Posted on 22 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sakura Quest

Conceived as a third installment in a loose P.A Works trilogy about young adult girls in working environment, Sakura Quest both knows its target audience well, and has some big shoes to fill. After all, many have considered Shirobako an install classic for good reasons. As it turns out, Sakura Quest is more on the level of Iroha than Shirobako, and it still has some of the same issues from its predecessors, namely it’s still too optimistic, hence comes off as sometimes unrealistic outlook to its subject matters; and it tends to rely on sitcom slice of life format (mainly in the first half) that feels unfocused and inconsistent at times. Despite these issues, the truth remains that Sakura Quest had never been bad. The show has some snappy, realistic dialogues, easy humors and it never treats their characters lightly. The show is at its best when it creates problems that force the main cast to reflect on their own issues, then learn and grow from their own issues.

Sakura Quest’s structure is split into two distinct halves. The first half focuses on several mini-arcs, where the Tourism Boards undergo many events that attract more tourists visiting Manoyama, at the same time give each of the main girl a character arc to flesh out who they are. Many events, from assisting filming production, matchmaking tours, to the TV programs about our girls and hosting a popular rock band to town, are exciting and at first glance, it gives an illusion that the Tourist Board has achieved its success. In part, yes, as the number of visitors consistently goes up, but when all is said and done, the town remains a ghost town with no lasting impact whatsoever (I love this image: the next morning, all the tourists are gone, only trash and coupons flying around). The decision to concentrate on main leads’ own problems and their dynamic together in the first cour, now in retrospect, actually serves its purpose since we come to care and root for them well before the second cour pushes forward its main storyline.

If you consider the first cour as “inward approach” (forgive me for the lack of more academic term), which is attracting tourists to visit Manoyama town, the latter half can be seen as “outward approach”, as the Tourism Board reaches to the local needs, goes to rural mountain where a small elderly community lives, reviving an abandoned school for public use, and strengthen Shopping District’s business. For me, it’s a much more realistic approach and the journeys along the way are all worth spending time for. You can compare two festivals – the Manoyama Founding festival and the revival Mizuchi festival for their differences in approach. The Mizuchi festival is made for the locals, by the local and achieving that level of enthusiasm from the villagers is something worth rewarding. While there are still some unnecessary plot points (here looking at you the merger of Manoyama town), Sakura Quest did indeed end on a satisfying note. This might be the end of the Queen’s run and all other girls, but it’s clear that it’s just a beginning for the Manoyama’s local to grow stronger.

Our five girls: Yoshino, Sanae, Maki, Ririko and Shiori play a big part of adding Sakura Quest’s identity. All these girls have their own charms, play off well with each other, and most of own develop greatly at the end of the show. Sakura Quest’s biggest strength lies in its ability to address the insecurity of young adults regarding their jobs, their place to belong, and their choices of life. Many issues it touches (most notably Maki’s unsuccessful acting job) feel achingly true and honest. The supporting cast, from Kadota, Chitose, to that kid Erika, add their own marks to the show’s big picture and it’s a joy to watch such a huge cast coming together for a big project. I bet Sandal-san will enjoy a great fan following as he steals the scene every time he appears onscreen. Thanks Alexandre Cena Davis Celibidache for compiling such a fantastic artbook about Sakura Quest.

P.A Works does a pretty decent job production-wise for Sakura Quest, although in some episodes (especially the final episode) the character models are a bit off. The soundtrack and the voice acting are all pretty spot on. Only a year has passed in this Manoyama town but it has been quite a journey. Every girl has their own dream to follow now, and life continues to go on and I know there will be a time that the five of them will meet again under that sakura tree they planted together. As a conclusion, allow me to quote the final preview speech from Sandal-san because it sums what I feel so well: “It was a long, long trip, and we’re coming finally to the end of the journey. Thank you, Manoyama and Chupacabra. And thank you, 5 EURO”

Posted on 30 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

Up until the last few minutes before the ending, I almost written this arc off as the one with no real drama, since the events play out too easy for our characters. But as Yoshino’s concern arises, I realize that it was all intentional and with that, this episode closes up nicely the first half of Sakura Quest. On the surface, the Founding Festival is nothing but a huge success: the number of attendance reach their whole year’s target, Manoyama town got promoted by the popular programs and the girls are given spotlights that they deserved; even the town locals have a chance to sell their foods and products. But those successes are not sustainable – the plans rely too much on the band Plotemaios (pronounce as Plus Minus!!) and their appearance indeed overwhelmed all the efforts of the girls. The quiz program shows little interest to the travelers, though they still manage to carry on till the end. Their coupons are greatly ignored and the girls are framed as the ones who invited the band over and their quiz panel is completely ignored in the broadcast. Look at the aftermath of the quiet town where the only trace left from the big events was trash and lost coupon flying around, Yoshino wonders if all her efforts are truly worth it.

When Yoshino questioned that whether getting people to come to the town is good enough, well, it is important. After all, getting people come to town constantly is the first and foremost goal in the tourism industry. The constant flow of visitor can indeed affect the town, as many local products aim at tourists can blossom, but it has to be “constantly”. Many of those past events from previous arcs (save the woodcarving and the cooking ones), plus this event are one-off events, meaning that most of the time, after such events end, things turn back to normal for the town. Improve some of the town’s traditions and unique features so that it can attract outsiders is one of the option, but Yoshino, bear in mind that maybe most people in the village just want to live quietly this way. She clearly upsets with how things turn out now and finding motivation, plus looking for a better alternative sound like a good direction for me. The event itself, putting all those pretentious thoughts aside, still provides heaps of funs with many little character moments. I enjoyed Ririko’s idea of putting map as a wrapper; or Yoshino sings that cute little anthem song. The scene-stealer of the event, again, is Sandal, as he correctly guesses the answer even without hearing the full question (he OBVIOUSLY knows the answer, rightttt?) and then proceeds to announce Mr. Kindaichi to be his partner for Guam trip (haha, seriously made me laugh).

Half way through, Sakura Quest has its ups and downs. It has never been bad, mind you, as I quite enjoy many elements from the show. After all, I am within this show’s target audience and when the show uses their characters as windows to explore adult’s insecureness and their real struggles with their current lives, it speaks too close to home. On the other hand, Sakura Quest’s sometimes just too light-heart and sitcom-y for its own good, and tries to cook up too many ideas that many of them turn out to be half-baked. The chance of me continuing cover this show the next season will be slim (though not set in stone yet), as for me it just isn’t that exceptional or personally resonate with me to spend another 3 months talking about it. Hope things turn out well for the Queen and her people in the second half.

Posted on 28 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Uchoten Kazoku

(Note: Since psgels didn’t give his final review to the first season, this review is for the entirety of Eccentric Family. If I had to grade the second season alone, it’s 90/100).

Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the Eccentric Family is a unique show, in a way it feels and tastes like no other shows out there, both in and out of itself. Everything surrounding it feel magical just like its world: the series is the only anime show that promoted as a city ambassador (Kyoto Special Goodwill Ambassador), the second season that no one see coming (especially at the time the first season ended the second book hasn’t even written yet), P.A Works studio became the leading unit in production committee of this second season, meaning they are passionate about this series and they have total artistic control over it (as for how influential the anime studios usually have over the decision of their work. Nil. Most of the time they are slave who draw and deliver what were told. Sad fact). This is one of few series where I can see a lot of love was put into those details, from the love of their characters to its rich world settings, to Yasaburou’s various adventures. Of course P.A Works does a magnificent job to visualize that world, but I also credit the success on Tomihiko Morimi’s adept writing. Eccentric Family is at heart a character-driven series, and he’s simply one of the best in this industry when it comes to character writing: eccentric cast of characters who distinctive, whimsical but always insightful and intriguing. I have a lot to say about this world so let get right down to it.

The Eccentric Family’s first and foremost strength comes from its magical-realism Kyoto world where human, tengu and tanuki live together in harmony. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that this setting is my personal favorite anime settings ever. Magical-realism has always been right up my alley: the mundane, ordinary world that mixed in with magical elements that serve as a normality to their world. And sure, in this world a lot of strange things happen: tanuki who transform into human shape and fool around until they get caught and turn into a hot pot tanuki, human who float in the air in broad daylight, a tiger (and bear) appear in the middle of the city. Just by the look of it, this world promises to provide a lot of fun, but this show even goes much more further than that: all the settings that not only gorgeous to look at, they all have strong sense of personality that feel like they get stuck in that specific moments: when you see the rooftop you immediately link to Benten, Yasaburou and the moon; when you see a flying house you would think right back to the Daimonji Festival and the stupid fights between Shimogamo and Ebisugawa’s family.

And to support for both its sense-of-wonder attitude and its magical-realism settings, The Eccentric Family is a masterclass at portraying an impossibly huge interior space that looks much grander than it supposed to be***: the Painting of Hell that literally pull you through hell with Onis doing wrestling and eating ramen; the 3-stories bus that has an upper floor of open air onsen and bamboo pathway; or a shogi board that can suck you into a secret room. Not only that warped sense occurs in space, it happens in time as well. There is a 2-epsiode worth of playtime that dedicated to Yasaburou’s various adventures in a span of a single day, where he enjoyed a public bath, went through hell, watching Oni wrestling, enjoyed mixed onsen, having crazy dinner party and witnessing his uncle got shot. See, those events feel much longer than it supposed to be. This is on purpose, of course, since what is a better way to highlight the enjoyment of busy carefree life by crazy events one after another?

In addition, the Eccentric Family’s greatest strengths come from its characters. The first season contains a great diversity of cast, but that quality really shines through in the second season as the new additions not only fit very well with the old cast, they even outshine them in many moments. Each of them has their own voice, has great arc to develop and their chemistry are natural, warm and insightful. Here comes one of the decision from the P.A Works that I find worth applauding, they never probably introduce a new character to us. Most of the time the new characters just walk in and have a normal conversation with our main casts and we have to work out their name and their role to the story. It helps that nearly every single one of them has their own way of speaking and their own personalities, so it’s not that hard to differentiate one from another, despite a relatively huge cast. It also helps that through we can tell so much about their characters through subtle gestures, so much as the Eccentric Family is one rare show that I can fall for new characters within the first few minutes (I remember you very fondly, Seiran). Our main protagonist, Yasaburou, is an interesting character to follow, throughout the course although all we see about him is having as much fun as possible with no consideration for responsibility, he takes care of everyone arounf him in his own way and in the end, he reaches a personal grown on balancing between those two factors. It’s up in the air if he’s constantly thinking of everything or constantly thinking nothing at all being led by his fool’s blood; but for him anyway, these are the same goddamn thing.

But by all mean, even 95 percent of the time this show treats their characters thoughtfully, the remaining 5 percent whenever the idiotic twins and Soun appear, they unfortunately drag the show down. These characters are the type that we all love to hate, so they possess their annoying traits… all the way, being annoying for the sake of annoying. I have since warmed up to Soun, but the way he came back to life kind of demerit his meaningful death. Another factor that happen in second season, is that sometimes they reprise the events of the first season (the Daimonji festival, the Nise-emon election), and whenever they do that they can’t bring the same impact as the first and seem like they rely on the beaten path.

While the first season focus more about familial bond, the responsibility one would strive to do versus the fun one has to experience through life, the second season follow that freedom sense, but touch on other themes such as self-identity (in term of Nidaime and Benten: one is a tengu who refuse to be one, the latter is a human who wants to become a tengu. None of them are happy), and the fate of love. The romance part is what surprise me the most as I would never expect I would ship for almost all the lovey cute little love here. I also give my hat off to the character designs, as each of the tanuki have human and tanuki counterparts, and we have such huge cast here but nearly every one of them is distinctive and attractive. The animation is thoroughly consistent and the music is really, really well done. In term of production value, I really have no complain.

The Eccentric Family has a lot to recommend on, I would argue that distractors can read the show as un-focus at times, because it feels like they set up for one crazy set-piece after another without a central conflict; but take heed that the majority of its 2-season runtime is about Yasaburou wanders around his city, tries to live the life to the max so it has its merit. I just say this simply; this show is brimming with love in every scene and with shows like this I know why I fall in love anime medium in a first place. The Eccentric Family already has a special place in my heart.

 

***If you want a real-place equivalent to this, I’d say it’s like the Old Quarter in Hanoi. From the outside you can only see a small pathway between 2 old houses that only wide enough for a bicycle to get in, then you get through that pathway, turn to some small alleys, go up-stair, pass through some small apartments and TADAH: a bookstore, a store and a café located inside all that maze. I was utterly amazed but there’s no chance an outsider would know such a place without the help of the local. And I do worry what going to happen if there is a fire there?

Posted on 26 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Uchoten Kazoku

Oh god, this climax. Other shows, take note. This is how you SHOUD NOT do on your final battle. How this show can jump from Yasaburou, Yaichirou fighting the Fellow Friday for their lives last week, to the conflict of Soun and Tenyama (that they eventually ended up in Hell again), to end with Benten and Nidaime’s face-off in a span of 5 minutes is way beyond me. It’s all over the place, and just like some oldschool screwball comedy where crazy events just keep stacking up by the minutes. But somehow this climax freaking WORKS. After all, that Kyoto world is fantastical crazy, so isn’t it the most fitting idea to have the craziest showdown ever for that fateful night? At the end of the day you won’t learn much how Soun faked his death or the reason why Nidaime come back to Kyoto, but whatever the case, the emotional development is clear. Soun pathetically uses all means possible to attain the Nise-emon title; and doesn’t matter the reason Nidaime comes back, he’s clearly unhappy and frustrated. With that Eccentric Family tied up all of the core casts’ character arc magnificently. I won’t lie when I say that this is the climax only Eccentric Family can pull off, with satisfying conclusions and feature almost everything you love about this series: warm, whimsical with heart. This show ends in a very high note.

Benten and Nidaime finally have a long-awaited battle. Well, all the previous events all build up to this battle and for a while I thought that Benten would have her first win since Nidaime is clearly angry, thus vulnerable. From before that fight there was interesting opposite visual metaphor for these two: Benten appears with ice cold atmosphere, while when Nidaime gets out of control, he burst out of flame. The battle between Ice Queen and Flame Boy has some great set-pieces, but that powerful fight slowly descends into the fight between kids as they desperately try to grab each other’s hair, and mouth and dirty trick are in play too. That fight feels sad. The two comes out of it both feel like losers. This is the first time we see both of them cry, in a way that they feel frustrated with themselves. Akadama sensei, a mentor for them both, faces his son eye-to-eye for probably the first time in decades, concludes nicely “If you feel frustrated, grow stronger”.

After that crazy night, the rest of the episode feels like a welcome epilogue where Yasaburou meets all the casts for the last time. Congrats to Yaichirou and Gyokuran for their tying the knot (imagine Yaichirou’s most nervous moment isn’t when he ends up in a hot pot but when he looks at his bride in gown. Puff!!). Kureichirou (the real one) makes amend with the Shimogamo again, and Yasaburou finally asks Kaisei for her hand paw, with some wry wisdoms from Yasaburou’s grandma, despite that means he can’t transform freely in front of her. The sweet last sequence where the three of them exchange to each other is probably the fitting ending to this fluffy tale. Here they are, as she grasps on the edge of his jacket, and they walk on for new adventure. That, my friend, is the red string of fate. I die a happy man now.

This second season certainly is a great season on its own. As to the question whether or not it surpasses the original season, let me just say that sequels most of the time are inferior to the originals (well, unless you’re The Godfather or Mad Max, but even with the former, the original still holds more cultural landmark than the second, and I am talking about complete story here – Light Novels where they will expand the world in 20 plus volumes are out of question), so the real angle would be if this second season is a WORTHY follow-up to the first? The answer is obvious, Yes. The Eccentric Family 2 not only improves the settings and the themes of the original, the new additions have been phenomenal and they are even more WOW set-ups than the first, most notably the Painting of Hell and the Moon parts. One thing that I feel this season improves on the first is the romantic part as all the romances feel grounded here. The Eccentric Family is considered as a signature work for P.A Works, mostly because how the staffs clearly love this world and I can totally see the love breathes through in every scene here. You say anime is looking doom in the future? As long as there are works like this, created by the passion of the staffs because they just fall in love the project like this; I don’t see anime dying anytime soon. The full review is coming soon but take note that since psgels originally covered the first season without a final impression, my review will be about the two seasons of The Eccentric Family.

Posted on 24 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

Sakura Quest offers a pretty much Sakura Quest-esque this week, and I come to believe that this is a strong mini-arc to close-up the first half of its run. For the Tourism Board, the Manoyama Founding Festival will become their most ambitious project in term of scope they have encountered so far. Moreover, documenting the girls and their efforts for the festival sound like a pretty good idea too, as it’s more a less a time for our girls to look back and see how they have grown, and do a bit of meta for their own show. After spending the first half completing character arcs for everyone, it’s only natural that the Manoyama town has a central focus in this arc. Then Sakura Quest adds little twist at the end with the inclusion of super popular band Plotemaios (who had a hit song in a soda commercial no less) and a character focus on the Queen Yoshino. My primary complain about Sakura Quest has been lifted as well in this arc, as there’s clearly a continuity to the main story. We see almost all the supporting characters from different arcs (the woodcarvers, the chef, the producer, the Community Club, even Nao appearing in the commercial), we see our girls have passed their own crisis as well. Seriously, the strong continuity like this event, with some winks to previous arcs and side characters, is all I could ask for.

For this arc, Sakura Quest really goes all out for their biggest tourism impact. The Founding Festival is already their biggest event of the year, and then we have a popular Moving Mountains reality show that of course will bring good publicity for the town, and then the Festival itself turns into the music night of sort when that rising unpronounceable band decides to show up. For a brief moment there, I was sure the band would bail out in the end, since this could be a real disaster because the whole plan somehow turns itself to rely heavily on the presence of band. But the preview next week makes it clear that they come, so I guess the main conflict would be the band overwhelming the Tourism’s Board efforts. When you think about it, it kinda sounds like a disaster too. Yoshino and the girls personally go such great length to ask for the town’s support for their trivia questions, to their point of begging for more fund and volunteer (by the way, I really love Chitose’s decision to use a reserve fund to help out. She’s always reasonable). This concert will overwhelm their efforts and all their efforts plus fund will come to naught. The tourists will come and go without much impression to the town, because they come to the town for music. I am intrigued to see how Yoshino address and resolve this issue.

At the same time, there is a documentation about our girls and their efforts to market the town. All of the girls, save Mari, are too self-conscious on the whole filming and I have a good laugh or two when they act so out of characters: Shiori wearing that fashionable glass, old man Kadota keeps saying “chupa” all the times and uses every opportunity to jump on the screen with exclaim, Sanae using big, technical words and my Ririko wearing mask at the meeting and Sandal-san, well he just being himself- Costner style. When the girls ease up in front of camera though, it’s time for the director Amamiya – himself a Manoyama native – to ask them about their motivations and what they think about the Queen. The answers are too varied that Amamiya has a hard time on how to frame Yoshino and he flat out declares that Yoshino’s bland. Well, she’s anything but bland, I assure you. Her heart is devoted for reviving this small town and if you can’t see it, it’s your loss dear Mister Director. He seems to fire up at the idea of raising more attention to this town as well and so far he’s taking a good lead. I also feel they better don’t use the information bit that Yoshino was a little Princess (the 100,000th visitor no less – exactly how could they count that?) for to impress the Director. It’s like a miracle story, yes, but she still hasn’t earned her Queen title yet, as far as the public’s eyes concern. Here’s hoping Yoshino will wipe out the band and get people acknowledged her efforts for this little town.

Posted on 20 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Uchoten Kazoku

The Eccentric Family again takes some solid steps to its final showdown. But let me address this first because I’m sure no one really see it coming. Soun comes back to life. A fake-out death? Seriously? Using fake-out death ALWAYS comes with a price, which is all the emotional investment we had for the death is now gone, moreover we feel utmost betrayal; thus I hope The Eccentric Family better has something up their sleeves for using Soun again. Now I remember back it was Kaisei who stayed with Soun in his final moments, so saving his life and taking him back are entirely possible. Or was it a scheme staged by both Soun and Tenmaya? But then Tenmaya seems to be mistaken Soun for Kureichirou like everyone else too. This was a very smart plan I must say; only there are two downsides in that plan: that gun is a fake (easily recognized by Nidanme) and the real Kureichirou shows up and makes it clear one and for all. Hmm, no matter HOW he came back to life, the fact that he tricked everyone for so long and nearly pulled of a complicated plan like that just to show us how mad, desperate and wise Soun has become.

Despite doesn’t appear much in this episode, I would safely say Benten’s tears is my favorite moments this week. We have been told many times before, and we know, that Benten has her vulnerable side and she clearly feels empty, always aiming for what she doesn’t have. Doesn’t matter if it via flashback when Yaichirou the frog told his brother that she cries many times alone in a well, or via the dream of Yasaburou when she looks melancholic, this is the FIRST TIME we actually see Benten sheds her tears on screen, in front of Yasaburou no less; when she realizes that she will have to eat him. You could say Benten is a cruel, egotistical, and heartless monster, but I see the fact that she eats tanuki despite knowing all of them well and keeps bragging about that very fact are just the natural hierarchy of that world. Human is at higher rank on the food chain than tanuki so it’s just a natural way of life that tanuki gets eaten by the human. Heck, the tanukis here eat meat and chicken wings from time to time too. Anyway, Yasaburou has always been a source of amusement for Benten (remember how happily she was in the Painting of Hell), and it’s nice to see how much affection she has for Yasaburou, even for a fleeting moment.

Yaichirou once again is incapacitated of his Nise-emon title, as the Shimogamo falls into the scheme made by the Ebisugawa family, this time it’s even grander and more organized than the first season. Yaishirou is framed for exploding his lab, with the gun that shot Soun in it. Yasaburou thus is declared as the person who shot Soun down, and Yaichirou is framed as the mastermind behind it. Losing the reputation he has been so careful building up all this time, Yaichirou breaks out, gives hell with the tradition, and runs forward to help his brother. It’s great to see such a fearless determination from Yaichirou, the one who usually loses his calmness when conflicts arise. But the cream of crop here is Gyokuran, who will support him till the end of the world. She has no second-thought here, just jumps straight to his side to rescue Yasaburou. The director, Masayuki Yoshihara, when talked about this new season, especially mentioned that one of the highlights of this second run lies in its attractive new characters. Well, I wholeheartedly agreed with that, it has been such a joy to see those new characters, most notably Nidainme, Tenmaya, Gyokuran, and my new favorite, Seiran; not only fits the original cast so well, but also shines as their own unique person.

Of course, I can’t end this post without mention one of the key sequences in this series, when Yasaburou finally has a heartily conversation with his father, in a half-dream half-nirvana dinner hall. It’s the moment of life and death for Yasaburou, and here when he finally meets Souichirou, he makes a solid counterpoint to his father’s sudden death. Souichirou might be ready to depart the world with his head held high. The rest of the family members, however, were unequipped for that lost and throughout the first season they were all struggling to both live up to his father’s legacy, and try to protect each other. When his father asks him if he still wants to do more with his life, the answer is clear. He doesn’t want to drag anyone else into this mess (Kaisei) – responsibility – and he still wants to live to do heaps of things – freedom – Yasaburou now has reached the balance between those two forces, with the help of Pompoko Mask hero of course. I know the climax just heating up now, but with just 1 last episode to go (they confirmed that this season will only have 12 episodes), how the hell are they going to tie everything up neatly? We still have that final match between Benten and Nidaime, right? We still need to solve Soun’s fake death, and Yasaburou and Kaisei finally together, right? In order to achieve the last goal, at least Benten will have to go…

Posted on 16 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

Well, apart from Ririko suddenly can sing confidently, and sings really well on top of that, this episode ends in high note. In fact, that statement really sum up this week of Sakura Quest as a whole. Messy, a bit all over the place with too many elements, but they have very strong ending that tied up everything together. This matchmaking arc in its entire, is a decent addition to Sakura Quest, with the singing Ririko moment as a highlight. I do appreciate how relevant Rirkio’s own problems with the matchmaking events and the Dragon tale in that extend, for they’re all about the outsiders, but adding other out of place elements like faux, goofy horror; the show’s sudden focus to Sandal and even the bouldering activity make Sakura Quest feels unfocus at times. And the final punch, to give this town a reputation of the eloped town, seriously makes me frown. Rirkio’s issues ain’t that much to begin with but in that regard, I’m perfectly fine with how Sakura Quest handled her situation.

Ririko’s personal issue has always been an outsider of her own village, and she relates very well to the Dragon tales – where the Manoyama dance is supposed to scare the dragon away (that might be the reason why she couldn’t smile when she danced when she was young, and this legend sounds very familiar to the legend in Sora No Oto). The revealing about the absence of her parents further deepens that theme of outsiders: her Mother came from other town, she met her father here in Manoyama and they got marriage, but she couldn’t get used to life here and left. Chitose from then has an uneasy feeling when it comes to tourists and outsiders. Ririko finds out another (true) interpretation of this legendary Manoyama dragon: the villagers want to be friend with the dragon, so they dance to lure her in but scare her away instead, and she ends up die alone in the cave. That dance is still there, but like how the story loses its original meaning as generations go by, the original song has been lost. Magically (because why else Sandal could just appear like ghost and sing that very song the moments the girls mentioned it. Deux Ex Machina!!!), Sandal mentions that this song was passed through generations overseas, and he is one-eighth of Manoyama (appearance can be deceptive huh?). Thus come a beautiful song at the end that tied up her arc, the dragon tale and give the matchmaker girls a moment to remember.

While the main plot is going somewhat satisfying, faux, goofy horror Sakura Quest tries to pull off is just way too silly to be taken seriously. All the visual motifs, the sound effects, all come to nothing because there isn’t any suspense to begin with, nor it need to be. The twist is hilarious but there is a leap of logic everywhere (like, he was all wet, covered in mud that night, but the other day he’s way too clean. Also, how did he get into the restaurant without anyone noticed?). And then that police guy just comes as rude when he flat out prevents poor Ririko a chance to speak (this is HARRASTMENT). Sandal takes most of a spotlight this episode, and although I would say that sudden shift of focus to him is a bit too jarring for me, him as a pure outsider, enjoying the town with all his heart is a nice touch that connected with the theme so well, and I can see him gain a lot more fan after this episode. Well, I’m off to enjoy this magnificent “lullaby” again. Give it up to “Dragon’s Song” by our truly Ririko.

Posted on 14 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Uchoten Kazoku

The plot of Eccentric Family thickens greatly as this episode ended and heads nicely towards a much-awaited climax. Well, all the developments are pretty much expected, but with a compelling twist. I mean, was there any doubt from the beginning that Yaichirou will become the next Nise-emon? Except maybe not. Kureichirou – his opposition – might be an imposer for whichever unexplained reason and the true Kureichirou might go back home and break all the tanuki’s peace there. Was there any doubt from the beginning that the one who would end up in a tanuki hot pot is none other than Yasaburou? Except maybe not. Kaisei is unfortunately dragging along the ride too and it would be much more tragic (I WIL SCREAM) if Kaisei’s the one who become a tanuki meat. Meanwhile, we have some lovely moment of Yaichirou finally achieved his dream and the new ship of Yajirou and the hole-digger Kancho-girl has been sailed fast (I’ll be here shipping them hard). This episode hasn’t lost any of The Eccentric Family’s charms yet.

Let me just get off track a bit and compare The Eccentric Family to another show airing this season, Saekano. Both are character-driven shows, yet in Saekano’s case, despite a smart-sounding writing that usually fall within my taste, somehow the characters always leave a sour taste in my mouth. Take how they introduce new characters to see the difference in their approach. Last week Saekano introduced a new “boss”: Kosaka Akane, and she surely makes the most out of her introduction with over the top gestures, screaming, demanding and even deranging her face. Her extreme actions have a purpose though, as she was pushing our characters to their limits, but I still have issues with that. In Eccentric Family, they highlight the “boldness” of the tanuki who love to dig hole through showing us many subtle details. Yes, she’s quirky alright, but the new girl wouldn’t be that distinctive if she hasn’t make witty comments WHILE poking his frog-face with whatever things she was holding (the YELLOW fur of fate) and running around the hole carelessly in her BARE FEET. And I haven’t get to the part that she recognized Yajirou (by his name no less) just by sniffing at him (how awesome!) and they already have some sort of history before with the Fake Train and all that. This show knows how to make a good impression on their new characters and to top it off, her chemistry with Yajirou is amazing. Well, the girl who was born to dig hole to meet a guy who literally lives in a hole. I can’t think of anything else to say except that they’re born for each other.

The inner parlor rooms where the Kincho clan resides are another case of impossibly huge interior space that The Eccentric Family is famous for. In this case, they can change in shape and size as well. However, it’s soon revealed that the lazy grumpy guy who we don’t even get to see his face might be the real Kureichirou. Which means who the hell is this monk back home and why reveal that twist that late of the game? It will have to do with the climax, right? Whatever the reason that the guy tries to impose as the eldest of Ebisugawa might be, it’s all from his good will as he has done nothing but trying hard to make peace for the two families. As for Yaichirou, the moments that he become the next Nise-emon, I actually feel that he’s truly earned it. His father said some wise advice here and if there’s anything to indicate that Yaichirou doesn’t follow his father’s footstep, it’s that he still very much sincerely cares for all his brothers. Gyokuran have many solid moments with Yasaburou and even outshines him in some scenes. The Eccentric Family really knows how to develop new characters that fit right in with the old cast and the world around them.

At long last, both Yasaburou and Kaisei get shot down and on their way to become a delicious tanuki hot pot. Till death do us part, hey? If there is one thing that we should learn throughout the course of this series, trust Kaisei’s instinct. Like when she hears the sound of music, you better know that you’re about to be in deep trouble.

Posted on 9 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sakura Quest

New week, new arc. Let’s see all the ingredients we have for this arc: Ririko (finally!), matchmaking tour (really? haha), Manoyama’s dance and the dragon’s furious. Quite a crazy combination if you ask me but I’m totally fine with the food they cooked up from these ingredients. Unlike Shiori, I mean, totally opposite issues from Shiori, Ririko spends most of her childhood thinking she stand out in a bad way. She’s just different, which admittedly excites no one but me. We never actually heard her parents mentioned and judging that she’s living with her grandma now my guess is that they left town when she was young. Now all that doesn’t mean she’s a great character, at least not yet. Her archetype has been done to death before and her detachment voice isn’t what I called the best representation of a quiet, shy girl. In this episode, she has a bit of a crisis when watching the other girls doing the traditional Manoyama dance, something she could’ve involved. It’s perfectly fine that she doesn’t wish to dance, but watching her best friends doing that make her feel even more isolated, like something is wrong with her because she doesn’t enjoy dancing like the rest (it isn’t). As it happens, when the other girls aren’t around, Ririko feels cut off, lurking into background, doesn’t engage in any conversation; might as well questioning her whole involvement with the project.

Now, the crazy project Sakura Quest come up with is a matchmaking tour. Despite there are only 3 girls travelling to Manoyama for in a quest of love (and they’re all close friends to boost), the lonely single guys in the town all getting heat up for this opportunity. Many cheesy lines and flirting are ensured but Sakura Quest gets away with it because they know full well how ridiculously those flirting are. Our girls, in preparation for showing tourist girls the town, come up with far too many over the top plans; but I have to say the initial plan is well thought-out. A sake brewery and fireflies, a night at old-style house and BBQ and watching Manoyama dance – I would totally go with that initiery. New characters, most notably the three matchmaking girls and the policeman are provided just about enough chemistry. Manoyama’s local dance, likewise, adds a lot of charms to the settings and the sequence where the girls dance around is easily the highlight of this episode

But I’m a bit worried for next week’s episode based from the last few minutes of this episode, when the plot suddenly goes for goofy faux-horror about the awaken of DRAGON. Actually it kinds of makes sense when they merging this legendary town story with Ririko’s own fascination for occult, but including this subplot also means that they can overwhelm Ririko’s own development, which I do not recommend.  My experience with Sakura Quest’s mini arcs have always been “1 good episode plus 1 bad episode” package so I really hope the next episode gonna break that pattern.

Posted on 6 June 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Uchoten Kazoku

This episode sets up nicely the main conflict for what seem to be the final arc of Eccentric Family: the coming Nise-emon to choose the prime minister of this Kyoto tanuki clans, but bigger and more serious affair is the rival between Benten and Nidaime, now that Yasaburou single-handled creates the situation where the two of them have to face off each other. Their rival has been built up since the beginning of this season, and with both Nidaime and Benten are amongst the most kick-ass characters in this universe, there’s a lot to look forward to. I’ve mentioned many times about their chemistry in previous write-ups – Benten has some sort of identity crisis, follow both human and tengu’s rituals (Friday Fellows and the successor of great Tengu line); Nidaime, whom his whole life has been avoided following his father’s Tengu path – and this episode is all about Yasaburou set them up to their confrontation. As such, this episode loses the richness of previous episodes, but I won’t complain if it builds up to a satisfying conclusion to our cast.

Now, Yajirou is officially leaving Kyoto, and the brothers come to see him off. I completely understand the reason Tousen didn’t come to see him. Saying goodbye is hard, but seeing someone off is ten times harder as god knows how long you will see them again. The remaining of the episode though, focuses mainly on the next Nise-emon election, but for once I see no contest in that election at all. Mainly because we spent nearly 2 seasons following Yaichirou, and for now his competitor, Kureichirou’s only defining traits are his calm demeanour and his positive attitude towards the Shimogamo. Even in previous season when Yaichirou had to go against Soun, he had a real shot of becoming a Nise-emon, so I don’t think Kureichirou poses any real threat there (he doesn’t seem to care for the position at all). But one problem arises, Akadama-sensei refuses to be the observer, instead asking Benten for the position. That doesn’t bode well for the tanuki, of course, since Benten ate their greatest Nise-emon of all time in a delicious hot pot stew before.

That’s where our Yasaburou comes in, after failing to change Akadama-sensei’s mind, on a whim he decides to ask Nidaime as an observer instead, knowing full well the outcome. Knowing Nidaime hates to own tanuki any favour, Yasaburou frames his request as a form of payback all the favours, thus he’s able to convince Nidaime. Benten certainly doesn’t like that idea, so she’s basically bullying the poor tanukis on their meeting. Remember Nidaime:2 – Benten:0 for now, how will it goes from there? Ah we also have Benten‘s brother lurking somewhere in the forest, so how he, the Thursday Club, the Friday Club come together again in this epic final arc? Looks like it’s going to be exactly like what Yasaburou sings out of his boredom:

“I’m always causing trouble,

A whole lotta trouble,

I’m always gonna disturb the peace,

Always gonna disturb the peace.”

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
Damn it. Didn't get Scathach. I knew my chances were low but...still feels bad.
SuperMario
Finally back after several days that I didn't feel like blogging at all. Hope that was just a small slump of burnout and nothing too serious
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with you on On Body and Soul, the otherworldly dream sequences are the best part, the romance is so-so and the investigation is fairly weak that I still don't know its importance to the story
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: It was you that got me to watch it actually, your posts.
Lenlo
@Kaiser I am glad you think so on Inuyashiki. Ive loved every episode of it so far
Kaiser-Eoghan
But Dies Irae is the best comedy of the season.....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unless he means Kino? In that case I've never read the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni taisen is also better watched as it expands on its source material.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If you mean girls last tour then thats better off watched too as its more immersive that way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Inuyashiki is a definite watch as the pacing is much better than the manga, houseki elevates its source visually so theres that.
Amagi
@Anon: It really depends on the series. If you mean a current anime, then watch. Because the current season is full of good manga adaptions (if you mean Dies Irea, then read)
Amagi
I am not even one of those who condemn fanservice in anime like Illya for example, but this.. welp. Guess I rather watch the new MahouTsukai episode now.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Why do they want to do that? I don't think this is a good idea. Man the whole world seems to go back instead of going forward the last yers
Amagi
Seems like it was actually 5 child prostitutes that's even worse. Maybe not even that but just school girls I can't into kanji and I only see the *chan thread right now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Apparently in France they want to lower the age of consent now. They are also still protecting Polanski.
Amagi
Kaiser-Eoghan: Just saw it too, just wanted to see if the Kenshin mangaka thread was still there and now this too.
Anonymous1582168
Watch or read? Which do you recommend more?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I see Toriko's author was caught with teenage prostitutes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And now I'm thinking, some of my enjoyment of the original Kino was partly due to watching it dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Its is true that I would prefer kino to go deeper than it is allowed to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: mild Asperger syndrome , in my case its a touch discomfort thing.
Amagi
Also, damn - I just a saw a thread regarding the Kenshin thing
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Agree with Kino, there are a few things I prefer in the older version too. Although I have to admit that many plot points I would have viewed as deep 10 years ago feel very simplistic and naive by now, like how simple minded the people are, especially if plot dictates them to be. Welp. Also, there is another autist here?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Maybe not, but you'd probably do well to watch the show.
Anonymous1581844
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Is Weed really for kid though? -.- Also, the pups are cuter in this one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Bitches don't know about my Ginga densetsu weed =P
Niello
This is very much a kid version of Wolf's Rain.
Niello
I finally found this thing. Been looking for it for years. The problem now is even if I know the name it's going to be hard to find a way to watch this thing again... https://myanimelist.net/anime/3355/Fortune_Dogs
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kenshin author was caught with images of child sex abuse. Things have turned into a fallout since the Weinstein case.
Lenlo
I like to keep deadlines. Adds some consistency to things. Appreciate it though
Anonymous1581244
@Lenlo: No need to apologize lol. I don't think anyone expects you to drop everything in order to blog. XD Just do what you can and keep up the great work. d=(^_^)=b
Lenlo
Sorry for the slow turnaround on Mahoutsukai this week. Moving into a new apartment and work is abit busy. Should be up tomorrow though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I dug the premise and though there could have been more dream sequences its prettily shot, especially within those sequences, I was surprised by the suicide attempt and didn’t see it coming and it succeeded in being uncomfortable.
Although I did find the film sometimes a bit sterile and overlylong
Kaiser-Eoghan
@@Mario: I'm torn on Body and soul, speaking as someone who has autism, I genuinely felt that the depiction of the female protagonist was solid and was backed by good acting, as autism is generally overly associated with male characters, seeing it through a female focus was a bonus.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its an odd season, with shows I had no expectations of being favourites and one I looked forward to being a disappointment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know we mentioned before on here but I honestly did wish that one episode, the 6th one WAS an additional backstory, it would have elevated the episode for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The original had a grittier artstyle that clashed less with the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do think some of these episodic shows could benefit from two parters, this kino season especially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But its not a good sign when I forgot some episodes content of this new adaptation less than a week after their airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I don't say it lightly about the original having a strong degree of consistent quality, even the best episodic series often can't avoid being uneven but again I never felt the original ever fell into that trap .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its the consistency I miss in this version, I enjoyed all the episodes in the original, this being more of a mixed bag sticks out like a sore thumb.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to specify I did love the Murder country episode and the Liar country episode, the ship country episode was an episode of two halves, the latest episode was too slight .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I think I'll play it safe with the new Kino and just wait till it ends and pick the most recommended stories.
Anonymous1580206
The ED of Silver Spoon Season 1 is also amazing.
SuperWooper
"Fighter" by Bump of Chicken is the best I've heard in the last few years (3-gatsu ED 1)
SuperWooper
"Ride on Shooting Star" by The Pillows is my favorite (FLCL)
Nie
Also Akatsuki no Yona ending https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nepa6vDr-gM
Nie
Seriously though, Freedom Opening is too underappreciated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbIy0zMukn4
Nie
if not just song then: Eden of the East, ERASED, both SSY EDs, FMA ED2, Welcome to NHK, Kekkai Sensen, Conan 40
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I skip the op/ed themes for everything, there are some I haven't even heard.
SuperMario
@anon1579752: personally don't care much about EDs, since I hit the close button as soon as the episode's over. But this one is easy, Flowers of Evil ED
Anonymous1579752
321...best anime EDs of all time...GO
Nielo
Oops nvm IGNORE MY COMMENT
Nielo
@KTravlos: Which part of Chielo? How many heads?
KTravlos
Finally a great Altair episode. For once the pacing was a boon rather than a bane, and I loved the idea of Chielo.
Nielo
I have the Vagabond volumes...still haven't touch it. I just don't feel like starting another manga I'll have to wait forever.
Lenlo
Vagabonds only issue, to me, is the lack of release. I love it, its beautiful, and my god I have waited years for it to update. Its like Berserk all overagain
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I could changed something about kujira no kora, it would be toning down that overthetop shounen-kid villain henchman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel as if I would read more of vagabond if the author ever finished it, the art however is beautiful.
KTravlos
A thing I really like about there stuff is that since they are set post-One Year War, most characters are veterans and they actually behave like veterans. Thus battles are more than just curbstomps etc. I really suggest their gundam stuff. Manga wise start with the Plot to Assassinate Gihren.
KTravlos
I have to say the ARK Performance gundam-verse is one of the favorite uses of the gundam concept . They really do a good job tying their stories together and with the original series.
Lenlo
If were talking manga as well, since I dont realy VNs/LNs, Vinland Saga, Vagabond, Berserk and Basara are all way up there for me
Anonymous1579124
I can probably disect pages on end of Kyousougiga. As for Sun Knight, it's translated from Taiwanese, so the chance of it getting an anime is a big fat zero. Not to mention that it is probably one of the hardest thing to translate into video format, movies or series, animated or not.
Anonymous1579124
@SuperMario Animation vs. Animator?
SuperMario
Kyousougiga was a creative and passionate anime. You can clearly see the love of the creators put into it. But of the year 2013 nothing can beat The Eccentric Family and Flowers of Evil for me
SuperMario
@Niello: I'm willing to give Sun Knight and Dorohedoro (or I should wait for the anime adaptation in few years?) a try but not anytime soon. My next of queue is Night is Short and re-watch of Now and Then. Sorry if I sound like a broken records but lately I haven't had that much time for myself.
SuperMario
..."Mario, what the heck is this??". so we stopped. My friends weren't trying to be rude so I didn't feel any offense, but the thought of watching a stick figure never cross their mind, hence the reaction. Anime fares much better in that regards since people still willing to watch it
SuperMario
(about people's hesitance towards animation medium): Tell me about it. Few years ago I had a Saturday movie night with my mates, one time I convinced them to watch a short animated film "Come one, it's one of the best thing I've seen this year" "It's only 15 minutes so you guys can watch them easily". So they agreed but as soon as the stick figure comes onscreen. My friend turned off...
Anonymous1578845
Lol just found out that there's a Sense8 (on Netflix) easter egg in "Just Because" ep 3 xD, made my day!!!!
Anonymous1578826
Forgot to say this, but anyone willing to give the Sun Knight novel a try, in some ways, it is quite similar to Houseki no Kuni. While it is mainly comedy....it also has a lot of suffering.
silver
@Niello/Anaon1578774?: I watched Kyousougiga maybe 6mos. ago, so I think I'll enjoy it more when I rewatch it sometime in a year or so. Seems most of my top picks cemented their place after a second viewing
Anonymous1578774
@Silver It speaks to me on a personal level no other fiction has comes close to matchin. so it has a very special place in my heart. It's also one of those that get better with each rewatch. I seem to have a penchant for liking what often get described by others as convoluted, this is one of them. I also adore Matsumoto's directing and all the symbolisms.
silver
@Kaiser: I neglected film in my youth as well.. and also in adulthood. A popular gag amongst my friends is that, "silver's never seen any movie ever." I hadn't seen star wars until a girl I dated in uni forced me to watch 4-6...
silver
Hah when I posted about liking works adapted from every medium I wondered if it was going to spark a 'top 10' discussion, but when I was trying to mentally rank them I remembered how hard it was...
@Niello: interesting that Kyousougiga is your all-time #1. I thought it was lovely but probably doesn't make the cut for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Novels are somewhat alien territory to me as I tend to watch adaptations be they film or otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I've watched thousands in the past few years because I neglected the medium in childhood.
Nielllo
Unless you mean animated only.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: I don't think I watched enough films at all, and that's made even worst when I forget most of them after a couple of years.
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I really recommend The Legend of the Sun Knight novel. Think it's something you'll probably enjoy quite a bit. It's quite cleverly written. You can read the official fan translation online.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: A top ten film list for me is even harder, I can't even attempt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akumetsu> death note
FITE ME.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gunslinger girl gets such a strong mention from me because I feel that action stories often work better when you care about the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
<No Freesia adaptation
<No Eden adaptation
<No full production IG Alita film series
<why live =<
Nielllo
@SuperMario: There are some anime I'm not going to watch just because the manga is superior, period. Good examples are Monster and One Piece.
Nielllo
@Eoghan: Oh, I knew about Wolfram mangaka's apprenticeship already :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: First however, When mountains may depart, By Jia Zhangke, I am full romance mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planetes and Vinland saga have to go somewhere on a list. Oddly they share the same creator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Reminds me Dreams by Kim-ki-duk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I mentioned Dorohedoro's author was Nihei's apprentice, but heres another interesting one, the mangaka for Wolfram apprentice under BOTH Kento Miura and Kaoru Mori.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gladly. On Body and Soul is a weird mix of romance drama, character study and a weirdly magical bond between two people who share the same dream. That weirdness is what make the movie so memorable, although I do feel the ending stays out its welcome
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nihei, Umezu and Itou belong somewhere among my favourite mangaka.
SuperMario
I don't know why you'd mix manga/anime together, but my own top 10 is in my profile (click over my username), I've included anime/ movies together but if the list is purely anime shows I'd add Haibane Reimen as #9 and Humanity Has Declined as #10
Nielllo
Apart from Kyousougiga which is always no.1, and The Legend of the Sun Knight, Dorohedoro, Shinsekai Yori and Monster whose places are swappable, the rest I'm quite flexible with. Saint Seiya is in if it's a favorite list, and out among the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality list, with the exception of The Lost Canvas.
Nielllo
Hmmm, atm it's 1. Kyousougiga (a) 2. Monster (m) 3. Dorohedoro (m) 4. Shinsekai Yori (n) 5. Baccano! (a) 6. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai (m) 7. Saint Seiya (my guilty pleasure, I can't defend it in anyway) 8. Franken Fran (m) 9. The Legend of the Sun Knight (n)(1st tier comedy) 10. Haibane Renmei/Toradora!.Honorable mentions to Gamaran, Beck, GTO, Mushishi, Kaiba and Grave of the Fireflies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Damn....its a harder question to answer than it looks =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although Cruel God reigns in heaven would com close.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, nothing would dethrone Gunslinger girl for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even Utena but I feel it somewhat overated as I do Bebop despite enjoying both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One of those on the top ten could easily be switched for honey and clover.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also love the works of Shimura Takkako, early takahashi and early Clamp.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Shiki would work its way onto a recent favourites list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite visual novels are Kara no shoujo, saya no uta and Sharin no kuni.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've a soft spot for ah my goddess, basara, 7 seeds , nanoha and Red river.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I was making more modern lists for recent favourites I'd probably add flipflappers somewhere or yuasas works.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh my top ten by mixing manga and anime into the same list? 1. Gunslinger (both) girl 2. Ghost in the shell (anime) 3. Earl cain saga (manga) 4. Angel Sanctuary (manga) 5. Texhnolyze (anime) 6. Lain (anime) 7. Perfect blue (anime) 8. Fruits basket (manga) 9. Monster 10. Kare kano.
Nielllo
I don't think anything will ever dethrone Kyousougiga for me though.
Nielllo
I still need to watch Tatami Galaxy and a bunch of other staple shows...
Lenlo
We could put out a site-author Top 10 list sometime maybe... Some of mine are Mushishi, Steins;Gate, Tatami Galaxy and Your Lie in April. Its got a spectrum of genre.
Nielllo
So what are people's top 10?
silver
Certainly on my top 10 list I have works adapted from VNs, manga, novels, LNs, and originals. I just think originals have a higher rate of efficient visual storytelling compared to adaptations
silver
@Kaiser: I like SEL and Haibane and texhnolyze is on my ever-growing list of things to watch. I also really like Gurren Lagen and Kill la Kill although they're both better if you've seen enough anime to know what they're parodying. My ex who loathed most anime because of the aforementioned over-exposition issue also introduced me to Dennou Coil which I really enjoyed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Body and soul just got released on a webdl , sell me on the film if you can =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Silver: Texhnolyze/Lain/Haibane are excellent examples.
silver
I think original anime offers a different experience than adaptations, particularly regarding 'show don't tell.' By necessity most anime source material is dialogue and exposition heavy and can't always utilize the medium efficiently. Of course, I've watched masterpieces adapted from every kind of source, so it's all good
Niello
I'd love to see this thing animated some day. Preferably with movie budget: http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Ex position/312
Niello
@Eoghan: Try searching in some Asian languages and you might have better luck.
silver
Most open-minded people I talk with don't have anything against animated entertainment. Shows like Bob's Burgers, Archer, and Bojack Horseman have carved a modern niche for 'adult' animation. Having a show about talking alcoholic horse would be pretty cheesy with live action.
Niello
Never mind, Mario said it. But I also don't agree that idol shows or incest shows are intrinsically bad. On top of idol being a trend in Japan first and anime pick it up because it's part of the culture.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason people see the worst side of things, is because that is what is made most on the surface and immediate,
Niello
@Amagi: Considering that all the ones you listed are originally manga, I think you should give manga more credit...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by finding I mean, hard to buy or torrent .
Kaiser-Eoghan
The infuriating thing is how poorly distributed some things are. I hate seeing Godammn blurays of shit hollywood films everywhere and I have to struggle to find some old/quality eastern film.
Amagi
I think it's the same problem as with endless shounen. Sometimes series get dragged on purpose to make more money.
Amagi
The tons of seasons is what scares me away sometimes
Kaiser-Eoghan
I keep thinking, why pad a 90 minute-9 1/2 hour story in a billion one hour per episode seasons.
Amagi
Yeah it's always like that, with cinema movies too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also hate ensemble/mosaic storytelling for the larger part, with some exceptions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this excuse won't work with people who love serialized live-action tv dramas but...I don't like most tv shows because of how padded they are and that they go on far too long and the acting is tv standard and not film standard.
Lenlo
I dont want TV that much, but my experience has been there are very few shows worth watching. Just like anime.
Lenlo
Well, in the argument that anime has alot of bad trends to, I would say so does regular television. How many TVs per year are as good/acclaimed in the "best" anime of each season are in the community?
Amagi
I think it's just sad that there are so many people (the big majority) that refuse to watch cartoons in general because they consider them as either childish or a worse version of "real" series. They'll always miss the good sides anime/manga have and therefore certain sub-genres as a whole.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Yeah you're right. I should have specified it to Japanese drawn media in general (VNs too). And yeah most anime/manga are rather trashy or blatantly bad. But the good series are often something live acting can't create and we'd miss without Japan. There are good cartoons too, though
SuperMario
... original ones: Cowboy Bebop, EVA, Flip Flappers, Kaiba, etc
SuperMario
@amagi: I almost agree with everything you said, but we might give anime too much credits. Remember it's a medium that responsible for many, many bad trends: idol shows, incest shows, tentacle hentai shows and so on so forth. The shows you listed here are come from manga as well, and they are strong manga materials to begin with. If I choose an example of what anime can achieve I'd point to some..
Amagi
This season is really good and it shows how lacking fiction would be without anime. Stuff like Shuumatsu, Houseki or even Mahoutsukai can only exist as anime. It's something live acting script writers would never come up with, not to mention that a lot would be lost without the respective drawing styles, be it the moe blobbs of Shuumatsu or the CGI hair, grass and camera movement of Houseki.
KTravlos
btw I really liked this Mahoutsukai no Yome episode. Finally we are getting somewhere
Amagi
@Kaiser: You're right, totally forgot that. Looking forward to this. Also I could have sworn I heard about a new project from Iso (Dennou Coil) last year but I guess I either confused him with someone else or with Children of Ether in which he's involved in some kind of way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That series was going to be devilman crybaby .
Amagi
Wasn't Yuasa also doing a series of some sort this year? Haven't watched the movies yet but I loved most of his stuff so far, with Kaiba being my favorite.
Anonymous1575628
Wow, Houseki did not disappoint for me this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed it for what it was. But I'd say even if you didn't read the subs you probably wouldn't have much trouble following it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually had a look and lu over the wall, coincidentally , there are moments of where Yuasa's imagination/visuals shine through and its a genuinely charming film at times, but it does almost outstay its welcome and there's a sense Yuasa was somewhat restrained this time round, it IS a kids movie and that kind of does need to be taken into account, its not AS mad as mind game or kemonozume.
Amagi
Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta is subbed, but no idea if the subs are good
Kaiser-Eoghan
And its quite natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Florida project succeeds through its free flowing nature/narrative and manages to be hilarious all the while managing to never allow you forget its also a kitchen sink drama, the best performances come from William Dafoe and the girl. At the end it gut punches the audience emotionally.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: also expecting Florida Project, 3 Billboards, and The Shape of Water in my end
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, Kino was a bit too slight this week.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just Lu, disaster artist and happy end left now for the year. Maybe the new Godzilla.
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Featured Posts

Juuni Taisen – 08 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 2)]

Can’t say I am fond of a huge flashback where they advance almost nothing to the plot, let alone an extended flashback-within-a-flashback. It hurts as well as the production takes quite a disastrous turn this week, with many off-model and inconsistent animation. Haizz, I’d love to be proven wrong but so far Juuni Taisen has […]

Houseki no Kuni – 07 [Hibernation]

Ho boy, I know Houseki’s world-building is unique but the idea of gems’ hibernation in winter due to the lack of sunlight? What a creative idea it is. This winter landscape makes a nice contrast to the lively green field of grass we’ve encountered in previous episodes. The new world that feels both empty, vast […]

Dies Irae – 06[Golden Beast]

So here we have it, the best we are going to get from this series. We may get standout moments in the later parts of the story but I think this episode is as good as it gets. The adaption still isn’t what I would call good, and oddly enough the best parts of this […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 7 [Talk of the Devil, and He is Sure to Appear]

Hello and welcome to another week of Mahoutsukai. This a good week for us, as Chise becomes more independent, Elias hulks out and information comes to light about the Sorcerers dark plot. Lets jump in. To start off, let’s talk about Chise. Compared to the first episode, she is like a different person now. She […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 07[Historic Country]

Let me start this post by saying that this is indeed a fun episode of Kino. Once again the mantle of protagonist is taken from the duo and instead it’s Kino’s Master who leads this episode. Though the story is told by Kino as she approaches the country that is in the story. It is […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 07 [Labyrinth – Cooking]

After one of the most plot-heavy episode last week, Girls’ Last Tour goes back to its minimalist root this time, with only the girls and two interior settings. This could be Girls’ Last Tour’s simplest episode, with the plot can be summed up as those girls go to the ration production facility, at first slightly […]

Inuyashiki – 6 [People of 2chan]

This week Inuyashiki fulfills last weeks predictions in a rather unexpected way. Strap in for some suicide, mass murder and the tail-spin of everyone’s favorite sociopath. Lets jump in! Rather than being a parallel between our two heroes like usual, this episode is focused almost entirely on Hiro. To me, this episode hits loosely on […]

Juuni Taisen – 07 [In Like a Dragon, Out Like a Snake (Part 1)]

For a character who officially dead before Juuni Taisen started (and thus, render him “useless” to win the tournament), Snake is surprisingly one of the most fearsome warrior of the race so far. He assisted Rabbit to kill Boar in the first episode, he cornered Rat to every holes Rat could hide, he KILLED Horse, […]

Dies Irae – 04/05[Spider/Reunion]

Forgive my tardiness in not covering Dies Irae last week. I had a few things going on and a serious lack of motivation. I am certain all two of you(Might be an overexpression of the number) that read these Dies Irae reviews were deeply disappointed. We have two episodes this week, one which was rather […]

Latest Reviews

The Reflection Review – 45/100

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

Made in Abyss Review – 91/100

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

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

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

18if (Summer 2017) Review – 68/100

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

Princess Principal (Summer 2017) Review – 82/100

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

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul Review 80/100

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

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Review – 63/100

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

Kakegurui Review – 61/100

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

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

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