Posted on 12 August 2016 with categories: Random Posts

I never expected the site would come this far to where I’d feel the need to make an announcement – but here we are, and it’s only right to let you know what’s happening behind the scenes with the site. So as a public service, this is meant to inform all of you who don’t frequently visit our chatbox as to where the site is going, and the gradual changes that you can expect over the coming months.

When the first wave of new writers after psgels (including Aidan, Ninjarealist, and myself) came onboard, we did so fully intending to never deviate too far from the kind of content that Psgels had always maintained since the site’s days on Blogsome in 2005, and for the most part, that still holds true – we’re very consistent with episodic reviews, on top of the usual Seasonal Previews, and anything before them. However, we realize that we can’t limit ourselves to what we consider “playing safe,” and that it really doesn’t hurt to try something new for a change. As a result, the influx of all kinds of original content has reflected that. Besides, whether it was SuperMario’s Versus Show, Aidan’s Manga Spotlight, or my Game Reviews, the positive feedback from you guys, long-timers or not, have continued to encourage us in our efforts to improve the blog in our own ways. So, as far as content goes, you can expect a lot more interesting takes on the site like the Versus Show, on top of the usual seasonal content.

Lastly, you’ve probably noticed that the site has been in a constant state of construction with the chatbox over the past few days, but it’s an extension of our efforts to modernize the site. There’s still some tweaks to be made here and there with the entire site in general (for example, the site eats up A LOT of cpu and the chat needs more work), but I’ll be working with everyone, including Psgels, in order to clean up the site’s coding over the next few months. This really is a site you can fully customize from top to bottom, so if you have a suggestion for a new feature, please don’t hesitate to throw some ideas our way.

 

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

The title of this game rather says everything you need to know about my initial reaction, and I’m still all around puzzled at the mixed bag that this turned out to be – it IS just a standard mashup while having a bit of fun with some experimentation, but the game itself is actually a jumble of Persona’s mechanics with some hints of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy X-2 masked behind a colorful anime-esque fatigue. Originally called “Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem” but changed shortly thereafter to “Tokyo Mirage Sessions,” I decided I’d have an open mind about this before I went into it, without looking for comparisons to the Persona or Fire Emblem aspects of the game, and did actually enjoy the gameplay. But by the end of my second playthrough, it turned out to be a mediocre title that failed to consistently interest me as a standalone title, much less as a fan of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.

The story is entirely original, so it’s not required that you play any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem titles for you to dive into it unless you want to understand certain references. The story begins with our protagonist in some talent agency in Tokyo as he learns how to utilize an energy called Performa and attract beings known as Mirages much like in the Persona series. The rest of the plot is pretty by the books, it has cameos/references to Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei characters to keep you interested in the plot, and in between the unnecessarily text-heavy story are the animated cutscenes by Studio 4C, which are all serviceable except for the poorly integrated CGI during music/dance sequences (which I believe were done by a different studio). Although Japanese pop isn’t really my favorite genre of music, it’s well produced to say the least and the background soundtrack isn’t too generic either, they accompany the combat really well as the fights feel like a performance rather than a traditional RPG battle.
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Posted on 9 August 2016 with categories: Other:, Uncategorized

Time for something completely new for a change. In my opinion, one of the most unique feature here in psgels is always the scoring system, which goes all the way up to 100. This allows much more range in rating a series, compared to the usual 5-star or 10 rating scale. However, the truth is that rating’s highly subjective. We score some shows higher because we think that they are “better” than other shows, and we score them evenly because we believe they have the same quality. But we know that you will always have different opinions than us. Which brings me to this very poll.

Now it’s your turn. The premise of this Versus Show is simple: Take any 2 shows that have the same rating here in psgels, and YOU vote for the one that you think is better. Sounds like fun? Let’s begin.

Here come the first pair, arguably two of the best shows out of 2011, which shared the same score of 87.5. Let’s run them down:

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

(AKA: Girls have to save themselves)


Studio: Shaft

Season: Winter 2011

Episodes: 12

MAL Rating: 8.52

Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki are regular middle school girls with regular lives, but all that changes when they encounter Kyuubey, a cat-like magical familiar, and Homura Akemi, the new transfer student. Kyuubey offers them a proposition: he will grant one of their wishes and in exchange, they will each become a magical girl, gaining enough power to fulfill their dreams. (from MAL)

Here’s an excerpt from an original review by our truly psgels:

“Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica finally shows us another deconstruction of the Mahou shoujo genre, and it is glorious… The thing that’s especially amazing about this series is how well everything fits together. It’s twelve episodes long, but it makes excellent use of its time, the characters all fit the story perfectly and everyone serves his own purpose to the points that this series is trying to make. The show really makes sure that it doesn’t waste its time and just about every episode adds something to the overall story and characters. This creates quite a bit of nice development for such a short series.”

 

Versus

 
 

Steins;Gate

(AKA: Boy saves girl, by letting another girl die)


Studio: White Fox

Season: Spring 2011

Episodes: 24

MAL Rating: 9.17

The self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe rents out a room in a rickety old building in Akihabara, where he indulges himself in his hobby of inventing prospective “future gadgets” with fellow lab members: Mayuri Shiina, his air-headed childhood friend, and Hashida Itaru, a perverted hacker nicknamed “Daru.” The three pass the time by tinkering with their most promising contraption yet, a machine dubbed the “Phone Microwave,” which the phenomenon doesn’t provide anything concrete in Okabe’s search for a scientific breakthrough; that is, until the lab members are spurred into action by a string of mysterious happenings before stumbling upon an unexpected success—the Phone Microwave can send emails to the past, altering the flow of history. (from MAL)

psgels said:

“There is one thing at which Steins;Gate is unrivaled at compared to anything else that aired this year: its plot. If it’s originality, creative twists and multi layers that you want, then this is a must-watch. This has a bit of a slow start, but as the series goes on its intricately woven plot about time travel shines like no other and this show is masterful at combining seemingly insignificant hooks into gripping plot twist… The lead characters’ monologues in particular are well written, but on top of that this is a series that really did its research into time travel. It may not present the most logical way that time travel might be possible (I mean, there are still parts where you’re going to have to suspend your disbelief), but it’s very well researched.”


 

A tight match, right? Which team would you choose?

 


There are some rules, though

RULE #1:  NO MIDDLE GROUND. You can’t vote for both. It has to be either Madoka or Steins;Gate. After all this is an objective of the poll.

RULE #2: NO MULTIPLE VOTE. One vote per person only.

RULE #3: NO INSULTS. It’s perfectly fine that people have different opinions and we respect that. Don’t ruin the fun by berating, harassing or taking it too personally.

Apart from those rules, anything goes. As this is just purely an experiment to see if you viewers find it interesting, there is no time limit for this first boxing match. Please vote and if you like, tell us more about your choice in the comment below. Also, any recommendation how you would prefer us to do, content-wise and format-wise (even if you want to tell us to stop this) would be very welcome as well. If you think of any interesting pairs for the next show-down, drop us a line as well. For now, HAPPY VOTING!

Posted on 6 August 2016 with categories: New Manga Spotlight

Happy Sugar Life

High-schooler Matsuzaka Satou has a reputation for being easy, but one day her lifestyle of sleeping with one boy after another comes to an end. It happens when she meets the child Shio, for whom she is convinced she feels true love for the first time. Satou may seem sweet and innocent, but there is nothing she won’t do to protect their life together, including committing murder. But from where did she acquire the little girl, and how long can their “Happy Sugar Life” together last?

This is a story about love. But not in the sense of “Let’s get married and live our lives together” but more along the lines of “I will stalk you and watch you as you sleep at night, breathing heavily.” This story is about Yanderes and it certainly has them of all kinds and sizes. What you are going to get out of this depends on whether you like dark stories like myself. In this case everyone in this story is messed up in some way or another and it brings some great twists to the table. If you watched Mirai Nikki and thought that it would have been more interesting if it focused primarily on Yuno then this is the manga for you. Admittedly the main characters preaching on other characters “Love” is somewhat grating and this does depend a lot on it’s shock value. Still I think it has merit in that there are so few of these kinds of stories pulled off this well.

 

Jigokukoi; Death Life

Another series by the author of Jigokuren ~Love in Hell~. Set in the same world as Love in Hell but with all new characters.

A love comedy in hell you say? Well this isn’t necessarily a new title as the author has used this setting before in a similarly titled manga. But damn if it isn’t an interesting setting. Basically our protagonist dies and goes to hell. Hell in this universe happens to be everything you expect it to be besides the cute demon girls as it is their job to torture their subject in order to gain some level of status and money. Oh and by torture I really mean that in every sense of the word. If you are not a fan of gore you would do better to stay away from this as it does not hold back with it’s artwork. There’s people getting skinned alive, having their intestines nailed to a wall and even chopping off…yeah that’s too painful for me to even type. Regardless of the damage inflicted, once a person dies they just revert back to their old selves and thus the torture can begin anew. Despite how dark the subject material sounds this is actually more of a dark comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I would recommend reading the prequel to this as I am not too fond of the new characters dynamic. The best comparison i could make for this is that it’s like Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan.

 

Niehime to Kemono no Ou

Saliphie, the 99th sacrifice to the terrifying demon king, learns two secrets about the king: The first, that he has been letting the sacrifices go in secret. The second, that half of his blood is that of a human. She gets to know the king’s kindness and sorrow, and then it’s announced that the king has taken Saliphie, who wishes to become a source of energy for the king, as his queen, and…?

Well it’s beauty and the beast without the stockholm syndrome. This is an odd choice for me as I generally don’t go for these kinds of stories. However I must admit that their is something rather charming about this one. Maybe I just like the Dynamic between the king and the sacrifice girl as he tends to act menacingly while the girl just sees right through him. Plus i really love the design of the king and the setting of the monster kingdom. Of course there may be those of you being put off by the fact that the King is a lion and that this story looks like beastitly. Don’t worry, the king has a human form and their relationship is not sexual. I am not exactly crazy about this one but I admit that I rather enjoy reading it. It’s a very warm and fuzzy love story.

 

Canaria-tachi no Fune

Yuri is just a normal girl in high school: she loves hanging out with her friends, she has dreams, and she has worries. But one day, she wakes up in a strange forest she’s never seen before beside a man named Chihiro. As the two of them learn more about the place they suddenly find themselves in, and the oddly real dream they had of being abducted by aliens, the dark secret of where they are and what has happened to them will begin to unfold.

A man and a girl find themselves on an Alien planet without any real knowledge of why they are there. Once again this is a pretty dark story as the two come to terms with their alien surroundings. Artwork is great and so far the story has had some interesting turns. Might need a bit more time to show where it really is going but the general mental breakdown of the protagonists is enough to keep me intrigued.

 

Kangoku Jikken

Eyama Aito, a high school student, is the victim of daily bullying. One day a strange letter arrives inviting him to a “captivity game.” He may choose one person to hold captive for one month with a chance at winning a large amount of money. He chooses the ringleader of his bullies, Aya Kirishima, and the only rule of the game is to not kill her. Everything else is fair game. Eyama’s revenge begins!

Another dark concept to add to the mix. The bully and bullied which places when a boy enters the girl that torments him in a game. The rules of the game are simple, enter a name and that person will be abducted and held in a facility for one month. In that one month the one who entered the name can do absolutely anything to the victim. As long as it doesn’t kill the victim or remove their ability to speak then anything is fair game. However at the end of each week the victim is given an opportunity to guess the name of their capturer. If they guess right they get 10 million yen paid by capturers pocket. If they fail to guess the name in that month then the victim pay the capturer 10 million yen. What makes this one interesting is that their are others in the game as well who take part for different reasons.Our protagonist looks to be someone who is a potential sadist and has at least some degree of intelligence. I am hoping it doesn’t pull the rape card as that would be cheap however so far it looks like it’s sticking to just physical and psychological abuse. It might need some time before we can really see where it goes but for now I am rather fascinated.

 

Other Notable New works

Goblin Slayer

Shinyaku Marchen

Wombs

Bokura no Fushidara

Unbalance School Life

Kami-sama, Ki-sama o Koroshitai

Posted on with categories: Other:, OVA Reviews

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Under the Dog represents the latest in a growing trend of anime being funded in alternative ways like Kickstarter or Netflix and represents a break from the traditional financing method of animation production committees. Over the course of its development, it had its fair share of problems from to trouble in delivering its stretch goals to creative splits to swapping out animation studios but the first OVA has now finally arrived to disappointing results.

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Initially, Under the Dog has an interesting premise where monsters exists, governments try to contain an outbreak and a third faction has an odd interest in recruiting special people that can have the power to destroy or save humanity. Unfortunately, that is squattered on the two high school characters that end up being inconsequential to the narrative as they end up dying before the episode’s end. Anthea, the character that the trailer hyped up, shows up near the end and doesn’t add much other than showing off her boobs and muttering a couple of lines. I also didn’t really end up learning about the history or the basic mechanisms even though terms like “flowers” and “light of humanity” were being dropped left and center. It reminded of how the first movie of Kara no Kyoukai thrusts its viewers in the middle of a perplexing alternative nasuverse before returning to the beginning and building its characters and mystery up. At the very least, I enjoyed the US military squaring off the monster and the high school chick as the action was decent enough with the infantry displaying a decent amount of realism in their tactics.

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As this is animated by Kinema Citrus, a studio who isn’t known for their consistent quality or smash anime hits, the results are disappointing when compared to the promise of the original trailer. Everything looks rather bland in both colour scheme and in the details of its world and character while maintaining a jerky animation style that seems to be missing a couple frames. Even more bizarre is the omission almost all of the footage that was shown in the original reveal trailer where the cool motorcycle and the smooth fighting scenes are nowhere to be found and the new footage from the OVA didn’t come close to what the this Kickstarter project promised.

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If this was a regular TV anime and not an OVA funded through Kickstarter and had a badass reveal trailer, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to it. However, the final product is a far cry from its promise and goes to show that it is not where the money comes from ,but rather the creative process and talent that enables how well it turns out in the end. Under the Dog is less of Kick-Heart or Little Witch Academia and more of a Mighty No. 9.

55/100

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Posted on 2 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Just a quick note that I originally intended this week’s review to be about Miss Hokusai. But because of the DVD release of this Kizumonogatari (with good subtitle to boost), I decided to bump this up and review it instead. Monogatari series has been among one of my favorite series, and certainly the one that I spend time the most. Sorry Miss Hokusai but you will have to wait for few weeks later. When it comes to Monogatari series there’s simply no competition, okay? Now, let begin.

It’s always a tricky line when you are making a TV movie when you think about it, because you have to please both the fans of the series, along with new audiences who never see the series before. In other words, you have to make a movie that maintains the elements, tone and themes that make the series famous, at the same time the movie has to have something that can stand on its own. In that regards I always consider that The Adolescent of Utena is the best TV movie adaptation ever in anime. The way it reimages the plot of the original show, updating the settings, altering some plot points, and then goes completely bananas with its theme. Kizumonogatari has a bit of advantage, since it is also based from the light novel as a prequel to Bakemonogatari. The film was originally announced to be adapted right after the first series, back in 2010. Six years past, with the presence of many following seasons, there were doubts whether or not Shaft going to adapt it at all. Then comes the announcement of not one film, but a trilogy. This movie is just the first part of the trilogy, and clocking at exactly 1 hour, the film doesn’t hide the fact that it’s not self-contained, instead the film pleases itself of placing a groundwork for more events to come in latter parts.

Kizumonogatari part 1 nails many of the show’s distinctive features. Audiences who already love the series will find a lot to enjoy here. There are long, snappy dialogues, the distinctive but messy style of visual, the sharp impressionist art backgrounds, the insert screen texts, the ecchi undertone and of course the head-tilts. They’re all here. Its quick styles of visual prove to be too much for some, but never fail to impress (there’s a reason that my avatar is from Monogatari). The color palate changes according to the mood the characters are in or the topics they conceive. Monogatari is one of the few examples on how a great adaptation should be, in the sense that they don’t need to adapt it faithfully, but take the tone, the theme of its source material and turn the show into a very distinct visual feast (The Tatami Galaxy is another example). After all, light novels and visual anime shows are two different mediums, there is something that work well in one medium but will not work in another, hence taking an artistic liberty to the source is a very necessary task. Many characters that we come to know and love has returned for the film, or to put it more correctly, appear for the first time together. It’s actually very nice to see those characters before everything happen, when they are still insecure and naïve.

Yet, this movie sets itself apart from the series for so many reasons, or I should say, this movie is an update version from the series. While usually I don’t like the use of narration, Monogatari series is one of the best example on how to use the voice-over right. Because every character in the show has their own distinctive voices, using narration to understand the way they think, the worldview they possess feels deeply personal. Yet in the movie, the inner voice is stripped down and what we have instead is the external experience. The film shows what the characters experience through pure visual storytelling instead of relying on what the character’s inner thought. The first sequence of the film is the perfect example of this approach to create a sense a paranoia we feel along with our main character Araragi. We literally follow our main character’s every footstep, see what he sees, hear what he hears. In the sequence, Araragi wanders around an abandoned building. He’s shaking and terrified, completely out of place. It is a nightmarish situation in which Araragi couldn’t get out of and we sense his uneasiness. All this were achieved without any spoken dialogue.

Moreover, if there is one element that truly stands out in the film, it is the sound designs. The film uses a more jazzy, popular melodic soundtrack that fits the scenes they play like a glove. My favorite piece of soundtrack happens when Hanekawa and Araragi meet up for the first time after the “incident”, the soundtrack goes Latino and sweet and upbeat, but later when Araragi encounters the vampire Kiss-Shot, the soundtrack goes dense and off-putting. The sound, or the lack thereof, complements the movie in so many way as well. I have to note that the sound designs, just like the visual presentation, are highly unconventional. The film use sounds like the tickling clock to represent the sexual tension of Araragi when he thinks back about Hanekawa’s underpants and big boobs, or use baby cries to substitute for the desperation of Kiss-shot when our main character refuse to help her, or the distorted sounds of people talking to illustrate the un-humanness Araragi is becoming. The more I think about those sound designs, the more I believe that the movie has outdone the series in so many level. The settings also get new designs: the old abandoned cram school, the high school and Araragi’s house have these new looks and it’s a joy to watch. As did with our characters. The characters have their own distinctive appearances and ask me which hairstyle fit Shinobu better, I would choose this one without hesitation. Unlike the series that I have mentioned earlier, the color palate in the film is dominated by the bright yellow and orange colors, which for me is very suitable, since Kiss-Shot has yellow hair (and she’s very important to this story), the yellow ray of the sun (which also very fitting with the theme) and most of all it makes the blood looks less terrified.

Story-wise, the film contains 3 parts: Araragi and Hanekawa meet for the first time; Araragi finds a limbless vampire Kiss-Shot on a verge of dying and decides to help her; Araragi on his mission to retrieve Kiss-Shot limbs in order to reverse back to human, with the help of Oshino Meme, a “negotiator”. Actually, for those of you who curious, the very first opening section of Bakemonogatari is basically a very quick overview of Kizumonogatari and contains the prequel’s most important scenes. Now I don’t encourage you to watch that to spoil yourself, but you might check it out to see the different in approach and design between that “preview” and the actual movie. That is for me what Kizumonogatari would look like if it were adapted 6 years ago. The second part of the film is easily the best part of the film, the way it mixes the natural world of the first part and the supernatural world of the last part, in addition with the visual and sound designs to create an eerie and quite disturbing atmosphere. Monogatari has tackled difficult and even depressing subjects before (the whole Sodachi’s acts), but this is the only time where they manage to put the viewers in and make sure us stay there with Araragi with an unflinching look.

So what’s to expect for the next two movies then? Oshino Meme mentioned that the whole thing now is too unbalanced that he can’t help but to step in; and he is the negotiator who bridges between here and there. Araragi thought that this is them (Araragi and Kiss-Shot – the Vampires) against human (the Vampire executors), but then Meme remarked again that Araragi and himself are human. If he can pick up something from that, he should have realized the reason Oshino Meme steps in is to help Araragi against Kiss-Shot. She’s hiding something and at this moment she just manipulates Araragi in order to get her full power back. Like the film states clearly in the beginning, “This story about a vampire has an unhappy ending – It concludes with everyone becoming miserable”. Don’t expect a joyous ending here, but that’s precisely the reason I look forward to the next movie.

Overall, Kizumonogatari part 1 is a worthy successor to the series, and a major step up in terms of production values and its visual storytelling, which is a feat itself consider that everyone have an extremely high expectation from it. Still, I have a hard time to score it alone as this one is clearly just a set up for more to come, but at least I could say that it succeeds in what it sets out to do. Lastly, to the question whether this movie would be a good place to start for newcomer. Well, I always prefer to go with the airing order, because they have been written that way (Kizumonogatari would be the third release in light novels). But I’d say the newcomer would welcome to watch this, because the movie both maintains many trademark elements from the series, and it’s chronically a beginning of its all. The only downside with this is you then have to wait for almost a year for the full trilogy to come out and it’s no fun waiting.

Next post, I will review one of my favorite film and personally the best animated film of this decade so fa… scratch that, this is one of the best film of this decade so far in any form, animated or not. Expect a high score here. Stay tune!

~SuperMario~

Posted on 25 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Welcome to the third installment of World Animation section, but this time we head back to Japan for my favorite anime movie out of last year. If anything, I have always wanted those reviews to be a recommendation if you want to look for something different. So if there is anyone who would check out the films after reading those reviews, then I consider those posts a success. I know myself checking out a wide range of movies just because I read reviews that I enjoyed, so I hope I could offer the same here. Unlike those first two movies that I happened to watch in certain film screenings, from now on those movies that I review are available online or on streaming, so if you feel interested then by all mean go check it out yourself.

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice (or just simply The Case of Hana & Alice) is a prequel of a 2004 live-action movie Hana & Alice. The film divides into two separate parts, which contains even different sets of characters besides the titular Alice. We follow every steps of Alice as she familiars herself with the new environment in the first part; noticing the mysterious neighbor who spied on her (that would be Hana), being bullied in class for breaking the “curse seal”, having a chance to play ballet, meeting her father, participating in relay, and investigating a superstitious “murder case”. The second half we have her teaming up with Hana in an attempt to find whether the real victim was dead or alive, which leads to the many misadventures along the way.

If there is one thing that you immediately notice while watching this film is that the film looks and feels more like a live-action movie than anime. This is true in a sense since the director Shunji Iwai is famous for his live-action films and The Case of Hana & Alice was his first anime attempt. The shots compose is more of live-action sensibility than animation as well. Take for example the motifs of tracking the characters walking through the streets in a profile shot; while we have that kind of shot in anime, it’s usually used very quickly to show the characters talking to each other. Here in the film they use a good 10-20 seconds just to follow those characters literally just walking, either alone or together. The character designs, since they are modeled from real actresses, look more realistic than our usual anime designs. The color is always on bright scheme, with the mixture of real life building and pink/green-dominated background. It produces a more impressionist look and honestly I like the look of the movie. The music is easily one the best component out of this film, which composed by the director himself. It contains both piano score and violin score resembling a ballet score. If you close your eyes and just listen to the music, you can really feel the flow of the music and the mood it creates. It’s that good.

In addition, the decision to make this film an animated one was more of practical choice than artistic choice. The director wanted to use the same actresses from the original movie to display an even younger version of them, as a result he had to use rotoscoping to avoid ageing the actresses. To put it simply, rotoscoping is a process of filming live action footage (with real actors of course), then retrace it frame by frame by either re-drawn it or using computer software. Rotoscoping has been used before in anime, quite controversially even, in Flowers of Evil, to suggest an eerie and uncomfortable sense to our viewers, but in this case, the use of rotoscoping produces a very different outcome: a floating sense. That floating sense plays both as its strengths and as its shortcomings. On a plus side, this suits the most for ballet dancing, since you know, ballet dancing is already like floating across the floors. Many of the ballet sequences are easily the highlights of the movie, both visually and as a statement of how to use the technique right. On the negative side though, the weight of the characters always seems off, as a result we feel the characters “just floating” in many moments, most noticeably the first sequence where Alice falls off from her window and was “catch” by the worker, or later whenever Alice’s running. On other notes, the disparity between characters who were drawn from actual actors and those fictional characters is just jarring. The designs of the worker mentioned earlier or the triplets with bikes in the end felt really like they came from Tintin universe (with big-dot eyes and cartoon face) and to put it together with a much more realistic designs of the mains, you feel like you’re watching two different movies at the same time.

The biggest selling point of the film is, of course, the characters themselves and the dynamic between the two main girls. On that front, the film shines the brightest. This is the kind of characters I love to follow, not because they are the deepest, but because they’re full of identity. There are many vivid little moments that showcase this quality, as mundane and realistic as possible. From Alice punching the book written by her mother in a bookstore, to a moment where she found the last piece of snack, to the moment where the two girls practicing ballet out at night. Make no mistake, the staffs really love their characters and we feel that love throughout the movie. They are not your typical teenager high school protagonists, Alice is a girl that acts on impulse, she’s direct and doesn’t afraid to speak her mind; but she’s surprisingly down to earth and sincere as well or Hana is not your typically shut-in character, as she’s actually smart and quick-wit, and her guilt that she might be responsible for the death of her close friend makes her a more realized person than most other main characters we see in anime shows. Furthermore, they bound off each other very well, mostly because they have so different personalities, yet they can share the pain to each other. The other side characters, in general, provide enough charms and again, “personality” to make them stand out too: Alice’s mother is wise enough but often shown as childish, Mu is fantastic with her unique-but-nonsensical quirks.

Another note that I find really interesting is that the whole film is decidedly female-centric cast, with the men only appear as either faraway (both Alice’s father and Yuda) or as weak and dependent (Alice’s father mentioned that he didn’t have a mindset to become a top runner, the bullying boy who reveals that he does it to save face, Yuda who is insecure about love and the idea of commitment). The only real male cast that was portrayed in different light is the old man. He’s representing the contrast between his old-self with the youthful, full-of-life of Alice. The sequence that speaks best to that idea, when Alice playing on the swing, stating how long it has been since her last play (2 years), the old man just sits quietly there in the next wing, his body feature looks no different than the old man in Ikuru, he told her that it has been 40 years since he played, because it was the time when his daughter was still in elementary school. This sad, melancholic tone mix in so well with the youthful of Alice. This is really the heart of The Murder Case of Hana and Alice- a film that celebrates the youthfulness, of how it’s like to feel young and enjoy the little moments of your life.

It’s criminal that The Murder Case of Hana & Alice slipped under the radar of most of anime fan. Surely it doesn’t look like your typical anime but I will say that there won’t be any anime like this in the near future. This is a rarity even among anime fandom. I haven’t watched the original live-action film, but surely after watching this I’m eager to check out the movie, just so that I can spend more time with those characters again.

Next post I will review the best written anime movie out of last year. And this time it might be the one you think it is. Stay tune!

~SuperMario~

Posted on 23 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this is surprisingly much more out of the box from what you would’ve expected after SaGa. Most prominently, it has a style of story progression that allows you to quite literally go forward however you please – by opening up the world to you through unlocking maps via unstated objectives. Now, I don’t favor open world titles above linear games just for the sake of them being open world, but I do appreciate it when they’re done as well as it is here. I could play through Legend of Legacy as quickly or as slowly as I pleased in whichever order, with the intention being making the player feel like a real adventurer exploring uncharted territory, which it succeeds in spades all the way to the end. So if you’re coming out of Bravely Second rather dissatisfied, Legacy unwinds those linear genre conventions and shares more similarities with A Link to the Past in its range of freedom. Even the individual map’s bosses are more often than not just a part of the scenery as they roam the map aimlessly alongside the other mobs. But in exchange, the game can be brutal when you don’t know how to progress any further after fully exploring an area (while refusing to look at walkthroughs) and scouring the entire map looking for any possible clues. But this is also what adds charm to the game, as the game allows you to sell the maps you complete by exploring more of the wilderness. The more of the map you’ve filled, the more money you can sell them for, and it’s pretty rewarding to earn large sums of money for them. 

Yet on the other hand, it’s worth noting that the turn-based combat is about as traditional as one can get apart from its lack of any level system. There can only be three characters at a time in your party, and in-battle you can utilize the elemental spirits in your environment for various effects like HP regeneration while customizing your stances outside of battle to affect turn order and defense. As a result, building an effective party is critical, yet also entirely up to you, and since there’s only so many roles possible in a 3-person team you’ll have to make sure everyone pulls their weight. Upon a new game, you can choose a protagonist among a huge selection of characters to begin your story with, and choosing the right character from the start makes the confusing lack of narrative that much better. I personally chose Filmia (the awesome frog that’s an obvious throwback) despite his rather one dimensionality in combat, as I found his small quips that much more interesting. In the small town of Initium, you’ll see the characters that you didn’t choose on the starting screen wandering about for you to recruit, and it’s really up to you to make sure everyone stays leveled up. I decided not to change up my starting trio of Filmia, Bianca, and Liber very much, as my play style is always offensive and Filmia is rather bulky anyways. But what makes the turn-based combat a little more interesting is its integration into the exploration mechanic – however much HP your party lost in-battle doesn’t entirely carry over into the next encounter, unless a character went down to 0 in which case they’d be at a fraction of their full HP the next battle. This means that as you go deeper into the wilderness, the less comfortable you are facing stronger enemies – so it encourages you to go back to town every now and again to sleep, restock, and retread. If a battle gets too tough you can always run away to the start of the map.
In any case, the game is extremely tedious if you don’t have interesting members in your party, as you’re going to have to grind in order to raise the level on your attacks and stats. Heaven forbid you start with Meurs or Owen as they’re the blandest characters in the game. As with any of these games that allow you to choose your protagonists, your experience may vary depending on the narrative you develop for your own party. As I like to mention in any of my previous reviews, it’s important for this kind of game to be a good character story over any kind of overarching plot, and most of these characters are interesting enough to keep your interest to the end. In this way it really does remind me of Rune Factory 4. Legend of Legacy is an excellent game to sink hours into if you don’t mind traditional turn based combat and hands off free-roaming. The plot is simple, yet clocks out over 40+ hours. But because of this, all of the characters in your party don’t feel like cutouts and get fleshed out believably, and the buildup gets used well by closing off satisfyingly.  So yeah, it’s not a game that’s going to be very important to Masato Kato’s repertoire or to the 3DS RPG genre, but what it does well, it does well in spades. It does have its weaknesses where it goes too far in its efforts to let you do whatever you want, by sacrificing any sense of a greater purpose to your gameplay, but it works alright without one. To top it off, visually, the game is perfect. You can see influences of the SaGa games where they like to spam the screen with useless objects (like a giant conch, ruins, etc) but also the more subtle things. Each of the characters walk in their own unique way, and the characters move with their own unique poses and styles. This game is nearly a year old and I haven’t seen much buzz about it and it’s truly a shame. While games like Bravely Default continue to earn praise for its “traditional” gameplay, it’s games like Legacy which are the true throwbacks to a time when a game’s story was simply something to be discovered through gameplay.

Storytelling: 7/10 Open ended, it depends what you make of it on your playthrough.
Gameplay: 7/10 Very traditional combat, but a unique story progression system and an interesting cast of party members keep everything from becoming too tedious and stale.
User Interface: 8/10 Convenient quick saves, but otherwise a laughable options menu without even text speed adjustment.
Production values: 10/10 Looks great, and the score is amazing.

Suggestions:

Bravely Default/Second (3DS)

Rune Factory 4 (3DS)

Etrian Odyssey (DS)

Posted on 17 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

It’s never easy to make a good family’s animation. For movies aim at adults, the filmmakers can easily get themselves loose, go crazy and the audience can still get it. But for kids, these movies might be one of the first movies they’ve ever seen and that’s a huge responsibility. They have to aware of children’s mindset all the time so that they both maintain kid’s interest throughout its screening time and make them invested to the story. That’s a reason why usually a good family movie or show tends to be either inspirational, educational, or packs an emotional punch for viewers of all ages. My Life as a Courgette falls neatly under the latter category. The film is adapted from a French children novel and the screenplay was written by the talented Celine Sciamma (she directed handful of movies and all of them focus on teenage girls and their transitions to adulthood, in other words, my kind of films). Though not as dark as the book, it’s a story from a kid’s point of view that have a very adult concept and tough subject matter.

The film recounts a few months in the life of Courgette, a nine-year-old boy, who accidently kills his alcoholic mom, then finds himself in an orphanage. His real name is Icare, but he insists of calling himself Courgette since it’s one of the very few things that he has left from his mother. Indeed, when he steps into the orphanage, the only things he keeps in his suitcase are an empty beer can from his mother, and a kite he made by himself. He doesn’t remember much about his father either, since the father left the family long time ago to chase “chicks”. There in the orphanage, he, still feels responsible for the death of his mother, encounters other kids who – like him – had experienced rough childhoods. They include the self-appointed leader (and a bit of a bully) Simon, and later Camille arriving by court order, who witnessed her parent’s murder-suicide. Rosy, whose mother was sent back to Africa. Ahmed, whose father was arrested for robbing a convenience store. Alice, whose father was arrested too. There is also a kind-heart policeman Raymond who later would be Couragette father’s figure as well.

If you feel I give a bit too much of a synopsis here, this is because it’s essential to the theme of the story. The best thing about the film, I have to say, lies in its sensitive writing. Within the first 10 minutes, the film successfully establishes a solid ground of all the mishaps, all the sadness these children have been gone through. Those moments feel so real and hold so much power. Life is not fair in the first place, and those children did nothing to deserve it. They all end up here, without the care of no one really, and all they have are each other. Being said that, those sad, downbeat times are just a facet of life, and learning how to live with it is the main theme of the film. The later part of My Life as a Courgette comes to more light-heart, sincere territory, but by then we’re already swept by the sadness that the whole movie feels more like a bittersweet experience.

Upon making this feature, the director Claude Barras insisted that he took extra attention to the eyes of the characters, and it shows in the movie, as the characters have big, expressive eyes. In many of the touching moments, those eyes help conveying a lot of emotion and we really see the sadness behind those eyes. The character designs, with big head, multicolor hairs and very thin body, further make those characters easy to root for, and will definitely catch the interest of the children. It helps of course that the kids were well-written and speak like a normal 9-year-old would speak. The stop-motion for the most part is serviceable; they serve the story well but nothing to stand out and truthfully judging from technical aspect there is nothing to recommend either. Then again this film is a children movie so I guess it serves its purposes.

If there is one thing that I could criticize the film for, that is its conflicts resolve way too quickly. There are two main conflicts of the film. The first conflict comes from Simon bullying Courgette, both because of his name and because he’s new. The second comes from the group’s attempt to win back Camille from her aunt who intends to use the girl for government-aided. I really think more time spending to raise the stakes would benefit the film better, especially with its relatively short running time (66 minutes to be exact). Because of its brief running time, only Courragette and two more characters (Simon, Camille) have a chance to develop, and boy! They certainly grow a lot during their brief time staying together in the orphanage.

In the end, My Life as a Couragette is the kind of film that the kids can enjoy but there’s a level for adults to appreciate as well. The bittersweet moments are all well-earned, and this is a feat to tell a sad, dark story without being too cynical or depressing. The film actually suggests the opposite, that unfortunate things happen everywhere, but learning to bounce back and stand up from those mishaps is something worth treasuring for.

Next post I will review my personal favorite anime feature film that came out last year in 2015, and it is NOT the one(s) you think it is. Stay tune!

~SuperMario~

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

Short Synopsis: A boy with incredible psychic powers runs into troublesome people.

It’s a pretty good watch. Sort of like Handa-kun it relies a lot of misunderstandings but the execution seems better in this regard. I say the main weakness is in that it has no real continuous narrative and instead is a series of shorts detailing Saiki running into a troublesome person and reluctantly using his powers to help them. Out of the skits shown I liked the one about his parents the best as it had the best punchlines. However Saiki as a character is rather dull considering that he has only one default state and that’s pure apathy. Sort of akin to Saitama’s bored demeanor without any of his goofy charm. I think for it to really get good Saiki needs a foil who is on the same level as him but so far it’s a rather decent comedy.

Potential: 60%

 

Mario’s thoughts:

This show based on the gags manga series, so instead of showing it as a 20-minute episode per week, they screen the show everyday as a 4-minute chapter and combine all of them for a full episode on Sunday, so in a way I could see this more as a short series one. I’m not kidding when I say this is the sharpest comedy show of this season, as it could go absurd, occasionally slapstick, most of the time over-the-top humor, but ultimately never lose its charms. Saiki is an over-power, but very self-aware kid, and his running through daily live without being stand out (because obviously he’s stand out) is a joy to watch every day. It becomes a new routine that I would start my anime-watching day with 4 minutes of Saiki K., and never once did I feel the show runs out of its joke. A must-watch for me.

Potential: 75%

 

DANGANRONPA 3 -The End of Kibougamine Gakuen- Future Arc

Short Synopsis: A terrorist group captures the leaders of the future foundation and forces them to play a death game against one another.

This is very much an anime for fans of the video games so if you haven’t played them I highly recommend that you do before seeing this show. Though regardless if you plan to watch this or not you should check the two games on steam anyway as they are quite excellent games. Jumping in from a anime only perspective would likely leave people confused as to what exactly is going on as this takes place directly after the events of Danganronpa 2. So far the writing has managed to avoid the pitfalls of the anime adaption of Danganronpa which is a relief though I need to see how they handle the mystery aspect before saying that this has better writing. It certainly doesn’t seem to have pacing issues and the new cast looks interesting.

Potential: 60%

 

Mario’s thoughts: I will not review this as I’m unfamiliar with Danganronpa’s universe

 

DANGANRONPA 3 -The End of Kibougamine Gakuen- Despair Arc

Short Synopsis: A new teacher gathers up her eccentric students to attend class.

Much like it’s counterpart, this is a series for fans of the games and if you haven’t played the games what you are going to get out of this episode is going to be little. However as someone who has played DanganRonpa 2, this episode was like being introduced to old friends. It’s interesting that Lerche is putting out both a prequel and a sequel to this series out in the same season but so far both have had solid starts. This series sounds like it’s going to be the more lighthearted of the two but there are hints of a darker tragedy ahead. With the original writer on board I think these animes could be quite worthwhile. Ultimately I say if you are a fan of the games then these two animes are a must watch.

Potential: 70%

 

Mario’s thoughts: I will not review this as I’m unfamiliar with Danganronpa’s universe

 

Mob Psycho 100

Short Synopsis: A fake Psychic cons a powerful esper boy into exorcising ghosts for him.

I have a particular fear that Bones is attempting to turn this into a repeat of One Punch man when Mob Psycho from what I recall from the manga is a different kind of story. Though considering that One Punch Man was a product of numerous talented people coming together there is a good chance that animators from One punch Man are working on this series as well. It has a particularly interesting style which is based heavily on artist ONEs webcomic art. The story of this episode is different from what I remember of the comic as it looks like things are getting moved around to make the show more dynamic. There is a much higher focus on comedy and sadly for me this doesn’t really work. For one the conman’s thing of pretending to be a powerful exorcist gets tiresome. He’s basically a version of Hercule from Dragonball Z. Mob in turn lacks the things that made Saitama so enjoyable and comes across as a more emotionally demore Saitama. Not helped by his design with has huge similarities.  This story does get interesting as it continues but I doubt it will reach the heights of OPM. Those hoping for a second coming likely should temper their expectations down to a lower level. Still the animation here is quite interesting and for that alone the series is worth checking out.

Potential: 60%

 

Mario’s thoughts:

Wow. I could watch the opening theme all day. The visual looks cool, the story is fun mainly because the show never takes itself seriously, the comedy is sharp and witty, what’s more could you ask for? I can see the running joke of Reigan as a con artist and his totally dependence on Mob to exorcise ghosts can wear off quickly, but I have faith on its writing as One Punch Man has a solid writing as well. My main concern is Mob himself, as for now he’s just plain- blank, to be exact. Yeah I guess we have to wait until he reaches 100 to see exactly what will happen. One of the most awesome thing was that creative visual is not there just for showcase but it fits very well with the theme (ghosts, supernatural) and the tone (a bit wacky, colorful) of the show. Overall, I think this is a style-over-substance show, but could be a very entertainment one at that.

Potential: 80%

 

Battery

Short Synopsis: A baseball pitcher finds a friend whom can catch his pitches.

I admit that after a long run of first episodes that I may be quite burned out at this point to enjoy battery. What make this harder for me to enjoy is that Battery is fairly slow paced and character driven which I simply have no patience for anymore. I am tired of school setting, tired of slice of life and tired of easygoing atmosphere. Let me get down to the main point. Is Battery a bad show? The answer is no. It’s a fairly solid slice of life so far but I think in this season it’s going to need a lot more than this to stand out. We already have two alternatives to watch this season besides this show and I have no interest whatsoever in baseball. I can sort of see where this story is heading and I have very little interest in continuing. Put simply I think you should check this one out yourself if you have a slice of life itch that needs scratching and decide if it’s something for you. Otherwise when it comes to this first impressions, I am done.

Potential: 50%

 

Mario’s thoughts:

And with this final show had its first screening, I’m happy to say that we don’t end our impressions on a sour note. Battery has fairly strong writing to start with. Unlike Days (the other sport series this season) where our main character was clueless about anything related to football, here in Days the main character is an already established teen baseball pitcher. And he’s not a likeable kid, but he’s well-grounded. He’s first appeared to be an overachiever, but at the end of episode we learn many about him, many of those through just small exchanges: his affection to baseball, to the point of playing it with his new friend – something a loner like him tends not to do; his strain relationship with his father, his ambiguous to be the best but ends up taking baseball too seriously, his mocking about “rich kid” when he gets hurt. It helps that the cast around him, most notably his brother and his new friend Go, bounds off very natural together and the more they interact, the more we understand about their personalities. This is a solid first episode and I can’t wait to see them batter for more.

Potential: 70%

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AidanAK47
Who was it again bemoaning that we don't get enough original(Not adaption) anime anymore? Cause there are 20 original shows next season. Great for anime but hard for me cause what am I gonna write in the preview?
AidanAK47
I am a bit too stubborn to burnout.
@afgm, I didn't change a thing.
Anonymous38539
I hope AidanAK47 would not suffer an Anime Burnout. I love this site and it pains to think that one day, no one will be writing the seasonal previews and yearly summary.
afgm
@AidanAK47 did you change my site status? K-off did that on purpose to help out lol
SuperMario
@Aidan: you have 91 days's episode as 9 instead of 7
AidanAK47
Bloody hell, even the spambots are referencing Pokemon Go now.
K-Off
For future reference, let's direct admin dialogue to email, apart from direct feedback.
@Mario We're working on allowing users to set up accounts.
SuperMario
And the constant anonymous names just keep bugging me. Can we make it back to the old shoutbox, where you have to put down your name in order to write message?
SuperMario
I think it's one thing leads to another. he's getting too burnout that he doesn't know what to write anymore.
AidanAK47
@Anon36049, pretty much what he said. Though it seems to be a combination of anime burnout and writers block.
Anonymous36271
He suffered from anime burnout and is getting on with real life.
Anonymous36049
Hi guys I havent been around for a long time. Does anyone know what happened to psgels? I see that the new posts are not his.
AidanAK47
Disgaea 2 coming to steam. Sweet.
Gotta finish Disgaea 1 and hope they don't screw up the port on release day again.
AidanAK47
Illuminati are everywhere, regardless of wherther it's anime or not. Sword Art Online was the work of the illuminati. All in the name of the gaint magic eyeball triange god do they rule the landscape of entertainment medium.
Also Magic Eyeball-kun also argees that Rem is best girl. And none shall dare denounce that claim.
SuperMario
@Anony35181: never thought they're that much interested in anime thou
Anonymous35181
@supermario, illuminati confirmed
SuperMario
Is it just me or couple of messages from the shoutbox just gone missing?
Topgavin
Haven't been watching it myself, but apparently in Taboo Tattoo, that large-chested high school girl died while running *onto a live battlefield* to check on her boyfriend with a shirt that said "flag". 10/10
K-Off
@afgm Sent you a message.
@Friend Looks good, I'd be interested in seeing multiple witches as well.
Anonymous32745
Chemotherapy is a cause of cancer rather than a cure.
Anonymous32745
If you know someone dying of cancer, immediately inform them that allopathic medicine will kill them and turn them to natural remedies which often work.
Anonymous32745
"Medicine and science are powerfully institutionalized, but no institution or profession has existed for the purpose of encouraging people to act reasonably." - Ray Peat
afgm
.
afgm
@Friend: yeah it's a problem
@Koff: I emailed you a while back. did you get it?
Fri3nd
Huh, I can't use my username.
@Bam You're right, I'll work on it.
Bam
@K-off: It's moments like these that really remind you of mortality. People pull thru tho. medical science has come far in that field; but definitely not far enough.
Bam
@Friend: It's looks pretty good. I like Mario's suggestion of a series of witches, but a solitary one is more in-tune with the current banner. I would say however that there is too much dark in the negative space to the right. Could be just me tho.
Bam
@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Anonymous29415
qualidea code's characters havent become better in terms of how they are written; only that they have been fleshed out in the most generic and trivial of ways as to sympathize with them; and sure, they have become some what likeable in the same way you'd like a person who you heard nothing but kind things about but that does not save the characters from being boring. QC is still a bad show
AidanAK47
@Anon27511, even if the animation was kept consistent the story still can't really escape the done to death aspect of it's story. I agree that the writing has gotten better but despite that the show just feels...meh.
Anonymous27511
Fucking Qualidea Code, as the story and characters become more interesting, the animation and drawing proportionately decreases. Sad they simply do not have the budget to pull off what seems like a potentially very good story
K-Off
@Mike I'm sure you already heard but for some reason I didn't keep up to date. I thought it was strange that releases stopped in March after chapter 68,.
K-Off
Just learned that the writer of my favorite webtoon is battling terminal cancer, but despite it she hopes to finish it someday. God damn I would've never expected this.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Once spilled hot microwaved food over my hand by mistake, hurt for a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
*remaining
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: The story and ideas however were better in gandahar I felt. Time masters while good was a bit stop and start in its pace and animation.
I’m definitely interested in Laloux’s other, short animations and Mobius’ comic book work.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: I watched Rene Laloux's remain animated films, Gandahar and time masters, I enjoyed both but not as much as Fantastic planet. I remember we talked about fantastic planet two years ago. Did you see the other two I mentioned. I liked the big moments and the ending to time masters, especially those angel things.
Anonymous27024
Ok. I beat Federation Force. I think the main positive is that the levels were playable despite the lack of voice chat. The bosses took a lot of damage and the beginning and end are relevant to the Prime continuity.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I did it once just like you did, and once when I put a metal bowl into a microwave. So yeah, boys will always be boys.
Bam
I tried my best not to half-ass either of them tho. Any oddity you guys see just write it off as mental exhaustion.
Bam
Okay, I'm officially beat. These two reviews should be considered companion pieces, as some material from one flew into the other. Thank god that episode 08 was not a heavy one, or I'd be completely depleted.
K-Off
Shit, I'm a damn idiot at baking, slightly burnt my hand a minute ago grabbing a hot tray with a wet towl. Why do I even try.
K-Off
@afgm Alright, send me a message at fightthepowwa@gmail.com and we'll work it out.
Bam
*cinematography
Bam
@K-off: I second that, as although the Poirot series has very well-done choreography, casting and music, there is still a little more of that unquantifiable magic sprinkled on the Granada series. But keep watching and I'll guarantee that Suchet will become the quintessential Poirot in your mind as well.
K-Off
I said that while I liked the performance and the direction, I didn't think that it did for Poirot what Granada did for Holmes.
K-Off
@Bam Yeah it is, and generally when I camp I like to stay for 1-2 weeks, places like Niagara or Yellowstone I can pretty much see everything I want to see in a few days so I don't find much value going to those places. The Adirons on the other hand is diverse as hell.
Bam
@K-off: I'm not sure if you mentioned it while I was gone: but did you get to watch any of the Poirot series with David Suchet? And if so, what are your thoughts?
Bam
I generally go to either the Muir Woods north of SF, or the forests around Big Sur. It doesn't take much to please me really.
Bam
@K-ff: is that by Lake Champlain? Cuz I've been there once and loved it.
Bam
@K-off: I thought of a combined post, but my OCD wouldn't allow a skip in the episodic order of the reviews.
K-Off
Usually when you go camping in Yellowstone or Yosemite the tourist industry kills those places, like I'd be on a rowboat and see cars, cabins, and people from a long ways offshore. The Adirondacks are nice because their building codes mandate construction to be hidden behind trees.
K-Off
@Bam My favorite camping spot is the Adirondacks in upstate NY, I went there probably 4-7 times and never get tired of the place. No, I don't have any posts for now, but for future reference consider combining episodic reviews when you get behind. I.E. Episode 6-8 Review
Bam
Also there's a reader in the comment section of Berserk 07 who wants to know if we have a notification system. I vaguely remember a widget that links the site to a FaceBook page. If anybody knows how that works, or if it's still functional, please shed some light on the matter for him/her. Thx.
Bam
@Aidan @K-off @Mario either one of y'all has any post near completion? I'm almost done with Berserk 08 and as previously mentioned, really prefer not to put two reviews up back to back. I think the length of them is already a hassle for some to get thru, let alone two right after eachother. I think it hurts the viewership, but if nothing's on hand then I'll guess I'll just finish up and post mine.
Bam
@Kaiser: I was actually camping near a mountain, but aren't all mountains somewhat holy? That could be my bias tho, since I was raised on the Alborz mountain range, and for me there is something therapeutic about the mountain air.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yes! Looks like the shoutbox is fixed and not deleting posts after 24 hours anymore!
Kaiser Eoghan
lol Or you could live in the shitty suburb where I do and spend your time just waiting for when your internet connection randomly cuts out twice a month or as it has the past few days two-three times a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
Basically bam went up the Holy mountain .
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: ....guy I know who loves war films and I've ended up inadvertedly/un-intentionally gotten him to buy some fucked up Polish horror film that just happens to be set in WW2. lol he's going to be pretty freaked out when he watches it.
Bam
Everything been cool here? Hehe ... looks like I conveniently missed all the hard parts.
Bam
@Mario: thx m8. I wish I could just make it down to Rio on a whim, but then again, I took a much-needed vacation, so I ain't complaining.
SuperMario
Welcome back Bam, I was already convinced that you went to Rio for screwing around. Lol
Bam
Also I apologize for the absence. I was gone somewhere without reliable internet access, and looking back I should've gave a notification.
Either way, I'm back now, and will be jumping on getting those Berserk reviews out as soon as possible.
Bam
Man looky here with the renovations; I like it.
SuperMario
@Vyse: wow. So how was the sites then back from 2005?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and what is that sh!te you're talking about?
VyseLegendaire
<— fixed
VyseLegendaire
<— me
VyseLegendaire
Ive been a reader since 2005
Kaiser Eoghan
Haha, this'll be fun lol
Kaiser Eoghan
.....that feeling when you keep going on about a show or film but fail to give all the details...and someone goes out and buys it not knowing the full extent of the mad shit their in for...s--t lol
Anonymous24840
any reader from 2005 here....
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: This guy seems interesting: https://letterboxd.com/director/tsai-ming-liang/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Hmm, not familiar with him.
I really really loved in the mood for love, alot, it emotionally effected me. I even watched it three times.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I couldn't seem to enjoy any of Zimou yangs films apart from Hero, which had some pretty creative fight scenes. I've seen the story of Ricky and some of John-woos films but they were more just silly entertaining exploitation films.
SuperMario
Don't know if you know the Vietnamese-French Tran Anh Hung. His works are stunning too. If you want to check out East-Asian cinema don't forget to check him out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Yeah, but Park Chan Wood changed the ending, so the author insisted that the Handmaiden is more "inspired" than "based". The third chapter is the weakest part for me
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Of interest, The handmaiden was based on some British book/tv show.
Kaiser Eoghan
I need to completely re-evaluate/get into more Chinese cinema.
Kaiser Eoghan
Doesn't look like I've seen anything by Hong-sang-so.
My favourite Korean actor is song-kang-ho.
Kaiser Eoghan
Theres an anime convention over here in Dublin in three months. Although I haven't been to one in years.
SuperMario
I'm heading to anime convention today. Normally I don't really care about those conventions but I figure I'd come this year to see the taste of it. The only hassle is it's 3-hour drive, which gonna be a pain when I drive back after a long day being there.
SuperMario
Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand,is incredible at writing. His scripts are often layered, sharp and best of all fuses many tones/ genres into one coherent whole. The best thing about this Korean New Wave directors is they all have very distinctive voices. But my favorite director isn't the ones that you list. That would be Hong Sang Soo. I just love his simplicity style so much.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Park Chan Wood is a master of visual. Whenever I come to his movies I expected to be blown-away by his visual. He can write compelling characters (he loves his characters) as well but his screenplays in general are weak. You can watch his lesser effort "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay" and see many things that made him good/bad. That's the movie I feel he made without the care of the critic
afgm
.
afgm
@koff: Yeah I can help. But midterms/finals are coming up so I can't dedicate to much time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I always felt Bong-jong and Chang-dong , kim-di-duk and Kim-jee-woon were better than Park-chan-wook. Oldboy did have that one hell of an ending, so did lady vengeance but I feel that those are the bits people tend to remember and the rest was good but not great.
Topgavin
For anyone that doesn't regularly browse /r/anime, Godzilla is apparently getting an anime adaption by Polygon Pictures with Urobuchi involved. Should be good.
K-Off
Well, I climbed to rank 52 in Overwatch with Tracer alone. Looking forward to season 2 already, but I do wish Blizzard had somehow implemented a single-player storyline since the lore in Blizzard titles is always so vast. Kind of surprised they didn't make one with Overwatch.
K-Off
@Kaiser Watch Train to Busan if you can. Me neither, I can't dig too deep into Korean films due to the language barrier. Sure would be convenient to have Vincent recommending films again.
K-Off
@afgm Hey, are you still interested in helping out with the site? At this point I'm looking over the site's code & doing some rewriting - if you think you can help, let me know.
K-Off
@Mario I hadn't watched Old Boy for 6 years when I got to I Saw the Devil and it was out of mind for me, so you may be right.
SuperMario
@K-Off: maybe it was just me but I was underwhelmed by I Saw the Devil. The point it trying to match was similar to OldBoy, and Oldboy's execution was way better (OldBoy's one of my favorite movie). Yes, the soundtracks of OldBoy, Lady Vengeance are exceptional. I still listen to The Last Waltz after all those years...
K-Off
The soundtrack in a lot of these Korean films are top notch as well, Lady Vengeance and I Saw the Devil in particular.
K-Off
@Mario Speaking of which, Korean psychological thrillers are hands down some of the best in the last 10-20 years. I Saw the Devil, Lady Vengeance, Old Boy, list goes on.
SuperMario
@Aidan: It just comes to me that we're already half way of this season... Time sure flies
SuperMario
@Kaiser: so please finish up Inside Mari. The last chapter had been out. I need someone to talk about that goddamn manga anw
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I always consider the Korean New Wave started back in 2000, and really peaked in 2003 (OldBoy, Memories of Murders, Spring Summer..., A Tale of 2 Sisters). Before 2000? The only director I can think of was Im Kwon-Taek
AidanAK47
About nearly finished Fata Morgana but I might have to finish doom first because that thing is eating a huge chunk of my SSD drive.
AidanAK47
Back up to date...at least for now. I have to go to a wedding so It's likely I will fall behind again. Got to admit that I haven't had much of an opinion on the latest episodes. Might be just mentally drained personally.
SuperMario
@K-off: I totally agree with you. 28 Days Later is a gem. Though I'm not really into zombie genre as a whole, I'm more into psychological stuffs more.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Reminding me I need to catch up on boku mari no naka.
Kaiser Eoghan
Although the trailer for train to busan does catch my interest.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've gotten more than enough out of Korean films, I can enjoy them but I probably don't sing the same high praises for them as most bar some exceptions.
Seeing Lee-chang-dongs stuff I'm actually kind of interested in finding some more low key korean films.
Kaiser Eoghan
Very likely a view shared by my indie loving friend and I, but Battery and Wyrmwood were jokey takes on the zombie genre I thought were enjoyable.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Likely my preference for British comedy that makes me laugh more at Shaun of the dead more. Although Hot fuzz is the better Simon Pegg film in my opinion.
In terms of Korean films, I've been wondering, what are the pre-90s ones like. Lee-chang-dong started the Korean new wave in 1997.
K-Off
I'm still waiting for a good horror-zombie film, nothing has met my expectations after 28 Days Later (and techinically REC), which admittedly is a high bar.
K-Off
@Mario I am watching Seoul Station next week, that was just me recapping TtB after I watched it a few days ago. It's definitely more of a thriller, it has good "wtf" moments but nothing I'd call horror.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I thought you were going to watch Seoul Station? So I gather that Train of Busan is more thriller than horror? Just thinking of Zombieland already puts a smile on my face. That one and Shaun of the Dead are so goddamn hilarious.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I will review them in the future. atm I'm in watching/ reading mode so I'll push back all the world movie/ full show reviews for a while
K-Off
@Mario My impression of Train to Busan was that although it wasn't anything ground breaking, it had a great cast of characters and an entertaining gimmick that managed to stay exhilarating. I haven't seen a zombie film this well structured since Zombieland, even though they're completely opposite in tone.
AidanAK47
They are all yours if you want to do them.
SuperMario
Reading Inside Mary makes me want to watch Flowers of Evil again. If I remember correctly psgels never actually had a full review on this one, and Ping Pong.
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Width wise it's exactly the same as the old chat box. Though it's possible the old one had smaller font.
VyseLegendaire
This chat box is too narrow I think, only see a couple messages.
AidanAK47
@Anon18138, Yeah but I don't see that writer making something that truly represents the games. There may be a possibility of it being a good movie but that movie won't be Pokemon.
Anonymous18138
@AidanAK47 It'll have the writer of Gravity Falls. Though I don't have a high standard in regards to the 3D mascot and live-action style of movies.
SuperMario
They originally planned to male a live-action remake of Seoul Station, as the producer saw a footage of the animation and really loved it; but Yeon Sang-Ho (the director) insisted that if he was about to make a live-action film, he's go for a sequel instead. Hence Train of Busan.
SuperMario
@K-off: I missed my chance to watch Train to Busan but I heard nothing but rave from it. People who watched it really loved it. Damn, you make me jealous man, since I want to watch Seoul Station and review it here. Come watch it and tell me what you think; my bet is you'll enjoy it.
K-Off
@Mario Have you watched Train to Busan? I'm planning to watch its animated prequel Seoul Station next week. Animation looks shabby as hell but I can always expect a good story from the koreans.
AidanAK47
So the live action Pokemon movie will feature detective pikachu. Clearly a necessary inclusion.
SuperMario
I'm reading Inside Mary now and it's quite a gem despite its ridiculous premise. There's a lot of raw emotions. I love raw emotions. As expected from the same guy who wrote Flowers of Evil.
AidanAK47
Yep, when she sends the images let me know. It may have been a while ago but I am a qualified graphic designer so even I can lend a hand to the banner design.
AidanAK47
Ugh...a new version of wordpress is ready to be updated to. I have a bad feeling updating to the latest version could potentially break things.
K-Off
Alright, I've got Friend onbaord with a commission for our new banner. She says she'll send us sketches so we can decide if it's something we want.
AidanAK47
Considering how much trouble this plugin has given us, i am not up for adding another one. Only thing the subscriber account thing needs is me to tick and box and get rid of that password promt.
K-Off
@Aidan You can set that up if you'd like, though another idea would be to set up buddypress and link it to there. But it's yet again another plugin.
Total users: 36

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Berserk(2016) – 07 [The Black Witch]

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