Posted on 28 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. All that remained was for the creative staff to carefully transfer Takeuchi Tomo’s manga to the small screen, and they mostly succeeded – at least, in conveying its individual images and moments. But sports anime have evolved beyond an upper limit of simple panel-by-panel adaptations, and in the end, Ballroom didn’t manage to keep pace with its contemporaries. While its characters deserve some praise, both for their designs and their personalities, the series is limited by shounen clichés, haphazard progression, and an inadequate sense of movement during dance competitions.

The show’s lead character is one Fujita Tatara, whose general listlessness is gradually transformed into passion after he accidentally discovers ballroom dance. Tatara’s timid nature stands in stark contrast to the more dominant personalities he encounters throughout the series, and the show makes good use of that difference to portray Tatara’s personal growth in tandem with his improvement as a dancer. Though he is initially intimidated by rival characters both aloof and hotheaded, he learns from and ultimately befriends them as the series goes along. His relationships with three girls, all of whom serve as his dancing partner for some length of time, are even more central to Ballroom’s formula. Tatara struggles with the traditional notion of male-dominated performances, and aims to cooperate with his partners as best he can. There might have been some interesting social commentary to be had here, but the show smothered that potential during its second half by pushing the idea that its protagonist ought to become a perfect leader, but never satisfactorily explaining what that meant or how to do it.

Despite some muddled goal-setting, Ballroom’s characters are fun to spend time with, and worth learning about in detail. The show frequently explores performance anxiety, feelings of inferiority and stagnation, and even digs into the dark personal lives of its cast once or twice. But more common than these positive tendencies are competition-interrupting flashbacks and clunky comments from nameless observers, which become more common and more frustrating the longer the show goes on. Even Tatara’s biggest rival, an unflappable genius by the name of Hyodo Kiyoharu, begins seeing into the heads of other dancers by the show’s end, describing exactly what they’re feeling and perfectly evaluating their performances as a stand-in for the writers. This may have been necessary, however, in light of the show’s most glaring issue – for a show about ballroom dance, there isn’t nearly enough dancing to be found.

Many of the show’s problems intensify in its second half, but its poor dance animation is more noticeable in the early episodes. Even with an eventual uptick in the number of prolonged choreographed sequences, however, the damage is done at the start, with plenty of panning stills, reaction shots, CG dancers, and speed lines instead of honest-to-goodness dancing. Audience members aren’t given a proper introduction to the sport in motion, so we have to fall back on snippets of verbal speculation about whose stamina is giving out, or whether Tatara has finally learned how to execute a proper hold. This robs several key scenes of the impact they deserve, though others are bolstered by Ballroom’s frequent use of visual metaphor during competitions. If you cut your teeth on sports anime from the 90’s or early 2000’s, these techniques may not be too bothersome, but fans of newer titles in the genre may find the lack of dynamic movement disappointing.

This aspect of the show does improve as the series draws to a close, but there’s a trade-off to be made. Several characters are marginalized to make room for a brash newcomer, and her transition from manga to anime is less than seamless. The series also succumbs to a shounen tradition with which most anime fans will be quite familiar, though for the sake of potential viewers I won’t get too specific. Still, Ballroom ends well, and my original affection for the show did return for the final episode, so there’s reason to hang in there if you’re already halfway done. There’s little hope for a season 2, based on the lack of remaining source material, but if you’re reading this in the future and a sequel has emerged, you may be wondering whether the original is worth your time. My advice: if you’re a fan of sports anime, sample three episodes and see how you like it. Otherwise, give this one a pass.

Posted on 23 December 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

This is going to be a loose, informal series of takes on the last four episodes of Ballroom e Youkoso. We’re saving the professionalism for the series review post. If you think this show is the best thing since sliced bread, or just a competent anime series that you happen to enjoy, you’ll want to avert your eyes.

21: I recently had a conversation with my brother about whether art can be objectively labeled “good” or “bad.” Take anime, for example. Show the same episode to 100 different people, and you’ll get 100 varying ideas about how “good” it was. There’s no perfect metric that can be used to determine the quality of an artistic work – or so I thought, until I watched this episode. It is now my belief that you can fairly and impartially measure how bad an anime is by the length of its flashbacks and digressions. This episode was full of them, and it all started with a two-and-a-half minute free association exercise by our resident rival character, Hyodo Kiyoharu. We got scenes of him grilling his mom about her coaching technique, his opinions on the strengths of different dance partners, and a breakdown of stretches that can increase mobility, all in the middle of Tatara’s performance. This was just the beginning, as the show proceeded to bring Shizuku, Mako, Gaju, and a couple of sideline reporters in on the fun. No amount of metaphorical door kicks could save this episode from distracting itself to death.

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Posted on 23 November 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

It seems that the closer Ballroom e Youkoso gets to the end of its run, the further it moves from my strike zone. The series’ wide-ranging cast is its greatest asset, so you’d think that an extended flashback exploring Akira and Chinatsu’s shared past would be a slam dunk, but these episodes left me cold. There are too many hurdles for the show to overcome, between a lack of expressive motion, inconsistent portrayals of skill and compatibility, superfluous dialogue, and poor scene transitions. Assuming I continue doing double-episode posts, I’ve only got two more to go, but I’m dreading the final review that lies beyond them. Takeuchi Tomo, the original creator, has given us the heads-up that the Ballroom anime may receive an original ending due to delays in the manga’s release schedule, which only adds to my apprehension. Then again, the show has been pretty faithful to its source and still ended up in this rut, so maybe some fresh material is just what it needs.

There was a minor controversy surrounding Ballroom’s 41st chapter (from which “Rival” draws) a while back. When it was first published in Monthly Shounen Magazine, it contained a page where Akira thought to herself, “What I love is something else.” She expresses a similar thought in this episode (though Amazon’s subs use “like” instead of “love”), a reference to her affection for Chinatsu, rather than the sport that binds them. However, when chapter 41 was included in a compiled volume of the Ballroom manga, that text was removed, probably because it suggests a same-sex attraction on Akira’s part. Coming into this episode, I was curious which way the show would lean, and to my pleasant surprise, they included the line. In fact, this episode was heavy with lesbian subtext, from Akira’s descriptions of heart-pounding excitement at being around Chinatsu, to her “embarrassment” at studying the nape of her neck, to her jealousy at the thought of anyone else teaming up with Chinatsu.

Now we know that Akira is gay (or at least bisexual), and that her attraction to her former partner has shaped their relationship coming into adolescence. We even delve into her psyche a bit, as she manipulates Chinatsu into dancing the boy’s part because she prefers her in a “male” role, and labels her feelings as “wretched.” Despite its success in telling their story, however, Ballroom fails to connect it to the larger picture of the current arc. Akira dances to be close to Chinatsu, not because of a particular love for competition; Tatara’s current goal is to become a better competitor by understanding what it means to lead. Those ideas don’t have much to do with one another, although you could argue that the show has lost sight of Tatara’s arc, as well. The show is constantly giving us mixed messages about both him and Chinatsu. Take Mine-san’s evaluation of the pair, for example: “They have childish faces, but their childishness has disappeared.” Hello?! How does this explain Chinatsu’s relentless mocking of Akira in this episode (which kind of undercut the emotional aspect of their backstory), or Tatara’s exasperating timidity?

That brings me to my next point, about the lack of consistency surrounding the show’s treatment of the Tatara/Chinatsu partnership. Just a couple weeks ago they were in the zone, flying through the early rounds of the competition, and using their clashing personalities to push each other to new heights. We even got that scene where Chinatsu was viscerally influenced by Tatara’s movement, so much so that it threatened to overtake her. Then we get to these episodes, and the entire peanut gallery is shit-talking them, Chinatsu is acting totally aloof, and they’re literally stepping on each other’s feet. Then we move to the slapstick second half of “Friend,” which features a scene where Hyodo sits on Tatara’s back and “separates his muscles” over his anguished cries, while Chinatsu and Akira nonchalantly eat bananas in the foreground… I’m cool with anime moving rapidly between different styles and tones, but only if they establish that versatility as a part of their DNA, and Ballroom has never been as wacky or felt as conflicted as it was here. The majority of this doubleheader’s appeal was lost on me, but hey, there’s only four episodes to go.

Posted on 11 November 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to single episode reviews, as I promised last time, because these two didn’t leave me with a whole lot to talk about. Much of “Performer” was spent bringing Tatara and Chinatsu back together after their spat from the previous installment, but since I didn’t buy into that conflict in the first place, it ended up feeling like more of a hangout episode (with plenty of fanservice and shipping to boot). We got some uncommon character pairings, too, like Chinatsu/Mako and Tatara/Shizuku, the latter of which is a rarity these days. And while these sorts of cast shake-ups might have delighted me a couple months ago, they seemed rather utilitarian here, given the need for our main couple’s big breakup to be reversed. Thankfully, the chill-inducing conclusion to “Competitor No. 13” justified the show’s clumsier machinations – but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Ballroom e Youkoso has devoted what seems like a dozen monologues to the ideas that 1) Tatara is a poor leader, and 2) he and Chinatsu aren’t a good fit. There’s a glaring issue with this constant hammering of the same couple points, and it’s one I’ve tried not to mention too often, since it’s such a widely repeated criticism of the show. Maybe this episode was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though, because I’m compelled to bring it up: the dancing direction isn’t strong enough to communicate the same messages. We hear it verbally, but we rarely see Tatara failing as a leader. What we see are a lot of still shots, anguished expressions, and reactions from judges or crowd members. Moreover, Ballroom hasn’t properly shown its audience what successful leadership looks like in motion. We’ve just been trained to equate confidence with skill, and as anybody who’s ever played a sport knows, they’re not the same at all.

Without the choreography necessary to convey Tatara’s failures, the show falls back on dialogue to destroy and rebuild his new partnership. A lot of Chinatsu’s grief seems to stem from jealousy, which comes to the surface after she learns about the past Tatara/Mako partnership. I felt really proud of Mako for keeping her patience with Chinatsu, even after the older girl implied that dancers with consistent partners led breezy, carefree lives. Mako’s maturity aside, however, this scene boiled down to Tatara’s leadership being verbally praised, and Chinatsu deciding to give him a second chance as a result. The Tatara/Shizuku scene involved even more lip service, but was somehow less convincing – if Tatara is capable of impressing a veteran like Shizuku, why is his lack of leading ability constantly being harped on? As this scene played out, with one of Japan’s best amateur dancers calling him “a mystery,” I couldn’t help but think that Tatara has always been portrayed as an open book.

Alright, that’s enough criticism of the show’s visuals. As important as they ought to be in a show about ballroom dancing, the characters are the main attraction, and they really came through in the second of these two episodes. Being in a competitive setting once again, Tatara and Chinatsu really seemed to be click, despite their occasional bickering. The appearance of the dancers’ family members was a lot of fun, as well, especially Mine-san’s wife and child, from whom he kept his continued dancing a secret. But the thing that really sold me on the start of this arc was the final scene, where Tatara’s intensity started to overtake Chinatsu, represented both by smoke and by blood cells entering her body. Ballroom pulled out a couple of neat dance sequences for the start of the Metropolitan tournament, but taken alone, those wouldn’t have been enough to convince me of Chinatsu’s sensation. This show tends to hit a home run whenever it uses visual metaphors this way, so I’m glad it went back to that well. It’s no small task to convince your audience that someone as stubborn as Chinatsu would give control to another person, but the creative team took a good first step with this episode.

Posted on 23 October 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

Boy, this was really a Tale of Two Ballrooms. One of these episodes was almost certainly outsourced, based on the visual inconsistencies that extended even to key poses, but handled its character moments dutifully. The other looked markedly better than most of this show’s recent offerings, but rushed through so much material that its conclusion had hardly any impact. I suppose it’s a good thing I watched them together, since they make up for each other’s weaknesses, but episode 16’s abrupt finish left a sour taste in my mouth to end the doubleheader. A word of warning before you read any further: this is going to be one of those reviews were I make reference to the Ballroom manga more than once, and the eternal anime buzzword “pacing” will probably make an appearance before too long. If that sounds like something you can tolerate, at least for a few more paragraphs, then let’s unpack these episodes together.

My favorite part of “Taking the Reins” was the introduction of Kugimiya, who made an excellent transition from page to screen. He’s a blunt, imposing figure, whose tall stature and thin eyes make him a good aesthetic foil for Tatara. They’re opposites in the way they approach dance, as well; Kugimiya speaks harshly to his partner (who he’s nicknamed “Banshee”), and considers the strength of a couple’s leader to be of paramount importance. When Tatara objects to that philosophy, Kugimiya uses his undeniable skill to toss Tatara (occupying the female role) around like a ragdoll. Even Kugimiya’s theme, with its schizophrenic bassline and backwards piano, is brash and off-putting – the anime staff did an A+ job with his character. Off-putting though he may be, he’s right about how important the leader’s role is in ballroom dance, a fact that Hyodo’s mother Marisa reiterates more clearly than ever before. As Tatara’s new coach, it’s her job to make her pupil take a more active role in his routines, but it won’t be easy given his typically passive attitude.

Tatara’s old coach makes an appearance in this episode, as well, with Sengoku’s return to Japan after a month-long timeskip. The kids attend Japan’s International Dance Championships and watch as he and Hongo place third on the world stage, a feat which leaves Tatara in awe of his former mentor. After sharing a few laughs throughout the day, teacher and student have a nice moment together when Tatara works up the nerve to call him “sensei” for the first (and probably last) time. I thought it was swell of Ballroom to acknowledge the influence Sengoku has had on his old student’s development, especially because its newly-heightened narrative pace risks leaving some characters behind. Sengoku could have been a little more sentimental about it in the moment, but he had some encouraging words for Tatara during their classic train station farewell, so I’m happy. If there’s one criticism I’d level at this scene, it’s that it played a bit like a final goodbye, but it shouldn’t have, since I doubt this is the last time they’ll see one another. And speaking of scenes that don’t feel right…

Here’s a tip for all you aspiring storyboard artists out there: USE THE MANGA PANELS WHEN PLANNING YOUR ANIME. The beauty of series with existing source material is that some of the work is already done for you, and comics in particular lay things out really nicely. You can deviate from the manga, of course, but since anime is presented to the viewer at a fixed tempo, it’s important to note panels that indicate the passage of time, and use a similar device in your adaptation. Elaborate on them, do a montage, or throw a few stills on screen set to a throwaway piece of music – just make sure the episode is paced appropriately. Here’s what not to do: finish a scene with Marisa telling Tatara and Chinatsu that they can’t compete in a Grand Prix, fade to black, and transition immediately to the two of them on a train to the Grand Prix one month later. You might do this for humorous effect, but that’s not what Ballroom wanted to achieve here, and their omission of the manga’s dance training and end-of-school panels made the end of the episode feel super choppy.

The same problem carried over to the next episode, where Tatara’s obsession with a peculiar sensation he experienced while dancing led to his disqualification from the Grand Prix. He zoned out while sitting on the sidelines, you see, and when he came to, the competition was over. That’s what you might think, anyway, given that the anime only presents us with a shot of Chinatsu’s anguished look, then cuts straight to them in street clothes at a train station. Gone are her repeated attempts to rouse him, his slow return to reality, the call from another competitor asking if he should be on the dance floor, and the indication that the heat is still going on and they only missed it by a minute or so. The show was so preoccupied with showcasing its (admittedly cool) four-legged animation that it forgot how to sequence itself. I can only guess whether anime-only viewers found these scenes to be sloppy, but I know that similar transitions in other series have bothered me, even without knowing a thing about the original work.

There’s a whole half-episode of content left to discuss, but I don’t want this review to hit a thousand words, so I’m calling it here. Looks like I’ve still got plenty to say about Ballroom, so we probably ought to go back to single episode reviews. I’ll touch on whatever I missed from “Four-legged” in the next one.

Posted on 10 October 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

The unstoppable Anime Catch-up Train continues with a Ballroom doubleheader. These two episodes weren’t aired on the same day like 4 and 5 from the previous cour, but they might as well have been, given the way they complimented one another. Chinatsu has stolen not only the spotlight, but every bulb in the damn house at this point, but her peculiar personality needs explaining, and that’s what these episodes set out to do. For all the popularity that the tsundere trope enjoys, I’m glad that Ballroom decided to dive into Chinatsu’s background and explore what makes her tick, rather than carelessly dropping her into the cast and coasting on Japan’s love for girls who play hot-and-cold. If it hadn’t taken the necessary time to examine her character, her clashes with Tatara would be even more frustrating than they are now (even if the OP blatantly foreshadows them).

When I first read the Ballroom manga, I had a theory that Chinatsu was a lesbian. It might not be the most open-minded assumption in the history of fan theories, but there was at least some justification for it: her initial fangirling over Sengoku is revealed to be a smokescreen for her obsession with Hongo (his total babe of a partner), and her rivalry with Akira has the faintest hint of yuri undertones to it, given their history as dance partners. Because of the anime’s faithfulness to the manga, I was reminded of that past speculation when watching these episodes, but something else jumped out at me, too – Chinatsu’s desire to be normal. In a quiet scene where she’s doing a bit of spring cleaning, she appears torn between repairing and giving away a pair of dancing heels, but when her mom asks whether she’s thinking of getting back into the sport, she recoils at the notion. Similarly, she initially mocks and rejects Tatara for his interest in ballroom dance, but agrees to practice with him even before roping him into a scheme to humiliate Akira.

The thing about Chinatsu is that she suffers from role confusion. Having been forced into the leading position in her juniors partnership, where girls dance together, she tends to take the lead in other situations, as well – but only if she gets a clear signal that it’s okay. So when Tatara confidently admits to the class that he participates in ballroom dance competitions, she keeps her passion hidden; but when he nervously abandons a request for her to practice with him, she coolly agrees, and steers the flow of their waltz to boot. Chinatsu wants to be normal, but she knows that leading isn’t “normal” for women, neither on nor off the dance floor, which results in that signature hot/cold personality. Tatara isn’t exactly charmed by it, asking himself some variation of, “What is with this girl?” probably ten times over the course of these two episodes. This became exasperating after a while, but I can understand his bewilderment, since Chinatsu is so different than either of the other partners he’s had thus far.

The conflict between our resident redhead and her old partner Akira was beautifully set up, with Tatara caught in the crossfire at his new part-time job. Seeing him standing diligently at attention in his spiffy new uniform, even after his boss told him to take it down a notch, got an audible laugh from me. The atmosphere in the café became a lot frostier once Chinatsu walked in the door, though, as Akira pays her ex-leader a series of scathing backhanded compliments, all while asserting her superiority as a dancer and a woman. Although she looks like a high school boy’s dream, Akira is more than capable of going for the jugular, and in her rush to scrape together a rebuttal, Chinatsu declares that she and Tatara will partner up and defeat her at the Mikasa Cup. Despite their incompatibility, they perform well at a qualifying novice round, but first place is snatched from them by a pair of dancers under the tutelage of Marisa Hyodo, who appears just before the credits roll. Always the provocateur, she accuses Tatara of forcing Chinatsu to do all the work in their routine, cementing his dawning realization that he doesn’t know how to properly lead. From this point on, the series will be intensely focused on his journey to understand both the rigid requirements of ballroom dance, and the thoughts and feelings that drive his new partner. Without spoiling anything, I can reveal that it’ll be a long time before he manages either task, so I hope you’re strapped in for the ride.

Posted on 28 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

We’ve reached the halfway point of Ballroom e Youkoso’s projected 24-episode run, and along with a new high school life for Fujita Tatara comes a new OP/ED combo. Unison Square Garden returns to do the intro for the second cour, and I’m loving the new song choice. Both openings have been serviceably energetic for a shounen series, but I prefer the backbeat-driven danceability of the new one to the vocal theatrics of the original. The new ED trades clever waltz-pop fusion for even more J-rock, though, which is a definite step down. One notable thing about both visual sequences is their heavy emphasis on Chinatsu, the redhead that we glimpsed last week and to whom we were briefly introduced this time around. The OP’s use of a thunderstorm as the setting for her dance with Tatara tells us everything we need to know about her personality, and the contentious relationship she’ll have with her eventual partner. But that’s a topic for another time, as the present episode features Gaju and even Sengoku more strongly than any one newcomer.

Unfortunately for our hero, Tatara’s first year at his new school doesn’t get off to the blossoming start he’d hoped for. The cute girl sitting in front of him mocks his hobby, which he was brave enough to mention during his class introduction, and a new gang of thugs recruit him to be their errand boy on day one. The poor kid just wanted to make some new friends in high school – he even thought to himself on the way to homeroom that five was plenty! A hooded figure appears to save him from a year of subservience, though, who is eventually revealed to be our favorite mullet-head Gaju. It’s great that the elder Akagi sibling happens to go to the same school, and that he properly befriends Tatara after beating up the bullies who were on his case, but I’d love to see Tatara meet new people or stand up for himself using some of the confidence he’s learned from dance. For now, though, I’m glad he’s got somebody he can talk to between classes, even if Gaju’s the kind of weirdo who gets upset that his sister has started wearing a bra. Anime keeping it classy as always.

Something I noticed while watching this episode were the minor tweaks Ballroom made to its characters in the move to its second cour. There’s been a bit of a timeskip since the Tenpei Cup, which could explain a slight shift in their attitudes, but it was still troubling to me in a couple spots. Gaju’s sheepishness when asking for Tatara’s cell number was one instance, since it doesn’t gel with his brash personality. It felt like the show was working overtime to make him sympathetic, since he functioned as a bully himself just a few weeks ago, but in most other scenes he was his usual hotheaded self. The bigger sin, from my perspective, was turning Shizuku into a blushing Tatara fan and beacon of encouragement. Her speech about enjoying the Tenpei Cup because of his presence bore zero resemblance to her ice queen demeanor at the event itself, and while we know that was just a façade, I don’t understand why she’d drop it so completely now. Nor am I able to grasp why she wants to compete with him again so badly, since she’s light years beyond his skill level. Their whole conversation was a setup for Tatara’s new goal of finding a partner and rising through the JDSF rankings, but Shizuku needn’t have become the Perfect Girl for that to be communicated.

The show’s second act was devoted to a professional dance competition where Sengoku (and his partner Chizuru) were the main attraction. Tatara and Gaju go to watch them perform, which is a rare opportunity now that he’s traveling abroad once more. There’s a distinct sense here that the world of Ballroom is expanding, as Tatara realizes that Sengoku spends most of his time overseas, being a major figure in the DanceSport world, and that it’s a miracle he managed to attract his attention. Tatara’s self-doubt comes to the forefront in this scene, leaving him unable to make eye contact with Sengoku as he leaves the floor, but as his former coach passes by, he instructs him to “watch closely.” What follows is an exhibition of skill that the show really needed to nail, and I think they pulled it off nicely. There were several clear, fluid dance sequences here, nestled amidst the disorienting effects used to illustrate Sengoku’s unorthodox movement. (Even the CG background dancers looked better than usual, although that could have been my imagination.) His performance is so captivating that a mob of screaming fans chase him as he leaves the arena, and who else should Tatara happen to spot among them but Chinatsu? Hearing her explain away that earlier dismissal of ballroom dancing ought to be good, but then, so will everything else involving her character – she’s my favorite!

Posted on 21 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

And so the Tenpei Cup comes to a close at last. It took five episodes to get from the first round to the awards ceremony, and not all parts of the competition were created equal, but I’m happy that my girl Mako managed to claim the Ballroom Queen award. After she received the trophy, there were several key players in the crowd who gave Tatara all the credit for leading so well, but I’m chalking that up to shounen hero bias. Mako is the more experienced dancer, with better form and greater stamina, and she’s one who managed to break up the Gaju/Shizuku pair and team with her brother once again. Despite everything that’s been said about their mismatched heights and skill levels, Gaju seemed relatively accepting of the situation (after pouting for a bit, that is), so we ought to see the Akagi siblings pairing together at future events.

Of course, Tatara played an important role in Mako’s victory, but his obvious fatigue and sloppy footwork helped to land them at the bottom of the finalist rankings, which translated to a 7th place finish out of 43 couples. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, considering it’s his first competition (if you don’t count his stint as Hyodo’s body double earlier in the series), but Tatara is ashamed, which is right in line with his character. Immediately after hearing that he hadn’t placed in the top two, he confessed to his coach that he’d been dwelling on his poor dancing abilities for the entire affair. There were tears in his eyes as he made that admission, which I felt were appropriate, but might have been more impactful if Ballroom hadn’t turned on the waterworks at least once a week for the entire Tenpei arc. All Sengoku could do was pat his head and tell him to take the floor with a smile, which he managed to accomplish. Given what we know about Tatara, though, this loss will weigh heavily on his mind for some time to come.

Tatara wasn’t the only character to be deeply upset by the final standings, however. Although Gaju and Shizuku placed first with ease, the loss to Mako in the Ballroom Queen category caused Shizuku no small amount of grief, as we learn from a brief post-competition scene where she cries quietly to herself in front of a restroom mirror. More interesting than her sadness, though, is her frustration, which shone through with the self-targeted accusation, “You’re terrible!” I’ve written a lot over the past few weeks about the similarities between Tatara and Mako, but this critical, unforgiving attitude is the first time I’ve picked up on a real link between Tatara and Shizuku. Their goals couldn’t be more different, but it’s possible that they share more narrative DNA than meets the eye. Both are newly partnerless, as well – could they possibly join forces for the upcoming DanceSport season?

If you watched past the ending credits this week, you were treated to a handful of scenes revolving around Tatara’s high school entrance exams. Near the end of the episode, as he and his dad celebrate his acceptance, a redheaded girl can be seen smiling and walking away from the jubilant pair, though the camera refuses to travel above her mouth. If you’re familiar with anime character introductions, you know that withholding part of someone’s face means they’re an important part of the story. Spoiler alert: this girl is Tatara’s new partner, not Shizuku. The redhead’s name is Chinatsu, and she’s my favorite character in the manga, which begins to focus on Tatara’s high school life after this point. I like Ballroom most when the characters are bouncing off one another outside the competitive setting, so hopefully the anime director has resisted the urge to truncate some of my favorite parts of the story. Fingers crossed!

Posted on 14 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

When I was a kid, my friends and I included my brother in our games, but only reluctantly. He was younger, smaller, and slower than all the other players, whether the contest was bike racing or tag or touch football. If I were a team captain, I’d be sure to pick him for my side, but not until the last round – I didn’t want to arm the neighborhood brats with any reason to pick on me. Obsessed with the safety of my own reputation, I failed to notice his embarrassment until years after that part of our lives had passed. You might imagine, then, that the scene in this episode where Gaju shooed Mako away from his grown-up kickball game sent a pang through my chest. Before this flashback, his primary role had been to mock his sister at every turn, but now we have another piece of the puzzle. Gaju was just another kid who put too much stock in the opinions of others, and he’s carried that concern with him into adolescence.

This week’s opening flashback consisted of more than just the kickball scene, though. It showed us how the Akagi siblings entered the world of ballroom dancing: through Mako’s repeated appeals to her beloved older brother, who eventually caved and became her partner. Gaju may have been ashamed at the idea of dancing at first, but his stubbornness prohibited him from quitting, and his natural athleticism allowed him to excel once he began competing. When that talent was noticed and praised by a judge at one of his first events, his switch was flipped – from that moment on, he was a dancer. This need for recognition is a much stronger motivation than wanting to surpass Hyodo or impress Shizuku, so it goes a long way in making Gaju a human character with internal drives and desires. Those desires were strong enough, though, that he began to heed the whispers of his classmates and the advice of his coach, all of whom assumed that he’d leave Mako behind one day, because she was holding him back.

Now that he’s found a better partner, then, how does Gaju feel in the wake of Mako’s heart-stopping waltz from the previous episode? He’s sufficiently distracted to make a small footwork error that all the dancers and judges in the room notice immediately, and upset enough to get teary-eyed at his failure when he leaves the floor. Most shounen-y of all, he gets angry to the point of punching himself in the jaw, ostensibly to refocus himself on the contest at hand. This scene was more than a little goofy, but it wasn’t bad enough to sap the goodwill that his backstory created. Gaju left his sister because he wanted to be the best (and the way the show frames it, he made the right call, at least from a competitive standpoint), so if he starts making silly footwork mistakes, he’s both letting down his new partner and dishonoring his old one. Luckily, Shizuku is there to pick up the slack as the Tenpei Cup moves into its final group stage.

With Hyodo in the crowd, Shizuku is still aiming to blow the doors off the place, even if she has nothing to prove at an unsanctioned competition like this one. We got a second flashback to one of her practice sessions with a much younger Hyodo, where he nonchalantly informed her that she was more of a rival than a partner in his eyes. This scene did a lot less for me than the carefully-structured opening sequence, but the memory is clearly a strong one for Shizuku, who goes into beast mode during the Slow Foxtrot and wins over the entire room, much as Mako did last week. Even Tatara is stunned, which is not a good look for an underdog trying to highlight his own partner’s appeal. The last segment of the competition will be the Quickstep, but even with Sengoku’s special variation in their back pockets, I’ve got a bad feeling about the outcome of this competition for the exhausted Tatara/Mako pair. With Shizuku on fire and Gaju having found his footing once again, our heroes still have a mountain to climb, and only one dance left with which to do it.

Posted on 6 September 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

For the last month or so, Ballroom e Youkoso has been keenly interested in expanding and developing its cast of characters. Even with the introduction of the Tenpei Cup, most of the show’s dramatic moments have been rooted in something deeper than dance, be it feelings of inadequacy, a bitter sibling feud, or a budding attraction to a partner or competitor. This episode was a payoff for a lot of the conflict and struggle we’ve witnessed until this point, but it also functioned as a straightforward sports anime, and those aren’t necessarily my favorite. The constant crowd reactions, the special technique names, and the 20-minute runtime that covered five minutes of action all recalled a barrage of lesser series that Ballroom needn’t have imitated at this stage of the game. Luckily, this episode was concerned primarily with honoring Mako, whose transformation from timid duckling to blossoming rose kept the half hour afloat.

The particularly impressive thing about Tatara and Mako’s performance this week was that they rehearsed for only a few minutes before the finals started, and without a particular set of steps in mind. That’s just as well, because Sengoku’s assumption that the Quickstep would be the last hurdle was foiled by Marisa, who convinced the judge to pivot to the Waltz at the last minute. We still don’t know the precise cause of the animosity between these two – the smart money is on her displeasure with Sengoku coaching someone besides her son, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she’s his former coach, or if you want to get really soapy, an ex-lover (even if she’s ~15 years his senior, I could see it happening). Whatever the reason for their bickering, Sengoku ends up with egg on his face, but the brief practice session between his pupils pays big dividends when they hit the floor.

Last week I wrote about DanceSport couples being graded largely on the skill of their male halves, and this time we heard the same thing straight from the mouth of a judge. Tatara and Mako’s partner-centric performance, though, creates a difficult task for their evaluators, who are so mesmerized by Mako that they forget to observe her leader. The show’s limited animation makes it hard to decipher what part Tatara has in this captivating routine, so it falls back on phrases like “Throwaway Oversway from a Double Turning Lock” and “Same Foot Lunge to Right Leg Develope,” which might as well be wrestling terms for all I know. The constant crowd reactions clue us in to the originality and impressiveness of their performance, but they do a poor job of keeping us involved in the scene (even if I got a laugh from the comment that Tatara was “too bland” for Mako). Putting the peanut gallery aside, though, there were two major characters whose impressions of this scene really sold it for me.

The first was Hyodo, who knows just by looking that Mako has worked her ass off to achieve her silhouette. This was a particularly important observation for the show to make, because it tells us that her overwhelming appeal is due to her own effort, rather than yet another aspect of Tatara’s genius. There’s no doubt that he played a role in “making her bloom,” as she requested just moments earlier, because Mako thinks to herself during their routine that he’s providing a solid frame. But in the end, all eyes are on her, including Gaju’s, and it’s his stunned response to his sister’s waltz that matters more than anyone else’s. Ballroom chose to repeat and expand on a previous flashback in this episode, which established Mako as unwilling to express herself for fear of “getting in the way” of her irritable brother. By contrast, she comes alive in Tatara’s arms, not because he’s a better leader than Gaju, but because his biggest concern is that Mako shines. And shine she does – her brother can hardly believe that the radiant young woman on the dance floor is his former partner, and he’s probably kicking himself for failing to bring out this side of her. This is the biggest payoff the show has offered so far, but despite Tatara and Mako’s happiness at having danced so well, it’s not as though they’ve won the event. Gaju and Shizuku are up next, and the continued partnership of both couples is still on the line heading into the next episode. Whichever pair emerges with the Tenpei Cup in hand, though, Mako achieved a significant victory with her performance this week.

CHANGE USERNAME
Amagi
It's real. Wow. This could easily become the best drama anime of the year if done right. The game was (IMO) fantastic despite being a pixelish RPG maker style game.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Holy shit really? To the Moon?
Amagi
Speaking of Urasawa there was announcement of a Pluto adaption last year, I guess they're still working on it. A good choice IMO, Pluto was not only my favorite Urasawa aside from 20thCB so far, it's one of the few that might be easier to adapt and it isn't too long.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Haven't read Chicago yet, maybe I will look into it. Kinda curious what series this mangaka will do next, same with Urasawa.
Masky
Huh? Found weird manga named Marry Grave. It feels like older manga but I'm not sure what its release date is.. Has rather interesting art and premise though first chapter is bit clunky on exposition
Kaiser-Eoghan
slightly disappointed to see happy sugar life not being covered =<
Lenlo
Oh man, 57? Franxx must have really gone down hill, because you seemed pretty into halfway through or so Aidan
Kaiser-Eoghan
<Crazy aunt in happy sugar life will have Belldandy's voice actress
<Terror the terror OMO
Kaiser-Eoghan
How do I save Chi no Wadachi's protagonist =< Manga giving me post traumatic stress ;M ;
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: And that game, to the moon is getting an adaptation. I haven't played it nor know anything about it though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: It seems you were onto something when you said in your satsuriku no tenshi impressions/posts that other freeware games might see a chance at an adaptation. I recall you talking about a game called To the moon on here a few years back.
Vonter
I did like how they decided to use a Halo aesthetic for the lack of a better term. Bases and alien ships have this Halo like design and color schemes to them. Also when I though a harem could only be depicted in one way, this series proves me wrong.
Vonter
But after season 2. Oh boy, the series becomes a really intriguing and exciting sci fantasy journey, with lots of motivations, hillturns and mystery.
Vonter
I catch up to the Voltron series in Netflix and man. It might the best anime-like series I've watched all year. I was having doubt after season one because while not awful at the start, it's very typical Voltron good versus evil and the like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Chicago was one of the first Manga I read when I was 11, by the same author as 7 seeds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: A 7 seeds adaptation would be preferable, its the more mature of the two. My favourite parts of that manga is everything relating to Hana and also the flashbacks to Ango's team's past, also that flashback side arc which was set in that shelter centered on that guy who had nothing to do with the cast.
AidanAK47
For Mahou, I just wanna see the first VN translated.
Amagi
We will never see the Mahou sequel VN either
Amagi
Theoretically ufotable but I think they'd prefer to wait for the updated story of the new VN sooo never ever
AidanAK47
Op was pretty good for an anime that didn't exist. Honestly wonder what would come first. The remake of the VN or an anime adaption by Ufotable.
Amagi
Just as the Tsukihime anime doesn't exist (liked the OP of that nonexisting anime though)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: The original Basara anime doesn't exist, only the manga does.
Amagi
@Lenlo: I really loved it and as far as I know most people who didn't read it refused it due to its drawing style not the content. The style could get an improvement as anime and I think the story is something most people would enjoy. The side characters were all awesome and pretty diverse too, which is kinda worthy of mention because the series had a ton of them.
Amagi
Arisa might get a decent fanbase as well considering it's some sort of mystery-thriller shoujo despite it's appearance.
Lenlo
Oooh Basara would be one I would want to see
Amagi
@Kaiser: I wish we'd get an actual Basara or 7 Seeds adaption some day. But guess it's impossible in the age of 12-episode series.
Lenlo
Yeah, the Marvin reveal was done in as tasteful a way as I could see it being done. It was just creepy enough without being voyeur
Kaiser-Eoghan
**Done
Kaiser-Eoghan
*superficially
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I have never read this, LetDai is sometimes compared superficial to banana fish.
Kaiser-Eoghan
More fantasy/horror shoujo/josei manga, old ones, not otomeshit or school lifeshit could be adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And wasn't the reveal regarding Marvin down in a tasteful/restrained enough way while still getting the point across?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akimi Yoshida is actually quite diverse, aside from banana fish, she also wrote Our little sister.
Kaiser-Eoghan
"and NOT with naked muscular men. That’d be depressing!" Thank fuck we still have the slender ones then lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
By the looks of it Sugar life's only getting 12 episodes, which means it'll stop just before it really gets going.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I think 2 volumes of the manga have been covered so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: "However its spelt" and there I am, realizing how rubbish I am with names and remembering/spelling them.
Lenlo
Oh man, Banana Fish is 24 episodes? Oh awesome. All the time in the world
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: In small doese, small doses he would be tolerable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
An anime about all of us would be fucking magnificent and I will hear nothing to the contrary of this fact.
Lenlo
However that name is spelt
Lenlo
Hmm, Steins;Gate 0 Okabe, or what? Cause Hyoin Kyoma would drive me up a wall.
Lenlo
Oh Grand Blue has some great reaction faces.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not slice of life, but outside of all the dark stuff, I'd probably think Okabe Rintaro would be a fun guy to be around.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually that brings up something, in all of the slice of life dramas/comedies out there, a good measure for how worthwhile some of them are could be "Which ones would I actually like to hang out with the characters in"
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember when Free! aired, joking with another guy on here who would be who.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You could probably get great reaction faces of the manga/show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think I could keep up with the drunkening though.
Lenlo
Wait, ive been psychic robbed? When? How?
Lenlo
Ive known people like them before, though less cartoonishly dude-bro. They are fun in bursts. Made for some good experiences. Luckily the ones I knew, also knew when I was at my socializing limit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jokingly we'd all be blond otaku-t-shirt guy though =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I have committed un-intentional psychic theft of your thoughts.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mario has to be the skinny dark haired Asian guy because it fits.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As funny as these characters are, I probably wouldn't hang out with then if they were real, I'd probably be iritated by them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually hadn't thought it as far as the personalities .
AidanAK47
For I am the one that trolls
AidanAK47
@Kaiser/Lenlo, Wait then whose who in that screenshot. Cause looks wise I would likely be Iori but personality wise I would be closer to the burly dudes.
Lenlo
As for the updated setting, I think it will work out. Keeps it sorta relevant for modern audiences. I'm curious if the changes will be obvious or not, but the story should still work
Lenlo
As for Banana Fish, after this episode, Im not to worried about the fetishizing of homosexual relationships. Unlike alot of Shoujo/Yaoi-lite/bait stuff, it actually seems to condemn some aspects of the trope in manga.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I had the exact same thought for that screenshot and the writers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol Now imagine each of the characters in the screenshot representing a writer on this blog =P
SuperMario
Fixed
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I posted using my phone so that was the best I could do
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to state, regarding banana fish, for those avoiding it because of shounen-ai vibes or because its aimed at women, even though its listed as shoujo, its really the female equivalent to a seinen manga, it also created, even in Japan a massive crossover audience that also included heterosexual males.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Whew lad, might want to center/neat-en up the screenshot on the latest post =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
See lenlo, while I love the adaptation, I'm still worried about the updated setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The manga had something about American foreign policy and the Mafia boss having to do with anti-communism, I wonder will the anime commit to that.
Lenlo
So far, Banana Fish is ony of my favorites. Im gonna make it very clear why tomorrow when I post on it, but boy I wasnt expecting it to commit so fully.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay, my ranking so far of the premieres: -Angels of death
-Happy sugar life
-Banana fish
-Grand blue
Shichisei and planet with are dropped, will only watch sirius until I get bored. Don't like shounen action so I'm not continuing Angolmeh.
SuperMario
I know he's a good writer, hence I was looking forward to Dog eat dog. That film made me think he passed his prime
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Raging bull and mishima also he wrote those.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Nicholas Cage is awful and so was Dog eat dog I can agree to that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its alot better than that I can tell you. Also he wrote the affliction, taxi driver and hardcore, all great films.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: you mean First Reformed? I watched Schraders' previous work Dog Eat Dog and absolutely hated it. Hated it with a passion
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I don't even know that until you pointed out
Kaiser-Eoghan
*movie blog
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: How amusing, you uses "red blood moon" on your movie blood as a section for bad anime, and have the AKA abbreviation right next to it and that has the same spelling as the Japanese word for Red.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've got a feeling you might be a fan of Paul Schraders new film, its a mashup of Ordet, Winter light, diary of a country priest and Taxi driver. It is speechy, but it has alot to say and Ethan Hawke is great in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think i'd be able to stop myself pulling an animal ears girl's ears if they were real. I'd have to know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think I needed to watch it, just so I could have the feeling of getting away from the world while not needing to think.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that's basically the appeal of Cgdct shows. They're hardy deep or even have that much conflict, but they're adorable and fluffy. Good enough for me ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
The filter/visual style angolmis was going for initially completely took my concentration away from the show.
SuperWooper
(which includes a review of the inevitable AOTS) :^)
SuperWooper
Only one more First Impressions post to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Grand blue is funny but like with wotaku I'm not sure there'll be an incentive to watch every episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Maybe every season or so I will try to fit in a cute girls doing cute things show. I watched Konohana Kitan yesterday and while hardly essential, it was actually sort of adorable.
Amagi
A bit new info about the next When they Cry. Guess the release date will be the winter comiket. Really wonder how it will be, I have to admit I enjoyed the endless arguments in the Umineko VN a lot. Also it seems it will get the same music composers again.
AidanAK47
@Anon, That airs on July 22.
Anonymous2394727
were is attack on titan 3???
SuperMario
I'll still write a post once the first impressions' over, along with my general thoughts on this season.
SuperMario
Meanwhile, we already decided which shows to blog for this season. The coverage is as follows:
Aidan: Grand Blue, Planet With, Satsuriku no Tenshi
Mario: Chio-chan, Shoujo Kageki, Hanebado
Lenlo: Steins;Gate 0, Banana Fish
SuperMario
Just an update to you, dear readers. We're working on finishing these 1st impressions posts and try to finish it in few days time (3 more posts).
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Harry not Eddie
**Gundam F91
Kaiser-Eoghan
Have the blurays of 08th ms team downloading now to re-watch. Never seen Gundam F91 one . Really looking forward to the final origin ova and whenever more of Thunderbolt is coming out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eddie was a bit crap though, especially when you stand him up against other Char-esque characters and some of the other characters aren't quite as compelling. Loved the old American style setting though, crazypants main baddy was fun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I finally finished/rewatched Turn A Gundam lately. It delivers strongly on its spectacle Heim and Soleil were great and my favourite gundam girls , the artstyle grows on you and because of that art style, it gets away with being one of the weirder phase gundamns, where G Gundam wasn't so lucky in that regard.
Amagi
Highscore Girl is way more annoying than I exptected it to be.
Amagi
Haven't played it (yet) but AFAIK they stay there and only move from floor to floor, I guess it's why they shortly mentioned these murders on the different floors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Does the entirety of satsuriku no tenshi stay in the building? I could seen the sense of claustropohbia for the audience disappearing if they left it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking back on that comment, I should say, I have not read grand blues manga, so its entirely possible why the animes presentation made me laugh a bit because I've no comparison.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, that blonde muscular guy in Grand blue made me laugh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like how we have very little idea of the buildings layout in satsuriku no tenshi.
Amagi
Not really looking forward to Gridman as I see the typical warning signs I noticed for Kiznaiver and Franxx as well here. The only positive thing is that the series seems to have an actual villain for once. The lack of that was one of the problems that bothered me with Franxx (not counting literal faceless aliens as "actual villain").
Amagi
I hope next actual Imaishi anime will be a good Trigger again. Honestly didn't really like any of their series done by other directors, Promare would be the first series done by the TTGL team again after KlK and Luluco. My only fear is that it might be a TTGL clone but it's too early to for that.
AidanAK47
I am gunning for Kyohime Lancer and Mordred Rider. Thankfully I don't really care about the five starts so my odds are not quite as bad.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes I am happy I got her with just one ticket since I am saving for the upcoming rate ups as well, especially Summer. Hell I need Martha.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Had a few moments like that which were not related to Fate go. Anyhoo I didn't bother rolling Da Vinchi as I got no real interest in him/her(Hard to decide when their reason for genderbending has more to do with beauty rather than gender.) Instead saving my Quartz for either the summer servants for the Knights of the round.
Amagi
Not lying but I had I dream yesterday about getting FGO's Da Vinci with one ticket, woke up, spent one ticket and got her (Yes. "Her"). I am so far into that anime stuff guess I am now developing esp powers just for that.
Amagi
Finally new Sirius subs I hope they are tolerable.
Amagi
Chio-chan is relatable
SuperMario
She's one of the actress I'm really fond of. But of course given how big a status she is
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If voices could be married I'd marry hers =P
SuperMario
Other 2 shows are Cells at Work and Phantom in the Twilight
SuperMario
Kana Hanazawa's extremely busy this season. She's also voicing for 2 other shows. Give me a minute so I can check up these other shows
Kaiser-Eoghan
The most recent I've heard Kana Hanazawa's voice was in 3-gatsu no lion where she voiced Hina, hearing her voice psychochick from happy sugar life makes it all the eerier =P Also watching this feels like less of a slog than reading the early chapters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Scanners/photocopier machines however are the greater satan.
Amagi
What kind of cosmic rule forbids printers to ever work properly?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that satsuriku no tenshi's manga adaptation apparently is paced better and more effective at immersing the reader.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think my time with shichisei subaru stops here, the cliffhangers just feel liked bad bait and while I hate jumping to buzzwords, this was just really generic and hamfisted. Its like I'm watching a crap adaptation of a bad moe datesim visual novel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah this is also a pretty stilted translation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I ended up watching it with mediocre subtitles also.
Amagi
Wait is Sirius subbed? Nonmeme subs I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Banana fish succeeds in making itself work as an action series all the more stronger, because it allows itself to have a good emotional backing. I'd forgotten how much of prick that one cop was in that scene in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If you want a reasonably quick boredom killer thats gorier than some modern anime allows you could probably do worse than Sirius.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay, regarding Happy sugar lifes manga, Late volume 6-volume 8, we're kind of getting somewhere, especially with one particular flashback relating to Shio.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I too am not even impervious to cute and huggable things.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*mikocchi
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do plan on watch sorayori, konohana kitan and hakumei no mocchi someday.
SuperMario
*Asobi Asobase
SuperMario
So far, I enjoy Asobi Asobasa and Chio-chan so much that I watched them twice. Guess I do have a thing for cute girls comedy shows after all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hataraku Saibou, wouldn't be the first edutainment thing in anime , kemono souja and Moyashimon aswell.
Lenlo
Nope, not this week. One week hold since we are sorta between/starting a new season
Kaiser-Eoghan
No steins gate episode this week?
Masky
Hue hue, seems like around time of first impressions I don't need to do my usual isekai complaining because it gets done by someone else instead :D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Someone ha uploaded 7 volumes of angels of deaths manga adaptation.
Amagi
I liked the first episode but no idea what kind of story it will have
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Should have watched the pianist, the piano or the piano teacher instead =P
SuperMario
Piano no Mori is a huge disappointment for me. still haven't watched the last episode thou
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been backlogging Piano no mori for years.
Amagi
damn I totally forgot this exists
Anonymous2353882
That Piano no Mori ending episode... oh boy!!!
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you can probably just take my thoughts on planet with as being symptomatic of how shounen battlely stories almost never work for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planet withs first episode felt disorganized to me and I didn't like the main characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See, I think the problem regards planet with for me is that I watched it too close to the flcls ending, I know why its being compared but in flcl the disjointedness/messiness feels like something I can just let wash over me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As I said it was a good premier, that despite my positivity I need more before I can see if it keeps up (angels of death).
Amagi
Man Hanebado looks really great animationwise. Now moving to the two comedies I expect to be above average. Get me another 1-2 good upcoming series and I can accept this season
SuperMario
Banana Fish is just above everything else so far
SuperMario
I'm not too sold on Angels of Death. You can read my feeling about it when the next post's out.
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The longer this series goes on, the faster my goodwill disappears as this episode was terrible on many fronts. At this point I think we can admit that this series has been on a downward spiral since episode 19 and has only worsened with each subsequent episode. Part of the problem was 19 spilling all […]

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory – 10[Onward, Onward]

Oh no. Well I suppose this was coming with all the news of this series troubles but it is disheartening to see it come to worst case scenario with the quality of this episode. This is the episode that announces without a doubt that this team is at the breaking point. Characters go off model […]

Latest Reviews

Darling in the Franxx Anime Review – 57/100

In following anime seasons it can be quite an experience to follow a show as it airs as the hype and rollercoaster of reactions can be entertainment in its own right. In that regard Darling in the Franxx was a hell of a ride as week by week peoples feelings for it ran hot and […]

Hisone to Masotan (2018 Spring) Review – 73/100

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let […]

Megalo Box – 86/100

Ah boxing, the quintessential manly man sport of beating each other unconscious. In anime, the sport was first forged in the fires of Ashita no Joe, and some would say later perfected by Hajime no Ippo. Both fantastic series in their own right. Both filled to the brim with epic clashes of wills, phenomenal characters and […]

Legends of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These Anime Review – 80/100

This is a remake of a series made way back when which is one of the most highly acclaimed anime in the medium. It is of legendary status but you would be hard pressed to recommend it as to many the barrier of entry is too high to consider. A 110 episode OVA with dated […]

Hinamatsuri (2018 Spring) Review – 79/100

Comedy anime doesn’t always yell out confidence, so imagine our hype when there’s one that been on everyone’s lips since the manga come out, Hinamatsuri. The show starts with simple premise: a girl with supernatural power unexpectedly drops into the house of a yakuza, hilarity ensues. This concept sums up very well the source humors […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – I Prestige Flower Anime Review – 90/100

We have seen an influx of Fate adaptations over the last year and sadly each has proven to be disappointing except for a cooking slice of life short series which is weirdly better than it has any right to be. This movie was the last of the Fate adaptations that I needed to see but […]

Violet Evergarden (2018 Winter) Review – 76/100

Violet Evergarden’s existence has surely been a public one. Acclaimed before everyone lick a taste of it (it was awarded for grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014 – read, KyoAni awards), it goes without saying that Violet Evergarden is one of the most anticipated show of the sparse Winter […]

A Place Further than the Universe (Winter 2018) Review – 77/100

Cute girls doing cute things is a genre that been done to death at this point. Even within this Winter 2018 we had been overloaded with big eyes fluffy face girls doing a lot of different things of interest. It takes a standout concept or a deeper narrative to make one stand out from this […]

After the Rain (2018 Winter) Review – 89/100

I suppose that most of us, even the perministic ones, enter After the Rain (Ameagari) with some reservations. After all, the premise about a crush from an 18-year-old girl to the store manager who is nearly 30 years senior raises a lot of red flags here. Yet the show handles this tricky premise with deep […]