Posted on 27 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kaiba


Welcome and say hello to one of the best anime of 2008, and along with Haibane Renmei and Hi no Tori, my favourite anime of only 12 or 13 episodes long. Kaiba is the product of director Masaaki Yuasa, who was the one behind Kemonozume, Cat Soup and Mind Game and it shows the result of when an already excellent director learns from his mistakes.

Kaiba is very much an experimental anime, which tries to be different from the stuff you usually see. The character-designs may look childish and simple, but make no mistake: this storyline isn’t afraid to show adult themes at all, and the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s about a futuristic world with the fascinating concept in which people’s memories can be stored in chips and placed from one body to the other. The series smartly spends its first half fleshing out and playing with this concept, so that the viewer feels at home inside the setting, only for the second half to kick in with the real meat of the series, where the storyline keeps spiralling to the point of going out of control. The final episode is indeed one of chaos.

The setting may be already an incredibly imaginative one, what really won me over for this series is its sense of storytelling. It’s hard to explain, but if there ever was some kind of x-factor for anime, then Kaiba would have it. This is one series that knows exactly how to progress a mystery-storyline: lots of random flashbacks, in order to flesh out both the storyline and characters, a back-story that goes way beyond the “person x killed person y in the past” and lots of different hints to keep you guessing.

This also really helps fleshing out the characters, and the interesting twist that they keep changing bodies (made possible because of the setting) puts them in interesting different spotlights. The romance can be incredibly sweet when it’s in its element and even the villains get their own piece of development.

Overall, Kaiba is definitely recommended if you’re into experimental, mystery or science fiction anime. The only bad thing about it is that the plot isn’t the most solid one, so don’t expect everything about the setting to be fully explained by the end. Nevertheless, Kaiba is an masterpiece that makes excellent use of its limited time of only twelve episodes, and it has been my top pick of the past spring season ever since it started.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Posted on with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Neiro tries to tell Kaiba his secret as Kaiba and Warp go out of control.
Highlights: Not all questions answered, but this series somehow gets away with it…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
And so it’s unfortunately over. It was to be expected that not every question would be answered (like, what’s up with the planet that Kaiba lives on? It turns out, only the memory of Popo got killed, but how did that happen? and in this episode Kaiba also pulls out a number of random powers that would have been better if they were introduced earlier, so I think that one extra episode would have been sufficient to answer these questions, but still this was a pretty awesome episode.

Masaaki Yuasa clearly intended this episode to go out of control and become something surreal, in a way, it’s in the same style of the ending of Kemonozume, which also came from out of nowhere. It was obviously not the best episode of Kaiba, but at the same time it was very much fun to watch. The surreal parts in this episode were definitely worth watching.

So, in the end, the thing that Neiro discovered about Kaiba was that his mother’s memory was stuffed in the ostrich, as a punishment. At the same time, probably the cutest thing about this episode was this unexpected romance between Hyohyo and the memory-guy. ^^;

At this point, I’m not sure which series to call better: this one or Shion no Ou. They were both absolutely fantastic in their own ways, and without a doubt the best series of 2008. They both had fantastic storytelling, while Shion no Ou had incredible characters, while Kaiba had an incredibly imaginative setting.

Posted on 19 July 2008 with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Popo continues his plans to overthrow the heavens.
Highlights: This is what you get if you build up properly…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 9,5/10
Holy crap! This episode was utterly utterly incredible. The best episode of Kaiba yet, and with an already incredible series, that HAS TO SAY SOMETHING. I’m still baffled at all the plot-twists that bombarded the screen for the past twenty minutes. Obviously MAJOR spoilers follow. DO NOT read this entry if you haven’t watched this episode yet.

Oh my god, I’m still pretty speechless about this episode. The entire first half of the episode develops Popo further into insanity: the strange purple mist first caused Cheki to lose most of her memories, and he then lost his mother’s memory-chip. He already thinks that he defeated Warp, so he didn’t even bother to confirm whether or not Kaiba was really dead. He first claims to love Sate, but then betrays her by showing his affections for Cheki, and with the prospect of soon ruling the entire universe, his personality keeps moving out of control.

This guy was an excellent example of a great villain. He clearly is the villain in this series, but at the same time his desires kept spiralling out of control.

But the craziest thing about this episode was definitely the domino-effect-killing scene. I repeat: MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:

Inside the main control room of Popo’s ship, Sate kills Popo. Then the body-collector kills Sate, who turns out to be a cyborg. The three older Kaibas then gloat over their victories. Fake Warp (who turns out to be alive) then kills the body-collector and the three older Warps. As an added bonus, we also learn that the memory-guy and Sate were sisters, and they grew up watching Neiro, Popo and Cheki play together.

There were a few things I didn’t understand, though. What was up with the fans, wiping out the purple fog? Who activated them? Why did fake Warp erase the collection of all the memories, which basically meant the entire history of the world?

In any case, it’s amazing to see how much Masaaki Yuasa has learned from his mistakes. I remember how the pre-ending episodes of Kemonozume were a big mistake because the huge contrast between the light and extremely serious final episodes was way too big. For Kaiba, he made sure to build up as much as he can, he kept throwing in flashbacks, foreshadowing and different hints that all came together in this episode. This episode was dramatic, sure. But it WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT. It’s a definite candidate of the best episode of the year for me, along with episode 21 of Shion no Ou. I’m really curious as to how he plans to end this series. Kemonozume’s final episode was absolutely nothing like its other episodes, but on the other hand, Kaiba is absolutely nothing like Kemonozome, so I’m very interested, and at the same time very sad that the goodness will only last one more episode.

Posted on 10 July 2008 with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Thankfully, the hiatus “only” took two weeks. This week: Neiro’s background.
Highlights: Kaiba’s back! Kaiba’s back! Kaiba’s back!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Okay, this time I didn’t care about the raws. I just wanted to watch Kaiba again as soon as possible, so I just settled for a horrible one. For this episode, we were promised Neiro’s background, and it doesn’t disappoint at all. This anime very cleverly wraps up about 50% of the questions that the previous episodes left hanging, while keeping the vital questions still a mystery, for the final two episodes to answer.

As it turns out, my theories were wrong. Kaiba is the real Warp, and he got the name Kaiba for no particularly important reason: Neiro gave it to him, because when the two met, he again had lost his memory when he met Neiro for the first time. Therefore, he didn’t know his name, so Neiro named him after the legendary plant, and only later he started to remember again. How this exactly works is unknown, but Kaiba possesses some sort of power that unconsciously erases and recovers his memory, which gets activated with either a huge mental of physical shock. Every time this power gets activated, the hole in his body increases in size.

Also, the fake Warp didn’t shoot Neiro at all, it was the real Kaiba, in order to protect her from that AI-manager who we’ve seen bothering the fake Warp a few episodes back. He properly revived her and brought her back afterwards. And as it turns out, Warp never killed Neiro’s parents in the first place. That too was just some alteration by Popo (or the memory guy, on request by Popo). That AI-manager also turned out to be one of the villains in this series. It used the fake warp to prevent Kaiba from finding out information about his parents, whom he thought he killed himself. Kaiba turns out to never have been evil, but this image was just spread by this AI-manager.

We now also know why Popo didn’t kill Kaiba when he had the hance. I can imagine how the guy needed to get a weapon strong enough to destroy Kaiba’s indestructible body, and failed to get there on time before Kaiba woke up. The shot he fired was indeed aimed at Kaiba, and not at the enemy. This gave the memory-guy the chance to escape with Kaiba, and with the help of that girl in dress (forgot her name), they managed to smuggle Kaiba away from Popo.

Now, the question remains: how did Kaiba get his first hole. Before he crashed in front of Neiro, he already had a hole inside of him, which suggests that he lost his memory due to some sort of shock before that. Also, what role is the plant Kaiba going to play in the end? And why did the memory-guy alter Neiro’s memory, if he was on her side? Was it to fool Popo?

Aagh, only two more episodes to go. I demand a second season. Or at least a series in the same style that goes on for longer than just 12 episodes! This series is too good for the treatment it’s getting.

Posted on 21 June 2008 with categories: Kaiba


What can I say? This episode was just incredible, no question possible. Spoilers obviously follow.

As it turns out, the memory-guy plays a vital role in the entire story. He never was aligned to Popo, but made it believe like he was. Popo probably ordered him to use the plant Kaiba on Neiro, in order to mask all of her memories and change all appearances of Warp/Kaiba into Popo. Behind his back, the memory-guy put the remains of these memories into Hyohyo. The ostrich was also a servant of the memory-guy, who indeed helped out Popo back in the first episode. That’s why he secretly let Hyohyo join Kaiba without Popo knowing about it.

And Heck, only now I realize that in Neiro’s memories, Warp’s images are also blackened out! We only saw the evil Warp shoot Neiro, but the rest of it are all images of a black-on-white caricature. I’m getting some strong urges here that Popo was the guy who really ended up killing Neiro’s parents. Why would he want to mask them otherwise? Especially since this episode shows how easily he can just kill people.

A few questions remain with this, mostly: who was the Neiro that evil Kaiba shot, and why is Neiro still alive. In this episode, we also get confirmed that Kaiba wasn’t the Warp that killed everyone, because Neiro addresses him as “Kaiba”. That leaves the biggest question that still needs to be answered: where the heck did Kaiba come from? What also seems strange is how the memory guy seems to think that Warp changed after he met Neiro, because it obviously conflicts with Neiro calling Kaiba Kaiba…

I must say that my biggest fear for Kaiba would be the episodes before the finale, simply because Kemonozume screwed up so badly at that point. It dived way too deep into melodrama for it to remain believable. Still, thankfully Kaiba has managed to avoid this flaw entirely, and this episode really used the building-up of the previous episodes wonderfully.

Posted on 14 June 2008 with categories: Kaiba


It’s been a long wait, but finally my beloved Kaiba is back. And what an episode does it return with! For once, Kaiba doesn’t appear in it at all, and instead it’s all about Popo, and how the bastards killed off his own mother to keep up his appearances. As it turns out, she once changed his body, which is against the rules of the organization Popo works for. That does make me wonder why Neiro was just allowed to change into Ger and all…

In any case, we indeed learn that there is another Warp besides Kaiba. This guy probably was the one who shot Neiro. If I understood things correctly, then Neiro’s body was shot, and she ended up in Hyohyo. It seems that her memory got split in two: one part works for Popo, and the other one went along with Kaiba.

That still leaves the question to: which Warp is the real one? What we know is that the body that Kaiba was in in episode one was the genuine indestructible body of Warp. I believe that the Warp we see in this episode is the real Warp who killed off those hundreds of people. Then at one point, he ran into this “Kaiba”, which stole his body. Kaiba then met Neiro and the two fell in love. Warp then tracked down Kaiba and destroyed Neiro’s body, though what I suspect is Popo’s meddling, Kaiba escaped him, somehow causing Kaiba to lose his body and get that hole through his body, after which episode 1 started.

What interests me the most is the real link between the plant Kaiba and the human Kaiba. We know that that plant has a lot of an appetite and that it eats memory, but what I want to know is how such a plant ended up being turned into actual memory. What I also want to know: who are on Kaiba’s side in this story, and most importantly: why? Why would the ostrich be working for such a plant? What’s the connection to the memory-guy to all of this?

I must say, that this series knows EXACTLY what makes a good mystery-series. I totally forgot about this, since 2007 was a bad year for mystery-series, but a good mystery-series doesn’t just ask questions, but it forces its viewer to form his own theories about what happened. This is what sets the genre apart from series that have to rely on some obscure side-story that you can only understand if it’s spelled out in front of you.

And indeed, even though I originally thought that Crystal Blaze would be a mystery-series, its mystery turned out to be just a simple back-story and the story focused on storytelling and characters instead. Instead, Shion no Ou’s mystery-plot was simple, yet it knew how to make its viewer guessing about the identity of the murderer, and most viewers already knew exactly what happened when facts were finally revealed. Nijuu Mensou no Musume is about to do the same: the simple question is: what happened to Nijuu Mensou, and there are several theories possible, and enough clues to keep you guessing.

Another great approach to mystery is the one used in Himitsu: it offers you the pieces of the puzzle for each episode, and they only really fall into place when you connect these pieces. Ergo Proxy and Boogiepop Phantom are yet another story: they just provide a few clues here and there and apart from that they make no attempt to help the viewer figure out what happened.

I now see that the series that just feature a huge setting, but withold some of this information at the start aren’t necessarily good mystery-series, and rather use the appeal of the unknown to create tension. I personally loved Dennou Coil, but it was excellent because of its plot, characters and the amount of imagination that was put into the setting. Not because of its mystery, and I’m surprised it took me so long to realize this.

At the moment, I’m wondering whether Real Drive will be able to pull off good mystery. Right now, it relies a lot on the appeal of the unknown, and it’s definitely got my attention about its concept, but interestingly enough, it hasn’t started asking focused questions yet. When this’ll happen, I wonder whether it’ll allow the viewer to speculate about the setting, or whether it’ll just carry the viewer along with its revelations.

Posted on 23 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


This episode was absolutely incredible. There’s probably no better way to say it. It’s one of those very rare episodes that just blew me away due to its sheer awesomeness. Everything Kaiba has been building up to has come together perfectly. Seriously, Kaiba right now has actually a chance of surpassing Haibane Renmei as my favourite 13-episode series, if it continues on at this pace.

Seriously, in seven mere episodes, Kaiba did what other series usually takes other series 20. When I first learned that Masaaki Yuasa would direct this series, I had my doubts, seeing as Kemonozume, Mind Game and Cat Soup were all good, but seemed to lack something, though Kaiba really shows that he’s evolving as a storyteller, and Kaiba is the work of a genius.

Vanilla, sacrificing himself for Kuroniko indeed had it coming, and I haven’t forgotten the horrible things he did in the first and second episode, and yet his end was so incredibly sweet. The guy knew full well that Kuroniko didn’t like him, and he only got this confirmed with her disgusted look after he kissed her, after which he planned to send her away, back to the planet where it all began in the first episode.

And then Neiro’s past. Her memory is a bloody mess, and it’s especially interesting to see Hyo-hyo being so shocked about it. We now know that it’s got something to do with Neiro, but it wasn’t aware of what exactly was done to her. There are also more Hyo-hyos than just Hyo-hyo, so I guess that it was just assigned to do a simple task: keep an eye on Warp, and I have reason to believe that that ostrich was also part of the complot.

I suspect that, assuming that everything Kaiba saw inside of Neiro’s memory came in chronological order, Warp once got attacked by Kaiba, and got his memory copied of some sort. That’s how Kaiba was born, and Kaiba was the one who got close to Neiro and fell in love with her, at the displeasure of Warp, so he tried to shoot her, like we saw in this episode. I have no idea how Neiro managed to survive, but if I had to guess, then Popo came to their rescue. He then messed with the memory of both of them, in order to manipulate them. I’m not sure what kind of purpose Kaiba has in his plans, though.

Oh, and I HATE TENNIS. Two freaking weeks without Kaiba!? $#!!$#$!@!@!!!

Posted on 17 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


Really, is there no end to this series awesomeness? This was quite possibly the best episode of Kaiba yet, for very obvious reasons. For the sake of spoilers showing up in the blog-aggregators like animeblogger antenna, this sentence is meant to fill up space. This one is meant to fill up space as well. So, this should be enough.

Kaiba finally meets Neiro! Although under very strange circumstances. She spends this episode in the form of a huge male cyborg without any hands. The thing that made this so awesome was that both of them were struggling with the feelings of being in the body of another gender. Kaiba has his first period as well, while Neiro has trouble with the male hormone-impulses.

As it turns out, Warp was the worst kind of king. He killed Neiro’s family, imprisoned thousands, and he was also probably responsible for the huge gap between rich and old, and several of the memory-clouds we see in space. That makes me even wonder why Neiro fell in love with him in the first place, because right now she seems to consider him as an enemy.

What’s more: in this episode a strange plant appears, which sucks out the memories of nearby persons. Neiro calls it a KAIBA!!! Could it really be that Warp fell victim to one of these Kaiba, and that’s how Kaiba originated? Oh boy.

The case in this episode looked a lot like the episode with the old couple in Kemonozume. Both couples have been travelling for decades now, and both suffer a huge loss as the episode went on. I must say that I prefer the Kaiba-version. This might be a small spoiler, but the problem with Kemonozume was that the ending had no point whatsoever. The two of them just turned into monsters and killed each other due to the big bad guy. This episode in Kaiba has been very deep, though. This time, just the old lady gets her memory sucked out, and as it turns out, she has been cheating on her husband. And yet the husband doesn’t matter, and he’ll just continue to travel with her memory-less body.

With this episode, I know for sure that Kaiba is my favourite series this season. The 26-episode series really need try their best in their second halves if they want to trump this series.

Posted on 9 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


This episode was surreal, even for a Kaiba-episode. I think it has to do with a guy named “Jamie Vickers”, who was listed in the end-credits. His previous work includes a few episodes of Kemonozume, and the animation of the ED of Tokyo Tribe 2. This guy’s sense of style is even messier than that of Masaaki Yuasa.

This episode was all about bodies, and how they’re discarded once they die. The previous episodes have never really shown what happens to a person if he or she dies from a natural reason, but I suspect that the mind and body die together, and the body can’t be used anymore by another mind, so it is discarded and destroyed. In this way, Kai’s body also gets destroyed accidentally. Oh, and Hyo-Hyo mysteriously disappears in this episode without any clue whatsoever as to where… “it” went, apart from the fact that it saw a huge load of Neiro-like bodies with “Neiro” written on them.

Kaiba this time runs into a designer of bodies, who has become quite famous. He’s of the opinion that people shouldn’t walk around with dull bodies, and his vision seems to catch on rather well. Nearly everyone walks around with some kind of strange body. His own body seems to be actually powered by electricity, and his servant, in the body of a dog, just needs to be re-winded once in a while. This dog seems to be a former woman who took care of the… “cat”, though she got too old at one point and separated her mind from her body, just as she was about to die. The two of them also share the same eyes: the designer can only see what the dog sees, and nothing more, and therefore he’s really dependant on the dog, and they’re always together. The dog also takes care of powering this designer.

In this episode, I also noticed a huge difference between this series and Himitsu ~The Revelation in terms of privacy. In Himitsu, Aoki is very much bothered by the fact that he’s intruding the privacy of others, and yet Kaiba just peeks into the minds of others without any second thoughts, in order to find out their stories.

I also have a theory. In this episode, we learn that Kaiba’s original body was some sort of hero, famous enough to warrant his own statue, though at the same time, nobody knows who this guy actually was. I didn’t totally understand the explanation, but it seems that we’re dealing with a king here. My theory is that Kaiba and Warp are two different persons, and Kaiba was just meant to protect Warp’s body as something happened to him, involving the terrorists and Popo. That still makes me wonder what Hyo-Hyo’s purpose was, because the mission of protecting Kaiba’s body clearly failed. Heck, we have no idea where it is now. Or is there more about the locket that it just being a pretty picture?

Posted on 2 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


Okay, so while the introduction of weird accents didn’t exactly help my ability to understand this episode, I still loved every bit about this episode. Really, I’m trying to think of one part of this series that doesn’t stand out, but so far this series couldn’t have progressed better. I absolutely LOVE the pair of Kaiba and the guard (I think his name was Vanilla) as they travel through various world. They stand so incredibly far apart from your usual travelling-companionship. The two of them are without a doubt my favourite characters of all new shows this season, apart perhaps from xxxHolic.

I originally thought that Kaiba would switch bodies with every new episode, but this episode proves us wrong. He just has two bodies: one of the stuffed animal and one of the girl. Both bodies are very different from the Kaiba we saw in the first episode, and it felt especially weird when the stuffed animal suddenly started talking. It turns out that normal rules don’t really apply when you’re into the mind of a person.

What’s also interesting: we see Vanilla into Kaiba’s mind this time, and there, we saw the body he was in when we found him in episode 1. The thing is also that this doesn’t seem to be his original body (because yes, this episode also gives us a small shot of Kaiba when he still had his memory). There’s nothing of that fancy outfit we saw. And really, what the hell has happened to Popo? He hasn’t appeared for four episode, and yet he seems like a vital character in all this, after the previous episode showed some hints that he was connected to Neiro.

In any case, this episode is about an old woman, who refuses to share her dead husband’s “treasure” with her two sons. They may be poor, but they’re always causing trouble for others, and don’t ever pay attention to their surroundings. Of course, the “treasure” turns out to be an ordinary memory-box, but still. The interesting thing is how this episode went into this old woman’s mind, as she’s still trying to forget her deceased husband. He fell off a lighthouse, but she never knew why. Inside her memory, she then finds out that he was just trying to pick a flower, in the hope of making his wife smile again. I probably missed the important point of this episode again, though, due to the above-mentioned dialect.

The art this time was also different from usual. It looked much more like Kemonozume than ever. While it’s usually not that good of an idea to have an episode with a different animation-style than usual (just take a look at Gurren Lagann 04), for Kaiba it works surprisingly well. Perhaps it’s because the changes are there, but not quite radical.

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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