Posted on 14 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shangri-La



Well, this is going to be my hardest review to write this season: explaining why the heck I considered Shangri-La among my favourites for the past half year. Even though there is a lot to dislike this series for, it’s really a series that proves to be very solid entertainment for those willing to suspend their disbelief.

I think it’s best explained as follows: imagine a series with a straightforward story, a simple and small cast and a slow pacing. Now imagine a series with a huge setting, a large and diverse cast of characters who all have their own motives and stance, a multi-layered story with a fast pacing that delivers buckets of plot twists each episode. Now, which of these two is likely to have more plotholes? And which one is probably going to be more exciting?

That’s basically the thing with Shangri-La. Granted, throughout the series Kuniko does a number of things that are rather hard to suspend your disbelief at (including breaking the laws of physics), and plotholes are also pretty common for those who pay attention. But at the same time, it had just about everything I look for in an anime.

The concept of Carbon Trading might seem weird at first, but it’s a pretty neat idea for this series to work with, and the setting that this series built around this concept is rich and imaginative. There are lots of different parties with all different priorities, morals and values, and the same goes for the cast: there are a lot of characters, and yet there are hardly two characters with the same outlook on life: everyone feels like an individual, and is interesting to watch and develop. My personal favourite was Karin, who gets the most development in this series.

My favourite part of this series was the plot, though. Throughout the majority of the series, you’re never going to know what to expect. Especially a good portion of the middle part of this series is features an truly excellent mystery plot, in which every revelation only makes the setting even more intriguing than it already was. Every character has so his or her own secrets, that together form a multi-layered storyline that just keeps delivering.

Unfortunately, this series plays the “lazy”-card right at its ending, which is without a doubt rushed. I’m not sure why there are only 24 episodes for this series because it definitely could have used two more episodes to wrap up the story better. The story right now just wants a happy ending a little too badly, even though it has to use lots of deus ex machina to get there. A shame.

The visuals for this series are an interesting beast. They range from rushed to absolutely gorgeous. Especially the first couple of episodes suffer from a collection of rushed shots and drawings, but at the same time some episodes feature the single most visually pleasing shots that I have seen for the past half year. The animation also picks itself up very nicely in the second half, and delivers some really good use of CG and shading to make this a very aesthetically pleasing series. The soundtrack of this series is also among my three favourite soundtracks of the past half year (with the other two belonging to Phantom and the Guin Saga).

So yes, you’re going to have to bring a cup of suspense of disbelief when you want to watch this series, and if you’re not trying to turn over every stone in search of a flaw you’ll be rewarded by a great story with a great setting that always manages to bring something new to the table, instead of dragging at the same point over and over. It’s a fun and diverse series, but I can understand why many hate the plotholes with passion.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Shangri-La



And so this series has come to an end. Unfortunately it wasn’t the epic ending I hoped for though. In this episode, Kuniko simply kills everyone evil, and this episode unfortunately was rushed in order to get to a happy end. I expected better from this series. There were also a bunch of deus ex machinas, like Miiko suddenly popping up from nowhere and blocking bullets that were aimed for Mikuni. It was explained later, but it still feels cheap.

There also was that matter of Kuniko, somehow not becoming Himiko’s reincarnation. Why did Ryouko not know that that was going to happen? Also, Takehito was just pathetic in this episode. What, he just appears and blows himself up? Come on, that deserves more build-up. Everything just went too easy in this episode. It didn’t really build up to Kuniko’s development of becoming a leader, she simply smacked her way through everything because she happened to be a digma (thankfully she wasn’t Ryouko’s daughter, but instead a clone).

But there’s one thing I really liked about this episode: Karin’s end. She really feels like she developed her character and I liked how despite being in despair, she still managed to stop Medusa in time, and it was very nice to see Claris and Jean appear in the end. Her ending was really cute.

But yeah, overall I’m really afraid that this downer ending is going to leave me with a rather negative impression on this series, which is a shame because the middle part of this series really was everything I look for in an anime. Thinking back, I think the turning point was the burning of Tokyo: after that, the stories started to converge with each other, and it lost that bit of chaos that it was so good at in the middle part. In a way the hardest part of a mystery series is its ending: making the revelations count.

In any case, I do hope that this isn’t going to form the ending of Gonzo. Like ’em or not, they do have the guts to take risks, even when they’re about to go bankrupt. Risks like these are much better than playing it safe. Shangri-La… if it were well executed it would have belonged to my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, the shoddy execution made it less impressive than it could have been. Still, it’s still likely to end up somewhere at the end of my top 10 for 2009, unless the fall season turns out to be really, really good. Which I really doubt until proven wrong.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 7 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, what an awesome episode. With such a huge series with so many different subplots and such a frantic pacing, I was really expecting some sort of trainwreck for the final episodes. And yet the opposite turns out to be true, and instead the finale developed into a thriller to stop Ryouko from trying to destroy the world.

And really: it works. Because the rest of the series fleshed Ryouko out so well compared to most villains out there, she’s far away from those stereotypical evil overlords and really stands out as a huge threat to the lead characters. Her mindset is demented, yes. But at the same time as a villain, she’s very competent: she knew exactly how to place the chess pieces right in order to get her way; so far, she only made one mistake throughout the entire series in terms of her own ideals: she didn’t know that the daggers could be removed from the altar, and she didn’t know that they could cut through any kind of steel. And I admit: you’ve got to think pretty far-fetched in order to have seen that one coming if you didn’t know anything about it.

I also love how she also averts one of the tropes that most villains of her kind strangely get away with. Suppose you were working for an evil overlord, and found out that your master was planning to destroy the world, you included. Would you still support this boss? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Ryouko did well to keep all her plans to herself, right until it wouldn’t matter anymore who would find out. I mean, her plan to hold Kunihito’s parents hostages would never have worked for long, but it did buy her the necessary time to take Mikuni away from Kuniko.

And yeah: this episode finally explains what happened to Karin’s parents: they turn out to have been dead all along. Talk about an awesome plot twist here: all the wealth she attained, everything she gained when she created Medusa: it was all just a case of denial in her case.

Okay, so one episode is left. The set-up for the final episode is fairly straightforward: Ryouko wants Mikuni to destroy the world, Kuniko is here to stop her. What I want to see from this series is an ending which is more than “Kuniko and Ryouko have a fight and Kuniko wins”. I’ve seen too many series who have fallen to this trap, but if there’s any series who is able to evade this, it’s Shangri-La. This series really has exceeded my expectations at this point. These past few episodes took it away from its image of “yet another trainwreck” when it showed that it’s very well capable of writing a solid finale. What more could you want?

And yeah. Who cares that Kuniko descended the tube with her dagger? It’s science fiction. Who knows whether that dagger has magical slowing-down powers?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, how awesome! Just when I thought that this show had already passed its best point, it just keeps the surprises coming. Seriously, with this series I was expecting the final episodes to be all over the place, like what it did in the middle part of the story, which had so many different plot twists about so many different characters.

Instead, the past few episodes have been the most solid and focused episodes of the entire series. Because of that, it lost the erratic pacing that I liked so much in the rest of the series. Usually when a series pulls this, it gets rather boring, but this episode really was surprisingly good. In fact, it was awesome, and well for the fact that this series has much more than just that pacing: it still has its great sense of characters, plot twists, visuals, music, et cetera. And the slow pacing leading up to the ending actually improved on them: we now can really focus on the central themes of the series. And hey, this series has completely shifted its style of storytelling before, so for once it doesn’t feel like the creators lack inspiration for the finale.

I really liked the reason why Sayoko was freed by one of Ryoko’s henchmen: he discovered that Sayoko was his older sister he had never known, so he decided to be a good brother for once and let her go. While it seems like a rather flimsy reason at first, the more I think about it the more it fits within this series: it ties in very much with this series’ themes of family bonds: families being torn apart, growing away from each other. You see it everywhere in this series: Sayoko lost her daughter, Takehito having lost his little sister, Kuniko taking her grandmother for granted and getting into a fight with her, Karin and the distance from her parents, and there is of course also my theory of Ryouko, being the mother of Kuniko, Mikuni and Kunihito, which is getting more and more likely, which I’ll get into below.

Most of this episode was spent on Mikuni, trying to decide whether it was worth destroying the world for the sake of revenge. The thing is however, that she’s just a little kid: very easily influenced by the scary Ryouko. Ryouko on the meantime really proved to be an excellent villain here, if you can accept that she’s so screwed in her mind that she’s willing to destroy the world, and it was her who hacked into Medusa earlier.

So in the end she did turn into another villain who’s planning to destroy the world, but in my opinion she stands much higher above the usual villains of this type. In a villain, I’m not looking for someone who necessarily has to be morally ambiguous, like these misunderstood good guys. Those people also have their sets of problems. What I’m looking for in a villain is a personality: a well fleshed out character who isn’t a cheap excuse for a bit of conflicts. Well backed-up reasons are a plus, but not necessarily required: I mean, how many evil overlords in the real world are screwed in the head? The reason why I dislike most villains in anime is because they’re too often just paper bags who are there for the sake of having a villain.

And yeah, I’m getting more and more convinced that Ryouko is the mother of Mikuni, Kuniko and Kunihito. The final twist this episode really was an awesome one: I love it when these character who infiltrate the enemy tell nobody of what they’re doing, not even the viewers themselves. I already found that it was strange that he’d suddenly get so close to Kuniko, I already found it weird for the creators to suddenly start establishing a strange romance between him and Kuniko. Now everything makes sense!

And really, Ryouko looked so much like an angry mother who’s urging her child along when she took Mikuni along with her. She really had that feeling of parental authority when she dealt with her. And besides that, I can’t think of any reason why she would want to obey the successor of Atlas, other than some sort of strange and deranged case of family bonds, in a series which is full of broken up and dysfunctional families.

Out of all the shows that are going to end in the coming month, the ones that are promising some outstanding endings to look out for for me are the new Mazinger, Shangri-La, Tokyo Magnitude and Phantom. These are the shows which were excellently planned across their total airtime, and are promising to close off with a finale in which everything comes together. There are only a few shows of this caliber every season, and I’m glad to see that this season again has a fine selection of them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 25 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Three episodes left, and we finally move to something that resembles a climax. This episode was much like episode five, in which a lot of focus was spent on trying to hack Medusa out of trying to destroy the world, especially focusing on Karin vs Kuniko. In this episode, Karin finally has to learn to grow up a bit, and the highlight of this episode was Kuniko, trying to talk some sense into her.

In the next episode, we should finally get some light of what the hell Ryouko has been up to throughout the series, as she finally seems to be ready to execute whatever plan she was scheming. Finally we see her taking one of the digmas (Mikuni) back to her. It could be that she was simply waiting for one Digma to collect all of the daggers, and figured that it might have gone faster if she’d just Karin collect the daggers, rather than send her own men to do the job. Probably she also did this in order to avoid suspicions on her part. That still leaves the question why she’s willing to let Atlas succumb to earthquakes, though.

I’m surprised that this episode was relatively quiet, especially since this series still has a lot of work to do in its final hour to wrap everything up. I suspect that this was really the last calm before the storm and I really wonder what the creators are planning to end this series with. Endings are always really tricky to really pull of well. This series does have the ingredients to make it work, but I’ve seen many awesome series with unimpressive endings, so I’m just going to keep my expectations low for this one.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 18 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



And so the finale for this series has begun. This episode was mostly building up, but as usual with this series it came with tons of revelations. And heck; the creators might actually be able to pull of a satisfying conclusion at this rate.

I’m glad to see that even though we’re nearly at the end, the creators still show a bit of what happened to the folks of Duomo after they were evacuated inside Atlas. With this, Kuniko also got her wishes through that every last bit of space in Atlas would be used for the people, rather than simply letting them be wastes of space.

In this episode something that rather gets in the way of my “Kunihito is Kuniko’s brother”-theory, when some actual romance starts to develop. Thankfully though, there wasn’t a lot of cheese among the two and the situations that made them realize their crush was pretty creative (Come on, Kuniko hugging Kunihito when she tried to find out where the sudden lights came from was really cute). It’s a bit disturbing though, because aside from the blushes, their “lover’s quarrel” looked more like the fights that siblings would have, rather than lovers.

And then the pattern with Atlas in the middle. It turns out that it was supposed to be the whole pillar that would make Atlas the most influential city of the world. When Nagiko and Sergei was younger, this was their motivation to construct Atlas. It was an attempt to escape earthquakes, but it failed. That’s why they created the Hiruko: young sacrifices that would end up stopping the effects of the earth on Atlas, and which is also what killed Takehito’s sister.

In the meantime Karin (apparently Akihabara was spared in the bombings) has been stalking Kunihito with her subordinates, and so obtained the final dagger. Apparently, this is going to make Mikuni the true heir of Atlas (so that’s what was the purpose of these daggers). Medusa in the meantime is getting rather out of control, though Karin realizes it a bit too late when it’s already planning to crash the entire market through Antarctica. Now that’s going to be the turning point for her wealth, it seems.

The whole deal around Titan confused me a bit, especially since we never actually get to SEE it, but we’re very much given the impression that it’s an aerial fortress of Titan came to Tokyo after Ryouko tipped them off that the person behind Medusa is in Akihabara. Because of this, it launches a pillar of light at Karin. She probably hasn’t died yet, because we’ve yet to see her actually die, but someone else did die: Hiruko, aka Miiko. WTF.

So wait… Ryouko actually meant to kill Hiruko?! And we only just learned that it’s Hiruko that prevents Atlas from collapsing under its own weight. What the hell could her purpose be? I mean, if she wanted to crash Atlas, couldn’t she just have used a bunch of explosives? With this however, the finale has really been set up. I have no idea what’s going to happen to Atlas right now, but it’s definitely setting up for some sort of grand finale.

I’m also really glad to see that at this point, the budget still hasn’t run out. The final scenes, in which Miiko showed her last moments, were really well drawn and they looked absolutely beautiful. It’d be awesome if Gonzo is saving the last remains of its budget to go all out on that final episode.

With four episodes left, this series has a lot cut out for it, but if it manages to do everything right, then this finale is going to rock. Right now, it really seems like Ryouko is going to be the final villain. She might or might not be planning to use Titan for the final episodes, but it’s now clear that she’s really planning something that really shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and four episodes seem just about right to flesh it out enough, after all the build-up that she’s received up till now. Karin and Kuniko are probably going to form the centre of her opponents. And also, what’s the carbon trade going to do in the final episodes? Is the market really going to crash, or will Karin be able to salvage enough of her money to set up a small army?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Hehe, and here I thought that the creators were going to save the bombing of Tokyo for the grand finale of this series. It seems that there’s still much more that’s going to happen after it: there are still so many problems that are left to be solved, not to mention that the creators still don’t seem to have played all of their trumps for this series!

The way this episode was executed was also something I really didn’t expect. With the entire city of Tokyo burning down, you’d expect them to create a huge action-packed spectacle out of it, but instead this episode had a much more melancholic atmosphere. It’s something completely different from what we’ve seen of this series so far, and it really works. That’s yet another reason why I’ve grown to be such a fan of this series: you’re never going to know what to expect.

This episode was surprisingly slow paced for this series, but because of that the impact on Kuniko, having to burn down the place she grew up in really made an impact. Her emotions were handled very subtly here: she didn’t break down crying, or she didn’t refuse to drop the bomb at the last possible moment like your average anime lead. She knew very well what she had to do to save the ones around her, because otherwise they’d just be overthrown by the Daedalus. This episode portrayed that feeling of saying goodbye really well. Kuniko might seem like nothing special at first sight, but you don’t often see a main character who has to serve as a leader like her.

Oh, and the eye candy! While not as gorgeous as episode 13, the visuals were nevertheless gorgeous as they showed Duomo going up in flames. You could see that especially the background artists were on fire in this episode (not literally of course), but also the CG looked really good during the fiery bits.

Now, the question is going to be: how are the creators planning on filling up the final quarter of this series. The Daedalus hasn’t fully disappeared: it’s still inside Atlas because that’s a part that can’t exactly be burned down. At the same time, the end of this episode shows Medusa finally losing control of itself, after Karin pushed him too far in her attempts to take advantage of the huge carbon emissions from the forest fires. and to think that for a moment she was like the richest person in the world. She was bound to overstep her borders at one point, but I still wonder what the creators plan to do with Medusa going out of control: is she simply going to lose Medusa, or is her entire fortune coming along with it?

It’s very interesting: for most series at this point, you’re going to have a good idea what its finale is going to be about: what the main goal is going to be to overcome. With Shangri-la, I have no bloody clue. Sure, there is busting Ryoko from Atlas, people are going to have to rebuild their homes, Karin is going to have to cope with Medusa, but which one is going to be taking the main focus? What is Ryouko going to do now after cooperating with Kuniko? There are still so many questions left open.

At this point, there are five episodes left. That’s enough for this series to wrap up everything with a conclusion, and let’s hope that everything isn’t going to end up rushed!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 3 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Okay, so this episode was mostly building up and it wasn’t as filled with as many plot twists as the previous ones, but nevertheless it had some great ideas and scenes thrown into it. One in particular was an awesome one. It’s a major spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet you might want to skip this entry.

Because holy crap: Kuniko is Mikuni’s sister! Momoko’s earring turns out to be something she stole from Nagiko, of all people. That gives that whole subplot a whole new dimension and a lot of things make sense now. But most importantly: Kunihito!?

If my theory indeed is true, then that means that the digmas are not just a bunch of random people chosen, but instead the three of them are siblings, and the grandchildren of the founder of Atlas! That’s what makes them so special! That explains why they all have “Kuni” in their names (which probably was a strange idea from their mother). It also explains why Kuniko and Kunihito got along so well: this series wasn’t trying to turn Kunihito into Kuniko’s love interest; they just got along as siblings would!

This makes me even more curious about that mystery mother, who seems to be at the center of all of this. In fact, I’m getting more and more the suspicion that Ryouko actually is the one who fits this description. As disturbing as it may sound, for the three of them to be the next heirs of Atlas, it must mean that their mother holds a very important place at Atlas for them to be considered so special. That can’t be anyone OTHER THAN Ryouko! Talk about a screwed up family. And speaking of which… who exactly is Kuniko’s father?

If that indeed turns out to be true, then we had a nice family reunion in this episode, in which Nagiko manages to arrange a meeting between Kuniko and Ryouko, about trying stop Daedalus. Apparently, even though it was meant to prevent fires Daedalus can seem to burn, otherwise Ryouko would have pointed that out.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Another great episode, if only because of Karin’s awesomeness. I already suspected that we didn’t see the last of her when she got busted out of her room by Atlas, but for her to end up buying the entire Akihabara! That’s a nice one. To think that it’s actually Karin who unites all of the good guys, rather than Kuniko, but it’s definitely an interesting twist for Karin to try and collect all of the Digmas (or Triple As, as she calls them). We still don’t know though what makes them so important, and why Ryouko bothered to let them go in the first place. Now that Claris seems to be gone, an interesting split personality on her side also seems to surface.

In other news, Takehito seems to have discovered that Kuniko is a Triple A Atlas member. What we do learn in this episode is that one of the Triple As is meant to inherit Atlas in the future… wtf?! But in any case, Takehito’s grief for his dead sister seems to be a bit too big for him to accept that Kuniko is part of Atlas (he’s probably not going to like it when he finds out about her grandmother either). We see him jump off a cliff in this episode, but in true Shangri-La fashion, I really doubt that that was the last we see of him. :)

But the juiciest plot twist in this episode: Kuniko plans to burn down the ENTIRE TOKYO in order to stop the Daedalus from spreading. This plot just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? My big hope is that Gonzo has saved its budget for that particular scene, because if it’s going to mean that the the entire city of Tokyo, including Atlas, is going to end up in flames, then that’s going to make for some potentially awesome eye candy.

What also striked me in this episode is that there are a lot of people who have an aversion of something major: Karin hates public places, Mikuni can’t go out in broad daylight, while Medusa can’t seem to survive without water. I keep trying to look for a link with something else in the story, but it seems pretty random. If you take liberties in this definition then you could argue that Sayoko can’t live without a “daughter”-figure to take care of, and Momoko and Miiko turned away their manlihoods, but there still doesn’t seem to be a pattern I can spot here. Especially since Kuniko and Kunihito don’t seem to fit in this theme at all…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Muaha! I just can’t help but love this series. This episode yet again was an awesome instalment for Shangri-La, mostly focused on a battle of wits between Ryouko and Mikuni, of all people, and it definitely delivered. The thing I love about Ryouko is that the creators remembered to give her the screen-time she deserves as a villain. This really made her into a dangerous character, and a serious threat to the lead characters instead of letting her be an incompetent idiot who never can seem to get anything right.

And really, this episode was yet again full of juicy plot twists. While they weren’t as big as “Kuniko’s Grandmother Founded Atlas!?!?!1!!11”, every single one was a nice touch, surprising and full of potential for the rest of this series (EDIT: on second thought, some of them really are big…). To give a small run-down:
– Kunihito decides to leave the military. Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind.
– Miiko doesn’t just get arrested, she becomes the next Hiruko!
– Mikuni has had it now that all of her loved ones are gone, and gathers all of her followers to forcefully take Miiko back.
– The new plants that showed up turn out to be called Daedalus. When left alone, they threaten to swallow up the entire forest.
– Momoko studied biology in her early days?!
– Ryouko finally stopped complaining about Shion’s work as her personal servant.
– Ryouko… can’t be hit by bullets?! wtf?
– Ryouko brings Mikuni to Miiko. Sayoko, who apparently had been hiding, shows herself, takes Hiruko Miiko hostage and runs away with Mikuni!
– Again, Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind because Hiruko seemed to be one of Tarsian’s plans.
– For some reason, the episode ends with Takehito putting a gun against Kuniko’s head.

I mean, seriously? How many plot twists can you include in one episode anyway, at the same time preventing the episode from feeling rushed, creating even more questions and potential plot twists for the future as well? On top of that, the characters were also at their best in this episode: Kuniko was awesome in how she managed to quickly recover from the disappointments of the previous episode. Mikuni rocked because she finally was able to do something for herself. Ryouko rocked for being so badass that even bullets can’t face her among others. Sayoko rocked for the lengths that she’s willing to go through to save Mikuni.

And really, this makes it even bigger of a puzzle of what the Digmas are. I always thought that Ryouko was meaning to collect them, but in this episode she doesn’t do anything to stop Digma 3 from leaving the military (calling him inferior to the other two Digmas), and she even seemed pleased when Sayoko took Mikuni away. What the hell was up with that?

And ON TOP OF THAT, this episode again rocked in terms of graphics. This episode had some utterly beautiful shots. Not in the way of episode 13, but the aesthetics were right in just about every shot. You could see nothing of the rushed animation that plagued the first bunch of episodes. The music also rocked beyond belief in this episode.

My only worry is that Daedalus is going to turn into your stereotypical evil plant that’s going to be the final boss, but hey: even the amazing Kaiba suffered from this. And the thing to wonder about: why was it introduced this early in the series, if there are still about eight episodes left for this series? Is Daedalus simply going to grow slowly, or did the creators realize this, and are planning a twist even there?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

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afgm
It's one of my favorite series
afgm
@SuperMario: Flowers of Evil is anti-romance, but it is a celebration of love apart from it. Nothing makes me more hopeful than to watch a protagonist recover from a prolonged and debilitating manic episode.
Masky
So I guess technically she does have Finnish name even though it doesn't really sound like it to my ears...
Masky
Just to note Luvia is tiny municipiality here, never heard of it before though. Edelfelt sounds like it has Swedish origin, but it is name that is name of apparently somewhat famous Finnish painter. I haven't heard of that guy, but I don't really know many Finnish painters because I'm not into art history.
Masky
Joking aside, like I said, Finland is mostly mentioned in otaku pandering material for some bizarre reason. For example, I once saw review of game that is about stripping vampires(not hentai game, can't remember name though) and I noticed it had one random Finnish character who actually did have Finnish name.
Masky
@Aidan: Hah, take that for being arrogant "its on your head" : D I know what I'm talking about most of the time
SuperMario
But isn't it fitting that the anime/manga I'm currently following is Flowers of Evil, a pretty much anti-romance manga. Well, might as well write a reflection on the manga if I feel up to it :)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I wish I were joking, but it's okay. I don't want to bring the atmostphere of the shoutbox down by my personal affairs.
@afgm: thanks man. Well I'm just keep moving on, no use thinking back too much on that.
Kaiser Eoghan
Oh. whoa whoa, I thought Mario was taking the piss/joking with that post...thought wrong.
afgm
@SuperMario: That sucks man. How are you holding up? I know long distance relationships can be hard to maintain -- it gets pretty lonely.
Kaiser Eoghan
Really glad to see that Vinland saga has gotten properly good again, it was starting to get back on track slowly but surely, now it, with this new chapters revelation fully has,
Kaiser Eoghan
Ireland was mentioned in Nabari no ou and an episode of original gundam, two of gundam 00s characters are Irish.
Kaiser Eoghan
I don't like generalized statements, much prefer Colonelized ones actually.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was a dating sim adaptation by studio deen in 2003 that did a girl of the week format, one of the girls was finnish.
SuperMario
Just broke up with my girl after 3 years. Figure that it never works out for a long-term relationship... (That's a generalized statement right there)
AidanAK47
So that's one. Can't say I remember seeing Finland elsewhere besides that show where all the countries are turned into anime characters.
AidanAK47
Luvia Edelfelt is from Finland?! Well damn you learn something new every day.
AidanAK47
And now I find a screenshot of them saying Miyu is from Finland. Which is weird because nothing of the sort was mentioned in the manga.
AidanAK47
Most I seen was anime characters saying Norway which was generally used as a means of saying NO WAY.
AidanAK47
@Anon48363, its sad that when I see a comment like this my first reaction is suspecting its a Bot. Thanks though.
@Masky, nope. No they didn't. I think this may be in your head.
Anonymous48363
Been enjoying the site for 7-8 years, if not longer. Thank you for your efforts in keeping the editorial line intact wrt reviews and happy to discover new content in the process. Keep up the good work!
Masky
Anyway, speaks of your "high taste" I guess. Finland gets brought up in some of otaku fanservice material for some bizarre reason. I'm weirded out by that since Finland is most obscure backwater place I've seen mentioned most out of other obscure countries xD
Masky
Of course it is possible I'm remembering wrong too(and did read wrong) and they did mention it only once :P
Masky
How funny you say that and then mention that weird magical girl spinoff right after wards xD The part where they introduce Miyu to rest of class has teacher saying she is transfer student from Finland, unless I read subtitles wrong
AidanAK47
Gonna wait on the Prisma Illya episode post. Figure I cover two episodes in one considering the slow pace isn't giving me much to work with.
Got to say I thought this would give me much more to talk about.
AidanAK47
I don't remember Finland ever being brought up in anime. Or video games. Or anything for that matter.
Speaking of the preview I have at least checked the source material. Just need to buckle down and start writing it.
Masky
@Bam: I know right? :D
Bam
I agree with K-off regarding keep the business end of stuff off the shoutbox- I just have no means of communicating with all of ya'll. We can Skype, but I suggest Google hangouts for conferencing. That way we may be able to record special podcasts, and now's probably a good time to get this to the next level.
Bam
I also volunteer to help with the workload for the season preview. I would be down to cover two series, but they have to appeal to me, cause there's no way I can be fair and PG-13 with the reviews of aweful shows.
Bam
@Masky: "Generalized statements are in general rather annoying". Hehe, that awefully sounds woefully like a generalized statement to me m8.
Bam
First Dark Souls III DLC titled Ashes of Ariandel just confirmed for an Oct 25th release. Thankfully this time, all regions and platforms are getting the expnasion on the same day. Here is a reveal trailer to launch the Hype Zeppelin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu1NCPMC7D0
Bam
Friend: please send me, or post, the finished banner once you have it complete. I would like to take a gander. Thank you.
Masky
...Espicially since characters supposedly from there rarely have names that sound Finnish.
Masky
So anyhoo, so why is Finland one of countries that tends to get name dropped a lot in anime/manga/japanese video games? As Finnish person that weirds me out
K-Off
@Friend Damn, kind of surprised to see how abstract some of those concept art are for Mulan. But generalizations are just easier to make if all they care about is validation.
Masky
Generalized statements are in general rather annoying, but everyone loves to make them anyway for some reason :D
Friend
I'm nearing completion with our banner, in terms of work-hours Id say 3 hours? But in real life that equates to about 4 days because of stuff.
Friend
Something that annoys me: when a fellow artist makes a generalized statement about the industry by saying something silly like "japanese animated films have more creative input involved." Uggh Google "Alex Nino Mulan Concept" and tell me if you still think that. Sorry about that X/
SuperMario
And it might sound weird to you guys, especially majority of you are in one of the hottest days of summer, but I'm gonna head off to snow mountain for skiing this coming weekend. So expect the weekly posts will be a bit later than usual.
SuperMario
I don't know if that guy @Bond is still lurking around here, but I'm still interested In doing that thing with him
SuperMario
@Aidan: imho, those numbers don't really mean if we have nothing to compare them to. I'll say the ratio between original/ all anime for particular seasons would tell us a lot better
AidanAK47
But it does counter the point of "We don't get enough original anime anymore" which in itself was a pretty silly statement.
AidanAK47
Of course just because they are original doesn't automatically qualify them as good.
AidanAK47
@Anon44887, that logic would apply if it was an exception. 9 original shows last season, 14 original shows this season. 20 in the next. Are they three seasons all an exception?
Anonymous44887
@AidanAK47: An exception that proves the rule
Vonter
Just to ask does any of the shows being reviewed have a great soundtrack. Just asking for asking.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I recall he posted under the name Bold/bond, the same poster who made the chart.
AidanAK47
Who was it again bemoaning that we don't get enough original(Not adaption) anime anymore? Cause there are 20 original shows next season. Great for anime but hard for me cause what am I gonna write in the preview?
AidanAK47
I am a bit too stubborn to burnout.
@afgm, I didn't change a thing.
Anonymous38539
I hope AidanAK47 would not suffer an Anime Burnout. I love this site and it pains to think that one day, no one will be writing the seasonal previews and yearly summary.
SuperMario
@Aidan: you have 91 days's episode as 9 instead of 7
AidanAK47
Bloody hell, even the spambots are referencing Pokemon Go now.
K-Off
For future reference, let's direct admin dialogue to email, apart from direct feedback.
@Mario We're working on allowing users to set up accounts.
SuperMario
And the constant anonymous names just keep bugging me. Can we make it back to the old shoutbox, where you have to put down your name in order to write message?
SuperMario
I think it's one thing leads to another. he's getting too burnout that he doesn't know what to write anymore.
AidanAK47
@Anon36049, pretty much what he said. Though it seems to be a combination of anime burnout and writers block.
Anonymous36271
He suffered from anime burnout and is getting on with real life.
Anonymous36049
Hi guys I havent been around for a long time. Does anyone know what happened to psgels? I see that the new posts are not his.
AidanAK47
Disgaea 2 coming to steam. Sweet.
Gotta finish Disgaea 1 and hope they don't screw up the port on release day again.
AidanAK47
Illuminati are everywhere, regardless of wherther it's anime or not. Sword Art Online was the work of the illuminati. All in the name of the gaint magic eyeball triange god do they rule the landscape of entertainment medium.
Also Magic Eyeball-kun also argees that Rem is best girl. And none shall dare denounce that claim.
SuperMario
@Anony35181: never thought they're that much interested in anime thou
Anonymous35181
@supermario, illuminati confirmed
SuperMario
Is it just me or couple of messages from the shoutbox just gone missing?
Topgavin
Haven't been watching it myself, but apparently in Taboo Tattoo, that large-chested high school girl died while running *onto a live battlefield* to check on her boyfriend with a shirt that said "flag". 10/10
K-Off
@afgm Sent you a message.
@Friend Looks good, I'd be interested in seeing multiple witches as well.
Anonymous32745
Chemotherapy is a cause of cancer rather than a cure.
Anonymous32745
If you know someone dying of cancer, immediately inform them that allopathic medicine will kill them and turn them to natural remedies which often work.
Anonymous32745
"Medicine and science are powerfully institutionalized, but no institution or profession has existed for the purpose of encouraging people to act reasonably." - Ray Peat
afgm
.
afgm
@Friend: yeah it's a problem
@Koff: I emailed you a while back. did you get it?
Fri3nd
Huh, I can't use my username.
@Bam You're right, I'll work on it.
Bam
@K-off: It's moments like these that really remind you of mortality. People pull thru tho. medical science has come far in that field; but definitely not far enough.
Bam
@Friend: It's looks pretty good. I like Mario's suggestion of a series of witches, but a solitary one is more in-tune with the current banner. I would say however that there is too much dark in the negative space to the right. Could be just me tho.
Bam
@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Anonymous29415
qualidea code's characters havent become better in terms of how they are written; only that they have been fleshed out in the most generic and trivial of ways as to sympathize with them; and sure, they have become some what likeable in the same way you'd like a person who you heard nothing but kind things about but that does not save the characters from being boring. QC is still a bad show
AidanAK47
@Anon27511, even if the animation was kept consistent the story still can't really escape the done to death aspect of it's story. I agree that the writing has gotten better but despite that the show just feels...meh.
Anonymous27511
Fucking Qualidea Code, as the story and characters become more interesting, the animation and drawing proportionately decreases. Sad they simply do not have the budget to pull off what seems like a potentially very good story
K-Off
@Mike I'm sure you already heard but for some reason I didn't keep up to date. I thought it was strange that releases stopped in March after chapter 68,.
K-Off
Just learned that the writer of my favorite webtoon is battling terminal cancer, but despite it she hopes to finish it someday. God damn I would've never expected this.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Once spilled hot microwaved food over my hand by mistake, hurt for a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
*remaining
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: The story and ideas however were better in gandahar I felt. Time masters while good was a bit stop and start in its pace and animation.
I’m definitely interested in Laloux’s other, short animations and Mobius’ comic book work.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: I watched Rene Laloux's remain animated films, Gandahar and time masters, I enjoyed both but not as much as Fantastic planet. I remember we talked about fantastic planet two years ago. Did you see the other two I mentioned. I liked the big moments and the ending to time masters, especially those angel things.
Anonymous27024
Ok. I beat Federation Force. I think the main positive is that the levels were playable despite the lack of voice chat. The bosses took a lot of damage and the beginning and end are relevant to the Prime continuity.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I did it once just like you did, and once when I put a metal bowl into a microwave. So yeah, boys will always be boys.
Bam
I tried my best not to half-ass either of them tho. Any oddity you guys see just write it off as mental exhaustion.
Bam
Okay, I'm officially beat. These two reviews should be considered companion pieces, as some material from one flew into the other. Thank god that episode 08 was not a heavy one, or I'd be completely depleted.
K-Off
Shit, I'm a damn idiot at baking, slightly burnt my hand a minute ago grabbing a hot tray with a wet towl. Why do I even try.
K-Off
@afgm Alright, send me a message at fightthepowwa@gmail.com and we'll work it out.
Bam
*cinematography
Bam
@K-off: I second that, as although the Poirot series has very well-done choreography, casting and music, there is still a little more of that unquantifiable magic sprinkled on the Granada series. But keep watching and I'll guarantee that Suchet will become the quintessential Poirot in your mind as well.
K-Off
I said that while I liked the performance and the direction, I didn't think that it did for Poirot what Granada did for Holmes.
K-Off
@Bam Yeah it is, and generally when I camp I like to stay for 1-2 weeks, places like Niagara or Yellowstone I can pretty much see everything I want to see in a few days so I don't find much value going to those places. The Adirons on the other hand is diverse as hell.
Bam
@K-off: I'm not sure if you mentioned it while I was gone: but did you get to watch any of the Poirot series with David Suchet? And if so, what are your thoughts?
Bam
I generally go to either the Muir Woods north of SF, or the forests around Big Sur. It doesn't take much to please me really.
Bam
@K-ff: is that by Lake Champlain? Cuz I've been there once and loved it.
Bam
@K-off: I thought of a combined post, but my OCD wouldn't allow a skip in the episodic order of the reviews.
K-Off
Usually when you go camping in Yellowstone or Yosemite the tourist industry kills those places, like I'd be on a rowboat and see cars, cabins, and people from a long ways offshore. The Adirondacks are nice because their building codes mandate construction to be hidden behind trees.
K-Off
@Bam My favorite camping spot is the Adirondacks in upstate NY, I went there probably 4-7 times and never get tired of the place. No, I don't have any posts for now, but for future reference consider combining episodic reviews when you get behind. I.E. Episode 6-8 Review
Bam
Also there's a reader in the comment section of Berserk 07 who wants to know if we have a notification system. I vaguely remember a widget that links the site to a FaceBook page. If anybody knows how that works, or if it's still functional, please shed some light on the matter for him/her. Thx.
Bam
@Aidan @K-off @Mario either one of y'all has any post near completion? I'm almost done with Berserk 08 and as previously mentioned, really prefer not to put two reviews up back to back. I think the length of them is already a hassle for some to get thru, let alone two right after eachother. I think it hurts the viewership, but if nothing's on hand then I'll guess I'll just finish up and post mine.
Bam
@Kaiser: I was actually camping near a mountain, but aren't all mountains somewhat holy? That could be my bias tho, since I was raised on the Alborz mountain range, and for me there is something therapeutic about the mountain air.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yes! Looks like the shoutbox is fixed and not deleting posts after 24 hours anymore!
Kaiser Eoghan
lol Or you could live in the shitty suburb where I do and spend your time just waiting for when your internet connection randomly cuts out twice a month or as it has the past few days two-three times a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
Basically bam went up the Holy mountain .
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: ....guy I know who loves war films and I've ended up inadvertedly/un-intentionally gotten him to buy some fucked up Polish horror film that just happens to be set in WW2. lol he's going to be pretty freaked out when he watches it.
Bam
Everything been cool here? Hehe ... looks like I conveniently missed all the hard parts.
Bam
@Mario: thx m8. I wish I could just make it down to Rio on a whim, but then again, I took a much-needed vacation, so I ain't complaining.
SuperMario
Welcome back Bam, I was already convinced that you went to Rio for screwing around. Lol
Bam
Also I apologize for the absence. I was gone somewhere without reliable internet access, and looking back I should've gave a notification.
Either way, I'm back now, and will be jumping on getting those Berserk reviews out as soon as possible.
Bam
Man looky here with the renovations; I like it.
SuperMario
@Vyse: wow. So how was the sites then back from 2005?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and what is that sh!te you're talking about?
VyseLegendaire
<— fixed
VyseLegendaire
<— me
VyseLegendaire
Ive been a reader since 2005
Kaiser Eoghan
Haha, this'll be fun lol
Kaiser Eoghan
.....that feeling when you keep going on about a show or film but fail to give all the details...and someone goes out and buys it not knowing the full extent of the mad shit their in for...s--t lol
Anonymous24840
any reader from 2005 here....
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: This guy seems interesting: https://letterboxd.com/director/tsai-ming-liang/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Hmm, not familiar with him.
I really really loved in the mood for love, alot, it emotionally effected me. I even watched it three times.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I couldn't seem to enjoy any of Zimou yangs films apart from Hero, which had some pretty creative fight scenes. I've seen the story of Ricky and some of John-woos films but they were more just silly entertaining exploitation films.
SuperMario
Don't know if you know the Vietnamese-French Tran Anh Hung. His works are stunning too. If you want to check out East-Asian cinema don't forget to check him out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Yeah, but Park Chan Wood changed the ending, so the author insisted that the Handmaiden is more "inspired" than "based". The third chapter is the weakest part for me
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Of interest, The handmaiden was based on some British book/tv show.
Kaiser Eoghan
I need to completely re-evaluate/get into more Chinese cinema.
Kaiser Eoghan
Doesn't look like I've seen anything by Hong-sang-so.
My favourite Korean actor is song-kang-ho.
Kaiser Eoghan
Theres an anime convention over here in Dublin in three months. Although I haven't been to one in years.
SuperMario
I'm heading to anime convention today. Normally I don't really care about those conventions but I figure I'd come this year to see the taste of it. The only hassle is it's 3-hour drive, which gonna be a pain when I drive back after a long day being there.
SuperMario
Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand,is incredible at writing. His scripts are often layered, sharp and best of all fuses many tones/ genres into one coherent whole. The best thing about this Korean New Wave directors is they all have very distinctive voices. But my favorite director isn't the ones that you list. That would be Hong Sang Soo. I just love his simplicity style so much.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Park Chan Wood is a master of visual. Whenever I come to his movies I expected to be blown-away by his visual. He can write compelling characters (he loves his characters) as well but his screenplays in general are weak. You can watch his lesser effort "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay" and see many things that made him good/bad. That's the movie I feel he made without the care of the critic
afgm
.
afgm
@koff: Yeah I can help. But midterms/finals are coming up so I can't dedicate to much time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I always felt Bong-jong and Chang-dong , kim-di-duk and Kim-jee-woon were better than Park-chan-wook. Oldboy did have that one hell of an ending, so did lady vengeance but I feel that those are the bits people tend to remember and the rest was good but not great.
Topgavin
For anyone that doesn't regularly browse /r/anime, Godzilla is apparently getting an anime adaption by Polygon Pictures with Urobuchi involved. Should be good.
K-Off
Well, I climbed to rank 52 in Overwatch with Tracer alone. Looking forward to season 2 already, but I do wish Blizzard had somehow implemented a single-player storyline since the lore in Blizzard titles is always so vast. Kind of surprised they didn't make one with Overwatch.
K-Off
@Kaiser Watch Train to Busan if you can. Me neither, I can't dig too deep into Korean films due to the language barrier. Sure would be convenient to have Vincent recommending films again.
K-Off
@afgm Hey, are you still interested in helping out with the site? At this point I'm looking over the site's code & doing some rewriting - if you think you can help, let me know.
K-Off
@Mario I hadn't watched Old Boy for 6 years when I got to I Saw the Devil and it was out of mind for me, so you may be right.
SuperMario
@K-Off: maybe it was just me but I was underwhelmed by I Saw the Devil. The point it trying to match was similar to OldBoy, and Oldboy's execution was way better (OldBoy's one of my favorite movie). Yes, the soundtracks of OldBoy, Lady Vengeance are exceptional. I still listen to The Last Waltz after all those years...
Total users: 15

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