Episode Focus: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Episode 1 ‘Frightened Corpse’

It’s not really the done thing to write reviews of shows after only one episode has aired but with Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress I couldn’t help myself. Taking up the Spring 2016 noitaminA slot and having the privilege (?) of being the first anime to stream through Amazon Prime, Kabaneri is a steam punk style anime that sees humanity stuck behind walls hiding from some terrible man eating monsters.

I know what you’re thinking – that sounds just like something else I know… Well hold that thought, I’ll get to it a little later!

Main character #1 Ikoma seems like a decent enough guy. Almost inspires you to rebel against the system yourself, until you see the blood that is.
Main character #1 Ikoma seems like a decent enough guy. Almost inspires you to rebel against the system yourself, until you see the blood that is.

The main character of episode is rebellious ‘steam smith’, Ikoma who as well as servicing the locomotives that allow humans to travel between stations (essentially human settlements) is trying to create a weapon to kill the Kabane.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Episode 1 ‘Frightened Corpse’

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The time of our lives: rewatching Angel Beats

Rewatching your favourite shows is without doubt, for me, one of the best things as a fan of anime, it is also however, for a while, a moment of fear. Not including anime I watched as a child, Angel Beats was the second show I ever watched (after the original adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist). It was the show that really encouraged me to watch anime – it’s humour and action grabbed me and the emotion didn’t let me go. After watching almost an excess of over 90 shows since then the fear set in: what if the show that encouraged me to watch anime was in fact rubbish? This is a point that has grown increasingly closer to the foreground as I’ve tried to become ever more critical with my reviews and scores. After picking up the Blu-Ray at EGX at Birmingham back in October, this month I finally got around to rewatching the show – which I may now slightly SPOIL. You have been warned.

Prove that I'm dead, please? Sure, see you when you wake up.
Prove that I’m dead, please? Sure, see you when you wake up.

Angel Beats is the story of Otonashi, Yuri and class SSS, a group of adolescents who led unfulfilling lives and thus find themselves in an afterlife in which they can ‘rebel against God’. The premise is undeniably a good one with a degree of originality that puts it in a strong starting position. The plot is driven by the main character, Otonashi’s, understanding of both his past life and the world he now finds himself in. While for the most parts the story is indeed quite dark the show is filled with largely pointless, but generally funny comedy. I can’t help but feel a show like Angel Beats was always going to need a degree of humour for it to stay afloat, the characters couldn’t have maintained a serious nature and remained likeable without it.

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Too much death! Akame ga Kill! when assassins get over excited

Way back when last summer someone show me the first episode of Akame ga Kill!. Sentai Filmworks’ dub had just started showing on Toonami and having missed the original sub run in 2014, it seemed like a good excuse to watch a new show in English – something that I can’t remember doing for a while. It’s probably worth saying now, I don’t intend to be explicit, but I will be alluding to some spoilers.

Though she takes the title role, Akame doesn't hog the spotlight.
Though she takes the title role, Akame doesn’t hog the spotlight.

I can’t say I particularly have an issue with watching shows on a weekly basis – most are designed to be watched that way just because they air weekly in Japan. For the first 15 episodes or so of the show this was working fine for me, the show was by no means perfect but considering it’s a standard shonen type, it was pretty enjoyable.

Continue reading Too much death! Akame ga Kill! when assassins get over excited

Review: Seraph of the End – Battle in Nagoya

The second half of the first season of Seraph of the End was one of the most anticipated shows of the Fall anime season. When 24 episode seasons are split into two halves over different seasons there is often a tendency to expect more from the second half than the first, if only because we know the characters and by this point expect some plot development. In this respect, Battle in Nagoya does well, fleshing out the characters further while pushing the plot forward using a single event as the main process: a battle in Nagoya. The big problem though is the lack of new ideas in terms of the main characters.

There is still a good amount of comedy in this season - especially given its not exactly a light hearted subject.
There is still a good amount of comedy in this season – which is great given its not exactly a light hearted subject.

Plot Overview

After recovering from their previous encounter with the vampires, Shinoa squad spend some time honing their skills and becoming more tuned with their demons. Though this seemingly only serves to show off some new powers Yu and Kimizuki have gained, the development of the relationship between Yu and Asharumaru does prove to be the real point of the opening couple of episodes.

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Chapter Reaction: Attack on Titan 77 [SPOILERS]

As a big fan of the anime, I’ve gradually been making my way through the Attack on Titan manga. As those of you who read the manga will know already, there have been some frankly mind blowing revelations as the manga continues on after the end of the anime.

From this point on there will be big spoilers for chapter 77 and the manga post-season 1 anime – you have been warned.

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MAL Anime Watching Challenge 2016 List!

As I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday, this year I am attempting the MyAnimeList Anime Watching Challenge. This involves me watching 50 shows each of which must fulfil a certain criteria.

As an additional challenge for myself, I’m going to try to write something, whether that be a review, discussion piece or anything else on every anime I finish in the challenge.

The list below has been divided up into different categories and I will be updating as I decide what I’m watching and then again when I’ve watched it. Check out the gallery at the top of the page to see what I’ve finished so far!

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Blog Update and MAL Anime Watching Challenge

So after what feels like an absolute age and several started but unfinished articles I’m back on wordpress! December was a busy month for me with uni deadlines, Christmas, New Year alongside my crowded anime watching schedule, but I am sorry I’ve been so quiet over the month. In this post I’m  just going to give you an idea of some of the things I’m planning on the blog in the future.

Autumn 2015 wasn’t a bad season for new anime and I watched a few of them! First thing planned on my list of articles to write is a review of the second cour of Owari no Seraph, a show which I enjoy in the spring and had high hopes for this time around. If I can find the time I’d also like to review Noragami’s second season and The Perfect Insider. 

Of course, that’s in the past and now we’re into the Winter 2016 season which is shaping up to be the best season of anime I’ve been around to see so far. I’ve started watching nine of this seasons’ anime already with several more on the ‘Plan to Watch’ section of my anime list on MAL. By the end of the season I’ll be looking to choose some of the most interesting to review (hopefully a little more promptly than this season but I can’t promise anything with a dissertation looming around the corner!) as well as a more general overview review article.

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An Introduction to Anime

RAZZ

The phrase ‘Japanese culture’ will stir vastly different ideas depending on whom you choose to talk to. To some, the first thing that springs to mind is undoubtedly Shinto temples or giant Buddha statues while to others it might be the iconic tea ceremony.

For an increasing number though the initial thought is of the country’s thriving ‘youth culture’, most notably: anime. Western countries led by the US have, in recent years, seen a spike in people becoming increasingly engaged with the medium with the number of anime titles available on popular and specialised streaming sites.

It is then the perfect time to be writing about why now is the time to open up the tab on Netflix you’ve yet to open and watch your first anime since the original Pokémon.

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Okay – you know what I’m here to talk about, so let’s try and point out some stereotypes that…

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Review: Your Lie in April

Not every anime is meant to have a deeper or sentimental message and of those that attempt to include one, the majority spectacularly fail in a haze of melodrama and tears. That is why Your Lie in April is so special. The show you are about to read about takes real and serious issues and creates 22 well paced episodes and a cast of interesting, often funny, though not always perfect characters.

Kaori plays the violin - so basically it's a set up.
Kaori plays the violin – so basically it’s a set up.

Background and plot

Kousei Arima was once the child prodigy of all child prodigies in the world of piano, dominating competitions on a national level and generally annoying all of his competitors with his brilliance. During one competition however, following the death of his slave driving mother he breaks down, losing the ability to hear the notes he plays, thus fading into the obscurity of middle school Japan, and the introvert character type that would be typically expected to follow.

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Face off: Sword Art Online vs Log Horizon

I do like trying new things here, in fact we all do. It’s why I try writing new types of articles and why you might, after watching Sword Art Online, decide to watch Log Horizon. In this new article format I’m going to be picking two shows that are similar or are often compared. And yep, you guessed it, for my first comparison I’ve chosen one of the biggest clashes in the recent anime world: MMO vs MMO – Sword Art Online vs Log Horizon.

Kirito and Asuna get on really well... eventually.
Kirito and Asuna get on really well… eventually.

At a very basic level, the link between the two shows is their grounding in an immersive RPG world that they players cannot escape from. In SAO, we have the world of Alfheim, where ten thousand players have been trapped by evil mastermind and game creator Akihiko Kayaba and if they die in the game, they will also die in real life. In comparison, in Log Horizon we have Elder Tale a desktop MMO that after an update became the reality for all of the players around the world who were logged in.

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Thoughts and ramblings on anime, manga and visual novels