The Silver Guardian Series Review

Overview:

The synopsis on Crunchyroll tells me this is the story of Suigin saving Riku Rei. It kind of starts that way from about episode 2 to episode 4 or 5. After that I’m not so sure even the writers knew what this show was actually about. I reviewed this show weekly so if you are interested in my episode thoughts click here.

Review:

While I will admit this show is not as toxic as something along the lines of Hand Shakers, it must be said that this is probably my second biggest regret for the year that I didn’t just drop it at episode 1. Part of me kept hoping this would turn into something like Spiritpact and build on its strengths recovering from a poor first episode, and while the first half of the series certainly showed promise, the second half just kind of gave up caring.

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But rather than just hit out with poor comparisons and the like, I should probably review the show itself. The problem is, I don’t have much to say because everything is still kind of in introductory mode even though we’re 12 episodes in. A season 2 is apparently on the cards (why I do not know) but it isn’t until next year and by them I’m pretty sure nobody is going to remember this even came out.

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Keeping it simple then, let’s look at characters. Suigin is the main character and he is generic, nice protagonist model C with a side dish of poor student / obsessed gamer just in case we didn’t think he had any distinguishing traits. Oh, and he wears a red scarf. This seems significant in episode 1 and in the opening but never after that.

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Riku Rei starts out looking like she might be a character. The opening narration is done by her in episode 1. She’s the kidnap victim that sends Suigin racing around trying to save her (for about half an episode before we just get into random game play situations). Her father developed the game that she’s apparently trapped in after his murder. It kind of seems like she should have some personality but nope.

Everyone else is pretty much forgettable including the one note villains who don’t have anywhere near enough presence to be considered memorable or interesting.

The story itself is simple enough but for some reason the show doesn’t want to focus on the story. Suigin, go save Riku Rei. This isn’t that hard a concept to get. Why are you raiding that tomb? Why are you out of the game at all given she’s inside it? Why haven’t you actually finished the tutorial yet? Oh, and why are we watching some random players randomly playing? How do they relate? The second half of this show is maddeningly frustrating in how it wants to stretch out its wafer-thin plot as far as it possibly can even if that means smashing the wafer to pieces and scattering the dust from here until wherever the end of the series actually is.

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Visually, it works. The music is pretty cool at times. individual fights are kind of interesting. But as a whole this is one to skip. Short episodes or not (13 minutes), we all have better things to do than wait for this show to find its own plot.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 12

Review:

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

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

Still, watch Gran win another fight? Okay.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Hunter X Hunter Episodes 43 + 44

Review Episode 43:

Well the auction wrapped up fast. Kind of amazed at how quick Baise died given they had bothered to introduce her but at this point I guess that’s pretty standard given how many of the extras died during the entrance exam. This show doesn’t seem overly concerned with its body count nor does anyone waste any time caring about the number of dead bodies as everyone goes straight into fight mode.

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We do get a quick discussion from the geniuses over at Phantom Troupe about whether there is a traitor amongst them and then that idea gets quickly hut down and the big guy pretty much tears through the mafia and kills them all. While there was a high body count and quite a bit of action this episode it wasn’t exactly compelling so kind of hoping for a bit more from the next episode.

Review Episode 44:

This got a bit more interesting. I’m thinking the real issue with episode 43 was that none of the characters we actually care about were doing much. To be honest, Kurapika still doesn’t do much this episode and yet still manages to be very scary for a short, blonde guy. Really, really shouldn’t let him see spiders.

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Anyway, it seems like things are about to get worse for the bodyguards and I’m not really sure what Kurapika’s plan is going forward, but I guess I will found out on the next episode.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 9

Review:

While there is nothing wrong with a show foreshadowing its plot (I would argue its fairly necessary if you want any kind of cohesion), when an entire episode seems to serve no other purpose but setting up a single event and it does it in a heavy handed and fairly bland manner you have to wonder how the writers thought they were providing entertainment as well as setting up a plot point.

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From the very start of this episode we get that there is a heavy Gran and Lyria focus. She’s having nightmares and he’s comforting her with the usual certainty that comes from unimaginative anime protagonists. There’s some other stuff on the beach and Lyria’s hearing a faint voice that Gran can’t hear. Later the group get split up to do odd jobs for an old friend of Rackham’s and Lyria and Gran get sent together to do odd jobs. They have a great time shopping but you just have to wonder why we don’t get to see Io healing those who got wounded fighting monsters or Katalina training soldiers. Both plot points seem more interesting than Gran and Lyria sightseeing but this episode isn’t particularly interested in the story going on with the war or anything else. All this episode is interested in is setting up the dramatic finish which of course is supposed to be shocking but given there was no other way for the episode to end was kind of eye-roll worthy.

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Anyway, if there was any doubt where this story was going, just listen to the conversation when Gran buys the hair clip for Lyria and you just know there are no other options. She’s about to get kidnapped. It was pretty clear earlier that’s where we were going but that conversation just keeps hammering that point over and over and over again like no one has ever seen this development in a story before.

The only thing I’m left wondering about is if we’ll finally get to address the point of how far and how long Lyria and Gran can be separated with the whole soul sharing thing.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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The Silver Guardian Episode 9

Review:

It’s always a bad sign for a series when I’m googling the episode count by the end of the episode. Basically I’m wondering whether this is close enough to done that I should just see it through or whether I should let it go. The concept was always interesting enough and earlier episodes (not episode 1) kind of felt like they were moving forward. However, the last two episodes have just kind of felt like we’re traipsing through the worst clichés of the stuck in the video game/chosen hero genres and they aren’t being done particularly well.

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Seriously, who is buying this?

In all seriousness, this episode is entirely pointless. The bad guys we met previously are now robbing random players, Suigin is researching Grave Buster (which seems to have a fairly complex history considering it was meant to be a new launch game), and for some reason the bad guy who is holding Riku Rei calls to introduce himself. That last part is still baffling me as to why.

The Silver Guardian is available on Crunchyroll.


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Hunter x Hunter Episodes 41 + 42

Review Episode 41:

Well, this was a lot of set up. Gon and Killua are trying to earn money but kind of don’t have the business sense to succeed at this point. Their efforts are cute but fairly futile.

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Meanwhile, it looks like the underground auction is going to get interesting, only not in the way anyone wants it to be interesting, except maybe Kurapika who seems pretty thrilled by the current turn of events. But again, not a lot actually happens in this episode as we just seem to be moving characters into position. Looking forward to what happens next.

Review Episode 42:

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Just in case we didn’t already have enough players running around the town, now Killua’s brother is heading there as well. Though, it is probably a good thing Killua and Gon have joined up with Leorio. He may not be much use but he has slightly better business sense than they do. Admittedly, I’m with Killua in worrying that the strategy is going to take too long unless they change things up. Again, this episode is more set up than action and still the characters are getting into position and waiting for things to get going. They are really dragging this set up out so hopefully it is worth it when we get there.


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Rokka- Braves of the Six Flowers Series Review

Overview:

Legend says, when the Evil God awakens from the deepest of darkness, the god of fate will summon Six Braves and grant them with the power to save the world. Adlet, who claims to be the strongest on the face of this earth, is chosen as one of the “Brave Six Flowers,” and sets out on a battle to prevent the resurrection of the Evil God. However, it turns out that there are Seven Braves who gathered at the promised land.

From Crunchyroll

Review:

I copied and pasted the overview this time because essentially this is supposed to be a mystery and given the series ends at an episode titled “The Time To Reveal The Answer” kind of means that if you have already been tipped off as to who the seventh is there isn’t a lot of point in watching. Mostly because even though the established premise of this series is that the braves have to go and fight the demon god, the series ends with them going to fight the demon god. Way to shoot your storyline in the foot.

So we end up with something that kind of feels like a prequel series to the story of how the braves defeat the demon god, and admittedly, it is interesting enough. As the characters point out about episode 4 or 5, it is a locked room mystery that needs to be solved. We’ve got a limited cast in a confined area and while there is no murder yet, all of them believe it is only a matter of time before the seventh tries to kill them so why not kill the seventh first.

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This is pretty much my biggest issue with this series. It ignores the grander plot of the world to focus on one step of a journey these characters are on (which would be fine if this were the first installment in an ongoing saga but as far as I am aware there’s been no announcement of a continuation of the anime) and the characters fall back on the silliest of all assumptions. They assume suspecting each other and trying to find the culprit is actually the best option when all it does is nearly lead to them taking each other out (which is more likely the plan in the first place). If they’d actually just looked for a way to deactivate the seal from the start and decided to not worry about whether someone was a fake or not, the fake would have had to act (giving themselves away) or would have simply failed.

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Having got that gripe out of the way, I really enjoyed watching this. Adlet is a really fun protagonist. Yeah, he boasts a bit and at times plays the fool, but he’s a lot of fun to watch in combat, to travel with, to see the other characters from his perspective, and he doesn’t have amazing plot armour saving him from harm though he does rely heavily on luck, a fact even he acknowledges toward the end. There are a few inconsistencies in how injured he is at times where it looks like one minute he can’t move, then he’s standing, and then he’s collapsed again, but this is a minor nit-pick.

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Actually, the four of the seven braves we meet are really fun characters (even if they aren’t entirely likeable). Unfortunately that leave three that mostly just fill a particular plot point or role and don’t really endear themselves as actual characters. This is kind of a problem for the simple reason that it really limits the number of suspects the audience actually has when putting the mystery together. There’s really only two probabilities from a fairly early point in the series and by episode 8 it should become reasonably obvious which on is the culprit and which one is the red-herring. They did try a small twist at the end by making you believe the red-herring was the culprit but that didn’t last particularly long before attention turned to the one who was the obvious suspect. I’m going to leave that line of speculation there because anything further just spoils viewing for others.

I wasn’t a fan of the theme song for this series. It isn’t bad by any means but it is just kind of there and the visuals are kind of ordinary. Considering the tone of the show and the over-the-top nature of some of the characters it would have been great for the opening to really get you ready for the show but mostly it was just kind of there and then we began.

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Visually this show is interesting. The fight sequences were fun to watch. Right from episode one where Adlet interrupts a sacred tournament, I enjoyed watching the combat in this show. Each character has a truly unique style and weapons and they tend to use tactics more than brute strength (though there is definitely an aspect of brute strength in a few of the fights). I liked the designs of the temples and cities with its very central/south american feel even as none of the character designs or weapons matched that particular setting. What it ends up feeling like is something wholly unique and it works even if it isn’t particularly logical at times.

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Really, this was fun to watch. I started it because I had a long weekend and wanted just to declutter my mind and ended up not really being able to stop watching. I did stop at episode 8 the first day and finished the remaining four episodes the next morning, but otherwise did this almost without pauses. I knew going in that the overall plot line wasn’t going to finish so that was less annoying than it might have been and the mystery was wrapped up neatly even though they then threw some sequel bait at us. Basically, if you haven’t given this one ago and you’ve got some free time, it will probably be an enjoyable few hours of viewing.

What are your thoughts on Rokka?


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 8

Review:

And we are on our way to find the island of the Astrals and to reunite Gran with his father and maybe we’ll even find out what the deal with Lyria is.

No. No we are not. Instead we are taking another fetch quest from the shopkeeper while she ‘gathers supplies’ and the crew are exploring some ruins in a forest.  There isn’t a single thing wrong with this as an episode but it contributes nothing to the overall plot and we learn nothing new about the characters. As a younger viewer I’d have happily sat through this episode and thought it was great fun but now I’m just left wondering what the point was. If they were attempting to introduce new characters it hasn’t succeeded as we really didn’t learn anything about the other two treasure hunters other than their choice of weapon and fighting style. So yeah, it works as an episode but I could have happily not watched this one this week.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 7

Review:

Rackam has definitely become my favourite character in this show (mostly due to a lack of competition but also because he kind of says what is on my mind in most scenes). Originally, I quite enjoyed Katalina as a character but since episode 3 she’s really just become background noise and hasn’t done much of anything.

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This episode they find the Archduke and then they fight a giant robot thing before they all have a heart to heart, cry and make up. Okay, there’s probably a bit more to it than that and they do get another piece of the skymap, but mostly this show remains pretty flat and ordinary. There’s nothing specifically wrong with anything that happens other than it is just not that interesting.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Hunter x Hunter Episodes 37 + 38

Review Episode 37:

What’s in the box?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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So after Killua and Gon have some fun on the island, and Mito terrifies Gon with her treatment of his licence, things get serious and we finally find out how Gon ended up on the island with Mito. We learn very little about Gon’s father other than his name and that he left a box for Gon. Let’s be honest though, it is a good think Killua is around or else Gon would still be staring at the thing. Going on to the next episode to hear the rest of the tape.

Review Episode 38:

Okay, Gon’s father is a jerk. Honest, at least, but a jerk.

Still, you have to appreciate how thoroughly he’s hidden his tracks. If he wasn’t hiding them from his son it would be kind of cute.

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So Gon and Killua have had nearly two episodes of having to use extended brain power and I think the strain may well be near to killing them. So cute watching them try to figure things out. Again, Gon on his own would have been completely stuck so it’s probably a good thing the two are continuing to act together, though I somehow doubt involving Killua’s brother is a good idea.


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