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
And that extends to action scenes, don't just slap old songs over your trailer thoughtlessly/carelessly or dump a generic pop song over your mecha battle or generic rock song over a fight scene.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Scenes would be better served by subtely or sinister sound design or less/no music in most cases.
Amagi
@Niello: Same here. It annoyed me to no end. I was curious so I watched the live stream. It was much better/less bad with subs, most of the first episode was nothing but shousa shousa and casually a "violetto chan..".
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I would disagree on music. The soundtrack is far too bombastic and overbearing for the nature of the series.
Niello
Watching the first episode raw was a mistake imo. I actually cringed when I heard chuusa for the 10th time in the hospital room scene. At least the subtitle would serve as a distraction.
Amagi
It's kinda sad because the execution of scenes, music and animation are awesome and I think that its depiction of characters and their behaviour is pretty good too, the problem is that the MC is a bad/illogical character to begin with and that they want to attract a larger fanbase through certain pandering. Still enjoy it overall, though.
SuperMario
We share the exact same thoughts about Violet's issues then. I think the story isn't that great and the characterisation so far is weak. But count on me to blog it to see if it can improve itself
Amagi
Yeah, the idea of some unworldy girl learning about emotions through ghost writing is great and I love the setting. But the war part makes no sense in that context, and I wish they'd tone down that "I'm mayor's dog" stuff. It's pretty common for these type of people being clingy to one specific person, but they should totally leave out the waifu pandering. Ep 2 was better in that regard though.
Niello
How come Violet went through war and back and still doesn't even recognise, in the slightest, the grim emotions humans sometimes feel such as pain, worry, distrust, anger, hate etc. Then the premise set up that she's going to learn love and all the other emotions, good and bad, though ghost writing and empathise with people. I call bull.
Niello
@Mario: The writing is disappointing and underwhelming, especially the characterisation. I would rant, but I'd rather not. It's just, if this show doesn't have the amazing visual or Kyoani name attached you can just imagine that its fate would be rather bleak.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: hhhmmm, I have good news, the French dvd of that film let the corpses tan is coming out in March, well before the vod release, so it'll probably get fansubbed or something before we have to wait for an official English web-dl/cast.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Was never much of an on stage/presentation man really, I was always rubbish at it, to quiet an introverted person really to get up in front of a crowd and give a lecture/speech.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: And this would be the part where I say it would be great if I even had half your presentation ability or sounded that clever.
Your voice is as imagined it, though I'd pictured you younger looking in my head.
KTravlos
fianlly done with the academic meeting I was organizing. Should get back to some anime watching. Also if you want to see my presentation go here

https://youtu.be/GNjtuf-nJ-s?list=PL7qM1ZYRwV_DbcW31vF_Codobpq7u6ffS
SuperMario
@Niello: Aside from your #1 (which ưe'll agree to disagree here), it's a nice set of shows you're follwing this season. Did you watch Violet Evergarden first episode thou and how did you think about it?
SuperMario
Great. Now I can't even send message here through my laptop.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: i think it's the same issue with kisscartoon. The original site was shut down sometimes ago, and now there are plenty of Kisscartoon's fake domains that are annoying as hell
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: its back up now though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its front page has server issues from time to time sometimes for hours.
SuperMario
I just read some manga on kissmanga a week ago, is the site down already?
Niello
Well to be fair batoto is down because of the site owner personal reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So Mangahere, mangachapter, baoto, animea seem to be gone and kissmangas front page is down , mangafox is slow, whats next to go down....
Niello
I don't currently see an anime this season that really stands out from the others. Right now if I have to rank them
1) Miira no kaikata
2) Kokkoku
3) Sora yori mo tooi basho
4) Koi wa ameagari no you ni
5) Takagi-san.
Not counting Devilman Crybaby since it's already finished.
Niello
@Eoghan I love Urobuchi and still find the Godzilla film weak.
SuperMario
I just looked through the nominations for the Crunchyroll Anime Awards and to my surprise, it's a pretty solid lineups. Find myself agreeing with most of their choices there
AidanAK47
Actually forgot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know why you don't just read kara no shoujo 2 instead.
AidanAK47
And Himawari is actually boring me. It's proving difficult to push myself though just to see where the point that makes it highly regarded comes in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In the end I was pretty much curious about it.
AidanAK47
Yep, that's it. Gonna stop discord displaying what I play from now on. It's weird when people comment on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now my current rankings: 1. Devilman
2.Junji itou
3. sangatsu
4. Cardcaptor sakura
5. Pop team
6. Evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Aidan
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm joking obviously, but I am surprised to see you playing Himawari Aiden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh Aidan you and your lolicon visual novel you =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Shin Godzilla had the evolving godzilla thing and that freaky ass final shot too, it also justified itself quite well i think by showing how relevent he is today, given the nuclear thing and that it drew on the Fukushima incident essentially.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Alonaria: Thats a far better and shorter way of putting it than I.
Alonaria
I wish I'd just waited for the other parts of the Godzilla movie trilogy to be released. As it is, I'm just going to remember it as "that incomplete movie." And the character designs kind of blurred together for me, which was really disorienting.
Anonymous1746949
Oh psgels is back
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I've seen other Godzilla things so I pretty much was supposed to see this anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or you know you could always take what I said with a pinch of salt, because you know....I don't get on with Urobutcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea behind it is definately cool and a different spin for the franchise though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe I was held back a bit by the cgi or the mediorce voice acting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'd need to see its followup before properly assessing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Godzilla often makes for silly films, but lke alot of silly older films the silliness and seriousness combine without clashing, this one is too Poe faced .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw that Godzilla anime film, I'd describe it as watchable in parts but far too caught up in setup mode and an unlikeable protaganist , it could go somewhere with what it raised at the start but this is an example of a first film in a trilogy that suffers from being unable to currently stand on its own.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I generally feel that Itou's stories have a winning track record but theres exceptions, Uzumaki and Gyo in manga form struggle toward the end and the first episode story the anime chose to adapt is, while fun one of the weaker offerings.
Alonaria
Honestly, the shorter stories have been more effective at getting a reaction out of me, though. I actually didn't really enjoy the first episode's first story, mostly because I found the MC too obnoxious. :.D Maybe because my younger brother chased me with a bug once and it was really unpleasant. XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It wasn't just it coming out of her mouth, but when they were stamping on them too.
Anonymous1743747
@Kaiser: Yah, I was horrified for like 5 seconds but the other characters made me crack up. :.D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although it was mixed in with laughing my ass of eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of all the Itou stories to be un-nerved by, its the second half of this third episode oddly that does it for me and I never get uncomfortable during anything .
AidanAK47
@Anon, We are working on it.
Anonymous1742736
Are you planning on making a top anime of 2017 list?
Amagi
Yeah Mash is one of the few good ones it seems.
Amagi
Oh damn, good that you remind me, I didn't pick anything yet. But I guess I will go with Altera, considering that some of them don't look that good and I own her anyway. Would have wanted the Scat one but the drawing looks weird.
AidanAK47
Which Bond CE did you pick for the 2 mill? I went with the Mash one. Only only whose artwork I liked.
AidanAK47
Might settle for making Bryn my endgame lancer though.
AidanAK47
As I said in my Apocrypha post, I have no interest in any version of Jeanne. My top priorities for my endgame team is Isekander, Scathach and assassin Shiki. And Shiki is a welfare so only need to worry about the other two.
Amagi
Yeah, I was considering to keep rolling for the new 4* at first but I really want Jeanne Alter and she's coming soon.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I tried rolling for Karna and got nothing. Though I think Bryn is better. I plan on rolling one more time with the saint quartz we are getting to try for NP2. Though we do have the valintines event coming.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here, just got Brynhildr. Even though I already got Karna last month. But I wanted her, nice design, finally a single-targed 5* and she's even one of the few servants related to my country.
KTravlos
@SuperMario. The contemplation of the death of humanity, and the loneliness, both were very disturbing to me. Kinda like thinking of my grave.
AidanAK47
YANDERE GET. Bryn's mine baby.
AidanAK47
Gonna try rolling for Brynhildr tomorrow. Bit annoyed they chose to translate it as Brynhild. I mean it's not incorrect but her name is far more recognisable as Brynhildr
AidanAK47
@Amagi, The grind wasn't that bad for me. Mordred carried me for it. Though I managed to get Siegfried in the gacha despite not being on rate up. I admit that the event was rather lackluster. Story wasn't that fun and the whole saber restriction was a pain. Also gonna take me a while to readjust to regular damage.
Amagi
Man that FGO Saber Wars event was annoying. I am happy finally I have 2 mio. altrium now and am done with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminder that netflix Godzilla anime is later today.
Amagi
Damn I didn't noticed that ankle band of the little demon from the intro scene of FranXX 01, now I feel stupid.
Lenlo
Yuasa is great! Ping pong and Tatami Galaxy are still some of my favorites
SuperMario
Oh fuck, the lead singer of the Cranberries passed away. I literally just listened to their music yesterday. Damnn, sad news
SuperMario
@Kaiser; thanks for considering me but I believe Wooper is much more a Yuasa's fan than I am
SuperMario
Far out!!!
SuperWooper
Yuasa will be answering questions on Reddit's anime board on the 20th.
SuperMario
@Niello: what do you mean regarding Yuasa?
SuperMario
@Travlos: I agree that Girls Last Tour is a special little gem, but in what ways it's disturbing?
Niello
Holy cow, Masaaki Yuasa AMA!! What magic is this?
Niello
Meawhile, Japan took a different approach and we ends up with a bunch of .hack rehash and diving more and more into escapism. Until we eventually got isekai and then it just spiraled into a sea of mediocrity.
Niello
While that opened its own can of worms, at least it opens up element about making ends meet, managing irl relationships, earning extra income for a poor family, getting cheated etc.
Niello
in the characters real life just fine. Something more a long the line of Net-juu but more technologically advanced. And I would say that plenty of those have been superior to Japanese online game and isekai story shenanigans. That said, it doesn't mean that those don't have their own kind of traps they usually fall in. A bunch of those instead focus on the aspect of making money off of games.
Niello
...Getting stuck in a virtual reality game and being transport to another world that happens to be like a game are completely different though. I don't know what is it with Japan and getting stuck in game plots considering that there are loads of other game-base Asian novels that came before it that manage story lines where they manage to tell compelling stories in game while balancing what happen
KTravlos
I finally finished Girls Last Tour. What a profound, fluffy and disturbing masterpiece. Bravo.
Amagi
Yeah. I feel the world swap is pretty much pointless when real life isn't relevant anymore. It's just a stupid as hell excuse to combine fantasy wish fullfilment with self-inserts, which is why these main characters tend to be 29 by now, just like the big part of the otaku community.
Lenlo
Of those you listed, no, I dont think they get explained? I mean, SAO did, but I dont think that falls into your category.

Thats why I liked .hack//sign over alot of more modern game Isekai. Also .hack//sign did explain what happened to Tsukasa.
Amagi
Considering how bad most of these are I wouldn't wonder if they wouldn't even bother with an explanation and just end it with the characters being happy in that game world and that's it. Or magic and the whole harem gets transported into reality at the end because power of love and such.
Amagi
I have no problem with a sci-fi fantasy mix, I liked .hack//sign for example, but it annoys me that such an incredibly bizarre situation gets never explained. Or maybe it will but it never happened so far because none of these LNs was ever finished and concluded yet. I just wish to know how they explain that.
Amagi
I mean all those shows in which the character just finds himself stuck in a real world that's (coincidentally?) the same as the game he recently played. Be it Overlord, Death March, Log Horizon or the 300 other series with that premise.
Amagi
Some thing that always bothered me about game isekai for which I never got an answer so far: did any of those series ever end and/or explain how the warp has happened and why the MC is in the game? - Not talking about .hack, SAO and such where the action of getting trapped is part of the premise
Niel
@Eoghan - Btw, Kokkoku isn't a time travel. it's stasis, apparently. Looks very promising so far. Though if I am to trust the manga score, it's shit.
Niel
But is Toradora really slice of life? As far as I can see it's straight up romance.
Lenlo
And Mario, ill rag on SOL all I want! :P

Wooper, its true good shows transcend genre, as there are still some like Toradora I like, but those are exceptions that prove the rule so to speak.
Lenlo
@Niel, yeah I base my potential % on the odds something gets/stays good.
AidanAK47
I am of similar mindset about Franxx. I want it to get better but I don't really see it doing so. Unless the other characters get a majority personality boost or the MC stops being a plank.
Niel
XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
I confess....I only sat through just over half an episode of aldonoah.
Niel
Since it's Trigger, I will give the benefit of the doubt. I'm just very skeptical about this whole formula.
Niel
The way I can see this series improving is through world building. And if other aspects are going to improve too, it's going to revolve around that.
Niel
It leaves about as much impression on me as much as the first episode of Aldnoah did, and I dropped that one straight away. The character chemistry doesn't look like it will go places that's not cliche. The gimmick doesn't seem like it has much potential either.
Niel
So you're all betting it on "this is going to get better". I mean, I hope it gets better. Though right now this feels more Kiznaiver than Kill la Kill or LWA.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd nominate Mario to do the devilman review as he's the most immediate Yuasa fan to do it and Bam is too awol to write it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cute girl shows just bleed and blend in my mind now, same with the isekai shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Devilman, my show of the season, unless after the rain ends up having some emotional wallop.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So for me its looking like: Junji itou, Cardcaptor sakura, keeping up with sangatsu, wait and see on amegari . Not watching a time travel or trigger show and I remain unable to sit through Mahoutsukai .
Amagi
The story itself is generic so far but so are most Trigger series at the beginning so not sure. Maybe it will stay weak, but in general I prefer series that start with the weaker episodes and get better and better over time over the many series that use up all of their budget and trump cards in the first episode and drag on after that.
Amagi
I really love Trigger's esthetics and their characters. I am happy they're more often involved in non-trigger-only productions because I honestly think that most of the stuff I enjoyed about FranXX was heavily influenced by them.
SuperMario
@Nielo: Franxx's first ep was stellar for me. Storywise, it's lackluster (and I see the similar in tropes between this and Beatless) but production-wise it's excellent
SuperMario
I think I just keep watching it on a weekly basis. Still trippy as hell
SuperMario
Okay, I just watched second episode of Devilman Crybaby and it's still pretty good.
Nielo
By the way, what's up with Darling in the Franxx? I thought it's a very weak first episode.
Nielo
@Lenlo: Slice of life isn't my thing either, and I usually avoid series set in high school.
Nielo
@SuperMario: Takagi-san is cute, I'll admit that, but since I already read the manga it's not new to me. Sora Yori is good, but it's not particularly cute. I found Hakumei to Mikochi and Yuru Camp very boring. Haven't got the chance to watch Mitsuboshi Colors or Gakuen Babysisters but I don't think they could be more cute than Mii-kun.
SuperWooper
HOT TAKE: Genre is irrelevant. What matters is whether a show is good.
SuperMario
Don't knock off MY genre Lenlo. It's one of the reason I got into anime in the first place :)
Lenlo
Im not saying it doesn't do what it sets out to. I just don't think what it sets out to do is all that... great.
Lenlo
@Niello, Slice of Life was never my Genre in the first place :/ I typically avoid them. I have my own life to deal with and already graduated high school, why would I want to deal with a melodramatic anime highschool, is my line of thought.
SuperMario
@Niello: okay, let's see:Takagi-san (the titular character), Mitsuboshi Colors, Gakuen Babysisters (Toddlers!!), Hakumei to Milochi (tiny girls) and two more slightly more mature but equally cute: Sora Yori and Yuru Camp's casts
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I'm sure this is where our definition of "cute" parts way, but I'll ask anyway, what are those 5 shows?
SuperMario
@Niello: seems so because I can eaisily pick 5 more shows that are cuter, and better than Mummy this season ;)
Nielllo
...So I suppose I'm the only one who's kinda bored out by a lot of the slice of life shows that's trying to be cute this season and only perked up by the Mummy anime because it's actually do what it's meant to do and be legit cute.
Lenlo
I am interested in Koi, but still have concern about the relationship itself.

@Vonter, the mummy anime would be better as short vignettes together I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koi amegari is surprisingly tasteful, subdued and pretty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*to where
Kaiser-Eoghan
Try as I might, my love of kyoani tv anime has largely evaporated did where I no longer want to bother at this stage, I'll just wait and see. I'll just stay quiet on the franxx anime, theres little value in me trying to get through a trigger work at this point.
SuperMario
I get the exact same feeling with Takagi-san. It's pretty good on what it does but 20 minutes of the same thing for a whole season doesn't sound that promising
Vonter
The chibi mummy anime
Vonter
It's a shame it isn't a shorter 10 or 5 minute series, I think that format would make it shine more, since it does what it's trying to do.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I liked the second episode of Kokkuko or whatever the name is even more than the first one.
Amagi
I really have a problem with all these shows that rely on one single thing, joke, shenanigan or whatever. Be it something cute, some certain kind of interactiong or whatever. It doesn't matter how good it is it will bore me with episode 2.
Lenlo
Like, yeah, the mummy was cute. But the cute became rote/bland really quick. There has to be more than "cute" to be worth watching for more than a single episode to me.
Lenlo
@Niello, I was harsh because its not aimed at me. I wanted to drop it 5 minutes in, kept up for the post, then was thankful it was over. There wasnt anything overtly bad about it. Its just there was nothing good either.
AidanAK47
To be fair it's not as if we are lacking cute in this season.
In fact it's in danger of inflation.
SuperMario
@Niello: yes, the mummy is cute, the show is cute but beside that it's pretty mediocre. That show in particular is the only show that I have the damnest time to give it a potential rating.
Niello
It's not even down because of legal reasons, since the site pull down contents that are lincensed. It's down cause it's too much for the site owner to manage. Much of it also have to do with too many bots, which comes back to how a lot of other sites are relying on batoto.
Niello
@Masky: Not enough manga titles are getting translated. Batoto is the site scanlation groups basically rely on, and where other aggregation sites pull their content from. No batoto no obscure titles, a big blow to small scantation groups and one big manga/scanlator community down.
Niello
Why are you guys so harsh on the mummy show? It's so darn cute. Give it some credit. If a comedy show can be good because it does comedy well I don't see why a show ike Mummy can't be good if it can make people go "aww".
Masky
I don't really know why that is the case, maybe marketing budget and UI friendliness when done right? :P
Masky
Eh, wouldn't say it will kill manga industry. I mean, more and more official methods of reading manga online is starting to pop up and legit channels to pay to get access to manga can surprisingly enough harm free channels to get manga.
Masky
Anyway, I do find it funny how how the isekai character dies can be so meaningless that is joke in most of them
Niello
Batoto is going down, how this affect the manga reading is going to be interesting. Hope it's not slowly dying.
Masky
(at least that one, besides forgetting to introduce what the heck is gimmick besides generickness, acknowledged how most of otaku mcs shouldn't erally want to get transferred to fantasy world since they never get to see how their favourite mangas end :P )
Masky
Anyhoo, it gets annoying since its not just isekai being cliche, sometimes is just them being kind of badly written(or at least adapted to manga). Like, I found one new isekai today, but I have no idea what its gimmick is(from what I understood, its that "cute companion" that character gets is hideously op because mc didn't spefy cute girl when he asked god manager dude for cute companion)
Masky
Slime one is one of better from the more generic ones weirdly enough :P I mean I still wouldn't call it good, but at least MC character isn't god tier, just top tier and it has sort of village building simulation feel to it. Plus at least naming things giving monsters more powers is something funny regarding jrpg mechanics
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or alternatively the car was on a boat with the character or parents in it and the boat and car were hit by a falling plane lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its always "car accident" that sends the characters to another world or in harem cases "Lost parents due to car crash", for christs sake doesn't anyone die in out of control plane or speedboat crashes anymore, at least make it a motorbike....
Nayrael
Ah sorry, should probably not have touched the colors...
Nayrael
Trust me, Isekai is better when it doesn't try to be imaginative. When it tries to be original then... Isekai with a Smartphone... Isekai where the MC turns into a Slime... and my favorite: Isekai where the MC became a Hot Spring popular with sexy girls.
Masky
Assuming "new" things can happen under the sun
Masky
Anyhoo, I do wonder what the heck will be next "popular genre trope that will become so overused cliche that everyone groans whenever show uses it even if its actually good show"
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Featured Posts

Darling in the Franxx – 02[What it means to connect]

As it stands now, this is essentially an animated version of a double entendre. Each line is laced with a double meaning so heavy that you can postface lines with the words “That’s what she said.” and it would fit perfectly. I find my stance on this to be rather mixed as while the fanservice […]

Junji Ito Collection – 03[The Crossroads Pretty boy – The lovesick dead, Slug Girl]

Our two stories today regard the handsome man at the crossroads and slug girl. The handsome man story was given the most screen time and it is a decent story, albeit unfinished. What was presented here was only the first part of the story and I believe it will be continued in later episodes. But […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 15 [There is no place like home]

Welcome to another week of Mahoutsukai no Yome. This week continues Chise’s bad relationship with water, Elias’s with Fae and gives Silky a history. Lets jump in! To start off, I want to talk about the best part of this episode, that being Silky’s history and alone time. For the longest time Silky was a […]

After the Rain – 02 [Rain Drops on Green Leaves]

It has been exactly a year since I last blogged you, noitaminA shows, and this time again it’s another romance drama. Unlike Scum’s Wish last year, however, Ameagari has one simple premise, but it executes the idea with such grace. This second episode is even stronger than the first, setting the stepping stone for Tachibana […]

Violet Evergarden – 02 [Never Coming Back]

I’m thankful that this second episode plays out much quieter and more subtle than the first, because I’m not a fan at all with the grandeur approach of the first episode. This makes the second week of Violet slightly better than last week, but I still find myself not totally satisfied with the whole experience. […]

Kokkoku – 2 [The Second Moment]

Hello and welcome to the 2018 Winter season! This time, we have an interesting little time-based drama called Kokkoku. It has mystery, it has cults, it has dead-beat parents and apparent god-like beings. Lets jump in! To start, a quick blurb about our characters. Personally, I like them so far. They are all flawed and imperfect […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 03 [The Follow Backs Don’t Stop]

“I could just die right now” That line, spoken by our new member, Yuzuki, bookends this week’s Universe. It marks the shift in the new girl’s character growth. Last week, the Expedition girls mentioned they have a plan to raise fund, right? Turns out it’s not the mother, but the young girl herself, is used […]

Junji Ito Collection – 02[Fashion Model, Long Dreams]

After the first episode started off as a black comedy, I was worried that this series may suffer the same problem as Kino’s Journey in that the weaker stories in his work would be chosen for adaption. Lucky this does not appear to be the case but there is another problem which is not quite […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 13/14 [East, West, Homes Best]/[Looks breed love]

Hello and welcome to the new year! New Year, a new Cour for Mahoutsukai no Yome, this time with slightly more plot. These past two weeks have been a bumpy ride of Mahoutsukai, with plenty to talk about. So let’s jump in! To start off, the new OP is terrible. The music isn’t as good […]

Latest Reviews

In This Corner of the World (2016) Movie Review – 90/100

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, […]

Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production […]

Fate/Apocrypha Anime Review – 64/100

I was quite excited for Apocrypha and in the so called year of Fate adaptations, it looked to be the crown jewel. Sadly, partly due to lacking adaption and the source lacking in areas, this anime turned out to be not quite the jewel I thought it would be. It’s hard to call this a […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World Anime Review – 73/100

One of the surprises of the year was to see the return of Kino’s Journey, a very well regarded and more unique anime among those deemed classic. Many, myself included, were very much looking forward to the return of Kino and her talking Motorrad. Though due to some factors this series doesn’t quite live up […]

Girls’ Last Tour (Fall 2017) Review – 86/100

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak […]

Two tales of War: Reviewing The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Altair: A Record of Battles

It would not be an exaggeration to say that my favorite type of anime is the political-military epic. This comes partly out of my profession, I study war and politics, but also my hobby, as military and political history is something I enjoy. When it comes to anime there is a clear sub-category that can […]

The Night is Short, Walk On Girl (2017) Movie Review – 92.5/100

“How many decades have passed since our drinking contest?” “It hasn’t been that long. It was only a few hours ago, this very night!” That gap in time perceiving plays a significant role in Night is Short. For you see, it all depends on how our perception of the surroundings and time itself can affect […]

Ballroom e Youkoso Review – 65/100

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. […]

Inuyashiki Review – 80/100

Do you know what the average age of an anime protagonist is? Neither do I, but I’d wager its in the upper teens. For obvious reasons, most anime focus on high school and have high school aged protagonists with similarly aged problems. Its not often that we get a good older main character, who has […]