Monday, October 30, 2017

[Ended] Knight's and Magic - Relentless High Tension

Exo-suits! FINALLY,
Someone figured out these are much more practical!

My Opinion: Nothing about this felt like a mech anime. Since it's literally covered in giant robots though, that's quite an impressive statement for me to make, so let me back it up a little. At the end of this post is a rant about me and my history with the Mech Genre of anime, but to summarize it: Giant Mechs are so unwieldy, that they weigh the whole show down trying to support them. Or at least, trying to have them fighting. Knight's and Magic sidesteps this problem in a very interesting way. Rather than staying as far away from the technical side of things as possible, something that inevitably will spell the death of a Mech anime, because the basic idea of a Humanoid Giant robot is either,
A) Untenable by various principles of Physics, especially the balance controls, or
B) Impractical for the amount of resources they cost, versus how easy they are to destroy in the show.

Knight's and Magic dives right in to the technical side of things, and takes care of point A by setting the stage in a world with magic. This allowing them to bend, rather than abolish the laws of Physics. Any show that uses magic to just hand wave things away is just as bad as a mindless Mech anime in my book. Then it takes care of point B, by emphasizing how much work it takes to make these giant machines. This also naturally underlines that it's devastating for large amounts to be easily destroyed, or worse, for information on building better ones to be stolen, since it takes so long to make them. If the enemy already knows about your new secret weapon long before you can even finish building it, its effect is greatly diminished, in addition to them now having it.

That's the other thing I love about this show. Intrigue. Most of the time, Gundam shows have drama, great big emotional clashes of will and might, not real intrigue, people desperately moving around in the shadows trying to get an edge on each other. In Knight's and Magic, knowing how the enemy's mech is built is just as valuable as knowing how powerful it is to the main cast of characters, and therefore, the show. Grant, espionage isn't a large part of the show, but it's nice that they acknowledge that it exists and pay tribute to it.

That is the second half of what I think makes this show amazingly special. I believe other mech shows have previously been ruined by including lots of technical aspects to their giant robots, because they eventually get lost in those same technical aspects. The main character of this show, Ernesti Eschevalier, is the primary driving force of the show. Despite his utter otaku love of giant robots and everything to do with them, he's still grounded in the reality around him. He's not a space cadet, so to speak. He properly comprehends the consequences of what is going on around him, and how he affects it with his genius. At the same time, his boundless enthusiasm constantly propels the show forward, where other shows would get bogged down either with drama, or trying to explain things. If anything ever starts to slow down, Ernesti inevitably comes up with some lunatic new robotic thing-a-ma-jig and it, with a lot of clunking and gear-grinding, propels the show further forward as he now has to patch it up and make it work, or come up with more thingamajigs.
His robots do not just magically come up with extra power, hell, almost all of them have a problem of running out of power before the more normal designs. The pilot doesn't just scream love, friendship, or anger at the top of their lungs and suddenly everything goes their way. Shit breaks, and someone has to fix it.

It's a fair point to mention that all of the things Ernesti invents were always really interesting, in addition to being designed to be cool. That, plus the fact that nothing ever seems to go to waste in this show. I can't think of a single thing Ernesti invents in this show that he doesn't in some way re-use or re-purpose at least once, if not multiple times.

This show is a breathtakingly high-stakes, but fast paced, barrage of giddy high tension excitement.
The show knows it is here for one reason only, to make Giant Robots fight, but for once in my life, I've seen a show put in the work it takes to make this overly simple concept truly engaging.
Ha, that's it. That is how I would describe this show in a single word:

Impartial Opinion: I truly think everyone should give this show a try, especially if you hate Mech Anime for same reasons that I do. The characters are endearing. Several of them are very trope'y, but Ernesti generates so much driving force in the show, that they never have enough screen time to become truly annoying. They also all grow, at least a little bit.
However, if you find Ernesti himself annoying, that will likely smash this show to tiny pieces. Ernesti and his passion feel like the lifeblood of this show to me, so I daresay you would be very hard pressed to enjoy it if you hate his guts.
The battles are very high quality, in my opinion, even if the scale is probably a lot smaller than the Space Epics that hardcore Gundam fans are probably used to by now. If you just cannot get into robot fights, that will also be an easy breaking point for some, because the show does invest a lot of tension and excitement into how the latest greatest thing will perform in actual combat.

All around, I give this show a rating of,
and a strong recommendation to top it off. I loved the hell out of this show, and it will quite literally be the first Mech anime to ever grace the shelves of my collection, if/when it ever gets translated into English so I can share it with friends.


I remember the first mech anime I ever watched was Gundam Wing. I was pretty into it at the time, and I loved the Endless Waltz movie to death. However, when I tried to go back and re-watch the Gundam Wing series, it just...grated on me. Most of it was how dated it was with its storytelling and characters, but the only Mech anime I've ever felt like re-watching since then was Fighter G Gundam because I remember it being unique and interesting as far as the genre goes. I've never bothered because I'm worried it will be a repeat of Wing Gundam, and it's not worth tarnishing the nostalgic memory. Knowing myself, I'll do it one day anyway.

Why did I bring all this up? I have liked basically zero Gundam anime that have come out ever since. I ended up watching quite a lot of Gundam 00, and enjoying it...but then without even realizing it, as soon as other shows started pressing for my time, it was the first to be dropped, even part-way in the second season. After that, I tried to pick up a few other Gundams that came out, or that I had never watched, but I just was never interested again. What's more, any time a mech anime came out, it got the same treatment.

I do believe I know why this happened. It's because, to begin with, human shaped robots are impractical, but that's just a very tiny piece of it. Magic is way more impractical, and I love me to death a lot of fantasy shows. The important thing, is that it contributes to the Suspension of Disbelief being dispelled. You can't just tell your audience to accept something. You need to put some effort into it, make the abnormal feel normal. The problem is far worse though. The number one contributing factor to me dropping the shows every time, was I was just utterly bored or disenfranchised with the story and characters. The drop always comes right around the time the shows story or character development plummets into the earth in favor of...Giant Robot Battles.

Yes, the core reason most mech anime fans love the genre tends to be the point where I drop the shows. Why? Because as soon as the fighting starts in earnest, everything seems to devolve into an endless ridiculous chain of excuses upon excuses for having MORE giant robots smash each other to solve everyone's problems, and it somehow fucking works. Emphasis on somehow. The excuses just continue to get ever more ridiculous until the show eventually grinds to a halt. In other words, all mech anime eventually compromise on the rest of the show, and sacrifice it into the fire in order to sustain the unwieldy metal monstrosities that are the very heart of their genre. Assuming they even tried to have a decent story and characters to begin with. A lot of the time, they're content to make it obvious right out of the gate that the show exists solely as an excuse for giant robots to smash each other for little to no reason at all. I honestly think that's the better approach, because then it isn't duping hopeful or curious people into watching something they thought would be more than it was.
[Aside end]

Sunday, October 29, 2017

[New][July 2017][Ended] Restraunt to Another World - Quality Relaxation

It's always hard to pick a pic for a show like this.
but this lion using those tiny utensils is still hilarious

There is a certain restaurant in the first basement level of a multi-tenant building...The historical restaurant, marked by a sign with a picture of a cat, is called "Western Cuisine Nekoya." This restaurant seems completely normal during the week, but on Saturdays, it opens in secret to some very unique guests. During this day, doors in various areas of a parallel magical world open to allow customers of many different races and cultures into the restaurant.

My Opinion:
An absolute joy to behold. Original, quality content. I'm very happy to see someone actually innovating with the Another World trope, or "Isekai" as it is rendered in English from the Japanese. The characters are precisely as fleshed out as they need to be. This is a very simple, slice-of-life style show, and so no individual character is ever amazingly deep or complex, but watching each of them develop and interact with each other is very pleasant.The entire show's story ends up having this wonderfully satisfying arc as well, without you realizing what it's doing.

Impartial Opinion: Fair warning, there is Food Porn here. The show spends a LOT of time having the characters drool words all over the food they're eating, describing it and its absolutely AMAZING taste. I've never even eaten a single thing they serve in this show, and they still make it all sound great. Never made me hungry, but I imagine a lot of people would find them selves drooling if they aren't just outright laughing. These kinds of scenes tend to have radically diverse reception. Some people love it, some laugh at it, others hate it because they don't enjoy it and it drags on.

I had already planed to give this show a rating of
GREATwith a solid Recommendation,
when I had first finished watching it. At some point, I tabled writing its New post, and now here we are, I completely forgot I hadn't ever actually finished and published it.
Before, it simply was for being a solid 10/10 for relaxing and refreshing story, but now, having recently consumed that thing that is known as 'Another World with my Smartphone'
it also gets bonus points for something I hadn't originally thought to talk about. A creative and original use of the 'Another World' setting. I think I've seen anime centered around Food Porn before, and I know a specific comedy series that's set in a Restaurant, but I do believe this is the first time this particular combination has ever been done. In my experience, at any rate.

Go enjoy this lovely little gem, I promise it's worth your time, so long as you don't mind them prattling on about how amazing the food is every episode.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[New][Ocotober 2017] Konohana Kitan - Light and Fluffy goodness

Let's play Guess the Guy! There is One Guy in this picture, Whooo is it!?
Yay Androgynous Japanese art!
...they are a guy right...?

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: In a village inhabited by youkai, Konohana Kitan is the heartwarming story of a new apprentice named Yuzu, and the other fox girls who work at a hot spring hotel called Konohatei. Yuzu had always been living in the mountains, but now has to adjust to a new life working in a high class inn. The staff at Konohatei live by one belief: no matter who one may truly be, no matter what, anyone who is a guest is a god.

First Impression: A light and simple story to warm your heart.

My Opinion: If you need something to pick you up after a crappy day, for example, having had a wisdom tooth ripped out of your mouth while you were awake when you were expecting to be knocked out, there is nothing better you can find to relax to than this show. The main character, Yuzu, has more than just cuteness going for her. Usually a Cutesy main character goes hand-in-hand with being a ditz, and that irks me. That's a support character, not a protagonist, for anything other than a pure gag-comedy show. Yuzu on the other hand, while being just the right spice of clumsy, is by no measure dense or incompetent. Just in the first two episodes she shows to be a fast and earnest learner, and a hard worker. I find that very appealing in a character we're going to be spending most of the show with the camera glued to the back of her head.

The world seems to be an interesting light-mix supernatural and conventional. A couple of characters have referenced Humans wandering through the town occasionally, and Yuzu has said they visited the temple she was living at frequently. So I'm not precisely sure if the story is set in a spirit world, or if parts of the world are just more Youkai populous. The whole setting feels very Natsume Yuujinchou if I'm perfectly honest, and I love it.
In fact, that's a good way to describe this show so far. Take Natsume Yuujinchou and remove most of the sad and depressing heartfelt moments, and replace them with light and fluffy moments. I'm not sure if the show will ever get a bit more serious than this at this episode count, but I don't feel like it needs to. Within two episodes, you have a very clear idea that this is a 'feel-good' show, you're here to do just that, feel good and happy. The show does it's job perfectly.

If you are looking for or enjoy having a show to relax and unwind to, I give Konohana Kitan a solid

It's just the right balance of slice-of-life light drama and good comedy. Maybe not what everyone is looking for, but one episode is all you need to figure that out, nothing too deep here.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

[New][Ended] Bulk Post Continued

That's right, another bulk post, because somehow I forgot to come back and finish whatever that train of thought was from last time. Can't even remember. Oh well.


Another World Smartphone: Honestly, I would have waited to lump this into a bulk post even if I didn't have a bunch of shows I've finished to catch up on. This show was the most
thing, I've seen in a damn long time. Pull up any generic description for a Harem, a Deus ex Machina, and then spice it with the recently popular Different World setting, and you have literally this show. This is the most bare-bones, empty-hearted, soulless show...just....ARGH.

WHY DID I WASTE MY TIME ON THIS SHOW!? I knew it was trash bin material by the second episode, but I kept wanting to see him call God! I thought that would be the most hilarious joke theme ever, having God on speed-dial! Instead, the main character may as well have BEEN GOD HIMSELF, he was so stupidly powerful and vacuous. He is LITERALLY the Deus-ex-Machina of the show!
Whatever, Youtube already has at least one review talking about how empty this show is because of it's ridiculously Over Powered main character, so I'll leave that part alone. Let's talk about the Harem for a second. At first, I found it novel that-

A) There was a fiance declared very quickly, and
B) She then immediately offers for everyone else in the Harem to become his wives as well.

Those were very avant-garde for the harem genre, usually it just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens. I thought maybe the show would touch on how impossible the idea of keeping more than one person at a time happy or satisfied was, or emphasize how the only reason the Main Character could do it was because he was basically God Incarnate.

" just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens."
Zetro, 2017.

In all due honesty, as far as anime goes, there is nothing strictly speaking offensive about the show. As long as you don't count how soulless it is. There are several pieces, like the two I just pointed out, that are original and creative in the show, but it is just so determined to not do anything risky or bold that everything is as flat as a pancake, and about as exciting as watching paint dry. I think the only useful or productive thing this show will ever be credited for is creating the "Slip Meme" I predict should show up at some point. Got a problem? Use Slip. Need help with something? Use Slip. Enemies knocking on your gates, ready to loot your worldly possessions, rape your women, murder your children, and burn everything to the ground? Use Slip.

Twin Star Exorcists:
Well this is old isn't it? This was a Good Shounen genre show. However, in case you couldn't tell by how long it took me to get my lazy arse around to finishing it, there was nothing especially riveting or exciting about it. Well, okay, the show being a shounen, is all about hype and excitement, but nothing outside of the norm. It's just a repeating cycle of "train to beat the big bad of the week, brief joy, new big bad of the week, repeat."
If nothing else though, it does execute on something that A CERTAIN SHOW JUST MENTIONED BUT REMAINING UN-NAMED, failed to accomplish:
A meaningful relationship between its main characters. A shallow relationship, yes, but a meaningful one in the context of the show, that grows over time, like a proper character arc should.
If you want to kill about 50 episodes worth of time real smooth, I recommend this show for that. Double points if you like Shounen genre shows, which this sits in quite firmly.

I found the show kept my attention pretty much riveted, right up until the Sae-Arc. At that point, it just felt so...forced. I dunno, maybe that's just a Me thing. Take it or leave it as you will, it was a pleasant series to watch to the end.
If you like shounen shows: I give this series a Recommendation.
Girlfriend Gal: Meh. Why did I finish this show again? With Smartphone, I'm outraged at myself for having put up with it, but I literally cannot remember why I kept watching this show. At first, I found it interesting that the main girl wasn't a cardboard cut out. The show seemed determined to underline how her appearance was deceiving, and it actually fleshes her out really well in the first few episodes. She's probably the ONLY character in the show with any depth worth noting. Everyone else is mostly defined by a stereotype.
Just going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I don't like the male protagonist. I especially hate almost all of his bickering inner-self segments. That's about all I have to say on the matter. He gets points for being morale when it counts, and for having a goal and sticking to it. I really respect that much of him, but for whatever reason, something about him as a whole just rubs me the wrong way and I'm not completely sure why. 

Honorable mention to the Glasses support character, I would absolutely watch an entire series dedicated to him working at his part-time job. Or, just dedicated to him, period.

Also, we need to talk about the fat pedophile. No, not "the fat lolicon" I mean THE FAT PEDOPHILE. There is literally a pedophile in this show, and it's suppose to be comedic entertainment! That's fucked up. I understand and tolerate the lolicon theme and character trope, I've even enjoyed and laughed like hell at it in such settings as the show 'Working!!!', but this show goes out of its way to make sure you understand that the fat guy is without a doubt a pedophile, and it's really creepy. No, it does not get a pass for every character in the show being creeped out and trying to tell him he's going to end up in jail, especially not after they SEND HIM TO A PART-TIME JOB AT A DAYCARE CENTER.

Who the hell...oh whatever, I don't care anymore. As far as I can tell, the show wants you to be creeped out by him when you're not laughing at him. Assuming you were laughing at him and not just creeped out all the time like I was. I've said my piece, and any more would just be wasting time beating the dead horse.
I'm going to go ahead and give this show a
BADrating. It's not a waste of your time, but you'll probably regret the time you spent on it if it isn't your cup of tea. It's through and through an 'ecchi humor', as I believe they call it, show. At least it isn't a Harem.

In other news, I've finished Knight's and Magic, and it is good, but I'm going to take the time to write up a proper end post for that one.