Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 7: Skirting betrayal

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Emma reassures everyone

As always, the tension continues to rise. I like how this episode plays out through what seem like tiny battles with Krone. It does end with this sense that it might be moving too quickly, but I want to believe that there’s more going on in that final scene.

Krone explains how to become a Mother

What I liked about this episode was that Krone acts as an easy antagonist, forcing a give-and-take scenario when she confronts Emma and Norman. I also get this real sense that I still shouldn’t trust anything she says, despite her willingness to help, which adds an interesting element to the information.

Emma asks why Krone wouldn't betray them

I’m a big fan of the common theme in these confrontations, which is that Emma tends to push the hardest when things get serious. That being said, I almost don’t understand this scene. Krone seems to lay out a mutually assured destruction scenario in order to gain their trust.

She can go to Isabella to betray the kids, but Ray can go to Isabella to betray Krone. However, this scenario just sets up the condition that the first person to rat the other wins. Is the idea just that the information Krone would give is worth not betraying her?

Krone figures out what the kids know about the tracking devices

While I still have trouble believing that Norman would fall for this, I do like how this scene plays out. Inferring based on inaction is a nice idea to trick the kids.

Krone talks about the outside world

I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get any details about the outside world, but I suppose it’s not the focus now. I do get the sense that this reference to “Him” is an offhand comment that I should keep track of, though. This series seems to have a lot of innocuous scenes of that kind, which is nice for rewarding attention. There’s a similar moment when Emma asks Don and Gilda for a favor when Ray and Norman aren’t present, which makes me wonder how much Emma actually knows.

Phil walks in on Krone searching Ray's bed

Phil, you are so suspicious, man. Anyway, I have a hard time buying that Krone will get kicked out so quickly. Given the nature of other cliffhangers in this series, I wouldn’t be surprised if Isabella walks in to give her good news or something.

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Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 7: Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai

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Kyrie just wants to be paid

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai Episodes 5-6

Based on the recent episodes, it seems like the series is kind of settling in on its rhythm, and I think it’s getting a lot more interesting. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of central narrative, unless you count the random politics that Julia injects. However, recent episodes have been focusing more on the girls’ pasts, which has made them more interesting. I would prefer having some more detail about their pasts, but they’ve been doing a good job of explaining individual quirks.

Reona apologizes for going nuts in the previous episode

I know the most recent episode was about Kyrie, but I wanted to take a moment and mention Reona. She was the focus in the previous episode, and I ended up really liking her story. I like the idea that she keeps herself in check as part of being the leader of the group. It would have been easy to make her insane when she’s not holding back, but the “tenacious” aspect fits well with her character.

Julia talks about the policy changes

I have a hard time keeping track of the stuff Julia says, even though she seems to be incredibly important for worldbuilding. It sounds like Isao from the previous episode is trying to deal with sky pirates by enforcing restrictions with licenses to fly, which raises some interesting questions. However, Julia typically ends up being pushed to the side, so it’s hard to take her seriously.

Kyrie chases off the mysterious plane again

Thinking back, I feel like the weirdest part about this episode is that we get an entire story of Kyrie’s childhood, but we never find out what her problem with the mystery plane is. She yells a lot at it about previous encounters, but she doesn’t seem to have much more of a connection with the pilot.

Kyrie just wants to learn more

If anything, I think Kyrie’s childhood curiosity and desire to learn is pretty relatable.

Kyrie talks to her old friend

It’s not a bad story, but what exactly was the takeaway from it? I suppose the story does a good job of showing why Kyrie loves to fly, but I’m not sure I understand the ending. She puts the rock down almost like a gravestone, and we saw her talking to it again in a previous episode. Did the old man actually die? He seemed fine when he flew off.

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.

Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 5: Manaria Friends, Shield Hero

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Grea's new haircut

Manaria Friends General Impressions (1-3)

To be fair, there’s not too much to talk about for this series. As a fan of the Manaria-related content from Granblue Fantasy, I see the show mostly as a bit of fun, watching characters I like interact with each other. The series basically follows Anne, a princess attending Manaria Academy, and her friend Grea, a dragonborn princess. As far as we’ve seen in the first three episodes, the series is largely slice of life without too much development involved. I’m actually kind of hoping that changes, though, since what I know of Grea’s story is surprisingly interesting.

Anne and Grea test out weapons

I’ve always thought that the contrast between Anne and Grea was interesting. They both share a relatively similar set of insecurities, but they have opposed personalities. Plus, there’s the whole fire and ice thing going on.

Grea tries a new outfit

Also, every episode seems to have a fairly gratuitous dressing scene for at least one of the main characters if you’re into that. Not to say I’m not into that…

Raphtalia is tired of dealing with people

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Episodes 4-5

It’s interesting to see how my opinions can change from manga to anime. Granted, part of it has to do with the fact that I tend to analyze anime more heavily than manga, but I’m sure a decent part of it comes from how much time has passed since I first read it. My point is that I’ve been a bit skeptical about these recent episodes, especially when it comes to general dialogue.

Raphtalia gets a new slave crest

While I thought that Raphtalia’s defense of Naofumi during the duel with Motoyasu was a great emotional moment, her speech to Motoyasu felt a bit strange. It’s true that Naofumi has demonstrated a much stronger sense of empathy than Motoyasu, but Raphtalia’s claim that Motoyasu should have a slave of his own doesn’t feel convincing to me. It completely ignores “opportunity”, right? The opportunity to buy a slave presented itself to Naofumi, after all.

The villagers start to help Naofumi

It is nice to see people warming up to Naofumi, though. It makes him come off as much less of a jerk overall, which makes him an easier character to watch.

Motoyasu tries to add new tolls to the village

I mean, I get that it’s a legitimate mistake from Motoyasu here, but it’s weird that he doesn’t back down when Naofumi tells him what the buying power of a silver is. Add in the annoyingly blatant cheating during the race, and it just seems like Motoyasu and Malty are being mean for the sake of it.

Filo takes human form

New character time? Filo definitely went through a full range of changes, but it looks like we’ve settled on one.

Houseki no Kuni Review: More than a pile of rocks

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Phos is happy

Is it fair to say that this show is the one that made me rethink the “dumb as a rock” expression? I’ll admit, I decided to watch this show largely because my parents are both geologists, but the series brought up some surprisingly interesting philosophical concepts. To set the stage, the story centers around a society of minerals in human form, called Gems, who fight against an invading species that is trying to spirit away the shiniest of them to the Moon. Yeah, I know it sounds like a weird concept, but each side actually has a surprisingly deep history.

Bort has no time for inferior beings

The Gems themselves are actually composed of microorganisms, which inhabit the minerals that make up their visible surfaces. As opposed to normal human anatomy, a Gem’s identity exists within all of these organisms, rather than being concentrated in one spot. As a result, the show does a lot to show how many of their behaviors and lifestyles are adapted as a result. For example, any significant damage to a Gem’s body will result in memory loss. It’s an interesting concept that appealed to the neuroscientist in me more than I would have expected.

Phos is taunted by a jellyfish

The main character, Phosphophyllite, is relatively younger Gem with a low hardness rating. However, Phos is one of the brighter gems, which makes them a preferred target for Lunarians. We follow Phos as they try to find a way to be helpful to the other gems, at somewhat drastic costs. As a result Phos changes pretty drastically throughout the course of the series, which is intriguing to watch. Phos is also a charming protagonist, with a goofy attitude backed by an earnest desire to contribute.

Smug Phos

As a fair warning, this series is fully 3D, in case that’s a deal breaker for you. I wasn’t generally bothered by it. The music of the series also brings plenty of tension to its battle scenes, with a bit of a traditional sound to it. I also really enjoyed the opening song, since it has a bit of a mysterious feeling to it and an off-beat musical line.

Cinnabar is worried

All in all, I thought that this series gave me a lot to think about, whether it’s the nature of memory, the perception of time, or just the cost of gaining power. Additionally, I’ve read the manga past the point where the anime ended, and I’ll end on a warning. If you thought that the anime was weird, you haven’t seen anything yet. The story gets pretty absurd.

Overall Score: 8/10

Random First Impressions: Doukyonin wa Hiza, Pastel Memories

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More new shows are coming out, and I’ve been checking a decent number of them out. I’m on the fence about both of these shows, so I’m just going to talk about them together.

Subaru loses his parents in a bus accident

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atame no Ue First Impressions

For the most part, this show seems like it could be a decent, lighthearted story of a man and his cat. It starts out as a straightforward concept, showcasing the main character, Subaru Mikazuki, as a fairly typical loner type who decides to take in a random cat he finds. But then, it flips things around by showing the same events from the perspective of the cat, which is nice. So far, the cat doesn’t seem particularly annoying, so I guess I don’t have much of a problem with it.

Subaru hates crowded places

I don’t mind that Subaru has the awkward, shy personality, but the series gives him a kind of one-note personality trait that I don’t really like. Basically, he hates when people spoil stories for him, because it apparently stops him from using his imagination to wonder where the story goes. I’m not a fan of how much it defines his character, and I just don’t generally like that trait on its own. Nothing about knowing what’s canon should stop you from thinking about what could be, as far as I’m concerned.

Subaru passes out from exhaustion

Also, this guy eats cat food. I guess we’re just going to ignore that part.

The cat is very confused

I think the show has the potential to set up a decent story of development. From this first episode, we get this clear understanding that the cat and Subaru are thinking on completely different wavelengths, so it might be interesting to see them start to understand each other. I’m still not sure how long I’ll keep watching, but that’s my general hope for the series.

Boredom is dangerous

Pastel Memories First Impressions

This was one heck of a strange premiere, enough to make me wonder if it was secretly the sequel to some show I didn’t know. I suppose it’s a game adaptation, so there’s probably some background information I’m missing. That being said, I felt like I was being led along by this episode. Effectively, the entire episode is devoted to finding some volumes of a particular manga, but it ends by completely breaking out a supernatural elements that’s presumably central to the series.

Random Caligula poster

I should have run as soon as I saw the Caligula poster…

Finding old manga

Hey, I guess this show is good for referencing series I know. That’s something.

The real plot is revealed

This series is a video game adaptation, and it really wants you to know it. My main problem with this kind of development is that it trivializes the first episode. The events of the episode feel artificial, since it seems like the next episode will explain the real premise. Am I being nuts? I just get that sense.

Yakusoku no Neverland First Impressions (1): And suddenly…

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Emma is coming for you

Well, I can’t really pretend to be surprised by the content of the episode since I knew it going in. That being said, this adaptation seemed pretty solid to me, with interesting visual representations and music. I do like the concept of the series as a whole, with the idea of a happy orphanage for kids holding some dark secret. Honestly, I think part of what turned me off from the manga was that the uncertain nature of manga release made me question whether I could handle the constant tension that’s inherent to a story like this. Perhaps it makes more sense in anime, which tends to have more defined time constraints.

An intense game of tag

I do like how the episode puts emphasis on the game of tag, though, since it’s such an innocent game on its own. This scene gains a lot more weight given the comparison at the end, and the constantly ticking clock is a valid representation of the central opposing factor in the show. The scene serves a great dual purpose of setting an early tone that is light while representing the harsh truth.

The fence is really low

Given the nature of kids, it’s hard to believe that no one has jumped this fence before. These kids are eleven years old, right? That’s a long time to notice something.

No one who leaves ever writes

As always, it’s fun to see these kinds of hints when you’re watching a scene for the second time. This conversation is pretty suspicious even on its own, and it’s fun to see how much the episode emphasizes the fact that Conny isn’t one of the brightest kids. I think it’s a testament to how well the episode builds itself to its reveal, dropping hints while keeping the tone light.

Conny leaves to be with her foster family

Honestly, I find it pretty funny that the orphans who leave to meet their “foster families” end up going in the dark. You’d think that this sort of event suits the break of dawn or something.

Making sure the shipment is right

I can’t remember what kinds of creatures these guys were, but I’m not sure I was ever convinced in the manga that they were especially important. Sure, they’re the entire reason for the system that’s in place, but it feels like they could have been anything. Shock factor?

Mama finds the bunny

The way the music abruptly cut out at this scene was amazing.

Golden Kamuy Final Episode (24): Changing sides again and again

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Sugimoto shows Nopperabu the dagger

I know better than to expect resolution from this series, so I thoroughly enjoyed this finale. I think the shifting alliances in this series are cool to watch, and I liked how Nopperabu was handled. It’s kind of sad to see Asirpa separate from Sugimoto, but it should be funny to watch how Sugimoto interacts with the 7th. As always, the many funny moments in this episode were spectacular.

Inudou can't bear the shame of his brother

Inudou’s story wasn’t too bad for how quick it was. I like that this show gives stories to the side characters, even if they’re doomed to die.

Nopperabu's plans are revealed

I do find the contrast between Sugimoto and Wilk interesting as a father figures for Asirpa. Wilk has great expectations for her, while Sugimoto just wants to keep her safe. I’d say both are valid, but they play out in very different ways. It’s too bad Wilk ends up being shot, but it wasn’t totally unexpected.

Kiroranke signals to Ogata

Kiroranke finally gets his story revealed, and it actually makes a lot of sense. It sounded like he just wants the Ainu to fight back against the other cultures that threaten them. It’s an extreme stance, but not an unreasonable one. It makes him an interesting faction.

Sugimoto and Tsurumi are brain damage pals

I like watching Sugimoto play the field in this extended war for the gold. He has his own motivations and has no issue allying with whoever is convenient. From the perspective of the audience, it gives us a good chance to look at the characters on each side.

Sugimoto knows that Ogata shot him

The big question for me in this episode was what Ogata’s motivations were. We’ve seen that he’s generally emotionless, so he could just be a mercenary for hire. I think it would be more fun if he had some kind of personal reason to join Kiroranke, though. Maybe I just missed something.

Sugimoto's brains are infecting people

I loved this joke about eating Sugimoto’s brains and inheriting his obsession with Asirpa.

Final Score: 7/10

Always enjoyable and funny to watch. This show is always surprisingly ridiculous for how serious it wants to be. I felt like the second half built upon the first half and took it to an even more absurd level, which ended up being totally fine.

Fall 2018 Grab Bag Week 11: Merc Storia, Akanesasu Shoujo

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Since I’ll be travelling today, I’m doing things a bit out of order.

Forna is very shocked

Merc Storia Episode 9

This show has had some surprisingly entertaining stories, even if I still think it’s a bit too childish. The story before this one, with the father who reconnects with his estranged daughter by interacting with his inner child was a nice, heartwarming story. I didn’t mind the story about the Divas either, but I personally would have preferred if the story went just a little bit further. Also, I’m glad the show managed to not be annoying when the characters randomly broke out into song.

Selena under pressure as a Diva

The part that I felt was missing was some kind of justification for Selena. The story doesn’t have the best message if she truly was as shallow as Voicia believed she was. The initial scene in this episode seemed to suggest that Selena felt pressured to take on that particular persona because of the expectations she faced as a Diva. Personally, I think that could have made more sense for the story.

Selena is afraid that Antel hates her

Other than that, I think the story worked as the typical mutual romance plagued with misunderstandings. Even if she didn’t end up doing much, I thought Forna was an incredibly entertaining character to watch, especially when she interacted with Selena.

The gang wonders if Asuka is okay

Akanesasu Shoujo Episode 10

It’s been a while since I talked about this show. Honestly, I haven’t really felt much for the show, so I’ve been slow to keep up with it. The individual stories for the side characters were okay for character growth, but I didn’t think the alternate realities were too intriguing. For example, the Wild West world could have looked into how we view justice, but most of that flew out the window the minute the judge was revealed to be a Clutter.

Chloe wonders if Asuka might be better off not moping

As the series builds towards its finale, the main story seems like it could be interesting. The loss of Seriousuka was kind of a bummer, but the whole thing with the King of Twilight might have something to it. Getting to see Seriousuka’s world was a nice way of seeing the stakes, and I’m curious about the fact that the twilight seems to freeze people in time. There might be some Kyuubey-esque grand plan behind it.

Takumi wishes to go back to his world

I think the funniest part of this episode is the fact that Takumi ends up having a more reasonable outlook than Asuka does.

The Emissary of Twilight reveals herself

Given that the Emissary of Twilight is revealed to be Asuka, I’m feeling good about my theory that the missing brother is the King. It bothers me that the Emissary is a child, though. It could indicate that the two siblings faced some trauma in their original world that led to them hatching a childish plot to change the world.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 9: A valiant effort

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Shou offers to take Hitomi out

This…was kind of a weird episode. As always, I like how the episode used its scene to “show” more of what it was doing, but I think maybe the melodrama was a bit much for my taste. Hey, props to Shou for actually making a move, but I’m getting a little tired of watching the rift between him and Asagi. I’m curious to see how their relationship will get resolved, since I find it hard to come up with a solution that doesn’t make Asagi seem like consolation.

Shou consults with Yuito before going out with Hitomi

It’s nice of Shou to come clean with Yuito about going out with Hitomi, but I think this scene is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing Shou with Asagi in the end. If he truly had some clue about her feelings for him, it feels like he’s being pretty cruel to talk to Yuito about the date thing and not Asagi. Maybe it’s just a “bro” relationship thing with Yuito, but it still seems weird to me.

Shou takes Hitomi to his favorite spot

I think it’s a nice touch that we’re shown so many scene with Hitomi and Shou together, and Shou is looking at Hitomi for most of them. Meanwhile, Hitomi’s usually focused on something else entirely.

The class is curious about Hitomi's confession conversation

I like this scene for injecting a lighthearted moment into the drama. I always appreciate that kind of shift in tone, and this one feels pretty natural.

Yuito messes up at work

I also liked seeing Yuito screw up at work when he hears about how distressed Hitomi is. The episode isn’t super obvious about it, and Chigusa doesn’t tease him for his mistake. It’s a simple scene to show how he feels about Hitomi.

Asagi talks things over with Hitomi

This scene between Asagi and Hitomi also had some good moments. Overall, it’s a painful experience for Asagi, but I do like the fact that she figures out what’s going on between Hitomi and Shou by seeing the picture of Shou’s spot in Hitomi’s phone.

Hitomi responds to Shou

I know it would never happen, but the way Hitomi responds to Shou at the end almost made it sound like she’d agree to go out with him. But I guess there’s no time in the show for something like that. Maybe I was just getting the wrong impression…the translation in this episode was a bit sketchy.

Asagi admits her feelings for Shou to Hitomi

Being Asagi is suffering.