Anime nerd, occasional gamer and Japanese figure collector. Recently I've been digging into visual novels, and using that as an excuse to blog. I will read and blog English language visual novels for my feature on request; hit me up on theglorioblog.com(or here on Jtor) if you have something you think I should read.
I love to compare openings and endings for a new season even when I don't always like the shows themselves. I think I've seen all of them and so I've decided to share my "objectively" proven list with Jtor! Without further introduction here are my top three favorites of the season.
3: Golden Time
I would never pick a video purely for the sake of controversy! Okay so maybe I would and maybe I did, but I really do like this Opening. Golden Time's new OP didn't appeal to me at first, but after watching it maybe a dozen times I've fallen for it. The energy it builds up is initially an assault of sounds and hard to digest as a result. The thing that really sold me on this OP is how well it fits the mood of the show itself. Watching Koko's frustration building up and her panic as it boils over is exactly the atmosphere we are being asked to buy into.
The song quickly transitions from peaceful to aggressive, but Koko's fantasy land isn't brought down so easily. Koko is still laying peacefully in her fantasy land until she wakes up at forty five seconds in. By the one minute mark the song dives into a headlong panic as Koko rises up, abandons her shoes and chases after the things she doesn't want to lose as her fantasy world comes to an end. All that before the song returns to being peaceful again. It all just fits perfectly with the themes of the story and I love it for that.
2: Engaged to the Unidentified
Have I sung the praises of Dogakobo on Jtor yet? No you say? Ever since Love Lab I've been in love with the this studio. They have an amazing amount of talent for animation, timing, direction etc, you name it and they are probably good at it. The only thing Love Lab lacked was a bit of ambition and while this new venture may only prove to be a small step in the right direction for them, it does a great job of showcasing their talents and of course the OP is particularly impressive.
If you want to see character personality established in an OP this is one that shouldn't be missed. The first ten seconds provide a seductive intro before transitioning into a high energy beat. The timing of the animation fits the beat perfectly and makes this OP an instantly addictive substance. The thing that impresses me the most is how well this OP establishes the characters personalities and relationships. Things like the little girl's expression when she is harassed by the older sister around the thirteen second mark or the way our heroine's eyes move at the one minute mark or her shoulders twitch when her finance lands on the moon beside her. That is visual storytelling at its absolute best.
Finally Noragami is my favorite OP of this season. You might be surprised to see this as my top pick as Noragami is certainly more style than substance, but it brings home that style so well. I haven't seen an OP that I just want to watch over and over like this since Durarara!!
Sure you might not learn much about the characters from this OP, but what Noragami lacks in personality it makes up for with attitude. It's all about the timing as this OP blares its pop rock beats in unison with its studio recording ascetics. The characters themselves bare their emotions along with the attitude and it makes for a catchy display. At the end of the day that is what makes this my favorite new OP, it's just so catchy!
"When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you" - Friedrich Nietzsche
Psycho-Pass used that quote in a recent episode so it's totally cool if I kick off a blog about western minds consuming Japanese things with it right? The way the human mind develops based off what a person is exposed to is something I've had an interest in a for a long time. I'm not any sort of expert on philosophy, but It's something I once enjoyed reading quite a bit, and have very recently been reacquainting myself with.
For several years now I've been in the habit of writing letters to myself whenever I am conflicted on something, and want to sort my thoughts. By writing it down I can go back over my own thoughts objectively, and see if they measure up the way I think they do in my head. For this Bloggers Wanted I've decided to share one with the Jtor community. This particular letter is one that I've been trying to write for years, but only recently have I felt like I have all the pieces needed to actually write it. This is going to be a bit of an experiment on my part so I apologize in advance for being verbose, and honestly only marginally related to Japan by the context of who I am; however, with the amount of time I spend on Japanese fiction I believe this is still relevant here. Also, just a quick warning there are spoilers for Guilty Crown, My Hime, Casshern Sin's, Sword Art Online, and possibly more inside this post.
In trying to debate various idea's and beliefs I hold on the internet, mostly with people I consider friends, I've frequently found myself on the receiving end of some heavy patronizing which has provided motivation to investigate my own beliefs and their origins, many of which can be credited to Japanese fiction. I want to write about this here even if Japan it is not directly related with what I am writing about. Also, I will say this about the philosophy of Freidrich Nietzsche, and be done with it here: I think he ran the spectrum from totally brilliant to completely insane, but managed to write some very interesting truths in the process.
The modern world we live in is one based around information. The days where a man or woman could live their lives in private is quickly vanishing to the convenience of being able to quickly share and find information. This is a great thing in some ways, but the implications for the future are also quite frightening. The internet is an amazingly easy medium for information misuse, abuse, and loss of context.
More than ever before the importance of being able to defend yourself, your beliefs, and your hobbies is on the rise, and all this is happening in an environment where anything goes. People preach both political and religious tolerance without understanding that many powerful political and religious groups in the world are not in and of themselves tolerant in many ways. People are persecuted by those who do not understand them, and do not wish to understand them. With the rise of information comes a rise in people realizing just how different other people can be and are. Cultural boundaries clash with each other, and instead of a mentality of unity what we really get is a dark dirty secret no one want's to admit: Tolerance is unnatural without genuine understanding.
I won't tell someone what to believe, and I won't even tell them that belief in a religious or political group is something they should consider. In fact I am not even going to tell you what my own religious beliefs are unless someone asks because it is not directly relevant. I believe it is very important to understand what you believe and why, but even that is not at the core of why I am writing this. What I want to accomplish here is awareness of the importance fiction plays for humanity as I see it.
Why anime? Why manga? Why visual novels? Why Japan? What is it about these things that draws us in? These are questions I've pondered ever since I started digging into the fandom. Perhaps I am just an introspective sort, but I like to stop and inspect my lifestyle choices in an attempt to understand why; however, before I can write about those things I need to stop, and take a moment to ask why fiction?
For me fiction has had a large influence on the way I think, and even on the way I behave in the real world. It has been, and continues to be a way to experience things in a world removed from our own world. I believe that I am hardly alone in that, and that fiction serves an important role in society that allows the human mind to expand and learn based off imaginary experiences.
J. R. R. Tolkien coined the term Secondary Belief in a famous essay of his in defense of and definition of fairy tales. His reason for doing so was to contrast intentional suspension of disbelief with another form, and that is not the reason why I am bringing it up, but he makes a statement I believe to be of incredible value about fictional works in the process.
"Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the story-maker's art is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called “willing suspension of disbelief.” But this does not seem to me a good description of what happens. What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful “sub-creator.” He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is “true”: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside." - J. R. R. Tolkien
What Tolkien is writing about here is the creation of a secondary world where an illusion of thoughts becomes believable inside the human mind, and the way that is lost when disbelief arises.
Recently I've been introduced to the term Chuunibyou, thanks to the anime which has this term in the title, and I've begun to find ways to put into worlds concepts that have been floating about in my head for years. It's incredible what something as simple as finding a new slang word to express a concept can do for defining context and perspective. In this case I've found a way to express my belief that the human mind is capable of indulging in fantasy while also realizing they are doing so outside of the normal constraints of the real world. It is something so simple that any child exposed to fantasy should learn to understand this difference in rationality between fiction and reality automatically as they grow up, and are forced into reality, and yet so easily misunderstood when taken out of context.
My imagination is poor, so I can't make myself believe in God as well as other people do.
I never did believe in Santa Clause myself so this is a somewhat arbitrary example, but I think most children will realize on their own that Santa is not real without being told. Sometimes you meet an older child who is in denial about the whole thing, and wants to believe in something they know is not really true. Illusions from a secondary world collapse under the pressure of the real one. Even a child who may not be able to adequately express why learns to understand this process.
Going back to Tolkien, he expressed his concept of secondary belief to draw a contrast between a situation where the reader willingly suspends their own disbelief, and one where the writer suspends it for them by creating a consistently believable secondary world. Now as I said above he did this to make a distinction between literary technique's and not a statement that encompasses all fictional settings, but in the process also created an illustration for I what I believe to do the two states of being someone takes on while participating in any fantasy. One where you willingly suspend your own disbelief, and one where it is suspended for you.
Frankly any particular piece of fiction can be taken on as a willing suspension of disbelief depending on the particular consumer and their own mentality, but occasionally we can find fiction that manages to create a second world believable enough that it can serve as a coat hanger for our suspension of disbelief. Inside this ability to have our disbelief suspended for us lies a potentially dangerous prospect. What if the fictional world becomes more believable to us than the real one?
Tolkien's words which he original uses to draw a contrast between storytelling techniques becomes a bit more profound when he expresses his belief in christian faith using an analogy of his secondary belief to connect it to his faith in the christian gospel.
"I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, selfcontained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.
It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be “primarily” true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the “turn” in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth. (Otherwise its name would not be joy.) It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused." - J. R. R. Tolkien
I've struggled with the concept that a fictional settings can become more important to an individual than a real one because I can't deny that it doesn't happen. I've been there myself many times in fact. Unwilling to accept it as something that is only dangerous I've been looking for a way to define what I see as the process by which we learn the difference between reality and fiction, and how even those who absorb themselves in fiction entirely are still capable of recognizing a healthy difference between what is real, and what is learned from experiences though secondary belief. In the process of all this I've realized something: My approach was wrong. Instead of looking for a way to defend against something I no longer believe to be true I've instead decided to look into the significance and value of what secondary belief brings to reality, and how it influences us.
With Tolkien Joy is the ultimate goal of his secondary world, but the goal's and beliefs of any particular writer is going to be different, and this type of secondary belief can be found in far more than fairy tails, and children's stories.
Let's look at Fate/Stay Night for example, it is a universe that is both obviously taking place in the real world, and obviously not. Tolkien's principle literary techniques of a secondary world do not entirely apply, but his principle of secondary belief is easily found inside the universe of Fate/Stay Night. I can even draw an analogy out of the magic behind Nasu's reality marble, and the way secondary belief crumbles before the real world leaving only it's influence behind.
In Fate/Stay Night the reality marble is not particularly well defined, but we can still easily accept the way it works. Fictional creations of the mind giving way to reality is a natural thing that does not need to be questioned. Inside a reality marble the power of reality is actively denied, but once the reality marble is gone all the remains is the influence it had on the real one.
The value of fiction can be found in one simple concept: Humanity learns by experience. Experience is the natural way a person comes to truly believe something. I personally believe that it is impossible to believe something simply by hearing it spoken. As children it is something we are capable of, but as we age, and become adults that ability dies. The sense of wonder we have about Santa goes away with time, and even the most aloof of people will come to understand that Santa didn't fly down from the north pole to give gifts, and that someone else put them there.
As a kid my dad was my best history teacher. I loved history as a kid, and I still love it as an adult; however, my siblings never really have. I've only recently realized why I love history while they all hate it: My dad is a storyteller. Growing up he would often read stories to me, or turn history into a story, or have me read stories. My dad is a much busier person now, but sometimes one of my siblings will talk to my dad, and receive one of his history lessons only to wonder why their teachers don't do history the same way he does.
My dad is pretty cool, he took something that can be boring and dry, and in the process of making it fun by turning into a story he turned it into an experience; because it became an experience I learned to believe in the power of history, and in turn out of that belief in the power of history I learned the power of a story.
There is a stark difference between learning answers to a text book, and experiencing a story. Stories both fictional and historical have the ability to share experience in a way that a text book cannot. Fictional stories have the added ability to share an experience from imagination. To allow you to experience things that you cannot otherwise experience in the real world.
Preaching and teaching straight information is a very bad way to communicate belief, challenge faith, and inspire guilt. Instead of real belief what is often created is a nasty sense of apathy, or worse an emotional high followed by a nasty sense of apathy. The power of experience is something that even some text book teachers and preachers understand. Emotional manipulation is the best way to make a ton of people come forward, and accept religious revival during a public event. Conversely anger and frustration can be a great motivator for political activists of all sorts. Have you ever seen a calm level headed person leading a successful political movement? Of course not, it's all about the experience because as people right or wrong what we believe is not based off facts or information it's based off experience.
Fiction allows the human mind to process things it does not have access to otherwise. In other words it creates a platform for experiencing things in a way that cannot be realized without the art that is fiction. I think in general this is an accepted thing as far as things we enjoy in fiction go, but people start to ignore context when it's not. Which brings me full circle back to the reason I wanted to write this in the first place.
Often enough there is a piece of fiction that is considered by someone harmful to society, and instead of looking at the benefits such a thing might have the only thing that is put on the table is real world disgust at the depictions presented. The real world implications become an out of context, and easily misunderstood thing before a point of moral judge that is itself lacking in understanding.
I am sure many remember Tokyo's Youth Ordinance Bill which passed back in 2010, or the Christopher Handley case which saw the man in jail for 6 months thanks to the 2003 Protect Act in the US. These instances of treating fiction as reality may not be every day occurrences, but it's not hard to find them either. Both inside the US, and in Japan there are examples of freedom of expression being squashed by fear and intolerance.
Another belief of mine is that fiction always has value merely by being fictional. Fiction has a very distinct meaning. Everything under the label of fictional has one thing in common: Fiction is established as taking place within a certain level of secondary belief. In this context the difference between Marvel Comics and the Christian Bible is that no one was ever intended to believe that Marvel characters are real. This context is clear and understood by fans of marvel comics, but not necessarily understood by those who do not wish to understand.
Light and darkness become reversed inside a story. The more broken a character the more room for redemption, the more evil a villain the more justified the hero, the more twisted the story, the more value in the experience. In this sense just as light illuminates the real world darkness illuminates a story. The same goes for the mentality and direction of a writer as it is in the way a writer's experience is twisted by their own imagination that allows fiction to exist in the first place. It is because conflict between light and dark is born of human dilemma that fiction is both so valuable, and also so easily misunderstood. Urobuchi put it really well in his defiance of Tokyo's Youth Ordinance Bill upon receiving an award for best script writer from the Tokyo Anime Awards.
"I feel greatly honored to have received this award. A society which considers cleanliness to be a virtue may feel that the adult game industry is like sludge. However, the scripts for this work came from the sensibility that I nurtured in that industry.
I am renewed with joy that the people who praised me realize that even this “lotus flower,” which first found nourishment in sludge, blooms.
I will not stop praying for a society where all creators, who believe steadfastly in the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution, need not hesitate to spread their wings of creative endeavors." - Urobuchi Gen
I think most of the principles I am portraying here are probably things that most fans of fiction will be able to understand, and probably have a hard time arguing against; however, tolerance is often lost the moment something is made that a person is not a fan of. The same sadness, and rage that Tolkien described at the rejection of christian scripture can also be found be found among fans of SAO who didn't like the way Asuna survived the end of Aincrad, or the way Inori dies, and Shu becomes blind at the end Guilty Crown. For an example of an anime event I don't like the ending of My Hime comes to mind. I still rage about that ending in fact.
Some may argue that artistic value is something that can be quantified, but I do not believe that to be the case. I do not think that artistic or scientific value can be placed upon any piece of art because art is beholden to the mind that processes it. The beliefs of each and ever human mind are built from a different framework. Sure lots of us have similarities, but it's our differences that allow a person to be defined as an individual. To quite Friedrich Nietzsche again. "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
Friedrich Nietzsche had some interesting things to say about art and belief. I think these help frame the point I am trying to get at as they have helped to frame my own thoughts in the process of getting here so I will include a few more.
"Young people love what is interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what is interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, finally, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity." Friedrich Nietzsche
“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication” - Friedrich Nietzsche
"The man who is responsive to artistic stimuli reacts to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; he observes closely, and he enjoys his observation: for it is out of these images that he interprets life, out of these processes that he trains himself for life." - Friedrich Nietzsche
"Without art we would be nothing but foreground and live entirely in the spell of that perspective which makes what is closest at hand and most vulgar appear as if it were vast, and reality itself." - Friedrich Nietzsche
If the point hasn't been harmed home yet then perhaps quoting Hitler will help drive it there.
"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think." - Adolf Hitler
"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few." - Adolf Hitler
"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge." - Adolf Hitler
"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - Adolf Hitler
"It is not truth that matters, but victory." - Adolf Hitler
"All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach." - Adolf Hitler
"All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people." - Adolf Hitler
“Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.” - Adolf Hitler
"As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice." - Adolf Hitler
Hitler is in many ways one of the most powerful storytellers the world has even known. His propaganda was both vile, and quite obviously dangerous to the minds of German youths. In defeat Hitler's story has had a profound effect on human history, but I have something for you to ponder. What if someone had dreamed up the story of Germany's Nazi Party before World War 2 happened? What if that story in all it's grisly gory detail had been required reading for German youth's in school. In that scenario would Hitler still have been capable of the things he did?
Now I obviously can't give you an answer for the above scenario as it is not an experiment that can be carried out, but I still see value in pondering it. Also, someone is surely wondering why I am drawing contrast between the idea's of Hitler, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The idea that the two shared a common philosophy is myth. For one Hitler was a Christian, and Friedrich Nietzsche an Atheist; however, and more importantly Friedrich Nietzsche was something of an anarchist, while Hitler was clearly a statist. The two are like oil, and water. In this case they got mixed because they were both German, but if you investigate the philosophy each held were clearly not even close to being on the same page.
With the above idea's in mind let me ask this: Which is more dangerous? The lie of fiction, or the lie of truth? I extend this question to the many darker subjects of Japanese fiction as well. There are many fictional stories in which awful things happen. These awful things are sometimes done in a way that glorifies the awful things being done. I want to make a few examples, and I ask that you keep an open mind about the extent of the concept that I want to present to you.
Rape fantasizes, story of revenge and murder, stories where the protagonist is evil, and the good guy loses, stories of glorified crime and injustice, stories where the slaver wins, and the slaves are broken, and stories of sexual deviancy. I think that list reflects the darker side of Japanese fiction pretty well. Can this sludge still be of value? Can fiction be propaganda? Can fiction be dangerous? I've fought against these questions in the past, but have come to believe the answer to all of these questions is a very clear yes.
Personally I believe there is value in being able to experience the perspective of a wrong doer not only through the eyes of a hero, but through the eyes of a would be villain. How valuable can it be for a cop to understand the mentality of a brilliant criminal? This is a common theme in cop and robber stories one Pyscho-Pass has been using. I'm not suggesting these things to be absolute, but rather something that we should be open to pondering instead of a thing we shy away from understanding.
There is a case to be made for the value of sludge, and it is rarely heard. The beautiful thing about fiction is the context that it didn't really happen. In a fictional story the only victim is the human mind. The beautiful thing about the sins of fiction is that they are in and of themselves fictional so long as fictional context is understood. I will admit my truest concern is that in binding fiction with the constraints of censorship we damage the ability of society to experience tragedy.
Before I finish this all up what about the experience of a would be criminal on their own? Could reading a rape fantasy help a would be rapist to understand what it is he would be doing if he carried out such a crime? What about a would be murder? Could a murder fantasy help to understand the weight of such a crime? My personal belief is that yes it could. Just as light becomes something dull inside fiction darkness and conflict becomes an illumination. Would this stop awful things from happening? I don't know, but I think this is something that should be pondered.
I do believe this: humanity shares emotion by experience, and through that experience we believe. Primary belief can be challenged by secondary belief, but secondary belief is bound to the constraints of reality, and even children learn to easily differentiate between the two. In a world that seems to encourage conformity I have a genuine fear for the direction the future of human history will take. There is value in learning the cultures of others, and that extends beyond the things a culture is proud of. If we were to eliminate the dirt would we still have flowers? I will leave you all this question once more: Which is more dangerous? The lie of fiction, or the lie of truth?
Hello again, that group that takes anime way too seriously is back again to tell you all about this Fall season! We are doing things a little bit differently this time as our crew wrote a ton of words for this season's anime. If I were to take all the words we used and stick them into cblogs it would probably fill up like six of them all at once; filling up six cblogs with a single post is for people who suck, and we don't want to be people who suck so instead I am going to take highlights from all the words we wrote. I get to suck less, and you have to read less to get to all the good stuff; we all win!
If for some reason you want to read our tons of words you can find them at The Glorio Blog I know what you are thinking... "you traitors started your own blog site!?!?!?. Yeah, we did, but Jtor is still a home for us. We all started out blogging here, and Jtor is totally awesome so we want to continue sharing our stuff with you all; hope that is cool.
Introduction time for you new folks; basically we have a tradition at glorio of watching a little bit of everything when the new anime season starts up, and writing about it. This started as something I was just doing on my own, and kind of spiraled into this massive thing all at once that everyone wanted to get in on. At first we tried to watch an episode of EVERYTHING that aired. When I say that I seriously mean it; some of us even watched raws to fill in the blanks. As time went on we decided it was kind of pointless to watch all the various two minute shows, and stuff made for ten year old boys or girls, and just focus on the stuff that is actually relevant to our interests; we have all become happier people as a result.
Joining me for this guide are @Dragonzigg; our resident British skeptic, @irothtin; our picky old man who is actually one of our youngest members, @MarlinClock; our shoujo lover, and gag anime fan, @Gee0Man; our MANLY man who loves righteousness, and believes that with enough hard works, and guts that his drill will pierce the heavens, @ItsaTimmy who loves moe little girls; especially when they are armed to the teeth, @Aquagaze; our resident hipster, and also a lover of cute things, @brannewlovesong; also known as a Jelx he is the one who keeps us all in line, and lastly myself, @Lifesongsoa; the weeaboo who hates dubs, and hopeless anime nerd who is always wrong about anime.(at least if you ask the rest of these guys) Now that we have that boring intro stuff out of the way; lets dig into the anime!
Premise: A young witch is stranded on a desert island, and strives to get help. In Japan, the senseless murder of Mahiro Fuwa’s sister drives him to bitter revenge, and by chance, to the witch. With the help of her powers, he plots to find and punish her killers. This leads him back to his home town, where he saves his old friend Yoshino right before a mysterious magic claims his town.
@MarlinClock There are a lot of serious No. 6 vibes going on in this production. Long-estranged friend comes back to save another from magical city-wide destructive power, hunted down by a government agency, there’s more than a little to draw parallels between.
@Lifesongsoa We kicked things off with a lot of exposition, but the mystery worked well enough that I never felt bored. The magical powers show cased here were a lot of fun, and the one big fight scene in the middle of the episode was expertly crafted.
@brannewlovesong I didn’t see No. 6 so I’m coming into this with a fresh slate and I have to say I enjoyed it. The magic powers vs. guns stuff was pretty cool and I think the mysterious tie-ins with both Mahiro’s dead sister and our stranded mage have a lot of potential. It feels like they’re making a very concerted effort to be different.
@irothtin I’ve heard this manga has a thing for not explaining much, and we have plenty of that this episode. Busty mages trapped on desert islands, giant floating eyeball creatures, and Shakespeare references abound, this show is definitely trying to sell itself pretty hard.
Premise: Ryota Sakamoto is a 22 year old NEET who lives with his mother. Despite his mundane life, he’s one of the best players in the world at the online game Btooom! One day, he wakes up on a tropical island with no recollection of how he got there. However, it turns out that a real life version of Btooom! is taking place on the island and Ryota will have to survive against the other contestants if he wants to find out how he got there and escape.
@Gee0Man The main character, despite supposedly being the 10th best player of this particular game in the world, finds himself completely incapable of figuring out what the mysterious cubes in his bag are, despite the fact that these cubes are identical the ones he sees in the game he spends all of his time playing.
@Lifesongsoa I will often say that realism is overrated, and that exaggeration is part of the magic that makes anime work; however, there is a clear difference between exaggeration that plays well with the theme of a story, and exaggeration that does not; the explosions of Btooom! clearly fit in the later category.
@irothtin This guy is in the top ten BTOOOOOOOOM players in the entire world, and he couldn’t figure out how to use his own bombs? Are you fucking kidding me? And then he manages to survive half a dozen explosions in close proximity, when every single one of those should have killed him.
Premise: Shinki are 6 inch tall robot girls built to assist their masters with incredible devotion. Busou Shinki are a special type that can equip weapons and fight. A set of three Busou Shinki join their master as he returns to Japan for high school and try settle in to their new life.
@brannewlovesong I figured Busou Shinki would be a little creepy based on the premise but I didn’t think they’d go all in with sexualizing tiny little toys that come to life. It’s certainly not Queen’s Blade levels of perversion going on here, but as an example one scene has the main girl robot thing carrying a milk carton and accidentally spilling it all over herself.
@Lifesongsoa On the one hand I can totally nerd out fantasizing about my toys coming to life; I will admit that, on the other hand the episode itself was fantastically bad on so many levels. I’ll be watching for now, and honestly I suspect that even if this anime is absolutely awful in the long run; I will find a way to enjoy it regardless of the quality.
@MarlinClock Every single part of this show was so stupid. The sexualziation of the toys is so creepy. The utility of these toys is utterly pointless. The animation outside the fight scenes is so bad I almost thought they were using 3d or something. It is just so bad in every possible way.
Premise: Sakura Sakurakouji witnesses a bizarre murder in which several people are killed with blue flames. The next day she confronts a new transfer student in her class whom she believes to be the killer.
@brannewlovesong I just don’t see anything to be excited about. There was a whole lot of general anime stupidity like “let’s transfer the important guy into her class THE NEXT DAY”, “let’s say big dramatic things to look cool (see the whole “do you want to be a vigilante…” line)” or my favorite “let’s run at the guy that just set my friend’s face on fire!”.
@MarlinClock A lot of super generic tropes were on display here, which really did not help the show’s case. The heroine is kinda cool and I like her no-nonsense attitude, but learning about how she comes to affect the story on the wiki page, she really comes off as lame. Basically she has Touma powers, except it seems to be just she cancels anything, instead of having to touch it first.
@Lifesongsoa I kind of wanted to like this, the heroine’s warrior like personality, and sense of justice remind me of Saber of Fate/Stay Night fame, and I can see room for some interesting contrast between her moral views, and the moral views of the male lead; the male lead who happens to be a cold blooded vigilante for hire with magical fire powers. All the right pieces are here to make up an interesting shonen story, but I’m just really not feeling it.
Premise: After six years apart, Akiko Himenokouji is funally going to see her brother again, but therOH GOD STOP NO YOU CAN’T MAKE ME DO THIS I’LL GET OUT OF HERE AND ESCAPE THIS NIGHTMARE YOU’LL SEE THESE CHAINS CAN’T HOLD ME NO STOP WHAT ARE YOU DOING AAAARRRRRRGGGHHHH
@Dragonzigg Even if the entirely repulsive concept didn’t turn you off already, the appalling execution of every part of this endeavor will. There’s not even the barest hint of a story, of any sort of likeable personalities or, god forbid, any humour or irony. Just a cheap, ugly container for a bunch of creepy as fuck fetishes.
@brannewlovesong This is possibly the worst thing I’ve ever watched. There is ZERO attempt at story or characterization along with some half-hearted incidental attempts at humor. It’s like a hentai setup without the hentai, there’s absolutely nothing of value whatsoever.
@Lifesongsoa This anime is by no means something anyone outside the imouto fan-base will enjoy. For those initiated there may be a sense of this is so bad it’s incredible, but if you are not so inclined then I will say this clearly: Avoid with the power of a thousand suns!
@irothtin Hentai manga without the sex. Nothing to see here. Move along.
@MarlinClock Considering how these other girls act, maybe by the end of the show we’ll learn that it was all actually about an insane asylum and the high school aesthetic was only the delusional construct of our sick little imouto.
Premise: A thousand years into the future, humanity has developed psychic powers. 14 year old Saki has recently finally grown into her powers, allowing her to graduate and join her similarly empowered friends in the ‘Unified Class’. But mystery and intrigue surrounds the whole system and indeed the entire world they live in.
@Dragonzigg There’s a fascinating atmosphere permeating the show, one that’s equal parts intriguing and unsettling, which makes watching it a slightly uncomfortable experience, but in a good way.
@irothtin This seems to be one of the artsier-looking shows this season, and one of the weirder ones. They’re clearly trying to build a horror vibe here, and it works for the most part, but this first episode amounts to a bunch of strange and unsettling stuff happening with no real context.
@brannewlovesong The most immediately striking thing about From the New World is the setting. The designs of the buildings and character’s clothing is a really cool mix of old and new, I still am not totally clear if the events we saw take place in the past, present, future or all of the above. Beyond that not a lot of details are given, which makes it a little hard to latch on to anything and want to watch more.
@Lifesongsoa I am a little concerned simply because of how little this episode established. There was little connection with the cast, and the magical stuff is largely just mubo jumbo at this point; however, the setting itself feels refreshingly fantastic, and is wonderfully crafted.
@MarlinClock I have to say I’m really impressed by this first episode. It does all the right things to pull you into this strange world without giving too much up. If I had to compare it I’d have to I can see a bit of a similarity to Another in how it builds up its dread through its backgrounds and through the bleak character interactions.
Premise: In a world where operating a tank is considered a traditional martial art, Miho Nishizumi, who dislikes tanks, transfers to a high school that specifically doesn’t have a tank club.
@ItsaTimmy Overall what you will get out of this will depend on how much you like watching girls be cute and tanks. My enjoyment will probably be directly proportionate to the amount of time they spend outside the school but if cute girls being cute is your thing you may find some substance here no matter where the location.
@Lifesongsoa Girls und Panzer has some good things going for it; chief among them is the fact that it feels genuine, and cute without being creepy. To give you an example of what you can expect from this anime: One of the tanks in the opening sequence is hot pink. The premise is incredibly silly, but if this anime can keep up the fun with the tank combat, this might make for a decent action show in a very cute wrapper.
Premise: There are still six art students living together in an apartment building and they still don’t do jack shit on a daily basis. What did you expect?
@Aquagaze If you expected me to write anything more than “It’s more Hidamari Sketch and this is always a good thing” then you were expecting way too much.
@Dragonzigg For me, the main draw is Shaft’s usual superlative artwork, which breathe fantastic, brightly coloured life into this sleepy world. It’s not just the animation, but also the delightful design touches, like the art deco arrangement of the apartment doors or Yuno’s named footprints pattering across the screen.
@Lifesongsoa I was a little bit creeped out by the bathing scene; It feels like they are so aware of how odd their artwork is that they can just show anything they want. Most likely this is just Shinbo being Shinbo; everyone knows the man is a lolicon at this point, and just don’t care because hes an incredibly skilled director.
@MarlinClock The atmosphere is perfect, really portraying these girls as a pack of adorable girls without a care in the world.
What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?
Premise: Kon Hokaze meets a girl in an online game and thinks he’s about to get lucky, but instead she catapults him into a fantasy world where he gets caught up in a chase between a fleeing princess and her fabulously attired pursuers.
@Dragonzigg I’ll happily confess several jokes in this episode got me to laugh out loud, including the ridiculously snazzy boots and Kon’s amazingly brutal crotch kick. If they can keep me chuckling, then I’ll be happy to keep watching.
@Lifesongsoa The thing with Ixion is that it is so generic it hurts, but at the same time it subverts so many of the tropes it pulls out ever so slightly with something amusingly self-aware. For example we also have a bad guy who’s name abbreviates into “ED for short”, and several other hard to miss generic RPG jokes that fit the theme here painfully well.
@brannewlovesong Brain’s Base must have had so much fun adapting a mobile game with presumably no story the last time they did it that they had to come back for more. This go-round they’re taking on a game that hasn’t even been released yet and based on what I’ve seen they’ve once again taken a LOT of creative license here. Given the results, I am totally OK with that.
@irothtin I was prepared to dislike this, whether it was because of the generic looks or the mostly unimpressive production values, but I rather enjoyed this first episode. Brain’s Base manages to make the show self aware enough to barely avoid being obnoxious, while still being funny.
What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?
(Lifesong's note: Ixion Saga is the one, and only anime everyone who watched it enjoyed. Yup, a season full of high profile anime, and our top collective pick for the season is a mobile game adaptation; irony is cruel sometimes.)
Premise: In the 1800s, Jonathan Joestar (Jojo for short) is the carefree son of a nobleman, but his life is turned around when his father adopts orphan boy Dio Brando, who plans to usurp Jojo’s position as heir. Throw in ancient Aztec artifacts, psychic martial arts, and supernatural beings, and things only get more bizarre from then on.
@irothtin This first episode has shown me pretty much everything I could have possibly wanted from a Jojo adaptation. Crazy poses, dynamic manga sound effects, and silly color overlays abound, basically everything about the presentation fully embraces the campy tone this series thrives on.
@Lifesongsoa I don’t know what I was expecting, but everything about this anime, the setups, the characters, the insults, and even the manga effects that take place on the screen; I hated all of it. There was nothing here that appealed to me.
@brannewlovesong I imagine there will be two very steadfastly opposed camps on this: those who shun its lack of cute animu girls, complex storytelling and “logic”, and those who see it as a breath of fresh air from the status quo.
@Dragonzigg I know intensely likeable camp when I see it and this falls right into my wheelhouse. It’s refreshing to see something so unashamedly over the top and which revels in its old-school roots. The men are manly, the villains are intensely boo-able and the romance is accompanied by the narrator proclaiming ‘ROMANCE!’ in a dramatic voice.
@MarlinClock I can see potential, but Iro and others keep talking it up on its camp factor. For me, Mobile Fighter G Gundam will always hold a special place in my heart as my favorite camp show, as well as my favorite Gundam in general; however, I really can’t see all the best parts of camp from that show that made me love it in JoJo.
@Gee0Man Believe me, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure wrote the book on campy crazy shonen. I won’t lie though, the beginning of Jojo is a slow burn, and it doesn’t really build up speed until about a third of the way into the first arc. However, this episode does a great job of adapting the first few chapters and honestly, establishing the only piece of information that matters.
Battle Lines Drawn!
(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)
@irothtin, @brannewlovesong, @Dragonzigg, and @Gee0Man, Verdict?
Premise: In the near future, in the not-so-near city of somewhere in Japan, seven esper Kings, each backed by a colour-coded gang, fight for absolute turf control… or something. Yashiro “Shiro” Inaba, a local high school student, heads into the city to run an errand, but ends up being chased by the gang of the Red King, as well as a mysterious third party. Meanwhile, the enigmatic “colourless King” starts raising hell…
@Aquagaze Where do we go when this curtain of gorgeous visuals rises? What the hell are you, K? You are so full of yourself it becomes ridiculous, rockets off to the moon and crashes right back in a blazing inferno. You are so cheesy in a completely uncampy way, juggle the trashiest of 90′s aesthetics with a completely straight face and burn what seems to be thousands of yens on vomiting out some of the most insane angles a camera can pull off.
@irothtin Gang wars with magic flame, color-coded “Kings”, and modern-day samurai, all twenty minutes into the future? Sounds ridiculous (and it is), but judging from the first episode, K is going to be fairly fun. Also, it’s scratching my urban fantasy itch, and I’m all for that.
@brannewlovesong K is just oozing with style. The slick visuals and smooth soundtrack certainly are a treat for the senses, but whether or not the show also ends up a treat for your brain and/or heart remains to be seen.
@Lifesongsoa This is one of the most exciting anime this season in my book. There is something special about an anime original that adaptations just can’t pull off, and I am looking forward to seeing if K can capitalize on that advantage, or if we are looking at a show that is all style and no substance… So far I say we are off to a good start.
@MarlinClock The somewhat bland main character is a bit of a warning flag, but I’m assuming this end-of-episode development is going to grow into something that allows us to see his character more clearly. I really like this whole supernatural gang war feel that’s going on, and having pseudo-Shizuo around is never a bad thing.
@Dragonzigg Aesthetically and artistically this show is a mess, and unlike Aqua I don’t find that endearing but rather irritating. Instead I see sloppy, ill focused directing, throwing in every possible angle, shot and cut in a maddening mishmash of styles that utterly fails to establish a coherent look for the show.
Little Busters Visual Novel Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Premise: A group of close friends decide to challenge the mediocrity their mundane lives by playing baseball before one of them graduates, and is forced into to join the work force as a salary man leaving the group behind.
@Lifesongsoa I am okay with what Little Busters is. It may not be Kanon, or even Angel Beats, but Jun Maeda’s magic is still alive and kicking here. Sure the animation is a bit stiff at times, but it is at least consistent, and no this director/studio combo does not have the finesse of KyoAni, or PA Works; however, the charming characters, and nonsensical fun that mark the start of all Jun Maeda stories is still here!
@irothtin This was apparently one of, if not the, most anticipated anime this season. I assume this is on Key Visual Arts brand name alone, since the first episode didn’t do much to impress me. I’d probably enjoy this a lot more if I liked anything Key produced, or if I had played the game beforehand, but as it stands Little Busters! has left me a little wanting.
@brannewlovesong Knowing that this is a Jun Maeda tale and it will no doubt have plenty of twists and turns ahead, I am not going to write off Little Busters after one episode. I will say however, this was not the best made introduction. It does accomplish it’s purpose of introducing our main characters and how they are connected but it does so with little sense of purpose or direction.
@Dragonzigg This episode was a sad parade bereft of everything it strives for – empathy, pathos, or anything beyond a sort of half-hearted stab at slice of life, with none of the skill or pacing the best of the genre can bring. The cast are a piled up collection of clichés, the angry violent girl, the dumb muscle et al showing no charm, depth or variation from a well worn template, and no reason to be interested in their lives or root for them.
@MarlinClock I’m not into frail girls and the sheer volume of waifs that seems to be on display is really off-putting. What’s especially strange is that this is a group even including our main character, who is honestly more girly looking than some of the girls, which is seriously saying something.
Battle Lines Drawn!
(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)
Premise: Aladdin and Alibaba meetup and become bros in an Arabian Nights tale.
@Lifesongsoa This first episode of Magi was nothing short of gorgeous; every other frame makes for a beautiful screen capture. Aladdin and Alibaba are both characters that managed to really create a warm atmosphere right off the bat with some great chemistry, and an a good deal of humor as the powerless Alibaba deals with the not quite human Aladdin and his Djinn.
@irothtin Ali Baba is slowly working up cash to make an expedition into the local cave of wonders, keeping one jump ahead of the bread line and one swing ahead of the sword, until he meets Aladdin. Aladdin has djinn Robin Williams at his side, so Ali Baba is brought into a whole new world of Arabian Nights since he’s never had a friend like him, and they quest to get their eternal reward.
@Gee0Man No way around it, Magi is a pretty fun anime to watch. It looks great, the setting is interesting, and the characters stand out, even if I’m not a huge fan of them all yet.
@brannewlovesong For what it is, Magi was quite entertaining. The premise of a couple of kids going out to find treasure and adventure is so simple that it really boils down to execution and this episode delivered. Everything looks, moves and sounds great, and the fated meeting between Aladdin and Alibaba did a nice job of setting the tone for their relationship. As long as they keep the giant fighting Djinn action and body slamming tigers coming at us, I’m sure it will be a fun watch.
@Dragonzigg Both Aladdin and Alibaba show off a surprising depth to their character under the pressure of the monster attack, with Alibaba realizing he’s been living a lie and leaping to the rescue; a cool and unexpected way to establish him as our hero. Meanwhile, there’s something beautifully naive about Aladdin’s wish for friendship, and his last minute save was very endearing. I’m also drawn by the surprisingly dark heart here – the slavery angle looks to be a dramatic one if they keep exploring it and the shot of Alibaba frantically reaching for the girls while the merchant dived for his barrel of wine was a deliciously dark juxtaposition.
What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?
Premise: After bringing worksheets for a suspended classmate, Ice Queen Shizuku Mizutani finds herself entwined in the life of delinquent genius Haru Yoshida. As they come to understand each other, a strange friendship and an unlikely romance grows.
@MarlinClock These characters are really off the wall and I’m really enjoying this quirky vibe they are giving off. Now, the huge elephant in the room is that one line. You know what I’m talking about. I don’t really know what possessed the mangaka to use that line or the writer to keep it in, or really even CR to translate it that way. Still, I’m not going to let that one line ruin what was otherwise a cute first episode. (Lifesong's note: There is a line where the to be love interest threatens to rape the protagonist.)
@irothtin The Most Socially Awkward Guy meets Apathetic Straight-Laced Girl, and cue cheesy romance at rapid speed. It’s almost a bit depressing just how ridiculously awkward this guy is, to the point where he can barely function in school. While I can appreciate the unorthodox progression of the relationship, I’m also not interested enough to keep watching.
@Dragonzigg The whole ‘delinquent guy meets straight-laced girl’ plot has been done before, but there’s a winning charm and surprisingly sharp sense of wit to this endeavour, with more care paid to the details than you’d normally expect from the average boy-meets-girl setup.
@brannewlovesong I kind of liked how this episode threw a lot of romance anime conventions out the window, particularly the forthrightness of our incredibly strange male lead. That being said, he reminded me of Yui from K-ON! if you swapped her personality into some good looking, book-smart dude.
@Lifesongsoa Frankly I was fairly impressed with this first episode. I usually hate shoujo anime, especially shoujo manga adaptions; it’s the pacing, drives me insane. The first episode actually had a full self-contained story right off the bat, and managed to avoid most of the cliches I expect to see shoujo manga fall into; color me impressed.
What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?
Premise: Our young protagonist attends a prestigious art school. He is caught tending to a cat he adopted and forced to move into Sakura Hall; a dorm for the schools more eccentric kids. As time went on he adopted more cats, and now has six of them under his care, but hes not done finding cute creatures that need taking care of just yet.
@Lifesongsoa Pet Girl reminds me a lot of Toradora; following the same basic premise, and setup that Toradora did with it’s first episode. Protagonist boy reflects on his melancholic life, goes to school where some comedic antics ensue, and then has a run in with a girl who can’t take care of herself worth a dime setting himself up as care taker. All this inside a melancholic-dramatic atmosphere that mark most of Mari Okada’s works.
@Dragonzigg Maybe I’m a prude, an old man shouting at the kids to get off my lawn. But there’s something that inherently disgusts me about a show where the entire point is that the female character is a helpless, borderline autistic child who is entirely dependent on a man to work her life for her. And if that makes me wrong, I don’t want to be right.
@brannewlovesong I’m sure a lot of people are immediately going to be turned off the by the concept of a “pet girlfriend” as mentioned in the title. It’s possible there’s something lost in cultural translation there somewhere, but regardless I think it will make a lot of people want to hate this before even watching it, myself included. So in a way I was relieved to find this episode was pretty inoffensive overall, with our main heroine’s lack of attention span more curious than degrading.
@irothtin Harem show with eccentric-yet-generic cast, and the main heroine cannot function as a human being without the protagonist doting over her like a parent dressing their toddler. Presentation was good for what it was, but I have no interest in this. Pass.
Battle Lines Drawn!
(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)
Premise: In the future, a citywide system allows law enforcement to instantly read the latent criminal level of any citizen and act accordingly. They employ a squad of Enforcers who are themselves latent criminals to catch the most dangerous of the lot. As a fresh face on the force, Akane Tsunemori must adjust to the brutal and indifferent methods the city uses to deal with its seedy underbelly.
@irothtin The first episode here did what a first episode should do: established the setting, characters, and the main concepts the show is going to run on. The city can measure a person’s Psycho Pass to determine their crime level, the guns only shoot depending on the crime level, the society has lost sight of justice, yadda yadda yadda. They’re interesting concepts, if somewhat cliche, it’s just that the show would ideally set it up in a slightly more engaging way – apparently a lot of people were bored.
@Lifesongsoa Creating a sense of doom that never comes up for air can easily encourage a stiflingly atmosphere for the viewers who disconnect from the dark broody nature of the work. Madoka got around this by throwing cute little girls at us, Fate/Zero had an intriguing world that played off the philosophy of kings, servants and chivalry. This first episode of Psycho-Pass had self-indulgent gun porn, and generic broody criminals which instead of contrasting with the stifling atmosphere actually encouraged it.
@Dragonzigg The entire ‘rookie female cop’ thing needs to die right now – Akane is a ludicrously incompetent character who appears to have no idea what the hell anything is about. The idea that she graduated top of her class yet is entirely oblivious to the way the system works is laughable, and she’s nothing more than a weak, ineffectual shell of a character throughout this episode. Urobuchi also indulges some of his less savoury habits here, such as nasty brutal violence against women, and the kill shot on the target is so ridiculously gory it had me laughing at the stupidity of it all.
Battle Lines Drawn!
(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)
@irothtin, @Gee0Man, and @Aquagaze Verdict?
@Lifesongsoa, @Dragonzigg, and @brannewlovesong Verdict?
(Lifesong's note: Psycho-Pass is probably our most clearly divisive first episode of the season. Not to patronize, but I've noticed that the younger teen audience seems to love this show both inside our group, and elsewhere on the net, while all us slightly older anime fans are a lot less forgiving. Maybe we are just getting too old for this stuff?)
Premise: As Yuuta prepares to enter high school he makes every effort to forget his time infected by Chuunibyou or “Eighth Grader Syndrome” – an affliction that made him believe he had special powers. His plan is interrupted when he meets Rikka, a girl still very much affected by the disease.
@brannewlovesong What a moving, insightful take on the pain of searching for your identity anPFFFF HAHAHA OK I couldn’t keep a straight face on that one. I certainly would like to see the series take a turn in that direction, but for now this was simply a fun little comedy about crazy mixed up teenagers with a healthy dose of moe for good measure.
@irothtin After I enjoyed Hyouka, I was hoping we’d get something I’d like from KyoAni again this season. I was quickly proven wrong – this is more moeblob comedy involving girls who are clearly out of their minds and character designs that look like elementary schoolers.
@Dragonzigg The premise is sort of the thing you’d expect from bargain basement fanservice comedy, but the typical KyoAni spit and polish is in full effect here and this thing looks just gorgeous, especially in background detail.
@Aquagaze Yes, I too pretended to open automated doors with my “psychic powers” (Zigg’s note – I totally do this too) (Iro’s note: you’re both fucking crazy)(Marlin’s note: Sorry Iro, you just musta had no imagination as a child.) and used umbrellas as a makeshift weapon of mass demolition. In fact, I still do.
@Lifesongsoa This anime is like a mirror into my past reminding me of why I so easily relate with escapist culture. It’s not even that this is even particularly deep, but it manages to capture what being a delusional child is like with a degree of finesse that only KyoAni can bring to the table.
@MarlinClock I can’t say I really had much of these delusions outside of force-opening doors, but there was a very short period where I believed the Harry Potter world was real, so I guess that counts. We’ve still been shown nothing substantial as to why these other three girls are a part of the plot whatsoever, but I suppose that’s going to be remedied quickly.
Premise: In the near future, nonplussed lackey Kaito Yashio and adorable nerd Akiho Senomiya are trying to build a giant robot for their high school robotics club. Somehow, as we are told, they will save the world.
@MarlinClock Akiho is absolutely adorable, and her energy really carries this episode. I have a soft spot for hopelessly optimistic characters and she really takes the cake. On the other hand, Kaito is a very boring protagonist. I really don’t like how indifferent he is about the proceedings and his almost snobbishness at his position in a video game really make him unlikeable.
@Lifesongsoa Really not too much happens in this first episode. We are introduced to our cast in a somewhat typical way, but the futuristic setting does a lot to give it a fresh feel, and did I mention the heroine? She is a cutie. This is one I will not allow myself to miss.
@brannewlovesong Of all the things I’ve watched this season, I think Robotics;Notes may have the broadest appeal. The premise of saving the Robotics club is inoffensive and creates a pretty cool near-future setting that anyone could get behind. I mean let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Giant Fighting Robots?
@irothtin Peppy heroine, bored guy, high school club antics, giant robots – all the typical anime trappings. The execution is solid, so chances are you won’t hate this.
@Gee0Man Seeing Akiho’s passion for her club and dreams is inspiring and reminds me a lot of myself. She definitely carries the show and her enthusiasm is inspiring. So far, the show itself has been on the slow side, but it’s charming and I never found myself being bored while watching. (Lifesong's note: I kid you not when I tell you that Akiho says things word for word that we hear out of Gee all the time.)
@Dragonzigg I am really, horribly sick of apathetic male high school protagonists. Characters are not made of a void of personality, but there’s nothing interesting, likeable or worthy of note about Kaito here – he’s a boring, slightly jerkish cipher. Akiho on the other hand, plays into the genki girl cliché but nevertheless remains a bundle of energy and inspiration, almost single handedly raising this episode to watchable status.
What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?
Premise: As Yuuta prepares to enter high school he makes every effort to forget his time infected by Chuunibyou or “Eighth Grader Syndrome” – an affliction that made him believe he had special powers. His plan is interrupted when he meets Rikka, a girl still very much affected by the disease.
@Dragonzigg This is a fantastically produced show, one which offers beautiful, classically styled characters, smart background art and a moody soundtrack which fits perfectly with the slightly melancholic air. The proceedings are treated with a seriousness and straightforwardness that’s refreshingly down-to-earth and though we’re not given too much time to learn these characters they still manage to make a strong impression.
@Lifesongsoa This introduction was trope filled to the max, and really did nothing to sell me on it’s cast or characters, instead relying entirely on trying to appeal to my inner fragile teenage girl; which for the record does not exist. Maybe this is an enjoyable experience for a young teenage girl? I won’t pretend to know.
@MarlinClock Honestly I didn’t hate this show. I think most of the things negatively affecting my views on it came because I watched the show with Life, who kinda accentuated all the negative aspects; however, its not really doing a whole lot of new things.
So hey Fate/Zero is coming to a close and it got Iro and I talking about storytelling techniques, in particular the emotional impact that a story can have and how they work their magic. I had the brilliant idea of sharing that chat with the rest of Jtor to see if anyone else might have something interesting to share or discuss on the topic.
Be warned this is sure to have a few spoilers about Fate/Zero, F/SN Samurai Jack, TTGL and also contains roughly an hour of our (mostly)unedited thoughts and spelling/grammar mistakes. That said I think a few of you out there might find it interesting and I'll be sure to respond to any thoughts that you might have if you share them.
Iro: lifesong tell zigg how good that episode of f/z was
Iro: corroborate my recommendation
Iro: did i even use that word correctly
Iro: i did
Lifesong: I don't even need the rest of the show
Lifesong: It is of no concern to me at this point.
Iro: well you do know exactly how it goes down from this point forward pretty much
Iro: but SOME of us actually like kiritsugu yknow
Lifesong: The rest of the show is just finishing off the inevitable
Lifesong: I know pretty much EXACTLY what is going to happen
Iro: yes pretty much
Iro: but don't you want to see the fight
Lifesong: Not really
Iro: you guys make me sad
Lifesong: I mean
Lifesong: I am going to watch it
Lifesong: for sure
Lifesong: But there is no magic left for me in how it goes down from here out.
Iro: you could argue that about the entire show really
Lifesong: I would not argue that about the rest of the show.
Lifesong: Part of the story was Urobuchi's original ideal's inside the Nasuverse
Lifesong: Part of it was the prequel of Fate/Stay Night
Lifesong: The original portion is almost entirely finished now.
Lifesong: And that was the part that was really interesting to me.
Lifesong: If that makes sense
Iro: i guess
Lifesong: It's not like I dislike the rest of it.
Lifesong: Urobuchi's stories are kind of a world apart better than Nasu's stuff.. Nasu's older stuff at least.
Lifesong: And it really sticks out to me in Fate/Zero
Lifesong: Maybe just because their style is so different.
Iro: (some of us actually liked fate/stay night)
Lifesong: (I like Fate/Stay Night)
Lifesong: It's really obvious when something is Nasu craft or Uro craft inside Fate/Zero
Lifesong: I don't think Nasu wrote it very well.
Lifesong: And actually Nasu admits he doesn't think he wrote it very well.
Iro: it is like what
Iro: 8 years old
Lifesong: Yeah it is
Lifesong: It's not like I think I can do better on my first or even second attempt at writing fiction.
Lifesong: Or that it's a bad story.
Lifesong: Or even that I would change it.
Lifesong: But I do think that some of Nasu's story telling techniques don't always work very well.
Lifesong: The punch is there when it needs to be and that is what counts in my book.
Lifesong: Actually Urobuchi is kind of the opposite imo.. his skills at building up events are amazing.
Lifesong: But his conclusions are hit or miss.
Lifesong: I can't think of a Nasu ending I don't like.
Iro: haha...have you seen all the bad ends?
Lifesong: through UBW
Iro: i guess i mean the like
Iro: actual route endings
Iro: the sad ones
Iro: tsukihime has more of those
Lifesong: I think I have
Lifesong: Does Fate/Stay Night even have a happy ending outside of Rin?
Iro: heaven's feel route
Iro: i guess
Lifesong: I have not read that yet though
Lifesong: good and happy are different things
Iro: people die in every route
Lifesong: I think Nasu is pretty much an expert at killing characters
Lifesong: Better than Urobuchi imo
Iro: urobuchi puts them through the wringer
Iro: which is probably
Iro: better for dramatic purposes
Lifesong: I find myself laughing at the end though
Lifesong: But maybe that is just me
Lifesong: In fact I know it is
Iro: i think that is all on your end
Lifesong: But the thing is
Lifesong: I can see what he is doing
Lifesong: because Urobuchi is trying so hard
Iro: how do i put this
Iro: sometimes i laugh
Iro: but it's not like
Iro: a bad laugh
Iro: i laugh because "oh my god this guy's life sucks"
Lifesong: Yeah, same, but I still feel like it missed the emotional mark it was going for.
Lifesong: Like with Kariya
Lifesong: that was his name right?
Lifesong: I predicted exactly where that ending was going
Lifesong: And was spot on
Lifesong: So when it happened I couldn't help but laugh and feel like Urobuchi was trying too hard.
Iro: but like
Lifesong: Does that make sense?
Lifesong: I'm not saying it was bad
Iro: but there is a difference between predictable and inevitable
Iro: that said ideally you want it to be both surprising and inevitable
Lifesong: That is neither here nor there with emotional impact though
Iro: i think it's related
Lifesong: I never believed in Kariya
Lifesong: Not for a moment
Iro: but is that because you already knew he wouldn't make it
Lifesong: I never really felt any empathy for his cause.
Iro: or just because
Lifesong: That was the only thing that did make him interesting
Lifesong: And when I think about Nasu death scenes/endings I really can't think of one I didn't think was really good.
Iro: i think i am just more willing to suspend my disbelief than you are
Lifesong: Even in Fate/Extra I think they all hit home about perfectly.
Lifesong: I analyze everything that really pulls me in. If I am doing it that means I am being entertained but at the same time it's not something I can turn off.
Iro: haha remind me to never show you anything i do
Iro: you would smash my ego
Lifesong: Haha, it's not like I have Urobuchi or Nasu in this chat with us. :P
Lifesong: I do not need to be an ass..
Lifesong: And really I like the stories from both writers quite a bit.
Lifesong: It's why I talk about them like this to begin with ;P
Lifesong: I wish you would watch some of the Key stuff.. I could explain the difference I see between Nasu's story telling and Urobuchi's story telling really easy if you did.
Lifesong: Jun Maeda is probably the best example of someone who tells storys in a fashion where everything lines up but you don't see it till right before it happens.
Lifesong: Nasu does that as well I believe.
Iro: when i get really caught up in something i don't even try to be predicting what comes next
Lifesong: I do it naturally.
Lifesong: If I am paying attention I am doing it
Iro: that is why i like to get things that are done and just
Iro: run straight through
Lifesong: I usually pick stuff up while I am watching not after.
Lifesong: So it doesn't mater much how I watch it.
Lifesong: If anything in a marathon it's all fresh in my mind so I don't forget the details.
Lifesong: Madoka was an exception though
Lifesong: that show kept me guessing long after the credits rolled
Lifesong: but I think it did that for everyone
Lifesong: I am really happy with how Fate/Zero went down though so don't think otherwise.
Iro: it just annoys me when people are like "why didn't he do this?" where it's the most logical possible thing you could do, but it also requires the omnipotent view of the story and disregards the actual character of the character
Lifesong: I think emotional impacts are kind of like this.. if you want to hit someone in the gut you have to do it when they least expect it or have let their guard down.
Lifesong: It's not even about predictability versus inevitability. More about when and not how or why.
Lifesong: Does that make sense?
Iro: but by the same token just killing someone off when nobody expects it is the wrong way to give emotional impact
Iro: in my opinion
Lifesong: Like the scene with Iliya in UBW where Shirou and Rin go to see her estate and find her "preoccupied".
Lifesong: Oh for sure you are entirely correct.
Iro: haha you make it sound dirty
Lifesong: I guess I did
Iro: FOR THOSE NOT IN THE KNOW SHE IS BEING KILLED BRUTALLY
Iro: i'm pretty sure nobody is paying attention to the conversation anyway
Dragonzigg: I am
Lifesong: But the reason that scene is so disturbing is because just a moment ago the story was all about building up hope.
Lifesong: And then you are smashed in the face with someone who has their heart ripped out of their chest.
Lifesong: Nasu is really good at that.
Lifesong: With Urobuchi I always know when it is about to go down and I don't get that moment of emotional recovery before it happens.
Lifesong: So it doesn't sting as much.
Lifesong: I'm not saying it's bad.
Iro: i get what you're saying but i think it can work just fine either way
Lifesong: I don't think it's wrong to do it the way that Urobuchi does.
Lifesong: I just think Nasu's way of doing it carries more weight.
Iro: i think they can carry equal amounts of weight
Lifesong: Ah, well maybe part of it really does just depend on the audience.
Lifesong: I am also kind of thinking out loud because I still want to write my own story.
Iro: you want to be surprised
Iro: is that what you're saying
Lifesong: It's not even that
Iro: are you sure
Lifesong: I want the story to hit me at the right time.
Iro: i think that it is possible for it to do that but also have the sense of inevitability
Lifesong: That is why I wish I could use Jun Maeda as an example lol
Lifesong: His stories are like that
Lifesong: Nasu as well though
Lifesong: For example the way Archer's backstory is done in UBW
Lifesong: Or maybe that is not the best example
Lifesong: I'm trying to think of a good way to explain what I mean lol
Lifesong: With Urobuchi he likes to kick you when you are down, the first part hurts but the kick doesn't always have much impact because you already had the pain from before. Where with Nasu I feel like he gives you time to get back up first and then kicks you again to finish you off.
Lifesong: It's not that what happens is changed
Lifesong: The execution is just a bit different.
Iro: i understand
Iro: i just think that they can be equally effective based on the situation
Iro: or to put it another way
Iro: urobuchi drives people to the depths of despair as far as they can go but Nasu characters don't really go that deep
Iro: either approach can have different purposes
Lifesong: Eh, that is the thing though.
Lifesong: There is a disconnect when that happens.
Lifesong: I think both are valid ways to tell a story.
Iro: it depends on the story
Lifesong: Maybe, but I can't really think of an example.
Iro: too many hope spots makes it silly
Lifesong: There are more positive emotions than Hope
Iro: you know what i mean
Lifesong: Like that scene in the latest episode with Rider you have Pride
Lifesong: Urobuchi very much gave us a positive emotion there.
Iro: have you ever seen samurai jack
Lifesong: I have
Iro: right so like
Iro: every other episode or something
Iro: he tries to get into a time hole and fails
Iro: and having that happen so often cheapens it
Iro: coming close and not being able to
Lifesong: Oh yeah for sure
Iro: you can't have them try hard and come close every time
Lifesong: But doesn't that have more to do with the fact that it's repetitive?
Iro: and you can't do it often
Iro: maybe but that is part of my point
Lifesong: Well it doesn't need to be hope
Lifesong: Or pride
Iro: in anything
Lifesong: In Nasu's storytelling It's usually pride I think.
Iro: that isn't my point
Iro: i don't know if we are on the same page
Lifesong: I get what your saying but it's not really what I am driving at.
Lifesong: I am more talking about the natural reaction you and I have depending on the way a story goes down.
Lifesong: It takes a bit of both for sure.
Lifesong: Too much of anything is bad.
Lifesong: Maybe I feel like Urobuchi pours too many negitive emotions into his work?
Iro: i am okay with those
Lifesong: I am okay with those so long as I am capable of staying on the same page as the story.
Lifesong: Like with Rider I think he had the prefect balance of both worlds.
Lifesong: But with Kariya I never did.
Lifesong: Or with Kiritsugu or even Homura.
Iro: i think that is on your end then
Lifesong: Kariya probably is
Lifesong: I don't think the other two are
Lifesong: People liked Homura because magical lesbian >_>
Lifesong: And it seems most people don't like kiritsugu.
Iro: i feel like i am being lumped in with a group here
Lifesong: who is pretty much the same character in a different wrapper
Iro: i liked homura because she was clearly kiritsugu in a different wrapper
Lifesong: I don't mean you specifically when I say that
Lifesong: I mean the general reaction that I see from most people.
Iro: i don't know if people just
Iro: don't like tragedies
Iro: or what
Lifesong: I think both you and I spend entirely too much time on fiction to be a part of any majority reaction.
Lifesong: The way I see it the tragic aspect doesn't sting enough. People have their guard up when it happens so they look for something to be wrong with it even if there isn't.
Iro: like people complaining when kiritsugu had kayneth killed after the fact
Iro: i was just like
Iro: "do you people not get it at all"
Lifesong: Yes, that is what I mean.
Lifesong: I even fell into that one myself initially.
Iro: if you understand the character kiritsugu is
Iro: then you understand that is the only thing he would have done
Iro: he would not have even looked for another solution
Lifesong: Well I got it once I saw his back story.
Lifesong: But it is really my fault I didn't get it before that?
Iro: even during the flashback there were a lot people like
Iro: "why didn't he do X differently"
Iro: and i figure
Iro: if you're not getting it after all that
Lifesong: I wish I could throw this conversation at Jtor and see what people think lol
Iro: you just don't want to get it
Iro: ah well
Lifesong: Yeah I think you understand what I mean.
Iro: reminds me of a dude i used to know who absolutely hated gurren lagann purely based on the notion that the ending was not 100% happy
Iro: he said that because nia died it ruined the entire experience
Lifesong: Well you know me, I love tragedy.
Lifesong: And I loved that ending.
Iro: but yeah with that guy i was just
Iro: "are you serious"
Iro: that is completely missing the point
Lifesong: It's worth pointing out that most of my favorite characters die.
Lifesong: Sometimes I wonder if that is part of why they are my favorite characters.
Lifesong: It probably is.
Lifesong: Would you mind if I posted this converation on Jtor? I bet a few people at least would read it and I am now curious what other people think.(and I don't want to write an entire blog on the topic atm)
Iro: haha the entire one?
Lifesong: Pretty much
Iro: with all our crazy ass rambling
Lifesong: I can show it to you before I post it
ItsaTimmy: Yay for rambling
Lifesong: and I would tell them what it is before they read it lol
Part 1 Here Ozma Space Bros Scarlet Fragment Zetman Accel World Kickoff to the Galaxy!! Queen's Blade Rebellion Saint Seiya Omega Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead Medaka Box Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Sengoku Collection Natsuiro Kiseki Sankarea
Part 2 Here Acchi Kocchi Fate/Zero Second Part Moe Moe Assault Rifles!! Kuroko's Basket Ball Mysterious Girlfriend X Saki: Side-A Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Moe Moe Nyarlathotep Jormungand Tsuritama Eureka Seven AO Kids on the Slope Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness
Part 3 Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape AKB0048
Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape
Premise A kid who wants to keep his life boring and low key winds up in a club solving mysteries for an enchanting young girl.
Jel's Thoughts This pushed a lot of the right buttons for me. Meshing the gorgeous animation and subtle beauty KyoAni is known for with dreamy, surreal moments of realization is an easy way to get my attention. You could argue not too much actually happens and I'm very tired of the "low energy" Kyon-clone protagonist, but the pace was good, the dialogue crisp, and the rest of the cast looks poised to pick up the slack. And while the "mysteries" they encountered seemed pretty mundane, I think the twist at the end was a pretty clever way of showing us the type of wit we will be treated to as the series goes on.
Jel's Verdict?More Haruhi Than K-ON! There are a lot of directions Hyouka could go from this initial set-up episode and I think most of them are good. That will depend greatly on whether they actually uncover any real mysteries or simply keep stumbling through accidentally locked doors. Given the series' description and Eru's mysterious motives for joining the club, I think things will be fine. If it does reach its full potential, I could easily see this being my favorite show of the season.
Timmy's Thoughts Boring guy wants nothing but a boring high school life but thanks to his sister forcing him to join a club is looks like that isn't going to happen. First impressions are good as the characters are interesting and Kyoani's art is stellar as usual.
Timmy's Verdict?Haruhi Without Haruhi Exactly what it says. I would imagine Haruhi would be something like this if it didn't have Haruhi and all the bullshit that comes with her. If you like Haruhi but hate Haruhi then you would probably like this. Hell you are probably going to like this anyways so give it a watch. This one is pressing all the right buttons and I can't wait for more.
Lifesong's Thoughts By all means this show should have bored me to tears and put me to sleep but something about grabbed my attention and kept my interest.. at least for the first episode. KyoAni's attention to detail really is amazing. One of those bits of detail that I noticed is that everyone but the main character has an incredibly rare eye color and his eye color is still pretty much impossible for someone Japanese I think. The MC is green the heroine is purple the best friend is amber and the chick who doesn't show in episode 1 is red. For a show with an otherwise down to earth style that really sticks out to me.
Lifesong's Verdict?Kyon Without Haruhi For better or worse that is what this show feels like. I'm neither blown away or turned off. I'll keep watching for now if only for the studio pedigree at work.
Irothtin's Thoughts Bored unambitious anime protagonist starts off by meeting pretty girl with really huge and unnatural eyes. They solve mysteries that aren't really mysteries (it's like Anime Scooby Doo) with his peppy best friend and some other girl who shows up in the OP and the next episode preview. She's probably a tomboy.
Irothtin's Verdict?Everyone Else Is Probably Right It looks nice, but everything by Kyoto Animation does. I feel like the protagonist is too obviously trying to connect with that bored student type of person, and in general nothing much of note happened in the entire episode. I think people will enjoy it, though. Hell, I'll probably enjoy it since I'm right in the center of the target audience.
Marlin's Thoughts Iâ€™m still not sure exactly what the plot is going to be for this show, but I enjoyed the first episode. I will admit that the â€śmysteriesâ€ť were things I solved the second I saw that they were positing it as a mystery. The animation was beautiful as KyoAni is wont in doing. The main girl is at bit akin to a hyperactive Mio, but Mioâ€™s cute and her hair is super gorgeously animated, so I guess thereâ€™s no real problem there. The main character is the laziest motherfucker ever but I canâ€™t blame that attitude sometimes, and he always has room to grow.
Marlin's Verdict?Trial Basis While Iâ€™m sure KyoAni knows what theyâ€™re doing here, and I would encourage anyone to watch it, I would put this show on the list of ones that need to impress soon or get dropped. I think that is a task easily accomplishable for this show, but thereâ€™s always a risk. Still, Iâ€™d say give it at least three episodes.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts Like many other people I was intrigued to see how KyoAni would handle a return to slightly moree serious territory, and on the evidence of this first episode it's pretty well. It can be a little hard to shake K-ON! out of your minds eye when you look at the characters, but the rest of the show feels a very different beast. Protagonist Houtarou is a disaffected, almost cynical character and while his bouncy best friend Satoshi is cut from more traditional slice-of-life cloth, mysterious girl Chitanda is a little more difficult to place. There's an undercurrent of darkness in this episode that I didn't expect at all, a moodiness that I really enjoyed. The actual mysteries they solved were pretty rubbish to be honest, but hopefully that's something that can be stepped up. And as ever from KyoAni the animation is superb, with Houtarou's flower filled dream sequences wonderful touches of eye candy
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Waiting To Be Solved It's something enjoyably different from the moeblob masters. Light on plot but heavy on visuals and atmosphere, let's hope it can develop into a strong all rounder.
AKB0048 Anime original animated by Satelight
Premise In a future where being an idol has become illegal 4 young girls aspire to join AKB0048 an underground Idol group.
Lifesong's Thoughts Lots of voice talent here, enough to make me want to like this. The Idol scene in the first portion of the episode was kind of neat. The girls keep singing even when they are being fired at by a riot squad. They also have mecha and stuff it's not hard to see why the cops are after them. Then we get to the new girls and they throw all kinds of drama at us. Girls being sad and dramatic might be a sure selling point but I much prefer to know the characters and then be asked to care about them in that order.
Lifesong's Verdict?More Hardcore Than Macross Which may or may not be a good thing. I liked this better than Natsuiro at least, but at the same time in a season with plenty of great stuff for me to watch I don't know how long I'll want to stick with this. I'll give it a few more episodes at least if only to see more bullet dogging idol's with light sabers and magical girl stun rods. The Touhou girls would like this line of work quite a bit I think.
Jel's Thoughts Jel's thoughts: While this season's other Idol vehicle (Natsuiro Kiseki) has taken a more laid back approach in showcasing the group's talents, it seems AKB0048 is taking the most grand, preposterous, over the top angle possible to mask their lack thereof. That might not change my mind about their real life counterparts but it does make for a much better anime. I'll admit I was not expecting mech battles and light sabers and stun wands, in a way it kind of feels like a tween edition of Macross. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but it sure isâ€¦ something? And that's already more than I was expecting from this.
Jel's Verdict?Macross Frontier Without The Aliensâ€¦ or Yoko Kannoâ€¦ or decades of anime history supporting itâ€¦ orâ€¦ OK look, if you have no tolerance for idol groups or music this does not have nearly enough streaming missiles to change your mind. But it does accomplish it's purpose in presenting a real life idol group in a way that is much more palatable in anime form. I don't think that will be enough for me to keep watching, but I'm sure there will be an audience for it.
Irothtin's Thoughts Girls are auditioning to be space idols, which are banned. The military has rockets that say "No Idols" on them. The idols have turned their idol props into weapons to fight the military. I'm cheering for the military.
Irothtin's Verdict?This Shit Is Bananas If you have to choose between this and Natsuiro Kiseki, watch this one. Ideally, you won't be watching either, but...this one at least has the WTF factor.
Timmy's Thoughts Idoling is illegal so its up to a group of underground Idols that go by the name of AKB0048 to entertain everyone and kick the asses of anyone who tries to interfere while they make their grand escape. Guerrilla Concerts are what they do and they are recruiting! Yaaaayyy!
Timmy's Verdict?Not So Fabulous Max I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this show yet somehow I still felt a little disappointed after watching it. Maybe it was the lack of character development, maybe the lack of an explanation of why entertainment is illegal, I dunno. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I would have liked. I really do hope I am wrong but I get the feeling this is going to be an anime just so AKB can say they had an anime. This show did have some serious potential given the setting and I don't feel it was fully utilized in this first ep. I may stick around for a couple more but the main reason for doing so is to find out where the blue haired girl went. Half way through the episode you realize there were not three girls but four in the beginning. Where the hell did she go?
Jel's Closing Thoughts If I may get up on my soapbox for a moment, I feel like this season of anime has galvanized a change in attitude that's been building over the past couple of seasons. I'm not going to make any lame, pointless statements like MOE IS DEAD or whatever, but whether it's adding heavy doses of surrealism, embracing an old school art style, or actually making a show about boys, anime feels just a little bit different these days. Is that a result of studios realizing the otaku money won't last forever and they need to adjust, or is it BECAUSE they have all that otaku money and can make shows more to their liking? I really couldn't say. But I CAN say I'm all for it, and while this season may not end up with any sure-fire hits or instant classics it is at the very least going to be interesting to watch.
Jel's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1. Hyouka - Stunning KyoAni production values with source material that is more substantial than girls eating cake, so yeah, I'm all over this. With only one episode out at the time of writing I don't have much to add here, so scroll back on up for my reasons why.
2. Kids on the Slope - We all knew the soundtrack was going to be fantastic, but beyond that this is shaping up to be a tidy and effective drama. It's pretty straightforward and this could have just as easily been a live-action JDrama, but the setting is so unique and it uses its hook (the music) so well I can't help but love it.
3. Tsuritama - I love the art style of Atsuya Uki and seeing it fully realized with all it's bright colors, quirky expressions, and surreal vignettes has been a treat. The actual plot has been down right bizarre and almost a non-sequitur in itself, but with a glimpse of more serious, relatable issues looming beneath the surface I think Tsuritama has tremendous potential to be something special.
Lifesong's Closing Thoughts What can I say? This season is full of lovely dead girls and I am sure there are a few people who will never let me forget that I picked 3 shows with heavy dead girl themes even if one of them is technically a necromancer and not actually dead herself. So yeah It's a great season to be dead, actually it's a pretty good season all around but the theme of undeath is coming on heavy this season and doing so with great success. A top three doesn't quite cut it for giving credit to all the fun shows this season. Accel World, Ao and even show of the season Moe Gun's Upotte!! all deserve mention this season. That said I bet a few of you can guess my top 3 without even reading them.
There is one other thing I would like to point out and it's how much fun I had and I think we all had putting this beast together. I hope it's been even half as fun to read as it was to make.
Lifesong's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1. Sankarea - Most demented father figure in anime? Rea's father might not win the all time award but I bet he makes the list. The character dynamics all play together in a great way that really pulls you in and helps get you over the fact that well the main character is a necrophiliac who created a potion of resurrection. This show feels surprisingly down to earth for all the crazy that's going on when you stop and think about it. The way everything here plays together so well has made this into my favorite thing going into this season.
2. Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead - I admit I feel a bit crazy for this but 2 out of 3 of my top picks for the season are from Studio DEEN! I would have been happy with more of the same but this season of Zombie has turned out to be even funnier that the last round. The plot is a bit slow going but things are obviously in motion. For now we are saddled with crazy antics as Ayumu deals with the fact that everyone in his school knows about his cross dressing hobby. The tsundere maid cafe about killed me with laughter. I can't wait to see how this all plays out.
3. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia - I am equal parts sold on Dusk Maiden's character dynamics and the directing at work. Yuuko's so what If I'm dead personality puts an intriguing spin on something you would expect to be creepy, all the while keeping the mystery interesting by throwing other characters at us who take up an interest in learning more about Yuuko's past. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the whole tragic past thing.. actually scratch that I definitely am but I'll still throw my recommendation out. If you haven't given this show a shot yet and can take a little bit more undeath in your anime season give this a go!
Irothtin's Closing Thoughts A bunch of good shows that I'm not watching.
A bunch of bad shows that I'm also not watching.
Irothtin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Fate/Zero - I'm the resident Type-Moon fan in the GLORIO chat, which means I get to hear everyone assure me they like the show while they simultaneously talk about how shitty it is. I was looking forward to Fate/Zero since before the anime was even announced, so it has all my hype. I just have to pretend to not enjoy it.
I still don't get why everyone seems to like Homura but hates Kiritsugu - they are pretty much the exact same character. I guess anime lesbianism is a truly powerful force.
2 Mysterious Girlfriend X - I pretty much like everything in this show apart from the spewing and the fact that their saliva is the consistency of maple syrup. It has a cool 90s vibe to the art style and it just gives off the vibe of being an old-school kind of anime.
Except for the spewing. That shit's kind of nasty.
3 *Insert Your Favorite From This Season Here* - Whatever show you like is probably adequate. I am validating your opinion. It has the Irothtin Seal of Approval. Whatever show you want. I'm sure you're enjoying it by now and probably think I'm a massive jerk anyway for hating on half the shows this season.
Marlin's Closing Thoughts If the eleven new shows Iâ€™m watching this season is any indicator, Iâ€™m quite pleased as to how this year is turning out. There are only two or three shows I have any thoughts of dropping with, there are just so many enthralling stories. What I love most about this season is, despite a slight undead theme with three shows, there is an overall great heterogeneity within this seasonâ€™s genres. Gritty theft and war dramas, slice of life shows that take romance seriously and those that donâ€™t, , from the strange and surreal to the straight and serious Iâ€™d say it would take a cold heart (or Iro) to not at least pick up four new shows this season.
Marlin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Kids on the Slope - I have to announce a bias here first, Iâ€™ve always been a big lover of jazz, and the fact that this troupe appears to include a trumpet, my instrument of choice, instead of the standard sax really won points with me. However, itâ€™s still a great show outside of this. Iâ€™ve really enjoyed the character interactions. These people actually seem real unlike a lot of shows Iâ€™ve seen over the years. Itâ€™s still early, but from what I saw in episode 3 I have real high hopes for how this show will turn out in the future.
2 Sankarea - Ever the sucker for a story that adds a different kind of romance, I love Sankareaâ€™s spin on the old boy-meets-girl. Chihiro has to be hands down the most morbid protagonist of this entire season, and I find it hilarious. This is a real feat considering heâ€™s in the company of a crazed arms dealer and the actual undead. Rea is incredibly cute, and the show really makes you feel for her situation, locked up in a prison of her fatherâ€™s making. Thereâ€™s still a lot to find out about what exactly is going on, and I canâ€™t wait to find out whatâ€™s going to happen next.
3 Accel World - I came into Accel Worldâ€™s first episode loving the world concept, but being let down by its final reveal, that it all seemed to really just be a veil for a standard shonen fighting show. However, when I gave it the three episode chance, it really blew me away. It didnâ€™t just abandon the characters and their issues, it addresses them. While the relationship between Arita and Kuroyukihime (man is that a mouthful) is still a bit of a stretch, I really liked that Aritaâ€™s reaction to it seemed to reflect that strangeness and insecurity. I donâ€™t want to give anything away, but let me just say the third and fourth episodes really had some powerful moments that are guaranteed to keep me watching for a long while.
Dragonzigg's Closing Thoughts It's looking to be a good, strong season of shows, but perhaps more importantly, a fantastically diverse season as well. We've got an excellent spread through drama, fantasy, slice of life and more, and there looks to be something to accommodate almost everyone's taste. With the bold stylings of Lupin, the playful surrealism of Tsuritama and the studied period look of Kids on the Slope, it's refreshing to see shows with strong independent art resurface, and even the stuff that didn't quite work this season generally had something worth praising. It's telling that for once I have to parse down the number of shows I want to watch rather than scaling up.
Dragonzigg's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Tsuritama - Gorgeous skies, beautiful seascapes and a healthy dose of surrealism, what more could you want? Tsuritama packs all the quirky characters, wonderful art and terrific silliness that I like in my shows and bundles them into a sharp looking and highly appealing package. Essential.
2 Lupin III - If Tsuritama is all blue skies, this is all smoky clubs, cigarette burns and glasses of scotch. Looks wonderful, like a lot of things this season, but its's in the unashamedly throwback narrative style that Lupin really finds his chops. It's grittier, darker and more violent, but never loses the goofy, playful heart of the character, resulting in a rip-roaring adventure. Not for the kids mind you.
3 Eureka SeveN AO - It's not yet the glorious free-flowing fantasy that its forebear eventaully grew into, but I've always admired Bones' determination to do different things with the franchise, and AO paints its own compelling world, full of drama, intrigue and mysteries to uncover. Helped in no small part by its stunningly beautiful animation, it has the potential to climb to great heights.
Timmy's Closing Thoughts I find myself watching a lot of anime this season. It may mean this season is better then others but the more likely cause is the simple fact that I actually have to watch all this stuff to write about it instead of sitting back and seeing what shows people talk about and picking up the popular ones. Sadly there is a lot of stuff I at the very least like this season but not a whole lot of time to watch it. That puts a lot of honorable mentions on this list including Shining Hearts, Hyouka, and even Nyarko-san and Upottle! to name a few. There is a lot of good anime this season and sadly it seems I am watching only about half of it.
Timmy's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
It was really tough picking favorites but here they are as follows in no particular order:
Lupin - A great art style, gratuitous gun-play, an awesome heroine, and glorious boobs to top it all off. And that doesn't even take Lupin into account. Lupin is a great watch every week and I sure as hell can't wait for more.
Accel World - Every time I worry Accel World is going to revert into generic shonen crap the show either plays with this Brain Burst idea a little more, throws out something completely unexpected, or both. I mean confessions in both the third and forth episodes? This show does not mess around.
Mysterious Girlfriend X - Man, this show has me hooked to it like I was bonded to a girl via her s... The show keeps throwing out fresh new ideas with this spit thing every episode and I am gobbling them right u... Guh! Urabe continues to be great with all her odd quirkiness and all the mystery the show is surrounding her is making me droo... Fuck it, I quit.
Aqua's Closing Thoughts The spring season of 2012 will be one you will not quickly forget. Blessed with a line-up that provides a seemingly endless source of entertainment, you will have to try your worst in order to not care about any of the shows gracing the screen this spring. Unless your name is Irothtin.
So far for the obligatory backhanded aside directed at AnoHana.
Anyways, in the world of anime nothing is certain. Except for the fact that 50% of the lineup will always consist of shows about cute/obnoxious/supposedly sexy teenage girls doing cute things/falling in love/becoming magical girls/turning out to be guys/having their tops ripped off. Be creative and choose your generic anime plot. There are no incorrect answers.
Aqua's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 The Legend Of Korra - No, you piss off. The Legend of Korra looks like an anime, sounds like an anime, and has more anime tropes in it than your average episode of Shakugan No Shana. Of course it totally counts as anime.
Yeah, looks like that comment section will finally be used now. Hehe.
2 Tsuritama - A psychedelic slice-of-life anime about fishing, aliens and Indian secret services with ducks? This anime couldnâ€™t be any more noitaminA if it tried. Which Tsuritama doesnâ€™t. Everything in Tsuritama comes naturally. It slowly drifts on the quirky waves it creates. Who knows where this ship will take up? Wherever that is, it will be amazing nonetheless. Tsuritama is original, yet accessible. Familiar, yet alienating. Quirky, yet creepingly dramatic. It looks like a clown exploded all over the screen and sounds like a surfer van having taken the wrong ferry, but most of all does it feel as warm as the sunlight raining down on the Enoshima coast. Watch it and regain your will to live.
Part 1 Here Ozma Space Bros Scarlet Fragment Zetman Accel World Kickoff to the Galaxy!! Queen's Blade Rebellion Saint Seiya Omega Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead Medaka Box Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Sengoku Collection Natsuiro Kiseki Sankarea
Part 2 Acchi Kocchi Fate/Zero Second Part Moe Moe Assault Rifles!! Kuroko's Basket Ball Mysterious Girlfriend X Saki: Side-A Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Moe Moe Nyarlathotep Jormungand Tsuritama Eureka Seven AO Kids on the Slope Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness
Part 3 Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape AKB0048
Acchi Kocchi 4-Koma managa adaptation animated by AIC
Premise Cute people do cute things.
Irothtin's Thoughts Slice of life with typical anime caricatures. This a yonkoma adaptation, so presumably we're supposed to be laughing every thirty seconds or so. I could barely stomach ten minutes.
Irothtin's Verdict?Waste Of Time If you're going to watch a slice of life, watch something that doesn't suck.
Lifesong's Thoughts In a word, cute. There really isn't much else to say about this show.
Lifesong's Verdict?Muscle Relaxer Acchi Kocchi doesn't try too hard and it's quite obvious that the focus is on being low key like so many other slice of life anime are. This is a good anime to watch after a stressful day. I would compare it to muscle relaxer or sleeping pill. Unless you are stressed out and or need something cute and heartwarming before bed this doesn't have much value, if however you are under a lot of stress and just need something simple to unwind you might want to check this out.
Marlin's Thoughts In a world where Konata grew up introverted, Acchi Kocchi is born. I swear the girl is a dead ringer. Iâ€™ve always been big into good slice of life, and while this show wasnâ€™t great by any means, I really enjoyed it. Its characters are cute and I had some genuine laughs through the proceedings. I most especially enjoyed the intercom bits. While it definitely isnâ€™t the smartest show out there, I think Iâ€™m going to be using it as a nice relaxer after a long day.
Marlin's Verdict?Brain Slug I really enjoyed this show, but it definitely isnâ€™t very smart in its comedy or cutesy mannerisms. I personally am very weak to moeblobs and our doppelganger is the moe-est thing Iâ€™ve seen this season.
Premise All hell has broken loose, the monstrous Cthulhu like being is headed for shore forcing a temporary alliance between other servants and masters. The time for the conclusion to the epic battle royale between the mages and their servant's is drawing near, things are about to get bloody.
Irothtin's Thoughts After the snore-fest of talky bits that was Part 1, Fate/Zero ramps up the action in a dash to the finale. At least, that's the idea. If it follows the novels, there should be a lot more action in this part and a lot less standing around and philosophizing. The season kicks off following Part 1's cliffhanger, starting strong with duels between magi, otherworldly dogfights, and a giant sea monster.
Irothtin's Verdict?Coooooool Either you're already watching this or you aren't, and at this point nothing I say is going to change your mind. But for the record, I think it's pretty sweet.
Lifesong's Thoughts I am going to miss caster when he inevitably loses. I enjoyed the first half quite a bit and considering the author at work here I can't wait to see how terrifyingly wrong and twisted things becomes before the end.
Lifesong's Verdict?Let The Battle Royale Begin! The first half of this show is all about the philosophy behind the cast and characters and is surprisingly without bloodshed, red-shirt's aside. I haven't read the light novel but I have read Fate/Stay Night so I know upcoming events can't be pretty, I am dying to know how it all ends, I'm counting on you Urobuchi! Don't let me down.
Jel's Thoughts This is EXACTLY what I wanted to see coming back from the break. Actually, this is exactly what I wanted to see since I was first introduced to the Fate Universe. High stakes drama, tense action and just about every servant and master getting their hands dirty.
Jel's Verdict?The Anime Of Promised Victory This is the safest bet of the season. Other shows may turn out to be something special, but I have more confidence in Fate/Zero than any of them. Definitely worth catching up on the previous season and getting in on the action if you haven't done so already.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts I was very much a skeptic of the first season of Fate/Zero, which tempered its shamelessly awesome moments with great deal of boring waffle. Here though we've got the advantage of leaping straight into the middle of the plot, and boy do ufotable take advantage. We've got it all here - epic battles, tense showdowns, sneak attacks and some seriously messed up monsters, all backed by some fantastic animation and top notch music and voice acting. In addition to the pyrotechnics we're getting some more juicy character development and the escalating conflict looks set up to deliver a series of explosive showdowns as we draw closer to the close of this conflict.
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Epic Fate/Zero is beginning to deliver on the huge promise that it showed from the beginning. I'm not convinced the problems are entirely gone, but this is a hugely promising sign for the rest of the season.
Aqua's Thoughts It's the second season of Fate/Zero. Youâ€™re gonna watch this if you watched the first part and youâ€™re not gonna watch this if you havenâ€™t. Life, why are we giving our first impressions on this?
Aqua's Verdict?It's The Second Season Of Fate/Zero Itâ€™s the second season of Fate/Zero, kiddo. Seriously. Thatâ€™s it.
Gee-Man's Thoughts The best anime of the fall season returns with a vengeance. Leaving off where the first season concluded, we find our valiant heroes of ancient myth squaring off against the eldritch abomination created by Caster. Youâ€™ll find mythic dogfights, abhorrent ideology, and pragmatic combat here. So in other words, a return to glory.
Gee-Man's Verdict?Look At What Everyone Else Has Said Seriously, itâ€™s the second season of Fate Zero. What more do you need?
Marlin's Thoughts The beginning of the second part really kept the action going. I really liked the dogfight even if it was really weird in context. More F/Z is never a bad thing.
Marlin's Verdict?You Better Still Be Watching Fate/Zero reminds me that the premise of the whole Nasuverse is actually pretty interesting if you actually have a decent writer. With Gen Urobuchi at the helm for the story I knew this was going to be an enjoyable ride, and that hasnâ€™t changed.
Premise A new teacher has just transferred into an all girls school. This school is a special school for girls who are actually assault rifles. How will this human teacher fair? Will he learn to treat the girls with the delicacy and respect that guns deserve? Or will he cause their hammers to fire off prematurely?
Jel's Thoughts Part of the appeal of anime for many of us are those totally bizarre "WTF Japan" ideas that somehow get produced. This is one of them. Now don't get me wrong, it's still pretty terrible and I felt like I needed a shower after watching it. But I can't say I wasn't entertained by just how hilariously ridiculous and unapologetic the premise is.
Jel's Verdict?One In The Chamber If you have 24 minutes to kill it might be worth watching an episode for a laugh. But I can't imagine watching anything beyond that.
Lifesong's Thoughts I can still remember the first time I met sensei. He approached ready to fire with both hands firmly griping his gun, careful not to put too much pressure on the small stock. He shifted his center of gravity forward slightly to guard against the recoil as he prepared to fire his load, almost as if preparing to fire an assault rifle, just the sight of it nearly made my hammer fire... He took his shot, hitting me square in the forehead several times. I'll never forget that encounter.
Lifesong's Verdict?Skeleton Stock Lightweight pervy humor that's so bizarre it's hard not to find funny. This whole show is pretty much a bunch of sexual euphemisms with guns. It is actually quite funny in a I can't believe they are actually going there kind of way and may well turn out to be a guilty pleasure for many. Upotte!! is based off a 4-koma so you can't really expect too much depth from this, however if you are away from polite company and looking for a cheep laugh, you can't go wrong here.
Timmy's Thoughts Where the hell am I even suppose to begin with this. Given the premise I had my eye on this for quite some time expecting the most bizarre, insane thing I could possibly imagine. And that is pretty much what I got. Lots and lots of gun porn mixed with a whole heap full of crazy, over the top WTF anime goodness. Everything about this show is absurd.
Timmy's Verdict?Something To Get Trigger Happy Over And that is really its greatest strength. This show is cute, funny, perverted, bizarre, absurd, over the top, basically all you could ever ask of an anime. As long as it can keep its material fresh and doesn't start hammering out the same jokes every episode, this pervy gag comedy will be very much worth a watch every week.
TL/DR Watch this, love this, NO REGRETS! The show sure as hell doesn't have any.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts I really, honestly am lost for words when it comes to this show. It's like the Matrix - nobody can tell you what it is, you have to experience it for yourself. What I can tell you is that this show has some cute character designs and one or two decent puns. There's also a ton of neat references for gun nuts (which I, with my rudimentary weapons knowledge, just about grasped). And finally, there's tons of super inappropriate, stunningly creepy sexual innuendo. They even avoid showing the lead male character's face, like some sort of second rate porno doujinshi.
So yeah. If you're in the target demographic of crazy assault rifle wielding pedophiles then you'll probably eat this up. For everyone else it's probably worth seeing once just so you can again experience that feeling of 'Oh my God Japan, what the fuck did you DO?' that you thought anime had hardened you against forever.
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Major Misfire Without the fanservice this would be barely recommendable as a weird, demented spin on the cute girls genre. But with it it becomes a thoroughly unpleasant experience altogether. If you must watch this, take a shower afterwards.
Irothtin's Thoughts Gun jokes. Gun double entendre. Girls that are guns. She wants her teacher to grab her and shoot her off.
Irothtin's Verdict?A Bullet To The Brainpan
Marlin's Thoughts What the fuck did I watch? I would have half a mind to make this my oddity pick of the season just to turn off my brain but I already have three shows that would do a better job at that.
Marlin's Verdict?Off its Aim I donâ€™t see who this is appealing to besides the otaku from High School of the Dead.
Premise A middle school basketball team called the miracle generation had a legendary player who was amazing at passing. Using his impressive ninja like lack of presence, he would fade from view and misdirect attention. Now in high school he has transferred into a new school and joined their basketball team. After teaming up with another player who's power level is over 9000, he has decided to live in that players shadow and push him to the top!
Jel's Thoughts If you think this is another ridiculous Shonen sports show that replaces fighting with basketball then you are correct. But it's a pretty well made one and as a big basketball fan myself I really enjoyed it. I may not like it all the time, but something about unapologetically defying logic with super abilities and power level readings warms my heart every now and then.
Jel's Verdict?Buzzer Beater I can't believe I'm saying this but I will most likely keep watching. I had every intention of laughing this one off and yet even though it is exactly what I thought it would be I still enjoyed it. Your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance of Shonen shows and sports in general, but I'm sticking with it.
Lifesong's Thoughts Ninja boy plays basket ball, his power level can't even be read by the scouter.
Lifesong's Verdict?Ridiculous I am no fan of sports anime and I'm often at odds with shonen so this anime really isn't for me. If you are looking for a ridiculous shonen sports show look no further, this has what you need.
Marlin's Thoughts Never really been a fan of sports anime. They always just seem way to unrealistic to me, and this one is no different. Weird scanner girl that can somehow determine your strength, mystery basketball player who has magic teamwork skills, it all screams superpower sports show. I think Iâ€™ll pass.
Marlin's Verdict?Low Percentage Shot If you like basketball maybe itâ€™ll still gel for you? However, I doubt many others would enjoy it greatly.
Irothtin's Thoughts She can tell sports power levels. The one guy is over nine thousand, because he went to school in America. The eponymous character can turn invisible and is therefore super great at passing the ball.
Irothtin's Verdict?Silly In A Fun Way More enjoyable than that soccer show, though. This one is actually decent. I probably won't watch the rest, though.
Premise A mysterious girl transfers into a new school. When she is happy she vomits spit. A young boy tastes her spit and becomes addicted.
Lifesong's Thoughts I felt ill watching this. I don't get disgusted easily, I made it through Yosuga no Sora where the MC goes at it with his sister on multiple occasions and was still able to enjoy that story. I made it through Elfen Lied and was able to respect that for what it was.. I can't do this.
Lifesong's Verdict?Disgusting Filth I was utterly appalled watching this, much to amusement of others on skype. Gross things are my weakness. I only have a few buttons I really hate to have pushed and this pushed most them all at once. This may have some value beyond what I see it for but I am unable to judge it for that while being utterly disgusted by the premise.
At least there wasn't any scat...
Irothtin's Thoughts Uh, I like the art style, I guess. It has a sort of old school look to it. Expect for the lovingly animated saliva that kind of looks like nasty green syrup and how it just slides around like goo and is all just kinda nasty and unsettling and why does this exist why am I watching it.
Irothtin's Verdict?Unsanitary If this didn't have the whole exchanging-bodily-fluids angle and she was merely an odd person, I would be more interested.
Jel's Thoughts I'm torn here because the premise is disgusting and yet I really want to like it. The nostalgia stained presentation and blunt but effective dialogue made the episode feel barely exploitative at all. Rather than fetish fuel, I saw it more as a means of two lonely people making a desperate, base connection. I mean think about it: sure their method of swapping spit is bizarre and nasty, but is it that much different on paper than kissing your girlfriend/boyfriend? I'm sure it's still meant to shock and provoke but I am almost OK with that. Almost.
Jel's Verdict?Open Mind, Strong Stomach I am not sure I possess enough of either of those qualities to keep watching, but there is a part of me that wants to give it another episode. I very well may be reading into things too much and giving the show more credit it deserves, but I can't help but be curious where it goes from here.
Gee-Man's Thoughts As a fan of the manga, I believe I may be forced to accept that this is one that should not have been animated. Out of the many â€śromance stories with weird twistsâ€ť that Iâ€™m a fan of, Mysterious Girlfriend X has always been one of my favorites. That said, the manga goes about depicting saliva in a much less creepy and disgusting manner. In the end though, itâ€™s still a romance story about two strange people trying to find something special in life.
Gee-Man's Verdict?Check Out The Manga Seriously, I love the manga, and the anime would be great if they just toned down the depiction of saliva because as it is now, itâ€™s kind of nauseating. Itâ€™s an interesting romance story without a doubt, but if youâ€™re getting into this, be sure to keep an open mind.
Marlin's Thoughts Well that was certainly something. Iâ€™d have to say whatâ€™s tying me most to this show is its interesting art style. Its premise is really disgusting and the relationship is really weird. Maybe there are some twists thatâ€™ll make it more interesting but so far itâ€™s just one of those shows people can show others and go â€śLOL Japan.â€ť
Marlin's Verdict?LOL Japan See? Itâ€™s that easy.
Timmy's Thoughts Awkward boy meets awkward cute girl, This seems to be a slightly similar premise to last season's Another and I am getting similar mysterious vibes about Urabe that I got from Mei last season. Of course this time around the are tied together with spit instead of mutual isolation.
Timmy's Verdict?Unsettlingly Interesting I would liken this show to meeting a cute, generally attractive girl and then seeing her light up a cigarette in front of you. Some will be ok with this and some will not, I stand somewhere in the middle. While she may or may not smoke nearly as much as first implied, the only way to know for sure is to get to know her a little better. For now I will be proceeding with caution, and a strong stomach.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts ...
Has it really come to this?
Saki: Side-A Spin-off manga adaptation animated by Studio Gokumi
Premise Girls play mahjong at a small school out in the country aiming to be the best! And meet up with their old friend who moved away.
Lifesong's Thoughts Time skips, flashback and childhood drama all right off the bat? They barely even played any Mahjong. I'm entirely bored, the execution here is something I can only see as awful.
Lifesong's Verdict?Even Gonzo Can Do Better I watched the first few episodes of the original Saki and remember all kinds of crazy awesome with the Mahjong playing. There isn't a single bit of that personality in this spin-off. I am put-off and disappointed by how bland this is.
Aqua's Thoughts I have no idea about how you play mah-jong. Hell, I havenâ€™t even seen the first season of Saki. Yet still, I adored this all-new spin-off. Why? Because I am a sad, pathetic, lonely teenage boy who is way too easily entertained. Am I going to admit that? Hell no. So here are a few excuses. The voice acting in this show is just amazing. If anything, the all-star cast really manages to portray just how insanely enthusiastic and passionate everyone in this weird universe is about mah-jong. Saki: Achiga-hen is a bit of a huge mess, but it is also a surprisingly cute mess.
Aqua's Verdict?Engagingly Adorable This rating comes with the Aquagaze Grain Of Salt Requirementâ„˘. For professional, unbiased advice, please consult someone with a Common Sense Certificate.
Marlin's Thoughts For a first episode, I actually liked how they developed the relationship between the main characters. I have no experience with Saki, but it was almost like an entire season being played out in a single episode. I thought they did it pretty well and made each character memorable. The weird part where they sexualized who I was told is the Saki main character when she is supposed to be 12 was really weird, but otherwise I thought they did a good job.
Marlin's Verdict?For Mahjong Lovers While I kinda liked this first episode, I donâ€™t think the premise is enough to keep me. Iâ€™m sure fans of Saki will continue to enjoy more, but I donâ€™t see it gaining that much of an audience.
Irothtin's Thoughts I don't understand mahjong and after watching this show I don't think I want to.
Irothtin's Verdict?Vapid Creepy sexualized elementary students and their creepy sexualized lesbian adventures. Count me out.
Premise A first year high school boy is a member of a club that investigates rumors of the occult. The twist is that the the president of the club is a ghost. Together they solve mysteries and search for her lost memories.
Irothtin's Thoughts A ghost girl with amnesia is the president of the Detective Club, and gets up to antics with the boy that she likes. One person can't see her and is entirely clueless. Apparently they're going to be spending time looking for her memories or something.
Irothtin's Verdict?Dead End This was incredibly dull - essentially nothing happens over the course of the episode, and the one joke they had wore out its welcome within three minutes. Pass.
Lifesong's Thoughts Club solves ghost myths with a unique twist to the usual formula? Count me in. Dusk Maiden throws a wrench in the usual occult formula by quickly establishing that the president of this club is in fact a ghost herself. We don't really get to see too much of it but the relationship between the main character and ghost girl has a romantic vibe about it, one that is actually quite endearing, or at least as endearing as a scene that ends with groping a feel can be.
Lifesong's Verdict?Better Starting Point Than CÂł Dusk Maiden seems primed to go in a really interesting direction, giving off hints of things far more sinister in the future. That said, honestly not too much really happens in the first episode. I can only speculate how it will end up but between the gags and character dynamics I'm in this one for the long haul.
And hey CÂł turned out to be pretty damn good after one of the most abysmal first episodes I've seen in a long time. If Shin Oonuma can pull off another maneuver like that Dusk Maiden could well be one of the better shows of the season.
Jel's Thoughts I'm going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and say they recycled half the episode for story purposes, but that doesn't mean it made an already slow episode any more interesting. I guess this is supposed to be some kind of romantic comedy but I didn't find it particularly romantic or funny and the concept not terribly original. It wasn't bad, I just found it boring.
Jel's Verdict?zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZ I'll admit this may have just been a dull episode and Dusk Maiden does have some potential to be entertaining. But with plenty of other shows to watch I don't plan on finding out.
Gee-Man's Thoughts The third of the three â€śweird romancesâ€ť of the season, and quite possibly a direct competitor with Sankarea in the rather narrow-scoped â€śParanormal Romanceâ€ť genre, Dusk Maiden sets up an interesting premise, despite a somewhat mediocre opening episode. However, the main heroine, the titular ghost girl herself, manages to be one of the most interesting characters this season on merit of simply acting out of the norm. Her voice is sensuous and womanly, unlike the usual girly squeaks that dominate anime. And even better, sheâ€™s an individual whoâ€™s assertive and knows exactly what she wants: The main character.
Gee-Man's Verdict?Unorthodox With Potential I wouldnâ€™t say Dusk Maiden is truly unique, but the fact that it displays two characters with romantic feelings for each other within the first episode in a manner that isnâ€™t trite or overstated already puts it in my good books. As one who is sick of the usual tsunderes and moeblob wish fulfillment characters that comprise the majority of female anime characters these days, the main heroine is a breath of fresh air. I just hope it can make things more interesting than the first episode. A character this enthralling doesnâ€™t deserve to end up in a bad anime.
Also, her voice. Absolutely. Amazing.
Marlin's Thoughts I really disliked how they basically made me watch the same scene twice but with a little bit of extra dialogue. Still, the second part of the episode had me intrigued. I think itâ€™s worth one more episode.
Marlin's Verdict?Skip The First Ten Minutes Really that was my biggest complaint, I suppose it was good to establish who can see her and who canâ€™t I guess, but it could have been achieved by just showing the second part.
Premise Nyarlathotep is an alien who takes the form of a young girl. She comes to earth to get laid and buy eroge.
Lifesong's Thoughts Derp, no really that is all that comes to mind, I was not able to think while watching this and am dumber for having done so.
Lifesong's Verdict?Man Was Never Meant To See This This may well be the most boring gag anime I have ever watched. I can't even tell if the anime is trying to be funny or not, the jokes are that BAD. Everything is an unfunny Lovecraft pun. This anime only got one laugh out of me the entire time and it was only because it ripped off pokemon for a joke that was so bad I couldn't help myself.
The one positive thing I can say for this anime is that Kana Asumi clearly had a lot of fun voicing Nyarlathotep, that said no amount of voice talent would be enough to save this miserable thing...
Irothtin's Thoughts "I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was perhaps a few weeks ago. The general tension was horrible. To a season of Japanese animation of a mostly inoffensive and normal breed was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined only in the most terrible phantasms of the night.
I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places.
And it was then that Nyarlathotep aired. Sh said she had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that she had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of nightmare.
Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky." H. P. Lovecraft
Irothtin's Verdict?The Darkness Comes IT WILL DAMN US ALL
Jel's Thoughts This is not exactly an original or thought-provoking piece of art BUT I did find it pretty funny. Nyarko-san constantly rolls out self-aware, irreverent in-jokes at a breakneck pace. In that regard, it reminded me of the dumb but fun humor you'd find in a Disgaea game, just without the game part of course. It's confident in itself and it's audience, although that means it will probably be too weird or obnoxious for anyone else.
Jel's Verdict?For Otaku Eyes Only Nyarko-san is pretty funny if you can tolerate the hyperactive main character and otaku pandering. Still it has the moe incarnation of Nyarlathotep summoning pokemon and kicking a Nightgaunt in the nuts so if that sounds like something you would laugh at, check it out.
Marlin's Thoughts No.
Marlin's Verdict?Just No
Timmy's Thoughts Comedic gags delivered at the speed of light by a hyperactive alien. Reminds me a little of Dokuro-chan but without all the bloodshed.
Timmy's Verdict?A Little Overwhelming It feels like this show is throwing tons of different things at me in quick sucession with the hopes that something sticks. While some references I get and often do garnish a chuckle or two, most of the stuff seems to be flying right over my head. As for Nyarlathotep herself, she somehow manages to for the most part stay pretty entertaining without becoming an annoyance. Probably will keep watching as some of the jokes and visual gags that stick are pretty funny.
Jormungand Manga adaptation animated by White Fox
Premise Arm's dealers in Africa blow shit up for the sake of world peace.
Lifesong's Thoughts So many pretty explosions! The leader of the group seems be a moral compass of sorts for her band of mercenaries who are all very loyal to her. This show reminds me a lot of Black Lagoon right down to throwing morality around like a rag doll. The moral deal is the real kicker here, I imagine a few people might be up in arms over it. As for me?
Lifesong's Verdict?BOOM! Head Shot I find the action stunning and moral pondering interesting enough to want to invest more time into this and see where it goes. If nothing else the explosions sure are pretty.
Gee-Man's Thoughts The premise is like something right out of Black Lagoon. Koko is a bipolar mildly insane arms dealer leading her nine bloodthirsty and equally mildly insane mercenaries in their quest to sell guns andâ€¦bring world peace? Whatever, Iâ€™m still not exactly sure where the plot is going, but I canâ€™t help but love a show that throws the moral compass out the window in favor of something more pragmatic. Overall, the impression it gives me is a lighter version of Black Lagoon. I doubt Koko could hold her own against the likes of Balalaika, but sheâ€™s delightfully dangerous enough to keep things interesting all the same.
Gee-Man's Verdict?Her Name Is Koko! She Is Loco! I keep bringing up Black Lagoon, but the comparisons arenâ€™t exactly perfect. It seems like Jormungand is definitely going for a (slightly) lighter tone than the cynical nihilism of Black Lagoon. Throw in some entertaining gun fights and a ratherâ€¦unique main character and we have a show thatâ€™s worth checking out if it keeps things interesting. If nothing else, it introduces a heroine that definitely falls outside of the norm of most anime. I look forward to seeing her and her motley crew mess up anyone that gets in their way.
Marlin's Thoughts This is the grittiest show Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. It pulls no punches on the nature of the arms industry or the use of child soldiers and mercinaries. The slapstick moments like when Koko was sleepwalking around were really jarring, but the rest of the episode had some pretty good action. I canâ€™t think of many shows outside of a few crime dramas that have kids murdering other people, and I respect how it seems to respect how wrong it is.
Marlin's Verdict?Worth A Look Iâ€™m sure not everyoneâ€™s gonna love this show, but I find its premise intriguing and Iâ€™m definitely going to see where it goes from here.
Irothtin's Thoughts "HEY GUYS REMEMBER BLACK LAGOON THAT WAS COOL RIGHT"
Irothtin's Verdict?Gun Action If you liked Black Lagoon you'll probably like this, since it's pretty much the same thing but more anime.
Premise An alien with a telepathic fish, the Prince of Fishing and some ordinary kid who transfers school's a lot meet, become friends, and just might save the world.
Jel's Thoughts Having watched this immediately after its noitaminA block mate Kids On the Slope, I couldn't help but notice the thematic similarities. They both seem to be taking the social outcasts united by (insert hobby) route. But while that show seems like it will go a heavier, more dramatic route, Tsuritama plays its lighter, quirky counterpart. Maybe quirky isn't strong enough a word; things do get kind of weird and at times downright surreal. The look of the series has the stamp of artist (and Cencoroll creator) Atsuya Uki all over it, and I'm rather impressed seeing what he's capable of with a full staff behind him. Oh, and for my money, OP OF THE YEAR.
Jel's Verdict?Critical Darling While I think there will be a definite audience for something more straightforward like Kids On the Slope, Tsuritama seems a just a little too odd for mainstream acceptance. Still, it pushes all the right buttons to my artsy side and has potential to be something special. I could see it being a cult favorite in the same line as last year's Penguindrum although it seems to lack that series' flair for the dramatic. Either way I'm down for more.
Lifesong's Thoughts The "alien" has a water gun that can make people do as he pleases, I want one. This show.. first off I enjoyed it but damn is it strange. I know some people have issues making friends but maybe because I was home schooled the whole I transferred schools things and can't make friends thing just doesn't do anything for me. That said this show has a certain charm that is hard to put my finger on.
Lifesong's Verdict?Telepathic Fish! Want a verdict that means something? Sorry wrong anime, this thing is full of nonsense but still manages to be fun regardless. Since it's so strange I'm not really sure where it will be going but I think I will tag a long for the ride, if nothing else the WTF factor should keep me amused for a few more episodes.
Marlin's Thoughts Well, this show was confusing. I love the art style for this show, and I like how upbeat it is so far. I hope it continues its laid back style, as it really has me hooked.
Marlin's Verdict?Watch It To Wind Down For those of you who need to wind down but unlike me do not want to watch the Adventures of Introverted Konata will definitely want to check this show out.
Irothtin's Thoughts Something about fishing and aliens I guess?
Irothtin's Verdict????? I don't really like surrealism. Check it out for yourself.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts Anybody who knows me knows I like my anime weird, and boy, we've got a weird one here. Fishing, aliens, anxiety issues - it sounds like it should be a huge mess. Luckily though, the show knows how to parlay this into something worth watching, and the result is a series that looks to be trading on its wonderfully kooky charm. From the lush blue sea and sky landscapes, the energetically silly voice acting and the gentle lulling harmonica and banjo soundtrack, this is a slow, relaxing delight to watch. Utter space cadet (and the alleged alien) Haru is particularly fun, his goofy joy being utterly infectious. It remains to be seen if it can go anywhere with substance, but its charm and verve are enough to carry it for me.
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Catch Of The Day It's like fishing; a little slow, not for everyone and you have to be kind of weird to like it. But I do
Eureka Seven AO Original story that is being adapted into both manga and an anime by BONES.
Premise A young boy living on a small island suddenly finds himself in the middle of an attack on his home by Scub Coral. When a mysterious organization attacks the coral he activates a giant robot.
Lifesong's Thoughts The original Eureka 7 is one of my all time favorite anime. This first episode of Ao feels very much the same while changing up the formula just enough to be interesting. I am okay with that, I came for Eureka 7 and I got Eureka 7. I am a little confused as to which continuity this ties into if it is the movie or the original series but I think I will be okay with either.
On another note Bones pulled out the A Team for this one, Eureka 7 is easily the most gorgeous anime this season, in a season with some pretty anime I might add.
Lifesong's Verdict?Gorgeous So hey not too much is explained yet but Bones did what they do best here and went all out on making sure this show looked and felt fantastic, I am hyped.
Gee-Man's Thoughts The original Eureka Seven was one of my favorite anime in the past decade. AO so far seems to be playing itself relatively similar to its predecessor, but there are enough changes to keep things interesting. Still, just like Eureka Sevenâ€™s beginning, AO introduces quite a few characters with relatively little explanation. However, the buildup in this episode looks like itâ€™ll pay off. Based on the preview of the next episode, it looks like weâ€™ll get our true return to Eureka Seven soon. And just like its predecessor, AO is stunning to look at. If Lupin the third is the most stylish anime this season, AO is one of the best looking from a technical standpoint. True to Bones tradition, it looks great, moves great, and is full of life.
Gee-Man's Verdict?(Hopefully) The Sequel You Desire I wonâ€™t say this is the thing weâ€™ve all been waiting for. The original Eureka Seven had one of the slowest buildups Iâ€™d ever seen in an original anime and I fear AO may do the same. That said, the potential is there for it to be just as great. If nothing else, AO is yet another showcase of Bonesâ€™ top notch animation. It truly is gorgeous.
Marlin's Thoughts It really has been too long since I last saw Eureka 7. Watching this episode, terminology that would probably have made perfect sense to me was confusing as Iâ€™d simply forgotten what it meant. I like the characters so far, with the descendant of Renton and Eureka having the same effect on me as his predecessors did. I do wonder if this means I will need to re-watch all of the original series though, because it didnâ€™t seem like the old references are going to be explained with any great detail anytime soon.
Marlin's Verdict?Refresh Yourself First Thatâ€™s really the only advice I can give at this time. It looks like it had promise the same way E7 did. At this point its hard to see whether or not it truly will be great, but I say itâ€™s at least worth following so far.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts The original Eureka Seven is one of my favorite shows of all time, so it's understandable that I approached this sequel with some trepidation. Whether that's founded or not we shall see, but this first episode certainly does a good job of drawing in those new to the franchise. From the opening shots of a devastated city to the later attacks/appearances by weird scrub coral it's clear this is a very different beast from its predecessor. Lead character Ao seems a touch on the surly side, but there's plenty of interest to be had from the tantalizing bits and pieces of plot we're allowed to glimpse, while longtime fans such as myself will be happy with some intriguing possible links to the original show. Indeed, trying to work exactly where in continuity we are has been a lot of fun so far. And as ever for a Bones production it looks stunning, one area in which its already surpassed its (also very pretty) predecessor.
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Learn to Fly It's a promising start, but Ao will need to carve out its own identity in the next couple of episodes. Once we get airborne we'll see if its a worth heir to the Eureka name.
Premise Set it the late 1960's a kid transfers to a new school and discovers friendship, jazz and a new outlook on life.
Jel's Thoughts I'm not a fan of Jazz, but as someone who has dabbled in making music this really struck a chord (pun intended!) with me. They did a great job capturing that feeling when you first discover your desire to play music with others. It's something that's hard for me to describe in words, but I really got the impression whoever wrote this had been there before.
Beyond the music, who doesn't love a good social outcast story, perhaps with a dash of romance? It helps too that the show looks gorgeous. In my opinion, the beautifully mundane presentation of 1966 Kyushu stands out just as much this season as the ultra-stylized free-flowing visuals of Lupin. If I were to make one small criticism I'd say there some of the casting for the voice acting seemed a little out of place, but I got used to that pretty quick.
Jel's Verdict?Gateway Drug This has all the makings of a series that will be shunned in Japan only to find success abroad, right down to the jazzy soundtrack composed by Yoko Kanno. Even Sentai Filmworks (who recently licensed it) seems keen on this, announcing a Bluray and DVD release even though the series has just begun. Personally I already know a few of my non-anime-fan friends I would show this to. Let's just hope it lives up to its potential.
Lifesong's Thoughts I expected to like this more than I did, the first episode felt slow to me while it went about showing us how pathetic this main character is and how bad he is at dealing with people. The support casting are great but our lead just felt like a real drag. That was of course the point but I still felt bored because of it.
Lifesong's Verdict?Potential Cult Hit I was bored through most of this episode but I still want to watch more so I certainly can't call it bad. The supporting cast really helped to pull me in. I think that a few episodes from now I will be in head over heals with this anime, but right now? I could easily drop this and never look back.
Gee-Man's Thoughts For those familiar with Shinichiro Watanabe and his legendary works Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope already had a lot of interest generated before it even aired. I suppose I should get this out of the way, Kids on the Slope is an adaptation of a preexisting manga and if youâ€™re expecting something like Bebop or Champloo, you wonâ€™t find it here. That said, the show managed to grab me nigh instantly with its down to earth storytelling and interesting characters. Within the first episode, we already have the dichotomy set up between our antisocial main character and the brash jazz-loving classmate who sits behind him. Watanabe ear for music shows and while only glimpses and murmurs of the animeâ€™s jazzy potential are heard, one can tell thereâ€™s going to be some good music showing up in this show.
Gee-Man's Verdict?One To Both Watch And Listen To Kids on the Slope is a distinct departure from Watanabeâ€™s past directed pieces, but it still retains his distinct fondness for music as well as introducing us to a cast that is both relatable and engaging at the same time. I wonâ€™t deny it; Iâ€™m a huge Jazz fan so anything that features Art Blakeyâ€™s jazz masterpiece Moaninâ€™ is going to win me over instantly. Regardless, the potential groundwork has already been laid within the first episode; itâ€™ll be exciting to see where things go from here.
Marlin's Thoughts This show came out with a lot of hype, but I have to say itâ€™s answered it pretty well. I really enjoy jazz music, second only to my love of the great Romanticist works that preceded it. The first episode did a real good job establishing our three mains and I love how the music works so well to show someone struggling to learn how to play.
Marlin's Verdict?Platinum Record Everything about this show is gelling really well so far. You have realistic characters, an interesting setting, and Yoko Kanno making the score. What more could you want?
Irothtin's Thoughts Transfer student has vertigo, becomes friends with a delinquent, and they play jazz.
Irothtin's Verdict?Alright Good music, I guess. The premise isn't interesting enough for me to actively keep watching though.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts There's a lot to like about this. The smart, old-school style character designs, the strong animation, the cool soundtrack and the unique premise. Having siad that, this left me a little cold, and I'm not entirely sure why. It might be because we've seen this basic set up done quite a bit before (albiet not with jazz music) - shy oner finds the class bully actually has a soft side, teams up with him. I'm not particularly digging lead character Kaoru either - he's a little mopey, and his anxiety issues might have come across a little better if Tsuritama hadn't already played that card to great comedy effect. But class rep Ritsuko is a warm and affecting foil, and I would heavily bet that this is a show that will get considerably better as the characters are fleshed out.
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Low Key ...but all the better for it. Might take a little while to wind up, but already there's flashes of great character and style.
Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness Roll playing game adaptation animated by Production IG
Premise A man who lives in a shored ship works with 3 beautiful girls baking bread. Shining Hearts is based off an RPG of some form so unless this is Recettear the anime something else must happen.