Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Characters With Gorgeous Long Hair

While I try not to write too many posts about the physical characteristics of characters, this was a list I’ve wanted to write for awhile. Long hair on guys is just kind of amazing (or at least I think so). And when it billows in the wind and invites you to run your fingers through it, there’s just something really magical about that. Here are my top 5 characters with gorgeous long hair who I would absolutely love to spend some time with. Yes, this list is entirely my own personal preference and uses no criteria worth mentioning.

And then for patrons, be sure to check out my lesser top 5 list. This week focussing on male characters who have long hair but still don’t really impress and I’d rather not get too near.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below (particularly number 4).

Honourable mentions this week go to: Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) and Malachite (Sailor Moon).

Number 5: Kanda (D Gray Man)

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I’ll admit there is very little chance of Kanda actually letting me touch his hair even if he wasn’t an anime character and if I happened to meet him, but that doesn’t stop me very much wanting too. That glossy shine, the way it moves when he fights, his hair is amazing and completely sold this character even early on in D Gray Man when he was a bit of a jerk (okay, he’s regularly a jerk but he kind of grows on you).

Number 4: Weismann (K Project)

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This one is an odd choice I’ll admit given we barely get to meet this character in his actual body (which would be the long haired version). A few flashbacks are really all we get and the next time we meet this character with memories he’s in Yashiro’s undeniably short haired (not too short) body. Still, you have to admit his hair is just kind of inviting you to touch it.

Number 3: Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss)

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Another character who doesn’t usually have long hair but the few times he does, it is unbelievably gorgeous. It almost makes you wish for more flashback episodes just so you could see more of Tomoe with this hair. Plus the ears kind of work. Then again, he was pretty violent then so maybe we should just stick to present day Tomoe.

Number 2: Shichika Yasuri (Katanagatari)

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He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but Shichika is honest, earnest, and deadly. Combine that with some odd but strangely compelling fashion sense and a great hairstyle (albeit one that cannot really exist outside of an anime) and you have a character that is going to fascinate from minute one.

Number 1: Zangetsu (Bleach)

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I know, so many characters in Bleach with long hair, and so many anime characters, so why choose Zangetsu? Because his hair matches the torn and scrappy edges of his outfit, because its almost always windy when we see him, because of all the characters on the list his would be the closest to a hairstyle you might be able to encounter in the real world… Mostly just because I really love his hair.

Okay, and a total cheat bonus addition to the list. Victor from Yuri On Ice (from when his hair was actually long).

So that is my list this week. Which anime male with long hair would you have had on your list? Or female if you prefer.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Characters from 2016

Last week I looked at the female characters from 2016 that left an impression. This week I turn my attention to the guys. I’m going to be honest; this was a much harder list to write. The reason being that female characters still tend to play a lot of support roles and still tend to have very generic personalities (with some exceptions). There are more leading male characters and more personality types (though still some basic archetypes) out there to choose from.

So how did I choose my top 5 male characters? Pretty much they played a significant role in their anime, were entertaining to watch, and, for whatever reason, memorable. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to: Natsume (Natsume Yuujinchou Go), Mikleo (Tales of Zestiria the X), and weirdly to Matsumi Asuma (Kiss Him, Not Me).

Number 5: Dazai (Bungo Stray Dogs Season 2)

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There were times in season 1 when Dazai drove me absolutely crazy. He was hilarious and intriguing for the first 2 episodes and then his character went into one note comedy mode for most the rest of the season. Season 2 Dazai became a much more interesting character. First we spent four episodes getting his back story and then even after that while we still had the odd goofy moment and suicide joke, Dazai kind of left the playful facade behind and started actually being a character. It made him far more intriguing and made me far more interested in him. Is Dazai the best character? Not really, but I certainly remember him.

Number 4: Karma Akabane (Assassination Classroom Season 2)

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Okay, this one should come as no surprise given he topped out my list of favourite red haired male characters last year. I find Karma fantastic value as a character. Why isn’t he higher up my list? Because season 1 of Assassination Classroom did not air in 2016 and looking at Karma’s contributions to season 2, I just couldn’t justify it. His character decidely takes a back seat with the exception of the conflict between him and Nagisa and even that plays out relatively quickly. He is still one scary teenager and what I like is that he isn’t just a hoodlum, he is smart, manipulative and motivated.

Number 3: Yuuri Katsuki (Yuri on Ice)

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It would have surprised me more if I hadn’t added a character from Yuri on Ice and it had to be Yuri himself. The character transformation he underwent and how natural it felt was one of the highlights of the whole year for me. I liked that this wasn’t a show about someone who was bad at skating getting suddenly amazing. Yuri was always good but lacked confidence. This story really just focussed on him overcoming himself rather than a skills deficit and it was a much stronger character story because of it.

Number 2: Obi (Snow White with the Red Hair)

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Obi was always my favourite character from Show White with the Red Hair and season 2 we got more Obi. When Shirayuki leaves the kingdom to visit Prince Raj it is Obi who goes with her as a bodyguard so when she get’s kidnapped, Obi kind of loses it in the best possible way. It’s probably the first time we ever see Obi anything less than laid back and completely in control and that he then spends the rest of the season working to save her and then in ensuring that Zen and Shirayuki are going to get their happily ever after (despite the fact it’s pretty clear he’d really like Shirayuki to look at him) just makes Obi an even better character. He’s still stealing every scene he shows up in and I would love more of this character. Note to self: Do not get on Obi’s bad side.

Number 1: Allen Walker (D Gray Man Hallow)

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Okay, I know a lot of this placement is due my overall love of this franchise but Hallow did an amazing job of progressing Allen’s story as the fourteenth is slowly but surely taking over. Allen has come along way from the naive want to be exorcist we met back in episode 1 of D Gray Man and is now a very competent exorcist however he is continuously doubted and mistreated by the Order and ultimately is forced to make the decision to leave (which gave us an incredibly heartbreaking farewell between Allen and Lenalee). Allen is a character I always want more of because he is incredibly interesting and I would love for him to eventually find out everything and be able to make his own informed choices about his life. Seems unlikely and far more likely he will continue to flounder along, but he does keep moving. Not even certain death keeps him out of the action.

That’s my list so now its time to share yours. Who were your favourite male characters in 2016?

Friday’s Feature: Consistently Inconsistent – Or Why I Would Struggle to Recommend Bungo Stray Dogs

I know I covered a lot of my issues with Bungo back when season 1 finished airing. In case you missed it here’s a link to my review of the season. One of my biggest complaints then was the inconsistency of the series. So now that season 2 is done, has the issue been resolved? (I will actually write a review of the show at some point rather than nit-pick at individual points.)

I’d really have to say no. The one thing I can rely on from Bungo Stray Dogs is not knowing from week to week what I’m going to get. More importantly, not knowing from minute to minute within the episode. Is this threat going to be serious or not? Are they actually going to develop that plot thread or is this just another throw away idea that will come and go in the blink of an eye?

Sometimes I really feel that Bungo would benefit from an absolute do-over. There are so many good ideas in the show and there are some really interesting moments that are well delivered and well thought out. Then there’s everything else in the show.

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From season 1 to season 2 there have been some changes. Spending the first four episodes of season 2 in flashback (giving that arc at least a bit of consistency and a more serious tone) was a bold choice. The end of season 1 left us waiting for the next move in the three way war and instead we got back story on a character and more information about the Port Mafia and the show benefited overall from both of these things. It made Dazai a little more human and a lot less of a comic relief character and it allowed us to see the Mafia as an actual player in the battle to come rather than the throw away third wheel.

But this wasn’t enough to really say that this show found its tone. While the episodes following the flash back did tone down the comedy aspects that consistently plagued season 1, the comedy is still there (and rightly so given its an established part of the show). The issue is that they still aren’t really finding the right timing or placement of some of these ‘humorous’ moments and a lot of them still aren’t hitting their marks.

Okay, there are worse things for a show to be than inconsistent in tone but inconsistencies are a major problem. When a show doesn’t have consistent tone or pacing they risk alienating everyone. A lot of people will put up with bad or mediocre but when we’re not sure what is coming and we go from soaring heights to crashing to rock bottom in the space of half an episode it makes you start to resent the show.

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That said, this problem isn’t exclusive to Bungo Stray Dogs though it’s probably been the one anime I’ve kept watching this year where inconsistency has been a problem. Prior to Bungo the anime I’d have pointed to with this as a central issue would be Samurai Flamenco. I never had any clue whether that show was supposed to be serious or not and whether it was supposed to be funny or not and the way it threw us around made me wonder sometimes if the writers actually knew what they were aiming for from scene to scene (and I know I just annoyed every fan of Flamenco but wow that tone shifts around a lot).

Addressing the other side of the coin though, some anime are deliberately all over the shop  when it comes to tone and it works for them. D Gray Man, which is admittedly one of my all time favourite anime if not my favourite, is horrendously inconsistent when you consider the sharp shifts from comedy to character driven drama to shonen action and then to the darkest and nastiest things your could do to characters. And yet in D Gray Man the tonal shifts are actually a strength rather than a detriment in the long run (at least for me). While occasionally the comedic moments are jarring, they are placed strategically to either energize a section where the pace has slowed down for exposition or at a moment when things have been too dark and tense for too long and they are trying to bring us back into the flow of the story.

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What the comedic moments never do in the original series is step on an important piece of character development or a truly dramatic moment. While Allen and Kanda will shout and yell at each other in the cafeteria or prior to a normal battle, when faced with a truly dangerous foe the characters don’t waste time with quips or other silliness. They respond to the situation they are in and that makes them feel more real. In the everyday (and facing the normal enemy that they are well used to fighting) they are more relaxed then in other situations.

The other reason it works is because ultimately the central narrative continues to drive forward. We are always moving toward stopping the Earl. It doesn’t matter what side missions they get sent on or what intrigue happens or how dark or light the tone of the show it because we are still moving toward something that was established early on. Basically the story has purpose and all the jumping around in tone just makes 103 episodes of this show actually interesting because the characters go through a lot of different things and you are going along for a ride with them. If they hadn’t had the variations in tone we might have been buried under an avalanche of depression about twenty episodes in.

Bungo lacks this drive toward anything because from episode 1 we know nothing. We don’t know what any of the characters ultimately want and we don’t have a central conflict or villain to deal with. Everytime we think we’ve met something that could be a that villain or goal, it is quickly revealed to be just another distraction in an already cloudy narrative. And that may actually be the main reason Bungo struggles to find its feet. While there may be an overall purpose, the audience aren’t in on that secret and so very little of anything it is presenting has any weight. At the end of season one we meet the Guild but are they really all that much of a threat? And will defeating the Guild mean everything is fine? None of this has been established and other than the fact that the leader of the Guild seems crazily destructive for the sake of it, if the Guild actually won this three-way battle would it matter?

What are your thoughts on inconsistent tone in anime? Does it bother you?

D Gray Man Hallow Series Review

 

Overview:

A continuation/reboot of the D Gray Man series; we follow as the Order take on the Noah in a fight to determine the fate of the world. However, inside the Order there are secrets and plans that the exorcists know nothing about and Allen Walker is going to get caught up in the middle.

I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here.

Review:

By the way, it should go without saying, but this post will have spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the original D Gray Man so if you intend to watch and want to be surprised, skip now.

There are two ways this review could go. I can be totally detached and just objectively list the merits and problems with this show or I can go into complete fan-girl mode and just gush about how great it is to see all of these characters again after an 8 year gap. Yep, 8 years left on a cliff hanger as the headquarters of the Order were destroyed and Lenalee’s weapon transformed into the blood crystal thing and that’s where we left it.

Normally shows that don’t end and those that don’t end and leave us on a cliff hanger, go into my list of been there, done that, don’t watch again. D Gray Man was different. I loved it more than Bleach and Soul Eater. It even blew away any nostalgia for Sailor Moon while I was watching the original. It was my absolute favourite anime ever (and that was saying something). There was just something about the cast of characters and the weird mix of really over the top emotional drama followed by incredibly clunky comedy that appealed in a way that other shows couldn’t. Individual events in the show were incredibly moving and some of the things the characters went through were heart-breaking and yet the show itself (while intensely dark at times) always held that small little glimmer of hope.

But this is not a review of the original series. I’m saving that for a long way down the track when I kind of feel I’ve figured out exactly what I want to write in a review.

From a fan-girl point of view, this story continuing was the most amazing thing ever. I tried really hard to downplay how excited I was because after 8 years I knew things were going to be different and there was a good chance it wouldn’t be any good. There was also the issue that only 13 episodes had been announced and 13 episodes just didn’t seem long enough to do anything given how long it took us to get to where we were last time.

So let’s take the fan-girl and nostalgia lens off and let’s just look at the 13 episodes we were given by Hallow.

Right, first point: If you haven’t watched the original series, this continuation/reboot gives you about five minutes of character introductions during a fight sequence that makes little sense from a narrative point of view and that is supposed to be your catch up on who the main cast are and how they fight. Bad Hallow. This fight didn’t please fans of the series much because the attacks being used are excessive for the forces they are facing and we don’t have any real idea why they are facing these guys or why all of the main cast are together given how rarely that happens in the show because they keep sending little sub-groups off in all directions. For people who weren’t familiar with the show, this was a confused mess of an introduction and didn’t really endear anyone new to the series.

Second point: Allen and Kanda are the standout characters in Hallow. Krory and Lavi are at best bystanders. Thinking about it from the point of view of someone who has no knowledge of the show, it’s possible you entirely missed that these two were actually main characters. Seems like most of the rest of the cast have forgotten that Lavi is a main character too given no one seems to be caring that he’s been kidnapped by the Noah. Seriously? Sorry, Lavi is one of my favourite characters and his treatment in Hallow is a little criminal (not that I don’t want him to be kidnapped, but it would be nice if this had some narrative impact or affected his so-called friends a little bit).

That said, Kanda is finally given a backstory and it is completely heart-wrenching. You kind of knew that his past would be horrible (given all of the other character story’s) but the way his particular tragedy is played out and the implications for the moral compass of the entire Order is truly the take-a-way moment from Hallow. Even if everything else had sucked, Kanda and Alma’s story would have been worth watching.

Allen’s story is equally emotional but a lot of it requires prior knowledge of Allen and you need to actually care about the overall conflict. That, and Allen’s story is not touchingly brought to a close during Hallow, in fact we are left right in the middle of it with all of the characters focussed on Allen and wondering what will happen next, which doesn’t really help the audience get any closure.

Lenalee fares better than Lavi and Krory but she doesn’t get much chance to show off the fact that she actually can be a pretty good fighter. Then again, that was always a persistent problem with Lenalee. Long gaps in-between action where she would serve the other characters cups of tea. In that respect, Hallow kind of just keeps her being Lenalee.

The Noah are fairly present during the 13 episodes but it doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten any closer to any of them. Road is still awesome but she barely appears. While as individual characters the Noah aren’t really developing, as an overall threat they do make their presence felt. However, they are more of a natural disaster kind of threat than individuals and it kind of feels like the show would like us to notice they have individual emotions and motives but it doesn’t give us enough time to really care about them.

So the characters are a bit of a mixed bag in Hallow. Then again, if I were to take 13 episodes out of the original we’d probably have the same problem. Characters do disappear for extended lengths of time while we focus on other stories and then we come back to them eventually. Again, newcomers to the show will be lost by a lot of what goes on and won’t really know why some other character points are significant. The only two characters you will really gain any kind of connection with are Kanda and Allen.

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Third point: What are they doing with the pace? Let’s fight, let’s go investigate, let’s make a new friend, wait we’re fighting again, sad moment flash back, fight… Okay, we get that there’s a lot you want to do and a lot you want to tell us, and that the original series is also plagued by pacing issues, but if I entirely take the fan-girl in me away, the pacing is rubbish. It is genuinely bad and distracting to the plot and character development.

Fourth point: Visuals? Alright, this is where fans are split. Visually, D Gray Man Hallow is fine when looked at in terms of just being a show. It isn’t particularly beautiful or well done, but neither is it ugly. The problem is it isn’t D Gray Man. The colour palette is too bright and most of the scenes are too bright. D Gray Man was almost always dark and dripped atmosphere whereas Hallow really doesn’t feel like it has a distinct visual identity. That said, I didn’t find the visuals a put off, but they certainly don’t draw me in the way the original did.

Fifth point: The story continues but where are we really going? The fight between the Order and the Noah is always in the background of this show and individual conflicts (that somehow tie into that) are almost always in the foreground. The 13 episodes we had here almost entirely revolved around the conflict with the Noah, which is a massive deviation from how the war has been conducted prior. That’s part of the reason why so many characters have been sidelined. They aren’t strong enough to survive a fight with the Noah and we already know that given how effective the Noah have been previously at killing exorcists. The problem with this entire focus on the Noah is that we still don’t actually know what they want (other than to destroy Innocence) and now the Order’s motives (which were always questionable) are entirely suspect. So we are following a conflict between two groups and we don’t really know what either is ultimately striving for. Meanwhile we are mostly following the story of the lower grunts who really don’t know what is going on but are having to make some really significant moral choices.

Here’s the thing with the plot. I love it and I love that we aren’t being spoon-fed everything in an instant. However, if the story doesn’t continue then we’ll be left in limbo, again.

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Final point given this has gone on long enough: Is Hallow entertaining? For me, I loved it. I loved being back in this world with these characters and seeing the story move on. The visual changes aside (and voice actors), it just felt right. It was like reuniting with an old friend. You’ve both changed but somehow none of that matters because you are just happy to see them again.

Recommendation: If you haven’t watched the original series and you don’t mind dark anime, check it out right now and then watch Hallow. If you’ve seen the original and you haven’t watched Hallow, watch Hallow. Also, keep hoping and hoping that they don’t end it here. If you don’t like your anime dark and you don’t like seeing main characters going through hell, this anime is not for you.

Tuesday’s Top 5: Pets and Mascot Characters

Mostly pets and mascot characters are either superfluous to a show or just plain annoying (yes, Kinako from Twin Star Exorcists I am looking at you), however every now and then one of these characters actually does draw you along into the show, or help the plot along significantly, or just lightens the mood and makes you happy to see them. This is my list of my favourite pets and mascot characters.

Feel free to add yours in the comments or to comment on the most annoying pets and mascots (which will definitely be a future list though I’m not sure when).

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

Honourable mentions to Hawk (Seven Deadly Sins), Mokona (Tsubasa Chronicles), Maru (Kimi ni Todoke) and Fuzzy (The Morose Mononokean).

Number 5: Kuro from Ao no Exorcist

You have to admit for a demon cat, Kuro is pretty adorable. And useful in terms of a pet to own. He talks telepathically and can become big enough to ride into battle. Anyway, I’m glad Kuro stuck around for the remainder of the series. He plays an important role in helping the brothers reconnect with their ‘father’s’ memory and that also ultimately helps them get over some of their own relationship baggage.

Number 4: Kon from Bleach

 

There’s something about a modified soul stuck into the body of a plush lion that just really makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch the episode where Kon first appears in Bleach. Admittedly, after the first season, Kon’s role becomes very much comedic relief he initially plays a reasonable role in allowing Ichigo to transform into a Shinigami and to ensure people didn’t ask why Ichigo kept passing out all over the place. While Kon is at times borderline annoying, just when you would write him off he does something incredibly selfless or touching, or just manages to nail his comedic timing.

Number 3: Happy from Fairy Tail

 

I think it would be kind of mean to actually imply that Happy is a pet. He’s definitely a character in his own right and quite a cute one at that (sorry, who doesn’t find a flying cat adorable). Whether he is playing the comic relief, the heart of the group, a mode of transportation, or just chiming in with his usual ‘Aye’, Happy lives up to his name and is a great character.

Number 2: Timcanpy from D Gray Man

Whether we are talking Hallow or original, Timcanpy is a great character. Originally belonging to Cross Marion, Timcanpy was given to (left with) Allen Walker after Cross went missing. Timcanpy is silent (unlike every other character on the list) but still manages to convey a lot of personality. More importantly, he shows Allen genuine affection at almost every turn in the anime which is kind of needed given how dark and horrible most of the things are that happen to Allen.

Number 1: Nyanko Sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou

Much like Happy, I’m not sure we can actually call Nyanko a pet (or a mascot) but for a youkai transformed into a maneki-neko he is pretty adorable even as he is fat, self-centred and a little bit of an alcoholic. That said, he is amazingly funny and he does look out for Natsume when it really matters (though he frequently let’s lesser threats just run their course). There is of course the concern that one day he might try to eat Natsume for real, but the longer the show runs the less likely it seems. It really feels like Nyanko Sensei is getting just as much from hanging around with Natsume as Natsume is gaining. Okay, I also included an image of his true form. So this little cutie is my number 1 pet or mascot in an anime (and is hanging off my phone).

I did realise after writing this that three of my five top picks are cats. That’s probably saying something about me but I’m not going to think about it too deeply.

That’s my list. Who or what would you have included on yours?

Summer 2016 Week 13

This is my last overview for Summer 2016. I know some shows still haven’t finished but next week I’ll be posting my first thoughts on the Autumn season shows as they start rolling out (though from the looks of Crunchyroll and AnimeLab I may be a little short of shows this season – I say that now but will have to reconsider once I see what actually gets released). That said, I will begin whole season reviews of the Summer shows in a few weeks (once I’ve had some time to gather my overall thoughts).

No real surprises in the order this week but some interesting conclusions (and non-conclusions) to some highly entertaining shows. I think that’s my main take-away from Summer. I enjoyed watching more shows than I did during the Spring season.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the season below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • D.Gray-Man Hallow (Ep 13)
  • Alderamin on the Sky (Ep 12)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ep 12)
  • Days (Ep 12 – No episode this week)

And D Gray Man was awesome until the end. I’ve loved being back in this world and now all I can say is I want more because we are still left without resolution. Let’s hope it isn’t 8 years this time.

Alderamin was not finished yet but with one episode to go it is fairly safe to say that this series needs a follow up. While watching Ikta manage a tactical retreat has been fun, it would be excellent to see how he follows this up. Admittedly they could still kill him off but that would seem to defy any of the narration we’ve had throughout the series about how amazing he was going to become.

Tales of Zestiria the X delivered a stunning lack of resolution but did bring the current battle to an end (of sorts). Objectively I know there are a lot of issues with this show however, I am really enjoying watching it week to week even when I’m being critical. I’m actually kind of looking forward to another season with these characters.

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Still On My Radar

  • The Morose Mononokean (Ep 13)
  • Momokuri (Ep 26)
  • 91 Days (Ep 11)
  • Food Wars (Ep 13)
  • Cheer Boys (Ep 12)
  • Orange (Ep 13)

The Morose Mononokean continued right to the end at showing us an alright show but never tipped the scales toward becoming a great show. And while not every show needs to be great, this one just continued to feel lacking even while what it delivered was perfectly watchable entertainment.

Momokuri finished the way it started. Creepy but adorable simultaneously. This one is going to be hard to write a full review about but I’m kind of looking forward to reading over my impressions from the season and finalising my thoughts.

91 Days gave us a great second last episode. If the series had maintained its momentum from start to finish it would have been a must watch. Unfortunately all the ending is doing is making me wonder why it took so long for them to kick the story into gear.

Food Wars gave us a conclusion to the placement and all the characters came back to school but really this whole series has just been a bit of a let down after the manic energy of season 1. Still, it was worth watching the continuation of the cooking journey.

Cheer Boys left us on a fairly flat note but the series as a whole has been a delightfully empty piece of entertainment and other than an episode 5 recap I haven’t really got any complaints.

At last Orange is done. I feel this show would fair better with a binge watch rather than week to week, though even that may not remove some of the more frustrating aspects of watching the show. I guess the real issue is I’m not much for touching emotional teen drama and that is what this show drips with from start to finish.

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Not Dropped But Close

  • Hitorinoshita (Ep 12)
  • Taboo Tattoo (Ep 12 – Finished last week)

MAL tells me Hitorinoshita is finished but you wouldn’t know it from watching the episode. After leaving us with questions all series they are going to finish it without really revealing anything (odd after two episodes of nearly continuous flashback that we still know almost nothing that we couldn’t have kind of figured out).

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Dropped

  • Cute High Earth Defence Club Love (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Sweetness and Lightning (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Danganronpa 3 (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Mob Psycho 100 (Dropped at Ep 1 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Servamp (Dropped at Ep 2 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Rewrite (Dropped at Ep 2)
  • The Disasterous Life of Saiki K (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Ozmafia (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Scar-red Riders XechS (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Qualidea Code (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • First Love Monster (Dropped at Ep 1)

And now we’re done with Summer. Bring on Autumn and let’s hope we find some more shows worth watching.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 13

Review:

As a season end this was kind of lame (assuming 13 episodes is season end). Nothing is resolved and we have one character on the run, another one returning from being on the run but not really re-joining the team and two characters still in enemy hands but then again, I never expected anything to be resolved in 13 episodes. It’s been a long running series and nothing has ever happened that fast so the fact that the Kanda and Alma story was wrapped up as quickly as it was surprised me earlier in the season.

This episode as an episode was really enjoyable. Seeing Allen and Cross after they first met and getting some more hints about Cross’ involvement with Allen becoming the Fourteenth was interesting. Actually being reminded that Lavi and Bookman are still in the hands of the Noah and the Noah being their usual callous selves was entertaining (though, they hurt Lavi so now they have to die – sorry). Lenalee being her usual overly emotional self before Kanda’s return felt really nostalgic and the crystallisation of Mugen (while downplayed within an already packed episode) was something I’d kind of been waiting for given the enemies just keep getting stronger so eventually our exorcists are going to have to catch up or die.

By the way, is Link actually dead? I know we saw his gravestone but it just seems really kind of anti-climatic for him to have died then.

Alright, whole season review of this is going to be tough to write but look out for it. If you are still deciding whether to watch Hallow, basically don’t bother unless you have watched the previous D Gray Man. While you might catch up on the storyline, without the emotional connections to the events, it is going to be pretty flat. That said, if you have watched the original, while there are definitely stylistic difference, from a story point of view this is a great continuation, we just need more.

D Gray Man Hallow is available on AnimeLab.

Summer 2016 Week 12

So here we are in the last weeks of the summer anime season. Some shows will be wrapping and others still have a week or two to go. That said, I am starting to check out the upcoming shows to see what I’ll be following in the Autumn Season (it is still weird reversing the seasons given Australia is heading into Spring).

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the season below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • D.Gray-Man Hallow (Ep 12)
  • Alderamin on the Sky (Ep 11)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ep 11)
  • Days (Ep 12)

I’m still finding D Gray Man highly entertaining though a lot of what happened this episode was definitely only for the people who have a strong nostalgia lens on this series. People new to the show will probably just find it a set up for a future episode and miss a lot of the emotions that should be attached to this episode.

Alderamin was a little slower this week but we’ve got a clear path for the final few episodes to follow. I’m still genuinely loving this show but this episode, while necessary, was not the best.

Tales of Zestiria the X delivered a good lead up to a season finish but the whole affair has felt unnecessarily rushed. It really feels like the story and characters would have been better served with a less chaotic schedule as they went about saving the world.

Days was excessively slow this week but it kind of felt needed after the ongoing soccer game and it was nice to just focus on the characters and where they are sitting now. I’m still honestly surprised by how much I am enjoying this when realistically I should be over this by now.

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Still On My Radar

  • The Morose Mononokean (Ep 12)
  • Momokuri (Ep 24)
  • 91 Days (Ep 10)
  • Food Wars (Ep 12)
  • Cheer Boys (Ep 11)
  • Orange (Ep 12)

I really enjoyed the Morose Mononokean this week. I still think this show could be better than it is but as a relaxing watch it has succeeded quite well.

The episodes of Momokuri this week weren’t as strong as the last two (given the story felt like a rerun) but the series as a whole has continued to surprise me given its slow and cutesy nature. I don’t know why this particular series of blushing teens has caught my fancy but I know it continues to amuse and entertain and I genuinely want the characters to continue to move on with their lives.

91 Days on the other hand made a strong come back this week after a middle of the season that was alright. That said, it doesn’t change my overall impression of the series. Strong start but then kind of ambled. I’m not really keen to rewatch this but I am looking forward to the final episode.

Food Wars was really enjoyable this week. It isn’t quite enough as I think back on the whole season to really move it up my list though. At no point in season 2 have I had even half the fun while watching season 1. A better character episode this week and enjoyable enough but this isn’t the must watch that the first season produced.

Cheer Boys continues its trend of feel good nonsense as we wrap up all remaining issues so now we can go to the competition and give it are all. Cue heavy amounts of it’s good to be in a team and working toward a goal is awesome mentality. I’m not actually criticising given that is what the show has been from the beginning, but it really did feel like they were bringing everything to a close this week.

If Orange wasn’t about to end I’d be more or less ready to let it go anyway. I really don’t care if they save Kakeru or not at this point and honestly Naho is such a nothing character it really does not matter who she ends up with or why. Now that any hope of a decent time travel explanation has been dashed and all we are left with is a very ordinary teen drama I’m done. Last episode here we come and then move on.

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Not Dropped But Close

  • Hitorinoshita (Ep 11)
  • Taboo Tattoo (Ep 12)

Just please tell me Hitorinoshita is ending next week. We won’t have even half the answers we need for this to be even pleasantly odd, it’s just going to continue to be painful, but I’d really like it to end. If not, I’m pretty sure next week will be my last week doing a write up on it regardless.

And is Taboo Tattoo finished? MAL says yes but what’s with the preview for future events? Anyway, it was a disaster of a show and whether it is finished or not, I’m done.

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Dropped

  • Cute High Earth Defence Club Love (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Sweetness and Lightning (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Danganronpa 3 (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Mob Psycho 100 (Dropped at Ep 1 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Servamp (Dropped at Ep 2 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Rewrite (Dropped at Ep 2)
  • The Disasterous Life of Saiki K (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Ozmafia (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Scar-red Riders XechS (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Qualidea Code (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • First Love Monster (Dropped at Ep 1)

I’ve really enjoyed the Summer Season (much more than Spring this year). Looking forward to the last episodes of these shows.

 

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 12

Review:

With only one episode to go this show is most definitely going to leave us hanging again (let’s just hope we don’t have to wait that many years for a continuation again). That said, the show is also determined to break our hearts. First we get a reminder that Allen has had his arm destroyed previously (thanks for that memory). Then we have Road disappearing fairly dramatically after brining us a fresh reminder about Mana’s message to Allen about moving forward. And then we get Lenalee appearing right before Allen uses the gate to leave (possibly for good even if he did promise her that he would always be an exorcist no matter what happened). Of the three events, that was the one that really got to me because Allen and Lenalee have always been two very broken characters that have used each other numerous times to find the strength to carry on. Inside I was begging Lenalee to get off the ground and dive through the gate after Allen (but we all know that Lenalee couldn’t leave the order or her brother at this point and time because she has no identity outside of that at this point).

While this episode was heart-wrenching for long time fans, was it a good episode? Objectively I’d have to say no. We simply pick up where we left off and essentially set up obstacles to stop anyone who isn’t supposed to get to Allen from getting there. No new information is revealed and while it is dramatic to see so many sore points raised for a single character, this doesn’t lead to development (although there the preview for the next episode kind of tells us that we have reached a critical turning point for Allen so it will be interesting to see what they do next).

I know I’ve been fan-girling a lot over this series and that isn’t about to change but we’re getting close to the point where I’ll have to review the series as a whole and while there’s been a lot to like the essential problem remains the same: if you haven’t watched the original you are missing too much to really care about any of these touching moments. If you have seen the original, a lot has changed that you are just having to accept or you are going to be frustrated. It’s going to make any kind of review really difficult.

Anyway, D Gray Man Hallow is available on AnimeLab.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 11

Review:

Does Link actually taking action for Allen this week redeem him for not trusting Allen in the first place? Probably not, but at least Link made a decision and didn’t blindly follow orders. While they didn’t show us his ultimate fate, it kind of seems like that’s more or less it for Link at this time.

We still didn’t find the heart but we now found a ‘special’ kind of innocence that exists to protect the heart and we now know who killed Cross but we don’t know why. That said, the Cardinal’s actions force Allen out of the Order and the thing is, it kind of felt like going with the Noah was the less horrible decision to make which given some of things they’ve done really makes you wonder what the Order is up to that the Noah are a better choice.

Of course, Tyki and Road are just kind of awesome so if Allen had to go with the Noah at least it was those two (cruel and twisted though they both are).

Well over my 100 words but just need to mention Lenalee. For most of Hallow she’s either been background or absent, which is a shame because in the early days of D Gray Man she was a very tough fighter and she helped Allen out a lot. Okay, she did go through that whole part where her innocence broke and she couldn’t fight but she finally overcame even that. Seeing her spring back into action at the end of this episode was definitely a great moment and I am looking forward to seeing some more next time (assuming they continue with this and don’t go off on some weird tangent).

D Gray Man Hallow is available on AnimeLab.