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?

2017
02.13
I'm not sure why I made this.

I’m not sure why I made this.

Boy, are people hyped for the new Samurai Jack. Even the people who don’t care for the show have the mental thought noise of Phil LaMarr saying “Gotta get back, back to the past” in their head recently. None of that hesitant hype people had for the new Powerpuff Girls or Teen Titans Go that eventually soured and became seething rage that quickly overpopulated actual discussion of those respective shows. Just genuine awe and excitement over seeing a little show about a samurai fighting an evil wizard come back to the TV screen. Refreshing, especially for a show I never expected to come back. I just assumed the “Jump Good” episode was the ending and was done with it, while being mildly woken up by the occasional “Tartakovsky is in the next stage of production for the Samurai Jack movie” news every other year for the past decade. And to be honest, up until writing this article and doing the research, I haven’t watched many episodes of Samurai Jack for ages. Some I haven’t seen since they originally aired, but it’s cool that the new season’s given me an opportunity to re-open this trove.

A disgraced writer named Lawrence Miles once talked about the reason why Looney Tunes characters have lasted to this day, because they’re not written to be relatable, but to be iconic. Look at a purple bird running, and you automatically get the image of Road Runner without any further explanation, you just hear the “Meep meep!” in your head as soon as the thought enters. It’s kind of the same with Samurai Jack. I know there have been jokes about how Jack looks exactly like Professor Utonium, but there’s a nice simplicity in his design and Aku’s that says more with less. How you only need to look at a mere outline to be able to go “Oh, hey. That’s Aku!” Styling like that gives viewers an easy identity to put on the show. It’s a show built on creating not just relatable or fun characters, but ones that can be iconic in a sense. But then that leads to the other argument, that the show is too simple with how Aku’s a one-dimensional villain whose dialogue consists of either laughing or “Foolish samurai!” To that, I say the show’s DNA holds more than enough to contradict that claim.

From Yojimbo, to Lone Wolf and Cub, to Tezuka, to pre-crazy Frank Miller, Samurai Jack’s the obvious product of someone who’s read and watched all of that and uses them to put the puzzle pieces together for his own work. So many cardinal works consumed and digested, all to form one unified essence within this show. You can see it in the shots resembling less that of traditional animated fights and more like comic panels, the episode tributes to other artists, and many cheeky in-jokes like when Huntor from Dexter’s Lab made a cameo. Signs that Tartakovsky is more than happy to pay homage to past works to honor his current one. Even in talks about his new season, he’s absolutely gleeful to discuss how films as recent as Mad Max: Fury Road gave him ideas.

Despite being that open in what the show derives from, Samurai Jack also had a unique flavor most of its contemporaries didn’t have back then. Action cartoons in that era were more superhero fare like Justice League, or too self-aware and comedic to tell a dramatic story like Megas XLR. Samurai Jack didn’t have either of that, with Tartakovsky’s interviews emphasizing how he wanted to create a more vulnerable protagonist than the other fare. How the lack of dialogue for some scenes would help kids focus on the animation and artwork. I’m especially amused by this show’s answer to censoring violence, by just having Jack kill robots and cyborgs who bleed oil, even as enemies are mutilated or given visceral deaths, they always either explode or bleed oil. I’m almost sad the new season will probably relax that law, because it was charming. Like when Jack fights a bunch of reptilian warriors, and he can only cut off their arms because they’re the cybernetic part. That was cute.

Not to say it’s all perfect though, because there are some issues getting in the way when re-evaluating this show. Like a reference to the Austin Powers theme in the Mad Jack episode, timely then but scoff-worthy to hear now. The Sah-moo-rai episode, which while still funny to me, was somewhat embarrassing to watch given how unashamedly stereotypical he was. A little bit like watching a Wayans Bros movie. Or the one where Jack has to save all the teenagers from the evils of rave music, where he has to explain to the demon DJ that he thinks the music is bad-bad instead of slang bad. All of these little detours that have probably made fans scratch their heads when the thought of a pacifier sucking, Dr. Seuss hat wearing Jack dancing pops up in their brains. For every liter of pure focus, there was an ounce of that running in the series.

And it does beg to question what this show’s ultimate plan was. I always thought that by the last season, Aku’s forces were waning, given that he had to resort to getting formerly retired robots like X9, or increasingly incompetent bounty hunters to do his work. Leading to this idea that Aku will eventually lose merely out of his own failure than through Jack’s strength. I guess my idea was wrong considering how much of a sorry shape Jack is in. But still, it’s refreshing to know the final season will be more connected this time, with a definite endgame in store and not a finale where Jack takes care of a baby.

2017
02.08
Sweet Platonic Monkey Love

Sweet Platonic Monkey Love

I hate having a film that I want to watch, but I don’t either because of lack of time, there are other things to watch, genuine forgetfulness, and so on. I’m seldom known for being on point the moment something important pops up. And while many films can hold that distinction for me, one that just kept getting away was Kubo. Meant to watch it on August, but no theaters around me had it. Meant to watch it on November, but I’m too frugal to slip $30 for a DVD. And for half a year, “You should watch Kubo, it’s a fun movie” kept flowing into my thoughts while my lack of strong will stopped me from seeing it until now. Yeah, second article in a row of me talking about stuff I’ve taken forever to get to. Definitely not the last if I actually remember what I had on my backlog.

And what a pleasant surprise from Kubo. Even with all the hype, and how fans were justly loud and angry at a certain Sony movie about meat products doing better, I was still amazed over how great this movie was. Every shot and scene felt like it was crafted out of love. Being Asian myself, I’m always intrigued when a western animated film tries to adapt eastern elements, like in Mulan and Kung Fu Panda. Or even in shows like Samurai Jack and Avatar. It’s fun to pinpoint which details they got right and what cultural allusions they added in. Even the ones I don’t like are more often than not made because the creator has genuine curiosity for other cultures and wants to capture it in their own story. Kubo’s director Travis Knight is definitely such a creator, using all this experience to make such an ethereal fairy tale. Everything he puts into his film is sincere, where you can even get emotional resonance out of the waves of the oceans in some scenes. I know that sounds overly pontifical, but it’s true.

The film has deep meanings established, but all accessible enough to be told in a 101-minute kids’ movie. For instance, I appreciate the way the film handles death and how we deal with it. While death’s sad, the agony over it shouldn’t consume you as long as you utilize your memories for comfort, and participate in a few rituals to keep your mind clear of bad thoughts. A message told in many other animated films, but the way it’s presented here is more than exceptional. Mortality is simply one stage of a human’s journey, while the second is how they impact their loved ones. People can die physically, but never spiritually as someone’s there to remember them. And if you don’t agree with that like the Moon King did, then your perception of others, even your kin, gets thrown out the window. Now convey that message with giant eyes and a titanic skeleton, and you get a modern folk tale known as Kubo.

Kubo’s an alright character, especially when he’s played by someone who previously acted as such a nonentity as Rickon Stark. But the real charm comes from the way the supporting cast fill their shoes. Charlize Theron makes a great Monkey, and Matthew McConaughey’s fun performance makes me regret previously mocking his gargly voice in True Detective and those car commercials. I wasn’t too sure about why they cast Ralph Fiennes though, because he does an old Asian man voice for his character. Like if he watched clips of Aku from Samurai Jack as resource material for his performance, it sounded as if they wanted him to sound like Mako Iwamatsu since they obviously can’t get the actual Mako Iwamatsu. I’m not going to be one of those assholes who claims everything’s “Orientalist”, but they did have George Takei and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the movie too. Nothing was stopping Laika from using either of them instead, or getting the guy who played Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures. While Fiennes was still good in his role, and I’m perfectly fine with non-Asian actors playing Asian characters in cartoons, there was just something off about that. It would be like if they made a Luke Cage cartoon, and Diamondback was played by Steve Blum who went out of his way to sound like a black guy.

So yeah, thumbs up to Laika, and hope this film gets a second lease on life from word-of-mouth.

2017
02.04
but a miserable pile of secrets?

but a miserable pile of secrets?

Rose of Versailles was always that show I heard referenced to for years, but never got around to watching it. For years, I’ve watched more of that musical theatre version of the story than the manga or the anime. Embarrassing, I know. How dare I write reviews of anime when I haven’t watched all of the greats yet? But that was then, and now I’m cured, delivered, and I’ve seen the light that is a 70s/80s anime from Tokyo Movie Shinsha. Alleluia. But looking at this show with modern eyes, it’s provocative how much of this story resonates now. Strangely appealing in these current times due to having a female lead who abandons gender norms whilst facing an increasingly divided social and economic hierarchy. Women throughout the series are forced to choose their roles in life at the cost of those they love. Society is on the brink of bloody change. If someone had the nerve to adapt the manga now, they would probably be celebrated as topical and hardhitting by short-minded anime critics who don’t realize it first came out in 1972.

I’m sure someone out there can make a good argument that our lead Oscar’s life is meant to be a prototypical transgender narrative. And I would agree with that point, since the manga author is well-used to writing about transgender themes like in her 1978 publication Claudine. Throughout the story, Oscar is in conflict with her gender identity, wanting to be a warrior and doing well in her job. Yet her urges to be with Fersen and her relationship with Andre plays a great deal in her personal affairs, along with a one-sided crush from Rosalie’s perspective. But she doesn’t choose to be masculine, it’s forced upon her by her well-meaning but controlling father. To me, it’s less of her fight between genders, and more of her battle between becoming a warrior like her father intended or being a lover to Andre, Fersen, or even Rosalie. That’s what makes Oscar stand out and lead this anime by herself, because her personality allows for all of these interpretations on her inner struggles. She’s probably one of the best female characters the anime/manga medium has to offer thanks to that.

I’m especially impressed by how this show can handle characterization given its stylistic choices. Because no matter how broadminded you can be, this is a show that came out in 1979, and it shows quite painfully in some places. Occasionally when we get a dramatic scene, organ music straight out of a 60s soap opera plays. And when a romantic scene occurs, you get what I assume to be a synth version of a harp playing. I’m not sure how to properly describe it beyond that, but the music overall feels very out of place for a show set in the midst of the French Revolution. It’s especially glaring thanks to the animation that’s aged well for the most part, even if the directorial change from Tadao Nagahama to Osamu Dezaki is noticeable. When Dezaki takes the helm, many of the “Oh, look how pretty French royalty is!” moments go away, and he introduces this bard under a bridge whose songs foreshadow the end of the aristocracy. Nagahama already depicted the lords and ladies of France as coldhearted, but he did pull his punches whenever Marie Antoinette shows up. After he dies, that’s put in doubt.

One of those show’s biggest questions lies in whether or not Marie Antoinette is at fault for the common Frenchman’s plight. In contrast to the “let them eat cake” portrayal, Rose of Versailles treats her as someone very out of control of her situation. Many challenges to nobility are done without her knowledge, and her name is often used in aristocrats’ schemes without her consent. But she never seeks a way to undo these wrongs, instead holding out in her palaces while people like her mother beg her to fulfill her duty as a queen. Sure, she does try to take the moral stance in situations right in front of her, but Marie never seeks out these problems firsthand. She’s not pro-active, letting those around her grow decadent and abuse the common folk while she realizes too late that they’re going to look at her as the cause for all their suffering. But she can’t join the working class and sympathize with their plight because that means losing good favor with the noblemen she’s known all her life, making her too afraid to join the righteous path if it means abandoning familiar surroundings. She’s not the cause for all this suffering, just an unwitting scapegoat and symptom of how bluebloods or those who at least claim to bluebloods can abuse their power.

Throughout Antoinette’s reign, we see all of these horrible, despicable people find riches and fame in Versailles, like Guement, DuBarry, and Jeanne. What’s interesting about the latter two is that neither are born noble. DuBarry started out as a bloodthirsty prostitute who got lucky enough to be a king’s mistress, and Jeanne just cheated and killed her way to grandeur. We get few and far moments that these two women are anything but abominable, and it’s through Jeanne’s self-centered actions that shake up the foundation of French society. Nobody’s in agreement, everybody’s scheming to take each others’ positions, and none of the peasants can do anything about it for the majority of the show. They have to stand around while their own kind are either shot or run over by carriages, unable to do anything because a noble’s blood running down the streets would bring forth armies while a commoner’s blood would not. No matter how many cry about needing bread to feed their families, all it takes is a handful of nobles, blind to the public’s opinion, to decide who lives and who dies.

But the show’s indecisive on the “nobles = bad, commoners = good” argument. Chalk that up to shades of gray. Look at Rosalie for instance, the good sister compared to Jeanne. She’s revealed to have noble blood on her birth mother’s side all along. Even then, she’s in conflict with that ancestry, doing much to renounce that connection in favor of how her adoptive mother raised her. It’s another example of women in this series trying to fight back against the role their parents have given them, to varying results. Her character arc never rises to a satisfying conclusion, with her just leaving and becoming Bernard’s husband. I heard from questionable sources that was because her character was unpopular when the manga was ongoing, and the author just decided to shuffle her away as a response. Something I wish didn’t happen, because Rosalie had some potential for the later parts of the series. That’s one issue with the series, it doesn’t fully involve itself in some characters with parts to play, like Fersen, Marie Antoinette’s lover. He leaves to fight in America for seven years. Then when he comes back, he finds his beloved France torn by class warfare and hatred from both nobles and peasants. The 97% lower-class versus the 3% nobles. But his story arc and eventual conclusion (one with historical basis at that) just gets told secondhand by the narrator. The show tries to fit so many years of French history into forty episodes that important events are sped through instead of indulged upon. Somewhat of a necessity to make sure the plot doesn’t lag, but lamentable nonetheless.

But we do get some cool moments for other characters, such as how tensions between classes lead to vigilantes like the Black Knight. I thought that was a fun addition. I initially believed it to be out of place, but then just reminded myself of Zorro or Fantomas. Or Princess Knight, something of a precursor to Rose of Versailles’ characterization. I guess if you’re going to do something important and nerve-wrecking to one of your characters, having a masked crusader show up and attack him is one way to handle it. I know to others this arc will come off as dumb for what’s meant to be a sign of political outcry, but I still like this idea. When tensions rise, people are going to go for fantastical, out there, and silly ideas to solve problems. If you added more pulp in history, people are more likely to devour it.

An interesting thing to note is how Robespierre, one of the most important figures in the Reign of Terror, only makes brief appearances and cameos for the first 30 episodes. Learning about the French Revolution back in school, he was always written in my history books like he was omnipresent. The face of a looming force about to break out into France. I recall my history teacher bringing up Robespierre just as much as she brought up Bonaparte, making him sound like the ultimate example of all the good and evils that come from a revolution. While the show makes sure to remind us that he’s the spearhead for something greater, it’s not as strongly pronounced as I expected, focusing more on the French Revolution on a step-by-step basis with Robespierre as simply one of these steps. It takes until episode 34 for his speeches to occur, when he speaks at the Etats-Generaux. Even when rioters start attacking people who aren’t even nobles, Robespierre doesn’t show up at the beginning. The anime doesn’t even do much to portray him as corrupt, using Saint-Just as the questionable revolutionary instead.

I guess the easy answer for why Robespierre only shows up sparingly is because this is adapted from a shojo manga, and that demographic is unlikely to sympathize with a lawyer in his thirties. While someone like Oscar is far more of an energizing character who can lead her own plot and flatter the audience with ease. She’s the one who encapsulates all of this chaos. All of that conflict, all of those desires for a better world while wondering if that means straying from your loved ones, in one package. Everybody’s had that moment of realization, where they see the world around them is about to change into something unrecognizable. Maybe something wonderful, but never through peaceful means. They witness as their life is transformed through fire and blood. And in those times, the diplomats, the royals, the peasants, they can’t just simply resist. They all have to become warriors to survive the change.

2017
01.20

Chain Chronicle

MR SPARKLE

The conservative’s nightmare

Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that opening. All of the cast just striking at the empire right before I’m ready for the opening. I feel like I missed ten episodes before this. I assumed I was meant to watch something beforehand, but even other fans tell me the movies were like this too. Overall, a very off-putting experience, not necessarily a bad one. Actually pretty refreshing to get past all of the exposition to see this, because all of the occasional references to the Black Emperor and his Black Army suggest I won’t give a horse’s ass about the lore. If more of these fantasy shows could start out like this, I’d be less grumpy and unwilling to review anime.

But then the opening scene finishes, and I’m treated to more of what I expected from the burgeoning mobile phone adaptation genre. Just some kid in an unbuttoned shirt saving the helpless old people like he’s hot shit. Oh yeah, the fight at the beginning turns out to be for nothing in the long run because they all lost, and the peasants are pissed off because they’re fucking peasants. Maybe it’s subversive to have the big fight mean nothing for the show’s climate, and if anything make things worse? Seems strange to have this be your big twist while leaving out any creative decision making for the rest of the story.

But theennnn, somebody else tells me this is actually an edited form of a movie coming out at around the same time as the show. And maybe I should watch the movie or download the phone game to figure out what the whole story is. But theeeeeeeennnnnnnnnn, I find out the global version of the phone game was shut down before either the movie or the show came out. That’s kind of weird, but I guess the studio wants to keep things locked down so those filthy foreigners don’t pervert their image of the Black King. But theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, I hear from elsewhere that Funimation licensed this show/movie for overseas release. Maybe they want to shill this on the Black King’s merits rather than to those few wacky gaijin who played the game beforehand. Honestly, this whole behind the scenes adventure has been more interesting than the last 15 minutes of this episode. So yeah, pass. – BloodyMarquis

Degressi: Tsugi no Kurasu S3

The guy playing the principal has been on Degrassi for decades. I can't tell if that's dedication to admire or mental sickness.

The guy playing the principal has been on Degrassi for decades. I can’t tell if that’s dedication to admire or mental sickness.

There are some things that, try as we may, will continued undeterred. The sun shines, the grass grows, and Degrassi offers a unrestricted look a the lives of modern Japanese youth. While other anime confine their efforts to shallow action or trite comedy (not to mention ungodly amounts of appalling fanservice), Studio Epitome has once again elevated itself about the rest.

The Degrassi franchise’s usual blend of compelling characters and biting social commentary comes to fruition with this season. Worst girl Lola continues to be, well, worst girl. While I applaud the show for giving us an honest picture of what bullying looks like Canadian high schools throughout Japan, her character arc as a villain is basically just her hair changing color (likely showing influence from Studio David’s JoJo adaption) and ending her purity, which had previously been her only redeeming factor. Meanwhile, fan favorite and muh waifu Maya continues her struggles. Here we see some of the most heartfelt drama I’ve seen in years. Of course, fans will also rejoice at the heavy yuri undertones this season. I won’t spoil who is involved, but let’s just say it closely ties in with the much anticipated and acclaimed Syrian Arc.

On the technical level, the animation is on par with the rest of Epitome’s work. Usually fluid, but willing to take breaks in order to focus on strong character moments. The OST is also fantastic, and I have no doubt that “WHATEVER IT TAKES/それが取るものは何でも” will go down as one of, if not the, best openings of the season. My hats off to you once again, Epitome. – ShadowGentleman

That's it, I quit.

That’s it, I quit.

In this season’s entry of EARLY-2000’S SHONEN THAT TIME FORGOT!!!(tm), a young boy’s ravenous sexual libido manifests itself as a Digimon growing out of his chest.

 

woodrugh

 

Yeah I should stop writing right here, but there’s also something about yet ANOTHER secret government organization dedicated to fighting space aliens and Chuuta, our dorky kid is literally dragged into their secret organization because yeah. Its all rendered in Pierrot’s signature 15 cent budget-no shits given “style” and lacks the sense of humor or stupid fish faces of your average shonen crap to have any lasting value. I’ve already forgotten what I just watched or what I was about to write. Sounds legit. – Lord Dalek

Gabriel Dropout

I really don't like the bondage overtones this season has.

I really don’t like the bondage overtones this season has.

Stop me if you’ve heard this setup before: so there’s this angel, right? And there’s this demon, right? So the angel, get this…is terrible at being a angel! She’d be better working as a demon. And the demon? She acts like an angel! Hahaha…oh, you’ve heard that before? It’s nothing new whatsoever? Huh. Weird. So, Gabriel DropOut is a decent show that isn’t really worth a watch because everything about it is either boring or “been there, done that.” It’s a cute enough comedy, I suppose, and it is competently made. But there’s absolutely nothing here that you can’t see in any other show and done much better, or at least in a more interesting fashion. From the types of characters and how they play off each other, to the various situations, to every joke made in this first episode, I can think of a dozen anime that have done it and pulled it off much better. In terms of this season’s middling anime, it is a mediocre bad rather than a mediocre good.

To clarify, the latter is a decent, if poorly spent, way to burn 22 minutes of your remaining time on the planet Earth, while the former is glorified background noise while you play an online shooter. Watching Gabriel DropOut is just a sad reminder of where the Japanese animation industry has been for the past few years and where it will continue to go: buckets and buckets of quickly and cheaply made schlock, with a small handful of gems that manage to appear once in awhile. Hundreds of anime made each year and so much of it utterly forgettable. Yeah, I probably won’t remember having watched Masamune-kun no Revenge in a few months either, but at least I got a bit of short-term enjoyment out of viewing it. Gabriel DropOut brought me no joy. Or sadness. Or any emotion really. It was a boring comedy that just existed. If you need a supernatural comedy fix this season, ignore this and go straight for Demi-chan wa Kataritai. Even if you end up forgetting having watched that as well, at least you would have been smiling in those lost memories. – RacattackForce

Hand Shakers

I think this is my punishment for calling Keijo!!!!!!! artless garbage. While that show was indeed garbage, it seems Japan wants to introduce me to "artsy" garbage.

I think this is my punishment for calling Keijo!!!!!!! artless garbage. While that show was indeed garbage, it seems Japan wants to introduce me to “artsy” garbage. Hence… Hand Shakers.

The goal of whoever made Hand Shakers seems to have to been make a show that will literally induce motion sickness. At least with me they have succeeded wildly. This first 90 seconds alone are a tableaux of jerky nonsensical editing, hard to read subtitles, random fish eye lens effects that make no sense in anime, and gigantic credits IN ENGLISH that distract my eye making what was already hard to follow on screen even harder to follow. This show is already a disaster and we’re barely in!

But wait there’s more! What follows is a fucking rape scene!!!!! And a non-sequiter rape scene at that because they immediately cut to something else! Yes in a season that has already produced some of the absolute worst garbage imaginable (so much in fact that Tanya The Evil just became one of the best shows of the season by default), this show managed to find a way to be worse than all of them on so many other levels.

Well what’s the rest of the show about? Well a bland dork who looks like Yashiro from K encounters a sickly girl who looks like Neko from K and gets shoved into a plot that can’t tell if its Fate/Stay Night or Guilty Crown. Than that rapist guy shows up again and starts attacking the two with infinity chain generated by litterally smacking his bitch up. Nothing in this show makes any sense. Nothing in this show seems to want to make any sense. I can’t even be bothered to make that “Hand Shakers? More like Head Shakers!” joke I had planned because it would be too kind to this manure. Don’t watch this. Just don’t. – Lord Dalek

Idol Incidents

The Walking Derp

The Walking Derp

Whelp… can’t say we didn’t see this show coming, hell it seems all of modern anime was building up to it. Aikatsu imagined a world where little girls forfeit pretty much everything just to become vapid role models to other little girls to forfeit everything over. Love Live went one step further and made it a world where being in an idol group was the only way to get any sort of education or training in this cold hard Japan we live in. And now… Idol Incidents presents us with a Japan that after years of recession, social discord, and other malaise, has finally embraced idol groups as the only way to run their government effectively.

…and people said Blade Runner was the most effective futuristic dystopia of all time =/.

So the Heroine Party is looking for a new Dietwoman and young Natsuki is the only one who survived their grueling qualification test (a race to the top of a very tall hill). However she just isn’t very good at Aikatsu-ing and an attempt to pair her with a far more qualified veteran is a near disaster. But her aura is so strong that everything will work out right? Well its certainly enough to crush the staid salaryman she’s running against in the opposition party…I think.

This, if you have guessed, is supposed to be a parody show. But its not a very funny one and since I try to avoid idol shows like the plague (I can literally count the amount of Love Live episodes I’ve seen on one hand), I cannot say I got any injokes if such things were even there. That said, you could do a whole lot worse with a plain old idol show…like that one by Yamakan about 9/11. Seriously. – Lord Dalek

Little Witch Academia

I guess you could say Akko's been... Trigger'd

Akko shares her fealings about the 2017 Winter Season.

First things first, I like Netflix. I like it a lot. Yeah The OA was kinda weird and stupid, and Stranger Things would have been 1,000x better if it was an actual storyline and not just a bunch of shabby old 80s movie ripoffs homages but their content is far broader and far more entertaining than the current decrepit state of cable televsion (Netflix has Magi and Madoka, so have fun burning in hell with DBShite Turdnami).

That said… I do not like the idea of having to wait 13 weeks for a quote-unquote Netflix Original Anime. Especially when that anime is, of course, Little Witch Academia.

This is by far the most highly anticipated show of 2017, and maybe the ONLY highly anticipated show at that. Trigger’s original short made such a huge impact at Anime Mirai in 2013 that they were able to finance a second short movie through American Kickstarter bucks. This was of course before Trigger turned into something slightly less interesting than what the original production promised thanks to dreck like Kiznaiver and Inou-battle. But hey! LWA is now a full 24 episode tv series, so bygones be bygones and all that.

Now usually when we have a series of films get adapted into a tv show, its just a cutup of existing material ala Broken Blade or Gundam UC RE:0096. But happily not so with Little Witch Academia, as Yoh Yoshinari and Michiru Shimada finally have the opportunity to fill in the many gaps in what was originally just an exercise in crazy sakuga with some plot. Wanna know why Akko desperate adores Shiny Chariot? Its in here. Wanna know why Sucy hates Akko’s guts but hangs around for lack of something better to do? Its in here. Wanna see Akko and Lotte get sacrificed to a giant firebreathing chicken? Oh there is most definitely a giant firebreating chicken. If LWA the short felt like a concept pilot, then the series is that concept fully realized and lord is it good.

Anime of the season, easily. But then again…we all knew that going in. — Lord Dalek

Marginal#4 Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang

Nomura has not had boy's flesh in long time. Nomura is curious.

Nomura has not had boy’s flesh in long time. Nomura is curious.

R Nomura must sing for girls, because that is what Nomura knows best. That is what Nomura does. To make the voices go away. Without the singing, Nomura considers death. But not death of self. Death of others. Without the singing, Nomura contemplates actions. Horrible actions. Nomura has read up on the French act of Piquerism. Piquerism, the stabbing and skinning of others to achieve sexual affinity. Nomura is delighted by stories of Piquerism. Nomura reads the stories of Albert Fish every night in awe and delight, but Nomura cries at the end of each page because Nomura can never act upon these urges. Nomura must keep singing for girls. Nomura must not kidnap girl for torture. That would be bad for Nomura’s business.

But if Nomura so desired, Nomura would kidnap fan, preferably younger fan. No preference for gender, Nomura is willing to dip in any river. Nomura would take fan to apartment, strip fan of clothes and identity. If fan is too fat, Nomura will cut off fat. If fan is too tall, Nomura will make fan short. Nomura would cut into fan’s flesh every time they say a naughty word, and will only give them food and water if fan can please Nomura’s desires. Nomura will force fan to call parents to say they are okay. Nomura will put more holes in fan’s body if fan complains about the pain. Nomura will burn fan’s eyelids with cigarettes so fan cannot avert gaze. Nomura will cut fan’s tendons to make sure fan will not run away, to make fan crawl like dog. Nomura likes dogs. Nomura likes when dogs go bark bark. Nomura wants fan to go bark bark too. Dogs that go bark bark please Nomura, but Nomura abhors dogs that do tricks. Because that is a dog trying to be a human. Nomura does not want dogs to think they are human.

Nomura will use scissors when Nomura is ashamed of his manhood. Nomura will beat fan with bamboo stick if fan asks to die. Otherwise, Nomura is content. Nomura is pleased with life. Maybe Nomura will let fan orgasm some day or another. Nomura can be a kind god. But fan and Nomura both know this is a temporary situation, for Nomura will one day grow bored of fan. Nomura will someday find fan unattractive, not deserving of Nomura’s love. Not deserving of anyone’s love. Nomura will lock fan in storage, stop their breathing, with whatever storage Nomura can find. Perhaps Nomura will use an oil drum like the last one. Or not. Nomura distastes routine.

Then Nomura will continue singing with friends and girls, because Nomura is a good boy. Nomura is a good boy, and good boys can do no wrong. – Nomura

Rewrite Second Season

Visual Metaphor for Theron Martin when he gives this a 3.5 over at ANN.

Visual Metaphor for Theron Martin when he gives this a 3 over at ANN.

Last time on Rewrite: EVERYBODY DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

Yes everybody, literally. All animal life on the face of the planet got sacrificed to a big fucking tree because Kotarou couldn’t keep his goddamn hands off of Kagari’s Kagaris. What was left was a world bathed in yellow light where the only thing left alive will be Jailbait 60fps Ushio and that damn robot doll that was actually Tomoya or something because clearly all Key/Maedaverse bullshit is all connected am I right wut wut.

BUT WAIT! Despite its Jun Maedeon Be Invoked ending, Rewrite’s got 12 more episodes to do…something…I guess. So how is Eightbit going to follow up their feh-pic first season which made Charlotte look like anything that was you know… good…and not Charlotte? Simple! Pretend it never happened! Wheel out the ol’ reset button boys, my fist is hungry for some slams and jams.

We begin with Kotori about to blow Kotarou and Kagari (god, say that five times fast) away with a shotgun which was apparently the pathsplit before the previous season went all Tomino on us. Ya see if The Key joins with the Earth then Kotori loses her magical druid powers and we already saw how THAT turned out. However things get interrupted by the arrival of a random Brachiosarus thing and Kagari instead gets blown away by Not-Golden Darkness and her anti-tank rifle. What follows is a series of scenes that have no flow and no continuity as Kotarou plays through all the routes he skipped in warp speed ala a highlight reel. Trying to describe this is impossible because the narrative, which was pretty disjointed already, only manages to become even more disjointed by the way Eightbit is presenting it in the first ten minutes of the episode. No wonder they titled it “Three Cups of Coffee”, clearly that’s how much the writers drank before setting out on this trainwreck.

Well there is an explanation that all these crazy alternate routes are memories of Kotarou’s of things that never actually happened, and since it didn’t happen lets just watch him get impaled/beheaded/Team Rocketed by Kagari’s red ribbon of fate for the One-Tillionth time. Otherwise, this show literally has nothing else to offer other than Kotarou wandering through the empty destroyed city and staring at Kagari doing nothing.

Doing nothing is also all I can do for this show. I simply can’t write about it. All 24 minutes of it were nonsensical incoherent bullshit with no redeeming value which is something I have never been quite able to type about anything Key until now. The worst show of Summer 2016 got even worse. Isn’t it incredible? – Lord Dalek

Urara Meirochou

THIS WAS A HARBINGER.

THIS WAS A HARBINGER.

Hey kids! Da ya like moeblobs? Da ya like cute girls doing cute things? Da ya like random fanservice? Da ya like midriffs? Of course you don’t! So screw this! – Lord Dalek

2017
01.06

Welcome to the Winter season of this year’s anime! After a troublesome 2016, let’s hope 2017 has more to offer, shall we?


Akiba’s Trip: The Animation

Someone compared this to Keijo, and Keijo fans were offended. This show is looked down upon by Keijo fans. There's rarely a bigger case of damnation than that.

Someone compared this to Keijo, and Keijo fans were offended. This show is looked down upon by Keijo fans. There’s rarely a bigger case of damnation than that.

akibastrip2

Just watch fucking Akibaranger instead. – BloodyMarquis

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Saga

Shin Boobzilla: A Hideaki Anno Joint.

Shin Boobzilla: A Hideaki Anno Joint.

Well, well, well look who came crawling back. >_<

Last time on OwBlech—OH WHO AM I KIDDING? THERE WAS NO LAST TIME!!! IT WAS A FUCKING ANIME FUCKING ORIGINAL FUCKING FILLER ARC THAT NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED BECAUSE FUCK ANIPLEX FUCK SEVEN DAYS WAR FUCK TENSAI OKAMURA FUCK THAT GUY WHO WROTE HONKY TONK WOMAN FUCK EM ALL!!!

Well anyway… it’s been 6 years since the last series and the manga finally got to a point where we can actually adapt it! So that means more shitty edge lord Rin whining, more Yukio being a useless cockblock, more Shura being a useless cocktese, and more Izumo being a bitch because HAHAHA that fucking beach episode. Also Shiemi because yeah whatever. So in other words… its still OwBlech and everything you hated about OwBlech is still there. But hey! The most important thing is this arc they actually get to do something! No more school! No more SOL shit! No more birthday cakes!!! No more weddy weddy weddy fo da tayk aaahf!

Well anyway might as well get this over with. We pick up the plot with Rin still being unable to control his flames (because he still hadn’t figured it out in the manga by the time the anime decided he had), Yukio NOT being a demon because again that never happened, and some new macguffin called the Left Eye of the Impure King being swiped from the Shrine of the Silver Monkey by fricken Death Gun from Phantom Bullet. Alas its all a trap and the real culprit is one of Yukio’s coworkers, an evil satyr guy named Todo. With the Left Eye snatched, attention is immediately re-diverted to the Right Eye, currently being held at a field office in Kyoto, and our band of plucky would be demon hunters are sent off to protect it. This in turns for some awkwardness as this is just after Rin went crazy during the camping trip arc and noone likes him anymore, especually Sugoro. Ah character development that got dumped because it wasn’t canon. Don’t ya just love it?

So basically it may have been five years since the last canonical episode of OwBlech but this show doesn’t seem to care. We pick up in medias res with a bunch of lousy unlikable characters we can barely identify with and a plot that seems barely any better than the “horrible filler” of the original series’ second cour. So honestly, I don’t give a fuck. For fans only…if this even has fans anymore .– Lord Dalek

Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo

When Steven's penis doesn't save the day.

When Steven’s penis doesn’t save the day.

no goddamnit another one of these shows i swear to god whoever comes up with more of these goddamn ranpo shows needs to die a slow death why does this mohterfucker love ranpo so much but doesnt know hoe to write an anime about it thats fuking stupid and i hope a slow and painful end awaits him or them orwhat preferred pronouns they want i dont care if its actually a show about the kids of the kobayashi instead of actually kobayashi because fuck him figuratively fuck his girls ass i dont want anymore ranpo please no more ranpo i would rather another hundred isekai animes over ranpo – bloodymarquis

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Season 2

Well this relationship is in deep ship already.

Well this relationship is in deep ship already.

Oh thank god! Finally something GOOD to watch! After a year long hiatus, its back to the saga of Yakumo’s guilt, Konatsu’s disgust, and Yotarou’s general childlike enthusiasm. Season 1 was all about Yakumo and his dark past with his friend/rival/possible lover Sukeroku in the 40s. Now its 1988 and the focus is on Yotarou and his attempt to follow in Sukeroku’s foot steps in an artform that’s quickly eroding in the age of tv and endless boke-tsukomi routines.

Actually things are a lot worse for our ex-con turned popular stage entertainer. Theaters are closing left and right. Many young artists are either giving up Rakugo early or never bothering to give it a try. And with his engagement to Konatsu imminent, trying to make ends meet is looking to be a hell of a lot tougher for young Yotaro/Sukeroku. However a chance encounter with a wealthy author interested in changing the nature of rakugo stirs something within him. Is this the beginning of a new relationship?

I love this show. If it wasn’t for Yuri!!! last year, season 1 might have been AOTY. So its great to see that not only does the first episode seamlessly pick up the drama from the previous season and deliver content that is emotionally involving and subtly crafted (if still not the most well animated, no surprise its DEEN). This is not a show with magical powers, explosions, or giant robots. This is about talking and communication, and the words it gives you are the some of the most passionate and poetic to come out of anime in years. Even if everything else in Winter is godawful (and that very may well be the case), Showa Genroku will always be regarded as a good show. You should watch it. — Lord Dalek

Masamune-kun no Revenge

His face looks like a cookie.

His face looks like a cookie.

If you’ve read the description for this show, then you know very well what you are going to be in for. That statement isn’t a slight against the show. Just a simple declaration: if you are aware of all the usual tropes to be found in not only high school romance anime, but in non-melodramatic romance works in general, then you will have a very good idea of how things are going to progress. If not after reading the series synopsis, then after watching the first episode. And this isn’t me being a dismissive asshole, as I went ahead to check the manga. My suspicions were confirmed when skimming through the first thirty-odd chapters: many of the plot beats that you would think a romance plot like this would hit are hit. Yes, the main character falls in love with the girl despite trying not to. Yes, she comes to love him back. Yes, she is a bitch, but she will defrost overtime to become a nice person. Yes, the reason they grew apart as kids was due to a stupid misunderstanding. We’ve done this song and dance before.

If there is anything here to make this new Silver Link show stand out, it would be in the main characters, The titular Masamune tries to play himself off as a bit of a Casanova. And he succeeds at this, constantly being surprised at what he’s able to get away with just by virtue of being really attractive. And his goal of taking down Aki because she rejected him back when they were six is humorously petty in and of itself. Meanwhile, Aki is a horrible human being who humiliates anyone who dare ask her out by going to the school roof and screaming their deepest secrets over a megaphone for all to hear. Then gives them playground-level insulting names like Molelo or Pudding Prince. These character traits were enough to make me smirk, and kept my attention during the show’s proceedings, but they ultimately do little to mask just how predictable the anime is.

However, that isn’t to say the show is bad. What I am trying to get across is that this show is simply just your average anime rom-com, with no special twists or notable plot elements to speak of. It’s okay. It’s average. There are much worse ways to burn 22 minutes of your time. Personally, I’m fine with shows that are just average. Not everything that isn’t a masterclass work of fiction has to be dismissed as awful or not worth viewing. There’s a gradient in the quality of entertainment, not a steadfast line between good and bad. And in that light, I can recommend Masamune-kun no Revenge as a decent show for those who want to scratch that romantic comedy itch this anime season. Unless the anime takes a hard left away from the manga, the show won’t be going anywhere special. But you won’t have any regrets riding along either. Just remember to reduce your carb intake before viewing.

Oh, and there’s a loli mom in it. Like, the main character’s mom looks like she should be in elementary school. Not sure what that shit is about, but she doesn’t turn up much. Still. Loli mom. Terrifying. Why? I mean, I know I should be used to crap like this but now, but…fine. Whatever. NEXT SHOW! – RacattackForce

Saga of Tanya The Evil

Crom! Grant me revenge!

Crom! Grant me revenge!

Hey remember that Izetta show that kinda fell apart really quickly last season? Well here it is again! Except now its a fake World War ONE, we’re supposed to root for the Nazis, and this witch girl is hitting on Ochaco from My Hero Academia! BIG DIFFERENCE!

So in alternate universe 1924, the Prussian empire is being assaulted on all sides by the good guys of World War I. However those wacky Germans have developed a secret weapon to fight the Allies: flying humans with magic powers!…where have I seen that before? Well anyway, our focus is on a group of mages being led by a nasty little blond bitch named Tanya Degurechaff and her frequently abused subordinate/chief eunuch Serebryakov. Tanya blows stuff and acts all high and mighty about keeping the Sudetenland pure while Serebryakov tries to act brave but mostly tries not get whiped to death by Tanya. So in other words this show really just is a metaphor for the abusive relationship between the two protagonists’ VAs Aoi Yuuki and Saori Hayami and I can only imagine the former was riding the later around like a pony in the recording studio.

So how does one approach a show like Tanya the Evil? If its supposed to be some sort of black comedy, its not very good at it. If its supposed to be another alternate fantasy war series its not giving me any incentive to come back. Really the only thing this fairly terrible first episode had going for it was the animation done by brand new Madhouse spinoff studio NUT. Its really good but really good animation can only you so far (one need only look at Wit Studio’s output for that). And frankly there’s only so much rah rah fascism I can take in this day and age. – Lord Dalek

Schoolgirl Strikers

Nudist Beach for the Disney Channel crowd.

Nudist Beach for the Disney Channel crowd.

First minute goes by, and I think this is going to be yet another show about girls fighting monsters with tacky brightly-colored weapons right out of a Bandai warehouse. Before I decide to doze off and plan to write the review based on whatever daydreams I had from watching the show, it shifts gears and becomes a slice-of-life for 8 minutes. I can’t tell if that’s for the worse or not, because doing that is just changing from one brand of “Oh look, another one of these goddamn shows” to another. As if they know anybody who wants to watch this show will regardless, and don’t need to lure casuals in with an exciting first episode or an intriguing arc. It’s a subtle brilliance on the producers’ part, where they know just as much as the astute viewer does how this is nothing more than a time-filler. Thus, easy money for minimal effort.

Checking the cast on MyAnimeList, I see some familiar faces like Hanazawa, Sawashiro, and other voice actors with more credits than your overly-ambitious debt and loans victim. Many, many familiar voices taking away the jobs of less accomplished voice actors who could desperately use that sweet smartphone money. So yet again, another way to keep viewers in seats without worrying about things like storytelling and characterization, because you can just lure them in with their favorite seiyuus. Then all you have to do is have the entire cast shout “Tsubame-chan!”, and you’ve got enough to keep your intended audience glued. You don’t even need to give them full sentences to say either. Just have Kana Hanazawa say “mm” or “ooh” or “uh”, and you have a successful commercial for whatever dakimakuras or onanholes you’ve got made and ready to ship.

If you’re the kind of person who’s easily amused by girls in silly outfits fighting monsters, or have some odd desire to ship girls together simply for standing next to each other, then go ahead and watch. Partake, engorge, bloat yourself. Then as soon as this finishes, throw it away and completely forget it while you wait for the next one of these shows to come along. Let this steady stream of forgettable, waifu shows be your religion, your mentor, and your lover. And one day, perhaps one day, you will find this show again by chance, tell your friends about it, and then go “Huh, that was a show I liked?” The ultimate legacy for series like these, where all of these production committees and animation studios will eventually wind up making something as insignificant as another mark off a MAL profile. – BloodyMarquis

Seiren

Ikuo gets sick of Jojo references and takes it to the source.

Ikuo gets sick of Jojo references and takes it to the source.

I didn’t watch Amagami when it first aired, or maybe I did watch an episode all those years ago and forgot, whatever. But the point is, I’m not sure I’m of a similar wavelength to these kind of shows. I get the sense people like me will just skim through future episodes and go on 4chan threads to see which characters the main character fucks than having to sit through a dozen 24-minute episodes to find out otherwise. It’s not the shows to blame for it, Amagami, Seiren, or whatever series this creator makes next, since they’re embedded into the J-drama formula of ridiculously slow story-building and hoping the characters can make up for that.

And what do the characters do? Play a game of Life where the main character Kamita goes “the ambiguity on what causes you to piss yourself is the beauty of this game.” Several more lines of dialogue regarding incontinence then there ever should while playing a game of Life. Then it goes into pondering on Kamita’s part as to whether he can accomplish what he wants after high school, because get it? He’s thinking about life while playing Life. Next, he’ll be having a personal financial crisis while playing Monopoly, or not knowing how to word out his feelings when playing Scrabble. That kind of juxtaposition can be done well if handled with self-awareness, but

I do keep wondering when something’s going to happen, but that’s my own fault for not being used to romance anime. But even then, I don’t sense much chemistry between Kamita and the other girls at the moment. He’s got more of a functional relationship between his friend Ikuo at this point, which leads to a few of the other girls thinking he’s “homo or immoral”. Of all the girls introduced, I didn’t see much of a connection between Kamita and either of them. It doesn’t even seem like he wants to romance them, but rather get them to serve him Korean BBQ while in a swimsuit as one of his dream sequences puts it. It’s that and the piss scene that becomes a roadblock for the show’s pursuit of chemistry, troubling for a show that’s otherwise smooth in tone (animation tone, not body tone, though that’s smooth too). – BloodyMarquis

2016
12.12
Remember Naked Brothers Band? That was a shitty show.

Pointy women sexually harass morbidly obese Donny Osmond.

Hiatuses withstanding, Steven Universe is trudging through its fourth season now, full of adventurous twists like Pearl getting a girlfriend who looks like Rose, Garnet singing another song about feelings, the Gems buying Greg a pack of adult diapers, Onion having friends… one of whom is named Garbanzo, yeah, I can’t hold up the facade any longer. Steven Universe has been challenging for me. Not emotionally challenging like “Oh, Peridot doesn’t know how to fit in with human society. My feels!” or stimulating, but annoying. I’ve been annoyed by the show lately, believing many of the show’s distinctive quirks have become its greatest flaws. Not to say I hate the show now, but somewhere along the line the show felt less about an interesting story with multifaceted characters, and more of a plotless trawl where the characters do nothing but be irritating for ten minutes a pop.

One of my issues began with how the plotline about the Cluster and the Gem drills was resolved, all within a single episode just by Steven talking the Cluster into not destroying itself. Yeah, the show’s message is to negotiate with and befriend your enemies instead of resorting to violence, but in one episode? In a ten-minute episode? And instead, that portion of the season was dedicated to Lapis and baseball? The show espouses so many morals about life and love, yet it focuses very little on the precious lesson of “destroying the world would suck”. Alternatively focusing on the same get-along messages that have been repeated out of Steven’s mouth since season 1. It feels like a show so confident in its single view, yet too scared to express anything more advanced or perhaps even question its own ideas. Like how fusion is presented as a beautiful and romantic thing, even when raising uncomfortable questions like Steven and Amethyst fusing into Smoky Quartz. Not to judge, but Amethyst is basically Steven’s big sister. No one’s gonna question that? No one’s going to question how the resolution to Amethyst’s arc about feeling useless is “Hey, let’s boink and turn into a fat black lady”? That’s almost as tactful as having a bee make love to someone’s arm stump to regrow their limb. I know, I know, show aimed at small children. But there are already enough TheMarySue articles and Jon McIntosh videos hailing Steven Universe as a holy grail transcending demographics. When Steven Universe is heralded by adult fans as some shining example of modern storytelling, then it must also be held under the level of skepticism its hubris suggests.

In example, for how every “Message Received” or “Jail Break” airs, there will always be a dozen episodes like “Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service” and “Onion Gang” and “Steven Floats” and so on. Any brilliance from the show is only captured fleetingly, less metaphorical gems in the show’s rough than the literal ones in-universe. One can argue these lesser episodes are for world-building purposes, but the show’s dramatic moments aren’t going to impact me more just because I know who everyone in Beach City is. If anything, I probably care less about them the more the show focuses on their daily lives. The episode about Buddy’s book didn’t teach me anything other than that humans were mostly boorish and unadventurous unless Rose Quartz hangs out with them. I already know that. The show makes great pains to make sure I know that.

And that’s what makes the Stevenbombs sting the most. They’re five-episode portions where only one episode is actually important to watch. Imagine getting an episode of your favorite 50-minute show once in a blue moon, and most of it’s filler. That’s what Stevenbombs more often than not feel like. Like a long trudge through a salad bar where only one tray has anything delicious let alone appetizing. I know these are meant to be the funny, goof-off, slice of life episodes, but Steven Universe is just awful at being funny. I’ve never laughed at a single joke the show’s had to offer. I always found the show more determined when it’s spent working on lore and plot-driven work, whereas its comedy often felt tired and half-assed. No set-up or wit, just characters being weird for the sake of it like quirkiness in itself is a laugh riot. But it’s not funny, and only serves to encapsulate the main cast in their own bubble.

Take “Gem Harvest” for example. Much of the episode’s spent on the Gems being goofy and high-fiving each other while Uncle Andy’s sitting there being alienated and belittled for not being like Greg or Steven. As if we’re supposed to laugh at Andy for being too narrow-minded to accept the Gems at first, but my sympathies sided with Andy for the most part. Take a walk into his shoes, where he meets up with his cousin for the first time in ages only to find out he changed his last name to “Universe”, is friends with multicolored women who claim to be aliens, had a child and didn’t tell the rest of the family, etc. Who in that position would accept all of that? If I were Andy, I would have assumed Greg had joined a cult. But the show never shifts the view to that stance, only focusing on how Steven and the Crystal Gems are trying to accept having a less broad-minded family member for Thanksgiving, almost as if he were a lesser creature they had to civilize. Never a moment of introspection, just blind pity poorly disguised as genuine sympathy.

These show’s attempts at emotion just baffle me at times. Occasionally, they can be touching like when Ruby and Sapphire first fused or that time Amethyst goes to the Kindergarten, but they’re otherwise often full of themselves and one-sided. Moments that don’t hit properly because of lack of nuance or melodrama. I remember an anecdote from Warren Ellis about how he had to drop Battlestar Galactica because he was sick of every plot progression moment involving a character crying. And Steven Universe does just that, with nothing but crying, singing, and everything except for subtlety. I could deal if it was just occasional crying, but it’s like Niagara Falls at times. As if the writers and animators think adding more crying makes the scenes more profound, but they don’t. The show’s attempts at emotional depth aim to be Mr. Rogers but land on Barney and Friends. No unique insight that holds onto your long after the program’s over, but sap like Garnet’s song about breathing.

Many of the recent “sad” moments like Amethyst feeling a lack of self-worth or Steven feeling guilt over poofing Bismuth don’t feel earned. As if they expect you to instantly feel bad for the characters rather than trying to win us over. I know it’s a personal bias, but why should I feel bad for Steven? He’s an annoying kid who thinks singing songs and get-along messages are the best ways to make the world better, which could be better handled with other characters, but badly executing those traits usually results in either loathsome hippie or Kira Yamato. And Amethyst? Remember when she traumatized a still-grieving Greg by transforming into Rose Quartz, and all she got in response was having to clean the garage? The show may well be portraying its characters as morally gray, but it does precious little in doing that throughout, with a seeming “forgive and forget” tone for every time a character does something reprehensible. Oh, Pearl lied about Peridot contacting the Homeworld Gems and risking the world’s safety all to fuse with Garnet on a regular basis? Let’s forget that after a couple Stevenbombs. After all, we can forget about Pearl having to understand that wanting to boink Rose Quartz does not need to be a must for her life and that she can find other pursuits, only to be smitten with a mystery girl who just happens to resemble her Lenore. Let’s just applaud and commend the crew for offering us simple viewers another ship, and not question how Pearl is yet again trapped in her shallow romantic mentality despite several episodes asking her to develop beyond her attachment to others.

Or we could turn this series into yet another shipping show, because that surely worked for Legend of Korra and Gravity Falls. Wasn’t the allure in either of those shows rooted in whether Korra would snog Asami, or Dipper finally realizing that love transcends flesh and blood? Most western animation, most western media, most media, most of civilization, most of the world, most of the known existence has trouble grappling with romance, with most writers assuming romance should interrupt the tension of the rest of the plot than flow naturally alongside it. To Steven Universe’s credit, it can occasionally do romance well. I can believe how Rose and Greg became a couple, and be able to understand Ruby and Sapphire’s chemistry. But then I get shit like Lapidot, Sadie and Lars, or how Malachite was actually an abusive dom/sub relationship between Lapis and Jasper, and I just look away and wonder if the show knows what it’s doing. It’s poorly executed. Comes out of nowhere, with as much care and awareness as that Captain Planet episode about the Middle East conflict. But shipping’s what the fans want, so shipping’s what the creators make. What used to be interesting every once in a while has now become indulgent. So in your face about how in love all the characters are with each other, that I just want to barf. Go on, have a smooch, talk about your feelings occasionally, but don’t let it take over the entire show. Then it becomes just as annoying as having to watch real life people gush about how much they love each other.

But don’t take this as barely-concealed hatred for Steven Universe, because I do enjoy the show when it’s focused. All elements of the show are their best when they focus more on the cosmic than on the mundane, more on the turmoil of the Gem War, less on whatever goes on in Beach City. The Crewniverse or what other cutesy nickname they’re given nowadays, they do much better within the realm of fairy tales than in slice-of-life. We already have more than enough hiatuses to take a breather from the plot. We don’t need the show itself to lose its head and wander in circles. It’s okay if you want to be goofy or silly, but have a point to it all or I may as well be watching the recent seasons of Adventure Time. And God knows nobody wants a show they like to turn into that.

2016
10.14

ClassicaLoid

Sodomize Chevalier John Taylor

Sodomize Chevalier John Taylor

Well, that was cute in a “drunk freshmen try to re-enact I, Claudius” way. So coming off the heels of Osomatsu-san, director Yoichi Fujita gives us a silly anime about classical musicians. It’s like Vocaloids, except they’re not. I don’t even know what they have in common with Vocaloids to warrant the title, but moving on. It’s one of those ideas that you crack as a bad joke when you’re bored, but then somebody decides that should be an actual show. And whether that should be cause for celebration really depends on your tolerance for dull, meandering character drama in the middle of your goofy Beethoven antics.

When they’re not showing footage of Beethoven failing to make dumplings, the show focuses on these two kids named Kanae and Sosuke who come off as bombastic, but not in an endearing way. More of a “Please use an indoor voice or get out” way. Just their mere presence makes a scene irritable, and you just wish they could go die so the Classicaloids get the full stage to themselves. I don’t care about Kanae’s grandma, or Sosuke’s iPad, or how they’ll eventually get together despite how they’re assholes to each other at this point, just give me what happened in the first minute but stretched to an entire show, okay? It’s like ordering dessert at a restaurant, but having your waiter talk about their banal life troubles to you while your dish is being made, and then going on even when you’re eating.

No love for their character designs too. they all look like first draft drawings of Pokemon trainers. Everyone’s so wide-eyed and colorful, but not to the levels like other cutesy shows so it’s all uncanny. They remind me of the shark girl from Orange. For every mark this show hits, it misses two more. Maybe it’ll get more exciting with Bach-sama, or with Tchaikovsky-chan, or with Liszt-san, or with Debussy-sensei, or with Kotzwara-kun, or… – BloodyMarquis

Second Opinion!

I hope Salieri-sempai notices me!

I hope Salieri-sempai notices me!

In this year’s installment of Fujita taking the piss, we have a guy who thinks he’s Mozart and dresses like he’s Miku, and a looney who thinks he’s Beethoven but is really just Gintoki on steroids. The two have invaded some average girl’s house and now refuse to leave much like Edward Gorey’s penguin thing. But that’s ok, her wacky whimsical house with a piano roof and tuba chimney is slated for immediate demoliton. But then Beethoven uses his magic life fiber conductor’s baton to create a poor man’s Manheim Steamroller version of Symphony No. 6 and it all stops making sense altogether.

Well this show is….something. Not really anything worth watching but it is…something. I think the problem is that unlike Osomatsu, Fujita is basically working here without a net. With Osomatsu he had a really, really bad old anime from the 60s to make fun of. Here its just people’s opinions about how stuffy classical music and the people who enjoy it (PS: HI HATERS!) are as opposed to the Vocaloid craze that just doesn’t seem to want to go away (much like the unwanted houseguests of this series). And honestly if I wanted to hear Sugita scream bloody murder about his futility to cook Gyoza, I’d just watch… you know… Gintama.

8/10, too many notes. – Lord Dalek

Drifters

When you're doing sudoku but thinking about war.

When you’re doing sudoku but thinking about war.

Drifters is based on a manga by Kouta Hirano of Hellsing fame, where a bunch of historical figures from various era’s do battle in a fantasy world filled with Elves and Dwarves.

It’s as awesome as it sounds

Immediately the anime throws you into the action with a delightfully bloody battle where Toyohisa Shimazu makes his last stand in Sekigahara, gleefully slaughtering Tokugawa Ieyasu’s forces and even managing to wound one of his generals. A dying Toyohisa wanders into a mysterious corridor with an enigmatic man doing paperwork before going into a door that leads to the fantasy world where he is led by a couple of elves to a small fortress occupied by Oda Nobunaga Nasu Yoichi, who subsequently nurse him back to health . The rest of the episode is devoted to exposition and character introductions, but done in such a way that the result is amusing rather than boring. Right away, Drifters has the violent over the top action and zany characters that made Hellsing a success. The anime’s artstyle faithfully replicates Hirano’s distinct artstyle, and combined with the surprisingly stellar animation by Hoods, and this results in quite the visual treat. Violence has also been surprisingly kept for the TV airing, allowing for the audience to focus on the fights and showing off the gore in spectacular fashion. Music also deserves a special mention, being composed by both Yasushi Ishii (whose score for the original Gonzo Hellsing anime is not only the one thing still remembered from that project, but is one of the best anime OST’s period) and Hayato Matsu (composer of Hellsing Ultimate) leads to a soundtrack that is equal parts jazz, rock, and funk with a cinematic flair. As expected, the characters each are very entertaining, if a bit stereotypical so far. Toyohisa is characterized as a hot-blooded, bloodshed-loving warrior, but done in such a hammy and over-the-top way that I couldn’t help but enjoy his antics. Though not having as much screentime in the first episode, Nobunaga and Yoichi both promise to be entertaining characters, and I can’t wait to see them in action. Like Hellsing before, there is plenty of humour to go along with all the violence, some may be put off by the sudden transitions to SD characters and typical exaggerated facial reactions, but considering how over-the-top the rest of the show and its very premise is, it works in its favor, it certainly helps that Drifters is quite open about what it and its target audience is. Above all us, Drifters, much like Hellsing before it, is fun and promises to be a wild ride, and I couldn’t help but have a grin on my face the entire time watching it.

It goes without saying that Drifters is not only the anime of the season, but potentially of the year as well. If you watch any anime this season that doesn’t have to do with fictional sports centering around boobs and butts, make it this one. – CrimsonRynnec

Gi(a)rlish number

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

So apparently anime industry cringe-com is a genre now. Oh sure there had been examples over the past couple decades but it wasn’t until Shirobako (aka that show everyone bawwwws over that I could never get that far into) hit big that this became a thing. Which brings us to Gi(a)rlish number (yes that’s the real title) AKA Shirobako written by the SNAFU guy. That’s a strike already because I can’t stand SNAFU, so it comes as bit of a surprise to me that Gi(a)rlish number is not only pretty good but surprisingly acidic for what looked like a bubbly girl power com from the promotional art.

Whereas Shirobako was about the tireless underpaid animation department heads, this show centers around three women at various stages of their voice acting careers (don’t worry, they’re just as miserable as the SB girls). Chitose is the noob always lurking around the edges of frames and waiting for a role where she’ll get more than two lines. Momoka is slightly more seasoned enough to know which light novel writer is a lech or just calm and sensitive. And finally there’s Kazuha, the grumpy veteran whose become disinterested/annoyed in both the industry and losers like Chitose who are following in her footsteps. All three of these girls have the same problem, anime is of course dead as the man said, and production higher ups are currently infatuated with endless adaptations of light novels by greasy pervs who only got sales through their books’ illustrators or glorfied advertisements for idol groups. So naturally Chitose finally gets her big break in a show that combines the worst of both worlds…winning!

This is one of the saltiest animes I have seen in many a moon and I gotta wonder who pissed the SNAFU guy off so much that he’s essentially throwing gasoline on a fire to burn it all down. Maybe we’ve finally reached a point in the anime industry where self-reflective contrition is the only way of making sense of it. Even the next episode preview involving the two execs chortling over their success over images of a bored table read that gets more heated as it goes along is both subtle brutal in its irony. A complete surprise winner in a season that gave us the kind of horrible dreck greenlit by the real guys. – Lord Dalek

Flip Flappers

Mmmm, salty coins and milk...

Ahh that distinctive aroma of salty coins and milk…

At one point early on in Flip Flappers, I actually felt like this was Japan’s answer to Stranger Things. A blatantly retro aesthetic, crazy science experiment girls, jet black voids, parallel worlds that exist on top of ours, a hole in a tree, and even a very large demogorgon. If it wasn’t for the lack of Tangerine Dream-knockoff music and Eggo waffles you couldn’t tell the difference.

…oh I kid… this has nothing to do with Stranger Things at all, but since I didn’t bother to do a write-up for Mahou Shoujo Juuichi-chan last July I had to get my quota in somehow this season.

So yeah, Flip Flappers, a quasi-magical girl show in the vein of way too many Hayao Miyazaki movies from those guys who made the abysmal Dimension W earlier this year. Happily though this show feels more like their first effort, Celestial Method, and not that crap. Basically a crazy girl, who looks like the love child of Haruko Haruhara and Birdy the Mighty and owns a flying surfboard and cheesy early 80’s bible animu robot, kidnaps a perfectly normal school girl in the name of ADDDDVEEEENSHA! Said adventure involves scary frozen wastelands, scary frozen monsters, and scary violation of personal space, because cringeness for the sake of cringe?

Plotwise its kinda slight, but man does this show look good. Not quite moe, not quite Studio Trigger levels of overtly cartoony, the visual style works really well for the kind of Europan look they’re going for here. If the storytelling improves now that the initial sense of bewilderment has worn off, we may have a winner here. Then again, Studio 3Hz doesn’t fill me with much confidence over consistancy. – Lord Dalek

Second Opiums

Ritsuko Agaki, the truth is...

Ritsuko Agaki, the truth is…

Flip Flappers is…weird, to say the least. It’s about the adventures of an ordinary girl named Cocona and her energetic newfound friend Papika having strange, surreal adventures in a parallel world. Papika is from a mysterious, oddly named organization called FlipFlap, her mission being to collect mysterious stone shards that can grant any wish, thanks to her energetic and nosey nature, Papika ends up dragging Cocona (whom she somehow knows, despite Cocona not having any recollections of having met her before) along for the ride, much to the latters chagrin. That premise doesn’t really do the show any justice, but rest assured, the execution is strange, bizarre, and above all else, just plain fun and whimsical. The show gives off a suitably surreal, nostalgic vibe that can only be described as “mid-00’s Gainax meets a Ghibli film made during an acid trip” and with a lead like Papika, it’s hard not to make such a comparison. All of this is accentuated with an endearing cast of characters, Papika herself takes the role of the energetic manic-pixie dream girl type character, and her antics manage to come off as innocent and genuinely good natured rather than irritating. Cocona is the typical straight-laced foil with a fairly believable reaction to the events surrounding her, serious about her school and studies and initially wants nothing to do with Papika or her strange world, but eventually warms up to her and accepts the energetic girl’s friendship and promises to go on more adventures with her when she feels like it. Rounding out the initial cast is Papika’s robot sidekick, Cocona’s pet rabbit Uxekull, and her childhood friend Yayaka, who seems to have feelings for Cocona of her own and may end up playing a bigger role in the future.

Really though, Flip Flappers is a show that has to be seen to be belived, go watch it for yourself, and hopefully you’ll be as entertained as I was. Also, the OP and ED were catchy as fuck. – CrimsonRynnec

HEYBOT!

SPLINK!

SPLINK!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

This is apparently a kids show. It airs on Sunday mornings on TV Asahi. It is a comedy about a robot akin to Burn Moerocon! and Kabutack/Robotack. In fact I was expecting to make this writeup nothing but a series of Kabutack jokes because Kabutack is nightmare fuel.

But then, the first five minutes….buttships….so many screws…what did I do…is this actually real?

…so many sexual refferences…

…so many screw puns…

…so much awkward….

PASS. – Lord Dalek

Lostorage incited WIXOSS

*Insert Soviet Russia joke here.*

*Insert Soviet Russia joke here.*

BATERU! BATERU! BATE-nah we’re done with that shit. Okada and her Gen Urobutchi obsessions are out as writer of WIXOSS. Instead we have the writer of PriPara and his Jun Maeda obsessions. Great going Takara Tomy, I feel we’ve reallllly traded up here (/sarc).

So what’s different about Weak Sauce this time around? Quite a lot actually. With Madoka ripoffs on the way out, we no longer have Lrigs that represent Faustian deals with the devil or at least not the kind that blatantly ripped off Madoka. Instead they’re some sort of abstract construct of people’s memories given physical form and allowed to speak complete sentences (no more Tama! YAAAAAAY!) And instead of trying to make their “wishes” come true, Selectors now bet their memories in a mandatory death game for reasons that are as yet unexplained. The punishment is probably amnesia or something as there is no indication that these Lrigs “won” the game at any point in the past. Which makes sense as this season has brought a second big change to the WIXOSS mythos…

Now we have Selectors with dicks!

Yes the first jerkface our heroine (FTR her name is Homura, which is the closest this is going to get to Madoka) faces is basically Winston Payne Jr. A rookie killer/possible rapist who prays on insecure teenage girls with an Lrig even more insecure than said victims. And unlike the crazy fashion plate girl who got her face mangled in the previous series, he still manages to get away with it even after losing. But hey, anything to shake up the status quo with this show.

So is Lostorage an improvement over the incredibly frustrating Selector saga? At this point, I don’t really care. Its still a DARK PERVERSION of Yu-Gi-Oh and its ilk and that means no matter how messed up this timeline is you’re still getting the same show. – Lord Dalek

March comes in like a lion

This scramble crossing is unfamiliar.

This scramble crossing is unfamiliar.

Well well well, its time for the ol’ Shinbo! Head tilts! Random gusts of wind! On-screen text! Artsy fartsy ambitions that go nowhere! Oh have I lusted for it for so long this year. Annoy me SHAFT! Fill me with aggravation and dismay! Incite me with another year of failing to live up to the standard set by Madoka Magica. TAKE ALL MY ANGRY AND MY SORROW AND FLUSH IT UPON THE WORLD! YESS YESSS YESSSSSSSSSSSSZZZZZZZZZZZZ….

!…

…Actually this show is pretty damn normal for some reason. Never mind the fact that the lead character Rei looks more like an amphibian than the kid from Your Lie in April (but not Eden of the East since it has the same character designer). Now I know what you’re thinking : yes this show has got SHAFT Tilts and SHAFT Wind up the wazoo, but there’s a big difference… silence, moody moody silence. Remember how you always got annoyed by all the nonstop talking from annoying characters in Monogatari and Kagero Daze? Well, here’s a show where nobody talks for like 10 minutes. How…not…SHAFT.

You know what else is normal? The fact that this show is sol and has no space battles, hot sisters, or scary monsters. Rei plays shogi. Rei hates himself, some fat fuck breaks into his mailbox. To Be Continued. That’s not much of a plot but, honestly, this is not about the small stuff, its about soulcrushing depression, and its better done than say… Depression Quest. To borrow a phrase from a boring over written Doctor Who episode, in lion, to lose is to win and he who shall win shall lose, and Rei may be the only person whose victory at shogi makes him more miserable with each passing moment. How will it all end? How should I know? At least this is on NHK so it won’t fall into some fan service trap at the very least. Thank god, I can now brush my teeth again. – Lord Dalek

Occultic;Nine

That's fucking bullshit. NEET means you're not being educated, except you just said you're going to high school. That automatically disqualifies you from being a NEET. You ain't no fucking NEET. You a salaryman-in-training, that's what you is, yo! You fucking liar!

That’s fucking bullshit. NEET means you’re not being educated, except you just said you’re going to high school. That automatically disqualifies you from being a NEET. You ain’t no fucking NEET. You a salaryman-in-training, that’s what you is, yo! You fucking liar!

Fast;Pacing
Too;Fast
Speed;Talking
Vroom;Vroom
Speed;Animation
Too;Speedy
Car;Crash
Need;Breath
Shameful;Pacing
Other;Hand
Mutated;Breasts
Yuuki;Kaji
In;Everything
Seems;Like
Persona;Again
Boobs;Though
She’s;Annoying
Why;Raygun?
Hate;Her
Required;Rewatches?
Fuck;That
Wait;Until
Half;Cour
When;People
Who;Sticked
With;Show
Suddenly;Praise
It;As
The;Next
Steins;Gate
But;As
Of;Now
I’m;Scared
Of;This
Show;And
Of;Boob
Girl;Especially
Of;Her
She;Could
Choke;Yuuki
Kaji’s;Character
With;Her
Inflated;Bazongas
I;Like
Kanako;Ito
Though;She’s
Cool;At
Singing;Openings

– Bloody;Marquis

Second Opinion!

Spooky Scary Skeletons gets her all eroge.

Spooky Scary Skeletons gets her all eroge.

Ever had the feeling you’ve watched an anime with the fast forward button stuck in the on position? Well that’s Occultic;Nine in a nutshell. This show literally moves so breathlessly that simply taking your eye off it for more than two seconds will leave you completely confused due to the rapid fire stream of exposition and technobabble. Honestly I have never experienced this before and I’ve watched Monogatari!

So what’s this show about? Well as far as I can tell it involves paranormal investigators and women with gigantic cleavage. One guy is a jobless loser who translates news for shut ins, another is a grouchy academic who’s too cool for school, and there’s a lady who plays the part of the journalism team from Ultra Q. In fact, I think that’s what this is trying to be…Ultra Q if it was Steins;Gate and with more dialogue than your average Shinbo show.

The problem is cramming so much content into your product makes its absolutely incoherent. I started this episode bewildered and I ended it confused and rather annoyed about the whole process. But hey it does look nice as A-1 didn’t half ass the animation this time around. Dem boobz so sakuga. – Lord Dalek

Show By Rock!!#

*crack*RAWHIDE!!!

*crack*RAWHIDE!!!

Ah Show By Rock!!, the anime that proves no matter how stupid Symphogear gets every season there’s always going to be something even stupider the next year. And lord was this as stupid as stupid gets.

So last time, Plasmagica saved the universe from the black pudding thing Dagger and Cyan went home, slightly more assertive but still stuck with her real life moe anime girl Rivers Cuomo chic. And that was a pretty definitive denouement there so what kind of assbackwards creative bankruptness are we supposed to do this season? Simple… rip off the Cell Saga! Dagger’s back and allied himself with a grouchy band of emorockers named Victorious (you know… like Victoria Justice!), the leader of which will eventually become the Dark Empress of Evil or Something and destroy the universe or something (you know… like Victoria Justice!). However a team of time traveling ninjas have pulled a Trunks and warned Plasmagica, Shingan Crimson, and Cristicrista of their impending demises in the oncoming armageddon. All that sounds and fine and dandy and all but what about the real burning question…

WHAT ABOUT CYAN?!?!?

Well a giant robot breaks into her house and shoots her with lasers because anime. ‘k.

Show By Rock!!Hashtag is just more Show By Rock!! in all its derpy dimwitted cgi nendoroid glory. Not a shred of originality, not a ounce of subtlety, not a care in the world. The only problem being that feels more like a ton of backstory infodump episode with Cyan being shoved into a corner at the very end. But then suddenly a leftover Kataphrakt from Aldnoah.Zero shows up and all is right with the world. Consider my brain melted. – Lord Dalek

Yuri!!! On Ice

shoes

Admiral Müller offers a welcome present to his Galactic Empire. Especially Lutz.

Who knew that a show with “Yuri” in the name could make male viewers go gay? Because this is really pretty. The main character is an obese blob, and they somehow made him pretty. I’ve seldom been one to discuss animation in anime (yes, I know how much of a flaw that is when writing about cartoons), but this show’s work is gorgeous. Something expected from film directors like Hosoda all jam-packed into a single episode, hard to believe I wasn’t watching one of those Young Animator Training Project short films but an actual show I’ll be getting on a weekly basis. It’s so… exquisite. “Exquisite” is a word people should rarely use in anime because very few actual shows can truly be that adjective, like calling an anime elegant or debonair or some other English word you use because you don’t want to say “sakuga”, but Yuri!!! On Ice managed to be absolutely exquisite. It’s like watching Michelle Kwan perform in the 1998 Olympics, every detail and stitch sewn in with care. Sayo Yamamoto and Studio Mappa, they’re cool people for doing this.

Just every frame unleashed a warm smile on my face, like getting Christmas presents at December 24th. I know it’s going to be the typical monomyth, about a kid down on his luck, bullied and living like a bumpkin, getting help from his childhood hero and attaining success and blah blah, but that’s for the critical eye long after the show’s over. When the divorce has long since proceeded, and you’re stuck with only fleeting memories as nourishing as cup noodles. But right now, this mind is still engaged. The eye when watching is full of astonishment and wonder, longing for Yuri to become a famous ice skater as much as he secretly wants to. Yeah, aspirational tales are a dime a dozen, but it doesn’t make this show and its characters any less endearing. – BloodyMarquis