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    Watched Hugtto Precure episode 23.

    Baki episode 3 sets the stage for the tournament pitting the veteran cast members against the vicious new challengers. And the outcome is a bit predictable from a narrative perspective. All five of the escaped convicts are assassins that rely on surprise, essentially sucker punch techniques. They're all certainly strong and durable, but a viewer has to expect that if they're unable to gain the upper hand by using tricks or surprise, in battles of pure martial arts technique and endurance, they're all probably at a disadvantage. The show is essentially setting up matches of practiced formal technique and battlefield respect against no-rules street fight brutality.

    The first episode of BanG Dream! Garupa Pico reveals itself to be essentially the Bang Dream franchise's equivalent to Idolmaster's Puchimas.

    The third UQ Holder OAD, like the second, is another irrelevant, disposable sitcom with the exception of one scene.

    The Kekkai Sensen & Beyond OVA is quite amusing.

    By rights Jashin-chan Dropkick should be a show I enjoy, but a few subtle but impactful characteristics dull my enthusiasm. The series seems to be literally a collection of tropes and inspirations from other series. The mix of angels and devils is reminiscent of PitaTen and more significantly and recently Gabriel Dropout. The persistent dog hinted at by the ending credits animation also seems to come from Gabriel Dropout. The gothloli wielding a chainsaw was previously done by Kore wa Zombie Desu ka. The demon wielding a killer crowbar comes from Haiyore Nyaruko-san. The summoned snake demon feels reminiscent of both Yondemasu Azazel-san and Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou. Carving up Jashin-chan as food comes from Kobayashi-san Maid Dragon. The wanton bloody violence comes from Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan. In fact, basically nothing in this series feels unique or original, but I've enjoyed many of the earlier shows that this draws inspiration from. However, while the derivativeness drains a bit of appeal from this show, two other characteristics are more influential. This show may be the most literally hysteric since Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san and before that Seto no Hanayome. I quite enjoyed the former but not that later. Jashin-chan tonally feels more like the later. The entire first episode occurs at a shrill level eleven. When everything including even casual conversation is hyperbolic and exaggerated, nothing feels normal and natural and nothing has any impact because everything blurs together. Furthermore, the story wants to use gratuitous violence and gore as a source of absurdist humor. But it normalizes and trivializes violence and cruelty to such an extent that the characters seem inured to pain or causing pain. When all of the characters, even the ones the show wants viewers to empathize with, are sadistic, cold-hearted monsters who inflict pain and suffering without a second thought, none of the characters are pleasant or empathetic. I can't bring myself to fully like Yurine when she so casually and viciously tortures a helpless victim just because she can. Pekora is supposed to be the sympathetic, charitable character, but she merely stands by and does nothing while the characters around her inflict terrible violence on each other. I understand that Jashin-chan may deserve punishment, but continuing to hurt her over and over after the fact is simply callous cruelty. It's practically a disturbing afterthought that the first episode provides no reason nor even suggestion for why Yurine bothered to summon a demon in the first place, much less multiple demon girls.

    Phantom in the Twilight in another supernatural reverse harem show, in a sense, comparable to Kamisama Hajimemashita, Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi, or Sengoku Night Blood. A core setting within the show is bishounen running a café, so it also borrows the concept from last season's Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori. At least this series doesn't seem quite as sappy and soap opera-ish as, for example, Vampire Knight.

    Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes comes across vaguely like a shoujo-tinged sibling to Gallery Fake that has a focus on antique Japanese art rather than antique Western art. However, the first episode suggests that “Holmes” is going to be a bit more chamber piece than roaming adventure, as Gallery Fake was. A couple of points bother me about the show, however. Kiyotaka asserts that Aoi's goal is wrong, and she should change her decision. But then he immediately offers to help her fulfill that very goal that he just discouraged her from completing. In order to inject some tension and conflict into the story, the episode introduces a shadowy nemesis. Except, given the show's scenario, there's absolutely no reason at all for any criminals or counterfeiters to care about one particular shop or appraiser. If one appraiser identifies an item as fake, just find another appraiser. On a side note, I'm fascinated by Aoi's lack of understanding of a simple, traditional Japanese custom. Her ignorance may depict realism among Japanese teens, but it's highly unusual for anime.

    The first episode of One Room Second Season still feels a bit creepy.

    After a season of side-stories and diversions, it's nice to see the first episode of Overlord III get back to its core focus. Of course, the presumption is that this season will continue to develop and become a bit more substantial in future episodes.

    Comment


      Watching the first episode of Aguu: Tensai Ningyou gives me the feeling that I've missed some of the nuance in the show's explanations. My Japanese comprehension is only good enough to narrowly carry me through some of the dialogue. My impression of the show is that it's trying to be a sort of cousin to Death Note, especially since Death Note proved very popular in China, and Aguu is getting a Chinese simulcast. The show seems a bit odd because its art design featuring large swaths of primary colors, simplified character designs, and thick black outlines has a sort of children's comic book aesthetic. But certain images in the episode – notably the old man's eyes & the sewing imagery at the end of the episode – are rather shockingly grotesque and nightmarish, seemingly an effort to inject mild shock value to startle younger viewers.

      Over the years, I haven't liked the episodes of vintage Tensai Bakabon that I've watched because I've found Bakabon Papa too stupid. I also wasn't entirely won over by the Osomatsu-san revival because it felt like it was trying too hard. It felt artificial rather than spontaneous. So I was surprised by how much fun I had with the first episode of Shinya Tensei Bakabon. It has the same meta-referential nature as Osomatsu-san, but it feels more free-wheeling and irreverent than Osomatsu-san, which felt very self-conscious and deliberately irreverent.

      Lupin Part V episode 14 is a very fun episode until the ridiculous cliffhanger.

      Watched Yama no Susume S3 episode 2.

      While there have been many anime about warfare in the middle ages, Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki may be slightly unique in the regard that it's about the Japanese defense against Mongolian invasion unlike most anime that are either about the Sengoku period or Sangokushi. Angolmois is slightly comparable to Stranger: Mukuo Hadan for a few reasons, however. Stranger was about Chinese (mainland Chinese rather than Mongolians) invading Japan, but Stranger likewise starred a scruffy looking master swordsman whose foe was a blonde foreigner. And the swordplay action in Angolmois looks and feels reminiscent of that in Stranger. Commendably, the highlight sword fight in the first episode doesn't strictly rely on camera angles or stylized camera effects. The climactic fight is brief but actually fully animated, albeit with some small caveats to saving frames.

      Watched Luke Cage season 2 episodes 6-9. Now that Mariah has fully embraced her identity as a gangster she's become a tremendously more gratifying and fun character to follow.

      Read some comics including Silencer issues 4-6 and Paper Girls 21-22. Hillbilly issues 9-11 finally set up and begin to depict the ongoing legend-worthy story that the series promised from the beginning. While this story arc is predicated on the earlier issues, it still feels as though the series didn't need nine issues of set-up to get to this point. And then beginning & ending the "epic" story in only four total issues feels like a rushed missed opportunity. The long delayed Taarna issue 2 is much like the first issue. It's gorgeous looking but feels as though it has practically no story. Sex Criminals issues 23-25 end up roughly where readers expected all along, but the way the resolution occurs is quite enjoyable to read. Isola issue 3 is again attractive looking, and yet again seems to confirm that Rook is a rather incompetent soldier. The first issue of The Quantum Age has a very different feel than the prior Black Hammer comics, but this story is set in a different era, featuring different characters, and has a different narrative goal.

      Comment


        Watched the second episode of Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu.

        The first episode of Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 is a bit fascinating because it distinctly reveals its Chinese origins by depicting junior high school students wearing camo fatigues and receiving military instruction. The episode is also hilarious.

        The first episode of Free! -Dive to the Future- advances the time setting slightly but otherwise gives viewers exactly everything they expect from the franchise.

        Watched the second episode of Shichisei no Subaru more because I was in a lull with little new to watch than because I was eagerly interested in the episode.

        After watching Crayon Shin-chan movie 25, I've now watched all of the franchise's first 25 films. Like many of the later films, this movie lacks the one or two exceptional action sequences that the early movies typically included. This film is also distinctly within its own continuity because despite the Nohara family having visited outer space numerous times in previous installments, in this film the family has never encountered aliens or outer space before. The film is rather conventional and largely predictable, but it's rather fast paced and enjoyable.

        Watched the Violet Evergarden OVA.

        Particularly the second episode of Banana Fish may have seemed slightly more plausible in the 80s in Japan, or possibly even to today's Japanese viewers who have no idea how America's legal system works, but for an American viewer the episode is difficult to take seriously. Uhm, no, none of the American legal system actually works that way. Furthermore, the entire frameup doesn't make sense. If Evanstine claims that he saw what happened, how does he explain having done nothing to stop it? Moreover, what's the explanation for how Ash got his gun back? Still, these are minor quibbles compared to the bigger plot holes that occur afterward.

        Watched the second episode of Joshi Ochi.

        I appreciate the effort of the first episode of Lord of Vermillion to begin with an action scene to draw viewers in instead of just slowly and tediously suggesting that some supernatural shit is going on, but this episode still didn't get it right. Like too many of these types of shows, including Caligula, Tokyo Ravens, K, Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho, AICO Incarnation, and Hand Shakers, the first episode of Lord of Vermillion only establishes a scenario. Even worse, this episode suggests to viewers that there's not even any reason to invest in or care about any of the characters. The show wants to create mystery and intrigue, but all it does it create hollow archetypes that it hopes viewers will tolerate out of good will.

        Following on the heels of the whimsical, soothing Amanchu Advance scuba diving anime, Grand Blue takes an entirely different approach to the subject. The blunt, meat-headed sitcom of Grand Blue feels like a dull-witted cousin to Golden Boy. Occasionally the first episode has minor strengths including briefly treating its characters like the experienced and rational young adults they are, and the relative subtlety of the "no high school girls in college" gag. But most of the episode is loud, rambunctious, and indulgently stupid.

        I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to state that tonally Happy Sugar Life is much closer to Mirai Nikki than Sugar Sugar Rune or Chicchana Yukitsukai Sugar. Knowing what genre the show adheres to goes a long way toward excusing elements that may otherwise seem incongruous, absurd, or laughable.

        The first English language issue of Mirka Andolfo's Unnatural is comparable to a furry variation on Musawo earlier manga series Koi to Uso. Unnatural is attractive looking, but there's not a lot of sensuality or sexiness in the first issue. It's significantly more heavy-handed, cliche political setting and soap-opera drama. I think I would be a bit more receptive toward it if I hadn't previously encountered another comic series with such a similar concept. Monstress issue 18 is magnificent. It's a tremendously cinematic and desperate, breathtaking epic climax that only delays one tragedy while allowing a second one to occur in its shadow. The only complaint I have about the issue is the sad fact that apparently it'll be the last issue readers get for several months while the series go on hiatus again. The first issue of Robert Kirkman's Die!Die!Die! does achieve its goal of seeming a bit like an ultra-violent parody of Mission:Impossible. The political wrangling also feels reminiscent of The Boys sans the superheroics. However, despite aiming to be a gratuitously violent subversive satire, it still feels like it's trying to be accessible, mainstream, easy to digest. It lacks the harsh satirical absurdity of the pinnacle of this sort of comic story, Miller & Darrow's Hard Boiled.

        Luke Cage second season episodes 10-12 are excellent, particularly as the conflicts escalate and the supporting characters become far more nuanced and pro-active.

        Comment


          The tone and execution of the first episode of Tenrou feels very comparable to Koutetsujou no Kabaneri or like a version of Senko no Night Raid with vampires. As such, the first episode concentrates more on scenario and action than on atmosphere or characterization, and that emphasis will likely typify the entire series. At least the show does have typical strong PA Works production values and knows when to fully realize its animation potential. As a PA Works studio production, it's weaker than the studio's usual slice-of-life dramas, but it's still one of the season's stronger action anime premieres and is perfectly competent if not above average. It just feels as though it could have been still stronger when a more lurid and opaque atmosphere.

          I regret if this is a spoiler, but I doubt the surprise will last long now that the series has premiered. The premiere episode of Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight begins as one of the pleasant surprises of the season. The production values are good, and the show concentrates on introducing and varying its characters to make viewers know and care about this class of acting school students. Then the show introduces a surprise narrative twist and abruptly turns from a variation on idol anime like Idolmaster & Love Live to an idol anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. In fact, director Tomohiro Furukawa could be legitimately accused of being too literally beholden to Ikuhara. The series then turns from good but familiar to something quite a bit more unpredictable but potentially very interesting.

          High Score Girl is likely the show I most anticipated for this season. I liked creator Rensuke Oshikiri's prior anime series Pupipo. Moreover, I'm just a bit older than the stars of High Score Girl. Well, actually, I'm significantly older than them because in 1991 they're in primary school while in 1991 I was in my second year of college. But like them I have fond memories of playing Street Fighter II. So I'm pleased that High Score Girl is one of the pleasures of the season. Not only does the story know the geeky nuances of the games it references, the sitcom humor is also sharp and spry.

          As one would expect, the first Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san TV episode is more introductory than the OAD. The show may be best described as a less ambitious cousin to Rosario + Vampire.

          Harukana Receive episode 2 is again a pleasant episode, and the animation quality may have marginally improved over the first episode. But I'm frustrated by the exposition of Kanata's back story. The flashback glimpses placed throughout the episode create an incorrect perception of the event that's only explained in the next-to last shot of the episode. The flashbacks generate the impression that Kanata suddenly, abruptly froze. But such a reaction occurring doesn't make sense in relation to the other flashbacks and what information the show has previously provided. The episode only clears up the confusion at the very end of the episode, after the viewer has already spent the episode confused and frustrated for no good reason.

          Watched Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 9.

          Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 2.

          The Space Bug Korean/Japanese co-produced anime appears to be quite a bit more Korean produced than Japanese produced, but the bigger surprise is how exposition heavy and relatively dull the first episode is. Despite being ostensibly a children's show, virtually nothing happens in the first episode. The protagonist wakes to find two other insect companions already active. The trio discover that they remain alive on an abandoned & dying human space station. So the hero, a childish and fairly ignorant fly, decides that he's going to find a way back to earth. Then the trio locate a dead vegetable garden and are attacked by a security drone to finally give the episode a climactic action scene. The show's CG animation quality is passable, but the characterizations seem a bit simplistic: smart but incapable professor, capable but childish protagonist, dumb & fat side-kick. I don't even need to watch the second episode to know that the female bee will be sharp-tongued and pragmatic while the antagonist frog trio, introduced at the end of the first episode, will be threatening but long-winded to always allow their prey a means of escape.

          Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episode 2 is awesomely left-field and hilarious.

          Asobi Asobase episode 2 is highly amusing.

          For better or worse, Hanebad episode 3 adheres to the tonal structure of the previous episode. Episode 3 does reveal a bit more justification for its dour seriousness, but the sour tone of the episode becomes a bit of a drag to watch until the episode lightens up, again, only in the final scene of the episode.

          Watched Planet With episode 2.

          Watched Hugtto Precure episode 24.

          Watched Gintama 355.

          Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 2 is a little bit better than the first episode because it's a bit more coherent.

          Comment


            The second episode of Super Dragon Ball Heroes firmly positions the series as official fan fiction.

            I remember the TV ads for the Go! Go! Ackman 3 SFC game. The 1994 festival short movie has the tone and style of an 80's anime. It's irreverent and very amusing.

            Yama no Susume III episode 3 featured some very interesting scenery.

            The second episode of Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes is a disastrous mystery because it's plagued with idiotic plot holes. The animation quality is sub-par as well, but animation quality isn't so relevant in a dialogue-based drama like this.


            Watched Joshi Ochi episode 3.

            I can't help but think that Overlord III episode 2 is a whole lot of narrative to communicate such simple plot points.

            Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 2.

            Watched Baki episode 4.

            Watched Lupin Part 5 episode 15.

            The end scene of Shinya Tensai Bakabon took an unexpectedly morbid twist, but I'm glad that it didn't belabor the joke too excessively long.

            Watched Angolmois episode 2.

            Read Barbarella issues 4-7. I continue to appreciate the way the comic series is breezy and fast paced fun but still highly exotic science fiction. Literally the first issue of Modern Fantasy is illustrated by Kristen Gudsnuk but written by Rafer Roberts, but the scripting, scenario, and pacing absolutely feel like Gudsnuk's writing as well. Like Henchgirl, Modern Fantasy is a satirical parody with a very contemporary metrosexual attitude. The writing feels very much by and for the millennial generation.

            Comment


              Yamato 2202 episodes 11-14 come dangerously close to feeling repetitive with prior episodes, and much of the climax of episode 14, which signifies the mid-point of the narrative, is startlingly pointless. But the majority of the episodes is still strong enough to compensate for and overshadow small weaknesses.

              I'm glad to see that the second half of Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 3 begins to grow more substantial as the first half of the episode is still very redundant with the prior two episodes.

              Likewise, the third episode of Shichisei no Subaru takes a major narrative step forward but does so in a rather artificial and arbitrary way.

              I watched the third episode of Banana Fish, but I still don't especially like the show. Again, the naming sense is a bad joke. “Ash Lynx meets Max Lobo.” Really? Furthermore, the show is really struggling to reconcile its 80's origins with its contemporary production. Eji's “disguise” in the end of the episode is straight out of Flashdance and looks absolutely ridiculous in present day. Max freaking out at the end of the episode makes little sense and has no pretext.

              Watched Isekai Izakaya Nobu episodes 15 & 16.

              Good God, Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory just shouldn't have happened. The original broadcast got delayed. Then when the show did premiere it suffered still more delays, yet even with extra production time the show still exhibits regular sub-par production values. Moreover, unlike the very tense, exciting, and witty prior three series, Invisible Victory regularly alternates between disappointing and dumb. The entire purpose of the show appears to be illustrating how ineffectual Mithril is, yet the show is neither satire nor critical commentary. Chidori is supposed to be one of the most brilliant people on the planet, yet her behavior throughout the series suggests that she can't think for herself, and her behavior in the final episode is so forced and artificial that it's completely unbelievable. She literally made me want to shout at her, “Just kill yourself and do everyone a favor.” And Tessa asks Sagara to rejoin Mithril. Uhm, when did he leave or quit? Getting separated from the organization during the heat of battle doesn't mean that he quit the team. Tessa should have just said, “Welcome back.” Asking him to formally rejoin when he never formally quit is just dumb. And I'm not going to even think too much about the bizarre gigantic plot hole of some random gang of nameless programmers that can build their own battle suit that's superior to the world's most cutting edge armies' technology. Sadly, this 12-episode series is a blot on the strong reputation of the FMP anime franchise.

              A bit unexpectedly, Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro seems to be turning into one of the treasures of the current season. The “A” story in episode 3 was fine. The “B” story was especially wacky and hilarious.

              For comics, finished off Pumpkinhead issues 3-5. The story reads like a dream B-movie, complete with some of the typical flaws of a B-movie. Most notably, the sheriff throws her pistol at a demon in issue 4, yet in issue 5 she magically has her pistol in hand again. And in issue 4 a monster grabs a man, and that's it. Readers never see what happens next - if the man gets loose, or if the monster throws him aside or eats him. The first issue of Vampirella: Roses for the Dead looks just fine, but the scripting seems a bit rushed. Vampirella claims to have been stalking a man for months, yet she also says that she was going to just drop in on him, as if he was a random target of hers. Likewise the writing ambiguously suggests that the man is an ordinary human - and both Vampirella and Evily appear to be able to recognize supernatural beings - yet the issue also contains multiple hints that he's superhuman. Malefic issue 6 is even more gleefully unhinged, psychotronic, and gratuitous. If a comic can have a sado-masochistic tone, this is it. Gideon Falls issue 5 continues to advance its story at a snail's pace. Finished Death Bed by reading issue 6. It's a fine ending that concentrates on theme, but I wish it had a bit more "oomph" to it. Read Mage III issue 10. I hadn't actually intended to purchase and read the second issue of Stellar, but I ended up doing both. The second issue left me with the same feeling as the first. The second issue is a bit more gratuitous, but it still feels distant and uninvolving. The first double-length issue of Coda is a mixed bag. It's a sword & sorcery satire vaguely reminiscent of Andrew MacLean's Head Lopper. More specifically, it's a post-apocalyptic story, except the apocalypse occurred in an alternate fantasy world. The protagonist is a particular obstacle. He's a former bard turned wandering warrior, so even he acknowledges his tendency to be loquatious without much substance. Furthermore, the comic gives no explanation for how a professional writer somehow evolved into such a knowlegable and skilled soldier. Moreover, the graphic art does evoke a sense of chaos and decay, but the art is also frequently so loose and abstract that its a bit difficult to literally decipher. Read Cavewoman: Lycan Run, Battle Against Ankha's Brood 2, and Return to Labyrinth issues 1 & 2.

              The Equalizer 2 is a competently produced but entirely redundant and therefore weaker film than its predecessor. The movie is competently directed, acted, and edited. But the film delivers absolutely nothing that wasn't already established more thoroughly by the first film. Moreover, the movie contains some small but niggling unaddressed questions. Especially in light of the film's full two-hour run-time, the movie contains relatively few action scenes. The film seems as if its primary goal is to be a character study of protagonist Robert McCall, but the script tells viewers literally nothing that wasn't already established by the first film. In fact, the sequel lazily trades on the tropes of the first film. In the first film, McCall timed his battles to test his anticipatory senses. In the sequel he appears to time himself just out of habit or OCD reflex. The stopwatch has less meaning in the sequel. In the first film McCall made a principle of fighting only with improvised weapons. The lengthy sequel had plenty of opportunity to examine or explain his reasoning. Does he have a bad history with guns? Does he think guns are too easy? Does he want to continually test his own ingenuity by using makeshift weapons? In fact, the sequel places even less emphasis on the improvised weapon theme. The movie also contains some confusing narrative holes. Why was the Belgian secret agent assassinated? (That's not a spoiler because it's not an important plot point.) Was he a double agent? Did he somehow betray the antagonists? If his assassination was officially sanctioned, then there'd be no reason to launch a real and serious follow-up investigation. Why did the antagonists hire thugs to kill Susan? Simply killing her themselves and disguising the killing as a freak accident would have been far safer and cleaner for them. In a literal sense, Equalizer 2 is more, but in every aspect it's also less than the first film.

              Comment


                Tenrou episode 2 is even more melodramatic than the first. I understand that Tokyo was much smaller 150 years ago than it is today, but the degree of coincidence prevalent in this episode strains credibility even within context. And making the heroes underdogs is fine to create suspense, but this vampire hunting team borders on incompetent.

                Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight episode 2 feels as though it might be a bit easier to take seriously if it had a slightly different concept. Karen doesn't seem remotely like a superior performer. She's just athletic and exceptionally lucky. But the second episode does seem to address this particular issue, so she may get more serious in future episodes.

                Ono is more expressive in High Score Girl episode 2. As a result, she's much cuter in the second episode.

                Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 3.

                Watched Hugtto Precure episode 25.

                I'm conflicted over the third episode of Planet With. I'm pleased that the episode provided a considerable amount of explanation, but I'm also a bit frustrated with Soya. If you're going to fight, then fight. Just freezing and looking stunned is neither fighting nor retreating.

                Ironically, Gintama episode 356 is all action, but it prolongs every scene for so long that the action scenes lose all sense of urgency and just become tedious. This episode doesn't feel like Dragon Ball or Rurouni Kenshin or St. Seiya fight scenes that may be long yet still have intensity. This episode feels as if it's just trying to stretch out the battle scenes to fill up running time.

                Watched Asobi Asobase episode 3.

                Hanebad episode 4 is slightly annoying because Connie is a tremendously experienced player, yet seemingly she can't recognize when she's playing against a weak, out-of-practice opponent.

                I have a bit of a mixed opinion on the first episode of Tsukumogami Kashimasu, but I also suspect that my reaction may be only a result of the show not quite meeting my expectations. It does feel like a show that could grow on me. The show revolves around tsukumogami owned by a pair of humans. The kami and the humans dance a sort of “talking but not talking” to each other in order to essentially take advantage of each other. I expected a typical anime in which the human protagonists and the supernatural creatures conventionally interact. Seemingly that doesn't happen in this show. Tsukumogami are supposedly objects which have been used and respected and cherished sufficiently by humans to develop unique spirits. Perhaps it's just my Western perspective that assumes that if humans respected these objects enough to bring them to life, the objects ought to reciprocate the consideration by assisting humans, essentially continuing the relationship that's so far proven mutually beneficial. But the Tsukumogami in this show seem resistant to interacting with humans. However, the setting of the show is a rental shop. The human protagonists own the tsukumogami and recognize them as items with spirits. So in keeping with the setting, one could argue that it's entirely appropriate for the kami and the humans to use each other rather than interact with and assist each other.

                I don't follow Shingeki no Kyojin, so merely out of academic curiosity I watched episode 38, the first episode of third season. Seemingly the show has followed in the footsteps of The Walking Dead and turned into suspenseful soap opera. It's revealing that there are no fight scenes and no titans in the show's opening animation whatsoever.

                Watched Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 3.

                Because I'm on summer break and have plenty of spare time, I watched Satsuriku no Tenshi episodes 2 & 3. I didn't like the first episode much, and these subsequent episodes are little better. The show is supposed to be atmospheric horror, but it's just dull tedium because every character in the series has exactly one emotion. Since the characters don't ever change in the slightest, one moment of the show is exactly the same as every other moment of the show.

                Comment


                  Attended the subtitled Ghiblifest screening of Mononoke Hime. I've now watched the film three or four times, but this is the first time I've watched the movie in at least ten years. From a strictly technical cinematic perspective, this film is Miyazaki's masterpiece. The cinematography, animation quality, and scope of the film are all breathtaking. However, the film doesn't have the personal empathy that Nausicaa does. Mononoke is a masterfully complex film because it consists of at least a half-dozen narrative threads all leading to an intertwined climax, yet many of those multiple plotlines are very subtle. Perhaps the most significant and striking of them are the references that the local Asano daimyo is laying siege to Eboshi's foundry, yet Lord Asano himself is never seen in the film. Likewise, Jiko is working on behalf of the emperor, but the emperor is also never depicted within the film. Making the film further complex, every single character has conflicted loyalties, to varying degrees. No characters in the movie, human or otherwise, are simply compartmentalized as “good” or “evil.”

                  Watched Yama no Susume season 3 episode 4.

                  The third episode of Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes is rather soap opera-ish.

                  Watched Baki episode 5.

                  Watched Overlord III episode 3.

                  Watched the third episode of Angolmois.

                  Watched Shinya Tensai Bakabon episode 3.

                  Writer Mari Okada's feature film Maquia is excellent, but I think one minor omission prevents the film from being a masterpiece. The movie is primarily an analysis of motherhood, an attempt to define motherhood. Intertwined with that theme is the idea that a moment of love is better than a lifetime without love. The movie is lovely looking and is very well directed and edited. The use of the soundtrack in certain scenes is just a little bit overbearing, really milking the relevant scenes for impact, but the film is deeply emotional and earns most of its empathy through strong, deliberate focus on characters. Kurim comes out a bit weakly because the film just doesn't allow enough time to adequately communicate his frustrated perspective. Likewise, Medomel exists as equal parts plot trope, thematic illustration, and character, so her characterization is a bit weak. But she has a very small role in the film. The movie deliberately concentrates heavily on its literary theme, so it includes a number of characters and depicts several parental relationships as illustrations of its theme. As a result, the movie doesn't remain as affectively empathetic as it could have been because the second half of the film expands its scope away from a focused spotlight on just Maquia and her son Ariel. My own observation is that after the film maintains a languid pace up until the final scene, it rushes its ending and robs the film of some of its potential emotional impact. If the movie were just five minutes longer, if the movie inserted another montage scene depicting additional interactions over a span of time just before the final scene, I think the final scene would have been more affectively powerful.

                  Comment


                    My "spoilers included" thoughts on Genocidal Organ follow. The short of it, the film is flawed but still a marked improvement over the just passable Empire of Corpses and the terrible Harmony.

                    I appreciate the comprehensible linguistic, moral, and political discourse within Genocidal Organ, but I also think it's a bit heavy handed. The “Uncounted” believe that they're the world's moral underdogs, that they're more concerned with ethics and the morality of commercial supply chains because the developed world is steeped in willing blindness. But that's itself an elitist conceit. The far more logical explanation is that average first world citizens don't question the detailed origins of their clothes, food, and durable goods because they've simply got other, more immediate concerns to deal with. It comes across as a bit condescending and pretentious to hear people who live without daily responsibilities and social obligations claim that people who do have to work for a living and raise children are being ethically inconsiderate of global justice. These self-appointed defenders of morality accuse the status quo of ignoring global injustice, yet the self-appointed judges themselves seem to either do nothing to stop the injustices they claim to oppose, or worse yet, actively contribute to and encourage the very violence they claim to resent.

                    One aspect of the film confuses me. When US intelligence learns that John Paul may be hiding on the India-Pakistan border the protagonist's CEO states, “We'll be operating as the Japanese government's military proxy.” Why is the Japanese government involved in this military action at all, whether legitimately or as an American cover? Throughout the entire film, Japan or any Japanese national/political interest is never otherwise mentioned. Another bigger problem with the movie is that it lacks some strict focus. The film is ostensibly about the ability of language to affect human behavior. However, more specifically the film proposes the sci-fi concept that racially aggressive language, the sort of language that inspires racial animosity, is under laid by a natural subliminal frequency that the film's translation refers to as a “grammar.” The film proposes that regardless of the specific words, all languages that express racial hatred are communicated via a frequency or sequence of sounds that partially hypnotizes the listener and influences the listener's behavior. But the film also gets wrapped up in literal academic linguistics, the idea that the meaning of words is not inherent but rather determined by cultural context and use. The two scientific concepts are both about language, but the later is actually contrary to the proposition of the former. I can very easily imagine author Satoshi Itoh becoming enthralled with the concept of speculative linguistics and referencing both concepts within his original novel in order to make the novel seem more complex, but the linguistics aspect is literally a red herring that has nothing to do with the plot of the film. Spoken words, their meaning, and their interpretation certainly affect a person's state of mind. But the core concept of this movie is not about literally hearing, understanding, and being influenced by language. The core concept of this movie is the idea that the human brain has an undiscovered “genocidal organ” that hears and interprets raw sound vibrations as a homicidal impulse to commit ethnic cleansing, and the American military wants to capture or kill the one scientist who has decoded this “grammar” of rhythmic sounds.

                    John Paul is a fascinating villain, although part of his malicious insidiousness lies in some unbalanced characterization for the protagonist Clavis Shepherd. Shepherd is consistently depicted as highly educated and literate, able to carry on abstract, philosophical conversation, but he doesn't recognized when John Paul manipulates him with a simple moral equivalency argument. John Paul argues that he and Shepherd are the same because they both kill children, and Shepherd seems to accept the parallel. Except the very moral difference is that John Paul indiscriminately slaughters innocents while Shepherd only defends himself against child soldiers who are aggressively trying to kill him. While the result may be the same, the difference in motivation and circumstance is diametrically opposite.

                    Sadly, the final quarter of the film starts making larger logical mistakes. The idea of a major American PMC betraying America is highly implausible. No private for-profit army is going to cut off relations with America that pays well in order to side with poor nations. And John Paul's intelligence also reveals an obvious flaw. His motivation is to support American governmental & corporate interests. The American IC even sends soldiers specifically because the American government has the same end desire that Paul expounds. So why did John Paul go underground when he could have been helped and protected if he'd instead approached sympathetic American politicians?

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                      Watched Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san episodes 3 & 4.

                      High Score Girl episode 3 is very sweet and touching.

                      Likewise, Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 10 also features a broken-hearted junior high girl and ends up being a very pleasant to watch episode.

                      Planet With episode 4 is fast paced and very fun.

                      Watched Hanebad episode 5.

                      Watched Hugtto Precure episode 26.

                      Watched Tsukumogami Kashimasu episode 2.

                      Gintama episode 357 is rather violent and bloody although still not as gruesome as Nanatsu no Taizai, another shounen action/adventure series.

                      Yama no Susume 3 episode 5 doesn't contain any mountain climbing but is a charming and pleasant episode.

                      Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 3.

                      The first episode of Sword Gai season 2 doesn't seem to have improved on the first season. The second season's first episode comes across as a less-stylish copy of the Garo anime. The show clearly wants Gai to be sympathetic, but it gives viewers very little reason to care about him. Sayaka virtually isn't a character at all; she's a human puppy dog that follows Gai around without any thought. And it's very confusing why, after Gai “escapes” from Shoshidai, the organization seemingly makes no effort at all to search for him.

                      Watched Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 4.

                      Read Tsutomi Nihei's 2003 five-issue Wolverine comic mini-series Snikt. Regrettably, I can say little good about it. The story is strictly cliché. Future scientists have created technology that gained sentience and largely wiped out humanity. The only thing that can save the surviving humans is Wolverine, transported to the post-apocalyptic future by poorly explained time travel. The art design is Nihei's signature bleak cyberpunk nihilism. The backgrounds are functional if largely impressionistic. Furthermore, the settings and designs seem heavily inspired by The Matrix. The character art is a bit weak because Nihei's signature creation, Blame, is largely a slow-moving, dialogue based adventure. That visual style does a disservice to a more action-oriented narrative. The characters in Snikt seem to have only two poses: either stock still like mannequins or aggressively active action poses. There's nothing in between. The entire five-issue series gives no suggestion that the characters move like normal, natural human beings. The cybernetic monster designs initially seem dynamic and interesting until one realizes that they draw heavily from both Miyazaki's Kyoshinhei design and Koichi Ohata's Genocyber monster designs.

                      Watched Legion season 2 episodes 4-6.

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                        Subjectively and objectively Kyoto Holmes episode 4 seems like a weak episode. The animation quality is sub-par. Furthermore, I recognize that the show introduced its primary characters with unresolved personal conflicts, so the story naturally has to tie up those loose ends. But this episode does so feeling exactly like catty high school soap opera.

                        Watched Overlord III episode 4.

                        Watched Angolmois episode 4.

                        Watched Asobi Asobase episode 4.

                        Watched Lupin Part V episode 17

                        The first half of the 1991 Condition Green OVA series is legitimately "so bad it's good." It takes itself completely seriously, but almost nothing in it makes sense, and it periodically borders on outrageously absurd. The soldiers are treated as volunteer mercenaries with no responsibility to military chain of command, and one of the “Condition Green” soldiers doesn't even appear to be an enlisted soldier at all. In a devastated war-torn world under constant threat of attack, where all of the citizens wear dusty rags, Angie wears a laughably inappropriate pink halter top and miniskirt. Keith is supposedly the "only" man who can successfully lead the Condition Green commando unit, but all establishing evidence the show gives depicts Keith as a poor soldier whose only skill is the phenomenal luck to avoid being killed in even the most perilous situations. And, swear to God, the second episode even includes a scene of sex via TV signal between a woman and a sentient tank. The alien tank, oddly yet appropriately named "Moby Dick," fires a gigantic penis missile. (And remember, this show is deadpan serious.) The entire planet's military defense appears to be commanded by just one general and one colonel. The Yurojins, an elf-like race that might be Earthling or might not (the show isn't clear on that point) seem to have whatever magical powers a particular scene needs them to have. Furthermore, in episode 1 the Yurojins are a despised traitorous race, yet without any explanation, in episode 4 they're suddenly depicted as widely integrated into and accepted by human society. However, in episodes 4-6 the titular Condition Green commando team suddenly become nearly irrelevant supporting characters in their own story. It's also not a spoiler to say that half way through the series invading alien Jado's motivations abruptly change with no explanation while his commander Skarr just vanishes from the story without any reason. Regrettably, the second half of the series turns from laughably fun bad to just plain bad.

                        Baki episode 6 at last bluntly acknowledges that its story isn't about a martial arts competition. It's martial artists versus unscrupulous, underhanded assassins.

                        Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 4 is amusing because it's so silly.

                        I had a few episodes of Pipopapo Patrol-kun and didn't know anything about it, so I watched short episodes 58 & 64. The show is essentially a predecessor to Pixar's Cars. I won't say that Pixar got its idea from this show, but the similarities are significant.

                        Watched Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan episode 8.

                        The first episode of 1967's ninja comedy series Pyun Pyun Maru left me with two prominent impressions. The soundtrack is groovy pre-disco. And if Looney Toons had ever made a ninja anime, it would be just like this. The show is reminiscent of Nintama Rantaro, but while Nintama Rantaro is rooted in dialogue-based comedy, Pyun Pyun Maro is slapstick visual comedy.

                        The fifth episode of Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu moves the story forward slightly but feels bogged down in reiterating the same jokes over and over again. Especially afte how much time has passed, there's no reason for Diablo to still freak out over his persona. If he's going to play a role, just play the role. Questioning it or being hesitant can only make circumstances worse, not better.

                        The fifth episode of Shichisei no Subaru is somewhat disappointing because it feels as if the show is descending into soap opera.

                        Watched the cute and strange 7th episode of Hentatsu.

                        I'm starting to wonder if Banana Fish is so bad it's good or whether it's just plain terrible. The show repeatedly emphasizes the fact that Eiji is a grown adult, but he keeps behaving like a clingy, ignorant child. Furthermore, not only is this show a crime story that doesn't seem to have the faintest idea of how the law works, it doesn't even seem to understand how basically physics works. For example, keeping a fresh corpse in an ordinary apartment room for several days isn't just something that's done casually like babysitting a dog or buying groceries.

                        Paper Girls issue 23 advances the story marginally but doesn't feel especially substantial. The second issue of Quantum Age distinctly solidifies a difference in tone between this and all of the other Black Hammer series. Black Hammer, Age of Doom, Sherlock Frankenstein, and Doctor Star are all heavily character-centric stories that are very absorbing and affecting because they concentrate on characterization. Quantum Age is an outlier in the regard that it's more about a scenario than any singular characters, so it feels like a weaker story in comparison. Even by Cavewoman standards, the first issue of “Raptorella's Revenge” is especially gratuitous, consisting of essentially just catfights, tits, and big butts.

                        On one hand I have to admit that director Andy Muschietti's adaptation of It is a nice looking and staged production. It exudes a degree of class that elevates it above most horror films. But I can't call it flawless. The use of jump shocks is actually commendably done. Seemingly in compensation, however, the film uses its score as a crutch. Loud or overbearing music takes the place of conventional sudden shocks. Bigger problems lie in the scenario's credibility. Evidently the town of Derry absolutely hates children. There's only one adult in the entire film who appears to care about children, and it's Betty Ripsom's mom who's only in the background of half of one scene and only seems to care about her own child. So the scenario is difficult to take seriously. If the story wanted to suggest that the creature's malevolent influence had infected the town's veteran residents, the adults, the movie could and should have included at least one scene to establish that fact. And throughout the second half of the film, most prominently during the extended climax, the kids behave as if none of them have ever watched a horror movie before. The kids make a pact to stay together because they're going to fight Pennywise, then they immediately don't stay together and don't fight back when they have their first opportunity. The movie's effectiveness hinges upon empathy for its characters, but I don't feel any pity or anxiety for any of the kids. All of them have such profound sob stories that they all feel like tropes instead of real people.

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                          Watched Isekai Izakaya Nobu episodes 17-18.

                          I've seen Ghibli's Koro no Daisanpo, Mei to Konekobus, and Kemushi no Boro short films in the Ghibli Museum. Since I don't know when or even if I'll ever have a chance to see more of the museum shorts, I watched bootlegs of Pandane to Tamago-hime & Mizugumo Monmon. The former is an exceptional example of Ghibli's famous elaborate detail. The amount of character in the extensive animation is marvelous. The story is a charming fairy tale told with only visuals. It exhibits obvious influences of the robot from Laputa as well as Yubaba and the background design of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. Monmon is obviously the inspiration for the later Kemushi no Boro short. From a technical perspective, the primary differences between Monmon & Boro are the fact that Monmon uses realistic sound effects and background music and is entirely hand drawn while Boro extensively uses stylized sound effects, no background music, and incorporates extensive (excellent) CG 2D animation.

                          In the back of my mind I knew that the Go-Q-Choji Ikkiman anime series existed. Years before I'd heard of it referenced as the “baseball against aliens” show. I finally got around to watching the first episode and found it to be like a hybrid of many shows. The simplest summary would be to say that if the early episodes of Dragon Ball Z had been about Baseball instead of martial arts. But this show actually pre-dates Dragon Ball Z. The show exhibits inspirations from Kyojin no Hoshi and Pro Golfer Saru. Its comic tone also feels a bit like City Hunter, although the story is entirely different. I can only guess that perhaps this series is so tremendously obscure because it lacks its own concise identity because it feels like a hybrid of so many other different anime.

                          My first instinct is to call Muhyo to Roji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho a second tier shounen anime. But then I reconsidered after judging it a bit unfair that excepting Death Note, all of the “top tier” shounen anime are fighting shows. Outside of Death Note, darker supernatural shounen thriller and mystery anime like Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, Buso Renkin, D. Gray-man, Nurarihyon no Mago, Ushio to Tora, and Servamp, even if successful, just never seem to breakthrough into the top tier of smash hits like Dragonball, Bleach, Rurouni Kenshin, One Piece, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, and so forth. Muhyo to Roji feels like a less shoujo sibling to Suteki Tantei Labyrinth or a more juvenile sibling to Yondemasu Azazel-san. Both comparisons do little to propose a tremendous breakout success for the show.

                          Watched Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episode 5.

                          Watched Tenrou episode 4.

                          Harukana episode 5 is very frustrating. Haruka plays nearly four full games against the same two opponents and still can't get the timing of her blocks right? If she can't learn after that much practice, perhaps she should consider quitting volleyball because she's never going to be any good at it. And Kanata keeps using the “pokey” feint every single time the ball comes to her. It's not a feint when it's completely predictable. Why doesn't she mix it up by occasionally spiking, especially if her opponents have backed away from the net, giving her a free opportunity? The show has already demonstrated that Kanata was able to spike on a beach volleyball net when she was a younger, smaller child. So why isn't she doing it now? If she thinks she's going to wear out her opponents' stamina, that's a ridiculous strategy because she already knows that her opponents are experienced athletes used to strenuous extended exercise.

                          Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 5 is stupid beyond belief. MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW. First, if there are two people in a small, largely empty room, how did neither of them hear a large metal tile fall from the ceiling directly behind them? Second, Zack is so damn stupid that he can't even see the direction arrows on a key card that point out what direction to insert the card. And third, the poison gas just happens to be flammable? Hell, if the gas is combustible, it doesn't even need to be poisonous. And this is setting aside the question of why Rachel happened to be carrying around a makeshift explosive. Where the hell did she get it from? Did she make it herself? When and why? How did she know how to make it, if she made it herself? This little bomb she's carrying around is literally a dimension hammer. She just pulls it out of nowhere when she needs it as if she's some Doraemon with a purse full of infinite gadgets. In multiple previous episodes Zack has been eagerly destructive. If he doesn't want to hear Catherine's taunts, why doesn't he just smash the monitors?

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                            Anime about hybrid Tanabata/Oban festivals or the concept of an occasion to reunite with the departed are relatively common in anime. For example, the Sakura Capsule OVA from 2014 revolves around the concept but doesn't use a festival setting. So I'm willing to go along with the scenario of X-Flag's Yakusoku no Nanaya Matsuri ONA, but the details either strain credibility or don't make sense. The short film introduces the “spirit garment“ technology – essentially wifi wetsuits that optically camouflage and grant superhuman strength and abilities. Such technology would literally revolutionize the human race, so why is it only used once a year at a private memorial festival? And since the Mushi system is able to recreate people's personalities, why is the system only operated secretly for a limited number of people only once per year instead of publicly available to everyone anywhere? The short film provides a lengthy, detailed explanation of its conflict, yet even so the explanation fails to explain why the software system would bother investigating and piecing together the personalities and live of people who have been dead for centuries. I don't think the concept of combining spiritual faith with digital age technology is inherently a bad narrative idea, but it just doesn't work well in this story because knowing that the spiritual revelation is just a computer generated projection severely undermines its temporal specialness.

                            Evidently I forgot to mention that I watched the Sakura Capsule OVA a few weeks ago.

                            Kyoryu Daisenso Izenborg has got to be one of the strangest anime ever, if one even classifies it as anime. Judging by its first episode, the show is roughly 70% tokusatsu – mostly suitmation & models with a small amount of stop-motion. But any shots containing people, and select other shots, are depicted with 2D anime. At once making the show even stranger and paying homage to producer Tsuburaya's most famous tokusatsu production, the protagonist siblings Ai and Zen are cyborgs. When they exert their power, for three and a half minutes they merge with each other and their mecha and transform to battle evil talking, psychic, giant, fire-breathing dinosaurs.

                            I was really hoping to see Ono again, but High Score Girl episode 4 is a nice one regardless.

                            Watched the 2013 indie CG OVA World of Roku. It's an entirely functional pilot, but it's little more because its storytelling leaves so many major points unexplained.

                            Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 5.

                            Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 5.

                            I was surprised to see Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 11 conclude on a tense cliffhanger.

                            Watched Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight episode 4.

                            Planet With episode 5 is quite fun.

                            Watched Baki episode 7.

                            The pacing of Gintama 358 is almost laughably slow despite being all action.

                            Asobi Asobase episode 5 is pretty good.

                            Watched Overlord III episode 5.

                            Watched Hanebad episode 6.

                            Watched Legion season 2 episodes 6-10. I do think the story focus is even more loose in this season than it was in the first season, but I think I enjoy the second season even more because it even more creatively flexible and dynamic than the first season that was tentative about its experimentation and seeing what it could do and get away with.

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                              Watched Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 5.

                              Yama no Susume 3 episode 6 is a pleasant episode about mountain hiking and also learning to embrace the taste of coffee.

                              Watched the YuruCamp: SabaCamp OVA.

                              Watched Angolmois episode 5.

                              Lupin Part V episode 18 is a nice change of pace episode.

                              By episode 3 I'm still watching Tsukumogami Kashimasu, but it still hasn't grown on me as I hoped it would.

                              Shinya Tensai Bakabon episode 5 left me speechless, not because it's highly provocative but rather because it's just all over the place. The gags and satirical references, particularly aimed at the TV Tokyo network and the conventions of late night anime

                              Watched Kyoto Holmes episode 5. I still don't like the way Kiyotaka is supposed to be an expert, yet he primarily bases his judgements on vague, unscientific feelings or gut instincts rather than definitive evidence.

                              I’ve been a bit familiar with the 1987 Norakuro-kun anime for several years since watching the first episode. My recollection of it is that the show was primarily a domestic comedy in which Norakuro-kun himself was a supporting character. However, going back historically into the franchise is an odd experience. I watched the 1934 second (short) feature film as well as the first episode of the 1970 Norakuro television series from studio Eiken. Evidently all of the Norakuro anime up to 1970 was faithful to creator Suiho Tagawa’s original pre-war manga. The early anime varies from loosely to literally WWII propaganda, like a more slapstick cousin to Momotaro Umi no Shinpei. In the ’34 film, Norakuro seems slightly more responsible and capable than he is in the 1970 television series. The first television series exhibits the typical low budget weakness of Eiken productions including limited animation and periodically out-of-synch audio. But the 1970 series is still a slapstick depiction of Norakuro’s dog regiment at war against the seemingly smarter monkey army. Yet in the end the dogs always seem to find some way to prevail. Going from the 1970 and earlier anthropomorphic war satire to the 1997 domestic comedy/detective show is a drastic and head-spinning contrast.

                              My interpretation of the theme of the Chinese/Japanese co-produced anthology film Shiki Oriroi is: make satisfying life choices because the world is going to keep moving ahead regardless of what individuals choose to do. I have to admit that the film’s first segment felt the most Japanese to me while the second felt the least like Japanese anime. Something difficult to pinpoint in the timing and the relatively shallowness of the investigation of character in the second segment felt different from conventional anime. So I was surprised to discover that the second segment is actually the one directed by Japanese animator Yoshitaka Takeuchi. Perhaps I’m giving too much credit, or possibly just justifying my own misperception, by thinking that perhaps Yi Xiaoxing & Li Haoling, the directors of the first and third stories, deliberately tried to pattern their shorts on Japanese styles while Japanese director Takeuchi deliberately made his segment for the international film different from typical Japanese anime. In any case, the three shorts are attractive looking and exude a pleasant bittersweet romantic melancholy. However, while the first short works very well because it has a very limited focus, the second and third shorts are weaker in part because they don’t have enough time to deeply and incisively dissect and illustrate their characters’ emotions and motivations. Takeuchi’s segment is passable. Haoling’s segment is a bit heavy-handed, a bit cliché, and ultimately a bit too neat and tidy. Its biggest weakness may be that viewers never fully understand why young Li Mo didn’t confess his true feelings even when given a direct opportunity to do so.

                              Watched a rather slow Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 6.

                              On one hand I have to credit Shichisei no Subaru episode 6 for actually delivering on the cliffhanger promise of the prior episode, although the intensity of the action could have been more substantial. However, the battle doesn't fully feel convincing in part because all of the characters seem able to arbitrarily invent whatever magic, technique, or skill they need on demand. The show hasn't explained the mechanics of the ReUnion game, so the fight feels childish and pointless when the fighters can make up their own rules as they go along.

                              I'm glad to see that Haruka finally got the hang of blocking in Harukana Receive episode 6. However, this episode in particular arouses a confusion in me. Practically every volleyball anime treats the court as two inviolable fields. However, according to the official international FIVB rules for volleyball, defensive players may reach over the net as long as they don't prevent offensive players from being able to legitimately touch the ball.

                              Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episode 6 is pretty good.

                              Read the seventh issue of Maestros. I'm unclear on whether it's the end of the first story arc of the end of the entire series. In either case, the issue is a conclusion, but more of its length is practically an epilogue. The zero issue of writer James Haick's Long Live Pro Wrestling is quite straightforward. The comic introduces a late-night talk show host with a penchant for encouraging viewers to appreciate pro wrestling. So far, it seems more of a mild character study than a story. I can't say at all that I'm surprised that the 2017 comic mini-series The Rift is rumored to be in development as a television series. The first issue of the comic feels more like a storyboard than a comic book because it's far more concerned with setting up a scenario and expressing characterization through obvious actions and dialogue than through subtlety or expression of psychology. The first issue simply reads like a TV drama in comic book form. The first issue of Bonnie Lass feels as though it has potential but also feels a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The scenario suggests that Bonnie and her two crewmates have a long heartfelt bond, but readers don't get any sense of it because the only expression Bonnie exhibits is antagonism. Furthermore, the comic is intended to be rolicking fun in the vein of One Piece, but the art is frequently cramped and difficult to immediately decipher, and the story development is unnecessarily wordy, slowing the pace.

                              The final episode of Legion season 2 is richly complex with moral ambiguity and uncertainty. I really did enjoy the second season more than the first, and even the first season was excellent.

                              Comment


                                Watched Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 6.

                                Tenrou still isn't fantastic, but I'm glad at least that episode 5 directly addresses the fact that Yuily isn't as skillful or as committed to his chosen task as he claims to be.

                                Banana Fish episode 6 is largely slow but narratively necessary. However, the end of the episode again suggests a near complete misunderstanding of most of the concepts the story deals with.

                                The first episode of Marvel Future Avengers season 2 was unexpectedly terrible. The episode is a thinly veiled recap episode in which roughly half of the footage is recycled from season one just to re-introduce all of the primary characters. If that wasn't pointless enough,


                                Anime Oyako Gekijou and its sequel have some historical significance, and I'd never previously watched either. So as much for academic edification as anything, I sampled the first episodes of both series. The 1981 first series is essentially a moral and educational sibling to Time Bokan. A speaking “travel book” sends a boy, his little girl neighbor, and his toy robot back in time. In the first episode Shou & Azusa meet Adam and Eve, and witnessing God's punishment of Adam & Eve causes Shou to be a better behaved son to his own father. Practically, the only especially unusual aspect of the first episode is the unusual fact that none of the series' characters appear in the show's opening animation. The 1983 sequel, Pasocon Travel Tanteidan, is a bit more odd. It picks up a few years later when Shou & Azusa are a bit older and Shou has a new younger brother named “U” (presumably a phonetic spelling of “Yuu”). The sequel series, at least initially, doesn't involve the characters interacting with Biblical characters. Shou's little brother and his assistant robot get sent back to the time of Abraham when the travel book interacts with a computer. From then on the anime develops as two separate storylines because U and his robot never interact with the Biblical characters. Once again, none of the show's characters appear in the opening animation. And I'm uncertain why the series is titled “Pasocon Travel Tanteidan” because the “Personal computer” and “travel” make sense, but the show seems to have nothing to do with “detectives.”

                                Since I'd watched the first episodes of the first and third Tatsunoko Biblical series, I finished off the trilogy by watching the first episode of Tondera House no Daibouken. The character design is a bit goofy looking. The characters are simplistically drawn but also look slightly misproportioned. Otherwise, the show is significantly more conventional than the surrounding “Superbook” series. Furthermore, when considering this show's narrative details, it makes about as much sense as a concrete balloon. Three kids wander into the house of an unknown scientist. He promptly announces to them that his house is a time machine he invented, and seemingly because kidnapping is okay, he proceeds to time leap with the kids still in the house with him. Then, presuming if kidnapping is okay child endangerment must be okay also, when the scientist doesn't know where or when his house had landed, he sends the kids, alone, up into a hot air balloon to reconnoiter the area.

                                As a further academic exercise, I watched the Castlevania four-episode first season. Although the animation is a bit choppy, this American/Korean production does an admirable job of recreating the visual aesthetic of Japanese anime. The first episode is surprisingly watchable. Even the original English language voices sound reasonable natural and believable. Unfortunately, the second through fourth episodes become abruptly dumber.

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