Posted on 19 June 2017 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Come one, come all, it’s time for the usual Anime season Preview and let me say this one took a lot more out of me than previous seasons. Maybe I am getting old or maybe it was the fact that I wrote a preview for a series and researched it only for to end up a short series. Making my efforts a waste of time. That would be the reasoning why there are previews of short series below when I usually disregard them. Either way, with holidays, moving to a new house, Dies Irae and just a general listlessness I found this season harder to write for. Looking at it overall I think this may be the weakest season of the year so far but we do still have a few standouts and some potential surprises that could save it.

So you know the drill. I check out every source I find from light novels to manga and give you a rundown on what looks to be great or terrible. Naturally peaking at the staff as well just to give a vague estimate on a series quality. Below we have a poll where you can rate what you want to be blogged this season which us writers will use as a reference when picking out shows. Whatever’s top of the list is guaranteed to get blogged. You have more than one vote so vote as many shows as you like.

Which series should we cover for the 2017 Summer Season?

Once again thanks to Mario for gathering the images, chipping in his two cents and helping with the format. Honestly makes this task a whole lot easier. Let’s get started,

 

The sequels/Shorts I don’t care about

Ikemen Sengoku: Toki o Kakeru Koi (Short)

Jigoku Shoujo Yoi no Togi [Hell Girl Season 4] (Sequel)

Kaito x Ansa (Short)

Musashino! (Short)

New Game! 2 (Sequel)

Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart (Short)

Seizei Gambare Mahou Shoujo Kurumi (ONA)

Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ (Sequel)

Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita. (Short)

Teekyuu 9 (Sequel)

 

Series I don’t care about

Action Heroine Cheer Fruits


Studio: diomedea

Director: Keizou Kusakawa

Script/Series composer: Naruhisa Arakawa

Source: Original

Set in Hinano City, a tranquil area that cultivates fruits, but has lost its vitality. For the town she loves, high school girl Misaki Shirogane and other girls become local heroines (at the urging of Misaki’s aunt, the prefectural governor) and vow to produce action live events. The teen story depicts their strenuous efforts to revitalize their town.

 

Honestly sounds like an effort to merge Love Live with Kickass. We got the director of Sekirei, Fuuka, Dog Days, Campione, Asura Cryin’….Oh god it only gets worse and worse. Well he did Nanoha’s first three seasons so I guess that’s something. Series composer worked on more bad than good but well I thought Nadesico and Outbreak company where alright. I don’t see any real hope for this. I say the hero aspect won’t play much of an active role and this will just be a bunch of cute girls in homemade hero outfits. I have had enough of cute girls being all cute and stuff but give me a call if we got cute girls in insane asylum.

(more…)

Posted on 11 June 2017 with categories: About, Random Posts

I’ll be straight to the point, it’s time for us to recruit a new permanent writer.

The reason, you ask? Welp, as much as I don’t want to admit, each season I feel we left out too many shows that worth covering. Having another writer on board, along with the support from casual writers like Helghast Killzone or Bam, we’re aiming at 9-10 shows per season. With psgels is now returning on the site with his monthly summary, the site can finally be in an active mode. Having new writer also mean that more shows for you guys to follow and enjoy.

But I’ll stress this again, for those of you who wonder if this site is ever going back to the glory times before psgels left, I can safely say we won’t, nor we intend to. We run things differently now with all the respect towards his bloggings from before, and rest assured that we still inform psgels on any development/ change we plan for this site, such as this.

But if you’re tempted with the idea of blogging anime, let be warned: this is a job that have little to no reward, time-consuming and require a strong commitment and frequent update. If you frequent this blog you would notice that usually we have little response rate, we’d be lucky if we have 1 or 2 response per post. Writing a post can eat up a lot of your free time as well. Usually, it’s about 3 hours per post, and you need to write them constantly almost every week.

Now, are you still keen on giving it a shot? Then, to the application:

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your favorite anime/ genre, what can you bring to the site (nah, we are not some kind of stuck up employers), and a sample post on any recent episode of your choice, or even a full review. The main reason for this sample post, apart from us having a good grasp of your writing style, is a little challenge for you guys to test yourself. “Try to write a post a same size as us (about 500 – 600 words), time how long it takes and ask yourself if you can really do that 3 times a week, for every single week of the year.” I’m just quoting roughly what Aidan said to me when I first approached him for the job and it did scare the hell out of me, but I survived. Ask yourself can you devote that much time each week to write reviews. If after you finish this sample post you still feel perfectly fine with all that, then you’re basically who we looking for.

One more thing that I suggest you do if you give this blogging a shot, just be yourself on your writing. Having a competent writing skills and good critical writing ability of course help, but having your own voice is what matters most. Let us know more about you through your post.

Send your application to this email: redriver(underscore)2005(at)yahoo(dot)com with the subject: “[your username] psgels.net Writer’s Application”. The deadline will be until the start of next season (1st of July), meaning you will have approximately 3 more weeks to get involved. Depending on how many applications we get, we will try to email you back whether you made it or not as soon as the decision is made. If you have any question, shoot it down the comment section. We honestly don’t know how many applications we will eventually get, but it’s part of the fun. Remember, as long as you think of this blogging as your hobby, you’ll be fine. That I can assure. You won’t go far for things you don’t enjoy. So don’t be shy, give this a shot and good luck.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

In Window Horses, or its full name Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, many characters keep asking the main protagonist, a Stick Girl in an otherwise fully formed character designs, why is she wearing a chador, in which she’s unable to reply. It’s her first trip to go overseas, so she just tries to fit in. For she’s blank state, you see, having little to no idea about the outside world, or even the poetry world. Rosie Ming, her name – herself a half-Chinese half-Persian who living in Canada, working in a fast food restaurant while writing poems (to be more exact, singing poems) as her hobby. She self-published her first book title “My Eye-full Poems by a person who has never been to France” and her greatest wish is to travel to France, the land of love and poetry. God listens to her well it seems, as she receives an invitation to attend to a poetry festival… in Shiraz, Iran. Throughout the course of the film, in a stranger land, she has a chance to listen to the voices of others, to staying open and curious with different cultures from different generation and learns a bit about herself and her family situation.

There’s one thing I can say for sure, Window Horses’ most obvious charm come from the fact that it feels like nothing else you’ve seen, especially in animation medium; the film whose main setting is in a poetry festival, a main character that is multiracial and the cast contain characters from many different backgrounds. Partly due to its unique appeal, the director Ann Marie Fleming had a bit of difficult time funding it, so she decided to crowdfund the project instead and it took her nine years to finally bring this lovely feature to life. The main character Rosie, a Stick Girl, has been the director’s own avatar for most of her career (the director herself is a half-Asian), and her simple design, both mean as a blank page, who despite not having a lot of experience, goes out to the world with curiosity and willingness to learn the world and all the things she can from other people; and as a simple likable character we can all root for and feel empathy with.

While the main plot is about Rosie visiting Iran, Window Horses isn’t strictly about her tale, but she serves as our window for the tales of other poets, the tale of Iran, and the tale of her father, who she come to believe that he had abandoned her and her Mom when she was young. Putting together, those tales are messy and over the place, but that is exactly the point to demonstrate how inspiration can come from every corner of the world; it’s the love of art, of poetry that brings those people who have vastly different ethnical backgrounds and different experiences in life all together. In one of her poetry quest, she is handed a poem by a Chinese poet Di Di (in Mandarin of course), who requested her to recite his poem in English with her own take. In order to do that she has to translate them into Persian, and then from Persian to English; thus in a process she has a chance to learn more about both of her ancestors, the Chinese and the Persian.

The humor of Window Horses is on the bright side here, in fact, its whimsical and light-hearted nature really help strengthening the mood and the theme of the story. This trip, after all, is more like an adventure for Rosie, where every new thing she learned, every people she met brimming with curious eyes. She quickly remarks in most of the things, mostly innocent deadpan questions like “How is it everyone here knows everything about everything”. The struggles she experienced for her “offensive content” to the Persian culture, for example (ya know, in Iran, solo performances by women is considered mildly offensive and have been banned), or the background story of exiled Chinese poet Di Di, both show us the difference in cultural perception, and add the richness to this little world.

Another main portion of the film is about each poet reciting their poems, and the history of Iran and important figures in Persian poetry culture, in which each part is showcase of visual inventiveness from different directors, who experiment with new styles to fit the content of the poems they are representing. (Fleming’s main job in those segments was to composite them into a cohesive whole). The history part doesn’t really sell it for me, mostly because it feels more like an educational Discovery Chanel on TV rather than fitting into this plot’s content; but the poem parts are easily one of the best strength of Window Horses. The director Fleming gave a smart decision to have all the poems reciting in their own languages without the subtitle. As a result, us as viewers don’t really understand what they’re talking about, but feel it. It’s the beauty of poetry. It’s not about the meaning, but the rhythms. Fleming also commented later in her interview that she wanted those poems to be some kind of code, viewers don’t need to understand it because they might get distracted from the main story, but if they wanted to, they can dig deeper to those contents because ther’s a whole world of art buried underneath it.

And then her little story about her parents, especially her father’s life come into light and was told to her by different people, most of them have known him at some point of his life. Her father’s backstory come a bit heavy-handed at times as it again touches upon the Iran Revolution and the refugees, but they do it without the expense of emotional drama of familial bond at its heart, so as messy as it is, it has its merits. Rosie’s grandparents, voiced beautifully by Nancy Kwan and Eddy Ko (If you have no idea who Nancy Kwan is, she was one of the first Asian-born actress played a pivotal role in the acceptance of actors of Asian ancestry in major Hollywood film roles) have some really great scenes of overprotective grandparents who must do anything to avoid their kid getting hurt, but hurts her instead by not telling her everything.

Wildly imaginative, sensitively portray the richness of multi-cultures and the love for poetry, at the same time bright and optimistic enough to bring hopeful sentiments to some otherwise grim and dark topics and a full delight from start to finish, Window Horses is a total winner in my book. Although feature a wide array of cast, it’s ultimately a personal story of Rosie to reach the world, learn few new things from other, appreciate more about her backgrounds and grown into her own at the end. Window Horses is a little story that worth telling.

Posted on 4 June 2017 with categories: Monthly Summaries

The month of may was… tough. I was incredibly busy and had very little time to keep up with 12 different series, and in the end I just couldn’t. But ah well, this happens. Back in the days this blog was my top priority after my studies: I’d finish my classes and homework and aside from that, all I did was watch anime and write. At this point my life is totally different, and I cannot do that anymore, so months like these happen. Next month’s going to be even worse because of a 2,5 week holiday to Denmark.

But yeah, the thing with this season was that there are a lot of series with potential. With months like these, it’s not just a matter of dropping the bad and uninteresting ones, but they force you to honestly look: which series are the really special ones? Which ones do more than just tell a story? Which are the series that go the extra miles. Below is the list of the shows that survived.

First some notes on the shows that I ended up dropping: Uchoten Kazoku was definitely well written but it just couldn’t grab me. Sakura Quest almost immediately lost my interest after last writing about it, Alice to Zouroku has a nice message for family values, but in the end it remains a story about a magical girl that has been done in essence many times before, Re-Creators lacks something that puts it above the others to me, and Sagrada Reset suffers from the “first episode is the best”-syndrome. I loved episode one, because it had this really melancholic undertone, but that completely disappeared after the first arc and now it’s just this “Hyouka with gore”. Dropping Warau Salesman hurt like the entire series, but in the end: it does remain a one-trick pony.

#4: Natsume Yuujinchou Roku (04-08)

Okay, I told myself I’d be strict on this series: if it’s going to go on for 6 season I’d better be consistently amazing to be worth it. This month was not. It was pretty much average Natsume: good stories with good morals that fleshed out the characters some more. At this point, I think it’s a good moment to officially label the length as one of the flaws of Natsume Yuujinchou, because it sure as hell isn’t going to stop after this season.

Here’s the thing: being concise is a key part of storytelling. You cannot just let your story go on for ever and ever. A good story has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is there to sweep you away. The middle is there to develop, keep you on your feet, be a roller coaster ride of some sort. And then the ending is there to take everything to a next level. Natsume Yuujinchou is just a middle part that keeps going on and on and on. There’s no closure. That’s a very big problem with adaptations: they’re often way too faithful because of their length, so that there is no way to create a good ending. The reason why I’m still going back to anime is the ones that were made with an ending in mind. You cannot start your series and make stuff up as you go along, that is not good storytelling, and yet a lot of light novels and mangas are set up like that: they are written by small teams, who hope to go on for as long as possible. Anime have much tighter budgets, so especially the small ones know exactly how much time they have on their hands. A competent writer can use that to exactly plan the course of the series.

This is going to be fun for Jigoku Shoujo next season. Oh, I am going to sound SO hypocritical!

#3: Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul (05-08)

I did not continue with Zero Kara Hajimaru no Shou. Despite its great themes on racism, it got me thinking: it’s not like it’s breaching new ground or something. It’s just portraying racism pretty well this time, but should we really praise a series for doing something so trivial? Should we praise a seires for being not bad? No, what I’m interested in is the shows that go the extra mile and Zero just didn’t cut it.

Shingeki no Bahamut is more: this uses animation to tell its story, and it’s just as important as the written dialogue. It’s the type of series that can only work as an anime because in manga-form you’d miss out on so many details, movements, gestures, and not to mention the wonderful soundtrack here. But what this show is best at is portraying emotions: it beams across the screen. And that’s why I watch anime: I want to see what animation can elicit from viewers. Not a narrated picture-book, no something only movement can do. The direction, script, and production-values are all geared towards that. I mean logic is good and all, but sometimes you just need a character motivation of “I just felt like it”.

No, screw average or merely good. All series should strive to achieve something special. I don’t care what it is, as long as it stands out and it’s amazing (being especially bad is obviously not the right path). And when I look at my favourites over the years, they are all series that understood that, and did something in their own way. Something that cannot exactly be put to words, and at the very least can never be written down as a guide or something. It’s this feeling you get. And that makes it different for everybody of course, but I can see this show being filled with good intentions, and it’s drawing me in unlike most other shows this season that feel much less ambitious. And this is not just about the budget. Sure, it helps, but there is one particular show this season that demonstrates that you do not need a big budget for that. But first:

#2: Shingeki no Kyojin (31-34)

Okay so this turned out to be completely different from what I expected, but that’s good! This has turned out to be a really excellent sequel. It was so easy for the creators to pull a sell-out here: lots of titan-bashing, lots of Mikasa, much of the same really. And they didn’t: they used the first season as a diving board to go into a new direction. There is so much more mystery and horror here.

Also, the characters: like what did the three main characters do this season anyway? Aside from some flashbacks, all of them basically rode some horses, fought once, failed miserably and apart from that they did nothing and instead the spotlights were on all of the side-characters. This takes balls for such a mainstream series that has so much money depending on it! I love it! Especially since all these characters are much more interesting than our main trio (because let’s face it: they bear a lot of resemblances to Ash, Misty and Brock from Pokemon). This is the type of storyline that really tries to sweep its viewers off their feet the right way: not by having the flashiest budget, but because it messes with your expectations, your mind, while still being very well written.

This show has this annoying trick where right as a character is about to get to a plot twist, they get distracted, something happens, or they outright refuse to tell something that’s obvious to them. It’s like there’s this whole storyline going on that we have no idea about but they keep teasing us with it. That’s good mystery! Great mystery should be messy. It’s driving me crazy to get to know what’s really going on here. Yes, this is better than Yuri on Ice. In terms of really mainstream series it’s been a long time since a show had so many balls here.

#1: Seikaisuru Kado (05-07)

Okay, so why did Seikaisuru Kado win this season? I don’t think I’ve ever placed a series on top with this much intrusive CG: like half the character animations are in 3D, something I previously thought to be impossible to properly bring to life. Well let’s just say that the creators pulled a few tricks, plus what they did bring to the table is more than enough to make this just not matter.

A big theme in anime is evolving humanity: lots of villains’ plans are attempting not to destroy humanity, but to advance it. They can be done both well or terribly, but the fact remains that this is something typical of Japanese animation. You see this much less in the mediums of other countries. Seikaisuru Kado is entirely about this, but it plays with it brilliantly. Instead of having the villain attempt this, we’re at this moment still not sure whether Yahakui Zashunina is a villain or not: what his intentions are, and why he’s doing everything. Instead he has offered a number of advantages to humanity that are much more specific than what you’d otherwise see: this series really is trying to evolve humanity, but it’s also looking at the geopolitical implications of this, also something unheard of!

Out of all series this season, this really feels like it’s taking risks. It’s doing something that goes against the trends, proving that you can tell great stories on a small budget, it’s taking risks and it’s also attempting to evolve the medium itself by asking questions about common tropes. It’s in this way quite like a deconstruction, and a really good one. Because hell, before the season started I expected Shingeki no Kyojin to deliver the best plot twists, but hell no: this show blows everything out of the water. Every single episodes drops some kind of truth bomb that you don’t see coming and give an entirely new swing to the whole storyline.

Take episode 07 for example: when they went to the festival, and put that female character in a kimono, I found myself thinking “oh god, another one for the fanservice”. And then at the end of the episode she delivered a plot twists that pushed the story in a completely different direction from where it was going.

Yeah this is a really big contender for the Anime of 2017.

Posted on 4 May 2017 with categories: Monthly Summaries

Busy weekend so I am late! As usual, this summary is about all episodes that aired in the month April, ranked from the ones I like the least to the best. If I kept adding I’d never get these posts done.

There’s lots of great stuff this month, and I managed to keep up with twelve shows till the end of this month. No short 5-minute episodes, so fitting them all in was a challenge. General themes this season seem to be fantasy and racism. Overall production seems very solid. I mean, the bad shows were really bad and all, but so far the good shows really seem to want to deliver something good, and seem to all more and less understand what they’re doing. I feel a lot of them are trying to take their viewers seriously. You cannot imagine how refreshing that feels after 2013…

Anyway: yarr there be spoilers! And obligatory these are just my own impressions and nothing else. 3500 words which doesn’t seem too bad this time. Let’s go!

#12: Sakura Quest (01-04)

I liked the first three episodes. They were chaotic and colourful, yet grounded. The lead female was naive, sure. But she was thrust into this new situation and just had to figure out how to deal with everything being thrown at her. I like that. After that though… I’m afraid that the creators have already hit a bit of a slump. Episode four was all over the place in terms of how much it wanted to be taken seriously.

The show spent so long try and get the female lead to accept her place as the queen. And then it just pulls the other four leads into the team like it’s nothing. Their motivations are all hazy at best, and now they’re suddenly all working together (getting paid, I think) like they don’t have anything else to do. And then there was that inventor. Like, there are more series that have a character that totally doesn’t fit amongst the rest, and it can work, but the difference is here that his inventions totally transform the context of this series from out of nowhere. This used to be a fairly grounded series: it was colourful, but it could have happened in real life. Not anymore. This is actually very important, because how are we going to have to relate to it now, if it can just pull stuff like this out of its ass?

And with this, this show has become a “5 girls doing cute stuff”-series, instead of the Hana-Saku Iroha-wannabe. Hana-Saku Iroha did some crazy stuff, sure. But its sharp drama was what made me return to it. Sakura Quest so far hasn’t been sharp. I’d sooner describe it as dull and forced, very in danger of being dropped.

#11: Atom – The Beginning (01-03)

This show frustrates me. Not because it’s bad, or I wouldn’t have kept up with it, but because I see potential that this show is trying to not draw attention to. Like at first sight this is a really childish robot show with annoying characters. And yet I cannot name something that it’s technically doing wrong. And then once in a while it delivers something surprisingly poignant.

Now, three episodes in, I understand that Atom – The Beginning is an homage to Tetsuwan Atom, the very first anime series ever made. That explains the characters: Osamu Tezuka’s characters always were out there and exaggerated. The creators are doing their best to re-create his charms, but they do miss something that the old master had. His stories were about absolutes, big plot twists, and teaching kids harsh lessons instead of sugar-coating everything. But who knows where this series plans to be going.

But I admit: it knows how to write its annoying characters. The whole point of annoying characters is that they serve to bring in energy, and if they’re rounded enough you as a viewer will warm up to them. This is actually very difficult to do, and most attempts fail and become excruciating to watch, because failure means that you have to spend an entire series with a character that you hate. Like this show is seriously doing something right, but then on the other hand it spends an entire episode on finding a lost robot dog.

#10: Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho (01-03)

The animators are really struggling with properly bringing life to these characters, but thankfully the rest of the show does a really good job at making up to it. The setting in this series feels alive. The characters visit a lot of different towns and cities in these first three episodes, all of them populated with different people who actually feel like they live there.

What makes this series stand out the most is the racist themes. A lot of the fantasy series this season deal with them, but this series does it best, because there is not one side who is morally right in everything. It presents three different parties, who all are against each other due to complicated reasons and misunderstandings that grow because of some overreactions. There are evil characters, but they are individuals who mess things up for everyone. It really stresses that things are complicated. I like that a lot.

In terms of the characters, I still really like the two main ones; their chemistry is as solid as ever and they’re a delight to watch. It’s not all well though, because episode 2 introduced a really annoying character who seems to be tagging along for the whole ride. And I can’t stand this kid. All he does is whine or make bad jokes. And that’s basically this series: there are some things that it does really well, and some things that it’s really bad at. What makes me want to continue is that it’s the core of this series that’s really good. I mean it’s really onto something with its racial themes!

#9: Uchoten Kazoku (01-04)

Uchoten Kazoku is really tough to measure, because of how different it is. On one hand it’s slice of life, but enough things happen, and yet it doesn’t really have a plot: just a sequence of events in the lives ot these characters it plays through. It’s chock full of culture, references both really obscure and popular. It lacks the dramatic bombast that every other series had, but in terms of world-building it’s pretty darn excellent: how these tanuki are living their lives, and all their customs and strifes.

I think this lack of dramatic flair is what got to me in the first season. I mean, I couldn’t call this bad at all… it’s just hard to find a structure here to follow. Like, certain points or scenes that stick out or stand out as memorable. You could say that this series’ flaw is that it’s too consistent. Sounds weird of course, but anime remains an art form, and art can be really weird in how it sticks to people.

But don’t get me wrong: the writing here is very good. It always has something to talk about, characters are well rounded with rich backstories, the writing is also excellent, and you can definitely see that the creators did their homework.

#8: Sagrada Reset (01-04)

Okay yes, that was one hell of a misleading opening episode. I can understand why some people were turned off by episode 02, and let me warn you: if you were turned off by that, stay FAR away from episode 04, because it’s going to get even worse. As for me though, I like what the creators are trying to do: they have got this world chock full of people with strange powers, and every episode they try their best to make an as complicated story with them as possible. They just keep throwing stuff at you as the episode progresses, and combine that with how characters are constantly trying to explain each other’s motivations, constantly seeking the truth amidst these bizarre rules.

But let’s get one thing very straight: this is NOT a high school show where characters happen to have powers. This is full on mystery. And the way this show looks at death and pain is really weird. It’s like: “oh by the way, Pete died”, right as the characters are casually talking about something else for example. And none of the characters show any sign of being put off. There is plenty of remorse, but that initial shock you get when something terrible happens: that doesn’t seem to exist in this universe. It’s really weird, but they’re very consistent at it, which leads to a number of really bizarre situations, culminating in that incredibly disturbing end of episode 04.

I still like it a lot though. This show dares to break with conventions, and it’s constantly trying to one-up itself. Some of the logic either flew past me or is not consistent with itself, but eh: not enough for me to find it bothersome. The characters still are very enjoyable, and their calculating chemistry still works quite well. Perhaps not as good as with episode one, but in the meantime they tried to put in enough to make this work for the long run and make this not a one trick pony.

#7: Warau Salesman (01-04)

You’d think that this would become a novelty. Yet I keep returning, every week, despite how similar each episode is. Is it some sort of Stockholm Syndrome or something? Like every single episode is a big kick in the balls, and yet I keep returning. Falling for the charming salespitch, being drawn into this show just as the characters are tempted by the titular character. Seriously this guy is one evil sunovabitch.

The strength of this series is that it shows how easy it is to fall for temptations. While everything here is exaggerated, the core truth that they want to portray rings everywhere: its criticism at these sales constructions that are set up in such a way that breaking them and ruining your life is wraught with temptations that are just too easy to break. The same temptations keep returning: lust and stress relief. And some stories are stronger than ever, but there are some particularly biting ones. The first one of episode 04, for example. Like holy crap!

Make no mistake, despite the cartoonish look, this is an incredibly dark show. Also look how the Laughing Salesman also manages to wiggle his way into innocence, by pointing out the faults of his clients. It’s now gotten as far that during episode 4, you could see the traps he laid out miles beforehand. And that’s what makes this such a good horror series: by making these traps so easy you’re constantly screaming “don’t do it!” at your screen, yet unlike your average dumb horror character, you can understand where they’re coming from.

#6: Alice to Zouroku (01-05)

A big theme of 2017 is pushing powers to a new level: have characters with powers that are more all-encompassing than before, that have less limits. And not in the way that they create bigger energy-beams, but with the way that they start tearing the whole fabric of reality. Alice to Zouroku puts this in thriller-form, with a lot of childish innocence.

Out of all the series with action this season, Alice to Zouroku is the most grounded in reality because of how it keeps stressing responsibility. The characters all have lives, and backgrounds, rich in detail. And yet, it doesn’t shy away from anything, that’s what makes it scary. Seriously that hands woman was one hell of an effective villain in how she just completely doesn’t mess about, but even then I didn’t expect her to actually shoot something resembling a child. But that’s the strength of this series: this incredible contrast of childlike innocence on one hand and just this businesslike harshness on the other.

In april, Alice to Zouroku got five episodes out. It was not the most entertaining series of the season, but still I have to say that at the end of episode five, when they closed off the arc, they did so in a really adorable way. And it was thanks to all of this careful build-up. But erm, show… you do realize that you’re 12 episodes long, don’t you? Everything seems resolved now… how are you going to be able to top this?

#5: Re-Creators (01-04)

Re-Creators may not have had the most exciting start, but it’s clearly and visibly growing: every episode has gotten more interesting so far. This series came with a really interesting premise: what if characters suddenly came to life? It shows how they’d react to this new find knowledge, and also how they view their creators: the ones who write their stories. Every character looks at the issue in a different way: that’s what you need! A look the matter from many different angles.

And on top of that it also just got the basics right. It knows how a story and characters are written: rounded, instead of simple stereotypes. It takes its time to establish the kind of world it’s in. Characters behave in believable and consistent manners, there are no weird leaps in logic, and the acting is powerful, yet nobody is overacting. Animation is overall consistent, and the soundtrack also keeps getting better. These guys are really trying to put down something solid, yet exciting, and the kicker: the dialogue is also really well written. Heck, the main focus of this show is on its dialogue: the action is just there as a vehicle, to create tension.

My only complaint is how average the male lead is: like nothing sets him apart. But ah well: you can see him as a jar of glue; he holds everything together. Because of him this really diverse cast of characters managed to gather together and interact. And what this show did really well is keep him in the background. It realizes that this is in no way his story, and instead keeps the main actors the main actors, without him trying to wiggle himself in the important positions. And thank god there’s no romance yet!

#4: Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul (01-04)

Okay, so Virgin Soul is the sequel. Unfortunately I cannot find the time to watch the original like what I did with Shouwa Rakugo, so I’ll just watch the second season. For now it seems to be quite accessible without any prior knowledge, unlike Berserk, which I really want to continue, but won’t, for the same reason why I haven’t continued Mushishi’s second season.

There is one thing in particular that Shingeki no Bahamut does better than any other show this season. Yeah okay, there are multiple. The fluidity of some of its action scenes is un-rivaled, even when put next to Shingeki no Kyojin, which makes for a great spectacle. But the reason why it’s so high on this list is because of how expressive it is. The characters are alive and vibrant with emotions, they just pop out of the screen. The female lead is the best example of this where she just continues to bubble all over the screen, but the other characters do this to. Some obvious, but others subtle. Because of that it has a very engaging villain. Just the way he’s posed and drawn: this guy got presence. He beams royal confidence. That, combined with the setting in which a bunch of humans are the assholes for once in a fantasy-show makes the plot simple, yet very effective.

And it doesn’t need a complicated plot like what the other fantasy series have. This show is all about power plays. Taking what it has, and really trying to get everything as right as possible. That has lead to some impeccable animation: the poses, the stances, it’s all right. Notice how few still frames this show uses. When characters talk, it’s not just their lips that go up and down, no their chins move subtly as well. There’s more life in this series than any other show this season.

#3: Shingeki no Kyojin (26-30)

Ah, it’s just as I hoped: Shingeki no Kyojin decided to screw some conventions here. Not the ones I expected though, which makes it in a way even better. Five episodes aired this month, and in a move that very other series dare: it pretty much put the main cast on a bus in order to focus on some side-ones: all Eren&co did was travel, while the side cast got bombarded by all of the weird plot twists. And consider that this second season is only 12 episode makes this even more special: for this show to have the balls to really take its time, instead of doing the most obvious and put more focus on Mikasa, the most popular character of the series.

On the technical terms: yes. Great animation, soundtrack’s good, pacing’s terrific, storytelling had me on the edge of my seat. It pretty much did everything right. One thing in particular that stood out was the way in which this show does its horror. It combines it seamlessly with its mystery here: the characters were terrified, and it used that fear brilliantly while hinting for certain plot twists. It created such a paranoid atmosphere. Well done, Shingeki no Kyojin! Sometimes, not saying anything can do wonders.

Shingeki no Kyojin definitely aims to take the viewer on a ride. The most of any other show this season. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, but very different from the first season, which had a lot more bombast. And yet, when it hits, the second season does go much further. Like the gore? Much more detailed than what we saw in season one. These guys have gotten more interested in making something really special. Now keep challenging yourselves! Keep screwing more conventions!

#2: Seikaisuru Kado (00-04)

Shingeki no Bahamut and Shingeki no Kyoujin are behemoths. Their budget is huge and you see that in the animation, which is a feast for the eyes. And I like that a lot: one reason why I’m into animation is to see how well it can bring characters and settings to life, and big production-values are a great way to do this. My taste may be weird, but I love seeing a big group of people working together to animate a story, in all different meanings of the word. That this isn’t required or even necessary is proved by Seikaisuru Kado.

Nearly everything here is done in jarring CG. This is not a pretty looking series, and it was obviously done on a budget. But here’s the thing: Shingeki no Kyojin was bound to get a sequel, so you’re bound to invest in it. The other shows this season: here too you can see why investors were interested in their production: Bahamut is an epic fantasy series with dragons, based on a well received first season, Alice to Zouroku has cute girls, Warau Salesman is the next in line of classic shows to be revived. Even my number one pick for this month: it’s incredibly save. They all make sense. Seikaisuru Kado is the only one that doesn’t. I mean, how was this even pitched? “All-powerful aliens visit the earth and we need to negotiate with them”. Just, where did this come from? This is just so out of left field, it really takes balls to come with a series like this. I admire that a lot.

This show… over the course of five episodes it has done some really weird things. Note how every episode is significantly different with its focus, and yet every episode flows seamlessly into the other. Every episode is also incredibly thought-provoking. You may not agree with its statements, but that’s not the point: what IF an alien suddenly came with items that would solve the world energy crisis if used well? What would you do? What would happen? And it goes incredibly in-depth in its analysis and predictions. It’s bold, the way it’s doing this is going to piss off a lot of people, and in terms of global politics it is bringing more and more unspoken rules to the surface. A lot of shows this season have balls, but really: Seikaisuru Kado has by far the biggest ones. I was for a minute debating with myself about putting at at the top spot this month, but nah: that show reduced me to tears due to its sweetness. However, out of all new series to debate this year without a first season… yeah I can say that Seikaisuru Kado has the best and most interesting opening month of 2017.

#1: Natsume Yuujinchou (01-03)

I was about to go on about how this series really needs closure now, but then this new season came with its first three episodes, and even for this series’ standards they are excellent. Where the previous season felt perhaps like it was treading a bit of the same areas, these episode could only fit at this point in the story because of how well they’re making use of all of the build-up of the previous five seasons.

It all fits now: Season 1 was the introduction, Season 2 was Natsume getting to know more and more people. Season 3 was his growth. Season 4 was about his family. Season 5 was about his friends and the people around him. And now Season six is there to show how different he views the people around him now. He’s part of the family now, he has friends he trusts, and he’s opening up more and more to them: you see his resistance fade away more and more. Episode 02 stressed that he’s not alone anymore, and episode 03 did something really clever, in bringing back a character that used to annoy him, yet now manages to accept and see the good intentions. And vice versa.

And in the meantime he’s just completely adorable. Six seasons in and it still manages to tell these incredibly heart-warming stories. One month in and without a doubt this series is my favourite of the currently airing ones. It has this way of storytelling and pacing that makes the ending of every episode a delight, and at this rate, the other series have got an incredible job ahead if they want to be able to compete with this one. This is good! Be competitive! Strive to be the better one, this competition and wave of inspiration is what’s going to make the medium as an entirety better. The key is to learn from each other and inspire each other. Natsume Yuujinchou has nailed how to tell a story, and after nine years you can see its subtle influences all over. Holy crap the first season aired 9 years ago already! What happened to all that time!?

Posted on 20 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

I remember back in the first impression of last Winter season, I regarded Demi-chan as a better Monster Girls slice of life subgenre over this one. But as the season progressed, while Demi-chan run out of its steam quickly, this one picked up its pace after an underwhelming first episode to become a much more worthy title of last season, to the point many critics (according to ANN critics) hailed it as one of the best show out of 2017 Winter season, behind only to the modern masterpiece Rakugo. Do I agree with that consensus? No, God, no. They obviously don’t watch ACCA, and I would argue Scum’s Wish or Tanya are better options. Dragon Maid is a warm little show that have some neat things to say about dysfunctional family and a high production values for its genre, but it never raises above exceptional level to me.

In fact, now looking back, the premiere episode of Dragon Maid was a bad representation of a whole show. The premise of a female dragon decides to live in a human house as a maid and devotes herself to that role, loves her host unconditionally is a wish-fulfilment and convenient one. That episode also played up the slapstick tone of dragon making a mess trying to fit in with human environment, which became less and less prominent as the show went on. They also played up the comedy which was a missed opportunity because while Dagon Maid is very solid at humor, they never meant to be in a forefront. The show improved dramatically from second episode with the introduction of Kanna and the show shifted the focus to slice-of-life approach, but the first episode already did the damage to discourage anime watchers into this show.

The humor of the show is on the risqué and bawdy side and I really do prefer this type of humor than over the top silliness, but I also agree that sometimes they got too carried away. The yuri love at the centre between Tohru and Kobayashi-san is well grounded; but the same can’t be said for the running gags of yuri undertone between two primary schoolers of Kanna and Riko (sometimes Kanna is a perpetrator for example, in which she “innocently” staying too close to Riko). More cringe-worthy, Lucoa and Shouta running gags of gigantic bouncing boob gave a huge backlash to more serious anime watchers as it appears the older (dragon) woman sexually assaulted the young shy boy. Well, for the love of God I’m not that serious about the issue but bouncy boob jokes do get old fast.

But at its core, Dragon Maid is a sensitive portrayal of a dysfunctional family and what it means to share happy moments with the person you love. Kobayashi-san, a thirty something workwoman who prefer to be left alone than having any real relationship is a perfect protagonist for this tale about family. Sometimes she remarks that it’s her who unsure how to express her feeling. Most of the time she doesn’t contact her real family not because they are having a tense relationship, it’s just her who feels detached from the family. There’s a real, honest look at the heart of modern day lifestyle, when individual starts drifting away from any real connection and this series is all about establishing that real connection.

The second theme Dragon Maid of underlined is the very definition of “family” and “where we belong”, as Tohru, who born a dragon, comes to live together with a human. The show addressed many times that the human world isn’t Tohru’s place, and because human’s and dragon’s lifespans are vastly dissimilar, what will happen to Tohru once Kobayashi reaches her end? Does lingering on the life that clearly don’t belong to you worth taking at all? As this series says, yes, because feeling is true. The other theme about family this show also addresses is the parental relationship, especially those from Kobayashi-san and Kanna. There are many touching moments where Kanna looks up to the protagonist as her mother figure (as a dragon she was exiled from her family) and Kobayashi-san tries her best to fit in that role. Secretly buying the stationary that she loves, tries to finish work early in order to aatend her play. Those intimate moments come from a very real place that doesn’t matter if the premise is phony (dragon appears as maid girl, duh), as long as your heart is in the right place you still hit jackpot.

True to its “sharing the moments together” theme, many of the show’s best sequences lie in the slice-of-life activities the characters have with each other, be it as bizarre as dragon’s fights, anime convention (where real monsters appear as themselves), or as mundane as spending a christmas holiday in kotatsu, preparing dinner or having a sport festival (there must be one in every slice of life high school show huh?) or performing a play together. The cast is mostly likable, especially Kanna who takes the anime world by storms. I also find the different length in each segment to be effective. Sometimes it plays for entire episode, sometimes it chops off and we have 4-koma like format, which actually adds to the final punch and the laid-back atmosphere of the show.

As KyoAni is the studio behind this show, it goes without saying that the show have a great treatment in productions values. The characters facial expressions are varied and spot on, the animation- where it needs to be, especially during dragon’s battles, is energetic and exciting. From what I gathered the studio actually modified a bit in its last 2 episodes from the manga source, which for me enhanced the main emotional core and successfully ended the show by overcoming its biggest external and internal threats.
All in all, Dragon Maid is an enjoyable anime. The show has relaxed atmosphere, engaging chemistry between its main cast, great animation and have some deeper and more intimate moments than its usual slice of life fare. Still compare to KyoAni canon I can’t help but think this is an inferior one with questionable fanservice. It’s heartwarming but lack certain quality to raise above the rest of a pack.

Posted on 19 April 2017 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

Short Synopsis: A spinoff story of the DanMachi series.

Not even three minutes in and we got a boob joke. I say watching anime is really demoralizing for girls C cup and under seeing as anime seems to assume that if you aren’t stacked then you have no sex appeal. Well this is basically the Raildex of the DanMachi series. It lacks originality(I only just noticed that the first meeting between the sword girl and the protagonist of the DanMachi series essentially ripped off the iconic first meeting of Saber and Shirou in Fate), it’s bundled with fanservice and the action set pieces are only there to make the characters look good. Also yuri because why not. It’s not something as offensive as the next entry on this post but it is the equivalent of anime shovelware. This series was clearly made to target the SAO demographic and to those who don’t fall into that category it’s just a rather soulless experience. Guess the only thing left to say is that this show manages to barely beat out SukaSuka in terms of absurdly long anime titles.

Potential: 0%

Mario: A spinoff story based on the universe of DanMachi (which I only watched the first episode of it), this new season unfortunately is a weaker RPG fantasy fluff this season. What we have so far is the gang fighting a bunch of monsters. The cast so far is generic and the main heroine is so helpless she drags the whole cast down. I know everyone isn’t meant to be perfect and the main girl needs to develop somehow through its run, but  for God sake don’t do that by making her unbearable at the start. I still don’t really get why the show has to use “level” and all the monsters and level path exactly like a RPG? Aren’t they supposed to be in another world? Cut that game mechanics then. Now after few hours watching it, I don’t remember much of it so it kinda speaks to the quality of this one. Bland and forgettable.

Potential:10%

 

sin Nanatsu no Taizai

Short Synopsis: Lucifer falls from heaven and fights the well endowed seven deadly sins.

You know I think a series like this is an director just daring god to smite him. Cause I don’t know how more blasphemous you can get without genderbending Jesus.(Frankly I am surprised that hasn’t happened yet) So theres angels and demons and something something banished…honestly this show cares about it’s story as much as I do. This is essentially queens blade anime where the goal is tits, ass and more tits. Sadly the titillation is something I can’t enjoy because they made the age old mistake of making the breasts so big that it just becomes unappealing. The show goes out of it’s way to show nudity whenever possible and pretty much everyone is a lesbian who’s ready to feel up whoevers closest. This is an anime where a girl’s female best friend hugs her and then proceeds to cop a feel. But you know the biggest sin here is that it uses the seven deadly sins motive in the laziest way possible. Previous shows I seen at least played around with the concept to subvert expectations. Not here. Pride is prideful, envy is envious, sloth is lazy, Gluttony is hungry, wrath is picking fights, greed is trying to get money and lust is a bitch in heat. If you are interested in anime you can watch with your trousers down…honestly you would be better off going for hentai. At least that will put out.

Potential: 0%

Mario: Hello softcore porn, here we meet again. This season has offered heaps of terrible trends of current anime: we have a blatantly advertisement anime to promote their products, we have an incest anime, we have a lazy Light novel rip-off anime, but this is the trend I distaste the most: a fanservice softcore porn that numbs all the senses of us viewers. This is the most blatant misuse of seven sins concept that I have ever seen, and I can’t call this plot “plot” either because all they do is tied up the girl and “torture” her, in what sense I think you have an idea by now. The other girls are combination of huge tits, fetished custom designs and behave like they’re all ready to strip off. I will give it an upvote though that Sin never pretends to be something else, it’s straightforward fan-service from start to finish and I know there’s a market for this sort of anime but with all my respect this anime is what I disgust the most.

Potential: 0%

 

Atom: The Beginning

Short Synopsis: A prequel to Astro boy, two creators work to make an intelligent robot.

Much like Young Blackjack two years ago we have the return of another Tezuka favorite with a prequel series. In all honestly if we were going to get a prequel to Astro Boy animated I would have prefered Pluto. Not to say this series is bad, actually it’s a strong start to the series. But Pluto is a manga by the mangaka who made Monster and 20th Century Boys. So the level of quality is on another level. (It really is sad that only one of Naoku Urasawa’s best works has been animated.) But enough on that, this show manages a nice blend of old school and new school with excellent animation and a simplistic yet effective story. Atom’s design is excellent and there is a certain love put into the mechanical workings of the robots. The main characters are loveable dopes though due to my ignorance of the source material I feel like I am missing some sub level context in the shows presentation. Seeing as the manga got better as it went along I actually have high hopes for this one. People may have some trouble getting past it’s old sensibilities such as the catchphrases and tendency for characters to awkwardly shove exposition into dialogue. But if the animation can stay strong and keep it’s charm then this could be something worth checking out this season.

Potential: 80%

Mario: We get to the end of this long winded first impressions period (finally!), Atom the Beginning is a worthy title to close off these new anime-tasting offerings. Served as a prequel to the classic Astro Boy, although you don’t need the knowledge of the existing material to enjoy this one. The best thing this series offer so far is its rich and natural world building where robots becoming a prominent factor in human life. From robots specifically giving balloons to the children, helping human for constructions, to appearing in a massive parade, that world is well-detailed and I enjoy looking those technologies on display. This episode also succeeds on introducing the main casts so far, both informs us how they view of each other (like the genius *genius* wheelchair guy towards the main duo), and clearly establishes their personal traits. The main duo so far is your typical nerdy, self-centre and blind-by-their-own-ambitions type, and hearing them keep babbling about how genius they are can be bothersome at times, but their chemistry is quite grounded. Furthermore, if this episode is any indication, the show will go less action, save-the-world pack, but more about the implication of using Atom, which for me is far more interesting angle. The productions and the retro character designs also help to make this one more accessible. A solid start for Atom.

Potential: 70%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul

Short Synopsis: A girl hunts a man in rags currently freeing demi-human slaves in the kingdom.

I thought the previous season of Bahamut was fairly mediocre so I didn’t really have much expectations for it’s sequel. I still feel this show has that air of mediocrity despite it having a strong first episode. Nonetheless it’s hard to deny that this show has a dynamic likeable cast of characters and the setup of gods and demons being dominated by humans is one I am most invested in. I considered this episode pretty watchable and the animation is quite excellent. I approve the animated dragon at the end of the episode. I swear animated dragons may be the most badass things in animation. So far it’s fun and it’s ties to it’s predecessor seem few that one could start from hear. If it can manage to not get too caught up in the god and demon realms this could be an interesting watch. But again I do think this could easily fall into medicority.

Potential: 65%

Mario: Welcome back to the world of Mistarcia, it has been awhile hasn’t it? (Not in my case though, as I just finished the first season 2 weeks ago). Although based on trading card game, the first season of Bahamut became a success with its high production values, fun characters and exciting battles. This sequel maintains the spirits the first season known of, with one of the strongest production values this season has to offer, with solid animation and detailed background design. The CG battles still a bit of up and down but this is pretty much expected based from the first season. Our new main girl Nina fits right in with the former cast. I have a bit of worry there but seeing my favorite girl Rita back bring me absolute joy. The actions are thrilling, although there’s probably too much action sequences for its own good. This show continues the fun and thrills of the first season, while hints on the intrigued world where human pretty much oppress the angel and devil kind, with some super fun characters to boost. Your safe bet of this season.

Potential: 75%

 

ID-0

Short Synopsis: A girl gets abducted by space pirates after being abandoned by her instructors.

I think it was rather clever to mask the stiff animation of CGI by having the majority of the screentime be of the characters in robot forms. Robots are one of the few things that CGI works well with in animation so it was a good idea. As for the episode itself I found it alright. I think most people would have difficulty in finding this show to watch as it isn’t on crunchyroll or the like. Actually seems like a lot of anime this season has become somewhat hindered thanks in part to Amazon Anime Strike. Having both a funimation and a crunchyroll account I am not keen on signing up for another service with a smaller lines and a double paywall. But alas, what of ID-O? Well it’s alright. Not winning any oscars but watchable enough to spend some time with. Might be that the premise hasn’t quite grabbed me but I don’t feel much drive to continue watching it. Partly because I am watching so much this season already. I expect the fanservice to level up next episode not that the girl is out of the mech and perhaps then the main plot could prove interesting enough to stick with it. As for me though I plan to sit this one out.

Potential:55%

Mario: This show is so much FUN. I know it’s a show about a bunch of mecha pirates in space; I know the stiff CG movements in most of those scenes, and I know the dialogues are stupid at best; but it’s fun. There’s a campy quality in the plot, the character’s interactions that makes this show charming. See how superficial the plot and the characters behave so far? The plot is about a group of adults manipulating a child to join them steal stuffs, the teacher and the other guy in the beginning act so campy it feels rather refreshing to see. And the fanservice, thank god because majority of time the characters are in mecha-mode so we don’t see that much, but the scene after the end credits really tries to level up its fanservice. For now, I like the space settings. Although it’s not that well-detailed, the concept is intrigued enough to make me want to know more about it. The girl is a bit starry-eyed at the moments so I hope they can develop her quickly. Out of everything come out so far this season, ID-0 is the one that I don’t really know what will come next (well, que sera, sera) and that is part of the fun why you should check out this show.

Potential: 60%

 

Quan Zhi Gao Shou

Short Synopsis: A pro MMO player is forced to quit and decides to start again from scratch.

For a Chinese animation effort I do think this is rather promising. Animation wise I didn’t really have much problems besides the usual CGI animation. Honestly this gives me hope that one day Chinese anime shows could match Japanese anime shows. But in order for that to happen they need to get some better source material. So a pro player is fired because he isn’t doing as well anymore and the company goes out of it’s way to be utterly insidious about doing so. What makes this rather ridiculous is that this is all about a MMO so it’s just rather silly that people are getting so serious about it. Frankly I still am puzzled about the whole paying someone to play an MMO thing. Not sure how you are supposed to get a return on that. Our protagonist is a super pro MMO player who takes on bosses singlehanded and is a saint who gives up his paycheck to fund players who couldn’t make it in the game.(Guess the orphan children and cancer patients were not important enough to get a donation because they don’t play MMO’s) Look I know that this guy is sort of the ideal that every MMO player starts out with. However one of the M’s in MMO stands for multiplayer and when you consider that the whole idea of playing solo hero becomes not only unrealistic but rather dumb. The issue here is that so far this story is about a veteran MMO player starting from scratch to show all them newbies how it’s done. Our protagonist is done with his development so what remains is just one big ego stroking in the form of a anime series.

Potential: 20%

Mario: A show about online RPG game huh, this show hits right at the Chinese market I tell ya. But can it translate its success to anime market? I highly doubt so as like many Chinese shows before it, this one moves forward too slow. The mix between the real world and the game world don’t really flesh out any of those worlds. The CG animation is a bit mixed bag, while the actions are alright, the CG people walking and playing games are jarring and again the dialogue drags too much. This seem to be a plot of him starting to play from scratch but with the 10-year knowledge I think he pretty much already had an advantage. The production value is decent, actually one of the best-looking out of all the Chinese anime I’ve checked out but this is still not enough. This offering sadly still not worth recommending.

Potential: 10%

Posted on 14 April 2017 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

I think I’m only missing that Atom Show, but I’m leaving tomorrow for a long weekend to Luxembourg and otherwise I’ll never get this post done. Oh, and Goro Taniguchi seems to have a new series out but for the love of me I cannot find any translated version. Also I try to avoid sequels unless I don’t know they’re sequels, I’ve seen their original series or I feel like they’re more like spin-offs and having seen the original isn’t importan.t

So, Spring 2017. It is huge, there’s a lot going on here. Common themes are fantasy, but more importantly the biggest difference with the previous season is that Winter 2017 was all about stories: complex stories that make you think and puzzle about how things will end. Spring 2017 is much more about characters and experiences. These shows aim to take you on a ride, with complicated storylines and settings being less important.

How did it fare? Well, we’ve got the entire spectrum between completely amazing and utterly terrible, about evenly distributed. Here are the impressions they made on me. 8000 words holy crap this was a lot!

Shingeki no Kyoujin Season 2

Well, let’s start off with the big one. And before I say anything else I do want to note that this series has one of the most annoying fan-bases out there. I mean I liked the series and all, but the past three years I’ve watched this show become perverted, become the victims of hordes of terrible jokes, over and over again. I’m all for people enjoying series in their own way and all, but this was just too much, to the point where I feared being able to take this series seriously again.

Now as for this episode, things are different. It’s not the same series anymore when you look at the execution. Season one was very straight-forward. This one totally wasn’t. And it may just be me, but in the meantime the animators have improved their skills, and I’m also spotting a bigger budget here, signalling that the creators really are planning to go all out. What does that mean?

Well, this project is being helmed by that crazy mofo of a Tetsurou Araki. If all of the other episodes are going to be like this one, then this seems like he’s taken his chance to just go all out. That part has me very excited, because this episode definitely was not “let’s just carry on where we left off”. This was twist after twist after twist, they could not have planned that at the end of season one. I saw creative liberties everywhere here, and off the good kind. This will be glorious, and please let it also be weird enough to turn off the most annoying fans so we don’t have to suffer through them trying to turn this into a bad comedy!
OP: I’m gonna bring this one back: short comments about the opening and ending animations here. This one was a retread of the first OP, only more mellow, but it works.
ED: This is one of the things I meant by creative liberties: it is far from what you’d expect, and yet it fits. It’s a great song because of how the sound of the music contrasts to the overall theme of the series.

Gin no Guardian

With only 10-minute episodes, Gin no Guardian had its task cut out for it. The past Autumn season had two pretty good series like that, with To be Hero and Cheating Craft, however Gin no Guardian did not impress me. It like, tries so hard to look cool and serious, but the whole tension revolved around the main character slaying thousands of zombies with silly voices who all look exactly the same. Perhaps it’s an attempt to appeal to the gaming crowd, but it looked like the story that a fourteen year old would write, with all of the self-insertion that you’d expect. So, the plot is too stupid to take seriously, what about the characters? For that a “meh” would be sufficient. They’re there, but they’re all pretty flat and uninteresting, nothing to write home about. There is one thing in this series that impressed me though: for some reason this show has a pretty good soundtrack. I can at least just close my eyes during the fight scenes and listen to the pretty melodies here.
OP: You know, when you can summarize your plot in your OP, this usually is not a good sign. Plus, it’s everyone desperately trying to look cool again!

Alice to Zouroku

Alice to Zouroku is a show about cute girls with superpowers. This sounds bad, yet this is one of the better ones. A lot of reasons go to that, but the main one is its realism. The big mistake that series like this usually make is thinking “oh, we have superpowers, we can get away with larger than life characters, anything not epic is just going to be boring”. Not here: this episode was twice the normal length, and throughout it stressed that for these huge powers, the girls need energy, or food. You want to do a car chase? Are you crazy, just think of how many people get hurt! It tries to show what REALLY would happen if your average Joe were to run into a magical girl.

Speaking of average Joe: the male lead here is wonderful. Of course we have had a few more male characters of his age, but it still remains refreshing amongst all teenagers. But what I especially liked about him is his sense of responsibility: it just comes natural to him, and his occupation is hilarious, and I loved how he just put all of the kids in this show in their place. This episode toyed very neatly with your expectations, and yet the lead’s calmness is refreshing to watch.

What I didn’t like… the action scenes were boring. And also yes, the girls here ARE annoying. They get better once the episode goes on and you realize what’s going on, but there’s a big danger of a lot of them just remaining one-dimensional stereotypes at this rate. this show is going to have to try hard to balance out developing these kids, together with progressing the plot.
ED: Actually quite cute and fresh for an ED. Not bad.

Warau Salesman NEW

This one took me by surprise. I figured that I’d just give this one a few minutes, but that it’d be just one another one of those lazily produced shows. I mean, just look at the art style! This is so cheaply produced, it can’t be good.

What I was treated to was perhaps one of the most evil main character in an anime I have ever seen, in a show that offers a terrifyingly biting criticism of modern consumerism. Apparently this is a remake of a series that aired back in 1991, but even then the themes of this series are as relevant as ever, perhaps even more.

I mean holy crap, this show starts off innocently, with the titular laughing salesman claiming to offer filling the emptiness of people’s hearts. DO NOT BELIEVE ANY WORD HE’S SAYING. I mean Christ, this first episode proceeded to ruin the lives of two perfectly ordinary people. They were both my age, which made it all the more relatable and painful as they fell into the traps that I myself try to avoid at all times. They show how easy it is to make a misstep. How modern society makes it so easy to give in to temptation. Screw it, this might as well be called a horror!
OP: Catchy song, great visuals!
ED: Invoking the classics, looks very pretty. Also continues to kick you in the behind right when you thought it finished.

Sekai no Yami Zukan

I said I wouldn’t do any of the 5-minute episode shows anymore unless they were really out there. I think this show qualifies for that. It’s a picture book-type of animation, with just a voice over, with only a few cardboard cut-outs being moved and zoomed to qualify as “animation”. It starts off like a normal short horror-story about a couple being lost in the woods, until suddenly aliens arrive and abduct them. They get kidnapped, brainwashed and the episode ends. This episode was both really weird, but at the same time the narrator actually knew how to build tension. He was the only one by the way, the other voice actors were happily hamming it up, plus the aliens look incredibly silly. This context between good and bad intrigues me for now.
ED: Dreamy rock fair enough.

Frame Arms Girl

This list is in the order of when I watched it, so Frame Arms Girl is one of the first ones I watched this season. Still, I’m already willing to say that this is the worst one of the season. I will be very surprised if something worse comes along. The only thing that this show can boast is its slick production values, but in the context of it all that just makes it even worse.

There’s good, and there is bad fanservice. Good fanservice flows organically in your story: it’s there if the story calls for it, or if you’ve got a particularly good joke that depends on it. Bad fanservice is designing your character with a skirt that doesn’t even come close to covering her crotch! The characters in this series are just 100% pandering: they’re cute cashing in on the mechanical fighting girls hype, with silly armour and guns, overly stereotypical acting, but what makes it even worse is that everything in this show is an ad. It’s not a simple case of product placement, every single scene in this show is geared to wards selling this merchandise. Everything is about the product, trying to make it look cool, or introducing its concepts to the viewers. The entire story is even dedicated to this, this is an attempt where they creators even stopped trying to be subtle, in a show whose premise is that they’re testing out prototypes of the toys they’re planning to sell.

I’m all for people enjoying series in their own way and all. But let me just say that if this series ends up selling well I at least get to label these buyers as simple-minded, okay?
OP: Never, in any context or circumstance, is it okay to start your very first frame with a pantyshot!
ED: Incredibly generic copy paste from other EDs, both the music and the visuals.

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

Some series are just plain annoying to watch, but even there Rokudenashi stands out because the entire premise of this show seems to be as annoying as possible. And that’s not a good thing by far in this case!

Seriously what is this series trying to do? We have this fantasy setting, a gorgeous town, right in the mountains. There’s magic, the entire world is open for the creators to explore. And where do we focus on for the entire episode? A high school. The way in which the high school is at the smack centre of the town says enough about how we’re never going to move beyond this high school. This show focuses on a new substitute teacher who is an incredible self-centred asshole and spends the majority of this episode harassing the two main female leads. It’s in the guise of comedy, I guess. But if that was the case the creators need to learn a very urgent lesson that mentally torturing people is not funny. We all know that guy: he tries so desperately to be fun and liked, while also being a lazy bastard and just ends up throwing one insult after the other.

So this series seems to be hinting that by the end of the series we’re going to be feeling sorry for him, but it doesn’t work that way. Dude, you can’t be Great Teacher Onizuka that easily. Onizuka was a bit of a weird guy with lots of flaws, but whatever happened he had his heart at the right place and really tried to teach valuable lessons to his students. The only lesson this kid offers is “do not trust anyone, stop wasting your time with idiots”. A valuable lesson perhaps, but why would anyone want to watch this mess?

Tsugumomo

I think Sigmund Freud would like to have a talk with the male lead here, with the way this episode started and all. Waking up from a nightmare and your first instinct being to grab the boobs of the girl in front of you. That is some deep next-level trauma right there.

But okay, fair enough. This is no series for me, but at least I get this one. It’s an innocent little romantic comedy with some fighting and drama, and they do seem to be competent about this: it’s not a complete rush-job and there were some jokes that made me laugh. The acting is decent and the two leads have good chemistry, and I have seen far worse. There was no awkward acting. The only thing is that that sister only needs to take one step closer for this series to burn in hell: she’s standing dangerously close to incest here!

But yeah, it’s a stupid little series that is surprisingly competent. With Rokudenashi I really cannot imagine the appeal, but at least here I can understand it. It’s not for me though: I miss something deeper here. This episode to me, was competent at best, but it didn’t challenge me in any way. At its core it’s just another magical girlfriend show, with no noteworthy music, visually it did nothing interesting, and in terms of themes, everything this episode did had already been done and better by Hand Shakers last season.
OP: Pretty generic, nothing really new.
ED: At the very least they tried to come up with an actual song here. Still dull, but better than the OP, and nice shading.

Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism

Fair enough. If you absolutely HAVE to set your series at a high school, you have two options: either have a ridiculously out there premise to work with, or be really good. Busou Shoujo picked the first one: it is set in a former all-girls school, where the student council forces every single guy to walk around in drag because some of them kept harassing the students. They enforce their rules with deadly assault weapons, like swords and a bear. I have to give credit here: they tried to make something out of such limitations.

One thing this show is very good at is building up. The first half was just busy hyping up everything, building atmosphere. As if there was some giant showdown about to happen, with epic build-up music, it being all intriguing, some very enjoyable chemistry between the different characters. It piqued my interest. And then the characters actually started fighting and the show quickly got boring. Yep, it’s all bark and no bite. This might just be for a set-up, but if you want to be ridiculous then you need to go all out. The most scandalous thing that the second half of this episode did was an accidental kiss. EVERY SERIES DOES THAT.
OP: A generic opening, but at the very least they added trumpets. It’s better than nothing okay.
ED: Also pretty generic.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

This series is a classic lesson in bad acting. A lot of reverse harem suffer from this, but it’s exceptionally clear here. I mean when you look at it: the guys simply don’t feel like actual guys, but some kind of effeminate abomination. Of course very few characters in anime are actually realistic, but in these series, it’s exceptionally bad. Let’s once again run through why these characters are so insufferable.

There are many ways to act. A very easy beginner’s mistake to make is hamming it up: actually acting too much and putting on way too much of a performance. That is not how people act. Most people are usually simply mellow, whereas the characters here are in a constant state of giddiness. The main character did avoid this, the worst offenders were the palace guards. I mean come on dudes, look at the royal English guards and look at how they present themselves before putting these pussies there.

Now that of course is not the only way to present characters. The characters in Classicaloid for example were also really out there. But the thing about being a good writer is that every character should stand on its own, regardless of the other characters. If characters all have the same style of talking or same type of humour, then it’s the sign of an incompetent writer who is inserting him or herself into everything. And that’s what’s going on here. The characters, while all different stereotypes, all feel like they’re the same character here. They’re all on the same wavelength and it feels like a person with multiple personalities talking to himself. And this is not just in this show, by the way: when you take a look at other reverse harems, you seem the same character pop up over and over and over again. This is bad writing! Take some writing classes dammit!
ED: The same boyband sound you hear everywhere, random art deco here, and good, you gave them all sorts of facial expressions, you want a cookie now?

Boruto – Naruto Next Generations

I want you to imagine an old cow. Having worked hard before in her life, producing a ton of milk. Her udders have now shrivelled up, her time is gone. And then her farmer comes around and goes “ah, we can still squeeze some milk out of her”. That cow, is Naruto.

Okay, so Dragonball Z got away with it by making Gohan completely different from Goku, while still making clear that he was Goku’s son. It had its own plot, own direction. Boruto feels like these Disney sequels they kept making in the early 2000s, only with the right production values. They basically took the bad parts of Naruto, like almost one-on-one, and the new stuff they added… is really bad. I mean, Naruto was a brat, but at least you could argue that he was an outcast: that connected to hordes of people, making it one of the most popular anime ever. Boruto is the son of the equivalent of the mayor of the village, so he doesn’t have that. Making him a spoiled brat with really no reason to feel sorry for him.

Aside from that I really have issues how every child is like a carbon-copy of their parents. This is the sign of pandering. The whole premise of this episode also made no sense whatsoever, with the epitome being that runaway train. I mean what the hell was that?! I can understand spicing things up, and okay fair enough you want to get bullies back in an explosive way. But really, who found it a good idea to suddenly switch around and have Boruto crash the train into the ninja school opening ceremony? That’s not creativity, that’s just simply giving up.
OP: Pretty generic, although it at least tries to have some creative and colourful shots.

Sagrada Reset

Oh hell yeah! Do not get fooled by the generic character-designs or the school setting: this is not your average series. This series is the product of some writer, I have no idea who, being incredibly frustrated and needing something to dump his or her thoughts on. Those thoughts were put to a story, and that story is Sagrada Reset. It’s a show about high schoolers talking, but they’re actually talking about something!

And I have to give props to the creators of the anime for how they decided to handle the acting in this series. Everybody is so mellow. All tension comes from the music and the weight of the dialogue. That’s it, and in the meanwhile the characters are just droning on. And yet somehow this restrained way of storytelling works: I was glued to the screen. For a show that takes place entirely on a high school that’s saying something!

A good start is showing the main characters having hobbies, which have nothing to do with the series itself. The dude likes to play basketball. Okay, good for him. This is something most series don’t do: everything has to be relevant. Here though, it gives him a life beyond this series. The rest of the episode as well: the dialogue was really meant to get to know each other better, and it was really sharp about this. Characters are constantly analysing their actions, their characters. Everybody is assessing everybody here, trying to get through to their core. Sometimes they’re wrong, sometimes they’re spacing out, it’s all just prodding away. It’s fascinating.
ED: That singer at least tries his best to make something of the song. The mellowness of the visuals fits the show also perfectly. Wait a minute, is that HER, with her hair… oh you sneaky bastards.

Sakura Quest

So, it’s PA Works, trying for another Hana-Saku Iroha. But is it strong enough to stand on its own, or just gonna piggy-back off the success of former glory?

Yes, this is significantly different. Hana-Saku Iroha had its silly moments, but it was more grounded in reality than what we saw here. Sakura Quest is sillier, has more weird ideas, and it’s more flamboyant. Instead of a traditional inn, we’re talking about a Chupacabra-themepark bereft of its former glory. It all feels very weird, until you realize the context this series places its themes in: Sakura Quest is about entering the workforce. Being thrown in the deep by society and having to figure things out for yourself, and everything that just jumps at you that you just have to deal with. The big bad world finally getting real.

I’m very pleasantly surprised that the cast here is like 5 years older than in Hana-Saku Iroha, and it shows. They’re a weird bunch, but what this episode already did very well is make them seem genuine: they really care about that run-down silly place, and there already is some good chemistry between them and the main character. Part of storytelling is also using contrasts and opposites, and this show seems to realize that. On one hand it’s very silly, on the other hand it takes its characters seriously, and there’s this layer of realism in it. Characters on one hand do crazy things, on the other they behave exactly like you’d think in their situation.

The big challenge for this series will be finding a good and satisfying story-arc. It’s not just enough to show the shenanigans for an entire season until the group grows together, it needs to think of something more. Something to work to. That one year as a deadline is a good one for starters, but even that has to be used well.
OP: A simple genuine pop song that feels really weird if you don’t know anything about the series.

Saikaisuru Kado

For these previews, I watch just the first episode. Saikaisuru Kado started with an episode 00 and 01, I only watched 00 for this. Simply because if I want to be able to finish this post in a reasonable time-frame, and by the time the last series start the first ones already have their seconds out. I say this explicitly, because I have no bloody idea what this episode was trying to do. Like seriously, is this real?

It started off as a show about two businessmen off to buy land, of all things, but throughout the entire episode you just feel like “is this it? They’re just going to do this for the entire series?” Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s incredibly refreshing, but seriously? Businessmen as the lead for an anime series with such a weird opening? And then at the end of the episode that giant cube came along and like what? How? Why?

In any case: in the storytelling department it is very competent. You have to pay attention to all of the dialogue, but the characters, the premise of the episode. It was good, and came together quite nicely. I liked the characters going around and trying to get things done. In terms of the animation though… it is not very competent. There are lot of awkward faces and for some reason it switched entirely to ugly CG character models at the end of the episode. Please do not do that! I’d much rather have still frames than watch these awkward movements.
OP: Yeah, definitely the best opening of the season so far. Great visuals, great soundtrack.
ED: Also the best ending of the season so far. This song is even better!

Tsuki ga Kirei

Tsuki ga Kirei takes place in a middle school. It doesn’t have a special focus like Sagrada Reset; just middle school. I have a clear opinion on that, but I have to admit: the creators really want to try here to put forth the definitive middle school show. And for that, I appreciate this attempt: if it can either raise the quality of the other school shows that will follow it, or invalidate any more attempts then I’m all for it, because they definitely raised the bar here when it comes to pure execution.

This show uses its production values well. The school here feels alive: it’s not just a stage set for a few characters, no. Characters are constantly moving in the background, and the main characters feel much more part of the total picture, rather than the entire world revolving around them. That’s something that irked me about most other school shows: on top of them all having the exact same setting, they also weren’t very good at emulating school life. Tsuki ga Kirei did manage to bring a vibrant life to this setting. Of course the creators have set themselves quite a challenge: can they keep up this attention to detail for the entire rest of the series?

What this show also did quite well was adolescence. Especially the two leads were just fidgeting around, trying to navigate the world now that they’ve hit puberty, with all of the awkwardness that comes along with it. They act weirdly, but in a very believable way. Aside from that it’s a simple love story obviously, but if this show can finally just get that right, there won’t be any need for any other shows to attempt the same and I’m all for that!
OP: Not the worst type of copy-paste song, but unfortunately still a song that gets used everywhere. But okay, if you want to be the definitive middle school series then you can’t be too experimental.
ED: Cute feelgood ballad. Yeah, solid.

Love Kome – We Love Rice

Wait, did my complaining about 3-minute episode shows work? I mean, it’s not like they’re suddenly good or anything, but at the very least they seem to be trying. Here’s another one. Love Kome is so ridiculously stupid that it becomes funny. It glorifies cooked rice to the point where it just gets ridiculous, and the creators stuffed it full of cheesy rice-puns. I laughed, okay! This is better than those uninspired hack-jobs that we got bombarded with during the previous two seasons!
ED: Shameless plug spotted!

Kabukibu!

No. No no no no! Inspired by Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, they have a gander at Kabuki, but they don’t have the talent to back it up. The result is a silly high school kabuki club. You know how painful it is to see people who can’t act, trying to act? Well that was this entire episode. These twenty minutes were an endurance test. This was pure agony. These guys have no freaking clue how to properly emote characters, let alone properly portray the art of Kabuki! The only good thing this show did was show that a Kabuki series would be possible. Just come with some creators who actually know what they’re doing next time, please!
OP: Who the hell told this guy he could sing!? Make him stop!!
ED: Jesus Christ at least use actual singers here!

Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul

Holy crap, where did this come from?! I was already impressed by Tsuki ga Kirei’s production values, but THIS?! Crude yes, but this basically amounted to a visual orgasm, with how slick and creative all of the characters looked. Out of all series I watched the past seasons since returning, I have only seen one episode with better action, and that was Dragon Dentist: an OVA. Only Shingeki no Kyoujin could get close to how well this looked and felt, and that one had a giant marketing-machine behind it. For a show to just come out of nowhere and deliver such a solid opening episode astounds me. The action here looks great, the animation is incredibly smooth, they use humour to balance things, they don’t forget to put in confusion and emotion.

At times it is rather silly, I give it that. The whole whip thing was embarrassing. The title will turn people off. But these are the shows I like to see: the ones full of ambition. And if they slip up once in a while, eh who cares. I can definitely see that this show has the right intentions. Its setting also is a very interesting one. Standard fantasy at first, but the way in which humans have basically won, and how it shows how society developed because of that: it gives this show an interesting twist. And HOLY CRAP THE SOUNDTRACK IS A JOY!
ED: Yes! This is how you end such an episode!

Twin Angel BREAK

Let’s talk a bit about stereotypes. On one hand you want rounded characters, versatile ones. On the other you need to keep your story concise and want colourful characters for jokes. There isn’t a right answer how well rounded a character should be, or how much they should depend on their quirks. It’s all a matter of balance. But let’s agree here that having a character who dresses like a sheep and goes “baa baa baa”, is going too far, okay?

Yeah, Twin Angel Break is a standard shoujo, in the worst way. This episode had its fun moments, but all those moments were more due to incompetence than anything else. I liked the evil shamisen player, but beyond that there was nothing here I haven’t seen before, making it all very lacklustre. Also the shoujo series need to take a serious look at themselves and their mascot design. The fact that this show features a squeaky-voiced hedgehog with wings is a worrying sign that they’ve run out of ideas…
OP: At least it’s up-beat.

Renai Boukun

The production values looked solid enough, so at first I thought that at least this would end up as a moderately enjoyable romantic comedy for a few good laughs. It’s actually one of the worst.

Someone, please send these writers on a screenplay 101-course, this is getting embarrassing. There is such a thing as context: you establish it first before you can actually pull of jokes. You need to have a clear idea of who is who, and use that to let things spiral out of control. What this show does is that every minute it pulls something ridiculous out of its ass that completely bends the rules again. It’s a neat trick once, but this show just keeps doing it over and over, so there’s no real frame of reference for us as an audience to be able to get our feet on the ground. It’s like “why should we bother investing in these character if they’re going to change the rules again anyway?”

I’ve said many times that there are few things worse than watching an unfunny comedy. What makes Renai Boukun insufferable is that it aims to be one of those quick-fire comedies. Watching joke after joke fall flat for 20 minutes was a really tiring experience. and every character is guilty in his or her own way. The male lead is trying way too much to be a straight man, the female lead is being random for the sake of being random, the Yandere is being WAAAAY to yandere, and the yellow-haired girl has a way too ridiculous backstory to even be credible.
OP: The only good thing about this series. Creative and catchy.
ED: Badly sung and actually quite dull for what this series is trying to do.

Hinako Note

I was gonna have another “Graugh! Not another cute-girls-doing-cute-stuff again”-rant, but really: this show is fine. I’m not going to put this show down, because it’s clear that there’s a passionate team behind this that wants to put out something nice. What sets this show above its contemporaries is that it feels full of life. Its characters have multiple sides, together they have the energy to draw in their viewers, and on top of that it’s just really cute.

It helps that it treats its characters like actual characters: they have their quirks, but it’s not all to them. And they actually know how to behave normally. The creators know how to use detail, both in their outfits, their personalities and the background art. There were a few cute jokes here and there that made me laugh, and the end of the episode seems to hint that they’re going to do something with theatre, so at least they have something to work towards. This episode was also varied enough not to get boring. For slice of life you could get much worse.
OP: Weird, erratic, nonsensical. At least they try. More shows need to have OPs with this mentality instead of the usual generic stuff.
ED: Awkward animations but fair enough the creativity is here too.

Clockwork Planet

Nahw, Clockwork Planet. You’ve got such an interesting premise. Why did you have to waste it by being so generic? The whole premise of a planet entirely made of gears and clockworks, you can do neat things with that! And instead we’re stuck with a generic boy-meets-special-girl-plot that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t bother to explain stuff, and none of the characters really are that interesting to watch. Especially the male lead is a brat who has no business of being at the centre of the conflict. The episode starts off by beating up generic robots, and then it ends in beating generic thugs.

Also, symbolism. It can be subtle, it can be obvious. It’s up to you to balance things and make things interesting. However Clockwork Planet takes it way too far by putting gears EVERYWHERE. “This show is called Clockwork Planet” – “Hey, do you know we have clockworks here” – “Hey look, a gear” – “Oh look, another gear” – “Look, they move” – “Hey, a girl made entirely out of gears!” – We get it already! You like gears! The thing is also, that that’s the only thing this show can think of when it comes to symbolism. When you think a bit further, gears are there to connect, to turn, to be in synch, or in reverse. There’s nothing in this show about that. Or clockworks: there’s nothing about time here. It’s just “gears are cool”. Okay. Good for you.
OP: Generic opening WITH GEARS
ED: Ugly CG WITH GEARS.

Uchouten Kazoku

Next up in the category of “shows I never expected to get a second season”: Uchoten Kazoku, the story about a bunch of tanuki brothers. Now, I do have to make a slightly embarrassing confession: I have forgotten why I liked this show. I know it was good, and I still remember pars of the story, but why exactly it was good… eh? This episode didn’t offer many hints, beyond being good at world building. The show has many different characters, all in their own fractions. It’s quite a bit political between the ravens and the tanukis, the dialogue is well written as well. It just seems to miss something. Like, this episode was interesting, but it missed some kind of “oomph”. You know, the kind of thing that grabs you. That makes the experience better than the sum of its parts. At the very least the creators seem to have the inspiration for a second season: its setting is large enough for this to actually work, without being a rip-off of the first season. Really, the ingredients are there, I just need to refresh my memories again.
ED: Actually kind of an okay song. But you can hear that the vocalist can’t hit the highest notes.

Eromanga Sensei

Okay. After Frame Arms Girl I said that I already encountered the worst anime of the season. I was wrong. Eromanga-sensei. If this show just did what it said on the tin, featuring a quirky manga artist who draws hentai it still would have been bad, but not so mind-bogglingly awful as what this was. This just takes everything to another level: you have to actively try to be this incompetent. And try they did! Out of all romantic comedies, this one has to be one of the most far-fetched settings I’ve seen: a kid who happens to be a light novel author, lives together with his hikkikomori sister, who happens to be the illustrator of his novels, which he doesn’t know about. The sister is a young cute girl who draws porn-like pictures, using random screenshots of her own body for reference. They pull the “parents are dead”-shtick in order to garner sympathy. The main character overreacts way too much about things that don’t really matter. And don’t even get me started on the incest undertones here! I thought Frame Arms Girl was bad pandering, but holy crap everything here feels so crafted to be as pandering as possible. It’s so calculated. And that makes this worse than something simply misguided or incompetent as Renai Boukun or Clockwork Planet. People, well thinking people, spent EFFORT on this thing.
ED: And again the generic song structure returns, with slightly different instruments this time, but don’t get fooled!

The King’s Avatar

Ooh China’s coming with another one. Aaaand unfortunately it’s still not good. The King’s avatar tells the story of a professional gamer, fallen from grace, but the whole episode was just… embarrassing? It falls in the same trap Sword Art Online fell in: it’s a game, and yet throughout this episode the characters take it SO seriously. People are simply clicking away and this gets accompanied by really dramatic music, they try to build up this whole tension as though something really important is going on. Like there are two countries going to war or something.

Also, the acting. Now, a disclaimer is that I know absolutely nothing about Chinese. But even then, this all sounded so… wooden and monotone. Incredibly unnatural. And this is nothing against Chinese: I’m Dutch and I’m the first to admit that Dutch is a horrible language for both drama and music (it is very good for deadpan humour and sarcasm though). But I’m interested to how Chinese speakers experienced the acting here: was it as wooden and dead as how it came over to me, or is there something more subtle going on?
ED: At the very least this song is giving a good attempt at rocking out.

Re-Creators

Here’s one aiming to become the mainstream series of the season. Don’t get me wrong, Shingeki no Kyoujin will be the most talked about series of the season, but it’s not something to appeal to a really wide audience. Re-Creators is: even though you aren’t familiar with anime, the idea of your favourite characters coming to life is a universal one, and this series makes sure to appeal to a wide audience, by having both action, a few hints of romance (but not too strong), and something grounded in the real world with relatable main characters. And it makes sure to put a ton of detail into it. Its attention to detail is to make sure that people will talk about it in a good way: to give as many people a reason to try it and keep up with it. It’s doing a very good job so far, and I like how it takes the concepts of the series of a decade or two ago (being transported to a different world was very popular back then), and giving it a modern coat. Details like freaking out over a mobile device blue screen as you’re about to use it? neat detail. The action meanwhile knows how to keep you entertained: it keeps changing frame and setting, and this episode used its intriguing premise very well: it takes us along with the lead female’s confusion as she attempts to grasp what the hell is going on. The music is good: tense and rememberable, while not being too weird. This one could get very big outside the community if they play their cards right.
ED: A well produced rock song. Notice how it’s completely different in structure from the other EDs this season? This is pop.

Zero Kara Hajimeru no Sho

Okay, so after all of the big budgets, we have here a fantasy series on a smaller budget with limited resources. Characters have these overly cute facial expressions, even when they’re supposed to be old kings or rugged warriors. I suspect that this is in order to cut some slack on the animators for not having to try too hard. While it does avoid distorted faces, the action scenes are simple, and it basically has no budget for immersion: making its setting feel alive. Something that’s pretty important for a fantasy series.

And yet the two main characters have a wonderful chemistry together. This show knew its limitations and decided to focus on being really good at one thing: just seeing these two together is fun. Complete opposites that complement each other. They both have this hint of sarcasm in their antics, and especially the big guy is really sympathetic. They’re well written, yet simple, so there’s always something to talk about. Heck, the dialogue in general is very good: to the point, no line is wasted and either adds something to the scene, characters or backstory. This could be the sleeper hit of the season.
ED: Ooh, someone who can sing.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka

I’m detecting a slight racism theme in the fantasy series this season.

Shuumatsu Nani Shite… agh, I’m just going to call it Shuumashi for short, isn’t one of the better ones though. This is especially clear after Zero Kara Hajimeru no Sho, because the reasons lie in the execution. The premise is fine. A guy taking care of a house full of children with special powers: this can work. The world they’re creating has some neat ideas behind it. The male lead being the only human being left is cheesy, but ah well, they can overcome this. But take a look at the dialogue: where Zero’s dialogue is punchy and to the point, Shuumashi has this tendency of saying the same thing over and over again with some of its line, unnecessarily dragging on some scenes. Like get on with it! Padding is okay, but when it’s done so consequently it starts to become grating. And that leads to ultimately the big problem here: boring characters. It’s predictable and rather one-sided. There’s no spark in the romance, there’s no good chemistry, and all of the kids just look the same. It’s all very subtle, though. If the romance and the troll girl weren’t there, things would have been a lot better already and I might have actually given this a chance. But when it’s already this grating this early on, it’s not going to improve and just going to waste more time that I don’t feel like wasting.
OP: This song is actually very good and fits well as the opening for a fantasy series.
ED: A standard pop song, you can see that Satelight has its connections, though this unfortunately isn’t a very good one.

Fukemenkei Noise

Fukemenkei Noise is a musical shoujo melodrama. It has one goal: to take the viewer on an emotional ride. Making sense, good animation, acting… pretty much everything is put on the second place for that main goal. In this way, it can try out new stuff. Do things differently from usual without having to worry too much about everything coming together.

The result is really rough around the edges, with a number of insufferable characters, with flashes of brilliance intermixed. The budget for this one is small, yet they really tried to stay away from still frames: they only use one and use it deliberately. The result is that when someone is singing, it looks… unique and awkward at the same time. I get what they were going for: the lead character being this oddball who sings with the entire core of her being. On one hand it’s what makes this show great and terrible at the same time: the lead character is sharp, she’s all about bringing out the feelings we usually hide: unabashed. But yeah when she’s got a voice actress who can’t keep up with that idea… yeah. but I like her, I really do. She brought me on a ride. But her male love interests are annoying. They’re constantly making drama, leaving without saying anything, abandoning their responsibilities while also being as dramatic as possible. And don’t get me started on that other vocalist girl!

You see: letting out all of your feelings is not being the biggest drama queen in existence. Feelings are more complicated than that!
ED: Protip: if you’re doing a show about great passionate singers: bring a great and passionate singer along. Being able to voice act is less important: just do more takes and take more time and you can also get away with it!

Natsume Yuujinchou

Yeah, yeah. Like always this series is cheating by having already five seasons of build-up preceding it, so having the best first episode of the season was pretty much a given, but I’ll put it better: this was one of the best episode of Natsume Yuujinchou. Period. It was that good. This entire episode just melted my heart into little baby-hearts with how incredulously sweet it was.

Okay okay, recap for the people who are totally unfamiliar with what this series is like: Natsume Yuujinchou tells the story of a guy who can see youkai, in a world where very few people can, and he has been ostracised for it for his entire life, having lost his parents at quite a young age because of it. This series is not just that of a boy who can see spirits and his interactions because of it, but it’s also about how a boy with a terrible childhood manages to grow up and find a number of people that accept him, for the first time in his life. The past five seasons have all slightly built upon him changing, and accepting that finally, he’s not alone again.

Then this episode comes and highlights that character-development in a brilliant way. Without delving into big spoilers, it was wonderfully told, with a ton of attention to his subtle mannerisms: all very subtle and nuanced. The acting was wonderful in highlighting how a person changes over the years. It’s episodes like this that can still just reduce me to tears due to how completely adorable they are. Will this be a fluke or will the other episodes this season be as good as this one? Please do!
OP: More upbeat than usual.
ED: Very nice ballad to close off with.

Sin – Nanatsu no Taizai

Screw Nanatsu no Taizai.
ED: Ugh.

DanMachi Gaiden

Oh boy, this one had a really bad start. Set in a rip-off world of Druaga no Tou, without any of the backstory behind it. Why are they fighting? Eh, dungeon! Where do these monsters come from? Dungeon! What exactly is this world? Dungeon! And some vague story about Gods that doesn’t make any sense. This show also makes the mistake of having the characters talk in gaming jargon. For some reason characters have “levels”. The dungeon has “levels”. “Monsters” disappear in black smoke once they’re “beaten”. How exactly are they planning to immerse the viewers with this? Or is this show aimed at the shut-in teenagers who spend their entire lives gaming? It sure looks that way because the episode was also full of really bad boob jokes. But okay, I have to grant this show one thing: it is very good at “one for all, all for one”. Teamwork is a big theme in this show, and this episode explored it actually very well: how do you fit in a team? How do you keep the team together? And at the same time it also still has time to dedicate time to each team member individually. Okay, it’s not entirely bad, it does have some reasons to keep watching.
ED: Doesn’t really fit the show but ah well.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Flat

Wait. Wait, wait wait. THIS is this season’s Noitamina? A high school doujinshi club!? Have viewer rates gone that bad for them to stoop so low or something, holy crap this was one of the worst Noitamina opening episodes I’ve ever seen! And it’s not just because it’s badly made, although that counts a lot: from a camera that constantly focuses on either ass or boobs, to dialogue that just keeps going on and on without getting anywhere, characters having motivations and reactions that make no sense whatsoever, on top of everything being incredibly contrived. The bigger problem is that this isn’t just incompetence, this is a completely redundant show, taking up the valuable Noitamina-slot that could have been saved for an actually challenging series. How redundant is this series you ask? It’s basically Eromanga Sensei without the incest! Like the similarity is uncanny! Two high schoolers, one a light novelist, another a hentai illustrator. The male who is this straight man trying way too hard. They don’t know about each other until it comes out. And of course, it’s not exactly the same, but that brings me to the doujinshi: that has been done plenty of times before guys, and better! You want to focus on dialogue? Uh hello, you’re trying to compete with Sagrada Reset? I see what you’re doing, you’re also having a ton of dialogue, intermixed with assumptions about the other. But really you have no chance of standing next to it when your dialogue is boring and assumptions are either nonsensical or contrived. Saenai Heroine, you are the Peter Pettigrew of this season! Pointless, annoying and ruining it for the others in the name of the Dark Lord!
OP: Nice visuals at least.
ED: Fanservice, silly romance, god Noitamina used to be famous because of its artistic OPs and EDs.

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Short Synopsis: A witch makes a pact with a human turned beast to work together to find a dangerous book.

I didn’t quite know what to make of this show when I looked at the source material and to be honest I still don’t quite know. However this was an interesting first episode and the two main characters are quite likeable. Maybe I should throw kudos to white Fox again as they certainly can improve on source material. Though it still breaks my heart that this has Zero Kara Hajimeru in the name and isn’t a second season of Re:Zero. It’s not related to Re:Zero at all by the way. Anyway we got a good setting and the chemistry between the two lead characters is solid. It is rather nice to have a light novel fantasy setting with no RPG elements, no high schools, no reincarnated protagonists and no harem from the looks of it.(Unless we are getting into bestiality territory.) A strong enjoyable start to the series though it’s up to the series of the series to prove if this is a good or a potentially great show as this episode serves more as a introduction of our protagonists and some exposition on the nature of magic and sorcery. Definity worth checking out and potentially a highlight of the season.

Potential: 60%

Mario: Well, I’ll be damned. Zero turns out to be quite enjoyable, much more than I had initially expected. In particular, there are two aspects from this show that I can get behind. First, The chemistry between the beastfallen and the witch is excellent. The beast is fleshed out considerably in this episode that we can see his struggles to just stay afloat towards this life where basically other races (human, witch) despite him, but he still comes off as his own person. The witch isn’t that developed yet, but still see how they argue about the soup, and more importantly how they have different method to bond their “contract”- you could tell how they’re different, yet still complement each other. I have a bit of Spice and Wolf vibe in this duo, for good reason. Second, the world building is intriguing so far, and I like how Zero attempts to tell the difference between magic and sorcery. Well, the book part is a bit farfetched so far but the strong elements of the show already raise it above other fantasy offerings this season. I will be back for more “beastfallen and witch” moments.

Potential: 50%

 

Fukumenkei Noise

Short Synopsis: A girl that loves singing encounters two boys she was childhood friends with during a school concert.

I give credit that the music in this show is actually really good. But boy is this the kind of shoujo show that I just can’t bring myself to like. The main character is that chooky shoujo heroine that acts like she’s been sniffing cocaine for a week and for some reason the guys find this really endearing. People cry at the drop of a hat and emotions are just blown out of proportion to heighten the drama. I know that these two guys are going to be gunning for this Alice girl but she’s going to be too braindead to understand she’s being hit on. WIll they, won’t they? Don’t know, don’t care. I must make it clear that I have a pretty huge bias against these kinds of shoujo shows so my opinion should mean little to those that like shoujo anime like Nana. The music in this show is indeed quite good, I just can’t bring myself to like anything else in it.

Potential: 0%

Mario: Fukumenkei Noise is a show that is overloaded by music and romance, with mixed results. The music department is quite good. I don’t know who the girl’s voice casting is but she really has an impressive voice. The music composing is quite solid as well. So technically the music displayed here is a treasure for an anime show, but is it going well with the romance theme of this show? Not quite, really. I can’t get behind all those intimate feelings shared by their love of music, their connection through music. And the girl switches from Yuzu mode to Momo mode is really jarring like she was two different people. I don’t even know who she supposes to have deep connection with (guess this will be the main plot of this series) but nor do I care. The romance is on a wrong side here and the plot, already in this first episode, has some leaps of logic that make this story feel so forceful. How can the band be so heartless that they don’t even try to look for their band member, but recruit another girl to perform instead? In reality, not only this treatment gives bad reactions from band members, but also there’s no way in hell the new girl gonna remember any lyrics to perform. How can you say you know about music when you messed up the beginning (twice) and stopped in the middle of the song (twice). I understand with this show, the plot will take a backseat for more romance and music but if all you have are romance and music (and romance isn’t that compelling yet) then the show will tremble for the rest of its run.

Potential: 20% (I know. Another 20% – My magic number)

 

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka? Isogashii Desuka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka?

Short Synopsis: A man takes a job looking after humanoid weapons.

I have changed my mind on this show from my preview. Admittedly when I started watching I was ready to demiss this show outright as I found the novel to be far too boring. However things changed when the song “Scarborough Fair” played and it was truly magnificent. A beautiful rendition of the song that foreshadows that those two will have an impossible love. Overall this episode was alright. It set up the world and introduced the main character to the main cast. I am not that keen on the interactions, namely the troll maids gimmick of constantly talking about eating people but watching these interactions is certainly more interesting than reading them. A couple of things have changed my mind and made me think this show could be more interesting than I first thought. One is the hints that this story is geared more toward tragedy which is quite frankly one of my favorite genres. Another is that the SukaSuka(So far that’s the agreed upon abbreviation and thank god as that title is ridiculous.) novels are completed at 5 volumes. So it could be possible that this anime intends to cover the entirety of the story. Whether this is two cour or one cour is still up in the air but considering that the novels are quite slow paced they could possibly manage to cover all the source material in one cour. Lastly watching this story is much more interesting that reading it. I found the info dumping of the novel to be a bit much and character interaction were a lot more annoying. At a faster pace this story could be something but that really depends on what really is in store in the later parts.

Potential: 60%

Mario: I swear anime shows need to use more popular English songs, as in here the show uses the song “Scarborough Fair” for great effect, reminding me of that tender moments in The Graduate. About the show though, SukaSuka is your LN fantasy fix this season as so far, it’s an above-average product from its genres. You have a lot of typical LN fantasy elements: the medieval world that human is a nearly extinct race; the dialogue-heavy interactions that although don’t stand out, it never drags either. The main characters whose chemistry with each other and personalities are just about enough. And then, I know it’s mostly my own soft spot but the moments those girls appear I know I will follow this show. They lighten up the screen and the notion that they are “secret weapons” adds extra flavors to the plot. I also like the way the show hints (not feeding us) many of its world-details for us to pick up (like that other girl is a troll) but again I don’t like the meta-comment in the last sequence. Well, nearly the end of these first episode impressions run, I’m quite amused that we have a string of recommendable series at our hands. I don’t particularly think SukaSuka will become a special show but I believe we’ll have a good time watching this.

Potential: 40%

CHANGE USERNAME
KT
Both Bahamut and RE:Creators had great episodes. But I was indeed mentally screaming Super Smash Bros at RE:Creators. You will get the point when you watch the episode.
AidanAK47
Taken on it's own, Nisekoi is harmless. But it is undeniably proof that you need not be creative or innovative to succeed in the industry. In fact declaring creative bankruptcy could turn more fruitful than genuine effort.
AidanAK47
And I said how can you decide you don't like something if you haven't read it?
Of course you are likely mean that if you don't like something then give up on reading it further which of course does not mean that someone cannot complain about it regardless.
Anonymous1198985
No, Im said if you dont like nisekoi dont read it
AidanAK47
@Anon, How do you know you don't like it if you don't read it?
Anonymous1196967
Don't like it don't read it.
AidanAK47
I went and read Double Arts. This really was a great manga with tons of potentail and truly didn't deserve the axe. It's so depressing that this was cut off so soon and the author went on to make the most generic Harem ever Nisekoi, and that got over 200 chapters.
Lenlo
All of the important dance scenes for Yuri were fantastic, its just some minor one off characters and some reused ones that were an issue, so no they are better than the CGI
Anonymous1190387
Is it worse than those CGI dance scenes in some anime?
AidanAK47
@Puran, It is pretty surprising how well that story turns out. I say IG might do the job even if there animation isn't the most consistent. The one thing I am worried about is those necks though. In the PV those things were ridiculously long.
Puran
Fair enough, recycling the animation was bad, agreed. But the animation itself was really good.
Lenlo
See, I found the repeated dances in Yuri one of the worse parts. Alot of it was recycled animation and certain characters were obviously rushed/not done. Some were amazing, cause they took their time, but others looked terrible.
Puran
I kinda wish Mappa was doing the anime though. Yuri on Ice had really nicely animated dances (and was more or less the only actually good quality of that show :P )
Puran
Reading the Ballroom e Youkoso manga has made me really excited about the Anime.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Aidan: I'm particularly turned off by bully/bullying cliches these days. I've only read the first two volumes to see how awful she was but I ended up simply losing track of the series and stopped reading.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Mario: Actually that has changed, I had to pick a different day to see it given changes in schedule, I've booked it for NEXT Wednesday now. I've watched Akira about four times.
AidanAK47
Oh, Rising of the Shield Hero is getting an anime adaption. Hmmm...honestly after finishing the series and looking over it as a whole I am not sure I even want that. Plus seeing Bitch Animated...would fill me with rage.
SuperMario
I intend to re-watch Akira soon, probably this weekend. It has been almost 10 years since my first watch and now I don't remember much about that one. Thought it was intriguing and complex but not as acclaimed as people hyped it to be (I'll pick Ghost in the Shell anytime). Wonder how I'd feel now after re-watching it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I remember you mentioned that you were going to watch In this Corner of the World today right? How was the movie Kaiser?
Lenlo
Oh cool, food wars is getting a 3rd season
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ballroom youkoso appears to be leading the polls.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fumiko is a female mangaka yes. Also I found bokura no hentai worth reading.
SuperMario
yep, I finished that manga too and I have conflicted feeling about it. Yuri(!) part and fanservice are to blatant but they have a purpose. This mangaka (not sure but I think she's a girl) has some unique voice.
AidanAK47
....well I skimmed that manga. And it was weird
SuperMario
By all appearances,Sakura is normal,albeit sheltered junior high school girl who enjoy talking about love and walking home from school together.However,they also happen to inhabit a strange and supernatural world populated by mysterious,gigantic beings and unusual plant and animal life.Amid their peaceful lives,Sakura becomes very interested in something only alluded to exist in old books: dicks
SuperMario
Here's a synopsis of other manga from the same author, I think you'll have a better idea of his theme -
Sakura no Sono
AidanAK47
Pretty much what Masky said. I am not really praising it. Anyway I plan to read one or two more chapters to see where it's going. But if it's going in the direction I think it's going then I am dropping this one fast.
Kaiser_Eoghan
There is of course the underlying concern that it will go a very ugly route with that development or it could become edgy/horribly minipulative, but for now it is as mario said, a hook.
SuperMario
Well. overall I don't dislike what I read there. It has good hook and I'm intrigued to know more what the hell will happen. Good set-up for me. I'm in
SuperMario
@Masky: it's fine Masky, since I will chec itk out any way and see it for myself ^^
Masky
So since you guys started being interested, I checked it out and uh.. Yeah, not reading. I think ye guys misunderstood Aidans warnings since that was just fucked up and not in the interesting way.
Lenlo
@Aidan: Berserk will never again go more than 3-4 months without a hiatus.
SuperMario
Hmmm, that manga Cutie Mutie sounds good to me. I might check it out later today
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: But had you not alluded to that scene, I may have seen the cover of that manga and skipped over it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I had a feeling, sort of, sad, I am intrigued to read more.
AidanAK47
Hyping and warning are not the same thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well with Aidan hyping up the horrors of cutie mutie I may as well glance at it to see what he' on about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are three manga with the name rec.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am familiar with the artist for cutie mutie, she did that manga about the three kids dealing with gender/orientation issues.
AidanAK47
Oh look Berserk is on Haitus again....
.....the sad thing is that it comes as expected now.
AidanAK47
For reference the two I read were Cutie Mutie and Rec. Be warned, the first one goes to a rather uncomfortable level.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Read two manga. One started lighthearted and then went to really dark territory. The other one looks like it's about a really dark subject but turned out to be something more lighthearted.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Alright. Tested it now so it such be fixed. Try again.
Masky
@Aidan: Huh? What you read that turned dark/didn't turn dark? .-.
SuperMario
"too many answers selected for question 1! only 3 answers allowed!"
SuperMario
@Aidan: I still have the same issues. Weird
AidanAK47
@Mario, Wasn't my intent. Try it now and you should be able to pick as many as you want.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm not allowed to vote more than 3 votes. Is it your intention Aidan?
AidanAK47
Well that was weird. I read something that looked innocent but turned out to be really dark. Then something that looked really dark only to become innocent.
Masky
Yeah, nothing that interests me I see :D Like my strongest reaction to season preview was "Someone made isekai with smartphone? Really? REALLY? Thats best idea you had"
Masky
Ah Knighs and Magic, found that manga. It was boring enough for me to forget its name. Also besides being boring, I kinda find MC unlikeable since their only personality is that they like mechas and were a programmer before renicarnating as short bishie kid
Masky
Woo, time to vote stuff
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that movie In this Corner just getting more and more acclaimed huh? Thou I think it'a a type of movie that if you have high expectation for it you will likely be disappointed. It works best as a sleeper hit
SuperMario
As for cute monster girls, most of the time I don't find them cute at all. I know I'm being racist, but...
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'm guilty with that cute girls genre, as i enjoyed K-On tremedously for example. Or If I have more time I'd follow Hinako Note this season ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
They don't always adapt all that well or work as well outside of manga format, especially 4-komas.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*three
Kaiser-Eoghan
The only two of any interest were hidamari sketch, azumanga daioh and yuru yuri and that was largely down to being in the mood for them a few years ago.
Lenlo
@Mario: Personally, I have 0 interest in this Monster girls doing cute things subgenre, just like I have very little interest in the cute girls doing cute things major genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As it turns out I DID read in this corner of the world. I'll also be seeing it next thursday.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: at this moment I'm very skeptical with the whole Monster girls doing cute girl subgenre, so I'm approachig Centaur with a caution. Of course, it all depends on how I feel after the first episode
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Happy End isn't as bleak aa his other works. But it's certainly Hanake's films, as it explores many of his favorite themes: the voyeurist of camera in his Benny's video, the detachment to the world and the underlying violence. Not his best thou but it's still very good
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'd be up for watching jigoku shojo, its been a long time since I watched the original two seasons and this one won't be as long, so it won't get as repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I voted centaur no nanami on the poll, think Mario could cover it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: How did did you get on with Happy end? I heard its like a mix of his best works. Is it as dark and depressing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have vague memories of in the corner of the worlds manga, unless I'm mixing it up with something else.
SuperMario
Some news, Lu Over the Wall won the best prize at this year's Annecy (the 1st anime won the award since 1995's Pom Poko), with In the Corner of the World took the Jury Prize. Quite a good showing for anime this year.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Hello.
SuperMario
Really, still no vote for Kakegurui?? I thought it would take the top poll for sure
SuperMario
That 18if, even the poster doesn't make much sense, but it looks dazzling ^^
Lenlo
go-go licensed products!
SuperMario
@Lenlo: and Madhouse is the studio behind that Marvel rip-off. Are they really going that low for profits?
Lenlo
Lookin forward to Kakeguri next season, but thats the only thing thats really caught my eye
Lenlo
Well, you have to watch Marvel next season right?
AidanAK47
And done. I swear these previews take a lot out of me.
AidanAK47
Almost done....almost done...
KT
Attack of Titan, ended ok. But man the production values had gone down.

Virgin Soul had a okish episde

Re:Creators continues to rock for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I liked the 70s version ending, it was mean spirited =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The original used its one room location quite well and dim lighting in parts, very closed in/claustrophobic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just finished the Beguiled and it was much better than I expected. Like, I didn't expect it to be that well shot. The guy was put in a passive role than active here, which help the theme imo. Also, the ending admitedly isn't for everyone but I liked it just fine
SuperMario
@Kaiser: using a black girl? The girls in this one are all white :(
AidanAK47
Sato in Re:Creators isn't doing himself any favors is he? Honestly the more I learn about him, the less likable he becomes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was a good film though, one of scarjos better moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As for Sofia, I'm only familiar with lost in translation, which I haven't seen since it originally came out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Everyone goes on about Francis' for the Godfather, the conversation is massively underated and apocalypse now is better, but it has to be the theatrical cut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I guess it was probably seen as progressive in its day by way of using the black girl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very very cynically 70s of course.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Actually just happened to finish it there, I felt it stood out for its somewhat successful gothic feel and aesthetic and Eastwood's performance which shows how well he can command the audiences attention even when he isn't shooting people. Kind of liked how it got slightly grisly later on. It makes a small effort in giving one line backstories .
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the original movie isn't that well-received. It's more like an exotica film where the main guy (Clint Eastwood) hooks up girls of all ages. This one I heard has a good spin on feminist angle. I'm sure is intrigued but Sofia Coppola's filmography has been mixed for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I doubt any one has ever heard of this....I know I didn't, I haven't read it either but I came across some weird old Blacksploitation manga, probably from the 90s, Blast knuckle or something...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Still remaking the beguiled might be good, we need more modern westerns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I suppose I can busy myself with the original 70s version of beguiled. At the moment I've been focusing on old Japanese films, they had such a good film industry, it makes it hurt so much more now knowing that all they do now is shit live action adaptations.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gonna be a long day for me with the screenings of The Beguiled, Wind River, The Other Side of Hope and Happy End
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now I need to re-watch 08th ms team.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I watched 4 hours straight of Gundam the origin, hit me with a hard punch of nostalgia, actually seeing his backstory rather than hearing about it is a good thing, I enjoyed the action scenes, it was high-melodrama but well used and more Char is always a good thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'll just put Kado on hold for now and see whats being said about future episodes of it, I'm too unsure of it being worth it or not at the moment.
Vonter
I want to comment on a humble indie game called Sakuna of Rice and Ruin. Is a simple hack and slash similar to Muramasa and Dust: Elysian Trail. The game has a scarf mechanic that is very fun to use to evade attacks and throwing stuff. It kind of reminded me of those Mickey games from the Snes and the visuals reminded me of Pocky and Rocky. Its a game to play on a sunday, simple, fun and relaxing.
Vonter
From the stuff I played Dragon Ball FigtherZ seems legit at capturing the speed of the battle and feel of the action.
Vonter
Back from E3. Nintendo is still my main jam. The Rabbids game seems better than I think anyone could imagine. Odyssey seems like a good time. Xenoblade and Metroid 2 remake look like hype.
KT
On Gundam OG, the new Origin Manga, and the movies based on it are very good. Recommended.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember reading the first chapter of that manga, but it was a long time ago and the updates were slow.
AidanAK47
A manga about Ballroom dancing? Yeah there's no way I am into this.
(Starts reading)
(Reads ten chapters)
Crap...I am into this.
Anonymous1166615
Feel I need to re-visit gundam again through 08th MS team, unicorn and Origin as I'd enjoyed the 70s series, its sequel and chars counterattack. Seed turned me off the franchise for ridiculously long and 00s movie and second season wern't as good as the first .
Anonymous1166615
Looks like I have another Yuasa work to look forward to, he's doing his own take off on Nagai's devilman , hopefully he can reign in Valvraves writer though.
Masky
*first manga in couple last weeks I've seen
Masky
Da fuq. Found manga called Kemono Jihen, but it somehow already has tv tropes page(I tend to check randomly whether works have tv tropes page to see how notable they are) O_o I mean this is first manga with 1-3 chapters that has that, so I guess author is really popular or something in some circles?
Lenlo
Huh. Guess they figured out rewriting a story for Re:Creators.
Masky
Ya know, even if i hadn't heard that Suka Suka is based on one of more tragic light novels, the death flags, all of the death flags :D
HelghastKillzone
I'm a patron of someone who is writing mass effect fanfiction at 2 million+ words. It combines games, writing and fan creativity. So there is that....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, while I listened to some Lovecraft audiobooked, I felt as if I was copping out by listening instead of reading.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A horror manga often works well episodically in a short story format.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Had a flick through Shibito, of what I read I liked how ridiculously camp and gleefully, proudfully nutso it was combined with the silliness of the violence. While not my favourite chapter, the one about the actress stood out for me because she was clearly a reference to Setsuko Hara, one of Japans most famous actresses lol
AidanAK47
I try out a number of things from time to time. Books, movies, music, comics and the like. But I always come back to anime.
AidanAK47
I have dabbled in quite a few mediums myself. My recent experiment is audiobooks which I am currently using to get through Moby Dick. And Jesus H Christ is this book padded to hell and back. It may be well written but it is an awful story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what this film venture has shown me is that while I've gotten much out of it, it shows just how STRONGER the connection I have to anime/manga is.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And definately, I don't get the "people focus on only one media thing". One of the reasons I started branching out was because I felt "Fuck, I'm in my 30s and I've neglected a whole medium by being too focused on cartoons"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The sign you're at something too long is when the suspense of waiting for the next part to come out isn't there or when you find yourself not picking up on whats going on!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Manga/visual novels/anime I've noticed especially now are much much easier to stay awake during when you're wrecked tired.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And to be honest, I've gotten busier and more tired lately, getting home on a weekday later after a new job, I'm not alert enough to watch art films, just started leaving them till the weekend.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I know exactly what you mean. That is one of the reason why I like to mix up what I watch: sometimes books, other time manga and even music to get me away from burning out from 1 medium
Kaiser-Eoghan
*eventually get back
Kaiser-Eoghan
The short of that is, I think a good scale back with ANY hobby is a good thing because it can feel special all over again when you get back on it more mainly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But now that after three years of mainly focusing on films moreso than anime/manga as much, because I'm now incredibly burnt out from watching films 4 times a day, I feel now I can watch ANY anime or read any manga and get that fresh feeling/some of that old passion back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Remember that feeling you got when you first really got into anime/manga and pretty much excitedly/panic watched EVERYTHING and almost everything felt great? I've been thinking how a few years back now, I sort of re-lived that feeling again...however for films.
AidanAK47
(Finished watching SukaSuka 10)
Awwww...that was a sweet episode end....
.....
.....They are all gonna die.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Kids off school pressumably in Japan with more time to watch stuff and more shows.
AidanAK47
God why is there so many anime during the summer season.
AidanAK47
Of course there are the really obvious recommendations of Grand Blue and Kaguya wants to be confessed to.
AidanAK47
I say the only other recommendations I got are Jagaaaaaan, Maou no Hisho, Ore wo Suki Nano wa Omae Dake ka yo and Yuuutsu-kun to Succubus-san. Though I still think Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi would be up your alley.
Kaiser-Eoghan
By all means keep posting random manga you've all come across, I will read them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I thought route end did a good job on the protagonist's feelings regarding his mothers death.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my interest in Route is largely due to it was the most lurid of the selection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I felt route end holds the most interest of that selection of recommendations, although before reading it I thought it would be an episodic manga, similar to a series called death sweeper.
Lenlo
@K-Off, well I think both the manga got handed down to the assistant, and the anime got handed down as well. The original author/director for both arnt working on Boruto
K-Off
@Lenlo Probably, haven't checked. But the manga and anime are completely different so I don't know.
AidanAK47
The Streisand effect in full force.
SuperMario
*Now the media...
SuperMario
No the media storms over it and eventually want to check out this film. It has gain more publicity after this shameless incident
SuperMario
oh god, really? Chinese government tried their best to force Annecy (Animation film Fest) to remove a Chinese animated film name Have A Nice Day from screening there because of its "sensitive content"
AidanAK47
Still think Sawano needs to lay off the vocals. It can get really distracting in Re:Creators.
KT
oh my the RE:Creators OST is all I wanted.
Lenlo
Well, Boruto isnt being run by the original manga author is it? I thought he handed the series off after Naruto to his chief assistant.
K-Off
The contrast between wanting to do something different yet using the same character traits is just too jarring.
K-Off
Gave Boruto a shot, and while it isn't bad, it's so detached from the original series that it might as well have been unrelated. I appreciate that the plot is different, but the modern setting, and lack of any clear character motivations (for now) makes it such a chore to watch. If they were going for something different, why did they use the same character designs and archetypes?
SuperMario
Sorry guys for the delay of Eccentric Family post, just can't bring myself to finish the post. Not that many of you following the show but Yeah, I will plget it done later today. Also, hell yeah for Pluto. Urasawa is my God
SuperMario
@Aidan: I kinda imagine Isekai Shokudou would be like Time of Eve upon reading the synopsis. Like each week about some peculiar customers. Well, if they focus more on food, then... *heartbroken*
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