Posted on 30 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



And as today is the last day of June, this is going to be the last post for my Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope. I am not sure what I’m going to do next season though: whether I’m going to do a Summer Kaleidoscope and blog six full series, or blog seven full series instead: it’s entirely going to depend on that seventh series. Plus, it’s got two huge question marks as well in the form of Appleseed and Last Exile. They’re both two series that aside from the regular line-up I really want to blog.

In any case, this episode was build up, build-up and even more build-up. The creators made sure to make it into a gripping episode though, especially when Kaiji brought in Endou of all people: the guy who was responsible for getting him into his mess in the first place. This episode was really being mysterious in the way that it refused to reveal Kaiji’s plans (much like the previous arc), so a lot of this episode consisted out of cryptic hints at how supposedly awesome his plans are going to be, although the negotiations with Endou really kicked ass in how intense they were.

Now, the big pitfall for this series is going to be the the suspense of disbelief. There is one big difference between Akagi and Kaiji: Akagi was superhuman. It’s not about seeing really smart plans, but about psychology. Kaiji meanwhile belongs in the category of series that specialize in plans and schemes. The biggest pitfall of those kinds of series is to take their plans a step too far and make them just ridiculously complicated, a la Death Note or Code Geass where in the end things depend on the most precise coincidences. That’s also one of the reasons the first season annoyed me, in the way in which Kaiji miraculously danced across death on the beam arc.

In terms of characters though, this arc does have the most interesting side-kick for Kaiji that we’ve seen in this series yet. His Buddhist roots, his incredible temper: all of it works really well and it’s quite a step away from the usual young guys. The villain though has yet to prove himself. He’s just this posh underling, and nowhere as interesting as some of the best villains of this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 25 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Okay, I know I already made a post for my Kaleidoscope this season, but I just can’t help but gush at how absolutely fantastic this ending was. This ending… it’s just unbelievable. If you thought the previous episodes were crazy: this one actually tops them. It’s been a long while since I saw an ending with this much BALLS. It was the perfect closure for this series. But what the hell did I just watch!? Seriously, who came up with this stuff?

This episode already started off hilarious with a Wacky-races parody of all things, but after that the characters just continued to pull all sorts of random powers out of their ass to upstage each other. It was a really creative final battle where things like popcorn were used to fight Enma’s fire for example, or glowing tangerines turned Kappaeru into a professional wrestler. Just when you thought that this couldn’t get any crazier, this episode pulled something more bizarre out of its ass.

And then… the finale. That was just… surreal. The entire series had been building up to Enma losing control of his fire powers. The OP kept unsubtly foreshadowing it, and when it finally happened… it just turned out to be a side-effect of his powers. I’m not going to say here what the real reason why his powers were sealed was. Just… watch this episode.

What I’m really amazed at is how all three endings of this season so far have been much better than I ever could have imagined. Anohana, C and Enma-kun: they all ended with completely amazing endings that brilliantly made everything come together that they had been building up to. Enma-kun has been incredibly juvenile, but ridiculously entertaining. If you’re looking for a series that’s completely crazy: go for it.
Rating: **** (Fantastic)

Posted on 23 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



One sub-genre of shounen that I’ve been missing for quite a while: the ones based around playing games. And I don’t mean those stupid kiddie shows that are meant to sell toys or cards, I mean the ones that are based around the characters involved playing various games and try to be creative with that. Of course these kinds of arcs can be terrible if the creators don’t make them fun to watch, as it’s impossible to get a good plot out of that, but I can enjoy a good tournament arc once in a while. Sket Dance is a very nice example of this.

It’s not just the characters playing games that was fun about these past two episodes. In fact, the way the games are won is about the only predictable part. What also makes these episodes so great is characters like Bossun fidgeting from the sidelines, or the energy that this series has, setting every of the games up. I especially loved the stress in trying to find the fifth member for the tournament and how Bossun just randomly switched the names around in his panic.

What’s more: this also shows perfectly that the characters in this series aren’t stereotypes: by making everything fit so well at the beginning, this episode shuffles around the characters competences, and shows that everyone doesn’t just have one thing that they’re good at, but are in fact well fleshed out characters. At least, this goes for the main characters. This episode ended with the single biggest stereotype in the entire series’s turn about to start, so I have no idea why the writers chose her of all people to fill in aside from shock factor. She’s bound to lose (predictability yo!), but then again, I wonder more about she plans to do to make that match entertaining.

Overall, I am not really fond of Shounen jump adaptations, especially the ones that go on for ages, due to how incredibly long they take to get somewhere. The good parts tend to be overshadowed by the really long and draggy ones. Sket Dance though managed to be entertaining throughout its entire run so far. Its lack of plot doesn’t really matter so far: it’s really good at giving colour to its character, and it also keeps bringing back old characters, not just as cameos, but to flesh them out even more. And it’s really creative and funny in the process.

But yeah: the big question is whether this series will end up dragging, and when this will happen. There have been tons of once excellent shounen jump adaptations whose huge length became a huge turn-off: Gintama, Bleach, Naruto; even Dragonball Z would have been a pretty nice series if it ended right after the saiyan arc. Will Sket Dance avoid this and know when to quit like Level E, or will it pull a Bleach, jump the shark and refuse to end for the next couple of years?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 13 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Ideally, we’d want a list of exactly what kind of episodes of Gintama’s sequel are worth watching and which ones aren’t. It’s going to make this series much more accessible to the ones who can’t be bothered to sit through the bad episodes at this point. I myself am nudging more and more to that group. In any case, let me at least start for the first eleven episodes of the second season:

Skippable: Episodes 1-7
Worth watching: Episodes 8-11

The first eight episodes were random stories, where episodes 9 to 12 consist out of the Otose arc. This Otose arc is really recommended, more on that below. As for the random episodes, the only one that I can really recommend is the eighth one, in which the characters start toying with recap episodes again. Out of all of the running gags, that’s the one that still works at this point. I also wouldn’t really recommend the Catherine episode: that one was basically the creators screaming “Find this sad!” It didn’t even prepare for the Otose arc either.

In any case, I remember clearly that the first episode focusing on Otose (I believe it was episode eleven, so this goes way back) was the point where I first realized that the original series would be something special, and not just a focus on good laughs. Finally, 200 episodes later we see this story continued, and at the very least I’m glad to have stuck with this series at this point, because the added background to Otose was just excellent.

Oh, and Otose’s younger form was awesome. It usually works great when a younger version of a character is shown to illustrate how much he/she changed, but for an old lady this works even better. The story created around this was just great: it’s both tragic, yet unlike the Catherine episode it’s not just there for cheap cries. It adds a lot of new stuff to Otose’s character and it feels genuine for nearly all of the involved characters.

Now, I hardly ever edit posts aside from fixing typos, but with this one I’ll continue updating the above list for as long as I keep watching this series. I’ll probably drop this series some time around the beginning of the Summer season, due to how incredibly busy it’s looking out to be, so let me know when any new awesome episodes pop up from this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



These final weeks I’m going to be revisiting my favourites of the past season that I didn’t blog, or any other particularly awesome episode that pops up. This week’s episode of Enma-kun was completely crazy, so I couldn’t pass up this chance. It’s also a good point to talk about the comedies in this season in general.

Because there have been quite a few comedies this season: aside from Enma, there was Gintama, Hen Zemi, Azazel-San, Sket Dance, Fireball, plus the half-comedies of Hyouge Mono and Tiger & Bunny, and those are just the ones that made me laugh. With this many series out there to get some laughs, especially for the pure comedies, it’s certainly difficult to find any lasting impact: what series will be remembered years after this season?

I think that here, it’s going to matter a lot what series managed to set themselves apart. Especially with so many sequels, this matters even more: can these series really prove that they were worth it to expand further upon. And I think that here, Gintama, Hen Zemi and Azazel-san pulled on the short end: Gintama’s comedy episodes have mostly been pointless and instead it should have just stuck with its serious arcs, which really are good. Hen Zemi meanwhile never really succeeded to step outside of the OVA’s shadow. Yeah it added nice things to the characters, but overall it’s not enough to gain any lasting impact. Azazel-san meanwhile is too inconsistent: Moloch was brilliant, but too often I get the idea that the creators lacked inspiration for good episodes and characters. It’s the kind of one trick pony comedy that it unfortunately couldn’t avoid.

The ones that set themselves apart the most were Fireball Charming, which improved upon the original with some great creativity and visuals, and Enma-Kun, who despite being completely juvenile had consistently the best ideas of the pure comedies this season, added to how incredibly entertaining it has turned out. It’s the kind of roller-coaster ride that never leaves a room for taking a breath, and this episode was one of the best episodes so far. It once again was wrong on so many levels but its huge amount of energy made it one heck of an enjoyable ride.

And the episode was basically the lead characters trying to turn the home base of the Youkai Patrol into a giant robot and screwing up horribly in the process, with just bout everything going wrong, and somehow this lead to some of the funniest scenarios I’ve seen this season so far. Especially Kappaeru was hilarious: both when he was randomly goofing off in the background and whenever he kept eating important plot devices. When he first appeared in this series I really hated this guy: he really looked like the usual pointless side-kick. So okay, he turned out to be a parody of that. And I must say that it was a hilarious one: in just about every episode since the third he has been hilariously useless.

Also, what the hell did the creators do to poor Yuki here? An angels are actually those stereotypical Americans? What the hell?

The trend for comedies in 2010 and 2011 has definitely been to explore taboos. It’s nothing new what this series is doing right now: there have been a lot of series about toilet humour by now. It is an interesting trend, though. At first you might think that all of these series are just trying to jump on a bandwagon with uninspired series. And that’s indeed how this started: I believe that Juuden-chan was the kick-starter, realizing that both Gintama and Kanokon were surprisingly successful, it too tried to push its boundaries. What followed were more utterly horrid fanservice shows of Chu Bra, Ladies Versus Butlers and Qwaser, so yeah: it seemed like a terrible trend began.

After that however, series started to jump the bandwagon that actually challenged each other, and pushed each other to explore these boundaries in interesting and funny ways: first there were Mitsudomoe and the Hen Zemi OVA, then Panty and Stocking came along, Milky Holmes aired, and suddenly these series that supposedly had toilet humour ranked themselves amongst the better comedies each season. There’s a ton of stuff happening in this genre and the shows are pushing each other to produce new and interesting stuff. Even Hen Zemi and Azazel-san, while they won’t have any lasting impact, do feel fresh and come with something interesting that doesn’t make me abandon them. This actually is pretty healthy competition here.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



With this episode closing off the Chinchiro Arc, it’s now a good time to look at this series. And overall, the Chinchiro arc was awesome: it took a while to get there, but it was focused, well built up and based around a carefully prepared plan. The climax was very short for Kaiji standards (in fact, that’s why I didn’t cover this show last week: I thought that there would be more than jut one episode), but very satisfying.

Now, all that’s left is to see whether this series can keep things up. I really watched the first season in the wrong way: because Kaiji took forever to get from A to B, it completely drained me from inspiration: I had hardly anything to say about episodes where only one or two things actually happened. Just whenever you thought that things would get interesting, it ended, or so it seemed at least. Instead, this is the series to watch right before punching an angry bear or something.

In any case, this episode was also the introduction of the Pachinko arc. And by god, I’ve heard some rumours about this thing. Especially the OP: it apart from the Chinchiro arc and the Pachinko arc… it doesn’t seem to foreshadow anything else aside from another confrontation with the old guy again. That means that the entire second season of Kaiji… will only have three arcs. How long is this pachinko arc going to be anyway? Especially because this episode made everything seem so simple. The key is probably going to be the same as with the previous arc: if Kaiji can take his time thinking and preparing then it’ll work out fine, however it will get tedious if it’s going to keep delaying the inevitable.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 24 May 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Okay, so I’m going to be covering multiple series this week for this category. People have kept saying over and over that this arc of TWGOK would be something special, and now that I’ve watched it, I do have to say: it was indeed the best arc of the series so far.

Finally, this show bring sin an actually normal girl who is more than just another stereotype come alive. Finally this show actually brings in a boundary between reality and fiction, and finally Keima actually develops. If anything, this episode was refreshing and different, and it was the first major arc since the first episode of the first season that did not feel like a chore. But I do have a few problems with it.

Especially near the end, the girl of this episode turned formulaic again. The whole moral speech-kiss routine actually wasn’t quite different from the other arcs. In fact, every arc has simply ended in the same way. It’s not the first show to do that and things like that can be done well; heck, Jigoku Shoujo turned it into an art and all, but Keima’s moral advice about how she should live… probably was the least interesting part of the entire arc.

That’s just nitpicking, though. The question is: was it worth it sitting through sixteen episodes of mediocrity, just to see this? For that, I unfortunately have to say “no”. I could just as easily have skipped a bunch of arcs, and I wouldn’t have missed anything. The thing is, that at the moment, this series feels like it’s a series where various game characters have escaped into the real world where the main character has to conquer them back, with this arc being the point where he actually has to encounter a real girl. Unlike Gosick, which despite its mediocre episodes did a wonderful job of building up and using this build-up, The World God Only Knows has too little of this to really make me reconsider labelling this as a waste of time. The rest of the series needs to be of at least this calibre for that to happen.

What was up with that Southpark-reference, though? I really noticed that the references this series puts in are… completely random and out of context.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 23 May 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Aaand thiss is about the point where my patience with Denpa-Onna has run out. I’m going to drop this, but I do want to wrap up my thoughts about this show because it’s not like it started off without any potential. My bias against Shinbo would have dropped this immediately if it sucked completely.

The first three episodes of this show were actually very good. You didn’t know whether there really were aliens and the theories of that cousin were quite interesting to watch. This show was quite dynamic, had good themes, was unpredictable and seemed to have a lot of potential. After that though… this show jumped the shark and pretty much now it tries to stuff material for perhaps 3 or 4 episodes in its nine remaining episodes. The way in which it fills up its extra time is… really annoying.

My big problem here: there has been no good drama for the past four episodes. Instead we get that horny aunt, ditzy classmate and that girl whose only defining trait is that she dresses up in strange costumes. All of them are really annoying. And the main character wasn’t much better. The premise about aliens was nice. Right now however, this show’s themes are just moe pandering:

“Oh no. We have this really cute girl who is completely helpless and mentally challenged and yet everyone in town hates her. The main character is very unfortunate to have to take care of her.” This is nothing but the excuses that moe pandering shows always make, only even worse.

Also, the dialogue has the Bakemonogatari syndrome. It’s not as bad, but that possibly makes it even worse because that means that it stands out even less. There is a lot of dialogue in this series, but in the end, what do these characters really talk about? They just keep repeating themselves over and over again, and they. Just. Won’t. Shut. The hell. Up. This show majorly lacks inspiration to fill its time.

Compare that to Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru: its characters were annoying, but it always had something nice to discuss, the characters were always doing something interesting and it was always trying to be varied. It’s characters like these that were genuine and fun to watch. Denpa-Onna is just annoying, and I’m glad that Shaft is not going to output any new series for the upcoming summer season. Let them put some actual work in making one series, instead of a bunch of mediocre ones.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 20 May 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Dear Brains Base,

What the HELL have you created here?!

This show is sneaky. I mean, it is written and directed by the director of the crack-fest Hoshi no Umi no Amuri, so I was sort of looking forward to this series. It then commences to have a terrible first episode and an even worse second episode. I nearly gave up on it because of how uninspired those two were. But no. This show waited until the third episode to reveal its true colours. It’s completely bizarre true colours that are wrong on so many levels.

And don’t get me wrong, this IS a fanservice show. But the fanservice is the most bizarre fanservice I’ve ever seen. Stuff like Seikon no Qwaser is just thinly disguised porn. Series as Hoshikaka just use horribly uninspired and forced fanservice as cheap ways to sell dvds. This… is on a completely different level. This show is crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. The fact that it has a character who walks around completely naked save for a hat and a cape is just the tip of the iceberg.

this show is episodic, and beyond the fanservice it also has the craziest ideas to base its episodes around. Episode six was the most surreal by far, having the entire cast bounce around the world chasing a youkai who blows up everyone he touches like a balloon. This episode? You know these scenes where a character tells a bad joke and as the punchline, everyone falls over? This episode turned that into an art form by introducing a youkai who does exactly that. Some of the visual gags based around this were just beyond weird.

After the first episode I really wouldn’t have guessed at all that I’d say this, but I love this show. Sure, the only show that has more fanservice this season is Seikon no Qwaser and all, but I love its limitless energy and creativity that goes with the most creative ideas it can think of, no matter how stupid or wrong. This really is a breath of fresh air compared to the shows that are either just complete porn or just use the same kind of out of place fanservice over and over again.

Also, what also completely surprised me about this series is how good the background music is. I mean, it completely fits with the energy of this series, and actually creates even more energy this way. The songs are all catchy beyond belief and make sure that there hardly is any time to catch a breath. And you know what? It has the composer of Tokyo Godfathers doing the soundtrack, and the same guy will also do the soundtrack for the upcoming Noitamina series No.6. There’s another reason to look forward to that one.

Beyond that, I also chose this week to blog Enma-kun thanks to a very intriguing news item that popped up. If this is what I think it is, then the summer season is looking even better than it already has. For starters, this means that it’s going to break the record for the most amount of TV-series to premiere during one summer season (Anime is dying? Hah!), but more importantly: the director of Utena is finally going to make another series!

It looks childish, just the story of a bunch of penguins. But it all just seems too…strange. First of all you have to wonder why Emna-kun of all things is going to air promos for it (promos that I unfortunately have yet to be able to find), because it airs in the middle of the night; a really weird time to advertise kids’ shows. Second of all, kiddie shows hardly ever introduce themselves like this. In particular the fact that this will be 24 episodes has me intrigued. I could be wrong here, of course. This could be just another show aimed at 3 year olds. But something’s telling me that this show is pulling a Kaiba.
Rating: ** (Excellent, as wrong as it was)

Posted on 9 May 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



Last week I noted that Gintama’s sequel wasn’t as good as I hoped to. I’m not sure whether I was the only one with this, but I’d like to use this post to elaborate a bit on that. The current episode is a good example of why, while still a good comedy, it’s no longer the comedic classic that it once was.

A lot of it has to do with many jokes not being funny anymore, and trying too hard. And I have to give this series credit: these episodes are not as bad as the point where Gintama originally started to move downhill (after about episode 100, if I recall correctly). If I were to compare it to your average comedy, it’d still be pretty decent, but I’d rank Gintama among my top 5 of favourite comedies ever. The first 100 episodes also had their weaker moments, but overall they tended to be brilliant. This isn’t.

The running jokes are probably the ones that went downhill the most: there was a time where this show knew exactly what the border was between great running jokes and shameless repetition. that’s what allowed it to become such a long series in the first place, but the new season reduced the running jokes either to repetition, or took them to too forced absurds. Sarutobi’s crush on Gintoki for example: this episode made her an even bigger fangirl of Gintoki, but it just didn’t feel fresh. Also, in the middle the mood suddenly got serious. But what was it about? About her refusal to get other glasses. What happened to the manly tears of the first season? This was just silly.

The series itself is also getting rather formulaic. I mean, using guilt to get people to move? Didn’t the creators play that on Gorilla a few episodes ago? Plus, the way in which the serious parts showed up felt formulaic, and quite similar to the previous episode (which granted, was better done than this one, but even there it was forced: “care about these characters!”).

It’s also the presentation: the original Gintama may not have had the most fluid animation, it hardly ever contained weak shots. The new season though is full of distorted or rushed faces. The new season also has this habit of overabusing the “straight man”-faces. I mean those scenes that focus for seconds on on a heavily exaggerated serious facial expression after something outrageous happened. They’re all surprisingly poorly timed for this series’ standards.

It’s still inspired, though: the ideas behind each episode are definitely interesting, and each episode does have a collection of good jokes amongst the ones that fall flat. I just don’t know whether I can really enjoy this series when I keep comparing it to the classic that it once was. Especially considering how it’ll keep going on for ages. I mean watching this for 26 episodes is okay, but I don’t think that I’ll have the patience to watch 100 more episodes of the caliber of the past six episodes.
Rating: * (Good)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still enjoying the sangatsu manga and all the character interactions in this most recent volume.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Quintuplets might be under consideration, dororo is a definite. I don't want to watch revisions , girly airforce or plane thing because of the cgi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have the first 3 doro episodes downloaded to watch tomorrow, I'll comment on them, I'm giving it a shot because I love Tezuka.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The quintuplets thing is one of those things I would see myself chuckling at for a bit then feeling no obligation to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cat thing is probably cute but its too light for me to invest in in the long run.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding this season, I'll be direct, it isn't my thing, I got my fill of Kaguya's manga and all I can out of it, promised neverland, once the escape bit finished just turned into an action series (at least from what I read) lacking a compelling followup hook for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Acca had this odd way of delivering information that made it seem stuff went on between the lines or offscreen, often it worked, sometimes it didn't. Its a show that really picks up after the first couple of episodes and really gets elevated by its revelations, cool setting , art style and opening theme too.
Lenlo
I agree it does that. I think my issue may come with me maybe missing something or just not understanding the series as a whole, and so parts of it were lost on me. I enjoyed the series I would say though
SuperMario
Let me rephrase by saying ACCA ending neatly ties up plot threads for me
Lenlo
I didnt say I didnt like it, just that it wasn't what I expected. It was odd. I think I need time to process it.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you didn't like ACCA ending? I thought the ending is easily its best part. It's the first few episodes that feel slow for me
Lenlo
Also, just finished ACCA. Man... that was a weird ending. Not sure how I feel about the series, but damn, did it have style.

Also, thanks (?) Wooper.
Lenlo
Lets see... Dororo is good, but I am still lukewarm on it. Kaze Fui is a fantastic carry over from last season. Mob and Neverland of course. Shield Hero, if you want to be part of the latest big craze discussion. Kaguya if you like romance. Ill search some more, but those are off the top of my head.
Anonymous3338351
What are some must-watch anime this season; I'm watching MBP100 and Promised Neverland rn
Vonter
Shield hero looks like it fits with that journey of doing the right thing even though most are against you.
Vonter
You know what it reminds me of. It's kinda like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Where the family returns after a trip and find the neighborhood celebrates their absence, since everyone dislikes them. By the end when they make up, all the neighborhood gets bitter with one another because they no longer share a connection of hate with Malcolm's family.
Vonter
Also the undercurrent semblance of looking more like a bad guy or anti hero. Despite him having a good moral compass.
Vonter
SuperMario - I don't felt it was about being defeated or not. I got the feeling it was taking the hit for others. Because since he has high defence he does take the damage, but he does look weary about doing that. And the framework paints him so far more as an underdog than a prodigy.
SuperMario
But does the fact that he’s the greatest defender makes him the one who can’t be defeated? I haven’t watched the latest one though
Vonter
I did like the new episode of Shield Hero. It made me realize there can be stakes in Isekai battles. In both Overlord and Slime I usually space out in the battles because they seem unnecessary outside of animation. It's more interesting if there's a display of wits and using the environment. I also like the protagonist be on the defense and the sidekick as the attacker.
SuperWooper
Here's a "review of one of our own reviewers:"

Lenlo is a pretty cool guy. His taste refreshingly runs the gamut from shounen action series to character-driven period pieces. His use of "Read More" tags and intro paragraphs, though they break the site's house style, give his posts their own signature that his readers likely appreciate. I give Lenlo a 92/100.
SuperWooper
Also, if we're getting pedantic, my post on Kaguya wasn't a "review of one of your own reviewers." It was a review of an anime episode.
SuperWooper
It's "shitty?" Really? None of what we do here is for profit, or for a grade. If I want to alert readers to the fact that I've never read the manga, and choose to do it in a less-than-serious way, I don't think that violates any sacred rule of anime blogging.
Lenlo
@Niello, the technical aspect of Megalo Box is very lacking. Its a character drama with sports, not a sports series with good characters, basically. And yeah the gear makes no sense.
Anonymous3336806
It seems kinda shitty to write a "Proceed with caution!" disclaimer before the review of one of your own reviewers...
Firechick
There are also old school isekai manga such as Red River, From Far Away, Crest of the Royal Family (Which is still going), and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Red River also, but for a while it takes some time to re-gain the addictive quality it has in the beginning. I didn't stick with Yona, it felt like it didn't have any direction on where it was going.
Vonter
Those were different times. And while Isekai, it feels like a different genre. I feel the Isekai of old were also more eastern, given the RPGs of the time were more fairytale like and also several you listed have more of an eastern influence.
Animosh
Yona of the Dawn is also a good example of a series with a politically ambitious female lead, though I wasn't a fan.
Animosh
I forgot how female-oriented early isekai series were. I already mentioned Twelve Kingdoms, but there's also Escaflowne, InuYasha, Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, Haruka (I've only seen TK though) ... so I guess it's only after the recent revival of the genre that it started targeting men.
Niello
Out of all the sport anime I have watched I think Monkey Turn V is the best so far. Megalobox is pretty good but nothing special imo. I heard that in term of boxing the technical aspect isn't good, though I don't know how true that is. What I personally can't get over is how their gear in reality should just be making people fall over quicker, which shouldn't make the matches more fun.
Niello
I still
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to stop underestimating these sports shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo is good at convincing me to watch stuff I might not have otherwise watched, I saw ashita no Joe, Kaze and megalobox due to him =)
niello
I should catch up on Kaze, the gap is starting to get quite big.
Lenlo
Im gonna say this every week. How is an anime about running so damn good?
Vonter
I suppose when creating a story one also needs to put some restraint, since as human beings we easily gravitate to certain "tastes."
Vonter
But oh well, I think guys do also have their kinks.
Vonter
@niello - Love might be the hardest emotion to convey. Since even if you put the poses, attitude and the like, the interactions is what sells it. The chemistry as some call it. Sadly in most anime it kinda feels one sided because the male characters are too passive. I like the relation in Shield Hero, but it also underlines the common parental figure girls tend to put.
niello
Later, the author made him accepts the love as a kind of rehab for his bitterness and for the sake of political advantages the girls will gain. So there's this weird atmosphere where the author criticises harem isekai but is writing one himself, although he's certainly trying to make it an unconventional one. At least that's how it is in the web novel. I don't know if they changed it in the LN.
niello
And also to show off. Meanwhile the MC acts like he's not involved because he prioritise the right thing, and also because he's dense toward some of the girls around him (at first) and felt put off by other girls who make bold advances. In essence, he has a harem but he doesn't seek to make one.
niello
@vonter The thing with Shield Hero and harem is that the MC berates how other people who got transported to another world have the idea of forming harems like the LN/manga/anime they know before getting transported. That became the focus of some people instead of what they should be doing like seriously training and preparing for enemy attacks, which they opt for the easy way like it's a game.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aside from reincarnating as a baby. Not really. Zettai Karen Children from the author of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, seems like they do. I mean they start very young and later covers have them as teenagers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: A slower take on a story is something that has grown on me as I get older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Those scenes in kaze clicked for me this week, but at the same time, that last bit and also the scene in the middle were definately uncharacteristically cheesy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter@Amagi: Mushoku tensei has the lead character grow up throughout it I think?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think fan interaction by creators, theres something there, listening to fans ideas within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that comes to mind here, sometimes i think we the audience might be better at writing the shows than the people doing them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy explictness but wish it was used less juvenile-ly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest character thats being recurring in my head is a kind of communist or liberation theology soldier that is trying to convert people, while also struggling to keep his highly polarized beliefs in some kind of balance.
SuperMario
@Amagi, tell me about it (having ideas but to lazy to materialize it). Heck, they are mostly lame ideas to begin with
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Scums wish .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its almost always a boring comedy or action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or have some kind of anaylsis of why the characters express themselves in certain ways in relationships.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish more stories involving nudity/sex/fetishes/ecchi/hentai could actually use this kind of thing for a good psychosexual story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really like it when the conflict has something to do with beliefs or repression aswell.
Amagi
Same here. I mean people are conflicted too, so these characters are actually more relatable. Strangely directors usually think otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I loved goodbye Lenin, my old German teacher in school was really awesome and took the class to see it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like conflicted characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also fond of the idea of a villain trying to turn pure hero out of guilt from the past while still longing for his evildoing days and self-hating because of that and also feeling guilty out of enjoying the violence he commits against the villains he's up against. And sees the violence done onto himself as punishment .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They just end up as ideas written up rather than stories in my case.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I often feel guilty for being as lazy as I am because I have a lot of ideas and barely do anything with them. I don't even have the "I can't draw it" excuse most other people have. I am just lazy and useless.
Vonter
I've been trying to make a story for quite some time. Is about a special ops agent, that turns into a woman after a failed mission where he lost his friends and comrades. He's on a mission in order to look how to turn back and find redemption for the lost of his friends.
Amagi
OH GOD actually got FGO's Hassan i Sabbah after all with the last few quartz. Suicide prevented, thank you God.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Not a day goes by where I'm not thinking up some wild idea.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - The best use of incest in a story, is the one you don't see coming, like in King Ooedipus or Old Boy.
Vonter
I think the best case for that story would be using the Yoko Taro method of storytelling. Start by the end and build on how that tragic ending happened. There's a presentation where he explains his method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO_d3fwTNPo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would never ever use incest positively in a story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, I had a scenario where the hero develops an obsession with the villain, to where killing him is less about personal heroic codes, but curing himself of that obsession.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the great thing is that the actual thing, relationship never happens.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - That last one just reminds me of erogame about a girl than can't quite get with her crush and relives that same moment several times. Sometimes she reincarnating as man and the crush as a girl. In the end all versions end with rape.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also some of these villains I came up with, they're deaths and rebirths could only occur when it came to settling their specific individual problem. Thus by admitting his/her love for the brother he/she dies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'll add it to my list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I treated one of my characters like total shit, guy was a girl in his former life, got raped by some alternate version of his brother, got reincarnated a man and as a child killer/abuser, only every time this character committed a crime, they felt they abuse they inflicted on others.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Have you read A World I Rule by Tank Guy? That's essentially an isekai about screwing over, what's essentially Eden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the true victory and winner is those who lost.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the endless cycle of you can't win no matter who you are.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I live for this stuff.
Amagi
@Vonter: I liked that about Tiger and Bunny. I don't want to spoil in case someone is about to watch it. But it contained this element of "something we're looking up to is actually some evil thing/person" and I don't mean the guys they're working for, it was clear from the beginning that those were corrupt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time, it isn't like the hero was right either.
Vonter
Amagi - I think in the case of old villains it was caused because those didn't had civilian identities to empathize to the "human".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, because I love screwing characters over, after becoming the villain and actually achieving through evil, the perfect good society, even after taking in all the sins of the world and seemingly eliminating the evil inside people, humanity just fucks it all up again and became a monster all for nothing.
Amagi
We also usually don't see the villains having any problems that aren't related to the actual thing they cause. For example losing someone dear to them. Not because heroes killed them or anything, just..so. That's life etc. Making them feel more like persons. Hell even heroes have this problem. Usually when a hero suffers it's caused by the villain. As if the world wasn't more complicated.
Vonter
Also Franken Fran had a very dark and very funny story about a superhero founding out that the organization he's facing wants to conquer the world with charities.
Vonter
Watchmen, Dr. Strangelove, The day the Earth Stood Still kinda put a similar message about needing to be better with each other in order to have a better future.
Amagi
Yes, it's usually too simple. We have a clear hero fraction and a clear fraction of the villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*villain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like it when the villain isn't actually in co-operation with other bad guys, but theres also a hero, but the hero is marginalized because there are so many differing villaib factions.
Amagi
Even there, in the end it was heavily hinted that people can never bring back gone things. She saw through them and knew they were pretending and that it wasn't real anymore. Think that would happen in the other potential series we came up with too and it cause more character development.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Elementary school up to their mid 30s.
Amagi
Have to think of Goodbye Lenin, kinda. Not exactly that topic but similar. With the mother falling into a coma during GDR time and waking up after the fall of the wall and her family trying to pretent that they're still living in the GDR to not shock her since it could mean that she'd die.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - To what extend watching them grow up? I mean in Dragon Ball we've seen Goku's entire life. In Ashita no Joe we have a big arc before the MC ever gets into an official boxing match. In Rose of Versailles we see a change of ideology over the course of 12 years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad guys idea was to start up so much shit in our world to terrify the people back home.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The guys homeworld was basically one where things we consider evil are good over there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember working with the idea, where a villain brought people back, solely to open the gateway to his homeland through stealing energy from them resulting from psychological turmoil, then broadcasting how terrible humans are back to his homeland, and his people seeing how awful humanity are, then realizing they should stop being bad people.
Amagi
It's why I am always a huge fan of characters (usually, who could have known, villains) who try to resurrect a past decade or something. Like someone trying to build a world or VR space that imitates the 80s because it was the time he grew up in and which he is still missing and want to return back to. Could be the 90s as well or whatever.
Vonter
The paradox with that, is that technically one becomes a tyrant or a monster eventually. Power corrupts the individual. Whose to say those villains didn't start with good intentions?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi; Seeing a characters entire life too, seeing him grow up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I am often thinking about such a series too. A real coming of age, with the character realising what he had lost or is about to lose, how life changes and him trying to make it stop or escape. Or force the old status quo but realising it isn't possible to maintain.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah that's a great compromise. Defeat the villain but maintain his new state, or develope his idea or whatever. Just without the errors the villain made.
Vonter
Oh my, realizing that last one, could make most Isekais more interesting, since there are things those characters can't do by design.
Amagi
And then the MC comes and tells everyone that the old life is good as it is with all its flaws and don't realizes that he is actually lucky enough to not be born into misery or in the middle of some war zone like many others who die and suffer.
Vonter
Villains in the end, take the decisions the hero cannot.
Amagi
It's especially bad when the authors aren't even aware of what they're doing. Like showing that there are characters in the fictional world that get an actual better life with the change the villain brings. Paralysed people being able to move for example or poor outcasts not needing food anymore, in case that the villain forces some VR world and digitalizes people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Booboo hiss , no revolution is lame. Revolution good, do revolution.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Aggretsukko touches a bit on the last two examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still love the idea of people actually benefitting from the terrible things the villain does and actually learning from it and the world becomes a better place because we learned not to repeat the bad guys actions. But the bad guy committed those very bad actions to make us realize that.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah I never liked that meta message most stories have that basically boils down to "be happy with everything as it is now and don't try changing it, also, revolutions are evil".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or where a person attempts to explore becoming something more but ends up just accelerating the breakup/going seperate ways thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
yes vonter, you are giving good examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And people growing apart because they've gotten older.
Vonter
@Amagi - Villains have selfish desires, human flaws, and determination. Heroes on those series usually defended the status quo, since that's the only thing they saw as right. And in the meta was to tell the audience how they should behave.
Amagi
Could never get into wimpy characters either. Shy yes, as long as shyness is portrayed seriously and not the typical shy/naive "etooo..ano ne.." harem guy/girl. But I always wondered who can even selfinsert into the typical harem or otome lead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd happily watch a coming of age story which was just about a bunch of guys hanging out, playing videogames, watching films, anime, playing outside and just joking around, very little melodramatic stuff, only on a rare occassion drifting in naturally into the narrative.
Vonter
Ano hana is about reflecting on how the characters grew up.
Amagi
I mean villains are often the oddballs. MCs are too "normal". They're usually the typical guys that maintain the status quo (even if it's flawed), get/want a romantic relation ship and a normal life whereas the villains have ambitions and are often "different" to say it that way. They feel more human to me. Or maybe I am just too weird myself I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even a character reflecting on how they've grown up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: As a child it was almost always the villains for me, or villain sidekicks. Probably because writing was more strict back then and there were too many things heroes weren't allowed to think, like or do. Well it's still a problem.
Vonter
Hi Score Girl has a character that reminds me of some aspects I'm not proud of my youth.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or a protaganist realizing all of their past romances were chosen because they thought they had to fit in by having such relationships based on expectations, when really they genuinely don't care about romance.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't 30 centimeters per second like that? Welcome to NHK also explores some aspects of the young adult. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a soap opera but with adult characters in need of maturing to independent people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So i can understand wanting to relate to something in fiction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also none of these stories ever reflected or related to my adolescence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see a story about someone who is trying to adjust to their mid 20s or 30s after finally realizing that what they thought would never end (what they were familiar with in their youth) is over.
Anonymous3329534
What are the must-watch anime this season?
Kaiser-Eoghan
In alot of cases naturally the underwhelming leads, male or female are romcom/harem/coming of leads...which leads me to ask, I want an dramedy that I can actually relate to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or it was one of the villains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of being a military commander, military leader, spy or an emperor or a more clever character appealed to me more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nor superpowered characters for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've probably said this before, and I don't know if this is just from western upbringing, but I never really self-inserted into wimpy characters because I could never imagine myself like that.
Vonter
All these in regards when a girl is the protagonist.
Vonter
1.- They rarely put interesting love interests. 2.- Few times stories aren't about seeking some internal even selfish desires. 3.- In anime at least females get along very easily while I get the impression it's more complicated IRL. 4.- I identify easily the romanticized power fantasy of men but I can't tell if I've seen that thing of women's.
Vonter
It's a dichotomy. Since I've seen both the worst and some of the best female character in manga and anime. Yet I can't shake the feeling female characters have unwritten restrictions to them.
Amagi
@Vonter: The new Promare trailer got me more interested in this. So it seems like the enemies are actually controlled by humans (that..guy/girl(?)). I also feel like the new blonde character will be a traitor or secret endboss or something.
Amagi
@Vonter: I also always had a problem with female characters, be it anime or whatever. Not because of social reasons or anything, I just found them unrelatable. But they got better over the years, especially in the west. Anime always had some series with ambitious female MCs though, it's just that a lot of anime are too selfinserty and these types prefer the safe route and do otome series.
Vonter
This movie is looking sick. It looks like it's using the same type of cel shading as the latest Guilty Gear game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzFFaLB6fHw
Vonter
I've read manga and webcomics with good or bad art, both can have great or very poor writing.
Vonter
I think scores are incredibly more subjective in terms of comics than other mediums. There is just a vast array of qualities, content, and distribution and exposure also makes for some works fall into obscurity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
or huge praise either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read that yuri manga Octave, while I'd give it a higher score than they gave it, a myanimelist reviewer was fairly accurate in saying it really boils down to "another drama" but another review said it was "a quick, short and easy to read manga" I think those are reasonable takes, for better or worse this falls it the fine category and isn't really a huge black mark against it
Vonter
Interesting. I mean it's only a matter of time there are several other Isekai mangas that are either full female or gender bended. Also the Spider Isekai is also coming soon.
Animosh
Always nice to see an author reflect on and work on overcoming his limitations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was that recent article where sword art's writer brought up how he wrote his female chracters.
Animosh
Japan has a female prime minister in GITS too, although she's just a supporting character. And now that I think about it, the world of SAO's current arc has a female leader - in fact, her all-consuming ambition is basically her #1 trait.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that is more of a case of female characters in tougher mode roles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose if I was making a list of female characters that stood out well for me I would put Motoko (ghost in the shell) or Balsa from Moribito.
Animosh
But I can think of some exceptions. Youjo Senki technically has a female lead, and for an older example there's Twelve Kingdoms. And outside of isekai you have ambitious female characters like Shurei (from Saiunkoku Monogatari) or Maude (from ACCA). But it's true that they're relatively rare.
Animosh
It is true that political ambition is a big part of some isekai though. Overlord is an obvious case, and there's also Log Horizon and the Slime series this season. And the MCs of these series are all males. But then, I suppose political power over others is something that is just more likely to appeal to men, especially in patriarchal Japan.
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