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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Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
SuperMario
But I'm not entirely sold on the show yet. I feel the relationships are a tad too heavy-handed. The light hearted tones don't work well for me but I really feel a From the New world's vibe from the show
SuperMario
@Amagi: I will talk about Children of the Whales here in the chatbox since we don't cover it. Damnit the cliffhanger. That series really focuses on the theme of repress their own feelings. From the children in the Mud Whales with their custom of not to cry in the funeral or their lacing their hands to express their gratitude. Episode 2 has that monster who basically eats others emotions
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by extension, I would hope that it would encourage adaptations of older fantasy manga aswell.
Amagi
I really hope this type of fantasy will become a new trend instead of the classical world of warcraft type of isekai
Amagi
There is just something really atmospherical about a few characters exploring an unknown world alone that is either almost or entirely devoid of humans or just weird like in Kino's Journey.
Amagi
Shuumatsu Shoujou, Houseki, Kino 2017 and Children of the Whales are shaping up to become my favorites this season. It's funny that they have so much in common, same with Made in Abyss, which also was my favorite of the last season.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, well there were fellows down in cork that decided to go Kite Surfing. They had to send out a boat to rescue the dumb bastards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw that there were some profoundly stupid people ignoring the warnings, some guy even decided to go out swimming despite it.
AidanAK47
I am in some ways both relieved and disappointed.
AidanAK47
Well I got the day off work and the only thing that happened was that it was a bit windy. Wasn't really a big deal to be honest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Whats the word on your end Aidan with regards to the Hurricane?
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course raging bull, a rare case where I watched a film twice.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I've always, apart from Creed, ignored the Rocky sequels despite enjoying the first one, not really into watching a billion followups to a film. Films about fighters seem to connect with me, I got alot out of warrior, southpaw and Rocky.
KTravlos
I was surprised by how well Ancient Magus Bride was able to sell to me the naturalness of Elia's skull head, and the falseness of his conjured human head. Well done.
Lenlo
I do love a good boxing anime. Both Ashita no Joe and Hajime no Ippo are great, though for different reasons.
Vonter
Simply put, unlike Hajime no Ippo. Ashita no Joe, also was mainly about Joe, living in a poor rural town, struggling to make a living, and boxing came out as something that gave him meaning. Instead of the typical shounen of "becoming the best".
Vonter
I think it's bold when someone announced they want to make something like "the next Rocky". Since that's apparently what I get from this announcement. https://manga.tokyo/news/original-anime-megalo-box-inspired-by-ashita-no-joe-announced-for-spring-2018/
CJayTiii
Just watched Heaven's Feel Part 1 at the movie theater last night. DEAR LORD the animation was flawless. I honestly thought they nailed the calmer scenes a lot better than UBW as well. The wait for part 2 is gonna be brutal...
Amagi
Isekai isn't even bad, it's just that it became the worst case of formularic wish fulfillment masturbation nowadays. I actually wish we would get more proper isekai anime again, especially if it's some scifi or time travel stuff for once
AidanAK47
You know thinking about it, Muv Luv Alternative could be considered a deconstruction of Isekai before Isekai was even a thing. After all it actually has the elements of of Isekai.
AidanAK47
Gonna do up a review of the trilogy. Though first I need to post that Subahibi review I have had sitting in my Google docs. Twas waiting till we got the impressions done with.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I remember checking out Muv Luv and not being too impressed about it. When i cheeked out Alternative years ago I was blown away by how good it was. Usually VNs have moments of downtime where it can get boring no matter how good they are. But Alternative just had you from start to finish.
Amagi
@Aidan: Muv Luv Alt is one of the best VNs I've read. I am happy I always avoided spoilers before. The only thing I knew was that it gets heavy around chapter 6 or 7.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thanks for letting me know before I bothered booking for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the plot doesn't make sense. As the story progresses, it gets weirder, the visual goes wilder and the ending doesn't wrap up much. I might need to watch the live-action version
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: See you rated fireworks 3 1/2, what did you think of it?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I suppose, same to you, hopefully you'll be alright.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was designed by Marta Akermann : https://friendist.deviantart.com/
Anonymous1482176
Can I get where the banner is from?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know there were 18 deaths back in the mid eighties when a storm struck here back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Seems that it will be at its worst in the west, that said I'm living in Dublin in the east so I'll probably get away with a power cut for a while. Thankfully I'm not back in work until Thursday and I won't be going anywhere tomorrow.
AidanAK47
Also Careful Kaiser, I hear we got a hurricane heading our way tomorrow.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Can't say I do. I got into anime around the time it was getting put on the internet. And I only started buying anime when I got a job. Now I got a whole bookcase of Blu-rays.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Remember back in the 90s when we didn't have all region dvd players and everything got released on region 1?
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I checked though. Seems the screenings are strictly US for Heavens Feel. Sort of like how Grand Order isn't released for Europe either. Also took goddamn ages to get the Blu-Rays of UBW too. Aniplex just seems to hate us for some reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dublin city university has/had an anime club.
Kaiser-Eoghan
These are all one time only things though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Eh....on rare occasions the Eye cinema in Galway and the Lighthouse in Dublin do screenings . Eiretakon has re-formed as J-con in Dublin and they do screenings.
AidanAK47
Playing Muv Luv Alternative and I just made it pass a certain infamous scene. Honestly...I thought seeing as I knew it was coming that it wouldn't hit that hard. But even after all these years...it still gives me chills.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Could be worse. There are no screenings in Ireland so the wait is a hell of a lot longer for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll likely be checking out Lu over the wall in early December.
Amagi
I am really looking forward to that new movie from the Tekkonkinkreet guy and Heaven's Feel but both screenings only happen in February so this will sadly still take a while.
SuperMario
Aah, I just missed the only screening of In the Corner of the World at my local cinema (it comes as part of a film festival, guess I will watch the pirated version then). Thankfully they screened Firework anime so I'm going to watch it. Now
SuperMario
I intend to still give Dies Irea another chance. don't know if it's worth it thou
SuperMario
Maybe those kidscheated half of the way because no one can WALK faster than me :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
The animation continues to be quite poor and its only getting 15 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I could definitely have seen my German Ex offended by it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never even cared enough to think that people would be this offended by Dies Irae, it would be like being offended by the Naziploitation elements in hellsing . I find both far too silly to be in anyway offensive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, good that you keep up the exercise. I walk pretty much everywhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Little fiends likely taking performance enhancing drugs, know to poison them next beforehand =P
SuperMario
Still finished in a first half but 35 minutes for 5km is something I wasn't to proud of. Damnit.
SuperMario
Well, just finished a running event. The race was just 5 kilometer so I was aiming to run all the way. Ended up walking 1/3 of the way and lose to some 12 year old kids... I'm getting old, really!
AidanAK47
@Anon, That was a stupid move on their part. Still I prefer to judge a game based on the quality of the product and not outside circumstances.
Anonymous1479322
yooka laylee is okay but i hate it because they removed jontrons voice
KTravlos
new Altair OP is better than old Altair OP. But old ED is better than new. Man I really am sad Altair cannot have the 100_ episodes of LOGH. Because of that they really have to rush the story to make the politics work, but at same time rushing it undermines the story integrity. Which is a pity. I really think if Altair had the LOGH treatment, it would be a stupendous tale of politics.
AidanAK47
I got that with Yooka Laylee which I thought was a decent fun game. However the internet has determined it to be a flaming trash pile of a game. I even have a friend who never played the game but bashes it purely because it's so hated.
KTravlos
While I understand the point, and have indeed watched stuff both psgel and the current writers have not given a high score too, generally speaking our tastes are complimentary. In a world of scarce time and quite a lot of stress over things like work or relationships, I will take the cognitive short-cuts I can for my hobbies, and FOMO be damned! :)
AidanAK47
That may actually be quite the common occurrence as internet opinion tends to veer to extremely positive or extremely negative. Something can't simply be good, it most be amazing. Somehting can't be passable either, it has to be garbage.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I agree with that. In truth you can only really judge something when you have seen it yourself. I will even admit that mine and likely the others reviews of Imouto are a bit of Hyperbole. It's really not the most terrible thing I have ever seen. Actually I would say Dynamic cord was worse.
Anonymous1478520
(i already found some nice things i would have neglected otherwise or deemed worthless based on reviews/seasonal previews etc)
Anonymous1478520
So i concluded that even if those people were writing good reviews and had somewhat compatible tastes with me, were nice and intelligent people overall in the end it did not mattered that much. while others' opinions are helpful, my own taste is the only thing i can really trust. so watching everything it is
Anonymous1478520
I used to chose my shows based on reviews from people i trust, this site included, but then i just started trying out everything and - shocking, i know - suddenly i liked things others did not. or vice versa, which were a possibility even before.
Lenlo
Thats why I only really watch/checked out things that piqued my interest. Was gonna do it anyways, so why not write about i
SuperWooper
Comprehensive sampling does have its benefits, though. Animegataris is a show I wouldn't have touched on my own, but it was quite watchable.
SuperWooper
@Kaiser, I agree that only the better-looking shows need to be previewed, but being a new recruit, I can't exactly influence the long-standing Star Crossed policy of giving everything a shot.
SuperMario
@anon1477190: that moment you mentioned about Kino losing her cool was good, but then they followed up on the obvious exposition about the couple which I felt was heavy-handed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring that up mainly because I don't want to see any of the writers getting burned out/demotivated/having their time wasted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Guys it must be incredibly time consuming to watch some of these obviously from the outset bottom of the barrel shows you know will be awful and you'll never cover, I doubt anyone would have complained if you didn't mention Imouto Ireba.
Lenlo
The ending was good, but leading up to it was sort of dull
Lenlo
Agreed on how Kino felt this week. What really got me though was how she held the gun. That bugged me in those pov shots
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I'm not keen to go over old material, I'll just watch the new Kino stories.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I get claustrophobic sometimes, so Haze by Tsukamoto Shinya was fucking un-comfortable =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ganja and hess, Die Farbe, Texas chainsaw 2, shop of horrors and AM 1200 stood out best.
Anonymous1477190
*I will admit that I enjoyed the ending bit a little more though. Something about Kino throwing that big rock was moving somehow, especially with how stoic she normally is, haha.
Anonymous1477190
I was a bit disappointed by Kino this week. I actually enjoyed the original Colosseum, but more for some of the individual fights rather than the conflict with the main antagonist. So the speed with which they went through them wasn't my favorite thing.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: haha, sounds fun. Any good horror worth reccomending?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Tried doing that horror 30 horror movies in Autumn challenge thing, fun times but bloody exhausting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will finally be getting on to magus bride SOON.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just try not to compare any of his works to yi yi and you'll be fine. Pity we lost him too soon.
SuperMario
I'm meaning to watch Terrorizers for quite a while now. You beat me to it again. So it's that good huh??
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did end up re-watching terrorizers and finishing it this time, never ever have I bee so wrong to initially under-estimate a director or film, the second half massively improves the film and comes together perfectly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ...conditions are very hard to get right on screen, it almost ends up being horribly sappy. This is why when I saw Moon-so-ri's performance in Oasis I was so surprised by how excellent she depicted her characters disability, to where if I didn't know better I'd have sworn it was for real.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and sometimes they take an "artistic liberty" to change the real stories to make it more dramatic. Case in point, I was so moved by A Beautiful Mind until I read it that the main guy doesn't have those issues in real life. Felt deeply manipulated
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Largely due to and not helped by the fact most biopics are over two hours long.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: glad you enjoyed Loving Vincent. I'm a bit worried about its story to be honest since it's a biopic and sometimes biopic can be so dry like a powerpoint presentation about someone's life
SuperMario
WE DEMAND THE 20 MINUTES BACK
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stupid imouto anime....bullying Aidan and Mario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*their
Kaiser-Eoghan
Why must all artistic/creative be so out of there minds =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I saw Loving Vincent, I knew very little about the man himself before seeing, but this did an alright job of introducing the viewer to who he was, the voice acting/script is slightly stilted but in the end it works as a vehicle to get from one nicely rendered/animated scene to the next and its worth looking at for 90 minutes .
SuperMario
@Puran: that story from Kino was one of my least favorite from 2003 version. This week they changed quite a bit of details, most notably they speed through the gladiator fights. The result... well... average for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
That book seems to have a tv show adaptation.
AidanAK47
I actually have been meaning to read Jonathan Strange an Mr.Norrel.. Might put it next on my reading list.
Puran
(and, I thought the old one handled the story much better...)
Puran
New Kino ep was a remake of a story in the old anime... It's really not helping me in trying to avoid comparing the two series.
SuperWooper
@KTravlos, you like Jonathan Strange? Good taste, my man.
KTravlos
I watched the Ancient Magus Bride OVA after your suggestions. It was very nice. A mix of Howl's Moving Castle and Jonathan Strange an Mr.Norrel. I will definitely follow this series. Thank you.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol I go once a week if I can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I suppose it would be more sand on glass animation: [link src="https://letterboxd.com/director/caroline-leaf/
https://letterboxd.com/film/carmen-habanera/"]
SuperMario
@Travlos: I liked the Dragon Dentist. Loved its art but yeah the story is unfocused and the characters aren't those that I consider deep
SuperMario
@Kaiser: well, yep animation techniques can be really diverse and I did a good deal of research about them. For sand animation, do you refer to the sand performing art? I would love to see that type have a proper animation but there is a debate of whether or not it can be considered as "animation"
SuperMario
@Kaiser: haha you're lucky. Now that when I think about that, despite considered myself a film fan I haven't stepped to the cinema for 6 months now. Shame on me!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Is it possible to make it so we can alter our profile pages on the site, so as to be able to add a short bio or top ten list of our favourite shows/manga?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, excellent loving vincent is showing tomorrow at my local cinema.
Kaiser-Eoghan
When you think about it, I love how varied animation can actually be....I've even come across salt and sand animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nuuuu I missed my chance to see body and soul. I am very much looking forward to Kim-ki-duks new film.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: to be more exact, Petrov uses painting on glass. Loving Vincent will be painting on paper. But yeah, no real difference there
SuperMario
My god. Typo here.Russia is very *quick*. Yep, I'm looking forward for Loveless, despite its grim premise
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Aleksandr Petrov uses similar animation techniques.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: In the end of this month I will get around to watch On Body and Soul (which have great hype no matter where I read) and an infamous Chinese adult animation Have a Nice Day
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I swear Russia is really weak when it comes to their movies availabled in the high sea. Yep, if you can, watch Loving Vincent. At least the painting animation is a can't miss
SuperMario
@Vonter: i am looking for the Junti Itou's adaptations as well. But I think it most likely will be inconsistent. Just hope they manage to get the creepy feeling right
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Itou has also worked on a non-horror manga called Yuukoku no Rasputin.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, The thing that needs to be perfected is getting Junti Itou's artstyle animated. The thing that truly makes his works shine is the art. Still it would be nice to see an animated version of The Enigma of Amigara Fault.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: been delving further into Edward Yang, next is the terrorizers, Taipei story is a bit difficult to get into at first and it does feel like a trial run but it come into itself much better by its second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a Russian torrent of The Loveless (2017) floating around, we may see this sooner than expected if it gets subbed. Also remind me, was it you that recommended me to see the animated film Loving Vincent?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I really hope they properly animate them as 20 minute episodes and not as 8-10 minute shorts with picture show animation.
Vonter
There's gonna be an anime of Junji Itou's short stories. Hopefully since there's gonna be several instead of one story, one or two of those are done well. The CGI really took from the atmosphere in Gyo, maybe stories with less scope can be crafted with more care. http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2017/08/09-1/teaser-site-for-tv-anime-junji-ito-collection-opens-for-winter-2018-premiere
KTravlos
I saw the Dragon Dentist. Interesting but weird. I felt like there were two shows in there. A great magic show and a great war shows, but forcing them together denied each its full potential.
Anonymous1473154
KT here. Since Aidan is not the state, accusations of violating freedom of speech are meaningless. You have no right to his time or tolerance. You are giving too many chances Aidan IMHO. Ban and be done with it.
AidanAK47
@Anon(FakePsgels), the only reason you can post again is because I only gave you a day ban. But believe me, I can make it much longer. Three strikes, try impersonating Psgels again and you will get a week ban. Strike three is a permanent ban. So just try it. Test me.
Lordish_Kvadratish
Somehow the site is good again :D. I had been visiting daily when Psgels was writing, and when he left I felt disappointed and stopped. And now I like it again for some reason. Good place on the internet. Thank You.
SuperMario
It's not like we need this site to survive mate, so get off his case
Anonymous1471881
Aidan-kun....stop whining. You should be grateful you even get to use this site at all. Threatening to ban someone just because your mad is pure fascism.
Amagi
That's something I wondered about as well. It would have been a good opportunity to change her costume a bunch of times. I am not a fan of characters always wearing the same stuff, especially if there is no concrete reason for doing so.
SuperMario
And I assume that everytime Nina transforms, she loses her clothes, right? So why the hell does she still wear the same costume afterwards?? Someone picked up for her no matter where she goes?????
SuperMario
The kill-arc makes sense narratively, but makes no damn sense logically (all the badass characters were there for Christ sake). Kaisar... don't even know what to feel.
SuperMario
Okay, trying to sum up how I feel about Virgin Soul now: I liked both Nina and Amira, the screwed up Charioce's character (remember he was a devil-hating fasscist who kills demons at sights or pit them against each others gladiator-wise). The cost of Nina's boice got me, not so much for Charioce's eyesight. My fav girl Rita doesn't have enough development
Amagi
@Kaiser: Newer CG looks pretty good and I once hated CG. But Kado showed how good it can be and anime are constantly improving. Houseki has a lot of issues but the facial expressions are more than I usually see in anime. Can't wait to see how Inuyashiki is.
Amagi
Yeah same here. I actually think they used this guy well, most anime don't have the balls to make someone evil for real and even kill him if he was a somewhat good guy at first. It's why that one scene surprised me and the death too. I was sure it was just one of these silly development episodes at first.
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