Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 6: A sudden turn

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The queen consults the mirror

I ended up enjoying this week’s episode a lot more than I expected. It’s kind of a strange departure from the previous episodes, ending with the main characters changing the trajectory of the Story Zone they visit rather than restoring it. The episode gives me hope for the series as a whole, since it seemed to finally call the Book of Fate into question. This is what I wanted to see from this series, and I’m hoping it builds on it in the future.

Tao warns everyone about the danger of staying

This episode certainly brings up a lot of interesting ideas, such as what we see from this scene. The presence of blank Books of Fate seemingly endanger Story Zones by design, which makes the main characters a disturbance if you really think about it. I wish they’d gone into more detail about the consequences of derailing the story, though. Do they become the same as Chaos Tellers?

Snow White finds her prince

Here’s another interesting concept. When Ex screws up the story in Snow White’s Book of Fate, she implicitly assumes that he’s fulfilling it. She later reveals that she knew all along that he wasn’t her prince, but I still like what the scene suggested about the faith people have in their fates. They can be easily deceived by people with blank books, it seems.

The queen's fate is to die

I liked how the episode built up the feeling of dissonance with the queen. It lays out an inevitable conclusion in the Book of Fate that’s horrible enough to make you wonder if it’s even a good thing for the story to continue as written. It calls the rest of the series into question.

The queen tells Snow White her fate

That’s later compounded when it’s revealed that Snow White doesn’t actually hate the queen. It actually almost feels like a meta thing when I think about it. In the original Brothers Grimm tale, the queen is killed as is fated in this episode, forced to dance with red-hot irons on her feet. In a way, the main characters change the story to soften it, almost like how our modern-day culture has softened the story of Snow White through Disney. Just a thought.

The Storyteller is questioned

I really hope the main characters start doubting this tuning thing going forward. It’s pretty clear from this Story Zone that fate is not always the right way to go. That being said, I wonder if the episode also undercuts itself a bit with the ending. It leaves off with this half-conclusion that suggests that fate might not be so easy to change, which bugged me a bit. Still, I remain a lot more hopeful than I was before.

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Dororo Episode 7: Taking a break

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Dororo attacks a bear

After a series of depressing stories, we finally get a bit of a happy one. It’s a nice change of pace, and I like the idea that not all monsters are terrible. It’s not anything new, but it’s a great way to add a feeling of respite to a show like this one. It makes the episode feel more wholesome overall, which is surprising.

The guards tell Dororo about the disappearances

Looking back, I remember thinking it was weird that the guards were smiling when they mentioned the disappearances in the village, but it took me a while to put the pieces together. What a bunch of creeps.

Ohagi talks with her benefactor

It was actually quite interesting to see Ohagi interact with the man who saved her. I like that the episode pushes Dororo and Hyakkimaru into the background to tell this story. It’s almost like the episode is a break in many senses of the word. It’s hard to put it into words, but I get the sense that episode releases a lot of the tension that’s been building up.

The man talks about a mysterious night job

The “mystery” itself in this episode wasn’t too hard to guess. It was late, but this was the point where I put it all together. I stopped suspecting the spider as soon as it was revealed that people were still disappearing while she was hiding out. I think the story works nonetheless, though.

Ohagi reveals that she doesn't like to kill

Part of me wonders if Hyakkimaru’s soul sight complicated the story that this episode was trying to tell. In the heat of the moment, he attacks Ohagi because she flares up in rage after seeing the guards attack the man protecting her. But she’s eventually saved when she calms down and her aura goes away. Dororo mentions that it’s a good thing that Hyakkimaru could hear, but it looked more like he just reacted to the reduction in demonic energy. I feel like the gesture would have meant a lot more if Hyakkimaru had decided to leave Ohagi alone because he hadn’t relied on that.

Hyakkimaru stands over the spider

So, was there never an organ to be regained in this episode? I like that Ohagi was spared, but I was mostly expecting that she’d return a body part out of goodwill instead of being killed for it. Earlier in the episode, Dororo calls her a “ghoul” instead of a “demon”, so maybe she’s just some other random monster.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8: The plan unfolds

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Jin reads leisurely

With the developments in this episode, I feel like the story is starting to become more clear. There are still many pieces missing, but Spooky E was the weirdest aspect to me. So, I’m somewhat glad to have him gone. I think I’d have an easier time with this series if I had some sense of perspective. At this point, there’s no way of knowing whether Jin as the Imaginator is meant to last us until the end of the series. It seems unlikely, but he did mention bigger plans related to the Towa Organization this week.

Boogiepop appears briefly to comment on Kazuko's behavior

I find it strange that Boogiepop has been appearing to Kazuko in such small ways. Is she meant to be the protagonist of this story? In the first arc, normal people ended up saving the day, so I’m wondering if Boogiepop is pushing Kazuko to move the story forward.

Kazuko confronts Jin

It’s interesting to finally get a sense of Jin’s ultimate plan and the nature of his power. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the metaphorical nature of what he says, but it sounds like he’s trying to create a world in which everyone thinks the same way. There seems to be more going on than that, but it’s my main takeaway.

Masaki beats down the thugs

I wasn’t expecting an action sequence in this episode, but it was surprisingly entertaining to watch (for a slow show like this one). The way the camera shakes through the scene is a bit jarring, but the choreography itself was pretty solid.

Masaki threatens Kotoe

I sure hope that there’s a dual purpose for Masaki’s Boogiepop disguise in the future. The fact that Jin just shows up to free everyone from Spooky E makes me question why it was important for Masaki to pretend to be Boogiepop in the first place.

Jin points out that his power is similar to Spooky E's power

I actually thought the conversation between Jin and Spooky E was alright. Even if it didn’t end up working, I liked the idea that Jin could use the similar nature of powers to infiltrate the Towa Organization. Also, I thought his breakdown of their differences was interesting. Spooky E violently injects his will into people, effectively forcing them to act. Jin instead convinces people to help him out of a sense of gratitude, even if you can argue that it’s artificial.

Jin finds Aya

Based on the line about a “sacrifice”, I’m guessing that Aya is the balanced seed he was hoping to use to fill everyone’s hearts. Based on the earlier scenes, I’m still not sure it’s clear what happens to the person who originally held the seed. Is he transferring a seed to another person or is he copying a seed? I’m not sure.

Egao no Daika Episode 7: The danger of local delicacies

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Izana tries to negotiate peace

I have to hand it to this show. It sure knows how to hit someone in the gut. Honestly, I completely bought into the lighter tone of this episode, but the show rather effectively ripped it away. I can’t say I say that coming. That being said, I still have issues with some of the other things that come up in this episode. This series seems to heavily take advantage of mystery without delivering on it, and it truly bugs me. I would be happy if it’s playing at some grander mystery, but that remains to be seen.

Stella looks over the aftermath

This scene did give me some hope that Stella was starting to question her role in the Empire. I still like the idea of having her join the resistance, but later events in the episode make me less sure.

The emperor appears

So…does this mean we have a face to label as the antagonist in this series? This appearance seems a bit random.

The crew wonder about Stella's past

This episode seemed to build a bit more on the mystery surrounding Stella’s origins, but it felt weak to me. We’ve already gotten pretty clear evidence that she’s Layla’s missing daughter, but this episode seemed to push some kind of history with the palace. Layla didn’t have any relationship with the royal family before the accident in Leash, right?

Owens offers to let Pierce work at his orphanage.

This moment is probably my least favorite moment in the episode. After spending multiple episodes building up questions around Owens and his past, he just flat-out tells everyone that he runs an orphanage. It seems like such a mundane reveal after all of the hype. I felt similarly about Joshua’s death, which is why I said earlier that I think the mysteries in this series never really pay off.

Stella meets her foster parents

This happens once again with Stella’s past. It’s true that her past is sad to watch. She’s the typical case of the foster child replaced by a biological child, but it seems like a weak reveal for why she smiles all of the time. To be fair, though, I think that this story is used to great effect in this episode. It simultaneously reveals the self-imposed nature of Stella’s fake smiles and ends with a tragedy that she can’t force herself to smile at.

Stella finds the flowers in the royal garden

I question the point of this scene. I was under the impression that Yuuki cared for the flowers because of Joshua, and Stella seems to be embellishing it. It could be a play at humanizing Yuuki in Stella’s eyes for the future, but I’m not sure.

The main characters learn about Pierce's death

Pierce’s death worked for the most part, but it also seems to push Stella further away from the resistance forces. That being said, it’s not really clear who attacked the transport, so it’s always possible that the Empire was actually behind it. That explanation fits better with my impression of the overall direction for the story, but seems a bit convoluted.

Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 6: It’s starting to go sideways

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Norman breaks down the overall plan

Though, I’m still a bit annoyed about the cliffhanger from last week, I felt like this week’s episode handled Don as a character well. It’s nice to see that he and Gilda have been reasonably integrated into the overall planning. The escape is also looking a lot more promising with this week’s introduction of a potential source of outside aid. I’m still super curious to see what it’s actually like outside at this point.

Phil shows up to play hide and seek

This episode seems to put a strange amount of focus on Phil. Between the opening scene and Emma’s comment that he noticed the Morse code in the books, it really seems like Phil’s contributing a lot more than you’d expect. There was a comment in a previous episode about him being the smartest amongst the younger kids, but it makes me wonder how much he’s doing on purpose.

The kids think about the messages they found

I do like the idea that the kids are immediately suspicious of William Minerva, even though the messages come as a small ray of hope. It would be nice to see them find some support once they finally escape, but part of me wonders if the messages were actually left by Isabella or something.

Don questions the main three

As impulsive as Don seemed, his rage towards Emma, Norman, and Ray seems perfectly justified. I like his line here a lot, because he’s correct to point out that the three are basically trying to take the kids out into a world they know nothing about. And if they’re already asking for Don and Gilda’s help, they should prepare them for everything.

Don berates himself as well

In addition, I like that Don also recognizes why they hesitated to tell him everything. He berates himself as much as he does the other three. He’s a hard character to relate to, but I think I understand him well enough.

Norman investigates Ray's stuff

This side investigation from Norman has me so curious. Building on the previous episodes, it seems like he’s figured something out about Ray, so he’s putting something together on the side.

Sister Krone sees everything

Sister Krone makes me groan every time she’s on screen. Even if she ends up being a makeshift ally, I might have a hard time feeling anything for her.

Planet With Review: Bringing you the most devastating clog in existence

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Souya sits down for dinner

I’m a little late on this one, but I’m determined to keep churning out reviews. This series was one that largely caught me by surprise. It follows Souya Kuroi, an amnesiac who lives together with a somewhat dysfunctional family that includes an anthropomorphic cat. While his days mostly consist of a strong desire to eat meat, he’s quickly pulled into a larger battle when a mysterious flying object approaches the city.

The heroes attack the flying object

As seven “heroes” fly out to fend off the invading ship, Souya has separate plans. Donning a mask and piloting the aforementioned cat (whom he calls Sensei), Souya instead targets those seven heroes. It’s a series that doesn’t draw a clear line between good and evil, which makes the character interactions a lot more believable in my eyes.

Cat robot attack

My favorite part about this series was watching the characters treat each other in realistic ways. When the burden of his mission becomes too much for Souya later down the line, nobody tries to force back into it. Instead, they take responsibility for the issue themselves. It’s amazing to see. As a result, I think that the series becomes a bit harder to follow in the beginning, but continually makes more sense as characters are explained.

Ginko worries for Souya

Story-wise, the series has a clear message of learning from past mistakes and showing that humanity has the capacity for love. It might be a sappy moral, but it’s simple and it works. Additionally, the series felt well-paced to me, knowing what to skip to get the important parts.

Explaining the story

When it comes to the mechs themselves, I ended up liking Souya’s cat robot a lot, but that’s mostly it. The seven heroes have their own unique forms, but I wasn’t a big fan of how bulky they seemed. And if you’re not a fan of having the main character shout out the same attack name over and over again, I might have some bad news for you. The fights themselves always felt interesting to watch as well, though they’re mostly CGI if that’s a deal breaker for you.

Shiraishi makes mysterious plans

All in all, it was a fun watch. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and the characters were particularly interesting. While I do think that the story is ultimately straightforward, I think that it also takes a while to get to that point. So, that might be my caveat for the show.

Overall Score: 9/10

Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 6: Karakuri Circus

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Masaru's grandfather refuses to believe him

Karakuri Circus Episode 16

It feels like it’s been a while since I talked about this series, but I’ve been keeping up with it on the side. I thought that this series had a weird enough story as it stood, but the recent revelations surrounding Masaru were even wilder. It feels a bit sudden, but I’m curious enough to see where it goes because it has such interesting implications.

Masaru's grandfather tries to show his memories

The idea that Masaru was intended to be overwritten with the memories of his father is a bit random, but it gives Masaru an intriguing enemy to face. He’s facing not only the people who believe that Sadayoshi succeeded but also the part of himself that firmly believes that his father failed. Part of me wants to believe that Masaru’s grandfather is correct, and Sadayoshi has secretly been in control of Masaru at key moments. It could be a surprising reveal later in the story.

Masaru learns about his grandfather's past as a doctor

That being said, I feel like the flashbacks in this series truly do come out of nowhere. Just to be clear, I think that they tend to be interesting and contribute to the overall context of the series. However, they tend to crop up in fairly tense moments, they’re really long. It’s almost like they distract from the story, and you’re forced to remind yourself what’s going on when they’re done. It could feel more natural, you know?

Angelina arrives from the sea

Timing aside, though, I thought that Angelina’s story was good. Her feelings of loneliness and confusion make sense given that shiroganes are born with such a set purpose. However, the story does its job of showing Lucille’s love for her daughter, and Angelina’s journey to find her own love. I’m totally fine with that.

Angelina reacts in shock to the word shirogane

This whole idea that Masaru’s grandfather gave the shiroganes their name is a bit random. I guess it’s fine, but it doesn’t seem to change much.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 5: The obligatory beach episode

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Yep, this is the beach episode

This week’s episode was a strange one. From a logical standpoint, it felt weak, despite having an interesting concept behind it. I honestly think that the series is moving towards a promising direction, even if this episode overtly seemed like a return to the structure of the first two episodes. The introduction of a larger villain at the end of the episode gives me some hope at something deeper in the story, I guess.

Meeting the beached Silver

Part of what I liked about this episode is that we’re no longer focused on Ex. In previous episodes, I got the sense that the episodes largely revolved around him, but he felt mostly non-existent in this episode. I think it’s important for this to happen, since we still don’t have very strong characterization on the other three members of the main cast.

Shane concludes that this is Treasure Island

This line from Shane seemed like a bit of a throwaway, but it actually raised a big question for me. Why exactly are the blank book holders familiar with the stories of the various Story Zones? Are they standard literature in every home world? Were they taught all of the major fairy tales?

Tao likes adventure

It’s weird that this episode focuses so much on Reina’s clumsiness, when it seemed to want to emphasize Tao’s own personality. Maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Silver tricks Jim into finding the gold

I don’t really have a problem with Silver’s double-cross, but can someone explain his plan to me? From what I gathered, he was trying to lure crews to Flint’s treasure in order to turn them into villains to build his own pirate crew. However, Reina states earlier in the episode that he could have already turned them into villains if they hadn’t been holding blank books. So…what exactly was stopping him from just changing the people on the ship he attacked rather than leading Jim to gold?

Everyone dons swimsuits

I assume this is a reference to some kind of swimsuit event in the game that this series is based on. I mean…it works.

Silver fights against his fate

Also, I felt like the underlying theme of this episode was largely underdeveloped. Silver has a perfectly reasonable motivation for his actions. Why should he let fate decide whether he should pursue his dream? In the end, the story seems to end with the idea that you can still do what you want even if you know you’ll fail, but it doesn’t address the role of the main characters. By defeating him as a Chaos Teller, they’re effectively telling him that he has to accept his fate, which is a weird message.

Dororo Episode 6: Suffering intensifies

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Dororo finds out that Hyakkimaru has his voice again

Well, I can’t say that I didn’t expect this story to go the way it did, but it was still sad to watch. That being said, I do like how this arc has highlighted Hyakkimaru’s compassion while simultaneously suggesting a darker layer to it. We finally get a sense of what his demonic aura actually is, which adds an overarching question to the series. I’m a lot more curious to see how things turn out now.

Tahomaru seeks his mother's approval

It’s nice to learn more about Tahomaru as well, even if we don’t yet know what role he’ll play in the story. His entitled behavior is annoying, but his trust issues make sense given the guarded nature of his parents. I am curious about his mother’s thoughts on the matter, though. She doesn’t seem to resent Tahomaru, so I don’t know what to say.

The blind man leaves

I’m still not sure I understand why Hyakkimaru is in danger of becoming a monster. Is it just because he has become such a killing machine as a matter of necessity? My guess would have been that he absorbs part of the demons who took his organs when he regains them. However, the blind man makes it sound like the original loss of his organs is what tainted his soul.

Dororo talks about her past

I liked this conversation between Dororo and Mio a lot. It’s nice to see Dororo recognize that both perspectives, her mother’s and Mio’s, have their own benefits and risks. After seeing her struggle with how to approach Mio throughout the episode, it’s a surprisingly well-thought conclusion.

Take tries to warn Mio about Hyakkimaru

The episode did a good job on focusing on the risk Hyakkimaru was taking to distract away from incoming massacre at the end. That being said, the hints were definitely there, with the hidden soldier in the bush and the soldiers following behind Mio in this scene. However, it does make me wonder why Take couldn’t see the men behind her in this scene, though.

Hyakkimaru goes berserk

The impact of this scene was impressive. The fact that Hyakkimaru is just learning to use his voice makes it so much more gut-wrenching when he cries out in anguish. And having his first real word be the name “Mio” is a nice touch.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 7: Chasing after everyone

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Aya asks for drugs

After the events of this week’s episode, I feel like I at least have a good sense of what’s going with Aya, but that’s about it. It looks like the first arc in this series was just a teaser, since this arc seems to be a lot more drawn out. I’m actually kind of glad that it’s the case, though. If the series had started with this current arc, I probably would have been less willing to wait for the payoff. That being said, I’m still worried that the inevitable conclusion won’t feel worth it.

Masaki pretends to be Boogiepop

Was it ever explicitly stated that Masaki was under Spooky E’s control? Based on what I’ve seen so far, it seems like he’s acting of his own free will. However, I get this weird sense from the things Aya and Spooky E say about him. Maybe Spooky E let him roam free because Aya agreed to manipulate him into being Boogiepop.

Jin's father mysteriously dies

Looks like Jin has a bit of a mysterious past. There’s no way that his father’s death is a coincidence. Also, I’m curious about the idea that Jin was a talented artist in the past. Did his father’s death mess up his art career? I thought he was just a counselor.

Spooky E takes over Kotoe

I’m getting tired of Spooky E’s influence on everyone. It feels like he just pops up everywhere to grab faces and zap people. It’s starting to feel like Jin’s own power is meant to counter that in some way, which makes me wonder if they’re related somehow.

Kotoe searches for evidence of the Imaginator

I did think it was interesting that Kotoe’s shift after being attacked by Spooky E was much different than previous ones. It’s later explained that she’s a copy, rather than a terminal (whatever that means). However, the series does a good job of suggesting that fact early. Here, we see her wearing red and black clothes similar to the ones Spooky E wears. It’s also kind of ironic that he fully takes over someone who clearly knows Jin, which blocks him out from taking advantage of that memory.

Aya is confronted by Spooky E

So, it looks like Aya truly is a separate being from Spooky E, rather than just another terminal. It sounds like they’re both experimental subjects for the Towa Organization…or Axis, I suppose. Has Axis come up before this episode? Were they related to Echoes somehow? That would be cool, but it seems really unlikely.

Masaki chooses to continue alone

I don’t think it’s been explored too much yet, but Aya’s mental struggles seem interesting to me. She’s so obsessed with not being hated by anyone that she doesn’t notice that she treats Masaki differently. It’s almost like she has to admit that she likes him to get over that.

Spooky E tries to get Masaki killed

Wait, Spooky E is trying to get Masaki killed as Boogiepop? What exactly does that gain him?