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.

Monday, October 30, 2017

[Ended] Knight's and Magic - Relentless High Tension

Exo-suits! FINALLY,
Someone figured out these are much more practical!

My Opinion: Nothing about this felt like a mech anime. Since it's literally covered in giant robots though, that's quite an impressive statement for me to make, so let me back it up a little. At the end of this post is a rant about me and my history with the Mech Genre of anime, but to summarize it: Giant Mechs are so unwieldy, that they weigh the whole show down trying to support them. Or at least, trying to have them fighting. Knight's and Magic sidesteps this problem in a very interesting way. Rather than staying as far away from the technical side of things as possible, something that inevitably will spell the death of a Mech anime, because the basic idea of a Humanoid Giant robot is either,
A) Untenable by various principles of Physics, especially the balance controls, or
B) Impractical for the amount of resources they cost, versus how easy they are to destroy in the show.

Knight's and Magic dives right in to the technical side of things, and takes care of point A by setting the stage in a world with magic. This allowing them to bend, rather than abolish the laws of Physics. Any show that uses magic to just hand wave things away is just as bad as a mindless Mech anime in my book. Then it takes care of point B, by emphasizing how much work it takes to make these giant machines. This also naturally underlines that it's devastating for large amounts to be easily destroyed, or worse, for information on building better ones to be stolen, since it takes so long to make them. If the enemy already knows about your new secret weapon long before you can even finish building it, its effect is greatly diminished, in addition to them now having it.

That's the other thing I love about this show. Intrigue. Most of the time, Gundam shows have drama, great big emotional clashes of will and might, not real intrigue, people desperately moving around in the shadows trying to get an edge on each other. In Knight's and Magic, knowing how the enemy's mech is built is just as valuable as knowing how powerful it is to the main cast of characters, and therefore, the show. Grant, espionage isn't a large part of the show, but it's nice that they acknowledge that it exists and pay tribute to it.

That is the second half of what I think makes this show amazingly special. I believe other mech shows have previously been ruined by including lots of technical aspects to their giant robots, because they eventually get lost in those same technical aspects. The main character of this show, Ernesti Eschevalier, is the primary driving force of the show. Despite his utter otaku love of giant robots and everything to do with them, he's still grounded in the reality around him. He's not a space cadet, so to speak. He properly comprehends the consequences of what is going on around him, and how he affects it with his genius. At the same time, his boundless enthusiasm constantly propels the show forward, where other shows would get bogged down either with drama, or trying to explain things. If anything ever starts to slow down, Ernesti inevitably comes up with some lunatic new robotic thing-a-ma-jig and it, with a lot of clunking and gear-grinding, propels the show further forward as he now has to patch it up and make it work, or come up with more thingamajigs.
His robots do not just magically come up with extra power, hell, almost all of them have a problem of running out of power before the more normal designs. The pilot doesn't just scream love, friendship, or anger at the top of their lungs and suddenly everything goes their way. Shit breaks, and someone has to fix it.

It's a fair point to mention that all of the things Ernesti invents were always really interesting, in addition to being designed to be cool. That, plus the fact that nothing ever seems to go to waste in this show. I can't think of a single thing Ernesti invents in this show that he doesn't in some way re-use or re-purpose at least once, if not multiple times.

This show is a breathtakingly high-stakes, but fast paced, barrage of giddy high tension excitement.
The show knows it is here for one reason only, to make Giant Robots fight, but for once in my life, I've seen a show put in the work it takes to make this overly simple concept truly engaging.
Ha, that's it. That is how I would describe this show in a single word:
Engaging.

Impartial Opinion: I truly think everyone should give this show a try, especially if you hate Mech Anime for same reasons that I do. The characters are endearing. Several of them are very trope'y, but Ernesti generates so much driving force in the show, that they never have enough screen time to become truly annoying. They also all grow, at least a little bit.
However, if you find Ernesti himself annoying, that will likely smash this show to tiny pieces. Ernesti and his passion feel like the lifeblood of this show to me, so I daresay you would be very hard pressed to enjoy it if you hate his guts.
The battles are very high quality, in my opinion, even if the scale is probably a lot smaller than the Space Epics that hardcore Gundam fans are probably used to by now. If you just cannot get into robot fights, that will also be an easy breaking point for some, because the show does invest a lot of tension and excitement into how the latest greatest thing will perform in actual combat.

All around, I give this show a rating of,
GREAT
and a strong recommendation to top it off. I loved the hell out of this show, and it will quite literally be the first Mech anime to ever grace the shelves of my collection, if/when it ever gets translated into English so I can share it with friends.

[Aside]

I remember the first mech anime I ever watched was Gundam Wing. I was pretty into it at the time, and I loved the Endless Waltz movie to death. However, when I tried to go back and re-watch the Gundam Wing series, it just...grated on me. Most of it was how dated it was with its storytelling and characters, but the only Mech anime I've ever felt like re-watching since then was Fighter G Gundam because I remember it being unique and interesting as far as the genre goes. I've never bothered because I'm worried it will be a repeat of Wing Gundam, and it's not worth tarnishing the nostalgic memory. Knowing myself, I'll do it one day anyway.

Why did I bring all this up? I have liked basically zero Gundam anime that have come out ever since. I ended up watching quite a lot of Gundam 00, and enjoying it...but then without even realizing it, as soon as other shows started pressing for my time, it was the first to be dropped, even part-way in the second season. After that, I tried to pick up a few other Gundams that came out, or that I had never watched, but I just was never interested again. What's more, any time a mech anime came out, it got the same treatment.

I do believe I know why this happened. It's because, to begin with, human shaped robots are impractical, but that's just a very tiny piece of it. Magic is way more impractical, and I love me to death a lot of fantasy shows. The important thing, is that it contributes to the Suspension of Disbelief being dispelled. You can't just tell your audience to accept something. You need to put some effort into it, make the abnormal feel normal. The problem is far worse though. The number one contributing factor to me dropping the shows every time, was I was just utterly bored or disenfranchised with the story and characters. The drop always comes right around the time the shows story or character development plummets into the earth in favor of...Giant Robot Battles.

Yes, the core reason most mech anime fans love the genre tends to be the point where I drop the shows. Why? Because as soon as the fighting starts in earnest, everything seems to devolve into an endless ridiculous chain of excuses upon excuses for having MORE giant robots smash each other to solve everyone's problems, and it somehow fucking works. Emphasis on somehow. The excuses just continue to get ever more ridiculous until the show eventually grinds to a halt. In other words, all mech anime eventually compromise on the rest of the show, and sacrifice it into the fire in order to sustain the unwieldy metal monstrosities that are the very heart of their genre. Assuming they even tried to have a decent story and characters to begin with. A lot of the time, they're content to make it obvious right out of the gate that the show exists solely as an excuse for giant robots to smash each other for little to no reason at all. I honestly think that's the better approach, because then it isn't duping hopeful or curious people into watching something they thought would be more than it was.
[Aside end]

Sunday, October 29, 2017

[New][July 2017][Ended] Restraunt to Another World - Quality Relaxation

It's always hard to pick a pic for a show like this.
but this lion using those tiny utensils is still hilarious

Summary:
There is a certain restaurant in the first basement level of a multi-tenant building...The historical restaurant, marked by a sign with a picture of a cat, is called "Western Cuisine Nekoya." This restaurant seems completely normal during the week, but on Saturdays, it opens in secret to some very unique guests. During this day, doors in various areas of a parallel magical world open to allow customers of many different races and cultures into the restaurant.

My Opinion:
An absolute joy to behold. Original, quality content. I'm very happy to see someone actually innovating with the Another World trope, or "Isekai" as it is rendered in English from the Japanese. The characters are precisely as fleshed out as they need to be. This is a very simple, slice-of-life style show, and so no individual character is ever amazingly deep or complex, but watching each of them develop and interact with each other is very pleasant.The entire show's story ends up having this wonderfully satisfying arc as well, without you realizing what it's doing.

Impartial Opinion: Fair warning, there is Food Porn here. The show spends a LOT of time having the characters drool words all over the food they're eating, describing it and its absolutely AMAZING taste. I've never even eaten a single thing they serve in this show, and they still make it all sound great. Never made me hungry, but I imagine a lot of people would find them selves drooling if they aren't just outright laughing. These kinds of scenes tend to have radically diverse reception. Some people love it, some laugh at it, others hate it because they don't enjoy it and it drags on.

I had already planed to give this show a rating of
GREATwith a solid Recommendation,
when I had first finished watching it. At some point, I tabled writing its New post, and now here we are, I completely forgot I hadn't ever actually finished and published it.
Before, it simply was for being a solid 10/10 for relaxing and refreshing story, but now, having recently consumed that thing that is known as 'Another World with my Smartphone'
it also gets bonus points for something I hadn't originally thought to talk about. A creative and original use of the 'Another World' setting. I think I've seen anime centered around Food Porn before, and I know a specific comedy series that's set in a Restaurant, but I do believe this is the first time this particular combination has ever been done. In my experience, at any rate.

Go enjoy this lovely little gem, I promise it's worth your time, so long as you don't mind them prattling on about how amazing the food is every episode.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[New][Ocotober 2017] Konohana Kitan - Light and Fluffy goodness

Let's play Guess the Guy! There is One Guy in this picture, Whooo is it!?
Yay Androgynous Japanese art!
...they are a guy right...?

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: In a village inhabited by youkai, Konohana Kitan is the heartwarming story of a new apprentice named Yuzu, and the other fox girls who work at a hot spring hotel called Konohatei. Yuzu had always been living in the mountains, but now has to adjust to a new life working in a high class inn. The staff at Konohatei live by one belief: no matter who one may truly be, no matter what, anyone who is a guest is a god.

First Impression: A light and simple story to warm your heart.

My Opinion: If you need something to pick you up after a crappy day, for example, having had a wisdom tooth ripped out of your mouth while you were awake when you were expecting to be knocked out, there is nothing better you can find to relax to than this show. The main character, Yuzu, has more than just cuteness going for her. Usually a Cutesy main character goes hand-in-hand with being a ditz, and that irks me. That's a support character, not a protagonist, for anything other than a pure gag-comedy show. Yuzu on the other hand, while being just the right spice of clumsy, is by no measure dense or incompetent. Just in the first two episodes she shows to be a fast and earnest learner, and a hard worker. I find that very appealing in a character we're going to be spending most of the show with the camera glued to the back of her head.

The world seems to be an interesting light-mix supernatural and conventional. A couple of characters have referenced Humans wandering through the town occasionally, and Yuzu has said they visited the temple she was living at frequently. So I'm not precisely sure if the story is set in a spirit world, or if parts of the world are just more Youkai populous. The whole setting feels very Natsume Yuujinchou if I'm perfectly honest, and I love it.
In fact, that's a good way to describe this show so far. Take Natsume Yuujinchou and remove most of the sad and depressing heartfelt moments, and replace them with light and fluffy moments. I'm not sure if the show will ever get a bit more serious than this at this episode count, but I don't feel like it needs to. Within two episodes, you have a very clear idea that this is a 'feel-good' show, you're here to do just that, feel good and happy. The show does it's job perfectly.


If you are looking for or enjoy having a show to relax and unwind to, I give Konohana Kitan a solid
Recommendation.

It's just the right balance of slice-of-life light drama and good comedy. Maybe not what everyone is looking for, but one episode is all you need to figure that out, nothing too deep here.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

[New][Ended] Bulk Post Continued

That's right, another bulk post, because somehow I forgot to come back and finish whatever that train of thought was from last time. Can't even remember. Oh well.

ON WITH THE SHOW.

--
Another World Smartphone: Honestly, I would have waited to lump this into a bulk post even if I didn't have a bunch of shows I've finished to catch up on. This show was the most
MEDIOCRE
thing, I've seen in a damn long time. Pull up any generic description for a Harem, a Deus ex Machina, and then spice it with the recently popular Different World setting, and you have literally this show. This is the most bare-bones, empty-hearted, soulless show...just....ARGH.

WHY DID I WASTE MY TIME ON THIS SHOW!? I knew it was trash bin material by the second episode, but I kept wanting to see him call God! I thought that would be the most hilarious joke theme ever, having God on speed-dial! Instead, the main character may as well have BEEN GOD HIMSELF, he was so stupidly powerful and vacuous. He is LITERALLY the Deus-ex-Machina of the show!
Whatever, Youtube already has at least one review talking about how empty this show is because of it's ridiculously Over Powered main character, so I'll leave that part alone. Let's talk about the Harem for a second. At first, I found it novel that-


A) There was a fiance declared very quickly, and
B) She then immediately offers for everyone else in the Harem to become his wives as well.

Those were very avant-garde for the harem genre, usually it just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens. I thought maybe the show would touch on how impossible the idea of keeping more than one person at a time happy or satisfied was, or emphasize how the only reason the Main Character could do it was because he was basically God Incarnate.

Instead,
"
...it just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens."
Zetro, 2017.

In all due honesty, as far as anime goes, there is nothing strictly speaking offensive about the show. As long as you don't count how soulless it is. There are several pieces, like the two I just pointed out, that are original and creative in the show, but it is just so determined to not do anything risky or bold that everything is as flat as a pancake, and about as exciting as watching paint dry. I think the only useful or productive thing this show will ever be credited for is creating the "Slip Meme" I predict should show up at some point. Got a problem? Use Slip. Need help with something? Use Slip. Enemies knocking on your gates, ready to loot your worldly possessions, rape your women, murder your children, and burn everything to the ground? Use Slip.
--

Twin Star Exorcists:
Well this is old isn't it? This was a Good Shounen genre show. However, in case you couldn't tell by how long it took me to get my lazy arse around to finishing it, there was nothing especially riveting or exciting about it. Well, okay, the show being a shounen, is all about hype and excitement, but nothing outside of the norm. It's just a repeating cycle of "train to beat the big bad of the week, brief joy, new big bad of the week, repeat."
If nothing else though, it does execute on something that A CERTAIN SHOW JUST MENTIONED BUT REMAINING UN-NAMED, failed to accomplish:
A meaningful relationship between its main characters. A shallow relationship, yes, but a meaningful one in the context of the show, that grows over time, like a proper character arc should.
If you want to kill about 50 episodes worth of time real smooth, I recommend this show for that. Double points if you like Shounen genre shows, which this sits in quite firmly.

I found the show kept my attention pretty much riveted, right up until the Sae-Arc. At that point, it just felt so...forced. I dunno, maybe that's just a Me thing. Take it or leave it as you will, it was a pleasant series to watch to the end.
If you like shounen shows: I give this series a Recommendation.
--
Girlfriend Gal: Meh. Why did I finish this show again? With Smartphone, I'm outraged at myself for having put up with it, but I literally cannot remember why I kept watching this show. At first, I found it interesting that the main girl wasn't a cardboard cut out. The show seemed determined to underline how her appearance was deceiving, and it actually fleshes her out really well in the first few episodes. She's probably the ONLY character in the show with any depth worth noting. Everyone else is mostly defined by a stereotype.
Just going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I don't like the male protagonist. I especially hate almost all of his bickering inner-self segments. That's about all I have to say on the matter. He gets points for being morale when it counts, and for having a goal and sticking to it. I really respect that much of him, but for whatever reason, something about him as a whole just rubs me the wrong way and I'm not completely sure why. 


Honorable mention to the Glasses support character, I would absolutely watch an entire series dedicated to him working at his part-time job. Or, just dedicated to him, period.

Also, we need to talk about the fat pedophile. No, not "the fat lolicon" I mean THE FAT PEDOPHILE. There is literally a pedophile in this show, and it's suppose to be comedic entertainment! That's fucked up. I understand and tolerate the lolicon theme and character trope, I've even enjoyed and laughed like hell at it in such settings as the show 'Working!!!', but this show goes out of its way to make sure you understand that the fat guy is without a doubt a pedophile, and it's really creepy. No, it does not get a pass for every character in the show being creeped out and trying to tell him he's going to end up in jail, especially not after they SEND HIM TO A PART-TIME JOB AT A DAYCARE CENTER.


Who the hell...oh whatever, I don't care anymore. As far as I can tell, the show wants you to be creeped out by him when you're not laughing at him. Assuming you were laughing at him and not just creeped out all the time like I was. I've said my piece, and any more would just be wasting time beating the dead horse.
I'm going to go ahead and give this show a
BADrating. It's not a waste of your time, but you'll probably regret the time you spent on it if it isn't your cup of tea. It's through and through an 'ecchi humor', as I believe they call it, show. At least it isn't a Harem.
--

In other news, I've finished Knight's and Magic, and it is good, but I'm going to take the time to write up a proper end post for that one.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

[New][Ended] WELCOME TO THE BULK POST

OKAY SO. I may have...fallen behind on anime for a while. So we have here another bulk post to catch up on some things that have been and gone that I either didn't get to post at all, or forgot to make a post for.

-[April 2017]-
Natsume Yuujin-chou Six

Summary: A beautiful yet fleeting story about people and spirits. Natsume Takeshi has been able to see Yokai ever since he was young and inherited his grandmother Reiko’s Book of Friends. He spends his days with his self-proclaimed bodyguard Nyanko-sensei, and freeing the Yokai that were bound to the book. Natsume continues to find ways to protect the precious days where he tries to find which path to follow through his connections with spirits and those involved with them.

My Opinion: This is more of what we already love. Need I say more? What should one say about the sixth sequel in a series besides that? I mean, some show's shake things up, or at least try to, but this isn't really that kind of show. If nothing ever changed, (besides character growth, you can't do without character growth, and we have that here), we wouldn't really have anything to complain about. Or at least, I wouldn't be complaining. I could happily watch an episode of this show every day of every week for the rest of my life and never get tired. It's just not realistic to expect the author to be able to come up with that much original content, so we know that eventually, it must end, but for now...
Everyone, gather round, and sit down, it's time for another season of Natsume and the Book of Friends.
For this show has but one flaw:

THERE ISN'T NEARLY ENOUGH OF IT--

World End: What do you Do at the End of the World? Are you busy? Will you Save Us?

My Opinion: This gets a double big thumbs up as a
Greatshow.
With a strong Recommendation on top. All of the characters in this show end up being splendidly fleshed out, and the story is just...wonderful. I can't say much beyond that without spoiling stuff, I feel like. I wish I had gotten to write the end review back when I watched the last episode, so I could have filled it with more passion. As it is, I've just got this pleasant feeling of Euphoria from the spot in my brain it occupies. If I had to sum up this show, I would say 'Not Cheap'. Fair warning, this show doesn't get the happiest ending, but it does have a great ending.

The story has a passing level of depth to its plot, which is good because the driving force of the show is definitely its characters more than its over-arcing story. It provides some background driving force behind the scenes, and that's all it needs to do. Give this show a shot. I was a bit worried about the show to begin with because they were going for the cheap lewd jokes, but it was ultimately just me being trigger happy and easily annoyed around those elements in shows. It never becomes a problem. So, go pick this show up and give it a shot, I say it's worth your time!
--

KADO: The Right Answer
My Opinion: For as high as they raised the stakes, this show ended quite well. Honestly, once you take your story to the Universal Dimensional Forces level and beyond, you're just...what are you suppose to do with that?

I feel like this show could have been god-tier quality with a longer run time and more time to do things slowly, but as it is, it's great for what it has. It's the first time I've seen characters animated in 3D-CGi that look good. Like, really good. I've never really believed that I'd see 3D-CGI be good for anything but monsters that are meant to look weird and out of place with the rest of the show. This show proudly proved me wrong, the characters look just fine, amazing in fact. The question is, does doing it this way actually save the industry money and time? I couldn't even begin to guess, let alone make a statement. Hopefully it does, and it will raise the bar of quality.

As far as story goes, it's good. Not the most amazing thing ever, but it's very pleasant and it keeps you engaged. The characters....feel strong. Looking back on it, the show really felt...rushed. At the time, nothing seemed amiss, and honestly nothing was. However, with hindsight, I feel like I can say that if they had more time to flesh the characters and story out in a more methodical manner, things could have been even better. No one can deny that the climax just sort of....explodes onto the scene. For a while there, I thought the show would devolve into a Shounen-style battle for the finale. It didn't, I'm happy to say. I guess they just wanted to show off some of their more flashy special effects in the CGI.
The show is a slow, almost intellectual affair. More something to stimulate you thinking about things than pure entertainment itself. I'm not sure how to describe it much further than that. Give it a shot, see if it's your thing. If nothing else, make sure you watch a bunch of clips of the 3D-CGI, I think it's amazing how well they did with it.
--

Okay, that will have to do for now. Blogger is whining that I'm about to go over the Label/Tags character limit, so more at a later date.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

[New][July 2017] Knight's & Magic

In Cave! With a Box of Scraps!

Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: A genius programmer and hardcore robot fan freak is reborn into a world of knights and magic, where huge robots called Silhouette Knights are common military features. Now reborn as Ernesti Echevalier, he uses his vast knowledge of machines and programming talents to begin to make his ultimate robot. But his actions have unexpected results, and his simple dream begins to drastically change his new world.

First Impression: This is actually...not stupid. In fact, quite good. Very easy to Hype up for.

My Opinion: Pick it up, Give it a shot. It's not your standard 'here there be robots, watch them smash into each other every episode' affair. A lot of thought and detail has gone into the world as much as the big mechs. Most important of all, the characters are well made. Not necessarily deep, but no one has really come off as binary or flat. They change and adapt subtly. I'm not precisely sure why I picked this up and started watching...maybe just to flesh out the number of shows I'm watching this season. Nevertheless, I'm greatly enjoying this show, and I have been sick to death of mech-based anime since forever and a half ago.

Also, no, I have no idea why I keep seeing its name spelled " Knight's ". It's like that in multiple places.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[Ended] The Royal Tutor, Simple is as Simple does.



My Opinion: This is a Pretty Boy show, or Bishounen as I believe it is called. It's just fluff about a bunch of charmingly drawn guy characters faffing about in whatever colorful slice of life setting the author chooses, in this case, the tutor of a Monarchy's second to fifth princes. Honestly, that's about all it amounts to at the end of the day. There's never really any suspense, because right out of the gate they establish that Heine is the be-all-end-all solution to all problems. I will give the show credit for Heine's backstory having proper depth, but since all of the show is otherwise shallow, that amounts to merely average instead of outstanding. Leonhard was especially annoying for the early episodes, but since I ended up finishing the show, I guess I can't say it was too bad, he grows out of it to a decent degree. A realistic degree, I'm tempted to say.
I fell like with a longer length, they could have played a few things weaker and slower, and also given the First Prince more screen time, and more material to flesh out the Counts story in all this in relation to the First Prince. It seems like there could be some dramatic depth there, but there isn't enough in the show as it is for me to judge whether that would have been well executed or not.

Impartial Opinion: This is a lovely and simple show, and nothing more. Nothing amazing stands out, but it also doesn't have any glaring flaws. Some tropes may grate on the nerves, but that will ultimately amount to a personal problem, because the whole point of the show is that the Princes grow as characters, so things never grate for too long.

Do you like Bishounen shows? Maybe you want to see what a Bishoujo show looks like in the mirror? Honestly I never cared for these kinds of shows, but I watched this all the way through to the end, so if nothing else, it's easy on the eyes and mind.

I do not feel strongly about this one, one way or the other.

It doesn't feel like I wasted my time, but on the same foot, I strongly wish I had more shows begging for my attention over this one. Perhaps in a more exciting set of season releases I would have overturned or dropped this one, but it filled time nicely and without incident.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

[New][April 2017] World End: What do you Do at the End of the World? Are you busy? Will you Save Us?


Last seen: Episode 3

Summary: Quoted from My Anime List:
Five hundred years have passed since the humans went extinct at the hands of the fearsome and mysterious 'Beasts.' The surviving races now make their homes up on floating islands in the sky, out of reach of all but the most mobile of Beasts.

Only a small group of young girls, the Leprechauns, can wield the ancient weapons needed to fend off invasions from these creatures. Into the girls' unstable and fleeting lives, where a call to certain death could come at any moment, enters an unlikely character: a young man who lost everything in his final battle five hundred years ago, the last living human awakened from a long, icy slumber.

First Impression: Deep Story impaired by cheap humor. Also, seriously, that IS the name of the show. I hear Light Novels are generally responsible for these kinds of ridiculously long names? I mean, even in Japanese its that god damn long, just look at the Romanji Tag of it at the bottom of the post. It's ridiculous.

My Opinion: Could do without the vaguely erotic or 'ecchi' humor. It has shown plenty of aptitude for more conventional humor, the ecchi jokes just feel tacked on. Maybe that's just me though? I've never much cared for them, so I highly doubt I have any say in whether they're quality or not. I can vaguely think of maybe two times in my life that I actually approved of that kind of joke in an anime, one of which being a scene from the second season of Utawarerumono.

ASIDE FROM THAT. Great show. Very moving concepts on display, and some quality characters so far. Things don't always move in predictable ways, at least as far as tropes go. You could still quite easily see some things coming, but only if you think outside the Archetype's box. I don't really feel like recommending this one yet, despite being decently invested in it. Perhaps by the end I might, but not yet. I still have some vague misgivings that I can't quite put my finger on. Mostly having to do with the risk that the show's not taking itself seriously enough like it should. I have seen a Lot of shows in recent memory bomb that should have soared because they lacked confidence, and going for the cheap harem/ecchi humor has been a hallmark of it so far.
Grant, they haven't gone towards the Harem route yet, but it's fucking looming all around on the horizon, so at this point I'm just kind of bracing for impact.

HENCEFORTH, I shall refer to this show as 'World End: Are you busy?' Because apparently there's a bunch of shows featuring 'world end' in the title. Meh.

[New][April 2017] KADO: The Right Answer


Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: Quoted from MyAnimeList.net:

Cool-headed and rational, Kojirou Shindou is a government official and master negotiator with a well-earned reputation. While departing on a business trip, a giant cube materializes and his plane is taken undamaged into the mysterious, indestructible structure.

As Japanese authorities attempt to identify the cube's properties and origins, Shindou encounters an otherworldly entity known as Yaha-kui zaShunina, who materializes in the form of a human man. He assures Shindou that the passengers are not in any danger and requests help in negotiations with the human world.

Hailing from a higher dimensional universe known as Novo, Yaha-kui zaShunina is able to transfer information between Novo and Shindou's universe through a cube called Kado. Despite having these unfathomable abilities, he does not appear hostile. Instead, he announces that he has come to this world with only one intention: to "advance" humanity—starting with Japan.


First Impression: Oh no, not more 3D CGI... wait... this is actually pretty good...

My Opinion: Absolutely Amazing. Really. What better solution can you come up with for 3D CGI in 2D animation looking so utterly alien and immersion breaking, than to Literally make it something fundamentally alien to the rest of the show in every way? It's Brilliant, and that's not the only amazing part of the show.

I dare say we may be looking at the to-date utter peak of the Fantastical made Realistic. That bomb drop at the end of episode 6 was just...Figurative and literal Minds Blown.
Aside from the general impression and theme being spot on thanks to the 3D CGI, the characters and plot of the show are amazing as well. I was so utterly invested in this show by the second episode but...I wonder how everyone else will take it?
I always have a weak spot for the realistically fantastical, but there's a lot of people out there that enjoy simple off-the-cuff ridiculous and fun styled fantasy, like most entries from the Shounen Genre.

Having said that, this show is taking us on a wild ride of what would happen if an 'Alien' showed up, and was expressing an explicit intention to be beneficial to humanity. Pointedly, how several segments of humanity would outright resist change, because that's what we naturally do. The show includes a large segment of Human Politics.
[Aside]
Again, America is represented by an utterly hilariously antagonistic president but...well. We did elect Trump so, we kind of validated every hilariously vaguely villainous President in anime...
[Aside end]
Give the show until at least the resolution of the 'Wam' arc. I believe that will give you a succinct summary of everything you may expect and encounter in the show, because I sense a pattern. Introduce problem, Debate over solution, Have the 'ah-ha!' moment, and then gently hide the answer just long enough to give the audience a chance to come up with their own ideas, and see if they had the same one. I enjoy that, personally.

I'm finding it very difficult to talk about this show without spoilers, but at the least, I can easily say:

I give this show a huge Recommendation. It's very thought provoking, and I like that.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

[Retro][January 2016] Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash



Summary: Thrown into a foreign land with nothing but hazy memories and the knowledge of their name, one can rely only on fear, survival, and instinct. A group of strangers is given no other choice than to accept the only paying job in this world: 
The role of a soldier in the Volunteer Soldier program, and eliminate anything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar.
When all of the stronger candidates join together, those left behind must create a party together to survive. Despite its resemblance to one, this is no game. There are no redos or respawns; it is kill or be killed.
 
Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a cheerful hunter; Shihoru, a shy mage; Mogzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight.
The story follows them as they try to work together towards no greater goal than simply keeping food on the table, and a roof over their heads.
But, their equipment isn't free, and it will cost money to care for it, just as it will cost money to pay a Guild member to teach them new skills and spells. When they struggle to kill even a single Goblin, 6 on 1, how will they endure?

My Opinion: This was a magical ride from start to finish. If I had to use a single phrase to sum up this show, it would be "Kill or be Killed". The show sits in this magical little niche between the gritty realism dark and edgy shows fall into, and the light-hearted revelry of friends working together in a magical world. It doesn't really suffer from the drawbacks of either extreme: It doesn't faff about with excessive romances, and it doesn't grind your face in the mud saying, "IT'S SO REAL, REALITY SUCKS DOESN'T IT".
I think the magic behind the show is that it focuses on the characters survival, to keep things moving forward. I don't mean the life-or-death fighting, but the day-to-day need to buy food, and repair clothes, and pay for lodging. In real life, you don't have eternity to mourn or lament your failings and mistakes, you need to get up for work in the morning, no matter what happens, because if you stop thinking, if you stop working, if you give up, all that awaits you is death. It keeps the show rolling, which is important for a 12-episode season.

Having said that, I want to talk about something I've noticed. I remember thinking vaguely like this before when Rokka the Six Flowers came out. Is it just me, or are people super hostile to any fantasy setting show that doesn't drown itself in almost shounen'esque shallow action? It's like the only thing people can accept coming from a fantasy settings is big flashy magical effects and battles, and characters screaming for power and bravely hero'ing it up. I understood it more from Rokka, because that show gave all of the wrong impressions of what it was going to be, but Grimgar never onces makes itself out to be full of flashy action. It's always zoomed in on the characters and their life struggles.

So let me take a moment aside to tell you: This show is very close to being a straight up Slice of Life genre. It just happens to be a Slice of Another World's Life.
I happen to think it's wonderful, but every episode on crunchyroll had several comments bitching about either the pacing, the characters, or just in general nit-picking everything. Hilariously, they even nit-picked about how Haruhiro gets riled up by and nit-picks everything Ranta says and does. Hypocrites criticizing hypocrites eh? It sometimes amazes me that people fail to see that characters acting hypocritically is a Human trait. 


To be fair, the characters have a bevy of old archetypes on display, but for once, I think they felt natural. It's very rare you find anyone who isn't a narcissist, that is perfectly happy with every aspect of how they are. To me, it makes the characters more human, that they endeavor to grow outside of who they were yesterday.
The entire time, I was just waiting to hate Shihoru for being the shy-quiet archetype...but I didn't. She actually puts in the effort to grow. In a longer running season, would I have expected her to completely leave her shy nature behind and become out-going and boisterous? Ha, hell no. Anyone with a scrape of sense in their head knows that people don't change so easily. It's not a matter of her changing her nature, or any of them changing their nature. Rather, it's a matter of them becoming more comfortable with who they are, and realizing that they don't have to be someone else to fit in and get along with others, even people they don't like. Ideally, if you have the option to avoid someone you don't like, you do. But life is never so simple, and sometimes you have to put up with people you dislike or hate, and that's a good thing, because it helps you to grow as a person. To learn how to accept things as they are, and work with them.

That's this show in a nut shell, besides the touchy-feel-good moments all over the place. A group of individuals, learning how to live with each other, because they have to, if they want to survive.

Normally, I include an Impartial Opinion section, to basically try and summarize how my opinion of a show changed throughout its run, and what I think of the show overall at the end, but...
I watched Grimgar basically all at once. So my opinion exists only for the whole, didn't have time to let it slowly develop week by week. Since I didn't have the chance to deduce misconceptions, or make assumptions on what would happen next, I don't really have any fallacies to dispel. So I believe my simple opinion will suffice this time.

All things accounted for, this show was:

Great
and I give it a whole-hearted Recommendation.

So long as you understand you're getting into an almost Slice of Life show, where the draw is the characters and their story, there's a lot to love here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

[New][April 2017] The Royal Tutor

Roughly my reaction

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: The "Royal Tutor" is a special tutor carefully selected for the task of teaching the prince, and a title given only to the best teacher in the nation. Heine Wittgenstein has been called to the kingdom of Grannzreich to take on the role of the Royal Tutor. He's been ordered to raise the princes into worthy candidates for the throne, but he's greeted with four princes of completely different and unique personalities, all brothers, and all appear hostile to him from the start. How will Heine handle these princes who the previous Royal Tutors all fled from?

First Impression: Waste of Time. Episode 2 softened that up a bit.

My Opinion: At the first glance, this looked like Man-Service anime. What do they call it...Bi-Shounen I think? Basically a reverse harem. By episode two, I'm willing to roll back on that a pace. For starters, the main character is also a guy, not a girl, and he seems to pointedly be here for his own private interests, or so he says. The first episode made this show seem ridiculously shallow, and I'm not going to relent on that point. It is shallow, just not as shallow as I thought. Each of the characters are going to be defined by their generic archetype. The one thing I'm willing to 'spoil' from the second episode is that the main character, Heine Wittgenstein, is the Deus ex Machina of this show. That's basically all you need to know about the show, I believe. It's going to be about him interacting with four archetypes, and magically having the resources to always know the answer, while vague and effervescent 'plot' skulks around in the shadows. For the time being, I think it's amusing. I'm eager to see episode 3, and apply some more concrete material to my thinking. So far, we've only just seen the main character introduced to the four other mains. (five? six maybe? Does the dog count?).
Watch at least to episode two to get a grasp of the basic idea of the main characters, and if they're annoying you, I don't think there's going to be anything particularly amazing here, just a sort of light drama-comedy maybe. I'll report back with more if anything changes, of course.