Posted on 23 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shion no Ou


I doubt that I can write a review to do this series justice, but here it goes. Shion no Ou is an anime about shougi, the Japanese form of chess. The rules are quite complicated, but you don’t need to be able understand them if you want to enjoy this series. What’s much more important for Shion no Ou is the general strategies, and the mind-games that get played between the two players.

And don’t ask me how they did it, but the writers are true masters in terms of storytelling. While this series does take place mostly in a tournament-arc, they take everything that gets handed to them to spice things up. Every single character has his or her own style of playing that gradually evolves throughout the series. The police and the press often play a big role, as they support the main storyline and the main cast of characters.

And let me say that the story and characters are nothing short of incredible. The heroine, Shion, is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever seen. Every single character is well-defined and developed. Every single episode pushes the plot forwards, without any exceptions. The original manga was also written by a woman who used to be a female shougi-player as well, and she made sure to show all the ins and outs of a shougi-tournaments.

The animation definitely is different from usual. You’ll either love it or hate it, and it does fluctuate from incredibly bad to incredibly good, due to a limited budget. But in exchange, everything looks unique, and you can see that the animators are trying everything they can to make the art stand out. The animation itself is messy, but the poses and camera-angles are creative and yet incredibly life-like, that turned this series into a visual feast for me.

Great anime usually have one or two aspects that turn out very polished, like a cast of terrific characters, or an engaging storyline, but the outstanding anime really deliver in every single department. Shion no Ou has it all: terrific storytelling, a great storyline, a cast of deep and amazing characters (both the villains, main and side-characters) that really comes to life in the second half, a terrific art-style and animation, excellent music and a good sense of realism, although you should note that Shougi is serious business in this series, and at times the characters do tend to take Shougi a bit too seriously. ^^;

Posted on with categories: Shion no Ou


God… this series is over at last. Endings like this one always have a certain air of predictability. Shion was bound to win, Hani-meijin would definitely end up arrested, and there’d also be a pretty good chance that Shion would get her voice back in the end.

And THAT’s exactly where the creators of this series come into play, and their mysterious talent to make this series awesome, no matter what happens. I can’t believe that these guys really know what it takes to create an excellent series. I’ve heard that the manga continues on beyond this point, but there are absolutely not threads left hanging, and everything is somehow carefully wrapped up in this episode.

This is exactly why I love Studio Deen. Their series either reek of mediocrity, like Hatenkou Yuugi, Touka Gettan, Ginga Densetsu Weed or some of Hiroshi Watanabe’s works, and yet they’ve managed to churn out a number of true classics. These guys are not afraid to experiment and go with their own style, which becomes apparent in masterpieces as Jigoku Shoujo, The Law of Ueki, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Simoun and of course this one. They’re looking to be busy yet again for the upcoming spring-season, with Vampire Knight, Amatsuki, Kyou Kara Maou and Junjo Romantica (incidentally, all four are shoujo), so perhaps another potential classic is amongst these four.

So in the end, Hani-meijin indeed was and still is obsessed with Shougi. He basically killed off everyone dear to Shion, in order to make her more focused at getting better at Shougi, after the recommendations he heard about her. Even Kasumi had to die because of this. Oh, and I absolutely loved it when Satoru punched his brother in the face. That scene was simple, but so effective.

The animation was yet again excellent in this episode. And here’s an interesting bit I found out: the chief animation director (Seiya Numata) also did the key animation of the fourth episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which was the one that spawned the outrage. The episode itself was pretty bad, it was directed and written by a supposedly good friend of the director (called Osamu Kobayashi if I’m not mistaken). But this does explain why that episode looked so strange when compared to the other episodes. Osamu Kobayashi must have been heavily influenced by the unique style of Seiya Numata.

The problem with that episode was however that it didn’t fit in with the consistency of that series at all. Like with The Third, such a different animation-style breaks flow. Arusu the Adventure has thus far been the only series where a change of animation-style has really worked, simply because it consistently changes its animation-style with every single episode. If there are one or two episodes where the characters look totally different from usual, it just feels like bad planning.

That’s why it’s great to see that in this series, Seiya Numata was in charge for the animation of all the episodes, so he could really go all out. And I really like how he made use of the clearly limited budget that this series ended up with. This series is the perfect example of how you can look great, even without the big budgets you see in series as Seirei no Moribito and Macross Frontier. Especially that punch from Satoru looked terrific.

In any case, it’s sad to see that this series is finally over. This has without a doubt been the best series of the past half year. I’m hoping that the upcoming spring-season features at least one more series with the same calibre as this one. A series that comes from nowhere, grabs you and never lets go until after it’s finished.

Posted on 15 March 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


This episode was… beyond incredible. Oh my god… I can still hardly believe how this turned out to be by far the best episode of this series yet. And with Shion no Ou, this has to say something! Every single part about this episode was just outstanding, and this episode turned out better than I could have ever imagined. It’s episodes like this one that only appear once every half a year. These episodes really are the true masterpieces, and showcase the best of the best for anime.

Okay, so it was sortof to be expected that this was the episode where Shion would find out that Hani-meijin was the one who killed her parents, but the real strength of this episode was the fact that the series had built her character into a truly memorable one. In the end, what happened was that Hani-meijin and Shion played a game of Shougi, after the murder. Shion just was too young to immediately realize what happened to her parents, so she just went along with the game, in an attempt to protect them. Because of this, she tried everything, to prevent Hani-meijin from taking her king. Hani-meijin then took the king from her, and placed it on her father’s forehead, explaining why it was so drenched in blood, after which he left, leaving Shion to finally realize what that total bastard had done to her parents!!!

As it turns out, Hani-meijin left his mother’s necklace with Shion on purpose. He wanted her to have something to constantly remind her of her parent’s murder, so that she wouldn’t just forget it, and a necklace is the perfect thing for that. And you just have to love Shion when she finally realizes that. Instead of cowering in fear, she quickly pushes them aside, rips off the necklace and puts Ayumi’s necklace on instead. That was so AWESOME.

And really, the animators were on FIRE for this episode. It’s not like the episode was extremely smooth or anything, but there were so many different angles, so many different poses. I really love the sense of style that this series has. Most series try to use some extra budget for flashy CG, or extra smooth frame-rates. But this series is different, and instead it’s more interested in different poses and viewpoints. Heck, it has this even more than Hakaba Kitarou. This is really what anime should be: an art-form.

It’s such a shame that there’s just one episode left. This series is really too awesome to end, but on the other hand, it also needs a conclusion. The next episode should be perfect for that, because all that’s left is for Shion to bust up Hani-meijin, Hani-meijin to reveal his reasons and the reason why he ended up killing Kazumi as well.

Posted on 10 March 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


And the finale has begun! This episode mainly builds up for the two final episodes, but we already see some interesting events. Finally the murderer himself shows a bit of himself, and it’s like I guessed: this guy is obsessed with good shougi. His match against Shion has just only started, and he already is giddy with excitement over Shion’s wit.

The question remains, though: why Shion? Did Hani-Meijin already notice the talents of Shion when he first met her, and therefore decided to turn her into some kind of shougi-machine, or is there a deeper reason beneath it? Satoru believes that Kamizono knows more about it, so he decides to go and visit him this episode. Apparently, Hani-meijin held a match with Kamizono at the time of Shion’s death, providing him for an alibi that day.

And Ayumi, you idiot! How dare you listen to Hani-meijin at such a time and stay away from Shion’s match, right when she needs you the most!? Ah well, at least it looks like he’ll arrive before the match is over, but that might as well be too late for her. I must say that the creators have used the tournament extremely well to set up Shion’s encounter with her murderer. It makes perfect sense, and it’s definitely among de best tournament-arcs I’ve seen.

Posted on 1 March 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


Heh, and I thought that Satoru would be out of the picture now that he lost. Heh, it’s far from that. Basically in this episode, he confirms the suspicions that were raised in the previous episode, and it’s now pretty clear who the murderer is. Really, only now that this information is revealed, I realize how much sense it makes.

Why did I never question why Shion and Satoru had the same kind of necklace? I just assumed that it was chance, but that was FAR FROM THE CASE. In fact, these two necklaces belonged to Satoru and Hani’s mother! Each of them took one of the necklaces, and I think that this is the first thing that raised Satoru’s suspicions. It must’ve been quite a shock when he first saw it. I also now realize why he was toying with Shion so much: he was trying to figure out how she got the necklace, and because of that, she reminded him of Kasumi. Still, why was Hani-Meijin stupid enough to leave his necklace at such a place?

Also, Shion’s style of playing shougi turns out to be the same style as that of Hani-meijin, according to Satoru. Of course that’s the case! From what I gathered, Shion and Hani spent quite a bit of time together between the time of the murder and the arrival of the police. We already know that he was the reason why she continued to play shougi, so he might as well have given her a few pointers on how to improve her game. The interesting thing is that ever since, Shion did try to change from her usual tactics. I wonder whether the creators will use that in the final episodes.

And thank god Ayumi didn’t turn into a helpless pawn of Hani-meijin. He really shines when he does something for Shion and yet again there are so many possibilities at how the creators can use him against Hani-meijin for the final episodes. Three episodes is just enough to give Hani-meijin some more development (now that we finally know that he did it, it’s time to delve into the reasons as to why he did it). Satoru has already proved to be an extremely versatile character, and it would be a shame to see this series end without Hani-meijin getting the same treatment.

Posted on 24 February 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


Well, it’s four episodes left, and we finally get a question that has been asked through the entire series confirmed. It wasn’t the most exciting episode that this series had to offer, but it was a perfect build-up to the grand finale of this anime. The next line is going to be a spoiler, so this line is there to prevent it to appear on the blog-aggregators like animeblogger antenna.

So, yes: Satoru was just one big red herring; he never killed Shion’s parents in the first place. The real killer also has to be Hani-meijin, all signs point to him:
– He will be playing against Shion for the finale
– He recruited Ayumi to be his student.
– He entered a world so dangerous that he had to abandon his brother.

In the end, all Satoru was, was another one of the guy’s victims. Satoru looked up to his brother, and he was deserted because of Shougi. In addition to that, Satoru lost his mother, father and lover, and it turns out that he was just clinging to get back to the only one of his loved ones who is still alive. His sadistic actions were just mere pranks, in order to get noticed. I think that the reason why he revealed Ayumi’s identity to Saori just was a subtle cry for attention. I must say that now that I love his character, and the depth of it, and it makes me hate Hani-meijin even more.

Throughout the first two thirds of the series, we were all made to hate Satoru, while the real bastard is actually Hani-meijin. I remember how I didn’t like the guy, but this hatred disappeared when the even worse Satoru appeared. Still, it now turns out that the guy loves to play with other people as if they were toys. Saori, another person that’s been dying for his attention just got shamelessly put aside during this episode, in favour of the “stronger” Ayumi, just because she didn’t make it to the finals because she had the bad luck to face an old shougi-master!

And really, what’s he planning with Shion? I think it’s clear now that he’s after strong players and has no need for the weak ones. Was the reason he committed the murder a twisted experiment to get Shion entirely devoted to Shougi, so that he could harvest her once her talents developed? Is the fact that Kaminozo accepted him really the only reason why he took on Ayumi as his new student? Or was this yet another part of his plans with Shion. The guy definitely had a bad history with Shion’s parents, but what exactly is it?

It’s really been a while since I watched such an episode, but this is one of the rare ones that gets better and better after you finish watching it. It wasn’t the most exciting of the shougi-matches, but it’s been ages since one episode made me think so much as this one. It’s series like this one that remind me why I fell in love with anime in the first place.

Posted on 17 February 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


This episode was meant to build up for the next one. But with Shion no Ou, this isn’t a bad thing at all. This episode was yet again awesome, and now that this series is nearing its finish it’s getting more amazing by the minute! Seriously, this series has some of the best character-studies in a long while, and at the moment, I’m certain that it’ll end up being one of my favourite series of 2008, even though we’re only half past February.

And really, the animators were on fire for this episode, after the really weird shots of the previous one. It’s really interesting to see that the creators too have realized that the animation needs to be better, and they’re actually improving themselves. I’ve only seen this phenomena in one other series: Mahou Shoujotai. I don’t think I need to say anything more. It’s not like the animation this episode was really crisp or smooth. It’s even messier than usual, but it’s detailed and imaginative. Those were some really interesting poses, where you can see that the animators put some thoughts into them. Some were exaggerated, but others looked SO natural, like how Satoru tilted his head when Shion approached him.

And boy, the story. I’m getting more and more the feeling that Satoru is some kind of huge red herring, standing in front of the real killer. The amount of depth that he and Shion got in this episode is almost unbelievable. This episode starts with Hani-meijin winning over Hisatani, and the second half of the episode is dedicated to the match between Shion and Satoru.

It actually turns out that Shion met Kazuki, when her parents were alive. She hears this from Satoru, during the match. In exchange, she starts crying for her, wondering who it was that handed her her first shougi-pieces at such a young age. I don’t think that Satoru could have expected that other people cared about Kazuki apart from him.

That’s not the only thing that Satoru tells her. He also tells him that she actually once convinced him to stop playing Shougi, and that because of her, he organized the tournament in the first place. It also seems that she died, the day after Shion’s real parents died. Also, for some reason, Satoru also tries to make her remember the incident, and because of this he also shows her his memorial, the same as Shion’s.

Shion then recalls another part of her memory, where she’s playing shougi with her father as a child, where he actually inspires her to keep playing shougi. Shion then realizes that that was the reason why she became a pro in the first place. After the match progresses a while, Satoru leaves the room to eat a bit of lunch. Before he leaves the room, he asks Shion about the night of the murder. Apparently, it took a while before the police arrived, but Shion never screamed for help. She just cried for her parents, if I understood things correctly.

This makes Shion recall that night a bit more clearly, and the night with her father as well. Guess what? It turns out that these two nights were the exact same night. The reason why Shion kept playing shougi was BECAUSE OF WHAT THE KILLER SAID to her! In her mind, she changed this image to be her foster-father. One interesting detail is that Shion held the other king in her hand that time, and she didn’t want to give it up.

Seriously, the potential for the finale for this series is overwhelming. Hands down, Shion no Ou has become my favourite series of the Autumn-season, and Ghost Hound is going to have to be amazing if it wants to have any chance to change this.

Posted on 10 February 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


Oh my god. This episode was absolutely amazing, and quite probably the best of the entire series yet. And with Shion no Ou, that has to say something! Obviously with that, there are major spoilers following, because this episode turned so many tables around. You don’t want to read this entry without having seen the episode, and I’m serious about this. This sentence is meant to fill up space on the blog aggregators.

Now, the biggest shock was definitely the very first sentence on the first scene. From out of NOWHERE, we just learn that Ayumi’s mother freaking DIED. I hardly could believe my ears when I heard this, and how it came so incredibly suddenly. The first sentence was the last place I’d ever expect a twist so major as that.

Unfortunately, the only thing that wasn’t freaking awesome about this episode was the animation. Something went terribly wrong with the outsourcing this time, and some shots looked really off, even more than usual for this series. Thankfully though, the rest of the episode MORE than made up for it. Shion’s face when she found out about Ayumi’s mother was heart-wrenching. And yes, I admit that I cried a lot during this episode.

The thing also remains that Ayumi has now lost his main reason to play Shougi. Hani-meijin then comes into the picture, when he basically offers to make Ayumi his successor. With his loss against Satoru this episode, the female Ayumi has also died, and the episode ends with Hani-meijin, actually cutting off Ayumi’s hair!

And on top of that, Satoru also receives a truckload full of development. We see him this time at the apartment of a newly introduced friend of his. We receive the first clue that perhaps he wasn’t the one who killed Shion’s parents. It turns out Kazumi was indeed his lover, whom he met in high-school. She died, however, at the same time that Shion’s parents got killed. In this episode, we see how Satoru has actually asked this friend of his to investigate on the real facts of the death of Shion’s parents. Now why would he do that if he was the murderer?

We also learn why Hani-meijin and Satoru split up. Hani-meijin basically forced Satoru to stop playing Shougi, while he himself would pursue a professional carreer in Shougi. This had a major impact on Satoru, and he secretly kept playing Shougi with himself. It turns out that his ultimate goal is to have a real match with his brother, which is probably why he organized the tournament in the first place. Where Shion fits in this isn’t clear yet. But Hani-meijin is indeed the weak point for Satoru. When he finds out that Hani-meijin was late for his own match, his own game against Ayumi got a lot weaker. When the guy showed up at last, he easily won.

Seriously, this episode was all kinds of awesomeness, and to think that the creators haven’t even begun to reveal all of their trump-cards. Right now, only Shion, Hisatani, Satoru and Hani-meijin are left in the tournament. Quite an interesting line-up, if you ask me. If I understood things correctly, then Hisatani will end up against Hani-meijin if he wins his next match. Shion then has also has a match against an unknown opponent (I suspect that this is going to be the guy who beat Saori), after which she yet again has to play against Satoru, who of course wants to go to the finale where he can play against his brother (who’ll likely beat Hisatani). It turns out that there will be 22 episodes for this series, just as with Ghost Hound, and this should provide enough time to close off this series.

Posted on 2 February 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


Shion versus Yasuoka. How could this episode not turn awesome? It was probably the longest match of the entire series (a bit less than one episode, to be exact). As always, the match was awesome, but what went on around the match was even more interesting! Sure, Shion managed to win, but that’s not what this match was about. It was a nostalgic trip for both Shion and Yasuoka, seeing as this was their first real match. Shion was SO adorable when she was four, and first got into contact with Shougi. I can’t believe that she actually played her first match at that young age, and it’s even more adorable how even then Yasuoka didn’t hold back.

Hisatani and Saori also have quite an interesting relationship. Hisatani has been nervous ever since he realized what he was up against, and Saori just keeps yelling at him to get him back to earth. He’s got his own match to prepare, so he can’t check up on Shion. I also like how Shion ended up winning. The usual spectators have written her down, at that point, and then Satoru suddenly reveals a fail-proof way for Shion to win that everybody else didn’t see. Of course, Yasuoka did see it, and he forfeits.

The episode also ended with a great scene between Satoru and Yasuoka. As usual, Satoru starts taunting, though Yasuoka retorts that Shion’s parents must be proud at how she grew to adulthood. After that, we see a bit more of Satoru’s past: it seems that he actually SAW his father die in the accident that killed him. After that, he shows what could very well be the nicest face that we’ve ever seen from him…

Posted on 26 January 2008 with categories: Shion no Ou


Really, Shion no Ou is one of these few series that’s just as awesome during its climaxes as during the building-up scenes. I don’t care anymore whether we get some exciting Shougi-matches or just their set-up: they’ll be awesome either way! Even though this episode just built up for the eight-finals of the shougi-tournament, it easy was able to remind me why this is my favourite series at the moment.

Like expected, Saori doesn’t get angry at Ayumi after finding out his secret. Instead, she and Ayumi get much closer now. Like Shion, she offers to pay for the operation on Ayumi’s mother, but yet again he refuses. What’s also interesting is how Saori too noticed that Ayumi started to get other reasons to play shougi, other than paying for his mother’s hospital bills. It also turns out that Ayumi has been keeping his shougi-adventures away from his mother as well. This was to be expected, of course. Ayumi really is a person who doesn’t want others to worry about himself, and likes to keep information about himself from others.

I’m still not sure what Satoru’s up to. First, he brought Saori and Ayumi closer together, and now he arranged behind the scenes with the help of the reporter that Shion’s first match in the eighth-finals would be against her foster-father. Instead, he keeps dropping hints how he was the one who killed Shion’s parents. What did seem interesting was the way he talked to Shion was much more different than usual, and it almost felt like he was emotionally involved with the things he said to Shion, how he too lost his parents at an early age. And really, Ayumi was too cute when he tried to protect Shion.

Interestingly enough, Hisatani also made it through the preliminaries. I loved how nervous he was at all the professional-looking shougi-players that he was amongst. It’ll be interesting to see what the underdog has up his sleeve. And I had to laugh at the way that Yasuoka picked up his phone that told him his place in the eight-finals. From his overdramatic movements, to him not knowing how to use a cell-phone.

The media also got developed a bit through this episode. Now that the tournament is progressing, the coverage of the media is also going to increase. Especially on the only two high-school “girls” who made it through the preliminaries. It really felt like they looked at Shion and Ayumi as they were a bunch of cheap idols, and it’s quite a change from the usual reporter, who always was really involved with the matches.

CHANGE USERNAME
Vonter
Or are the 50s the new late 30s or early 40s?
Vonter
Are japanese people vampires? https://ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Toru_Furuya
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: If you look at the voice list, that Japanese voice actor for Mario in that anime movie is the same voice actor for Amuro Ray from the original Gundam.
Vonter
Also considering Baby Bowser was raised by Kamek. I suppose those beings could be made by magic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - My head canon is that Bowser made them himself. Kinda Lord Zedd or Rita from Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still subscribe to the headcanon that Peach is the mother of Bowsers children.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember growing up with the relatively poor American cartoons, none of them featured Wario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have committed videogame genocide apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Everytime I broke or hit a brick in the Mario games I was probably murdering a toad.
Vonter
The ending it's "interesting" considering the relationship Mario and Peach have isn't something as close, as Link and Zelda.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's weird but at the same time it does use elements from the game. Like the music, and story bits from the manual from the original Super Mario Bros. (Where it mentioned Bowser uses magic to turn Toads into the bricks, clouds and other objects of the game).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never did end up watching the Mario anime movie that came out in the 80s.
Vonter
Also someone is putting the effort of making a Bowsette adventure doujin. This is the type of stuff that could be it's own original thing since it strays far from what's Mario. Despite the occasional mild nudity it's quite fun so far, despite also how weird it is.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - At the very least it'll be interesting to see where it goes. It happens also every time something comes back. Times change and so the way we make stories. Also the original run had a curtain call chapter, so this is more a new story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is often what happens with episodic stuff for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I essentially read Fraken Fran until I got my fill of it.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, I feel that Franken Fran pretty much ran it's course though. Not sure what a new series could bring.
Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
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Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

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Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

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Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 13 [And Then Start Running]

Kaze Fui returns, contending with and maybe even beating Mob Psycho for best episode of the week! We have introspection, backstory, and the team coming together to protect their emotionally stunted friend! Lets charge in! Everything about Kaze Fui this week was fantastic. From the narrative to the VA’s. But one I want to hit […]

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