Posted on 28 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kiznaiver

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort to take a step towards world peace a system was devised to allow people to feel the pain of others as if it was their own and thus these group of people must learn to coexist with one another to complete missions given to them throughout the summer. This is the premise sadly lost in this show as it eventually gets lost in a love pentagram, excessive teenage melodrama and angst over the past. Kiznaiver is a polarising title in that it has elements of great worth and characters, while not particularly deep, that have good chemistry. However while it had a vague idea on the themes it wanted to touch and what it intended the characters to be, it purely gets lost when it comes to presenting those idea’s. What we are left with is a series which doesn’t know where it is going and wastes more than half its runtime in reach of a goal. Though once it finally decides on its direction it sacrifices all it has set up and it’s greater elements for forced drama and soap opera like developments. All to end on a climax with feels undeserved and rushed.

Kiznaiver is a bad story with excellent presentation as while the story developments are confused and lack focus, the presentation could fool you otherwise. Direction is particularly excellent in giving emotion to certain scenes and the visual aesthetic is quite appealing. The anime also sports a great opening with what may be the last song by the excellent band “Boom Boom Satellites”. The OST has some notable tracks and sound direction is spot on. The characters are quite likable and at times the comedy can work well but it falters when it sacrifices the comradery of the group for the cheap thrill of over emotional outbursts and vocal preaching. The plot gives special attention to certain characters only to abandon them to the sidelines afterwards and at times changing characters to fit what is demanded of the plot only to double back and have them return to how they were. At the beginning Kiznaiver was aiming to be zany and fun like any other trigger anime but halfway in it decided it was going to be Kokoro Connect. Then reaching its endgame without really deciding on which of the two it would prefer to be.

The show tries to act as a character study and tries to get across a deeper insinuation about the nature of feelings and connecting with other people but when examined it comes across as shallow and simplistic. Mainly resorting to a traumatic past as the cause of someone having communication issues instead of taking into account that maybe their are those of us who simply can’t connect with others. Or simply don’t want to. Two character get more focus in regards to this and one has their development more or less negated within two episodes of coming out of her shell. The other remains rather enigmatic and when it comes down to it, all that we truly learn of her is that she has a contrived tragic past. If it doesn’t affect you then sadly she has nothing else, besides acting as a love interest. Despite this it has moments; in both the forced drama and zany antics there were points when it comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Though this does make me lament just what this series could have been if had better planning. This is Trigger trying something different and as an experiment it is interesting. I would like to see Trigger tackle something like this again but if they do I hope they hire a better writer.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 24 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Joker Game

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on board. However the sad thing about entertainment is that even if you try something new, if you don’t succeed it amounts nothing more than a show which had a good idea and a lesson for others to not brand out from their tired concepts. In that regard I truly lament such anime but unlike them I don’t think Joker Game will remain as a lesson for others, for to do so it would have to be memorable. An idea with such promise, a tale about a team of Japanese spies sent out to gather info in the time right before World War II broke out. You could spin quite a tale with that setting but sadly Joker Game settles for a much more simplistic level.

The first problem with the show is it’s episodic format and it truly limits the plot when each episode’s story needs to be resolved in a short time frame. Each episode has a brand new cast and a brand new setting. This essentially prevents the viewer from becoming attached as there is rarely anything consistent to latch on to. But most importantly in episodic shows the show is often held up by the characters and their interactions. However Joker Games protagonists are completely interchangeable with little in defining characteristics. No matter the episode the main character plays the role of the super spy who never fails and in that regard is mainly a plot device. When looking over the story, Joker Game is style over substance and merely a spy power fantasy. The writing lacks the nuance to weave a compelling narrative around international espionage and often resorts to contrived or trite developments in order to make the protagonist look as good as possible. The villains in each episode range from the over the top evil to inconsequential, often any threat they pose is completely undermined by episodes end. The writer holds his protagonists in too high a regard which ultimately makes this a show about the triumphs of several Gary Sue’s and how much better they are than other people. It don’t take long for this aspect to wear on you and through the episodes the victories of the D-agency spies become less compelling and more boringly anticipated.

Through while the writing can reach unrealistically silly levels as the D-agents display skill bordering on the supernatural, you can still find some interest here. The show never truly drops to a level of becoming bad and to some they can come to enjoy the exploits of the spies and their missions. I found three or four episodes to have above average value and the show remains consistently watchable. However it never truly excels and in episodes can become quite boring as you wait for the inevitable cop out win of D-agency. The episodic structure continues right up to the end where the show simply stops instead of ends. The art and animation remain consistently good and the soundtrack is rather catchy and nostalgic of Noir fiction. Joker Game is a show that lacks the high points to be recommended and the low points to be outright hated, it’s middle of the ground which made the score of this series rather appropriate. Joker Game is a series destined to be lost to the ravages of time, soon to be forgotten.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 23 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mayoiga

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years.

On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life is an intriguing concept, because there could be lots of angles to explore, even within its mystery/horror fare. The show could use the setting to explore the internal conflicts between the cast, or the nature of those monsters that drive anyone insane or even dig deep to the mystery behind Mayoiga, or the show can go full cannibalism that was suggested many times in the first episode.

Instead Mayoiga goes off track very early and never looks back and the overall execution certainly stands out, in a very-bad-it’s-good way

Billed as a mystery show, Mayoiga contains many elements that feel like a recipe for disaster: over the top characters, awkward pacing, long and meaningless conversations. In the first 10 minutes of the show for example, literally EVERYONE in the cast got introduced (and that 20 plus characters to remember). The characters have a distinct and overall solid character designs; but most of them are way too over the top to feel like real people. Mitsumune, our main character, for instance, feel really bland and his only traits are unsure about himself and his affection towards Masaki. The conversation drags on, don’t really advance the plot or flesh out the characters. Worst of all, the pacing sucks, sometimes it drags for too long before moves too quickly, for example in the first half of the show, there are few episodes where nothing important happens except the cast arguing. The cast themselves uses their time wisely to talk about how to call rock, paper, scissor the most correct way, arguing over the name of one of the cast who just vanished, or lying asleep in the end without the care of anything else.  The cliffhangers, were presented in almost the end of every episode, just so that the stake returns back to normal in a very next moment.

Thematically, Mayoiga actually has its meaning underlying under the surface. The monsters are revealed to be Nanaki, which are part of each individual’s past psychological trauma, come to life. They are a symbol of all those ugly things that the cast left behind to start over their new life. They are not, as the series progresses, intend to harm the cast, but are a part inside each character, and the show made a point (as in your face as possible) that all of them need to face their own Nanaki (their traumatic past) in order to become a better person. The Nanaki monsters, represented in 3D animation, are both out of place and uneasiness at the same time, which actually fits to the theme very well.  But I have to say, reading this underlying message is a bit too much, as the series itself never attempt to dig deeper into its theme.

Which brings me to the next point, many of the above elements actually WORKED in favors of the show. One thing that Mayoiga truly excels, the one thing that Mayoiga will likely be remembered for years to come, is its ridiculousness. All the ridicuolous, awkward bits are intentional, majority of them are so well-aware that it becomes hilarious. Many of the Nanaki monsters, for instance, are just plain silly in concept, such as a big silicon boob monster (yeah! You read it right!), or a girl seeing a giant Mitsumune because he happens to look like her ex-boyfriend, so instead of seeing her ex she would see Mitsumune who she just met for 2 days. See the absurd sense of logic here? Indeed, most of the cast embrace that ridiculous sense of logic wholeheartedly that it’s actually refreshing to see them keep betraying our expectation. Lovepon would be nothing if not for her “execution” speech, and after a while it’s just feel so welcome to see her running for her life from the monster, still remain in character “We going to be executed!!”. The Driver and his bus also keep appear/ vanish without any explaination is also a good running gag. Other characters, like Mitsumune, Hayato, Koharun, Nanko, actually the whole cast also embrace their one-note traits to a bitter end, put it up to the max that they become so gimmick and fun to watch. The conversations, as I mentioned above, drag on and on; but there is a lot to enjoy there, mainly for their unique train of thoughts and the ridiculous topics they could come up to.

Like I mentioned in my review posts, Mayoiga is a masterclass of using anti-climax not only to twist our expectation out of the usual conventions, but also to reduce any tension whatsoever. Take the revealing about the nature of Nanaki for examples, in a sequence where 4 members of our group witness their own Nanaki, they seem defeated, had nowhere to run but somehow, all of them managed to escape from it, without any injury. In other scene we witness the group decided to tied Masaki up and attempted to stab her, just so that she got ambushed by the bus driver, who drove her away just to beg her to allow him to meet his daughter again. The extensive use of anti-climax might seem uneven, absurd and even laughable at first, but actually these are all intentional so that the show can screw you out of any conventional sense.

But self-aware or not, Mayoiga can’t hide a fact that, in a nutshell, this show is an incoherent mess. In fact, inconsistency is the only consistent trait the show has. Mayoiga always feels like a product of too many minds, too many ideas that crammed all together, that contributes to too many half-baked ideas, and the pacing is all over the place. This seems understandable though, as in the process of making Mayoiga, the director Tsutomu Mizushima (Girls un Panzer, Shirobako, Prison School) encouraged the team to come up with ideas, and Mari Okada responsible for putting everything together. On that note I have to say the ending is surprisingly conclusive. Yes we would never know what happen to the people before the cast arrived, or how the majority of the cast meet their Nanaki (they JUMPED straight from those guys sleeping to they being back to the bus), but all the main questions are addressed and I actually feel kind of satisfied with the ending. This is a show with lots of obvious flaws, but it is also a show that unlike most of our usual anime fare. I have a great time with Mayoiga and ’m happy that I got the chance to cover it.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 22 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of Magna in little over a week but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish this game after chapter 6. So first, jumping into the game, I admittedly didn’t have too much experience with much of Imageepoch’s previous titles, I only played Luminous Arc 1+2 and thought the gameplay was pretty good (although I’ll always hate the story in these kind of games). Therefore, I expected Stella Glow to be much of the same. In terms of its gameplay, it’s even somewhat over-simplified/dumbed-down since my last Imageepoch game.

To be brief, combat is turn-based spread over a 3D grid ala Luminous Arc, separated by free-times in which your character can buy weapon upgrades, find loot, do odd jobs for money, and interact with party members in order to unlock new support abilities. With combat, the atrocious AI aside, it’s relatively vanilla and doesn’t rock the conventions very much. It’s blasé to say the very least, with an outdated concept of PP-based skills that is actually a regress with its lack of any equivalent to Luminous Arc’s Flash Drives aside from the conducting (which doesn’t do much for strategic depth). There is no more depth beyond these standard attacks and skill-attacks, so what you see is what you get all the way through your 50+ hour game. Moving your team members around a strategically-lacking battle area has never felt more unexciting as a direct result, and makes grinding all the more painful to do. And you’re going to have to do a lot of it.

Compounding the problems to combat are the enemies. The AI in the game utilizes little form of strategy or out-maneuvering. If it has a better shot at greater damage output (such as attacking my characters from behind) it doesn’t do it, and as is the case almost all the time they rush the nearest available frailest unit and zerg-rush them without any semblance for party-cohesion/roles. For example, even when my tank Archibald is quite vulnerable sitting at a low health, enemies still often rush my witch who’s at full HP because the AI simply cannot understand strategy and the benefits of knocking down selective units. The challenge instantly turns to frustration as early game I didn’t even bother using healing units very often, since they have to come close to another party member in order to heal, yet then become vulnerable to long-range enemies’ ridiculous ranges. On the other hand, some skills thankfully offer low-mobility characters like Archibald with long range attacks to attack past 2 squares, which is sorely appreciated for such a slow unit, and it theoretically gives these characters better usage early-game with stronger party cohesion. However, this does not work as well as it should, as you often cannot attack diagonal squares aside from magic skills. For me, that defeats the purpose of trying to give slower units a greater mobility. Yes, Archibald gets better later on in the game, but there is little logic to not allowing long range attacks in general, Archibald or otherwise, to hit diagonal boxes especially when terrain heavily limits your ideal range of movement anyways. Some elements of Fire Emblem would’ve been great here, like diagonal attacks and earlier long range healing skills. Otherwise, everything else about the combat system is solid, such as the satisfying range of roles in your party, and the activities that you can do in between battle times are varied and interesting.

As for story, it’s about a generic protagonist with a mysterious past who has the power to collect witches, in true harem spirit–as is plastered all over the back cover. I’m not going to complain too much about the generic plot as much as I hate it, it’s simply there to provide a backdrop for the challenges that our characters will face after all, and none of the party members felt forced or too out of place. However, any longtime JRPG player will recognize the story going through the motions in a half hearted attempt to try and set these characters beyond their archetypes to no avail, and the writers have every blame for this. In a game like this it’s imperative for it to be a worthy character story, with immersive character conflicts to make up for the lackluster backdrop concerning some generic kingdom under attack by some generic villains. Unfortunately however, by the end, there is very little characterization. Well, apart from “She’s not shy anymore” and “He’s less strict now.”

Lastly, the user interface is clunky and bare bones to put it lightly. Whilst in battle, you cannot access an options menu to adjust your game settings, it is only available outside of that and events. Even then, the options menu is simply pathetic. There are volume sliders, options to turn off combat animation (which is already available in battle), and little else besides it. No options for changing the controls to adjust the inversion, utter disuse of the circle pad, story recaps, turtle paced scenes, and the list goes on. But at least the game looks good for the 3DS and the soundtrack isn’t half-bad, even if the fan service is irksome as hell and never stops, but that point is rather moot with a game like this that lets you know what you’re in for with the cover. Overall, if you haven’t picked this game up yet I’d recommend you give it a try at least, it’s honestly far better than the likes of Lord of Magna.

Storytelling: 5/10 Average fantasy story
Gameplay: 7/10 Limitations aplenty, but otherwise strong system that remains familiar
User Interface: 3/10 Clunky and frustrating
Production values: 9/10 Looks and sounds great for the 3DS

Suggestions:

Fire Emblem Fates

Luminous Arc

Lord of Magna

Posted on 19 June 2016 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Time makes fools of us all and even more so when you are having fun. I am having a good bit of fun with the current season so perhaps that’s a factor in just why these seasons come up so fast. But here we are with a new upcoming season and while I generally try to be positive when it comes to new anime…I really have to be honest here. A while back the summer season was the high point for anime in the year but with the significant increase in animes series coming out each year that’s become less true. Even more so here. I am not saying that this looks to be a bad season, there are some titles that hold potential. But based on the source material I read and general impressions this is looking to be a weak season. A lot of series here have points of interest but are rather average in execution. However I have been wrong before and it’s possible the few potential highlights here are enough to make the season worthwhile.

With Re:Zero being a two cour show I plan to continue covering it. However this season I think I will try my hand at taking on four shows to cover. Part of the reason is wanting to cover the fourth season of Prisma Illya out of my own indulgence and I would like to cover the new Berserk anime. In regards to the other writers they will choose once first episodes start. Should one of their choices be top of the poll request I will blog the second most requested. As usual, two choices for me to blog are mine to choose and the last is in your hands. Poll is below, you have more than one vote so feel free to pick a few shows.

Which series should I cover for the 2016 Summer Season?

Yes indeed we have a new poll. Bit simple but should do the trick better than Strawpoll. I also want to thank K-Off and Helghast for their input and Mario for getting the images for this post.

 

The sequels/prequels I don’t care about

ACTIVE RAID: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei 2:

HelghastKillzone Thoughts:

For all two of you who are moving on to the season part of this garbage mecha show,

I pity you.

 

Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu

D.Gray-man HALLOW

SHOKUGEKI NO SOUMA: Ni no Sara

handa-kun

 

Series I don’t look forward to

 

Ange Vierge


 

image12

 

The story of the Ange Vierge trading card game follows what happens when “Hairou” portals suddenly open, fusing three different worlds together. As a result, various mysterious “Exceed” powers are awakened in teenaged girls. An academy for these so-called “Progress” girls is built on the isolated Seiran Island in the Pacific.

 

Call me bias but anime based on card games lately haven’t usually work out well. The closest to success was Rage of Bahamut and even that had it’s fair share of problems. Considering that his is Sliver Links second show of the season I am guessing the animation B team are working on this one. Or at least I hope they are because you better be putting everything you got into Prisma illya this season. Looking at the staff it really does seem like this series is an afterthought as the director is a first timer. The series composer has a more interesting resume as while he hasn’t worked on anything worthwhile recently, he was one script writer for the original fullmetal Alchemist and Gai Rei Zero. Oh and he also worked on Boku no Pico…which does hold a rather infamous status. The trailer doesn’t hold much promise either as it showcases a bunch of moe girls fighting either other in rather cheap looking animation. I say give this one a pass.

 

B-PROJECT: Kodou*Ambitious


The anime’s story follows Tsubaki, a new hire in the A&R department of the major recording company Gandala Music. Tsubaki is immediately assigned to oversee the idol unit “B-PROJECT,” which is made up of three idol groups: Kitakore, Thrive, and MooNs. This is Tsubaki’s first job, and she gets involved in various incidents and accidents as she deals with this group of young men who each have their own differing personalities.

 

Look no matter what this show is simply not for me due to my sexual orientation. Maybe it might go against expectation and show a story full of depth and character that would let me put aside that I am not part of the series target market. But I really doubt that would be the case. Either way the director has worked on nothing but bad anime and the series composer is simultaneously working on three shows this season including this one. I doubt this will be making much waves in the industry.

 

BINAN KOUKOU CHIKYUU BOUEIBU LOVE! LOVE!


 

 

HelghastKillzone Thoughts:

 

One of the surprise hits of the winter 2015 season, I was very surprised to be enjoying this anime despite all the warnings triggers coming from the title image and name itself. I expected to drop this show in the first five minutes but Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! Is actually a decent parody of the magical girl genre. My worst fear of the show devolving into something along the lines of the Boy Love genre did not come to fruition as it is more of a friendship between male high schoolers. With the second season, I can expect more of the same dynamic and for those who are into the magical girl shows, I would highly recommend this show as a  worthwhile lighthearted male-oriented distraction to the mainstream Pretty Cure and the grim seriousness of Madoka Magica.  

 

Cheer Danshi!!


 

The story revolved around members of a cheerleading squad at a men’s university.

 

This is in the same boat as that idol anime up there as I simply cannot judge something like this accurately seeing as I am clearly not the target market. The Directer basically has Snafu under his belt and I think the Series composer should better focus on that Koe no Katachi movie she’s working on as well. Either way the composer has a resume that for every good anime series she has worked on, there are three bad series to compensate. Looking purely on a superficial level I say for fans of this kind of genre that this looks to be the better of the two airing this season.

 

Kono Bijutsu-bu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!


 

The manga focuses on an art club in a certain middle school, and its members: Subaru Uchimaki, who is a genius at drawing faces, but only wants to draw the perfect 2D wife; Colette, a rich troublemaker who never stops making mischief; and the club president, who sleeps through sessions and collects sleeping aids. Mizuki Usami is the only person in the club who wants to do art club-like activities, and constantly struggles to do so.

 

I say K-Off below summarized it quite well. It’s a school life show about a art club full of eccentric characters who get up to hijinks. It’s not particular bad but  would likely be an enjoyable distraction at best. I can certainly see the “comedic” traits of the characters becoming tiresome as the show goes on.(In particular the boy who is obsessed with drawing his prefect 2D anime waifu) It lacks a unique punch to give it much staying power.

 

-K-Off Thoughts-

I actually used to follow the manga for this, it’s a decent slice-of-life with original characters that are fun to read about, but I just don’t see this working as an anime without turning really generic. The art style of the manga is its saving grace for me, and without it, in anime-form alongside the horribly bland premise, it seems pretty stale.

 

Masou Gakuen HxH


 

Hida Kizuna possesses the HHG (Heart Hybrid Gear) ability, but it is not strong enough to make him particularly important. His older sister calls him to transfer to a strategic defense school, where many of the students (many of which are large-breasted girls) use their HHG abilities to fight invaders from another world while wearing extremely skimpy pilot outfits. Kizuna’s fighting ability doesn’t measure up, but his sister has another plan; getting the girls to have erotic experiences with Kizuna, so that it will allow them to replenish their energy or power-up. It looks like his new school life is going to be full of embarrassment!

 

You know it’s somewhat nice to have a plot summary that makes my job all the easier. I mean just read that up there, do I even need to comment on it? It knows what it is and I don’t even need to check out any source material to confirm it. But let no one say I am not thorough when conducting these previews. I read the first chapter or so and I can certainly say I ain’t getting those lost brain cells back. Its pretty terrible. The main value you can get out of this is if you are looking for an anime that’s borderline porn. You want some bargain bin harem, well here you go.

 

HATSUKOI MONSTER


 

When fifteen-year-old Kaho Nikaidou leaves her sheltered home to start life anew in a Tokyo high school dormitory, the last thing she expects is to nearly get hit by a truck! Saved in the nick of time by a handsome stranger, Kaho falls head over heels for him and, after finally tracking him down, boldly confesses her feelings. Turns out Kaho’s mystery savior, Kanade, is the son of Kaho’s new landlord! The handsome object of Kaho’s affection agrees to go out with her, but her newfound bliss is short-lived when it turns out that her new boyfriend…is a fifth-grader?!

 

Here’s a title which pretty much justifies my hate for Shoujo. A girl falls for a guy and it turns out he’s a ridiculously mature looking elementary student who doesn’t act like a kid at all. Our protagonist is bland yet desired by everyone. Though she has a complex about being rich and getting everything she wanted then discovering that people were only nice to her because she’s rich. I say boo hoo, wish I had that problem. It’s a very shallow title and the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was when a guy attempts to rape her and is stopped by the underage mature looking kid. But the rapist has the gall to lecture her in the very next chapter about how she’s a hypocrite. Hey, buddy you should be glad she’s too stupid to figure out she should have called the cops on you. Even if you are a shoujo fan I say this isn’t worth your time.

 

PUZZLE & DRAGONS X


 

An anime adaptation of the Nintendo 3DS game Puzzle & Dragons X.

 

Words cannot describe how little I care. I can’t say I have played Puzzle and Dragons but I am certain it didn’t have a story worth a damn and we have studio Perriot behind this so we are not getting any eye candy. No info on staff so I can pretty much say this likely won’t be anything worthwhile

 

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars


 

Twelve years ago, in the country of Rimguard, a big incident left an unsolved mystery that has begun to fade from people’s memories. Time passes, and sisters Yui and Rena are living peacefully in the Enastria Empire. However, one day, a large mecha attacks Enastria. This day marks the turning point when the two girls get caught in the vortex of fate.

 

This is the studios first real anime and the directors first new anime so I don’t really have much to gauge on here. The trailer shows girls and mecha which doesn’t feel too groundbreaking but who knows. I don’t expect this to be a highlight of the season but it could very well be a small enjoyable show. Possibly.

 

Rewrite


 

Rewrite is set in the fictional city Kazamatsuri, where treeplanting and afforestation have caused the city to become overgrown with trees and flowers in much the same way that other cities are filled by buildings. However, while most of the city appears to be rural, there are many traditional city elements as well. While set in a modern setting, the city also gives off a strange sense of nostalgia.

Tennouji Kotarou lives here. He’s a high school student who has the ability to rewrite his own body; he can become stronger and faster at any time he chooses. He investigates supernatural mysteries with five girls from his school.

 

This is information I am not quite certain of but I believe that Rewrite is considered the black sheep by KEY fans and having played it myself I certainly see why. It certainly has been an animation downgrade for recent Key works as we went from KyoAni, to JC Staff, to PA works and now 8-Bit. Considering how 8-Bit handled the Grisaia adaption I really don’t think this bodes well for Rewrite but frankly even with a top tier animation studio, this project is damned from the start. For Rewrites story is pretty unadaptable. Normally with Key Visual novel adaptations they splice together the girls routes into anime arcs and play them out one after another while removing the romance aspect except for the main heroine. Here that can not be done for ever girls route ends pretty conclusively with no possible way to jump to another route The world ends in nearly all the routes after all. Of course that could be handled by making use of an omnibus format, were they just rewind time and play out each girl’s route in order. However there is another problem which stops this from being good in my eyes and that’s because Rewrites story is truly, truly stupid and sadly I can’t blame Maeda for this one as he didn’t write it. The common route is the usual Key comedic school fluff which goes into a more serious story later on. This time different routes were penned by different writers. The Lucia route was penned by Ryukishi of Higurashi fame and as expected is the best route. The other routes are for lack of a better word, dumb. It involves two big organisations battling each other to either end the world or save it and it gets real silly. From forest fairies, the mains wolverine claws, telephone pole swinging tsunderes, twintails eye patched girl with twin uzi’s and even a bloody talking dinosaur in the true route. It’s possible for some to be moved by parts of it but considering the lackluster rushed adaption we will likely be getting I think many will considering this Key’s worst work by far. It will make Charlotte’s last episode look like it was somewhat competent.

 

SERVAMP


 

When a stray black cat named Kuro crosses Mahiru Shirota’s path, the high school freshman’s life will never be the same again. Kuro is, in fact, no ordinary feline, but a servamp: a servant vampire. While Mahiru’s personal philosophy is one of non-intervention, he soon becomes embroiled in an ancient, altogether surreal conflict between vampires and humans.

 

This would be a fairly average show if not for one thing. This story focuses on comedy and the comedy is terrible beyond measure. It’s of the “Shout till it’s funny” variety and it just makes the story a pain to read. Because all the characters are busy trying to be “Hilarious” it make them rather irritating. The vampires embody the seven deadly sins and I am getting really tired of that concept. Our main vampire embodies sloth so naturally he’s lazy and annoys the main because he doesn’t want to do anything. Then you have the likes of the lust vampire who strips at every given opportunity and annoys the owner. Here’s a tip, making your characters annoying for the sake of comedy only works when you don’t annoy the viewer as well. If you can find some charm in the jokes then perhaps you might get something out of the shounen battle anime styled story. Otherwise I will give this one a pass.

 

Scared Rider XechS


 

In the otome game, a world of godless people was being menaced by Nightfly O’Note, a mysterious alien invader from a crimson world via the crimson barrier Scared. To counter the Nightfly O’Note’s threat, the humans establish the LAG defense agency at the Ryūkyū Islands. The anti-Nightfly O’Note fighting unit Scared Rider valiantly stood against the threat, but was completely wiped out five times.

And so, the sixth and latest unit, Scared Rider Xechs, was assembled from five young men. However, at nearly the same time that SRX was formed, the Nightfly O’Note invasion stopped suddenly.

Without the enemy they were supposed to fight, the SRX members spend their restless days dealing with ordinary life. The SRX members establish the musical band Odd-l’s to deal with their low spirits and restlessness. Meanwhile, a young woman is assigned to LAG as their instructor and commander. A new life begins for the young woman and the SRX. The tagline of the game, “That order, is it for love, or for death?”

 

At this point I have become somewhat averse to Otome game adaptations. While there are likely examples of ones with some merit, I find that much like light novel adaptions, the bad often outweigh the good. Staff is fairly inexperienced as the director mainly worked as an animation director and this is his first series as a full director. It’s only the series composers first show so I don’t think this has much going for it. The trailer makes it look rather silly and the synopsis up there causes my brain to zone out just from the excessive backstory detail making use of meaningless terms. This doesn’t look to be changing my mind about Otome adaptions.

 

TABOO TATTOO


 

The manga which this will be based off follows Justice Akazuka (nickname Seigi), a young man who is good at martial arts. Seigi rescues a homeless old man on the street one day from some thugs, and the man gives Seigi an object that imprints a tattoo on his palm. However, it is not an ordinary tattoo, but a special weapon that gives Seigi supernatural powers such as warping space-time. Seigi then meets a female American agent named Ijii, whose duty is to recover the tattoos. Seigi decides to help her and gets wrapped up in a cross-national conspiracy.

 

This fails under the category of not being bad but just being unremarkable. Given the improvement in anime fight animation as of late it’s possible that through pure presentation this series could rise above it’s mediocre premise. But don’t expect to be impressed by what this story has to offer. It’s a pretty standard shounen battle manga with little innovation. I expect reactions to the first episode of this would be fairly indifferent.

 

Tales of Zestiria the X


 

Sorey is a human youth who grew up among the seraphim, spiritual beings not visible to humans.

Sorey believes in the folklore that says “long ago, every human was able to see the seraphim” and dreams of unraveling the ancient mystery to make the world a place where people and seraphim can live together in peace.

One day, Sorey visits the human capital for the very first time. He becomes embroiled in an incident during which he pulls out a holy sword embedded in a rock and ends up becoming a Shepherd, one who casts away calamity from the world.

He begins to realize the gravity of his mission, and his dream of coexistence between mankind and the seraphim becomes more intense—

And thus, the Shepherd embarks on a journey with his companions.

 

I am currently playing through Tales of Zestiria specifically to write this paragraph and while I haven’t finished it I at least can see how the first few episodes are going to go. Now my experience with Tales games is limited and I can’t say I am impressed with what I have seen. Tales of the Abyss is pretty much the only tales game I finished and I was truly not happy with that one. It’s long been a hope of mine to see just what part of these games gives them such a draw for some people. Sadly Zestiria isn’t going to change my mind. Storywise it’s boring and far too slow paced for my liking. The characters lack interesting traits and is basically a lineup of tired anime tropes. Even gameplay wise it was dull and repetitive. I can’t see this standing out by removing gameplay and forcing the story to stand on it’s own. However we do have Ufotable producing this and they certainly have proved themselves to be a top teir animation studio. However I feel this would be a similar case to God Eater, which is a title that doesn’t really deserve this level of quality animation.

 

-K-Off Thoughts-

Having played the snore-fest that was the game, I have to say I can’t get very excited about this one, but anime adaptations of Tales games have all been fantastic in the past, so I want to give this the benefit of the doubt at least. It’s not going to be as good Phantasia, but maybe this story can work better as an anime.

 

Time Travel Shoujo: Mari Waka to 8-nin no Kagakusha-tachi


 

Time Travel Shoujo is based on a 1983 book titled Jishaku to Denki no Hatsumei Hakken Monogatari by Japanese educator Kiyonobu Itakura. It is part of the Hatsumei Hakken Monogatari Zenshuu series which describes the story of various scientific discoveries and inventions throughout history. The 1983 book focuses on discoveries related to magnetism and electricity.

 

I wasn’t able to check on the source for this one but regardless I don’t hold much hope for it. The director has Toward the Terra under his belt but not much else. The animation studio is abysmal and we have them to thank for Mars of Destruction. To the uninformed that anime was not very good…putting it charitably. There’s really no other information to work with as all that’s really given is the director and studio. But if this was to turn out to be a surprise hit then I am going to go ice skating in hell.

 

TSUKIUTA. THE ANIMATION


 

An anime adaptation of Tsukiuta, a music and original drama CD series about anthropomorphized months, has been green-lit.

 

I may not be the target market for this but it looks goddamn awful. The Writer and director have nothing but bad anime in there resume. And it’s by Studio Perriot. I can safely say with certainly that this is gonna be bad.

 

Series I am middling on

Amaama to Inazuma


 

Having lost his wife, math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is doing his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking and doesn’t have a huge appetite to begin with, but chance brings his little family and one of his students, Kotori Iida, together for homemade adventures. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.

 

Provided that they don’t go overboard on food porn this could be a rather heartwarming story about a single parent learning to cook in the kitchen in order to make his daughter happy. It’s fairly harmless and can provide that fuzzy feeling. It’s sort of like Usagi Drop, except without the creepy manga ending conesques. Though there is this budding relationship with the father and a student whom both work together to cook for his daughter but think of that what you will. I compare this kind of show to the likes of Flying Witch airing this season.

 

Amanchu!


 

Hikari Kohinata is a cheerful 15 year-old girl who lives near the ocean and she spends much of her time diving as a result. On her first day of high school, she meets a teacher who also likes scuba diving. There’s also a 16 year-old classmate, Futaba, who gets dragged along in Hikari’s maelstrom as soon as they meet at school.

 

A tale of friendship and scuba diving trivia. Basically details about two girls becoming friends and joining the Scuba diving club at school. One main character does have this weird trait where she is drawn like a puppet at times and her hyperactive nature could become annoying if done incorrectly. The other min can be rather endearing with her shy demeanor and acts as a good beginner to help clue in the audience with some Scuba diving knowledge. The knowledge presented seems legitimate so I now know how to properly clear a scuba diving mask. Pity I will never go Scuba diving…ever. Overall it’s enjoyable though not the kind of show you would hail to the heavens.  Series composer is currently working on Flying Witch at the moment and considering this is a similar kind of show I say she would do a good job here.

 

BATTERY


 

Asano’s novels revolve around Takumi Harada, a young man who moves to a mountain town in Okayama prefecture during the spring break before he enters middle school due to his father’s job transfer. Takumi is a pitcher, and after the moves he loses faith in his own talent, when suddenly his classmate Kou Nagakura appears in front of him. Kou has a strong desire to form a “battery” (a combination of a pitcher and catcher) with Takumi.

 

This is the first anime of the studio and the Director is also the series composer and doesn’t really have anything of note to talk about. This story is pretty typical for a sports anime and I say it will be overshadowed by the other sports anime airing this season, Days. Though Battery is more a character driven drama than Days is. They both have their merits but I think Days is a more enjoyable show as Battery can get dragged down a bit by it’s drama.

 

DAYS


 

The manga centers on two boys who were never meant to meet: Tsukushi Tsukamoto, who has no special skills but secretly hides a passionate heart, and Jin Kazama, an isolated soccer genius. On a stormy night, the two meet, and that meeting creates a whirlwind in the world of high school soccer.

 

It’s a typical but well executed sports anime. The main character is pretty dull seeing as he’s the generic stereotype for this kind of show. He reminds me a lot of Ippo from Hajime no Ippo in that regard, which is a great show but I never was fond of the protagonist. The driving point for these shows is generally the sense of skill progression and Days has plenty of that. It does have that tendency to over exaggerate the sport for dramatic effect like most other sports anime do. The characters have good chemistry and for the most part it’s a fun story.

 

DANGANRONPA 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen – Mirai-Hen


 

The anime is the conclusion of the “Hope’s Peak Academy” series’ original story and will air in 2016.

 

DANGANRONPA 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen – Zetsubou-hen


 

The prequel to the 2012 PSP game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. It will tell the story of the Remnants of Despair, a group featured in the game, while the other anime airing alongside (Mirai-hen) will act as a sequel to the game.

 

I am going to put tackle both of these here as they are by the same studio. I am a fan of the DanganRonpa games. However I am not a fan of the anime directed by Seiji Kishi which I feel didn’t do the games the justice they deserve. Sadly Seiji Kishi is back to direct these but we have something which gives these animes hope. The creator of the games is coming in to write the script for these anime. Some of you may be wondering why they skipped to 3 when they haven’t done an adaption of the second game. Well these animes are anime original, so they are not based on the Danganronpa 3 game that is coming out. These are intended to be a swan song for the story of the first two games so the writer can start the third with a brand new cast and setting. These are intended to tie up any lingering questions the first two games had. Personally I am rather interested to see what these series will show as the world outside the death games of Danganronpa has always been vague. Though I would like to make the point clear now that these shows have been confirmed to be for fans of the games. Thus if you haven’t played the games I would recommend doing so before watching them. Besides the games are great, well worth your time and are on steam now. Lerche has been doing a good job lately so I actually have quite a bit of hope for these series. But it is a wonder if the writer can work within the smaller timeframe of an anime and keep it more a traditional murder mystery style. As apposed to Kishi’s style with his mystery series which has been sit down and let me shove the answer into your face.

 

Fukigen na Mononokean


 

Ashiya has spent the first seven days of high school stuck in the infirmary because of a youkai attaching itself to him. He ends up asking the owner of a small tea room called the “Mononokean” for help. This is a tale involving the very morose owner of Mononokean guiding the youkai that happened to wander into this world go to the next world.

 

Easiest way to explain this one is that it’s pretty much Natsumes book of friends in a school setting. It has a lot of the same themes where a person is tormented by the fact he can see Youkai, then starts helping them and becomes a somewhat supernatural consultant. With a good execution we could have a pretty entertaining show here but I can’t say I was quite as enthralled with Natsume as Psgels was. I thought it was a fine show but lacked something to really catch my interest. With the right execution this could become a nice little show but we have a fly in the ointment and it’s name is Perriot plus. Pretty much everything these guys worked on was pretty terrible and the staff doesn’t inspire hope either. In that regards we are likely looking at a very poor adaption.

 

Love Live! Sunshine!!


 

Uranohoshi Girls’ High School, a private school in the seaside neighborhood of Uchiura at Numazu city, Shizuoka prefecture.

A small high school in a corner of Suruga Bay, it is home to nine teens,

led by second-year student Chika Takami, driven by one seriously big dream:

To become the next generation of bright, sparkling “school idols”!

As long as we don’t give up, any dream can come true…

All we have to do now is keep pushing hard for fame and glory!

Now their “School Idol Project” begins to make their dreams come true!

 

Fairly recently I was talking about the new season with a friend and Love Live came up. I had never seen the show and treated it like a plague based on it’s ridiculous popularity and pandering tendencies. However this friend of mine actually said it was good and considering their tastes that was quite a shock for me. So I decide to give the show a fair shot and watched the first episode. And hated it with every fibre of my body. However I didn’t let that stop me and continued to watch it. And something unexpected happened, something I am rather ashamed to admit. While watching the show I begin to notice that I was enjoying it. I know, I am just as disappointed in myself with this revelation. I hold no love for idols, I think the music is god awful and the industry to me is just exploitative. But I must admit that Love Live has a certain charm, much like Sailor Moon. It’s dumb and cheesy but it has an endearing quality to it’s positive atmosphere and  silly characters. Having finished I admit that I might be interested in seeing what the sequel has to offer and wondering if it can continue to avoid the dark side of the Idol industry. Also whether the new cast of characters can capture the charm the original love live cast have.

 

Mob Psycho 100


 

The story revolves around “Mob,” a boy who will explode if his emotional capacity reaches 100%. This boy with psychic powers earned his nickname “Mob” because he does not stand out among other people. He keeps his psychic powers bottled up so he can live normally, but if his emotional level reaches 100, something will overwhelm his entire body.

 

Let me start by saying this isn’t the second coming of One Punch Man. Though the writer of One Punch Man is behind this one and there are some similar themes, I can say that Mob psycho is a different kind of show. The trailer gives the impression that the show will be full of action but this is very far from the truth. Mob Psycho starts slow and is more a slice of life than an action show. Personally I would put one punch above it but Mob psycho does get more merits as it continues. What interested me most here is the artstyle Bones is going with, which seems to be a dynamic version of ONEs artstyle with a very sketch like presentation. It should be quite visually interesting, especially with the few action scenes present. My biggest concern with this one is whether the story will be able to hold people’s interest as I felt it took until chapter 30 to start get truly interesting.

 

Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin


 

The Katvarna Empire is at war with the neighboring Republic of Kioka. In the Katvarna Empire, the lazy, woman-admiring Ikuta hates war, but due to certain circumstances, he grudgingly takes the High Grade Military Officer Exam. No one would have expected that this 17-year-old young man would eventually become a soldier called a great commander by others. Ikuta survives this world engulfed in war with his superior intellect.

 

This is….hmmmm. It’s an odd duck. It bears some annoying Light novel cliches such as the main character being far too overpowered and always in the right but lacks a school setting and treats it’s story with a little more dignity. Though one thing I find most odd is these strange goblin like creatures in the story that clash completely with everything else and serve no real purpose. The villains are also far too one dimensional. The main goal once it’s revealed is interesting as it involves climbing the ranks to a high position in the military so they can change the country in a unusual manner. Madhouse is a dependable studio when it comes to adaptions so I suspect this will be given the treatment it deserves. Though whether it will be good is something I am not certain of. The story has it’s interesting points, such as having the group stuck behind enemy lines and bluffing through a checkpoint by making up a hostage situation to force them though. But it does have a certain lack of finesse when it comes to the writing which give me the impression that the writer isn’t really good enough to make full use of the admittedly intriguing setting.  If it reminds me of anything, it’s a lot like Valkyria Chronicles. The staff is fairly inexperienced so it’s up in the air if this will be good or not.

 

NEW GAME!


 

Meet Aoba Suzukaze, a fresh high-school graduate easily mistaken for a middle school student who joins the game company that produced her favorite game as a 3D artist, and her cute antics as she gets her way through work and deals with her rather wacky co-workers.

 

It’s a four Koma manga about a girl working in the game industry so that basically means plenty of comedy gags. My basic consensus is well…meh. I have said many times before that anime comedy doesn’t quite gel with me and while I don’t think the comedy in this is terrible, I also don’t think it’s all that amusing either. I will give this points for taking this out of a school setting and having it be about working adults but in truth this is very much a “Cute girls doing cute things” show about working women.

 

Orange


 

Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn’t take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be from her twenty-seven-year-old self, her life is suddenly thrown into flux. The letter tells her that a new transfer student by the name of Naruse Kakeru will be joining her class, and to keep her eye on him. But why? Naho must decide what to make of the letter and its cryptic warning, and what it means not only for her future, but for Kakeru’s as well.

 

Time travel has become a bit of a common theme with recent anime seasons. We had Erased, then Re:Zero and now we have Orange. I am not bemoaning this particular tend as while these shows do have a common theme of time travel, it’s not done in the same way or even in the same genre. Erased was more a character drama about an adult time traveling to his past childhood self. Re:Zero is more a fantasy adventure about a boy experiencing a time loop. This in turn is more a school life show with a small time travel twist. It’s mostly about this girl being given a letter that details events she will come to regret in the future and asking her to not relive her mistakes. She’s not fighting against serial killers or anything drastic but rather dealing with the consequences of the butterfly effect as she changes small details of her school life. It’s by no means a masterpiece and I feel the story doesn’t make full use of the premise and settles for a more traditional love story. For those who don’t expect that much from it, this could be an entertaining watch.

 

QUALIDEA CODE


 

The anime takes place in a world where humans are continuing to fight a war against an enemy called UNKNOWN. UNKNOWN invaded several decades ago, and children entered a cold sleep to escape the invasion. When the children awoke, they found themselves with supernatural powers. The children set up defense cities in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Chiba in order to protect the country from the UNKNOWN, who appear through the Tokyo Bay Gate.

 

QUALIDEA has some strange source material. Basically it has three different writers and each volume seems to be a completely different story with the first being a school life comedy about a girl who acts like some kind of loan shark. But those don’t matter because they have nothing to do with this anime series which looks to be only slight based on other volumes. We have the writer of Snafu on board. Director has only one anime under his belt, SoniAni. The trailer makes the story look very typical of a Light novel adaption but does seem to have better animation than usual.

 

Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan (TV)


 

The manga centers on a high school boy named Kusuo Saiki. He possesses supernatural powers that cause unfortunate events in his everyday life.

 

This is alright. It holds the same sort of appeal as One Punch Man as the main character is very overpowered. However this guy lacks the charm of Saitama and can come off as far too conceited and unlikable. I find it amusing how the protagonist points out the inherent flaws of desired psychic powers. Such as he points out that he has x-ray vision and can see through women’s clothing. However the thrill of such a power wears off when you can see naked women all the time. Plus if he goes too far he can see inside peoples skin which is hardly a pleasant sight. The story is primarily gag focused and is very slapstick in nature. Could make for a pretty decent comedy.

 

Series I do look forward to

91Days


 

The “classic mafia drama” takes place during the prohibition era. In the Lawless district the law has no power, the mafia rule the streets, and the illegally made liquor flows freely. At one time Avilio lived in this district, but after a mafia dispute ended in the murder of his family, he went into hiding. Later, Avilio receives a letter from a mysterious person that ignites his passion for revenge and leads him to return to Lawless. There, he infiltrates the Vanetti family and gets close to Nero.

 

Based on the premise alone I am on board for this series and that’s mainly the reason why it’s on this section. Mafia drama’s may not be a rare thing within the film industry but when it comes to anime it’s practically new territory. The closest thing I can think of to a Mafia drama would be the video game Adaption of Gungrave which was surprisingly good. But despite my enthusiasm for the idea, I do have reservations about whose doing it. For one this comes to us from Studio Shuka who are mainly known for the Durarara sequels and partly worked on Terror in Resonance. The second one is what really makes me wary as it too was a great idea which was put down by lackluster writing. However this series contains none of the staff from that one. The director really has nothing quite of note under his belt besides a shoujo series called Kimi ni Todoke.(The wallfolower hmm…believe I read the first few chapters of that.) The series composer is more notable being the guy behind Erased and Silver spoon. Though he’s also behind Joker Game which if you have been reading my coverage of it, I am not too happy about. This is his first anime that’s not an adaption and therefore a good gauge of his actual talent. Considering that he’s had more hits than misses I think this has a chance.

 

BERSERK (2016)


 

Miura comments in the magazine that the anime project will depict Guts in his “Black Swordsman” appearance, which is only revealed in parts of the manga that go beyond any previously animated Berserk story, and is only briefly hinted at in the first and last episode of the 1997 television anime series.

 

If you have been an anime fan for a certain period of time then it’s pretty impossible to not have heard of Berserk. Berserk has a pretty high reputation within the anime community though the anime of berserk wasn’t perfect. It suffered from fairly poor animation and a cliffhanger ending but the story made it well worth watching. There are few stories like berserk and the manga to me is a high quality product marred by the fact that it’s simply is nowhere near an ending and the author has clearly lost all interest in it. Strangely to this day only the golden age arc of Berserk was animated and the rest of the material only remained in manga form. At least until now. While I feel Berserk hit it’s peak with the Golden Age arc, the rest of the material is hardly anything to scoff at. Gut’s desperate battles against demons make for some brutal and bloody confrontations which I would most certainly like to see in full animated glory. Though much like the original Berserk anime this too has a problem with presentation. Namely when the old Berserk anime was degraded by subpar animation, this anime will feature full CGI models and animation. Considering the quality of CGI in the Berserk movies this is cause for concern. A even bigger concern is the studio, who has only made TV short series up to this point and pretty much all of them were teekyuu. Staff wise the directors been all over the place and his main contributions are Ben-To, Devil May Cry anime and Black Cat. The script supervisor looks more promising, seeing as he did School Live. From a production standpoint this doesn’t look good. I would like to remain hopeful as there have been series which have managed to still be quite entertaining despite shaky CGI and the story of Berserk has proven to be compelling even with less than stellar presentation.

 

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!!


 

Direct sequel to Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei Herz!.

 

Your eyes do not deceive you, I did indeed place this in the looking forward section. Now now, hear me out. I know the last two seasons of this show have been…unsavory to put it mildly. But provided this season is given full effort by Sliver link this could be something quite special. More so for Fate fans than anything else. For this is the point where the Yuri fanservice is toned down and the Fate fanservice is toned to high heaven. This season will have more action, a darker plot, all annoying characters removed to be replaced with better ones and more call outs to fate that could make a fanboy squeal his heart out. Their are some who consider this to be prisma illya’s “Heavens Feel” and there are some things that justify that claim. I hope Sliver link prepared a big budget cause this is going to be quite a showdown.

 

ReLIFE


 

The story follows Kaizaki Arata, a 27-year-old jobless man, who fails at every job interview he had after quitting his last company. His life changes after he met Yoake Ryou of the ReLife Research Institute, who offered him a drug that can change his appearance to 17-years-old and to become a subject in an experiment for one year. Thus, he begins his life as a high school student once more.

 

It’s no secret that I have shown a level of contempt for school settings. Perhaps with this title I can put that into more perspective. I don’t truly hate the school setting but what I really hate is how a school setting is mainly used for lazy writing. For example, why does Hero Academia have a school setting? True it’s in the name but when you think about it the school is mainly just an excuse to gather same aged superheroes. The school itself seems rather unnecessary when you take into account the plot. There is no reason why it had to have a school environment and likely would have been more interesting if it didn’t. In most cases a school setting is put into place to make use of tired old cliches and school events. ReLife however is about a 27 year old man returning to the school environment so the setting is more than just a device to pad out length. It won’t be impressing anyone but what we have here is a pretty solid character drama with some pretty good humor.

 

-K-Off Thoughts-

Currently following the web manga, and it’s a mixed bag. On one hand the premise, the cast, and comedy are pretty refreshing. Yet on the other hand the writer’s inexperience shows through when he begins overloading the story with backstories and flashbacks. But ultimately I look forward to seeing the story getting polished as an anime.

Posted on 11 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh my. This game was just utterly, utterly incredible when it came out, so despite disliking the usual remasters (ahem, Valkyria Chronicles), I was pretty stoked when I learned I’d be able to play this again on better hardware. It came out really late into the PS2’s lifetime in 2007, so at the time, I like a lot of others thought it should’ve been on the Playstation 3, as Tales of Vesperia had also been transferred to the PS3 despite being developed for the PS2 – and two console generations later, here we are with Leifthrasir.

In case you don’t know what Odin Sphere is about, it’s simply a 2D fairytale action JRPG that puts you into the shoes of 5 characters in individual stories each with their own background and self interest, with nods to well-known fairy tales. We start off with Gwendolyn in the first book, during the great battle against the Ringford Army, when her sister is killed and she herself is defeated but spared by Oswald, the shadow knight. As we move on from her story, through Cornelius, Mercedes, Oswald, and Velvet’s, we see these individual stories slowly come together by the sixth book to create an interesting spin on the “party members banding together to save the world” RPG trope. Here, some main characters are even enemies with each other, and not in the Tales sense where they’re mysteriously hostile at first, only to turn out to being the good guys (ahem, Sheena). No, some straight up try to murder each other out of self-interest no matter how good their intentions are, and I love it because it shows a gray morality usually handled black & white in other fantasy JRPGs. There’s a reason why some aggressive kingdoms act the way they do, and while it’s certainly not insightful or original for that matter, it’s a breath of fresh air. As a result, the climax is very well done, and the ending is just as explosive and does an excellent job of laying the story to rest (so long as you get the seventh book) since characters undergo tangible conflicts. Individually, each story by themselves are pretty standard fairy-tales. However, what made Odin Sphere’s plot just that fun to play through is how interconnected each story is and the subterfuge that goes on back and forth between the main characters, even if it isn’t on a very deep level.

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Posted on 31 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Welcome to the last part of our Chinese animated guide. This part will cover Chinese traditional art style, for me personally this is the most enjoyable group. The first thing you might notice in these shows are they were in different format ratio, lean more towards the Academy ratio format. I always find their traditional art style more compelling, but somewhat conservative approach (since for long decades the Chinese insist to use this style over and over again). Luckily, these restricts have been loosen up in recent years without locking into any particular one style. As a result we have those shows below as a more relaxed and more updated version of their traditional style. Here are again the 6 shows in no particular order:

Romance of Three Kingdoms (三国演)

romance of 3 kingdoms

This is a 2009 Chinese adaptation, so not to be confused with the various anime versions. Based on the popular work “Romance of Three Kingdoms” (which people regards its influence in East Asia literature is like that of Shakespeare in English literature). What we have in this episode are the three legendary warriors Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Guan Yu become brothers and they fight together. I love the traditional character designs, and they provided solid enough animated scenes. But I can’t get pass the fact that a girl who was pushed down a cliff, not only she’s not die, but seems unharmed and she then proceeds to play musical after that. Weird. She must had been on crack I think! Besides that, I always meant to read the actual book, but its length (800,000 words) always put me off. This series so far is solid enough for me to follow it through.

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Posted on 27 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the box art. With the internet you can at least get an idea for what you are in for. Lucid9 is one of the few I pick up out of curiosity, partly due to the few steam reviews present were very positive and the fact that it’s a free game. I knew nothing regarding what it was about and my only previous contact with it is a vague recollection on a Fuwanovel blog post. So I thought that it’s been awhile since I played a genuine visual novel and I was itching for something different. This is the first part called inciting Incident of a series of visual novels planned however despite that the story in this is more or less conclusive despite a pretty big cliffhanger for a sequel. At least the mystery for this game is solved with just a few hints of behind the scenes manipulation to be addressed in later chapters. Besides the pretty big turn of events at the stories end you could leave off this one content. Provided you stop before the last scene. But anyway enough baiting, lets us move on to the review.

For the unintroduced, Lucid9 is a visual novel and no, that is not the same thing as an eroge or dating sim. An eroge is like a visual novel but features a stronger focus on pornography. Often you can tell the difference between the two by the game’s title or synopsis. While visual novels do feature hentai content, it’s much lesser than an eroges content. In many new titles it’s getting phased out completely. A dating sim is more of a game where the objective is to raise girls affection for you and improve stats which are normally not present in visual novels. The best way to describe a visual novel is that it is like a choose your own adventure book. You go through a story and are presented choices which can lead the story on a different path. Most of the time the paths are decided by which girl in the narrative you show most interest in and the route you take often has them as the main heroine. Today’s visual novel is an exception to that as their is only one route and the choices you make don’t have much of an impact on the overall narrative. I will also point out that this visual novel doesn’t have any hentai within it’s narrative. The story involves a series of disappearances that are happening at an high class academy which are the work of a serial killer. Our protagonist is a cynical snark mouthed student who attends the school and manages to get caught up in the case. He’s recruited by a private investigator as an assistant and the case begins to affect those around him. Slowly he finds that he has a growing talent for investigation and detective work. Admittedly the murderers aren’t put on full focus here as the story mainly is concerned with the development of the main character and how this helps him get over his own issues to finally put effort into doing something with his life. For a free VN I was surprised at the quality of writing, this author really excels at writing back and forth dialogue though it can make the characters too quipy at times. The story is really carried by the interactions between characters and it does manage to keep things interesting.
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Posted on 21 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below have been hit or miss, but even me can say that their production is quite great and they are a creative bunch. Their shows, while mostly anime style-wise, cover many genres: from comedy, romantic to thriller. Their climax action scenes are quite impressive as well. Here are the 6 shows in no particular order:

Yaoguai Mingdan – Monster List (妖怪名单)

 Yaoguai Mingdan

The story started on the campus of a university. The poor university student Feng Xi can occasionally see demons, but he didn’t trust his marvelous senses. An unexpected snooping allowed him to find out that the school beauty was a demon fox? What should he do during the date with a demon fox? The beautiful demon fox gave him a small present, and then he realized his university was full of monsters. This is by far their most popular show but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Here we have the most ecchi show of the whole bunch, which is quite fitting seems those monsters are girls seducing their prey (horny young boys). I had to say the final fighting scene is very entertaining, but this is not my type of show.

More after the jump (more…)

Posted on 18 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Other:

Cover

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime shows. His musical style tends to emphasize heavy rock, orchestral, choirs and electronica in a bombastic manner. It not that he isn’t capable of other genres as he has shown to be quite proficient but his loudest and epic soundtracks receives the lion’s share of attention. Some of his works featured in shows like Blue Exorcist, Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, Seven Deadly Sins, Aldnoah.Zero, Seraph of the End, and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Sawano also composed the soundtrack for Xenoblade Chronicles X as well as various Japanese live-action drama throughout his career.  

If there is one legitimate complaint about Sawano’s music, it’s that he tends to rely too heavily on the same few singers for the vocals in his anime compositions.Thankfully, he incorporates more singers into his latest work including EGOIST, Eliana, Cyua (performed for Guilty Crown and Kill la Kill ) and Aimer. Describing his latest work on Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is little tough since he likes to reuses the same style but it would be something along the lines of the dramatic vision in Attack on Titan combined with the epic beats of Aldnoah.Zero.

Standout Tracks:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS, Warcry, JAnoPAN, Through my Blood, 88城, Grenzlinie, Ktetsu上-abdli, 1coma, icon

Strong Background Tracks:

KGK, ComeBack音, noname

Impressions:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS – The main theme of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri with Eliana being the main singer and is what ət’æk 0N tάɪtn was to Attack on Titan. While ət’æk 0N tάɪtn had an absolutely sick drop with Mika Kobyashi vocals, I felt that this theme was more consistent in its buildup and execution.

Warcry – As heard in episode two and five when Memui goes to town on those pesky Kabanes, this insert song comes with all the terrible and cheesy lyrics of mpi

JAnoPAN – This odd track is more along the lines of SiTE-n0w1 (Aldnoah.Zero) where it had this funky dancefloor beat and peculiar voices. I have been never been a fan of mpi as his English singing really sucks but the intensity of the latter half has me interested in where they decide to insert this as Memui goes further down the hole.

Through my Blood – Featured in episode four, it’s a tossup between Mika Kobyashi and Aimer’s version bundled with the ED CD single.

88城 – I didn’t get all that riled up by the first half of this song even though it was had this sweeping sound that you find in your typical introduction in a movie. It is the second half that got me excited as it was

Grenzlinie – Uplifting song with Cyua on vocals that starts off soft and ends off in on an epic note.

Ktetsu上 abdli – Not a big fan of piano solos but the first half of the track has this depressing jazz-like feel to it like a person who is moping about and wailing at random things. It’s not a bad thing as it does sound quite lovely in a morbid kind of way as it spirals down in oblivion in its second half. Featured in episode three where Memui impales a pregnant lady that had the misfortune of turning in a Kabane.

1coma – The definitive theme for Icoma. I would says that this describe about the resolve of our main character that grows into this epic orchestra version of Through the Blood as he gains the means to realize his purpose of protecting people by kicking ass with his own steam gun.

icon – Different version of the ED where Eliana sings in English as opposed to EGOIST/Aimer’s Japanese. I prefer the original version as the Japanese and interplay between the two voice makes for a more pleasant experience and the cheesy English lyrics proves to be too much.

Should you purchase this soundtrack? The answer would be a resounding yes as I found myself placing ten out of sixteen soundtracks onto my music player. Hiroyuki Sawano manages to find his way again after his rather subdued work on Seraph of the End and comes out with a smashing OST to a show where the there are definitely no brakes on the zombie-killing train.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 05:17 PM)
    You are still annoyed by that? Not sure how psgels approving of it changes anything. After all the guy praised the holy hell out of Blood C which is terrible.
    Plus how many time do I have to say I don’t hate it?
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 04:07 PM)
    @SuperMario: don’t let this taint your opinion of the series tho, Just pay attention to the details, and in the end share your own honest thoughts. I am genuinely interested to see what someone who doesn’t have a dog in this game thinks about the show.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 04:04 PM)
    Now I’m not a fan of this guy, but he does make some sound valid points here; yet even I agree that he takes it too far in a few places. I’m not good at video editing tho, and this proves that the love for the series is not limited to a few artsy types, but even mainstream personas that anime newcomers are banding around can appreciate the craft:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6O-id9uLvU&index=1&list=PLw6UBKuaMyFA2iVd1eubB_AOp-C8jvp0T
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:38 PM)
    It is easy to undermine the value of originality, but it’s also fairly easy to show how that’s plain wrong. It’s objectively much easier to improve on existing concepts than to use creativity and imagination to come up with new angles, styles and fresh perspectives and twists in a medium that had gone stale. Any work can age and become old, but one can never take away from what made it special in the first place. They’ll forever be hailed as the Pioneers that they were.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:25 PM)
    Now on unrelated note:
    “[Anno turned EoE] into what the original end of the series would have been if it was given enough budget: strange, absurd, confusing and a work of art”.
    Must be a quote from the “prime example of a blind fanboy” Bam right? Wrong! This was written by psgels himself. Guess whoever praises Eva is an idiot fanboy who doesn’t know any better. But yet those who bash it for a few repetitive shallow arguments are the true erudites.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:53 PM)
    “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Samuel L. Johnson
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:50 PM)
    What are we numbing ourselves to? The pain of band stress of modern life? Failing to fit or preserve the image that they tell us to uphold? This certainly needs to be brought to attention and critically analyzed.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:45 PM)
    Then there’s the 90 million daily opiate users, which basically means one out of every four people you meet are on one form of these things. Mothers, daughters, doctors, cops, teachers, all circling the drain. The US is nowhere near the most populated country, but we are by far the most consumer of prescription narcotics. That has to say something about our society.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:41 PM)
    There are 4 million patients, mostly kids between 8-16, that are on a daily dose of Adderall. That’s a straight mixture of several amphetamine salts, so for all intent and purposes crystal meth. Ritalin is also a powerful stimulant, and the cost/benefit analysis of this approach has always been proven to be damn reprehensible. ADHD is very rare, but used as a blanket term to just sedate the hell out of children that lazy parents don’t wanna deal with.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:37 PM)
    @K-off: well these drug-peddling doctors are just dealers with 20 years of schooling and half a million dollars in student debt. There are good caring doctors, but way far in-between. The few cases of actual neural chemical imbalance that benefit from these drugs are a shocking minority. There has been too many scandals of uncovered “donation” from big pharma to medical boards and hospitals.

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