Sunday, October 4, 2015

[New][October 2015] HackaDoll!

This looks so much like the MMDance Program it has to be intentional...or the Program.

Summary: The original HackaDoll app delivers a customized feed of news for each user. The user answers some simple questions when launching the app for the first time, and then the app will filter the news that caters to the user's personal interests: boys love, cosplay, anime, manga, games, light novels, voice cast members, etc. With daily use, the app automatically analyzes and learns which news articles the user reads and recommends to further personalize the feed. Much to the users surprise however, the app functions based on three physically manifested AI's suddenly popping into her room from her phone.

First Impression: Somehow I knew this was going to be comedy, despite its extraordinarily serious start. Like, it straight up is Perfect English in the beginning with Japanese subtitles quoting a very profound line. Grant, I'm inclined to think that it is wholesale quoting the line, not some voice actor reading it, but I don't recognize the quote nor who spoke it, and I'm not motivated enough to look it up. The second quote makes me doubt this, but it could also be from the same person, as the context, of technology's advancement, is the same.

Having said all that, this is a Comedy Show. Straight up, Comedy. Heart of the show is trying to make you laugh at its jokes. Also, a little bit of fan service. Not erotic fan service, which is kind of a nice change of pace, but rather the 'Moe' kind. Y'know, the one that's nigh impossible to explain. Never actually showing anything, but definitely showing it off. The kind in a run of the mill show that would be set up almost by fate itself. If the erotic equivalent is a gust of wind blowing a skirt, then the Moe side would be a protagonist walking in on someone secretly cosplaying as a maid in their room.

My Opinion: The comedy's pretty good, or at least, I think as much despite it not being to my tastes. While there's nothing at all wrong with the show, and it actually has a really interesting world setting, The core of it is comedy and I'm not really enjoying its particular variety. A lot of it in the first episode made me smile, but nothing really made me laugh or snicker. While I do plan to watch the second episode, I'm just going to go ahead and say that if you don't see another post on this one, assume I dropped it.

It's a good show from what I've seen so far, but it's just not to my tastes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Plastic Memories: I F***ing knew it.

Last Seen: Episode 2

I knew. I just knew it. This show is the definition of an emotional roller coaster. It took me this long just to work up the gumption to try episode 2, and even then, it was only because a lot of the previous seasons anime are drying up, so I knew I'd need to find something to produce potential posts out of.

I had this on the list, and figured, yeah. This will do nicely.

This show will hurt you. Then it will keep on hurting you. I knew they were going to say what they said this episode eventually, and yet I came back just to let them re-attach me, and then stab me in the heart.

So yeah. I've come back to say that if by some miracle anyone was expecting an End post about this one, you won't get it, at least not from me. I doubt I'll have this finished anytime soon. Read that as, within maybe years. Maybe years.

Good show! Great Show so far!

Hurts too much to talk about it. That's all folks.
I'm going to go and beat some stuff up in Dark Souls 2 and get murdered a bunch. That feels better than letting this show touch my emotions again for a month.

Monday, September 21, 2015

[Ended] Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers

The whole show is extremely careful

Pros: Good Marks all around
-The Plot is resolved by the end of the show, even though the story continues and they tease us with the new Plot.
-Despite my initial warning that Action wasn't the core of this show, it is good when it breaks out with the fights.
-The mystery is amazingly tightly woven. While I did suspect the eventual true suspect, I never was sure, and the show constantly made me doubt my guess. Every time they revealed another layer to the mystery, I had to suddenly re-do a process of elimination to make sure I didn't have a reason to suspect someone else now. In the end, they never even mentioned the reason I was suspecting them. I'd be lying if I didn't say that rubbed me the wrong way. I also never even came close to guessing the true suspects reasons. In my book, this show did amazingly with its intrigue

Cons: That 'cliffhanger' at the end and token trope was...very lack luster compared to the rest of it.
-If this show gets a second season, it's going to be a 50-50 in my book based on the 'cliffhanger' of sorts they have at the end of this one. They basically reset the status quo, but update the location.
-This is a mystery and intrigue based show. While the action is good, at least 70% of the show is spent with people just talking things out, and straining their brains. That's not what everyone wants to see so fair warning.

My Opinion: This was a great show, I looked forward to it every week. It's very rare for a Mystery show to keep me guessing when it presents its clues for the viewer to puzzle over. When it's just a mystery that is solvable exclusively through the abilities of the characters, and not reasoning, it's not a relevant point. In Rokka however, you are completely capable of solving who the true suspect is as they give you more and more information, before they outright tell you. You have to pay really close attention, and it requires you to reverse engineer something by logic, but it's doable. Unfortunately I wasn't trying to solve the 'how', but rather the 'who' first. While my first candidate ended up being right, I never was sure, right up until one episode before the reveal, and even then they threw a massive spice of doubt in my face. I don't often get that, and it delighted me. The whole point of a mystery is the suspense and curiosity of seeking the answer, so being able to guess it easily defeats the point, at least for me.

Impartial Opinion: If you like mystery, or even Human Intrigue, this show is for you and I recommend it. If you're looking for something more action oriented, or even just fast paced, look elsewhere. The pace always stays at about the same rate the entire show, it doesn't particularly accelerate even near the end. Sure, a few more fights break out, and for longer, but even during them the characters continue to talk, puzzle, and worry about what the truth is. That's not to some peoples tastes.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers - Not an Action show.

Last Seen: Episode 8

Most of the time, I wouldn't have bothered to stop and say anything about something like this, as it's the kind of thing that tends to get spread around on it's own. However, thanks to reading some comments on a few of the earliest episodes, I feel like being on the safe side today.

Rokka is NOT an action show. That is to say, if you were to know anything about the show after it had completed and were learning about it, you wouldn't categorize it under the kinds of shows you watch just to see lots of flashy action combat.
What Rokka's specialty is: Intrigue.

...and roughly that's it. I mean, I could say mystery too, but that's really just part of intrigue anyway. As a show that's primary interest element for the viewer is intrigue among the characters and world, it is technically a division of human interest as well. I take the time to mention it right now, because last episode was the deal sealer for me on this show, it's going in a great direction so far, the pacing is excellent, (terrible if you thought it was an action/shounen show), and the characters, the all important part of an intrigue show, are slowly shaping up in an excellent way. The character I expected to be the weakest link, Hans, just got much better fleshed out this episode, so that's great in my opinion.
Last episode was when it became undeniable to me that the core of this show was Intrigue, suspicion, and tension between people with trust. Adlet's story about his past, and Flamie's feedback from it made this conclusion in my mind, and I have great confidence in it. Certainly, the show will have action and fighting in it, there has already been some, and it's been great as well, but I just wanted to take some time to point out to as many people as I can get it to reach that this is not an action-based show, and if you expect it to be, the slower pacing that is appropriate for what it is, is going to annoy you. Which will annoy me, if you then go about foaming at the mouth on the internet about how the show sucks because its pacing is crap.

Friday, August 21, 2015

[New][July 2015] Gatchaman Crowds: Insight

A poisonous question.

Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: "Gatchaman" is the general term for those who wear special suits called 'NOTE', which are manifestations of special spiritual powers possessed by living beings. The Gatchaman force on Earth consists of aliens who have been dispatched by a council, and Earthlings who have been scouted for their latent abilities, all of whom work together to protect Earth's people and resources from alien criminals who have invaded the planet in violation of the probation enforced by the council.Insight: After the conflict in the first season is settled, and things begin to settle back into peaceful routine, trouble begins anew. Red Crowds appear and begin terrorist acts, and a new Alien arrives on earth.

First Impression: At first I wasn't sure how I felt about using the 'New' title on this, since it is from a month ago now. Really, I could just have posted and written about it as something I was watching rather than a featuring of it as a new release. Doubly so, because Insight is a second season to the original, not a stand alone. However, the fact that I had never heard of or watched the first season, but after starting it promptly burned through it and all of the current second season...well. I think that speaks loads for what my first impression of the show was. It was positive, to say the least, but I did almost drop it after the first episode. That's quite something for me to say, I usually like to have an ambiguous moral high ground all the time of: 'Everything deserves a chance, don't judge a book by its cover'.

My Opinion: So like I said, I almost dropped this after one episode. It just...seemed to be hopped up on way too many drugs at first. So that's my first opinion for you all: The animation is sometimes outright trippy in this show. It is however, extraordinarily misleading. I almost want to say that the tone of the show is way off, but's not. It feels like it should be, but it is not. I suppose that's because while the entire atmosphere of the thing screams 'Shounen!' 'Magic!' 'Sci-Fi!' 'Aliens!', the show never really gets caught up in the stereotypes of those things. In fact, my highlight memories of the entire first season are almost exclusively of people (usually Hajime) just...talking. The show is very down-to-earth. It gets to talking about some deep shit, but my personal taste is for the primary topic in the second season. I fail to find a name for what it is, but a good reference would be a tangent of it, the " 2:6:2 " that it talks about in one episode. I've always had a keen interest in the heart of what everything the second season is working on is orbiting around. Perhaps...Human Disparity? would work as a temporary term.

Regardless. The show's amazing, but in a very...subtle way, despite its very flashy animation and fights at times. I almost want to say that it's better to be surprised by the show, by having low expectations for it. The design of the first episode seems like it uses the somewhat standard Hook technique I rant about all the time, just for that purpose. By baiting the hook with a misleading first impression of what the show is actually about, and then slowly working you in to what it really is about, without letting you realize you were initially mislead. Which is Human Interest, to use the broadest term. It's actually about Human Interest.

I give it a sound
For great depth of story and great character depth.

Monday, July 20, 2015

GATE: Holy shit.

No images. You'll have to see this for yourself this time. Anything I showed would spoil it.
Last Seen: Episode 2

I mean goddammit it's exactly what I wanted but...
Wow. The ending on this show is way too happy for what it actually contains.
So take whatever lighthearted nature the show had in its first episode and stuff it. Can it. Pack it up. It's gone. You want to know what that is? That's coping mechanisms. Not for the characters yet, for you. The viewer. They are providing you hopes so you can use them as coping mechanisms. I have a pretty solid idea where this show is going, and it's going to drag anyone who comes along for the ride through the dirt and mud of humanities history.

People often fantasize about the middle ages, but few actually understand that human horror has existed in all ages and times. Some imagine magic to be the magical cure all, the way to empower everyone to make the world a better place. Nah brah, just one more toy for us to blow each other up with. That's the direction I get the feeling this show is going to go.

The most important thing to have with a show like that though, is a solid main cast to tie everything down. We have that with Itami, a down-to-earth otaku. You wouldn't think that would cut it, but the fact that he was devoted enough to his hobby to join the Military to fund it is itself the reason I trust the character to be well built. Someone thought him out really well, and he's performed admirably with what little screen time he had in the second episode.

I'm calling it here, I give GATE:
Zetro's Season Recommendation
for 'Must see Drama' in a fantasy setting. Magic and fantasy isn't the perfect cure, and this show seems to have a mission statement to try and prove its case.

[New][July 2015] Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers

Summary: Legend says, when the Evil God awakens from the deepest of darkness, the god of fate will summon Six Braves and grant them with the power to save the world. Adlet, who claims to be the strongest on the face of this earth, is chosen as one of the “Brave Six Flowers,” and sets out on a battle to prevent the resurrection of the Evil God. However, it turns out that there are Seven Braves who gathered at the promised land...

First Impression: Good. I would describe the main character as Bold, without arrogance. He boldly decrees himself strongest in the world, but when questioned about it, doesn't present any reason beyond his own self confidence. He doesn't try to manufacture reasons, he simply says it, and sets out to prove it.

Opinion: This could be a good show. Simple, and good. I liked the first fight of Adlet's we got to see. He used a bunch of tools and tricks to win, so he isn't possessed of some arrogant pride in sole physical strength, which helps bring him down to reality. Additionally, it appears that the mob broke his arm when they set on him, so he's not magically invulnerable either. While nothing stands out as special about this show in just episode one, at the same time it doesn't make any mistakes either. I give it a good thumbs up to watch if you're interested in fantasy settings at all.

[New][July 2015] Actually I Am

Summary: Asahi Kuromine is a high school student who supposedly cannot keep a secret, given the nickname Leaky Basket for his inability to keep secrets. He has a crush on classmate Shiragami Youko, and after being encouraged to confess by his friends, he sets out to. However, before he can, he inadvertently discovers Shiragami's secret! Her fathers rule for her to attend school was that no one could find out, or she would have to leave school. Asahi, having watched her be alone the entire time, vows that he will keep her secret...He, the Leaky Basket.

First Impression: Pure comedy, no restraints. While there is a serious tone running somewhere in this shows musical notes, it's never the loudest note for more than about five seconds. In short, the serious is there to support the comedy, not the other way around.

My Opinion: This is going to be a great one if you want to just shut down some brain cells and laugh for a while. The core theme is romantic tension in the first episode, but I'm not sure if that is going to be the primary running gag of the show, since the focus seems to instead be on the comical pairings of radical character personalities. In short, I predict the show's primary trick will be throwing a bunch of extreme archetypes into a room, shaking it up, and seeing what comes out of the box when they open it, hopefully to hilarious effect. I haven't seen any particularly glaring errors, in terms of a comedy anime, but it's just episode one. I give it a Neutral Recommendation for Comedy at this point.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

[New][July 2015] GATE

Summary: On August 20XX, a gate suddenly appears in Tokyo's Ginza district, unleashing a portal where monsters, medieval knights and other fantasy beings come from another world and wreak havoc on Tokyo. The Japanese Defense Force take action against these monsters and push them back into the "Gate". Third Reconnaissance Team is dispatched to the "Special Region" lead by officer (and otaku) Youji Itami.

First Impression: It's hitting all the right notes. The main character isn't just magically ready for combat because 'reasons'. He has an actually sensible reason for being combat ready. I'm already giving this show a First Episode recommendation to watch, it looks very promising.

My Opinion: Excellent. There's not a lot of story in the first episode, but it lays the perfect ground work for the story to be superb. There's a lot of potential for an Otaku main character to fall flat, and just be grating on the nerves, but I already like this character. His mantra makes sense. No one should live for their job, unless their job is their hobby. Additionally, I thought the show was going to make the stupid call, and was trying to cut all blood out of the show, but when it came down to it they actually did show blood, and not a stupidly large amount, or a pathetically impractical small amount. Just enough, and not too much.

Which bears to the assumption that they're trying to avoid the show having an appeal point in violence and gore, which is always a plus in my book. Any show that makes the effort to appeal to violence as a reason to watch the show, however they rationalize it, tends to detract from whatever message it may try to convey. There are exceptions, such as something like Attack on Titan, where the violence is explicitly to underline the gloom everyone in that world lives under, and a few other shows, but without proper execution and restraint, it just risks being hypocritical.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dungeon ni Deai: Archetypes of Awesome

Last Seen: Episode 6

I had SUCH a hard time picking a screenshot for this post. So many good scenes, so many good quotes, but almost all of them were too much of a risk for spoilers.

So. This story. Anime or manga irrelevant, I love this story, because I love Bell Kranel. He is the archetype I have always admired, since the days of Vash the Stampede. The idealist that is not delusional. So many times, characters with the 'dense' or 'ditzy' tag attached to their personality or role as a character fail so hard, because they miss that all important point: They must not be unaware. As a support or comedic character, a full on dense or ditzy role is fine, but it cannot permanently be the main character. If they do not grow through, or out of, their state as the 'dense' or 'ditzy', it's just horribly agonizing to watch, for me at least, because they always speak to me of this ideal that Vash and Bell embody.


It's not that being dense is bad. It's actually a fairly charming trait for a character to have. It's when someone makes it all consuming for a character. Dense, to the point of retardation. It literally feels like the character is just sticking their head in the sand and humming a tune to themselves, chanting 'I can't hear you!' over and over. The worst part is that, that isn't what they are actually doing. When it's actually a character trait that they turn their eyes away from the things they don't like, or that contradict what they believe, it makes for a dynamic character. But when fate itself conspires to keep a dense main character out of the loop, through no choice of the character themselves, that's agony to me. That's the kicker of it I suppose, whether or not the dense character is ever even offered a choice to see or to turn their eyes away, if they are ever even aware of what is going on around them. This is so important because, that's how it really is in life. That's what puts me out of touch with the dense-as-lead characters, that they are so completely unrealistic. As a comedy character, it's hilarious, but once or twice a main character has been that way and I just couldn't stand it. In real life, optimistic ideals will always meet crushingly tragic realities that either can't sustain them, or outright contradict them, and what you choose to do and believe about it, helps define who you are.
[Aside end]

In short, a Realistic Idealist. The ideal of a Hero, but one that is in touch with reality, and their own weaknesses, their own failings, one who is self-aware. Who know that their aspirations for good often fall short, go horribly wrong, or are just horribly outside of their reach. I suppose the reason it's so hard for a character with this typeset to be sustained, is that you can't plot armor, or magic maguffin them very easily, if at all, when a plot hole comes up. This character type's appeal lies in the struggle with their ideals, and if you just magic hand wave away any part of it, then it compromises the integrity of their whole struggle, and therefore, the characters themselves.


Off the top of my head, I feel like this was a big failing of the second season of Symphogear, way back. The second season had set up this big struggle for the protagonist, and then just kind of hand-waves it away right after finishing setting it up.
[Aside end]

What really impressed me, was that adding magic to the equation a few episodes ago didn't have this effect on Bell Kranel, what's more, it actually further emphasized him instead. This is probably just a result of the kind of world and rules Bell Kranel's setting is in, but I'd like to hope it was intentional all the same, until proven otherwise. For that reason alone, I will do something I pretty much as a personal rule never do:


It's a personal rule for me not to do that, because everyone has their own tastes, but for this, I feel anyone can learn or appreciate this. Ignore or stomach whatever abrasive or outright obnoxious characters and settings the show has to you, and force it to episode five. For bonus points, see it actualized in episode 6. I just am completely charmed by how adding magic didn't flop hard, but also remained consistent with the character, adding to them instead of compromising a part of them. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dungeon ni Deai: Continuing nicely, and Observations

Last Seen:
Episode 3

Y'all see that armor the Silverback is wearing? Yeah. That's fresh, it was completely unarmored in the original design in the manga.

So, I finally made some time to sit down and watch a few more episodes of Dungeon Deai (I refuse to use the full name, or Crunchyrolls fabrication). I was intrigued enough to write a quick post about it. Ever since I started writing as a sub here, it has changed how I watch anime. The most noticeable on my side, is that occasionally I actually notice animation quality, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. Today I want to talk about expectations, particularly ones you didn't realize you had.

So there's this Silverback yeah? In the manga it wasn't armored. At all. It had the manacles around its wrists with the chains, but none of this armor the thing is wearing in the anime. I actually had an insight why they put armor on it though! For once, I see a change, and I understand it: It bought them a few more seconds of animation to fill out the episode, when they eventually had it shed that armor. Personally, I think that is a really clever way to buy time you need. It's an inevitable fact, that like wheat into flour, with manga into animation the massive amount you bring is always reduced to a much smaller output than you would have hoped for. In the first place, there isn't a massive amount in manga anyway, so I always try to sympathize a bit with animation studios trying to squeeze out as much time as they can from what they have to work with. (But not crappy filler. I hate crappy filler. Crappy filler is unforgivable).

Additionally, I wanted to talk about character personalities. It's something I've never thought about before, how when you're reading a manga or book, you fill in a characters personality based on context if the book/manga doesn't explicitly tell you what it is, or show you. I'm really impressed with the perfect fit they got for Bell and Hestia, so that's a null point. What I really want to talk about, is Loki and Hephaestus. I didn't even realize I had an image in my head of what I expected Loki to sound like, because she hasn't showed up much in the manga up to current translations, but her voice fit really well. Hephaestus though, is the big one. I did not expect Hephaestus to sound like she does. I mean, it fits really well, that's the part that's so interesting to me. It fits so well, it made me look back and realize I had incorrectly assumed things about the way her personality is, from how the manga portrayed her. I just found that amazing, personally, that the anime's choice in voice actor could cause a retrospective change in how I viewed and thought of a character.

 So in other news, I think I've finally found a job! Yay. There's still a chance for me to muck it up, (training yo), but hopefully this will finally be money coming in regularly. Of course, that means less time for other things, but I will still try to always have at least one post a month for here, no matter what. More, if I can swing it, or there's enough to actually talk about.
[Aside end]

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

[New] [April 2015] Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)

Summary: Really? Again Crunchyroll? They need to fire their translator, or get him some better training and pull the marketing departments fingers out of his ears. I'm going to include an unedited copy of their summary at the end of this post in the Aside. Here's (what better be) the Real summary of this show if it sticks to the original story:
The huge labyrinth city, Orario, is the gateway to the huge underground maze commonly known as the “Dungeon”. The story follows Bell Cranel, a new adventurer come to this city of Gods, Treasure, Fame and Glory, and the Dungeon, with high hopes. The God he forms a contract with has no other followers in her 'Familia' (family/followers/servants), and they both work to get by. What's worse, Bell's ambition is further crushed when his daydream of a romantic encounter rescuing a pretty girl, is reversed. He ends up over his head about to die when he delves too deep in the dungeon, and is instead himself saved by the pretty girl. The story follows his new ambition to become as great an adventurer as the one who saved him: the so-called 'Sword Princess'.

First Impression: Good. It's staying true to the good story. I'll never understand the thinking behind changing the story that was good enough for it to be worth animating, to animate it.

My Opinion: The new title is just Crunchyrolls choices in translation being stupid again, It's the original story, for however long they can keep that going. As per usual, I have no idea how far the manga I was reading actually has published, as translations are slow to roll out. Having said that, this is another one of those cases where even if the end deviates, in the mean time, the base material is great enough that you should watch it anyway.
Having said all that, I find the quirks of manga transitioned to anime to stand out in the first episode to me. The minotaur fight in particular. In a manga format, that was a very fast done deal, but obviously in consistent motion it takes longer and is more detailed. I just found it interesting how much it stood out to me for once. The manga made it seem much more like it was all over in a single blow, and I found it pleasant to see it carried out in more detail.

"Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is set in the world of Orario, where adventurers band together and look for treasures in an underground labyrinth known as Dungeon. However, for Bell Cranel, fame and riches are secondary to what he wants to find the most: girls. He soon finds out though, that anything can happen in Dungeon, and winds up being the damsel in distress instead!"

I paraphrased out the quip about it being made from a Light Novel by Fujino Omori, illustrated by
Suzuhito Yasuda, but you get the idea yeah? If this summary was to be believed, this show is about nothing more than some saps harem dream, and that couldn't be farther from the truth.
[Aside end]