Saturday, December 24, 2016

[Ended] Bungo Stray Dogs 2 - More Greatness

Small Stories of My Life.

Pros: Still Amazing Characters
-Dazai was a mysterious character last season, he was fleshed out this time, along with Akutagawa some more, and it didn't damage them in the slightest
-There is now a Grand Plot, and the story still moves forward wonderfully
-Lovecraft shows up.

Cons: Few.
-Once again, the beginning is a bit jarring. They don't resume where the first season stopped, they jump backwards in time to fill in Dazai and by extension Akutagawa. It gets back into it, and it is important that we saw Dazai's past, but still. They could have had a little bit of a lead in to that.
-I am emotionally displeased with how weak Cthulu ended up being.

My Opinion: I had no idea the characters and powers in this show, were each individually based on famous authors and books. Not until bloody H.P. LOVECRAFT HIMSELF, steps on screen and is introduced in the shows usual artsy lettered manner! Of course, his power has to be 'The Great Old One' which promised just the best things to me. They were just as good as promised, but I had too much emotional investment, and how things turned out with his main scene let me down. Personal Problem.

After that, things kind of clicked into place. I'd actually read The Scarlet Letter in high school, apparently Gone With the Wind was a book before it was a movie that my Mother has. Who could miss Edgar Allen Poe? Or Mark Twain? It blew my mind. Of course, that also means every other character is a famous author and book as well. Which means that this show could unintentionally(or very probably intentionally) be a source of future reading suggestions. Certainly, I'd never have so much as heard of, let alone been interested in, what I'm sure is a bevy of Japanese authors. Having seen the Movie Gone With the Wind, and read the book Scarlet Letter, and recently being obsessed with consuming Lovecraftian Mythos literature, I can report:
The Powers are in fact strongly based on the core essence of the books they pull from, or at the minimum, those are. Lovecraft's is basically a straight pull, while the other two are more along the lines of a logical extrapolation, and an interpretation of the impression given. No, I'm not going to be more specific than that, this blog is suppose to be spoiler free and I've been pushing the bounds since I started this post.

Impartial Opinion: Go watch the first season. The second doesn't fill you in at all to allow for skipping it, so you will need both. Other than that, this is a superbly made show. The unique art style they use with it, and the way they introduce all the characters all makes an almost magical level of sense now.

What's more, the second season successfully resolves the story, giving us a tasteful and fulfilling ending, but leaves the plot open to continue, with a foreshadowing that more trouble yet lays on the horizon for the characters. Given that we got a second season already, I have no reasons at the moment to doubt that we'll get a third. Take some time and catch up if any of you passed on this one, it only got better, and probably will continue to do so.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Handling Sequels

Today's post shall be a bit unusual. More and more, I'm conflicted about how I handle posting here on Evil Cat's blog. Specifically, the lack of posting. On the one hand, I have a job now, and that has made what time I do get to myself all the more valuable, it's easier to pick out what games I'm really enjoying, rather than just killing time on. On the other hand, I also am theoretically running a youtube channel (if one video a week counts as "running"). Finally, I have the posts I make here about anime that particularly catch my interest from new releases/ongoing shows.

A while back, when Evil Cat stopped in for a bit, I asked him briefly if he cared if I put up posts on sequel seasons that hadn't been featured here for their first seasons. He gave the okay, but I never really used the new allowance. Mostly, because there wasn't really a good way to make a post that didn't sound like, "Hey! Here's a show I've been watching for a long while, you should love it because I do!"
Yeah, no.

So instead, I've opted to come up with a one-size-fits-all blanket solution. When new seasons roll in, I'll make a single post pointing out the shows that are having second or greater count seasons. As always though, I'll only be pointing out ones that have caught my interest, are remarkable in some way, or have had a previous season posted about on the blog. My hope is that this will give me a quick and simple method to generate additional, but still useful, content on the blog. For instance, I don't think anyone needs a week by week update that One Piece is still running.
*quietly giggles to self*

Anyway, on with the show:

Bungo Stray Dogs 2: The second season takes an interesting spin, by turning back the clock. Dazai's history was something of an in-joke bet amongst the detective agency he worked at. Even though we as the audience are given to know the what of it, the details were never explained. The shows second season begins where Dazai's time with his previous employer ends, and it is every bit as gloriously gloomy and full of humanity as the first season was. The one thing Bungo Stray Dogs constantly had going for it, and continues to have in my opinion, is a perfect hairline balance between comedy and tragedy/drama. I recommend this series, it's a wonderful balance of story and action, characters and powers. The presentation is also noteworthy, I like the artistic style.

Natsume Yuujinchou 5/go(u): The Fifth season of Natsume Yuujinchou, of course. A couple places phrased it as 'gou', more often as 'go', honestly it doesn't matter, it's the fifth season anyway so 5 is fine. Given that the previous tags on the blog used the romanji, I'll stick with it. When I saw this pop up on crunchyroll, I was immediately elated. Just absolutely out of my mind happy. I love this show so much. But then...I was suspicious. It had been so long...could it really meet expectations? I had actually forgotten about the show for a long while...after so much time had passed, could it really start back up where it left off? Continue to make me love all of its characters?
Clearly it wouldn't be on this list if this wasn't the case. Everything is as it should be, and one episode had me falling in love all over again. This show is golden. Go watch everything Natsume Yuujinchou has to offer you if you haven't already.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

[New][October 2016] WWW.Wagnaria!! - Not a sequel

Last Seen:2

Summary: Daisuke Higashida starts working part-time at a family restaurant due to financial difficulties at home. However, as he is slowly introduced to and spends time with his co-workers, it seems this restaurant doesn’t have a single normal person working there!

First Impression: Just as good as it always has been. Comedy from start to finish.

My Opinion: This is NOT the sequel to Working!!! That will be coming eventually I hope, but for now, this is actually an adaptation of the original...web comic? I believe someone said, that inspired the first anime. Or something like that. All I remember is reading various comments on multiple websites, and apparently the original author refers to the two restaurants as the 'Inu' and 'Neko' groups, Dog and Cat respectively. I've forgotten which group this shows is, but I'm sure if you're really curious it would be easy enough to find out. The two are sister Wagnaria restaurants, and the shows are confirmed to be taking place in the same world.
All in all, this group seems a bit more...laid-back? They're all the special kind of flawed insane we've come to love, but in a far less glaring and apparent way, like Inami's man-phobia violence, or the ridiculously chibi girl. I won't spoil anything for you, but rest assured the comedy is as golden as it has ever been here. Who knows, the two shows are taking place in the same world, so we may even see some cameos from the other group!

[Ended] Taboo Tattoo - Flat.

Why?! Why did you leave us BB? You were the only proper badass at all times...

-That first fight between Seigi and Izzy is great.
-Flashy graphics

Cons: A lot.
-For as interesting as the powers themselves are, the characters never use them in very interesting ways. Izzy is the only one that gets any mileage out of hers, and that's just sad in a show with as many powers as this one.
-Plot holes, and poorly explained ... everything.
-That ending.

My Opinion: Easily a:

Hands down. It's not mediocre, but it comes close. There was a lot of potential for originality in the beginning. Again, that fight between the two main characters was great. Unfortunately, that's about the only memorable thing worth seeing in this show, in my opinion. Cheap comedy, cheaper romances, and poor character motivations. Well, except maybe Blood's, but when you have as broad a goal as 'save the world', that's kind of boring too. The character himself made up for it by generally being 100% badass as long as he was on screen...which unfortunately wasn't very long.

Actually, that's another thing. Characters come and go so goddamn fast in this show. Did they honestly expect us to get attached to any of them? I shit you not, in one episode they introduce like, 4 or 5 new characters that all look interesting and important, but we never see any more than one of them again, for the rest of the show.

By the way. If you've seen the first episode, let me go ahead and let you know that whatever you were expecting,
a Giant Robot Battle
[Spoiler end]
is how the show ends. Yeah. No bullshit, that's actually how they decided to end it. Whether 'they' is the original author(assuming there is one), or the animation studio, it matters not. Someone was an idiot that had the power to make stupid decisions when the smart people ran out of ideas.

Impartial Opinion: Skip it. Even though it wasn't worth calling mediocre, it still doesn't have anything interesting enough to warrant attention, even if you have nothing better to do. There are better terrible 'nothing-better-to-do' bad shows. That's saying something, and I'm saying it. So there.
*cough*Right. Impartial.
I recommend you google/youtube the Izzy-vs-Seigi fight, and then otherwise skip this one.
Unless you really want to see that train wreck of an ending. Even out of context it's hilariously stupid. G'head, I highly doubt it will spoil anything at all, given how out of place it is. With a show this bland, you should have already known good triumphs over evil. Just at an 'edgy price', based on the authors tastes, which in this case, are bad. Whether that's the animation studios taste, or the whatever-it-may-be source material authors remains to be seen. I really just don't care.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Ended] Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World - Great from Start to Finish

Pros: Plot. Story. Characters.
-One of the strongest growth arcs for a main character I've seen yet. Not the strongest, but up there.
-A story that just doesn't quit. That first episode is twice as long for a reason, it's just about the only slow point of the show. If something doesn't seem like it's interesting at the moment, you can be sure it will be important later.
-A strong over-arching plot, that is at it's heart quite simple, which is good. Some more proof that you don't need a plot as enigmatic as blackhole physics for it to be powerful.

Cons: Slow start, a bit of a quiet ending compared to the rest of the show.
-That first episode is twice as long, and while it never drags anything, compared to the rest of the show it's much slower and doesn't compare. Makes it hard to come up with ways to explain to a prospective viewer, 'No, Really! Sit with it, it gets amazing later!'. Be honest, how many times have you heard that from a raving fan and just rolled your eyes?
-The ending is good. But the show was such a wild roller coaster, that such a simple ending feels ... quaint. More on this later.

My Opinion: Fan-fucking-tastic. A straight up:

for this one, hands down. A fine model of excelling. I got really invested in this show, and the week long wait has never hurt so bad, because this show fucking loves its cliffhangers. Really loves them. Likes sticking them into your heart and twiiisting that knife. Sometimes literally.
Now, about that ending. People are clamoring about how there will be a next season, but when aren't fans saying there will be another season after their favorite show ends? That doesn't mean much. On the other hand, it seems that the anime has only covered part of the original light novel material, which is a doubly good sign. One, because there is more for them to cover; Two, the studio animating the show didn't decide to wing it, or over-extend themselves past the source material. That's good taste in my book, any day.
More importantly though. If a second season never comes, which has happened before:
This show will still be amazing.
That is why I have confidence in a second season, because the studio didn't leaving the show with an open ended finale. Certainly, there are a ton of extra questions to be asked, and some unanswered riddles and reveals, but everything that was relevant to the story of this season is completed by the ending, and that is so important to me. I have never had good luck trying to push a show that ends unfinished, expecting to make a next season, that never came.

Impartial Opinion: It is fantasy at the end of the day. Down to earth, dark as a moonless midnight fantasy at times, but still...very much fantasy. For some people, that just doesn't sit well. I actually understand that, mostly because if you've noticed anything at all about me by this point, you should know that I'm a retard when it comes to giving shows a chance to impress me. Even after the fiftieth dagger in the heart. " gets...better later...? I've come...this far....*Stab*."
So I've seen what I imagine they have seen, shows that use fantasy as an excuse to hand-wave away any sense of intelligence, cohesion, or rationality what-so-ever, and just fall to pieces like so much sand leaking from the hour glass, as time runs on. This show doesn't have that problem, it details and weaves things together amazingly.

Beyond that, this show is particularly remarkable for not over-playing any of its elements. It has mystery, drama, action, and love. But it never overextends any of them beyond their welcome. I also believe this show, or perhaps animation studio, has an amazing knack for setting up very poignant scenes. The kinds of scenes you want to make a gif out of, but you know it would never be as impressive out of context.

Go. Watch. This. Show.

Friday, September 2, 2016

[New][July 2016] The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

Last Seen:
'Episode' 1

Summary: Saiki Kusuo has a wide array of superpowers at his command, and he can use them to get whatever he wants. This might sound awesome, but in Kusuo's experience, superpowers are not all they're cracked up to be. He knows everything that people are thinking. Everything. No surprises, no secrets, no normal human experiences. Everything comes so easily to him because of his powers, he doesn't get to experience any of the struggle, or the triumph, other people do. He’s kept his powers in check since childhood, but with the temptations of high school now on his mind, he’s bending the rules, all in the pursuit of a normal life.

First Impression: Absolutely hilarious.

My Opinion: This is what Mob Psycho 100 would have been if the emphasis had been on comedy, and they had just thrown the plot out the window. As far as I can tell with my absolute lack of willingness to do research, the show airs one "episode", or Special, as Funimation labels them, at a time, and then after five of them they get packed into an Episode proper. So you can either watch it one story at a time, or wait for five of them to be bundled into your standard ~20 min length.
For me, the show is an absolute joy. The scene where he's trying to get away from Kokomi Teruhashi and his 'friend' Riki Nendou shows up...ohh, my lungs.
I highly recommend this show for its pure comedy gold content. Check it out.

[New][July 2016] Momokuri

Last Seen: Episode 16

Summary: Yuki Kurihara, a second year high school student, falls in love with Shinya Momotsuki, who is a year younger than her. She decides she will confess to him after she takes a hundred hidden camera pictures of him for her "Momo-kun Photo Collection", and then leaves him a love letter and confesses. He accepts, and the two of them start to date, but Kurihara still continues to take hidden camera photos and collect the things he touches, and she's acting kind of weird, despite her friends constant attempts to remind her she's being creepy.

First Impression: Comedy. All of the comedy. Maybe this is what they call a Romantic Comedy? Not sure, I'm laughing too hard at her creeping on the other main character.

My Opinion: This show is just straight up good comedy fun. Grant, the concept may creep you and a lot of other people out, but I have a high bar set that things have to jump to creep me out so it's not much of a point for me. Interestingly enough, I actually find the romance in this show quite intriguing as well. A lot of that has to do with the fact that aside from Kurihara creeping on Shinya, she actually does just really like him, even though the reason she first started to like him was just that he was really cute despite being a guy. Conversely, Shinya constantly worries about being short, being cute, and overall just not being very manly. Starting to date Kurihara doesn't help that any, because she constantly calls him cute, and it just makes him want to prove to her all the more that he is actually a man after all. When he does so, it catches her completely off guard, even more so because she spent so much time not just stalking him, but studying everything about him, likes, dislikes, and all. All before she even confessed to him.

So quite aside from the whole creeping thing being hilarious, it is quite enjoyable to watch these two characters interacting with each other. There is still the usual 'lovey-dovey' sort of atmosphere around them, but it's not quite so hugely annoying and overbearing as it usually is because of the interactions between the two, and Kurihara's creeping nature, which she succinctly summarized as:

"I want to know everything about the person I love! Wouldn't you? It's perfectly normal to want that, right?"
You can go ahead and put 'everything' in Italics, bold, and an underline if you want, because that's just about how obsessive she is with it. So yes, while I won't put a recommended tag on it, because I know the creeping thing may bug some people, I'm greatly enjoying the series so far, so
I'd say it's worth your time to try it.

In other news, isn't great? Specifically for always having the air date for shows? There's a small pile of things that every now and then I wish I had asked The Evil Cat about when I started subbing here, like where he got information about when shows first aired for his month-year tags. I've just been scrapping together websites to provide me with such info and improvising. So far so good!
[Aside end]

Thursday, September 1, 2016

High Speed Status Update: Lazy is Bad

Right! So. Missed the monthly posting like I prefer to keep up with here, but going to try and skim over everything to make up for it. Mostly it's just that I forgot to write something for here, but the rest of it is that nothing amazingly spectacular has occurred that made me just want to jabber about it. Well, besides Re:Zero, but I make a point of not writing things until the end about a show that has me as hyped as this. No body wants to hear the incoherent ramblings of a person suffering from a Fanatical Fan Frenzy.

From the top then (and by top I mean in no particular order whatsoever):

Jojo, Diamond is Unbreakable: It's more Jojo's Bizarre Adventures. You know the drill by now, and nothing special would change anyone's mind at this point to cause a sudden opinion shift. No, there hasn't been a post about this in the blog, but whatever, I'll just cover everything I'm currently watching.

Taboo Tattoo: I really enjoyed the first 2 or 3 episodes, but the more they play, the more...apathetic I become about this show. I'm not specifically sure why. Oh wait, I know a huge contributing factor; Those stupid Erotic and Comedic moments they salt and pepper the show in until you couldn't get within a mile of it without sneezing your brains out. Literally and figuratively. All of the right elements are there for this to be a good show, but for whatever reason, they had no confidence in playing their cards straight and serious, so everything just comes off a bit dull. Not even the Dramatic Twist in the last episode or two.

Mob Psycho 100: This show went from, "mm it's 'kay", to "MORE I WANT MORE". Most of that is that I was only partly right about Arataka. I was correct that he would continue to be a joyous source of comedy as he tried to keep his cover. I was incorrect, that he would mainly be a feature as only trying to lie his way through keeping Mob working for him. He's actually a really strongly built character in the show, and, hilariously enough since he is a con man, he often plays the Wise Man for Mob and now maybe other characters as well. I also fricking loved it when one of his 'clients' showed up, and he had a small fit about a previous con man they had seen, not doing it right. I can't say more than that without spoiling it, but you all should definitely be watching this show, it's great for more than just pure comedy. It really does feel like One Punch Man's spirit reincarnated in an entirely different setting. It really feels like the author did this to try innovating with the core idea in a new setting, rather than just to cash in on the hype train.

Rewrite: A bunch of people on several sites called it, and I failed to listen. This show is flopping around like a fish out of water, and I'm just sitting here, wishing I hadn't put the fish hook of my time investment in its mouth. I'm going to finish it out, because there's nothing explicitly horrible about it, it's feels hugely unpolished and mediocre. Not unpolished like Taboo is, that feels like effort was being made, just in the wrong direction. Rewrite just feels like someone lost a lot of motivation very early on. Maybe that's just a by-product of it being a Visual Novel adaptation, and it's simply 'a bad adaptation', but I don't have a lot of experience with shows adapted from visual novels, on account of the fact the only one I recall ever consuming was the first episode of World End Economica, and being in too much pain to start the second episode yet despite having owned it for a year. So I can't really say anything about what is and is not a good adaptation from a visual novel, and what the usual symptoms of a bad adaptation are.
(I really love Isuna Hasakuras works, btw. Bought all the Light Novels of Spice and Wolf)
[Aside end]
Amanchu: This show is just absolutely delightful. Light-hearted, easygoing, and absolutely not serious. Very much a pure slice of life show, and one that is doing everything right. If you don't really like Slice of Life, I don't know that this would change your mind at all, but otherwise if you need something to just quietly sigh in happiness, laugh light-heartedly, or just sit down and unwind after a bad day, this show may do wonders for you. It's great comedy, and light-hearted fun with a cast of slightly kooky characters interacting with each other around a solid core concept. They want to do the divin', and one of them doesn't really know squat, so it goes slow as it brings her up to speed. The core of the show isn't the diving, it's the diving facilitating the characters interacting with each other. So, if you immediately decide you don't like one of the main characters, you probably won't enjoy the show that well, since as far as I can tell, the characters are the main draw for the show.

Orange: I haven't watched past the first episode. Let's just say this one failed to motivate me, but it hasn't put me off either.
(almost impossible for a show to put me off in just one me, that's not a good trait)
I'll get around to it eventually.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K: I haven't made a post about this show either, mostly because it caught me off guard with its layout. It's actually a ton of short-short shows, but then after a few of them, it bundles them all together and calls it an episode. I wasn't sure at first if this was actually a show, or just a series of OVAs. Now that I know for sure it's ongoing, and not just a small finite amount of material, I'll be making a post proper soon. Suffice to say, this show is like the twin of Mob Psycho 100, only without the serious tone to hold together a long reaching plot. It's layout is basically, here's a godlike powerful psychic, here's a situation, watch what happens. Then repeat. Maybe that's not for everyone, but I'm laughing like crazy, and I love it. I recommend this, easy.

Momokuri: (oh shit. Did I not make a post about this one?...right, more work to do.)
Weird. But funny. Sometimes cute. Mostly just weird and creepy. There's a phrase that gets passed around, based on two movie references, something about a guy holding a radio outside a girls window, and "now picture that guy as _____(character) from _____(movie), and suddenly that's not romantic anymore, and you have a call to the police." The basic gist being that the situation is dependent on whether or not the character in question is good looking. Well, Momokuri is the essence of what that little quip is trying to say, exponentially multiplied. I find it absolutely hilarious, as the show continues to try and insist, "ah, no, she's not completely crazy, see? Look! She has restraint, she's just eccentric." It's a lovely study in psychology for me, but hey, maybe most other people would just find it completely creepy. I urge you all to at least try a few episodes, just to see how you react. Maybe you'll find it as hilarious as I do. Aside from that, all the show really has going for it is a surprisingly straight relationship between the two main characters, and a whole lot of cutesy'ness going around by the bucketful.

Twin Star Exorcists: This show escalated fast in the last handful of episodes. At first, it was just a cheesy setting for two main characters being lumped together, with a poorly strung up reason for them to be smashing up some evil. As it turns out, everything fleshes out wonderfully as they start exploring those two characters histories, backgrounds, and motivations. I straight up recommend this show, barring the catch that you don't absolutely hate the Shounen Genre. I don't know that the show expressly fits into the Shounen genre, as when I think of that genre I usually think of settings and characters that are immensely more dumbed down than they are in this show. Like, One Piece for instance. Sure, a lot of cool and dramatic things happen a lot, but in essence, what you're there for is to watch fantastic fights set to a decent story and plot, that mostly exists just to create more fantastic fights. Twin Star feels a bit more serious about itself than that, as it has some torturously human moments. Just to clarify, by 'Human' I mean "gut-wrenching darkside of humanity", Human. It's just that the show still feels very Shounen'esque. Maybe it's the flashy Technique Name Screens. *shrug*
Regardless, I still highly recommend this show. It gets really good once it starts rolling, and it wasn't bad to start with, just not as eye-catching.

annnnnd that's about it for now, folks. I hope that proved slightly useful for you all, I'll get back to proper posts, post-haste. (hurr hurr hurr).
Just writing this made me realize I have two of them to write that I should have done a long while ago.

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 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.
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
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
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 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., '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 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:

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:
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 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:

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.

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]

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

[New][April 2016] Bungo Stray Dogs

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Kicked out of his orphanage after its supplies are ravaged by a wild tiger, and on the verge of starving to death, as well as having recently ran for his life from that same Tiger in the middle of a city...Nakajima Atsushi meets some strange men. One of them, Dazai Osamu, is a suicidal man attempting to drown himself in broad daylight. The other, Kunikida Doppo, nervously stands by obsessively flipping through a notepad, and trying to keep tabs on Dazai. Both are members of the "Armed Detective Agency" said to solve incidents that even the military and police won't touch. Atsushi ends up accompanying them on their mission to eliminate the tiger that's been terrorizing the population, as they take a keen interest in noting that the Tiger is following him, even though he himself hasn't noticed it yet.

First Impression: Comedy. I have seen nothing but comedy. Even when it tried to get properly serious in the second episode, I saw through it for what it actually was. Still, it tried.

My Opinion: Well. Right now it's still just introducing its main cast, and it has several more characters and powers to make a show of based on the lineup presented in the first episode. Interestingly enough, the show enjoys taking a moment to flash on screen every characters power when they are introduced, but...only the name. I...actually kind of like this. The name implies a vague idea of what the power might do, but it still leaves it up to the viewer to try and guess what it will actually be like.
Over all, the show has a very strange feel to it. I can't really grasp what the core of the show is going to be. Certainly, there's a hefty dose of comedy, and even some...mystery? But it doesn't really seem to focus on that. Also, for all the large flashy animations attached to the powers, the actual use of them is...extremely brief. Same for the action scenes. Maybe it's just because the show is still introducing everyone, and trying to get the viewer to connect to them. For now, the show has my curiosity well in hand, despite that nothing has really stuck to me, other than how weird they're making their characters out to be, psychologically.
That's something I want to point out, the show makes a point of explicitly saying something along the lines of, "all power holders have something twisted in their minds/personalities". I think more than anything else, that got my curiosity the most, the promise of an entire main cast with psychological issues to define their characters and personalities, instead of the usual checklist of anime character tropes. But, well, it could still just become that in the end. We shall see.

[New][April 2016] Twin Star Exorcists

annnnd I hate everything about you

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Monsters known as Impurities reside in Magano, a realm parallel to the present day. Exorcists purify these evil apparitions to protect the people. Rokuro Enmado is opposed to becoming an exorcist, even though he has the talent to be one, after a tragedy in his past that killed all of his friends and cost him an arm. Benio Adashino, a girl from a highly influential/rich family of exorcists, is determined to exorcise all the Kegare, or Impurities, in the world. A pledge Rokuro once believed in as well, and which inspires him to fight just once to rescue her. However, afterwards, even though he tries to continue to refuse being an exorcist, the Oracle calls a meeting of all Exorcists, and proclaims a vision that Benio and Rokuro are the path to the 'Miko', the person who will destroy all Impurities forever, coming to the world. He therefore declares them engaged to be married.

First Impression: It's...shounen. That's...about it. A bit edgier than what I typically think of in shounen, but that seems to be the rolling trend these days. More edge and blood and such.

My Opinion: Eh, it could be good. Honestly, for all that it makes out to have an edge on it, (it doesn't really try to draw attention to it, it's just something I picked up on), what with the scene where Rokuro's arm is gone and all of his friends are scattered around him, bloody and dead in a burning building... it all still feels fairly...shounen. Maybe that's just the Fox familiar who in precisely ONE scene, managed to make me utterly hate him as soon as he opened his mouth. Or the 'friend' of Rokuro's who the show clearly lines up as a potential romantic interest... Or hey, how he actually hesitated for a moment before refuting his non-exorcist vow and flaunting his overwhelming power. A brief moment of humanity before total inhumanity. For all that it seems to want you to think it has deep parts in its story or plot, it still comes off feeling shallow somehow, somewhere. Regardless, it's interesting enough that I'm going to watch it, and who knows but that it might be good in the end? For now though, I see nothing amazing or out of the ordinary to recommend it, unless you just want something flashy, a bit funny, and with a few deep emotional points, to add to your roster to fill time.