Monday, July 30, 2018

[New][End][April 2017] Rage of Bahamut - Virgin Soul (Season 2)(Shingeki no Bahamut - Virgin Soul)

Everything shall burn, your heart and mind alike
Last Seen: All of it.

Summary: A decade ago, humans, gods, and demons joined forces to stand against the threat of the colossal dragon, Bahamut.

Now, humans in the capital city of Anatae enjoy lavish and prosperous lives. Their progress is largely due to the newly appointed king, Charioce XVII, who has stolen a power from the gods, and allowed for the abuse and slavery of the demon race in the capital after attacking and destroying their capital Cocytus.

Amidst it all, Nina Drango, a cheerful young bounty hunter, has arrived at the Royal Capital with hopes of settling down and earning a living. However, her peaceful life in the capital is quickly thrown into chaos when she crosses paths with the ominous Rag Demon who is determined to seek revenge against humans, and Kaisar Lidfard, a noble knight battling an internal moral conflict.

Paraphrased from

First Impression: Everything's looking good.

My Opinion: Season 2. Better than season 1.

Here's the important things you need to know.
1. You need to see the first season before you watch season two, it may not seem like it at first, but you do.
2. This show is an emotional roller coaster. Brace for impact.
3. Whoever's in charge of story-writing has obviously improved, or they got someone better this time around, because the flow of the story feels much improved. Don't get me wrong, I like the first season a lot, but its flaws were much more obvious than this time around.
4. Rita best character ever, end of discussion.

...What. It's my opinion, I can do what I want with it.

Anyway, this show is hands down

GREATand obviously comes with a full Recommendation, no strings attached...well besides the fact that its a sequel, so you need to watch the first season.Without getting into spoilers, a lot of the show takes for granted that you'll understand the references its making when it talks about things, it just straight glosses over anything from the first season. They genuinely didn't seem to care at all about catering to anyone who hadn't watched season 1, and I think that's the best choice. Yes, season one had its flaws, but it's no train wreck by any measure, it's a wild good time too, so I don't see why they should be expected to bow and scrape before the mouth-breathing thick skulls that are forever screaming some complaint or another. I genuinely don't understand how people can expect a sequel of anything to not expect you to have consumed the first part.

Anywho, this time around the story has a new central cast, and I think that's a good thing. It shows ... integrity? I think is the best way to describe it...let's just roll with that, for now. I think it shows integrity on the writers part, because it is so easy for story creators, be they books, shows, or games, to just reuse and rehash a new story for the same old characters. Most of the time, that's fine, especially for authors that had more story to tell, or left their worlds open ended enough for the adventures to continue. However, to have already branched out to new characters, and made them fantastic to boot, shows great talent and quality of work somewhere in the creation department. Having seen all of it, I can absolutely see how they could have tweaked things to reorient it to be wrapped entirely around the characters that show up from the first season like Kaiser. That's just how it feels to me, maybe I'm a bit too sensitive around stagnation.

Well. What are you waiting for? The musics a touch all over the map, so I'm willing to bet you at least 50 m'guffins that you'll hate at least one of the openings or endings between both seasons, but the shows fantastic from start to finish and a wild ride to boot. I suppose the only warning I can give you is that the second season spends a lot of time building up your happiness...don't let it fool you. It's going to punch you in the gut. It's coming. Don't say I didn't warn you. Now get watching.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

[New][July 2018] How Not to Summon a Demon Lord (Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu)

This was the point I surrendered to the laughter.

Last Seen: Episode 4

Summary: Sakamoto Takuma was so strong in the MMORPG 'Cross Reverie' that his fellow players came to call him the "demon lord." One day, he is summoned to another world in his avatar form, and meets two girls who both are fighting about who the one who summoned him is. They cast a spell used to enslave summoned beasts on him, but that activates his unique ability, Magic Reflection, and the girls end up being the ones put under the spell! And thus begins the otherworldly adventure of a demon lord (pretending) who blazes his own trail through overwhelming power.

First Impression: Ah, shit, it's a harem...but it's...Hilarious?!

My Opinion: I have literally no idea why I find this show so absolutely hilarious. Literally any other Harem show I have watched has annoyed wherever it tried to amuse. Now this. It's using so many common harem or 'ecchi' jokes, but...somehow it's making them funny enough for me to laugh at them. Maybe I'm just getting old, or just far too jaded, but somehow it feels like this one's higher quality presentation. Same material? Yes. But it seems fresh because of the way it is presented, or at least that's the excuse I'm going with while I draw blanks, and laugh my ass off.

To wit, though, the story is quite good, and the main characters are all interesting. Not so much the elf at first, she was just such a cardboard cut out Harem toon. I didn't like her character, but she was immensely useful for comedic effect, so I ignored it. When they filled in some of her back story though, I don't mind her as much now. I'll avoid spoilers, but it explains some of her personality quirks that make her a perfect Harem girl fit in a decent way. Is that clearly the egg after the chicken? Yes. She was clearly designed to be a Harem girl in a Harem anime, but I will always take a moment to appreciate some thought and detail being put into a show.

On the flip, the other main female lead up to this point, is a wonderful contrast. I think this has to be the most ... realistic? presentation of the 'Tsundere' trope I've ever seen. It's not just gag-slap after gag-slap, and main character defying gravity to smash into walls left, right, and center, I genuinely think her character is well constructed, as it has been presented so far. She reacts to things in a very reasonable manner, especially compared to literally any other Harem genre show.

But by far and large, my favorite character of all, is the main protagonist, Diablo. Definitely. I love the way he's presented as thinking about and interpreting everything through a video game lens as a coping mechanism to not have a break down, and cover for his horribly insufficient social skills. It amuses me, and it makes for a good watch, if I do say so myself. I just genuinely like it when a main character is shown as putting some thought and deductive reasoning to work to get by. He doesn't just resort to blasting everything to pieces with his overwhelming power, he's actually trying to understand everything around him and how things are working, even if it is just by comparing it to the game he's used to playing, finding the differences in how things work.

But really though. Those goddamn bouncing gravity defying boob bounces scenes. Why are they so funny now? I absolutely hated it whenever any other show would go about this gag-style recurring joke. The only bits of reasoning I can come up with, is the camera doesn't drool over her every time it's happening. It's literally a few frames of animation for comedic effect, and then it cuts straight to the main character or someone else being bothered by it. Maybe that's it. The main character isn't presented as being ruled by his hormones, he's actually putting up a level headed resistance, and trying to be civil. You know. Not a farking creep or pervert. Of course, this is a Harem genre anime, so eventually that breaks down, but even then that entire scene with him waking up next to them was just... I don't know. I was laughing, and I was trying to figure out why, and then just laughing harder as the scene kept going. I was having a hard time choosing a screenshot for this post between this one, and "HELP ME, RIGHT HAND!", but I went with this one because it's slightly better out of context on its own, and it's also the point where I just went 'fuck it' in my head, and resigned my self to just laughing and enjoying the whole thing.

I know better than to put the cart in front of the horse anymore, so I won't put a recommendation on this show...yet. But, for certain, you should check it out. Anything that decides to be the Harem Genre and is strong enough to make me enjoy it, deserves special mention.


EDIT: I FIGURED IT OUT! I went back and re-watched a couple of episodes, and I figured out why I like this shows presentation so much better than literally any other Harem show ever. It's what the show is expecting its audience to do with its scenes. Summon a Demon Lord understands that its making fan service, but it expects you to laugh at it. Meanwhile, other shows will just show you fan service, and expect you to be a drooling mess as long as it is on screen. I think that's why it annoys me so much. Since I'm not the target audience, and the appeal goes right over my head, it just feels like a tortuously long waste of my time, that could be better spent watching the parts of the show I do like.

I remember a while back when Phantom World came out, it was a similar affair. I praised it for how the 'fan service' didn't grind the show to a halt every time it was onscreen, and instead it just fluently rolled with it, like it was a natural part of the show's world, instead of the usual earth shattering grind-to-a-halt forces in play when most fan service hits the screen and everything stops for a closer look.

Ultimately I expected way too much from that show based on its first episode, and ended up with a bad taste in my mouth after it ended. I'd like to think I've grown a bit since then, and don't invest as easily. Still, it's been four episodes, and this one just keeps getting better, while Phantom World literally started to rot in episode 2. I'll Raise my hopes a bit for Summon a Demon Lord, but I won't place any expectations just yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

[New][End][January 2018] Darling in the FRANXX - A Vibrant and touching Story

It's not much, But I'll take it.

Summary: In the distant future, humanity has been driven to near-extinction by giant beasts known as Klaxosaurs, forcing the surviving humans to take refuge in massive fortress cities called Plantations. Children raised here are trained to pilot giant mechas known as FRANXX—the only weapons known to be effective against the boy-girl pairs. Bred for the sole purpose of piloting these machines, these children know nothing of the outside world and are only able to prove their existence by defending their race. (Quote from

First Impression: What? Butt-Mounted Controllers? Into the Bin you go. Skipping this.

My Opinion: See first impression for my literal first impression of this show back in January. I hereby declare a prophesy that this show will forever be plagued by this exact first impression.

This post literally got so long I put red headers in to help you skip around for TL;DRFirst Look
Japan's culture is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the free reign they give to their artistic liberties allows such wonderful stories like this to find a place to take root and grow.
Whereas here in American culture, I can say with all certainty that unless you had a previously established foundation of trust, such as a highly profitable publication of any kind, no editor or publisher would ever approve of "butt-mounted controllers". I can't even type that without giggling to myself.
On the other hand, here I am. Giggling.
I think that's a wonderful thing, (*See Aside Rant at bottom \/*), because god only knows how often the 'ecchi' jokes piss me off. It's important to know and notice the difference between a cheap gag, and a well thought out joke. As far as Japanese anime goes, you can generally notice the difference based on how much screen time it gets whenever it happens, and how many different camera angles they use to show it off.

Second Look
So why am I making a post about it, singing its praises? Because I value opinions outside of my own. I always watch every review and first reaction Arkada uploads to youtube, because he shares a very similar opinion and perspective to me when it comes to choosing what anime to watch, and what kinds of anime we enjoy. I think everyone should have someone like that, a person that has a broader field of view than you, that allows you to broaden your horizons beyond your own limits. I have a job, I have bills to pay. I don't have anywhere near as much time as I once did. I also am far more obsessed with games than anime, and the two are always warring for my time and attention.


[Aside end]

Back on point: I watched a video he posted on Darling in the Franxx, and while it didn't make me decide to go watch the show, I remember thinking to myself, "ah. So the show isn't just a harem-style running gag of innuendo jokes and 'ecchi' humor."
No, what got me to watch the show, was when I tripped over an Upvote Gif on imgur, made out of a scene in the show. (Specifically this)
I remember seeing that and just...being so curious. "What is that show!? I must know! I want to see it!". When I found out it was Darling in the Franxx...I hesitated. But hey, I'm a lunatic who consumed all of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden just to complete the set in my brain of its story.
(I totally waited for the second season to end and used a filler episode list to skip all the bullshit, 400 episodes in. My patience could use some Maintenance, it needs a limiter.)

Beginning of Review
Now, here we sit. There were a couple of times where I worried I was wasting my time, mostly the crunchyroll comments all crying and whining about the ending on almost every episode, telling you to stop at a specific episode, or giving spoilers about what happens to certain characters.

They can all go and stuff a cactus up their arse.

The story is well thought out. It's not perfect by any means, there's a few parts near the end that feel forced, but it's not a glaring flaw. It just feels that way because it leans on a more or less common anime trope to stage a raising of the stakes. A new comer would probably go 'huh?', but anyone who's been around anime a bit won't do much more than blink at it. "Ah, so they decided to use this trope eh?" kind of feeling.

It primarily follows Squad 13, and a climactic point in their lives, when their battle against the Klaxosaurs is reaching its climax, and how this begins to affect and change the way they're maturing, differently from all of the other squads. A story like this would be a death sentence without a strong cast of characters to fuel it, but there's no worries in that department.

Part way through, they have a 'special episode' where they do an interview with the Animation Studios director in charge of the show, and then it starts to go over the shows production and interview voice actors and stuff, but I'm going to watch that after I write this. Once I had heard the directors thoughts on the show, I was well satisfied, and moved on to the next actual episode. That was when I found out that this is an Original Anime, which is to say, it wasn't adapted from a novel or manga comic. I think a lot of the quality and fresh feel of it can be attributed to that.

The characters in this show are amazing. You will wildly flip from absolutely loving them one moment, to hating their guts the next, to forgiving and forgetting in record-(and heart)-breaking speeds. They crammed so much humanity into the central cast, I'm surprised they didn't explode at the seams. I dig that, in case you couldn't tell.

So, to get to the point. Does this show crack vaguely lewd or innuendo jokes? Sort of. The central premise of the show is the Apocalyptic future, and that everyone has mostly forgotten what words that were chosen as names for things mean. Not because it was hidden or a secret, but because it was considered unimportant or irrelevant to their survival, and was never taught. It's literally at their disposal to find out what they mean, and they often do.

I think that's something that helps lend credibility and maturity to the show and the character arcs as it progresses. The joke is there for the audience to appreciate if they want, but it's not just a joke. They actually built it into the worlds lore. I think that's amazing, and it would have taken a lot of thought, way more than most studios/authors seem to give, that just stop at 'hey wouldn't it be funny if X, Y, or Z?' and then just cram it into the show. In other words, telling the joke, for the sake of telling a joke, and nothing more. For some shows, it works. For others, not so much. No amount of cheap gags can save a shitty story with a shitty cast of characters.

The only other worry I had, was when the show sort of hit a mid-run climax, like Alice and Zouroku did, and I was afraid it would follow the same path. The comments didn't farking help that. But it didn't follow in that shows footsteps. I'm here writing because this show is Fantastic from start to finish. An emotional roller coaster to be sure, and that's not everyone's preference, but I won't let the crying babies opinions be the only voice heard. Good people quietly live their lives, but idiots and criminals scream the loudest, and thus are we convinced that the world is always worse off than it is.

I find this a hilarious juxtaposition with the shows own setting. It holds nothing back about telling everyone it's set in a apocalyptic future, and yet all those crying people seem to have just decided to ignore that. The characters were always in a horrible situation, from the start of episode one. I guess they all just decided this was a 'Shounen'-style show and wouldn't go too deep, and weren't ready for the roller coaster to peak, and then jet away at full speed with their fragile hearts and minds. Me? I live for the challenge in my games, and ever since I was a wee mortal, always seemed to insist on taking the harder choices in life for myself, but never the hardest. So I guess I'm more durable these days, decades down the line.

So, for the sake of being thorough:

This Show will Hurt you,
but it will never try to completely crush you. Obviously, this show is

and receives a Recommendation,

with the caveat that you too will taste the curse that no one outside of the anime fan community will ever listen to you recommend it farther than 'controllers mounted on girls butts'.

I spent a lot of time trying to think of what to call this show, and I finally settled on a title. I had to revise it a little to prevent spoilers, but I would call this show, a Space Opera.

id est via Wiktionary:
(initially derogatory) A subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes space travel, romantic adventure, and larger-than-life characters often set against vast exotic settings.
[Aside end]

At what point did we decide that being fake and exaggerated was a bad thing? I think maybe that's the appeal of Japan's anime, that they go all in with that part of it, and we've forgotten or rejected it, and are stagnating in the 'gritty' and the 'realistic' being dumped out of hollywood. Perhaps a tertiary relation to why the Marvel movies are so popular recently? A throw back to a previous time, made more accessible for a wider audience?

[^Aside Rant on my Views of Culture and Education]
Maybe it's just me, and my isolationist ways, but it feels like my culture shies away from anything vaguely sexual, if not outright ostracizes it, if you aren't past an arbitrary age marker that varies from state to state. Then, when you cross that marker, the reins are off, and you're just dropped into it to run rampant however you want with no one to stop you, like you should have just naturally figured out self-moderation and how the world works on instinct because you are the specified age.

We fear "corrupting the youth" too much. To a certain extent, as someone who's single parent had a very hands-off approach to letting me grow up so long as I stayed out of trouble, I can see the perspective that philosophy comes from, because I took a very long and strange road to sexual maturity, because it went unnoticed since in every other way I was slightly above-average(when the average was idiot, but that's a story for another time). It's not often that someone is telling the truth when they say,
(PG-13 white out in case you'd rather not, but highlight for a funny snippet from my life.)
"The first time I had a wank was when I was 26 years old. I found it thoroughly unimpressive, and a massive waste of time better spent playing games, which are much more fun, and don't leave behind a mess for me to clean up."
(white out end)

However, that was not a problem of me being exposed to sexual themes or ideas. Literally everyone is at some point in their lives, and it hardly destroys anyone. No, the problem was that it was unsupervised and unadvised. Mother isn't going to be a good one to ask about guy problems, yeah?

As it is, I think the problem is this 'total avoidance' the general public will seem to go with when you amalgam enough peoples opinions and votes together. It's a valuable part of the human experience, and yes, it can distort some peoples lives when they get obsessed with it or exposed in a traumatic way. But that's no more different than gambling, drinking, drugs, or literally anything in life. You can destroy yourself with anything at all, if you've a mind to. With wise moderation however, all of those things can be an enriching part of life.
To summarize, since this is already a monstrously long post, I abhor and condemn the 'bubble-boy' idea of child raising and education, or "shielding" you could call it. The idea that we should totally shield kids from everything, until they're "ready" or "old enough" for it. By making such a big deal out of it, you only attract their attention to it, and then you have to clean up the mess left behind when you've given them conflicting messages about it, later on. How exactly are they suppose to become 'ready' for something they've literally never been exposed to? What happens if those in charge of deciding when they're "ready" are suddenly unable to anymore?(an absence of a parent for instance). You might as well be throwing a baby into a vat full of leprosy . Sure, it could develop an immunity. It's far more likely to come out of it horribly deformed by the experience.

Still, humanities ability to adapt is a fundamental part of our existence. If you've never heard of it before, look up the human eye's Blind Spots. There's literally a spot our eyes are physically incapable of seeing, but our brains are just naturally programmed to fill in the blank with what's around it, so we never notice it except in highly specific situations. That's what I attribute to me fixing myself up just fine, once I got out into the world and started interacting with people. Sure, the general public is about as smart as a box of rocks, but that's precisely why I was made to notice, "wow. All of my problems seem really small and petty compared to how amazingly these people are screwing up their lives...and still getting by with it."

I think that's something we should incorporate more in our lives, and the raising of the Youth. The more you try to hide something from a child, the more curious about it they often become, and it's precisely that curiosity eventually hitting critical mass and exploding, that causes them to often run head first into way more than they can handle. It's suppose to be a parents responsibility to watch them closely, and keep that from happening, or so I think any way. I think it would be better if things were made to be fed to them in bits and pieces at a time, with the promise of more later.

Not "I will tell you when you're older" because you don't want to bother with explaining something to them you're not sure they'll even understand and are worried will be bad for them(or are just lazy). Rather, "I'll tell you a bit now, but you'll need to wait till you're older to learn about the rest of it, okay?" Sure, there will be kids that won't settle for that. But the greatest flaw of the public education system is that it expects everyone to be cut into shape to fit into a round hole. There's a hell of a lot of square, diamond, and other colorful shapes that go through torture and hell because of that. We all are different, get bloody well used to it.

There's no easy one-size-fits-all solution to teaching people and growing up, the only good way is going to be individualized tweaks and patching as needed, however much harder that may be. You won't make a better mouse trap by saying 'it will be so hard to improve it any further...'
Imagine if we had settled for computers that were built like the old Macintosh, where everything, screen, keyboard, and components, were all a solid block. None of us would have these fancy Smart Phones that are literally getting to be a dime a dozen now. A better tomorrow isn't often found just laying by the side of the road. You usually have to work for it.
[Aside end]
IN CASE YOU COULDN'T TELL, this show was very inspiring for me, or so I am led to believe after re-reading and spell checking this monster of a post. But hey, I haven't posted in forever, so it's fine...right? Oh well, I tried to break it up with headers anyway, give me some credit for that. So. Much. Editing.