Posted on 11 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, The Reflection

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is one such result of this union. The Reflection tries to do a lot, succeeding on some and failing terribly at others. The end result is a an inconsistent mess of seemingly stitched together episodes and story moments.

Lets jump in.

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Posted on 6 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Made in Abyss

There are few series which can capture the mystery and wonder of a fantasy world as well as Made in Abyss. Their world is dangerous, brutal and unforgiving but beautiful, wondrous and exciting in it’s presentation. The story is of a ordinary girl called Riko and a mysterious cyborg boy called Regu traveling down the levels of a massive chasm called the abyss. With each level they encounter new people and monsters alike as they work together to survive the darwinian nature of the chasms ecosystem. The story boosts some of the finest presentation of the anime of the year alongside a gripping tale that never lets go till its conclusion. The characters are memorable though which each level brings a new cast to the forefront. Ozen and Nanochi are the strongest out the cast. But the dynamic between Riko’s optimistic easygoing attitude and Regu’s more negative questioning nature works well in exploring the morality and dangers of this world. The shows strongest aspect is the world building and atmosphere of the setting. Accentuated by the visuals the Abyss is truly a marvel of nature that makes for a fantastic backdrop.

The pacing may be a bit slow for some but I see no way to make it faster and the character designs may look kiddy and lighthearted but Made in Abyss holds darker themes. When it goes for the emotional gut punch it is often heavy and effective. It doesn’t shy away from the uglier side of nature and exploring as well as the dark parts of it’s history. Aside from one or two rare moments the animation in this show is excellent and the backgrounds are beautiful landscapes giving even the best artists in the industry a run for their money. Which isn’t all that surprising when you consider that a former Ghibli background artist worked on the series. The music is equally excellent with standouts like the series ending theme Tomorrow and Hanezeve Caradhina. Tomorrow being a personal favorite for how it closes out the series with melancholy nostalgia and wonder.

Sadly at the point of writing this review this is the only season of the series and the final episode does leave many loose ends behind. This season can be seen as a prologue of things to come and it’s lack of conclusion hurts the series as a whole. The pacing takes it’s time and because of it’s single cour length people could feel that the story didn’t truly get started. At the moment chances of a second season look promising but in the anime industry there are no guarantees. As such people could be left wanting more by the time the final credits roll which is something that could be considering a positive as this is basically an advertisement for the manga but I need to knock off points as this story works some much better as an animated product that I doubt the manga could match it’s level of presentation. Nonetheless what is present here is more than worth checking it out as it still has powerful moments, atmosphere and world building second to none. I have no doubt that this series will be seen as one of the best anime of 2017 in future years to come.

Posted on 3 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Classroom of the Elite

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for some few good twists, Youkoso sacrifices too many things: the new rules that only pop up in convenient of the plot, the character developments (aside from Ayanokouji) that somehow become lesser and more one-note than they first appeared, the pacing which is slow and dull at times and finally, the questionable alteration regarding the source material from Lerche. All that and I even put aside some silly plot threads like the class spending 10 minutes arguing whether or not they should purchase a portable toilet (which will never address again, mind you), or another 10 minutes bickering about the panty thief (dear boys and girls, do you realize it’s just a piece of cloth?). I will address each and every issue down below so readers, fasten your seatbelt for a wide ride now.

The first issue of Yousoko is how the show conveniently bend the rules they themselves established in the service of advancing the plot. For all the complaints, the very concept of Youkoso: the point system where points can buy everything, and the classes are sorted based by certain merits, not solely academic ability and the classes fight each other to move up rank are something I can get behind. There are many implications on how to buy points for the class’s own advantages (even to the point of buy off the exam’s points); but in the end of the day, I still struggle to know how the hell they can get more points in normal circumstances? The rules are so vague and only in a convenient time they add new conditions that we never heard before. For example, apparently everyone can track other students using GPS on the school-provided phone if they know their number? That bit never explained before and up until Sakura nearly get raped that… voilà. Hero saves the day using the GPS!! Then the security camera is supposed to be everywhere, but then in the most crucial incident there were none around. The same thing happens in the Island arc as Youkoso added some new conditions that change the game completely. For example, “The class that have leader identified will lose all the bonus points”. Suddenly Survival of the Fittest test become Finding the Leaders test because all that matters in the end is guessing the right Leaders and avoid being guessed by other classes.

The cast of Youkoso never behave like real people, and most of them are neither relatable or even likable. In addition to their ridiculous character designs, most of the time they’re lousy, over the top (Tarzan anyone? Or Sparkling Nerriot dude) that it’s hard to take them seriously. Ayanokouji, however, hold his ground firmly and it’s fun to guess what he’s scheming to support his class or even what exactly is inside his head. The other members of class-D, especially the girls, have rather shallow developments that somehow end up being one-note. Sakura, for example, after her involvement with class-C – class-D dispute, just hanging around and have no real role (also, the way she’s treated in that arc was terrible). The same can be said for Kushida who kind of disappear in the last arc. Most terrible treatment is Horikita, from independent no-nonsense girl become a vulnerable girl with brother complex to become a weak girl who says mean things that end up being used by both sides – the enemy and her own side. The main cast, consist of Ayanokouji, Horikita and Kushida had some chemistry in the beginning that reminded me of the cast in SNAFU, but that chemistry soon vanishes into thin air that it feels like they don’t live together in the same universe.

The uneven pacing is another glaring issue that relevant from the very first episode. It takes too long for Youkoso to get into the main hook, and then drags out again until the final twist. The first arc had that issues, but most glaringly was the Island arc where Youkoso stayed too long on the luxury cruise, expanded its theme on the first day then wasted the 4 whole days for almost nothing. In addition, the fan-service is excessive and poorly done because it has no reason to be there in the first place. Some might argue that gazing too long into Kushida’s boobs is a foreshadowing of Kushida “blackmailed” Ayanokouji, but I disagree. Some might argue that the fan-service in the pool episode serves its purpose. While I partly agree, the very next episode when the students enjoy their luxury life on the cruise, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Lastly, the anime changes some major parts from the novel that makes very little sense. Well, I’m all for anime taking its artistic liberty from the source, and I’m here to judge the anime version and not how faithful it adapts the source material, but Lerche screws up the changes so bad that I can’t help but noticing it. The most controversial choice from the anime version is the decision to put Horikita as the main lead. In the novel she isn’t considered as one and believe it or not, the one (they say) that takes the main spot is Karuizawa (remember her? No? I know, right?). Then Lerche decides to adapt a pool episode which happened much later in the novel, the decision that was received negatively even amongst Yousoko’s novel fans. In general practice, the anime cut down too many interactions between the supporting casts that sometimes it’s just jarring (and they use that time for the class bickering about panty thief… Here I go again!). Most notable case is when Ichinose from class B asks Ayanokouji to be her fake boyfriend, while in the anime they just met once before. Or Hirata who doesn’t have much speaking lines up until the Island arc, despite in the novel he is the voice of reason for Class-D.

I have no more energy to keep babbling about its negatives, so I’ll sum it up here. Youkoso is a failure, it falls below the line and even receives a minus point for its horrendous treatment to the female cast. The writing is weak as the show tries to sound smart but end up being pretentious. The characters are too over the top to be taken seriously and they alter the rules they themselves established for some plot convenience. I don’t hate it despite all those flaws because I still found some parts enjoyable, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have better things to do rather than spend more time on it.

Posted on 2 October 2017 with categories: 18if, Anime Reviews

Allow me to skip over the last episode coverage for this full review of 18if, since I was too underwhelmed by the finale to have anything concrete except pointing out how messy the ending was. The first thing you need to know about 18if is that it’s a multimedia project (along with a mobile game and VR game), which can probably signal you about the overall quality of the anime version. The concept that each episode our main character Haruto will need to save a Witch of the week – make her confronting with her dark and learn more about herself – in a dream world could lead to interesting places. Here’s the main catch for 18if: each episode is handled by different directors with different animation styles AKA the directors’ own take to the world of 18if. This format results in 18if as an inconsistent show by design. The quality of each episode is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you gonna get. That unpredictability in plot, the surreal nature of dream world and the diversity in animation styles are what I was personally looking for coming to 18if. For the most part, 18if stays true to itself, albeit below-average. The ending, however, tries hard to connect the dots and runs out of its steam fast with confusing tone, weak writing and nonsensical message.

For one thing that 18if does quite consistency despite its format, it’s that the show explores the real-world issues of multiple teenage girls in a dreamy surreal fashion. These girls have a nervous breakdown and struggle to find happiness in the real world, thus succumb to the dream world in the form of Sleeping Beauty Disease where they can do whatever they like, most of the time destructively. Those issues range from the pressure of being idol, bullying or even witnessing their family members murdered. They don’t often succeed on bringing the girls’ negative emotions to light, but their personal issues work as an emotional core for each passing episode. In addition, Haruto’s job is to confront those witches and only casually does he have some chemistry with the girls. In some episodes he only serves as a witness to watch the story unfolds.

Its episodic nature, where different directors handle different episode, is what 18if’s most unique factor. You can see the styles change in the character designs of Haruto. Most notably, in episode 7 the show hits the mark in full force with its European-influence aesthetic and tells a beautiful children story about the broken friendship that would be right at home with the classic works like The Little Prince. The genres and the tones change randomly as well as in one of the episode, 18if went full horror, other time it became an arthouse animation-showcase and at times it’s just flat out goofy. The quality of each episode also ranges from plain bad, “WTF did I just watch” to really great. As of now, I’d only recommend a handful of episodes instead of suggesting a whole package. Although possess a wide range of animation style, judging the show as a whole, the episode doesn’t add up much to the grand picture. There are no set rules (like in episode 4 the girl’s still fully awake despite the rules imply that all of them having Sleeping Beauty syndrome), there’s no deeper implication to takeaway after each episode (like episode 2 shows us that the dream world can affect the real world, which ends up being wasted). Each episode hardly connects to each other except for the main cast and the trouble climax. Since nothing adds up at all, most of them fall flat on their faces.

The main leads – consist of Haruto, his mysterious sister Lily and his mentor the anthropomorphic cat – don’t develop at all despite appearing in all episodes. Haruto, in particular, changes his personality from each passing episode in accordance with the Witch and frankly that makes it hard to get invested in him. There are some attempts, however, to give Haruto a backstory but the end result is so absurd it can’t be taken seriously (Adam and Eve nonsense). I’m personally all in for having a proper closure and it’s always welcomed to see those girls back for action but18if further loses its sparks when it tries to close up the arc with a very patch-up jobs of writing: unnecessary new characters (the new doctor, the Cult Leader), Eve the main antagonist that has no personality whatsoever and the tone is messy and disjoined. It hurts as well that the closing arc is one of the weakest in term of productions. The budget for the show wasn’t that much and it shows; you can argue the lack of consistent character designs and even the frame rates are all artistic choice, but more often than not the show looks poorly done and uninspiring. The dream world doesn’t receive a good treatment either, since it functions like a setting for Haruto saving the girls, with the only consistent rule is “Anything can happen in the dream world” – which is why it’s messy and all over the place.

In the end, 18if is an intriguing mess. It attempts to do something different by trying out variety of genres and styles. This concept sounds good on paper but only a handful of episodes succeed at bringing something new on the table (I’d recommend you sample episode 7, 10, 2, 3 in that order), the rest is below the line. After 13 episodes, 18if still struggles to find a right tone for itself, result in tonal wreck that never quite sure if it wants to take itself seriously. Ultimately, when you consider if 18if can leave any lasting impact, the answer is a resounding “No” – it lacks the punchline, lacks the sparks to become something special.

“Fun quiz: Can you spot out the missing Witch?”

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Princess Principal

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy girls in an alternate Britain (known as Albion) in the early 20th century. As ill-advised as it might sound, the cute girl designs don’t really bother me that much. If you are looking for a true espionage story; however, you bound to be disappointed because they’re more like James Bond flashy action, somewhat superpower ability and whenever they have a chance, they’ll announce “We’re spy” with pride. Yeah, it’s that kind of mindless over-the-top action series that we need to believe the unbelievable but as an action-spy-steampunk series, Princess Principal delivers what it promised.

The first strength of this show lies in its intriguing world settings. I might have personal issues with Ichirou Okuochi as a whole, but even I don’t deny that he can create an interesting setting that triggers my curiosity. Princess Principal has such fascinating world. In this vision, Albion monopolizes a powerful substance known as Cavorite that made the Kingdom the dominant country in the world. Such development creates a rift between the Royalty and the lower people and as a result, the Wall of London was built in the middle of London where the country is split into The Commonwealth and the Kingdom. The tension between the two nations, however, never really addressed at all and only serves as a backdrop to generate dramatic development for our two main leads, Ange and Princess. In addition, the steampunk setting makes for an aesthetic pleasure and I would argue that it’s Princess Principal’s strongest characteristics.

However, Princess Principal isn’t just merely an action show. The five girls have some interesting developments and each of them is given a solid backstory. Moreover, they have solid dynamic altogether that make the interactions between them a joy to watch. Noticeably, in the latter half when the cases become less prevalent, and the show slowed down the fast tempo mission-heavy established in the first half for more character-focus episodes. The change might turn off some of the viewers who look for quick-paced, entertaining action but it’s a welcoming sign that the show gave a proper time to flesh out the five girls. The relationship between Ange and Princess serves as the show’s central emotional arc and while the swapped-identity backstory had its merits, the show pad it out way too thin during the climax that it couldn’t transfer the emotions to its fullest. Other girls, especially Chise and Dorothy (sorry Beatrice! You have a voice… but nothing else) have so much personality to them and they all add necessarily perspectives (Chise- from the outside perspective; Dorothy- friends come first) to the Principal team. Not that they’re a deepest bunch around but I’m quite happy to spend time with them anytime.

Another factor that add to Princess Principal’s identity is its use of non-chronological order. This technique works for the show’s benefits most of the time because these episodes feel like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle (which admittedly doesn’t add up much at the end), and up in till the climax we can watch these episodes in any order and it still makes sense. This format will work well on re-watch as well since there are some already-established relationships or a piece of information that will make more sense now we know the context. But presenting it non-linearly doesn’t mean the episodes were arrange randomly. The flow from one episode to another is present and moreover, this format helps us gaining context on certain themes, on certain character developments that otherwise would be insignificant in a linear way. For example we gain an extra layer on Chise struggling with the social-class issues through the backstory of Ange and Princess established a week before, something that won’t have much impact if they tell the story in a linear fashion.

Thus, Princess Principal is at its best in episode 5 (the introduction of Chise) where it focused on the exciting mission, while never forget to give our girls an extra depth. In that episode, the fluid animation, flawless fight choreography and the lively character movements help bring the mannerism of our characters to light.  On the other spectrum, the last two episodes bring the show down a notch with its safe open-ended closure that resolve almost nothing. In addition, they introduced new characters (Zelda, the General) and new conflict (the coup) too late in the game without any proper foreshadowing beforehand. Remember Princess wanted to fight that battle till the end? Flashforward and we see her lying on the beach in Casablanca, while holding hand with another girl. It’s a let-down, of course, especially when they hint for a second season which might never come, but to be frank the first 10 episodes were so solid that in the end I consider this show a critical success.

Technically, the production is on the bright side. Off-model here and there, cheap-cuts sometimes and they do have some questionable over-cute character designs, but the action always hold its ground, characters move in their own ways that fitting to their personality and the killer soundtrack, coupling with beautiful steampunk aesthetic and you have a winner all around. Princess might not dig deep to the political conflict between two countries, or develop its Cavorite theme and the enemy side is frankly, weak and underdeveloped; but Princess Principal offers some entertaining action set-pieces, at the same time care enough to develop properly the main cast and their relationships.  Second season- coming might not look promising and the ending lacks bite, but I don’t argue that I had a great time following it the past season. Can’t never get enough of Chise’s precious facial expressions, it appears.

Posted on 1 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

“Dance!”

I have been a  reader of this blog for a long time. Indeed it would not be wrong to say that psgels and the current crop of writers have helped maintain my interest in anime for the last decade. So now here is my chance to give something back to this excellent blog. Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul /Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, was one of the series the writers watched but did not review. With an exceptional year in anime (with shows like Made in Abyss, ACCA 13, and others) there is never enough time to cover everything. And while Virgin Soul was in no way a bad show, it was a conventional show. However, it was a well-executed conventional show.

Virgin Soul is the sequel of Shingeki no Bahamut:Genesis , aired back in 2014. Both are created by Studio Mappa, and both are based on a card game by Cygames. Now most shows based on games tend to be bad to mediocre, being nothing more than vessels to increase sales. For some reason the creators of Genesis and Virgin Soul avoided that. Indeed even the few references to the card game in Genesis are completely gone from Virgin Soul. To be frank, if the show was supposed to get you to go and buy the card game, it largely failed. But conversely you do not need to know anything about the game to enjoy the show.

“Arrgh, I want to play the card game too!”

The story of Virgin Soul takes place in the shadow of the aftermath of Genesis. In the end of Genesis, the heroes- flamboyant desperado Favoro, moody knight Kaisar, zombie-girl Rita- were able to stop the plans of the villain. It wanted to use the powerful monster Bahamut to destroy the balance between humans, daemons, and gods. But the price of victory was terrible as it demanded a heavy sacrifice. Between Genesis and Virgin Soul Mappa produced two short episodes that fleshed out a bit Favoro, Kaisar, and the secondary character of Jeanne, a knight who used to be favored by the gods. Even though the villain of Genesis failed to attain his version of the breakdown of the balance of the world, the effect of Bahamut’s Rage brought about change, nevertheless.

Virgin Soul takes place in this changed world. The new king of the humans, Charioce, in reaction to the destruction of Bahamut, decided that humanity could only find security in its own power. Using forbidden powers he went to war with both the gods and daemons and won. The gods were largely banished to their heavenly realm to sulk, while the daemons were enslaved to serve humanity, including being pitted in death matches for the entertainment of the populace(disgusting). On the slave labor of daemons, Charioce has built a prosperous human kingdom, though through tools like the Onyx Soldiers he represses any dissent. It is in this world that our protagonist Nina enters. Nina is an excitable teenage girl full of pluck and optimism. She is also a virgin. And, she is also a half dragon, and will turn into a powerful red dragon if approached or touched by a good looking man.

“Nina does a lot of running. You gotta expend that teenage energy somehow!”

When you think of the title, and of the condition of the protagonist, you could easily see how this show could go wrong. And yet like Marie the Virgin Witch, the show plays Nina’s virginity and condition straight, with little turn to vulgar humor. Now, the show does have its fan service, but it never felt creepy or leery. Instead what we get is a show that in general has a conventional plot, which is enlivened by the interaction of the characters. Virgin Soul is not a show you watch for the plot. It is a show you watch to see some interesting characters interact. In this sense it is similar to the live-action sci-fi show Killjoys, which has a conventional, indeed boring plot, but great characters interacting. Another thing that is similar is that in both cases the characters in general are what we might call good looking by fashion industry standards.

Those characters and their interactions are developed by secondary plot points, which in a way are worth more than the central plot. Nina is developed through a great and touching depiction of first love, rejection, and redemption. Kaisar by his struggle between his personal sense of justice, offended by the actions of the king his serves, and his duty to that king. The daemon Azazel, an obnoxious villain in Genesis, here is developed through his brotherly relationship with one of the new characters, his passionate and desperate fight to restore the freedom of daemons, and the inner struggle about whether he is driven by personal spite or a true need to make things right. Jeanne, the fallen servant of the gods, gets development through a touching depiction of mother-hood. Favoro by his struggles with the consequences of the events of Genesis and mentoring of Nina. Thus in general the main characters of Virgin Soul tend to be given interesting stories that make them interesting and sympathetic (Rita unfortunately not us much as they could had done ). Most of the time these are well done, though the show never really integrated these character developing sub-plots to the central plot. It also failed to resolve many of them.

“Here we see a friendly chat on the nature of liberty and duty”

The exception to these generally good secondary plots is King Charioce. Introduced to us like a cruel, ruthless, but efficient ruler, the show then makes him a major love interest of another protagonist. His two personas, lover and king, are very incongruous. This has led many reviewers to castigate the show. That is a bit unfair. The problem is not that Charioce the King and Chris the Lover are too different. Just read “Eichman in Jerusalem” to see that this is often the case in reality with these types of people. The issue is that the directors and writers did not really do a good job at balancing this. Chris the Lover and Charioce the King are never brought in direct conflict in the character himself. We only see the conflict through the eyes of other characters. Sadly that makes Charioce more of an object than a character. It is not grating, but it is a lost chance.

“But I played soccer with the street urchins!”

These characters, their interactions, and their adventures are rendered with animation and art that is generally excellent. Action scenes are fluid, and character facial and body expressions emanate personality (except for Charioce-though this might be more of character trait). As a result the show does a good job of giving its comedy, action, and tragedy depth. In both Genesis and Virgin Soul the animators of studio Mappa really like to show off their skills with elaborate dance scenes, and they do a good job of encapsulating what this show can give to the eye. Backgrounds are well done and lush. The only negative mark is the use of CGI with some of the creatures, including the titular Bahamut. This did seem a bit out of place next to the fluid animation of characters.

The music was in generally serviceable. The first opening was excellent, with the second one being more conventional. Both endings were quirky and cute. In the show, the best music scores were during poignant moments of tragedy, while during battles sometimes the music would try too hard and lose me.

“I, Charioce offer this light show as proof of my good party spirit”

Despite the conventional character of the plot I must give kudos to the writers for taking some decisions with characters that would make George RR Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) happy. But they also had some plots lines that were sloppy and not really useful (for example Nina’s fight with the dragon-hunter).
In the end Shigneki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul is a conventional show well executed. It has a cast of interesting and exciting characters that carry a rather mundane plot. The artistry of animation helps greatly the characters come to life. It is just a pity they are not used to their best. A solid 80 out of 100 (or B).

“Ahh, the ship that never shipped”

Characters: 90/100 (most of the central characters are interesting and receive development. But the blind spots are egregious)

Plot: 70/100 (conventional central plot,  but with some points of ruthless brilliance)

Art: 90/100 (animation and design is in general great, but CGI at points was not integrated as well as it could be)

Sound-Music: 80/100 (some good pieces and good music direction, a good first OP and EDs, but at other points it tries too hard)

Posted on 29 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection and Akibas Trip. I bring this up not because this is a new event, but because the anime I want to talk about today, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, is one such anime.

Ranbu is based off of the online video game Touken Ranbu, along the same lines as Kantai Collection. It focuses on a group of warriors who are the human personification of famous weapons, sent back in time. Their task? To protect history from the forces of the Time Retrograde Army, who seek to change history for an unknown reason. Ranbu focuses in on the 2nd Unit, newly minted and formed from a group who have never worked together before. Together they will face the hordes of the Retrograde Army and defend the past from the future!

Let’s jump in.

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Posted on 28 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kakegurui

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members of the student council in a series of gambling games. The setting is absolutely ridiculous with a unnecessary school setting that makes no sense whatever considering what happens in the series. The cast is made up of people whose main trait is being crazy in some form or another and go over the top with facial expressions. Yes to judge this show on these qualities would have it fall low indeed but that is not what makes a show enjoyable. I believe that style over substance is what I am getting at here as Kakegurui works mainly due to it’s presentation.

While gambling is the focus of this anime, the games themselves don’t really amount to much as we never really get a chance to look inside Yumeko’s head and see her work out plans or countermeasures. If you have just finished Kaiji and walk into Kakegurui expecting something similar then you will be undoubtably disappointed. For the common factor here is to see how smug the opponent is in how they rigged the game and having Yumeko eventually unveil that she knows about it and manages to win. Often putting her previous smug opponent down a peg.

Thus the satisfaction is in seeing the over exaggerated fashion at which this all goes down. The music, animation and art are often as over the top as possible with the soundtrack sporting trumpets and jazz like music while the characters faces distort into vile contortions be it in victory or defeat. Every character is crazy and none are crazier than our lead who often elapses into sexual excitement over the idea of risk. This aspect can get admittedly too much as it’s used to push fanservice as characters essentially orgasm over gambling and there are quite a few times where in female characters seem to be visually seducing each other in what would be otherwise a normal conversation. Yuri undertones are apparent here quite blatantly despite none of the character being made clear to be homosexual nor interesting in anything besides gambling and their own ambitions.

As such this is a series that I can’t really provide value through words, instead I say if you show interest then check out the first episode as that acts as an example of what you will receive for the entire series. However I would warn you to not expect something more than that as Kakegurui is only good at one thing and it will not move far from that one thing. This is a series about a crazy gambling girl showing smug assholes their place. That’s all you are going to get. But if you are fine with that then this is the show for you. Personally while i enjoyed it at first, I began to grow tired of it in the final episodes of the shows run so my rating for it’s that it’s a decent distraction but not one I will return to.

Posted on 27 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Re:Creators

There was never going to be a epic fight with every creation squaring off against the overpowered and invincible Altair. That possibility died when the creators threw the copycat of Blank at her only to have that plan backfire horribly. Besides, it wouldn’t have been a satisfying conclusion to Altair’s story to have her be brought down by the remaining supporting characters given that Selecia disappeared in the blue ether beforehand. Predictably, it comes down to Altair convincing herself that the world is worth saving and the conversation between Altair and Setsuna was really well done with both voice actresses going back and forth with their arguments about placing the blame on the world that was so cruel to Setsuna. There is a parallel between those two and how Bltiz choose to switch side when confronted with the opportunity to gain back the very reason for their motivation to end the world. As well, the transformation from the PPSh-41 machine gun to an actual violin is a visual symbolism of her ultimate choice to create and not destroy. As the far as the main plot goes, Re:Creators is finished as its antagonist goes happily off into sunset with her creator into their own world of adventure and fun. It’s not the best twist ending but I’m perfectly satisfied with how the series build itself up to that point and concluded it.

After everything’s said and done, the final episode wraps up with everyone having a celebratory meal, saying their goodbyes and reflecting on past sacrifices. The creations go back to their own fictional world but Meteora, due to the untimely death of her creator, which begs the question of what happened to Magane. Curiously absent from the final episode, I would infer that she would have lost her powers just like Meteora and go on to become a regular trolling schoolgirl. It’s not quite the ending for those who wanted to see justice be served for the murder of the shopkeeper and her own creator but I think it better to see her leave quietly than having a upbeat epilogue scene for her. The ending summarizes the points of the series in that creators will keep on creating even to the point where a creation, like Meteora comes full circle and end off the series with her own work of Re:Creators.

Re:Creators marks the third series that Studio TROYCA have made with Aldnoah.Zero and Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru being the first two. While their original mecha show was a wild ride of disappointment that really needs more time to flesh out its characters and concepts and the episodic nature of its investigative show took away from the overarching narrative, I felt that they succeed in having and executing an interesting premise while having a few flaws. The biggest glaring issue I had was the uneven pacing in regards to the infrequency of actions scene and mid-series lull of dealing with Sota’s underlying guilt and laying of the foundation for the Elimination Chamber Festival. Also, as Rei Ham (Writer of Re:Creators) regretfully mentioned in an interview, Mamika exited far too early in the show as she was probably one of the best characters arc by growing out of her naive magical girl persona. Her replacement of Hikayu wasn’t all that great despite the creators having fun with her backstory and power-ups. Finally, the 3D stilted animation of the mecha hasn’t been improved over their effort of Aldnoah.Zero and just cements the reality that 3D and mechs don’t mix (Knight of Sidonia is an exception). Aside from those quibbles, I enjoyed my time with Re:Creators over the past half year and looked forward to watching it every week. It looked nice, had that sweet sweet Sawano soundtrack and always had something interesting to say about the nature of artistic creation.

7.5/10

Posted on 22 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sakura Quest

Conceived as a third installment in a loose P.A Works trilogy about young adult girls in working environment, Sakura Quest both knows its target audience well, and has some big shoes to fill. After all, many have considered Shirobako an install classic for good reasons. As it turns out, Sakura Quest is more on the level of Iroha than Shirobako, and it still has some of the same issues from its predecessors, namely it’s still too optimistic, hence comes off as sometimes unrealistic outlook to its subject matters; and it tends to rely on sitcom slice of life format (mainly in the first half) that feels unfocused and inconsistent at times. Despite these issues, the truth remains that Sakura Quest had never been bad. The show has some snappy, realistic dialogues, easy humors and it never treats their characters lightly. The show is at its best when it creates problems that force the main cast to reflect on their own issues, then learn and grow from their own issues.

Sakura Quest’s structure is split into two distinct halves. The first half focuses on several mini-arcs, where the Tourism Boards undergo many events that attract more tourists visiting Manoyama, at the same time give each of the main girl a character arc to flesh out who they are. Many events, from assisting filming production, matchmaking tours, to the TV programs about our girls and hosting a popular rock band to town, are exciting and at first glance, it gives an illusion that the Tourist Board has achieved its success. In part, yes, as the number of visitors consistently goes up, but when all is said and done, the town remains a ghost town with no lasting impact whatsoever (I love this image: the next morning, all the tourists are gone, only trash and coupons flying around). The decision to concentrate on main leads’ own problems and their dynamic together in the first cour, now in retrospect, actually serves its purpose since we come to care and root for them well before the second cour pushes forward its main storyline.

If you consider the first cour as “inward approach” (forgive me for the lack of more academic term), which is attracting tourists to visit Manoyama town, the latter half can be seen as “outward approach”, as the Tourism Board reaches to the local needs, goes to rural mountain where a small elderly community lives, reviving an abandoned school for public use, and strengthen Shopping District’s business. For me, it’s a much more realistic approach and the journeys along the way are all worth spending time for. You can compare two festivals – the Manoyama Founding festival and the revival Mizuchi festival for their differences in approach. The Mizuchi festival is made for the locals, by the local and achieving that level of enthusiasm from the villagers is something worth rewarding. While there are still some unnecessary plot points (here looking at you the merger of Manoyama town), Sakura Quest did indeed end on a satisfying note. This might be the end of the Queen’s run and all other girls, but it’s clear that it’s just a beginning for the Manoyama’s local to grow stronger.

Our five girls: Yoshino, Sanae, Maki, Ririko and Shiori play a big part of adding Sakura Quest’s identity. All these girls have their own charms, play off well with each other, and most of own develop greatly at the end of the show. Sakura Quest’s biggest strength lies in its ability to address the insecurity of young adults regarding their jobs, their place to belong, and their choices of life. Many issues it touches (most notably Maki’s unsuccessful acting job) feel achingly true and honest. The supporting cast, from Kadota, Chitose, to that kid Erika, add their own marks to the show’s big picture and it’s a joy to watch such a huge cast coming together for a big project. I bet Sandal-san will enjoy a great fan following as he steals the scene every time he appears onscreen. Thanks Alexandre Cena Davis Celibidache for compiling such a fantastic artbook about Sakura Quest.

P.A Works does a pretty decent job production-wise for Sakura Quest, although in some episodes (especially the final episode) the character models are a bit off. The soundtrack and the voice acting are all pretty spot on. Only a year has passed in this Manoyama town but it has been quite a journey. Every girl has their own dream to follow now, and life continues to go on and I know there will be a time that the five of them will meet again under that sakura tree they planted together. As a conclusion, allow me to quote the final preview speech from Sandal-san because it sums what I feel so well: “It was a long, long trip, and we’re coming finally to the end of the journey. Thank you, Manoyama and Chupacabra. And thank you, 5 EURO”

CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Well, after the first season of 3-gatsu ended, I did skim ahead to this bullying arc so I already know this is going to be powerful, yet the anime still wow me over and over
Anonymous1637770
Also it can be tricky selecting a season sequel since some old series had like 50 to 100 episodes, what counted as a season then?
Anonymous1637770
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It's more common in videogames (especially Capcom) than in other mediums. Megaman 2, RE 2, Street Fighter 2, Dino Crisis 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually in a rarity, a sequel season is better than the first.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which makes my enjoyment of sangatsu so strange.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I generally do not like game/sports orientated shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That you slightlySuper-erMario and superwooper!
Kaiser-Eoghan
And my reaction to the show is such, that I enjoyed it enough to make such a huge pot about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also I want Akari to be my mom and Hina is adorable without being annoyingly so and Kana Hanazawa is doing a good job voicing her.

And whoever said it is right, the op/ed songs are worth listening to, for once I’m not skipping them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
At this point it feels as if by the end of the series I’ll come off it thinking that I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters.
I don’t think as of just yet it complete lives up to honey and clovers legacy though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never cared about Harunobu initially, but recent episodes have changed this.
Dull parts of the manga are easier to get through for me in the anime due to Shaft elevating the material with one of the better uses of their visual gimmicks.
Giving the series another chance, even though I won’t fully embrace the humour, it does now and then manage to make me laugh a little.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc centering on Hina and the shows treatment of it is better than most anime bullying stories and has provided the most emotionally rewarding aspect of the show.
Characters that are assholes like Kyouko’s boyfriend, Kyouko herself I’m finding somewhat more sympathetic and want to see more to their personal drama.
Kaiser-Eoghan
However I do genuinely think that the series does a good job of allowing dramatic moments to creep up on the viewer, that early scene of Hina crying over her mother, Rei’s family flashbacks, Akari’s concerns about Hina/the stuff with her dad, all the scenes with Kyouko do carry an effective and solid dramatic weight to them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel it starts very strong, making a great first impression, then kind of has these dull moments that make it sort of a slog at times to get through, unfortunately I have no interest in chess/shougi and no knowledge the show tries to give me is going to stick or allow me to embrace that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Through jumping back and forth between the anime and manga, I can say I have no caught up to where I will now watch March comes like a lion on a weekly basis.
Anonymous1636224
The blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki
Anonymous1636224
Mmmmmm the suffering of all those innocent people feeding his God boner, this is why I love Inuyashiki
Lenlo
Oh yeah, thats not a knock against it. Just noting they dont *need* much animation
SuperMario
Well, the nature of Mahoutsukai is slow-burned, so it makes sense they focus more on static, quiet moments
Lenlo
Was that blade 2022 thing supposed to be an example? Because I wasnt a fan. It was stylish sure, but difficult to follow.
Lenlo
Maho is a good looking show, I wouldnt call it a great animated show.
Lenlo
The issue for me is, theres just not alot being animated most of the time. Usually its a pretty slow moving anime, so most of its time is talking and still shots. It doesnt need alot of animation, so it doesnt have it.
Lenlo
@Niel, I think Mahoutsukai can have good animation when it wants to. Like the water viel in episode 10 looked good (Though im not sure how much of that was after effects)
Anonymous1635607
uhhh creepy
Anonymous1635589
the blood of the innocent will flow without end, mmmm this is why I love Inuyashiki so much
Amagi
I think the security is the same as here, it's just that Japanese people are less likely to rip stuff (correct me if I am wrong). It seems like ripped anime, manga and so on are basically always uploaded by Americans, Chinese people or someone else.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised heavens feel was camripped I thought security in japanese theatres was stronger.
Amagi
Yeah it's also screening in Germany, I will watch it in February, together with Heaven's Feel, Mutafukaz, Kimikoe and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*on Europa cinema
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nanoha new film to screen next February in the US, come in Europa license it for over here dammit....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Did have some down moments though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I guess contrasting Luke with his old self goes some way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Saw the preview screening of the new star wars, still feel the new trilogy stands inbetween the originals and prequels, fufills its duty as a *** star blockbuster , some genuinely hilarious high camp moments, awful tokenism, Snoke is a shit villain, but two scenes with Luke actually have a pathos to them and I liked the chase/action scenes when they happened. Nobody cares about the acting/dialogue
AidanAK47
But there are times when it goes way too far and you can barely make out what is even supposed to be happening. Or characters go so off model that they are unrecognizable. It can be immersion breaking. Much like uncanny CGI.
AidanAK47
@Niel, I do agree that it's annoying to see people complain about animation when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Like those inbetween frame screenshot people. But I will say I appreciate on model characters more so than chaotic movement. When the off model stuff suits the tone of the scene like that blade runner part, then it's fine.
niel
I also don't want to see someone imply visual=animation for the hundredth time. Are people really that ignorant of the technical/artistic aspect of the media they consumed?
niel
It just depends on what works best in given scene and the aesthetic they want to go for. People can complain all they want about off-model stuff, but if they really only want that the they won't be getting nearly as much of those impactful scenes as there are now. So many of the ways people complain about it is really irking to me.
niel
normal/low action scenes is different from being on-model during the action sequences and just the ones that need some extra impact in general. https://youtu.be/rrZk9sSgRyQ?t=6m45s
niel
But that depends on the situation though. And I'd argue that being consistent and on-model during
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter/Niello/Mario: Ideally I want it both ways, fluid animation AND consistent model visuals, all the while never sacrificing choreography.
SuperMario
But really, who am I to say. I'm the dude who prefer beautiful shot composition myself
SuperMario
The same can be said with Shinkai's movies since he always prefers static, beautiful shot that people tend to overlook that his animation is quite poorly handled
Vonter
You're right, but art direction does alleviate limited animation, I mean the old Berserk anime, kinda has a lot of slideshow moments. MahoYome has nice backgrounds, and despite the samey faces, at the very least doesn't come from the same mold as other series. Still cutting corners with chibi segments is was a mistake.
SuperWooper
Is it any wonder that people prefer things to be static/on-model? They want to see characters who look consistent and familiar so they can relate to them.
Nie
MahoYome being the biggest offender of people getting triggered to any kind of statement about the show's animation not being good. And it's absurd because the show's animation really isn't great at all. It's good with distracting people with pretty pictures, but animation-wise it's still mediocre.
Nie
@SuperMario: Not much. Just stuff like "Art is part of the animation weather it's beautiful backgrounds or just amazing looking characters. It's not all about how they move. If it was, CG would be considered great animation" multiple times. I've just been finding myself being replied with these kinds of comment non-stop since the start of the season.
SuperMario
@Niello: What happened exactly, if you don't me asking?
Nielllo
If I hear someone says AMB has good animation one more tie I might actually lose it. It's amazing how people who apparently know nothing about it try to defend this and other people who don't know anything are actually supporting the guy.
Niello
So with Fate Apocrypha episode 22 out, I'm just now learning that people think webgen style is horrible and they prefer static scenes with pretty visual over actual quality animation. WTF. I can't comprehend this. Are casual people who watch animation in general really that oblivious to the art they have been watching?
Lenlo
Berserks Dynasty Warriors style game looked better. Also, Mahoutsukai should be up tonight/tomorrow. Turns out, Christmas is a busy time of year at this job.
Amagi
*worse
Amagi
Especially when you consider how good CGI can be by now, look at Houseki or Kado. But Berserk was the worst thing I saw in years, many scenes felt worst than sequences of PSX games
Amagi
@SuperMario: Same. I love Kon and also consider Paprika's OST as the best. @Lenlo: Me too. I honestly even enjoyed the movies but the new series was atrocious
Lenlo
HIRASAWAAAA! HAAAAAI YOOOOO.
I miss the 90s Berserk.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also quite fond of his soundtracks for Berserk. AIIIIIYE FORCES : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYYYew8CUI
SuperMario
@Amagi: I'm a big fan of Kon so I've watched everything from his. Even bought a book about his works. About the soundtrack, I listened to them as well but not regularly, compare to pprika OST which I downloaded and listen to a lot
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although not completely a manga, Usagi yojimbo also has an anthro character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Millennium actress is partially inspired by the actress Setsuko Hara.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: The anthro-animal manga is even a topseller as far as I know. Haven't looked into it yet, though. Maybe I will do so.
Amagi
Speaking of it, I am still hoping Dream Machine will happen some day. Kon died believing it would happen
Amagi
@SuperMario: Have you tried the other Kon movies like Millennium Actress once? Thought they were really good and Hirasawa is responsible for the OST there too. Or Paranoia Agent which was (IMO) very good as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nttSKBJ38k (OP)
Niello
Eoghan: Enjoy... ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't read this, its very strange to see a manga about full anthro animal characters: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Beastars
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: So based on that I will try devil lady. Thanks.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: That'd be me who made that post. I thought dororon enma-kun was wonderfully ridiculous and Devilman gorishly entertaining, Shin Mazinger Z was probably some of the most fun I had with an anime, but violence jack took it way too far though so I guess I'm aquainted with nagai's work
Vonter
I don't remember who was looking for something noir in anime. I was looking among several series from Go Nagai. And watched some Devil Lady. I don't remember if noir is exclusively detective stories, but this anime, has those high contrast shadows, eerie music and is shot like some japanese horror movies I've seen. I don't know if it changes along the road but so far it's very suspenseful.
SuperMario
I only know him through his works in Berserk and Paprika but his music never fails to amaze me
Anonymous1626471
@Amagi: Ghost Bridge is my favourite. I just find it very calming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeh5aJsxlbw
Amagi
Susumu Hirasawa is one of my favorite musicians/composers. I don't even know what kind of subgenre this is. There aren't any other music groups I know who do similar stuff
Nielllo
@Mario, Already saw that video before.
SuperMario
Check this out... I don't even know what the freaking instrument he's playing, but it's spellbound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjalQjAomH0
Niello
Just when I thought Houseki no Kuni took the prize for best animation I was treated with Apocrypha. This week is amazing.
Niello
Big name animators all over. They really threw everything they've got here.
Niello
Woooooah! OMG Apocrypha ep 22 animation is sick! So that's why the animation in the first half of the show is so lackluster and basically just darn awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its not entirely odd to bring up Heydrich in relation to the occult either, apparently he was said to be part of some whackjob order.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, that girl from Dies irae, Anna Schwegln is aptly named, also shares her name with the last executed person for witchcraft, who was Bavarian German, which i'm told by an Austrian friend were particular right-est leaning politically.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course unfortunately its often the opposite that happens, nothing is worse than an ending that ruins everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, how I love being surprised by something. That feeling where you''re watching something shakily held together, simply okay or good, then suddenly in the second half or last stretch your score of it goes massively up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can kind of understand the wanting to go home and watch something easy mentality instead of challenging but even though I'm guilty of escapism, I'm tired somewhat of "sillier" stuff, its often enjoyable but its get overly reptitive and I wish I could find more philosophical/political/imaginative things.
Amagi
Yeah the show is great because of its theme, the setting and chemistry girls have as well as their (lack of) knowledge about basic human things. Each episode thematizes this in a different way but there isn't much you can talk or say about it when you already explained the topic in detail.
SuperMario
On the other hand, I don't have much to talk about Girls' Last Tour this week. It's still good, but with this episode I feel that I'm running out of concrete thig to say about the show
SuperMario
Haha both Houseki and 3-gatsu have a good showing this week. I have a lot of things to talk about Houseki in particular
Amagi
This week's Houseki is jurassic park
Amagi
*-ati - I think Netflix and so are at least giving a few new impulses which isn't too bad. I don't think the typical anime series will disappear because of that.
Amagi
At least in comparisation
Amagi
I think it's just sad how often I see wonderful series selling 500 BD/DVD or maybe even less. Most series don't sell more than 1500 or so and the rest is usually at ~3000-5000 which is still pretty low.
Amagi
Yeah, it's one of my pro-Netflix arguments as well. Another problem is that anime (not counting manga) only make money through dvd/bd sales since they air at night, whereas Netflix or daytime tv series don't depend on the latter so much and since anime BDs are so expensive the only ones who buy them are the more extreme fans.
AidanAK47
Might be in part due to the workaholic nature of their society that makes escapist fantasy and empty entertainment more appealing than usual. Ultimately these are the people anime is made for so opening up the markets gives more deserving shows a fighting chance.
Though that isn't to say that western taste is perfect either.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, That's part of the reason I think some westernation might be a good thing as from what I seen the Japanese have truly terrible taste in anime. Sales charts from Japan just make me shake my head.
Amagi
God, the preorder anime lists are atricious. The only one that seems to sell acceptable (around 6k) is Mahoyome. Series like Inuyashiki have 80 pre-orders so far, Shuumatsu Shoujo 977. Idol shows sell good of course, including that male/bishounen Idolmaster
AidanAK47
@Anon, I read it but kinda fell out due to it's releases being slow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Actually if you check the manga recommendations section, you'll see there is a post about it here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yes, it was interesting to follow a story that dealt with a characters homosexuallity that was outside of the yaoi/yuri mould.
Anonymous1620968
Out of curiosity, has anyone on here read Shimanami Tasogare?
Niello
Where are we up to with Inuyashiki?
Lenlo
Well alright then. Episode 9 out of 11 and that happens. Was not expecting that
Lenlo
Ooo something happen this week? Im about to watch it
Kaiser-Eoghan
It feels just as rushed and awkward in the manga.
Amagi
I noticed this too
AidanAK47
Inuyashiki has balls of steel to pull that in this particular episode number.
Nielllo
Finally got around to reading Helck, and it looks like it's going to go into that pile of good-shounen-that-won't-ever-get-animated right alongside Psyren.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Imagine trying to buy the dvds of the show in public.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Gentle remind that the prism ilya movie is out and subbed.
AidanAK47
Still surprised the second and third seasons got dubbed.
AidanAK47
@Angel, I replied to one of your comments before but the rundown is no official word yet but maybe next year.
Angel
Or no? Someone please tell me!!
Angel
Going to happen?
Angel
Is fate/kaleid liner prisma☆illya 3rei dub
Amagi
I dislike it when manga bait me into reading due to the first chapter and end up being some very generic stuff afterwards. Nobody stays for B if he started something for A, authours should expect that.
Lenlo
Really, Juuni should stick with the 3D. That fight in ep 9 looked pretty good. 3D is clearly what they are good at
AidanAK47
@Niello, It's not Chatango. It's a plugin for wordpress called Wisechat.
SuperMario
@Niello: yeah, Juuni caught me off guard this week. The production of Juuni is unfortunately shaky, but well, strong writing can save the day
Niello
Btw is this chat still Chatango?
Niello
This week episode of Juini is surprisingly good compared to how the show usually is with its backstory. Although the part where Ox tries to explain to Tiger could definitely use some visual buff.
SuperWooper
in the future*
SuperWooper
Pretty cool that Juuni Taisen had that kind of emotional heft this week, though. Might be one of the 2017 shows I sample the in the future.
SuperWooper
I think the occasional comments with an episode title and nothing more come from people who mistake the shoutbox for a search bar.
SuperMario
@Anon1614688: juuni taisen... made me tearing up this week. Honestly didn't expect that. Damn you, Tiger
Anonymous1614688
juuni taisen
Amagi
Had some complaints regarding Children of Whales but the latest two episodes were pretty good.
Amagi
@Anon: You explained it better than me.
Anonymous1614307
Kaiser: I actually have the exact same opinion of Natsume and Mushishi. Both are excellent, but Natsume just does a great job with a small core cast and a very simple premise
Anonymous1614456
who likes naruto
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mushishi does have good stories, but it was always a manga I'd dip in and out of, on and off for years, never marathoning it, wheras Natsume was easier to read several chapters of in one go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its because Natsume has more pathos.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*more than
Natsume weirdly ended up becoming this comfort manga for me with a higher consistency rate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will state that I hold the terrible opinion that I like Natsume Yujinchou than Mushishi but at the same time completely recognize that Mushishi is probably the more ambitious, better show.
Niello
So it becomes a cycle of "this is an interesting set up" (except that the new Kino isn't even good at that) and then they fucked up or Kino/Shizu fucked them up even more, then move on. Without the emphasis on philosophical nature of the set up they present like in the original Kino, there really isn't that much point to it.
Niello
With the new Kino it's more about messing people up, occassionally observing and hardly ever improving. The anwsers or solutions to the problem they present is never really talked about in a rational way.
SuperMario
@Anon1614318: maybe you should give the old Kino a try. What I don't like most about the new version of Kino is that both Kino and the new guy are sketched as hero. The old Kino manages the tone right as well. There were some really dark tales and most of them thought-provoking. Can't say the same for say...Country of Cooking
Anonymous1614318
I don't know, it might be interesting to actually dig deep into the differences between episodic series with this kind of style to see what works and what doesn't.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's a matter of the chapter they chose to adapt were not really the better ones but the ones where the protagonist is more of an active role. Not totally against that, but it feels like the protagonist is just OP all the time. At least with Mushishi Ginko isn't able to save everyone all the time.
Anonymous1614318
I guess it's supposed to be more allegorical, but most of the time the allegory is not really meaningful enough. I thought it would be more along the lines of Mushishi, which is kind of similar in setup, but better in most other ways.
Anonymous1614318
What keeps me sticking around are some of the nice background arts and generally pleasant use of color, but admittedly most of the episodes aren't really engaging in a meaningful way. Most of the time its just Kino/Shizu show up, find out town's gimmick, then save the day. I prefer the episodes where the townspeople are more than just flat background characters.
Anonymous1614318
It's interesting to see how this new Kino season is being received from folks who've already watched the original. This is my first real exposure to Kino, and I kind of like it, but even without watching the original, I share many of the same complaints Aidan and most of the others have.
Amagi
I am also kinda sad he's just some 2* servant in fgo, but his power is special and he's physically weak, so it's understandable.
Amagi
And again, Shakespeare is just great but the character is, sadly, kinda wasted here considering how much screentime he has.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes. Plus, maybe more characterization or background for some servants. The anime would have that time without Sieg and his romance sub plot.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Those being remove Sieg and more Shakespeare?
Amagi
And man Apocrypha is pretty good but it would be twice as good if it had those two changes Aidan always mentions in the reviews..
Amagi
@Kaiser: I think the male in Kino was a mistake. Having two PoV sounds good, but he's basically just a male Kino, he even looks like her. Someone vastly different would have been way more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd guarantee that sangatsu no lion would be high up, but FINALLY this weekend I'll be catching up.
Niello
@Kaiser, Ugh my phone gitched. What I meant to say was that background was unexpected. Now I see why you're enjoying CotW though.
Niello
@Kaiser, That's unexpected.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoyed how outright surreal Arakawa was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: It bothers me that they're stuffing multiple tales into single episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, excel saga, I wonder what I would think of it now, its been years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I actually respect Aidan's coverage of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
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Star Crossed Anime Blog

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Featured Posts

Juuni Taisen – 11 [To Treat a Man to Beef From His Own Cow]

To the surprise of no one, Rat wins the race by breaking in the right place at the right time with the right weapon. This is by no mean a coincidence, because later on we learn about Rat’s real power: “Hundred Paths of Nezumi-chan”, in which he can see 100 various outcomes and thus picking […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 10 [We Live and Learn]

Welcome to week 10 of Mahoutsukai! Finally, oh so finally, we have are given some backstory on Elias! Our mysterious male(?) lead gets some explanation. We also get the start of a Chise only arc and finally some more information on Lindel. Lets jump in! As the main focus of this weeks episode, naturally I […]

Dies Irae – 09[A Mother’s Sins]

DIes Irae isn’t making this easy for the anime only watcher, as we get confused montages of Lisa’s backstory and oddly of a character whose relevance doesn’t come till a much later date. I would say it’s rather spoiler-ish if the info wasn’t presented in such a haphazard way that no one could really decode […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 10 [Train – Wavelength – Capture]

Girls’ Last Tour examines the concept of time and space this week, as the girls riding on a lonely moving train. The train design fits right in with this world: a long metal box that functions all by itself and contains many now-dysfunctional robots – corpses of the machines. Since last week we learnt that […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 10[Kind Country]

Another remake of a story from the old series and while this one is adapted quite well, maybe even arguably better than the old version, it unfortunately lacks the same impact. The main problem comes back to the thing which ultimately holds back this season as a whole, story choice. For you see in the […]

Houseki no Kuni – 10 [Shiro]

This week proves to be the most action-packed episode Houseki has been offering so far and unconventionally, it’s Dia who takes the central stage at facing the most ridiculously overpowered Lunarian Titan to date. Well, I said “unconventionally”, but when the narration and the execution (the camera work, in particular) come together in such neat […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 22[Reunion and Farewell]

Breaking my usual routine today just to give an opinion on this episode but this episode made me feel compelled to get out my opinion. We have another action packed episode with three contestants out of the war and boy did they go out with a bang. Many will notice that the animation for this […]

Inuyashiki – 9 [Shihjuku People]

Welcome to another week of Inuyashiki! This week we have incredible sequences of terror, fearless Directors and death flags! Lets jump in. Obviously, the first thing we need to talk about this week is Hiro. A lot has happened in the few hours since Hiro attacked the Station. Interestingly, yet weirdly, Hiro has garnered a […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 21[Antares Snipe]

When Apocrypha slows down, it’s story shows it’s cracks. But when it’s an action showcase it actually becomes quite entertaining. The characters don’t have the time to be developed but they shine in combat when they clash, sometimes showing parts of themselves the series otherwise doesn’t allow for. Astolfo for one was actually useful for […]

Latest Reviews

The Reflection Review – 45/100

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is […]

Made in Abyss Review – 91/100

There are few series which can capture the mystery and wonder of a fantasy world as well as Made in Abyss. Their world is dangerous, brutal and unforgiving but beautiful, wondrous and exciting in it’s presentation. The story is of a ordinary girl called Riko and a mysterious cyborg boy called Regu traveling down the […]

Classroom of the Elite (Summer 2017) Review – 54/100

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for […]

18if (Summer 2017) Review – 68/100

Allow me to skip over the last episode coverage for this full review of 18if, since I was too underwhelmed by the finale to have anything concrete except pointing out how messy the ending was. The first thing you need to know about 18if is that it’s a multimedia project (along with a mobile game […]

Princess Principal (Summer 2017) Review – 82/100

Princess Principal has emerged as a true sleeper hit for this admittedly sloppy Summer Season. A joint project from indie studios that bring us my favorite anime of last year Flip Flappers (3Hz) and “better than it has any right to be” Girls und Panzer (Actas), Princess Principal records the missions of five cute spy […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul Review 80/100

“Dance!” I have been a  reader of this blog for a long time. Indeed it would not be wrong to say that psgels and the current crop of writers have helped maintain my interest in anime for the last decade. So now here is my chance to give something back to this excellent blog. Shingeki […]

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Review – 63/100

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection […]

Kakegurui Review – 61/100

This show is one that makes conventional reviewing difficult as your enjoyment of your series will likely determine on highly subjective factors. For if I was to put this under scrutiny on matters of f-plot, setting and characters then it will end up lacking in all categories. The plot is just watching Yumeko face members […]

Re:Creators – 22 [Re:CREATORS] – 75/100

There was never going to be a epic fight with every creation squaring off against the overpowered and invincible Altair. That possibility died when the creators threw the copycat of Blank at her only to have that plan backfire horribly. Besides, it wouldn’t have been a satisfying conclusion to Altair’s story to have her be […]