Thursday, December 19, 2013

Kill la Kill: Deeper than its skin, but not its clothes

Last Seen: Episode 10

My initial impression of the show was that it would play out as a action-centric hyper comedy show, with either half fighting for dominance. I was sort of right...Minus the third contender from way out of the park: The story and characters. With the entrance of the Soldier with a Mission a few episodes ago, and his summary exit that same day as is the shows style, the plot got a lot deeper, although not in any way that wasn't completely obvious well before it happened.
[Aside]Why does everyone assume that just because something leeks obvious from every pore, it's immediately bad? I've run into this way of thinking way too much lately. Just because you can accurately predict the outcome, doesn't mean the ride there won't be the greatest thing you've ever experienced, it just means it won't take you by surprise. For instance, Gurren Lagann had an obvious ending, the good guys were going to win. That was obvious. It was still one of the wildest rides to ever grace the industry. Obvious is not immediately bad; It is just a potential sign of bad craftsmanship.
[End Aside]
The significant part is how much deeper it got. I mean, we're not about to hit china over here with this show, taking a step back and looking at the big picture, we're still in the shallow end of the pool, but compared to what I thought was going to be this shows story and plot depth, (which was Zero), it's impressive. If only to me.

One part that continually impresses me is the shows own limiter, that it always lives up to. It loves introducing someone/something huge, and then wrapping it up before the end of the episode, if not before the end of half the episode, and yet it still makes it great fun to watch. I don't just mean cathartic mindless fun either, but some solid: 'oh, that's an awesome way to do that', moments.

Short Version: If you passed this show up because you thought it was just too over the top, if you thought it was just going to wallow in shallow 'strip them with sparkling special effects' shock value, stop, about-face, and start watching it again. The MAGNIFICENT FLASHY STRIPPING TRANSFORMATIONS don't ever stop or even slow down, but compared to where things have been before, they're keeping it under control. What you get at face value on day one, episode one, never goes away, the flash, the grandeur, it's all here for the long run. But! There is also depth here too. Usually when you see this simple magnitude of flash, it's because someones trying to compensate for something, and cover it up or distract you from it. Kill la Kill does not need its flash to distract you from anything, its flash is just spice to make what it has at heart taste better.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[New][October 2013] Log Horizon

A New Way to Live the Game

Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: One day, 30,000 players suddenly find themselves trapped in another world. There, eight-year veteran gamer Shiroe also gets left behind. The trapped players are still alive, but they remain in combat with the monsters. The players don't understand what has happened to them, and they flee to Akiba, where they are thrown into chaos.
First Impression: Boldly striding where bandwagons meekly tiptoe. Solid story and characters, and a well shaped plot so far.

First Opinion: You remember the big hit a little while ago, Sword Art Online? You do? Well forget about it. This shows nothing like SAO. SAO ended up being a very action'y Shounen'y show, it lost a good deal of depth in the second season. Grant, I still enjoyed the hell out of it, but if it had just ended with the first season, and maybe an epilogue, it would have left a deeper impact. The core of the second season was sound, it just felt a little sloppy, too many plot holes.

Meanwhile, over here in Log Horizon, they like their flashy skills and spells, which is good, but the show is more drama and plot than it is action. The story is shaping beautifully, and the characters are all of sound quality and interest. The show has just spun its major plot element, and I'm looking forward to how this one spins out. If I had to summarize the the core difference, at the time of writing, between Log Horizon and SAO, it would be 'Human Interest' versus 'Drama and Action'. To be honest, I'm feeling like the word 'Drama' is a bit too general recently. I think I'll start cooking up something more specific for my needs.

If you were writing this one off as just a bandwagon behind Sword Art Online, (like I originally was), then consider yourself soundly slapped, and go start watching it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yuusha ni Narenakatta: Erotic. Erotic Everywhere.

Sorry no Screenshot today
Last seen: episode 3

Honestly I should have known this was coming, seen the signs. Most obviously, when the ending song and animation contains six plus women floating through the sky in string bikini's. So I just wanted to stop in real fast and give you all the heads-up warning that this show has an exponential increase in erotic content.

In other news, the core story of the show is still interesting, as are the characters. I suppose I've become a bit .. resistant? ..Jaded? to this kinda crap by now, I'm pretty sure I would have thrown down the gauntlet for way less than this before.

I don't know what to think of that.

If I can say anything positive though, it's that I am grade A impressed at how they managed to have a 100% Hentai moment, and be completely non-liable for it. Like, really. Even if you hate the show, watch episode three just to see them do it. It's ridiculous, the justifying world logic they use to glue it together during the moment is even unabashedly weak and loose as they give it in the moment. In the Moment is when the logic should be at its strongest. I was literally thinking "Lady, what you are saying doesn't even remotely explain whats happening on screen right now! Just who do you think you're fooling!?".
Long story short, this is the most bold-faced grab at our pants appeal I've encountered since I accidentally mistook a Hentai on for a mainstream anime.

Seriously why did they even have that thing on their website? They don't host hentai. To hell with Yosuga no Sora and everything it's about.
[End Aside]

Friday, October 25, 2013

Golden Time: Serves me right.

Oh no, Indeed
This. This, is what I get for being excited about having read the manga first. My hopes dashed upon the rocks before they even had a chance to flail their wings about, let alone soar. You need to understand, that I'm a cynical, pessimistic kinda guy. I take little signs of potential flaws very seriously. I look for excuses to shoot my hopes down to earth. Now, rather than reassuring me of the excellence that this anime will be, the manga has me doubting every little design choice of the animation studio. 'Are they doing this on purpose? Because they had to? Because the original wouldn't work? Will they make this the foundation of some terrible half-arsed quick end?', these questions are going  through my head non-stop. How the hell do other people that have read mangas before they got animated stand it? It's working its hardest to try and depress me. I was wondering just what they planned to do with the anime when the manga, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't even completed yet. Maybe just run a short season anime, that doesn't move through all of the existing content. Now, I'm not so sure.

I'm not saying that this anime is going to be bad. Hell no, quite the opposite I still hope many things of this one, and I'm willing to wager a solid bet that those of you who like Drama/Romance/Slice of Life will enjoy it. I'm just lamenting that my foreknowledge has poisoned my maximum potential to enjoy the anime.

[Spoiler Warning]In the manga, this little bit of scrunched up paper he's shoving into his back pocket was burned on the spot instead. This isn't something that needed to be done, it would have added to the drama. As soon as I noticed this too, I also noticed that the last two or three scenes before this also felt a bit off, and I suddenly remembered that it went differently. Those scenes, fine, nothing suspicious, maybe they just wanted to turn up the suspense a bit. Not burning these papers? 100% stinks of 'We plan to use this later'. When the animation studio plans to use something that wasn't in the original story, things start to unravel, just as badly as when things that existed are removed.
[Spoiler Warning End]

Yay me! *High fives self in the mirror*. For the first time, I feel like I've actually just slapped out my feelings about something into the blog, and not written a goddem essay.
Now, if only I could prove that this wasn't a fluke, and repeat it...
[Aside End]

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[New][October 2013] Samurai Flamenco

Summary: Masayoshi Hazama, a man who has become a superhero “by himself” with no superhuman powers or any sort of high-tech conversions, and Hidenori Goto, a cop who constantly gets in trouble thanks to Hazama. This is the story of the birth of a true hero featuring these two young men with a touch of comedy and serious drama.

First Impression: Almost out for too much Comedy, and then right up high on the list for Drama.

First Opinion: Damn man. Talk about flipping the coin in just one episode. Half way through the episode I was almost ready to toss this one for the season, the played-straight comedy was getting so thick I couldn't stand it. I know a good lot of people who really enjoy that kind of comedy, but it's not my thing. Then, right at the end of the episode, it flips into a seriously solid dramatic moment.

My best advice: Take to heart that the opening ends as a dream, don't let it set the tone of your expectations, and ride the first episode to the end. The beginning is a whole lot of character and tone set up. They even use In Medias Res to help define a character. That's a fair risk to do that for something like an episodic anime series, although the risk is lessened by containing it within a single episode. As used in this case, it was a fairly complicated way to play out character introductions, an unnecessary but flavorful bit of spice.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

[New][October 2013] Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai

Summary: During the early 20th century, along with technological advancements, scientists were able to develop sophisticated magic. The combination of science and sorcery was Machinart, circuits made from spells that were put into objects to bring them to life and even gain a personality. It was developed as a military weapon and has now spread throughout the world. Akabane Raishin is now attending the Royal Academy to become the best in the world.

First Impression: Action Drama. Clean cut. Maybe there will be some romance in it as a spice, but the core is obviously going to be Action, and Drama.

First Opinion: Did I mention I hate some websites summaries? I hate some websites summaries. They are so bland and worthless, and sometimes they don't even make sense. These summaries I give you people? I make them from bits and pieces of several places summaries, after I watch the first episode, to make sure it's at least helpful. The first summary I read of this anime was so garbage, it made the anime seem worse than garbage. I feel really bad for thinking that of it.

Back on topic, there's nothing here spectacularly above the diagonal. I thought from the first impression I got about this anime (seriously to hell with some summaries out there), was that it was going to be another contrived romance between a 'synthetic human' and normal human. I've had it up to the roots of my hair with that plot type. Not so much for having seen a lot of them, but because there isn't a lot you can do with it. The story always resorts to either contriving up a way to make the synthetic a little less synthetic, or they dance down some merry rainbow-happy-road of borderline delusional denial and evasion of serious discussion. I don't understand, personally, the idea of intentionally choosing a controversial thing, and then being paranoid about it. You bloody chose to have the controversy.
Instead, this show not only throws that plot type right out the window, it spits on it in mid-air, with the two main characters literally stopping to stand still and talk it away. I found that in good taste, but hey, maybe someone out there was looking for the contrived synthetic romance plot again.

My present decision for this one is to keep it and file it into action, but I don't really have high hopes for it. The blunt rejection of a plot type was novel, but not remarkable these days, it's being done more frequently it seems. Other than that, I don't see much especially unique, although several things are a tiny bit original.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

[New][October 2013] Tokyo Ravens

Summary: Tsuchimikado Harutora was born into a prestigious Onmyoji family, but he can't see Spirit Energy. Therefore, he's been enjoying a peaceful daily life with his friends at an Onmyo branch school. One day, his childhood friend Tsuchimikado Natsume, heir to the head family, suddenly appears.

First Impression: Flashy high budget animation action. Sci-Fi rules oriented Fantasy.

First Opinion: There's a right way, and a wrong way to dump a truckload of information on an audience, and mindlessly reciting a hundred very detailed and lengthy names is not a right way to do it. Very fast into the episode they quickly dump out a bunch of names that are borderline Science Fiction complicated. For me, that's a plus because it means someone somewhere put a lot of thought into this world. Where there's more detail and more thought, there will be more quality, if for no other reason than the time required to create the excess details. For others though, this first episode better not have expected everyone to have picked up or retained anything they just said, because that's just silly.

Things start slow and somewhat solidly grounded within the usual Anime settings, high school, group of friends, vague hints of the protagonist having some past events and issues. When the action kicks off into high speed at the tail end of the episode though, things go bat-shit bonkers. The animation kicks in some 3D computer animations, things get very flashy, very detailed, and most of all: Very Crazy. The sudden introduction of the 3D computer animation made me think of Ghost in the Shell, the only memorable previous instance I have of something similar. The sudden tone shift in animation may throw a few people off, but I've always found to be at the minimum interesting, if not at least hilarious when it fails hard.

This show looks like it's going to be trying really hard to fit into a slot somewhere around the area of Action. They slap the Romance elements onto the back-burner so hard I think they'll have to walk backwards for a while to see where they're going.

Monday, October 7, 2013

[New][October 2013] Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta

Summary: In a town where humans and demons co-exist, it takes more than a normal police force to maintain the peace. Enter the Hiizumi Life Counseling Office, a fantastic foursome of unique teenagers, each gifted with an amazing super power.

First Impression: I'm lost, but this is an action oriented Drama. Maybe some Slice of Life too.

First Opinion: So...I'm honestly going to be judging this by the previous one...because I'd be lying to myself if I tried to do anything else. On that note: This is obviously in a different animation studios hands, although I lack the resources or interest to find out the specifics. Even for someone like me, who usually doesn't pay attention to graphics of any kind, having a previous point of reference to compare it to shows that this new... season? Instance? Retelling? Remake? Whatever the heck this is, it's art and animation are a lot more...hyper. It's much more action oriented to be sure, very flashy and bombastic. The characters are also... I'm going to phrase it as 'less mellow'. They come off as 100% more outgoing than the previous rendering. Ao especially, is just way less...broody than I remember her being. Maybe I'm just remembering wrong.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and try to take this instance of Yozakura Quartet on its own, try to forget the previous one. Sure, we're in the same place, same setting, same original cast, and probably even the same emotional and drama plots, but everything feels way different right out of the gate, so bringing in some predispositions from former relations feels like adding deadweight onto the show it doesn't deserve just yet. I'm going to at least try. No promises.

[New][October 2013] Gingitsune

Summary: Gintaro is a fox spirit that has been protecting the small Inari temple since the Edo era. Makoto's family possesses the power to see the gods' agent, but the ability is limited to one living relative at a time. With the help of fox spirit's power, Makoto and Gintaro help the people of their community, in spite of their many differences.

First Impression: Very light hearted. Slice of Life'ish.

First Opinion: Gintaro is...Not standard of what you'd expect anything Fox themed to be like. Maybe they're going to tie that to him being from the Edo era, but...well it was hilarious for me. They start the show out in a position that could have played on sorrow and tragedy easily but...quickly brushed over it and skipped ahead. That felt rather awkward, but really I have to admit that trying to get the audience to care about the sorrows of a character that literally has only been on screen for 5 seconds is a bit much, so I'm going to say 'good move'. I'm not in a position to say much about this one, as I personally love Foxes, but here's my two-bits: This looks like a very slow, light-weight drama show. If you're not the kind to let yourself be interested in stories that aren't action packed or deeper than the ocean, you may want to just pass over this one. If Slice of Life is your kind of show though, pick it up.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

[New][October 2013] Yuusha ni Narenakatta

 Summary: The story revolves around Raul, a boy who did not become a Hero, since the demon lord was already defeated just before his Hero exams. His dreams dashed, Raul spends his days working at a magic shop in the capital.

First Impression: Comedy and Slice of Life appear to be the core right now, but there's likely going to be some romance in the future.

First Opinion: Wasn't there just one like this last season? I hadn't seen that one yet, so I can't say anything on that front, but what I do know is there is a hell of a lot of Demon-Hero anime is coming out lately. For now, this is pretty interesting. They almost completely scrap anything to do with the generic fantasy setting thing with Demon Lord and Hero, and quickly reset the tone down to everyday life. In fact, the Demon/Hero thing so far just seems to be a free character background plot dump, that saves them having to animate and explain the characters backgrounds in detail. Personally, I think this is a good idea, as it will provide an entry point of interest for a lot of people, but still gives it plenty of room to be original with its material, unlike say...Hagure Yuusha.
For now, this is on my list, but with so many other nice things, this will likely be one I don't keep up with week to week.

[New][October 2013] Golden Time

This statement is about to become humor in a few seconds

Summary: Tada Banri, a newly admitted student at a private law school in Tokyo, found himself completely lost after the opening ceremony, trying to find his way to the freshman orientation. At that moment, he ran into another lost freshman from the same school, Yanagisawa Mitsuo, and they hit it off at once. Somehow arriving at their intended goal just on time, there appeared in front of the two a beautiful girl holding a bouquet of roses.

First Impression: Drama Romance roller coaster.

First Opinion: H'omigosh. Omigosh. I have an informed opinion for the first time...ever! I know this one, I've been reading its manga as its been slowly translated into English. So here's my best advice, and informed opinion:
If you like the Slice of Life and/or romance anime, you will very easily find this one very refreshing and original, but I must warn you: Take nothing at face value. Things start off simultaneously cut-n-paste, and out of place original in the first episode. If you find anything you like, put this one on your list because it's gonna roller coaster you in multiple directions, emotionally.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that the animation studio doing this so far has done amazing work, turning one manga chapter into one anime episode. That has a long running record of not going well. Especially in mangas like this one, that have a lot of thinking instead of talking and doing, it's generally considered taboo to put thinking into TV, shows, Movies, Et C.
[End Aside]

[New][October 2013] Nagi no Asukara

Hikari Sakishima and Manaka Mukaido are Sea Dwellers and childhood friends. When their school in the sea is closed they are forced to attend a land school.

First Impression:
Romance and Drama are going to be central here. A little bit of Slice-of-Life with a light spice of fantasy.

First Opinion:
This one's going to be much more mellow than the other releases, a good way to wind down before or after them. It seems the central tone will be romance, but as with any high school setting for a Japanese anime, it's gonna be slice-of-life too, especially with the light fantasy setting. I'm looking forward to it, they've already painted a very colorful world so far, with some at least standard characters. Haven't got enough to fully judge the quality of the characters, the heart and life of a show like this one.

[New][October 2013] Kill La Kill

Yes I have actually, concept-wise

Summary: The story is set on a high school that the student council president Satsuki Kiryuuin rules by force. Wielding a giant Basami scissors sword, the wandering transfer student Ryuuko Matoi brings about upheaval on the campus.

First Impression:
Action. Radical hyper-humor. Reminiscent of the overdramatic style of Jojo's Bizarre Adventures, with Panty and Stocking's art style.

First Opinion: It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably boring some websites summary's can make a show sound. This show is off the hook BONKERS. Unless you're absolutely sure you had hyper stylized art and comedy, I recommend you watch the first episode to try it out for how trippy it is, if nothing else. This is clearly going to be the most absurd show in my lineup. Even if Outbreak Company's comedy style is more to my taste, I do love these kinds of comedy action shows.

[New][October 2013] Outbreak Company

OMG This face was perfect

Summary: Kanou Shinichi is a thoroughbred Otaku. However, he does not have any special power except for his broad knowledge, sharp insight, and impeccable instinct about Moe and its products, from manga, to anime, to games, to light novel, to figures. Suddenly he finds himself in a fantasy world with a a Diplomat.

First Impression: Grade A original Comedy.

First Opinion: This is a keeper. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this one. So far, I don't see anything of Harem in here, and what fan service is technically there, is all old school fan service, the stuff that was Service when I was still young in my anime ways. Feels Good Yo, a nostalgic enjoyable sensation, that doesn't feel like some money grubbing company's trying to seduce me via my crotch to love their cheap product.
I was gasping for air half way into this first episode, I'm gonna have to make a note to close doors when I start this one, or everyone within a three wall radius is going to be annoyed by my guffawing.

[New][October 2013] IS: Infinite Stratos 2

Summary: Second Season to the guy all alone in a metal suit, in a world of women in metal suits, Denser-than-leading his way through a cluster of girls that like him.

First Impression: More harem humor.

First Opinion:
Harem with robosuits and a high flying opinion about its own plot. That's about it. For me this shows worth will ride entirely on how the plot goes. I've had more than I could stand of harem well before the first season even came out. The first episode is...unique in this regard though. I can't say I've ever seen anything like condensing a swimsuit episode into half of an episode. It bespeaks good things if they're willing to do what is essentially a slap-in-the-face to fan service lovers. The logic that would normally go into it, is that some pressing need for more space later justifies the theoretical reputation damage it would cause...but this is the first episode. Just what are they trying to skimp for?
In any case, I find it in good taste, but that's just me.

[New][October 2013] Strike the Blood

Summary: The Fourth Primogenitor: The world's strongest vampire that should only exist in legends. Accompanied by twelve Kenjuu and spreading calamity, this phantom vampire appeared in Japan. For the observation and obliteration of this Fourth Primogenitor, the government and Lion King Organization decided to dispatch an attack mage known as a Sword Shaman.

First Impression: Better than the Summary sounds. Original pieces and a solid foundation for an action or drama setting so far.

First Opinion: Vampires have been beaten right back into life. Nobody could just leave the undead rotters alone. Personally, nothing ever will beat Trinity Bloods triune race setup, just for nostalgia reasons, but I still recognize original effort when I see it. So far, the tone for the anime is extraordinarily serious in context. Not only do they get technical enough to layout a vampire drinking his own blood as a placebo for his hunger, but the main heroine actually acknowledges an accidental flashing of her underwear as accidental and doesn't fly off the handle over it. .. After flying off the handle and beating the shit out of a thug that flipped her skirt. So like I said, in context. I'm placing this one on my list of High hopes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

[New][October 2013] Kyoukai no Kanata

Summary: Although Akihito Kanbara appears human, he is half youmu and invulnerable to wounds because he can heal quickly. One day, Akihito meets freshman Mirai Kuriyama when it seems she is about to jump from the school rooftop.

First Impression:
Standard Fantasy, Refreshing Main Character

First Opinion: Setting wise this couldn't be more basic, but I like the first main character, Akihito, already. He literally recites cliche's in rejection of them. I enjoyed it thoroughly all of the first episode. I'm partial to surreal settings, so the 'Suspension of Disbelief' is strong in me. I can't give a impartial judgement of the story so far, it will largely depend on whether you like your fantasy or realism. If you like your surreal settings, nothing out of the ordinary at present. If you like your realism, you may find a few things off-putting very fast, and gaining momentum.

I find it a little strange that she takes the time to explicitly make a scimitar sword, and not something more basic(like a needle for her first use), but the first episode showcases her using it fluently, and gives her a character setting which would afford training for it. Trivia Time: In case none of you have ever tried to swing around an actual metal sword, let alone a scimitar, that shape on the end really makes swinging it awkward if you don't know what you're doing. Even if it is made of blood and lightweight, having that backcurve on the tip puts a bit more weight on the end than anywhere else, which affects swinging it. It's a benefit if you know what you're doing, a hindrance if you don't.
Then again maybe I'm being far too picky and the author just likes how it looks. Yeah, that's probably it. I'm going to go drivel a bit of my brain out, I'm getting far too technical.

[New][October 2013] Coppelion TV

Summary: In 2016, a meltdown of a nuclear power plant creates a big catastrophe in Tokyo. 20 years later, the city has become a ghost town due to the high levels of radiation. From that area a distress signal is received. The Self Defense forces dispatch three girls from the special unit Coppelion to search for survivors.

First Impression:
Interesting, perhaps Drama centered?

First Opinion: This looks like it could be an interesting story. The first stones they're laying down for the foundation of the world story are fairly solid, especially the news broadcast near the end. They've got a nice big set-piece to work with, and they set the opening tone nicely with the man in trouble after the seriously out-of-place three girls in what is clearly a massive ruin. I'm gonna look forward to this one for now.
Minus one thing.

School uniforms.

Why the HELL are they wearing school uniforms into a ruined city!? Ok, so the National Defense Academy school-thing is their home, that doesn't mean that it's at all reasonable for them to be deployed wearing skirts. Skirts dammit. Come the end of the first episode, it makes my argument even better, that they should at the minimum be wearing light survival equipment.
  So they don't need the special equipment, sure I get it, so they can wear whatever they want, and comfort is obviously nice, but they clearly are being sent in for a long time, so why don't they at least have weather prepared clothes on? Jeans in case they, y'know, trip over the rubble that will be every damn place? Shirts that at least look like they might keep out the wind? How bout some GODDAMN BOOTS? Instead of the dress shoes?
  Really I'm just raving right now, but if you tried this kinda thing anywhere but the anime industry everyone would call them out on account of something like this. This is something that would only be allowed without an explanation like it is right now, because we have this lovely thing they can justify it with called:
Fan Service.

'Hey why are they wearing these impractical uniforms into a rescue operation?'
'Because, Fan Service'
'Oh, okay sounds good'

Inu to Hasami: Pleasant Comedy

In case anyone notices, Apologies for this thing bouncing back on to the top of the posts. I can't figure out how I caused it, or how to fix it.

Last seen:
Episode 6
  To be perfectly honest, it took me 3 episodes to fully comprehend that Inu to Hasami was a comedy-centric anime. That's more of a problem with me being thick, than a flaw in the shows design. I'm pretty sure the term 'Slap-stick Comedy' applies here. While there are shows that are pure comedy, and shows that are purely intense drama, Inu to Hasami falls in a lovely niche right in the middle, just a few notches towards the comedy side. I've been going to it frequently to rub my mood the right way after dealing with idiots elsewhere.

  Some of you may have noticed (or maybe my hermit is playing up again, and it's common knowledge now), that lots of seriously framed and paced stories in shows are receiving varying doses of comedy in them. Some part of this, is the idea that you can't be all-serious all the time, or it starts to cave in on itself and become absurd.
  The other half of it though, is that people are people, are people, and we've always found various ways to cope with extreme situations. It's beyond an accepted and proven fact, that psychological stress can have negative effects on you physically. So the trend of spicing serious and drama with comedy is actually a bid to increase realism, to make characters seem more human, and less one-dimensional. On the other side of the coin, Inu to Hasami spices comedy with gratingly down-to-earth serious moments and dialogue. Typically this causes an almost audible *clunk* of tone shift in the viewers immersion, but Inu to Hasami has never really thrown me when they shift tones. As a matter of fact, I've often felt they shifted tones right when one side or the other was about to become too exaggerated.

  Which brings me to my next point: I don't seem to enjoy the humor of exaggeration like I used to anymore. Perhaps I've just seen too much of it at this point, and it all sounds like something I've heard before, but when Inu to Hasami uses over-the-top, or exaggeration comedy, it just doesn't get me laughing like I feel it should. When they're doing the slap-stick skits, I'm either chuckling it up, or straight up laughing. They also haven't done a single verbal exchange where Harumi was cutting in playing straight-man where I wasn't chuckling fit to burst the entire time.
  From the last episode I just completed, they finished the most recent plot arc, and toward the end of it is when I was really feeling the exaggeration going over my head. Just gonna stop to say one thing here: 'Tuna-Eater'. Honestly, I'm chuckling now as I typed that, but when it was on-screen, I just had this kind of moment: , where I could see my past self in my head, jabbing an upturned hand towards the screen going 'What the hell is this?!', laughing the entire time, and yet I don't feel like they were doing the jokes poorly. T'was a weird feeling.
  On a completely different note, there are some really tasteful details in the show, that I just personally love. I love the little detail they have where they'll exit out of a scene and play Harumi howling, and I love the howl they chose for it, it fits so well. Other than that, I love the detail on the rendering of the dog sometimes. The gambit with details, is that you could invest alot in them, and have no one even notice. But the payoff, is when someone like me notices and really appreciates it, sometimes it just adds that little lovely bit to the scene, that the dogs animation seems so fluid. Maybe that's just me.
  I think writing for here is starting to affect the way I watch anime...I've never paid attention to details of animation before now... oh well, it can't hurt to notice more details, I'm fairly sure.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen: A little too fast?

Last Seen: Episode 10

I liked the original Rozen Maiden. It wasn't a spectacular epic of a piece, but it gets my recommendation. It was an interesting story, with interesting characters, and a good plot. It also, was incomplete. That's where Zuruckspulen steps in. Zuruckspulen, (that's the last time I'm typing that, from now on its RM2013), is not a remake of the original, or a side story. It's the continuation of the first, and the first episode was just a very fast recap, possibly with some rewritten has been a noticeably long time since it, and my memory is addled over the highly disappointing ending. Disappointing because it was a shows ending, not a story's ending.

So far, after the recap episode, I've been content with this new season. We're somewhere completely different, but the story makes sure we're aware that this is still irrevocably the same place from before, the same story-world, just a new place in that world: The 'Will not wind'-universe.
We've just been given a good amount of instruction on what Kirakisho is, and is about, which is good because Kirakisho was a 'from out of the dark' blindshot in the first season, and not at all explained or introduced well enough in the first season. RM2013: +1 point. The new characters introduced are also interesting, RM2013: 2 points. The story has been moving at a steady pace, not too fast or too slow for me, RM2013: 3 points.
The most recent story eruption: -3 points pending. The show is starting to smell like a 12-13 episode termination season...which will royally piss me off because they just set up an entire load of plot points, and if they don't tie them together fast enough, they will decay into plot HOLES.

This just in: plot holes are bad.

Now, I'm happy to say that the last episode I've seen has the foundations for them to resolve things within the potential time limit they're under, but as always;
High hopes, Low expectations.  

My biggest complaint right now is that I don't feel the whole 'wound vrs unwound' world has gotten enough explanation. Certainly, the most recent explanation that when Shinku(replica) and others leaves, the last traces of the Rozen Maidens intrusion into the world where they never arrived, the 'unwound world', will reverse itself as if they were never there, indicates that it was just a place Shinku escaped to, to hide for a time, and all of this can just be explained away with something involving N-fields, the Rozen Maiden worlds special plot magic, but...

The part that's tripping me up, is something that may just be a personal problem:
I don't fully understand why Shinku is here in the replica body in the first place. I understand the reasons given for why she's there, but I don't understand the need for those reasons in the first place. I don't remember the last episode of the first season well enough to recall what kind of, if any, compromising position Shinku and Jun(original) were in that this all would be necessary. As stated, maybe if I just go watch the last few old episodes again, this would quickly be resolved, but my point is this: I have an immense capacity to retain Story plots. Example: I could have you pull one of my Novels (notice: plural), off my shelves, any of them, and if it's one I've read, I could look at it and its title, or the brief description on the back, and immediately recite all the plot highlights of the entire story without having to open it. Let me just take a quick headcount...53 that's just on this particular shelf. That's 53 novels (300 page minimum books). That's a moderately impressive talent, that not everyone has. The key point though, is that this applies to anime as well as my books. I retain story plots immensely well. I couldn't give you all the details, but if I know the title, I know the story plot. If the old ending was so vague to me after this much time...How completely non-existent is it going to be in the memories of most people? Not everyone will be able, or willing, to go back and rewatch the previous season to be filled in. Whether or not the last episodes have my missing information, it's going to be a negative for the latest season:
A) Either their recap missed something, or
B) it's currently ungiven information.
If it's missing information, it stinks of an excuse to start a new season that may not be consistent with the original story, wherever the original story may be from. If it's a lack of recap, anyone picking up from this season, which would be the whole point of having a recap(to fill in the new people), has been inadequate.
Or maybe my lack of detailed memory has robbed me of the recaps details, since I wasn't paying very close attention to it as soon as I figured out it was a recap. Just mentally skimming the episode to look for any potential rewrites of past information, which I didn't see. (Could just be that I don't remember, though so...

Overall, I'm having concerns that if this proves to be a short season anime, things are going awfully fast to have an adequate resolution. There will undoubtedly be an end, but I'm getting the first few feelings that maybe it will be less than I'd hoped. Just on what has been though, this has been a good show to watch, provided you watched the first season and wanted a second.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What's Up and Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: Suffering Sequel Symptoms

Last seen: Episode 4

Hey every anyone, Zetro here, with a bit of news in case you're out of the loop, (I know how that feels, I'm justly accused as Hermit for a reason). The Evil Cat's taking a full-blooded (hopefully temporary) retirement, and me and Mus Aragi are being handed the reins. Cat has bestowed upon us admin, and we're going to try and keep the show rolling while he's gone.

I'm going to start with saying that I enjoyed Senki Zesshou's first season. If there's anything an anime needs to use if it wants to get a judgement-free-pass to my attention, there are two things at the top of the list:
A plot or story that's just above the diagonal: weird but internally logical, or
The promise of a Berserk scene.
Delivering on both is just icing the cake twice. The idea of singing being formula'd into power is... was... awkward in my head, until I realized that it made more sense than screaming = power on a few levels. But, really now, this is the anime industry, who would we be kidding if the 'suspension of disbelief'' wasn't our strong suit? We rarely give special notice to the means of things in our shows, until/unless they're just so horrible they start to rot and stink up the place, or they contradict and clash internally with themselves.
Zesshou's setting was interesting and funny enough to me. I found the to call'm...still shots? Freeze frames? whatever-they-be-calleds where they stop the scene and flash fancy art borders and a crazy font name for the special-technique a character's using ... a tad... obnoxious, but nothing especially off-putting. I have to admit it's a great deal better than characters screaming out the name of the move they're doing (seriously, why does an enemy never just gtfo of the way when they start yelling the attacks name?). Of a similar note, the main heroines personality was a bit too pure-upbeat for my tastes, I usually find that kind of mentality very irritating, real life or story, but she was almost always very down-to-earth as well, so that balanced it out. It completely balanced out further when she lost it and went bat-shit-hits-the-fan crazy in a fight a few times. But that's just me, I love a good berserk scene.
[End prologue]

Now the impression I'd hope you got from that of my opinion towards Zesshou, was something around the domain of 'glowing'. I liked and felt that Zesshou's first season was very well put together and a good self-contained story. Maybe not for everyone, but a good potential for entertainment.
So self-contained in fact, that the second season blindsided me. When I saw it pop up on my screen in the listings of recently added shows to my secondary streaming site, I just stared at it for a few seconds...trying to figure out why it was there. "Zesshou's ending was sealed..they didn't leave loose ends lying about ... Where the hell did they pull a second season out of?" ... and then I committed what I consider an intellectual faceplant; I let my expectations rise to the level of my hopes.
If the way I said that wasn't hint enough, pro-tip: Never Do This
A cautioned approach is far better.

Now, I'm not accusing the show of smelling like arse just yet ... but the show is up to ... (checks website) episode seven, waiting subs, and I'm only on ... (checks list) ... episode four last watched, and not because of time restraints. Every time I've seen it on the front listing for what has now been three episodes, I've seen something else that garnered my attention more.
That's not a good sign when I watched every episode of season one as soon as it came out. It's not that the new season is bad ... it's just..underwhelming. Know how I just said the main heroines..I'm going to go with 'Chipper', attitude was balanced out by her being very down-to-earth, grounded in reality and what's happening around her? It made for interesting character development, watching her struggle to reconcile her positive beliefs with a harsh reality.
In this season she's become annoying because she's off in the clouds with her 'overly-positive-ness'.
There's a solid chance that this is intentional, since it sets her up to be marked out by an antagonist, which triggers an immediate grounding reaction from her. This does not detract from the original annoyance though, I feel there was just a bit too much of it, especially with her previous experiences..which I suppose they do briefly touch upon, in the same scene.
[End disclaimer]
Perhaps some of this is the other main heroines so far having had a great deal more screen time than last season, and being much more interesting up to this point. This brings me to another point though:
wtf is up with one of the antagonists equipment!? CircleSaw-throwing head-mounted ponytail-things? Every other character on screen is using a weapon and equipment that either makes sense internal to the worlds logic, or is at the least practical. But really, THIS:

Is just nonsense.
I will grant, however, that I like her singing. She also jumps into the action with her partner wielding a scythe, which just rubs me the right way, I think scythes are awesome. (historically impractical and surrounded in myths, but awesome rarely accounts for reality). So they get emotion points with me, while losing intellect points. Which is a losing trade, but it helps.

Nothing I've said is a breaker for me, in any way, but the cumulative feel of the second season up to this point, just isn't really pulling me like the first season did. Some of it may be the time gap between them. It wasn't until the fourth episode, the last one I've watched, that they explicitly state that the antagonist organizations name is a direct reference to last seasons main villain ... intentionally. That's something that would otherwise have been a great interest hook, if not for
A) The large time gap, and
B) The closed ending of the last season that makes the idea of the villains return a little bit of a disjoint with the worlds internal logic.
When you have a time gap like this working against you, the very least good practice should tell you to do, is have a character think to themselves something like, 'oh that's X's name, could it be...?'.
Simple enough to do right? So why didn't they. It took two episodes for them to make it explicit.
... Wow, and here I never thought I'd be petitioning for the dumbing down of something. Someone slap me.
[End Aside]

Summary: This stinks a bit too much of Sequel, and not 'continuation' to me. What's the difference you might ask? Sacrifices and purpose. The purpose of a continuation, is to finish a story or world that's incomplete no sacrifices required. A sequels purpose is to try and milk the cash cow of a few more dollars, and anythings on the blood altar to try and make it fit the biggest bill. A sequel usually develops when something gets more popularity than was assumed it would receive. Now, I'm a hermit, so don't think I'm reading off any sort of information or statistics, that's just how the trend I've observed fits. I'm sticking with this one a bit longer, the thumbnail on the latest episode looked like a scene that very much smells of 'potential reasons for a berserk happening' to me, but I keep getting the niggling doubt in the back of my head I have to beat down, that I might just be sticking this one out for riding the coat tails of its predecessor, rather than for its own merit. There's potential for everything to clean up nice, but the one true formula is still: High Hopes, Low Expectations.
Well, that and I like most of the music and singing.
...Ok it's officially a thing. My posts are way too long, far too critical, and not enough pure-hearted unedited rant. Whatever, I'm gonna make this my thing.
Anywho, what is up with the funky extra letters on anime names? This and the latest season of Index both did it ... is this becoming a trend over the pond? It doesn't make any sense to the hell are we suppose to know what the letter stands for? Does it even stand for anything? Why not just use a simple bloody number?
Then again I suppose it makes sense that a hermit wouldn't understand trends. Ah well.
Still bugs me though.
[End Aside]

EDITLast seen: Episode 6

That had to be the fastest tying up of loose ends I've ever seen.
Sometimes, suspicions are better than doubts. Particularly my deep reaching ones like assuming the front-loaded Chipper was to set up provoking the antagonists.

Monday, July 29, 2013

[New][July 2013] Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation

Japanese title: 超次元ゲイム ネプテューヌ
Download via:
Genres: Comedy / Fantasy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The goddess of four nations agree to make peace with each and stop the war that is fighting over share energy.
First impression score: 80 - OMG they made an anime of this...

Personal comments: If you haven't realized, this is a story about personified gaming consoles. Noire's Lastation is the Playstation 3 (you ought to be able to recognize this without any assistance); Blanc's Lowee is clearly the Wii; if Vert's nation, Leanbox is not enough of a clue, her green color can serve as the extra proof that she represent Xbox 360. Neptune, I heard is supposed to represent the unreleased next generation console from SEGA, who pulled themselves out of console business after Dreamcast. This is in my opinion is not anything serious to be looked upon. Maybe they'll get something good out of it, but I'm not looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

[New][July 2013] The World God Only Knows: Goddesses

Japanese title: 神のみぞ知るセカイ 女神篇
Watch online:
Genres: Fantasy / School Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The third season of the series.
First impression score: 80 - More spirits to catch
Personal comments: To some, this is an awesome series. But I have long lost interest in the story during season two. Don't get me wrong, it's not that this is a bad series, I'm just not into it. But I do think this is a good series.  

[New][July 2013] Love Lab

Japanese title: 恋愛ラボ
Download via:
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A rebel girl at a girl's high school who caught student body president kissing a hug pillow with a man drawn on it. She's now dragged into helping her get a boyfriend.
First impression score: 82 - Quick-witted comedy

Personal comments: This is one of those typical high school comedy. It's funny at the moment, but I'm not sure how long this would last.

[New][July 2013] Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou

Japanese title: 幻影ヲ駆ケル太陽
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Fantasy / Children's?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A kid who uses tarots for fortune telling possesses some super power has to do with tarots..
First impression score: 80 - Children's fantasy, Card Captor Style

Personal comments: It's very childish, at least that's how I feel. Come to think of it, once upon a time I actually liked Mermaid Melody which in my opinion was even more childish than this. However, I have since grown out of it and these children's anime doesn't really impress me any more. If you happen to be still into these kind of stuff, much like bronies out there, you might actually enjoy this. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

[New][July 2013] Gin no Saji

Japanese title: 銀の匙
Watch online:
Genres: Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A dude starts enrollment in an agriculture school and he had no idea what he has gotten himself into...
First impression score: 80 - Moyashimon wanttobe

Personal comments: So if you've ever seen Moyashimon, you'd know just how an anime about agriculture can be so awesomely fun to watch and educational at the same time. That's actually what I was wishing for when I learned that Gin no Saji is also a story has something to do with agriculture. But I was wrong. Gin no Saji is nowhere near the caliber of Moyashimon. I guess the author of Fullmetal Alchemist (who is the author of Gin no Saji manga) isn't just quiet as fitted doing this kind of work. It may get better later, but I don't think I want to wait for it...

[New][July 2013] Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!

Japanese title: 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!
Download via:
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A girl shut in who is in denial desperately trying to become "normal" when she starts high school.
First impression score: 81 - Same ol' shut-in concept, it's getting a little old

Personal comments: Lately, I've been seeing more and more animes that recycle ideas. Most of them didn't even attempt to try to be different. New concepts seems to be a rare commodity nowadays. But there is still a chance that we might be able to get something fresh out of this, though I wouldn't hold my breath for it...

[New][July 2013] High School DxD New

Japanese title: ハイスクールD×D NEW
Download via:
Genres: Fantasy / Action / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The second season of the boobilious High School DxD
First impression score: 80 - Typical, very typical

Personal comments: Though the original High School DxD is no masterpiece, in my opinion, it's actually pretty good for an anime that is filled with ecchi content. Unlike Sekirei, it didn't have much of an elaborated story per se, nor does it have the deep to the root bizarreness in concept like Qwaser. But it was executed well enough that you actually care for the characters. I think what has it going for HSDxD is the fact it's not trying to hide what itself really is. The main character constantly getting into lewd perverted fantasies which matches the surrounding environment he's in. Unlike some others, such as High School of the Dead, where they try to hide what they really are because no character would acknowledge what kind of perverted situation they were in nor what lewd act they have just performed, yet still constantly show you the most perverted camera angle they can get. That kind of self-denial really infuriates me because they just assume us audiences are just ignorant fools.

So by being completely open about the underlying tone of the story, the focus of the story is way better because the main plot doesn't get too distracted and people could actually enjoy both aspect at the same time. But many near ecchi that had a good first season suffered significant second season setback because for some reason they all inadvertently think they need to out-"ecchi" their first season. Unfortunately, I'm seeing some signs of such trending here in the first episode. Let's just hope it'll make an return and go back to the same level of the first season.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

[New][July 2013] Kiniro Mosaic

Japanese title: きんいろモザイク
Download via:
Genres: Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A high school girl went to Great Britain for exchange student program. Now she's back in Japan for the new semester. A surprise is awaiting for her at school.
First impression score: 82 - Soft Comedy

Personal comments: I actually didn't expect much from this simply because of the look and the topic. However, to my surprise, it's actually a lot more interesting than I thought, mostly due to the intermittent comedic moment. I'm actually interested in seeing a bit more of this.

[New][July 2013] Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist

Japanese title: 魔界王子 devils and realist
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: William is a very intelligent boy. One day he found out his family is bankrupt. In order to pay for tuition, he searched around his house, but accidentally activated a summon circle that released the devil that was sealed by his ancestor.
First impression score: 80 - Interesting twist, with yaoi tendency

Personal comments: Honestly, the first two minutes almost made me think this is going to be a yaoi anime. Then things start to blow up, it now looks more like an anime made for female audiences.

[New][July 2013] Blood Lad

Japanese title: ブラッドラッド
Watch online:
Genres: Drama / Fantasy / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The vampire boss from a district in a demon world met a human girl, then he wants to go travel to human world...
First impression score: 80 - Not sure how to take it...

Personal comments: It's...strange and I'm not sure how to take it.

[New][July 2013] Servant x Service

Japanese title: サーバント×サービス
Watch online:
Genres: Comedy / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Newcomers works at health and welfare department with a goal of revenge...
First impression score: 80 - Anime sitcom

Personal comments: It literally like the anime version of "the Office"... It's pretty funny ... for the moment ...

[New][July 2013] Uchouten Kazoku

Japanese title: 有頂天家族
Download via:
Genres: Slow Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Raccoon, Tengu, and human are the three species living in the same city. This is the story about a raccoon. 
First impression score: 76 - Slooooow

Personal comments: Looks pretty...dumb, and I don't think I have the patience for this...

[New][July 2013] Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

Japanese title:神さまのいない日曜日
Watch online:
Genres: Drama / Fantasy / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: God has abandoned the world. When people die, they no do not stop moving. The only people who can put dead body to rest are gravekeepers. Ai is a gravekeeper. She picked up the job at age 12 after her mother died. One day, he met a man,who killed everybody in her village.
First impression score: 82 - A little slow, but very intriguing

Personal comments:'s a...zombie anime? Or...not? So far it looks pretty intriguing. I'm really curiously to find out what's happening here...

Monday, July 8, 2013

[New][July 2013] Rozen Maiden (2013)

Japanese title: ローゼンメイデン
Watch online:
Genres: Drama / Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: One day, Jun received a box with a doll in it. He winds the doll, suddenly she came alive, and everything goes haywire.
First impression score: 86 - Way, way, way faster than the original series

Personal comments: While reboots in movie world is pretty common, it's not as common in the world of anime, especially for something high profile and the originally series has done relatively well. This reboot, is extremely fast in developing the plot: one episode in, it has run through most of the key plot points of all three series of the original Rozen Maiden.

[New][July 2013] Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei

Japanese title: ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生
Download via:
Genres: Action
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A group of high school students were selected to enter a prestige high school. When they arrive, they found ou t that they're locked in and were told if they want to leave, they have to kill somebody.
First impression score: 88 - Battle Royale, with a different spin

Personal comments: This actually looks very interesting. It's based off the game with same name, which supposedly plays like Ace Attoney. I think this one has potential.

[New][July 2013] Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu

Japanese title: ステラ女学院高等科C³部
Watch online:
Genres: Comedy/Action/Moe~~~~~
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Yura arrives at Stella Girl's High. She's immediately dragged into joining "C3" club, a club that plays survival games with airsoft guns.
First impression score: 84 - Um, K-ON! with Guns?

Personal comments: Really, it literally feels like K-ON! with guns, which...I'm not sure how well it'll blend...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

[New][July 2013] Brother Conflict

Download: via
Genres: Reverse Harrrrrrrrrem
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A came to live in a house full of...pretty boys.
First impression score: 65 - Can there be more blatant reverse harem?

Personal comments: I think this is one of those reverse harem story that the sole purpose of its existence is to be stereotypical reverse harem. Having seen enough harem animes myself, I really just can't put up with craps like these anymore, be it forward or reverse... Oh, and in case anybody is interested, this is seems to be a cast reunion of the New Prince of Tennis, as I could identify sever voices right off the bat that are from NPoT.