Seasons

“Encourgement of climb” – as a short compared to a normal length anime

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encouragement of climSo I was looking through crunchyroll looking for an anime I could really get my teeth into. Something deep, something with no filler, something with substance. So I came across this show “encouragement of climb”, I assumed that I was going to drop it after an episode but before I knew it, the episode over. I looked at the length of the show and it was only three minutes per episode. So I said “screw it” and watched the whole season, and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it. HOWEVER, in my opinion, this anime only worked in a short episode format. After trying out the second season, I found this verdict to be true. The episodes of the second season felt boring and dragged out.

After watching this show, I formed an opinion that at least 80% of slice of life shows should be a short. The other 20% of slice of life shows that are at least capable of being in a twenty-minute format are shows similar to Haruhi and Genshiken (to be fair, this could be a pretty enjoyable short), where the content is already dense and there is no wasted time. I feel that it is often the case that the exposition takes too long for a subsequently disappointing execution. 

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Short formatted slice of life episodes are dense and therefore allows the user to experience a range of emotions in a shorter time frame. There is never no wasted time, and I always immediately see what I want to see. With The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (one of my favourite shows of all time), every single episode was a unique experience, the jokes were always fresh, and even the jokes that were based on-going gags were built upon, instead of being repeated. Another reason why I think the short format is superior for most slice of life shows is because the artists behind the show can spend more time on how the show looks rather than being constrained by the time limits. I saw this in Encouragement of Climb, the first season was gorgeous but in the second season that flare was lost and it was now boring to look at and listen too.

Now I’m not saying that ALL slice of life need to be a short, I acknowledge that melodrama is often the main ingredient in these kind of shows. My argument is that sometimes replacing melodrama for dense humour, story telling and beautiful production will do more good for a show. 

‘Darling in Franxx’ so far [Episodes 1-14]

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When I first wrote about Darling in Franxx all I said I was excited to look at the aesthetic of the show but I was wary about what the actual story would entail. But now that I’m 14 episodes into it, I can safely say that I am extremely enjoying it. Briefly, all I can say is that the show is about a group of eight kids who were groomed from birth to pilot the Franxx machines against the Klauxosaurs. One of the kids ends up meeting a Franxx pilot who is part Klauxosaur (Her name being Zero-Two) and starts developing a complicated relationship with her which is condemned by some members of the group since all the pilots this girl rides with ends up dying. My explanation is probably not so good so here is a link to the MAL synopsis.

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But anyway, what I loved about this show was the amount of character developement that was present, most notably with Zero-Two. We saw her transform from somebody that was totally at ease with herself into a damaged, anxious girl going through an identity crisis. This show also highlights the dangers of a dictatorship, these kids are literally being brainwashed by the ‘Father’, and whenever they are about to enter a life threatening mission they constantly bring up how they all desperately want to impress him, but they are now starting to realise that they it is most likely that they are going to die before they reach adulthood; and I think that the later episodes are going to address this and lead to a revolt against the state… Well thats what I’m hoping for at least.

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Disastrous life of Saiki K (Episodes 1 – 12)

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Thank god!! For the first couple of episodes I was worried that this season of Saiki K wouldn’t be as good as the first. That’d it be a watered down season that for some reason lacked something vital that was present in the first season. But luckily that wasn’t the case. After the show started to get going, I got used to the characters again, I got used to the comedy again and everything felt great again.

However, what I have noticed is that the show relies on introducing new characters to keep the show fresh. We’re 12 episodes in and three new major characters have already been introduced. So far I don’t see anything wrong with this method and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with it since with each new character introduced comes along multiple funny stories that can be told, so I don’t really care nor understand why some people find this approach to be lazy.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the addition of the two new female characters; mostly because they are competition for Teruhashi. But to be honest, I care more about the upcoming romantic compettition between Teruhashi and the new female psychic, because Saiki is finally going to have a harem. Hopefully we get another girl in the mix so we can see more of Teruhashi fighting off the compettition for Saiki.

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This show is…. Interesting

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The thing about this show is that (for me) it can be binged. Its something that you tune into once a week to relieve stress, but I tried binge watching it today but I just got bored. The thing is, the show is really funny and I dont want to drop it so what I’m going to have to do is keep it on my watch list and watch it whilst I’m watching something else of the season.

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The silly 4-cell manga has become a pretty successful anime, just not one I can binge.

Takagi-san: Contender for waifu of the season

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I mean, there is just something about Takagi-san right? Is it her husky voice that in no way should belong to a middle schooler or is it just her quick wit that makes you feel a jolt of excitement when she out-smarts Nishitaka for the thousandth time.

There has to be a second season for this show, right? because after Nishitaka’s ‘critical hit’ and seeing her cute reaction to it, I need to see more.

Which Winter 2018 shows will I be watching?

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Winter 2018 Anime Lineup

Unfortunatley, I haven’t had any time to watch any seasonal anime due to me just having the most unproductive three months of my life. I was literally unenthusiastic in every aspect of life, from school work, programming and anime. But now that I’m back, I’m ready to binge on the season I missed, and I have to say, this season has a lot of shows I think will be really good.

I’m going to write a list of the seasonal anime that have been spoken about alot and ones that I think look cool, once I read the descriptions of the shows I will rate it from 1 – 4 starts (*) depending on how much I’ll want to watch it. Then write about why I will or won’t watch the show.

  • Violet Evergarden (****)
  • Darling in FranXX (****)
  • Ovelord II(*)
  • Citrus (**)
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (***)
  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-San(****)
  • Pop Team Epic (****)
  • Yuru Camp (***)
  • Koi wa Amegari no You ni (**)
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2 (****)

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  • Shows I’m definitley going to try:
    • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-San – Looking at all the memes on 4chan and the clips of it on facebook and twitter, I can just see myself liking it. It seems like it’ll be a mixture of Tsuki ga Kirei (which I really, really enjoyed) mixed in with some slapstick slice of life comedy.
    • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2 – After the first season of this show ending up in my top 5 list, I’m obviously giving this season a watch too.
    • Pop Team Epic – I’ve heard its just a meme show, so why not watch it.
    • Darling in FranXX – I first came across this show on a crunchyroll poster and I loved the asethetic so I put it on my watch later list, but I’ve been hearing many mixed reviews from the community. I’m defenintley going to check it out but I’m wary of it.
    • Violet Evergarden – Its the show of the season. To be honest, I don’t think I’m going to like it. I have the same feeling as I did when Mahoutsukai no Yome came out, and that show was underwhelming for me. I just wasn’t my cup of tea. But regardless, I have to see what all the fuss is about.

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  • Shows I might try… if I have the time:
    • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody  – Since I told myself that I wanted to try out more shows from the isekai genre, I put this show on my watch later list. The appeal was that the protagonist was a 29 year old programmer; However, when I saw the clips from the show, it just looks like a clone of SAO. I was hoping for a more grittier look and this show doesnt have that, hence the low priority it has on my list, but I’m still curious about it
    • Yuru Camp – A show full of cute girls and a cute aesthetic but the story seems quite boring. I think I’ll check out an episode or two, but if it doesnt grip me by then I’m going to have to drop it.

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  • Show I probably won’t watch:
    • Ovelord II – Even though I kind of liked the first season, my taste has changed a whole lot since the first season came out, so I don’t think I’ll watch the show. However, I did say that I wanted to watch more Isekai shows so the only way I would give this show a shot is if I dropped Yuru Camp or Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody quite early on.
    • Citrus – The story looks generic and from what I can tell from the clip, it looks like a poorly funded hentai series. I doubt I’ll watch this show.
    •  Koi wa Amegari no You ni – Looking back, this show looks cool. I don’t remember why I didn’t want to watch it. I’ll probably give it a go.

The Made in Abyss soundtrack – A work of wonder

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The ‘Made in Abyss’ soundtrack is truly a work of art. I remember when I first listened to the first song on the OST I thought to myself “Wait this sounds just like something Joe Hisaishi would produce”, but then it just snapped into something completely different. It was still classical but it felt contemporary at the same time and now every time I listen to it I find something new to love about the soundtrack. Also, this I definitely think that this soundtrack does in fact make the anime much better. It’s the reason why Made in Abyss was one of the best anime of 2017, the music just stood out so much. One thing I also loved about this soundtrack is that it is one of the only soundtracks I have heard that truly heightens the emotional investment in the show. I really don’t know how it did this, but when something of importance happened in the show I would gasp but when the music played it just upped a notch, I was almost compelled to start flailing my arms around in distraught.

Anyways this is just a few thoughts I had when re-listening to the soundtrack but I’m excited for the second season and can’t wait for the developments.

Here’s a link to the OST – [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-0Nayk1C_AXs14nt__6zHKbXIhP0zuky]

Nana Maru San Batsu – First Impression

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If someone told me there was a sports anime that I could also take part in, I definitely wouldn’t believe you. However, **** is a sports anime about a quiz club in high school. As a fan of taking part in quizzes and british quiz shows, finding out there would be a quizzing anime coming out every week was amazing. I could now watch a great game mixed with my favourite medium, and this show has been great so far.

Nana Maru San Batsu is a show that revolve around a book-worm called Koshiyama Shiki, he is invited to a quizzing club and reluctantly goes to a club meet where he learns about a whole new world of competitive quizzing.

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The show is pretty good, but one thing that did grind my gears in the first few episodes was how the main female character used her female ‘assets’ to attract new members into the club. I mean, couldn’t the writer think of a more natural way for a first year high-school female to attract more people into her club,  instead of her flaunting her smiles at everyone, that pretty pissed me off; and since its listed as a seinen anime I wasn’t expecting that. But apart from that I think the writing was pretty good; I can see myself being attracted to the club in a similar way to Koshiyama, so in that regard the author set up a relatively accurate setting and feeling to the show.

I also loved how I could take part in the show. There was even a question about the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which I answered as well as other geography questions; but since it’s a japanese quiz show there is obviously many questions that I wont know the answer too such as Japanese Literature and Culture questions, but at least I’m learning. So at least I can rate the interactivity of the show a 10/10.

Since I love quizzes so much, and how rare it is to see in an anime, I am thoroughly enjoying the show. However, if I was to review the show in the way a normal reviewer would, then I would say that the show is pretty average in terms of animation, music and even the voice acting of some characters are sub par; the story is the main aspect of the show holding it in my opinion, but right now I am having a good time with the show.

 

 

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless [Episodes 9 – 12]

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I have just finished Tanaka-kun is Always Listless and I’m very impressed. For a show that got hardly any recognition when it was airing, the quality of everything was top class. From the art and animation, comedy, characters and general plot lines. It definitely is the most unique and well-directed high-school anime I have seen for a long time.

The show mostly consisted of flat, dead-pan comedy, which is probably my favourite kind of comedy, but since most comedy in main stream anime is mostly goofy and quirky comedy like the stuff we see in Konosuba or Kill la Kill, I don’t see to get this comedy a lot. So it’s quite a fun change of pace to see an anime where I can laugh out loud in every episode where the comedy is smarter. I also recommend this anime because it is extremely beautiful to look at, I’ve said this before but the interior of the school looks like a modern university you would see in the California or Tokyo, so instead of seeing the usual highschool interior, with wooden doors and boring floors, we are able to witness beautiful colour in every corner. Even when the characters aren’t in the school setting the backgrounds look highly details and this is especially true when it’s so easy to notice the contrast between the thick lines of the background and the thin lines of the background.

However, what I noticed about the ending core of the show was that it seemed a bit rushed, I feel like the show would need around 25 episodes to fully flesh out the characters, by involving some serious conflicts, but since the show lacked this aspect we weren’t able to experience feeling some emotion for the characters I really enjoyed watching. For example, the crush aspect between Shiraishi and Tanaka was hardly touched upon until the final episode, where the ultimate conclusion was that since Tanaka is really laid back, she should go slowly in establishing a relationship with him; which I guess is true to some extent, but I’m sure a large amount of the audience would have liked to see this, but since the show was too short then the characters werent able to

I rated the show an 8/10, I would have rated it a nine if we were able to see more events with the characters that we were already well established to. But in general, I enjoyed every moment of the show and hope for an announcement of a second season in the near future.

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless [Episodes 5 – 8]

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I guess I can’t approximate how the show will go from the first four episodes.  I didn’t think the show would have a romantic element to it, but during episode four when I found out that one of the characters had a crush on the protagonist I surprising didn’t sigh. I am actually enjoying how the romance is being executed, it is just a subtle crush, the character isn’t making her crush on the MC loud and noticeable and therefore no unnecessary melodrama is being caused which I am enjoying very much. I look forward to seeing how the romantic element will lead to throughout the show, I guess that I’m enjoying the romantic element more due to the unpredictable nature of the protagonist.

In retrospect, I guess it was silly of me to think that there wouldn’t be any romance in this show. Looking at my MAL, at least 95% of anime has a small amount of romance, hell, even TV shows where romance isn’t the main theme like Sherlock and Doctor Who have some sort of romance element. I guess it is this way because it gives a form of realism to the show, most people go through some form of romantic infliction at some point in their life or at least think about it a lot, so when we see a character with a crush of some sort it gives us a way to relate to them and gives us somebody to root for which is obviously a benefit for the show.

One thing I definitely like about the show is that it really knows what its wants to be. In fact, I have often caught small glimpses of them teasing us, making us think they will throw in generic tropes but then instantly slam us with something really cool very interesting to watch. One way the show is able to do this may be due to the number of cool and relatively unique characters in the show. Without them, the jokes wouldn’t be funny, the characters wouldnt gel well and the situations which the characters were thrown in wouldn’t feel right.