Posted on 28 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kiznaiver

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort to take a step towards world peace a system was devised to allow people to feel the pain of others as if it was their own and thus these group of people must learn to coexist with one another to complete missions given to them throughout the summer. This is the premise sadly lost in this show as it eventually gets lost in a love pentagram, excessive teenage melodrama and angst over the past. Kiznaiver is a polarising title in that it has elements of great worth and characters, while not particularly deep, that have good chemistry. However while it had a vague idea on the themes it wanted to touch and what it intended the characters to be, it purely gets lost when it comes to presenting those idea’s. What we are left with is a series which doesn’t know where it is going and wastes more than half its runtime in reach of a goal. Though once it finally decides on its direction it sacrifices all it has set up and it’s greater elements for forced drama and soap opera like developments. All to end on a climax with feels undeserved and rushed.

Kiznaiver is a bad story with excellent presentation as while the story developments are confused and lack focus, the presentation could fool you otherwise. Direction is particularly excellent in giving emotion to certain scenes and the visual aesthetic is quite appealing. The anime also sports a great opening with what may be the last song by the excellent band “Boom Boom Satellites”. The OST has some notable tracks and sound direction is spot on. The characters are quite likable and at times the comedy can work well but it falters when it sacrifices the comradery of the group for the cheap thrill of over emotional outbursts and vocal preaching. The plot gives special attention to certain characters only to abandon them to the sidelines afterwards and at times changing characters to fit what is demanded of the plot only to double back and have them return to how they were. At the beginning Kiznaiver was aiming to be zany and fun like any other trigger anime but halfway in it decided it was going to be Kokoro Connect. Then reaching its endgame without really deciding on which of the two it would prefer to be.

The show tries to act as a character study and tries to get across a deeper insinuation about the nature of feelings and connecting with other people but when examined it comes across as shallow and simplistic. Mainly resorting to a traumatic past as the cause of someone having communication issues instead of taking into account that maybe their are those of us who simply can’t connect with others. Or simply don’t want to. Two character get more focus in regards to this and one has their development more or less negated within two episodes of coming out of her shell. The other remains rather enigmatic and when it comes down to it, all that we truly learn of her is that she has a contrived tragic past. If it doesn’t affect you then sadly she has nothing else, besides acting as a love interest. Despite this it has moments; in both the forced drama and zany antics there were points when it comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Though this does make me lament just what this series could have been if had better planning. This is Trigger trying something different and as an experiment it is interesting. I would like to see Trigger tackle something like this again but if they do I hope they hire a better writer.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 24 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Joker Game

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on board. However the sad thing about entertainment is that even if you try something new, if you don’t succeed it amounts nothing more than a show which had a good idea and a lesson for others to not brand out from their tired concepts. In that regard I truly lament such anime but unlike them I don’t think Joker Game will remain as a lesson for others, for to do so it would have to be memorable. An idea with such promise, a tale about a team of Japanese spies sent out to gather info in the time right before World War II broke out. You could spin quite a tale with that setting but sadly Joker Game settles for a much more simplistic level.

The first problem with the show is it’s episodic format and it truly limits the plot when each episode’s story needs to be resolved in a short time frame. Each episode has a brand new cast and a brand new setting. This essentially prevents the viewer from becoming attached as there is rarely anything consistent to latch on to. But most importantly in episodic shows the show is often held up by the characters and their interactions. However Joker Games protagonists are completely interchangeable with little in defining characteristics. No matter the episode the main character plays the role of the super spy who never fails and in that regard is mainly a plot device. When looking over the story, Joker Game is style over substance and merely a spy power fantasy. The writing lacks the nuance to weave a compelling narrative around international espionage and often resorts to contrived or trite developments in order to make the protagonist look as good as possible. The villains in each episode range from the over the top evil to inconsequential, often any threat they pose is completely undermined by episodes end. The writer holds his protagonists in too high a regard which ultimately makes this a show about the triumphs of several Gary Sue’s and how much better they are than other people. It don’t take long for this aspect to wear on you and through the episodes the victories of the D-agency spies become less compelling and more boringly anticipated.

Through while the writing can reach unrealistically silly levels as the D-agents display skill bordering on the supernatural, you can still find some interest here. The show never truly drops to a level of becoming bad and to some they can come to enjoy the exploits of the spies and their missions. I found three or four episodes to have above average value and the show remains consistently watchable. However it never truly excels and in episodes can become quite boring as you wait for the inevitable cop out win of D-agency. The episodic structure continues right up to the end where the show simply stops instead of ends. The art and animation remain consistently good and the soundtrack is rather catchy and nostalgic of Noir fiction. Joker Game is a show that lacks the high points to be recommended and the low points to be outright hated, it’s middle of the ground which made the score of this series rather appropriate. Joker Game is a series destined to be lost to the ravages of time, soon to be forgotten.

~AidanAK47~

Posted on 23 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mayoiga

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years.

On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life is an intriguing concept, because there could be lots of angles to explore, even within its mystery/horror fare. The show could use the setting to explore the internal conflicts between the cast, or the nature of those monsters that drive anyone insane or even dig deep to the mystery behind Mayoiga, or the show can go full cannibalism that was suggested many times in the first episode.

Instead Mayoiga goes off track very early and never looks back and the overall execution certainly stands out, in a very-bad-it’s-good way

Billed as a mystery show, Mayoiga contains many elements that feel like a recipe for disaster: over the top characters, awkward pacing, long and meaningless conversations. In the first 10 minutes of the show for example, literally EVERYONE in the cast got introduced (and that 20 plus characters to remember). The characters have a distinct and overall solid character designs; but most of them are way too over the top to feel like real people. Mitsumune, our main character, for instance, feel really bland and his only traits are unsure about himself and his affection towards Masaki. The conversation drags on, don’t really advance the plot or flesh out the characters. Worst of all, the pacing sucks, sometimes it drags for too long before moves too quickly, for example in the first half of the show, there are few episodes where nothing important happens except the cast arguing. The cast themselves uses their time wisely to talk about how to call rock, paper, scissor the most correct way, arguing over the name of one of the cast who just vanished, or lying asleep in the end without the care of anything else.  The cliffhangers, were presented in almost the end of every episode, just so that the stake returns back to normal in a very next moment.

Thematically, Mayoiga actually has its meaning underlying under the surface. The monsters are revealed to be Nanaki, which are part of each individual’s past psychological trauma, come to life. They are a symbol of all those ugly things that the cast left behind to start over their new life. They are not, as the series progresses, intend to harm the cast, but are a part inside each character, and the show made a point (as in your face as possible) that all of them need to face their own Nanaki (their traumatic past) in order to become a better person. The Nanaki monsters, represented in 3D animation, are both out of place and uneasiness at the same time, which actually fits to the theme very well.  But I have to say, reading this underlying message is a bit too much, as the series itself never attempt to dig deeper into its theme.

Which brings me to the next point, many of the above elements actually WORKED in favors of the show. One thing that Mayoiga truly excels, the one thing that Mayoiga will likely be remembered for years to come, is its ridiculousness. All the ridicuolous, awkward bits are intentional, majority of them are so well-aware that it becomes hilarious. Many of the Nanaki monsters, for instance, are just plain silly in concept, such as a big silicon boob monster (yeah! You read it right!), or a girl seeing a giant Mitsumune because he happens to look like her ex-boyfriend, so instead of seeing her ex she would see Mitsumune who she just met for 2 days. See the absurd sense of logic here? Indeed, most of the cast embrace that ridiculous sense of logic wholeheartedly that it’s actually refreshing to see them keep betraying our expectation. Lovepon would be nothing if not for her “execution” speech, and after a while it’s just feel so welcome to see her running for her life from the monster, still remain in character “We going to be executed!!”. The Driver and his bus also keep appear/ vanish without any explaination is also a good running gag. Other characters, like Mitsumune, Hayato, Koharun, Nanko, actually the whole cast also embrace their one-note traits to a bitter end, put it up to the max that they become so gimmick and fun to watch. The conversations, as I mentioned above, drag on and on; but there is a lot to enjoy there, mainly for their unique train of thoughts and the ridiculous topics they could come up to.

Like I mentioned in my review posts, Mayoiga is a masterclass of using anti-climax not only to twist our expectation out of the usual conventions, but also to reduce any tension whatsoever. Take the revealing about the nature of Nanaki for examples, in a sequence where 4 members of our group witness their own Nanaki, they seem defeated, had nowhere to run but somehow, all of them managed to escape from it, without any injury. In other scene we witness the group decided to tied Masaki up and attempted to stab her, just so that she got ambushed by the bus driver, who drove her away just to beg her to allow him to meet his daughter again. The extensive use of anti-climax might seem uneven, absurd and even laughable at first, but actually these are all intentional so that the show can screw you out of any conventional sense.

But self-aware or not, Mayoiga can’t hide a fact that, in a nutshell, this show is an incoherent mess. In fact, inconsistency is the only consistent trait the show has. Mayoiga always feels like a product of too many minds, too many ideas that crammed all together, that contributes to too many half-baked ideas, and the pacing is all over the place. This seems understandable though, as in the process of making Mayoiga, the director Tsutomu Mizushima (Girls un Panzer, Shirobako, Prison School) encouraged the team to come up with ideas, and Mari Okada responsible for putting everything together. On that note I have to say the ending is surprisingly conclusive. Yes we would never know what happen to the people before the cast arrived, or how the majority of the cast meet their Nanaki (they JUMPED straight from those guys sleeping to they being back to the bus), but all the main questions are addressed and I actually feel kind of satisfied with the ending. This is a show with lots of obvious flaws, but it is also a show that unlike most of our usual anime fare. I have a great time with Mayoiga and ’m happy that I got the chance to cover it.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 22 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of Magna in little over a week but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish this game after chapter 6. So first, jumping into the game, I admittedly didn’t have too much experience with much of Imageepoch’s previous titles, I only played Luminous Arc 1+2 and thought the gameplay was pretty good (although I’ll always hate the story in these kind of games). Therefore, I expected Stella Glow to be much of the same. In terms of its gameplay, it’s even somewhat over-simplified/dumbed-down since my last Imageepoch game.

To be brief, combat is turn-based spread over a 3D grid ala Luminous Arc, separated by free-times in which your character can buy weapon upgrades, find loot, do odd jobs for money, and interact with party members in order to unlock new support abilities. With combat, the atrocious AI aside, it’s relatively vanilla and doesn’t rock the conventions very much. It’s blasé to say the very least, with an outdated concept of PP-based skills that is actually a regress with its lack of any equivalent to Luminous Arc’s Flash Drives aside from the conducting (which doesn’t do much for strategic depth). There is no more depth beyond these standard attacks and skill-attacks, so what you see is what you get all the way through your 50+ hour game. Moving your team members around a strategically-lacking battle area has never felt more unexciting as a direct result, and makes grinding all the more painful to do. And you’re going to have to do a lot of it.

Compounding the problems to combat are the enemies. The AI in the game utilizes little form of strategy or out-maneuvering. If it has a better shot at greater damage output (such as attacking my characters from behind) it doesn’t do it, and as is the case almost all the time they rush the nearest available frailest unit and zerg-rush them without any semblance for party-cohesion/roles. For example, even when my tank Archibald is quite vulnerable sitting at a low health, enemies still often rush my witch who’s at full HP because the AI simply cannot understand strategy and the benefits of knocking down selective units. The challenge instantly turns to frustration as early game I didn’t even bother using healing units very often, since they have to come close to another party member in order to heal, yet then become vulnerable to long-range enemies’ ridiculous ranges. On the other hand, some skills thankfully offer low-mobility characters like Archibald with long range attacks to attack past 2 squares, which is sorely appreciated for such a slow unit, and it theoretically gives these characters better usage early-game with stronger party cohesion. However, this does not work as well as it should, as you often cannot attack diagonal squares aside from magic skills. For me, that defeats the purpose of trying to give slower units a greater mobility. Yes, Archibald gets better later on in the game, but there is little logic to not allowing long range attacks in general, Archibald or otherwise, to hit diagonal boxes especially when terrain heavily limits your ideal range of movement anyways. Some elements of Fire Emblem would’ve been great here, like diagonal attacks and earlier long range healing skills. Otherwise, everything else about the combat system is solid, such as the satisfying range of roles in your party, and the activities that you can do in between battle times are varied and interesting.

As for story, it’s about a generic protagonist with a mysterious past who has the power to collect witches, in true harem spirit–as is plastered all over the back cover. I’m not going to complain too much about the generic plot as much as I hate it, it’s simply there to provide a backdrop for the challenges that our characters will face after all, and none of the party members felt forced or too out of place. However, any longtime JRPG player will recognize the story going through the motions in a half hearted attempt to try and set these characters beyond their archetypes to no avail, and the writers have every blame for this. In a game like this it’s imperative for it to be a worthy character story, with immersive character conflicts to make up for the lackluster backdrop concerning some generic kingdom under attack by some generic villains. Unfortunately however, by the end, there is very little characterization. Well, apart from “She’s not shy anymore” and “He’s less strict now.”

Lastly, the user interface is clunky and bare bones to put it lightly. Whilst in battle, you cannot access an options menu to adjust your game settings, it is only available outside of that and events. Even then, the options menu is simply pathetic. There are volume sliders, options to turn off combat animation (which is already available in battle), and little else besides it. No options for changing the controls to adjust the inversion, utter disuse of the circle pad, story recaps, turtle paced scenes, and the list goes on. But at least the game looks good for the 3DS and the soundtrack isn’t half-bad, even if the fan service is irksome as hell and never stops, but that point is rather moot with a game like this that lets you know what you’re in for with the cover. Overall, if you haven’t picked this game up yet I’d recommend you give it a try at least, it’s honestly far better than the likes of Lord of Magna.

Storytelling: 5/10 Average fantasy story
Gameplay: 7/10 Limitations aplenty, but otherwise strong system that remains familiar
User Interface: 3/10 Clunky and frustrating
Production values: 9/10 Looks and sounds great for the 3DS

Suggestions:

Fire Emblem Fates

Luminous Arc

Lord of Magna

Posted on 11 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh my. This game was just utterly, utterly incredible when it came out, so despite disliking the usual remasters (ahem, Valkyria Chronicles), I was pretty stoked when I learned I’d be able to play this again on better hardware. It came out really late into the PS2’s lifetime in 2007, so at the time, I like a lot of others thought it should’ve been on the Playstation 3, as Tales of Vesperia had also been transferred to the PS3 despite being developed for the PS2 – and two console generations later, here we are with Leifthrasir.

In case you don’t know what Odin Sphere is about, it’s simply a 2D fairytale action JRPG that puts you into the shoes of 5 characters in individual stories each with their own background and self interest, with nods to well-known fairy tales. We start off with Gwendolyn in the first book, during the great battle against the Ringford Army, when her sister is killed and she herself is defeated but spared by Oswald, the shadow knight. As we move on from her story, through Cornelius, Mercedes, Oswald, and Velvet’s, we see these individual stories slowly come together by the sixth book to create an interesting spin on the “party members banding together to save the world” RPG trope. Here, some main characters are even enemies with each other, and not in the Tales sense where they’re mysteriously hostile at first, only to turn out to being the good guys (ahem, Sheena). No, some straight up try to murder each other out of self-interest no matter how good their intentions are, and I love it because it shows a gray morality usually handled black & white in other fantasy JRPGs. There’s a reason why some aggressive kingdoms act the way they do, and while it’s certainly not insightful or original for that matter, it’s a breath of fresh air. As a result, the climax is very well done, and the ending is just as explosive and does an excellent job of laying the story to rest (so long as you get the seventh book) since characters undergo tangible conflicts. Individually, each story by themselves are pretty standard fairy-tales. However, what made Odin Sphere’s plot just that fun to play through is how interconnected each story is and the subterfuge that goes on back and forth between the main characters, even if it isn’t on a very deep level.

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Posted on 31 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Welcome to the last part of our Chinese animated guide. This part will cover Chinese traditional art style, for me personally this is the most enjoyable group. The first thing you might notice in these shows are they were in different format ratio, lean more towards the Academy ratio format. I always find their traditional art style more compelling, but somewhat conservative approach (since for long decades the Chinese insist to use this style over and over again). Luckily, these restricts have been loosen up in recent years without locking into any particular one style. As a result we have those shows below as a more relaxed and more updated version of their traditional style. Here are again the 6 shows in no particular order:

Romance of Three Kingdoms (三国演)

romance of 3 kingdoms

This is a 2009 Chinese adaptation, so not to be confused with the various anime versions. Based on the popular work “Romance of Three Kingdoms” (which people regards its influence in East Asia literature is like that of Shakespeare in English literature). What we have in this episode are the three legendary warriors Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Guan Yu become brothers and they fight together. I love the traditional character designs, and they provided solid enough animated scenes. But I can’t get pass the fact that a girl who was pushed down a cliff, not only she’s not die, but seems unharmed and she then proceeds to play musical after that. Weird. She must had been on crack I think! Besides that, I always meant to read the actual book, but its length (800,000 words) always put me off. This series so far is solid enough for me to follow it through.

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Posted on 27 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the box art. With the internet you can at least get an idea for what you are in for. Lucid9 is one of the few I pick up out of curiosity, partly due to the few steam reviews present were very positive and the fact that it’s a free game. I knew nothing regarding what it was about and my only previous contact with it is a vague recollection on a Fuwanovel blog post. So I thought that it’s been awhile since I played a genuine visual novel and I was itching for something different. This is the first part called inciting Incident of a series of visual novels planned however despite that the story in this is more or less conclusive despite a pretty big cliffhanger for a sequel. At least the mystery for this game is solved with just a few hints of behind the scenes manipulation to be addressed in later chapters. Besides the pretty big turn of events at the stories end you could leave off this one content. Provided you stop before the last scene. But anyway enough baiting, lets us move on to the review.

For the unintroduced, Lucid9 is a visual novel and no, that is not the same thing as an eroge or dating sim. An eroge is like a visual novel but features a stronger focus on pornography. Often you can tell the difference between the two by the game’s title or synopsis. While visual novels do feature hentai content, it’s much lesser than an eroges content. In many new titles it’s getting phased out completely. A dating sim is more of a game where the objective is to raise girls affection for you and improve stats which are normally not present in visual novels. The best way to describe a visual novel is that it is like a choose your own adventure book. You go through a story and are presented choices which can lead the story on a different path. Most of the time the paths are decided by which girl in the narrative you show most interest in and the route you take often has them as the main heroine. Today’s visual novel is an exception to that as their is only one route and the choices you make don’t have much of an impact on the overall narrative. I will also point out that this visual novel doesn’t have any hentai within it’s narrative. The story involves a series of disappearances that are happening at an high class academy which are the work of a serial killer. Our protagonist is a cynical snark mouthed student who attends the school and manages to get caught up in the case. He’s recruited by a private investigator as an assistant and the case begins to affect those around him. Slowly he finds that he has a growing talent for investigation and detective work. Admittedly the murderers aren’t put on full focus here as the story mainly is concerned with the development of the main character and how this helps him get over his own issues to finally put effort into doing something with his life. For a free VN I was surprised at the quality of writing, this author really excels at writing back and forth dialogue though it can make the characters too quipy at times. The story is really carried by the interactions between characters and it does manage to keep things interesting.
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Posted on 21 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below have been hit or miss, but even me can say that their production is quite great and they are a creative bunch. Their shows, while mostly anime style-wise, cover many genres: from comedy, romantic to thriller. Their climax action scenes are quite impressive as well. Here are the 6 shows in no particular order:

Yaoguai Mingdan – Monster List (妖怪名单)

 Yaoguai Mingdan

The story started on the campus of a university. The poor university student Feng Xi can occasionally see demons, but he didn’t trust his marvelous senses. An unexpected snooping allowed him to find out that the school beauty was a demon fox? What should he do during the date with a demon fox? The beautiful demon fox gave him a small present, and then he realized his university was full of monsters. This is by far their most popular show but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Here we have the most ecchi show of the whole bunch, which is quite fitting seems those monsters are girls seducing their prey (horny young boys). I had to say the final fighting scene is very entertaining, but this is not my type of show.

More after the jump (more…)

Posted on 18 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Other:

Cover

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime shows. His musical style tends to emphasize heavy rock, orchestral, choirs and electronica in a bombastic manner. It not that he isn’t capable of other genres as he has shown to be quite proficient but his loudest and epic soundtracks receives the lion’s share of attention. Some of his works featured in shows like Blue Exorcist, Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, Seven Deadly Sins, Aldnoah.Zero, Seraph of the End, and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Sawano also composed the soundtrack for Xenoblade Chronicles X as well as various Japanese live-action drama throughout his career.  

If there is one legitimate complaint about Sawano’s music, it’s that he tends to rely too heavily on the same few singers for the vocals in his anime compositions.Thankfully, he incorporates more singers into his latest work including EGOIST, Eliana, Cyua (performed for Guilty Crown and Kill la Kill ) and Aimer. Describing his latest work on Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is little tough since he likes to reuses the same style but it would be something along the lines of the dramatic vision in Attack on Titan combined with the epic beats of Aldnoah.Zero.

Standout Tracks:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS, Warcry, JAnoPAN, Through my Blood, 88城, Grenzlinie, Ktetsu上-abdli, 1coma, icon

Strong Background Tracks:

KGK, ComeBack音, noname

Impressions:

KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS – The main theme of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri with Eliana being the main singer and is what ət’æk 0N tάɪtn was to Attack on Titan. While ət’æk 0N tάɪtn had an absolutely sick drop with Mika Kobyashi vocals, I felt that this theme was more consistent in its buildup and execution.

Warcry – As heard in episode two and five when Memui goes to town on those pesky Kabanes, this insert song comes with all the terrible and cheesy lyrics of mpi

JAnoPAN – This odd track is more along the lines of SiTE-n0w1 (Aldnoah.Zero) where it had this funky dancefloor beat and peculiar voices. I have been never been a fan of mpi as his English singing really sucks but the intensity of the latter half has me interested in where they decide to insert this as Memui goes further down the hole.

Through my Blood – Featured in episode four, it’s a tossup between Mika Kobyashi and Aimer’s version bundled with the ED CD single.

88城 – I didn’t get all that riled up by the first half of this song even though it was had this sweeping sound that you find in your typical introduction in a movie. It is the second half that got me excited as it was

Grenzlinie – Uplifting song with Cyua on vocals that starts off soft and ends off in on an epic note.

Ktetsu上 abdli – Not a big fan of piano solos but the first half of the track has this depressing jazz-like feel to it like a person who is moping about and wailing at random things. It’s not a bad thing as it does sound quite lovely in a morbid kind of way as it spirals down in oblivion in its second half. Featured in episode three where Memui impales a pregnant lady that had the misfortune of turning in a Kabane.

1coma – The definitive theme for Icoma. I would says that this describe about the resolve of our main character that grows into this epic orchestra version of Through the Blood as he gains the means to realize his purpose of protecting people by kicking ass with his own steam gun.

icon – Different version of the ED where Eliana sings in English as opposed to EGOIST/Aimer’s Japanese. I prefer the original version as the Japanese and interplay between the two voice makes for a more pleasant experience and the cheesy English lyrics proves to be too much.

Should you purchase this soundtrack? The answer would be a resounding yes as I found myself placing ten out of sixteen soundtracks onto my music player. Hiroyuki Sawano manages to find his way again after his rather subdued work on Seraph of the End and comes out with a smashing OST to a show where the there are definitely no brakes on the zombie-killing train.

Posted on 13 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

As much as I hated the term Chinese Anime (Anime stands for Japanese animation, strictly speaking), this is the exact term for those shows. Their influence from the Anime was so heavy that apart from the voice cast and some scene settings, you can’t tell those apart from the original anime. With that said, judge from anime standard, some of the shows here are solid or at least entertainment. Here are the 6 shows in no particular order:

Spirit Blade Mountain – Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage – 从前有座灵剑山

Spirit Blade Mountain

In the anime’s story, a comet falling will bring about a great calamity, and in order to choose a child fated by the falling comet, the family of the “Reiken” clan with a long storied history is once again resuming its entrance examination process to find disciples. The protagonist, who possesses a special soul that is only available once in a thousand years, decides to take the exam, and he starts down the path toward becoming an exceptional sage. This is an anime adaptation of the popular manga “Spirit Blade Mountain“ by Studio DEEN and just released in Winter 2016. This first episode benefits both from the double length (20 minutes compared to other series’ 10 minutes) and a huge likeable cast on their way to the Reiken trial. Each of them have their own designs and personalities so this is fun to watch them working together. This is the most anime-quese of all the shows I watch, but considering an anime studio adapting it, it would make sense. The story is good and fun so far but I’m not quite convinced to watch more of it.

Chu Feng BEE (雛蜂-BEE-)

Chu Feng BEE

In 2017, a group of genius scientists achieve a remarkable breakthrough in bioengineering. However, all the new technologies are put into military use, beginning a new round of arms race. Vanguards, as the most significant achievement of the modern bioengineering and the most advanced weapon, are widely utilized in the race. The heroine Liuli has also consumed too much of her lifespan after executing missions for a long time. With only 380 days left in her life, Liuli receives a new mission, to rescue a hostage being held in a civilian facility. During the mission, Liuli surprisingly finds that the man who holds the hostage was once a vanguard. The art is gorgeous and the production is very solid here: from the background design, the sound, the music, everything just in high standard here, but the story, even in its 1st episode, is so heavy-handed. I don’t really like all the political elements of the show, but it seems like they going for that direction. This is one of the most popular Chinese titles out there as well. I will give it couple more episodes to see how everything unfolds.

Nüwa’s Growth Diary (娲成长日记)

Nüwa’s Growth Diary

A girl finds out by her creepy father that she is in fact Nuwa, the goddess who creating mankind and repairing the pillar of heaven. Now she has to come to term with it. The first episode focuses on the father who keep convincing her daughter that she’s a goddess, but she understandably thinks that he’s a nut. I think this is one of the most solid comedy show in this list. My favorite part would be when the father and daughter stop arguing for a moment, turn back and ask the director if their “acting” is good enough. I don’t think this shows will break any rules but it is an enjoyable work.

The Devil Ring (戒魔人)

The Devil Ring

What a great hook. The story about a freshman guy, forced to wear unknown origin ancient ring, soon after a terrible evil literally leaps out from his mouth, and attacks people, these strange monsters may hide the mystery of the origin of human. I’d say I’m impressed with the hook, but from this first episode I can’t really say where the show decides to head into? Is it a thriller Ajin-style, where everyone would hunt him and the monster down, is it a psychological one where he has to learn how to control the monster, or is it just simply a mindless action show? The art is not really my type but I don’t mind to explore more of this work.

Eros Chocolate (爱神巧克力)

 Eros Chocolate

A guy, unknowingly eats a “love” pie and shares the pie to 4 girls, as a result those four girls, with so different personalities, chase him down like crazy. This is your typically harem show, and as far as I can tell not a good one. All the girls are archetypes: a Queen bee, a Sporty one, a Bookworm one, and a Weird Weilding Sword one. Haizz, this show makes me sad that even the harem stuff still have its fan overseas.

NANOCORE (纳米核心)

Nanocore

Nanocore is a science fiction Chinese TV cartoon in 3D. The stage of the story is established on a fictional planet Birthigin. In this young planet, human will never stop longing for a bright future despite reason and fear. In revolutions and evolutions, human keeps challenging the Creator, and which eventually induces contractions intensified. People choose to wake up and struggle for their own ideals.  Seems like an intrigue idea, but what’s up with this show’s character designs? A pink hair girl with pink eyes and pink outfit, who has a brother that has red hair and red eyes; plus, they are in 3D computer animated and we have a completely ridiculous art designs. The story features a brother and sister who were looking for food, then suddenly a huge aircraft fell right behind them. Other elements are all right though, I have to say the sci-fi setting is rather well though, but not too stand out from the rest.

~SuperMario~

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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