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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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.

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.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 14: Team up

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I don’t know if there’s something going on with the second half, but I’m still having issues with this series. I’m starting to wonder if I gave the series too much leeway in the first half because I recognized that it was still ramping up. I was so surprised that Caster went down in a single episode that I was really expecting the golem to get back up at the end.

If Caster was willing to sacrifice everything just to get his golem operational, even his own life, what the heck was holding him back? It doesn’t even seem like he needed to betray the Black Faction. His original plan was to use Gordes after all, and it’s not like he cared if the Black Faction killed him in retaliation. Why not just finish the golem?

I’m also not really losing much sleep over Caster’s Master, who ended up as the golem core in the end. He had basically no introduction or screen time, after all. I was curious about his final question about why Caster was trying to create a human too, but I guess that’s not going anywhere with both dead.

I will admit that this scene with the hippogriff refusing to join the fight was a surprising laugh in this episode. It might have been my favorite moment in the episode.

On the other hand, the scene between Mordred and Jeanne seemed to be going for the same comedic effect, but felt much less effective. It felt extraneous and took too much time just to negotiate a Command Spell.

So does Sieg have to use a Command Spell every time he transforms? That seems incredibly inconvenient for something that only lasts a few minutes.

Finally, what exactly happened to Chiron’s Noble Phantasm? Was it the heat vision thing that he used to see Adam’s weak point? It felt like he was supposed to make a final strike, but it never came.

Mahoutsukai no Yome and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou First Impressions: Strong contenders in the season

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I’m not planning on covering either of these shows further than the first episode because they’re both technically slice of life, so I’m going to bundle the first episodes together. I doubt I’ll have much more to say.

Mahoutsukai no Yome

I was really looking forward to this adaptation and this first episode didn’t disappoint. With both the way it looked and the way it presented what was in the manga, I felt like this episode did its job. The simple story follows Chise as she tries to find a home for herself after facing only rejection in her life. But the world she enters when she meets Elias leads to some truly charming tales.

I really liked the sense of wonder and mystery I got from the soundtrack in the first episode. It really seemed to fit. The opening song was also pretty nice. I still think that the description of a Sleigh Beggy is a bit strange, but it’s not super important. It’s also a pretty ridiculous name.

I’m curious how this episode felt for people who didn’t read the manga, but watched the OVAs. The OVAs gave a sense of the suffering that Chise experienced before she met Elias (specifically the scenes depicting her home life), so I wonder if the scene with the aerials makes more sense with that context. Given how tragic her life has been, she’s willing to accept Elias just because he welcomed her into his family.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

In sharp contrast to the first show, I knew practically nothing about this series. However, I similarly enjoyed this first episode. Overall, the scenery in this episode was really nice and I liked how much of the story was told without exposition or even dialogue. The interactions between Chito and Yuri were also really charming.

The basic setup for this series seems to be two main characters travelling together through the ruins of a war-torn world. While Chito and Yuri do talk about war in the episode, it’s about the concept rather than a specific event. The background is basically shown in a flashback without any words to elaborate. Normally, I’d be bothered by something like this, but I felt like the scene said a lot.

If I were to lodge a complaint at this series, it would be that I couldn’t quite behind the scene with the final ration. I understand the link to the earlier conversation about why people go to war, but it almost seemed a bit too…overt? But that was pretty minor overall. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this.

Black Clover First Impressions (1): Volume is important

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I’ve heard a lot of praise for the manga, but I’m not completely convinced by this first episode yet. Let’s start with the obvious. Asta isn’t exactly the most unique protagonist ever, the seemingly powerless individual in a world of magic harboring a hidden power. He also seems to suffer from perpetual shout voice. I might have been okay with the volume if he wasn’t also randomly elongating his speech as well. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

As I said before, this story revolves around a world of magic. How do we know it’s a world of magic? Well, there’s a very helpful and colorful glow around anything affected by magic…except when there isn’t. I might just be getting excessively nitpicky as usual, but I guess I hoped there was some explanation behind that. The simplest one would have been that magic from a grimoire glows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either.

Same deal with the magic academy and the arrogance of the nobles. That’s pretty standard.

I’m not really sure what happened with this scene. Maybe the CG chains were a hint, but this scene seemed pretty strange in black and red. Some cheap form of censorship to make the scene look more grim, perhaps?

Finally, I want to talk about this whole thing with the “magic-detecting chains”. First off, it’s pretty contrived for an extra ability. But more importantly, why exactly does that work so well on Asta? We’ve seen him maintain hope pretty well in this episode, so it seems odd that he would believe the words of a complete stranger so easily, especially an admitted thief. Perhaps there’s something here about affirming the thing you already suspected in your mind but refused to accept?

So, I could use a little help here. I know there’s a lot of hype surrounding this series, so I’m assuming I should at least give it a little more time to prove itself. The clover stuff seemed okay, and I’m admittedly curious about Yuno’s pendant. What exactly was I missing?

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 13: Did I miss something?

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I don’t know whether it’s just the new season or this episode in particular, but I found myself really frustrated while watching this episode. Maybe I’m just missing explanations that exist in the light novel, but too many parts in this episode felt too random and undeveloped. To give a quick example, I’m perfectly willing to accept that Sieg is the protagonist and therefore should be a Master, but his noticing the Command Spells in this episode felt like a pretty sudden development.

Can someone explain this part of the conversation between Shirou and Jeanne? They talked a lot about salvation and some sort of prayer. When did a particular religious belief become relevant to this Grail War?

Also, Shirou is basically taking control of the game because…reasons? Caster of Black in particular probably had the most casual betrayal I’ve ever seen. His only concern other than the safety of his Master was that Shirou wouldn’t interfere with his own plans. What kind of logic is that? Karna at least had the excuse that Shirou had just become his Master.

The death of Rider’s Master was surprisingly satisfying, but that’s mostly because she felt pretty lackluster as a character. It seemed like she only existed to be some generic crazy chick with no real motivation or background. While it’s very dramatic to have her force Rider to kill Sieg, it doesn’t really mean much…we have no sense of why she even cares. Mordred really did us a favor.

One last side comment: I happened to notice this scene from the opening animation. It looks a lot like Irisviel, so I’m assuming this shot is an indication of Shirou’s end game. It’s not shocking, but that seems pretty blatant.

Knight’s & Magic Final Episode (13): Consistently fun

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Honestly, I thought that this final episode was a satisfying ending even if it was predictably open-ended. In particular, the final fight between Ernesti and Oratio didn’t feel as one-sided as it was. It might have just been because Doroteo was there to show emotion for Oratio, but there was no hackneyed scene where Oratio loses his mind trying to “get a win” on Ernesti. He pits his full power against Ernesti’s full power and loses pretty honestly.

I think the big issue I had with the episode was the “ideals” battle between Oratio and Ernesti. I don’t mind the idea of pitting elegance against practicality. It actually reminds me of the issues I have to deal with commonly as a software developer. That much would have been enough, but the argument then boiled down to “Silhouette Knights vs. Levitate Ships”, which kinda counters Oratio’s argument. It’s not like the Levitate Ship is always practical…his ideal seems to be the same as Ernesti’s at the end of the day.

As I said in a previous episode, I really don’t have a problem with giving Kid the “hero” moments when it comes to saving Eleonora. In fact, I would say that the fact that Eleonora has a role in the battle was a positive point for me even if she doesn’t fight. I feel like there are way too many cases where the king/queen “heroically” decides to join the final battle but just stands there without any trouble.

Final Score: 7/10 Story felt weak because it was going so fast, but I can’t help but give points for the mech battles.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 12: Bullying Lancer as always

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Well, this episode seems to be setting up a completely different battle for the second half of this series. As always, being Lancer is suffering. I wasn’t expecting Darnic to fully invest by taking over Lancer in his Dracula form. What exactly was his plan if he managed to kill everyone? It’s not like every Servant of Red was participating in that fight, after all.

I was hoping for a bit more out of this truce than what we saw. While it’s true that everyone contributed, it still looked like an extension of the fight between Dracula and Karna in the end. It really doesn’t take too long before the Red Servants are taken out of the fight.

And on that note, what exactly was the reasoning for that? Was it just because Ruler had used the Command Spell to gain the allegiance of the Red Servants? It also looked like Shiro took the Command Spells from the masters as well…or at least forced them to use them up. I’m not sure I fully understand that part.

I don’t know why I didn’t guess that the character literally named “Shiro” was secretly a Servant. I really should have known better. I guess they did set up his vendetta, but Darnic really didn’t feel too “present” in the first half of the series. Is he really just dead now?

I suppose this development is meant to set up a new type of Grail War for the future, one in which the two Rulers fight for control over the war or something. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, so I guess we’ll see. With Darnic dead, I’m not sure how much is left of Shiro’s motivation to make him an interesting villain.

Knight’s & Magic Episode 12: The big reason

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For some reason, I found this episode funnier than I think was intended. It has always been an aspect of this series, but I found it stood out more in this episode. I mean, they even bothered to make a joke out of the fact that the sword guy leaves his swords scattered across the battlefield. That’s more than I would expect.

I’m starting to feel like it’s a conspiracy that the Guair gets the good fights. And it was a small thing, but I totally thought that the sword machine was going to explode after Dietrich stabbed it. It’s a common scene in mecha series and they definitely had a good excuse given that the Ether Reactor had just failed.

It’s a bit sad that this statement has to be made. Still, I don’t have a problem with presenting an enemy who is an actual challenge for Ernesti. You’d expect Ernesti to laugh off the big surprises that Oratio throws at him in a typical villain interaction, but they’re actually having a legitimate competition.

I’d say my biggest source of confusion in this episode is the timetable. Ernesti had time to solve the smokescreen issues with the Ikaruga, and Oratio had time to upgrade the Vyers. I really can’t keep up with how much time is passing.

Ernesti’s final comment in the episode also ended up being pretty funny. His motivation is just to keep the fighting restricted to giant robots, which is hilarious. There are no grand ideals going on for this guy…