Posted on 26 March 2010 with categories: Ookami Kakushi

Of course I was excited when I learned that a new series written by Ryukishi07 would premiere this Winter Season. His work on Higurashi and Umineko was brilliant. Well, as it turns out, the only similarity between Ookami Kakushi is a bit of a similar setting. Apart fro that, it’s completely different. And yeah, I agree that change is good, but it still feels like I’ve been wasting my time with this series.

And sure, there are some good ideas in it. The whole story about a divided town in the middle of nowhere, in which everyone acts so creepingly nice towards the main character who just moved in there. It has definitely potential to get somewhere, but this series never uses it and instead opts for a watered-down plot that gets less impressive with each progressive episode.

There are many culprits for this one, but my biggest problem with this series are its main character and main villain. Let me start with the former. Even though he’s the central character to the story, this guy… just doesn’t do anything. Seriously, every time something serious happens, he just stand there and looks. He never acts, he never tries to think of something, he never accomplishes something. He’s just… there. His central role in the series makes no sense and feels artificial at best. On top of that, the worst thing probably is that we never get to learn anything about him. At the end of the series, I knew as little about his life as at the start.

The villain, on the other hand, is ridiculously stupid. His motivations are cheesy and are just explained with one lazy line. His plans are full of holes and not clearly thought through. In fact, most of the adults in this series degenerate into complete idiots by the end of the series, just in order to have the various kids of the series in the centre of the conflict. As a result, the ending just makes no sense and is stuffed with a bunch of ridiculous plot twists.

The final nail in this series’ coffin for me was the acting, which was mediocre at the times where this series needed to deliver the most; especially the final third of this series suffered from rushed acting that failed to convey any emotions beyond the cheesy. While I feel like I cared about the characters in the beginning, but eventually they lost all believability due to the lukewarm execution. I guess that Ryukishi07 wanted to try out the shounen genre in this one, but he pretty much failed at it in my opinion.

Storytelling: 6/10 – Cheesy, never gets more interesting after its introduction.
Characters: 7/10 – Some characters have potential, but the lead character is useless, the lead villain is a paper bag and the adults are complete morons.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Hardly any animation errors, but nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – The concept is nice enough. If the execution was right this could have had a lot of potential.
Posted on 29 January 2010 with categories: Ookami Kakushi

I pretty much like this show so far, but I’m worried. I just discovered that only lists six DVDs, which total at around 47 minutes each, or twelve episodes combined. The pacing of this episode also very much hinted at that there are only going to be 12 episodes. I’m very, very worried right now.

Now suppose that I’m right: then we’ve just passed one third of this series. Now, what have we accomplished so far? The story itself is still getting introduced: we know that something in the town is screwed up, the residents are under a threat that manifests in some sort of disease and some sort of strangely dressed people who kill people who go out of control. One reporter is out there, trying to figure out what’s going on and the lead character is sort-of the innocent bystander. Fair enough.

But how about the character. Four episodes equals about an hour and a half. What have we learned about the lead character? Well, he’s… polite and likes his sister and his balls haven’t dropped yet. His sister? She’s disabled but wants to be independant. The lead female: well, she likes the lead character and tries to cover up for her pedo-brother. The brother? He’s a pedophile who can’t control his urges due to his disease and therefore is likely to be killed off next. That’s nice and all, but we’ve passed FOUR EPISODES already! For 12 episodes, that’s way too little. Every single character has not gotten beyond its one-line description. We still haven’t got to know these people, and instead the creators are too focused on the mystery and horror. Take Sora no Oto as a counterexample: it started out a bit more stereotypical than this series, but for the past number of episodes it has put a lot of attention in fleshing out its characters so that we could get to know them. The characters in Ookami Kakushi are just… shallow.

So yeah: my big fear is about to come true: at this point, Ookami Kakushi is compelling: the way that the climaxes are delivered is gripping and captivating… but those characters… There is no way that they’re going to get enough depth within only 12 episodes and the creators just spent too much time on the mystery, and too little on the rest. And that’s the thing with this director: he’s good in technical terms. But his balance, pacing and ability to look at the bigger picture is terrible.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 22 January 2010 with categories: Ookami Kakushi

Well, so the animation was another step down, but the plot is progressing pretty nicely, and at the same time the characters also take their time to get fleshed out. While this episode started out as a bit of a pointless one, the second half was… disturbing to say the least. Though now that most of the characters except for one are introduced, we can start to develop this story a bit.

The set-up bears quite a few resemblances to Higurashi, actually. There’s something going on in the village that effects probably all of the original residents. There’s probably some sort of beast of wolf instinct that’s taking control over them, and the oranges are the only cure for it, it seems. My guess is that they’re either Jouga wolves in disguise, or it’s similar to the Hinamizawa disease of Higurashi.

And yeah, the near-rape scene. I definitely didn’t see that coming, especially this early. Could the reason be the same as why Hiro’s classmates are so attracted to him? Small villages usually are tight-knit communities who don’t like outsiders, but this obsessive fixation over Hiro may seem like they’re looking to either make him one of them, or waiting for the right time to do something horrible to them. I actually think that these fishermen we saw in this episode weren’t part of this plot, but they did know about it.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 15 January 2010 with categories: Ookami Kakushi

Of course, when I first learned about this new series that was going to be written by Ryukishi07, I was very excited. But Nobuhira Takamoto? God, talk about a double-edged sword.

Technically, this is an excellent director: he knows his characterization, he’s excellent at building up, his climaxes are always very exciting with the way that he combines music with his in-your-face direction. However his pacing is terrible. His series are either too fast or drag on for way too long. Hatenkou Yuugi would have been a pretty charming travelling series if it didn’t keep flying over all the important bits (you also have to love its completely chaotic and disastrous final episode), while 07-Ghost would have been an exciting show it if actually would have gotten anywhere. However, he has made some good stuff: with Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club, he had the exact right amount of episodes to work with, and it became a really charming series. That’s what I’m hoping for here.

Basically it comes down to this: if he can get his pacing right, then this is a good rival for Durarara as my favourite show of the season. If not, then… yeah. If there’s going to be anything wrong with this series’ pacing, then it is that it’s going too fast: lots of stuff happened in this episode, and while it actually worked well right now, there’s no guarantee that it will also go well when everything has to come together. The series composition guy also isn’t helping much, because this is the guy responsible for the incredibly fast pacing of Allison to Lillia.

The success of this show basically comes down to one simple question: did the creators plan out the right number of episodes for this series? With those things, I’m never sure who’s actually responsible for making these decisions, but whoever you are: I really hope you put some thought into it, because you’re going to decide whether or not this show will rock or flop.

Anyway, about this episode: it did a great job of fleshing out the main cast. Letting everyone meet each other, and increasing the tension even more. We’re slowly getting a look at what’s going on here: there’s something really strange going on with the lead character’s new girlfriend, and my suspicion is that this is the central part of the plot. however, what’s the role of her brother, her classmates (why are they incredibly friendly with the lead character)? Is the decision for the lead character’s father to move to the town important to the plot? and what about that strange food advertisement? At this point, I have no idea how many different parties there are in this series.

For now, this series is doing its job: I’ve gotten very excited with this series during the small climaxes in this episode. Now let’s keep it that way!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 8 January 2010 with categories: Ookami Kakushi, Some Quick First Impressions

Ookami Kakushi

Short Synopsis: Our lead character moves into a new town and immediately gets himself a new girlfriend.
Yeah, the thing with this season is that just about every show has some sort of overused anime cliche, even the good ones. In any case, the best way to describe this episode was: intriguing. It was basically mostly introductory with a lot of slice of life and a few hints here and there that the town that the main character moved into is screwed up. It’s very promising, the characters are very moeified, but it’s not like they’re stereotypes and they’ve got potential to grow and develop. It also has the best soundtrack I’ve heard so far this season. Now, the question is mostly going to be: is it the creators’ intention to fully animate this story, or are they just going to stop in the middle?
OP: Yuki Kajiura delivers one of the best OPs of the new season.
ED: Pretty decent ballad.
Potential: 70%%

Dance in the Vampire Bund

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is the leader of the Vampires. And a little girl.
The biggest problem with this series is of course going to be Shinbo: is he going to be able to adapt this story properly, or is he just going to repeat himself and focus on the complete wrong parts of the story? I remember the last time he tried to do a series with a little girl who was a vampire (Tsukuyomi Moonphase), which turned out to be a pain to sit through. Though granted, this episode gave a much better first impression. There’s no way to measure it up to the rest of the series, because it was clearly an introductory episode, but let me say the following: if the rest of the episodes are going to be as interesting as this episode, then we’ve got ourselves a success. The TV-program about the existence of vampires was a nice touch, but none of the main characters really got a lot of screentime.
ED: Boring J-rock.
Potential: 50%

Omamori Himari

Short Synopsis: Our lead character gets to be protected by a hot chick.
Now this is really is one of those shows that I’d label as terrible. A few cliches here and there doesn’t usually hurt, but when a series packs a ton of cliches EVERY… SINGLE… MINUTE… then it becomes a huge problem. This series rips off just about everything in this episode from other harem shows. The cat allergy? Hello, Nyan Koi. The hot chick with mysterious powers that suddenly protects the lead characters? How often haven’t we seen that one before? The childhood friend who is in love with the lead character and wakes him up in the morning? Come on, please. Probably the most blatant part is the set of character-designs that it shamelessly ripped off 11Eyes: did it seriously think to get away with the lead character, who looks like a more energetic Yuka with only a different hair and eye colour? And how about that teacher, who also looks EXACTLY the same aside from her hair and eye colours? For the most part of this season, I’m being more lenient than usual because how week it’d otherwise become, but this is just nothing. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before taken to the extreme, the build-up is abysmal. Only go for this one if you’re a hardcore romantic comedy fan or just like to see boobs or panty-shots.
ED: Obnoxious J-pop. Blegh.
Potential: 0%%


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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    Wow Ash Vs the Evil Dead 01 was a blast; I really should’ve gotten into this sooner. I was smiling thru most of it, either because it was funny or slap-stick gory, or because it was a blast to see that Sam Raimi still got it. I guess the only time that Evil Dead works is when he’s involved. Seeing Bruce Campbell again with the chainsaw was a treat which I didn’t know I needed in my life.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.

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