Tag Archives: Anime

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.

 

 

 

Review- Hellsing: Ultimate: About as Fun as an Anime Can Be

I find myself more and more looking at anime, and entertainment, through a more analytical lens. This is mostly due to having read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster. After reading the book I couldn’t help but just look for the details of what was going on. Even though it was mainly meant for western literature, I still find myself applying its core ideas to anime. Hellsing: Ultimate, however, was a show that I could very easily turn my brain off and just watch the blood splatter everywhere.

Following the leader of the Hellsing, Sir Integra, and her powerful vampire servant Alucard, Hellsing Ultimate is a remake of the original 2001 adaptation of Hellsing. It follows the bloody, spine-tingling adventures of Hellsing’s work, and how it leads up to a war against a group of Nazi soldiers that escaped World War 2. The group now known as Mellenium seeks to start a war against England, and the leader of Millennium seeks revenge against Alucard.

Oh, and did I mention that there are Vampire Nazis in this show too? Cause that really is a selling point of this show. Anituber Glass Reflections often speaks about how a certain percentage of shows generally operate on the “Rule of Cool.” This essentially means that even when a show is lacking in factors like Music or characters, it is still able to be enjoyable due to the sheer amount of awesome on screen, and Ultimate knows how to use this rule to its full effect.

Ultimate takes an idea like vampires, which has had many different, often repeated, interpretations in popular media, and manages to make it fun again. Alucard’s demonic powers are beautifully animated, along with the rest of the show. Whenever he fought, my eyes were always glued to the screen, so much so that I would forget that I was hungry.

Aside from riding the “Rule of Cool,” Ultimate has a lot to offer in other categories. It’s soundtrack, while not being as good as the original 2001 adaptation, still manages to set the tone no matter what the scene, especially near the end of the show after the Major’s ship crash lands in London.

As I mentioned before, the show is breathtakingly animated, especially when it comes to the fight scenes. Each movement feels smooth and in place, aside from a few wonky slow moments. The color palette for the show almost always feels perfect for the setting at hand. Alucard specifically always looks fantastic in his signature black and red outfit.

The show is by no means dumb. In fact, there are many ideas that are worthy of there own analytical pieces, like the ideas of being a monster vs being human, but if your looking for the epitome of fun, then Hellsing: Ultimate is definitely worth your time.

First Impressions: Aho-Girl, Super Smart Comedy? No, but Still Hilarious

Aho-girl is by no means an anime great, even when compared to just other comedy anime. Its premise is a little basic, and leaves a lot to be desired, but for whatever reason I just can’t stop laughing when I watch it.

Aho-girl centers around Yoshiko, most likely one of the stupidest people to ever live. The title seems to fit, considering how much of an idiot she is, failing all of her tests and being obsessed with bananas. She’s constantly irritating both her friend A-kun and her mom with her sheer lack of common sense. She goes to school with A-kun and everyday there is something new she is hung up on.

I’ll start up front by saying that if you like your comedy to be thoughtful and sophisticated with well thought out jokes that go a couple levels deep then this show is not for you. Aho-girl relies on mostly low brow humor and fast paced, often violent jokes to get you to laugh. Now, if you are like me and can appreciate many different types of humor, including boob grabbing and dick jokes, then you will probably love this show, as I have so far.

The show seems to know comedic timing very well, as many of the jokes land, and there are quite a few good one liners already. As of right now at least, it looks like the show understands its comedic formula well enough to not only perfect it,  but to experiment in future episodes.

Of course, the show would be nothing without its characters. All of them are very well voice acted and are very emotive, enhancing the comedy even more. I would like to give a special shout out to Yoshiko’s voice actor Aoi Yuuki who does an amazing job portraying her character’s stupidity. Admittedly, I’m not to familiar with to many Japanese voice actors, but you can now officially call me a fan.

I don’t think its very likely that the show will end up going downhill, as the consistent level of quality leads me to believe the show is being handled well. As of right now though, I definitely recommend you watch it. The short twelve minute episodes are bound to brighten up your day.

Boruto: My Thoughts So Far(SPOILERS)

After Having caught up with Boruto just recently, I do feel at ease knowing the show is trying to differentiate itself from its predecessor. Boruto, for the most part, feels as though it’s coming in to its own, however that does not free the show from criticism, so I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and concerns.

Firstly, Even though I was very skeptical before I started watching it, the first few episodes convinced me quickly that Boruto can, and for the most part will, be its own show. Boruto himself is in many ways different from Naruto, especially in personality. Boruto seems to be much cooler headed, and doesn’t always resort to fighting as the first option. It seems he got some of Hinata’s calm and collected genes, as he thinks about the situation he’s in much more carefully, although not always. This change is very much welcome, as Naruto’s endless naivety could get very annoying at points. The show also goes a great distance to show that Boruto wants nothing to do with his father’s legacy, and that he would much rather make it on his own and have Naruto be a normal dad than to have the status that comes with being the Hokage’s son. In that way he seems to have a lot in common with Itachi, without of course feeling the immense pain he did.

I will also sing its praises, albeit a bit more tepidly, for the mystery elements that it has incorporated into this first arc. It was a very fun experience watching Boruto use this power, which seemingly is hinted will be his only hope in a later arc, to first solve a mystery about an attacker that came seemingly out of no where, and who turns out to be the class rep. Not to mention that the mystery elements are done fairly well overall. The show builds up the main villain by leaving clues at every turn, and has Boruto try and piece that all together.

Of course, there are a few things that I have a problem with. For one, although it seems Boruto is very much his own person, it’s hard to say the same for his classmates. Both in character designs and in personality, they seem to be, in one way or another, just copies of their parents. This could be the lack of episodes in the show so far, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of Boruto’s classmates just wont get any time to show themselves as characters.

Its also worth pointing out that while the content of the show so far is very different from Naruto, the structure seems to be already setting itself up in the same way. The first arc, like in Naruto, had them fighting an enemy over a smaller number of episodes, and just like in Naruto it seems Boruto is setting itself up for a much larger arc to come. Admittedly this criticism is largely based on speculation, but It still concerns me nonetheless.

Overall, I think it’s a good show so far. It has a lot of promise and the first arc with the ghost was entertaining. Any other criticisms I have of the show, at this point at least, are a bit nit-picky, so I’ll just finish by saying that I hope the show stays original, otherwise It might get boring very quickly.

Review- Eureka Seven: Still One of the Best Anime to Date

It really only took a few episodes before I realized, but Eureka Seven is by far and away one of the best anime to date. The 2006 Bones production enjoys some of the stellar storytelling along with a cast of characters that feel much more relatable than a lot of other shows.
Eureka Seven is set in a future in which the discovery of ancient creatures has lead to the to the creation Human shaped robotic fighting suits known as LFOs. These suits have largely been taken over by the military, which has used them to expand throughout the entire world. Enter the Gekkostate, a rouge group of anti-military resistance made up of former special forces units who also happen to have their own magazine publication. It is through this publication that our protagonist Renton Thurston, son of the man considered humanity’s hero Adrock Thurston, comes to admire the group and dreams about one day joining them. It is through a fateful encounter with Gekkostate’s best pilot Eureka Renton is able to join the group, leaving behind his grandfather with the promise to return and become a mechanic.
After the first few introduction episodes it begins to show the life of the Gekkostate, and the wild and captivating personalities on board. All of these characters, in one way or another, feel compelling, from Tolho’s transformation over the course of the show from a rowdy, confused 20 something to a mature, loving motherly figure, and Holland’s evolving feelings about Eureka, to Renton’s maturing as an individual, which leads to the main attraction of the show, the love story of Eureka and Renton.
As Renton is very much a young teenager, the show is set up as a coming of age story, in which he not only learns more about his past and has to come to terms with both his sister and dad being gone as more and more of the ghosts of their pasts show up, he also falls deeper and deeper in love with Eureka, and it is here where the show shines. At first, having not had a women in his life other than his sister before she past away when he was young, Renton did not have a way to properly express his feelings, often coming off as overly aggressive even when trying to show compassion and kindness. However, over the course of the show’s 50 episodes, he learns more and more about Eureka, including the fact that she is a highly intelligent being known as a Karalian, Renton can only find more things to love about her. Intially, Eureka is confused about her feelings, even to the point of being scared of Renton, because she does not know how to process mutual feelings for him. But even while fighting a war to save the planet from the destructive tendencies of Duey, Renton and Eureka’s Romance still shines through as one of the most endearing in anime.
Apart from having great characters, Eureka Seven also knows how to world build. As prominent Anime YouTuber Digibro said in a recent video, “the show is steeped in…anything that is counter culture.” From the surfing of Trapar waves to the releasing of the Gekkostate’s own magazine, “Rayout”,  the show not only portrays the Gekkostate as being resistant to power, but it also paints the entire world from that point of view. It shows you life of Gekkostate and how it may not be glamorous, but it can be fun. Among this exploration of counter culture the show also explores many themes about environmentalism, diversity and acceptance that also serve to build on both the world and the romance between Renton and Eureka.
Eureka Seven is a show that, while only having discovered it recently, will likely remain with me for a long time. To say that its narrative is compelling is to undermine the show’s unique perspective and simply not give it the credit it deserves. It goes without saying that if you have not watched it, then you should.