Posted on 12 April 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kokkoku

There are lots of bad anime out there, for one reason or another. Whether it be stilted animation, terrible writing or bad direction, a good portion of each season is simply not worth it. Kokkoku is not a bad anime. It is something much worse. Kokkoku is a mediocre anime. Bad ones get talked about, jokes pop up, they become lessons on what not to do in the future. Mediocre anime however simply get forgotten. Kokkoku, for all the promise it started with, will not be a cult classic. It won’t get sub-standard fan-fiction or people arguing on whether its amazing or terrible. No, the best it will get is a review on a couple random blogs that few people will ever read.

Lets jump in!

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Posted on 7 April 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Junji Ito Collection

In the realm of manga there is a man whose name is inescapable when the genre of horror is brought up. That man is Junji Ito and his work is considered legendary for its artistic detail, mastery of manga paneling and it’s outlandish imaginative concepts. Up till now his work has yet to have an adaptation that fits his legacy despite a number of attempts to do so. And now with completion of the Junji Ito Collection anime I can sadly say that fact still remains. This animes greatest failing is the lack of effort to truly adaption Junji Ito’s work to animation with the animation being bare bones to truly awful and the art not even coming close to his iconic style. This anime at least can be watchable due to the creativeness of the material but having passable animation, voice acting and music isn’t a good enough trade for the quality of the source itself.

The stories all have a problem with endings where many of them just cut off abruptly and move on to the next tale without much breathing room. Few have conclusive ends to the story being told and can feel like they were cut off in the middle of the tale. Some stories also are questionable choices with the main examples being the Souichi stories when are more black comedy than horror and stick out awkwardly when compared to the other content. The horror stories themselves fail to be scary though some do have some disturbing ideas while others prove to be far too silly to be taken seriously. Otherwise Ito’s general weakness with characterisation can have people acting in awkward or idiotic ways.

Horror anime is unfortunately a rarity and it was a solemn hope of mine that this could be something special despite skepticism. Sadly be it due to staff or studio there felt like no real heart put into this production. A meer attempt to cash in on the legacy of some who puts tremendous effort and time into his craft. A man that deserved better than this.The soundtrack has no notable tracks, the opening is a questionable rock song and the presentation weakens the content that while not making a terrible show, unfortunately turns it into a mediocre one. I do not recommend this be your first introduction to the works of Junji Ito and this isn’t really an anime worth watching, nor remembering.

Posted on 1 April 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

I admit that I underestimated Yuru Camp back in its first few episodes. I took it as a standard, run-on-the-mill slice of life show and I fully expected to give it 3 episodes at max before throwing it into the deep sea of forgotten anime. But as time pass, I can certainly see many good strengths about this little show and it becomes one of the show that I enjoyed the most this season. In fact, Yuru Camp’s appeal never really goes beyond its genre offering but as far as slice-of-life genre goes, it certainly offers more than enough to be a solid recommendation. Structure-wise, Yuru Camp is a show made up (mostly) of two half: one with the fluffy pink cupcake that is Nadeshiko and her camping experience with her Outclub’s members, and the other is Rin’s solo camp. Looking at each part, not only individually they are above your average cute-girls shows with distinctive, warm atmosphere and delightful chemistry from the cast, these two segments also complement each other well.

I’ll say it now, Rin’s solo not-quite-as-bizarre adventures make up for best parts of Yuru Camp. Usually, cute-girls shows elaborate the theme of happily spending time together with friends as their selling point (and as the natural way of life, apparently), and while Yuru Camp certainly has that aspect, the show also respects Rin’s little personal space. Maybe it resonates with me more than most people, but I’m always in the camp who believe that you’re truly happy when you can appreciate moments of nothingness. They’re moments when you can truly let go of all the burdens, connections of life that tie you tightly and just enjoy that exact point in time as it is. THE BEST HEALING METHOD IT IS. I get that same feeling while watching Rin sitting in her chair, late at night, totally alone, in the middle of camp site (If you want to see what I mean without bothering to watch the show, check out its ED). Rin is a loner, but she isn’t the type of loner who secretly looks for friends. She enjoys her time by herself and all little moments from her solo trip: from talking with a dog in a passing car, making conversations with other strangers, or quietly observing the place and – my favorite – finding obstacles along the way (block road, no water, etc) and managing to go through them and lastly, eating yummy foods are all rewarding in their own way and certainly make her trips a real treasure to watch. Moreover, Yuru Camp never frames her preference as being anti-social. Through the course of its run eventually Rin discovers the fun of camping together with friends, yes, but in essence she’s the same person who always enjoy camping alone. And the show and the girls all respect her little solitude space.

Outside of Rin’s solo camps, the show still has a lot to offer. All the characters are a delight to watch, Nadeshiko is a big teddy bear to hug and while you could argue their characters’ traits have been done to death, it’s the chemistry those girls share together that makes it all ticked. Their banters (and there were tons of it) feel exactly like conversations you have with your best mates, with easy-going attitude but weirdly sharp and fun at the same time. Their time spent together on the camping trips sing well too, with ahem… laidback tone and nice sceneries all around, which isn’t that surprising when the settings are mainly surround the Mount Fuji. The foods they make, contributes a huge parts to the success of this show. Just like how Rin comments about Nadeshiko: “look at her happy eating face makes the food itself looks tasty”, it’s the feeling that I get too (consider my hesitation on food-centric shows, this comes a rare recommendation). In addition, the fact that the show is set mostly in winter makes it a surprisingly appropriate show to watch this season and further makes camping-during-winter premise such a nice ring to it.

Yuru Camp is not without its issues, however. The cartoon tips about camping and getting the right camping materials distract the flow of the anime and I believe it’d be much better if they cut them entirely. Being a slice-of-show also mean that there’s no real character development and there’s minimum conflict whatsoever and where are the male species? It’s hard to fault the show for those, but it also means that apart from the strong atmosphere, many beautiful scenic backgrounds and delightful characters, there isn’t much else to offer. The score is pretty good as I can recall some of its score vividly and the night time in winter never look more appealing than this, so the background arts are a winner. Overall, Yuru Camp has all its ingredients for a solid slice of life show, and they pull it off. I will remember these girls’ banters, and most of all, the peace of being alone, rather fondly, but it’s also clear that people who don’t like the genre won’t have much to revel in here.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Neo Yokio

This may be half a year overdue but I simply can’t accept that none of the writing staff of Star Crossed Anime have cover the the biggest development in anime where Netflix took a hand in producing anime in the form of Neo Yokio.

Taking place in the metropolis of Neo Yokio, a mashup between New York and Tokyo, it follows the Magistocrat Kaz Khan as he balances his life between hunting down demons, being a connoisseur of fashion and tempering the various relationships with the women in his life. Each episode tells a different stories but still slowly builds the continuity of its themes of the excesses of capitalism and vanity of the privileged.To be fair, you have to have a high intellectual capability to understand the points it’s expertally trying to get across like the giant Toblerones of which Kaz seems to carry everywhere with him as the basis is set in his desires to be the rock hard but sweet protector of Neo Yokio. While Jaden Smith, who is a young Hollywood actor and the son of Will Smith, isn’t known for his voice acting ability, he does an amazing job in portraying a character besieged by his overbearing aunt and social responsibility of becoming the most eligible bachelor in the entire city. Even the side characters like Kaz’s friends and the ever stalwart mecha-butler, Charles, are really well done as they add to the high-end atmosphere that Neo Yokio sets itself out to be by drawing from the philosophical works of Michel Foucault and Albert Camus into their own being. I will say that not everything gets wrapped neatly in the end but the journey of shifting alliances between the top bachelors, exhilarating demonic showdowns and standing up to Aunt Agatha’s tyranny instills the character growth I want to see from my Chinese cartoons. It may only be six episodes long but that’s all it needs to get its point across unless other shows that need twelve or more episodes because they can’t manage their overboasted plotlines properly.

In keeping with its themes and tribulations of Kaz being a part of Neo Yokio’s high society, the musical score does not disappoint in the least with pieces like Vivaldi Concerto in E Flat Major, Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto No.5 in F Minor BWV 1056, and the winter portion from the The Four Season done by the violin in F Minor. Often, I think that we are too focus on consuming original content when there is already such amazing soundtracks to choose from. After all, it is impossible to argue against centuries-old musical scores that have withstood the test of time and are still played by professional orchestras in fancy opera houses around the world. Neo Yokio distinguishes and elevate itself over the typical anime trash by building on top of masterpiece to become a masterpiece.

If there is any fault that I can find with Netflix’s impeccable first stab at overseeing anime production, it is that the animation isn’t the best out there. Produced in conjunction with Production IG, Studio Deen and Studio MOI, it is clear that they didn’t have the sheet talent or funding to reach the levels like Ufotable but the overall quality is quite nice in how they rendered city of Neo Yokio in the landmarks and extra additions like the The Sea Beneath 14th Street or the crazy Formula One race in the finale. Overall, it beats out most of the garbage that comes out every season but could give trashy overrated shows like Made in Abyss or Violet Evergarden a run for its money.

There seems to be a minority on the internet that decries Neo Yokio isn’t all that great to begin with but obviously, they can’t appreciate the nuance that is the choices of clothing like the Chanel suit or the travesty of a midnight-blue tuxedo. It is painfully obvious that criticism of that uncultured nature is shallow and pedantic at its very best. As this site prides itself on watching nothing but the best and with the new season begins in April, you would be a fool to miss out on this pinnacle of anime.

94 Toblerones/100 Toblerones

Posted on 30 March 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Devilman Crybaby

It’s an exciting time to be an anime fan where new business models and players are making big waves within the animation industry. After debuting with the original and excellently-produced Neo Yokio, the juggernaut streaming service of Netflix has decided to revive the classic series of Devilman and gives it the full adaption treatment. By combining the sexual violence of its source material to the likes of Urotsukidoji and having big names like Masaaki Yuasa at its helm, the Devilman franchise makes a comeback into the western mindset after spending decades in obscurity.

For those of you not familiar with the Devilman series, it was a huge series in the 1970s where it tells the story of a teenage boy, bestowed with demonic powers, fighting against other unearthly horrors in an monster-of-the-week format. Subsequent OVAs attempted to follow the manga source more closely but could never finish the job. Devilman Crybaby makes a couple of liberal changes but the core story remains the same with Ryo and Akria teaming up to fight the demons with Miki supporting from the sidelines. Yuasa’s version adds a whole bunch of layers like the incorporation of track and field and roaming beatboxing freestylers . All those aspects are done quite well but perhaps the strongest aspect of having Netflix being the financier and distributor is being able to be very casual about its sexual and violent content. It was once said that:

There is nothing that arouses a stronger response in human beings than either sex or violence. A mixture of the two is very powerful indeed.

Unlike other anime where the mature content is done for the sake of being edgy, Devilman Crybaby uses its brutality to validates its darker themes as it progresses further along its story. I don’t want to give out spoilers but since the source is a 70s manga that influenced works like Berserk and Evangelion, there is nothing comforting about how everything plays out.   

If you are familiar with Yuasa’s unorthodox animation style, then Devilman Crybaby’s eccentric visuals should come as no surprise. It doesn’t have that crude design of Ping Pong the Animation, but lacks the fancy special effects that other studios strive for. Instead, it swings between the plain and psychedelic color palette, the strength to this anime is not found in the details but the unhinged motions of its characters and artistics liberties taken with the framing/composition of its shots. Like its animation, the music (composed by Kensuke Ushio of Koe no Katachi and Ping Pong the Animation fame), is just as unique with its elements of synthwave and an epic orchestral choir to the point like it came out of Hotline Miami 2‘s soundtrack. In keeping up with the insanity shown on screen, the soundtrack does a very job and only serves to enhance the show overall.

Devilman Crybaby is the definitive complete package of its source material but it doesn’t come without its fair share of problems. Clocking in at ten episodes, I had an issue with its pacing especially towards the latter half of the series when Ryo’s grand plan comes into fruition and things get very crazy. It goes far too fast in its escalation of conflict between the demons and mankind and in a few instances, I had to pause and read between the scenes to understand the what exactly happened in the final episodes. In addition, Ryo and Akira’s memories of their early childhood together should have been sprinkled in far earlier in the series instead of shoehorning it into the last episode as it seemed rushed to have the foundation poured in before the conclusion of their conflict. The second negative is the amount of Erglish thrown around as it becomes a distracting element for the story’s more serious moments. While Roy’s japanese voice actor is relatively decent in pronouncing his English line when compared to other anime (I’m looking at you Zankyou no Terror), there are some major speeches where his delivery fall flat in invoking the intended reaction from the viewers.

Devilman Crybaby is not a show for everyone. It is a vulgar, uncensored and sexually violent reinterpretation dreamed up by the surreal creativity that is Masaaki Yuasa. For those of you who are able to stomach such things or have a fascination with anime’s more unhindered aspects, this show is the shining example of the medium is capable of and the new business direction it is heading towards. However, for all its praises, there are just a few significant issues that holds it back from becoming anime of the year although it would easily a top ten list for any serious anime fan. In any case, Devilman Crybaby was an experience for me that I won’t forgetting about anytime soon.

83/100

Posted on 27 March 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mahoutsukai no Yome

Fantasy is a rather prolific genre in anime, with a vast majority of Isekai and Shounen fitting snugly into it. Most take place in their own unique setting, either Amestris of Full Metal Alchemist or the made of world of the latest Isekai trash. Few however try to set themselves in our world. To peel back the mystery of our own myths and legends of lore. Mahoutsukai no Yome attempts to do just this. To bring magic into our regular dreary world. However it Mahoutsukai stretched itself to thin, attempting both a fantasy epic and a sweet character drama, only to fail at both.

Lets jump in!

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Posted on 11 February 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, OVAs and Movies:

Mary's movie poster

Wooper: Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, which spun off from Studio Ghibli in early 2015. Given Ghibli’s towering reputation, the bar was high for this inaugural flick, which recently made its way to U.S. theaters, giving Lenlo and I a chance to see it on the big screen. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, whose previous work includes When Marie was There and The Secret World of Arrietty, selected a source novel (“The Little Broomstick”) that landed his newest film in safe, Ghibli-reminiscent territory. That choice works both for and against the movie, because while its familiar characters and motifs of magic and flight are visually arresting, many anime fans will have seen it all before. There’s hardly a single frame in this film that you couldn’t hang above your mantle, but its story never manages to generate that same impact.

Lenlo: Agreed. Mary and the Witch’s Flower managed to trick me with its Ghibli-esque style a few times. However that also means the comparisons to Ghibli are inevitable. It’s a perfect example of the limits of beautiful animation without a good story to back it up. It’s the classic “little girl finds magical land, saves it from some evil and is home in time for dinner”. I was never surprised by it and often let down. My biggest problem with it however was the criminal use of its characters. Flanagan and Great-Aunt Charlotte are underused and feel more like Director ‘Deus Ex Machina’ plot devices rather than real characters.

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Posted on 4 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

In this Corner of the World (for the purpose of this review, I’ll refer it as “Corner”), is the truest slice of life drama if you ever encounter one, in that it’s a slice into an ordinary life of an ordinary girl during the War period. That speaks into the very first strength of Corner, it breathes life and it feels all too real. Suzu, our protagonist, is a normal girl who loves to draw and a bit of an airhead herself. Throughout the course of the movie, we see her grown through a passage of time, get married to a stranger in a strange town, find accustomed to the new life, new family, new hometown before the war comes in and destroys everything. Quiet, slow but melancholic and beautiful at times, Corner shines through mostly because of its restraint to go heavy-handed. They could easily go melodramatic in many moments, consider they’re dealing with war issues, one of the most brutal subject on film. Yet somehow they know that the main focus is the life of Suzu, and the terror of war ultimately is just a part of it.

Coming to Corner, I originally expected another war treatment in the veins of Graves of Fireflies or Barefoot Gen or Giovanni’s Island – a full-blown lost of innocence drama about the horrific consequences the war causes to normal citizen. I was taken by surprise by how Corner instead focuses on the ordinary life of Suzu, on her little moments of living her life, the life that she has no control over. The whole film is painted in a way that it feels like a memory, a look back to the harsh period of Japan with a tender perspective, an outlook that both bitter and sweet at the same time. In Corner, there’s no big emotional outburst in display. There’s no angsty statement to be found at the horrible injustice of war. There’s no grand decision that change the course of war. Just like in our own real life the life-changing moments happen only few times, with long in-between time we stay almost the same, Corner is more interested to focus on those in-between moments.

As Corner aims for simple approach, the character designs are decidedly simple, never stand out, which remind me greatly to the art of the old era. The cast share formal, yet natural chemistry and even her relationships with the members of her husband side, especially with her sister in law have some solid development. The tone is light-hearted and episodic – and surprisingly – good humor, but we can all feel the weight behind each fleeting moment. The light humor is what I really appreciate about this movie. As I often see it, if you can find humor even in the worst possible situation, then you can go a long way. Imagine how the father in law falls asleep in the middle of the air raid, or the members of the house nearly burst out laughing with the idea of Suzu being a spy.

In my opinion, the war section wouldn’t be that powerful without the full-of-life coming of age story about Suzu in the first half. She has a normal childhood with a small crush and some true moments of happy carefree life, she then marriages off to a guy she barely knows in a faraway land, spends her days away doing housework. Suzu is significant in a way she never stands out, or like her sister in law comments: “leading a boring life”. Yet, she is the perfect protagonist for Corner. She presents the lives of many ordinary people in that era, the lives that we can all relate to. The latter part has some quietly devastating moments but like what comes before, it becomes just a part of Suzu’s life. For me at least, I feel heartfelt how despite everything happens, Suzu and her family, and in a larger extend, the strength of normal people manage to recover and continue to live on their lives, with a smile on their faces.

In the end, I wholeheartedly recommend In this Corner of the World. Quiet, subtle, humane, true to life, and weirdly humorous and warm, Corner again is a perfect example of a work that can shake off all the flashiness to seek for something real, and simple. The result, of course, is far from “simple” and “ordinary”, the mastery that is so hard to obtain. 2016 and 2017 have been great years for anime movies and Corner stays rightly at the near top of those offerings. A marvelous achievement from studio MAPPA.

Posted on 3 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Houseki no Kuni

Make no mistake, Houseki no Kuni is the most ambitious anime project of the year. Not only because it’s an entirely CG project (and make a damn good use of it, mind you), or because of its narrative scope that at once strange, grand and beauty, but also in its very conception in their production phase. Unlike normal anime products, Orange studio approached the material as early as nearly 2 full years before its initial broadcasting, and the production went through many unusual phases that took much longer time for the studio to complete. This is to say it was a rough path that they decided taking on and the result showcases how much confidence they adapt the material. This season feels much more as an introduction to an epic story and at its core Houseki serves as an coming of age story to our protagonist Phos, while exploring the insecurities of those gems towards their own roles. As I compare the manga and the anime adaptation together, I still regard the manga as a more astonishing version, but by all mean it’s not a criticism against the anime. Houseki the anime approaches the source in the best way it possibly can, both highlights the unique appeal of its gems cast, striking visual metaphoring and dynamic fights sequence that make it one of the best adaptation in my eyes: both respect the core themes that make the manga stands out, at the same time is vibrant with its own personality.

Houseki is a show of pure beauty. Its world building is ethereally fresh and rich, at once strange and full of mysteries yet to explore. Houseki features the world where the three races: the Lunarians who live over the Moon, the Gems who live in land and the Admirabilis who live under the sea. Underneath that surface where we follow the Gems doing their daily patrol and fight off the invaders Lunarians, the three races are hinted to be the three basic components that form the human race: the Soul, the Bone and the Flesh, respectively. Houseki is the work that is dense with Buddhism symbols, images and philosophy. This is further underlined in the way the character designs are drawn: the Moon People are identical entities, the Gems have their lower bodies almost the same, only the Gems-reflected in their hairs are vastly different and the Snails have their own distinctive, over-designed body with clear sexual traits. Speaking of the ambiguous of gender issues, Houseki might be the only series I could give a plus (+) rating for its sensitive approach to the non-gender beings, something that is rare even in today’s standard and something that speaks further to the originality of Houseki.

In order to approach the strange beauty of the Gems and the stylish dynamic of their fights, Houseki decided to go full CG – a decision that freaked out the manga fans considering the bad track of full CG shows. The computer generated might get some time to get used to, but the more Houseki displays its visual the more it reaches its new height. The characters look gorgeous in their CG models, the CG allows Houseki to experiment with many unusual shot angles and long shot tracking that really hard to pull in a traditional hand-drawn production. The sequence where Dia runs away from Shiro, for example, stands out for all the right seasons. In addition, this CG style uses its shortcomings in computer production (its lightweight movements and somewhat awkward character actings) into an asset, making the Gems feel offbeat and whimsical – the very quality that make them charming and pleasing to watch. The physical comedy, as a result, hits the mark most of the time. But not only the CG takes all the credits here, I have to praise the 2D production as well since the characters have 2D facial features that allow many subtle facial expressions. Orange studio really makes the most out of what they have, capturing the feeling of the manga using the tools of a different medium, and they pull off beautifully.

But exploring this mysterious world and its grand cast is only one of Houseki’s many concerns. This season is all about the growth of our main character, Phos, as they breaking apart, metamorphosing, and changing themselves for better or for worse. They experient some of the sharpest character development I have seen in awhile, both physically and psychologically. The more they losing parts of their body, the more useful and mature they become, the less memory they have. At the end of the day, what’s left of the original Phos? Phos certainly carries their own magnificently with their own charm and witty remarks and a natural voice acting from the talented Tomoyo Kurosawa. Moreover, Houseki underscores the identity and the insecurity of the Gems towards the own roles. Many of the gems, from Phos, Cinnabar, Dia are all struggling with their position. Those vulnerables make them so relatable and real. All other Gems of the cast have their own quirks, but they never sell themselves short. They share great natural chemistry to each other and each of them is memorable, grounded and overall a total joy to watch.

Aside from the colorful yet memorable characters, Houseki benefits from the stunning background arts that not only stand out on its own, but they fit to the narrative seamlessly. Take note how the color of the background changes according to the Gems in spotlight – a beautiful trick that both convey the aura of said character, but also is very appropriate to show the sparkling ability of those Gems. The anime visual has a lot of symmetric shots that from what I know isn’t apparent in the manga, but it’s a welcome upgrade since the techniques reflects very well the theme of Houseki. The soundtrack is another highlight that really elevate many sequences to another level, especially during the fight scenes.

But still, Houseki is much more than beautiful visuals. What I impress the most about Houseki is how they manage the overall tones of the show. Sometimes we have silly, offbeat fluffy comedy, at times it goes full on devastating that showcase a very realistic portrayal of grief; in other minutes Houseki is thrilling with monster chase, crazy Gems and dynamic fights. Strangely, all of these moments above feel really Houseki-y. It’s the show that is full of identity. Rarely I see an anime show that feel so unlike any other shows I watch out there, and manage to be so passionate on what it does, that I can let all my complaint about the show down under the kitchen sink. Unique, strange, beautiful, devastating, ambiguous, and charming all at once, Houseki is an one-of-a-kind series, and I mean it in the best possible way.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Fate/Apocrypha

I was quite excited for Apocrypha and in the so called year of Fate adaptations, it looked to be the crown jewel. Sadly, partly due to lacking adaption and the source lacking in areas, this anime turned out to be not quite the jewel I thought it would be. It’s hard to call this a bad anime, mainly because it lacks consistency it it’s quality. Much like it’s animation, Apocrypha goes from highs and lows, from boring mediocre scenes to scenes that range from mildly entertaining to genuinely great. Unfortunately to get the most out of it you need to read up on the mythological of the characters in it as the series itself does a very poor job of fleshing them out. Fate/Apocrypha details a war between fourteen servants with one extra servant acting as referee. As such it boasts a pretty massive cast of characters which proves to be to its detriment. There isn’t enough screen time to flesh all these characters out and sadly a lot of potential with some genuinely interesting characters gets wasted. There are a number of servants in Apocrypha that deserved better than the story they got, such as Sisgou and Mordred, the people who originally appeared to be our main protagonists. Excellent chemistry, fun master servant relationship and despite Mordred being a saberface she gives enough personality to the design that she makes it her own. And all of this is absolutely wasted when they are pushed to the wayside for their screen time to be robbed by the actual protagonist of the story.

At episode three a homunculus called Sieg is introduced and from his very introduction comes the greatest flaw of Apocrypha. Sieg is a mistake. He is a character with no personality who goes from wondering about his existence to archetypical hero. The plot of Apocrypha bends over backward to give Sieg all the screen time and plot devices he needs to steal the spotlight. he is cardboard, a literally one dimensional plank with a sign that says “Your face here” and comes with his own romance subplot that is given far too much time and effort. Sieg sucks the fun out of any scene he’s in that I honestly believe that the times I was most bored watching this show where when he was on screen. Take note that Sieg is not an annoying character nor does he have a personality that irks the viewer. The problem is that he’s nothing and steals precious screen time from servants most desperately needing development. All the characters of Apocrypha suffer due to his presence and that’s a damn shame as this story does indeed have potential. But it’s clear that while the writer set up a grand epic battle, he didn’t quite think of how he was to close it out. Some servants feel like unnecessary time wasters like Jack and Avicebron. Also while the battle starts as shades of grey with no one technically in the right, it slowly changes into a strictly black and white affair.

The music of the series is fantastic which Masaru Yokoyama succeeds in giving Fate/Apocrypha its own distinctive identity through melody. There are plenty of scenes elevated by his OST alone and I truly think they deserved a better show. Though there are some medolics which play a bit too often. The animation, while shaky and nowhere near Ufotables level, does showcase some impressive fight scenes which are exhilarating enough to push away Apocryphas problems temporarily. Ultimately Fate/Apocrypha is wasted potential that made for a mediocre anime with some patches of entertainment and some small moments of greatness. Not to be recommended as your first Fate anime and most likely more for those that are deep into the series. It is a immensely flawed series that could have been better than the sum of its parts but as it there is at least some meat here to give a Fate fan reason to check it out. Provided you keep your expectations low and do a bit of reading on the servants histories. Though if the Light novel ever gets fully translated, that’s the better alternative.

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous2037529
LWA academia is probably the only trigger project i've truly cared about. I haven't watched KlK to completion or luluco for that matter(i got to get around to that) but ive seen everything else and i just don't give a damn about any of em
Amagi
But to say something positive - I liked the second episode of Kamuy way better than the first one. Budget seems to be really bad but the rest makes up for it it seems.
Amagi
I think Luluco was the only one I enjoyed after KlK which already had a bunch of problems - but overall it was far too entertaining for me to seriously care about those.
Amagi
Guess the last 1/3 might be more interesting when they start with the actual world building for once, although they could probably slam the love stuff even more in our faces but who knows. Not fond of any of the latest Trigger anime to be honest.
Amagi
Also they're really overdoing it with all that obvious message stuff and the "love superpower" trope I always hated anyway. Still watching I mean at least it has a plot and tries.
Amagi
I still can't care about anyone or anything in this series I think it's really not made for me. I might have liked Goro but he's too unimportant and the sauros revelation was kind of a letdown since it's the most common twist for these kinds of things.
AidanAK47
Alright Franxx, you are forgiven for episode 14.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do you ever go to those surprise horror/thriller preview screenings? Where they don't tell you what film it is until it starts?
Kaiser-Eoghan
*worrying about
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its saying something, when I haven't seen eternal sunshine since it came out, but even by re-watching the trailer, the feelings, the whole film comes back. At that point I'd grown out of Jim Carey's comedy, so seeing him play against type was refreshing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, I'm more forgiving then, I'm likely to give higher points for sheer imagination that I'm not as bothered by worry about the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Any negative argument against mood indigo by him can be countered by the fact it has Audrey Tatou in it.
Anonymous2035464
jhonrhean
SuperMario
and I just watched A Quiet Place. A solid indie horror one. It builds on atmosphere and it does the family chemistry right
SuperMario
I don't like The Science of Sleep to be honest. Tons of interesting ideas and visually creativeness but the story itself is a mess
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Gondry needs to avoid making any more commercial comedies, he also needs to start working with Kaufman again, they brought out the best in each other, although on his own, he can be playful and inventive with his films, such as mood indigo and science of sleep.
SuperMario
But check out his other movie Eternal sunshine of Spotless Mind. It has an inventive mind control/ mind altering concept in there
SuperMario
Jim Carrey is kind of mind controller himself. I couldn't take my eyes off him
SuperMario
@anon2028818: it was indeed season 5. SORRY FOR MY IGNORANCE :)
Vonter
The Jim Carrey movies.
Vonter
Dorei-ku seems like a Kakegurui. You see one episode you've seen all. It'll be better if it was crazier like Mirai Nikki. Mind control IMO could be a very creepy setup if it's watched through the perspective of the victim rather than the perpetrator. Losing notion or reality and control. Could liar liar and Yes man be considered mind controlled stories?
Vonter
Ore Mahou Shoujo, baffles me, since I had to skip another long musical off key number, which makes me wonder where the budget cut starts and where the trolling begins. Also makes me sad, there aren't a lot of female to male transformations since it'll be interesting watching that perspective. Maybe a love triangle from both genders could apply since females are more accepted to be bi, in media.
Vonter
Megalobox could be something really special, but I hope like with Ashita no Joe, the anime isn't solely boxing. Joe, had social commentary, had a personal struggle do to the protagonist origin, attitude and view of life, since he started very immature and rebellious.
Amagi
Megalo Box, Tiramisu (I find this genuinely funny), S;0, GGO which is so much better than SAO, Wotaku, Hinamatsuri, Cutie Honey, LotGH, Hisone to Masotan and so on
Amagi
I really love this season as well.
Lenlo
Also personally I am enjoying this current season a alot. But I also know/like a good bit of the reboots/sequels
Lenlo
Oh man... 2015 winter was good. Forgot thats when those came out
Anonymous2028818
@SuperMario: Wasn't that Natsume season 5?, pretty sure season 4 was several years earlier.
SuperMario
Another strong anime season for me was 2015 Winter, where we had YuriKuma Arashi, Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, Durarara whatever season, second cour of Shirobako, Parasyte and Your Lie in April
SuperMario
Even so, with this season I'm still willing to give some shows another chance, like Caligula or Cutie Honey Universe(!)
SuperMario
For me, the best season in recent years was Fall 2016 when we had Flip Flappers, Sound Eupho 2, Yuri on Ice, Natsume 4, Fune wo Amu, Drifters and 3-gatsu no Lion. But I know that Aidan would disagree with me on this
SuperMario
@anon2028201: it's me who said this season is a mixed bag. It's like you said, this season is too heavily on sequels/ reboots and only some new anime stand out, the rest of the pack is just meh.
Anonymous2028201
To me this seems like a pretty good seasons, but judging some of the impressions, it's a bit more of a mixed bag for most. Just curious, what were the best seasons for recent anime? This one seems good to me, but to early to tell right now
Anonymous2028201
Lovin this season so far: a lot of reboots/reimaginings and sequels, but I'm enjoying them all. MHA S3, LOGH DNT, S;G 0, Megalobox, Golden Kamuy are what I'm watching right now. I hear Full Metal Panic is good as well, but I haven't gotten around to watching the original series.
Anonymous2028258
so i just recently rewatched fullmetal panic fumoffu and i gotta say that this is easily one of Kyo ani's best works. It's such a surprise that this was their first anime; it's a damn good romance comedy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lol I love B-movie type stuff, because the rules are off.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was the only person who watched Mazinkaiser skl and shin mazinger and skullman.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Takeshi Koike really wanted to really sell it as a grindhouse feature and I ate that shit up; I really dug the tone he was going for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was strange seeing that Goemon short, much as I enjoyed it, thats the goriest I seen lupin get.
Anonymous2026379
Megalo box is pure retro while lupin is a mix of old and new...and you're right; people just think they can't jump right into it. But that's why more people should be talking about it; to let the masses know that you don't need a starting point to get into the Lupin franchise
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a massive fan of the devilman manga and I thought devilman crybaby was better than it.
Anonymous2026379
90's-esque throwback feeling shows like lupin and megalo box have been giving me
Anonymous2026379
Luoin part 5 is definitely mixing the best of new and old. Honestly, I've been having a blast with it as well as this generally 90
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the problem is, people see lupin as this long thing they can't get into, when really its so episodic/standalone mostly you can pick up and watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course getting the best bits out of old and new.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*visual style
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a fan of this hybrid old and new style, megalobox does it too, mine fujiko aswell and casshern sins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by how well the Fujiko mine show came together in the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll be interested in picking up more facts about thrm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come think of it, Akira Kurosawa did some old western (eastern?) in Russian, that had an Ainu in it.
Anonymous2026379
Asirpa is sooooo adorable.....almost feels patronizing to say that about her due to how badass she is
Anonymous2026379
What makes Fujiko work so well as this sexy icon is that she isn't just sexy: she's smart as shit and uses that sexiness to dominate and control her opponents (similar to bayonetta) rather than be chained by the objectification of her opponents (and the viewers for that matter)
Anonymous2026379
I wonder what other obscure cameos we may get this season. And yea you're right about some of Lupin's potentially sexist traits being assuaged by his level of cool and the genuine respect he shows a good deal of the women he has encountered throughout the series
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yet still a fun film at the same time.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Yea, mamo was a pretty dark element introduced to the lupin franchise; and considering the tone of the gravestone of Jigen, it makes sense he would cameo there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Help I want to kidnap Asirpa =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm probably as surprised as you, at finding someone to talk to about Lupin on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: And through comparing/contrasting the jigen grave stone and Fujiko mine, with some of the sillier older ones, it shows the Lupin characters are flexible enough to work both in a darker AND sillier context.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fujiko is precisely how a fanservicey character should work and how built in/essential it is to her haracter, without becoming an irritant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: By all means Lupin himself shouldn't be a character we like, much like Bond, but like Bond theres a coolness to the character that allows us to love him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Another great thing about Lupin is how it uses its 60s cool to get away with what would normally probably be considered fairly sexist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I had a big smile on my face when Mamo made a cameo appearance at the end of one of the recent ones and thats because I remember the Lupin Mamo movie was one of those first anime that I watched about 20 years aago.
Anonymous2026379
not to mention that its one of the few anime this season that actually knows how to utilize dialogue to explore flesh out its characters rather than exposition or contrivance: looking at you darling in the franxx
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser-Eoghan Nice fun facts; but yea Lupin III is a series that has always had an amazing sense of pacing and adventure, traits that are definitely on display this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its a huge franchise too so I'm often never sure where to go next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You may or may not know this, but the voice actor for solid snake voiced Lupin in one of the dubs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched a few episodes of the Italy set lupin show too .
Its a fun franchise due to its cast but its something I have to follow irregularly, lest it get repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fun fact, guy who directed the gold of babylon film was a famous B-movie noir director in the 60s.
Lenlo
Dont trust anything written by the original SAO author. Everything is his fault. Kirito is not in this series.
Lenlo
Even the original SAO author has little to do with it, which is why its actually good
Lenlo
So SAO Alt is basically completely removed from the rest of SAO
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lupin is one of those things I dip in and out of, whatever part of the franchise it is. I've seen birdcage kingdom, Mamo, cagliostro, nostradamus, Jigens grave stone, mine fujiko and the recent Goemon centred special.
Anonymous2026379
it's a damn shame not a lot of ppl are talkig about/watching lupin the third this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
But for all I know with that team behind it, its an improvement, but theres probably not much point in me watching as I dropped the first season after less than 10 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See how he attempts to seduce me into watching something related to sword art.
Lenlo
Huh... I didnt know the writer for SAO Alt was written by the Kino's Journey creator and produced by the Flip Flappers people. Explains a lot
Lenlo
I wish I knew what you meant by shaman girls, and I cant wait
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Oh I know Leskinen. May he find his Japanese Shaman girls one day. But seeing as I know the story I wanna experience it differently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its even set in hokkaido, Korean/Japanese director, Japanese cast, Ken Watanabe is in it: https://letterboxd.com/film/unforgiven-2013/
Lenlo
Also, I love the ED. Really, 2 episodes in, I love S;G all over again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: really? They remade Unforgiven in Japanese?
Lenlo
its*
Lenlo
Like... is good.
Lenlo
But your missing out on the cult of Leskinen. The engrish is actually one of my favorite parts
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Meanwhile I am happily waiting for the dub.
Lenlo
Dangit... I have to wait another week for Steins;Gate 0 now. I cant do this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Japanese remake of unforgiven had ainu people in it.
Anonymous2025797
Also I wonder if budget is distributed according to the director, some animes will spend more in the first episode. Some will spend more in the last ones. It's subjective, but if it's like all business it is looking for the better result at the minimum expense. Hence why I believe Berserk was made the way it did.
Anonymous2025797
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ideally a story should be as long as it needs. But reality seems that a number of episodes is decided before production. And so you either have to stretch or cut material. Kinda like that 300 page manga of Les Miserables, is simply unfeasible translating that book into that few pages.
KTravlos
Oberstein was a great character.
KTravlos
I actually feel Aidan can do a good job on it. Sometimes been too exposed to the material may lead to clouded eyes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm surprised by how I unexpectedly laughed at wotaku, I do wonder if later on it will include any slight drama elements to sustain interest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
OMO; OBERsteins; Gate =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
From watching episode 2 of golden kamuy, yeah, the source material definitely is lifting this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm going to have to wait and see on steins; gate 0, it is encouraging to here this might be darker , at the same time I remember having to sit through too much goofy humour in the first one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was actually surprised, that, while rare, there were some moments of humour, that lightened it for me.
AidanAK47
Throughout the entire series I expected Oberstein to pull some inevitable double cross. And was shocked when he never did.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree with Oberstein. I think antagonists are es important as the mains in fiction and I loved this guy, he's perfect for series like these.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Galactic heroes was an example of where when watching it, when big death scenes occured, I would make noooooo and shouting noises at the screen while clenching my fist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love characters like Oberstein, shrewd, clever, but done right to where I can believe it, not characters like, say Lelouch .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be concerned if the new galactic heroes series skimps on the violence, that kind of thing needs to be in there, in most shows/films and shown to be explicit, consequences need to be shown.
Amagi
*about, not with
Amagi
Sadly, most original 2+ cours series I know feel dragged whereas many 1 cours originals could have needed ~3 more episodes. Talking with series that have an actual plot of course.
Amagi
I really like the 13 episodes thingy for originals but I wish there would be more 26 episodes series, especially for adaptions.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I agree. Nothing kills my interest faster than formularic episodes and repetition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In general I think 50 episodes would be the most I'd watch for an anime, 39 seems ideal.
Amagi
Or worse and the romance drama is the main plot and it's Kiznaiver all over again, while the rest is just flavor to make the romances more forced since they're the MCs are only teens and such. Dunno but I can never bring myself to care about this kind of stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though better 110 episodes of galactic heroes than a long shounen that just repeats itself.
Amagi
Speaking of recent episodes, I unironically thing that FranXX's world (building) is pretty interesting (although I hope those klaxxosaurusses will be more than just random cannon fodder) but I doubt the series will ever get to the main plot again the next time.
Amagi
Same here. It was really the only time I did this. I am usually exhausted by just thinking about marathoning long series. It's the reason why I won't get into FMP for the new series either. LotGH was an exception since I found it easily to watch for some reason.
SuperMario
Man, just image burning through 110 episodes of it and my spirit fades away
Amagi
Watched that whole series ages ago.
Amagi
Just watched the first three Neue These episodes and I surprinsingly liked it. Thought I would hate it due to being an OVA fan, and I still prefer the old designs by far but overall it's pretty good. I think I might even prefer this version of the first battle, but I have to rewatch the old one I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also while I can't remember which episode, Yang picks up a book with the author of the series' name on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Arslan feels so lightweight by contrast/comparison.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think, given your knowledge KTtravlos, that a series review of the new galactic heroes season would probably benefit from you writing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring up the music in my earlier comment, because I can understand your reservations regarding the music choice in the remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And certainly one of those shows, that going back to the first episode after finishing, gives a strong perspective just on how evolving the series was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*despite me not
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite not being monarchist , because the characters were human moreso than cartoon characters I couldn't hate on Reinhard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: I suppose by the time it got to Julian's arc, I was surprised they were still bothering to fight but the fact that they were essentially the last bastion of their beliefs made it special.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Sometimes when I just finish a show, its a case where I HAVE to jump online immediately after and excitedly ramble out an essay on it.
niello
ugh democracy
KTravlos
@Kaiser ultimately LOGH for me was a decisive point in my political life, as I think it made the best defense of democracy in any form I have seen. And it worked partly because the opponent was presented in the best possible incarnation (Rienhard). Yang's continued adherence to democracy, despite recongising its flaws, helped me avoid a personal descent into authoritarian politics.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I am happy you had a good experience. I watched the prequels a while after the main show and I was happy because it was great getting back to those characters. The prequels were also great in fleshing the setting and the characters. So yes, take your time and a break. That way the prequels will be like visiting a place you liked again after a while.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@KTtravlos: I have some other stuff to get through before watching the galactic heroes prequel though =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
YES according to discord poster I'm not a millenial!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for overposting. I have always always being an incredibly verbose person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter; Not that I oppose captilistically made for a buck cinema, it can be entertaining yes, but I set a standard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: As open as I am to trash cinema, I consider the resident evil films, like the superhero ones, anti-art.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand why people don't like Villier, but he did I think work as a device to add extra tension.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel some release at finishing but at the same time sadness at saying goodbye to the show and its characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
, showing its age.
But for something of this length, it kept itself up far better than most long shows and I feel the length its somewhat justified.

On another note….as corny as the third ending theme is, I got the feels listening to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But while the first 50 odd episodes were an easy job for me aswell as all of the 4th season and some of the late 3rd season made it difficult for me to pull myself away from it, the dialogue even though often well observed did become difficult to follow at times and somewhere in the middle theres a stretch of episodes, bar some moments that feel a bit of an endurance test and the animation is at
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its attention to detail I felt was at its strongest in the documentary and the series dedication to filling the view in on its world building/fictional history.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I admired the scope, ambition of this series and the battles eventually grew on me and I was surprised by just how visceral the melee combat got which suited me perfectly. At the same time for all the strategy and action, I found myself more in it for the story, characters and intrigue/politicking. Those battles, due in part to their music choices, had an epic feel to them
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the end the characters stood out for me the best were Reinhard, Oberstein (for being essentially the amazing man with the plan), Reuntal, Kircheis and Rubinsky, I warmed up to Julian, Yang and Schenkop. When important deaths occurred, they felt highly dramatic, in four cases emotionally effecting for me .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, KTtravlos, thank you for pushing me toward watching the original legend of the galactic heroes, my opinion on the series is largely a mixed one, but by the end I felt I’d watched something rewarding and I’m happy its crossed off my list and I should have gotten round to it sooner.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm probably the oldest here, being 32. Which apparently makes me around Yang-wenli's age, which according to someone means I'm middle aged .
Kaiser-Eoghan
To the discord guy who brought it up, its difficult not for me to be political, my father was an activist and is a Marxist , I ended up becoming a contradiction a semi-agnostic, but spiritually inclined/tolerant socialist with internationalist ideology.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Ends in very cliffhanger/abrupt indy way though and the things weakness/how to kill thems too easy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I liked how it explains nothing also and the creature design and how it visual communicates to the audience.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: While I won't say anything, a character death is handled in what I considered a schmaltzy manner. There is a particularly headscratching decision the characters make that you'll either rationalize or hate, but it leads to one of the tenser set pieces later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Quiet place has a good idea at its backbone, that they use sign language in the film to communicate and occassional whispers adds to it, it and the silence allows for a mood to be effectively communicated. It does have jump scares, I wasn't annoyed by them, but I never felt the film required them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read the discord, if you ever need to ask a question relating to film, come to me about it, I will without fail be able to answer 9 times out of 10.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was adequately amused by the first episode of wotaku, but found the male lead funnier, which I'm attributing to him be more deadpan.
Lenlo
We found a convient weekend for everyone
Kaiser-Eoghan
*watching
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would also float the idea of recommendation podcasts every now and then.
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