Posted on 13 May 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective

Before we get to the reviews this time, there’s something that I forgot to mention in the first few posts. In order to come up with the shortlists, I used the information mainly from anichart, MAL’s seasonal anime and this very site’s monthly summaries from psgels, along with some first impressions over ANN. Turn out the most informative source out of these was psgels’ summaries, given not only he covered a large amount of shows, but I can also keep track with how he felt about these shows over time (if you’re still reading this blog psgels, you have my gratitude). The other sources miss out many shows (imagine my frustration when I realized Gosick isn’t listed over anichart). It would help me greatly if any of you readers know some reliable sources concerning anime shows that air in every year. I’ll be very appreciated.

psgels only checked out the first 3 episodes of THE iDOLM@STER, so here is his review for Usagi Drop. Let’s the game begin

THE iDOLM@STER (A-1 Pictures)

Arguably one of the finest specimen when it comes to idol anime, THE iDOLM@STER takes almost no time to introduce us a whooping… 13 rising idol girls, each tick the box of your typical anime archetype and there are several insert songs within an episode, so that there’s always something for everyone. Mild sarcasm aside, this is a show whose appeals are too clearly-defined that just by first few episodes you can easily tell if it’s for you or not. In term of quality, it has fair shares of good and bad. Some might point out the refreshing documentary-style the first episode employs, but for me it further underlines many of the show’s core issues. The said documentary style where the girls answer to some text questions further reminds me of its gameplay mechanics. In addition, the show introduces a very plain self-insert male character who only goes by the name “Producer” and if you take away his eagerness towards helping the girls out, he has no distinct characteristics. The 13 female idols (well, more like 12 + 1, you’d know what I mean if you watch it), on the other hand, may seem overwhelming at first, but each of them has their own personality and has their own growth to develop. These growths can be small for some characters, but most of them are well-developed and in the end, just watching those girls bounce off each other and give some interesting different dynamic when pairing different girls make all their time together such a fun time to watch.

THE iDOLM@STER divides neatly into 2 half, first cour about the 765 Pro when they are at the bottom of the food chain and the latter half about them when the girls are already famous. There’s one thing that you need to know that THE iDOLM@STER plays more like an… idolized version of becoming idols. There are issues and hardships along the way; but noting is as dark as Perfect Blue and the show tends to resolve those conflicts by the sheer optimism power from the main cast. In THE iDOLM@STER, you can see those girls doing many idols activities beside singing like joining a cooking show, having their own air show, or even playing with children. The main theme is not much about following your dream (which it has a fair share of, but Love Live claims the spot there), but more about seeing these team idols as family members and the studio as a home to go back to. At that, it produces some nice, warm moments where the cast, despite their busy schedule, still tries to make time for each other. There are some character-focus episodes that leave more impact than others, chief among them the wedding-photoshoot turns runaway bride madness or the air show that put our idols into some pretty hilarious moments.

The show falls apart, however, whenever the main villain shows up and gives 765 Pro a hard time. He’s the kind of antagonist that the show doesn’t need and the way the show frames him as overly cruel make him a badly-written character all the way. I find myself quite surprise that I enjoy the last arcs when the show goes a tad bit more serious because those reflect the characters’ issues quite well without betraying their own developments. In terms of production, while the actual animation is just average, it more than makes up for it with expressing character expressions and the flat-out impressive hand-drawn performance sequences with many earworm songs to enjoy. Makes me clearly see the difference with today idol shows where they try to cut down the cost with those CG dance sequences. THE iDOLM@STER is, without a doubt, a production that is created with a lot of efforts and cares. While it’s pandering with the mainstream’s taste for mainstream attention, its appeal is so well-defined (I reckon its appeal is similar to K!On) that if you don’t mind 13 girls coming at you at the same time, you’ll have a good time with it.

Rating: 74/100

Usagi Drop (Production I.G)

In a medium that a bit too obsessed with high school settings and teen romance, the topic of raising a child is rare, and to be as good and realistic as this is nothing short of extraordinary. It takes two complete strangers starting on a new phase of their lives together to underscore what parenting and childcare really like. While I have some minor qualms about Usagi Drop: the show ends inconclusively, many life-to-life issues are deal with, but quickly get aside once they resolve the issues (like Daikichi’s job or Rin’s daycare issues) and mostly the financial situation is never a big issue, those complaints are quickly tossed aside compare to the show’s strengths. The main, main, main weapon of Usagi Drop is the solid dynamic of Daikichi and Rin – two lovely individuals in their own rights – and witness how they begin to trust each other and enjoy the time together. Rin is pure bliss. She’s mature, well-behaved and smart for her age, but she isn’t without her own personal problems. Abandoned by her real parents (in one of a grounded depiction of immature mother in the medium), she always has a fear being left alone in the world. And for a girl her age she faces those issues surprisingly well.

But Usagi Drop also nails it at depicting how Daikichi evolves as a father figure. He handles the situations like an adult, he sacrifices many things so that it can work out better for him and Rin. In addition, since he’s inexperienced with this whole raising-a-kid thing, he’s panicking over littlest things. A cold from her makes him nervous, every small aspect that he has no idea to he’d call over his relatives for help. It’s hard to raise a child, that’s for sure, then you realize that every parent has been through those very same situations, and it adds a lot of extra weight. This show, in a way, is a celebration of parenting, of every father and mother out there who deal with nameless listless jobs every single day, most of their efforts never get noticed.

Visual-wise, the pre-opening segments use a crayon-tinted style, which really fits the nature of this show. The atmosphere it produces is strong and solid, plus its resemblance to real-life parenting that make Usagi Drop one of the best slice-of-life show this genre has to offer. The cast all act so natural that you would see these kinds of characters in your real life. In this heart-warming world, not only Daikichi learns from his peers and his family to deal with all the situations, but he also learns from Rin, and likewise, Rin learns from him, and they grow a great deal together. The fact that it ends open-ended also speak a lot to its theme, that parenting is a work that can’t finish in a day or two, but it’s a lifespan process, and both Rin and Daikichi are just in their beginning of the process.

Note: Despite knowing what infamously happens in later volumes, I’ve made up my mind to read the rest of the manga at some points in the future. The time jump might very well contaminate my feeling for Rin and Daikichi, but I don’t want to be the one who says I’m uncomfortable without reading it and seeing for myself first. So yeah, at least I’m prepared for whatever comes, let it come.

Rating: 91/100

With these reviews done, I regret to say that this 2011 Anime Retrospective will be on hiatus for a foreseeable future. I’m enjoying watching and reviewing them by all mean, but lately, I’ve been thinking about making a movie blog, given my root has always been about cinema. If it ever happens, rest assured that I’m not leaving this site. I’m still pretty much up to weekly reviews, but side-project like this will have to put into the sideline. Currently, I want to do some movie projects first before coming back to this one (I know, BIG TALK since the blog doesn’t even exist yet. It’s just me and my blind enthusiasm at this point). I’ve received healthy responses from you guys for this project – which I am very grateful – so, thanks again for supporting this project after all this time. I’m still intended to come back and finish this so until then, I suppose. Arigatou.

Posted on 25 March 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Yumekui Merry

Here’s psgels’ original review of Yumekui Merry (he hated Working’s guts, which is fair enough)

Now, to the main meal:

Working’!! (A-1 Pictures)

Fans from the first season (like me) will have a lot to like in this second attempt of Working. The comedy is pretty consistent throughout its course, some are even sharper than the first. As Working is a character-driven show, the humor works mainly because they always stay true to the characters. Even they manage to get way with humor that has creepy and unsettling details (a groper or a kidnapping for example. What cut the edge is that those accusations are probably true), and even repetitive gags still provide good laugh because they’re well-timed. This second season also works better as an ensemble cast. I don’t enjoy that much when the last few episodes of the first season focused on Souta and Inari, for example. Here each member of the main cast receives a spotlight, they make a good use and explore one of the cast’s main trait (my favorite is how useless the manager is). Moreover, pair them up and any random pair has their own appeal. If you wonder the chemistry of between some unlikely pairs (like Souma and Inari, Satou and the Manager) would be like, you won’t be disappointed here.

The settings of Working are even more minimum this time. Except from couple gags from Souta’s house and certain alley on the street, all the events happen within the space of this family restaurant. There are some new members (3 and a half to be exact) and each of them add their own weirdness, in other words, charms to this likeable cast. My favorite new addition is the cameo Otoo’s wife. Short but sweet. She’s the nuttiest case of all. Souta’s family members, while in the first season feel like they are from different show, become an ingrate part of this season, especially whenever they appear at the restaurant or meet with the other employees.

But the most drawback aspect of Working still lies in its format and structure: it’s a middle-season sitcom comedy. I’m glad that there is a strict continuing to the plot, but I can’t say the same to the relationships’ development. The cast is still at the same place they start off the season, and when Working actively stall some plot progression (like the encounter of Yamada’s siblings), it feels rather irritating. My feeling is that they’re playing too safe with these relationships that afraid to break the status quo. How about progressing those relationship and make the cast deals with it? Furthermore, the humor don’t work when the show pushes too hard. Like I mentioned earlier, I still feel uneasy with the way Souma tries to separate Aoi and her brother, or when Aoi forces Otoo to sign the adoption paper. In the end, all of its issues have more to do with the structure. It’s the middle of the pack so understandably, plot doesn’t move much forward. Aside from that though, the quirky characters still rule the day and the humors still as sharp as ever.  This will be one of a rare franchise that I’ll be sad to see it ends.

Rating: 78/100

Yumekui Merry (J.C. Staff)

Well, I might be the only one who thoroughly enjoy this, considering how lukewarm Yumekui Merry received in its run (the director himself even admitted so). Straight to its most impressive parts: the visual direction is pretty awesome. The background arts for each of the dream world is distinctive, varied and has a lot of personality. There are plenty of creativeness in shot selection and the fight sequences, although limited, are animated fluidly. The characters are expressive and while those character designs fall into the tropey side, at least here they stand apart from each other. I guess those shot angles can be a hit and miss for other viewers, but for me I can feel the staff putting their efforts to make something different. The eye-popping visual reminds me a fair bit of Flip Flappers, which I absolutely adore. The score, however, remains unconventional and while sometimes it works well, other times it feels too alien with the screen. All in all, the visual presentation of Yumekui Merry is more experimental than your usual anime dose, but with so much love, skill and attention put into it, it remains gorgeous, distinctive and inventive.

Yumeikui Merry deals with dream as its main theme, but don’t expect any serious exploration to the nature of dream and such. It’s more concern with fighting the dream demons who use human as their vessel; and explore many interesting cases around that. I enjoy the way the show builds its characters. Those pairing between the dream demon and its human host have their chemistry, and I also prefer the way the show keeps using these characters after their case is done. The cast, consist of two mains and several friends surround them, have time to build up their characters slowly and gradually by the final arc I am pretty invested into their development. The main duo, namely Merry and Yumeji, have great deal of development (especially the former) and their chemistry together holds up as the story progresses. I don’t really like the depiction of some of the villains, however, especially the last bosses since the show makes them overly heartless and psycho without fleshing them out.

Now, the most criticism this show has lies in its original ending. As of its airing, the manga was still running (it’s still running NOW), so the anime creators figured that it might be a better idea to have their own way of to end the show. The reception of this ending was poor, citing the lack of conclusive ending, rushing towards the plot and plot holes as the main issues. I have a different opinion. Sure, it could’ve been better, but just like how I feel about the anime-only characters and its original ending in Blood Blockade Battlefront, this one I can see how the show properly builds up its arc towards the ending. Take an original anime character Chizuru for example, her characteristics are clearly defined, she supports the plot well and in the end her arc aligns with the climax pretty well. I can see some plot threads left unexplored (like all the development regarding Yumeji’s literature club members), and it is indeed rushed, but I am satisfied with the way this show wraps up. My overall feeling to Yumekui Merry is the same as Princess Principal from last year: brilliant in parts, stylist and excellent art and animation, but having a lacklustre closure that hopes for the next season that never come.

Rating: 82/100

Again, I’d like to hear your thoughts about those shows. The next one gonna take awhile, since I want to spend some time to catch up with those Netflix shows, plus the next season coming up means that realistically, the next one will be up after the First Impressions period. Next post, I’ll investigate a show about a bunch of faceless aliens and a show about a cute little rabbit, yep, the IDOLMASTERS and Bunny Drop will be up next. See you then, folks.

Posted on 12 March 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Mirai Nikki, Steins;Gate

As per usual, you can check out psgels’ original reviews right below:

Steins;Gate

Mirai Nikki

Steins;Gate (White Fox)

It’s hard to discuss about Steins;Gate without mentioning its current legacy. Both tremendously popular among anime fans, as well as being a critical acclaimed hit, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see its name among the list of modern classics. In a way, it’s part of the point of this retrospective: to form an opinion of a show in today’s lenses, and Steins;Gate, as I put it simply, stands the test of time. Having said all that, with this re-watch I can clearly see the strengths, and the shortcomings of this behemoth and while my grade remains the same as the first watch, my admiration of it has lessened somewhat. The main issue this show has lies in the way Steins:Gate can’t escape the convention of Visual Novel. The first half, in particular, paces significantly slow BECAUSE it tries to pair Okabe up with various different girls. Many of them, especially Nyan-Nyan and Feminine Boy (and just right after Wandering Son, this depiction of trans person leaves a bitter taste here) don’t feel like they belong to the main story at all and as a result they were discarded quickly after their arc is over. Moreover, the “mission” mechanic is so apparent later on when Okabe has to solve these challenges in order to advance the plot. It would’ve been fine but when he asks a girl to give up his father (yeah, really!) or goes to a date in the middle of high-stake drama (what the heck!), it just feels more silly than appropriate.

The second issue I have with Steins;Gate this time around is the comedy. Considering the drama to come, I have a sense that some of the comedy feel just off and don’t blend well with the whole picture. Okabe’s eighth grade syndrome is lousy and makes little sense in this second viewing to the point I had to wonder why any character needs to take him seriously. All the ecchi jokes just fall flat and like I mentioned a paragraph above, the recurring gag involving Luka’s gender is worrisome. There are some plot conveniences regarding Okabe’s ability as well (he happens to both create a time travel machine AND remembers all the time lines. Well?), but I’m not going to fault the show for that. On a positive note, I like the wash-out visual palette of this show and as a whole White Fox does a decent job production-wise.

What Steins;Gate compensate for those issues, however, is the brilliant and certainly inspiring execution of time-travel subject. Time travel has always pique my interest so naturally I have seen a fair bunch of them, and even then Steins;Gate still makes it right at the top. Those time-travel theories are well-researched and all the decisions they made make sense to me. Steins:Gate also explores the possibilities of time-lines and how small change from the past could lead to completely different outcomes to the future. Add those several times and the mystery, as well as the implication just keep tangle up like a giant spider web, but never at once the show loses its direction or confidence. The alternate time-lines have some well-thought-out outcomes, and all the plot progression is believable and relatable. My hat off for one of the best writing in recent years.

But I wouldn’t rank this show so high if all it does is well-research implication of time-travel, it’s the drama that makes this show so gripping, thrilling and ultimately rewarding. Okabe gets himself pulled into some serious conflicts, and the more challenging the conflict, the harder he pushes himself. The harder he pushes himself, the more we relate to his problems. He and Kurisu also have to go through some tough but believable development and I don’t kid myself when I feel I would behave just like him if I was in his situations. The stakes keep getting higher and the price paid just keeps piling up, but in the end I can safely say that Okabe has one of the best character development I’ve seen in a while and the cast has a varied personalities but each one of them reveals their deeper side throughout the course of the anime, and every pair have some sort of distinct chemistry that make them feel like a part of this lab club. The sequel will be out next season so finger-crossed that it can deliver the same magic as its predecessor.

El Psy Congroo

Rating: 93/100

Geek’s Corner: As I mentioned that time-travel is one of my favorite topic, allow me to throw some recommendations on the subject. Normally, the impact from time-travel can splits into 2 theories: 1) the consequences will happen in the same timeline, hence what you change in the past will directly result in what happening in the future (simple example would be: someone broke the vase, you time-travel to find out just to realize it was you who break it) and 2) the consequences will create a parallel timelines, and with the butterfly effect will result in complete different outcomes. Steins;Gate falls into latter category and I’d suggest checking out Primer and The Butterfly Effect if you want more of this theory. (Primer is your definition of mind-fuck indie film but it is hailed as one of the most realistic depiction of time travel. The director himself is a physics so he knows what he was talking about). For the first category, you can watch 12 Monkeys or the Spanish movie Timecrimes. They’re all rewarding, I assure you.

Mirai Nikki (Asread)

Here comes a show that *nearly* blows up on my face. I always have mixed feeling on shows about survival game from a bunch of psychopaths trying to outsmart the others. They provide some great entertainment, mind you, but with the plot-ridden development containing many quick twists and turns, the story can go off the rail very easily. Mirai Nikki has some good premises, about a group of 12 participants using their own future diary to kill each other. Seeing the show as a pure thriller, it was a bumpy ride with a small dose of ups and a big bag of meh. In the bright side, most of the cast fulfils their role. They’re nothing stellar, mind you, but at least they aren’t thrown-away characters. I like the fact that some characters, especially Ninth, are not one-off character but change her own role rapidly throughout the story; others like Seventh pair or Fourth use their time on-screen sufficiently. In the negative side, the story does get dull as it speeds on with plot holes, an intolerable plain male lead, some stupid decisions AND WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ENDING? I mean, the show really falls apart in the last few episodes with the world-blending subplot.

In fact, what keeps me engaged to Mirai Nikki is Yuno and her obsession with Yukko. She’s the star of the show and basically delving into her insanity is the one pleasure of watching this show. She’s the glaring example of yandere at its most fully formed and normally yandere traits can be really off-putting, but here in Mirai Nikki, she fits in with the theme like a glove. Mirai Nikki works as a construction to how an unhealthy relationship is form and developed, the way Yukko agrees to be Yuno’s boyfriend just so that she can protect him, to her over-reliant to him because she needs someone to obsess over. I also appreciate that while other shows display yandere character as normal at first and then imply something wrong within her, this show makes it clear from day 1 that Yuno is one insane bastard, yet Yukko still feels safe enough to get drawn to her. It’s the reason why the plot twist near the end works for me, but the same can’t be said with the redemption part in the last episode. You telling me she can go soft and learn happiness? LIKE HELL SHE CAN. It’s better she’s insane and stays insane.

I also feel like Mirai Nikki has a love/hate relationship (mostly hate) towards its female characters. In the show, female characters are often repressed by the power of men (Sixth and Ai from Seventh are rape victim for example, or how Ninth is chained up by Twelfth), and Yuno is an female empowerment symbol of a girl who takes matter into her own hands, a girl who would go extra length to be together with the one she loves. The issue with that view is that, there are hundred better ways to present women in repressed situation without relying on rape (I ask myself why rape? WHY), or occasionally show them in nude for no apparent reasons. Even with Yuno, as empowered as she is, still functions for the sake of one boy so for me it’s just the bad representation of female characters as a whole. As a sum up, Mirai Nikki has some thrilling premise and it’s still fun to watch crazy characters blow up other characters, moreover Yuno is the poster girl of Mirai Nikki (Boy. She deserves to be remembered fondly), but with the terrible whiny useless male lead, plot inconsistency that comes to pieces like a shattered glass and a closure that is just downright terrible, it just barely crosses the passable line.

Rating: 63-/100

Welp, what do you think about those two shows. I bet you have lots to talk about Steins;Gate and Yuno, right? Shoot them down in the comment. Next post, I will have a light watch with Working!! 2 and Yumekui Merry. Ideally, I’ll have the post ready before the start of next season. Till then, guys.

Posted on 26 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Chihayafuru, Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou

If you want a comparison to psgels’ reviews:

Chihayafuru

Heaven’s Memo Pad

Chihayafuru (Madhouse)

Chihayafuru is a sports show that done right. Moreover, it combines many good aspects of both josei and sports, making it thrilling to follow, while provide enough growth and conflicts for the main characters to achieve. Let’s me first point out how niche this sport Karuta is (and all the more reason to applause the show for bringing this niche sport to mainstream audience). Karuta is the sport that embrace the old to the modern Japan, it has a mixture between sport and poetry, it can be play competitively by people of all genders (can you think of other modern sports that allow this?), and lastly, unlike shogi players where they are full-time professional, all karuta players – even the Master and the Queen – aren’t. Most of them have office job or currently in college/ high-school. The latter, in particular, is one of the reason that make Chihayafuru interesting. For you see, people come to this sport purely by their passion. Chihayafuru’s core theme is the exploration of discovering and following your own passion. Each character has their own reason to play karuta, but they share the same love for the sport and it’s inspirational to see the team keeps trying their hardest and keeps improving themselves for the thing they love.

Chihayafuru also benefits from the fact that it understands sports, in general. I have some sports background so trust me when I say this: unless you’re incredibly talented, losing is always your best mate. You tend to lose way more than you win. And losing freaking hurts. EVERYTIME. In addition, your number one opponent is always yourself. Through the course of this season, Chihaya loses lots of times, some of them she was expected to win but failed due to her own lack of confidence. The show understands that losing is a natural part of the game, and never shy away from that. Secondly, I’m really digging how Chihayafuru underlines the fact that each player has their own karuta game; as in you can see their own personality reflected through the styles they play. Chihaya is quick-tempered; she’s born with fast style and quick reflex. Taichi relies more on his memory, while Desktomu uses statistic and analysis and Kana through her knowledge of the one hundred poems (if I were to approach karuta I’d be like Kana, as the “competitive” part is my least concern). These styles fit the personality of each player and as a whole, it’s a firm reminder that there is multifaceted approach to the game and more than once Chihaya learns how to improve her game by observing the good quality of other players.

It helps that the josei part of the show, the undertone relationship of the three mains, remains as a backbone and never overwhelm the whole show. At least for now the romance is kept at the right balance, while allow our characters growing, both in the game skills and in their maturity. I still don’t buy much about the affection of Chihaya towards Arata but I can live with that. If I have one main complain, however, it is that because the sports drama is so well done, when Chihayafuru tries to create its own conflict, it usually falls flat. At the top of my head I could name 2 instances like that (the bully act when they were primary schoolers – actually this show has a very insensitive depiction of bullying; the little drama of Desktomu trying to quit in the middle of the tournament). Other mild complain I would have is how the show can be damn overbearing at times with so much tears. I’m starting to wonder whether it caused by the source materials or by Madhouse volume up the emotional response.

All in all, Chihayafuru is a clear winner. The pacing and the production are top notch, the matches are exciting and thrilling and the characters are relatable with both their quirks, their chemistry and their deep. This is one of those rare show that has universal appeal, given I can pretty much recommend Chihayafuru to any other viewers, anime fan or not, without much hesitation. Can’t wait to watch its second season.

Rating: 83/100

Heaven’s Memo Pad (J.C.Staff)

Well, I’m thoroughly bored.

And I already put aside many of its obvious issues (like NEET detective agency – yeah it doesn’t make sense to me. Or after finishing the show I still don’t get the title at all. I know KamiMemo explained it somewhere but I failed to grasp it).

But let’s be positive. I will address many of the show’s strengths first before touch upon its problematic parts. The production values of this show are surprisingly above par for a low-tier title. The art settings remain its best assets. Each of the setting has a personality of their own and I certainly remember the ramen store, Alice’s room and even the garden rooftop fondly. I also like the way each case takes up usually about 2 or 3 episodes, which for me is a right length to introduce, develop and resolve each case (Un-Go suffered from this). The actual cases are a bit mixed though, as I only enjoyed the first and the last cases. Each arc revolves around a character in Narumi and Alice’s circle, so it’s a good opportunity to flesh out the said characters too.

Or so I thought.

Here’s the biggest issue with KamiMemo: All the characters feel pretty empty. You often see how I complain about characters betraying their own personality, right? Now, this is the exact opposite problem. All the characters of KamiMemo have significant traits that made them stand out at first glance, but they keep that same lines of thought for an entire season and thus they become a bunch of cardboards who say “cheese”. It feels to me that I was reading some typical Visual Novel about stereotyped stock characters. Take Doki Doki Literature Club, using those empty lines with a purpose. In this show they serve no purpose other than making the characters look cool. And cool dish gets cold really fast without any substantial support. As a result, it’s hard to care for any of the character, and it’s a big bummer because those cases based around those said characters. The main duo Alice and Narumi, likewise, still feel very plain and her tsundere act is not something that I need to see again. Alice sounds pretentious all the time and Narumi always shines when the plot calls for it; which again are just plain weak and terrible.

The actual cases themselves, are nothing worth bragging about. It’s neither realistic, nor well-made enough. Many contrived details in the service of moving the plot forward, many big words that trying too hard to impress and Alice has overpowered ability so that when she’s on board, everything is pretty much solved without much sweat. I figure the reason I like the first case is because the cast still feels fresh and I believe the last case redeems the show a fair bit (look, KamiMemo, at least Ayaka has some deeper level). KamiMemo still works as a mild mystery detective case, and the presentation is competent enough to keep viewers engaged, but the serious lack of well-developed characters makes it hard to invest to the show on deeper level.

Rating: 71/100

And done. Tell me your own thoughts on Chihayafuru and Heaven’s Memo Pad if you have seen either of these. Next post, to celebrate one of the most anticipated sequel of next season (no, not Legend of the Galactic Heroes), we will head back to the future for Steins;Gate and its diary in the future Mirai Nikki. Should be a fun ride, Doc. Till then.

Posted on 20 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Hourou Musuko, Tiger & Bunny

It bares repeating for those of you who don’t know:

– For rating, I will use psgels’ 100 score system, but keep in mind that my barometer might be different than his. For instance, I consider 60/100 (not 50) as a line between mediocre and passable shows. 75/100 to 89/100 are recommended shows and from 90/100 upward are the masterpieces. In some rare occasions, I will include plus (+) and minus (-) but remember that they don’t have anything to do with the quality of the shows. (+) is awarded for shows that address the gender role thoughtfully, including shows that have strong feminine message. (-) is casted for shows with insensitive treatment to gender roles.

– There will be mild spoilers, as I will address the main theme of each show.

Wandering Son (AIC)

Boy, I know I’d come to enjoy this series given its thoughtful subject matter, but I’d never expect the show gets under my skin the way it did. Wandering Son turns out to be even better than what I expected. Yes, they nail it on the struggles transgender youth must face during their puberty, but at heart this is a coming of age story about coming to term with their own identity. Crossdressing is a way for the kids to express who they truly are, the self that they feel most comfortable with. One thing that struck me the most is how simple the show seems to be, but it’s anything but. From the soft watercolor background, to the simple and plain character designs (those are in the service of the show, as the main leads have their asexual appearances), to the way the story focuses on slice-of-life drama, to the equally soothing soundtrack. Everything seems light-weight at first glance, but inside it, there are many complex relationships and even more complex narrative. The transgender aspect never becomes to preachy or heavy-handed, for once, and the show makes itself clear that it never judges any of these characters. It’s just simply a normal growing up tale from a boy and his friends, nothing more, nothing less.

I also appreciate the anime for the fact that it left out entirely the first section of the manga, so many drama and characters have already been introduced before we get to know them. Fear not, since everything we need to know about the characters and their dynamic are showed and hinted subtlety over the course of its run. For me, the best parts of the show aren’t the subject matter it deals with, but the rich cast and their complex dynamic together. Take the latter for example, many characters form a very special relationship to each other (many has complained the characters behave too mature for their age, which I digress. We need more of these). And it’s these special bonds that made every single one of them interesting. Take Chiba’s love for Shuu: doesn’t matter how he changes, he will always be the special person to her. The same can be said for Yuki and Takatsuki. It often feels like they reach to a mutual understanding that other people can’t never comprehend. And I suppose sharing the same deep bonds as these makes up the reason why they can always rely on each other, even overcome their own issues to reach out for each other.

Shuu and Takatsuki made up two strong protagonists for this show, both because they’re trans who bothered by their own biological bodies, but also their special bond as well. Noted that while Wandering Son deals heavily in transgender issues, all the romantic relationships in the anime are heterosexual – most notably, Shuu and Anna’s love. Why? Because, of course Shuu loves her. Not in a physical attraction sense since I guess Shuu would never desired to kiss her, but in the intimacy sense where he loves her and cares for her like a sibling love. Is it make their relationship weird? Maybe. But it’s powerful nonetheless. Although I already enjoy the first half of the anime well enough, where they focus on the kids and their gender-bender Romeo and Juliet play, the second half is when Wandering Son hits me real hard. Insecurity plays another major role to these kids, as they are constricted by social norms, by the code of rules that dictates how boy and girls should wear and behave. Takatsuki comes a long way until she decides to cross-dress as a boy to school, but Shuu has it much harder by trying the same thing. The escalated tension when Shuu gradually believes that he should dress up in girl’s uniform because he feels comfortable doing so is one of the moment so powerful that it won’t leave my head anytime soon. It’s one hell of a statement right there and it’s more compelling than any LGBT campaign because it comes from very personal lenses.

As a side note, despite people often complain the show for the lack of proper closure, for me it ends in the best possible way. In that final moment, Shuu literally takes a step forward to the stage. That single image can signify many things: that he’s taking anew step towards the spotlight with his new body; that he finally let the dark and bullied past behind; that he moves on to the next puberty stage of his life. Shuu and his friends continue to live on beyond the scope of this little story.

Rating: 92+/100

Tiger & Bunny (Sunrise)

It’s amusing to note that these two shows received the same rating 87.5 here in by psgels, my opinions on these two couldn’t be more varied. Let’s start from its best components first, Tiger & Bunny is the show that has novel concept, a commercial Superhero reality TV show in the neo-modern city that looks like a glamourous version of Gotham. It’s a pretty cool idea and moreover, the concept of commercial superheroes and their ability “NEXT” have potential to develop into heaps of interesting scenarios. It helps that the show makes these superheroes and their moves as flashy and over the top as possible. Another plus for the shameless corporate sponsorship’ logos that pop up in the team uniforms. Flashiness and cool factor have never been this appropriate. The art design is awesome, especially the city itself that feels lush, noisy but gritty at the same time. The production values, for the most part, fulfil their roles quite remarkably. The fights are dynamic, and those action sequences are always damn fun to follow to say the least. The CG department, however, is wacky and looks out of place whenever the two leads are in the combat suits. Take Tiger & Bunny as a purely action show, it certainly satisfies your cravings.

But Tiger and Bunny is more than a mindless action show. It consistently develops into overarching arcs with more serious tone, and that, my friend, is where the show becomes hit and miss. On positive notes, these arcs make Tiger and Bunny more ambitious than your normal Superhero show and the main leads do grow a bit in their character development. The titular Tiger and Bunny, in particular, share some solid chemistry together. The show, on the other hand, has the Western Superhero and Hollywood as their inspiration and it unfortunately inherits the stupidity of Hollywood’s script as well. There is little to no grey area, the heroes are mostly your hero of justice and the villains get more and more evil as the story progresses. I don’t mind about some casual plot holes or some character inconsistencies because… you know, ACTION show, but the last arc, in instance, is so ridiculous and laughable bad that I have to mark the show down several notes. In this last arc, the whole superhero team suddenly becomes puppets with no personality, or even worse, betray their own personality. Kotetsu is being hunted by the police and being broadcasted live, and suddenly, all these developments are set aside for some more plot twists that go nowhere, fighting with Barnaby for no good logical reason and some other bullshits about androids. And I can never get why the main antagonist thinks it’s such a great idea to brainwash dozen of superpowered and influential people, instead of just eliminating Kotetsu in silence.

Character-wise, I regret to say that although spending 25 episodes with them, at the end of the day I don’t know, or care much about them. Both Bunny and Tiger are your stereotyped JUSTICED superheroes, with Barnaby’s backstory is the one we all heard before (Batman, anyone?). Other heroes each have their own episode that flesh them out a bit, but still ain’t enough to make them stand out at all. Villains are over the top in a no-good way and Lunatic (an anti-hero of sort) has never developed into his full potential. Overall, Tiger & Bunny is an adequate take on the same old Superhero genre that make some good use of the old ideas, especially in their brilliant main concept. The mixture of buddy actions, hero of the week, drama make this show consistently entertaining to follow, despite more often than not they follow the same old formula that been around since the creation of Western Comic.

Rating: 78/100

Welp, turns out I finished these two faster than I originally planned. Have you watched either Wandering Son or Tiger & Bunny? What is your take on those shows? Next time, we will meet a girl who plays karuta and a girl who is a NEET detective. Yep, I will review Chihayafuru and Heaven’s Memo Pad. See you in 2 weeks or so (this time is for real). Until then.

Posted on 12 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective

It’s me, Mario again, for an update of the 2010 Retro Summary. Like I mentioned last time, 27 shows were watched, eliminated/picked based on how much I like to follow them till the end.


SHOWS THAT WERE DECIDED BY THEIR PREMIERE EPISODE:

10 shows are eliminated, while 4 shows are picked during this period.

IS: Infinite Stratos: Easily the blandest debut for this 2011 retrospective, thank you IS (short for It’s Shit) for making my job of dropping shows fairly easily.  Right at the beginning we have a fight that we have absolutely no idea about, all the girls flash their moves and the main guy finishes it off. Then my little interest is drained when I learn the facts that 1) this mecha fight is supposed to be a sport game and 2) somehow our main IS the only male who can drive this thing, make him an automatic winner in girls’ eyes. I dropped out this one fast. OUT

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?: I find the whole premise dull rather than funny, and the show already features a girl naked in several occasions, which never is a good sign. A main guy is having a harem of eccentric and downright annoying girls, while himself doesn’t fare much better to stand out. OUT

Mayo Chiki: The fact that right after just one day since I watched this I have a hard time recalling the plot should tell you how much I care for this show. Let’s see, a guy who “by chance” sees a crossdressing girl in her underwear, grabs her boob and that said girl vows to kill him before comes to live with him. Nah, nah, NAH. Why do you have to rely on such cliché crap, anime medium? OUT

Kimi to Boku: This one is more “cute boys doing cute things” and I must admit I’m not within the target demography for this. There are some strong moments about friendship but I have a hard time caring for any of those guys, especially the male lead. The animation is especially lackluster. Dropped. OUT

Beezebub: One of two shows about the son of Great Evil messing up with simple daily life. It has some amusing laugh and that kid is a delight but is it good enough for me to burn through its 60 episodes? No, Also I find the humor a bit bland at times. OUT

Ben-To: Only anime can make a series out of such ridiculous premise: about a bunch of “professional hunters” who hunt… half price bento in a supermarket. And because it’s anime, characters are the types you’ve seen in other shows before, the action and the violence are over the top and ridiculous. I’m in a camp who buying a full price bento anyway so I guess I don’t see the appeal of this show. OUT

Phi Brain: This first episode plays out well the puzzle aspect of the show, otherwise it’s serviceable. If it was a current seasonal show I can continue to watch it, but for the purpose of this summary there are literally 30 plus other shows that worth watching more. I still don’t really like the main lead, who is your typical shounen protagonist that can easily leave his friend behind in the quest of becoming stronger. Another problem with this show is with the guy who already overpowered like this, it takes out all the suspension the puzzles might have had. OUT

SKET Dance: The last two shows are a good example of using a “false protagonist”, that is a main guy who becomes less relevant as the episode goes on. I found this SKET club rather charming with formulaic team members: a brain – a muscle – an info guy but the case in question in this episode leaves a lot to be desired. For once, I don’t buy the bullying aspect at all and that machine voice from the info guy gets on my nerve every time. Could be a decent watch but once again it just doesn’t stand out enough for me to spend time watching 77 episodes of it. OUT

Yuru Yuri: Like the title suggests it’s yuri banter all the way. I like some of its satire aspects, like the fact the main character is constantly ignored for her lack of presence. Or the yuri banter can get out of hand in a hilarious way. Still, there is no real plot and that is a huge issue since it sometimes feels it goes nowhere. Not cute enough for me to spend more time with, it seems. OUT (more…)

Posted on 10 February 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective

Hey folks, welcome to another one of my attempt to catch up with the old shows. First of all, my thanks to all of you readers who gave a kind support for the 2010 Summary. Truth be told I a bit hesitate to start it over again, given I fully aware of how massive and time consuming this project going to be. But damn, I guess I’ll try my hardest until real life commitment has an upper hand, right? I won’t rush anything this time, so it’ll end when it ends. Unlike last year where I wrote it in one supermassive black hole post, this time it’s my intention to semi-review shows every few weeks, so you guys can stay up to date to the progression of this summary. For future reference, you can look for this little project under the “2011 Anime Retrospective” tab.

To keep things short, here’s what I’m about to do:

  • MAIN LIST – These 26 shows are the ones that I will 100% follow in full (20 new shows and 6 sequels)

Winter:   Madoka – Wandering Son – Level E – Gosick – Supernatural the Animation – Kimi no Todoke 2 – Mitsumodoe 2

Spring:     Steins;Gate – AnoHana – Nichijou – Tiger & Bunny – Hanasaku Iroha – Hyouge Mono – Kaiji 2

Summer: Mawuru Penguindrum – Usagi Drop – The Idolmasters – Ikoku Meiro no Croisee – No.6 – Natsume 3

Fall:    Hunter x Hunter – Chihayafuru – Fate/Zero – Mirai Nikki – Bakuman 2 – Working 2

 

  • QUALIFYING LIST – And below is the list of another 27 shows that I intend to give them some episodes-treatment before settling down for another 10 shows

Winter:   Fractacle – Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? – Beezebub – Yumekui Merry – IS: Infinite Stratos

Spring:    C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – Ao no Exorcist – Deadman Wonderland – Shouwa Monogatari – Hen Zemi – Sekaiichi Hatsukoi – SKET Dance – Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – Moshidora

Summer: Mayo Chiki – Yuru Yuri – Dantalian no Shaka – Kamisama no Memochou – Blood-C – Kamisama Dolls

Fall:    Guilty Crown – Haganai – Un-Go – Tamayura: Hitotose – Ben-To – Kimi to Boku – Phi Brain

 

  • MOVIES – I will watch 5 out of this list

A Letter to Momo – Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below – From Up On Poppy Hill – Hotarubi No Mori E – Tezuka’s Buddha – (The Princess and the Pilot) – (K-On  the Movie)

Next post, I will give some quick comments for shows from the Qualifying List based on their first few episodes and form the full watchlist for the 2011 Summary.

And it’d be more fun if you guys can jump in as well. For example, if you find any show that I’ve missed out, shoot up in the comment below, I can give it at least a check-up, because put it simply, I don’t want to miss a thing.

Bye for now, see you in a few days for the next post.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*in an old
Kaiser-Eoghan
And as another random fact, a young Swedish actor from film called death in Venice was the basis for the design of an old shounen-ai manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now anon, that reminds me, Ash was apparently based off River Phoenix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You cheeky fiend =P
Anonymous2824999
If they ever make a live action Banana Fish, they should cast Kevin Spacey as Dino.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't know double decker was supposed to be related to tiger and bunny.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll be starting shoujo kageki in a few hours.
SuperMario
Needless to say, while this season has been a bit underwhelming, I have like 3 favorite shows that might end up on my Top 10 of the year list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Donkey VietKONG.
Kaiser-Eoghan
SUPER-MAOrio =P
SuperMario
Regarding RErideD and Double Decker, I'm in no rush checking them out now. Will do that after this season wraps up
SuperMario
Regarding politic, my dad was a Communist so he was pretty tight-lipped when it comes to the topic. Most of the things I learned from how the system works is by listening to him and his colleagues talk over while drinking
SuperMario
Regarding Ash, yeah it strikes me the same as Ash is is way too perfect in everything (the new talent we found out the last few episodes: superhacker). When he said to Eiji that he never wanted that "gift" in the first place, I honestly don't know which one he was referring to
Kaiser-Eoghan
I may aswell finish it given that that its the last episode.
AidanAK47
So Planet With ends and the madman actually did it. Besides needing a bit more of a epilogue, that was a great finale.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I try to understand, make sense of the other sides views within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really want a successful fantasy go on an adventure style show though, I feel like I'm genuinely in the mood for one, I've actually considered watching some old ovas of that nature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The most common thing my father and I talk about is Brexit really and how once upon a time we actually went after tyrants.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And even though I have the God thing, never became a burn the witches kind of person. I do want to put the far right/fascist people in gulags though lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Kaiser thing, now that I think about it is actually really odd, I speak minimal German, am no monarchist and am a leftist. Yet even though I hate the bougoiuse , I love aristocratic costumes lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again, it may not be overly odd, there were Maoist priests.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: This is pretty common here too. Organized religion isn't popular but most people believe there is a God and, depending on the person and cultural background, that parts of the holy books are true (or not, if they're real agnostics), usually in a metaphorical sense though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*upbringing
Kaiser-Eoghan
That mixed upbringoing of having a communist father and religious relatives is an interesting thing.....for all of the exploitation I watch, I ctually feel nunsploitation is going too far lol I also sometimes check with my dad before watching certain things to make sure it isn't "too anti-left/anti socialist".
Amagi
@Animosh: No problem. I think it depends a bit on how people were brought up decades ago. It's probably different nowadays, no idea. The arguing was kinda fun though, especially for the teen me (I bet I annoyed the shit out of my father).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet having no regard for organized religion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I however am a mutt though, believer in some kind of a God to an extent....while also having communist sympathies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh@Amagi: As it stands neither my mother or brother are communists, actually my mother while very left wing would criticize my father when going "too communist". My parents and my brother are the only members of my family who could be considered leftist/non-religious.
Amagi
@Animosh: Planet With definetely needs some sort of epilogue OVA. You can somewhat guess the dragon's story but it's not the same as seeing it and there are still a few of semi-loose strings like the people who are still dreaming.
Animosh
@Amagi: my apologies for my presumptuousness. ;) My mother occasionally also participated in political discussions, but yeah, for some reason it's often men who have strong political opinions and are not willing to admit defeat in discussions.
Amagi
Also I don't spoil anything but the last minutes of the first episode just feel stupid. I think/hope there will be an explanation later for how something has worked so perfectly that shouldn't have worked at all. In general it seems to be a show that tries hard but can't deliver for some reason. I won't completely judge it yet though.
Animosh
Planet With also wrapped up things nicely. Unfortunately the dragon remains a bit underdeveloped, which makes it difficult for me to care about his fate, and I would have liked to see at least the main ship officially confirmed, but other than that it was an excellent finale that satisfactorily ties up all loose ends. This is how you do a one-cour.
Amagi
Regarding RErideD I have conflicted feelings. As said, the premise sounds pretty good but the budget is damn dab, especially for the beginning of a show. There is a scene in which the MC is so badly animated you can't even recognize what's going on at first.
Amagi
@Animosh: funny enough I am female, but yeah somehow these discussions only exist with fathers while the mothers are just trowing the towel and say "fuck it", I mean it usually doesn't change anybody's mind so it's more of a hobby I guess.
Animosh
It's a bit late, but Hanebado is finally giving me what I wanted from the show: tense, well-animated badminton matches. The match does feel a bit rushed, the overexplaining can be annoying and there's still plenty of melodrama, but it's a lot more enjoyable than what we got in the previous weeks at least.
Anonymous2822860
will be seeing what kind of flaws Ash has. Also, I think this way of characterizing him also fits into the narrative. This strength that Ash has is what pushes his gang members away and see him not as a normal human, but a "king."
Anonymous2822860
That was some interesting insight on Ash as a "perfect" person. While I do think that Banana Fish shows that Ash is an extremely capable person time and time again, he cannot win this "war" alone. There's too many enemies and too many things that need to be done. Also, I think as we get further on into the second cour, we
Anonymous2822162
Also, it's neat watching the first few episodes again after what goes down throughout the first half of the series; you get to see all of the characters together before everything blows up in their face.
Anonymous2822162
When I say perfect characterization, I should say I mean the way he's characterized as this perfect supremely capable person. The other characters do help reveal other aspects of Ash though: Eiji is his age and allows him to be a normal teenager; Max is like a surrogate father and lets him act like a son; Arthur and Dino are kind of evil inverses of that.
Anonymous2822162
When I say perfect charac
Anonymous2822162
Anyways, not to hate on Ash because he's still a fantastic main lead and anchors the whole show. It's just that because he loses sometimes I push some of the problems of his perfect characterization to the side, but when you actually think about it, he seems more like a character than a real person.
Anonymous2822162
Also the fact that Ash has been through a super tragic backstory doesn't help a lot: it seems like the writers are trying to make him a character who has been through all the tragedy in the world and has overcome it and became the most skilled person in the world. I will say though that any onscreen tragedy is 100% believable, it just some of the flashbacks that are a bit too much.
Anonymous2822162
I guess that slightly cheapens Ash's character on retrospection: of course he is still the charismatic lead, but he feels a bit too perfect at everything. Dino must have taught him quite a bit, but Ash is skilled in, like, everything. It just seems a bit too much.
Anonymous2822162
Like the whole Yut-Lung Shorter Eiji situation was beyond Ash (in fact he still knew something was off but couldn't pinpoint what); that wasn't really a mistake Ash made, it was just that he couldn't have known the secret connections Yut-Lung had.
Anonymous2822162
Something I noticed about Ash is that he is, as some of you pointed out, a Gary Stu but it doesn't immediately jump at you. The thing is that Ash still loses quite a bit, so he doesn't seem invincible, yet at the same I think the majority of his losses were beyond his control. It doesn't feel like he makes mistakes, rather that other people outmaneuver him due to factors beyond him.
Animosh
@Kaiser & Amagi: I also had lots of political discussions with my father. Didn't know that was such a common occurrence. Boys will be boys I guess? And he's actually a former Marxist too, having grown up in the 60's-70's and all. Now he's just a boring socialist though. ;)
Animosh
RErideD seemed really promising in theory: an original time travel anime written (at least in part) by Abe, with the director of Steins;Gate in charge? Count me in. But unfortunately the reviews so far seem to be uniformly negative. So I'll probably avoid it for now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Four episodes of RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida got uploaded at the same time earlier.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Yes, although probably just for the Saturday, usually the best day to do so because thats when the sellers are there, usually everythings gone by Sunday. Friday is generally anime pub quiz.
Lenlo
Its just a saturday, so busy. And Kaiser, nice. Gonna go to the con at all?
Lenlo
As a writer for it, I dont believe so?
Anonymous2818178
is this site dead?
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is an animecon here in two weeks. That eyepatchwolf youtuber will be there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still have old single issues of fushigi yugi, inuyasha, Ah my Goddess, narutaru laid around.
Kaiser-Eoghan
They used to realease them like single American comic book issues in the west.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not talking bound volumes but actual 20-30 pages chapters and these would be expensive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Who remembers RENTING anime dvds and RENTING videogames? Does anyone else remember buying each individual manga chapter as they came out when the official English translations rolled around?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anyone willing to post their desktop? https://ibb.co/buc4Zz
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or things like Mischief makers .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know vonter mentioned Mystical ninja 64. But I remember after I'd moved on from the snes to the N64 when I was younger, growing up with that obscure castlevania game on it, or stuff like those 3D bomberman games no-one cared about. Or obscure stuff like body harvest, jet force gemini, blast corps , turok, quest 64 and shadowman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love coming across those online lists of literally WHOtier, WHOcares , games literally only YOU liked and heard of/played. Makes me feel less alone.
Amagi
I was also always discussing about politics with my father. Whenever we started with this my mother just said "porca putana" and went into another room to watch tv in peace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animemosh: lol I have daily political discussion with my Marxist-Leninist father just like that =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I should state, even though I'm not as bothered by the modern setting, I actually do prefer the cold war narrative.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The documentries name was Battle of Chile by Patricio Guzman.
Amagi
Especially since I don't think that the typical BF audience is of a kind that would lose interest because a series is taking place in the past. It was just written for the 80s, people can't just change that without changing the story itself to some degree.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I thought the anime did such a good job with Shio's backstory , that I didn't miss what was omitted. The anime is now up to date with the scans. I do agree that Satou's obsession with Shio is non-pedophilic but I think the scene itself is kind of going to give the wrong message.
Amagi
@Animosh: one of the many reasons why I would have prefered Banana Fish's original setting.
Animosh
By the way, apparently the backstory of Shio's mother - which supposedly is really tragic - was largely skipped. Guess I'll have to read the manga.
Animosh
I get what they're going for, recreating the ritual and all, but I also thought the Shio-Satou moment was a bit forced. I still think their relationship is platonic though. Satou has never been shown to lust after Shio: she just fills her with warmth and happiness. They're more like messed up siblings than (romantic) lovers.
Animosh
@Kaiser: sounds interesting! Chile is an excellent example of the kind of Cold War intervention that I really don't see happening today. Although you never know with an impulsive narcissist in the White House.
Animosh
End of monologue. Sorry about this. :p
Animosh
Long story short: I think the Banana Fish conspiracies fail to adequately represent the current situation. At the very least, it fits the Cold War world order much better.
Animosh
That includes the US (backing the Kurds and the rebels), but also Turkey and the Arab states (Sunni rebels), Russia and Iran (Assad), and so on and so forth. You can't act like this is the fault of one party. Hell, I'd say Russia and Assad are more responsible for failing to a peaceful resolution when they had the chance.
Animosh
As for Syria, it's a mess, but the US is only one of many parties responsible. And oil isn't particularly important in this conflict. It's a civil war that's been made much worse by the influx of money and weapons from many different parties vying for regional influence.
Animosh
So what does it do? It gives military and financial backing to militias with shared interests (which is much less than Russia does, by the way), orders drone strikes, and perhaps the occasional tactical strike. But overthrowing countries and setting up puppet regimes? I don't see it happening. That's basically declaring war on the other big powers.
Animosh
And even when it does intervene militarily, it rarely goes all out. The US has learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't want to be dragged into another endless conflict, or see its efforts end in another brutal civil war that destabilizes the region.
Animosh
So although the US occasionally still intervenes militarily in other countries' affairs, other means of pressure are now more popular. The sanctions against Iran and North Korea are a good example of this.
Animosh
The current landscape is much more complex. America is still powerful, of course, but relatively speaking it is in decline, and that means it can get away with much less. Today's world is closer to a multipolar world, with many sides fighting for influence. And because the ideological conflict is much less pronounced, the US is much less willing to go against its purported values.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Coincidentally I recently watched a series of Chilean documentaries regarding the murder of Salvador Allende and the installation of the Pinochet Junta.
Animosh
And that meant both that America was far more powerful than it is now, and that much more intervention was considered acceptable - including shamelessly backing dictators that oppressed and exploited their people. After all, a defeat meant evil would prevail.
Animosh
Obviously the US still interferes in other countries. Quite a lot, actually. But there's a big difference between its current policy and that during the Cold War. Back then the geopolitical landscape was very different. It was bipolar, with two big Isms (capitalism and communism) fighting it out.
Animosh
@anon: not sure if this is the right place for a political discussion, but whatever. I like politics, so here we go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*was no exception
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: If, out of the many moments in happy sugar life that I'd consider unsettling, it would be the one's with the aunt and this weeks episode was an exception. That last part of the episode will be interpreted as shoujo-ai bait by people though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking forward to Angels of death next week, I think we're getting answers, glad to get answers on bad guy even if he is a simple villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now this is an interesting coincidence as last night I just got done watching a documentary about cyberwarfare against Iran.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats alot more detailed than what I was going to say. I was just going to say that it reflects current foreign policy.
Anonymous2808488
however the current stalemate in Syria is a reflection of the intransigence of the monied elite to not let go of ill-gotten gains, constantly provoking conflict with Russia/Assad/Iran
Anonymous2808488
Its a documented fact the US/EU promoted the Arab Spring/ISIS rebellions and it was stopped by patriots with a conscience
Anonymous2808488
replace with the mexican cartels/Hezbollah, and oil money promised to Cheney-connected Genie enerrgy
Anonymous2808488
its a pretty accurate description of the current reality minus a couple silly things like the mafia and mind control drugs
Anonymous2808488
You guys realize this plot is unfolding in Syria just replace drugs with oil money
Lenlo
Its hokey in the now, but in the original context the series was written, the Cold War, I think it could fit really well.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what felt awkward to you? I thought the pumpkin stuff in particular was pretty hilarious. Eiji is an evil guy. :p
Animosh
Yeah, the conspiracy stuff feels a bit wacky in the present. But in the context of the Cold War, it makes perfect sense. The USA supported plenty of bloody coups after all, especially in Latin America. Hell, they even backed the Taliban in their war against Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the future I want to make a bigger effort to follow MORE of whats being covered on here seasonally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Red
https://manganelo.com/manga/red_naoki_yamamoto Two history manga, wonder if they'll be fully translated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine most will probably agree with you anon though. I have alien taste/opinions. I also love conspiracy stuff =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Originally, in the manga version of that part, it was attacking communism in south America.
Anonymous2805624
I don't know; I kinda find the whole Middle East stuff a bit hokey; maybe that's just me.
Lenlo
Im about to watch it. Looking forward to it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its only one line, but that they still mention skip and shorter, even its just their names, at least the show keeps them in mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
With episode 12, Banana fish has successfully contemporized its political/cospiracy aspect for me . Eiji is semi-uselful. Humour in this episode for the first time feels awkward, fast pace kind of means that the quieter slower scenes , though I still enjoy them, feel slotted in.
Lenlo
Most of my emotions this week came because of the original and my love of it, not this one
Lenlo
I agree, Steins;Gate 0 had all the potential, and there are some specific episodes that realized it. Like this episode had a lot of touching scenes cause it slowed down to play up Okabe's relationship with Amadeus. But most of the time, it fails to reach that potential. So as a whole it just feels... lacking
Kaiser-Eoghan
Plebs, not combining both into a single dessert.
Anonymous2802297
I'm talking about that sweet saccharine Chocolate Mousse, the Ganache, or the Chocolate Gâteau. Your puny muffin stands no chance. Mwahaha!
Anonymous2802297
Blasphemy. As a proud American, I can't stand for anything less than pure unadulterated diabetes-inducing sugar in chocolatey cake form. Anything less is an insult to my great nation. /s
SuperMario
@anon2801739: that's a nice analogy but I can't say I agree as I prefer chocolate muffin much more than chocolate cake :)))
Anonymous2801739
Steins;gate 0 is all potential but generally it's wasted. Whenever it actually seems promising they manage to jump plot points to boring nonsensical melodrama for a century. It was supposed to be a chocolate cake. Instead what we got was a muffin with tiny chocolate chips buried few and far between. Yeah it's still sweet at some points, but most of the time you're chewing through pointless fluff.
Lenlo
Like I said in my last post on it I think, the pacing is fucked
Animosh
I did like that the lab members finally acted like scientists again, methodically thinking through their options and all, and there were some pretty touching individual moments and nicely tied up ends. But mostly I'm just annoyed by all the unfulfilled potential of this show.
Animosh
I also hated the backtracking in the beginning. Don't make such a big deal of The Return if you're going to throw it out of the window in the next episode.
Animosh
I really don't understand Steins;Gate's pacing. It slows down to a trickle in the largely irrelevant middle part, and now that things are finally getting somewhat interesting again it just speeds through everything without building things up properly? I don't get it. And how on Earth are they going to resolve everything satisfactorily in one episode?
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
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Featured Posts

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 11 [We Are]

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Banana Fish – 11 [The Beautiful and Damned]

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