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
AidanAK47
I have played all the big roguelikes and found they have the same problem. I argee on procedural generation. Even if the map is different every time you are essentailly going through the same rooms and doing the same things.
Masky
Though to be honest, I don't like procedural(or designed room and then game connects them randomly) games much. I much enjoy hand designed dungeons since I rarely play games through more than once anyway so roguelike's appeal of "Every time you play it through its different!" doesn't appeal to me much and hand designed dungeons are much more memorable
Masky
Can't really comment further on that since I don't know which roguelikes you have played, and neither I have played gungeon so I don't know if its badly designed to the point you can't do anything if rng says so. Though I guess there is nothing wrong about liking luck based games, if roguelike in question is truly unbeatable if rng says so, well, its really badly designed one if you ask me.
AidanAK47
Take my last run. Made it up to the fourth floor. Got plenty of guns but none were really useful. Even then ran out of ammo for all of them and the game was cheap about giving out ammo. Plenty of money but shops with nothing worth buying. Over 5 heart containers but no goddamn health. Died on the boss because I rolled out of a bullet into another bullet. Pretty much unavoidable.
AidanAK47
@Masky, that's the theory but in pretty much every roguelike I played its not the case. If the RNG decides you are going to have a bad time then you are going to have a bad time. Skill can only bring you so far. I have played this game for 7 hours and I know I could have finished it in 2. Only thing stopping me is a dice roll.
Masky
Like, the thing with roguelikes is that they can get easier/harder depending on luck, but well done one should be completable even without any upgrades at all if you are skilled enough.
Masky
Thats not the really case with roguelikes though, unless game design is bad and includes insta kill traps and such that are unavoidable if you are unlucky
AidanAK47
I hate roguelikes. Been playing enter the Gungeon and I just lost all patience with it. Getting real tired of my victory being decided by a RNG. It never feels satisfying to finish a roguelike because I know my victory was determined by pure luck.
AidanAK47
So we got to rely on fansubs for it when it's airing.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Nope. I think because netflix only puts up full seasons they are only planning to put it up when it's finished airing. Or when it's dubbed.
SuperMario
But how does the Netflix thing work? So of I have a Netflix account I can watch the show weekly?
SuperMario
@Aidan: that's a dumb way to do things really because unless you watch the show weekly, everyone gonna forget that it even exist. Just look at Re-Life last year
Lenlo
thought*. Words are hard.

Eventually found the actual first ep though and enjoyed it.
Lenlo
Was funny. I tried to find the first Ep for Little Witch, found original short made afew years ago, watched it and though "This is very similar to the original... Whats new".
AidanAK47
Little witch is one of the best shows this season and yet I can't get subtitles because Netflix doesn't release shows weekly. Motherf*cker.
Lenlo
Ore Monogatari I enjoyed. It was a nice romance that actually explored what happens after the confession. Also the 2 leads are just precious.
Lenlo
Alright but unmemorable seems like a good summation.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: one good thing about Seiren is if you don't like this romance, the whole thing gonna reset after episode 4 so there's a chance that you might end up like it. Agreed that the comedy wasn't very good. Alright but unmemorable
SuperMario
@Topgavin: I watched like first 3 episodes and stopped because I didn't have much time there, but I enjoyed what I saw. A well-written and endearing show in my book
Topgavin
Has anyone here watched Ore Monogatari before? Because in the 4 years I've watched anime, I've never heard of it (I guess it did come out 2 years ago) and yet it's turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Always great going into a show expecting nothing and getting pleasantly surprised.
AidanAK47
Only one more impression to go. Should have it up tomorrow.
Lenlo
Im really not feeling Seiren. Its "comedy" isnt for me and I just dont find it very enjoyable to watch so far. Im curious if it gets any better but 2 episodes in it just isnt that good.
HelghastKillzone
That ending scene is an entire side-story compressed into that. Don't expect anymore of it from here on out as the it sticks to ruthless military/fantasy pretty well.
LookingForKeys
@Topgavin I think it was good, making it the second episode. That way the first set up the world the story will be in, and showed how much of a monster the "little girl" really is right at the end, and then made ep.2 the explanation. Nothing against Tanya trying to rip "God" a new one.
That after-credits scene, though...
SuperMario
Hmm, as much as I like Seiren's omnibus format, it doesn't turn out really hot this second episode. Demi-chan, on the other hand, still maintains its endearing tone. Might blogging Demi-chan instead
Topgavin
Yeah, that second episode was much better than the first. Dunno why they didn't start with that to be honest, waste of an opportunity for a good hook episode. The voice for the main girl still sounds weird to me though; I get it's supposed to sound weird because it symbolizes 'her' being out of place and her personality and body being a mismatch, but it'll certainly take some getting used to.
AidanAK47
Youjo Senki, now we are talking. Like Helghast said, Did the god scene way better than the LN and manga. Made it less comedic and more intimidating.
Lenlo
Oh man that Rakugo intro. Not sure what to think, but first time seeing it I liked it
Kaiser Eoghan
I sort of like good will hunting because I kind of saw a bit of myself in Damon's character when I watched it ages ago.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Remaking psycho and ruining the shower scene, for shame van sant, for shame.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its easy to ripoff some obscure thing though and get away with it. The dogtooth director essentially stole an old Mexican film to make that.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, that following some guys from behind like they were on a RPG games, which I think actually fit with the tones of Elephant. I have such mixed feeling with Gus van Sant too. Don't really think he's a great director.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Although Istvan Szabo is probably a little more well known for that Mephisto film that updates the Faust story. Zoltan Fabri's the fifth seal is a very thought provoking war movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I remember seeing a film documentary that featured Gus van sant in one section, they showed clips of tarrs films, Sant ripped of the cinematography and stole the style from some British short film to make Elephant.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree on the other Hungarian filmmakers, I don't know much about them either.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Scorsese's Silence was a big comeback. I really really emotionally connect with spiritual crisis stories.
SuperMario
@kaiser: yep, definitely check wreckmeister down. Althought I admit that watching his 2-hour plus films will feel like 5-hour anyways
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm more tolerant of darker teenage/coming of age films/stories. Les Demons was a big surprise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Though its kind of frustrating, I do think Tarr probably takes attention away from other hungarian filmakers because no-body knows who the hell the others are.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Man, wreckmeister was so visually arresting I started getting dreams from it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I would consider Tarr to be kind of a poor mans Janco, Angelopolus and Tarkvosky rolled into one. I don't entirely "get" wreckmeister and man from London but they are great atmospheric mood piece experiences.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I had been wanting to watch Belar Tarr's Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies for so long now. Well, Fat Girl is shocking haha, but I'm normally drawn into those kind of films anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Margaret took like 5,6 years to release because he couldn't cut it down in the way he wanted. The final cut if I remembered correctly was edited by Martin Scorsese
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Only a HDcam for moonlight now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I looks like my lineup is witch academia, rakugo and youjo senki, well the most latter one until I get bored.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I sense a directors cut for manchester, it feels like it need another 30 minutes.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right up my valley. Watch Kenneth Lonergan's previous works Magaret and You Can Count on Me. Magaret is very messy but have a raw dialogue and interactions as well
SuperMario
Now the first episodes are over, I will keep on covering 3-gatsu, as for the other twos atm I have 3 options: 1) full romance/anti-romance high school Seiren/Scum's Wish. 2) slice-of-life moe monster girls Demi-chan/Maid Dragon and 3) Mature,dark Onihen/Acca (which although I like them I don't have much to talk about).If you guys have any preference on which shows you like covered then let me know
Kaiser Eoghan
@Helghast: At this point I'm watching youjo senki as an entertaining guilty pleasure.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Too many reboots upcoming, will wait for the dvds instead. I want to explore more of manchester by the sea's director's work. I also want to finally get more into Bela Tarr's stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I was rather shocked by A Ma souer/fat girls final act. Scenes with the Italian in the bedroom were initially creepy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's a nice review Kaiser, a bit jealous with you that you've seen those 3 films which are touted as the best films of 2016. Also Fat Girl, haha, I love that movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
Poor yotaro =< you have so much stuff going down on you =<
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki episode was so good today. That revamped scene with God just fitted so right.
AidanAK47
A official release of that game in the west is apparently coming but it's been a few years and not much news about it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Ah yes that was the one.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Had to think for a moment on that one but I think I was talking about this. https://vndb.org/v3144
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I'd hardly consider myself a studio trigger fan, but I watched the first witch academia episode there, it was actually kind of fun, got the same reaction from me as flipflappers did, that magical, special feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also, of interest reviewed Kenneth Lonegrans new film: http://letterboxd.com/shao_liu_ringon/film/manchester-by-the-sea/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Moonlight got some feels out of me though it could of been more, it ends abruptly and with 20 extra minutes they could have spent a bit more time on each section of his life.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I checked out lala land, ending was very well executed, one of three scenes in the film that were impressive visually. The whole thing looked pretty and Gosling and Stone had some decent chemistry. Although it didn't resonate emotionally as strongly as the musicals of Jacques Demi did.
Kaiser Eoghan
MOM I want aiyoku no eustia and I want it now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've never heard of himawari or tokyo babel. The hellsing comparison at least interests me in dies irae. What was the name of that visual novel again that was coming out soon, Aidan you described it as "And Kaiser would love it because its supposed to be really fucked up".
Kaiser Eoghan
I vaguely remember the anime for 11 eyes, it was very forgettable, even the voice acting was poor, hated the childhood friends and the pacing was poor, those black knight things were kind of interesting though.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You'll have to add me onto the list of those unsatisfied with the ever 17 writer, I read one of those games and felt it was a bunch of interesting bait that never paid off.
AidanAK47
Anyway I plan on doing a review of 11eyes here when I finish it.
AidanAK47
Can't say I was a fan of Ever17. That was a really good twist but when it came to explaining it their was a lot of contrived development. Generally not a fan of the writer. Looseboy, Ryukishi, Gen and Nasu are more my kinda thing
AidanAK47
@Anon, it is nice that so many VNs are on steam but I wish they wouldn't be stupid with the whole no adult content thing. Not so much for myself but to prevent idiots from writing negitives reviews because the game doesn't have sex. VNs can grip you in a way anime simply can't and while they require pathence and time those can be some pretty powerful stories.
Anonymous678956
@Aidan, I am so happy steam's so VN-friendly now. I think it's a very good type of media. Like anime, it has nice visuals, music and some movement but also the inner monologue and text amount of books. It's the perfect combination. Plus, the routes, which are often puzzle pieces and PoVs you have to go through to understand the whole story. True routes like the one of Ever17 blew my mind.
AidanAK47
Hopefully the two VNs I bought of steam turn out better. Tokyo Babel is supposed to be alright and I heard really good things about Himawari.
AidanAK47
I am about a third of the way through the game and really not much of worth has happened. The concept is interesting but the execution is sorely lacking.
AidanAK47
I went in expecting it to be a mixed bag and it's pretty below my expectations. It's just not really well written and the protagonist is a moron. THere isn't really routes and instead you are pretty much stuck with his childhood friend as the main love interest. Problem with that is her character begins and ends with loving the main.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, damn. 11Eyes is on my reading list as well. Although I almost expected it to not be as good as I thought it'd be (back then). Guess I would have enjoyed it if I was able to read it while the (shitty) adaption aired, maybe I have seen/read too many series by now. Guess I'll still give it a try some day though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I haven't heard the OST or watched the intro video. I only know it be reputation and have decided to walk into it as blind as I can. Still slightly worried as I was somewhat looking forward to reading 11Eyes for a couple of years and now that I am reading it it's well...not good.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, same here. I was waiting years for this, since I saw the intro video for the first time. Also, that OST!
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki is already leagues better than Izetta. It's going to be top anime of forever and ever. (maybe not)
AidanAK47
And finally Dies Irae is funded. May actually be able to play and finish the game before the anime airs. If the hype is real behind this baby it could be a new personal favorite Visual Novel of mine. Already looking promising with it being like a cross between Hellsing and Fate/Stay Night. Two things I most certainly like.
Lenlo
@Masky, in regards to style over substance thats where im at with Gurrne Lagann.
Topgavin
Yeah, I'll probably watch the next episode to see whether it can redeem itself. Hopefully it can but considering 1st episodes usually get a lot of budget, there's some severe doubt in there.
AidanAK47
I actually argee with character designs and voices are bad in regards to female characters. Still the next episode might change your mind if we get more into the main characters head.
Anonymous671470
It's boring
Topgavin
Also, it seems I disagree with a lot of people in thinking Youjo Senki will be a massive trainwreck. The character designs are awful, the voice acting is mismatched but most of all the premise just seems so very dumb. If I wanted to watch a badass kill people I'd go watch Hellsing or Drifters, because at least those don't have some op, disproportionate loli as the mc.
AidanAK47
Gets even more complicated when you account for Satire and Parody. You could equally argue all examples listed as being as such.
AidanAK47
Little Witch Academia is a decontruction of Harry Potter....I don't believe that but honestly if I tried I could put some reasoning behind that statement.
Topgavin
In the end, it always comes down to opinion (as with every discussion about anime, for some reason). You could spin any and every series as a "deconstruction", which is why people shy away from using the word. You could argue NGE, Madoka and Re:Zero are all deconstructions yet also argue Gundam, Precure and SAO are depending on what points you weigh more importantly.
Masky
Like, if deconstruction is supposed to be just "break the elements and then play story how it would realistically go down" well I haven't watched NGE, but as far as I know it does have stuff that isn't typical to mecha genre besides the "It would fuck up kids" thing plus "realistically how it would play out" is pretty subjective thing. I mean, its mainly about how cynical bastard the writer is :P
Masky
Like I said, I don't fully agree with it because I find video's speaker's attitude annoying, but I found it semi convincing. Main thing I don't find convincing about it is that I don't think its hard to turn video's own arguments agaisnt it and say that by its own logic NGE isn't deconstruction either, like Aidan just said earlier
Masky
And I don't really have energy for checking out the "correct" one. If there even is one. Anyway, the hipster video I was talking about was titled "What Actually Is A Deconstruction?" if you want to check it out.
Masky
Hmm, well, it does depend on definition you use. Like if you use "realistic" thing, well, Magical Girl shows don't usually have "You turn into monsters" thing going on and reason why NGE's pilots go crazy is from dangerous situations rather than evas making them do so. But honestly, I don't really have strong opinion on matter since word seems to be one of those with several different meaning
SuperMario
for me Madoka IS a deconstruction of Magical girl, and yeah like what Aidan said
SuperMario
I think part of Utena is a deconstruction of "prince riding horse and save the girl" because that notion is just a foundation for Utena to become a prince herself and save other girl. That's breaking it apart and resemble it again in its own way. Don't have to be dark/ don't have to be real either
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's just debating semantics. Besides that difinition would pretty much mean that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn't a decontruction either. Madoka isn't a decontruction because it's dark. It's more in its aspects of criticising why a girl should throw her ordinary life away for something as dangerous as being a magical girl. It does take plenty of the typical tropes and turn them on its head
SuperMario
@Masky: Genre deconstruction is such a tricky word that I normally try to avoid using because there's really no set characteristic about the term and different people have different opinions about what constitute "deconstruction". For me, I disagree that deconstruction have to be dark and real, hmm can't say it well but I will give you an example:
Masky
But yeah, I guess I could try to find the video if you guys are interested, though like I said, I got hipsterish feel from the video and felt rather annoyed through it even though I did get what the point was and found it sort of convincing besides my annoyance
Masky
(not that liking NGE is hipsterish, its just that I find NGE to be more style than substance sort of series <_< Anyway, guy didn't dislike madoka or anything, he just seemed to dislike people using word deconstruction wrong in his opinion)
Masky
(especially with how much they seemed to praise Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Masky
I mean, I think the guy was being somewhat hipsterish, but its true the being darker take on genre isn't same as deconstructing the genre
Masky
@AidanAK47: Some other guy on youtube did video that had actually pretty good point about how Madoka isn't really deconstruction, if you go by definition of "Break it down to parts and then play them straight to show how horrifying it would be in real life"
Anonymous670441
Gente - Ristorante no Hitobito
Kaiser Eoghan
If anything its the hate I have for certain characters that makes it more effective.
Kaiser Eoghan
The obsessional level of attachment is just uncomfortable to me, I don't want to get THAT attached to a non-real character.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its literally just a case of "Okay lets look at this picture of this character, she looks interesting, no feelings or expression from me, apply this fetish, fap, get release, go home. "
Kaiser Eoghan
Or drooling/dribbling/heavy breathing/grinning over the characters. I abhor alot of the anime girls I find attractive or am indifferent, even when looking at ecchi/hentai drawings I'm straight and clinical with it.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean to each their own. But I really hate the level of emotion/devotion to moe/finding the characters attractive. Such as celebrating their birthdays, going on about how cute/hot they are, how important it is that they're virgins. Or not being being self-aware of how irritating the characters are.
Lenlo
Anime hipster is pretty accurate. His general treatment of the current state of anime is annoying, as is his obsession with moe. Maybe its cause I cant stand moe most of the time, but it bugs me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: Essentially my brothers view on digibro.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I don't usually feel the need to correct errors in your reviews as the errors are generally un-important, but I think you meant to say apprentices rather than appearences in the Rakugo review, just bringing that up as it felt like kind of a throw off.
AidanAK47
Which is kinda like saying Madoka wasn't a magical girl deconstruction because Sailor Moon and Nanoha had dark elements too.
AidanAK47
Went and read the reddit comments on it and seems I was right on the money.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, He's basically a anime hipster. For example, I saw a thumbnail of his which had Saitama on it and below it "Is There Meaning In "Subverting" Shounen Tropes?" and I thought "Okay, he's going to go on about how OPM isn't subversive and then list a bunch of arbitrary examples in an attempt to redefine what is actually subversive"
Lenlo
I have lots of issues with Digibro. Dude has some good points, but other very horrible ones. Some issues he feels strongly about and gets kinda biased on imo.
Anonymous669202
acca looks visually interesting, and I personally really dig this kind of show, but it seems that it's definitely not for everyone
AidanAK47
Time to live up to my word. Four posts incoming.
AidanAK47
Man, Little witch Academia was so good. I disagree with the whole Digibro thing about being able to recognise a great show in it's first episode but watching this makes me think that this really is going to be something special.
AidanAK47
Alright, gonna put in effort today and have 3 or 4 first impressions posts done. That should knock out near half the season.
Kaiser Eoghan
Had a flip through handshakers. Garish is the word I'd use to describe it visually, it takes you out of the show.
Topgavin
ASuperMario From the first minute I can already tell it's by the same people that made K. Those colour filters and the extremely jarring/obvious city CGI is unmistakable.
SuperMario
Hand Shakers, literally makes my hands shaking. It's an abosolute mess. Highly recommended to check it out because it's so terrible it's great to watch
Vonter212
Yeah, and it's also a literal woman in refrigerator plot device, since that the thing that pushes the story forward.
Masky
I'd say that having to hide your sister's body in fridge would count as daaaaaaark and edgy, but when the body is wearing only underwear, and for some reason main character put metal things in fridge to keep body standing(I guess to not knock fridge open from inside?) I think it goes to "exploitation" you are talking about
Vonter212
@Masky - Did someone said doing dark things for drama? That's the bread and butter to get despair. Unless it's for the sake of perversion. Then it's just exploitation.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Masky: His other works dead tube and scumbag go further in the unhinged regard.
Masky
*relies on easy "let's do [x dark thing] for drama!" thing
Masky
Geez, Mayonaka no X Giten is fricking disturbing/disgusting ._. I'm pretty sure that writing relies on e, but I can't help but think mangaka is trying to make corpses sexy.
SuperMario
I found Onihei to be quite good, actually one of the most solid new episode I watched this new season. Guys, check them out
Vonter
I just hope it doesn't fall into the same misstep Kabaneri or Inuyasha or Bleach fall by making a villain so over the top that it crossed the line of not having a satisfying downfall.
Anonymous657941
@Vonter I think they just moved on. I lost interest rather quickly and I guess even the fans did that at some point, like with some other long-running series. There is much more new and more direct "fujo" stuff out there, many of them probably switched. Don't know what happens in the manga but maybe the story got worse or contained things some people didn't like.
Vonter
January will be loli dictator month (for me) :p. World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil (new), Seraph of the End. For some reason I stumble into three curious series with little power hungry girls. If I can ask, why did Owari Seraph's hype died, I remember back it was mentioned more often. It still has the fujoshi fanart but still, I don't see people bringing it up.
SuperMario
@CATski: well, if you didn't like its first 3 episodes I dont think the rest gonna change your mind. Have you finished Erased then? How did you like it?
SuperMario
But I understand it's difficult to speak in front of camera, get some time to get used to it
SuperMario
@kaiser: I won't commend on poem as I'm terrible at it myself but younneed to work more on presentation Kaiser. Small little things like looking directly at the camera or say "thanks for listening" in the end can connect you to the audience better
Anonymous657071
Ok. I'll give the thing another chance. *clicks torrent* XD. CATski.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Topgavin: You might like centaur no nanami if you like demi-chan.
Kaiser Eoghan
Damn...repeated myself =<
Kaiser Eoghan
There are these things called slam sessions done in bars where people get up and read out stuff in front of a crowd and read stuff out. Actually watching rakugo made me think about practicing for that kind of thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: the video I did was of me reading out a short piece of writing I did, a poem. lol I uploaded it to the wrong youtube account too I just realized =P
[link src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypBZ2hBDBYs&t=11s
I"] was recording this from my mothers laptops inbuilt cam while reading off my desktop.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I think it's a good idea for you to try out reviewing movies/stuffs in youtube channel. I'll be very interesting to listen to them
SuperMario
@Topgavin: Agree. Demi-chan was so charming. Definately one of my favorite so far this new season
Topgavin
Demi-chan's first episode was good. Like, really really good. That blonde-haired girl was hilarious, the teacher-student relationship between the MC and the girls is really interesting and the social/practical problems the demi's face make it look like my favorite show so far.
CATski
Ah... ok. Is it really that good or it's just one of those "artsy" animes that tend to get overrated by their ardent fans? I didnt find the rakugo bit interesting.... probably the weakest aspect of the show for me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Why did I read that chapter. Why did I do that to myself.
Kaiser Eoghan
Admittedly yes the premise is not for everyone, but if you stick with it, the flashback arc had some good character work in there.
CATski
Rakugo has a season 2? I watched ep 1 - 3 of season 1 then promptly deleted it. The loud "yankee" dude was annoying. And the anime was boring.
Kaiser Eoghan
Oh man, I've been thinking lately of trying to start some kind of youtube channel. I did a few trial run videos. Its much much harder than it looks, didn't realize how nervy being in front of a video camera was.
Kaiser Eoghan
*a declining art and rakygo halls are closing down
Kaiser Eoghan
As the show continues to mention how "its declining art", that got me thinking of the modern day, how while things like tv and cinemas probably hurt attendances for rakugo performances, the internet has replaced theaters .
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, now I've watched it. It'll be interesting to see Yotaro's relation to sukeroku's daughter develop. By all intents he should be an irritating character and not as interesting a yakumo based on his personality, but I can't help but like him, example of a goofball character done right.
Anonymous654016
ElDlive is looking good
Kaiser Eoghan
I haven't gotten around to rakugo's second seasons first episode yet =<
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