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.

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SuperMario
@Aidan: you have 91 days's episode as 9 instead of 7
AidanAK47
Bloody hell, even the spambots are referencing Pokemon Go now.
K-Off
For future reference, let's direct admin dialogue to email, apart from direct feedback.
@Mario We're working on allowing users to set up accounts.
SuperMario
And the constant anonymous names just keep bugging me. Can we make it back to the old shoutbox, where you have to put down your name in order to write message?
SuperMario
I think it's one thing leads to another. he's getting too burnout that he doesn't know what to write anymore.
AidanAK47
@Anon36049, pretty much what he said. Though it seems to be a combination of anime burnout and writers block.
Anonymous36271
He suffered from anime burnout and is getting on with real life.
Anonymous36049
Hi guys I havent been around for a long time. Does anyone know what happened to psgels? I see that the new posts are not his.
AidanAK47
Disgaea 2 coming to steam. Sweet.
Gotta finish Disgaea 1 and hope they don't screw up the port on release day again.
AidanAK47
Illuminati are everywhere, regardless of wherther it's anime or not. Sword Art Online was the work of the illuminati. All in the name of the gaint magic eyeball triange god do they rule the landscape of entertainment medium.
Also Magic Eyeball-kun also argees that Rem is best girl. And none shall dare denounce that claim.
SuperMario
@Anony35181: never thought they're that much interested in anime thou
Anonymous35181
@supermario, illuminati confirmed
SuperMario
Is it just me or couple of messages from the shoutbox just gone missing?
Topgavin
Haven't been watching it myself, but apparently in Taboo Tattoo, that large-chested high school girl died while running *onto a live battlefield* to check on her boyfriend with a shirt that said "flag". 10/10
K-Off
@afgm Sent you a message.
@Friend Looks good, I'd be interested in seeing multiple witches as well.
Anonymous32745
Chemotherapy is a cause of cancer rather than a cure.
Anonymous32745
If you know someone dying of cancer, immediately inform them that allopathic medicine will kill them and turn them to natural remedies which often work.
Anonymous32745
"Medicine and science are powerfully institutionalized, but no institution or profession has existed for the purpose of encouraging people to act reasonably." - Ray Peat
afgm
.
afgm
@Friend: yeah it's a problem
@Koff: I emailed you a while back. did you get it?
Fri3nd
Huh, I can't use my username.
@Bam You're right, I'll work on it.
Bam
@K-off: It's moments like these that really remind you of mortality. People pull thru tho. medical science has come far in that field; but definitely not far enough.
Bam
@Friend: It's looks pretty good. I like Mario's suggestion of a series of witches, but a solitary one is more in-tune with the current banner. I would say however that there is too much dark in the negative space to the right. Could be just me tho.
Bam
@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Anonymous29415
qualidea code's characters havent become better in terms of how they are written; only that they have been fleshed out in the most generic and trivial of ways as to sympathize with them; and sure, they have become some what likeable in the same way you'd like a person who you heard nothing but kind things about but that does not save the characters from being boring. QC is still a bad show
AidanAK47
@Anon27511, even if the animation was kept consistent the story still can't really escape the done to death aspect of it's story. I agree that the writing has gotten better but despite that the show just feels...meh.
Anonymous27511
Fucking Qualidea Code, as the story and characters become more interesting, the animation and drawing proportionately decreases. Sad they simply do not have the budget to pull off what seems like a potentially very good story
K-Off
@Mike I'm sure you already heard but for some reason I didn't keep up to date. I thought it was strange that releases stopped in March after chapter 68,.
K-Off
Just learned that the writer of my favorite webtoon is battling terminal cancer, but despite it she hopes to finish it someday. God damn I would've never expected this.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Once spilled hot microwaved food over my hand by mistake, hurt for a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
*remaining
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: The story and ideas however were better in gandahar I felt. Time masters while good was a bit stop and start in its pace and animation.
I’m definitely interested in Laloux’s other, short animations and Mobius’ comic book work.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: I watched Rene Laloux's remain animated films, Gandahar and time masters, I enjoyed both but not as much as Fantastic planet. I remember we talked about fantastic planet two years ago. Did you see the other two I mentioned. I liked the big moments and the ending to time masters, especially those angel things.
Anonymous27024
Ok. I beat Federation Force. I think the main positive is that the levels were playable despite the lack of voice chat. The bosses took a lot of damage and the beginning and end are relevant to the Prime continuity.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I did it once just like you did, and once when I put a metal bowl into a microwave. So yeah, boys will always be boys.
Bam
I tried my best not to half-ass either of them tho. Any oddity you guys see just write it off as mental exhaustion.
Bam
Okay, I'm officially beat. These two reviews should be considered companion pieces, as some material from one flew into the other. Thank god that episode 08 was not a heavy one, or I'd be completely depleted.
K-Off
Shit, I'm a damn idiot at baking, slightly burnt my hand a minute ago grabbing a hot tray with a wet towl. Why do I even try.
K-Off
@afgm Alright, send me a message at fightthepowwa@gmail.com and we'll work it out.
Bam
*cinematography
Bam
@K-off: I second that, as although the Poirot series has very well-done choreography, casting and music, there is still a little more of that unquantifiable magic sprinkled on the Granada series. But keep watching and I'll guarantee that Suchet will become the quintessential Poirot in your mind as well.
K-Off
I said that while I liked the performance and the direction, I didn't think that it did for Poirot what Granada did for Holmes.
K-Off
@Bam Yeah it is, and generally when I camp I like to stay for 1-2 weeks, places like Niagara or Yellowstone I can pretty much see everything I want to see in a few days so I don't find much value going to those places. The Adirons on the other hand is diverse as hell.
Bam
@K-off: I'm not sure if you mentioned it while I was gone: but did you get to watch any of the Poirot series with David Suchet? And if so, what are your thoughts?
Bam
I generally go to either the Muir Woods north of SF, or the forests around Big Sur. It doesn't take much to please me really.
Bam
@K-ff: is that by Lake Champlain? Cuz I've been there once and loved it.
Bam
@K-off: I thought of a combined post, but my OCD wouldn't allow a skip in the episodic order of the reviews.
K-Off
Usually when you go camping in Yellowstone or Yosemite the tourist industry kills those places, like I'd be on a rowboat and see cars, cabins, and people from a long ways offshore. The Adirondacks are nice because their building codes mandate construction to be hidden behind trees.
K-Off
@Bam My favorite camping spot is the Adirondacks in upstate NY, I went there probably 4-7 times and never get tired of the place. No, I don't have any posts for now, but for future reference consider combining episodic reviews when you get behind. I.E. Episode 6-8 Review
Bam
Also there's a reader in the comment section of Berserk 07 who wants to know if we have a notification system. I vaguely remember a widget that links the site to a FaceBook page. If anybody knows how that works, or if it's still functional, please shed some light on the matter for him/her. Thx.
Bam
@Aidan @K-off @Mario either one of y'all has any post near completion? I'm almost done with Berserk 08 and as previously mentioned, really prefer not to put two reviews up back to back. I think the length of them is already a hassle for some to get thru, let alone two right after eachother. I think it hurts the viewership, but if nothing's on hand then I'll guess I'll just finish up and post mine.
Bam
@Kaiser: I was actually camping near a mountain, but aren't all mountains somewhat holy? That could be my bias tho, since I was raised on the Alborz mountain range, and for me there is something therapeutic about the mountain air.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yes! Looks like the shoutbox is fixed and not deleting posts after 24 hours anymore!
Kaiser Eoghan
lol Or you could live in the shitty suburb where I do and spend your time just waiting for when your internet connection randomly cuts out twice a month or as it has the past few days two-three times a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
Basically bam went up the Holy mountain .
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: ....guy I know who loves war films and I've ended up inadvertedly/un-intentionally gotten him to buy some fucked up Polish horror film that just happens to be set in WW2. lol he's going to be pretty freaked out when he watches it.
Bam
Everything been cool here? Hehe ... looks like I conveniently missed all the hard parts.
Bam
@Mario: thx m8. I wish I could just make it down to Rio on a whim, but then again, I took a much-needed vacation, so I ain't complaining.
SuperMario
Welcome back Bam, I was already convinced that you went to Rio for screwing around. Lol
Bam
Also I apologize for the absence. I was gone somewhere without reliable internet access, and looking back I should've gave a notification.
Either way, I'm back now, and will be jumping on getting those Berserk reviews out as soon as possible.
Bam
Man looky here with the renovations; I like it.
SuperMario
@Vyse: wow. So how was the sites then back from 2005?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and what is that sh!te you're talking about?
VyseLegendaire
<— fixed
VyseLegendaire
<— me
VyseLegendaire
Ive been a reader since 2005
Kaiser Eoghan
Haha, this'll be fun lol
Kaiser Eoghan
.....that feeling when you keep going on about a show or film but fail to give all the details...and someone goes out and buys it not knowing the full extent of the mad shit their in for...s--t lol
Anonymous24840
any reader from 2005 here....
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: This guy seems interesting: https://letterboxd.com/director/tsai-ming-liang/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Hmm, not familiar with him.
I really really loved in the mood for love, alot, it emotionally effected me. I even watched it three times.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I couldn't seem to enjoy any of Zimou yangs films apart from Hero, which had some pretty creative fight scenes. I've seen the story of Ricky and some of John-woos films but they were more just silly entertaining exploitation films.
SuperMario
Don't know if you know the Vietnamese-French Tran Anh Hung. His works are stunning too. If you want to check out East-Asian cinema don't forget to check him out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Yeah, but Park Chan Wood changed the ending, so the author insisted that the Handmaiden is more "inspired" than "based". The third chapter is the weakest part for me
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Of interest, The handmaiden was based on some British book/tv show.
Kaiser Eoghan
I need to completely re-evaluate/get into more Chinese cinema.
Kaiser Eoghan
Doesn't look like I've seen anything by Hong-sang-so.
My favourite Korean actor is song-kang-ho.
Kaiser Eoghan
Theres an anime convention over here in Dublin in three months. Although I haven't been to one in years.
SuperMario
I'm heading to anime convention today. Normally I don't really care about those conventions but I figure I'd come this year to see the taste of it. The only hassle is it's 3-hour drive, which gonna be a pain when I drive back after a long day being there.
SuperMario
Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand,is incredible at writing. His scripts are often layered, sharp and best of all fuses many tones/ genres into one coherent whole. The best thing about this Korean New Wave directors is they all have very distinctive voices. But my favorite director isn't the ones that you list. That would be Hong Sang Soo. I just love his simplicity style so much.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Park Chan Wood is a master of visual. Whenever I come to his movies I expected to be blown-away by his visual. He can write compelling characters (he loves his characters) as well but his screenplays in general are weak. You can watch his lesser effort "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay" and see many things that made him good/bad. That's the movie I feel he made without the care of the critic
afgm
.
afgm
@koff: Yeah I can help. But midterms/finals are coming up so I can't dedicate to much time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I always felt Bong-jong and Chang-dong , kim-di-duk and Kim-jee-woon were better than Park-chan-wook. Oldboy did have that one hell of an ending, so did lady vengeance but I feel that those are the bits people tend to remember and the rest was good but not great.
Topgavin
For anyone that doesn't regularly browse /r/anime, Godzilla is apparently getting an anime adaption by Polygon Pictures with Urobuchi involved. Should be good.
K-Off
Well, I climbed to rank 52 in Overwatch with Tracer alone. Looking forward to season 2 already, but I do wish Blizzard had somehow implemented a single-player storyline since the lore in Blizzard titles is always so vast. Kind of surprised they didn't make one with Overwatch.
K-Off
@Kaiser Watch Train to Busan if you can. Me neither, I can't dig too deep into Korean films due to the language barrier. Sure would be convenient to have Vincent recommending films again.
K-Off
@afgm Hey, are you still interested in helping out with the site? At this point I'm looking over the site's code & doing some rewriting - if you think you can help, let me know.
K-Off
@Mario I hadn't watched Old Boy for 6 years when I got to I Saw the Devil and it was out of mind for me, so you may be right.
SuperMario
@K-Off: maybe it was just me but I was underwhelmed by I Saw the Devil. The point it trying to match was similar to OldBoy, and Oldboy's execution was way better (OldBoy's one of my favorite movie). Yes, the soundtracks of OldBoy, Lady Vengeance are exceptional. I still listen to The Last Waltz after all those years...
K-Off
The soundtrack in a lot of these Korean films are top notch as well, Lady Vengeance and I Saw the Devil in particular.
K-Off
@Mario Speaking of which, Korean psychological thrillers are hands down some of the best in the last 10-20 years. I Saw the Devil, Lady Vengeance, Old Boy, list goes on.
SuperMario
@Aidan: It just comes to me that we're already half way of this season... Time sure flies
SuperMario
@Kaiser: so please finish up Inside Mari. The last chapter had been out. I need someone to talk about that goddamn manga anw
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I always consider the Korean New Wave started back in 2000, and really peaked in 2003 (OldBoy, Memories of Murders, Spring Summer..., A Tale of 2 Sisters). Before 2000? The only director I can think of was Im Kwon-Taek
AidanAK47
About nearly finished Fata Morgana but I might have to finish doom first because that thing is eating a huge chunk of my SSD drive.
AidanAK47
Back up to date...at least for now. I have to go to a wedding so It's likely I will fall behind again. Got to admit that I haven't had much of an opinion on the latest episodes. Might be just mentally drained personally.
SuperMario
@K-off: I totally agree with you. 28 Days Later is a gem. Though I'm not really into zombie genre as a whole, I'm more into psychological stuffs more.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Reminding me I need to catch up on boku mari no naka.
Kaiser Eoghan
Although the trailer for train to busan does catch my interest.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've gotten more than enough out of Korean films, I can enjoy them but I probably don't sing the same high praises for them as most bar some exceptions.
Seeing Lee-chang-dongs stuff I'm actually kind of interested in finding some more low key korean films.
Kaiser Eoghan
Very likely a view shared by my indie loving friend and I, but Battery and Wyrmwood were jokey takes on the zombie genre I thought were enjoyable.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Likely my preference for British comedy that makes me laugh more at Shaun of the dead more. Although Hot fuzz is the better Simon Pegg film in my opinion.
In terms of Korean films, I've been wondering, what are the pre-90s ones like. Lee-chang-dong started the Korean new wave in 1997.
K-Off
I'm still waiting for a good horror-zombie film, nothing has met my expectations after 28 Days Later (and techinically REC), which admittedly is a high bar.
K-Off
@Mario I am watching Seoul Station next week, that was just me recapping TtB after I watched it a few days ago. It's definitely more of a thriller, it has good "wtf" moments but nothing I'd call horror.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I thought you were going to watch Seoul Station? So I gather that Train of Busan is more thriller than horror? Just thinking of Zombieland already puts a smile on my face. That one and Shaun of the Dead are so goddamn hilarious.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I will review them in the future. atm I'm in watching/ reading mode so I'll push back all the world movie/ full show reviews for a while
K-Off
@Mario My impression of Train to Busan was that although it wasn't anything ground breaking, it had a great cast of characters and an entertaining gimmick that managed to stay exhilarating. I haven't seen a zombie film this well structured since Zombieland, even though they're completely opposite in tone.
AidanAK47
They are all yours if you want to do them.
SuperMario
Reading Inside Mary makes me want to watch Flowers of Evil again. If I remember correctly psgels never actually had a full review on this one, and Ping Pong.
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Width wise it's exactly the same as the old chat box. Though it's possible the old one had smaller font.
VyseLegendaire
This chat box is too narrow I think, only see a couple messages.
AidanAK47
@Anon18138, Yeah but I don't see that writer making something that truly represents the games. There may be a possibility of it being a good movie but that movie won't be Pokemon.
Anonymous18138
@AidanAK47 It'll have the writer of Gravity Falls. Though I don't have a high standard in regards to the 3D mascot and live-action style of movies.
SuperMario
They originally planned to male a live-action remake of Seoul Station, as the producer saw a footage of the animation and really loved it; but Yeon Sang-Ho (the director) insisted that if he was about to make a live-action film, he's go for a sequel instead. Hence Train of Busan.
SuperMario
@K-off: I missed my chance to watch Train to Busan but I heard nothing but rave from it. People who watched it really loved it. Damn, you make me jealous man, since I want to watch Seoul Station and review it here. Come watch it and tell me what you think; my bet is you'll enjoy it.
K-Off
@Mario Have you watched Train to Busan? I'm planning to watch its animated prequel Seoul Station next week. Animation looks shabby as hell but I can always expect a good story from the koreans.
AidanAK47
So the live action Pokemon movie will feature detective pikachu. Clearly a necessary inclusion.
SuperMario
I'm reading Inside Mary now and it's quite a gem despite its ridiculous premise. There's a lot of raw emotions. I love raw emotions. As expected from the same guy who wrote Flowers of Evil.
AidanAK47
Yep, when she sends the images let me know. It may have been a while ago but I am a qualified graphic designer so even I can lend a hand to the banner design.
AidanAK47
Ugh...a new version of wordpress is ready to be updated to. I have a bad feeling updating to the latest version could potentially break things.
K-Off
Alright, I've got Friend onbaord with a commission for our new banner. She says she'll send us sketches so we can decide if it's something we want.
AidanAK47
Considering how much trouble this plugin has given us, i am not up for adding another one. Only thing the subscriber account thing needs is me to tick and box and get rid of that password promt.
K-Off
@Aidan You can set that up if you'd like, though another idea would be to set up buddypress and link it to there. But it's yet again another plugin.
Total users: 38

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