Sunday, March 31, 2013

[Ended] Amnesia: Fake Mystery

On the surface, it looks like a mysterious supernatural story, in the core, it's really just an excuse to show off whole bunch of pretty dudes. I guess my biggest problem, is that the main character is just so, so, so, so, so thick. Even for someone who has amnesia, she is still dumb beyond imagination. In my opinion, she doesn't deserve to live. I feel bad for those who sacrificed for her.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 70 (Interesting at the moment, but leaves a bad aftertaste)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 78 (Pretty boy show)
Sound/Music: 80 (So so)

Character: 55 (Dumb dumb dumb)
Plot: 50 (Stupid stupid stupid)
Ending: 30 (The f^@k was that?!)

Re-watch value: 0 - Don't even do it for the first time

Overall: 60 - Complete waste of time

Recommendation: I got lured in by the mysterious nature of the story early on, but now I wish I didn't waste my time on this.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Robotic;Notes: Another Global Conspiracy

I have to say, if there weren't the other big three (Psycho-Pass, Shinsekai Yori, Zetsuen no Tempest), this could well be one of the top three anime of the season (October 2012 that is, since all of them are long seasons). But when you put Robotic;Notes against those three, its "power" level drops significantly.

For the most part, Robotic;Notes formatted almost exactly like Steins;Gate (duh!) where some innocent scientific experiment accidentally dragged out a global conspiracy. Compare to Steins;Gate however, the connection point of all related events are a lot weaker, meaning there need for a lot more "coincidences" to occur at the right time at the right place, where as Steins;Gate's chain of events connects a lot tighter and very few such asserted plot point. 

The most unreasonable (and blatantly placed) convenience factor, is the existence of the magnetic monopole. I mean, seriously, it's like, "hey guys, we need something to make this plot work, let's just literally make something fall off the sky here". I honestly can't appreciate this kind of plot construction.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 89 (Light to heavy)
Comedy: 84 (So so)
Action: 82 (Robot and computer games)
Art/Animation: 87 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 85 (So so)
Character: 90 (Unique individuals)
Plot: 88 (Global conspiracy)
Ending: 85 (Typical)

Re-watch value: 60 - May still be interesting, but not necessary

Overall: 87 - Conspiracy-ish

Recommendation: A global conspiracy, very much like how Steins;Gate, except somewhat inferior. Nevertheless, it's a good anime.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

[Ended] Shinsekai Yori: Powerful

Having just finished Psycho-Pass, switching back to Shinsekai Yori still felt like shifting to overdrive. Psycho-Pass is powerful because it touch one of the most ugly yet intriguing question that is crucial to the well being of our existing human society by question what would the society become if it were to be transformed into something else. Shinsekai-Yori on the other hand, not only does it touch the topic, it completely shatters it, and looks beyond to see what could have come of it if the every member of the society itself has become something else.

Shinsekai Yori is not a character driven story, rather, it's almost purely driven by event. However, that doesn't mean there's lack of character development. In fact, character development is one of the most interesting part of the story, where you see a group of kids slowly mature through some quite traumatizing experiences, even when they all have supernatural powers.

 Throughout some dark and twisted and often creepy encounters, these children, who grew up as normal human in a society where psychics are the norm, are tested to a rather extreme level, where they have to choose to submit themselves to these rules of the society which they're yet to understand and could potentially bring the doom of their own fates or rebel against them while facing possibly even riskier consequences. The forbidden fruit of knowledge in this new world is highly tempting, but, it comes with a dangerous and often deadly consequence.

The the mechanical build of this new world is indeed intriguing. For starters, it's like every single member of the society are deadly weapon themselves where killing others is no more difficult than moving your eyeball. Yet, through some complex schemes, orders are kept so people can't just go slaughter everybody at will. But like any complex machinery, more moving parts there are, harder to keep the machine running without constant breakdown. This story describes exactly what happens when the crucial element of this system breaks down.

Mechanically, the lack of opening theme song along with the very fitting Dvorak's No.9 Symphony "From New World" as background music creates a perfect environment where you're dropped in this dark and suppressive world from the beginning to the end of every single episode. You almost never ever even have any breathing time. It is indeed a masterpiece.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 99 (Nonstop)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 95 (Psychic powers)
Art/Animation: 91 (Slightly simplified, but straight to the point)
Sound/Music: 98 (Beautiful)

Character: 99 (Intriguingly interesting)
Plot: 99 (Dark, twisted, brutal, and creepy)
Ending: 100 (Nearly perfect)

Re-watch value: 90 - It might be necessary to catch some details in earlier episodes

Overall: 98 - Powerful

Recommendation: After seeing the end of Shinsekai Yori, it is pretty clear that regardless what Zetsuen no Tempest for its conclusion, there's no way it can surpass this. Therefore, I'm going to just hand it

Long Season Anime of the Season for Fall 2012 Season

right here right now.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

[Ended] Psycho-Pass: Silently Explosive

Lately, as many of you might have noticed, my blog has almost become an ad campaign of "vote Zetsuen no Tempest for best anime". While eagerly yet patiently waiting for the final chapters of Tempest, something else, something more powerful, more explosive, even though not nearly as glamorous, stepped in and stole my heart. Yes, you might have guessed it, (duh!), it's Psycho-Pass I'm talking about.

Early on, Psycho-Pass strikes me as a more twisted version of the Ghost in the Shell. It's dark, it's twisted, and it's cruel. Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't start to like it sooner, since that's totally my taste for series that is not a moe sub-type. The script of the story is written by Gen Urobuchi, who is also responsible for the script for Madoka Magica, which if you haven't yet seen it, you should be ashamed of yourself. It actually explains quite a lot how Psycho-Pass feels like. It's the same kind of twisted hopelessness that encompasses you overwhelmingly with a futile feeling throughout.

I think the turning point of the series for me, is when the integrity and legitimacy of Sibyl System is questioned. Then everything ripples out to set off an domino effect that rest of the story linked up like GitS did, though not nearly as intricate or deceptive.

The story of Psycho-Pass raises the question about whether moral value can ever be measured in an absolute sense, objectively. And on top of that, it also questions whether the order of a human society can be kept without using subjective human judgement. Though the scenario is a bit overly simplified, and there exists the paradox how this system could be built at first place, they're mostly just minor mechanical issues that in my opinion can be overlooked as they don't really impact the main point it's trying make.

Psycho-Pass involves quite a few major characters that are all very well developed where you'd grow very attached to them. When bad things happen to them, you can actually feel their pain, their anger, their hatred, and their sadness. The dark and suppressive color scheme and anti-moe art style just renders these feeling even stronger.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 94 (Crime drama)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 90 (Very reliant on the dominator)
Art/Animation: 89 (Dark, anti-moe)
Sound/Music: 91 (Fit the theme)
Character: 96 (Very well developed)
Plot: 93 (Plot with a strong point to emphasize)
Ending: 93 (Very well terminated)

Re-watch value: 70 - Catching details

Overall: 94 - Dark, Twisted, Explosive, and Thought-provoking

Recommendation: I have to say, the ending is so explosive, that I almost just handed the best long anime of Fall 2012 award to it right there right then. But, then I remembered, three candidates, Zetsuen no Tempest, Shinsekai Yori, and Robotic;Notes are also in the running for the same award. I'd better wait till I see the end of them before I make any decisions. Fall 2012 was indeed a great anime season.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

[Ended] Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? : Troublesome Kids

Mondaiji is a very interesting piece of work. I think whether or not you'll find this anime enjoyable has a lot to do with personal taste, because if you ask me, I really couldn't identify exactly what makes me liking it so much.

I want to say that the character is one of the better part of the story, but upon closer examination, there really isn't anything extraordinary in character design. I think my fondness for Black Rabbit (Kurousagi) is the root cause of me having such impression. I mean, I really really liked her character, not exactly sure what it is, I just do. (No, it's not because of the rabbit ears, since when the series started, my thing was still cat ears. But I've been converted to liking rabbit ears now.

One complain I do have against the characters, is that Izayoi seems a bit too....perfect. He's one of those anti-hero hero who doesn't follow any rules or plans, yet his power level is so far above everybody else, even his recklessness couldn't do him any harm. That's just a bit too fairy tale like, which in turn, makes it feel a bit overly childish. But again, there's nothing wrong with being childish, since I think the target audiences are most likely kids to young adults.

Now, the plot, which I think it's the more intriguing element of the story. I say it's intriguing because the plot is simple enough that kids could enjoy it easily, yet it has so many elements, especially the rules involved in certain challenges and the links to fairy tales and historic events that would actually require a little bit more brain twisting to straighten out. However, I have to say they need some better explanation on how the challenge games work as some of them are still pretty confusing, especially the last one, where they could just create a challenge that calls for killing everybody in the stadium?

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 88 (Some)
Comedy: 84 (Kuro Usagi is clearly the clown)
Action: 88 (Nicely done)
Art/Animation: 89 (Very...colorful)

Sound/Music: 92 (I love the opening theme song)
Character: 88 (Kuro Usagi is just lovely)
Plot: 83 (Little weak, but still interesting)
Ending: 80 (We need a season two!!!)

Re-watch value: 60 - Good for sorting out some confusions

Overall: 89 - Super Powered Kids and...Rabbit Ears

Recommendation: Personally, I really liked the anime. But I think it has more to do with personal tastes, so you may not enjoy it as much as I do. But I think even without the favorable bias, it's still a very descent anime.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Zetsuen no Tempest: the Climax is Coming

Currently finished: Episode 22

In last three episodes, a critical clue to the grand puzzle has been revealed, the world of Zetsuen no Tempest is literally turned upside down.

If the story has been a tragedy in making since the beginning, this particular event would be one of the devastating blows. The story just keeps getting better and better. Now two episodes left to go, all pieces are in place for the final showdown. It looks like it would just ride the tidal wave to  the end, though it wouldn't surprise me if they again pull some stunt before the final moment.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Robotic;Notes: S#!t Just Got Real!

Currently finished: Episode 20

Just like Steins;Gate, Robotic;Notes is a story that warms up slowly. So Slowly that it transformed itself from a high school robotic club to world domination conspiracy without you even noticing it. In last two episodes, chain of events has pushed the entire story into overdrive.

Compare to Steins;Gate, the winding up of Robotic;Notes took a lot longer. Actually, I should say Steins;Gate's released the string of the bow a lot earlier than Robotic;Notes did, probably due to the fact the effort in resolving the mess caused by time travel is far greater than robots gone berserk.

So what I'm trying to say is, that even it seems to have started rather slowly, it does get very very interesting. Even though there are still two more episodes to go, I can already tell you the time you put in to watch this anime is going to be very well invested, regardless of the final outcome.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Little Busters: Falling Short

Currently finished: Episode 22

People say that higher expectation brings higher disappointment. That's exactly how I'm feeling about Little Busters right now.

I have always LOVED (not just liked, LOVED) everything from Key, (Clannad, Kannon, Air, Angel Beats!). So naturally, I'm expecting the same things from Little Busters: something manages to stir my emotion every step along the way, like extreme mood swing in short period of time, rolling on the floor laughing comedies, and highly touching moments that would make me cry my heart out. But so far, almost every single category is a disappointment.

Little Busters feels like a Kannon with more characters, Air without the legend, Clannad without the romance of the main duo, or Angel Beats! in a boring normal high school in earth. Basically, it feels like a generic Key's routine story, but without its own flavor. So all it has left is a series of random stories of random people. On top of that, each character's story unfolds just a bit too abruptly for people to get really emotionally attached to their misfortunes.

With four more episodes to go, there is a chance the last arc of the anime could redeem itself by tying everything that are related to the whole mystery thingy that pops up once a while to a grand finale. But at the moment, this would earn me a B- at best.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Zetsuen no Tempest: Different Tone, Same High Quality

Currently finished: Episode 19

Compare to the first half of the series, the second half is a bit more light in tone and filled with lighthearted comedic moments. It is especially apparent with the addition of the clumsy magician. However, the overall epic-ness of the story did not suffer with these changes.

At the midway point, the story jumped from fighting an undercover battle with a stranded princess and her two pawns, to a global scale war of......trees? Yes, it sounds very strange, but it really isn't. You have to watch it to understand.

According to the preview, next episode is going to reveal a big secret--the secret has been haunting everybody since the beginning: who killed Aika.

On a side note, I've never really read the Tempest or Hamlet (the Shakespeare works of choice in my high school literature class were Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth). All these quoting and referencing to the work is making me really want to go read them.