Zomgfruitbunnies's forum posts

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#1 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Can we talk about Dororo for a bit? I thought this could be really good after two episodes, but I would have never guessed it could be this good.

Deviating from the source material is totally the right call, because I went through the original manga over the weekend, and let me tell ya, while it's pretty heavy on storytelling details, it is still thin overall by today's standards. The anime staff clearly respects Tezuka's work since there is an unmistakably Buddhist overtone to the whole thing and the general structure is reminiscent of late-era Tezuka. Hyakkimaru's journey is essentially the Buddhist practice of genzoku, a process by which a dedicated Buddhist practitioner returns to lay status, but the irony here is Hyakkimaru, who by definition is born a Buddhist saint due to the lack of any and all worldly desires, involuntarily attains the status through his father's personal greed motivated deal with demons. This is a fairly interesting take since Hyakkimaru would not be making a return journey to the world of desire but a reversed one from sainthood to a layperson. If handled well, the story has the potential to be very impactful. Other instances of similar dynamic reversals exist throughout the few episodes aired so far where Buddhist concepts are juxtaposed against the cruel realities of the story's setting, many of which are meaningfully thought provoking and rewardingly contemplative. The mini story arc presented in episode 5 and 6 is a great example of the anime's capable execution so far.

If this doesn't fumble down the line, I can see it making my 2019 top five, easily.

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#2 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Finished up the Godzilla: The Planet Eater trilogy. Yeaaaah... The first two films are pretty okay, but last installment is something special. Janky visuals aside, things just went horribly wrong with the writing in the final movie. I looked up the staff and studio responsible for this, and lo and behold, Netflix showed up in there. The way this flops actually reminds me of Ubukata Tow, but I would have never guessed Urobuchi Gen wrote this mess. Not sure how much involvement he had in the production process, because this is the worst thing I've seen that has Urobuchi's name attached to it.

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#3 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

I was not expecting A Place Further than the Universe to make it that far up the list. Nor was I expecting Gridman and Violet Evergarden to even make it onto the list. Very surprised.

Congrats to Hinamatsuri for winning this year.

Thanks @dochaus for putting this together!

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#4 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

@humanity: I briefly touched on Megalo Box in my AotY post and basically had the same problem as you did when it came to the theme of the show. To put it bluntly, by the time it wanted to do something other than to rely on its sense of nostalgia, it was already neck-deep in the the Ashita no Joe formulae and had no way of getting out. It also wrote itself into a dead end in the sense that the only way for it to differentiate from Ashita no Joe is for Junk Dog to not die, and when the audience becomes aware of that it kills all of the suspense and tension. I can see this show resonating particularly well with people of an specific era, namely the postwar economic boom, and those who grew up with material from that time period, but a barrier to entry into that zeitgeist is definitely present and that may or may not be a good thing.

I've been able to get into Love is War now after episode three, mostly because the gags are getting better and the narration is far less intrusive. Having said that, it is still fairly formulaic as a rom-com.

It has come to my attention that Cygames has made another Rage of Bahamut anime thing. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE, CY?

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#5 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Finished Revisions over the weekend. I don't know what the scheduling is like for this dumb show outside of Japan, so I'll hold off on spoilers until the TV run is finished. As for the show itself, I am really confused about. This show is either fucking brilliant or fucking stupid. I'm really not sure. It still has all of the telltale problems of many Netflix related shows from last year, but there is this one mind-blowing moment near the end that I'm not sure is intentional. The ending didn't straight fall off a cliff this time, so at least that's an improvement.

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#6 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

@justin258:The new one, whatever it's called in English. The Japanese title is Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh which is the exact same as the old TV series without the Boogiepop Phantom subtitle. @arbitrarywater might be right.

@therookie727I'll give the anime a couple more tries. It's likely an immersion issue.

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#7 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Didn't the first game have a huge multiplayer hacking problem due to a bunch of calculations being done client-side? Or am I confusing this with another game?

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#8 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Okay, so some early impressions for this season:

Boogiepop - Like it so far. Episode 2 took a noticeable dip in the visual department, but 3 picked it up again. There's a possibility that I will wait for it to finish and watch the whole thing in a single sitting.

Shield Hero - Hmmm. Will watch more, this can either be decent or go bad pretty quickly. The premise is sort of refreshing for an isekai show.

Mob Psycho - YAY!

Dororo - This might be really good? Zero familiarity with the source material, so going into this blind.

Love is War - Maybe the style of humour just isn't for me. Nothing clicked during the first episode and I can't see myself watching more if this is all it has to offer. There's something that feels very sparse and overly utilitarian about it, and I suspect it's the sound design. I can see this working very well in manga format, but it doesn't really translate directly into anime.

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#9 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

@sombre: Anime licensing in a nutshell: one party wants rights to a show in another region/country, said party contacts other party and they try to make a deal. Things either work out or they don't.

Generally speaking, the approach to licensing hasn't really changed all that much. Sometimes it's the original publishers reaching out from Japan wanting to sell their show in another region, other times it's a regional distributor asking for the rights of use. The specifics are often decided behind closed door and non-disclosure agreements usually get signed. I can go into more detail if you want to know, but it's mostly just legal and money and logistical stuff that most fans don't really care about.

Streaming is bit of a special case in that the Internet is conceptually borderless, but ever since people started using it for business and commerce, policies have been adapted to regulate this new market. For streaming, it generally comes down to whether the original copyright holders care about their stuff being put out in other regions for free, and if the distribution platform has the balls to keep unlicensed stuff up and deal with the risks of legal trouble should it arise. To use a simplified example, if some dude started uploading full episodes of unlicensed Gundam onto Youtube, the streaming service would probably freak out and take that down unless SUNRISE called them up and said, "yo, it's cool, we won't sue you, but don't you dare monetize that shit. Here's a formal agreement." Formally licensing stuff protects the distributor and licensee from being sued and generates the potential opportunity for additional profit.

So, in essence, whether a show gets aired or streaming in a specific region these days has everything to do with how good the potential licensee is at negotiating a deal and if the partnership can result in more money.

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#10 Edited by Zomgfruitbunnies (1272 posts) -

Since voting is coming to a close, it seems appropriate to toss up the lists. C'mon, duders, we want to read your stuff! I'll go first.

Pretty easy year for me, maybe because I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to anime. Still went through a good number of shows, though. Let's start from the top this year:

1. The Ancient Magus' Bride

A heartfelt tale that showcases the perseverance of the human spirit and its ability to shine even in the darkest abyss, this series is all about overcoming adversity while embracing the flaws of the human condition. The story moves at a steady, brisk pace, moving protagonist Chise from one challenge to the next, never remaining in one spot for too long, while delivering one magical experience after another. Whether it’s the streets of London, the pastures of Elias’ estate, or the wild, enchanting forests of the countryside, this series renders its visuals with the same immaculate care given to its storytelling. Subtle, reserved, and full of heart, The Ancient Magus' Bride stands as one of the series that not only met its high expectation, but exceeded it with flying colors.

2. Golden Kamuy

Set shortly after the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, Golden Kamuy revolves around the race to find a stash of hidden Ainu gold. Featuring a sizeable cast of characters from all walks of life, Hokkaido becomes a battlefield for their bloody quest for booty to further their respective ambitions. Believable, sympathetic, principled, and ruthless, these traits can be used to describe all of the characters encountered in the show, yet each carries him/herself so distinctively with such dignity I can’t help but love them all. This is a show with no bad guys, just a bunch of fellows out to get what they want, and when interests collide, they collide spectacularly. The fights are brutal and visceral. Allegiances form and break, and backstabbing is commonplace. Golden Kamuy keeps one guessing till the very end, and there’s still a lot more left in store to explore.

3. A Place Further than the Universe

The practicalities of a bunch of high-school girls joining an Antarctica expedition aside, A Place Further than the Universe accomplishes what it sets out to do: to tell a story about building bonds and moving forward in life. Director Ishizuka Atsuko deserves special mention for making all of the different aspects of production come together to birth this wonderful little gem. At times cute, at times serious, this series’ handling of dramatic pacing is downright outstanding. Using what it builds up in the process to its full potential, A Place Further than the Universe’s conveys a strong message with reserved sublimity. Our distance to the universe might be great, but the distance between our hearts is greater than any physical destination, so value your connections and cherish them.

4. Hinamatsuri

Comedy is probably one the things I’m least adept at commenting on, but to simply call Hinamatsuri a comedy would be selling it short. While the story follows the standard episodic, slice-of-life formula, this series excels at what it does well. Most of the jokes are good natured and stick their landing fairly solidly. Occasionally, and perhaps unintentionally, the gags reach deeper than one would expect and evoke some pretty good feels. The characters are likeable and distinct, even the relatively shitty ones have redeeming qualities. The visuals remain inoffensive and consistent, and the voice acting definitely enhances the experience. Maybe it’s because 2018 has been a relatively bad year for comedy anime, Hinamatsuri stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.

5. Overlord

How often does one get to watch a show about an all-powerful individual who’s so cautious about everything that he becomes his own worst enemy? Overlord is an isekai adventure about the protagonist’s methodical conquest of the world. Watching Ainz go overkill on preparation is part of the joy of Overlord. When everything goes according to plan, one cheers because one sees the efforts expended prior to execution. Even better are when things don’t unfold so neatly, often due to the overenthusiasm of one certain retainer, and watching Ainz fumble around, ad-libbing to cover for the unexpected turn of events while keeping his distress from showing is often hilarious, or at the very least capable of drawing some hearty chuckles. At its worst, Overlord is baggage-free feel good entertainment. After three seasons, we’ve still much left to cover, and given its popularity there’s likely more coming in the future.

6. SSSS.Gridman

This is a show that I went from being fairly ambivalent about to really digging it. It’s hard to talk about without spoiling, so I’ll keep this entry short. Coming-of-age story about a nerd in an existential crisis frame in the context of a tokusatsu hero show done as an anime. Lots of homages and references to other works in the tokusatsu genre. I can’t say this is going to be for everyone, especially if you didn’t grow up with shit like Ultraman or Power Rangers.

7. Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

If I’m counting correctly, it’s been thirteen years since the last FMP TV series. Didn’t disappoint in the least. While this new season doesn’t cover a lot of material, it marks a huge turning point in the relationship between Sousuke and Chidori. The war between Mithril and Amalgam is also getting very real. People are dying, some are getting captured and others defecting, the stage is set for the big conflict we’ve been waiting for. Here’s to hoping it won’t be another thirteen years before the next season.

8. Darling in the FranXX

For all of its faults, DarliFra is still a decent series. Okay, okay, the whole VIRM bit is pretty poorly written, and while I think the series does execute on its themes adequately, there are better ways to handle the last spurt. I get it, the story is a vehicle for delivering your philosophical package, but c’mon, ya can’t just throw good storytelling out the window wholesale like that. Giant robot space waifu is a pretty weird way to sell your point, no matter how relevant that point may be to the series as a whole. Still, it does do quite a few things very well, and I’d be doing it a disservice by dismissing the show altogether.

9. Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis

This would have been a lot higher on my list should it have had more episodes. We don’t get many space operas these days, and this show is just grand. From its worldview to overall design, there’s just so much character to everything, and everything happens at a measured pace which adds an additional layer of reality to many of the space battles. The last space opera I watched to completion is Tytania, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis definitely makes me want to dig further into the genre.

10. Megalo Box

Frankly, the story got pretty rote. It has some sick music, I’ll admit, and the boxing stuff is choreographed nicely, but there’s only so much one can do with a show that’s about dudes punching one another. The obvious filling would be the human drama that revolves around the punching and unfortunately Megalo Box doesn’t do a good enough job with it. Many of its characters’ side stories do not deviate much from the tired, stereotypical clichés found in B-tier sports anime. In some ways, I understand what Megalo Box is going for and it does execute and then some. Joe’s arc makes a lot of sense in terms of what he embodies symbolically, but you can’t write a story like that while hoping people will ignore the obvious shortcomings.

Now for some stuff that I finished but didn’t make the cut

Sirius the Jaeger – One of the better Netflix (licensed) series of the year. Pacing got a little messy as the show progress and absolutely did not stick the landing.

Fate/EXTRA Last Encore – PLEASE STAHP!

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens – This is an okay waste of time. A poor man’s DRRR!!, if you will.

Kokkoku – Another one that didn’t stick the landing. Cool premise and all that, real rushed ending.

Tada Doesn't Fall in Love – It has its moments, but too much melodrama and not enough good melodrama.

Cells at Work – Biggest surprise of the year. A little confused about its target audience, but overall a nice little thing.

Grand Blue – I like this show a lot, but I understand why it’s not good. Real crass and juvenile, so if that kind of thing is your cup o’ tea, go for it.

Some more things that I finished but don’t really much to say about

Dagashi Kashi Season 2

Junji Ito Collection

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles

Record of Grancrest War

The Ryuo's Work is Never Done!

Today's Menu for Emiya Family

Vanishing Line

Food Wars! Season 4

Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World

Persona 5: The Animation

Back Street Girls

Chio's School Road

Miss caretaker of Sunohara-sou

Goblin Slayer

Things that are still ongoing and I might end up finishing

Baki

Gurazeni

Fist of the Blue Sky: Re:Genesis

Space Battleship Tiramisu

Banana Fish

Middle Manager Tonegawa

A Certain Magical Index Season 3

Hinomaru Sumo

Karakuri Circus

Sword Art Online: Alicization

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Things I dropped or won’t be finishing anytime soon for one reason or another

Killing Bites – yeah, this got pretty close to being straight-up hentai during a few scenes

Bailisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls – this is so bad.

Citrus

KARAKAI JOZU NO TAKAGI-SAN

Violet Evergarden – I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to finish this during the time it was airing, want to finish eventually.

Black Clover

Dorei-ku The Animation

Magical Girl Ore

My Hero Academia Season 3

You Don't Know Gunma Yet

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion – really want to finish this actually, just can’t find it anywhere

Attack on Titan Season 3

Hanebado!

DOUBLE DECKER! DOUG & KIRILL

Netflix and anime

2018 saw Netflix throwing hella money at anime production. Excluding Castlevania, 2018 started with Devilman Crybabywhich garnered praise from critics and fans alike, and like many others I thought if Netflix could maintain the kind of quality displayed in DC, we would be in for a very interesting year.

Boy, was I wrong.

March saw the release of B: The Beginning, a visually stunning supernatural police procedural. Unfortunately, visuals are all that it has going for it. Storytelling pacing and plot began crumbling midway through the series and never recovered. Storylines dangled and stagnated, while the show slowly self-destructed in textbook fashion, leading to a thoroughly unsatisfying and unresolved conclusion. Still, I had hope. As Netflix’ first foray into episodic anime, B: The Beginning shows us the company is at least unafraid to provide funds to maintain an above average degree of visual fidelity. Maybe just hire better writer next time, no big deal.

A.I.C.O. -Incarnation- is a simultaneous March release, and being my second Netflix anime, it does restore some of my faith in the company’s anime strategy. Overall, A.I.C.O. is a step up from B, featuring a better told story and more relatable characters, while keeping visual quality at a high level. There were still problems, sure, but this is a noticeable improvement and I was becoming optimistic, again. However, my expectations would be betrayed two weeks later, when Netflix released one of the worst anime I’ve ever encountered.

No matter how one looks at it, SWORD GAI The Animation is a failure of epic proportions. Normally, excluding all else, one can count on the Japanese VAs putting up a decent performance. This is not the case here, and it is mostly due to the reprehensibly bad dialogue. There are far too many instances of characters seemingly talking utter nonsense to one another. Protagonist Gai spends half of his screen time screaming and growling, and the other half consists of him being a complete dickbag to other characters. The story is dull beyond belief, and the poorly animated CG battles add nothing enjoyable to the experience. Finally, to add insult to injury, this thing has 24 episodes. Like, who thought this is okay? WHO?

Not all was lost, as Aggretsuko briefly broke the cycle of shit by achieving a degree of quality many full-length shows never could, which is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, the relief is short-lived as Netflix would end the year with another stinker in the form of Hero Mask.

Make no mistake, while not as egregiously bad as Sword Gai, Hero Mask is still pretty darn terrible. This is going to sound petty, but damn, the main character name is James Blood and the first scene is a bunch of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Whew. I don’t know if this is production trying to be edgy or what, but I certainly laughed out loud. Equally laughable is the show’s absolute determination in hoping to look like a Hollywood action flick by employing ridiculous amounts of rapid camera cuts during action scenes. Most of the time this fails and everything ends up being an unintelligible mess. The editing is so, so bad. The story consists of a bunch of inept cops who solve the mystery of the titular mask(s) through the power of pure coincidence. That’s right, contrary to what one might expect from a cop show, there’s no real detective work. Nothing is explained, the bad guys are bad just because the show says they are, the good guys are idiots, and the last episode is a hot dumpster fire. There is only one brief arc feature one character (not even a main character, mind you) that loosely resembles character development and stuff, and it actually made me dislike the main cast even more (can you believe it?) due to further witnessing their utter incompetence.

All in all, my 2018 experience with Netflix original anime leans more toward the negative side. I guess I’m still hopeful due to Aggretsuko popping up in there. I mean, when you throw enough money at different project and people it’s only a matter of time before something good comes out of the mix of bad. More resources in the industry is almost always a good thing, but when they’re being used to churn out one hot mess after another it’s hard not to feel disheartened at least a little bit. Not really that much left to say other than hoping 2019 will be a better year for NOAs and that the company show more concern for their investments.

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And there you have it. I hope that was at least a somewhat fun read. Obviously, I have a lot more to say about many of these listed shows, but this is not the place to do it. Things like Megalo Box, DarliFra, Gridman, and Sword Gai probably deserve their own articles. Maybe when I get my thoughts organized enough I'll do something with some of them. Anyways, 2018 is behind us now, time to start on 2019.