Posted on 23 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mawaru Penguin Drum



Revolutionary Girl Utena aired in 1997. When I watched it, it immediately conquered a spot on my list of favorite series ever, and still stands there. After that its director, Kunihiko Ikuhara, put out the Utena movie, and after that things became eerily quiet around him for more than a decade. Once in a while he did a random storyboard, but apart from that he really was strangely absent. So imagine my surprise when it was announced that he’d do another full fledged series again.

Right from the start it’s obvious that these two are from the same makers: this show is chock full of symbolism. Everywhere, the creators stuffed in references, cross references and visual symbols that only became apparent episodes after they appear. At first sight this is just random, but the great thing is that every symbol here has a meaning and place in this series. At first sight this series may seem like it’s complete chaos, but it’s actually surprisingly well structured on hindsight.

And yeah, this show pretty much has the best direction of the entire year. The way it combines the visuals, music and story together: no other show did it better during the past 12 months. The music does an excellent job of fitting within every scene it’s used, the animation really makes the characters come alive, the timing of all of the scenes flows really well. And the acting of the characters is really solid, especially considering the amount of broken characters in this series.

The excellent acting also leads to an excellent cast of characters. Just about everyone develops throughout the series. It also makes use of a ton of flashbacks and flash-forwards, to illustrate this, also giving the cast a ton of background in the process. The cast in this series really is dynamic, and engaging beyond belief.

And then there are the plot twist. This series really likes throwing plot twists, and being as unpredictable as possible. This makes for one heck of a plot. At first it might seem that this series is just throwing around twists for the heck of it, but nearly everything in this series is properly foreshadowed and hinted at on hindsight. The plot of this series is so tightly put together. This is an anime original series, so there is no need to be afraid of rushed endings or stories that just stop in the middle. The ending of this series is amazing and closes off this series wonderfully. This really is one of my top picks of 2011.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Great sense of timing and bringing out all different sorts of emotions. Really tightly written plot.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent character development, very likable characters, although some take a bit to get used to (Ringo!)
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very solid and inspired animation, excellent soundtrack.
Setting: 9/10 – Penguin Drum is highly symbolic, and even its setting makes use of this. Because of this, things aren’t made 100% clear, but this is a very interesting way to get its messages across.

Suggestions:
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Simoun
Noein

Posted on with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum

The point where I realized what the Penguin Drum was came at the beginning of this episode, in which we saw the caged Shouma and Kanba, and Kanba found the apple in his cage. There, it all made sense: Kanba would share the apple, and they both probably would have died if that apple wasn’t there, making their lives even more fragile than Himari’s. At first I thought that those apples were a symbol for Ringo, but the way it kept being used in the second half just didn’t add up to that. It still remains interesting that at the beginning of the show, the penguin hat sent the brothers to Ringo of all people. But in any case, it remains very cruel what this implies: in order to save Himari, the lives of Shouma and Kanba were needed.

And it is as I hoped: this ending really is amazing. The story came together wonderfully. The characters reached their catharsis. It all fitted really well. It’s not like all questions were answered, but in this case I believe that this doesn’t matter much. This show answered enough things and the rest is just up to our imagination. There is more than enough room to fill in the blanks. This series relies really heavily on symbolism and the surreal to paint its story anyway. What this show is in essence is a character study. And on that, it really delivered.

Overall, this show just completely dominated as my favorite series for the past half year. It was one heck of a step above all other shows that aired. Now that it’s finished, can I say that I like it better than Utena? To that, I unfortunately have to say no: this series is amazing, but I still like Utena better. It just as more fresh, it had better character development, it could take more time to show off its cast. And even then, Penguin Drum still remains as one of the best two shows of the year. I’m not yet sure which one is the best, but I’ll get to that in my 2011 summary.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 17 December 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum

Okay. It’s time for answers. Finally the plot is coming together!

This episode really had me at the edge of my seat. It’s not just the plot that revealed some huge secrets: the characters themselves are also getting pushed on the main stage, and the drama around them is worthy of a finale so far. The big twist came right at the beginning of the episode: the bad guy of this series has pretty much been a dead guy. The rabbits were actually what he turned into. The two penguin hats? They’re part of Momoka.

Momoka actually tried to stop Sanetoshi from fully blowing up the world, although she failed partially. Somewhere in this half-spell, both parties got the abilities to play with the dead: My guess is very much that Mario would also be dead if it wasn’t for that hat of his, or at least that would explain why Natsume is so worried about him. The thing is however, that Sanetoshi’s healing powers are surprisingly long-lived, compared to what the Penguin hat could do. Heck, I’m very much inclined to say that Sanetoshi is currently deceiving Kanba, with the few healing powers that he still has left.

Penultimate episodes do have this tendency to focus too much on plot and too little on characters. This show actually didn’t! In this episode, Shouma was sorting out his own feelings, Himari tried her best to get Shouma and Kanba back together, Kanba got really sinister in the part where he cold-heartedly shot Shouma. And holy crap Ringo and that fire scene! Her role had already changed completely in the second half of this series, but this really brought her character to a different level.

Now, the ending of this series will definitely be the type of ending where the creators will try to put as much as possible into one episode. For these types of endings, the most important thing to remember is balance. There is no doubt that at this point, the creators have more than enough ideas to fill that last episode with. It’s bound to be awesome. but what would rally make it this series’ crowning moment of awesome is if every one of those ideas get just enough time to play out, while still making everything flow well into each other. Let’s really hope that the creators can pull this off, because this show deserves it.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 9 December 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum

Well, so I kept hoping for these final episodes to bring everything together. And with this episode, they did. The developments in this episode took this show to a new level. With things finally concluding, the twists i this episode brought in the best out of the characters. The twists in this episode made terrific use of the build-up.

The great development here was the family breaking up. For so many episodes it seemed just natural for the three siblings to stay together no matter what. And yet in this episode things really go horribly wrong. Himari had died before in this series, but this time, it actually seems that this is for real (although I wouldn’t be surprised if she still had some part to play). She finally stepped up and realized what she caused Kanba to do.

What’s also surprising here is how powerless Shouma was: for a long while it seemed like he was going to be the main character of this series, and yet he hardly had any role, aside from the moment we’ve been waiting for: Double-H to make an appearance, only to disappear again. Overall, this is something that I really have to give to Utena: the shadow play girls in the end turned out to be much more awesome, even though you can see here how the creators tried to give them a very important role in the story.

Apart from that, I’m not going to compare the two shows just yet, due to how important the ending was for both of them. There are some very obvious differences, and the next two weeks it will be up to this series to show how well its ideas worked. This episode really was in the right direction, but was it right enough?

What also made this episode awesome was Natsume. Again her role changed completely last week. In this week, we get to see the results of this change, and how her attempts to get her brother back failed. It’s in a completely different mood from her earlier attempts when she tried to get him back with that sweater she knitted. That sweater by the way was a very sneaky hint to the two of them being siblings, when you compare them to Himari’s knitted clothes for her “brothers”.

And on a side-note: what was Shouma doing in that box?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 2 December 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



Omg plot twists!

I mean, where to start? I thought that the house was just a colorful whim of the designers. In this episode, the creators suddenly explained how the house looked so unique. We’ve now seen Himari’s childhood in about five different stages (the time with her biological parents, the point where Shouma saved her, the point where Kanba’s father died, the point where she was getting into fights with Shouma’s mother, and the point after which shouma’s parents left). All of them showed a different stage of how she changed as a kid, and that isn’t even with the regular character development added. She is by far the most developed character of the entire series.

Then, Natsume. Finally her actions make perfect sense. by going after Kanba’s former girlfriends, she was reminding him of his responsibility towards Mario. By getting him away from Himari she was trying to save her brother from getting further involved in the shady business of Shouma’s parents. (Who died in this episode?! What the hell?). Also, I can’t believe that it only took me until last week to realize that the creators are trying to turn “Oh no, I must crush them soon” into a catch phrase.

Ringo turned into an excellent support character, now that her main arc is over. She’s still great to watch, and yet she knows how to remain in the shadows. The pink haired guy? Excellent villain now that it’s been revealed that he was the mastermind behind the gas attacks. He’s like this omnipotent being in this series and makes great use of it. That also gives yet another meaning to the diary: it’s the thing that he has no influence over. The question now is: is that diary’s power really as vague as the past episodes have been hinting? Or was there a more concrete reason for its effect?

And christ, there are just three episodes left now. I can only hope that this was the incentive to get the shoujo genre out of its rut that it’s been in for the past years. I don’t include the Josei genre in this; that has been fine, with series like No.6 and Chihayafuru. But how many good shoujo that didn’t rely on just random bishies (like Hakuouki for example) have debuted since the start of 2009? I’d say around five, over three whole years (Penguin Drum, Heartcatch Precure, Uragiri, Kimi ni Todoke and Yumeiro Patissiere), and only two of them were really ground breaking (Heartcatch and Penguin Drum). And this used to be one of my favorite genres that had so many gems in it. To come with a frame of reference, that’s about the same amount of series that debuted in those days that had no way of making any profit whatsoever, like Hyouge Mono, Sarai-ya Goyou, Aoi Bungaku, Showa Monogatari. Yes, for some bizarre reason producers nowadays are less inclined in investing in an ambitious shoujo series than on shows that are bound to not make them any money. There is a market for this, people. The first Blu-Ray version of Penguin Drum has actually sold nearly 6000 copies. That’s about 1000 volumes above the break even point for your average series.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 25 November 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



Yeah, this was the “calm before the storm”-episode of Mawaru Penguin-Drum. After this there are only four episodes left, resulting in God knows what kind of ending. This episode meanwhile was very different from the others: it was slow-paced, actually linear, and it was meant to flesh out the existing plot, rather than advance it.

Thankfully though, this avoided the common pitfalls of the usual calm before the storm episodes. Most of the times, these episodes are boring because they are just trying to delay the inevitable. This episode took its time to explain what happened between Shouma and Himari, it revealed why Shouma and Kanba’s parents did the things they did (that child broiler!), and this episode did actually have a solid build-up and a climax. The aftermath of this climax in its turn, built up this very effective atmosphere for the final four episodes.

Now, the big question will arise again: will this show have a great ending? It’s Kunihiko Ikura, so he’s bound to have something planned. In general, I don’t really care if the creators don’t answer every single question they ask explicitly. Not answering any question is of course also bad, but I disagree with people who dislike series, simply because they “don’t explain everything”. There are plenty of things in this series that can be better left off to the imagination.

Instead, what I want to see from this series is it using all of the build-up that the previous 20 episodes put into it. Take the current series, and push its story and characters to new levels. Pulling enough interesting twists without overdoing it and rushing through the final four episodes. This is a delicate balance that many shows fail to hit, but let’s wait and see whether this series knows what it’s doing.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 18 November 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



@#$*!@#&!@!^&!!! I should have known! I should have bloody known! I’m not going to say why I should have known, but this episode just delivered a truckload of major plot twists.

The first big one was revealed, right at the start of the episode: Kanba has been in contact with his parents all along. They’re the ones who gave him the money to cure Himari’s illness. I also love the way this was revealed, taking a place in the episode where you really wouldn’t expect it, with\out any obvious build-up whatsoever.

The second big plot twist: they’re not real siblings. Holy crap. I mean, this is a twist that has been pulled many times before, but this show just got it right by not making this as shallow as the others, which nearly always boil down to “we’re doing this for the incest”. Save for perhaps the first episode, the three siblings in Penguin Drum really felt like siblings, who were especially close to each other due to what happened with their parents.

And just when I thought that this would turn into this strange love triangle around Kanba… it is revealed that the one who originally introduced Himari to the family was Shouma.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 11 November 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum




Yeah, this episode was another one of those “batman having tea with superman”-episodes. This episode was just amazing, as it combined the talents of two wildly different directors, Kunihiko Ikura and Shigeyasu Yamauchi, into one. The result was an episode with a ton of weird twists, strong character development and a ton of symbolism, combined with a style that is masterful at getting genuine emotions out of the characters and terrific at subtle pacing.

I can’t believe how well the two blended with each other. Tabuki really got a wonderful episode through this. Ikuhara even gave Shigeyasu Yamauchi the freedom of handling the background art much different from usual, and that too resulted in a ton of eye candy. Tabuki ended up as a great villain through this. On top of that Momoka also got a lot of depth, and the main cast also got much closer to each other. Especially the aftermath of this episode felt very intimate.

Also, the eye-catch. It just revealed another turning-point, as expected. Right now we’re in the background arc, in which all of the side-characters get the chance to show their stories and backgrounds. At the moment the only ones left are Tabuki and the parents who set everything in motion. I can only imagine what the creators have planned for after that. It’s that final arc where they really have to show that they know how to use their build-up.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 4 November 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



How rare: a Penguin Drum episode devoted to build-up. Or at least, it’s promising a ton of stuff for next episode and its pacing was surprisingly quiet for this show’s standards, aside from one over the top confrontation between Yuri and Natsume. It did not lack in the plot twist department at all.

In fact, in terms of plot twists, thi episode can actually be seen as a turning point, where most of the things that we had to assume in the first half are canceled. The Penguin Drum isn’t the diary at all, and Tabuki has a very clear hidden agenda that he kept very well hidden. And heck, I just realized the parallels between Yuri, Tabuki and Momoka, and the main trio of this show. Add that to the rumors that Shigeyasu Yamauchi (the director of Casshern Sins) will be working on next episode, and yeah: I can’t wait.

I do want to say a bit about the music, though. It is very good, but in the past weeks I have been rediscovering Utena’s soundtrack, and I’m blown away by the utter difference between the two. The biggest thing is that Uterna’s soundtrack spans a whopping 7 disks in total! The creators went and composed a traditional soundtrack, and then they contacted like, three different musical groups to sing in and compose the different themes for all of the duels. This way they had a different song for every single duel in styles that evolved perfectly. Cowboy Bebob had this too.

Modern soundtracks just don’t have this. And yet, with smart production decisions this can still easily be possible. I mean, those different EDs are nice and all, but the creators could have easily used the budget they used for Triple H’s songs to actually compose songs that fit inside the series, instead of stuffing them into EDs. Having a huge soundtrack gives a lot more freedom and expression in terms of storytelling.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 October 2011 with categories: Mawaru Penguin Drum



Right after episode 14 is a popular time for characters to come with their backgrounds. I just love the way in which this episode did it, though. Natsume’s background was awesome in its presentation. It was completely over the top, but it fits this series really well. It was a really hilarious episode, and especially Natsume’s dreams were hysterical.

What’s more is that there still is order within the chaos: you could really see traits that give no mistake that she and her grandfather were related. This episode did a great job of explaining her background, her role in the story (although please: couldn’t they have gotten a younger voice actor for the young Kanba?). Also, the penguin hat isn’t dead!?

Overall, in a way I can understand where the people are coming from when they say that this show throws random stuff at the viewer. I have this same problem with most Shaft series, like the later series of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei and Bakemonogatari: the creators there really seemed to throw in just whatever the hell they’d like based on shallow wordplay that eventually got way too predictable in its unpredictability. Penguin Drum however has for me achieved the perfect balance between chaos and order: everything is related, but the things it throws at the viewer are all very creative and imaginative, and yet all of it is meant to flesh out the characters. And the thing is that this show is continuously changing: it still has the same style and mood, but it keeps finding new ways to play with its scenarios in lots of different ways.

And granted, Utena WAS better at this. It was completely un-rivaled in how well it used its own repetition to create excellent drama. However, we have yet to reach the ending of this series. Overall it’s a bit hard to compare two series of different lengths at this point, but what I can say at this point is that Utena’s brilliance lied in how much it did with so little. At this point it too still hadn’t shown its trumps yet, but instead of trying to be the roller-coaster ride that Penguin Drum is trying to be, it really tried to go for an as elegant series as possible. And with that it ended up being un-rivaled.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
So we got to rely on fansubs for it when it's airing.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Nope. I think because netflix only puts up full seasons they are only planning to put it up when it's finished airing. Or when it's dubbed.
SuperMario
But how does the Netflix thing work? So of I have a Netflix account I can watch the show weekly?
SuperMario
@Aidan: that's a dumb way to do things really because unless you watch the show weekly, everyone gonna forget that it even exist. Just look at Re-Life last year
Lenlo
thought*. Words are hard.

Eventually found the actual first ep though and enjoyed it.
Lenlo
Was funny. I tried to find the first Ep for Little Witch, found original short made afew years ago, watched it and though "This is very similar to the original... Whats new".
AidanAK47
Little witch is one of the best shows this season and yet I can't get subtitles because Netflix doesn't release shows weekly. Motherf*cker.
Lenlo
Ore Monogatari I enjoyed. It was a nice romance that actually explored what happens after the confession. Also the 2 leads are just precious.
Lenlo
Alright but unmemorable seems like a good summation.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: one good thing about Seiren is if you don't like this romance, the whole thing gonna reset after episode 4 so there's a chance that you might end up like it. Agreed that the comedy wasn't very good. Alright but unmemorable
SuperMario
@Topgavin: I watched like first 3 episodes and stopped because I didn't have much time there, but I enjoyed what I saw. A well-written and endearing show in my book
Topgavin
Has anyone here watched Ore Monogatari before? Because in the 4 years I've watched anime, I've never heard of it (I guess it did come out 2 years ago) and yet it's turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Always great going into a show expecting nothing and getting pleasantly surprised.
AidanAK47
Only one more impression to go. Should have it up tomorrow.
Lenlo
Im really not feeling Seiren. Its "comedy" isnt for me and I just dont find it very enjoyable to watch so far. Im curious if it gets any better but 2 episodes in it just isnt that good.
HelghastKillzone
That ending scene is an entire side-story compressed into that. Don't expect anymore of it from here on out as the it sticks to ruthless military/fantasy pretty well.
LookingForKeys
@Topgavin I think it was good, making it the second episode. That way the first set up the world the story will be in, and showed how much of a monster the "little girl" really is right at the end, and then made ep.2 the explanation. Nothing against Tanya trying to rip "God" a new one.
That after-credits scene, though...
SuperMario
Hmm, as much as I like Seiren's omnibus format, it doesn't turn out really hot this second episode. Demi-chan, on the other hand, still maintains its endearing tone. Might blogging Demi-chan instead
Topgavin
Yeah, that second episode was much better than the first. Dunno why they didn't start with that to be honest, waste of an opportunity for a good hook episode. The voice for the main girl still sounds weird to me though; I get it's supposed to sound weird because it symbolizes 'her' being out of place and her personality and body being a mismatch, but it'll certainly take some getting used to.
AidanAK47
Youjo Senki, now we are talking. Like Helghast said, Did the god scene way better than the LN and manga. Made it less comedic and more intimidating.
Lenlo
Oh man that Rakugo intro. Not sure what to think, but first time seeing it I liked it
Kaiser Eoghan
I sort of like good will hunting because I kind of saw a bit of myself in Damon's character when I watched it ages ago.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Remaking psycho and ruining the shower scene, for shame van sant, for shame.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its easy to ripoff some obscure thing though and get away with it. The dogtooth director essentially stole an old Mexican film to make that.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, that following some guys from behind like they were on a RPG games, which I think actually fit with the tones of Elephant. I have such mixed feeling with Gus van Sant too. Don't really think he's a great director.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Although Istvan Szabo is probably a little more well known for that Mephisto film that updates the Faust story. Zoltan Fabri's the fifth seal is a very thought provoking war movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I remember seeing a film documentary that featured Gus van sant in one section, they showed clips of tarrs films, Sant ripped of the cinematography and stole the style from some British short film to make Elephant.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree on the other Hungarian filmmakers, I don't know much about them either.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Scorsese's Silence was a big comeback. I really really emotionally connect with spiritual crisis stories.
SuperMario
@kaiser: yep, definitely check wreckmeister down. Althought I admit that watching his 2-hour plus films will feel like 5-hour anyways
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I'm more tolerant of darker teenage/coming of age films/stories. Les Demons was a big surprise.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Though its kind of frustrating, I do think Tarr probably takes attention away from other hungarian filmakers because no-body knows who the hell the others are.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Man, wreckmeister was so visually arresting I started getting dreams from it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I would consider Tarr to be kind of a poor mans Janco, Angelopolus and Tarkvosky rolled into one. I don't entirely "get" wreckmeister and man from London but they are great atmospheric mood piece experiences.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I had been wanting to watch Belar Tarr's Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies for so long now. Well, Fat Girl is shocking haha, but I'm normally drawn into those kind of films anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Margaret took like 5,6 years to release because he couldn't cut it down in the way he wanted. The final cut if I remembered correctly was edited by Martin Scorsese
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Only a HDcam for moonlight now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I looks like my lineup is witch academia, rakugo and youjo senki, well the most latter one until I get bored.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I sense a directors cut for manchester, it feels like it need another 30 minutes.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right up my valley. Watch Kenneth Lonergan's previous works Magaret and You Can Count on Me. Magaret is very messy but have a raw dialogue and interactions as well
SuperMario
Now the first episodes are over, I will keep on covering 3-gatsu, as for the other twos atm I have 3 options: 1) full romance/anti-romance high school Seiren/Scum's Wish. 2) slice-of-life moe monster girls Demi-chan/Maid Dragon and 3) Mature,dark Onihen/Acca (which although I like them I don't have much to talk about).If you guys have any preference on which shows you like covered then let me know
Kaiser Eoghan
@Helghast: At this point I'm watching youjo senki as an entertaining guilty pleasure.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Too many reboots upcoming, will wait for the dvds instead. I want to explore more of manchester by the sea's director's work. I also want to finally get more into Bela Tarr's stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I was rather shocked by A Ma souer/fat girls final act. Scenes with the Italian in the bedroom were initially creepy.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's a nice review Kaiser, a bit jealous with you that you've seen those 3 films which are touted as the best films of 2016. Also Fat Girl, haha, I love that movie.
Kaiser Eoghan
Poor yotaro =< you have so much stuff going down on you =<
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki episode was so good today. That revamped scene with God just fitted so right.
AidanAK47
A official release of that game in the west is apparently coming but it's been a few years and not much news about it.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Ah yes that was the one.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Had to think for a moment on that one but I think I was talking about this. https://vndb.org/v3144
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I'd hardly consider myself a studio trigger fan, but I watched the first witch academia episode there, it was actually kind of fun, got the same reaction from me as flipflappers did, that magical, special feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also, of interest reviewed Kenneth Lonegrans new film: http://letterboxd.com/shao_liu_ringon/film/manchester-by-the-sea/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Moonlight got some feels out of me though it could of been more, it ends abruptly and with 20 extra minutes they could have spent a bit more time on each section of his life.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I checked out lala land, ending was very well executed, one of three scenes in the film that were impressive visually. The whole thing looked pretty and Gosling and Stone had some decent chemistry. Although it didn't resonate emotionally as strongly as the musicals of Jacques Demi did.
Kaiser Eoghan
MOM I want aiyoku no eustia and I want it now.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've never heard of himawari or tokyo babel. The hellsing comparison at least interests me in dies irae. What was the name of that visual novel again that was coming out soon, Aidan you described it as "And Kaiser would love it because its supposed to be really fucked up".
Kaiser Eoghan
I vaguely remember the anime for 11 eyes, it was very forgettable, even the voice acting was poor, hated the childhood friends and the pacing was poor, those black knight things were kind of interesting though.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: You'll have to add me onto the list of those unsatisfied with the ever 17 writer, I read one of those games and felt it was a bunch of interesting bait that never paid off.
AidanAK47
Anyway I plan on doing a review of 11eyes here when I finish it.
AidanAK47
Can't say I was a fan of Ever17. That was a really good twist but when it came to explaining it their was a lot of contrived development. Generally not a fan of the writer. Looseboy, Ryukishi, Gen and Nasu are more my kinda thing
AidanAK47
@Anon, it is nice that so many VNs are on steam but I wish they wouldn't be stupid with the whole no adult content thing. Not so much for myself but to prevent idiots from writing negitives reviews because the game doesn't have sex. VNs can grip you in a way anime simply can't and while they require pathence and time those can be some pretty powerful stories.
Anonymous678956
@Aidan, I am so happy steam's so VN-friendly now. I think it's a very good type of media. Like anime, it has nice visuals, music and some movement but also the inner monologue and text amount of books. It's the perfect combination. Plus, the routes, which are often puzzle pieces and PoVs you have to go through to understand the whole story. True routes like the one of Ever17 blew my mind.
AidanAK47
Hopefully the two VNs I bought of steam turn out better. Tokyo Babel is supposed to be alright and I heard really good things about Himawari.
AidanAK47
I am about a third of the way through the game and really not much of worth has happened. The concept is interesting but the execution is sorely lacking.
AidanAK47
I went in expecting it to be a mixed bag and it's pretty below my expectations. It's just not really well written and the protagonist is a moron. THere isn't really routes and instead you are pretty much stuck with his childhood friend as the main love interest. Problem with that is her character begins and ends with loving the main.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, damn. 11Eyes is on my reading list as well. Although I almost expected it to not be as good as I thought it'd be (back then). Guess I would have enjoyed it if I was able to read it while the (shitty) adaption aired, maybe I have seen/read too many series by now. Guess I'll still give it a try some day though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I haven't heard the OST or watched the intro video. I only know it be reputation and have decided to walk into it as blind as I can. Still slightly worried as I was somewhat looking forward to reading 11Eyes for a couple of years and now that I am reading it it's well...not good.
Anonymous675376
@Aidan, same here. I was waiting years for this, since I saw the intro video for the first time. Also, that OST!
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki is already leagues better than Izetta. It's going to be top anime of forever and ever. (maybe not)
AidanAK47
And finally Dies Irae is funded. May actually be able to play and finish the game before the anime airs. If the hype is real behind this baby it could be a new personal favorite Visual Novel of mine. Already looking promising with it being like a cross between Hellsing and Fate/Stay Night. Two things I most certainly like.
Lenlo
@Masky, in regards to style over substance thats where im at with Gurrne Lagann.
Topgavin
Yeah, I'll probably watch the next episode to see whether it can redeem itself. Hopefully it can but considering 1st episodes usually get a lot of budget, there's some severe doubt in there.
AidanAK47
I actually argee with character designs and voices are bad in regards to female characters. Still the next episode might change your mind if we get more into the main characters head.
Anonymous671470
It's boring
Topgavin
Also, it seems I disagree with a lot of people in thinking Youjo Senki will be a massive trainwreck. The character designs are awful, the voice acting is mismatched but most of all the premise just seems so very dumb. If I wanted to watch a badass kill people I'd go watch Hellsing or Drifters, because at least those don't have some op, disproportionate loli as the mc.
AidanAK47
Gets even more complicated when you account for Satire and Parody. You could equally argue all examples listed as being as such.
AidanAK47
Little Witch Academia is a decontruction of Harry Potter....I don't believe that but honestly if I tried I could put some reasoning behind that statement.
Topgavin
In the end, it always comes down to opinion (as with every discussion about anime, for some reason). You could spin any and every series as a "deconstruction", which is why people shy away from using the word. You could argue NGE, Madoka and Re:Zero are all deconstructions yet also argue Gundam, Precure and SAO are depending on what points you weigh more importantly.
Masky
Like, if deconstruction is supposed to be just "break the elements and then play story how it would realistically go down" well I haven't watched NGE, but as far as I know it does have stuff that isn't typical to mecha genre besides the "It would fuck up kids" thing plus "realistically how it would play out" is pretty subjective thing. I mean, its mainly about how cynical bastard the writer is :P
Masky
Like I said, I don't fully agree with it because I find video's speaker's attitude annoying, but I found it semi convincing. Main thing I don't find convincing about it is that I don't think its hard to turn video's own arguments agaisnt it and say that by its own logic NGE isn't deconstruction either, like Aidan just said earlier
Masky
And I don't really have energy for checking out the "correct" one. If there even is one. Anyway, the hipster video I was talking about was titled "What Actually Is A Deconstruction?" if you want to check it out.
Masky
Hmm, well, it does depend on definition you use. Like if you use "realistic" thing, well, Magical Girl shows don't usually have "You turn into monsters" thing going on and reason why NGE's pilots go crazy is from dangerous situations rather than evas making them do so. But honestly, I don't really have strong opinion on matter since word seems to be one of those with several different meaning
SuperMario
for me Madoka IS a deconstruction of Magical girl, and yeah like what Aidan said
SuperMario
I think part of Utena is a deconstruction of "prince riding horse and save the girl" because that notion is just a foundation for Utena to become a prince herself and save other girl. That's breaking it apart and resemble it again in its own way. Don't have to be dark/ don't have to be real either
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's just debating semantics. Besides that difinition would pretty much mean that Neon Genesis Evangelion isn't a decontruction either. Madoka isn't a decontruction because it's dark. It's more in its aspects of criticising why a girl should throw her ordinary life away for something as dangerous as being a magical girl. It does take plenty of the typical tropes and turn them on its head
SuperMario
@Masky: Genre deconstruction is such a tricky word that I normally try to avoid using because there's really no set characteristic about the term and different people have different opinions about what constitute "deconstruction". For me, I disagree that deconstruction have to be dark and real, hmm can't say it well but I will give you an example:
Masky
But yeah, I guess I could try to find the video if you guys are interested, though like I said, I got hipsterish feel from the video and felt rather annoyed through it even though I did get what the point was and found it sort of convincing besides my annoyance
Masky
(not that liking NGE is hipsterish, its just that I find NGE to be more style than substance sort of series <_< Anyway, guy didn't dislike madoka or anything, he just seemed to dislike people using word deconstruction wrong in his opinion)
Masky
(especially with how much they seemed to praise Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Masky
I mean, I think the guy was being somewhat hipsterish, but its true the being darker take on genre isn't same as deconstructing the genre
Masky
@AidanAK47: Some other guy on youtube did video that had actually pretty good point about how Madoka isn't really deconstruction, if you go by definition of "Break it down to parts and then play them straight to show how horrifying it would be in real life"
Anonymous670441
Gente - Ristorante no Hitobito
Kaiser Eoghan
If anything its the hate I have for certain characters that makes it more effective.
Kaiser Eoghan
The obsessional level of attachment is just uncomfortable to me, I don't want to get THAT attached to a non-real character.
Kaiser Eoghan
Its literally just a case of "Okay lets look at this picture of this character, she looks interesting, no feelings or expression from me, apply this fetish, fap, get release, go home. "
Kaiser Eoghan
Or drooling/dribbling/heavy breathing/grinning over the characters. I abhor alot of the anime girls I find attractive or am indifferent, even when looking at ecchi/hentai drawings I'm straight and clinical with it.
Kaiser Eoghan
I mean to each their own. But I really hate the level of emotion/devotion to moe/finding the characters attractive. Such as celebrating their birthdays, going on about how cute/hot they are, how important it is that they're virgins. Or not being being self-aware of how irritating the characters are.
Lenlo
Anime hipster is pretty accurate. His general treatment of the current state of anime is annoying, as is his obsession with moe. Maybe its cause I cant stand moe most of the time, but it bugs me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Lenlo: Essentially my brothers view on digibro.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I don't usually feel the need to correct errors in your reviews as the errors are generally un-important, but I think you meant to say apprentices rather than appearences in the Rakugo review, just bringing that up as it felt like kind of a throw off.
AidanAK47
Which is kinda like saying Madoka wasn't a magical girl deconstruction because Sailor Moon and Nanoha had dark elements too.
AidanAK47
Went and read the reddit comments on it and seems I was right on the money.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, He's basically a anime hipster. For example, I saw a thumbnail of his which had Saitama on it and below it "Is There Meaning In "Subverting" Shounen Tropes?" and I thought "Okay, he's going to go on about how OPM isn't subversive and then list a bunch of arbitrary examples in an attempt to redefine what is actually subversive"
Lenlo
I have lots of issues with Digibro. Dude has some good points, but other very horrible ones. Some issues he feels strongly about and gets kinda biased on imo.
Anonymous669202
acca looks visually interesting, and I personally really dig this kind of show, but it seems that it's definitely not for everyone
AidanAK47
Time to live up to my word. Four posts incoming.
AidanAK47
Man, Little witch Academia was so good. I disagree with the whole Digibro thing about being able to recognise a great show in it's first episode but watching this makes me think that this really is going to be something special.
AidanAK47
Alright, gonna put in effort today and have 3 or 4 first impressions posts done. That should knock out near half the season.
Kaiser Eoghan
Had a flip through handshakers. Garish is the word I'd use to describe it visually, it takes you out of the show.
Topgavin
ASuperMario From the first minute I can already tell it's by the same people that made K. Those colour filters and the extremely jarring/obvious city CGI is unmistakable.
SuperMario
Hand Shakers, literally makes my hands shaking. It's an abosolute mess. Highly recommended to check it out because it's so terrible it's great to watch
Vonter212
Yeah, and it's also a literal woman in refrigerator plot device, since that the thing that pushes the story forward.
Masky
I'd say that having to hide your sister's body in fridge would count as daaaaaaark and edgy, but when the body is wearing only underwear, and for some reason main character put metal things in fridge to keep body standing(I guess to not knock fridge open from inside?) I think it goes to "exploitation" you are talking about
Vonter212
@Masky - Did someone said doing dark things for drama? That's the bread and butter to get despair. Unless it's for the sake of perversion. Then it's just exploitation.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Masky: His other works dead tube and scumbag go further in the unhinged regard.
Masky
*relies on easy "let's do [x dark thing] for drama!" thing
Masky
Geez, Mayonaka no X Giten is fricking disturbing/disgusting ._. I'm pretty sure that writing relies on e, but I can't help but think mangaka is trying to make corpses sexy.
SuperMario
I found Onihei to be quite good, actually one of the most solid new episode I watched this new season. Guys, check them out
Vonter
I just hope it doesn't fall into the same misstep Kabaneri or Inuyasha or Bleach fall by making a villain so over the top that it crossed the line of not having a satisfying downfall.
Anonymous657941
@Vonter I think they just moved on. I lost interest rather quickly and I guess even the fans did that at some point, like with some other long-running series. There is much more new and more direct "fujo" stuff out there, many of them probably switched. Don't know what happens in the manga but maybe the story got worse or contained things some people didn't like.
Vonter
January will be loli dictator month (for me) :p. World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil (new), Seraph of the End. For some reason I stumble into three curious series with little power hungry girls. If I can ask, why did Owari Seraph's hype died, I remember back it was mentioned more often. It still has the fujoshi fanart but still, I don't see people bringing it up.
SuperMario
@CATski: well, if you didn't like its first 3 episodes I dont think the rest gonna change your mind. Have you finished Erased then? How did you like it?
SuperMario
But I understand it's difficult to speak in front of camera, get some time to get used to it
SuperMario
@kaiser: I won't commend on poem as I'm terrible at it myself but younneed to work more on presentation Kaiser. Small little things like looking directly at the camera or say "thanks for listening" in the end can connect you to the audience better
Anonymous657071
Ok. I'll give the thing another chance. *clicks torrent* XD. CATski.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Topgavin: You might like centaur no nanami if you like demi-chan.
Kaiser Eoghan
Damn...repeated myself =<
Kaiser Eoghan
There are these things called slam sessions done in bars where people get up and read out stuff in front of a crowd and read stuff out. Actually watching rakugo made me think about practicing for that kind of thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: the video I did was of me reading out a short piece of writing I did, a poem. lol I uploaded it to the wrong youtube account too I just realized =P
[link src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypBZ2hBDBYs&t=11s
I"] was recording this from my mothers laptops inbuilt cam while reading off my desktop.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I think it's a good idea for you to try out reviewing movies/stuffs in youtube channel. I'll be very interesting to listen to them
SuperMario
@Topgavin: Agree. Demi-chan was so charming. Definately one of my favorite so far this new season
Topgavin
Demi-chan's first episode was good. Like, really really good. That blonde-haired girl was hilarious, the teacher-student relationship between the MC and the girls is really interesting and the social/practical problems the demi's face make it look like my favorite show so far.
CATski
Ah... ok. Is it really that good or it's just one of those "artsy" animes that tend to get overrated by their ardent fans? I didnt find the rakugo bit interesting.... probably the weakest aspect of the show for me.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Why did I read that chapter. Why did I do that to myself.
Kaiser Eoghan
Admittedly yes the premise is not for everyone, but if you stick with it, the flashback arc had some good character work in there.
CATski
Rakugo has a season 2? I watched ep 1 - 3 of season 1 then promptly deleted it. The loud "yankee" dude was annoying. And the anime was boring.
Kaiser Eoghan
Oh man, I've been thinking lately of trying to start some kind of youtube channel. I did a few trial run videos. Its much much harder than it looks, didn't realize how nervy being in front of a video camera was.
Kaiser Eoghan
*a declining art and rakygo halls are closing down
Kaiser Eoghan
As the show continues to mention how "its declining art", that got me thinking of the modern day, how while things like tv and cinemas probably hurt attendances for rakugo performances, the internet has replaced theaters .
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, now I've watched it. It'll be interesting to see Yotaro's relation to sukeroku's daughter develop. By all intents he should be an irritating character and not as interesting a yakumo based on his personality, but I can't help but like him, example of a goofball character done right.
Anonymous654016
ElDlive is looking good
Kaiser Eoghan
I haven't gotten around to rakugo's second seasons first episode yet =<
Kaiser Eoghan
Just looking at masamunes female protaganist I want to punch her.
Kaiser Eoghan
Vapid would be how I'd describe it, I didn't care about Masamune no revenge but at least there was some life to it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, suzuka I remember a friend telling me when I got halfway through the anime to literally run from it and not continue. I flicked through fuukas first two episodes and played count the cliches.
Kaiser Eoghan
While I definitely got something out of Yojo senki's manga, I found the first episode easier to get through than the manga, in terms of pace and exposition.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Fuuka chapter 135. Read and be amazed.
Masky
Ah sorry ._.; And wait, there is another twist later on? What
AidanAK47
@Masky, Even if it's a crap show don't go posting spoilers on the chatbox.
Oh and that's just the begining, a really dumbass twist happened recently in the manga.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm away a whole day again so I'll be a bit late on my impressions.
Total users: 57

Featured Posts

Some Quick First Impressions: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2, Chaos;Child, Marginal#4 KISS Kara Tsukuru Big Bang and Scums Wish

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 Short Synopsis: Kazama stands trial after accidentally blowing up a lord’s manor while saving the town. This show certainly hasn’t lost it’s charm. I had the biggest smile on my face while watching and it even managed to get me laughing out loud at points. I will admit […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Onihei, Gabriel DropOut and ACCA – 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Onihei Short Synopsis: A captured thief joins the police to hunt down his old leader. For a studio’s first work this is quite a solid offering. The beginning reminded me of samurai champloo though this seems more a traditional samurai story. Animation isn’t anything too impressive but it does the job and there is some […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Hand Shakers, Kemono Friends and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Hand Shakers Short Synopsis: A boy holds the hand of a girl he finds in a hospital room and ends up in a supernatural battle to the death. GoHands, you know what would be great? If you know, instead of slapping on lens flares and colour filters all over the place, you just don’t do […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Little Witch Academia, Idol Jihen and elDLIVE

Little Witch Academia Short Synopsis: A normal girl goes to attend a academy for witches You know if the remaining 24 episodes are as great as this one this anime may end up on of my all time favorites list. Animation is great and full of personality, story is simple but fun and I had […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Spiritpact, Demi-chan wa Kataritai and Chain Chronicle – Haecceitas no Hikari

Spiritpact Short Synopsis: A boy is killed by a truck and finds himself teamed up with an exorcist as a ghost. Sorry China, by all means keep trying but this isn’t going to top Japanese animation any time soon. So what’s wrong? Well the animation is fairly basic, the characters are annoying and the comedy […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu S2, Seiren and Urara Meirochou

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu S2 Short Synopsis: A former ex-con hopes to keep the profession of Rakugo alive. It’s good to see this show hasn’t lost it’s touch in between the seasons and having Yotaro do a recap of the first season through Rakugo was a particularly great touch. The drama is still excellent and […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Youjo Senki, Schoolgirl Strikers and Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu

Youjo Senki   Short Synopsis: A little girl named Tanya Degurechaff fights for the German Empire in World War One as the most dangerous sorcerer of the imperial army. However, she is actually one of Japan’s most elite salarymen, who prioritizes efficiency and her own career over anything else, that was reborn as a little […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 12 [What Lies on the Opposite Shore – Black River (part 1)]

3-gatsu no Lion is back again in the new year with another stellar episode. Structure-wise, I think this is one of the most confident episode 3-gatsu no Lion has delivered for a while, as the show handled multiple tones and aspects in Rei’s current life in one neat package. This episode begins with a deep […]

Some Quick First Impressions: AKIBA’ S TRIP: THE ANIMATION, Fuuka and Masamune-kun no Revenge

AKIBA’ S TRIP: THE ANIMATION Short Synopsis: A boy and girl fight off possessed humans by stripping them of their clothes. Honestly I expected this to be a lot worse but it could turn out decently watchable if the rest of the episodes match this then this could turn out to be a good series. […]

Latest Reviews

Flip Flappers (Fall 2016) Review – 93/100

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that […]

Fune wo Amu (Fall 2016) Review – 81/100

This series is, in retrospect, a really appropriate title that speaks to the very spirit of noitaminA block: an adult drama slice of life about the making of dictionary that surely don’t try to target the young audiences. Sound as dry as it is, Fune wo Amu’s actually one of the strongest noitaminA show come […]

Your name. (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full […]

Occultic;Nine Review – 0/100

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was […]

Magical Girl Raising Project Review – 65/100

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to […]

Yuri!!! on Ice (Fall 2016) Review – 83/100

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough. I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true” That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here […]

Strange Frame – Love & Sax (2012) Movie Review – 76/100

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy Review – 84/100

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that […]