Category Archives: Anime Breakdown

Day 12: Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card

It’s finally Christmas time, and you know what that means? Yep, my last post in the 12 Days of Anime. I’m giving my final spotlight to Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. I only mentioned a few dozen times how Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favorite animes. I also got pester a few times while it was airing what I thought about it from some fine folks. So now those folks can ignore this since they hate reading.

My thoughts on it Clear Card is pretty much the same as the general census from what I could gather. A lot of fans of Cardcaptor Sakura felt it didn’t amount to much. Reusing plot lines from the previous season with a just a new paint job. The comparison to the episodes being similar would have been easier to ignore too if the Clear Cards didn’t basically serve the same purpose as the Sakura Card. Feeling like I was watching a rehash instead of a continuation.

Personally I wouldn’t mind writing more harshly about Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, however it simply ain’t in me to do so. In all the flaws I found in the series I simply couldn’t find myself strongly disliking it. It provided me one thing I can’t find another anime; more time with the same cast of characters I grew to love. In how the spirit of Christmas is about spending time with friends, and families. I consider the cast of Cardcaptor Sakura like an extended family. So I welcome seeing these same characters, and how they were doing.

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One of the best moments in Clear Card.

One bright spot of the series was easily seeing more of Sakura, and Sayoran together. I have a soft spot for these two when they’re together, and Clear Card provided some more cute moments with them. It warmed the essence of my cold, cynical, frozen heart. I also got a kicked out of Sayoran Engrish in the anime. That was a pleasant surprise.

Among other things I enjoyed was the return of Mei Ling. It was nice seeing her again in the series since she’s a anime original. So you could imagine how greatly I appreciate Madhouse for sticking to the anime canon. Meaning some of my favorite episodes are canon so nothing wrong there. The other aspect I appreciated was the animation. Sure it didn’t influence my enjoyment much, but I did enjoy how colorful, and nice it looked. I sound like I’m struggling to find ways to compliment this season.

Clear Card was also just a pleasant watch. I saw the characters grow in the first series so the lack of further development to these characters didn’t bother me as much as it would have. If I went into Clear Card without watching the original anime I likely would have been harsher on it.

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Plus I get a kick out of these two bickering

For me, Clear Card is a disappointment that doesn’t hold a candle to the original anime, but it’s just like a family reunion for me. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s exhausting dragging back old memories, and once it all done no matter how much of a struggle it felt. I’m happy I went through it, and it’s simply worth all the endeavor to spend time those whom bring a smile to your face. Kinda hard not have a good time with an endearing character like Sakura Kinomoto.

Well that concludes my 12 Days of Anime posts. I’m glad I took part in this since I got to write about animes series I’ve didn’t get around too this year. There were also The Big O, and Full Metal Panic I didn’t get to write about, but there’ll be another chance for me to give those the spotlight. After participating in 12 Days of Anime I can’t wait get back into blogging leisurely. This is exactly what I needed to get my blogging groove back. I’m also happy got to participate in this. There were some ups, and down, definitely some hair tearing figuring things out, but it was a great time!

Depending when, and where you’re reading this; Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays from yours truly. Here’s looking to a wonderful 2019! Cheers!

 

Day 11: Lets All Love Lain

For day 11 in the 12 Days of Anime I have some quick thoughts on Serial Experiments Lain. An anime I had on my plan to watch for years, and finally made time for it this year. Twice in fact. I saw it with my bro since it was something he also wanted to watch. Needless to say we both are huge fans of it. The second time I completed the anime was in a group with other anime watching pals on that good old Discord I keep bringing up. The group watch wasn’t unanimous in loving Lain, though it wasn’t the worst thing they’ve seen by their reaction.

There’s a lot I like about Serial Experiment Lain worth talking about that it’s daunting figuring out what to talk about, and what not to talk about. I’ll touch about how it subtle storytelling was a lot to my liking. Never feeling like it talked down to it viewers when giving them information, especially during some of those long exposition scenes. A nice touch I enjoyed about it subtle storytelling is the change Lain Iwakura room undergoes. Slowly becoming more mechanical as the series progresses. Becoming an entirely different creation of its original intent.

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My desk looks similar when I do paper work at my job

Serial Experiment Lain was ahead of its time depicting the psychological, and social impact the internet can have on a person. Treating the Wire (which is basically the internet) almost as if it’s some kind of drug to Lain Iwakura. Showing a gradual progression of simply being fascinated with the Wire to becoming obsessive with it. To the point she eventually surpasses her own father knowledge on what’s possible with the Wire. Losing herself between two realities she has difficulty telling apart.

Lain Iwakura also lives in a world where she feels isolated in. She becomes very philosophical dissecting many issues on plenty of subjects. The most memorable one for me is when she has a long discussion about oneself, and if such a thing is real. With the advancement, and better understanding of the internet it further muddies what is real, and what’s not. In a way, making it even easier than it was during the creation of Serial Experiment Lain to create your own world on the web. Feeding yourself into a dangerous mindset with even greater possibilities. Further making it easier to create an alter ego that you loose yourself into, and become impossible to separate from.

Another aspect to Lain herself is her limited interaction in the real world. It eventually comes back to affect her negatively being caught up on the Wire. Usually through her discovering of the shadier sides of people, and the Wire itself. Through her simplistic characteristic the anime is able to present a complex storyline that is basically like The Matrix, but more subtle in its delivery. Also, significantly easier to comprehend as a whole. Making up the lack of flashy animations with deep theme explorations, and characters to dissect.

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Also, she hack even my blog. She’s scary!

The last thing I would probably about Serial Experiment Lain before I go into spoiler territory is the handling of Lain in the series. There was a balance of her dealing with her own issues, and what the environment around her created for her. Showing her struggle to commit to social interaction in the world when the Wire is so much easier to express herself. Almost as if saying a complete stranger on the web is easier to talk too than someone you don’t know in person. There’s also some family drama in their she deals with, alongside what makes her human, but that would require spoilers. Plus, it been months since I’ve last seen it so I wouldn’t feel like I would be doing it justice if I left something out.

That wraps up day 11 in the 12 Days of Anime. You can expect one more post tomorrow since I forgot my time in real life & WordPress are different. Whoops! I should look into that eventually, but in the mean times I’ve got the holidays to celebrate. So, expect the conclusion in my 12 Days of Anime post a bit late because of that. See ya later, and happy holidays wherever you are!

Day 10: Remebering the AniTuber Who Cried Lupus

On day 10, time to briefly go over the story of Dustin aka TheHyruleBard. This is the season of giving, and I can tell you Hyrule has more than earned his fare share of coal for Christmas. Enough in fact to last him his entire life. I’m also sure he also earned a spot on many people’s in the commentary, and anime community permanent shit list. On top of that, I’m making sure I post something about this since I’ve talked to the man himself, Hyrule, on rare occasions over DMs on Twitter. Not to further beat down on the guy, but to serve a personal reminder of the path I shouldn’t take regardless of the content I create.

I would start from the beginning, but it’s fuzzy in my head exactly when I subscribed to his channel. I do know for certain it was on a website called GeekJuiceMedia that I got my first exposure to Hyrule. His content was rough around the edges, but came across as a genuine guy. So I hit that subscribe button, but I did not smash that like button. If I were guess when this happened I would estimate probably around 2016, or late 2015. It was around that time I started watching AniTubers instead of just reading about anime.

My first interaction with Hyrule was when he uploaded a video about Scarlett Johansson casting in the live action Ghost In the Shell movie. I debated against someone who couldn’t phantom the fact I didn’t consider Scarlett Johansson casting as white washing. Since the video is deleted so is the walls upon walls of text of us going back, and forth. I’m not sure who won, but considering my opponent started throwing direct insults at me is kinda telling. Within this debate in the comment section he DM me on April of 2016. Oh, when looking to my Gmail I was shocked that I got email from Twitter about Hyrule DMing me in one day. Sadly, I only got his half of the conversation so forgive the spotty documentation in this blog.

So I know I am quite awkward when it comes to verbal communications, but I do my best in understanding some basics. One of those is building a bond between, and the person I’m speaking with. I doubt the other person would immediately want to hear all my life problems unless they were asked too. Our boy Dustin, first conversations brings on the heavy life problems.hyrule dms 01Why would you do this! Re-reading this conversation while doing editing to make it presentable reminding me of a moment in the comedy/drama movie 50/50. It was when Seth Rogen, and Joseph Gordon Levitt were going to a club, and JGL pick up line was “Sup! I got cancer”. That moment made me laugh. Just like how reading this conversation makes me further appreciate the more socially capable weirdos I know. Including that one Hentai artist whose said he would me to draw. Long story better saved for another time.

Now, this was our first direct interaction with each other, and he thought it would be a good idea to have a complete stranger join a random Skype calls of all his friends. It was depressing to say the least. I came across quite awkwardly since I was conversing with a group of total strangers about this topic. It got really political so I was out of my element. Thankfully my mic stopped working so I didn’t have to talk. The depressing part wasn’t how awkward I came across, but listening to some of these people terrible conditions. One of them still lived under his parents basement, and he sounded very depress.

 

After that very awkward incident I decided to never again engaged with him in Skype calls, or in any verbal communication other than text. Looking through these DMs this guy had so many plans, and committed to just about none of them. One of them being, and I kid you not, a collab lets play with him on Destiny.

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So this guy barely knows me, and asked me to do a lets play of Destiny with him. I of course said yes since he’s a YouTuber, and I wanted the experience when I used to care about making video content one day. Of course it never happened. We go months without talking to each when he pops up out of nowhere he’s recently been diagnosed with Chronic Depression, and Bipolar disorder.

hyrule dms 2He goes on about some other things which at this point should tell he wants my pity. It could be the fact he understood I had a full time job, and stable living condition he thought I could help him out. I could, but unless you’re someone I can trust no dice on me helping you. I see dozen or content creators I like that I would love to support financially to some extent, but am unable too since it has to be a reasonable amount that it won’t hurt me. Hyrule is the only content creator I’ve ever interacted with where I never felt like supporting financially. He never came off to me as someone who I felt would do right with my money since the passion just wasn’t there. As opposed to other content creators I’ve engaged in small talked over the years their passion came across to me.

There was also the time I went through his content, and provided him feedback on how he could help his channel. He used the classic excuse of the algorithms of his channel. Reading that I’m just thinking Dustin not uploading content for months is helping his algorithm. Seriously, I told him to branch out if anime videos take him so long, but he was having none of it because that would require work!

The rest of the DMs I have aren’t interesting since it’s just minor back, and forth on life stuff. So, here’s a content maker on YouTube who tried for a decade to get somewhere in his career. He managed to get over 2k subs in that time on his anime channel. You might be wondering how it came crashing down. Simple, good old greed, and lying about having Lupus.

So he been caught, and has been exposed so what now. Well, Hyrule decided to some on Twitch personality name Tipster to do a interview. The full interview can be found on YouTube, and instead I’ll just post another video that condenses the trainwreck that turned out. Alongside some more scummy behavior from him.

There’s also 4 live streams picking on Hyrule, and Youtubers sharing their experience with Hyrule. Now I’m not going to post like 4 live stream in post. I already have two videos in this post I’ll go over the highlights I guess of a live stream that’s over three hours. I wouldn’t recommend watching the whole thing. This includes Hyrule (whose 26 at this time) trying to hook up with people on his Discord, passing a video of a teen girl playing with herself, attempted grooming, NECRO XIII experience with Hyrule, and NEKRO XIII getting banned on Hyrule Discord. Oh yeah, the TwitLonger from Hyrule where he deflate responsibility.

In this detour what I’ll take away from my experience with Hyrule, and witnessing this scheme blow up in his face is you’re never entitled to success. Dustin simply couldn’t be content with everything he build up. Always wanting more without putting in the effort, nor remaining committed to whatever he pursued as a content creator. If something didn’t take off like he wanted he would quit, blame something for his lack of growth, and use other means to get what he wanted.

My intentions whenever I started posting reviews on Rotten Tomatoes in late 2011, and continuing to write posts online wherever infrequently I never had the intention of making this a career. From the start, I wanted to share my thoughts on movies, and eventually animes years later. Once I got over the fact I might not get any views I went back into writing, and kept coming back to sharing my thoughts. I do this for the fun of it. Sharing my experience, and thoughts on things that other people might interesting like I do. The number of so-so thing doesn’t matter to me as much as the experience itself.

In almost 8 years I’ve been a part of so many online film, and anime community that it amazes me the amount people I met. I might not have the huge following, or receive the same amount views I once did years ago. That’s because I’m way past that stage at the elderly age of 24 in making content. There’s just so much else to it that I rather engage with like interacting more in the community I’m with part off than anything else.

Thus end a 10 year career on YouTube where Hyrule felt he accomplished nothing. If meeting people in a community equally as passionate towards anime, movies, or whatever you’re into is a failure to him. He clearly he couldn’t see what success he had in front of him.

Well, that is the final negative post in my journey in the 12 Days of Anime. Hyrule more than deserves what he had coming to him. He said he would man up to it, and would let his action speak for him. Obviously, he deleted everything associated from the web hiding from responsibility. So I shall take his massive failure, and remind myself to not make the same mistakes he did.

Day 9: Ushio & Tora Got Me Back Into Shonens

On Day 9 in the 12 Days of Anime I shall write about an anime that did something important for me. Got me back into watching shonen anime. First thing though, I know Shonen is actually a demographic of young men between 12 – 18 in Japan, but the purpose of this post I’m just going to refer to anime based around Shonen Jump manga as just Shonen. A lot in of anime fans in the anime community already do so let’s get to it.

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My reaction to the length of this post.

I think my fatigue with Shonen anime started with a little know vampire anime called Seraph of the End. During this time I was also getting fed up with 100 episodes of Fairy Tail power of friendship nonsense. So any Shonen I saw that wasn’t Fairy Tail at the time was an immediate improvement. Well half of it was true. From the first minute of Seraph of the End I knew it wasn’t going to be something I would I like. Once episode 1 was over I knew it certainly wasn’t going to be anything for me. You can chalk it up the fact that it reveals over 90 % of the human population has died, and yet still have students go to school. Way to eliminate urgency by acting everything is normal.

Seraph of the End also had similarities to Attack On Titan, but saying that Attack On Titan also had a lot of similarities to Knights of Sidonia. Only Attack On Titan I ended up like because it’s over the top presentation, and fantastically animated sequences kept me entertain. The writing was spotty, but how it told it story ensured I was hooked. Seraph of the End didn’t have the polish of Attack On Titan, but it did have the spotty writing so I didn’t find it as entertaining. However, even when I first finished I still thought for its intended demographic it might be enjoyable.

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Me snickering when someone tells AssClass season 2 is sad

Than we come to Assassination Classroom which I started earlier than Seraph of the End, but got fed up reading subtitles to an anime I didn’t like so I waited for the English dub. Initially I did enjoy episodes from season 1. It was the longevity of the premise that ruined any semblance of suspense. There only two ways Assassination Classroom could have ended; Earth time-bomb Korosensei would either die, or he wouldn’t. I know that same logic can be applied to practically every single story ever made. That didn’t stop me from using that as a defense for calling the ending predictable whenever my Discord pals want to argue with me on it.

Season 1 of Assassination Classroom wasn’t to my liking, but I felt they tried to make something special. Season 2 of Assassination Classroom on the other hand completely phoned in! Ramp up the “we’ve come so far”, and “you’re such a great person” speeches you’ll have a inspirational anime that grates on me. It became so repetitive to a point I took days off from watching episodes just to build up my tolerance for it again. I hated it a lot, and don’t even get me started on the last three episodes which were the worst written episodes of the entire series!

Now we arrive with My Hero Academia season 1, and this is were all the damn Shonen tropes came together badly for me just to hate on it! I was unfortunate enough to watch season 1 dubbed so my first introduction to Deku was me wanting to choke the damn character. Episode, after episode it did things to aggregate me so much. Before season 1 was over I was dead set on the mindset this is the worst Shonen I’ve ever seen. It’s not MHA fault its mangaka is force to use these tropes. Considering I have some vague understanding how Shonen Jump Weekly is run I wouldn’t blame the mangaka for phoning it so he can make something he wants later on in his career.

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Somewhere on Discord, I’m making someone feel like this

We finally arrive at Black Clover, and MHA season 2. In the case of Black Clover everyone I knew was hyping Black Clover as the absolute worst Shonen ever made. Everyone I knew told me they despite it, and told me it would be the new low bar surpassing MHA. Watching a couple episodes of Black Clover I was disappointed my friends that watch anime overhyped how bad Black Clover actually. In the same way MHA is a collection of Shonen trope so was Black Clover. The difference why I can enjoy Black Clover moderately is that it plays it straight without deviation. MHA wants to deviate from the Shonen tropes into something better, but always goes back to them suffering as a result.

Around the time MHA season 3 was finishing concluding plenty of anime fans I talk too on different Discord servers started disliking more. They weren’t on the same level of me in terms of seething hatred for MHA, but slowly they were getting there. So as you would expect, when I sat to watch a few episodes of MHA season 2 I absolutely found season 2 a marginal improvement. Ironic considering the tournament arc is also a point some of MHA fans weren’t quite feeling it. Including some of the small Anitubbers I know that say season 2 tournament arc slow things to a crawl, and was worse overall. Me, I was happy I found it tolerable to a point where if I wanted I could watch multiple episodes of MHA, and not feel like my brain would explode.

Long introduction to basically say watching all these Shonen over the years I fatigue by it. None of the ones I’ve mentioned didn’t stand out in any way. Maybe I was simply too told in my 20s to appreciate anime aimed at 12 – 18 year old males. I was more than ready to check myself into a retirement home until one day me, and my brother recently finished watching the OVA Wounded Man. You already know how I feel about that OVA, and my brother hates it even more than me. So when we were deciding what exactly we should try to watch next in my anime collection I randomly chose Ushio & Tora on a whim. I’ve been wanting to watching it for a while, and after the travesty that was Wounded Man anything would be better.

I popped in the blu ray disc, saw the first episode, and it was actually enjoyable. From than on we just kept watching Ushio & Tora enjoy ourself. Before getting to a point in the middle of season 1 were episodes were starting to end on cliffhangers. We just kept binging episode after episode. It was a significant event since I can’t tell you the last time I binge a Shonen that wasn’t FMA related, or Death Note. This was due to the fact the plot was kept generally simple, the objective already set so it was a matter of going to it, and wasn’t bogged down by superficial drama.

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While I’m at it, these two are always fun on screen.

Simplicity is what Ushio & Tora first season was good at, and also a why it would be hard to get into. It has a monster of the week formula to it, and depending on how you like the two constantly bickering leads will determine where it falls for you. I enjoyed the bickering chemistry between Ushio & Tora so I always found it entertaining. While the action wasn’t exactly impressive it didn’t drag out. Something modern Shonen seems to be getting better at as a observation.

Ushio & Tora also fell on my good graces by not having a tournament arc! So whenever season 1 as unfocus as it was didn’t feel like it was making significant progress never did it feel like it was prolonging something from concluded. Things kept progressing which I like seeing in my Shonen, and here’s looking at you Yu Yu Hakusho for having a longer than necessary tournament arc.

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I’ll take this moment over any tournament arc.

With this praise towards it being fun, and seemingly cutting out the fluff from your average Shonen what about the characters. Well, that wouldn’t be capitalize on until the much more focused, and refined season 2 of Ushio & Tora. I kinda feel like season 1 of Ushio & Tora tried to emulate how Noragami first season perfectly setup the groundwork for everything to be expanded on in later seasons, but not quite as good. Season 1 changes objective from fighting monsters weekly to going to a location to find out more information to getting stronger until the big baddie comes. Enjoyable as it was it sure was messy getting to season 2.

An immediate improvement over season 1 is getting straight to the point of its story. With everything already set up it can conclude lingering plot points from season 1. Leading to plenty of great character moments, in particular for the duo the anime is named after. The interaction between Ushio & Tora doesn’t change one bit, but the meaning behind their interaction does. It’s done in a subtle way that it was refreshing to witness in a Shonen.

Surprisingly, Ushio & Tora got me to be invested in its cast. Nowhere near emotional, but I cared about their well being. Something I consider a great accomplishment since Tora is a dickhead to everyone for practically the entire series. So imagine when in season 2 he’s a given a dramatic moment with a friend of Ushio, and it settle in ultimate cost this final battle will potentially have. It was a surprisingly sad moment that I felt was rightfully earned as Tora grows, and seeing him fall to his lowest point.

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Yes, even lower than loosing to a truck.

Contrast this to Assassination Classroom for Korosensei where the character was presented as this great individual, and that wouldn’t be sad if something bad happened to him. 40 plus episodes of scenes like this eventually made me not care for the finale during season 2 of AssClass as I sighed in relief it was going to be over soon. Meanwhile, multiple characters tell Tora how they would like to just beat him up, or kill him. So when Tora gets this specific dramatic moment with Ushio friend in season 2 it feels more impactful. It didn’t create a series of good deeds for Tora to perform, point to it as a good thing, and told me what to feel. I naturally came to the conclusion this is surprisingly sad.

While not without it flaws aside from the messy structure of season 1. It does feel the need to make every character Ushio & Tora come across seems significant. Not a problem to solve if the anime was wasn’t a 39 episode long. Numerous character will disappear, and appear out nowhere at random points in the series. If they had more screen time than the final arc would have felt even more eventful than it already did.

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Generally though, Ushio & Tora provided me something previous shonens I’ve mentioned couldn’t provide me consistently. All I ask for any form of media in general to do is either be entertaining, or engage me in the story it’s telling. Ushio & Tora manages to do both consistently throughout the series no matter how messy it gets. The lack of filler means the buildup to the final confrontation feels like a significant event instead of just another power scaling breaker. Most important of all, it’s likable characters, good drama in season 2, and overall just entertainment of watching Ushio & Tora made want to watch Shonen anime again. Reminding me of why I enjoy watching Shonen so much when they are done right.

This post came out twice as long as I expected. That what happens when I do things on a whim instead of plan them out. Either way, I celebrated Ushio & Tora for getting me back into watching Shonen anime. Even if I don’t something as good as it for a while. The viewing experience of it will stick with me for a long time. Tomorrow though, I’ll probably take another departure from the praises I’m handing for some criticism. Until that fateful day of tomorrow, sayanora!

Day 8: Caring About War Through Area 88 (OVA)

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me. Oh wait, I already did that opening. Well for day 8 in the 12 Days of Anime I’m going to celebrate Area 88 (OVA) by Studio Pierrot. Considering yesterday post went into spoiler territory I can see why some would want to skip this post over. Rest assure there won’t be any spoilers since Area 88 is also something I highly recommend any anime fan to watch. So here’s even more on why I like it so much. 

War stories are difficult for me to engage with on a personal level. From all the war movies I’ve seen which is probably around 30 only one of them connected with me. It wasn’t Saving Private Ryan, but a 2004 Korean war movie called Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War. It did the usual of establishing why the country was at war, and of course the character building moments one would expect from these kind of movies. What helped it rise above the standard war movie was the focus on two brothers. Their personal conflict never took a back sit to the war itself, and instead used the war to escalate it. Through the course of the movie the brothers drifted apart resulting in a far more effective way to depict how war divides people through these brothers conflict.

Both Area 88, and Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War are the only times I ever cared about any character fictional, or not in a war story. They didn’t feel like puppets to deliver yet another anti-war message. Area 88 was more about showing the results of it on any ordinary person. Showing the progression of someone who values life can become at peace taking human life. War stories aren’t no strangers to these kind of things. Same with having a leading character killing out of survival, having the comrades talk about what they plan to do after the war, the dread of helplessness encroaching on them, and deliver a message.

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Blood lust got you down? Grab a coke!

Area 88, and Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War won’t do things uncommon for these kind of stories. What they do correctly is tell a story that feels complete. Too many times do I feel the backdrop, and the fact it’s an actual event take precedent in these stories. Being design to have no goal in sight other than just make you think. When the dozen of war movies I’ve seen end I don’t have a sense of closure from them. So while something might ask me to think, but if it can’t make me care the topic brought up it fades away from my mind.

Everything experience in war would be asking to much to ask out of a movie, and a three episode anime OVA to capture. So they don’t in favor of a smaller, more personal driven story with a bigger backdrop. Area 88 might also be famous for it’s stellar animation on the combat sequences, but has a three dimensional protagonist in Shin Kazuma so that it doesn’t come off glamorized. In the middle of this discussion related to war is the more relatable trait of Shin Kazuma longing to return to his love one. Adding more to Shin Kazuma journey to return home out of the dreadful war zone. Showing more concern humanizing the people involve before discussing the issues war brings.edd964bc47

Lastly, the reason I still think about Area 88 is how perfectly it tied up everything in its ending. There’s no loose ends, and all character arcs are completed. When I witness the final shot of the OVA I thought about it for a long time. It lingered on me months later because everything presented to me felt natural within the story. It didn’t tell me, or ask me to think about the effect of war once it was over. There was no final message about war is bad, but what was left were my own thoughts, and what the OVA showed me. What it showed me was even though I know these things happen it takes something more than it’s basis in reality to make you care about anything. It’s just so happen in Area 88 was about war, and the effect of it. Something that most entertainment media that tackle this subject fail to make me care about. That’s why I celebrate the accomplishments Area 88 on this day.

That concludes yet another post in the 12 Days of Anime. At this rate, I might actually complete the 12 Days of Anime! WOOHOO! I do feel like I better articulated myself on the greatness of Area 88 with my review of it, but like everything else I heap more praise on. I ain’t passing up the chance to celebrate it more. See you all tomorrow for day 9, and my quest to commit to the 12 Days of Anime!

Day 7: Growth, and Consequences In Big Fish & Begonia

On day 7, in the 12 Days of Anime I’m doing something unprecedented. I’m praising something in the fantasy genre for the second straight day in a row. Lets just overlook that I’m also picking on one major issue I had with Hosoda’s The Boy, and the Beast that I felt Big Fish & Begonia tackle significantly better. Given what I have to reveal, ah, this post will include major spoilers for both Big Fish & Begonia, and The Boy and the Beast. I highly recommend Big Fish & Begonia as it’s truly a landmark in Chinese animation. The Hosoda film I say you can skip, but if you don’t care about either, or already seen them continue on. There’s no take backs pass this point! Good? Lets continue!

So both movies take place in a fantastical world. The differences is immediate as Big Fish starts out in a fantasy world called The Others, and the Hosoda film starts out in the real world. Ren, the protagonist of The Boy, and the Beast is introduced as recently having lost his mother. At his age, he of course doesn’t take kindly to the idea of living with new people, and runs away. Eventually coming across beast Kumatetsu, following him out of curiosity. Leading Ren into the Beast Kingdom unable to return to the human world. This in stark contrast to Big Fish, and Begonia which introduces 16 year old Chun on a trip into another world as a rite of passage. Chun has the opportunity to stuck in the human world, but that’s more of a matter of time, and her being responsible.

From these two setups I should have given Ren more sympathy since he’s younger, and is unable to return home. However, it’s how the Beast Kingdom is used developed, and used that bothers. Specially how it hardly attempts to distinguish the Beast Kingdom from the human world much. The setting offers the storyteller plenty of opportunity to show more than a few shops, and Kumatetsu house, but rarely do they do that. Turning the possibly fantastical into the mundane.

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Ain’t nothing mundane about this

Big Fish & Begonia meanwhile takes place primarily in The Others. Besides the rite of passage, the rest of movie is comfortable with showing the audience fantastical vistas, and setting it apart from the mundane everyday world. This is further looked into when Chun wants to resurrect a life. Receiving a lecture about throwing it the natural order out of balance, and if she does desire so much to resurrect a soul she must offer something of equal value. Knowing full well what this entails Chun still agrees to this contract.

In Boy, and the Beast no such contract is made. Ren has nowhere else to go, and simply sticks around with Kumatetsu. Becoming his student while learning things related to his training. Here lies the issue in The Boy, and the Beast. When Ren eventually becomes a teenager only suddenly does he realize the Beast Kingdom can’t offer him everything. Due to the timeskip in the movie, I’m meant to believe that for several years Ren had no issues living in the Beast Kingdom. When Ren has a desire to go back into the human world it barely even much of conflict. Ren has no problem interacting with other people, settling back into society, and even managing to get himself into a school.

Ren issues just feel to brushed off to feel the true weight to them. As a kid, he was able to run away from his issues in the real world, settle into the Beast Kingdom easily, and more or less found people to take care of him. However, the movie fails to get that feeling of being torn up between two worlds.chun-with-the-baby-signature-movie-still_previewIn Big Fish & Begonia, the conflict is simple; Chun was saved by a human, feels guilty it cost Kun his life, and sets out to correct what she feels is right. She believes she return Kun (the Big Fish) back into the human world once it’s fully grown to make everything right. Chun changes as she sees the ever growing consequences to the world of The Others caused by her action. Seeing its people, and landscape in chaos hurts her.

In the case of Ren he was more than happy not think about the human world during his time in the Beast Kingdom. Due to the timeskip, it ignores the uncertainty that could have built up in Ren over his time in the Beast Kingdom. With Chun, we know she lived in The Other her entire life. She has memories, friends, and dreams cemented in The Others. While she was enamored with the beauty of the human world she did ultimately want to return to her own home.la07_big_fish_and_begonia_31757_c_1There’s the argument to be made that Chun is a teenage girl with a loving family waiting for her while Ren is a irrational kid who’s having trouble dealing with the passing of his mother. Ren acting irrationally I could forgive easily because what kind the likelihood of a kid making good choices when their parent just died is low. However, the death of Ren mother felt inconsequential as a result. Maybe during his time in the Beast Kingdom Ren learned to overcome it, but it’s not shown.

Big Fish & Begonia other than showing the consequences of Chun action doesn’t simply skip pass the bigger picture. There’s a subtle moment where a little girl is crying out for her sibling, and Chun is reminded of the little sister of Kun when he died saving her. Chun is willing to throw her life so easily to make things right it blinds her. It’s only through help of those close to her is she barely able to keep her own life, and even then she has to live with the fact her action resulted in more people getting hurt for a single human life.tumblr_o778we8F2a1qbrflqo1_400Ren ultimately decides to live with his father in the human world learning to carry his home in his heart. Unfortunately the conflict that arose was unrelated to him. In the Beast Kingdom, raising humans is as bad as resurrecting the dead in The Others. The consequences aren’t as drastic to the world itself, but the single person who has a void in their heart. Being consumed to the darkness. Ren overcomes his darkness earlier in the movie so his part in the climax just feels weightless. He had no trouble adjusting back to human society, and manage to make a good life for himself in a world where humans aren’t well received. The lack consequences is what made The Boy, and the Beast so dreadful for me to watch.

The Boy, and The Beast I have no clue I’m suppose to take away from it. Maybe home is carried in your heart, except Ren is only show dissatisfied with the Beast Kingdom once he returns to the human world for the first time in almost a decade.original-1In the opposite, Big Fish & Begonia Chun’s action carry consequences to her, the world, and her best friend Qiu. Teaching the lesson that the path to the right answer can be muddle with good intentions. Simply throwing your life away to do the right things can have equally negative effect. Nor does it make the blanket statement that throwing your life won’t solve everything. Understanding that in some cases it’ll actually do some good like the case with Qiu. He was able to save the girl he loved so much, and gave up so much for her. Consequences that truly settle once you see a brief post credit sequence.

It’s the empathize of showing consequences that other serious fantasy often failed to establish in their own story. Magic always feel like to me an easy fix for everything. Big Fish & Begonia, and so with yesterday anime Little Witch Academia there’s more needed than just magic to do the right thing. Ironically, both are about balance in different ways. With Big Fish & Begonia, it’s the value of life including your own, and the natural balance it carries.

That concludes Day 7 in the 12 Days of Anime. Though I use this opportunity to pick on a beloved movie like The Boy, and the Beast. I did so in order to celebrate the immense joy Big Fish & Begonia brought to me. See ya next time with another 12 Days of Anime post.

Day 6: Believing In Akko That Believes In Her That Believes In Magic

On the sixth day, on the sixth night, in the sixth celebration of the 12 Days of Anime I discovered some real magic. The magic of believing in magic. More accurately, Akko believing in herself being her own source of magic in the Little Witch Academia anime series. Cheesy as that might sound I ended up liking Akko because of this.

In My Little Witch Academia, Akko is taken aback by a magic show she sees as a kid perform by Shiny Chariot. This magic show captures the imagination of a young Akko. Transporting her to a realm of endless possibility which she wants to become a part off. Beginning her lifelong dream to become a witch like Shiny Chariot.tumblr_nbo3xxhuap1qfjqf7o1_500At a young age, I too was wrapped up in the “magic” shown to me by magicians. Making things appear, and disappear out of thin air. It was almost like witchcraft. Unfortunately the more I looked into how to do “magic” tricks the more the allure faded from my young eyes. No longer was anything possible as a magician, but became more about carefully tricking the audience. That’s how I ended up seeing magic before I stopped caring for it entirely.

Magic might not exist in the real world, but it does in Little Witch Academia. A world where less, and less people start believing in magic. A brief tangent, I’m so happy a story of some kind of story bothered to do this. I can’t recall the last time a fantasy of any kind had people be critical of magic within its own world. It’s a breath of fresh air seeing that not everyone is onboard with magic instead preferring the advancement in technology. Very nice touch being a subtle way to tackle the theme of tradition versus the changing tides.

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Akko: An endless source of amusement.

Back on track, Akko doesn’t stop believing in magic even with her countless failures. Could be because she’s excitable, impulsive, short tempered, and reckless. It’s also these traits that consistently gets her in trouble that makes up for her equally great determination to improve herself. Throughout the anime, Akko isn’t afraid to do things her own way. Outside of the strict rules, and bound to tradition that the head witches of Luna Nova are so dead set on. I would like to go over specific examples, but that would involve spoilers, and I don’t want to do that for a great anime like this.

Another aspect that made Akko an endearing character for me, other than her happy go lucky personality, is she grows without necessarily changing herself. A oxymoron when written like that, but it’s true. As short tempered, and impulsive as she gets she does care for the people around her. Going out of her way multiple times to help other she knows at Luna Nova. Akko will occasionally have moments of grandeur that far exceeds her actual skills as a witch. Choosing to accept that it’s okay to doubt yourself, and your beliefs from time to time. Pushing herself, and sometime those around her reluctantly forward.

Bringing me to lastly mention, as vaguely as possible, the Seven Words of Arcturus. Obviously I’m not going to say what the seven words are. They are direct in their meaning as these seven simple words are easy to understand, but witches Luna Nova easily take them for granted. Akko isn’t excluded from this as through trail, and tribulation does she truly end up grasping their meaning wholeheartedly. Following Akko on her journey to become a witch like Shiny Chariot she constantly shines as a character, and a witch. Doing some magical things both with, and without magic by believing in herself, and believing magic itself.

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I use the same method this time to keep myself from rambling on too long with spoilers.

That concludes day six of the 12 Days of Anime. I know! Shocking this one is actually brief. Unlike my post on Kiyoi Mizushima from WIXOSS where the story around her wasn’t as good. Akko does have a good story surrounding her in Little Witch Academia, and seeing it for yourself where it goes is part of the magic of it. Now if only I could find someone infectiously happy as Akko where I live at. I too would further start believing in magic like I once did as a kid. Sayonara, and you tomorrow for day 7 folks!

 

Day 5: Breathing Life Into Hiroshima In This Corner of the World

On the fifth day of Christmas, my house’s lock gets frozen, and I can’t get in. Over the top cold days like this makes me fantasize about visiting a warmer place. Something where I can see the beauty of nature, a naval sea port, and do some farm work. You know, a far more simpler time than taking a blowtorch, and trying to melt a huge block of ice preventing me from opening my door. This got me to think about In This Corner of the World, and how it manages to convey the beauty of Hiroshima that I can’t recall anything else doing the same way. Funny what you’ll think about when melting ice.

Whenever I see a film depicting the city of Hiroshima in Japan. Often times it felt like an afterthought to tell some kind of anti-war story, or for the writer to vent out their frustration at the bombing of Hiroshima. I’m going to generalize why In This Corner of the World is so special as a drama, and a film about Hiroshima.

First up is the 2005 obscure anime movie Glass Rabbit (Glass no Usagi) which bares a bit of similarity too In This Corner of the World. Both focus on the family of the youth protagonist rather than a singular character. However, Glass Rabbit eventually becomes less about the family struggling through difficult times half through. Placing more importance on the message that war is bad. The reason I lacked any empathy towards the characters in Glass Rabbit is how it all felt artificial. I knew the good times where going to end eventually since the story is based in facts. Falling victim to expectations as the harsh times experience Toshiko (Glass Rabbit heroine) just kept piling on, and on.

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Those foreheads are another tragedy.

It’s not like Glass Rabbit just tumble downward in the middle as the framing device is awkward. Toshiko granddaughter asks her mother where a glass rabbit came from, and tells her grandma life story. Not exactly riveting making this starting point unintentionally funny. There’s a mother telling her daughter the horror war when all her daughter asked about is where a glass rabbit came from.

Meanwhile In This Corner of the World, it starts out with Suzu doing her daily routine, and interacting with everyone in the city. Setting the atmosphere of a lovely town that is whimsical, and filled with beauty in Suzu eyes. Treating Hiroshima like a character of its own. Seeing it through different stages over the years. Changing alongside the characters as the city, and the people become torn up through the escalation of the war. Hiroshima isn’t simply a just a place where the story just happens to be in. It’s more like an extension of Suzu; maintaining a beautiful front front while being ravaged by US air raids for years.

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MAPPA animation helps make Hiroshima beautiful too.

If you were to watch both Glass Rabbit, and In This Corner of the World back to back it’s easy to see which one treats Hiroshima better. Glass Rabbit shows you a bit of it before the war, during the war, and briefly after the war. All this is expected in a film that tackles the bombing of Hiroshima so the checkbox development makes it detached from being emotional. I understand the sentiment of war is bad in this context, but a statement like that is meaningless without earnest emotion poured into it. Coming off disingenuous with the anti-war, love is peace message message.

The other film on Hiroshima I’ll compare it to is the even more obscure anime flick Beaten By Black Rain from 1984. Unlike the previous two movies, Beaten By Black Rain is more angry unleashing its pent up frustration. Being dreary, dark, and hateful in its themes. What makes this one difficult to criticize is even though it makes Americans cartoonishly evil. There’s a scene where a prostitute refuses to sleep with an American sex tourist because of the atomic bombings. The American than rapes her while screaming “America Strong! America always win!”. It does provide a different perspective on to view the aftermath of the bombing in Hiroshima. The hateful emotion feels real.

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Give it credit, it does have black rain

Where Beaten By Black Rain falls apart is simply drowning in its misery. It has a variety of characters some of which you’re meant to sympathize with, and other you’re clearly meant to dislike. The sympathetic ones only development is being unable to move past their own tragic incidents. Not exactly the kind of thing that’ll attract more viewers to check out the film. However, I feel that has more to do with the flat characters than the hateful intent in it.

In This Corner of the World takes a different of approach of having likable characters, and blind patriotism that changes over time. The characters have a lot more to them than simply being the victim of a greater force. This is best exemplified with how they developed the child character in their respective story. Beaten By Black Rain just hammers in the point a little kid has had a miserable life. There lies the problem of seeing, or not learning anything more about his life other than that. Making it feel like par for the course.

U0sgRQh-1Contrast that with In This Corner of the World, Suzu takes care of a child, plays with her, and the viewer see a bond form. When living becomes more difficult we see Suzu struggle to make ends meet for the entire family. By understanding her struggle to remain optimistic during harsh times. It’s easier to sympathize with a child character who doesn’t grasp the entire situation at hand. It’s not just happy moments than darkness, but the progression in seeing their life take a turn for the worse.

I think the ending also contributes to why neither Beaten By Black Rain, and Glass Rabbit are remembered by many. In particular Beaten By Black Rain that was created by Keiji Nakazawa who did the manga to Barefoot Gen. Speaking of which, the film adaptation of Barefoot Gen came out in 1983, and Beaten By Black Rain came out a year later so that says a lot. Back on point, the lasting impression both of these movies leave is emptiness. Glass Rabbit feels like it was a soulless advertisement for world peace, and Beaten By Black Rain was just concentrated hatred not refine enough to turn into a good story. They just feel patronizing instead of hopeful like In This Corner of the Wolrd ends up being.

The approach taken by director Sunao Katabuchi is one of great understanding, and warmth. MAPPA went the extra mile bringing Hiroshima to animation in a new light. Striving for accuracy to the point a single shot needed to be modify 20 times. Along with the subtle characters there’s the immense of amount of work recreate a Hiroshima before the atomic bomb was dropped. Seeing it, and remembering it a light that made it special for those who lived during this time. Showing the beauty of Hiroshima the way Suzu sees it. Attaching more to it than just a single tragedy.

This probably won’t be the last time I write about In This Corner of the World since there was a cut half an hour longer set to be released next year. If that cut ever gets released you bet I’m covering it in some capacity. Who knows, it might bump that 9 I gave it into a 10 if the new material is that good.

Bringing us to the end of Day 5 in the 12 Days of Anime. In all honesty, I feel like this wasn’t very focus. I would be stupid to let this opportunity let me pass to express some more thoughts on a anime I found great. If you haven’t already, do go check out In This Corner of the World. It certainly was one the best animes I’ve seen this year, and I look forward to the longer cut. Sayonora, and see on day 6 which I also haven’t planned.tumblr_ovmbte2Z4b1ui7oe1o1_500

Day 4: Appreciating Kiyoi Mizushima from the WIXOSS franchise

On the fourth day to Christmas my true love gave to me…nothing at the moment. She’s still traveling from Existiert Nicht located all the way in Tucson, Canada. Traveling customs there are a pain from what she told me. Anyway, today I’m going to briefly (for real this time!) write about Kiyoi Mizushima. A supporting character from WIXOSS season 1 who went from being a one dimensional baddie into a dynamic protagonist by season 4.

Beginning at the end of Selector Spread WIXOSS (Season 2) my first thought was I enjoyed it. Other than the opening, and closing themes there wasn’t anything I felt that would stick with me after finishing it. Sure I liked the characters, but when my first thought is “Ruu Ruu is adorable” I ain’t got much to build on what makes them good characters.

When it comes to Kiyoi herself she was simply known as Piruluk in Selector Infected WIXOSS (season 1). She was an LRIG, a living being inside a card basically, who fought alongside Akira Aoi to help her become an eternal girl. By becoming an eternal girl, the selector (card player) can make their wish come true. At this point in the series, Kiyoi is simply a emotionless LRIG who wants to gain a body regardless the methods used. Being unsympathetic to her opponents when Akira mocks them.

Midway into season 1 it’s the end of Kiyoi, and she disappears until the end of season 2 in a epilogue for a brief appearance. It should also be noted that around the time season 1 was airing there a manga called Selector Infected WIXOSS: Peeping Analyse being published around the same time. This manga would later be adapted into an episode of Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS. All it did was show how Kiyoi went being a human into an LRIG. However, since I didn’t know there was even manga based around this series I didn’t read it.

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This line, I didn’t reading incorrectly hehehe

Amidst seeing season 3, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, Kiyoi makes her first appearance in the anime. During the opening animation for a few seconds showing a split downward image of her human self, and the other half being her LRIG self. Even having watched the recap movie beforehand I wasn’t much into her character. Obviously that changed as her part grew in season 3. Kiyoi motivation was given, and so was bits of her past in the second half. By doing this not only did it set the groundwork to create a dynamic character later on, but also served as a bridge to naturally connect all the seasons of WIXOSS.

Kiyoi was my favorite part of the less than stellar season 3 of WIXOSS. Sure part of it was because I might have a thing for stoic characters. There was also the strength that she wasn’t regressing like everything else in the series. Whereas season 1 & 2 tried to have some kind of grey morality for characters action. Season 3 does away with that by making it a simple good vs evil story. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but season 3 has half of the time to duplicate what made the previous seasons good turning out disappointing.

Kiyoi Mizushima came out unscathed from the downgrade. Her past wasn’t shrugged off, or blamed on her being in a dark place during that time. Nope, the series instead decided to make her go through a redemption. Living with the fact she torture so many Selectors as an LRIG, crushed many girls dreams, and now doing what she can to amend for what she did. Her motivation naturally came off more personal grasping the bigger picture of her situation. This came out of nowhere for me that I wished she was the protagonist of season 3 instead of Suzuko Homura who I didn’t care for!

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Like a boss, gets in a zinger before defeating her foes.

Finally, in Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (season 4, and currently the last season of WIXOSS) she got her chance to shine. Upgrading from a supporting role into a leading one the series made further good use of her. Delving even more into her past before she ever started playing WIXOSS. Showcasing the struggles she dealt with as a loner, and how the cruel game of WIXOSS warped into a bad person. Now in season 4, she’s actively trying to do the right thing to put the miserable cycle that WIXOSS causes. Everything surrounding Kiyoi remains static, but she just keeps growing as a character turning out a lot better than I expected her to be.

Seeing Kiyoi developed as much as she did makes me think J.C. Staff knew they had a good character whose potential was untapped, and they need to do her justice. They might be have been a slight a bit of retconning, but we’ll gloss over that. Without a doubt for me, whenever Kiyoi was given the spotlight is when WIXOSS was at it best during season 3 & 4. I cared about her ordeal, and seeing it through to the end. Seeing Kiyoi tackle everything head on every step of the way made me yearn for her to get a happy ending with everything she went through. I enjoyed seeing Kiyoi Mizushima grow so much that she alone made me want to follow Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS weekly. Thanks to her, Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS ended up being the only anime I actually finished while it was airing this year. While I wish the series around her was just as good. I am happy that Kiyoi Mizushima got her chance in the spotlight, and it wasn’t wasted.

I started off mentioning after finishing the first two seasons that there wasn’t anything outside of the opening, and ending themes that would stick with me. After finishing up Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, and Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS that certainly has changed. Kiyoi Mizushima is a character that I unexpectedly ending up liking a lot this year. Surpassing the series itself I feel in terms of quality. Without her, I do feel like season 3, and 4 of WIXOSS would have suffer greatly. Getting the opportunity to shine that many side characters don’t get, and for that I’m very grateful for.

So that concludes day 4 in my 12 Days of Anime questing. I’m leveling up my skill points, and have the drive to see this through to the end. See ya around tomorrow with hopefully some kind of complete post. Haven’t started that one though (panicking off screen). Sayonara folks!

Day 3: 5 Anime I Surprisingly Enjoyed This Year

On the third day on my journey to Christmas, instead spending a few paragraphs writing about a single anime I don’t have a topic for I’ll do a listicle. My habit of spontaneously choosing random anime paid off this year. Ending up viewing way more anime I liked this year than I did in the past two years I’ve been watching anime. Here five of those that I didn’t expect much from, and manage to fall on my good side.

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In around November, or December of 2017 I read the manga of Angelic Layer by Clamp since I wanted a good shoujo read. I liked the manga of Cardcaptor Sakura so why not do the reverse this time, and check out the manga first. Details about the manga escape me because it’s just that uneventful. The premise follows a little girl by the name of Misaki Suzuhara taking an interest in the battle dolls game Angelic Layer. After she learns the rope of playing it in the first couple of episodes it’s just a battle tournament for the entire series. Reading chapter after chapter made me bored since it was just a series of fights with little else going on.

The anime adaptation by Bones follow the general storyline of the manga, but attempts to flesh out the characters more. It’s an addition I don’t mind to the anime since it helped the romance side developed more naturally than it did in the manga. It also gave side character Kotarou, and Tamayo more to do than just being there to support Misakai. I liked how the anime gave them a conflict figuring out their feelings for each other which is something the manga didn’t have. There was much appreciated attempts to make the rise in Misakai skill appear more natural than just being godly like in the manga.

Another thing the anime did was have episodes dedicated outside of the tournament. In the manga it virtually just a series of tournament matches doesn’t make for a engaging read. I appreciated the detour the anime took, and the attempt made to provide more background to side characters. It was nice seeing the contestants outside of a tournament environment just to act like normal people instead of the obsessive Angelic Layer freaks they are! My favorite anime exclusive moment is a spoiler, but it’s on a Ferris Wheel with Ichiro, and Misakai mother. It was a sweet moment lacking in the manga, and also funny.

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Do the….whatever this is.

I would have prefer Bones taking more drastic measures in attempting to remedied some of the other issues with the manga. My biggest one being Misakai is overpowered, and despite being a newb goes through opponents one after the other. It minimizes the “stakes” of these matches when more experience players keep losing to the almighty newb Misakai Suzuhara. Although, I didn’t like the changed outcome in the final round. Sure it had different meanings in both tellings of the same story, but the outcome in the manga makes sense whereas in the anime it just doesn’t.

There’s also the absurd amount of love Angelic Layer gets within universe. It’s comes off very silly how seriously, and affectionate some of these people are to Angelic Layer. In spite of that silly aspect that’s also part of the charm the anime creates that the manga didn’t capture like it wanted. Also, Misaki Suzuhara is adorable. It gets an extra point for that.

 

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Yes, I enjoyed Cross Ange. I know won’t hear the end of this on the many Discords I’ve been invited too. There’s scarcity of anime that fall into the so bad it’s good category. Almost every time I try to watch one of these type of animes they end up with me hating it Cross Ange ticks all the boxes in the same way something like Dark Cat, and Mad Bull 34 (I have make a post about that someday) did for me. They had portions of questionable writing that just had me bursting with laughter.

In the case with Cross Ange it was some of the dialogue. Oh boy, I can’t tell you how much me, and brother (who I saw this anime with) lost it in laughter when Embryo said “Abandoned everything, including your clothes!”. That’s a classic quote if I ever heard one. Another one I liked was from Ange telling Tusk “Loot at me, I’m filthy. I don’t deserve you!”. Ugh, I expect this kind of dialogue in crummy romance novels not a anime with Dragons, mechas, time travel, and lots of fanservice.

I wouldn’t call Cross Ange a good anime per se. At most, I would call it a solid series with a questionable fanservicey presentation going against many of its serious themes. The first half of the anime dedicates an entire episode to Hilda doing petty things like stealing Ange’s underwear for payback, and Hilda later on has a very dramatic episode meeting her mother in the first times in years. They just don’t mesh well together.

Don’t even get me started on the Dragons, time traveling, parallel dimensions, God, specicism, and mechas all of which varies in results. I do feel some of the writing in Cross Ange is competent like Salia accepting the fact that Ange is naturally better than her, and how she’s unable to accept that. Though me, and my brother refer to her as loser whenever we talk about this anime I did feel Salia was somewhat well handled. Unlike the character of Vivian who without warning got a bigger part in the series as it went on. Also, Vivian reuniting with her mother left me emotionally void for I felt nothing in that moment. Is it too much for Cross Ange to a breather on the amount things it tries to cram into 25 episodes.

One aspect that goes underappreciated is the music in this anime. It is surprisingly good My favorite is a insert song called “Towagatari Kaze no Uta” sung by Yui Horie. I liked it enough to have in my collection. It’s not for everyone just like the next entry.

 

Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

satellite-girl-3Yes it’s a Korean production, but if other anime list type sites consider it an anime so will I. The appeal of Satellite Girl, and Milk Cow won’t be it’s animation. It’s jenky with its 3D animation sticking out with the sometime good, and sometime bad 2D animation. What the average person will take away from this movie is how weird it is. So you have a Satellite who falls in love with a human, a dude who turns into a Cow because of a broken heart, and Merlin the magical talking toilet paper.

This odd mixture of jenky animation, strange characters, and a odd story come together to be charming in a way. From the onset, it’s clear the animators behind this are trying to entertain the audience as their sole goal. Be it with odd occurrence in the story like a Satellite kissing a talking Cow, or a Incinerator having a bout with a sentient toilet paper. Kinda hard for me to be bored with this kind stuff happening in the movie.

Other than being weird the story is decently handle. I feel like a slightly longer runtime would have helped flesh out the romance. The movie is barely over 81 minutes so it doesn’t exactly take things steady. However, that also mean the strange allure goes away before becoming distracting.

 

Ultra Maniactsujiai

I can’t remember how, or when I discovered the shoujo comedy anime Ultra Maniac. I’m certainly glad I did though. Back in the beginning of the year when I started the first episode it left a strange impression on me. The animation looked dated, the English dub seemed off, the characters were pretty typical, and it technical aspects all seemed weird to me. However, I was taken aback by the ending of episode when out of nowhere Nina’s father appears shouting at Nina. This was so unexpected that I burst out laughing in confusion in what I just witness. It would have ended their, but I knew this first episode was something I needed to show my brother, and he too was fascinated by it oddity too.

As I continued to watch Ultra Maniac with my brother we never found ourself bored with the anime. Every time we checked it out every episode had something memorable in it. It didn’t matter how odd it was, but what matter to us was it shaping out to be something good. Like the last entry on this list, it tackle romance in a way its intended audience can relate to. Dealing with unrequited, how one’s emotion can reach whoever their affectionate for, all the while being a coming of age story. Progressing nicely in turning one dimensional characters like Maya who was initially just the rival character into someone with more to them.

The story sense of humor was easy for me to get into either because of the strange situations the cast would get into, or the supporting cast reaction to what strange thing was happening in the episode. I don’t feel Ultra Maniac does anything outstanding in any regard since its fluffy entertainment through and through. Sometimes a series like this that’s just filled with good intentions, and effort is all I need to unwind after a long day of work.

Kamisama Kiss Season 1original

Okay, so this is a late addition to the post since I finished it recently so I’ll make my thoughts on it brief. I decided to check Kamisama Kiss after reading Karandi James of 100 Word Anime review for it. Unlike the rest of my entries, this one is actually a romance comedy, and does those two things better than everything else I mentioned. Seeing the relationship develop between Tomoe, and Nanami grow is the best part of it. Dealing with aspect of love in a way that doesn’t feel melodramatic. The progression of it as both Nanami, and Tomoe figure out how to exactly sort out the feelings they have for each other prevents the relationship from being stale. There’s something about Nanami being a god, and the responsibility of it, but that doesn’t play a significant in season 1. I’m not really one for romantic comedies, but this one very good to me!

Out of all these animes I would mostly recommend you check out Kamisama Kiss since it’s the best one here. However, you can’t go wrong with any of these other ones since I’m sure you’ll have some degree of fun with them.

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Celebration dance!

Wow, this ended up a lot longer than I expected it to be! I only intended to have two brief paragraphs detailing what I liked about each of of these animes. Apparently I had more to say about some of them than I thought I did. Luckily the next couple of days in my journey to complete the 12 Days of Anime are more or less planned out in my head. I’m hoping I could finish these two character appreciation pieces I have in mind on time just to shake things up a bit. We’ll find out in the coming days if I can pull it off. Until that time arrives, see you around tomorrow!