Posted on 5 May 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Alright guys, here’s my last post: a series of short takes on the final four episodes of 3-gatsu no Lion. These are a month late, as usual – it wouldn’t do to break tradition just before my departure. I might pop in for joint film reviews or special occasions, but apart from that, this is the end. Thanks for reading!

41: After the big showdown between Yanagihara and Shimada, 3-gatsu opted to decompress by focusing on its side stories for a bit. I’m of two minds about this episode. Everything involving Chiho-chan is a home run for me, so working her plum syrup into the festival story gave me a reason to care about the Kawamotos’ sweets business. Hinata’s determination to support her friend, plus her growing satisfaction at helping the family financially, are taking her character in a good direction. All the plans she has for special confections hint at a future where Hina takes over Crescent Moon, relieving her big sister of the burden left by their departed mother. Rei pitches in at the festival, too, and there’s even a cameo from Takahashi, lending a sense of community to the first chapter of this episode. As for the scenes from Hinata’s school near the end, I remain unimpressed by the series’ unwillingness to tackle Takagi’s character in detail. As her prospective homeroom teacher says, she doesn’t feel remorse for her actions, but if your goal is that she feel remorse, you won’t get through to her by instructing her to conquer her anxiety. See my post on episodes 35/36 for more on my issues with this subplot.

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Posted on 22 April 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Violet Evergarden

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 2018 season. As with my first impression, I left the show feeling a bit torn about it. On one hand, the production is top notch and when the show hits right, it sweeps you right away. On the other hand, I don’t buy much of Violet’s central conflicts and the show has a tendency to go over-soapiness and try to explain too much, which I never fond of. To be fair, Violet Evergarden has never known for its subtlety, its intend is always to pull as many punch as possible. Violet Evergarden, therefore, is at its strongest when it uses Violet as an observer, to put her as a background for characters with their own struggles have to finds ways to overcome. When she stays in the spotlight, however, the amount of predictable development and cheesy moments always overwhelm the show’s own emotions.

Let’s begin our journey with the way KyoAni adapts these Light Novels into anime form. The Light Novels start with Violet as an already established Memory Doll, and makes it ambiguous as to whether Violet is a robot or a human. Throughout many encounters with clients should we learn more about the violent pass of Violet, and her super-soldier self. To put it another way the Light Novels uses her more as a reporter with set personality. In the anime version however, KyoAni decides to shift the focus to the whole character arc of Violet. Make her vulnerable at first, and then build her character gradually. I appreciate the intention (in fact about half of their episodes are original material. Impressive), since anime medium works different than written form so it’s always a wise move to modify the content, so it’d fit with the visual medium; BUT I’m not sure if these changes improve the narrative. The thing is, Violet as a central narrative is a boring lead and she’s utterly unrelatable. She doesn’t possess any personality traits and repetitive responses get pale really, really fast.

But to build Violet the character from ground zero also means that when she changes, the changes will be massive. Violet is suppose to be a robot, at least in terms of narrative sense. Everyone regards her as a killing machine, she sees herself as someone’s royal dog, the show visualizes her as a bleeding doll, and the novel purposely frames her as a robot, anything but a human. It’s also the show’s narrative that Violet needs to learn these emotions in order to truly become a full-fledged human. There are some neat ideas behind it, namely the way she realizes the bad deeds she has done in the past. When she doesn’t realize, it’s okay to live on, but when she does, the fact that she ends many people’s lives comes back to hurt her. Relying on someone else to live (in this case, Gilbert), is as sad and unbalanced as it might get, and her own arc has to do with her coming to terms with the fact that Gilbert is no longer there for her and raise independent on her own. It comes to episode 8 and 9 which feature one huge flashback to the day Gilbert died and Violet experiencing her grieving process. While I personally feel this flashback a huge waste of time given we don’t learn anything new, it feels like a complete arc for Violet. That is the reason why the real climax in the end doesn’t do much to me since we already see her arc done in previous episodes.

Violet Evergarden’s best parts are the standalone episodes where Violet doing her jobs – reciting or writing letters for their clients. At heart, these letters represent the desire to connect between people, they represent all those raw feelings that can’t be said out loud, and Violet is in middle of its own trying to translate those feelings into written words, and learn about emotions in the process. All these little stories, from a playwright making a new children-play, to the sick mother write future letters for her daughter, to write love letters from the heirs of two nations, each of them adds more layer to the concept of ghostwriting and her job of connecting the hearts of people together and most of them give a satisfying emotion to their story. The best episodes amongst them are episode 10 (sick mother and her daughter) and episode 7 (playwright).

The production by and large is impressive with detailed character designs (it’s one rare production where all the background characters are fully portraited with their own costumes and figures), consistent animation and striking background designs. Each story where Violet performs her jobs has different kind of settings, and Violet Evergarden really gives it their own on breathing life to those places. The lighting, however, doesn’t give the show a justice here. All interior scenes feel too dark, for one thing, and the way Violet Evergarden uses their focus lenses which make the centre of focus detailed and the rest blurred) hurts the show more than support it. It’s one of the case where I consider they over-playing with post-production. Such a shame since it feels like they don’t have enough confidence to their raw production.

As for characters, it pains me to say that the supporting cast doesn’t reach their full potential either. There are many anime original characters, and most of them have their own episodes to shine. But Hodgins and Cattleya are surprisingly underdeveloped despite appear almost in all episodes. Gilbert is just a vessel for Violet’s personal growth and the appearance of Dietfried in the end doesn’t leave much impact either. There is a hint of the aftermath of postwar era, which I somewhat enjoy but I don’t feel that it reaches its full potential. And all the drama is over-blown, which kind of bang me hard in the head.

All in all, Violet Evergarden is a roller coaster of emotions, in more ways than one. It either sweeps you away with its grandeur approach, or it doesn’t (like myself). The central development is a conventional and predictable one, and the show’s best moments are the ones where they move away from Violet as the central conflict. Despite my grumpy it’s still a solid made and worth watching at least one, if only for the beautiful CG-animated mechanical hands of Violet.

Posted on with categories: A Place Further than the Universe, Anime Reviews

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 crowded pack. Enters Universe, an original show from Madhouse that has both of these. The show’s concept, after all, is about a group of high school girls making their trip to Antarctica, also known as the place further than the universe. Universe isn’t without its issues, the pacing in particular takes the girls way too long until they reach the destination. But to its defense this show is always more about the journey than the destination. It’s about experience life to the fullest and make friends who share the same interest in the process. The “friendship” bits can be contrived at times, but even with me (who isn’t that enthusiastic about it) realizes that the drama in this series is done quite well, as it always gives a satisfying emotional response to the conflicts it creates.

If there is one thing that I’m sure this show will be remembered for years to come, it’s the concept. Touring oversea isn’t that difficult nowadays compare to say, 20, 30 years ago, but a trip to Antarctica? Really? High school girls you say? What’s there to see in that icy place? How the hell do they get in there? Money? Lots of questions bound to come up upon hearing this premise and I’m happy to say that Universe never glosses over those issues, but instead approach them with a thoroughly research. Every stage of the trip is planned carefully, they never make light comments about high-school girls going for such harsh trip and indeed, they point out many times how extreme this trip can be. The expedition ship and the Antarctica place are so detailed that it’s easy to see the staffs made the same trip for their own research. It’s a joy to watch and know more about this little unheard place, to the point sometimes I feel this show is an advertisement for Antarctica (well, I’m sold). Moreover, a show that gives a detailed treatment to Singapore is always a plus (and I love durian!!).

What Universe also sells us is the way they frame this trip as a self-discovery, as a way to embrace the youth to their heart’s content. Mari, the show’s protagonist, is the perfect character for this trip. She worries about how she steps out of her comfort zone, and this trip makes a life-changing event, not necessary in terms of the specialty of Antarctica, but more about maturity. It also helps that the girls’ goal to reach the South Pole is much more than just “follow your own dreams”. Shirase is a girl that had her Mother disappeared in that very place, and it’s one of her resolve to go there just to be closer to her Mom. There’s also Hina who takes high school off but wants to experience something before college and most importantly, there’s Yuzuki, an idol who gets caught up with this trip and just tag along because she wants to travel with her new friends. And those make this trip a bit richer because doesn’t matter their own intention is, it’s the experience that they share together is the most important factor.

The girls make up a great central cast for us to follow. All 4 of the girls have different personalities, they have their own goals and their own backstories, and they have their own voices. Shirase, for example, is a no-nonsense but extremely unstable girl, whereas Mari is cheerful and acts like the emotional force of the group. Hina, my favorite character, has a wise (and bullying) side of her and Yuzuki somehow feels much more relatable through the way she loathes her “star” identity. Moreover, they bounce off extremely well and it’s a blast just to see the four girls interacting with each other. But most important of all, each of them has their own arc to overcome, and while some it I felt were made for the sake of creating conflict (in other words, unnatural), they always have a satisfying ending that elevate the shortcomings of the conflicts.

While the main theme is about self-discovery, I was a bit surprised to find out most of the show’s episodic conflicts are about the notion of friendships. Mari’s drama with her best friend, Megumi, for example, cuts unexpectedly but it cuts deep, mind you. Or Yuzuki’s little drama about “When will we know if we are friends” or Hina’s past issues with her secondary school friends. As a whole, I find the concentration to friendships theme a bit overplayed. Granted, their friendships in a nutshell are interesting ones. They haven’t known each other for so long and apart from this trip, they have very different lives. Yet Universe argues that as long as they share something together – be it getting seasick, eating a thousand-year-old snow corn or enjoying a view of mystical Southern light– they will always have a special place in each other’s heart.

The character designs and the production in general are in the more conservative side, but taken as a whole it fulfils its jobs nicely. There is a large amount of insert songs – most of them pretty heart-warming- so the music of Universe is solid overall. The pacing remains its biggest issue, as it takes until the end of episode 9 for the crew to finally takes their feet onto Antarctica icy ground. They could do it much better if they cut a bit of a transit section (Singapore and Australia, as well as on a ship section – another 2 episodes). Ultimately, Universe is a journey itself. It remains a feel-good show with relatable message of enjoying youth to the fullest and the girls make the most of their time on-screen. Certainly amongst the top tier of its cute girls pack.

Posted on 3 April 2018 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

Another month, another 3-gatsu post for episodes that aired a month ago. And what a couple of episodes they were – the “Burnt Field” chapters are among my favorite in the manga, and though the anime treatment didn’t stun me as the source material first did, it still managed to create an emotionally dense hour of television for which Shaft can be proud. The title of this miniature arc comes from the mouth of Yanagihara’s old friend Gan-chan, who describes his post-layoff sense of purposelessness as being in the middle of a burnt field. Something I’ve always appreciated about 3-gatsu is its presentation of diverse perspectives, and that continues here as the story chronicles the Kishou Championship fought between two older men, one of whom is the most senior Class A player in their region, if not all of Japan.

The night before the last game of their best-of-5 match, Shimada (the challenger) complains of the “away game feeling” that Yanagihara creates by inviting so many of his friends and contacts to drink at the championship venue. Despite the apparent advantage gained from that warm, lively environment, however, both Gan-chan and Yanagihara himself feel isolated by their age and circumstances. Gan-chan is uncertain of what his future will look like in the wake of his forced retirement, but Yanagihara has the opposite problem; as the oldest remaining player of his caliber, he is forced to carry the hopes and dreams of countless retired professionals. Umino-sensei visualizes these burdensome dreams as tasuki, best translated as “sash,” and that’s the word that Crunchyroll used in their translation of the anime. Seeing Yanagihara swallowed up by these white sashes is striking enough when you consider what they represent in 3-gatsu, but understanding their common use gives the scene a new dimension. Tasuki is (among other things) the term used for a sash passed between runners in long-distance relays, so Yanagihara’s possession of so many sashes indicates that he’s the only man still running in a race he once shared with dozens of competitors and friends. Contrast this lonely sense of duty with the fun party about which Shimada gripes, and it becomes clear that the older man is struggling with a burden his opponent can’t yet understand.

The tasuki metaphor isn’t the only sign of weariness that the show provides for us. We get an intimate look at Yanagihara’s morning routine, which includes the taking of various pills, medicines, eye drops, and the application of pain patches to his shoulders and back. He moves slowly through the entire process, and later, once the fifth and final game is underway, he slumps forward onto an armrest, his body wracked with pain and exhaustion. Though Shimada also lives with debilitating physical pain, he plays the role of young upstart in this fight, and seems at multiple points to have the upper hand. But the turning point comes when Yanagihara inwardly embraces his role as a representative for his generation, clutches the tasuki that once constricted him, and turns to run in the opposite direction (calling the “race” idea to mind once more). 3-gatsu has always done well at leveraging these metaphors so the uninitiated viewer can follow its shogi matches, and this episode was no exception. As Yanagihara brought his king further up the board, I was excited to see which player would triumph, even though I don’t possess an ounce of knowledge about the game. The poster for the Kishou Championship may have been on the dull side, but the contest itself was anything but.

After 169 moves, Yanagihara wins the game and the title of Eternal Kishou, having defended his position for ten consecutive years. With his legacy cemented this way, the moment must have been among the proudest of his life, and he opts to share it with all the people whose faith in him was rewarded. If I had been under that much external pressure, I can confidently say that my decision would have been to sit for the post-mortem and make everyone wait for me, their new shogi god, rather than spend that time justifying their abandonment of the game of the game I love. The thing about Yanagihara, though, is that he plays not just for the love of the game, but for the love of others, difficult as that may be. He even invites Shimada to be in the photo commemorating his big win – but he’s not so gracious that he won’t bitch to the Chairman over drinks that everyone expects too much of him. It’s an interesting way to end the episode, given how profound his moment of acceptance was, but that’s another thing I really like about this series; nearly all of its characters are made to suffer at some point, but rather than escaping their pain and revolutionizing their lives, they must settle for merely continuing to live. Yanagihara’s aching bones won’t heal as a result of his victory, nor will the solitude of his position in the shogi world be abated. Instead, he’ll keep complaining to his close friends about whatever’s bothering him, and keep fighting for the people and things he believes in.

Posted on with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Random Posts

3-gatsu no Lion has just finished its 2nd season (on that notes, rest assured that Wooper will cover it till the end of this season and I’ll chime in to give a full post). After Burnt Field mini-arc – which was a solid arc by all means – it came rather natural that the last few episodes focus more on low-key drama instead of focus on another arc. All the better in my opinions since these last episodes elevate Hinata as one of the best girl on Earth and one side chapter that hit me hard on a personal level. So much that despite my laptop is currently broken and I still have two full reviews to write (that’ll come, I promise), I just wanna let this all out first. Keep in mind this is not a review, nor does this reflection piece have any point to make; just merely what I feel about it.

Consider how the second season ends in a satisfying note, I was quite surprised the show follows very closely to the manga’s structure, with only one chapter was adapted out of its order, and that chapter was “Other Home”, and for me it’s probably the best choice that Shaft made. Other Home sheds some more light to the crippled relationships and between him and the family members and the breakdown of the family. The trick here is the shift of perspective. This chapter gives a voice to the voiceless member of the his foster family. Damnit it’s such a brilliant character study in display here. The first notion that really grabs me personally is how this family represents accurately the family dynamic of Asian culture (East Asia to be more specific), so much so that it reminds me a great deal of my own and the one that the more I grow apart from it, the more I can look at it with different perspective. We have a Father who decides the best method to teach his own kids how to face their problem is to smirk “haha” and does nothing. We have a Wife who does housework everyday, stands there in the kitchen making dinner and wait for her husband and kids come home, even without anyone contact her. We have a Mother who constantly blames herself for raising her kids the wrong way, as if the way they turn out HAS ANYTHING TO DO with the way she raises them. And we have the only one member that tries her best to hold everything together since everyone else just stuck up in their own little worlds.

The framing device is pretty on point as well. We don’t hear any conversation between her and Rei, as if their conversation is just merely a facade, the mask that both of them put on. Throughout the chapter we rarely see her face, we see mostly behind her back, when she’s busy doing housework. Those motifs match with the way she smiles, and all the formal lines she about to say, but holds back. Here they sit, opposite to each other, afraid to look at each other’s eyes, and words come out their mouth are pointless. The home that never feels like a home. And it certainly shreds my heart when I realize that the only member Rei feels like his real family is their old dog.

And that comes to another brilliant part of this chapter, the chemistry (or the lack thereof) between Rei and her. I am always find one of the most intriguing relationship is the one like this. The one that always rely on other factors to work, and then when you pull these factors out of the equation, what’s left between them? From her perspective, her husband just agrees to bring another boy to live as a family, so what she’d do best is to support him. Then she sees her own children crumbled right before her eyes because of the presence of that boy, and the family keeps falling apart beyond her hands. Underneath all that she knows it all and she knows that Rei understands it too. What kind of emotions and what kind of behaviour will she act when she meets Rei alone, then? I love it that she has a dream that night that Rei were her own child. That maybe the closest distance that she ever regards him to be.

Posted on 1 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden finally reaches its finale arc, and unsurprisingly, the Peace-opposition rebel and Gilbert’s brother Diethard come into play. In an essence, Violet is fighting two wars: the war against the bad guys who want disrupt the peace, and a war against Diethard to recognise her as something more than a war tool, as a human being. Not to say this episode totally won me over, but I can say at least I am invested enough to see how it all turns out. It’s inevitable to put Diethard as the main obstacle for our Violet here, as he has always seen Violet as a killing machine, and that conflict now is peppered with the pain that his brother died while she’s still alive. Diethard repeatedly regards her as “a tool”, and further despises her for her Doll job. He blames Violet for the loss of his brother, but we can see a lot more of emotions in him going on beneath the ground. Through the course of the mission, however, he can see that Violet has changed in a lot of ways. She’s more expressive, and now she refuses to kill anyone anymore. That is when the show lost me a little. Violet is basically going through Rurouni Kenshin’s arc now, and that makes sense. But the reason she gives, the reason why she doesn’t take orders from Diethard anymore, is because it’s an order from Gilbert entails that she had to live. WHAT? So all her development from previous episodes come down to this conclusion? That she still rely to some dead man’s words to live? Yare Yare

Putting that aside, I have a slight concerns with how Violet Evergarden portraits the Anti-Peace army. Most of them turn out just as ruthless, pathetic soldiers who can’t get on with the Peace because they stay too long at war. The bad guy from the last episode returns, and guess what, he’s even more merciless. It’s such a clear cut between good and bad that it leaves the ambiguity out the window. Nevertheless, the fights at the end really got me. For once, Violet decides not to kill any enemy, and it’s clear that it does her more harm than good. In a battlefield, basically everyone is an enemy and if she doesn’t kill them, they will all come fighting back at her. The way Diethard saves her was good because at a glimpse I almost think that it was Gilbert who saved her (thank God it’s not the case), and finally the closing shot where Violet saves him by her robotic hands really hit its powerful notes. It takes the mechanical hands to remind Diethard that Violet has grown into a fully-formed human. It takes the hands that write letters and save people in its own ways to save him. It’s certainly one of Violet Evergarden’s best moments.

Certainly not a bad way to start off the final arc, now that the anti-Peace soldiers are gone, the stakes might raise higher with the peace treaty (that might need someone’s letter here), together with Diethard and Violet’s own fights. She has done a tremendous development throughout the series, so it’s now the time for everyone to fully acknowledge it.

Posted on 31 March 2018 with categories: A Place Further than the Universe, Currently Watching:

And Universe wraps up the best way it can. This finale, in truth, feels more like a victory lap where the plot can be simply summarized as the girls enjoy their last days in Antarctica before heading back home. Almost all the cast makes an appearance in some ways, and the girls have a chance to reflect how much this trip mean to them, how much they mean to each other and how much they have grown since the start, and of course, many goodbyes along the way. The first half turns out to be the most cute girls do cute things moments out of this entire show, where our girls go through the routine, enjoy the thousand year old snowcone, and play baseball with the rest of the team. There isn’t much arc for the girls anymore, consider that they have all gone through some kind of conflicts and have grown ever since. But nearly the end of the journey, Mari voices her (unreasonable) request: should they stay over during the winter as well? Of course, she knows better and Hinata quickly points out why they need to return to their world: they still have their own lives back in Japan, but nevertheless, all of them don’t want this journey to end. So they make a promise. A promise to go back here again, and a promise that their lives will cross again when that time comes.

Shirase, after the tearful arc last week, really grows up this time. She’s both mature enough to give a heartfelt speech to the expedition team (that brings the cold Gin to tears), the speech about the place further than the Universe make people face-to-face with their own selves, the thing that she had indeed experienced. In addition, Shirase manages to loose herself a bit. She manages to smile. A bright and worry-free smile, unlike her creepy smile at the start of the series. Shirase has always been a bit broken character, but now she’s truly embraces it and let her Mommy issues finally to rest. She moves on to the next stage, stressed by the way she cuts her hair short. At the end on their way back home, Universe proves once again they still have some tricks left to play. The aurora view is truly mesmerizing and otherworldly, but the emotional bang comes from the unsent message her mother left, probably hours, or even minutes before she disappeared. The view of the Southern night sky come into display, and for that very moment, I bet Shirase’s Mom felt that it was all worth it. And now the girls all know that for sure. A bit too much of a coincidence, perhaps, but it’s still well earned.

As the girls head back home, like Yuzuki afraid they may not have the time to be together again. They will go back to their normal lives, with some new old worries and some plans to overcome. But now they depart each other with the understanding that they had shared something unique to each other, and that won’t never change. The last moment, Universe finishes with a nice, pleasant surprise: Mari’s friend Megumi is in the up North Arctic now, enjoying the aurora just like Mari did. Isn’t it nice to see a side character still grows and matures outside the scope of this narrative? As a whole, while Universe doesn’t really win me over, I don’t deny they are pretty good with building up and resolve their little arcs, and the trip along them to the end of the world is pretty rewarding. The full review will come up soon so stay still, folks, and thank you for join in with me for the ride.

Posted on 24 March 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s time for our doll Violet confronts the past with the present: accepting the job in the midst of the war zone. Seeing the war caught up to her while she begins to move on could serve as an interesting character study case, but in truth this episode runs much more straight-forward than that. She accepts the job (against the company’s decision) to meet the guy who happened to be named AIDAN whose whole unit, including himself, was ambushed right before Violet arrives. Violet Evergarden makes damn sure to tug your heartstring, I tell ya, and one of the easiest and most effective way is to make the characters likable and then kill them off. The only problem is, we don’t spend that much time to know this Aidan guy so it’s hard for me to feel for him on a personal level. To make a matter slightly worse, the whole time this guy was thinking about Maria, his childhood-turn-lover back home, but then when it comes to the time of writing letters, the show pulls stuff out of its ass and include his parents, whom we never have any proper introduction before. At first, the way he addresses it, I assumed that the parents are deceased but in the end, they have the same amount of screen presence as Maria, which for me is a bit weird on how Violet Evergarden decides to focus his feeling on only Maria beforehand.

At least Aidan experienced the true terror of war before he himself becomes a dead meat. Staying in busiest war zone, his team got ambushed and being killed one by one. Suddenly, Violet descends from the sky to save the day, defeating the whole enemy team without much sweat. If you have a feeling that Violet is playing a superhero type, let me inform you that the Light Novel does it in a way flashier fashion. In the book, she kills the enemies, writes the letter in the middle of the burning forest, and carries Aidan while killing the army units that surround them. This anime version tones down a lot of over-the-top set-piece, including the bits where Violet faces the enemies unarmed and manages not to kill any of them, and I’d argue it’s for the better. Having her transcript what he says in the abandoned shed at night, air-type his words work much quieter and more effective than if they go all out. The way the letters are formed, in a bit of stream of consciousness way where Aidan slowly slips away and where his memories blurs in with the present help transfer the emotional weight successfully. Aidan is also the first person to comment positively to Violet’s mechanic hands and asks for her hands in his final moments for a… ahem… human warmth. I believe the message here is that Violet has transformed from in robot in human body into a full-fledge human with emotions, and even now her mechanical hands have the warmness of human heat.

Violet Evergarden again makes a good use of it post-war backdrop. This week they delve on the anti-peace faction, which was first introduced on episode 8. I have a feeling they are going to be more prominent in later episodes, but for now I don’t like the way the show handles those characters. They’re one-dimensional as best and the only thing we learn from them is how ruthless they are. Maybe the existence of Violet the super-soldier mode was there for a reason: to kill those war-loving un-remorse bastards. But in here, we can see how far Violet has transformed. She’s not a soldier anymore (but these skills certainly help), she’s a Doll who would go ANYWHERE to meet the clients; and would do her upmost to write letter and deliver them. The last scene where she delivers the letters to Aidan’s parents and Maria, she meets with grief. She feels vulnerable because she can’t save life (she used to only taking lives), but as she learns from the thankfulness of the receivers, she has done enough. Without her, there will be no message and Aidan’s sentiments towards the ones he loves will be lost forever. Another job well done for Violet, and the show itself.

Posted on 23 March 2018 with categories: A Place Further than the Universe, Currently Watching:

For a show that sells on the idea of turning your normal life upside down and enjoy the youth to the fullest, the second half of Universe instead delved a bit too much on the friendship side that don’t speak much to that central theme. In this episode, the theme comes back with a bang, results in arguably its most emotional effective episode yet. Appropriately, the title of the episode is the same as the series’: A place further than the universe. The last place of Shirase and the expedition’s team’s goal. The place where Shirase’s Mom disappeared 3 years ago. The final destination. It’s also appropriate that Shirase is the main focus of this, because she’s the main drive for this trip to happen after all, and I’m glad that Universe pulled it off. For Shirase, the moments she got call out of class and received the news of her Mom disappearing, it all happens like a dream. A long dream she couldn’t wake up. I can relate to that not only because I’ve gone through this before, but also because it marked a point of no return for Shirase. Nothing would ever be the same for Shirase after that and ever since then, she pushed herself hard so that she can come to the place where the spirits of her Mom is still around.

But there’s also this other fear in Shirase, the fear the she would feel nothing. The fear that once she reaches the goal, there won’t be anything special and there won’t be any thing left to reach. Like, what’s next after that? Chasing her Mom dream to Antarctica has always been her own goal, probably to escape the pain of losing her at such young age and being left alone. If she can’t find anything there, will she be in that dream forever? She admits that she doesn’t feel anything special or overly connected to Antarctica, it’s just… like in a picture book. I like the way Universe acknowledges this. The most alluring aspect of a trip to Antarctica is the idea of going to a place faraway, not necessary the place itself. If you aren’t prepared, you’d end up disappointing, and even if you are, like Shirase, there’s no guarantee that you’d end up enjoying the place. That said, Mari offers a valid counterpoint to Shirase’s crisis. It’s about the journey rather than the destination. It’s about going together and experience these things together that make this trip worth it. Admittedly, that message is nothing new, every other show does this but I prefer the way it presented here. Mari’s point isn’t meant to change the way Shirase feel, it’s only serves as one’s perspective. Just like the way Gin told Shirase that she wanted to come back to Antarctica is for herself, “But when we run around on the injustices of reality, they’re the only things that can break through, make the impossible possible, and allow us to proceed on.” Shirase ultimately is the one who has to overcome her doubts herself.

And the girls, plus Gin and that other girl go to the inland trip to build an observatory deck, the idea that was originally from Shirase’s mom. In there, the girls experience the weather condition that I would have expected when I hear about Antarctica: extremely cold, vast ice of nothingness, and blizzard that could easily claim one’s life and change many other’s lives, and godlike sun pillar. The closer to the place where her Mom disappeared, the more Shirase sees fragments of her Mom here and there. It’s just like these moments still linger there, stuck in times. Everyone would claim (and rightfully so) that the episode’s climax where Shirase opens her Mom’s laptop is the most effective moment, but for me, it was the sequence before that. It was when the other four girls rush out to find out something, anything that could tell them the past existence of Shirase’s Mom. Now it isn’t her own journey anymore, but her goal is aligned with other girls. Now it is when the friendship theme merges together flawlessly with “finding goal and achieve goal” theme. The moment from Shirase saw their own photo sticking in the laptop, to when she types correctly the password the second times (it’s her birthday) and her own emails keep flooding up the screen, together with that soft, tender song are such a great way to conclude in high notes. Those unread emails are the statement that her efforts in those 3 years are indeed, real, and now she has to face the fact that Tanako is truly gone, and its’s the more heartbreaking when you notice that the reason her Mom went back to the base and disappeared might be because of this laptop and those emails (one thing though that bugs me is that they have wifi there in the middle of nowhere?). Also appropriately for an episode that feel like a closure, we don’t have any OP or ED this week. Everything ends in such tender note, and… we still have one more episode left. Now, what’s next?

Posted on 18 March 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s a neat (and cruel) trick Violet Evergarden pulled this week. I always have a soft spot for mature undertone story from a point of view of kids (that’s why I am always fond of To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance) so this story is right within my wheelhouse. Violet Evergarden’s melodrama approach can be a hit or miss but when it hits, it sweeps you away. This episode is one glaring example of melodrama that done right and it’s up there along with “the play” episode as one of my favorite chapter of the series so far. I must say though, bedridden character, KyoAni is in its comfort zone here. From Anne’s perspective, the appearance of Violet is nothing but bad news. Anne feels that our titular doll stole away her mother – all the amount of time that should have spent with her instead. What Violet Evergarden done right, however, is that this feeling never drives her narrative. She’s still a kid and she wants someone, especially her mother, to play with. Despite considering Violet “a bad news”, she grows on Violet and spends a great deal playing with Violet. I consider her one of my favorite character out of this series.

Ann’s furious comes from an understandable ground. She knows that her Mother will leave her someday and she wants to spend little time they have left to be together. Who cares about these letters anyway but it frustrates her that not only her mother sacrifices the time with her, she sacrifices her heath to do so. Violet assures her that writing those letters is for greater cause, but frankly, it sounds like an excuse since she refuses to tell the kid the content of the letters. Violet’s job, as it turns out, is to ghost-write letters for “someone faraway”, and as we learn later on, for Anne for the next 50 years on her birthdays. Those letters serve as the messages for Anne to carry on with life, but more specially, for her to know that loved one won’t never truly leave you away, that they will always by your side, spiritually. That is such a heart-warming message.

The visual motif is another winning factor of this episode. I like the repetitive nature displayed in many scenes, from Anne repeatedly calls out Violet name, to her mother says her name and to Anne stays in the middle of the field and she sits on the chair reading the letters as time passes. The match cuts of several background in different time frames also serve the same purpose to show the passage of time and it speaks very well to the unrequired love and loss and growing up. As Anne continues to grow up, meet a boy and have kid, those letters are still there, the place is still there and the feeling from her Mom is still apparent there. I am also affected by fact the that while Anne is someone special to her Mom and to Violet, she grows up to be a perfectly normal girl with a normal life. A girl that you might pass on the street or someone you always say hi to.

After her own arc for the last two episodes, I’m glad to see that the focus this week isn’t about Violet, yet we can still see how much she has grown since the beginning. Violet cries, and better yet, she shows empathy. Maybe what it takes is the smile of a young kid to crack this tough nut, but I don’t lie when I say I prefer this version of Violet than the robotic Violet or the moping Violet. At least now she feels like an actual human. I have been quite harsh about the show, but this episode marks a nice transition to it.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Castlevania season 2 is out next week.
AidanAK47
Damn, Youtubes down
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mamoru Miyano is the same voice actor for the producer and Okabe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think they are doing other genres in zombieland too, I think one is vaporwave.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It would be very strange if the guy who is the past version of Hitomi's grandfather started falling for her.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That leads me to consider , should the search bar be moved?
AidanAK47
Pretty Sure he mistook the chat window for a search bar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fell behind, part 3 too long aswell.
SuperMario
@anon: it's just too little too late...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Interested in seeing more of that horse guy who showed up in the recent beastars chapters. Also liked how they co-relate lion guy with louis' dad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I'm knocking Honda-san, as that simple/minimalist style is another thing that makes these gag comedies work also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Animation's a bit BARE BONES though wahaha!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I'm quite amused by the surrealism of it all, a skeleton working in a bookshop =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A quick random fact, one of the manga the blonde girl in episode 1 is asking for is a legendary, old shounen-ai classic from the 70s. The short format suits these gag comedies because I feel that stretching them out to 20 something minute runtimes kills the joke.
Lenlo
Honda-San continues to be the funniest thing I have seen in awhile
AidanAK47
@Vonter, That should not go together as well as it does
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Goblin slayer did nothing wrong.
Animosh
It's dumb, but I can't deny it's uplifting. :)
Animosh
The slime anime really offers the perfect counter to Goblin Slayer. In Goblin Slayer murder is the answer to everything, peace is impossible and revenge will haunt you forever. In the slime series? A short speech about the benefits of kindness and cooperation and the pitfalls of revenge is enough to convince everyone to get along (and that includes two races who were on the verge of war).
Vonter
Also because I just had to: http://vmashup.com/yvDoiQhU
Vonter
Zombieland gives me Scooby Doo vibes. With a silly premise of reviving moe girls to make a band. How they're prey to their instincts and I do like the music aspect doesn't feel as artificial as other shows that may also promote the songs to be sold. Since the music seems more to play for the story than to be good songs. Not remarkable but enjoyable I'll say.
Vonter
So far I've more issue with what the maid says than what she does. Since the anime wants to paint her in a good light but some of the things she says are very creepy. On the other side, there seems an underlying sadness since she seems capable but dumbfounded on how to live her life.
Vonter
I checked UzaMaid! and Zombieland Saga, which were funny and silly and entertaining, nothing major, but I also don't found them bad. The first one treads the line so far of having creepy implications, but it has a bit of John Hughes slapstick thrown a bit. I'll like it more if the little girl were a bit more like Kevin from Home Alone or Junior from Problem Children.
Amagi
Seems like a part of the background has changed after the post-kaiju fight reset in Gridman. I wonder what's even real in this series.
SuperMario
Gosh, how I love the improv dialogues and the indie Kemono-Friends level of visual flourish in Himote House
Masky
Like Zero Escape series itself goes through pretty much everything related to psychology
Masky
In general I don't really get what is up with japanese fictional works running different scientific paradoxes or theories into everything unrelated ._.
Lenlo
Mmm Im so glad I started throwback thursday. 2 episodes in and I already love Planetes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think might know it off by heart now I hear it mentioned so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I hope I haven't doomed you, I voted for Goblin slayer .
Amagi
Hate that too and I actually got my hopes up in episode 1 since it seemed like they wouldn't explain it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I was hoping someone else would bring that up.
Niello
Bunny Girl is pretty good so far, but I do have to say that I rolled my eyes at another rundown of Schrodinger's cat. What's with the obsession?
Amagi
Drama never works for me with Key and even most of Kyoani's works in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I already mentioned about how surprisingly solid/serious bunny girl senpai takes itself for the better, but I'd like to add, the drama doesn't feel obnoxious either such as in a Key work.
Amagi
I love those first impression reviews of bad series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah, it's why I never picked HxH up again as well. I also think there are still tons of issues with SAO although most of them come up later. AW will always be way better in my opinion.
Anonymous2948346
Glad the Imouto review was good for something, niello. The show itself certainly isn't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't deny that for some a series could improve as it went on, but with sword art, its now three seasond and a movie , thats alot to watch and quite the ask to get to the "good" part.
Amagi
@niello: I meant that key visual https://d38fgd7fmrcuct.cloudfront.net/1_3p7wgf1obds2mkioy1cmi.jpg - but as said it doesn't mean anything. I will only get hyped once I see the first animated scene and confirm that the boats aren't CG or at least a good kind of CG.
Lenlo
Oh baby. Spring 2019, One Punch Man S2 and Hero Aca S4. Can't wait
niello
@Amagi, Vinland Saga promo pic looks good? Aren't those just manga cover pictures that they showed in the promo...
niello
"Ore ga Sick of this Shit dakedo Shit Keeps Getting Made", I laughed so hard, thanks.
Lenlo
Will probably do a final review but not weekly episodes
Lenlo
But I watched it. Its alright, im gonna watch it to the end.
Lenlo
@animosh, I dont know about them.
Animosh
Oh, that sounds very promising! I've always found thematic explorations of virtual reality very interesting. You know: What is "real" and what isn't? Does it even matter? And what place should virtual reality have in society? In previous seasons those themes were a bit dumbed down, so I'd be up for seeing them explored in some more detail. And with four cours, there's plenty of time to do so.
Amagi
I am not yet sure how much SAO III will suffer from the lacking inner monologue though. The interesting part fo it was the world building and the taboos and how it was the first actual simulation and creation of humanity and the birth of a virtual culture, with mods and admins being literal gods in the VR, like some matrix thing. The anime skipped a lot and actions they do feel more casual there.
Amagi
@Animosh: Well the author did improve a lot, I actually consider most of Accel World as pretty good, especially the later arcs. Thanks for reminding me to buy the last two volumes by the way.
Animosh
I'm sure it won't be great (hell, given SAO's track record, it'll almost certainly end up punishing me for getting my hopes up), but there are at least signs that the author has recognized what went wrong in previous seasons and is trying to correct his mistakes. So with some luck, I might just end up enjoying this season! Maybe. Not getting my hopes up too much though.
Animosh
And where previous seasons barely made any attempts to build up the various virtual worlds, this season is taking it slow so far, which makes it feel more like a well-realized world than a generic fantasy blob. And last but not least, it seems Kirito will have to start over, so even if he'll inevitably end up OP again, he'll probably have to work for it, which is something the series really needed
Animosh
For example: the old cast has been stuck in the harem-mold for a long time, and that makes them incredibly dull. Most of them only exist to make Kirito look good, and barely have any agency of their own. But the new characters are different (so far at least). The most prominent new character (Eugeo) is male, and has clear goals of his own.
Animosh
By the way, did you guys skip Sword Art Online for your first impressions posts? I know you're not fond of the series (and rightly so, because it's way too popular for such a mediocre series), but I actually think it's been pretty decent so far. A fresh start with a largely new cast is exactly what the series needed, and there are some promising signs it's heading in a positive direction.
Animosh
@Amagi: I felt the same way after the episode. It's a very predictable move, but somehow I still didn't see it coming. I guess I should have known better than to trust a happy-go-lucky love interest (although I'm rooting for Rikka) after Darling in the Franxx.
Animosh
But in their own ways they still offered the kind of wild and wacky ride through adolescent insecurities that FLCL is known for, and the characters were likable enough (even if underdeveloped). The OST remains strong too. So although the series could definitely have been better, overall I think this has been a pretty enjoyable revival of the series.
Animosh
After its slow start I'm glad FLCL at least managed to end on a fairly strong note. I still think it's a shame none of the two series really managed to replicate the surreal craziness and visual inventiveness of the original (though Progressive did try), and the wider focus of both series compared to OG FLCL (with the same number of episodes) backfired a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Sometimes the offscreen content can allow our imaginations to work and disturb us more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Deception more like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girl wasn't even pregnant, show telling lies, too lazy to draw pregnancy too probably .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Was your internet acting weird today? Don't know what provider you're using but mine only came back an hour ago or so, lots of people in Dublin were reporting connection issues and in other counties too.
SuperMario
@Amagi: still haven't watched the second one but the first episode did surprise me
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Still ain't watching it
Amagi
Okay I didn't really see the content of ep 2 of Gridman coming. I feel like I should have seen this coming, but I didn't.
Masky
I'm honestly confused about Conception since I'm under impression that Conception games are about "Do some sort of weird ritual to create "Star Child" which doesn't actually involve pregnancy". Like did game also go this far, did anime change this or is this setup for second episode to start with "lol just kidding" or what the frick
Amagi
I think deaths are often the best examples of failed attempts to keep the audience invested. Regardless how many tears there are and how tragic the death is, I won't care when the series itself is bad, the character not flashed out or the scene forced. I have seen series in which one died offscreen that hit me harder than a full episode of whining over some dead moe blobb.
Amagi
There are a lot anime like that since the presentation is important. There are many of those convoluted trainwrecks with 10 different plot twist where one or two of them are actually good on paper but do nothing when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding those crap light novel shows...it really is a sign isn't it, that its so bad sometimes, that even if it does something that appeals to you/would titillate you, you still don't care and won't watch it, because its so shit.
Lenlo
A poll assumes people would actually vote in it. I guess I can try it out and see if people care enough for it, sure. Still, would need things to put on said poll, so feel free to suggest
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes with these shows you just have to let them wash over you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps I could say similar about irozuku as I do Yagate.
Amagi
I am kinda happy I managed to avoid all bad series this season with the exception of Release the Spyce which I only tried because I gave it the benefit of doubt due to having enjoyed Princess principal to some degree despite its many flaws.
SuperMario
I'm back after a week vacation and the first thing I watched again was Conception. I mean I was prepared but this show is one of the reason we all need break to stay sane
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need a refresher on the early bits of vinland and Viking Count Dooku (Askeladd) arc so watching the anime would be a great recap oppurtunity.
Amagi
I really hope Vinland Saga will have a good budget. The promo pic looks pretty damn good but I also liked the very first promo pic of the last Berserk series and we all know how that one turned out.
Amagi
And yes Legosi also always makes me think of Bela Lugosi. I guess I watched too many old movies.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I strangely also lost interest in some game series I liked as little kid, Megaman too for example. I guess there are just series that can work on NES and SNES but not that well as 3D series on modern consoles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I come away from irozuku feeling I watched an aethetically pleasing, somewhat cute show but not much else, but that may not be an entirely bad thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@lenlo: Alternatively you could put up a poll.
Lenlo
Thats a good idea Kaiser! I read all the comments, so if there are any you think would be good feel free to suggest them. I can compile a list and pick one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: To make things easier, perhaps each season, for variety, the throwback Thursday thing could pick a different genre for it each season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every time I read his name in Beastars, I kept thinking the actors name "Bela Legosi" because the wolf's name was legosi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Weird tangent, looking up Irozuku on google image search reveals theres a porn actress with the same name as the lead female character =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes I think the fans had better ideas for the games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that I hated any of his games though, but they did have diminishing returns and weren't always consistent in quality. It was disappointing when they started going for some kind of story, then kind of dropped it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was a big fan of megaman growing up, but like sonic, unlike Mario and Zelda, his games got increasingly diluted the more the franchise went on, megaman didn't work in 3D either. Also the second nes one has a really neat soundtrack =)
Vonter
Megaman 11 made me want to play the old games. So I bought the first Legacy Collection pack which has a rewind feature. The first game is hard and cheap at some spots. It also feels a bit stiff. Still it's funny spotting things that were changed in every other entry. Like the boss checkpoints having enemies and traps. Also I think this is the only game showing Dr. Light's house from the outside.
Lenlo
Ah, that anon was me! Was on my phone
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: My beastars post would have gone into spoilers. I decided to private message instead.
Anonymous2930785
I am very happy that Shorter isnt a one and done event.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In regards to humour. However in terms of anime humour, something like hoozuki no reitatsu would have me losing my shit laughing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I love stuff by Bunuel or Roy Anderson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I prefer sardonic, sad bastard, bleak, dry/depressing or particularly serious but surreal comedy, humour/comedy played straight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, yes as expected with Zombieland saga, I gave it a second episode chance, but this is an easy drop for me, its just how comedy goes sometimes, but I didn't laugh once during this episode , just left me cold/blank to it.
Amagi
It's like that season that had SoraYori, I watched like 7 other shows but I only remember SoryYori by now.
Amagi
I think for the last season (counting finished series) this is only true for Planet With. I do remember Chiochan when I think a bit but spontaneosly I couldn't come up with anything else if I had a time limit of 20 seconds or so.
Amagi
I often only really become aware about which series I liked the most when I try remembering the respective season months later. I often enjoy a bunch of shows and watch even more, and yet, at the end of the day, there is always onely one or two that actually stick in my mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to say again, I'm glad that Shorter is still being remembered episodes after him leaving the show. Thought they could have held that scene with yut-lung longer, its obvious he despises Eiji. Sudden gag in this episodes middle threw me off. lol at that killing attempt in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also a horror manga about Robert Johnson, me and the devil blues.
Amagi
Speaking of great manga series, everyone should try Shiori Experience, the Jimmy Hendrix manga. There is barely any series that hypes me up as much as this one and I read a lot. This could be the anime of the year if it would get adapted by a competent team and get a good budget and appropriate OST.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think I will marathon the rest of Dorohedoro the next days. And then looking forward to her next series.
Amagi
Zombieland Saga is the only new anime that actually surprised me. I am not talking about good or bad here, there are a bunch of other pretty good series airing right now but Zombieland is the only one that caught me off-guard in a positive way.
AidanAK47
Okay, I think I love Zombieland Saga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've embraced bunny-girls approach to its dialogue/drama now with the second episode, also they go a bit into her past in this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'll be posting my thoughts later. Also, there's on one chapter of dorohedoro left.
Amagi
There are 7 new Beastars chapters out, I really liked the climax here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a tangent, damn you mappa, adapt Freesia already .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I needed to watch red garden twice to really "get" it, as in for it to click for me, its a show that picks up near the middle.
Amagi
It had scenes you rarely see in anime that do happen all the time in real life, like friends talking across each other, people talking at the same time or interrupting others.
Amagi
@Niel: Have you seen Red Garden? A lot of people agreed that it had the most natural dialogues of the anime that aired that year so maybe you would enjoy that too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animmosh: josei yuri I would welcome being adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Hana wa saku, yuutsu no asa and Acid town adaptation WHEN.
Animosh
Yuri gets all the hype, but yaoi gets all the glory.
Animosh
So, yeah, if other folk here haven't seen it yet, give it a try! By the way, it's interesting how what probably were my two favorite shows of the past season (Banana Fish and this one) were both BL shows. Can't say I saw that coming.
Animosh
It's kind of reminiscent of classics like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with some anime tropes added to the mix (the bubbly main character and his tsundere love interest), and with less emphasis on politics and more on horror and fantasy. And for a Chinese series, the animation is really solid, in spite of the occasional CGI hiccup. The backgrounds in particular are very easy on the eyes.
Animosh
I don't remember who it was, but thanks for recommending Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation! It's surprisingly good for a show I had heard so little about. I love historical epics, and the main characters are built up very well and have a lot of chemistry. I do wish the antagonists were more interesting (they're very black-and-white), but the protagonists are all a lot of fun to watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*didn't work for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niel: Garo didn't work for outside of the fantasy setting.
Niel
The exceptions to this are usually shorts and films. You don't get to see them often in TV series. As for the story, I don't have nearly enough patience for monster-of-the-week formula as I did years ago, so if it's just going the generic tokusatsu route then you'll hear from me. but since Garo wasn't too bad I have hope that they will do something interesting with this.
Niel
The environments also feel so much more like places where people live and hang out. Take the school room for example. Anime rarely portray school rooms as this place where teenagers gather and play during break. It's usually only consist of people talking with no mischieve whatsoever. And when there are scenes of bedroom they often feels more like a showroom than a place where someone live in.
Niel
@Lenlo @Aidan Your impressions of Gridman are fair. I'm just really excited for Gridman because two of my main pet peeves with anime are the unnatural dialogue, and bland and sterilised background environments. Here when characters talk, it actually seem so much closer to the conversation flow you'd see more in everyday life, and I'm kind of starving for that in my anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although with drugs and anime in mind, I do wish that a sports anime that addresses cheating through performance enhancing drugs would be made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Release the spyce and drug use? I find this odd, I think I heard that the Japanese had a thing about depicting that (drugs) in animation/on tv when it came to young charcters.
Masky
Like, sure, it has tactical goblin slaughter action, but its more about how broken mess of person Goblin Slayer is and how he learns to connect with people. Its surprisingly insightful at times, but the trashy parts really clash with the actual tone of series considering its only purpose is pretty much "Goblins are horrible" which is point you got with gore in first place
Masky
Anyhoo, yeah, made already comment about it on the blog, but I really feel like trashy parts of Goblin Slayer clash with what it is about
Masky
Oh yeah, that was surprisingly hilarious. Mostly because English was surprisingly good
Lenlo
I should not like Honda-San as much as I do. But I love it.
Masky
Like, lot of writers, game developers, comic artists, etc, they clearly base their works on stuff they were fan of. Lot of people get inspired by stuff they enjoyed during their childhood for example. There is no real difference between "Being inspired to do same type of thing you liked" and "You copied something popular" besides the level of half assedness
Masky
@SuperWooper: What I feel like is that there is nothing new under the sun. Whenever something feels like original, its mostly that you yourself just haven't seen it before or the execution feels fresh or the cliches and tropes haven't been used in a while
Amagi
I really don't like the highschool boy suddently getting super power and mega robot-kind of trope so they better add some more original stuff to make up for this.
Amagi
I might still enjoy this series though depending on the ideas the writers might have. As usual, much of my enjoyment depends on the antagonist. If this should really be nothing than a typical toku show with evil villain I will probably drop it too.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I only watch sub, I kinda feel like the first half was good dialoguewise but I know what Aidan and Lenlo mean, I generally didn't like the second half of the episode.
SuperWooper
Being a writer for an anime blog, I'm not really qualified to say.
AidanAK47
@Wooper, what is originality?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although personally I won't be watching gridman due to not being a fan of trigger.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In Goblin slayer I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I just glad that the protaganist is a guy in his 20s for a change.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did you all watch gridman in English or Japanese? I ask because, perhaps the dialogue might have been an issue with the dub or something?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, it seems I wasn't really paying much attention to the animation in Goblin slayer, I was having too much fun with it.
SuperWooper
But how do you feel about originality?
Masky
Hmm, originalness is always bit weird to me. Like, I don't care if show isn't original if execution is good or as long it doesn't feel too cliche as if whoever made it didn't even enjoy making it
AidanAK47
@Niello, and we heavily disagree on that dialogue.
Lenlo
show*
Lenlo
I fear you may be disappointed in our opinions on Gridman. I did appreciate some of its directional choices, it tried to be interesting, but its really just an animated Super Sentai sow
Amagi
Currently testing Release the Spyce, it's basically the exact opposite of natural dialogue or even meaningful dialogue. Also it feels like the director was trying hard to make the series as cool as possible without knowing what coolness is.
Amagi
Not sure if I like Gridman yet or not but I agree that the dialogues were clearly better than usual. It's these small things that make series more relatable.
Niello
Though right now what I want to see most is your first impression on Gridman. Like dang it, for me it has hands down the best writing this season when it comes to natural sounding dialogues. I have seen peoe criticise on its cinematic but personally I don't have problem with it and actually think it did quite well, albeit with some stumbles.
Niello
I want to see you guys cover Thunderbolt as well.
Masky
Ah frick forgot to vote for Thunderbolt when I voted
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Featured Posts

SSSS.GRIDMAN – 02 [Restoration]

Me blogging a Trigger show? Well, I’ll be damned myself but life does take some strange turn. Not that I’m a Trigger naysayer but if I’ll be honest, Trigger shows tend to rub me in a wrong way. The studio is seen as the successor of Gainax for one thing, and the overhyped reactions from […]

Goblin Slayer – 02[Goblin Slayer]

The opening to this series is surprisingly more melancholic than I would have expected. When the shows opening started I was waiting for it to break into heavy metal but it stayed low and actually does match the rather dark nature of the series itself. After all this is a series about a PTSD madman […]

Zombieland Saga – 02[I ♡ HIP HOP SAGA]

Zombieland Saga is madness. Pure insanity that could be complete genius or absolute idiocy. So for those who haven’t heard this anime is not the zombie apocalypse show that was initially thought, as a matter of fact the zombie apocalypse footage in the trailer was in fact a video the producer showed the girls to […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara – 02 [I Can’t Stand Magic]

It’s always neat to see a work that feels every inch a P.A Works production. When you think about the studio, you’d immediately associate them with their original shows, chief among them ‘Mature women in workplace’ unofficial trilogy, and The Eccentric Family (I consider the latter their pinnacle work). For the last 5,6 years the […]

Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san – 2 [Let Me Introduce My Crazy Colleagues in This Bookstore!]

Ladies, Gentlemen and everyone in between, I welcome you to the 2nd episode of Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San, the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Lets jump in! Considering Honda-San’s material, I am not even going to bother with spoilers. It’s a comedy short, deal with it. These posts will also be a […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 – 02 [The Stolen Sorcerous Blades]

Fun fact, I had just been to Taiwan and while in their local old bookstores and DVDs, I saw a section of puppetry animation dvds in the corner of the store (should’ve bought one now that I think about it). Apparently wuxia puppetry has a niche market in Taiwan, and so I’m glad that me, […]

Banana Fish – 14 [Tender is the Night]

Welcome to an all new episode of Banana Fish! This time with a new OP, ED and progressed plot points. Lets jump in! So before I get into spoilers, let’s talk about the new OP and ED. The OP is Freedom by Blue Encount, while the ED is Red by Survive Said The Prophet. Personally, […]

Planetes – 1 [Outside the Atmosphere] – Throwback Thursday

Hello and welcome to the start of a new series I am calling Throwback Thursday. Basically, each season or so I will be selecting an older anime. One that might have passed under people’s radar, and blogging it as I would any normal seasonal series. The hope is to give some older anime the recognition […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 2 [The Ogre’s Arrival]

Welcome one and all to the Fall 2018 season. For the rare few new ones, I am Lenlo, and one of the shows I will be covering this time will be Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru or Run With The Wind. Lets jump in! So some general things I didn’t mention in the first impressions. Just […]

Latest Reviews

Planet With Anime Review – 90/100

Planet With is an anime that likely leaves many unimpressed when they look at the cover and makes for a solid proof that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover or even by it’s first episode. Many have overlooked this show in it’s season but for those that did give it chance it went […]

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (Dubbed) – 84/100

Ah, the movie tie in. A right of passage for all aspiring Shounen series. Some, like One Piece have weathered it and come out Golden, while others are better forgotten (Looking at you Bleach). My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, in my opinion, is closer to former. Animated by BONES , Directed by Kenji Nagasaki and […]

A quick and dirty review of Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion

What it claims to be about: Angolmois (a reference to a Nostradamus prophesy which is rather irrelevant for the show, as he lived several centuries after the events) focuses on the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274. Specifically it focuses on the early phase of the invasion when the Mongols attack Tsushima, which essentially […]

Steins;Gate 0 Anime Review – 60/100

Before I begin this review in earnest, I have to ask, who doesn’t know about Steins;Gate? The amazing, beloved original series that Steins;Gate 0 is an offshoot of. Well if you don’t, if you haven’t seen the original, then stop now. Steins;Gate 0 is not worth it. It is not for you. Without having seen […]

Mirai (2018) Movie Review – 81/100

Watching Mirai, there are two observations that spring right up to my mind: Mirai is Hosoda’s most grounded, personal film and it plays out completely different from what I expected based from the promotional materials. My feeling is confirmed when I later learned that Hosoda based the concept from watching his own children’s react, and […]

Fate/Extra Last Encore Anime Review – 40/100

To many the Fate series is daunting with its numerous incarnations and spinoffs and here in the year of many a Fate adaption we get another one by Studio Shaft which was first thought to adapt the story of the PSP game Fate/Extra. Fate/Extra could basically be considered Fate with a sci-fi twist as this […]

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

In following anime seasons it can be quite an experience to follow a show as it airs as the hype and rollercoaster of reactions can be entertainment in its own right. In that regard Darling in the Franxx was a hell of a ride as week by week peoples feelings for it ran hot and […]

Hisone to Masotan (2018 Spring) Review – 73/100

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let […]

Megalo Box – 86/100

Ah boxing, the quintessential manly man sport of beating each other unconscious. In anime, the sport was first forged in the fires of Ashita no Joe, and some would say later perfected by Hajime no Ippo. Both fantastic series in their own right. Both filled to the brim with epic clashes of wills, phenomenal characters and […]