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]