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
Lenlo
Castlevania actually has good action scenes too. Very pretty.
Lenlo
The Netflix Castlevania series, one episode in so far, is actually pretty good. It does justice to the old series, more than any other videogame adaptation ive seen.
SuperMario
And I know this is way off the mark but whenever I hear Baltimore I'm thinking of Beach House band
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I feel you that the action scenes feel no weight.
Lenlo
Three degrees of Nazi. We always get there somehow
Lenlo
The story seems setting up to repeat to me as well, with the mutant/normie racial problems. Hopefully the Reflection event/mystery over takes that though.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Vatican's mysteries have gotten to a ridiculous level. This week throws up sexual abuse, drug use, corruption and somehow Nazis are involved as well. It's just too much for me
Lenlo
They could have kept the comic book feel though by doing what Ping Pong did, with the panel layouts. I feel the low framerate did nothing but hurt it. Had the action scenes been done differently it could have worked, but it was a traditional fight scene so it didnt work.
SuperMario
Speaking of 18if, I still consider that show an experiment wreck, but a fascinating wreck it will
SuperMario
I don't really mind the low frame rate in the Reflection. I think the choice is deliberated to resemble the comic motion. I'm more worried about the story as they have some random fights that I feel even more dreamy than 18if
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I quite liked the Reflections art but the animation, or lack thereof, held it back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Once again my anime taste falls in with Marios =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you can only imagine if shinbo or Yuasa were to work on 18...if.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I do think 18..if is exactly what I need right now, I am not certain it will top flipflappers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The premise for ballroom is of no interest to me.
I’m hearing Vatican is quite silly in a campy horror way
which appeals to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While visually the show seemed to improve with episode 3, I wasn’t all that emotionally invested with that story.
I would take this protagonist over IdiotMCx100 any day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
18..if is the most interesting thing I’ve looked into so far, largely due to it being the most un-conventional/abnormal, the concept interests me and poor as the animation is , the worlds it shows/creates, the imagination of the show gets close to forgiving that, as it was the most macabre, episode 2 has been my favourite so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I’ve begun (at last)checking out some of the series airing this season.
The reflections style is complete push away/turn off for me. I feel made in abyss could grow into something and I’d like it to actually properly get going/start, the buildup is slightly dull.
K-Off
@Vonter Graces is nothing compared to the pandering mess that Symphonia 2 was. Just embarrassing.
SuperMario
"There's a white house waiting for us in Casablanca" haha, can't help but laugh at its wordplay
Lenlo
Im planning on mentioning it, but yeah. Alot of the combat didnt really have an 'impact' to them. There are other shows, like Ping Pong, that I think do this sort of style better, if alittle differently.
Anonymous1283104
I think the main issue was the animation being kind of simple, the scenes didnt have 'motion'
Lenlo
@Anon, yeah The Reflection moved at the pace of a glacier. The art style was unique and should have lead to good looking fights, but instead it moved at the pace of a glacier. Ill have a write up on it later today
KTravlos
very nice episode of Virgin Soul. Really liked seeing Favoro look like Favoro again.
Vonter
Tales of Graces sadly might have the most childish, and pandering story of the series.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - Tales of Graces worked around having to both attack and defend to continue attacking. If just attacked you made less and weaker attacks. It was a way of cooldown that was more reliant on the player thinking about the attacks it used. Later games followed a more typical cooldown and combined special attacks with the regular ones.
Anonymous1282493
Reflection was kinda painful to watch, I didn't expect anything in the first place and was disappointed nonetheless.
Lenlo
I cant snowboard or ski at all so its ok.
SuperMario
I did hit my head on the ground (for the first time) but I was lucky that I was wearing helmet. I curse S turn
SuperMario
@lenlo: it's fun but it's a lot of pain as well.
Lenlo
Sounds like fun
SuperMario
I'm literally covered in snow right now with my butt numbed. Will get back home in few hours to catch up on 18if
Lenlo
Havnt had the chance to watch it yet, but Reflection apparently looks like a comic book but has weird fight scenes? Ill get that write up tomorrow once I watch it tonight.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*hear
Jesus Christ what happened to my spelling
AidanAK47
That's one of the things that mainly turned me off. The battle system is essentially button mashing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The regular complaint I here from Tales of naysayers is a dislike of the battle mechanics/system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I avoided the anime adaptations of the tales games mostly because I assumed they presumed previous knowledge of the games. I actually only saw Phantasia due to having been familiar with the games story when I was younger.
HelghastKillzone
No Re:Creators this week. I get a week off which is good since I'm stuck on an army base.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, A lot of people say Vesperia is their favorite as well. I only have played Abyss so far and was really not impressed with it.
K-Off
@Kaiser Damn, Detective Conan has a long way to go then.
K-Off
Phantasia was my first Tales game (and its anime is the best amongst anything after) but Symphonia really did take it to another level. In general I think most fans will agree with Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia in their favorites.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Kochikame is the longest running manga of all time 1,960 chapters, 200 volumes, actually does have a record.
K-Off
@Aidan I remember you saying how it's funny that no two fans of Tales will have the same favorite title. But that's definitely because Tales has changed very little over the years, and they've always been solid games, and so for most fans they'll remember the first title they played.
K-Off
@Vonter With you there. The art direction in Tales hasn't been really that exciting since Xillia, and as a long time fan of the series I finally got sick of the gameplay after Vesperia.
K-Off
Jeez, detective Conan is reaching its 1000th chapter. Pretty sure it's a milestone for some Guinness record.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Embarassing
**Here
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also agree about complaints made about the mumbled dialogue when it does occur.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thin red line is a good thing to bring up hear as throughout much of Dunkirk I was thinking about how much more Mallick's film did for me, how I should have been re-watching that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet at the same time I couldn't connect with it, it became repetitive, disjointed and the shots/Zimmer score towards the end were embaeassing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There were definitely aspects to praise, to be fair there is no shortage of action, it eschews exposition and tries to visually immerse the viewer to make them feel as if they are present.
Lenlo
Im ready. Reflection comes on tomorrow, so heres hopin its worth it
Anonymous1279803
it was trash. just british propaganda
Vonter
I finished Tales of Berseria. And I'm conflicted. I really liked the story and the characters, essentially a Tales of were the story is told form the perspective of the villains. I also saw the episodes Ufotable made of the beginning of the game, and I want moar. It's was a waste as game, considering the archaic and dull game design. It mainly came up to buying time in regards to things to play.
KTravlos
I also watched it. I thought it was a great war film. Very intense and unrelenting, but still at points the images reminded me of Thin Red Line. My only quip was the end. The film did a great job in getting me to feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt. So great that the attempt at making a "happy" end was forced and fell flat. Beyond that I liked it.
Anonymous1279184
I already lost interest when I saw Inception which I didn't really like. My favorite Nolan movie will always be Memento.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, saw Dunkirk, I think at this point I'm done with giving Nolan any more chances, this like his other works, I can appreciate them to some extent but come away honestly not giving a damn.
SuperMario
and this week's Sakura Quest is damn great as well... This backstory of Chitose and Kadota rocks
SuperMario
Just watching the 2nd episode of Gamers, It was actually pretty good. I can't believe they fleshing out that annoying hot guy into such a relatable guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall the extent of my interest in Linkin park in my early teens was strictly the breaking the habit video and that was it.
SuperMario
The frontman of Linkin Park commited suicide by hanging himself... sad news. Never been his fan but I feel sad nonetheless
AidanAK47
Actually forgot with all the impressions and whatnot but I do believe we said we would review the Castlevania Netflix series. Now that everything has calmed down I will see if I can do a write up next week.
AidanAK47
I was busy trying to discern whether the story had any point besides "Life is shit"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Again, while I enjoyed punpun, the excessive internal narration, when marathoned, I had to take a break.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come to think of it, I don't even have a phone that does that, haven't bought a new one since 2004.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, you see I could never force myself to browse/type/use the internet on a phone, too used to using a desktop exclusively for that.
AidanAK47
Oh bloody hell. Stupid phone autocorrect. Yeah I meant Punpun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Read Freesia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
umi no onnanoko is probably the exact thing ninjarealist would be interested in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*oyasumi punpun
I found it alot more accessible than nijigahara holograph. deded-demon-destruction while enjoyable, is beneath him. Solanin is probably his easiest work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I assume you man oyasui punpun. Its been about five years since I read in, the final couple of volumes stay in my mind the most, all the stuff with him, the girl and his uncle also, I love Asano Inios art and the surreal elements but I got lost/bored somewhere in the middle and most of the other side characters and the cult thing I didn't really care about.
AidanAK47
Finished reading Goodnight Pumping. Really not sure on what to think of it. The story kept me reading but it just felt really empty.
Anonymous1276500
There are 2 Nyaa's now. This one is considered the 'real' one: https://nyaa.si
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like anirena is down for me. Although it looks like nyaa went back up as this: https://nyaa.pantsu.cat/
SuperMario
Aidan: Fate/Apocrypha, Made in Abyss, Kakegurui
Mario: Princess Principal, 18if, Youkoso
Lenlo: Touken Ranbu, The Reflection
Wooper: Ballroom, Shoukoku no Altair
Helghast: Re:Creators
SuperMario
Note: I'm deciding to take Classroom of the Elite as my third show to cover. So, for this season we are covering 11 shows.
Vonter
Just to end, it kind of shows than even if a story is predictable on where it is going. Characters can make up for that, if they're funny, interesting, and perhaps not agreeing all the time and having different agendas and points of view despite all sharing the same boat.
Vonter
Yet as a game Tales hasn't felt deep since Symphonia, (at least from the ones I've played). I'm wondering if it'll leave me wanting check the anime of Zestiria, since apparently Berseria is a prequel to that game. And many say the anime is better than the game. (I can see why).
Vonter
I also like the reused Tales beats from Phantasia and Berseria. It those have moments like when Lloyd was exiled and Cless had his village attacked. It has clear antagonists unlike Vesperia, and trying harder than the cartoony villains of Graces.
Vonter
I've been playing Tales of Berseria, and it seems to be the anti Tales of Graces. In which I'm caring about the story and characters, but the gameplay is a drag. This is the first time I've been autoplaying an JRPG. But unlike Gravity Rush 2, I'm not dropping it because I'm liking the interactions of these characters even if it gets, campy, overdramatic, or edgy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean I watch anime and films subtitled but sometimes my reading speed can be slow if theres a lot of dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I do that sometimes, mostly to check for message updates or on occasion to read reviews of what I am watching or to download more/check downloads.
SuperMario
For instance, I watched Okja yesterday and I had to take 15', 20' minute break in between for snack, surfing webs and playing mobile games...
SuperMario
I watched Fanny and Alexander... don't really remember which version I watched thou. I think it's a TV version since it divides into 4 separate parts
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it just that... my attention span has shortened greatly and I just can't stay focus on movies over an hour mark. In cinema, it's alright since you can't move anywhere but now it's abig task to finish a 2 hour and a half movie for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
And is good enough to keep up the quality for that long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say this, for every medium, to me the length of something isn't so much the issue, if you have a writer good enough to keep something going for ages then the length shouldn't be an issue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If something goes over three hours I treat it as a miniseries and watch one hour or two a day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol if you thought thats long, have you seen the extended versions of scenes from a marriage and fanny & alexander by Bergman? I can't wait to get my hands on the tv versions I hear they're completely different.
SuperMario
Okja is pretty entertaining with pointed social commentary. I don't really feel Tilda Swinton's double roles add up much but everything else is great. Bong has never disappointed me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: good luck with Satantango then. I guess now if I watch an 8-hour long film it would take me a whole week to finish it :/
Kaiser-Eoghan
Made in abyss and vatican keep staring at me. Although I'm not chancing them yet or anything else until I hear a bit more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My once massive film backlog is nearly cleared. I can try watching stuff this season hopefully.
K-Off
Same boat here. For the first time in a long time I spent almost half the day catching up on all of my manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll have two weeks leave, I will finally watch Satantango, all eight hours of that film.
AidanAK47
I did a double take when I saw this. One of these things is not like the other.... http://gematsu.com/2017/07/blazblue-cross-tag-battle-announced
SuperMario
Well, finally have a bit of precious free time to watch something else and I have too much things to watch. Castlevania, the final Kizumonogatari movie, live-action Okja and some books planned to read... I guess I'll go with Okja today
Ninja
Looking forward to that Dies review
Lenlo
Yaaay! Time to enjoy your blogging time
AidanAK47
And now we are up to date. Just need to finally get that Dies Irae Review posted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again I'll watch almost every horror film I can, don't even mind the awful acting most have.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pet cemetary was a guilty pleasure of mine when I was a teenager.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know how I'd feel if I rewatched salems lot, although a positive is that it did have James Mason in it and it was done in that 70s style of slow burn horror that I love.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The IT film has aged horribly and thats one case where I would advocate a remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stand by me was a perftly watchable coming of age film and it surprised me, seeing a non-horror King story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay theres one way to settle this =P Lovecraft > all of them ;) I have actually enjoyed some King adaptations even though I know the Shining took liberties , I also enjoyed Carrie and Apt Pupil.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, please. Early King > Richard Matheson > Modern King. Kings early works were good.
Lenlo
@Aidan, its true that Monty was the mind behind the fights. Sad, but I think the other directors are starting to come into their own instead of trying to copy Monty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But we all know Richard Matheson > King.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He did some collabs with Stephen King I believe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Like the dead films he's trying to be thematic, although this one is clumsily put together, I kind of like how it hybridizes the 50s with 70s style exploitation, it has its moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
hmmm the only non Dead trilogy film I've seen by Romero is the Crazies, feels like he's still finding his voice with it.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Part of the reason is that they started using better animation software. But despite that there was a downgrade in fight chorgraphy when Monty died. Though the story I find is getting better.
AidanAK47
@Kinseryu, I think it's ridiculous to everyone but there are those that choose to ignore it.
@Anon, That's a bit harsh. It is true that his later works never truly panned out but he did pretty much popularise the zombie apoc. Even if Day of the Triffids did it before him.
Lenlo
Every season RWBY gets just a little bit prettier. Rooster Teeth really does have some of the better 3D animation skills out there.
Anonymous1272531
goerge romero was a hack trying desperate to stay relevant.
Kinseryu
Tenshi3P... I thought it was just me that this show was just ridiculous by putting three ten years old girl that knows how to play electrical instruments. They are insulting the people who plays these. But good thing I found this site with your first impression. I laughed and I feel better. Lol.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: he passed away? damn. He was the Father of Zombie genre. So like him or hate him, he was influential to say the least. RIP.
Kaiser_Eoghan
...holy shit George A Romero died? Now I have to watch the rest of his films.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Rei Hiroe is really dicking around with black lagoon lately, he's still releasing wasted chapters, just like re:creators, the most recent chapter of black lagoon was a slog.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Maybe the conversation and lives of others could sort of count as espionage stories to an extent.
Kaiser_Eoghan
If you're interested in spy fiction, Spy who came in from the cold, most wanted man, Smiley's people, deadly affair and tinker tailor soldier spy are your best bet.
SuperMario
@Travlos (regarding yoir earlier comment): yeah, it hit me as well that most of regular readers have been here even longer than myself. So thanks for sticking around mates
SuperMario
@Travlos: playing catch up with both Re:Creators and Virgin Soul yesterday. Agreed that last week's Re:Creators was weak because it focused on the Creators (they're not good) but last episode was on par again. Virgin Soul, I loved that episode that the girls go bacl to Nina's hometown
SuperMario
@anon1272074: I still haven't had the time to watch Pripri yet (probably in few more hours), but you bet I'm looking forward to it
Anonymous1272074
Then again, James Bond does count as a spy. I meant not a realistic one.
Anonymous1272074
Princess Principal 2 was pretty good. Still more James Bond via little girls than spies, but this episode was more about intrigue and stuff than action.
Lenlo
Started catching up with Kakegurui. The OP is the sort of mind games I remember from Mob Psycho. Dunno what that means for the show, but I like it.
KTravlos
Quite happy with this week's RE:Creators. Blitz is cool, Aliceteria looked so scary. It washed out the taste of last week's episode.

Bahamut is going interesting places.
BTW. Speaking of spies from Princess Principal. I watch TURN. That is a good spy show.
KTravlos
I mean you see the use of those heavy revolvers as clubs in westerns. Mythbusters did a experiment, and being hit by one could kill you just fine. But in anime, I do not remember seeing it often
AidanAK47
Homura used Gun-kata in the fight against Mami in Rebellion. Can't think of anyone who exclusively uses it though. After all Gun-Kata is more or less a flashy art that has no real benefit.
Anonymous1270604
amazing!
Vonter
Is Gun Kata the fighting style of Noel Vermillion from BlazBlue? I suppose I'm mainly thinking about how guns are handled in fighting games. Where the shots are mainly concussive. I suppose those are mainly energy blasts.
Lenlo
Ranbu took a step in the right direction I feel. Used the morals of whether or not to change history and it focused in on one of its characters.
Lenlo
Final Fantasy has had some gun swords. Cant think of any with guns in melee though. There are some with gun-kata like cowboy bebop though
Vonter
Just for curiosity, have anyone watched an anime, movie or game that uses a gun as a melee weapon. Or one in which the gun is mainly concussive but still has impact?
Spike
18if ep2 was a bit wacky... main character seems to be off his rocker.
AidanAK47
Alright. Time to finally play catch up with those series I need to blog.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time acknowledging love for creativity is more important in the end than making a profit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I was using death of artist/deceased artist as a term to suggest peoples careers in the area are too often killed before they get a chance.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Moreso also to save the guy the embarrassment of misinterpreting it so awkwardly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Nothing too extreme , moreso that the piece itself feels inappropriate/tainted to have up/leave around/submit. Ended up taking it down out of taste.
Puran
Did that change how you feel about your writing? I had a somewhat similar experience, where something I was writing was similar to a real situation some I knew was going through. After I found out I stopped writing it. Not sure why.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wasn't all that close to either of them much but yeah, weird coincidence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He thought I already knew the guy was dead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*earlier
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all okay now...but fuck that was was awkward.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....Oh jesus christ...oh christ this is a creepy creepy coincidence...I showed an acquaintance a bit of writing I did early, it mentions death of an artist, thing is I was writing something based on a conversation with my editor friend, turns out said acquaintance's artist friend died (who he knows that I've spoken to in the past) and he thought the piece I showed him was about the dead guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe I began visiting this site in 2008.
As for humanity has declined, I found it bizzare and darkly funny for a while but felt it ran dry in its second half and I kind of fell out of following it.
KTravlos
You know it hit me. I think I have been following this blog for a decade now, perhaps more. Cool that it is still around.
Total users: 35

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