Granblue Fantasy Episode 3

Review:

So, they crashed the airship. Surprising how that happens when you don’t have a pilot (I mean helmsman) to fly the thing. Actually, this is the episode where Katalina just kind of loses her cool look. From episode 1 she’s been cool and the most interesting of the cast. This episode she’s pretty lame. And part of the reason is because we have to make the new guy look cool.

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Rackman the helmsman who spends all his time repairing an old crashed airship. I wonder if he’ll end up being helpful (eyeroll).

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Okay, I’m mocking a lot but that’s because as watchable as this episode was, it kind of doesn’t do much. We run around the island for a while, run into potential empire agents, and then while our main group are out of town to ask Rackman if he’ll be their helmsman, an army from the empire led by shrimp-crazy-guy shows up. It kind of sounds like it should be fun but mostly its just stepping through the motions and taking us along with it.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Sword Oratoria Episode 1

Overview:

A spin-off of DanMachi (It is Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon), Sword Oratoria focusses on Ais and the Loki Familia.

Review:

For a show that is supposed to focus on Ais, she’s remarkably passive to absent in this first episode with far more time being given to introducing a young magic user who freezes at the sight of monsters (useful). And because of the kind of show it is of course she’s making puppy dog eyes at Ais.

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That said, it wasn’t a bad episode. After an initial narration where we zoom around the city and see some familiar faces we find ourselves on level 50 of the dungeon with the party from the Loki Familia. We get a reintroduction to the members because even though we’ve met most of them before they weren’t the main characters in DanMachi. Then we get a pretty cool fight against some acid spewing caterpillar thing. Before we start returning to the surface and we get our first direct cross over with the previous series and we see how the minotaur ended up attacking Bell.

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My issue with this is that Ais was a pretty boring character back in DanMachi (she served her purpose well enough as a potential love interest and a goal to work towards in terms of strength for Bell) but her personality was pretty much non-existent. When I first heard she was going to be the focus in this I had some real concerns about whether she could carry a show and this episode has done nothing to lay those concerns to rest. The things I liked this episode were throw backs to DanMachi and reminders of how fun that show was. Just being back in the dungeon was fun, the ridiculous monsters and the fighting styles, even seeing Bell again was fun. Ais, not so much.

All and all, I have no intention of dropping this. Even is Ais doesn’t manage to develop a personality, there are plenty of other enjoyable characters and its a dungeon crawling fantasy in a world I already love so we’ll continue on.

Sword Oratoria is available on AnimeLab.


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Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas Episode 10

Review:

Right, I had a lot of fun with this episode, so my criticisms are not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the free-for-all being set up but at the same time I am concerned that there were so many issues in this episode.

The main one being time. Somehow we’ve all regrouped with the various factions and the army is all ready just to march straight back into the black king’s space as soon as they bring down the shield. Great. Only didn’t it take them weeks to retreat from there and when did they leave the desert? I get that Aram and friends flew back to the Mage towers so I won’t even question that they seem to have instantly arrived (because flight is akin to instant-travel apparently) but Julianna and the others need a couple of weeks at the smallest estimate to be in any kind of position to fight. Nope, they are ready and raring to go.

Then again, apparently this show has no end of ‘magical’ solutions to issues.

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Seriously? Anywhere? Instantly? I know you just built this thing but surely it should be a little bit harder to get inside the black bubble to bring the shield down.

And apparently now the Black King is sitting around watching Aram and friends on his equivalent to a big screen TV. Why? And if he could do that why hasn’t he just sent someone to kill them while they’re sleeping given his minions have been teleporting anywhere they like for the entire length of the show? Is there any reason for kidnapping Phoena at this point? She doesn’t seem like as much of a threat as the guy who is suddenly purifying everything.

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Anyway, cool battle sequence and set up for great fight to come. Just check logic at the door first but that’s much the same as the whole series so far. Plus, dragon involved in fight (not dragon being fought). I really wish someone had changed it’s name. Furball the dragon doesn’t really inspire.

Chain Chronicle is available on Crunchyroll.


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Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas Episode 8

Review:

There was a moment early in this episode where I realised they’d just thrown us into the middle of a battle and we didn’t know who was fighting or which side they were on. And then I realised that of course we knew who the bad guys are, they are all in black. This story is basic fantasy and they throw a million characters at us but other than our core group none of the others really serve any purpose other than momentary assistance, advice, death count, or needing to be rescued. As a result you can just kind of let the names roll past you and ignore them. It makes for light and amusing viewing but at the same time feels like a bit of a waste that this world isn’t fleshed out any more than it has been.

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Of course we spend quite a bit of time on Yuri this episode. He’s gone to the dark side fairly literally but Aram isn’t really in the mood to take that lying down. Enter a magic book and let’s finally see how Yuri got to where he is.

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Mostly I just felt sorry for this poor tree but that isn’t here or there. While it would be easy to say the world building and character development of this show is sloppy, this core group have really become interesting in the last few episodes and the story continues with enough momentum to entertain. The show has never tried to be anything particularly profound. It really is by the numbers fantasy but it does it reasonably well.

Chain Chronicle is available on Crunchyroll.


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Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas Episode 5

Review:

There’s so much from this episode you could talk about but I guess overall Chain Chronicle continues to be exactly what it claims to be. Sword and sorcery adventure. Watch the hero recruiting allies, forced to face his inner darkness and being betrayed. It does it well enough but there’s still nothing overly unique about this story. It’s just fun to watch if you are into fantasy.

A few points from the episode:

Firstly, Furball is adorable and the fact that he reveals he has teeth at the end of the episode is just hilarious. He is fast on track to become my favourite pet or mascot from this season of anime (poor Kuro from Blue Exorcist).

Secondly, why try to fight skeletons with swords when they don’t work anyway and you are carrying around a group of magic users who seem perfectly capable of taking them out on their own with fairly explosive results (just watch out for the avalanche afterwards).

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Thirdly, why is it that in fantasy characters can get away with dramatic speeches and monologues about the nature of heroism, light, hope and darkness and they don’t just sound ridiculous. Seriously, in any other setting these exchanges would be eye-rollingly stupid and yet put the characters in a fantasy setting and it just seems right.

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Finally, did anyone expect a different response from this guy? And how dumb is he to think that this is a good plan.

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In case you couldn’t tell, I actually loved this episode. Its everything a good fantasy should be and nothing more or less.

Chain Chronicle is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 4

Review:

Episode 4 of Spiritpact kind of shows off the best and worst that this series has had to offer. The first third of the episode is decidedly the worst of this show as they showcase Keika being his absolute most idiotic with some poor humour (because why not go for the cliche) and very little point other than giving the audience one bit of information that we know will become significant later on (only it turns out it is going to be significant in the next 5 minutes because that’s how you foreshadow apparently). It’s very tedious. Then the next part of the episode takes off.

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Last week there was a character introduced who I was pretty sure existed just to be an antagonist, well much like info dump from first third of this episode, they decide to reveal his antagonism in this episode (because why wait and build up to something) but the fight between him and Keika is actually kind of cool and there’s a few interesting moments. The resolution to this episode is also pretty well done.

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas Episodes 2 + 3

Review Episode 2:

Chain Chronicle picked up directly where we left off with Yuri and Aram defeating the soldiers who were attacking the village. After Aram faints and then wakes up, Yuri gives him a talking to and attempts to recruit him into his volunteer army which by the end of the episode he’s decided to change the name of. This show does not do subtle.

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These are the bad guys in case you couldn’t figure that part out. This is generic fantasy without any surprises so far and to be perfectly frank I’m enjoying it. It’s felt like a long time since someone just did a steep the world in darkness kind of story without trying to throw some massive over-complication in to make it seem more clever. There’s very little to recommend it, it doesn’t stand out from any of the other generic fantasy out there nor does it seem to be trying to at the moment. The writing is okay, the characters generic, the fight sequences passable, and basically if you just want to switch off and do fantasy for awhile this is working.

Review Episode 3:

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Is this the characters admitting they have no clue where to go or what their next step is so we’ll just kind of aim for this group of people and hope they can exposition us out of nowhere? Okay, it’s a fairly standard plot development in fantasy but it doesn’t make it any better. The Princess has gone to round up some allies and Yuri and his group are off to see the sages and then… I don’t think any of them have thought any further than we want to win. There are some cool moments this episode with Aram and Burckhardt (predictable but cool) and the final minutes give us a bit of excitement before the episode ends.

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This remains a fairly generic but decent enough fantasy so far.

Chain Chronicle is available on Crunchyroll.


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Hand Shakers Episodes 1 + 2

Overview:

Tazuna is a high school student who likes to fix machines and has a really annoying habit of saying things are meshing (or not meshing) like this is the best catchphrase ever. He meets a girl in a hospital bed and after they hold hands he goes somewhere else where he’s attacked by another boy and girl team. The write up on Crunchyroll says the point of this is to gain an audience with God but to be honest this first episode doesn’t really tell you anything.

Review Episode 1:

You know that scene everyone complains about in the Fairy Dance Arc of SAO where Asuna is held upside down and groped by tentacles? People really need to stop complaining about that scene. Instead, let’s focus on the girl getting bound/groped in chains, gasping like she’s in some kind of esctacy while her partner essentially stands on her crotch. And then let’s also just look at the only other student we met who’s chest exceeds any kind of size logic given the rest of her physique and moves in a way that defies the laws of physics. While neither of these points are enough in and of themselves to absolutely warrant dropping a show (for me at least, for the most part I attempt to ignore these scenes), when we couple this with really off-putting animation, a bland main character, and a premise that kind of looks like it was cooked up by a bunch of twelve years olds and there’s probably a really sound argument in favour of dropping this at episode 1.

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For me, I’m kind of hoping they settle the whatever it is they’d like to call that chain girl and explain their plot and then maybe grow because this could be kind of interesting it just isn’t at the moment. I did nearly call it when the protagonist suddenly pulled out a sword because of course the guy he’s fighting uses chains but he uses a sword. What is it with anime protagonists having the least innovative weaponse in a series? Not that I’m against swords if everyone is using them but when there is a rich variety of potential weapons and the MC is flailing around with a sword you just have to wonder why.

Review Episode 2:

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Looks like I’ll get my wish about chain girl, turns out losing a fight means losing the ability to go to Ziggurat so I’m guessing she’s done in this story. Unless she intends a real world revenge scenario but it doesn’t seem likely given other than a hospital sequence that pair were more or less swept under the rug.

Finishing the fight in quick order and then going through a really unnecessarily long explanation scene that essentially amounted to a ‘further research is needed and I’m a crazy scientist, watch me crazy’ we then get the obvious now we have to live together (you know, because if he let’s go of her hand she’ll die, only not instantly so it turns out they can have a few moments apart at the moment. She’s also pretty much a blank slate needing help to eat and bathe (so yeah, bathroom sequence complete with bloody nose).

Probably my biggest amusement in this episode was putting these two quotes from the show in the wrong order because it would effectively end the story.

Not the order they were played in and there is kind of a reason given why Tazuna shouldn’t just lose but given how little the science guy seems to actually know I somehow doubt I’d trust his explanation for very much credibility and it will not surprise me when some things we are told in these first episodes turn out to be false.

Hand Shakers is available on Crunchyroll.


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Chain Chronicles – The Light of Haecceitas Episode 1

Overview:

A voluntter army and its allies try to defeat the Black Army and lose. Now they need to figure out what the next step is.

Review:

This one screams based on a game almost from the beginning though starting with storming the castle and losing is probably a bit of new one given normally you storm the castle and win at the end of the game. Riddled with clichés, this first episode does a decent enough job of introducing the cast in this desperately-trying-to-be-epic tale, and the action is half decent. In a season where there was more competition I’d probably be a bit more wary about this but for now I’m pretty happy to continue this one, and I might even learn to spell the name of it by the end of the season.

Chain Chronicles is available on Crunchyroll.


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Bloodivores Episode 11

Review:

So unless I misread it, this show has one more episode and there’s no chance at all that we’ll get answers to the great mysteries underlying the series. We spend most of this week attempting to first stab and then blow up Lee Shin (because he totally deserves it). In this fight we regularly defy the laws of physics or common sense. While Mi Liu may be able to reverse his own gravity and do some of the moves he is pulling off, I somehow doubt that being able to create swords suddenly made Lee Shin a gravity defying spinning top.  In addition to that bit of ‘what the’ we also get inconsistent wounds. Was anyone else wondering why the guy who’s shoulder was skewered continued to run around with a sword hanging out of him for over half the episode? More importantly, why wasn’t he bleeding? And then Mi Liu hits the ground and is supposedly unconscious and there’s a pool of blood. Stands up and has a minor wound on his head. What generated that pool of blood when having your shoulder impaled doesn’t seem to bleed at all? Anyway, I won’t be sorry to see the end of this show but I am kind of annoyed that I’ll never know what the point of it was.

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Don’t mind the sword sticking out of me.

Bloodivores is available on Crunchyroll.