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!


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.


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!


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%



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%

Posted on 15 July 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Qualidea code

Short Synopsis: School students need to defend the world from a dark alien threat.

This odd in the fact that I can tell effort went into the characters and writing but it’s all really for naught when the story is so highly generic that it all feels like it’s been done to death. The characters are stereotypes but there is an attempt to make them stand out. It’s rather irritating in you can see that the writers are trying but their effort is just bringing forth a story we have seen a dozen times before. There are some pretty grievous animation errors and the plot of today’s episode just comes across as average at best. Despite the intensity of the opening scene, there doesn’t seem to be any real threat from these alien invaders. As students seem to just mess around like they are on some kind of field trip. There’s one thing however that has me somewhat curious and that is the tone of the episodes ending. It hints that there is something wrong with their current world and that it’s not all it seems. Perhaps this was made intentional generic and we could be looking at a genre deconstruction? It would be nice if that was the case but it’s a slim hope. If qualidea code continues to be what it currently is, then it’s not worth your time.

Potential: 40%


Mario’s thoughts:

I always have rather mixed feeling about the supergroups project, a show where multi-talented writers write their own characters/ city and then paste them up together, and the result is more likely to be a disaster with no personality from any of the writers whatsoever (read: Chaos Dragon). This episode’s main conflict so far reflects the struggle of supergroup very well. Individually, each team has its own distinctive sides and well-defined archetypical characters (the Overachievers – The Idiots- The Lazy). Each group has their own costume designs, their own fighting styles and their own personalities. But to put them together, and the whole things don’t really add up. I like that while this episode shows the teams battle with the Unknown creatures, the main conflict here is internal, and I definitely prefer internal conflict than the threats of alien. The story so far is as generic as possible. I don’t feel there is a lot of potential on this one.

Potential: 30%


Hitori no Shita: The Outcast

Short Synopsis: A boy returns to his childhood home when his grandfather’s grave has been dug up by a mysterious person.

Another surprise entry I didn’t see coming in my preview but in this case it’s not a particularly notable one. For one when I started watching it I suddenly realised that I had read the start of the manga/webcomic before. I started it because it had some interesting cover art but then it turned out to be something far less interesting than I expected. So we have zombies and a socially awkward girl who fights them. Plus our main character has lightning powers, I think. I will give it points for having a college student instead of a high school student but other than that this looks to be going do a road traveled far too often. The characters lack a unique kick and the comedy is sad rather than funny. This is just ok but it doesn’t give the viewer any real reason to continue.

Potential: 10%


Mario’s thoughts:

I see that this one is produced by Haoliners, the Chinese anime company I had covered before. This show so far looks to be Haoliners’ standard, both in terms of story and production values, so if you haven’t checked the company before, just try this one to see if you like it. For me though this show is a mixed bag, while I like the (brief) fight scene and the supernatural twist to the story, the rest of the show is just meh. The girl unfortunately comes off as one note as possible, the jokes don’t land very well and the whole thing so far is kinda slow. The main storyline, on the other hand, could be interesting the more we learn about what the gifted nature of our main guy, plus that the production values is quite solid. I think this might get interesting later on but sadly this is not my kind of show so I’ll give it a pass.

Potential: 10%


Ange Vierge

Short Synopsis: A group of girls on a island fight off alien threats and each other to get a high rank.

Out of all the series on this list so far, this has to be the worst written of them all. It hits a number of my usual checklist of first episode mistakes. One, throwing characters into an action scene right off the bat without establishing context, characterisation or purpose. Two, establishing the setting through a sloppy exposition dump. Three, pointless fanservice. Four, far too many characters. Five, filling your dialogue with codewords and terminology which hasn’t been explained or could easily be replaced with an already established term.(I shook my head when they needed to put a term to the end of the world by labeling it, World end. Thats stupid and I am pretty sure apocalypse would suffice.) There is a lot of negatives here and pretty much nothing I can praise. Our main girl is sad because she got a superpower straight out of nowhere and though it made her better than everyone else. Turns out it didn’t and she’s all disappointed to which I say she can go to hell. The majority of this episode is girls talking in the bath and all about the exact same thing. How the battle went and how one of them wants to ask a favor. Despite getting a terrible exposition dump, the most important questions are not answered such as. How does setting up teams of superpowered girls stop a giant gateway from ending the world? Who are these girls fighting? Why are they fighting each other and why is everyone concerned with getting a higher rank? The series itself tries to wave off these questions as a character asked who they are fighting only to get brushed off by saying “Who cares? They come, we fight them.” This is garbage, don’t give it the time of day.

Potential: 0%


Mario’s thoughts:

This is an adaption from card games and most of the times it’s a bad sign. Ange Vierge looks to be in that path unfortunately, as I can see nothing stands out from its first episode. The show already starts with some random fights, the number of girls we encounter this week exceeds my fingers’ count, each of them is generic to the point that when the fight near the end between two teams begins (for no more reason than to boost up their ranks), I have a hard time identify which characters are from which team, nor do I care. To make the matter worse, they spend most of the time naked, and our main character, besides being annoying, reveals to us that she “suddenly” gets the gifts. Well when you get something that you don’t even try to, what is the point of feeling special? I will stop for now as keep dwelling on it required too much effort. This is an easy skip.

Potential: 0%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Thunderbolt Fantasy

Short Synopsis: A wandering vagrant gets caught up in a battle to obtain a powerful weapon after saving a girl.

Now technically this isn’t anime and that’s the main reason it escaped my radar when doing the preview. But let’s talk about this because this show is a different experience. What we have here is a stop motion puppet show written by Gen Urobuchi. Gen is a favorite writer of mine though his names prestige has diminished a bit after lending his name to Gargantia and Aldnoah Zero. Two shows were the level of his influence was passing at best.(Full note, he just provided a skeleton for Gargantia and AZ he did the first few episodes and left because he couldn’t relate to the main character.) Gen’s level of quality in general is shaky but I at least give him credit in that what he’s involved with is at least interesting. Here looks to less serious than his previous work as the story is rather over the top and resembles an old kung fu movie. Visually it’s fascinating and the puppets certainly feel more real than any CGI. However unfortunately these aren’t the puppets from Team America so the puppets faces are stuck in a default expression no matter what they do. It really is a pity those Team America puppets disappeared, that was some pretty impressive technology to be just used for a comedy movie. In fact their mouths don’t even move when speaking lines which makes it feel like those times when you were a kid and played with action figures. It’s charming in a way. However I really wish they would slow down on the editing as it’s far too fast to appreciate the puppetry during the fight scenes. Story Wise this doesn’t look too complex and may be a more straightforward plot. I recommend watching this episode simply on the ground that you will never quite see anything else like it.

Potential: 70%


Mario’s thoughts:

There is not often we encounter an original wuxia anime, and on top of that a stop motion/ puppetry one, that alone makes this show an unique beast among anime world and all the more reason to watch it. The fact that it was actually good is nothing but extraordinary. For those of you who don’t know I did some posts about Chinese animation before, and I experienced many types of stop-motion and puppetry movies before, so headed in I know what to expect from a wuxia series. But still it is wonderful to see those 2 elements (puppetry and wuxia anime) joined up together and the result is as fresh and fun as it gets. The custom designs and the background designs, for example, were created with full details. The fights are joy to watch, and in truth it feels refreshing to see bloods squirming all over and bodies blowing up for once, because simply you can’t find it elsewhere in animation medium. Story-wise, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed it as well. As Gen Urobuchi is a mastermind behind it, that comes with no surprise though. The things that makes the writing so spot on was how they rely on genre tropes to twist it around a bit and make it fresh again. Like for example when a girl falls off the cliff, in wuxia genre you would immediately know that she will survive, get rescued and then powered up. It also helps that the dialogue is self-aware with those tropes that make it even more absurdity (like how the main character save the girl, not because of his heroism attitude but because of the Buddha). In all, this is a really amazing and oddball entry of this season and you all need to check it out, because you might never find something as unique as this one in anime.

Potential: 80%


Time Travel Girl

Short Synopsis: A girl accidentally travels back in time after touching a book.

I think time travel is one of those things that is treated with either deathly seriousness or a strange sense of easygoing optimism. You never see Doc Brown or Dr Who too concerned with the consequences of time travel and it seems this girl is of a similar mind. So after a rather odd scene featuring a man resuscitating a boy with an AED machine. Education seems to be the main draw here as our main character interacts with historical figures and learns about magnetism and such. VIsually I can’t say it’s anything impressive but so far I don’t see anything wrong with the story. Well besides the horrendously neglectful father. I don’t care if you are some genius scientist, ditching your family for three years is a dick move. So far it’s a fairly watchable show.

Potential: 30%


Mario’s thoughts:

A time travel shoujo hey? This is a very straightforward title. On a surface I can see how this one has an appeal: Who wouldn’t want to go back in time to meet famous people and learn some of the interesting aspects of that era? I know I definitely would. That and the main plotline of a girl who traces down her missing father provide enough meat for the whole series. But how about its execution? The execution is clunky at best. There is not a whole lot amount of animation here and so far, the production is completely unremarkable. The characters are just mediocre, but I like the twist about the language barrier and the “correct way to use an AED machine (well, when it’s an educational series that bounds to happen: they want to teach you everything). Still, I like the concept, after all it’s not that often we have an educational time travel girl show where we deal with real historical figures, so I will give this more watch to see how it expands this concept.

Potential: 30%



Short Synopsis: A boys fan club watch a new anime about a popular boy who thinks he’s unpopular

I think this will be an anime which has viewers spilt on which half of the episode they liked better. We have two stories here. The first deals with a boys fan club who are excited about an anime being made about him. This section has a lot of fourth wall jokes and personally it missed more than hit for me. You could see the jokes coming and the only thing that managed to get a smile from me was when they made their own version of a Handa anime and get bent out of shape when one of them starts criticising it harshly.  Other than that it was a cavalcade of fourth wall jokes which is a bit early because we haven’t established the fourth wall yet. or these characters. The second half deals with the school life of Handa. Now this anime is a prequel to Barakamon but it appears it doesn’t really match it tonally. The impression I get is that this is the Full Metal Panic Fumofu of Barakamon. Overall there is one joke in the second half of the episode and it’s that Handa is a massively popular school student. However he has no idea that he is popular and misinterprets his schools awe of him as bullying. So this is a comedy dependant on misunderstandings which can be a tiresome concept. I managed to get a kick out of it but I am certain the gimmick would grow tiresome after a while. Even with Sakamoto I found the gimmick ran thin as I neared the end of the series, despite it being executed well. If this series is going to continue with the dual show format I think people are just going to show preference to one side but not be willing to put up with the other half to watch it.

Potential: 25%


Mario’s thoughts:

So this show going to be about 2 distinctive parts: The first part about Handa-kun fan club, who all self-aware of what the show is about, and the second part on Handa-kun himself before he became a big shot in Barakamon; and I’m totally fine with that format. Now in truth I haven’t seen Barakamon before (always meant to but never have a time for it, but I’m quite certain that I will like it), but this show is a standalone show so I would have no problem watching it. I like the humors displayed in this episode, it’s actually one of the sharpest comedy out this season (mainly because this season is lacking good comedy show). I enjoyed the 2 parts simultaneously, this will not break any ground, but for anyone who already love Barakamon, or like a good low-key comedy in between big shows, this is perfect for you.

Potential: 30%

Posted on 12 July 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

91 Days

Short Synopsis: During the prohibition of America, A man seeks revenge against the Mafia for the death of his family.

We I believe we have a winner for the best first episode of the season. This series is oozing with potential and so far the writing has been solid. The characters are quite dynamic though I hope the main doesn’t pull this bit too try hard “cool” act for the rest of the series. I think the studio picked up some tips from Durarara and Narita’s writing style because this episode felt somewhat like Baccano. I really dig that. The character art could be better as some far shots the characters faces don’t look quite right but otherwise everything is solid and has style. The music and sound are of particular note as it captures the era perfectly. Of course this is only the first episode and what will really define the series is where it goes from here. But I see real promise in this and I hope it can live up to that. Then if they succeed, all we need is a Baccano styled english dub with accents and this will be glorious.

Potential: 95%


Mario’s thoughts:

Truth be told, while watching this, my mind keeps wandering back to Joker Games last season. Joker Games started out really strong and compelling, then went completely off the mark later on. Here in 91 Days I sense some of the same vibe so I’m a bit worry here. This first episode’s execution is solid to say the least, with gritty and dark themes about revenge and might as well about survival. I particularly enjoyed the muted color palate and the sound designs of this show. Those jazz music reminds much of this bygone era, and the dark color design nailed down the gritty world they live in. The cast so far is likeable enough, but they serve more as a vehicle of the plot than as a real person. Finally, about the plot, it sets up for a big revenge plot and for now I’m pretty much on board with the direction they head in, but like I mentioned earlier the revenge plot can stretch out too thin or can easily become a trainwreck and given how much I enjoyed the first 2 episodes of Joker Game, I have a bit of doubt on 91 Days. Then again, original shows don’t appear quite often and for the show as solid as this one, 91 Days is a must-watch of this season.

Potential: 90%



Short Synopsis: Two girls become fast friends and decide to join the scuba club at their new school.

I thought I seen those weird cats before. In my preview I missed that this particular manga was by the author of Aria which you may know as one of the best animes to sit back and relax to. It was never deep nor did it have a story with much meat but you would be hard pressed to find another anime that could mellow you out after a few episodes. Here it looks like he’s aiming for a similar story and or the most part it’s done well. The odd deformed puppet look the characters get somethings can be weird at times but the show does have a certain optimistic charm to it. We now have two shows this season aiming for the same general feeling though in terms of quality both are on the same level. I will bump up the potential on this one due to its pedigree but really you can’t go wrong with checking either out. The friendship between the two leads is quite adorable to watch and the animation is pretty good. If you need some healing this season I say this would do the trick, especially after watching a certain other show this season which is emotionally tearing people to shreds with suffering….perhaps I will be watching both of these feel good shows this season.

Potential: 70%


Mario’s thoughts:

Amanchu! Is based on a manga written by an author who also wrote ARIA, and the series composer of this show who also worked for Flying itch last season, so I think you know what to expect here: a slow, tender slice of life series that relies heavily on atmosphere and endearing cast. That is exactly what you get here. The show’s pacing and occasionally silly faces remind me much of ARIA. The first half especially brings the ocean to life, while at the same time shows how each girl responses to the ocean: Hikari just loves being a part of the ocean, while Futaba’s somehow disconnected and being busy with her phone, since she feels insecure about the new place. The second part spends time as they met each other and being introduced to the new class. I like the dynamic between the two leads so far, since they bound off each other rather well. If you like ARIA, Flying witch (I do), then this show definitely is for you; otherwise, you can just check out this episode to see if you like it, as I am sure the rest will offer more of the same here.

Potential: 80%


Alderamin on the Sky

Short Synopsis:  After getting shipwrecked and saving a young princess, a group of military cadets must find a way to escape enemy territory.

Madhouse delivers standout adaption yet again but in this case my thoughts on the story still remain murky. I still am not fond of how the main character tends to be the only person with a plan and is always right. There are also some light novel cliches we could do better without and those weird goblin things are still so out of place that I really have no idea why they are even here. All and all this is a solid start and I like how they sped up matters to get to the meat of the  story. This does the job but doesn’t excel. There is potential for this to grow into a story about a general overcoming great odds to win large scale battles but I don’t think the writing is strong enough to get the most out of such a premise. What I expect here is a decent show but nothing more.

Potential: 50%


Mario’s thoughts:

Well, I was expecting this to be a lesser show out of the three shows today but it turns out to be quite solid. Then I looked it up, and found that Madhouse is behind this project so I have my faith.  There are fair shares of good and so-so elements but as a whole this first episode succeeds nicely. The biggest strength of the show is in its settings. It’s nice to see something besides the usual school settings and all that. I like the look of ancient Egyptian designs, with fairies somehow mix in and the conflict between two nations is also an interesting aspect. Being said that, put characters with different personas together before things went horribly wrong is the kind of plot we have seen so often, and most of them don’t offer any distinctive traits to stand out yet. Also that cast comes from noble upbringing (except for our main character) that it already felt like they act over the top. And that speech “Invincible LAZY General” at the end? I know it’s unintentional but it makes me laugh so hard. In the end, I’m not too sold about character’s department; but structurally, the story moves confidently and I want to explore that world even more after this episode.

Potential: 40%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars

Short Synopsis: Fights break out in the city when loli’s turn into giant robots.

By far the strangest aspect of this show is how it essentially pairs up romantic relationships between a lolita girl and a older sister. Or in this case the Loli is the older sister? Also the loli is actually a giant robot. Um…You know I often try to dispel the common misguided belief of anime being “weird” as often it’s just a matter of cultural differences or the foreign audience not realising that the thing they find weird is meant to be a joke. However sometimes a show like this comes along that put some credence behind that belief. Still I still haven’t encountered anything in anime that tops the absurdity of superhero comic storylines.(Well, modern anime. Old OVA anime…well that’s another matter entirely.) I remain puzzled at what demographic this anime is aiming for exactly. Mecha Yuri lolicons? Do those exist? I mean they likely do but it has to be a small demographic. The mecha fight animation is quite nice and I would like the effect of the summoning of the loli mecha if she didn’t add that silly meaningless chuunibyou chant. The relationship between the two leads is puzzling as while they do refer to each other as sisters, it’s clear he anime is painting their relationship in a more romantic light. I can’t say the other aspects of the show stood out as it seems we are in for a more typical mecha show and whatever illusions to a higher plot are just way too vague to be guessed at. Whatever it is though I am sure it’s nothing impressive.

Potential: 20%


Mario’s thoughts:

This show starts off with a bang, literally, but this time I don’t mean it in a positive way. For all the shows that I have watched this season, Regalia is the most uneven production in terms of pacing and story. Even within its mecha genre, the show mixes in other elements, loli and yuri, to create one heck of an episode. It begins quite conventionally with a story from 12 years ago, pretty much to set the setting up than offers any backstory. But then the show gets weirder as it goes and the whole thing doesn’t really add up. For once putting an emotional scene about their relationship right in the middle of climax action is a terrible idea, since the scene will slow down the action. Indeed, it feels like we watching two shows at once as they are unsure if they going to focus on romance or action in this episode, moreover the transition between romance and action is awkward. The relationship of Yui and Reina seems bizarre to me more than earnest, as there are hints of romantic development here and there (like calling their hangout together a “date”, or the gift “ring”. The action sequence, nonetheless, is flashy and entertainment. I think this has some potential, but I have my reservation as the story and pacing are all over the place for now.

Potential: 20%



Short Synopsis: A scavenger in a world torn by war finds a robot in a planetarium still waiting for customers to see a starry sky.

This is actually an OVA rather than a full series, hence why it wasn’t featured on our preview. Though there have been some surprise entries that I wasn’t expecting. Well then, for the uninformed, this is indeed an adaption of a 3 hour long Key Visual novel and if you are familiar with the company in the slightest you know what you are in for here. Now i have made it clear my negative feelings about Key as a whole so you might expect me to warn you that this is typical of their output and to stay away if you aren’t into forced drama. However if I was to pick a favorite of the works of Key, much to the dismay of Key fans, it would be Planetarian. For this story is essentially the best aspects of Key rolled into a small digestible snack and manages to avoid the greatest failing of many of their works. Does that mean it’s perfect? The answer is no. It has a heavy dependence on the chemistry of it’s two leads who are the only characters in the story and practically everything is a waiting game for what is actually a pretty excellent climax. However with a five episode runtime it will be a difficult task to keep the viewers interested to that point and even during the middle part of the visual novel I start to yawn and get bored. It will have a pretty damn good finale but the question is if you are willing to watch till that point.

Potential: 55%


Mario’s thoughts:

I really like the way the show uses its first POV shots in this episode, so that we would see things the way the characters see, and that’s important, because Hoshino the robot is such a deranged character, stuck in time and seems happy all the time that we need to understand her perspective in order to sympathize her. That was unfortunately the only good thing I find in the episode. There seem to be something that triggered the biological bombing strike in the first place and the world-building so far hints at the conflict between human and machine (or citizen vs. government for that matters), but we don’t know much as the first episode spends its time on the interactions between Hoshino and the Junker. That part unfortunately was just below-average, since their chemistry was a bit off and Hoshino gets more annoying by the minutes. From what I heard this is going to be a 5-episode show, and for that I say it’s a perfect length to both explore the world-building, and develop Hoshino’s character act. But truthfully from what I had seen I don’t plan to go back to it anytime soon.

Potential: 25%


Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!

Short Synopsis: The story details the activities of the art club which is filled with wacky characters. I enjoyed watching this but it isn’t a show I could say stands out. It’s fairly watchable but depends quite a bit on a romance between a girl and an oblivious boy. Here’s the thing with these kinds of shows and romance, it never goes anywhere. There are very few examples of these kinds of comedies were the romance element develops into anything substantial. Dagashi Kashi it never went anywhere, Servant X Service it never went anywhere, Umaru it never went anywhere and plenty of other examples where it never ever leads to anything. So this romance is certainly doomed from the start and that leaves us with the comedy which is just alright. I repeat that this isn’t a bad show, in fact I say it’s a nice watchable show if you want to add something light to your watching plan. However this is just like a small snack, quick and satisfying at the time but you won’t recall it a week later.

Potential: 40%


Mario’s thoughts:

I had such a good time with it. Yes, the premise seems like an unoriginal story, it is an execution that sold me here. I like all their character’s quirks and they produced many enjoyable little moments in this first episode. The comedy bits were light but I did enjoy some of its humor (the Apple Man, or the marriage ceremony scene for example). The most impressive character for me was a blonde girl who sneaks in a classroom’s locker box and didn’t even got introduced this week, but I’m already impressed by her enough to look for her first official appearance. The obsession of Subaru for his 2D waifu wife, and his total oblivious to Mizuki’s feeling are still amusing to watch for now, but can easily become dragging if they rely too much on those gags. This first episode offers something sweet and amusing, and I know this is my type of show, so I’ll give it more watch. For those of you who don’t like high school settings, cute girls doing cute things in an after-school random club, or slice-of-life in general, watch it with caution.

Potential: 40%

Posted on 10 July 2016 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Masou Gakuen HxH

Short Synopsis: The world is on the brink of collapse and the only thing that can save it is tits and ass.

It really is something when upon starting an episode, I needed to stop watching and check whether I accidentally downloaded a hentai. Well the premise is that the girls of this show have super powerful mecha weapons which are needed to save the world from giant flying skeletons. However the only way to recharge these weapons is for them to go into a room with the MC and have some foreplay till the girl climaxes. Believe me I am not embellishing that point in the slightest. It is quite literally what they are doing and there’s hints that if the main has sex with them they will gain some sort of superweapon. You stay classy anime. Well we could call this sexist but at least the sexism goes both ways. The main is literally objectified here as he’s passed around like a battery charge pack. Either way this is a special kind of trashy which can only be enjoyed if you have the lowest expectations and find enjoyment in the lowest demographic aiming shows. I suppose animators need work and have to start somewhere, even if that somewhere is a place which you primary job is figuring out how much boob jiggle should be in a shot. I would give this show a break if it looked like it was somewhat self aware of it’s own trashiness, much like High school DxD. However here doesn’t seem to be the case and is more a calculated meshing of tired tropes to get the most sales possible. The sad fact is that if anyone is to blame, it’s the masses of people who still buy this tripe.

Potential: 0%


Mario’s thoughts:

I know it’s a matter of time before I encounter one of this in my review life: a truly fan-service garbage show. Let’s talk a bit about my relationship with ecchi anime – the main reason why I tend to stay away from ecchi shows isn’t because it’s rubbish (though most of them are) or because it’s perverted, but I don’t really get the appeal of big boobs and panties, which ecchi shows so obsessed about. Here in this episode, fortunately there is no panty, but again a lot of boobs – big boobs. Well, for this kind of shows, I guess we need to just shut our minds off and be entertained, and even in that regards the show failed too. The plot was more of a set up for the characters to hook up, and when they do, it’s just a series of groping, touching, opening parts… and there seem to be literally a line of big boob archetypical girls, each has their own body-builds (with big boobs), waiting in line to be “charged up”. Ecchi shows could be intriguing (most notably First Time’s Yamada or Mysterious Girlfriend X), mainly because they have something to say about their subjects. This show as far as I can see was just there to please the eyes by showing off boobs as much as possible.

Potential: minus 69% (it has to be 69, right? RIGHT?)


Tsukiuta. The Animation

Short Synopsis: A girl sends her brother to an idol event to pick up merchandise.

Alright Idol shows, rule number one. Do not just have the idols introduce themselves one after another as a means of letting the audience know who they are. We forget all their names by the time the scene ends. And this isn’t helped by the fact that you just have far too many of them. All these idols and it feels like the character traits are spread so thin than you could swap two characters personalities and I am not sure anyone would notice. Anyway the story here is a simple one, a boy is sent to an idol event by his sister and ends up unknowingly hanging out with his sisters favorite idol. He returns home and his sister is shocked to find out and starts bugging him for details. My guess is we will be getting episodic stories like this for each idol member but I just see no reason to continue watching. If you want a male idol show I say B-project is a better alternative. Or if they don’t have to be idols, Cheer boys is a much better show.

Potential: 10%


Mario’s thoughts:

Ouch, another male idol show. While watching this, my mind keeps wandering on Mr. Osomatsu first airing episode about its humorous take on male idol show. You know, updating their plain characters to become beautiful sexy male dolls and you will win fan all over. As I can see in this episode I can feel that joke stays true. As far as this first episode, the production and the characters are passable but there is no personality in any of it, be it the two groups or any of the character (and there are 12 of the, in total); even the plot and the art designs playing too safe into its niche audience that the whole thing is just plain. This episode focuses on one specific member of the group and he’s nice, too nice, that his personality comes off as thin as paper. In other note, the 3D dancing that bookended this episode doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the show. Seriously, while all around this is a standard show, it plays too safe to be nice and inoffensive that as a result offers no personality at all. All that makes me wonder why they trying to adapt it in a first place.

Potential: 10%


Fate Kaleid Liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!!

Short Synopsis: Illya gets thrown into a parallel world after her friend is captured by mysterious villains.

Well we have a fourth season of this show and I like that it seems things are going to be taken more seriously by Silver link this time. For one we have new character designs which remove the more deformed look of the first three seasons in favor of a style closer to the manga which I greatly appreciate. Shirou is the one who is most improved with this change as his old design looked far too off. Animation looks to have gotten a boost too as that snowy landscape looks quite stunning. I would like to bring up Sapphires original japanese voice actress who sadly died last year due to a viral infection. Rest in peace. I hope her new voice actress can honor her memory. For the most part half of this episode was basically retconning the original ending Sliver Link gave the last season and putting it back into manga adaption territory. The transition could have been better but all things considered it’s not a bad way to get back on track. Could have done without the extra scenes with Illyas classmates though. On that note I look forward to the fact that this will likely be the last I see of these school friend characters and thank god for that. Goodbye you representatives of all the worst parts of Zwei! So far I say this looks quite promising and it looks like Silver link are giving their all to this. So I am game.


Potential: Unbiased rating: 60%, Biased rating: 9001%
Mario’s thoughts: I will not review this one as this is a sequel.

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions


Short Synopsis:  A guy who finds out that the kitten he brought home is a shut-in servant vampire (hence servamp)

Ugh, the comedy is even worse in animated form. We have a shout till it’s funny comedy mixed with a rather run of the mill shounen style setup. One of the characters even mocks the main for acting like a “Shounen hero”. But as I said before, referencing that you are using old tired concepts does not excuse using old tired concepts. Other than that I don’t really have much to say, this is mediocre and that’s it. Animation isn’t noteworthy and the characters I find are just a bit too reliant on their comedy to carry them. It’s all just rather meh. Well to give it some props, the opening is refreshingly different.

Potential: 10%


Mario’s thoughts:

As we get to halfway of this season’s first week, Servamp appropriately sits somewhere in the middle of the crowd too. The story about the boy and the vampire form a contract to bond with each other in a master/servant relationship (in a way like Koyomi and Shinobu’s bond in Monogatari series) is an okay premise, but nothing stands out either (thanks god though it’s not a FEMALE vampire). The contrast between the two leads makes for nice exchanges between them, but we have seen that kind of pair before. The main bad guy this week sadly behaves way too loud and plain. In addition, the way our main guy taking all the works by himself because “someone has to do it, it will be troublesome to fight over it” to be implausible as well, because it just makes him more like an anime character than a real person. The fighting sequence is short and stylish but still doesn’t offer enough catch. At the end of the day I don’t see any element in this episode that would make me wanting to return to.

Potential: 20%


Scared Raider Xechs

Short Synopsis: A group of boys must turn into power rangers to fight off an alien threat.

This started on a rather sophisticated note before falling into a pit with that opening scene. Let me say first that this show takes its premise far too seriously. We opened up with a group taking out some sort of superweapon much to a man’s dismay. The man claimed the woman in charge would get more than fired over it and is then promptly shot by the woman herself. Barely five minutes in and we have a plothole. So taking out a superweapon is unacceptable but taking out a superweapon and shooting the man who objected is completely alright? But hey, that’s not important, what is important is that acoustic guitar guy can’t transform into hero mode for some reason. Let me say this Show, don’t rip off Gurren Lagann’s design esthetic and use it for a throwaway comic relief character. That is wrong on all levels. Anyway whatever serious atmosphere this story was trying to build is broken upon the reveal of what this is. Basically this boy group transform into power rangers with outfits so utterly silly looking that I laughed out loud at first sight of them. I can’t really see this being all that worthwhile as no one in the male cast really stands out and the story follows a predictable path. It’s just fairly unremarkable.

Potential: 5%


Mario’s thoughts:

I’ll have to give this one my praise for having balls to start the show with the main character playing acoustic song, as the song dominates the first few minutes of the episode, which personally I find it a brilliant idea. The rest of the show, unfortunately, comes down to a very generic mecha show and not even a good one at that. The pacing is all over the place as we had the first 3 scenes (the main guy character playing guitar, the antagonist who takes control of the “thing”, the new girl in town) with 3 different settings and 3 different tones. When the show in high school kids mode, the comedy don’t land and the characters fall flat. When they switch into mecha/sci-fi settings they talk about “important stuffs” that I don’t even understand a thing they’re saying. And a main guy suddenly gains his ability, in a process saving an important girl is a kind of story that has been used many times before.

Potential: 10%


Cheer Boys!!

Short Synopsis: Two former Judo club members try to from a men’s cheerleading club.

Colour me surprised. After all seeing so many episodes this season with an all male cast which look to be aiming for the female demographic which just fall so short, this turned out to have quite a bit of merit. The chemistry between the male leads is excellent and they play off each other well. I particularly like the glasses guy as he really isn’t what I expected at first glance and he’s pretty perfect comic relief. I can’t say I have much interest in cheerleading as the only real interaction I had with it is Elite Beat Agents for Nintendo DS. To be perfectly honest I don’t really see the point of it as to me it looks like really strenuous gymnastics for just a breather in the middle of a match. But naturally this anime will make it look like the most amazing thing in existence, though I appreciate that they didn’t go too over the top in showcasing it. I am also so glad that it’s a college setting instead of a school setting. It’s just so refreshing after nearly every episode this season is in a school setting. It really wears on you. Though regardless of how well executed it is there is still the problem of it just not being my kind of show. Though I must admit that I am somewhat curious to continue watching as this show does have merit even for those not of the target demographic.

Potential: 60%


Mario’s thoughts:

Well, talking about perception! At first glance, the show has many factors that I normally try to avoid: the all-male cast, the group-forming storyline, and the cheerleading itself on top of all that. I admit I was hesitant to watch it, but this one turns out to be one of the most solid first episode I saw so far this season. For those of you who don’t know, cheerleading is officially a gymnastic section in some countries (I know Australia does), so it is indeed a sport. But what makes cheerleading so different than other kind of sport is that it is also about performing arts (in that sense, cheerleading is also in the same categories with acting or singing), all that’s makes cheerleading a very tricky but interesting sport to talk about. Now to the actual show, the great part of this first episode is not about how the boys selling us that cheerleading is magic (a usual pitfall for any sports series), but by focus on how they want to experience something new, and it happens to be cheerleading. They also handle many things right, like how the show understands the pressure of being in the sports family and the feeling that you are not born for the sports. But most notably it is how the show portrays the close friendship between the main leads. It always seems like they understand each other’s way of thinking without saying out loud and they are pretty fond of each other. This closeness is showed by many little details like the roof sequences or their small exchanges about the house. Cheerleading Boy might likely to put people off because it seems to target a specific demographic, but try watch it because there’s a lot of potential in this show.

Potential: 50%


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 05:43 AM)
    @Aidan: You know how a boomerang works.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:08 AM)
    @RealJustified, pretty sure that’s Kevin pretending to be afgm.
  • reaLjustified
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:49 AM)
    @afgm How so? I’ve rarely even seen you on here, plus trolls aren’t even a common occurrence.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:40 AM)
    this chat is ass, to be honest
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:35 PM)
    @Krista, relax. He’s the only one that riles people up like this. Normally this chat is fairly civilized.
  • Krista
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:24 PM)
    The chat’s becoming too angry for me, thanks for the recommendations guys! I’m gonna try to find another place for this kind of stuff.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    @Vonter, Personally I only give a score to stick to Psgels format. If up to me I would just give a recommended or not recommended verdict.
  • Vonter
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:37 PM)
    Ok, then now it’s more clear. Since from what I’ve heard in-between critics some say comparisons is the path of unhappiness. Or so I’ve heard.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:29 PM)
    @Vonter It’s a hodgepodge of our personal experience with a particular show alongside the “objective” goods and bads, coupled with comparisons to anything else that we have reviewed.
  • Vonter
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:14 PM)
    I just want to ask one small last question in the lines of criticism and opinion. What does the score entitle in here now? Is it an overall number weighing the quality of the experience or is it an average of the good and bad aspects of that show.

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