Thursday, August 16, 2018

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord - Harem as it presented. Sometimes, I'm tired of being right.

The slime was already bad enough, but then THIS? That's called
BURNING the clothes,
not 'feeding' on the clothes you insufferable inbred retards.
Last Seen: Episode 7

Thusly I quote: "The main character isn't presented as being ruled by his hormones, he's actually putting up a level headed resistance, and trying to be civil. You know. Not a farking creep or pervert. Of course, this is a Harem genre anime, so eventually that breaks down".

I do get ever so tired of being right precisely when I do not want to be. Episode 6 with the Mana manipulation whatever scene was already enough proof, but I waited for one more episode because I already knew they were going to do it again. Lo and Behold. At least its more of the show itself breaking down rather than the main character, I'd probably trash this show in a second if he devolved.

Anyway, rather than ranting, let's just summarize, hm? I'm sure it's becoming a tiresome thing to hear me rant about how annoying I find these kinds of things. Far more interesting however, is I now have a succinct presentation of exactly the kind I find hilarious, and the kind that makes me want to gouge chunks out of my own flesh to pass the time and ignore it, right here in episode 7. The scene where Diablo is figuring out how to make potions now that he has to manually do it instead of through a menu is subverted by a lewd joke, and I found that scene absolutely funny. It didn't have me in stitches like the scene with Diablo waking up between the girls, but it was still very funny to me.

Follow that up with the scene in the tent with the brother letting the slime out. I really liked how this scene was progressing up to a single point: When he tipped the jar over. Thusly do I quote my own brain as I saw what was coming out of it: "...really? oh fucking hell, just Kill. Me. Now, it's a god damned slime. Really, we're going there?"

Not only did they go there, but they did it in such a way that it destroyed my immersion in a scene I was enjoying, and then it rubbed salt in the wound by contradicting itself while it was at it! "A slime that feeds on fabric" it says, followed immediately by it BURNING the fabric off her, after its been crawling all over her for a minute and causing no damage. It's not even mistranslated, I understand enough of the Japanese to know that Ta'Be'Ru means "eats". It sure as shit does not mean burns. We all know why the scene is in there, it's to "service some fans". It's in poor taste. 

More or less exactly like the scene last episode in the tent with the slave master teaching Diablo and Shera about mana manipulation. "In poor taste" is about the only thing I can come up with to describe why I don't like some of the scenes, but find others hilarious. Of course, of the ones I've named so far, I suppose the primary thing of note is that the ones I find funny are framed to be funny, where as the ones that I hate or are annoying as nails on a chalkboard, are the ones that are framed to be "service".

[Aside Rant]
So I guess I learned a thing today. It's not that I hate lewd jokes or humor. I got to watch pretty much all of season one of the show "Archer" that previously was airing on Adult Swim, and I was in stitches almost the entire time it was playing, I almost asked my friend I was playing a board game with that he'd need to pause it because I couldn't focus on the game at all while it was playing. I'm sure one episode from anywhere in that first season will be proof enough that yeah, I don't give a shit that people are cracking lewd jokes, it seems I enjoy those just as much as anyone.

No, what I hate, is Fan Service. It's a moronic and outdated industry practice that contradicts itself. Interviews with Monster Girls, also known as "Demi-chan wa Kataritai" I believe, presented what I think is the proper way to service your fans, with the school pool scene, which still has one of my most favorite scenes ever, when the boy falls out of the tree. It was just so perfectly set up and framed, and it made me bust a gut laughing. That entire scene is service to the fans, because it understands what kinds of fans are watching the show, and what they enjoy, the reason why they kept watching to this far in the show. Industry Standard "fan service" on the other hand, assumes everyone watching anime, is an inbred drooling retard ruled by their teenage hormones and unable to maintain focus on anything that doesn't flash them some erotica every five god damned minutes.

I find a show that shoves "Fan Service" in my face insulting, and aggravating as a result, because it's assuming that I'm unable to be sufficiently invested in its story without it. Which is bullshit, because as cookie cutter as this show may well be, I'm enjoying it, and was really enjoying the scene with the Prince interrogating Shera, riiight up until he tipped the pot over. The immersion, and the enjoyment, all evaporated right there, and I was disgruntled for the entire rest of the scene containing the slime.
[Aside end]

In other news, I thought Diablos' shock and previous traumas with friendship were presented really well. I'm not about to drop this show, I do still really enjoy it, but it irks me that I was right in predicting that it would come to aggravate me as well.

Monday, July 30, 2018

[New][End][April 2017] Rage of Bahamut - Virgin Soul (Season 2)(Shingeki no Bahamut - Virgin Soul)

Everything shall burn, your heart and mind alike
Last Seen: All of it.

Summary: A decade ago, humans, gods, and demons joined forces to stand against the threat of the colossal dragon, Bahamut.

Now, humans in the capital city of Anatae enjoy lavish and prosperous lives. Their progress is largely due to the newly appointed king, Charioce XVII, who has stolen a power from the gods, and allowed for the abuse and slavery of the demon race in the capital after attacking and destroying their capital Cocytus.

Amidst it all, Nina Drango, a cheerful young bounty hunter, has arrived at the Royal Capital with hopes of settling down and earning a living. However, her peaceful life in the capital is quickly thrown into chaos when she crosses paths with the ominous Rag Demon who is determined to seek revenge against humans, and Kaisar Lidfard, a noble knight battling an internal moral conflict.

Paraphrased from Myanimelist.com


First Impression: Everything's looking good.

My Opinion: Season 2. Better than season 1.

Here's the important things you need to know.
1. You need to see the first season before you watch season two, it may not seem like it at first, but you do.
2. This show is an emotional roller coaster. Brace for impact.
3. Whoever's in charge of story-writing has obviously improved, or they got someone better this time around, because the flow of the story feels much improved. Don't get me wrong, I like the first season a lot, but its flaws were much more obvious than this time around.
4. Rita best character ever, end of discussion.

...What. It's my opinion, I can do what I want with it.

Anyway, this show is hands down

GREATand obviously comes with a full Recommendation, no strings attached...well besides the fact that its a sequel, so you need to watch the first season.Without getting into spoilers, a lot of the show takes for granted that you'll understand the references its making when it talks about things, it just straight glosses over anything from the first season. They genuinely didn't seem to care at all about catering to anyone who hadn't watched season 1, and I think that's the best choice. Yes, season one had its flaws, but it's no train wreck by any measure, it's a wild good time too, so I don't see why they should be expected to bow and scrape before the mouth-breathing thick skulls that are forever screaming some complaint or another. I genuinely don't understand how people can expect a sequel of anything to not expect you to have consumed the first part.

Anywho, this time around the story has a new central cast, and I think that's a good thing. It shows ... integrity? I think is the best way to describe it...let's just roll with that, for now. I think it shows integrity on the writers part, because it is so easy for story creators, be they books, shows, or games, to just reuse and rehash a new story for the same old characters. Most of the time, that's fine, especially for authors that had more story to tell, or left their worlds open ended enough for the adventures to continue. However, to have already branched out to new characters, and made them fantastic to boot, shows great talent and quality of work somewhere in the creation department. Having seen all of it, I can absolutely see how they could have tweaked things to reorient it to be wrapped entirely around the characters that show up from the first season like Kaiser. That's just how it feels to me, maybe I'm a bit too sensitive around stagnation.

Well. What are you waiting for? The musics a touch all over the map, so I'm willing to bet you at least 50 m'guffins that you'll hate at least one of the openings or endings between both seasons, but the shows fantastic from start to finish and a wild ride to boot. I suppose the only warning I can give you is that the second season spends a lot of time building up your happiness...don't let it fool you. It's going to punch you in the gut. It's coming. Don't say I didn't warn you. Now get watching.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

[New][July 2018] How Not to Summon a Demon Lord (Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu)

This was the point I surrendered to the laughter.

Last Seen: Episode 4

Summary: Sakamoto Takuma was so strong in the MMORPG 'Cross Reverie' that his fellow players came to call him the "demon lord." One day, he is summoned to another world in his avatar form, and meets two girls who both are fighting about who the one who summoned him is. They cast a spell used to enslave summoned beasts on him, but that activates his unique ability, Magic Reflection, and the girls end up being the ones put under the spell! And thus begins the otherworldly adventure of a demon lord (pretending) who blazes his own trail through overwhelming power.

First Impression: Ah, shit, it's a harem...but it's...Hilarious?!

My Opinion: I have literally no idea why I find this show so absolutely hilarious. Literally any other Harem show I have watched has annoyed wherever it tried to amuse. Now this. It's using so many common harem or 'ecchi' jokes, but...somehow it's making them funny enough for me to laugh at them. Maybe I'm just getting old, or just far too jaded, but somehow it feels like this one's higher quality presentation. Same material? Yes. But it seems fresh because of the way it is presented, or at least that's the excuse I'm going with while I draw blanks, and laugh my ass off.

To wit, though, the story is quite good, and the main characters are all interesting. Not so much the elf at first, she was just such a cardboard cut out Harem toon. I didn't like her character, but she was immensely useful for comedic effect, so I ignored it. When they filled in some of her back story though, I don't mind her as much now. I'll avoid spoilers, but it explains some of her personality quirks that make her a perfect Harem girl fit in a decent way. Is that clearly the egg after the chicken? Yes. She was clearly designed to be a Harem girl in a Harem anime, but I will always take a moment to appreciate some thought and detail being put into a show.

On the flip, the other main female lead up to this point, is a wonderful contrast. I think this has to be the most ... realistic? presentation of the 'Tsundere' trope I've ever seen. It's not just gag-slap after gag-slap, and main character defying gravity to smash into walls left, right, and center, I genuinely think her character is well constructed, as it has been presented so far. She reacts to things in a very reasonable manner, especially compared to literally any other Harem genre show.

But by far and large, my favorite character of all, is the main protagonist, Diablo. Definitely. I love the way he's presented as thinking about and interpreting everything through a video game lens as a coping mechanism to not have a break down, and cover for his horribly insufficient social skills. It amuses me, and it makes for a good watch, if I do say so myself. I just genuinely like it when a main character is shown as putting some thought and deductive reasoning to work to get by. He doesn't just resort to blasting everything to pieces with his overwhelming power, he's actually trying to understand everything around him and how things are working, even if it is just by comparing it to the game he's used to playing, finding the differences in how things work.

But really though. Those goddamn bouncing gravity defying boob bounces scenes. Why are they so funny now? I absolutely hated it whenever any other show would go about this gag-style recurring joke. The only bits of reasoning I can come up with, is the camera doesn't drool over her every time it's happening. It's literally a few frames of animation for comedic effect, and then it cuts straight to the main character or someone else being bothered by it. Maybe that's it. The main character isn't presented as being ruled by his hormones, he's actually putting up a level headed resistance, and trying to be civil. You know. Not a farking creep or pervert. Of course, this is a Harem genre anime, so eventually that breaks down, but even then that entire scene with him waking up next to them was just... I don't know. I was laughing, and I was trying to figure out why, and then just laughing harder as the scene kept going. I was having a hard time choosing a screenshot for this post between this one, and "HELP ME, RIGHT HAND!", but I went with this one because it's slightly better out of context on its own, and it's also the point where I just went 'fuck it' in my head, and resigned my self to just laughing and enjoying the whole thing.

I know better than to put the cart in front of the horse anymore, so I won't put a recommendation on this show...yet. But, for certain, you should check it out. Anything that decides to be the Harem Genre and is strong enough to make me enjoy it, deserves special mention.

ALSO, DAT WHITE NOVA THOUGH. HOLY SHIT. THAT SCENE WAS FARKING AMAZING.

EDIT: I FIGURED IT OUT! I went back and re-watched a couple of episodes, and I figured out why I like this shows presentation so much better than literally any other Harem show ever. It's what the show is expecting its audience to do with its scenes. Summon a Demon Lord understands that its making fan service, but it expects you to laugh at it. Meanwhile, other shows will just show you fan service, and expect you to be a drooling mess as long as it is on screen. I think that's why it annoys me so much. Since I'm not the target audience, and the appeal goes right over my head, it just feels like a tortuously long waste of my time, that could be better spent watching the parts of the show I do like.

I remember a while back when Phantom World came out, it was a similar affair. I praised it for how the 'fan service' didn't grind the show to a halt every time it was onscreen, and instead it just fluently rolled with it, like it was a natural part of the show's world, instead of the usual earth shattering grind-to-a-halt forces in play when most fan service hits the screen and everything stops for a closer look.

Ultimately I expected way too much from that show based on its first episode, and ended up with a bad taste in my mouth after it ended. I'd like to think I've grown a bit since then, and don't invest as easily. Still, it's been four episodes, and this one just keeps getting better, while Phantom World literally started to rot in episode 2. I'll Raise my hopes a bit for Summon a Demon Lord, but I won't place any expectations just yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

[New][End][January 2018] Darling in the FRANXX - A Vibrant and touching Story

It's not much, But I'll take it.

Summary: In the distant future, humanity has been driven to near-extinction by giant beasts known as Klaxosaurs, forcing the surviving humans to take refuge in massive fortress cities called Plantations. Children raised here are trained to pilot giant mechas known as FRANXX—the only weapons known to be effective against the Klaxosaurs...in boy-girl pairs. Bred for the sole purpose of piloting these machines, these children know nothing of the outside world and are only able to prove their existence by defending their race. (Quote from MyAnimeList.com)

First Impression: What? Butt-Mounted Controllers? Into the Bin you go. Skipping this.

My Opinion: See first impression for my literal first impression of this show back in January. I hereby declare a prophesy that this show will forever be plagued by this exact first impression.

This post literally got so long I put red headers in to help you skip around for TL;DRFirst Look
Japan's culture is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the free reign they give to their artistic liberties allows such wonderful stories like this to find a place to take root and grow.
Whereas here in American culture, I can say with all certainty that unless you had a previously established foundation of trust, such as a highly profitable publication of any kind, no editor or publisher would ever approve of "butt-mounted controllers". I can't even type that without giggling to myself.
On the other hand, here I am. Giggling.
I think that's a wonderful thing, (*See Aside Rant at bottom \/*), because god only knows how often the 'ecchi' jokes piss me off. It's important to know and notice the difference between a cheap gag, and a well thought out joke. As far as Japanese anime goes, you can generally notice the difference based on how much screen time it gets whenever it happens, and how many different camera angles they use to show it off.

Second Look
So why am I making a post about it, singing its praises? Because I value opinions outside of my own. I always watch every review and first reaction Arkada uploads to youtube, because he shares a very similar opinion and perspective to me when it comes to choosing what anime to watch, and what kinds of anime we enjoy. I think everyone should have someone like that, a person that has a broader field of view than you, that allows you to broaden your horizons beyond your own limits. I have a job, I have bills to pay. I don't have anywhere near as much time as I once did. I also am far more obsessed with games than anime, and the two are always warring for my time and attention.

[Aside]
THE STEAM LIBRARY PLAGUE, IT FOREVER GROWS, AND YOU NEVER PLAY THEM FASTER THAN YOU ACQUIRE THEM! CURSE YOU STEAM SALES! MY ADDICTION!

[Aside end]

Back on point: I watched a video he posted on Darling in the Franxx, and while it didn't make me decide to go watch the show, I remember thinking to myself, "ah. So the show isn't just a harem-style running gag of innuendo jokes and 'ecchi' humor."
No, what got me to watch the show, was when I tripped over an Upvote Gif on imgur, made out of a scene in the show. (Specifically this)
I remember seeing that and just...being so curious. "What is that show!? I must know! I want to see it!". When I found out it was Darling in the Franxx...I hesitated. But hey, I'm a lunatic who consumed all of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden just to complete the set in my brain of its story.
(I totally waited for the second season to end and used a filler episode list to skip all the bullshit though....like, 400 episodes in. My patience could use some Maintenance, it needs a limiter.)

Beginning of Review
Now, here we sit. There were a couple of times where I worried I was wasting my time, mostly the crunchyroll comments all crying and whining about the ending on almost every episode, telling you to stop at a specific episode, or giving spoilers about what happens to certain characters.

They can all go and stuff a cactus up their arse.

Story
The story is well thought out. It's not perfect by any means, there's a few parts near the end that feel forced, but it's not a glaring flaw. It just feels that way because it leans on a more or less common anime trope to stage a raising of the stakes. A new comer would probably go 'huh?', but anyone who's been around anime a bit won't do much more than blink at it. "Ah, so they decided to use this trope eh?" kind of feeling.

It primarily follows Squad 13, and a climactic point in their lives, when their battle against the Klaxosaurs is reaching its climax, and how this begins to affect and change the way they're maturing, differently from all of the other squads. A story like this would be a death sentence without a strong cast of characters to fuel it, but there's no worries in that department.

Part way through, they have a 'special episode' where they do an interview with the Animation Studios director in charge of the show, and then it starts to go over the shows production and interview voice actors and stuff, but I'm going to watch that after I write this. Once I had heard the directors thoughts on the show, I was well satisfied, and moved on to the next actual episode. That was when I found out that this is an Original Anime, which is to say, it wasn't adapted from a novel or manga comic. I think a lot of the quality and fresh feel of it can be attributed to that.

Characters
The characters in this show are amazing. You will wildly flip from absolutely loving them one moment, to hating their guts the next, to forgiving and forgetting in record-(and heart)-breaking speeds. They crammed so much humanity into the central cast, I'm surprised they didn't explode at the seams. I dig that, in case you couldn't tell.

So, to get to the point. Does this show crack vaguely lewd or innuendo jokes? Sort of. The central premise of the show is the Apocalyptic future, and that everyone has mostly forgotten what words that were chosen as names for things mean. Not because it was hidden or a secret, but because it was considered unimportant or irrelevant to their survival, and was never taught. It's literally at their disposal to find out what they mean, and they often do.

I think that's something that helps lend credibility and maturity to the show and the character arcs as it progresses. The joke is there for the audience to appreciate if they want, but it's not just a joke. They actually built it into the worlds lore. I think that's amazing, and it would have taken a lot of thought, way more than most studios/authors seem to give, that just stop at 'hey wouldn't it be funny if X, Y, or Z?' and then just cram it into the show. In other words, telling the joke, for the sake of telling a joke, and nothing more. For some shows, it works. For others, not so much. No amount of cheap gags can save a shitty story with a shitty cast of characters.

Plot
The only other worry I had, was when the show sort of hit a mid-run climax, like Alice and Zouroku did, and I was afraid it would follow the same path. The comments didn't farking help that. But it didn't follow in that shows footsteps. I'm here writing because this show is Fantastic from start to finish. An emotional roller coaster to be sure, and that's not everyone's preference, but I won't let the crying babies opinions be the only voice heard. Good people quietly live their lives, but idiots and criminals scream the loudest, and thus are we convinced that the world is always worse off than it is.

I find this a hilarious juxtaposition with the shows own setting. It holds nothing back about telling everyone it's set in a apocalyptic future, and yet all those crying people seem to have just decided to ignore that. The characters were always in a horrible situation, from the start of episode one. I guess they all just decided this was a 'Shounen'-style show and wouldn't go too deep, and weren't ready for the roller coaster to peak, and then jet away at full speed with their fragile hearts and minds. Me? I live for the challenge in my games, and ever since I was a wee mortal, always seemed to insist on taking the harder choices in life for myself, but never the hardest. So I guess I'm more durable these days, decades down the line.

So, for the sake of being thorough:

This Show will Hurt you,
but it will never try to completely crush you. Obviously, this show is
Great

and receives a Recommendation,

with the caveat that you too will taste the curse that no one outside of the anime fan community will ever listen to you recommend it farther than 'controllers mounted on girls butts'.


I spent a lot of time trying to think of what to call this show, and I finally settled on a title. I had to revise it a little to prevent spoilers, but I would call this show, a Space Opera.
[Aside]

id est via Wiktionary:
1.
(initially derogatory) A subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes space travel, romantic adventure, and larger-than-life characters often set against vast exotic settings.
[Aside end]

At what point did we decide that being fake and exaggerated was a bad thing? I think maybe that's the appeal of Japan's anime, that they go all in with that part of it, and we've forgotten or rejected it, and are stagnating in the 'gritty' and the 'realistic' being dumped out of hollywood. Perhaps a tertiary relation to why the Marvel movies are so popular recently? A throw back to a previous time, made more accessible for a wider audience?
*shrug*



[^Aside Rant on my Views of Culture and Education]
Maybe it's just me, and my isolationist ways, but it feels like my culture shies away from anything vaguely sexual, if not outright ostracizes it, if you aren't past an arbitrary age marker that varies from state to state. Then, when you cross that marker, the reins are off, and you're just dropped into it to run rampant however you want with no one to stop you, like you should have just naturally figured out self-moderation and how the world works on instinct because you are the specified age.

We fear "corrupting the youth" too much. To a certain extent, as someone who's single parent had a very hands-off approach to letting me grow up so long as I stayed out of trouble, I can see the perspective that philosophy comes from, because I took a very long and strange road to sexual maturity, because it went unnoticed since in every other way I was slightly above-average(when the average was idiot, but that's a story for another time). It's not often that someone is telling the truth when they say,
(PG-13 white out in case you'd rather not, but highlight for a funny snippet from my life.)
"The first time I had a wank was when I was 26 years old. I found it thoroughly unimpressive, and a massive waste of time better spent playing games, which are much more fun, and don't leave behind a mess for me to clean up."
(white out end)

However, that was not a problem of me being exposed to sexual themes or ideas. Literally everyone is at some point in their lives, and it hardly destroys anyone. No, the problem was that it was unsupervised and unadvised. Mother isn't going to be a good one to ask about guy problems, yeah?

As it is, I think the problem is this 'total avoidance' the general public will seem to go with when you amalgam enough peoples opinions and votes together. It's a valuable part of the human experience, and yes, it can distort some peoples lives when they get obsessed with it or exposed in a traumatic way. But that's no more different than gambling, drinking, drugs, or literally anything in life. You can destroy yourself with anything at all, if you've a mind to. With wise moderation however, all of those things can be an enriching part of life.
To summarize, since this is already a monstrously long post, I abhor and condemn the 'bubble-boy' idea of child raising and education, or "shielding" you could call it. The idea that we should totally shield kids from everything, until they're "ready" or "old enough" for it. By making such a big deal out of it, you only attract their attention to it, and then you have to clean up the mess left behind when you've given them conflicting messages about it, later on. How exactly are they suppose to become 'ready' for something they've literally never been exposed to? What happens if those in charge of deciding when they're "ready" are suddenly unable to anymore?(an absence of a parent for instance). You might as well be throwing a baby into a vat full of leprosy . Sure, it could develop an immunity. It's far more likely to come out of it horribly deformed by the experience.

Still, humanities ability to adapt is a fundamental part of our existence. If you've never heard of it before, look up the human eye's Blind Spots. There's literally a spot our eyes are physically incapable of seeing, but our brains are just naturally programmed to fill in the blank with what's around it, so we never notice it except in highly specific situations. That's what I attribute to me fixing myself up just fine, once I got out into the world and started interacting with people. Sure, the general public is about as smart as a box of rocks, but that's precisely why I was made to notice, "wow. All of my problems seem really small and petty compared to how amazingly these people are screwing up their lives...and still getting by with it."

I think that's something we should incorporate more in our lives, and the raising of the Youth. The more you try to hide something from a child, the more curious about it they often become, and it's precisely that curiosity eventually hitting critical mass and exploding, that causes them to often run head first into way more than they can handle. It's suppose to be a parents responsibility to watch them closely, and keep that from happening, or so I think any way. I think it would be better if things were made to be fed to them in bits and pieces at a time, with the promise of more later.

Not "I will tell you when you're older" because you don't want to bother with explaining something to them you're not sure they'll even understand and are worried will be bad for them(or are just lazy). Rather, "I'll tell you a bit now, but you'll need to wait till you're older to learn about the rest of it, okay?" Sure, there will be kids that won't settle for that. But the greatest flaw of the public education system is that it expects everyone to be cut into shape to fit into a round hole. There's a hell of a lot of square, diamond, and other colorful shapes that go through torture and hell because of that. We all are different, get bloody well used to it.

There's no easy one-size-fits-all solution to teaching people and growing up, the only good way is going to be individualized tweaks and patching as needed, however much harder that may be. You won't make a better mouse trap by saying 'it will be so hard to improve it any further...'
Imagine if we had settled for computers that were built like the old Macintosh, where everything, screen, keyboard, and components, were all a solid block. None of us would have these fancy Smart Phones that are literally getting to be a dime a dozen now. A better tomorrow isn't often found just laying by the side of the road. You usually have to work for it.
[Aside end]
IN CASE YOU COULDN'T TELL, this show was very inspiring for me, or so I am led to believe after re-reading and spell checking this monster of a post. But hey, I haven't posted in forever, so it's fine...right? Oh well, I tried to break it up with headers anyway, give me some credit for that. So. Much. Editing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

[New][End][January 2018] Violet Evergarden - A charming light drama



Summary: The Great War finally came to an end: Fractured in two, the continent of Telesis slowly begins to flourish once again. Caught up in the bloodshed was Violet Evergarden, a young girl raised for the sole purpose of decimating enemy lines. Hospitalized and maimed in a bloody skirmish during the War's final leg, all she was left with from the person she held dearest was words, but with no understanding of their meaning.

First Impression: I accidentally watched episode 5 first. This in no way interfered with me liking the show, in fact I may have liked it more because of it.

My Opinion: This is one of the best light dramas I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. I've never been much of a history or war buff, but I still think that this show does a fine job of capturing the feeling of a country slowly mending from a devastating war. The focal point for this is absolutely Violet herself, who is so obviously a broken person from the war, but has no self-awareness of it at all, for she has barely any humanity left to her.

This one keeps begging me to call it an emotional rollercoaster, but after having read an actual emotional roller coaster to it's conclusion recently, (World End Economica for reference), my standard's are a little high at the moment. Instead, I'll call it as accurately as I can: One of the most charming and emotionally valuable stories about a post-war environment I've ever seen. The characters are top notch, no one is 'cheesy', they all feel consistent with the world. They didn't shoe-horn in some arbitrary romantic interest, or daring rival, or dastardly villain. The people feel like actual people. On paper, this show is definitely something I would have skipped. I honestly couldn't tell you why I picked it up and started reading it. Maybe it was on a recommended list from some reviewer I read? After all, a story about a girl running around writing letters for people sounds rather meh, eh?
The reason why it ends up being so amazing, is because it's about the characters themselves, not the things they're doing.
I honestly feel like I should be saying more, but I can't think of good ways to talk about specific parts without dropping spoilers, so I'll just leave it by saying that, honestly, you can absolutely watch episode 5 out of context, and I think I'll go ahead and recommend that you do that. It's got one of my absolute favorite moments in the whole show, when Violet takes something said as a joke as an actual instruction. You won't miss it.

This show is by far and large,

Great
and of course gets a full

Recommendation

From me for some absolutely high quality characters, and a beautiful story. It is every bit worth your time, unless all you want is high paced intense action. The show has some action to it, but the over all tone of the show is exceptionally mellow and peaceful, if not explicitly...happy.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

[New][April 2018] Wotaku: Koi wa Muzukashii

Rathian! That's a Rathian! He's hunting a Rathian!
I got the reference!
*quiet mental squee*

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Narumi Momose makes a sudden job change, when the secret she was trying to keep gets discovered: that she's an Otaku, specifically a Yaoi(AKA Boy's Love) fangirl. At her new company, she bumps into someone she was friends with in middle school, Hirotaka Nifuji: An unabashed Gamer Otaku, who immediately blows the secret she swore she was going to keep this time, by asking if she's going to Comiket, right in front of two of her coworkers!

First Impression: Expected pure gags, got a surprisingly grounded romcom.

My Opinion: This was a surprise. I was giving it a shot mostly because it was in a list of 'anime you should watch this season' and it wasn't an outright reject. Once I started it up, I really enjoyed it, the humors on point, but...there's just one problem. In case the massive amount of weeb'anese in the summary I wrote up there didn't give it away, this show is basically founded on the idea that the people watching either are otaku themselves, or are familiar enough with them from watching anime to get all the jokes. It seems like all of the humor for this one is based on getting all of the in-jokes the characters are throwing at each other from otaku culture.

For point of reference: I kept getting hitched on all of the shots they were showing of Hirotaka playing his game...monster hunter. Which I immediately identified by the sounds, before they even showed it on screen for the first time, since I've been up to the roots of my hair deep, in Monster Hunter World which just recently released.

Specifically I kept eyeballing all of the monsters he was fighting to see if I recognized them, or if they were monsters only in the old Monster Hunter games, because that's what the cuts are, actual footage of an older copy of monster hunter! I just found that so ridiculously charming...which then immediately had me wondering if maybe I shouldn't be slightly concerned with how much it felt like I was looking in a mirror...

Well in short, that's the feeling I get from this one. If you're familiar with Otaku culture, one way or the other, this show's worth your time to check out. The comedy isn't over the top ridiculous, and the 'romance/drama' is all...rather level headed and mature, like the show's actually taking that part of itself seriously. The Otaku part always seems to be cracking a joke, but whenever they flip the coin, things aren't serious business serious, but much more level-headed than I'm used to expecting from this kind of setup. It's all very refreshing after the recent frog march of low-tier stuff like 'Another World Smartphone' and 'Black Clover' that have come out recently. Stuff that feels like it's hot off the clone stamp machine, y'know? Nothing particularly original about them.

No recommendation just yet, this one didn't have me in stitches like Hinamatsuri did, but that could just be a matter of time. "I can't understand what my Husband is saying" was the last time a setup like this was great in my opinion, and it took a few episodes for that show to grow on me too. (that may have just been the short-show format though, if I'm completely honest).

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

[New][April 2018] HINAMATSURI

Someone stick a fork in me, I'm done. I'm dieing over here.


Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Nitta Yoshifumi is a yakuza, living surrounded by his beloved pots in his home in Ashigawa. But one day, a girl arrives in a strange object, and uses her telekinetic powers to force Nitta to allow her to live with him, putting an end to his leisurely lifestyle. Her powers can come in handy for his yakuza business... but he also runs the risk of her using them on him! Not to mention, if she doesn't use her powers regularly, she will eventually go berserk and destroy everything around her. So their life living together begins...

First Impression: It's COMEDY GOLD PEOPLE!

My Opinion: I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. Comedy is always a roll of the dice, but this one hit a natural 20 with me. It contains so many dangerously over done tropes, but it's using all of them in such a fresh way, and the jokes are on point. I think perhaps because it relies more on situational comedy, rather than outright slapstick or gags.

The show has a serious tone running under it, which helps hold it all together, and keeps it feeling like its moving forward instead of just wasting time spinning its wheels in one place. That's kind of how I felt about Alice and Zouroku after it's big mid-season climax, like it gave everything it had, and then was just finding ways to kill time. Even though you could tell the story was still trying, it was just over-saturated with comedy, so nothing felt like it had any weight or feeling to it anymore.

Here meanwhile, this show reminds me a great deal of Kobayshi's Dragon Maid. Comedy is obviously the center, but the show has a serious side when it wants to, without feeling like it's deliberately trying to be edgy. Ah, the word I'm looking for is 'Mature'. When the show is being serious, it feels very mature, instead of like something that fell out of a teenagers edge-lord fantasy notebook.

It's only two episodes in, and I swear it felt like I had watched four episodes already. Part of that is because the story arcs were actually divided 2 per episode, but think about that for a second. I had just consumed 4 half-episode time-sized stories, but I still felt like I had watched four full-length ones, because they had that much weight and impact to them, in both comedy and honest story.

I think a lot of it can be attributed to one of the main characters, Hina, being the right balance of the apathetic/empty character trope. The show does a good job of framing it that she previously was a hollow vessel, but unlike how a lot of shows seem to think that's an end unto itself, (It's not by the way, that makes the most boring characters ever), she's already growing out of it nicely, if with comedic effect awkwardness. The bar scene in episode two killed me, all the way through, I actually had to be told I could be heard laughing from all the way outside the house.

Needless to say, this show gets a 100% pure

Recommendation
for comedy gold that's right on point. You should absolutely try it, see if the humor tickles your fancy.

Monday, April 16, 2018

[New][April 2018] Kakruiyo - Bed & Breakfast for Spirits (Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi)

Well, isn't that a pretty set-piece.

Last Seen: 3

Summary: One of Aoi's earliest memories, is of a kind Ayakashi saving her life. Having been able to see them for as long as she can remember, her mother ends up abandoning her, and she's left to fend for herself, and starve. This is when an Ayakashi appears before her. Thanks to the Ayakashi's kindness, Aoi survives, to be found and adopted by her grandfather, who can also see Ayakashi. He teaches her how to survive on her own, live quietly and avoid trouble with them. She grows up peacefully, until the day her grandfather passes away... and an Oni comes to take her as his bride for a debt of her grandfathers! With her grandfathers name signed on the contract naming her as collateral!

First Impression: Much better than I was expecting.

My Opinion: The anime industry is nothing if not demonically-contracted to jump on the bandwagon of anything with even mild success, so when I first saw this show I just assumed it was bandwagon 'copy, paste, repaint, and sell'-class material based on Konohana Kitan since it sounded so similar. In just one episode though, it proved me quite wrong. There is, after all, nothing wrong with innovating on a previously existing idea. The problem is just that a lot of people in a lot of industries read 'innovating' as, 'reselling the same old crap with a new paint-job'.

Where as Konohana is as shallow as it can possibly get, and focuses on cute'sy feel-goods, this show quickly sets out to prove it has a bit more depth. How much, will remain to be seen in future episodes, but it looks promising to me so far.
(Get your torches and pitchforks ready, and brush up on your angry mob tactics, I'm certainly far more 'willing to believe' than is wise).

Just in the first episode we have a fair touch more grounding depressive events, with child abandonment and debt-collection. More importantly, none of the characters feel 'trope'-y, yet, even by the third episode. Which is quite impressive honestly, since this show seems to be peeling cards off of Natsume Yuujinchou, Konohana Kitan, and more than a few rom-coms in its future I'm sure. If for no other reason than the main character running around asking for a job, and then when one is actually offered without her asking, she acts surprised. I didn't like that part, she had been a rather strong character until then. Besides that however, the show isn't really pushing romance...at all. As a matter of fact, it's waaay in the background as it focuses on Aoi getting her bearings in this sudden upset in her life of being plunged into the Hidden Realm.

As it continues on, it fixes up right nicely. The main character has the right balance of being utterly mystified by all of the unheard of things she's surrounded by, but at the same time, since she's been dealing with Ayakashi since she was young, and she's now already an adult, she acts like she should, I feel. She barely even blinks when the Oni talks about enjoying eating humans and is more annoyed by how happy he seems to be to point it out all the time, and she doesn't jump at every little new thing and character that comes on screen. I like that. She's acting like she actually is a mature adult. I think that's something I miss in most anime: competent level-headed characters. The show is looking great so far.

On the topic of looks though...something about the animation feels...off. Like walking around in a room that has been tilted 1 degree off from being level. I can't quite put my finger on why I think something seems out of place with the animation. Could just be a random impulsive feeling, but I'm here to right my opinion and inform the masses, so may as well mention it.

All together, this is a lovely little show so far, and I'm looking forward to it from week to week. Not quite worth a full recommendation yet, as nothing huge or especially interesting is going on, but I believe it's worth most peoples time to try it. Nothing seems ready to crash and burn, and that's actually kind of rare lately. Maybe I'm just not watching enough anime, or have had bad luck picking out shows, but a lot of shows have had shaky starts lately. Well that's my opinion, so may it serve you well.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

[Ended] Alice & Zouroku - Fast climax, slow and steady pan out

Shh, too lazy to take a screenshot.


My Opinion: This show was absolutely and undeniably fantastic. For the first half. After that, it's a roll of the dice and anyone's game. It's not mediocre or bad by any stretch, but by comparison it definitely isn't as strong of an impression or impressive. It EXPLODES right out of the gate with the best it has to offer, and then everything after that just seems a bit dull by comparison.

This one is very much a 'come for the fight, stay for the characters'. Which is to say, if you didn't fall in love with one of the main characters right away, after the main climax is over literally when I wrote the first post for this show at episode 5-6, you don't really have a strong reason to keep watching, because it's more or less just those characters, living their lives. Very much a clean fit into the 'slice of life' genre.

Personally, I absolutely adore the character Zouroku, and surprisingly, I did like Alice as well. Normally I find the overly eager and rambunctious little girl characters aggravating and in need of a good lecturing and grounding, but uh...Zouroku kind of handles that perfectly so. It ends up being fantastic watching Alice try her best, and Zouroku guiding her down the right path.

Impartial Opinion: If you immediately dislike one of the two and half main characters, you have basically no reason to watch past episode 5 or 6. Everything after that mid-show climax is just a slice of life of the old man and a little girl living their lives getting used to each other. Yes, more trouble crops up, but it pans out far less spectacularly than the first half. Zouroku is the punchline, so I liked it anyway, but that may not fly for everyone else.

I still maintain this shows solid:

Recommendation
 under the provision that it extends only as far as that mid-show climax. After you see that, everything else is up to your own personal taste.

Naturally this show gets a rating of  Good.

Honestly, I shouldn't have been surprised that they couldn't maintain that level of excitement. It was still a let down however, so no Great for this one.

[Aside]
If I'm perfectly honest, I think the thing that miffs me the most is that Zouroku takes a backseat in the second half for no other reason than he is separated from Alice. While the story is fine and interesting, and I don't really fault them for doing that, I can't deny that the lifeblood of this show is those two interacting together, and I absolutely love Zouroku to pieces and everything he does in the show. Perhaps if he had a stronger presence in the second half, I would have felt better about it.
*shrug*
[aside end]

Monday, March 12, 2018

[New][April 2017] Alice & Zouroku

I have never gone from 'eh, villain, just another shitty human' to
"BITCH I WILL FUCKING MURDER YOU!!"
so fast.


Last Seen: Episode 5

Summary: The “outside world.” It was filled with things she had never touched, scenery she had never seen, and people she had never met... In the face of such a broad new world, she was surprised, wavered, and her eyes were opened on the impulse of curiosity.
Sana.
She was born and raised at a facility called the “Laboratory”, without ever knowing anything about the outside world. This girl has the special power to materialize anything she imagines. Once free, she find's a grumpy old man she judges to be a 'good person', and offers him a deal: She will grant him any wish at all, if he helps her.
He flatly refuses.


First Impression: Expected Cute'sy nonsense on an 'Usagi Drop' scale. Got that, and so, SO much more!

My Opinion: What are you doing, why haven't you watched this? It came out in April. Why the hell did it take me so long to watch this? ... oh right, because the anime industry churns out truckloads of shitty copy paste trash that drowns all the gems to the bottom of the abyss.

Well, let me sum things up with this: In five episodes, this show managed to have the entirety of another anime's full plot line, and it was goddem fantastic every single step of the way, and it's not even over yet, my mind is so farking blown right now.
Meanwhile, I managed to somehow catch myself up on Black Clover, and the shit having dried, doesn't smell as bad anymore. It's alright I guess, but holy shit does putting it next to this show make you really appreciate the vast difference in production quality.

Alice & Zouroku goes for what I can only describe as an old-fashioned simple art style that looks like something you might have seen 5-10 years ago, but polished up to modern standards. I wouldn't be surprised if you pulled out a manga, said it was the original material, and took a screenshot of the anime and it looked exactly the same, just colored in. And yet...
The animation doesn't cut any corners for the fights I've seen, the CGI is in the background where it belongs, handling objects and set-pieces, and the characters are consistent. I'm not going to bother saying anything about Black Clover because I just can't be made to care anymore now that I have my precious gem. Having just recently gotten back on point writing here, this is a good feeling, a show filling me with so much inspiration to write.

But of course, I give this show a full fledged:

Recommendation
,

and I haven't even finished it yet. It's just that good.

To flesh it out some more though, don't be mislead by the simplistic and cutesy art and first impression. This show certainly surprised me with how smooth and mercilessly it refused to pull any punches, and sucker punched me in the gut. It's got a nice level of depth. It's not so far down it becomes Edge-lord'y but it's a nice comfortable level that conveys emotion and realism, without trying to grind your face in the grit, or break your sanity and will to live apart. But, it's only episode 5, eh? I've got more to see, but that will be in the end post.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Oh Crap. I foRGOT ABOUT THIS!

OKAY REAL FAST, HERE WE GO, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

A Centaurs Life (Centaur no Nayami): Good, Too Short to do source justice!

Yokai Apartments
: Good! Surprising Depth!

Juni Taisen
: Good, under some conditions!

Konohana Kitan
: Simple, Shallow, Good!

B: The Beginning: Great! Recommended! No Spoilers.

Devilman Crybaby
: Great! Recommended! Ending's a little pretentious in my opinion!

Blood Blockade Battlefront Second Season: Went down without a hitch, more of the same, but shallower this time. Feels like build up to something that we didn't actually get?

Saga of Tanya the Evil: Great!
Jesus did I not write an end for this yet? someone slap me.

My Hero Academia Season 1&2: Great! more on this later. (more on everything later honestly)

Silver Guardian
: Mediocre! See that capital M? Mediocre with a Capital M. Not worth a post of its own.

Okay, that should SORT OF catch everyone up on everything I've consumed since the last post, plus a few bits and pieces that I haven't been motivated enough to finish or I don't feel like are worth mentioning.

[Aside]
Honestly, I don't know why Silver Guardian is even on here, and since blogger.com won't shut up about the Label(tag) character limit, I'm just going to cut it out of there to save space. If it wasn't for the fact that I've defined the Bad rating for myself as something that's a hot mess, but that has value to watch if for no other reason than to learn what mistakes not to repeat, I'd call that the worst show I've seen in a while. (not the worst ever by a long shot, most Drama and Soap Opera's take that trophy and run the Olympics with it). It has such a chronic case of 'no substance' and having nothing that can offend or impress, that it wraps right back around to being offensive again on the sole accusation of being precious time from our limited life spans wasted. Copy, Paste, Plagiarize, Done: Silver Guardian.
[Aside end]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

[Retro] The Devil is a Part-timer: Good from start to finish.

This show can get unnervingly serious at points...

Summary: The Demon Lord Satan begins to conquer the land of Ente Isla with his vast demon armies. However, his efforts are foiled by the hero Emilia, forcing Satan to make his swift retreat through a dimensional portal only to land in the human world. Along with his loyal general Alsiel, the demon finds himself stranded in modern-day Tokyo. Powerless in a world without magic, and reduced to a weak and frail human form without it, Satan assumes the guise of a human named Sadao Maou and begins working at a local fast-food restaurant to make ends meet. He soon realizes that his goal of conquering Ente Isla is just not enough as he grows determined to climb the corporate ladder and become the ruler of Earth, one satisfied customer at a time!
My Opinion: So. This is a very old one, isn't it? Also, Holy crap, Evil Cat already had a post about it. I'm watching shows so old they were reviewed before I even started writing here. Ah Jeez, Rick.

THERE ISN'T AN END POST THOUGH, SO I'VE FOUND MYSELF A LOOPHOLE!

[Aside]
Seriously though, that tells you how mediocre Black Clover is, that I went and watched an entire show from like, 4 years ago, before I could muster up the willpower to watch one new episode of that one. I hear the manga is better, from a source whose opinions I trust, so there's that I guess.
[Aside end]
When this show originally aired, I actually made the call to not pick it up based on the glut of "Maou" show's that were buzzing around, kind of like how the Isekai(another world) theme is recently. That, and Evil Cats less than enthused first impression. Honestly, I wasn't impressed either with the first episode that includes the magic and fighting in Ente Isla. This show's shine comes out when they get to our world.

What got me to pick it up, was I was just floating around youtube videos trying to put off watching Black Clover long enough that I could follow it up with Juni Taisen to rub the bad taste out, and one of my recommended videos ended up being a clip from this show. I busted a gut laughing, and that's how the binge of it began.

This show is quality comedy, from start to finish. Of course, comedy is one of those things that are to each their own taste, but this one was 100% refreshing and enjoyable for me. Maybe it has something to do with how I actually work in Retail, but almost all of the gags and jokes feel very much like the kinds of bickering you'd actually hear from people working and living like the characters are. More importantly, its not just all jokes, all the time. The world has this...consistency to it. Both of them. Things keep happening in Ente Isla, even though we don't spend much time watching it, and the whole thing has this ridiculously holistic feel to it for a comedy, like watching drops of water causing ripples that randomly collide with each other. It doesn't feel like the comedy is trying to apologize for the shows serious notes, nor does it feel like the serious notes exist only to break up the comedy. Rather, it feels like the everyday lives of the characters are naturally funny, and that Life being Life, bad things happen.

Actually, that's more or less the kind of feeling I get. The characters, despite being completely fantasy characters, feel human and real. The Demon King isn't just cartoonishly evil just for the sake of being evil, he actually acts and adapts like a thinking person would, and most of the characters act that way as well. Unfortunately, the villains are a little flat, but not glaringly so.

You know, I have a benefit that writing in the future provides. This show feels like Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. I do believe that the entire feeling and impression of the show is exactly the same, from front to back, with the dragons just swapped out for demons. There's a feeling of ... authentic'ness? to the show, even when the crazy magic is flying all over. For example, when the Maou and his general arrive in our world, reduced to human forms, the Maou actually comments, "hm, perhaps humans are the base for all life" or something to that effect. Of course, his general just laughs it off as a poor joke, but the Maou seriously thought it for a brief moment. This single moment actually ends up playing into the shows entire theme as the rest of it plays out, and I utterly adore such a finely detailed touch to making sure a worlds general concepts are consistent. It isn't just, "Oops! the Demon Lord suddenly turned into a human! For reasons! LOL", so that the show can have its gag humor. It actually had some thought put into it that affects the show later as the story progresses.

Something I wouldn't have noticed years ago, this show was produced by White Fox. Back then, that probably wouldn't have meant anything to me even if I had noticed, but these days, I recognize that as a stamp of 90% quality production. There's very few shows I haven't loved that this studio has managed the production of. Take that as you will, opinions and such.

All together though, for solid characters, world-building, and comedy, I rate The Devil is a Part Timer:

GREAT
With a Recommendation on top. You couldn't find a smoother way to kill 13 episodes worth of time, in my opinion.

Maybe it's just refreshing to find a show like this because I'm watching a season with Dies Irae, GARO-Vanishing Line, and Black Clover in it, all of which are suffering from either a horrendously chaotic assembly, or an utterly undecipherable sense of direction or tone. That and feeling Shounen'y for the sake of being Shounen. Because Shounen is a genre that is popular and profitable, right? Absolutely not childishly irritating on endless repeat. At least GARO feels like it could end up someplace good. Gonna have to stop being lazy and start writing the posts for those shows.