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?

Posted on 31 December 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews

This series is, in retrospect, a really appropriate title that speaks to the very spirit of noitaminA block: an adult drama slice of life about the making of dictionary that surely don’t try to target the young audiences. Sound as dry as it is, Fune wo Amu’s actually one of the strongest noitaminA show come out for the last few years (not that the TV programming have been doing well to begin with). In Fune wo Amu, we follow Majime as he transferred to the dictionary department with the main mission is to publish a new dictionary called The Great Passage, along with the small team. That process, of course, taking time: 10 years, 20 years, you call it. The series is divided into 2 parts, the first follow him as he begins on the project and detailing how his normal workplace look like, the second part jumps 13 years later at their nearly-publishing phase. The decade-long efforts that he and the people he worked with delicate themselves in is something that you rarely seen in this anime medium.

I will be the first to admit that making dictionary doesn’t sound like an interesting subject matter to me, not because there isn’t anything great about it, but mainly because the subject will get dull very fast. But even I am surprised to say that the show keeps me hooked from start to finish. The tricks of how the show nailed it in making dictionary interesting are 1) the way the show managed to demonstrate how important dictionary is and 2) show us how those characters giving their all to make it possible and 3) point out to us the love for words and that each dictionary has, in fact, each own personality. For the first point, the show frames dictionary as the passage for everyone (not “everyone” everyone. Japanese people only) to communicate and connect to each other. Words are the way to express our thoughts, our feeling, so using the right words at the right time can make others understand the context completely. The Great Passage is one of a way to connect that gap between what we want to express and what we actually express, between one person to another. It is irony, but still fitting to that theme, that our main character Majime is a socially-awkward type. He has an extended knowledge about words, but he’s struggle to express what he wants to say. His love letter to Kaguya perfectly demonstrate his geeky nature, as even Kaguya herself can’t figure out it was a love letter, but being moved nonetheless.

But the beauty of dictionary means nothing if we don’t see the love and efforts of people behind it, and thanks god, this is where the show shines as well. Even in the wear-down corner of the otherwise-busy publisher, with so few people in it, it’s their passion to the project that counted the most. As in a line in La La Land (great film! Go watch it), people are enthusiasm about it because YOU are passionate about it. The love that you have can affect other people in the most positive ways. In the series, Nishioka, Majime’s co-worker, isn’t a type of person for this job. He’s socially active, care for others but never really interested in words. Through Majime’s passion though, he started to feel the joy of his works and committed himself fully to make The Great Passage the reality. Other characters, Mr. Araki and Mr. Matsumoto, we can feel their whole lives devoted in words, their meaning and they’re damn proud of what they’ve achieved. Last but not lease, the show successfully depicts dictionary as a creation, something akin to the work of arts. To be fair, think of it that way make the whole process makes much more sense too. The Great Passage is a brainchild of all the people behind the project, so everything has to be perfect, from the selection of words that eventually appear in the dictionary, the description process, down to how to choose designs, mascots and even page’s quality that best represent the personality of The Great Passage. That lead us to the painstaking task but ultimately rewarding of double-checking every single entry to see if there are any words missing. As the tasks done, the team (and ultimately, us) feel relieved that The Great Passage going to be a masterpiece.

Fune wo Amu, moreover, isn’t simply about dictionary-making process, it’s the show about people, too. As with the nature of dictionary, it’s a desire for connection that brings those people together. In the show, we witness how Majime and Nishioka, as vastly different as they are, can really bring the best out of each other. We can also follow Majime and his love affair, as quiet and poetic as it is, this is for me one of the best depiction of romance that I’ve seen so far for the last few years. The romance speaks to me because it grounded to reality, it’s beautiful because it is quiet, and isn’t it the best kind of relationship when you regard your spouse as a partner for life (well, for me it is). Even the new girl Midori fits into that pattern as well. Her struggle from being forced to transfer to the department that she had no idea of (you might not know but this happened regularly in Asian culture, especially 20,30 years ago, but I still have no idea why Nishioka had to hide his relationship with his co-worker partner), we see her from being distressed about the new workplace, come to really appreciate and love her job is nothing but a rewarding experience. Every one of the cast have their own different traits and characteristics, and that precisely the point that the dictionary (and the show by that extend) need all of their diverse voice in order to become multi-layered production.

If anything, the passage of time is the show’s main theme as it lingers in various forms throughout the show. The sudden time-skip, for example, signals us how everything is supposed to change (it’s 13 years for Peter sake), and yes, we can see there are some minor changes from the settings and the characters. But the sameness from the dictionary department’s office really tell us that in the room, time flows slowly; and really, that amount of time spent for making dictionary is nothing compare to how the dictionary might flourish for generations to come. In that 13-year gap, people leave, new people come in, it’s that cycle of life that make the show timelessness. Furthermore, Mr. Matsumoto unfortunate leaves us at the end of the show, but we know full well that the old plants gone in order for the new plants to blossom. Through every change, the words inside the dictionary will continue to live on and connect more and more people together as time goes on.

The show, although very well-pace, still has some flaws too. The subject matter is decidedly niche that unfortunately it will fly below the normal viewer’s radar. The passing away of Mr. Matsumoto before the time of the publishing is a tired cliché that for me bring an unnecessary regret to Majime. The animation as a whole, while serviceable enough and really don’t have many high actions, still a bit below par compared to your regular anime. Although we have a big time-jump, if the series meant to highlight the progression of making The Great Passage and the life of our main characters, I would’ve much preferred if they show us instead how they were doing along the way. I want to follow their journey from beginning to end (not the beginning and the end), and I don’t care one iota if they’ll successfully publish it or not, what I want is the ride to get there.

To sum up, Fune wo Amu, along with Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, are the titles that I’m really glad they are made after all. The older I get, the more I’m wearing off at high school comedy anime and high action anime, the more these titles speak to me on a personal level. I’m really glad anime still have platforms like this, the show that tripped out all the spectacular over the top visuals to instead telling the story it wants to tell. What we have in the end might seem nothing much plot-wise, but the sophistication behind the story and the love that the people behind it put into are something that I will remember fondly.

Posted on 29 December 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews

As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full house screening and even the friend that I took that day who is unfamiliar with anime told me she enjoyed the movie. The film also plays in many festivals around the globe (which is rare for an anime movie let me tell you) and I wouldn’t be surprised if Your name. was nominated for the Academy Awards for best animation in a month time. To say all that means I understand full well the appeals of this movie. This movie took the world by storm and somewhat becomes “a pinnacle” on what anime can achieve, or even to some extend what anime would be like to those who know little about anime beside the works from Ghibli studio. “it’s a matter of time before Makoto Shinkai make a masterpiece and with this he achieved it” I heard you say. Well, Your name. might be the work that he’d be known for throughout his career (I have my doubts that his upcoming movies will be as successful as this), but it doesn’t mean that this is his best, his masterpiece. Allow me to elaborate it in my review below.

Your name. divides sharply into 3 sections with 3 different tones. The first part plays out like a Freaky-Friday style rom-com when our two protagonists, the country girl Mitsuha and high school Tokyo boy Taki, swapped bodies for a day. Those misfits’ situations allow room for many light-heart comedies detailing the two struggle with the body of opposite sex (leading to the hilarious-but-quickly-wear-out gags of Mitsuha grabbing her boobs), with the totally new life and new friends they’re encountering. After few times of behaving like losing their minds, they get on quickly with the switch, enjoy the new life and also write notes to each other to follow up what is happening. The second part is where the drama kicks in and for me this is the movie’s best part. Finally the closing part we return to Shinkai’s favorite territory: a quiet, romantic melodrama that keep building up to the moment where the emotions explode.

Speaking of Makoto Shinkai, there is two things that are signature of his works, namely his gorgeous and detailed scenery (AKA scenery-porn) and his overblown romantic drama. I’m always a fan of his first element, and in this movie it works really well and I could argue this is the most stunning backgrounds in any of his works. The little town of Itomori is vivid in its rural settings, with trees blowing in the wind, people having a quiet, relax life and there are still many traditions going around. Tokyo, on the other hand, is noisy and busy, with kids too busy with their cell phones and part-time job, parents have to rush to work. All those settings are so true-to-life that we can feel and taste the lifestyles in each setting. Even the mysterious landscape that divides the world and the underworld is breathtaking and surprisingly rich.

But his other tendency tends to give me a mixed feeling. For the record, the overblown climax in The Garden of Words for example is its weakest part. The main reason I don’t like those overstated drama is I always sense the movie dictates what I want to FEEL with a capital F, overdone music score and tissue-grabbing moments. In Your name. I have the same issues. Sometimes I just want to say to Shinkai: less is much more. Characters cry for the reason they themselves don’t know. More than once they shout about remembering the name of each other. Too many times they chase each other that while I’m totally fine when they do it once, repeating the heighten drama lose its impact after each time.

This is not the only issues though. I guess the other problem comes from “too much of a good thing”, which often the time original anime movies tend to confront (works from Makoto Shinkai and Mamoru Hosoda are the main suspects), and that problem is the way the try to put many plots going together that frankly it becomes a hot mess. Take the sequence where Mistsuha (the real Mistsuha) starting a new day in the beginning of the movie for example, you can see the movie planted many plot points ahead. When she comes to the table to have breakfast (rice for breakfast? Oh well! you need a healthy body for a full day after all), first obaa-chan reminded her that she’s acting normal today (indicates that Taki was in her position yesterday), then she hears the town announcement of the coming electoral (which links to her father and their tense relationship), then she switches on the TV and we have the comet news (which is essential to the plot point), and then she goes back to her room to tie the braided cords to her hairs (which is also essential to the plot point). As a detailed guy, little details like that should make me happy, but I only feel the movie tries to cram all the information up in order to connect all the dots later on. For once, I don’t really see the plot thread of her father’s a mayor affecting much to the story. Or Taki’s crush to his co-worker (especially not much later her role is changing to sidekick). Lessen those unnecessary plots down could make this movie more focus, and much tighter.

Even with the main theme of Kimi no Na wa, we have too many metaphors and symbols that in some ways they are overlapping the others and again, simplifying into one central symbol will make the movie much stronger. We already have the title about the name, which throughout the movie the main characters struggle to remember the name of each other. That meant to be the fate that their lives already intervened, that even you don’t know about the name or identity of “the one”, they can still feel the presence of that person inside their heart. We also have the symbols of thread cords, which she gave it to him few years ago. Threads also meant the connection the leads have together, and that connection will never be cut down even if they don’t recognize each other in real life. And then we have the notion of “Musubi”, which meant to be the things people consumed and then offering to the Gods to become a connection between the god and the people, between the afterlife and the current life, In order words, between the long lost-Mitsuha and the current Taki. You see, “connection” are the themes and those symbols have their well-meaning but when you put all of them together, it’s confusing and lose its focus. Also the different in tones between the 3 parts makes the movie as a whole inharmonious but for that records they did extremely well on establishing the moods in those separate parts.

Also, while I said earlier that the second part is easily their best part, when you witness the real weight of the drama and an attempt to save the one you loved is nothing but affecting; dealing with time-warp is always a very tricky part. Because when you really question the functionality of the timeline, logic starts to fall apart. You might simply brush it off that the main characters thought the whole experience as their dreams, but can’t they tell the different in timeline when they have to go to school everyday? Or even with 3-year gap Taki still looks the same, wearing the same uniform and doesn’t really have any memory about that girl, but keep on wearing the braided cords instead? Or the very convenient plot point when he tried to show his friends about the memos that the two shared, it vanishes right before his eyes? Those are small details of course but it does bug me and keep me away from enjoying the movie to the fullest.

Sound like I have too much negativity about the movie in this review but the truth is I really enjoyed it. When Your name. is at its best, it can bring out the satisfying emotions like few anime I saw this year. The part where they eventually meet in a twilight landscape is emotionally-affecting and well-earned, and their chemistry with each other is surprisingly strong, consider they don’t actually meet each other that much. The two mains are refreshing and very likeable and I don’t mind spending more time with the two to be honest. The animation is top notch and the music, while overbearing at times, still does its jobs quite fittingly. Other everyday-life parts in the beginning are mundane and lifelike and full of personality as well, if I have to pick my favorite it’d be the sequence where Mitsuha doing the traditional dance with her little sister. Oh and the part that Taki drink the sake down the cave, Shinkai actually experienced with other animation-style and the brief montages towards Mitsuha’s past live (yes! Simple but affective) are simply the movie’s best moments and I really hope Shinkai can begin to experiment more with his own styles.

So back to that main question, is this Shinkai’s best work? No, I don’t think so but I would certainly say it’s his most accessible work and will likely to be the one that he will be famous for the rest of his career. For me with someone as talented as Shinkai, “accessible” isn’t an adjective I’m looking for, since if your work is for everyone, then it is for no one really in particular.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Occultic:Nine

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was one of my most unpleasant experiences watching anything. When I started this show I at least thought it couldn’t be as bad as Robotics;Notes, for that show was truly something else when it came to bad writing. But I was flabbergasted to see that this show was so much worse. To the point where I may swear off watching any colon series from this point forward.

The plot of this show is a complete mess and looking at it in it’s entirely it not only makes no sense but the only points where the story goes anywhere is at the every beginning and the very end. The middle portion of this story is nothing but a giant waste of time as the characters only work to try to figure out a mystery that would eventually be explained to them and side plots which are introduced but have not plot relevance whatsoever. The main middle part of this story involves a murderer who not only has little or nothing to do with the main mystery but is dropped and never mentioned again once his little arc is through. The characters are all either unlikable or stereotypical and it’s important to note that they do mostly nothing besides motormouth exposition. Design wise they are not very interesting and need I mention the girl with a chest so astronomically huge that it is incredibly distracting? I do not mean that this is attractive, I mean that this girl’s anatomy is so utterly ridiculous that it’s like having a giant elephant in the room that no one seems to address. I will say as well that his character does nothing but try to figure out every motion she can make to move her breasts as much as possible and make me question how her back hasn’t snapped into splinters. She plays a stereotypical dumb blond joke until the last two episodes. Where she is pretty much lobotomized and replaced with a completely different character.

What the mystery becomes in it’s final episode is something you could swear was parody but the show itself is clear that it wants you to take it completely seriously. It tries to tug at your heartstrings when the characters are talking at a speed of bullet trains. Out of the nine characters mentioned in the title, only two are actually relevant. The rest are just throwaway side characters whose absence wouldn’t hurt the show, if anything it would shorten the runtime and make it more focused. It becomes impossible to take even an iota of this story seriously when it pulls out deus ex machina like those angel wings you happen to see in the screenshots up there. Isn’t that utterly ridiculous for a story that want wants to be an intelligent mystery series? Well if you find that hard to swallow I assure you that it’s the tip of the iceberg. This story has twists and turns that just make you wish to yell at the top of your lungs “WHAT?!”

The direction is a nightmare. Want to know how bad? You need not take my word for it, just watch the first thirty seconds of the very first episode. I assure you that by the time you get back to this review you will be very confused. I have no idea what the director of this show was thinking as screenshots have no logical cohesion with what is being represented. A large number of times our protagonists will suddenly start talking rapid fire like a bakemonogatari series before reverting back into normal speech. There is an episode filled with so many dutch angles you will feel physically ill just from watching it. There is a scene where the camera spins 360 degrees in place for three straight minutes. There are camera shots flipped upside down or 90 degrees for no apparent reason. Sometimes spacial awareness is just thrown out the window and you have a giant girl speaking to a small boy in a close up shot when they are supposed to be on opposite sides of the room. I must ask if they director went to film school because it was almost as if he wanted to make this show as painful to watch as possible. For that I truly pity the animators who do a stand out job despite what they have to work with.

There are some who say that at least this tried something different but I say no. Magical Girl Raising Project tried something different and while it didn’t succeed, at least the end result doesn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. You can say that someone tried something different by making a coffee mug out of monkey feces but it’s still shit no one wants. This writer has passed the point of being applauded for experimentation so it’s an insult to give him kudos for fan fiction level writing. So without surprise I am sure, I recommend you avoid this anime at all cost. Pay no heed to those claiming it’s good, they are clearly blind. Save your brain cells, don’t even watch it as a joke because I assure you that this series will go out of it’s way to make sure you can’t get any fun out of it. I declare Occultic;Nine to be the worst anime I have ever seen and if you are wise you would heed my words. Don’t waste your life on this flaming trashcan of a show. I have wasted far too much of my time on it already.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Magical Girl Raising Project

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to turn people into magical girls. However when the number of magical girls in a city goes too high, an elimination contest is held to cut their numbers in half. The end result is akin to a magical girl battle royale.

This show does play with some interesting ideas and throws some nice curve balls within it’s run. It can certainly get the viewer brainstorming on what is coming next and has nice little twists to the magical girl concept though not often explored to the degree which it could be. It’s at it’s best when the body count rises and sparks fly between the cast of sixteen magical girls. While not all shine there are a few within the cast which are highly likeable and the story does have an excellent antagonist in the form of the cold calculating Swim Swim as well as some standout moments from unexpected characters. When you can’t see what’s coming this show can grip you and have you wondering just who is going to fall next as well as how.

However the problem with Magical Girl Raising Project is that it’s large cast of characters remain undeveloped until the point where they are about to be killed off. The development is primarily through flashbacks but does shed interesting light on the characters. However as the flashbacks often appear right before the character’s demise it often telegraphs that character’s death. Ultimately killing the unpredictability of a battle royale and making the death of a character not all that shocking. Though the show does have a few surprises, more often than not you will see the death coming. The animation as well seems to never quite convey the intensity of the battles making they feel rather plain. While there is a high diversity of character designs and abilities, the fights in this show rarely feel all that exhilarating which could be attributed to the lacking character development or simply the fight animation just being average.

In summary Magical Girl Raising Project is a show with good concepts not executed well. I do see potential in this writer and if a second season does come to be then whn not restricted to the battle royale format he may have a chance to really shine. However as the series is currently it is a serviceable and enjoyable watch. If you have an interest in a dark take of the magical girl genre and have checked out the notables like Madoka or Princess Tutu then Magical Girl Raising Project isn’t a bad recommendation. Even fans of Danganronpa could get a kick out of it as it does take some inspiration from it. A show that sadly didn’t live up to it’s potential but remains a decent watch regardless.

Posted on 24 December 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough.

I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true”

That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here we are. As the show progressed, it picked up fans along its way, enthusiasm comments episode after episode, even the professional skaters are quite fond with the anime. So really then, how good is Yuri on Ice exactly? Well, let me put it this way, this show is vastly different than your regular anime out there, down from its sheer ambition alone (this is a passion project from one of the most promising anime director), the well-detailed struggling productions (which for me that doesn’t hurt the show, quite the opposite really as I find it adds to the show’s charms) and most famously the very positive portray of gay male romance and of characters from different backgrounds.

Yuri On Ice follows a season-long of Japanese figure skater Yuri after Victor- the current world champion skate figure- decided to take a year break in order to coach Yuri to win the world gold. He then trained and competed with other world class competitors from around the globe, especially with his rival: teen prodigy Yurio from Russia. I have briefly mentioned this before, but sports like figure skating or gymnastics or some performing martial arts are more akin to performing arts (think of dancing, acting or opera singing or ahem… band concerting) than the competitive nature of other sports. While other sports emphasis mainly on winning, those kinds of sports also aim for aesthetic and beauty. Beauty rules. Beauty rocks. Beauty is king. That’s why to do figure skating justice is a tricky job, as you have to both show artistic expressions of each individuals, as the same time still make the sport competitive. On that front, the show’s rather unusual approach of focusing entirely on the routines of each players elevate those parts I mentioned rather nicely, but writing-wise, it leaves a lot to be desired.

The show, at its core, is one huge theme about expressions, as expression is the very nature of figure skating, and through the performances the characters have a space to express their personalities, as well as their own struggles. Even our main character, Yuri, scrambles throughout the series to express his “love” for himself, for the sport and for his coach Victor. Many of the routines are of course over the top and hilariously silly (like the Italian’s sibling complex or the sex appeal ending routine of the Swiss guy, Christophe); but through those performances each player has his own little arc to dwell into and it’s certainly entertainment to watch both their smooth movements and their stream of thoughts from those guys. Every player, as a result, has certain unique traits and each of them add their own colors to this colorful world. I certainly enjoy the company of most of them.

But the hot of Yuri on Ice lies on the “bromance” relationship between our two men: Yuri and Victor. Week in, week out, the exclamations of many passionate fans: “Did they or didn’t they…?” would float up and soon become a massive storm of all kinds of responses. While this sucks that the show as brave as this one wouldn’t go all the way to announce their romantic relationship, it’s all clear in the context. I would say that this series greatest’s strength is the show’s positive depiction of same-sex relationship between two men. Positive but not realistic. I will get to the unrealistic part later but for once, this romance feels exactly how the two persons attracting to each other, the way they cling to one another and try their best to surprise the other partner. I’m glad the show see them as real characters, and describe their relationship not for the shake of shocking the anime world (although it did). More importantly, this homosexual relationship is a positive and necessary statement to both the sports community and the countries where those characters are from; as sports have history of homophobia from way back and the real life gay figure skater Johnny Weir, struggled to this very issue throughout his whole career. In addition, Russia specially also has a history with homophobic and Japan themselves is still debating on legalize gay marriage in their country (well, Australia is still debating as well. What’s wrong with you people? If someone want to marriage, give them the rights to!), so in episode 10, when Yuri and Victor giving rings (even in the name of good luck charms), it is a clear message for gay rights and I honestly wouldn’t wish it other way. If only other shows willing take such risks like that.

As for the unrealistic part, I’m going to be brief but the premise alone about Victor “suddenly” visits his hometown and declared to be his coach is really a wish-fulfilment plot device. We did learn in the end that Victor was swayed by the drunken Yuri but really this is something that only works in fiction. Even setting aside the mechanism, Victor willingness to see Yuri as his partner at all cost, while fun to watch, isn’t seem real at all. Furthermore, their relationship is depicted mostly in positive light, but when you think about it, putting two people with different backgrounds will of course result in culture shock. Even a small gesture from one side can be interpreted different by the other, but the show brushes any of that off and even more conveniently they made those characters communicate well to each other like they are all come from the big Japan. They do argue with each other but after a while they are overwhelmed by other’s feeling, as I take it as they are still on the early stage of relationship. If they truly can stay together, they will need to see the dark, vulnerable side of each other and as of now I don’t see any of that being shown in the series. Call me cynical guy but yeah while I still enjoy their relationship, it’s just not the real presentation of what true relationship is.

Another strong point that I am personally digging it from the show is how they handled the characters from different backgrounds with stereotype-free for the most part. Like how when you think about an anime American character, you’d think of the blonde, ruthless money-obsessed guy, but the American we got from this anime is the Mexican-background Leo de la Iglesia. Or for the country that is hot and wet all year and don’t even have snow in winter like Thailand, skate figure is the very unnatural sport, but to present a Thai character who is proud of being the first Thai to reach the final stage? That is a phenomenal touch and that approach strangely makes those characters feel so rich and universal.

But because of the show’s choice to concentrate on the performances, many problems arise. First, in order to be more focus, they can only emphasis on the Yuri’s growth and his relationship to Victor, and most of other parts are either undercooked or being neglected all together, especially for those non-professional characters. Remember Yuko? Or Minako? Of course not because basically after the first few episodes their roles are basically over, and the show reduces them to crazy bitch fans. How about their dogs? What happened with Victor’s dog afterward? Also, that part where Victor had to rush home for his dog is poorly constructed so that it feels very forced. Yurio gets some more screentime than the rest, and I particularly enjoy his moments with his grandpa, and with Otabek, but I feel his rival with Yuri is underdeveloped, especially towards the end when the person Yurio often pissed off weren’t Yuri but Victor. Also, I find the ending is so rushed that I would love for some more time to see the aftermath of those main characters.

The repetitive nature of those routines is also their drawbacks. Although of course they are slightly different, with the jump sequences are changed each time and we can see the character’s progression after each routine, it still can’t hide the fact the we listen to the same music, see the same performances for a good number of time. I have lost counts on how many times I’ve seen Yuri perform his pieces (by my count right now, 5 times for each program), as a result it makes the story as a whole rather predictable. There are also some sequences that I can see the huge graded down in terms of quality, but as I said earlier for those parts that did work, the choreography of the performances is something to behold, the animation is one of the fluidest I’ve seen this season and those shaky productions still managed to maintain my attention throughout the show. The music is all around great and creative, and further assist to make all the characters so distinguishable with each of them have their own unique theme song that speak a lot to their characters. I would definitely buy their soundtracks if it ever releases as a physical CD.

As a final impression, I am glad that we have this show. Yuri on Ice stands out in more than one way and if anything, its unexpected mainstream appeal means that Sayo Yamamoto will have more artistic control over her next project, which is a huge bless for everyone. As for the show, they’re not quite there to make history yet, but there’s no denying that Yuri on Ice is a special show.

Posted on 22 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight the very spirit of World Animation- take you around the world to check out a diverse set of animation techniques in wide ranges of genres. As I mentioned before the very purpose of this column is to recommend you readers to check out those movies as an alternative to anime and mainstream animated movies, so don’t feel discouraged to read on the review if you haven’t seen these movies. There will be mild spoilers on the theme of the movies, but I don’t see it as an issue should you guys decide to check out these films later.

The title this week: Strange Frame- Love & Sax sold me based on its premise alone. This is an …hold your breath here… indie musical psychedelic lesbian-themed sci-fi film using cut-out animation and upon reading this I know I have to check it out already. As the box office now is dominated by family-oriented animated movies with themes like “you’re different, but be yourself (Shrek, Ratatouile, Wreck-it Ralph…) or “we family will support each other forever” (the Croods, the Incredibles), something as weird and adult-oriented as this is certainly welcomed. So how the film itself fare, let’s get down to it.

The story of how this film got made is already a curious one. The story was written 10 years prior to its release by Shelley Doty and GB Hajim (and was directed by the latter) with their mutual love for sci-fi, especially works from John Valey and believe it or not, Shinichiro Watanabe. GB Hajim then continued the project by using his local Hawaii community (high school students no less) instead of going to big studio and it took them 7 years to finish the project. The story (if I could call that) follow the love story between Parker and Naia (a slave) and they form a band together. But then stuffs happen and Parker found out that she had been kicked out of the band, while Naia is under controlled by a ruthless record producer. Parker’s now lovesick and she attempts to save her lover from danger.

The settings are one of the real highlight of the film, it’s inviting enough to let us sweep up to its worldbuilding, but also ambiguous enough to still hint on the seedy parts laying underground of this world. Set in the 28th century after humanity has abandoned the polluted Earth and settled on several of Jupiter’s moons, humans then have to adapt to the new environment and as a result the physical appearance has been genetically modified as mutants. This allows the film to go wild on character designs, and they really go all out to create a chaotic and gritty world (with influenced a lot by Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop). In this world, race, gender and sexual orientation seem to be non-issues and for me that is one of the most distinct and refreshing take on the future I have seen for a long time. At least we have probably one of the very first lesbian leads (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here) and those mutants people are all colored-people, which I personally happy to see that this film has balls to go that far.

Another unique thing about this feature is the technique they engaged. They use cut-out animation (think of the style of South Park) so that the visual animation sets itself out from 3D animation, while at the same time the technique supports the limited animation as they don’t have to animate every single frame. The best example for you to check out this technique is when the band playing their music, their heads are shaking while their bodies don’t move… For the most part I say the technique was used appropriately and moreover it carries certain charms that you can’t find it elsewhere. The music in the film, which is a mixture of jazz and rock, is phenomenal. I really love all the music played by the band, and the score, while goes overboard sometimes, is still solid and engaging.

The story is sadly the film’s weakest part. It always feels like the story is a patch-up of many unrelated stories, and really fall apart when you step back and think about it. As much as I like the chemistry between Parker and Naia, they both brought down by lousy dialogues, meaningless voice overs and the pacing is all over the place. Now that when I recall the actual plot, I can’t fill it pass three sentences because there’s not much into it. The love quest has been done thousand times before and unfortunately this story adds nothing new to the table, at the same time goes through as much genre cliché as possible. The story eventually comes together a bit at the end, but by then who really care for any development whatsoever?

But to be fair, nobody come to watch Strange Fame expecting for a good plot. What they are looking for is the trippiness and LCD-filled plot and boy did it deliver. There are many scenes where the movie just goes full wacko, and they keep going wilder and more bizarre as the story progresses. It also helps that the film’s visuals support that acid trip very well. The sequence where the leads are in drug, for example, contains full of weird and arresting visuals (really a love it or hate it moments I would add) and that high feeling is the feeling you can’t get out of after watching this.

Strange Fame proves to be an experience. Although the plot is as cliché and disjointed as possible, the dark, acid aesthetic, plus its innovative cut-out animation and its unbashed look on race and gender issues make it a movie that you all need to experience at least once. Just like a dream, in about a year time you will most likely forget about the plot of the film, but also like a dream you will never forget about the experience you encounter in your dream. Call this film a nightmare if you like.

Next one (probably next week), let head to South Korea where our comrade K-Off is heading for a world that slowly being eaten away by zombies. Stay tune.

Posted on 8 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that it was greenlit at all was mind-blowing enough, but the most absurd things was the audience it aimed: the anime medium. Because no matter how you look at it: this isn’t an anime at all. Well, not even an animation to begin with. I’m not going to detail about it as I already addressed it in my weekly post. The fact that this is a wuxia puppetry show already makes it a unique show among anime world and all the more reason to watch it. But on top of all that, the show’s writing and execution are really excellent and refreshing. If the show just relies on its gimmick of being a puppetry show, it will fall apart very quickly, but Thunderbolt Fantasy understands that their characters are the real stars of the show, so they spend a huge amount of them talking to each other, explore their philosophy of life and the campy dialogues are entertaining and humorous.

Set in a fictional Eastern Asia settings, the show tells a story of a merry band in the quest to retrieve a legendary sword that was stolen by Mie Tian Hai, a skilled swordsman with a history of black magic. Our MC Shang Bu Huan is a mysterious swordsman who came from another area, that’s why he doesn’t know much about this place and thus got tagged along to the quest by Gui Niao, a cool-head strategist and the bunch of misfits including the naive guardian girl, the One-Eyed archer, the young Spear-wielder, a demon necromancer and the bloodthirsty assassin. The group, each has their own unique appearance and personalities with different set of goals head up to the Seven Sins Tower, and there were double-crossing, triple-crossing, blood-splattering, heads rolling and even demons, undead, skeleton birds join in along the way. Indeed, half of these characters here are easily villains in other story and the fun here is to see their huge ego crashing with each other.

Because this is a puppetry show, there are many elements that you won’t find in other anime. The characters, for example, have very static faces. Especially when they are in close-up, it’s hard to tell apart what they are thinking because of the lack of expression in their faces, but this issue actually works in the show’s favor, for how else would one portrait a group that double-crossing is the norm? Second, the practical effects are truly what set it apart from other anime. There is little amount of action for a true-action show, but when the action kicks in, it’s a feast to the eyes. Bloods squirming all over, bodies blowing up, heads rolling that you can actually feel the weight of the blood dripping are refreshing to say the least. Lastly, I have to highlight the costume designs because they really go all in for the costumes to make the characters as distinctive and stand out as ever.

The characters themselves is easily the show’s best strength. Each character is elegantly designed and all of them have their own unique mannerism, assisted greatly by the use of puppetry, something that ordinary anime usually lack. My favorite characters in that vein is the demon lady Xing Hai, as whenever she talks, it feels like she’s singing and whenever she walks it feels just like she’s dancing. Like Mayoiga, those characters all have interesting traits and utterly over the top but here in this show they can actually get loose and carry the story. Like for example, the show spends half an episode for Sha Wu Sheng the Roaring Killer Phoenix challenging Mie Tian Hai (and then loose despite knowing it all), simply because these characteristics are unmistakably Sha Wu Sheng. In Thunderbolt Fantasy, those characters embrace their roles to the bitter end. As a main character, Shang Bu Huan is like our blank-state who unfamiliar to this world (like ourselves) and he’s being the most sensible person in this whole madness. I particular love his stunning reactions every time something absurd happens. Moreover, he bounces off other characters very well, creating a rather great chemistry between them and the dialogues maintain the campy sense that so entertaining to watch. There are pure gold moments throughout the series like when Shang Bu Huan talks to each member of the group to find their real motives, or simple quick remarks like “the temple smells offensive” or even “it’s already a sitting fight before the sword fight” because of course they’re too awesome to fight it normal way. Like a puppetry show, these characters are just there to perform their larger-than-life roles, but they perform it so well that I have a very good time following them.

But this show is not only about characters having fun, there is a theme for the show if you want to look deeper. The notion of the sword is both mentioned various times throughout the series and the show twists that notion around quite wonderfully. In this world, swords represent power of destruction. Mie Ting Hai seeks out the most famous sword because he believes his technique deserved the best. The demon Yao Tu Li was put to sleep for 200 years because of the sword. The characters kill off hundreds of people through their swords… As long as you are good at swords, you have the ultimate power in this world. But not for our two mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao. In fact, the series showcases two extreme spectrums from Shang Bu Huan that go directly against with the above notion. The “sword’ that Shang Bu Huan always carries around is just a piece of wood painted silver, because he doesn’t want to cause more deadly troubles with the swords, but when in needed, he could pull out 36 legendary swords (that he said he was about to expose them, sly guy!) to send the monster to the black hole (quite literally!), Gui Niao also hates using swords as a mean of killing. The legendary sword that everyone seek in the end was destroyed meaninglessly.

Thunderbolt Fantasy is the most entertaining series you will encounter this year. Plain and simple. Urobuchi writing is excellent in this show, both leaving enough room for the group to act, and maintaining the plot that both is fast and unpredictable, but always makes sense and a lot of fun. It appears that we will have an entirely new cast on the second season, plus our mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao and if that’s the case then I’m totally on board. After all, Shang Bu Huan’s only weakness is his trust towards people and Gui Niao happens to be the master of manipulation; so I’m eager to see how our MC get himself dragged into Gui Niao’s little scheme next time. Like this first season already demonstrated, the world is simply too small for the two of them.

Posted on 19 October 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Orange

What would you do if you receive letters from your future-self saying that you can change your future? That’s exactly what Naho experienced as she obtains ones from herself 10 years later that urge her to look after her new friend and prevent him from committing suicide. The premise, I agree, is hardly anything groundbreaking, but it functions well as a romantic drama anime. And orange is exactly that: a romantic drama anime. We have tons of romance developing between the leads Naho and Kakeru, and even more time focusing on the depression of Kakeru and the group’s attempt to save him.

The very central theme of orange is the sense of regret. Kakeru always feels regrets over his mother suicides, blaming himself for what happened and the thought of continue to live on proved to be too much for him. Moreover, it’s the adult counterpart that hold that same sense of regrets and griefs towards what they could do in the past for Kakeru. If they were more attentive, they could’ve realized his inner struggles. If they helped him out when he needed the most, chances were, he could’ve survived. Should’ve known better. It’s that regret sense that carry the weight in Naho’s, and eventually Suwa’s and the rest of the group’s actions and make their efforts feel grounded and genuine.

But that’s not to say that their efforts were executed flawlessly. The show’s at its best when the group confronts Kakeru to say out loud his issues, to really share his troubles to his dear friends. Kakeru always puts up a mask in order to cover his troubles, mostly because he believes he could drag the group down, and partly because he fears that he’d be rejected. By making him to be honest to himself, he knows that he can rely on his friends and that’s what save him in this new timeline. But orange feels forced whenever the group tries to recreate a perfect happy time for Kakeru; be it their fireworks night, his birthday, their relay match. Although those moments come from good intention, I can’t help but feel uneasy the way the group manipulates the outcomes so that little Kakeru always feel happy. Is it fair for the guy to receive too much without give anything away? Is that selfless love that you protect your loved ones from being hurt really the best possible outcomes? Hell, NO.

Although Kakeru and Naho share some good romantic moments together, it is Suwa who become the show’s best character. He’s in a complex situation since he decides to support the leads all the way, despite his own feeling for Naho. Sound cliché I know, but what make his character works is that Suwa is an observant, sensitive and highly emotional intelligent than the rest of the group. On the other end of the spectrum, Ueda is really a bad-written character. Orange clearly doesn’t think too highly of her, so the show frames her in a biased and negative light, it’s sad because whenever she appears on screen, she becomes a sore thumb to an otherwise solid cast. The rest of the cast share a natural, lively and effortless chemistry, but they are not the deepest bunch of characters you will ever witness. In fact, in the second half, the amount of time spent on the group trying to help Kakeru overwhelms their own character’s development.

In terms of production values, orange remains a very strange shoujo adaptation. The show has an above-standard quality in terms of direction. The director Hiroshi Hamasaki (who most famous for his Steins;Gate) elevates the show by his sensitive directing, which many scenes convey smartly the emotions the show want to make. The show, on the other hand, was done on a shoestring budget, as a result in a middle part the production values took a huge downfall, the characters are often off-model and those insignificant parts are treated equally messy and off-putting to the point that it brings the whole production down. This is a shame because this is a kind of budget that orange doesn’t deserve to have.

Despite a huge leap in quality, orange at least ends in high note, as the conclusion successfully ties up loose end and gives up a satisfying emotional ride. With the main theme about trying your best in order to have none regrets, it’s more about the ride, how to get there rather than the results, yet I have a feeling that orange focuses too much on the outcomes. To say all that, the ending was executed fairly well that I’ll complain no more. Overall, despite the huge decline in terms of production values in the middle part, and some thematic issues, orange is what it is- a solid entry of shoujo romance drama anime. Anyone who expect more from it will end up being disappointed.

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
I know usually we should vote for the actual performances rather than their career, but I get the feeling in some cases it was just a matter of having the right role at the right time and not their actual talent.
SuperMario
I have no problem with Moonlight (instead of La La Land) winning BP as well. Easily the best one out there. Agreed with you on Huppert but Ben Affleck I got mixed feeling on that. He was really great in that role but based on his whole career he doesn't deserve to win it imo.
Kaiser Eoghan
Horray! Based Mel won best editting =O
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I am glad moonlight got best picture and Casey Affleck got best actor. Michael Shannon should have won best actor, Isabelle Huppert should have won best actress.
SuperMario
I just watched the re-broadcast of Oscar. What the heck was going on? How the hell can they mix up the Best Picture name????????????
SuperMario
@Aidan: I will go with whatever new manga he put up. That Happiness manga is currently intriguing as well
AidanAK47
Oh, the flowers of evil author started a new manga and...Oh no. I do not like where this is going.
SuperMario
That Dragon Dentist is looking good; I will give it a proper watch and then review it here. Don't know what to expect thou.
Anonymous890468
man just started a blog called the bran new day blog, this one is very interesting. consider me a regular
AidanAK47
I recommend clearing your browser cache and then checking the site again.
AidanAK47
Then how are we talking on a broken chatbox?
Ffafn
Yes it is. You broke the site. In every way possible. Parse error on the chat? Not broken? Sure.
AidanAK47
No it isn't. It just works better if you have an account with the site.
Ffafn
The chat is broken
Ffafn
Gantz:O is really good
AidanAK47
Horizon: Zero Dawn is another one that might force me to get a ps4.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Not gonna buy a switch until I see one right in front of my face. Considering Ninetdo's scarcity tactic that will be in a while and by then it will have more games.
SuperMario
Seiren finished its second route and well, it was still a mess. I think the story gotten a little bit better than the 1st one, but I found the main girl in the 2nd one less remarkable than the 1st
SuperMario
I myself had been checking this site for 5,6 years before "applied" to become admin here. Mainly to check out his older reviews. Was a real lurker myself; didn't feel the need to comment anything.
Lenlo
Zelda easy, except I refuse to buy a Switch for 1 game.
Vonter
And Nier might be the most unpredictable do to the director not conforming to typical storytelling. But also wacky gameplay design decisions like abrupt shifting from 3D to 2D. And being overall weird.
Vonter
Just asking but between Nier: Automata, Zelda: BotW and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Which one would you play first? Zelda sounds great with only the possibility of technical nitpicks hindering the Wii U version (or not). Horizon seems like a mixed bag, a graphically ambitious game with expected open world elements.
Lenlo
I began reading here back in 11/12, but never felt the need to post to much till now. Cant remember how I found it.
Topgavin
Googled "anime reviews" in 2013 and this was the first thing that came up. Didn't post until Kyoukai no Kanata's ending forced me to rant somewhere; that being here.
Kaiser Eoghan
I began visiting the site in 2009, though started posting sometime in 2010/11.
Topgavin
@Mario yenah don't worry, this website it one of my 6 or 7ish tabs that never closes. I'm sure many here are like this, but it'd feel wrong to stop reading a site you've been reading for a long time. I've only been here 3-4ish years myself, but I know there's some who've been here much longer.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sex sells baby.SEX SELLS (not sure if anyone biting it thou)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Putting nude screenshots into the Scum's wish posts I see to pull people into checking it out OwO.
SuperMario
@Topgavin: yeah the question is WHEN they will adapt all of these. Great that you're busy now with uni stuffs (always good to be busy) but make sure to check back in often. I don't want to loose the small number of regular viewers here so to speak :)
Topgavin
And yeah, been doing university stuff so haven't had much time at all to do own time stuff.
Topgavin
@Mario Apparently there's a decent amount of content left in the VN, and since it's the first show by the studio I wouldn't be surprised if it gets a second season. Pretty bad look if you neglect your flagship show
SuperMario
and haven't seen you around that often lately @Topgavin. Been busy this season??
SuperMario
For Tanya, there's either this type of episode that focused on war, action and Tanya being badass; or Tanya working her way up rank and fighting with God. While obviously I enjoy the latter much more, I think this was still a solid episode. My 2 main complaints would be I'd love for things go unexpected for once for Tanya and I don't think we have anything close to conclusion this season.
Topgavin
I wouldn't be surprised if the guy that got shot didn't actually die, and that he gets 'helped' by god to be Tanya's main opponent. Or we just continue like normal and that was just a show of Tanya being Tanya. Either way the show is going strong
Anonymous885442
What if Being X decides to help things along?
Lenlo
So I cant remember, whats the gang bosses relationship to Yakumo? I just cant place him.
Lenlo
If she does become a reasonable opponent, there needs to be some sort of time skip or buildup. Theres no way she goes from a little girl in America to a formidable opponent in afew months. Maybe once Tanya grows up some more? I think the Colonel that got killed though would have been fine had they not killed him off so anti-climatically.
HelghastKillzone
Much like how Sophie became the opposing witch for Izetta last season, although I hope to hell it won't suck as much.
HelghastKillzone
We're at latter stages of Vol. 2 LN for Youjo Senki and I think that there is the potential for Mary Sue to become a formidable opponent. She's the only one with any semblance of a motive for going after Tanya personally. Everyone else is either dead or under Tanya's command.
Lenlo
Agreed. My favorite part of the show was Tanya and her attitude/interactions with people. I know shes a badass, now show me where shes an evil monster worthy of being Gods foe.
AidanAK47
I do agree that Tanya hasn't really interacted with those around her. In that regard the shorts show more of that. I think we need to get into her head more as well. We haven't had much monologue these past two episodes.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Deus lo vult. Admitly she's likely going to come into it at a later date but it is important to note that this story wasn't written to be chopped into anime seasons. We got 7 light novels and I hear the web novel has already been completed. My worry is that the majority of this season will be setting up a great conflict. This is going to become a world war after all.
Lenlo
But Aidan, we know nothing about her. Shes in America at the moment, so her getting to the war and becoming any kind of threat is ridiculous. He was much better setup to be an antagonist. He had history with the protagonist after all and was clearly skilled because of his position.

She just has no buildup as a major character that I care about in any way
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Agree on that. It's the drifters thing again, if the enemy doesn't make the main character sweat then there no real tension in the action.
Lenlo
We also dont get many character to character talks as you said. Its mostly just Tanya barking orders and chances for her to show off how smart she is. Aside from being a tad aggressive, nothing she has done has had any consequences, shes and the battalion are in no real danger since not even an unnamed member has died, and she has very few notable faults.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I disagree on that characters inclusion being pointless. I think it's setup for Tanya's antagonist. After all Tanya stole his gun, his gun which was a Christmas present from his Daughter and inscribed with his name. When someone sees that gun, they are gonna want some vengeance.
His daughters name is Mary Sue by the way. If she lives up to the name this will be most entertaining.
Lenlo
There was just very little character progress. Sure, the army and the war advanced, but it was just another battle scene with a named character who I thought was going to be reacurring and important, just get shut down immediatly. He didnt do anything. What was the point of his inclusion?
Anonymous884628
My question is what the end game of this anime is. The structure doesn't make it clear where the story will put a closure. And still there's not that many interactions between Tanya and her peers, the only character interactions that have felt meaningful have been with God.
Anonymous884628
Lenlo - So so. I mean I liked a proper mission that it's easier to see the impact to the enemy, taking a couple of railroads and advancing the infantry into enemy territory. Still on the other hand the character they killed makes his inclusion kinda pointless.
Lenlo
I found this weeks Tanya alittle weak. I was expecting something more after that week break
Anonymous884480
Mirror of Fate and LoS2 felt like they didn't know where to take the story they built on the first game. There's a lack of touch in regards to using Castlevania characters and in short they were a mess. The RE6 of Castlevania. Too big, too unfocused, too shallow.
Anonymous884480
Kaiser Eoghan - LoS 1 is decent. Evidently the developers wanted to make an original game that ended with the Castlevania game placed on it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Apparently Lords of shadow ruined the series.
Kaiser Eoghan
That castlevania fighting game got stale quickly and Takeshi Obata's art wasn't suited to the characters.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've seen friends play the 3D ones, I remember some of the later ones including leveling up elements I think but those weren't so good.
Anonymous884480
Kaiser Eoghan - If you have a Wii or Wii U or a PSP, Rondo of Blood is good. In regards to the handhelds I think Dawn of Sorrow and Order of Ecclessia are the best ones. The latter looking similar to what we've seen of Bloodstained.
Kaiser Eoghan
Despite my interest and enjoyment of Castlevania, I haven't played enough of the series as a should have back in the day. I played symphony of the night, legacy of darkness, dracula x, castlevania 4, bloodlines . I know the horrors of castlevania II.
Anonymous884275
At one moment Mighty No.09. Also seemed Megaman in everything but name. Both Yooka Laylee and Bloodstained are developed with a more modest budget than the former games. Also a key aspect is if they'll learn or stumble about the flaws the old games had. (Collecthaton and recycled enemy designs).
AidanAK47
Bloodstained is still about and that's castlevaina in everything but name
AidanAK47
Same on character design. Though I am worried they might pull out some adventure time character style.
AidanAK47
@Anon, That's true about Ippo. It didn't really weaken as Ippo has a near perfect shounen formula. The problem is that it just stopped going anywhere. Still very enjoyable but plot progression is dead in the water. No ending aside it is likely the better anime. You can pretty much stop at the first season.
K-Off
I say Castlevania was fucked the moment it turned into a pachinko machine
Anonymous884097
I've heard Hajime no Ippo starts good and weakens the further you go into it. And I know Joe has an ending, I don't know if Ippo does.
Anonymous884097
AidanAK47 - I'm mainly worried about the western character design they'll use. Since it has the range of being like the new DC animated movies, or something like Korgoth of Barbaria. I think the castle is intended to not make sense given all the things it contains. Is more like a portal to another dimension.
AidanAK47
Looking at the poster image for the castlevainas animated series made me realise just how structurally unsound draculas castle is.
AidanAK47
@Mario, if your are starting something that long you might as well go for the better equalvent, Hajime no Ippo.
AidanAK47
That Castlevania animation has me worried. Fair enough if they are going to attempt it but the people working on it has me worried that they will try to turn it into a comedy. Adventure time Castlevania edition would make me very angry indeed.
Vonter
Like with the Rose of Versailles, or Remy (Le Naki Ko). It feels like witnessing the life of the main character. Since it also builds off the path to becoming a boxer. It's also in a way refreshing having a like-hate feeling for the protagonist, since he can be cool as well as being a total jerk.
Lenlo
Its the Hajime no Ippo predecessor and laid the foundation. Its pretty good imo.
Lenlo
Ashita no Joe is like, the original sports anime
SuperMario
wait... (looking at the details), so there're 79 episodes... well, I MIGHT give it a try but the long-run anime scare the hell out of me now
SuperMario
@Vonter: Really? If you like it that much then I'm gonna give it a try too
Vonter
Guys. I don't even recall how I ended watching this anime. But I'm enthralled with Ashita No Joe. Despite looking really really rough, despite having a rather easy to follow story. This anime feels with weight, it feels like reading a novel in best way.
SuperMario
...But I don't plan to watch anymore of it
SuperMario
@Spike: I watched the first 3 episodes of Akiba's Strip and I enjoy the show for its dynamic animation and its goofiness, after all I think Akiba's trip represents well the goods and bads of anime medium
SuperMario
This week has to be one of my personal favorite KonoSuba episode. Everything was hliarious from start to finish. I certainly didn't expect to enjoy Darkness that much. She's freaking amusing.
AidanAK47
Yamishibai really has gone downhill since it's excellent first season. Second season was alright. Third season was ruined by them relying on visual horror drawings that were more silly than scary. Fourth season is being ruined by the way that the stories don't seem to have a punchline. All the endings have been just let downs.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never expected this but, there's going to be an animated adaptation of Castlevania of all things.
Spike
Akiba's Trip is a real sleeper imo. It's pretty damn funny and goofy borderline trolling at times that make what should be a stupid forgetable show entertaining, worth checking out if you haven't.
SuperMario
@anon877854: just finished ACCA episode and I agree that everything getting really interesting now. Review will come up soon.
Anonymous877854
Well I thought ACCA would dance around the truth for a few more eps but they had a bunch of big reveals this ep. Will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Not too fond of really old vn games like those. They put up a presence of being point and click adventures. I have a hard time enjoying the stories when the "Gameplay" keeps killing the pacing. Big offender was Eve Burst error. Really couldn't enjoy that one at all.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: And policenauts, how about that one?
Kaiser Eoghan
Honestly I really don't mind all the side drama/romance in rakugo...in the longest time its been an anime that gave me feelings worth feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Would you in any way recommend snatcher (I think that counts as a visual novel) or is it a dated product of its time. On a side note I love the soundtrack.
Kaiser Eoghan
Case in this point I was blown away by utawerumono and chaos head when I was a less experienced viewer, nostalgia keeps poking at me to watch the sequels, but I just know chaos;child will be awful as will utawerumono 2.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hate when this happens, keep getting this itch to watch the followup to something I liked in the past but no full well I'd hate if I went back to it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hopefully I'll make time for Irae and subahibi, don't know anything about clockwork. Ended up getting involved in what will likely turn into a business course soon.
AidanAK47
Some really great Visual Novels localised this year. Muv Luv Alternative, Sharin no Kuni, Dies Irae, SubaHibi and clockwork key line. It's good year to be a VN fan. Now I just need an update about Baldr Sky.
AidanAK47
Subarashiki Hibi is getting published by Front Wing. Hell goddamn yes. Finally I can read it and be traumatised for life.
Anonymous870083
mm okay thanks!
AidanAK47
@Anon1, Think you might just have to go with a torrent. It's pretty hard to find direct download anime these days.
Anonymous870541
the latest episode of rakugo just made my heart sank. i didn't think it would get better than it already is. i thank god that i didn't read ahead
Anonymous870083
does anyone know where I can download the remastered version of the Utena series? without torrent?
SuperMario
the same very thought here Lenlo. What I considered the weakest part turned out to be so layered. Sorry for ever doubting you, Rakugo.
Lenlo
And that smirk at the end, beautiful
Lenlo
The weakest plot point of S1 has just become the best part ever.
Lenlo
OOH MAN. I was not ready. The entire first season was all a setup. I cant. What. HOW DOES IT GET BETTER
Lenlo
Cant wait to watch Rakugo tonight, just got home and im lookin forward to it,.
AidanAK47
I think before grabbing the protest signs it might be worth considering if the thing you are demanding be uncensored is even worth it. Oh yeah, now you can see genitalia in crap sex scenes that were crow bared into the plot. No more need to use your imagination.
AidanAK47
Some protest because they want there porn. That I suppose I can understand even if I think they would be better off buying some nukige. But then there are those who demand it just for the sake of standing against censorship. They don't give a crap about the game or the fact we are getting the exact same thing the japanese got. What? Censorship of sexual organs? DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP!
AidanAK47
There are people actively proclaiming they won't buy the game, because they can't see dicks. That is not hyperbole. This is literally exactly whats happening here. And they just act so goddamn self righteous about it. Porn is not the goddamn point of these games. Shouldn't even be in them in the first place.
AidanAK47
So another Sekai Kickstarter is up for a trilogy of Visual novels called A Clockwork Ley-Line. Chipped in my bit as I am going to be buying this regardless but like goddamn clockwork you get the idiots yelling for Mosaic removal. No matter how I try to rationalize it, this just sounds stupid.
Kaiser Eoghan
Just whenever I think Rakugo may be dragging its feet it comes out a gives me three big strong moments in this weeks episode, you will know them when you come to them.
K-Off
Dubbing in more subdued performances work fine. It just becomes unbearable when it involves shouty dialogue, which idescribes most of the Japanese games I play.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I think at the time it allowed Bagel (where did he go?) to find some exploit/gap in the sites security too.
SuperMario
I mean the spoiler code in the comment section. ^^. Like I don't mind if readers give (potential) spoilers but I don't want to ruin the fun of other readers as well
AidanAK47
After all it wasn't a intended feature of the old shoutbox. We were pretty much hacking the thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
I seem to remember all those old html codes stopped working on the old shoutbox too at one point.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was also originally an ability to animate text too of the shoutbox and have gifs appear in the message box but not as links.
AidanAK47
I remember some HTML code worked with the old shoutbox but nope. But I suppose you could change the colour of text to white...though that would effect everything you write.
SuperMario
Btw, do we have spoiler tag here Aidan?
SuperMario
@anon861679: Agreed. They have big ambitions, but they seems unsure on what to do next. I mean engaging your readers to give their thoughts is good, but if it is a mean for you to get inspiration to write essay about isn't that great. Well, give them say 6 months until they can settle down (they just launched this site for 3,4 months only)
Kaiser Eoghan
Despite being fine with anime in English, I've almost always felt that voice acting in videogames isn't as good.
Anonymous861679
Hey mario, that anime feminist blog was well, kind of awful. While they're well intentioned, it felt like they were pushing tumblr stuff onto chan stuff and that always ends up in a smoking mess.
SuperMario
Okay I'm going to erase my memories right now
SuperMario
I swear I'll stay off reddit for good. Have been spoiled by the development of ACCA by one of their "theory". As soon as I realized it's freaking spoiler I stopped but what done is done. Ahhhhhhhhhh
K-Off
Christ Fire Emblem Heroes is pretty addicting, micro transactions are not necessary at all. Though it irks me that I can't get Japanese voices. Dubs just make me cringe every time.
SuperMario
@ckspike: Hand Shakers, the very quality that makes you brain cells die while watching it. Well, I actually think the music is one of the best part of the show, now that you mention it like that...well...*slap my forehead*
ckspike
... my roommate just told me the background music when I'm watching Hand Shakers sounds like a bad porno... Now I can't unhear it. Fuck!
Lenlo
I havnt kept up with Academia, for some reason it just didnt catch me as well as the movie first did.
AidanAK47
You know what's funny? I thought little Witch Academia would be the hardest one to blog. Yet halfway into the current season and it's the one I write the most about.
Lenlo
I actually dont read many blogs. Mostly just this place and the occasional pop on reddit
Anonymous859067
I'd like to present to one of my favorite blogs, A work I just created: Greed Island! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tc2r.greedisland
AidanAK47
I go to Reddit anime myself but I don't really like the upvote system. Basically the majority rule opinions get put to the top which more often than not are jokes.
HelghastKillzone
I listen to podcasts on youtube and others places as well as going on Reddit Anime to hear a thousand people yammering away.
Kaiser Eoghan
I irregularly follow the episode reviews on ANN and sometimes read standing on my neck. I fell out of the habit of following random curiousity.
SuperMario
Anime Feminist (animefeminist.com), while sounds ambitious on paper, hasn't been too hot unfortunately. I know they aim to be "big" so they're still figuring out how to do it best. Well, good luck for them!
SuperMario
Oh, I know I've mentioned this site before but you guys should read it (blog.sakugabooru.com), this site is one of the only few blogs that I actively subscribed to read their post. They have some insights to the anime industry that is very informative and inspiring
SuperMario
I also think that this chatbox here plays a great role to keep a fair amount of readers for the site, as many sometimes just come here to give their two cents on certain anime.
SuperMario
I just checked out rabujoi blof for the first time, (https://rabujoi.wordpress.com) and I think they're in pretty good shape. Content-wise are solid (as far as I read), and they update their post pretty regularly (comparing their amount of posts last month (80) to ours (28), ouch)
SuperMario
Just really wonder, what are other anime sites that you guys follow beside this? Well, ANN and RandomC are a given, but I found myself haven't bothered to read ANN's episodic reviews lately (mostly due to time constraint)
AidanAK47
Don't tell me this is gonna be a regular thing.
Lenlo
There we go
Lenlo
Oh god JSON objects. I thought that nightmare was over
SuperMario
Mine is working probably as well. Thanks a bunch K-Off and glad to hear back from you.
K-Off
No problem.
K-Off
I really need to figure out how to get those damn tooltips working again on the sidebar thumbnails. It'd be useful to have the descriptions popup.
AidanAK47
Cleared my cache and it looks to be fixed. Thanks as always K-Off. I would be completely screwed without you around.
K-Off
Alright I think that did it. Let me know if it pops up again. If you still see it, clear your browser cache and let me know if its still there.
AidanAK47
Messages still get sent. You just might have to reload the page. We are working on getting it fixed.
Vonter
AidanAK47 I can't get into Fate since like with Nanoha there's a lot of stuff with those names in it. Zero was the most straightforward, yet the buildup was very dragout but the payoffs where very worthy.
HelghastKillzone
testing message.
AidanAK47
This is what I get for updating the bloody plugin.....
AidanAK47
He finished it and was telling me what he thought of Saber defeating Gilgamesh. Minute he said that I was like "OH GOD..." He watched the Deen 2006 adaption. Sadly it loos like he's not going to bother watching UBW TV despite me showing him part of the berserker fight. With Fate/Extra, Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Oath under the snow and all the rest this problem will happen again.
AidanAK47
You know I wish the Fate series did a better job naming it's series. I was introducing a newbie so I gave him Fate/Zero first. He loved it so I specifically told him to watch the UBW TV Series and don't mistake it for the movie. He then went and watched the movie. I told him to watch the TV series regardless and brought up the MAL page to show him which one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, there's definately no harm in doing further reading on more arthouse stuff before reviewing it/watching/after watching, it extends our understanding and is pretty much required.
Total users: 18

Featured Posts

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 21

Allow me to be honest for a moment, my dear readers. Recently, I’m having a hard time sitting down to watching Rakugo. This is not due to a lack of enjoyment and I found myself to have this strange apprehension to starting to watch it. Youjo Senki and Little Witch Academia are shows that I […]

Saga of Tanya the Evil – 07[The Battle of the Fjord]

After a recap episode last week, we are back to Tanya and her efforts in the war but I must admit that while still enjoyable, this was a weaker episode of the show. I am reminded of the first episode of the series which, while visually interesting, lacked a real hook to get the audience […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 19 [Passing the Night – Kyoto (part 1)]

This week we have an episode that dedicated to Shimada the 8th Dan and overall it was a satisfying episode. Looking back to his first introduction, I’m even more amazed how the show pulled his character off by purposely made him insignificant when we first met him both by his plain appearance and by Rei’s […]

Scum’s Wish – 07 [Lots of Love]

Let see, this week we have a full Moca’s episode. Her role up till now admittedly has been a little insignificant, mostly because her princess, childish persona don’t go to well with the dark themes of love in Scum’s Wish. Thankfully, this episode gives her character justice and yes, she does support the overall theme very […]

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. – 07 [The Truth Emerges in the Night Mists]

The plot sure thickens a lot after this episode. Well, last week I mentioned about the possible spoiler of ACCA plot, but the truth turns out that it didn’t really qualified as a spoiler at all. All the hints were there and viewers picked up pretty quickly (or just that I’m a slow picker, yare […]

Little Witch Academia – 07[Orange Submariner]

It’s good to see that the strides Akko made last episode are still in effect as she is not making an honest effort to improve herself. She’s taking lessons from Ursula and paying attention in class but despite this her improvement is minimal. That’s good as I don’t want to see Akko become a top […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 20

Looking over my old review of episode 12, I find that I didn’t really cover the episode decently. I gave a brief summery but I don’t think I really articulated my feelings on the episode as well as I could. I do remember finding it to be a big heel turn when it came to […]

3-gatsu no Lion – 18 [Torrent – Passing Time]

We have a fairly typical 3-gatsu this week, in which its level of quality is what we come to expect now. Its awkward shift in tone and the lack of big thematic plot points are still prominent in this episode, but we also have many heart-warming little moments, occasional touch of visual greatness and the […]

Scum’s Wish – 06 [Welcome to the X-Dimension]

If there is one thing that I really respect about Scum’s Wish, it’s that they commit themselves all the way to that tangled web of broken desires and love, instead of chicken out half-way. As a result this show gets much harder to swallow, but leaves you a big emotional impact. This week in particular […]

Latest Reviews

Flip Flappers (Fall 2016) Review – 93/100

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 […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

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 […]

Fune wo Amu (Fall 2016) Review – 81/100

This series is, in retrospect, a really appropriate title that speaks to the very spirit of noitaminA block: an adult drama slice of life about the making of dictionary that surely don’t try to target the young audiences. Sound as dry as it is, Fune wo Amu’s actually one of the strongest noitaminA show come […]

Your name. (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full […]

Occultic;Nine Review – 0/100

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was […]

Magical Girl Raising Project Review – 65/100

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to […]

Yuri!!! on Ice (Fall 2016) Review – 83/100

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough. I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true” That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here […]

Strange Frame – Love & Sax (2012) Movie Review – 76/100

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy Review – 84/100

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that […]