Chronos Ruler Episode 13: At Last The End

Review:

As the final episode comes around I wonder if this show has accomplished anything? Victo/Victor (subtitles changed mid-series) still hasn’t got his time back and in point of fact now knows it should be impossible to ever do so and yet apparently feels it could still happen. Kiri is still trailing after his useless amnesiac of a father and enduring the absurdity of being put down for not being able to eat pasta through his nose. The only real change is they now have Mina and Blaze also tagging along, whenever the writers remember they should be relevant.

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This wasn’t a satisfying final fight. Last week the horologue revealed his true form and this week unleashed a barrage of attacks that really should have just annihilated the team. However, Victo then decides he can work with the others and trust them in order to achieve victory and for some reason this also means he doesn’t die when he very clearly should have.

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Honestly, this was no worse than any other episode in this show but all and all the writing and characters have been terrible and literally the only reason I’ve stuck with it was I was kind of interested in the time manipulation element. Too bad they never did anything with that. Will write a final review soon.


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Drifters Series Review: Was This Worth The Wait?

Overview:

Toyohisa is injured in a battle and as he starts to die finds himself in a mysterious corridor facing a man in a suit reading a newspaper. A door opens and Toyohisa finds himself in a new world where he is called a Drifter. Uniting with other Drifters, they begin to fight, well, everyone.

This obviously came out last year but due to lack of access, it was only very recently I was finally able to watch it (thanks AnimeLab for brining it to Australia). So after reading all the reviews as it aired and series reviews of people who finished it after that, I had a fair idea of what I was getting into. So the questions is, was it worth waiting for?

Review:

Drifters is one of those stories where it could be really cool, but at the moment we’re very much feeling like we’ve read the prologue to a much grander story and we still don’t really know what is going on. The obvious is the confrontation between Drifters and Ends except that the Ends don’t seem to be exactly what we’ve been told and the Drifters aren’t overly concerned with fighting them unless they happen to directly be in the path of what the Drifters are currently trying to do.

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Also, the Drifters aren’t all exactly united. It is clear some have been in the world for a long time and have their own plans and ideas and the three Japanese Drifters that are freeing elves and dwarves and generally going on a mission of conquest are really just out for their own ideals and don’t really seem to care much for the grander scheme (or anyone else’s plans). This makes it really hard to know what the actual end game for this whole story would be particularly as we don’t know the deal with the guy and the girl in the tunnel (other than a clear binary opposition though why we don’t know).

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Despite a lack of answers or real sense of urgency in any of the actions, Drifters manages to be pretty entertaining as we lurch from conflict to conflict. The time periods the various characters come from shape their fighting styles and philosophies and this allows for the action sequences to not get dull. The humour is at times crude but it actually works quite well and adds to the overall entertainment of the show.

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Visually Drifters is interesting. I’m not going to say I particularly like the character designs but it is striking and the characters are distinct and memorable. The art style very much suits the story being told and contributes to the overall tone so it is successful in that respect. Okay, I found it ugly, but that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this series and it definitely stood out from a lot of other shows.

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The opening song is also quite distinct and again the visuals work. They aren’t what I would call pretty, but the opening very much gets you ready for the feel of the show and that is what it is supposed to be doing.

All and all, unless you don’t like the subject matter, which is pretty much various characters thinking of ways to more effectively kill and conquer other characters, with quite a bit of crude humour thrown in, Drifters is quite a nice action anime. I wouldn’t outright recommend it due to the narrative feeling like it barely got started but there is certainly some fun to be had in watching it. Basically, don’t think too hard, enjoy the gore, don’t even begin to try to figure out whether a character is actually supposed to be a good guy or a bad guy because that’s a lost cause.


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Gamers Episode 12: Interesting Choices

Review:

One thing Gamers has been consistent about is going in a different direction to what I have expected to the point where I stopped trying to make predictions for this show many episodes ago. This final episode is no exception.

The introduction sequence where we are reunited with the other guy Tendou recruited into the gaming club, who we pretty much haven’t seen since the first couple of episodes, narrates his own back story. Why this is suddenly needed, I’m not sure, but as usual with this show it managed to be just silly enough to make me smile. We then get our usual opening before we get back to our usual group of 5 casual gamers going to a hot spring for a gaming meet because… reasons?

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However, here is where you could pretty much turn the visuals off and just listen to the dialogue, or read the subs, as the visuals more or less add nothing for the remainder of the episode. The dialogue however is like listening to a heated debate on the radio and is at times quite entertaining as Aguri challenges the gaming fanatics on the cost of their games and on having to buy DLC.

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There’s one scene where the three girls end up in the hot spring, because anime, and while they are having a fairly serious conversation about what sort of DLC they prefer in games the visuals just show various suggestive shots of the girls in the water. Really adding absolutely nothing to anything and quite boring given other the occasional slow pan these shots may as well be still images and do not relate to the conversation you are trying to follow. I’m not anti-fan service but I had to wonder why this was included.

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So this final episode added nothing to the resolution of the various characters relationship issues although it did confirm that the two couples were still couples and hadn’t disintegrated from all the misunderstandings earlier in the series. And other than the intro where we got some back ground on one member of the gaming club, the gaming club made no appearance. Essentially, this was a group of gamers discussing gaming and defending their positions. That’s all it was. For me it worked and I left this series with a smile, but really if someone were to say this episode was pointless I wouldn’t have much leg to stand on to argue against that view point.

Full series review coming soon.


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Friday’s Feature: Reviewing Mediocre Anime

This is more a personal reflection than an actual feature.

A lot of the Summer shows are ending and I’m left trying to write a series review and I’m finding that for some series I am drawing a blank. Why? Because too many shows this season were not particularly good but they weren’t particularly bad either.

Bad shows are easy to review. Or at least easy to rant about. There’s plenty of issues to pick fault with and discuss and usually plenty of examples. Sometimes there’s even a nice contrast point if the show does something well.

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Hand Shakers was an excellent example. I ended up cutting my review of that series short mostly because it was quite obvious what my opinion of the show was and continuing to tear it apart would have served little purpose. This season I’ve had fun writing my review of Knight’s & Magic which tragically suffers from most of the plot issues of Hand Shakers when you sit back and think about it (though visually Knight’s & Magic is pretty good to look at). That review hit the 1500 words on its first draft and I still need to go run some edits and change a few things.

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Likewise, shows that are fairly strong are pretty easy to review because there’s a genuine reason why you liked it and things to discuss in terms of what it has done well. Again, there may be a point or two that didn’t work so well to contrast with all the positives, but again, it all becomes pretty easy to get your point across.

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For instance, my review of March Comes in Like a Lion is more a gushing love letter to Rei’s character and his journey and that was the cut down and edited version of the review. Similarly, this season I had a great deal of fun thinking about my final review of Princess Principal. By no measure was that anime perfect, and yet it was a great deal of fun to follow along with during the Summer season and there are some really strong points in the show’s favour that can be discussed.

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So what then do you do with a show that you don’t actually have any kind of strong opinion on? It didn’t do anything overly noteworthy in either a good or bad way. It just kind of was. Everything is more or less functional and while it wasn’t exactly inspiring it didn’t make you want to run for the hills either.

Which brings me to my current draft reviews of Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun and Fastest Finger First. Both anime pretty much stayed in the ‘okay’ category for the season. Fastest Finger First I had a lot of fun with but have admitted all along is not objectively very good. Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun was a bit more up and down but overall the anime works as a comedy even if it isn’t overly funny (that isn’t actually the end of the world for most comedy).

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All up, my drafts of these two anime barely come to 1000 words (that’s combined) which officially makes them the shortest series reviews I’ve ever written. But even going back through them, I can’t think of anything noteworthy enough to warrant expanding on any particular point.

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And with so many other anime in the same boat this season I’m really wondering what I will do with these reviews. At the moment my plan is to wait a week and re-read them after reading through my reviews of individual episodes and hoping something stands out. Otherwise, I think I’m going to have some very short reviews going out after this season wraps up.

Apparently being mediocre is worse than being bad when it comes down to writing a post about the show. Which makes me think about the next season and which shows I will keep. This season, I kept a lot of average shows because they weren’t bad and I didn’t really have anything better to watch. But maybe it would be more fun to be writing a review now about Classroom of the Elite or even Netsuzou Trap (both of which I considering a binge watch of anyway). Maybe average shows just don’t need to stay on my review line up because after awhile reading that the show has maintained its average tone with average characters and average story-telling is going to be as boring as writing it week after week.

What do you do about reviewing shows that just don’t have that much to talk about?


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In Another World With My Smartphone Episode 12: They Actually Did It

Review:

Wow. I did not see that ending coming even when last week seemed like this show was actually going to address the harem issue (where so few shows ever just admit that there is a harem even when it is obvious). Taking it straight and just having the girls outright ask Touya to make them all his wife is a refreshing change from the usual outcome where the protagonist remains oblivious or really only has one girl they are interested in leaving the others hanging without resolution.

Touya though is still a slow protagonist cliché and of course asks the girls for time to think about it and ends up consulting the god who sent him into this world in the first place. I hadn’t really realised that the Gate power technically made that possible, but that of course raises the question of whether Touya can gate back to the real world or not… But even if he did would he then be stuck because magic doesn’t work in our world? That’s a whole other line of thinking so moving on.

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That god passes Touya on to the god of love who points out she’s responsible for setting up clichés (so there’s our lame excuse for the show having Touya walking in on the girls in the bath earlier in the season). It is kind of amusing because as always the show delivers this absurdity as if it is the most natural thing in the world and then moves on. I like the way this show just sets up its jokes, delivers them with conviction and then continues on playing it straight. It’s a refreshing change from self-aware shows that feel the need to celebrate their own cleverness.

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At the end of this episode Touya makes his decision (though still asks the girls to wait until they are all older which to be honest is also kind of nice). I do like that the group outside who discuss Touya and point out that it has been predicted he’s going to end up with 9 wives. Poor Touya, he can barely handle the four girls he is now engaged to.

They then give us so post credit sequel bait so it would be nice to know if this will ever continue on. As much as this show is a stupid comedy full of clichés and tropes that we’ve seen a million times before, it just clicked for me so I’d kind of like some more of it even if I’m not exactly going to highly recommend it. I will get around to a full series review of this at some point.


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Elegant Yokai Apartment Life Episode 13: This May Be The End

Review:

Not of the anime, because tragically that has more to come so it kind of looks like it is just going to continue into the next season (I can’t actually find an episode count anywhere though). However, I am pretty sure this will be my last post on this. Hopefully. If I have any sense at all I will drop this for real.

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I just want to know why every character who meets Inaba thinks anything of him? Seriously, what are they seeing that the audience isn’t? They all sit around and give him advice and pep talks. That is literally their entire interaction with this kid and yet they all speak so incredibly highly of him. Yet, everything he has done and his internal dialogues just make him look and sound like an idiot.

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I hate this main character, I hate that all the other characters seem to think he’s amazing, and I hate that nothing ever seems to happen in this show. Okay, I think I just made my mind up and I’ll be dropping this.


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Princess Principal Episode 12: Everyone Wants To Go To Casablanca

Review – Some Spoilers:

It is no surprise that Ange returns this episode, though the sheer length of time it takes her to come to that decision and act is a little questionable. Once she’s in motion though it is hard to imagine she was ever going to fail.

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This episode takes us back to the feeling we had back in episode 1. Things are moving along at a good clip with car chases, gun battles, a plot to kill the Queen, and Ange desperate to save her friend. It is good fun even while the show hits some of its darker moments.

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I still feel Zelda’s character would have worked better in this final arc if we’d met her earlier and had a bit more time to care about her character. Instead she comes off as a fairly ordinary villain which makes the reveal about who she is really working for seem a little last minute rather than intriguing. Also, her grand escape sequence would be cooler if I cared about her or if we knew there was going to be a second season for her to return in.

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But what really shines this episode are the main characters as they reunite and save the day before heading off to Casablanca… Wait, didn’t Princess reject that idea? Why did they end up there. Just one of many questions to be asked about the ending of this show given the various groups and plots still exist, the issues in the Kingdom haven’t been resolved, the Princess still isn’t going to become Queen, and I’m not sure the spies actually accomplished anything of significance. How can a show be so fun and yet so full of holes?

Anyway, I will get around to a full series review of this show, but in the meantime, go listen to the theme song again because that can have you smiling for half a day.


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Knight’s & Magic Episode 13: Some People Are Just Sore Losers

Review:

Well, this ended pretty much the way everyone predicted and managed to be pretty pointless right to the end. Ernesti fights the drake and shows off a few new tricks (though I’m not certain splattering it with oil and setting it on fire counts as a new trick).

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We then get the engineer from the otherside (name has totally escaped me at this point) and Ernesti having an argument which may have only been occurring in their heads or may have been broadcast, I don’t know as it was unclear, about the aesthetics of robot design. Because that’s super important in a life or death battle.

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All of this is interspersed with the side characters storming the fortress below and one final fight with the sword mecha which ends as expected before the captain of the drake decides to ram the Princess. This is where my mild irritation with the generally stupid writing decisions in this show blew up into full of rage as the Princess stubbornly insisted she wouldn’t move because she believed that she would be protected. Lady, there’s a giant robot dragon falling out of the sky about to land on you. Would it kill you to take three steps to the right? No, instead Kid has to have a moment to jump from one airship to the drake to fight the captain and then jump out of his mecha and into Ernesti’s hand because I guess Kid hadn’t done anything useful in a few episodes because wasn’t his mecha powering the airship? Oh yeah, his mecha was powering the airship. His and Ady. So why is it still flying given he’s just abandoned ship? So frustrating.

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Anyway the war wraps up, we get some more Kid and Princess stuff before they all head home. But this is my favourite part of the episode. The Smiths that actually build the machines that have made everything possible finally get official recognition for their effort. Then Ernesti begins plotting his next steps and we end the show. Of course nothing is resolved because opposing designer guy survived and is looking for a new hire, the King or whatever of the country that started the war hasn’t been defeated, the sword guy is still alive and heading home, and there’s new tech coming out everywhere changing political and economic landscapes, but sure, let’s just end the story here. Why not at this point?

I’m kind of looking forward to a full series review of this show. I think it is going to be fun to write.


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Vatican Miracle Examiner Episode 12: Why Wasn’t the Rest of the Series This Good?

Review:

I know some people will find this episode of Vatican Miracle Examiner overly emotional trite and it would be hard to argue that point. The focus is entirely on Hiraga’s brother who is dying in a hospital full of other dying kids and we get a flash back of another boy who died to young (and happened to know Roberto because this show loves an excess of coincidence).

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And in case that wasn’t enough forced drama the show throws in dead parents and visions of other dead and dying people. My consistent complaint about this show is that it always over-reaches in its mysteries and as a result the whole thing is left feeling half-baked.

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Yet episode 12, with a single episode and not three or four, manages to deliver an emotionally moving and dramatic story that makes you care for the characters and question the nature of miracles. Something that not one of the other mysteries managed in all their over the top antics. If only the rest of the series had managed the tone of this episode I probably would have liked it a lot more.

I’ll get around to a series review of this soon.


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Chronos Ruler Episode 12: Obvious Symoblism Before A Final Form Reveal

Review:

Chronos Ruler hasn’t exactly been great. In fact, the writing and characters have been pretty terrible and these final episodes are certainly cementing that point. Episode 11 was basically a series of extended mini-fights with the side characters before we got back to the main boss and episode 12 pretty much screams boss fight from start to finish with a minor character moment mid-episode just in case they haven’t convinced us yet that Victo (Victor) is actually a really great guy (something they decided in the second half of the season because in the first half he was scum).

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But hey, chain symbolism. Haven’t seen that in… Never mind.

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If that wasn’t bad enough, we then get all the good guys together and they start overwhelming the bad guy. Who of course then does a final form reveal right before we cut to the end credits. Why don’t villains ever use their ‘true’ form from the start of a fight? It would save us a lot of time.


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