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: 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
SuperMario
This is one of Saekano's biggest issue: while there are 5 main casts, the show seems to care to develop 3 of them. When that rival-guy begs Tomoya to continue the circle, and stresses that "Don't lose Eriri and Utaha". I just feel... dishearten. No recognition for Kato and Michiru then
SuperMario
Another 2 shows that I want to mention this week: My Hero Academia's last episode fight between Ecchan and Urarawa is my favorite match out of this Tournament arc. Saekano's last episode actually frustrated me. When it's obvious that this is the time for Kato's conflict, the show still spends too much time on Eriri and Utaha.
SuperMario
KTravlos: based on the content I thought it's you as well. I actually enjoyed Virgin Soul. It's an important episode actually, where all of out mains are locked up/ imprisioned. Yep, Re:Creators was great as well. But hell, Souta... his character's annoying. The creations, on the other hand, are developing quite nicely
Anonymous1123421
KTravlos here. Hmm wordpress has cast me out :p
Anonymous1123392
what a great RE:Creators episode. I do not know how Mamika will end up. But manly tears shall be shed. A great character.

Virgin Soul had a so-so to disappointing tonning down episode. Expected. Still they are smart to put Favoro there as a "sorry for that mates".
AoT, knowing what I know from the manga, made this episode all that more striking.
Anonymous1123296
Woah, Alice n' Zokuro has some of the most amazing writing I've seen this decade!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And because of the negative space in the picture and guy in the background, it might also emphasize distance.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: This was an obvious shot choice (come on, because they KISSED), but the one I liked the most was the top right one. The characters aren't in the center of focus, and a bit too close to the screen tell us how much Chinatsu wanted to get close to Kotarou, at the same time we feel a bit uncomfortable just like him (too close). Smart visual telling there
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should start giving attention to shots in anime as I do in art films. You've chosen a good one for tsuki ga kirei on the bottom right.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Speaking of shots....some of the static photography is Tsai ming liangs Goodbye dragon in is stunning. I saw an Ozu film where the framing was absolutely masterful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The eyeball scene in the restaurant OMO, scenes like that had very good way of creeping up on the viewer.
SuperMario
... and the fireworks in the end. Emotionally satisfied for that bleak film
SuperMario
Thanks Kaiser. Still think Black Coal is a very stylish and well-done neo-noir. One shot in particular still stick with me is the one long, unbroken shot that combine the past with the present.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*reviewing
It was your review that got me interested in the film mario.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I know that feeling, having to get out all my thoughts immediately. I also stream of consciousness what I write whether it be a poem or review then go back to edit, shows the passion a person has for what they're review.
SuperMario
It was just 3 years ago. I think I MUST review everything as soon as I finish, otherwise I will forget. Getting old now. Dang it
SuperMario
It was a great review, Kaiser. I also feel comparing Black Coal to Memories of Murders don't do this film justice too (although to be hinest I don't see the comparison). Your review just reminds me that I did review that film on Letterboxd, thou for the life of me, when I read ny own review I had no clue that i did write it
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Constantine was really the only reason I would have considered seeing the film, as I enjoyed some of the comics he appeared in.
Lenlo
Yaaay! Favaro is back!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, now I remember, I stopped watching ghost hound at around episode 14 or 15 years ago.
K-Off
Justice League Dark ended up being one of the weakest among the recent animated dc films. The opening was intriguing but it drops the ball as soon as it focuses on Zatanna and Constantine...The demonic manipulation of people isn't tied well enough to the villain, so that premise ends up feeling pointless, everything is inconsequential by the end. Why was this even made?
SuperMario
And for once, I feel that developing the characters isn't a appropriate choice for this type of show. The main cast need to develop, yes, but most of the supporting cast was presented as ambiguous and mysterious, thus making them change in the end feel just wrong
SuperMario
The main kidnapping was never addressed thoroughly, and it should be the main overarching arc, instead of this ending.
SuperMario
So... I've just binged through Ghost Hound. It starts as a compelling psychological mystery series, and ends up being... thriller of sort? The first half, building up stage was its best, and then unfortunately it run out of steam
KTravlos
Hey Favoro is like a good whiskey. You gotta drink it slow and enjoy it :)

I liked Predators.
Spike
8 episodes in we finally get to see who we were all waiting for in Bahamut! ...for 2 seconds.
Vonter
I did watch the version with the alien coming out of the ox. I haven't watched Predators, AVP1 was ok, like the newer movies its just the human element that has consistently gotten worse and unmemorable. I think that element in particular made me enjoy watching Alien 3 now, than if I had watched it in order, considering how it begins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thankfully the franchise can never fall as low as the predator reboot or alien vs predator.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Be sure you're watching the extended version.
Vonter
I liked 3/4s of this film, as the plans to kill the alien got more cumbersome the film got more tiring. And I think it was obligated to annihilate the cast considering they take the time to take out a whole bunch of them. I also think it's very noticeable the tiring production this had, and while people praise practical effects now, this movie sadly didn't integrate well the alien puppet.
Vonter
I've just watched Alien 3, the only Alien movie I hadn't seen do to the diviseness towards it. I think I went with the best expectations considering now on hindsight newer movies have made it look more competent, having more weight. This movie has characters, integrates the religious motiffs better, the Alien more than a closet monster is a formidable force of nature.
Kaiser-Eoghan
.....It just dawn on me looking through my letterboxd account...I have never seen afro samurai...
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm on hold with SukaSuka as well after 5 episodes. Ejoyable so far but its LN's tendencies hurt the show
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, like I said in one of my weekly post, Tsuki ga Kirei is simple, but isn't easily obtained. At this point, I'm truly invested in these kids that it makes me tense just to see how they keep up with their relationship, haha.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have yet to catch up with sukasuka and don't care about bahamut all that much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel its sweet and sensitive approach has a rhythm to it that I started going along with.
It’s obviously slow but I began not noticing the time go by as I watched more.
The art makes me think of Shimura Takako’s and makes me wonder what the series might have been like if she wrote it.
The dub is mediocre so after 3 episodes I switched to subs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The relative quietness and how scaled back in comparison to other anime romances is welcome and it never becomes dramatically or comedically obnoxious which I think is in its favour.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to catch up on tsuki ga kirei. We said this before, but that scene where he meets the publisher about his writing is a stand out one.
For the show overall so far itself, above all I see it as something simple, un-demanding to watch, its good a break from all those old/art films I have to concentrate on harder to follow.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe Goth would count but its more o a mystery manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not familiar with shibito or sugar life. May as well recommend everything by Kazuo Umezu and Junji ito. 6000 ended disappointingly, I fell behind in dead tube. Does sugar dark count?
Lenlo
I am a Hero is a personal favorite of mine
AidanAK47
@Anon: Uzumaki, Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi, Happy Suger Life, 6000 and Dead Tube. I suppose.
Anonymous1116992
What is some good horror manga
K-Off
@Mario I also noticed that korean thrillers are way too obnoxious with shakycam.
Lenlo
@Mario, about LWA, that was how I felt. Its just not as magical, as special, as the original OVA was to me. I suppose thats to much to ask for a 25 ep series, but it turned me off
AidanAK47
@Mario, TV Diana has some charm points but I think OVA Diana provided a better dynamic. I mean sure, She was essentially female Draco Malfoy but her attitude made reveals like her being a secret Chariot fan more impactful. Plus her tsundere act torwards Akko was rather adorable.
SuperMario
about LWA again, unlike Aidan I actually enjoy this version of Diana. I know she's one note, too perfect but she's charming. Too charming haha which serves well as a contrast to Akko
SuperMario
...just pop one random film from him. His films are not without its bad side thou, in particular I find the dialogues shapeless and dragging. But well it does add to the naturalness of his films
KTravlos
on LWA I would also recommended it. It is a fluffy show, with a sense of wonder. Some episodes are better, some are more flat, and the over-arching storyline leaves me bored. But it does have that sense of childlike wonder, which I had missed among all the "grim" shows.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a bit of problems with Korean movies lately as now they're heavily thriller style-over-substance films, so films that have very simple style like Hong-Sang-Soo's joints are the welcome change of air. One thing about his films thou, If you watched one of his film, you've watched them all. They're so similar in tones and concepts that I reckon if you feel like watching his films...
SuperMario
So I say it's still worth finishing. It's good but I don't feel the sparks that made it so great from the OVAs anymore
SuperMario
@Lenlo: about LWA. Plus side: Those hijinks. I mean the show is fun and magical. Negative side: I wish the show's storytelling is a bit tighter, each episode feels so loose it doesn't add up much and more like different variations of Akko + one member of the cast's hijink. Doesn't help either that the other casts just disappeared until they have an episode for 2 for themselves
SuperMario
@Anon1113829: I "enjoyed" Beyond the Boundary, but that show was a mess. The episode 10 was stand out for me, and the ending was kinda... a wreck. Certainly interesting but quality-wise I wouldn't reccommend it
Anonymous1113829
@SuperMario KyoAni fan? What did you think of Kyoukai no Kanata? I really wanted to like it, I thought it had some potential, but IMO nothing worked right.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It's good. Fun to watch certainly. Though sadly it falls short of being great.
Lenlo
So question: Is Little Witch Academia worth finishing atm? I started it last season, but for some reason it just fell off my radar
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thankfully, while not entirely satisfying, day he arrives is just the Korean film I've been looking for, refreshingly more low key, quieter and I enjoyed the new wavy combined with raw style, making it all feel very natural.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Well then, thanks for the rec on Hong-sang-so, I looked at The day he arrives. Y'know the reason I sometimes dread going into films featuring romance is because I'm conditioned from seeing the bad ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I may actually read this, the last time I read a manga steeped in politics was Sanctuary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle:_The_Making_of_an_Asian-American_President
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I actually have very limited experience with Ellis as a comic book writer, only read Transmetropolitan, I know he's writing the Castlevania adaptation.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I heard the same thing; can't help being a completist though so I'll eventually get to them
AidanAK47
@Mario, From what I heard, it doesn't get better.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that scene from the 1st episode of Phantom world lost me... but even then I'm willing to give the show another chance. That's how far I would go ^^ https://mobile.twitter.com/aaapodcast/status/687148875052892160/photo/2
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Looks like they are putting some real effort into it. May actually turn out pretty good after all.
@K-Off, Under the Red hood is a damn fine movie. Likely one of the best of the DC animated universe. Though try Superman vs the elite out. It's pretty good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Even phantom world Mario...even phantom world ? =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just the teaser trailer, not much to go on, but heres a short preview of that netflix castlevania thing that got mentioned on here a while back, up the quality to 360p:
SuperMario
At this stage, I'm pretty much KyoAni fanboy now so with every new material, I'll hype it up to the sky ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did follow it up with The spy who loved me though to cheer myself up =P Given that Rodger Moore just died =)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just looked through what Short Men Behind the Sun is about: "human experiments carried out by Japanese army during WW2?" Already sound grim and too real. Then "a graphic depiction of the human experiments" haha no wonder you felt unsettled Kaiser
VyseLegendaire
My favorite Exploitation Flick is An Inconvenient Truth 2.0
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Long story short men behind the sun is finally the exploitation flick that defeated me and actually made me unsettled.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I remember you talking about how Salo really affected you as an exploitation film, generally exploitation films don't shock or disturb me, but I just watched the cantonese dubbed version of Men behind the sun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the worst thing about beyond the boundry and phantom world, it discolours my opinion of kyoani as a whole, making me negatively reflect on older work they did .
AidanAK47
Yep, that's the new KyoAni one. Like Puran I don't have any expectations of it. The premise certainly seems like the closest they have come to breaking out of there usual format but I am sure they will find a way to shove in Moe antics. Though based on what is seen so far it looks like they are trying to emulate Key.
Puran
Is that a new KyoAni anime?.. I have lost faith in them a long time ago. Last Anime from them that I cared about was probably Hyouka
SuperMario
Bring you some news, Violet Evergarden will be aired as an anime TV. Though many sources saying it gonna air this year, it has a better possibility to air next year
SuperMario
Well, aesthetically, he's pretty much on par with Yang and Wong. It's just that his films are often emotionally distant, feel more like watching the paint dry hahaa
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I connect more emotionally with Yang and Wong.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I went in expecting Edward Yang and Kar-wong-wai levels of quality, which may have been quite unfair standards to put him up against.
SuperMario
I myself find his films difficult to watch, but when the films end they usually hold up very very well. Both The Assassin and 3 Times in particular are my favorite of the year
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I completely understand your reaction because his films are demanding as hell. I remembered watching The Assassin in big screen, 3 people next to me fall asleep, one of them snoring and the other one fall asleep within the first 10 mins. That Hou Hsiao's movies for you
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its such a shame because he makes gorgeous cinema and City of sadness is actually pretty informative account of the times....I just can't jive with him and I actually like "slow cinema" but watching his work is insanity inducingly boring for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I'm really sorry, I don't mind long slow even spiritual, talky, non-narrative, old, complex,meditative , art films but I'm really really finding it hard to watch Hou Hsiao's work, I've tried time to live and the Assassin and I just bailed after 2 out of 3 hours on city of sadness.
KTravlos
I have to say Akko is developing nicely as a character in LWA. Also Magane in Re:Creators reminds me of Hannibal as palyed by Mads Mikkelsen. There is that same est for life married to sociopath that is a bit charming :) Mamika's character is also just cool. Beyond that AofT and Bahamut both delivered competent episodes, with Bahamut a good mix between comedy and tragedy.
K-Off
@Aidan Assault on Arkham was fantastic. Between that and Under the Red Hood, a classic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have a lot to say in this week's Eccentric Family. Review will come up later tonight when I get back home from work.
AidanAK47
Seen Assault on Arkham or what it should be called, The animated Suicide Squad movie. Thinking of checking out Dark.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Have you seen assault on Arkham or the justice league dark film?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: It isn't so much because its Talia x Batman, moreso that it feels odd shipping Batman with anyone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While kind of amusing, initially I wasn't too into Uchouten this week, the hot spring part got me groaning, but then someway through dramatically it really picked up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From reading comics a few years back, I still feel that they adapt better to animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: And I say this as someone who was able to defend Alien 3 and Ressurection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Covenent felt like an Infantilized version of Alien.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't call either John Wick film or free fire amazing or anything but they had great fight scenes that were actually visually coherent , of course they weren't given a proper release.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not watching/paying for anymore of these reboots/remakes/shakey cam pg rated action films anymore. I'll stick with my balls to the wall Hong-Kong/Chinese ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: It also had really uneven pacing aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: ....The dialogue is so embarassing, they don't do enough with this backstory, they just keep teasing, none of the new characters have the same charisma , the editting in the action scenes shakes all overtheplace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I gave Covenent a fair chance, I thought it would be an exception to the reboot thing. I'll admit theres the sets, the atmosphere, Fassbenders performance , the idea to expand on the franchises mythos is cool but....
Kaiser-Eoghan
It really really hurts as a film fan, trying to find older, genuinely quality foreign films , finding that no-one is seeding them and theres no proper/in print dvd release anymore. Then finding some awful shakey cam modern American superhero film with billions of seeds and a bluray release.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I don't know. Todd was more the imperfect son always aiming for batmans approval. Damian is more an assasin wondering why the hell he can't just kill his enemies. I hear that Comic Damian works better than Animated Damian. I do think that if given a personality he could work but as he is currently you are right that he's essentially a mishmash of past robins.
Vonter
I watched Alien Covenant and I don't know if it improves by being more dumb and less pretentious or if it os the final nail in the Alien franchise coffin. Not since the StarWats prequels there has been a retcon that changes your view of the original movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can recall enjoying a certain Jason Todd centered story called Batman:death in the family.
K-Off
Well, even when Damian does completely cross the line and become a villain, he's not even that interesting, i.e Injustice. Yup, Jason Todd already covered everything, but better.
AidanAK47
Problem is that he's an edge lord cocky piece of shit that just doesn't have enough likeable traits for this to be compelling. What really pushed him over the edge was mocking Nightwing over his parents deaths. That shit is not on.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the contrast that Batman refuses to cross the line and kill but Damian has crossed that line. As well as his potentail to become a villain. Tim and Dick didn't really have that though Jason sort of did. Damian's arc is more about teaching him the morality of a hero.
K-Off
@Aidan I'm not sure I like Damian's concept to begin with. The Bat-son dilemma's inherently addressed by the Robins for all intents and purposes. Damian just goes through the same motion, only difference being he's biologically related.
K-Off
Yup. Wonderwoman either doesn't need to have a love interest, or it needs to be with Steve Trevor, the two have a solid backstory that the movies unnecessarily removed.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I don't mind the Taila X batman pairing. Makes more sense than Batman and Batgirl. But if there's one pairing pushed in the new movies that I just find wrong is the Superman X wonder woman. I just don't get that one.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I like the concept of Damian as a character. But it's executed so badly.
Anonymous1105941
Teen titans needs one more season to wrap up all the loose ends. Such as what happens to Slade, and Blackfires revenge. The creators clearly wanted to explore those plot lines but got cut short.
K-Off
Teen Titans hasn't aged very well, but one thing I still do like about it is how contained and local the setting and cast were for the first half of that show. When godly superpowers are involved, that appeals to me. Much of the same reason why I like Logan and Raimi's Spiderman so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Very rarely watched teen titans when I was younger, I was vaguely interested in slade, stopped watching around when Terra appeared. I actively avoided comics where Damien appeared, never liked that Talia x Batman pairing much, I can only imagine how much worse it is to listen to Damien than read him.
K-Off
@Aidan, I like some aspects of those movies, but I'm not a big fan of the new continuity and art style in general...and yeah it doesn't help that Damian is irredeemably unlikable.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, There is also the DC animated Teen Titans movies like Teen Titans vs Justice Leage and Teen titans the Judus contract. Though it's not the same as the the TV series and Damian is such a dick.
K-Off
@Anon I don't think Teen Titans needs another season. The last season wasn't that good, but the movie ended the series on a high note and Young Justice pretty much rebooted everything, at least in terms of replacing people's want for a more mature DC cartoon about the Titans.
K-Off
Yeah it's become more of a hassel (for myself and my friends) to set aside time to go to a theater.
SuperMario
I guess in the end it all comes down to how easily it reaches the viewers. Give us a hard time and we don't give a damn to check the new movie/show out
SuperMario
... otherwise have to wait for a year, even more before it reaches Australia. But many companies will raise in the wake of Netflix and that will be where problems arise
SuperMario
This trend isn't happening within the anime industry, but it's happening in the movie world as well. In the past 2 years, Netflix starts to exclusively distribute many films, meaning that they won't have theatrical release, but straight to Video on Demand which caused quite a stir in the industry. Personally, I actually don't have much problem with it as now I will get a chance to see a film that
SuperMario
Dive!! , a series that will air next season on noitaminA slot will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Not that I'm eagerly looking forward to Dive, but that news again makes me frustrated. No one will watch it and then all the hypes it might have will die down eventually.
Anonymous1105394
Considering I didn't even expect a season 5 it's more than I could've evr wanted. Now if only if only Teen Titans could get the same chance.
Lenlo
Oh yeah, it turned out well. Didnt mean to say it didnt.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Considering that the ratio of great to alright episodes is 8 to 2 I say that it turned out pretty well.
Lenlo
I have to say, the Samurai Jack season started stronger than it ended imo
AidanAK47
So this is how Samurai Jack ends. 16 years in the making. Honestly considering how much needed to get wrapped up I knew the ending would be a bit flawed. Really think Gen should have givin it one more episode to flesh out the ending and then it wouldn't feel so rushed. Overall despite it's flaws, it's a decent ending. Not prefect by any means but it will do the job.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lol theres a surprise, seriously, Black Lagoons manga is updating again.
KTravlos
worst recap ever for me? Gangsta. That was a stupid recap episode. Really like a Public Announcement. Useless, stupid, and ruining atmosphere. Utter stupidity. There I got it our of me :p
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Unfortunately too far behind in the sequel manga to catch up, I did take a look at THAT in the latest chapter though.
Masky
Huh, for some reason thought Tokyo Ghoul was under shonen when its seinen. Welp now that makes more sense, I was thinking story about cannibalism would be kinda absurd for shonen.
Spike
They serve no purpose except to fill airtime when production gets fucked up. They have 2 bad choices - run a recap or run an unfinished episode. Recap is generally the less dogshit choice. I've seen a few anime that ran the episodes with unfinished animations and still frames.... the backlash was about 100x what a recap is.
SuperMario
I'm about to say that to you as well Kaiser, maybe watch the recap and then continue on. The only thing I kind of take from the recap episode is the editting: how they chop off the fat of 6 episodes to still give you important developments. But as a way to catch up/ to reintroduce the series, it's freaking useless
Anonymous1104087
I don't think anyone should start from the recap episode. Unless there was a long hiatus, a recap in between episodes is unnecessary for new viewers and old
Lenlo
I mean, aside from whatever happens with Mugaro.
Lenlo
Next episode seems early, out of 24 episodes, for Nina to learn the Prince is Chris, yet that seems to be what the confrontation is leading towards, and then she freaks out and he learns shes the dragon. Becomes the conflict for the rest of the season?
Lenlo
Seems I was right, Azazel didnt predict that Nina might not be so easily riled up as she once was. To bad so sad Azazel, she has someone she loves now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How useful are these recap episodes anyway/actually? Hypothetically lets say I was feeling lazy and decided to watch tsuki ga kirei starting from the recap episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
[link src="https://www.anirena.com/?s=blame

http://anilinkz.io/blame-movie"]
Lenlo
So long as there are consequences for how hes acting, then I am ok with it. I just dont want him to turn into some MC hero when hes acting like this.
AidanAK47
And in Re:Creators Sota is still being a goddamn pussy. Now that the exposition has gone down I am really starting to hate this kid.
SuperMario
It's the presentation that they differ. Ghost Hound focuses more on the atmosphere, so those details I mentioned before work for their benefits; whereas Sagrada Reset focus on plots (and confusing themes) so those stick out like sore thumb.
SuperMario
4 episodes into Ghost Hound so far. This show also reminds me a bit of Sagrada Reset this season- the way they both emotional distant, complex plots; keep viewers away at arm's length, and feature characters that have robotic facial expressions. Yet I enjoyed Ghost Hound so far and couldn't engage in Sagrada Reset at all.
SuperMario
@Spike: I was like... "tsuki ga kirei has a recap episode, so let's move on to Kado"... another recap. Tsuki ga kirei I'm not too worry as it confirmed that it'll have 12 episodes, but I'm not confident on Kado
SuperMario
@lenlo: in a sense you have to suffer it all alone. No worries thou as I intend to binge watch it when this season's over
Spike
Kado team crumbled under the pressure. Recap this week.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, im happy I dont have to compete with anyone to cover Berserk :P Got it all to myself to whine about, though its been ever so slowly improving.
Anonymous1100725
Ranka is ranka in any verse.
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