Posted on 15 January 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Reviews by AidanAK47, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. Outlandish though it may be this actually worked as the idol shows ranged from death metal to Rap and the comedy hit all the right notes with special mention to the manager who is equal parts ridiculous and bombastic. It looked like this was the series to take a look at the idol anime genre and poke fun at it’s ever so tiresome tropes.

But ultimately the greatest failing of Zombieland Saga was becoming that which it originally parodied. The end result isn’t something that I would consider a trainwreck like Kado as while Zombieland becomes something lesser, it’s still at least a decently enjoyable watch. The problem is that it’s opening episodes promised something greater and could have potentially been the anime to point out and mock the very nature of idol anime itself for it is something that has been long overdue such a scathing. Sadly the case is that once episode three hits the story gears more towards traditional idol anime and the fact that the idols are in themselves zombies becomes less and less relevant. What at once was a great surprising anime just became another idol anime.

There is fun to be had with the show and sometimes it can bump up from being alright to pretty good. The opening is quite excellent and the comedy has some great highlights with Yugiri’s mistimed slaps and Yamada Tae just being the legendary Yamada Tae. Though when the series aims to hit a more emotional tone this often contrasts far too greatly with the general slapstick nature of the show itself, often not making its mind up on whether it wants to make you cry or laugh. Episodes become more formulaic as well with each often starting that a pep talk session with the manager so he can ham it up for comedic effect. Coupled with an ending which acts more as a midpoint finish rather than a finale and you have a show that’s rather half baked in nature. Overall this show can be a fun watch but it once held the potential to be greater but then went for something more more marketable but more generic as a result.

Posted on 10 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

And so Zombieland ends…or more that it just decided to drop off for a bit. The last few episodes decided to focus on Sakura with the first being her overzealous preparation for a big concert and Kotaro’s efforts to just get her to chill out and relax, the second being the return of her memories with a new problem that the last episode ends up resolving. We did get at least some answers as to some of the overarching mysteries of the series but those answers certainly are underwhelming. FOr one it appear that the manager really was doing this all for Sakura’s sake and seemed to know her in his school days. At the return of Sakura’s memories many were theorising that her death was actually suicide and not the truck along with other rather dark theories. Personally I never thought it would go that way considering that the show generally has played as lighthearted as possible with the deaths of many of the franchuchu members being on the silly side.

Really Sakura’s problem basically boils down to cosmically incredible bad luck as anything she ever tried hard at resulted in her failing due to random coincidence. The universe certainly has it out for this girl and it’s likely her bad luck will result in many a incident to episodes to come. Yes, this is certainly not the end of this show as the ending itself just feels like a typical halfway point end. Considering Blu-ray sales and general reception it’s likely to get a second season but if it does I would say that I wouldn’t be all the stoked for one. Zombieland Saga certainly started with potential but much like I feared as the idol elements got introduced the show eventually became another idol show. The nature of the idols being zombies mattering less and less as the series progressed with it mainly just being used as a story device for backstory of the week.I know that sounds like I am brushing off a lot but having seen Love Live this formula is rather familiar.

That being each member getting there own episode that happens to deal with some personal problem which is overcome by episodes end with them ending on a song with them as the headliner. Simplifying it down but for any idol show that is business as usual and it is rather sad to see a show that was originally unpredictable turn into something so formulaic. I will say that what it ended up being didn’t ruin it completely as the show itself can be fun but it is disappointing in that it had the potential to be better but settles for the more unremarkable yet profitable option. If there is a second season I can easily see it doing the episodic character focused stories with the regular old idol training arcs and silly episodes. Which can be fun for some but for myself I just find myself drifting away from the series much like I did with love live. After all, I never finished Love Live. I stopped watching around the second season and never found the time or motivation to get back to it. Not out of hating the show as it was surprisingly entertaining but it was more just general apathy. So if there is a second season of Zombieland, I very much suspect to drift off it much like I did with Love live.

Posted on 27 December 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Welcome one and all to the final episode of Honda-San! It was a… well it was a rather short road to get here all things considered, so lets skip the preamble and jump right in!

I have to say, that Honda-San managed to drop its Christmas episode basically on Christmas, impresses me. It was impeccably timed and the content made all the better for it. Not only that, but the theme of closing naturally fits perfectly for the end of the season, year and holidays. All around, a good play by Honda-San here. It also managed to get a good number of laughs out of me, with the over the top reactions and good usage of foreigners. Simply put, it is an all around good episode to close on. That Honda-San managed to have its best episodes be its first and last confuses me to no end. But its better to go out with a bang than a whimper I suppose.

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Posted on 20 December 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Hello one and all, perhaps the most confusing production I am covering this season. This time Honda-San teaches us about publishes and dives into a world of demons and fantasy. Let’s dive in!

So to start off, I want to apologize for the lateness and doubling up of this post. Simply put, Honda-San isn’t very interesting to me anime. Not being a comedy sort of man, I was impressed when Honda-San got genuine chuckles out of me in the first few episodes. It was a very fresh, sort of blase comedy. The subject was soe mundane that anyone could relate to the situations. Simply put, Honda-San was unique in the beginning, and I think I was taken in by that. But this late in the season, the enthusiasm just isn’t there anymore. Episode 11 definitely brought some of that back, I quite enjoyed the unique premise. It really broke up the otherwise dull past few episodes. But was it enough to close out the season? I suppose we will have to see next week how it pans out. For now, onto the episodes.

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Posted on 4 December 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Hello and welcome to perhaps the best week of Honda-San yet. This time we get one long skit, clever writing and well mixed in education. All in a 10 minute package! Lets jump in.

To me, this was the best episode of Honda-San since the first. The gags were clever and the single topic allowed for them to build on each other. For instance the topic of the week was the Life Cycle of a Book. Had this been a normal 5 minute segment, we would have gotten maybe a single joke on each part of the cycle. Surface level at best. Instead, this longer time span let Honda-San hit each from both the comedy and educational sides. For instance I had no idea about “dead books”, that got eventually removed from the shelves. I just assumed they sat there are got sent to the back, until they sold. But that it is actually a struggle, and someone is in charge of making that decisions? And that it was presented in such a funny way? Fantastic.

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Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga is a confusing show to me. It’s been on a decline since episode 3 which it chucked out it’s rather unpredictable but beautifully chaotic nature for what seems to be a formula closer and more sincere of an idol show. It’s jumping between modes wherein the show can be wacky and surreal yet wants you to take it seriously. Mizuno was struck by lightning while performing, which is absurd yet the story treats her trauma regarding lightning very seriously. Miyu is a trap who died from shock after finding a chin hair, yet the anime treats his death with absolute genuine heartbreak with it even hinting that while his/her death may be silly the circumstances of overwork and mental stress leading up to it most certainly were not. Meanwhile Saki died from playing a game of chicken and driving off a cliff yet the effect on her best friend appears to be a deep rooted trauma. These elements cannot coexist as they just clash too much for it’s hard to truly feel the sadness of the situation when the nercomanager can just pop in and Hououin Kyouma it up to high heaven.

I miss the freestyle performances and while the lightning giving them magic autotune was rather novel, I just find these idol performances to be poor replacements for the creativity of the first two episodes. The only saving grace is that they have appeared to abandon CGI for 2D performances which may be less animated but at least don’t detract from the experience. I am disappointed that Zombieland ultimately went the route of glorifying the idol industry while ignoring it’s dirty underbelly of exploitation. They made one joke about how the girls being undead meant that they can literally be worked to death without worry but other than that it’s been the usual piel of idols giving people hopes and dreams with all the sugar coated nonsense. I thought the girls encountering old relations would bring some new interest to the series but sadly they have decided to have the girls keep things secret and pretend to be unrelated. I still advocate that the show isn’t bad but if the beginning episodes were a 9/10 then we have dropped down to a 6/10.

At this point the zombie thing has become a bit of a gimmick while the show has more or less begun to follow idol show formula of having an individual episode on each girl coupled with a character song. Sure in this case the girls episodes generally have to due with their untimely passing but overall the episodic nature has made the show more predictable. We know that manager is going to have a scene where he pep talks the team, we know there’s going to be an idol song, we know that each episode is going to focus on a specific girl. At this point the only things keeping this show going is the small jokes it nails and the mystery regarding just what Tatsumi’s goal or motives are in all this. And I have to say that I am not quite interested enough in those things to be heavily invested here.

Posted on 28 November 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Hello everyone, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving! This week Honda-San is back in form, as we refocus on the customers. We see a cavalcade of book lovers, the terror of children, and a peek into the publishing life of Honda. Let’s dive in!

As I sad in the intro, Honda-San is back at it with the customer stories this week. Once again, it shows that these eccentric personalities are the strength of the show. I can’t say it was hilarious, I didn’t laugh out loud at any point in the episode. But it was consistently entertaining. I giggled from time to time and the stories were, if nothing else, interesting. I think a short series like Honda-San benefits from a rotating/perpetually new cast of side characters. This way our set leads can bounce off them and show something new each week, occasionally bouncing off of each other. Both segments had numerous new customers with their own quirks, and with how short the segments are, none overstayed their welcome. With how short the are on screen, they don’t have to be more than interesting caricatures.

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Posted on 21 November 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Hello and welcome to another week of Honda-San! A quick note before we jump in. Since this is Thanksgiving week, no doubt most of my posts are going to be delayed. I am flying to Texas for a few days and will write when I can. I will try my best, but wanted to let you know. That done, let’s jump in!

This week, Honda-San was rather dull I found. The topics were generally un-interesting, and while the gags were decent, I was already partially checked out before it even really began. I understand the series is meant to partially educate, but these industry episodes are simply nowhere near as amusing. Our two topics this week were of course Wholesalers, unique to the book industry and already partially covered by Wizard Man last week, and networking. Wizard Man is fun, but no one likes Networking. The only people who like Networking have business degrees, it is literally their job. For everyone else, Networking is a necessary evil I have found. Interesting enough, Networking actually had the better jokes, but I think that is mostly down to Japanese culture vs Western culture myself. Still, they are worth looking at.

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Posted on 13 November 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Comedy, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San

Welcome fellow book lovers, to another dip into Honda-San! This week was a bit dull as we learn about the difficulties of stocking, but the second half manages to pick it back up. Lets jump in!

So overall this week of Honda-San was pretty disappointing for me. Like usual it had some good gags in there, but nothing has yet to match up to the first episode. Take the first segment of this week for example. It was interesting for a bit. We learned about stocking books, and the magic of the Distribution department. But the jokes simply weren’t funny. It conveyed more technical knowledge than it did humor. The best part of it was the segment with the older customer and their love of a now deceased author. It was sweet, and something I am sure happens. But Honda-San is a sketch comedy series, and the comedy this week was simply not there.

The second segment was better. Once again the festival aspect, since we don’t have book store festivals in the West really, fell flat. However the turnabouts with the book-marks was humorous. Customer’s doing a complete 180 once they find out there was no problem at all. Then Honda basically being dead on his feet. There was some great visual comedy going on. I have said it time and again, but Honda-San is at it’s strongest when dealing with customers. I enjoy the rest of the cast, but every time we focus on them or the back, it’s more technical than anything else. The one time we focused on the back that was funny was the sketch about BL and porn. The reason that one worked was because the focus wasn’t on the technical aspect either.

All in all, while I still don’t think Honda-San wasted my time, it could be a lot better. It makes me very glad that the series is only an 11 minute short, as it would fall apart in larger formats. As is, Honda-San was just short enough that I managed to stick it through until it got amusing this week.

But what do you think? Is Honda-San losing steam, or is my taste in comedy abysmal? Let me know below, and I will see you next week!

Posted on 11 November 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Forgive me for my lack of coverage on this series but you may have guessed that my enthusiasm for it has died down considerably. I always felt that Zombieland Saga was in danger of losing what made it great in its first two episodes and sadly that has come to pass. This show has ultimately become that which it wished to parody. I will preface this by saying that at least the show hasn’t become bad for it’s still pretty watchable and decently enjoyable. But the spark that was in the first two episodes has sadly died out with this show is not having any more surprises under its sleeve. We have a bit of a formula created with each episode starting with Miyano the necroducer doing his jam and introducing the episodes gimmick. Sadly the freestyle performances are gone and we have gone straight idol much to my dismay. With the comedy generally being hijinks related to them nearly being found out to be zombies.

So far the group dynamic seems to have saved the show as it is somewhat interesting to see how they individually interact with whatever they face. Yugiri i find the most fascinating as she is essentially from a completely different time period and has more or less decided to just roll with whatever is going on. She has no real idea how to approach anything so she just goes with whatever she knows and hopes for the best. The latest episode does bring up an interesting point between the conflicting nature of old and new idol culture represented by Junko and Ai’s conflicting views. With Junko representing the old style of keeping an idol at a distance where Ai is more on the modern end with a Idol interacting with her fans on a more personal level. While the show looks like it’s going to push Junko towards Ai’s perspective but I gotta say that she’s got a pretty good point. The barrier between idol and fanbase is important as it’s a reminder of the positions of the two but with the advent of the internet and social media, idols are encouraged to close that gap between the two. Ultimately what AI is talking about is fostering parasocial relationships which isn’t a good thing because it’s predatory to the fanbase and absolutely life ruining for the idol.

There does seem to be more intrigue into the circumstances as well for despite the comedic nature of the show there are some oddly dark aspects here. In particular the means which the nercoducer keeps the girls there seems oddly restrictive with them not allowed access to the internet or otherwise. How he managed to get all this girls corpses as well is certainly a point of question as they all seem to have died in a variety of ways. With it revealed that Junko died in a plane accident while Ai went out in the most metal way possible by being struck by lightning while performing. If she was in a rock band instead of an idol group that would be the most legendary way to die. The next episode holds the cliffhanger of her possibly meeting her old idol group which is certainly a reaction I want to see. i mean dying by lightning and then returning from the dead to perform again? Seriously if Ai wasn’t an idol singer this would be one legendary badass comeback. I really do miss the spontaneous nature of the show as it looks like I won’t be getting the Thriller performance and the narrative does look to be going in a more sincere and serious direction than I would have liked. It’s my hope that at least it doesn’t downgrade itself further or maybe brings back a moment of the potential it had in the beginning before it reaches it’s end.

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