2017
08.26

deathnotenatwolff

At last, after over a decade of production talks and Zac Efron scented rumors, we finally have our American Death Note movie. Precious years have been spent to calculate the absolute best way to adapt the series into a film, and all those mountains of research have resulted in a movie where the blind guy from The Fault in Our Stars screams like a little girl for twenty-five seconds. Bask in this new picture, now that the pathos of Death Note has been translated into over the top death scenes worthy of a Final Destination sequel. Where the once genius Light now reveals his Death Note to a girl he only casually knows all so he can get laid. And a climactic series of events that ends with a shop owner smacking L across the back of his head so he can save Kira from the blast of L’s space gun. All those billions of dollars of debt Netflix is currently in was money well spent for this masterpiece of cinema.

Leave it to brilliant director Adam Wingard, creator of such treasured films like that one Blair Witch sequel from last year that everybody forgot, to subvert and mix the familiar tropes we’ve grown tired in Death Note. No longer is Light a young prodigy who could have been destined for greatness, but now a lanky Elliot Rodger wannabe who has no idea how to hide a notebook from anybody. Misa has thrown away her idol trappings to become Mia, an assertive and manipulative young woman who inconsistently switches back to her source material’s personality at inopportune times. And notice how Mia is brunette and Light is blonde, suggesting that the genders and roles have been switched in the relationship between their original counterparts. Or possibly the make up artist fucked up. I dunno. What used to be an aspiring god and his psychotic follower have now become a gaggle of sexually-charged teenagers who use reddit. Truly Wingard’s penchant for modern culture has helped shape Death Note to match our current times. Perhaps in the potential sequel, we will witness Light using tumblr and doxxing tactics to find guilty names to kill.

But let’s not forget about the main villain of our story, Ryuk. Gone is the amoral, but not evil Death God who stayed in the sidelines and watched as Light made a mess out of his godhood. Now he steps forth and takes an active role, alluded to killing federal agents and police officers so the movie doesn’t end at forty or so minutes, until we find out at the last minute that Mia did it all for some reason. As Light’s intelligence has been hampered to reflect Wingard’s view of the modern twenty-one-year teenager, Ryuk and Mia are now our protagonist’s crutch. They are the cane that holds this story from tripping more than it already has. Now, Ryuk has all this cool powers, like the ability to destroy a ferris wheel simply through a wave of his arm. And for that, we must thank Willem Dafoe for what must have been a couple days of voice recording. Not since Marlon Brando’s iconic Superman speech that he refused to memorize and instead read off of a baby’s diaper have we heard such an impassioned performance from a class actor, one that utterly dwarfs his supporting cast and makes them look as qualified as Nickelodeon child stars.

That’s not to besmirch actors such as L’s though, for he makes a grand performance as he fumbles his way to Light during a chase scene almost reminiscent of great works such as Heavy Rain. Focus as L goes out of his way to attack random bystanders during his pursuit for Light, adding some much needed slapstick like shoving a man’s face into a bowl of soup so we as an audience can taste the chaos that is L Lawl—whatever his last name is in this movie. Have a feast for the ears as the movie’s soundtrack switches back and forth from Celine Dion songs to the soundtrack for a future Stranger Things season. Wingard has taken a boy’s adventure comic and turned it into cinema that must be viewed not twice, not thrice, but dozens of time to attain pure enjoyment. With this centerpiece, he has attained quality not seen since the likes of Neil Breen or Len Kabasinski. Make haste with your neighbor’s Netflix password and experience this film as early as you can.

2017
07.31
She's here

I can help!

I don’t like the Avatar comics. Everyone I read had so many large issues and little nitpicks that made Book 2 of Korra look pleasant by comparison. The Search was so bad that I wished they kept the story of Zuko’s mom an unanswered riddle if this was going to be their explanation. I could forgive them if they were just regular tie-in comics written by nobodies I had never heard of, but these were written by Gene Luen Yang, a comic writer whose works I’ve enjoyed. Were The Last Airbender comics just a years-long accident that not even an award-winning author could make readable? Because by comparison, Turf Wars wasn’t that bad. Doesn’t mean it’s great. If you hated the storytelling in Legend of Korra, this won’t change your minds one bit. But Turf Wars at least felt more like Korra than The Search or The Promise felt like the first series. I could at least recognize character interactions as natural progressions from the show, instead of weird dialogue written by people who had seemingly never heard of the Avatar franchise before starting their script.

And I suppose that’s damning with faint praise when it’s Bryan and Mike writing this comic. I will commend them for building a couple character moments for Korra and Asami at the beginning, making their relationship look more fluid than the last-minute hookup in The Last Stand. But immediately after when Korra breaks the news to her parents, well at least they still remember Korra’s headstrong personality. Her calling out Tonraq as narrow-minded and unaccepting just for telling her to watch out for people who might not approve of her relationship and nothing more was aggravating, but predictable. Yeah, another scene where Korra’s an asshole to one of her loved ones just because they’re advising her on what to do. That’s our Korra! But after over five years of plotting and figuring out how to pin down her character, Mike and Bryan seem like they’re still on step one. She’s still this headstrong idiot who jumps to conclusions and constantly has to fix problems she caused herself. If they don’t know what else to do with Korra’s character beyond that, then what’s the point of this comic beyond keeping a franchise from complete dormancy?

Not even the new villains have that same spark that Amon or Zaheer had. Like Wongyong Keum, the capitalist business tycoon who wants to turn the spirit-inhabited parts of Republic City into an amusement park so he can bilk money from tourists. He’s that corrupt business villain you’ve seen in hundreds of other cartoons, except you can’t even get the joy of hearing a voice actor give a smarmy, over the top performance. Even when Asami chews him out for walking out on a deal with her father years ago, he doesn’t even have the sense to remark that her father was a terrorist at the time. He’s just a bad guy we’re supposed to boo because he likes money more than others’ well-being, and does nothing to justify his behavior or actions. I liked him better when he was Book 2 Varrick.

Then we have Tokuga, the ruthless young upstart who’s taking over the gangs in Republic City. He has those curved swords that Jet used back in the day, so maybe the next issue will say he’s his great-great nephew or something. And he’s a chi blocker too, in case you missed Ty Lee or the Equalists too. You might be thinking “But neither Jet nor Ty Lee were serious threats by themselves. What does Tokuga have that they don’t?” Cunning? Savvy that previous Avatar villains lacked? Well guess what? He gets infected by a spirit and grows a tentacle arm and a fish face. And his fish face looks a little like burn scars, so he’s Zuko too! That’s your new main villain of the story. Fuck you. Be happy he doesn’t have some secret fifth bending ability that’s never been seen before. At least, I hope not.

Oh yeah, Zhu Li is hinted to be running against Raiko for Republic City president. I assume Bryan and Mike will find a way for him to say “Make Republic City Great Again” or “bigly” or some other wink to the readers. Perhaps he’ll literally drain the Swamp? I’m sure we’ll all remember this subplot when the next part comes out six months from now. On the kind of bright side, at least Bolin joins the police? Depends on what you think of Bolin though. Even if you liked Bolin, his bit in this comic isn’t much. They could have said he was away trying to resurrect his film career and no one would have noticed he was gone. Ditto for Mako. He was a nonentity too, and I wonder what place he has in the series anymore. Book 1 painted him as Korra’s central love interest, but that’s completely gone now, and he hasn’t any real character arc since then. We already have Lin if we want a crime subplot, so what can you do with Mako? For all its worth, at least the comic treats him better than Tenzin, whose role as Korra’s mentor dissipated early into the show and never resolidified since. They don’t even need him as an airbending master now that Jinora and Zaheer are around. He may as well have died during that fight with the Red Lotus in Book 3. I would have preferred that since it would have drastically increased the emotional stakes in that season.

But let’s get to the main point, and the reason why anybody’s talking about this comic: Korra and Asami’s relationship. While I like that the comic gives them some relationship moments, many other scenes feel too on the nose. The first nine pages are dedicated to reminding us that Korra and Asami are in love, and then we’re treated to exposition regarding the Avatar world’s stance on gay rights that feel dissonant in light of Korra’s relationship with Asami back in the show. I liked how subtle that last scene in the series where Korra and Asami express their feelings to each other was, and Turf Wars feels like it wasn’t to 180 and make it as obnoxious to watch as Korra’s previous bouts with love. Like the writers want to make up for lost time by shoving in as much relationship drama as there was for Korra and Mako back in the show. Romantic subplots have never been Bryan and Mike’s strong suit. Maybe if they made some strides in furthering Korra and Asami’s individual personalities first, so when they’re together it creates all sorts of chemistry. But for now, it just feels like the book congratulating itself for making Korra and Asami a couple instead of showing why they’re in love and how this changes them both as people. As if the comic itself were a gold star the show patched onto a paper because it was so proud of its efforts. But in doing that, the story itself feels like it’s retreading old ground instead of going to new journeys. If this is what we’re going to get from Korra, maybe Bryan and Mike should have started an entirely new comic about an Earth Kingdom Avatar to let some new air flow in.

2017
07.16

Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project

The next generation of Wake Up Girls, where they bring up the Srebrenica Massacre instead of 9/11.

The next generation of Wake Up Girls, where they bring up the Srebrenica Massacre instead of 9/11.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

…Pfft, okay. What’s the real name of this show?

Wait, this show is seriously called “Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project”?

…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Okay, so, BGHS:BSP is exactly what you think it is. It’s an anime about a bunch of girls who fight battles in futuristic armor against some alien threat while also going to a high school where they learn how to fight battles. It’s painfully dull and I found myself resisting the urge to open up another tab and just scroll through Tumblr on multiple occasions. No, scratch that. I gave into that urge about halfway through the first episode because everything was such a slog. One big problem is that the first episode quickly introduces us to about twenty girls and makes it impossible to learn anything about a single one of them outside an archetype such as “gamer” girl or “slightly cuter than the other girls” girl. Another is that the episode doesn’t give us anything to latch onto and care about as an audience. Oh, the girls are fighting worse than they usually do? But they still beat the threat in a curbstomp battle, so why should we care? Oh, these two girls are going to get their respective clubs shut down by the school? Wait, nevermind, a friend is going to pull some strings for them. Oh, the episode ends on the shock reveal of another battle girl? I certainly can’t recall the names of any of the girls as it is, so why are you giving me another one?

“Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project” is nothing but a commercial for a smartphone game. It’s not a good show. It’s not even bad in a humourous way. It’s a lame show that’s exactly what it says on the tin. Most of you have probably been ignoring this show or weren’t aware of its existence. You may continue doing that. Those that are contemplating watching it right now? Do what you like, but trust me when I say your time is better spent elsewhere. – RacattackForce

In Another World With My Smartphone

There is no way out of here. It will be dark soon.

There is no way out of here. It will be dark soon.

As you can surmise from the obscenely long (but not as long as that forgettable WorldEnd garbage from last season) title, this is based off a light novel. A light novel where a dorky NEET dies in a freak accident and then gets reincarnated in a fantasy land where a bunch of women immediately fall for him and RPG cliché parody hijinx ensue. In other words….. its Konosuba….again.

What’s worse…its the BAD version of Konosuba…

.

..

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??? KONOSUBA WAS ALREADY THE BAD VERSION OF KONOSUBA!!! WHAT DOES THAT MAKE THE GOOD VERSION?!? TANYA THE EVIL??? PLEASE DON’T SAY YES. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…

(ahem)

Well anyway, normal guy gets sent to magic land with one request, to be able to use his phone despite having no coverage whatsoever (surprisingly despite being in the title, that fact barely comes up in the plot at all). He quickly shacks up with a pair of Rem/Ram clones and goes into freelance monster hunting because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do RPG-pastiche lands like this. Infodumps and moe follow punctuated by absolutely awful eyecatch-esque transition cards. Splendid.

There is nothing worth watching here and I say that as somebody who tried to watch Konosuba past the first episode and crawled into a fetal position as a result. Its like somebody read Konosuba, said “Hey you know what this needs to be more like? Sword Art Online!”, and this was the result. Take out the blatant sexism and cringecom and replace it with a bland overpowered protagonist and a bland overpowered battle harem (as opposed to the underpowered, mentally challenged harem of that other show). And just for zest give main dude Kirito’s coat but flip the colors because we don’t want to give it away ahahahahahahaha…Yeah no. – Lord Dalek

Koi to Uso

But they're like an open book.

But they’re like an open book.

What if, to fight declining birth rates, the Japanese government assigned everyone a marriage partner as soon as they turn sixteen by way of genetic matching? And what if two teenagers who are in love with each other find themselves matched with other people? Well, you’ll get an interesting wrapper for your love triangle story.

I’m a bit weird when it comes to romance works in that I have yet to nail down what elements I’m fine with been added on top of the story. It’s the reason why while everyone else was heaping praise upon “Your Name” last year, I was sitting there wondering why the hell they added time travel to body swap romance story. I’m not sure how I feel about the inciting incident for story being the result of government mandated marriage (something which actually leaves a lot of plot issues up in the air all on its own). But that might actually be secondary to the fact that this first episode didn’t do much for me in wanting to see Nejima and Takasaki become a couple. I’m not saying that they don’t have chemistry, but I am saying that the show’s introductory episode failed to let us know enough about these two for me to actively root for their attempt to get past some asinine babymaking system. They may look cute together, but they developed crushes on each other because Nejima gave our main heroine half an eraser several years back. I need a bit more than that before you can tell me that these two are meant to be.

But at the same time, I can’t be too hasty here. Romance stories are slow burns by their very nature of needing such relationships to develop over the course of weeks and months within the narrative. If you rush it, then it doesn’t feel as real as it should be. And so I hesitate on passing substantial judgement on “Love and Lies” right now. Especially since, despite what I’ve said about not feeling invested, I don’t think the show has a bad start. Just an average one that is a bit hampered by a silly premise. Maybe things pick up in the second episode? Maybe not. All I know is that the government marriage thing just sounds like eugenics. I mean, the show itself even says that part of the goal is to increase overall IQ. That should probably be acknowledged by someone in the show, just saying. – RacattackForce

Made in Abyss

Rude.

Rude.

One of the things that I pay close attention to when reading, watching or playing fantasy or science-fiction works is how they go about explaining the nature of their world within the first five minutes, and how well they accomplish such a task. After all, these are genres that not only have the task of establishing the tone of the piece and introducing us to the current situation, but also relaying what makes this world so different from ours. It’s a huge task that can be easy to screw up, resulting in our audience losing interest. Too much explaining and you’ll find your reader/viewer/player bored out of their minds. Too little, and they’re confused. Finding out how much you need to immediately make clear, and the proper method to give this information, is a difficult tightrope act. And considering how “Made in Abyss” was the only show this season whose description piqued my interest, I’m happy that it manages to pull it off.

“Made in Abyss” takes place in an alternate world where exists an island in the South Sea that hosts a kilometer-wide pit that goes only-God-knows how deep into the Earth. The characters reside in a town on the edge of this hole known as the Abyss, with the sides of said pit being host to a beautiful forest world that’s full of ancient treasure to discover and monsters to encounter as you go deeper down. It’s an enticing call to adventure that’s tinged by the fact that this is also a world where stringing up naked children at the top of a building for disobedience and forcing the more rowdy ones to live in actual torture chambers. In this way, the world of “Made in Abyss” is at once alluring yet fills you with a sense of apprehension, immediately priming the viewer to expect the narrative to become darker and more serious as things progress. It is a welcome warning that is communicated well and makes me curious as to what exactly will be happening as we uncover the mystery of what this hole in the ground is, where Regu the robot boy came from, and just what happened to Riko’s mother.

The skill with which the tone of the series is established extends to other aspects of the universe as well. Terminology is dropped with just the right context such that the audience can understand what the characters are talking about. Characters are introduced to the audience in a natural, low-key way, either through simple conversation or short actions that perfectly communicate who these people are and the history they have with each other. Any questions raised as you watch the program are either answered in short measure or are mysteries that the characters themselves are searching for the answers to. Oh, and this isn’t a narrative thing, but this is almost worth watching just for the visual design alone, with background and character designs that wouldn’t look out of place in a book of fairy tales. Watching the first episode of “Made in Abyss” was an incredibly pleasant experience, especially in comparison to some of the show this anime season, and I happily recommend you check it out. – RacattackForce

Mahoujin Guru Guru

3rd Gig still never happening. ;-;

3rd Gig still never happening. ;-;

(my apologies to Italian weeaboos who grew up with this show)

No, seriously. Someone stop with these time slips. I already had to deal with early 2000s softcore yaoi, now I have to go through pre-Pokemon 90s children’s anime that spoofs Super Famicom JRPGs? I can’t wait for what next season of anime unfolds. Maybe a mecha show that hearkens back to the Voltes V and Daimos, or a Rose of Versailles pastiche, or perhaps that Gridman show can come out early? Just something else that captures that memory of going to a Chinese supermarket and finding VCDs of anime I had never heard of, alongside those used copies of Dragonball GT where Baby Vegeta looks off model on the cover, and the Mandarin subtitles are burned in.

Anyway, about this show? They keep saying “yuusha” over and over again, almost as if it was a verbal tic, or they were begging for that Maoyu Mao Yuusha show to come back. They say it in almost every sentence, and I almost wanted to mute the audio so I didn’t have to hear them say it again. Maybe it’s meant for the kid audience who won’t get what this show’s about unless you repeat it a hundred times. Or some in-joke to some early internet meme I was never made privy to. But it’s probably the former, since they rush shit so hard in this show. I can’t help but think this was an entire season of that old 90s show adapted into a single episode, because this show needs to sit down for a time out, possibly get some Ritalin or some other bootleg medication to that effect. It’s annoying, candy-colored, loud, and makes me want to hide in a corner until some brave dubbing company gives it a gag dub like that Shin-chan thing from a decade ago. Because this is giving me back a couple childhood memories I didn’t want back. Now please go away. – BloodyMarquis

My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Now its dark.

Now its dark.

When shows are “highly anticipated”, its usually due to a lot pre-existing hype. Either because its an adaptation of a very popular work, its a sequel to something that did rediculously well in its last go around, or it has a bunch of all-star names working on it. In this case, its an apparently very popular manga. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never heard of Hajimete no Gal until it got announced a couple months ago. So I’m out of the loop here and have to go on what I see before me. And what I see…is complete garbage.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here. HnG is the second coming of Eiken. Oh sure its not over the top disgusting as Eiken but its Eiken none the less. Boobs! Pervs! Skanks! Torture! Shame! Indifference! Its like a death march through an endless oppai gauntlet. Only television censorship of the quality seen in another piece ecchi hell I remember from years past called “Imoucho” keeps me from feeling like I’m going to jail for creeper bait.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that this is supposed to be some sort of prequel to Prison School. This is the only way to explain the hellish depravity on display here. I can only take solace in the idea that the male protagonists are going to end up getting whipped to death by women with bigger cup sizes than this horrific lot. Now somebody out there fly to Japan and throw this show into the same furnace that Doraemon ’71 ended up in. It would be a fitting punishment. – Lord Dalek

 

Princess Principal

THE OMELET WAS A LIE.

THE OMELET WAS A LIE.

THE HORROR. THE HORROR.

I knew nothing of what it is was that I had I clicked on. All I had was a title: “Princess Principal”, clearly an adaptation of some dating sim. I bet they were all the player character’s sister or something. But then a single name came on the screen and my face became pale and numb. I could not feel a single bone in my body for the amount of terror had canceled out every nerve and every neuron in my body. It was a name I had seen many years before. The first time was on a show where a very thin man did some sort of hand trick and made his eye glow, it had been very popular but its fans contracted conjunctivitis some time later and all died. Then there was a show about a guy named Shoe who’s pop idol girlfriend was actually his sister leading to Oedipus complex or something. And then there was this show about giant robot vampires who had to rape each other to survive because amnesia or something. This last show was the one. The one that made me want to die most of all. And he wrote it. This man…this “Ichirou Ohkuchi” was one of the banes of my existance. Only Reki Kawahara and Nisio Isin had caused more emotional distress and feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Knowing this I wanted to turn away, but I had to press on and for my sins I did.

The show was set in a steampunk world not too disimilar from that of the author’s earlier work involving codes and gasses. Little girls from a Black Lizard Planet (a scary sounding place as any) were trying to escort a man in a bowler hat out of the country. Actually they were all just spies, exactly for whom I did not know. It was ultimately just a harem show with thick bodices and goth lolitas. People talked and talked but nothing made sense. Nevertheless there was an eye condition causing mental instability so it clearly fit in with the writer’s previous works. The outcome too was predetermined, the little girls killed everyone and I felt nothing. I am no fan of loli assassins, and this example was one of the more…how would you say… “half-assed”.

Princess Principal was bland, drab, and soulless. It was nothing more than a stream of half-baked cliches I had seen in other works. I found myself unable to write much on it so the only way was to do some sort of Conrad/Lovecraftian pastiche on the matter. I had reached that level of uncreativity that the show itself was already existing on. It was only a matter of time that I would want to watch something like Unbreakable Machine-Doll again. And that thought was the one that made me wretch.

THE HORROR. THE HORROR. – Lord Dalek

2017
07.09

18if

18if.png

18if.png

This is perhaps the single most bizarre show I have yet done in the five years since I’ve started writing articles for the seasonal clusterfuck. Watching I had absolutely no idea what was going on, who any of the characters were, or where the hell it was supposed to be going And yet… I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of it. That is how utterly absurd 18if really is. It simply dares you to look away and not in the car accident in progress style of Hand Shakers or something of that ilk. No this is just…what?

Sooo this is about an asshole who gets stuck in a dream world dominated by witches who come out of his cellphone. Said witches are really just tsunderes who wish to punish him for his lack of sincerity. Killing the witch kicks them out of the dream world and our jerkface keeps repeating the process until…I don’t know…SOMETHING! Also there’s a talking cat played by Koyasu that the Tsundere Witch of the Week ™ turns into a cake and eats.

If I were to be offered a guess, I would think this was Gonzo’s attempt at a Modoka/Date-A-Live hybrid with a little Persona thrown in for zest. That makes it far from the most original show around and yet it kinda feels a bit refreshing. It seems to me that this is largely due to the OTT presentation and not its rather limpid production values (of course it looks like crap, its Gonzo!) I cannot say for the life of me if this was a good show (leaning towards “It was ok”) but I am vaguely intrigued enough to come back.

Also Theron hates it. It must be good! – Lord Dalek

Akumajou Dorakyura

1387574288552

Wow this is the moe hit of the season! A gender flipped tsundere named Vorado Tepeshu isn’t too happy when his wife gets burned at the stake! A bara named Rarufu Shi-Berumondo is hired to make friends with him because Vorado’s temper tantrums are turning the sky red! However a yandere named Cipher Farnandez wants to date Rarufu too! And what’s this? Vorardo has a hot son?!? OOOOOH LOVE TRIANGLE!!!

This is apparently an adaption of an old Family Computer vidcon from the 1940s or something. I’ve never heard of it! And who the heck is Ko-nami? I though they only made pachinko! Why can’t they make an animu of my favorite pachinko game Metaru Geah? Everybody knows that game didn’t get good until they added ZOOOMMMBIES! Hur hur hur!

I don’t know why its in English though. Who are those people?!? Why is that guy played by a dwarf? Definitely 10/10 show will watch again! Now why do none of the buttons on my tv work?!? DO YOU HAVE TO EXPLOIT A FLAW IN THE SYSTEM!?!? — DarkSydePhivator

But seriously folks…

Castlevania is FUCKING AWESOME. Its written by Warren Ellis and stars Richard Armitage as the coolest Tevor Belmont ever. In fact the whole cast is awesome. Kinda makes me sad this is just animated as it would be the best video game movie of all time. Only drawback is that its only four episodes long and doesn’t even get very far into the plot of Castlevania III which this is an adaption of. But hey! Netflix liked what they saw and have already greenlit a second season. Best anime of the season and I don’t care if it was actually made in Texas. — Lord Dalek

Convenience Store Boyfriends

Episode didn't load. So fuck you, here's a poem.

Episode didn’t load. So fuck you, here’s a poem.

Pry open the doors, and I enter my
Oral Sanctuary.
O, Convenience Store.
Full of chips, drinks, and wings.
Lukewarm pizza, stale nachos.
Makes my arteries sing.
And my blood into gazpacho.
Cashier looks at me like a dog looks at its master.
I wish to pet him, but my hands are only for buffalo, not for dogs.
I demand this wage slave give me wings.
Wings by the dozen. Wings by the barrel.
I am beyond a mortal man. I am a god of wings.
I stare as he places each wing into a box.
Each treasure into a chest.
But then he gives me one extra wing.
One extra wing.
One extra wing.
Insert verse that vaguely involves politics.
One extra wing.
My feelings change. He is no longer a dog.
He is now my lust.
I move to give him a kiss.
But his soft lips reply to me,
“What the fuck are you doing, you freak?”
He smacks me, pushes security alarm on the back.
My hands grab the box. My mind steals the wings.
But he has stolen my heart.
His anger. Only a delay in my path. Only a delay.
Soon, cashier will be as easy to chew as a wing.
When I have him as my wing,
I can finally fly
Flexing my wings, buff and low.
– Nozomi

Fate/Apocrypha

Twin Peaks: "The Return Part 8" Director: David Lynch, 2017

Twin Peaks — “The Return: Part VIII” Dir.: David Lynch, 2017

As I write this I’m already hard at work on another one of my semi-monthly editorials about what grinds my gears about the anime biz at home and abroad for Geek Soul Brother. This month’s subject is about what I perceive to be how various streaming companies are, in their effort to clamp down on various fansub groups and 5th market streaming sites, basically shooting themselves in the foot through egomania and baffling decisions as to when and where you’ll be able to watch shows legally. Case in point: Fate/Apocrypha, the latest installment in Kinoko Nasu’s ever popular waifu-bait franchise which will be hitting our shores… IN NOVEMBER from Netflix. And what has this managed to accomplish? Why dragging an officially dead subgroup out of the crypt in the shape of UTW of course! Great job Netflix, you’ve brought us back to the good ol days of 2004. No wonder Saiyuki got a new season!

Well might as well get it out of the way I guess. In an alternate universe where Indiana Jones is apparently canon, the Holy Grail War ended when the Nazis stole the bloody thing in the Third War back in the 40s. That hasn’t stopped various factions to stage their own sad pathetic knockoff Grail Wars for…honestly I’m not sure. However, a nefarious organization called Yggdillennia led by the now-immortal nazi responsible for the Grail’s initial disappearance has arisen and challenged the forces of good to a seven on seven Grail War for control of the genuine article. To make matters worse, said Nazi has surrounded himself with an army of off-brand Trade Federation battle droids and poor schlubs stuck in bacta tubes for easy mana. Ultimately though its just an excuse to introduce our new Saber, now commanded by some burly dude who seems to have had a run in with Wolverine or something. Hint hint, she kinda killed her mom.

If that description seems sketchy at best its because literally nothing happened in this episode. And by that, I mean nothing but infodumps. We’re introduced to several characters we know next to nothing about except for one dude who I think is Waver and a priest who bares a very strong resemblance to Shirou Emiya…albeit with Kotomine’s hair cut. Hmmmm. Otherwise its basically the first episode of Fate/Zero again albeit with one major drawback…its half as long. While Zero had a whole hour to develop the various factions descending on Fuyuki City, this show throws us in head first requiring either a viewing of any of the previous tv series (well except Prisma Ilya) or suffering through the actual game. Its disorienting to say the least.

Production wise, Apocrypha is a big, and I mean BIG, drop from Unlimited Blade Works. With Ufotable still making their Heaven’s Feel movies, Type-Moon had to farm this one off to A-1 and the results are not pretty. Remember that dynamic feature film quality animation? Well its gone now. In its place is the usual stiff low frame rate crap we’ve come to expect from the perpetually overrated A-1. And while never quite reaching the abyss that was Deen’s work on the franchise you’d be compelled not to think this wasn’t some cheap Hong Kong knockoff of Fate, maybe made by Tencent.

When it comes down to it though, the main problem with Fate/Apocrypha is right there in its title. Its simply aprocryphal. In no way are you getting a decent Fate experience out of this episode. Maybe that’s why it won’t be available legally until November. Aniplex didn’t want you to complain about having to wait 7 days for another half hour of nothing. Sounds like a plan. – Lord Dalek

Dive!!

Don't get your hopes up.

Don’t get your hopes up.

Dive!! is this season’s noitaminA show. Remember noitaminA? That awful fake-artsy josei block that we all kinda forgot about after Ranpo Kitan? Well now they’ve dumped the fake-artsy part and gone full on fujoshit. And what better way to do it than ripping off the most popular piece of fujoshit around, Free! I mean its so timely, everybody loves Fre-

…I’m sorry, I’ve just been informed Free! hasn’t been popular in over five years and we’ve all moved on from gay swimmers to gay figure skaters. Smooth Fuji TV, real smooth.

Well anyway… here’s a show about gay platform divers! Local Shota Tomoki wants to get it on with his sempai Youichi but he’s got a problem. The diving club both are members of has hit rock bottom in both finance and morale. But Tomoki’s too busy moping over his memories of when Youichi’s pecks gave him the courage to jump into their amazingly badly done CGI pool. There’s also some girl who’s trying to cock block that yaoi but like any of that matters.

This show is bad. Very, very bad. The animation (by Zero-G, whoever the hell they are) is stiff and lifeless, proving KyoAni really are the masters of hot pecks hitting cool water in anime. But then again KyoAni actually animated their water. The entire platform is CGI and terrible CGI at that. It reminded me of that Alice & Zouroku show from last year and you all remember how greeaaaaaaaat the CGI was in that show. But the main problem with this episode is its pretty painfully dull. Nothing really happens until the last 30 seconds and by then I have completely checked out from Tomoki staring at Youichi with his drippy blue eyes. And that reminds me of another major problem with this show, the character designs. They’re butt ugly! There hasn’t been a cast of disfigured creeps this bad since Ping Pong I swear.

Come back Pimp-Kun, all is forgiven! – Lord Dalek

SAIYUKI RELOAD BLAST

YOUR CHILDHOOD SUCKED.

Saiyuki enters the Post Attack on Titan-era

Well well well, look who came crawling back. You know honestly, I cannot believe I’m actually writing up a season of fucking Saiyuki. You know how long ago the last one was? 2003! I WAS A FRESHMAN IN COLLEGE! Marquis was probably learning arithmetic! Lum was probably still sucking off his mother’s tit! FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS! Hell both companies that released this shit went out of business and one of them almost killed the industry altogether! That’s how far apart we are from the awful anime of that era. Therefore the only way to crown this awful era is to make brand spankin new Saiyuki Reload!

So in case you’ve banished this chapter of your Anime Club life to the back of your memory, a brief refresher. Gensoumaden Saiyuki is a very loose retelling of Journey to the West set in a vaguely modern day world and replacing the three anthropomorphic animals with pretty boys, and the pretty boy priest with a not-so pretty boy who smokes too much. Also they now drive a hummer instead of riding horses because horses are shit now. To be fair the show recaps all of that because again ITS BEEN FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS, but as there’s hardly anything else to talk about I needed the filler.

So Priest Sanzo, Son Goku (yes THAT Son Goku), Hakkai, and Gojyo are still hunting demons, unable to go back to Shang-ri-la until they’re all dead. This clearly hasn’t been working out for them though as they’re currently starving to death and forced to depend on the “hospitality” of yet another dumpy village with a deep dark secret(tm)…which really doesn’t matter because they quickly split after killing some demons. Shaky cam! Grainy effects! Blood splatters! Butt rock! Its like the Bush years never ended!!!

If I can say anything at all about this show, its that its a pretty textbook reintroduction episode. No plot, basic characterization, enough to give you a basic taste of a standard Saiyuki episode without dumping the baggage of Saiyuki’s ongoing storyline on top of you. In that regard its a roaring success with one small problem…this is Saiyuki and Saiyuki was NEVER GOOD. The Sanzo party is a bunch of unlikable ciphers who either crack crappy jokes or argue insistently with each other. The village is just as forgettable, a mere pit stop that the gang has to visit in order to wash up for their new tv contract. No better is this illustrated than in the reaction of one of the town elders going “WTF was that about” as they drive off into the sunset. I feel his pain. I really do. – Lord Dalek

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan

CORRECTION: You can show that in a Christian manga!

CORRECTION: You can show that in a Christian manga!

Did I wander into a time portal again? Because this feels so early 2000s, I felt as if I was watching this on the AZN Network. Flashy art. Obsessive subtitle naming of every character (except some of the women). Unsubtle yaoi subtext. Christianity allusions that are well researched but still feel off somehow. Angsty shower scenes where somebody flashes back to their ailing little brother. I know some of those tropes aren’t confined to that specific time period, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen them all at once like this. Maybe it’s meant to be a throwback, to appeal to older disillusioned anime fans. But they couldn’t think of anything actually interesting, so they just made what was popular back over a decade ago and expected people to latch on purely through indirect nostalgia. To the kind of people who made Trinity Blood AMVs with whatever Evanescence song they had in their folder.

Just like that Altair show airing on the same day. Even though they look completely different, they blur together for me. Mostly because nothing really stands out in either of these shows, besides the occasional fanservice, phallic imagery, or odd animation. They’re the hot pockets of pretty boy anime, not even actual hot pockets, but the knockoff hot pockets you buy at a 7/11 because you want to pretend that you’re living dangerously when in fact you’re giving yourself stomach pain for no good reason. Ironically fitting that a Christian anime is as boring as actually going to church. You’d probably find more amusement from those cartoons Christians make that rerun alongside Bibleman and Gina D’s Kids Club.

I guess give it a watch if you want something that makes Catholicism less interesting than an episode of Mother Angelica. Or if you’re really horny but also patient horny so you can wait 12 weeks for potential gayness, then be disappointed that it’s just implied instead of outright there so you feel like you wasted your life on an anime about gay priests. – BloodyMarquis

2017
07.05

Sup, NEETs? We're back for more.

Sup, NEETs? We’re back for more.

Aho-Girl

You can't even get out of bed on your own, you'll forgive us for being skeptical that you can wipe yourself.

You can’t even get out of bed on your own, you’ll forgive us for being skeptical that you can wipe yourself.

Aho-Girl succeeds where Aoyama-kun fails. It takes a character defined by their exaggerated quirk and pushes the limits of what you can do with them in creative and unpredictable ways. Maybe it’s helped by its 11-minute runtime, but I didn’t tire of the comedy even though there’s a clear formula: Yoshiko does or says something stupid, there’s a banana joke or sexual harassment or both, and then Akkun hits her. It’s a really obvious formulaic structure that they just repeat a few times throughout the episode, but each time they execute it in a way where the repetitiveness doesn’t distract.

Yoshiko is such a larger than life idiot that everything she does defies common sense and your expectations of how dumb she can get. Poorly pasting her face onto pictures of models in a porn mag so Akkun will get aroused? It’s just so dumb, but her honest enthusiasm in everything she says and does, no matter how inane or mean-spirited, somehow makes her more endearing than obnoxious. It helps that she receives regular comeuppance from Akkun’s physical and verbal put-downs. These admittedly tip-toe the line into uncomfortable domestic abuse territory, but here it always feels justified and was hilarious in how over-the-top and dramatic they’d be.

Aho-Girl is the kind of mean-spirited one-joke comedy that you’re either going to find hilarious or horrendous. I like my comedy a little mean and love seeing sociopaths screw around, so I fall on the former side. I got some real great belly laughs out of this episode and love the kind of kooky character Yoshiko is and the great sarcastic sardonic contrast provided by Akkun. It might wear out it’s welcome in a marathon, but a short weekly 11-minute dose of it stands to be a great pick-me up after a grueling Tuesday workday. Aho-Girl is good dumb fun, and while it’s no Konosuba, we can always use one of those kind of shows every season. – LumRanmaYasha

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun

Aoyama-kun either must have a really dirty ass, or really like it up his.

Aoyama-kun either must have a really dirty ass, or really like it up his.

Aoyama-kun is trying to take a Sakamoto-esque inhumanly “perfect” character and make him the lead of a shonen sports comedy. It’d be interesting if it committed to one direction, because the execution flounders on both fronts. Aoyama-kun’s jokes are predictable and repetitive series of Aoyama obsessively cleaning things, people over-reacting and yelling really loud, and devolving into a super-deformed chibi-style. The latter is usually a pretty good sign that a series’ sense of humor is pretty unoriginal, because it’s banking on the fact that the audience will find chibi sequences inherently cute and humorous simply from the aesthetic. Instead it just feels trite, and the series overuses these moments to the point of formula. Even the episode’s punchline, where it’s revealed that Aoyama only attended the school because their toilets had bidets, is so obvious that it just doesn’t land. The series seems really fond of taking one joke based around a character’s quirk, like Aoyama’s obsession with cleanliness or the rival’s obsession with his pecs, and running that joke into the ground with incessant repetition. Aoyama-kun’s jokes are rarely funny the first time, and far less every time they’re repeated.

It doesn’t work as a compelling sports narrative either. While Aoyama proves he’s dedicated to playing soccer by the episode’s end, most of the runtime is him either being literally untouchably perfect or frustratingly immobile, so he’s not a particularly compelling protagonist. Maybe we’ll learn why he’s even playing soccer when he’s such a germaphobe in the future, for the moment he just doesn’t seem dedicated or motivated enough in a way that a sports series protagonist really needs to be.

Aoyama-kun could’ve worked if it committed to its comedic angle and took Aoyama-kun’s obsession with cleanliness to absurd extremes. But the series breaks its commitment to its premise by the end of the first episode, showing that Aoyama is capable of getting dirty when he needs to. That really removes the only thing providing a sense of stakes to the sports aspect of the series and mitigates the grounding of the comedy. It’s not unwatchable, and you might get something out of it if you really like chibi-style comedy and shirtless dudes. But I was actually in the mood to watch a soccer anime after reading Shudan!, and it wouldn’t have taken much to get me on board for one. If Aoyama-kun couldn’t endear me, it’s unlikely to impress anyone else.

I do like the ED, which plays homage to classic sports anime aesthetic. If the show was centered around that gimmick, then maybe it’d at least have more charm. – LumRanmaYasha

Fate/Apocrypha

Well, be careful what you wish for...

Well, be careful what you wish for…

This sure was the first episode of a Fate show. Lots of exposition, over explaining the grail war, a needless convoluted conflict between multiple factions, all ending with the summoning of the servants with the final shot being, of course, Saber showing up. Except she’s not the same Saber, but her descendant Mordred, who’s apparently more of a tomboyish shonen character I guess. Honestly, whatever. I liked Fate/Zero and all, but everything else related to the Fate franchise hasn’t impressed me, and I find it hard to believe an A-1 pictures adaptation of a light novel spinoff of the series is going to win me over. At least not in the first episode, which again, is literally just the first episode of every Fate show ever. Hopefully future episodes will make me start caring about the characters and what’s at stake, because right now this just feels like a less visually impressive re-tread of the same story again. – LumRanmaYasha

Fox Spirit Matchmaker

BLAH BLAH BLAH JOKE.

BLAH BLAH BLAH JOKE.

BLAH BLAH BLAH TENCENT

BLAH BLAH BLAH MANHUA

BLAH BLAH BLAH FOX DEITIES

BLAH BLAH BLAH ARRANGED MARRIAGES

BLAH BLAH BLAH FORCED COMEDY

BLAH BLAH BLAH ITS JUST SPIRIT PACT

BLAH BLAH BLAH……………………….AGAIN — Bob Loblaw

Kakegurui

Would you fuck me?

Would you fuck me?

Oh shit, a first episode that I liked! I was genuinely not expecting to enjoy this so much. So Kakegurui, or Compulsive Gambling, is a high school show all about the machinations and agonies of gambling huge amounts of money. People who seem sweet at first become utterly demonic when playing cards, sacrificing millions of yen just to have a chance to mentally break their enemy. Nobody’s really your friend. The caste system is in full effect. Money and the ability to own other people is so important that it goes beyond the evils of regular capitalism and right into old school feudalism. Your future and your debt can rely entirely on underestimating a situation. And the only things that can save you are luck and a miraculously good poker face. In other words, a metaphor for regular high school.

I was astounded by how this episode made a game of rock, paper, scissors horrifying. Every move was treated like a nuclear ultimatum. And what’s worse, the characters enjoy it. They make these disgusting faces, and voice actors normally known for cutesy little sister roles are now hamming it up as megalomaniacs. Hearing Saori Hayami go from sweet sounding to crazed when she gushes over how great it is to gamble away fortunes for the mere thrill. Crazed, calculating, but not exactly yandere so you’re not sure where you stand with her. Kudos to the direction. It felt like one of those wrong hentais but with the sex scenes replaced with card games. Honestly makes me wish more anime took some lessons from porn like Euphoria. I’m not even trying to be facetious. A show that can make children’s games resemble sexual assault in tone knows its influences well.

Oh yeah, the opening and ending are great too, along with the soundtrack. The jazzy undertones and Shinbo-ish imagery really strike at you to show what kind of series this is. – Bloody Marquis

Double Tap

Case in point: Kaiji, Akagi, early Yu-Gi-Oh!, Stardust Crusaders episode 35, and now this show.

Case in point: Kaiji, Akagi, early Yu-Gi-Oh!, Stardust Crusaders episode 35, and now this show.

I’m a sucker for crazy girls who make grotesque faces and over-the-top battles of wit and strategy, so Kakegurui perfectly caters to my tastes. Set in a high school where the social hierarchy is centered around gambling, and you become a slave if you lose all your money, you can either win big or lose big. I love how the main character, Jabami, presents herself as this passive-aggressively polite person even when she’s lost millions of yen, gets off on the thrill of the game, and can bluff her way out of a desperate situation in a way that’d make Jotaro Kujo blush. The antagonist Mary is also such a wonderfully disgusting bitch who’s an unabashed cheater and the faces she makes are just as delightfully disgusting as her personality. This show really feels like if you took the D’Arby poker game in JoJo’s, mixed it with the early parts of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and had Chiaki Kon draw all the faces. It’s a great combination of stylish visuals, great voice acting, snazzy music, and a dark atmosphere that makes this show such great trashy fun. The opening directed by Sayo Yamamoto is the perfect encapsulation of it’s sexy, seductive style. Man, why did Netflix have to pick this up? This is the one show this season that perfectly enraptured me in the thrill of it’s game, one that I highly recommend you give a play. – LumRanmaYasha

Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu

Hasn't Flashpoint taught you that it'll just lead to a really shitty story?

Hasn’t Flashpoint taught you that it’ll just lead to a really shitty story?

This is probably going to be one of the go-to action shows of the season. Ufotable delivers on exciting, visceral action choreography. The actual premise of the show doesn’t matter. Basically sword-wielding time-travelers fight against creepy, crappy CGI monsters interfering with the past. One of the leads is an optimistic altruistic shonen hero and the other is a seasoned badass. There’s a conflict between the two leads in the middle of the episode when a fire threatens to incinerate a village whether they should do something to help, and then they do something to help. Again, the plot doesn’t matter as much as the spectacle does, and for what it’s worth this show is some pretty fine action eye-candy. There’s not much of substance, but it’ll definitely satiate any cravings for over-the-top action schlock you’d want to watch this season. And it’s a hella of a lot better than that other Touken Ranbu show from last year too. – LumRanmaYasha

Knight’s & Magic

Don't be easy, or your beau'll be squeezy.

Don’t be easy, or your abuser be squeezy.

A Japanese geek gets killed by a car. Check.
Japanese guy gets reincarnated into a fantasy society. Check.
He grows up into a cute trap. Check.
His society has giant robots that conveniently look like the ones he obsessed over in his past life for some reason. Check.
Because of his skills as a Japanese man, he has a leg up on the competition. Check.
He’s so skilled that he can invent new forms of magic while he’s still a kid. Check.
Best friends are bastard children from a royal bloodline. Check.
The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this.” is uttered. Check.

Why is it called Knight’s & Magic, as if & Magic was something said Knight owned? Like it was a restaurant chain or a hick shop like Sneed’s Feed & Seed? Oh yeah, grammatically incorrect title. Check.

But besides naming the cliches this show produces faster than most A-1 Pictures factories, this show doesn’t leave much of an impression. It feels like we’ve adapted all the good light novels, then all the legendarily bad light novels, and now we’re stuck with the bad but unremarkable books stuck on the bottom shelf and labeled for clearance. The kind you would use as paperweights instead of actual items worth reading. Besides making some mecha toys to sell, why even make this? There’s no conflict whatsoever. The main character’s born in royalty, has trusted friends, is a genius, and his main dream to ride a robot is near his hands by the first episode. What’s the hook? It’s also weird to see him on the cusp of improving society with his Japanese programming skills, like the mighty white savior trope but it’s now a Japanese guy using his superior knowledge to improve a faux-European society. I can’t tell if that’s better or worse. But given how immature the rest of the writing is, maybe I can count on this show to become as woefully bullheaded as GATE. – BloodyMarquis

Restaurant to Another World

Who knew Smaug really loved beef stew? Maybe if Bilbo had brought him a pot he wouldn't have tried to incinerate him.

Who knew Smaug really loved beef stew? Maybe if Bilbo had brought him a pot he wouldn’t have tried to incinerate him.

I can’t say this slice-of-life fantasy cooking show is as fun as its premise suggests. The concept of fantasy world inhabitants visiting a restaurant in the real world whose door mysteriously appears invites boundless opportunities for fun hijinks. We do kinda see that in the opening sequence where a wizard, two muscly dudes, a lion-man, and a lizard guy start arguing over what goes best with rice. But the series is really laid back, so the comedy never elicits big laughs and the cooking/eating scenes don’t salivate as much as they should. There’s a decent thematic center about food bringing people together and the pleasure of sharing a meal in company, but if that’s all there is to the series then I could point to plenty of better fantasy cooking shows that say the same things in more interesting ways.

I do like the heroine, though it’s kinda cheating since a starving outcast is nearly always sympathetic. Her genuine appreciation of the chef’s kindness and his restaurant’s food might add some more flavor and heart to the show. Not to mention that there’s this Smaug-esque dragon lady who considers the restaurant her “treasure” because they make great beef stew, and her overprotectiveness of it might cause some actual conflict to happen later down the line. So there’s potential here, and even though very little happened in this episode, the show’s laid-back atmosphere and charm was the kind of iyashikei I could see myself relaxing to. If you just want a show that you can just sit down and relax while watching, then this show promises to be satisfying enough option. – LumRanmaYasha

Tsurezure Children

Something tells me you won't have to...

Something tells me you won’t have to…

Tsurezure Children is a breath of fresh air as a rom-com. Rather than focus on frustratingly dense people who can never seem to express their true feelings, it presents a series of vignettes about actual couples. This first episode features not just one, but several couples actually getting together, a step that takes most anime an entire series to do. This show promises to actually explore the awkward in’s-and-out’s of dating from several perspectives and multiple couples. These characters’ feelings feel genuine and seem like good matches for one another, making you want to see how their relationships develop. The show is just infectiously adorable, and I’d bet these sweet series of romances will put a smile to even the most aromantic of souls. Without a doubt, this will be the go-to romance anime of the season, and even with its short-form format it might very well have the potential to go down as one of the best overall. – LumRanmaYasha

2017
05.30

ashirip

The smoke is still billowing from the Samurai Jack finale, and it will take a while for some opinions on the season to solidify. But one major part of these last episodes will surely be a subject of debate, and by part, I mean Ashi. Ever since she was first introduced, fans were polarized at the thought of a new character taking some of the spotlight from Jack. Some were happy and pretended she was the new Ilana. Many were worried she would become Jack’s love interest, with such fears realized. Others pondered just how much of the plot was spent on her when it could have been used to further Jack’s struggle. Sure, she was a great factor in Jack’s character development, giving him someone to talk to in a major change from his loner demeanor from previous seasons, but how much of a unique flavor did she offer the show?

Ashi’s initial position in the show was that of an audience surrogate of sorts, for the people who didn’t watch the past seasons and tuned in to see what older fans are making a fuss about. She was the newcomer to the world of Samurai Jack, and when she learned new information, so did those new viewers. Jack was too muddled with fatalism and anger at himself, so it made a little sense to introduce someone younger and less miserable for the show’s grand return. It’s not a movie after all, and the Adult Swim execs and Genndy probably thought spending ten episodes on Jack alone would be too much of a risk. Meaning that while Jack was still the title character, it could be suggested that Ashi was indeed the focal point of season five. After all, she’s the one who relieves Jack of his depression, helps him bring back his sword, and creates the time portal that leads to Aku’s defeat. She was important, perhaps too much if you ask certain fans.

Instead of defeating Aku through the efforts of himself and his long-time allies, Jack’s major trials are also taken by this new character in his life. And in a way, it could be distracting. This was Jack’s final round against Aku, so seeing it all lead up to Ashi discovering she has Aku’s powers and sending Jack back to quickly kill her father was underwhelming. But to be charitable, perhaps Ashi’s meant to symbolize all the friends Jack acquired in his journey. She was freed from tyranny like the Woolies, able to fight on par with Jack like the Scotsman, purified from evil like the Archers, and had a nature similar to whatever good parts of Ikra that Jack might still remember. She was a symbol of all the good Jack did in Aku’s future, as she attested when she fought the Omen.

And as I said about her replacing Jack as the audience’s eye and ears, she follows a darker, yet similar path that Jack did when he first found himself in the future back in season one. She was a child soldier trained to kill a sworn enemy. When facing said sworn enemy, she falls victim to traps and can only flail helplessly. And this setback leads her to adapt her ways, going outside of her comfort zone and seeing all the quirks and entities in Aku’s society. Sort of like what Jack’s character is in the pilot movie. So spiritually, Ashi was like the season one Jack telling season five Jack to get back on his feet and fight for the future. Something that has odd implications when you factor in their romance, unless people were actually into Jack selfcest all along.

So was her romance with Jack a good idea? Or would the father-daughter aspect been an improvement? I’ve previously praised and criticized Genndy for using other works as reference for his own, and for all the action and suspense, Samurai Jack is not a cartoon that goes out of the way to subvert story cliches. Which means we would have either went full Gurren Lagann, or the sad, old warrior dad route explored by Nier/Logan/Berserk/Angel/Grant Morrison Batman/Unforgiven/Countless other Clint Eastwood movies/etc. Or a compromise between the two and just rip off Venom Snake’s relationship with Quiet. Whatever the case, it definitely could have been explored better. Instead, it felt like another story where a hero slowly converts a female villain to the side of good while making out with her after. More episodes wouldn’t have alleviated that, because some movies can tell perfectly good relationships in under ninety minutes. And it felt like Genndy wasn’t properly using his run time after the third episode. I mean, I’m not exactly expecting Tarkovsky from Tartakovsky, but sometimes you just have to jump through the rings instead of taking the shortcut.

Then we have to wonder if Ashi’s death should have been. It works if you wanted Jack to have this one extra gut punch before he think he can relax from Aku’s tyranny. Not so much if you were invested in Ashi’s personality and didn’t want her to just become another female lead killed to give the male hero more drama in his life. Just as she’s the one who breathes new life into Jack’s mission, she’s also the one who puts up the chairs and turns off the lights. I’m sure another writer will have an essay all about how Ashi’s fate is emblematic of Genndy’s casual misogyny or some other controversial statement, but Ashi as a character was often spent playing hopscotch on Jack and Aku’s shadows. Her own wants beyond freedom from her parents’ bonds weren’t illustrated well enough, and you get the sense that her in-universe existence is simply a means to an end rather than a natural character arc. Shamefully ironic for someone introduced as the inquisitive one out of her sisters.

2017
05.21

samuraijack1011

It’s finally the end, and I can finally stop doing these. This final ride for Jack’s been an intriguing one ever since it was first announced. That first teaser of the new season, where Jack’s silhouette made him look like Galactus, felt like ages ago. But now, it’s over. The sword’s sheathed for good. And we can finally relax until Cartoon Network makes a final season to something else. I don’t know. Maybe Squirrel Boy? Or perhaps the Class of 3000? Something that will make CN audiences blurt out a flat what and a blank stare.

As for the episode itself, it puts many cards on the table but doesn’t do much with them. Having an Aku versus everybody fight should be epic. They brought the Scots, the Jumpers, the Woolies, the Archers, the Ravers, the Dogs, and that giant robot samurai back to fight Aku, but they mostly amount to fodder to distract him until Ashi comes to her senses. And they just fight smaller Akus, instead of Beetle Drones or robots, leading to little variety in the action. I did like the cavalry doing some damage to Aku by focusing on his eyes, to show they were at least doing something to challenge him. Whereas on Aku’s part, he didn’t display his full array of powers here. Okay, some of the tiny Akus grow bat wings. But other than that, chocolate rain, and turning his hands into blades, Genndy doesn’t show off anything we haven’t seen before. And a character known for imaginative fight scenes and imagery feels by-the-numbers in his swan song.

Something that’s only slightly rectified when Jack and Ashi fight him. Jack doesn’t even fight him in the future time, that’s mostly reserved for Ashi going on a mirror match with Aku. It’s not even a particularlyl long or visually exciting one. As soon as Ashi figures out she has all of Aku’s powers, she goes for the time portal move. Maybe they should’ve killed this Aku before going to the past in case time travel worked under multiverse theory. It apparently didn’t, so they guessed right, but it all happens so quickly without emotion or thrill to it. There are no scenes of Ashi learning how to use Aku’s powers more effectively when fighting him, and the ages-long rivalry between Jack and this Aku never pays off. Instead, we get Jack slashing the shit out of past Aku without so much as a struggle. Yeah, Aku’s weakened at this point in time, but the episode almost seems fatigued at this point. Like Genndy just wanted to get to these scenes as fast as possible and finish this show already. So I agree with what everybody’s been saying: That the last episode was just too short to cover everything so far. Maybe they should’ve made some earlier episodes quicker paced so they could have made this battle take stage in the ninth and tenth episodes.

But yeah, Jack goes back to the past, kills Aku, then copies the ending to another show that aired on Toonami and made viewers go wet in the pantaloons. Because Genndy didn’t rip off enough by getting a half-demon girl played by Tara Strong who was conceived by a cult and only recently learned how to emote while rebelling against her antlered anti-Christ father, he has to make her ignorant of the outside world, rise the character back from his depression, have an evil costume that’s skintight and based on the villain’s aesthetic, help slay the villain even though she needs their existence to continue living, and fade away during the main character’s wedding. I know I praised Genndy before for taking heavy influence from other shows and movies, but because he used them to branch out and create new ideas and renditions with these influences. But here, it turns out that all those influences ultimately led up to a callback to other shows rather than something the series could invent or define as its own. If you want a positive evaluation, I could say Samurai Jack’s ending was a collection of thousands of experiences coalescing into one. But it could’ve been better than that.

For this season as a whole, it was an interesting experiment that slowly lost its steam with each episode. The first three entries were superb, and the rest except for the eighth have some thing enjoyable to them. I guess it’s nice we finally get an ending to the show, and maybe I would be more forgiving if this season aired shortly after the others, or if this was a movie instead of ten episodes, but I can’t help but think there was a missed opportunity here. It’s a little like how Gravity Falls and Korra had some cool things going on, but there were too many flaws and unlikable characters that kept me from wanting to revisit those shows.

2017
05.14

SamuraiJack9

Oh hey, it turns out Ashi’s mom did meet up with Aku at least once. And Jack and Ashi didn’t copulate after that kiss. Well, Genndy. I admit to being rused, and I’ll salute you for that.

What I also salute are some of the moments between Jack and Ashi this week. The episode improved far more in those interactions compared to last week, with Jack telling Ashi about his childhood and how the cherry blossoms flew in the spring. Both character slowly get to know each other not just as warriors, but as friends. Others might think these scenes to be slow, especially for the episode right before the finale. And while I kind of agree, seeing Jack and Ashi unwind before the storm is a little nice. There are still some cutesy scenes like Ashi blushing at the sight of Jack bathing, and her search to find new clothes took a little longer than it should have, but at least it doesn’t reach the nadir of last week.

We get some clues as to why Jack has been alone for all this time, because he has issues with falling in love with people. And in trying times like this, he doesn’t want Ashi to become nothing more than a memory. He doesn’t want any of his old friends to become mere fragments in his mind, and perhaps that’s the reason why he’s been apart from friends like the Scotsman for so long. But with Ashi, someone he can finally see as more than a friend, he’s watching his steps. Deep in his subconscious, he fears another Ikra situation. He’s afraid of getting tricked by the false hope of bliss yet again.

And sadly for Jack, that happens. Ashi’s now Aku’s slave, and his ultimatum is to kill the woman who finally pulled him out of an ages long depression. He has to watch as another innocent is claimed by his enemy. But he can’t stand the bloodshed anymore, and in a moment of weakness, lets Aku take his sword from him. It’s dramatic. It’s suspenseful. But, it seems a tad predictable. People on Samurai Jack threads were speculating that Aku would possess Ashi as one final fuck you to Jack, and while I didn’t believe in it until the episode aired, everyone was predicting that Jack and Ashi’s relationship would end badly in some way. So while it’s a twist, it wasn’t a horrifying, out of nowhere twist that would get me talking for an entire week. More of a “Huh, that sucks” feel for Jack. Personally, I was more concerned by evil Ashi resembling one of the characters from Antz, and how that will cause some bug fetishists to come out of the corners and draw crossover fanart.

Oh yeah, Scaramouche’s subplot finally ends. He tells Aku about the sword. Then they dance. And Aku kills him for giving out outdated information. Yeah.

But one scene that stood among many was the Guardian’s broken glasses. But there isn’t a body around. So he might be dead, or maybe he’s just missing in action. I know we only have twenty or so minutes left of Samurai Jack, but I’m still not sure if he’s finished. Definitely no time for a fight between him and Jack, but maybe he’ll show up and let him into his portal. Unless Genndy decides to spend time about a secret time portal that no one had known about until now, where else is Jack going to find his way back home? Unless they decide to have Jack stay in the future and accept his life, teaching us that his real victory was the journey and friends he had along the way. Or some shit like that.

2017
05.07

Atom: The Beginning

Behold the secret handshake of the Big-Nosed Brotherhood.

Behold the secret handshake of the Big-Nosed Brotherhood.

Spin-offs and prequels not done by the creator themselves have been hit and miss for me, as they can get a little indulgent in referencing the source material and sanitizing popular characters. Episode of Bardock, for example, was written by a huge fan of Bardock, but consequently she wrote the character as too perfect, a grumpy guy with a heart of gold rather than the callous cold-blooded killer he is, fundamentally misunderstanding his characterization and the themes of the original special. Similarly, when the Young Black Jack anime came out, I remarked on how that seriously tried so hard to make Black Jack a bad-ass that they made him more philanthropic than the money-grubbing misanthrope he really is. As a result of such mischaracterizations, these series feel more like glorified fan-fics, rather than stories you can believe happened in the worlds of the originals.

So I tempered my expectations going into Atom: The Beginning, another Tezuka prequel series not done by the man himself, this time detailing Ochanomizu and Tenma creating Astro Boy’s prototype. And yeah, there are some incongruities in how the personalities of Ochanomizu and Tenma are presented. Yet, rather than making out their characters as overly noble or glorifying them, they’re presented as goofy college kids with illusions of grandeur, which I can totally believe. Tenma, in particular, is exactly the kind of lazy, self-absorbed narcissist I’d imagine he’d be as a college kid, and he’s a lot of fun to watch as a result. So while this show’s versions of Tenma and Ochanomizu might not totally line up if you were to watch this series and then read the original Astro Boy manga, they’re more flawed and interesting and stay a lot truer to their original characterizations than most spin-offs and even other incarnations of the franchise.

But I don’t think you need to know much about Astro Boy to appreciate this series. It’s not overly reliant on references and lore and you pretty much understand Ochanomizu and Tenma’s characterizations from the opening scene. That said, this premiere is rather slow, and I’m not sure if there’s anything terribly interesting about it. I mean, Six’s sentience as an AI robot has potential, especially in a story set before Astro Boy when robots didn’t have human rights (speaking of, read the Once Upon A Time Astro Boy Tales arc to see if you want to see the series at it’s darkest). But it’s not presented in a more interesting light than what you’d usual get out of these stories, and for me the best parts of this premiere were Tenma and Ochanomizu’s dicking around, gloating about how awesome they are, and sharing their weird nose kink. The show has a really fun training montage-style opening done by Bahi JD and in general looks boast great visuals and animation. I think this is one of the best-looking shows of the season without a doubt. I’d love to give as wide a recommendation I can for this show, but truthfully I’m not sure yet if the story will have much to offer outside of fanservice for Astro Boy fans like myself. But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t enough for me. – LumRanmaYasha

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Boruto, buddy, you've been saying that for one and a half years. When's it going to happen?

Boruto, buddy, you’ve been saying that for one and a half years. When’s it going to happen?

This may surprise you – heck, it still surprises me – but I’ve been able to rekindle an affection for Naruto since it ended two years ago. The concluding arc of the manga was abysmal, and I had long soured on the manga during it’s ten-year downward decline that corresponds to the material covered by Shippuden. When it ended I was feed of the obligation to keep up with the insufferable, agonizing mess it had become, and vowed not to bother with the franchise ever again. Yet, when The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring mini-series began running in Shonen Jump, I couldn’t help but read it out of morbid curiosity. To my surprise…I really enjoyed it! Sarada was a compelling character and I appreciated that Naruto and Sasuke had matured in believable ways, and the themes Kishimoto tackled about father figures were honest and heartfelt.

That left me curious about how well the Boruto movie would turn out, and I went and saw it in theatres that fall. I loved it. The Boruto film was a well-made excellent passing of the torch moment for the franchise, humanizing Naruto as he struggles to balance his role as a father to both his village and his family, contrasting it with Boruto’s desire for his father’s approval while wanting to be recognized for his own merits, rather than his status as the Hokage’s son, by those around him. Once again, the exploration of their father-son dynamic was well-done and cemented my belief that Kishimoto’s strength lies in writing stories about the emotional connection between fathers and their children. Moreover, the film presented Boruto as a strong contrast to Naruto in motivations and goals while still possessing the spirited resolve of his father – to quote the film, “the times may change, but the spirit of the shinobi stays the same.” It set Boruto up as a solid protagonist to take the torch from his father and trailblaze a new path forward for the franchise, one that seemed to lead in a promising direction.

Sadly, it’s been about a year and a half since the Boruto film came out, and we’re still not moving forward. In fact, this anime seems set on moving back, taking place before Boruto has even joined the ninja academy when in the movie he’s always formed a squad and been going on missions for some time. The movie already showed us Boruto’s coming of age moment and the resolution of the tensions between him and Naruto and the compromises each made to their ninja way for the sake of their family and comrades. Having to wait for Boruto to re-learn that again, over an elongated period of time, seems redundant to me. While seeing Boruto’s academy days might potentially help flesh out more of the supporting cast, including Boruto’s newly introduced stooge Denki, most of them like Shikadai and Cho-cho feel like re-treads of their parents, and based on their role in the Boruto movie and Sarada’s mini-series it doesn’t seem like they’ll become much more distinctive. I’m really concerned that nothing that happens before the Boruto movie will matter in the long run. Which is why the flash-forward at the beginning of the episode frustrates me so much, since I know it’ll take ages before we even get past the movie, and much more to get to what’s beyond.

But the show itself is really well made. The new character designs are rounder and more lively, and the show has some choice cuts of animation that was really fun to watch. Production-wise, this seems like a real step up from much of Shippuden, though how that’ll fare in the long run remains to be seen. It looks good though, with eye-popping colors and a vibrant palette. It stands in stark contrast to the darker, temperate tones of the original series, especially if you were to go back and compare their first episodes.

On that note, I think Naruto has one of the best first chapters/episodes for a shonen series, and Boruto’s first episode definitely feels more derivative and standard fare in comparison. At the same time, it does a fine job of introducing Boruto and what makes him a likable protagonist, as well as establishing how important his family is to him and his resentment for his dad never being around for them. The biggest problem with how his character is handled is not giving him a clearly defined goal other than showing up his dad, and I guess we’ll have to wait until they adapt the Boruto movie for him to get one. I’ve come to believe in the potential for great stories in the Naruto franchise and the potential of Boruto as a protagonist, and because I like the world and characters I enjoyed this premiere even though its taking its sweet time to get moving. With the manga now finally entering new material after spending a year adapting the Boruto movie, I can only hope for the tv series to follow suit as soon as possible, and I hope seeing Boruto’s adventures in the academy will have a point rather than another disguise for filler to stall for time. – LumRanmaYasha

Eromanga-sensei

Please help

I’d quote Chin-chin, but everyone else has already done it.

Let’s just admit this to ourselves right off the bat: if you’re reading this, then you’ve already crafted an opinion of Eromanga-sensei. An hardened opinion that, no matter what I say in the next 400 words, will remain unchanged. It’s an animated adaptation of what has become the dime-a-dozen “sibling romantic comedy” light novel, so the lines have already been drawn in the sand. You either enjoy this show’s comedic exploits (and the female MC’s cute, underaged ass) and are about to be vaguely annoyed that I dislike this show. Or you’re happy to know that I hate this show too, scrolling on down to the next review in this “Clusterfuck” now that confirmation bias has been reached. Either way, you’re going to leave the same way you came in: the only difference is that you will have wasted two minutes of your life on Earth while I will have wasted an hour and a half watching the show and writing these two paragraphs. Either way, I have little else to do tonight (a blatant lie, actually), so I might as well explain why I dislike Eromanga-sensei.

To be completely truthful, half my dislike of Eromanga-sensei comes from the fact that there are so few anime that looks at incestual relationships in a serious light. Yes, I understand that this should be seen as a fetish and nothing more, but would it hurt to have pieces of animation outside Koi Kaze take a serious look at this sort of romance? No? Just fanservice it up and make the characters step-siblings so it isn’t too controversial? Okay, fine. I’ll begrudgingly accept this pandering otaku bullshit. Look at Sagiri’s adorable flat ass. Chuckle and d’aww at her silly dance in the ED. At this point, I don’t care. Because once I accept that the premise of step-sibling comedy love is something seen at least twice an anime season, Eromanga-sensei is just boring. Yes, boring. There was only one joke in the entire first episode that made me laugh, and that’s only because I can relate to taking pictures of myself in ridiculous poses to get a drawing just right. In all other aspects, I just saw a teenage boy who is forced to take care of a hikikomori little sister that refuses to acknowledge his existence. How cute. The aspect of them having unknowingly be a popular author/artist team, but now having that knowledge due to a mistake made in a livestream could be interesting, but I know in my heart that nothing will be done with it. I know in my heart that this show will just meander through every cliche in the book. The second episode has the class rep visiting their house for Christ’s sake. Who wrote this? Tsukasa Fushimi? The dude behind Oreimo? Okay, yeah, I’m done here. Just writing about this shit makes me feel jaded about the future of anime. When’s Little Witch Academia showing up on US Netflix, again?

I know it barely counts as a review, but just writing that annoyed me. – RacattackForce

Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

One episode in and already contender for the saddest anime death this season

One episode in and already contender for the saddest anime death this season.

Remember Danmachi? You may know it as that one show with that annoying useless boob-string girl that dressed like a retard, and everyone obsessed over her for some reason? And the main characters were so mentally challenged that they couldn’t even perform functions as basic as giving someone a powered up knife? Well, it’s not getting a second season, but it is getting a spin-off, and this time, all the fat has been removed.

Return to this weird tabletop RPG-style world despite the world itself not being an actual MMO or tabletop setting in any meaningful way, filled with deity-led guilds going on adventures in dungeons, but instead of focusing on the bottom of the barrel adventurer with a high-pitched voice, we focus on a group of experienced adventurers that actually do dungeon crawling and fight monsters and all that other fun adventurer stuff. In other words, the cast that the main series should’ve focused on in the first place. That fact alone should draw you in to this spinoff if you hated the original series like I did.

I did have a surprising amount of fun watching Sword Oratoria, in spite of the presence of some problematic elements typical of an LN (particularly one of the Amazons having a crush on her much younger guild captain), but otherwise its a serviceable action show. The characters bounce off each other well and likable, giving the feeling of a true close-knit group. Lefiya, our POV character, is a much more effective audience surrogate character since her insecurities and lack of experience makes for a nice contrast with her more hardened and fearless companions, I could honestly relate to her plight a little bit. The main cast of the parent series do make cameo’s, the only important one being Bell’s, whose introduction is his near death experience with a minotaur seen in the anime but elaborated on here, his limited screentime actually made me feel honest sympathy for the guy than I ever did in Danmachi.

While Sword Oratoria isn’t a standout show by any means, it does improve upon its parent series in every way, and while that does speak more to Danmachi’s quality than Sword Oratoria’s, if you felt like Danmachi had a good concept but bad execution, it won’t hurt to give its spinoff a try. – CrimsonRynnec

Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys-

If this were an X-Men comic, that wouldn't be DEATH next to her head.

If this were an X-Men comic, that wouldn’t be DEATH next to her head.

Series about girls crossdressing to attend boys’ schools are old hat. Those where they attend a school for delinquents and have to fight their way to the top? Less common, and more interesting. I was down for a delinquent school romance series with a female protagonist for once since there isn’t nearly enough Sukeban Deka to go around. Sadly, even though this show has a great innuendo of a title like “Girl Beats Boys” it doesn’t have an ounce of personality. Hikaru is a passive and unenthusiastic observer for most of the episode and doesn’t even seem to know what she’s doing or why she’s even here. The conceit of the series is that she’ll form her own reverse harem after beating up a bunch of the top guys, which is cool and all, but none of them are much more than pretty faces. The show is rather lazily made even for a short show. The background characters all rendered as shadows and silhouettes, the main character designs are appropriately and boringly typical of an otome game, and there’s not much in the way of animation, except for the five seconds where Hikaru actually fights. I’m into the concept of this show, but there’s not much of interest here worth recommending. Go watch the Sukeban Deka movies instead. – LunRanmaYasha

Love Rice

No more Mr. Rice guy.

No more Mr. Rice guy.

So after Rice proved that rice was the best grain in his popularity contest with Bobo-bread, the spiteful Bobobo crashed the rice market and has made bread more popular, and now Rice’s descendants must make rice popular again and defeat the evil Wheat Hunt Troops and Czar Crusty Yeast the Third. Okay, this show doesn’t have anything to do with Bobobo, but these four-minute shorts feel like sketches from right out of the Rice arc and the main character looks a lot like Rice too. I loved Rice, he got the shaft pretty early on but he was a fun character, so I think I’ll have fun watching this every week headcanoning that this show is about his son in a bizarre alternate spinoff of Bobobo. Wouldn’t be any weirder than that Don Patch spinoff manga. – LumRanmaYasha

Re:Creators

The embarrassment you feel when you realize you're just a shit-tier trash waifu from a crappy light novel anime.

The embarrassment you feel when you realize you’re just a shit-tier trash waifu from a crappy light novel anime.

As a creator of stories myself, the premise of Re:Creators deeply interests me. The idea of fictional protagonists confronting their creators or to force them to make their stories and worlds happier is a great meta concept. This series’ eclectic cast of anime archetypes, ranging from a light novel heroine to a magical girl to a Stand-wielding big bad, seem poised to comment on all sorts of clichés and genres in the anime landscape. It’s not only fun to see how each of these kinds of characters interact with the real world, but how they come to realize the flaws of their own worlds. Like in episode two, when the magical girl freaks out that her attacks are actually hurting her opponent, and is criticized for using violence to get her way without being prepared to follow through with the consequences. I’m especially looking forward to how each of the characters reacts with their own creators, and the hilariously awkward consequences. Selejia’s meeting with her creator was particularly funny because she’s hoping he’s not going to be some lame dumb-ass, but then she sees him and yeah, he’s a light novel author all right. When she talks to him there’s this delicious passive-aggressive disappointment shown on her face and when she’s talking to him that made me laugh. This show has some great meta humor and commentary on genre and media consumption, making it an absolute treat for someone like me who is fascinated with fictional stories and genre deconstruction.

We can thank Rei Hiroe for a great concept and fun cast of characters, but special props have to go to the team at Troyca bringing it to life as the most bad-ass and visually engaging action show of the season. I’m wary of Ei Aoki as a scriptwriter after Aldnoah Zero, but he can direct action well and the fight scenes presented so far have been riveting. I’m a little worried that the show might fall the way of Aldnoah Zero, but right now it’s like, everything I’ve ever wanted to see in anime in terms of concept, characters, humor, action, and the execution of it all. I can pretty much call the melodramatic plot twist will be that the girl who committed suicide by way of jumping in front of a train in the opening scene created the main antagonist and her story, and that the main character guy probably co-created it with her, probably contributing her character design, but we’ll see how that come across in execution. But man, I cannot stress just how much I’m enjoying this show so far. It’s like my fantasy dream anime recreated and now made real. Please stay good Re:Creators. – LumRanmaYasha

Room Mate

I want to come in his room and mate, if you know what I mean heh heh....god that was terrible.

I want to come in his room and mate, if you know what I mean heh heh….god that was terrible.

It’s rare to see a show directed in the first person, presented as if you were watching cutscenes in an otome game. It’s an interesting gimmick, to put the audience in the perspective of the main character, the camera shot as if you were interacting with the cast. I give it novelty points if nothing else. Too bad there’s not much of substance to make it actually interesting. All that happens is that you’re introduced to the main three guys welcoming you to the apartment, and they all fit into archetypes you should know if you’ve read enough shojo or played enough otome. If you really want to ogle hot guys you might as well just play an otome game since at least then you’d have an interactive experience. The first-person perspective gimmick isn’t even consistent, as in this head-scratching shot. How are you behind the guy looking straight-on at his ass in this shot, and then in front of him looking right at his chest all of a sudden in the next? If you’re going to do this gimmick, commit darn it! You could do a lot of interesting things with a show where the audience is the main character, but I doubt this series will make use of that potential. Only watch if you’re too lazy to play an actual otome game. – LumRanmaYasha

Seven Mortal Sins

This act of depriving of a shot of a woman's clit brought to you by Persona 5, now available wherever PS4 games are sold from Atlus!

This act of depriving the audience of a shot of a woman’s clit brought to you by Persona 5, now available wherever PS4 games are sold from Atlus!

When the first words of this series are literally “This sucks…” you know you’re already in a bad place already. Hell I knew I was in a bad place already when Crunchyroll actually gave me a NSFW warning upon clicking the first episode’s link. And that is something I have never seen before in the 2 1/2 years of me doing Clusterfucks straight from Crunchy streams. So yeah, I’m basically watching actual porn this season. Oh sure its censored but its still porn. In fact if this was a porn parody I coulda swore I was watching a shitty one on Gabriel Dropout, however at least Gabriel Dropout TRIED to be funny. Seven Metal Sins on the other hand is about as witty as that horrid Tanya bullshit from last season.

I’d tell ya about the plot but there really isn’t one besides “My little Urotsukidoji can’t Be This Cute!” Gore fetishing, skirt peeping, tit licking, bondage, demon rape, molestation and this is all in the first seven minutes. Or at least those are the parts I could actually make out from the parts that weren’t grossly over lit. Otherwise its just a rehash of Queens Blade  with angels and demons. Let us never speak of it again. — Lord Dalek

This guy actually finished the episode!

“What is a censor bar? A miserable little pile of cocktease!”

You know those “Bad Girl” comics back in the 90’s? When dark and edgy were the in things in comics at the time, so comic publishers made a bunch of titles starring  scantily clad female warriors with really edgy powers and personalities like Lady Death and Witchblade that were essentially just 20 pages of gore and fanservice (but mostly fanservice)? Well Sin: Seven Mortal Sins is basically that, but in anime form…and with more yuri!

And with that comparison, you can already tell if this show is for you or not and what it’s about. SIn does what it sets out to do and succeeds in doing so. I do wish the action was more over-the-top and easier to follow, but this show clearly isn’t interested in being a stylish action anime, so whatever, any complaint I have has nothing to do with what the show wants to be. Really complaining about shows like this is a waste of time and effort, so what’s really the point? It’s like watching and exploitation movie and complaining about the lack of nuance, or playing Doom and bitching about how violent it is. Granted, that won’t stop straight men from writing essays about how shows like this are the worst things in existence, but they’re a lost cause anyway.

Still a lot better than the other show named Seven Deadly Sins

(One important thing to note is that Crunchyroll’s stream of the show is censored, but there are uncensored versions of the episodes out there, if you want your cheesecake unfiltered, you know where to look.) — CrimsonRynnec

2017
05.07
Korrasami has a new rival.

Korrasami has a new rival.

You know what would convince people to hate Mad Max: Fury Road? If Max and Furiosa had a romance plot. Their connection to each other was based on comradeship and a shared goal at hand, fighting alongside like blood brothers. If you took that away and made them fall for each other without the simplest hint of set up, you get a mess. And that’s what this episode of Samurai Jack was, a mess. Jack and Ashi becoming an item is something I was fearing would happen, and now it’s confirmed despite all the reasons not to do it. Only a few episodes ago, Ashi couldn’t comprehend the sight of two deer nuzzling each others’ noses. I don’t think any relations with her would be emotionally healthy without enough proper time, and I doubt said time occurred unless one of the production staff adds a last-minute explanation that months or years occurred between some of the episodes.

I think about the idea of Jack as a celibate hero, seeking little in the way of romance and more focused in his goal to finally vanquish Aku. Jack’s seldom been portrayed as a romantic lead, and any chance of finding true love was instantly yanked away from him like Ikra. That’s not to say he should be written as a completely sexless being. To give him some slack, several decades without a relationship would probably grow irritating. But does it really fit to be introduced in the third to last episode, where the writers should be more busy establishing the rising stakes involved in the final battle? But maybe it’s Genndy experimenting with Jack’s character while also counting the show’s five to doomsday. It could be his way to further develop a character he’s had over sixteen years to work on. For instance, perhaps those sexual feelings come from Jack wanting to be more like his father, and wishing to start a family of his own. Maybe some part of Jack still sees a fragment of Aku in Ashi, and having sex with her is his Freudian way of finally dominating Aku. Or possibly, Jack’s so desperate for a fuck that he’ll make out with his emotionally traumatized and stunted partner in crime while in a broken down prison ship.

And the thing is, Jack/Ashi could have worked if there were slow, emotionally mature moments brewing. Cautious steps taken. But instead, there all these teases that come off as juvenile and something even cartoons aimed purely at little kids have long moved past. Like having Jack and Ashi get pushed together by a large crowd, and Jack’s sword hilt bumps into Ashi to make a boner joke. Or having their synchronized screams stop the monster of the week while they immediate make out after the battle’s done. Or having Ashi suffer from clothing damage and becoming completely nude while Jack’s there, causing him to react like a harem protagonist and blushing like he doesn’t know what a naked woman is. That annoys me the most, since Jack’s mentally 75 at this point. And rather than just giving her his gi without a second’s thought, he instantly regresses to that of a shy teenager who’s too sexually confused to handle such a sight. Imagine a later Clint Eastwood movie where he sees someone naked and starts palpitating. This is shit I expect from light novel adaptations, not Samurai Jack.

Because it’s the ante-penultimate episode, we all know how this will end up. Ashi will die to give Jack more reason to kill Aku. Never mind the dead parents, dead countrymen, or decades worth of dead civilians, they’ll have to kill Ashi to give Jack motivation to finally strike. Ashi can’t survive because Jack will have to go back to the past, and I don’t expect him to bring her with him to meet the Shogun. At most, Ashi might survive in the redeemed future that Jack creates after killing the past Aku. Or maybe Genndy will do something wild and have Ashi get pregnant, where Jack has to choose between going back to the past to save his old family or stay and raise his new one. After that Dean Martin song, I don’t know.