Posted on 1 October 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, RD Sennou Chousashitsu


Also happily adding to the theme of “fooling the viewer”, which returned in quite a few series for the past season, is RD Sennou Chousashitsu, or Real Drive. The set-up promised to be awesome, uniting Masamune Shirou, the creator of Ghost in the Shell and Ghost Hound with the director of Chevalier and Rurouni Kenshin – Tsuiokuhen. It promised to be an epic science-fiction action thriller-something. So, what did we get? A series that combines science fiction with slice of life and a few politics here and there. That’s not something you see everyday.

And indeed, Real Drive is probably the most original series to have aired in the past half year. It’s not about action at all. Instead, it just wants to present its image of the future in about sixty years from now. It’s really science fiction in its truest sense: it explores the current technology, and predicts how it’s going to evolve through the course of time, and most importantly: how did people learn to live with these technologies, which is where the slice-of-life part of the series comes in. This series also sets itself apart from most other science-fiction series by presenting a future image that’s overall positive in its message, compared to most other of its kind, which feature some sort of post-apocalyptic setting. Real Drive instead focuses on the creative expressability that people have gained, and highlights the disadvantages that come with these capabilities, instead of the other way around.

You also really have to admire the guts of this series: never have its protagonists been so different from the norm: the two main characters are a slightly overweight girl and an eighty-year-old guy. Normally, characters like them couldn’t even dream of acquiring any important role in anime, due to some strange rule that dictates that every female needs to have the looks of a J-pop idol and ever male needs to look young and hot. It’s taken quite a while, but finally a series comes and shows that you can make characters that don’t have perfect bodies look great. In fact, the entire series looks great: the few fights that appear are well coordinated and realistic, the CG is beautiful at times, and a lot of imagination went into creating the visuals. The soundtrack is also rich and complements the scenes very well.

Alas, this could have easily been a masterpiece if it wasn’t for some problems this series stumbled upon along the way. What we have here is a series with mostly episodic stories, and a large story at the end. That’s fine and all, and the individual stories are really nice to watch, but they’re also very unbalanced. They focus way too much on one character: Minamo, and leave all the others a bit behind in development and background. The result is that Minamo turns into an excellent character, but when everything needs to come together at the finale, this rather fails, because some of the major characters weren’t fleshed out enough. In the end, two unimportant characters that have nothing to do with the story have gotten more screen-time than some of the major actors, and I really feel that the creators should have spent more time into balancing out the topics of the individual episodes.

So, no. A masterpiece this is not. However, it is worth enough watching this series for the huge amounts of imagination that went into creating its setting, because THAT’s where this series stands out. Real Drive has also been the most intelligent series of the past half year, even though it may not show this at times, and thankfully everything does come together at its endings, which I rank among the best of the past year.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Posted on with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu




Short Synopsis: Real Drive’s end, for which I can’t seem to think off a fitting synopsis…
Highlights: Answers! Closure!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,75/10
I must say, I’m really impressed by this episode. It most likely was the best ending I’ve seen the past month. Oh, I’m SO glad that this series managed to pull through in the end. It was more than just “find Kushima and bring him back while save the world from the evil nano-machines”. This ending was also one of the most intelligent and creative of the past spring- and summer-season. Himitsu hasn’t finished yet, so I can’t label this definitively as the best ending of the past half year, but its ending has to be really good if it wants to surpass this one (which, however, it has the potential for).

Really, I liked the plan to get rid of the rampaging sea by switching off the power in the entire Asian (“Asean”?) continent a lot. It makes sense, and at the same time it also lead to some great symbolism: because the lights were off everywhere, the stars suddenly became visible, which probably points to how Technology can mean a lot to humans, but at the same time it clouds other parts of our mind: the stars. It’s a really interesting message, that ties in with the setting perfectly.

And after the previous episode, I wondered whether the creators really would be able to close off the subplot between Haru and Kushima, Souta and Holon, Jennie and the Secretary General. I didn’t think that the creators would be able to do that, but as it turns out: I was wrong. The latter two were done very subtly: Jennie realizes that he made a mistake, and instead of pouting he helps trying to fix his own problem. The Secretary General is seen, as she still longs back to Souta, even though he won’t come back to her. Souta also finally gets the courage to give Holon the bracelet he bought her, even though she lost her memory. And he finally acknowledged her as a human being, even considering the things that happened to her. All of this happened on the background, but formed a really fitting closure for this series.

Then there was Haru, who finally managed to find Kushima. He first tried to visit Eliza, and after the power was switched off, he ended up at the red ocean. As it turns out, it’s the memory of the sea, and it’s there where Haru was stuck for fifty years before he awakened. The metal was based on this memory. Kushima also doesn’t return with Haru, and instead he still wants to stay where he is.

And the production-values really knew how to close off this series. There were hardly ANY action-scenes, and yet the graphics looked beautiful in this episode. Especially that shot of earth, with its lights on and off was absolutely gorgeous, just as the star-filled sky with the single comet inside of it. The soundtrack also saved some of its best tracks, without turning them into some sort of strange medley, which is what happened in the ending of Macross Frontier.

Now that I think of it, I think that this ending is a very good contender for the best ending of 2008. It’s really the product of an intelligent setting, because in that way, you really can play without resorting to uninspired stereotypes. Out of the top of my head, my list of favourite endings this year at this point is the following:
1) RD Sennou Chousashitsu
2) Crystal Blaze
3) Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~
4) Mokke
5) Clannad

Posted on 24 September 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: A calm-before-the-storm episode, which shows Haru right before he attempts to retrieve Kushima’s consciousness.
Highlights: Finally some focus on Minamo again!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
This was an excellent calm-before-the-storm episode. It did exactly what was needed to prelude the finale for this series, and it also found enough time to finis Minamo’s development. It’s still a pity that she got degraded to side-character when the finale of this series started, so I’m really glad that the creators managed to put a satisfying closure to her story arc. With this episode, her growth feels complete.

The question of course remains: will the creators be able to do the same thing with the subplots between Souta and Holon, Haru and Kushima, Souta and the Secretary General and Kushima and Jennie. That final episode needs to be really fastly paced in order to get everything in there, and this is where the director really has to show what he can do to prevent the ending from getting rushed. I think that his best choice would be a simple straightforward ending, much as with Seirei no Moribito, instead of that chaotic ending of Ghost Hound. He should just focus on providing a satisfying conclusion for all of the above-mentioned subplots.

The plant, breaking down also was really nicely animated, by the way. It shows the promise for a nicely animated finale.

Overall, I’m still glad that I decided to follow this series, and while it isn’t THE best series of the past half year, I’d easily include this series in my top-10 favourite series of the past spring and summer-season, which have overall been rather disappointing for Production IG. They once were my favourite of the big animation producers, but that drastically changed in 2008. I think it was just one big mistake to get affiliated with that small company of Trans Arts, because these guys have just wanted to do way too much in way too little time, and they just don’t fit Production IG’s specific style. Especially with that theatrical announcement for Chocolate Underground, I’m wondering who on the company still finds it a good idea to keep affiliating with Trans Arts. Even Wellber, which I loved when it aired, is starting to get less and less memorable, the more I think back about it.

Posted on 18 September 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: Jennie tries to execute his plans, and I finally found out what the bugger’s trying to do!
Highlights: Nice fight scenes!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Okay, so this series blew its chances at being a masterpiece due to some uncoordinated build-up, but it still can end the series with a strong finale, if everything goes right. It started the build-up for the finale thankfully at least a bit in time, and right now it needs to deliver an interesting finale in its final two episodes. This requires the creators to take what they’ve been building up to, and push this into an entirely new or further direction, because I’m not convinced whether a character-based or straightforward ending is going to work for this series. The fact remains that the most fleshed out entity in this series is Minamo, and she never played a central role in the final arc.

Ooh, but I finally found out what the eventual plan of Jennie is, thanks to some very appreciated English words that appeared on the screen. It’s really a shame that this series has stopped being subbed, because the finale was just full of elaborate dialogues. In any case, Jennie has been trying to use the plant he and the secretary general have been developing in order to send nano-machines into the atmosphere, in an attempt to control the weather. And I must say that this is a perfect issue about which differences of opinions could arise. On one hand, think of the possibilities when you can fully control the weather. On the other hand, you’ll be disrupting the eco-system of the entire planet this way. It’s the basic environmentalist vs. progression debate, in a very interesting coat, if I had to say so myself. At least the messages in this series are rock-solid, but I wish I could say the same about the storytelling-technical aspects of the series, but ah well. You can’t change what’s already done, so at least I’ll try to enjoy the finale of this series for what it is.

Another interesting thing is the huge amount of parallels with Nijuu Mensou no Musume that are popping up. In its final arc, Chiko is also trying to prevent a scientist from launching a particle beam, and what’s even more coincidental: both in their latest episodes, these attempts have succeeded. Overall though, RD’s attempt at its particle beam is more interesting, because Jennie still is more of a villain than that scientist of Nijuu Mensou no Musume. At least I’ll grant it that. Jennie at least feels part of the show, rather than him being just another villain. In the end, I do admit that his lack of attention wasn’t as bad as I originally thought it was. I think that the reason that this series has disappointed is simply the fact that it went from character-based to story-based, and that progression wasn’t that smooth. This series is about its setting and characters. When the story takes over, it’s going to feel a bit awkward. That finale just arrived to abrupt. What should have been a time when all the character-development came together turned out to be a time where the characters are ignored in favour of the storyline. And that’s just a pity.

Posted on 11 September 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: The secretary general gets some more background, while the search for Kushima’s consciousness continues.
Highlights: Extra bit of depth about the secretary general was very much appreciated.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Okay, so I’m probably the only one who’s still crazy enough to watch this series without subs. Still, this episode featured a lot of interesting things. It’s slowly getting clearer as to what the heck happened, back in episode 21: apparently, Kushima is experiencing the same thing that Haru went to go through for fifty years at the moment. His brains that were found in the previous episode didn’t carry his consciousness, and only a few programs were left on it. One of them is an emergency AI-program he wrote for himself. It’s a really neat idea, to just be able to automate some of your thoughts, in case your consciousness loses it. In this case, humans have really become like machines, and the only thing that separates androids from real humans is that they’re completely mechanical, and their memory programs are designed to be functional, when compared to the whimsical nature of human brains. That’s one thing I really like about this series. It may have screwed up with its characters a bit, but Masamune Shirou’s setting for this series is rock-solid.

In any case, this episode gave some very much needed background to the secretary general, and shows the moment when she met with Souta, and fell in love with him. From here, we can probably guess that they started working together, and at one point she forced herself onto him. She really feels much more as a balanced character after this episode, but the problem is that this should have been a point of character-development. Instead, this episode just showed different sides of her. This shouldn’t be happening THIS LATE in a series, and there’s still that matter of Jennie’s lack of development. there are only three episodes left, but PLEASE give the guy some depth!

I still haven’t figured out what exactly Jennie is planning, but it seems to have to do something with the artificial island that had been built. And whatever it is, it seems to be in the interest of most of the inhabitants of the island. There also seems to be something that’s threatening the artificial island, which I guess is the same thing that Haru encountered.

Posted on 3 September 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: Kushima didn’t only go brain-down, but his entire cyber-brains went missing. This episode shows attempts to recover it.
Highlights: Lots of metal-eye-candy.
Overall Enjoyment Value:8,5/10
This episode was much better than the previous one. Not only because I actually was able to follow what was going on, but also because the focus returned back to the characters. The thing is that RD really is a series about its characters. Most of the episodes had absolutely no plot whatsoever, so any attempts to introduce an overall plot would fall a bit short.

So, basically Kushima was attacked and his brain was removed off-screen, because he posed a threat to Jennie’s plans, whatever those may have been. Souta manages to find this out with the help of the secretary general, who she still turns out to have feelings for. It was pretty brave of Souta to show up in front of her, along with Holon.

In any case, now that this show is about to end, I do have to say that this series has disappointed a bit: it wasn’t the masterpiece you’d expect from such a stellar director. Overall, it’s still a good series, but I expected better (damn those expectations again). Now that the main storyline has started, and this series is done with most of its building up, I realize that this has been a very unbalanced series.

I don’t have a problem with the episodic cases (in fact, I love them), but you have to know how to use them. RD spent way too much of its early episodes on Minamo, which left too little time for the other characters. As the result, Minamo has turned into a downright excellent character. Holon, Souta and Haru also were fleshed out enough throughout the series, and they too are great characters.

Kushima, but especially the secretary general and Jennie needed a lot more screen-time than they actually got. I absolutely feel no connection to Jennie, even though he’s supposed to be the upcoming bad guy. The scuba brothers also are really underused characters. I think that if the creators scrapped the haunted school-building episode, the book episode and perhaps the blind girl episode, and used these episodes to flesh out Jennie and the scuba-brothers a bit more, this series would have greatly improved. The result right now is that two absolutely useless characters are fleshed out more than most of the important ones. As funny as Minamo’s classmates are, they’re really not that important to this series.

In any case, the thing that stood out in this episode was the metal itself. Because the concept of the metal is so original, the artists in this series really could do with it whatever they pleased, which resulted into some very nice eye-candy. Souta, screwing up at the end of the episode and basically erasing Holon’s entire memory also had a lot of impact. Such a tragic love-affair.

Posted on 27 August 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: Souta struggles with his feeling, while the top executives plan to do… something…
Highlights: Talking, talking and more talking. Oh, and some very nice romance.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
Ugh, at times like these I regret being the only raw blogger of this series. Something major definitely got started in this episode, but those top officials are like a bunch of walking dictionaries. Usually, I can pick up enough Japanese to understand an episode, but this was one major exception to that. The online dictionary I use wasn’t of much help either, because the words it suggested kept making no sense in their context… If someone did understand what exactly happened in this episode: care to explain?

In any case, the romance-parts of this episodes were something I did understand, and they were really well done. Even though this is a typical building-up episode, Souta finally decided to buy a gift for Holon and break up from sleeping with his boss. Nothing really happens between him and Holon, but that’s only a matter of time.

Haru can also fully walk again, albeit with the help of a walking-stick. Kushima also seemed really happy with that news. This really was a big episode for him, especially since what happened to the guy at the end of the episode. All “that was revealed was that he was “swept away”, but what exactly that means is up for the next episode.

Posted on 20 August 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: To synopsis this episode would be a bit too spoilerific, but let’s just say that it sheds more light on the concept of cyberbrains.
Highlights: Ooh, the character-development!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
You have to wonder: what the heck are the creators planning for the finale of this series? There’s no bad guy, no approaching apocalypse, there no cast member that’s in danger of losing his/her life, there’s no evil plot to take over the world/organization/town, there’s no goal to overcome, there’s been NOTHING that hinted at a standard conclusion whatsoever. The only thing I can think of is that Souta’s sleeping with his boss, and I can imagine how that would go wrong, but it feels nothing like any other conclusion of a story I’ve seen so far.

This episode too: it was all about Minamo’s and Haru’s character-development, while the next episode seems to go back Souta (whose bracelet was that!?). But then again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I really like Real Drive’s episodic nature, and this episode really showed that this series is evolving, now that Haru’s got the power in his legs back. He spends the entire episodes, trying to learn to walk again (which obviously takes A LOT of effort after fifty years without walking). He sure does it in an unorthodox way: no crutches, he doesn’t try to hold any solid object around him, nothing. In medical terms, that’s obviously not advisable, but I can imagine how after fifty years, he really wanted to try and walk without any help from other people or things.

Minamo meanwhile also surprised me when she decided to get a cyber-brain in this episode. And oh my god, the transition to a cyber-brain is much more complicated than I expected. I originally thought that they were just going to plant some chips into your brain and stuff, but it looks like your entire brain is getting replaced by a device. I can imagine that Kushima’s adjustments to his body are even bigger, to prevent him from aging and all. Through the entire series, this “cyberbrain” had seemed like some sort of magic, but when this episode showed what’s inside a person’s head, it suddenly got a whole new dimension.

I also loved the random chatter Minamo made with one of the other people who wanted to get a cyber-brain, although it also was a bit disturbing to learn that Minamo has actually fallen for Haru. Now that he’s about to learn to walk again, and might not need Minamo anymore, Minamo seriously started thinking about him, and realized that she felt for him. I really hope that she meant “as a friend”, rather than the other thing. ^^;

Also, I do wonder what’s up with that guy that Minamo talked to. He lied to her about getting a cyberbrain (he already had one), he used a fake name and he looks like Haru when he was younger. Could this be the first hint as to what the creators are planning for that ending?

Posted on 12 August 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: Haru tries to take care of the source of the noise.
Highlights: If the metal wasn’t already deep enough, it just gained some more depth.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Okay, what just happened back there? The metal has always been a mysterious existence, but it’s this episode where, just like Dennou Coil in a way, the link between the cyber world and the real world stat to get really fuzzy. I originally thought that this arc was meant to develop the characters some more, but as it turns out, it was all about the setting. Because of that, this episode wasn’t as touching as usual, but it raised a truckload full of questions.

So, as it turns out, something in the jungle was causing this noise. It’s that strange machine (which we actually don’t see in the entire episode, apart from one flashback). But the thing is that it somehow cyber-ified the huge tree it was linked too. We knew that humans and dogs could be cyber-ified, but this was probably the first time I’ve ever seen a cyber-tree. The intriguing thing is that through these cyber-technologies, the tree apparently prevented rain to fall through its leaves, and at the same time plants continue to grow at its bottom, like nothing happened.

The dialogue was very difficult in this episode (note to self: rewatch it once the subs arrive) so I didn’t understand everything, but I doubt that everything that happened in this episode can be explained with logical reasoning. I must say that RD has gone even further than Dennou Coil in this aspect. Dennou Coil was just about whether or not human bodies and souls could remain in cyber-space, and whether computers could break that link that was supposed to be unbreakable. Real Drive has already passed that point, and created a virtual world where human’s consciousnesses can flow freely, depending on their imaginations.

The result? Haru got his legs back in this episode. His freakin’ legs! The legs that were supposed to have been disabled by that very same metal got restored back to normal due to some water-recovery program inside the tree. We’ve yet to get confirmed whether or not they’re back for real, but the preview for the next episode seems to confirm this.

It’s strange to think that this series is already entering its final quarter. And with this show, you’ve got no idea what it’s got in store for its finale. The characters will probably get developed a lot, now that Haru’s legs are back. The cast is already fleshed out excellently, but I have absolutely no idea where the main storyline is going to go now.

I’m also wondering what’s so bad about the lack of overall storyline for this series. I mean, there have been plenty of other series who pulled off the “collection of random stories” properly (xxxHolic, Jigoku Shoujo, Mushishi, etc). And instead the random storylines serve to shape up the setting for this series. Of course, when a lazy writer attempts this, the result is just an incoherent and dull excuse of an anime, but why does everything need an overall storyline that involves saving the world or your loved one, or something? IMHO, both episodic series without much of an overall storyline and continuous series both have their strong and weak points.

Posted on 5 August 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: This episode starts a two-episode arc, centred in the jungle, far away from the civilized and cyberized world.
Highlights: Holon.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Too… many… shows… air on Tuesday…

In any case, this series continues to surprise me. It’s probably because the cast of characters is the best out of all the series that aired during Spring and Summer (just about the only thing at which Kaiba wasn’t number one). It’s strange, but the characters as Minamo, Souta and Haru feel like real people and Holon feels like a real advanced android, instead of just a bunch of characters. The amount of series that has characters that are this likable is really small, but every series with characters like this is absolutely worth it, even though hardly anything may happen.

While looking at the preview, at some forgotten ruins, I forgot for a moment that this is Real Drive we’re talking about, and expected some epic mystery plot or something similar. In the end, this turned out completely different, and much more focused at Minamo, as she explored the wonders of the jungle. But more importantly, this episode showed an interesting flaw of the technology in this series. In deserted places without much electronics, there’s something called “noise”, which upsets both cyberified humans and especially androids. Poor Holon even collapsed at the end of the series.

Seriously, this episode was just awesome, even if it was only about Minamo, giving her plant too much water, or freaking out over a bunch of large bugs. Seriously, this episode was hardly about anything and yet every minute of it was captivating somehow. Now that Kaiba has ended, Real Drive is well on its way to becoming my favourite series at the moment.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still enjoying the sangatsu manga and all the character interactions in this most recent volume.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Quintuplets might be under consideration, dororo is a definite. I don't want to watch revisions , girly airforce or plane thing because of the cgi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have the first 3 doro episodes downloaded to watch tomorrow, I'll comment on them, I'm giving it a shot because I love Tezuka.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The quintuplets thing is one of those things I would see myself chuckling at for a bit then feeling no obligation to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cat thing is probably cute but its too light for me to invest in in the long run.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding this season, I'll be direct, it isn't my thing, I got my fill of Kaguya's manga and all I can out of it, promised neverland, once the escape bit finished just turned into an action series (at least from what I read) lacking a compelling followup hook for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Acca had this odd way of delivering information that made it seem stuff went on between the lines or offscreen, often it worked, sometimes it didn't. Its a show that really picks up after the first couple of episodes and really gets elevated by its revelations, cool setting , art style and opening theme too.
Lenlo
I agree it does that. I think my issue may come with me maybe missing something or just not understanding the series as a whole, and so parts of it were lost on me. I enjoyed the series I would say though
SuperMario
Let me rephrase by saying ACCA ending neatly ties up plot threads for me
Lenlo
I didnt say I didnt like it, just that it wasn't what I expected. It was odd. I think I need time to process it.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you didn't like ACCA ending? I thought the ending is easily its best part. It's the first few episodes that feel slow for me
Lenlo
Also, just finished ACCA. Man... that was a weird ending. Not sure how I feel about the series, but damn, did it have style.

Also, thanks (?) Wooper.
Lenlo
Lets see... Dororo is good, but I am still lukewarm on it. Kaze Fui is a fantastic carry over from last season. Mob and Neverland of course. Shield Hero, if you want to be part of the latest big craze discussion. Kaguya if you like romance. Ill search some more, but those are off the top of my head.
Anonymous3338351
What are some must-watch anime this season; I'm watching MBP100 and Promised Neverland rn
Vonter
Shield hero looks like it fits with that journey of doing the right thing even though most are against you.
Vonter
You know what it reminds me of. It's kinda like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Where the family returns after a trip and find the neighborhood celebrates their absence, since everyone dislikes them. By the end when they make up, all the neighborhood gets bitter with one another because they no longer share a connection of hate with Malcolm's family.
Vonter
Also the undercurrent semblance of looking more like a bad guy or anti hero. Despite him having a good moral compass.
Vonter
SuperMario - I don't felt it was about being defeated or not. I got the feeling it was taking the hit for others. Because since he has high defence he does take the damage, but he does look weary about doing that. And the framework paints him so far more as an underdog than a prodigy.
SuperMario
But does the fact that he’s the greatest defender makes him the one who can’t be defeated? I haven’t watched the latest one though
Vonter
I did like the new episode of Shield Hero. It made me realize there can be stakes in Isekai battles. In both Overlord and Slime I usually space out in the battles because they seem unnecessary outside of animation. It's more interesting if there's a display of wits and using the environment. I also like the protagonist be on the defense and the sidekick as the attacker.
SuperWooper
Here's a "review of one of our own reviewers:"

Lenlo is a pretty cool guy. His taste refreshingly runs the gamut from shounen action series to character-driven period pieces. His use of "Read More" tags and intro paragraphs, though they break the site's house style, give his posts their own signature that his readers likely appreciate. I give Lenlo a 92/100.
SuperWooper
Also, if we're getting pedantic, my post on Kaguya wasn't a "review of one of your own reviewers." It was a review of an anime episode.
SuperWooper
It's "shitty?" Really? None of what we do here is for profit, or for a grade. If I want to alert readers to the fact that I've never read the manga, and choose to do it in a less-than-serious way, I don't think that violates any sacred rule of anime blogging.
Lenlo
@Niello, the technical aspect of Megalo Box is very lacking. Its a character drama with sports, not a sports series with good characters, basically. And yeah the gear makes no sense.
Anonymous3336806
It seems kinda shitty to write a "Proceed with caution!" disclaimer before the review of one of your own reviewers...
Firechick
There are also old school isekai manga such as Red River, From Far Away, Crest of the Royal Family (Which is still going), and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Red River also, but for a while it takes some time to re-gain the addictive quality it has in the beginning. I didn't stick with Yona, it felt like it didn't have any direction on where it was going.
Vonter
Those were different times. And while Isekai, it feels like a different genre. I feel the Isekai of old were also more eastern, given the RPGs of the time were more fairytale like and also several you listed have more of an eastern influence.
Animosh
Yona of the Dawn is also a good example of a series with a politically ambitious female lead, though I wasn't a fan.
Animosh
I forgot how female-oriented early isekai series were. I already mentioned Twelve Kingdoms, but there's also Escaflowne, InuYasha, Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, Haruka (I've only seen TK though) ... so I guess it's only after the recent revival of the genre that it started targeting men.
Niello
Out of all the sport anime I have watched I think Monkey Turn V is the best so far. Megalobox is pretty good but nothing special imo. I heard that in term of boxing the technical aspect isn't good, though I don't know how true that is. What I personally can't get over is how their gear in reality should just be making people fall over quicker, which shouldn't make the matches more fun.
Niello
I still
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to stop underestimating these sports shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo is good at convincing me to watch stuff I might not have otherwise watched, I saw ashita no Joe, Kaze and megalobox due to him =)
niello
I should catch up on Kaze, the gap is starting to get quite big.
Lenlo
Im gonna say this every week. How is an anime about running so damn good?
Vonter
I suppose when creating a story one also needs to put some restraint, since as human beings we easily gravitate to certain "tastes."
Vonter
But oh well, I think guys do also have their kinks.
Vonter
@niello - Love might be the hardest emotion to convey. Since even if you put the poses, attitude and the like, the interactions is what sells it. The chemistry as some call it. Sadly in most anime it kinda feels one sided because the male characters are too passive. I like the relation in Shield Hero, but it also underlines the common parental figure girls tend to put.
niello
Later, the author made him accepts the love as a kind of rehab for his bitterness and for the sake of political advantages the girls will gain. So there's this weird atmosphere where the author criticises harem isekai but is writing one himself, although he's certainly trying to make it an unconventional one. At least that's how it is in the web novel. I don't know if they changed it in the LN.
niello
And also to show off. Meanwhile the MC acts like he's not involved because he prioritise the right thing, and also because he's dense toward some of the girls around him (at first) and felt put off by other girls who make bold advances. In essence, he has a harem but he doesn't seek to make one.
niello
@vonter The thing with Shield Hero and harem is that the MC berates how other people who got transported to another world have the idea of forming harems like the LN/manga/anime they know before getting transported. That became the focus of some people instead of what they should be doing like seriously training and preparing for enemy attacks, which they opt for the easy way like it's a game.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aside from reincarnating as a baby. Not really. Zettai Karen Children from the author of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, seems like they do. I mean they start very young and later covers have them as teenagers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: A slower take on a story is something that has grown on me as I get older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Those scenes in kaze clicked for me this week, but at the same time, that last bit and also the scene in the middle were definately uncharacteristically cheesy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter@Amagi: Mushoku tensei has the lead character grow up throughout it I think?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think fan interaction by creators, theres something there, listening to fans ideas within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that comes to mind here, sometimes i think we the audience might be better at writing the shows than the people doing them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy explictness but wish it was used less juvenile-ly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest character thats being recurring in my head is a kind of communist or liberation theology soldier that is trying to convert people, while also struggling to keep his highly polarized beliefs in some kind of balance.
SuperMario
@Amagi, tell me about it (having ideas but to lazy to materialize it). Heck, they are mostly lame ideas to begin with
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Scums wish .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its almost always a boring comedy or action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or have some kind of anaylsis of why the characters express themselves in certain ways in relationships.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish more stories involving nudity/sex/fetishes/ecchi/hentai could actually use this kind of thing for a good psychosexual story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really like it when the conflict has something to do with beliefs or repression aswell.
Amagi
Same here. I mean people are conflicted too, so these characters are actually more relatable. Strangely directors usually think otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I loved goodbye Lenin, my old German teacher in school was really awesome and took the class to see it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like conflicted characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also fond of the idea of a villain trying to turn pure hero out of guilt from the past while still longing for his evildoing days and self-hating because of that and also feeling guilty out of enjoying the violence he commits against the villains he's up against. And sees the violence done onto himself as punishment .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They just end up as ideas written up rather than stories in my case.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I often feel guilty for being as lazy as I am because I have a lot of ideas and barely do anything with them. I don't even have the "I can't draw it" excuse most other people have. I am just lazy and useless.
Vonter
I've been trying to make a story for quite some time. Is about a special ops agent, that turns into a woman after a failed mission where he lost his friends and comrades. He's on a mission in order to look how to turn back and find redemption for the lost of his friends.
Amagi
OH GOD actually got FGO's Hassan i Sabbah after all with the last few quartz. Suicide prevented, thank you God.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Not a day goes by where I'm not thinking up some wild idea.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - The best use of incest in a story, is the one you don't see coming, like in King Ooedipus or Old Boy.
Vonter
I think the best case for that story would be using the Yoko Taro method of storytelling. Start by the end and build on how that tragic ending happened. There's a presentation where he explains his method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO_d3fwTNPo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would never ever use incest positively in a story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, I had a scenario where the hero develops an obsession with the villain, to where killing him is less about personal heroic codes, but curing himself of that obsession.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the great thing is that the actual thing, relationship never happens.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - That last one just reminds me of erogame about a girl than can't quite get with her crush and relives that same moment several times. Sometimes she reincarnating as man and the crush as a girl. In the end all versions end with rape.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also some of these villains I came up with, they're deaths and rebirths could only occur when it came to settling their specific individual problem. Thus by admitting his/her love for the brother he/she dies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'll add it to my list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I treated one of my characters like total shit, guy was a girl in his former life, got raped by some alternate version of his brother, got reincarnated a man and as a child killer/abuser, only every time this character committed a crime, they felt they abuse they inflicted on others.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Have you read A World I Rule by Tank Guy? That's essentially an isekai about screwing over, what's essentially Eden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the true victory and winner is those who lost.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the endless cycle of you can't win no matter who you are.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I live for this stuff.
Amagi
@Vonter: I liked that about Tiger and Bunny. I don't want to spoil in case someone is about to watch it. But it contained this element of "something we're looking up to is actually some evil thing/person" and I don't mean the guys they're working for, it was clear from the beginning that those were corrupt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time, it isn't like the hero was right either.
Vonter
Amagi - I think in the case of old villains it was caused because those didn't had civilian identities to empathize to the "human".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, because I love screwing characters over, after becoming the villain and actually achieving through evil, the perfect good society, even after taking in all the sins of the world and seemingly eliminating the evil inside people, humanity just fucks it all up again and became a monster all for nothing.
Amagi
We also usually don't see the villains having any problems that aren't related to the actual thing they cause. For example losing someone dear to them. Not because heroes killed them or anything, just..so. That's life etc. Making them feel more like persons. Hell even heroes have this problem. Usually when a hero suffers it's caused by the villain. As if the world wasn't more complicated.
Vonter
Also Franken Fran had a very dark and very funny story about a superhero founding out that the organization he's facing wants to conquer the world with charities.
Vonter
Watchmen, Dr. Strangelove, The day the Earth Stood Still kinda put a similar message about needing to be better with each other in order to have a better future.
Amagi
Yes, it's usually too simple. We have a clear hero fraction and a clear fraction of the villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*villain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like it when the villain isn't actually in co-operation with other bad guys, but theres also a hero, but the hero is marginalized because there are so many differing villaib factions.
Amagi
Even there, in the end it was heavily hinted that people can never bring back gone things. She saw through them and knew they were pretending and that it wasn't real anymore. Think that would happen in the other potential series we came up with too and it cause more character development.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Elementary school up to their mid 30s.
Amagi
Have to think of Goodbye Lenin, kinda. Not exactly that topic but similar. With the mother falling into a coma during GDR time and waking up after the fall of the wall and her family trying to pretent that they're still living in the GDR to not shock her since it could mean that she'd die.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - To what extend watching them grow up? I mean in Dragon Ball we've seen Goku's entire life. In Ashita no Joe we have a big arc before the MC ever gets into an official boxing match. In Rose of Versailles we see a change of ideology over the course of 12 years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad guys idea was to start up so much shit in our world to terrify the people back home.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The guys homeworld was basically one where things we consider evil are good over there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember working with the idea, where a villain brought people back, solely to open the gateway to his homeland through stealing energy from them resulting from psychological turmoil, then broadcasting how terrible humans are back to his homeland, and his people seeing how awful humanity are, then realizing they should stop being bad people.
Amagi
It's why I am always a huge fan of characters (usually, who could have known, villains) who try to resurrect a past decade or something. Like someone trying to build a world or VR space that imitates the 80s because it was the time he grew up in and which he is still missing and want to return back to. Could be the 90s as well or whatever.
Vonter
The paradox with that, is that technically one becomes a tyrant or a monster eventually. Power corrupts the individual. Whose to say those villains didn't start with good intentions?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi; Seeing a characters entire life too, seeing him grow up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I am often thinking about such a series too. A real coming of age, with the character realising what he had lost or is about to lose, how life changes and him trying to make it stop or escape. Or force the old status quo but realising it isn't possible to maintain.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah that's a great compromise. Defeat the villain but maintain his new state, or develope his idea or whatever. Just without the errors the villain made.
Vonter
Oh my, realizing that last one, could make most Isekais more interesting, since there are things those characters can't do by design.
Amagi
And then the MC comes and tells everyone that the old life is good as it is with all its flaws and don't realizes that he is actually lucky enough to not be born into misery or in the middle of some war zone like many others who die and suffer.
Vonter
Villains in the end, take the decisions the hero cannot.
Amagi
It's especially bad when the authors aren't even aware of what they're doing. Like showing that there are characters in the fictional world that get an actual better life with the change the villain brings. Paralysed people being able to move for example or poor outcasts not needing food anymore, in case that the villain forces some VR world and digitalizes people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Booboo hiss , no revolution is lame. Revolution good, do revolution.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Aggretsukko touches a bit on the last two examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still love the idea of people actually benefitting from the terrible things the villain does and actually learning from it and the world becomes a better place because we learned not to repeat the bad guys actions. But the bad guy committed those very bad actions to make us realize that.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah I never liked that meta message most stories have that basically boils down to "be happy with everything as it is now and don't try changing it, also, revolutions are evil".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or where a person attempts to explore becoming something more but ends up just accelerating the breakup/going seperate ways thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
yes vonter, you are giving good examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And people growing apart because they've gotten older.
Vonter
@Amagi - Villains have selfish desires, human flaws, and determination. Heroes on those series usually defended the status quo, since that's the only thing they saw as right. And in the meta was to tell the audience how they should behave.
Amagi
Could never get into wimpy characters either. Shy yes, as long as shyness is portrayed seriously and not the typical shy/naive "etooo..ano ne.." harem guy/girl. But I always wondered who can even selfinsert into the typical harem or otome lead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd happily watch a coming of age story which was just about a bunch of guys hanging out, playing videogames, watching films, anime, playing outside and just joking around, very little melodramatic stuff, only on a rare occassion drifting in naturally into the narrative.
Vonter
Ano hana is about reflecting on how the characters grew up.
Amagi
I mean villains are often the oddballs. MCs are too "normal". They're usually the typical guys that maintain the status quo (even if it's flawed), get/want a romantic relation ship and a normal life whereas the villains have ambitions and are often "different" to say it that way. They feel more human to me. Or maybe I am just too weird myself I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even a character reflecting on how they've grown up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: As a child it was almost always the villains for me, or villain sidekicks. Probably because writing was more strict back then and there were too many things heroes weren't allowed to think, like or do. Well it's still a problem.
Vonter
Hi Score Girl has a character that reminds me of some aspects I'm not proud of my youth.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or a protaganist realizing all of their past romances were chosen because they thought they had to fit in by having such relationships based on expectations, when really they genuinely don't care about romance.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't 30 centimeters per second like that? Welcome to NHK also explores some aspects of the young adult. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a soap opera but with adult characters in need of maturing to independent people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So i can understand wanting to relate to something in fiction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also none of these stories ever reflected or related to my adolescence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see a story about someone who is trying to adjust to their mid 20s or 30s after finally realizing that what they thought would never end (what they were familiar with in their youth) is over.
Anonymous3329534
What are the must-watch anime this season?
Kaiser-Eoghan
In alot of cases naturally the underwhelming leads, male or female are romcom/harem/coming of leads...which leads me to ask, I want an dramedy that I can actually relate to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or it was one of the villains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of being a military commander, military leader, spy or an emperor or a more clever character appealed to me more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nor superpowered characters for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've probably said this before, and I don't know if this is just from western upbringing, but I never really self-inserted into wimpy characters because I could never imagine myself like that.
Vonter
All these in regards when a girl is the protagonist.
Vonter
1.- They rarely put interesting love interests. 2.- Few times stories aren't about seeking some internal even selfish desires. 3.- In anime at least females get along very easily while I get the impression it's more complicated IRL. 4.- I identify easily the romanticized power fantasy of men but I can't tell if I've seen that thing of women's.
Vonter
It's a dichotomy. Since I've seen both the worst and some of the best female character in manga and anime. Yet I can't shake the feeling female characters have unwritten restrictions to them.
Amagi
@Vonter: The new Promare trailer got me more interested in this. So it seems like the enemies are actually controlled by humans (that..guy/girl(?)). I also feel like the new blonde character will be a traitor or secret endboss or something.
Amagi
@Vonter: I also always had a problem with female characters, be it anime or whatever. Not because of social reasons or anything, I just found them unrelatable. But they got better over the years, especially in the west. Anime always had some series with ambitious female MCs though, it's just that a lot of anime are too selfinserty and these types prefer the safe route and do otome series.
Vonter
This movie is looking sick. It looks like it's using the same type of cel shading as the latest Guilty Gear game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzFFaLB6fHw
Vonter
I've read manga and webcomics with good or bad art, both can have great or very poor writing.
Vonter
I think scores are incredibly more subjective in terms of comics than other mediums. There is just a vast array of qualities, content, and distribution and exposure also makes for some works fall into obscurity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
or huge praise either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read that yuri manga Octave, while I'd give it a higher score than they gave it, a myanimelist reviewer was fairly accurate in saying it really boils down to "another drama" but another review said it was "a quick, short and easy to read manga" I think those are reasonable takes, for better or worse this falls it the fine category and isn't really a huge black mark against it
Vonter
Interesting. I mean it's only a matter of time there are several other Isekai mangas that are either full female or gender bended. Also the Spider Isekai is also coming soon.
Animosh
Always nice to see an author reflect on and work on overcoming his limitations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was that recent article where sword art's writer brought up how he wrote his female chracters.
Animosh
Japan has a female prime minister in GITS too, although she's just a supporting character. And now that I think about it, the world of SAO's current arc has a female leader - in fact, her all-consuming ambition is basically her #1 trait.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that is more of a case of female characters in tougher mode roles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose if I was making a list of female characters that stood out well for me I would put Motoko (ghost in the shell) or Balsa from Moribito.
Animosh
But I can think of some exceptions. Youjo Senki technically has a female lead, and for an older example there's Twelve Kingdoms. And outside of isekai you have ambitious female characters like Shurei (from Saiunkoku Monogatari) or Maude (from ACCA). But it's true that they're relatively rare.
Animosh
It is true that political ambition is a big part of some isekai though. Overlord is an obvious case, and there's also Log Horizon and the Slime series this season. And the MCs of these series are all males. But then, I suppose political power over others is something that is just more likely to appeal to men, especially in patriarchal Japan.
Total users: 30

Star Crossed Anime Blog

5 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Kemurikusa – 03

DISCLAIMER: this is an original review of an original show from one of our own reviewers. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! At there episodes mark, Kemurikusa’s strengths weaknesses are more in clear view now. In a positive side, the […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 14 [You’re Not Alone]

Welcome all to another episode of Kaze Fui, Best Boy Simulator 2019. This week we have some more qualified times, lots of wholesome bonding and a hint mystery. Lets dive in! Starting of light and happy, I loved Kaze Fui’s attention to detail this week. All of our boys, aside from Yuki and Prince, tanning […]

Dororo – 3 [The Story of Jukai]

Airing at the same time as Mob Psycho, completely independently, Dororo also managed a somber, character driven episode. This week we learn more about Junkai the prosthetic doctor, Hyakkimaru’s past, and the world at large. Let’s dive in! Dororo started off in a very dark place this episode, which contrasted oddly with the beautiful sunset […]

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 – 3 [One Danger After Another ~Degeneration~]

Another week, another episode of Mob Psycho, though this week is a little different. Last time was all action and comedy. This time, Mob Psycho takes a more somber, character driven tone, and I love it. So that said, let’s dive in! Like I said, this week Mob Psycho was much more subdued than previous […]

Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

Many of you might wonder why I decided to blog this show, despite the first episode spent two third of its time in one single aerial combat, which can be fascinating to watch but bring extremely little to talk about. While I agree that Kotobuki has its fair share of underwhelming aspects (which I will […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 04 [VS The Imaginator 1]

It starts with a girl jumping off the building. I’m always a sucker for this sort of opener (clue in to Lain and Satoshi Kon even though Kon never technically did that for opener), and it feels like a decent start for the next arc to come. It basically repeats the same formula as the […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

WARNING: This review of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai has been authored by a non-manga reader. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! Boy, is this show a treat. I know we’re only two weeks into the winter season, but Kaguya-sama is my […]

Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

Thus the story of the Promised Neverland starts in earnest now that the first episode has revealed it’s book and the nature of the orphanage is revealed. As someone aptly put it, this is like Chicken Run, the anime. It’s quite interesting seeing things from a new perspective now that the curtain has risen as […]

Latest Reviews

Planetes Anime Review – 89/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 87/100

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 86/100

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018 Fall) Anime Review – 73/100

In the last few years, it’s great to see P.A Works has slowly created their own studio identity, putting more original works with consistent production values. Just in 2018, they produced 4 shows (quite a good number if you ask me), 3 of them were original: Maquia, Sirius the Jaeger and Irozuku. As I said, […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai Anime Review – 82/100

In the wake of many a school based light novel show this may be the small bits of fresh air was can savor out of this overdone setting. Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl(Or by its japanese title above) is a series not about rascals or bunny girls but instead about contextualising common high […]

Banana Fish Anime Review – 72/100

Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 73/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]