Posted on 27 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



I really would have liked to see Otome Youkai Zakuro go on for 26 episodes instead of just thirteen, but ah well, at least this was a great ending that was simple, yet very well told: all of the important characters reached their catharsis and the creators managed to add a very nice emotional charge to it. The three main couples all grew even closer together, Byakuroku and Daidai got themselves a great conclusion, and the final twist on Zakuro’s mother also made her into a really sympathetic character, where her love as a mother, that has been questioned throughout the entire series, was restored.

Only Omodaka got a bit of a short straw here with that suicide ending of his. I’m not sure what was up with that and what the creators wanted to prove with him just dying without any reason: he just chose to sit next to his mother as the house around him burned down. And I know that there is the golden rule of anime and all (no character is dead unless this is confirmed), but this is the final episode: there was no hint whatsoever that he survived, despite half the episode being dedicated to the epilogue.
EDIT: oh wait, it seems I missed an epilogue and he really did not die. ^^;

At the end of the episode, the bureau of spiritual affairs also got disbanded, only to reappear only minutes later (with a plausible reason, though). That twist was mostly there to get that kiss out of Zakuro and Agemaki. I guess that there wasn’t time to let it flow naturally between them (because granted, it’s probably going to take a long time for them to stop arguing if their relationship ends up happily ever after in the first place). It in either case was a charming bit of romance.

Overall, this blogging a different series each week turned out to be a nice experiment, that I might do again in another season where there a lot of shows about which I have something I want to say. I’m not going to do it next season, though: when Heartcatch Precure ends I’ll be able to cover nine new series: that’s half the total amount of series in the entire season.

I’m not yet sure which series those are going to be, though. I’m guaranteed to blog Level E, and things also have to be pretty strange if I’m not going to cover Yumekui Merry, Fractale and Hourou Musuko. For Supernatural it’s all going to depend on how the heck they plan to release it. For Rainbow Gate, Freezing and Infinite Stratos it’s going to depend on whether or not they have their mind in the gutter. Madoka Magica, Wolverine and Beelzebub have very notorious staffs so any hints towards that will play a big role in whether or not I’m going to blog those, and Gosick and Dragon Crisis will get covered if they’re not as childishly stupid as they seem to be at first sight. In any case though, I never had to choose nine new shows to blog in such a small season, so I’m at least thankful that it’s going to be a very diverse one.

Going back to Otome Youkai Zakuro, my initial worries were that it wasn’t ambitious enough with its story, and granted its story isn’t as complex as, say, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, but it still developed into a very nice and simple story that pushed a lot of right buttons. A definite recommendation for those looking for some light romance.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 24 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope




Okay. That ending was awesome.

As for the climax itself, the first half of this episode was a bit dull, in which the creators pulled the usual twists that you’d expect at the end of a series. Panty loses her powers but gets them back after having sex with Brief, it was a bit too standard, although the farming scenes were really entertaining. The second half though had some very neat action scenes that really were worthy of this series’ finale. There was a ton of neat animation going on on a really epic scale, and the final twist was just completely bizarre, and yet worked really well.

I love the guts of this series with its ending, though. For one, Garterbelt’s revival scenes were hilarious (“GOD MY OOOOOHHHHHH!!!”), but the way it lead into its potential second season with Stocking’s complete and sudden betrayal was a really neat and nonsensical twist. Now, as for that second season however I do want to say this: there has been a series in the past that pulled a very similar twist right at its final episode. I refuse to spoil which one for obvious reasons, but despite so obviously pointing to a sequel the director later stated in an interview that that was never going to come. Also, that premise of that second season has to be pretty bizarre: “Brief and Chuck with Garterbelt”. Would that even work?

So let’s just wait for any official announcements. If there is going to be a second season, I’ll probably end up blogging it. The main reason why I didn’t blog this entire season was because of the mediocre episodes 2, 3 and 4. After that though, this series took some really neat advantages of its format with a ton of neat and experimental segments.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 14 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This is the episode in which the creators decide to reveal the past, and what happened to Zakuro’s mother. It’s pretty much the episode that explains it all, right before the final climax of this series. And with this episode, this series got even more solid than it already was.

This episode was both very tragic, as surprisingly deep. The role of Zakuro and her mother turned out to be much more at the centre of the entire story than I thought, with Zakuro’s mother’s existence even being the reason that these half spirits exist in the first place, all thanks to these disturbing corrupt practices that were going on in order to try and use her powers. I mean, this episode never explicitly stated it, but it’s pretty obvious at this point that Zakuro’s mother was raped multiple times in order to attempt some good off-springs.

There is a bit of the romantic cheese: Zakuro was born out of true love and therefore has inherited some incredible powers. This is obviously a bit of a flaw, but after this backstory I don’t mind, because this episode brought more than enough to make up for it. Especially Omodaka became a much better villain after this episode: after this episode I really hate this guy as an asshole, rather than this cheesy shoujo villain.

I’m also glad to finally see an actually justified hints at incest. Anime with incest nowadays are nearly all of the type “hey we have a boy who has this hot sister. Let’s make them fall in love with each other!” Zakuro’s family in contrast is so completely broken; Omodaka has been corrupted by his father from the start, he now turned out to constantly lust after Zakuro’s powers. It’s miles away from the lazy and shallow incest we usually see.

In any case, in the end this series did turn out to have just 13 episodes, which thankfully means that Mari Okada only has three series to worry about in the upcoming fall season. She’s an amazing writer, as shown by how well she treated Otome Youkai Zakuro, so I really hope that she can give all three of Hourou Musuko, Fractale and Gosick enough justice instead of rushing through all of them. Only once I’ve seen a more extreme version, this was in the Autumn Season of 2007 when Natsuko Takahashi wrote a whopping four series at the same time. The results were still good, but really unbalanced at times (but then again, that’s pretty much Natsuko Takahashi: she’s either really solid or makes really strange design decisions).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 December 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



Of course it’s great to see Garterbelt’s past here, but what really made this episode for me was its brilliant second half. It pretty much was about nothing: Panty and Stocking sitting in front of the television being really bored. But the entire half was shot on the same camera on the same position. It only panned twice, it only cut three times. Apart from that, it was all about Panty and Stocking randomly talking, along with Chuck, Brief and Garterbelt who appeared along the way. I love these kinds of episodes that really take this unconventional way of storytelling.

And still there were plenty of things going on with that half being everything but boring. Panty and Stocking being bored was surprisingly interesting, especially when you learn about the bizarre context at the end of the episode: Garterbelt spending ten hours inside the kitchen in order to cook a lunch party to celebrate that his afro was announced as the best afro in the world. The voice acting was especially fun and excellent here, and I like how the animation brought the characters here to life without a camera that usually keeps changing positions. I also really liked the final punchline. That was some great comedic timing there.

A lot of the anime today are just too safe and hardly ever bother with episodes like this and that’s quite a shame, really. There’s a ton of potential here if you’d just wish to abandon conventions and that’s what I really appreciate this series for doing.

Oh, and it’s not like Garterbelt’s backstory was uninteresting either. I mean, with the entire history tour that this guy made, parodying everything from Adam and Eve to the vikings.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 29 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



For the Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope I’ve been talking about different series each week. Otome Youkai Zakuro’s ninth episode makes for the last series I want to say something about. For December, I’m going to fill this category with posts about the series that I think will have the most interesting finales, which probably will be posts focusing on Panty and Stocking and Otome Youkai Zakuro.

Oh and on a side-note: I’m probably not going to go a kaleidoscope for the upcoming winter season, because of the simple reason that TOO MANY SHOWS ARE ENDING at the end of December. With that as a result, I’ve got room for eight new series; nine when Heartcatch Precure ends. That’ll be plenty of room to blog all of the good shows, plus also a bunch of premises that I normally wouldn’t even consider.

In any case, this episode is a good point to talk about this series, because a) we’ve gotten some significant build-up at this point and know where this show is heading to, b) I can praise a lot about it and c) I can also criticize a bit about it.

Starting with a), Otome Youkai Zakuro definitely has built up the best cast out of all the shows I’m not blogging this season. It’s got three couples who play off each other really well, and the past episodes have developed some really genuine relationships between all of them. the most intriguing being Zakuro and the mystery behind her: she’s a really tragic character who was really well explored in the past eight episodes.

Now, this episode was meant as a bit of an intermezzo between the heavy arcs, mostly focusing on fleshing out the romances a bit. It was enjoyable because we’ve seen relatively little of the cast in light-hearted situations due to the short length of this series. This episode was enjoyable, simply because the characters have been very well developed at this point, and because of that they were fun to watch.

And yet, this episode also enlarged some of the major flaws of this series. For that I need to go back to the source material, or its original author Lily Hoshino. When you look at the different covers of some of the other manga she has written, there’s one thing that immediately caught my attention: they all look the bloody same! Nearly all of them feature two people looking mellow and hugging each other. I couldn’t find a premise for most of them on ANN, but the premises I did find were just completely stupid and cliched, most notably that one about a family which forces all of its children to marry guys.

The creators here really gave a wonderful adaptation of the Otome Youkai Zakuro, but at the same time you can see that the romance is bound by these stupid cliches. The romance is mostly mature, and yet because of that premise the characters never really become couples, even though how obvious it is that Susukihotaru and Yoshinokazura are into each other, with the same going on for Bonbori and Hoozuki and Hanakiri.

Zakuro also suffers from these romantic cliches, though slightly different. In her case it’s indeed more logical to become good friends with Agemaki due to the large tension between them, and I actually really liked the point at which her crush on Hanadate was revealed. But yeah: he’s a bad guy, making what could have been a mature love triangle into a cheesy shoujo affair and Zakuro closer and closer to a standard tsundere. It’s pointless twists like these that are really holding back the otherwise truly excellent execution of this series.

Again though, I really like this series despite these criticisms. What’s even more impressive here is that JC Staff is really busy this season: they’re working on four different series at once, and yet all four of them are actually pretty good. Obviously some are better than others, but compare that to AIC which was in the same position during the previous Summer Season, working on four moe shows at the same time, where in the end every single one of them turned out to be dull and boring.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 27 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



Okay, perhaps last week would have been a better time for me to blog an episode of Index, but I did not know that that arc would just take up two measly episodes. And besides, this episode was pretty much was as interesting as it was terrible, which is pretty much what Index is all about.

So far, the second season of Index has been a huge mixed bag, but that’s part of its charms: the first arc was rather dull, the second arc was surprisingly good for being the lost chapters of Railgun (I really liked how they just cut the crap there and went straight to the point instead of dragging on). The current third arc is definitely enjoyable: it’s not the most ambitious arc, but it puts a lot of emphasis on the chemistry within the cast, which was quite enjoyable.

But really… there is fanservice, and there’s taking these dull romantic cliches way too far. How many times did Touma walk into a naked girl? How many times did his face get planted in someone’s bosom? Why did the creators suddenly introduced yet another random girl for Touma’s harem? It makes no sense, it feels lazy and it was completely pointless, making it seem like Touma can’t be friends with a girl unless he gets some romantic tension with her or something…

Either way though, this episode wasn’t a complete waste. I liked Touma in the rest of the episode, where there were a ton of different things that were going on. That’s how I like these sports festival episodes: we’ve seen them done to death by now, but this episode made well use of it to show some good antics. Another piece of criticism that I can give here is that the magical items in this show are starting to become mere McGuffins: especially in this episode, you could have replaced that Stab Sword with for example the “magical pizza of the annihilation of something very important”, and it wouldn’t have changed this episode in any way.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 16 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week I want to rant a bit again, even though I’m probably still the only one left who still watches this series. Still, I do want to write a bit about the strange and horrible decisions that were made for this second season. I’ll try to explain my thoughts on this series so that they also become a bit understandable for people who have never seen anything from Marie&Gali.

The first season of Marie&Gali was awesome: it was a fantastic comedy that showed how fun science can be; every episode was full of hilarity and came with completely new material and jokes, never running old or repetitive. The characters started out as stereotypes, but they really grew on you as the over the top quirky personifications of famous scientists that they were. Everything was set to also close off perfectly after forty episodes.

And then, out of nowhere, a second season suddenly got announced.

Obviously I was delighted back then, but after watching more than 20 episodes of this second season, I get more and more the impression that the second season announcement was as much a surprise for me as it was for the creators. I’m betting my hat that they only learned of it, after fully planning out the entire first season. This meant that they had to create a completely new set of forty episodes from scratch, even though they already put their best material and inspiration in the first season.

There are many reasons why I believe this to be the case. The most notable are the following:
– They inserted a freaking Scrappy. Norika, a strange whiny princess-like little girl, just comes out of nowhere and completely takes over the show as the lead character.
– The first season never repeated itself. The second season does, devoting several episodes in a row on the same concept.
– The comedy in the first season felt natural. In the second season, it feels forced. And this didn’t happen gradually, it immediately turned from good to bad at the start of the second season. But more on that below.

I’m not really sure why Toei found it a good idea to give this of all series a continuation, because it really wasn’t their most successful series by far. Especially considering how they closed off their viewer ratings cannon of Kaidan Restaurant abruptly after only 23 episodes. This season just serves no purpose.

You can also see how the creators are having trouble to fill this season through the execution. The biggest problem is Norika: her whining gets old really fast, and because of her the entire nature of this series changed because the creators included the rule that Norika can’t leave the world she’s cast in until she gets to appreciate science. What followed were 23 episodes of Norika running and screaming around, refusing to accept science and blowing everyone away with her giant teddy bear.

The first season felt so fun because it basically was about a bunch of quirky scientists who loved to show off their accomplishments to Marika (the lead character of the first season). Nothing was forced, you just had the adventures of a bunch of eccentric people who really loved what they were doing. The scientific explanations really blended in well with the storytelling. The second season, however, just turned into a series that explains science for the sake of explaining science. By trying to force Norika to accept science, they also try to force the viewers to sit through it. It loses all spontaneity.

On top of that, a bunch of characters derailed as well: the first season featured some stereotypes, but the characters were more than that: Gali was this dirty old man, but at the same time you had those scenes that showed that he was quite the brilliant scientist. The second season however reduces these characters, back to their stereotypes. You can really blame that to the acting: balanced in the first season, but the second season contains way too much yelling, especially considering how everyone in every single episode, likes to introduce him or herself in this overenthusiastic way for some strange reason.

The show at this point is still mildly funny, but it’s nowhere near as good as the first season. It’s at its best when it at least tries to do something new, but even those episodes are rare. The current episode for example featured a contest between Gali and Leonardo Da Vinci: who can build the fastest flying machine.The show so far has had a ton of these kinds of episodes. Especially in the second season, whenever Leonardo comes into the picture the creators can only seem to focus on how he pwns everything about Gali.

Oh, and the “scientific” explanation on how airplanes fly in this episode… it was actually wrong. Read some xkcd dammit!
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 14 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week, I’d like to apologize for not sticking with Yumeiro Patissiere’s first season. I originally stuck with it for five episodes before giving up, but here’s why:

The things I appreciated about this series back then was that even though this was a show in which people are accompanied by strange sweets fairies, it didn’t pull a la Corda d’Oro and suddenly make their characters incredibly talented: they still had to work really hard for it. The thing that turned me off however was that it was already getting dull and repetitive after five episodes. I especially didn’t like the cheesy drama around the arrogant rivals that appeared in front of the lead characters, and on top of that I was also bothered by a lack of creativity…

…so why did the drama in this series suddenly become so good? Where did the inspiration come from for the Professional arc? This second season acts like the two main gripes I had with the first season never existed. The current episode marks the end of the Sweets Kingdom arc, which really shows that better than ever.

The sweets kingdom is… bizarre. What mind came up with that and what kind of state was it in? For the past three episodes, the characters have travelled to various places to collect some conveniently located sweets ingredients. An entire forest made out of baumkuchen? What the heck? This episode went even further by explaining how Sweets Spirits are born. That was without a doubt the weirdest explanation of the “birds and the bees” that I’ve ever heard.

Just about everything about the Sweets Kingdom makes no sense, but that probably was the intention of the creators: to just make this very imaginative fantasy world. It definitely gave me a lot to laugh about for the past three episodes, not to mention Kashino walking around in a pink teddy bear outfit for the entire time. I’m really suspecting that the creators did that in order to avoid confusion with the Kasshi fairy, since the two look so similar. I have not watched the first season, but is there a reason why these three fairies look like Kasshi and the two others look so much like Kashino?

And regarding the drama… why did it suddenly turn this good? I mean, compared to the first season, the characters are much less obnoxious, it’s much less forced and actually quite genuine. Of course, you need to like the childish kind of series in order to enjoy Yumeiro Patissiere. I don’t think that I’m going to end up watching the first season anytime soon (50 episodes is looooong), but the new season definitely surprised me.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope




Ah, who cares? I’m just going to talk about two shows this week. Don’t expect it to turn into a habit, but this episode was just too awesome. Episodes 2, 3 and 4 probably turned off a lot of people, but the past two episodes really made up for it.

Episode five was mostly awesome because of Osamu Kobayashi (yeah, the guy from Gurren Lagann’s fourth episode), but this episode was really everything that this series should be: crazy and over the top fast paced action. The first few episodes made the mistake of focusing too much on the shock factor, which is neat for one episode but becomes boring quite fast.

The bitch-fight between the two angels and devils was completely awesome though. The focus was much more on the addictive chemistry between these four than the shock factor and dirty references, and the toilet humour instead got used effectively in the action scenes at the second half of the episode. This was really the first episode of this series where the chemistry between these characters really worked. On top of that, this episode was well paced and didn’t drag on like some of the previous episode as well.

It’s really these kinds of episodes that I expected when I first learned about this series. The second half of this episode just continued building up the action without getting boring: that’s how varied it was, moving from battles with angry cars to toilets, shootouts and random chases: there was a ton of creativity in this episode that went much beyond the usual gimmicks of this series. It’s also here where the music really helped making things even more exciting.

The big question now is whether this show will be able to keep this up. It is the perfect set-up for an action series without any bounds whatsoever, but the creators really need to make use of it and let their creativity run wild like the previous two episodes. If the remaining episodes will be like that though, then this will end up as an awesome series.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 5 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week I’d like to talk about this surprisingly charming slice of life series. And I guess gather my thoughts about Shinbo at the moment. I mean, I consider him to be an excellent director. The thing I hate however is how he is working on way too many projects. Just get him to work on one single project every year or two years: that will make them extra special, especially with the wait time in between. Why can’t he just leave Shaft’s other projects to the other directors at Shaft? Why does he need to hold their hands for every single series?

My big annoyance with Shinbo is that I’ve just seen too much of his series and I really do not want to sit through another one of his uninspired series. At this point, those series are easy to spot because he ends up doing one of two things:
1. Repeat himself. The best example of this is Natsu no Arashi 2, in which the first four episodes talked about the exact. same. freaking. subject. But also Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. My guess is that that’s also why I can’t enjoy Arakawa Under the Bridge: there are just way too many similarities between the two.
2. Take his style way over the top to the point where it loses all its charms and ends up only getting in the way of telling the story. Examples of this (in my experience at least) were ef – a tale of melodies and Bakemonogatari.

Soredemo Machi is neither: it neither tries too hard, and while maids have been milked to death in anime, the delivery is fresh here. It doesn’t try to force down as many random jokes as possible, but instead focuses on just portraying the characters without trying to pretend to be anything more, and on top of that the different stories are varied and not repetitive. Finally.

Arashiyama is quite likable. In this episode she was mostly just a side-character, but even there she was pretty enjoyable as she tried to encourage Toshiko and her brother’s romances. It neither dragged on, and yet you could see that she loved to tease them. These kinds of romances are now also cliched as hell (‘I want to propose to you but I’m too scared so I just say something that sounds like “love”), but the creative characterization still made them enjoyable. If the characterization of Togainu no Chi was as good as this episode, I really would not have minded it being a dating sim.

On top of that, I’m glad that we finally have a Shaft series with a proper budget here. Especially the first two episodes had very good inbetween animation, but this episode too was very dynamically animated. I also like how all of the characters have their distinct character-designs, rather than just feeling like stock puppets with different eyes and hair pasted on top of them. On top of that, it’s also an interesting technique to use CG in frames that aren’t moving: it certainly took me a while before I noticed it.

It’s not perfect, especially in the way that those title cards get more annoying every episode, and there are times when it tries too hard (like with the chair in the previous episode), but I like its charms and how down to earth it is. It’s also got some good jokes as well (like the Czar and Luther).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

CHANGE USERNAME
KTravlos
@SuperMario I need to finish this seasons first. Dark Matter, Turn, Virgin Soul, and RE:Creators.
SuperMario
@Vonter: I watched some episodes of Stars vs the Forces of Evil and found it was okay. Enjoyable but nothing too stand out. I'm also meant to watch Vixen the web series but still haven't had the time to.
Vonter
My youtube feed showed me there's a new Ducktales and Spiderman cartoons. I've been wondering what other newish cartoons are good. Has anyone seen Starr versus the Forces of Evil or the new Voltron. I'm just wondering since I hardly have gave them a chance.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: try some new shows this season Travlos. There's quite a lot to choose from and I am sure some of these will pique your interest.
KTravlos
I have a very bad feeling about the next RE:Creators episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was a troll review or at least I hope its a troll review (because I don't want to believe it could be true) review on imdb from some Christian nutter who disliked it for religious reasons.
Lenlo
@Masky, yeah the portrayal of the church was very one dimensional in this. Probably a victim of the short run time, but possibly not.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am as a thirty year old man shamelessly shamelessly looking forward to Nanoha reflections when it comes out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the film's from the guy who directed GitS SAC so yeah I will give it a watch if I have a chance
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do we care about this? : https://myanimelist.net/anime/33204/Hirune_Hime__Shiranai_Watashi_no_Monogatari its being screened over here next week I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I will read Crecy and plenatary then.
Masky
Anyhoo, I did like netflix Castlevania too, but I can't help but feel that Warren Ellis seems like sort of atheist who let's their opinion on christianity out in tract-y ways :D I mean, not that medieval catholic church wasn't corrupt, but that element isn't really from the games so it gotta come from him and it feels weakest aspect of the show.
Masky
@AidanAK47: Castlevania's story would make for good children's action show or cheesy action movie though :D Like, yeah, games are rather story thin(when they aren't melodramatic) but concept of Castlevania's story isn't that bad for a series.
AidanAK47
@Anon, with luck that new KonoSuba anime project is a third season. I didn't realize the Season 2 OVA just came out.
Anonymous1290766
Kono Suba ftw
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, there are some good moments even after the Shark jump but yeah, all downhill from here.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: it was a captivating jump, wasn't it?
Lenlo
I think I hit the shark jump in Kado.
reaLjustified
Koi to Uso....kind of as vanilla a romance story can get, and that premise doesn’t do anything for me after Sakura Sakura. Honestly the star-crossed love worked better with Nisekoi.
Lenlo
Well they were a good series of episodes, so guess it was a success
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Already has got one. Second season with 8 episodes is coming. Honestly makes me think that it's really the rest of season one and these four episodes were gauging the audience.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe it has been re-newed.
Lenlo
@Aidan, yeah. Its way better than I thought. The VA for some characters is just great, I actually liked Belmont alot. I really hope it gets a 2nd season, because Dracula was also great
AidanAK47
@Mario, Well you do write for STAR CROSSED anime blog. Maybe that's a factor.
SuperMario
@Aidan: "What is a man" huh? It's fun to listen to actually :)
SuperMario
I can't believe it myself... but I get sucked into the story of Koi to Uso. Yesterday was reading the manga until 2am (and I hd to wake up at 6.30 for work). SINCE WHEN FORCED CONTRIVED STAR-CROSSED ROMANCE BECOME MY THING? I blame those big eyes.
AidanAK47
I mean the best game in the series has dialogue like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMTizJemHO8
AidanAK47
@Masky, Castlevaina games are never played for their story. If anything the story is usually the weakest element. When I heard of this series before I thought it was ridiculous because the story of the games was too weak to make into a good story.
Masky
Better than any right to be? Like I know that video game adaptions usually suck, but surely that doesn't mean that being video game adaption itself is qualification for being bad? :p
AidanAK47
I will see if I can do a write up on Castlevaina tommarrow but yeah for a video game adaption it's better than it has any right to be. I think the reason for that is Warren Ellis.
Lenlo
Castlevania actually has good action scenes too. Very pretty.
Lenlo
The Netflix Castlevania series, one episode in so far, is actually pretty good. It does justice to the old series, more than any other videogame adaptation ive seen.
SuperMario
And I know this is way off the mark but whenever I hear Baltimore I'm thinking of Beach House band
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I feel you that the action scenes feel no weight.
Lenlo
Three degrees of Nazi. We always get there somehow
Lenlo
The story seems setting up to repeat to me as well, with the mutant/normie racial problems. Hopefully the Reflection event/mystery over takes that though.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Vatican's mysteries have gotten to a ridiculous level. This week throws up sexual abuse, drug use, corruption and somehow Nazis are involved as well. It's just too much for me
Lenlo
They could have kept the comic book feel though by doing what Ping Pong did, with the panel layouts. I feel the low framerate did nothing but hurt it. Had the action scenes been done differently it could have worked, but it was a traditional fight scene so it didnt work.
SuperMario
Speaking of 18if, I still consider that show an experiment wreck, but a fascinating wreck it will
SuperMario
I don't really mind the low frame rate in the Reflection. I think the choice is deliberated to resemble the comic motion. I'm more worried about the story as they have some random fights that I feel even more dreamy than 18if
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I quite liked the Reflections art but the animation, or lack thereof, held it back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Once again my anime taste falls in with Marios =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you can only imagine if shinbo or Yuasa were to work on 18...if.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I do think 18..if is exactly what I need right now, I am not certain it will top flipflappers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The premise for ballroom is of no interest to me.
I’m hearing Vatican is quite silly in a campy horror way
which appeals to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While visually the show seemed to improve with episode 3, I wasn’t all that emotionally invested with that story.
I would take this protagonist over IdiotMCx100 any day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
18..if is the most interesting thing I’ve looked into so far, largely due to it being the most un-conventional/abnormal, the concept interests me and poor as the animation is , the worlds it shows/creates, the imagination of the show gets close to forgiving that, as it was the most macabre, episode 2 has been my favourite so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I’ve begun (at last)checking out some of the series airing this season.
The reflections style is complete push away/turn off for me. I feel made in abyss could grow into something and I’d like it to actually properly get going/start, the buildup is slightly dull.
K-Off
@Vonter Graces is nothing compared to the pandering mess that Symphonia 2 was. Just embarrassing.
SuperMario
"There's a white house waiting for us in Casablanca" haha, can't help but laugh at its wordplay
Lenlo
Im planning on mentioning it, but yeah. Alot of the combat didnt really have an 'impact' to them. There are other shows, like Ping Pong, that I think do this sort of style better, if alittle differently.
Anonymous1283104
I think the main issue was the animation being kind of simple, the scenes didnt have 'motion'
Lenlo
@Anon, yeah The Reflection moved at the pace of a glacier. The art style was unique and should have lead to good looking fights, but instead it moved at the pace of a glacier. Ill have a write up on it later today
KTravlos
very nice episode of Virgin Soul. Really liked seeing Favoro look like Favoro again.
Vonter
Tales of Graces sadly might have the most childish, and pandering story of the series.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - Tales of Graces worked around having to both attack and defend to continue attacking. If just attacked you made less and weaker attacks. It was a way of cooldown that was more reliant on the player thinking about the attacks it used. Later games followed a more typical cooldown and combined special attacks with the regular ones.
Anonymous1282493
Reflection was kinda painful to watch, I didn't expect anything in the first place and was disappointed nonetheless.
Lenlo
I cant snowboard or ski at all so its ok.
SuperMario
I did hit my head on the ground (for the first time) but I was lucky that I was wearing helmet. I curse S turn
SuperMario
@lenlo: it's fun but it's a lot of pain as well.
Lenlo
Sounds like fun
SuperMario
I'm literally covered in snow right now with my butt numbed. Will get back home in few hours to catch up on 18if
Lenlo
Havnt had the chance to watch it yet, but Reflection apparently looks like a comic book but has weird fight scenes? Ill get that write up tomorrow once I watch it tonight.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*hear
Jesus Christ what happened to my spelling
AidanAK47
That's one of the things that mainly turned me off. The battle system is essentially button mashing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The regular complaint I here from Tales of naysayers is a dislike of the battle mechanics/system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I avoided the anime adaptations of the tales games mostly because I assumed they presumed previous knowledge of the games. I actually only saw Phantasia due to having been familiar with the games story when I was younger.
HelghastKillzone
No Re:Creators this week. I get a week off which is good since I'm stuck on an army base.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, A lot of people say Vesperia is their favorite as well. I only have played Abyss so far and was really not impressed with it.
K-Off
@Kaiser Damn, Detective Conan has a long way to go then.
K-Off
Phantasia was my first Tales game (and its anime is the best amongst anything after) but Symphonia really did take it to another level. In general I think most fans will agree with Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia in their favorites.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Kochikame is the longest running manga of all time 1,960 chapters, 200 volumes, actually does have a record.
K-Off
@Aidan I remember you saying how it's funny that no two fans of Tales will have the same favorite title. But that's definitely because Tales has changed very little over the years, and they've always been solid games, and so for most fans they'll remember the first title they played.
K-Off
@Vonter With you there. The art direction in Tales hasn't been really that exciting since Xillia, and as a long time fan of the series I finally got sick of the gameplay after Vesperia.
K-Off
Jeez, detective Conan is reaching its 1000th chapter. Pretty sure it's a milestone for some Guinness record.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Embarassing
**Here
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also agree about complaints made about the mumbled dialogue when it does occur.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thin red line is a good thing to bring up hear as throughout much of Dunkirk I was thinking about how much more Mallick's film did for me, how I should have been re-watching that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet at the same time I couldn't connect with it, it became repetitive, disjointed and the shots/Zimmer score towards the end were embaeassing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There were definitely aspects to praise, to be fair there is no shortage of action, it eschews exposition and tries to visually immerse the viewer to make them feel as if they are present.
Lenlo
Im ready. Reflection comes on tomorrow, so heres hopin its worth it
Anonymous1279803
it was trash. just british propaganda
Vonter
I finished Tales of Berseria. And I'm conflicted. I really liked the story and the characters, essentially a Tales of were the story is told form the perspective of the villains. I also saw the episodes Ufotable made of the beginning of the game, and I want moar. It's was a waste as game, considering the archaic and dull game design. It mainly came up to buying time in regards to things to play.
KTravlos
I also watched it. I thought it was a great war film. Very intense and unrelenting, but still at points the images reminded me of Thin Red Line. My only quip was the end. The film did a great job in getting me to feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt. So great that the attempt at making a "happy" end was forced and fell flat. Beyond that I liked it.
Anonymous1279184
I already lost interest when I saw Inception which I didn't really like. My favorite Nolan movie will always be Memento.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, saw Dunkirk, I think at this point I'm done with giving Nolan any more chances, this like his other works, I can appreciate them to some extent but come away honestly not giving a damn.
SuperMario
and this week's Sakura Quest is damn great as well... This backstory of Chitose and Kadota rocks
SuperMario
Just watching the 2nd episode of Gamers, It was actually pretty good. I can't believe they fleshing out that annoying hot guy into such a relatable guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall the extent of my interest in Linkin park in my early teens was strictly the breaking the habit video and that was it.
SuperMario
The frontman of Linkin Park commited suicide by hanging himself... sad news. Never been his fan but I feel sad nonetheless
AidanAK47
Actually forgot with all the impressions and whatnot but I do believe we said we would review the Castlevania Netflix series. Now that everything has calmed down I will see if I can do a write up next week.
AidanAK47
I was busy trying to discern whether the story had any point besides "Life is shit"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Again, while I enjoyed punpun, the excessive internal narration, when marathoned, I had to take a break.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come to think of it, I don't even have a phone that does that, haven't bought a new one since 2004.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, you see I could never force myself to browse/type/use the internet on a phone, too used to using a desktop exclusively for that.
AidanAK47
Oh bloody hell. Stupid phone autocorrect. Yeah I meant Punpun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Read Freesia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
umi no onnanoko is probably the exact thing ninjarealist would be interested in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*oyasumi punpun
I found it alot more accessible than nijigahara holograph. deded-demon-destruction while enjoyable, is beneath him. Solanin is probably his easiest work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I assume you man oyasui punpun. Its been about five years since I read in, the final couple of volumes stay in my mind the most, all the stuff with him, the girl and his uncle also, I love Asano Inios art and the surreal elements but I got lost/bored somewhere in the middle and most of the other side characters and the cult thing I didn't really care about.
AidanAK47
Finished reading Goodnight Pumping. Really not sure on what to think of it. The story kept me reading but it just felt really empty.
Anonymous1276500
There are 2 Nyaa's now. This one is considered the 'real' one: https://nyaa.si
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like anirena is down for me. Although it looks like nyaa went back up as this: https://nyaa.pantsu.cat/
SuperMario
Aidan: Fate/Apocrypha, Made in Abyss, Kakegurui
Mario: Princess Principal, 18if, Youkoso
Lenlo: Touken Ranbu, The Reflection
Wooper: Ballroom, Shoukoku no Altair
Helghast: Re:Creators
SuperMario
Note: I'm deciding to take Classroom of the Elite as my third show to cover. So, for this season we are covering 11 shows.
Vonter
Just to end, it kind of shows than even if a story is predictable on where it is going. Characters can make up for that, if they're funny, interesting, and perhaps not agreeing all the time and having different agendas and points of view despite all sharing the same boat.
Vonter
Yet as a game Tales hasn't felt deep since Symphonia, (at least from the ones I've played). I'm wondering if it'll leave me wanting check the anime of Zestiria, since apparently Berseria is a prequel to that game. And many say the anime is better than the game. (I can see why).
Vonter
I also like the reused Tales beats from Phantasia and Berseria. It those have moments like when Lloyd was exiled and Cless had his village attacked. It has clear antagonists unlike Vesperia, and trying harder than the cartoony villains of Graces.
Vonter
I've been playing Tales of Berseria, and it seems to be the anti Tales of Graces. In which I'm caring about the story and characters, but the gameplay is a drag. This is the first time I've been autoplaying an JRPG. But unlike Gravity Rush 2, I'm not dropping it because I'm liking the interactions of these characters even if it gets, campy, overdramatic, or edgy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean I watch anime and films subtitled but sometimes my reading speed can be slow if theres a lot of dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I do that sometimes, mostly to check for message updates or on occasion to read reviews of what I am watching or to download more/check downloads.
SuperMario
For instance, I watched Okja yesterday and I had to take 15', 20' minute break in between for snack, surfing webs and playing mobile games...
SuperMario
I watched Fanny and Alexander... don't really remember which version I watched thou. I think it's a TV version since it divides into 4 separate parts
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it just that... my attention span has shortened greatly and I just can't stay focus on movies over an hour mark. In cinema, it's alright since you can't move anywhere but now it's abig task to finish a 2 hour and a half movie for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
And is good enough to keep up the quality for that long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say this, for every medium, to me the length of something isn't so much the issue, if you have a writer good enough to keep something going for ages then the length shouldn't be an issue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If something goes over three hours I treat it as a miniseries and watch one hour or two a day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol if you thought thats long, have you seen the extended versions of scenes from a marriage and fanny & alexander by Bergman? I can't wait to get my hands on the tv versions I hear they're completely different.
SuperMario
Okja is pretty entertaining with pointed social commentary. I don't really feel Tilda Swinton's double roles add up much but everything else is great. Bong has never disappointed me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: good luck with Satantango then. I guess now if I watch an 8-hour long film it would take me a whole week to finish it :/
Kaiser-Eoghan
Made in abyss and vatican keep staring at me. Although I'm not chancing them yet or anything else until I hear a bit more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My once massive film backlog is nearly cleared. I can try watching stuff this season hopefully.
K-Off
Same boat here. For the first time in a long time I spent almost half the day catching up on all of my manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll have two weeks leave, I will finally watch Satantango, all eight hours of that film.
AidanAK47
I did a double take when I saw this. One of these things is not like the other.... http://gematsu.com/2017/07/blazblue-cross-tag-battle-announced
SuperMario
Well, finally have a bit of precious free time to watch something else and I have too much things to watch. Castlevania, the final Kizumonogatari movie, live-action Okja and some books planned to read... I guess I'll go with Okja today
Ninja
Looking forward to that Dies review
Lenlo
Yaaay! Time to enjoy your blogging time
AidanAK47
And now we are up to date. Just need to finally get that Dies Irae Review posted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again I'll watch almost every horror film I can, don't even mind the awful acting most have.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pet cemetary was a guilty pleasure of mine when I was a teenager.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know how I'd feel if I rewatched salems lot, although a positive is that it did have James Mason in it and it was done in that 70s style of slow burn horror that I love.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The IT film has aged horribly and thats one case where I would advocate a remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stand by me was a perftly watchable coming of age film and it surprised me, seeing a non-horror King story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay theres one way to settle this =P Lovecraft > all of them ;) I have actually enjoyed some King adaptations even though I know the Shining took liberties , I also enjoyed Carrie and Apt Pupil.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, please. Early King > Richard Matheson > Modern King. Kings early works were good.
Lenlo
@Aidan, its true that Monty was the mind behind the fights. Sad, but I think the other directors are starting to come into their own instead of trying to copy Monty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But we all know Richard Matheson > King.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He did some collabs with Stephen King I believe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Like the dead films he's trying to be thematic, although this one is clumsily put together, I kind of like how it hybridizes the 50s with 70s style exploitation, it has its moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
hmmm the only non Dead trilogy film I've seen by Romero is the Crazies, feels like he's still finding his voice with it.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Part of the reason is that they started using better animation software. But despite that there was a downgrade in fight chorgraphy when Monty died. Though the story I find is getting better.
AidanAK47
@Kinseryu, I think it's ridiculous to everyone but there are those that choose to ignore it.
@Anon, That's a bit harsh. It is true that his later works never truly panned out but he did pretty much popularise the zombie apoc. Even if Day of the Triffids did it before him.
Lenlo
Every season RWBY gets just a little bit prettier. Rooster Teeth really does have some of the better 3D animation skills out there.
Anonymous1272531
goerge romero was a hack trying desperate to stay relevant.
Kinseryu
Tenshi3P... I thought it was just me that this show was just ridiculous by putting three ten years old girl that knows how to play electrical instruments. They are insulting the people who plays these. But good thing I found this site with your first impression. I laughed and I feel better. Lol.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: he passed away? damn. He was the Father of Zombie genre. So like him or hate him, he was influential to say the least. RIP.
Kaiser_Eoghan
...holy shit George A Romero died? Now I have to watch the rest of his films.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Rei Hiroe is really dicking around with black lagoon lately, he's still releasing wasted chapters, just like re:creators, the most recent chapter of black lagoon was a slog.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Maybe the conversation and lives of others could sort of count as espionage stories to an extent.
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