2017
04.23
NSFW

NSFW

Oh boy, it’s a fanservice episode. All you folks who have been gorging on past Samurai Jack episodes to prepare for its return are now rewarded by a smorgasbord of return appearances and epilogues. Unless you were craving for the Spartans or the Guardian to come back, then fuck off. This episode has forsaken you. Instead, you find out the Woolies are now robed avengers, the Archers have kids, that girl from the rave is now an old woman, and Demongo’s alive. Somehow. It’s like finding old toys you haven’t played with or even looked at since you were a kid. While you make sure nobody’s looking, you hold one up and a glimmer shines in your eye. And who cares if one of your old toys sounds like Keegan-Michael Key instead of David Alan Grier for some reason, because you can pretend all those good times are back.

While it’s heartwarming to see these characters again, I am wondering why Jack never seemed to reunite with any of these people in the last 50 years. He’s spent the past six episodes moping about how he’s failed to change anything and has only been in the center of everlasting misery, yet all of these civilizations prosper and owe their lives to him. They’ve even built statues and wrote songs about him, yet he doesn’t appear to notice. Aku has seemingly caused no further misery to the ravers, the archers, or the Woolies. It’s almost as if Aku’s evil isn’t law for their realms. And yet, Jack still wallows in misery and stands on one thread between life and suicide. Yes, Aku hasn’t been defeated yet, but Jack has definitely made gains in this world. All of those flashbacks and hallucinations to rivers of dead children? Would they still happen if Jack actually went back to some of these places and checked up on them?

But that’s still an assumption, given how little we know of what Jack’s been through for the last half-century. Maybe when Genndy’s done, he’ll make his own version of The Phantom Pain that perfectly explains why Jack went from a calm samurai to a guy who’s always one minute away from gutting himself. And like Quiet, he also has a character to vent out all of his odd fetishes. Because it was very necessary to explain that Ashi and her sister were naked for the entire season up until this point. That’ll make quite a few sexually frustrated people happy to rewatch the past episodes with that in mind.

Speaking of sexual frustration, Scaramouche is still alive. But as just a head, and not even a head that can bite. He’s just an ineffectual head. I’m not sure what to think of him becoming a recurring character, because it would be hard to outdo his first appearance. Even though he’s comic relief, he was also a genuine threat then. Now, he’s lost that along with his body, so his ability to steal the show has greatly reduced. I guess hearing Tom Kenny make scat noises can be funny, but you can only do so much with this character. Like he rides the head of a penis man for a minute. He literally gives head to a talking penis. They even say it out loud in case you didn’t get the hint. Seems like he should have stayed dead if he’s going to be used for dick jokes.

Oh yeah, I guess Jack tries to kill himself this episode. The scene’s kind of a cool moment for both him and Ashi, but I was wondering how long it would take for Ashi to mention those kids last episode didn’t die. Seriously, that should’ve been the first thing she would mention instead of how Jack changed her as a person. I know she wanted to tug at his valor, but go for the direct facts first before you go for the sentimental route.

2017
04.16
Stands in 12 weeks. Maybe.

Stands in 12 weeks. Maybe.

Even though he had little to do with the main plot of the episode, I can’t not talk about the Scotsman. Every fan has been hyping him up since that grainy picture of his showed up on Twitter. We were all thinking that the Scotsman was going to die a hero’s death to save Jack. And while it would have been astounding to see him have a final duel with Aku that would go on for the entire episode, with fight scenes that would make the Grievous fight in Clone Wars look mediocre, I can live with the actual result. It showed that even though Aku is depressed and apathetic, he’s still enough of a threat to destroy armies with ease. And not even an army of Scots can even faze him. We get an establishing shot of these warriors riding giant rhinos and tanks to swarm Aku, and yet they all become so tiny and insignificant when he strikes them like a literal wrecking ball. It’s a simple fight, but a visually striking one. One that reminds you how screwed Jack is without his sword or his wits, and that maybe his dour mindset might be correct.

I am intrigued by what the Scotsman’s ghost has planning regarding his forces. Along with next episode’s promo showing the Woolies returning, I presume that many of Jack’s past friends may be reuniting to aid him in his final duel. If so, it would mean having to reintroduce many characters and having to reacquaint them after a decade-long absence. Unless Tartakovsky decides that his viewers should instantly know who the Lebidopterins or Exdor are without needing to check the wiki.

Onto Jack and Ashi, it’s nice to see their teacher-mentor relationship develop. Like with Jack telling Ashi how the sun and moon children made the stars, effectively teaching her a creation myth that doesn’t involve Aku, ending her view of him as a godly figure. He even sends her to a giant tree, because… it reminds the viewer of Yggdrasil? If all of Jack’s allies are coming back, Odin and his friends should be among them, so maybe that’s foreshadowing. So when they show up, Jack can point at them and go “Aku is not the true god, these three are!” To truly affirm where Ashi’s beliefs are.

When Ashi finally becomes good, she becomes what Jack used to be in his very first episode, a lonely warrior hoping to do some good for the world. Someone who can break out of impossible situation through sheer willpower while saving innocents that she barely knows. But that contrasts with the Jack she meets, who’s still too nihilistic to believe things can be improved in this universe. When he fights these blue alien children who have become feral and single-minded like Ashi once was, he instantly breaks down when he thinks they’ve died. He doesn’t even try to resuscitate them. He just instantly assumes they’re dead and goes off with the evil samurai seen in his visions. Only for Ashi to find them waking up a minute later. It’s annoying that Jack doesn’t wait a few minutes or check the children’s pulses before assuming they’re dead, but I can kind of understand because of how addled he is. And past traumas have probably led him to always assume the worst, but you would think Jack would be more savvy than that. He’s become too consumed by his agony to assess the situation, and might need to hand his sword to another for Aku to finally die.

Oh, no.

2017
04.12

Anonymous Noise

Translation: there's a party in my mouth and nobody is invited.

Translation: there’s a party in my mouth and nobody is invited.

Last season we had Fuuka, an appallingly bad adaptation of an appallingly bad manga made even more appallingly bad simply from the show chickening out and giving its title character a happy ending (as opposed to getting run over by Truck-Kun. Saaaaaaaaaaaalt!). This season we have Fukumenkei Noise, an attempt to do a darker edgier version of that kind of show while still sticking within the bounds of shoujo convention. And you know why this is so dark, edgy, and serious? Because everybody has bad hair cuts and looks deathly anorexic. And as we all know, the best shoujo angst always stars people made out of twigs who look like they just climbed out of a sewer. CLAMP taught us that.

For six long years, a girl named Nino has been singing (if you can call whatever the hell she’s doing singing) at a beach in the rain waiting for someone to follow the sound of her voice. Clearly its not working but anything to give her an opportunity to ACTUALLY SHOW HER MOUTH once in a while should be to her benefit. Well anyway its time for high school and who would you guess would be there but the chosen guy of fate. Unfortunately Yuzu, the chosen one, wants nothing to do with creepy sterilization mask girl (WHO WOULD?!?) but dat damn red string keeps bringing them together. Even if it means causing the schools resident K-On to break up for all of five minutes and Nino to get triggered by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And yes I wish I was making the last part up, but nope Nino literally gets triggered by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star……EDGY!

If there was ever case of serious false advertising this season Anonymous Noise might be it. Remember that early promotional art of our dark edgy band rehearsing in a crumbling building sometime after the apocalypse? Well that show ain’t this by the books shojou saga. OH NOES! LOVE TRIANGLES! Whelp, back to the same ol same ol! As for the production itself, well its not a looker. This is definitely a show dictated by the look of its manga, and the look here was nightmare fuel so its no better really. Not helping is the general low budget look of the animation which resorts to lots of CGI shortcuts to get through the band scenes. Not a waste ultimately by any means but still pretty eh. – Lord Dalek

Eromanga-sensei

THIRD VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST.

THIRD VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST.

From the creators of everyone’s favorite LN trainwreck Oreimo comes….Oreimo…again…except worse.

PLOT SOMETHING: Successful teenage LN writer hasn’t seen his sister in over a year. Successful teenage LN’s writer’s success has been derived from his books’ mysterious illustrator “Eromanga-Sensei.””Eromanga-Sensei” is actually his imouto who excells in dirty pictures. Awkward comedy. Rince repeat. Oh just fuck already. Also buy Kadokawa ASCII Mediaworks Dengeki Products because this is our anniversary commercial. What? You were expecting Kittytoe? Nope instead its Oreimo guy voiced by Kittytoe! Clearly a difference! Perfect anniversary celebration! CUT! Print it! — Lord Dalek

Grimoire of Zero

KaiserNeko while thinking up ideas for DBZ Abridged.

KaiserNeko while thinking up ideas for DBZ Abridged.

So a bara tiger man who hunts witches for a living has to become a witch’s bodyguard in exchange for the ability to resemble a human. And… honestly, I’m not sure why this show is playing all this straight, given the kind of fans who will be watching a show about a muscular furry guarding a barefoot little girl. Don’t even deny the reason why anybody is watching this show, unless they’re genuinely attracted to the magic systems and world building that’s been done in various other light novel anime. Like telling me you’re watching that Machiavellianism show because you’re interested in what it has to say about gender identity. The first part of this episode is strangely somber right after showing you what the main character looks like, but then they start teasing a relationship between the tiger and the little witch. It’s meant to be cute, but I just picture that one image of a tiny hamster shoving a banana in its mouth. Doesn’t help when Zero compares herself to a body pillow.

But yeah, what else can you expect from an anime about a bossy little girl with magical powers who is called Zero? Even her voice sounds like Rie Kugimiya. I was making jokes about this show being a Re:Zero spinoff, but now it’s ripping off a completely different light novel series. Not completely, since having the lead be a large anthropomorphic tiger is somewhat of a refreshing change. Something the first episode puts some effort into up until Zero appears. It could’ve been just his story and his struggle to be human instead of buddying up with her, because now I know what this show’s going into. Also, they introduce another character named Albus, just so this series can remind you of yet another magic book series that has influenced anime for the worse.  – BloodyMarquis

Love Rice -We Love Rice-

This wheat of mine is BURNING BREAD!

This wheat of mine is BURNING RED!

In the twenty-first century, rice is dooooooooooooooomed! Wheat and bread rule the world. All grain products are being hunted and crushed. Only the brave forces of the noble rice resistance can withstand the harsh assault of loaves and croissants. This, therefore, is the story of four ruthless young men, destined to become HarveStars and save your Tonkatsu from being served over corn flakes. Its amazing! Its colossal! Its…only four minutes long….dammit. — Lord Dalek

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Now that's what I call getting hot and bothered!

Now that’s what I call getting hot and bothered!

It’s been over two years since the first season of Rage of Bahamut came out, and we’ve been waiting for this second season all the while. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. And after a chaotic start featuring knights killing angels, the premiere runs pretty slow for a while. Favaro is nowhere to be seen, and our new protagonist is this genki, horny girl named Nina. There’s clearly something amiss in the world, and the new king Charoice seems suspicious as all hell, but it there’s a lot of exposition and reintroducing in the first half of the episode. But once Azazel reveals himself to be the “Rag Demon,” a masked vigilante freeing enslaved demons, some questions start to arise about how messed up the world’s become, and who’s really morally right or wrong in this current state of affairs. More importantly, Nina gets involved, and gets so hot and horny after gazing at Azazel’s handsome pale face, she turns into a MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON AND WRECKS GIANT MECHAS, I’m reminded why this show is pretty awesome.

So yeah, this looks like a pretty cool continuation to the Bahamut story. I miss Favaro but Nina pretty much has his personality and I want to know why she can turn into a fucking dragon. All the other supporting characters make at least cameos in the episode, with Kaiser and Azazel being the most prominent returning players. The show looks great and while there isn’t an action scene rivaling what the first episode of the first season offered there’s still a lot of fun animation and exciting camerawork and action choreography to go around, with fun small touches like blood splattering on screen when Nina massacres a bunch of people after first turning into a dragon. There are a lot of mysteries to explore in how the world of Bahamut has changed in 10 years, and an interesting role reversal in how the knights under Charoice seem to be presented as the villains while the demons from the first season are now being oppressed and victimized. This season looks to be expanding the lore and world of the series even further, which is what you’d want in a fantasy epic like this.

So is Bahamut worth getting Anime Strike for? Well, maybe not on it’s own, but there are other anime on the service including RE: Creators and Scum’s Wish and stuff. But you know what was worth getting Anime Strike for? Crayon Shin-chan: Aliens vs. Shinnosuke. Marathoned that after watching Bahamut and it was a lot of fun. Amazon should add more Shin-chan stuff. The movies would be great choices, and there was another recent Amazon Japan miniseries they should bring over. I need more Shin-chan in my life. What was I talking about again? Oh right, Bahamut. If you were a fan of the first season, this should be a good time. As for whether you should get Anime Strike to watch it, well, I’ll get back to you after checking out their other exclusives first. Definitely get a trial run if you want to watch that Shin-chan mini-series though. – LumRanmaYasha

Re:CREATORS

Not to be confused with Reek Realtors, where Theon Greyjoy sells houses to make up for his crippling debt.

Not to be confused with Reek Realtors, where Theon Greyjoy sells houses to make up for his crippling debt.

A story concept by the Black Lagoon author. A fascinating meta concept that would make Grant Morrison proud. For those long tired of isekai shows, the idea of these fantasy characters breaking into the real world instead should be a nice surprise. Even more so, how these fantasy characters all come from an anime within this anime, and have to grasp a world that is not their own while coming to terms with their very existence being the work of fiction, while meeting and serving alongside the creator of their world or fans of the anime they reside in. And yet, I was unimpressed. Maybe it was because I was somewhat hyped for the show because of its pedigree, and was disappointed I didn’t jump out of my seat the way Black Lagoon’s premiere did to me.

I like what the show wants to do, where all these extremely chuuni characters are fighting in ways that would make Nasu Kinoko blush. But it doesn’t seem self-aware about that, instead feeling too much like the shows it’s imitating. Maybe in the next few episodes, it’ll turn everything upside down, but right now, there’s no feeling that the creators are in on the joke. Doesn’t help this is directed by Ei Aoki of Aldnoah infamy, leading to fluid yet uninspired animation and derivative character designs. And many shots that look so stupid. The kind that you don’t want to notice at first, but once you do, your inner Digibro leaks out and you start thinking up critical anime reviews in your head. Maybe it’s just a non-indicative preview of what’s to come, and I’ll sing its praises by episode 15 like another show that started with Re:. Or maybe Rei Hiroe has as much creative input in this show as Urobuchi did with Aldnoah;Zero. I really hope it’s not the latter. – BloodyMarquis

Re:OPINION!

Fake/Snack Night

Fake/Snack Night

To say the least, a lot is riding on this show to save this moribund season. I mean its the product of everybody’s favorite permanent hiatus mangaka that isn’t Togashi or the now dead guy who wrote HOTD, Rei Hiroe! On the other hand, its also the product of the Sean Murray/Hello Games of anime: Ei Aoki and his Studio TROYCA, and that is a cause for alarm for some. Will Re:Creators be awesome and blow us away ala Black Lagoon? Or will it be another string of broken promises and failed potential akin to Aldnoah.Zero? Well I got nothin better to do and so far all bets have been off.

The plot of Re:Creators is pretty damn simple. Fictional video game, LN, and anime characters (based rather obviously off of real ones) begin to manifest themselves in the real world after some nerdy loser has the worst BSOD of all time. But our hero Sota quickly finds having to act in a Fate/Stay Night style plot is a lot less fun than it is for his suddenly now IRL Waifu Princess Salesia, especially since some nazi loli is now trying trying to kill them with Unlimited Blade Works. Add in a loli caster from this universe’s equivalent of every Nasu schlock ever, and you’ve got the potential for waaaacky hiiiijinx!(tm)

Whelp…after the for fans only boredom fest that was Bahamut 2, I can’t say I had any hope for Re:Creators managing to rekindle some of the hope that Spring might just be a little better than the hell that was Winter. But once Sota and Salesia are chased in a considerably better animated Mini Cooper (take notes Alice & Zoroku staffers for when you have to redo the whole damn thing for dvd), it had me. Want jokes about plot and logic holes? Here ya go! Want riffing on bad philosophical diatribes that make no sense? There’s your punchline! Want your epic action scene set to every fucking Sawano music track ever? Oh hey its Unicorn for the one trillionth ti-oh wait that’s just the soundtrack and Sawano’s a self-recycling hack, dammit!

Ultimately, for once I am actually satisfied with something this season in the form of Re:Creators. Naturally this probably means it will be a crushing disappointment for me as much as Aoki’s last venture was for a lot of people, but then I remember I NEVER liked Aldnoah.Zero and that’s a +1 in the right direction. – Lord Dalek

What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? Are you single? Have you eaten? Does anybody really really know what time it is? Where have all the flowers gone? What would you do for a Klondike bar? Where am I going with this? Who really thought a title this long was a good idea? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood???

Things got pretty bad for 'ol Pac-Man after Avi Arad had his way with him,

Things got pretty bad for good ‘ol Pac-Man after Avi Arad had his way with him,

Whelp its time for this season’s installment of Isekai-Hell! Seriously…why is this a genre? More to the point why does Japan refuse to adopt my more honest descriptor of “Assholes go to Fantasy-Land?” Wait, don’t answer that. I’ve been asking those goddamn questions for what seems like a better part of half of a decade since I started writing for these Clusterfucks on a a regular basis. Ocasionally we get good ones out of the pile, but Wdydateotw?Ayb?Wysu? (we’ll just call it “SukaSuka” since I am not typing that out again) is not one of them. But what do you expect from a show whose title is probably longer than the LN series it adapts.

Our episode begins with a series of probably unconnected events. In one corner, a red haired princess lady who looks like the chick from Re:CREATORS jumps out of an exploding plane just like everyone else is this season. Meanwhile, generic light novel guy wanders around town with some blue haired girl he just bumped into in a montage set to a lousy Celtic Woman knockoff cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair leading to…nothing. This is a world where all living beings live on a series of floating islands in the sky, the surface having been turned into an unsustainable wasteland years earlier, and our LN-dude Willem is part of its military asigned to the rather trivial task of running a top secret weapons bunker. What he gets instead are yandere maids, annoying orphans, and that blue haired lady again. So far this doesn’t seem too interesting. What’s worse is the maid, orphans, and blue haired lady are actually the weapons…and also fairies. Lame.

SukaSuka doesn’t do anything worthwhile or notable. It has no interesting characters like Grimgar, it has no funny/clever gimmick like Re:Zero, it doesn’t have even a hook to keep you coming back like NoGeNoRa. It is the quintessential drag-em-out what’s the point why am I still watiching this anime? It could be far worse, oh lord yes. Painfully average is far, far better than just being painful but at the end of the day its still not worth your time. But what do I know? I seem to keep missing the fact that these animes are being graded now on how long their titles are rather than how good they actually are. – Lord Dalek

2017
04.09
Jack has become so strong that he sprouted another hand from his abs.

Jack has become so strong that he sprouted another hand from his abs.

Please don’t let this become a romance. Please. I know this thing between Jack and Ashi is going somewhere, and I don’t like where I think it’s heading. I know some Samurai Jack fans would fall head under heels to a crazy, Tara Strong-voiced woman dressed in black who wants nothing more than to kill them, but don’t apply that to the show itself. Maybe it sounded like a good idea on paper. Maybe a writer wanted to throw Jack a bone so he could finally get laid. Or maybe they’re gonna pull his chain and kill off Ashi so they can give him another lost loved one. But creating a character who was raised until similar yet crueler circumstances to Jack and have her fall in love with him is something out of the realm of Archive of Our Own.

Or maybe Genndy’s letting his fetishes run wild, given Ashi being in chains and lying on the floor for much of this week’s episode. Tartakovsky does enjoy his booty. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see a fight of wits between Jack and Ashi here. Ashi’s long held beliefs can only be nudged so little by the reality of Jack’s cause, and it’s taking more than words, more than saving her life multiple times to hammer home the point. Maybe if she had a taste of life on the outside, but she has none of that. She was raised from birth as an assassin with nothing else in her life. To her, this world is like if we found out about aliens. It’s just too abstract a situation for her mind to handle, and only retreating back into the “Kill the Samurai!” mindset that she’s known for all her childhood can comfort her.

On the other side, it’s strange to see how Jack’s taken to quipping. The kind that people berate the Marvel movies for. It’s weird, if not unsettling to say the least. Not that Jack hasn’t bantered before, but seeing him snark at Ashi after the last few episodes showing his intense mental struggles is an interesting change. If not for being inside a giant monster, Jack talking to someone else seemed kind of nice. It’s his first time this season where he talked to another human instead of a ghost, himself, a cloud, or a robot, allowing him to finally unwind in a fashion. Or maybe, he’s finding something in common with Ashi. He doesn’t know about her tutelage yet, but he might be able to tell in the future. Surely he’ll peel back those layers firmly planted by Ashi’s mother, and show her that this world needs to freed from Aku’s hands. Instead of wanting to get inside Ashi’s ass.

2017
04.07

Clockwork Planet

I lied, its actually Fire Emblem.

I lied, its actually Fire Emblem.

Within the first 30 seconds of Clockwork Planet’s first episode I couldn’t help but think…”is this NieR?” What with all the discussion of the world ending and robots, that was the natural conclusion I would be led to, albeit half jokingly….and then it turned literally turned into NieR!…albeit with some dorky card game animu kids thrown in for zest because Xebec. But yeah that’s fricken 2B, this is NieR more or less.

I mean don’t you remember that part of NieR where 9S had this huge gear fetish? Don’t you remember that part where 2B still in a fridgerator crashed into his house? Don’t you remember that time 9S stuck a screwdriver in 2B’s…yeah moving on….Don’t you remember that time Pascal was a bitchy loli scientist who chastised her employees and the grumpy not-German military? Don’t you remember that time 2B called 9S a pervert before making herself his personal slave and did oral on his index finger? Don’t you remember love?!?!

What? You don’t? Well clearly you weren’t playing the same Vidcons that I was plebeans! Go back to your Pissewna and Zelder! This is clearly an A+++ adaptation of Taco Yolo’s schmasterpiece. And clearly as I am the master gamer of this group, I should know that. Now would somebody figure out how to plug in my Atari 26k, grampa needs a new pair o’ shoes! – Lord Dalek

Kabukibu!

Thaumatropy's Test Kitchen

Thaumatropy’s Test Kitchen

I was going to write about this show before realizing it would be boring, so let’s talk about spaghetti instead. Spaghetti’s a dish that I’ve only seldom had over my entire life, mostly because it’s surprisingly hard to craft a perfectly good plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Some fucker of a chef will tell you that making spaghetti’s really easy, all you have to do is boil the pasta and make the sauce, but it’s more complex than that. It’s not like instant ramen where you can just do it while you’re half-asleep. It’s like performing an elaborate magic trick, and the audience is your tongue. You have to pull all of these stunts to make sure your tongue doesn’t realize it’s being fed bullshit, which spaghetti can easily become when handled poorly. It’s not like pizza because pizza has an easy to grasp form, while spaghetti is just nothing but entanglements. That’s why you see all these Papa John’s and Domino’s, but rarely any fast food joints that pride themselves on their noodles. Or why you don’t hear Richard Dawkins raving over a Flying Pizza Monster. Because spaghetti is a common trade often done too poorly for the average human to tolerate. Some people can over-boil the pasta and leave it soggy. Others will make a sauce that’s too chunky or too watery, something that looks more like freshly excreted bloody rectal fluids than anything edible.

And it’ll taste like that too. I’ve met quite a few people who’ve described a bad plate of spaghetti as a diabetic’s diarrhea given life. So many things that you have to get just right in order to so much as create a decent dish of spaghetti. The kind of effort that will make you go “Fuck this, I’m ordering take-out.” But the take-out guys aren’t any better either, because they’ll add too many onions and not enough garlic into your dish. They might not even enhance the flavor with spices or anything, leaving you to chew on some stale garlic bread as a palette cleanser. And that’s why I envy the master spaghetti chef, because they can manipulate this shitshow of a food into something great. And if they can do that, they have their life together. – BloodyMarquis

Love Tyrant: The Very Lovely Tyrant of Lovely Tyrant Love

"This is my 'Japan ruined Death Note more than whitewashing' face."

“This is my ‘Japan ruined Death Note more than whitewashing’ face.”

Oh dear fucking god. What is this? Why is this? Who in their right mind thought making Death Note into a romantic comedy would be a good idea? I mean Death Note’s already pretty damn funny for all the wrong reasons, but trying to make it into a Monster Musume/ToRabuRu-like? Just…why?

So our not-Light is some blue haired guy who probably wishes he was married to his imouto and his reverse shikagami sidekick looks more like an escapee from Soul Eater than an albino Willem DaFoe. Not-Ryukh needs Super Saiyan God Dorku here to kiss some girl in order to stay alive. However for whatever reason said perfect choice has turns out to be a blood thirsty yandere. And now there’s a love triangle because immortality or something. I don’t know anymore.

The main problem with Kiss Note is that its the worst paced comedy known to man. Plot points get thrown out willynilly and jokes are simeply rammed into each other without any sense of structure or timing. Also that kitty cat has a human face and a spit curl, and the theme song was done by Wake Up Girls! singing Keiichi Okabe. I just…why? – Lord Dalek

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Exposure to mass amounts of Card Game anime has been proven to be hazardous to your health. Side effects include spiky hair, effeminate noises, and lack of continuity. Please see a doctor for a strong regiment of more civilized games...like Monopoly

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Exposure to mass amounts of Card Game anime has been proven to be hazardous to your health. Side effects include spiky hair, effeminate noises, and lack of continuity. Please see a doctor for a strong regiment of more civilized games…like Monopoly

In this season’s installment of “oh its this thing again”, we have the not-so-highly anticiapted return of that edgy card game animu from a couple years ago that we talked about for all of three weeks before it actually turned out to be no so great after all. Frankly all I remember about it was that was it was just a rehash of SamCham starring the dude from Ideon. Space Dandy, and some random girl. Clearly that was the staying power of Rice of Basmati: Megadrive, it’s existence had been thoroughly wiped from my memory until its sequel was announced too late for me to care. But hey! I just vomited my way through two unremarkable/downright awful episodes of Groanblah Fantashit, maybe this won’t be so bad! (nervous chuckle)

So we begin our episode with a bad rehash of…Final Fantasy IV? Yes apparently humans have stolen the powers of the gods and are using them to prove he doesn’t exist so they can get killed in the next zebra crossing. Meanwhile in another corner of the anime, a lame reenactment of the opening number from Beauty and the Beast is happening starring Spunky Pink Haired Grl and the dull locals of this castle town. This is Nina and she’s both really strong and prone to making weird frog faces. Elsewhere its been a whole decade since Favaro and Kaisar blew up Bahamut. Since then Kaisar’s been a rather begrudging participant in his king’s recent Farquad-esque fantasy creature relocation project. There’s also some guy with wings whom the government wants to kill because yeah, and then Nina literally explodes and turns into a dragon because sure. Who cares.

Well ok lets get the good out of the way, the animation for this show is INCREDIBLE! Its borderline feature film quality and although not quite on the ones its damn close. But then again, it IS the great Mappa so not very surprising there.

That said… This show fucking BLOWS! ITS BORING. THE PLOT IS A MESS. THE CHARACTERS ARE NON EXISTANT. THERE’S NO DECENT HOOK FOR ME TO COME BACK. THE ONLY LIKABLE ONE IS THE TALKING DUCK. ITS NEVER COMING TO TOONAMI GET OVER IT. CERTAINLY AINT WORTH THE 200 DOLARS YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEND MAINTAINING YOUR ANIME CRASH ACCOUNT. TWO HUNDERED FUCKING DOLLARS FOR THIS NICELY ANIMATED BUT ULTIMATELY SOULLESS CLAPTRAP. FUCK IT! FUCK IT FOREVER! AMEEEEEN! – Lord Dalek

The Royal Tutor

I think the tutor is embarrassed to be in his own show.

I think the tutor is embarrassed to be in his own show.

Child-like teachers were in-vogue in anime for a while, particularly in the 2000s, but isn’t something you see much nowadays. Royal Tutor puts a spin on the concept by having the titular tutor only look like a child but have the mind and deep baritone voice of a fully grown adult. Oddly enough, the tutor’s voice actor is a newbie and this is his first role, and I have to say he’s really nailing the character’s deadpan and passive-aggressive wit. I think all the voice actors are in general quite praiseworthy in this show, since they really help elevate an otherwise basic concept into something pretty funny.

The premise of the series is total BL fujoshi-bait, with a bunch of slender and effeminate young guys surrounded by their adorable teacher. The characters all slot into classic BL archetypes, the same kind that Osomatsu-san viciously parodied in it’s infamous first episode. A lot of the humor comes just from the tutor himself reacting in a deadpan fashion to the oddity of these brats and commenting tsukkomi-style about how they are doing something archetypical, stupid, or strange. The show looks as good as it’s characters, with sharp, distinctive character designs and a stylish color palette. It’s well-executed, even if it isn’t exactly, well, interesting. At least so far.

Still, I like the tutor enough to keep watching and it might be fun seeing how he gets these weird princes to come around to him. Again, it’s a well-made show, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the manga by it’s English-language translator on her podcast that has made me interested in looking into more of it. This show should be good fun for those of you who like their pretty boys and BL shipbait, while still having enough good enough humor and moments to interest the rest. – LumRanmaYasha

Sakura Quest

sakuraquest1

 When your parents point out the contradictions in your argument and you can't retort because you know they're right.


When your parents point out the contradictions in your argument and you can’t retort because you know they’re right.

There are some shows that are just so damn relatable to your particular circumstances that you can’t help but fall for them immediately. For a currently unemployed college senior desperate for work but has no offers or options, finding more comfort and purpose back home after trying so unsuccessfully to make it in the city, and having great respect and nostalgia for the rural countryside and small-town communities, how could a show like Sakura Quest possibly not appeal to me? What’s more, the show feels very similar in tone, look, and feel to Shirobako, another show about twenty-somethings trying to make it in a career with no job security constantly unsure of their futures or what they’re doing with their lives, that I of course also adored. Whilst promoting tourism isn’t as pointedly relatable to me as the work involved making cartoons, Yoshino’s general attitude about her life and struggle to make it and longing for the specific moments in her childhood that made her happy is pretty on-point to how I feel everyday.

The character designs are also done by the same woman who did Shirobako, and are just awesomely expressive and full of life, which really complements the personality of animation and acting which makes it so easy for me to love every character right off the bat. The show is also plenty funny – I legit laughed out loud at the scene where Kodota dressed up in the Chupakabra suit to scare Yoshino into accepting her queenly duties – as well as genuinely heartfelt. I really believe these people love their town and want to do their best to bring it back to their glory days, and I can the nostalgic catharsis Yoshino feels after realizing her fondest childhood memory was experienced in this town. What could have come off as sappy or saccharine emotional manipulation instead feels sincere and real. Even Shirobako didn’t always get that right, but a show like this lives and dies on the honestly of it’s feelings, and so far, I really believe in them.

I don’t know if this show is for you all, necessarily. This show honestly feels like someone looked at my exact situation and interests and said “hey, let’s make something tailored specifically for this LumRanmaYasha guy!” (why they didn’t just remake Urusei Yatsura if they wanted to appease me I don’t know, but here we are). So maybe I’m the only person this show is made for. But that’s okay. I don’t really care if anyone else relates to what this show is about or not. This show is for me and I honestly really could use a show like this in my life right now. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere or has something to say, I feel so much love and honesty from the staff behind this expressed through the show, and what it’s about is deeply cathartic for me. Dammit, first Alice & Zokuro made me feel all warm and fuzzy with it’s precious father-daugher dynamic and now Sakura Quest has won my heart with it’s hometown spirit. I really am a big softie, aren’t I? – LumRanmaYasha

Seikaisuru Kado

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Oh God, it’s a Toei show. A Toei show with CG. A Toei show with CG businessmen. Hands on deck for something that will make Shaft quake with fear.

Wait, this is actually interesting to watch. The CG isn’t particularly noticeable once you get used to it. The characters aren’t that annoying, aside from the physicist. What’s going on?

Maybe I’m being too bitter if I was going in thinking I’d hate this show, but this was a surprising first episode. It’s not superb or anything, but it does keep you focused and glued to the screen. I was thinking this would be a lame show about businessmen until the cube showed up and sucked everybody in. I like how the show focuses on the disaster aspect, with the Prime Minister and his team of physicists working on how to get people out of the cube. There’s actual tension going on, something you wouldn’t get if the cast were just high school kids using magic spells to extract people out of the cube. Instead, it’s the government, the Japanese Self-Defense Force, and several scientists working together to solve a national crisis.

It’s kind of refreshing. Even if it reminds me a little too much of Shin Godzilla, but that was a good movie. And if Toei was gonna rip off something, why not rip off good movies? People rip off Anno’s other good shit all the time, so why not take a cue from Shin Godzilla? Like how Samurai Jack takes tons of shit from Mad Max Fury Road. Or all the shows this season that add “Zero” to their already long light novel names to trick you into thinking they’re spinoffs of Re:Zero. What I’m saying is more anime should be like Shin Godzilla, because that was one fine monster movie.

But back to bitterness, I’m just waiting for something really stupid to come out in this show though. Especially how the episode ends with this white haired angelic figure straight out of a CLAMP manga unveiling his presence to the known world. – BloodyMarquis

Twin Angels Break

Looks like someone needs to brush up on their Edo history.

Looks like someone needs to brush up on their Edo history.

I was in the mood to watch a magical girl show and this happened to be the only new one out this season as far as I could tell. I got what I expected. Genki go-getter girl is a goofy goody two-shoes and she’s given a magic gift to become a magical girl and has gotta get good to gut grifters and goons. Also her partner is a moody broody chick who can’t crack a smile. The premise isn’t really explained much beyond bad guys are stealing energy from people for nefarious purposes and a hedgehog is giving girls powers to fight against them. You can check off a list of all the elements that go into a magical girl series and see that this show pretty much has them all.

So it’s a pretty average and unambitious magical girl series, but for what it is I quite enjoyed it. The fight scenes are hilariously bad in terms of animation and action choreography, but they’re silly enough to be entertaining anyways. There’s some fun oddities to the show, like the earnest philanthropy of the protagonist, the fact that her most feminine friend is a cross-dressing boy who wants to be an idol (and I appreciate there were no jokes at his expense), there’s a random girl who dresses like a sheep and ends all her sentences in “baa,” and the fact that the bad guy she fights in this episode is a shamisen player with fights with the shamisen as a weapon. Weird, random things like that infuse a lot of flavor into an otherwise bland premise, and it helps that the characters while stock are pretty easy to like. There’s nothing great about the show but there’s nothing bad about it either. It’s worth checking out if you are specifically interested in watching a magical girl series from this season. Otherwise, it’s harmless entertainment, but not a must-watch. – LumRanmaYasha

2017
04.05

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor Yes That Really Is The Title Look For it Wherever Videotapes Are Sold.

At the moment I could feel my soul emerged my body, leaving it a lifeless husk doomed to wander the wasteland that was the present. This was the price I would have to pay for watching Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor, the slow agony of a crippled, broken existance combined with general self-doubt and intense self-loathing. P.S. Fuck you Rynnec.

At that moment I could feel my soul escaping my body, leaving it a lifeless husk doomed to wander the wasteland that was the present. This was the price I would have to pay for watching Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor, the slow agony of a crippled, broken existance combined with general self-doubt and intense self-loathing.
P.S. Fuck you Rynnec.

Hey guys!!! This year has been pretty quiet hasn’t it? You know what we haven’t had at all this season? MAAAAAGIC SCHOOOLZ! AWWWWWWW YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADFADGADGAFDAGADSGDSAHF! Oh boy I am so excited to watch Onegai Bastard! WOOOO HOOOOOOOOoooooooo

…he lied.

Oh look! Tsunderes! Delinquents! Recycled character designs from other anime that sucked (Oh Hi Leonmitchelli Gallete des Roi!)! No plot! No characters! All comedy! No jokes! Oh look that cat girl is fondling blond girl! THIS ISN’T A YURI! DROPPED! – Lord Dalek

Alice & Zoroku

alicezuke
alicezokuro

I like fairy tales, stories about parenthood, and jaded old badasses, so Alice & Zoroku conceptually appealed to me from the start. The show went the extra mile by beginning with an exciting, intriguing action-chase scene that drops us in-media res into Sanae’s escape and a battle between her pursuer and maid-like ally. The premise isn’t out of the ordinary – a mysterious girl with special powers and potentially from a fantasy world stumbles upon our world and finds a male counterpart to help her – but the execution is at least atypical. Rather than a buxom tsundere teenager Sanae is a little girl and her companion ends up being not a bland-looking milquetoast teenage boy but a grumpy old man who has no patience for any bull-shit. Zoroku is really the character that makes this show. His nonplussed and reasonably reactions display a maturity and rationality that most teenage fantasy protagonists don’t have, and he’s very smart and straightforward about everything he does leaving no room for dumb misunderstandings or unnecessary complications. He’s just so competent and responsible, without any obnoxious attitude baggage yet still possesses a strong, distinct personality. The fact that he’s also a big softie deep down who looks out for kids in trouble and is a florist even Yakuza respect is a fun contrast to his outward appearance and behavior that gives him major charm points in my book. I really wish there were more anime protagonists like him these days. I don’t think I’ve liked one this much off the bat in quite some time.

Though Zoroku makes the strongest first impression, I like Sanae quite a bit too. She’s a precocious little brat, but a believable one. She feels very childlike in a believable way, which is a hard line to balance in making a character like her tolerable. Moments where she’s lusting for food, tearfully enjoying a good meal, being chastised and learning lessons from Zoroku, all help reinforce that she’s an innocent kid, one who has a lot to learn not only about using her powers wisely, but how to be a good human being. The defining moment of the episode for me was when Zoroku tells Sanae that she had essentially blackmailed him by mentioning his granddaughter thereby getting her involved, to which she is taken aback, and meekly replies that wasn’t her intention. Zoroku firmly delineates the difference between a request and a demand to her, and that the latter, especially presented in the way she had done, was “crooked” and a bad thing to do. We don’t need to hear her reply to know she understands this, her reaction shows she’s really thinking about what Zoroku’s just said to her, and will learn from this mistake.

I think moments like this, the parenting moments between Zoroku and Sanae and the surrogate father-daughter relationship they form, are going to be the emotional center of the show, and this episode establishes their dynamic very promisingly. I’m already emotionally invested in these characters, and alongside the general mystery of the “Dreams of Alice” project, some fun side characters like the twins, great pacing and atmosphere, and a lot of appreciative attention to detail (I love how the convenience store worker is like cheering Zoroku on when he’s trying to get Sanae to talk to him), there’s a lot of promise in this show and I daresay it might be my favorite of the season so far. About the only downside is that the CG cars aren’t very well-rendered and stick out like a sore front against the show’s otherwise beautiful aesthetic, but it’s not something I feel is worth getting bothered by when the rest of the show is executed so well. In a season overrun with yet more bullshit magic high schools and fantasy video game worlds and (admittedly good) sequels to long-running established shonen shows, Alice & Zoroku is charmingly cute and refreshingly atypical. Unless you don’t appreciate a good SOL fantasy show or really hate the CG cars for some reason, it’s worth checking out. – LumRanmaYasha

Armed Girls’ Machiavellism

Sasha warned us.

Sasha warned us.

I feel that I have come to the point this season where I could simply post the lyrics of America’s 1972 hit “A Horse With No Name” as a write-up for any of these shows. Not simply because it is completely accurate but it would save me time before the next dumpster fire I’ll have to watch. So what’s on the docket this time? Oh its..oh.oh.ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Basically this is Prison School!…if it was a shitty light novel show made by Silver Link =(. It has some of the same parts as that earlier cringecom but now with an extra splash of Gary Stu protagonists, recycled Precure villain designs, and 50% less animation but 100% more random bear. Does any of this really matter at this point? Nope. It never did.

So where was I? Oh yeah… On the first part of the journey, I was looking at all the life. There were plants and birds and rocks and things…There was sand and hills and rings The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz and the sky with no clouds. The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sooound.

YOU SEE I’VE BEEN THROUGH THE DESERT ON A HORSE WITH NO NAME, IT FELT GOOD TO BE OUT OF THE RAIIIIIIN. IN THE DESERT YOU CAN REMEMBER YOUR NAAAME ‘CAUSE THERE AIN’T NO ONE FOR TO GIVE YOU NO PAIN. LA LAAAA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LAAAAA LA LA LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. – Lord Dalek

BORT

"Let me give her a little of this brown fist."

“Let me give her a little of this brown fist.”

I know that the Naruto train is still too lucrative to stop yet. I’m aware there was an ongoing Bort manga a while back. But everything about this first episode feels like it shouldn’t be. Another debut of a knucklehead ninja who gets his friends in trouble and makes a fool out of the Hokage? Besides the lack of a nine-tailed fox in his naval, and having a not-dead mom, I’m not even sure what the difference between Bort and his dad are. I’m thinking back to complaints over The Force Awakens being a soft reboot of Star Wars because it adhered too closely to that film, and that’s what this episode feels like. Yet more Naruto. I guess going back to the style of the very first episodes makes a change of pace after the Great Ninja War and Kaguya plots from the end of its father show, but I didn’t think the first episode of Naruto was a strong opening when I first saw it. And making a redux of that is a little bore-inducing.

You know in that one Dragon Ball GT movie with Goku’s great-great grandson who goes on adventures with his own friends, and everyone there looked off? It looked 60% Toriyama-ish, but not enough to look like he even drew it on a bad day, so you get Uncanny Valley’d by the designs. That’s what I found in Bort. I don’t know any better because I haven’t read the Bort manga, but the plot with Denki and seeking strength to face his father felt straight out of the depths of filler hell from a decade back. Even the main characters look like they were drawn for a filler arc and not the spearhead to the next generation of this franchise. I don’t even care for Kishimoto’s artwork, but when you place a character he made next to one from those movies or an episode not adapted from the manga, you see a stark difference in effort put into the two. Perhaps it’s cruel to call this the GT of Naruto, but it is. An overtread of a series fans have already seen several hundred episodes of, that I’m sure someone higher-up in the near future will cite as non-canon and make a new sequel called Naruto Super. Or maybe some disgruntled fans will make their own follow up called Naruto Multiverse or Naruto AF. Or an offshoot porn company will make a crossover called Pretty Cure and 5 Kagez. – BloodyMarquis

The Laughing Salesman NEW

The face of capitalism.

The face of capitalism.

Based from a late 60’s manga and late 80’s anime by Fujiko Fujio A, one-half the team responsible for Obake no Q-taro and the creator of Ninja Hattori (not Doraemon, that was Fujiko F. Fujio, different guy), The Laughing Salesman is a modern update of a formula that’s more or less stayed the same for the past 50 years. The titular laughing salesman Moguro preys on his clients’ emotional weaknesses and lofty desires and gives them a figurative monkey’s paw that will always, without fail, lead to their financial destitution, personal humiliation, or both. Oftentimes his victims are conventionally sympathetic, but the theme of the show is that his clients want things they do not need or deserve, but have been conditioned to yearn for them by an oppressively commercialized environment and workaholic capitalist lifestyle.

Moguro is the laughing salesman not simply because he takes pleasure in his victims’ downfall, but because he is genuinely happy with his career and place in life. In contrast to his clients, he is one of the few who benefits from and is happy living in this economic environment, profiting of the misery of those who cannot thrive within it. Considering the manga was created during a period in which Japan was finally recovering economically and a wealthier, more financially-driven lifestyle was coming in vogue, The Laughing Salesman provides a strict critique of blind capitalist indulgence, that happiness can be bought without expense, and the idea that you can buy happiness in the first place.

That his victims are often so sympathetic and relatable only emboldens the dangerous nature of the exchanges they partake in. The pleasures and gifts Moguro gives could be healthily indulged in, at least in moderation. His clients suffer consequences only because they’re never satisfied, and always want to indulge in their fantasies and pleasures more, without thinking about whether they can afford to do so. That is exactly what Moguro, what the capitalist machine, wants them to do, and he profits off the misery and mistakes they beget, unsympathetic to whether they can pay what they’ve bought back. With so many people not just in Japan but even in the U.S. suffering from extensive credit card debt and high-interest loans to pay for things that ultimately haven’t satisfied their emotional lack or helped them be happier, it’s easy to see why this show has been rebooted in the modern day.

The opening sequence in particular deftly describes the show’s contempt for oppressive capitalism and commercialization in wonderfully abstract terms. It depicts people trudging to work, constrained and treated as commodities by a system that doesn’t value human happiness, capturing the oppressive, harmful nature of the modern japanese working life. All the while, the sinister face of Moguro is omnipresent, representing the forces of capitalist exploitation that convince them to buy things they cannot afford and sink themselves further into debt, and deeper into despair. The show itself doesn’t capture that sinister omnipresence of Moguro quite as well as the opening describes it, but the second story in particular makes his insidious and constant persistence to interfere and destroy the lives of his victims perfectly uncomfortable, from him somehow knowing the OL lady’s thoughts and being there right when she’s thinking of her problems, to his face appearing on the wall of a dark alleyway she’s walking towards after an otherwise fun night on the town. Moguro’s design is the perfect blend of goofy simplicity and readily recognizable symbolic iconography that makes him a brilliantly effective antagonist for these parables.

But while The Laughing Salesman is an interesting social critique with a fun antagonist, the fact I’ve been able to thoroughly dissect its essence in a single episode without having any prior exposure might warrant reasonable fears that it’s message will wear thin and feel repetitive the longer it runs, especially due to the show’s episodic nature. Then again, there’s a certain appeal I find in franchises like the Fujio pair’s previous works Doraemon and Ninja Hattori, that are ostensibly the same plot every week but manage to keep fresh through engaging characters and well-executed storytelling. Like those shows, Laughing Salesman is not going to appeal to Otaku or the general western anime fan audience, but to guys like me who appreciate charming moral parables with a touch of clever social satire and more simplified and cartoonish character designs. So while I’m not sure the show will be saying something new every week, I’m reasonably confident I’m going to enjoy it every time. And that’s a transaction I can get behind.

Also, it’s OP and ED are the best I’ve seen out of this season so far. AOT’s don’t even come close, imo. Haven’t seen much else out of this season yet, but it’s going to be damn hard to top them. – LumRanmaYasha

The World YAMIZUKAN

The face you make when you're caught performing experiments on a human abductee.

The face you make when you’re caught performing experiments on a human abductee.

The World Yamizukan is a refreshing five-minute shot of horror and sci-fi, rendered through a beautifully detailed picture book style reminiscent of sci-fi comic books of the 50’s and 60’s. Like a lot of sci-fi short stories, TWY looks to tell simple parables through horror stories with morbid, ironic twists. I’m nostalgic for this kind of straightforward simple sci-fi horror, free from a need to modernize with detached ironic humor or self-aware parody. The shorts throwback horror comic-inspired character designs, washed out watercolors, and cut-out animation provides a perfect atmosphere and aesthetic to communicate these stories visually while the chilling sound design and music and Twilight Zone-esque voiceover provides a perfect audial accompaniment. Five minutes a week well worth your time I’d say. – LumRanmaYasha

2017
04.03

animearejustfictionbrah

Hello. I welcome you to Spring 2017 Clusterfuck of Japanese Animations. Please peruse to your delight.

Alice & Zoroku

This is not Attack on Titan. Keep scrolling

This is not Attack on Titan. Keep scrolling

Oh boy its another “Girl escapes from a secret organization and has a random encounter on a rain swept road” show! What? You didn’t know about this genre before? Well neither did I, but then we had that shitty Brynhildr show and that awesome Flip Flappers show so somebody at the ever awful J.C. Staff decided “Hey! Here’s something we haven’t ripped off yet!” and thus we have Alice & Zoroku, a watered down SOL version of these usual psychokinetc gore-a-thon shows. Sounds…average.

So in a world where someone decided to remake Rozen Maiden with actual lolis, a girl known as the Red Queen has fled from the evil government organization of the week to that far off haven for people wanting to hide…Shijuku!…wait that’s a terrible idea…What’s an even worse idea is to trying to make a magical girl spirit pact not with some strapping young kid but instead a grumpy old jackass named Zoroku. But hey here’s some action scenes to make the show far more entertain…

…oh god. My eyes…get it away from me…dat suckoooga.

Well once we get past that bit of… quality, we’re still stuck with a double length episode, which means 24 more minutes of grumpy gus old dude, his awful CGI Mini Cooper, and Not-Lucy going all not-diclonius on more magical girls and that dumbass alien kid from World Trigger. Its a slog and at many points I considered dropping this and letting Rac suffer (YOU OWE ME.) only two have Zoroku’s abuse of Sana, the Red Queen and her anime show bullshit drag me back in. And the sad part is, this actually could have been good. There’s a potential for parody of these bad paranormal biohazard harem shows that actually would have worked and may have made for a decent sleeper hit this season but noooooooooo, we can’t trust J.C. Staff to do anything right and thus we’re just left with a painfully dull, painfully cheap looking mess.

Fuck this show. Fuck it in the ass. – Lord Dalek

Attack on Titan 2: The Zeke-quel

tackontitan1

tackontitan2

When watching the new episode with other people, someone remarked that this premiere felt like watching the season premiere of The Walking Dead. You know, the kind of premiere where very little happens and you’re left wondering if you should’ve went for several bathroom breaks. And you watch not of personal interest, but just so you can talk to other people at threads, water coolers, alleys, and anime cons about the latest big shocking event to pass. Even a chunk of the cast spends a good part of the episode waiting for something to occur. I’m sure it was meant to be cheeky and a nod to how long it’s been since the last episode, where pregnant viewers who watched Annie get beat up are now raising toddlers. People who just started college are now finishing up their senior theses and discovering the bitter joy of unemployment. Such a gap between episodes that would make Sherlock fans blush, the new Attack on Titan offers nothing new for the sweet summer child of a viewer. Eren’s still bug-eyed, the Titans are still drawn to be drunk, naked people, and courageous speeches of hope are still instantly subverted by shrieks and crying. If anything, it does refresh and reinvite you to the show’s themes in all of twenty minutes.

I guess you could say the advent of the Beast Titan sets up a new stage, along with the opening hinting at Krista’s role, but the first season’s often glacial pace makes me wonder how much this season will actually deliver, especially with the news that it will only run for one cour. Yes, I sound quite sour, and to those who haven’t read the last few articles about Attack on Titan at all, I might seem even contrarian. But what made the first episode so special all those years ago has vanished, and now I’m stuck looking at spoilers from the newest chapter out of amusement and not wonder. For intrepid Titan fans, have you seen what the latest chapters are about? It’s nonsense. All the series’ previous subversions of worn out anime cliches are now played bizarrely and utterly straight. I don’t wish to spoil for anime-only fans, but the Beast Titan’s voice actor being Dio Brando’s is quite fitting. Anyway, hope you guys love the Krista arc. – BloodyMarquis

Usual crappy shit that other guy wrote!

Yeah whatever.

Shingeki no Colbert

Once upon a time, there was a show called “Attack on Titan.” It was popular. It was VERRRY popular. So popular in fact that its popularity quickly spread from the land of the rising sun to the ol’ red white and blue. In fact its popularity was so great that volume 1 of the manga became the highest selling single TPB of any manga ever released in the US. There were live action movies, a theatrical reedit of the series, all sorts of merchandise, and so on. Obviously with a franchise this successful, the natural thing would be to make a follow up as soon as possible!

…and yet, here we are four years too late for anyone to care.

Yup its really been four years since the first season of Attack on Titan. Since then, a slew of edgelord “Titan-Like” shonenshit have appeared, failed to make an impression, and disappeared into the night. That massively selling manga didn’t so much as fade off but fall off a cliff in sales (taking the New York Times Bestseller list with it in the process). The amount of folks with Colossal Titan on their shirts has dwindled as Wit continued to drag their feet with dreck like that show with the vampire lolis. Basically Titan isn’t what it used to be as a brand and it is into this situation (highly similar to the one in which the first series began) that we are now given its much belated return.

So anyway where were we? Of yeah there was that big Titan burried with the wall itself. As Hanchi tries to pry information from the local wacky eyes priest, Wall Rose gets breached!…again! (DAMMIT TROST!) Connie, Sasha, and Reiner are sent off to evacuate the surrounding cities in their civies due to the lack of time needed to gear up. Eren finally recovers from whatever the hell happened to him in episode 25 but otherwise is only in the episode to prevent confused exclaimations of “WHERE’S EREN?” And a new weird titan appears, a giant hairy guy who can…talk?!?! Gore! Shaky cam! Old film effects! Bulging eyes! Business as usual!

Attack on Titan Season 2 doesn’t even try to hide the fact its just the long delayed third cour of Attack on Titan. Hell it even continues the episode numbering right where it left off. As such this is absolutely impossible to get into if you’re a newcomer. The juggling act the show has to do to keep all these disparate plot strands it keeps throwing at us is already too much of a challenge for the show to handle on its own and the fact that our three lead protagonists have more screen time in the opening title sequence than they do in the episode proper might leave novices confused as to what this show is supposed to be about. I can only imagine the decreased episode order from 25 to just 12 is the cause of this.

For fans only. – Lord Dalek

Triple Dips

All in all, just another Titan in the wall.

All in all, just another Titan in the wall.

I’m really sick of hearing all the complaints from all the butt-hurt AOT fans that they waited four years for twelve episodes. That Wit Studio spent four years just working on these twelve episodes and wasn’t doing any other shows in the meantime. That fans somehow deserve, no, are ENTITLED to more episodes. Well, sorry to break it to you, but that’s not how anime production works. They probably only started working on this season after Kabaneri’s production wrapped up. They probably had less than a year of prep time before broadcast, the industry standard. So forget about what you’re not getting and just enjoy what you are getting right now you ungrateful assholes.

With that out of the way, Attack on Titan season two. The show basically picks up where it left off and doesn’t waste much time getting you caught up to speed. It boasts the same level of visual polish and high standard of animation quality as the first season, nary a difference really. The tone is as over the top and bombastic as ever, with some hilariously goofy Titan designs and walk cycles, wonderfully brutal death scenes, and lots of screaming and shouting and crying. All the making of a solid dumb popcorn action shonen fun. It really is just more Attack on Titan, for better and worse.

If this season is going to end where I think it will there’ll be a lot of action, blood, twists, and betrayals for people who haven’t already read the manga to look forward to. Pacing-wise I’m concerned that’ll all feel dragged out, but it’ll still probably be better paced than the Trost arc was so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Honestly, it doesn’t matter since this will undoubtedly be the best-looking and most talked about anime of this season regardless. Practically everyone in the anime community will be watching it, and heck, even non-anime fans considering it’ll start airing on Toonami before the end of the month. You don’t need me to tell you to watch this because if you can’t possibly not have an opinion on a show this big by now. All I’ll say is that I like the Beast Titan and enjoyed seeing his introduction scene animated. That was one of the moments I was most looking forward to out of this season and it turned out as I expected. That sums AOT season 2 quite nicely actually. It so far meets expectations. Let’s just see if it lives up the to hype people have had for it these past four years. – LumRanmaYasha

GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation

Neither did I!

TTW the scribbled in parts of a story memo creep into the actual scripts…

This is an odd one for us. Technically GRANBLUE FANTASY (all caps because Crunchyroll did it) was supposed to air last season and indeed it did…for two episodes as a preview special. However production setbacks delayed the actual start of the series proper to Spring cour which is why its appearing now despite the pilot being on Crunchyroll for the better part of three months.

That said… I probably should have written this up last January anyway since the general lack of effort or originality on display here would have totally fit in with the dumpster fire that was Winter 2017.

So what’s this show about? Well have you ever watched Laputa? Have you ever played Lunar? Are you a horrible secretion who likes Fairy Tail? Well this is all of that! But 100x more bland. Mysterious blue haired girl falls from an airship by means of mysterious glowing blue gem. She encounters Average Guy and his annoying flying cat thing sidekick. They are pursued by the local evil empire because shitty fantasy anime before being rescued by a Not-Erza. And…that’s it. Literally the plot stops 13 minutes in. Great…just great. No wonder this is based off a card game. Literally noone cares.

So what else can I talk about here? The animation? Oh its bad. Its really bad. Everything’s really scratchy and unrefined and I’m sure that’s not the fault of Crunchyroll’s recent compression scam. The CGI is incredibly obvious and intrusive, but that’s not surprising since its A-1. Otherwise its just meh all around and I’m sick of it already. At least the music’s good, its by some obscure guy who did the soundtracks to Rad Racer and 3D World Runner back in the 80s before vanishing off the face of the Earth. Wonder what happened to him? That’s all there’s left to be said about Granblue.

Oh wait! They also do a tribute to the dolphin fucking scene from Fa—and I’m out. – Lord Dalek

The NEW Laughing Salesman

Sheeeh!

My face watching Hand Shakers returns

Before there was Doraemon, there was The Laughing Salesman. A darker, harder edged version of the “be careful what you wish for”-type stories the illustrious Fujiko Fujio combine would later perfect with Nobita-abuse. Suffice to say, it didn’t run nearly as long as that damn robot cat in print, however the saga of a nasty little man who dishes out nasty karmic justice to even nastier not-so-little men is apparently so fondly remembered in Japan that it got a 100+ episode adaptation in the early 90s and now a new one to celebrate the franchise’s 40th. And this one actually got subbed to boot, so now Americans can be exposed to another ancient manga franchise a bajillion years after it ceased to be relevant ala Osomatsu-Kun. However, unlike Osomatsu-San, this is played completely straight which may make or break the show in the end.

Now since this is based off a short comedy manga with only one character the plot is pretty simple. There exists a man in Japan name Moguro who will make your dreams come true, as long as you don’t stray too far from his “path of decency”. Do that and he will wreck your shit faster than the Road Runner wrecks The Coyote. This week’s marks include a pair of office workers who waste their lives away at an imaginary burleque club instead of showing up to work in time and then a sadsack office lady who gets way more (or less) than she bought using Moguro’s surprisingly useless credit card. In both cases these people get what they deserve but the outcomes aren’t as funny or smart as they should be. This isn’t to say its bad, it just left me a little wanting.

Production wise, I ain’t gonna lie, this show is pretty terrible looking with bargain basement low frame animation and in some cases just stils. No surprise really since its poverty row studio Shin-Ei in the driver’s seat here. The OP on the other hand is AWESOME and may end up being the best of the season. All in all, I’m not sure there’s any real reason to watch The New Laughing Salesman. Its not very funny, its pedigree is largely irrelevant, and it doesn’t seem like it has much potential beyond its rather simple premise. Your mileage will obviously vary of course though. — Lord Dalek

Monster Strike 2

Here lies an anime so obscure that no one /a/ speaks a word of it.

Here lies an anime so obscure that no one /a/ speaks a word of it.

Monster Strike 2 is the sequel to Monster Strike. I never watched Monster Strike, but I’m sure it was pleasant. The episode starts with our heroes chasing a dragon down a subway tunnel. When the dragon is about to hit an oncoming train, they make the train go to another dimension. They never bring back the train. They are horrible people who condemned hundreds to death in the void. Sadly, this is the only interesting thing that happens in the episode. Okay, that’s not completely true. They do go to an underground club that’s only for middle schoolers where the animators get to show off more cool monsters in these augmented reality fights called MS. What does MS stand for? I don’t know. Monster Strike, I guess? Marquis said it stood for multiple sclerosis, but I think he was reading a /cock/ thread. In any case, the bulk of the episode is about a new female transfer student from New Jersey joining their class and cozying it up with the male MC. New character marvels at how fun Japan is, and that’s pretty much where the episode goes, with another girl and the mascot character joking about how female MC must feel about a random blonde girl stealing her man. Even Steven Universe filler episodes do more with their 11 minutes. There are hints about something more nefarious in the background, as the main group is being stalked by a busty woman with a sunhat and some dude who skates around his lab in shorts and a lab coat, but nothing too interesting happened. Plus, I’m still too annoyed by Samurai Jack being preempted by Reddit and Memey to care. Monster Strike 2 gets a 5/10 for being average as heck and looking like video game cutscenes. – RacattackForce

My Hero Academia 2

So the villains in this show are Otaku?

So the villains in this show are Otaku?

Why do I find myself writing what’ll likely be the most negative review of MHA for the Clusterfuck two years in a row? I was the first person on AR to read it, and I believed in it’s potential early on when others dismissed it as generic shonen. I think it’s the best currently-running manga in Jump right now, it’s only competition being the rebounding One Piece, the gripping new series The Promised Neverland and Gintama, the latter of which is on it’s way out. I’ve defended it’s virtues against critics and naysayers several times, most recently against Doctor of the Ass Backwards Anime Podcast on Manga Mavericks. I’m very passionate about this series and its success and I’m quite happy it’s continuing to grow both in it’s storytelling and it’s popularity.

So let me be clear, I’m criticizing this premiere from a fan’s perspective. An anime adaptation is what most people judge an anime franchise on, and Shonen Jump properties especially live and die in terms of critical and popular respect based on them, at least as far as the western fandom is concerned. Bones’ adaptation of the series generally looks great and benefits from the life the voice cast, expressive animation, and color breathes into the world and characters. They’re a great studio that has consistently produced fine adaptations of long-running shonen manga, from Fullmetal Alchemist to Soul Eater to Fullmetal Alchemist…again. I just can’t help but feel that the pacing could be better.

I came around to the idea of them splitting the first chapter into two episodes, since there was a lot of content in there that benefited from the breathing space. However, I still don’t think that the first episode works on it’s own as self-contained premiere to a long-running shonen action series, and felt that making the premiere double length would’ve been a better solution. Ostensibly, I can understand why the pacing of the first season is the way it is, and in theory it could’ve allowed them to add in more material to flesh things out a bit more. That’s what Bones has done with their adaptations in the past. But the MHA adaptation was very faithful and didn’t add anything substantial to what was already there. It followed the practice of other long runners of having a measured, easy-going pace, and they did it well. Considering how the arcs break down and how many episodes they had, it made sense why they went in that direction.

But why, now that they have two cours – 25 episodes – to work with, are they proceeding at such a slow-burning pace? The season two premiere is ostensibly a recap episode, with long explanations going over Midoriya and All Might’s motivations and everything that happened in season one, with some exposition given about the Sports Festival tacked onto the end. There are some fun gags and important foreshadowing featuring yet to be introduced characters, and the episode delves briefly into Ochako’s motivations which will be a huge part of her character arc, especially in this season, but even taking all of that into account the new material comprises maybe less than a third of this premiere. I’m not sure why we’re so slowly being led into the story when there was literally a recap episode the week before.

I don’t think this is a bad episode by conventional shonen anime standards – it’s par for the course of a modern episode of One Piece – but a show like MHA doesn’t need to be paced like a Toei-style Shonen Jump adaptation. It has the benefit of a condensed episode count, a healthy production schedule, and plenty of source material to work with. I’m concerned that this season will be paced slower than it needs to be, and that will detract from it’s many great merits. The Sports Festival is, oddly enough, already a contentious arc among MHA fans, and when one of it’s biggest criticisms (even by Horikoshi himself) is that it went on longer than it needed to, it won’t benefit from being dragged out. I ’m hoping this won’t be an issue, and this premiere isn’t reflective of the pacing or production quality of the rest of the season. MHA is one of the best shonen action titles on the scene right now, and I really wanted this premiere to say “I am here!” with a heroic bold, booming confidence. Instead, I heard a lackadaisical yawn, as if it was leisurely waking up from a long slumber. To be fair, this is only the first episode. Easing into things slowly works well enough to catch up people who maybe haven’t watched or thought about the show in a year. I just hope it doesn’t take the whole season for it to really get going. – LumRanmaYasha

The Silver Guardian

I'm running out of Tencent jokes here people.

I’m running out of Tencent jokes here people.

Whelp its another season and that means more steaming piles of rancid Tianjin from our “friends” at Emon and TENCENT. Bloodivores was one of (if not the) worst shows of Fall 2016. Spiritpact might have been the worst show of Winter 2017 had a certain vomitorium called Hand Shakers not opened up across the street and now here’s Silver Guardian, a show with animation quality on par with that bad PV from Gi(a)rlish Number and a plot rehashed from a fair number of bad late 90s shonen shit.

So our hero is Suigin, a pool boy who can’t swim, and his Azudai retrace cat. For some reason Suigin is fighting a bunch of grey boring monsters and titan clones for reasons we are NOT made aware of. Also he’s apparently attracted to some retrace of that girl from Rosario X Vampire. I’m sure all of this will make sense soon, perhaps after the commercial brea—wait…credits? Its over?!?! ALREADY?????

Yes this is a 9-minute animu with no plot and no characters. Didn’t care when it started, cared even less after it finished. That’s how far Emon has fallen. To that I say… THE PUNISHMENT FITS THE CRIME. — Lord Dalek

2017
03.26

samuraijack3

It’s weird. When Samurai Jack did their Frank Miller tribute episode with the Spartans back in the day, Miller was still revered as the trendsetter of comics. Who aside from some rough spots like Dark Knight Strikes Again, was one of those names every fan of comics knew. But in 2017, Frank Miller’s now a laughingstock and a pariah because of his recent works like The Holy Terror, failed attempts at a directing career with The Spirit movie, and controversial political views that have painted his previously renowned works in a poor light. Admitting to liking him, even his seminal works like Year One, is a rarity to see now. You’re about as likely to see people openly admitting to liking Ken Penders than Frank Miller. No matter how good any of his new comics will be, his name always carries a burden. So seeing the new season allude to Frank Miller works feels like it’s from another time, with the first scene between Jack and the wolf harkening back to Sin City. If anything, it strengthens how flashback-heavy this episode is. That Jack’s recalling a simpler time while the show is also doing just that.

Jack recalling his childhood and reciting his father’s words to the Daughters proves something pivotal to his character: He’s still figuring out how to fill his shoes. Even when he’s mentally in his mid-70s, he has to figure out what wisdom his father had that he needs to attain. The Emperor managed to seal Aku not long after first encountering him, while Jack has had decades to kill him but to no avail. Perhaps in some ways, Jack hasn’t mentally aged, and he’s still somewhat of a child in need of education. Maybe all these decades have scarred him so much, that he’s somehow regressed. Like where’s his flying cloud and glowing silver samurai armor? Why haven’t the gods given him the tools to finally vanquish Aku once and for all? If he’s essentially become a plaything and an understudy for his father, then how can he possibly succeed?

Of course, that applies for the Daughters too. They’ve been so excessively trained and secluded from regular society that the sight of a deer nuzzling another confuses them. They even think one with antlers is meant to be Aku’s servant. It highlights how even though they are all grown women, simple moments that even toddlers can comprehend are out of their reach. Like how the Daughters chasing Jack last episode was as much the mission as it was also them exploring their surroundings and being almost curious about the tomb they infiltrated. So cold, yet so simpleminded, all because their mother never showed them her copy of Bambi. The worst part? There’s indication that their mother isn’t even allied with Aku since a troupe of mud people could easily gain access to him while she could only bow to a statue in his image. So all of this bloodshed and death in the last two episodes isn’t even because of an ancient evil, but some crazed woman indoctrinating her chldren.

PS: I don’t know what to think of the fan theory that not only will Ashi survive, she’ll be the one who goes to the past and kill Aku. Maybe that could work, but I’m not sure. If executed poorly, it would feel like Jack sacrificed decades of his life for nothing while someone else took his place.

2017
03.19
In which someone has inflicted pain on themselves within a current day.

In which someone has inflicted pain on themselves within a current day.

Let’s talk about mirror scenes, which we previously saw in Jack rescuing a couple dogs from beetle drones like he did in the first show. This time, we get a callback to when the water aliens agreed to build a totem in Aku’s honor in exchange for living in his domain. There, he wasn’t particularly emotional or hammy like his usual self, but he seemed to take a little joy in the idea of ruining a species’ homeworld and having them grovel before his essence. But in this episode with a similar situation, except replace water with apparent fecal matter, Aku’s just apathetic and irritable. He couldn’t care if this race sang songs about his magnificence, because he’s just not feeling it. Because what he really wants is beyond his grasp. He wants Jack dead, but Jack keeps evading death. On and on and on, until Aku feels a Myth of Sisyphus crisis going, knowing that fifty years of evil have done little in harming Jack. And ignorant of Jack’s sword being misplaced, Aku’s stuck with the knowledge that he and Jack are at a standstill. Such an issue that even he’s talking to himself the way Jack is, but in less of a psychological way and more psychiatric.

But all of that’s hampered by Greg Baldwin’s performance. Needless to say, he just doesn’t sound like Mako enough. He was a good enough Iroh that it was hard to notice the difference, but his Aku doesn’t have that right tenor. Greg sounds a little like Kevin Michael Richardson doing a Mako impression in a few lines. I’ve heard he sounds much better in future episodes, but there’s some oddness in seeing a lighthearted scene that’s not out of place from the previous seasons, and Aku sounds like he has strep throat. Giving Aku a new environment would have alleviated this issue, but a need for visual consistency wins this round. Still, the idea of Jack and Aku’s battle starting with giving each other life (Jack’s father accidentally giving Aku sentience, and Aku unintentionally giving Jack agelessness) and leading to a mental war of attrition is intriguing no matter the voice actor. Jack waiting days after villagers have died before bothering to fight. Aku no longer reveling in his villainy. It’s yin and yang almost about to merge and become a pool of gray, but each side is too stubborn to let it happen.

Which was more fascinating than all the talk about Jack finally killing a fellow human. Jack’s killed plenty of sentient creatures and robots in the past, some of whom weren’t evil like X9 was. What makes a human life worth more than a non-human one? It would’ve been more interesting to focus on how the Daughters are Aku’s answer to Jack’s training, being raised from childhood to fight and kill a legendary foe, and how Jack essentially slayed a version of himself. Have him focus on the face of the dead Daughter, and he comes to a slow realization that children are being raised to fight him the same way he was raised to fight Aku. Jack’s lived in this world for 50 years and has gotten used to its brutality, yet he has to assure himself that his foes are mere nuts and bolts? But maybe it’s a sign after all these years, Jack still had a lingering trace of idealism, and a belief that humans could do no wrong.

2017
03.12
Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a woman, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING.

Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a woman, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING.

It’s always fascinating to see a show come back and have to adapt to modern storytelling practices. For the most part, the original Samurai Jack played by standalone episode rules. One-in-done. Little continuity in the way, with the occasional follow up episode. But this is the current year! Where even cartoons for toddlers have intricate lore and ask you to watch every previous episode to understand the latest one. So our revived Samurai Jack has to adapt, to evolve in order to appeal not only to its established fanbase but to any intrepid viewers who got bored and turned onto Toonami. And it’s hard to have it any other way, because would people prefer this new season to be exactly like the old days? With reviews saying this felt exactly like a show from 2004?

That was one of my issues with Sym-Bionic Titan and why I couldn’t warm up to that series. Felt too much of a throwback that it didn’t have a lot in the way of original vision. And while the new Samurai Jack is certainly derivative, it carries a fresher flavor in its plot. With a destined endgame in mind, and a ten episode run to keep the show focused, this new Jack is now at a crossroads. In the original show, Jack was allowed to go off on so many side-adventures like with the Woolies, the Mafia, the baby, the rave kids, and the Ringo Starr seamonkeys. But now, those goofy little miniquests of his have wearied him, where he can only muster so much mental strength to go to a decimated village and fight a Sammy Davis Jr robot. Jack’s grown sick of fighting so much only to see the bloodshed of those he couldn’t save, leaving him almost apathetic to the cries even if he denies such thoughts. It’s been fifty years, so many of those he saved have probably died. Those talking dogs from his pilot movie have certainly passed on. All those undertones in the earlier show about how people could rise up against Aku, all those higher beings watching over Jack to make sure he wouldn’t stray from the path, they’re all gone.

But what was also absent in this first episode, besides a brief phone call, was Aku himself. Any presence he has is merely secondhand, with that cult of his worshiping his statue but never making any direct contact with him. He’s almost like a ghost. Before Scaramouche called him, I had a brief thought that Aku might have died off screen, and that revelation would lead to Jack breaking down further, knowing he’s worked and struggled so hard to fight an opponent who will never show up. Granted, that would be anticlimactic, but Jack’s enemy this episode was certainly his own past as much as it is the robots in front of him. And if he ever does get back to the past, how much will he welcome a realm that’s plagued his visions for decades?