Afterlost Review Episodes 1 + 2

Explanations are for the weak.

Episode 1

I’m honestly surprised I’ve seen so little chatter regarding Afterlost (Shoumetsu Toshi). Admittedly, things might go downhill after episode one but that first episode was pretty entertaining in its own way. Of course, a lot will depend on whether they will actually ever get around to explanations that make any kind of plausible sense and anime has a very low hit rate for that in this kind of story.

But, when they get it right, I really enjoy stories that make you guess and wonder and then bring things together.

In this first episode we meet Yuki and Takuya. Yuki’s your standard blue-haired and kind of spacey girl. In this case she’s also the only survivor of a city some tragic event that apparently wiped out a whole city only no one seems to be really sure what happened. As a result, apparently lots of people are after her. Takuya seems to be your standard jaded older male protagonist who has been hired for a job but it seems inevitable he’ll end up personally invested in things.

There’s quite a few chase sequences in this opening episode and really they don’t stop to explain much which for episode one is okay but we’ll need a bit more in follow up or this will get old fast. Also, the chase sequences themselves aren’t as thrilling as they seem to want to be because helicopter pursuing motorbike seems like it should be pretty sensational but it ends up pretty repetitive and even random ghost guys showing up and throwing rocks and things around don’t really add much other than making me wonder who taught them how to aim.

This explanation makes as much sense as any other.

But for all the criticisms I might throw at this, I actually did enjoy it and of all the anime I’ve started this season (outside of Fruits Basket that has amazing nostalgia value) this first episode is probably the one that has made me the most genuinely curious about what they might do with a premise. It might fall flat but it is enough to make me volunteer for the ride.

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Episode 2

More running only this time more on foot which actually allows for the occasional pause and talk as well as actual exchanges between characters so while Afterlost is still trying to withhold massive amounts of information from the audience in the hope of suspense, a bit more of a picture of the characters is starting to form. But, it is taking its sweet time about it.

The gun shot at the end of episode one actually hit someone, which was a surprise, but not the person that they implied was being shot, which wasn’t a surprise. Turns out Takuya has history with two of the agents and they decide instead to save him and Yuki, double crossing their employers. Needless to say that puts them on the run and after what I guess is supposed to be a relationship building moment between Takuya and Yuki they try using the subway tunnels to get where they are going.

I actually had to agree with the ‘bad’ guy when they asked if that was seriously all they could come up with.

Doesn’t really matter though when Yuki and Takuya are apparently completely untouchable (though Takuya is apparently going to get injured every episode) and everyone who tries to help them is fodder. Not actually fodder that will get killed off proper, just dramatically taken down in a way that should leave them dead but we’ll later find out they are not.

There’s definitely a lot that could be said to be wrong or at least substandard here, and yet I’m still kind of interested in it and will admit I’ve so far been interested enough in what is going on. The characters could really use some fleshing out and I’ll settle for even a partial explanation of what the agency is at this point even if they want to withhold all the rest of the information, but just something to help give a bit of context to what is going on would be nice. But I’m still pretty enthused for watching the next episode so I guess it is doing enough.

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Karandi James
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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Studios

Tuesday's Top 5

While I’ve counted down favourite anime from particularly studios before, I have never just done a list of my top 5 studios. That’s probably because as much as there are some studios that consistently produce enjoyable anime, they all miss the mark at some point, so it isn’t as though I watch everything by any particular studio. Still, there are certainly some studios that I’m more likely to give a go to their work than others even if it doesn’t seem like it will be something I’ll end up loving. As always I’d love to know your choices for the list so please share your favourite anime studios (and your favourite shows by them) in the comments below.

Please note, there will be no spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Toei Animation (Sailor Moon) and Madhouse (lots of great stuff but just as many shows that miss the mark for me so just seeing Madhouse attached to a project isn’t enough to get me really excited).

Number 5: J.C. Staff

There are so many great anime that have come from J.C. Staff, though I’ll admit a lot of these titles are ones I don’t mind but I’m not nuts over (with the exception of DanMachi which I am totally in love with). This studio is prolific  and the vast majority of their titles I end up at least trying even if I don’t end up super into them. What is great is that they cover such a huge range of genres and styles so unlike some studios their anime haven’t all kind of blended into being much the same.

Number 4: White Fox

Unlike J.C Staff, White Fox doesn’t have quite the anime catalogue behind them. But what they lack in quantity they certainly make up for in quality. There are some truly impressive titles out by this studio including Steins;Gate. They also brought out Goblin Slayer and that was kind of fun. While not every anime on their line up has struck gold (Grimoire of Zero I’m looking right at you), I’m still at least tempted to check out a show with this studio’s name attached to it.

Number 3: P.A Works

While it’s kind of tempting to say that P.A Works lack variety in their small line up, there’s certainly some fun to be had going through their titles. While mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for high school settings and adolescent drama, there’s still plenty to enjoy. I think what I love most about the anime from P.A Works is that there’s a lot of work put into the aesthetics of the anime. Whether its the visuals or the music, everything kind of builds whatever tone the anime or that scene is trying to accomplish. While it might seem a little overwrought emotionally at times, I really enjoy the look and feel of these anime.

Number 2: Brain’s Base

They gave us Natsume Yuujinchou… Do I need to elaborate further as to why I love this studio?

Actually, I don’t think Brain’s Base gets enough discussion. We regularly here about Madhouse, A1, P.A Works, etc, but Brain’s Base is like this incredibly hard work quiet achiever that puts out anime that don’t reach everyone, but fans of each of their show’s are fiercely loyal fans. There’s something about the stories here that grab whoever the core audience is and makes them really feel something for the work. Again, not saying they are flawless (Endride anyone?), but I’ll certainly take the time to read about shows coming out from this studio and would go so far as to give most of them at least a go.

Number 1: Bones

There’s absolutely no way it was not going to be Bones. Sure, Bones has its less amazing moments, but between having created almost all of my favourite anime of all time, and consistently putting out titles that are just great fun and have great animation, I have to really love this studio. It also takes on a range of genres and nails them whether it is romance (Snow White With the Red Hair), comedy (Ouran High School Host Club), action (My Hero Academia), sci-fi (Darker Than Black), or even recreations of Shakespeare (Zetsuen no Tempest). So there is something for nearly everyone somewhere in their catalogue.

That’s it from me but I’d love to know your favourite studios and why so feel free to leave a comment below.

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Karandi James
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