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
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It wasn't just it coming out of her mouth, but when they were stamping on them too.
Anonymous1743747
@Kaiser: Yah, I was horrified for like 5 seconds but the other characters made me crack up. :.D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although it was mixed in with laughing my ass of eventually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of all the Itou stories to be un-nerved by, its the second half of this third episode oddly that does it for me and I never get uncomfortable during anything .
AidanAK47
@Anon, We are working on it.
Anonymous1742736
Are you planning on making a top anime of 2017 list?
Amagi
Yeah Mash is one of the few good ones it seems.
Amagi
Oh damn, good that you remind me, I didn't pick anything yet. But I guess I will go with Altera, considering that some of them don't look that good and I own her anyway. Would have wanted the Scat one but the drawing looks weird.
AidanAK47
Which Bond CE did you pick for the 2 mill? I went with the Mash one. Only only whose artwork I liked.
AidanAK47
Might settle for making Bryn my endgame lancer though.
AidanAK47
As I said in my Apocrypha post, I have no interest in any version of Jeanne. My top priorities for my endgame team is Isekander, Scathach and assassin Shiki. And Shiki is a welfare so only need to worry about the other two.
Amagi
Yeah, I was considering to keep rolling for the new 4* at first but I really want Jeanne Alter and she's coming soon.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I tried rolling for Karna and got nothing. Though I think Bryn is better. I plan on rolling one more time with the saint quartz we are getting to try for NP2. Though we do have the valintines event coming.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here, just got Brynhildr. Even though I already got Karna last month. But I wanted her, nice design, finally a single-targed 5* and she's even one of the few servants related to my country.
KTravlos
@SuperMario. The contemplation of the death of humanity, and the loneliness, both were very disturbing to me. Kinda like thinking of my grave.
AidanAK47
YANDERE GET. Bryn's mine baby.
AidanAK47
Gonna try rolling for Brynhildr tomorrow. Bit annoyed they chose to translate it as Brynhild. I mean it's not incorrect but her name is far more recognisable as Brynhildr
AidanAK47
@Amagi, The grind wasn't that bad for me. Mordred carried me for it. Though I managed to get Siegfried in the gacha despite not being on rate up. I admit that the event was rather lackluster. Story wasn't that fun and the whole saber restriction was a pain. Also gonna take me a while to readjust to regular damage.
Amagi
Man that FGO Saber Wars event was annoying. I am happy finally I have 2 mio. altrium now and am done with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminder that netflix Godzilla anime is later today.
Amagi
Damn I didn't noticed that ankle band of the little demon from the intro scene of FranXX 01, now I feel stupid.
Lenlo
Yuasa is great! Ping pong and Tatami Galaxy are still some of my favorites
SuperMario
Oh fuck, the lead singer of the Cranberries passed away. I literally just listened to their music yesterday. Damnn, sad news
SuperMario
@Kaiser; thanks for considering me but I believe Wooper is much more a Yuasa's fan than I am
SuperMario
Far out!!!
SuperWooper
Yuasa will be answering questions on Reddit's anime board on the 20th.
SuperMario
@Niello: what do you mean regarding Yuasa?
SuperMario
@Travlos: I agree that Girls Last Tour is a special little gem, but in what ways it's disturbing?
Niello
Holy cow, Masaaki Yuasa AMA!! What magic is this?
Niello
Meawhile, Japan took a different approach and we ends up with a bunch of .hack rehash and diving more and more into escapism. Until we eventually got isekai and then it just spiraled into a sea of mediocrity.
Niello
While that opened its own can of worms, at least it opens up element about making ends meet, managing irl relationships, earning extra income for a poor family, getting cheated etc.
Niello
in the characters real life just fine. Something more a long the line of Net-juu but more technologically advanced. And I would say that plenty of those have been superior to Japanese online game and isekai story shenanigans. That said, it doesn't mean that those don't have their own kind of traps they usually fall in. A bunch of those instead focus on the aspect of making money off of games.
Niello
...Getting stuck in a virtual reality game and being transport to another world that happens to be like a game are completely different though. I don't know what is it with Japan and getting stuck in game plots considering that there are loads of other game-base Asian novels that came before it that manage story lines where they manage to tell compelling stories in game while balancing what happen
KTravlos
I finally finished Girls Last Tour. What a profound, fluffy and disturbing masterpiece. Bravo.
Amagi
Yeah. I feel the world swap is pretty much pointless when real life isn't relevant anymore. It's just a stupid as hell excuse to combine fantasy wish fullfilment with self-inserts, which is why these main characters tend to be 29 by now, just like the big part of the otaku community.
Lenlo
Of those you listed, no, I dont think they get explained? I mean, SAO did, but I dont think that falls into your category.

Thats why I liked .hack//sign over alot of more modern game Isekai. Also .hack//sign did explain what happened to Tsukasa.
Amagi
Considering how bad most of these are I wouldn't wonder if they wouldn't even bother with an explanation and just end it with the characters being happy in that game world and that's it. Or magic and the whole harem gets transported into reality at the end because power of love and such.
Amagi
I have no problem with a sci-fi fantasy mix, I liked .hack//sign for example, but it annoys me that such an incredibly bizarre situation gets never explained. Or maybe it will but it never happened so far because none of these LNs was ever finished and concluded yet. I just wish to know how they explain that.
Amagi
I mean all those shows in which the character just finds himself stuck in a real world that's (coincidentally?) the same as the game he recently played. Be it Overlord, Death March, Log Horizon or the 300 other series with that premise.
Amagi
Some thing that always bothered me about game isekai for which I never got an answer so far: did any of those series ever end and/or explain how the warp has happened and why the MC is in the game? - Not talking about .hack, SAO and such where the action of getting trapped is part of the premise
Niel
@Eoghan - Btw, Kokkoku isn't a time travel. it's stasis, apparently. Looks very promising so far. Though if I am to trust the manga score, it's shit.
Niel
But is Toradora really slice of life? As far as I can see it's straight up romance.
Lenlo
And Mario, ill rag on SOL all I want! :P

Wooper, its true good shows transcend genre, as there are still some like Toradora I like, but those are exceptions that prove the rule so to speak.
Lenlo
@Niel, yeah I base my potential % on the odds something gets/stays good.
AidanAK47
I am of similar mindset about Franxx. I want it to get better but I don't really see it doing so. Unless the other characters get a majority personality boost or the MC stops being a plank.
Niel
XD
Kaiser-Eoghan
I confess....I only sat through just over half an episode of aldonoah.
Niel
Since it's Trigger, I will give the benefit of the doubt. I'm just very skeptical about this whole formula.
Niel
The way I can see this series improving is through world building. And if other aspects are going to improve too, it's going to revolve around that.
Niel
It leaves about as much impression on me as much as the first episode of Aldnoah did, and I dropped that one straight away. The character chemistry doesn't look like it will go places that's not cliche. The gimmick doesn't seem like it has much potential either.
Niel
So you're all betting it on "this is going to get better". I mean, I hope it gets better. Though right now this feels more Kiznaiver than Kill la Kill or LWA.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd nominate Mario to do the devilman review as he's the most immediate Yuasa fan to do it and Bam is too awol to write it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cute girl shows just bleed and blend in my mind now, same with the isekai shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Devilman, my show of the season, unless after the rain ends up having some emotional wallop.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So for me its looking like: Junji itou, Cardcaptor sakura, keeping up with sangatsu, wait and see on amegari . Not watching a time travel or trigger show and I remain unable to sit through Mahoutsukai .
Amagi
The story itself is generic so far but so are most Trigger series at the beginning so not sure. Maybe it will stay weak, but in general I prefer series that start with the weaker episodes and get better and better over time over the many series that use up all of their budget and trump cards in the first episode and drag on after that.
Amagi
I really love Trigger's esthetics and their characters. I am happy they're more often involved in non-trigger-only productions because I honestly think that most of the stuff I enjoyed about FranXX was heavily influenced by them.
SuperMario
@Nielo: Franxx's first ep was stellar for me. Storywise, it's lackluster (and I see the similar in tropes between this and Beatless) but production-wise it's excellent
SuperMario
I think I just keep watching it on a weekly basis. Still trippy as hell
SuperMario
Okay, I just watched second episode of Devilman Crybaby and it's still pretty good.
Nielo
By the way, what's up with Darling in the Franxx? I thought it's a very weak first episode.
Nielo
@Lenlo: Slice of life isn't my thing either, and I usually avoid series set in high school.
Nielo
@SuperMario: Takagi-san is cute, I'll admit that, but since I already read the manga it's not new to me. Sora Yori is good, but it's not particularly cute. I found Hakumei to Mikochi and Yuru Camp very boring. Haven't got the chance to watch Mitsuboshi Colors or Gakuen Babysisters but I don't think they could be more cute than Mii-kun.
SuperWooper
HOT TAKE: Genre is irrelevant. What matters is whether a show is good.
SuperMario
Don't knock off MY genre Lenlo. It's one of the reason I got into anime in the first place :)
Lenlo
Im not saying it doesn't do what it sets out to. I just don't think what it sets out to do is all that... great.
Lenlo
@Niello, Slice of Life was never my Genre in the first place :/ I typically avoid them. I have my own life to deal with and already graduated high school, why would I want to deal with a melodramatic anime highschool, is my line of thought.
SuperMario
@Niello: okay, let's see:Takagi-san (the titular character), Mitsuboshi Colors, Gakuen Babysisters (Toddlers!!), Hakumei to Milochi (tiny girls) and two more slightly more mature but equally cute: Sora Yori and Yuru Camp's casts
Nielllo
@SuperMario: I'm sure this is where our definition of "cute" parts way, but I'll ask anyway, what are those 5 shows?
SuperMario
@Niello: seems so because I can eaisily pick 5 more shows that are cuter, and better than Mummy this season ;)
Nielllo
...So I suppose I'm the only one who's kinda bored out by a lot of the slice of life shows that's trying to be cute this season and only perked up by the Mummy anime because it's actually do what it's meant to do and be legit cute.
Lenlo
I am interested in Koi, but still have concern about the relationship itself.

@Vonter, the mummy anime would be better as short vignettes together I feel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Koi amegari is surprisingly tasteful, subdued and pretty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*to where
Kaiser-Eoghan
Try as I might, my love of kyoani tv anime has largely evaporated did where I no longer want to bother at this stage, I'll just wait and see. I'll just stay quiet on the franxx anime, theres little value in me trying to get through a trigger work at this point.
SuperMario
I get the exact same feeling with Takagi-san. It's pretty good on what it does but 20 minutes of the same thing for a whole season doesn't sound that promising
Vonter
The chibi mummy anime
Vonter
It's a shame it isn't a shorter 10 or 5 minute series, I think that format would make it shine more, since it does what it's trying to do.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I liked the second episode of Kokkuko or whatever the name is even more than the first one.
Amagi
I really have a problem with all these shows that rely on one single thing, joke, shenanigan or whatever. Be it something cute, some certain kind of interactiong or whatever. It doesn't matter how good it is it will bore me with episode 2.
Lenlo
Like, yeah, the mummy was cute. But the cute became rote/bland really quick. There has to be more than "cute" to be worth watching for more than a single episode to me.
Lenlo
@Niello, I was harsh because its not aimed at me. I wanted to drop it 5 minutes in, kept up for the post, then was thankful it was over. There wasnt anything overtly bad about it. Its just there was nothing good either.
AidanAK47
To be fair it's not as if we are lacking cute in this season.
In fact it's in danger of inflation.
SuperMario
@Niello: yes, the mummy is cute, the show is cute but beside that it's pretty mediocre. That show in particular is the only show that I have the damnest time to give it a potential rating.
Niello
It's not even down because of legal reasons, since the site pull down contents that are lincensed. It's down cause it's too much for the site owner to manage. Much of it also have to do with too many bots, which comes back to how a lot of other sites are relying on batoto.
Niello
@Masky: Not enough manga titles are getting translated. Batoto is the site scanlation groups basically rely on, and where other aggregation sites pull their content from. No batoto no obscure titles, a big blow to small scantation groups and one big manga/scanlator community down.
Niello
Why are you guys so harsh on the mummy show? It's so darn cute. Give it some credit. If a comedy show can be good because it does comedy well I don't see why a show ike Mummy can't be good if it can make people go "aww".
Masky
I don't really know why that is the case, maybe marketing budget and UI friendliness when done right? :P
Masky
Eh, wouldn't say it will kill manga industry. I mean, more and more official methods of reading manga online is starting to pop up and legit channels to pay to get access to manga can surprisingly enough harm free channels to get manga.
Masky
Anyway, I do find it funny how how the isekai character dies can be so meaningless that is joke in most of them
Niello
Batoto is going down, how this affect the manga reading is going to be interesting. Hope it's not slowly dying.
Masky
(at least that one, besides forgetting to introduce what the heck is gimmick besides generickness, acknowledged how most of otaku mcs shouldn't erally want to get transferred to fantasy world since they never get to see how their favourite mangas end :P )
Masky
Anyhoo, it gets annoying since its not just isekai being cliche, sometimes is just them being kind of badly written(or at least adapted to manga). Like, I found one new isekai today, but I have no idea what its gimmick is(from what I understood, its that "cute companion" that character gets is hideously op because mc didn't spefy cute girl when he asked god manager dude for cute companion)
Masky
Slime one is one of better from the more generic ones weirdly enough :P I mean I still wouldn't call it good, but at least MC character isn't god tier, just top tier and it has sort of village building simulation feel to it. Plus at least naming things giving monsters more powers is something funny regarding jrpg mechanics
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or alternatively the car was on a boat with the character or parents in it and the boat and car were hit by a falling plane lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its always "car accident" that sends the characters to another world or in harem cases "Lost parents due to car crash", for christs sake doesn't anyone die in out of control plane or speedboat crashes anymore, at least make it a motorbike....
Nayrael
Ah sorry, should probably not have touched the colors...
Nayrael
Trust me, Isekai is better when it doesn't try to be imaginative. When it tries to be original then... Isekai with a Smartphone... Isekai where the MC turns into a Slime... and my favorite: Isekai where the MC became a Hot Spring popular with sexy girls.
Masky
Assuming "new" things can happen under the sun
Masky
Anyhoo, I do wonder what the heck will be next "popular genre trope that will become so overused cliche that everyone groans whenever show uses it even if its actually good show"
Masky
Like, seriously you could do really interesting story variant on isekai with that if done right. Suddenly becoming characters you have roleplayed would be trippy as hell espicially if one of characters went really into detail with backstory while one of them is just "Bob the fighter, he likes fighting" and has to deal with what happens when you assume life of such a person
Masky
But I wouldn't honestly be surprised because of my anger issues related to amount of unimaginative isekai :P Though I guess trpg based one would be more imaginative in comparison
Masky
I'd assume not since I assume tabletop rpgs are much more niche than jrpgs in japan
Masky
So has anyone yet done isekai where guys getting transferred were playing trpg? :P
KTravlos
quite happy with most recent Attack of Titan manga chapter.
SuperMario
Alright, one more impression post to go before we really get on to new season
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, I just fixed it. Thank you
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than just the reviewers names
Kaiser-Eoghan
A slight problem with the coding there in the newest impression, showing code gobbledeegook rather than the reviewers names above their impressions.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm seeing it on 2nd of February.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Late screeners generally leak shortly after the uk release, so maybe early Febbruary it'll be online?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, Phantom Thread. Could be Daniel Day Lewis's final performance. Is it available online already?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Did you know that Paul Thomas Anderso8n has a new film coming out? Also I found out there is a Polish semi-knockoff of purple rose of cairo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Awesome, just got myself an invite to a secret private torrent site =)
K-Off
@Kaiser When I was in University, I was a waiter at a Korean-owned Japanese Sushi restaurant with a kitchen staff of entirely Mexicans with poor English. The owner, while he provided the rest of his staff with small meals during our lunch or dinner shifts, never game any to the kitchen staff. The guy even ranted to a customer about how "lazy" or "ignorant" they were.
K-Off
Buses are pretty common in America, even outside the major super-cities like LA, NYC, or Chicago. It's public rail you're thinking of that we don't have much of outside the cities.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I brought up the racisim/aunt story wondering if anyone had any horror stories about where they worked?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Bokusen: Buses don't seem to be a thing in America, meanwhile over here, despite traffic, public transport is much more of a thing, couldn't imagine not getting a train or bus somewhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi. I must say you changed my positive view of the German education system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And yet Austria gets the far right party in power and Israel also has a far right apartheid leader.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If any good came from it, her boss got banned from facebook .
Amagi
Two years ago the alt/new right hold a rally here since they're successful elsewhere with their anti-immigrant/PoC speeches. In the end it was 35 nazis vs 29.000 counter-demonstrators. The joke: when they had to leave with police protection they shouted "We are the people". Yes 35 hated bigots are surely the people, not the 29k. I laughed.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: That aunt story is pretty shit. I am kinda happy about smartphones nowadays, you can often make photos or record speech if you are witnessing something. Also, thank God the racists in my city are very rare since antifa and leftwingers took hold of it decades ago - now 70% of people are immigrants so racists don't even tend to show up anymore.
Nielllo
Great. I don't think most of what I wrote actually appeared in the chat.
Niello
what I'm going to do in the long run.
Niello
While Liberal art colleges are really good for developing writing and reading skills, the truth is in science classes you still don't do much of that. it's also limited by general lack of equipments that you get at bigger Uni. My college don't even have engineering.
Bokusen
@Kaiser Darn it, I hate it when racists try to justify their beliefs. That guy sounds like a major jerk!
Bokusen
@Niello Ah, yeah I think I might have preferred the UK system too if they give a month to study for exams! Wow...That sounds much nicer. Oh, and yeah, I wish the US had better public transport too... After seeing Japan's public transport system, I wish the US's could be more like it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The landlords love to kickout people through unfair prices a stick their friends in instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Since we're on careers, it reminds me, one of my aunts telling me what a bastard her boss was, guy was a racist, she complained about it then he got rid of all the evidence linking him to it and made it seem as if she was the rascist and humiliated her in front of her Arab friends.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think we all end up getting this huge kick in the ass moment where we learn andget it together.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It gets better thankfully, grew up and am happy with this postal clerk job.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The landlord story is a common one, they still think themselves feudal lords.
Amagi
And yeah, all this neet time. Although not moving out isn't that uncommon here anymore, considering how the rent increases, especially in my region (European bank city). And if I look at my friends it seems like they've the same problems. Even those who have found their dream jobs are otherwise living a nerdy life, going to pubs at night and so on. I think a part of us will always stay twenty.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: This "career" was exactly the same for me. I am pretty sure I wasn't even capable of thinking about my future up until, as you said, mid-twenties. There were just so many other things that interested/bothered me, school wasn't even among my top 30s or so.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Oh how I regret not getting into novels, noe my concentration is too shit to read them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I don't think teenagers even really know who they themselves actually are .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Youth is wasted on the young.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember wasting so many chances to properly appreciate and get into certain things when I was younger too, when I actually had the time. We have no idea how to use it at that age.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The answer is down to the kid themselves wising up early and adults needing to find a way to REALLY motivate kids.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I hated being in that position, leeching off my parents/the state.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember as a teenager thinking watching films/anime/playing videogames with my friends/brother would last forever, then getting a dose of reality that everyone just moved on .
Kaiser-Eoghan
and between short contracts you spend months as a neet.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You just end up bouncing between go nowhere evening/day courses that are more about putting asses on seats than actually getting anyone anywhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
and then you find out you dossed off so much in school you can't get to grips with university.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't recommend anyone doing what I did in my teens and early 20s, dossing off all the time, then finding out you have to wait five years to go to college as mature student, your school results are middling and not job/college useful, end up taking forever to get to the stage where you can start building up temporary job experience because no one will hire you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Heck, as a teenager I remember pretty much living in the moment, never even thought seriously about what I wanted to do, I don't think I even thought about that my adolescence would end, pretty much rushed through my homework and never studied, stayed up all night watching anime/reading manga and playing videogames allday.
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Featured Posts

Violet Evergarden – 02 [Never Coming Back]

I’m thankful that this second episode plays out much quieter and more subtle than the first, because I’m not a fan at all with the grandeur approach of the first episode. This makes the second week of Violet slightly better than last week, but I still find myself not totally satisfied with the whole experience. […]

Kokkoku – 2 [The Second Moment]

Hello and welcome to the 2018 Winter season! This time, we have an interesting little time-based drama called Kokkoku. It has mystery, it has cults, it has dead-beat parents and apparent god-like beings. Lets jump in! To start, a quick blurb about our characters. Personally, I like them so far. They are all flawed and imperfect […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 03 [The Follow Backs Don’t Stop]

“I could just die right now” That line, spoken by our new member, Yuzuki, bookends this week’s Universe. It marks the shift in the new girl’s character growth. Last week, the Expedition girls mentioned they have a plan to raise fund, right? Turns out it’s not the mother, but the young girl herself, is used […]

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Mahoutsukai no Yome – 13/14 [East, West, Homes Best]/[Looks breed love]

Hello and welcome to the new year! New Year, a new Cour for Mahoutsukai no Yome, this time with slightly more plot. These past two weeks have been a bumpy ride of Mahoutsukai, with plenty to talk about. So let’s jump in! To start off, the new OP is terrible. The music isn’t as good […]

A Place Further than the Universe – 02 [Kabukicho Fremantle]

I’m glad that this second episode addresses straight out all my worries from the first episode: the actual implementation to make that trip a reality, because boy, it’s no simple matter. Universe apparently does its research, telling us exactly places they need to go, the initial trip ahead and the amount of money they need […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 33/34 [Where the Sun Shines…Light]

It’s been three weeks since my last 3-gatsu post, a gap owed in part to the break the show took around New Years’. Perhaps it’s because of all that time away from the series, or maybe it’s due to the massive difference between these two episodes, but I had a tough time connecting with the […]

Dies Irae – 10/11[Einherjar/Self-Destruction Factor]

Quite late in covering this one though out of the three shows I covered for the fall season my level of interest in this series has more or less evaporated. Truth be told, while this is a episode review of ten and eleven, i honestly cannot even remember what happened in episode ten. I think […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 12 [Better to ask the way than go astray]

Welcome to the end of Mahoutsukai’s first cour! Apologies for the lateness of this review. I had expected another to come out over Christmas and to simply do a double feature, but Mahoutsukai pulled on over on me! This week we finish up Chise’s wand, get to see Grandfather Nevin again and have an almost […]

Latest Reviews

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Houseki no Kuni (Fall 2017) Review – 92/100

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Girls’ Last Tour (Fall 2017) Review – 86/100

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak […]

Two tales of War: Reviewing The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Altair: A Record of Battles

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In the weeks leading up to the summer 2017 season, Ballroom e Youkoso was one of the most buzzed-about new series. Produced by the Production I.G. team responsible for the smash hit Haikyuu!!, and set to air on Amazon’s brand new Anime Strike service, the series had no shortage of promotion or hype behind it. […]

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