea what HisoMaso’s overarching theme is going to be, which might no be a bad thing given I enjoy the show for what it is so far. HisoMaso’s main concept is quite silly when you think about it. A dragon camouflages as a military […]

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory – 02[Damage Control]

A long awaited return of an old favorite is quite enough to make me smile but this episode makes it clear that this will not be the same happy go lucky FMP of the past. The light hearted shenanigans of the old series are pretty much gone now with Kaname coming to grips with several […]

Darling in the Franxx – 15[Jian]

Alright Franxx, you are forgiven for episode 14 and thank god this whole mess was sorted out relatively fast. I was truly prepared for this to drag on for several episodes but looks like they had the sense to cut it short and give the audience what it wants. So we get an animation extravaganza […]

Megalo Box – 3 [Gear Is Dead]

Another week, another good episode of Megalo Box. Its like dose of old school action. This week we get a subversion of the “upgrade” and some evidence of how bad life in the slums really is. Lets jump in! So my first thought after finishing this episode was, wow there are some awesome camera shots […]

Hinamatsuri – 03 [Hobo Life 101]

Hinamatsuri week 3 plays like an extension to Anzu and Hitomi’s stories last week. It’s like two sides of a same coin where you can see these girls grow in a direction you don’t expect (NO innuendo here), albeit at the cost of the central chemistry between Nitta and Hina. Here’s the trick to why […]

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii – 02[Are We Now Dating?]

After a strong first episode I come back to this show and find a rather middling second episode. There is some good content here, namely the Evangelion references, one of which was butchered by the crunchyroll translators.(Narumi and Hanako were arguing over who was best girl in Evangelion with notes over their head about whose […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 2 [Epigraph of the Closed Curve -Closed Epigraph-]

7 years. It has been almost 7 years since the original season of Steins;Gate. Since Okabe overcame received a mysterious video message, which prompted him to finally save the day. Back then it was a rather clever, if thin, plot device to get a happy ending. Steins;Gate 0 is the story of this video message. […]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 2/3[The Battle of Astarte/An Indomitable Prodigy]

If I was to judge this adaption based solely on the first three episodes I would declare it a resounding success. For while I do really like the old series, it does have a rather slow start. I say i only truly got invested in it around episode 3 or 4 when the more political […]

Golden Kamuy – 02 [Nopperabo]

Leave it to Japanese cartoon that done the Western genre better than the Westerners, at least from what we have seen so far (note: despite my pun, Western the genre doesn’t refer to the Western culture, but to the American Old West). Granted, Japanese cinema and literature has a strong tradition of samurai genre, which […]

Latest Reviews

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

Violet Evergarden’s existence has surely been a public one. Acclaimed before everyone lick a taste of it (it was awarded for grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014 – read, KyoAni awards), it goes without saying that Violet Evergarden is one of the most anticipated show of the sparse Winter […]

A Place Further than the Universe (Winter 2018) Review – 77/100

Cute girls doing cute things is a genre that been done to death at this point. Even within this Winter 2018 we had been overloaded with big eyes fluffy face girls doing a lot of different things of interest. It takes a standout concept or a deeper narrative to make one stand out from this […]

After the Rain (2018 Winter) Review – 89/100

I suppose that most of us, even the perministic ones, enter After the Rain (Ameagari) with some reservations. After all, the premise about a crush from an 18-year-old girl to the store manager who is nearly 30 years senior raises a lot of red flags here. Yet the show handles this tricky premise with deep […]

Kokkoku – 42.5/100

There are lots of bad anime out there, for one reason or another. Whether it be stilted animation, terrible writing or bad direction, a good portion of each season is simply not worth it. Kokkoku is not a bad anime. It is something much worse. Kokkoku is a mediocre anime. Bad ones get talked about, […]

Junji Ito Collection Anime Review – 40/100

In the realm of manga there is a man whose name is inescapable when the genre of horror is brought up. That man is Junji Ito and his work is considered legendary for its artistic detail, mastery of manga paneling and it’s outlandish imaginative concepts. Up till now his work has yet to have an […]

Yuru Camp (Winter 2018) Review – 74/100

I admit that I underestimated Yuru Camp back in its first few episodes. I took it as a standard, run-on-the-mill slice of life show and I fully expected to give it 3 episodes at max before throwing it into the deep sea of forgotten anime. But as time pass, I can certainly see many good […]

Neo Yokio – 96/100

This may be half a year overdue but I simply can’t accept that none of the writing staff of Star Crossed Anime have cover the the biggest development in anime where Netflix took a hand in producing anime in the form of Neo Yokio. Taking place in the metropolis of Neo Yokio, a mashup between […]

Devilman Crybaby – 83/100

It’s an exciting time to be an anime fan where new business models and players are making big waves within the animation industry. After debuting with the original and excellently-produced Neo Yokio, the juggernaut streaming service of Netflix has decided to revive the classic series of Devilman and gives it the full adaption treatment. By […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 69/100

Fantasy is a rather prolific genre in anime, with a vast majority of Isekai and Shounen fitting snugly into it. Most take place in their own unique setting, either Amestris of Full Metal Alchemist or the made of world of the latest Isekai trash. Few however try to set themselves in our world. To peel […]