The Laughing Salesman Episode 12

Review:

While I’ve enjoyed this anime this season, I’m kind of glad this was the final episode because while its been enjoyable enough it was starting to become a little repetitious. It would have been nice to see the mould get broken once or twice but I’ll save further discussion of that for a whole series review.

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The first victim this week is someone who likes to play the victim after a chat room incident but given just a little bit of power became a first class bully. He didn’t even need much of a push from Moguro. I did like the representations of the avatars sitting around chatting though.

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The second victim needed a much harder sell initially but was just as rotten really. Both stories ended appropriately and Moguro went laughing onto a plane and away, somewhere.

Once again, neither character this week elicited much sympathy and there’s kind of a casual satisfaction in watching and waiting for the fall.  Anyway, I will post a full series review of this shortly.

The Laughing Salesman is available on Crunchyroll.


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Grimoire of Zero Episode 11

Review:

After all this build up to Thirteen, we found out his plan last week and this week Zero kindly asks him to stop and so he does. Okay, first they shoot coloured lights at each other and Zero reveals she purposefully wrote flaws into the incantations because even though she wanted to share magic she apparently didn’t want to not be the strongest (understandably really).

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So basically Thirteen just ceases to have any interest in the conflict he has set up and now apparently actually cares about repairing some of the damage he caused. Am I supposed to care that he now seems upset about Sorena’s death because I’m with the wolf guy. Thirteen did let Sorena die and he did nearly burn Albus. Okay, he didn’t start a plague. One thing he didn’t do.

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Seriously, it is very hard to take any of this conflict seriously when even the mastermind behind it walks away with only a brief moment of hesitation.

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And so we move toward the final episode because even though Thirteen no longer cares, all the pieces he set in motion are still heading toward self-destruction. It probably doesn’t help that most of the Sorcerer’s of Zero seem to lack logical thought processes and have already whipped themselves into a frenzy of mob-mentality. Logical arguments aren’t going to turn the tide here.

Grimoire of Zero is available on AnimeLab.


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The Eccentric Family Season 2 Episode 11

Review:

It is all happening this episode with all of the many little plots coming together fantastically for what looks like a great ending next week (or whenever I get to see it). Despite talking trains, evil imposters, caged tanuki, dreams where sons converse with their dead father, transforming giant tigers, and exploding factories, the strangest point this episode still goes to seeing Benten crying.

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Her relationship with Yasaburo has always been ambiguous and this point doesn’t do much to clarify given she clearly isn’t trying to save him but she will mourn the possibility of him being eaten in a very strange mirror of the nightmare he had in the last episode. Though, it isn’t as though Benten did anything to stop the inevitable rescue effort either.

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With everything starting to come out into the opening and the family ties being stronger than ever, I am really looking forward to how this resolves. This show understood what made season 1 special to those who watched it and has managed to really capture those parts in this sequel without feeling too much like a duplication (though there have definitely been some moments where it feels a bit like an echo).

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Now if I could get a Nidaime/Benten showdown I’d be over the moon but given how the story has unfolded it doesn’t seem like that is on the cards.

The Eccentric Family is available on Crunchyroll.


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Haikyuu Episodes 48 + 49

Review Episode 48:

The team are all ready to go into the third set and we’re still moving those shining moments around the players from both teams, even spending some time getting backstory on player 16 from Aoba. Tsukishima is also getting his fair share of time to shine even though he kind of got a few good moments in the previous episodes.

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That said, about mid-way through we finally get Kageyama realising they need to use Hinata better and the focus switches to these two for the first time really in this match. As much as I’m not a big fan of Hinata, it seems weird he’s been so quiet for the past couple of episodes so I’m guessing this is going somewhere but I’ll have to wait and see where. My only other thought is that this game seems to be lasting forever (not in a bad way but it has been quite a number of episodes now).

Review Episode 49:

There are parallels and then there are parallels and this episode takes it to the extreme in the set’s final moments yet I guess it was kind of needed is Kageyama and Hinata were ever going to get over their previous loss. While there’s definitely a refocus of Hinata, the other characters aren’t forgotten and the whole team work very hard for every point they get (as do the opponents).

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This was a fairly thrilling conclusion to this game and then I had to remind myself this wasn’t meant to be the last game in the tournament but how do you top that?


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 12

Review:

All the way through this I just kept thinking it felt like the end of a season. It wasn’t giving us answers but it just felt like this was the final battle. Turns out episode 13 is an extra so that feeling wasn’t misplaced.

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So then I have to ask, what was the point? Yes, the journey continues and there are all these new characters with very cool fighting skills (meanwhile where were these guys during the last fight in this city) and all the old faces have returned but we’re no closer to the island of the astrals, Gran’s father, or knowing anything about Lyria. Though, Lyria did at least get a nice character point where she finally wants to know about herself. Still, 12 episodes of floating around, fighting the occasional primal beast, meeting people and the like; fun as it was, it really is kind of pointless.

Still, watch Gran win another fight? Okay.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Hellsing Series Review

Overview:

Alucard is a vampire serving the Hellsing organisation and pretty much eliminating other undead and things. This is a review of the 2002 anime series, not Hellsing Ultimate.

Review:

Seriously, this show sounds like it should be right up my ally. We’ve got vampires, horror, violence, secret organisations, it should be a blast. That said, I put off watching this for a fair while because I’d previously watched the first episode and was left feeling pretty meh about the entire series. However, this one came around on my list of watched and dropped anime to give a second go to and given it is available on AnimeLab I gave it a go and made it through to the end. But I probably shouldn’t have.

For an anime made in 2002, this already looks kind of dated. Alucard of course looks amazing as the creature of the night and his Japanese voice really suits him sounding both menacing and seductive. Outside of Alucard, the other character designs are all kind of flat when they aren’t outright ugly. They serve their purpose but they are hardly something to draw you in to the story. Similarly, the occasional setting will grab your attention but too often we’re in generic hallway A, or walking past generic building B. Visually it just isn’t a very appealing show and this is a show that splashes around copious amounts of my very favourite colour and it still didn’t manage to appeal.

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If I get over the fact that this looks its age and focus on the story, the issues actually get worse. While there is an ongoing narrative around an unusual number of vampires showing up and some chip creating vampires that they are investigating, mostly it feels like freak of the week shows up, the expendable human characters get expended (why were there even humans still working for these organisations), and then the vampire/s go in and clean up the mess. There’s the occasional point of interest with conspiracies and media interaction, but mostly its just a by the numbers set up and deliver kind of story.

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All of this is fine for a horror really. Low budget horror movies have kind of made me immune to poor visuals and generic storylines that aren’t that engaging, but there still needs to be some hook. Are the characters interacting well? Is there some sort of twist or surprise? Do we just deliver the same old horror with a lot of energy? Hellsing kind of doesn’t achieve any of these. Seras Victoria is about the only other character I vaguely cared about outside of Alucard, and she was still incredibly boring as she transitioned from human to vampire. Integra, as the leader of Hellsing, was probably my least favourite character and more than once I found myself wishing something would bite her, which given her limited screen time was impressive that she managed to irk me that much.

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Basically, this was my own fault. The first episode of this didn’t grab me the first time I watched it. Even this time, I wasn’t really keen on it and yet I just kind of pushed through. I became increasingly distracted during the watch and started making excuses to delay the next episode. That’s probably why my review is light on details. I wasn’t paying enough attention after about episode 4 so maybe it has some amazing plot twist that just went straight over my head.

At some point, I do want to check out Hellsing Ultimate, but I’m not going back to this series again. I’ve made it to the end, it is watchable, but ultimately I just don’t see that this is really worth the time investment when there are more interesting stories out there.


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Spring 2017 – Best and Worst Vote Reminder

Last week I asked what you thought the best and worst of the spring season was. If you haven’t cast your vote yet, or if you are still waiting on shows to finish, here’s the poll again. Please share it as the more votes the better for knowing what the readers are really thinking.

 

Poll Information (for those who missed it): This is the reader’s poll and the winning anime will be announced late in July (poll closes July 9 to give the last few shows that are ending a chance to wrap up). Yes this poll includes shows that are continuing onto the next season and sequels and pretty much everything else. For the first time I’ve also allowed you multiple choices and a write your own title because I can’t remember every show that came out nor do I really want to write all those options into the poll.

For best of Spring 2017, please vote on the show you found the most entertaining to watch or had the most fun with this season. If you want to share your reasons, please comment below.

For worst of Spring 2017, please vote for a show you watched (or watched at least half of) that you found tiresome, painful or boring to watch.

Thanks for your votes and please remember to share this post.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Males with Silver Hair

Here’s the list of my top 5 male anime characters with silver hair. I’m going to admit, this was a far harder list to put together than the female one. There are so many silver haired males out there that I wanted to include. Plus, splitting the one and two spot this week was all but impossible so I finally went with overall good looks which means I now feel really bad about number 2. Anyway, my primary criteria, other than having silver, white or gray hair, was that they are an interesting character that I enjoy watching. Still, this one was really difficult. I’d love to know who you would have included so please leave me a comment.

Also, next week I have a Top 5 list suggested by Kendra Ressler who is one of my patrons. As part of their reward tier they get to suggest three post topics in a year and this is their first one and it is focussed on My Hero Academia. I’m really looking forward to writing it and even though the post will come out after I’ve gone on break, I’m hoping everyone will enjoy it. Thanks to Kendra for the great suggestion.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions go to Undertaker (Black Butler), Tomoi (Kamisama Kiss) and Lag Seeing (Letter Bee).

Number 5: Hitsugaya from Bleach

 

 

It feels kind of wrong for Hitsugaya to be so low on this list given I absolutely love him as a character but when I thought about why I liked him, his hair doesn’t feature very high. his attitude, his sword, his eyes and his very cool ice power featured heavily, but his hair style and colour were more of a side note. Still, Hitsugaya is an amazing character so I’m glad he didn’t fall off the list altogether.

Number 4: Zero from Vampire Knight

 

 

As much as I do tend to mock Vampire Knight and its storyline, I have to admit Kiryuu Zero is a really fun character to watch. That’s probably slightly mean to say given most of what you are watching is his descent into depression as the vampire hunter transforms into a vampire and feels incredible guilt over sucking the blood of his crush but I just enjoy him as a character. As for his hair colour, other than providing a strong contrast with the other love interest, I really couldn’t imagine Zero with any other colour. He always seems a little washed out and detached from the world and his hair kind of helps give that impression.

Number 3: Weismann from K

 

 

This issue with Weismann is that we see so very little of him. Flashbacks are all well and good but given his body is snatched before the events of the first episode of K, we really don’t see much of him. That said, his silver hair, given he’s the silver king and all, is kind of important and I really enjoy his character (what little we see of it). Brilliant and detached with a slightly off-beat sense of humour, he remains an enigma even after he regains his memories and I absolutely love every moment of screen time he gets.

Number 2: Allen Walker from D Gray Man

 

 

I know. I can’t believe Allen isn’t number 1 on this list either. Much like Zero, Allen is a pretty tragic character to watch and I can’t get enough of it. He’s one of my favourite characters of all time. Want a strong and loyal character who will literally fight to the death and even beyond for what he believes to be right but isn’t exactly a saint? Then Allen will entertain you for hours (and hours and hours given the run time of the show now). Though I definitely have a preference for his character design in the original series rather than Hallow (too colourful in Hallow).

Number 1: Victor from Yuri on Ice

 

 

I did warn you at the beginning I split 1 and 2 by overall looks and as much as I love Allen as a character, Victor is pretty impressively charming. I think it was the fact that for once there was an anime character who was actually in his late twenties that was being treated as desirable by pretty much everyone rather than as an old man (typical of high school anime) that really got me focussed on his character. Then, of course, there’s his talent, charisma, and developing relationship with Yuri, and all and all I really did fall in love with his character during Yuri on Ice – even if I know that in reality his personality would drive me completely crazy.

So there is my list of silver haired anime males. Who would you include on yours?


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Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 12

Review – Yes Spoilers:

Okay, I’m still kind of annoyed that we don’t know what’s up with the Beast Titan (but hey, there’s a nice tease at the end of the episode in case we forgot he was supposed to be significant), we don’t know what’s in Eren’s basement, we don’t know why some Titans can shift and some can’t and why eating someone transferred that power to Ymir, but credit where it is due, they did answer something in this final episode of season 2.

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Levi, I totally agree with this point given the speed of reveals compared to the speed of the deaths in this show.

The episode began with the smiling titan advancing on Eren and Mikasa. Hannes swoops in to save them and after putting up quite a good show manages to die heroically and bloodily right in front of Mikasa and Eren (because those two need more trauma in their lives). This actually led to a fairly nice moment of near silence. For a show that normally pelts us with sound from everything (horses, wind, capes, weapons, screams) the sudden silence was jarring and probably one of the most affective things it has done in terms of creating a moment. Still, hard to take Hannes’ death too seriously after watching some of the other deaths from other scouts. Why does this one smiling titan insist on splattering the surrounds with blood and gore while others manage to eat in a way that looks like they belong in a Saturday morning cartoon?

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This is the cartoon version – I will never stop laughing at this image.

But, I will say this for Eren. He is the type to never give up. He’ll just keep doing the same stupid thing over and over even when it doesn’t work. But he will get really angry with himself and need a pep-talk from Mikasa. And points to her, she actually seemed to be a real person for about two minutes in this episode with a real and genuine personality.

I’m totally overlooking the Ymir and Historia bit but to be honest they didn’t do anything with Christa/Historia. Ymir ultimately went with Reiner after a touching farewell, but weren’t the scouts looking for Christa as well because she knew something about the walls? Why didn’t they even hint at that later in the episode? We got confirmation about Connie’s village and Levi and Ervin now know what the audience has known for a few episodes that the titans inside the walls were the people from the village (did someone poison a well, or how does that happen?) but Christa’s story never gets mentioned.

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So last point I’ll touch on is the actual answer we got. A while back Reiner mentioned that Eren was a coordinate (or might be) and we had no context for what that might have meant. This episode, we get to see just what that means even if Eren is too dumb to figure out what just happened. And I guess Reiner’s point of view about Eren having the coordinate is pretty understandable given Eren is not the person I’d want to entrust with that sort of power either.

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Anyway, I now have to think back over the whole of this season and figure out where I stand on it. There have been some good moments but my overall impression is really mixed. I’ll write a full season review soon.

Attack on Titan is available on AnimeLab.


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The Silver Guardian Episode 12

Review:

Seriously, I haven’t the slightest idea what the intention was. This apparently has a second season planned for next year and I won’t be watching it.

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Really?

We start off in the fight Suigin dropped into last week. He still can’t actually fight so Twin Star turns into a dragon and ends the battle.

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That’s it. No mention of Riku nor do we find out what Suigin wanted from the commentator guy or how any of this is connected to anything we saw in episode 1. I got nothing. There’s a fight. There’s some poor jokes. Then it ends and that’s all. I’ll be reviewing this whole series shortly but I can already tell you not to bother if you haven’t tried this show.

The Silver Guardian is available on Crunchyroll.


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