Saturday, March 18, 2017

[New][January 2016] Kobayashi-san's Dragon Maid

Last Seen: Episode 10

Summary: As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight: The head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, and introduces herself. The stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken-stupor excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, Kobayashi had offered the creature a place to stay in her home, and now Tohru has arrived as promised. Kobayashi immediately refutes it as impossible, but as she watches Tohru leave, her guilt, and a glance at the clock, convince her to allow her to stay...and rush her to work with the speed of a Dragon!

First Impression: At first, it seemed a simple comedy. It quickly becomes so much more.

My Opinion: As it turns out, this is actually the work of the same author behind "I can't Understand What my Husband is Saying". (I have relevant in-site links for once! Neat!).
As a quick summary, that show was the first ever short-form anime I had ever actually completed, and I love it so much. I believe I found this factoid out around about episode 3 or 4 of Dragon Maid, but I had already hooked myself on this show by that point. It just made for a lovely bit of trivia by then.

I have enjoyed this show so much, that I've actually re-watched all of the available episodes while I was waiting for 10 to release. Let me make a long story short by saying that with the way that my memory works, I never re-watch shows without at least a measure of years since the last watch, and even then it's usually only to show it to someone else, or because I learned something and want to see it for myself.
For example, Steins;Gate. That's a show I re-watched when at the end I noticed all of the amazing foreshadowing it had spiced that first episode with. It was amazing.
[Aside end]
That I re-watched a show while it is still airing is a glowing mark of quality.

What's appealing about this show? For starters, let me polish off the tin that probably looks rusty and dusty to most common anime viewers:
This is not a Moe show. It is not a fan-service show. It has a strong comedic tone. Most importantly of all, it is a light-hearted emotional comedy with a beautifully mature setting and tone, all throughout it. The characters are charming, the world is meaningful, and the story is heart-warming, and it all has a plot hiding behind it. Does it have Moe elements? Fan-service events? Over the top comedic happenings? Absolutely, but they're not the burning pillar in center stage. As a matter of fact, they're not even annoying or obnoxious. They happen because it's cute, or because it's funny, and then the show moves on without shining a god-damned neon-spotlight all over it.

As a matter of fact, while I was trying to confirm that this released in January for this blogs tags, I came across an article written about this show, and it sums up my opinion perfectly. Credit to the writer, who I now Quote:
"It could have been so easy for Dragon Maid to treat Kobayashi and Tohru's relationship as a fanservice-laden romp with minimal plot and character progression. And yet with each new episode, we see Tohru's one-sided adoration of Kobayashi evolve into something that, while Kobayashi doesn't explicitly accept as romantic, is still incredibly reminiscent of a parenting dynamic over their new dragon daughter, Kanna.
Kobayashi herself acknowledges that she's become the husband to Tohru's wife, and it's when the two fall into these "ordinary" roles that the series begins to shine. The snippy back and forth between characters makes them feel not like fantastical creatures imposing on a computer programmer, but a family unit we can relate to and laugh alongside with. Kobayashi and Tohru acting like a married couple is treated so matter-of-factly because their relationship isn't the entire point of the show. Unlike other anime that either pin a romantic or sexual relationship as their central conflict or one-note gag, Dragon Maid treats this like every other mundane aspect that makes up its slice-of-life style. The show's strength comes from how it normalizes relationships and finds humor in their mundanity, especially considering that dragons are involved."

On another note, I liked the show so much I picked up its manga, and after humming and hawing for awhile over it, continued reading even when I had caught up to where the anime was. I have some news to report thanks to that: This show will end well. The manga is still in progress of being translated to english, so that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how the anime is pacing itself. They've shuffled a few events around, and appear to be drawing a lot of content from a spin-off manga about Kanna (that I haven't read at all yet), and it appears that they're doing this to a purpose. They're either going to end the show on a quiet happy note, leaving it as a completely feel-good thought provoking show, or they're going to build up a climax that will succinctly end the current story, while hinting at the much larger plot that is building beneath the surface, that they've so far been subtly avoiding in the anime.
The fact that a short-form anime like "I can't understand" got two seasons is extremely promising combined with the methods the animation studio is currently using.
I dunno, I just thought this seemed like something positive to report on, given how pessimistic I usually am about endings and sequels.

Short story: Watch this. Watch it so hard, you watch it twice.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

[New][January 2017] Interviews with Monster Girls


Last Seen: Episode 4

Summary: Succubi, dullahans, snow women and vampires... they're a little different from humans and called "demi-humans." Lately, they've been called "demis." This is a stimulating and heart'ful school comedy featuring those very unique "demis" and a high school teacher named Takahashi Tetsuo, who's highly interested in learning more about their daily lives and habits

First Impression: Null.

My Opinion: Since I literally picked up this shows Manga in December and burned through all of the translated chapters in a single sitting, I think it's safe to say I don't have a first impression of the anime that's worth mentioning. (Read as: That isn't Gibberish squealing in joy).

This show does not have action. There is basically no drama. There won't really be excessive comedy. It's...kind of slice of life.
Mostly, it's just charming, Thought-provoking, and heart-warming. This is a show you watch to chill and calm down after a bad day, or a long work shift. It will make you laugh a bit, maybe smile at some characters antics, think a bit about this, that, or the other thing.

Think of it this way:
Take the show "Everyday Life with Monster Girls", remove the erotica, the harem, and the main character being daft and dense, and you have this show. A pleasant fairly comedic slice of life, mostly focused on learning about the peculiarities of demi-humans living their everyday lives. As an added bonus, one of the main Demis isn't even a child, it's one of the teachers, and that makes me so happy. We are drowning in so much bloody high school in anime, and have been for a while. It's nice that some of the main characters aren't the students for once.

Personally, having actually read the manga for once, this is a lovely adaptation of a lovely story. There isn't really a plot to speak of, but the telling of the story is a joy unto itself.

Also, I was a little caught off guard by the math teacher being brought to life in the anime, I wasn't expecting them to be so...vibrant. I guess I pictured them as a little bit quieter of a person. Perhaps it was just a liberty they took to increase the shows run time, as there was an extra scene that the manga didn't have to reinforce this image, or I may just have formed a misconception of the character. Just thinking out loud really. If anyone else has read the manga as well, what are your thoughts on it? Was I the only one that thought she seemed a bit quieter, or maybe a bit more subtle, in the Manga?

[New][January 2017] The Saga of Tanya the Evil

The lady has standards, what can you say?
Dodge that avalanche boys.

Last Seen: Episode 5

Summary: A young girl,  with blond hair and blue eyes... Tanya Degurechaff. She has entered the final curriculum of the Imperial Military Academy, and is training at the third patrol line in the northern military district, as part of her service to the force. Her training, the first step in her plan toward a brilliant career as an Aviation Mage, should have gone off without a hitch... but things took an unexpected turn, as war breaks out, and Tanya is caught in a dilemma...flee and be branded a traitor, or face a full squad on her own, and receive too much honor...She formulates a plan to arrange for her early retirement, but again things go astray from her plans...there's more going on than is apparent. Including her very presence in this world of magic and war.

First Impression:
Easy to be led astray by the first episode. Watch the second episode, minimum. Also: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.

My Opinion: Watch it. Right now. ERGH everything is so amazing. Again: There's more to this show than the first episode makes apparent. It is a irrefutable claim that the first episode could turn away people, as it takes the guise of being another magical war anime, with a little girl protagonist. It is anything but. The title alone should be incentive enough for interest, but the first episode doesn't do nearly enough justice in underlining just how evil Tanya is, nor does it underline why hard enough. Do yourself a favor. Set aside some time. Watch episodes 1 and 2, and no more. You will have everything you need to decide to watch this show or not.

I suppose I should mention, if Blaspheming God (I learned a new spelling of a word today), is a 'Trigger' for you, piss off. God (or a god anyway) is gonna get verbally pissed on a lot in this show. Deal with it or be gone.

[Aside]On a completely unrelated note, this show is right up my alley, and your own mileage may vary. I'm a sardonic little shit, and I love watching people ruin their own lives. Seeing someone struggling against a ridiculous god with pure reason and cunning is tickling all the right places in my brain. Especially this one, because it is such a self-centered dick.
[Aside end]

Saturday, December 24, 2016

[Ended] Bungo Stray Dogs 2 - More Greatness

Small Stories of My Life.

Pros: Still Amazing Characters
-Dazai was a mysterious character last season, he was fleshed out this time, along with Akutagawa some more, and it didn't damage them in the slightest
-There is now a Grand Plot, and the story still moves forward wonderfully
-Lovecraft shows up.

Cons: Few.
-Once again, the beginning is a bit jarring. They don't resume where the first season stopped, they jump backwards in time to fill in Dazai and by extension Akutagawa. It gets back into it, and it is important that we saw Dazai's past, but still. They could have had a little bit of a lead in to that.
-I am emotionally displeased with how weak Cthulu ended up being.

My Opinion: I had no idea the characters and powers in this show, were each individually based on famous authors and books. Not until bloody H.P. LOVECRAFT HIMSELF, steps on screen and is introduced in the shows usual artsy lettered manner! Of course, his power has to be 'The Great Old One' which promised just the best things to me. They were just as good as promised, but I had too much emotional investment, and how things turned out with his main scene let me down. Personal Problem.

After that, things kind of clicked into place. I'd actually read The Scarlet Letter in high school, apparently Gone With the Wind was a book before it was a movie that my Mother has. Who could miss Edgar Allen Poe? Or Mark Twain? It blew my mind. Of course, that also means every other character is a famous author and book as well. Which means that this show could unintentionally(or very probably intentionally) be a source of future reading suggestions. Certainly, I'd never have so much as heard of, let alone been interested in, what I'm sure is a bevy of Japanese authors. Having seen the Movie Gone With the Wind, and read the book Scarlet Letter, and recently being obsessed with consuming Lovecraftian Mythos literature, I can report:
The Powers are in fact strongly based on the core essence of the books they pull from, or at the minimum, those are. Lovecraft's is basically a straight pull, while the other two are more along the lines of a logical extrapolation, and an interpretation of the impression given. No, I'm not going to be more specific than that, this blog is suppose to be spoiler free and I've been pushing the bounds since I started this post.

Impartial Opinion: Go watch the first season. The second doesn't fill you in at all to allow for skipping it, so you will need both. Other than that, this is a superbly made show. The unique art style they use with it, and the way they introduce all the characters all makes an almost magical level of sense now.

What's more, the second season successfully resolves the story, giving us a tasteful and fulfilling ending, but leaves the plot open to continue, with a foreshadowing that more trouble yet lays on the horizon for the characters. Given that we got a second season already, I have no reasons at the moment to doubt that we'll get a third. Take some time and catch up if any of you passed on this one, it only got better, and probably will continue to do so.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Handling Sequels

Today's post shall be a bit unusual. More and more, I'm conflicted about how I handle posting here on Evil Cat's blog. Specifically, the lack of posting. On the one hand, I have a job now, and that has made what time I do get to myself all the more valuable, it's easier to pick out what games I'm really enjoying, rather than just killing time on. On the other hand, I also am theoretically running a youtube channel (if one video a week counts as "running"). Finally, I have the posts I make here about anime that particularly catch my interest from new releases/ongoing shows.

A while back, when Evil Cat stopped in for a bit, I asked him briefly if he cared if I put up posts on sequel seasons that hadn't been featured here for their first seasons. He gave the okay, but I never really used the new allowance. Mostly, because there wasn't really a good way to make a post that didn't sound like, "Hey! Here's a show I've been watching for a long while, you should love it because I do!"
Yeah, no.

So instead, I've opted to come up with a one-size-fits-all blanket solution. When new seasons roll in, I'll make a single post pointing out the shows that are having second or greater count seasons. As always though, I'll only be pointing out ones that have caught my interest, are remarkable in some way, or have had a previous season posted about on the blog. My hope is that this will give me a quick and simple method to generate additional, but still useful, content on the blog. For instance, I don't think anyone needs a week by week update that One Piece is still running.
*quietly giggles to self*

Anyway, on with the show:

Bungo Stray Dogs 2: The second season takes an interesting spin, by turning back the clock. Dazai's history was something of an in-joke bet amongst the detective agency he worked at. Even though we as the audience are given to know the what of it, the details were never explained. The shows second season begins where Dazai's time with his previous employer ends, and it is every bit as gloriously gloomy and full of humanity as the first season was. The one thing Bungo Stray Dogs constantly had going for it, and continues to have in my opinion, is a perfect hairline balance between comedy and tragedy/drama. I recommend this series, it's a wonderful balance of story and action, characters and powers. The presentation is also noteworthy, I like the artistic style.

Natsume Yuujinchou 5/go(u): The Fifth season of Natsume Yuujinchou, of course. A couple places phrased it as 'gou', more often as 'go', honestly it doesn't matter, it's the fifth season anyway so 5 is fine. Given that the previous tags on the blog used the romanji, I'll stick with it. When I saw this pop up on crunchyroll, I was immediately elated. Just absolutely out of my mind happy. I love this show so much. But then...I was suspicious. It had been so long...could it really meet expectations? I had actually forgotten about the show for a long while...after so much time had passed, could it really start back up where it left off? Continue to make me love all of its characters?
Clearly it wouldn't be on this list if this wasn't the case. Everything is as it should be, and one episode had me falling in love all over again. This show is golden. Go watch everything Natsume Yuujinchou has to offer you if you haven't already.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

[New][October 2016] WWW.Wagnaria!! - Not a sequel

Last Seen:2

Summary: Daisuke Higashida starts working part-time at a family restaurant due to financial difficulties at home. However, as he is slowly introduced to and spends time with his co-workers, it seems this restaurant doesn’t have a single normal person working there!

First Impression: Just as good as it always has been. Comedy from start to finish.

My Opinion: This is NOT the sequel to Working!!! That will be coming eventually I hope, but for now, this is actually an adaptation of the original...web comic? I believe someone said, that inspired the first anime. Or something like that. All I remember is reading various comments on multiple websites, and apparently the original author refers to the two restaurants as the 'Inu' and 'Neko' groups, Dog and Cat respectively. I've forgotten which group this shows is, but I'm sure if you're really curious it would be easy enough to find out. The two are sister Wagnaria restaurants, and the shows are confirmed to be taking place in the same world.
All in all, this group seems a bit more...laid-back? They're all the special kind of flawed insane we've come to love, but in a far less glaring and apparent way, like Inami's man-phobia violence, or the ridiculously chibi girl. I won't spoil anything for you, but rest assured the comedy is as golden as it has ever been here. Who knows, the two shows are taking place in the same world, so we may even see some cameos from the other group!

[Ended] Taboo Tattoo - Flat.

Why?! Why did you leave us BB? You were the only proper badass at all times...

-That first fight between Seigi and Izzy is great.
-Flashy graphics

Cons: A lot.
-For as interesting as the powers themselves are, the characters never use them in very interesting ways. Izzy is the only one that gets any mileage out of hers, and that's just sad in a show with as many powers as this one.
-Plot holes, and poorly explained ... everything.
-That ending.

My Opinion: Easily a:

Hands down. It's not mediocre, but it comes close. There was a lot of potential for originality in the beginning. Again, that fight between the two main characters was great. Unfortunately, that's about the only memorable thing worth seeing in this show, in my opinion. Cheap comedy, cheaper romances, and poor character motivations. Well, except maybe Blood's, but when you have as broad a goal as 'save the world', that's kind of boring too. The character himself made up for it by generally being 100% badass as long as he was on screen...which unfortunately wasn't very long.

Actually, that's another thing. Characters come and go so goddamn fast in this show. Did they honestly expect us to get attached to any of them? I shit you not, in one episode they introduce like, 4 or 5 new characters that all look interesting and important, but we never see any more than one of them again, for the rest of the show.

By the way. If you've seen the first episode, let me go ahead and let you know that whatever you were expecting,
a Giant Robot Battle
[Spoiler end]
is how the show ends. Yeah. No bullshit, that's actually how they decided to end it. Whether 'they' is the original author(assuming there is one), or the animation studio, it matters not. Someone was an idiot that had the power to make stupid decisions when the smart people ran out of ideas.

Impartial Opinion: Skip it. Even though it wasn't worth calling mediocre, it still doesn't have anything interesting enough to warrant attention, even if you have nothing better to do. There are better terrible 'nothing-better-to-do' bad shows. That's saying something, and I'm saying it. So there.
*cough*Right. Impartial.
I recommend you google/youtube the Izzy-vs-Seigi fight, and then otherwise skip this one.
Unless you really want to see that train wreck of an ending. Even out of context it's hilariously stupid. G'head, I highly doubt it will spoil anything at all, given how out of place it is. With a show this bland, you should have already known good triumphs over evil. Just at an 'edgy price', based on the authors tastes, which in this case, are bad. Whether that's the animation studios taste, or the whatever-it-may-be source material authors remains to be seen. I really just don't care.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Ended] Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World - Great from Start to Finish

Pros: Plot. Story. Characters.
-One of the strongest growth arcs for a main character I've seen yet. Not the strongest, but up there.
-A story that just doesn't quit. That first episode is twice as long for a reason, it's just about the only slow point of the show. If something doesn't seem like it's interesting at the moment, you can be sure it will be important later.
-A strong over-arching plot, that is at it's heart quite simple, which is good. Some more proof that you don't need a plot as enigmatic as blackhole physics for it to be powerful.

Cons: Slow start, a bit of a quiet ending compared to the rest of the show.
-That first episode is twice as long, and while it never drags anything, compared to the rest of the show it's much slower and doesn't compare. Makes it hard to come up with ways to explain to a prospective viewer, 'No, Really! Sit with it, it gets amazing later!'. Be honest, how many times have you heard that from a raving fan and just rolled your eyes?
-The ending is good. But the show was such a wild roller coaster, that such a simple ending feels ... quaint. More on this later.

My Opinion: Fan-fucking-tastic. A straight up:

for this one, hands down. A fine model of excelling. I got really invested in this show, and the week long wait has never hurt so bad, because this show fucking loves its cliffhangers. Really loves them. Likes sticking them into your heart and twiiisting that knife. Sometimes literally.
Now, about that ending. People are clamoring about how there will be a next season, but when aren't fans saying there will be another season after their favorite show ends? That doesn't mean much. On the other hand, it seems that the anime has only covered part of the original light novel material, which is a doubly good sign. One, because there is more for them to cover; Two, the studio animating the show didn't decide to wing it, or over-extend themselves past the source material. That's good taste in my book, any day.
More importantly though. If a second season never comes, which has happened before:
This show will still be amazing.
That is why I have confidence in a second season, because the studio didn't leaving the show with an open ended finale. Certainly, there are a ton of extra questions to be asked, and some unanswered riddles and reveals, but everything that was relevant to the story of this season is completed by the ending, and that is so important to me. I have never had good luck trying to push a show that ends unfinished, expecting to make a next season, that never came.

Impartial Opinion: It is fantasy at the end of the day. Down to earth, dark as a moonless midnight fantasy at times, but still...very much fantasy. For some people, that just doesn't sit well. I actually understand that, mostly because if you've noticed anything at all about me by this point, you should know that I'm a retard when it comes to giving shows a chance to impress me. Even after the fiftieth dagger in the heart. " gets...better later...? I've come...this far....*Stab*."
So I've seen what I imagine they have seen, shows that use fantasy as an excuse to hand-wave away any sense of intelligence, cohesion, or rationality what-so-ever, and just fall to pieces like so much sand leaking from the hour glass, as time runs on. This show doesn't have that problem, it details and weaves things together amazingly.

Beyond that, this show is particularly remarkable for not over-playing any of its elements. It has mystery, drama, action, and love. But it never overextends any of them beyond their welcome. I also believe this show, or perhaps animation studio, has an amazing knack for setting up very poignant scenes. The kinds of scenes you want to make a gif out of, but you know it would never be as impressive out of context.

Go. Watch. This. Show.

Friday, September 2, 2016

[New][July 2016] The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

Last Seen:
'Episode' 1

Summary: Saiki Kusuo has a wide array of superpowers at his command, and he can use them to get whatever he wants. This might sound awesome, but in Kusuo's experience, superpowers are not all they're cracked up to be. He knows everything that people are thinking. Everything. No surprises, no secrets, no normal human experiences. Everything comes so easily to him because of his powers, he doesn't get to experience any of the struggle, or the triumph, other people do. He’s kept his powers in check since childhood, but with the temptations of high school now on his mind, he’s bending the rules, all in the pursuit of a normal life.

First Impression: Absolutely hilarious.

My Opinion: This is what Mob Psycho 100 would have been if the emphasis had been on comedy, and they had just thrown the plot out the window. As far as I can tell with my absolute lack of willingness to do research, the show airs one "episode", or Special, as Funimation labels them, at a time, and then after five of them they get packed into an Episode proper. So you can either watch it one story at a time, or wait for five of them to be bundled into your standard ~20 min length.
For me, the show is an absolute joy. The scene where he's trying to get away from Kokomi Teruhashi and his 'friend' Riki Nendou shows up...ohh, my lungs.
I highly recommend this show for its pure comedy gold content. Check it out.

[New][July 2016] Momokuri

Last Seen: Episode 16

Summary: Yuki Kurihara, a second year high school student, falls in love with Shinya Momotsuki, who is a year younger than her. She decides she will confess to him after she takes a hundred hidden camera pictures of him for her "Momo-kun Photo Collection", and then leaves him a love letter and confesses. He accepts, and the two of them start to date, but Kurihara still continues to take hidden camera photos and collect the things he touches, and she's acting kind of weird, despite her friends constant attempts to remind her she's being creepy.

First Impression: Comedy. All of the comedy. Maybe this is what they call a Romantic Comedy? Not sure, I'm laughing too hard at her creeping on the other main character.

My Opinion: This show is just straight up good comedy fun. Grant, the concept may creep you and a lot of other people out, but I have a high bar set that things have to jump to creep me out so it's not much of a point for me. Interestingly enough, I actually find the romance in this show quite intriguing as well. A lot of that has to do with the fact that aside from Kurihara creeping on Shinya, she actually does just really like him, even though the reason she first started to like him was just that he was really cute despite being a guy. Conversely, Shinya constantly worries about being short, being cute, and overall just not being very manly. Starting to date Kurihara doesn't help that any, because she constantly calls him cute, and it just makes him want to prove to her all the more that he is actually a man after all. When he does so, it catches her completely off guard, even more so because she spent so much time not just stalking him, but studying everything about him, likes, dislikes, and all. All before she even confessed to him.

So quite aside from the whole creeping thing being hilarious, it is quite enjoyable to watch these two characters interacting with each other. There is still the usual 'lovey-dovey' sort of atmosphere around them, but it's not quite so hugely annoying and overbearing as it usually is because of the interactions between the two, and Kurihara's creeping nature, which she succinctly summarized as:

"I want to know everything about the person I love! Wouldn't you? It's perfectly normal to want that, right?"
You can go ahead and put 'everything' in Italics, bold, and an underline if you want, because that's just about how obsessive she is with it. So yes, while I won't put a recommended tag on it, because I know the creeping thing may bug some people, I'm greatly enjoying the series so far, so
I'd say it's worth your time to try it.

In other news, isn't great? Specifically for always having the air date for shows? There's a small pile of things that every now and then I wish I had asked The Evil Cat about when I started subbing here, like where he got information about when shows first aired for his month-year tags. I've just been scrapping together websites to provide me with such info and improvising. So far so good!
[Aside end]

Thursday, September 1, 2016

High Speed Status Update: Lazy is Bad

Right! So. Missed the monthly posting like I prefer to keep up with here, but going to try and skim over everything to make up for it. Mostly it's just that I forgot to write something for here, but the rest of it is that nothing amazingly spectacular has occurred that made me just want to jabber about it. Well, besides Re:Zero, but I make a point of not writing things until the end about a show that has me as hyped as this. No body wants to hear the incoherent ramblings of a person suffering from a Fanatical Fan Frenzy.

From the top then (and by top I mean in no particular order whatsoever):

Jojo, Diamond is Unbreakable: It's more Jojo's Bizarre Adventures. You know the drill by now, and nothing special would change anyone's mind at this point to cause a sudden opinion shift. No, there hasn't been a post about this in the blog, but whatever, I'll just cover everything I'm currently watching.

Taboo Tattoo: I really enjoyed the first 2 or 3 episodes, but the more they play, the more...apathetic I become about this show. I'm not specifically sure why. Oh wait, I know a huge contributing factor; Those stupid Erotic and Comedic moments they salt and pepper the show in until you couldn't get within a mile of it without sneezing your brains out. Literally and figuratively. All of the right elements are there for this to be a good show, but for whatever reason, they had no confidence in playing their cards straight and serious, so everything just comes off a bit dull. Not even the Dramatic Twist in the last episode or two.

Mob Psycho 100: This show went from, "mm it's 'kay", to "MORE I WANT MORE". Most of that is that I was only partly right about Arataka. I was correct that he would continue to be a joyous source of comedy as he tried to keep his cover. I was incorrect, that he would mainly be a feature as only trying to lie his way through keeping Mob working for him. He's actually a really strongly built character in the show, and, hilariously enough since he is a con man, he often plays the Wise Man for Mob and now maybe other characters as well. I also fricking loved it when one of his 'clients' showed up, and he had a small fit about a previous con man they had seen, not doing it right. I can't say more than that without spoiling it, but you all should definitely be watching this show, it's great for more than just pure comedy. It really does feel like One Punch Man's spirit reincarnated in an entirely different setting. It really feels like the author did this to try innovating with the core idea in a new setting, rather than just to cash in on the hype train.

Rewrite: A bunch of people on several sites called it, and I failed to listen. This show is flopping around like a fish out of water, and I'm just sitting here, wishing I hadn't put the fish hook of my time investment in its mouth. I'm going to finish it out, because there's nothing explicitly horrible about it, it's feels hugely unpolished and mediocre. Not unpolished like Taboo is, that feels like effort was being made, just in the wrong direction. Rewrite just feels like someone lost a lot of motivation very early on. Maybe that's just a by-product of it being a Visual Novel adaptation, and it's simply 'a bad adaptation', but I don't have a lot of experience with shows adapted from visual novels, on account of the fact the only one I recall ever consuming was the first episode of World End Economica, and being in too much pain to start the second episode yet despite having owned it for a year. So I can't really say anything about what is and is not a good adaptation from a visual novel, and what the usual symptoms of a bad adaptation are.
(I really love Isuna Hasakuras works, btw. Bought all the Light Novels of Spice and Wolf)
[Aside end]
Amanchu: This show is just absolutely delightful. Light-hearted, easygoing, and absolutely not serious. Very much a pure slice of life show, and one that is doing everything right. If you don't really like Slice of Life, I don't know that this would change your mind at all, but otherwise if you need something to just quietly sigh in happiness, laugh light-heartedly, or just sit down and unwind after a bad day, this show may do wonders for you. It's great comedy, and light-hearted fun with a cast of slightly kooky characters interacting with each other around a solid core concept. They want to do the divin', and one of them doesn't really know squat, so it goes slow as it brings her up to speed. The core of the show isn't the diving, it's the diving facilitating the characters interacting with each other. So, if you immediately decide you don't like one of the main characters, you probably won't enjoy the show that well, since as far as I can tell, the characters are the main draw for the show.

Orange: I haven't watched past the first episode. Let's just say this one failed to motivate me, but it hasn't put me off either.
(almost impossible for a show to put me off in just one me, that's not a good trait)
I'll get around to it eventually.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K: I haven't made a post about this show either, mostly because it caught me off guard with its layout. It's actually a ton of short-short shows, but then after a few of them, it bundles them all together and calls it an episode. I wasn't sure at first if this was actually a show, or just a series of OVAs. Now that I know for sure it's ongoing, and not just a small finite amount of material, I'll be making a post proper soon. Suffice to say, this show is like the twin of Mob Psycho 100, only without the serious tone to hold together a long reaching plot. It's layout is basically, here's a godlike powerful psychic, here's a situation, watch what happens. Then repeat. Maybe that's not for everyone, but I'm laughing like crazy, and I love it. I recommend this, easy.

Momokuri: (oh shit. Did I not make a post about this one?...right, more work to do.)
Weird. But funny. Sometimes cute. Mostly just weird and creepy. There's a phrase that gets passed around, based on two movie references, something about a guy holding a radio outside a girls window, and "now picture that guy as _____(character) from _____(movie), and suddenly that's not romantic anymore, and you have a call to the police." The basic gist being that the situation is dependent on whether or not the character in question is good looking. Well, Momokuri is the essence of what that little quip is trying to say, exponentially multiplied. I find it absolutely hilarious, as the show continues to try and insist, "ah, no, she's not completely crazy, see? Look! She has restraint, she's just eccentric." It's a lovely study in psychology for me, but hey, maybe most other people would just find it completely creepy. I urge you all to at least try a few episodes, just to see how you react. Maybe you'll find it as hilarious as I do. Aside from that, all the show really has going for it is a surprisingly straight relationship between the two main characters, and a whole lot of cutesy'ness going around by the bucketful.

Twin Star Exorcists: This show escalated fast in the last handful of episodes. At first, it was just a cheesy setting for two main characters being lumped together, with a poorly strung up reason for them to be smashing up some evil. As it turns out, everything fleshes out wonderfully as they start exploring those two characters histories, backgrounds, and motivations. I straight up recommend this show, barring the catch that you don't absolutely hate the Shounen Genre. I don't know that the show expressly fits into the Shounen genre, as when I think of that genre I usually think of settings and characters that are immensely more dumbed down than they are in this show. Like, One Piece for instance. Sure, a lot of cool and dramatic things happen a lot, but in essence, what you're there for is to watch fantastic fights set to a decent story and plot, that mostly exists just to create more fantastic fights. Twin Star feels a bit more serious about itself than that, as it has some torturously human moments. Just to clarify, by 'Human' I mean "gut-wrenching darkside of humanity", Human. It's just that the show still feels very Shounen'esque. Maybe it's the flashy Technique Name Screens. *shrug*
Regardless, I still highly recommend this show. It gets really good once it starts rolling, and it wasn't bad to start with, just not as eye-catching.

annnnnd that's about it for now, folks. I hope that proved slightly useful for you all, I'll get back to proper posts, post-haste. (hurr hurr hurr).
Just writing this made me realize I have two of them to write that I should have done a long while ago.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

[New][July 2016] Rewrite

Last Seen: Episode 4

Summary: Green City Kazamatsuri, is a city built on the ideal of a harmonious relationship between civilization and environment.. However, the peaceful Kazamatsuri will soon be faced with its annual commotion, the Harvest Festa at the turn of the year. Our main character, Tennouji Kotaro, is suddenly struck with the feeling that he's been wasting his life. He tries to seize his youth, by joining the Occult Club. However, the first reason he sought out the club's President, known as 'The Witch' of the school, to begin with:
A Ghost Girl with Ribbons, that he first meets in a dream of a ruined city; She then instantly murders him. The Occult Club President gives him 3 'Shikigami' to help when he first meets her, but as he later discovers, she doesn't actually believe in anything supernatural, and was actually mocking him...despite them actually working. While he concedes to the "Witch" that he's unsure about other oddities, he's oddly insistent that  people with Supernatural
Powers exist. What he does know, is she keeps coming back every night to bite him, and that the bite mark is definitely real, so he insists the president keep giving him charms to keep the ghost away, despite her continually mocking him as she does. He makes a bet with her that he can find proof of Supernatural Phenomena, and invites the people around him that seem alone, to join as well, thus trying to seize his youth at the same time.

First Impression: Mkay, More high school, like we don't have enough of.......okay then. I don't think 'all hell broke loose' had a faster application... and then we're back to more High School. This feels very...Visual Novel'y.

My Opinion: Like I said, it feels like a visual novel adaptation. I'm fairly confident in that assessment despite knowing nothing about this shows history. Regardless, you wouldn't guess this is a supernatural show until well into the first episodes last half. By last half, I mean last 40 minutes. Because the first episode is twice as long as the norm. Just the first episode though.
Despite that, the first episode doesn't really showcase much, except for the shows amazing ability to never settle for having just one tone. It's got slice of life elements when it's in High School mode, and it's got crazy insane fantasy nonsense going when it's in Supernatural mode. Come to think of it, that's actually a thing. It's like the show has this switch it's just waiting to flip at any moment, it can change tones and setting at the flip of a coin. I suppose it would be exceptionally jarring for most people, but I'm so used to just 'going with it', to see where things are trying to take me, it doesn't bother me. That's not a plus by the way.
Anywho, as far as the High School setting goes, it is passably worthy of note that they don't seem to be pushing any romance. Yet. Maybe that's just me, but ... it really feels weird in that respect, if for no other reason than because I'm so used to the token, trite, love and romance undertone in everything in most anime High School settings. There is always the main character, and then the potential love interest(s), and everything seems to revolve around those chosen two/few. Meanwhile, here, none of the girls in the show seem particularly interested in him, or in getting close to him, that way. Not even the Childhood Friend, which is one of the first three characters we're introduced to. Later on, a few characters start laying down foundations to move in that direction, ala Visual Novel'y pick your love interest sorts of ways, and I can just about see the multiple button prompts at key moments.

Back to that Childhood friend though. When she was introduced as such, I cringed, hard. I am so sick to death of the High School Token Childhood Friend Love Interest. FFS, we should all just marry the first kid of the opposite gender we meet as children, shouldn't we? Save a lot of trouble down the road.
The show...doesn't really seem to have that in mind though. In fact, that's one of the things (besides the off-the-walls-bonkers supernatural events), that I'm most interested in right now. She's so...out of place a lot of the time. Not so much in-world, as to explain. I keep expecting her to act a certain way, or do certain things, and then she...doesn't. It keeps making me realize how stupid the things I'm expecting are, because they're the childhood friend tropes, but I keep expecting them anyway. While that makes my skin crawl that the anime industry has been successfully making me adapt to its bullshit and eat it...
It also makes me keenly interested in this particular character. I'm not sure how much of that is just me personally reading into things too much, (which I do alot), and how much is the character actually being unusual. While there are some things the show certainly seems to underline for certain, like how it's being really vague about a few things between her and Kotaro, despite vaguely foreshadowing it a couple of times.
*snaps fingers*That's what it is. Despite there being several elements of tropes, and commonly trodden ground in the High School setting, still, all of the characters feel very...human. They feel and act like actual people might act, if they were in the anime High School setting, and had the Personality quirks we're so used to seeing. So far, as of the fourth episode, we've only taken the time to flesh out just one of the bevy of characters we've had introduced rapid fire. That one however, was quite amazing. She has a personality quirk, a relatively common one, but the show takes the time to properly lay out and explain why she's like that. She also doesn't act exclusively with that one personality trait. In fact, none of the characters do. As I sit here thinking about it, I can vaguely list off the tropes that several of the characters are packing in their pockets, but they don't really let those tropes define them. They're features of those characters personalities, not the definition of them.

Anyway, if the several paragraphs of ranting weren't tell enough, I'm quite interested in this show so far. I'm enjoying it a lot.
However, I'm not going to recommend it.
Certainly, the Supernatural parts are very flashy and enjoyable,
and the High School bit is very interesting in the subtly off ways its moving things (to me at least),
but the fact that the show is trying to juggle both of these at the same time is a bit off putting I bet.
Give it a shot, see if you'll like it. I do, but I don't really feel like this is a widely appealing balancing act they have going right now.

[Aside]Also really weird: The absurdly short and simple title. Like, when was the last time we had a title that wasn't at least three words? Or else had a subtitle?
One word, No subtitle. God that's refreshing.
And also really petty of me to be liking, but whatever. Small pleasures.
[Aside end]