Posted on 24 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

It makes sense that after 10 episodes of dueling and auditioning, this week takes time to focus on the central pair Karen and Hikari. As soon as she “betrays” Karen in the cliffhanger last week, it soon reveals that the reason she does it is to not steal anyone’s else brilliance (especially Karen’s), even at the cost of herself. Admittedly, while I myself was expecting a bit more, this episode does have some emotional impact with some powerful scenes. By taking Hikari out of the equation (I swear if I ever come across with any document that has giraffe logo on it, I would dump it to the rubbish bin immediately), it takes a toll to Karen and effectively kills her joy to perform. Or as my sub says it, she loses her brillance. Which makes it all the more tragic because Hikari sacrifices herself in order to save Karen and the rest from it. As far as the narrative goes, I don’t think anyone of us is surprised at all these developments. Revue Starlight has been foreshadowing about this star-crossed love for quite some time and how Karen-Hikari relationship parallels with the Starlight story.

So it’s inevitable that we learn there is some more chapters in the Starlight book and it’s Karen the one who is willing to translate the whole book, with the help of every other member of the cast (poor Mahiru, always plays the housewife role). It’s the way for Karen to get back to the root, not only finding her own inspiration again after Hikari gone, but also finds Hikari through there. I also feel it’s more than appropriate that Karen’s walk to Hikari’s castle is accompanied by the whole case with their decor settings. We’re reaching the end of the stage production now, it’s perfect that these scenes play out like a play. Characters sing, characters function within their role (and their allocated spot) and leave Karen so that she can face her own issues by herself.

These stage-like quality, unfortunately, reduces our supporting characters into “roles”, so this episode we don’t feel them like real characters. There was one little moment that breaks that trend, however, which hit me harder than it should. It’s the moment when Tendou Maya implies, through her flashback, that when she sees Hikari’s eyes in one of their practices, she can sense that her eyes are empty. Hikari had been fighting and dueling even though her “brilliance” is forever gone, just barely make it back by the promise of Karen, and decides to win so that she can be an ultimate sacrifice. I already love the surrealist background of her palace, which vast desert and here she is, bare naked and all alone. That single image speaks more strongly than thousand words and I hope that, really hope that Revue Starlight can sweep me away again with its final episode.

Posted on 17 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The narrative beat of Revue Starlight has reached its new tempo with the end of the audition. All the things that Revue Starlight has been building up to begin to payoff this week. I must say though, it comes out a bit too predictable this week. We have the last stage audition with literally the supporting cast was put on the audience sits, the duet duel that decides the ultimate pair. But before that we have both Karen – Hikari pair and Tendou – Claudine reaffirm their roles and their relationship again. And then the ending which parallels exactly with what going on in the Starlight play. Mind you, there are still two episodes left so it’s possible (there’s a high chance it will happen eventually) that Karen and Hikari will rewrite the Starlight’s written fate. That can’t hide the fact that Revue Starlight this week lacks a factor to truly wow us.

“The central pair” emerges as the main theme of this week. Revue Starlight cast functions in pairs (poor Mahiru) and in this instance the final test is to decide the ultimate pair. Last year’s Tendou and Claudine against our Karen and Hikari. Before that final audition, we have a glimpse to Karen and Hikari’s time together, which sadly plays out as an extended episode 4. We don’t learn much of new thing regarding their relationship, and that’s the main thing that makes the final scene where Hikari “betrays” Karen doesn’t feel earned. You don’t see much of Hikari’s motive and I suppose she does it because she’d be the one who sacrifice. It makes more sense in that context so I just want to learn the true ending of Starlight play. Is that one girl fall of the cliff while the other one reaches for the star the true ending after all?

We also learn more about Tendou Maya – Claudine relationship and for me it fares better. They can’t hide the fact that they’re rivalry, but they also have deep respect for each other’s talent. It’s like they’re your typical fated rivalry where both try to improve themselves to surpass the other. Claudine and Tendou lose, with Claudine crying in French can be a little cheesy for my taste, but I love how Tendou accepts it quickly. She (and Claudine) have tried their best, so there shouldn’t be any regret, right?

It’s this episode where we also get the real sense of “supporting cast”. Personally, I would prefer to have develop every member of the cast more, in this episode they’re only there as your typical side-characters. It feels as if the climax (or the closing act, depend on how you view it) has no place to flesh them out more, which for me is a wasted opportunity. Maybe it’s me who was fond of the Banana-arc so that now when they address the main arc I don’t feel it as exciting. Hopefully Revue Starlight stays away from the soap opera and still manages to catch us off guard again, like what it did in the first episode and the Banana arc.

Posted on 11 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the one who changed the fate, figuratively), and it introduces the Starlight play, in which serves as a foreshadowing to our pairs. Last week, I criticized the episode for abruptly put Banana against Hikari without us to learn about how she feels now. Turns out that the last episode only raises the stakes for Banana’s broken dream this week. First, she sees how everyone in her class moves on to the 100th Starlight play with enthusiasm, leave her completely behind (with the old script). Second, she comes to a realization that it wasn’t Hikari who changed the fate, it was Karen who crashed the stage in the first episode that cause the audition to have 9 members instead of 8. Finally, Revue Starlight raises her situation into desperate level, where she knows that losing mean that her hope to revive the 99th Starlight will be gone.

That raises the stake to this week’s duel (Duel of Bonding) where you can see Nana’s increasingly frustration through her heavy blow and her eyes. I especially like how Revue Starlight conveys her emotion visually. The sword she draws hiding her eyes, indicate that she rather turns her eyes away from the present. As she draws the 99th Starlight show poster on the stage, and Karen refuses to be a part of it anymore, it’s almost heartbreaking. Nana lose is written very clear in the first moment, not necessary because Karen is a better opponent, but it’s more because Nana loses the fight mentally. We also learn that the last audition will happen next week, which I think is appropriate. After all, the overarching climax is about Karen and Hikari so there has to be more beyond the audition part.

I’m also glad that we learn about the Starlight play in full context. It’s rather clear (too clear in fact) on how the Starlight act parallels to Hikari and Karen’s relationship. The two mains of the play: Claire and Flora is your ultimate star-crossed lovers. They go through their promise (tick), one of them lose memory (tick), but they meet again and both reaching for (Hikari’s hairpins) the stars (tick), just so that the other fallen off the cliff. It foreshadows clearly enough that Karen will go through some sort of sacrifice for Hakari, although in all fairness Karen is always the one who breaks the rule so we will have to see on which route Revue Starlight will ultimately take.

But the calm moment after the duel is what seals the deal for me. It’s true that with this episode, Nana won’t be an ultimate villain but it does the job to close her arc off with a rewarding development. Junna has a great moment of comforting her friend. I love the way Nana rather curious reaction to see Junna breaks out of her strict personality for her friend. It’s that, even if things never be the same again for Nana, they will keep making new memories, go through the stage light again in a brand new experience. And again, this new “side” of Junna, or “Bananice” can only happen in this timeline.

Posted on 4 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Last week, with the earth-shattering revelation of Banana’s secret, I expected Revue Starlight addresses 2 developments. First, Nana and Hikari’s chemistry in the present now that we see the true reason why Nana is so fixated to Hikari and Second, why does Hikari crashes this timeline which she doesn’t in previous loops. As it turns out, we learn most about the Second part this week (and next to nothing on the First part) given this episode plays out through Hikari’s perspective. One important detail in this world-building this episode manages to spill out is that the Revue Audition doesn’t strictly happen at Karen’s school. The extra-dimensional duels occur in London where Hikara studies as well. It becomes quite clear to me that these auditions are a manifestation of all these Takarazuka Revue trainee girls’ drive and competitiveness to be a Top Star and that talking Giraffe is like a guard of that world (but why Hikari? Torture him more! I want to hear him speaking English more).

While this episode isn’t as crucial in term of changing the plot into another direction like last week’s, it’s still a perfectly fine episode that moves the narrative forward. We see again how important Karen and Hikari’s childhood promise that guide them to basically give their all. I was struck at first how Hikari was too energetic earlier compared to her stoic current self, so imagine my satisfaction to learn the reason behind her lack of enthusiasm. She literally has her ‘drive’, or ‘radiance’ (depend on which subs you watched) taken away from her. It’s a high price to pay for the auditions, given that Hikari wasn’t aware to all that. Through her big slump of why she’s doing all that in a first place, the only thing she can hold onto is that promise. So she makes a deal with the devil almighty giraffe, thus appear in Karen’s world and single-handed destroy Banana’s perfect world.

But then, when we learn about the ultimate cost the losers will have to pay, isn’t that what Nana been doing all along is to protect these smiles? Keeping the status quo so that no one can lose their power. What can be more noble than that? Hikari and Nana’s fight isn’t simply a clash between past vs present, it also a conflict of self-ambition vs team mentality. In addition, I particularly enjoy the contrasting in weapons’ choice this week: Hikari with her dagger and Nana with double swords. The duel has a nice dynamic, and the stunning compositions with strong dark red color and shadows motif certainly give a strong impression. Revue Starlight also set itself up for a melodramatic climax, with Karen and Hikari have to fight one another in the end. While we have strong development from one of our main lead, I still feel the way this episode cuts from Hikari’s backstory to their duel a bit abruptive. Hikari and Nana’s clash is certainly interesting in theory, but the lack of their on-screen time together means that we can’t get behind them as much as I like. I also want to see more of Karen – Claudine duel. With 4 episode left I guess it’s time for Claudine to be in the spotlight very soon.

Posted on 27 August 2018 with categories: Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Like this week’s Chio-chan, Revue Starlight reminds me a great deal to the its premiere as it marks some dramatic shift in direction that we all wish we see it coming before (I honestly doubt anyone can see this coming). Like its first episode, the piece at first plays out like some typical idol show. I literally thought that Revue Starlight had succumbed to Idol route with Idol’s concern until again, it pulls the rug out of our feet. This week is about Daiba Nana, AKA Banana, the mother figure of all the girls. Everyone could recall a moment in their lives that they consider perfect. Maybe it’s “perfect” not because of everything runs exactly the way one plan, but to borrow “Inside Out” image, it’s because the moments were so relatable and powerful they stick out to your mind. For Nana, it’s her first Starlight performance with the first-year class.

Now, while the narrative of Nana still leaves a lot to be desired (which I will get to that later), the visual cue you in to her mindset magnificently. All Nana does is to preserve her happy moments: record what they do, take pictures with the cast. Unlike previous episodes when Revue Starlight resolve the cast’s friendship issues through pairings, Nana doesn’t really have “a partner”. She walks from one place to another by herself (the images of her walking in opposite directions each time), there’s always a phone or camera that distant her from the rest (the camera’s images also signal Nana’s “chosen” perspective – that she would rather prefer looking through this lense instead of reality). I also enjoy how other characters tend to move away from the center (look at one of the screenshot), as if they extract themselves from the central force: Nana herself.

In addition, unlike other characters who want to fight to become Top Stars, Nana lacks the ambition to become one, yet she’s the most talented girl out there. That’s why her actions tick Maya off. What’s use of a talent if she doesn’t want to advance herself? Turn out Nana’s answer is: she uses her talent to relive the past. That reveal turns the show into a completely new perspective, but everything adds up because it builds from everything that came before it and gives many characters more significant roles than what they appear before. The yellow-bathed stage where Nana meets the Giraffe, for example, never feels this sinister. Basically it’s Madoka twist all over again, although I would say it’s more appropriate to compare this twist to Yuno’s in Future Dairies. She relives the past year all over again because for her, it’s the perfect moments where everyone she loves participating the Stage together. There hasn’t any girl who dropped out yet. If I have some criticism over this episode, it’s that I still feel her “this moment is perfect” kind of vague. I still don’t really know how much this timeline means to her so that she would trade anything to relive it all over. One thing is clear though, while her intention is selfish, it isn’t without its reason. Who wouldn’t want to relive their best moments over and over.

It would’ve been perfect for Nana if Hikari doesn’t come in the picture. Hikari is an abnormality in Nana’s perfect world, and suddenly both Hikari and Nana’s roles change significantly after this episode. Hikari is the one who will disrupt Nana’s perfect world, and that leads to two interesting factors. First, we learnt from previous episodes that Nana decides to step down in order to assist the stage, but what is her real deal here? Will she plan to duel against Hikari? And second, why is it that Hikari appears in this timeline and not previous loops? We know for sure that with her appearance, the loops are basically gone, but is there more into it than meet the eye? I’m personally feel that Nana won’t be the “ultimate villain” and that her arc could very well be resolved next week (since we have more characters down the line here). As it stands, Revue Starlight opens for more intriguing questions and proves once again it has more ambitious thematic reach (along with great visual storytelling) than most of the anime offering out there. This episode is a pleasant surprise for me, and easily amongst my favorite Revue Starlight episode.

Posted on 20 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

With this episode, it becomes clear that Revue Starlight is less about Karen and more about the development of the entire cast. This week we get into the insights of Kaoruko and Futaba through the former perspective. Although spoiled, bratty and not-at-all serious about the Revue audition, I very much welcome her as a person who offers a different perspective to Revue Starlight. Previous characters have showed us time and again how much effort they work on to be the chosen ones, especially the girl with glasses Junna who compensates her lack for talent with tremendous amount of practice. That leaves Kaoruko as the one left behind since she’s clearly too laid back to put all her effort into improving herself. And like how a spoiled kid acts she behaves selfishly, making decisions just for the sake of making certain people (Futaba) feel bad, and in the end one could argue that she doesn’t really earn it – her character arc and her Starlight audition. While these claims are not incorrectly, for me it’s more about Kaoruko learns to change and be more serious in the process.

Needless to say, Kaoruko and Futaba’s dynamic isn’t Revue Starlight greatest moments. We have seen these kind of friendship breakdown and reconcile before in Revue Starlight, with better success (Karen & Hikari, Karen & Mahiru), add to the fact that 1) they’re side characters with predictable development and 2) this relationship is unbalanced somehow. As for 1), the moments Kaoruko announces she’s going back to Kyoto, we all know for sure that Futaba will run after her and that she’d never leave. It taps on all the similar beats and makes me think why don’t shake thing up a little? For 2), I can totally see that Futaba can be better off without Kaoruko. Futaba has been following the girl’s step in every decision, and this episode is meant to be a trial for Kaoruko to realize and appreciate how much Futaba has done for her. At the end, while she does acknowledge that, things pretty get back to status quo.

In fact, I’m more interested with the other angle Revue Starlight focus on: the parallel between Karaoku and Tendou Maya. This show has been consistently bring up the point between natural talent vs hard work. Take Tendou and Claudine for example, for all the efforts Claudine make, she’s still one step behind Tendou because Tendou has the talent plus the heavy effort. Karaoku is one of the natural talent. She’s the prized kid where her parent is an expert at Japanese dance. But without the will to be on top she starts to fallen behind to Futaba, who practices day in, day out. Because of that Tendou somehow seen through Karaoku. There’s a line that Tendou said to her (it’s pretty vague by the way) that reminds her that she needs to try harder for those who support her and “the feeling that you have a duty to be the best you can be”. The duel, unfortunately, isn’t that exciting compared to previous duels. For the show that consistently surprises us with its smart visual storytelling, this episode is also unremarkable in that regard. Karen is sidelined into a loud, one-dimensional character and I didn’t appreciate that much. Not really Revue’ Starlight’s high point, but it’s still solid enough to make it a damn good time.

Posted on 14 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Revue Starlight is back to business this week with its bizarrely entertaining duel. In a way, this duel is a long way coming as this is one of the development I expected to happen sooner or later. What I didn’t expect, however, is the overall light-hearted tone with cartoonish paper cut-out design and Mahiru -Karen fight literally stage-crashing other duels at the same time. I guess it’s because Mahiru is a kind-hearted person so we see her point of view in a rose-tinted glass with almost too naive outlook. Overall, while I have some nitpicks over the episode, it’s a delightful one from start to finish. My only beef with this week is that, for an episode that is about jealousy, we get little to no exposition of that theme. We see Mahiru feeling left out by the appearance of Hikari, but it plays out mostly for laugh (good one at that though). Moreover, Revue Starlight frames her conflict more as her own insecure with the rest of the cast, with all the country pumpkin imply and “sparkle” stuffs. Which again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that “jealousy” isn’t really much there to begin with.

But what this episode of Revue Starlight does extremely well, it’s how they manage the comedic beat. There are recurring gags about whenever Mahiru doing something “perverted”, Hikari appears with that deadpan expression and walks away. The visual cues sum up very well Mahiru’s situation than many words can tell (it’s show, don’t tell). We have Mahiru’s affection to Karen and we also sense how she feels Hikari invading Karen and her own space. Another notch for great visual gags come later in the duel, where other various auditioning girls get distracted by the duo’s crashing their stage. As for Mahiru, working with all the greatest faces also make she feels unconfident about herself, that she can’t shine like others. It’s her frustration triggers the audition so that she’d have to fight Karen (why not Hikari?) at the revue stage.

The revue duel this week is a total delight with catchy song, humorous, original (even to this show’s standard) and again brimming with many symbolisms that might or might not have a meaning. I mean, I can’t still get my head around the significance of baseball and she hits Karen off. Or even the fact that Revue Starlight animal-codes her as a white kitty cat. As for the duel, well… it’s purposely different from the rest of the duel we’ve encountered so far and I enjoyed every minute of it. With this duel done, however, I hope Mahiru still stay relevant. She’s the odd one out of the 9 members cast and it would be a let down if she remains the least developed character out of this mix. As the final note, two things I can takeaway from this duel: 1) there are simultaneously other auditions happening around at the same time in some extra-dimensional space and 2) I have the most single bizzare image of the week, not from the weird duel, but from our giraffe gets his head down to drink water in the lake with silver coins, while talking no less. Thumbs up for originality!

Posted on 6 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

I bet most of us coming out of this episode feeling a little underwhelming. Where’s all these revue duel? Where is the talking giraffe? To its defense though, this week builds the central dynamic of our main Karen and Hikari, and giving the rest of the cast the whole “we are together” vibe. While one could argue these members looking out for each other plot thread goes against the competitive duels to pick out a “Top Star” Revue Starlight has accomplished for the last few episodes, I think it’s rather appropriate development. These 9 girls, as competitive as they are, still need to work together as a team for the Starlight production. So in fact they’re not unlike idol girls who work together for the group’s benefit. That doesn’t mean I’m selling short these girls’ dynamic towards looking out for Karen and Hikari as they’re well over their curfew, these are charming moments, especially the way Claudine speaks nonsense French and Futaba and Kaoruko have to tiptoe around the hallway to cover these girls. I like what we see so far and I guess I would become more dramatic when these girls who obviously enjoy their time together have to fight on a surreal audition later on.

So this week Revue Starlight focuses on our main duo Karen and Hikari. I enjoy the way the show highlights the girls’ lack of emotional bond by the showing the physical distance. Karen leaves out of campus and Karen goes out her way to look for her. I also enjoy the way their communication getting better as the day progresses. At first we have blurry pictures that prompt Karen to pick a totally wrong location (the miscommunication?), to Keren figuring out of aquarium but ends up in the wrong aquarium, then they have phone conversation together which is actually their first heart-to-heart conversation since Hikari moves back to Japan and finally, they meet up face to face at their destined place, the Tokyo Underground. For whatever the aquariums might represent in terms of their relationship or Hikari’s psyche I have no idea, but them meeting at the Tokyo Tower feels like a long-awaited fated encounter. From this point on I’m certain that they’d work together as the duel.

What they exchange over the phone is also important. They recall on the past they shared together, about the initial inspiration and their promises that basically shape their lives the way they are now. Hikari might be angry with Karen for losing, but it turns out she doesn’t know more about Revue audition compared to Karen. As a result, while this episode is indeed the Revue Starlight’s breather episode, it’s still an important one to establish all the bright sparks that these relationships bring (notice that the cast goes for usual pairs this week, I don’t suppose it remains like that as the story kicks into gear), also develop our main Karen – Hilari so we have reasons to care for their goals, so that when it’s time for these girls to “destroy” each other, it adds up in context. I still feel the confidence from the production breathing through in every detail of this episode.

Posted on 30 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Well, we have a slower week of Revue Starlight compared to the first two episodes, mainly because the first half is more about setting up the girls’ dynamic than introduction. It’s not a complaint, either, since this week we see the girls go for different pairing, as a result they create a more complex web of relationship now. The audition duel this week is a classic “two steps forward – one step back” for our main Karen, as she fight the Top Star and realizes how much of a gap between her and Maya Tendou. If I have one issue during the episode, it seems so random that Karen fights with Maya because there’s no proper setting up prior to the underground audition. Other things stay ambiguous without any actual explanation and so far I pretty enjoy those. There’s apparently another duel happening simultaneously with Karen’s fight, for example, but for whatever purpose and even what those fights even mean remain a mystery.

But in this episode 3, we learn a lot about other cast members of the Starlight team, so let dig it up. First, we have Banana who steps down of the acting role in pursuit for production design. I suppose we learn more about this development once we get into her episode. For now though, it feels like a set-up to get every piece into place. On other notes, we get a better look at the duo Kaoruko and Futaba, but amusingly when they’re separate. Futaba, the most boyish character of the group, is the only member who aware of Claudine’s struggles to surpass Maya, as we see last week she lost to the fight against Maya. That, however, doesn’t explain why they battle at the end of the episode (another note: Futaba uses an axe as her weapon, an interesting choice). At the same time, Kaoruko proves to be more than her sleepy, spoiled appearance, as the way she talks signify that she’s a calculated, and maybe a bit manipulative character. The character that receives the least treatment so far is Hikari. We don’t pretty know much about her apart from her tsundere act which kinda get on my nerve in the beginning of the second arc.

I also noticed there’s a theme for each audition’s sword fight. Last week, it was “Revue of Desire”, this week, it’s a “Revue of Pride”. Now whether it’s mean those are the themes of the week, or about the personality from a character Karen has to fight is up in the air, but I’m leaning more about the latter. Maya is full of pride, and the main conflict between her and Karen is mostly about the idea of every woman for herself (Maya) vs I fight for me and my partner (Karen). The visual motif of the fight shows how out of depth Karen is compared to her opponent. Maya is always stationed at a higher place, and everytime Karen tries to climb up the ladder, she immediately fails. This fight also serves as the reality check for Karen, that in order to achieve her dream, she has to put more efforts. In addition, Hakari isn’t pleased at all the way Karen put everything down the line for her sake. It means nothing for Hikari if Karen is the sole person who work for the goal. Despite it’s a less dense episode compared to what we had seen so far, it’s still a pretty good week for Revue Starlight, all things considered.

Posted on 24 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Please check out the Starlight theme to get in the stage-dueling mood.

This show climbs up to be my favorite show of this season. It has all these elements that personally are my cup of tea: many layers of symbolism, a surrealism sense and a stage duel set piece that is even more impressive than an actual action show.

Disguised itself as an idol show with Love Live-esque character designs, the first half of the first two episodes could fool viewers thinking it’s a harmless idol girls, until the surreal part comes in and sweeps everything out of its way. In retrospect, I couldn’t think any better way to turn the Idol genre inside out than this. In the genre, girls with different personality working together for the same goals, and they regard each other like a family members. Revue Starlight put them against each other instead, making it a whole lot more complex in character motivation and interaction.

But that was just an on-the-surface part of this show, so let’s dig a little deeper. What I love the most about Revue Starlight so far, is its sense of surrealism and its heavy use of symbolism. The way the show uses symmetric images and put Karen right there in the middle, for example, suggest that she’s the one in the central (ground zero), the place where the lead role usually occupy, and signifies that she’s the one who brings the cast altogether. Many have said that Revue Starlight taks an inspiration if Takarazuka theatre, and at the same times criticize some traditional aspect of it. Karen (or BaKaren), is a stark contrast to what the Takarazuka build around, and to a larger degree what this Starlight audition is for. The audition is about exclusion to pick out the top star, yet she wants to include everyone together. In Starlight, the girls fight for themselves, yet Karen fights for the shared dream of her and Hikari. The talking giraffe asks her to leave when she entered the audition ground for the first time, yet she basically gate-crashing the audition. She has a great role so far that compatible to Utena’s role in her series. And that isn’t a far off comparison either since the ballet duel reminds me strongly of Utena duel, for good reasons.

I also like the theme of individualism in the focus of unity. Like the way Revue Starlight shows their costumes are mass-produced or the use of mannequin. To become a star, they need to stand out from the rest. And the girl Junna really shines throughout this two episodes. She’s in the position where she’d devote every effort to become a main star, yet she knows doesn’t matter how hard she tries, she can’t close the gap to the top stars. I reckon that her arc is basically done now that she accepts “her lose”, but knowing this show I know she won’t get sidelined in the service of the plot. We have a total of 9 girls in this series but judge from the way this show treats Junna, I have a good faith that Revue Starlight will develop them thoroughly.

In addition, the stage duel is simply stunning. It’s bizarre, yet gorgeous to look at and it has so much personality on its own. Now, it’s when the surrealism really kicks in. Many of its images: like talking giraffe, Karen get pushed down the Tokyo tower, might or might not be real. But it makes sense. You could take the stage duel as a battle to survive, as an audition,as a performance all you like and it still works. As a final notes, there’s some hints that we’ll have yuri undertone and for that I say: Bring it right on.

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous3437600
dragon ballsy
one piece
one piece
Kaiser-Eoghan
ahahahaha so that was it, she is voiced by Kana Hanazawa.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that came to mind when watching that quintuplets show, somehow the archetype I ended up going for was Ichika's character somehow. Never usually the case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know usually its fairly consistent, traits I notice/like/am attracted to most in a character's appearence and then there are those odd cases where I somehow end up finding a character attractive or something that I'd usually never.
AidanAK47
Search box is up there ^^
Anonymous3433242
overlord
Anonymous3433242
overlord
SuperMario
Glad to here you have brand new one coming up Kaiser
Kaiser-Eoghan
New computer on its way now, 24 inch screen, wireless everything, 1000gb, got it for only 800 euro.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The current laptop I've got on loan I'm using is kind of a pain to use, makes doing anything including typing/posting/watching slow, its a ropey old windows millenium edition laptop that I'd stopped using years ago.
@Amagi: Also a sequel to legend of koizumi has been translated.
Amagi
@Kaiser: thanks for the links!
Amagi
Just bought the parts for a new gaming PC and assembled them. Love my old PC but modern shooters and HD rpgs are lagging too much as well as drawing programs. Welp.
Anonymous3430884
Get well soon, Kaiser’s CPU!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dammit, my main computer crashed suddenly, see you all in a few days to a week maybe =< borrowing someone elses laptop.
Anonymous3429052
Dororo or Durarara. That is the question
Vonter
The cutscenes in that game kinda look a bit off, like with the Dragon Prince show they look a bit choppy.
Anonymous3425269
Personally, I'm really hoping that Orange did them so they can gain more recognition working on a big franchise.
Anonymous3425269
I'm guessing Orange, Polygon or GEMBA did the CG cutscenes for the new Fire Emblem. They look too different from Echoes' CG cutscenes to come from Khara.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was always the second Zelda game I never played, that one is frowned upon.
Vonter
I see Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time as two halves of a single whole. Ocarina had the standard story but expanded from what was set in A Link to the Past. Majora's Mask has more in common to Link's Awakening being more about the characters you meet, and even Link himself. I think one has what the other doesn't. Ocarina had better dungeons, but Majora had more involved and menaningful sidequest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The remastered ocarina of time soundtrack is some of my favourite videogame music out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also loved the freaky-ass whip arms final boss too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It seemed darker too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hold the unpopular opinion of liking majoras mask more than Ocarina, it was a harder game and it felt bigger, there was more side quest stuff to do aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Similarly, its be so very long since I played it, it was all the way back in 1993.
Vonter
I don't remember disliking it but I don't recall a lot of things. I mainly remember the ending, the animals and bit with a Goblin king that reminded me of The Hobbit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember loving the end theme music too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its not ranked among the best Zelda games, but links awakening was the first zelda game I played in the early 90s, I also remember they re-released a colour version of it too that allowed you to do extra stuff with the gameboy camera and printer.
Vonter
So Nintendo had a Direct. A sequel to Mario Maker, a remake to Link's Awakening, a Tetris Battle Royale game, a new game from Platinum games called Astral Chain, a school type Fire Emblem, etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Also new Putin isekai chapter is out.
Vonter
Apparently there's gonna be another iteration of Bem. With whole new character redesigns. I suppose at some point they felt they needed to update them, since 4 iterations looked very similar and may come off as too retro for today. https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-02-11/twitter-user-compares-latest-yokai-ningen-bem-designs-to-previous-installments/.143177
Lenlo
I just hope they actually do something with the leg. Its been used as a cliffhanger 1 to many times for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was good seeing a more serious side to the twins and I think Haiji's leg issues will provide some good drama.
Anonymous3421320
lol I think it's more like an orthopedic check-up. That strain from the race must've gave him concern about if he's able to run the Ekiden or not under this condition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Ahem* excuse the gory joke =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh my God! Imagine if it like got cut and amputated off or something like that scene in gone with the wind! It'd be like....GONE with the run with the wind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like we're getting more on Haiji's leg again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I guess if I was asked why I did anything, including if it was some game/sport or if I was a runner I'd probably answer the question by saying I was in it for a laugh or for a genuine good time because it'd be something I'd be enjoying.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Dororo was awesome. This was a great week and arc. Mio is best girl.
Lenlo
Look, if the ending can make it work, I will forgive the CGI runners. But you have to admit, they don't look good
Anonymous3419991
@Lenlo But for now, you'll just have to grin and bear it when the next preliminary races prior to the Ekiden use CG for the background runners.
Anonymous3419991
I heard from a novel reader that the book is 10 chapters long, and this is currently adapting chapter 8. Chapter 10 covering the Ekiden is the longest part of the novel and will probably be covered in 3 episodes. Hope IG is saving all their resources on this finale judging by the CG used in previous episodes.
Anonymous3419991
It's also great to see how far Kurahana has come since the start. Even when confronting Sakaki being arrogant and all.
Anonymous3419991
And so this episode of Kaze ga is a breather episode, but we do get some more character development with the twins. It's nice to see Fujioka again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I would happily have watched two more episodes of this arc in dororo.
Lenlo
Well alright
Fuurophausiyuder
Speaking of loving hell fonts, I notice that the review body text, and this text here are both sans-serif; which sort of princess of variable typefaces is not present for this readability bit to land?
Fuurophausiyuder
Dororo is awesome for just the hell fonts. I kind of expect on-brand gazebos (the temple to the 10 demons) to sell well this summer at Lowe's, Restoration Hardware, RH, wherever it is actually okay stuff derives, etc. I was kind of hoping the transitional story would lift all transitional boats, but that storyline has gone to soil microbes in the USA diaspora (though you know, stay classy PR.)
Fuurophausiyuder
Kemurikusa is like Kemeko DX if all the chemicals were fentanyl and the promise of a plot muted by lingering death were only ever expected to be a possibility. What had anyone watching ep. 3...5? Clinical use?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also glad that tv anime like this is allowed to be so violent in this day and age.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest it really is the only new show this season I currently especially care about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read the whole Dororo manga and I think this weeks episode was every bit as moving as the manga was while building on it. I think if adapted correctly dororo (the character)'s backstory, the stuff with Daigo's son will be a highlight. I do think they could get rid of shounen shark guy though later on and not bother including him.
Anonymous3415569
The other thing, is how both this and She Ra have the same premise of the main character changing from the villain to the heroic side. I don't know if that's a good pattern but it's and interesting way to build a female character in which the relationship with their old friends is a way to add pathos.
Anonymous3415569
It felt like a new version of inspector Gadget could be do like this. Considering how it frames the criminal organization (for kids). And also maybe a crossover could work?
Anonymous3415569
I watched the Carmen SanDiego Netflix series. It was ok. I did like the simple visual style and Saturday morning vibe. It's clearly more for a younger audience, yet it wasn't that boring. Still all I could think about while watching it were 2 things:
SuperMario
Kaiser, make sure to check your inbox
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bothanons: Issues on both sides of the spectrum.
@Wooper: Its the politest take you could get on that premise.
@Mario: I think the anime skipped some stuff from the after the rain manga, I should probably read the manga.
Anonymous3412482
Edgy 14 year olds everywhere
Anonymous3413183
moralfags everywhere
SuperWooper
I heard that show was about a teenage girl's crush on an older man. Sounds pretty problematic to me. I'm with the rest of the Internet on this one.
SuperMario
Apparantly the other side of anime fandom (the internet) doesn’t watch Koi wa Ameagari
Lenlo
The reddit anime awards are done! I did it! I was on stream! Oh joy. Can talk about this now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: I have decided to adopt the same approach for the new True detective season also.
niello
@Eoghan: Exactly my thought three episodes in. I wish I realise it before I picked up the show, because I definitely need to watch those three episodes again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to watch new boogiepop at some point, but I'm just hoping it ends so I can just marathon the show, it'd be too confusing to watch once a week, instead of straight through in one go.
Amagi
Oh I just realize it's the same team as HnK well that explains that.
Amagi
@Aidan: Unsure too about the trailer but it reminds me more of Houseki, qualitywise, and less of all the other bad CGI shows. I have hope. Same with Vinland. Trailer had some CGI and Thorkell's design feels a bit different but aside from that it was good.
Anonymous3402245
sangatsu
SuperMario
@Kaiser: The selection isn’t out until April. Heck, they haven’t annouced the head jury yet
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should really watch Shirobako one of these days and on the manga end, read Kurozuka as I remember the bit I did read was quite different from the anime (which I loved).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I don't know if the film selection for Cannes this year is out yet. Though it'll be a while before I get to see them.
SuperWooper
Noice.
SuperMario
Is it OK to brag here? I’ve just got the acrreditation to Cannes Film Fest this year baby. Will look forward for that one
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched it years ago and thought even though the first half was poor it picked up in the second. Maybe if I rewatched it my thoughts would change.
Anonymous3400512
Majestic prince is really bad man
Anonymous3399383
kemurikusa
SuperMario
Damn, just looked at the teaser of Beastars and I’m hooked. I’m hyped for the show
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: Beastars is a good choice for them yes, as was Houseki no kuni, Majestic prince which they co-made was really underated back when it aired.
niello
I like how Orange Studio seems to have good eyes for manga. And it looks as if they are trying to go for stories that lets them avoid animating normal humans. So, ones that are more compatible with their CG visual. It'd be nice if this lead to some manga adaptation that won't happen otherwise.
Vonter
I think people get too worked up on Shield Hero. While not a great show, I have found it entertaining. I suppose the underdog aspect also got meta. With that said, I think if instead of the heroine reapplying the slave contract they should have made a contract or something like that, that felt one-sided.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually have more confidence in the cgi if its done by the houseki team.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: When I talked to amagi about Beastars I don't think I ever heard your views on it. Also from what I recall you haven't read Vinland?
AidanAK47
Yep, full CGI for Beastars. I am somewhat half and half on it as the clip isn;t bad but I am a bit too used to the style of the manga.
https://youtu.be/S6H1qskbEIg
Lenlo
I dont expect the CGI to be bad. WIT has experience because of AoT now, and the boat/open ocean can profit from it a lot more than character models.

For Beastars, if its the Houseki no Kuni team, I wouldn't worry until we see a PV
Vonter
Maybe CGI wouldn not be as distracting if characters aren't humans? I mean the Star Fox Zero short was very good looking and it was full CGI.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Full cgi I think for beastars adaptation, although done by the people who did houseki no kuni so there could be exceptions made.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't expect them to try and cover his post childhood. They will probably stop at the farm arc. There will be cg, I hope it won't be intrusive.
Lenlo
Ey Vinland pv is out! Looks good! I cant wait
Animosh
@Kaiser: I'm pretty sure Yuki's family issues will be addressed later on, this just wasn't the time for it. So far the show has always followed up on the character arcs it has introduced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that feels very different about huge detailed art aswell on the other end more simpler styles, in comparison to alot of the generic moe style we mostly see now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And while I am on different artstyles, I bloody love Ryoichi ikegami and Suehiro murao also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Complete different art too, cartoony even.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Years ago I read almost of Yoshihiro's stuff, although I never got around to finishing a drifting life by him, I also read that Mizuki guy manga i mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been wondering about this for a bit, is anyone on here familiar with the Gekiga period/wave of manga from the 50s and 60s to very early 70s? Such as stuff the by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and also Shigeru Mizuki's Onward toward noble death?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I was right in there with them waiting to hear the results.
Anonymous3391737
They took the words I was about to say right out of my mouth.
Anonymous3391737
Late to the party, but man this was a good episode, iffy CG runners aside (though I hope that'll be addressed in the BDs). I'm so glad they were able to qualify.
Lenlo
Hmmm I cant wait to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
This cast has grown on me. Also while I would appreciate followup on Yuki's family, I actually don't mind if the show didn't, because this series manages to say much by saying little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm glad that even though it showed then in a top ten list, they weren't up the top of it. Its more believable that way. Also who'd of though a race would be so tense?
Animosh
Also happy to see that the twins will get some spotlight next week. Aside from Musa they've had the least development so far, so they can use the attention. I also like that someone's finally raising the question what the point of it all is. If you have no chance of winning, why compete? It's a valid question, and I'm looking forward to hearing Haiji's answer.
Animosh
Haiji's injury was less of an issue than I expected: he even finished as "best of the rest" (excluding the leading group). Looks like it'll keep simmering under the surface for now. The fact that it was highlighted again probably means it is going to play a big role in the story eventually though.
Animosh
Anyhow, you can't always get everything you want, so whatever. It's still a very good adaptation overall, with some of the most impressive animation out there, and with some luck the cuts were just a one time thing and the rest of the season will be consistently well-paced. And if not ... well, the Claw arc is less "deep" anyway, so cuts will be less of an issue there I think.
Animosh
And just to be clear, I also agree that the episode elevated the source material in many ways: the aspect ratio nonsense aside, the episode looked incredible, no question. But my complaint is not with the animation, but with the storytelling, which - although by no means awful - could have been a hell of a lot better.
Animosh
@Anon: I agree the two chapter rule isn't perfect, and when there's a lot of fighting a faster pace is often preferable. So maybe an additional episode would have been too much - again, I don't remember how much was cut exactly. And of course, in the end pacing is a matter of preference. I loved this arc in the manga, and I'm probably more negative about cuts than you guys just because of that.
Anonymous3390450
@animosh Ill always remember this episode and laud it for it was able to accomplish. There are so many things it did to elevate the source material. Everything it covered from the source material was elevated in animation; the only issue was that shit got cut, and it's a bit unfortunate because i think it could have been easily avoided. Like lenlo said: a part of our gripe comes from our manga exp
Anonymous3390450
@animosh as a product of the previous season and episodes leading up to this, but it would have been even better if we got to share the experience mob had in mogami's would. The dread and isolation mob was meant to feel was communicated artfully; but that third element; the experience; that was what was needed to complete the trifecta and cement this episode as THE perfect adaptation.
Anonymous3390450
@animosh influences mob, we are missing one more element that would have completely sealed the deal. By BONES cutting out what they did, they took away from the viewer the EXPERIENCE mob went through. Losing that aspect, watching mob's journey through mogami's illusion, slightly hampers the overall impact his breakdown and his use of his powers against people. Most of the impact is still there
Anonymous3390450
@animosh despite my criticisms, i thought this episode was fucking great. I think the directing captures the dread and haunting oppressiveness mogami's illusions were meant to have on mob quite well. The adaptation communicates well what mob went through and why it broke him. What my criticisms amount to is that while the direction communicates well how mogami's macabre thinking eventually
Anonymous3390450
@Animosh that 2-3 chapters pace is not really a reliable rule, because that standard is completely dependent on how much content is in a particular chapter. The second half of this Mob psycho episode adapted like 3 or 4 chapters without feeling rushed; why? because those chapters the second half of the episode adapted were all action scenes, which when animated, take up less runtime
Animosh
Maybe I've just been spoiled by that other big Bones adaptation, My Hero Academia, which not only has great pacing but even adds high-quality filler to improve on the source material. Compared to that ... this was rather disappointing. But as Lenlo said, the episode did still do a lot of things right, so I didn't hate it or anything. It's just that it could have been much better still.
Animosh
@Anon: maybe that would have been enough (it would certainly have been an improvement). It's been so long since I read the manga that I don't know how much was cut exactly. But in general 2-3 chapters per episode is the pace adaptations should aim for, but these two episodes covered a whopping 8 chapters. That's just too much, especially for an arc where build-up is so important.
Lenlo
I think a longer episode, cut the OP, squeeze out every minute, would be better than a whole nother full episode.

Thing is, I think we are only a bit disappointed because we were manga readers. For anime only, this probably still hit all the right notes. And really, the entire episode is just straight fire animation wise
Anonymous3390290
@Animosh Nah; i don't think giving it 1 more episode would have been the answer, all it would have done is drag things out. What this episode needed to tape into its full potential was to be an extended episode; a 27 min ep that cut both the op and ed. If mediocre shows like re:zero can get 26 min eps commissioned out the wazoo then why can't a great show like mob psycho get that shit?
Animosh
I did still enjoy the episode as a collection of well-animated action set-pieces, but as a story arc just one more episode could have made it so much better imo.
Animosh
To use your example: no, an episode filled with suffering wouldn't have been fun. But now we barely got a glimpse of what Mob went through. The boy went through hell, and he was stuck there for six (!) months. Even so, he decided to forgive Minori, and his positive emotions beat Mogami's negative ones. In the manga that felt like a triumph, here not so much.
Animosh
But as a viewer (and a manga reader who's a fan of this arc), I thought it was somewhat disappointing. Yes, without the cuts the episodes may have been a bit less engaging, but I think that would have been fine all things considered. Build-up episodes are always less fun than the dramatic highlights, but they're necessary to make them land.
Animosh
@Lenlo: I understand why Bones did it this way, and I agree it would have been harder to make each episode engaging, get them to end at good points etc otherwise. It's also very possible they were contracted for a certain number of episodes, and if they want to get to the end of the Claw arc in 12 episodes some short cuts were inevitable.
Lenlo
Theres more, but I need to sleep and save some of it for the post
Lenlo
Both of them sacrificed their bodies for others. Her to make money for the kids, but willingly. Hyakkimaru for his family and clans prosperity, but unwillingly.
Lenlo
I think it would have made a fine cliffhanger, but not as good as this. Because this is a fantastic parallel I am writing about for the Dororo post.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Would that have made for a good cliffhanger
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: What would you think if the episode had ended with the shot of dororo's reaction and the scene with the girl and samurai was reserved for the start of next weeks episode?
Lenlo
Also, fun fact, the episode ending? The part involving Hyakkimaru? Anime original.
Lenlo
Great episode
Lenlo
She also covers herself up when Dororo mentions Hyakki can see the color of peoples souls. More foreshadowing. I loved it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: A yes, re-winding and paying more attention to her expression at the episodes start after finishing the episode and then going back to it I see the foreshadowing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Ah what better eyes you have for things than I do =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Perhaps yes it did show everything openly but I think it did it in a bleak, grim, non-exploitative, non-minipulative, non -overdramatic way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Shows how shitty it was too for women back then too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: But this is another great example of how gritty this can be and not holding back in terms of the setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Also that we see it through the most innocent characters eyes. I wonder if the manga or old series had that in there.
Lenlo
Yeah. I suspected it from the start, seeing her washing herself in the river, but it was very... blatant. Nothing to the imagination
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I was rather surprised at the frankness of the final scene.
Lenlo
Dororo so sad this week ;_; I love it
Lenlo
@Animosh, I was pretty happy with this weeks Mob really. I understand the pacing concern, but I don't see how they could have adapted it without having a single episode full of just suffering. It works for a webcomic, but not for a weekly animation I dont think. I plan on rewatching it in a bit and will see if my feelings change, but I enjoyed it. Still mulling it over narratively though
AidanAK47
@Firechick, New Anime reviews are automatically added to the review index on the header.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The choice to draw the characters as animals makes for something different to, with the character designs.
Animosh
@Kaiser: that sounds pretty great! I'll be looking forward to the anime then. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Dororo this week, that him getting his hearing back would actually be initially something he'd have to get used to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I actually only very recently saw zootopia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I initially mistook beastars as being a slice of life school series that had bits of comedy and that the animal thing would be just a gimmick. Ended up getting a gritty drama with well realized characters and world building and an addictive pace.
Animosh
The designs weren't as good as they could have been either (from the rather unimaginative ghost designs and sparkly eyes Mob to the dull background environment), and the action was a bit hard to follow at times (which wasn't the case in the manga). It was my favorite manga arc back when I read it, but it certainly won't be my favorite arc from the anime.
Animosh
Still not a fan of how Bones adapted this arc. The pacing was way too fast again, and the emotional climaxes didn't really land for me as a result. And although the animation was excellent as expected, I really didn't like the change in aspect ratio. The intention was probably to make the experience more cinematic, but the main result was that everything looked smaller, and therefore less intense.
Animosh
That's the manga series you and Amagi were talking about a while ago, right? Is it good? The plot description reminds me a bit of Zootopia.
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