Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau First Impressions (1): Many secrets

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Yeah, I know I’m really late on this one, but I gave it a shot. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but it seems promising. This first episode does a decent job of introducing the world. The people of the world are split between the magic-empowered Marked with shorter life spans and the longer-lived Unmarked. Immediately, I was hit with that sort of “dystopia” feeling I got when I watched Shinsekai Yori (boring comparison, I know).

I found the Marked quite interesting in this world. Magic is often the all-powerful panacea in anime, so I found it refreshing to see this series place such a strong limitation on its magic users. It gave the sense that the magic had a cost, the years of your life. It was also an immediate source of suspicion while I was watching. A council of long-lived elders controlling a majority of short-lived mages? That just reeks of a hidden conspiracy. It’s almost as if the elders are purposely poisoning the mages to keep them in line.

If I had to voice a complaint, it would be that the episode really didn’t waste any time giving the elders away. I honestly felt like there were enough hints in the episode that indicated that something was wrong, but the talk of calamity felt a bit too strong. It basically meant “they’ll learn everything” to me.

Still, I’m quite curious overall to see how far down the conspiracy hole goes. I didn’t mention Lykos too much because I don’t find her interesting yet. Sure, the swords are cool, but she seems like a pretty standard “mystery girl” to me.

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Kino no Tabi Episodes 2-3: Pushing through

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So, I didn’t write a post about last week’s episode because I didn’t find the concept of the coliseum country particularly interesting. Still, the episode did have its strong points. It’s cool that Kino is willing to take such an active in a country despite being a traveller.

Also, I liked the way the episode presented Kino’s interaction with the married couple that arrived in the country first. We only get a glimpse of the wife in the beginning, clues at the gate, and a full explanation at the end. It really was a nice way to make me go “oh, that’s what that meant”.

Episode 3 was more of what I liked about the first episode, introducing the intriguing concept of the moving country. As opposed to the country in episode 2, this episode felt like it was pushing a lot more ambiguity when it was showing the country. It felt like it was less clear whether the country was supposed to be “good”.

Even though it’s later revealed that the walled country imposes unfair tolls on travellers, it’s still hard to say that the moving country was morally justified in breaking through the country by sheer force. At the end of the day, why couldn’t the country just turn around and go somewhere else? Is it just a simple case of “might makes right”? Quite fun to think about.

But if you really think about it, the moving country has no real reason to respect the wishes of another country. It’s not hard to sympathize with a country acting in its own interest, right? You could argue that the walled country provided no benefit to the moving country that would encourage diplomacy.

Kino’s actions in this episode were also similarly grey. It seemed like she sided with the walled country but still helped the moving country for personal gain. Anyway, this was a really entertaining episode overall.

Dies Irae Episode 2: Join the team

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This episode has a couple of decent parts, but I think it was pretty boring overall. We get our first real fight in this episode, and it ended up being largely depressing. Hey, at least they wasted no time making it clear that the dreams Ren had were clearly linked to the beheadings that were happening around him.

I’m really unsure about what I was supposed to get from the church shenanigans. Just meeting some new characters?

Honestly, I think it’d be cool if Ren really was the one murdering people in the night, but I’m way too skeptical about this scene. It’s much more likely that Ren woke up in time to see a corpse that someone else created. Either that or the dead girl was actually some evil creature or something. I’ve watched enough anime to know where this is going.

The fight itself just seemed lazy. It felt like the animation was much more focused on showing us Ren’s arm breaking than actually showing the fight. I don’t need a gratuitous slowmo to show how resilient the bad guy is. I’m more upset that the episode just showed street lights being taken out rather than showing us the action that was causing the street lights to fall.

Seriously, man…what’s up with this guy?

Inuyashiki Episode 2: The other side

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Wow, this series didn’t waste any time getting really twisted. It was almost hard to watch, but I really thought the events were presented in an interesting way that made me ignore that fact. The episode did a really good job of introducing Hiro as a very different character than our main character, Inuyashiki.

The title of the episode gives it away a bit, but a lot of this episode’s opening was a pretty interesting misdirection to introduce Hiro. He visits his sick friend, who was a much likelier candidate to be the antagonist because he was avoiding school, and even accuses him of being a serial killer.

The episode even gives Ando a good reason to be the killer by mentioning that he was beaten up recently. For all we know, he could be venting his anger or getting revenge. But instead, the episode flips everything. Hiro introduce himself by name for the first time and reveals his new body. Sure, you could argue that I should have remembered his general appearance from last week’s episode, but let’s be honest. He doesn’t have that many defining qualities physically.

From there, it’s a straight psychofest. Hiro pretty much puts himself in direct opposition to Inuyashiki by acting completely ruthless.

I just wonder if there should be more to Hiro’s motivations than what we’re shown in the flashback. I accept that his mind thinks very little of what he’s doing, but I like to know more about why his mind thinks that way. I hope that the show’s not lazy enough to go with the “oh, he’s just a psychopath” excuse.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 15: All your dreams

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For some reason, this episode seemed entirely devoted to revealing the characters’ wishes. To be fair, we eventually had to find out, but this seems like a weird time to do it. I guess we finally have a break or something. While it certainly made for decent explanations of character motivations, the reactions to each wish seemed overly exaggerated. At a certain point, you’re overdoing the “that’s your wish??” response.

The explanation of the Grail in this episode felt like it could have used a little more attention. It sounded like they were trying to demystify the Grail and make its power more digestible. However, all I got was that the Grail would grant any wish as long as the user could visualize a realistic fulfillment of that wish.

Am I the only person who really wants Caules to die? He’s just asking for it.

Wow, I can’t wait for Sieg to consistently disobey this command.

Morded and Sisigo probably had my favorite interaction in this episode. Other than maybe Sieg and Rider, these two have the best Master and Servant relationship in the cast.

Hmm…I wonder if maybe Shirou’s plan isn’t the salvation that keeps promising.

Juuni Taisen Episode 3: The power of friendship?

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So, I think we can say that the pattern is pretty much set in this show. Each episode will likely develop a character and then kill that character off. Glad we got that sorted out. I’ve never been one to allow knowledge of the ending to ruin my experience, so I’m not willing to condemn this show yet. With regards to this episode, I thought that Chicken’s background was interesting and the encounter with Monkey has me curious. So I’d say it was still an entertaining episode despite the foregone conclusion.

The beginning of this episode is kinda strange. It seems a bit too easy for Chicken to know about Dog’s One Man Army ability, so I had trouble accepting an explanation so simple. But when I thought about it some more, I think I convinced myself a little. After all, Chicken found Dog in the previous episode, so it would make sense that she would go after the person she researched the most.

Poor Boar felt like she was getting bullied in this episode. She was already the first real death in the show, and Chicken finishes her off already. Well, at least she got the chance to use her ability in a fight, right?

Anyway, I’m most intrigued by Monkey’s role in this episode. If she’s really the reason behind Chicken’s strange actions at the end, I’d say that’s a pretty interesting way to introduce her ability. Monkey was already described as a brilliant diplomat, so it’s not insane for her to have some ability to manipulate minds.

The fact that her death is next on the list makes it much more likely that she is responsible for Chicken’s death, as we need to know how Monkey fights before she gets killed. The implications make it more fun.

I guess my main question from this episode is about Chicken’s plan. Did she just not know about the lethal aspect of Dog’s poison? What exactly was her plan to win the whole game? It’s almost a convenient plot point to kill her off at the end of the episode, but I have to wonder what would have happened if she wasn’t the next character on the chopping block.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Animegataris

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I kinda want to put together a weekly runthrough of the other shows I’m watching. I probably won’t have too much to say about each of them, so I’m thinking it would be better if I just did a single post.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 1

It feels good to have this show back (especially given that I’ve read the manga for this season mwahahaha). This season pretty much starts where the previous season left off, with Rei teaching shogi to the members of the new Shogi/Science Club. It’s nice to see Rei finally making some school friends closer to his age.

When it shifts back into the pro shogi scene, it’s an interesting look into how the high-tiered players tempers themselves during the game to gain any possible edge. Overall, the episode looked really good, and I have to admit that the opening animation was pretty nice visually.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 2

Well, this series is still nice and warm. This week’s episode kinda goes more into the magic of this world. I had forgotten this part. Personally, I’ve always found the idea of splitting magic and sorcery to be unnecessarily confusing, but I don’t remember it being a big deal in this show. I think it’s just that the terms are used too interchangeably in media.

As a final point, I really liked the episode, but I found the last scene to be a bit forced as a cliffhanger. The preceding scene would have been fine as a stopping point, but it seemed more like Elias intentionally started the next task just to force some tension in the ending. But what can you do?

Animegataris

Honestly, I’ve been having way more fun watching this series than I was expecting. The basic premise of an anime club is pretty standard, but the references scattered within the show are insane. I’ve been having a good time figuring each one out. Past that, the characters so far seem to cover a decent spread of anime fandom. I think the conversations so far might be interesting to many bloggers I know because they’re the kinds of topics I see discussed in posts a lot.

Code:Realize: Sousei no Himegimi Episode 2: A new guy

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In a few ways, I felt like this second episode somewhat nullified a lot of the mystery from the first episode. The crazy guy in the shadows was revealed as the leader of Twilight, the guys trying to burn the city down. That wasn’t exactly a shocking revelation. Still, the show’s been fun to watch. I’m not particularly put off by it yet.

Cardia’s poison is also pretty easily explained as a byproduct of the Horologium. Granted, there weren’t many other places that development could go. Still, the fact that the Horologium replaces her heart could have some interesting implications about how she’s treated as a human.

Particularly, it would be relevant to whether she’s considered to be alive. Personally, I say that human death is associated with the brain, so she’s fine.

Adding Van Hellsing to the main cast seemed a bit strange, but I guess he was in the opening. My real complaint was the scene at the beginning of the episode. It was basically a clip of something that happens later in the episode. I just couldn’t figure out what it was adding to the episode. There’s no real foreshadowing and the scene just eventually happens. Is it just a cheap misdirection related to Van Hellsing’s allegiance swap at the end?

Houseki no Kuni First Impressions (1-2): Very shiny

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I didn’t get a chance to write about this series last week, but that’s really not a comment on the show itself. I had no idea what this show was going to be, but I’ve been finding it pretty enjoyable so far. I’m still lost on the story overall, but I’ve found the characters to be particularly entertaining. The world that’s being presented is also interesting (and I swear I’m not just saying that because my dad is a geologist).

Probably the most noticeable aspect of the show is the heavy CG. I’m not really an expert, but I think it’s been fine so far. I’d also add that the fact that characters are all anthropomorphized minerals also helps make it feel more appropriate. I also wanted to make a quick comment about sound too. I definitely noticed some familiar sound effects during the battle scenes from Seikaisuru Kado…it hasn’t been a problem yet, though.

Getting into the episodes themselves, the first episode felt way lighter in tone than the second episode. Sure, the danger and fighting were mentioned, but the overall feel from the episode was that the show might just explore these characters. The second episode, on the other hand, gets a lot more aggressive, even ending with a fake cliffhanger putting Phos, the main character, in danger.

Focusing in a bit more on the second episode, I thought the idea brought up with the character Diamond was an interesting flipping of the script. Diamond, similar to her namesake stone, is very popular and brilliant among the gems, but she’s constantly outshined by Bort, normally the most undesirable of diamonds. The idea that “hardness isn’t everything” is pretty standard, though.

I still have my complaints with the series, though. The explanations so far have felt lackluster for the most part. In some situations, they’ve felt completely lacking. For example, take this scene from the first episode when it’s revealed that the gems can be “repaired”. The doctor explains that the gems are composed of microscopic organisms, but doesn’t really explain why that allows them to be repaired. But being composed of microscopic organisms is pretty common for multicellular organisms…

Anyway, I’m honestly curious to see where this series goes. I certainly want to know more about this world.

Dies Irae First Impressions (1): The real beginning

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After the confusion that was episode 0, this episode was much more along the lines of what I would expect from this show. While I still have reservations from that “prologue”, this introduction felt a lot more consistent than what I saw last week. That being said, this introduction didn’t do too much other than show off a few characters.

I definitely expected this intro scene to be the kind of throwaway scene I expect that isn’t explained until much later in the story, but it was actually relevant to the introduction. I don’t know if it’s explicitly stated, but it seemed pretty clear that this fight on the roof was the reason Ren was coming out of the hospital in the next scene.

I presume that this scene is the pretty standard “main character awakens to a hidden power” scene, so I don’t have much to say on it. Though I question why a guillotine is relevant in a show where the antagonists are from World War II.

I was wondering why Kasumi’s hole in the wall was a circle while Shirou’s hole was a square. Do you think it might have been for this scene? Because I think it is!

Potential yandere in the making? I know the apron suggests that she was in the middle of cooking, but the scene from this perspective is pretty suggestive.

I guess the big piece from this episode was the mysterious murder that involved a beheading. It’s too much of a coincidence that it happened while Ren was dreaming of a guillotine, so I’ll be annoyed if he isn’t somehow linked to it. Preferably. he would be responsible somehow, but maybe that’s asking too much.

Secret meetings are so secret. I’m not even going to pretend like that I understood what they were talking about. I’m sure it will come. Anyway, this first episode seemed…better. If I can survive the onslaught of VN information, maybe I can keep this up.