Let's talk anime.

In case you missed it, the most ambitious cross over of all time is now available on Crunchyroll.

Mantid, I was expecting a Fate/Something from you.

Naw. This year's Fate movie has already been released and the next two series start one in each of the next two seasons.

I'm trying to decide if I like As Miss Beelzebub Likes It.
Is it trying to subvert tropes? Just play up those tropes for laughs?
Is it pure fan service? Just a light and cute anime with some fan service elements (like almost all anime)?
But really, if I'm asking, then it's probably not trying to subvert anything.

Also watched all of Ghost Stories, and I liked that better. At least it's not pretending to be something else. Much more of a monster of the week ghost story with definite fan service elements (gratuitous underwear flashes are already bad, all the more creepy since the main characters are in elementary school...) But the characters are nicely enough rounded, and I liked the ghosts. But it ended way too abruptly, and really, if I want a scary ghost anime, Ghost Hunt is much better.

And finally, I finished Mysteria Friends, which is evidently based on the Rage of Bahamut game, not that I've played it. It's a nice enough yuri anime, and while I don't feel the characters developed or even faced actual hardships, I liked the characters and the world, and would like to see more. It's unlikely they'll make more, though.

Will probably not keep watching Beelzebub and go to Flip Flappers or Food Wars next.

Taharka wrote:

I'm trying to decide if I like As Miss Beelzebub Likes It.
Is it trying to subvert tropes? Just play up those tropes for laughs?
Is it pure fan service? Just a light and cute anime with some fan service elements (like almost all anime)?
But really, if I'm asking, then it's probably not trying to subvert anything.

We feel it's a cute, pure anime that happens to have boobs. There isn't any groping or action, it's just kinda there. We're big fans of it, though. We often play it to go to sleep to.

Talk about crossovers.

So I watched Paprika last night, and I don't think I really need to sell why a Satoshi Kon film is good. It's interesting, though, in that my brother and I enjoyed it but cannot help but compare it to our love of Perfect Blue. Ultimately, I think Paprika's shortcomings are in having more characters and moving at such a quick and steady pace that it fails to adequately develop them all. In the end the antagonists feel pretty disappointing. I think it's generally lighter tone also prevents it from having that same gripping effect as Perfect Blue manages by being a thriller. Regardless, I still really liked the movie and was constantly finding ways to be impressed with the framing and editing.

I think Tokyo Godfathers is next on my list of Kon films to grab.

I also watched Batman Ninja with my brother last night, and... I wasn't expecting to have to leave my brain at the door as much as I had to, but it was fun. It's mostly a spectacle of CG animation styles plus one segment of rotoscoping, as well as just a fun interpretation of familiar characters in a different setting. Fan-fiction, effectively. I feel like the writer simultaneously wanted to call back to some stereotypical anime trends, feeling a bit 70's to me in their execution, and... I think that's the real weakness here. I don't see why it was necessary other than to be ridiculous and over-the-top, but the escalation just feels... silly and ridiculous rather than idiotically invigorating like Trigger is constantly going for.

The Japanese voice actor for Joker was really solid, I think, and I largely feel everyone was kept in character. In the end, though, what I really wanted was for a Batman game with that sort of cel-shaded style to it taking place in Feudal Japan.

It's fun but I wouldn't go in there expecting anything more than a stylish romp that's all about visuals and fan-service and maybe even laughing at it occasionally.

I also watched Metropolis last night, first time since College. Must have been one of the last pre-digital films put together, as I was shocked to see it has that classic "hand-drawn" look to it. More accurate to say hand-painted, though. There's something about non-digital that I just prefer, some way in which the frames move that you can tell it was all manually done. One of my favorite moments was when the "camera" was spinning around Tima and she had to follow it. That must have been so difficult to draw, and yet it looks so good.

I recall a lot of people finding it a bit of a disappointment, and in some ways I can see why. The characters are largely very simple and with some shallow motivations. I actually wasn't sure how to describe it to my brother, as if I were to say "style over substance" that feels more applicable to the prior night's Batman Ninja. Metropolis has substance, but its... insubstantial substance? I think part of it is that it has themes regarding class and self-conscious identity that are hit in a shallow manner, even though they don't feel like shallow imitations. Like, if you watch the live-action Ghost in the Shell, you'll walk out of the movie theater knowing that whoever put it together just didn't understand what the original film or Stand Alone Complex were trying to convey (especially with the closing monologue). Metropolis understands it, but doesn't actually dig into it in a meaningful fashion.

As a result, it can feel either very generic or very derivative in terms of plot and characters. Which is where I think the style saves it. It's able to tell the story in a fashion that draws from not only the original manga, but the Fritz Lang film that loosely inspired the manga. It makes it an enjoyable, comfortable film to watch whose animation is purely wonderful... with the exception of some CG that hadn't aged well. I think that's my only issue. While the animation itself is largely still pre-digital, they still implemented CG imagery, and that feels jarring and looks out of date at times.

Regardless, I really enjoyed it, and if this weekend has taught me anything it is that I evidently really like Madhouse productions. Granted, looking at their entire library there's plenty of things I haven't seen or wouldn't really care about, but it's amazing how many films or television shows I've enjoyed in the past that were all done by them.


And as I forgot to share it yesterday: trailer for the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress film releasing May 10th in Japan. It... might be releasing straight to Netflix and Amazon Video over there? I'm not sure, but those two names appear quite clearly under the release date.

I feel like a second season for after the film was confirmed but I cannot recall. At the very least, the film is a continuation from where the first season ended. I'm one of the few people that really dug it, especially more than Attack on Titan, so I also anticipate being one of the few in any way glad to see this film happening.

IMAGE(https://i.redd.it/k7t979hr57v21.jpg)

Attack on Titan is back with season 3. The first episode has newly promoted Armin and company plugging up holes and searching for the traitors from last season. They are also taking back wall Maria or trying to at least. In a couple more years we might found out what is in the basement.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

In a couple more years we might found out what is in the basement.

Ha! Before season two was out I found out, as the manga had apparently reached that point.

What's in the basement is precisely why I haven't bothered watching past the first season.

The second and third season are paced considerably faster than the second half of season one. What we're seeing now is the second half of season 3.

Stumbled on The Helpful Fox Senko-san, and it's cute!
Seems to be early in the series, they've only got up to episode 4 so far.
Reminds me a lot of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: a magical being comes to live with an ordinary and overworked programmer as a live in maid.
Maybe going to be less on the sexual innuendo? The bit in Fox-san where the main character is petting Senko's tail is sexual, I guess, though the subtitles (I'm watching at work, so no audio) suggested it was more ticklish?
Either way, it's cute, so I think I'm going to like it.

In his defense, that tail looks very fluffy.

The weird part was the post-credits first-person vignette.

Agathos wrote:

In his defense, that tail looks very fluffy.

The weird part was the post-credits first-person vignette.

Yup, I watched all 4 episodes, and they all have the 1st person part post credits.

And yes, I did like it and definitely want to watch more.

Wife and I watched the first episode of Senko-san and I think I'm going to leave that one to her. She thinks it's cute, I found it uncomfortable, the first-person segment most of all.

What I'm watching this season.

New Series:

AFTERLOST
A sci-fi adventure where an entire town vanished, except for a sole survivor. She's looking for answers, an evil organization is after her, the ghosts of those who vanished keep appearing with superpowers, and the characters travel into the echos of the vanished's regrets. It feels a little muddled right now, perhaps because it was based on a gatcha mobile game.

Amazing Stranger
Two years ago, we had an anime about anime figures coming to life and (occasionally) battling each other. It was cute and more enjoyable than it had any right to be. Surely the same formula will work twice right? Only let's reduce the combat and up the fan-service! Eh. It's alright. There is some promise episode 5 will mix the format up a bit, so maybe it'll get more interesting this week.

Cinderella Nine
A story about a group of girls who start up a school baseball team and, presumably, do extremely well despite most of them only playing for the first time. I find it delightfully cute and fun to watch, although since it wastes little time throwing the team together, I have a hard time remembering much about a couple of the members.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
So far this one was been am impressive action series. Not saying it isn't terribly formulaic, parts of it certainly is (it is a Shonene Jump action title, after all), but it does a great job of establishing itself with its style and atmosphere. I'm told later fights get impressively brutal and I'm glad to see the fantastic visual effects on the lead character's attacks isn't just a flashy design for the opening.

Fairy gone
An adventure series where the main cast of characters are bonded with fairies they can summon to help them fight. Its a bit like JoJo only less extreme, which isn't a bad thing. It does well with it's dour setting, a world recovering from a massive war with the nations trying to reign in the spread of the super-weapons developed during the war (i.e. the characters with the fairies). It's alright, but hasn't particularly gripped me with excitement to see more.

Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu
Hitori is a painfully shy and insecure... perhaps the character I can relate the most to! Well, kinda, hero insecurities are taken to a comical extreme. I think the show is adorable and hilarious. Its been one of my favorites so far this season.

Isekai Quartet
A short-format cross over of Re:ZERO, Overlord, Konosuba, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil that has been a great joy to watch each week.

Joshi Kausei
An interesting, dialog-free short format anime following three girls in their "daily lives." It's kinda cute, easy to watch, and can get a little strange at times.

Midnight occult civil servants
Another story about a group dealing with yokai and the problems they can cause. The setting causes me to immediately compare it to MuShiShi, The Morose Mononokean, and Natsume's Book of Friends, which is perhaps a bit unfair, since two of those are a high bar to match. So far it's been alright, if a bit frustrating when the characters are so oblivious to the clues and solutions in each of their encounters.

Nobunaga teacher's young bride
Crunchyroll lists their version as uncensored. I knew it was going to be fan-service heavy. It was inevitable. In spite of this, the first couple episodes had me hoping it would be an interesting exploration of changes in relationships and the role of women between the Edo period and modern society. But no, after setting the up the situation it turned up the fan-service.

Senryuu Girl
Our title character is only comfortable comunitating in senryuu (a less thematically strict haiku). I find the series a bit heart warming when it focuses on her relationship with a former delinquent fostering a interest in poetry, and cute and amusing the rest of the time. It saddens me a bit that the quick pace of simulcasting it means the work isn't put into making the subtitles match the pattern of their senryuu.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san
This one was just discussed, and, yes, I find it extremely cute, as I'm sure you're shocked to hear.

We Never Learn
Last season we saw Quintessential Quintuplets, a story about a boy tutoring a group of quintuplets who were all intelligent in one school subject but lousy at all the others. We Never Learn is about a boy tutoring a trio of girls, two of which are genius in half of their categories, the third who is a sports prodigy, but are otherwise terrible at everything else. Quintessential Quintuplets kept ranking high in popularity polls in Japan, but so far I think I like We Never Learn better, probably because it sticks with the comedy and moe rather than the relationships and drama QQ tried to do.

Wise Man’s Grandchild
Another isekai series with an incredibly overpowered protagonist. I like how his level of power come from him not being limited to the "common sense" of the world he lives in, but is fueled by his knowledge of science and fantasy and science fiction tropes. It's also refreshing that it doesn't go the harem route, but is very straight forward with establishing him in a relationship, even if the two of them are adorably shy and uncertain about their obvious mutual feelings.

Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki
A short format series about Nagoya, as guided by a probably unreliable high school girl who goes all out with the "nyaa"s of the Nagoya accent. It's cute (gesh, I say that a lot) and good for a few quick laughs.

YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World
Another repeating time drama (like Re:Zero or Erased). This one started off a little show and then quickly dove into subjects that make it difficult for me to enjoy, in this case rape coerced sex and suicide. Other than creating a villain I absolutely despise, this series hasn't done much for me. Not sure I'll continue to give it a chance to, either.


Continuing/return series:

Attack on Titan
I'll enjoy it as long as it keeps the same pacing as last season.

Black Clover
Still an enjoyable series, even if it is one of the most "Shonen Jump-ish" of series.

Bungou Stray Dogs
I swear they packed this series so full of backstory that we've spent more time with what started at the series' secondary protagonist than we have with the main one at this point.

One Punch Man
The titular joke still hasn't gotten old.

The Rising of the Shield Hero
Still love it.


Catch up:

D. Gray-Man
I had watch the first dozen or so episodes a while ago and read the manga a bit, and really enjoyed both. Always meant to get back to the anime, and that time has finally come. Going to take a while...

Oh, the last two episodes of Maerchen Maedchen finally exist and are up on Crunchyroll for those who watched it and all its production problems.

There's an OVA for Tsurune that just went up on Crunchyroll, for those who haven't had their USRDA of Free! with archery (like me).

Worth the price of admission just to see the gobsmacked look on the main character's "rival" idiot's face when confronted with a coach who isn't an autocratic, hypercompetitive twat and actually goes for the philosophical aspects of kyudo.

S2 Ep15 ending of One Punch Man. That is all.

karmajay wrote:

S2 Ep15 ending of One Punch Man. That is all.

Thanks for the reminder that season 2 is running.

Watched the first episode of The Quintessential Quintuplets and... I don't know if I'll continue it.
I can't put my finger on it, but something about the presentation feels off to me. Almost stilted and forced.

Taharka wrote:

Watched the first episode of The Quintessential Quintuplets and... I don't know if I'll continue it.

Yeah. I can’t figure out why it is as popular as it is. It did well enough that they have already announced a second season.

Taharka wrote:

Watched the first episode of The Quintessential Quintuplets and... I don't know if I'll continue it.
I can't put my finger on it, but something about the presentation feels off to me. Almost stilted and forced.

Quintessential Quintuplets is a bit of a second tier romcom, I think. It's got some misdirects and genre subversions that really only work if you're familiar with all the tropes and all the character archetypes of that sort of genre. Without those little bits of gotchas, it loses a lot of punch.

For instance, Yotsuba is your fairly typical Genki Girl, meaning that she's no good at nearly anything else, but she's absurdly strong and she's up for anything. It's one of the most distinct character archetypes in a Japanese romcom, and she's a fairly typical example of it, being one of the most different and distinct sorts of characters in these stories. But. She's a quintuplet. This means that genetically, she is identical to all of her sisters. In fact, later on, we learn that up until VERY recently, they were all nearly indistinguishable from each other. So how is it that she's so different now?

Mantid wrote:
Taharka wrote:

Watched the first episode of The Quintessential Quintuplets and... I don't know if I'll continue it.

Yeah. I can’t figure out why it is as popular as it is. It did well enough that they have already announced a second season. :?

I think part of it is the popularity of the manga, and in the manga, at least, the author is playing a game with his readers. It's a good natured game, and it's fun. Unlike most other stories of this type, Negi regularly switches up the costumes of his characters, so you can't tell who is who just from their hairstyle or clothing. Someone who looks like Yotsuba could be Itsuki pretending to be Yotsuba, so it's a game of decoding who is who based on genre savvy and little character hints. It's a sort of dramatic play between characters, so every time Futarou says something to one of them, you have to think about what that means to all of them, and then you have to figure out who he's actually talking to and what it would mean in that scenario, if that person isn't actually who they're pretending to be. It's a fun game. I don't know that that comes through in the anime quite as strongly.

Malor wrote:

Huh, I'll have to check that out. (Hunter x Hunter). Sounds like it's got enough content to keep me busy awhile.

So, as it turns out: it did! It took me more than a month to finish this one. 148 episodes at about 20 minutes each is a heck of a lot of content.

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. There were parts I liked a very great deal. There were parts I didn't care for much. And even as an outsider, I could tell that there's probably about half the anime tropes on display here. ccesarano was saying that it didn't have Chosen One, but I kind of disagree; Gon (the main hero) may not have been pre-selected for anything, but he clearly has ridiculous natural talent.

This whole idea of a 12-year-old being able to meaningfully fight against adults is a very strange trope, one that I had trouble accepting; being adult, I realize that this is pandering to an audience. Were I the target audience, of course, I'd be enthusiastically in favor. Yet, even though it's clearly targeted at young people, it's actually pretty watchable for an old guy.

The characters are done well, and I found the stories pretty engaging, on an individual basis. But they hung together a little strangely; it didn't feel like the author knew where he or she was going when they started, and they just sort of watched where the art took them, instead of planning it out much ahead of time. So it's pretty scattershot, and the story fabric as a whole doesn't quite mesh, in a sense, so the various threads end up sometimes pulling against each other instead of blending into a greater whole. It lacks that sense of excellence you get when you realize that everything was aimed at a specific goal, because in this case, it wasn't.

I contrast that with, say, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which is incredibly tightly plotted. It doesn't seem like it at first, but there isn't one wasted minute in that entire series. It looks aimless and formless for the first few episodes, but that's not true at all, and it takes at least two full viewings to entirely get that show.

In comparison, Hunter x Hunter wanders all over, poking around in the weeds, sometimes for an extended duration, before eventually getting back on track. It's like the author thought, "hey, that's interesting, let's do that for awhile", before dragging the series back toward where he wanted it to go. The Chimera Ant plotline is probably the best example; that really goes on much too long for the number of ideas it actually has. It could have been compressed way, way down. Toward the end, they took like 80 screen minutes to cover 3 actual minutes of in-universe time. (multiple, simultaneous, intense fights.)

Yet, for all its length, it still had a lot of good moments and memorable bits. It's worth watching, but I wish they'd managed to pack it tighter. It's worth about, say, 80 episodes, but they actually spend almost 150. And a lot of that happens during the second half, the over-long Chimera Ant segment. That part really dragged, and then some of the other threads were just left dangling.

But, if you've got a lot of time available, and you like anime with a really excessive amount of fighting, you could do much worse. I've seen enough of the early, crap anime to at least know that this isn't crap. It may or may not be to your taste, but it's done well.

Oh, and I saw the recommendation upthread for One Punch Man, and went through that quickly.

That show is goddamn hilarious. Even knowing almost nothing, I was laughing my ass off. The comedic timing is amazing. I think humor is probably one of the hardest things to translate, and they did a fantastic job with it in this case.

Even if you don't like battle anime, you may well like this one.

It's cool to read your thoughts. I actually haven't gone back since finishing up the Phantom Troupe on Netflix. I'll have to resume Hunter x Hunter one day, but right now might be looking more into rewatching some old comforts.

And I should probably scratch One Punch Man off my list, finally.

Keep in mind One Punch Man season 2 is currently simulcasting on Hulu. The joke still hasn’t gotten old.

On watching older series, I’m continuing my catch up on D.Gray-Man. I’ve passed where I stalled out on it last time, pushed through the second batch of filler episodes (those were bad), and quickly catching up with where I stopped reading the manga. Still an enjoyable watch.

ccesarano wrote:

It's cool to read your thoughts. I actually haven't gone back since finishing up the Phantom Troupe on Netflix. I'll have to resume Hunter x Hunter one day, but right now might be looking more into rewatching some old comforts.

And I should probably scratch One Punch Man off my list, finally.

I had a great time with it. And it's short and sweet, just 12 episodes in Season 1. Half a day is enough to finish it.

S2 isn't done yet, but presumably it will be about the same.