Posted on 29 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

And so, I’ll end this Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope the same way I started it: with Inu X Boku SS. This really was a series that got on my nerves a lot. Not because it was bad or anything, but because it’s David Production. These are the guys who always try to do something extra. They take their series, and add stuff, try to do something new and really put thought into how to make their series work best. Inu X Boku did not have that. There were flashes in which it was really good. That’s the reason I originally picked it up to blog. And yet it got side-tracked so often. It’s not like it was full of filler, but instead all of the episodes didn’t even seem to be trying to be engaging, and the underdeveloped cast of side-characters also didn’t help either. It really was just this series that was fun and watchable, but really not much more.

And then the final two episodes aired. And what do you know? They were actually quite brilliant. In fact, save from perhaps Natsume and Chihayafuru, they were the best final two episodes out of the entire season. I did not expect that. At all.

I’m not sure what happened. Suddenly the writing got like 10 times better. In two episodes this series actually succeeded in breathing a tiny bit of life into the bishie genre, which has been so overly polluted during the past few years by the likes of Studio Deen, A-1, Production IG, etc. For the first time since… Kuroshitsuji II I think we’ve gotten another romance involving bishies that is actually really good. The main couple totally redeemed themselves for me here. Like it’s nothing, this series suddenly took all of the build-up of the first 10 episodes, and brought it together, and did it creatively. In fact, this creativity is what set this series above Ano Natsu de Matteru for me. They both are flawed, but where Ano Natsu depended on well executed cliches, this series actually delivered some creative twists that I absolutely loved.

The previous episode was already wonderful in outlining Miketsukami’s background and how everything fits together, I expected this episode to be a boring aftermath again, and it sure started out this way, save for some well written very last minute character development on random side-characters that suddenly made them a lot better. The bartender and his kid in particular. The time capsule was fairly standard for an inconclusive ending… and then Ririchou from out of nowhere realized that she got two letters mixed up. This is a common trope, but I can’t think of another anime in a long time that did this as well as this episode.

It came out of nowhere that this happened, since everyone was treating this as a very sentimental moment, and afterwards the creators went really deep into the characters’ minds. Both Ririchou and Miketsukami were forced to deal with their own insecurities, after the entire series has built them up as being so distant and afraid to show their own feelings. It was an amazing conclusion.

So yeah, reviewing this series will be a bit of a problem: I loved these past two episodes. The majority of the rest of the series though… not so much. I need to get my thoughts sorted out on this a bit.

Overall though: I’ll be keeping my eye out on this new director, because he has shown to be able to get good stuff across in his adaptations. He has flashes of brilliance, but at the same time you can see that he lacks experience, due to all of the wasted potential of this series. If I had to give him one advice, it’s this: keep a leash on your side characters. There are a few who really ruined the fun a bit. The worst offender is the fangirl: she only did one thing over and over. Balance that character out more. You also had this great and colourful cast of characters in the staff of the hotel everyone is staying in, but you hardly ever used them. Such a waste of potential! I know this is an adaptation, but it’s still the job of the anime staff to choose what to focus on, what to cut, and what to spend extra attention on. You may have excellent source material, but if that results in an adaptation like Persona 4’s, then it doesn’t really matter.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 23 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

So you can call me crazy, but I actually liked these final episodes of Black Rock Shooter. Sure, it was rather sappy and all, but despite that, I liked the direction that the plot took, finally relating the Black Rock Shooter world and the real world together, and creating an interesting setting based on that. Mato also became more interesting as she separated from Black Rock Shooter (and was basically out of the picture being unconscious, allowing the rest of the cast to play out).It’s still full of teenaged angst, but I felt that that angst was much better than in the first half. It actually was about something: about being scared to face reality.

Based on that, I really can’t lump this together with the worst of Noitamina. It obviously is nowhere near the best, but at the very least the creators didn’t turn it into a gigantic flop. It’s certainly better than that m ind-numbingly boring OVA. Library Wars? At least this show had a beginning, middle and conclusion. Jyu Oh Sei? At least this series didn’t overpace itself. Guilty Crown? None of the characters here is as bad as the cast of that show. Fractale? Hell, this show actually did something with its setting.

In the end though, this remains a series where the creators should have put more thought into how to make it work, especially due to that first half. The worst character in this series is by far Yomi, and this show dabbled way too much into her uninteresting angst. The teacher also needed more work. Yeah, she got an explanation and I have no problems with her part in the story, but that still doesn’t make me buy her really weird behavior in the first half.

The action of this series also made up for a lot, because this was genuinely good, compared to the dull action sequences of Guilty Crown. The only shame is that everything had to be in 3D CG, but ah well: without it the creators would never have been able to animate as much as they did here.

My request to Noitamina now is: keep experimenting. You tried to dabble into teenaged series for a while. Now, let that go and start to focus on different series with yet another target audience. Tsuritama and Appolon? Keep that direction going. Don’t just suddenly announce K-On 03 or Shana 04 for your Summer Line-up.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 16 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Okay, it’s time to make up the balance. With these two episodes we’re probably done with the heaviest romantic stuff, and it’s time to see whether this series ended up delivering on the things it promised.

Ichika, Mio and Tetsuro: these are for me the strongest characters. Mio is the one who changed the most as a character, and especially came to her right in this episode. Her back-story was really weird and bordering on fanservice, but I can’t deny that I like her growth a lot. Ichika meanwhile rocks in how she subtly gotten used to her life on earth. Her story is no nonsense: she’s not wrapped up in complicated love triangles: she likes Kaitou, it took her a while to confess, but when she did it was great. She finally has someone to confide in. I also like her portrayal as a real character, rather than just another romantic interest. Tetsurou meanwhile mostly rocked for being so direct and eloquent in the first half of the series. I’m not a big fan that he turned this show in something resembling a love tree (Tetsuro has Mio and that beach slut who are into him, he himself is in love with Kanna, Kanna is in love with Kaito, just like Ichika and that random childhood friend; the only exception to this is Kaito liking Ichika back). Still, looking back I like his character development and place in the story here.

Kaito… is a bit of a tough one. He’s got his good points, but also his lesser. On one hand, he actually knows what he wants. Thank GOD, he knows what he wants. As for his portrayal, though… I’ve got to confess something I realized when typing up this entry. I keep confusing his name with Senkawa. Yes, the lead for Birdy the Mighty. I really have to force myself to get his name right. It’s not a matter of the characters being too similar. Heck, Senkawa was far more annoying than Kaito in the first half of Birdy the Mighty Decode, and far more interesting in the second half. However, even in his annoying phase, he stood out. Kaito doesn’t. In the end he just didn’t escape his generic bland stereotype for me.

Then there are Kanna and Remon. Remon is just a walking catalyst: she’s got no character out of her usual snark, just acts there to spark up the romance between the other characters, and provide a light-hearted tune, but I can’t think of any scene where she really caught my attention. Kanna did have those scenes, most notably last episode. However, beyond that she disappointed a bit. In the end, she too isn’t really a character. Her only purpose in this series is to spice up the love triangles. On one side it’s to add tension for Kaito and Ichika, on the other hand it’s for the Mio and Tetsuro story. Beyond that, I don’t think that this series put any effort in giving her an actual character. The rest of the cast of this series can work when you subtract the romance. She can’t. She isn’t the worst character of this series.

The worst character of this series? That honour goes by far to that mascot.

So yeah, it turned out a bit of a mixed bag, but in the end the pros outweigh the cons. Romance series are something bizarre to me. A lot of the romance shows I like have huge flaws and annoyances to counteract some parts that they do incredibly well, and Ano Natsu fits that pretty well. The solid execution doesn’t make it a stand-out and I do feel that it could have tried more to set itself apart from its cliches (especially during that horrid beach arc) but I enjoyed it so far.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 8 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Gasp! Could it be? Guilty Crown actually observes some basic rules of storytelling for once? The flashback that took up the majority of this episode was pretty much the best part of Guilty Crown so far, because 1) it actually bothered to explain things rather than pulling whatever is the most convenient out of its ass, and most importantly 2) it had no bloody Shu in it. Of course the ending of the episode ruined things again, with Shu still being in Jesus-mode and all.

That’s not why I decided to devote this week’s Kaleidoscope to what is in my view the worst Noitamina show ever made. Instead, I found out something interesting that I’d like to share and talk about: Noitamina’s tv-rankings. For a while, I was really afraid when I found out that Guilty Crown was selling so well. I really feared that this show will set horrible standards for the future of Noitamina. However, the success of Noitamina isn’t just based on sales, isn’t it? What made the timeslot big in the first place wasn’t the sales at all; it was the ratings it got. I mean, at its height, the timeslot was by far the most popular late-night timeslot out there.

Because of that I decided to look up the ratings of the different Noitamina-shows. They were by all means weird and very inconsistent, but also very interesting. I made a compilation of the average ratings for each pair of series (unfortunately I couldn’t find ratings for each individual show for the double-slots), using data gathered from here, here and here. This season’s Noitamina shows are up to last week’s episode. All of these ratings are in percents.
Honey & Clover – 3,04
Paradise Kiss – 3,19
~ayakashi~ – 3,5
Jyu Oh Sei – 3,5
Honey & Clover 2 – 3,2
Hataraki Man – 4
Nodame Cantabile – 4,39
Mononoke – 3,48
Moyashimon – 4,56
Hakaba Kitarou – 4,8
Library War – 3,47
Antique Bakery – 3,45
Nodame Cantabile Paris – 4,62
Genji Monogatari Sennenki – 3,32
Eden of the East – 3,96
Tokyo Magnitude 8,0 – 3,56
Kuchuu Buranko – 2,66
Nodame Cantabile Finale – 3,25
Sarai-Ya Goyou/Yojou-Han – 2,08
Shiki/Moyashimon Live-Action – 2,56
Shiki/Kuragehime – 2,38
Hourou Musuko/Fractale – 1,76
C/Ano Hana – 2,63
No,6/Usagi Drop – 2,12
Un-Go/Guilty Crown – 2,18
Thermae Romae/Guilty Crown – 2,17
Black Rock Shooter/Guilty Crown – 1,86

Let’s first look at the decline of these ratings, which started with Kuchuu Buranko, and really set through when the timeslot went double length with Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, where it reached staggeringly low numbers when you compare it to the previous ratings. After Shiki which aired right afterwards, this also was the last time where Noitamina lost a lot of its experimental touch in terms of animation and scenario and series structure. Quickly afterwards, their strategy of appealing more to a teenaged audience started, with Fractale. This is where the timeslot reached its all-time low with a rating of 1.76.

C and Anohana meanwhile managed to lift up the ratings again slightly, by being overall really well made series (Ano Hana was my favorite series of 2011 for a reason), but the focus at a younger audience remained, culminating in this season, which pretty much is the worst that in terms of actual series (for me at least). The thing is though, that Noitamina’s audience seems to agree. Last week’s ratings were really, really low for the timeslot and that landed it a on the second worst spot, just before Fractale and Hourou Musuko. In other words: the experiment of appealing more to a younger audience… has pretty much failed in terms of rating.

Now, if we look at the kinds of series that in the past did lead to really high ratings, things get a bit weird, because these numbers are rather inconsistent at times. There seems to be one red thread amongst the top performers though: fandom. What’s the best rated Noitamina series out there? It really surprised me when I found out for the first time, but it’s Hakaba Kitarou of all things. The one thing that series did was appeal to everyone who grew up with Gegege no Kitarou, while also giving it a new look and feel. After that comes Nodame Cantabile, which also has a very big built up fanbase, and it also really helped that the first season was incredibly good, solid, and really hard to dislike.

When looking at the series after that though, things get really weird. By far the strangest is how well Ayakashi Japanese Classic Horror did. Out of all the Noitamina-series, that was by far the most experimental and yet it didn’t alienate its audience and delivered a really solid rating of 3.5, the best of the timeslot so far, and until Hataraki Man surpassed it with a random story about a working lady.

And I think that that’s also one of the appeals of why the early slice of life series of the timeslot scored so well: they were really easy to relate to. They were written in a very down to earth way. The latest Noitamina shows however? you can’t really relate to those. Except perhaps for Usagi Drop. Even Anohana: I obviously loved it, along with a lot of other people. But mainstream appeal? It was just too dramatic for that.

And here is the thing: the audience of Noitamina can very much appreciate a good series. Of course I don’t agree with the relatively low ratings for Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-Han, but I love that there is an actual audience for Ayakashi, Mononoke, Nodame Cantabile, Hakaba Kitarou, Honey and Clover, Hataraki Man, Eden of the East, Tokyo Magnitude, and even Genji Monogatari and Antique Bakery. It’s a shame that a lot of the audience was lost during the move to the double time-slot, but it’s also very interesting that another part of the audience doesn’t agree with the move to a younger audience.

You see Noitamina, the reason why that doesn’t work is simple: competition. You started with enabling a hole in the market: series aimed at an older audience at ta time when they are easy to watch, yet they contain a lot of substance to actually make it worth the limited time that adults have inbetween their jobs and studies. However, when you move over to a younger audience, you’ll enter a much more saturated market, in which it’s much harder to stand out. That market is completely different in the way that they consume anime, as shown by the really high dvd sales of Guilty Crown, yet really disappointing ratings.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 2 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Well, since this was the best BRS episode so far I might as well dedicate this week’s kaleidoscope entry to Black Rock Shooter and share some of my thoughts on it. This really is a show that symbolically links stories together. It’s not just the battle world, but there also is the picture book about the bird that keeps returning, and this episode also showed a brief scene of a class that was about literary analysis (or “the protagonist in this book died because… etc”). That could have been very good, really.

My big issue with this series is: why? What does everything boil down to in the end? Unfortunately, the answer to that seems to be forced teenaged emo. The entire plot basically revolves around this mentally deranged character. I can live with that, but the reasons that pushed her in the situation she’s in now… I failed to buy them. The blond girl is one thing, but that teacher in particular is just a walking plot device.

Emo of course doesn’t have to be bad. I’m personally a big fan of Narutaru (or in any case the anime of Narutaru, having not read the manga), which also was a very dark show about teenagers and the issues they can have. The big difference between the two lies in the build-up: Narutaru first created relatable characters and showed scenes in which… they weren’t actually emo. Yomi however, is poorly fleshed out to me: all she has been doing in this series is be mentally depressed. In fact, every character in this series is very one-sided. They’re more plot devices than actual characters and their issues are all just so simple when you boil down to it.

The only interesting character really is the main character, because she is the one who links everything together, in a much more extreme way than usual. She connects all of the different stories together, she is the only one who knows all of the other important characters well. Everything in this series revolves around her, and even the things that don’t at the beginning, end up doing so because of how her symbolic character in the other world ends up fighting everyone.

In this episode things got interesting, as all of these different stories started to intertwine. I admit, I did not expect Yomi’s part to be resolved this early. At the very least the show still seems to be building up to something, so let’s hope that at least that part of its buildup will be good. I adit that I liked the action and the soundtrack in this episode.

I can understand what Mari Okada is doing: the OVA was so dull, something had to happen to it to make it actually worth watching as a full fledged TV-series, and if the build-up was better then this episode actually would have worked really well, however I do think that she took the wrong approach. This type of characterization definitely isn’t her best, and I also believe that the characters in the action world should have… actual personalities and characters. I don’t care if it offends the fanbase of Black Rock Shooter. The creators are already raping the fanbase of Noitamina, so why stop there?
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 25 February 2012 with categories: Monogatari Series, Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

If I had to give this season a label, it’d be the Winter of WTF. Seriously, Nisemonogatari: you as well?

Anyway, for the reason of this post: there just wasn’t anything interesting this week. Danshi was more miss than hit this week, Ano Natsu continued with that boring beach arc (though admittedly it was much better than the week before), Inu X Boku was the same as what it’s always been and I don’t want to repeat myself on it yet again, Black Rock Shooter has completely descended into forced emo and Smile Precure still is in that boring introduction arc of its. Which brings me to Nisemonogatari.

To my complete surprise: I actually liked Nisemonogatari this month. Heck, for the past weeks, it did exactly what I hoped it would do. Something actually happened, and I actually really liked the way the Karen Bee arc was resolved. It was an anti-climax, but it worked well and was very well built up. Finally I actually got the chance to enjoy this series for what it was and marvel at its animation without being bothered by everything else.

However, the fact remains: this show is just way too long. The first episodes of Nisemonogatari were pretty much Araragi walking around until something happened, and passing the time with tons and tons of fanservice. And it lead to this episode. I have very mixed feelings for this episode. I really want to praise the creativity here. The toothbrush scene was just weird in every single way. The animation and direction were also excellent. At the very least: this was a great piece of animation. But this show has also just completely turned into a farce. Is this show too going for the incest? I thought we finally dropped that dead horse. If this was an attempt to be subtle and clever, that part of it at least failed, because it 1) has already been done by a ton of other shows and 2) exactly went back to the themes of the first few episodes in which hardly anything happens aside from tons and tons of fanservice.

I really consider Nisemonogatari better than Bakemonogatari at this point. Another great annoyance that’s gone now: the series no longer feels like watching a bunch of voice actors narrating over a slide-show. They actually animate the characters here. This episode had some of those “ahoge-shots”, but they were far more balanced than before.

I really noticed that after Bakemonogatari, the animation in the Shaft series improved significantly. They seemed to have especially invested a lot in inbetween animation, and the first series where this really stood out was with Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru. For once, this series actually doesn’t feel rushed. Now that they actually have a period of one year in which they release just one series, they can actually focus much more on making that show good. It’s just a shame that it wastes so much time on pointless fanservice over and over. If it was just some random fanservice I would not have minded, especially with the creativity that this show had been doing it. But there were just large parts of this show were nothing just happened aside from the characters talking about random smutty topics. It’s just too much. Still, this episode did show the most amusing ones, even though in the bigger picture it was just blah.
Rating: #%&! (???)

Posted on 17 February 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

So, with Black Rock Shooter still in build-up mode, Ano Natsu coming with that horrid beach episode and Smile Precure still in introduction mode, I do have to return again to Inu X Boku. And don’t get me wrong: I have major issues with this series, but despite that, it’s consistently able to put a smile on my face.

This sixth episode was special: it was the first episode that didn’t introduce any new characters (aside from random classmates perhaps), and instead focused on Karuta (the skeleton). And with that, it did a surprisingly good job. At the very least, Karuta just was completely adorable in this episode. And on top of that, I also feel that the rest of the cast emerged from the better.

Still, my big issue with this show still stands: this is a David Production series, and it lacks ambition. Ristorante Paradiso was a unique look at the Iyashi-kei genre with a ton of really old characters who were all very well depicted, Armed Librarians was an awesome roller-coaster ride with awesome storytelling, Level E was one of the best comedies of the recent years, and Ben-To pushed the boundaries of the fanservice comedy genre. And here we have Inu X Boku… where we follow a bunch of half-youkai. This charm of the characters is nice, but this just isn’t up to their usual standards. Of course, it’s far from their worst (I mean, Dogs was an awful OVA), but still: I’d hate them to turn into another Manglobe.

Also, main character: the next time try to confirm that the monster you killed is actually dead… before turning your back to it.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 7 February 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Okay, my entries on Inu X Boku have now been turned into a Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope. That means that I’m pretty much going to blog either this, Inu X Boku, Black Rock Shooter, and Smile Precure, depending on what interests me the most. This week’s episode of Ano Natsu raised the bar a lot for the bunch, though.

The reason I’m not just going to blog this fully is because of the annoying romance cliches. I can fully understand it if this series decided to take it slow for its first half and let the cast play out. It dropped enough hints that it knows what it’s doing. However, I’ve gotten really annoyed with the romantic misunderstandings, not to mention how the male lead was very annoying to watch.

This time though, things just worked.There were some lesser parts. I’ve gotten a bit tired of school film projects in anime that just have to mirror the plot exactly. That’s all way too obvious, and I’m still not sure why nobody finds it strange that Ichika has this weird pet mascot thing that keeps following her around. At the moment, this feels like Birdy the Mighty Light, without the action, variety or intrigue. Yes, Senkawa was actually more annoying than Kaitou at the beginning, but he had 26 episodes and he used that to develop really well. This show doesn’t have that luxury.

And so there came this episode, where it finally really moves away from theusual cliches. In particular the second half of this episode was great, when Kaitou started filming Ichika for natural scenes of her. It’s there where he set himself apart from his cliche. Tetsurou made it even better afterwards, when this show seemed to go down the road of being yet another “just confess already!”-series, to actually telling Kaitou about the love triangle he’s in. That was great.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 2 February 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

Hmm, so I had hoped that that new character would bring in a bit of a dynamic. Instead he’s just another side character who happens to know some of the other side characters. Not the thing that you’d expect for progressing the storyline of this. I think it’s fairly safe to say now that Inu X Boku will be the worst TV-series from David Production for me.

With this episode, I’ve gotten a really clear picture of this series. It’s really a “feel good show”, and it actually cheers me up quite a bit when watching it. I can really see it work out… if it had 26 episodes to work with. That will allow this cast to properly grow. Unfortunately this is not the case and instead we only have 12 episodes. With that in mind, this episode wasted too much time and introduced too many characters, who were all one-sided, adding even more to the big problem of one-sidedness of this series. It was funny, but with this rate this show is never going to get the right development out of them.

The coming week I’m going to be shuffling around a bunch of series in my blogging schedule. I’ll give this show one more episode to redeem itself, but at the moment it’s the only show that I’m blogging that I’m dissatisfied with. I first want to wait until Smile Precure airs and Black Rock Shooter delivers its second episode for that.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 26 January 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

This was the kind of drama that borders on cheese, yet stays away from it. It’s a bit forced at times, but the acting and direction actually managed to save it.

Unlike last week, this episode gets back on track again with the themes that made this show catch my attention: the loneliness of the lead character. This episode delved more into her upbringing, and showed how she turned into the character she is today: she’s got no problem with fancy dress parties or holding speeches in front of a lot of important people (in fact, that was so trivial that it was just skipped over), and the big focus of this was her desire of real emotions, rather than the fake ones. I like that.

On the downside it did get a bit too dramatic at times. Those two guys talking behind her back were a bit too much for example, but I guess that people love to bitch about the rich and famous (although this is rare to see in anime, where the rich are for some reason always celebrated and revered). It’s more that the acting still is rather one-sided, like how just one suspicious romantic mishap immediately causes her to blow a fit and dump the poor butler, and things like that need to change if this show wants to go anywhere. With a little hope that new guy will bring change in that.
Rating: * (Good)

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

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

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