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

I’m not sure why I made this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017
02.08
Sweet Platonic Monkey Love

Sweet Platonic Monkey Love

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

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

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

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

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

2017
02.04
but a miserable pile of secrets?

but a miserable pile of secrets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017
01.20

Chain Chronicle

MR SPARKLE

The conservative’s nightmare

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

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

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

Degressi: Tsugi no Kurasu S3

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

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

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

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

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

That's it, I quit.

That’s it, I quit.

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

 

woodrugh

 

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

Gabriel Dropout

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

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

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

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

Hand Shakers

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

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

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

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

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

Idol Incidents

The Walking Derp

The Walking Derp

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

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

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

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

Little Witch Academia

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

Akko shares her fealings about the 2017 Winter Season.

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

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

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

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

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

Marginal#4 Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rewrite Second Season

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

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

Last time on Rewrite: EVERYBODY DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

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

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

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

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

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

Urara Meirochou

THIS WAS A HARBINGER.

THIS WAS A HARBINGER.

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

2017
01.06

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


Akiba’s Trip: The Animation

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

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

akibastrip2

Just watch fucking Akibaranger instead. – BloodyMarquis

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Saga

Shin Boobzilla: A Hideaki Anno Joint.

Shin Boobzilla: A Hideaki Anno Joint.

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

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

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

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

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

Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo

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

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

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

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Season 2

Well this relationship is in deep ship already.

Well this relationship is in deep ship already.

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

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

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

Masamune-kun no Revenge

His face looks like a cookie.

His face looks like a cookie.

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

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

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

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

Saga of Tanya The Evil

Crom! Grant me revenge!

Crom! Grant me revenge!

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

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

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

Schoolgirl Strikers

Nudist Beach for the Disney Channel crowd.

Nudist Beach for the Disney Channel crowd.

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

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

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

Seiren

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pointy women sexually harass morbidly obese Donny Osmond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016
10.14

ClassicaLoid

Sodomize Chevalier John Taylor

Sodomize Chevalier John Taylor

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

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

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

Second Opinion!

I hope Salieri-sempai notices me!

I hope Salieri-sempai notices me!

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

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

8/10, too many notes. – Lord Dalek

Drifters

When you're doing sudoku but thinking about war.

When you’re doing sudoku but thinking about war.

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

It’s as awesome as it sounds

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

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

Gi(a)rlish number

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

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

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

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

Flip Flappers

Mmmm, salty coins and milk...

Ahh that distinctive aroma of salty coins and milk…

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

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

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

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

Second Opiums

Ritsuko Agaki, the truth is...

Ritsuko Agaki, the truth is…

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

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

HEYBOT!

SPLINK!

SPLINK!

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

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

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

…so many sexual refferences…

…so many screw puns…

…so much awkward….

PASS. – Lord Dalek

Lostorage incited WIXOSS

*Insert Soviet Russia joke here.*

*Insert Soviet Russia joke here.*

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

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

Now we have Selectors with dicks!

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

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

March comes in like a lion

This scramble crossing is unfamiliar.

This scramble crossing is unfamiliar.

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

!…

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

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

Occultic;Nine

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

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

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

– Bloody;Marquis

Second Opinion!

Spooky Scary Skeletons gets her all eroge.

Spooky Scary Skeletons gets her all eroge.

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

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

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

Show By Rock!!#

*crack*RAWHIDE!!!

*crack*RAWHIDE!!!

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

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

WHAT ABOUT CYAN?!?!?

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

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

Yuri!!! On Ice

shoes

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

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

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

2016
10.07

Greetings, readers, breeders, and those who mentally peaked at the age of 16. Welcome to this season’s preview guide.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Long time. No-face see!

Long time. No-face see!

In what must be the setup for the strangest BBC 4 sitcom yet, there lives somewhere in rural England la talking goat litch named Ainsworth, a talking dog/guy named Ruth, some Rozen Maiden cosplayer named Silky who says nothing, and a random normal Japanese girl named Chise. Chise is there to apparently learn the wizarding ways from goat guy after a series of traumatic childhood experiences involving her mother’s suicide and various disturbing monst–

oh this is one of THOSE shows isn’t it?

Ancient Magus’ Bride is a show with a split personality. It starts out as a gentle sort of Miyazaki clone with lots of quirky characters and cute familiars running around, but then… as if a switch was flipped the show turns into straight up nightmare fuel. Something along the lines of Elfen Lied if it wasn’t so ridiculously over the top to the point of being comedic. Its also a really top notch production which is not a big surprise considering its from WIT and they’re still rolling around in Titan moneyez.

Those sitting through Magus’ first 12 minutes and expecting Flying Witch 2.0 are probably in for a shock. Whether not that’s a good or bad thing is in the eye of the beholder. – Lord Dalek

World Witches Series The 501st Joint Fighter Wing: Brave Witches

Pantsu for the memories.

Pantsu for the memories.

Oh…its this…again.

For those out there who have happily ignored the godawful Strike Witches franchise, a brief recap: in an alternate 1940 so stupid it would make Harry Turtledove choke on his own vomit, space aliens called Neuroi have arrived and taken the form of giant planes (not boats, that was Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ars Nova). With their own millitary might completely incapable to fight the space aliens, the former Axis and Allied Powers have said “hey no hard feelings!” and developed a secret weapon to combat the extraterrestrial threat: teenage girls and young women strapped to very tiny propeller engines to turn THEM into airplanes! (not boats, that was Kantai Collection) Also there’s something about magic powers and animal ears and oh who cares, it only looks good when stacked up against IS and its own ilk.

Soooooo that brings us to Brave Witches…which is just Strike Witches…if it was brave….yaaaaaaaaay.

Really what is there to be said about this? Its the stame old stock cute girl joins the military story this franchise pretty much invented. In far off exotic Not-Japan (again… alternate WWII so all the names have been changed to protect the innocent), young Hikari pines to be like her sister, the legendary “Hero of Sasebo”. Unfortunately Hikari is kinda shit at the whole magic thing and always drowning in the local bay as a result. However the European front against the Neuroi has taken a turn for the worse and student witches are now being deployed to the front. This provides an opportunity for our heroine to show what she can do through that “sheer determination under duress” animes like this always have because….cliches.

Long and short of it, if you like Strike Witches, good for you. You’ll probably enjoy this show because its fans only more or less. If you’re like me and can’t stand it, this is just par for the course. Harmless but ultimately redundant and still an excuse at oggling pantsu….dammit I was trying to see how long I could go without mentioning Strike Witches’ pantsu obsesssion. I blame this on you whoever you are, I blame it on you >=(. – Lord Dalek

BBK/BRNK: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy

Hey remember when this was going to be some sort of Miyazaki thing? Yeah.... good times...

Hey remember when this was going to be some sort of Miyazaki thing? Yeah…. good times…

Oh noes its the Bubukiburankibrabrabraburabrabra! At this point does anyone care about Sanzigen’s CGI regurgitation of early-2000s animu? Well after last season, or more precisely after 15 minutes of the first episode, not I. Nevertheless, here we are again with 12 more episodes of water balloon people, downright incoherrent writing and story structure, and general sense that this is only being made because Sanzigen and Arc Performance can’t get along long enough to make season 2 of Vocaloid Boat Anime. Well might as well suck it up as I’ve got nothing else better to do.

First the good news! Azuma’s gone!…unfortunately he’s coming back…frowny face!

Now the bad news! Instead we have his sister! Whose ten times more annoying and blatantly autistic!

Yes introuducing crazy Kaoruku, Azuma’s 12 eggs short of a dozen sister who dresses like a cross between Trucy Wright and Huggy Bear, wont shut the hell up, and just generally makes me wanna die. She’s leading her own band of rediculous God Eater rejects to fight the ongoing Buranki menace in far off exotic Chinese Taipei which only leads to tons of infodumping and breast size equivalency because this show has no ideas and you know that, I know that, and of course… Rac knows that ;-).

BBK/BRNK/Electric Boogaloogie is just a lot of time wasting and panty chasing. Why on Earth did anybody think this was a good way to celebrate their tenth anniversary I’ll never know. Then again anime is clearly dead so I shouldn’t be surprised that somebody did. Just ask Yamakan! – Lord Dalek

Bloodivores

THE END.

THE END.

Wow………………what a title. Shame that’s all its got. Bloodivores comes to us from el-cheapo Chinese syndicate TENCENT and never has a name lived up to what is on display for me to see. No effort was put into this, no QC, no interest, nothing. Watching it only made me nostalgic for Polyphonica and its quality van. A disgrace.

…and the main character is named Mi Yu. We’re done here. – Lord Dalek

Izetta, Die Letze Hexe

Which is funny because she's spent the entire episode up to this point running away.

Which is funny because she’s spent the entire episode up to this point running away.

Its 1940 and the world is at war!…except this is one of those crappy faux-World War II animus and all the names have been changed because who’s Hitler? As the evil Germanian empire starts to invade every country in central Europe, Princess Fine of El Kabong (you think of a better name) has fled her country for the safety of the Britannian Empire in the west (yest this is apparently a prequel to Code Geass). Things don’t go her way though and Fine ends up stranded with a mysterious red haired girl who apparently has the ability to summon Rukh like Aladdin and, because this is allegedly not a yuri, get your mind out of the gutter.

Izetta The Last Witch is, like last year’s already forgotten Maria The Virgin Witch, just kinda ok. It doesn’t really do anything interesting and the characters are the same stock we’ve seen from other faux historicals like Last Exile and Valkyria Chronicles. The big difference being that these ones are designed by abe-I MEAN BUNBUN! Actually the Sword Art connection doesn’t end there as Michiru Yamane has been drafted to do the soundtrack and already this show sounds like Madoka leftovers. And that’s the main problem with Izetta, it just feels like leftover story ideas, characters, and production values, from other more successful product. Does that mean its bad? Not really. Does it make me watch it again? Nope no way.

But hey! It ends with Izetta using an anti-tank rifle as a witches broom! That’s gotta be cool enough for me to come back ri-no. – Lord Dalek

Keijo!!!!!!!!

Ok Keijo aka Hip Whip Girl, a show about an aquatic sport with tons of fan service. How bad could it possibly b–

keijo-1

keijo-2

keijo-3

keijo-4-brought-you-by-crunchyroll

keijo-5

keijo-6

keijo8

I wanna die.

NO. — Lord Dalek

Nanbaka

Working between seasons has been very trying for Saitama.

Working between seasons has been very trying for Saitama.

This is Prison School but shinier and with less ecchi, and less Kana Hanazawa. And less funny. After a few surprises like Osomatsu-san and Sakamoto, the “pretty guys doing odd things” genre is now back to this. Watching ten minutes of Nanbaka just makes me want to go back to said few surprises. Just hollow jokes and so many attempts to go for funny stupid but ended up being annoying stupid instead. Most of the humor I’m getting is from some of the occasional nods to other, better shows. And when I’m referring to shit like Kiznaiver as “better”, this show isn’t bringing out any A-game.

Especially disappointing when coming from the director of Nichibros, Gintama, and Gundam 0080 (?). It’s just bleep jokes, crossdressing jokes, and the green-haired one being a twat. I could spend twenty minutes blowing my nose until blood comes out, and that would have been a better waste of time. Watching a teenage girl ranting about the Zionist conspiracy would have been more stimulating. Banging my head against the wall and having horrible Nutshack-themed coma nightmares would have been more endearing. I was watching Nanbaka and writing this while in a late-night stupor, when everything makes me giggle. The time of the night when just looking at a picture of Aidan Gillen makes me guffaw. Nanbaka didn’t make me guffaw. It didn’t even make me chortle, or snigger, or titter, or cackle.

Also, Nan Baka sounds like the Japanese remake of The Golden Girls. Just a bunch of nans being stupid for twenty minutes. I want that now. Make a Golden Girls anime, get some veteran seiyus like Masako Nozawa to play Blanche, and we’ll be square. Ish. – BloodyMarquis

Time Bokan 24

Dat face so sakuga.

Dat face so sakuga.

Usually I avoid doing anime for small children on these clusterfucks. For one I’m not the target demographic for this kind of show and find that their frequently repetitive and rather simplistic plots get tiresome real fast.

HOWEVER…this is not just any kids anime, this is Time Bokan and therefore exceptions need to be made.

For those who do not know of Tatsunoko’s semi-long running (give or take decades long hiatuses) franchise or any of the slew of children’s and 70s throwback programing it clearly inspired (ie: Pokemon), here follows a brief description. A pair of kids clad in garish costumes and a variety of robots/mecha do battle with a lady with big tits and her two goonish sidekicks either round the world or across time and space depending on what the theme is that season. Although it is technically a metaseries, the characters are all stock and in the case of the villains even share the same voice actors. Basically if you’ve seen the most famous installment of the franchise, Yatterman, you’ve seen Time Bokan, and TB24, being the first proper new installment since Kaito Kiramekiman in 2000, is no different. Hell, its practically a reboot of the very first series with its horned beetle mecha and time travel theme.

The concept here is that history as we know it is wrong, wrong, wrong and a 24th century organization called the JKK has been formed to set the record straight…or rather unstraight as it turns out Earth’s history was much, much sillier then we were initially led to believe. Opposing them is the latest version of the Doronbo Gang known as the Akudarma Trio, employees of the world’s leading publisher of history textbooks which is none too pleased that their main source of revenue is getting defaced by the rather embarrassing “truth” and “facts”. Caught in the middle is young Tokio, a poor teenage schlub from the present who got shanghaied to the future by a JKK researcher named Calen and somehow managed to survive the process without proper protection. It doesn’t take long for our hero to drafted into the JKK, strapped to a table on a speeding roller coaster, and flung back to ancient Egypt to discover that Cleopatra wasn’t so much the queen of the Nile as she was half of a bokke-tuskomi act named Cleo and Patra. Why? Because this is Time Bokan and who gives a fuck about being educational.

Time Bokan 24 is pretty much just Time Bokan in its most basic form. Shallow as hell and candy colored to the core. If you were expecting some sort of philosophical deconstruction like Yatterman Night, you’re not gonna get it. Instead just check your brain at the door as its likely to be in throbbing pain by the end. – Lord Dalek

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

Let the voice of love take you higher~

Let the voice of love take you higher~

So, Kantai Collection with Swords? Because that’s what I got from the twenty and so minutes of the first episode. And like Kantai Collection, I don’t remember shit from this after first exposure. Just a snowball fight, one of the characters taking a bath, and the pretty blue one named Yasusada acting like a dope in front of everybody. Also, they do a dumb dance in the opening. It was one of several anime I watched that night where people broke into dance out of nowhere. They could make an anime about quadruple amputees in this day and age, and the characters would still somehow wiggle their bodies for the opening like they owe money to their big daddies.

I had a discussion the other day as to how Touken Ranbu’s appeal was supposed to work. There’s clearly some research delved in to get as many swords as you can, yet I’m not sure how much of that effort really matters in the grand scheme. Sort of like Hetalia. I’ve seen very few Hetalia fans go out of their way to praise the detail in geopolitical relations. I’m most likely missing some, but most fans I see just want England to do dirty sex things to America. And that’s the case here, where I just sit in the haze during any exposition and wonder when someone is going to screw Yasusada’s sword-boypussy until his sword-brain is in pieces. Not sword-pieces though. Mental pieces.

And I’m sure somebody will be mentally broken by the end of this, because it’s written by Pierre Sugiura of Kuma Miko infamy. Remember that cute, but odd bear show that became horrifying in its last breaths? I fully expect to forget about this show for a few months until reading on Twitter how much of a horrorshow the finale was, and how it’s so bad it’s putting them off the second Touken Ranbu anime made by ufotable. Yes, I forgot to mention that. This anime is one of many for the franchise. We’re probably going to get more Touken Ranbus than we can count, even more than there are Prisma Illya seasons. – BloodyMarquis

Yuri!!! on ICE

You can just feel the cringe!

You can just feel the cringe!

All right, lets get the obvious joke out of the way… For the uninformed basement dwelling otaku still high on Cheetos and Mountain Dew, Yuri!!! on ICE is possibly the biggest cocktease since Friday the 13th The Series. It is not a yuri, it stars a guy named Yuuri (just check the katakana!), it is about figure skating and not some girls love relationship that goes sour, and to make matters worse…its actually a yaoi. HA!

Phew now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s talk about the best show of the season so far.

First thing you notice about Yuri is the animation. Its good. Its REALLY good. MAPPA’s done some impressive work in the past (say what you will about Terror in Resonance at least it looked snazzy) but even from the op, its clearly we’re approaching KyoAni levels of borderline feature film quality key work here. But its more then just that, there’s actually personality to the animation here and in a week that also gave us the bland soulless CGI work of BBK/BRNK and Bloodivores, to see some genuine emotion come out of an anime is downright refreshing.

Then you notice its actually pretty funny. Not in sort of a funny hahaha, but more of a “oh that’s clever!” chuckle. The show’s got great timing and isn’t trying to beat you to death with forced humor like some other quote-unquote “comedy” anime (including MAPPA’s last venture, the godawful Punch-Line). What is here works because it works. Not because its trying and ultimately failing to work like those other shows.

And then there’s the story. That of a guy who wanted to be his own idol yet failed at it, before coming home to his dismal dump of a hometown unsure of his own personal future. Its sounds really, really traditional on paper but again, the execution is the difference maker here. Yuri is embarrassed about what happened ever since his downward spiral started at Sochi. His family and friends, while meaning well, are only making it worse. And then, when our fairy tale ending kicks in and Yuri’s idol/professional rival Viktor shows up to be his new coach (and unintentionally wag his dick in Yuri’s face), its less of a triumph and more of a “you have got to be fucking kidding me!” moment. Its just… genuine.

Yuri!!! on ICE is this season’s Showa Genroku. A series without much fanfare (well…more than Showa Genroku, natch) that manages to blow the competition away. Even this East German judge liked it. – Lord Dalek

2016
09.11
"You don't have to tell me what happened, but you do have to eat this." as I hand her a bowl of eggs...

“You don’t have to tell me what happened, but you do have to eat this.” as I hand her a bowl of eggs…

Angel’s Egg has always been something I’ve been meaning to check off my anime to-do list for quite a while. Every anime reviewer I listen to tells me this is a great film in desperate need for more attention, while also saying the typical “it’s not for everyone” or “it’s really arthouse” statements to warn the unprepared away. And I think that’s stupid, because Angel’s Egg doesn’t hold your hand so why should its fans do the same? If you know someone who hasn’t watched Angel’s Egg, trick them into thinking it’s a KyoAni anime and watch their surprise at what they get instead. That’s the kind of “fuck you” that would make a fellow trickster like Mamoru Oshii proud.

And in less profane terms, knowing less about the movie beforehand maximizes the mystifying effect it’s going for, with your mind blurting “What’s going on?” in the biggest mental font your head can muster. The bigger the puzzle, the more satisfying it is when you complete it. That’s how a viewer should watch Angel’s Egg, with their mind answering guessing games while being entranced by the cinematography. And if you don’t get it the first try, watch it again or read an essay like this one to pick up some of the details. Or you could always be a twat and label this movie as boring tripe, throwing this in the pile with Aku no Hana. How dare you?

But it’s not boring tripe, it’s a religious epic. It’s a post-apocalyptic fairy tale. It’s an existential wail against society. And so on. All of that in just seventy-one minutes, that’s amazing. Other films often need two or three hours to juggle Christian allegories and Camusesque imagery without using focusing too little on either one. Though I guess Angel’s Egg can do that given I can just explain the movie’s plot in a few sentences: Girl has egg. Girl finds guy. Girl loses egg. Sad times. You can interpret in other ways to make the characters seem more layered. Maybe the egg’s her soul. Perhaps the man is some lone crusader. Possibly Miura got more than a few ideas from this film for Berserk. Whatever. The bare-bones characters and minimal dialogue serve to make this film’s world more alien, cold, and uninviting. Moments can be so silent that a line of dialogue can feel like a jumpscare. You could watch this movie with some other guys for a horror marathon and it wouldn’t feel out of place at all.

Dostoevsky always had a conflicted grasp of religion in his works, having a belief in God yet wondering how much that benefits one’s life. You can see that Brothers Karamazov with Alyosha’s attempts to be a godlier man, and if Hell is something of our own creation rather than an actual realm. Oshii does the same thing of sorts with the man’s contemplations regarding Noah’s Ark and if God really wants what’s best for humanity. The world of Angel’s Egg is very dark and barren, akin to a wasteland at world’s end. No one’s in luxury. No one is watched over. And at best, you’ll die alone and forgotten as one body among countless others. Almost like someone’s cliché of a Russian novel setting.

The atmosphere’s further aided by Yoshihiro Kanno’s music, with chanting and ominous piano music to complete the religious experience. While it can get a bit too much in some sense, I remember getting bored and doing a mockery of one of the chants during a scene, it gets the point across, enlarging Angel’s Egg’s presence throughout your mind so you too feel like a lonely child dwelling in a vast netherworld. It’s catchy music too, so you end up hearing it in your head the day after while you’re doing something else. Try going on a train ride while mentally hearing the Angel’s Egg soundtrack. It gets to you. Looking at his MAL profile, Yoshihiro Kanno never again lent his music to anime. An absolute pity. But that’s another element making this movie unique, as if it were an artifact from a long-gone society, best kept at an exhibit.

I like to compare watching the film to going to a museum, not looking for a particular piece to visually consume but just somewhere you can wander and occasionally appreciate the works around you. If Oshii hasn’t sold some of the cel animation frames from this movie so curators could put them up in exhibits, that’s a great shame. Because when watching this on a TV or computer screen, you don’t get the full effect from some of the backgrounds. Feels like staring at a Van Gogh drawing on your iPhone. It can only be completely appreciated when blown up in a larger-than-life canvas, so you can explore all the facets.

All in all, Angel’s Egg is a film whose runtime betrays how much time you’ll spend thinking about this movie. Are our endeavors to preserve what we hold dear absolutely in vain? Will humanity as a whole only sink further? How did Studio DEEN get the chance to work on this? These questions have plagued the movie for decades, and the myriad of answers given forth every now and then only enrich its mystery. Those seeking virtue will only find more perils and questions, but it’s only through such a quandary that we can pursue our dreams, even if it’s wanting to keep an egg under your dress.

2016
07.18

91 Days

KONO NERO DA!

Ah, the Prohibition Era. A wonderful time for many, but only if you’re a creator of course. Where others see blood, some see art. Endless classics have been influenced by this period, from The Untouchables to Baccano. So much violence, betrayal, and chaos all because of some booze. The stories and madness that take place during Prohibition are enough to rival Jacobean drama in their bloodshed and intricacy. Just thinking about it puts that moonshine aroma in your nostrils, almost making you long for those days as if Al Capone were less scary than modern white-collar crime. Yes, all that romance is a paper-thin illusion for an absolutely miserable time in American history, but just one look at some confiscated moonshine can’t help but make one a little teary-eyed.

And that’s how 91 Days knows how to perfectly frame this span of history. After Gangster aired to little applause, I was afraid anime studios wouldn’t know how to make a good mob story. A bit narrow-minded of me to be sure, but that’s always been a topic of interest I thought anime could do well like the space westerns of the mid-90s. I didn’t want to wait until Vento Aureo to get a good mafia anime, but 91 Days’ premiere has managed to quell that worry (along with having another lead named Bruno). It goes down smoothly, with a plot simple yet direct in its execution. While the “Kid who watches his family get killed grows up to get revenge on the killers” story is far from original, I like its execution here. Feels less like a ripoff and more of an allusion, a wink to those well-versed in the genre.

As you can tell, I’m biased because it’s exciting to see the studio behind the Durarara sequels do something interesting. Studio Shuka’s like the Trigger to Brain’s Base. After years of seeing its parent company produce forgettable garbage, you could just kill to see those tired animators quit and do something better in their lives. And I hope 91 Days does just that, preferably unlike how Durarara x2 had multiple animation cuts. I know that’s a shot in the dark, and the chance this will get the sales to warrant decent animation is a gamble, but maybe they can do it. – Bloody Marquis

Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School

We Fear Bears

I don’t know what is happening. I mean, I suppose that’s natural considering that I’m jumping on the second season of an adaptation of a text-heavy visual novel series for the Playstation Vita. But said adaptation also skips the second game of that franchise and has a story completely unrelated to the upcoming third installment. And said season is technically two different shows; a “Future Arc” taking place after the second game and a “Despair Arc” taking place prior to the events of the first game. Once again, the confusion about what the hell Danganronpa even is is natural when entering during the final act of the grand spectacle that this whole thing appears to be. As such, please forgive me for not knowing what the bloody hell is happening in the Future Arc and for being unsure about how to react to the events in the Despair Arc. I mean…giant black-and-white teddy bear stomping through the burning remains of Tokyo on one hand, eccentric high-school hijinks on the other. I’ve got squat.

At its core, I gather that Danganronpa is about high school being the worst place ever and how said worst place ever will ultimately be where you peak, if everyone having “Super High School-Level” in their titles and talking about “despair” all the time is anything to go by. Honestly, so what if some weird bear creature has you and your friends in some weird murder game while the world is going to shit? That’s no reason not to get a good college education. Major in something other than eating doughnuts. Become an actuary. Raise a family and live vicariously through your kids. Or stay single and waste your extra funds on Bandai Wonderswan video games and obscure 20th century novels. Life is full of options. Ya’ll too young to be despairing. But in all seriousness, find a different review of this show. All I really got out of watching an episode of each arc is that half the cast lives on a secret island now and that when you’re playing your electric guitar over a spit, you gotta be like your new waifu and yell about hormones. Mmm. Estrogen. – RacattackForce

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

If only this anime was as artistically capable as Saiki is.

Saiki is one of the more underrated and least read currently-running Jump series over here. It’s not legally available, and there are only scans for the first forty or so chapters out of it’s nearly 200 chapter run. I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve read of Saiki; I relate to his desire to simply be left alone and kept out of other people’s bullshit, and the colorful cast of kooky characters surrounding him make great foils for his reserved personality. I’d always hoped for a Saiki anime to get made, and potentially raise the pedigree and popularity of the series, in hopes of more material being made available in the west. Have I gotten my wish?

Sort of. I mean, what I like about the Saiki manga – it’s exasperated protagonist, ridiculous premise, and self-obsessed characters – are still here. The presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Now, the manga’s artwork isn’t anything to write home about; it’s pretty unpolished and sketchy looking. Saiki is carried by it’s comedy more than it’s art. Still, it would have been nice if J.C. Staff tried making it look a little more polished. Instead, the colors are flat, there’s no shading, the character designs and stiff and the animation is limited. It’s a bare-bones, low-effort production. A Saiki anime didn’t need a whole bunch of bells and whistles, but this is barely better than a motion-comic.

The anime’s saving grace is the performances, which are excellent. Hiroshi Kamiya perfectly captures Saiki’s dispassionate ennui and perpetual irritation, while Daisuke Ono can do no wrong as the innocent and lovable idiot Nendo. Probably my favorite and most surprising performances are those of Saiki’s parents. Mitsuo Iwata sounds so hilariously pathetic as Saiki’s skeevy loser father Kuniharu, and Rikako Aikawa shows great comedic range with his bi-polar mother Kurumi. Even though the visuals are lacking, at least the performances justify Saiki’s foray into animation by genuinely elevating its humor through good timing and voicework.

Saiki isn’t among the better-made anime comedies in recent memory, but it got some laughs out me nonetheless. Like the new Berserk, I’ve been waiting so long for an anime of this that I’ll just take what I can get at this point. It’s better in small doses though, so I’d recommend watching it as shorts rather than the compilation episodes. – LumRanmaYasha

Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet

You will watch Planet Arian every Thursday and you will like it.

Why, Key? Not one show this season, but two?

Anyway, Planetarian is for people who thought Chobits was too subtle. Instead of just being a girl who acts strangely robotic, we have an actual robot for the main character to snark at. Rather than a strangely secluded background, we’re literally in the middle of a machine apocalypse. I have to admit I like that Key’s going straight to the point here. No metaphors or shallow contemplations on high school life. We just have a guy in his mid-twenties living his remaining days in a hellish landscape, and it would be fun if not for the fact this is Key and we’re going to get an entire series about robots with feelings. Even the acolytes of Maeda have to write exactly like him, I suppose.

And that’s the problem since if you already watched one Key show, you’re not going to be surprised or moved by the plot unless you enjoy repeating life. Like that show ReLIFE. If you do like Kanon, Air, Clannad, Angel Beats, Little Busters, Charlotte, Rewrite, that other Kanon show with the chins, and that one Clannad movie you watched so you could tell your otaku friends that you watched an Osamu Dezaki joint, I guess you won’t be disappointed. Key shows are like cupcakes you see at the window, except you eat them three times a day and replace any other food with cupcakes as your main sustenance, forcing your digestive system to adapt to a purely cupcake diet until your body succumbs to critical failure from lacking nutritional variety. What I’m getting that is that watching or playing Key Visual Arts is like eating some bad cupcakes. And bad cupcakes don’t make for good anime. – Bloody Marquis

Qualidea Code

*burp* Yeah, so how about that Turkey coup?

Oh would you look at the time! Another season of anime has started, and that can only mean more Light Novel adaptations! What’s the next piece of brain draining young-adult lit (er, sorry for that redundancy) to be adapted? This time the dart lands on a multi-media project called Qualidea Code.

Qualidea Code follows a typical LN set up, world invaded by mysterious creatures, young people being the hope of the world, a series of magic military schools, complete with an extraneous “points” system that serves no other purpose than produce forced conflict between the characters, and most importantly, a chuuni-“totally not magic” system. Where Qualidea differs from most LN’s, is its use of an ensemble cast, and a relatively even gender-ratio. So far the characters bounce off one another decently, and the cast itself is mostly likable. Unfortunately, this does not include the main POV character, whose name I can not recall so I’ll just refer to him as: Douchey McShit. Douchey spends most of his screen time bitching and complaining about how everything and everyone is beneath him and how he’s the only fighter worth a damn, fortunately he’s called out multiple times for his attitude, and the first episode quickly proves that he won’t be a gary-stu protagonist like so many LN leads. It’s interesting that Doucehy seems to be a send-up of all those Kirito/Tatsuya-style protagonists, and his character development may be him growing out of that, but that fact that the story chose to make him the POV character can turn away some people regardless of future development.

The animation of Qualidea, like the show itself, is decent. I like that A-1 wants to go for some rule of cool action for this show, and it is a decent effort for the most part, but isn’t quite up to snuff with a ufotable or Production IG show. Music, on the other hand, is fantastic, but I expect nothing less from Taku Iwasaki.

At the end of the day, if you want something decently enjoyable and inoffensive LN-shit, then you can certainly do worst than Qualidea Code. While it does follow some typical LN trappings, it sheds some others to make for something watchable.

What the hell is a Qualidea anyway? – Crimson Rynnec

Taboo Tattoo

Nyanners' new video looks great.

Sadly, this is not a romance between members of two rival inner city gangs. Nor the anime adaption of Bum Fights. Or an anime about the children of tattoo artists have a secret incestuous affair. No, this is the a tale of hobos handing out superpowers in back alleys and secret military officers licking up milk like a cat. Goddamn hobos.

Taboo Tattoo is the anime equivalent of a predictable action flick. It hits all the same notes in all the same ways. We follow our hero, Justice (yes, that’s really his name) just wants to fight punks at night, but unfortunately he gets swept into a government conspiracy thanks to his new wicked tat. Yes, as usual the world can’t seem to keep it’s hands of America’s s lascivious weapon experiments. Apparently United States military’s top research facility decided tattoos were the best way to develop super soldiers. Must have been the Myrtle Beach branch. Anyway, MC-kun gets phone jacked by an agent with a chalk fetish who looks, acts, and drinks like an anime high schooler/cat. Yeah, when I drink something really hot, I lick it up with my sexy little tongue. Gotta be kawaii for the fellas, know what’m sayin? At least she’s friends with Joseph Joestar.

The fights are somewhat decent here, but the plot and characters are so well worn they’ve got tire marks on their backs. If you want to see people punch each other in mildly interesting ways, then this is the anime for you. crazy cat lady/10 – ShadowGentlemen

Sergei Twokyvanenko

Optometrists give you special visors for those eyes, buddy.

I don’t want to call Taboo Tattoo a disappointment. That would imply that I even expected something good from this show. The title may bring to mind an urban fantasy with an alternative punk culture aesthetic — Great Britain during the 70s or America’s Pacific Northwest during the 90s, take your pick — but I’d lying if I said I expected anything close to that from this show. That would actually be creative and new, and to ask the Japanese animation industry to give me that on even a semi-regular basis is asking far too much of it. No, Taboo Tattoo isn’t a disappointment. Far more boring and worse anime have come out this season for me to really say that. Rather, Taboo Tattoo is simple mediocrity at its finest. A painfully average show that does nothing interesting with its premise, has nothing notable about any of its characters, and nothing that can even make it stand out visually from the crowd of 100+ anime projects and counting that have been released this year. Oh, you want a plot? Average dude who was trained in martial arts by his grandfather and fights for justice gains powers that he wasn’t meant to have but nonetheless implied to quickly become the strongest of all that have these powers. Also he has a childhood friend who wants to bang him and he takes orders from a woman who looks much younger than she actually is. Yeah. Frankly, I refuse to watch the second episode to find out where this goes, because by the time credits rolled on this, I’ve lost all interest. Wikipedia says the second episode has a bloody coup occur in the fictional Asian country that the United States is about to go to war with, but meh. I don’t care, JC Staff. I’m only writing this because if I don’t, Marquis will send some googly-eyed GGI sexual assault horse at me. What’s next on my list? Danganronpa? Okay, let’s go. – RacattackForce