Posted on 11 June 2017 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 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 8 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Scum's Wish

I remember after watched a movie called “Requiem for a Dream” a few years back, I felt devastated for an entire week. The ending hit me so hard that after finished that movie I had to walk around my area for 2 hours in the middle of night to settle my feeling and I thought to myself, “What’s the point of being too hard to the characters, those who have feeling and dreams just like any of us?” Then it hit me immediately. The movie is an unflinching look at the bad side of drugs and how it corrupts people. People like you and me. I finished Scum’s Wish feeling the exact same way. Scum’s Wish is an anti-romance series, a show that excels on portraying ugly aspects of romance relationship and the line of that love versus physical love. I don’t blame you if you feel emotionally-drained watching this series. It was supposed to be that way and for all the dark sides the show evokes, Scum’s Wish always give more thoughtful and honest treatments than most of other anime out there. The way the show handles the bright side of love though, couldn’t pull so much punch as it aimed for.

I do believe the title “Scum’s Wish” really give you an idea of what this show is about. The “Wish” part of the show is its exploration of unrequited love. This unrequited love trope appears everywhere in the show to the point it could be considered as a deconstruction. All these feelings so pure and strong it begins to be eaten over by desired; hatred and obsessions. In Scum’s Wish, everyone falls hopelessly in love with another person who don’t return their love, become blinded and damaged by that obsessive love and in the end, they had to leave that love to move on with their lives. “If it’s a special kind of pain, they’ll be able to become stronger”. Scum’s Wish argues that it’s a painful process to let go with the love of your life, but it’s a necessary step in order to grow up and become a fully-formed person.

But it’s the “Scum” part that gives makes this show provocative and controversial, for all the right reasons. Unable to let go of those one-sided loves, the characters of the show start to use physical means to get what they want. The show keeps progressing its confidence take on the line between physical desires and emotional desires, on how the characters keep using the former as the substitute for the latter, but end up being lonelier and more suffering. Also in Scum’s Wish, all characters really self-aware on the muddy situations they get themselves in, but charge forward anyways. They know what they do will fill them with regret and disgust, but they continue to do it for their own selfish gains, be it to escape from the frustration that they can’t be with the one they love, trying to get every little moment they could out of the loved one, or just use physical attraction as an approval of their power – hence Scum. Those moments where the characters struggling with themselves, most notably Hanabi’s young version loathes current Hanabi are one of the darkest, yet effective sequences of the show.

For a show that has little action and with a mundane high school settings, the visual presentation and the direction of the show are surprisingly very solid. I agree with most of its visual choices, ranging from the using of panel like in manga that represent both multiple perspectives and establish the space between our characters; the stylized key frames that make us feel like time has stopped in those moments; the text screens that represent more as a visualize of characters’ thoughts; the constant use of visual motifs like fallen rose pedals, characters facing the bright, more innocent selves that detailing the increasingly corruptions of the cast. The music; in particular, stands out in Scum’s Wish, as each segment has a different distinctive musical score that really help elevating the mood of each sequence.

The characters in the show are unfortunately a mixed-bag for me. We have really strong leads of Hanabi and Mugi who constantly have to deal with their personal issues, and the show successfully keeps peeling their skins for more nake, more vulnerable of themselves. With a show that aims more on pushing provocative themes than actual characters’ study, there are some characters of the cast are decidedly presented as one-dimensional from the start. Both Akane-sensei and Moca fall comfortably in their usual character’s stock, one is a bitchy bitch who love attention from men and jealousy from girls, the other is an elegant princess who dream for the prince to come. The show presents them as cliché in order to deconstruct how flawed their ways of thinking are. When they shrug off that extreme side of theirs, however, they become stronger and happier in the process. Moreover, I find Ecchan love towards Hanabi one of the most complex and appealing romance in this show. While the female cast if this show is consistently great (even with limited time on screen, Mugi’s senpai still come off as a painful and conflicted character. Strong character’s writing here), the male cast unfortunately doesn’t develop fully enough. Four-eyed sensei drags the show down and he feels more like a walking stick than a normal person; that guy Takuya is portrayed in mostly insensitive light that I feel he was more a trash bin with all the bad traits male inhibits; and Atsuya’s role in the show feel awkward and a bit forced towards pulling Ecchan out of her mess.

While the way this show handles its dark, twisted web of broken romances is effective and thought-provoking, the last third of the show it loses some of its impact as the show tries to resolve all of its relationships. With things are messy and complicated as they are, the ending feels a bit too clean and sometimes overreached. I can’t buy that love between Akane and Narumi for example, I feel like Hanabi and Ecchan can’t go back as friend, bot with that short time span and I feel the ending of Hanabi and Mugi, while appropriate, is underwhelmed. The best strength of Scum’s Wish is its ability to grab you and never let you go, but its impact is lessened greatly towards the end.

As a whole, Scum’s Wish is still a solid drama. Not so often in this medium we see a more realistic and dark aspect of love and romance like this one. The fact that I keep comparing this show to other movies really speak to this quality of Scum’s Wish: the show is structured and presented more like live-action TV show than an anime one (in fact, the live-action drama is currently streaming as we speak). For all of its devastating and depressing details, at its peak Scum’s Wish manages to pull many raw and naked emotional punch that many other shows don’t dare to address. Scum’s Wish is ultimately a painful and uncomfortable experience, but that what growing up is all about.

Posted on 4 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

When you have watched a large amount of anime you can come to assume that you have learned a lot about Japanese culture. Though I think it’s testament to how limited it is to view Japan through anime when you come to realize that despite watching so much, you have never heard of Rakugo. Rakugo is a time of performance art that involves a man sitting on stage and telling a story. Sometimes a funny story, other times a heartwarming story or sometimes even a horror story. The man is given no props and much convey each actor and event in the story with his voice and mannerisms alone. Rakugo is the art of the storyteller and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a story about those storytellers. Truthfully it’s difficult for me to explain exactly why this series is so great. It could be considered a landmark in character drama and a true mature anime for those tired of superpowered teenagers fighting monsters. Rakugo is a story about tragedy, about the harshness of time, about the stories that lie within stories. It follows the tale of a young boy entering the art to his final days performing in old age. In a way this story isn’t about Rakugo but instead how it affects those involved with it and their passion to perform.

Admittedly though this isn’t the show for everyone. For one a large amount of the show is dedicated to Rakugo performances. While you can admire the skill of the voice actors emoting and the general outline of the story, it’s clear that a lot is lost on ears that cannot understand Japanese. This is a character driven story and the characters are driven by Rakugo so if the Rakugo itself doesn’t quite appeal to you then admittedly that’s a large chuck of the show you won’t enjoy. Even for those that do enjoy it there is the issue that while the first season is near perfect, the second drags out it’s conclusion which can be a detriment if it isn’t tugging your heartstrings as much as it wants to. Through if Rakugo hits that sweet spot for you then it will likely be a series you hold close to your heart. The characters are great with Yakumo being center stage for most of the story. We see him go from an insecure young man to a confident performer to an old tired professional in the span of a single season. Sukeroku is the lovable mooch whose passion for what he does is unmatched. Likewise you have Yotaro who is a man that’s loud and straightforward, but delightfully genuine. With Konatsu being the snarky girl with a heart of gold. What truly makes these characters special is that they lack the common anime tropes which seem to invest each anime character nowadays. The characters of Rakugo are genuine in personality and that’s what makes the drama so strong.

Animation and art wise the series is relatively subdued and a lot of the effort goes into the emotions during  Rakugo performance. This series isn’t a visual tour de force but frankly that’s not the point. Music again is suitable but not really all that memorable. If you happen to have an interest in Japanese culture and feel worn out by the modern cliches of anime then Rakugo is a breath of fresh air for you. It will take you on a ride with twists and turns before ending with a conclusion that leaves no loose ends. By its very nature I think Rakugo will be a niche gem of the anime medium. Through however niche, it will truly beloved. Much like the art of Rakugo itself.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Saga of Tanya the Evil

Isekai stories have become somewhat of a tiresome genre as of late. There have been many stories of people being transported/reincarnated into other worlds where they shed their once pitiful exterior and become some legendary figure in another world. In most cases it’s trit, balant childish wish fulfilment and the stories often become tiresome when the protagonist gains a level of power that could never be challenged. Enter Youji Senki(Saya of Tanya the evil) where in a HR manager from Japan is tossed into a alternative world WWI by god in an effort to teach him piety. Tanya’s first episode may not win over many but if you check out the second episode you will be taken for quite a ride. This series is the first work by Studio Nut and while it pushed them to their limits it remains a impressive piece of work. Animation and art could be shaky and character designs took a hit for what looks to be for making animation easier. Tanya has some truly impressive set pieces and boasts the largest number of war scenes I have seen in a single anime.

There are shows which advertise themselves as action packed but are anything but, however Tanya is not one of these shows. Though when Tanya takes it slow that can be some of the more interesting parts of the series. Tanya and God’s interactions make for some of the best parts of the show and show a underline of Theism vs Atheism symbolism. The show doesn’t pick a side and admittedly any meaning gathered from this would be shallow level speculation at best. This aspect also becomes less prevalent in the second half of the show as God stands aside in favor of a more human antagonist. It didn’t delve into the concept as much as it could have but it nonetheless makes for a great hook to keep the viewer interested.

In regards to this series flaws the big thing is that it is Tanya’s show through and through. What means is that Tanya gets the bulk of the development, Tanya gets the glory and she gets every moment of badassery. This leaves a large majority of the supporting cast rather underdeveloped and I am certain you won’t remember most of their names by show’s end. In the same way Tanya is to a degree rediculously overpowered and a good amount of the shows second half is dedicated to her steamrolling her opponents. If you don’t find Tanya’s character compelling or interesting, I doubt there will be much here for you besides an alternate take on World War I. Still it’s hard not to like Tanya when she is a beautifully made anti-hero whose motivations are understandable but exceedly malicious. The series can be humorous at times with the after credits sequences taking on a more joking tone than the series normally goes for. The way in how Tanya’s actions and intentions are misinterpreted make for some really humorous scenarios.

For history buff this series provides some meat as well in how the war proceeds in the anime mirrors that of real history and while magical aspects are present, a lot of the equipment used is true to the time. Music is decent with the main theme having enough to get you pumped during an action scene. The opening is different and might not be to everyone’s tastes but the ending is great and closes out each episode perfectly. I applaud Tanya for being one of the few anime to not make use of fanservice as Tanya is in no way fetished at any point within the show. Considering that she is a lolita you would think that’s a given but believe me in that hasn’t stopped many shows before. This show remains a remarkably fun watch throughout, though it loses some steam in its second half but makes a comeback with it’s final two episodes. I say this is well worth any anime fans time and certainly deserving of a second season if being X is merciful.

Posted on 31 March 2017 with categories: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Anime Reviews

Imagine my utmost amazement when a show that I wasn’t that confident on taking in the beginning turned out to be one of the most solid offering this season had to offer. ACCA is the most recent anime adaptation from mangaka Natsume Omo, which despite isn’t a household name, many of her works (6 titles of them) have been translated to English, a privilege that rarely seen among this industry. Watching ACCA though, it’s easy to see her appeals: attractive and recognizable character designs, detailed world settings, complex yet laid-back themes and featuring characters that always in the move. ACCA embodies all those traits with slow but confident pacing that have an ending that perfectly tied up all the plot threads- for me one of the best ending I have seen in years. ACCA isn’t perfect by any mean, after all, adapting full 6 volumes into one cour of 12 episodes mean that they have to cut LOTS of extra details. Although I would’ve preferred more if the show has more time to focus on these 13 Districts and their ACCA’s representatives, the mere fact that they manage to make the plot points flows seamlessly, while still engage (or rather, enhance) viewers’ interest by each passing episode isn’t an easy feat at all; so a special shout out for Madhouse for this wonderful adaptation.

At first, what really makes ACCA compelling to watch is its rich world setting; as the show’s diverse settings is one of its identity itself. The 13 districts all have their own distinctive traits and are vastly different in wealth and their sub-cultures; which remind me a bit of the worlds in Kino’s Journeys. In fact, it’s too different from each other that the only thing that they all SHARE is its autonomy. I should remind you, the demand for putting background details for this show is insane, as they have to show the characteristics of all 13 districts in the little time they had without obstruct the pacing, but Studio Pablo (you might need to remember that name- They are an anime background company, the team who also handled the gorgeous visual backgrounds in Flip Flappers) did a marvelous job in putting as much details as possible from those districts. The two poorest districts were given more development than the rest with their own stories and struggles and as a whole, Dowa Kingdom is a place that I’m more than happy to spend more time to. The ACCA’s representative member in each district, likewise, all given just about enough personality to both inform us their own characters, and how the uniqueness in the district they work in starts to influent them. Regrettably, I still feel the show doesn’t have much screen time to flesh out those ACCA members but that is the sacrifice I’m willing to take…

… Because ACCA is masterclass at its storytelling and pacing. Even now when I’m looking back at the series, I don’t see any wasted segments, any meaningless conversations or any useless developments. Everything the show puts in, they are there for a reason, either to advance the plot, or to flesh out the characters, or give the show more identity. All the plot developments were hinted subtly way ahead, so when the BIG ANOUNCEMENTS take place, we don’t feel like them pulling the rug under our feet, but instead we’re well prepared to take such twists in. Secondly, all the character’s usual habits like Jean’s constantly smoking, Nino taking pictures, or Lotta eating cakes all the times not only tell us their personality, but also those details suggest a deeper plot meaning (see the relevance of cigarettes here? Or the reason why Nino taking pictures all the time?). Moreover, for a show that mainly about the scheming, plan within a plan within a plan about the coup, there are surprising overloaded with breads, cakes and deserts. Characters in this show fall in love with breads, buying cakes when scheming about a plan, making friends through the love of toasts (which ultimately saved Lotta’s life), and to be fair, the love of bread is what give birth to Jean and Lotta to begin with (guess where their Mom met their father? A bakery of course), but strangely, those moments of cake-porn never feel out of place in this ACCA world. For me personally, cakes and toasts will be what I miss the most about this show. And then the pacing. While many would argue the ACCA is snail-moving slow, and they’re mostly right, this is one of the most confident pacing that I’ve seen this season. It’s slow, but it never drags. It’s slow, but it keeps getting more intense as it goes on; steadily to its final showdown.

Another attribute; however, that really sets ACCA well apart from other political thrillers, or any thrillers in that extend; lies in its almost non-existence of violence and dark intentions. ACCA is an idealistic show; characters in ACCA think and behave for the benefit of the kingdom, where sacrifice of individuals can be necessary to keep peace for the nation (That make the backstory of princess Schnee even more tragic). Even the show’s main villain’s thrust to destroy the throne wouldn’t necessary qualified as evil either; after all, all he wanted is the “rightful” power and control for his own district, one of the richest and most influential district. If shows like Berserk or Death Parade keeps addressing the dark and ugliness of human’s nature, show like ACCA is the opposite. It’s almost too bright, too optimistic about human, which is be no mean these characters aren’t complex. The characters are plotting plans within plans, and sometimes their actions are already manipulated by other’s, but more or less their objectives always aim for the better of the people, with little to no gain for themselves. While personally I don’t have much of an issue with it, I do feel portraying the world that devoid of violence or ill-will might split the audience on being unrealistic, and that ending where too much of good things happened (look, Pranetta hits gold) could turn some viewers off for being over-cheerfulness.

Madhouse’s execution to this series is overall top-notch. The use of strong color pallete, for example, gives the show so much texture and more impressively, they fit in with the tones so well that those color palletes don’t stick out like sore thumb. Episode 8, for example, detailing the one big flashback of princess Schnee through Nino and his father’s eyes is textbook example on how to use those colors the most effective. The music, likewise, is really on point most of the time and the shot compositions have great flairs, cinematic, and sometimes they convey the mood and tension just by showing one character’s position to another (like when Mauve informed Jean about his royal heritage) or putting the characters in the soft, blurred background (most prominently through the climax of the last episode). In one word, exceptional. But there is one minor issue, though. For a show that have high caliber of crafting like ACCA, the animation, the actual motions, is lacking. Characters stay at static positions most of the time, and even their expressions don’t change much. Which for me is fair, because ACCA has always been about the calm, about what beneath the surface so it’s only appropriate that we don’t get to see much actions on the surface, both in term of actual movement, or the plot itself.

ACCA also is extremely well-grounded in terms of underlining characters’ chemistry. Although I would argue that those characters don’t change/grow much in terms of character’s development (see, in the end, Jean is still the same guy we saw at the beginning, so is Lotta, or… gasp, Owl), but the show delivers such natural chemistry between the cast, especially the trio Jean – Nino – Lotta that it’s such a nice time to see them hanging around together. Each of the pair give off a different chemistry to boost, and they always feel so effortlessly to each other that when Jean and Lotta find out the truth about Nino, it’s bitter and sweet at the same time. For a show that is more about the detachment (everything flows underneath the surface), they understand that the underlying emotions of the show is the buddy relationship between Nino and Jean (and well, Schnee’s tragic past) so rightfully ACCA gives their final moments on those two as a sweet farewell to us.

But like I mentioned earlier, ACCA is not without its issues. One of it is that the show has to compress its source material to only 12 episodes, as a result in the last third of the show the sweet cakes and deserts just evaporated (but I can understand, we wouldn’t take the coup seriously with all those cakes and breads so they have to go), and like I said, more time to flesh out the uniqueness of each districts and their ACCA representatives would benefit the show greater. Secondly, by giving much attentions to the royal and the members in power, we don’t get to see the Dowa Kingdom in ordinary citizen’s point of view. I mean, we hardly know anything about Jean and Lotta’s father, a commoner, for example. Moreover, being slow and static and diplomatic-centric also means that when the show has to raise up its tempo; most notably during the Lotta assassination; they are clumsy in both storytelling and execution to the point of near-ridiculousness. And lastly, show with this deliberate pacing won’t attract much of the mainstream audience, in which if that is the case, the only think I can say is that they have missed out one of the best well written gem this year had to provide and trust me, this show will hold up well with time. I will definitely check out more of Natsume Omo’s works.

Posted on 29 March 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

Demi-chan is one of the newest addition to the monster girl subgenre, which usually feature a human helpless male lead get stuck in a harem of mythical creatures, in form of oversized boob girls of course (why usually those monsters are in female forms anyways? Aren’t they sexless?). In this case, we have monster girls as high school students in an otherwise mundane ordinary world, where human begins to accept them as a part of society. With the help of a teacher who takes special interest in demi-human, those monster girls (called themselves as demi) starts to navigate their lives, opens up about their demi abilities and how they adjust those abilities to fit in with the environments around them. Demi-chan, as a result, tackles quite thoughtfully and sincerely about demi issues from multiple sides; from demi side, from those who do and don’t aware about them. The middle part of the show, however; dragged the show down by a passable but uninspiring slice-of-life tendency where nothing much happened. The final two episode picked up some of the show’s best spirits but as a whole, Demi-chan isn’t special enough or hard-hitting enough to really stand out in a crowd.

As you can probably guess from the title “Interviews with Monster Girls”, the show focuses on the main demi-human nature of our high school girls: vampire, dullahan, snow girl, succubus. By that the show comparing their true natures to those traits we all heard from mythology (Do vampires hate onion? How succubus work to attract male preys?), addressing their main concerns toward blending in with human world, and explaining their demi abilities so that those girls understand and be proud about their nature. One of the main moral question the show keeps asking throughout its run is that how we, the human people, should treat the demi girls most appropriately. Should we treat them like normal people, or should we care more about their monster’s attributes? Isn’t keep questioning about their “abnormal” nature a kind of discrimination itself? When you keep asking about those natures so many times it’d make the monster girls aware that they are different than the rest. For that Demi-chan argues that it is necessary for the girls to learn and embrace their own natures because those natures are a part of themselves and are what make them unique as a person. The human as well should learn and understand their concerns in order to really support them. Sometimes we do some discriminated actions to them without we knowing it (one of the lines from a recent film Hidden Figure really hits it home. The white boss: “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all”. To which one of the black girl replied “I know, I know you probably believe that.” I totally agree with this thoughtful approach and to be frank this attitude is relevant to the people from ethnic groups in real life as well. I’m not going to touch on world political much but with Trump’s aggressive actions towards Muslim countries and border immigrations, sometimes what we should do instead is understanding each other’s points of views and acknowledge and respect their distinctive cultures.

Another strength of Demi-chan is this show has a lot of hearts. The show has its light-heart, sweet nature hanging in the air and many of those big emotional scenes are heart-felt and delightful. Well, you can argue that those moments (like Hikari confronts the bullied girls in the toilet, or Hikari encourages Tetsuo by the lake) are over-sentimental for its own good, but when its heart is on the right place I have no problem with that. It’s that sweet nature and the easy chemistry between those girls and Tetsuo that basically carry the show throughout its run. In addition, the sweet voice acting help elevating the chemistry as well. Of those characters, Tetsuo-sensei and Hikari are easily the best characters of the show. Hikari for her over the top but that’s-exactly-what-we-need carefree attitude, and Tetsuo for consistently helping out the girls with his kindness and he also grows from approaching the girls with curiosity into wholeheartedly caring about them. The second last episode where the show examines how close should he assist the girls is also a thoughtful, well-drawn conflict that help developing his character and making us see how much he means to other monster girls.

The introductions and then the interviews of our monster girls are easily the show’s best parts. After the interviews segment though, Demi-chan stumbles in finding a hook so it relies on some of its more questionable aspects: the romance and the slice-of-life approach. The romance is a totally dead weight, unfortunately, because this show doesn’t need any romance to begin with. Sakie’s crush on Tetsuo is more of a missed opportunity than a hit, because it’s awkward in tone and worse, gets pale very, very quickly. Kyouko the dullahan’s feeling towards her teacher is also the show’s low points, and there was more than one time that Tetsuo having a sexual tension towards her, which gives this show a rather bad taste. Secondly, after the interviews the show wanders around for “cute monster girls doing cute things” focus, that including the girls studying for the exams, enjoy reading old manga and swimming in the pool (really, we MUST have pooling episode in some ways). Those moments sure are cute and relaxing but they don’t really have much to say and it loses its steams by each passing episode. In fact, I don’t remember much what happens in those middle episodes because nothing really happened, nor mattered. Lastly, the new characters introduced in that period are unmemorable at best. The young boy and the detective adds little to the table, that Tetsuo’s scientist friend has no chemistry whatsoever with the cast, the human students don’t have much screen time to stand out and Hikari’s parents, while well-fleshed out, still remain underdeveloped. In fact, where is Himari in the second half of the show? It is a shame because she’s far more interesting than most of the core cast out there.

In the end, I’d only recommended the first 4 episodes and the last two, which would sum up to exactly half of its runtime. Except from its well-thought approach on the nature of the demon girls and the easy chemistry between our characters, the show leaves little impact and unfortunately, for me at least, the middle part really brings the show down to the point I feel it falls flatter and flatter as each episode passed. The last two episodes did regain some of its spirit but by then it was far too late. Still, I don’t deny that I have an easy time watching Demi-chan, it’s good to get sucked in their world and enjoy the band of demi-girls having fun times, but ultimately when it’s all done and gone I left without much personal attachments from any of this.

Posted on 27 March 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

Let me say this out front, Seiren is NOT a good show, it’s a highly uneven one. Throughout its run, I can see some solid moments and fresh ideas that could potentially raise it above the bar, but ultimately, view it as a whole, Seiren is a show that isn’t worth recommending. At first, I’m actually intrigued by the premise of the show: an omnibus format on the romance between our protagonist and each of the girl (3 of them this season). Ya know, a harem without an actual harem. For me personally, I’m dread at the concept of “the one” in romance, that there is one person who specifically for you, your “true love”. I always believe that having a romantic relationship with someone is a matter of meeting them at the right time in the right circumstances, of course with enough chemistry and efforts. So, for a show like this (and Amagami, I’ll get to that later), showing multiple possibilities one could’ve have to be in love with different girls is actually interesting and more realistic concept, at least for me. Moreover, with 4 episodes for each arc, it is a perfect length to flesh out the characters, heighten the chemistry before the romance itself drags out for too long. That was in theory anyways, because what we got instead is a show that bugged down by a very inconsistent plot progression, awkward pacing and weak writing in general.

It’s hard not compare this to Amagami so I will address this issue first. Although Seiren is an original show, it borrows the same concept, the same structure and even the same settings with the latter, so like it or not we have to see if this show is better than its inspiration or unique enough to stand out by its own. For the quality, Amagami is way better and way more focus, they understand the romance is their central point so everything they put is mainly to flesh out the relationship between the main character and any given girl. Each of the route starts and finishes around the same time period, making us feel strong connection between each arc. Moreover, Amagami works because it adapts its Sim-dating format really thoughtfully (okay, enough about Amagami, I won’t address it again. Promise). Seiren, being an original show, doesn’t really need to follow Amagami’s footstep because frankly, why stick to a game format when you have an ability to do something fresher? Seiren achieved it in a way, because after finishing the show I wouldn’t call it a ghost of its predecessor. It is its own thing, but in an inferior way.

The first issue here is the route, because honestly I can’t call it a route. Each arc happens in a different time period, and sometimes without the knowledge of the previous arc, you couldn’t follow the details in later arc (like Tatsuya, Shouichi’s friend, who has a fetish for rabbit). Worst of all, except for featuring the same stock of characters in the same school settings, the three arcs are vastly unrelated to each other, be it in themes, in the romance, even in characters themselves. For that I mean the characters change in personalities during each arc that it’s hard to consider them the same person. Take Shouichi best friend, Ikuo for example. In the first arc, he appears as Shouichi’s close childhood friend but he’s more academic, he’s more serious about his life and spends a lot of time for study. In the second arc however, the show betrays his nerd side by putting him to become a game-buddy with our main leads; and in the last part I wouldn’t consider them close friend at all (how can you call each other best friend when you have no idea the girl that Ikuo crushed for so long) and Ikuo acts like a love-struck Romeo. The only thing that consistent is the show’s weird fetish for deer, in which I find rather fascinating.

Then to the big elephant in a room, the writing and the progress of the plot are all over the place. In Seiren, I have a feeling that there are too many chefs in a kitchen, thus the result is a hot mess tomato syrup. Sometimes it wants to be a game-buddy show with exciting mecha fights (really!), sometimes it focuses on magical girl- passion only for later it drops that storyline to focus instead on the girl baking and enjoying Christmas party, then it remembers that it had to develop a romance so it puts the characters alone together. In addition, normally you know the writing of a show is inadequate when a side character shows up and you had to think for a few seconds to remember who that person is. Well, I have the same problem with this series. Like, who is that girl in swimming club again? From the poster, I supposed she’d be one of the harem but where are the other two girls then? They might be around somewhere but at this point I lose all the interest to find out who they are. And not even characters, but the plots development as well. Let’s see, why Seiren keeps focusing on Hikari’s best friend backstabbing her subplot and then kind of drop it off all together? Why the subplot of the Student Council President (oh, my bad, it’s Public Morals Committee) forced the Home ec Club to build a Christmas tree? There were like dozen subplots in one arc without any proper development that it feels just like having a dream. I bet in few months all we can remember is the main plot points and some fragments here and there but we totally forget everything else.

But the show is not without its charms, mind you. First thing I should mention is the hilarious dialogues that bother self-satire, that actually make the show ridiculous and funny at certain points. Line like “Sorry, do you mind if I feed my deer” in a middle of a café date with deadpan delivery is something to behold. While the main male protagonist is plain, I like the all three girls Hikari (no, not the vampire), Toru and Kyouko (no, not the dullahan. What’s up with this show and Demi-chan?) and they are interesting and diverse enough to carry the show by themselves majority of the time (my favorite girl: Hikari). Lastly, I enjoyed the epilogue parts of each arc because I think it’s one of the rare cases where the randomness in details work in their favors. Watching Shouichi become a chief, a school bus driver (haha) or a magical girl mangaka is both hilarious, but also remind us the endless possibilities of our own future.

The technical aspect of the show is nothing to write home about, although it fulfills its jobs. There are some moments, most notably, during the “kiss in a beach” scene, where the visual and sound really elevate the whole sequence. Other time, the show did a decent job of choreographing an action mecha fight and the character designs, while attractive in general, sometimes I do feel like I was looking at fake wax statues (weird huh?). I think it mostly have to do with the character’s eyes, sometimes they just kind of staring too long without any emotion attached.

It’s note repeating that for my score, I consider 60 as recommendation line; as such Seiren falls short. The inconsistent in plots and sometimes in characters themselves are its most drawbacks. It’s a pity because I can see many of its plots have a potential to become a solid offering, but when they jam up everything they can think of together, the result is a half-baked resolution to most of its plots. If there will ever be a second season (come on, there are 3 more girls), I’m not exactly sure if I still care to watch it. At the end of the day, Seiren is a misfire romance show, it had potential to be a much better show, but all it need is to settle in some major plot points and develop them properly. To put it more precisely, Seiren lacks a sucker punch.

Posted on 6 January 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Flip Flappers

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal anything until halfway point for another thing. At the same times, this is the one rare anime that inspired many analysis, essays trying to decode what it is actually about, drawing thematic relevance out of their visual motifs and symbolism. So, what’s all the fuss, really? Let me get into that now.

On the surface, Flip Flappers is an adventure stories between the timid, shy Cocona who was dragged by the impulsive Papika into “Pure Illusions” worlds, the alternative realities that might or might not represent the inner psyche of its human’s subjects; to collect fragments that would grant wishes. Originally billed as a magical girl, the show hops through variations of genre, settings to whatever it pleases. In one episode Papika and Cocona were in the middle of a wasteland for an action Mad Max-inspired adventure, to the next they were trapped in a Class-S circle that would actually surpass many psychological horror shows out there, to another episode where they mysteriously became one identity that would make any David Lynch’s fans proud. It’s that freedom to break the rules and pick whatever content and styles they see fit made the show refreshing and unpredictably, which actually very fitting to how adventures should be like.

Moreover, Flip Flappers is a very visually arresting show, a true “show, don’t tell” kind of series. We’re no stranger with shows that are more about styles, shows that are showcases for young, talented animators to experiment with new styles and visuals, Normally, I don’t mind those kinds of show because we do need something like this to push the boundary of anime medium, but more often than not those shows don’t have any proper storytelling at all. Great visual doesn’t mean great storytelling anyway. Flip Flappers walks that very thin line as the show seemingly try to overwhelm us with its abstract visual, vibrant imaginary; color and resonant emotions in an expense for coherent plots; but I will give the show this: while Flip Flappers not always make sense narrative, it more than makes it up thematically as those wild visuals and motifs are in service for of its adolescence themes.

In fact, if you look a little deeper behind its fun adventures, the show constantly addresses many of its coming-of-age concerns throughout its run. First and foremost is the theme of identity, as for its 13-episodes long our main Cocona had to figure out who she wants to be, whom she can be trusted. The identity theme is continuously directed in many forms, both visually and symbolically: from Cocona being a constant source of being manipulated and controlled by others, those two girls are trapped in a false, repetitive cycle of “safe” environment, the girls represent the same character or even to other extreme, Papika appears continuously as various different identities. Papika and Cocona’s relationship, on the other hand, function like two sides of the same coins of being growing up. The show is a constant adolescent journeys that make up from opposing force between the urge, freedom and emotional directness from Papika and compassion, responsibility, think before act quality from Cocona. It’s a legitimate fear of growing up and becoming an adult filled with responsibility and burden; but as the third girl Yayaka and our Cocona later figure out, maybe small steps like be honest to your feeling could be what it takes to become a fully-grown person and overcome that fear.

The show’s climax, while closing down nicely Cocona and Papika’s relationship and give Mimi just about enough development to become a fearsome antagonist; I still consider it a lackluster final arc that keep me from giving it a higher score, especially coming straight from a spectacular middle part. In fact, the only time I would consider as brilliant in this last arc was Yayaka kicks ass and getting a well-deserved transformation. The rest of the cast unfortunately don’t have much roles in the final showdown. Judging those side characters as a whole, we actually know very little about them despite the twins and the staffs from Flip Flap organization appear in nearly every single episode, which is a shame. The late addition of Nyunnyun and the very role of Bu-Chan are also hugely unnecessary, as they don’t add much to the big picture and moreover, the inclusion of them feel a bit awkward to the rest of the story. Dr. Salt, on the other hand, had a bit of development but the show still doesn’t know how to use him to full potential as his role in the show function towards Mimi only; as a result; although it’s pretty much confirmed that Dr. Salt is Cocona’s father, I have a hard time believing that because there was no chemistry between them. Maybe that’s a whole point as he felt awkward towards Cocona based from his guilt, but I have a feeling that the show doesn’t seem to try even that.

But as I said in my weekly post, judging the show by how well it plays the rule isn’t a right approach, for Flip Flappers is the show that determines to break free and walk its own path. So back to that very first question: What makes Flip Flappers special? Well, I will put it this way: the show is a sublime example of animation in its purest form. Shows like this further highlight what makes animation so unique and appealing (I’m not talking strictly about anime, but the whole animation medium) that others medium can’t be able to express. Story like this can only works in animation form and the show successfully remind us the pure magic of animation and really why we fall in love with animation in a first place. With show as confident and creative as this I have a pretty optimistic feeling for the future of animation. Cross my fingers.

Posted on 4 January 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sound! Euphonium 2

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that out of this world, in this day and age, which I will get to that later in my review. This is a sequel to Sound Eupho last year but I will keep the comparison to the first season to minimum in terms of quality because this season is great enough to be judged by its own.

The story is a direct continuation from the end of last season, as the Kitauji high school concert band just qualified from the qualifying round, now heading to Kansai region competition and later on, the National competition. Unlike the first season where the main dramatic events like Aio pulled out from the music club to focus on her study; the audition to choose the best players for the competition or the challenge to pick the lead trumpet arise and resolved around the development of the band club itself, the second season concentrates more on the band members’ personal issues. This change of focus is more apparent in the second half, when the show completely drops the band practice, even to the point of not showing the national performance at all. I understand this bold choice can cause disappointment to many fans who want to see the band in action, and moreover focus on individual character drama can cause the lack of cohesive theme; this shift of attention, on the other hand, also brings out some of the best character developments and intimate moments the show has ever achieved.

I will get to the negative part first. When the show concentrates more on character’s heightened drama, those dramas can be uneven and doesn’t add up much to the big picture. Two of this season’s acts for example: Yoroizuka and Reina act don’t play well for me because they have the exact opposite problems. Yoroizuka (the only character that I used by surname here, as this is how Kumiko refers her) is a secondary character who was suddenly given the spotlight and while her final confrontation with Yuuko and Nozomi was effective, the drama was resolved too quickly, Yoroizuka changed so fast that I personally don’t see her grow as natural at all. Reina’s affection to Taki-sensei grow to another level this season, but I’m not alone to say that this was the show’s weakest act because almost everyone can see the outcomes. That drama isn’t much to speak of to begin with; it’s a shame because Reina was my favorite character the first season and I’d like to see other kind of developments for Reina, any other development but this.

Moreover, sometimes it does feel like Sound Eupho stumbles around those dramas in order to “create the situation”; as a result sometimes the show loses its focus because it has to cover too many grounds (like in episode 6), other times some of the conflicts feel forced and calculated (of all time, Mamiko choose she decided to tell her parents to quit college on that stormy night, and “she quited because it has to be now”. Why?). While the Mamiko act actually turns out pretty great, those issues speak to the lack of single unified theme that made the first season so tightly constructed. The last issue, which was also the show’s biggest flaw, lied in the fact that when they focus too much on one set of characters for the drama, other cast members unfortunately don’t have much roles so all they do is hanging around and making the best out of little screen time they had. Reina, before reaching her act, serves as a shadow behind Kumiko; Shuichi becomes the unluckiest guy in the world and worst of all, Hazuki and Sapphire don’t have any development anymore, given that they are still billed as the lead characters.

In contrast, if anything, this season will be remembered as the season of Kumiko and Asuka. They are the heart and the soul of this season, and it’s a blessing to see how far both of them have matured in the end. Asuka has been one of the most complex character in Sound Eupho’s universe and the show did a damn fine job to underline her struggles with both her parental figures, as well as gradually peeling off the mask to reveal her true feeling inside. The most brilliant part of it was that she never lose her strong side at all, never in many moments we are allowed to see her vulnerable side, because it’s more that she becomes honest to herself, embrace herself to what she loves most and comes out even stronger than before. In additions, most of Asuka and Kumiko moments develop into the highlights of the season. When Asuka played that Sound Euphonium piece to Kumiko in episode 9, it was one of the best moments of the whole show, period. When Kumiko poured her heart out to convince Asuka to come back to the band, it was one of the most effective drama the show could ever committed. As the two getting closer and more honest to each other, it makes a whole lot sense that we have that final confrontation between them that warmly tied up this whole season together. This show indeed ends on a high note.

Kumiko also deserved to be one of the year’s best character here as she has changed a lot from timid and passive with no real passion into the one who is really honest to what she feels. Aside from her interaction with Asuka, her moments with her sister, while soft and never overly dramatic like other acts, feel all too real ans intimate on how siblings care about each other. The last few episodes when we follow her through her quiet tears on the train, her outbursts, her confessions were a joy to watch and each step she made feel like a natural progression. I have to give extra gratitude Tomoyo Kurosawa, the saiyuu of Kumiko, for delivering such a deadpan, plain but strangely distinctive voice of our main girl.

But what make Sound Eupho stand head above the rest of the crop lies in its production values. That 10-minute performance in episode 5 simply outperformed everything else I watched in recent years. KyoAni’s always known for their gorgeous designs and their attentive to make every little detail right, but this is just another level of insanity the more you get to know what they achieved. Almost every performance you heard in the show was correctly timed to their single notes (meaning that if you hear the character hits the notes onscreen, they were the right notes), the position of their fingers, their postures, even down to the preparation of the members before hitting the notes, were all accurate. Now imagine all of these in animation with a band of thirty something characters for the whole two seasons. I can’t even think how on earth one could achieve animating all that, let alone making it all flawlessly. They even go as far as making the echo of the announcement on the firework scene in the first episode, because they wanted it to be real (the city Uji is surrounded by mountains). No, something as insane as this don’t happen often, especially on TV-anime level, so to see it finally at the end of its road suddenly make me feel a little sad.

This second season is indeed a worthy follow up to the Sound Eupho the series. Just a bit of note that the score I’m giving above is for this second season alone, if I have to give a score for the whole series it would be 93/100. Sound Eupho is an install classic and for me is up there as one of KyoAni’s best works to date. As of this writing right now, there is one more novel about our Kitauji school that is more of a collection of short stories (like the real reason Aoi quit the band, or the story of Shuichi finally confesses to Kumiko) so I think OVAs will be the most possible outcomes. Otherwise we have the spin-off novels that focus on Azusa (Kumiko’s childhood friend) and her Rikka high school marching band and for now I think there’s a high chance that in the future KyoAni will return back to that universe by adapting this spin-off. Well, they better adapt it, or on that note, why not adapting Haruhi season 3?

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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