Posted on 27 July 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

Upon hearing that Castlevania would be getting an animated TV series my first reaction was that of unpleasant surprise. Part of the reason was because of the video games infamous history with adapting their stories to other mediums but my main reason was that being familiar with the Castlevania games, I knew the story was by far the weakest aspect. I have played a number of Castlevania titles though my main experience is with the so called “Igavania” titles which helped birth the Metroidvania genre. Let me say that story was not the reason I came to love the franchise, as a matter of fact the story rather went beyond “Dracula has revived, go kill him again.” However against all odds this series has managed to pull a rather enjoyable story out of the bare bones that was present in the game it was based on, Castlevania 3. I believe the main reason behind this story turning out to be a good video game adaption has to do with the writer being a famous comic writer by the name of Warren Ellis. Not being much of a comic fan I have only read a couple of his works like Planetary, Transmetropolitan and Crecy but based on those I can tell he has skill.

The story of this series isn’t anything to gush over but does serve well in using the little story in the games and fleshing it out to a better degree. It reminds me a lot of old anime ova’s from the 80s with its high level of violence and gore while sticking to a simplistic but enjoyable story. Make no mistake this animation isn’t for children with swearing and corpses abound. I admit that with the large amount of anime I watch it is rather refreshing to experience something that doesn’t have the usual Japanese tropes. Our main character Trevor Belmont is the one to get the most screentime in this short hour and a half season and he certainly makes for a fun main character. Starting your introduction with a drunken brawl is certainly a plus in my book and he is a good mix of playful and skilled without delving into overpowered territory. Other characters didn’t quite get as much screen time to really get a grasp on their characters but they were believable enough to get invested in.

The main cast only really assembled in the final minutes of the last episode. The villains on the other hand were on the weak side with the demons being sidelined by the church who really get treated as ignorant and greedy as all hell. Not saying it’s an inaccurate depiction but they do come off as rather one dimensional when any priest is automatically a murdering scummy psychopath. I hope that with this there role in the story is more or less finished with the end of the season as the first episode does nicely make Dracula’s motives much more compelling. He sadly didn’t get much of a role in this season but clearly the story wanted to focus on a minor villain first before taking on the main one. Our main villain for this season happens to be a bishop and I can pretty much sum him up as the same character as Frollo from Disney’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Religious, insane and so mistakenly sickeningly self righteous that he makes you want bash his head in with a sledgehammer.

This “Season” is only four episodes long and feels more like a hour and a half pilot episode. If I had to guess I would say that these four episodes were to gauge interest in the series due to the negative view of video game adaptions and considering just how quickly a second season of eight episodes was greenlit it looks like the response was quite positive indeed. In the continuation of the series I hope they keep up this level of quality but I also hope that they have much more monster variety as the enemies were primarily variants of demon creatures. Part of what makes Castlevania great is the huge cast of enemies from monster movie and myth. You didn’t just fight demons in Castlevania but ghosts, goblins, fishmen, werewolves and a whole host of monsters including Death himself. It would be a massive shame for the series to not capitalise on that and instead keep the monsters as dull demon creatures.

Animation for the most part is excellent with some occasional stumbles but excelling when it needs to. Music overall was fine but I do wish for a rendition of the iconic Bloody Tears or Vampire Killer songs. For fans of the games there is details sure to make you smile such as platforming on clock gears which I am sure any Castlevania fan is familiar with. However this doesn’t require knowledge of the games to be enjoyed either as the story very much stands on it’s own. Overall I would consider this to be one of the strongest Video Game adaptions to date though that may not be high praise considering it’s competition. If you happen to be burned out on anime or just looking for a nice change of pace then I do recommend checking this show out as it’s short and sweet.

Posted on 5 July 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tsuki ga Kirei

It’s hard for me not to go overboard on Tsuki ga Kirei: out of all the show I’ve followed this season, I resonated the most to this one; but even when I’m judging this show objectively, Tsuki ga Kirei is one of the most perfect one, in a way that it achieved exactly what it set out to do, and achieve it flawlessly most of the time. The story that they tell – detailing the first love relationship of our young Kotarou and Akane – is decidedly simple, mundane but honest that it feels more like a love story taken from young best mates. It has that “sincere” quality, something that the anime medium often cranks it up to the max with “moe” and exaggeration everywhere. Not here. Tsuki ga Kirei has great flair of visual storytelling (something that benefited from being an original show, they don’t tie up to your usual LN and manga visual cliché), using show-don’t-tell approach that often focus on small moments and little gestures than big emotional melodramatic scenes. The characters never play off their roles, they’re the most natural group of kids that feel exactly kids their age: naïve, inexperience and pure. This show ends up at top of its genre as I consider it the most effective romance anime out there. In short, I freaking love almost everything about this show.

What Tsuki ga Kirei will be remembered the most for lie in real depiction of first love relationship. The more you watch romance anime, the more you surprise at how simple, yet distinctive achingly honest this show aim for. Ordinary romance anime would spend its entire time on how boy gets girl, throw in some other love interests that make them realize how much they mean for each other, and if we’re lucky we might actually see they confess to each other in the end. Tsuki ga Kirei is an entirely different beast, we got the confession right at the end of episode 3, and from there we follow every stage of that relationship and see their love progressing. Moments like Kotarou had to search the internet on what people do when they’re dating, finding a way to spend time alone together, or thinking how to continue their love after graduation – all feels so real and progresses so naturally that I suspect anyone who have been in relationship will find a thing or two from this show that speak directly to their experience.

Moreover, they understand that in order to make this relationship work, we have to relate to Akane and Kotarou and they did a damn fine job at that. Both have their own lives and their own troubles to deal with, so we can see them as characters who have distinctive personality, with well-defined goals and struggles. In one of the episode, they both reach a new low in their personal dreams, as Akane underperformed her track competition and Kotarou got a call from a real publisher just to receive an advice that he had no talent in serious writing. Then in small moments when those characters act without much thinking, it’s a treat to see how their personality plays out: I love how every time Kotarou get excited he will punch the light’s chord in his room, or Akane whenever she gets nervous she will press that pushie hard. Their circle of friends also adds to the naturalism of the story and although they aren’t developed much, they clearly belong to this universe.

The visual storytelling is another great strength of the show. As both Kotarou and Akane are introverts and tend to keep their feelings inside without saying out loud, it’s showing their subtle gestures, their glances that we get to know a lot about them. As a result, this show is decidedly quiet, there’s not much monologue going on but that is the reason why this show feels just like in real life. The designs are simple, again emphasizing on subtle over excessive details. Great shot compositions everywhere. This is one of the rare show where I can argue that the visual components play as an important part of the show and they achieved it almost exactly what they’re aiming for.

Another factor that feel like a character itself that I feel the need to acknowledge, it’s LINE. Just like kids their age, Kotarou and Akane’s main communication is through LINE and we witness a huge chunk of amount that they exchanged through LINE, as they are, no shortcut. It’s just like how real kiads would do and to achieve this effortlessly is no small feat at all, so congrats to Tsuki ga Kirei for its respectful use of social chatting. The shorts in the end also a part of this show’s identity, as they depict the love relationships from Kotarou and Akane’s friends with more bawdy and comedic tones, which in turn made that world so inviting to watch.

Although the show succeeds most of the time in term of production values, I can still see some production troubles from the show and the delay in airing in later half further reflected that. Tsuki ga Kirei does suffer from that as in one of the episode the production values just fall apart. But I’m genuinely surprised that after that disaster episode they managed to keep up a consistent quality and the more I know about their trouble backstage, the more I’m in awe about their efforts. It’s obviously a product of many sleepless nights from the production team so I thank studio Feel for their outstanding performance.

And all of what I was written above was just how I access the show objectively and that kinda demerit one of Tsuki ga Kirei’s most appealing factor: it’s right down charming that touch the hearts of viewers with its bright and delightful portrayal of pure love – I don’t deny I fall under its spell, actively care for the couple and goddamnit I just want them to be happy together. Tsuki ga Kirei is breathtakingly intimate in narrative scope and I know I will remember the show and its characters very fondly. Arigatou.

Posted on 4 July 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Seikaisuru Kado

Seikaisuru Kado was a title which caught my attention for a number of reasons. For one it’s visuals showed not a single teenager in sight and a cast mainly consisting of working adults. Another is that it deals with a premise not often tackled in anime, Philosophical Science Fiction. The story features an alien being who lands on earth and gifts humanity with revolutionary devices which could throw the economic, social and political climate into pure chaos. Our main characters are a Japanese Negotiator by the name of Shindo and an Alien being from something known as the anisotropic who refers to himself as ZaShunina. While I wouldn’t call the cast great, I do say they perform the needs of the plot well and are interesting enough to engage the viewer. Well up until the point where there characters are forced to change due to the direction of the story. There are examples of anime tropes which only cheapen the serious atmosphere of the stories tone such as a scientist girl who eccentricity is at a far too unbelieveable level. Though sadly anime tropes show up in other parts of the show as well, mainly in the rather rushed romance of the second half.

A positive aspect of this series is that it has some of the best CGI integration I have seen to date in a anime. In most series CGI is jarring and breaks immersion but here the CGI is included well enough to keep things looking natural. It does use a combination of 2D and 3D visuals and it is noticeable when it changes between the two. However I never had a moment watching this series where I was just taken out of the experience completely by shaky 3D work. The CGI also works wonders in displaying ZaShunina’s alien nature as his cube structure is a pure prism of visual marvel. The music likewise processes a grandiose and majestic feel which illustrates how this is the turning point of mankind. On the technical side of things I would consider Kado to be a success.

But when it comes to a storytelling standpoint this is where Kado fails. At first things look good as there is a focus on the diplomatic systems reaction to the sudden arrival of an Alien entity, while the Alien itself is slowly growing accustomed to human ways and learning about human culture. From the outset it feels like Kado is revving up to really dive into some deep topics but as the series continues you will find that these topics continue to get pushed into the background and not addressed. The series focuses more on ZaShunina introducing the amazing device and then implementing it. But when it comes to the long term ramifications to integration of such advanced technology, then this series instead decides to ignore it and move on to the next gift. You see the introduction and integration of the device, but never the conclusion. It appears as though the writer was never interested in these ramifications but instead in pushing some generic themes of humanity instead.

In the end Kado is a story that starts with a lot of potential and looks to bank on that potential within its first six episodes. However it moves away from a multifaceted issue to have a more black and white conflict instead. The story and characters suffer for it and it concludes in an ending that’s nonsensical, disappointing and terrible. As a result Kado is a series which most would likely regret watching as you see great ideas tossed aside to portray a stereotypical good vs evil conflict. Ultimately Seikaisuru Kado is evidence that just because someone is writing the story does not mean they know the best road to take it and in the future I hope there are those who see just what this series could have been so that they can fulfil its lost imaginable value.

Posted on 2 July 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Id-0

Here comes one of the most under-appreciated anime of this Spring season. ID-0 has many hassles that keeps viewers away from watching it: Netflix exclusive, full CG animation and a plot that just plain weird and a bit incomprehensive at first view. I originally took it as nothing more than fun spooky little-seen show until I realized that ID-0 is a well-crafted one. Both in terms of productions, worldbuilding storytelling or characters’ development, they’re all above par. ID-0 also succeeds on introducing their main concepts that not only plausible on the surface, it hints on deeper implications regarding those concepts and the show handles those issues competently. The discovery of the Orichalt – the red crystalline mineral that floating in space – has allowed humanity to travel through space and live outside other planets. In order to look out for more Orichalt, human creates “I-Machines”, the giant robot that is functioned by transferring human consciousness into robot’s operating systems – a robot body with human mind. It’s important to remember those two details since the show explores its theme from there.

The first implication from the show’s concept, which perfectly aligned with the lead Ido’s main character arc – is how much of this I-Machines version independent from its host? Are they the same identity with the host body, or are they their own selves? Normally, it shouldn’t be a problem since human uses I-Machines as a means to perform work in harsh environments. Loose the I-Machines and they will trance their mind back to their original body. No big deal. The Escavate team, a team of Orichalt-pirate, contain many exceptions to that rules. They lost their physical body forms due to different circumstances, thus the I-Machine bodies are their owns now, called Evertrancers. Ido has no recollection of his past, and his ID was erased (hence ID-0). Throughout the series, it’s his personal journey of finding out who he was, and whether or not he’s still Ido the Excavator or the embodiment of his past real self. Another member of the group, Rick – another Evertrancer, adds some more layers regarding this “self-existent” theme as well. His current soul is a copied version of his original consciousness, meaning he has no “real” body and no “real” soul, he’s Rick yet he isn’t Rick. He carries the same personal traits as the original Rick, has the same memory but he’s ultimately his own individual now. Their current I-Machine versions are who they are now, with the consciousness that run totally independent from their former host.

And I just barely touched the ice-tip of ID-0 themes, so let’s dig in further. Now looking back, I really love the concept that Orichalt is already something irreplaceable and invaluable for the humanity from Day 1. Everyone keeps talking about it, all their activities aim to get more of those Orichalt to begin with. It just shows how humanity has taken Orichalt for granted, so that when the Rajeev (the wandering planets) appear, we can sense the high stake of the situation. I also enjoy the philosophy behind this Rajeev. Just like how Joker was inspired to challenge the very concept that Batman has built, for everything that too good to be true for our human race, there will be some sort of drawback, a kryptonite that attack directly to the advancement that we gained. These wandering planets’ main purpose is to consume Orichalt, and they have developed their own intelligence on top of that – a worthy enemy to destroy the human kind. Although the solution come a bit far-fetch as best: teaching them the love of humanity so that they can learn about humanity and leave us alone (Yes, you heard it right), I still firmly believe this is a well thought-out main conflict for this series.

ID-0 also suggests a far darker implication to this Mind-Trance system, albeit a bit under-developed as they don’t have time to progress that angle. It’s the “immortality” theme. A secret organization, using the techniques as a mean to transport their mind to their younger clone to archive living immortally. For me, this actually sounds very intriguing because it’s entirely possible. If there is a second season of ID-0 I would love if the show goes darker and focus on these themes like this. Seriously, there is many interesting variables to the concept that I really want to explore more. All of that jut to highlight how well-crafted the world settings are. Well done, ID-0.

Now, I realize that I have delved too much on its themes without giving you an actual critique, so I will do just that below. ID-0 is a prime example of having a great pacing. The story almost never drags, while still allowing many of space for the characters to breathe and all the developments progress quite naturally. In other words, top-notch. The cast’s overall chemistry is another highlight for me. They have easy chemistry and they bounce off each other extremely well. It helps that each of them has their own voices so when the show putting them altogether, their diverse voices are more than enough to shine through. They’re not the deepest bunch by any mean but nearly all of them have enough development to work with. I’m a bit sad that Maya isn’t given enough spotlight in the end (this is, after all, Ido’s story), she serves more as our lenses to that brand-new world more than a flesh-out or deep character, but I am fine with that. In other spectrum, the main antagonist of the show, Adams, unfortunately is one of the worst character that brings the show down a note. Apart from his obvious inferior-complex to Kane and his eight-grade symptom of the world has to revolve around him, he has no real personality to speak of and he terribly overacts all the time that it’s hard to take him seriously. The sequence where Adams reveals Ido’s past is a kind of convenient and way to-your-face approach that personally turned me off, but other than that obvious misstep ID-0 manages to maintain its beat thoroughly.

The CG animation does feel stiffs at times and it takes some time to familiar with the animation, due to its mecha robots that floating in air- premise, but this is one of the few series that not only the CG animation is done right, it has its purpose; as robots and space, and spaceships are all components that CG can be used the most effective. In addition, the character designs are attractive, characters look their ages and even the I-Machines versions have so much personality for each member of the team. Sanzigen continues to be a studio that has its firm grasp on making convincing CG anime so thumb ups for the studio for this amazing anime. This is a solid anime offering, a firm 8/10 rating for me. Definitely the best show that no one watch this season. Now, I just hope that Netflix knows what to do with this little gem.

Posted on 29 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

I remember, back in our first impression of this series, Aidan remarked that Grimoire of Zero isn’t your typical LN-adaptations, but he didn’t know what to make of it. To be honest, after watching an entire cour, I’m still unsure what to make of it myself. This show has some serious flaws, yet despite all that I never find myself losing interest in it. I guess the biggest strength this show offers is the rock-solid chemistry between Zero and the beastfallen Mercenary, and in the end, I do get out of it wanting more of these two’s adventures. They also put some serious thought into its sorcery world building and overall while Grimoire of Zero can never raise above exceptional level, I have quite a good time watching it.

One of the first head-scratching factor about this anime is the decision to adapt the whole full season for a single first volume. I watched a fair bit amount of Light Novels-adaptations anime so I know that usually it’d take between 6 to 8 episodes for one volume AT MOST. Here they intentionally stretch out to 12 episodes, meaning some of the time the plot has too stretch a bit thin; and for my money with all the developments, they could condense the story into 6 episodes – half of its actual length. For example, Grimoire of Zero took quite a bit of time until we get to meet Thirteen (episode 5), then it took 3 whole episodes for Mercenary and Zero to finally reconcile. On the other hand, stretching the story enhances the slice-of-life feel in the first few episodes, and making the show much more room to breathe. That decision of adapting only first volume, to sum it up, has a fair share of good and bad points, but that was one of the reason that made Grimoire of Zero different from its LN fantasy offerings.

Second factor that baffled me is the show’s tones. I don’t know how to explain this clearly, but I always feel this series is mono-tone. When they try to mix with other tones, it’s embarrassing. They failed miserably at comedy because of that mono-tone. For the most glorious example, the sequence where Zero and Thirteen stopped in the middle of the fight for lunch break was so off-putting it was actually (unintentionally) hilarious. Or when it wants to tackle seriously about the dark, cynical side of human (part when the girl using the Mercenary to protect herself from other beastfallens) or the true flesh-lust nature of beastfallen, it didn’t leave much of an impact. Other times, when the show tries to amp up the romance (“what is Kisssss?), it falls completely flat. Yet, despite all that, the tone the show usually goes for – not quite slow, methodically but not action-packed either – is always strong and engaging that it still holds my interest till the end. Weird, since I can’t still put my finger on what exactly the show’s general tone is.

Then the characters, which are decidedly a mixed bag all around. All the main players are developed smoothly throughout its run. Apart from the amazing chemistry between Mercenary and Zero (which for me light up the screen every single time), Albus, Holdem, Thirteen and most notably Sorena all have their time to shine. Other characters, unfortunately, are quite plain and sometimes quite offensive (I’m looking at the guy who has a fetish for Zero’s clothes) and this is unforgivable considered that the show has so much time to develop those characters if they really want to, but they just didn’t give a damn. There are inconsistencies at the end for example: the Sorcerers of Zero attack the kingdom to kill Thirteen, and the guards fight back. After Zero negates the use of magic, you expect them shaking hands in peace immediately? *you might say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one lala*. Albus and Holdem are a good addition to this arc, strong enough for me to care about them, but just about enough so that when they gone I don’t miss them much. This, after all, is the adventures of Zero and the Mercenary.

The sorcerer and witch backdrop is an intrigued world building itself and at first I enjoyed seeing there are many races from completely different backgrounds that live independently in this world. Not sure if this is just this arc, but later on the show goes heavily on those sorcerer’s themes which detail the division amongst the witch’s world: the Sorcerers of Zero, the Rouge witch and Sorcerer of the State; it doesn’t bring much impact. Moreover, I do feel that the final reveal revolving Thirteen’s role is a bit of a convenient one, and despite the whole witches’ war just don’t do much to me, I still find it provides some great details regarding its world settings. So, great details, but shaky development.

In term of production, this show is slightly above-average. There nothing exceptional to speak of, although the animation quality is rather consistent. In the end, one thing for sure that Grimoire of Zero never fails to be intriguing, whether or not it is intentional is up for debate. Despite its uneven approach, I’m still looking forward for its sequel, as the main catch of the series, the chemistry between Zero and Mercenary, will become more prominent in later volumes. And honestly that is more than enough to get me on board.

Posted on 28 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Uchoten Kazoku

(Note: Since psgels didn’t give his final review to the first season, this review is for the entirety of Eccentric Family. If I had to grade the second season alone, it’s 90/100).

Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the Eccentric Family is a unique show, in a way it feels and tastes like no other shows out there, both in and out of itself. Everything surrounding it feel magical just like its world: the series is the only anime show that promoted as a city ambassador (Kyoto Special Goodwill Ambassador), the second season that no one see coming (especially at the time the first season ended the second book hasn’t even written yet), P.A Works studio became the leading unit in production committee of this second season, meaning they are passionate about this series and they have total artistic control over it (as for how influential the anime studios usually have over the decision of their work. Nil. Most of the time they are slave who draw and deliver what were told. Sad fact). This is one of few series where I can see a lot of love was put into those details, from the love of their characters to its rich world settings, to Yasaburou’s various adventures. Of course P.A Works does a magnificent job to visualize that world, but I also credit the success on Tomihiko Morimi’s adept writing. Eccentric Family is at heart a character-driven series, and he’s simply one of the best in this industry when it comes to character writing: eccentric cast of characters who distinctive, whimsical but always insightful and intriguing. I have a lot to say about this world so let get right down to it.

The Eccentric Family’s first and foremost strength comes from its magical-realism Kyoto world where human, tengu and tanuki live together in harmony. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that this setting is my personal favorite anime settings ever. Magical-realism has always been right up my alley: the mundane, ordinary world that mixed in with magical elements that serve as a normality to their world. And sure, in this world a lot of strange things happen: tanuki who transform into human shape and fool around until they get caught and turn into a hot pot tanuki, human who float in the air in broad daylight, a tiger (and bear) appear in the middle of the city. Just by the look of it, this world promises to provide a lot of fun, but this show even goes much more further than that: all the settings that not only gorgeous to look at, they all have strong sense of personality that feel like they get stuck in that specific moments: when you see the rooftop you immediately link to Benten, Yasaburou and the moon; when you see a flying house you would think right back to the Daimonji Festival and the stupid fights between Shimogamo and Ebisugawa’s family.

And to support for both its sense-of-wonder attitude and its magical-realism settings, The Eccentric Family is a masterclass at portraying an impossibly huge interior space that looks much grander than it supposed to be***: the Painting of Hell that literally pull you through hell with Onis doing wrestling and eating ramen; the 3-stories bus that has an upper floor of open air onsen and bamboo pathway; or a shogi board that can suck you into a secret room. Not only that warped sense occurs in space, it happens in time as well. There is a 2-epsiode worth of playtime that dedicated to Yasaburou’s various adventures in a span of a single day, where he enjoyed a public bath, went through hell, watching Oni wrestling, enjoyed mixed onsen, having crazy dinner party and witnessing his uncle got shot. See, those events feel much longer than it supposed to be. This is on purpose, of course, since what is a better way to highlight the enjoyment of busy carefree life by crazy events one after another?

In addition, the Eccentric Family’s greatest strengths come from its characters. The first season contains a great diversity of cast, but that quality really shines through in the second season as the new additions not only fit very well with the old cast, they even outshine them in many moments. Each of them has their own voice, has great arc to develop and their chemistry are natural, warm and insightful. Here comes one of the decision from the P.A Works that I find worth applauding, they never probably introduce a new character to us. Most of the time the new characters just walk in and have a normal conversation with our main casts and we have to work out their name and their role to the story. It helps that nearly every single one of them has their own way of speaking and their own personalities, so it’s not that hard to differentiate one from another, despite a relatively huge cast. It also helps that through we can tell so much about their characters through subtle gestures, so much as the Eccentric Family is one rare show that I can fall for new characters within the first few minutes (I remember you very fondly, Seiran). Our main protagonist, Yasaburou, is an interesting character to follow, throughout the course although all we see about him is having as much fun as possible with no consideration for responsibility, he takes care of everyone arounf him in his own way and in the end, he reaches a personal grown on balancing between those two factors. It’s up in the air if he’s constantly thinking of everything or constantly thinking nothing at all being led by his fool’s blood; but for him anyway, these are the same goddamn thing.

But by all mean, even 95 percent of the time this show treats their characters thoughtfully, the remaining 5 percent whenever the idiotic twins and Soun appear, they unfortunately drag the show down. These characters are the type that we all love to hate, so they possess their annoying traits… all the way, being annoying for the sake of annoying. I have since warmed up to Soun, but the way he came back to life kind of demerit his meaningful death. Another factor that happen in second season, is that sometimes they reprise the events of the first season (the Daimonji festival, the Nise-emon election), and whenever they do that they can’t bring the same impact as the first and seem like they rely on the beaten path.

While the first season focus more about familial bond, the responsibility one would strive to do versus the fun one has to experience through life, the second season follow that freedom sense, but touch on other themes such as self-identity (in term of Nidaime and Benten: one is a tengu who refuse to be one, the latter is a human who wants to become a tengu. None of them are happy), and the fate of love. The romance part is what surprise me the most as I would never expect I would ship for almost all the lovey cute little love here. I also give my hat off to the character designs, as each of the tanuki have human and tanuki counterparts, and we have such huge cast here but nearly every one of them is distinctive and attractive. The animation is thoroughly consistent and the music is really, really well done. In term of production value, I really have no complain.

The Eccentric Family has a lot to recommend on, I would argue that distractors can read the show as un-focus at times, because it feels like they set up for one crazy set-piece after another without a central conflict; but take heed that the majority of its 2-season runtime is about Yasaburou wanders around his city, tries to live the life to the max so it has its merit. I just say this simply; this show is brimming with love in every scene and with shows like this I know why I fall in love anime medium in a first place. The Eccentric Family already has a special place in my heart.

 

***If you want a real-place equivalent to this, I’d say it’s like the Old Quarter in Hanoi. From the outside you can only see a small pathway between 2 old houses that only wide enough for a bicycle to get in, then you get through that pathway, turn to some small alleys, go up-stair, pass through some small apartments and TADAH: a bookstore, a store and a café located inside all that maze. I was utterly amazed but there’s no chance an outsider would know such a place without the help of the local. And I do worry what going to happen if there is a fire there?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Little Witch Academia

The Little Witch Academia series has been something that’s a long time coming. Ever since Studio Trigger made the original Anime OVA back in 2013 I have been hotly anticipating the time when it would be fleshed out into it’s own anime series. I love both the original OVA and the enchanted Parade so this series was one I was really looking forward to. So the question remains. Is Little Witch Academia a good series? Absolutely, out of the 25 episodes of it’s runtime I only didn’t enjoy one episode. This series was very fun and a worthwhile watch. However, is Little Witch Academia a great series? And therein lies the greatest problem with this series as a whole. For you see my friends, Little Witch Academia holds the potential for greatness and very closely skirts the line to becoming a truly great series. There are standout episodes which show a small glimmer of what this series could have really been. However instead the series plays it safe and sticks to a rather cartoonish format of episodic stories. It’s excellent character cast is unfortunately underutilised aside from some single episode stories and the main plot it develops within it’s second half more or less fizzles out into something more tame.

So to those watching it can be frustrating to see how this series opens up roads to great storytelling possibilities only to take the road of least resistance. Thus my greatest advice to any viewer is to not let yourself be fooled into thinking that this show will have a dynamic shift into a greater story arc. Throughout it’s run this is a simple story with simple objectives. Thus if you can come to accept that then you can enjoy what Little Witch Academia has to offer. Again, this really is a good show and has the kind of fun sensibility that very few anime can pull off. It’s a show that wouldn’t look out of place if put in a Saturday morning cartoon block and for those that woke up on mornings to tune into these kinds of shows as kids it will certainly hit that sentimental spot. If you aren’t part of that demographic then this may be a harder sell as I could see others get tired of the inconsequential episodic stories and a general lack of character development. Some characters get small changes but for the most part have simple characterisation. Akko in particular tends to have sporadic development as she tends to waver between growing as a person and then falling into her old ways.

Animation can have hiccups but is pretty stellar and charming throughout the board. You can really tell that a lot of heart went into this series production, even if it likely drove the animators to exhaustion. This show has it’s fair share of Sakuga sequences that show there is some real talent at Trigger. There are also references galore throughout the series from callouts to old cartoons(Hanna Barbara, Disney, Dexters lab) to previous trigger works and to even oddballs like 1984, Pawn Stars, Hellboy and Dinotopia. Keep a keen eye and you can spot dozens of callouts within the framework. OST is suitable but has some great versions of the main theme and a very good opening theme. Overall I do recommend this series. It isn’t what it could have been but what it is is hardly anything to scoff at. It’s one of the surprisingly few anime you can show to a young child without worry and maybe even blossom another fan of this medium. If you feel burned out by current anime and need something that’s a bit of a change of pace then LIttle Witch Academia is a fine recommendation indeed.

Posted on 11 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

In Window Horses, or its full name Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, many characters keep asking the main protagonist, a Stick Girl in an otherwise fully formed character designs, why is she wearing a chador, in which she’s unable to reply. It’s her first trip to go overseas, so she just tries to fit in. For she’s blank state, you see, having little to no idea about the outside world, or even the poetry world. Rosie Ming, her name – herself a half-Chinese half-Persian who living in Canada, working in a fast food restaurant while writing poems (to be more exact, singing poems) as her hobby. She self-published her first book title “My Eye-full Poems by a person who has never been to France” and her greatest wish is to travel to France, the land of love and poetry. God listens to her well it seems, as she receives an invitation to attend to a poetry festival… in Shiraz, Iran. Throughout the course of the film, in a stranger land, she has a chance to listen to the voices of others, to staying open and curious with different cultures from different generation and learns a bit about herself and her family situation.

There’s one thing I can say for sure, Window Horses’ most obvious charm come from the fact that it feels like nothing else you’ve seen, especially in animation medium; the film whose main setting is in a poetry festival, a main character that is multiracial and the cast contain characters from many different backgrounds. Partly due to its unique appeal, the director Ann Marie Fleming had a bit of difficult time funding it, so she decided to crowdfund the project instead and it took her nine years to finally bring this lovely feature to life. The main character Rosie, a Stick Girl, has been the director’s own avatar for most of her career (the director herself is a half-Asian), and her simple design, both mean as a blank page, who despite not having a lot of experience, goes out to the world with curiosity and willingness to learn the world and all the things she can from other people; and as a simple likable character we can all root for and feel empathy with.

While the main plot is about Rosie visiting Iran, Window Horses isn’t strictly about her tale, but she serves as our window for the tales of other poets, the tale of Iran, and the tale of her father, who she come to believe that he had abandoned her and her Mom when she was young. Putting together, those tales are messy and over the place, but that is exactly the point to demonstrate how inspiration can come from every corner of the world; it’s the love of art, of poetry that brings those people who have vastly different ethnical backgrounds and different experiences in life all together. In one of her poetry quest, she is handed a poem by a Chinese poet Di Di (in Mandarin of course), who requested her to recite his poem in English with her own take. In order to do that she has to translate them into Persian, and then from Persian to English; thus in a process she has a chance to learn more about both of her ancestors, the Chinese and the Persian.

The humor of Window Horses is on the bright side here, in fact, its whimsical and light-hearted nature really help strengthening the mood and the theme of the story. This trip, after all, is more like an adventure for Rosie, where every new thing she learned, every people she met brimming with curious eyes. She quickly remarks in most of the things, mostly innocent deadpan questions like “How is it everyone here knows everything about everything”. The struggles she experienced for her “offensive content” to the Persian culture, for example (ya know, in Iran, solo performances by women is considered mildly offensive and have been banned), or the background story of exiled Chinese poet Di Di, both show us the difference in cultural perception, and add the richness to this little world.

Another main portion of the film is about each poet reciting their poems, and the history of Iran and important figures in Persian poetry culture, in which each part is showcase of visual inventiveness from different directors, who experiment with new styles to fit the content of the poems they are representing. (Fleming’s main job in those segments was to composite them into a cohesive whole). The history part doesn’t really sell it for me, mostly because it feels more like an educational Discovery Chanel on TV rather than fitting into this plot’s content; but the poem parts are easily one of the best strength of Window Horses. The director Fleming gave a smart decision to have all the poems reciting in their own languages without the subtitle. As a result, us as viewers don’t really understand what they’re talking about, but feel it. It’s the beauty of poetry. It’s not about the meaning, but the rhythms. Fleming also commented later in her interview that she wanted those poems to be some kind of code, viewers don’t need to understand it because they might get distracted from the main story, but if they wanted to, they can dig deeper to those contents because ther’s a whole world of art buried underneath it.

And then her little story about her parents, especially her father’s life come into light and was told to her by different people, most of them have known him at some point of his life. Her father’s backstory come a bit heavy-handed at times as it again touches upon the Iran Revolution and the refugees, but they do it without the expense of emotional drama of familial bond at its heart, so as messy as it is, it has its merits. Rosie’s grandparents, voiced beautifully by Nancy Kwan and Eddy Ko (If you have no idea who Nancy Kwan is, she was one of the first Asian-born actress played a pivotal role in the acceptance of actors of Asian ancestry in major Hollywood film roles) have some really great scenes of overprotective grandparents who must do anything to avoid their kid getting hurt, but hurts her instead by not telling her everything.

Wildly imaginative, sensitively portray the richness of multi-cultures and the love for poetry, at the same time bright and optimistic enough to bring hopeful sentiments to some otherwise grim and dark topics and a full delight from start to finish, Window Horses is a total winner in my book. Although feature a wide array of cast, it’s ultimately a personal story of Rosie to reach the world, learn few new things from other, appreciate more about her backgrounds and grown into her own at the end. Window Horses is a little story that worth telling.

Posted on 20 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

I remember back in the first impression of last Winter season, I regarded Demi-chan as a better Monster Girls slice of life subgenre over this one. But as the season progressed, while Demi-chan run out of its steam quickly, this one picked up its pace after an underwhelming first episode to become a much more worthy title of last season, to the point many critics (according to ANN critics) hailed it as one of the best show out of 2017 Winter season, behind only to the modern masterpiece Rakugo. Do I agree with that consensus? No, God, no. They obviously don’t watch ACCA, and I would argue Scum’s Wish or Tanya are better options. Dragon Maid is a warm little show that have some neat things to say about dysfunctional family and a high production values for its genre, but it never raises above exceptional level to me.

In fact, now looking back, the premiere episode of Dragon Maid was a bad representation of a whole show. The premise of a female dragon decides to live in a human house as a maid and devotes herself to that role, loves her host unconditionally is a wish-fulfilment and convenient one. That episode also played up the slapstick tone of dragon making a mess trying to fit in with human environment, which became less and less prominent as the show went on. They also played up the comedy which was a missed opportunity because while Dagon Maid is very solid at humor, they never meant to be in a forefront. The show improved dramatically from second episode with the introduction of Kanna and the show shifted the focus to slice-of-life approach, but the first episode already did the damage to discourage anime watchers into this show.

The humor of the show is on the risqué and bawdy side and I really do prefer this type of humor than over the top silliness, but I also agree that sometimes they got too carried away. The yuri love at the centre between Tohru and Kobayashi-san is well grounded; but the same can’t be said for the running gags of yuri undertone between two primary schoolers of Kanna and Riko (sometimes Kanna is a perpetrator for example, in which she “innocently” staying too close to Riko). More cringe-worthy, Lucoa and Shouta running gags of gigantic bouncing boob gave a huge backlash to more serious anime watchers as it appears the older (dragon) woman sexually assaulted the young shy boy. Well, for the love of God I’m not that serious about the issue but bouncy boob jokes do get old fast.

But at its core, Dragon Maid is a sensitive portrayal of a dysfunctional family and what it means to share happy moments with the person you love. Kobayashi-san, a thirty something workwoman who prefer to be left alone than having any real relationship is a perfect protagonist for this tale about family. Sometimes she remarks that it’s her who unsure how to express her feeling. Most of the time she doesn’t contact her real family not because they are having a tense relationship, it’s just her who feels detached from the family. There’s a real, honest look at the heart of modern day lifestyle, when individual starts drifting away from any real connection and this series is all about establishing that real connection.

The second theme Dragon Maid of underlined is the very definition of “family” and “where we belong”, as Tohru, who born a dragon, comes to live together with a human. The show addressed many times that the human world isn’t Tohru’s place, and because human’s and dragon’s lifespans are vastly dissimilar, what will happen to Tohru once Kobayashi reaches her end? Does lingering on the life that clearly don’t belong to you worth taking at all? As this series says, yes, because feeling is true. The other theme about family this show also addresses is the parental relationship, especially those from Kobayashi-san and Kanna. There are many touching moments where Kanna looks up to the protagonist as her mother figure (as a dragon she was exiled from her family) and Kobayashi-san tries her best to fit in that role. Secretly buying the stationary that she loves, tries to finish work early in order to aatend her play. Those intimate moments come from a very real place that doesn’t matter if the premise is phony (dragon appears as maid girl, duh), as long as your heart is in the right place you still hit jackpot.

True to its “sharing the moments together” theme, many of the show’s best sequences lie in the slice-of-life activities the characters have with each other, be it as bizarre as dragon’s fights, anime convention (where real monsters appear as themselves), or as mundane as spending a christmas holiday in kotatsu, preparing dinner or having a sport festival (there must be one in every slice of life high school show huh?) or performing a play together. The cast is mostly likable, especially Kanna who takes the anime world by storms. I also find the different length in each segment to be effective. Sometimes it plays for entire episode, sometimes it chops off and we have 4-koma like format, which actually adds to the final punch and the laid-back atmosphere of the show.

As KyoAni is the studio behind this show, it goes without saying that the show have a great treatment in productions values. The characters facial expressions are varied and spot on, the animation- where it needs to be, especially during dragon’s battles, is energetic and exciting. From what I gathered the studio actually modified a bit in its last 2 episodes from the manga source, which for me enhanced the main emotional core and successfully ended the show by overcoming its biggest external and internal threats.
All in all, Dragon Maid is an enjoyable anime. The show has relaxed atmosphere, engaging chemistry between its main cast, great animation and have some deeper and more intimate moments than its usual slice of life fare. Still compare to KyoAni canon I can’t help but think this is an inferior one with questionable fanservice. It’s heartwarming but lack certain quality to raise above the rest of a pack.

Posted on 8 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Scum's Wish

I remember after watched a movie called “Requiem for a Dream” a few years back, I felt devastated for an entire week. The ending hit me so hard that after finished that movie I had to walk around my area for 2 hours in the middle of night to settle my feeling and I thought to myself, “What’s the point of being too hard to the characters, those who have feeling and dreams just like any of us?” Then it hit me immediately. The movie is an unflinching look at the bad side of drugs and how it corrupts people. People like you and me. I finished Scum’s Wish feeling the exact same way. Scum’s Wish is an anti-romance series, a show that excels on portraying ugly aspects of romance relationship and the line of that love versus physical love. I don’t blame you if you feel emotionally-drained watching this series. It was supposed to be that way and for all the dark sides the show evokes, Scum’s Wish always give more thoughtful and honest treatments than most of other anime out there. The way the show handles the bright side of love though, couldn’t pull so much punch as it aimed for.

I do believe the title “Scum’s Wish” really give you an idea of what this show is about. The “Wish” part of the show is its exploration of unrequited love. This unrequited love trope appears everywhere in the show to the point it could be considered as a deconstruction. All these feelings so pure and strong it begins to be eaten over by desired; hatred and obsessions. In Scum’s Wish, everyone falls hopelessly in love with another person who don’t return their love, become blinded and damaged by that obsessive love and in the end, they had to leave that love to move on with their lives. “If it’s a special kind of pain, they’ll be able to become stronger”. Scum’s Wish argues that it’s a painful process to let go with the love of your life, but it’s a necessary step in order to grow up and become a fully-formed person.

But it’s the “Scum” part that gives makes this show provocative and controversial, for all the right reasons. Unable to let go of those one-sided loves, the characters of the show start to use physical means to get what they want. The show keeps progressing its confidence take on the line between physical desires and emotional desires, on how the characters keep using the former as the substitute for the latter, but end up being lonelier and more suffering. Also in Scum’s Wish, all characters really self-aware on the muddy situations they get themselves in, but charge forward anyways. They know what they do will fill them with regret and disgust, but they continue to do it for their own selfish gains, be it to escape from the frustration that they can’t be with the one they love, trying to get every little moment they could out of the loved one, or just use physical attraction as an approval of their power – hence Scum. Those moments where the characters struggling with themselves, most notably Hanabi’s young version loathes current Hanabi are one of the darkest, yet effective sequences of the show.

For a show that has little action and with a mundane high school settings, the visual presentation and the direction of the show are surprisingly very solid. I agree with most of its visual choices, ranging from the using of panel like in manga that represent both multiple perspectives and establish the space between our characters; the stylized key frames that make us feel like time has stopped in those moments; the text screens that represent more as a visualize of characters’ thoughts; the constant use of visual motifs like fallen rose pedals, characters facing the bright, more innocent selves that detailing the increasingly corruptions of the cast. The music; in particular, stands out in Scum’s Wish, as each segment has a different distinctive musical score that really help elevating the mood of each sequence.

The characters in the show are unfortunately a mixed-bag for me. We have really strong leads of Hanabi and Mugi who constantly have to deal with their personal issues, and the show successfully keeps peeling their skins for more nake, more vulnerable of themselves. With a show that aims more on pushing provocative themes than actual characters’ study, there are some characters of the cast are decidedly presented as one-dimensional from the start. Both Akane-sensei and Moca fall comfortably in their usual character’s stock, one is a bitchy bitch who love attention from men and jealousy from girls, the other is an elegant princess who dream for the prince to come. The show presents them as cliché in order to deconstruct how flawed their ways of thinking are. When they shrug off that extreme side of theirs, however, they become stronger and happier in the process. Moreover, I find Ecchan love towards Hanabi one of the most complex and appealing romance in this show. While the female cast if this show is consistently great (even with limited time on screen, Mugi’s senpai still come off as a painful and conflicted character. Strong character’s writing here), the male cast unfortunately doesn’t develop fully enough. Four-eyed sensei drags the show down and he feels more like a walking stick than a normal person; that guy Takuya is portrayed in mostly insensitive light that I feel he was more a trash bin with all the bad traits male inhibits; and Atsuya’s role in the show feel awkward and a bit forced towards pulling Ecchan out of her mess.

While the way this show handles its dark, twisted web of broken romances is effective and thought-provoking, the last third of the show it loses some of its impact as the show tries to resolve all of its relationships. With things are messy and complicated as they are, the ending feels a bit too clean and sometimes overreached. I can’t buy that love between Akane and Narumi for example, I feel like Hanabi and Ecchan can’t go back as friend, bot with that short time span and I feel the ending of Hanabi and Mugi, while appropriate, is underwhelmed. The best strength of Scum’s Wish is its ability to grab you and never let you go, but its impact is lessened greatly towards the end.

As a whole, Scum’s Wish is still a solid drama. Not so often in this medium we see a more realistic and dark aspect of love and romance like this one. The fact that I keep comparing this show to other movies really speak to this quality of Scum’s Wish: the show is structured and presented more like live-action TV show than an anime one (in fact, the live-action drama is currently streaming as we speak). For all of its devastating and depressing details, at its peak Scum’s Wish manages to pull many raw and naked emotional punch that many other shows don’t dare to address. Scum’s Wish is ultimately a painful and uncomfortable experience, but that what growing up is all about.

CHANGE USERNAME
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/
CJayTiii
Just watched Heaven's Feel Part 1 at the movie theater last night. DEAR LORD the animation was flawless. I honestly thought they nailed the calmer scenes a lot better than UBW as well. The wait for part 2 is gonna be brutal...
Amagi
Isekai isn't even bad, it's just that it became the worst case of formularic wish fulfillment masturbation nowadays. I actually wish we would get more proper isekai anime again, especially if it's some scifi or time travel stuff for once
AidanAK47
You know thinking about it, Muv Luv Alternative could be considered a deconstruction of Isekai before Isekai was even a thing. After all it actually has the elements of of Isekai.
AidanAK47
Gonna do up a review of the trilogy. Though first I need to post that Subahibi review I have had sitting in my Google docs. Twas waiting till we got the impressions done with.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I remember checking out Muv Luv and not being too impressed about it. When i cheeked out Alternative years ago I was blown away by how good it was. Usually VNs have moments of downtime where it can get boring no matter how good they are. But Alternative just had you from start to finish.
Amagi
@Aidan: Muv Luv Alt is one of the best VNs I've read. I am happy I always avoided spoilers before. The only thing I knew was that it gets heavy around chapter 6 or 7.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thanks for letting me know before I bothered booking for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the plot doesn't make sense. As the story progresses, it gets weirder, the visual goes wilder and the ending doesn't wrap up much. I might need to watch the live-action version
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: See you rated fireworks 3 1/2, what did you think of it?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I suppose, same to you, hopefully you'll be alright.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was designed by Marta Akermann : https://friendist.deviantart.com/
Anonymous1482176
Can I get where the banner is from?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know there were 18 deaths back in the mid eighties when a storm struck here back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Seems that it will be at its worst in the west, that said I'm living in Dublin in the east so I'll probably get away with a power cut for a while. Thankfully I'm not back in work until Thursday and I won't be going anywhere tomorrow.
AidanAK47
Also Careful Kaiser, I hear we got a hurricane heading our way tomorrow.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Can't say I do. I got into anime around the time it was getting put on the internet. And I only started buying anime when I got a job. Now I got a whole bookcase of Blu-rays.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Remember back in the 90s when we didn't have all region dvd players and everything got released on region 1?
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I checked though. Seems the screenings are strictly US for Heavens Feel. Sort of like how Grand Order isn't released for Europe either. Also took goddamn ages to get the Blu-Rays of UBW too. Aniplex just seems to hate us for some reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dublin city university has/had an anime club.
Kaiser-Eoghan
These are all one time only things though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Eh....on rare occasions the Eye cinema in Galway and the Lighthouse in Dublin do screenings . Eiretakon has re-formed as J-con in Dublin and they do screenings.
AidanAK47
Playing Muv Luv Alternative and I just made it pass a certain infamous scene. Honestly...I thought seeing as I knew it was coming that it wouldn't hit that hard. But even after all these years...it still gives me chills.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Could be worse. There are no screenings in Ireland so the wait is a hell of a lot longer for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll likely be checking out Lu over the wall in early December.
Amagi
I am really looking forward to that new movie from the Tekkonkinkreet guy and Heaven's Feel but both screenings only happen in February so this will sadly still take a while.
SuperMario
Aah, I just missed the only screening of In the Corner of the World at my local cinema (it comes as part of a film festival, guess I will watch the pirated version then). Thankfully they screened Firework anime so I'm going to watch it. Now
SuperMario
I intend to still give Dies Irea another chance. don't know if it's worth it thou
SuperMario
Maybe those kidscheated half of the way because no one can WALK faster than me :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
The animation continues to be quite poor and its only getting 15 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I could definitely have seen my German Ex offended by it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never even cared enough to think that people would be this offended by Dies Irae, it would be like being offended by the Naziploitation elements in hellsing . I find both far too silly to be in anyway offensive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, good that you keep up the exercise. I walk pretty much everywhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Little fiends likely taking performance enhancing drugs, know to poison them next beforehand =P
SuperMario
Still finished in a first half but 35 minutes for 5km is something I wasn't to proud of. Damnit.
SuperMario
Well, just finished a running event. The race was just 5 kilometer so I was aiming to run all the way. Ended up walking 1/3 of the way and lose to some 12 year old kids... I'm getting old, really!
AidanAK47
@Anon, That was a stupid move on their part. Still I prefer to judge a game based on the quality of the product and not outside circumstances.
Anonymous1479322
yooka laylee is okay but i hate it because they removed jontrons voice
KTravlos
new Altair OP is better than old Altair OP. But old ED is better than new. Man I really am sad Altair cannot have the 100_ episodes of LOGH. Because of that they really have to rush the story to make the politics work, but at same time rushing it undermines the story integrity. Which is a pity. I really think if Altair had the LOGH treatment, it would be a stupendous tale of politics.
AidanAK47
I got that with Yooka Laylee which I thought was a decent fun game. However the internet has determined it to be a flaming trash pile of a game. I even have a friend who never played the game but bashes it purely because it's so hated.
KTravlos
While I understand the point, and have indeed watched stuff both psgel and the current writers have not given a high score too, generally speaking our tastes are complimentary. In a world of scarce time and quite a lot of stress over things like work or relationships, I will take the cognitive short-cuts I can for my hobbies, and FOMO be damned! :)
AidanAK47
That may actually be quite the common occurrence as internet opinion tends to veer to extremely positive or extremely negative. Something can't simply be good, it most be amazing. Somehting can't be passable either, it has to be garbage.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I agree with that. In truth you can only really judge something when you have seen it yourself. I will even admit that mine and likely the others reviews of Imouto are a bit of Hyperbole. It's really not the most terrible thing I have ever seen. Actually I would say Dynamic cord was worse.
Anonymous1478520
(i already found some nice things i would have neglected otherwise or deemed worthless based on reviews/seasonal previews etc)
Anonymous1478520
So i concluded that even if those people were writing good reviews and had somewhat compatible tastes with me, were nice and intelligent people overall in the end it did not mattered that much. while others' opinions are helpful, my own taste is the only thing i can really trust. so watching everything it is
Anonymous1478520
I used to chose my shows based on reviews from people i trust, this site included, but then i just started trying out everything and - shocking, i know - suddenly i liked things others did not. or vice versa, which were a possibility even before.
Lenlo
Thats why I only really watch/checked out things that piqued my interest. Was gonna do it anyways, so why not write about i
SuperWooper
Comprehensive sampling does have its benefits, though. Animegataris is a show I wouldn't have touched on my own, but it was quite watchable.
SuperWooper
@Kaiser, I agree that only the better-looking shows need to be previewed, but being a new recruit, I can't exactly influence the long-standing Star Crossed policy of giving everything a shot.
SuperMario
@anon1477190: that moment you mentioned about Kino losing her cool was good, but then they followed up on the obvious exposition about the couple which I felt was heavy-handed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring that up mainly because I don't want to see any of the writers getting burned out/demotivated/having their time wasted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Guys it must be incredibly time consuming to watch some of these obviously from the outset bottom of the barrel shows you know will be awful and you'll never cover, I doubt anyone would have complained if you didn't mention Imouto Ireba.
Lenlo
The ending was good, but leading up to it was sort of dull
Lenlo
Agreed on how Kino felt this week. What really got me though was how she held the gun. That bugged me in those pov shots
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I'm not keen to go over old material, I'll just watch the new Kino stories.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I get claustrophobic sometimes, so Haze by Tsukamoto Shinya was fucking un-comfortable =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ganja and hess, Die Farbe, Texas chainsaw 2, shop of horrors and AM 1200 stood out best.
Anonymous1477190
*I will admit that I enjoyed the ending bit a little more though. Something about Kino throwing that big rock was moving somehow, especially with how stoic she normally is, haha.
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