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, 2, 10, 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
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
SuperMario
But I'm not entirely sold on the show yet. I feel the relationships are a tad too heavy-handed. The light hearted tones don't work well for me but I really feel a From the New world's vibe from the show
SuperMario
@Amagi: I will talk about Children of the Whales here in the chatbox since we don't cover it. Damnit the cliffhanger. That series really focuses on the theme of repress their own feelings. From the children in the Mud Whales with their custom of not to cry in the funeral or their lacing their hands to express their gratitude. Episode 2 has that monster who basically eats others emotions
Kaiser-Eoghan
And by extension, I would hope that it would encourage adaptations of older fantasy manga aswell.
Amagi
I really hope this type of fantasy will become a new trend instead of the classical world of warcraft type of isekai
Amagi
There is just something really atmospherical about a few characters exploring an unknown world alone that is either almost or entirely devoid of humans or just weird like in Kino's Journey.
Amagi
Shuumatsu Shoujou, Houseki, Kino 2017 and Children of the Whales are shaping up to become my favorites this season. It's funny that they have so much in common, same with Made in Abyss, which also was my favorite of the last season.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, well there were fellows down in cork that decided to go Kite Surfing. They had to send out a boat to rescue the dumb bastards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw that there were some profoundly stupid people ignoring the warnings, some guy even decided to go out swimming despite it.
AidanAK47
I am in some ways both relieved and disappointed.
AidanAK47
Well I got the day off work and the only thing that happened was that it was a bit windy. Wasn't really a big deal to be honest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Whats the word on your end Aidan with regards to the Hurricane?
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course raging bull, a rare case where I watched a film twice.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I've always, apart from Creed, ignored the Rocky sequels despite enjoying the first one, not really into watching a billion followups to a film. Films about fighters seem to connect with me, I got alot out of warrior, southpaw and Rocky.
KTravlos
I was surprised by how well Ancient Magus Bride was able to sell to me the naturalness of Elia's skull head, and the falseness of his conjured human head. Well done.
Lenlo
I do love a good boxing anime. Both Ashita no Joe and Hajime no Ippo are great, though for different reasons.
Vonter
Simply put, unlike Hajime no Ippo. Ashita no Joe, also was mainly about Joe, living in a poor rural town, struggling to make a living, and boxing came out as something that gave him meaning. Instead of the typical shounen of "becoming the best".
Vonter
I think it's bold when someone announced they want to make something like "the next Rocky". Since that's apparently what I get from this announcement. https://manga.tokyo/news/original-anime-megalo-box-inspired-by-ashita-no-joe-announced-for-spring-2018/
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Featured Posts

Houseki no Kuni – 03 [Metamorphose]

It just occurred to me since I watched Bakuman (the first season of it, anyways) fairly recently, but watching Bakuman made me realize how tough it is to have your manga publicize, let alone become a popular one. For those who have watched the anime or read the manga of Bakuman, remember the early Golden […]

Girls’ Last Tour – 03 [Streetlights]

Welp, I never would have thought Girls’ Last Tour can get any better, but this week’s episode is straight up phenomenal. Episode 3 manages to make some new tricks to its well-established formula: introduces another human survivor to the mix, askes a deeper philosophical question about the meaning of life in that stark world (and […]

Inuyashiki – 2 [Hiro Shishigami]

Woe be unto thee who passes further, for today we are talking about Episode 2 of Inuyashiki! A lot happened this week. New characters, dark twists and the start of what I can only imagine is the central conflict of the season. Lets jump in! First and foremost, we need to talk about Hiro Shishigami. […]

Juuni Taisen – 03 [Cutting a Chicken with a Beef Cleaver]

I’m starting to worry about Juuni Taisen. Like what we all predicted last week, this week indeed follows a reverse zodiac order. We have Chicken served as our main POV and at the end she’s the one who get sendoff (with no small help from the episode title. What a huge spoiler). Judge by the […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 15[Differing Paths]

It’s funny that only now, when we are well into the halfway point of the series that it takes some time to flesh out its cast. Sisgou has gotten some backstory, Fiore was fleshed out a little and even Gordes got some time to prove he’s not a complete caricature. The last one is something […]

Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- – 02[Colosseum]

In an odd turn of events, the second episode of Kino’s Journey 2017 is a retelling of a story done in the original 2003 version. Where Kino is forced to participate in deathmatches upon reaching a country. I find this choice odd as I would consider the Colosseum story in the original to be the […]

Dies Irae – 02[Twilight Girl]

There may be those of you who ask why I would cover this series despite it’s rather disastrous prequel episode. Even I will not be attempting to defend this adaption as I sorely believe it will be rather poor indeed. But when you truly think about it, isn’t it the case that I would be […]

Houseki no Kuni – 02 [Diamond]

Note: due to the fact that the whole cast of Houseki is agender and I DO care about the issue, I will address them either by their name or by gender neutral pronoun. But do forgive me if sometimes the old habit gets the better of me. You readers, on the other hand, can address […]

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 2 [One Today is Worth Two Tomorrows]

Welcome to the Fall Season everyone! Let me introduce you to Mahoutsukai no Yome, a piece about a young woman made a Magus’s apprentice and future bride. The first week introduced us to our main characters and some basics of the world. This week sets up our first arc, gives us more information about the […]

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 […]