Thursday, July 28, 2016

[New][July 2016] Rewrite


Last Seen: Episode 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

[New][July 2016] Amanchu

What goes up...
Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: It is spring, the season of great changes. Hikari Kohinata is an overwhelmingly cheerful and outgoing 15-year-old girl who has spent all her life in a small and beautiful seaside town on the Izu peninsula. On the first day of high school, she meets Futaba Oki, a slightly introverted girl who has just moved from Tokyo. Before she knows it, Futaba gets dragged along into Hikari's passion for scuba diving. And from there, Futaba gradually starts to come out of her shell, and learns how to take challenges and dive into the ocean of life. (text quoted Verbatim from Crunchyroll)
First Impression: Charming. Very, very, charming.

My Opinion: I wasn't quite sold on this one at the first episode. I bumped into this show, which I had otherwise scratched off my list, thanks to a video on youtube by the channel Digibro.
[Aside]
It was an hours long video of him and some of his friends just skimming through all of the new anime that have come out, and I'm going to try a few that I had otherwise ignored thanks to the Video. (My, aren't I the link happy one today?)
[Aside end]
Anyway, this one sounded charming and light-hearted, and I needed one of those in my roster so far for this season. (If for no other reason than to cool my jets from all the adrenaline ReZero keeps pumping into my veins.)

For the first episode, my original fear for this show never really went away, that it could be primarily about the diving. Like a sports show, is about the sport. I don't like that in a show, especially not anime. If I enjoy some kind of activity, I go do it. I don't sit around watching it. If I'm watching someone do an activity I would otherwise be enjoying myself, it's because I'm watching it for them doing it, not because of what they're doing. This is also traditionally to this day, the only time I've ever enjoyed shows that strongly featured a sport or game as one of its central foci of activity. They have to be more about the characters doing the thing, than the thing itself.
Amanchu has this in spades. The two main characters are essentially the only ones we've seen getting screen time for the first two episodes, and they are worth it. There's nothing particularly amazing about them in terms of stereotypes, tropes, or characteristics, but they are very charming, and they have an amazing synergy for just being entertaining to watch. The kind of 'what are they going to do next' excitement type.
Hikari is energetic and optimistic, and while she strikes as an air-head at first appearance, I don't think she actually is. Certainly she's missing ... all...of the social cues, but she's having fun with it the entire time. Meanwhile, our second main, Ooki, is introverted, without that being the only thing that defines her. Which is great. I've had it up to here(hand way above head) with characters that are completely defined by their introversion. They're almost always boring outside of pure comedy sketches. Ooki has just moved to what can only be described as a backwater town to her, after having lived in a huge city, and she's left all her friends and connections behind. Hell, I'm even willing to say she's probably left behind her style of living too. She has a penchant for calling everything 'an unfamiliar world'. Someone did a great job not only drawing up this character, but the animators also did a good job bringing her to life. This is the first time in a good while I've found a character who was introverted charming in an anime. Usually it's just an irritating feature that drags out plot events much longer than they should have been, like it's the only thing holding the drama up. 

Long story short, the two main characters are wonderful, they have great synergy, and the show appears to be primarily about them and their interactions instead of primarily being about diving. I think Hikari is hilarious, even though I know her over-the-top almost childish behavior would be annoying to some.
Comedy and Charm are dependent to each individuals tastes, but I heartily give this show a
Recommended
for this season, for slice of life charm and light-hearted comedy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

[Ended] Bungo Stray Dogs - Far Too Short



Pros: Amazing Characters
-Each of the characters has their own, shall we say, twists? Inside and out.
-While there isn't a grand plot stretching over it all, the story progresses nicely in a fluent manner.

Cons: Far too short!
-Difficult to understand in the beginning, very meandering
-Doesn't really have an easy to summarize core theme. It's not quite Slice of Life, it's not quite drama, its definitely not mystery...

My Opinion: Despite having no idea what this show was, or was about, as it started and for several episodes, I ended up really liking this show. The main character has a really impressive arc to his personality as the series progresses, he actually grows and matures in a realistic manner, instead of the usual 180 switchback from zero to hero.
Having said that, this show was WAY TOO SHORT.
Seriously, if I wasn't looking directly at the screen already when I noticed that there wasn't going to be a 13th episode, I would have done a double take. I did not expect that. In fact, the moment I realized it, I thought to myself, "that was the last episode? ... what even happened in it? Did something climax-worthy happen...? Well okay, we revealed a potential really big bad, but the previous one was still lurking about, and...end? There?!"
I had just sat down to watch this then, and now I'm all sad because there isn't any more of it.
I mean, I'm also kind of glad, because it means the show didn't get milked at all. I get the feeling this is absolutely not the kind of show that would have tolerated filler and milking well. The balance between the absurdity and practicality of the characters is a per-episode daily maintenance, especially as they keep adding them.

Aside from the length, I want to point at the characters again. I've never seen a more realistically developed arch-nemesis, as far as emotions and motivations go, in a long time. Akutagawa was quite impressive as the show unfolded. Amazingly unapproachable and so impervious by appearance, and quite insane from action and portrayal. Yet, as it goes on, the show slowly unwinds the layers of who he is, and more importantly How he became, who he is.
A further special mention for some very flashy special abilities and powers, that are actually used and applied practically. The flash never really gets in the way, it really almost feels like the extra special effects were added for the benefit of the audience, rather than as a natural part of the abilities, with how swiftly and practically the characters use them. Maybe it's just me, but I found it very charming.

Impartial Opinion: A vague, but great show. Nothing immensely amazing, not with this short length, but definitely worth your time to watch. I would absolutely love a second season to this, as it leaves off with the potential to go in a huge variety of amazing directions.

[New][July 2016] Mob Psycho 100


Last Seen: Episode 1

Summary: Kageyama Shigeo, "Mob," is a boy who has trouble expressing himself, but who happens to be an extremely powerful Esper. Mob is determined to live a normal life and keeps his ESP suppressed, but when his emotions surge to a level of 100%, something terrible happens to him! As he's surrounded by false Espers, evil spirits, and mysterious organizations, what will Mob think? What choices will he make?

First Impression: Waaay over the top. I immensely enjoyed One Punch Man, but I didn't really get into this first episode as much as I did One Punch's first episode.

My Opinion: As much as I lack the enthusiasm One Punch inspired, I do think this show will be quite amusing. Watching Arataka try to lie his way through an entire series should always be novel. It's just...I don't really like Mob's powers. With Saitama, the fight itself, even if it was going to end the same way every time, with one punch, was always fun to see. The enemies always put a lot of effort in, and that was fun to watch. Every time Mob solves a problem though, visually it's about the same as if he snapped his fingers while some firecrackers went off. Colorful? Yes. Amusing? Not quite so much. But hey, it is just the first episode, and that Percentage Counter slowly ticking up is definitely interesting.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

[New][July 2016] Taboo Tattoo



Summary: "Tattoos" : weapons that drastically enhance the physical abilities of their users, known as the "Sealed," allowing them to bring forth supernatural phenomena when activated through the charging of the user's own unique "Trigger." When 'Justice' Akatsuka Seigi saves a man from some street punks, the man gives him a strange stone as a token of gratitude. The moment Seigi accepts it, a mysterious tattoo appears on his palm. Shortly after, he runs into another person who has one, who then steals his phone to lure him out, and then attacks him, overwhelming him and could easily have killed him. She holds back, interested that he doesn't seem to know what he's obtained, or understand anything about it. She informs him that they are stolen secret weapons from America, and she is part of a group in charge of recovering them.

First Impression: It seems to always be inevitable that an action shows characters tend to be a lot more shallow than other genres, but it doesn't help with it at all, if you take several scenes to have absolutely ridiculous comedy sketches in the show. Why can't we just have a serious show? I know that there is such a thing as overly serious, but I don't really think this show was getting anywhere near it, especially not to have so many 'comic relief' moments.

My Opinion: It's action'y, it's flashy, and I think that's all it really needs. It seems very well made, from just the first episode. Nothing seems horribly out of place, and things flowed nicely, although I found the comedy skits rather jarring. Easy to get used to, but very jarring at first. I feel like the change in animation style to a less detailed, more comedic style, wasn't entirely necessary, but hey, I'm not an animator so what do I know.
I'll be watching it, because it's not entirely brainless so far, and I like my action shows that way. Things are very practical, (within action show standards anyway), until just about the end when the main character just happens to figure out how to work his power to save himself. A bit of an over done thing. Really, why do so many technological super weapons have systems so fucking basic, you can just steal it and throw it at a (high school?) student, and the first time they need to, they can use it? How about some security locks or something eh?
But hey, I'm nitpicking logic on a fight show. We're here to see the fights, not philosophize, and I think the fights are going to be really good. It's not magic, at least as far as they've explained so far. The fact that the Lieutenant was carrying around a whole case full of her 'Trigger' means that these super weapons have a finite amount of run time, requiring ammo. That's a nice touch of practicality in my opinion. Also the whole 'I'm a lot older than I look', may mean some fairly dark implications about possible consequences for using it.
Things are up in the air at this point, but it all seems quite interesting right now.

[New][July 2016] Orange


Summary: During the spring of her second year of high school, Naho receives a letter. Its sender is herself from ten years in the future. Naho thinks it's a prank at first, but when the things written in the letter start to come true one by one, she realizes that the letter is telling her events that will happen in her future. It tells her that she'll fall in love with Kakeru, a new student who transfers to her school, and that he'll die in the winter of his 17th year. After learning the regrets and wishes of the 26-year-old Naho following Kakeru's death, what can the 16-year-old Naho do differently?

First Impression: Simple. I would describe this show, as simple. It has a very simple premise, and even though the plot features a rather amazingly complicated thing, time travel, they do not give any shits about explaining that. It is literally a plot piece at this point, and everything is about the characters, and y'know what? I like that. It's a plot piece that enables the story to exist and move forward in an interesting way, in what is by far and large the dead pulped horse of a drowning setting, yet more fuggin' high school romance.

My Opinion: I'm going to watch this one. It's really mellow, and peaceful, with nothing over dramatic in tone. Certainly, a dramatic occurrence is revealed at the end of this first episode, but over all, the tone of the show has a very calming effect on me. I really needed that, after my first proper day off in ~2 months got screwed over real hard. So hey, I have a bias.
Never-the-less, as long as you can get past the fact that it is yet more high school romance, (and I think you deserve a solid gold badge for being able to do that, if you've been in the anime scene any length of time at all),
the whole 'letter from the future' thing, should keep this really fresh, and also prevent the show from meandering around, humming and hawing and delaying things from actually moving forward.
Additionally, I find it very interesting that the first thing they do, is have her ignore an instruction from the letter, and that over all, the letter doesn't really seem to be saying there is a way she can save him from dying, at least not yet. If that's actually a thing, then I think it should make this show very interesting. Y'know. For a high school romance anime.
Of which we have dozens.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

[Ended] Big Order - A Flop of an Ending



Pros: Flashy
-Lots of Pretty Animation
-Pretty good fight scenes
-Characters have at least plausible, if not explicitly interesting Motivations

Cons: That Ending.
-Insanity. It's around. I can't tell if it's deliberate, or something being mishandled.
-The story wound itself up like it was all that, then flopped like a fish at the end.
-Main character wasn't as whiny as the one from Mirai Nikki, and does improve over the course of the show, but still is far too incompetent a lot of the time.

My Opinion: Meh. It tried at least. I give this show a rating of
Bad
Because it flopped hard at the end, but at least it feels like it was trying to be unique and interesting...albeit maybe trying a bit too hard, to the point where it feels like the show was constantly trying to be edgy.
I think that may be my major complaint for this one, that it all feels so edgy. We've got incest implications, a character who's conflicted about liking and hating someone at the same time, a big ole pile of regrets for every character, the innocent hostage, and a third wheel love interest just so we can have a love triangle. Although, I do want to credit them on that last part, because I have never seen an anime's third wheel actually show some fucking initiative, like they actually were trying to get someone to love them. Credits for a lot of things in this show, for trying, but not quite making the cut. I'd like to talk about more of them, but that would be spoiling a lot of things. The show does try to be vaguely mysterious and have a bunch of dramatic reveals, although most of them are lackluster.

The ending though. We need to talk about it a bit. That was the most rushed thing I have seen, since Evangelion. There was definitely a budget cut somewhere on this anime. Either that, or the studio or producers or something, saw something coming up that they refused to actually animate and publicly air, so the show got the knife. The story apparently is from the same person who made Mirai Nikki, but I don't myself know whether Mirai Nikki or this show were made from light novels, mangas, or were just original scripts for animation by the author, I just know that both are sourced to him. I'm vaguely interested in if Big Order has a source material, but at the same time, I don't really know that I'm interested in reading it. I don't dig the Eiji and Sena thing. I don't mean that in a 'ooh incest is bad' sort of idiocy, I mean in the actual characters themselves getting together, as the show portrayed them. Eiji seemed to get on a lot better with either 'Not-Gasai-Yuuno, no-really' and bunny girl. Eiji and Sena really were portrayed as just brother and sister, for all the edgy'ness that was around them. Also, a lot of comments that I was reading seemed to be saying something about Eiji pledging himself to his sister in a romantic way? I never saw that. Maybe they were quoting the source material, and the anime rubbed that out. All I ever saw was the one scene in the opening music and animation, and hell, that things 100% tripping, so that doesn't mean squat.

Impartial Opinion: For all that the ending flopped hard, it really feels like it flopped because it was rushed, to me at least. I thought that the big reveal about what Sena's wish would be was done spectacularly, both in lead up, twist, and actual execution and how Eiji reacted. It was just ... everything else falling apart. The big bad turned over like a piece of paper, none of the 'Elite Squad' that was gotten together to face him down in the first place really amounted to jack shit in the ending, and so on. Plus that last dramatic fight...talk about reaching for a climax. The ending after it? Also completely unsatisfying. How many times do I have to say it, you can't just magic hand wave something important away, and expect everything to be fine. 'A contradiction cannot exist in reality, neither in part, nor in whole'. If you leave a contradiction in the weaving of your story or plot, and especially in the world both of those contain, it's going to taint the experience. To me, the biggest contradiction was always 'Why doesn't Eiji just use his fucking power more'. I mean, the show did make a point of Daisy sealing his power to puny levels, but still, he showed several times that he could be clever and innovative with it, but a bunch of other times, he basically just curls up in a ball and starts crying. Also, they never really used his special trick that he did with the bunny girl again, right until the ending. I was expecting more out of that special trick. Ah well.

At the end of the day, I think you should watch this show. Just, don't put your expectations anywhere above mid-level, and definitely turn most of your brain off and just go with the flow. It's a pretty enjoyable show for flash, and it definitely tried to have depth, even if it didn't succeed in actually getting it.

Over all, the show just feels like what you might get if you only watched half the episodes of Mirai Nikki. Like a helluva lot is missing.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

[New][April 2016] Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-

Out of all the scenes, I chose this one.
because it was a really pretty scene.
...
bite me. It was really pretty.

Last Seen: Episode 7

Summary: Natsuki Subaru, an ordinary high school student, is on his way home from the convenience store when he finds himself transported to another world. As he's lost and confused in a new world where he doesn't even know left from right, the only person to reach out to him was a beautiful girl with silver hair. Determined to repay her somehow for saving him from his own despair, not to mention getting mugged in a back alley, Subaru agrees to help the girl find something she's looking for that was stolen from her.

First Impression: This is amazing! The core idea is not new, but it is being used in a fresh way. Which is to say, that while previously this ability was the core of the show, the thing that the story was mainly about, here it just seems to be a ... 'Feature' shall we say, of the main character, and the core of the story is the actual Plot of the world around him, or at the very least of the people close to him as he tries to figure everything that is going on out.

My Opinion: I think this one is going to be amazing, and you should pick it up. Like, Right Now.

...Why are you still here?
 Oh, right, because some stranger walking up to you, and yelling in your face to do something, just makes you feel like calling the police, not doing what they say.
The main character is a buffoon. He himself, is aware he is a buffoon, but it's just how he's chosen to live his life, like how some people just choose to be optimistic all the time. He's chosen to always try to enjoy the moment, and to simply go with his first thoughts most of the time. Thrown into a new world, he finds he can understand, and is understood by, the local populace, but can't actually read anything, and his money is worthless. To top that off, he sees Demi-humans walking about, and eventually finds out magic is around as well, plus a load of other fantasy set pieces.
The real core of the story however, is when he finally finds what is essentially the only significant thing about him in this world...that when he dies, he moves back in time to a fixed point. He understands very little about this effect, and has absolutely no idea what he is suppose to be using it for. He can find no reason why he was pulled to this world, no person who caused it, and has no idea how he suddenly has this ability. He can't read or write the language, has no marketable skills, and wasn't particularly strong or smart to begin with.
Ultimately, after he is murdered the first time and doesn't really comprehend whats happening, as time has reset around him...he simply decides to try to save everyone that is being killed in the small slums pawn shop where he first died. As the story unfolds, he finds out that one of them is in fact a very important person in this world...

There. That's a bit more detailed of a summary, albeit a little bit spoilery. Still, nothing you wouldn't have gotten out of the first half or so, of the first episode. Yes, that's right, first half. The first episode is twice as long as usual, with an A and a B part. For me, the glory of the show is the characters so far, and especially the main characters struggle to determine his course in this strange new world. Especially since time keeps resetting...He may remember the people he meets, and the things they did together, but for them, it never happened. The whole show is wonderfully dramatic, but at the same time, it never goes over the top. After all, he's just ... normal. Other than resetting everything when he dies, he has no outstanding characteristics, and that helps keep the show very well grounded.
I highly recommend this show, again.
Seriously go watch it.

[New][April 2016] BIG ORDER


Last Seen: Episode 5

Summary: This is a story that begins after the world ends.Ten years ago, A Great Destruction occurred in the world. Around that time, "Orders" began appearing. Orders are people whose wishes have been turned into supernatural power. It is generally believed that one of these Orders caused the Great Destruction. In fact, the one who confesses to having wished for world destruction is Hoshimiya Eiji. Except...today, 'Daisy' as he calls her, the being that grants peoples wishes and makes them 'Orders', appears before him again, and says that his wish was not for World Destruction...and that she looks forward to finally seeing him use his powers. Events begin to spiral out of his control, as a beautiful girl, Kurenai Rin, transfers into his school... then professes to be an assassin sent to kill him, for causing the Great Destruction, and for killing her parents! After she stabs his sister in her wheelchair to take her hostage, the story follows Eiji as he proceeds from there towards a path of World Domination...just like the hero, Evil Ranger, in his favorite show he used to love as a child...as he tries to remember how he caused the World Destruction ten years ago with his wish.

First Impression: This feels like Mirai Nikki, with a far less annoying main character. As a matter of fact, he's developing wonderfully by the fifth episode.

My Opinion: This is going to be Mirai Nikki all over again, only better because the main character isn't a bloody crybaby. Yes, he's scared, and fearful, but he grows a fucking spine when his sister is threatened, and he stands up when things need to be done.
On the other hand, there's a strange kinky streak in the show. The first episode deliberately ends with Rin making "suggestive" noises, despite that nothing of the sort is going on. Later on, we get a character that is obsessed with fondling people's boobs. I get the feeling this is just a quirk of the original author, this time around. The same author from Mirai Nikki.
Over all, this looks like it's going to be great, if a bit strange at times. (Those Mysterious Bunny Ears...)
You should have a pretty good idea of whether you want to watch this show or not already, but if not, I recommend watching at least 2 episodes, if not 3. The Plot seems to actually be moving at a fairly slow pace, despite the story thundering forward like it's on crack.

I recommend it so far.

[Ended] Active Raid

last of the bulk endings, now to do the backlogged New series

Pros: Good action that never feels mindless.
-An interesting insight into Japanese standards for Police conduct and law enforcement, as much as I'm sure the show takes liberties with what the reality may actually be
-The tech on display always manages to feel realistic, albeit some more than others

Cons: It comes off feeling very...out of place
-None of the characters are particularly deep
-The Plot is also quite shallow
-For all that it tries to present like things are always moving for good reasons, a lot of the shows direction still feels very...arbitrary?

My Opinion: This show is definitely either parodying, or taking heavy inspiration from the Kamen Rider/Power Ranger style. That is literally what the main cast of characters are in their world, for all that the show seems to be trying to be subtle about it.
Despite all of the cons, and the huge hard time I had trying to think up those 3 pros, I rather liked this show a great deal. I don't feel particularly awe inspired or amazed about it now, several weeks after the end of it, but while it was airing, I looked forward to it every week. I have to underline, again, that I really enjoyed considering this show an insight into how the Japanese police may likely conduct themselves. Sure, it has to be divergent from reality to some degree, but just the base line of all of the characters actions and the laws in the show is an amazingly unique perspective compared to everything I've ever seen of American law enforcement.
Even though I say the characters and plot are all quite shallow, and I do sincerely believe the show would have benefited from spending some more time fleshing them and the world out, still none of them feel particularly held back by this. It's not so much that there's a problem with how much development everything has, as much as it is that I simply would have liked to have gotten more of it.
I also want to point out that you should watch the opening music and animation every episode, and the ending as well. They do some subtle (and not so subtle) things with them, that I found very charming.

Impartial Opinion: The whole show feels like what you would get if you asked the Anime industry to make a show like Law and Order, or CSI. That's the majority of what I can say about the show, I'm afraid. I really should have wrote and completed this ending review as soon as I completed the show, because I feel like I had more to say about it back then. They do say hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.

Regardless, I give this show a rating of:
Good 

I enjoyed it, and I think others may as well. Watch 1-4 of the opening episodes to get a taste. While the show will try to have a bit more depth than what happens in those episodes, really, it doesn't succeed in getting very deep. It did move in some unexpected ways near the end, but ultimately nothing hugely amazing happens. It was just a good show.

[Ended] GATE

still hammering out these end posts, sorry if you really like the images

Pros: Tech meets Magic, but not in the usual way
-The characters are well fleshed out, with good distinguishing features and motivations
-The story moves in an amazingly realistic manner
-For all that magic exists in this world, nothing is ever hand-waved away with it
-The show has very little in the way of Erotic fan service, focusing more on...shall we say 'Personality Fan-service'

Cons: Some typical anime industry stereotypes are here
-The main character is clearly collecting a harem, albeit a Stereotype one instead of a Fan service one
-The show relies heavily on you supporting and liking the main character Itami, I have a hard time imagining someone who doesn't like him enjoying the show
-As much as the show does do amazing things, at the end of it, it still feels like it's moving incredibly slowly, for all that it may just be my opinion

My Opinion: This show gets a rating of:
Great
That's my opinion, Deal with it, because I'm about to explain it.
Yes, the show is filled to the gills with industry stereotypes, but in my opinion, the characters that hold them are never dominated by them. Remember, a stereotype is an amazing tool to quickly build a character, but the reason why they have become so tiresome and annoying, is because too many times the creators fail to develop the character past or out of the stereotype. To paraphrase the effect in a way, I could say "Once a tsundere, always a tsundere". The stereotype literally becomes the only defining feature of the character, it overpowers their personality and any traits they might otherwise have.
This show on the other hand, is so self-aware of each of the characters stereotypes, that a character comments on how Itami's group(/harem) is each individually appealing to him. Hell, while shows that have harem'esque features or groups to them have previously always had them competing with each other to get the main character, I've never seen a group compete in such diverse ways. Rory is literally trying to get into his pants, and probably wants a relationship with him as well, but very much so is making a higher priority of seducing him and getting into his pants. Tuka, on the other hand, is borderline hysterical about simply not losing him, rather than explicitly trying to have a relationship with him, even though as the show progresses it clearly presents her as wanting one. Finally, while Lelei clearly has feelings for Itami, she's putting them aside for the most part to continue pursuing her life's goals that she was working on before the entire Gate fiasco happened in their world, even using everything she learns from our world to further her endeavors.
I want you to really focus in on and pay attention to that last one. A member of a harem'esque collection NOT having their entire life rewritten by the appearance of the harem center character. Hell, I'm not even comfortable using the term 'harem' to reference Itami gathering all three of these characters together, for all that the eventual fourth one does feel more fitting with the term. Can't really talk about that one without spoilers.

Additionally, I love the action in this show. With a passion. I will never get over how hard I laughed at and loved it when they started playing Ride of the Valkyries when sending out the choppers. Never.
Since it's predominantly based on modern technology, it's kind of hard to describe it in some manner of appealing way. I just really, really, like it when they find a reason to ship out the soldiers to go fuck somethings shit up.

Impartial Opinion: This show is amazing, and I think everyone should try it. You can't please all of the people, all of the time, so if you don't like it that's fine. There are certainly plenty of things in the show that could be irritating or downright off-putting. However, the potential gain for liking the show massively outweighs those, in my opinion. The Modern-setting is something we rarely see presented in shows, especially not in shows that have magic. Typically, whenever magic shows up, our modern worlds characteristics are drastically rewritten, if not completely erased. Yet here, we have a show that seems to have a mission statement of trying to accurately, even if entertainingly, present what it would be like for our modern world to suddenly happen upon fantasy and magic. We wouldn't just have millennia of our history and culture rewritten in an instant, hell, most of the average populace of the planet either wouldn't give a shit, or wouldn't have the means to care or do anything about it anyway.
In fact, that's part of the appeal of the show to me; Showing how we would bring all of our bloody history to bare against an underdeveloped world, and how absolutely alien and strange the way we conduct ourselves would seem, especially that we wouldn't just immediately start conquering and pillaging. For all of the embarrassment it brings me to be related to someone who's legitimately wishing for Trump to be elected president here, because they're joining the army and want him to start a war so they can earn glory...as a whole, our world has in the majority gotten over the idea of the Glory of War, and instead acknowledges it as the massive tragedy and waste of life and resources that it is. Albeit at the cost of several instances of Nuclear Devastation...
This show does good job of not only having all of the characters from our world conduct themselves in a reasonable manner, but also of presenting the reasons and motivations behind their conduct.
If I had to condense what this show feels like to me, I would say:
"Realistic Surreal Happenings."

[Ended] Utawarerumono - The False Faces

In the interest of getting a few of these end posts hammered out that have been collecting dust
in draft form, I'm going to skip the quick image cuts of the shows, and shall resume again after.


Pros: Great Characters
-Characters don't always get a lot of time to develop, but they rarely feel like they needed more
-The world is amazingly deep
-The Story has the power to stand on its own without the previous season

Cons: Years divided seasons
-Several characters make cameos from the first season, and the show doesn't really seem to bother trying to fill in the new viewers about those characters beyond what they immediately need to know to make them function where they show up. As a result, I expect many people to see them as kind of Flat, uninteresting characters, or to feel like they're magic mc'guffins to advance the plot/story
-You're only going to see one-half of the true depth of the world from the second season. The two season basically exist in such a way that they are telling a story from two different opposing view points, but you wouldn't be able to tell this without seeing both seasons, and it would spoil things greatly to try to explain what those opposing views are in any detail
-For all that the story stands on its own, the plot is clearly a continuation of the first seasons plot, and I don't think a lot of people are going to even realize that there is more to the plot, without being told by someone that knows

My Opinion: This was a splendid ride from the start...but not quite to the finish. There is so much that is going to be happening right after the show ends, yet still, there it ends. As I understand it, this show is being adapted from some form of either Visual Novel/Game. I don't remember the specifics, and I don't particularly care about them either, but I think it's safe to say that this show is a strong candidate for getting another season...but...
The last time it took what, Years? How long are fans suppose to wait? Whatever, the show is good enough to wait for, I just find myself thinking, 'how would you pitch this to your source of funds', whatever that may be, publisher, company, EtC.

It's not quite a 'wild ride', like you may get from other shows. Here, the action takes place as a reinforcement of the ebb and flow of the story and world, rather than as a set piece to dominate the scenery. In fact, most of the time the 'action' is just brief flashes of pawns killing each other for a few seconds, before flashing to a more developed character who will actually show something worth seeing. Even then though, the show enjoys underlining that for all their power, still that character affects only a small part of the battlefield. The grand movement of the battlefield seems to be treated as far more important to the show. I like that myself, and the action and fighting of those main characters, in addition to the characters themselves, are superb in my opinion.

Impartial Opinion: This is a good enough show on its own, but until/unless it gets a continuation, I don't really feel comfortable recommending it, especially since if you want to understand the true grand over-arching plot of the show, you have to devour the entire previous Utawarerumono show.
Still, it can be said that you don't need to do that, I suppose. However, you'll miss several subtle cues and foreshadowing moments, or may not even understand at all why things suddenly happen in one or two points of the show. Over all, you will still understand everything you need to. The deeper meaning and plot will potentially evade you though, and you may not understand as much of the direction the show aims itself in at the end. With the previous season in your pocket, you will fully understand what the show is hinting at that it is going to do if it gets another season. You may still have a vague idea of that hinting, but not as much.

I give this show a rating of:
Good

Whether you decide to watch it should be decided within about 3 episodes, but I would also underline that you should really watch the first season before this one, for all that I'm sure a newcomer could still enjoy this season on its own.
However, you cannot tell the worth of the first season on it's first few episodes, as it takes a much longer time to develop everything. I view this as a shortcoming while trying to sell people on the show as a whole, but in the long run it's probably what made that first season great.

[Aside]
Y'know, the one time I decide, "eh, let's just assume crunchyrolls paid(I assume) translators know something I don't, and not heckle about this ones title. It probably can mean that too."
...the one time. Bah. KAMEN RIDERS ANYONE? I haven't even SEEN that ancient as dust show and that's all I need, to know that Kamen means mask. How did they...oh who cares.
Mask not Faces. Whatever. Yes it makes a lot better sense, from a translation point AND from the plot.
[Aside end]