Tales of Zestiria The X Season 2 Episode 13

Review:

While this final episode is not bad when compared to the rest of the show, it was definitely hurt by the extended break between episode 12 and 13. The momentum (what little this show had) was definitely gone and it took me awhile to remember exactly where we’d left the characters and then I got to marvel all over again that they were really doing a power combine thing to win the final battle. Actually, what really hurts this episode is the game like nature of that battle.  The villain just stands there as they have a pep-talk, call the names, combine, Sorey falls to his knees, multiple times, before he’s finally able to stand, and the villain is still just standing there. Worse, the villain then gets his own power up and Sorey just stands there while it happens.

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After the battle things get better, but even then the show can’t commit to actually having Sorey’s sacrifice mean something and post credits be prepared for everything to be smiley happy, even if that makes no sense given the nature of what they were facing. I’ll review the full series of this soon, but not particularly impressed with season 2 of this.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Iron Blooded Orphans Episode 50

Review:

This ends exactly as you would expect though I will give them points for one or two surprises (such as Ride’s future which I didn’t see coming). Still, any potential character growth for Mikazuki ends rather abruptly mid-episode much as it should given what they were up against.

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However, the general tone of the episode is reflective. More importantly, after all is said and done and all the battles and fighting, things resume pretty much the status quo. There’s some changes in how the different organisations are run and Mars does gain a bit more freedom, but these are changes that could have come about just through negotiations if people had been willing to talk. And overall, the people in charge are still the people in charge. Given the massive cost and number of deaths Gundam remains true to its general message that war really doesn’t get us very far.

Orphans50c

While you can mostly pick where the characters will be in the future, the second half of this episode progresses through them one by one and we see where they have ended up. For the most part this is satisfying, though very little is as satisfying as seeing Iok finally get his on the battle field.

All and all, I didn’t love this second season but it holds it together well enough. I’ll do a full review soonish.

Iron Blooded Orphans is available on AnimeLab.


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Iron Blooded Orphans Episode 49

Review:

Orga’s death hits Tekkadan hard but Mikazuki actually takes some initiative, even if he is just using Orga’s words to rally the others followed by the blunt threat of violence. I’m not sure if this counts as development or not but it is more proactive than we have seen Mikazuki before.

Orphans49b

Spoilers below.

Someone finally killed McGillis. Seriously, that needed to happen episodes ago. He was a pathetic character and once his grand plan was revealed to be pretty much nothing his existence had become pretty superfluous. His death was fortunately not particularly grandiose nor did it have much impact on any of the events still in motion which is kind of the inconsequential death he deserved at that point.

Anyway, pretty much the guys from Tekkadan that we still actually know the names of are out buying time while everyone else hopefully escapes. Given Hush has already died and the others are well out-numbered I’m wondering what the final count will be next episode and whether or not the others will actually escape or if all of this is all for nothing.

Iron Blooded Orphans is available on AnimeLab.


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The Best of Winter 2017

Earlier today, I shared the Worst of Winter 2017 (both my opinion and the view of the readers). If you didn’t check it out, make sure you have a look later and let me know your view. Meanwhile, this post is celebrating all the good things that happened during the 2017 Winter season.

My Favourite Show

Pretty straight forward category. I had to have watched the show all the way through and I had to have loved watching it. There are only 2 shows this season that I nominated as being a must watch in my weekly overviews and choosing between them is really hard at the moment and I reserve the right to change my mind later in the year after I rewatch both as to which is actually my favourite. But for now I’m giving the award to…

ACCA.

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I really had a lot of fun with this show, though there is definitely a fear that it won’t hold up under a rewatch because a lot of the fun came from never knowing quite where it was going next.

My Favourite Character

This was a really hard choice because there were quite a few characters that I really loved spending time with this season, even if the show they were in wasn’t doing much for me. I did notice going through my notes from all the shows I watched this season that there are very few female characters of note from the season. Possibly that’s because of the shows I ended up following but even those that had female characters didn’t really seem to do much with them.

Anyway, not the point. My favourite character from Winter 2017 was…

Rei Kiriyama from March Comes in Like a Lion.

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I loved Rei and found him almost instantly relatable and I really loved watching him struggle and slowly grow but remain true to who he was (again, I had a hard time deciding between Rei and Jean from ACCA but Rei had quite a bit more development and twice as many episodes to win me over).

My Favourite Story

Obviously ACCA but given I gave that best anime I’m going to look at my next favourite story from the season. And I know this one is going to make some people raise an eyebrow but my next favourite story from the season came from…

Chain Chronicle.

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Possibly this is a sad criticism on the quality of the narratives this season (or my taste in stories depending on how you view it) but Chain Chronicle managed to build from a pretty good opening, through some basic world building, a couple of obvious twists, to a final conflict without tripping itself up, losing momentum, or doing anything that might make you question the story (though plenty of questions about the originality and execution at times). The other show I considered here was Spiritpact but the beginning of that story was far too rocky for it to be seriously nominated even if the end of the show was pretty magnificent.

My Favourite Opening Theme

Boy I’m glad I didn’t exclude it because it was my choice for best show…

Definitely ACCA.

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This opening theme is a fantastic fit for the show and just fun to listen to, accompanied by highly relevant and interesting visuals. Not once did I skip the opening and I certainly went back and watched it a couple of times after I was finished some episodes.

My Favourite Visuals

Winter 2017 didn’t have quite the plethora of visually appealing shows that previous season have had so the choice here is pretty obvious…

March Comes in Like a Lion.

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While there are certainly shows with better character designs and better animation, March consistently delivered interesting and memorable visuals that added to the overall depth of the viewing experience. Couldn’t ask for much more from a story.

Reader’s Choice – Best Anime of 2017

Here it is:

Best Winter 2017

And yep,  March Comes in Like a Lion won. Possibly because I forgot to include Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju a fact which has been pointed out to me a number of times (that was actually an honest mistake as I thought I’d covered most of the anime people had been talking about whether I’d watched them through or not but I missed one). However, from the choices available March won.

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Of course Dragon Maid and Scum’s Wish both made a decent showing here and I knew before I started this that ACCA wouldn’t win a popularity poll given it really isn’t the kind of show that everyone is going to love.

Okay, these were my choices for favourite of the season so now I’d love to know yours. Feel free to share in the comments below and I’d love to know the reasons for your choices.

With that I’m leaving Winter 2017 behind and I’m now ready to face the Spring 2017 anime season.


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The Worst of Winter 2017

Later today my Best of Winter post will come out and I’ll celebrate all those wonderful moments that got people talking (or at least entertained me during the past three months). But that is not his post. This post shares the worst and the lowest moments of the season as well as the reader’s choice for worst anime of Winter 2017.

My Least Favourite Show

Chosen only from shows that I watched from beginning to end during the Winter 2017 season (or completed in 2017 if they carried over from the previous season), this is the show that I cringed at the thoughts of watching but still managed to string me along with the faintest of hopes that eventually it would reveal something of note.

Yep, Hand Shakers.

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And no, it never did produce anything of note other than just how awful it was. Then again, anyone who has been following my blog is not even remotely surprised by this.

It should probably be noted that I literally hated everything about this show, however, in order not to let Hand Shakers get a big head by letting it take out every worst of category, I’ve pretty much excluded it from this point forward.

My Least Favourite Character

So, this had to be someone I bothered to remember but I actively disliked them as a character (so not just because they were a villain). And once again, I had to have finished watching the show so all the characters from Fuuka were removed from potential nomination because otherwise my decision would have been easily made.

I’m kind of going to have to go with Chuta from elDLIVE.

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I really wanted to see him grow as a character and I did enjoy the few kind of moments of growth he got, but he pretty much instantly regressed right after and given they are playing his insecurities for laughs it really doesn’t have quite the same appeal as some other emotionally damaged characters this season.

My Least Favourite Story

Again, I had to have finished the story to make this decision so Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2 and Zestiria are momentarily given a reprieve as neither of them have actually finished, though both would have been contenders given their season 2 plots have mostly just gone through the motions and added little of significance. And on that theme we have the winning anime:

Blue Exorcist Season 2

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All build up and hints at later plot threads but the plot delivered in this season is strictly side-story material and the final villain is all but inconsequential (and treated as such). Basically, if you have been reading the source material, you might get a lot out of this in terms of the set up for later events, but if you view this just as an anime season and ask it to stand on its own two feet in terms of plot, its going to fail miserably.

My Least Favourite Opening Theme and Visuals

Okay, these categories are only combined because the answer was one and the same. Not a lot to explain about the category other than this is an opening theme I couldn’t stomach listening to and visuals that were just hideous to look at (and I already excluded Hand Shakers from nomination).

I give this dubious honour to Spiritpact.

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As much as I ended up enjoying the show by the mid-season point, the opening was terrible as were the visuals. While the visuals improved in the second half, there were still some really questionable choices and to be honest the whole show would benefit from a total remake as the story is actually kind of good once you get into it.

Reader’s Choice – Worst Anime of 2017

Here it is:

Hand Shakers, you did it again.

Admittedly, there was a pretty short time frame on this poll and Fuuka was definitely rallying there at the end so maybe if I’d left the poll open a bit longer we’d have a slightly different result.

Now, I’ve had my say on the worst of Winter 2017. What do you think? Who would you have nominated for worst character? Which show had the worst opening, visuals, or storyline? Share your opinion in the comments below and be sure to check out the best of post later today.


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Hand Shakers Episode 12

Review:

This show and I do not mesh but this is the toned down version of the rant because the first draft was unpublishable in every sense of the word.

So, let’s just fight, a lot, with attacks we’ve never seen before and don’t know the rules of so don’t really have any reason to feel tension about who might win the battle. Let’s interspersed that with some nonsensical dialogue. Random action that somehow leads to victory, maybe (honestly I tuned out when they started flying around without using the gears with no apparent explanation). Exposition dump from formerly mute character explaining information we don’t care about because why would we when we’ve only just met these two characters and so far have been given no reason to care. This question from Tazuna:

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And somehow that’s the end. Let’s smile. Lots of voice overs reminding us they were supposed to find god somewhere in here but if this is a hint of a second season I’m kind of hoping the final line, “Just kidding” was serious. Full review coming in the future though no surprises about what it will say. The only question I’ve still got is why on Earth did this ever get made?

Hand Shakers is available on Crunchyroll.


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ACCA Episode 12

Review:

While I suspect not all will be thrilled with the way this resolved, for me it was the perfect way to end this story. At all times, things have been pretty laid back and resolved without much in the way of violence, and for the coup to end the way it did works perfectly in terms of being true to the feel of the story and characters. It probably would have been unnatural for this to end any other way.

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There’s something immensely satisfying in seeing where the characters end up after the ceremony and while this journey was meandering at times, it doesn’t feel like any of it has been wasted. I fully enjoyed every moment of this story. I’ll do a full review of the series soon and I’m definitely going to rewatch this series later in the year just to see if it can stand up to a second watch (I’m still concerned that half the fun of this show will vanish when you know where it is going).

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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elDLIVE Episode 12

Review:

Amazingly enough we didn’t get any kind of twist. The spy was Vega. We do get an angsty reason why and in the end we save him but seriously for a season finale having the recently introduced character turn out to be a traitor and call that a wrap on the season is just kind of lazy.

Of course that’s a criticism I could extend across a lot of this. The suddenly being able to recruit aliens all around the world to take out DeMille’s ships is just a cheap throw away plot device because otherwise the heroes can’t get out of the fix they are in. But there’s no speech or negotiation scene. It’s just, hey, here’s an idea, and it’s all done. If it was that easy, why were the ships even a threat?

Additionally, the final fight between the space police and DeMille Junior is just so easy and over and done with too quickly. Playing the theme song and hitting us hard with guitar riffs doesn’t make it any more exciting. The only fight that had any punch to it was between Vega and Chuta and the outcome of that was so incredibly clear that it just didn’t feel worth it.

So I’ll write my full review of this show and sadly put it among the titles of shows that maybe could have been so much better than they ever were.

elDLIVE is available on Crunchyroll.


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Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 Episode 12

Review:

You know that feeling you get when you think something is a final and then it isn’t? I kind of got that this week. There just doesn’t seem any reason to stretch this another episode but stretch it we will.

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But hey, we finally got back story on Michael, the former shepherd, and how the Lord of Calamity became what he is. Seriously, what was Michael thinking? As a former Shepherd he had to know that cursing someone was a stupid idea.

And at this point any care I had about this world is gone. Apparently you can destroy the world just by shouting a few words while burning inside a building. I get its supposed to be dramatic and about how we all have darkness inside of us and maybe we’re even supposed to feel bad for Michael, but honestly, this was such a stupid thing to do. And that this one tiny little thing manages to turn the entire world on its head is literally the hardest thing to swallow. Do his words just carry more weight because he was a former shepherd? Lots of people die pointless deaths and shout curses, most of them don’t nearly destroy the world.

Anyway, let’s all combine our powers because Sorey’s been thinking about it for awhile but at no point has this possibility actually been foreshadowed, and somehow this will all work out. Go team.

Tales of Zestiria the X is available on AnimeLab.


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Iron Blooded Orphans Episode 48

Review:

Please note: Major episode spoilers below – no attempt to conceal details.

Orphans48

There was a lot of Orga focus in this episode, for good reason. What I particularly liked is that Orga’s screen time didn’t suddenly advance, and other than one flashback (which we’ve seen before from a different perspective) we didn’t dwell on the past. Instead, we looked at how the other characters were viewing Orga and their relationship with him after everything Tekkadan has been through.

And of course, from fairly early on it is inevitable where all this is leading. I did like the set up though for the final blow and I love that Orga went out protecting his family (and thank-you writer who decided not to kill Ride because I was really tense as I expected collateral damage on this one).

Orphans48c

So yes, Orga has been killed and now I just have to wonder, what will Mikazuki do?

Iron Blooded Orphans is available on AnimeLab.


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