Quick Reviews: Summer 2017 Late Review

To be honest, this season didn’t really stand out to me.  At first, there were a few shows I was excited for, but then I came to find out that most of them were half-length episodes (or shorter).

My bane for anime.  A show that can’t waste more of my life than the average.

But in regards to that, there ended up being some shows that I picked up near the season’s end, that I honestly didn’t think I would like, but ended up liking, or even loving.

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Shamelessly stolen from a Google Image Search.

As always, the following half-assed reviews are my personal opinion.  Whether you agree or not, it’s what I thought when watching the show(s).  Get over it, you’re reading these reviews on a blog, not ANN.

Summer Season 2017 Quick Reviews:

Kakegurui: 7/10 Because I was watching it through Hiryuu, the releases weren’t exactly on-time-weekly; I have a few more episodes to watch, but it’s definitely one of my favorites from this season.

Aho Girl: 7/10 One of very few half-length shows that I would recommend.  It’s just the right amount of comedy length to show how stupid people can get for bananas.  Probably will go back and finish it… eventually.  Also, Dubious Boobius.

Tsurezure Children: 5/10 I did like this show at the start of the season.  But I couldn’t handle watching two half-length shows, when one was enough to drive me mad.  It still seemed cool.

NTR – Netsuzou TRap: 5/10 Same problem with Tsurezure; I didn’t even finish the first episode… much like I couldn’t finish the first two chapters.

Made In Abyss: 10/10 One of few shows that made me actually cry.  Great show about exploring deep holes.  One of three or four I picked up after the fact.

A Centaur’s Life: 8.5/10 Surprisingly interesting, mainly for the lesbians.  Come for the lesbians, stay for the… lesbians.  Also an interesting world, with half an episode about their version of WW2.

Princess Principal: 9/10 Really want a second season; whether or not it will happen depends on the reception of the consumers, though.  Also has a game coming out, so that’s pretty cool.

Tenshi no 3P: 3/10 Usually, I can’t go wrong with lolis.  But this show seemed to be cute for the sake of being cute.  While that’s not always a problem, this show focused too much on fanservice in it’s first three episodes, which will turn off most people quickly, I think.

Isekai Smartphone: 8/10 I only saw the first episode, but it was a great episode.  Top-notch comedy.  The Wikipedia summary was hilariously on-the-nose about it.  It’s great.

New Game!! (S2): 6.5/10 I really like lesbians, but this show caught up to the manga really fast… so much so that I lost my place.  Either way, it’s basically the same as last season, with some new characters, and a couple new events.  Definitely an acquired taste,

Classroom of the Elite: 9/10 A twist I should’ve saw coming from a mile away.  That’s what this show was.  It also sets up nicely for a continuation.

Gamers!: 7/10 I’m going to watch more, I promise.  This show’s just a little difficult to watch.  Also, I needed to rewatch Made in Abyss a couple thousand times.

 

Out of this list, there were a couple that I meant to watch,  but didn’t (Hell Girl, Hajimete no Gal, Clione no Akari, and Fate/Apocrypha) as well as some that were really popular this season, that I just wasn’t interested in (Knights and Magic, Konbini Kareshi, Welcome to the Ballroom, and Teekyuu season FUCKING 9?!).  In any case, this season seems to be just as interesting as the one I just covered.  Prepare yourself for the next review, coming soon!

 

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Anime Review: Bungou Stray Dogs

As I said on my Facebook page, I will be reviewing a few things that I’ve had on the backburner over the next few days – this series being the first.  If you have suggestions for something I should watch or play, send me a message through any of the methods available on the About page.

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These are the heroes of this story.  Photo from http://www.nautiljon.com

 

To be honest, Bungou Stray Dogs wasn’t the first thing I wanted to review – however, my reviews on the Monogatari series may wait until the first movie is available (also, I am currently debating whether to do each “story”, each “season”, or everything up through Owarimonogatari as one review).  As few of you may know, I have a great interest in fantasy and scifi, and last season was a fairly “shounen” season, with things like Jojo, Kuromukuro, and all of the new series for older shows (like Duel Masters and Sailor Moon).

However, I came across Bungou completely by accident – while I was skimming Facebook posts, I came across a Crunchyroll post with a young blonde man attacking a group of thugs with a car.  Obviously, I searched for the source, and came across this gem of a show.

Bungou Stray Dogs “follows” the story of Atsushi, a young man who was kicked out of his orphanage because he was considered “worthless”.  At the start of the story, he is on the verge of starvation, and seeks help from anyone nearby – cue the strange man floating upside-down in the nearby river.  Long story short, he gets involved with a group known as the Armed Detective Agency, a group of people with abilities who try to keep the area safe – and keep Atsushi from getting killed by a militia gang known as the Port Mafia.  There’s more to the story than that, but the rest is for you to see yourself.

 

Bungou is a strange mix of comedy and darker themes, which comes packaged with all sorts of other emotions (like an inkling that the brother-sister team is like “that”).  There are a variety of characters, from Atsushi the weak-willed hero, to one of the main antagonists of the series Akutagawa, who suffers from an inferiority complex because of his former master.  There are also plenty of characters whose abilities (and even true motives) haven’t yet been shown, so it seems like there may be a second season coming soon.

And now, for a proper review!

Plot: 5 out of 10

While I did like how the story of Bungou Stray Dogs played out, I kept getting the feeling that I had seen it so many times before.  I’m not quite sure why, but I always get the feeling that someone should die after certain events, only to find that they survive (not necessarily inexplicably).

Character Development: 4 out of 5

I won’t cut corners here: every character has a good amount of development (sans the siblings mentioned earlier) – even the demonic Akutagawa has his own little “I was wrong” moment near the end of the season.  My biggest problem here is, despite the various times Atsushi makes good, even great decisions to protect others, the “worthlessness” in his past always makes him second-guess himself, and by the end of the series, it still doesn’t seem like he can read between the lines.

Art/ Acting: 6.5 out of 10

While I did enjoy the art style and environments (and I won’t lie, they kind of bothered me at first), the acting is what really bothered me – many of the characters voices seem very flat, and their emotions don’t always correctly fit the situation.  The only exceptions to this are in the Port Mafia – Akutagawa shows extreme emotions very commonly, his subordinate consistently shows loyalty to him, and Izumi (who starts as an emotionless character) eventually gives much more emotion than I thought would be possible.  Other than that, it feels like everyone’s just joking around the entire time…

Rewatch Value: 6 out of 10

It is certainly not the worst show I’ve come across, but there are shows that I would rather rewatch than this most days.  The only rewatchability I get from this show is a single fight scene between two important characters, and even that is starting to feel boring.  Like I said above, everyone just feels like their joking around, even when they’re in dangerous situations, and that kind of turns me away from the series as a whole.  Even the scene that made me find the show is rather lackluster, especially since it comes after the majority of the damage is done.

Overall Rating: 30 out of 50

There’s not much else to say about this show… I think this show was made for very specific audiences in mind, and while it hits some of those points with me, the majority of the show just ends up lacking.  While writing this review, I discovered that the current season is actually half of the first season, and the second half will be premiering in October.  Honestly, I might watch it, but if it continues to be so lackluster, I may have to give it the Iron Boot.

The series is available on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed in the UK by Anime Limited, so I’d suggest watching it online first, and if you enjoy it, then consider buying it.  Otherwise, I can’t honestly recommend this as a “good” show.

Anime Review: Kara no Kyoukai (The Garden of Sinners)

So, it’s been a bit since my last update. Because of that, the next few posts may be a little cluttered together.

But for right now, a new anime review – this time of a fairly well-known series of movies!

Anime Review: The Garden of Sinners

Kara no Kyoukai

I want to start this review by saying that I had no clue what the hell Kara no Kyoukai was when I found it. The first movie I saw was the latest in the collection, and then I went back and got the rest of the movies. Among my favorite fansub groups, there is a large amount of anime I subconsciously avoid, and for the longest time, Kara no Kyoukai: Future Blessing was on that list. But after realizing that the majority of UTW’s anime choices were amazing, I decided to give it a chance.

Kara no Kyoukai started out as a 1998 light novel by Kinoku Nasu, which apparently gained a cult following, with eight novels and more than seven animated films o date, with one novel unreleased, and a possible final film being released soon. It follows the story of a small group of people in late 1990 Japan, and tackles many mature subjects such as incest, rape, suicide, murder, and parricide, adding a paranormal twist to it. The main character, Shiki Ryougi, is a form of paranormal sleuth, dealing out her own form of vigilante justice through her knife, and her mysterious powers.

Throughout the movies, it is obvious that she and a second character (Mikiya) have some sort of unspoken relationship. Not only that, but as the prequels and sequels come in, we also learn about Shiki herself, and the mysteries surrounding her, such as her prosthetic arm, her entanglement with the paranormal, and in the latest movie, her connection to these people who target her.

To be honest, I wanted to watch all of the movies in one go. However, there were problems with my player, and the middle movies aren’t playing correctly. The movies I did see, however, were definitely interesting – each movie is directed by a new director (with some exceptions)- and the story and animation show that- but still, the story seems to flow well from chapter to chapter. Also, despite the fact that the movies skip along the timeline weirdly, they seem to do so in a way that answers the questions from the previous movie, and makes new questions that can be found through careful study.

I have not seen many other reviews on this series (Demolition D+ is the only one I’ve actually seen), but despite that, after seeing the first movie, I realized that it is in fact a classic. It inspired such series as Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime, and the characters and plot points seem to be reminiscent in those series.

There’s not much more that I can say about this series, but I must say: watching Shiki break someone’s pupil with magic was awesome.
Beating a serial killer has never been so badass

And now, without further ado, the scoring of Kara no Kyoukai.

Looking at my past posts, I realize this is actually the first Anime review I’ve published. So here’s a breakdown of the scoring system for anime:

-Plot / Story: how well-thought out the plot was, or how well the story arcs build into the main idea of the series. Out of 10.

-CD: short for Character Development. How characters develop, and how their relationships or interactions with other characters change them. Out of 5.

Art / Acting: based around character design, clothing and environment design, and above all, acting. Poor acting means a poor grade. Out of 10.

Rewatch Value: how tempted I would be to re-watch the series. Things like To Aru have a high rewatch value for me, while things like Helsing don’t. Out of 10.

Overall Rating: kind of self-explanatory. Based on the above factors (and my other personal feelings about the franchise or series) I will give the series a rating and an S through F grade, with high and low markers. Out of 50.

So, here is my score for Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners (TVMA):

Plot: 7.5 out of 10
while I did like the story (and in the series’ defense, I watched the last movie first), there were times in the movies that I just couldn’t follow. Whether it is because of poor subbing, or if the language just didn’t translate well, it caused me to deviate, albeit a little, from paying attention to the plot. However, the parts that I could follow were definitely amazing – seeing the evolution of Shiki between the first and latest movies was definitely surprising, and it correlated well when watching the other movies in the series.

CD: 4 out of 5
Possibly the only slow character development that I can stand, TYPE-MOON uses each chapter to tell a different story that connects with the main characters, and almost always features a new character that helps flesh out the major characters. There still seems to be some characters that could use this (such as Bomberman Mitsuru in Future Blessing), but that could just be because I haven’t seen him in the other movies yet. Shiki especially changes throughout the series, going from a murderous introvert who hates socializing, to a young woman who can express some form of feeling.

Art / Acting: 10 out of 10
I may be generous in most of my reviews, but it is still rare for me to award a full score in any category. The art of each chapter evolved as the series grew older, and each director had a distinct but powerful difference in their interpretation of the series. Each actor seems to be carefully chosen for the role they portrayed, and each character seemed believable, from the simple Mikiya to the complex Shiki – even some of the less-major characters (Seo, Bomberman) seemed to have their own backstories in their voices. The clothing choice is interesting, and always complements the character it is chosen for; as for the environments, the distinct lack of high-tech devices in the 1990’s gives the series a nostalgic feel, like when we used to all have that huge cellphone from Nokia.

Rewatch Value: 8 out of 10
As I said before, while I couldn’t watch the middle chapters, the episodes I did see have stuck with me. Not to say, they were perfect, but Future Blessing and Overlooking View seem to have many hidden themes, which gives me the feeling that I missed something. In fact, I have watched Future Blessing four times, and each time, I notice something new. Although this is the case for many movies and series, I feel like this movie does it well, and in such a way that makes a watcher come back again and again (although, once again, it could be the different directors).

Overall Rating: 48 out of 50
A

I have to admit, I absolutely loved the series. From the symbolism to the scenes, the characters to the antagonists, Kara no Kyoukai peaked my interest, and kept my attention all through the movie. Usually when watching a movie (subbed or dubbed) I have the need to multitask – for the chapters that I have had the pleasure to watch, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Many of the themes, characters, and basic ideas in the game were different – innovative, interesting, and above all, mysterious. I can’t honestly say that I have seen a better anime series, excluding Ghibli films, and even my favorite series can’t match up to this. Kara no Kyoukai is definitely a must watch, but only for the older audiences, as there are many violent, mature, and just plain disturbing scenes throughout each episode.

I’m not sure if there are DVDs available in North America or Europe, but the series is subtitled only, and there are a large number of Torrenters who you can get the series from. If you can find an official release for your country, however, I definitely recommend buying it.