Grancrest Senki First Impressions (1): Pretty chaotic

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I ended up having a lot of issues with this first episode. Generally, I thought the fights used too much slow motion, the world was confusing and poorly developed, and the characters were just kinda okay. I found myself asking a lot of questions and getting mostly annoyed. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue with this series…

From the very beginning, I wondered why something like this was even present in the middle of an important wedding. Let’s be honest…this thing looks clearly evil.

I also don’t get why the wedding fails. Based on this portrayal, the groom is at least somewhat in love with the bride. They should have feelings for each other, right? The death of their fathers is a clear tragedy, but it should be obvious to anyone that the demon lord appeared to stop the wedding. Why would they let the demon lord win?

On the brighter side, the guy on the right has the best facial expression.

Something about this scene doesn’t sit well with me. I want to believe that Siluca has a rare ability to create monsters, because this seems like a cheap way to make someone stronger otherwise.

The fight itself is a lot of slow shots focused on specific attacks. This shot in particular annoys me because Theo is slowly spinning in the foreground while the rest of the scene is static. In a later scene, the other lord starts his attack in slow motion and ends up looking completely ridiculous as he shambles forward.

Even the ending of this fight is depressing, as Theo’s literally flailing on the ground when he gets the killing blow. If you combine that with the fact that Siluca just gives him the opportunity to absorb a stronger Chaos Core, the events makes Theo seem extraordinarily lucky.

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Yuru Camp First Impressions (1): Smartphone, smartphone, smartphone

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Okay, this series went more as I would have expected with the cute girl show. Granted, I’m not trying to dismiss it, as I still think I need to see more before I can pass judgment. I just didn’t get that immediate interest that I felt while watching the South Pole version.

The episode definitely had its moments, but I felt like the comedy didn’t click with me a lot of the time. Still, the way the episode was presented was interesting enough to keep me watching, so I didn’t get bored. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m not sure how I feel about the narration in this episode. On the one hand, it probably makes sense because Rin seems like she’s a naturally quiet girl. Having her explain everything might seem out of character. But still…I’m not really in it to listen to some disembodied voice give all of the “useful” information.

This scene was easily my favorite scene of the episode, especially with the way it’s followed up when Rin actually cuts the wood.

I’m sure I’ll eventually warm up to this character, but I had trouble with her from this episode. Please have mercy on me. That Mt. Fuji reveal was solid, though, even if it was a bit cheesy.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho First Impressions (1): A new adventure

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Okay, I wasn’t planning on saying anything about this series, but I enjoyed the first episode too much to stay quiet. The description of the show made it sound like it would be a simple fluff show showing the main girls surviving in Antarctica, but the episode itself delivered a lot more than that. The series has a promising sense of direction because there’s a goal moving the girls forward.

I absolutely loved how the comedy in this episode was presented, starting from the opening theme itself. I thought it was great how the girls in the background disappear as the main character, Mari, bites down only to come back up to ruin the illusion.

I can really relate to Mari’s fear of venturing out despite wanting to experience the world. My family’s pretty good about getting me out of the house, but I generally don’t travel much on my own even though there are places in the world I’d like to see.

The delivery of this scene is great too. Mari opens up the envelope to see a wad of cash. How much cash? Well, maybe we can use the background to give you a hint.

There was also something really funny about watching Megumi sniff other girls to search for the mystery girl.

I can’t argue with this. Shirase seems like a pretty fun character too, properly driven despite how others tease her. I’m looking forward to seeing how she affects Mari.

Even without words, this scene conveys its joke really well. It was pretty funny to watch. It almost makes me want to keep posting about this series, but we’ll see how this season progresses. Honestly, this series seems like a pretty strong start.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 25: We made it!

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Okay, let’s finish off this last remnant from the fall season before starting the new stuff. While this ending wasn’t great, it was better than I expected. For many of the scenes, I found myself thinking I could live with that explanation, which is something I don’t think I say often for this series.

First off, let’s deal with Semiramis. While I was annoyed that she survived, her final scene with Shirou was one of the scenes that I accepted as fine. She briefly explains why she fell in love with Shirou, and the explanation wasn’t terrible (that he saw her as a partner rather than a pretty face). Also, I assume her final line is some reference to the real Semiramis that I didn’t get.

So…just don’t direct resources to the immortality wish? Problem solved? I’m sure there’s some rule about magic in this world where you can’t easily stop a spell in progress without additional effort.

The episode also did the thing where the character says something that’s intentionally kept quiet until a few moments have passed. I always get annoyed when I see that.

Is the “Reverse Side of the World” something that’s established in the Fate world? I’m not super familiar with all of the lore in the series, so I don’t recognize it. But it’s brought up as the solution as though anyone should know about it, so I can only assume that it’s an established place.

As for Jeanne and Sieg’s ending, I want to be upset about it, but I can somewhat accept it. It was literally the first scene in the series, after all. I also don’t know enough about this reverse world to know whether it’s possible for a dead Servant to appear in it anyway.

Final Score: 6/10 Could have been worse…it had its moments and some of the characters were solid.

My Favorite Theme Songs of Fall 2017

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This fall season was a great music season for me. I liked so many of songs that it was tough to keep a small list. Note that I have a personal rule to avoid using the same show in both opening and ending categories. If I liked both songs, I have one listed as a notable mention, but the one that is “featured” is the one I liked more.

Openings

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond – “fake town baby” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN

This song was probably my favorite of the season. It’s nice and upbeat, so it always got me in a great mood to watch each episode. Even though the series had an annoying repeated narration before the song played, I still couldn’t skip past this song.

Houseki no Kuni – “Kyoumen no Nami” by YURiKA

I have a soft spot for songs that are somewhat off-beat, so the intro to this song was really cool for me. The rest of the song is a nice, calm song that just continues on from that start. It’s another song that I never skipped because I enjoyed it so much.

Inuyashiki – “My Hero” by MAN WITH A MISSION

Despite my opinion of the series itself, I have to admit that this opening song was really solid. It’s really catchy and perfect for introducing a hype show like Inuyashiki.

Kino no Tabi – “here and there” by Nagi Yanagi

This song was just refreshing to listen to every episode, which kinda fits the show’s intent (even if it didn’t always work out).

Nearly made the list – Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau, Juuni Taisen

Notable Mentions – Just Because, Net-juu no Susume, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, Mahoutsukai no Yome

Endings

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou – “More One Night” by Chito (Inori Minase) & Yuuri (Yurika Kubo)

While I liked the opening for this series as well, I liked the combination of this ending’s music and animation much more. The style of the song fit the goofy nature of what was shown on screen in a way that I enjoyed.

Animegataris – “Good Luck Lilac” by GATALIS

This song doesn’t fit my usual style, but I found it oddly catchy.

Notable Mentions – Kekkai Sensen & Beyond, Kino no Tabi, Net-juu no Susume (I was going to put this on the main list, but I couldn’t find it), Urahara

Fall 2017 Overview

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It’s about time to go over all of the shows I watched in the fall season. I actually quite liked this season. Plenty of shows were duds, but I felt like there was a lot of really entertaining shows to watch.

What I Liked

  • Houseki no Kuni – This series was a pretty big surprise for me since I hadn’t heard of the manga before it aired. It had an interesting world, an entertaining main character with nice character growth, and fun side characters. Phos also has the best facial expressions. I enjoyed watching it every week.
  • 3-gatsu no Lion S2 – My opinion on this series hasn’t really changed from the first season. It’s a great show to watch. The difference in Rei’s character from the first season is amazing.
  • Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou – This series was a nice, relaxing series for the season, which was strange given the post-apocalyptic setting. Still, it was always fun to watch. In many ways, I felt like the series had many of the aspects I expected from Kino no Tabi, proposing interesting concepts while travelling the world.
  • Mahoutsukai no Yome – I really like this series, but I felt like my reactions to it didn’t reflect that well because I came in knowing I would like it. I’m really happy that the series delivered on my expectations, though.
  • Konohana Kitan – This series was the biggest surprise of the series because I mostly wrote it off as another fluff show. To be fair, it was a fluff show, but the stories were much more interesting than I was expecting them to be.
  • Kekkai Sensen & Beyond – This season of Kekkai Sensen was much better than what I remember from the first season. It focused a lot on side characters who had legitimately fun stories, like Chain and KK. I’m starting to wonder if I was unfair on the first season.
  • Net-juu no Susume – This series was pretty fun overall. There were a couple of things that bugged me, like Sakurai’s self-doubt phase and the lack of focus on side characters, but it was enjoyable to watch. To Sakurai’s credit, I thought he was much smarter than I would expect a romance lead to be.
  • Shoukoku no Altair – This season felt a lot better than the first one because we were seeing a lot of the payoff from Mahmut’s travels. It was really cool to see how the relationships he had built throughout the series changed him and helped him out when he needed to fight.

Middle Area

  • Blend S – Kind of a generic fluff show, but it was funny enough.
  • Inuyashiki – My coverage of this series kinda goes into how I felt about this series. It was okay for the hype, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it. The ending felt really cheap too.
  • Juuni Taisen – This series always felt lacking, but it was still enjoyable to watch. It’s similar to Inuyashiki in that I didn’t feel like I got much out of it, but it didn’t feel as bad because the series felt like it was doing what it set out to do.
  • Kino no Tabi – This series was very hit or miss. I really liked a couple of the episodes, but I’d say most of them were misses in my mind. That’s why it doesn’t get into the first section.
  • Shokugeki no Soma S3 – Kinda more of the same. This season is in a bit of an awkward place because it had to end in the middle of the Central arc (which still isn’t over yet in the manga), so the ending wasn’t satisfying at all.
  • Just Because – This series wasn’t bad as a romance series, but I never felt like it was doing anything special. In fact, I thought the ending relied a bit too much on everything working out, so I didn’t end up liking the final scene that much.
  • Animegataris – This series was great for its anime references and its window into otaku mentality, but I think it lost itself a bit when it tried to create a cohesive story. The story felt out-of-place and forced overall. For example, why is there so much focus on shutting the anime club down?
  • Love Live Sunshine S2 – Meh…kinda more of the same. Not that bad.

Meh

  • Code:Realize: Sousei no Himegimi – I wanted to like this show, but it felt like my initial enthusiasm about the series dropped off as it went along. I felt like many of the episodes had glaringly faulty logic, which gave the impression that stuff just kinda worked out for the main characters. I also thought that the villains in this series were severely lacking. I will admit that the ending wasn’t bad, though, even if it also felt like it kinda worked out for the main characters.
  • Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau – I was so happy with the opening of this series. It introduced an interesting world with a hidden secret, and then it hit a really jarring twist that shook everything apart. But once that initial shock had passed, the series just felt like it wasn’t doing anything. I thought the world as they kept adding more information became less interesting.
  • Fate/Apocrypha – This season felt worse than the first season. It felt like the story just flew in a different direction after the mid-series finale and dragged on in a lot of places.
  • Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken – Meh…this series just didn’t feel that funny to me. Not sure what else to say about it.
  • Himouto Umaru-chan S2 – I’m not sure why I jumped on board with the second season of this series. It just kinda happens.
  • Dies Irae – I thought VN adaptations were normally bad, but I think this one takes it up to another level. The fights never looked like much, as though they were literally pulling visuals from the VN itself, and the art style looked strangely old. The pacing also seemed problematic, as the main character seemed to get stronger for no real reason every episode. That being said, I could see hints of what people might have liked from the original, so it didn’t feel totally hopeless.
  • Ousama Game – This series is easily my least favorite of the season. I think I mentioned from episode 1 that the characters seemed strangely dumb, which turned out to be more true than I could have imagined at the time. They’re just frustrating to watch and their actions make no sense whatsoever. The series also strangely jumps between two different times like it doesn’t know which story it actually wants to tell.

Dropped

Haha! This section lives!

  • Black Clover – This series didn’t feel like it was doing anything special as a shounen and there’s no way I can make it through 50 more episodes. The main character is also too annoying for that.
  • Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou – After seeing how bland the first half of this series was, I didn’t really want to go through another full season of it, so I didn’t watch any of the episodes that aired in fall.
  • Urahara – I stopped this series after episode 8 because it was getting too strange. I might end up completing the last four episodes later, but I’m not feeling particularly motivated at the moment. The colorful art doesn’t really appeal to me, and the story doesn’t feel like much. I don’t really like the characters either.

Winter 2018 Previews

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I’m probably doing my evaluation of upcoming anime a bit early, but here it is. For those that don’t want to go through every show, there’s a summary at the bottom with my general thoughts and which shows I expect to watch. Be sure to let me know which shows you’re looking forward to watching.

Side note: I realized that it’s probably hard to follow this list in default order, so now the shows will be ordered by title.

  • Beatless – This series seems like a pretty standard setup for an AI story, with the main character probably falling in love with the AI girl. Still, I’m willing to give the series a shot.
  • citrus – Well, I read the manga, so I guess I have to watch.
  • Dame x Prince ANIME CARAVAN – This series looks like a pass.
  • Darling in the Franxx – I’m going to guess that this series will be the hyped series of the season. Mecha and sci-fi fit my typical interests, so I’ll likely watch it.
  • Death March Kara Hajimeru Isekai Kyousoukyoku – I haven’t read the light novel, but I’ve read the manga adaptation. I’m not sure it does anything particularly special as an isekai show, but it was entertaining enough to read. I doubt I’ll have much to say about it, so I might just watch it on the side.
  • Fate/EXTRA Last Encore – I’m not sure about this. I just went through all of Fate/Apocrypha- wait, Shaft? I’m down for seeing how Shaft adapts a Fate story.
  • Gakuen Babysitters – Seems like a standard fluff show.
  • Gin no Guardian S2 – Do I have to? I know I watched the first season, but it got so weird near the end.
  • Grancrest Senki – Worth a shot.
  • Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens – Hitman battles? Sounds interesting enough to check out.
  • Hakumei to Mikochi – This series seems like another fluff show. Sure, I’ll watch it.
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi – Am I supposed to have watched the original? It seems like I don’t have to, but I’m still not sure I’m interested enough.
  • Ito Junji: Collection – Fine, I’ll try it (definitely has nothing to do with the mystery tag).
  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san – I’ve read the manga version and I’m honestly not too excited to watch this series. The premise isn’t that bad, but it’s starting to feel repetitive for me. I’ll probably still watch it, though.
  • Killing Bites – Can I not?
  • Koi wa Ameagari no You ni – This series doesn’t sound too exciting, but I’m willing to try.
  • Kokkuku – Based on this synopsis, I’m at least interested. This series could be fun.
  • Miira no Kaikata – Pass?
  • Mitsuboshi Colors – I’ve read a different manga by the same author, but I never could get into this series. I’m not sure about it yet.
  • Marchen Madchen – Uhh, can I use the excuse that I’d never be able to get the special characters right?
  • Nanatsu no Taizai S2 – Didn’t watch season 1, so pass.
  • Overlord S2 – Fine…
  • Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san – I read the manga for this series and it’s quite fun. I’ll be surprised if it isn’t a short series, though.
  • Ryuuou no Oshigoto – What could go wrong with a shogi series?
  • Saiki Kusuo S2 – Pass.
  • Sanrio Danshi – Pass again.
  • Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion – I’m not entirely sure about this series because it seems a bit childish to me.
  • Slow Start – The premise of this series doesn’t really excite me, but I might still watch it.
  • Toji no Miko – Another series I’m willing to check out.
  • Uchuu yori mo Tooi Basho – Looks like “cute girls doing cute things” in the South Pole.
  • Violet Evergarden – I’d be happy to watch this series, but I think it’s being sucked into the Netflix Black Hole.
  • Yuru Camp – Uhh…I like camping.

Summary

General thoughts – I was really pleased with the Fall 2017 season, so I’ll probably have overly high expectations for this series. So far, it seems largely unknown. There are some original shows that seem promising, so it might be an experiment for everyone. 3-gatsu no Lion and Mahou Tsukai no Yome will be carried over from Fall for me. I’ll probably keep them in a single post like I did in the last season to give myself more room to try stuff in Winter 2018.

(I feel like I should rethink these categories)

Probably covered – Darling in the Franxx, Ito Junji: Collection, Kokkuku

Very likely to watch and might be covered – Beatless, Fate/EXTRA Last Encore, Grancrest Senki, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Marchen Madchen, Toji no Miko

Might be watched, but probably won’t be covered – Death March Kara Hajimeru Isekai Kyousoukyoku, Hakumei to Mikochi, Overlord S2, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, Ryuuou no Oshigoto, Yuru Camp

Thoughts on the Virtue Point system from Kino’s Journey

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I finally managed to catch up a bit more with Kino no Tabi, but I generally haven’t had too much to say about it. If anything, I’d say the show has at least gotten me interested in watching the original. That being said, I wanted to take a moment to talk about episode 9, which was a mashup of multiple countries. In particular, I wanted to talk about the country with the virtue point system as I think it got the short end of the stick.

Technically, this post has spoilers for episode 9 because I’ll be talking about the country that was introduced, but I don’t personally think it changes the viewing experience. Still, consider this a fair warning.

I tend to find moral questions interesting, and this country seemed like a pretty fun thought experiment. On the surface, the episode asks a pretty simple question. If you’re a person who is capable of performing enough good deeds to justify killing a single human being, would you even be capable of performing the act? The episode seems to say “no”.

But I think this question is purposely convoluted to dodge the underlying question. Is it possible to justify killing a human being in cold blood with enough good deeds? It’s easy to say “no” when you’re thinking about the case presented in the episode. If you’re doing good deeds for the express purpose of killing someone, it muddies the water for the deeds themselves.

However, I think the question is important because of the reverse case. If you commit a premeditated murder, is there any number of good deeds that could make up for it? This question kinda gets at how we view justice. How do we think murderers should be punished? Personally, I tend to think of the justice system as a mechanism for rehabilitation if at all possible, so I would probably lean towards saying that it’s possible for redemption to happen.

But yeah, that’s what I was thinking about when I was watching the episode. What do you think?

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 24: Battle of the blurs

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I find it really depressing how far this series is willing to go to make Sieg the main character. At this point, Astolfo, Siegfried, Fran, and Jeanne have basically been tossed to the side to give Sieg the spotlight for no real reason. This episode was truly rough to watch.

Jeanne got through her issues surprisingly quickly. I was expecting at least an episode of agonizing, but Sieg’s arrival was enough to fix her.

Honestly, I really want to agree with Shirou’s plan, but it seems so poorly explained. As far as I can tell, it’s a pretty simple “get rid of all human suffering” plan with very little thought behind it. Maybe there’s more information in the light novel or something, but it seems like the series focuses too much on the result of his plan rather than the mechanism.

This attack looked really awesome for how ineffective it ended up being. Also, the fact that this scene looked great made it even more frustrating that the sword fight didn’t look great.

Sigh…why did Semiramis have to live?

I’d be more willing to accept Fran’s return if there had been some kind of hint at it. Sure, Sieg got electrocuted by her, but I’m pretty sure that was written off at the time as just a means to revive him. Having the scene suddenly become relevant again just seems cheap. Maybe you could call it pandering to the fans.

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Final Episode (12): Only the beginning?

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I wasn’t expecting too much from this finale, and it pretty went as expected. This episode clearly felt like it was gearing for another season, so it didn’t really resolve much. In fact, I would argue that it was trying too hard for the second season because it kept teasing new information (like the “mama” thing with Falaina and Neri).

I really wanted to care about Masoo’s death, but it felt too much like a side thing. Plus, most of Masoo’s screen time was devoted to showing that he was dying rather than actually giving him characterization. It just felt like it was lacking in impact for how sad his funeral looked.

It seems a bit late to be introducing this guy, right? I’m mostly wondering why his voice always sounds synthetic.

So, I think I was supposed to get from this scene that Orka used to be a cowardly soldier before his current state. Did he change as a side effect of losing his emotions or is there something more to it?

Well, I give Suou points for being honest about Falaina’s effect on the Marked, rather than giving more room for those two guys starting a revolt.

Final Score: 6/10 Interesting start, but it felt squandered. At least the show looked nice, though.