Posted on 2 December 2016 with categories: Monthly Summaries

And that was November. The month without a beginning or end, most series are using this time to build up their setting and characters for added depth. Some shows got better, some started to show kinks. These are my impressions, in order from least liked to best liked, about all the episodes that came out in November, so some of the new episodes aren’t counted yet. As usual: there be spoilers. And I’m not sure whether I’m going to include ratings in these lists. For now I’m refraining though. Just note that #2 is way above #3 and #1 is miles above #2 again. #1 in particular just restored my faith in anime again.

Oh and I unfortunately had to drop 3-Gatsu no Lion. Not for a really particular reason other than time. I had to drop one, and it became that series. Was I right in dropping it? Dunno.

#9: Bernard Jou Iwaku (05-08)

Granted, the only reason I’m still watching this is because every episode is over within 3,5 minutes, but it says something that out of the entire onslaught of mini-shows this season, this is the only one I kept. This is what I expect when I watch one of these series: due to the dialogue it never loses my interest, it remains fresh, it makes me chuckle once in a while and it knows what it’s about: name-dropping famous novels.

I like how it’s both poking fun at the literary imbeciles as the snobs. This dynamic has been good for 8 episodes of fun, and I can pretty much see this show finish its run without too much difficulties at this pace. It’s interesting, fun and short. Nothing special of course, but short series should look here for how it’s done. They really need that because the amount of really bad shows really is getting out of hand.

#8: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari (05-08)

Oh boy, this series. This was not a good month for Udon no Kuni. I will continue watching it, but this month the show headed into a really questionable direction that… I both don’t like it and I don’t get it to be honest. Over the past month I’ve been watching this guy slowly losing his mind by a shapeshifting tanuki. And if that was an actual plot point then I’d love that, but I’m getting more and more convinced that the creators are playing this straight: that the series really is going to end with Souta and Poco living happily ever after as a family…

In a normal series that would be fine and all, but at times this show seems to forget that we’re dealing with a tanuki here… Souta never seems to question where he came from, his origins, he doesn’t seem to find it weird that he basically is treating his pet like his son. He gave up his entire life in the city, not through careful consideration, but because Poco liked it there better, which takes away a lot of the power of the first episode.

It also doesn’t help that Poco is getting really annoying now. His antics… they’re a bit too blown up. He’s trying sooo hard to sound like a kid, and I get that he’s a tanuki and all, but it’s also the responsibility of the creators to create a fun series and all. Episode nine was especially cringe-worthy when he got lost in the most clichéd way possible. No meaning behind it whatsoever, just to get some development out of Souta. I also really dislike Souta’s coworker, especially now that the creators seem to have decided they want him back as a regular character.

They’re going to really have to step up their game for the finale here. And what happened to the Udon? I mean they eat it here and there and all, but this is supposed to be one of the major themes of this series. We don’t call Cross Game Napolitan Game for a reason.

#7: Cheating Craft (05-08)

Usually in a comedy, when the big rival is introduced it’s the moment the series goes south. I do not know why so many comedies want to be taken seriously all of a sudden, but you need good characters for that, and most comedies depend on stereotypes or gimmicks. Cheating Craft is basically one gigantic gimmick, so I was dreading this moment, and yet something really weird happened: the show actually got better.

The crowning moment definitely was episode 6, which just said “screw it” to linear storytelling and delivered a really weird mish-mash of scenes right intertwined with each other, held together in a theater play. That one episode succeeded in trying to sound like it was taking itself so seriously, yet it kept trying to get away with more and more ludicrous scenes. And it was fully aware of that by the way. It was magic!

After that followed two episodes of training arc parodies. A bit more conventional, but they worked. It had a bunch of neat ideas, it was fun, it made me laugh. I’m impressed in the way that the story of the show is actually progressing, and yet it does not forget that it’s supposed to make the audience laugh. This is the middle month in which series like this usually lull into a period of nothing really happening, and here Cheating Craft comes with a pacing that really is just fine.

#6: To Be Hero (05-08)

This series continues to be an excellent example of how comedy should be done. The fast pace makes sure that the jokes just keep coming and coming, the half episode length makes sure that it doesn’t drag, and in terms of inspiration it hasn’t slowed down in the slightest since it started, and it still feels fresh. It still manages to surprise me with how politically uncorrect it can get and every episode finds a new way to weird me out. It’s one of those rare shows where I just know that I’m going to laugh through the entire episode.

What also helps is that there are no bad characters. Sure, the characters are terrible people and all, but every characters has a point and purpose, and actually made me laugh. Even Gintama (or Excel Saga for a more concise comparison) had characters that got on my nerves and I wanted to just go away. Every character is also their own epitome of black humour. Some characters may have some annoying moments, but these are so rare compared to what I feared this show would turn into.

Endings are the bane of comedy’s existance, but with Nabeshin at the helm I actually have confidence that he can pull it off. The key is have a climax while still being funny, and using that climax for extra tension for the jokes. 90% of all comedies make the mistake of just completely scrapping the jokes, or putting the jokes on second place for the sake of wrapping up the story. That’s bad! Ideally, you’d use your entire series to one gigantic joke of a climax at the end, and there are very few series that understand that. Is this series one of those that do? Find out next month!

#5: Shuumatsu no Izetta (06-09)

This show, it’s got a lot of major things right, and a lot of minor things wrong. So overall, I’m happy. My biggest praise is how well the creators thought about the plot. There are no really big cop-outs, the tone is consistent, the setting is very solid. A good story just writes itself, and that’s exactly what happened here. This month we saw the war between the two main nations here evolve further, and with what it was given, it makes sense for things to have happened the way they did. Characters are no morons, Eylstad did what they could in order to hold out as long as possible, while Germania took its time to find a way to deal with the white witch: a powerful weapon, yet ultimately too fragile to win an entire war with.

And I realize how rare this is now that there is a series that actually doesn’t do that: but the deaths actually surprised me. I’ve seen so many series that copped out at the last minute: pretending to kill off characters only to find some way to revive them again, or pulling completely ludicrous leaps in logic to prevent certain characters from dying. Not here: when it felt logical for them to die, they actually did. They underestimated the situations they were in and paid for it. I love that! These deaths have meaning, it’s not like this is a trigger-happy show that just kills for the sake of killing. Hats off!

Now the bad: first of all the fanservice. An sich I don’t mind that (hell, there are some series this season where there is far, far more), but it’s the context in which it’s used. This is a series that takes itself very seriously, the light-hearted moments are very limited, and there are nearly no jokes. The only jokes are the really bad boob jokes that you see in every single series. THAT’s is what I take offense to: if you’re gonna do fanservice: make it flow well into the storyline. Don’t come across like the only way you know to flesh out characters is grabbing each other by the boob. I’m sick and tired of that.

Now, episode 09 finally brought in the second witch. It was a major episode, and I loved what it lead to… except the new witch herself feels kinda iffy. The revelation that she was cloned feels… a bit out of place in the setting. For the first time in the entire series. It was built up, but still it felt a bit weird. But okay, it’s their series, if they want a setting reminiscent of the first world war with a few details changed here and there, like witches and cloning, I can buy it. But then the witch started talking….

Look, what also made this series so good is the believable characters. There were a few things here and there, but most of all the characters here: you can believe that these people all fit, and their acting was all down to earth and business. There was a lot of cold and serious acting, but Izetta and Fyne balanced that out by also showing the human side of the cast, and when they did they also knew their place. And then that new witch came and started acting like a supervillain in an action flick. It was… jarring…

#4: Natsume Yuujinchou (05-08 + special)

I’m not entirely sure what to think right now. On one hand, episode 08 was the best episode involving Natori and Matoba so far. The other episodes have been really excellent as well. But that Nyanko-sensei special was the single worst episode of Natsume Yuujinchou, ever. It’s really rare how consistent Natsume Yuujinchou is, so any episode that isn’t up to its standards immediately stands out, to the point where the episode was just hard to watch.

Let’s talk a bit about brevity in storytelling. Ideally, a story should progress at a logical pace, and it should end at a place where it fits best. This is not an attack on filler episodes, because these can serve a very good purpose in fleshing out characters and getting to know them, however we are already more than 50 episodes in right now. Series should not try to pad out their length and go on as long as possible, because that will eventually just diminish the impact. Telling a story is a delicate balance between taking your time at the right moments and hitting hard and fast at the right moments. The timing of that special felt completely out of place, and the creators knew it so they aired it as a special outside of the main series, so I’m not really sure whether to hold this against the series or not. I mean most specials are either just for background information, or some silly side-story… however specials always air when a show is finished. Not when you’re right in the middle of a story.

Because it seems that this series is addressing my concerns I voiced right at the beginning of this series: there’s been lots of character development of the major side characters this month. Whereas season four was all about Natsume and his family, this is about his friends and Natori, Matoba and Reiko. Since for these episodes, the series depends on something other than the powerful closures of the episodic stories, so it took a while to build up, but with episode 08 it all came together quite nicely.

Now ideally, there should come one more season after this. ONE. Entirely dedicated to wrapping up the story and closing off all threads that the series laid out. I really think that any longer than that will be too long for Natsume Yuujinchou By then it will have been able to say everything that it wanted to say.

#3: Yuri!! on Ice (05-09)

Well then. Sayo Yamamoto’s series have always been incredibly sexual, all in their own unique way. Her masterpiece Michiko e Hatchin seamlessly blended the sexiness in Brazilian culture with its plot and characters, while Lupin the Third… I’m still surprised that they managed to get away with everything they did. Now Yuri on Ice is here for the Yaoi fans. The thing with fanservice is this: there will always be people who will not be attracted to what you’re showing. So, if you focus too long on that, or make it incredibly stupid you will alienate people. This is a rule that a lot of anime fail to understand. Yuri on Ice was awfully close to that line this month though. Especially on the orgasm skater I was like… “do I really want to watch this?” And yeah, the first episodes still were a bit ambiguous, but this month made no mistake: Victor is gay and Yuri is bisexual, and we’re getting a romance here. It feels forced. I don’t buy it. I have that with most romances though, but it’s a shame that the romance in this show does not form an exception.

Because damn, the characterization in this show is so good! This month this series had the challenge of blowing through two major matches, each showing 6 contestants performing two routines. Usually a series would then focus on the main character and one rival, degrading the other characters to a bunch of cardboard boxes who are just there for filler, but not this show! Because so much time of these episodes is focused on showing actual ice skating performances, every single one of the characters gets his own personality, story, background, antionality. And with the exception of the above-mentioned orgasm skater they were all incredibly well done for how little time they got. You remember them, they’re all fun, they all drew me right into their performances. They made for four really riveting episodes that just sparkled with personality.

However, one big problem remains: Yuri on Ice really is about its characters, and therefore it really is putting logic a bit on the second place. The world of ice skating is huge, and Yuri just basically reached the world finals in a best of six tournament, even though he finished fourth and second once. I get why they do it: the creators really does everything it can to spice up this show, and for the characters it works! For the story though… do not watch this for the story.

#2: Classicaloid (05-08)

Can I also give a shout-out to the producers of this series? Every single episode features a new awesome cover of classical music, used both in the climax as the ED. And don’t forget we’re dealing with 24 episodes here! This is something you have to consciously decide to go after, certainly with how good all these songs are. And on top of that there is the “Pain! Pain!”-song of episode nine, which too was just incredible in its own way.

I’m not sure how much on the radar this show is, but I love everything about it. Seriously, I have nothing to really criticize here. Perhaps only really minor nit-picks like jerky animation here, and some coincidences there, but that’s nothing. This is my idea of a sitcom. Every single character here is completely adorable, and their chemistry is just amazing. These guys can be incredibly annoying, but every time they do something that gets on your nerves, it also gets on just about every other character’s nerves, and that all just continues to build up, to the point at which I just can’t stay angry at these guys. The most notable example of this is episode 07: on paper this episode is terrible. It’s a gimmick that spelled the downfall of so many series yet. And yet at the end the only reaction I could muster was the same that Kanae, the female lead had: just shake your head and give up.

The plot moves slowly, but it does move. And the way it does move! It’s always either in ways you don’t expect, or the most obvious way imaginable. Things happen and characters act like it’s the most normal thing in the world, so it takes a while to really digest what happened. Or in the incredibly obvious cases it takes a while that yes, they really are going that way. There are very few series I had as much fun with as this series. This is no longer just a comedy, this is just a show with awesome characters.

#1: Fune wo Amu (04-07)

Fune wo Amu is my favourite series this season, but even that isn’t indicative of just how good this show is. This is just a completely different level, it blows just everything away with its execution, and it would stand at the top of nearly every season this decade. That’s how incredible this show is!

And it didn’t do so with the biggest story, the most epic setting, dramatic conflicts. Instead it’s so simple, yet everything it does is perfect. Aside from throw more budget so that some drawings can be more high-resolution (not even better animated, just give the artists a bit more time to animate everything in the right resolution) I would not change anything so far about how these episodes have played out. The way this series manages to breathe life to its characters with such a simple story of writing a dictionary. And sure, there is drama. But it’s everyday drama: corporate issues of management that’s looking for ways to have their way, cocky professors. It all just feels so real, like you can touch these characters.

And the romance! Holy crap the romance! Let me tell you that this show has the best romance out of any series where romance isn’t the main focus. Like I can’t even think of any show that tops it. Especially episode six, it hit me like a truck, that’s how well built up and acted it was, and it has been many years since an anime hit me as much as that single episode, even many years before my writer’s block started.

Like finally a show comes in and does everything right. Majime is socially awkward, and yet. No silly drama, no characters behaving illogically for the sake of creating drama. No bad overreactions, no misunderstandings that create terrible drama because characters refuse to talk to each other, no main character who is too scared to even confess, no generic forced resolutions. Nope. Majime just needs a few episodes to gather courage, but the bugger actually goes ahead and does it! And not just that, Nishioka himself kicks ass too. He has a stable relationship, and while this has its ups and downs, these ups and downs are realistic: they’re about the small things. I absolutely adored how subtle the end of episode 07 was. Where in every other series there would be a huge drama, the very small gesture of him planning a date was so much more powerful.

And I know, these are so simple. And that makes it al the weirder that this series is the first to actually get everything right. THIS is the romance I want to see: scrap the bullshit, the whiny drama about nothing, the refusal to communicate, giving such a skewed portrayal of reality. THIS should be the standard!

Posted on 22 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight the very spirit of World Animation- take you around the world to check out a diverse set of animation techniques in wide ranges of genres. As I mentioned before the very purpose of this column is to recommend you readers to check out those movies as an alternative to anime and mainstream animated movies, so don’t feel discouraged to read on the review if you haven’t seen these movies. There will be mild spoilers on the theme of the movies, but I don’t see it as an issue should you guys decide to check out these films later.

The title this week: Strange Frame- Love & Sax sold me based on its premise alone. This is an …hold your breath here… indie musical psychedelic lesbian-themed sci-fi film using cut-out animation and upon reading this I know I have to check it out already. As the box office now is dominated by family-oriented animated movies with themes like “you’re different, but be yourself (Shrek, Ratatouile, Wreck-it Ralph…) or “we family will support each other forever” (the Croods, the Incredibles), something as weird and adult-oriented as this is certainly welcomed. So how the film itself fare, let’s get down to it.

The story of how this film got made is already a curious one. The story was written 10 years prior to its release by Shelley Doty and GB Hajim (and was directed by the latter) with their mutual love for sci-fi, especially works from John Valey and believe it or not, Shinichiro Watanabe. GB Hajim then continued the project by using his local Hawaii community (high school students no less) instead of going to big studio and it took them 7 years to finish the project. The story (if I could call that) follow the love story between Parker and Naia (a slave) and they form a band together. But then stuffs happen and Parker found out that she had been kicked out of the band, while Naia is under controlled by a ruthless record producer. Parker’s now lovesick and she attempts to save her lover from danger.

The settings are one of the real highlight of the film, it’s inviting enough to let us sweep up to its worldbuilding, but also ambiguous enough to still hint on the seedy parts laying underground of this world. Set in the 28th century after humanity has abandoned the polluted Earth and settled on several of Jupiter’s moons, humans then have to adapt to the new environment and as a result the physical appearance has been genetically modified as mutants. This allows the film to go wild on character designs, and they really go all out to create a chaotic and gritty world (with influenced a lot by Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop). In this world, race, gender and sexual orientation seem to be non-issues and for me that is one of the most distinct and refreshing take on the future I have seen for a long time. At least we have probably one of the very first lesbian leads (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here) and those mutants people are all colored-people, which I personally happy to see that this film has balls to go that far.

Another unique thing about this feature is the technique they engaged. They use cut-out animation (think of the style of South Park) so that the visual animation sets itself out from 3D animation, while at the same time the technique supports the limited animation as they don’t have to animate every single frame. The best example for you to check out this technique is when the band playing their music, their heads are shaking while their bodies don’t move… For the most part I say the technique was used appropriately and moreover it carries certain charms that you can’t find it elsewhere. The music in the film, which is a mixture of jazz and rock, is phenomenal. I really love all the music played by the band, and the score, while goes overboard sometimes, is still solid and engaging.

The story is sadly the film’s weakest part. It always feels like the story is a patch-up of many unrelated stories, and really fall apart when you step back and think about it. As much as I like the chemistry between Parker and Naia, they both brought down by lousy dialogues, meaningless voice overs and the pacing is all over the place. Now that when I recall the actual plot, I can’t fill it pass three sentences because there’s not much into it. The love quest has been done thousand times before and unfortunately this story adds nothing new to the table, at the same time goes through as much genre cliché as possible. The story eventually comes together a bit at the end, but by then who really care for any development whatsoever?

But to be fair, nobody come to watch Strange Fame expecting for a good plot. What they are looking for is the trippiness and LCD-filled plot and boy did it deliver. There are many scenes where the movie just goes full wacko, and they keep going wilder and more bizarre as the story progresses. It also helps that the film’s visuals support that acid trip very well. The sequence where the leads are in drug, for example, contains full of weird and arresting visuals (really a love it or hate it moments I would add) and that high feeling is the feeling you can’t get out of after watching this.

Strange Fame proves to be an experience. Although the plot is as cliché and disjointed as possible, the dark, acid aesthetic, plus its innovative cut-out animation and its unbashed look on race and gender issues make it a movie that you all need to experience at least once. Just like a dream, in about a year time you will most likely forget about the plot of the film, but also like a dream you will never forget about the experience you encounter in your dream. Call this film a nightmare if you like.

Next one (probably next week), let head to South Korea where our comrade K-Off is heading for a world that slowly being eaten away by zombies. Stay tune.

Posted on 8 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that it was greenlit at all was mind-blowing enough, but the most absurd things was the audience it aimed: the anime medium. Because no matter how you look at it: this isn’t an anime at all. Well, not even an animation to begin with. I’m not going to detail about it as I already addressed it in my weekly post. The fact that this is a wuxia puppetry show already makes it a unique show among anime world and all the more reason to watch it. But on top of all that, the show’s writing and execution are really excellent and refreshing. If the show just relies on its gimmick of being a puppetry show, it will fall apart very quickly, but Thunderbolt Fantasy understands that their characters are the real stars of the show, so they spend a huge amount of them talking to each other, explore their philosophy of life and the campy dialogues are entertaining and humorous.

Set in a fictional Eastern Asia settings, the show tells a story of a merry band in the quest to retrieve a legendary sword that was stolen by Mie Tian Hai, a skilled swordsman with a history of black magic. Our MC Shang Bu Huan is a mysterious swordsman who came from another area, that’s why he doesn’t know much about this place and thus got tagged along to the quest by Gui Niao, a cool-head strategist and the bunch of misfits including the naive guardian girl, the One-Eyed archer, the young Spear-wielder, a demon necromancer and the bloodthirsty assassin. The group, each has their own unique appearance and personalities with different set of goals head up to the Seven Sins Tower, and there were double-crossing, triple-crossing, blood-splattering, heads rolling and even demons, undead, skeleton birds join in along the way. Indeed, half of these characters here are easily villains in other story and the fun here is to see their huge ego crashing with each other.

Because this is a puppetry show, there are many elements that you won’t find in other anime. The characters, for example, have very static faces. Especially when they are in close-up, it’s hard to tell apart what they are thinking because of the lack of expression in their faces, but this issue actually works in the show’s favor, for how else would one portrait a group that double-crossing is the norm? Second, the practical effects are truly what set it apart from other anime. There is little amount of action for a true-action show, but when the action kicks in, it’s a feast to the eyes. Bloods squirming all over, bodies blowing up, heads rolling that you can actually feel the weight of the blood dripping are refreshing to say the least. Lastly, I have to highlight the costume designs because they really go all in for the costumes to make the characters as distinctive and stand out as ever.

The characters themselves is easily the show’s best strength. Each character is elegantly designed and all of them have their own unique mannerism, assisted greatly by the use of puppetry, something that ordinary anime usually lack. My favorite characters in that vein is the demon lady Xing Hai, as whenever she talks, it feels like she’s singing and whenever she walks it feels just like she’s dancing. Like Mayoiga, those characters all have interesting traits and utterly over the top but here in this show they can actually get loose and carry the story. Like for example, the show spends half an episode for Sha Wu Sheng the Roaring Killer Phoenix challenging Mie Tian Hai (and then loose despite knowing it all), simply because these characteristics are unmistakably Sha Wu Sheng. In Thunderbolt Fantasy, those characters embrace their roles to the bitter end. As a main character, Shang Bu Huan is like our blank-state who unfamiliar to this world (like ourselves) and he’s being the most sensible person in this whole madness. I particular love his stunning reactions every time something absurd happens. Moreover, he bounces off other characters very well, creating a rather great chemistry between them and the dialogues maintain the campy sense that so entertaining to watch. There are pure gold moments throughout the series like when Shang Bu Huan talks to each member of the group to find their real motives, or simple quick remarks like “the temple smells offensive” or even “it’s already a sitting fight before the sword fight” because of course they’re too awesome to fight it normal way. Like a puppetry show, these characters are just there to perform their larger-than-life roles, but they perform it so well that I have a very good time following them.

But this show is not only about characters having fun, there is a theme for the show if you want to look deeper. The notion of the sword is both mentioned various times throughout the series and the show twists that notion around quite wonderfully. In this world, swords represent power of destruction. Mie Ting Hai seeks out the most famous sword because he believes his technique deserved the best. The demon Yao Tu Li was put to sleep for 200 years because of the sword. The characters kill off hundreds of people through their swords… As long as you are good at swords, you have the ultimate power in this world. But not for our two mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao. In fact, the series showcases two extreme spectrums from Shang Bu Huan that go directly against with the above notion. The “sword’ that Shang Bu Huan always carries around is just a piece of wood painted silver, because he doesn’t want to cause more deadly troubles with the swords, but when in needed, he could pull out 36 legendary swords (that he said he was about to expose them, sly guy!) to send the monster to the black hole (quite literally!), Gui Niao also hates using swords as a mean of killing. The legendary sword that everyone seek in the end was destroyed meaninglessly.

Thunderbolt Fantasy is the most entertaining series you will encounter this year. Plain and simple. Urobuchi writing is excellent in this show, both leaving enough room for the group to act, and maintaining the plot that both is fast and unpredictable, but always makes sense and a lot of fun. It appears that we will have an entirely new cast on the second season, plus our mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao and if that’s the case then I’m totally on board. After all, Shang Bu Huan’s only weakness is his trust towards people and Gui Niao happens to be the master of manipulation; so I’m eager to see how our MC get himself dragged into Gui Niao’s little scheme next time. Like this first season already demonstrated, the world is simply too small for the two of them.

Posted on 5 November 2016 with categories: Monthly Summaries

In the past I wrote these summaries to give everyone an overview of as much of the series of the month as I could, therefore I tried to avoid spoilers as much as I could. Right now though, this feels like a good method to talk about everything that I’m watching, since I’m not going to do episodic posts, so I do want to talk about spoilers. Apologies for that. Also, in the past when I was a student with no life I really made an effort to post these summaries at the exact last day of each month, but right now I’m not going to even try to be on time. Still, this summary is about all episodes that aired in October of the shows that I’m watching, excluding anything that aired in the past four days. For the sake of clarity, I just included all relevant episodes after each title.

With these technicalities out of the way, this is a very solid season! It has really been a while since I witnessed so many solid shows together, that actually ended up delivering. There were a few shows that have started so show cracks despite initial favourable impressions, but there is really a lot of good stuff to be found here. So here are my impressions on the shows that I watched more than 1 episode of, in order of least favourite to favourite:

#12: Soushin Shoujo Matoi (02-04)

I gave this one four episodes, but I’m going to drop it now. The first episode was fun, it had diverse characters, humour; it was exciting. And episode 02 and 03 were also alright too. Not as good, but still fun enough to keep my attention. And then episode four happened, that blond girl arrived, and everything got so dark and dramatic and serious. It showed that yes, this series intends to take itself seriously.

Here’s the thing: this is a show where teen-aged girls in silly outfits throw waves of energy at evil monsters that want to destroy everything. You cannot pull that with a straight face, the only way for this show to work is to be a wacky action series carried by the antics of the lead cast. As soon as the blond girl started angsting this show was over. I mean kid, if you want to tell a serious story: there are way better series this season for that.

#11: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku (02-05)

I cannot suspend my disbelief for this series enough. This is a show where you absolutely need that because some characters pull some really weird leaps in logic, but my ability to take it seriously got less and less (now that it’s episode 05 I finally cannot ignore it anymore).

So yeah, my predictions came true: this show tried to all be cute and lighthearted at the beginning, only to get really “dark” twists after a while. The dark twist being here that people die. Fair enough, you can make that work with the right development, but I do not think that this show knows that right development is. It tries, oh it definitely tries, however it just is so hard to take it seriously.

The characters are the problem here. The concept on its own is good: collect a bunch of magical girls, kill ’em off here and there, and watch the drama unfold. The creators really tried to have a diverse cast, and by that we have characters who aim to be the reincarnation of Mother Theresa, and other other hand we have the “yes rawr fight I kill” types, trying to cover the whole spectrum. That’s commendable, but the characters only get developed within the context of the game the characters are playing: everybody has a different tactic, a different way to interact with the rest of the cast, and a different way of looking at the game. That’s plenty of variety and it really is nice and all, but beyond that I have no idea who these kids are. Who they are in the real world… this show refuses to give us any background in that. We have a businesswoman. Okay, what about the rest. Any hobbies? Any nice tidbits? Just the bare minimum. Then there’s the lesbian couple. Good, but are they anything other than lesbians? The only reason is that one seems to be really rich. How? In what way? And nearly every character is like that. Even the lead character is a bit of a blank slate with the amount of time dedicated to her. How am I supposed to feel sorry for these characters?

So what about the rest? Yeah, the battles are boring, the animation is just a string of people talking keeping up mostly the same poses. So yeah, if then you pull stuff like “I like you and look up to you for your leadership skills but I need to kill you because I want to be a leader even though it’s totally out of character”… yeah it’s not gonna work. Heck, just use the reason that everybody was fed up with Ruler’s whining. I would totally have accepted that!

#10: Cheating Craft (02-04)

The only reason this show works is because of the completely ridiculous things the creators keep throwing at the characters. But hey, that’s enough, and I’m still entertained. I’m noticing that I keep watching to find out what ludicrous gimmick the next exam is going to have. I also really like how much this show takes itself seriously during these exams, because it has reached exactly that uncanny valley of “so bad it’s good”. Episode 04 had just a small one, but I loved the idea of just stuffing the characters into an airplane and blowing the roof off. Now that’s creative!

As for the characters… yeah, they work, I guess. They do their job, but the only reason they work is because everything is so over the top, and they’re not ashamed of it. If the male characters were even a little less subtle about their actions they’d be incredibly annoying, but the way they are now is sufficient and they make me laugh without annoying too much. I like the bespectacled girl though. Her biting cynicism speaks to me.

#9: Bernard Jou Iwaku (02-04)

This… is one of those shows that should not be good, yet I keep enjoying. Heck, all this show is, is name-dropping famous books and authors. It makes a point that it’s only interested about these names and not about the content, that it only wants to superficially seem smart but actually has the intellectual value of that one hipster you see at parties who tries to seem all educated.

And yet, it works! The really fast dialogue helps as well, but most of all: it packs a number of good jokes. And four episodes in and I still see no sign of them getting worse. I find myself having to actually pay attention in order to catch everything they manage to stuff into these three-minute episodes. Very few shows of its kind can claim this.

#8: 3-Gatsu no Lion (02-04)

Okay, so this one didn’t turn out to be as solid as I thought it would be, but it definitely still has my attention. Its portrayal of Tokyo still is as immersive as in episode one, and you can definitely see that it’s trying to do something new. Every episode so far has shown us a bit more about the different cast of characters, and they’re getting really well fleshed out, and the few bits of drama hit hard, yet with plenty of subtlety. They make you think.

Unfortunately, the past few episodes are also trying to be funny… and they’re not. I mean I can see that the creators are trying to bring in this fun banter between the characters, the music gets all forcedly “quirky”, and we’re supposed to laugh as an audience and all, but I haven’t even chuckled at all during this series. And it’s not like the humour is terrible thankfully, it’s just… not funny. Because of that I’m a bit bored during the segments that are just focused on random jokes that are not getting anywhere, with the rival being the worst offender (however his silver lining is that he’s an overweight character done right, and his annoyingness is used actually well afterwards!).

Also, the close ups in this series! Usually this show looks gorgeous, until the camera is like inches from a character’s nose and then all kinds of problems appear, but what annoys me the most has to do with cinematography. I don’t get it. They put in so many inbetween frames in some of these shots, yet all movement looks weird and unnatural. Also, whenever a character turns his/her head to look at something: there’s like no continuity in that whatsoever. Usually this is a camera trick used to get the viewer to pay attention to the immediate next scene. This time they’re just randomly turning around with no reason from angles we did not see them turn to. And then the camera focuses on something completely different. What is the purpose of these scenes? Because I can vaguely recall that Shaft has done this before in the past. Is it to mess with the viewer’s mind? Shake things up? Because personally, my immersion is broken every time with such a shot.

#7: TO BE HERO (02-04)

Oh Nabeshin, you glorious bastard! I wait years and years for a new series of yours (Excel Saga still stands as one of my favourite comedies), and then you finally return, with THIS?! This show is off its knockers! We’re four episodes in now, and it’s still an incredibly disturbing watch, and yet I find myself in stitches from start to finish. This show completely butchers the idea of superheroes, and leaves nothing standing, and I love how it keeps searching for new ways to freak its audience out. Episode four was completely disgusting, but it just went with the idea and squeezed a ton of jokes out of it. My favourite though was the Transformers parody in episode 03, along with mister smilie face.

What’s also interesting: despite being a comedy, this show continues to evolve. These four episodes basically did everything they could about an alien invasion, and there’s no way they’re going to be able to add to that, so the creators decided to just ditch that whole storyline and we’re looking to go more into a sitcom. Okay, that works. Although in a few episodes it’ll have to change again of course, because simply devolving into a sitcom and staying there has been done many times before, with disastrous results.

#6: Shuumatsu no Izetta (02-05)

Contrary to what I suspected, Shuumatsu no Izetta turned out to be much more a series about political games. The titular character has huge powers, however also huge weaknesses, and in these first five episodes we saw them trying to use them in the best way possible. Characters actually use their heads instead of blindly attacking, and even though there is a bit of a “good versus evil”-theme going on, the evil empire isn’t just attacking because they’re evil: they’ve got their reasons, which are quite believable. The series really is about seeing how well such a tiny nation can hold against such a big foe.

There are times where it does do a number of weird things though. Like I did not expect this to be one of these series that thinks female bonding is groping each other. Or the squad of elite sniper teenaged girls in episode 05 also came from out of nowhere. Scenes like these feel so… out of place. “Oh, every show with cute girls does this, that means we should also have that”.

#5: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari (02-04)

Yeah okay, this show probably piggybacked off of the popularity of Usagi Drop (and wasn’t there this other show recently…? Barakamon I think it was called), where an “old” guy takes care of a child. But you know, that is how genres are created. More and more shows realize that it can be done to successfully make a series about a certain topic, and with a bit of luck there will be more and more good ones, using the original as a diving board to jump off to and explore other concepts. In the ideal world you’d obviously hope for total diversity, but unfortunately we’re stuck here in this boring real world and this will have to do. And they’re handling it well. What often happens is that copycats just start appearing, for example what happened with Shaft’s signature style: as soon as they got successfull inferior copies started hitting the market while they themselves had already moved on, and I guess that years later, anime has gotten kinda better overall with its use of colours… but the bad stuff about their style and the uninspired clones still persist unfortunately.

Udon no Kuni puts the focus on a character study. The kid in this case has some mystical relationship to him (it’s probably his child version), and it’s not so much about parenting as they use parenting as a vehicle to where they really want to go to: character-development. How well that turns out is still hard to say at this point because they’re still building up and all, but in terms of setting up the main character, they’re pushing a lot of the right buttons, these past four episodes just show him. His interactions with the closest people to him. why he made some of big decisions in his life. They show key moments in his past, but not too much of it so they can also use the vagueness for nostalgia. From the outside it’s obvious what the creators are trying to do, what matters now is them doing it well, and they’re right on track.

Is this a show for you? If you like laid-back slice of life series with a meaning behind them: yes. Obviously I’m biased because I recognize a lot of myself in this character, especially since we don’t get to see his age that often (and if I have to be totally honest: I find him to be more interesting than the lead of Usagi Drop). However there’s a lot to like here. It really tries to be adorable with the raccoon child, and so far it has only slightly tested my patience. Obviously though, because it’s not a real child the creators can get away with “yeah okay he acts child-like but not really childlike.

#4: Natsume Yuujinchou Go (02-04)

I seem to recall that Natsume Yuujinchou was at its best, the less plot there was. Just single episodes focused on a story of some youkai. The main storyline with the Matoba clan was good, but not AS good. This season starts off with a bit of both: we get two standalone episodes, plus two episodes about the main storyline. Natsume Reiko is gone though, despite my original thoughts that this season would focus on her like how Season 4 focused on Natsume’s family.

My memory is fuzzy, however the two Matoba episodes have been the best ones so far. He upped the stakes this time, got a bit more direct in his approaches, and at the same time we learn that the guy really has a bad reputation. Most people hate him and he only gets by by blackmailing. This will be a very good thing for Natsume to overcome next. He has grown now, and for example has gotten better at dealing with people, and became a lot less shy and isolated. Natori didn’t appear a lot, but the scenes he did have were also great for him. We got a tiny bit closer to his character.

Meanwhile episode 2 with the towel was just completely adorable. Absolutely wonderful and it has shown that the creators haven’t lost their magic in creating these episodic gems.

#3: ClassicaLoid (02-04)

Okay, I can’t help it. This has the most ridiculous premise, and yet I just love this show. Each episode has me excited like no other this season, it’s just so incredibly uplifting! Really, the premise of the show is just about the only negative thing I can say about it, this is everything entertainment should be.

What ClassicaLoid does incredibly well is breathe life into its characters. It’s so chockful of emotions, completely over the top, but so incredibly genuine. Every character so far works, but I have to give especially credit to Mozart and that male lead. Not because they’re my favourites, but because they’ve mastered the art of being annoying. Every single episode I want to punch their smug faces really badly, yet their ridiculous antics crack me up at the same time. As for my favourite characters… Beethoven and the female lead. They keep everything together, and the female lead especially for surviving all of the crazy stuff that she has to deal with as the only responsible character in the show.

Speaking of responsibility: you would not expect this show to have so much continuity. A hole is blown in the wall? It’s not immediately fixed. Heck, the female lead is constantly cleaning. You want delicious tasty gyoza? Well then you’d better have the money for it. You do weird stuff? People will remember that, actions have consequences yo! Especially episode 04 was a very good example of that. And holy crap, did they bring in some former Ghibli staff for that episode or something? They managed to bring Ghibli’s expressive art into a freaking TV-show! That kite festival was just incredibly well done. Really creative to set your episode there. ClassicaLoid, I applaud you and please keep this up for your entire runtime of 26 episodes!

#2: Yuri!!! on Ice (02-04)

I was not surprised when I found out that Sayo Yamamoto is directing this thing. When it comes to TV-series, she is one of the best you can get, and she especially stands out with an impeccable sense of characterization and framing, and she did it again: the characters in this series feel alive. Not just because of how well they’re written, but also how they are on the screen: their movements, expressions, and presence: it’s all full of life, and incredibly fun to watch.

So far one criticism I’ve heard of this series is that it’s kinda gay. And why yes it is, but so what? I get that gay guys have gotten a rather bad name in anime due to all of the badly written gay fanservice that exists solely to please the fanservice, but this is the first time in years that it’s actually been done right: there is tension, but it’s not so ridiculously overblown: it adds to the characters. I can’t recall when the last time was in which this wasn’t done for either cheap comedy or fanservice, but simply a part that happens to the characters. I get that in both the cases of gay and moe fanservice that you have to prove that you’re not doing it for the porn of it, but at this point this show basically proved more than enough that it’s one of the top shows of the season.

Episode 03 in particular was big, and contained a ton of character-development. I love how they put Yuri and Yuri against each other, even though they’re completely different, especially the age part: rivals are rarely that much apart in terms of ages. Yurio is growing as a brat, while Yuri is trying to grab his last chance. It’s all wonderful coming together. What I loved about episode four was how it stressed that everybody had a life before the series started off. Please continue on with this amount of attention to detail!

#1: Fune wo Amu (02-03)

I cannot stress how good the animation in this series is. And it’s not just the budget here, but also how well it’s used. Characters move around in all sorts of ways, with as little corners cut as possible. They touch each other, they occupy each other’s space. Their faces and gestures are stuffed with subtle and not-so-subtle signs and details. Yuri on Ice breathes life into each characters by clever directing. This show just does it by the sheer force of its characters. You can almost literally feel these people and touch them. And the voice acting! Holy crap talk about good. Everyone gives such a layered performance: knowing when to ham it up, and when to be more subtle.

Like seriously, this show is actually doing it: they made a series about writing a dictionary interesting. At first I wasn’t sure whether the introduction of romance in episode 03 was a good idea, however it was surprisingly honest about it: so far it’s just a random crush from the incredibly socially awkward male lead. And he’s actually socially awkward in a believable way, because of how all other people react to it. That’s something you hardly ever see in anime. And it’s not romance for the sake of romance, but it’s first and foremost for the characterization of the lead male. I mean of course this guy would be horrible with girls.

But yeah, despite my praises: know what you’re getting yourself into. This show absolutely isn’t for everyone since the target audience is so far from the usual. The plot of this series is exactly what it is on the tin: they’re making a dictionary, and that can take up to 10 years. So far they’ve done a few pages’ worth. This is NOT fast-paced. The atmosphere depends entirely on whether you connect to the characters. If you don’t, there isn’t any humour, action or sad backstory to make up for it. Oh wait, episode 03, at the end, seemed to feature one twist. Let’s see where that takes the series.

And no, I am also not sure on the meaning behind the really silly and out of place dictionary skits and the exact kind of effect the creators were hoping to achieve with it.

Posted on 19 October 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Orange

What would you do if you receive letters from your future-self saying that you can change your future? That’s exactly what Naho experienced as she obtains ones from herself 10 years later that urge her to look after her new friend and prevent him from committing suicide. The premise, I agree, is hardly anything groundbreaking, but it functions well as a romantic drama anime. And orange is exactly that: a romantic drama anime. We have tons of romance developing between the leads Naho and Kakeru, and even more time focusing on the depression of Kakeru and the group’s attempt to save him.

The very central theme of orange is the sense of regret. Kakeru always feels regrets over his mother suicides, blaming himself for what happened and the thought of continue to live on proved to be too much for him. Moreover, it’s the adult counterpart that hold that same sense of regrets and griefs towards what they could do in the past for Kakeru. If they were more attentive, they could’ve realized his inner struggles. If they helped him out when he needed the most, chances were, he could’ve survived. Should’ve known better. It’s that regret sense that carry the weight in Naho’s, and eventually Suwa’s and the rest of the group’s actions and make their efforts feel grounded and genuine.

But that’s not to say that their efforts were executed flawlessly. The show’s at its best when the group confronts Kakeru to say out loud his issues, to really share his troubles to his dear friends. Kakeru always puts up a mask in order to cover his troubles, mostly because he believes he could drag the group down, and partly because he fears that he’d be rejected. By making him to be honest to himself, he knows that he can rely on his friends and that’s what save him in this new timeline. But orange feels forced whenever the group tries to recreate a perfect happy time for Kakeru; be it their fireworks night, his birthday, their relay match. Although those moments come from good intention, I can’t help but feel uneasy the way the group manipulates the outcomes so that little Kakeru always feel happy. Is it fair for the guy to receive too much without give anything away? Is that selfless love that you protect your loved ones from being hurt really the best possible outcomes? Hell, NO.

Although Kakeru and Naho share some good romantic moments together, it is Suwa who become the show’s best character. He’s in a complex situation since he decides to support the leads all the way, despite his own feeling for Naho. Sound cliché I know, but what make his character works is that Suwa is an observant, sensitive and highly emotional intelligent than the rest of the group. On the other end of the spectrum, Ueda is really a bad-written character. Orange clearly doesn’t think too highly of her, so the show frames her in a biased and negative light, it’s sad because whenever she appears on screen, she becomes a sore thumb to an otherwise solid cast. The rest of the cast share a natural, lively and effortless chemistry, but they are not the deepest bunch of characters you will ever witness. In fact, in the second half, the amount of time spent on the group trying to help Kakeru overwhelms their own character’s development.

In terms of production values, orange remains a very strange shoujo adaptation. The show has an above-standard quality in terms of direction. The director Hiroshi Hamasaki (who most famous for his Steins;Gate) elevates the show by his sensitive directing, which many scenes convey smartly the emotions the show want to make. The show, on the other hand, was done on a shoestring budget, as a result in a middle part the production values took a huge downfall, the characters are often off-model and those insignificant parts are treated equally messy and off-putting to the point that it brings the whole production down. This is a shame because this is a kind of budget that orange doesn’t deserve to have.

Despite a huge leap in quality, orange at least ends in high note, as the conclusion successfully ties up loose end and gives up a satisfying emotional ride. With the main theme about trying your best in order to have none regrets, it’s more about the ride, how to get there rather than the results, yet I have a feeling that orange focuses too much on the outcomes. To say all that, the ending was executed fairly well that I’ll complain no more. Overall, despite the huge decline in terms of production values in the middle part, and some thematic issues, orange is what it is- a solid entry of shoujo romance drama anime. Anyone who expect more from it will end up being disappointed.

Posted on 14 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Please, don’t congratulate me on being back. It’s a pattern you see everywhere: an old blogger/writer returns after a long absence, gleefully announces a comeback, makes a few posts, only to disappear again. I want my return to be sustainable. In the past two years I’ve been bugged by a really annoying writer’s block, and I have not finished a single series, and I finally want to be able to sit something through entirely again. I’ve tried a few things here and there, but nothing worked so far, but this season I really will try to actively follow it again, starting with first impressions of every single series that newly came out (ignoring any past shows, because otherwise I’ll never get rid of my backlog). Oh, and please don’t worry about me. At this moment in real life, I’m at a better place than what I’ve ever been. Really busy as well, but not too busy to not have time to write.

I do want to thank everyone, in particular Aidan, K-off and Mario, for keeping the site alive after so long. I really couldn’t have hoped for anything better. You are all amazing, and I am sorry for not responding to anything.

So here it goes, in approximate order of air-date. I have not looked at any promotional material or reviews in advance, so these impressions are completely blind:

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Posted on 11 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Occultic;Nine

Short Synopsis: An occult professor gets murdered, a boy wants to improve traffic to his occult website, a girl curses people for profit and far too many things happen.

The first forty seconds of this episode are the most confusing and utterly disjointed thing I have seen so far this year. This dialogue is so spitfire that it would make Bakemonogatari shout to slow down and I really don’t understand just why this is. What’s being shown doesn’t need this much dialogue and because everyone talks at the same speed no one has any time to act or sound distinct. What more, are we really going with that character design for the female lead? I had to do a double take when I saw her in the opening but yes, you really went with that. Not even Keijo airing this season gave a girl breasts of such stupid size. The big problem with this is that the size of her breasts don’t match that of the rest of her design making her look just really anatomically disportionate and alien. So if the point was to make her attractive I fear you have failed because her design is too visually confusing to elicit the correct response. I hear this episode covered a whole light novel volume worth of content and how anyone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. I feel like this was trying to push for the Durarara feel and be cool as it jumped between characters but the editing is so jarring that it only makes it disortating when it cuts to another scene with no rhyme or cohesion. The writing isn’t much better, while we have a good set up the amount of exposition spouted by our main character is utterly ridiculous and I would like to point out that you cannot claim to be a NEET if you in second year of high school. When I saw that bloody knife I was like “Don’t pick it up, don’t pick it up, don’t…” and then he goes “Cool! A bloody knife!” and picks it up. The pacing may so down in later episodes but in general with this author’s works it’s the beginning where he is strongest. After that is generally when things get stupid and if this is how it starts I say things are going to get stupid fast. I didn’t think they could top Robotics;Notes in terrible writing but they may just have.

Potential: 10%

Mario: Occultic;Nine proves to be the most uneven show that I have seen this season. With one of the most interesting premise that tackles paranormal science and the murder case that served as its catharsis, how on earth that the execution managed to be that terrible? Firstly, the pacing is wrong. I usually don’t mind fast pacing and rapid fire dialogue, but it goes too fast and jumps around between 8,9 people that there’s no room for any of that moments to breathe. Secondly, when given a spotlight to shine, most of those characters instead either use strange phrases (“unravel poltergeist”, “eaten by a demon”, “terrible odor” – give me a break) that it’s hard to take them seriously, or like the lead keep babbling about his websites and boobs. Thirdly, the tones are all over the place as well: sometimes it tries to be funny, sometimes it goes dark, occasionally it wants to be a mystery… and none of that work well together. Lastly, I know that the story will make more sense in later episodes but at least in this first episode nothing make any damn sense. I see it having some real meats so I’ll continue to watch it, but if it doesn’t handle the tones right, it is doomed to be a failure.

Potential: 40%

 

3-gatsu no Lion

Short Synopsis: A student professional Shogi player tries to forget his family troubles by having dinner with a family of sisters.

Did we really need that ten minute slow sequence of the main going to a Shogi match and playing it? This is already an immensely slow paced story so by slowing it down further you just kill any dwindling interest I may have had. I said it before in the season preview but it bears repeating, if you want a single slice of life show from this season then this should be your pick. It certainly has the best production values and the most effort put into the story. Though personally I have just grown tired of this genre and find this story has a hard time balancing it’s comedy and drama. The tone with the mains backstory is deathly serious but any time the sisters show up this swings into comedy so bubbly that it wouldn’t be out of place in last seasons show “Sweetness and Lightning”. I cannot deny that this will certainly have a pull for people into this kind of story but as for myself I prefer anime as a means of escapism so a show that aims to emulate real life only serves to hinder that objective. I don’t mind having a slice of life every now and again but as of now I have enough slice of life to make a couple of pies.

Potential: 70%

Mario: Arguably one of the most anticipated shows this season, this show has to do a lot to impress. I’m happy to say that this show delivers its premise very well. The first part of this episode focuses on Rei on his way to play a match with his adoptive father, and that part is where the show shines the best. The lack of dialogue, the emptiness of his rooms, the repeated use of bubbling water, all express the disconnection and the emptiness inside the guy. He’s not a happy guy and the show succeeds in showing us that, coupling with that lovely song on the train (is it in French?). The sound editing, the shots composition, and the editing all works very well in that first part. The second part contrasts very neatly to the first, as we see the overjoy and full of life from his neighbors. It comes as a tonal disruption, but well, it’s intentional to show that those people care about him and they would guide him to become a happy person too. The cast is endearing, even the cats are charming (I’m a cat person!). I love the watercolor, simple backgrounds and the productions so far is top-notch. The heavy emotional roller coaster is there, but will these funny, endearing moments fit well with its sad tones or will it become a distraction? At least in this first episode it works like a charm.

Potential: 80%

 

Long Riders!

Short Synopsis: A girl decides to buy a bike and go cycling after falling in love with a bicycle.

The beginning of this practically mirrors that of Stella no Mahou. Cute girl is at school recruitment and can’t find what she wants to do. Suddenly spots a mysterious activity and gains a massive interest in it. Tries it and finds it’s the most fulfilling thing in the history of existence. They might be going a bit overboard with the level she falls for her bicycle as it really does treat it like she has literally fallen in love with it. To a degree that by episode’s end I wouldn’t be surprised if she was using this bike to reenact a certain scene from Golden Boy episode 5. I said before that out of the cute girls cute things in this season that Stella no Mahou was likely the best one of the season and this series hasn’t changed my mind on this matter. In fact this one was much more forgettable as when it comes to it, Cycling just don’t have much substance. Whereas there is so much more to do with Indie gaming. Harmless but ultimately unremarkable.

Potential: 10%

Mario: I begin to suspect that this show is funded by a government to encourage young teen to bike to school. The reason for that because going through this episode, not only the show sells us that biking is “the best” activity ever, but the show has time to do educational advice to eat breakfast before doing any exercise. Well, well I might be sold to buy a bike after watching this, except for the fact that I already had one. Alright, let’s get serious now. This is your typical cute girls doing cute things anime, so of course all the girls are harmless and even the bike has a name and it’s cute. I think plot-wise they will eventually form a club and maybe play in a tour. This show is an unremarkable entry and by the end of the episode you will likely to forget everything except biking is cute and everyone should name their bikes.

Potential: 10%

 

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari

Short Synopsis: When returning to his hometown a man finds a strange tanuki boy in his father Udon shop.

If you had a hole in your life since Sweetness and Lightning ended then I think this should fill it. It holds the same sort of appeals with the kid filling your heart with that fluffy protective feeling and it looks like the main focus is going to be pushing the man to take on his father’s business to sell Udon. The supernatural element is rather strange as the child appears to be a Tanuki in human form and this looks to be the reason why this guy will likely end up raising him. Overall it’s a decent show and could act as a fun easygoing watch in between shows. Not much to say about it other than that, if you need some spiritual healing this season I say this show has got you covered.

Potential: 60%

Mario: How could I resist it? A slice of life drama about 30 something man raising up a kid? I’m already a fan of Usagi Drop and to a degree Barakamon so this is right in my wheelhouse. This show works in both area: he raises a tanuki and in a process, comes to appreciate his hometown, his father’s udon restaurant and his family too. Well, raising a kid is never easy but it’s rewarding. The tanuki here is as adorable as she could get and their interaction already feel genuine and warm. The plot implies heavily on him to open the shop again, and their misadventure in the future would be a rewarding watch. The fact that she’s a tanuki would serve as some kind of conflict in the future. Now, this is exactly my kind of show so it’s a given that I will continue to follow this, for those of you who like a light weekend watch between heavy shows, this show is the best treat for you.

Potential: 60%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Stella no Mahou

Short Synopsis: A girl decides to join an indie game making club at her school.

Quite frankly what you see is what you get. We got cute girls making games so it’s last season’s “New Game” in a high school. I am sure you all know my intense love of seeing a school setting shoved into every premise imaginable. There’s jokes, there’s girls being cute, implied lesbianism, it’s all here. If you are into these kinds of shows I can say this is likely the best of it’s kind in the season. There might be some interesting trivia on making games but hardly anything all that deep. It’s nothing offensive nor individually distinct, it’s everything you would expect. It bores me but if this is what you are into I say knock yourself out.

Potential: 20%

Mario: Every season when you check out new shows, you’re guaranteed to encounter shows that have this formula: school settings, cute high school girls, club activities… This show cuts out for that formula so in that regards, you know exactly what you would get. Being said that I actually enjoy this throughout, partly because I am myself also interested in making indie games. We had show that covered anime game just last season (New Game), but I kinda like this setting more as they are just amateurs who do it for their hobbies. The group members have their easy-going chemistry with each other, but I have to say relying on new freshman to do all the hard works is kind of bullying. Joking aside, the show has the most simplistic art styles out of every shows I watched so far this season (on a par with shorts to be honest), but it works for its own charms. In this world, everything is bright, girls have nothing to worry about except making new games, and pink is dominant in every corner. I know in the end of the day this show is unremarkable at best but I had quite a good time with it.

Potential: 30%

 

gi(a)rlish number

Short Synopsis: A young seijuu is given an opportunity to star in a lead role for a light novel adaption.

If there is one thing I think really turns me off any cute girls cute things show, it’s the sense of optimism that the girls have. Be it ping pong or indie games the girls always seem to hold a viewpoint of meeting things head on and everything turning out alright in the end. Call me pessimistic but this brand of optimism is something I find rather childish and shortsighted. So a show like this which looks at the anime industry with a layer of cynicism is really to my tastes. As a working adult I have come to see that no matter the job, be it something you love or not, will always come with it’s own frustrations and contemptuous aspects. So I like it when a show comes to peel of the veneer and show it for what it really is. Shirobako did this to a degree but I think bringing in the author(SNAFU) who’s best at cynicism to critique the less attractive aspects of the industry is a pretty good idea. Though I do wonder if this fellow has some sort of thing for brother sister duos as we have another one here. It’s nice to see a show point out how trashy light novel adaptions can be and that seiji’s are hardly paragons of virtue. That really is the selling point of this, that the anime industry is still an industry and if it means making money then they will feed the populace whatever trash they want to eat up. The characters seem alright and it does look like this deal given to the Seijuu is poisoned as it’s birthed from a producer who clearly is just trying to milk trends and things are bound not to turn out well. I am rather interested to see how this turns out.

Potential: 60%

Mario: Kudos this show for having a satire outlook on the saiyuu industry. Granted, many shows (most notably, Shirobako) has depicted the mundane viewpoint of this industry, the one job that we, of all people, are too familiar with but never really understand the behind the scene working conditions of these people. I like the sarcastic tone when it comes to their half-ass decision to make a profitable hit anime: combining Light Novels + Idol, then hire a fresh face inexperienced saiyuu on top. The show doesn’t have a high opinion in any of these factors either (there are more than one instance where other cast trashed LN author), and they focus a slightly bit negatively on the relationship between those saiyuu (well, but maybe it’s the truth after all). Based on this first episode, I’m sure the show knows the things the making fun of. If you want to have a deeper look on an anime industry with that light-hearted and a bit of mockery tone, this is the one for you.

Potential: 20%

 

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda

Short Synopsis: A overweight girls favorite anime character dies and after starving herself thin for seven days she comes back to school a cute girl who all the boys want.

Boy this episode was painful to watch. In anime the Fujoshi archetype is a relatively new caricature but it’s already worn out it’s welcome for me. It only has one real joke to this stereotype and that’s a girl getting all excited over shipping boys together. While watching this episode I could actually feel my face muscles cringe as this girl started foaming at the mouth over guys standing next to each other. I find the main premise to be problematic as it pretty is a testament that it really doesn’t matter that you are terrible on the inside as long as you look cute. Admittedly it may be somewhat true but it’s really not something to be shown in positive light. Though I will get this show credit for at least giving the girl some proportions instead of just having her be the old wooden plank of many a shoujo heroine. That always did kind of bug me in how they always seems to be afraid of giving a girl any kind of chest or curves in case it would kill the immersion of the ones wanting wish fulfilment. I will say this is better than the other reverse harems this season as at least it does some things different. But it’s really not good.

Potential: 0%

Mario: The premise for this show is certainly troublesome, it does feel like a wish-fulfilment from a girl to suddenly become hot and center of the universe and form her own harem circles. The problem with such premise, besides being ridiculous, is that those boys who get interested in her was just because of her look and not what she really is. That is exactly what this episode tries to address, as she can’t hide her otaku plus fujoshi at heart and the boys eventually warm up with that. The humor so far occasionally works for me (especially when it comes to pairings), while it’s not my cup of tea humor it still delivers its jokes quite hilariously. Still those moments when she’s overly gorgeous or when everyone making that ‘so cute’ face sticks out like a sore thumb. At those moments, it does feel like the show buys too much into its own crap. The lead is charming in her own twisted way, because we follow her thoughts and sometimes it’s hilarious to see how she loses herself to self-indulging world and completely overlooks what happened in front of her. The four guys unfortunately are just bland and besides good-look, they feel more like faithful servants who followed their master. I still have heaps of fun with it but I know that this ridiculous misguided premise alone could turn off many people from enjoying it.

Potential: 30%

 

ClassicaLoid

Short Synopsis:  Beethoven and Mozart are freeloading at a house and hijinks ensue.

I have seen Beethoven make breakfast so I guess I have now seen it all. I am going to be blunt and say I just don’t get this show. I mean for one we have a Beethoven who isn’t deaf and has a complete obsession with making gyoza. That’s gyoza part really baffles me, I mean what’s the joke exactly? Pretty certain that the real Beethoven would have no idea what gyoza even is so why does this character have this tendency? Is it some kind of random humor to have Beethoven frying gyoza? Because it really isn’t funny. Mozart is at least somewhat relatable to his counterpart as Wolfgang was considered somewhat immature and childish. He did after all write a song telling people to lick his ass clean.(I am not joking on that by the way. Google it.) This show does seem to be trying to be a comedy but it just really isn’t funny as I find myself puzzled over the humor rather than amused by it. When a house is about to be demolished Beethoven conducts music, everyone dances, construction machines turn into robots for no apparent reason and the workers decide to go home and not demolish the house after all. Well…ok then. I don’t know where this is going and frankly I don’t think this episode gave me any reason to care where this is going. Keijo is my dumb comedy of the season, this on the other hand is just odd and unappealing.

Potential: 0%

Mario: One of another original anime entry this season, ClassicaLoid uses its real historical figures (this time musical genius of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach) for its insane and slapstick comedic world. In this world, the abandoned mansion with musical instruments-related designs suddenly become a busy place overnight where many failed attempts frying gyoza, rolling around the house, clean up the stuffs and demolishing the house go completely in vain. The show more focus on putting quirky remarks and having fun as they go more than having an actual plot. The music, as relevant to the theme of the show, is mostly classical and I personally think it’s in great use, especially the first few minutes when we have an orchestra playing and montages of the cast doing crazy stuffs. The humor, while a bit random, is still better than most awkward jokes other shows have. When all the construction machines turn into a mecha robot so it could dance with an organ-mecha robot, I know that I can’t take this show seriously. This show might be lacking in any deep message, but if you’re looking for a fun, absurd and bright show, this is your title.

Potential: 20%

Posted on 9 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

ALL OUT!!

Short Synopsis: A short temperamental boy and a gentle giant decide to join the Rugby club.

Speaking narratively this show is hitting the same beats as Days. An amateur is introduced to a sport and naturally that sport is the center of the universe. What makes the difference here is the characters and in that regard All Out may come out in top. The fiery aggressive lead is significantly better than the demure average lead of days and everyone tends to have better character interactions. The two leads have a nice odd couple routine going on and because of the lead’s short temper and lack of tact it gives the characters a chance to be more playful around him. The sport itself is also pretty brutal to watch which does make it pretty interesting. But this does hold the same problems that every sports show has, name that the goal is far away and we are not even going to barely make it past the training stage. Much like many of Madhouses shows I can see this being left high and dry with a life goes one ending with no second season. Even then I could think of many a show more deserving of one. This will be fun for a while but I don’t think it will stay in people’s minds much after it finishes.

Potential: 50%

Mario: I must confess that although I have soft spot for sports show, I’m not interested in rugby. Even in RL I don’t really care to watch it on TV, that is to say all the “rugby is fun” stuffs that the show trying hard to sell just don’t do it for me. Madhouse is the studio behind it so I know we’re in good hands. We have gorgeous backgrounds but the amount of still frames is a bit too much for a premiere episode. It’s still okay though because we hardly have any real rugby this week, so next few episodes when those rugby matches begin is when the animation really need to be impressive. The story ticks many of the usual tropes in sports anime. We have the main guy who not only short (has huge disadvantage), knowing nothing about the game (have to learn the sports all the way; along the way the show will teach us the basic rugby’s rules), but his enthusiasts impress other members (same old, same old). We also have that huge guy who afraid to play the sports again, that lead to a cancer flashback to explain his situation. All Out unfortunately uses the same beats like every other sport shows and for that I don’t see anything worth spending more time with.

Potential: 10%

 

Drifters

Short Synopsis: A warrior is abducted from his world and thrown into another where he meets other famous figures from history.

If you didn’t know this was from the mind of the author of Hellsing then this episode certainly is doing it’s damnedest to make sure you find out. I appreciated that the violence hasn’t been censored but the opening scene was moving a bit too fast that I could barely make out what was happening. Only was on screen from a moment but I hope we won’t be getting more of that in the important fight scenes. In terms of flaws we actually get a return of what is the most notable flaw of Hellsing Ultimate, that being it’s completely mood breaking out of nowhere comedy scenes with adopt a most crude artstyle and throw viewers off balance. This episode was mainly set up for the real plot to start as our protagonist is introduced to Nobunaga and Yorchi. I always have been interested in seeing historical figures interact with one another but sadly out of these three I only know Oda and the main thing I can take into account is that time time he’s not genderbent into a woman. The mood is hot blooded and cool with everyone ready to flare up a psycho smile at a moment’s notice. These people would no sooner have a tea party but prefer to bust into one to decapitate the guests for a laugh. Rule of cool is at work here and all that really will determine whether you watch this is one thing. Are you up for having historically figures brutally slaughter each other?

Potential: 75%

Mario: We get to the most exciting ultra-violent action show this Fall season has to offer. The premise alone, about famous warriors throw out to the same universe, is too hard to ignore. I myself don’t really into ultra-violent stuffs but the show’s execution is so good that it has my appreciation anyways. The fights were handled with great pace, striking shots composition and well used of its muted colors. If you don’t look closely you wouldn’t have noticed the action’s a combination between CGI characters and traditional backgrounds. I surprisingly enjoy the humor the show presented so far. By having them doing completely whimsical stuffs (plucking feathers) and arguing about the historical mismatch, it makes them much more than just a merciless bloodthirsty grinning killing machine. I like the three leads so far and they make a good chemistry together, but at the same time I don’t really care much about the guy who transported them to that world, nor do I care about the reason why he does what he does. I love to see them fight with other famous warriors. I love to see more blood-spattering and more ridiculous action set-pieces. If the show can provide more of these then I know I’d have a bloody good time.

Potential: 75%

 

Lostorage incited WIXOSS

Short Synopsis:  A girl is chosen to participate in a life or death card game with her memories on the line.

I see the writing problems with this show continue as well as the angst and forced drama. Even without Okada this show is pushing the melodrama to a cringeworthy degree. In this case I find it odd how they set up this episode. This girl is ostracized at her school for what really seems for no real reason. He seems friendly enough and has the looks to at least get people interested in her and yet this show treats it like she’s some ignored wallflower despite her just transferring to the school. I still find it ludicrous that a card game would be so popular with schoolgirls, especially one with anime girls as the focus. The card battles themselves are equally uninteresting as it really is just a battle of people pulling whatever they need out of nowhere and the battle doesn’t seem to follow any logic or rules of a game. It’s also weird that they establish that she’s a complete beginner at the game who didn’t even know basic rules but then in the fight she starts calling out specific cards and suddenly knows how to fight. A good chunk of the runtime is dedicated to our main girl angsting over not having friends and missing her old childhood friend followed by then angsting over having to participate in card battles against her will. I have no real sympathy for this girl at this point so whatever happens from here is something I really don’t care about. Quite honestly I don’t even know why this series is getting another show when the previous seasons were poorly written tripe.

Potential: 0%

Mario: WIXOSS is based from a trading card game and we never have good track when it comes to card game adaptation anime. This one will not change anyone mind but at least, in the first 10 minutes or so when the show explores the daily lives of the two main leads, it’s a solidly composed piece. Our leads have some deeper dimensions than your average lead because they carry their own personalities naturally. Moreover, little details – like one of the lead’s father always leave the dinner’s money, the picture of her late-mother, or the parents of other lead girl feel bad for letting her daughter working overtime- say a lot about their current lives. Sadly when the card game kicks in it just goes downhill. For once, forcing players to fight because they were ‘chosen’ and will lose their memories otherwise are just forced drama. In addition, the card battle don’t help us much in terms of getting the hang of what this game is about. Apart from people who already familiar with the game, the rest will not take out much from this. Such a waste because I’d have cared about it more if the first 10 minutes were what this show about.

Potential: 20%

Posted on 8 October 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Brave Witches

Short Synopsis: Aliens invade Europe around a World War 2 setting and the only way to stop them is little flying witch girls.

You know sometimes I think there is a weird synchronicity between two shows each season. For example, last season we had two shows which were about a super powerful esper trying to live a normal life. The season before that we had two shows which just so happened to have a power involving connecting individuals which was called All for One. This season we happen to have two shows which involves witches fighting in a WWII setting. Of course put this theory under close scrutiny and apply it to seasons before that and chances are it falls apart. Still I think it is rather odd how certain ideas can cross between two different studios in one season by pure coincidence. Alright that aside is this show any good? Well I think I know now where Kantai collection stole its ideas from and what’s here is meh. It’s more than a little odd how bright and cheery everything here is when you take into account that this high school is training these girls for war. At the end of our episode our mains sister is delighted that the main passed an exam which will mean that she will be taken out of school and sent to Europe with her sister…to a warzone…having not completed her full training…completely inexperienced and with failing grades…sent to a warzone where she would most likely die a slow and painful death…um…yay? This series really doesn’t want you to look hard at the actual setting as it really does fall apart if you scrutinise it too closely. For one they found out the only way to combat these aliens is by strapping propeller engines to little girls legs. The little girls also grow animal ears and a tail when using magic because…um sorry I may have missed where that was explained. Why do they grow animal ears and tails?…fetish fuel? Got it. We got fanservice and cute girls fighting aliens and the only reason I didn’t give this a lower potential rating is simply because despite all this I didn’t really hate it. But I don’t see any reason to recommend this.

Potential: 20%

Mario: Okay, so what are you trying to pull here Brave Witches? A magical girl show? A mecha action show? If so, why do those witches have ears and tails like foxes? And why school settings? Oh wait, this is military school too. And their enemy: Alien? I know you can be many things at once but this feels like a witch trying to mix up some weird potion by dumping everything she could get her hands-on in. Our lead Hikari is a typical anime lead, that being she has no real talented except hard-working and good heart. She even tries her best to imitate her sister and that is a problem in itself because Hikari has no real characteristics. So she wants to fight to save the world or she wants to fight to be near her sister? After watching this episode, I think you’d know the answer. The writing is clunky too, for example just one minute they announced that she failed the test (would serve her right), the next minute she got a letter saying that she passed (so we could have a full series). This episode just serves as a prologue so far so the actual development will come in next episode. But then who really care to check out another episode of this?

Potential: 10%

 

Flip Flappers

Short Synopsis: A girl meets a strange interdimensional traveler and is dragged into another world.

The animation of this episode was brilliant. Beautiful fluid movement coupled with pleasing art and a mood that gives characters such energy and life. In terms of story I am wondering if this particular show may be a dark magical girl show in hiding as there are some dark aspects to this. The fact that the girls robot helper has a human brain inside is one thing that felt a bit off and the end of the episode looks to bring in an antagonist. Funny enough I actually wouldn’t be fond of them going in that direction as I rather liked the light hearted easy going tone of this episode. I do tend to bring up this studio as an example a lot but it certain did feel like Studio Trigger. Seeing these girls shoot around this snowy world reminded me of Little Witch Academia(Which is getting an anime series in January. Looking forward to that) and I would be all for having these two girls going around alternate worlds having adventures. A big mistake would be for this story to take itself too seriously and I hope they don’t fall into that trap. I say definitely check this one out, even for just the animation.  As a last note, I knew it when I heard it but that ending theme is a serious earworm. Flip flap flip flap…

Potential: 85%

Mario: Flip Flappers, you have my attention! The show evokes something in me that I rarely felt in other works before (take that from a guy who have watched a certain amount of anime and tons of art-house mind-screw movies). On one hand, I feel the uncertainty sense throughout the episode. That uncertainty was conveyed by the ambiguity of the plot (after this first episode we’re still not really sure what the show is about), the lucid dream-like nature of the second part, the absolute lack of any kind of human activity in that snowy landscape (there were no people there as well); the feeling of trapped and the indecision about her future through the eyes of Cocona. On the other hand, I also feel the fun of adventure to the unknown fantastical world down that rabbit hole, elevated by the colorful backgrounds and the sense of easy-going, the fun of trying something new (eating that sweet snow) and happy go lucky attitude through the eyes of Papika. When those two factors merge in together, it creates something weird, something unique. The character designs are simple but creative (reminded me a lot of Dennou Coils for good reasons), but the animation is easily the best so far of this season. I love that this show doesn’t tell its story the conventional way. But everything it shows; while not make sense narratively, makes a lot of sense thematically. This is my bet for this season so far.

Potential: 90%

 

Keijo!!!!!!!!

Short Synopsis: Two girls enter a school to train women for a sport that involves fighting with boobs and butts.

Let me get this out of the way first. This show is the most shameless, utterly stupid thing I have seen all year. And by god do I love that. I was a bit worried seeing that the anime had decided to skip the first 30 chapters of the manga and outside of the keijo battles can get a bit too typical for my liking. But when that Keijo battle started up, I honestly couldn’t stop laughing. To see girls engaging in massive over the top shounen battles with special moves like butt guillotine is truly a ridiculous sight to behold and made all the more humorous when the girls treat it with 100% pure seriousness. The fanservice is clearly off the charts and the fights are almost on the level of Jojo’s over the top bouts. This is so bad it’s good anime and while I can’t honestly praise it in good faith, this may be the most fun I have had with a first episode so far this season. It looks to only get even more stupid from here as I even see a gate of buttaylon in the opening. Take the potential mark for this one with a grain of salt as it really will depend on your own personal enjoyment with this ludicrous premise.

Potential: 65%

Mario: You know, I kind of respect Keijo for desexualizing boobs and butts that sadly become overbearing in anime world. I also appreciate that the show play the sports completely straight. Watching those girls fight for their life with those parts in a shounen fighting-styles is something to behold. That over-the-top signature moves add absurdity and hilariousness to the Keijo battle, as I found myself amused by the sheer ridiculousness of it all (my favorite one: “a butt that looks like giant boobs” – like, how they even mix that up?). All the girls appeared in this episode are your typical stock characters, that means nothing to write home about. The story is generic and light-hearted but ultimately unremarkable. Make no mistake, those Keijo fights (which actually come from a real game) are what sell this show and if they keep those fights as deadpan and over the top as possible, we could have some laughing gold of this season.

Potential: 20%

Customize
Kaiser Eoghan
At most moonbeam city seems sylistically interesting.
Kaiser Eoghan
Archer I simply lost track of and it ended up getting to long to catch up on it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Relatively old news, although I've been joking with friends about what if scenarios for a streets of rage film. I know there is a cg/live action hybrid sonic film in the works. I kind of want to think a shinobi or streets of rage film could work if they went full on 70s style action film.
AidanAK47
None of these games are played for the story. You would be better off just making a new game for them instead of a movie.
AidanAK47
I haven't even seen Archer. On another note SEGA is planning a bunch of live action movies of their franchises and boy do they all sound like a horrible idea. Shinobi, Golden Axe, Virtua Fighter, The House of the Dead, Crazy Taxi, Streets of rage and Altered Beast.
SuperMario
@Anon522497: hmm, I found Moonbeam City underwhelmed and for Archer up until their last season I actually got a bit tired of the cast (couldn't finish that season 7)
Anonymous522497
If i wanted Archer i would just watch Archer or Moonbeam City like everyone else.
Anonymous522338
Bloodivores
SuperMario
Anyone here watching Pacific Heat? It's an Aussie Archer-ripoff aired in Netflix last week. I actually enjoyed the 1st episode, not that great but everyone panned it like a plague.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Who?
Anonymous521123
#StephanieJaworowiczIsBeautiful
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: That'd be the compiliation film. I watched that based on hearing that the film version trimmed back on the shows weaker moments.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: was it the compilation film or the series itself? That scene is the highlight of that first season. I'm always a fan of KyoAni so it's very natural that I enjoy this series a whole lot.
Kaiser Eoghan
I watched the first season of sound euphonium, not much to say for it other than I liked the teacher guy and the scene where the black haired girl tells the main character that she thinks shes hiding behind a mask. Animation was as expected of kyoani good. All of those emotion shots though and some of the melodrama...
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, it does stop if you make an account.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hmmm there we go again, it delayed sending my message for longer than it should have.
Kaiser Eoghan
Anyone notice today and last night that the site has had some loading issues? I kept getting an error page for a while and it was also loading a bit more slowly. A server issue?
Lenlo
Have to say, Flip Flappers ep 5 was pretty good. I love atmospheric settings like that.
Lenlo
Looks like an Epee. The large bell guard, the fact that they are focusing on thrusting attacks instead of slashing (mostly). Fencing is alot of fun. Be prepared for some bruises though, as some people put their full body weight behind their thrusts.
SuperMario
I have one last dumb question, Can you tell what types of blade of Juri in Utena? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGsVSSUv_i0
SuperMario
@Lenlo: the more you described the more I found fencing interesting. I might take a look around my town to see if we have Fencing here (the curse of living in a small town).
Lenlo
Blades are slightly different, yes, but mostly just in their guard and how much they bend. Sabers bend easily, Epee's not so much. Surprisingly Epee is the slowest, because people tend to be more careful. Saber is actually the most aggressive of the blades, atleast at my skill level
AidanAK47
That's all they had to do. Just stay inside and let it pass. But for some weird reason they just keep panicking over nothing.
As far as time/alternate world stuff goes this was ridiculously underwhelming. Just finished another movie called triangle and now that's how you do Time travel mindfuckery.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I am not fond of movies where people make stupid decisions for no good reason. For example:
"We should just stay inside"
"No, staying inside isn't realistic"
WHY IN THE HOLY HELL ISN'T IT REALISTIC.
SuperMario
Showed that movie to a bunch of friends last year and I remembered one of the girl just shut off the movie after 15'
SuperMario
@Aidan: too bad. I found Cohenrent really funny and entertaining. Some of their twists are stupid but I was actually invested in much of their characters. Maybe because I always love movies about a bunch of characters in an isolated setting
SuperMario
@Lenlo: sounds like Epee is the most "all-out-attack" and aggressive one. Their blades are different as well I assume?
AidanAK47
Just watched a movie called coherence and man, what a bunch a pseudo-intellectual garbage that was.
Lenlo
For Right of Way, its basically Person A attacks, Person B parries, Person A hits, Person B hits, Person B gets the point because they took right of way with the parry. Saber and Foil both have that, but Epee does not. Epee is simply "Whoever hits the opponent first, doesnt matter where, whole body is target area"
Lenlo
Theres Saber, Foil and Epee. The main difference is this thing called right of way, but there are other smaller ones like how Saber can hit with the edge and Epee is allowed to hit the entire body, instead of just the chest like Foil
SuperMario
For news, Blood Blockade Battlefront getting second season next year. As it was one of my favorite last year I'm really lokking forward to this second season
SuperMario
@Lenlo: that sounds great. From what I know from fencing there are 3 different types of blade right? So what are the differences between them? (Fencing 101 here)
Kaiser Eoghan
Although a fantasy sports thing could also generate interest, such as combining sports together to create something totally new.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, Fencing was great. Favorite sport ever and it helped me stay in shape in College. I find Epee to be the best blade, mostly cause I fenced it, but its a very intense 3 minutes. Unlike sports like Soccer and such which is alot of sustained running, Fencing is 3 minutes of Dont-Stop-Moving then wait till next match. Gets really fun once you figure out your own style.
SuperMario
haha, I wouldn't mind either if each episode focus on a single sport/ character/ country. Or even the positive aspects like role models, sports inspirations and stuffs
Lenlo
That Olympic anime sounds great.
Kaiser Eoghan
And it would be a good excuse to have characters of multiple backgrounds included too.
Kaiser Eoghan
Could be an 13 episode ova series with 48 minute episodes, and if its to be an ensemble character drama you could have 10 minutes to a each character (the ones being focused on in that episode) in each episode.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah yes, aswell as cheating it could also get into "stage parenting", "abuse", "Disabilities" and also the general politics of sports, the backroom stuff.
SuperMario
I'll be the first in line if that olympic anime ever come out. Could be interesting to see the interactions between athletes in different sports, and then fans/athletes/coaches relationship, then the gold rush, doping... So much to talk around to
Kaiser Eoghan
I don't think theres ever been a manga about hurling either. Hey heres an idea, someone do an ensemble drama anime that deals with the olympics, fit in multiple sports that way.
SuperMario
Personally I find Australian football much more exciting than rugby. Or crickets.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: ha! Interesting that you mentioned Gaelic football, because in Aus we have AFL (Australian Football League), that really similars to Gealic Football to the point sometimes we have the 2 national teams compete each other with modified rules
Kaiser Eoghan
Hmm, lets see, sport under-represented in anime? Fencing, golf , Gaelic football, bowling, boat racing.
SuperMario
Hey, fencing is actually really cool. How did you like it Lenlo?
SuperMario
You have your point there Topgavin, as I clearly remember many instances where players' legs, backs or even necks got snapped during rugby's tackles. But in regards to Rugby I never really care about it. That and car racing
Lenlo
Its mostly the type of injuries you get that differ I think. Football you get concussions and broken bones and such, while in Rugby you probably get alot of bruises and cuts. Granted I have played neither, I was a Soccer man in highschool and fencing in College
Lenlo
American football has alot of rules, and really is just a bunch of millionaires running around chasing a ball. Rugby however, as Topgavin said, has no pads so when you get hit you get hit HARD
AidanAK47
I never ceases to surprise me just how high and mighty visual novel fans can be over Mosaics present in localized games. I mean they are literally complaining about not seeing genitalia yet the way they phrase it, it's like they are fighting against great injustice. If these VNs were Nukige they might have a point but in most cases the sex scenes in question are pointless and shoehorned in.
Topgavin
@Mario Rugby is more extreme *because* it has no protective gear. No hiding behind helmets and cushioned shoulder pads when ya get bowled over.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'm no expert but isn't American football a variation of Rugby? And I believe american football is more extreme, considering they have to wear helmets, protection gears and all that
Lenlo
I dont think theres alot of manga about it because its simply not that popular outside the US. As far as it being a battlefield, eeeeh? Not really? You want a battlefield watch Rugby.
SuperMario
I can think of other cool sports that could be interesting to see in anime: Kick Volleyball (Sepak takraw), Bossaball (combined soccer, volleyball in a trampoline), or in the same vein of skate figures this season, why not pole dancing competition???
Anonymous504493
What other sport is cool and popular that remains original to write about by now? There isn't a lot of manga about it compared to anything else.
Anonymous504493
American football looks like a battlefield with a visible battleline and everything. Id like it if there wasnt so many darn commercials.
Lenlo
I mean, its a sport. Far cry from best, but its definitely a sport.
SuperMario
@Vonter: or maybe because american football IS the best sports ever?
Kaiser Eoghan
@Vonter: Most likely due to the middle section of the original anime being the most popular bit.
Vonter
Can someone explain me how Cobra, is apparently getting an anime around some sort of space american football? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kNWPr43zE
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Its not safe enough a film for me to properly recommend. Even to exploitation fans, they might find it too slow others would be too sensitive to it. Really una vita violenca, mamma roma, accatone, hawks and sparrows are what Pasolini is really about.
SuperMario
Now that you watched Salo, would you recommend the film to other people? I personally think it's a masterpiece but it's one of the title that I think people would break up with me if I show them this movie
SuperMario
@Kaiser: even him as a director, both Braveheart and Apocalypto don't do much to me, will see if Hacksaw Ridge going to change my mind (but I'm not to fond with war movies in general). La Notte is in my sooon-to-watch list for years, haha
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Mel Gibson as a director, not as an actor =)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Thats why I prefer the neo-realist/quasi-neo-realism stuff as it deals with the worse off in society. But Antonioni was the master of being able to do films about angsty well-off people, L'aventura, the passenger and La notte for example
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Its not so much that I dislike post 50s fellini moreso I feel that his throw everything at the screen and hope what sticks method can be hit or miss.
SuperMario
While I don't really mind his later stuffs because he was masterclass, I have a pretty hard time for Paolo Sorrentino's later works. The thing is I don't care much about the high class society so everything is just ridiculously over the top and glamour and I'm tired of it.
SuperMario
I haven't watched nights of cabiria but I did watch La Strada and boy, I was sad for few days after watching it. Fellini mentioned that he was inspired to make this movie when seeing a woman pushing a cart from behind. The film really carry that sense throughout its running
SuperMario
Michael Haneke put Salo in his top 10 films. Quite understandable when you think about it. Still for me one of the movie that affected me deeply.
SuperMario
I really admire Elle for its ability to maintain its sharpness because under other inexperienced directors it could easily becomes a mess. Mel Gibson, really? He's one of the few actors that I absolutely dislike
SuperMario
@Kaiser: The Red Turtle remains one of the the most refreshing time I had this year in cinema, but then again I haven't watched much films lately. Agree with you on Sonia's performance, and I still think they could cut out the first 20' of the film because it feels out of place compare to the rest of the film
Kaiser Eoghan
Debating whether to bother catching up on I am a hero or watching the film adaptation. I haven't read it since they got rid of that one female character.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I've a feeling you'll like nights of cabiria, Fellini was cranking out some solidly effective social-realist dramas in the 50s before he fell into self-indulgence.
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I have that sound euphonium compilation film downloaded, I should get to that sometime.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also finally watched Salo, I ended up meeting it pretty much halfway. Some parts still retain the ability to effect a modern viewer, having seen his other works though its crazy just how different Salo is to them.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Seeing I, daniel Blake tomorrow and rogue one in a few weeks.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I hope Mel Gibson and Isabelle huppert win at the next oscars.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I liked the red turtle for its visual style of storytelling and animation even if I didn't get as emotionally attached to it as others did. I also watched Aquarius nd was pretty much blown away by Sonia Braga's performance. Elle is now one of my favourite Verhoeven films and its a miracle he managed to maintain such a great balance successfully throughout the film.
SuperMario
I don't care for the sequel of Code Geass at all. Why Spice & Wolf still hasn't got season 3 though is what really bugged me. From what I know their manga and LNs are selling very well
Anonymous494677
I wonder why that is...
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, they were always milking code geass though what with those bajillion-million-billion manga spinoffs.
Kaiser Eoghan
Still say I was more fond of the character chemistry in spice and wolf as opposed to everything else.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll likely pass on the code geass sequel, the memory I have of it has already led to its appeal dimishing for me, I don't want to ruin things further watching an un-neccesary followup. Still avoiding utawerumono's second season for same reasons.
AidanAK47
After all there are things which need sequels and things which don't. And Code Geass never needed a sequel after R2's ending. Giving something a sequel can just ruin the conculsion of the orignal series. Case in point. Eureka Seven Ao. Remember that? Cause you shouldn't. Because it was terrible.
AidanAK47
Honestly I would have preferred Spice and Wolf Season 3.
AidanAK47
So...is anyone gonna mention that Code Geass is getting a sequel?
....Because Code Geass is getting a sequel.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I am watching it as well. But I am a bit behind because I am watching the funimation broadcast dub. It's a very good guilty pleasure. I don't find it quite as funny anymore but it's still pure dumb fun.
SuperMario
@Anon487524: I'm still following it and it still remains a fun show to watch. I love the way they do the fan-servicey completely straight.
Topgavin
@anon I'll admit to watching it. While it is very simple and follows the sport anime formula religiously, it's still a blast to watch every week. This is also helped because you have no expectations for it before watching other than "oh god what's gonna happen this week".
Anonymous487524
Granted, nothing special, just one of those anime whose only worth is being fun to watch without being deep, but Keijo really is fun to watch, easily the best guilty pleasure anime in a long while to me.
Anonymous487524
I started watching it expecting an crappy fanservice anime with nothing of worth, but it ended up being actually pretty fun and awesome to watch.
Anonymous487524
Anyone here seeing Keijo?
SuperMario
What's up with 3-gatsu no Lion? Delayed for a week huh?
Kaiser Eoghan
Checked out Hedeki anno's godzilla re-boot earlier out of curiousity, its a bit plodding/dull at times but sometimes its high camp value played straight is kind of funny, having godzilla evolve during the film was a cool touch and I enjoyed every scene with him and making a Godzilla film today is still very relevant. Not a patch on the old ones though.
Anonymous482380
I think that movie was just so terrible that people made it into a meme. Stuff like "The Entire Bee Movie Except Evey Time They Say 'Bee' The Movie Speeds Up"
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm sorry lmao I had to, it seemed so appropriate a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1GadTfGFvU
AidanAK47
Fun Fact: The whole Bees shouldn't be able to fly thing is a myth.
Badesh
I think that was just a dry realization...
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, It's a meme to post the entire script of the bee movie in random places?
....I don't get the joke.
Topgavin
For anyone wondering, I think anon just copy/pasted the entire script for the Bee movie. Memes are goin strong
Anonymous479946
According to all known laws
of aviation,


there is no way a bee
should be able to fly.


Its wings are too small to get
its fat little body off the ground.


The bee, of course, flies anyway


because bees don't care
what humans think is impossible.


Yellow, black. Yellow, black.
Yellow, black. Yellow, black.


Ooh, black and yellow!
Let's shake it up a little.


Barry! Breakfast i
Kaiser Eoghan
Actually I think it was up to about episode ten or so I saw.
Kaiser Eoghan
From what I can recall I watched legend of the galactic heroes somewhere past the part with the Caligula guy.
AidanAK47
That is one thing I wonder about the remake. How are they going to make the space battles interesting? Cause for me theres only so many times you can watch tin boxes shoot lasers and explode.
AidanAK47
I didn't like LOGH until the third episode. That's when it started to catch my attention. It also helps that I have a interest in history as the plot of LOGH practically reads like genuine history.
AidanAK47
In my case the overhype didn't kill it for me as I generally try to avoid that. When I walked into LOGH I was under the impression that it would ahve merit but not be for me. After all I heard it was mostly politics and the politics of Gundam bore me to tears. Funny enough the opposite happened. The space battles bored me but the politics got me really interested.
AidanAK47
@Leahcimali, The problem is that the people who say that something is the best thing they ever seen don't actually mean it. Often it's just hyperbole. When talking we other people fans tend to blow certain things out of proportion unintentionally. Overrated is likely the wrong word but you get what I mean.
leahcimali
@AidankAK47 oh and are you going to write a review about it or because psngel already wrote a review of it you are not gonna write it ?
leahcimali
the problem is trying to rank art . Even comparing a comedy show and a story focus show is clearly impossible. @AidanAK47 do you think the overhype of some hardcore logh fan killed you enjoyment of the show ? Because sometimes when you expect nothing of something you can enjoy it more than when waiting for something incredible.
leahcimali
i hear the same thing from fan of lord of the ring, star wars and game of thrones, star trek ... etc. The hardcore fan of those says that they are the greatest things in history ... but saying there are overated is discrediting the quality of those. Nothing is perfect and again maintening equal quality in a longuer running show is impossible. But having a longer story create a more rich background
LookingForKeys
@Mario Kimi no Na ha is pretty damn good. Watched it while in Japan a couple weeks back. The story has well done surprises, and on the graphics side you can *really* see Production IG worked on it.
leahcimali
I don't think saying logh is overated is a good way to say it. All media with great aclaimed critics or even highly popular show suffer from the fan reaction. If fan claim that it is the best things that they have ever saw and you don't agree, it feels overated. But this is only pure subjectivity. Saying he is greastest thing in history is a way for fan to exprim there love
AidanAK47
However it has been placed on a unreasonable pedestal that nothing could live up to. Eva is sort of in the same boat. So yes it is overrated but that does not mean it isn't great.
AidanAK47
@Leahcimali, if anything is claimed to be the greatest thing in the history of mankind it is overrated. The basic idea that there is a single anime out there which is fundamental and universally better than all other anime regardless of genre or intent is inherently a flawed concept. I do certainly see why LOGH is so highly acclaimed and I believe it is well worth watching.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I didn't look into the details of the new LOGH remake. I was planning on doing that when I am doing an anime season preview for it whenever it's going to air next year. For a long anime it does rate highly but even then I am not certain it really needed all 110 of those episodes.
leahcimali
about your comment are you thinking the LOGH anime is overated ? i ask Because you said that there is plenty of anime you consided better .
Anonymous476875
about the remake won't it be a straight adaptation from the manga remake by the artist that made shiki ?
Anonymous476875
AidanAK47 personally i really loved legend of the galactic heroes and it is one of the anime that make one of the biggest impact on me. I found it the best "long" anime that i ever seen (more than 24 ep). But comparing it to anime with shorter format is a bit hard. you can make something that have perfect pacing in 1h30 but it is impossible with a 110 ep anime.
AidanAK47
Either way I am pretty certain that all other isn't crap to me now seeing as I have seen the so called pinnacle. In fact There are plenty of anime I consider better that LOGH.
AidanAK47
There are aspects of its story which wouldn't really work by today's standards.
AidanAK47
And I did it. I watched legend of the galactic heroes. I have slain the white whale of anime. It certainly was interesting to say the least but I think the remake coming is going to have trouble. I am in between giving it a 8 or a 9 but it's clear that LOGH is very much a product of its time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I didn't really care for this weeks flipflappers, the fanservice and also it was even more trigger than I could take.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Gavin@Mario: I'll get round to your name someday but I think this might be my last chance with shinkai.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: That disgaea review made me nostalgic because I remember my friends and I playing it back when it first came out. We found it difficult but were amused by it/liked the characters.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Are the manga posts exclusively for series with only a few chapters translated or series that came out in the past year or so? I've been reading gunka no balthazar and enjoying it enough and think it should get recommendation out there.
Topgavin
Just booked tickets to go see it on Sunday with my little sister. Was surprisingly reluctant but I know she'll like it, I've already seen it but pumped either way.
SuperMario
Your name movie has been showed theatrically here in Aus, I'm planning to rewatch it soon in theatre and then do a review on it. Is that alright with other admins?
SuperMario
so I guess the top 6 will advance to the final are: Otabek Altin (Kazakhstan), Giacometti (Switzerland), Yuri, Yurio, JJ and Phichit? Will be very cool final event haha
SuperMario
At the very least Yuri on Ice shows me how entertaining ice skating can be
SuperMario
@K-Off: have a good trip ahead K-Off. Well, it's still better than Japan (earthquake) I guess
K-Off
Well, heading to Korea tomorrow. What a time to go. In the middle of Korea's biggest financial scandal since the 80s.
Lenlo
Is it just me, or does the Yuri on Ice opening get more colorful and detailed every week?
SuperMario
Badesh, if you like to check out their other songs, give "Tunnels of Love" and "Romeo & Juliet" a listen. Though I just discovered Telegraph Road quite recently, those 2 songs are qmong my all time favorite
SuperMario
I prefer their ealier version when the band was still together (aLCHEMY 1983), but that Rome 2005 was magnificent too. Seriously with this band diifferent live versions feel like another experience... And that song is criminally under-heard in radio too, because of its running time. A crying shame
Badesh
uhh, found it in better quality. now, THAT is a fitting present for my dad :)
Badesh
well that commentator, that sounds like he's in a soccer match, will get on my nerves though...
Badesh
if you're talking about the rome 2005 version... hell, that's some sweet music. i'll inhale that for the rest of the evening, thanks for that
SuperMario
Anyone here listen to Dire Straits? I just in the mood for their music lately. Checked out the band playing Telegraph Road live the other day on youtube and I was completely stunned.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I considered Flip Flappers 3,5,6 to be its best so far so continue on to see if Flip Flappers is your cup of tea or not
SuperMario
For me I have a lot of stuffs to catch up on this time a year, both in terms of anime and in my RL. Time goes fast as hell
Lenlo
Started watching Flip Flappers. Thought I had it figured out, then we got Mad Max going on. I may start liking it more, cause the first 2 eps didnt do much
Lenlo
Its also nearing Thanksgiving in the states and end of semester for University, so those sorts will be busier than usual.
AidanAK47
You are far too young to be reminiscing. You can build a place for a community but you can't force one to come. I for one would think it would be easier to form one if people stopped using the Anon tag. You can change your name with the customize button you know.
Anonymous469664
I remember a time when people other than site admins were regular posters. Those were the days...
AidanAK47
But I suppose watching Westworld isn't exactly a waste of time.
AidanAK47
Downside is that I really don't have a lot of time these days. It's rather annoying. The day goes by and it doesn't really feel like you did anything.
AidanAK47
On the upside, I am nearly finished Legend of the galactic heroes. So when the Remake airs next year I will have a lot to say about it.
AidanAK47
Personally I have been rather busy lately and wanted to finish off a few things. Hence why my posts have been getting later.
Total users: 24

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