Kiznaiver Series Review

Overview:

Katsuhira can’t feel pain and doesn’t know why. This apparently makes him the target of bullies and an obsessive child-hood friend. However, Katsuhira and six of his classmates are used in an experiment to join their pain and begin a journey of emotional self-discovery.

I did review this week to week so if you want to know thoughts on individual episodes, click here.

Review:

I’m going to admit, there are moments of Kiznaiver that are amazing. There are some superb emotional moments for the characters where the audience¬† really feels for the character and everything just hits that absolutely perfect note where you are blown away by the power of that moment in the story.

These are framed by utter and complete moments of rubbish.

The first two episodes of this series introduces most of the cast. Another group member is introduced late seemingly because the writers couldn’t think of anything else exciting for their plot twist of the week other than sending the characters on a scavenger hunt for a missing member. While some people quite like these characters, I find the majority of them too stupid for words and generally don’t care enough about them to be caught up in whatever personal drama they are currently experiencing.

That said, it shows the strength of Kiznaiver when it gets it right that it managed to bring me back into the story and the characters for those moments when it really mattered. The two episodes that focus on Honoka and Yuta remain my favourites of this series.

I’m going to just break the rest of my points into the positives and negatives of this series.

Positives:

  • It’s beautiful.
  • At times the emotional payoff is worth the effort.
  • The sound track is fantastic.

Negatives:

  • The science and the nature of the experiment are complete gibberish for the sake of a plot device. There is no way this experiment would be run (and if it was it wouldn’t be left in the hands of a damaged test subject).
  • The revelation that we can just make friends and connect that way really makes you wonder who was confused about this point. It seems like a revelation to the characters and that just makes me think they were even dumber than they looked.
  • The entire final episode.

I know some people have really loved this series and it actually does work as a story and a character piece. However, it didn’t really click with me so even though I’ll acknowledge there are some good moments in this show, that final episode has firmly placed this in the list of anime that I have watched but will now move on from.

What are your thoughts on Kiznaiver?

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Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto Episode 5

Review:

I really enjoyed this episode. I found the longer sequence and set-up more satisfying and revisiting the second year thugs worked quite well. Hayabusa is seriously cool looking though and visually Hayabusa vs Sakamoto just worked. Plus, the scene where Sakamoto takes his glasses off was fantastic. Okay, fan girl moment over. The story was much the same as always. Sakamoto is amazing. This annoys others. They try to bring him down a peg and fail. There was some collateral damage this week but I’m pretty sure he’ll get over it eventually.

Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto is available on Hanabee.

Ace Attorney Episode 1

I kind of went back this week and checked out some of the anime that I didn’t watch during Spring. I started with Ace Attorney.

Overview:

Court room drama with maybe some comedy thrown in?

Review:

Going into this, I knew that I wasn’t really into the idea of this anime. I haven’t played the games and to be honest, courtroom melodrama has never been a favourite of mine. Throw in the clunky looking characters, incredibly stilted dialogue that feels like they are trying to thread dialogue options in a game together, and the way over the top character reactions to everything and one episode was definitely enough of this. Not going to catch the rest of this series.

Shonen Maid Episode 11

Review:

It’s getting hard to review this because just saying it is sweet over and over is a little repetitive. So, it is still sweet, but I’m going to offer some criticism this time. Episode 10 brought a real sense of impending drama with the ‘revelation’ of Chihiro’s grandmother (though it was really doubtful anyone didn’t know that given they weren’t really hiding the fact). And yet this week offers little except a little case of the mopes for both Chihiro and Madoka. While I get that the general theme of this show is up-beat (even the dead mother’s advice to Chihiro was that he’d be fine), occasionally allowing characters to actually experience sadness, anger or depression would be a nice change of pace. Still, hard to argue with flower viewing, friends and good food for cheering yourself up.

Shonen Maid is available on AnimeLab.

My Hero Academia Episode 13

Review:

This episode brings the fight to a conclusion and allows the main villains that we’ve met to escape to plot their return in season 2. What it doesn’t do is give any of the students a real purpose for being there other than the occasional throw away comment and being the general awe-struck audience. Admittedly, doing anything more with the students would have made this episode a cluttered mess but bringing in all the hero teachers (most of whom we haven’t seen before) to mop up at the end just kind of made the students feel like a side-show when they’re the ones we’ve been following for over half the season.

I enjoyed this, but I went in expecting no resolution given all the announcements about a season 2. I’ll do a full season review later.

My Hero Academia is available on AnimeLab.

Tokyo Ghoul AMV Tribute

Awhile ago I posted a tribute to D Gray Man and some of the excellent AMV’s out there. This time I went searching for some amazing AMV’s from Tokyo Ghoul and was overwhelmed by the sheer number out there. Here are some of my favourites:

Tokyo Ghoul – Centuries: Posted by taintedgundam

Why should you watch it? Because the sync between the visuals and the lyrics is amazing and the song just works for the themes of Tokyo Ghoul. It isn’t excessively gory (for Tokyo Ghoul) but does show some of the more dramatic moments from season 1. Well worth a watch.

Tokyo Ghoul – Break the World: Posted by HeavensLuke

Why should you watch it? This was is gory but really feels like it connects with Kaneki’s character at the end of the first season. The lyrics are really appropriate and the match up with the visuals is quite well done.

Tokyo Ghoul – Already Over: Posted by GSSJ70

Why should you watch it? There is far more focus on the sadness of the show rather than the violence and gore (though there is that as well). It really makes you feel for the characters through a great selection of visuals matched to the much more reflective song than most of the AMV’s I found for this anime.

Tokyo Ghoul – Just a Dream: Posted by Ayaka Uchiha

Why should you watch it? Touka and Kaneki. I had to include one AMV featuring these two and I like that this one is a little more tragic than hopeful of their relationship.

Tokyo Ghoul – Destroy the Obvious: Posted by Lunar Gade

Why should you watch it? Awesome song and a great selection of scenes from the anime. Works really well, but mostly I just loved the song.

Have you got a favourite Tokyo Ghoul AMV? Share it below.

Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters with Completely Inappropriate Occupations

Last week we looked at the narcissists of the anime world. Shifting gears a bit, this week I want to look at characters who are just completely ill suited to their job. I’m going to be honest, keeping the list to 5 was challenging so I really look forward to seeing who you guys would have added to the list.

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

Honourable mentions this week go to Kuroko Shirai as a Judgement Officer in A Certain Magical Index, Naoya Touhara as a Toy is Astarotte No Omocha and Mephisto as a Principal in Ao No Exorcist. But as I said before, I had a really long list to start with, so there are plenty of other characters that probably should have been mentioned.

How did I make my selection? I really thought about which character’s job bugged me the whole time I watched their show. If it was intruding into my thoughts regularly and I was questioning why they were doing what they were doing, they probably ended up on my final list.

Number 5: Ayako Matsuzaki as a Shrine Maiden in Ghost Hunt

Even the other characters laugh when Ayako introduces herself as a Shrine Maiden and it becomes obvious throughout the series that even though she knows a lot about being a Shrine Maiden she isn’t one. Even the monk (the rock band member monk who also should be mentioned in this list for inappropriate occupations) explains to Mai (and the audience) that Ayako just doesn’t operate the way Shrine Maiden’s should. That and her attitude toward anything that seems like work earned her a place on the list.

Number 4: Kisuke Urahara as a Shopkeeper in Bleach

This one is more just because it seems like there is no reason why Urahara’s shop hasn’t just gone bankrupt. He is a lousy shop keeper and his pretense that that is all he is is blatantly ridiculous, particularly when you see what is underneath the shop. Now, admittedly, he is kind of in retirement after a fairly eventful life so he can do whatever he wants, but if he wanted to run a shop surely he should show just a little more interest in doing it well.

Number 3: Sanae Furukawa as a Baker in Clannad

I’ll admit that this was probably a cheap shot but if you can’t bake, don’t be a baker. That kind of makes sense to the rest of us but Sanae Furukawa is persistent if nothing else. What bugs me is that she still bursts into tears at the slightest criticism when you would think she would either get over it or learn to bake. And how does she manage to not get any better if she is doing it every single day?

Number 2: Teletha Testarossa as a Captain in Full Metal Panic

While there is nothing wrong with Tessa’s intelligence and her dedication to her crew, temperamentally she is not suited to command. This comes across so often in the series. She struggles making the tough calls when her crew are in danger, she is a teenage girl and at times feels the need to act that way, and she is also unreasonably stubborn on certain issues. None of these would make her a very effective captain and assuming that an entire crew would just loyally fall behind her because she’s cute is just a little insane.

Number 1: Sadao Maou as a MgRonalds Employee in The Devil is a Part Timer

Kind of an obvious choice given the occupation is the entire joke. It isn’t right that Satan would be flipping hamburgers in a fast food shop and yet here he is, planning his world conquest as he works his way up the managerial ranks. I love that he’s ambitious and hard working but it is still a totally inappropriate profession for his character (even if he is apparently amazing at it).

What are your thoughts? Which other characters are completing jobs they probably shouldn’t be?

 

Joker Game Series Review

I’ve reviewed this anime week to week and if you are after my initial impressions on the episodes, click here.

Review:

When the first two episodes of Joker Game aired, I was instantly hooked by this series. It was different from so many of the other anime around and that I had watched. No teenagers or highschools or magical powers. Just a look at a spy agency in Japan in WW2. Potential dark subject matter but at least something different.

And the opening narrative arc is very strong. We meet the spies and we also meet Sakuma who is in the Japanese military and is meant to Liaise or something with D-Agency. I only know his name because I looked it up. He is perhaps the most interesting character we meet for the entire series. His outsider view of the agency, and his changing reactions from frustration with their methods to grudging admiration, as well as his adaptability made him likeable and engaging as a lead character.

Then we never see him again.

Or maybe we do but you don’t notice. I don’t know. By episode 4 I gave up trying to distinguish the characters as they did pretty much nothing to distinguish themselves.

And we never get back to the whole card thing which kind of bugged me because I really wanted this to become a recurring theme in the show as it was a little bit interesting and they could have done something with it.

After the first two episodes, all the other episodes (with one exception) are a self-contained story. A situation is set up and a bunch of conspiracy stuff happens before the spy of the week reveals his clever ploy to outsmart the others. Over and over again. With indistinguishable spies that we don’t remember anything about or care about on missions that are never explained or given any significance.

I will say this: Individual episodes of this show are entertaining to a degree. A single story about a spy outsmarting an enemy. While we might want a little more explanation or details about the spy, as a stand alone story it works well.

What didn’t work was week after week of more of the same and no reason to feel any more investment in either the plot or the characters.

Moving away from that, the music is actually quite pleasant. I remember earlier in the season another blogger (and I don’t remember who) compared the soundtrack to Baccano and that’s fairly apt, though Joker Game is a far more subdued fair even in its music.

The colour palette is also quite subdued. It isn’t washed out or anything like that but there’s definitely a lot of blues, greys, blacks and browns in this anime only broken by the occasional object of significance that might get a slightly brighter hue (flower, ring, whatever).

If you didn’t watch this anime, it would be worth watching an episode of it, but I’m not going to recommend the series as a whole.

You could stop reading here if you want. I’m just going to make one further point about the final episode.

I really do try to avoid feeling insulted about the role of women in anime, given it is pointless to take offense over every slight or perceived slight, but this one kind of made me think ‘was that really necessary?’

Why did Yuuki feel the need to articulate why only men were spies in the agency?

Anyone watching this show already figured out that women only had three roles in this show. Damsel in distress, oblivious support, or overly emotional killer of the week who of course was stuffing up the plans of the men. And given the era the show is set in and the greater focus on the espionage, even if this seemed a little trite we could just watch the show and ignore the fact that not one female character was given a decent character role.

And then they felt the need to have a main character, and one of the only characters people remember, state clearly that women were less rational than men. That they could not control their emotions to respond appropriately to situations.

Wow.

I had to wonder what Joker Game was doing. After initially drawing me into this world and then kind of holding me in a pattern of unrequited anticipation for 12 episodes it then felt the need to make me dislike the only character I could remember the name of without searching for it.

Be that as it may, Joker Game is a drama type thing about spies in WW2. There are some clever moments and then there are some slow moments. Occasionally there are some surprises and shocks. But mostly, what it delivers is a fairly clear story 10 times over in different settings.