I have increased my anime finished count by 50% by watching Toradora the past two days.
Thoroughly enjoyed, was engrossed by the realism of the characters' relationships. That's not to say the show was realistic about everything but I mostly chalk that up to taking advantage of the medium (Taiga's excessive violence, teacher being so outward about her personal misery, etc.), 'cept maybe the weird pseudo-bro/sis-dad/kid relationship Ryuji and Taiga start out as which kinda stretches my willing suspension of disbelief. But Tiaga's softer side always leaked through a little bit even in the beginning. She's the bully that picks on people they like and simply doesn't understand her own feelings well enough to properly express them, a familiar concept well executed, with a bit of an inferiority complex thrown in. (And I'm a guy, so being short is all the worse here.) Every anime tsundere should be like her, not a hot-and-cold running faucet that can be dialed up and down to the extreme at a moment's notice.
Sometimes I just wish the characters would get over themselves and be outward and honest with one another, but real life rarely works like that either. It's difficult to muster up the courage to confess one's feelings for another, besides which they're still high schoolers (older ones at least, thank goodness) and going through the growing pains of learning about life, love, and imminent adulthood. Teenage drama is expected. Relationships weren't rushed nor drawn out forever, and I never got the sense that anything was unnatural about the characters' actions or that an event occured merely to push a certain plot or relationship. Everyone was friends to a varying degree, they all had such-and-such different feelings about one another. Everyone acted on different sets of incomplete information, trying to do right by one another, and all the while they're slowly figuring out how to handle their own emotions and circumstances. tl;dr It was organic and believable. By the end of the series I had probably rooted for literally every possible couple pairing at some point, besides maybe Minori/Yusaku.
Although a Dragon would absolutely kick a Tiger's ass and they are no way equal. Cuz, you know, Tigers are real and thus bound to real-world capabilities.
Now to go figuratively ball up in a tight space and cry about how I'm going to die alone. Next up based on two separate friend's recommendations, Gosick, which better just not give me any feels whatsoever.
It was rushed but it wasn't bad. Why she left (ermahgerd SPOILERS) was obvious. In fact, it was explained quite plainly in the show. You know she isn't gone forever and upon her return, her little outburst is quite in character. You have to be some sort of willful idiot BAKA not to understand. I can also see how much time is left in the video and didn't stop watching when the ED started rolling.
The only seeming ambiguity I'm left with is was she gone for just a couple months at the end of the then-current school year, or the entire next year? The potential time jump is a little jarring, but it doesn't bother me because it simply doesn't matter how long she was gone. It wasn't clear because it didn't need to be clear! (Or maybe it was explained and I missed it. Damn you untranslated letter, but I assume it was vague anyway by Ryuji's reaction toward it.) It was long enough to get the point she had something important to do that had to be done on her own, and she'll be back when the issue is resolved. I think it was the entire next year, cuz it wouldn't make much sense for Mr. Ero-Kawaii to be the next student council prez if he was graduating at the same time as Definitely Not Ami and we time jumped to the main cast's graduation, but yeah it honestly doesn't even matter.
And not an indictment against the ending per se but I reeeeeeeally want a taste of what happened after. Also the first OD and ED were better than the second ones. The latter are fine in their own right, and I suppose it signals the gradual shift of the show from more comedy to something a little more serious, but it feels like they were just trying to overplay up the drama. Plus, you know... *ahem* I could loop that thing for hours.
So I got to watch sao ordinal scale in theaters. It is definately just more sao. Sao drives me nuts, every time sao manages to sell me on its premise. The hooks are always strong, but then it just fails to deliver every time. This movie presented some really interesting ideas but failed on every account to really develop those ideas. The climax was a mess, I felt like they were just throwing random stuff at me and I just ended up getting confused by it all. Also this movie made me realize how uninteresting the fight scenes are. The sword fight choreography feels oddly static which bugs me even more knowing that it is a movie budget. I will have to say that I did enjoy going to the movie though. Watching an anime in theatres is not something that I have been able to experience before so it was exciting in that aspect.
The only real interesting setting SAO had was the first, everything since then has been "whoops, this was more popular than expected, better try and come up with a new arc somehow". Not that the first arc was even particularly good, like 2/3 of the episodes could probably be considered filler.
After much deliberation, I finally got around to finishing gunbuster and man am I glad I did. The show took about as long as any other to establish its premise which given its 6 episode duration may not at first seem like the best of ideas but the show still manages to be a lot of fun all the way through upping the ante with each episode. There are few issues bar a bit of staggered line delivery at times but otherwise, gunbuster has aged incredibly well, definitely a top 10 show for me.
Onto some seasonal anime:
Little Witch Academia
As a massive Studio Trigger fanboy I really wanted to like this show, but it seems that each subsequent installment of LWA strays further from the original's greatness. As amazing as the first episode was I'm sad to say it was one of the only good ones. I'll probably finish this show later, just not now.
Kuzu no Honkai
I'm really liking this show so far, it dedicates a great amount of effort to establishing the plot in the first episode and the 'friends with benefits' take on romance is pretty unique as well. This show has just the right amount of melancholy but I wouldn't call it so much depressing as I would intriguing. Also the OP and ED are both pretty stellar in their own rights.
This show still manages to be a consistently good comedy. I don't have much to say other than that really, go watch it!
Challenge 52 - Watch an anime tagged as Fantasy, Sci-Fi and/or Supernatural: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda (World Conquest: Zvezda Plot) Enjoyment Rating: ★★★★★
I'm giving up on critical ratings for these 'cause my list ratings are all 90% enjoyment based anyway.
This show is just pure fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It just oozes with charm, and every episode managed to find some way to make me smile. It seems to follow the level of logic of a child's imaginary game all the way through, which is incredibly fitting considering the age of its deuteragonist Kate, and it even manages to take itself seriously in a way which further enhances how excellently this level of logic grabs you and pulls you in. It was completely unrealistic and childish in every aspect, and this aspect of it taking itself made it feel like something I could believe, and it got me fully rooting for Zvezda in their evil schemes to rid the world of smoking and the many other quirky activities which they partook in for their goal of world conquest, and it is just an excellent sign of good, well-thought-out writing which appeals heavily to me. Every character was likeable on some level, and the individual character development segments which were peppered all the way through the story made them all feel like genuinely complete characters. The ending was handled well, even if it did give off a vibe that thy had planned to write more source material and never got around to it (which is a shame, 'cause I would've loved to see more of this quirky crew). All in all I just really didn't have many complaints coming out of this which weren't art-based (A-1 are cheap and bad zzzzz). All in all, I strongly recommend this.
Challenge 01 - Watch an ONA or stand-alone OVA: Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko (She and Her Cat)
This is a masterpiece in the space of four minutes; watch both this and the 2016 reboot (She and Her Cat: Everything Flows); the latter is up among my favorite things ever, this is also up there. (Yes this is a short AF explanation but w/e)
Challenge 45: Watch an anime that combines one of your favorite and least favorite genres: Katanagatari:
This show was a wonder to watch, not only because I loved its visual style, but because it does an amazing job at telling a story, using lots of great dialogue to tell its story more than its visuals and fights do. 9/10
Challenge 73: Finish an on-hold or dropped anime: Hibike Euphonium:
Looks really nice with a few interesting characters and a nice score, that's about it, I suppose. 7/10
This has been easily the best episode of little witch academia yet. I think they absolutely nailed the tone. The entire episode just creates so much intrigue which really hasn't existed in the show until now. Also spoilers.
We get the introduction of an actual plot. And while I didn't really need a plot to enjoy this show as it is, I think this is going to be a starting point where we see all the characters really grow and come into their own. I mean we are already seeing akko starting to become more contemplative which was pretty nice.
Anyways, I think you guys can tell that I am thoroughly enjoying this show and I really think it has the potential to be something great.
Challenge 18 - Watch an anime which began airing between 2000 and 2009: NHK ni Youkoso (Welcome to the NHK) Enjoyment Rating: ★★★★★
I went into this expecting it to take me a very long time to watch based on the fact that I'd actually watched the first two episodes a while back and found them hard to watch. I'd forgotten what happened in them, so I ended up re-watching them and decided to watch one more... and that became another, followed by another, followed by another, and in the end I had defied my expectations and ended up binging the whole thing in two sessions. It was so good; it's going straight on my 3x3. Its visual direction is on-point, with there being lots of different visual cues throughout and symbolism at every turn, lots of variation in art style which really enhances the feel of the show on the whole, and on the whole it just showed a large amount of directorial skill throughout. Its OP doesn't disappoint either, with there being heaps which I can praise from a directorial standpoint and/or allow for thorough dissection throughout. The writing was really good and it just led to the show being really enjoyable in general to watch unfold, and the entire cast was likeable and easy to sympathise with; they're a selection of misfits who all had extremely well-written character arcs and deep, complex, well-developed personalities, allowing them to break really nicely from their tropes whilst playing extremely well into the very overexaggerated nature of the show. All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
i'm watching mousou dairinin right now and it's really good. I'm surprised RODAN never told me about this since he loves satoshi kon stuff. it's really charming if a little bit slow in parts, but it feels very satoshi kon-y.
So Netflix now is going to have an adaptation of death note. It's funny to look at the youtube comments whine about how the show is ruined despite there only being a trailer. Unfortunately I haven't watched it with sound so I can't judge the trailer. I find it interesting though and am curious on how it will turn out.
was gonna do this ages ago but never got around to making it
didn't feel like doing a general "favorite anime" 3x3 so here's a music themed one, with my 4 favorite OPs, EDs, and my favorite piece of OST (at the moment)
1. Kimi ja nakya dame mitai (Gekkan Shoujo OP) - my favorite show, and the OP is wonderful. has possibly the best guitar riff of any anime OP/ED I've ever heard. visuals are cheesy and nothing to write home about, but still enjoyable
2. Aozora no Rhapsody (Maid Dragon OP) - this one is just a lot of fun, honestly. Maid Dragon reminds me of Nichijou in a lot of ways, and both of Nichijou's OPs were wacky, catchy songs that were fun to listen to and were accompanied by some ridiculous visual gags. the song is one of the most relentlessly optimistic OPs I've heard in a long time and is also just really good all-around - it's not often that you hear a disco-y anime song, but this one pulls it off
3. Serendipity (Flip Flappers OP) - very EDM-y in quite a few parts, and the singer can belt, which is a big plus in my book. the sakuga is really great in some parts, like when the chorus kicks in or when Cocona's hair explodes out in the reflection of the water. it also shows off a lot of cool potential plot elements (many of which were never used in the actual show) but made the OP a lot of fun to analyze back during the early days of airing FlFl and discussing each episode
4. Hello, World! (Kekkai Sensen OP) - BUMP OF CHICKEN are a fantastic band and this is their best song (imo). it's visually great, and Mother's Basement does a great job analyzing the visual elements in the OP itself in one of his best videos before he became a shill for Naruto Online
OST: venari strigas (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) - when it came down to my favorite OST, it was always going to end up being between Madoka and Bebop, tbh. Yuki Kajiura and Yoko Kanno are both geniuses and both OSTs are spectacular in their own right, but I think Madoka has better standalone songs whereas Bebop has a stronger overall OST. venari strigas just happens to be my favorite song from the Madoka soundtrack.
1. Sugar Song to Bitter Step (Kekkai Sensen ED) - Kekkai Sensen's music is so fucking good that it's on this 3x3 twice. this is my favorite ED ever and I love basically everything about it, and I can't explain much more than that. it's just a good fucking song
2. Monster without a name (Psycho-Pass ED 1) - this song is a banger. it's got Egoist's vocals and a driving bass part. I might also be biased because the first half of Psycho-Pass 1 is the best part of the entire series, but who cares
3. Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari (Bakemonogatari ED 1) - also just... a great song. For most of the OPs I like, there's generally also some other reason I'm a fan of them, but all off the really great EDs I listen to just stick with me because they're fantastic songs. the use of this song in Bakemonogatari 12 also makes it great because I'm a sucker for insert OP/EDs
4. Koi Boudou (Binbougami ga! ED) - finished this one about 2 weeks ago and I hated the ED at first because of the singer's voice, but it's one of my favorites now. it's damn catchy and the atmosphere of the ED in general is just nice. the visuals contribute to this too while also contributing big anime tiddy
Challenge 25 - Watch an anime with 50 episodes or more - Eureka Seven
Eureka Seven was a lot of fun to watch for me. The production values are great for a 2005 anime, which leads to some awesome surfing robot action, and the OST was pretty catchy for what it's worth. The character dynamics are very good in the anime, and there is plenty of character development and depth that is put into the major characters. I especially liked the development of the romantic relationship between Renton and Eureka, which started off a bit awkward but eventually made for the best parts of the anime. Its themes, while not unique, are done well, as the anime focuses a lot on the war drama aspect, teen angst, and trying to accept those who are different even in difficult circumstances. I admit, the story doesn't really get its legs until the second half, so it progresses rather slowly, but it doesn't waste its time too much, fleshing out Renton and the members of Gekkostate, the rebel forces that Renton joins early on. I do have some gripes about it because some plot points and core elements of the story aren't that well explained and sometimes it feels a bit too silly or over-dramatized, but overall an enjoyable watch for me. A movie trilogy was announced while I was watching this, so I'll definitely have something to look forward to, even though I found the conclusion pretty satisfying in the end. 8/10
very quick and rushed thoughts on all the anime i've finished or come close to finishing over the last two weeks
Challenge 31 - Watch an anime adapted from a manga with a score of 8.0 or higher - Binbougami ga!
Overall rating: 8/10
This one was really enjoyable and is probably going to go down as one of my all-time favorite comedies. Simple premise: MC (Ichiko) is born with too much good luck, so a misfortune god (Momiji) comes to take her good luck away and restore the balance of energy. Ichiko is also a huge asshole from never having to work a day in her life, so her overarching character arc is about learning to become a better person. She's played by Kana Hanazawa, who goes nuts in this show. There's stuff HanaKana has done like Nadeko's freakout from Monogatari that basically represents Ichiko's mood 24/7. HanaKana's voice acting in this particular show is actually what made me add it to my PTW in the first place (like a year ago) and she definitely delivered.
The comedy is hectic and oftentimes slapstick, and there's a lot of physical comedy since most of the characters are very violent (it's a gag manga). There's a ton of referential humor and occasional fourth-wall breaking - I can recall references to Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, JoJo, Fist of the North Star, Yu Yu Hakusho, and more, and the manga goes even further with it. The series director (Yoichi Fujita) was also behind Gintama, so the humor in this anime is very reminiscent of that while staying true to its source material.
I could probably write pages about this series, but I won't be doing that here. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly, and you can't ask for much more from a comedy series. Ichiko's development felt organic and well paced despite the frenetic nature of everything going on in the show.
Some negatives: One criticism is that it makes heavy use of comedy tropes, but I'm not too bothered by that since it tends to do them well. I will point out that it got repetitive at times, though - and while this wasn't an issue for the really funny gags that I enjoyed (like most of Ichiko/Momiji's fights), it got annoying for the weaker side characters (like Momou, who's schtick is that he's into BDSM, or the pervy priest). The OP was weak while the ED is now one of my favorite songs.
This is a good show, and reminds me a lot of Chihayafuru, albeit much more mature. Rather than karuta, the show uses rakugo as a canvas on which to paint its amazingly nuanced characters. There's very little to criticize about this show at all; the pacing is sublime and no scene is ever wasted, the voice acting is some of the best that you'll ever hear in anime since the VAs have to deliver actual rakugo routines, and the show can look absolutely gorgeous, which is even more of a surprise considering that DEEN was behind this anime. Also, the soundtrack is fucking incredible.
Thematically, it deals with a lot of different things, ranging from the classic "talent vs hard work" conflict, to the idea of a legacy surrounding a prestigious title, to "tradition vs innovation" in a post-WWII Japan, to gender roles in society and Bon's struggle with where he fits in, both in terms of what is expected of his gender and what his talent lies in. Nearly every scene is lush with symbolism, where both the images on screen and the rakugo routines themselves often tie into some other element of the story in a meaningful way.
My only real gripe with the show is that the entire conflict between the "3 main characters" was tenuous at times, and that each character's motivations behind the conflict could be seen as weak at certain points in the show - which slightly sours the resolution of the conflict toward the end of the season. Not much more I can say without getting into spoiler territory, unfortunately.
The rakugo routines also get quite long, so if episode 1 doesn't hook you then you may not enjoy the rest of the show. I watched this with a friend and we had a blast discussing it during and after most episodes, so your mileage may vary.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku Overall rating: TBD (hovering around an 8)
I'm still only 10 episodes in but I'm enjoying it more than S1. I'll do a more comprehensive writeup when I finish the show.
And as for the seasonal stuff:
3-gatsu no Lion
Overall rating: 8/10
This show is very much lumped in the same category as Shouwa Genroku, Chihayafuru, and Ping Pong, where they use some generally niche medium (rakugo, karuta, and ping pong respectively) to convey a larger point and to provide a framework with which it can develop its cast. 3-gatsu deals with shogi and centers around Rei, a severely depressed high school boy and a shogi professional.
3-gatsu does one of the best jobs of portraying depression that I've ever seen in an anime, and Rei is a fantastic character. He starts off the series very self-sabotaging, as many depressed people are, and seeing him learn to actually care about himself and his own happiness is a wonderfully cathartic journey. The show's supporting cast is spectacular, with my favorites being the Kawamoto sisters (who have a warm home and are like Rei's surrogate family) and Kyouko (Rei's actual adoptive sister who is manipulative and just as broken as he is). The animation and direction in general is gorgeous and has some of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen in an anime.
One flaw is its tonal issues early on, where the discrepancy between Rei's quiet solitude and the madcap, slapstick pace of the Kawamoto household and the Shogi Association is (intentionally) disorienting, so much so that it can be exhausting keeping up with the mood shifts from scene to scene. By episode 5 or 6, either the show does a better job at these transitions or you've gotten used to them, as a viewer. Another issue is its frequent overreliance on narration. A third and final one is that a fair few episodes are flat-out boring; the show is mediocre at its worst and absolutely amazing at its best, but its lows are made that much more apparent after a truly fantastic episode.
Still a great series, and I'm looking forward to the second cour this year (presumably). Also, Bump of Chicken did the first OP/ED, so if you're a fan of them then I'd recommend you check those out!
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
Overall rating: 9/10
I enjoyed the absolute hell out of this one. Maid Dragon very much feels like the spiritual successor to Nichijou, with many of the same strong points: a lovable cast, great comedy, fantastic animation, an amazing soundtrack, a great OP/ED, and just a generally warm feeling of comfort whenever I watch an episode. Also, Kanna is basically Hakase 2.0 and I love that
Like with Binbougami ga, there's not much for me to say here. Maid Dragon is a comedy, and the jokes will either land for you or they won't. I had a blast watching this (even though the final episode hasn't aired yet), and I genuinely love Kobayashi and Tohru's relationship, though maybe that's because Kobayashi represents where I'll likely be in 5 years or so.
Its biggest flaw comes from one area that Nichijou barely touched at all, which is fanservice. This isn't to say that all fanservice is bad, but rather that Maid Dragon's weakest gags are those that rely on it, such as Saikawa's ahegao face or Lucoa basically being a pair of breasts in almost every scene she's in.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2
Overall rating: 7/10
This season felt like an extended OVA instead of its own season, which was disappointing. No new characters, virtually no development to speak of, and not much that happened in general apart from Megumin getting a cat. I criticized Binbougami ga for its occasionally repetitive humor, but Konosuba S2 was a much worse offender of this. I liked the first season quite a lot, but this one was lackluster in many ways.
The animation also began to noticeably detract from the show at several points; though part of Konosuba's charm is in its art and in how "bad" it can look sometimes, there were a few scenes where the animation was so terrible that it overshadowed the charm of the show itself.
That being said, at its strong moments, Konosuba still brings some pretty quality comedy to the table, so I'm not here to just trash on this season endlessly. It did miss a lot of the magic that season 1 had, though.
Kuzu no Honkai
Overall rating: 8/10 (but a high 8)
If I rated shows purely off of how much they made me look forward to teenage melodrama with a bowl of popcorn every week, this would be a 10.
This show is about terrible people doing terrible things to each other, and is good for the sheer entertainment value it provides - which is not to say that it doesn't do anything else right, since it also looks gorgeous, its soundtrack is great, it has a fantastic OP/ED, and the main character's voice work (Chika Anzai) is spectacular. On a deeper level, it's more or less about how defining yourself by nothing other than your relationships with other people is a bad way to live, and its conclusion (polarizing though it may be) is, in my opinion, consistent with that mindset.
The biggest issue by far is the conclusion of Akane's character arc, but I won't get into that due to spoilers. I could also have done without Ecchan's annoying cousin entirely.
So I'm not normally especially "in to" anime and manga (I do prefer manga's variety to US comics however), but I recently read one manga in particular that I had an INCREDIBLE time with!
This manga is authored by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki
I heard Naoki Urasawa is best known for Monster, 20th Century Boys, and Pluto, all manga that I clearly need to read after being blown away by this one!
The best way to describe Billy Bat is that its a Metafiction Thriller. Billy Bat is the comic within a comic: sorta like a Mickey Mouse meets Dick Tracey kind of character. It's written by one of the main characters, Kevin Yamagata, a Japanese American who did some work during World War 2 for the U.S. Working for Marble comics (yeah its that obvious lol), Kevin is alerted that Billy Bat looks a LOT like a certain manga character in Japan, so he decides to travel back to Japan to get permission to keep using the Billy Bat character.
What starts off with a fairly simple premise, quickly spirals into an insane, epic conspiracy that spans hundreds of years across the globe, all revolving around the power of Billy Bat throughout history. I could get into more spoiler territory here, but to be honest: Most of Billy Bat sounds extremely stupid on paper. It's basically as if Urasawa and Nagasaki were looking at Disney creepypastas and thought "pft we can do better, lets spend 8 years making a manga that outclasses those!" Just note, this is much less horror, and more about thrills than chills!
Turns out though, this is one of those stupid sounding ideas that has incredible execution! I thought most of the characters here were genuinely charming, and the mystery has a pretty good pay-off and message in the end. Just note though: this isn't the kind of comic that's going to hand all of the answers on a silver platter. Some of the answers are fairly ambiguous, and are gonna take your noggin to figure out in the end. Also, there are some pretty jarring timeline and setting shifts throughout the earlier parts of the comic. Don't fret though: everything is connected in the end!
Overall though, I can't remember the last time I got this hooked on a manga binge. Maybe it was... Parasyte? And, I read that eons ago! For some horrible reason, Billy Bat isn't officially out in English, but all 165 chapters have been fully fan-translated. I can't recommend this manga enough, its an incredibly unique and addictive read that doesn't wear out its welcome!
first impressions on what ive seen so far.
Alice to Zouroku
The synopsis for this show seemed pretty interesting so needless to say i was a tiny bit curious about the show. the first half of episode 1 was a bit mediocre especially in the animation department but the second half makes up for that in spades without a doubt. I think its kind of funny that a no nonsense old man essentially stumbled into the script of a generic magical girl show and just sort of started rolling with it, im really excited to see what this show brings.
Boku no Hero Academia Season 2
bnha definitely isnt the best shonen series out there, the writing ranges from mildly interesting to sort of dull and it harbors its fair share of plot conveniences but i've always enjoyed it as dumb fun. i dont think the first ep was particularly special but it definitely wasnt anything to scoff at either. It sort of looks like they're trying to go for a tournament arc this season which somewhat worries me because low stake fights with not much else going on can kind of suck but hxh's second part was a tournament arc and manages to be one of the best in the series from a narrative standpoint so i'll give bnha a sporting chance.
i'm also really hoping on warau salesman new being good tomorrow but we shall see what we shall see i guess