Posted on 30 October 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly inspired by and modeled after Anime. Just like Avatar: The Last Airbender or the currently airing RWBY, let Castlevania stand as a testament that Anime can be produced beyond the borders of Japan. A damn good one at that.

Lets jump in, and beware of spoilers!

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Posted on 19 October 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

In a year where comedy shows gain an unexpected strong showing, somehow a show about 3 cute girls and their pass-timer club emerges as one of the best comedy around. Yep, forget Hinamatsuri, forget Grand Blue, forget Chio-chan, Asobi Asobase delivers some hilarious absurdist laugh-out-loud moments for the ages. It helps that we were in for some trolling even before the series starts. Asobi Asobase is a prime example of a huge disparity between “what the shows is selling us” and “what it is actually about”, and for all the better of it. In all promo arts before its airing, and watching the deceptive OP that introduces the show, one would have assumed they’re about to watch for a comfy CGDCT. The truth is, where are those cute girls in the OP? It consistently displays how nonsensical, degraded our trio are and their situations they find themselves in.

Asobi Asobase’s main source of humor comes from how it introduces the mundane situation, then escalate it and flips the situation over to the most absurd level, usually with the expense of our trio. The jokes often land due to how unpredictable and crass it can get, and it benefits from a bombastic chemistry between the trio, along with the rest of the cast. In fact, in term of “stealing the scene” the supporting cast does a damn fine job with their personality is even bolder than our main girls. We have a shogi captain who goes at great length to teach the trio about “going all out for pass-time games”, we have a senpai who might or might not be a trap (my favorite recurrence gag), we have a girl who is designed like a Japanese classic painting, but she’s a total foil for our Olivia with her great mix of Japanese and English sentences; we have a live-in butler (or whatever role he is) of Hanako whose “special ability” is so bizzare we can’t help but tip our hats for its sheer creativity (it involves shogi as well), and guess what? The best part is that Asobi Asobase is crazy enough to build a proper backstory for his condition that involves alien and touching ass. Yes, Asobi Asobase is that kind of show.

While all the jokes are built in an absurdist manner, Asobi Asobase makes it ten times better with all the crazy reaction shots from the girls. The degraded reactions consistently betray their first cute appearance, making it hilarious in the delivery. Now, to our main three girls. We have Olivia, the non-foreign foreign girl who has a tendency to bend the rules (she’s my favorite character but I ‘d love to see her awfulness more), then we have Kasumi who is the least stand-out, but she possesses many hidden hobbies (chief among them: BL-fanfic story and her afraid towards men – see how contradiction she is) that it becomes a great source of laughter whenever Asobi Asobase delves into it. Finally, the star of the show Hanako (the simplest way to describe her is that she has a few loose screws. Like, seriously) who is basically responsible for all these stupid hijinks, and her rapid mood swing somehow just becomes funnier and funnier as time passes. In addition, not only the voice actress clearly kills it with their performances, I consider the VA of Hanako – Hina Kino a true breakout with her fearless performance that keeps raising the bar to the absurd level. Just listen to the “don’t give a fuck” metal ED to hear her voice screaming. She brings so much energy to this show.

Admittedly, some gags are weaker the others and sometimes it can cross the line between crassly enjoyable and mean-spiritedness (the portrayal of Olivia’s brother nerdiness for example) but that’s the thing because Asobi Asobase is excel at taking us outside of the comfort zone, or to be more precise, the comfort zone that CGDCT genre often doesn’t dare to go. Moreover, while other viewers see this show as “cute girls who is mean to each other”, I don’t really see any mean intent from the girls. While it’s true that most of the times the consequences go out of their hands, it’s also true that they have a blast of a time. And so did we watching and laughing at all the nonsensical hijinks from a show that simply doesn’t give a crap.

Posted on 12 October 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Planet With

Planet With is an anime that likely leaves many unimpressed when they look at the cover and makes for a solid proof that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover or even by it’s first episode. Many have overlooked this show in it’s season but for those that did give it chance it went above and beyond expectations. It is the first original anime work of Satoshi Mizukami, who is most well known for Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer and Spirit Circle which are both highly lauded manga and personal favorites of myself. The story is twelve episodes long and yet tells a tale that could very well have been two cours in it’s small span of time. Now in many cases that would be disastrous and result in a rushed mess of an anime but Planet With beats all odds and not only manages to make it work, but provide a masterclass in using a single cour to its fullest potential. It’s writing is top notch, this show never wastes your time and things are always escalating and subverting your expectations, making you never truly know just what is coming next.

The story involves a boy with amnesia who is dragged into a war between humans and aliens. Indeed the setup seems rather rote but by the first episodes end things start getting changed up. The boy isn’t fighting the Aliens but instead the humans and the agendas of each faction become a lot more than simple world domination. The characters can at first be trope heavy but end up with a depth to them that you wouldn’t expect. Eventually the stories scale grows grander that it resembles the escalation of Gurren Lagann. In fact as far as similarities go, Gurren Lagann and it’s old school mecha contemporaries make an apt comparison. The is a hot bloodedness to the action but also a playfulness to character interaction that lets things flow naturally. It’s a show that knows when to buckle down and get serious while spotting times it needs to take itself less seriously. So you never quite question yourself on why you are so invested in a show with a giant mascot cat fighting a dragon while an alien dog watches with his secretary. While there are aspects of animation, art and music which could be more polished, the writing is something I have a hard time criticizing. Any nits i could pick could be attributed to the shows one cour length but a lesser writer would have caused it all to fall apart.

There are negatives to this in that it takes a few episodes for this show to truly start, the mecha battles are done with awkward CGI which while watchable is still jarring and can’t match animation, the music can get a bit too cheesy as it goes for traditional hot blooded mecha style, the name of the show is hard to google and the ending could have used a bit more of a epilogue. But the more critical negative is that much like the rest of Satoshi’s work, this will likely remain a anime gem not getting the popularity it deserves. Still I implore those willing to listen to at least give it a chance as it deserves that much. With enough time perhaps people can look back on this and come to appreciate everything this show did.

Posted on 1 October 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, My Hero Academia, OVAs and Movies:

Ah, the movie tie in. A right of passage for all aspiring Shounen series. Some, like One Piece have weathered it and come out Golden, while others are better forgotten (Looking at you Bleach). My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, in my opinion, is closer to former. Animated by BONES , Directed by Kenji Nagasaki and advised/concepted by the original author Horikoshi Kouhei, the film checks all of my boxes. Even going so far as to be considered cannon by the Author, tieing into both the Anime and the Manga, Two Heroes is a brilliant first dip into cinema for My Hero Academia.

Lets jump in, and be warned, there are some spoilers within!

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Posted on 30 September 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

Our protagonist

What it claims to be about: Angolmois (a reference to a Nostradamus prophesy which is rather irrelevant for the show, as he lived several centuries after the events) focuses on the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274. Specifically it focuses on the early phase of the invasion when the Mongols attack Tsushima, which essentially is a way station for invasions from Korea to Japan and the other way around.

What it really is about: We follow a band of criminal exiles, which are conscripted into defending the islands by the local feudal lord’s daughter, Teruhi. Among them is Kuchii Jinzaburō a spunky samurai with a good grasp of military matters. He is headstrong and that is what nets him his exile. The show follows the attempts of Teruhi and Jinzaburo to defend the island against overwhelming forces, while at the same time exploring elements of Tsushima myths and culture in the era.

Our protagonist again. Another side of him.

Why you should watch it: In general Angolmois is a mediocre show. It does some things right. The “Mongols” are presented ,as was historically accurate, as a multi-national force including Koreans, and Chinese. The Mongol openness to giving service to anyone is also correctly presented, as is their rapaciousness. The Japanese arms and armors seemed well researched to me, as well as the fashion. I found Jinzaburo an interesting character with complex motivations, but with enough blood-lust to not make him boring. The Mongol secondary characters are interesting, ranging from the timid but intelligent, to the blood-thirsty. The show does not dreg into too much overt nationalism and myth making. Do not get me wrong, the view of the Japanese as unique is still there, but it is not done in a vulgar way (I am looking at you Kopeki no Kantai). Indeed the show honestly dives into the more localist and personal motivations of the protagonists, including ones that lead to betrayal, without sermonizing. The end is well played out, being at the same time brutally realistic and still hopeful (in this sense sharing similarities to the excellent Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans-watch that instead). Character art was in general pleasing to my aesthetics.

Why it is mediocre: The problems though are major. First, the secondary characters on the Japanese side are very shallow. While the Mongols get some great secondary characters, the creators on the Japanese side only focused on developing really Jinzaburo. From the eight exiles only one more gets any real development. The rest are really archetypes. Tehuri is a crucial character but her development is never pursued (perhaps realistically as war engulfs all).

Second, the animation was a complete and total failure. This was surprising, as I expected a historical anime, based on a manga, dealing with such a rumph rumph nationalist fervor topic would get more funding. Indeed the first and second episodes had some good work. Alas, it did not last. Still shots dominate, the battle scenes lack animation, and while bravo for the show pointing out the multi-ethnic character of Mongol armies, all those Chinese, Mongols, and Koreans look like each other. Over the whole animation is a filter that tries to convey the feeling that this is parchment, but fails. Instead it looks like a tv screen splashed with muddy water.

As a result the story suffers and the presentation also does.

Finally, you leave the show with a feeling that you just watched demo for a bigger show on the full invasion of Kuyshu. There is a feeling of indeterminacy. It is true our main characters get closure. But many of the secondary characters seem to have been shoved in for no other reason than to premeditate a sequel. Perhaps there will be, perhaps there will not. But I hope if there is that they actually spend the money for better animation.

The music is nothing to write home about. The Opening is pleasing enough, but not a home run. The rest is

End point. If you are looking for a light historical show and like spunky characters watch this, but do not expect much. A C- in my grading system.

Posted on 28 September 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Steins;Gate 0

Before I begin this review in earnest, I have to ask, who doesn’t know about Steins;Gate? The amazing, beloved original series that Steins;Gate 0 is an offshoot of. Well if you don’t, if you haven’t seen the original, then stop now. Steins;Gate 0 is not worth it. It is not for you. Without having seen the original, Steins;Gate 0 will make even less sense and fall apart even faster than you than it did me. Because, long story short, Steins;Gate 0 tries to do everything and in doing so fails to do most anything.

Lets jump in!

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Posted on 28 August 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

Watching Mirai, there are two observations that spring right up to my mind: Mirai is Hosoda’s most grounded, personal film and it plays out completely different from what I expected based from the promotional materials. My feeling is confirmed when I later learned that Hosoda based the concept from watching his own children’s react, and that his daugher is indeed named Mirai. The film centres around the 3 to 4-year-old Kun and details how he cope with the appearance of his younger sister, Mirai. While the PVs play as if this is an escapist adventure in the vein of Peter Pan between Kun and Mirai the teenage version, Mirai is instead an episodic film where Kun meets various family members in different timelines and come to learn some “life” lessons. Its more realistic setting and its small-scale family drama are a stark different from his more fantastical (and messy) previous works, but it should relate well with kids and moreover with parents who have experienced these before. To put it better, Mirai is a perfect family-oriented feature that respect the child’s point of view with all the mature sentiments behind it.

Mirai’s episodic segments all share the same formula: Kun is dissatisfied with how the baby sister takes all the attention from his parents, he throws a tantrum, he’s miraculously thrown into another timeline where his relatives live and he grows a bit in the process before transport back home. If it sounds a bit like a gimmick, it doesn’t because all Kun’s issues are very believable for the kid his age. Children always feel left out when their “prince” status fall apart with the appearance of some annoying baby. Mirai really nails it when it exaggerates Kun’s outburst with comical distorted face that can only be done effectively in this medium. The film also understands the kid’s imaginative mindset. Kun’s at the age where everything seems possible, where dog can talk and act like a prince, where his Mama is just as messy as him when she was young, where Mirai appears as a high school girl.

It helps that the episodic segments feel like true adventures with many different settings. There’s a sense of wonder everywhere, and the production has a chance to stretch their muscles by breathing life and details to these different era. In one instance Kun is lost in a Hell-like train station, the art appropriately goes impressionist and nightmarish. In other instance (and the only time where it happens in the present), Miral the high-schooler, along with Kun and their dog in human form have to find a way to take down the dolls (Hinamatsuri) to save Mirai from “late marriage”. These moments like this not only help the members of this family bonding deeper, it also helps Kun to appreciate his family more, especially to his younger sister who he seen at nothing but a burden. If I have one minor nitpick, it is that I find the segment where he meets his great-grandpa a bit far-fetched since he doesn’t even meet the old man in real life. But in Mirai’s defense, it’s actually one of the most meaningful story in the film so  well, it’s deserved to be there after all. There’s also some moments where the film take on adult’s perspective. Especially the time where the father has to do real houseworks for the first time, thus he learns how he had been slacking on helping his wife all these years. These instances ring so true here.

But the most impressive thing Mirai pull off is how all these stories add up to paint the same family bond theme. It’s like different branches of the same tree – an apt metaphor for this film given the film frames these stories as threads connected by the grand tree that transcends multiple generations. It’s an ode to the family where every family member’s life sounds just as wonderful and epic like famous figures; where every action, every decision connect and interweave that result in the present-us just as we are now. The settings themselves have a lot of personality in Mirai, especially their house with multiple levels and see-through glass and big garden that easily triggers any kid’s imagination. You can also spot some of Hosoda’s directional trademarks like his lateral camera movement that detail members (usually the father) doing housework in a nice flow of time. There isn’t a lot of dynamic animation, but the character animation is top-notch, especially when the film deals with children expressions since they have much more movements than the adults. The most stand-out sequence for me is the one where there’s only visual storytelling about his great-grandfather and his running challenge. Just seeing how that scene play out brings tears down my eyes. It’s powerful precisely because it keeps the moment “small”.

After a string of movies that entirely focus on grand, fantastic story, I understand why some of you might be let down by this small-scope film. It’s a film with almost no real ambition but I beg to differ on that. Here’s where I like to compare Hosoda with Shinkai’s previous inputs. While Shinkai’s latest expands his scope and finds himself in tune with the general audience’s appeal, Hosoda limits his scope to the theme that he knows most; and cares the most. And that is perfectly fine. Every auteur has at least one personal film in which they disregard any artistic or financial merit and just make something that meant the most to them at the time. It’s the small cozy real-world brush that makes Mirai so enjoyable, relatable and feel almost like home.

Posted on 12 August 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Fate/Extra Last Encore

To many the Fate series is daunting with its numerous incarnations and spinoffs and here in the year of many a Fate adaption we get another one by Studio Shaft which was first thought to adapt the story of the PSP game Fate/Extra. Fate/Extra could basically be considered Fate with a sci-fi twist as this entire series takes place in a virtual reality where a massive Holy Grail War is taking place. The protagonist Hakuno and his Saber Servant must advance up seven Floors while defeating the servant and master that guards each floor to reach the Holy Grail at the top. The scenario itself certainly feels like that of a video game but this anime is not actually an adaption of the PSP game but instead an alternate retelling/sequel to that game. Despite claims from the writer that this anime could be experienced blind, the story itself does require context from the game to understand the story as a whole.

I will say that the story of this anime does sound good on paper and I am sure if you read summaries on each episode you would find yourself interested as the events of this anime do sound exciting, at least on paper. However the execution is botched heavily as the story was essentially a novel written by the author and handed over to be adapted into a anime screenplay. It’s source trappings remain in the show as Fate/Extra is an anime that prefers to tell you it’s story rather than show you it. There is an unforgivable amount of exposition and characters are not developed enough to make such copious amount of exposition interesting. The main character is essentially characterised as having no personality besides a vague anger which makes him a poor foil to the heroine of the series who mainly acts as fanservice. The massive amount of dialogue and Shaft being the animation studio has had people referring to this anime as Fatemonogatari which certainly seems like an apt comparison. The show is mainly dialogue and the battles between servants and masters on each floor all feel uninvolving and anticlimactic. Not helped when each fight either boils down to the protagonists trying harder or pulling out some previously unmentioned dues ex machina. I will say that Shaft make the show quite visually striking and there is some legitimately beautiful aspects like the illustration of the servant master duos in the episode endings. However the animation isn’t as strong as some other Fate entries and this series can take a bit too many of Shafts quirks as an anime studio.

The show follows a fairly formulaic pattern which makes the show feel vacuous as it continues to progress but the characters on screen remain machines for exposition or meaningless dialogue. What is likely intended to be the driving force of the series is the mystery behind what is actually happening as the story itself is very stingy on the details of what is actually happening causing many a viewer to just think “What?” which is the intention of the author but sadly backfired. Anytime you feel you are beginning to understand just what is happening in this show, it throws another curve ball and leaves you trying to figure it out all over again. Once pieced together the story becomes more straightforward but instead of being a rewarding experience to puzzle out it just becomes a reason why the viewer becomes so disconnected to the events on screen as we can’t engage if we are too busy trying to get to grips with what the plot even is. Upon its conclusion it just feels empty and meaningless, providing nothing of worth nor entertainment. Music didn’t leave much of an impression either. Overall there does feel to be a story under all this which could have made for a pretty good anime but the execution of it’s ideas where botched to the point that it just feels soulless and vacant , lacking anything which makes it recommendable besides finding out where that girl who looks exactly like Saber but in a red dress came from. Even then playing the Fate/Extra game would be a better experience even if that too isn’t perfect. So I pray…for Fate/Extra CCC to be localised for that certainly seems like it would beat out both the previous game and the anime. So get on it Marvelous or Xseed.

Posted on 17 July 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews

In following anime seasons it can be quite an experience to follow a show as it airs as the hype and rollercoaster of reactions can be entertainment in its own right. In that regard Darling in the Franxx was a hell of a ride as week by week peoples feelings for it ran hot and cold. An odd aspect of this show which I found troublesome is that I was never quite sure how to evaluate it. For example, if you were to ask me if I enjoyed Darling in the Franxx I would have to say yes, week by week it certainly was an enjoyable watch at least up until it’s final four episodes. But at any point of this series if you asked me if I recommended it then that would be met with a solid “Hmm..I wonder”. Because this show is a mess. There are sudden tonal shifts as it jolts from lighthearted comedy to dead serious drama. At times it can be a grim as Evangelion and at others it can be as ludicrous as Kill La Kill. Sometimes it can have a great episode and other times it can have a trainwreck of an episode. Sometimes it decides to take it’s time and others it moves the plot along at lightspeed.

Developments can be forced and others can be decently thought out. Suddenly stakes are raised only to be negated on episode later. Interesting Ideas can be brought to the board only to be thrown aside. It even starts with joking double entendres with stupid fanservice while portraying a tale about child soldiers in a dystopian regime. This is a confused mess of a series that didn’t know where it was going nor what it was trying to accomplish which results in a storyline which feels like it’s reaching for the stars with the right hand while attaching weights with the left. Do I like Darling in the Franxx? Honestly with the bad taste the final few episodes left me which I would be inclined to say no but there was a point where I legitimately thought this series could turn itself around and become something to be remembered.

The story would be familiar to who’s familiar about the Mecha Genre as it is about a bunch of teenagers who pilot giant robots to fight off some unknown monsters. What made Franxx stand out initially was its focus on sexuality with the male and female pairings to control robots and on the dark insinuations of the dystopian society that these children lived in. However as the series continued it eventually scrapped all this and became a derivative of many a Trigger/Gainax anime before it. The characters can be enjoyable and likeable provided the plot doesn’t force them into a hateable position for the sake of drama with the titular character Zero Two acting as poster girl for the series. If there is one thing that likely carried the series in its weaker moments it’s likely this cast of characters as while not particularly deep, they still proved likeable and relatable enough to care about their circumstances.

The opening is alright with the general soundtrack being passable. Animation wise it could be quite impressive with the show forgoing CGI mecha and instead having 2D drawn mecha. The action set pieces can be a spectacle. Ultimately this is a show that some might enjoy up until it’s final few episodes wherein I would find it could leave them disappointed or disgruntled. It’s a series that shouts a lot but says nothing. One which is a rollercoaster of emotions that when it ends makes you question if you really had fun with it. A deeply flawed series which I cannot completely dismiss as garbage yet cannot praise as well. When all is said and done, Darling in the Franxx just left me empty, apathetic as the finale unfolded and I was left watching credits. I would say the best metaphor for this series is that it is like scoffing down junk food. While eating it’s tasty and satisfying but as you run out you find yourself sick of it and feeling the pains of your digestive system. Left wondering why you bothered eating it in the first place.

Posted on 9 July 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hisone to Masotan

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let down towards how HisoMaso progresses and wraps up. It’s a show with many highlights, mind you, as I consider the production as one of the best of the year so far: simple yet expressive character designs, stunning backgrounds and crisp animation. All you could ask for really. It has some interesting ideas, but that precisely pains me even more that the world-building just doesn’t support the ideas HisoMaso has.

To begin with, let’s address my main issues regarding this production. Unlike other anime shows which bring themselves down by treading the same tired path, HisoMaso is a show with many fresh concepts. I would applaud anyone who can think of the idea of them inside the dragons and piloting (note: not riding) as a military fighter jet. It’s a wonderful and whimsical mix concept that fit into the easy-going tone and the simple character designs. In fact, the first few episodes still carry this concept forward due to the fact that it never takes itself seriously. That’s when the issue arises when we need something more substantial when the appeal wears out, and it becomes increasingly frustrated to see the plot progresses without any backup. As an example, the show introduces the whole “ritual” concerning the whole giant dragon which “wakes up” every 82 years. It opens a whole new can of worms regarding the whole village who dedicated themselves solely for this event and even the process of it all. Equally under-developed and underwhelmed is the anastomosis bit, which for me is the prime example of creating conflicts solely for the sake if conflicts. As it stands, HisoMaso often feels like a first draft on a novel, many wonderful ideas but all of them are half-baked because the creators just don’t spend enough time to think this through.

The half-baked approach spread into the characters themselves. These girls have many quirks that distinct them to the rest of the cast, but at the end of the day there simply isn’t much development for them, or the development feel calculated and forced. Take Kinutsugai and Hitomi, the D-pilots who appear at the poster and the ED, HisoMaso just doesn’t know what to do with them. Same thing regarding the dragons, which feel more like mascots. The main lead Hisone embraces what could be the worst tendency of HisoMaso’s attempt of developing characters. Like the show, she tends to tell us out loud what her issues are, and like the show she tends to make rather weird decisions. Many of her conflicts are raised and solved within an episode, as a result the development doesn’t feel earned.

Speaking about making weird decisions, I can’t still put my fingers on the central message of HisoMaso. In some ways, Mari Osada underlines the struggles of working women in Japanese society, as they have to choose between career and family. Having Hisone and Hoshino fall in love that could potentially cause negative impact on piloting the dragons is part of that strategy. But how do they deal with it? By having the entire army unit work on “make them fall in love then crush their love apart”. That’s mean-spirited to the point of stupidity. On that note, they didn’t resolve the love’s conflict thoroughly either. Second, HisoMaso marks the relationship between the dragons and their pilots, as we see in how Hoshino struggling as she considers herself “a pilot” – not dragon caretaker; and we see the theme reflected by the titular characters. But the problem with its is the way Hisone regards her dragon. She considers Masotan as someone who see the specialness in her, and piloting dragon is something that make her worthwhile, as a result in episode 3 we have something as obscure as her demanding Masotan to “take responsibility” because he picked her. That level of dependence repeats later on, when Hisone argues with another girl solely about a boy. This questionable treatment to women is unacceptable, especially with a show about adult women written by an adult woman. As a result, HisoMaso become the first show from 2018 that receive a minus (-) mark from me.

But what HisoMaso makes up for the under-cooked story is the sheer power of visual presentation. Everything looks great, the characters are on the simple design, but that’s exactly why the studio can go wild on their facial expressions and characters movement. What it’s lack from the character depth is replaced by their mannerism, in which each character moves differently and has different tones. The background designs are simply gorgeous with bright color palette, and the animation are crisp and a feast to an eye. If you don’t mind the lack of deeper layer, HisoMaso’s aesthetic alone would serve as a visual treat. Indeed, at top of my mind only the recent FLCL’s production is on the same level with this show for the first half of this 2018 calendar year.

So yeah, HisoMaso is a show with many highs and lows. Its visual strength is amongst the best of the industry right now, and it’s an easy watch all around with some emotional resonance. The lack of a well thought-out world, however, hurts the show since it’s crumble as it moves along. It’s still a show worth checking out, but don’t delve too deeply into it.

CHANGE USERNAME
KyokoHyuga
?????
KyokoHyuga
who likes pokemon here
SuperMario
@Amagi: I think the person who made the sub for Maquia did a pretty neat job. Not perfect but the translation flows well
Vonter
We've seen realistic Pokémon fanart, but how does a movie looks when it attempts it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CKgQFo5U8
Amagi
How are the subs for Maquia? I only heard anons complain about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*dealing with
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you should really torrent it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is 1080p stream on kiss anime, if you hate deal with the ads on that site the 4up stream on anilinkz has the best quality of the available links
Lenlo
Where did you see Maquia online? I still need to watch it. PM it to me on discord maybe? Pretty please? <3
SuperMario
One fact that not many people know is that Penguin Highway is penned by Tomihiko Morimi. It indeed has many Morimi's signature inputs
SuperMario
This year, I'm doing well with catching up anime films (kudos for Australian's Madman who always license these titles very quickly). So far, I've watched Mirai, Maquia, Penguin Highway, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas and My Hero Academia the Movie
SuperMario
So I watched two anime movies this last week, Penguin Highway in theatre and Maquia online. Both of them are pretty solid in general, especially Penguin that has magical realism elements and some great chemistry. Whereas Mari Okada's writting still rubs me in the wrong way sometimes
Lenlo
D: He did, back in August actually apparently
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I heard Dino's voice actor died.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we all took Goblin slayers attitude to trolls, then we would more easily ignore the trolls =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Big twist in the golden kamuy manga.
Animosh
@SuperMario: remember that in the voice drama Rikka mentioned talking to Yuuta in their classroom during the ball game. Pretty sure it's about that.
SuperMario
@Animosh: i just watched the episode and noticed the lyrics as well. "The Promise" seems vague at the moment. Could be between Yuuta and whoever fits but I agree the "save someone from boredom" is about Akane
Animosh
You learn something every day. ;) Honestly though, I actually skipped the opening, so I hadn't even noticed that it had been translated until others pointed it out. And most of the time the lyrics are just cheesy one-liners, so I usually don't pay much attention to them either. But once in a while there's some nice hints hidden in there...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never really ever paid attention to the lyrics in anime openings, I'd never thought to.
Animosh
The Gridman OP has been translated for the first time, and there's some pretty interesting reveals in there: it mentions a "promise" made in a classroom (so now we know how Yuuta and Rikka bonded in the past - glad it wasn't a simple confession), and talks of "rescuing" someone (presumably Akane) from boredom. So I guess she'll join the good guys eventually?
Lenlo
1200 words. I need to stop writing so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't seen last weeks episode of Irozuku or this weeks =< I'm waiting now for a bit to see if the series paysoff.
Animosh
Goddamn those magic segments in Irozuku were stunning! It's a shame its humdrum drama can't live up to its visual beauty, but I'll take it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think Ash's design is based a bit on River phoneix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry Eiji but your Ash is in another castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@CoolerAnon: I was about to say that. Kidnapping gets used alot in shojo.
Anonymous3072040
Yeah Ash is basically Princess Peach
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I share your concerns, I don't know what studio is doing it. Some people want it to be mappa, some don't want it to be polygon pictures to adapt it. Its and long and violent manga, with some very funny at times dark humour, it could end up rushed and/or censored.
Anonymous3072021
As much as I love Dorohedoro I'm unsure if I should be happy or worried at it getting an adaptation, it isn't exactly the kind of story I imagine being easy to adapt well.
Lenlo
Yeah, I am touching on that in my writeup as we speak. The compressed story is causing Ash to be captured every other week.
Animosh
I agree Banana Fish was great this week though! My only gripe is that I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Ash get kidnapped again and again. He just escaped a couple of episodes ago! And he's just a lot more fun to watch when he's out there doing stuff.
Animosh
In a way the fights actually feel more realistic to me than those in Banana Fish. Sure, they're fantastical, bizarre even, but its battle system has a clear internal logic, and generally no power is infallible (each has its limitations). In Banana Fish the fights are rather poorly thought out by comparison. Their purpose is more to make Ash look cool than to give him realistic hurdles to overcome.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what sets Jojo apart from other battle shounen for me is how ridiculously creative its fights can get. Part 2 already shows some signs of this, but the introduction of the Stand system in Part 3 pushes it to another level, and in Part 4 the fights are consistently awesome. There are no simple beam struggles here: every fight is a battle of wits, between people with wildly different powers
Niel
Vinland Saga anime, and Now Dorohedoro just got announced. i'm really liking this trend.
Lenlo
Lots to writeup on Banana Fish this week.
Lenlo
Just finished it, I really like Blanca.
Lenlo
Because Jackie Chan and his stunt crew are some of the best in the world. There is a reason he has to insure his guys from his own pocket. No agency will take them
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have no idea how the hell Jackie Chan is still alive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Action works best for me when I really feel that theres danger involved. Thats why when some actors do their own stunts, you can fear for the actors life, and also the character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And thats why I'm a big fan of all that Chinese martial arts stuff from the 60s and 70s, that really expertly crafted chereography.
Lenlo
As for action, I like good choreography more than any super powers. Its why Cowboy Bebop, Seirei no Moribito, Sword of the Stranger and some Naruto fights are fantastic.
Lenlo
Im about to watch this weeks episode, so this chat makes me hopeful. I agree Ash and Eiji are the backbone of the series, and yeah me and Kaiser both agreed that the Gang war aspect was pretty weak, though I thought the finish with Arthur wasnt half bad
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think Banana fish has a great grit to it for this reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even more thankful to Banana fish too for that it keeps the action within the bounds of out of fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've always been kind of a guns and swords and kungfu gut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Black lagoons great example of anime action I can get behind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always found weapon combat and fist/kicking combat more raw and real,tangible than beamspam.
Anonymous3070972
But yeah if you're not a fan supernatural power fantasy action shounens, then maybe not your cup of tea, and that's totally cool
Anonymous3070972
Oh also if I'm recommending a fight from part 4, I'd say check out Highway Star
Anonymous3070972
Kira is a pretty cool villain though; he's always underpowered compared to the main heroes, but manages to somehow get out of the situation with luck or smarts; if nothing else, I'd recommend watching some Youtube clips
Anonymous3070972
*Turn off. lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its more than, even when I was younger supernatural power fantasy action shounen never appealed to me.
Anonymous3070972
Admittedly JoJo always has bad with exposition though, and always will be just due to the style, so that can definitely be a turn on for some people
Anonymous3070972
If you like slice of life with hijinks and a murder mystery combined with cool battles, you'll like part 4
Anonymous3070972
Yeah I can see why you might not like part 1 & 2, they were made in the 80s; I'd recommend part 4 and part 5 (ongoing rn) tbh, I feel like those are better for a modern viewing experience
Anonymous3070972
I used to think that BF's greatest strength was the plot; know I realize it's really about Ash & Eiji's connection first and foremost: as good as the plot can be, Ash & Eiji's relationship is absolutely the backbone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Also that scene where Ash is thinking to himself, looking over Eiji.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, I pretty much gave up on jojo midway through part 2.
Anonymous3070771
Also, anybody notice Blanca's VA is Kira (from Diamond is Unbreakable)? What a wonderful duwang!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Niello: The producer guy Miyano is voicing, much like the show is irritating because the show has this "look at me look at me" feel to it, it just comes off as desperate to me and this is just going by the one episode I watched and hated.
Anonymous3070771
What's that damn piano song that plays when Ash and Eiji are talking about Japan. It's too good. For some reason, it's really magical
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I was the one who said that.
@Niello: You don't need to see steins; gate zero, myself and lenlo discussed it to death as it was airing, its all over the place. I like the original too but after a while of the first half being fun, I just wanted it to start.
Anonymous3070771
Phew, great episode of BF; whoever said the gang war stuff was the weakest point was right. this stuff is getting fantastic again.
Niello
Also I agree, Zombieland first episode was amazing, second episode is still rather great, and then the other episodes have just been meh.
Niello
In Zombieland it doesn't help that the character he's voicing with that tone is an asshole, which isn't a good combination because it's making him more annoying by the episode.
Niello
Steins;Gate is pretty good, but I don't think I like it nearly as much as most people do (I gave it a 7/10). I also haven't bothered with Steins;Gate 0. And although I didn't mind Myano in Steins;Gate, I didn't particularly like his voice there either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the sombreness of Blanca's character. Poor Ash, so broken in this episode.
AidanAK47
Yeah after episode 2 it's been a downgrade. Zombieland is still alright to watch but it really has become what it parodied.
Vonter
Zombieland sadly has winded down. I mean it was expected but still I was hoping some more creative attempts to use in the typical genre. It'll have been better if they had waken up more slowly in order to flesh the archetypes a bit more. It still has charismatic moments though.
Lenlo
Really Niello? See, I like it because it's the voice we never got in Steins;Gate 0. Its Okabe's Kyouma voice, and I have a nostalgic love for it
Masky
Wasn't gyary isekai another one that existed?
Niello
I hate Miyano voice in Zombieland Saga and find him annoying tbh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am getting sick of self aware humour though. I see this show as something that was fun to make (such as Miyano seems to be feeling based on performances) but not fun for me to watch and that kind of extends to the manager who while I agree would be the best part of the show, I stopped finding funny after the joke was done.
Lenlo
For me, the main selling point of Zombieland Saga was always Miyano. I love this mans crazy voice.

And in regards to Isekai, discounting this most recent one, SAO actually is pretty good this season so far. Kirito is still bland, but its taking things a lot slower and actually building the world. Its taking its time with 52 episodes
Kaiser-Eoghan
By the sound of it, if some who liked the first episodes don't care for the ones beyond those two episode, then I'm glad I stopped watching.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did flick through episode 2 but the rap battle thing was particularly awful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I couldn't stand the humour and have up on the show after the first half of episode 1.
Anonymous3065780
What Zombieland does have that Ore doesn't is better animation and Miyano hamming it up. But that's all it has going for it at the moment.
Anonymous3065780
You have a few "ha ha look at this" moments scattered here and there like how Ore episode 5 was basically one big middle finger to the nature of anime production, or Zombieland's Tae Yamada. But the parody value from the first two episodes is all but gone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its in part my own fault , I jumped the gun in the first half of episode one then all goodwill I had for it died after the first couple of minutes.
Anonymous3065780
@Kaiser Same here. Very disappointed that Zombieland is going down the same route that Mahou Shoujo Ore went down: basically becoming what it purported to parody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Every isekai that pops up in recent seasons, I simply just ignore it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On another note, surely I'm not the only one who dropped zombieland saga? I'm not alone am I?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean, I've never seen an episode of konosuba or rezero and refuse to , no game no life is a series of two halves, I barely watched any of gate .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the only one I can say I care about is Tanya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I think I've done a fairly good job at avoiding the modern isekai thing, I've never actually cared enough to sit through one fully beyond the first season of log horizon, 4 seasons of zero no tsukaima. Other than that I've seen maybe 7 episodes of sword art . Never seen a single episode of overlord and won't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm also glad their mentioning stuff like the peoples will, the historical assassination of the Russian emperor. I enjoy the tidbits of historical reference for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: But I don't think the animation is as good as it should be in the anime adaptation and its not as violent as the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I am up to date on the manga, the post first scene chapters that have caught my attention most have been Edogai, the big scenes in the prison and that bonnie and clyde duo.
Anonymous3065196
@SuperMario Are you watching GK s2? Any thoughts on it since you aren't covering this weekly?
Anonymous3065196
I think I laughed more from this than most of the comedies airing right now thanks to these bizarre situations and characters they're introducing.
Anonymous3065196
The anime is now covering the parts in the manga where things get a lot more dramatic, and a lot more weird and oddly hilarious.
Anonymous3065196
Wonder if anyone is still watching Golden Kamuy? We're way past the embarrassing CG bear.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A polar bear isekai exists.
AidanAK47
@Anon, it will be after in another world but a polar bear but before the gyarus in another world Isekai.
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Nobody could care about world building not really making sense or being inconsistent if it didn't have the grimderp parts that cause internet flame wars
MaskyAtPublicComputer
So it goes back to what I said: GS at its core is about (at least seemingly) about cool gorey tactical action with some character study of what its like to be broken person like GS is, but rape stuff just kinda ruins it for most people and it doesn't handle subject well
MaskyAtPublicComputer
gear doesn't rust and break down
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Anyhoo, I might remember wrong, but didn't GS purposedly use lower quality gear that has danger of breaking down in middle of combat? Thats kinda what I meant with "apparently using average quality gear is too dangerous", especially since its kinda hard to believe goblins could repurpose armor used by humans for themselves. I'm completely okay with him not using magical gear since D&D wise magical
MaskyAtPublicComputer
Like, you can't be like "Aha, characters think they are in JRPG, but its actually tabletop rpg oh wait no, it still follows realistic logic instead of tabletop rpg rules"
MaskyAtPublicComputer
See, barbarians in D&D don't wear armor because they are stronger without it, sure they have lower AC, but they have lot of health so they can tank a hit. So showing barbarian adventure dying in one hit because they were stupid enough to not wear armor just comes across as "So wait, is this supposed to be realistic, tabletop rpg or JRPG or what?"
MaskyAtPublicComputer
@AidanAK47: That IS actually part of reason why I said GS' author isn't thinking it through with world building. See, I actually think world being gods' D&D campaign does actually explain lot of details about how things don't make sense and it does fit with GS being D&D inspired, but that is another example of how GS is inconsistent.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Perhaps not the strongest episode of honda-san, but the golden kamuy and Brazilian guy bit made up for it.
Lenlo
I might give it a watch after Kaze Fui finishes and write that up, just for you then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anime kind of feels a bit live actiony, which I know sounds confusing to hear, what I mean is the character designs.
Anonymous3060338
I'm very interested in doing a comparison between the anime adaptation and the live-action adaptation of Kaze ga once the series concludes next year just because these are two different mediums adapting the same novel. I would really like to know what they had to change or cut to get it down to 2 hours, compared to this two-cour series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*storytelling
Kaiser-Eoghan
Old films are particularly a coin toss with the huge build up model style of story, the writer needs to be really good to connect all the dots in the last act.
Lenlo
To me, delayed plot points like that are the best, but also dangerous. If it sets it up and pays it off well, its fantastic. However if it falls short, then its a long promise that failed to get fulfilled and it stings.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not a fan of these exposition last minute backstory then the character dies just afterwards "development".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kaze has created a mood and rhythm thats justified its slow burn, by gradually unveiling rather than one giant infodump, the series seems more natural for it.
Anonymous3060338
A pity that some folks are going to drop Kaze ga just because they're not getting immediate catharsis from seeing Haiji getting what he deserves according to them. We're still likely going to get reasons for his actions eventually, but it will take a while especially when we haven't seen the consequences from the rest of the team. Patience is a virtue.
Anonymous3060338
However, I doubt this sentiment will be shared with most anime viewers who are too used to expecting immediate payoffs because of the episode amount leading to a need to rush through developments.
Anonymous3060338
You know, with most adaptations being required to move quickly to adapt source material from the manga/LNs just to fit in 12/24 episodes, seeing a show like Kaze ga take its time with the episodes it has as a novel adaptation is kind of refreshing.
Lenlo
@Anon, I havnt seen this weeks episode yet, but I am hoping the same. Haiji needs a bit of a reality check. I like him, but he has been very manipulative so far
Lenlo
Yup! I am a fool who keeps covering long shows
Kaiser-Eoghan
Beyond Kakeru's story, I think I'm invested in Kings one aswell. Due to how easily relatable it would be for most.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wasn't aware Kaze ga was a two cour series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't read the light night novels, only some of the manga adaptations, is the "its a game of the Gods" thing ever followed up/developed on later in the light novels?
Anonymous3059830
And perhaps show some vulnerability from Haiji, since it seems like other people are getting the impression that we have to sympathize with a manipulative liar and con artist. Granted, I don't think Haiji is exactly that. It's stupid to pidgeonhole Kaze ga's characters under sweeping generalizations.
Anonymous3059830
I'm kinda hoping that during Kaze ga's next episode, that most of the team ends up underperforming during the track meet aside from Haiji and Kakeru. It would show just how unready the team is for the marathon.
AidanAK47
If we are really gonna dig deep into how the GS world functions the big question is how the hell they manage names if everyone is named after their class.
AidanAK47
On another note Masky, part of the game like nature of the world of Goblin slayer is because it literally is a D&D campaign between the gods.
AidanAK47
And I told you lot that it was going to be popular right? Why are you surprised?
AidanAK47
@Masky, That's not the reason he uses lower quality gear. With the amount of goblins he's killing any higher quality weapon would be rendered useless and he doesn't require anything fancy to kill goblins.
Lenlo
Exactly! I loved both of those series as well. I love series where tactics are involved, instead of just yelling louder and getting stronger. Some old Naruto fights had this to, though that fell apart in Shippuden.
Anonymous3059351
@Lenlo - Something like Yuyu Hakusho or Hunter x Hunter were they made a plan for attack through the episode and then do it?
Lenlo
For me, the appeal of GS was, excluding the rape, the attempted realism of the combat. I was hoping for a sort of guerrilla warfare against the goblins esq series. Where a protagonist wins via tactics and knowledge, instead of typical shonen raw power. Sadly that has fallen off a bit since episode 1.
Masky
Thats kinda what I meant though, it wouldnt' be as notable if GS didn't try to be "realistic" aka you know how whole first episode is about how longswords suck in narrow caverns and such. It kinda draws attention to stuff that doesnt' make sense
Anonymous3059351
Even Mirai Nikki was at least bat shit insane on how it played fast and loose with its shock value just for the sake of having a twist.
Anonymous3059351
Still aside from the shock value and the memes I don't get the appeal of this particular series. And I'm saying that as someone who liked Hellsing and Elfen Lied and the shocking parts of Evangelion. And to me I think this isn't as blatant, manipulative or even that edgy. Might just think the intend is perverse but it just hasn't build an atmosphere as let's say Attack on Titan.
Anonymous3059351
I agree there's something off when one puts more thought in what the author intends than what the story does. Because like sexualization and violence is all about how you frame it. The manga I think has more male gaze towards the situation than what the anime has shown, because on one the depiction is centered on the victim and the other at least cuts more towards the attacker.
Anonymous3059351
@Masky - If you think about it. Monsters in fantasy setting rarely are put in depth. How does their populations work? Why several live in dungeons? Beasts, animals and spirits are usually put in the same group.
Masky
Like, Goblin Slayer's wholse speculation about goblin hatred for everyone else being cycle of revenge thing kinda becomes weird when you realize "wait a sec, they can't breed on their own, so even if adventurers never attacked them, wouldn't they still attack villages?"
Masky
Like, if you check the interviews with authors, it seems like only reason he actually chose to include goblin rape was to make checklist of things that make them really horrible/horrifying :P So without really thinking about "is this good idea to include", which kinda pops up lot in the work where author really didn't think "does this make sense"
Masky
t and realize its really dumb logic to increase your chances of dying because you don't want goblins to take average quality gear :P
Masky
Thats my point though, the whole goblin rape thing makes it harder to suspend disbelief because 1) it really clashes with actual tone of the work 2) there are other logical problems with GS. Such as Goblin Slayer's logic of "I use poor quality gear because I know I will one day fightnig goblins so I want to avoid giving them good quality gear" is type of thing that sounds cool until you think a bi
Anonymous3059208
Willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.
Masky
Heck on point 3, why the frick side characters treat the world like it is jrpg world. Like, why is there armorless shirtless barbarian character in setting where they can die from one spear to the chest, it doesn't make setting world building wise for that character to have survived to be high ranking adventurer in first place
Masky
I mean, let's face it, in world where goblins like that exist 1) why the heck would they have reputation as harmless pests, they wipe out entire villages 2) what kind of governing body would either let villages be destroyed by "pests" or let villages they can't guard be established 3) why the heck wouldn't all adventures use helmets in world that doesn't follow jrpg logic?
Masky
Anyhoo, my opinion on GS is that it really should have avoided goblin rape thing because it makes people take the show more "seriously" which makes it hard to justify it being popcorn movie level world building.
Masky
Do note though, that over use of rape IS one of things bad about Berserk :P
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Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara – 06 [Golden Fish]

Irozuku takes us to episode 6 for something significant happen, but even then it’s decidedly under-dramatic. This week, we have a whole lot more of magical moments that certainly are the feast to the eyes, and develop many underlying themes of its narrative. The central of the conflict this week is Hitomi and Aoi, as […]

Zombieland Saga – 04-06[Warming Dead SAGA/The Nice Bird SAGA in Your Heart/Because It’s Sentimental SAGA]

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Banana Fish – 18 [Islands in the Stream]

Ah Banana Fish, back in form this week. Ash and Eiji act like a married couple, Blanca show’s everyone whose boss and Yut continues to have no idea what’s going on. Lets jump in! On a general note Banana Fish is really picking back up. The Gang War/Hospital were easily the weakest part of the […]

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Planetes – 7 & 8 [Extraterrestrial Girl/A Place to Cling To] – Throwback Thursday

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Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San – 5 [It’s a Book Signing!! Everyone Gather Up / A Fascinating Erotic Story]

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Goblin Slayer – 04-05[The Strong/Adventures and Daily Life]

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SSSS.GRIDMAN – 05 [Provocation]

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