I wanted to write a review of the latest episode of Absolute Duo, as I’ve been trying to catch up to Funimation’s Broadcast Dub (which as a concept, is a fantastic idea by the way). Putting myself in that position however has left me disappointed, as this isn’t an episode that nails the combination of decent plot and ecchi charm as earlier episodes of the show did. But here I am, so what can I do.
As the penultimate episode of the show we are getting down to the crux point of plot this time around. Miyabi has reappeared having accepted a demonising type power from the Rebels. Unfortunately for our group the trade off is that she wants to kill them all- including Tooru, who she claims to love. After losing the extra guards for the conference, our heroes are forced to fend her off before being sent away by Tomoe, who insists she can get through to her because of their duo connection. Ringing out the clichés for all they’re worth at this stage it seems.
Tooru and Julie go on to fight K. Fitting with the main motivation of the show up to this point the battle sees Tooru ending up in distress because Julie is hurt in the fight. Using the serum he received in the previous episode, he levels up his blaze to level 4 becoming a seemingly indestructible human shield before defeating K with his mighty fist. What was that I was saying about clichés?
Often when you decide to watch a show that you haven’t heard of before or has mixed reviews, things work out really well. In my case, I’m not particularly hard to please so I find most shows like that pretty enjoyable. Every so often though, things don’t quite go the way you hope they will and you come across a bit of a mess. That, unfortunately, is the case with Amnesia.
Amnesia is a show that has a good premise. Based on a visual novel, a nameless girl has lost her memories before August 1st. The story is told through her relieving the days following August 1st in relationships with 4 of her male friends (plus 1 other guy, but he doesn’t really count).
The problem arises when we actually look past the premise and actually at what each episode does to further the plot and character development. The answer to that for the first 10 episodes? Not all that much. Each of the arcs for the four love interests have their quirks (*cough* locked in a cage *cough*), but on the whole they ultimately fail to move the story forward towards any kind of end. It wasn’t until episode 11 when the fifth man arrives that I could actually begin to guess what was causing the travelling back in time and loss of memories, and even then, within 10 minutes of having that opportunity, the cat was let out of the bag anyway.
If you saw my review of Guilty Crown earlier in the week you know I think very highly of the show. You’ll also know that one of the best parts of it in my mind is it’s soundtrack. Largely speaking the soundtrack for Guilty Crown is a work an immense work of art that would be equally (if not more) impressive than it is in conjunction with the show.
With that in mind then, what do soundtracks bring to a show as one of many components. I mean, at first glance every anime TV series, film or OVA is dependent far more on character development, plot and handling of themes than it might be on as something as seemingly trivial as the music. Largely, you might be right in making that assumption, but I’m tempted to disagree so I’m going to try and make the case that the music is equally as important as any other factor in defining an anime, using some pretty great examples to do so.
Along with Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? I’ve been watching Plastic Memories as the first two shows I’ve ever simulcast. This week it was episode 8 of the latter, and dear god, the feels train is only getting faster and faster.
After last weeks episode we saw Tsukasa and Isla go on a date at the amusement park. Along with the revelation that Isla’s retrieval date is in a months time, episode 8 is Tsukasa trying to find some hope that after that, Isla’s memories might be restored.
After going on an assignment where an older lady asks Tsukasa for her Giftia’s body to be renewed with a new OS, Tsukasa starts asking the team if it’s possible for a Gifita’s memories to be restored. The resounding answer? No. Michiru is most absolute as she alludes to feeling the same in regards to her own father before he was retrieved. Another opportunity for Tsukasa to find out some information arises when one of Eru’s old friends (also a Giftia), arrives from Section 3 for a job, but with a new OS, meaning she doesn’t recognise Eru.
gSo today, according to MyAnimeList I watched my 1000th episode of anime. Practically for writing this blog post I was hoping it wouldn’t be an episode of Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? just because it turns the title into a bit of mammoth. That aside, I think it’s a pretty important milestone, despite almost a quarter of those episodes (224) being the original Yu-Gi-Oh series. Naturally it doesn’t include all the odd episodes of Pokémon I’ve watched through my life or anything like that, but let’s just roll with it, okay?
Yesterday I was watching a review of Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? and the reviewer made the point that the title gives off bad vibes which doesn’t do the show much good even before you’ve start watching it, which now that I think about it, is completely true. Dungeons and girls? It does have harem written all over it, and actually that’s what it looks like it’s going to be, however, by episode 7 it’s not looking like a huge failure. I won’t go into the whole of the show in this article in the interest of keeping things on topic for episode 7!
Episode 7 sees our hero Bell finally get to talk to his saviour and now inspiration, Aiz Wallenstein. After being introduced and reclaiming his arm guard from Aiz, she offers to teach Bell how to fight with both ‘skill and strategy’ which as she points out, he is lacking. Turns out from this point on, loving a girl lots just isn’t enough to make you a hero.
Last night I started watching the dub of Seraph of the End. Another post-apocalyptic show where the human race has been all but wiped out by a virus released by vampires, with only those under the age of 13 and around 10% of the adult population surviving.
The main character, Yuichiro, is, to put it nicely, a bit of social introvert who doesn’t really do the whole making friends thing particularly well. That said he does live with a group of orphans and has done for at least 4 years, even if refuses to call them his family.
So far I’ve seen the first two episodes and a lot of time has been covered. Yuichiro, and his friends who survived the virus were taken away by the vampires to underground city as test subjects/dinner for vampires. Four years later, we find them at stage where they live an uneasy life together amongst the vampires. The first episode details an attempted escape by the group- without going into too much detail, lets say that only Yu escapes, with a bit of grudge to hold against the vampires thereafter.
I’m not a big horror fan, whether that be live action, anime, novels or anything else, it’s just never been my thing. Suspense more than anything, blood and gore, happy days, dolls (as it turns out), not so much. Another is definitely a horror show: no matter how you swing it, it’s a horror show, there’s creepy music, messy deaths and as you might have guessed from the last sentence, pale, wide eyed dolls.
There’s this story, that in class 3 of the 9th grade at Yomiyama High School is cursed. This curse began following an incident 26 years ago where a student died, but the class and the rest of the school, including the teachers, decided that he was still alive- they even set a place out for him at graduation. Now they say the class is closer to death and every year people from that class die routinely every month, because there is always an extra person in the class who is, unknown to everyone else, dead. If you watch the first 15 seconds of Another they’ll tell you that. The main focus of the story is Kōichi, a boy who lost his mother at birth and moved to Yomiyama from Tokyo as his Dad is away on a long term business trip. Due to an illness he missed the start of school in hospital. In hospital he meets a girl wearing an eye patch, who is very quiet and is holding a doll, going down to the very bottom floor. After he starts school the next month, the rest of school can’t seem to see this girl, who also happens to be in his class- oh and did I mention, that would be class 3 of the 9th grade.
Another is an excellent story, probably due largely to the fact that it’s based on the novel of the same name, so doesn’t suffer from the same inconsistencies many anime do. Given what I said above (so it might not really apply to everyone) I found the first two episodes really difficult to watch. In terms of plot you’re being pulled along very slowly without much happening, but all the while it is very tense; Kōichi gets to know the girl who no one can see, Mei, largely in the doll shop which is beneath her house. Which is odd, because for most of the show, the dolls are pretty well ignored.
If you look at this and decide you don’t want to read it, then scroll down and play the track. It’ll almost certainly be worth your time.
Not every show is universally good or bad. Search the internet hard enough and you can find good and bad reviews for pretty much any show. One of the more divisive shows out there is Guilty Crown, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi show, based on a unassuming boy called Shu who gains the power of the king. Here’s my review.
10 years ago a virus swept across Japan. The event known as Lost Christmas crippled the country, forcing it to take a huge amount of foreign aid and to be run by a undemocratically selected government called the GHQ. Even 10 years on after the incident, the government shows no signs of moving on or helping to completely eradicated the virus. Our main characters are Shu, a socially awkward student and Inori, a singer of the (now real) band Egoist and member of terrorist/liberation group, ‘Funeral Parlour’. After school, Shu goes to an abandoned military building to work on videos that he creates. On one occasion he finds that Inori has taken shelter there after stealing an important item for Funeral Parlour, and after a brief introduction and discussion she is found and taken away by the military. Shu is, unexpectedly left with the item that Inori stole and takes it upon himself to get it to the people that want it. After meeting some of the other important characters in the story, most notably Gai, the leader of Funeral Parlour, the ‘antibodies’ (government secret police types), go after a group of innocent citizens in an attempt to find the vial that was stolen by Inori. Funeral Parlour go after them to save Inori, with Shu tagging along. In an attempt to show he isn’t always a coward, Shu, who still has the vial, runs out to protect Inori who has been injured. In the gun fire, the vial breaks and Shu absorbs the power of the King, allowing him to pull out people’s voids (objects of varying usefulness that reflect what’s in a persons heart). He pulls out Inori’s void which is an incredible sword, and defeats all of the mechs.
The first half of the story follows Shu, Inori and Gai as they fight against the antibodies and the government seemingly with the view of freeing Japan from oppression. In a lot of ways up until episode 12 we are getting an introduction to Guilty Crown. This is the time used to develop Shu and Inori’s relationship, find out more about Shu’s power and Shu and Gai’s connected past. Though the real point of the story doesn’t develop until the final 2 or 3 episodes of the arc, the screen time up until that point is used excellently. While it is fair to say that this is both character and plot development time, the way the show gets through this is by no means dull. For example, in episode 4, the real aim of the episode is develop the relationship of Shu and Inori: in terms of episode plot though Funeral Parlour are attempting to free Kenji, a high security prisoner, to gain access to his void for Shu. For much of the plot the action scenes, in truth, aren’t really necessary, but the way in which the story is written makes them feel like they are.
Having watched both seasons of A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, this evening I watched the Index film: The Miracle of Endymion. Now, you get the review!
Happily for those that have never seen any of the TV show, The Miracle of Endymion pretty much stands alone by itself. Chronologically, it comes after all 4 seasons in the franchise but isn’t affected by any of the events that have gone on (unless you’re desperate to know Kuroko is still in a wheelchair). Let’s say you haven’t seen anything else in the franchise, what do you really need to know? The backdrop to our story is the most forward thinking scientific city in the world, Academy City. It’s principal purpose is to train the most gifted young people with scientific abilities called espers. On the other side of things, are magicians who on the whole despise science and everything it stands for. Both sides in the show have a lot of power and have fleeting quietly on the edge of war for a while. The main character is Toma, a pretty average Level 0 esper with apparently no power. Apart from the fact that his right hand can dispel anyone else’s power whether it be scientific or magical. His nun friend is Index, a member of the English Church and a magician of sorts- she has memorised the whole of the grimoires of the Catholic Church often making her a target for anyone and everyone around the world.
That should be enough to get you going through this.
As I’ve said, the film doesn’t have any bearing on the TV series and works really well as stand alone feature. It’s based on a space plane crash that happened 3 years ago in Academy City; against all the odds, all 88 people on board survived- it was seen as a miracle. Meanwhile in the present day, Index and Toma befriend a street singer called Arisa. Soon after that, they get attacked by their magic friends (I know, some ‘friends’ they are) as they try to capture Arisa. It turns out that she’s extremely powerful and could start a war between science and magic or worse yet, destroy half of the world if an immortal crazy magician gets her hands on her (!). The leader of another group trying to protect Arisa arrives called Shutaura. The two sides have a bit of a battle but in the end the three escape.
As I said in my last post I’m a big fan of this show, so when I say if you were to watch a lot of episodes and think the show looked interesting, you can appreciate that there’s no attempt at objectivity there. With that same mentality I’d say of all the episodes throughout the series, if there was one to drag people in, I think it would episode 17: Exodus. It’s a busy episode in as much as a lot of plot points are covered, but I can’t say it feels rushed. It’s also an episode with a huge shock, which, apparently, is one of the reasons the show is so divisive but you know where I’m coming from and if you want a negative review, the internet is a big place. Shall I just get on with it?
The episode continues from Shu’s revelation in episode 16 that the destruction of a person’s void causes their death. Instead of going into himself and stopping the use of voids, Shu gets even harsher on the students. In a conversation with Inori in their oasis paradise type thing (nope, not even I can accept that that place should be in the middle of the school), she reveals that she thinks she attacked Arisa. Think being the optimum word here as she lost consciousness just as the ceiling collapsed in gym at the end of the last episode, only to reawaken with blood on her hands, facing Arisa in the recording station.