In Case You Missed It

Iron Blooded Orphans Episode 46

This week saw a lot of shows dropped from my viewing line up, but despite the slow anime season there are still bloggers putting out some quality posts. The love of anime is strong out there and the passion people put into some of their posts is extraordinary. As normal I’ve gathered some posts that caught my eye in the list below but there are plenty of other great posts out there. If you want to give a post a shout out, feel free in the comments below.

Iron Blooded Orphans Episode 30

Reasons To Anime gives us 5 Reasons To Watch Humanity Has Declined. I will admit, this is an interesting anime with some really fun concepts in it. Admittedly, by the end of the series I was a little fatigued by it, but there is certainly something appealing about the mix of relatively dark ideas about the end of humanity and the general brightness and optimism of most episodes. Anyway, if you want 5 reasons to watch it you should check out this post.

Luminous Mongoose discusses different types of hand holding and this is a super cute post (okay, only if you are happy when characters finally reach out and hold hands but I thought it was cute). It nicely looks at the different ways characters can hold hands and what it might mean. Very fun post to check out.

Yuri Nation looks at Fire X Ice couples in yuri and discusses the roles the characters play and how the dynamic between the two works. There are some great example couples pictured throughout the post so if you want to learn a bit more about yuri and this type of couple then this is a nice post to get you started.

Rodrovich revisited Steins;Gate and wrote their impressions of it from a rewatch perspective. The original Steins;Gate is definitely a show that benefits from a rewatch because there are plenty of points you just will not pay attention to the first time because you don’t really know why they are significant. It makes a rewatch of it very satisfying. Anyway, this is a post worth checking out if you are curious about Steins;Gate or if you’ve watched it once and are wondering whether to give it a second go. Or even if you just like reading about Steins;Gate.

Arthifis looks at how Dynamic Chord could be improved and the suggestions put forward make a lot of sense and are clearly explained. I’ve never watched the original anime so can’t comment on whether or not it is horrible, but to be honest, this post makes it clear that there are some issues and some changes that might help it along (or make it ‘bearable to watch’ as Arthifis puts it.

Schizoidmouse has a comparison discussion of the two sports anime of the season, Hanebado and Harukana Receive. Given I didn’t really take to either in the first episode I’m not really up for the conversation, but there’s no denying that most viewers prefer one over the other and yet the community seems pretty evenly split on which one is better (guess it depends what they are looking for). Anyway, its a great post if you want to join in the conversation about it.

The Lost Voice shared an incredibly touching short film they came across and if you missed the post you should go check it out and watch the film. I’m not going to tell you anything more because you really do need to just watch it. For 4+ minutes, it is pretty well done. I love it when people share things that are awesome.

Cactus Matt compares the anime and the manga versions of Shomin Sample to determine which is better and he does a nice break down of the positives and failings of both before drawing a conclusion. I had little interest in the anime of this one and no interest in the manga, yet I still found this post to be a pretty fun read.

Irina takes the time to explain what our top 5 lists say about us. This is a pretty amusing read and some of her ‘joke’ top 5 titles are pretty amusing. Though part of me really wants this list to be a thing: Top 5 characters who can’t use chopsticks and are afraid of squirrels. I’m not sure we’d find five of them, but seriously, someone make this list real.

Ideas Without End discusses Gankutsuou, a futuristic retelling of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve had this one on my watch list forever and still haven’t actually watched it, but after reading this post I’ve now added it to my queue on Crunchyroll and I fully intend to watch it relatively soon. Not so much a review, this post is more of a discussion around the nature of the adaptation and how other futuristic stories have borrowed ideas from times past. It i an interesting post and one that made me fairly interested in the anime.

Pick of the Week

Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews opens a discussion about why ‘we can’t have a big three anymore‘ looking at the fact that while the big 3 were a thing, that isn’t the way people produce or consume anime anymore. What I think I really liked about this post was it didn’t seem to be lamenting this, or mocking what was done in the past, it was merely reflective of the situation then and now and looking at how and why things changed. Great opening post for a discussion so if you missed it hop on over and check it out.

My Stuff

And that was my week, in case you missed it.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 6: From The Ocean to the Snow

Leaving the pirates and other Princes behind, we are now travelling through the snow. I’m glad the characters reminded us they were travelling to defeat Dream Eaters because I’d almost forgotten the main plot point from episode 1.

Dream6b.png

This anime has kind of meandered about and while each episode is still kind of okay to watch, I’ve more of less given up on the overall ‘plot’ given the show itself doesn’t seem interested in addressing it. This week we are introduced to three new princes in a frozen kingdom who are having some social issues (rather there seems to be some middle child syndrome going on). The oldest prince tells the Princess and her companions  that there are no dream eaters in the kingdom but then invites them to the castle anyway to given them information, before he offloads them onto the youngest prince to find the middle prince. No information given. It’s all just this happens and then this happens with little reason to care about anything going on as you kind of suspect it will all sort itself out anyway.

Dream6c

And even though the plot is wholly unsatisfying, the characters themselves remain bearable though not remarkable. The new princes introduced this week are perfectly fine even if their issues aren’t really particularly interesting, and overall I’m still kind of curious about Kihel’s past and the Princess and a few other points that the show just doesn’t seem to want to get to anytime soon.

So yes, watchable but there’s not a whole lot of point at this stage.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 18

My Hero Academia - Episode 56 - Kaminari

Part of me wonders this week if maybe Kapodaco and I are both just really cynical people given the team pulling together and happy endings aren’t really working for either one of us here. Then again, maybe we’ve just been spoilt by previous arcs in My Hero Academia and now we’re wanting more. Either way, this is what we thought of episode 18. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Bakugou

Kapodaco:

About two months ago, the first major trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate proudly proclaimed, “Everyone is Here!” My Hero Academia decided that sounded awesome, so they made everyone pass this latest test. In short, it didn’t have quite the impact the former announcement had.

I honestly think this is a missed opportunity. Why does everyone need to pass? Now I’m convinced that everyone will pass regardless. All the characters we’ve come to love (Iida) and loathe (Mineta) will all pass because plot armor, probably. There’s still one more test(?) to go, so maybe not everyone will pass, but I think it’s likelier than not.

Why not have everyone pass? I think it could go for good writing material. While not unique or new, those who don’t could use it as growing material. Let’s say Iida decided to sacrifice himself for the rest of the class. How would he react to being put behind? How would he deal with being on the sidelines while watching everyone else advance? Would he be okay with it knowing of his sacrifice, or would it eat at him inside? And what of those on the other side? Would they try and fight harder in Iida’s honor? Would they take advantage of his kindness and rub him the wrong way? The potential storylines are plentiful. Instead everyone wins and all is good and happy. It feels a little… childish, I think.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Pigeon attack

What’s done is done. Everyone has passed, as well as some important(?) characters shown before and during the first test. In terms of the episode’s content, there were some nice moments to them. Bakugo acknowledging Midoriya’s worth was a nice moment. Everyone beginning to get together and celebrating was nice. Mr. Naval Laser has a very rare humane scene. People do feel important here. As for the rest, it’s kind of like last episode, except the fight scene is shorter and the rest is baiting emotions by wiggling the possibility of not everyone passing. Speaking of that fight scene, there was too much “This is how it was done!” talking, like last episode. Filler dialogue. Ick.

I’d say this is better than last episode, but only barely. It’s still around the zip code of “Fine” and nothing more. With the potential of not everyone passing being used as a threat, only to have everyone pass anyway, it felt a little anticlimactic. But the small moments of character interaction were enough for me to remain interested even when what was happening onscreen was very… talkative. Bring on the rescue squads.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Celebrations

Karandi:

I’m with Kapodaco here in that everyone passing just doesn’t have much impact. While there was at least the possibility of failure being wiggled about in the previous episodes, by the midway point of this episode it was more or less a foregone conclusion that they weren’t going to let anyone from UA actually fail and then it was just a matter of waiting for it to happen. From a plot point of view it is a lost opportunity and worse, the execution has done little to elevate what is a pretty standard arc to anything particularly memorable.

However, this episode was better than last week. Kaminari, a character I usually don’t think much about, gets a fairly decent moment in this episode as does Aoyama (though there are some interesting implications from his behaviour that I hope get followed up on).

I’ll even give Uraraka and Sero some credit for that great plan to catch the others that they came up with more or less without Midoriya’s input. But like with other character moments that have come out of this test, this one builds on something we saw during the previous tournament where Uraraka refused Midoriya’s plan to come up with one on her own. While it is great for cohesion that we see this idea continue to play a role in her character development, when there is nothing else on offer it doesn’t feel like the most satisfying payoff from an episode.

My Hero Academia Episode 56

Then we have the brief but fairly important interaction between Midoriya and Bakugou. A moment of acknowledgement as well as a moment where Bakugou shows us once again he does think and put things together and coupling this scene with his previous moments when All Might essentially passed the torch, even if it hasn’t been explicitly said I think we can conclude that Bakugou has figured everything out. That said, did we need the flash back to Midoriya slipping up earlier when talking to Bakugou? Scenes like that make me feel like the writers don’t trust the audience at all and it really broke the flow of the moment. If they absolutely had to include a flash back it should have been sandwiched in at the start of the episode with all the other recap stuff to remind us this was a thing and then we could have just enjoyed the scene for what it was without intrusion.

Despite all of that, the episode was a slight improvement on last week and I am kind of interested in the rescue test because to be honest that seems like the more common work a hero should be doing. Helping people rather than beating them up.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Midoriya

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 19.

Summer 2018 Week 5

Week 5 has come to an end and I’ve had another a few drops from my watch list. Normally I’d be sad by such a short line up, but I actually kind of wanted a lighter season and it is giving me time to try some projects I’ve had in mind for awhile, such as my Yuri on Ice rewatch. Still, there is plenty to be enjoyed even as I tighten up the viewing list. Let me know what you thought of this week of the season in the comments below.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 5)

Dream5d

Perhaps the weakest episode so far for 100 Sleeping Princes. It was still perfectly watchable but I’m starting to feel like the main narrative has managed to get itself lost and that concerns me given we’re not even at the mid-season point. Hopefully next week helps to give this show some much needed direction.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 5)

Angolmois Episode 5 - life advice

The conflict continues and we get some interesting tactics this week. The animation isn’t going so well with a reliance on pans over still images, but the story remains compelling and they are slowly fleshing out these characters. For a historical anime I’m pretty invested in it at this point.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 2)

Attack on Titan - Season 3 Episode 3

I’ll admit it, I’m now excited about this season of Attack on Titan. The first three episodes feel like we’re moving forward, there’s been some great character moments, and it feels like we’re slowly getting the big picture filled in. While it might all horribly derail in a few episodes, this has been a solid and decent beginning to a new season.

Banana Fish (Episode 5 – Not Reviewed)

Banana5b

Ash is released from prison but amazingly enough doesn’t exactly have plans to keep out of trouble. He’s not even out of there an hour before he attempts to steal a gun and a car however Eiji ends up going with him. He hatches a revenge plan that probably sounds great in someone’s head but doesn’t exactly have a lot of practical value and goes about as well as expected. Still fairly compelling viewing.

Cells at Work (Episode 5)

Cells at work - Episode 5 - Macrophage

This anime continues to be both educational and amusing in the way it depicts the cells and the various responses of the body to invaders and other issues. While episodes 1 and 2 remain the highlight for me so far, I’m thoroughly enjoying watching this each week. I don’t think it has a huge amount of rewatch in it, but it is fun.

Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 5)

Holmes of Kyoto Episode 5

Forgettable, bland and uneventful are my buzz words for this show. I am going to subtract uneventful this week because at least we got back to the whole idea of the counterfeiter and it seems we are setting up a rival for Holmes (only 5 episodes in so no rush here). That said, everything about this show is still pretty bland.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 6)

DemonLord6d

Returning to a more fan-service filled affair, I wasn’t a big fan of this week’s episode. There’s still some potentially interesting character and plot points developing, but this episode was definitely appealing to an audience looking for something else from this show. I’m hoping for more balance next week between plot and fan-service.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 19 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo18eHere we go with another episode where characters talk and Aoi then decides that of course she needs to get involved. I have to wonder if anyone else is going to do anything or if the show itself has any real purpose other than to push Aoi into solving problems (usually through cooking – though the most recent trouble may not).

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 5)

Twilight5bOkay, they still haven’t addressed the whole kidnapped friend story line which is just kind of drifting in the middle of nowhere, but this series is definitely doing okay so far. I found myself really caught up in the story this week and I feel like the main character may have made some gains. Hoping this continues as this show has been fun but it felt like it was stepping up a bit.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 17)

Steins;Gate 0 - Okabe

Mayuri is finally actively participating in the narrative and it seems like this story really does like beating up poor Mayuri. Still, something needed to push Okabe into action or else we were going to have a pretty ho-hum ending and I guess these events will do that. This show seems to be gearing up for a big finish.

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 5)

Ragnarok5d

Generic and pretty ordinary, this story continues to go through the motions. It isn’t bad but neither is it something that is very interesting. While the battle strategy plays a big part in a lot of the conflicts, characters are pretty flat in terms of their personalities and visually it looks much like dozens of other titles. Watchable but nothing special so far.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 17)

Hero55e

And another week where I wonder if my love of My Hero Academia is going to fade a bit by the end of season 3. A slow beginning finally lead to All Might’s moment, but since then its all felt kind of flat and is not grabbing my interest much at all. Though, less than stellar arcs are normal in shounen anime, but I think  I have less patience for it these days.

Episode of the Week

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3
Attack on Titan Season 3 has made a solid start to its season and while I might have had concerns going in this is now one of the few shows I’m quite excited to wait for each week. Hopefully it keeps going strong.

Character of the Week

Phantom in the Twilight - Ton
Ton from Phantom in the Twilight. Up until now, I hadn’t much liked her as the protagonist and while there’s still rough edges, this week’s episode did a lot to help me appreciate her more as a character.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Inquiring Minds Want To Know #29 – What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves?

Okay, I’ve changed where I’m running the survey momentarily just to try a different service and see which one is more manageable. For now, if you want to ask me a question there’s a link in the sidebar or you go straight to the survey. The old link will still work and I’ll still check there for questions. I’m just trying something a bit different because some people were having trouble with the other survey.

Question: What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves? From anon.

Sword Art Online Episode 1

I’ve never made any attempt to hide the fact that I am an SAO fan. I’ve seriously been considering a rewatch and reviewing it episode by episode (much as I have started with Yuri on Ice, but for this one I didn’t have the blog or streaming services when it first came out). While I will happily admit to many flaws in Sword Art Online, and the increasingly diminishing returns of further arcs, the Aincrad Arc remains one of my very favourite narratives to watch.

Clear purpose, evolving characters (go on, tell me Kirito doesn’t develop as a character in this first arc, I can already hear the screams), fantastic action, skipping over the grinding and just cutting to the points that make a pivotal difference to either the characters or the quest… A real sense of danger as their actions and choices matter and one mistake could be their last… The soundtrack… Okay, fan-girling big time.

What I like most about the first arc of SAO is it is accessible. I have many friends who aren’t super into anime but they don’t mind games or action so Sword Art Online is an easy sell to get them to try an anime. I’ve only had one person out of perhaps ten who have watched it with me end up not enjoying it. Most of the others have not only binged watched the whole arc but have then asked me what other anime I would recommend.

Why does it get so much hate? Well apparently it is popular to hate on SAO. Apparently it gives you credit as a ‘real’ fan or someone who watches ‘real anime’. Again, I’m not going to proclaim it a perfect work of art and I’m pretty critical of every arc after the first myself. But statements like it is the ‘worst anime ever’, a ‘steaming pile of…’, or that Kirito is a ‘Gary Stu’ who never changes just make me wonder if the person watched the show in the first place or just someone else’s review of it and whether they’ve watched all that much anime.

It isn’t that I don’t think people should criticise Sword Art Online. I just wish the criticisms were grounded on actual observation rather than just going with the flow of hyperbole that anything connected to Sword Art Online must be some fanboy’s delusions of grandeur on crack. I do not understand how people can say Kirito doesn’t change. Watch episode 1 again. Skip forward to episode 10. Do you see the difference? If not, try again, and this time actually pay attention to his attitude to himself and others. That development occurs, incrementally over the first arc.

Admittedly, that’s where it plateaus and part of the trouble with Sword Art Online is the concept is really a one arc story. Everything that came after that is just forcing more problems on characters who’ve already had their drama play out and the characters aren’t really getting anywhere after that point nor is the sense of danger or excitement still present.

So yes, easy question to answer though I suspect I might get some more interesting comments than normal on this one.

That said, it isn’t though Sword Art Online is alone in being the flavour of the month to hate on. Diabolik Lovers finds itself targeted quite regularly, and I’ll be honest and admit I’ll happily tear that to pieces any day of the week. Fans of it probably aren’t thrilled by the negativity, though I think vampire sexual and emotional abuse is probably a little harder to justify than what might be classified a slightly bland power fantasy. Just my opinion.

Sword Art Online - Episode 4

Alright, over to you. Do you think Sword Art Online gets more criticism than it deserves? Is there another series that you feel is needlessly bashed around by critics just because it is cool to do so? Just remember, play nice.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6: A Flimsy Excuse For Flimsy Outfits

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6

I’m not surprised that this episode went the direction it did, but nor did I particularly enjoy parts of the episode. When a character is moaning and crying out (after being magically inspected) so loudly I feel the need to turn the sound down and I finish the episode wondering if there was even ten minutes of content, there’s probably something lacking (although it would have been hard to squeeze some story in amongst the outfit changes and bed sequences I guess).

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo and Shera

Episodes like this one are kind of expected when you watch something as clearly fan-service focused as this anime has been. Delaying their journey to deal with the elf situation in order to visit a slave market to investigate the removal of the collars is a fine excuse to stall the plot while we instead get some magical shenanigans that of course involve Shera once again wearing an incredibly revealing outfit and then writhing and moaning on a bed while Diablo investigates magical flows (and they still don’t get the collar off because that would kind of puncture the whole set up of the show I guess).

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Rem and Alicia

However, in case you think Rem is being ignored, there is actually some minor plot points being developed outside the tent where Alicia teachers Rem a ‘charm’ in a scene that suggests a number of possibilities but keeps fairly quiet as to which way they’ll ultimately take things. This was perhaps one of my favourite moments of the episode because it actually added to the characters and the plot and ultimately it felt meaningful. Also, if you actually want to see Rem writhing about on a bed, just wait until the end of the episode where Shera decides that she can treat Rem to the experience.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo

The other thing of note that happens this episode is Shera’s brother, Keera, shows up at the inn and plays the sweet brother who has been misunderstood. It was clearly a fairly lame act in the first place and about the only character buying it is Diablo (which plays nicely into his lack of social skills). Right before the credits we get a scene of the brother playing his flute while standing on the apex of a tree (because that’s normal) and he lets his crazy out. The scene kind of lacks impact because even without it we more or less knew that this was the case, and really they could have had the same dialogue shown while he was walking away from the room. It didn’t really need its own scene.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Shera

Basically if you are watching this show for the fan-service, this episode is a treat. If you are watching for the plot, there are a few pieces here and there that you will need for later so this episode isn’t skippable, but it won’t be the most enjoyable either.

Linked Reviews


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Friday’s Feature: Baiting the Hook

There’s been a lot already said about the proliferation of anime, seasonal watchers, and the general idea that there’s just too much content so I’m really not going to get into that. However, in that sea of content, creators know they have to get the attention of their very fickle audience and then they have to catch us and reel us in. Mostly because seasonal watchers tend to demonstrate a number of common traits: a short attention span and limited tolerance for ‘filler’.

While previously shows have had episodes to build a world and characters, now many viewers make snap judgements with some cutting episodes before the first scene is done. Where the three episode rule used to hold true, and current narratives seem to be well aware of such a rule with more and more shows either moving a mini-climax to episode two or making episode 3 a two-parter to draw their episode back (How Not To Summon A Demon Lord), less viewers seem to actually hold to this rule these days. To be honest, they just don’t want to sink an hour of their lives into something they are ultimately going to drop.

DemonLord3e

As such we are getting more and more first episodes and more and more characters with quite distinct traits designed to draw the audience in with the hope that then the rest of the story will hook the in for the season. While sometimes this works beautifully as the audience is dragged along on a wondrous adventure before being cut loose to go and bite some other line, other times it leaves the audience feeling like they got reeled in and left high and dry.

This isn’t exactly new. Entertainment has always been competitive and most shows have always realised they needed something to distinguish themselves from other titles. Yet in the age of streaming and simulcasts this has become more important than ever and it is starting to show in the way first arcs are feeling more and more compacted and rushed and mid-seasons are feeling a little bit empty before we escalate toward a climax.

Now, there are some obvious baiting moves. If we look at Darling in the Franxx, well we already know how they baited their hook, the glorious Zero-Two. She was such an energetic enigma of a character in the first episode. Throw in some nudity, a bit of danger, and a sense of her rebellious nature, and you have the perfect bait for a community to go crazy on social media. And so they did. I also really loved Zero-Two’s initial characterisation particularly the way they built up the idea of her being a partner killer. However, this was definitely a case of bait and switch as little came of the partner killer idea beyond the first arc and Zero-Two became a progressively less interesting character as the season continued.

Franxx14b

Clearly the writers knew how to grab the audience’s attention but then they didn’t know what to do with it. They’d created this perfectly researched, tantalising character, but had no message, point, or even solid arc for her to travel on. By the time she literally became a hollow shell before turning to stone while staring at the sky a lot of the love for Zero-Two had worn down and many viewers realised that they’d been hooked onto a show that ultimately didn’t suit them and what they wanted from an anime.

Other obvious baiting moves include the flash forward or flash back to some kind of massive conflict that may or may not become relevant later. The issue with this is it has been done to death and when done poorly, it mostly just eats up screen time with characters no one knows running around or shouting and there’s little reason to care what is going on (Lord of Vermilion – looking at you right now). However, this can be highly effective bait.

Vermilion1b

Look at the opening sequence to season one of Attack on Titan. The birds slowly flying over the city to the wall where we suddenly see the titan emerging. The close ups on the character’s eyes as they widen in fear and horror. This sequence is brief enough that it doesn’t feel like wasted time and yet sensational enough to have an impact. The audience wants to know. When is this going to happen? What happens next? And fortunately, Attack on Titan knew what to do after baiting the hook. It delivered the titan by the end of the episode. No waiting an entire season just to get back to the original bait. For all that Attack on Titan might be criticised for some of its narrative choices, it knew exactly how to capture an audience and that really explains why its popularity exploded the way it did, even if the longevity of that massive fan-base wasn’t so set in stone.

Titan-Wall.png

However, bait isn’t limited to first episodes. Supporting characters introduced later in their series need bait as well otherwise they get crowded out or forgotten. There are many shows where viewers would struggle to name any of the support characters even a month after the show finished its run. Yet a memorable support cast can really elevate a viewing experience.

That word memorable might be a bit of a double edge sword though with some shows simply giving characters insane designs or making them needlessly crazy but forgetting to actually characterise them in any meaningful way. The Musicians from Caligula would fit this bill. They were definitely visually distinct and yet their characters rang very hollow and ultimately I couldn’t tell you anything about any of them, except one of the guys had some complex about another guy being prettier than him. That isn’t exactly leaving an impression.

Caligula9a

My Hero Academia excels at building its support cast and baiting their individual story-lines so that when the main narrative turns its attention to one of these characters it doesn’t feel like filler but rather like a much anticipated story thread. Who didn’t want to know the story behind Todoroki’s scarred face? Who isn’t curious about Tokoyami’s dark shadow? And let’s be honest, if Twitter is anything to go by, Tsuyu is a character who has captured all the fan’s attention and the filler episode of season 2 was entirely a show about everyone’s beloved Froppy. These characters each have something about them that makes the audience want to know more and feel satisfied when they finally get it. They are talked about almost as much as the protagonist’s, and they are an intrinsic part of what makes the show feel like more than what the basic narrative of Midoriya becoming a hero really should warrant.

Hero25i

When a show does baiting right the audience feels satisfied and happy with the experience. When the baiting is just that and there’s no substance to back it up, then the audience feels cheated. When the baiting is poorly done the audience looks at the hook and then turns away looking for something better.

Of course, that does leave us all with the question of whether or not this is going to have a positive impact on how stories are told? While grabbing a reader’s attention has always been an important goal for a story, usually there was more time to do this. As we get increasingly more gimmicky, more violent, more zany and more over the top premises clamouring for our attention (and longer and longer titles on light novels) you have to wonder where it is all going and whether we’ve already gone too far. Has narrative integrity been abandoned for a series of point in time sensational moments that will be shared on social media?

The more cynical would say yes, but that is ignoring some fairly fantastic stories that have come out in recent times. However, there is definitely a shift occurring in the way stories are presented and as always it is the audience driving this shift, whether we’re doing it intentionally or not.

Over to the readers then: What is the worst bait an anime has used to hook its audience?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 17: Choices and Consequences

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 17 - Mayuri

Okabe may have made his choice but he can’t speak for all of the other lab members and this week it is their choices that will dictate the path the future will take. I guess the question we’re left with is whether there was ever a ‘right’ choice or whether all there ever is are different consequences to be experienced.

Steins;Gate 0 - Episode 17 - Suzuha, Maho and Mayuri

Under normal circumstances it is impossible to second guess yourself. Should you have turned left or right? Would things have been better if you’d chosen B instead of A? While we might speculate we can’t know. Steins;Gate has always had the interesting benefit of being able to not just speculated but to experience the consequences of making a different choice or pointing things in a slightly different direction. Unfortunately, it is never as simple as option A being better than option B given there are some definite down sides to every choice available.

Steins;Gate Episode 17 Mayuri

Last week Okabe made it clear he was standing by the decision made by himself and Kurisu; the decision that kept Mayuri alive. What he didn’t factor in, mostly because he hasn’t been paying attention to her, is that Mayuri doesn’t want to just exist. It doesn’t matter to her if she goes on living if Okabe is the walking shell he’s been for the past 17 episodes. She’d rather face the possibility of death than continue in her current reality. It’s an interesting choice and one that would probably have had more impact if Mayuri had been given a bit more focus in this series, but it does mean that Okabe has to face the reality that his choice wasn’t final and it isn’t the end.

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 17 - Mayuri

The fact that Suzuha and Mayuri’s journey is hijacked before it even begins when the guys with guns show up and the show ends on yet another cliff-hanger, is almost inconsequential. Just by making a choice these two have already changed the direction things were heading and forced Okabe into action whether he wants it or not. He can no longer pretend things are fine and that this is the final destination of his journey.

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 17 - Okabe

That said, killing Mayuri again would be a pretty cheap emotional ploy at this particular point in time… Cliff-hanger endings.

Linked Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Phantom in the Twilight Episode 5: Love or Life?

Phantom in the Twilight Episode 5

Alright, I might have to stop making fun of Ton given this episode she actually really stepped up to the plate as the protagonist in this story, and all in all this episode of Phantom in the Twilight was pretty well done.

Phantom in the Twilight - Ton

So the plot involving Ton’s kidnapped friend gets about two minutes of screen time in a kind of mini-story about them inhabiting a haunted house and then we are whisked back to the cafe where Ton is playing dress-up as the manager. Almost as soon as she’s extracted compliments (and kind of insults) from the others they get their first ‘customer’, a Sidhe named Lydia who wants them to find her a man.

Twilight5d

For various silly reasons and I guess because she’s impulsive, Ton agrees to the request and it seemed from that point on the story would become pretty ordinary and predictable with a dose of awful thrown in. And yet, Phantom in the Twilight rises to the occasion. It is predictable what the outcome is going to be because the entire story is framed as a tragedy, and yet this episode feels like it is continuously pushing forward, we’re seeing Ton acting and using self-determination rather than being dragged by the plot, and ultimately she both makes a decision and then reflects on it making this the first moment really where I’ve seen Ton as a protagonist I might kind of come to like.

Twilight5e

We end the episode however with a new arrival in London, Van Helsing. Guess what he’s getting up to next week. Still, so far this series had been a bit of fun, but this episode really kind of felt like it was drawing me more into this world and these characters. I’m kind of hoping it continues along this path because I had a great time this week.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Kieli Volume 1 Novel Review: Finding A Place To Be You Is Always Hard

Kieli is a lonely girl with only a ghost roommate for company until the day she meets Harvey, an undying soldier who is being pursued by the church. These two unlikely companions will travel together and may just find what they are looking for in one another.

Review:

I have to admit, there was something interesting about reading Kieli even if I’m not thrilled enough to go looking for a second book. For me, this story was great to read and I loved watching Kieli and Harvey interacting with the commentary of the ‘corporal’, a ghost who lived inside a radio they carried. But I’m also kind of feeling that for me this was enough of that story. Certainly there are wider implications and more that can go on in the world, but I liked where this story chose to finish and felt a sense of completion from it. So I am going to recommend reading this book even while I decline to read any further in the series at the moment (I may eventually change my mind).

There’s a lot of fairly familiar antics going on in Kieli with the orphan girl who is a bit different getting picked on by others in the school and being the target of mistaken charity from others. Even her interactions with Becca, the ghost roommate, are all pretty much what you would expect. However, the familiar set-up is taking place in a world that is fresh and new even while it reflects a lot of what we’ve seen before.

kieli1b.jpg

Set on a world colonised long ago and all but out of resources after a devastating war, there’s a sense that everything here is coming to an end and the people are just going through the motions of living because there’s nothing better to do. From a technological point of view there’s a strange mix between old and new as there are weapons and machines left over from by-gone eras that are pretty fantastic, and then there are things more reminiscent of more of the 19th Century. The mix works well to create a world that feels fresh even while a lot of what it presents has been done before.

Where it really missed a chance to distinguish itself was in the main antagonist of the novel, the controlling church and the bureaucracy beneath it. While religious organisations and dictatorship governments are pretty easy targets for dystopian settings, it felt like Kieli could have really tried something different if it wanted to given the nature of the setting and the history, and yet it does make perfect sense that the people did fall back to a theocracy of sorts.

Despite the intriguing setting, this is very much a story about Kieli and Harvey and while they are both products of the world they live in, they are first and foremost people who have been deeply hurt and for various reasons have cut themselves off from others. Despite Harvey’s secrets and the fact that they both see ghosts, they are both characters that it is easy to emphasise with and that is one of the greatest strengths of the story.

Some decent action sequences, including a train escape, and some supernatural goings on with the ghosts all make for a fairly interesting plot while we watch the two characters slowly come out of their self-imposed shells.

As I said, I really enjoyed reading this book and found it quite interesting, but for me the end point it enough. It’s like getting to the end of a movie and the characters get their happily ever after and then you realise there’s a sequel where they just kind of mess everything up for the characters again. I’m happy where this ended and where the characters are so for now I’ll leave Kieli and Harvey alone but if you are looking for something a bit interesting to read, than Kieli might just be what you are looking for.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com