Posted by AidanAK47 on 18 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Short Synopsis: A girl joins a school with supernatural battles between clubs.

A main character who is a lesbian gamer? You have my attention. She does tiptoe between endearing and ingratiating but she’s interesting. Even if she suffers from hyperactive delusions that I find Shoujo female leads often have. The animation is decent though jumping ahead to the second episode gets spotty in action sequences. The story is reminiscence of the first episodes of Kill la Kill though a little less over the top. The comedy is hit or miss. Some jokes fall right off the mark while others are amusing at least. One joke had me laughing out loud so points for that. Main detracting factor is that the story is rather typical but its rather enjoyable.

Potential: 60%

 

Houkago no Pleiades

Short Synopsis: A star loving girl becomes a magical girl.

So this is anime sponsored by car maker Subaru. A factoid that I missed in my preview of it. My fault but I really do think that is ridiculously strange. That a car company thinks a great method of advertisement would be to sponsor an anime in a genre aimed primarily at children. Who cannot buy a car, let alone drive one. Overall there isn’t anything particularly bad or notable. But the way that the flying wands sound like racing car engines is so out of place that I will never get accustomed to it. The obvious awkward CG during flying sequences is another issue. The characters are alright and the animation is fairly good. Its a decent watch for a magical girl fan.

Potential: 40%

 

Kekkai Sensen

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a group who keeps a supernatural new York safe.

What is it about Bones and placing pointless mascot characters in their works? There was the balloon squirrell, the parrot, the sloth, the yellow fox and now a super fast monkey. Are these some marketing decision to help sell plush toys? So far we have vibes of Baccano in the music and darker than black in the setting. I find it difficult to judge. The villain is trying too hard to be crazy and the main characters aren’t proving to be distinctive. The structure of the episode could put people off as there a flash forward to what looks to be the end of the series, a jump to present, a flashback, present, flashback…its not giving you time to get your bearings. The action is good though I think the names of supermoves appearing on screen is a bit too Kill la Kill. There are some hints of potential but so far I am not sold.

Potential: 50%

Posted by AidanAK47 on 18 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Short Synopsis: Haruhi without Aliens, time travelers or espers.

I certainly watched something. And that something wasn’t Haruhi. Sure the characters look similar and bare the same names but are so different they may as well be different people altogether. Kon isn’t narrating or being a deadpan snarker. Nagato is nothing like her counterpart. Asakura isn’t being a psycho smiling doll and green hair isn’t laughing her head off at everything. Only one who’s the same is Mikuru but maybe because she’s the only one that didn’t need to be Moefied. I said before that I don’t see the point of this and I still don’t. Really this just looks like an attempt to capitalise on Haruhi’s success by turning it into something blander and more forgettable. Sure you could write me off saying that I don’t like it because its different but quite frankly this story could be done without using Haruhis characters. Change the character designs and few would make the connection. The point is, that judging it as a standalone anime this is nothing significant at all.

Potential: 10%

 

Highschool DxD BorN

Short Synopsis: I watch this for the plot.

Oh you shameless vixen. I want to hate you and yet I cannot. High school DxD brings what it has brought for two seasons before. Boobs and butts and bare bones animated action. I think its it not that fun being an anime fan if you can’t enjoy something stupid every now and again. And this show is stupid in spades and shows it proudly. I just wish the animators could put a little more effort into the action pieces. With two assuming successful seasons you would think there would be a budget for beefing up the battles. But perhaps that went to another area… So purely for the interests of science I will watch it to its conclusion.

Potential: 0%

 

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

Short Synopsis: A girl receives her first magical device as a mysterious woman is attacking people in town.

This looks to have the same problem as Nanoha Strikers. Namely characters from previous seasons are dragging down the story. These characters have already completed their arcs so adding them in just amounts to fan service. This results in the cast being bigger than it needs to be and complicating the story because it needs to involve all these characters. Nanoha is best kept simple and fun. The previous seasons were not known for epic storytelling after all. But it is interesting that Vivio is a magical girl that focuses mainly on physical attacks and close range fighting. It differentiates her from her mother who was more a long range fighter. The character designs are a little rough on the eyes but animation looks solid. Its hard to gauge so far but it does have that fluffy easy going atmosphere of the original.

Potential: 50%

Posted by AidanAK47 on 13 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Etotama

Short Synopsis: The cat wants to become part of the Chinese Zodiac

Now this is odd. I originally pegged this as a harem anime but it seems its a harem/supernatural battle anime. Not scoring points in the change though. But here’s the thing, the battles are a remarkably clever use of CG. The characters change into a chibi look making them easier to animate and distinguishing them from the main style. By making the battles take place in another world it allows the transition to be more natural than simply switching between the two. The CG is also remarkably impressive. The battle was fluid and dynamic with it actually being difficult to see if it was actually CG animated at times. A truly inventive way to incorporate CG into anime. But that’s where my praise ends. While  basing the animal girls on the chinese zodiac is intriguing the fact is that the girls are annoying and the comedy is flat. It relies on the typical, “stupid person does something stupid, straight man points out they did something stupid” method. It also breaks the fourth wall a couple of times. The problem with this is the same problem I have with punchline. I can’t discern whether I am supposed to take this seriously or not. Comedy wise I thought it was amusing how the girls of the Zodiac kept asking people to recite the Zodiac and half the girls getting depressed because no one can remember the second half of it. Take note that I found it amusing, not funny. Overall I find the comedy to counter the battle which I could possibly get invested in if it wasn’t undermined afterwards by stating it was all a ploy to endear the protagonist. I am disappointed that such great use of CG was placed in a show such as this. I at least hope these animator take their work to more worthwhile shows because this to me is the kind of quality CG in anime should aim for.

OP: Peppy and upbeat

Potential: 30%

 

Shokugeki no Soma

Short Synopsis: A boy can make woman beg for his cooked meat.

Well…Did I mention this manga was made by a former Hentai artist? Before in the manga the reactions to food were pretty ridiculous but now animated takes them to new levels of absurd. Almost as if the protagonist slipped in fifty aphrodisiacs into the plate but even then I doubt anyone would react to food with such blatant sexual excitement. If I am wrong then well I better take up a cooking class. Well besides that odd quirk this is pretty standard shounen with a school setting incoming and the old elite group to take on. As some commenters have mentioned, you can find some enjoyment in it’s absolute ridiculousness. There is a certain charm to it’s complete over the top serious attitude to food. Making it the end all of all conflicts. It’s the usual thing in anime to over dramatize the subject in order to make it more visually interesting. Even one of my favorite animes, Hajime no ippo makes use of this with punches that sound like jet turbines and visual air bursts from each strike. But this is just too much for me. I even had to turn down the sound of this anime because I thought that anyone who heard it would assume I was watching pornography.

Potential: 0%

 

Plastic Memories

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist works as a retriever of robots at the end of their life span.

I hate love at first sight. When you cut out the ‘romance’ of it the idea becomes superficial. Determining that you are in love based on first sight means you essentially judged her entirely by her looks and this line of think has lead many into terrible relationships. When compared to a relationship formed through shared experiences and interaction its clear which of the two is the stronger. But alright besides the typical boy meets girls setup, I at least appreciate the lack of a school setting and a rather unique premise. In terms of how it is handles I say they are going the right way with this. Using a robots end of life span as an allegory for acceptance of death is smart and it is touching to see characters say goodbye to their loved ones. On those aspects you have a perfect show for generating tears. The main problem with it being that it’s very easy to go overboard with it and attempt to make it as melodramatic as possible. But that isn’t the only potential problem with this show. Despite the characters working they are still teenagers which honestly I don’t understand as to why that is. The most annoying by far is the stereotypical tsundere character. Girl, even if you think you are being something original, I have seen you a hundred times before and most likely will a hundred times again. The comedy is just at complete heads with it’s premise. We have a great moment of a grandmother saying goodbye to her little girl andriod only to follow it up with a joke about the female character pissing herself cause she drunk too much tea. Pick a side because you are not going to hit two birds with one stone. There are lots of ways this could go wrong and I already see a future development with the partner andriod thats so foreshadowed that they might as well spill the beans. But assuming this can avoid the trappings that Okada often falls in and kept the slapstick comedy to a minimum then this could be something.

Potential: 60%

 

Posted by AidanAK47 on 12 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

As a reader of the Fate/stay night visual novel I can confirm that the majority of this episode was anime original content. However instead of being about castors history like I thought, it’s of his backstory with her first master. In all honestly making the episode be about her history with Jason would have been a better way to make her more sympathetic but still I am not against this either. This is the first time Castors former master has made an appearance as in the visual novel he was only briefly mentioned. I am not exactly keen on making him so one sidedly jerkish for the purpose of making Castor look better in comparison. Though the thing I find odd is his acceptance of technology which in the visual novel is something that Magi abhor most of all. (Hence why Rin is so terrible with machines.) But he did mention that his family was new to magic. The pacing was a little fast for this backstory but from what I hear it’s been confirmed that seven minutes of content was cut from this airing episode. Hoping for that Lancer vs Castor fight or Media’s history.

Now my main concern is that while this material is nice to have, it isn’t necessary. I said before that I worry as to how UFOtable plan to fill out the rest of this season as they already have gotten though a large amount of the visual novels route. If their plan is to expand the route with scenes like this then I am in favor though I hope they have more impact besides adding in action scenes or filling up space. For example, giving Lancer more scenes to show off his character because if there is one character who is greatly underused it’s without a doubt him.

Though the placement of comedy may be questionable, I really laughed when Illya only lightly shocked Shirou with her field but blew away Rin when she entered. It was priceless. The extra scenes really showed off Sella and Leysritt who were actually barely present in the visual novel at all. It’s nice that the two of them had some time to shine bullying Shinji before the blond servant came in. And Shinji…they sure are playing him for laughs. So much so that it’s sort of becoming his thing. Being ridiculously overconfident and then undermined at the slightest threat. It a good way to go with his character, seeing as his role as a minor villain is one dimensional. By making him someone who has no idea just what he has got himself into actually by some miraculous oddity, makes him slightly likeable. Though if they are to continue this route there is a rather distasteful moment involving him in the future that would need to be treaded carefully. If it can be that is. There was a surprising amount of gore in their deaths, though with ridiculous amounts of blood but hey, anime. It looks as though the next episode will focus on Berserker and Archer fight which I am fully geared for. I am all set for an animated explosive brawl that wasn’t even present in the visual novel.

 

Posted by AidanAK47 on 11 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to be an RPG pimp

I am getting SAO reminders already. Let me talk about something for a moment. You see when I first played the game dark souls I was frustrated and angry at myself because of my own failings. But then I worked hard. I learned the enemy tells, figured out how to balance my stats, learned what was useful to what was not. I got good, nay, I got great. And when I struck the final blow on the last boss I knew that I got here from my accumulated effort, by challenging myself and now I could carry that experience into other games with pride. Now I imagine if I was given an ability that doubled my stat growth from the get go, handed all the best equipment and basically given regenerating health. Even if I steamrolled through the game my victory would be hollow. Because I didn’t earn it. I won not because of me, but rather because of what was given to me. It is for this reason that power fantasy such as this show does not interest me. Our protagonist has three girls already interested in him, an outright broken skill that gives him huge stat grown and the over powered equipment is coming. So with that out of the way, the writing is flimsy and contrived, that goddess girl is more annoying than I remember from the manga and the setting is just an rpg game. I will pass on this.

Potential: 0%

 

Denpa Kyoushi

Short Synopsis: A Otaku traumatises three girls for life to teach a life lesson.

Perhaps calling this a poor man’s GTO was a bit generous. It does have the same setup but the protagonist is certainly less likeable. Its hard to get on the side of the gifted prodigy who couldn’t care less about using his talent for anything besides otaku interests. Even worse when he’s a Gary sue who knows everything. It is odd that despite his actions being portrayed as heroic for giving bullies payback, his method seemed rather villainous. I mean the bullies did do something too far but threatening to publish all their personal information on the net, even as a joke, is going way too far. The character designs are not really pleasing and animation is fairly passable. But this is looking weaker than the manga. Or simply the flaws of the manga are getting illuminated.

OP: Very very annoying.

Potential: 40%

 

Arslan Senki

Short Synopsis: A young prince faces the task of inheriting his father’s throne.

This starting episode sets up a solid base for the remainder of the series. Two factions of different beliefs each with pros and cons. Motivations for what seem to be future important players. Excellent animation and art. Topped off with a persian arabic high fantasy setting. The main character is rather stereotypical but has much room for growth. The designs make it very clear that fullmetal alchemists author is in place though she didn’t write the original story. One negative however is the poor CG. Its understandable considering the number of people fighting on screen but it does look like rusty robots in motion at times. There are small pans which use CG as well which don’t look very natural. High fantasy is not often seen in anime nowadays so if this plays it’s cards right we may be looking at a potential highlight of the year.

Potential: 90%

Posted by k-off on 10 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Punchline

Short Synopsis: A guy whose spirit has been separated from his body

As I expected from just looking at the director and the studio’s pedigree from the last three or four years, this show rehashes stereotypes and fails to distinguish itself from the wacky comedies of the past. Because I’m rather tired of this genre at this point, this first episode needed to impress me, but it unfortunately did not–through its crappy soundtrack and generic set of uninteresting characters.

Potential: 40%

 

Sound! Euphonium

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins the brass band

Judging from the first episode, it’s just another music anime, and seems like a dull series I really don’t have much to say about at this point. Seems like a copy/paste of Hanayamata’s formula.

Potential: 30%

 

Triage X

Short Synopsis: Half naked women go around acting like the Thought Police

I hope you like fan-service, because unless you do, there is no enjoyment in this show for you. A terrible premise? Check. Blatant fan-service? Check. Yeah, I’m not going to bother watching this one. The manga was written by the writer of Highschool of the Dead, so I guess fan-service is kind of his thing, but at least Highschool of the Dead was entertaining in that it brought a genre of horror we hadn’t seen very much in those days into anime. This is just…stale and nonsensical.

Potential: 10%

Posted by k-off on 9 April 2015 with categories: Game Reviews

    After the dreadful Kantai Collection anime of the last season, I’ve been wanting to try out this free to play Japanese web browser game, because its gameplay is constantly being compared to the likes of Fire Emblem by fans. However, after 40+ hours of gameplay I can say that while it is nowhere NEAR good enough to be even compared to other free to play tactical rpgs, much less Fire Emblem, I want to praise the things it does well first, because it is definitely popular for a reason.

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    The game basically breaks down into a game of unit and resource management with your fleet, aka “ship girls” who have armaments identical to their real ww2 ship counterparts. As the game progresses you can choose to modernize them, and there is a somewhat extensive level of ship customization. This part I like, because it’s definitely a challenge determining which fleets you want to keep for later upgrades, while doing quests to unlock new ships and obtaining essential materials in order to do the various tasks. This forced me to think long term about my fleet because the enemies do get progressively more varied as you level up. Because of this, I found myself in situations where I wished I hadn’t scrapped an older ship because an upgrade would have been more efficient than building a newer ship.

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    The voice acting and art assets are amazing, beautiful at times, and I can tell that the art department really cared about these characters when designing them. All of the characters have top notch details (such as Yamato’s decorations that are all historically accurate). But if Kadokawa Games thinks that high art production and a lazy game mechanic (more on this later) is going to cut it, it’s not.

    First of all, I can’t stress how rage inducing it is to even try to start the game. Because the game’s servers at DMM Publishers are incapable of holding large numbers of people at once, they 1)don’t allow people outside of Japan to play the game and 2)In order for new players to join the game, they must take part in a lottery where the studio chooses a handful of people who can join their game. So in order for me to play, I need a VPN/ Proxy to connect to the game through a Japanese IP and enter the lottery. I was fortunate enough to register with DMM on my third lottery attempt, but I’ve heard of some fans who weren’t able to play until several draws, which is just ridiculous. This game has been out for years now and it is absolutely inexcusable that they don’t switch to a better server system. If it’s about money,  charge people for some expansions or hell, even make some ships only attainable by purchase–this game NEEDS dedicated servers and the studio/publishers are clearly not seeing the value in opening up this game.

    However, despite my initial excitement to finally get to play the game after that hassle, what I got was highly disappointing and I haven’t yet seen any review that was honest enough about the game’s flaws to speak about it. First of all, what immediately jumped out at me was the soundtrack–there is none. There’s a generic 10-15 second loop playing at the naval base that changes as the game progresses, but with a game that requires you to sit and grind for hours on end, I quickly played my own music over it, because holy crap it got annoying real fast. But on the other hand, it’s eerily silent at times much to my confusion. I know that it’s a free to play game so it wouldn’t have the budget of, say Civilization V or even another free to play game like League of Legends, but since its conception, this game has gotten tons of additional income sources besides the in-game purchases. Where the profits from the anime, manga spin offs, figures, and micro transactions are going, no one knows, but it’s certainly not here, in improving the core gameplay experience unfortunately.

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    Now let’s delve into the meat of the game, the unit management and combat system. Unfortunately, they’re both done poorly here as well. In this game, you allocate resources to build the fleet girls and as the game progresses and you gain exp, you can build better ships like heavy cruisers, aircraft carriers, and even battleships like the Yamato. This is where patience is needed to play this game, because once you commission a ship, building a single ship can take up to eight hours of waiting (depends on the class of ship. A heavy battleship will take four times as long to build as a light aircraft carrier), which would be completely fine with me if only they DIDN’T COMPLETELY RANDOMIZE the process of getting the freaking ships after I’d waited several hours for them. I frequently got the same ship girl that I already had, forcing me to scrap the older one once they got badly damaged because I didn’t want to waste resources repairing a duplicate. Why the game doesn’t allow me to choose what ships I build according to my PLAY STYLE and SITUATIONAL NEEDS is completely beyond me, and it’s possibly the worst sin this game commits as a “strategy” rpg.

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                                      No, I already have you. Please go away.

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    Now, combat breaks down into choosing one of several battle formations in the beginning of a battle that caters to your playing style and needs–certain formations are good against certain things and weak to others. For example, the diamond formation is powerful against submarines while weak to torpedoes as opposed to the line offensive formation which is weak to submarines. This is a good concept, because certain formations allow you to avoid a lot of the enemy’s brunt force, yet sacrifice some power of your own. But I never felt the need to stray from the safe double line formation (basically one that gives the highest accuracy in shelling, but less damage than a line ahead form. Torpedoes have moderate accuracy and damage, and the fleet is moderately weak against submarines), which meant that combat was always the same old with changes to tactics only happening when I felt like it. Simply put, there never was a risk so great that would force my hand into a more extreme formation, besides bosses in the higher levels. In my opinion, allowing both sides to change their formations to outplay each other during sorties would make combat just slightly more interesting. If this were a ten hour long game, the combat here would be alright, as there are variations such as night battles to keep things a bit more interesting, but for a game that expects players to play for weeks, it just fails to stay fresh and interesting. However, I will say that the game improves in the higher levels as I’ve mentioned with the bosses, but it’s not significant enough to wash away the bad taste left in my mouth from the first handful of hours.

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At this point in the game, battles are somewhat exciting. But if you sat through hours of staring at a screen like this as I did, it’s no surprise.

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    So finally, in a game that emphasized unit building and combat, the unit building relies overly on RNG, and the combat is too easy and repetitive. Yes, the main appeal in this game is the fleet girls meant solely for fan service, but that is no excuse for the fact that Kantai Collection is setting a terrible standard for free to play games in Japan by using the idea that a half-assed game is okay as long as you have amazing art and fan service. Through the stupid server practices all the way to the mind numbingly dull combat, I have to give Kantai Collection, a 45/100, a below average game, that no real fan of strategy games should play unless they can’t spare seven dollars for Battlestations Pacific on the PC.

    But if you can steam through a weak game mechanic and utter lack of story (the enemy fleet are generic and have zero intrigue) just for the fan service, go right ahead, as seemingly thousands of people are doing. Yes, it is a free to play browser game so while my review may seem unfairly harsh, it is only logical to point out flaws where they exist and call them out as elements that need balance in the overall scheme of things. In the end, this just isn’t the browser game for me personally nor is it something I can recommend.

Storytelling: 0/10 – There is none here
Gameplay: 6/10 – Simple and intuitive, but tiresome for a 20+ hour long game.
User Interface: 7/10 – I’m sure if I understood Japanese and didn’t need a wiki page it’d be excellent
Production values: 5/10 – Great art, music I can only describe as torture. Music should be where it matters most in a game like this.

Also, let us know if you’d be interested in any more anime-related game reviews and visual novel reviews. Thanks!

Posted by AidanAK47 on 5 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Gunslinger Stratos

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist falls into an alternate world full of trigger happy people.

I am fairly certain that Gen is not writing this. You can see part of him in the concept but not anywhere else. The episode gave me a mixed impression. I hate the characters and find the main to be too much of a “Ordinary highschool student.” The action of the episode was quite good and I like the matter of dealing with alternate worlds even if in practice it’s a very bad idea. The art felt off at points as there were points when the protagonist turned his head and his face just looked strange and not proportionate. One thing that assures me that Gen is not the writer is the few lines which were embarrassingly awful. Two examples of which being when the main and female love interest encounter a blood soaked body and proceed to ask it if it’s ok. And this funny exchange of words

“No, that was an explosion!”

“An explosion? What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.”

I would like to think of this as a translation error. Or at least I hope it is. I am willing to give it another episode but I don’t see this becoming something worthwhile.

Potential: 40%

 

Seraph of the end

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to kill all vampires

This show has a number of parallels to attack on titan. It would be a lie to say it was exactly the same as it does at least differentiate itself enough in setting and story. However if there is one thing I wish this show would have avoided that was a major negative of Attack on titan.  Namely the lack of subtlety. Seraph of the end is told so heavy handed with pretty much everything shoved in your face. So much so that the ever so predictable tragedy that came at episode’s end left me sighing. But while I feel the execution is poor I do like the ideas here. There is a good bit of potential in this story. However there are harbingers of decay in the future, namely this “Prophecy” mentioned and the worst thing that always cripples story potential, a school setting. Though really I am rather cautious because this was essentially the setting up episode and the next episode is likely the true beginning. I have a firm suspicion that this will go downhill very fast. But provided that it can restrain itself a bit and move the story as far away from that school as possible this could be something.

Potential: 50%

 

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Short Synopsis: The cynical adventures of captain buzzkill and his crew

There is a noticeable upgrade in art and animation. Though one complaint I have in that department is that Hikigaya looks like he’s been bishied up a bit. The pacing does look quick and I noticed moments were it seemed that scenes were cut out altogether. That said I don’t think anything cut out looked significant. One of my major concerns about this season has not yet been put aside. That being that harem antics overtaking the plot. I question as to why these girls pretend to show disdain for hikigaya despite their affection for him being maxed out. But admittedly not much has changed from the first season. Hikigaya’s cynical disposition and snark is delightful as ever as how the other characters play off him. (Though for once I would like to see a fujoshi character whose main purpose is not a one note joke) The first episode at least promises more of what made the first season enjoyable which is fine by me.

OP: The guitar riff is catchy and the tune is pleasant. The visuals colours are somewhat washed out but nice use of geometric shapes and stripes.

Potential: 80%

Posted by AidanAK47 on 5 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks

It’s back and still as beautiful as ever. Sadly not a fourty minutes long and still leaves me hungry by episodes end. It does seem to cut off suddenly rather than end. So after telling Shirou to stay away and stating how only masters should stay in the war, Rin is thrust into the exact same position. Archers betrayal isn’t an unexpected development but to do so coldly and quickly was quite cruel of him. They may have only known each other a few days but these are two people who trusted each other with their lives. I like that instead of just Archer declaring his betrayal in the visual novel, they have him actively display it by pushing away Rin and defending Kuzuki. It not only looks better visually but makes sense in context. It’s an exhibition to show Castor that hes has tossed his master aside. The reasons for the betrayal are somewhat sketchy admittedly. It makes more sense later but even then there are some questionable aspects. But looking at Rins plan objectively, it was rather foolhardy. Castor may not be able to use Assassin at the church but she still has Kuzuki and Saber. Rin was obviously not thinking clearly, even declaring that she would handle Caster. In the Fate route of the visual novel Rin said it was outright suicide for a master to go up against a servant. Naturally being a rule Nasu wrote there are numerous exceptions but anyone could tell that Rin was outmatched. But the most telling thing that showed she was not thinking this through was the very statement that likely made Archer defect. That when she rescues Saber then Saber could reinstate the contract with Shirou. Now take note that right from the beginning Rin wanted Saber to be her Servant. Even more after meeting her so when a perfect opportunity to take Saber for herself has come it’s odd that the thought never entered her mind.  It would be tough for her to support two servants but I say she would be more than capable of it. This isn’t about taking down Caster, this is about getting Shirou to be her comrade in arms again. A moment of her true feelings slipping through the facade.

I at least thank UFOTABLE for not being excessive with the Saber and Caster scene. It was one of the more unsavory moments of the visual novel. But the basement of the Church does seem rather spacious to the depiction in the visual novel. There was a change in scenery for the last scene as in the visual novel it took place in the graveyard. But truthfully while it is visually more interesting to have it in the graveyard it doesn’t make much sense for them to relax in such a grim place that just so happens to be so close to the church. I also wish Rin had taken off her jacket for the scene but again it does make more sense this way. This is without a doubt the most vulnerable Rin and Shirou have ever been. Now serventness, with the only refuge being taken over by the enemy. Not that the two would have taken that refuge as both are determined to see this through to the end. Rin crying was a powerful scene, I actually thought it was a mess up when UFOtable showed Rin taking Archers betrayal not as hard as I would have thought but to have it all hit her at once when Shirou mentions it is really just perfect with her character. Also bravo Shirou, you confessed wholeheartedly to the girl you like. You have done what an overwhelming majority of male protagonists have failed at for years. Even pushing Rin into Tsundere overdrive, well played. We are now over two thirds through the Visual novel story which leaves me to wonder just how UFOtable plans to cover the remainder of the episodes. The title of the next episode makes me wonder if they shall splice in Castors backstory from Hollow Ataraxia which I think is an excellent idea. It would give her better character development and lend thematic weight to events to come. So another long week till the next fate episode…

Posted by AidanAK47 on 1 April 2015 with categories: Anime Reviews

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the animation studio are a tough one as they could be demonized for putting in a recap due to production problems or tossed under the train tracks because of a small miscommunication between people. Shirobako is an anime I overlooked because I saw it as typical moe fluff with just glancing at it. Yet it’s the anime that gave me an appreciation for the hard work that goes into my weekly shows. I say this now. Shirobako should be required viewing for any fan of the medium. For it is a well served humble pie to the arrogantly ignorant.

In fact it may be useful for those even not into anime. Shirobako presents the animation workplace and all the trials and tribulations that appear in not only anime production but in every workplace in general. As a working man I can relate to Aoi’s starry eyed leave from school, only to discover the mundanity of the job. Or Shizuka’s powerlessness as she attempts to get a job but is put aside due to a lack of experience. Shirobako has a lot of truths about working life that school doesn’t teach. Like the most important lesson of all, in any job there is a Tarou. There is always a Tarou. That guy who somehow bluffed his way into a job he can’t do, never gets fired and pretty much does nothing but make your life more difficult. Out of the five main girls there’s bound to be one that encounters something you will, or have faced. And it presents it with cynical wit and lighthearted tone making it an addictive experience.

But I am not here to lavish praise for I am a critic and thus must critique. Do I even need to comment on how unlikely it is that five cute girls enter anime production? Its clear that a number of girls here have been added for the moe factor. The most grievous offender being a artist who is so shy she requires another person to interpret what she says through a series of small utterings. Though I do relate to the struggles the main five goes through I find that they are not interesting characters. When the story moves away from the animation process and focuses on daily event it becomes significantly less interesting. It doesn’t do it often but when it does things tend to get bogged down. I do feel it’s also a little bit of a optimistic filter of the animation industry but that’s a personal grip. The art and animation is up to PA works standards and for once I think the photo realistic backgrounds don’t seem out of place when compared to the anime character models. There are also strange moments of collective hallucination which come out of nowhere and are rather off putting considering this show is set mainly in reality. Like when they are talking about a plane anime and out of nowhere the plane shows up outside and it seems like everyone sees it but then they just go back to talking like nothing ever happened. I get the intent but it just forces me to do a double take every time it happens. This last thing is definitely a nitpick but at times things in Shirobako are too animated for a show set in reality. Characters can heavily overact, mainly for comedic effect. Its hard to explain but things feel staged, when they should be natural.

There’s a lot to love in Shirobako and I am honestly truly glad that I have seen it. It teaches you a truth often forgotten. That the anime you love and the anime you hate didn’t just spring into existence. That there’s some poor souls working day and night to bring animated characters to life and show us their stories. To the animators of Japan, you have my sympathy and my respect. Though sadly if your end product is terrible, you will not have my leniency.

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  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 28. 2015 05:33 PM)
    @Wyatt: My head I reckon goes into an automatic defense thing sometimes I think.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 28. 2015 05:32 PM)
    @Wyatt: I wouldn’t personally get off on it particularly either but if I was to be completely honest while I could tell you I thought/knew it was wrong/messed/etc etc it wouldn’t change either way that my response on an emotional level amounts to little more than feeling indifferent/un-affected/unphased.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 28. 2015 05:21 PM)
    Finally got round to rewatching Yuasa’s Kemonozume series. This was something I dropped nearly halfway through when I was a teenager because I think I was at a stage where I couldn’t appreciate it, but on a rewatch I think very very highly of it and am genuine impressed with/by it, has pretty much all I’d want in an anime series.
  • WyattX
    (Thursday, May 28. 2015 08:18 AM)
    F’ing hell, now this is a form of hentai I am not okay with. I love gore, & I don’t mind loli, but put those two together and I have an issue. http://pururin.com/gallery/17789/0210564801.html
    As messed up as I am, at least I don’t get off to this, lol.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 02:17 AM)
    I’m going crazy waiting on that new ghost in the shell movie and those two new ovas…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:43 AM)
    https://www.livechart.me/fall-2015/all
    Heres a look at the fall season ^
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:42 AM)
    Better start writing it up. As well as catching up with Arslan though I am not sure if there is a point to that anymore
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:42 AM)
    Cool, new devilman’s a movie, less worry about censorship then, awesome.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ah crap I am gonna have to do a new preview post soon.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 26. 2015 01:38 AM)
    That Aria follow up might be anime original content, having enjoyed the manga years ago, I’m up for more.
    I don’t really know if I care about Ks second season or not I probably won’t watch it.

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