October 2010 Archives - Star Crossed Anime Blog : Star Crossed Anime Blog
Posted on 31 October 2010 with categories: Shinrei Tantei Yakumo



It’s rushed, it’s full of coincidences, I know that. But damn, this episode was surprisingly good here. I really want to praise the creators here, that even though they had to cut god knows how much from the manga in order to make this fit into just one episode, they still managed to make it work. This show is indeed visibly flawed, but it also avoids the single biggest pitfall for any rushed anime: the fact that the plot doesn’t come together.

This episode just kept building up its tension, right from the start, and within these 20 minutes, they really did lot here: they gave the doctor a good backstory, it fleshed the rest of the cast, especially Gotou tried to squeeze a bit of personality as much as he could without getting in the way of the story or the rest of the characters, we know a bit more about the new intern (who despite his whining is surprisingly useful), and most importantly: we now know who Yakumo’s father is. That certainly added a neat twist to this series.

The atmosphere was particularly wonderful in this episode. That’s where it really helps to be a Bee-Train series, because that soundtrack definitely kept me to the edge of my seat, and it worked great with the storytelling and the pacing of the series. This balance is probably the thing that makes this show works so well: the characters and story are very well balanced in each episode, and the creators make sure to give all of them equal time to show themselves off. Its definitely not the most solid series, but to me it does feel like everything comes together like it should.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, OVA Impressions



Now that we’re two hours in, it’s gotten time to start asking in what way Gundam Unicorn sets itself apart from the other Gundam series. Unfortunately, I’m hard-pressed to find that answer…

I guess that the closest that this episode came to standing on its own was the point at which it showed that random Zeon family. It of course already was established that the Zeon aren’t completely evil by the very first Gundam series thirty years ago, but this episode did give a bit more depth to that by showing the people that the Zeon are trying to protect.

But apart from that though… the main problem with Unicorn really is its completely generic story, setting and characters: it’s all just “been there, done that”. There’s yet another boy who through some loophole in the rules gets his hand on the most powerful mobile suit known to man, there is yet another romance with a girl from the enemy (and hey! she’s even a princess this time), there again are strings of mecha battles. It’s all just too safe.

This all could have been forgiven with the right characterization, but… the lead character. I mean, most Gundam leads do fairly well to stand as solid characters, but this guy is completely generic. It’s not really the fact that he’s able to pilot a really powerful mecha: there are tons of other anime who do that. Instead, he just feels so out of place. Here we have a serious story about the war between two big fractions, and right there in the middle there’s this brat who keeps whining because he just discovered that people die in a war. Because of him we had to listen to strings of cheesy morals, instead of focusing on the story.

The same happened to Char here: in Zeta Gundam he was pretty interesting, in the first Gundam he was an excellent villain, but here, he looks like he lost all his charms, relying just on his cool-factor. The action also was something I got bored with. It’s the exact same type of action that we’ve been seeing over and over again. It was indeed solid, but the only thing that set it apart from all of the other Gundams was its airbags and the way in which the lead character vomited in his suit. okay, that’s admirable, but that’s not something you want to advertise yourself with.

Gundam Unicorn is solid, I’m not going to deny that. I did like the parts that didn’t feature the male lead. Minerva thank god shows how to not be annoying as a teenager, and also all of the adults knew exactly in what kind of situation they’re in, and they stand behind their choices. There was this interesting bit of intrigue going on, and at least most of the adults here felt very natural.

But that’s the thing: it’s got such a solid base here, and it doesn’t use it. This is Gundam: it’s got a huge graphics budget here; its direction is very solid and thought out; it’s got all of the ingredients for at least a solid story, grounded in realism. It just feels like it put its ambition in the wrong places.

Of course, it wasn’t bad either. I really hope that this episode was simply building up, so that we can at least get to see something interesting in the final episodes. I first want to see that before I’ll buy that, though. My biggest hope right now resides on that box. If that gets to be more than just another McGuyver, then this could still get interesting.
OVA Episode Rating: 7,75/10

Posted on with categories: Star Driver




After watching all of the shows that debuted this autumn season, I’m really sure now: Star Driver has by far the best direction and animation, and it’s one of the few series that didn’t blow its biggest budget in its first episode, and actually kept a consistent quality throughout all its episodes. And the great thing is that the animation here really helps in bringing the cast alive: some of the inbetween animation in this episode was really smooth and detailed. At that level, it really adds something extra to the characters.

Also, this episode was weird. There was this school nurse who used her cybuddy to make herself as young as a teenaged girl again, but the weirdest thing was that she was a huge raving fangirl for bishies. It was quite ridiculous, but the creators actually managed to make it work. It again managed to make this nurse into a great character to follow, even though she would have been obnoxious in most other series with a sub-par direction.

Also, regarding the battle: this episode convinced me: they’re going to be great. So far, none of the battles really looked like the others. Takuto managed to win in every one of them, but again: him winning every battle he’s in is trivial in a series in which there’s so much else going on. I liked how the creators actually went with the twist in which she is defeated by her own fetish and carelessness.

On top of that, you can also see that the creators aren’t forgetting the rest of the cast here: while the first few episodes focused on these relatively minor characters, they were also busy fleshing out the main cast, and this episode was no exception. That’s the sign of a good episodic series. I’ve said this before, but I really don’t mind an episodic series when it’s done right. If they can use these stories to build up the series as a whole, it’s only going to make the series better.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Heartcatch Precure




This series really is unbelievable: it uses some cliches that have been beaten to death in the mahou shoujo genre by now, and yet it manages to avoid all of the pitfalls. Now that the power-up arc is finally over, I really have to say that I’m delighted with how it turned out: it was built up really well, the characters knew the disadvantages, and yet they also knew that in order to beat Dune, it really was a power they needed. In the past two episodes, Dune finally arrived close enough to earth to start sending his own monsters, and they’re a complete league apart from what they’ve faced so far.

And then there are the transformation scenes: this series just has so many different ones, and they’re all completely gorgeous in their own ways. This episode again was a visual orgasm: it may not have had the incredibly smooth framerate of Cure Sunshine’s transformation, but it was incredibly varied, especially for a transformation scene (usually they just have one theme and stick with it with really not a lot of creativity). There was so much going on in that scene, and it looked really gorgeous. If I had to give a criticism, it’s that CG hand of Blossom: it’s here where the CG stood out a bit.

As for Cure Blossom, the creators did a wonderful job on her, accepting her shy side. I really love the choice of having her take much longer than the others, because it made her character stand out even more, even though she had to do the same as everyone else. It’s the difference in which they all managed to accept their flaws that really made this a wonderful arc.

I’m so curious to that final quarter of this series now. I mean, when was the last time that we had a random story in this series? The past number of episodes have all had their purpose, so I really doubt that this show is going to close off by going back to the desatorians. What I really want to see here is 13 episodes of quality time, dedicated to fleshing out and developing Dune and the people from Sabaku. That really would be awesome.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

Here’s the thing with this season: when you look at the top, it’s quite lonely: there are very few series that have the potential to become a classic. There’s perhaps one, maybe two, out of all the shows that debuted that really has the potential to become an amazing series. This season however shines with the rest of its series: for an autumn season, there really are very few series that are just crap or completely uninspired. The largest majority of the series here have their charms, do something right and are worth watching. Because of that I consider this to be an average Autumn Season: it’s better and more varied than Autumn 2007 and Autumn 2009, but it also gets nowhere near the standards set by Autumn 2005, 2006 and 2008.

#31 (new) – Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – (4/10) – Without a doubt the worst show of the season. Everything about this series is just bad, save from the fact that they used a nice filter over the art style. The acting is terrible, the plot makes no sense, the action is badly written, the comedy is dull, the fanservice is pointless… stay away from this one. Dropped.
#30 (39) – To Love-Ru – (5/10) – Okay, so it’s not Xebec’s worst, but To Love-Ru still sucks. It’s shallow comedy, built completely around fanservice and nothing else. The characters are still paper thin and cliched. I really see no hope for this one. Dropped.
#29 (new) – Iron Man – (5,25/10) – I really hope that the other Marvel anime aren’t going to be of the same standard here. Iron Man is completely stupid and uninspired.
#28 (new) – Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai – (6/10) – I really tried here. I gave three episodes a chance, and I couldn’t get through all of them. Beyond the ridiculously un-subtle premise, the subject matter of this series is also milked completely dry: yeah, they’re otaku, yeah, they bitch and moan about their hobbies, yeah they have to visit Akihabara as soon as possible. I don’t care at all about it, nothing really feels fresh and nothing stands out. Dropped
#27 (23) – Hakuouki – (6,5/10) – Here I also tried, but ultimately this show is just so dull and boring that I just couldn’t take it anymore. This pretty much is Studio Deen with its bishies again, in one of the worst possible ways. Dropped
#26 (new) – You Are Umasou – (7/10) – Harmless yet ultimately uninteresting kiddie show. Dropped
#25 (31) – Sora no Otoshimono – (7,25/10) – My interest in this series died when we saw the stereotypical leader of the Synapse. This show started off funny, but the latest episodes didn’t even get a chuckle out of me. The episodes just consist out of Tomoki harassing a bunch of random girls, getting beaten up afterwards, and that gets old really fast. The gimmicky fanservice also has seen its expiration date by now. Overall, this series is wasting too much time; the back-story could have been good, but it spends way too little time on it. Dropped
#24 (20) – Super Robot Wars OG – (7,5/10) – This… is a soap opera. Or at least, that’s my impression without having watched the first season. It does have some interesting parts in its plot, but the drama is shallow and superficial.
#23 (27) – Arakawa Under the Bridge – (7,5/10) – I can understand how this is supposed to be a series about a bunch of nut-cases who all together hang out under a bridge. I actually like that, you can do some interesting things with that. My biggest issue with this series is just that I don’t find it funny. The humour is all just either predictable or downright cheesy. I guess I sort-of like the characters and all, but it’s this humour and delivery that makes it really hard for me to even sit through this series.
#22 (new) – MM! – (7,5/10) – What a surprise, this show actually takes itself seriously. Really, I completely expected this to be some shallow comedy based on a simple gimmick and fetish, but instead curing deep and heavy traumas turned out to be a major theme of this series. That’s not to say that this series is perfect, though: it’s way too dramatic and uses shallow plot devices to create its drama. The episode around the science girl also took way too many liberties.
#21 (new) – Yosuga no Sora – (7,75/10) – This show is smut; the fanservice is just… way too much and obvious here. But the thing is, that for once we have a teenaged romance that has some actual balls: it doesn’t shy around the fact that teenagers can have sex, it knows how to flesh out its characters and create a good cast. It definitely sets itself apart from all of the other shows of its genre, but it does so in both good and bad ways.
#20 (25) – To Aru Majutsu no Index – (7,75/10) – The Orsola Aquinas arc isn’t the worst, but still below average for Index’s standards. Strange fanservice aside, its story just isn’t as interesting as some of the other Index arcs, despite the nice twists that it included.
#19 (new) – Togainu no Chi – (7,75/10) – It’s not the fact that the romance is gay here that turns me off, but it’s the way in which it’s so incredibly forced and awkward. Togainu no Chi suffers from bad acting, but the atmosphere itself is quite good.
#18 (new) – Fortune Arterial – (7,75/10) – Episode four really showed it: this series looks bloody generic, but the male lead stands miles apart the other harem leads in the way he managed the sports festival. Finally we have someone who isn’t a complete pussy or the most generic guy you can think of. This series still has its problems, like lots of cheap fanservice cliches (“oh! I tripped and landed with my breasts on you!”), and overall this definitely isn’t the most exciting show, but it holds potential. ‘
#17 (new) – Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt – (7,75/10) – Most of of Panty and Stocking failed to live up the action of the first episode: episodes 2, 3 and 4 were mostly dull comedies with outrageous fanservice jokes. Episode five really impressed me, though. It was completely disgusting, but I loved the animation of its second half. That really was not something I expected from this show. And to think that it was pretty much one big middle finger to all of the people who bitched about Gurren Lagann’s fourth episode, back in 2007.
#16 (new) – The World God Only Knows – (7,75/10) – Here’s the thing: this series pales in comparison to some of the other shows this season. It’s far from the best parody and I don’t really see this paying off as a deconstruction yet. The series works as a character-study, but it’s far from the best this season as well, and Elcea doesn’t really help to make things better here.
#15 (new) – Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – (8/10)

Yeah, the lead characters’ voice acting is bad, the title screens are really annoying (hey, they’ve been in just about every Shaft Series for ages), but to be honest: this is my favourite Shaft series since Natsu no Arashi. It’s just an unambitious little slice of life series, without all of their usual pretension and instead they really focus on the characterization here. The chemistry between all of the different characters works, none of the characters really feels cheap or rushed. So yeah, I’m impressed. It’s really been ages since I’ve had this with a Shaft series.

#14 (22) – Yumeiro Patissiere – (8,25/10)

This show is a bit childish, but damn, when it wants to deliver it packs some good drama here. Setting up your own shop here and making it profitable, that’s something I really did not expect this show to have the balls to do and despite the obnoxious American stereotypes it’s working out well.

#13 (14) – Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu – (8,25/10)

It’s getting better! The past few episodes really showed an improvement for Denyuuden, with both the plot and characters becoming more interesting. The question now remains whether they can keep it that way.

#12 (new) – Bakuman – (8,25/10)

Solid. At the moment I don’t have a lot to say about this series, but it’s definitely interesting to watch the basics of the manga creating process.

#11 (12) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8,25/10)

I’m very intrigued in the way that the creators of the anime have managed to add so much content to the story of the manga without making it feel out of place at all. It really made the cast and plot a lot more solid this way.

#10 (new) – Otome Youkai Zakuro – (8,25/10)

Okay, so while I did not end up blogging this series, I do want to say that it’s got some excellent characters. The past number of episodes did a great job in giving some depth to them. The main reason I’m still a bit iffy about this series is the unambitious story, which really is much of the same: I don’t sense enough potential for this series to set itself apart from the others. It’s really good at what it does, though, make no mistake about that.

#9 (new) – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – (8,25/10)

This show is killing me. Perhaps it’s not the most solid comedy, but it did make me laugh the hardest of all of the shows this season. It just keeps on coming with jokes and parodies of the moe and the kaitou-genre. It’s completely over the top in just about everything it does, but nearly all of the jokes are fresh and funny. Definitely the biggest surprise for me this season.

#8 (new) – Shinrei Tantei Yakumo – (8,25/10)

It’s not up to par with Bee-Train’s usual standards: it’s too rushed for that. Yet, this fast pacing of trying to stuff as much as possible within just 13 episodes does have its charms. The plot moves fast, and yet all of the stories do deliver when they need to. On top of that, the soundtrack is still excellent, the overall plot is intriguing as heck, so I’m quite happy with how this series turned out so far.

#7 (7) – Katanagatari – (8,5/10)

Now that we’re nearing the end, I have to say that everything is coming together quite nicely. Togame and Shichika developed into a great couple, the dialogue has my attention from beginning to end. I’m just a bit worried about how we don’t really know much about the final bosses, but apart from that, I’m glad I stuck with this series.

#6 (new) – Shinryaku! Ika-Musume – (8,5/10)

A very effective comedy: the jokes are fresh, varied and hilarious. Especially Squid Girl is a wonderful character in the way that she acts, is animated and delivers her antics with a great comedic timing. There are a few repeated jokes here and there, but apart from that this has been non-stop hilarity.

#5 (new) – Kuragehime – (8,5/10)

I’m really surprised at how well the chemistry between the different characters turned out here. The energy behind them is consistently addictive, and the creators are especially good in toying around with emotions.

#4 (4) – Shiki – (8,5/10)

We didn’t get to see much due to Noitamina’s bloody hiatuses, but what we saw was a completely desperate turn of events here that I really didn’t see coming.

#3 (new) – Star Driver – (8,5/10)

Hell yeah, this promises a lot as the spiritual successor of Utena. The characters are diverse and well fleshed out, and on top of that it’s one of the very few series that really comes with something new here. It’s flamboyant, of course, but that really gives it a unique charm.

#2 (5) – Letter Bee – (8,75/10)

Well, the first season really ended at the moment where Letter Bee got really good. Letter Bee has really gotten amazingly charming over the past month, with both top notch episodic stories and a main plot that gets more and more intriguing. Definitely one of the top shows of the Autumn Season

#1 (2) – Heartcatch Precure – (9/10)

Heartcatch Precure… actually surpassed itself yet again this month. Really, it’s based on a very flimsy premise, and yet no scene was wasted this month: it was chock full of character-development, and in between there was the school festival arc, which was wonderfully portrayed. Seriously, it’s been ages since a mahou shoujo took up my first place in these rankings, but this was one well deserved.

Posted on 30 October 2010 with categories: Letter Bee



This episode was definitely meant to thicken the plot here. At first it seemed like another delivery from Lag, in which he had to deliver another letter full of lies, but the creators cleverly used it as a device to introduce a couple of new characters. Who are pretty much immediately a delight to watch and a worth addition to this series’ cast.

Reverse really has something for collecting skilled ex-bees here. First Gauche, and now it also turns out that one of the most skilled Bees of thirteen years ago is working on his side. This episode also gives us the first real hint beyond the nature of the Akatsuki that the government is really pulling off stuff behind the scenes, but again in this episode we just got to see the side of the Reverse.

Either way though, as characters they’re really charming. Valentine as a veteran Bee works really well: he’s mature, has experienced a lot and forms a real contrast with Lag. His dingo meanwhile is one of those lovable tough guys who gets the formula right with a neat balance between charms and temper. I especially loved the scene between him and Wasiolka.

Also, this episode again spoke of this mysterious “head bee”, but really: what do we exactly know about that? All we know is that it’s the best of the Letter Bees, but we’ve never seen it: neither Gauche or Valentine, despite being the most talented around due to rumours, didn’t manage to become one. So what does it take to make a head bee anyway? And who is the current head bee?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Bakuman



Next episode should promise to be interesting. This episode showed Akito and Moritaka create some sort of pilot, now they have to convince the manga publishing magazines that their work is good enough. That should really prove to be interesting. This episode established this series as a “hard work”-anime, which has definite potential. Moritaka is a perfectionist, and you can see that Akito is getting caught up in that.

I also like the story they came up with here, with the clones and all. It would be interesting if Bakuman would also end up talking not just about manga artists, but mangas themselves. Moritaka’s art… it looks a bit cliched, but at the same time it’s very detailed, and he’s definitely a talented artist.

The romance at this point feels like comedic relief, though. Normally I don’t think I would have minded so much, but I know the standards of Kenichi Kasai, and I know that it just pales in comparison to some of his other works. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s just… there. Not really interesting, and all I’m doing during those scenes is waiting for the focus to fall back on the manga creating process.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week, I would like to rant a bit. On the downright lazy job that Madhouse did on Iron Man. They’re usually known for their imaginative and well thought out series. They had the freedom to really go anywhere, and yet they chose this. There’s something wrong with just about every part of this series apart from the music. The soundtrack really is wasted on such a series.

Starting with the visuals. I know that it’s shallow, and I usually only dismiss character-designs when they’re too generic. But dammit, when your main character looks like a freaking GOAT, that’s where I draw the line here. Tony Stark, a suave businessman with a ton of experience, looks ridiculously stupid, and the rest of the cast also doesn’t look much better. It really looks like a cheap outsourced series where no real effort went into making this look good, where most of the action is simply CG because it’s easier to animate.

Not to mention that the action scenes themselves don’t make any sense. This episode took place in space. You know, an open world with nothing in the way. And yet this episode dared to pull off the fact that you can hide from the vision of your enemy. TWICE.

As for the plot, I usually don’t have anything against episodic series. Iron Man is a bad example, though: it’s just a string of random unrelated cases that Iron Man has to solve. Only one of them really dealt with Tony’s past, for the rest it was all filler: nothing showed anything new about the characters, nothing really fleshed them out, and nothing really built up to the rest of the series. If the stories themselves were good, then this could be forgiven, but… they’re crap.

This episode… what exactly where the bad guys thinking? They put in a huge amount of money and effort in order to launch a parasite satellite that somehow can manage to beam into people and have them cough up blue blood. Leaving aside how ridiculously impossible this is, what baffles me the most is what they want to achieve with this: people end up coughing blue blood, and yet when they’re brought to a hospital and rest for a while they turn out completely fine. I mean, if I were to design such a thing, I’d at least make some kind of beam that is… you know… deadly and stuff. On top of that, they didn’t even hit the guy they meant to hit, thanks to Stark’s radiation shield. I mean, there are the kinds of stupid villains who screw up during a shoplift, but wasting so much money on something completely pointless. That really takes the cake here.

We’re five episodes into the series now, and what do we really know? The reporter still is as annoying as ever, Tony likes to go after women and his assistant is perfect in her preparation. Oh, and that there are some guys after Tony’s life for some reason. There’s no depth, no effort at all is spent asking “why”: we’re just spoonfed everything without much of a coherence between anything. I mean, I can forgive a cheap budget, but you can write a good story with any kind of budget: there are no excuses for such a sloppy script.

And the worst thing is… that we haven’t even gotten started yet. Is it known at this point whether or not Wolverine, the X-Men and Blade will also have the same staff here? That would be pretty disastrous. And it’s not like series based on comic books are doomed to fail here, because there have been a number of good examples throughout the years: Ultraviolet, Batman and Witchblade put down very respectable anime that stood on their own, and even beyond that there are the Animatrix and Power Puff Girls, which also translated very well to anime. And yet, we first had Heroman, and now this. I’m not really sure what went wrong in 2010, but they all just feel so dumbed down and safe, taking so little risks. It’s a bloody shame.
Rating: — (Bad)

Posted on 29 October 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




It has really been a while since I watched a movie that had an introduction that was as good as King of Thorn’s. It is a movie with a ton of action, and yet the first 20 minutes have none of it whatsoever: this movie takes a great deal of effort to introduce its plot, build up the setting, and introduce its characters. Especially the latter, had my utmost attention, even though it’s not like we learn an awful lot about them. It’s just the build-up to the inevitable point in which all hell breaks loose that was perfectly executed, well timed, and had a top notch atmosphere. It really took its time to let everything progress naturally, and only afterwards it really went all out with its action.

Regarding the action and the rest of the visuals: it’s a very stylish movie; especially the landscapes are gorgeous, but the action too is well paced and keeps you to the edge of your seat. The only problem was that Sunrise lacked the budget to fully animate them, so at times they randomly switch to cell shaded CG; yes, even for the characters. Let’s just say that it looks out of place.

If this was a movie that was only carried by its action, I really could recommend a ton of other ones that did a better job. But really: King of Thorn does have an excellent story that keeps it together, and really makes it much more interesting than your average movie. Usually with these kinds of movies, they try to stuff too much into their story, or fail to stuff in anything at all. King of Thorn however is an hour and fifty minutes long, and fits this exactly. The plot is neither too big or too small: there are plenty of interesting plot twists, it has a detailed and imaginative concept, yet this concept isn’t so big that it shoots itself in the foot. Everything really gets the chance to play out naturally, with the help of perhaps a bunch of plot devices here and there to keep things on track.

The characters really made the first twenty minutes my favourite parts of the movie, but even during the rest of the airtime they remain interesting. This movie doesn’t really take its time to give them a lot of sides, or make them feel realistic, but it does develop the main cast effectively. Especially the ending: it’s a really good one, especially for a movie and I liked it a lot.

The movie does have a number of cliches, that’s something it doesn’t escape from. However, for every cliche that this movie uses, it also comes with a very neat idea. But really: this is how an action movie should be done: a plot that prevents it just from turning into a string of boring fight scenes, a cast who can carry that plot, enough scenes without any action in them whatsoever that don’t feel like mere time filler. Oh, and a stunning soundtrack. That also really helped here.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent build-up, decent action, well paced and never gets boring, excellent ending.
Characters: 8/10 – Spectacular they are not, but they are solid and developed enough to carry the movie.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Again, movie standards: it had its gorgeous frames, but the action are sometimes done in 3D cell shaded CG. The soundtrack is great, though.
Setting: 9/10 – Creative, and just the right complexity for a movie of two hours.

Suggestions:
Mobile Police Patlabor – WXIII
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
First Squad

Posted on with categories: Armored Trooper Votoms - Phantom Arc, OVA Impressions



I must say, that I’m really impressed with how this OVA turned out. This isn’t just there for its storytelling or action. Instead, it’s all about its plot. It’s very unlike what we’re expected from Ryousuke Takahashi at this point, yet it has the elements that are so typically his style, like the large focus on religious mumbo jumbo.

As expected, this episode went to Quent, or at least Quent’s twin planet. And finally we get a bit more of an idea what this OVA was meant to be about: the so-called Child of God. A kid who is supposed to be Wiseman’s successor. It’s interesting that it’s going to take the place of Chirico, who somehow was chosen by Wiseman himself as the new ruler. Could it be that Wiseman knew about his demise and the new birth of the child of god, so he at least tried to pick his own successor?

In any case, with this I can really see enough material for the upcoming three Votoms Movies. The Gen-ei arc and the Pailsen files were really meant to tie everything together: the Pailsen files filled in the missing details of Chirico’s past, while Gen-ei hen prepared for the real conclusions of the franchise: the three upcoming movies. On top of that, it really feels like an omnibus, which contains a bit of everything that we’ve seen so far: mecha action, the comic relief, the religious focus, the politics and of course the way that each of the episodes revisited the four arcs of the TV-series.

Either way, it’s great to see so many great series-based OVAs this year: we’ve had Darker than Black, xxxHolic Rou, Black Lagoon, Yozakura Quartet and all of them really had the guts to be different and go with their own direction and focus.
OVA Episode Rating: 8,5/10

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need to actually watch that Leiji Matsumoto stuff some day.
Anonymous3316528
Also Galaxy Express 99 I think also treated that topic.
Anonymous3316528
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't that Gate?
Anonymous3316528
Just like how Gundam made one for the Vietnam War.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A proper story dealing with isekai and immigration crisis.
Anonymous3316528
I mean they could make an allegory of the Berlin Wall.
Anonymous3316528
So Papers Please the anime?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think a romance themed isekai involving borders and beraucracy getting in the way could work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked those czech Jules verne animations.
Anonymous3316528
I suppose the work for creating assets for new settings it's why they don't do it. Most Isekai seem like they can take a tree, or a house from previous works and just change them a little.
Anonymous3316528
On second thought, that was technically the Anastasia animated movie.
Anonymous3316528
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Yeah. Just take the roadmap Bloodborne put out. It's even the perfect setting for an antihero archetype, considering these settings are about the hunt, surviving and superstition. I'll also like the Russia setting, harsh weather, espionage, travelling through train, boat and land like Jules Verne's Ivan Strogoff
Kaiser-Eoghan
That time I got reincarnated in the Soviet union.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see an anime set in Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gothic horror or industrial if only for liking the genre. I still want my anime western.
Anonymous3316528
All in all as I always say. I want new settings, steampunk, western, egyptian, chinese, space, nuclear dystopian, castaway, underwater, skyworld, gothic horror. Or any other tired trope other than european medieval fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, with the nostalgia of old games undertale went for, but without the maudlin di7alogue.
Anonymous3316528
Or something like Mad Max or the RPG series it inspired Metal Max. Maybe another one inspired by Phantasy Star.
Anonymous3316528
I got it! What if someone makes an Isekai on the vein of Earthbound or Undertale. I mean most are influenced by the standard fantasy JRPG. So why not take from the less typical ones?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just for the novelty of it, I would like to see an anime about a relationship between un-traditional/un-usual couples that we never see.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe that'd be cheesy or something but they manage to form new friendship/families which allow them to put behind what they lost.
Amagi
I like semi-episodical series that have an episodical plot and a golden thread at the same time, the latter usually being more subtile or like a subplot and each episodical adventure gives the audience a few new hints or informations about the setting, characters or main plot.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't even mind a drama driven otherworld story about a depressed person trying to move on and the new world actually helping them move past that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So how about my don-quixhote anime Japan =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time there's a bunch of serious stuff, but its not clashing with the lighthearted stuff badly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite type of adventure story though are the ones where its more about the journey and hangout, sometimes the story appears here and there. And its usually centred around three goofballs with alot of chemistry.
Amagi
Sadly there never is any culture clash or culture shock either, speaking of the LN/game mechanic isekai here. The isekai people are just like the people of nowadays Japan but with swords and magic, basically. Maybe a few rituals at best.
Amagi
An isekai should be like King of Thorns despite KoT not being an actual isekai. But awakening in another world, not understanding anything, exploring, mysteries and slowly piecing things together that make the MC understand the logic of that new world a bit better while trying to integrate into the foreign culture.
Amagi
@Kaiser/Anon: I feel like that too. I love explore and isekai would be perfect for exploration and yet it's always about the MC finding his place as soon as he got teleported, he finds his crew, friends, house, power and so on.
Amagi
@Anon: You're right I watched a few scenes, the dub actually fits pretty well to Nanbaka. The series itselfs is too insane for me I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lack of journey, focuses too much on harem/romcom bits.
Amagi
I have yet to watch Voltron. The animation looks somewhat weird to me but everything else I heard about it so far sounds pretty good.
Lenlo
I welcome the essays Kaiser! Sakaki is a much more complex character than I expected, and Animosh is right that it doesnt justify his actions. I didnt mean to imply that. I do think however that Sakaki is not wrong to be angry. He is just directing it at the wrong person.
Anonymous3316315
@Kaiser-Eoghan - In what sense? In that it isn't a journey? A quest? A series of trials? The hunt of ancient treasure? Or whatever dimension hoping happens in Milk Closet?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Well said about Sakaki's character and I agree with you on it. Saves me writing an essay response now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Tangent, but I want to say something, one of the most annoying things about LNs is when they do the isekai thing, the other world almost never feels like an adventure.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I honestly wouldn't complain if it was full blown yuri or shoujo-ai.
Anonymous3316315
@Kaiser-Eoghan - A lot of series have hard ship baiting. Voltron, She Ra, Seraph of the End, Korra (which at the last second they did it). I know sometimes is a stretch like Frodo and Sam in LotR or Venom and Eddie. But other times it's that relationship in everything but name.
Kaiser-Eoghan
People seem to play up the shoujo-ai thing in Euphonium.
Anonymous3316315
@Amagi - Nanbaka has a good English dub. They knew the delivery had to be as hammy as possible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm looking forward to those Gundam NT films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't finish violet evergarden nor did I watch tsurune. In the priors case, that was something I would have seen myself liking maybe 10 years ago.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I liked Koe no kitachi aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We can call it Racing Lads.
Amagi
Okay thanks. I can deal with slow pacing as long as there is an atmosphere or good character story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Free and kaze cross over WHEN!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked how scaled back it was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I think you were asking about the new kyoani movie earlier? I can't remember if I posted about it on here what I thought, but I actually liked it more than the main Euphonium series, it stood out in its adherence to using body language, silence and movements moreso than dialogue while giving me a coming of age movie I had been asking for. Though some won't like the glacial pacing
Amagi
KazeGa is pretty damn good. It kinda feels like it actually is what Kyoani is always trying to do when they produce sport series with a male cast that are half comedy half drama. But while I often like some aspects of Kyoani shows (like the setting and themes of VEG), I never like the execution, save from the looks of course that are awesome but don't help making the content any better.
Amagi
*above
Amagi
@SuperMario: IIRC mosts Steven Universe VAs are actual singers so they should be a level about typical VAs anyway. Not sure who's voice acting for RWBY.
Amagi
But since I watch everything seasonally subs are faster and I usually don't rewatch series, otherwise a rewatch could be a good reason to watch the dubs for the second time.
Amagi
At least eng dubs got way better in general over the yers. Probably because anime is more mainstream now. Maybe I would like many of them more if I started with the dub.
SuperMario
Maybe it’s a translation issue, by that I mean usually some nuance from the native language is lost in translation. That issue can be alright if it subs, but when saying it out loud it becomes unnatural?
Amagi
Japanese VAs also talk a lot about their characters and give interviews about them, including their own interpretations or head canon stuff. Not sure if western VAs of Japanese shows do that too.
Amagi
Instead when it's a foreign show there is nothing to do but to memorize the finished lines and everything is already set in stone, so you are 100% passive and can't really view it as your or your team's work.
Amagi
I often heard that western VAs thought up some ideas that were integrated into the script. Not sure if that's the case for most cartoons of if these were exceptions, but it could be a hint that VAs are way more involved into a show and the development of their characters when it is a native show, it's kinda logical.
Amagi
Yeah, native stuff is usually better.
SuperMario
Then again, I enjoy the English VA of western cartoon like RWBY or Steven Universe so I guess it’s just a matter of original intended language for me
SuperMario
Well, I’m not a fan of dubbing either. Not that much of a dub-hater but I remember watching Monster and Cowboy Bebop in english dub before I had to switch back to Japanese voice midway through
Amagi
Still living ones I mean. But as said actual movies are usually well dubbed, so I guess it depends on how much money something generates.
Amagi
I knew a bunch of old ones but they're all dead by now. Know maybe three or so with name and face (and often don't even recognize them in movies) and another 6-10 by name only.
Amagi
@Kaiser: To be honest I never know any actors no matter how well known they are.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Is it awkward hearing a famous actor you associate too much with a certain role, voicing an anime character?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, what is the stance on professional well known film actors voicing anime movie dubs?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now....I'm sure no-one likes the animax or hong-kong English dubs =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
On fandubs, the English voice actress for Madoka Kaname was originally a youtube fandubber. Also A fandub of happy sugar lifes first episode exists.
Amagi
Didn't know that exists. Fandubbers. Hm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As in there are Russian fandubbers doing this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Because I have to really really dig for the obscure stuff I watch, sometimes I end up accidently downloading Fandubs of these films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose in the case of the hentai dubbing example, part of it and I don't watch this to come off as rascist, but the noises the Japanese voice actors make....
Amagi
When I hear "really bad dubs" it always reminds me of these old USSR dubs where one guy voices all characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Even though its a semi-dead language, I am actually wondering what an anime would sound like dubbed in Irish.
Amagi
I usually also always prefer the original language with dub. Luckily, indie production movies and movies that aren't from America are often shown subbed here. Probably because it's just less work since these movies don't make much money.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although as I said 1960s dubs are horrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't watch live action films English dubbed, especially European ones.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Good question. If there are anime where susb could actually hinder immersion. Never really thought about this.
Amagi
I mean life action movies have almost always excellent dubs no matter with western language. It's just that anime were kinda negleted for a long time. I guess Netflix dubs for anime are way better than anime dubs years ago. Especially for their original series. Watched them with subs though so not sure.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now that brings that something else, if I was to watch a hentai anime or something sensual, I might actual find it more connectable if it was in my own language.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I live in a world where neither I nor Aidan were permitted to dub the voice of the Lancer servant in fate.
Animosh
@Kaiser: yeah, I read that in the "About Our Site" thingy. It's a shame he's no longer around.
Amagi
@Kaiser: That porn thing is actually a good idea.
Amagi
Our dubs are usually pretty bad though. And I hate how they're always using the same few VAs. Most of them don't have any qualifications or anything, they're not even actors. Just some random dudes that applied for the job and you can really notice that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now heres a thing....there have been cases where hentai anime has been English dubbed using porn actors.
Amagi
@Kaiser: For whatever reason there is no Ger dub for Monster, which is a wasted opportunity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Utaprince is the only non-shit one by virtue of being absolutely shit.
Amagi
@Kaiser: never heard that before but that sounds right. I was never sure if the inability to listen without starting to daydream was an autistical thing or coincidence. I never have any concentration problems with written stuff, even if it's boring.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I can't wait for people to assume the fruits basket remake is an otome VN adaption when it airs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Just like psgels.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Funny enough those series always sell better too. Tiger and Bunny had a lot of fujo fans and non-fujo female fans that bought it whereas otome sell rather badly afaik. And the great seeling bishiboys-onlys are usually adaption of games that sell well for already having a big fanbase or because the BDs contain some game code. Like with Grandblue and the likes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I've heard that even when watching films in our own languages, we autistic people have an easier time watching stuff in our own language when subtitles in our own language are turned on.
Animosh
@Kaiser: I'm Dutch, actually! Although I live somewhere else in Europe right now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably typed way too much so its better I say something short such as: I'm on the middle ground.
Amagi
Watched it mainly on Japanese again but in that case it was really just due to my listening/concentration problem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose ambiguous bromances are a form of male fanservice.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I agree that the Dandy dub was one of the few good examples I know. The series felt quite western too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Somewhere in my head for some reason I thought you were American.
Amagi
The characters themselves also seem worse for most of the time. Maybe because there are way more pandering anime for males, so you have to be at least somewhat creative there whereas otome shows are rather rare. The fans of that will buy it no matter how bad it is.
Animosh
And in some cases dubs are clearly the better option for me. For example, I've always watched FLCL dubbed because of how much is happening on screen. But I'm so used to reading subs now that it almost never ruins my immersion in a series. Perks of being a non-native speaker I guess. I've grown up with subs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now...I wonder if Italian dubs for gunslinger girl exist, or a French dub of Chevalier d'eon or rose of versaille.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah. Bishounen shows seem to be cheaper in general. Aidan mentioned that a lot of times and I agree. It's not a preference thing (IMO). Otome and mass bishounen shows seem to be generally worse than normal harem/idol stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes a western setting a dub might work better for me.
Amagi
When Japanese was a completely foreign language to me. But the more I understood Japanese the more I prefered the original VAs. I remember that I liked the western dubs of Noir back then and when I listened to them again 10 years later I was horrified.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: A good example is that both in English and Japanese, bishounen shows don't have good voice acting.
Animosh
I think it's partly just a matter of what you're used to though. I grew up with the English dub of DBZ, and as a result I just can't stand Goku's old lady voice.
Amagi
@Aidan: Regarding the not-understanding theory I think the main reason for why I don't believe this that I was actually fine with western dubs at the beginning - around 2003 or so.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Could be. Maybe because people tend to deepen their voice when they're bored or something. So you don't notice it that much when there is a higher voice. I can't remember any female VA that sounded boring. Maybe bad, but not bored
Animosh
I tend to prefer subs too. Other than the quality of voice acting I think it can also help with suspension of disbelief. When characters speak English it becomes a lot harder to ignore how silly or cartoonish their lines can be. I have the same issue with live action adaptations. It just ruins suspension of disbelief for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And in case there's an odd accent in there somewhere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Now, heres something interesting, for English language films I turn on English language subtitles, not out of hearing issues, but so I can remember names better and the dialogue sinks in better.
Amagi
The listening problem makes it impossible for me to watch youtube stuff too unless the videos are less then 5 minutes long. I am just unable to halt my own thoughts so my mind always drifts away and I miss half of the things people say.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also as a side note, does anyone else notice that with male voice actors, it can be more easier to pinpoint when they are disinterested in the material?
Kaiser-Eoghan
My preference for watching anime when marathoning, is to switch back and forth between languages. I’ll watch episode 1 in Japanese, the second in English, third in Japanese, repeat that process until I finish the show.
It gives me more to talk about and do compare and contrastings if I were to ever do up a review of my own.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the subject of Japanese and English voice actors, I think in both cases, while I like the current pool of actors, new blood on both sides is something I wish would happen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Granted I still watch them in Italian, because those old 60s English dubs are horrendous.
Do I believe that screenings should offer both dubbed and subtitled screenings from anime films, yes? For the variety.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes as I said, an English voice actor can successfully camp up the material when its camp originally and that’s an improvement.
I watch A LOT of old martial arts films from the 60s and Eurocop films, all of them, especially the Italian ones, even if you watch them in Italian are post production dubbed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some dubs actually make the effort to get the accents right such as Hellsing and Baccano.
I have no problems reading subtitles (unless in some cases of very very polemical dialectical French political rant Marxist films but in that case I can always pause/rewind).
Animation allows for an easier, more comfortable dubbing process in any language due to being able to get the lip syncing right.
Kaiser-Eoghan
This is my general view on dubbing: I do not approve of censorship or elaborate changes in general to the original material.
When it comes to dubs for animated media, the older ones are generally not professional, but can be amusing, in anime cases I believe that since those 90s dubs, there have been improvements.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: The only advantage Hellsings tv version has over the ova is the music.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They actual got British accents for it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think if you're not watching something twice, then you've not watched it.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Was Hellsing especially good or bad? I can only vaguely remember the series. Think I never finished it. I am a fan of the OVA though.
Amagi
Reading is just easier than listen. It's one of the reasons why I watch way more anime than life action which is usually dubbed and therefore way harder to follow for me.
Amagi
Aside from that I think I just prefer subs on a personal level since I have a problem concentrating when it's about listening. Never could do that in university either and always read that stuff up in books.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I don't get to watch Hellsing dubbed in German so I'm sad now.
Amagi
If you don't believe me you have to listen to Steins;Gate, it's terrible. Not saying that all are bad though. But the big mayority and the few good ones are uninteresting since you watched the anime with the original voices earlier so it never makes sense to switch since you're already associating the characterse with the JP voices.
Amagi
@Aidan: Not sure if it's really the language alone. Anime dubs of languages I barely understand or don't understand at all are usually weaker too. It's just that Japanese VA are usually profs, some of them with a pretty good voice range, whereas western dubbers are random people. At least it's that way in Germany, English dubs are usuall better than German ones but weaker than Japanese.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I wouldn't consider that a myth. I genuinely get more immersed in anime watching it dubbed than subbed. I feel that regardless on how fast you get at reading subtitles you still miss things on screen and it's a constant reminder on screen stopping a show from drawing you in as much as it could.
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