Spring 2019 Anime Wrap Up Review and some extra stuff

Gonna be a short one today I suspect. There were only a handful of shows I watched and only a handful of those were actually worth watching.

There was an obvious trend this season of shows having interesting premises and good opening episodes but then falling off a cliff towards the end. Hardly a new thing but for whatever reason there was a higher than normal amount of it amongst the things that I watched.

Good

Hitoribocchi no Marumau Seikatsu– this show seemed to be based on trolling western audiences based on the names of all the characters. But it was a pretty funny slice of life gag show that had good character development as the show progressed. Some of the jokes wore a bit thin but overall the comedy stayed pretty good as new characters shook up the dynamics of the jokes. Probably not worth a rewatch but a great one to check out once.

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai– a reasonably funny harem with the odd twist that there is clearly a best girl (Fumino) who is also the only one not head over heals for MC-kun almost immediately. Was basically a better execution of 5-toubun no Hanayome from one season earlier. The loli girl was a bit on the nose in my opinion but I’m pleasantly shocked that a second series has already been announced. Now I just want a second season of Devil is a Part Timer.

Senryuu Shoujo– probably the stand out of the season, a classic high school romance where one of the characters only communicates via written senryuu poems. My only knock is that at the very end of the season, despite a heap of build up and action in the final few episodes, the characters didn’t really end up in a different position compared to where they started. At best they’d moved maybe half a step forward but I would have liked it to be a bit more conclusive.

Dissappointing

One Punch Man S2– despite what all the angry weebs are saying about this, I don’t actually care about the drop in animation quality compared to S1. Yes it’s not as good but honestly it’s still fine. As evidenced by the story of how One Punch Man became popular enough to get an anime, top quality art isn’t it’s strength. It’s the peculiar insanity of the premise and story. And my biggest issue is with that- in particular the huge absence of the titular One Punch Man for the majority of the show. There was more time spend teasing him fighting in the martial arts tournament than he was actually fighting in it. Such that a one episode amount of story content was spread over most of the season. And then one of his fights was off screen (to comic effect which I liked) and the other was like the last two minutes of the final episode. Speaking to people who have read the manga/webcomic, apparently Saitama features less and less as the story progresses so I suspect my issue is more with the source material than the anime. But the fights with Saitama were by far the highlight of S1 and the lack of them in this season combined with the constant teasing of them being around the corner was irritating.

Kenja no Mago– I went into this expecting a fairly bland isekai and what i got was a very bland isekai that kept referencing some incredibly interesting shit happening of screen. The disconnect between how much everyone in this fantasy world panicked at a single demon threatening their city and how blasé they were about an entire army of demons overrunning a neighbouring country was non-sensical. The idea of an uber powered and smart protagonist who had zero real world experience was interesting enough, but the ever increasing number of side characters really slowed down the story. My favourite being the young princess who had the voice of a 40 year old chain smoking dude. There were enough gags throughout most episodes to be amusing and they at least locked in a main girl as the MC’s girlfriend. But the animation and art were pretty horrid at times, even for someone like me who doesn’t notice that shit.

Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san– this was a pretty bland show. There was a plot point about how there was no character progression being made which was either a genius excuse for terrible writing/planning or a horrid excuse for terrible writing/planning. Was uncomfortable the whole time I watched this that I was going to be arrested for some underage child thing, which was not helped by the post-credit stuff which got a hard pass from me. If you like definitely-legal-aged-girls-who-look-very-young who also have animal ears and have the singular character trait of wanting to be your servant/slave, then I guess this one is for you. Also the main guy needs to tell his work colleagues to fuck of and solve their problems themselves.

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari– it’s hard to pin point exactly where this went to shit. It started off pretty fantastic for the first arc (if a bit rocky in the very first few episodes due to the level of naive idiocy required by some antagonistic characters) but there was definitely a really good period. But by the end it was pretty bad. One big part would be the climatic fight happening in ep 18 or 19 and having three competing forces (well, four by the end) rather than two. I think the church being introduced as a villain or that fight and then immediately beaten, while simultaneously undermining the villainy of Malty was a big mistake. In addition having the four heroes still not get along after that point was simply not believable. Even if I buy that the other three heroes were naive idiots at the beginning, the events leading up that battle should have 100% corrected that for the Sword and Bow heroes while that battle itself should have brought the Spear on board. Then the weird mini-arc at the end which was basically to rush in the revelation about the nature of the Waves was… well.. rushed. And also kind of obvious with the introduction of two new mysterious and strong characters several eps earlier. I’d be interested in seeing a second season just to see the end of the story. I tried reading the web novel of this and god it was awful. So maybe the staff did the best they could with what they were given.

Isekai Quartet– this was a strange one. It was kind of funny in parts but the jokes ran thin with the 12 minute episode run times. The characters of Tanya the Evil also really didn’t fit in- which was lampooned in story a few times but even so I couldn’t get over it. Even the staff couldn’t seem to figure it out- the ED credits feature a performance of the “main” girl who is the deuteragonist of Re:Zero, KonoSuba and Overlord… plus Tanya who is the main character of her series instead of the deuteragonist female character from that series. The chibi art was fine I guess but the weird sort-of-progressing-but-not-really story was disappointing.

Joshikausei– an interesting art piece of an anime where the character don’t speak at all. Kind of wore thing even though the episodes run for less than 3 minutes each.

Mob Psycho 100 S2– technically last season but I finished it this season. I guess it’s fine but I seriously don’t get why people are so fucking hyped about it. Someone tried to argue with me that this will be as reputable and popular in 20+ years as Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion are nowadays. They are clearly an idiot.

Nobunaga-sensei no Osanazuma– this was flat out hentai. And not even good hentai. How did this get broadcast on TV?

Continuing

Fruits Basket 2019– I was super nervous about watching this given how much I enjoyed the original series (and I’m scared to rewatch that in case i learn it’s actually garbage). But fuck me this show is wonderful. The characters are so good, it looks pretty fantastic and the story is interesting even if I already know the general gist of it. Highly recommend.

Mix: Meisei Story– I’m not a big fan of baseball but did play it a bit when I was younger. I’m also a sucker for a good sports movie/anime. And given this is like the third or fifth or 300th time the author has written this exact same story with the same characters, they’ve made both pretty good. Only caveat on a high recommendation is don’t watch it at the same time as any of the other work by the author (e.g. Touch) coz it will blend in.

Kimetsu no Yaiba– I didn’t really like the first couple of eps and I wish I’d stuck to my guns and dropped it. Given how much hype it was getting by the pseduo-main stream media, it was always going to be pretty average and dissappointing. I guess the animation scenes are good and the art style is unique/interesting, but the story and characters are pretty cliche.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes– have decided to slowly work my way through the 1980s/90s classic. And it’s fucking amazing. The art/animation is obviously dated but the sheer array of characters and complex storyline it weaves overwhelms any sort of critiscm along such comparatively petty lines. But given how fucking long this thing is, I reckon I’ll be at it for a few years.

BONUS

Code Geass S1+S2– was watching this piecemeal while on holiday and after watching the new movie in cinemas, had a real itch to finish it out. It’s still so fucking good. I seriously recommend it. The only thing of note is that the official continuity of the new movie, and thus everything new that’s apparently to come, has a big key difference. Shirley isn’t dead. It super confused me when I saw the episode where Shirley died because she was still alive and kicking. And it really tears me as to whether or not I like the change. I fucking love Shirley and (I have to be in the minority here) think she was best girl for Lelouch. She was the normal, grounded person unlike CC and Kallen and more so than Nunally really kept Lelouch in touch with humble reality. Her death is an incredibly sad and poignant moment that shifts Lelouch’s character direction massively. It’s such a key moment and getting rid of it for… some unclear reason… I’m not a fan of. Even if it does keep the best girl alive which I am a fan of. Ugh. Makes the new movie go from fun/fine to annoying/bad.

Kizumonogatari– I can’t recall if I watched the first two movies previously but I watched all three after getting my hands on a copy of the final part of the trilogy. It’s classic Monogatari. It’s good, it’s beautiful with its cinema quality art and animation. Its got some good gags. its got some awkward panty stuff.  It has excessively long monologues with insane camera work. Everything you love and/or hate about the franchise.

DanMachi Movie: Orion no Ya– this movie had only one session on the day I saw it, in the first week of it being released and I was the only one in the cinema. On a weekend. Everyone else made the right decision. I guess it was a fine, self-contained story but it really leant on the worst bit of DanMachi (the characters) and actively ignored the best bit (the premise). Was hoping Zeus might pop in but no such luck.

Gym Rewatch

I’ve discovered I can access anime streaming services on the treadmills at my gym so rather than watch youtube speedruns I’m working through various shows on my rewatch list. Also I should note a “Fuck you Crunchyroll” for a) the sheer amount of stuff on their service I can’t watch in Australia and b) the incessant, highly repetitive adverts. If I haven’t started watching One Piece yet, showing me the same ad 6-8 times during an episode of a TV show isn’t going to change my mind.

(A feature where I could mark off what shows I’ve already watched and/or have no interest in would be really good- I legit would like them to advertise shows to me that I don’t know about in case they strike my fancy. There’s been a couple things I’ve given a try because of it in between the ads for One Piece and RWBY.)

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun– fuck this show is so good. Even five years on (which horrifies me), the humour, characters and story really holds up. As does the art and animation (at least on my iPad). But the lack of a conclusion to the story and/or a second season fucking kills me.

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge– I really enjoyed this show when it first aired but ran out of steam on the rewatch at episode six. There were a few key scenes I remembered fondly and I’d hit them all by episode four. I may go back and finish it off but… well… I dunno. The jokes in this one just didn’t hold up as well.

Ixion Saga DT– speaking of something that doesn’t hold up, despite me loving this when it first came out I barely managed to struggle my way through two episodes of this. It’s dated horribly. Had to apologise to a mate of mine who tried to watch it a year or two ago and I gave them shit for not liking it. It’s bad.

Log Horizon– I’m still unsure of this one. I watched the first two eps and it didn’t grab my like I thought it would. But it didn’t actively turn me off like Ixion Saga DT did. I recall it was a slow burner (and that season 2 was garbage) so I’m probably going to give it another crack in the near-ish future to see if it’s worth it.

Winter 2019 Anime Review

I enjoy how as each season passes I have less and less enthusiasm to write in anything approximating a reasonable timeframe.

As seems to be a recurring theme, a fair chunk of shows in this season had interesting premises or ideas but then ended up kind of dissappointing. So consistently so that it’s not really worth dividing up good/bad among the things I did watch.

So in (mostly) alphabetical order here’s the anime I watched in Winter 2019:

Domestic no Kanajo– this show started off interesting. Gave a bit of a Scums Wish vibe with the teacher and student relations. Domestic na KanojoAlso the unexpected sexual relations in episode 1 were quite an intriguing twist. But the show just didn’t live up to those initial expectations. It particularly irked me that the boy kept calling the teacher ‘Sensei’ while flirting/hooking up and this didn’t cause the woman to be constantly reminded about how she was a teacher fucking her student. And that was a huge breach of professional conduct. Was really implausible and inconsistent how well she accepted that and didn’t seem to care about the obvious professional risks (and moral ones too I guess). Even just having the kid call her by her surname would be a massive improvement as it would mean they stopped whacking us in the face with it. Also the way they, inevitably, get busted is stupid. In on episode they “hide” by crouching down in a fuck off huge hallway at the school that is 80% windows outside. But that works out fine. Meanwhile they later fuck in a hotel room on the 10th storey of a building and somehow the school photographer takes a photo of a bonfire dance outside that somehow clearly catches them. 6/10

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue– again this show started off pretty good. Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. Despite being thoroughly over the overused trope of an MC being a shut in mangaka with no social skills (Barakamon did this best, stop trying to capture lightning in a bottle again) this show had the fantastic twist of dedicating half the episode to being from the perspective of a tsundere cat. Which the MC adopts. Hence his “roommate is a cat” and the show started off quite great. But Episode 3 was an early stumbling block where it had a random supernatural element related to the MCs dead parents spirits being chased around by the cat. Then as episodes progressed they clearly ran out of ideas of what could be said/done through the cats perspective so we got higher and higher proportions of each episode on the stupid MC. And the eclectic cast of tropes who he ran interacted with. Only interesting one was the pet store lady (and I guess her younger brother) but she was in like 3 or 4 episodes. Fun premise but you’re probably better off watching Barakamon and Chi’s Sweet Home. 6/10

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan– am very late to the party on this. Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no GohanWas a monthly short by ufotbale with the Fate/Stay characters going on low key cooking adventures. Slow paced slice of life. I’m not much of a cook so the chunks of run time dedicated to explaining recipes were a bit much (I assume they were accurate recipes) but I guess it was nice seeing where these characters from a mid-2000s choose your own adventure porno have ended up. A good show to chuck on before going to bed because if you fall asleep you won’t really miss anything. 5/10

Fate/Stay Heavens Feel II- Lost Butterfly– speaking of “choose your own adventure porno from the mid-2000s”, I saw the second Heavens Feel movie in cinema a few weeks back. Further cementing Sakura as the best girl in my mind (although I expect if I rewatched UBW I’d prefer Rin). Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven's Feel - II. Lost ButterflyThe art and animation was fucking beautiful in this, with some absolutely gorgeous fight scenes between various Servants. Also some high tension scenes where characters confronted others- in particularly I liked Gilgamesh confronting Sakura in a dark alleyway at night time. Was less of a fan of the scene where Sakura and Shiro finally have sex. Two reasons- firstly the dialogue was the cringewothy garbage that… well… reminds you this was the third/secret route of a choose your own adventure porno written nearly decades ago. It was very bad. Equally bad was how much a of a cock tease the scene was- so often Sakura’a tits were nearly on screen but the nipples always managed ot just be out of shot or obscured. Fuck that. If you’re keeping the fucking dialogue, at least show me the insane ‘big tiddys’ of this hot anime girl on the big screen. I want a canon image for what Sakura looks like topless. In beautiful ultra 4k HD or whatever resolution cinemas play. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the movie. It did suffer a bit being the middle of a trilogy. Also I’ve become psychologically used to anime movies I see in cinema being fucking masterpieces (Your Name, Silent Voice, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas) or popular trash (DBZ movies, Yugioh Movies, that SAO movie). This movie was weirdly neither- it was towards the masterpiece end in terms of production quality and those fight scenes but it was still nowhere near the typical level of an anime movie that breaks into a western release. Will probably revisit it and the first one in a marathon before going to see the third one… if I remember. So uhh… 7/10?

Endro– I really dunno what I expected with this one. Endro~!It gave me Yuru Camp vibes (the MC is basically the same person) in a fantasy setting. And I suppose that’s what I got. But the characters were all pretty one dimensional, the Princess shit me off and the ultimate direction the plot went it was really unsatifying. I technically watched this until the end but I definitely watched the last bunch of episodes in a marathon while working on some other stuff at the same time (and given I don’t speak Japanese, that shows how much I needed to pay attention to follow what was happening). I guess it’s a fine show to pass the time. 6/10

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai– this show was fantastic. The premise sounded like absolute garbage when I read it so it was a breath of fresh air that this turned out so fun. That occasional victory makes slogging through so many bad/disappointing shows worth it… although those rare victories are what keeps the optimism that makes me slog through so much garbage barely alive. Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai ZunousenThe dynamic between the three main characters was fantastic, with the occasional extra of the Treasurer being a great add on. One of my friends informs me that in the source material the Treasurer is more involved earlier on. But I think the well-crafted gag in early episodes of pictures/memories of activities having a fourth person blurred out that the other three are clearly forgetting about makes the tweak worthwhile. Towards the end of the series it did have a few burrs- like the stupid ‘Kaguya becomes a child when she is ill’ which was perhaps a step too far beyond suspension of disbelief. Also the final episode left me with a bit of a bland aftertaste as it seemed that after all the activities we’d seen, including the requisite big emotional arc in the final clump of episodes, the two love interest characters were somehow not in any different position than how things had begun. In fact none of the characters really developed or changed. My friend I mentioned earlier disagrees with that statement but I think he’s confusing us learning more about the characters as stuff happened with the characters changing in response to that stuff happening. And I do acknowledge that in this sort of slice of life comedy show you typically don’t get huge character development. But even half a step in… well… any direction would have been great. All that being said, still an overall fantastic show. 8/10

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru– this show may technically have been part of last season given it ran for a weird amount of 23 episodes. But it was fantastic. All sport anime are either fantastic emotional roller coasters or bland mediocrity and this definitely fell into the former category. The fact that it developed all ten of the runners; plus some supporting characters and rivals AND their various, changing relationships was so good. Kaze ga Tsuyoku FuiteiruThe art and animation were also pretty top notch… the CGI less so. But most impressive was how well it paced the overall story- the team forming arc (where each person was made to buy into the concept), the training/qualification arc (where everyone had to encounter and overcome a personal difficulty within the sport or external to the sport) and the final race itself (plus a small little post-race tease) were balanced perfectly. Nothing ran too long with padding or repeat concepts and nothing felt rushed. If anything, half an episode extra seeing the post-race stuff is all I’d want but ending where it did was perfect emotionally. And the emotional punch in that final stretch of the last leg where the two MCs have both an incredibly touching moment followed by a horrific heartbreak (unnoticed by anyone else) was… well… a roller coaster. This is up with Haikyuu as top 2 sports anime I’ve seen (sorry Kuroko!). Also it hit a bit of a personal note with the ‘making people buy into a cause and helping them push past what they thought their limits were’ stuff. Have done that in a few projects in the past and it is an immensely fun/satisfying thing to do. 9/10

Kemurikusa– this was a very weird one. I never got into Kemono Friends but I knew the creator has the capacity to do something weird and special with his work.Kemurikusa (TV) So I stuck with this even though I probably shouldn’t. It was an interesting world and aside from Wakaba the characters all had their charm. Was quite surprised with what happened with various characters as the finale started to kick into gear. The rapid development of the lore towards the end was both welcome as it explained what was happening but also unsatisfying as it didn’t really explain why the fuck what was happening was happening. The art style and animation were… interesting? Inconsistent? The best of times and the worst of times? I can only assume we’ll get a soulless S2 in a year or two that does a weird semi-reboot and makes things more confusing in terms of the lore. 6/10

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken– this started so well and then ended terribly. Actually I dunno if it started well. The premise seemed ideal for a 2 minute short, gag comedy anime rather than a serious action isekai. I figured the joke would wear off pretty soon and it did… hence they basically made the MC slime functionally a normal, if OP, human very quickly. Tensei shitara Slime Datta KenThat being said the Orc Lord arc was pretty good. And the bit before it about building a village and going to the Dwarf Kingdom were fine. Nothing special… except for Dwarves being human sized and looking just like normal men. But after the Orc Lord things went off the rails. The concept of the next bit with the Demon Lords gaining interest and Milim kicking about and the Charybdis (dunno how it was spelt) but what should have been a 12-13 episode second arc was a rushed 4 episode arc. Letting is then get in a stupid arc where the OP MC goes and teaches at a school to he can raise some troubled orphans. And then we get a side-story from the perspective of a character who died… and then we get a recap for the final episode… what the fuck. There were apparently heaps of story tweaks and changes from the source material. From what has been explained to me by people who have read it, none of them were necessarily bad changes. They just streamlined content and cut out pointless busy work. Like in the orphan child arc the MC has to find a place. In the anime the servant of a business partner knows where it is. In the original it’s some other mini-quest to find the information. Whatever. The issue was that in cutting out the pointless busywork they decided to rapidly accelerate the pace of interesting story content to squeeze in stupid story content. Very disappointing. 6/10

Tsurune– this show was fucking fantastic. I do archery myself and have dabbled in Kyudo so seeing the sport presented in such a compelling anime was fantastic. Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou KyuudoubuThe only issue I have with this show was that we didn’t see more of the girls- because I agree with the characters in the show that kyudo gear looks fucking hot. I really appreciated the depth to which the show focused on getting over the ‘hurdle’, especially when coming back from a failure, which is something I think is applicable to all sports (and probably most things people put effort into). Actually the more I think about this show the more uncertain as to whether Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru or this make up the top 2 with Haikyuu. Maybe the silly plot point of the archery coach getting in a car accident on the day of the tournament knocks this one down into spot three. 9/10

Yakusoku no Neverland– somehow I knew about this… franchise? Concept?… about 12 months ago and even then the premise didn’t super excite me. Yakusoku no NeverlandDunno why. It was very good. I think maybe it reminds me too much of the mid-2000s TV series Prison Break which was pretty good to start with but then rapidly jumped the shark once they actually broke out of prison. Also children annoy the shit out of me so the setting having them all be under the age of 12 was not appealing. But I was proven wrong- the art and animation worked really well, the characters were compelling and the plot had some very unexpected twists. Particularly in the last few episodes when… well… the plan starts having changes in it. There was a character trait in Emma that popped up towards the end that I didn’t quite buy and a fantastically unexpected detail about Ray. And Norman… wow… I was shocked how he played things out. Although I suspect the inevitable S2 will remove the emotional impact of his action. 8.5/10

Also here’s some thoughts on shows I started watching in Winter 2019 but didn’t finish for one reason or another:

Boogiepop wa Warawanai- this show had a weird number of episodes (~18 or so), a very confusing release schedule (due to the weird number of episodes) and a non-linear plot. And it’s also releated to a show from the early-2000s. Unsure if it’s a reboot or a sequel. Didn’t care enough to look. I’m assured that it is very good those who watch it and are into this sort of thing- sort of occult, sort of sci-fi, things only make sense on a rewatch when you have all the info and can piece it together. Is on the list of “things to go back to during a boring anime season. One day. Maybe”

Egao no Daika- I dunno why I though this would be interesting. All this show demonstrated was why you don’t put 12 year old children in charge of the military. Because they will do dumb shit and you will lose. Also it was (I assume) an accidental experiment in “trying to make both sides of the war emphathetic to show shades of grey even though one side is demonstrably an unprovoked aggressor doing evil shit to its citizens and the good guys”. Unsurprisingly the experiment found that it’s not possible to make a good storyline that way.

Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen- I think Madoka is fantastic for what it did with the Magical Girl Genre. I also think Magical Girl Raising Project is a fantastic extension on top of what Madoka laid. And given Madoka dealt with “Magical girls finding out shit is fucked” while Raising Project dealt with “Magical Girls surving through shit that is fucked” I hoped this show would delver on the third part of that concept with “Magical Girls dealing with PTSD having got theough the fucked shit”. Unfortunately it dropped that concept pretty much strgaight away and become a poorly animated, boring artsyle generic magical girls fighting each other and other things show.

Mob Psycho 100 S2- I’m still working my way through this. S1 didn’t grab me as much as it did everyone else but I enjoyed it enough. Same thing here. I’m assured that the second half is fantastic so I am currently watching it. And all signs are suggesting it could be fantastic. And if not it’s solid for bingeing while doing other stuff

Dororo- dunno about this. Nothing about it sticks out as bad. Or good. But it’s very different. The art and animation feel off but I can’t tell if I like that or hate it. The biggest draw is the world and the concept for the main plot. The biggest turn off is that the interesting character is mute (at least for the episodes I saw) and most of the dialogue comes from a stupid shit of a child. Another one that I’m assured is worth watching but unless I’m desperate I suspect I won’t get to it.

And some quickfire comments on some of the garbage that was put out by Japan in this three month period:

Dimension High School- interesting concept mixing j-drama and anime. The problem was that the show centred around solving Japanese word puzzles. With literal count down timers for the characters and audience to solve the puzzles. And if you aren’t fluent in reading, writing and speaking Japanese you just spend several minutes looking at still images of word puzzles watching a clock tick down. Absolute waste of an interesting idea.

W’z- WHO THE FUCK ASKED FOR A SEQUEL TO HANDSHAKERS? AND WHO THE FUCK WAS DUMB ENOUGH TO GREENLIGHT AND FUND IT?! FUCK YOU.

Ueno-san wa Bukiyou- I love Science. I don’t love weird attempted sexual harassment and assault in the name of science. Even having a girl doing it to a boy coz she’s fond of him doesn’t make it bearable

Mini Toji- a short based on… Katana no Toji(?) from several seasons back. I duno why I bothered watching it given I struggled to finish that show. I think it was a sequel spin off but who the fuck cares.

Rinshi!! Ekoda Chan- now this is a fantastic concept. Rather than the navel gazing garbage we get typically of “anime set in weeb industry X” (e.g. manga, gaming, anime itself…) this was a 3-5 minute anime short followed by a 20 minute interview with the staff (the director and VA on the episodes I saw) about the process of making anime. If this was an industry you were interested in working in, excellent viewing! Unfortunately that’d not me. Also in one of the first two eps (forget which) there was some really awkward viewing where the old, male director was correcting the young, female VA on what the character (a young, female) would feel on a topic. And the VA just had to sit there with the awkward “this old geezer is so wrong and misguided but if I say anything my career is fucked” smile on her face. A fantastic idea fucked in execution.

Manaria Friends- somehow a yuri show set in a fantasy school wasn’t good. The opposite of a miracle.

Virtual-san wa Miteiru- like Pop Team Epic but worse. In this one the unconnected and not-funny sketches are all riffing of the personas of artificial Japanese YouTube… “characters”. Like Hatune Miku but instead of bad to medicore songs, they are bad to bad YouTube personalities. With literally no story/plot or compent CG as far as I could tell.

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikotai- had pretty accurate WWII era dogfight style plane battles. Which meant they went too long. Also the CG and character models in the non-battle parts was terrible. Find a screencap of the girls standing around in the bar, look how big their hats and and judge the size of their heads to the rest of their bodies. It’s fucked

Girly Air Force- a boy has to seduce and fuck an idiot and/or tsundere airplane to help fight off mysterious alien spaceships/planes. Or something. A plot point of the early episodes is this random refugee getting into (maybe sneaking into) a Japanese Self Defence Force base via his bicycle. The same base with the only line of defence against mysterious aliens has very poor security. Or something… again the details from 3 months ago are hazy. In any event, it was not good.

Grimms Notes- haha isn’t is so funny that the male character transforms into a girl?! And they gallivant through a bunch of classic fairy tales while bantering with various character tropes. Comedy gold! Just read the Grimm Fairytales directly rather than this weird homage adaption.

Bermude Triangle- Colorful Pastrale- How is Cardfight Vanguard still popular enough to warrant this spin off anime about (I believe) one of the card sets? When was it ever popular enough to warrant that? In any event, obviously not popular enough to pay for any decent writer, artists or animators. Can’t remember if the VAs were good. But 4 minutes of this was absolutely horrific to watch.

Pastel Memories- this is the self-aggrandising, navel gazing shit that is a cancer on anime/Japanese popculture. Is about a maid café having to save Japan by making it remember anime/manga that has been mysteriously forgotten. One of the girls looks like a character from Monogatari series. Which is the closest thing to a good ting I can so… although it just reminds you about a far, far better show. This combines the poor book based content of Grimm Notes with the shit storyline of “Plastic Memories”. In the sense that Plastic Memories also had both a shit storyline and the word “Memories” in it’s title. Good stuff

Watashi no Tenshi ga Maiorita!- Female. Paedophiles. Are. Still. Paedophiles. And. Are. Still. Fucked. Up. For. Fuck. Sakes. Japan. Don’t. Encourage. This. Shit.

Ame-iro Cocoa- Side G- a centre swapped side story (‘side’ is literally in the same) about a coffee shop in what I assume is a franchise about coffee shops. All boys. Whatever. Slice of life with uninteresting characters. If you have no forward plot you need fantastic characters. Just having pretty characters isn’t enough. But I guess if you’ve watched the 4-20 previous seasons in the franchise (no clue how many there are. Whatever the number is, it’s too many) you’ll probably like it.

Meji Tokyo Renka- a time travelling reverse harem. If you like historically inaccurate hot boys vaguely seducing a blank slate who probably has some sort of special powers (didn’t watch more than half an episode); this is the one for you!

Summer 2018 Anime Review

It felt like I watched very few shows this season, so looking back at what I had apparently watched was quite a surprise. Here’s some thoughts:

Finished/Watched Shows

Grand Blue: Probably the closest thing to a stand out anime this season, a slice-of-life based at a university rather than a high school was refreshing. Sure the jokes were repetitive and there was a weird semi-plot line about kind-of-romance between cousins; but it was a fun show to chuck on and laugh at without thinking too much. Also seeing sexual themes outside of hentai and reasonably realistic alcohol consumption was cool.

Overlord S3: A better ratio of “boring-exposition-filler-with-stupid-characters” to “actually-interesting-story-and-world-development” episodes compared to S2. Perhaps not as good as S1 but still overall some really solid development of characters and story and even some world building. Credit where credit is due- some of the pay off in this season does depend on characters and story that were in “bad episodes” in S2. Have yet to watch the finale so it could shit the best but was overall an enjoyable series overall this season. I particularly liked the stuff actually dealing with the Tomb of Nazarick and it’s interactions with  the surrounding nations.

Hanebado: This was a solidly fine series. As with all sports series, it will never be as amazing as Haikyuu!! so it has to find an interesting take on the sports genre since it can’t have the best. In Hanebado, that ‘interesting take’ is that the MC is a psychologically fucked girl who has no feelings for other humans and once they are forced to play badminton, they break and become a maniac who brutally toys with and crushes everyone they play. The timing of the reveal is good because at about episode 6 the show is a super generic sports anime… and then this girl goes fucking insane. Which carries through enough interest as everyone else fails to understand the monster they have unleashed.

Boku no Hero Academia S3: I am officially over this show. There was a really great part in the middle where the plot actually progressed and characters/world had to deal with the fall out of what was happening. But the start and end were boring tied-to-the-progression-of-a-school-year bits. Plus a few very clumsy attempts to shoe horn in plugs for the new movie. But seriously- the whole world/society is grappling with the concept that their previous system/symbol of justice and law and order (All Might) is gone and the Villains are coordinating… and we’re seeing shit about the kids going on Summer Camp (which is shockingly attacked by Villains) and going for the equivalent of a Drivers License so they can do work experience. Also the incredibly patronising way the show reminds the viewer of every fucking heroes’ fucking name and fucking superpower whenever their face is on screen. This is fucking season 3. I know who the characters are and what they do. All you are doing is annoying me and reminding me how fucking unbalanced these bloody super powers are. I was offered free tickets to go see the movie in cinemas and I turned them down because fuck that.

Happy Sugar Life: This was a mixed bag anime. It had a heap of interesting potential based on the first episode of this clearly crackpot girl trying live her crazed fantasy and murder anyone who got in her way without breaking the illusion of her being an normal high school girl.  But from episode 2 onwards every new character introduced turned out to be equally fucked up which made all the characters overall less interesting. that being said, the way the story panned out in the last couple episodes wasn’t what i was expecting which was pleasant. A surprisingly gory and dark show even given the premise, would recommend people check it out but not a high priority

Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria: My god this was a horrifically bad show. Offensively so. The idea of a normal guy being taken into a battle world and using his phone’s internet search ability to climb to power and gather a harem is super original. The only original part of this show was the fact it somehow thought it would get a sequel and spent the last episode doing stupid filler rather than actually resolving the big cliff hanger battle. With it ending as the MC rode off to the final big battle. At least it had a diverse cast in the harem including an occasionally funny comedic duo of sisters.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu: This show started interesting… if you could get over the obsene fan service. It provided an interesting fill in whiel Overlord S3 had a shaky start. And then when Ovelrod 3 got really good, this got even dumber. I found the ebst way to watch it was to skip the 2/3 of each episode that was exposition/plot or “plot” and just watch the fairly interesting battles.

One Room S2: I loved the first four episodes which featured the same heroine as part of S1. Because she was the best heroine in S1. Then the other two heroines were uninteresting and boring.

Shichisei no Subaru: I have no clue how I watched this the whole thing. It was so generic and lame. The only thing of note here is that the conceit of the show is that the main girl literally died five years ago while playing an VR-MMORPG and her mind was somehow trapped in the game. So the heroes need to find out how to free here. And then at the end of the series…. that hasn’t changed. Despite the big celebration vibe and how everyone is now super happy because they beat the villain and the hero group is reunited and ready to play the game more.

Steins;Gate 0: I’m a bit torn on this one. There was an amazing stretch of episodes in the early-mid section with big reveals and twists and fall out and emotions. But overall the shows not been anywhere near as good as the original. Which is admittedly a fucking hard act to follow. I’m still about 5 or 6 episodes short of finishing it so will see how it pans out. The original smashed the home run out of the park so hopefully this version will too.

Shingeki no Kyojin S3: I don’t enjoy this show. I know that the manga/story is insane and bad and does not live up to the hype/set up of the beginning of the series. But this is so ingrained int the anime discourse that I’m obliged to at least half watch it while playing games on my Switch. It’s vaguely interesting I suppose.

Started and Dropped (typically dropped after 3 eps):

Island: Fuck this show was a mess. I was hoping for another Star Driver given episode 1 was a fucking beat for beat rip off of the concept… minus the cool robots. Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened was there was a semi on camera sex scene at the end of ep 9 or 10 (I dropped it before this point so i’m not sure) which, I think, meant the MC had been hooking up with his daughter in earlier episodes. Because it turned out there was time travel involved. Ugh.

Harukana Receive: Haikyuu!! is about volleyball and is a fucking amazing show? take that concept and put it on a beach with a bunch of pretty girls of a variety of shapes (well, most of them have big tits) in skimpy bikinis. What can go wrong? Everything. So boring. not great animation. Really flat characters (as in, flat personality wise). Repetitive “jokes”.

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes: A vaguely interesting concept- anime Antiques Roadshow with some not-subtle-Sherlock-Holmes-ripoff elements. But man it wore thing very quickly.

Aguu Tensai Ningyou: what started as an interesting art style and story/world very quickly become not that. Some of the visuals were uncomfortable to watch but not in a good way. What could have been an interesting psychological thriller became a generic action battle thing. Yawn.

Angolmois – Genkou Kassenk: An odd art/animation style and a weird mismatch of ‘realism’ and ‘clearly not realism’ made this interesting concept for a show (Japan’s historical fighting off the Mongol invasion) a wasted opportunity. At least it wasn’t set in the Sengoku period like every other historical anime.

Hataraku Saibou: it’s a kids show that is kind of meant to be educational (maybe) but loses a lot of it’s accuracy for “story” convenience. Which is fine. But the eccentric yet flat and non-developing characters ran it’s course in a few episodes. Also trying to pass off cancer as a misunderstood emo is fucked up Japan. Cancer is a horrific disease and does not deserve sympathy.

Satsuriku no Tenshi: yawn

Planet With: Eh I dunno with this one. I watched maybe 6 eps and then just stopped. Story was a bit weird but not in a good way. Animation was flashy but not in a god way.  Go watch Gurren Lagann instead.

Back Street Girls – Gokudolls: Wow. What a mess of a concept and a mess of a show. Watched three episodes and then was saved from having to question myself about possibly enjoying it because the sub group dropped it on account if it being a crime against humanity.

Banana Fish: Was fine. I guess. Meh. Pretty child sex victim takes on the Mafia coz they have a drug that fucked up his brother in The War. And there’s a cute Japanese boy there at the same time for reasons for romantic plot.

High Score Girl: Meh. Yawn. Whatever. Terrible art style.

Tenrou Sirius the Jaeger: The Vampire Bandwagon collapsed like a decade ago. Move on.

Iya na Kao Sare Nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai: I deny watching this. you can’t prove anything.

Anything else this season was so shit it didn’t even make it to three episodes and thus is not worth rating/talking about. And given fucking Goku Dolls DID make it, that should tell you how bad they were.

Bonus!

Marchen Madchen: realised I’d watched 8 episodes and the series only went 10 so thought I’d finish it. Only to find it didn’t finish. And in fact had some of the worst animation I;d ever seen. After some brief digging, I found this amazing dissection of the fucked production that was this series. And boy is it fucked.

Masamune-kun no Revenge: This had been sitting partially watched on my computer for ages. but I finally acknowledged that FanSubs are dead, DDY are never going to finish this and I might as well watch official subs to finish it. It was a solid 7/10 show with a bunch of dumb twists to pad out the back end to prevent any actual resolution occurring.

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru: A left over form last season that i thought was ok based on the first 3 eps but didn’t get around to watching. After watching two more eps and I firmly disagree with myself from three month ago. Anime about politics are great when done well. And shit when done like this.

Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan: I don’t know what the fuck this was or why it happened. There was apparently a 45 second promo in 2012 and then nothing until this appeared in July 2018. And it was weirdly promoted by a lot of family friendly anime distributors despite it content. A b grade horror movie given anime form- unnecessary nudity, terrible action, lots of blood and gore, “characters”, “story” etc. Months later I still don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s actually a comedy.

Seitokai Yakuindomo Movie: I forgot how much i loved this show. In fact i was worried that given how long it has been since this show started a) my tastes would have changed and b) the jokes wouldn’t really hold up. i was pleasantly wrong. Very funny. Very good. But is less a “movie’ and more a long OVA.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou: I’ve been itching to rewatch Code Geass for… well… years and the recap movies seemed a good way to do that without the same time investment as watching 50 episodes of a TV series. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the movie was at condensing the plot down and not feeling rushed… aside for a 10 minute towards the very end where it seemed super erratic and confusing. But it scratched that itch and I’m keen to see the rest of the recap movies and then jump into the new movie/season when it comes out.

TV & Movie recap-May/June 2018

Here’s some random things that I’ve watched over recent months and some thoughts.

Also should have a few event reviews in the next couple months if things go well!

Movies

Solo: A Star Wars Story- An unexpectedly fun movie. After the various issues with basically every other Star Wars movie in the Disney Era, particularly the Last Jedi, and with all the production problems with Solo (and just the fact that this movie was not necessary) I had super low expectations. But it was a really fun movie. I really liked the unexpected ways they fleshed out bits and pieces of the Han Solo mythos and while there were problems with other bits; the only major change i would make is switching out a character reveal near the end from being *character* to being maybe Thrawn.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom- not very good. Wasn’t a big fan of Jurassic World but it was fine. This one… not so much. The plot armour and plot conveniences were a bit much. In one scene a dinosaur escapes though dumb circumstances (what a surprise) and ends up in a position where it could just run out into a forest chasing fleeing humans. instead it climbs on top of a mansion and then hangs upside down from the room to open a door on a balcony that happens to be the exact right room to find the main child character. Also a big decision happens at the end of the movie that undoubtedly results in the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people, if not more, for effectively no reason…

Oceans 8- love a good heist movie. While perhaps not as good as my nostalgic memories of the Oceans Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen movies, this was a fun ride. Also Anne Hathaway is a gorgeous human being. And the world of fashion is fucking terrifying.

Deadpool 2- it was fine. More of the same of the first with a few other one liner style jokes through out it. The commentary calling out the sexism of the X-Men via the formation of X-Force was pretty funny. Perhaps a bit forgettable, but I’d say the first one was too.

Avengers Infinity War: was fine. A solid 6/10 like basically every other Marvel movie. Jumped around a bit too much (relying on prior knowledge to fill in the gaps) and the villains henchmen army had real inconsistent levels of strength (I don’t care how powerful Wakanda tech is, regular people fighting them in hand-to-hand combat should have been massacred given the superheroes were barely holding their own). Also they chose the people to kill at the end poorly; too many of them are too essentially to and/or confirmed for future movies that they clearly aren’t permanently dead. my money is on Gamora being one of the few who doesn’t come back.

TV

Games of Thrones S2- continuing to follow along with Arya Talking to Me, smashed through S2 of Game of Thrones. While I enjoyed bits and pieces and particular scenes, most of this was me going “Oh I remember this in the book. And how this character dies and this entire plot line is irrelevant” *cough cough* Renly, Robb *cough cough*. The improving budget was good though. And the Battle of Blackwater episodes was extremely well made.

Bachelor in Paradise AU- was not a fan by the end of the season. Like the game mechanic was a bit fuzzy and there wasn’t a satifying “end point” for the show or its storylines. Seemed to just be really random and not planned out.

Survivor US Season 36- was a solid season in the end but some of the editing seemed to really show the hand of production; with a focus on these “big plays”, especially with idols, with a lot of implications of important stuff happening on the island affecting long term decisions being cut from the broadcast to hype up that weeks episode. The Final Council was particularly bad with some Jury members seeming to have literally no contribution.

Love Island AU- fuck this show is pure garbage. it is apparently a game show but I have no idea how anyone “wins”. At least Bachelor has the veneer of legitimacy in it’s “looking for love” thing and active activities. This is just people sitting around a bit villa with nothing happening at all.

Avatar The Last Airbender- after being disappointed by Legend of Korra, was hesitant to rewatch this show. Season 1 was a bit wobbly and I fast forwarded it through several parts. Season 2 was excellent, especially when Toph was brought in and from about halfway though Season 2 all the way up to 3/4 of the way through Season 3 was a non stop emotional roller coaster of joy and sadness (but like, good sadness). There were a few wobbly episodes leading up to the big four part finale but man that finale was amazing. Such a great show. And Iroh is such an awesome character

MadFest 2017 Bonus- Film Screenings wrap up/review

So I went to MadFest. It was ok (if I’m being generous).

But concurrently there was a series of five films being screened which was on paper part of the event but in practicality was effectively a separate event. Which I had to pay for so I have some skin in this being worthwhile this time XD.

The first film was, as I found out when I went, not actually a film. It was actually a screening of a recorded Love Live! concert. Specifically it was “Love Live! Sunshine!! Aqours First LoveLive! ~Step! Zero to One~ concert”. I hadn’t really paid attention to this one on the ticket info since I don’t like Love Live but since I had got a ticket for it I decided to go along.

I didn’t regret that decision. Per se. I was expecting it to be an anime film since part of the multimedium Love Live! franchise includes anime stuff. So I was quite surprised when (after a delayed start due to a) the line ride and b) technical difficulties that had the sound not working for like 10-15 minutes) some live action singers ran out onto a stage and started performing.

My first thought that is was gonna be one of those interactive shows a la Cheez TV, but with the actors doing bits and pieces live on stage in between segments of an anime film.

Lol no. It was just a recording of the concert. And it was pretty shit (as someone who does not know or care for Love Live). I was bored after about 5 minutes and then spent 15 minutes watching the audience instead as they were going crazy waving around those light sticks and doing moves and stuff. I also wondered why we didn’t have those light sticks at concerts in Australia since they seemed pretty cool/fun. Then I realised that if they were at a convert in Australia, someone would throw them at someone else in about 15 seconds.

But yeah- after 20 minutes I was bored so I left.

2/10?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next film was one of the two I was most excited for- the “Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower” film. It’s the first in a series of three films animating the Heaven’s Feel route of the Fate/stay visual novel. I have never played the visual novel but I love a lot of the anime related to the franchise- the original Fate/stay anime that was semi-Fate route, semi-anime original “Gold”(and has a bit of a mixed reception in the community), I enjoyed the Unlimited Bladeworks route movie (for being a complete trainwreck), I loved the Fate Zero prequel and Unlimited Bladeworks TV series. Plus I loved all three seasons of the Fate Ilya magical girl spin of series and am currently watching the Fate/Apocrypha alternative reality series that is currently airing in Japan. Oh and the Fate Grand Order OVA was ok.

As you can possibly tell, it’s quite a convoluted franchise with a lot of alternative versions of things. The original game had three options or ‘routes’ depending on which heroine you chose to be the main love interest- Saber (Fate), Rin (Unlimited Bladeworks) and Sakura (Heaven’s Feel).

This movie is obviously based on the Sakura heroine path and previously I didn’t really know much about it. Other than it got super fucked and Sakura gets royally ripped off/mistreated. Based Sakura pretty much gets the short end of the stick in every story and was flat out abused as a child in the Fate Zero prequel so that isn’t too surpising.

Having watched the movie (the first of a trilogy), I am firmly of the opinion that Sakura is the best girl. Sure I thought the same about Saber and Rin in thier routes but fuck me Sakura is awesome. Such a “bae”.

But yeah, the movie. And the screening festival.

Logistically the line ride for the movie was pretty bad. The screening was apparently sold out so there were a heap of people and the line was snaking around the foyer. Normally I wouldn’t have twigged how bad this was being managed but the week ebfore the PAX people had been managing lines for a theatre 5x the size (roughly) and kep the line into a section of the foyer 1/3 as big. Also there was a dude in the line behind me who had never seen any Fate stuff before and it was funny listening to his friend give him an outline of the franchise (shit is fucked up).

Also the build up to the movie by th eorganisers was a bit drawn out. They had a couple of the MadFest guests who were related to the Fate frnahcise talk a bit and the organisers also gave a bit of a talk. But it meant shit started like 40 minutes after the advertised start time (Love Live! delay, massive line, long speeches). Booo!

But I really liked the movie. As someone who has only seen anime stuff I think it did a good job referencing other parts of the franchise for fanservice while still bringing new content and ideas and direction to it’s own story. IN particualr fleshing out Sakura and Shiro’s history and burgeoning relationship was really good to see. As were the fights that happened (and lol Lancer just can’t get a break. Always gets his arse handed to him even when he is overwhelming the stronger fighter XD).

However I do think the movie relied way to heavily on people being familiar with other parts of the franchise to fully get it. For example pre-opening titles we get the fast forward verions of 18 months of Shiro x Sakura developing, then as the title credit play we see flashes of the scene where Shiro is killed and then brought back to life as a Master in the Holy Grail War. And then post titles Saber is running around and they’re all together doing stuff. So it basically skipped past the entire establishing premise and act for the Holy Grail War, Shiro’s involvement and who/what the hell Saber is (and where she came from). Also there was some weird/creepy scene with Skira and the Priest at a spicy tofu restaurant that had half the audience pissing themselves and the other half being generally confused. I think it was a reference to the game.

The ending of the movie felt a bit… dragged? I’m not sure the best word. It was kind of like the last Lord of the Rings movie where there were several points where it felt like the movie had ended and would cut to credits. I did like the spot where it ended though- the stuff that had been happening while different in context was similar in vibe to the other two routes but at the end there is a clear shift where something has gone wrong/different. Only bad thing is that I’m just annoyed I couldn’t immediately jump into the second and then third movie.

So… 8/10?

~~~~~~~~~~~

Next was a film that I was interested in but not fussed on and considered it a bit of a bonus- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable 1.

I love a good JoJo meme as much as the next person. But I must confess that I have only seen the 2012 series of the anime (which covered Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency). I absolutely loved it but because I came it it late I marathoned it (which made for an awesome day). When the next part Stardust Crusaders came out I figured I’d do the same thing. Little did I realise it was a fucking 50+ episode arc (actually not sure how long it ended up). And when watching series X will take as much time as rewatching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I’m going to rewatch Brotherhood. And I did rewatch Brotherhood (and it was fucking great).

In any case, Diamond is Unbreakable is actually the fourth part of the story. And judging by the title this is the first movie in a series that will cover this arc (although no other parts of the series have been put into live action movies so it’s an odd place to start)

The movie is fine. Like the first 2/3 were pretty good and then it went fucking mental. Which I guess is classic JoJo. The main A plot was good and the fight scenes were generally pretty good.

But outside that I had literally a list of questions about stuff I was confused about: who was the random person who attacked and killed the ‘bad guy’ of the movie and then disappeared? Why was their such an emphasis on Koichi’s grades? (And how did he go on the test he was studying for all through the movie?) What was with the random serious side jag into a discussion about how Josuke was saved when he was four eyars old? (And who saved him? What was he saved from?) Where the fuck did Jotaro go halfway through the movie after the fight with the water henchman? (And why did he just piss off in full knowledge that some magical madman was running around and Josuke was nowhere near ready to face him?) Why did Josuke’s young mum date and procreate with a married English man who was like 30-40 years her senior? Was Josuke pointlessly lying when he told Angleo he ‘wouldn’t die’ or did Josuke literally sentence him to an eternity of suffering as an inanimate, living rock? What the fuck was with the weird stalker chick going after Koichi/ Was she a ghost? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE GOBLIN MAN? ARE THEIR FUCKING MYTHICAL CREATURES IN THIS UNIVERSE? (I mean, vampires exist so it is possible) is Jotaro’s hat a visor or is his hair curving under and over the back of the hat??

The biggest problem was that the big final fight (which was a bit dumb thinking about it) ended like 3/4 of the way through the film and then there was a heap of character backstory and development that was fine but really seemed to be dragging out the movie run time. Just chuck it all before the fight and it’d be great. Like it was worse than a DC film is trying to clunkily set up a multi film story arc.

So yeah… 6/10?

~~~~~~~~~~~

The next movie was the othe rone I was really looking forward to- No Game No Life Zero. The TV series is fantastic (if you ignore the incest undertones overtones)- great idea, great arts, great characters, all executed super well. Unfortunately the series adapted pretty much the entirety of the published novels so the wait for season 2 is a long one. This movie is a prequel set thousands of years before the series and looks at how the premise if the series (no wars, all disputes settled by games) is created.

I was honestly a little disspapointed by the movie. It was fine as a movie but I was expecting the greatness of the series.

There was a tonne of assumed knowledge for this movie-it was borderline incoherent for my friend who was watching it with me that hadn’t seen the series. The fanservice links to the series were a bit hit and miss- I liked the narrative frame of the movie being a story getting told the the TV series characters but I did not like that Jibril was the Flugel who fucked shit up for the movie main characters. Particularly her complete ignorance of this massive event back in the narrative frame which goes against her character of hunting for knowledge (and given fact the movie characters look nearly identical to the TV characters, even though they are unrelated their resemblance should be notable to her)

Also the story didn’t really make any sense- like why the hell did Shuvi want to play games against Riku? There was no reason for this at all given this era is pre-game stuff. And their races were at war with each other.

Also there was some super convenient shit happening- like the humans were getting absolutely smashed in the war but once they decided to go into hiding and be dirt ninjas they suddenly got super lucky and became super successful at everything. And managed to conveniently manipulate the three main fighting races into fighting each other without fucking anything up, getting caught or getting killed. Because apparently eating some ash and positioning yourself makes it possible for them to sneak around undetected and no-one ever wants to touch them.

But the worst things was the pacing decisions- like we skip over the fight/game between Riku and Shuvi and are never told the result of the game or their bargain (like, we can guess) or how Riku ‘changed the rules of the game’. But then we have a stupid marriage sequence that goes for way too long.

The character designs were pretty lame (literally some colour palette swaps  with minor design tweaks on the three main characters from the TV series. And Jibril.) But it was cool seeing more of the other races, particular the Ex-Machina who haven’t featured in the TV series. But their cooperation with the humans was another plot convenience that didn’t really make much sense

So yeah… 4/10

~~~~~~~~~~~

The last movie was Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Which in some places was advertised as being somehow related to Studio Ghibli but it didn’t seem to actually be related to Ghibli (I think it was just the Director has worked for Ghibli).

In any case, much like JoJo this was a bit of a bonus movie and I had not real expectations going in. And it was a fine movie.

Fairly typical- young child with not adult oversight find crazy power and has an adventure. they do something dumb and put a peer in danger. Like the main characters name was Mary Smith which highlights the genericness of the story.

The main character Mary annoyed me coz she was an idiot (typical child). Like the big bad is chasing her to get hold of the flower (which is hidden in Mary’s bag) and the bad guy knocks the bag away. So Mary yells out ‘oh no the flower in in the bag’… so the big bad stops chasing her and just takes the bag. And despite seeing how overpowering the magic of the magic berries are (there is like a 15 minute sequence where is makes her a magic pariah in front of the whole school she ends up at), she gets trapped in a magic cell and doesn’t think to fucking use the berries for a fair while. Also at the very end she had one berry left and rather than keep it, hide it or destroy it she just chucks it off into the forest. So some random other person will get to deal with the magic equivalent of a nuclear bomb when they go for a bush walk. Fuck me kids are dumb.

Also the broom wrangler is a random and unnecessary deus ex machina who saves Mary’s bacon like… three or four times. Or rather he is a necessary deus ex machina since Mary fucks herself over so many times and there is no development or progress for any character that has them learn from the previous hours of their life and not fuck up again.

Also Mary looks like a slightly older version of the girl from Ponyo… but doesn’t act any older…

Eh, perhaps i’m expecting too much from a kids/family movie.

Soooo…. 4/10.

~~~~~~~~~

But yeah. This five things combined to be, in my opinion, the best part of MadFest but really in hindsight collectively it was a bit hit and miss in an “objective” sense…