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
Oh well, there you go, Mario was quicker on the uptake and his post got through before mine.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Kalandra: He maintains a background presence on the site, paying for it, lately he has gotten his groove back, he every so often comes back to make a comment here and there or post a monthly summary.
I vaguely remember you.
SuperMario
@Kalandra: He was burned out of anime for about 2 years, but now he's back for monthly summary where he reported what he was watching that month. In fact, you can come back tomorrow for his April summary.
Kalandra
Hi, old reader just checking up on this blog. I notice that the reviewer isn't psgels anymore. Is he still doing reviews?
SuperMario
@anon1058019: yep, and we'll get an original film no less. Welp, I don't mind for more Yuri but everything sounds vague for now. Let wait for more details coming
SuperMario
@Tatami: I'm only watch anime but I'm not a fan at all with the show so I can't really help you on that. In fact this season I couldn't get pass episode 2
Tatami
For guys who only watched AoT anime and not the manga, Im curious what do you think of the current season?
Tatami
The recent 2 epsiodes of AoT pretty much confirmed my guesses of who are the Armored and Colossus titans
Anonymous1058019
Yuri on ICE!!! movie has been announced. Prepare for incoming fangirls. :.D
Spike
Zestiria finale was pretty mediocre at best... Ufotable writers really fizzled at the end. :(
Anonymous1057532
Konstantinos here: I have to disagree. I liked the episode and felt they did a good job giving exposition. I like Meteora. That said when Alicertia meets Selesia. Oh boy, that will be a rumble.

On other notes: Attack of the Titan. If they do not pull a bait and switch, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Shingeki no Bahamut: What exceptional animation.
AidanAK47
It really does feel like this show is aiming to be something akin to Fate/Zero as that too did have a exposition heavy beginning. Difference here is that series had Urobuchi writting and while the man my be more famous for his murderous treatment of characters, he is a master of presenting exposition.
AidanAK47
I hope that's the majority of the exposition done for Re:creators. We established the stakes, rules and factions. So now would be good to focus on the creator and creation interactions plus badass battles.
Honestly I really regret Meteora coming into the story when she's being pretty much a massive exposition device.
Konstantinos Travlos
Hmm the "The Man who Knew 75 Languages" reminds me of the game "The Last Express". Great game. Definitely interested.
Anonymous1056824
moster keaton
Anonymous1056607
ditective conan
AidanAK47
@Anon, Pretty sure you are just trying to pick a fight more than defend the show but a decent show to me would be one that is deeply flawed but enjoyable to some degree. Sagrada reset is not this. It goes out of it's way to be unenjoyable. To me it's a 3/4 out of 10 show. Interesting concept but with a presentation so alien that the viewer can't empathise with anything on screen.
Lenlo
I mean, decent warrants about a 5-6. That, in theory, should be an "Average" show.
Anonymous1055365
It's a decent show. You're being overly critical.
SuperMario
In the Out of Competition slot (you think that I'm finished?), 2 films in particular that catch my interest are the Korean Lost in the Moonlight which looks like a fun and lightheart adventure, and the Norway-Poland co-production adult-oriented The Man who Knew 75 Languagues about the star-crossed love between the Queen of Romania and a titular man, I guess
SuperMario
Rounding up the Main Competition are Animal Crackers, a 3G American family film which I don't have good feeling about; Big Fish and Begonia - a Chinese indie film that divided the critics, but gathered skyhigh commercial success in its mainland China; and finally Zombillenium which sounds like an enjoyable European children film
SuperMario
From other countries, most notable films are the Loving Vincent - the first feature length hand painting; the Chinese black comedy Have a Nice Day that premiered in Berlin earlier this year; Ethel and Ernest which already gained a strong reviews from the UK; Tehran Taboo- a German production about the lives of 3 women in Iranian community, which sound exactly like my kinda of film.
SuperMario
Alright, I'm here to bring you news about the selection of this coming Annecy AKA one of the best animation festival out there. 3 of anime features: A Slient Voice, In the Corner of the World and Masaaki Yuasa's Lu over the Wall will compete for the main competition.
SuperMario
I'm a fan of thought-provoking anime (see Lain, Boogiepop Phantom) but I need to care about the story and characters first before I make an effort to dig deeper to the theme. Sagrada Reset failed on that fronts.
SuperMario
It's not really about being smart/dumb here. As a creator, they already have an advantage to know how the story and plot will play out. I don't mind this advantage because otherwise the plot will become a hot mess. But don't use that advantage as a way to widen the gap between them and the audience.
AidanAK47
Ugh...Ray Gigant was pretty much mediocre up until this point but now it;s utterly asinine. Whoever decided on this endgame needs to be fired. When you are ready to end a game, no player want a ten floor dungion with a boss on each floor coupled with a goddamn boss rush halfway. Just...fuck.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It must be worse than oremo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw some pages of the eromanga sensei manga and my reaction was that I was sad that it actually existed and stated "why would you even" after looking at it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an anime example, sekaisuru kado has lots of dialogue but it seems like it could actually be engaging.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So basically no I don't think we're dumb for not liking sagrada reset, given that myself and Mario are capable of watching genuinely smart wordy things and getting them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I can imagine watching Sagrada reset and thinking I'd rather be watching a Bergman film instead , something also with lots of dialogue and themes but actually engaging/clever and NOT pretentious or obnoxious about it.
Anonymous1054942
is it possible that you are all just dumb?
Anonymous1054269
@Mario: I like how you described it as giving a middle finger to the viewers. It's so true. Like, it tries to be intelligent and make the viewer feel stupid, but it just comes off as obnoxious/pretentious.
Lenlo
CGI remains the worst part of it, but we are getting more and more 2D art which I actually enjoy the style of
Lenlo
Its an improvement. The art is better, and maybe its because I prefer this arc, but the pacing is better as well. I gave last season a 3, but this one is more deserving of a 4 and if they can nail certain scenes coming up I may bump it to a 5.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: How's Berserk doing so far? Haven't picked up last week and this week's episodes.
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
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