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33339 No. 33339 [Edit]
Let's post reviews of anime when we finish watching them!

It doesn't have to be from this season; any anime is fine!

I'll post the first review ITT
226 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 34678 [Edit]
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>I haven't been able to find the specials for this anywhere so unfortunately I have not seen them yet.
They're out there, included among the extras in some of the untranslated BD rip torrents.
I only watched the first few. They're mainly just sparsely animated presentations about sea creatures and didn't really capture my interest.
One of the forum posts on the MAL page supposedly links to subbed versions of the episodes, but I can't vouch for them as I haven't tried them myself.

There's also a neat Amanchu!/Aria crossover series that I rarely see mentioned. It's called the みらくるあどばんすプロジェクト (Miracle Advance Project) and consists of a story told over four manga chapters (for which I have found no scans) and its four-episode drama CD adaptation. Episodes 1 and 3 were bundled with special editions of volumes 12 and 13 respectively of the Amanchu! manga, while 2 and 4 were bundled with BD volumes 1 and 3 respectively of Amanchu! Advance. It's worth listening to if you know Japanese and enjoyed both anime adaptations.
>> No. 34679 [Edit]
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Thanks for the tips. I did download those drama CDs! I think I will start watching Aria. It will probably be a slow burn for me, but I guess the timing would be good for the upcoming(?) movie.

Having read today more and more about the infamous hetero direction that the Amanchu manga takes, I'm feeling less optimistic about reading it.
>> No. 34680 [Edit]
>it's just endless arguments about this.
And it's great.
>> No. 34681 [Edit]
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>> No. 34690 [Edit]
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I watched Kuma Miko (including the OVAs). Here are my thoughts:

The anime takes place in a nice rural-Japan setting, which is complemented by the pleasant organic-looking background art when outdoors. Character designs are unremarkable, however the character animation is sometimes better than I'd expect from this kind of show.

Unlike so many other comedy-heavy SoL shows, this show is actually funny. I laughed out loud during pretty much every episode. There are comedic spins on traditional Japanese culture and folklore, plus a lot of lolruraljapan humour. I often dislike comedy-heavy anime but I really enjoyed this one. The humour is way better than the typical slapstick garbage that you might begrudgingly expect. A common theme in the writing is the clash between modern life and traditional Japan. In terms of plot, the show is mostly episodic.

Okay OST which uses traditional Japanese instruments. Suits the mood and themes of the anime, and sometimes enhances the humour. I liked the voice acting for the main character (Machi) and the bear (Natsu). The script also is sometimes thoughtful and is skillfully used to deliver humour.

My overall rating: 7/10
This is a genuinely funny and creative show that is surprisingly underrated. I'm glad I gave it a chance. It has lots of personality and consistently made me laugh.

As you might have heard already, this show caused some bitter with a lot of people. There are two reasons for this, the first of which is that the humour is sometimes politically incorrect and perhaps in bad taste. The main female character is also commonly treated poorly just for the sake of some skit; it's always done in a lighthearted joking way, but I can see why some people wouldn't like this kind of comedy. The second reason for common bitter is the ending of the anime, which a lot of people disliked. There is some truth to this - the last two episodes were probably the weakest of the entire series, in my opinion. That doesn't invalidate my enjoyment of all the other episodes though. Supposedly the anime ending wasn't faithful to the manga, and there was a public feud between the mangaka and anime staff. I don't really know the specifics of the controversy so I'm not going to comment on it. Personally, these things didn't significantly compromise my enjoyment of the anime, but these discussion points are so common that I felt obligated to mention them. It seems like a lot of people complained about how Machi's character arc was handled at the end of the anime. As you can tell from what I've already written, I wasn't watching this anime for the story, so my enjoyment was fairly insensitive to the way that the characters' arcs were concluded. In theory I'm sympathetic to people being upset about an unfaithful adaptation, but since I haven't read this manga it had no effect on my viewing experience. That said, someone interested in this is probably better off reading the manga due to the alleged unfaithfulness of the anime adaptation.
>> No. 34691 [Edit]
> There is some truth to this - the last two episodes were probably the weakest of the entire series, in my opinion.
The ending itself might have been fine as an objective sequence of events, but the framing of the ending left a bad taste where it feels like Machi, traumatized by fear, abandons her dreams of going to the city. All it would take is a different framing of "Machi's clearly not ready yet, but she'll keep trying harder" or something along those lines and it would have been fine.

The anime also felt oddly like a commercial at times with the number of brand-name references. Yoshio was also a weak character; even though the show tried to portray him as the absent-minded/scatterbrained type, he comes across more as as an insensitive twat whom you want to punch.
>> No. 34739 [Edit]
>All it would take is a different framing of "Machi's clearly not ready yet, but she'll keep trying harder" or something along those lines and it would have been fine.
An alternative I might have liked to see is accepting city life isn't for her, not out of fear but out of a realization that she's happier back home with her friends and family.
>> No. 34758 [Edit]
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I watched the anime movie Koe no Katachi, also known as A Silent Voice or The Shape of Voice. Here are my thoughts:

This is a ~2 hour movie made by Kyoto Animation. My understanding is that it is known for being drama-heavy and emotionally impactful.

The first ~30 minutes were pretty strong. This timespan was well-directed, and the story showed promise. I felt empathy for the characters during this 'grade school arc'. It's common knowledge that the male lead is the bully character and the female lead is the deaf character who is bullied. I'm telling you this for context - I'll talk more about characters further below.

When I do watch movies, I usually prefer longer runtimes. In the case of Koe no Katachi, I'm happy to say that the pacing overall seemed fine. However, one of my major complaints about this movie's direction is that it doesn't handle emotional climaxes well. Hugely important events happen abruptly and without a commensurate level of emotion or seriousness (LOL tone-deaf).

Visually, the animation is quite fluid, as expected. Art style is fairly unremarkable though. Character designs are basically typical KyoAni, but of course with high-quality character animation. I actually think that the unremarkable art style is a smart decision because too much visual flair could distract from the emotional experience. As for the OST, I wasn't consciously aware of it for most of the movie, so I guess it wasn't that intrusive. I recall there being a lot of piano. The soft piano during some scenes did enhance some emotional moments. Voice acting (insert cruel joke here) was unimpressive, and I didn't really like the male MC's voice work. He has this one-note faint soft way of speaking that I grew tired of hearing (very minor complaint).

By far my biggest issue with Koe no Katachi is with the story and writing itself. The lead female character has inadequate development. This is despite all her screentime and her crucial importance in the story. I wish there wasn't so much focus on the feelings of the male MC (at the expense of everyone else, especially the female lead). The movie is utterly dominated by the thoughts, feelings, and development of the male lead. To the point where the female lead is literally just a prop for the presumed viewer's messiah-complex fantasy. It turns out that the character who I empathized with during those first solid 30 minutes is actually nothing more than a prop for what I found to be shockingly one-sided storytelling. At least a typical LN shameless self-indulgent fantasy story doesn't pretend to be anything more sophisticated than what it is. I see the story of Koe no Katachi as being equally crude. Drama doesn't work well when you only focus on the feelings of a single character.

I also didn't like the ending much at all. Particularly among the supporting cast, a lot of the characters' actions didn't make sense. The female lead basically doesn't have a character arc, so there was nothing to conclude there. Of course the ending revolves around the male MC, but it's unclear how any of his own personal issues have actually been resolved. The entire ending felt nonsensical to me.

My overall rating: 4/10
It has some emotional moments but to me it ultimately feels like a good premise was crudely squandered.

-maybe spoiler below-
During the beginning of this movie, it felt like there were some good ingredients for a decent drama story. Eventually though, a somewhat typical romance arc develops. This should have been foreshadowed more. I kind of expected it eventually just because this is a blockbuster anime movie with a teenage fanbase, but it was introduced very abruptly. It could have been executed much better. I would have welcomed the romance if it was built up slowly, but in this case I barely felt any tension before the reveal. This also relates back to the weak characterization for the lead female character. The helpless disabled girl with zero characterization. Pretty much the only time the movie ever focuses on her feelings is when she expresses her romantic affection for the male MC. How virtuous. It's never even explained why she becomes attracted to the MC, she just conveniently is, because she's just an object inside of a universe that revolves exclusively around the male MC.

Other minor comments:
This is a matter of personal taste, but I never ever want to hear anglosphere music in anime - ESPECIALLY classic rock. The movie added a song from The Who, a song I have a vast catalog of bad memories to associate with. Don't ever pull that kind of nonsense again, KyoAni. Thankfully this was only done at the start of the movie, so my viewing experience wasn't disrupted too much.
>> No. 34763 [Edit]
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I saw Wolf Children. This is a bit spoilery as a heads up.
The first chapter(?) that shows how the parents met, seemed a tad rushed and while overall sweet I'd say a little clunky. From how it was presented, It seemed like a case of love at first sight with very little getting to know each other before going all in. I guess the dad just had that animal magnetism? And as I'm sure others have probably pointed out, not only did it seem weird how the mother didn't react at all to seeing her boyfriend turn into a wolf in front of her, but as a viewer it was uncomfortable and disturbing to see them fuck for the first time while he was in furry mode. I can only assume she was a furfag but that detail wasn't explored much. Speaking of unexplored stuff, it's hard not to notice how many unresolved plot lines the movie has for something that's two hours long. I guess it's just a Japanese story telling thing, but as someone who watches a lot of western movies too it can be pretty weird. In western movies 101 everything happens for a reason, and they have a rule of threes where you have 1 introduction, 2 reminder, 3 payoff. In Wolf Children you have characters that get brought into the story, have an issue or potential subplot, then they never get brought up again. For example, they meet an actual wolf that the mother tries asking for advice as if she expects it to talk to her, we're given a snippet of it's story, and while leaving the son comments on how sad the wolf seemed. A few scenes later the son goes to visit the wolf again while showing it his wolf form. A little latter we learn the son isn't going to school anymore and is leaving on his own to visit his "sensei". The mother assumes it's the old man that helped them out before. For the viewer it's natural to assume he's going to see the wolf, but the wolf is never seen or mentioned again in the movie and instead he's visiting a fox who's apparently the master of the local mountain. The old man also disappears from the movie after playing a significant roll, but he did what he needed to, he has an ark of sorts, so I'm not too bothered with him vanishing from the movie. In that vain, it felt so weird that they dedicated so much screen time to the daughter forming a relationship with the douchbag transfer student and to an extent his parental issues, but then never gave that a conclusion. The daughter reveals her biggest secret to the boy and bam her story is over with just an epilogue suggesting she went back to the city for school, the end. I guess it's up to the viewer to just assume that relationship didn't work out. Overall it was a pretty well done movie that almost made me feel what humans call "emotion" at times, it was nice seeing these kids grow up before your eyes with all the ups and downs that come with it, it does deserve the praise I've seen it get so often, though it's not without it's flaws.
>> No. 34765 [Edit]
It's been a while, but the manga is certainly (and unsurprisingly) better. Further, the romantic tones are amplified in the movie, and since this movie is about redemption, it makes sense that the male lead receives a lot more focus than the deaf girl.
>> No. 34766 [Edit]
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I certainly believe that the manga is better. I realize that the main focus is supposed to be the male character, but the way that the deaf girl is used in the story felt unbelievably dehumanizing to me.
>> No. 34767 [Edit]
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Some rambling thoughts on Release the Spyce (hereby abbreviated RTS), which for some reason fell through the cracks of my usual seasonal watchings.

In many ways I'd consider this as a dual to Princess Principal (>>33494). Whereas PriPri more earnestly focused on the spy aspects, Release the Spyce is at its core closer to cgdct/SoL with the spy-girl aspects serving to set the ambiance. That can go either way depending on your affinity to either genre: if you're interested primarily in action or earnest spy fiction, then RTS may leave you disappointed with its overuse of deus-ex-machina spy gear and a more caricatured protagonist/antagonist dichotomy. Consider, for instance that PriPri puts a lot of detail – almost excruciatingly so – into developing the setting of the underlying political machinations, whereas in RTS you just have the protagonist group Tsukikage fighting the stereotypical "take over the {city|country|world}" ne'er-do-well group Mōryō.

In return for this however, you you get the tighter-knit character friendships and group bonds that you'd usually find in a cgdct/SoL genre (think Kirara-esque – there's the expected yuri tease as well). If you enjoyed the middle-few episodes of Princess Principal (the laundry mill arc, etc. as I mentioned in the review of that series), then it might be worth giving this a watch, especially if you're fond of this cute girls doing X genre for values of X in {spying, combat, justice}. With the exception of the last few episodes (which I'll gripe about later) there's much of the same team dynamic. Enough attention is also given to characterization such that the viewer is compelled to care about the characters and so that tender moments are indeed emotionally moving instead of falling flat. As was unfortunately the case with Yūki Yūna – whose creator was one of collaborators on this anime – and Madoka, portraying "suffering" is meaningless if you don't have a reason to care about the characters, but RTS does a great job of establishing this character connection thanks to its SoL core.

It does seem like the character designs for this were phoned in though, since they're a spitting image of the cast of Yuru-Yuri (the other collaborator is in fact the Yuru-yuri mangaka). That's not necessarily a bad thing, since I personally didn't take to Yuru Yuri (it's not very "yuru" when the main character gets excluded as a stale, repeating gag), so I'm glad to see the designs put to better use here. The fight scenes (what spy work would be complete without them?) are decent both animation & choreography-wise. The accompanying background music was the real star of those though, standing out in its freshness (I can't recall very many instances of repetition), orchestration with the ongoing action, and general ambiance fit.

That being said, there is one major gripe I have about the show, and that is its "plot-twist." And at 3 episodes from the end, it's among the latest plot-twist I've seen, although the viewer is foreshadowed (read: warned outright) of it from the very first episode.

SPOILERS FOLLOW, for both PriPri and RTS

My framing of RTS as the dual of PriPri extends to the way it uses the last three episodes to subvert expectations. In PriPri you had the Ange/Charlotte plot that appears seemingly out of nowhere and usurps the viewer's previous conception of the show. RTS, on the other hand, doesn't have as drastic a change of plot content but does similarly surprise the viewer with the identity reveal of the traitor. This reveal worked exceedingly well in stirring emotions: The potency of the gut punch that is the betrayal plus subsequent deaths stems from the emotional attachment you had previously formed with that character (given that there was an entire episodes devoted to her backstory), and the rest of the surviving cast whom you feel sorry for.

I will absolutely not fault the anime for succeeding in its goal, but I personally felt that episode quite enraging in the way it completely shatters and rewrites what had up till that point been a stellar, enjoyable show. But I suppose my low tolerance for this stuff is why I don't watch much psychological horror or similar (even though supposedly well-hyped media like DDLC or Madoka failed to make any impact on me, presumably because I did not form any emotional bond with the presented characters).

The final episode does try to make amends, but that's where fans of psychological horror might also object. There's supposedly a maxim in media where it's shoddy writing to first kill off a character – allowing the audience to take-in its emotional impact – and then later follow up with a reveal that it was all a fake-out – not only canceling that prior emotional impact but also cheapening the value of anything done in the future. Unfortunately RTS does just this, both in the reveal that the traitor was in fact a triple-agent, and in revealing that supposed-deaths of the cast members were a cover-up. While it leads to a happy ending, by that point you have whiplash with the turn of events and in the severance/re-attachment of the viewer's emotional bonds with the characters, the strength of those ties is ultimately weakened.

Outside the main cast, there's also the subplot with Theresia which suffers from the same violation of this maxim, and the final resolution of her arc feels like it should have had more time devoted to it (props for successfully subverting expectations though, since the audience is fruitlessly left holding their breath waiting for her to jump in and save the protagonist's group in a dire situation). Perhaps all that whiplash can be forgiven by the final tender Yuki/Momo scene though. Would not have expected less from Yuki, lying to the very in order to foster Momo's independence.

So overall, while my preference for a less rollercoaster-y show is clear, I feel it was nonetheless something that was still worth watching

Finally, it’s good to know that crime syndicates – much like big enterprises – write their business logic in C# (and with pretty idiomatic linq usage!).
>> No. 34770 [Edit]
>RTS does just this, both in the reveal that the traitor was in fact a triple-agent, and in revealing that supposed-deaths of the cast members were a cover-up
Interest lost.

Post edited on 4th Oct 2020, 3:37pm
>> No. 34773 [Edit]
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Red Garden is a 2006, 22 episode anime about four girls who are resurrected and then must occasionally kill men in business suits who act like rabid dogs and have glowing eyes in the middle of night. Also it takes place in a sanitized version of New York where everybody acts Japanese. The few accurate Americanisms here and there are interesting.

Action isn't the main focus of Red Garden. The fight scenes are pretty mediocre actually. The girls don't get any kind of powers, except later on they can jump really high, and the guys they fight aren't much stronger than average men. Instead, they just beat them death with sticks and baseball bats, which is brutal in a kind of refreshing way.

What Red Garden is really about is the budding relationship that forms between the four girls, who never interacted much with each other before dying despite going to the same school because their personalities are so unalike. The conflicts they have with each other and the people in their past life is quite interesting and well handled. Eventually, it does feel like some of the conflicts they have with their other friends are repetitive and petty, especially with Rachel, who I think got a bit too much screen time.

For the first half of the series, the why and how of their current situation is kept vague, which I preferred. The actual "plot" is nonsensical and boring, so it was annoying when it started taking center stage. The plot makes so little sense it feels like it was improvised after the series already began because they needed something to fill the time. The saving grace of it was a character voiced by the same VA that did Dio, who was at least a little entertaining towards the end when he started going crazy, and a bizarre Gainax-like ending with cool visuals. A couple parts of Red Garden reminded me of Gainax.

The art and character design are jarring in just how mediocre they are. The characters have big noses and lips, which was hard to get used to. This wasn't as noticeable on characters who didn't wear lipstick. Red Garden definitely suffers from early 2000s, tablet syndrome seen often in anime with lower budgets. The last two episodes at least look kind of nice. Also, there's singing. Characters will occasionally start singing something like a melancholy lullaby, but the VAs aren't that good at singing. The child characters are voiced by actual children, and it's just awful. I'm glad that doesn't happen more often.

I would recommend Red Garden if you want to want some decent character interaction set in a novel enviroment and can tolerate a lot of nonsense and subpar art.

Post edited on 4th Oct 2020, 10:44am
>> No. 34774 [Edit]
You might want to spoiler that quote, just in case someone here is still planning to watch it.
>> No. 34847 [Edit]
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Higurashi 2006
When the studio decides to animated *ALL* the paths of a horror story in a rural setting.
>> No. 34857 [Edit]
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Madoka Magica is Urobuchi's 12 episode, 2011, magical girl subversion anime thing. Also, a sequel movie was released in 2013(after two previous recap movies). It's about magical girls suffering a a whole bunch. Before this, I never watched a Magical Girl anime before, so I couldn't fully appreciate whatever subversive elements were in it, but I did notice the lack of team work and meaninglessness of the initially presented good vs evil dynamic.

While watching Madoka Magica, I felt that it was incredibly rushed. I thought they couldn't tell the story properly and needed twice as many episodes. Very little time is spent getting the viewer initially invested in the characters through casual interaction. Bad things also happen almost immediately, so the only reaction it got out of me was "oh. okay. whatever". I kept waiting for when Madoka would become a magical girl because it felt like that was taking forever. This only made sense later on. Many decisions made sense later on. In retrospect, Madoka Magica achieved its goal remarkably efficiently. It stuck the landing, but the spot it landed is far away from what I could easily consider a "good story". I don't know whether it was worth it. If Madoka used the same setting, characters and tone, but had a more conventual story, it might have been more enjoyable than what they did do.

Madoka Magica's characters are pretty flat. Madoka herself is like a non-character who's only there as an audience surrogate, to represent some idea, and act as a plot device when she's needed at the very end. It's also hard for me to understand why the sociopathic, food chain girl had such a large change of heart. I can guess at the reasons for that, but it happened so fast that it's not emotionally convincing. Homura does a really shitty job of controlling events despite having her special knowledge. After learning about her back story, her previous actions made no sense. It seemed like she didn't try to do what she wanted to do, which makes no sense. It only makes sense if the plot wasn't pre-planned, or the plan changed in the middle of production.

The large-scale, philosophical aspects of Madoka Magica are goofy, to put it as succinctly as possible. Very goofy. The entropy explanation was especially funny. Madoka Magica as a whole feels like a 90's throwback with its sci-fi/fantasy literature like focus on the "human condition" and the universe, massive scale endings and moe on top. I think anime has become slightly more down to earth since then. Saya no Uta uses sciencecy elements to create a sense of dread better than Madoka Magica. Saya no Uta is better overall. This might be due to the inherent limitations that come with being about Magical Girls. Being a parody or subversion of something might also not have been worth it if it meant forcing in incongruous elements like souls, magic, light body horror and entropy.

Calling Madoka Magica nihilistic rings a little hallow because humans are significant within the setting and the emotions of pubescent girls are apparently the greatest source of energy in the universe, so much so that they have the power to rewrite the laws of nature. The wishing rules are vague and allow even a normal magical girl candidate to wish for insanely overpowered things. The sense of helplessness needed for a piece fiction to feel "nihilistic" is missing in Madoka Magica, especially because of the ending.

Madoka Magica has excellent production values. The ost is great, the directing is captivating, the scenography is interesting, I liked the surreal, stop-motion bits mixed with 2D animation. I wasn't a fan of the art style used for the characters. I don't really like the wide-face look, but that's not a big deal. The heavy use of glass and transparency was fresh, and probably has a symbolic meaning about communication or whatever. If you're somebody who loves attractive animation for its own sake, I would recommend Madoka Magica for that alone, especially the sequel movie.

The third movie's plot is dumb and confusing. Watching it is also not necessary to get a complete story. The series had a conclusive, understandable ending, unlike certain other anime with a movie attached to it. If Madoka Magica was trying to be nihilistic, it betrays itself twice, once at the end of the series, twice at the end of the movie. The second time was even worse because it didn't even seem special after what already happened. It made me wonder why nothing of that scale ever happened before. There was plenty of time. The movie's ending wasn't Urobuchi's idea, so he can't be blamed for that. It left a sour taste in my mouth, but I would still suggest watching it after the series for the spectacle because it really is that impressive.

I would recommend Madoka Magica if you want to watch something very visually impressive and can tolerate or enjoy "not normal" stories. Or if you want to put a check mark next to the list of anime everybody knows about.
>> No. 34860 [Edit]
Madoka – much like Haruhi – seems like a show that receives exponentially more acclaim than appears to be warranted. Perhaps it's due to nostalgia?

> The series had a conclusive, understandable ending, unlike certain other anime with a movie attached to it.
While there's been much digital ink shed over this, I'd take the position that it's the _anime_ had a discordant ending and it's the movie that rectifies this. As a character Homura seems to be a case study of "batshit insane yandere," where she blinds herself with her devotion to Madoka. And each failure only narrows this tunnel-vision, which is why it's amusing to see that some people view Homura as a role-model for "fighting in what you believe in," when the whole point of her character seems to be that what she's "fighting" for isn't born out of some ideal for justice but just out of misguided selfishness. Under this light, does the anime ending – where Madoka goes off to become a magic sky god and Homura just accepting being separated from her only goal – really make sense?
>> No. 34861 [Edit]
Haruhi for better or worse changed the face of the industry, it had an all star cast, and it didn't hurt that it came out at a time when anime was just starting to get big around the world. I agree the hype might have been a 'tad' over blown however. In a way, maybe one could say the anime itself was a meme? The creators certainly seemed to love trolling fans. First with the random ep order, then with the endless 8. I didn't understand it myself but got on board because at the time thought "if everyone likes it this much, it must be good". Looking back at it, it really does make one wonder why it was so popular when at it's core it's just a bitch treating her friends like garbage but getting her ass kissed by everyone because she's essentially holding the planet at gunpoint. It's like that ep of the twilight zone where the town lives in constant fear of a kid who sends people he doesn't like to "the corn field" and can do worse just by thinking it. With that said, Haruhi could almost be made into a psychological horror story if you spin it the right way.

Madoka meanwhile has plenty of people who hate it, even back when it aired (such as myself), but we're admittedly in the vast minority. I've debated about it enough for one life time however so that's all I'll say on that.
>> No. 34862 [Edit]
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What does that even mean? In any case, the order it aired in originally is the real order. It not matching the chronological order of events isn't that unusual, particularly when the flow of time is a relevant point in the story. It just means you could watch it in chronological order if you so preferred. Regarding her character, certainly she is a selfish brat and placating her is important, but it's not like she's evil. Her antics are ultimately fun for her friends.
>> No. 34863 [Edit]
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>As a character Homura seems to be a case study of "batshit insane yandere,"
I didn't see that until watching the movie. To me, it seemed like they decided to change her into that in the movie. I did think it was weird that she seemed most motivated by Madoka, but I chalked it up to Madoka being nice and technically being the main character(the one we followed most of the time). Your interpretation makes some sense if you see Homura as the real main character, which I didn't. Her arc or whatever being fuffilled didn't matter to me because to me she seemed like a device to move the plot. Even if her goal wasn't really selfless and she also didn't respect Madoka's wishes, I'd just see it as tough luck for her. Mami didn't get what she wanted either. I saw the actual main character as Kyubey, like Ryuk. The same as us, Kyubey is an everpresent, seemingly passive, impartial observer using the girls for its own purposes.

>Madoka meanwhile has plenty of people who hate it, even back when it aired (such as myself)
I can understand hating the people who say it's the best thing ever or that it saved anime or whatever, but I don't get why'd you hate the anime itself. It's unique, which makes it memorable. It's kind of fun. The presentation is really nice. Great soundtrack. A few interesting ideas. The girls are cute. It's pretty alright.
>Haruhi could almost be made into a psychological horror story if you spin it the right way
I thought the same thing.

>the order it aired in originally is the real order
The story I read was that the producers literally shuffled the order around. There was nothing intentional about it when they made the episodes in the first place.
>the flow of time is a relevant point in the story
Really? If it was, I don't think it was blatant enough. Baccano! did the out of order thing properly.
>Her antics are ultimately fun for her friends
They do it because it's their job. Nagato didn't like it. As far I remember, Kyon was the only one also selfish enough to think it was fun.

Post edited on 10th Oct 2020, 4:56pm
>> No. 34865 [Edit]
>What does that even mean?
I mean "meme" in it's per-bastardized form. Like a fad, people doing or partaking in something because it's popular. The ending theme was a clear example of that, but what I mean is maybe liking the anime was in itself a "meme" for a lot of people? That a lot of people who got on the hype train didn't exactly like the anime or think it was good, they just wanted to fit in and join the fun. As for trolling, well maybe their intent wasn't specifically to fuck with viewers, but animating and airing the same episode eight times in row while wasting a good chunk of the long awaited squeal... I'm not sure what else to call it. A publicity stunt at best, a dick move at worst?

>you could watch it in chronological order if you so preferred.
This was how I watched it on my second viewing a few years back, and it's how a friend new to the series recently decided to go about it.
I wasn't nearly as impressed with it my second time, but I tossed that up to it not being new to me. The person I mentioned meanwhile went from mildly amusing, to disinterred, to seemingly annoyed at the anime by the end. To my surprise they flat out hated ep00 because the stuff leading up to it was that hard to watch from what I gathered. ep00 (the home made movie) was what I showed to a coworker who had some interest in anime, and in his words "What the hell is this, this is fucking awesome!". This was around the time it had first aired. I think the order they went with made things a tad more interesting, it came across as a unique form of story telling that made it a little harder to figure out what was going on and where it was going. Like figuring out a scrambled puzzle, instead of one with steps given to you to follow.
>> No. 34867 [Edit]
>I think the order they went with made things a tad more interesting
I've come up with an even beter episode order.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part One
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part Two
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part Three
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part Four
Mystérique Sign
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part Five
The Day of Sagittarius
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part Six

Then watch movie and skip everything else. That's the best way to get everything of value from the anime without the boring stuff.
>> No. 34872 [Edit]
>animating and airing the same episode eight times in row
A thought occurred to me. blu-ray volumes tend to have 2-3 ep each, so doesn't this mean they had had a couple volumes released which were all nothing but the same episode? I would be curious to know how well those sold.
>> No. 34873 [Edit]
Well, the BDs are only split by season, although I don't know about the contemporary DVDs.
>> No. 34951 [Edit]
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I watched both seasons of Bubuki Buranki. Here are my thoughts:

My expectations going into this were rock bottom but surprisingly I enjoyed watching it. For those who don't know, this is a mecha-themed action show that is animated entirely in CG. I watched the Blu-rays, which might've been a bit more polished than what was presented to a seasonal viewer.

The plot is kind of a mess and it was sometimes confusing. There were some pacing issues; seemingly trivial things got more screentime than plot-critical events. There were also some questionable decisions, like introducing a bunch of new characters in a short period of time during the latter half of season one. That was probably especially bothersome for those watching the anime as it aired, as opposed to watching both seasons continuously. Another noteworthy thing is that the conflicts/fights rarely have any consequences for the party who loses, which kind of removes any feeling of suspense. The story is somewhat ridiculous at times, and I did not take it seriously. However, the show is sometimes fun to watch and the episodes usually passed quickly. Basically, "just shut your brain off, bro." Admittedly, a lot of loose ends in the plot get tied up during season two. Even beyond the overarching plot, there are a lot of character arcs that the show is constantly juggling. It gets messy at times, especially considering that most episodes spend a significant amount of time on action scenes as well.

The characters were okay, although a few were bland or annoying (looking at you, Kogane). There was adequate character development for the four main supporting characters, but a glaring lack of development for the bland MC. For context, the four supporting characters form the limbs of a mech and the MC is the torso ('heart'). I liked a lot of the antagonist/villain characters actually. There was tons of variety among the antagonist characters and a lot of them were entertaining when on screen. Unfortunately, this is in stark contrast to the zero-personality MC. Overall though, I liked the variety of personalities that were featured in this anime.

Voice acting was decent and there was a lot of variety among the cast. There were a handful of characters (mainly antagonists) who had notably unique voice work. The OST was okay and I liked the OP and ED songs. Felt myself singing along to the first OP. One stand-out aspect was the great sound effects (mainly related to mech function and movement).

Action scenes were pretty fun to watch. Both the human-on-human conflict and the mech fights. I think my favourite aspect of the series was the action scenes. They felt fresh and creative, and the CG allowed a lot of things I wouldn't expect from conventional anime. In addition to motion, the action scenes were very colourful. Aside from the mechs themselves, there were neat weapons and equipment.

Unfortunately, CG is a double-edged sword in that it really inhibits characters' facial expressions, which impairs dialogue-heavy scenes and dramatic moments. One thought I had was that the lack of facial expressions could be compensated for with more-emotional voice acting, but this wasn't discernably employed, in fact many characters are kind of deadpan. It would be interesting though if the use of CG in anime influenced decision making related to voice acting.

This anime has an experimental feel to it. It is surprisingly creative, especially for an action-focused mech show. It is unique from a technical perspective, as well as in terms of the characters and story. With better writing and direction, it could have been a great show. Even so, I don't regret watching it.

Overall rating: 6/10
It was flawed but it had a lot of fun moments and was easy to watch.

For those who like action and mecha shows, you might consider sampling this anime. It has problems but it also has some redeeming qualities. It seems underappreciated.
>> No. 34973 [Edit]
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Flip Flappers is a 13 episode, 2016 adventure, magical girl anime. It's about two girls who have to go to a magical land called pure illusion and collect magic rocks or something. One of them is normal and the other is hyperactive and feral. They can also transform into magical forms somehow and they get some kind of power from it for some reason.

If I haven't made it clear yet, the plot of Flip Flappers is confusing, not because it's so complicated, but because many things happen for seemingly no reason. Some plot lines start and are dropped with no explanation or further development. Flip Flappers tries being different in various superficial ways while still ending up cliche and predictable. It's not the typical magical girl show, yes, but besides that, as a story, it was formulaic, especially towards the end. Nothing ever happens that surprised me and that was a bit disappointing. It's like the opposite problem of Madoka Magica. Flip Flappers also suffers from expositionitis, a condition where a story over relies on flashbacks and exposition dumps to create emotional investment in characters and explain things rather than gradually revealing info and using character interaction to teach the audience.

The characters were pretty static and boring. Cocona didn't have a personality. There was something in there about her being indecisive and dragged along by everybody around her, which is supposed to have been resolved, but this isn't shown in a convincing, meaningful way. One flaw also does not a personality make. Papika was more entertaining, but only had enough depth to be a side character. Yayaka might have made a better protagonist and I enjoyed the scenes with her perspective more. Dr.Salt, the Gendo guy, also disappointed me. He wasn't Gendo enough, he didn't get nearly enough screen time or fleshing out, and his relationship with Cocona is never explored despite their implied connection for whatever reason.

The magical girl, power of friendship thing was contrived and dumb. I didn't buy the friendship between Cocona and Papika. Very little time is spent on establishing the relationship and seeing a gradual change in their interactions. The proper legwork felt missing. I didn't see why they would like each other or how they complement one another either. What sort of chemistry or commonality is there? This is mainly Cocona's fault. One character having a personality and the other not having one is not a real dynamic.

Flip Flappers might be an example of how thirteen episodes is insufficient to tell a really good story. Stuff like the first episode's post credit scene and how what was there is never brought up again make me suspect the writers may have wanted to do more, but cut and changed things to squeeze something coherent into their limited time. I liked the presentation. Good animation and nice music, especially the ed.

I would recommend Flip Flappers if you what to watch something light, not completely cookie cutter, and aren't in the mood for following a complicated plot.

Post edited on 21st Oct 2020, 10:05am
>> No. 34975 [Edit]
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Conversely, I absolutely adore Flip Flappers and consider it to be perhaps the most stunning and jam-packed visual work I've watched. Many of your points are indeed valid, but I think FliFla is one of those works that's greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, the plot line is at its core a standard bildungsroman, but that story is immersed in overarching themes of psychology: themes of sexuality (read: yuri), maternal influence, and the mind's role in perception. You're absoutely right in that these threads are scattered about as an amorphous blob and not necessarily presented to the viewer as a cohesive whole. But I think that's why I love it – unlike Madoka or other ambitious anime, it _doesn't_ blugeon the viewer with themes (because quite frankly, properly presenting philosophy is something that's better done via a textbook than an anime). Instead, FliFla delivers an LSD-laced yuri adventure that you can sit back and feast your eyes on, with any thematic content found lurking in its shadows waiting to be peeled should you so choose.

Or in other words, it's one of the few shows I've watched that I can sit back and think upon a few months later, and discover new things. Things such as the episode titles all having to do with signal processing (maybe it's the EE in me speaking, but abstractly representing the mind as a "signal" is a beautiful metaphor that fits elegantly with the idea of amorphous as refactoring perception, briging the gap between unconscious & conscious the same way signals can be transformed), or the fact that the notion of "duality" isn't just seen in the Mimi split but also very visually in the colors of their dresses. Of course, one could claim that it's mere high-school level sophistry to load a bunch of symbols and make claims of substance, but at the very least it's mind-boggling the sheer amount of detail that was put into the show. Which is why it seems ironic that you mention it "lack[ing] a complicated plot," when the common critique about FliFla is that its plot is unfollowable.

So while it would belabor the point to respond to each of your critiques with my own (obviously biased) perspective, I do think that your characterization sells the anime a bit short in dissuading the viewer from watching it.

Post edited on 21st Oct 2020, 9:52pm
>> No. 34977 [Edit]
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Ehh, I don't really see it. I didn't hate it. It just wasn't that enjoyable to me.
>the most stunning and jam-packed visual work I've watched
I would place Tatami Galaxy or something Satoshi Kon worked on(probably Paprika) in that role for myself. Above FliFla is also Eva in how "stunning" it was to me. The visual motifs, directing and some specific scenes in Eva will stick to me as long as I live. If I just compare the base invasion scene in both I know which one left a bigger impression on me. I don't know or really care about the minute details or symbolism. My eyes have just liked things a lot more than they liked FliFla.
I'm not a fan of yuri. FliFla also only had yuri undertones. It might actually have been a lot more interesting if it had full on, hardcore yuri. That could have forced the writers to consider the character relationships more carefully. I could detect the psychological and sexual and parental issue themes, and I could tell that it was probably referencing a bunch of things i'm not familiar with, but I don't really care about or value that sort of thing for its own sake. I noticed the color swapping and what it might be impying. If the actual characters I'm watching aren't compelling, it doesn't do anything for me.
>one could claim that it's mere high-school level sophistry to load a bunch of symbols and make claims of substance
I would make that claim. If a story wants to have themes, I think it should go at it from a teaching angle, demonstrating them through the story rather than only self-indulging in references.
>it seems ironic that you mention it "lack[ing] a complicated plot," when the common critique about FliFla is that its plot is unfollowable
I don't know why that would be the case. I correctly predicted most of the major plot points well before they happened.
>I do think that your characterization sells the anime a bit short
A prospective viewer can read our posts and decide which person their tastes are probably closer to. I don't give numerical ratings because I think different anime will appeal to different people for different reasons and that the point of watching is getting enjoyment out of it.

Post edited on 21st Oct 2020, 10:41pm
>> No. 34994 [Edit]
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This is going to be a moreso-than-usual bloggish and self-indulgent post, so apologies in advance.

I tried watching New Game and Stella no Mahou. Here are my unrefined thoughts:

Full disclosure: I really can't stand 'game-making' as a premise. I'm not into video games and I did programming for work for a number of years, which has the effect of ruining my immersion and/or reminding me of the workplace. I know other people love the game-making premise, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. Also every person I've ever encountered in the workplace who had a 'gamedev' background was particularly insufferable in some way, and unfortunately this taints my view of things as well. I'm not judging anyone else for liking the game-making premise, I just really don't like it. I'll probably drop both of these anime due to this, but I'm at least sampling them.

Stella no Mahou:
Somewhat ironically, the production quality is doujin-anime level (read: bad). It's a SoL so this is no big deal, but should be mentioned here regardless.

Really ugly character designs (my opinion, sorry!).
Feels like a formulaic SoL (not necessarily a bad thing).

Finished the first episode and I can tell I simply won't enjoy this much. There's really nothing of note here beyond the premise itself. I'm dropping it with no hard feelings. If you enjoyed it, great, but I know I won't enjoy it enough to justify the time spent. Now I am going to give New Game a chance.

New Game:
I have a weird interest in Japanese workplace culture, so I will likely watch more of this than I would of another equivalent-enjoyment anime. Also, I see these characters plastered all over the internet so at least this will allow me to develop some emotional association with them, for better or worse.

Wow this is really similar to a real-life workplace. This is just reminding me of work. I don't know how anyone with an office job IRL would find leisurely watching this enjoyable. With episode titles such as "Salary is Just a Loophole in the Law to Lower Wages", how could I not feel relaxed while watching!
Oh Christ they're going out to lunch together on her first day and stuff like that. Wow this really is anxiety-attack material.
Speaking more broadly, this show incorporates the more unpalatable aspects of Japanese work culture. Foremost, incompetent project management and the long work hours. Framed another way, despite the show's typical SoL saccharine atmosphere, it does seem to present a somewhat authentic simulation of Japanese white-collar work, and that could be viewed as a desirable feature. Like a lot of things discussed here, it really does depend on the viewer's expectations and preferences.

Most of the cast ranges from bland to unlikable. Nene is annoying as hell. Hifumi is my favourite character, but the cast as a whole feels shallow and underdeveloped. That said, the content of the show hardly requires well-developed characters. I will also concede that the supporting cast got a bit more character development during season 2.

OST and voice acting are unremarkable, although the ambient sound of the office setting is done well. The OST did frequently use '8-bit'-sounding music, like one would associate with retro video games, which did suit the theme of the show. I don't like the 8-bit music style at all (in any context), and due to this bias I felt apathetic about its use; someone else might find it charming though.

Animation quality is okay. Sometimes the character animations are fairly detailed, moreso than I'd expect from the average SoL series. The character designs are typical Doga Kobo SoL characters - some are pretty cute. Cute outfits too, sometimes. Visually, I like the colour palette. It is filled with bright pastel colours, even moreso than the average Doga Kobo series. Indoor settings like the office or characters' bedrooms look nice with this bright colour palette. Visuals are probably the strongest aspect of this anime, at least from my perspective.

The plot consists mainly of your typical lighthearted episodic SoL stories, but usually with an office work-related spin or context to them. I know I'm bemoaning this point, but the stories are kind of triggering instead of relaxing because they just remind me of past workplace events. Especially when there's a 'light' conflict in the anime, it gets amplified in my mind because I'll randomly just recall a bad somewhat-related event from like literally years ago. Even outside the workplace, for example, there's a scene where the MC has to go get her blood drawn by an inexperienced nurse. WHY ON EARTH WOULD I WANT TO WATCH THAT? STOP REMINDING ME OF SHITTY REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES.

If I could sum up New Game in one word it would be 'mediocre.' This series doesn't really excel at anything in particular, aside from some visual aspects. Watching New Game felt like I went to a rundown diner and ordered a cheap burger and it arrived cold and soggy, but I still ate it. At the end of the day, I got what I expected. New Game is a typical bread-and-butter SoL show that isn't particularly remarkable aside from the unique premise. Even so, despite the unique premise, New Game felt shallow and formulaic to me. My lack of affection for the cast is also probably a major reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the show.

As you can probably tell already, I am not an impartial judge of this anime, so the reader should pair my opinion with some skepticism. However, I did complete both seasons of New Game (and the OVA), and more generally I am an eager consumer of SoL anime.

My personal rating for New Game: 4/10

I mainly just watched it during meals or immediately before falling asleep.

One outlier was the OVA, which I found fairly comfy. The characters go on a ski trip together. I found it more enjoyable to watch than the office environment, which is probably an indication of my own biases.

Hifumi is literally me.

I'm fully self-aware of how crappy this post is. I just wanted to write my feelings down.

I friggin LOVED Flip Flappers but I'll admit that the last few episodes were rushed. It's still an amazingly creative anime though.
>> No. 34997 [Edit]
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Gunslinger Girl is a 2003, 13 episode, special-ops anime. It's about an Italian government agency which gives little girls who would otherwise die a new lease on life by making them cyborgs, although they have a greatly reduced life spam. However, they also brainwash the girls and use them as weapons against terrorists in "brother sister" teams of a girl and her handler.

While Gunslinger Girl does contain action scenes with little girls firing automatic rifles, the most interesting aspect of it is the relationship between the girls and their handler. There is no standard way for the handlers to train and treat their cyborg. While the girls are brainwashed to lose their past memories, know hand to hand combat, protect and obey their handler, and not be afraid of violence, they retain their personality, awareness of the abnormality of their situation, and some of their autonomy. How the brainwashing works and what exactly it changes about the girls is left ambiguous. To what extent their handler treats them lovingly or like a tool affects the girls.

This idea is played with in all sorts of interesting ways. A lot of time is also spent on showing the girls relaxing in their dorms, talking and having fun together, and generally acting cute. During all this though there's a constant feeling of uneasiness. These girls have killed people in cold blood, some of which probably didn't deserve it. They know it and you know it. Gunslinger Girls does moe mixed with dark elements in a more thoughtful way than anything I've seen before. Madoka Magica doesn't even compare in that department. Gunslinger Girl is down to earth and doesn't rely on entirely fantastical story elements or abstract concepts which let the audience distance themselves.

Italy has a lot of terrorists in Gunslinger Girl. What they want and why is never explained, which I liked. Leaving it ambiguous removes any potential justification or otherwise for them being killed. Making the terrorists sympathetic or villainous would have cheapened the other aspects of the story. The actions scenes usually show the girls acting kind of like berserkers going in and killing everybody there, which was a little hard to believe. Using their arm to block headshots happened a few too many times. They're short and look nice though.

I didn't watch season two since the studio is different and the visuals suffer a large downgrade. More attention is payed to the terrorists and there's a lot of flashbacks apparently. None of that seems appealing or interesting to me within the context of what I already watched. The conclusion to season 1 was dramatic in a way I liked and felt conclusive. Here's a hint, look back at my first paragraph.

I would recommend Gunslinger Girl if you want to watch something that's thought provoking and melancholy while also being cute. Or you're a lolicon like me.

Your post was good.
>> No. 34998 [Edit]
People like it because of the designs. The brown girl and hifumi are 10/10s.
>> No. 34999 [Edit]
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>Stella no Mahou
Yeah I felt it wasn't something necessarily too noteworthy in the cgdct/SoL genre, but I guess there was at least an attempt to portray the character's friendships which – mediocre as it turned out to be – is already solidly above the sea of other shows that don't even manage to do that. The pacing also gets ruined later on as they try to shoehorn some sort of rivalry with Minaha. I think Fujikawa is cute though. (This show is also infamous for having perhaps the worst official subs in the recent decade. Never did I think I would see the phrase "real mccoy" used.)
>> No. 35001 [Edit]
I'm one of the five people on earth who liked Yun.
>> No. 35005 [Edit]
The kansai dialect is cute:
>> No. 35053 [Edit]
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I watched Harukanaru Toki no Naka de. Specifically, the Hachiyou Shou series, associated OVAs and specials (including prequels and sequels), and the Maihitoyo movie. These various anime are related to otome visual novels which have the same title. These media may also be known by the titles Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time, or In a Distant Time. Here are my thoughts on the anime content:

Harukanaru is a reverse harem but don't judge it based solely on this fact. It is a reverse harem but without cheap trashy fanservice. It actually has lots of nice romantic scenes. The show has artistic merit.

Large cast, most of whom are well developed and decently characterized. Unlike so many others, this anime takes advantage of its length by developing its characters. Character development augments romance so well, so in this case it is of particular importance. Similarly, despite the large cast, within the harem there is a diverse variety of personalities; each character is distinctly unique from the others. Takamichi, Yasuaki, and Eisen are my favourite characters. The female MC is a comparatively bland character relative to the male cast, which is regrettable but not surprising since this is a reverse harem series.

Romance, lust, love, envy, teamwork, prejudice, duty and various other themes are explored in an emotionally engaging manner.

Really nice soundtrack which uses traditional Japanese instruments extensively. Although the number of songs in the OST is relatively low, especially when the length of the anime (26 episodes) is taken into account. Consequently, some tracks are repeated quite frequently. The quality of the music is high but I simply wish they produced more of it. Regardless, the OST was enjoyable enough to be placed on my portable music device. The voice acting is decent as well.

Nice traditional japanese outfits. Character designs in general are attractive despite the production year. The animation is serviceable. The character animations are generally crude but they did an okay job at animating facial expressions, which to me is far more important than any action scene (Note: this aired around early 2000s).

The historical setting felt genuine and immersive. After the credits they even have these cute short "guide to traditional japan" segments. Sometimes there are old Japanese poems displayed at the end of episodes as well. Supposedly the story takes place in and around the coetaneous capital city during the Heian period of Japanese history (and the sequels take place progressively further in time).

The pacing is slow but I was fine with it because it allowed for richer characters and setting. That said, much of the actual plot I found kind of dull. Specifically, the demons-versus-guardians plot device felt repetitive and boring after a while. This is my most significant issue with the anime. The show was at its best when it focused on character development and character interaction, instead of the boring unengaging plot.

In terms of direction, again this was most flawed in regard to the plot. Specifically, I was sometimes confused by what was happening and why the characters were doing what they were doing.

My overall rating: 7/10

I think it's worth mentioning that I was forced to suffer the indignity of streaming this because the one torrent I managed to download only had french subs (unbeknownst to me beforehand). Anyway, my point is that this anime has a high probability of being lost in the sands of time (pun intended - see anime title harhar), and for this reason you might want to watch it soon if it sounds appealing.

I'd also like to make some comments that are specific to the 2006 "Maihitoyo" movie:
- the tone/atmosphere was notably darker than the original TV series.
- comparatively better animation, unsurprisingly. Furthermore, a lot more care was put into lighting, cinematography, and artistic detail. Overall visuals were definitely much stronger than the TV show.
- entirely fresh soundtrack which was just as great as the original TV series.
- I liked the demon love interest more in this than in the TV series.
- the focus was mainly on the female MC and her character arc during this movie. However, this comes at the cost of not using the usual male characters for anything more than trivial plot advancement. Which is unfortunate because this series is good at using the males for character-driven story arcs. That said, I actually thought the movie's story was excellent, even though the usual male characters of the TV series weren't used in any meaningful way. In fact I might even rewatch this movie because of how much I liked the story (or perhaps read the VN it's based upon if I can find it).

The sequel OVAs are all kind of bad and my enjoyment of them was at best lukewarm (although the music is quite good). These OVAs were probably meant to be paired with the visual novels, as opposed to the TV anime and Maihitoyo movie, both of which can be enjoyed by a viewer otherwise unacquainted with the franchise. I dropped the second of the animated sequels (Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3), mainly because all of the characters and backstory had presumably been explained in other franchise media, making the viewing experience incomprehensible from my anime-only perspective.

Finally, here's a list of the animated franchise content with my corresponding numerical ratings.
Ajisai Yumegatari: 5/10
Hachiyou Shou: 7/10
Maihitoyo: 7/10
Shiroki Ryuu no Miko: 5/10
Kurenai no Tsuki: dropped ~30 minutes in.
>> No. 35124 [Edit]
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I watched both seasons of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (henceforth referred to as simply Rakugo). Here are my thoughts:

As someone who likes any kind of theater as well as traditional Japanese culture, and often enjoys josei works, I expected that I would enjoy Rakugo.

The show takes place during a transformative time (mid-20th century) in the history of Japanese media. Older, more-traditional forms of entertainment have been overtaken by television and radio. For those who don't know, rakugo is basically a style of traditional Japanese stage performance which involves verbal storytelling. The main focus of the anime is the practice of rakugo, hence the title. Somebody with greater knowledge of rakugo might appreciate the nuances of the show more than I did.

The story of the anime is complex and intelligent. There are many well-developed characters, each of whom has their own motivations and feelings. The dynamics of these characters are woven together to create a rich character-driven story. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, the writing suffers from a serious flaw, in my opinion. Although the characters are complex, they are still boring and very often unlikable. I didn't empathize with any of the characters, nor did I enjoy any of their personalities. In fact I detested some of the most important characters. This is an admittedly subjective but nevertheless serious problem for a highly character-focused show such as this. My distaste for the cast seriously impaired my enjoyment of this anime. There is a buffet of hateable characters in this show to pick from. There were multiple characters for whom I came to loathe their appearance on-screen. This is true for both seasons of the anime. Another thing worth mentioning is that a lot of the plot mechanisms through which drama is derived are cheesy soap-opera material. This isn't an objectively bad thing (I'm fine with cheesy drama), but it does clash starkly with the show's sophisticated reputation.

Much like the practice of rakugo itself, the delivery of a story is as important as its content. At its core, this show has an okay story (regardless of the character issues). However, I think it could have been executed much better. I am fine with slow pacing in anime, as long as the screentime is used in some way that delivers value to the viewer. For example, if I really like a cast of characters then I'm completely fine with the show having zero plot. In fact I usually prefer slow pacing and little plot because it means that the screentime is used for something that I appreciate more. In this anime the pacing is slow, but there's little corresponding upside to this. The show is often very dull and boring. The screentime isn't used effectively. Episodes are often completely mundane but without any of the usual positive characteristics of, for example, a typical SoL show. There is no humour, very little romance, generally unremarkable visuals, etcetera; there's often just nothing of entertainment value. This anime sometimes feels like watching paint dry.

Visually, the show is kind of dull. It's not poorly animated, but it is fairly 'no frills' and doesn't have much discernable artistic flavour. Sometimes there are some nice backgrounds, but these frames are infrequent. To put it another way, the show is visually adequate but certainly there is room for improvement. Occasionally the cinematography is nice, but again this is not the norm. I think there was a general trend of the outdoor scenes appearing higher effort and visually richer, as compared to the duller indoor scenes where most of the show takes place. Also, I didn't like the character designs at first but eventually they grew on me. Another subtle aspect here was character animation. During more-emotive scenes the character animation can be very smooth and detailed (for example, facial expressions during rakugo performances).

Given the importance of oration in the show, I'm thankful that the voice acting is pretty great. In fact, the voice acting was a significant source of enjoyment for me. Most of the main characters have very distinctive and refined voices that match both the time period as well as their own style of stage performance. The script is also sometimes quite thoughtful, as one might expect from a rakugo-focused show. As for the OST, it is nice overall, and the frequent sound of traditional Japanese instruments suits the theme of the anime. There is also a lot of 50s-ish-era music, which frankly I'm not a fan of but it is appropriate for the time period.

The actual rakugo scenes themselves are kind of boring to watch. They are often long and without any accompanying visual flair at all. Watching a character recite a simple short story (that you've often already heard!) for many minutes is not particularly exciting. I'm usually quite patient with this sort of thing. I think more could have been done to make the rakugo scenes entertaining. For contrast, take for example the shogi scenes in Sangatsu no Lion. I quite enjoyed these scenes because I could strongly feel the emotions of the characters, in addition to the creative visuals provided by Shaft. Rakugo could learn some lessons from these shogi scenes. Of course on the other hand, having absolutely no visuals at all is a more authentic depiction of rakugo. I suppose how one feels about the rakugo scenes will depend on how they prefer to balance cultural authenticity and entertainment value.

Is Rakugo a complex and intelligent show? Yes.
Did I enjoy watching it?
Only somewhat.

My overall rating: 5/10
There are elements of the show worth appreciating, but this doesn't fully compensate for all its other negative attributes.

Lastly, and I only bring this up because I know that some readers will have this on their minds, I'm completely indifferent to the paternity controversy. It did not change my view of the anime and I think that a lot of people overreacted to that aspect of the story. As far as criticisms of the writing go, there is plenty of fruit that hangs lower. I would even say that the paternity subplot was kind of clever, although its execution in the anime was poor. In any case, I wish people would stop obsessing over this and instead discuss the rest of the anime's substance. There is plenty of fertile discussion material.
>> No. 35131 [Edit]
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I watched both Barakamon and Handa-kun(partially). Although it aired ~2 years afterwards, Handa-kun is the prequel to Barakamon. My thoughts on both anime are provided below, beginning with Barakamon.

The comedy is both unfunny and frequent - the worst possible combination. There is a lot of comedy in this anime and my distaste for its flavour is probably a significant reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the show.

Fairly generic SoL characters. Character interaction, particularly for the MC with the rest of the cast, is one thing that the anime does an okay job of. Additionally, the antics of the kids in the show are kind of cute I guess. My favourite characters are Tamako, Miwa, and Naru. Otherwise, the rest of the cast is totally forgettable.

In terms of direction, the tone of the show is all over the place. I feel like I get whiplash sometimes by the way the mood of the show jumps around. Additionally, as I already said, the comedy is excessive and interferes with a lot of potentially emotional or sentimental moments.

Bland art style and unremarkable animation. The OST is similarly unremarkable although the OP and ED songs are okay.

The VA for the young girl character (Naru) does a good job, aside from this the voice acting is unremarkable. Actually, the MC has a deep and sexy voice but that's probably irrelevant to the anime's artistic value. I find the MC in this strangely attractive.

This anime doesn't really excel at anything and is basically just another mediocre comedy-heavy SoL show. It's watchable but I'm mystified by the praise it so commonly receives.

My overall rating for Barakamon: 5/10
For me, this was basically just a 'filler' show to scratch the SoL itch. I think I would have liked it more if it had less comedy and better characters.

I asked other people what they liked about this anime, and the most common aspects were the characters, the atmosphere, and the personal development of the MC as well as his interaction with the rest of the cast. Unfortunately, none of these things really ever clicked with me. I would say that the thing this anime does best is character interaction, but even in this regard it is still mediocre. If the manga provides richer characterization then I'd imagine it's better than the anime.

Tamako is literally me.

Whether or not I enjoy this will likely depend entirely on how I feel about the flavour of comedy, given that this is a comedy-heavy series (even moreso than Barakamon).

I thought that I might like the comedy in this because it sounded like it involved a lot of situational humour. In reality though it is unfunny and not entertaining, based on the few episodes I watched.

I dropped Handa-kun after completing 2 episodes.
>> No. 35144 [Edit]
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I watched Sakamichi no Apollon, also known as Kids on the Slope. Here are my thoughts:

A music-themed josei drama is right up my alley, so I expected that I would enjoy this. Unfortunately, despite my optimism, I was disappointed by this anime.

The anime has pretty good direction. It feels movie-like, both in terms of direction and production quality. Very polished.

Decent character designs for the male characters (can't say the same for the women). Although the art style is bland, the animation is fluid and looks nice. The colour palette is quite dull and muted, but admittedly it does suit the retro-Japan time period.

I really like YUKI's vocals, so it's not surprising that I enjoyed the OP song. The ED song grew on me over time as well. The OST itself was unremarkable from my perspective, but jazz fans may feel differently. Voice acting was alright; I thought the VAs for Sentarou and Yurika did a good job.

The characters each have unique personalities but one thing they all have in common is how immature they behave. This immaturity is frustrating, not endearing. Particularly so, given that this is a serious drama show. The main character is about as likable as Holden Caulfield (read: insufferable). In fact, I did not empathize with any of the characters in any way, despite the drama-heavy nature of the story.

Although the story takes place in the 1960s, this has fairly little relevance to the content of the show itself, aside from the prominence of jazz as a popular music genre. Give everyone a cell phone and it would easily pass as a high-school anime set in the modern day. It all felt very generic, regardless of the high production value. Basically just a jazz spin on a typical high-school drama anime. This generic feeling is compounded by the stereotypical mechanisms through which drama is created in the story.

I really dislike 'love at first sight' in fiction. It feels so shallow, forced and lazy on the writer's part. "These two characters just saw each other and never even spoke and now they're arbitrarily in 'love' with one another" ugh. This anime is guilty of doing this multiple times. Groan. Generally speaking, I also dislike love triangles (or n-dimensional polygons, in this case). That kind of writing was stale literally four centuries ago, and it certainly isn't creative now. The love 'geometry' in this anime feels like lazy, uncreative, and eyeroll-inducing writing. If romance is going to be the central focus of a story, then it needs to be implemented better than the fictional equivalent of playing dollhouse and randomly pressing your dollies' heads together and yelling "now kiss!". This kind of thing can be very frustrating to watch. Similarly, the way that characters react when this so-called 'love' is not reciprocated is equally groan-worthy and feels like a chore to watch. Simply put, the characters (specifically, their behaviour and interaction) are written terribly. For this reason, the high production value of the show is just lipstick on a pig, unfortunately.

One thing I will praise is the absence of humour in this anime. I can imagine a different version of this show where unfunny comic relief is laid on heavily. Thankfully this was not the case and the anime kept a consistently serious tone. This is in contrast to, say for example, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, which I recall having dreadfully inappropriate comic relief.

My overall rating: 3/10
Although it is skillfully produced, this anime fundamentally has a very poor story. I often felt frustrated while watching due to the bad writing. Very disappointing. I am quite surprised by how praised this show is. It felt like an anime adaptation of a really bad soap opera.

Although I am capable of enjoying many different kinds of music, I unfortunately have never been able to get into jazz, despite multiple attempts to do so. Someone who likes jazz might enjoy this anime more than I did. In any case though, music is not an important aspect of the show. The majority of the episodes are crammed full of awful fanfic-tier teenage drama which overwhelms any potential for a significant focus on music. Lastly, just for clarification, I have no problem with drama in anime at all, in fact it is one of my favourite genres. Like I've already said, the fundamental problem is the writing, not simply the drama-heavy nature of the show.
>> No. 35173 [Edit]
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I watched Norn9: Norn+Nonet, which is an anime adaptation of an otome game. Here are my thoughts:

Cheap animation. Visually, the anime appears low budget and sloppy. Sometimes the background setting looks good, but the character animations themselves are consistently poor. Art style and colour palette are also fairly bland. Character designs are okay. There are occasionally some scenes where the visuals are nice, but the anime is very inconsistent, and on average weak, in this regard.

Fantastic soundtrack. Truly exceptional. I actually started listening to the OST long before I watched the anime itself. I even put it on my portable music device. It has some amazing tracks. The OST is by Kevin Penkin, who more recently made the wonderful Made in Abyss soundtrack. Voice acting is okay - the three lead female characters all do a good job.

Interesting sort-of-steampunk sci-fi setting with sky ships and things of that nature. Very little is explained but it's still lightyears better than your typical school environment.

The main character, for lack of a better phrase, is a complete autist. She is very awkward, shy, naive, and has zero social skills. Some people might find this tiresome but I thought it was kind of endearing. I'm so used to seeing males as the socially unskilled character that it's refreshing to have a female lead character fill that role. Actually there was a general trend within the entire cast of the female characters being introverted or strange in some way, whereas the male characters were comparatively more normal. Otome media typically focus on one main female character, but in Norn9 there were multiple female characters each of whom had their own character arc; I quite liked this aspect of the show, although I think a longer runtime was needed to comfortably accommodate each character arc.

Both the plot as a whole and the scene-by-scene drama felt ham-fisted to me. This is a common quality among VN adaptations. It's not necessarily a bad thing; it can be enjoyable as long as you expect it. That said, from early in the series it felt like a ton of plot strings and individual character arcs were introduced at once, and this made the viewing experience somewhat perplexing, particularly during the earlier episodes. Similarly, although character development is implemented frequently, it's not enough to compensate for such a large cast of characters, most of whom were introduced early in the series. However, character development among the core main characters was handled alright.

Romance is a strong aspect of the show, despite it sometimes being as ham-fisted as everything else. Most episodes have at least one decent romantic scene. There are also multiple romantic pairings that are developed, which is something I enjoy in romance-focused series. The use of multiple different couples among a unique set of characters creates variety in terms of character interaction and the chemistry of the romance itself. This anime really delivered on the romance front, in my opinion. It frequently made me feel warm fuzzies within myself while viewing.

My overall rating: 7/10
I enjoyed watching it, but it would have been much better if it wasn't so unpolished. It was good, however there was still a lot of unrealized potential. Norn9 does romance really well, has an amazing soundtrack and a unique setting. However, it also has serious direction problems.

I really want to rate this higher but I can't ignore the fact that I spent a considerable amount of the viewing time feeling confused about what was happening. I'm not sure if the intended audience for the anime was someone already acquainted with the VN. Apparently the VN is way longer and more elaborate than the content of this adaptation. I have not read the VN and my critique does not apply to the VN. I would like to read it though, and then rewatch this anime with a better understanding of the story. I wish the anime itself was much longer because there is clearly so much more to the story than was included in this single cour. In fact, trying to adapt the VN into a mere 12 episodes is probably a major cause of this anime's problems. Someone truly interested in this franchise is probably better off reading the VN before watching the anime.

I would only recommend watching this to someone who enjoys shoujo-ish romance, or to someone interested in seeing an otome story implemented in a sci-fi setting. However, even if this anime doesn't appeal to you, the soundtrack itself is worth a listen. Kevin Penkin is very talented.

I'd also really like to read the manga associated with this and I'd appreciate it if anyone knows where I could find the raws.

My favourite character was Nanami.
>> No. 35186 [Edit]
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I watched Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. Just to clarify, this is the single-cour anime which aired during Spring 2018. Here are my thoughts:

This is just a short review strictly addressing the SAO Alternative: GGO anime. Nothing I've written here is targeted towards the rest of the SAO franchise. For the record, I have seen (a few years ago) the second season of SAO where the GGO setting is featured. Again, I'm not going to discuss SAO as a whole, just the SAO Alternative: GGO anime. Some people have really strong opinions about SAO and I'm not looking to start arguments.

SAO Alternative: GGO is unique from the rest of the SAO anime in that it is made by Studio 3Hz, instead of the usual A-1 Pictures. The visuals of this anime could be better, but they weren't bad either. I expected a slightly higher level of visual production quality from an anime bearing the SAO brand. However, there were a lot of action scenes to animate so I can't blame the studio if the budget was a little stretched. Still, I think that improving the animation quality would have enhanced the show considerably, particularly during the battle scenes. Art style was fairly generic.

In case you couldn't tell from the all-pink gun-carrying girl with a bunny-ear hat in the promo art, this anime is fairly silly. It is not something you should take seriously. This goes without saying, but don't expect realism from this anime (this sentence is directed at all the armchair Navy SEALs out there on the internet). That said, it is a pretty fun show to watch. The battle scenes are fun and entertaining. Although often silly, there is a fair amount of suspense during the battle scenes. I found them engaging.

The main character LLENN is likable and cute. All of her facial expressions, particularly during the battle scenes, enhanced my enjoyment of the show. In fact, her reactions to things in general were enjoyable. I liked her as a main character. However, I didn't like anyone else in the cast. Thankfully LLENN is almost constantly on-screen.

The writing is really bad. Don't expect a good story from this because you won't get it. All I will say is that the writing is ridiculous but in a bad way. If this anime didn't have a firearm-combat theme then it could probably pass as a kids' show (perhaps this is an intentional artistic decision). The story feels like a 14-year-old wrote it (maybe not surprising considering the SAO audience demographics). Fortunately, the story is not very intrusive and can be fairly easily ignored by the viewer. Although the exception to that is the last ~2 episodes, which are very plot-centric because this is when the story climaxes - unsurprisingly these are also probably the worst episodes in the entire anime, in my opinion. Also, the ending of the story is very underwhelming - don't get your hopes up for any kind of satisfying conclusion. I should mention that the writer for the source material (a light novel) of this anime is different than the writer of the original SAO series. Interestingly, the author for SAO Alternative: GGO is the same person who wrote Kino no Tabi.

The sound effects are alright, could have been better. From what I could hear between sounds of gunfire and explosions, the OST was decent. However, they kept plugging this singer into the story under a fictional name, and apparently this singer made her IRL debut using her real name shortly after the anime aired. It seemed like some kind of promotional deal but I don't know the specifics. I'm fine with promoting vocalists in anime since music is a major source of my enjoyment of the medium, but I wish that the promotional arrangements were less transparent than they seemed here. I don't know the full story but it simply irked me a little. As for voice acting, LLENN's VA actually did a great job, but nobody else impressed me.

My overall rating: 7/10
This anime is very easy to watch - I completed the entire thing within three days of watching the first episode. It was really fun (particularly the battle scenes), although the writing is quite bad. In terms of characters, LLENN pretty much carried the entire show.

The simple fact is that watching a girl dressed in all pink run around and shoot opponents with her P90 submachine gun ("P-chan"), all the while making cute facial expressions and reactions, is entertaining as hell. I would definitely watch a second season, even if the writing were just as awful.

My advice to someone planning to watch this: set your expectations based on the positive and negative attributes identified here. Don't take this anime seriously. Fun things are fun.

Lastly, this anime can be enjoyed by people who haven't seen any other SAO show. However, there are some infrequent references to the second season of SAO, so the optimal time to view this is after watching season two of the original series. It's no big deal either way though.
>> No. 35188 [Edit]
>it's amusing to see that some people view Homura as a role-model for "fighting in what you believe in," when the whole point of her character seems to be that what she's "fighting" for isn't born out of some ideal for justice but just out of misguided selfishness.
Is it true that Homura-fans are under the erroneous impression that Homura fights for Justice?

Homura herself in the movie openly acknowledges her own selfishness. Considering this then, if I saw a Homura-fan admire Homura for "fighting for what she believes in" then I would assume that what they respect is not because they mistakenly perceive her to be a virtuous fighter for justice but rather, her outright, shameless selfishness.
While I've never actually read Nietzsche and I most certainly haven't read any of the Greek philosophers Nietzsche was directly addressing in his works, I think we've all been exposed to Nietzsche's idea of the will or, at the very least, Aleister Crowley's "Do what thou wilt" and so, and I say this especially with regards to myself and my own notions of the messages of Nietzsche, I think there is amongst some people a romanticization of what you consider to be misguided selfishness. I think there is this notion that one should "manifest their will" and basically just do as they please. To set up radical goals and pursue them to the fullest, to "build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius!" as Nietzsche puts it because that's how one should live. Homura exemplifies this by doing what should be impossible and possessing Madoka, despite the fact that Madoka has become a God. This fight against the impossible, against reality, against nature, and emerging victorious is why I think those Homura-fans, if you were to inspect them more closely, probably don't see Homura as fighting for Justice to begin with and embrace her anyway.
I think the only thing that makes Homura a character that one can publicly support then is the fact that she fights for love which in our current milieu is respectable. I'm quite certain this wouldn't be the case if this dedication of hers was towards something like money or if her feelings towards Madoka had a sexual element to its ultimate expression.
>> No. 35189 [Edit]
>Is it true that Homura-fans are under the erroneous impression
>Romanticization of what you consider to be misguided selfishness... Homura exemplifies this by doing what should be impossible
Beautifully worded, and yes in retrospect I believe you are right. It does seem that what draws people to Homura is that ubermensch-esque pursual of goals.

That said, I still assert that the "love" Homura fights for is misguided – what she loves isn't Madoka herself but the _idea_ of Madoka that she's built up for herself over time. And since this "love" is the only aspect that gives her life meaning, this effectively means that the larger-than-life mirage/idealization she has constructed for herself has blinded her from reality. So if you were to view this from the perspective of a person fighting for what they love, one is forced to accept that the arc of Homura is not a respectable one, but instead a cautious tale of losing yourself to your romanticizations.
>> No. 35190 [Edit]
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>a cautious tale of losing yourself to your romanticizations
It doesn't seem that cautionary. She gets what she wants and faces no punishment. I could see that if there was another movie where she gets brutally killed off and Madoka's status quo is returned. Homura's single-minded obsession with Madoka makes her a less interesting character in my opinion. In the show, she was kind of mysterious, which was cool enough, but now we know she just has one goal for some non-specific reason and little of her own personality. Before she was a shy, wallflower and now she's super hard and she has a hard on for Madoka, but that's pretty much it. I don't get being a fan of such a simple character.

We don't even know what exactly Homura sees in Madoka and Madoka herself isn't interesting enough for us to guess. Madoka is just nice and at the very end decides to be self-sacrificial partially because of her lack of self-worth.

Post edited on 30th Nov 2020, 4:11pm
>> No. 35239 [Edit]
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I watched Long Riders. Here are my thoughts:

Overall low-budget visuals. Which is kind of a shame because this is the kind of show that would benefit tremendously from high visual production value. Crude CGI is frequently used during the biking scenes, and in general there are many 'quality' moments. For the record, I watched the Blurays.

I was happy to see that a decent amount of attention was paid to technical aspects of biking. It did feel like the creators actually did cycling as a hobby. That kind of authenticity is a major plus in my mind. Serious performance cycling has always seemed like an interesting hobby to me, so naturally I was interested in watching this anime. I was glad that it took the hobby seriously and made it a significant focus of the show, instead of just using it as a superficial excuse for another cookie-cutter CGDCT anime.

The characters were very bland, but it's a non-dramatic sports show so I didn't expect otherwise.

This anime pretty much did what I expected. It's basically a biking-with-friends simulator. It was fairly comfy. Aside from the biking theme, which I did enjoy, it felt like a generic anime with no other noteworthy qualities.

OST and voice acting were unremarkable. I liked the OP song though. The various subtle sounds of cycling were handled alright as well.

Road cycling in real life terrifies me for safety reasons even though I enjoy biking in general. It was nice to live vicariously through this anime, even though it was kind of mediocre.

My personal overall rating: 6/10
It was adequate. From an artistic perspective this anime is bad, but it does a good job of exploring the cycling theme in an authentic way. My enjoyment was mostly derived from using this anime as an activity simulator.

If you're looking for an anime that genuinely focuses on the activity that it's supposed to be about, then Long Riders might be worth your time. However, if you're looking for memorable characters, or a good story, or nice audiovisual production, then you're better off looking elsewhere.

I ship Ami and Aoi together. The naive girl and the mature girl together is an appealing character dynamic.

I liked this anime more than its motorized counterpart, Bakuon. Long Riders was comfier whereas Bakuon was filled with unfunny comedy and didn't focus on actual (motor)cycling enough.
>> No. 35268 [Edit]
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I watched the first season (24 full-length episodes) of Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan. Here are my thoughts:

This is a comedy show, the main shtick of which is that the main character has psychic powers. Sometimes the humour is unique and creative. Mindreading and psychic powers are used to put a unique and entertaining spin on absurdist and situational humour. The show consists of
short (~5 min.) skits. These skits are hit and miss in terms of my enjoyment of the comedy. I watched the ~25-minute episodes which consist of 5 skits. Longer stories are presented as multiple sequential skits; the longer stories never exceed the length of a single episode.

Decent voice acting that enhances the humour — especially Nendou, whose voice is hilarious. Everyone in the show speaks very quickly. I'm not sure if they literally sped up the voices post-recording, but in any case it made the show more digestible. The fast dialogue combined with short skits makes it easy to burn through episodes. In terms of music, some of the OP and ED songs are pretty good. However, the OST has a seemingly small number of tracks, given the length of the season. Some tracks are repeated very frequently. Sometimes the music does enhance the humour. In fact the familiarity of songs that are played exclusively during humorous moments can help increase my anticipation of a punch line, or something of that nature. For example, the unforgettable "Judgement Knights of Thunder" song which plays when the chuuni character is doing chuuni things. I'm even chuckling to myself now thinking about that song because it was always used during comedic scenes. It's like a Pavlovian effect.

Although not a huge issue for me, the visuals in this are poor. The art style is very lackluster and the animation appears low budget. Furthermore, there are barely any lighting effects at all. The character designs are also very simplistic. All this said, exceptional visuals would probably just be a distraction from the show's true appeal, which is its comedy. My most significant critique in this regard is that I would have liked to have seen more detail in facial expressions.

The show is shounen target demographic, which was cause for my apprehension going in. The show is okay, but a lot of the humour does revolve around typical high-school anime scenarios. Many of the jokes are the same tired school-setting comedic scenarios that are recycled but with a psychic spin, instead of something truly unique. The writing is clearly targeted towards a young teenage male audience. I think I would have enjoyed the anime more if it were not in a typical school setting. It felt like the creativity was nerfed somewhat by the need to appeal (and be relatable) to the teenage audience. Additionally, a lot of the humour revolves around parody of typical shounen tropes, which is funny the first dozen times but eventually becomes tiresome. Despite my criticisms here, the psychic powers schtick is often applied in refreshing and creative ways that I have never seen before in comedy media. However, I don't think the true strength of this humour mechanism was ever fully realized, mainly due to the limitations associated with the target audience. Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan doesn't feel like an authentic expression of someone's artistic vision; it feels like it was shrewdly engineered to sell manga to teenage boys. Maybe it's silly of me to want more than this from a shounen anime.

Seinen anime are hit and miss with me, but I think the premise of this anime would be great for seinen. The psychic mechanism would be a terrific way of exploring more mature themes and complex characters, while still generating creative humour. Instead, we are subjected to the artistically bankrupt high-school setting, and its accompanying tired schoolyard humour, likely because the author is looking to maximize sales.

The entire cast consists of very simplistic characters, but this is kind of a necessity for the style of humour and length of the skits, so I'm just stating this as a neutral observation. It would be unfair of me to expect otherwise. However, I don't particularly like the personality of the main character. His internal dialogue is used to narrate the show, but it means he's simply apathetic to everything. I get why the writer would want a blank template to work with in this regard, but it would have been nice to see him exhibit some more emotion occasionally. He's also condescending and frequently treats all the other characters poorly, which becomes very tiresome after a while. I'd like to see a spinoff show with an entirely new main psychic character (and a different setting).

After watching the first half of season 1, my enjoyment of this anime began to significantly decline. In addition to the aspects outlined above that I disliked, the show became somewhat repetitive. This is partly due to the simplistic characters and high-school setting, but probably also due to every joke involving psychic powers in similar ways. Although I enjoyed the beginning of season 1, I'm no longer enjoying this anime enough to justify watching another 24-episode season. Particularly because the next season involves the exact same characters in the exact same setting. I would be far more interested in watching another season if an entirely new cast of characters were used.

My personal rating for season 1 of Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan: 5/10

A young teenager would probably enjoy this show more than I did. I think that for a comedy fan, this show is worth sampling, but be warned that it is somewhat repetitive. During the first quarter of this season, the show was a solid 7/10 for me and I was enjoying it. Unfortunately, that initial enjoyment was diluted by the many other episodes. Maybe I will give the next season a try in a few years when my recollection of the past comedic material has faded.

Nendou and Kaidou are the funniest characters (although equally as simplistic and repetitive as everyone else). The rest of the cast is comparatively less funny, in my opinion.
>> No. 35290 [Edit]
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I watched the anime movie Hotaru no Haka, also known as Grave of the Fireflies. It was made by Studio Ghibli in 1988. Here are my thoughts:

Going into this, I actually hadn't been spoiled or anything like that, so I had no preconceived notions besides it being a serious WW2-themed movie that is probably sad.

The visuals are nice overall. I'm not particularly fond of art styles from this era, so I'm a little biased in this regard. All the motion is fairly fluid. Lighting is used effectively (insert pun here). There is a lot of visual detail, particularly for objects and backgrounds (I often paused to admire the scenery). However, the blob-like same-face heads of the characters somewhat inhibits the use of facial expressions for nonverbal communication and expressing emotion. It is often the case that the characters' faces are the least detailed features of a given frame. It's possible though that I've been desensitized by the highly expressive faces of modern anime art styles.

The voice acting among the main cast is kind of flat and unemotive (this could be an intentional artistic decision or maybe just a cultural thing). However, dialogue is somewhat infrequent in this movie, so voice acting is of lesser importance. Of course it then follows that the OST is a more significant component. The OST is alright; it's fairly standard orchestral movie music. Actually, the sound effects in the movie are pretty good — ranging from subtle things, like the sound of running water, to much grander things like bombings. I should mention that I watched the Bluray version, which I'm guessing had remastered audio.

I have difficulty getting emotionally invested in movies. The runtime limitations make it hard for me to care about the characters. This is a major reason for why I tend to enjoy movie dramas less than other people. Hotaru no Haka was no exception to this in that, despite the seriousness of the story, I didn't feel much for the characters. The only character I empathized with was the younger child main character, mainly due to her helplessness and misfortune.

My biggest issue with the story is that the actions of the main male character often don't make sense. This compounds the issue of my lack of empathy for his character. It's difficult to care about a character who behaves seemingly nonsensically. Perhaps the underlying motivations for his actions should have been fleshed out more explicitly — I'd imagine the source material does a better job of this. Plenty of elaborate analyses of the main male character's actions have been written, but in brief unspoiled terms his actions ranged from confusing and frustrating to outright morally reprehensible, depending on the viewer's interpretation. In any case, this aspect of the story is consistently a major weak point. Apparently the source material is supposed to be semi-autobiographical, but knowing that now doesn't change my viewing experience.

In terms of historical value, the movie is an okay snapshot of Japanese civilian life during WW2. Nothing exceptional though, just standard fare for this kind of genre. The story focuses on the struggles of the main characters; very little attention is paid to large-scale events (not saying there's anything wrong with this).

My personal overall rating: 4/10
The thing I enjoyed most was admiring the scenery. Aside from this, not much else impressed me. The way the actions of the main male character were written and/or portrayed was a persistent issue.
>> No. 35291 [Edit]
The kid is a selfish asshole, and the point was to illustrate why you shouldn't be like him. Kids are supposed do as they're told and people need to work with their communities, especially in hard times. This unfortunately gets lost in translation when shown to different cultures with different values. To the East it's a lesson to be learned, to the west it's a cruel tragedy.
>> No. 35294 [Edit]
What I've heard about the source material indicates a similar thing, that it's supposed to be a cautionary tale. The thing about the movie is that it feels like it tries to portray the male kid in a sympathetic light, which really clashes with his actions.
>> No. 35306 [Edit]
>The thing about the movie is that it feels like it tries to portray the male kid in a sympathetic light
Only when viewed from a western perspective.
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