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.

Posted on 31 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

Here are a few reasons why Hyodo Kiyoharu was the MVP of this week’s episode: he noticed Tatara’s fatigue and flat-footedness before the kid’s own coach. He kept his cool while everyone else was busy flinging petty insults or embroiling themselves in love pentagons, and provided his rival with both straight talk and sound advice. He watched his mom flirt unashamedly with a guy nearly twice her age, and somehow managed to retain his dignity. He managed to motivate someone as talented as Shizuku to dance her best with his mere presence. And he looked fly as hell with his sweater robe and crutch, even amidst a sea of tailcoats and bowties. If I were a judge at the Tenpei Cup, I’d call off the competition and just award Hyodo the trophy.

Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to evaluate ballroom dancing (or men’s fashion) – only to talk about Japanese cartoons. So despite Hyodo’s greatness, there’s one scene I really want to focus on this week, and that’s the moment when Sengoku instructs Tatara not to do the special Quickstep variation they’d been practicing for weeks. Even without seeing his pupil gasp for breath in the corner of the room just moments beforehand, Sengoku knows that Hyodo is right about his exhaustion. Tatara is already on the floor by the time he can speak with him, though, so Sengoku is forced to shout across the hall not to use their trump card (which would likely result in his collapse). What follows is dead silence, and eventually a shot of Tatara, who looks exhausted and embarrassed, but more than that, he looks crushed. He’s upset that his coach doesn’t believe in him, even though he’s shaking and sweating and barely maintaining his hold on his partner. This is a boy with prior self-image issues being told to alter his routine to account for his lack of experience and stamina; it’s no wonder he sobs and collapses in Sengoku’s arms after his neutered performance.

I’m glad that Ballroom continues to expose this side of Tatara, even if the results are sometimes hard to watch, because it makes him more human even as the shounen clichés pile around him. The Destined Rivals bit that he and Hyodo have going on is farfetched, though the show played it well this week by making Kiyoharu the voice of reason during an emotional scene. “Reality” is the title of this episode, and Tatara’s reality, as explained by his rival, is that he can’t possibly beat Gaju given his current lack of talent and conditioning. The solution is to allow Mako to outperform Shizuku, and that’s a plan I couldn’t be happier with, especially after two months of hearing that the man leads and the woman follows, the pair’s score is largely determined by the leader, etc. I don’t doubt the truth of those statements, since ballroom dancing is quite traditional, but when Mako asks Tatara to “make me bloom” at the episode’s end, it feels great to know that she’s allowing herself to command some attention for a change. That final line also carries with it a hint of romance, given the sensual connotation that blooming holds. Sengoku teased the two kids about a potential relationship midway through the proceedings this week, so I expect that their partnership may become a bit more complicated in the future.

Love is in the air for several other characters, as well, but Shizuku’s crush is the most interesting. She looked stunned after seeing Hyodo at the Tenpei Cup, perhaps for the first time since his hospitalization, which is a total reversal from her invulnerable attitude just hours earlier. Tatara tries to explain away Hyodo’s strategy as a plan to separate her from Gaju, but she still feels him slipping away, as she did back in episode two. Her resolve now is to impress her former partner, which is an okay development in my book. This is an unsanctioned event with nothing on the line for a seasoned pro like Shizuku, so what’s the harm in a little showmanship for the sake of the boy she likes? Besides, her desire to impress Kiyoharu is tied to her need to reach his skill level, and prove to upstarts like Tatara that you can’t waltz into this scene and start winning trophies left and right – pun very much intended.

Posted on 22 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

I spent the majority of the previous review breaking down a single scene, so let’s play catch-up for a bit. This episode features the Tenpei Cup, an annual event held by some rich dance enthusiast. Despite not being an official competition, the stakes are high: if the fledgling pair of Tatara and Mako can outplace Gaju and Shizuku (who are favored to win), Gaju will be forced to take back his sister as his partner. Thankfully, Sengoku has given his full support to his new student, having supplied him with a new tailcoat and a strategy to impress the head judge during the Quickstep round. It’s a relief that Sengoku has quit trying to embarrass and discourage the impressionable Tatara, who needs all the support he can get, given his lack of self-confidence.

Regarding that timid streak, this episode didn’t bring it across as well as the last one. During his previous phone call with Mako, we got a clear picture of how unworthy Tatara felt, both as a dancer and as a young man. This time, he was a simple scaredy-cat, begging his coach not to put him back on the floor after nearly every round, then finding his groove again once the dancing started. I get that the major story of Ballroom is Tatara’s journey to find himself, but we don’t need a miniature version of that arc every six minutes. The show even commented on this practice through Sengoku, who quickly became fed up with what he described as a “rollercoaster mentality.” It’s good that the writers aren’t totally clueless, I guess, but the show’s awareness of the problem doesn’t make it any less boring to watch.

Thankfully, the episode really picked up during its second half, especially after a dance floor collision between Tatara and Gaju. We never got a definitive answer on whether Tatara purposely engineered the crash, but after he watched Gaju and Shizuku steal the show during the second round, I’m choosing to believe that he made a conscious decision to level the playing field by drawing attention to himself. The waiting room confrontation that ensued was highly dramatic, with all the yelling, punching, and crying that you expect from shounen anime. I liked almost everything about it, though. Gaju is a very believable villain, whose insensitivity and tendency to belittle others read like those of a real high schooler. When Mako hits him and runs off crying, it’s at the perfect point in the conversation. My favorite part of the scene, though, came immediately afterward.

When Shizuku sees her teary-eyed competitor flee the scene and asks what all the fuss is about, it comes out that Tatara thinks there’s a chance that Mako will surpass her. At this point, I fully expected the older girl to berate Gaju for mistreating his totemo kawaii imouto~ and run off to make sure Mako was okay, at which point we’d get a scene where the girls talk about how boys are stupid. Instead, Shizuku walks right up to Tatara, gives him an icy stare, says, “Don’t underestimate me,” snaps his bowtie, and walks away. I think I’m in love. After receiving precisely zero speaking lines in last week’s script, Shizuku was due for her moment in the spotlight, and she certainly got it here. Part of me hopes that she still checked on Mako after she was through being a badass, but the version of the argument that we got was the best possible way the scene could have played out.

The story wraps with the introduction of Marisa Hyodo, mother of Tatara’s destined rival. Before she was revealed as a guest judge for the semifinals of the Tenpei Cup, we got a car scene between Marisa and Kiyoharu, who don’t seem to be the closest of parent-child duos. As we might expect from a superstar of the dance world, she works constantly and doesn’t see much of her son, but what’s worse is that she rationalizes her absence by declaring him the type who “likes being alone.” Ballroom is full of parents and authority figures who are less supportive than they ought to be, although I suppose it wouldn’t be anime if it weren’t. When the Hyodos appear at the very end of the episode, Sengoku looks like a kid who’s been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar – does he have an agreement with Marisa not to train anyone except her son, or is there some history between them that we don’t know about? Guess we’ll find out next week.

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

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my desire for the show to continually check in with Shizuku’s character – not just to put her on screen, but to show us how she’s thinking and feeling, now that her previous partner is sidelined and her new one clearly wants to be partners in more than one sense. In the fourteen days since the last episode, I developed the expectation that I wouldn’t be wild about this new installment unless Shizuku was a major part of it. And while she did make an appearance, both in the present day and in a flashback, she didn’t have a single line of dialogue, plus she was subjected to some heavy objectification on Gaju’s end. Why, then, was I so happy with Ballroom this week? I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this review, you’ve already seen the episode, so we’re skipping any sort of plot summary and moving straight to my favorite scene, which came near the end of our 22 minutes.

When Tatara comes home from a grueling practice session with Mako, he’s greeted by two things: popped blisters on his feet, and the sound of his father’s drunken phone conversation. The lights are off, and as he passes by his dad, Tatara hears him say, “He’s such a hopeless kid.” Let’s stop right there for a second and consider how dark this scene is. The blisters are, to Tatara, a symbol of his inadequacy, since he thinks to himself that experienced dancers would never have such a problem. So, he’s entering his home with the thought in his head that he’s not good enough, and on the way to his room he hears the only parent in his life confirm his self-diagnosis – talk about mental damage. Until this episode, Tatara’s home life had been portrayed as a happy one, featuring bright mealtime scenes and his dad functioning as a concerned, but understanding, parent. Here we see the exact opposite, and to make things even worse (or so it seems), the person on the other end of the call is Mako.

It turns out she’s been dealing with blisters, too, and her first instinct is to apologize for her lousy dancing. Like Tatara, she lacks confidence, and they take turns apologizing and deflecting until he decides to share that his parents are divorced. The show uses this fact to explain his commitment to restoring the Hyodo/Shizuku and Gaju/Mako dance partnerships, but Mako sees that resolve as a part of his character, and starts to gush about how thoughtful he is. This was the make-or-break moment for the scene, because anime often falls into the trap of praising their heroes for being sooo thoughtful and sooo nice, as opposed to creating stories that allow them to demonstrate those qualities in an authentic way. But Ballroom leapt over this pitfall by contrasting Mako’s opinion of her new partner with his own self-perception. As she assures him that everyone at Ogasawara is watching and admiring his progress, Tatara wonders to himself whether he’s worthy of their gaze. He feels thankful that anyone notices him at all, and considers it a miracle that any girl would want to dance with him.

This is real shit. These are the naked thoughts of a kid from a divorced family, who doesn’t like school, considers himself to be untalented, and comes home to a father who self-medicates with alcohol. As Mako expresses her wish that he’ll keep dancing, we get a shot of Tatara’s feet – they’re the only place he can bear to look, given how foreign and inappropriate her praise must seem. But although his voice is small when he manages to find it again, he says thank you. He’s accepted guidance from coaches and challenges from rivals in the past, but now he accepts the kindness of someone who really respects him, and maybe likes him a little bit. Both kids are blushing by the end of the conversation, and it’s worth noting that Mako must have asked somebody at the dance studio for his phone number in order to make the call, so rumors about the pair may already be buzzing. I’m not totally on board the Tatara/Mako ship just yet, but I couldn’t be happier about the way they serve as anchors for each other in the harsh world of competitive dance.

There was more to the new episode than just this scene, but I’ve written enough as it is. Next week’s Ballroom will feature the Tenpei Cup, with our main couples going head-to-head, so I’ll try to integrate some of the stuff I didn’t cover this time into that post. Feels good to be back on the Ballroom bandwagon (at least for now).

Posted on 3 August 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

Ballroom aired a double feature last week, so this review is either a few days late or a few days early, depending on how you look at it. Either way, there won’t be a new episode this coming Saturday, with the next one scheduled to appear on August 12th. Personally, I welcome the break as an opportunity to reset my expectations for the show, which seem to have been too high. This series isn’t a mold-breaker of any kind, but rather a traditional shounen anime with non-traditional subject material. “Partner” was likewise a straightforward episode, but it did manage to properly introduce two very different characters, and adjust the motivations driving several of our main players. Not a bad way to wrap things up before a two-week break, all things considered.

With Hyodo occupying the role of brooding genius, the show was missing a more hot-blooded rival character – that is, until now. Enter Gaju Akagi, whose brash personality and loud mouth are perfectly complimented by his ginger mullet. It’s a bit ironic that he insults Tatara’s bedhead just minutes after barreling into the episode, given his own disastrous hairdo. Maybe he lets it grow so long in the back because he’s ashamed of his giraffe neck? Jokes aside, though, Gaju’s dancing is nothing to laugh at, and he supports his claim to become Shizuku’s new partner with some fancy Latin footwork. The last of those three cuts looked rotoscoped to my eyes, but it was also super smooth and a little sexy, which is a tone that has eluded the series until now. I wouldn’t mind if I.G. fell back on this method from time to time in the future.

Gaju’s younger sister Mako can only watch from the sidelines as her partner tries to leave her behind, which is more than a little sad. She’s the meek, sensitive type, which is also a template that Ballroom hadn’t busted out until this week. Tatara is charmed by her shyness the same way he was by Shizuku’s strength, but is unable to sync with her during their first dance (if you could even call it that). Mako’s willingness to be led pays off later in the episode, though, when Tatara activates Prodigy Mode and instinctively guides her where she wants to go, providing some confidence in their future teamwork. Mako will have to exhibit much more improvement if she wants to reach her new goal, though: surpassing Shizuku and convincing Gaju to rejoin her as one of Japan’s best amateur Latin duos.

Also on board with this plan are Tatara and Sengoku, the latter of whom sets up the second meeting between the two shy kids. This might be the first time that Sengoku is actually cooperating with his new student, rather than manipulating or making fun of him, and it’s only made possible by their mutual dislike of Gaju. At the root of that dislike is the shared belief that Gaju is “stealing” Shizuku from Hyodo, but the reality is that Shizuku chose to switch partners of her own will. She claims not to care about Hyodo anymore, but regardless of whether that declaration holds any water, he’s banned from JDSF competitions for six months, so why not let the girl find a new lead? Even if her decision is meant to anger Sengoku, who she rightly calls out for being untrusting, she ought to be allowed to compete for the next half year, rather than being punished for other people’s mistakes. The episode closes on a shot of Shizuku looking pensively into the wall-length mirror at Ogasawara, perhaps wondering whether she’s made the right decision, so the show had better follow up with her character soon – the further she gets from being considered a prize to be won, the better.

Posted on 30 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

If you’d asked me a month ago for my top picks of the season, Ballroom e Youkoso would have been one of them. If you’d asked me two weeks ago to rank the new summer series, this show would have been right beneath Made in Abyss at the top of the heap. If you’d asked me seven days ago whether Ballroom was going to bounce back from its first subpar episode, I’d have wagered it would… but it didn’t. We’re only four weeks into a planned 24-episode run, so this level of pessimism must seem premature to many of you. Part of me knows that it is. The other, much larger part of me is too disappointed to care, so I’m going full nitpick mode for the next 500 words, with the promise that I’ll resume standard coverage next time.

Let’s start with how annoying Sengoku was in this episode, and more broadly, the depths of stupidity to which anime character writing can descend. Hyodo, Sengoku’s star pupil, has been concealing a knee injury that his teacher fears will worsen without rest. His solution is to take advantage of Hyodo’s absence and use Tatara as a substitute, which will disqualify Hyodo, thus preventing him from dancing and compounding his injury. (Let us overlook the fact that he could have simply convinced Shizuku to withdraw, as a later manga chapter will point out.) He then proceeds to blame Tatara, who he roped into this ridiculous plan, for lighting a fire under Hyodo’s ass, claiming that it will be his fault if his rival should bust his leg on the floor. The show hangs a lampshade on how dumb this is by having the background characters accuse Sengoku of being unreasonable, but the show forgets their objections as quickly as it raised them. The kicker is that Mr. Coach of the Year thinks to himself, “I guess it was worth butting in,” when he sees Hyodo dance the tango like a man possessed, and later laughs about the length of his ban from competitive DanceSport.

You might claim that Sengoku is just a dick, but think about the fact that the author delayed the disqualification just long enough for Hyodo to land himself in the hospital, or that Tatara continues to blame himself for Hyodo’s injury and DQ, even though it’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of brain power that neither of those things are his fault. This series is pushing square-shaped story beats through circular holes, and whenever the peanut gallery shows up to remind you that what’s happening doesn’t make a lot of sense, they get swept under the rug. Some of the same problems are present in the manga, but seeing them presented at a static pace and with no adjustments is a real disadvantage for viewers of the TV version.

Where the anime ought to excel is in the dancing scenes, but they’re just not cutting it for me. Ballroom is pulling the classic trick of cutting from panning stills to amazed reaction shots, and hoping that its real-life audience will feel the same sense of wonder as the faces on screen. I’m starting to see a lot of painted backgrounds that are meant to imply movement, as well – they’re not as cheap as speed lines, but they serve the same purpose. The standing ovation that Hyodo’s tango received near the middle of the episode felt utterly phony, given that more than half of it looked like posing rather than dancing, and that sucked the life from everything that happened afterward. Iwakuma’s brief appearance came off as immaterial, and what could have been a real heart-to-heart between Tatara and Hyodo ultimately felt like a convenient way to move the former boy one step closer to his goal. It now falls to the Akagi siblings (the two characters introduced just before the ED) to breathe new life into this once-charming show, or else the next five months of blogging are going to be tinged with regret.

NOTE: This week, I started referring to the show’s protagonist (Fujita Tatara) by his given name, which should become a regular practice going forward.

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

Well, there’s no going back now. Ballroom just went full sports anime, and it cut the brake lines for good measure. After the relative nuance of last week’s character introduction, the newest episode treated us to more fanservice, more contrivance, and more shounen formula than the last two combined. Sports series have really stepped up their game over the last few years, with Yuri on Ice and especially Ping Pong busting genre conventions every time they hit the airwaves, but I wasn’t expecting Ballroom to reach those heights – just equaling its sister series Haikyuu would be a fine achievement. The going is still early, but since I’m reviewing the show episodically, I don’t have a lot of praise to dole out this time.

Before we get too negative, though, let’s talk about Fujita’s family life for a bit. There’s a sweet mealtime scene between our young hero, his father, and his grandmother, who we met for the first time this week. Fujita does his best impression of a color commentator as a sumo match plays on TV, allowing his nearsighted grandma to follow along. This heartwarming scene further establishes him as a good kid, but he’s still not disclosing his new hobby to his dad, so I have to wonder when Fujita’s sneaking around will come back to bite him in the butt. Ballroom isn’t one of those series that makes its paternal figures into antagonists, but we already know that he’s concerned about his son’s upcoming high school entrance exams. When he inevitably learns that ballroom dancing is coming before Fujita’s studies, we can expect a B-plot’s worth of material from the resulting conflict.

Notably absent from the dinner table is Fujita’s mother. I’ve been on the lookout for a shrine somewhere in their home, but it appears she’s just living apart from her family. I have to wonder whether Fujita would be more comfortable revealing his passion for dance to a mother figure, but it’s hard to speculate, since all the women in this cast are already part of that world. Tamaki-san is the encouraging type, at least, which is a wonderful trait for a young novice to have in an instructor. Speaking of female characters, I took issue with the way that half of the cast was treated in this episode. This is a shounen property, so I was prepared for a certain level of sexual objectification, but at this point Banba’s role in the story is 80% boob jiggle. The more offensive instance by far, though, came when Sengoku grabbed a handful of Shizuku’s dress during a pep talk and inadvertently bared her breasts. Then they threw in a gushing nosebleed and a camera flash for good measure… I was able to get past the changing scene from last week without much trouble, but if this shit becomes a staple in Ballroom’s playbook, it’s going to put a sizeable damper on my enjoyment of the series.

Excessive fanservice isn’t the only bone I had to pick with this episode, either. The “overheard from a bathroom stall” trope was executed with about as much grace as Fujita after just one dance lesson, and it didn’t teach us anything that we couldn’t infer from the studio above his home and his rigorous practice routine. The show’s attempt to frame another competitor for Hyodo’s fall didn’t even qualify as half-hearted, plus we’ve already seen him fall down a flight of stairs at Ogasawara. And the fall itself was a complete contrivance, not only because it allowed Fujita to hit the floor way ahead of schedule, but also because it will prevent Hyodo from claiming his title. This kind of plotting reminds me of sports anime from the mid-90’s: clumsy and lacking any kind of dramatic tension. Sengoku refers to dance competitions as “battlefields” midway through the episode, but the show handled this one as though it were a mere reenactment.

Thankfully, Hyodo’s character remains fascinating, even when the events unfolding around him are not. After seeing Fujita’s excited expression on the dance floor, Hyodo angrily demands that he “give it back,” a clear reference to the passion that he himself has lost. It’s tempting to think that the two trash-talkers from the bathroom got under his skin, but it seems to me that he’s been approaching this breaking point for a while. His enthusiasm for the sport is at a low point, given his lack of challengers and disinterest in training overseas; he may not even want to compete at all, feeling only the need to live up to his reputation or please his parents. Hyodo’s expressions on the floor are often intense, but never are they happy, and that’s where Fujita has him beat. The continued strength of their rivalry will be one of the biggest measures of Ballroom’s success as it goes on – hopefully the rest of the show catches up soon.

Posted on 17 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

After a strong start to its two cour season, Ballroom e Youkoso has managed to waltz its way past all potential stumbling blocks and deliver an even better second episode. There was a lot to love here, including a carefully introduced rival and love triangle, great voicework from Shinba Tsuchiya, and some promising animation during a late solo dance sequence. Ballroom isn’t above including anime tropes like the always-classy ‘interrupted changing scene,’ and lead character Fujita’s latent genius is a bit too evident after just two installments, but the team at Production I.G. is doing a lot more things right than wrong. Let’s break them down step by step.

The episode is named after Kiyoharu Hyodo, the biggest of the three characters it introduces (the other two being Banba and Jinbo, Fujita’s friendly but underqualified dance instructors). Sengoku describes Hyodo as a “monster” who stands in complete dominance of Japan’s amateur DanceSport scene. He’s full of intensity on the floor, but totally aloof when he’s away from it, demonstrating his nonchalance throughout the episode via several cavernous yawns. Even if you think these are intentional, Hyodo is quite agreeable for a rival character in anime, especially given his young age and outrageous skill. He demonstrates a basic waltz step for his new studio-mate with only a slight protest, and keeps his cool when Fujita later interrupts his solo practice. The hitch is that Hyodo is involved in a nine-year dance partnership with Shizuku, on whom our hero has a massive crush.

When Sengoku teases that Fujita might try to steal his partner, Hyodo claims not to care. Shizuku, however, appears to care very much, blushing and pouting at his level-headed response. Thus the love triangle falls into place, with the only question mark being where Hyodo’s affections lie. Attractive and talented as Shizuku is, it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be interested, but he doesn’t seem to be; even when presented with the opportunity to train overseas with her, he’s content to stay in Japan. This is clearly discouraging to Shizuku, who thinks Hyodo is “on another level” and considers herself “lucky he’s my partner.” The hero worship here made me a little wary of potential Sakura Syndrome, where a major female character acts only as a bystander or cheerleader, but the groundwork has been laid for Shizuku to undergo her own arc. Natsu from Baby Steps is a good model for how I hope her character is handled over the course of the series – always improving and competing against rivals of her own, even as she functions as a love interest for two different guys.

On the production side of things, the stills and CG dancers returned for another episode, but all was forgiven during one of the final scenes this week. During a solo practice session of Hyodo’s, the art became more sketch-like and the animation more fluid, giving a powerful, dynamic feel to his movements. Even if it only lasted for a few seconds, this willingness to break model and use a rougher style to capture a different energy is a confidence booster. I especially liked this choice given that Fujita was observing him, and needed to be inspired by what he saw to push the story forward. Speaking of Fujita, Shinba Tsuchiya is a breath of fresh air as his voice actor, imbuing the character with a nice blend of self-consciousness and enthusiasm. Tsuchiya is a newcomer to the seiyuu world, but he’s already drawing comparisons to Daiki Yamashita, who voices Deku on Boku no Hero Academia, so his future looks bright. Hopefully Ballroom’s future remains just as promising as the show starts covering multiple manga chapters per episode.

Posted on 8 July 2017 with categories: Ballroom e Youkoso, Finished Series: Sports

Much of the conversation leading up to the premiere of Ballroom e Youkoso has focused on its English distribution. Amazon, who continue to wade deeper into the anime marketplace, snapped up the series to headline their Anime Strike channel, and plenty of digital ink has been spilled about how its double paywall spells doom for the future of legal streaming. The first episode of Ballroom also had its worldwide debut on Twitch, where a live audience of thousands welcomed its delayed subtitles with KappaPride emotes, copypasta, and an obsession with the size of the characters’ necks. But let’s put all this aside for a moment and ask ourselves: did Production I.G. succeed in preserving the appeal of the manga in its journey from page to screen?

For me, the answer is “pretty much.” Ballroom is a plucky, well-paced series in manga form, and I.G. kept things rolling during the first episode, as well. They had to cut a few corners to get there, however, and one of them cost me some attachment to Fujita, our middle school protagonist. The manga presents him as a willing participant in his first group lesson, having been inspired by a professional dancer named Sengoku, who rescues him from a trio of bullies. The animated version of the story keeps Sengoku’s role the same, but omits the group lesson, and skips straight to a coerced partnership with Shizuku, his schoolmate and newfound crush. As a result, it was much harder for me to swallow the idea that Fujita wanted to go pro by the end of the episode, or that he’d lose track of time and practice the box step for what must have been twelve hours straight.

Luckily, the rest of Ballroom’s characters more than pull their weight. Sengoku initially appears to be a good-natured role model, but after witnessing Fujita’s sudden insistence on becoming a professional dancer, he seamlessly transforms into a drill sergeant with a chip on his shoulder. Similarly, Shizuku is suspicious of her temporary partner’s motives, and asks him directly whether he’s just a pervert looking for kicks. It’s only after he demonstrates some proficiency at a beginning technique that she gives him the time of day. This prickly behavior lets us know that ballroom dancing is no walk in the park, and that experienced dancers won’t take kindly to upstarts who haven’t put in the hours. Hopefully, the series will permit Fujita to struggle for as long as possible, and give us a glimpse at the mental fortitude necessary to compete even at the amateur level.

Perhaps the most worrisome thing about this premiere was the lack of any one expressive dance scene. Production I.G. has done some great work on Haikyuu!!, and given the visual similarities between that series and Ballroom, I assume that it’s being handled by the same team. My expectations were high coming into the episode, but even during the scene where Fujita gawked at a dance competition on DVD, there were low-detail models, panning stills, and even what looked like CG dancers in a couple spots. On the plus side, the character designs are strong, even if they’re not identical to the manga, and they’re expressive enough to cover for the holes in the animation department. Still, the first major burst of painstakingly-drawn dance choreography should be a treat to behold.

All in all, this was a good start to an adaptation of a manga that certainly deserved one. I’m already looking forward to the next episode, and to covering the series from week to week.

Posted on 29 June 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Chihayafuru



Let’s put this into a bit of perspective: generally to warrant a second season a series needs to sell well in one way or the other. Chihayafuru’s DVD sales were abysmal: it sold like, 500 copies in its first week or so. Despite being a really excellent and well-made series, people just didn’t want to bite, and I had given up on any hope for a continuation. Imagine my surprise when the manga suddenly gets really popular and a second season has been highlighted!

And guess what? The production-values still are completely top-notch. There only are a few episodes with some bad and jerky animations. Otherwise: everything is perfectly crisp, the animation manages to make every single karuta match stand out and sparkle. There still is a ton of eye candy here. Any idea how hard it is to keep up this consistency for like fifty episodes?!

I mean, Chihayafuru’s sequel is just amazing. It continues the trend that the first season set, and just continues on with it, doing so many things right. Every single episode, it doesn’t just push one character forward; it tries to do this with as many characters as possible. No episode is wasted like this, and every episode brings something new to the table. It really is amazing how the creators continue to be able to do this. They introduce quite a few new characters that have a great impact on the storylines, and nearly all of them have some sort of gimmick, yet they feel real, and very relatable. The acting was fantastic in the first season, and that didn’t let up in the second, and the second now has so much build-up and development behind it!

It’s really clear that the creators here have a very good understanding of the game of Karuta: they really manage to flesh out the game even more in this season, and show many different sides of it. A downside is that if you just look at the matches objectively, then this series is a bit predictable in the big picture, but in the small picture, it’s everything but: the creators try their hardest to make the individual karuta-matches as exciting as possible.

This season does have a bit of a downside that it’s the middle arc, so there is no beginning, nor an ending, and because of that the juiciest developments are reserved for the other parts (if they’ll ever get there), and as a result this series does have less subject material, so it can move a bit slow at times. But still this show had some of the best characters of the year.
One-Sentence Review: If this series can’t get you fired up on Karuta, then nothing will; fantastic characterization.
Suggestions:
Hikaru no Go
Nodame Cantabile
Shion no Ou

CHANGE USERNAME
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.
Amagi
Angels of Death and Banana Fish are clearly my favorites so far too. Planet With's last scene was interesting but I can already guess it won't have much of an impact on the progression of the story and the MCs are pretty annoying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So far for me its Angels of death and Bananna fish , considering giving shichisei the 3 episode rule, instant drop for planet with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah, planet with, again, this is far from something I'm capable of sitting through a single episode of.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I wonder if it can keep things up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh God how to I save little blonde girl in it =<
I suppose it does rely on convenience a bit regarding that doctor guy and the protaganist going off with him, but we aren't supposed to talk about character decisions in horror.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although its only the first episode of satsuriku, I did enjoy the tone it was going for and think its just about achieved merging semi-creepiness with camp without too much of a clash, while still remaining fun, the lack of words words words exposition also helped make it intriguing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Flcl, in your insanity you invoke my empathy with your sheer overflow of crazy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The reason I mainly thought to bring up the rpgmaker though, was due to browsing youtube last night and finding out someone remastered the whole soundtrack.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I forgot to mention that Mugen fighter game engine thing, the videos for that were fun, people doing sprites of basically ANYONE and putting them into a 2D fighting game scenario, for a teenager at the time I discovered it, it fufilled any weird versus fantasy I had.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember it was possible to edit other peoples games after downloading them, and if you played in design mode you could use a pass through walls cheat by holding shift I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yume nikki would be very dependent on making its atmosphere work in an adaptation.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Actually yes. You game may be "silly" but at least it sounds fun. Most anime aren't really trying, just shouting and repeating the joke won't make it funnier and I doubt anyone died of laughter because of some collision of MC face and random boobs.
Amagi
I hope the adaption of Tenshi means that there are chances for other good rpgm games like those Aidan mentioned (I think it was Aidan). Although Yume Nikki could be hard to animate, depends on the director and budget. Guess IB would be easier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ha, those crappy rpg maker games we made on the fly were at least better than Shichisei no Subaru amirite =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
For the longest time I had an old floppy disk of that silly game I worked on, it kind of got known in my school and I lent it to some guy who I don't even remember who he was, never got it back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'll at least check out this rpg maker game anime adaptation this season for the novelty of an anime being based on an rpgmaker game.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also remember trying to get my brother to use that Click and create program thing to make sonic and Mario fangames. Actually I remember there was a site dedicated to Sonic gamesfactory rip off games. While it was rare, I did see attempts people made trying to make 2D platformers in rpgmaker 2003, terrible idea though as it never really worked.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I actually enjoyed Cthulhu saves the World. Guess that's somewhat the type of game I mean.
Amagi
lol same here. Stupid story for fun and those horrible converted music files that turned a little game into a 500mb monster. It was a lot of fun though, too bad these rpgm games are too common now, I would probably never play them anymore unless they are really something different. Wish more people would do such joke games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably wrote awful fanfiction at that age also.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I believe the junkie character was some kind of ninja....
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember never wanting to use the default music for it and instead threw in whatever my favourite videogame tunes were, and they had to be mp3s, which the program wouldn't allow you to use. This led to converting them into large midi files which ended up making the loading times run like shit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, graphically we had no clue what we were doing, terrible sprite edits in ms paint.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think there was even a proper overworld either, it had to be unlocked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wrote this when I was 12, which explains how dumb it is.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some stupid side plot about a wannabe fascist flying around in an airship who couldn't speak coherently aswell. At one point the characters ended up in Moscow to take on the communists and stop the missile launch. There was a awful side quest involving a pope like character/terrorist too. Last, unlockable boss was some rich guy never mentioned once during the game.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The things I came up with though were the result of a bunch of kids trying to make a game though. Something about a group of friends who were amateur gangsters, all of them hated each other, lots of awful puns and a plot about the games creators trying to screw over the characters. Something about Neo-communists kidnapping their drug addict friend and trying to raise funds for a missile strike.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember using facesets would cut off text in the text boxes too aswell , actually I remember giving up on them and in one of the games I scripted, only allowing a one off character to have one and that became used as a joke.
Amagi
In the end it was the chipsets that made me lose my patience. My game was scifi taking place in the real world and all existing chipsets were fantasy-middle ages so you always have to draw ever single background and item yourself.
Amagi
Yeah I drew/animated everything myself as well which is why I was so damn slow. The normal sprites aren't a problem, problematic are the chipsets and battle sprites, especially when you create your own attacks. Maybe the VN-faces too because I thought I could go with three per character, but it amounted to many more in the end to convey the different emotions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While again the name escapes me, I can remember someone did a date sim/rpg hyrbrid in rpg maker 2003, as I recall they completely drew everything themselves for it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And looking back, the games my brother , I and my friends made in it, weren't really much in the way of games as the battles/leveling up/exploration aspect were never important, it was always just a vehicle to go from one silly joke scenario to another.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember being especially overly into using it aswell when I was around 12, I had whole word documents of scripts and notes, down to what face sets and music to use, before the games even got made.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Don't remind me, I spend 1 1/2 years of my life with doing my rpg maker game, I already had ~5h playing time in the end but the game wasn't nearly finished. Good times though, always worked on this as soon as I came home and was even motivated enough to jump out ot the bed at 6am on weekends
Amagi
@Aidan: So far I never spend any money but I think I will do the paid gacha this time. Kinda scared of getting my fourth Arthuria or second Nightingale/Vlad depending on which gacha I will do.
Masky
Ya know, the "anime industry produces too much anime" thing has to be true when every webnovel is getting anime and they are still running out of them to the point they are making rpg maker game adaptions xP
Kaiser-Eoghan
*gamefactory
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Do you remember other gamemaker things like klickcreate and gamefactor and Mugen?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: As in my friends and i would make games in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I noticed one of the anime this season was based on an rpg maker game, I remember messing around with that back in 2003 with my brother. I don't know what mad father is, but yume nikki and ib have manga adaptations and I think there's a novelized version of yume nikki also. There was a silent hill and final fantasy knockoff I remember but I can't recall the names of those rpg maker games.
Masky
Huh. Planet With seems pretty interesting
AidanAK47
Damn, Got NP3 Mordred and NP4 Atlanta in the Guaranteed Gacha. Could be worse but I was hoping for someone new at least.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....but I tought it was pretty forgettable =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was even an anime from a few years back called amnesia aswell.
SuperMario
Just half of this new season alone there has been 3, 4 cases of amnesia already. Duh
SuperMario
Again we have another character who suffered amnesia. Why Japan? Why anime?
Kaiser-Eoghan
On banana fish, refreshing seeing darker skinned character designs in an anime series even if its just background characters.
Amagi
Not talking about the upcoming series and I haven't seen Tenshi yet, in the end I will probably watch 5+ series again but so far the season is clearly weaker than the one before. Also, there is ANOTHER isekai airing today that makes..6?
Amagi
Banana Fish is the best current season anime so far. Aside from that I will just watch Tonegawa because the manga is pretty good (although I, like many others, think that the narrator VA was a big mistake)
Amagi
I think one of the many problems most game-isekai have is that they always feel like the author never played a game in their life. I don't see the point choosing a game as setting if nothing is following any game rules.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now it will be key that the final arc and ending remain true to the manga or I will be displeased.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Banana fish's modernization isn't as problematic as I'd though based on its first episode, yes the pace is sped up but the manga much as I liked it, didn't have very good pacing at times. The two setpieces match with the tension the original mangaka showed in the manga. Lol at that guys wacky hair style though.
Lenlo
Yeah Shichisei was... interesting. Really im not having to much fun this season. Its just not as good as last
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its a problem though, when I watch the show, as a non-gamer and notice its a problem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
“Learn how to goddamn write you stupid ass HACK!”......

......Or was that DOThack
Kaiser-Eoghan
Why why do so many shows use dutch angles for the sake of it. I hate this as a former film student.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I never felt like the show even introduced itself properly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In all fairness, there is the 4 episode rule.
SuperMario
As I said in my 1st impression, I actually quite enjoyed the drama in Shichisei. Now come fight me guys!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've likely gone and shatted on this show in more words than Aidan and the others will bother, but feel free to repeat what I say .
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Its finally here, the finale of Megalo Box. And what a finale it was. Lets just get right into it. Cutting right to the chase, I think Megalo Box was golden until the last 6 minutes. Everything was going great, I had no complaints, and then… Megalo Box anti-climaxed itself. The final 6 minutes simply […]

Steins;Gate 0 – 12 [Mother Goose of Mutual Recursion -Recursive Mother Goose-]

Hello everyone and welcome to the midpoint of the season! This week we have the weirdest game of anime telephone I have ever seen. Lets jump in! So first off, the big thing, Steins;Gate 0 this week is a B-plot. A side-story almost irrelevant to the main story. Its cute, its fluffy, it gets a […]

Legends of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 8-12

Well this is rather embarrassing. Believe me when I say I fully intended to cover every episode of this series but life finds a way of ruining your plans. So rather than waste a post just talking about what happened in these past four episodes, I would think it better to just give my thoughts […]

Golden Kamuy – 12 [Trickster Fox]

Before I start, I just want to bring up the news that indeed, Golden Kamuy will have second cour, airing in this Fall season. For now I can’t say for sure if I’m up to cover the second cour, it’ll have to depend on the crop of Fall season. As a result, this final episode […]

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