ShangriLa - Star Crossed Anime Blog : Star Crossed Anime Blog
Posted on 14 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shangri-La



Well, this is going to be my hardest review to write this season: explaining why the heck I considered Shangri-La among my favourites for the past half year. Even though there is a lot to dislike this series for, it’s really a series that proves to be very solid entertainment for those willing to suspend their disbelief.

I think it’s best explained as follows: imagine a series with a straightforward story, a simple and small cast and a slow pacing. Now imagine a series with a huge setting, a large and diverse cast of characters who all have their own motives and stance, a multi-layered story with a fast pacing that delivers buckets of plot twists each episode. Now, which of these two is likely to have more plotholes? And which one is probably going to be more exciting?

That’s basically the thing with Shangri-La. Granted, throughout the series Kuniko does a number of things that are rather hard to suspend your disbelief at (including breaking the laws of physics), and plotholes are also pretty common for those who pay attention. But at the same time, it had just about everything I look for in an anime.

The concept of Carbon Trading might seem weird at first, but it’s a pretty neat idea for this series to work with, and the setting that this series built around this concept is rich and imaginative. There are lots of different parties with all different priorities, morals and values, and the same goes for the cast: there are a lot of characters, and yet there are hardly two characters with the same outlook on life: everyone feels like an individual, and is interesting to watch and develop. My personal favourite was Karin, who gets the most development in this series.

My favourite part of this series was the plot, though. Throughout the majority of the series, you’re never going to know what to expect. Especially a good portion of the middle part of this series is features an truly excellent mystery plot, in which every revelation only makes the setting even more intriguing than it already was. Every character has so his or her own secrets, that together form a multi-layered storyline that just keeps delivering.

Unfortunately, this series plays the “lazy”-card right at its ending, which is without a doubt rushed. I’m not sure why there are only 24 episodes for this series because it definitely could have used two more episodes to wrap up the story better. The story right now just wants a happy ending a little too badly, even though it has to use lots of deus ex machina to get there. A shame.

The visuals for this series are an interesting beast. They range from rushed to absolutely gorgeous. Especially the first couple of episodes suffer from a collection of rushed shots and drawings, but at the same time some episodes feature the single most visually pleasing shots that I have seen for the past half year. The animation also picks itself up very nicely in the second half, and delivers some really good use of CG and shading to make this a very aesthetically pleasing series. The soundtrack of this series is also among my three favourite soundtracks of the past half year (with the other two belonging to Phantom and the Guin Saga).

So yes, you’re going to have to bring a cup of suspense of disbelief when you want to watch this series, and if you’re not trying to turn over every stone in search of a flaw you’ll be rewarded by a great story with a great setting that always manages to bring something new to the table, instead of dragging at the same point over and over. It’s a fun and diverse series, but I can understand why many hate the plotholes with passion.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Shangri-La



And so this series has come to an end. Unfortunately it wasn’t the epic ending I hoped for though. In this episode, Kuniko simply kills everyone evil, and this episode unfortunately was rushed in order to get to a happy end. I expected better from this series. There were also a bunch of deus ex machinas, like Miiko suddenly popping up from nowhere and blocking bullets that were aimed for Mikuni. It was explained later, but it still feels cheap.

There also was that matter of Kuniko, somehow not becoming Himiko’s reincarnation. Why did Ryouko not know that that was going to happen? Also, Takehito was just pathetic in this episode. What, he just appears and blows himself up? Come on, that deserves more build-up. Everything just went too easy in this episode. It didn’t really build up to Kuniko’s development of becoming a leader, she simply smacked her way through everything because she happened to be a digma (thankfully she wasn’t Ryouko’s daughter, but instead a clone).

But there’s one thing I really liked about this episode: Karin’s end. She really feels like she developed her character and I liked how despite being in despair, she still managed to stop Medusa in time, and it was very nice to see Claris and Jean appear in the end. Her ending was really cute.

But yeah, overall I’m really afraid that this downer ending is going to leave me with a rather negative impression on this series, which is a shame because the middle part of this series really was everything I look for in an anime. Thinking back, I think the turning point was the burning of Tokyo: after that, the stories started to converge with each other, and it lost that bit of chaos that it was so good at in the middle part. In a way the hardest part of a mystery series is its ending: making the revelations count.

In any case, I do hope that this isn’t going to form the ending of Gonzo. Like ’em or not, they do have the guts to take risks, even when they’re about to go bankrupt. Risks like these are much better than playing it safe. Shangri-La… if it were well executed it would have belonged to my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, the shoddy execution made it less impressive than it could have been. Still, it’s still likely to end up somewhere at the end of my top 10 for 2009, unless the fall season turns out to be really, really good. Which I really doubt until proven wrong.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 7 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, what an awesome episode. With such a huge series with so many different subplots and such a frantic pacing, I was really expecting some sort of trainwreck for the final episodes. And yet the opposite turns out to be true, and instead the finale developed into a thriller to stop Ryouko from trying to destroy the world.

And really: it works. Because the rest of the series fleshed Ryouko out so well compared to most villains out there, she’s far away from those stereotypical evil overlords and really stands out as a huge threat to the lead characters. Her mindset is demented, yes. But at the same time as a villain, she’s very competent: she knew exactly how to place the chess pieces right in order to get her way; so far, she only made one mistake throughout the entire series in terms of her own ideals: she didn’t know that the daggers could be removed from the altar, and she didn’t know that they could cut through any kind of steel. And I admit: you’ve got to think pretty far-fetched in order to have seen that one coming if you didn’t know anything about it.

I also love how she also averts one of the tropes that most villains of her kind strangely get away with. Suppose you were working for an evil overlord, and found out that your master was planning to destroy the world, you included. Would you still support this boss? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Ryouko did well to keep all her plans to herself, right until it wouldn’t matter anymore who would find out. I mean, her plan to hold Kunihito’s parents hostages would never have worked for long, but it did buy her the necessary time to take Mikuni away from Kuniko.

And yeah: this episode finally explains what happened to Karin’s parents: they turn out to have been dead all along. Talk about an awesome plot twist here: all the wealth she attained, everything she gained when she created Medusa: it was all just a case of denial in her case.

Okay, so one episode is left. The set-up for the final episode is fairly straightforward: Ryouko wants Mikuni to destroy the world, Kuniko is here to stop her. What I want to see from this series is an ending which is more than “Kuniko and Ryouko have a fight and Kuniko wins”. I’ve seen too many series who have fallen to this trap, but if there’s any series who is able to evade this, it’s Shangri-La. This series really has exceeded my expectations at this point. These past few episodes took it away from its image of “yet another trainwreck” when it showed that it’s very well capable of writing a solid finale. What more could you want?

And yeah. Who cares that Kuniko descended the tube with her dagger? It’s science fiction. Who knows whether that dagger has magical slowing-down powers?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, how awesome! Just when I thought that this show had already passed its best point, it just keeps the surprises coming. Seriously, with this series I was expecting the final episodes to be all over the place, like what it did in the middle part of the story, which had so many different plot twists about so many different characters.

Instead, the past few episodes have been the most solid and focused episodes of the entire series. Because of that, it lost the erratic pacing that I liked so much in the rest of the series. Usually when a series pulls this, it gets rather boring, but this episode really was surprisingly good. In fact, it was awesome, and well for the fact that this series has much more than just that pacing: it still has its great sense of characters, plot twists, visuals, music, et cetera. And the slow pacing leading up to the ending actually improved on them: we now can really focus on the central themes of the series. And hey, this series has completely shifted its style of storytelling before, so for once it doesn’t feel like the creators lack inspiration for the finale.

I really liked the reason why Sayoko was freed by one of Ryoko’s henchmen: he discovered that Sayoko was his older sister he had never known, so he decided to be a good brother for once and let her go. While it seems like a rather flimsy reason at first, the more I think about it the more it fits within this series: it ties in very much with this series’ themes of family bonds: families being torn apart, growing away from each other. You see it everywhere in this series: Sayoko lost her daughter, Takehito having lost his little sister, Kuniko taking her grandmother for granted and getting into a fight with her, Karin and the distance from her parents, and there is of course also my theory of Ryouko, being the mother of Kuniko, Mikuni and Kunihito, which is getting more and more likely, which I’ll get into below.

Most of this episode was spent on Mikuni, trying to decide whether it was worth destroying the world for the sake of revenge. The thing is however, that she’s just a little kid: very easily influenced by the scary Ryouko. Ryouko on the meantime really proved to be an excellent villain here, if you can accept that she’s so screwed in her mind that she’s willing to destroy the world, and it was her who hacked into Medusa earlier.

So in the end she did turn into another villain who’s planning to destroy the world, but in my opinion she stands much higher above the usual villains of this type. In a villain, I’m not looking for someone who necessarily has to be morally ambiguous, like these misunderstood good guys. Those people also have their sets of problems. What I’m looking for in a villain is a personality: a well fleshed out character who isn’t a cheap excuse for a bit of conflicts. Well backed-up reasons are a plus, but not necessarily required: I mean, how many evil overlords in the real world are screwed in the head? The reason why I dislike most villains in anime is because they’re too often just paper bags who are there for the sake of having a villain.

And yeah, I’m getting more and more convinced that Ryouko is the mother of Mikuni, Kuniko and Kunihito. The final twist this episode really was an awesome one: I love it when these character who infiltrate the enemy tell nobody of what they’re doing, not even the viewers themselves. I already found that it was strange that he’d suddenly get so close to Kuniko, I already found it weird for the creators to suddenly start establishing a strange romance between him and Kuniko. Now everything makes sense!

And really, Ryouko looked so much like an angry mother who’s urging her child along when she took Mikuni along with her. She really had that feeling of parental authority when she dealt with her. And besides that, I can’t think of any reason why she would want to obey the successor of Atlas, other than some sort of strange and deranged case of family bonds, in a series which is full of broken up and dysfunctional families.

Out of all the shows that are going to end in the coming month, the ones that are promising some outstanding endings to look out for for me are the new Mazinger, Shangri-La, Tokyo Magnitude and Phantom. These are the shows which were excellently planned across their total airtime, and are promising to close off with a finale in which everything comes together. There are only a few shows of this caliber every season, and I’m glad to see that this season again has a fine selection of them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 25 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Three episodes left, and we finally move to something that resembles a climax. This episode was much like episode five, in which a lot of focus was spent on trying to hack Medusa out of trying to destroy the world, especially focusing on Karin vs Kuniko. In this episode, Karin finally has to learn to grow up a bit, and the highlight of this episode was Kuniko, trying to talk some sense into her.

In the next episode, we should finally get some light of what the hell Ryouko has been up to throughout the series, as she finally seems to be ready to execute whatever plan she was scheming. Finally we see her taking one of the digmas (Mikuni) back to her. It could be that she was simply waiting for one Digma to collect all of the daggers, and figured that it might have gone faster if she’d just Karin collect the daggers, rather than send her own men to do the job. Probably she also did this in order to avoid suspicions on her part. That still leaves the question why she’s willing to let Atlas succumb to earthquakes, though.

I’m surprised that this episode was relatively quiet, especially since this series still has a lot of work to do in its final hour to wrap everything up. I suspect that this was really the last calm before the storm and I really wonder what the creators are planning to end this series with. Endings are always really tricky to really pull of well. This series does have the ingredients to make it work, but I’ve seen many awesome series with unimpressive endings, so I’m just going to keep my expectations low for this one.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 18 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



And so the finale for this series has begun. This episode was mostly building up, but as usual with this series it came with tons of revelations. And heck; the creators might actually be able to pull of a satisfying conclusion at this rate.

I’m glad to see that even though we’re nearly at the end, the creators still show a bit of what happened to the folks of Duomo after they were evacuated inside Atlas. With this, Kuniko also got her wishes through that every last bit of space in Atlas would be used for the people, rather than simply letting them be wastes of space.

In this episode something that rather gets in the way of my “Kunihito is Kuniko’s brother”-theory, when some actual romance starts to develop. Thankfully though, there wasn’t a lot of cheese among the two and the situations that made them realize their crush was pretty creative (Come on, Kuniko hugging Kunihito when she tried to find out where the sudden lights came from was really cute). It’s a bit disturbing though, because aside from the blushes, their “lover’s quarrel” looked more like the fights that siblings would have, rather than lovers.

And then the pattern with Atlas in the middle. It turns out that it was supposed to be the whole pillar that would make Atlas the most influential city of the world. When Nagiko and Sergei was younger, this was their motivation to construct Atlas. It was an attempt to escape earthquakes, but it failed. That’s why they created the Hiruko: young sacrifices that would end up stopping the effects of the earth on Atlas, and which is also what killed Takehito’s sister.

In the meantime Karin (apparently Akihabara was spared in the bombings) has been stalking Kunihito with her subordinates, and so obtained the final dagger. Apparently, this is going to make Mikuni the true heir of Atlas (so that’s what was the purpose of these daggers). Medusa in the meantime is getting rather out of control, though Karin realizes it a bit too late when it’s already planning to crash the entire market through Antarctica. Now that’s going to be the turning point for her wealth, it seems.

The whole deal around Titan confused me a bit, especially since we never actually get to SEE it, but we’re very much given the impression that it’s an aerial fortress of Titan came to Tokyo after Ryouko tipped them off that the person behind Medusa is in Akihabara. Because of this, it launches a pillar of light at Karin. She probably hasn’t died yet, because we’ve yet to see her actually die, but someone else did die: Hiruko, aka Miiko. WTF.

So wait… Ryouko actually meant to kill Hiruko?! And we only just learned that it’s Hiruko that prevents Atlas from collapsing under its own weight. What the hell could her purpose be? I mean, if she wanted to crash Atlas, couldn’t she just have used a bunch of explosives? With this however, the finale has really been set up. I have no idea what’s going to happen to Atlas right now, but it’s definitely setting up for some sort of grand finale.

I’m also really glad to see that at this point, the budget still hasn’t run out. The final scenes, in which Miiko showed her last moments, were really well drawn and they looked absolutely beautiful. It’d be awesome if Gonzo is saving the last remains of its budget to go all out on that final episode.

With four episodes left, this series has a lot cut out for it, but if it manages to do everything right, then this finale is going to rock. Right now, it really seems like Ryouko is going to be the final villain. She might or might not be planning to use Titan for the final episodes, but it’s now clear that she’s really planning something that really shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and four episodes seem just about right to flesh it out enough, after all the build-up that she’s received up till now. Karin and Kuniko are probably going to form the centre of her opponents. And also, what’s the carbon trade going to do in the final episodes? Is the market really going to crash, or will Karin be able to salvage enough of her money to set up a small army?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Hehe, and here I thought that the creators were going to save the bombing of Tokyo for the grand finale of this series. It seems that there’s still much more that’s going to happen after it: there are still so many problems that are left to be solved, not to mention that the creators still don’t seem to have played all of their trumps for this series!

The way this episode was executed was also something I really didn’t expect. With the entire city of Tokyo burning down, you’d expect them to create a huge action-packed spectacle out of it, but instead this episode had a much more melancholic atmosphere. It’s something completely different from what we’ve seen of this series so far, and it really works. That’s yet another reason why I’ve grown to be such a fan of this series: you’re never going to know what to expect.

This episode was surprisingly slow paced for this series, but because of that the impact on Kuniko, having to burn down the place she grew up in really made an impact. Her emotions were handled very subtly here: she didn’t break down crying, or she didn’t refuse to drop the bomb at the last possible moment like your average anime lead. She knew very well what she had to do to save the ones around her, because otherwise they’d just be overthrown by the Daedalus. This episode portrayed that feeling of saying goodbye really well. Kuniko might seem like nothing special at first sight, but you don’t often see a main character who has to serve as a leader like her.

Oh, and the eye candy! While not as gorgeous as episode 13, the visuals were nevertheless gorgeous as they showed Duomo going up in flames. You could see that especially the background artists were on fire in this episode (not literally of course), but also the CG looked really good during the fiery bits.

Now, the question is going to be: how are the creators planning on filling up the final quarter of this series. The Daedalus hasn’t fully disappeared: it’s still inside Atlas because that’s a part that can’t exactly be burned down. At the same time, the end of this episode shows Medusa finally losing control of itself, after Karin pushed him too far in her attempts to take advantage of the huge carbon emissions from the forest fires. and to think that for a moment she was like the richest person in the world. She was bound to overstep her borders at one point, but I still wonder what the creators plan to do with Medusa going out of control: is she simply going to lose Medusa, or is her entire fortune coming along with it?

It’s very interesting: for most series at this point, you’re going to have a good idea what its finale is going to be about: what the main goal is going to be to overcome. With Shangri-la, I have no bloody clue. Sure, there is busting Ryoko from Atlas, people are going to have to rebuild their homes, Karin is going to have to cope with Medusa, but which one is going to be taking the main focus? What is Ryouko going to do now after cooperating with Kuniko? There are still so many questions left open.

At this point, there are five episodes left. That’s enough for this series to wrap up everything with a conclusion, and let’s hope that everything isn’t going to end up rushed!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 3 August 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Okay, so this episode was mostly building up and it wasn’t as filled with as many plot twists as the previous ones, but nevertheless it had some great ideas and scenes thrown into it. One in particular was an awesome one. It’s a major spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet you might want to skip this entry.

Because holy crap: Kuniko is Mikuni’s sister! Momoko’s earring turns out to be something she stole from Nagiko, of all people. That gives that whole subplot a whole new dimension and a lot of things make sense now. But most importantly: Kunihito!?

If my theory indeed is true, then that means that the digmas are not just a bunch of random people chosen, but instead the three of them are siblings, and the grandchildren of the founder of Atlas! That’s what makes them so special! That explains why they all have “Kuni” in their names (which probably was a strange idea from their mother). It also explains why Kuniko and Kunihito got along so well: this series wasn’t trying to turn Kunihito into Kuniko’s love interest; they just got along as siblings would!

This makes me even more curious about that mystery mother, who seems to be at the center of all of this. In fact, I’m getting more and more the suspicion that Ryouko actually is the one who fits this description. As disturbing as it may sound, for the three of them to be the next heirs of Atlas, it must mean that their mother holds a very important place at Atlas for them to be considered so special. That can’t be anyone OTHER THAN Ryouko! Talk about a screwed up family. And speaking of which… who exactly is Kuniko’s father?

If that indeed turns out to be true, then we had a nice family reunion in this episode, in which Nagiko manages to arrange a meeting between Kuniko and Ryouko, about trying stop Daedalus. Apparently, even though it was meant to prevent fires Daedalus can seem to burn, otherwise Ryouko would have pointed that out.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Another great episode, if only because of Karin’s awesomeness. I already suspected that we didn’t see the last of her when she got busted out of her room by Atlas, but for her to end up buying the entire Akihabara! That’s a nice one. To think that it’s actually Karin who unites all of the good guys, rather than Kuniko, but it’s definitely an interesting twist for Karin to try and collect all of the Digmas (or Triple As, as she calls them). We still don’t know though what makes them so important, and why Ryouko bothered to let them go in the first place. Now that Claris seems to be gone, an interesting split personality on her side also seems to surface.

In other news, Takehito seems to have discovered that Kuniko is a Triple A Atlas member. What we do learn in this episode is that one of the Triple As is meant to inherit Atlas in the future… wtf?! But in any case, Takehito’s grief for his dead sister seems to be a bit too big for him to accept that Kuniko is part of Atlas (he’s probably not going to like it when he finds out about her grandmother either). We see him jump off a cliff in this episode, but in true Shangri-La fashion, I really doubt that that was the last we see of him. :)

But the juiciest plot twist in this episode: Kuniko plans to burn down the ENTIRE TOKYO in order to stop the Daedalus from spreading. This plot just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? My big hope is that Gonzo has saved its budget for that particular scene, because if it’s going to mean that the the entire city of Tokyo, including Atlas, is going to end up in flames, then that’s going to make for some potentially awesome eye candy.

What also striked me in this episode is that there are a lot of people who have an aversion of something major: Karin hates public places, Mikuni can’t go out in broad daylight, while Medusa can’t seem to survive without water. I keep trying to look for a link with something else in the story, but it seems pretty random. If you take liberties in this definition then you could argue that Sayoko can’t live without a “daughter”-figure to take care of, and Momoko and Miiko turned away their manlihoods, but there still doesn’t seem to be a pattern I can spot here. Especially since Kuniko and Kunihito don’t seem to fit in this theme at all…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 July 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Muaha! I just can’t help but love this series. This episode yet again was an awesome instalment for Shangri-La, mostly focused on a battle of wits between Ryouko and Mikuni, of all people, and it definitely delivered. The thing I love about Ryouko is that the creators remembered to give her the screen-time she deserves as a villain. This really made her into a dangerous character, and a serious threat to the lead characters instead of letting her be an incompetent idiot who never can seem to get anything right.

And really, this episode was yet again full of juicy plot twists. While they weren’t as big as “Kuniko’s Grandmother Founded Atlas!?!?!1!!11”, every single one was a nice touch, surprising and full of potential for the rest of this series (EDIT: on second thought, some of them really are big…). To give a small run-down:
– Kunihito decides to leave the military. Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind.
– Miiko doesn’t just get arrested, she becomes the next Hiruko!
– Mikuni has had it now that all of her loved ones are gone, and gathers all of her followers to forcefully take Miiko back.
– The new plants that showed up turn out to be called Daedalus. When left alone, they threaten to swallow up the entire forest.
– Momoko studied biology in her early days?!
– Ryouko finally stopped complaining about Shion’s work as her personal servant.
– Ryouko… can’t be hit by bullets?! wtf?
– Ryouko brings Mikuni to Miiko. Sayoko, who apparently had been hiding, shows herself, takes Hiruko Miiko hostage and runs away with Mikuni!
– Again, Ryouko doesn’t seem to mind because Hiruko seemed to be one of Tarsian’s plans.
– For some reason, the episode ends with Takehito putting a gun against Kuniko’s head.

I mean, seriously? How many plot twists can you include in one episode anyway, at the same time preventing the episode from feeling rushed, creating even more questions and potential plot twists for the future as well? On top of that, the characters were also at their best in this episode: Kuniko was awesome in how she managed to quickly recover from the disappointments of the previous episode. Mikuni rocked because she finally was able to do something for herself. Ryouko rocked for being so badass that even bullets can’t face her among others. Sayoko rocked for the lengths that she’s willing to go through to save Mikuni.

And really, this makes it even bigger of a puzzle of what the Digmas are. I always thought that Ryouko was meaning to collect them, but in this episode she doesn’t do anything to stop Digma 3 from leaving the military (calling him inferior to the other two Digmas), and she even seemed pleased when Sayoko took Mikuni away. What the hell was up with that?

And ON TOP OF THAT, this episode again rocked in terms of graphics. This episode had some utterly beautiful shots. Not in the way of episode 13, but the aesthetics were right in just about every shot. You could see nothing of the rushed animation that plagued the first bunch of episodes. The music also rocked beyond belief in this episode.

My only worry is that Daedalus is going to turn into your stereotypical evil plant that’s going to be the final boss, but hey: even the amazing Kaiba suffered from this. And the thing to wonder about: why was it introduced this early in the series, if there are still about eight episodes left for this series? Is Daedalus simply going to grow slowly, or did the creators realize this, and are planning a twist even there?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

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Vonter
Latest news: Franken Fran will get a new manga series. After it was cut short, it seems this little horror manga will get another chance: https://imgur.com/a/ypjtI4c
Vonter
I also read a bit ahead on Shield Hero. And I like it is character driven, but the cast isn't as big as other Isekai, like in Overlord where there are too many characters to easily keep track of what's happening (ever since it started Overlord feels like the most attached to its light novel origins).
Vonter
The monster town growing and expanding into it's own country reminded me of Digimon World. A game which you allied with Digimon to expand your town, add shops and other services. I've heard Xenoblade X was also like that.
Vonter
I watched during the weekend, the Slime Isekai. It's fine, though it lacked more conflict, the MC feels like its too powerful. Maybe this would have been great as a videogame since the concept of how this Slime evolves reminds me of the SNES game: E.V.O. The Search of Eden. It was about your character evolving through the ages and the player choosing how it adapts to it's environment.
Animosh
Also nice to see some love for LOGH in your personal lists (especially Aidan's). I guess it's too much of a niche series (a political epic in space) to score highly in the overall list, but I loved it. It retained much of what made the OVA so great while providing a much-needed update to its visuals and arguably better pacing.
Animosh
I also hadn't heard of the Kase-san OVA. Not sure whether enough can really happen in a one-hour OVA to make it worthwhile (it gives the impression of being promotional material more than a full-fledged adaptation), but I've been looking for another good yuri series after Bloom into You, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
Animosh
Nice to see Kaze ga made it on the list, even with just one cour out. I've seen most of the stuff that's won positive awards, but I've always avoided Pop Team Epic because of how silly it seemed to me. But given all the positive reviews (here and elsewhere) maybe I should give it a chance after all.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yu-no can go fuck itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's also Yuasa's new thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe the thriller shows will be worthwhile but I'm not really as interested.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah spring looks packed for me, there's also that throwback ova to riding Bean and some creature horror ova.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I notice that Index gets an annoying amount of episodes/adaptations, one of those shows that keeps going away for a while then keeps coming back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We might get dororohedero and Vinliand saga at years end. I would like for pluto to air this year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Definately looking forward to the josei and shoujo stuff in Spring 2019, nothing of interest for me thats on the summer 2019 list yet.
Vonter
Like you wrote, seems like it's the start for new ways to stream anime. With Crunchyroll making simulcasts and Netflix putting some anime in the spotlight considering the audience it has (and it also helps it has better dubs, at least in spanish). Finally I felt last year the criticism of fanservice got more loud, also summed with how tumblr and facebook politics are putting restrain on sex conten
SuperWooper
@Anon, Netflix is getting Watanabe's new series, Carole & Tuesday, next season. It might not have the mass appeal of Crybaby (violence and sex) or Aggretsuko (cute animals), but it ought to do well for them if they slap "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COWBOY BEBOP" all over the Internet.
Vonter
Last year I also didn't watched a lot of drama or slice of life, which is a shame since a lot of what's listed reads like it fits those genres.
Vonter
Kind of a lukewarm year 2018 was in terms of anime series. Although I admit I watched a lot of trash as well. Most of the good stuff I watched last year was on Netflix. In terms of bad I already an issue on the list because disappointing, bad and trash are different degrees of badness.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for being so long and overdramatic, I'd normally stay quiet but I had to get my feelings out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to say anymore about this show anymore, I know those who did watch it generally emotionally connected with it or thought it was some kind of epic, if anything I felt it was an epic ruined by being chopped down. I hated it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nothing seems settled on long enough and nothing registers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As Hateable as Jomy is in the beginning, I would at least liked to have seen proper flow of plot structure allowing for some natural progression of character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an idea and I think if explored with more episodes/more it could be something, this also includes Keith.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The timeskip and general pacing annihilate anything that could be anything approaching reaching close to working with this series, resulting in an un-compelling cast I feel nothing for that ruins and undersells any drama which is far too overdone when it occurs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can't complete this, don't care if I've watched the first half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't like the couple of episodes of Terra e I watched a some years ago, unfortunately this second attempt, over halfway through the show only illustrates further just how much I utterly despise this show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As I've said before, I do think re-watches are important, especially years later after watching a show you disliked, if only to see if you'll enjoy it on the second run, lately thats been mostly successful for me, however....
Anonymous3325300
Meanwhile, I do expect that this year will be much stronger in terms of quality. Of course, I had the same assumptions last year based on the winter shows, but I do feel like this could be a stronger year full of great shows, instead of a lot of merely "good" ones.
Anonymous3325300
I predict that Netflix this year probably won't have a Devilman/Aggretsuko-level hit in terms of new anime. Evangelion is probably all they need, even though it's an old series.
Lenlo
If anyone thought that wasn't getting on this list, they either didnt watch it or have really low standards
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Its so catharctic that you listed steins;gate 0 I remember how we essentially lived and watched it together.
Lenlo
I think thats what the most pleasant surprise category is supposed to be. Didnt wanna double up on to many cats
Kaiser-Eoghan
No biggest surprise category?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand including bunny-senpai as a runner up, I'd have trouble picking between it and sorayori.
Lenlo
Episode 7 is so damn good, I don't care that its American.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: How do you think I feel, I'm not far off 35.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glad you actually made room for a movie category aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Based Lenlo, cheating with American anime cartoon.
Lenlo
Im just happy I got Castlevania on this list at all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dropped planet with, hinamatsuri and violent evergarden though, didn't see Hisone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I probably would have replaced planet with with happy sugar life or banana fish though or yagate ga kimi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In any case, I am glad my wife Kanna Hanazawa won an award on your list and that Devilman got featured more than once.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, I though you would be splitting the voice actor category into voice actor and voice actress, though I suppose that's probably cheating a bit.
SuperWooper
You're not alone - of the four of us, I was the only one who watched it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I must have missed ASAGAO TO KASE-SAN. Hadn't heard of it until now, I should have paid more attention.
Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
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.
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