No Guns Life Episode 5: Introducing the law

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It looks like this series is finally cooling down from its somewhat rapid-fire opening, so it’s fleshing out its world some more. This week’s episode largely focuses on the government infrastructure centered around managing Extended while establishing Juuzou as a reluctant cog in this process. I think that this information is nice to see, and I like that Juuzou is effectively treated like a more active criminal informant.

Tetsurou fears the crab

It’s interesting to see Tetsurou harboring lasting impressions from the previous arc. It’s in like with his character, and it gives him room to become more resolved, I suppose. It’s a reaction I would not have expected to be there, but it’s a good reminder.

Juuzou goes off alone

I’m cool with the idea that Juuzou and Tetsurou are two sides of the same coin. They have similar motivations, but Tetsurou is still new to the world. It’s a good way to set Juuzou up as his future mentor within the series.

Juuzou insists on finishing his tune-up

I really liked the fake tension in this scene. Juuzou understands the situation with EMS, and he knows he’s not in any immediate danger. However, Tetsurou is new to this and doesn’t know anything. So, the lack of communication between the two is creating the real tension in the scene, since Tetsurou has been shown to act impulsively on incomplete knowledge.

Kronen arrests the suspect

I do like the slight misdirection in this episode with the appearance of the Hug Bear. In reality, that prisoner is the one that is under control, but he enters the scene as though he’s the rogue element that Juuzou needs to handle. It gives Kronen a decent entrance as well, since it isn’t the guy that Juuzou is being tasked to find.

The last prisoner is revealed

Part of me suspects that this guy is going to have a past with Juuzou.

No Guns Life Episode 4: Saving people

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Cunningham calls Anne useless

Maybe I’m being too dramatic, but this week’s episode felt questionable to me. I felt like I was okay with the development that it seemed to be going for, but many of the decisions didn’t sit well with me. To be fair, one of the larger complaints I have with the episode is with regards to Anne, and it could very easily be overturned in a subsequent episode. But I think the assessment still stands.

Anne is fine with being a tool

I got the sense that Anne and Ende were meant to exist to counter Tetsurou’s renewed purpose in life. They were okay with being used as tools as long as it furthered their personal objectives, while Tetsurou flatly rejects the idea of letting others use his power. However, I don’t think that message has enough time to get across, so the girls seem largely wasted.

Tetsurou runs out of power

I guess the episode never truly makes it clear that Anne is dead, but I think that it’s too sudden if she’s really gone. I honestly like the idea of punishing Tetsurou for insisting on his way, but I think this goes too far. Anne as a character has no real chance to develop, so her death seems too much like a device. Combined with Ende’s cheesy survival in the end, it’s just a hard pill to swallow.

Tetsurou attempts to stop Ende

In addition to that, I think that Tetsurou would have come off a lot better if he had relinquished control in the end rather than having it yanked away from him. I could be persuaded on this, though. It indicates that he has a long way to go, and it does technically align with Juuzou’s statement about Tetsurou being more selfish. But I think it’s hard to get a sense of what people are thinking when they say one thing and do another. That level of contradiction made the episode harder to follow.

Juuzou asks for Tetsurou's help

Another example of that is Juuzou’s trigger. It’s cool to see it finally get used, but Juuzou immediately contradicts the scene by stating that he hasn’t accepted Tetsurou yet. In the same breath, he insists that only people he accepts can touch his trigger. I can’t tell if he’s just being overly standoffish or something else.

Tetsurou wonders about his control

I did like seeing this scene about Tetsurou’s control over Juuzou. Anything that breaks the ambiguity in this episode feels welcome to me.

No Guns Life Episode 3: Protagonist change

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Tetsurou is still recovering

I feel like this week’s episode took a sharp left turn, and I wonder where it’s going with it. I definitely didn’t expect Tetsurou to turn around and take over Juuzou when he refused to help without compensation. I guess we’ll be learning about Tetsurou first hand, rather than through a drawn-out explanation. Honestly, I’m still not sure what to make of this development, so I’ll wait until next week to see how it goes.

Kids are attacked to get to Tetsurou

Cunningham really escalated his tactics. His diabolical scheme of buying all of the cigarettes from last week seems tame in comparison to tearing extensions away from kids. Still, I liked how the episode presents it as a potential case for Juuzou before he pieces it all together. I appreciate a villain that sends an indirect message.

Tetsurou takes over Juuzou

Well, that kind of happened. I am a bit curious about it, though. We’ve already heard that Juuzou’s extensions are special, since he got them during the war. There’s a later scene where Tetsurou is shot with poisoned bullets, and he notes that he doesn’t have perfect control over Juuzou. It’s a scene that’s easy to brush off because the effect of the poison is a perfectly logical explanation for that feeling, but it makes me wonder how much control he actually has.

Tetsurou can still see

This scene has no business being as funny as it is. I can’t believe how much the series is steering into the jokes about Juuzou’s head, but I still think it’s amazing.

Tetsurou saves Ende and Anne

I thought this show would largely focus on taking on the Beruehren Corporation, but this week’s episode makes me wonder if it’s more focused on saving Tetsurou’s fellow experiment kids. Maybe Tetsurou is less brainwashed because he’s the CEO’s son or something? This scene made it seem like Anne and Ende just didn’t know any better, so they followed instructions.

No Guns Life Episode 2: The quest for Tanegashima

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Juuzou assaults a train

This series is surprisingly fun for how it looks. I can’t believe I just watched an episode in which the bad guy’s master plan was to buy up all of the cigarettes that the main character liked. That’s a special type of evil. As a result, this series seems more like a mix of serious and ridiculous, rather than just silly, and I think it benefits from that overall.

Juuzou reaches out to Tetsurou

Watching Juuzou in action was cool. So far, he seems like a typical brawler with explosive fists you’d see in a video game, but it works given his appearance. I’m a bit surprised at how easy it was for him to save Takerou, though. It makes you wonder why it couldn’t have happened at the end of the previous episode.

Mary saves a girl

This week’s episode also delves more into the anatomy behind the Extended with the introduction of Mary, the mechanic. The concept behind them isn’t too crazy (and might be arguably simplistic), so I don’t really have much of a comment there. Now, I just wonder how an Over-Extended is supposed to be different.

Cunningham threatens Juuzou

It looks like we’ll be joining Juuzou in a crusade against the entire Beruehren Corporation. Cunningham probably isn’t their best representative, but he certainly knows how to make an entrance (and an exit).

Juuzou recovers from the battle

One thing that I think is interesting about the series is that it makes me question what people say on screen in a way that doesn’t feel overtly subversive. Juuzou claims that he doesn’t have a dependency on the Tanegashima cigarettes, but he acts like someone experiencing withdrawal. It makes you question how much of that was a bluff.

In addition to that, Tetsurou is introduced as the son of the CEO of Beruehren right as Juuzou is mentioning how much the corporation covered up the story. It makes you doubt that particular piece of information until it’s later confirmed.

No Guns Life First Impressions (1): Pull the trigger

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Juuzou sets off

Well, this is not a premise I would have ever seen coming, but I think the series overall seems to work so far. I feel like some of its gags are a bit overplayed, but the episode was pretty entertaining nonetheless. I like the noir-ish setting and the potentially sci-fi idea of the Extended (even if the name is ridiculous). I’m coming in blind, though, so I’m not sure what to expect from here.

Juuzou talks about the world

The series takes place in a post-war civilization where people are allowed to enhance themselves, becoming the “Extended”. The main character, Juuzou Inui is a former soldier with a gun head who now lives as a Resolver, which is basically a detective for cases involving the Extended. We pick up with him as he takes on the case of an orphan named Tetsurou, who apparently has the ability to take control of Extended.

Juuzou talks about his job

I think the first episode does a decent job of setting up its world. It explains the Extended and introduces Juuzou before jumping right into its main story. Maybe it’s just the oddness of the premise, but I didn’t feel particularly confused about what was going on.

Tetsurou is prevented from escaping

Juuzou himself seems to have a reasonable head on his shoulders (had to be done). He’s effective as a detective, and he handles himself pretty well. Additionally, I like the idea behind Tetsurou. I assume he’ll eventually join Juuzou based on the opening, but he seems to be coming from an interesting background. I look forward to seeing how that ends up playing out.

True identities are revealed

The part that I found questionable in the episode was some of the humor. Don’t get me wrong. I liked a lot of Juuzou’s silly moments, like when he’s kissed at the beginning of the episode and such. However, I had a problem with the running joke that everyone freaks out when they see his head. In a world where people are randomly changing parts of themselves, I find it hard to believe that people would react so strongly to one thing in particular.

Tetsurou seeks freedom

All in all, I think this could be a fun ride. It leans heavily towards the serious side when it comes to tone, but there is a lightheartedness to a few of the scenes. The characters seem promising so far, and I’m curious about where they will go.

Spring 2018 Grab Bag Week 6: Some of the extras

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Since we’re halfway through the season, I figured I should take the chance to do some quick impressions on some of the shows I haven’t been talking about as much in the season.

Dorei-ku

I’m kinda fed up with this show. Every episode seems to focus on a random new character before the main characters somehow show up on the scene as if to validate the character’s existence. I don’t know if there’s some source material that explains things better, but the setup as portrayed in the anime continues to make little sense. The SCM just appears with an app and built-in functionality, and the characters just seem to know how everything works.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi

This series hasn’t been terrible, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. When I’m watching something folklore-based, I’m looking for interesting stories that relate well with the underlying folk tales. This series seems to focus more on using the stories as a setting while pushing its own characters. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not really my thing.

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru

I fell off with this show a while back because it didn’t feel worth watching. The story ended up taking some interesting turns, but the main villain really doesn’t really appeal to me so far. He seems a little too full of himself to the point of being annoying.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

This show ended up being a lot more entertaining than I expected. It doesn’t have the overblown drama of the original, so it’s a lot easier to watch. Also, it seems to be genuinely interested in focusing on the game (it’s almost like watching a game of PUBG or something). The main character’s superpowers end up feeling a bit awkward, but it’s not a huge problem in my eyes.

Spring 2018 Grab Bag Week 1: Hinamatsuri, SAO Alternative, Devils’ Line

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Spring season’s in full swing, so I want to go over multiple shows today. This section lives!

Hinamatsuri First Impressions (Episode 1)

I had a lot of fun watching this episode. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but the opening sequence certainly didn’t scream “comedy show”. That being said, I thought the episode was pretty funny and I liked where it was going. As for the opening sequence, I was pretty impressed. Despite the blurred attacks and the fact that this series isn’t really an action show, the fight choreography looked really good.

The interactions between the two main characters were fun. I’m curious to see where they go with Nitta. The episode kinda paints him as the “good guy” gangster, but I’d find it more interesting if he isn’t just a nice person (as he seems to be).

I did think it was a little weird that Hina grew attached to Nitta for not treating her as she was treated by other adults. Nitta did technically try to abuse her power for his own gain, after all. But I guess the distinction is that he was more asking her for a favor rather than seeing her as a tool. That seemed to be implied, so I’m fine going along with it.

Sword Art Online Alternative – Gun Gale Online First Impressions (Episode 1)

I don’t have all too much to say about this series. I was surprised that the episode went straight into the action without really introducing much, but I guess it can borrow a lot of setup from the original Sword Art Online. That being said, I didn’t particularly mind it. The episode was pretty entertaining overall. It had the feel of watching a live stream of a game.

The only weird part (for me) was when Karen went god mode in the end. It kinda makes the strategy seem less important when she can take on entire teams by herself.

Devils’ Line First Impressions (Episode 1)

Well, they can’t all be winners. I was curious about the premise of this series, but this first episode really didn’t appeal to me. All of the fights felt like they had excessive shaky cam in them and the major scenes in the episode seemed fairly drawn-out and boring. The opening scene also felt way longer than it should have been for how little it seemed to contribute.

This episode really did a good job of making me not care about this guy. He got way too much background for an opening episode, so it was pretty much a given that the story would get rid of him quickly.

How exactly does this work? How do you identify this guy based on his semen? Did you have a DNA sample already? This line feels like typical “forensic magic”. You could at least put a little effort into it.

Gasp! He was the protagonist all along!

Sword Art Online II Episode 5: Death Gun talks really slowly…

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Well, it looks like Kirito’s first fight went by fairly quickly. The moment where he revealed his gender to Sinon wasn’t too interesting a way to do it for me. What was more interesting was probably his meeting with Death Gun. It looks like Death Gun is actually someone from his past, someone from the PK guild Laughing Coffin in SAO. Does this mean that Kirito has become a target for Death Gun as well?

I guess the better question is “have we met Death Gun in the course of the series yet?” My first guess was Kuradeel, the crazy Asuna stalker, because he turned Laughing Coffin right at the end. However, Kirito killed him and the flashback showed that the tattoo was in the wrong place. I still haven’t discounted the possibility that this Spiegel guy is Death Gun or at least related to him (we don’t know whether it’s just one guy), because of what I said in an earlier post about how he shows up in the opening theme. Plus, he was conveniently in the room when Death Gun appeared to Kirito and wasn’t shown during or after the conversation.

Sword Art Online II Episode 2: FPS with boss farming…what?

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Well, I don’t know if Shinon is a good FPS player, but she hasn’t shown me any abilities as a sniper yet. She only hit two shots in this episode, one on an unaware target and the second at point-blank range. It’s almost like she’s being carried by her gun or something. But that aside, I’m surprised that Kirito hasn’t rushed into GGO yet. Is he actually frightened by Death Gun? Is this supposed to be hesitation spawned by his original time in SAO?

Presumably, next week is when Kirito finally enters the game and meets Shinon. There’s an interesting point in the opening song that has me curious. Shinon is shown in the real world reaching towards a boy that hasn’t been revealed yet. The boy is then engulfed in flames panning to a scene with Death Gun. Does this suggest that Shinon has some sort of relationship with Death Gun? Or maybe that’s something that will happen in this show soon?

Sword Art Online II First Impressions (1): Here we go again

[HorribleSubs] Sword Art Online II - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.15_[2014.07.05_14.13.31]

So, let me get this straight…the main antagonist for this series is a man who wields a weapon he calls “Death Gun” that kills people with heart attacks? This seems somewhat familiar for some reason. Anyway, back with more Sword Art Online…Kirito has been called into another new game to save the world.

I certainly have my worries going into this show. These heart attacks can’t be explained away with magic…a focused pulse aimed at stopping the heart seems so wishy-washy. I guess ALO was the story taking a break from the doom and gloom death, so now we’re getting back to it? Then, there’s also the question of the antagonist’s motives…is he just going after arrogant pros? Or is he on a path of justice like a certain other character we won’t mention here? So far, my main suspect is Kikouka…I wouldn’t be surprised.

[HorribleSubs] Sword Art Online II - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.03_[2014.07.05_14.15.51]

Just a random side note: Kirito mentions in this episode something about wanting to improve full dive technology by creating a man-machine interface. Could this be suggesting that he was involved in the creation of the Neuro Linker? Also, is there any particular reason Kirito is shown wielding a sword in a gun game? What are these lightsaber hacks? Anyway, we’ve got the prep…next week, Kirito enters the game.