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
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Lenlo
As most likely the biggest Berserk fan in this chatbox, its better but that doesnt make it good. Spraying fabreeze on crap doesnt make it any more appealing. Yet I will watch it anyways.
Anonymous1018231
You don't even know
Anonymous1018231
Lies Aidan it is soooo much better
Anonymous1017807
Tbh I'm enjoying Alice to Zouroku so much simply because I identify with the old guy's no-nonsense attitude. It's fun to see the annoying loli get put in her place. X.D
AidanAK47
Anyway Bam is supposed to be covering it. Seeing as he covered the first season.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I watched the first episode of the second season. Better? Yes, but only slightly.. It has all the same problems as the first season.
Anonymous1017501
and nobody's covering it lol
Anonymous1017501
Like dramatically
Anonymous1017501
It really is much better
Anonymous1017501
You know guys its not too late to start watching Berserk Season 2...
AidanAK47
I just get annoyed when interaction is like "HUMAN, YOUR EMOTION RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT. I THEORIZE THIS IS THE REASON YOUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT."
Their is a definite layer of pretentiousness in how it's written, seeing how nobody gets annoyed when every character tries to psychological profile them.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I have heard word that these two episodes were a prologue story and the real story is going to kick into gear next episode. But if the characters keep talking like this then it's not going to matter what happens. It will just be terrible.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Jojo part 5 died for this. That makes it all the sadder. Plus it's two cour so this show is gonna be on for half a year.
SuperMario
Being said all that I will follow it for 1 more episode
SuperMario
And then that girl who passed away because of the reset. I feel my emotions drying up at that point. Tasteless. Heartless
SuperMario
Wanna say the same thing regarding Sagrada Reset as well. I have the feeling the show tries to sound smart that ultimately if I hear someone talks like this in real life, I would go punch his face. Manipulating the social worker by slitting your own wrist? WHAT? Asking a girl about her rules, then whenever she answers you give your own warped opinions on it to sound like you know it all? WHAT
Anonymous1016169
@Aidan: Lol, Sagrada reminds me of how I used to write. Pretentious, overly complex dialogue that nobody would use in real life unless they were trying too hard. It grits on my ears so much that I don't think I can keep watching it, especially because this is probably how it's going to be for the whole series.
Anonymous1016169
@Amagi: I feel your pain. I used to enjoy those types of shows, but I've found more and more since getting out of high school that they just make me want to take a nap. It doesn't help that they're everywhere. X.D
AidanAK47
God Sagrada Reset is frustrating. So many good ideas, all absolutely ruined by the dialogue and characters. If you just changed the dialogue a bit and made the characters emote more then this would be so very interesting. But they manage to drain the life out of the story.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, in most cases you can easily write off the ones not worth your time based on the summery. Occasional those kinds of show can turn out to be worth watching but it just doesn't happen often enough.
Amagi
Nothing against those types of anime in general, but it's just not aimed at me I guess. - I also should specify: school (semi)harem, not school alone. I enjoy Tsuki ga Kirei.
Amagi
I really love this season but I should stop testing the school- and shoujo stuff. It's almost never worth the time and it always bores me so much that I have to stop watching anime for a few hours.
Anonymous1016169
@Travlos: Why does a hobbyist artist care when someone critiques their art or a fanfic writer care about reader feedback? When you do something you enjoy, it's normal to want to improve and other people's opinions are important for that.
SuperMario
@Travlos: because 1) We still need to listen to what readers say to improve and 2) we're debating more about rating system, which I also feel the need of upgrading. btw, any shows that catch your interests so far this season?
Konstantinos Travlos
Why do you guys care about what someone thinks about your reviews? You are doing a good enough thing as is, and t is a hobby. Do your thing and do not lose time on this.
Anonymous1015915
I think I'm just gonna follow sukasuka and re:creators this season. Seem to of shown the most potential universally.
Anonymous1015442
Soy and almond milk are also available as alternatives for the lactose intolerant.
Anonymous1015442
From the manga it seems like it would translate well into an anime with the right production values so I think I'm going to try it. I was mostly concerned that they'd push the melodrama even more through the roof, haha. I did see some of the reviews on it here and they made me hopeful that it was fairly well-executed.And of course the milk can be chocolate. Just not vanilla, vanilla milk is yuck i
Lenlo
Its certainly making me happy I waited until the end of the season to binge it.
SuperMario
I'd have the milk as well... Need more milk to my life.
SuperMario
Hope Scum's Wish entertains you, Lenlo. ^^
Lenlo
I will say the sound design has been great for Scums Wish though I have not read the manga to see how it matches up
Lenlo
I dont think "enjoyed" is the right word for this kind of show, but I do know im going to finish it.

Also, can the milk be chocolate?
Anonymous1015350
@Lenlo: That's true, but I also feel like everyone here needs some milk. And I've been reading the Scum's Wish manga and can't decide if it'll be worth it to watch the anime.
Lenlo
Scums Wish, 4 episodes in, has been the perfect little dose of depression I crave from each anime season.
Lenlo
I have to say, its a pretty fun break from super srs anime discussion sometimes
Anonymous1014938
There's so much sass in this chatbox sometimes I can't even. :.D
AidanAK47
Also please note that if data gathering results do not support your hypothesis that there will be no refunds
AidanAK47
I will have you know my data gathering services are quite expensive and I don't operate until paid.
Anonymous1014125
Aidan is providing the data for us.
Lenlo
You do know that for the scientific method, you make a hypothesis and then you run experiments to produce data to prove or disprove said hypothesis. It cant just sit in limbo and then you go "I was right". You have to provide data at some point. At this point, you have yet to provide any data to support what you say.
Sir Robin
You seem to have never heard of the scientific method then Aidan. You don't need proof before you formulate an hypothesis. Fortunately this most recent development of you being wrong supports it.
AidanAK47
I am sure Sir Robin would be delighted to hear this but I think I was wrong in my assessment of SukaSuka(Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?) That insert song at the begining of the episode was masterful and a number of things have changed my mind about it. It may be more interesting than I first expected. First novel was still pretty boring though.
AidanAK47
Should have another impressions post up today. As for what I am covering that's Little Witch Academia, Attack on Titan and Sekaisuru Kado.
AidanAK47
At least we never have to fight tooth and nail to cover something as what we want to cover never clashes.
SuperMario
Which mean 2 PA Works, 2 original shows and 3 slice-of-life shows. Well done Mario for being predictable and consistently boring as ever
Total users: 29

Featured Posts

Seikaisuru Kado – 03[Wam]

I admit this show moves at a pace that is rather slow but he concept it sets up is truly brilliant. Normally in alien invasion stories the threat is clear as the aliens blow up the white house and attack humanity. Other versions usually paint humans as the antagonist force attacking something they don’t understand. […]

Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan) – 29[Soldier]

Before I started this episode, I had it in mind to write in this post that the titan designs of this season were far less intimidating and more comical. After this episode however you can consider that though solely retracted. Personal favorite is the titan that appears when Reiner opened the stairway door. If I […]

Tsuki ga Kirei – 03 [Howling at the Moon]

Tsuki ga Kirei sure understands about the life of 14-year-old kids would be like. I’m sure we all have different experience about that pre-teen stage of our life, but the life portrayed here is so vivid and true to life that it brings out our fond memories as well. Personally, while not much really happen […]

Sakura Quest – 03 [The Cry of the Mandrake]

“The one who can change the town is the young fool outsider” Which kind of makes sense, since the outsider’s perspective will give a fresh take to improve the town. That makes our Queen Yoshino the perfect candidate, but as the interview goes on, she learns the truth: she hardly knows anything about the town, […]

Little Witch Academia – 15[Chariot of Fire]

Shiny Chariot rides once again and I think that’s where most of the animation went besides the showcase at the end of the episode. Wise choice though as it shows that Ursula hasn’t dulled much in her later years. She still seems intent on keeping her identity secret from Akko though this may be because […]

Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan)- 28[Southwestward]

It’s more than a little frustrating when you have a character present who has answers to very important questions, yet refuses to speak up for rather contrived reasons. Though we don’t quite know why the priest doesn’t speak up I can’t really think of anything that would possibly be preventing him from doing so. This […]

Seikaisuru Kado – 02[Novo]

This episode answers the question of just what was happening to the plane survivors during the period the government were trying to break into the cube. The answer seems to be that they were interacting with an alien lightform. This episode does feel like the series is still in its introduction stage and likely the […]

Uchoten Kazoku 2 – 02 [The Conjurer Tenmaya]

The Eccentric Family becomes increasingly eccentric this week, with all the business about bear running wild and a strong reference to hell (who would’ve thought that?). But first, I’m delighted with two new returns this week. The first “return” is the OP that were sorely missing last week, in which we have the opening song […]

Re:Creators – 02 […… that wasn’t funny]

Resuming from the convenience store shopping and onwards on to the sightseeing trip into Tokyo, Re:Creators does a massive info dump and theory, courtesy of the gluttonous caster-type Meteora Österreich. I wasn’t all too invested in how these heroes came into Souta’s world but information splitting off and colliding with each other between all the […]

Latest Reviews

Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon (Winter 2017) Review – 74/100

I remember back in the first impression of last Winter season, I regarded Demi-chan as a better Monster Girls slice of life subgenre over this one. But as the season progressed, while Demi-chan run out of its steam quickly, this one picked up its pace after an underwhelming first episode to become a much more […]

Scum’s Wish (Winter 2017) Review – 80/100

I remember after watched a movie called “Requiem for a Dream” a few years back, I felt devastated for an entire week. The ending hit me so hard that after finished that movie I had to walk around my area for 2 hours in the middle of night to settle my feeling and I thought […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Review – 90/100

When you have watched a large amount of anime you can come to assume that you have learned a lot about Japanese culture. Though I think it’s testament to how limited it is to view Japan through anime when you come to realize that despite watching so much, you have never heard of Rakugo. Rakugo […]

Youjo Senki Saga of Tanya the Evil Review – 80/100

Isekai stories have become somewhat of a tiresome genre as of late. There have been many stories of people being transported/reincarnated into other worlds where they shed their once pitiful exterior and become some legendary figure in another world. In most cases it’s trit, balant childish wish fulfilment and the stories often become tiresome when […]

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (Winter 2017) Review – 83/100

Imagine my utmost amazement when a show that I wasn’t that confident on taking in the beginning turned out to be one of the most solid offering this season had to offer. ACCA is the most recent anime adaptation from mangaka Natsume Omo, which despite isn’t a household name, many of her works (6 titles […]

Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Winter 2017) Review – 62/100

Demi-chan is one of the newest addition to the monster girl subgenre, which usually feature a human helpless male lead get stuck in a harem of mythical creatures, in form of oversized boob girls of course (why usually those monsters are in female forms anyways? Aren’t they sexless?). In this case, we have monster girls […]

Seiren (Winter 2017) Review – 51/100

Let me say this out front, Seiren is NOT a good show, it’s a highly uneven one. Throughout its run, I can see some solid moments and fresh ideas that could potentially raise it above the bar, but ultimately, view it as a whole, Seiren is a show that isn’t worth recommending. At first, I’m […]

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 […]