Posted on 4 January 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sound! Euphonium 2

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that out of this world, in this day and age, which I will get to that later in my review. This is a sequel to Sound Eupho last year but I will keep the comparison to the first season to minimum in terms of quality because this season is great enough to be judged by its own.

The story is a direct continuation from the end of last season, as the Kitauji high school concert band just qualified from the qualifying round, now heading to Kansai region competition and later on, the National competition. Unlike the first season where the main dramatic events like Aio pulled out from the music club to focus on her study; the audition to choose the best players for the competition or the challenge to pick the lead trumpet arise and resolved around the development of the band club itself, the second season concentrates more on the band members’ personal issues. This change of focus is more apparent in the second half, when the show completely drops the band practice, even to the point of not showing the national performance at all. I understand this bold choice can cause disappointment to many fans who want to see the band in action, and moreover focus on individual character drama can cause the lack of cohesive theme; this shift of attention, on the other hand, also brings out some of the best character developments and intimate moments the show has ever achieved.

I will get to the negative part first. When the show concentrates more on character’s heightened drama, those dramas can be uneven and doesn’t add up much to the big picture. Two of this season’s acts for example: Yoroizuka and Reina act don’t play well for me because they have the exact opposite problems. Yoroizuka (the only character that I used by surname here, as this is how Kumiko refers her) is a secondary character who was suddenly given the spotlight and while her final confrontation with Yuuko and Nozomi was effective, the drama was resolved too quickly, Yoroizuka changed so fast that I personally don’t see her grow as natural at all. Reina’s affection to Taki-sensei grow to another level this season, but I’m not alone to say that this was the show’s weakest act because almost everyone can see the outcomes. That drama isn’t much to speak of to begin with; it’s a shame because Reina was my favorite character the first season and I’d like to see other kind of developments for Reina, any other development but this.

Moreover, sometimes it does feel like Sound Eupho stumbles around those dramas in order to “create the situation”; as a result sometimes the show loses its focus because it has to cover too many grounds (like in episode 6), other times some of the conflicts feel forced and calculated (of all time, Mamiko choose she decided to tell her parents to quit college on that stormy night, and “she quited because it has to be now”. Why?). While the Mamiko act actually turns out pretty great, those issues speak to the lack of single unified theme that made the first season so tightly constructed. The last issue, which was also the show’s biggest flaw, lied in the fact that when they focus too much on one set of characters for the drama, other cast members unfortunately don’t have much roles so all they do is hanging around and making the best out of little screen time they had. Reina, before reaching her act, serves as a shadow behind Kumiko; Shuichi becomes the unluckiest guy in the world and worst of all, Hazuki and Sapphire don’t have any development anymore, given that they are still billed as the lead characters.

In contrast, if anything, this season will be remembered as the season of Kumiko and Asuka. They are the heart and the soul of this season, and it’s a blessing to see how far both of them have matured in the end. Asuka has been one of the most complex character in Sound Eupho’s universe and the show did a damn fine job to underline her struggles with both her parental figures, as well as gradually peeling off the mask to reveal her true feeling inside. The most brilliant part of it was that she never lose her strong side at all, never in many moments we are allowed to see her vulnerable side, because it’s more that she becomes honest to herself, embrace herself to what she loves most and comes out even stronger than before. In additions, most of Asuka and Kumiko moments develop into the highlights of the season. When Asuka played that Sound Euphonium piece to Kumiko in episode 9, it was one of the best moments of the whole show, period. When Kumiko poured her heart out to convince Asuka to come back to the band, it was one of the most effective drama the show could ever committed. As the two getting closer and more honest to each other, it makes a whole lot sense that we have that final confrontation between them that warmly tied up this whole season together. This show indeed ends on a high note.

Kumiko also deserved to be one of the year’s best character here as she has changed a lot from timid and passive with no real passion into the one who is really honest to what she feels. Aside from her interaction with Asuka, her moments with her sister, while soft and never overly dramatic like other acts, feel all too real ans intimate on how siblings care about each other. The last few episodes when we follow her through her quiet tears on the train, her outbursts, her confessions were a joy to watch and each step she made feel like a natural progression. I have to give extra gratitude Tomoyo Kurosawa, the saiyuu of Kumiko, for delivering such a deadpan, plain but strangely distinctive voice of our main girl.

But what make Sound Eupho stand head above the rest of the crop lies in its production values. That 10-minute performance in episode 5 simply outperformed everything else I watched in recent years. KyoAni’s always known for their gorgeous designs and their attentive to make every little detail right, but this is just another level of insanity the more you get to know what they achieved. Almost every performance you heard in the show was correctly timed to their single notes (meaning that if you hear the character hits the notes onscreen, they were the right notes), the position of their fingers, their postures, even down to the preparation of the members before hitting the notes, were all accurate. Now imagine all of these in animation with a band of thirty something characters for the whole two seasons. I can’t even think how on earth one could achieve animating all that, let alone making it all flawlessly. They even go as far as making the echo of the announcement on the firework scene in the first episode, because they wanted it to be real (the city Uji is surrounded by mountains). No, something as insane as this don’t happen often, especially on TV-anime level, so to see it finally at the end of its road suddenly make me feel a little sad.

This second season is indeed a worthy follow up to the Sound Eupho the series. Just a bit of note that the score I’m giving above is for this second season alone, if I have to give a score for the whole series it would be 93/100. Sound Eupho is an install classic and for me is up there as one of KyoAni’s best works to date. As of this writing right now, there is one more novel about our Kitauji school that is more of a collection of short stories (like the real reason Aoi quit the band, or the story of Shuichi finally confesses to Kumiko) so I think OVAs will be the most possible outcomes. Otherwise we have the spin-off novels that focus on Azusa (Kumiko’s childhood friend) and her Rikka high school marching band and for now I think there’s a high chance that in the future KyoAni will return back to that universe by adapting this spin-off. Well, they better adapt it, or on that note, why not adapting Haruhi season 3?

Posted on 29 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

This original episode achieves something so simple: a reminder that the true ending is the new beginning. Now I understand why KyoAni decided to skip the National performance last episode, because we’re having the last performance this week, with all the memories from the past flooding in as the underclassmen play the piece as a farewell to the senpais, and I honestly couldn’t wish for anything more. Now that the third year students had retired, the second year is going to take over the club and the music band basically has to start again from scratch. Not really from scratch to be exact because the remainders of the music band are already National-qualified players. Yuuko, for her great development this season, totally is deserved to be the band president next year. For Natsuki though, it’s a bit weird to nominate a member who was cutout from the audition to be a vice-president, but Yuuko and Natsuki make a perfect pair so I’m done complaining.

Sound Eupho keeps defining the very notion of romance, huh? I never would have thought we ain’t done with confession. I originally brush Kumiko’s confession off as just “friendship’s affection” but no matter how you look at it, it’s a romantic confession. Which of course crush Shuichi’s love down the toilet’s sink, and eventually give an answer to an always-teasing-and-baiting relationship of Kumiko and Reina as just friends. Best friends. Over my dead body! At the same time though, I can see where Kumiko’s affection for Asuka come from: Asuka’s the one that Kumiko expresses the most, she pours her heart out to confront Asuka so it’s very understandable that when that someone is gone, she feels empty inside and realizes that she misses her. Now I kind of understand as well why the show pushed Reina’s crush to Taki to such extend. I am honestly not sure what to think about this new development. Asuka’s leaving now meaning that if there ever be a third season, Kumiko and Reina’s relationship still take a central stage and we’d never through with this baiting, ever. But judging that Ayano Takeda hasn’t written the sequence, instead focus on Kumiko’s childhood friend Azusa in Rikka High School in her next spin-off novel, I think the show is ended for good. At least Kumiko has a chance to talk out what really matters to her. She has grown quite tremendously since the beginning of this season. I am glad.

The band playing farewell song- a song we’re now all familiar with- is a nice wrap up to many past moments the band (and us) have spent together. I love the moment when Reina started playing solo, we have a next quick shot of Kaori’s smile. There had been much drama about deciding who played the solo part, and Kaori’s reaction here is as best as she could: facing it with a smile. Those other moments keep reminding us what a ride all this had been and the band grow and act like members of a big family. Speaking of family now Kumiko and Mamiko exchanging mails to each other (how cool that is! Even they all have mobile phones).

Sound Eupho has been a very solid drive and this episode perfectly closed everything up nicely. I left the series with a satisfied feeling of the warm sound of Sound! Euphonium piece. Judging this season alone, personally I think it’s not as strong as the first, just a slightly down because it focuses too much on band member’s drama, while at the same time kind of neglecting our mains, but it sure is a very welcoming follow-up to the first. Judging the show as a whole, it will be up there as one of KyoAni’s best works, both demonstrating their detailed superhuman production values that the studio is famous for, and at the same time this show feels like the studio’s most natural brainchild: a slice of life series that set on their very hometown, Kyoto. Full review will come probably next week, before the next season begins, so stay tuned until then. Overall I have a great time covering it, and frankly a bit sad to see it gone. But life moves on, so should we and here’s a toast for a job well done, Kyoto Animation.

Posted on 23 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

This could very well be Sound Eupho confessional episode. We get all the confessions of sort, for better or for worse. This is an episode that gives satisfied conclusions to many ongoing plots. While it also means that the show pushes forward Reina’s feeling for Taki-sensei for literally everyone to hear- which as of now we can pretty much take it or leave it. I will leave it at that- other pay-offs, particular Kumiko’s and Asuka’s, are intimate and heartfelt. Kumiko’s longing for her sister on the performance day is easily one of my favorite Sound Eupho moments. Sometimes you just need to say what hold you back out loud to the one you love. The fact that her sister played music, and to this extend, came all the way to see her play matters to her. The whole sequence was animated quite brilliantly as well, followed Kumiko as she rushing to catch up with her sister. I haven’t really sold on Kumiko’s sudden development for the last few episodes, but this moment comes just so natural and ties very well with her growth that it rings so true to me; not because it reminds me of my own story but because this is what I truly know Kumiko would behave. This is the kind of character moments that I’ve been looking for in the show.

The national performance is decidedly low-key. Very low-key indeed. We have been spoiled too much on Sound Eupho that we would expect another full-blown performance from the band, but this anti-climax approach is actually very fitting with the second half of this season: as the show progressed, they shift the focus on the musical performance to character’s arcs drama, that of course brings a fair share of both good and bad points. On the positive notes, this approach makes the show feel fresh with their attention is squarely on other issues. Do we really need to watch another 10-minutes performance again? Why don’t the show, instead of repeating the same approach, focus to something else entirely? And that’s precisely what happened: instead of that big performance that everyone been waiting for, their very next cuts show the members of the band sitting and interacting with each other after the performance (I love Reina’s just sitting quietly and reflecting here- “Sometimes I sit and think. Sometimes I just sit”-type of situation). I know I’m in minority but I actually enjoy all those small moments here, every member that we all know and care for all have their moments to shine through (but, where are Yuuko and Natsuki??).

This choice, on the other hand, makes the stake of national competition surprisingly low, even much lower than the local competition. I’d rather prefer of instead of that Reina episode last week, they could focus more on the third years feeling towards their very last performance. As the result; even though the band only achieved bronze, we don’t really feel they’ve earned it. Furthermore, that Reina confession sure feels awkward, as she repeatedly banging her head against thick wall. Taki-sensei actually did his best to deal with her confession. He could just easily laugh it off, or right out scold her; but he acknowledges that he appreciates the thoughts but he won’t advance the matter anymore. Now if only that love story is the central theme of the show’s next season.

Shuichi finally has a real moment with Kumiko we’ve been waiting for. This poor guy was shut down from Kumiko just because she didn’t care too much about him. Forget about him being a romantic interest to Kumiko, Shuichi is actually one of those few people who really understands Kumiko, especially about her and her sister’s relationship. Many readers think of him as one of the most underdeveloped character out of the show, especially when it comes to his fruitless childhood crush towards Kumiko. While I partly agree with this, just keep in mind that in actuality many of our characters just hang in there because they don’t have enough material to grow. Reina had been in Kumiko’s shadow for a good number of episodes before reaching her arc, and most notably Sapphire and Hazuki appear so far and few between for main characters. Actually, I don’t even know why they’re still labeled as mains in the ED. I just read through one Ayano Takeda’s interview, the writer of the books that this show adapted (a really informative interview I would add), and in there she said that the main purpose of Sapphire was to elevate the material until Taki-sensei arrived, because otherwise people just lose their interest prior to the band deciding to practice for National competition. That explains a lot on how their roles are minimal this season.

In the end, this episode actually addresses many character arcs quite nicely, but at the same time I wouldn’t blame people who think this episode is a disappointment. I would just say that your feeling towards this episode entirely depends on how you feel about the second half of this season. Seems like we ending the third book by this episode and the next one will be the anime-original episode so who knows what will going to happen, but it’s the more reason that the final episode is a must-watch for every fan.

And let the final piece begin…

Posted on 16 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

At long last we have a whole episode focusing on Reina after being sidelined for the whole season. I had my fears going to this episode as developing her crush on Taki-sensei isn’t the direction I want the show to focus on. As it turns out, the episode’s execution is quite good as expected from KyoAni, and they did what they could to close this little Reina arc down nicely before the National competition, but I can’t help but think that this is their worst effort of this second season, especially in a narrative sense as it adds very little to the show’s main narrative.

So the main reason Reina was so cold last week is because she knows that Kumiko’s hiding about Taki-sensei’s wife. Poor Kumiko who got betrayed by none other than Hashimoto-sensei (remember he was the one who spilled the bean to Kumiko as well. Girls, if you want to find out any secret, ask this guy!). The sequence where they are up there in the mountain is played out slowly and steady and I love the direction of this sequence, remind us of course to that terrific episode 8 of last season. Reina is the kind of person who knows what she wants, but when the thing she wants isn’t what she thinks it is, she feels weak and vulnerable. It’s pretty understandable for a girl her age to feel insecure about that. But she also walks a thin line from being completely rude by asking her sensei about his late wife, in an expense of Kumiko no less. That’s Reina for you. Always head on to do things, regardless of how everyone else feels.

By giving Reina a flashback on her first-time meeting Taki-sensei, it actually justifies her actions a whole lot better. So apparently, Reina had an issue of getting along with other people ever since she was a kid because she was… eh… rich. She met Taki at that time and it’s him who encourage Reina to play better. In Reina’s eyes, Taki was like a prince riding horse out of some fairytale and she did attend this school because of him (she mentioned that before but now we know for sure). I guess the time that Taki gave her a music piece was the time that his wife just passed away. Hearing him talking about her with such sad and sweetness is quite touching, and seeing him now try to accomplish her dream is sad in its own way. The problem with that is after he achieving all this, what’s left for him? Hmm, I don’t really see the point of visiting grave from the person you don’t know, but that scene is still a nice closure for Reina to really accept it and mature a bit after this.

With that we get to an end of all those character arcs and with two episodes remaining we will now focus wholeheartedly to the National Competition. I haven’t really noticed but the last half of this season we didn’t get to much band practicing, even at all. In a way, this show is a nice contrast to Yuri on Ice in terms of their approach: while both shows concentrating on the competition aspect, Yuri on Ice spends its time entirely on the performances and the character’s personality and growth are showcased completely during the performances (which actually very fitting to figure skating sport), whereas Sound Eupho focuses strongly on the band’s music practices and personal dramas within the members of the band.

This little Reina act is the total opposite with Yoroizuka act, as in Yoroizuka act we have a heightened drama; where the character changed sharply after it ends; on a secondary character we don’t pretty much care about, this act is about our core character with very little resolve to work with. For those reasons, I would say Asuka act is a definitive act of this season. Then again, relying too much on character’s development acts might be this show’s weakest approach; as for me my favorite moments in this episode are when the show explores little moments between various characters: Yuuko with Reina (Yuuko is actually the best thing this season had developed right now) and Akusa with Natsuki. It’s those moments that remind me that every character in the show have their own lives and issues. They’re not some stage characters who just sit there and don’t do anything when they’re off the stage light.

As a very unrelated note, I got bored and searched for the Daikichi Mountain the girls went up to this episode and it was real.  In fact, that school Kitauji High School is real (down to the uniform), so are every other schools (the marching band school) and settings. That fact seriously blows my mind! With all the RPG fantasy anime, harem anime and limitless amounts of high school anime, I take it for granted that everything there is a work of fiction, of someone’s mindless wet-dream so I don’t prepare for the show that based everything on its real settings. I always know that this show is realistic but now it’s the whole other level of realness, don’t you think?

Posted on 9 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

This season surely gives us too much of Kumiko-cuteness versions. After the fluffy little Kumiko last few weeks, the bedridden sore throat Kumiko, the surprisingly “always listening – always understanding” (such a pretentious slogan) Kumiko last week, what shades pf Kumiko is in store for us this week? Of course it’s an emo teary-eyes Kumiko. As much as a blank emotion when we first met her, this episode in particular shows us that she can express her own emotions, and on top of it actively resolves conflicts because she really wants to. That’s quite a development for our girl Kumiko to be that emotionally honest and I’m sure she deserved all the praise she got this week.

As contrasted to the Kumiko – Asuka showdown later on, Kumiko and Mamiko’s conflict was pretty quiet, soft but full of honest moments. The sisters don’t really make conversations to each other for so long, and the last times they talked there were a huge influx of misunderstanding from both sides, but to resolve the matters like this show how much maturity they both have become. It’s like the first time that Mamiko treats her sister like a companion, frankly tells her sister her issues in exactly the way she feels. That scene is layered by Mamiko literally cleaning up her mess (way too subtle KyoAni!), while Kumiko just stands there, cooking and listening. This is the most appropriate way to end their conflict like this, because ultimately Mamiko doesn’t need her sister’s help, she just needs her to understand. Like Asuka’s last week insecurity about being Eupho-girl, Mamiko was a bit jealous of Kumiko because she could do what she wants; while we know that Kumiko was thinking the opposite. The play of perspective is there to show us how they’re struggling with their own images. Speaking of perspective, my favorite moments out of this little drama has to be just after Mamiko said she was about to move out and said she’d be a little sad (don’t know about you guys but I personally find it real hard to talk about emotions to my siblings, just like Mamiko and Kumiko here), she looks at this little corner and knows that the place where she spend her childhood as home will be no longer her home. That feeling rings so hollowly true here.

But the most brilliance thing is how her sister’s drama helps supporting Kumiko in her “Operation Bring Back Asuka-senpai”. The event last week, powerful as it was, isn’t enough to bring Asuka back to the band. After all, Asuka’s main intention to invite Kumiko last week was because she needed someone to hear her out, not to resolve her conflicts. In her minds, the best solution has always been cutting herself off from the band, that’s where out Kumiko steps in. Yes, Asuka isn’t wrong about all that, but sometimes, just follow what you’re most passionate about regardless of any other things might be the best course of action. It’s no points to continue what you ain’t love doing. Be honest to yourself. Be a KID!! The showdown is atmospheric, tense and I love how Asuka lays bare what she thoughts about Kumiko. On that showdown, we have many shots from multiple perspectives: most of the time from Kumiko’s point of view, sometimes they pull out from different angles, sometimes they don’t even show the girls’ faces at all. Those shots aim to show us how much Asuka was still in control of the situation until Kumiko’s breakout. Kumiko’s body expressions after that talk is priceless. I can see so much efforts were put to make her gestures as expressive as we see here.

To align with the tone of this second season, this episode also leaves Reina absent for most of the time to do god-know-what from He-must-not-be-named (AKA spying from her teacher) and it looks like the next episode will focus on her crush issues with Taki-sensei. To be honest that arc might be the one I least interested in, because we already know the outcomes of this crush. Despite that, it also means we will have more Reina’s time so I remain optimistic about that arc might turn out worthwhile. Maybe.

Posted on 2 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

Two-third of this Fall season have passed and usually this is the time for our shows to reach to their full potential. Sound Eupho, comfortably delivers one of its best episode of this second season. As you can probably tell by the self-titled nature of this episode, our Eupho players are given as the centerpiece and what better way to end this week than a euphonium solo piece? Yes, this is the kind of development I want to see from Sound Eupho. I don’t want heightened drama when things resolve too quickly and seem to be forgotten soon afterward. I want this. In the end of this episode, things don’t really change at all. Asuka is still miserable and we haven’t deal with Asuka’s mother yet and there is no emotional breakdown, no tears. Just smile. We saw Asuka smiles as a mask to hide her true feeling from the start of the show, and in the end of this episode again we see her smiles, but this time it has changed. We get out of this episode feeling that we learn a lot better from these characters. Now, I have a glimpse of Asuka’s real thoughts, of Kumiko’s growing right before my eyes and of the great chemistry they share and those are honestly all I could ask for.

Let get to know Asuka a bit more after this episode. There’s two things about this girl that makes one of the most layered characters out of this series and the first is she knows exactly what she wants. Unlike the bandmates who keep practicing for golds and competition, she pretty much has her own hidden agenda. Starting Euphonium from a gift from her estranged father, she wants to play the instrument and no amount of efforts from her Mom can keep her away from it. After finding out that her father will be a judge for the National Competition, she wants to get her father hear her play so she cuts all the unnecessary band drama bullshit and pushes hard to reach the National stage. It’s a very selfish way of doing things when everything she does is for her own benefits, even at a cost of sacrifice something else (her friend Nozomi) but in a way she’s one of the purist band players out there: She plays Eupho because she really wants to play. She wants to play because she has something to express, be it her reach for freedom or her cry out for recognition from her father.

But there is another thing that made her role so compelling. Despite her carefree, uplifting attitude and her seemingly ignorant of her surrounding, she actually notices and cares about people surrounding her. The scene when Kaori tie up her shoes really highlights that quality of her: on one hand, the dark visual close shot of Asuka (something come straight from horror) indicates very well that personally Asuka don’t take it very well when others meddling to her own affair, but on the other hand she also aware about Kaori’s sincere intention of helping her out, hence the out of nowhere comment: “Kaori is cute, isn’t she” (because in Asuka’s mind that’s what cute girls do: trying their best to help her friend out). Even with her own relationship with her Mom, Asuka disagrees with many of her Mom’s decisions but “Once a Mom, always a Mom” – she knows that her Mom raised her up so she respects her all the same. This week she notices something about Kumiko that she knows that she could talk honestly to Kumiko. After all, sharing is caring so it’s nice to see Asuka open up her issues to Kumiko (the best part here have to be how Kumiko declared that she loves to hear Asuka’ sound… well, that special thing about Kumiko)

Kumiko just getting better and better at carrying her own weight lately. Like I mentioned before we follow every action through her perspective, we see what she sees (that shot where she nervously peeks through her senpai in a locker room really demonstrates it), so far she appears as plain as possible (kudos to both her voice acting and her passive personality) to not distract us so much from the main storyline. But in this episode the show suddenly gives her a spotlight for her to shine. I said “suddenly” because it’s kind of abrupted if you ask me since out of the blue, there were 3 different people complement Kumiko’s quality this week. First we have Natsuki, then Reina (My favorite part really!) and finally Asuka. So everyone been saying that our main Kumiko has an ability to understand people, doesn’t seem to notice things but actually do and has the right words at the right time. REALLY? Because I fail to see any of her characteristics here and I feel the show’s really stretching this part too thin, repeatedly remind us how “special” Kumiko is (There’s something about… Kumiko – that’s an alternative episode title) but I have to say I enjoy all those parts so I’m happy to overlook this silly little details this time.

And the bond between our euphonist is excellent. I love that even a strong-minded skilled person like Asuka can actually be insecure sometimes, the way she feels that she isn’t good at euphonium and admires Kumiko as the true Eupho-girl, while at the same times we already know how Kumiko always look up to her with admiration. So Asuka is a human, after all, huh? The euphonium music that Asuka played at the end is anime-original piece written directly for the show and it was played almost perfectly in that scene. I’m completely speechless just to hear her playing: The sad music, the sceneries, Kumiko’s silently listening, all are flawless. It brings the masterclass in music performance (something we witnessed before when the band played their entire piece in Kansai region), while at the same time grounded by strong emotionally charge. This sequence will likely be remembered as one of the best moments in Sound’s Euphonium’s, period, and for good reasons.

Posted on 26 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

This week, the show delivers one of my favorite Eupho moments: as Kumiko and Reina quietly listen to the Euphonium CD, enjoying that little moments when the music is playing with drama or conflict yet to come. This little moment and the firework sequence back in the first episode are Sound Eupho at their best. They always excel at portraying characters’ little gestures and expressive reactions and those scenes allow our characters to sit back and breathe and let the atmosphere washes over them. While I don’t necessary disagree with their choice to focus on heighten drama and more in-depth characters this season, because we do need to know them a little deeper after 2 seasons, I do miss those little moments that the first season achieved so effortlessly.

So the big elephant in the room has finally addressed, as Mamiko told her parents that she wanted to quit college because she wants to be a beautician. She blames her parents for putting up pressure that eventually she had to study what she didn’t want to, moreover she was forced to quit the music band and now she just needs a break to all that. The way her strict father deals with the problems meaning that he won’t take no for an answer in everything he wants her to do; which is kind of suck. He does make a point when he said that it’s her who decided to take college so don’t put a blame game back to him, but that again is too harsh on his eldest daughter. But that family drama eventually points to the very relationship between Mamiko and Kumiko. If you notice carefully, this is the very first time that the passive Kumiko actually raises her voice to someone, because she freaking cares about her sister. Of course Kumiko doesn’t really understand her sister’s struggle, but it comes the other way as well: Mamiko doesn’t understand why her sister got so irritated at her decision like that. As this episode shows us many intimate moments when Kumiko were young, her sister was her inspiration to get into music in the first place and all Kumiko want is to play music with her sister. It’s only slightly hinted this week, but I can see that after her sister quitted the music band, it killed the joy to play music out of Kumiko (remember that in the beginning of season 1, Kumiko doesn’t want anything to do with music again) until she got swept up by the inspiration of Taki-sensei.

It’s a joy for me to be able to see Aoi back again this season, even with just a passing sequence like this one. Truth be told but I always found Aoi’s situation back in the first season the most resonant to me. I had briefly discussed this before but if I were Taki-sensei, I would think really carefully before pushing the music band to competition-focus. For me, it always seems too convenient for him to just let the band decided for themselves, then he just proceed to push the goal and cut all other craps. I know he wouldn’t mind if the band choose to just have fun playing music, but my main issues remain this: he should assist them to know all the consequences, all the pros and cons of these options are, because eventually if he pushes the band squarely into one direction, someone will eventually be pulled further away from that wheel. And that someone was Aoi because she can’t afford to have more commitment to music, but what get me the most was her comment later on to Kumiko that she never really regretted leaving the band. It all comes down to the decision we made and I know she made a right choice in her situation. But what is wrong with joining the band just for the sake of enjoying it as a spare time? Her role in the story, plus Azusa’s (the girl who plays in marching band in other school) gives Sound Eupho much more depth, because it adds another dimension to those who chase different pathways from our music band.

Although not actually appearing this week, Asuka’s mother air still lingers around this episode. Asuka has been kept things to herself so that her issue won’t be a bother to the band; but I’m still waiting, patiently, for herself to crack. She’s performing that happy persona so damn well that others don’t know if they should be happy or worry. She invites Kumiko over her house, which is a very abnormal sign, but that night might be the night that we understand her conflict in full extend. The show has been implied many times this week and it further confirms what I picked up last week: It seems like Asuka’s father is an Eupho professional named Masakazu Shindo (the girls even confirmed that it sounds like Asuka’s) and judging by Asuka’s attitude (the band comes first, cut the drama bullshit. But then again she seems happy just to play the instrument and doesn’t care much about the band drama), it seems that Asuka got inspired by her father. The reason I bought it up is because if that’s the case there is an equivalence between Asuka’s story and Kumiko’s own family drama: as both Asuka and Kumiko starting to play music as an admiration to someone, and then keep hanging on to the music even though that inspirations are gone. The strictness between the two families who pressure Asuka and Kumiko’s sister to quit the band to focus on what they think is better for their own child is another point of reference. Anyways, I’m pretty sure next week we will follow Kumiko to Asuka’s house to witness a rematch between Asuka and her mother and I hope this time we can really see what that girl is truly thinking about.

Posted on 19 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

After spending the first half of this season for second year drama and the regional Kansai competition, it’s only natural for Sound Eupho to turn their focus on the third-year students now. After all, National competition will be their last performance, so there’s a lot of meat to invest on. Now we know more about Asuka’s issues, her mother is an uptight parent who wants her to concentrate more on the entrance exam and forces her to quit the band. Apparently, her mother thinks the band is just a distraction towards whatever goals she wants Asuka to achieve because she “knows” what is best for Asuka. Well, I don’t need to point out the problem with this attitude, instead I’ll tell you a story that I know in RL. A friend of my friend (so I don’t personally know her) had her parents divorced when she was young and her mother forbid her to meet the father out of her own hatred. In high school, she decided to secretly meet her father by telling her mom she’d walk home that day and planned to meet him in front of school’s entrance. Unfortunately, her mother spied on them so as soon as the two met, she detested by jumping into the running car and of course that event scarred the girl for life (true story!). My point is this, when parents dictate their child into such extreme without considering the child’s own feeling (the same case here with Asuka), things bound to get more disturbing. There’s still something that only hinted very slightly in this episode about Asuka and her mom’s relationship. Her mom tells her that Asuka playing instrument is to get back at her, it might mean that Asuka’s father also played instruments before. We don’t know either what Asuka wanted to talk to Natsuki about, but really the way she acts like nothing wrong happened even though everyone knows how dire her situation has been actually signaled that she’s in deep trouble right now, and I know things will get worse later on.

Haruka and Kaori likewise have a good amount of development this week. Despite being a band president, it’s obvious that Asuka has more of an influence band members than Haruka and even she knows that she isn’t leader material. But that’s not to say that she isn’t a good leader and this episode really articulates well her characters and her personal struggles. First, the absence of Asuka leaves a bad mood to the band, so for once she stands up in front of the band and asks them to trust the senpais and keep moving on. It wasn’t a very good speech (but she’s never a good speaker to begin with), but it was the right timing to encourage the band to focus on their playing. Moreover, she was asked by Taki-sensei to performing solo, which of course made her nervous. She’s always good at staying behind the scene and supporting the band, so to become a center of attention isn’t really her thing. But she has grown too. She has grown to start embracing the leader role, be more comfortable with her own self-esteem, and that solo part really shows how far she has developed as a character throughout the series.

Now, to the time shift “one month has passed since Asuka stopped coming to the band”, it’s nice for Sound Eupho to focus on a specific narrative issue, but for me the show has always shined on making the band club as real and relatable as possible, and that included the messiness in narrative. In real life, issues and events come as random as the weather, some issues we already anticipated beforehand, some we don’t. That is why I really enjoyed the randomness and messiness of last weeks’ many dramas, because it feels like the very world we live in. Now, we just passed a month without any real moments, in expense of showing Asuka’s issues, and that take away the “real life” the show has built up to. I mean what’s about Kumiko’s relationship with her sister at that time? What about any other band member’s interactions? This is not their fault obviously as shows need to have focus drama and I frankly would do the same if I were in their position, but the point being I hope that they don’t push up the drama in the sacrifice of the naturalness of the show.

Everyone who watching this show know that the production values are overall top notch, even comparable to the quality of feature length movies; but here I want to press how attentive to details this show is. I’m not the man who judge the quality of the music played by the band, but by reading analysis from someone who used to play in an actual concert band (I’ll give you the links if you guys ask for it), most of the musical was played correctly, even down to the fingering, the notes they play, the position of the hands and bodies were all executed perfectly, and for me that’s just insane. KyoAni not simply done their research, but it feels like they animating the real concert band performing. The more I read about how correctly each segment played, the more I am blown away. Imagine they made it right for the whole 10-minutes performance by all the instruments played, now imagine they even got it right when the band practiced throughout this one and a half series-length. As it become a norm that the production quality would drop significantly towards the middle part in anime world, KyoAni’s consistency towards the quality, plus their willingness to get ever minor details right that frankly put other productions into shame. They set a high standard on how production quality should be and I don’t think there is many productions out there that could come close to it.

Posted on 11 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

After the performance in the Kansai competition, we get to a breather episode this week, meaning that there is no actual band training this week, instead we have school festival (geez, how many KyoAni’s school festivals have we witnessed already) and a stormy night where many things happened. Apparently, the show moves to the next arc of the season (we have a full color opening now. Love it), so it’s time for the show to focus on more characters’ development, and there are handful of character’s development to be found in this episode.

Now, let’s talk about Asuka first. Since the last few episodes we’re getting closer to the real Asuka, as there were many instances she dropped her mask and even said out loud what she really thinks. She might be one of the most complex characters in this series (the way she hides her real personality deep down inside), but that doesn’t mean she’s the most interesting characters out there. If the show fails to bring us into her perspective, we have nothing but the cheery, annoying fake Asuka. It’s about goddamn time now to get into her character arc. From the look of it, there seems to be a woman (presumably her mother) who might be the key to open Asuka’s inner mind. She has that strict look so I’m guessing without context for now that she doesn’t like Asuka to spend time playing in the band and that lead to Asuka having some responsibility issues, but I’m sure we will get the real answer soon enough. From what we did know about her characters though, she has a cynical outlook to everything and it’s always a question whether she really cares about the band and the performance at all. At the moment, it becomes clearer that she concerns about the performance and wanted to try her best for her last high school competition. Look like next episode will focus on her issues and I really hope the show will take proper time to heighten the drama, not to resolve it too quickly like that Yoroizuka arc. Speaking of which, am I the only one who found Yoroizuka’s affection to Nozomi very unhealthy? And after all that big talk from Yuuko about the problems of leaning too much to Nozomi, and that Yuuko treats her like real close friend (unlike Nozomi), she just basically devoted herself to Nozomi? (oh, and Nozomi seems to be back to the band without any more fuss. Good for her). Talking about creepy!!

Taki-sensei also get a good amount of development this week, as we realize how much he still loved his wife and where his determination come from. It’s good to see that Hashimoto-sensei and Niiyama-sensei back to help the club band as I mentioned before that they can still support Taki and through them we can know more about the past of Taki, but their immediate return made the whole farewell sequence last week feel rather pointless. The teacher himself sure doesn’t feel at all comfortable to talk about his wife or his past, and his conversations with Kumiko later in the car; while awkward, still deepen his narrative. There are only hints throughout this episode but it seems like this is Taki and his wife’s anniversary day, so even with the typhoon on its way, he still puts on his wedding ring and goes out the storm to buy her flowers. Even later when Sapphire conveniently points out the meaning of those flowers, the message is still beautiful. He, more than anyone else, really wants to take the National golds for his late wife and now understand that we can root for him. But still chasing the ghost is kind of problematic itself, right? Talking about problematic, yeah they really go for Reina’s affection to Taki. While admiration is certainly more of the case here, she’s actually capable of pushing things too far and I don’t really like that direction at all. Feel like she’s smashing her head against thick wall in this case.

And finally, this episode gives some more conflicts to our main heroine as well. I’m really glad that Shuichi is back (well, he never actually gone) after a rather muted last arc. The relationship between Kumiko and Shuichi still in its awkward phase, which is fairly normal for kids with opposite sex that age. Kumiko might be insensitive towards Shuichi, but she actually needs some interactions with boys (especially at friends level) once in a while. Focus too much on training and girls will do you no good Kumiko. I love their brief time together so I hope we will get to see more of them. Secondly, her home drama seems to take its turn now as her sister declared that she’s quitting college for reason yet to explain (well she doesn’t need to explain to be honest). As I had been through uni I know that the drop rate is always high and many of my friends eventually dropped out so this gives me no surprise. But it will affect Kumiko as she always looks up to her sister and now with this happen they get themselves into high-tension mode. It’s good to shake things up a bit for our Kumiko so I don’t mind some little drama and romantic plot revolving around her.

Sounds like I have complained a lot in this episode but truthfully I enjoyed the hell out of it. As a breather episode, there is not a lot happening but I love how all the little dramas are set up. Sure, they feel unfocused at times but that is precisely why it feels like the world we live in (now the more I think of it the more I don’t like that Yoroizuka’s arc): randomness but ultimately true to life.

Posted on 4 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Sound! Euphonium 2

What a bravura piece of performance! Usually if a show wants to showcase how good a music performance is, they’d go for cheap tactics like fast cuts, over-the-top sparkling effects, key still frames, and drawing reactions from audiences. Not with KyoAni. They’re confident enough, and of course talented enough, to play out the entire piece and let that speaks for themselves about the quality. This is easily the highlights of this season so far and will be the one that fans will keep coming back to.

But the first half by no mean is no duds either. By following Kumiko and the band go through a day leading up to the Kansai Competition, the show again excels in showing many subtle moments and development that blink and you might miss it entirely. First, Taki announces to the band that his friends’ duty has ended, which for me was quite sudden because I still don’t know what their real roles are in the whole picture. I think the reason they are presented is to support and shed more lights to Taki’s character, but they actually didn’t do much except being either an info-dumper, or an obvious setup for Reina to get fired-up nonsensically. I hope they’ll be back soon as I still don’t see the show used them to their full potential. While on the train, Hazuki (who sadly was under-developed this season) gives a really light but on-point touch on what she is thinking the upcoming tournament. Being one of a few who isn’t qualified enough, it’s understandable that she sometimes feels like she was left behind by her friends. But being Hazuki, obviously she’s sad, but she isn’t the one who’d disheartened by that. Instead, she vows to work hard to get her place for next year, and encouraging her friends to make it to the Nationals so that would inspire her is a really nice characterization by the show. Aiming to the Nationals not only mean a whole lot for the competitive members, but for the rest of the team as well.

When Kumiko got back home that afternoon, she receives a phone call from her middle school friend, Azusa (who briefly appeared in the first season). Her school Rikka High School will compete in the morning, moreover she asked Kumiko to not to speak with her that day. That again is a nice touch from Sound Eupho because the show keeps adding more perspectives from other cast, making more layers to the story. I totally agree with Azusa here, they might be ‘best friends forever’ but on that one day they’re competitors (I love how Kumiko keeps picking up her toes), and like Kumiko later said the amount of time and efforts all of them put in to practice for that one day affects pretty much everyone in the band, so “no one can think straight now” isn’t an overstatement at all.

I have to give it up for Yuuko for again being shine in her brief moments. She basically acts like herself this episode but the moment feels truly earned. Although qualifying to the Nationals is their goals, the team (especially the third-year students) knows that it’s a hard goal to reach. In addition, for the third-year students, this might be their last performance so they sometimes feel like they’re at the end of the road. This sentiment is echoed by Kaori this week as she tells Yuuko to keep looking after then band or Asuka last season when she said that the fun of practicing is about to conclude when the competition ends. But Yuuko points out correctly that their journey isn’t going to be done yet, let’s try and reach the Nationals together. In other notes, while Sound Eupho never really a show that is strong in terms of comedy, this episode has its absurd moments. Upon hearing Yoroizuka saying that the she will play a solo piece for Nozomi (which still doesn’t sound right for me either), Reina asks Kumiko if she can play the solo part for her. I know Reina isn’t the one who is easily affected by other people so this is really more like the show poking fun on the very notion of playing the piece for someone else. In fact, the very last moments of the episode when Yoroizuka expresses that she’s happy with the competition sadly is the weakest part in otherwise flawless episode for me, as I see for much of her struggle, she comes out as too clean a cut, the drama of her last episode pretty much resolved everything that I don’t feel her grow is natural at all.

But this first half’s best moments come directly from the speech of Asuka. As this show has many times addressed this issues, while Asuka isn’t the president of the club, she has a leader traits and clearly everyone sees her as more influential figure than Haruka the president. This time, she speaks up for the whole band and for once, she lets herself loose and being direct in front of everyone. She wants to try to reach to the Nationals. I noticed the brief exchanges between her and Kumiko during the performance and at this moments I’m not really sure what those exchanges supposed to be. The very nature of concert band is teamwork as everyone contribute their parts to form a collective whole, but for those from the same sections sometimes it means they have to fight each other for the roles. This will put our main Kumiko in an interesting position as Asuka and she both playing Euphonium. I reckon Asuka and Kumiko relationship is going to be the main focus for the latter half of this season, which I will totally be on board.

And now to that wonderful second half performance, it’s just simply mesmerizing. KyoAni always has been very consistent when it comes to the production values, but even with their standard the performance is still a standout. I noticed they used some footages from the previous performance last seasons, but overall the whole performance flows magnificently. Some might say it’s not fair to just focus on the band’s performance so we don’t know how good other bands are, but that’s essentially the point here. When the announcement starts, we’re rooting for them not because how incredible their performance was, but because we have witnessed how hard they tried to produce that piece of music so the results are satisfying because we know they deserved it. And you deserved it too, KyoAni.

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Vonter
It says something in a year of great videogames when I can really recommend a Sonic game. Sonic Mania is a good platformer, with great control, charming visuals, great music and level design that feels more readable than the last games I've played in this series.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Pres and delinquent girl is my favourite but I still hope the Kuudere couple shows up. This week was hilarious with the little sister trying to get back at her brother's girlfriend only for the girlfriend to know it was her immediately and start screwing around.
SuperMario
Mine is Takurou - Chizuru (the red hair boy and orange hair girl in this week's last segment. Maybe because I have a penchant for weird girl :/
SuperMario
Tsurezure Children... makes my heart melted again. Those who still watch it, who are your favorite couples?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and I will give you a review on... new spiderman movie or whatever. My friend drags me to watch it with her tonight, and I haven't watched any spiderman installment since the one in 2007. Well, whatever...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will review Hirune-hime tomorrow night hopefully. Also I have seen all his ghost in the shell work, Moribito and Eden of the east but never Cyborg 009 .
Kaiser-Eoghan
This was a long time ago however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember my dads car got its window smashed then stolen, twice =<
K-Off
@Kaiser Insurance by itself won't hold you back at all, but getting a new car certainly will. The down payment alone will set you back a couple grand and you likely won't pay off the car for about 2-4 years.
K-Off
@Aidan Jeez, my condolences. @Kaiser Auto insurance covers most accidents and the rates won't go up so long as it's not your fault and you have evidence to prove it (like a dashcam).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Financially will it particularly hold you back on things like rent, etcetera?
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, that is one of the big reasons I haven't learned to drive, fear of that kind of thing happening, actually I think that might put me off driving if it happened to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The car incident is an obvious assassination attempt and conspiracy . Easily avoidable by investing in transport by Dragon .
AidanAK47
@K-Off, Lightly hit the side of a Van coming out of T junction. Left light smashed,front bumper and bonnet damaged. Gotta pay for that and the vans side door.
K-Off
@Aidan Ouch. What happened to it?
AidanAK47
Yep. Crimson red. Maybe I was tempting fate.
SuperMario
@Aidan: you should blame your car because it's new and shiny it's more accident prone than others. Did you mention your car is red??
AidanAK47
Man isn't it great having a new car. It's also great when you crash your new car and now have to pay hefty repair fees. Fantastic. No injuries or anything but it's going to be a pain to repair.
SuperMario
Princess Principal write-up will have to wait this time tomorrow guys. Sorry for those who wait but nothing can stand a chance against my madness for Monogatari now
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still have a bunch of old anime vhs tapes in my attic yes, would take forever to list though.
movies4life
What to say about "one punch man" ?
movies4life
You have still VHS tapes as well in your anime collection ? (me 40)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hard to believe I've been at this anime/manga thing since I was 11 and am now in my 30s.
SuperMario
@Boukensha: for this site specifically most of us are like you. On and off with anime; burnt out, move on with life and back again... this why I believe the readers who read this site are slightly older than your average anime audience there.
OldManBoukensha
I think I'll call myself OldManBoukensha. Hope the name sticks (this is the anonyperson)
OldManBoukensha
Thanks for the recommendations @SuperMario and @Kaiser-Eoghan san! Sometimes feels surreal how time has flown, started watching anime and discovered psgels in uni... fast forward 12 years and I hit 30 this year. lots of great memories, eagerly waiting for blog posts for favourite animes like mushishi, seirei no moribito, FMA. ah good times. Thank you for taking the baton and keeping it lively :)
SuperMario
... and it's never too late to set up your permanent username now :)
SuperMario
@Anon1329673: if you had to pick up 1 show this season, then yes Made in Abyss. I'd also recommend Princess Principal as well. For slice of life office, Shirobako? There's a show running this season from the creators of Shirobako, not neccessary set in an office place but they are about adult working as well; the name is Sakura Quest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Hataraki man perhaps?
Anonymous1329673
whenever I visit here I wish I had picked a permanent username. been reading psgels since 2005 :)
Anonymous1329673
and do you know of any slice of life office life anime to recommend? I loved fune wo amu from last season. melancholic yet intimate, bittersweet anime
Anonymous1329673
Hey guys, what's the best show running this season? Seems to me Made in Abyss ? If I had to pick up one show, which one would you recommend?
K-Off
@Mario That's the most common method of getting compromised nowadays, even a lot of youtubers got their channels hacked because of vulnerabilities with the phone carriers.
Lenlo
So naturally, Reflection and Ranbu will be delayed tomorrow because of a move. Last for abit. I promise. Hectic time :P
SuperMario
alright, 18if down. Now's the time that I've been looking for this season. Go watch Owari nowwww
AidanAK47
Yep, the author laid out how he wanted it to end before he died. Can't say how the new guy did as the English translation of the novels has not caught up that far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: These were presumably written from notes left behind by the author? Is there a disconnect in quality between the non-original author novels and the ones he wrote?
AidanAK47
Also the Familiar of Zero novels are better than the anime. Now, not shakespeare but the anime did not really adapt them well. The novels took the plot a little more seriously while the anime went full slapstick with it.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I was talking about the novels, not the anime. Someone jumped in to write the last two novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course things have changed, its been so many years since I saw the initial seasons, I couldn't tell if I'd still care.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Didn't really work in familiar of zeros case though , third and fourth seasons were a decline.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A famous example was Itazura na kiss, author died from having stuff collapse on her , anime finished the story.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Likely not now that the author is dead. There are some occasions where people jump in to complete the work like Familer of Zero but in most cases it is just left unfinished.
AidanAK47
@Movies, Watched about ten episodes and then just never got back to it. I thought it was alright.
@Amagi, Indeed. Hopefully they won't be around that much.
Amagi
Apocrypha is pretty good when the MCs aren't around
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Movies: Yes, stopped after he got the powerup and then the manga went on a long hiatus, I liked the art though, the anime was tedious though, filler-y and censored.
movies4life
You guys remember d.Gray-man ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
...I think one of the two working on highschool of the deads manga died/
SuperMario
@anon1327403: funny that you mentioned Highschool of the Dead because I'm planning to watch that one real soon. But to answer your question, as far as I am aware of, no, there isn't any announcement regarding the new adaptation.
Anonymous1327403
Does anyone know if High School of the Dead will ever be picked up by another person
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm still watching stuff though, just finished the Cobra ovas last night, fun camp in the flash gordon/Barbarella vein, though it misses the soundtrack from the old 80s version.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love a good Bond type spy thingnow and then but I'd LOVE to see a more serious anime take on the genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If kakegurui is enjoyable in the same way a trash-exploitation film is I could see myself watching .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Count me in for those who weren't happy with the progress of abyss' manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again my gaming days are long long in the past for the most part. The humour in gamers would just turn me off now, I've lost interested in most anime comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was aware of ANN being down, for the most part I really only skimmed their articles. I wish sega would just put Sonic down, its been on decline for so long.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: have fun with whatever you doing in the next 10 days mates. And if you have time, sample Princess Principal as well
KTravlos
I will be off the net the next 10 days, so sorry if I do not answer any replies etc. Have a good time all! See you later.
KTravlos
took the hiatus of my shows as a chance to sample the current season. Saw first episodes of Kakeguiri, Abyss, and Altair. Kakeguiri and Abyss really did have great first episodes, that grab you. Altair was a bit too old-fashioned, but I will probably continue watching it. Kakeguiri had excellent OP and ED, while Abyss had in general great music. And yeah, you guys were not kidding about beauty
SuperMario
And I still enjoy Gamers thoroughly. Not sure if it can keep up with the misunderstanding mess about relationships from the main cast but so far the show is hilarious
KTravlos
so now I know about why ANN did not work. @Holystockings yes, again I should detest it for many things it has, but they pulled it off and I like it.
Holystockings
I'll be honest here. I would have never guessed that Kakegurui would have been this good.
Vonter
@AidanAK47 This year there have been a lot of good games. Too many to play seriously. I do wonder how deliberations would be since more than scores or genres I don't feel a all out winner, more than different games excelling at different things.
Lenlo
So finally finished Kado, and I have to say I am not a fan of the shark jump.
Lenlo
Really? Had no idea about the news network site
AidanAK47
Also too many games coming this month. SubaHibi, Sonic Mania and Ys Seven. Not to mention cold steel now out. I still need to get blood orange complete and in comes a small, medium and two extra large time sinks.
AidanAK47
And in other news Voltorn season three is out but only seven episodes long. With another fourth season coming in October which is 6 episodes long. I wonder why Netflix are spilting up seasons like this?
AidanAK47
So, not sure if anyone has heard this or not but the Anime News Network site has been hacked. Hence why you can no longer access it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: blancanieves was modern silent take on snow white, a different spin on the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fun fact, Mitchum appears in a cameo in the cape fear remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
ha, I wouldn't mind seeing a gag in a comedy manga series where they did a silent throwback episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The expressionist visuals of some of those silent films appeal to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My only issue with maddin is that he is hard to marathon, that style as unique and funny as it is only works in small doses.
Kaiser-Eoghan
La Antenna was another good example of modern silent filmaking. Annnnd, this one is SUPER obscure/rare: http://hawkmenblues.blogspot.ie/2013/11/yumemiru-yoni-nemuritai-kaizo-hayashi.html
SuperMario
It's like this: The Artist gets the "look" of silent film, but Guy Maddin's works get the "feel" of it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember Mitchum was in an underated remake of the big sleep...
...though you could really tell even just from listening to him speak he was a pothead.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree with you that Guy Maddin's works are more of a representative of neo-silent than the Artist (the Artist is just so... wide-appealing for my taste. It tries to please everyone). I always feel that Maddin is born in a wrong era. Had he born in the silent era he'd definately be a legend.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I don't blame the audience from the 50s who didn't get the film. I didn't quite get it the first time either but the film just keep growing on me. I remembet Robert Mitchum in his noir detective role as well, most notably his role in Out of the Past. The lead girl in that movie has a very typical femme fatale look as well, which mean she's gorgeous
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've been looking into Guy Maddin's work, its occasionally funny in an absurdist way and alot of the appeal comes from how strange his films are, while I think that film the artist was a good take on silent films, Maddins tributes to silent film are far more successful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: People weren't ready for night of the hunter in the 50s, one of those baffling situations that it flopped when originally released, frustratingly that director never got to work again. For me I think that was one of Robert Mitchum's best roles, along with his one in Cape fear.
SuperMario
Ahhh, clumsy finger. Whatever...
SuperMario
*Diary kf the Country Priest of course
SuperMario
Should get into Diry of the Countey Priest soon, but consider it's Bresson's movie I have no doubt it'll be hard to swallow. Also the priest in The Night of the Hunter
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: =) All priest films quiver before the might of Diary of the country priest, Nazerin and Winter light.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: in the same vein with Spotlight, right? 2016 wasn't a good year for priest in movies it seems
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, that guy also directed El Club, I liked that one, seriously grim story about exiled priests.
SuperMario
@movies4life: Gin no Guardian is a bif meh for me.
SuperMario
I watched No at the time of its release. Good watch although I don't remember much of it now. Not only they have the same actors as Neruda, those films are directed from the same director. This fude also directed Jackie last year that star Nayalie Portman as the First Lady
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Movies: The other Chinese anime attempts aren't any better I hear.
movies4life
Watch in a day the whole season of Gin no Guardian. Is have so much potential in story and animation but somehow something missing. maybe is just for growing up Kids
AidanAK47
@Anon, Like SAO season 2 then. Myself and a friend tried to watch that for the sole reason of taking the piss out of it. Ended up not finishing it because there wasn't anything to take the piss out of because barely anything happened each episode and it was so boring that we couldn't take it anymore.
KTravlos
I have seen "The Secret in their Eyes". A good film. I do recommend "Neruda", and the film "No" which as some of the same actors.
Anonymous1324414
People thought they were 'ironically' watching a bad movie until they realized the movie's so bad it can't even be enjoyed on an ironic level.
AidanAK47
I am not surprised that the Emoji movie is bad. But I am quite astonished that people seem to be surprised that it's bad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gah, I would hate that, having to put up with a kid in cinemas, having to see , having to financially benefit some anti-art film like that.
movies4life
and i watch Emoji with my daughter....I fall asleep
Kaiser-Eoghan
Secret in the eyes remake was pretty much pointless.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anon-The virgin witch
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am entirely too old to place any care or importance on whether I sleep with someone or not/ever.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am entirely too far behind to catch up on monogatari.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy the surrealism that is present in some Latin filmaking. As for secret in their eyes, its got that great stadium scene and twist later on, though some of the exchanges between actors/characters seemed awkward, overall while I liked it, it felt like an extended tv episode.
SuperMario
I'm also looking forwards to listen to their new OPs. Mnogatari's soundtrack is the only anime soundtrack that I bought a physical CD. Still listen to all those songs quite frequently
SuperMario
Since it is confirmed that there'll be 7 episodes, I think it'll be: Mayoi Hell (2 episodes), Hitagi Rendezvous (2), Ougi Dark (3)
SuperMario
So Owarimonogatari will air in 2 days. I honestly don''t know how I should review it (by episode? by each arc? by day? Rating or not?) but dang I'm gonna review it.
SuperMario
You can try another Latin American film, The Secret in Their Eyes (not the REMAKE one). There was a 10 minutes unbroken (CGI) shot that follow the leads in the football stadium to look for their suspect. Quite impressive
SuperMario
@KTravlos: I missed my chance to watch Neruda when it was screening in my local cinema; but I've heard good things about the film. People said it's an unconventional but effective biopic film. The more I watch Latin American cinema, the more I feel the unique charm from the area that I don't feel anywhere else.
Masky
Still, weird manga because its kind of increasingly obvious that the people behind Nana are the bad guys .-. They are just overly sinister.
Masky
So skipped third chapter and just read fourth chapter of Talentless Nana. Ok, seems like it might have more of hook now? Villain protagonist vs hero antagonist?(who also can't be killed off first because they are immortal, so she would need to figure out how to deal with him first)
KTravlos
@Anon. Nobody cares mate.

@SuperMario. Hey I watched Neruda last week. It was interesting. Have you seen it?
AidanAK47
@Anon, Well we can all make up imaginary sexploits, it's not really something worth bragging about. Perhaps fanfiction would be a better outlet?
Anonymous1323777
I enjoy posting on obscure anime blog chat boxes about my sexploits. ᕕ( ⏒ ロ ⏒ )ᕗ
movies4life
Just watch Ajin both seasons and not sure ...good or just ok
Anonymous1323481
Just watch Ajin both seasons and not sure ...good or just ok
Vonter
I'm also as of now noticing this Isekai trend. And to be honest the most disappointing aspect for me, is how formulaic the worlds are. This is also a complain in RPGs. But I don't get how like 7 or more of this, feels like the setting could be the same world. I don't know, I just think there should be ways to make each feel more unique.
Vonter
I went to Chicago and bought a Switch and lots of manga. I was happy with my choices. Murcielago is a violent buddy cop. Delicious Dungeon is a creative take on a dungeon crawler setting and funny. The 7th garden is a well composed manga, if anything a good example for sequential art reference. I also read several chapters of Mushoku Tensei, which is Isekai but heck it did made me care.
AidanAK47
It's like the difference between reading Konosuba and watching Konosuba. I read the novels up to date and while it's fine it's like reading the script to a comedy skit. It's not nearly as entertaining as seeing it in action. The animation and actors just added so much more to it.
AidanAK47
@Puran, I actually agree with you on that. I read the manga before watching the anime and couldn't really get into it. However I felt that things would change when seeing it animated and indeed it did. Currently I would place the anime adaption above it's source material.
Anonymous1321546
3000 Leagues in Search of Mother
Puran
@Anon, thank you for the update on your sex life.

In other news, I read the manga for Made in Abyss and I didn't really like it...? Felt kinda boring and soulless? While the anime seemed to have some sort of magic and wonder. It kinda spoiled my enjoyment of the Anime. I think I'll drop it for a while and marathon it later to let the bad taste from my mouth subside.
AidanAK47
@Anon, That's virgin talk.
Anonymous1320940
my girlfriend is coming back home and I am so looking forward to getting my cock sucked again. Sex starved since Wednesday
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Genuinely missed Tsugumi when her character got the axe.
AidanAK47
Getting the made in abyss post up tonight but it looks like the other two are going to have to wait. Kakegurui's sixth episode will be airing this week and Fate's episode won't be subbed until friday. I will see if I can get secondhand subs to do a writeup but I would prefer to watch it with UTW subs.
K-Off
The spin-offs are actually a good read because it's essentially similar to the opening few chapters of the main story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah seoul station, that director (or at least the animator) has done some other animated films that I've yet to get round to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Maybe a sequel or more spinoffs planned? I've not read any of the spinoff come to think of it.
K-Off
The film was interesting, but I remember I watched it after Train to Busan and its animated prequel so I found it lacking in comparison.
K-Off
I'll just say that the manga does not end climatically nor in any interesting way. It ends up focusing on a new set of characters near the end (what kind of writer thinks that's a good idea?) and rushes the MC's story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The film adaptation of I am a hero is better than it has any right to be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*sci-fi
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Everything after the sci-twist started going downhill. I haven't read the final chapter yet.
K-Off
@Kaiser Did you catch up on I am a Hero? Just finished it and...I feel like the series seriously fizzled out halfway through. I'd like to talk about the ending if you have.
Anonymous1318603
That is the best Anime site I can find.it let me not register.
Lenlo
Apologies, The Reflection for this week should be up tomorrow. Rather busy is all because I have a 4 month long project presentation tomorrow.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I think there may be about three of them in my county. I tried a Hybrid but it just didn't do anything for me. If it was out yet and if I was rich I would buy a Faraday FFzero1.
K-Off
@Aidan Right, forgot about that. I guess it really would be a problem out in the sticks, that's what hybrids are for I suppose. I don't know about urban areas in Ireland, but in NYC and LA electric charging stations are everywhere.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm having fun with it now; don't spoil it man :)
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I wanted to buy an electric car originally but was talked out of it because we don't have gas stations with chargers for one.
@Supermario, Ho boy. I often joke about fan-service series being porn but that show quite literally is porn. The story isn't deep either as it's omnibus format so the story resets every four episodes or so.
SuperMario
I am in the mood today so I finally checking out that controversial Yosuga no Sora - to see if it has any deeper, more intimate message or it's just a harem setting for soft-incest-porn that despise everyone. Wish me luck guys
K-Off
Yeah, that's a shame. But I think it's bound to happen, now that shot put got one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I would find it quite difficult to find a storyline that made mathematics enjoyable. Not a numbers guy, more on the arty side.
Anonymous1312485
I don't think I know anything Japanese young people hate more than math.
K-Off
On a tangent, reading Suugaku Girl got me thinking about why mathematics hasn't managed to slip onto the shonen hype train. Imagine all the possibilities for over dramatization.
K-Off
@Aidan Awesome. I have a 2016 Nissan Sentra myself. Maybe in eight years I'll be rich enough to get an electric car.
K-Off
Got my car back, the only pain was the 2 hours wasted at the DMV and the money I spent getting it back. $230 for towing+overnight storage fees, $100 for an impound release fee from the NYPD, totalling to $330.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: for an anthology film, Wild Tales is very consistent in tones and theme, mostly because thises tales are directed and written by the same guy (although if you put it that way it's not techically an anyhology film). I'm sure you'll enjoy the movie Kaiser
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've 20,000 something in the bank, I should travel. Haven't left Ireland since 2013. I want to go to Prague.
Total users: 30

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