Posted on 31 March 2015 with categories: Death Parade

 

When I heard that Death Billards would be getting a full 12 episode series called Death Parade I was quite excited. The one episode short looked to be an excellent concept for a episodic series. A bar which people are sent to when they die which decides whether they go to heaven or hell depending on a game? That idea alone has barrels of potential. However the writer of Death Parade had other plans and went instead with a ongoing plot. The end result is a series torn between great episodic death game episodes(with the exception of one) and a mediocre ongoing narrative with a lacking foundation. In truth the writing focused on keeping the audience in the dark in order to promote mystery and intrigue but kept us too alienated to become emotionally involved. When time comes to reveal the answers are lackluster and the ongoing plot ends on a flat note.

The art and animation is what you can expect from Madhouse. Solid and consistent animation throughout the show and background art can be quite stunning. I can say that Quindecim is a truly beautiful bar and I have a certain fondness for the command center full of red wine glasses. The opening is incredibly catchy and brightens your day every time you see it. Though it is unsuited to the very nature of the show. The main character, Decim, is very endearing despite his unemotional demeanour and the show really didn’t give him the development or arc that he deserved.

Death parade is a case of mistaken direction where the story can’t decide whether it wants to make us laugh, cry, curious or melancholic. The result is a melting pot of genre and a confused tone. A search for a core concept when in truth there was a great core to work with already. Also despite so much focus being put on the ongoing story, one episode characters are oddly more developed than the main cast. I am being harsh however as Death Parade does have moments of greatness. There is potential in this writer. He just needs someone to tell him to stop and look at what he has. If you are able to overlook the flaws of death parades plot and embrace it’s highs then I recommend this show to you. I can say with certainty that it is half great. Your enjoyment will depend on whether you can overlook the other half.

Posted on with categories: Death Parade

So this is the end of Death Parade. Or at least this is the end of what may be it’s first and last season. The ongoing plot didn’t so much as tie itself up but rather fizzle out. Leaving a second season to tie up loose ends. A second season that may never come. I mentioned before that I didn’t understand why Nona didn’t what Oculus to find out about her plan as I didn’t understand what consequences were in store for her. Those consequences have been revealed to be…nothing. Oculus just let her carry on with it after questioning her. So why all sinister dramatic tension in his scenes if he does not even play the role of villain? But that isn’t the worst of it as as plot hole opened up. Nona reveals that she did this in order to change the judging system so that arbiters are given emotion to judge humans on human terms. The problem is this enigma of why the believe arbiters do not have emotion when they very clearly do. After all in order for Nona to want put this plan into motion she would need to have emotion to find something off with the current system. Really all her actions are called into question with this. Making it that she either had a poorly formed whim of a plan or she had miraculously planned for each and every detail. Even for those details which were completely dependant on people acting to plan even when unaware of any plan at all.

The matters between Chiyuki and Decim were over melodramatic for my taste. The nature of Decim’s offer was obvious from the start. This really did seem like a reenactment of the choice Mayu was given in the last episode except, as much as it pains me to say this, Mayu’s was done better. We all know Decim was not going to send Chiyuki to Hell so it was really just a waiting game. But they really tried to get you emotional with Chiyuki begging to live and Decim experiencing emotions.(Still confused on that. Decim does have emotions. Otherwise how can he respect and care about the guests?) All for the final tearful goodbye and Decim’s smile. Only to go back to business of judging except now Decim smiles and there’s a Chiyuki doll by the counter. So all and all nothing much changed. The ongoing story ended on such a weak note as expected hence why I was so opposed to one in the first place. As far as endings go it’s not bad. It could have been much worse. But nothing about it seems final. This is more or less a life goes on ending leaving things to a possible second season. Though if there is one I would prefer they disregard the loose ends completely and focus on episodic death games. As this series should have done from the get go.

Posted on 24 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

So we are reaching the final conclusion and things are coming to a head. Chiyuki’s memories are restored and we find that in life she was an ice skater. An odd choice but it did lead to a rather beautiful scene of Chiyuki skating on Ice as she recalled her past. Admittedly I did try to ignore the obvious reasons as to why the camera avoided looking at her feet (Those feet skating movements would have been tricky to animate.) as I found the nature of the scene poignant and picturesque. Though Chiyuki’s backstory was rather underwhelming.  While it is true that considering Decim’s inexperienced standing as an arbiter that he wouldn’t get someone with a extreme past but when the series has been eluding that her past held some deeper meaning it’s rather disappointing to find its not really that significant. An ice skater who got an injury that prevented her from skating anymore and killed herself. I find the nature of her suicide somewhat strange as it didn’t look to me like she was all alone in this. Is it a Japanese thing to remain passive and hope they pull themselves out of their depression? Despite it being one of the worst things you could do in that situation? Really when she considered herself worthless after losing her ability to skate, I think leaving her be afterwards only confirms that thought.

Yet the best part of this episode was with Ginti and of all people, the girl from episode 6. With Harada’s soul going to the void, Ginti presents the choice to sacrifice another to save his soul. The person to be sacrificed just so happened to be a cameo of Light Yagami from Death Note. In that case you really should have pushed that button Mayu. Yet despite Ginti’s attempts to get her to reconsider, Mayu decides to go to the void together with Harada. This is a really well done scene that I would applaud in normal circumstances. But it rather falls apart when you take into account that she is quite literally going to hell for a boy band member she obsessed about. A boy who she barely knows anything about. Not the love of her life or a dear family member. Just why was this character given such a great scene? Episode 6 just destroys what could have been a powerful scene. I like the meaning behind Ginti being unable to push Mayu into showing her inner darkness. That an arbiter that took sadistic joy in judging couldn’t make up his mind about how to judge one girl. But I think this was the wrong character to do this with. Mayu didn’t deserve main character treatment in this matter. So we have one more episode to push things to a close. I must admit that much like Ginti I have trouble judging this. When taking in the show as a whole I could define it as half-great. The weak and strong moments of the show are in equal measure. But an ending can change everything.

Posted on 16 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

So Onna name is finally revealed and newly christened Chiyuki plays a game of old maid with a storyteller. Death parade, you are doing it again. You are drifting from what should be the focus of the series and really pushing this ongoing plot thread. So we learn a number of things. One, that Chiyuki’s time in quindecim is limited and soon she will return to being a dummy. As for what happens to her soul…well it’s not specified. That Decim is starting to want to abandon his role as arbiter as he respects humans lifes too much to judge them. That Nono is getting Quin to retrieve Chiyuki’s memories and Oculus has learned of the whole scheme after doing….something to the elevator operator. Well if you are going to push this on me then fair enough, I will give this my full attention.

If I was to describe my feelings for these developments I was say I was apathetic. This could be attributed to the fact that I care more for the games than this ongoing plot. However I believe there is another reason why I do not care for this. Simply put, I do not know the stakes. So Oculas finds out that Nona put human emotions in a arbiter. So what? Is he going to kill her? Fire her? Congratulate her? And if this is so risky then why is Nona trying to do this? I understand that it’s not good to spoonfeed everything to the audience and that keeping a person’s intentions secret is used to promote intrigue and thought. But we do not have the slightest idea of even how this world functions. We only have a vague understanding of how the arbiter process works. I said before that it’s good to keep things in the dark but if you are going to go this route then at least show a basic understanding of what’s at stake. For I cannot fear for these characters lives if I am not certain whether they can die. So how does them getting in trouble a threat when essentially they cannot be punished? Well besides being separated but I don’t have the attachment to the characters to really feel for them. I like Decim and Chiyuki is alright but I don’t really know enough about them to form a big attachment. That I believe is the real reason that I do not care for these developments. I am just too much in the dark to see how these things affect these characters.

While things may speak to the contrary, I don’t hate this plotline. I can find myself getting drawn in if it was more clarified. However this is at odds with the death games as a majority of those are now mostly filler. They may have affected the characters slightly but the main goal of making Decim question the system was really the only matter that needed to be driven home. So with regards to the main plotline the death games are…time fillers. I do not like this. The game in this episode is a prime example of that. The game of old maid didn’t bring any new revelations to the characters besides Chiyuki learning her name. I don’t see the reasoning as to why Nona would bring this guest as she didn’t provide anything the audience didn’t know and her life didn’t serve to do much besides affirm Decims beliefs. Which is counterproductive when Nona is telling Decim to continue to judge as an arbiter. So how is this old woman supposed to change his mind on the methods of judging? This is exactly why I keep saying the focus on the games. Because unless you can answer these questions satisfactorily this plotline will end weakly.

Posted on 7 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Well the end of the episode did get over melodramatic but still, a very good episode. It is rather amusing to see two people bond over a shared goal of revenge. Their thinking slowly edged towards a dangerous outlook it became clear that one of these two is not on the same wavelength as the other. The detectives attitude throughout the game became worse the more he remembered and when the two remembered their sins, he was the one stating that they were not wrong. In truth, is he right? Murderers and rapists are not the kind of people who you can just chuck into a jail cell for a couple of years and hope they learn the error of their ways. You cannot force someone to change their thinking. The person themselves needs to recognise their own mistakes. Of course, even if you were to get three ghosts of past, future and present to show them the error of their ways chances are that they would be completely apathetic to it. So perhaps we would be better off without these kinds of people. However then the problem with this kind of thinking rears it’s head in this episode. When the detective got his revenge he lost his goal and when that happened he took of the role of what could be described as a living arbiter. He watches peoples sins and then judges them for it. Thus the problem is this, when you adopt the methods of a killer in order to remove scum from society then you in turn become scum. You cannot judge without being coloured by those you judge.

So in this death game we have a practiced serial killer and a impulsive killer. Both motivated by revenge for a loved one. The detective in turn egging on the young man to finish his revenge and giving him determination. The ultimate poetic justice comes that he has already taken his revenge and did so by pure stroke of luck. For the second person who just watched and didn’t lift a finger to help his sister was the detective himself. I find the logic somewhat flimsy as I think attempted rape and assault is more than enough reason for the detective to intervene. The reasoning that the person needed to commit an act first when he had very intent to do so just seems to be here to make the detective more villainous. In fact that would be my problem with this episode. The detective just changed to a villainous persona and started taunting the young man. For someone who was cold and indifferent that’s an odd change. But it did lead to an interesting development. The opportunity for the young man to take his revenge a second time. With the detective inciting him to do it and Onna begging him to put it aside. Even going as far as to spill the beans about void and reincarnation. I am not sold on Onna’s outburst here. I understand that she had misgivings about the process as a whole but I didn’t get the impression that she was this opposed to it. On the contrary I thought it was more than she didn’t like when the arbiters manipulated the process and not the process itself. So was sighing a bit seeing Onna attempt to convince the young man not to take his revenge and succeeding…nearly. Though the effect she had on Decim was fascinating with how she got him to question the very nature of his role. So I now see the pattern of this show, a death game is always followed by an intermission episode. I am not happy about it as the background dealings of the death games are significantly less entertaining than the death games themselves. With the amount of time left in this series I would prefer if these plot threads about the storybook and Nona hiding things from the boss be abandoned in favour of focusing on it’s strengths.

Posted on 4 March 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why do you do this to me death parade? You dodge your true potential and instead focus on background exposition or, of all things, comedy. Then just as I was about to lose interest and give up, you present the best episode of the series so far. Now this, this is what I was talking about.  A death game between a detective and a young man with one of them being a murderer. I was hooked from the very first minutes. This episode really worked because it focused on the core characters. Namely Decim, Onna and the players. No distractions. No off tonal moods. Most importantly, no boy band fangirls. The detective was clever in gauging the situation and the young man’s dilemma of speaking to a cop when he had a severed hand in his bag made the conversations tense. What I truly loved was they changed over the course of the game. In the beginning neither of the two looked like killer material and both seemed to be good people. But then they’re memories started coming back. More and more reasons why these two could kill came up and their personalities did a turn as they remembered. The light-hearted detective turned cold and determined and the young man desperate and anxious. Truly it is a scary thought that one memory changes someone so much.

A few bad notes however. While this was minor, it’s the first part of a two part episode. While that’s fine it was disappointing when the episode ended just as things were heating up. Another thing is that game they played wasn’t very interesting and felt like an afterthought. The added “pain factor” was really just a rehash of the first games(and death billiards) gimmick. Finally the greatest offender was the after credits scene. I was having a lot of fun speculating as to who of the two guests was the killer. But then Onna goes and says the answer. Why did Onna have to spoil the surprise? This twist have been more effective if it was unveiled in the next episode. I don’t get the reasoning of revealing it here. While I am still interested in how this will play out, one of the things that made this episode so engaging has been removed. But negative points aside, colour me surprised. This episode is a great set-up for the next episode and hopefully a turning point in the series.  You have my attention again Death Parade. So please don’t mess this up.

Posted on 25 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional of the arbiters. So are the others faking emotion? Is is a guideline and not a reinforced rule? Are the feelings they have not really emotions? Is this a logic plot hole or a philosophical inquiry? Well in either case I don’t like it because I am not watching to debate what is truly real. I am here for the death games.

There was one in this episode briefly though it was more an afterthought as the episode focused more on the arbiters. Admittedly seeing how Decim became an arbiter is interesting and insight as to why he has the hobby of building dolls. Though this brings up the question of if the guests bodies are dolls then how is it that they can drink, spit, bleed, etc. I suppose you can just say that it’s the afterlife and that’s just how these things work. But that’s why I oppose explaining it’s process or applying a sense of logic to it. Because if you apply logic to this part of it you must also have to apply logic to the whole process. That my friends, is where plot holes and inconsistencies raise their ugly heads.

Alright I think that’s enough complaining. This was a better episode than last week’s train wreck.  There are intriguing elements to the direction this show is taking with this subplot of sorts. Its clear that Nona has violated the rules and is trying to keep the leader from noticing that Decim has an assistant that he clearly shouldn’t. The new character, who I mistook for a boy from the opening, is a nice foil to the straight laced, business only Nona The end of the episode even teases a death game between a trousome pair normally given to more experienced arbiters. I welcome a return to what should be the focus of the series.

Posted on 17 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But I was under the impression that this was a psychological thriller. Not a slapstick comedy.” This is just one of those creative decisions that just has me baffled. To think that a team went over this and thought it was a good idea is something I have difficulty comprehending. But well here it is. This weeks Death Parade attempted to be comedic with a game of twister between a boy band member and one of his rabid fans.

One good thing to come out of this was seeing Ginti’s style of judgement. It definitely seems less professional and more sadistic than Decims methods. The boy band fellow also had potential in his past. I like the idea behind his guilt but find his death to be ridiculous.  A girl getting revenge on him by first sleeping with him and blowing him up with a heart shaped bomb. I think poison would have been more cost effective and wouldn’t require you putting your incriminating DNA all over him. But then there was the main problem of this episode. The girl who is apparently so important that she’s in the opening for a few seconds. A girl who sports the dumbest death in the series so far(slipped on and bar of soap in the bathroom and cracked her head) and the most pointless backstory. A girl with a personality so aggravating that she deserves to be sent to hell just so she can be removed from existence entirely. At any point when the episode looked to be improving this girl just needs to say a line to drag it back down.

There was tonal whiplash everywhere. For example, at one point the girl was going to sacrifice herself and the boy was distraught over it do to his past of driving a fan to suicide. It could have been a moving scene but the only reason the girl is giving up is because she’s too ashamed of pissing herself in front of him. It jumped from comedy to serious business.  Not certain whether it wanted to make us laugh or get emotionally invested. The final insult is that this episode was pointless. It could be removed and nothing would be lost. True the series is only half over but besides an introduction to two characters I wish to never see again we learnt nothing new. With the series half over I can only see Death Parade as yet another premise with wasted potential.  Unless the last six episodes are consistently great this is likely to be a testament of misguided direction.

Posted on 10 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between random people which shift between heartwarming to tragic. Yet we have exposition episodes about the state of afterlife. By appearances it’s episodic yet this episode looks to be setting up an ongoing plot thread. These paths each have interesting merits yet I think the show is trying to pull them all off. In truth I am reminded of a genius violinist who has a set path to greatness. Yet he insists that his true destiny lies in rock in roll and aims to play better guitar. Rather than choosing a path he wavers between the two, never doing either satisfactory.

So Onna is human. Though I had assumed so from the beginning. Actually I was given no indication that arbitrators were inhuman. As I was under the impression that Onna was being trained to be one. The interesting idea of game where one of the players played before is shot down before it could bloom. Instead bringing in a exposition episode that provides more questions than answers. There are details I like about the after world’s design such as the control center with wine glasses and raining blood. But this would need to be leading up to something. The battle segment was ridiculously out of place. I am glad the boss put a stop to it. I prefer my shounen battles in shounen anime thank you.

The storybook segment looks to be a symbol of Decim’s and Onna’s relationship. I question how someone dreams in storybook though. While I like Decims implied fondness for Onna, this story thread does not intrigue me. The conclusion of this looks obvious and potentially fatal. I am glad Maria Okada isn’t the writer of this series or this particular element would get dragged to the forefront and beaten for every forced emotional dollar. The new character is sadly just as figured. Hot headed and constantly pissed off. While his status as the former bartender of quindecim is a good point, his personality is just too stereotypical. And next week looks to be a flashback episode to when Ginti was the bartender. While it is a good way to flesh out his character I think this is just diverging into another unnecessary tangent. My interest is waning Death Parade. Please, prove me wrong.

Posted on 31 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Death Parade

Now this is more like it. An arcade game between two strangers with dark pasts. Excellent. But both did have a similar problem. That being they are both people who couldn’t see past themselves. It’s nice to see people react differently to the game. Here we have the two of them mistaking it for a reality tv show. But slowly realizing that something is off. The emotional breakdowns when things get dire were perfect. Misaki’s desperate bargaining and Yousukes deep regret over realizing what he gave up. Personally the most striking moment was the image of a despaired Misaki rhythmical tapping the attack button on the game after beating Yousuke unconscious. The fighting game itself was odd, like a joke game. I suppose it would be interesting to see their fighting game characters as how the general public viewed them. In Yousukes case, a typical shut in otaku. In Misaki’s a cheery vain tv actor.  This marks the first game that Decim interfered with to bring out the darkness of the players. It was a curious position for him being unusually cold. But looking carefully you could tell that he truly hated it. That look he gave the device he used to rig the game at the end of the episode showed how conflicted he was about it. I really like that about his character. He’s forced to play the role of the villain and yet is still compassionate. That last hug he gave the players betraying that façade truly moved me.

But here’s the question. Did Misaki truly deserve to go to hell? Herein Lies the problem with judging with a good or bad scale. There are always people who fit into neither category. Misaki wasn’t a nice person, that much is for certain but was she evil? Not quite. In truth she is more ignorant to the feelings of those around her. She was so caught up in her problems and misery that she failed to take into account how her actions affected others. The very thing that lead to her death. Misaki had a hard life that shaped her to be who she is. If she made a better choice for a lover she might have become a completely different person. With that said, in my opinion I agree with Decims judgement. Nothing was as telling as Misaki slamming Yousuke’s face into the arcade machine. She did regret it, yes. But only after she had done the deed. There were plenty of telling things in her flashbacks and her actions. I for example found it interesting that her special attack in the game where the children came to help and the only useful one was the baby. The only one too young to recognise his mothers faults. It wasn’t her fault but her experiences had corrupted her. She was past the point of no return. If given a second chance at life I fear she would only repeat her mistakes. Yousuke however recognised his mistakes and saw what it was he threw away. Therefore he was more deserving of redemption. Still Misaki’s end was a cruel one and one deserving of pity. Next episode we get to met the red haired fellow from the opening so I wonder what he will bring to the table.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still enjoying the sangatsu manga and all the character interactions in this most recent volume.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Quintuplets might be under consideration, dororo is a definite. I don't want to watch revisions , girly airforce or plane thing because of the cgi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have the first 3 doro episodes downloaded to watch tomorrow, I'll comment on them, I'm giving it a shot because I love Tezuka.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The quintuplets thing is one of those things I would see myself chuckling at for a bit then feeling no obligation to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cat thing is probably cute but its too light for me to invest in in the long run.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding this season, I'll be direct, it isn't my thing, I got my fill of Kaguya's manga and all I can out of it, promised neverland, once the escape bit finished just turned into an action series (at least from what I read) lacking a compelling followup hook for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Acca had this odd way of delivering information that made it seem stuff went on between the lines or offscreen, often it worked, sometimes it didn't. Its a show that really picks up after the first couple of episodes and really gets elevated by its revelations, cool setting , art style and opening theme too.
Lenlo
I agree it does that. I think my issue may come with me maybe missing something or just not understanding the series as a whole, and so parts of it were lost on me. I enjoyed the series I would say though
SuperMario
Let me rephrase by saying ACCA ending neatly ties up plot threads for me
Lenlo
I didnt say I didnt like it, just that it wasn't what I expected. It was odd. I think I need time to process it.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you didn't like ACCA ending? I thought the ending is easily its best part. It's the first few episodes that feel slow for me
Lenlo
Also, just finished ACCA. Man... that was a weird ending. Not sure how I feel about the series, but damn, did it have style.

Also, thanks (?) Wooper.
Lenlo
Lets see... Dororo is good, but I am still lukewarm on it. Kaze Fui is a fantastic carry over from last season. Mob and Neverland of course. Shield Hero, if you want to be part of the latest big craze discussion. Kaguya if you like romance. Ill search some more, but those are off the top of my head.
Anonymous3338351
What are some must-watch anime this season; I'm watching MBP100 and Promised Neverland rn
Vonter
Shield hero looks like it fits with that journey of doing the right thing even though most are against you.
Vonter
You know what it reminds me of. It's kinda like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Where the family returns after a trip and find the neighborhood celebrates their absence, since everyone dislikes them. By the end when they make up, all the neighborhood gets bitter with one another because they no longer share a connection of hate with Malcolm's family.
Vonter
Also the undercurrent semblance of looking more like a bad guy or anti hero. Despite him having a good moral compass.
Vonter
SuperMario - I don't felt it was about being defeated or not. I got the feeling it was taking the hit for others. Because since he has high defence he does take the damage, but he does look weary about doing that. And the framework paints him so far more as an underdog than a prodigy.
SuperMario
But does the fact that he’s the greatest defender makes him the one who can’t be defeated? I haven’t watched the latest one though
Vonter
I did like the new episode of Shield Hero. It made me realize there can be stakes in Isekai battles. In both Overlord and Slime I usually space out in the battles because they seem unnecessary outside of animation. It's more interesting if there's a display of wits and using the environment. I also like the protagonist be on the defense and the sidekick as the attacker.
SuperWooper
Here's a "review of one of our own reviewers:"

Lenlo is a pretty cool guy. His taste refreshingly runs the gamut from shounen action series to character-driven period pieces. His use of "Read More" tags and intro paragraphs, though they break the site's house style, give his posts their own signature that his readers likely appreciate. I give Lenlo a 92/100.
SuperWooper
Also, if we're getting pedantic, my post on Kaguya wasn't a "review of one of your own reviewers." It was a review of an anime episode.
SuperWooper
It's "shitty?" Really? None of what we do here is for profit, or for a grade. If I want to alert readers to the fact that I've never read the manga, and choose to do it in a less-than-serious way, I don't think that violates any sacred rule of anime blogging.
Lenlo
@Niello, the technical aspect of Megalo Box is very lacking. Its a character drama with sports, not a sports series with good characters, basically. And yeah the gear makes no sense.
Anonymous3336806
It seems kinda shitty to write a "Proceed with caution!" disclaimer before the review of one of your own reviewers...
Firechick
There are also old school isekai manga such as Red River, From Far Away, Crest of the Royal Family (Which is still going), and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Red River also, but for a while it takes some time to re-gain the addictive quality it has in the beginning. I didn't stick with Yona, it felt like it didn't have any direction on where it was going.
Vonter
Those were different times. And while Isekai, it feels like a different genre. I feel the Isekai of old were also more eastern, given the RPGs of the time were more fairytale like and also several you listed have more of an eastern influence.
Animosh
Yona of the Dawn is also a good example of a series with a politically ambitious female lead, though I wasn't a fan.
Animosh
I forgot how female-oriented early isekai series were. I already mentioned Twelve Kingdoms, but there's also Escaflowne, InuYasha, Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, Haruka (I've only seen TK though) ... so I guess it's only after the recent revival of the genre that it started targeting men.
Niello
Out of all the sport anime I have watched I think Monkey Turn V is the best so far. Megalobox is pretty good but nothing special imo. I heard that in term of boxing the technical aspect isn't good, though I don't know how true that is. What I personally can't get over is how their gear in reality should just be making people fall over quicker, which shouldn't make the matches more fun.
Niello
I still
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to stop underestimating these sports shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo is good at convincing me to watch stuff I might not have otherwise watched, I saw ashita no Joe, Kaze and megalobox due to him =)
niello
I should catch up on Kaze, the gap is starting to get quite big.
Lenlo
Im gonna say this every week. How is an anime about running so damn good?
Vonter
I suppose when creating a story one also needs to put some restraint, since as human beings we easily gravitate to certain "tastes."
Vonter
But oh well, I think guys do also have their kinks.
Vonter
@niello - Love might be the hardest emotion to convey. Since even if you put the poses, attitude and the like, the interactions is what sells it. The chemistry as some call it. Sadly in most anime it kinda feels one sided because the male characters are too passive. I like the relation in Shield Hero, but it also underlines the common parental figure girls tend to put.
niello
Later, the author made him accepts the love as a kind of rehab for his bitterness and for the sake of political advantages the girls will gain. So there's this weird atmosphere where the author criticises harem isekai but is writing one himself, although he's certainly trying to make it an unconventional one. At least that's how it is in the web novel. I don't know if they changed it in the LN.
niello
And also to show off. Meanwhile the MC acts like he's not involved because he prioritise the right thing, and also because he's dense toward some of the girls around him (at first) and felt put off by other girls who make bold advances. In essence, he has a harem but he doesn't seek to make one.
niello
@vonter The thing with Shield Hero and harem is that the MC berates how other people who got transported to another world have the idea of forming harems like the LN/manga/anime they know before getting transported. That became the focus of some people instead of what they should be doing like seriously training and preparing for enemy attacks, which they opt for the easy way like it's a game.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aside from reincarnating as a baby. Not really. Zettai Karen Children from the author of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, seems like they do. I mean they start very young and later covers have them as teenagers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: A slower take on a story is something that has grown on me as I get older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Those scenes in kaze clicked for me this week, but at the same time, that last bit and also the scene in the middle were definately uncharacteristically cheesy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter@Amagi: Mushoku tensei has the lead character grow up throughout it I think?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think fan interaction by creators, theres something there, listening to fans ideas within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that comes to mind here, sometimes i think we the audience might be better at writing the shows than the people doing them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy explictness but wish it was used less juvenile-ly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest character thats being recurring in my head is a kind of communist or liberation theology soldier that is trying to convert people, while also struggling to keep his highly polarized beliefs in some kind of balance.
SuperMario
@Amagi, tell me about it (having ideas but to lazy to materialize it). Heck, they are mostly lame ideas to begin with
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Scums wish .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its almost always a boring comedy or action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or have some kind of anaylsis of why the characters express themselves in certain ways in relationships.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish more stories involving nudity/sex/fetishes/ecchi/hentai could actually use this kind of thing for a good psychosexual story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really like it when the conflict has something to do with beliefs or repression aswell.
Amagi
Same here. I mean people are conflicted too, so these characters are actually more relatable. Strangely directors usually think otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I loved goodbye Lenin, my old German teacher in school was really awesome and took the class to see it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like conflicted characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also fond of the idea of a villain trying to turn pure hero out of guilt from the past while still longing for his evildoing days and self-hating because of that and also feeling guilty out of enjoying the violence he commits against the villains he's up against. And sees the violence done onto himself as punishment .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They just end up as ideas written up rather than stories in my case.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I often feel guilty for being as lazy as I am because I have a lot of ideas and barely do anything with them. I don't even have the "I can't draw it" excuse most other people have. I am just lazy and useless.
Vonter
I've been trying to make a story for quite some time. Is about a special ops agent, that turns into a woman after a failed mission where he lost his friends and comrades. He's on a mission in order to look how to turn back and find redemption for the lost of his friends.
Amagi
OH GOD actually got FGO's Hassan i Sabbah after all with the last few quartz. Suicide prevented, thank you God.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Not a day goes by where I'm not thinking up some wild idea.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - The best use of incest in a story, is the one you don't see coming, like in King Ooedipus or Old Boy.
Vonter
I think the best case for that story would be using the Yoko Taro method of storytelling. Start by the end and build on how that tragic ending happened. There's a presentation where he explains his method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO_d3fwTNPo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would never ever use incest positively in a story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, I had a scenario where the hero develops an obsession with the villain, to where killing him is less about personal heroic codes, but curing himself of that obsession.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the great thing is that the actual thing, relationship never happens.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - That last one just reminds me of erogame about a girl than can't quite get with her crush and relives that same moment several times. Sometimes she reincarnating as man and the crush as a girl. In the end all versions end with rape.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also some of these villains I came up with, they're deaths and rebirths could only occur when it came to settling their specific individual problem. Thus by admitting his/her love for the brother he/she dies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'll add it to my list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I treated one of my characters like total shit, guy was a girl in his former life, got raped by some alternate version of his brother, got reincarnated a man and as a child killer/abuser, only every time this character committed a crime, they felt they abuse they inflicted on others.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Have you read A World I Rule by Tank Guy? That's essentially an isekai about screwing over, what's essentially Eden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the true victory and winner is those who lost.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the endless cycle of you can't win no matter who you are.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I live for this stuff.
Amagi
@Vonter: I liked that about Tiger and Bunny. I don't want to spoil in case someone is about to watch it. But it contained this element of "something we're looking up to is actually some evil thing/person" and I don't mean the guys they're working for, it was clear from the beginning that those were corrupt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time, it isn't like the hero was right either.
Vonter
Amagi - I think in the case of old villains it was caused because those didn't had civilian identities to empathize to the "human".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, because I love screwing characters over, after becoming the villain and actually achieving through evil, the perfect good society, even after taking in all the sins of the world and seemingly eliminating the evil inside people, humanity just fucks it all up again and became a monster all for nothing.
Amagi
We also usually don't see the villains having any problems that aren't related to the actual thing they cause. For example losing someone dear to them. Not because heroes killed them or anything, just..so. That's life etc. Making them feel more like persons. Hell even heroes have this problem. Usually when a hero suffers it's caused by the villain. As if the world wasn't more complicated.
Vonter
Also Franken Fran had a very dark and very funny story about a superhero founding out that the organization he's facing wants to conquer the world with charities.
Vonter
Watchmen, Dr. Strangelove, The day the Earth Stood Still kinda put a similar message about needing to be better with each other in order to have a better future.
Amagi
Yes, it's usually too simple. We have a clear hero fraction and a clear fraction of the villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*villain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like it when the villain isn't actually in co-operation with other bad guys, but theres also a hero, but the hero is marginalized because there are so many differing villaib factions.
Amagi
Even there, in the end it was heavily hinted that people can never bring back gone things. She saw through them and knew they were pretending and that it wasn't real anymore. Think that would happen in the other potential series we came up with too and it cause more character development.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Elementary school up to their mid 30s.
Amagi
Have to think of Goodbye Lenin, kinda. Not exactly that topic but similar. With the mother falling into a coma during GDR time and waking up after the fall of the wall and her family trying to pretent that they're still living in the GDR to not shock her since it could mean that she'd die.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - To what extend watching them grow up? I mean in Dragon Ball we've seen Goku's entire life. In Ashita no Joe we have a big arc before the MC ever gets into an official boxing match. In Rose of Versailles we see a change of ideology over the course of 12 years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad guys idea was to start up so much shit in our world to terrify the people back home.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The guys homeworld was basically one where things we consider evil are good over there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember working with the idea, where a villain brought people back, solely to open the gateway to his homeland through stealing energy from them resulting from psychological turmoil, then broadcasting how terrible humans are back to his homeland, and his people seeing how awful humanity are, then realizing they should stop being bad people.
Amagi
It's why I am always a huge fan of characters (usually, who could have known, villains) who try to resurrect a past decade or something. Like someone trying to build a world or VR space that imitates the 80s because it was the time he grew up in and which he is still missing and want to return back to. Could be the 90s as well or whatever.
Vonter
The paradox with that, is that technically one becomes a tyrant or a monster eventually. Power corrupts the individual. Whose to say those villains didn't start with good intentions?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi; Seeing a characters entire life too, seeing him grow up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I am often thinking about such a series too. A real coming of age, with the character realising what he had lost or is about to lose, how life changes and him trying to make it stop or escape. Or force the old status quo but realising it isn't possible to maintain.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah that's a great compromise. Defeat the villain but maintain his new state, or develope his idea or whatever. Just without the errors the villain made.
Vonter
Oh my, realizing that last one, could make most Isekais more interesting, since there are things those characters can't do by design.
Amagi
And then the MC comes and tells everyone that the old life is good as it is with all its flaws and don't realizes that he is actually lucky enough to not be born into misery or in the middle of some war zone like many others who die and suffer.
Vonter
Villains in the end, take the decisions the hero cannot.
Amagi
It's especially bad when the authors aren't even aware of what they're doing. Like showing that there are characters in the fictional world that get an actual better life with the change the villain brings. Paralysed people being able to move for example or poor outcasts not needing food anymore, in case that the villain forces some VR world and digitalizes people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Booboo hiss , no revolution is lame. Revolution good, do revolution.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Aggretsukko touches a bit on the last two examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still love the idea of people actually benefitting from the terrible things the villain does and actually learning from it and the world becomes a better place because we learned not to repeat the bad guys actions. But the bad guy committed those very bad actions to make us realize that.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah I never liked that meta message most stories have that basically boils down to "be happy with everything as it is now and don't try changing it, also, revolutions are evil".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or where a person attempts to explore becoming something more but ends up just accelerating the breakup/going seperate ways thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
yes vonter, you are giving good examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And people growing apart because they've gotten older.
Vonter
@Amagi - Villains have selfish desires, human flaws, and determination. Heroes on those series usually defended the status quo, since that's the only thing they saw as right. And in the meta was to tell the audience how they should behave.
Amagi
Could never get into wimpy characters either. Shy yes, as long as shyness is portrayed seriously and not the typical shy/naive "etooo..ano ne.." harem guy/girl. But I always wondered who can even selfinsert into the typical harem or otome lead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd happily watch a coming of age story which was just about a bunch of guys hanging out, playing videogames, watching films, anime, playing outside and just joking around, very little melodramatic stuff, only on a rare occassion drifting in naturally into the narrative.
Vonter
Ano hana is about reflecting on how the characters grew up.
Amagi
I mean villains are often the oddballs. MCs are too "normal". They're usually the typical guys that maintain the status quo (even if it's flawed), get/want a romantic relation ship and a normal life whereas the villains have ambitions and are often "different" to say it that way. They feel more human to me. Or maybe I am just too weird myself I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even a character reflecting on how they've grown up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: As a child it was almost always the villains for me, or villain sidekicks. Probably because writing was more strict back then and there were too many things heroes weren't allowed to think, like or do. Well it's still a problem.
Vonter
Hi Score Girl has a character that reminds me of some aspects I'm not proud of my youth.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or a protaganist realizing all of their past romances were chosen because they thought they had to fit in by having such relationships based on expectations, when really they genuinely don't care about romance.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't 30 centimeters per second like that? Welcome to NHK also explores some aspects of the young adult. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a soap opera but with adult characters in need of maturing to independent people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So i can understand wanting to relate to something in fiction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also none of these stories ever reflected or related to my adolescence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see a story about someone who is trying to adjust to their mid 20s or 30s after finally realizing that what they thought would never end (what they were familiar with in their youth) is over.
Anonymous3329534
What are the must-watch anime this season?
Kaiser-Eoghan
In alot of cases naturally the underwhelming leads, male or female are romcom/harem/coming of leads...which leads me to ask, I want an dramedy that I can actually relate to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or it was one of the villains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of being a military commander, military leader, spy or an emperor or a more clever character appealed to me more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nor superpowered characters for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've probably said this before, and I don't know if this is just from western upbringing, but I never really self-inserted into wimpy characters because I could never imagine myself like that.
Vonter
All these in regards when a girl is the protagonist.
Vonter
1.- They rarely put interesting love interests. 2.- Few times stories aren't about seeking some internal even selfish desires. 3.- In anime at least females get along very easily while I get the impression it's more complicated IRL. 4.- I identify easily the romanticized power fantasy of men but I can't tell if I've seen that thing of women's.
Vonter
It's a dichotomy. Since I've seen both the worst and some of the best female character in manga and anime. Yet I can't shake the feeling female characters have unwritten restrictions to them.
Amagi
@Vonter: The new Promare trailer got me more interested in this. So it seems like the enemies are actually controlled by humans (that..guy/girl(?)). I also feel like the new blonde character will be a traitor or secret endboss or something.
Amagi
@Vonter: I also always had a problem with female characters, be it anime or whatever. Not because of social reasons or anything, I just found them unrelatable. But they got better over the years, especially in the west. Anime always had some series with ambitious female MCs though, it's just that a lot of anime are too selfinserty and these types prefer the safe route and do otome series.
Vonter
This movie is looking sick. It looks like it's using the same type of cel shading as the latest Guilty Gear game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzFFaLB6fHw
Vonter
I've read manga and webcomics with good or bad art, both can have great or very poor writing.
Vonter
I think scores are incredibly more subjective in terms of comics than other mediums. There is just a vast array of qualities, content, and distribution and exposure also makes for some works fall into obscurity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
or huge praise either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read that yuri manga Octave, while I'd give it a higher score than they gave it, a myanimelist reviewer was fairly accurate in saying it really boils down to "another drama" but another review said it was "a quick, short and easy to read manga" I think those are reasonable takes, for better or worse this falls it the fine category and isn't really a huge black mark against it
Vonter
Interesting. I mean it's only a matter of time there are several other Isekai mangas that are either full female or gender bended. Also the Spider Isekai is also coming soon.
Animosh
Always nice to see an author reflect on and work on overcoming his limitations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was that recent article where sword art's writer brought up how he wrote his female chracters.
Animosh
Japan has a female prime minister in GITS too, although she's just a supporting character. And now that I think about it, the world of SAO's current arc has a female leader - in fact, her all-consuming ambition is basically her #1 trait.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that is more of a case of female characters in tougher mode roles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose if I was making a list of female characters that stood out well for me I would put Motoko (ghost in the shell) or Balsa from Moribito.
Animosh
But I can think of some exceptions. Youjo Senki technically has a female lead, and for an older example there's Twelve Kingdoms. And outside of isekai you have ambitious female characters like Shurei (from Saiunkoku Monogatari) or Maude (from ACCA). But it's true that they're relatively rare.
Animosh
It is true that political ambition is a big part of some isekai though. Overlord is an obvious case, and there's also Log Horizon and the Slime series this season. And the MCs of these series are all males. But then, I suppose political power over others is something that is just more likely to appeal to men, especially in patriarchal Japan.
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