Phi Brain – Kami no Puzzle Episode 14

After the events from two weeks ago in the Fools Puzzle, Kaito is rushed to the hospital. Cubic seems to be shaken the most by Kaito’s injury, and he’s led away by the POG. He finds a Giver who gives him a puzzle made by Rook. Cubic solves the puzzle with ease, but his hand slips while he’s typing the answer and he makes a mistake, causing him to fail the first part.

Cubic fails all of the first parts and reaches the last part, his last chance to win. Cubic refuses to just run away and manages to solve the puzzle. However, the Giver reveals that the puzzle was made by Rook at age five.

So as I’ve said before, it’s nice to see someone other than Kaito doing something. But I also understand that this episode was meant to show the gap between Kaito and his friends, and probably the reason why he’s so special. Next week is going to be something about Rook’s childhood? Maybe a look into why he’s so messed up in the head?

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Rinne no Lagrange Episode 1

I feel so late with these posts, but my goal is to get caught up this week. Anyways, this series starts off with introduction of Madoka Kyono, a very energetic girl who immediately starts the series by saving a drowning person. Things start to get strange when Madoka meets a girl, who returns her lost school uniform (which she was wearing), but she then disappears.

After an…interesting conversation with her older sister, Madoka returns to school the next day to find that the strange girl from the day before is requesting to join her club, introducing herself as Lan. Lan then drags Madoka to a facility asking her to pilot a robot which seems to have a link with her past. Soon after they arrive, the facility is attacked and Madoka is forced into action.

When Madoka’s first attack doesn’t work, the robot switches into humanoid mode and she’s able to break the enemy’s defense, winning the battle. So from the first episode, I’d have to say that Madoka’s an interesting character. Not sure about Lan and the mystery third girl that seems to be getting introduced next week. Not that much action in the first episode since the battle was quick. I have to say that movements of the robots were also kinda boring.

Opening and ending themes didn’t impress me, but they were okay. I’m not sure if Lan and this other girl are also going to be pilots. It would make sense. Also, what’s the deal with calling the mecha “robots”? Isn’t that kinda generic? Can’t they come up with some cool name for them? Oh well, I guess this show is interesting enough to continue.

Brave 10 Episode 1

Alright winter season. Let’s check out another show. For starters, we’re introduced to the strange man Kirigakure Saizou, who seems to be our lead. The series begins with him saving a girl in distress named Isanami (presumably a reference to the goddess Izanami?). Saizou ends up following Isanami around until they are attacked by Sarutobi Sasuke, a ninja of Sanada Yukimura, who turns out to be who Isanami is trying to meet.

Isanami is seeking Yukimura’s help after her shrine was destroyed by a masked man. Yukimura ends up refusing to help, not wanting to jump into a matter he doesn’t understand. Isanami follows Saizou out of the castle, but they are ambushed. Yukimura and Sasuke appear, though, having expected the attack.

Saizou takes out the attackers, but Isanami freaks out when blood gets on her and unleashes some dark power that annihilates everything in a radius around her. Yukimura agrees to help Isanami, and she also requests that Saizou join Yukimura as well. Saizou later overhears Yukimura talking about gathering ten heroes.

Definitely an interesting show. Isanami’s a nice source of comedy, while Saizou plays a sort of hardcore cool guy. Saizou seems like the type to have some sort of dark past as well…death of a friend? It’s an interesting premise and all of the attacks and stuff are pretty cool. I’d say the opening theme was alright, with the ending theme a little better, and the other background music being a bit better than that. I’d definitely intrigued and will keep watching. I was expecting Sengoku Basara, but this seems to be a bit different.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear Episode 1

So, I’m a bit late on this, but this show seems popular online so I wanted to join in. The episode starts off with a girl visiting the grave of her friend Hibiki, but then flashes back two years to events before her death. In this flashback, we’re introduced to two performers, Tsubasa and Kanade, who end up singing a song (which is pretty good).

However, this song is interrupted when strange enemies called Noise attack. In response, Tsubasa and Kanade activate some sort of armor and start to eliminate the Noise. Despite Kanade’s best efforts to defend her, Hibiki is very severely wounded. In response, Kanade sacrifices her own life to wipe out all of the Noise.

Back in the present, Hibiki is somehow alive and Tsubasa is continuing to sing by herself. We also find out that the battle was covered up as a simple attack by the Noise. Tsubasa seems to have become colder due to Kanade’s death. Hibiki stumbles upon a Noise attack. As she’s about to be killed, she starts to sing and activates a similar to suit to Tsubasa and Kanade, but with a more feral appearance.

So I like the way this show started since it gets right down into the action. Of course, this runs into the problem that there are quite a lot of questions that I have. I’m assuming the Symphogear has something to do with the music required to attack effectively or something. I’m also confused why Hibiki has a grave if she’s still alive after they said “back to the present.” What do I like about this show? There’s so much music and it all sounds good. But I think the way they do attacks is weird, with the freeze frame and the name. I guess it makes it so the characters aren’t just shouting out their attacks, but it just seems odd to me.

Nisemonogatari Episode 1

So since I got back home earlier in the day than I expected, let’s take a look at Nisemonogatari, which I’ve been very highly anticipating. So the episode starts off with our favorite hero Araragi in handcuffs, captured by none other than Senjougahara. After some amusing antics, we flashback to before Araragi is captured, and a conversation he has with Tsukihi before heading off to tutoring.

However, after a call to Sengoku, Araragi ends up going to see her instead, inviting Tsukihi to no avail. On his way to Sengoku’s, Araragi runs into Hachikuji as well. Rather than continue on his way, Araragi spends basically the rest of the episode talking with her about his troubles and whatnot.

All in all, an enjoyable episode. Most of it is spent with Araragi going around reintroducing all of the girls from Bakemonogatari, but I’m guessing the story will get under way soon. As usual, I can’t stop paying attention for an instant, or I may miss something. Anyways, strange to see the episode called Karen Bee, but have no real appearance of Karen. I guess that will start up next week or something.

Is Araragi our protagonist again? Or will he fade into the background with his capture? Also, I didn’t even need to hear the whole opening theme to know I loved the song. Nice stuff and I’m hoping this show ends up being great.

Life’s Great Mysteries: Fansub Groups

By the time you read this post, I’ll probably be in a plane headed back to America. But when I get back, I’ll be ready for the new season. So today, I wanna talk about fansub groups, who spend a lot of time enabling all of people like us that are too lazy to learn Japanese.

So before I started working with fansub groups, there were many things about fansubs that I never really paid attention to and I was wondering whether others were really looking into these sorts of things. Naturally, I saw things like grammar errors and spelling mistakes, which tended to give me a good chuckle.

However, recently I find I’ve started to naturally see timing errors with subtitles. Specifically, I’m starting to see when a timer doesn’t let the subtitles stay on the screen long enough or when the subtitles stay on screen during a major scene change when the person’s stopped talking. So I naturally wonder if these are things that people normally see or only after you find out about them?

Also, I wonder how people choose the fansub groups they watch for shows. I used to just watch whichever group released the subs first, but then I fell victim to gg’s troll subs (sigh…Hidan no Aria). Nowadays, I tend to watch Commie (just because they sub so many different shows), UTW, and Doki.

Do you find yourself generally watching the same group’s releases? Or is every series that you watch subbed by a different group? Or maybe you just follow the blue highlighting on NyaaTorrents? Maybe you know Japanese and have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m curious about what makes a popular fansub group popular.

And if you’re curious about these fansub groups and helping out, I know it can be difficult to jump in when the recruitment posts always have all these qualifications and whatnot. But I’d be happy to lend a hand where I can…I’m still fairly new, but I’d say I have a decent idea what I’m doing.

A final note: if you ever want to know which groups I’m watching, the urls for the screenshots I post usually have the group name in the picture name. And the big question I have for everyone reading this: what’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to subtitles? Anything you just really hate to see?

New Prince of Tennis Episode 1 Impressions

So I haven’t decided yet whether I wanna blog about this, and I’ll figure it out when I get back to America. Nonetheless, I just wanted to give my thoughts on the first episode. So, at the end of Prince of Tennis, Echizen goes to America and everyone else returns to their respective schools. At the beginning of New Prince of Tennis, the middle schoolers are all invited to an exclusive camp for the elite tennis players.

The episode starts off with Echizen just being Echizen, which is pretty cool. I thought it was pretty predictable to start it off with Echizen beating an older player like they started the first season, but I was okay with it. I think the episode stayed pretty faithful to the manga, but I can’t remember the manga that well because I read it a while ago. The opening was a bit mellow for my taste. Also, it seemed like the first season showed more scenes with the players moving around the court, whereas this season kinda had still shots of the players after they hit the ball. All in all, it looks like it’ll be interesting to watch, so we’ll see whether I pick it up.

Persona 4 Episode 13

After a brief introduction of the fox, we go straight into what seems to be a two-episode break from the battles. For starters, Nanako starts to notice that Yu is coming home late a lot, so she dresses up like a detective from a TV show (which is so cute >.<) and follows Yu. She eventually finds him hanging out with a woman (a woman I recognize, at least). However, when she brings the rest of the gang, they find her with a different woman.

With Yu busy and Dojima stuck at work, Nanako is left at the summer festival alone. However, Naoto arrives to cheer her up and encourage her to finish the case. Nanako finally finds Yu just as the fireworks start. Yu then takes her to meet all of the people she’s seen him with, and she realizes how much he has helped them.

So the big news this week is that they changed the opening! While sky’s the limit was more mellow, this song takes a bit more of a faster-paced style, which reminds me of the battle themes. The other big news is that the fox has arrived! For those of you who haven’t played the game, the fox would follow you into the TV world and heal you for a price. I’m very curious to see how the fox will come into play in the anime.

So, as you may have guessed, none of this stuff happens in the game because we never see stuff from Nanako’s point of view. Still, it was pretty cute and fun to see. A nice change of pace. Next week, it looks like we’ll see the same stuff, but from Yu’s point of view. I think this was a pretty nice way to do these social links, especially with Yu ending the episode about to tell Nanako all the stuff he did, which we’ll see next week. I was a bit worried that we might not see it (the flirty nurse is kinda funny). More social links next week!

Chihayafuru Episode 13

The national tournament finally starts. However, a new enemy approaches, as Chihaya runs into a strange girl at a temple before the tournament. In the first round at the tournament, Taichi is able to raise everyone’s morale as usual, but Chihaya seems to be overwhelmed by the pressure of the event. Meanwhile, Arata is trying to get to Omi Jingu to watch the match, and we start to see his memories of his grandfather.

We see that the original stroke caused partial paralysis, which later became early stage dementia, causing Arata’s grandfather to forget about karuta. But one day, when Arata is forced to skip a tournament to watch over his grandfather, his grandfather suddenly tells him to go to the tournament.

Back in the present, Arata arrives to see Chihaya collapse. Taichi calls her match forfeit and leaves her in Arata’s care. Chihaya is taken to the hospital, but Arata stays behind. An old friend recognizes Arata and tells him that his karuta is just like his grandfather’s. When Chihaya wakes up, she finds out that everyone else made it to the playoffs before losing. She also finds out that Arata has decided to play karuta.

So Arata’s story ended up being basically a copy of Hikaru with the whole Sai thing and quitting Go. I guess it was what I expected to happen. I wonder if Arata’s message meant that he’s going to be participating in the individual tournament or if he can’t sign up. Kind of anti-climactic for the team tournament to end the way it did, but I suppose the individuals are going to be the focus (kind of opposite of Saki). Still plenty of episodes to go. So far, it’s been pretty interesting.

Life’s Great Mysteries: Watching Anime Socially

So with 2012 upon us, let’s look at another one of life’s great mysteries. Today, I want to talk about watching anime in groups. From the general trend I see online, this may not be such a common trend, but I want to look at how this dynamic changes the experience of watching anime.

So for the most part, the anime I watch is watched alone in my room. However, sometimes I venture out of my cave on the outskirts of town and go to the meeting for my school’s anime club, which meets every week during the school year. Basically, they pick like 4-5 different series and show one or two episodes each week.

What does this end up looking like? 3 hours each week in a dark room with anime playing on a projector with about 20 people watching. Clearly, this is different than watching by myself. How is it different? Random outbursts of laughter become choruses of laughter and personal predictions are met with outcry or agreement.

I like the atmosphere watching with others and it’s nice to get immediate feedback about an episode, but I’m not a huge fan of waiting a week for an episode when I could so easily finish it myself. Still, I found myself greatly entertained when I watched No. 6 for a second time with everyone else.

I also find that watching with the anime club introduced me to shows I wouldn’t otherwise watch by myself, like Nabari no Ou and Outlaw Star (No. 6 and Nabari no Ou? What is it with this anime club and borderline BL?). I start to wonder if this is evidence of the social environment acting in a negative sense, numbing myself to problems I’d normally have with an old show like Outlaw Star or…a show like Nabari no Ou.

Let’s switch gears to a completely different dynamic. What about watching with just one other person or two other people, such as close friends or significant others? Although, I’ve never done this, I’m sure that plenty of people have. Does this add to the experience? Subtract from it?

In the end, maybe it boils down to a matter of preference. Even though writing this blog gives me fairly quick feedback on the episodes I’ve just watched (which is part of the reason I’m still writing), I find that watching with the anime club is still the same amount of fun.

So what’s your opinion? Am I nuts leaving my cave because anime is not meant to be a social experience? Or have you always felt the same, but never quite been able to gather the necessary human beings for such an event? If that’s the case, maybe something can be organized online. Not quite the same, but maybe it can make up for it a bit.