Category Archives: Anime/Manga

Update: AHO-Girl is the best thing I’ve watched this season. Here’s why.

Unfortunately, the shows I’ve chosen to watch this season have ranged from ok, to mediocre, to outright awful. I can’t really tell if this is because I did little to no research on the shows that I picked up, or if I just have really terrible luck, but I seemed to have gotten the worst of the bunch.

I know this because many of the of the other shows that I happened to not see, either because of lack of legal means to watch or because I just wasn’t aware of it at the time, like Princess Principle, Kakegurui, and Made in Abyss have all had their praises sung from the time they started airing.

Somehow, aside from AHO-girl and Tsuredure Children, I picked up three of the most terrible shows from this season. AHO-girl is the only show I could consider among these to be legitimately good. As I’ve discussed before here, it’s low brow humor is still very widely appealing, and in recent episodes, the jokes have expanded and only gotten funnier.

Meanwhile, the other shows that I’ve watched all suffer from an illness known as terrible. As I’ve discussed before on my blog, Classroom of the Elite and GAMERS! both lack a compelling direction for their narrative. Classroom of the Elite has more recently gotten wrapped in a somewhat unnecessary side plot that focuses on a secret idol named Sakura. She gives a testimony to help the Sudo, the classes’ drop out, avoid being expelled for beating up three upper classmen. This really felt like a departure from what started out as a really interesting and exciting premise.Classroom of the Elite

GAMERS!, which did a complete one eighty in terms of the direction in the first episode, turned into nothing but a somewhat funny, but ultimately mediocre ROM-COM. More recently, it has become a relationship Pentagon that is only as confusing as it is because apparently nobody in the show knows how to deal relationships in a serious way.GAMERS

I also recently have watched parts of In Another World with My Smartphone. While I may do a full review in the future, I can tell you right now that I am not a fan. In an anime landscape that is currently full of Isekai shows, this one really had to do something different to impress. Isekai Wa Smartphone

Not only did it not do something different, but it might possibly have inadvertently created the strongest characters of all time. Touya can use all of the worlds magic, has infinite mana, and can use his phone to increase the power of his magic. It’s like they took Kirito from Sword Art Online and said: “No, this guy needs to be more unbeatable!” I started a running joke between a friend of mine and me that Touya is pretty much the new god of this world and should be treated as such.

AHO-Girl, therefore, stands at the top of the shows I’ve watched during the summer 2017 season. It is a really good comedy and should be praised as such, but most of my picks this season were honestly just garbage, and I’ll probably be dropping most of them soon.

 

 

Review- From the New World(Shin Sekai Yori): One of the Greats(SPOILERS)

When I first started this blog for sharing my watching experience I wrote a review of Eureka Seven and said that it was one of the best shows I’ve seen to date. Two months later and I’ve watched another near perfect show. From the New World is not only one of the best anime I’ve ever seen, It’s also a piece of art that should be recognized for its wonderful dystopian story and masterful presentation.

To say that the writing is good is to sell this show short. Its brilliance begins with its premise: a story of a world torn apart by a war against a group of people who, in the course of human evolution, developed the ability to manipulate reality with his or her mind. In a new society set a millennium after the war tore apart the world, a town made up of humans with reality manipulating powers lives in relative peace.

What makes From the New World’s writing so interesting has a lot to do with the town itself. Most of the struggles in our main character Saki’s life come as a direct or indirect result of the leaders of the town, who generally comprise either the Ethics Committee and the Education Committee. Under the authority of these groups, the town has become what can only be described as a hyper-authoritarian state. The ability to move outside of the spiritual barrier that has been setup around the town is highly restricted. It is also found out later that the ethics committee has hypnotized all the groups of children accept Saki and her friends in order to make sure that they do not go against the committee’s wishes. This setup serves to show just how seriously the powers that they hold are taken. Someone with their Psychokinetic powers could easily kill thousands of those without it. As such, the Ethics Committee felt as though they had to protect their peace.

The show does make sure to call into question the morality of their policies of the Committees often. After all, they send out Trickster Cats to eliminate those who they feel are a problem, and they are openly hostile to those who question their authority. These actions are always shown in much darker and unforgiving light.

Saki and her friends ultimately carry the show. It is through their eyes that we see the corruption of the town’s leadership throughout all stages of their lives. Saki, the shows main character, is portrayed as someone who is constantly the learning. As she grows up she learns more and more about their town Kamisu 66 and what really goes on behind the scenes. It is through her that we find out about the trickster cats, the leader of the ethics committee Tomiko, and the treatment of the Monster Rats. She is both our main perspective of the world and also herself a bystander to its tragedy. It is also through her that we see a loss of innocence, both in herself and her friends, as they learn about the horrors of their history and about the society they live in.

Wataru is also an important character and one that complements Saki well. When she is in a moment of hesitation and she feels like she can’t move on it’s Wataru that snaps her out of it. We also see the world through his eyes, to a lesser extent, but as he grows up with her Wataru becomes a bit more cynical of the world than Saki. He is constantly making Saki evaluate the decisions she is going to make while also being there to protect her.

The Music in the show isn’t what I would call the greatest, but it is by no means bad. It does well to complement the tones of the scenes they are used in, whether those tones are romantic or horrific. I do have to mention one song, in particular, Kage no Denshouka Daisanbu, which while being one of the most prominent songs in the show is also the best song and is definitely worth listening to on its own.

It’s very hard to find fault in a show like From the New World given how perfectly executed it is, but then we get to the animation. Admittedly it gets better as the show goes on, but it the beginning it is really jarring inconsistent some of the characters look, especially during scenes when the characters are the focus. Although, I can definitely see an argument of this being intentional. As the show goes on the animation of Saki and her friends becomes more rigid and structured, mirroring her conformity to the society of the town.

I’ve had a lot more to say about this show because I feel like it deserves a good explanation of why it’s so great, and I hope this review has done it the justice it deserves. From the New World is a show that will stand the test of time because of its quality storytelling and ability to portray tragedy in all the complexity and nuance that a story like it requires. It is definitely a must-watch.

What Do Classroom of the Elite And GAMERS! Have In Common? Disappointment.(SPOILERS)

After watching episode five of both Classroom of the Elite and GAMERS!, I’ve noticed that both of the shows seem to be going downhill. I’m honestly not sure whether this is because of the source material, or because of the lack of directorial and writing skill, but either way its really not looking good for either of these shows.

Of the two, GAMERS! was the one who’s decline I was expecting. It had a strong episode one, and an interesting plot twist, but as I’ve pointed out on this blog before that twist really didn’t amount to much. Looking back, the show honestly might have been better if it had stuck to the plot it was setting up. At least, in that case, it would have been campy and fun.

Now, However, GAMERS! is nothing more than a mediocre Rom-Com. Its main appeal has become the intertwining relationships between Amano and the others. The problem with this is that in only five episodes, I haven’t had enough time to care. None of these characters have been on screen for long enough or been interesting enough for me to want to know who is going to end up with who.

I’m a bit more sad about Classroom of the Elite. It had an interesting premise about being locked in a school in which everyone thinks that they’re being treated like royalty when in fact they just being tested. When everyone realized that they had just made themselves poor by spending all their points, that’s when the show good have gone a thousand different routes. But, of course, the show has chosen to take the least interesting route.

So far, the show has tried to do everything while accomplishing nothing. It has meandered around, following a character story about Sudo that is not that interesting. The reason why they’re doing it makes sense within the context of the show, but it still isn’t as interesting as the writers would like to think it is.

It really is a shame that both of these shows look like they’re going to end up among the boring drivel of the rest of the season. They started out very well, but I can’t see a good ending with the directions they’ve decided to take. I hope I’m proven wrong within the coming weeks, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

 

 

Opinion: Does Eureka Seven have a Feminist Streak?

Thinking back a few months to when I watched Eureka Seven, a pattern started to emerge. Often times people complain about the lack of strong female characters in entertainment, and anime is no exception. While many of those criticisms are valid, the idea that anime is lacking in strong female characters is one that I take with a grain of salt, and Eureka Seven is one of the reasons why.

From the outside looking in, it might seem like a show dominated by its male leads, but often times this is not the case at all. Even though Renton is the main character most of the time, the majority of the focus of the show is on Eureka and the struggle she faces as a member of the Gekkostate. Renton most of the time is portrayed as young, dumb fourteen-year-old who more often than not both admires and looks up to Eureka for guidance about the Nirvash and his role on the Gekkostate. Tolho is another strong female character who helps support Holland in much the same way. She is there for Holland when he needs her, but is also a pilot of the Gekko. Both of these relationships in the show are treated as equal partnerships rather than the males constantly supporting the females.

Another place where Eureka Seven’s feminist streak shines through is in the dynamics of its romantic relationships. In the beginning, when Renton joins Gekkostate and falls in love with Eureka, he treats her more so like an object to be desired rather than valuing her as a person. As time goes on, he realizes that this way of loving Eureka only serves to dehumanize her. Not to mention that this way of thinking often gets him in trouble with both Eureka and the other members of the gekkostate, who are protective of her.

Renton eventually realizes that in order to really love eureka in a meaningful way that he has to get to know her as a person. Throughout their journey on the Gekkostate and as the pilots of the Nirvash, Renton and Eureka come to love and respect each other. Their relationship is not one built on a desire for one another, but rather, as the show beautifully puts it, as a family. They do not operate independently of each other. They rely on each other caring and understanding in order to succeed.

For these reasons, if you are looking for entertainment for strong female characters and respect for women, then Eureka Seven is a show not to be missed.

Shin Sekai Yori(From the New World): My Thoughts So Far(SPOILERS)

As long as I have been watching anime, about five years now that is, I can honestly say that shows like Shin Sekai Yori do not come along often. It is a show that not only presents a fascinating world, but also one with some very interesting ideas.

One of the things that stands out the most to me is the plot point that everyone in the society that Saki and the others lived in is made up entirely of Psycho-kinetics. Being able to control things with your mind isn’t an especially new idea, but when given to an entire population there can be serious repercussions, and the show presents that well. It portrays an extremely authoritarian society that gives the kids very little freedom when it comes to using there powers.

Speaking of that authoritarian society, the way they show it is both subtle but effective. In the first episode or so, The kids in the class are asked to read two different stories: one of an ogre, and one of a karmic demon. Saki and the others later find out on trip to into the woods that both of these stories come from illnesses that affect Psychokinesis users, but the only reason they find out this information is because of a wandering library that they weren’t supposed to find out about. We can assume based off of these scenes that this is a very restricted environment.

One of the other curious things that kept coming up in the first episode was the idea that now that the kids are the Unified school that they are now considered adults, even though they are 12 years old when the story starts out.

There is also the not very well addressed(so far, anyway)disappearance of two different students after not using their powers correctly. It seems to me that much like My Hero Academia, the powers that be are much more concerned with preserving peace and order than they are helping any individual, even to the point of making them disappear if they threaten that order.

If this seems a little incoherent, then no its not you. The show looks like it has so many things that it wants to do and say, and it hasn’t gotten the chance to do and say them yet. My recommendation, based on six episodes, is to give it a chance if you’ve been skeptical. There’s so much going on, but not in the sense that the show has no direction. Certainly, Shin Sekai Yori is a great work of art so far.

First Impressions: No Game No Life Light Novel: Beauty in the Details(SPOILERS)

My Experience with the No Game No Life anime, aside from the ending, was a very positive one. It was an Isekai show that questions the status quo of its own genre, and it made that questioning really fun, as brother and sister team blank explore the new world that they have discovered. If I had to give one other negative criticism of the show its that The first episode, compared to the first chapter of the lite novel, didn’t give a lot in detail.

What I mean by that is that while the anime did its best to portray the life of Sora and Shiro through visual ques, the light novel does a much better job at explaining outright why it is Sora and Shiro are who they are. Its not that the anime did a bad job setting up the story of Blank, its just that I found a lot more to like in the descriptions of the novel.

For Example, while the show iterates the fact that the two are brilliant at games, it never gets around to connecting there brilliance at these games to there social isolation. The light novel, on the other hand, explains “The brother who had been born no good and so was too good at reading people’s words and motives. The sister who had been born too smart and, because of that and her pure white hair and red eyes had no one ho understood her.” This key detail makes it a lot easier to relate to Sora and Shiro early because we realize that nobody has taken the time to understand them.

Another example comes in the lack of description about there parents. In the anime, we get a quick scene that shows Sora walking along side his parents while they seem to ignore him, and they approach Shiro sitting at a table. Of course, this on the surface would convey the idea that there parents weren’t ever really around really well, but compared to the description in the lite novel, it feels a bit weak. The Light novel states “The siblings who had been abandoned, even by their parents, then left alone in this world, and who finally closed their hearts.” This clearly explains how they both feel about the outside world and why they only play games. They play because they both feel numb, and that no one will ever come for them. They find solace in games the way people find relief in each other. The novel also explains further that they had a past that “not even the most generous of interpretation could recall as happy.” This added detail delivers the idea that Sora and Shiro are lonely much more potently then in the anime

A large swath of detail that got left out of the anime is the idea of conspiracy theories and urban legends are actually just wishes. It further explains that people desire the universe to be filled with order rather than chaos, and that the people who wish for these things can’t except the fact the universe is mostly chaos. This idea fits in with Sora and Shiro’s description of life just being a shitty game because a game has order. The real world is chaos and has no sense of fairness or equality.

Details like these help tie the story together much better at the beginning and allow the story to convey its ideas much quicker then the anime. Again, I am not saying that the anime does a bad job at all, but if you were to ask me who gets more points for presentation, then I would give it to the light novel every time.

First Impressions: Tsuredure Children: A Short Form Romantic Comedy Sensation 

There have been a few other shorter shows this season, like Aho-Girl, that have taken the time they have been given and does something fun and interesting with it. For me, Tsuredure Children falls into that same category, with its multistory approach to Romantic Comedy being its main draw.

Tsuredure Children follows the stories of multiple high school couples and there beginnings. Each of these stories is about people who have hard times with relationships, and get nervous when put in a romantic situation. Each of the stories has about 4 minutes of the 12 minute episodes, telling 3 different stories per episode, either being a new story or a continuation of a story from before. It appears, though, that the stories have no connecting tissue other than the order in which they are told.

Just like Aho-Girl, the show uses the time it has well. It tries to display a funny, interesting, self- contained story about two idiots who are in love.

A lot of the stories in the show are very entertaining, like the love story between Akagi, the student council president, and Kaji, a deliquent who spends her time sleeping in class and smoking outside. The chemistry between the two is visible even though it’s only been given a total of 8 minutes within the show so far.

Chiaki and Yuki also come to mind as a couple that shows real chemistry. Chiaki clearly has feelings for Yuki, but is unable to convey those feelings back to Yuki, who has already admitted to liking him. It gets even harder for him when Chiaki’s sister becomes a first year and immediately becomes protective of her brother.

The show is not without its faults, however, as not all the relationships so far have been equally as funny or interesting. Takao and Chiyo, for example, are cute, but known of the joke about there situation really land the same way as the funnier couples do. Kaga and Nanase seem like they could be an endearing couple, but the show so far has not given there relationship enough time to develop.

Overall the show had been enjoyable, and with the length of the episodes being just 12 minutes, it’s nothing you have to force yourself to get through. It may not be something that sticks with you forever, but it’s at least s fun show to watch when you’ve got nothing else to watch.

First Impressions: GAMERS! A Show That Knows How to Subvert Expectations.

I decided to watch GAMERS! on a complete whim. That’s it. There was absolutely nothing else about the show that was remotely interesting other than the fact that it was described as a show about gaming. Even when I started the first episode, I was convinced that the show was going to be a somewhat camp, slice of life about a nobody loser joining a gaming club and becoming a video game god, but boy was that not the case.

While GAMERS! may set itself up like the adventures of generic anime protagonist #3012, The show, within the first episode, becomes a ROM-COM where the most popular girl in school invites the main character Amano to join the schools gaming club, but gets rejected by Amano because he doesn’t like how the club plays games, telling said most popular girl Tendou that he doesn’t like playing games competitively. Tendou, who starts to develop a slight crush on Amano, feels utterly rejected. A lot of the comedy from that point on stems from watching the most popular girl in school start awkwardly stalking Amano as he starts to make friends outside of the club.

It was indeed surprising watching what I thought was going to be pretty standard anime garbage into something a little less conventional. From the moment of Tendou’s rejection I couldn’t stop watching, and it has so far been thoroughly entertaining.

The way it so far has played with the expectations that it has set up is fascinating. For example, when Chiaki was introduced, the expectation is that she would be the main rival to Tendou in getting with Amano, since Chiaki and Amano both love so many of the same games and often times share a very similar philosophy when it comes to how they both enjoy games. This, however, ends up not being the case at all, as much of the philosophy that the two share involves being passionate about games to the point of insulting each other over there disagreements.

Another one of the ways it flips expectations is with Amano’s first real friend Uehara. When Uehara is first introduced, he is made to look like he is part of the popular crowd, the group of people that wouldn’t dare associate themselves with someone like Amano. However, its been revealed throughout the first few episodes that Uehara has a past very similar to that of Amano’s current situation: an introvert who only wants to play games, and because of that Uehara decides to start hanging out with Amano.

Of course, none of this actually makes the show good, or bad for that matter. While the show does subvert expectations, and that does add to its presentation, it doesn’t feel yet like a show that really is going to stick with me for very long. One could even argue that the show subverts expectations for the sole purpose of getting attention, and while it has certainly caught mine, its not a tactic that creates quality art. If the show wants to come off as anything more than gimmicky than its going to have to make its characters a lot more interesting than they currently are.

 

 

 

I Just Saw The Ancient Magus Bride, and I’m Excited

Yesterday, I went to the Crunchyroll Anime Movie Night and saw The Ancient Magus Bride, and It was probably one of the best viewing experiences of an anime I’ve had. Rarely do I get to view anime in theater, and, in fact, this was only my second time seeing anything anime on the big screen. The first time was going to see the amazing Your Name.

Before they showed Magus Bride, Crunchyroll gave a sneak preview of its upcoming original film Children of Ether. Now, based on the clip they showed, I’d have to say that I’m a bit skeptical. The story seems like its going to be enjoyable, but the directorial debut of Lesean Thomas overall is not promising. The animation was a bit wonky in a lot of places, especially in the fight scenes. It was just a ten minute clip, though, so hopefully the whole movie will be better.

The main event; however, did not disappoint. The first three episodes were an absolute masterpiece, to say the least. Of course, I can’t speak for the quality of the show beyond episode three, but based on the show so far a drop off in quality is not likely. The animation was on par with most other Studio Wit productions, and the colorful art pallet fit perfectly for a show about magic.

The characters have also been a delight. Chise, while not having done much so far, seems to be genuinely growing from her experiences with Elias, and because of that it looks like she will be able to adequately deal with her past. Elias is a bit more shrouded in mystery. His motives on the surface seem ok, but I get the feeling there is a lot more going on in the mage world then what the story, and more specifically he, is showing us.

The Music is by far my favorite part of the show so far. The soundtrack has what I would describe as a more regal feel to it, which makes sense considering the show is set in England. A lot of the tracks have large horn sections which I like a lot, and I hope to see that trend continue.

If there was a line to buy tickets for the hype train, then I would be first in it. I’m genuinely hoping that the show doesn’t disappoint, because what we got in these first three episodes was amazing.

 

Nagi no Asukara: My Thoughts So Far(SPOILERS)

Honestly, I’m a bit ashamed of myself at not having seen this show sooner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, but there is something about this show that really draws me in and just makes me want to sit on the couch and keep watching. Even after only watching just 7 episodes, I’m convinced that this is going to be one of my highest rated show of 2017, up there with Eureka Seven.

The show has set up its story very well, with its rivalry between people of the land and people of the sea and that rivalry’s affect on the main characters being a focal point. It does this by showing the simple, more traditional lifestyle of the people of the sea and contrasting that with the busy, modern day Japan and how the differences in how their cultures have developed over a long period of time.

Another thing I find interesting about the show is the idea of the Ena, the mystical veil granted to them by the god of the sea that allows them to live underwater. The way its used to show just how different the two peoples are is fantastic, and it also feeds into the tribal mentality that both groups have.

The characters, while not extremely developed, are already showing signs of maturing as they find out more about the rivalry between the sea and the land. Hikari started the show being very immature and hot headed, but not even half way through the show he realizes the truth behind why people from the sea never come back, that they are banished from the clan, and realizes that this rule is only hurting the people he loves. This includes his crush Manaka, who he finds out possibly has feelings for a boy from the surface, and Hikari decides that he wants to change things through the Ofunehiki, a festival meant appease the sea god, which he tries to make happen with help from friends on the land. This maturing in just seven episodes from a 26 episode series gives me a lot of confidence about it going forward.

The aesthetic of the animation is also something I find myself a fan of. Everything in the show is tinted in a light blue, symbolic of the story revolving around the ocean and its people. The light blue coloring also highlights the emotional gravitas of the show, as the relationships between the main characters already seem strained, and seem like they will be getting more so in the future.

This is one show that as I continue watching continues to excite me, depress me, and go up and down like an emotional roller coaster. The idea of a relationship possibly being ruined by hatred between to groups is certainly not an original one, but I do think that this show will do it much better.