Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Series Review – A Breath-taking AI Journey In A Brilliantly Crafted Story

Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song - Series Review

From beginning to end, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has been a fascinating ride.

Ashley Capes has sponsored reviews of Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

I really can’t thank Ashley enough for choosing Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song as his series to sponsor reviews for this season. While I’d kind of flagged Vivy to check out given it was listed as a sci-fi/action and from Wit Studio (you know they people who brought us Attack on Titan) a few little points were keeping me from just jumping all in on watching the anime.

For instance the description of Vivy as an AI Songstress kind of sent up a red-flag for me. Was this actually going to be an idol anime disguised as sci-fi? And if idol-zombies couldn’t keep my attention I doubted turning the idol into a robot was going to make it any more interesting.

How wrong I was and how glad I am to have been wrong.

Click here for more anime reviews.

Vivy chooses to continue with the Singularity Project.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
Vivy makes her choice.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song will potentially be my anime of the year. I am almost certain it will be my sci-fi of the year regardless because I just can’t imagine another story coming out in the same year that feels as cohesive, well planned, and ultimately as lovingly crafted as Vivy. That’s not a declaration that this anime is perfect, there’s definitely flaws and moments that miss their mark, but there’s so much effort put into it that you can kind of forgive its imperfections.

So what is it about?

Essentially we start our story the way so many time-travel stories begin with a vision of a future apocalyptic event and a scientist frantically typing away on a futuristic looking computer and apologising to someone for something we don’t really yet understand.

A vision of the apocalyptic future.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
A future we wish to avoid.

However, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song then takes us back 100 years before this incident where we meet Diva, an AI programmed to sing to make people happy and it is to her that a futuristic program or virus enters allowing Matsumoto to appear before her and to give her a new mission – the singularity project.

Essentially, she now has to change pivotal moments in history to prevent the AI rebellion in the future and save humanity.

In the process of deviating from her original programming, Diva ends up manifesting two distinct personalities and Vivy (previously just a nickname bestowed on her by a fan) becomes her own being.

Vivy giving Matsumoto etiquette lessons.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
The Diva comes out.

What follows is a a series of stories that are told over two and three episodes where Matsumoto awakens to warn Vivy of a key moment and to direct her to take action before he goes back to sleep and we then jump into the future again.

While this might have felt disjointed in another narrative, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song links each of these developments together smoothly and we see in each encounter how their actions have changed, or in some instances not really changed, the future pathway. We also get to see the gradual changes in Vivy herself as she assimilates the experiences from each moment into her programming and by the end of the 100 years we see a far more fleshed out character.

That character development is one of the key strengths of the series.

Without such a protagonist, this story would have felt pretty formulaic and fairly sterile. However Vivy, the autonomous singer and robot tasked with changing the future, is a character who draws you into her story and her inner conflicts. Each mission teaches her something and seeing her in five or ten or twenty years after that mission and realising how it has changed her again is a really rewarding viewing experience.

Vivy working on her song in the archive.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
Vivy will show us something we’ve never seen before.

By the time we get to the finale, this is a character who is well and truly dear to the audience’s heart and her final performance is an emotional affair to be sure.

Over the course of the story, Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song explores a range of themes fairly common for these sorts of stories. The underlying question Vivy is plagued by is what it means to put your heart into something. Unlike so many storeis, in this one we do hear Vivy’s answer that she has come to after 100 years of struggle. It is unimportant whether we agree with the answer, what is important is that the character finds closure in her answer.

There are also questions about AI rights and their purpose. The method by which they complete their missions. There is a terrorist group against AI’s that appear in most of the stories to muddy the waters. Politicians who use AI’s as a platform to raise their status. Individuals who fall in love. Robots who fall into despair.

Anyone expecting a scientific and sterile exploration of artificial intelligence will find all this focus on emotions somewhat distracting, however I found this approach in Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song to be fairly fulfilling. It also made the events and conflicts a lot more relatable to current affairs and various other situations.

Vivy will not give up.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song
Vivy knows her purpose.

However, that doesn’t mean the series just tosses logic to the wind and hope.

There’s a genuine effort to have the events in the story make sense. As questions arise, such as why Vivy was the AI that Matsumoto enlisted to save the future, the series provides an answer of sorts in fairly short order. Most other questions that seem like they might be a hole in the story get given explanations that at least on the surface satisfy and allow you to really just enjoy the story.

And enjoying the story really seems to be a priority for the people crafting it because from start to finish Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song comes across as planned and focused. There’s a clear end point and the narrative arc seems to be perfectly timed to satisfyingly conclude in that final episode.

As much as I loved Vivy, you won’t hear me clamouring for a season 2. This story is done and a most rewarding conclusion it is.

Of course, I wouldn’t object to a spin-off set in the same universe with a different AI at the helm of a different mission… but it isn’t needed.

The island to be shut down.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
The story is done (well, his story was at least).

Closure like this feels like a rarity in anime, more so in anime originals, and yet Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has succeeded beautifully.

Additionally, the anime is beautiful. Visually the futuristic world is interesting and colourful and the AI designs, particularly their eyes, are stunningly details. However the fluid movements of the characters and the animation in general for this series are pretty solid.

The only real sticking point is in some of the more climatic fight sequences where the screen becomes very busy and I regularly described the scenes as ‘messy’ as so many colours and lights danced across the screen that details become lost. This is clearly an aesthetic choice, though it wasn’t one I loved (it does however get across the frantic nature of these conflicts).

Vivy taking on another computer.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song
There’s a look going on here and it kind of works but it is messy.

But I haven’t yet mentioned the sound of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song.

For a show about a diva, it is inevitable there will be singing, however the way music has been integrated into episodes, conflicts and used as a pivotal plot point by the finale is something that should really be celebrated. The sound direction as a whole was truly masterful with some moments where sound and song were nearly overwhelming and other moments were silence was allowed and quiet contemplation followed.

Voice acting was similarly on point making each character distinct and emotional responses clear. Even the more robotic characters gave nuanced performances that enhanced their characters and really brought them to life.

In case I haven’t already made it clear, I really loved the experience of watching Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. While there were one or two episodes in the mid-season that weren’t quite as compelling as others, and while there are a few scenes that don’t quite hold up to the quality present in the rest of the narrative, overall this is an anime that has been longingly crafted and is thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

Diva's final song before Vivy returns.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
Take a bow.

I can only hope we get more series like this one that feel so focused, well thoughts out, and deliver such a great ending in the future.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the series so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Images from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


The Promised Neverland Season 2 Series Review – Let Us Never Speak of This Again

Neverland Review

The higher expectations the harder the landing – so it is for The Promised Neverland Season 2.

It is a pretty common phenomenon in any long running series that as the story progresses the narrative will begin to add in twists and turns that don’t always sit well with the audience. Characters will make decisions that don’t seem to align with who they were in the beginning, and ultimately only the die-hard fans will watch the entirety of the property. However, The Promised Neverland is only 2 seasons so there’s really no excuse for this mess.

Season one set up a sequel fantastically with the kids dramatically escaping from the farms and venturing forth into the unknown world for the very first time. A sequel was needed and unlike so many other season 2’s, they didn’t even have to contrive the next step of the journey because it was handed to them. What awaited the kids in the world and how would they survive.

With such a beautiful set-up gift-wrapped for season 2, even if they made the decision to deviate from source material and go anime original for reasons that many other bloggers have already discussed, they really could have made a very decent go of season 2.

Please note: there are spoilers here.

The Promised Neverland Season 2
Venturing into the unknown can be scary.

The first episode seemed to indicate that we would get another dark season with the kids facing a range of dangers and having to use their wits and skills to survive. It more or less gave me exactly what I was hoping for in the return to Neverland and that was a glimpse of the world surrounding the farm and seeing the kids now exposed to even greater dangers now that they weren’t protected (even if that protection was just so that they could be raised to a more delicious taste).

Very quickly though, The Promised Neverland Season 2 moved from psychological escape story to meandering journey through a forest making friends, to setting up camp in a bunker, being chased out of the bunker due to some kind of military invasion that was conveniently solved by a monster that seemed to specifically target the adults and all the kids managed to get away.

Then we transitioned to Emma going through some kind of depression as she realised that things weren’t going so great, to Norman conveniently showing up but now he’s all vengeful and unreasonable, to finally one of the most contrived and ridiculous plots to overthrow the powerful I’ve ever seen and idiotically it even worked. All of this in 11 episodes with little to no exploration of a single idea within.



If I focus in on the central three characters from season one we can see where a lot of the story went wrong. Emma was known for her endless optimism and can-do attitude but for a lot of season 2 she’s tired and grim, worn down by her responsibilities. It is a realistic transition for her character but not a welcome one. What’s worse is that the final episodes bounce her back to foolish optimism for no apparent reason and everything just kind of works out because it does.

Season 1 at least required a sacrifice of her ear in order to pull off the rescue she intended and the compromise of leaving the younger children in the farm. She couldn’t have everything. Whereas, the only condition season 2 places on her victory is the death of a character we didn’t care about in the slightest and even a slide-show backstory played seconds before his death wasn’t going to change that or make us care.

Neverland S2 E11 1
Okay, the conclusion I’ve drawn is that Emma is not just naïve, she’s actually completely delusional.

Ray also suffers in season 2 as he becomes simply Emma’s moral support. Gone are his own schemes and machinations as well as any of his snarky comments that really added a little bit of spice into the otherwise sickly sweet cast. Basically, he offers nothing of his own in this season. In almost every one of his scenes he is merely standing beside Emma. He rarely talks to anyone outside of Emma.

Everything about his character has been stripped away and he is just an Emma devotee who exists to progress her plans and encourage her. It’s a little sad for someone who was such a great character in season one.

And then we have Norman. Norman who was the smartest of them all who after being taken away has endured some horrible things however don’t expect to really ever get an understanding of what he was going through because a brief montage is all you’re ever going to get and yet we’re supposed to buy in to the fact that it was dramatic enough to be entirely character altering.

Before Norman was cautious and planned things out well. Now he’s rushing forward with a poorly thought out plan with limited chance of actually succeeding and he’s not even willing to listen to Emma-logic (which is always right because she’s Emma). Norman’s character makes some incredibly stupid decisions in this season before he ends up hugging and making up with Emma and Ray and then he just throws his lot in with the Emma fan-club and everyone is team Emma.

What a waste of two of the three main characters from the previous season who were both fantastically written characters once upon a time.

Neverland S2 E7 4
This is not Norman. Norman thinks through a range of possibilities and keeps options open.

Other characters come and go throughout this season as Isabella gets revealed early on but then does nothing until the end and newcomers Mujika and Sonju are introduced but other than helping the kids little is done about giving them their own personality. Sonju briefly shows glimpses of who he is early on but in every future scene simply quietly helps out with whatever the kids request. The various other demons we meet along the way leave little impression and the laughably badly characterised Peter Ratri leaves an impression but it isn’t one that is particularly good for the series.

Advertisements

Visually and in terms of direction season 2 is a step backward in everyway to season one. Even the early episodes of season 2 made this clear with the odd angles and shot compositions used so well in season one of The Promised Neverland to create an atmosphere that was tense and unsettling being completely absent. Season 2 is almost entirely a series of talking heads and when you do get longer shot types they are straight on and direct.

No odd perspectives or cut-aways, no clever use of shadows or anything else to really add anything to the viewing experience. That said, we were outside of Grace Field Farm so maybe they were trying to establish a different tone for the broader world. But even giving the earlier episodes of The Promised Neverland Season 2 the benefit of the doubt, nothing is going to defend the final few episodes that almost forego actual animation using stills and pans to convey almost the entirety of the final conflict.

Neverland S2 E11 2
Someone should have stopped whoever was green-lighting this series.

Even the mid-season episodes very much give us scene after scene of kids standing around with one person talking and barely animated with the other kids being completed still before we get a close-up of a frozen reaction expression. These conversations are long, circular, and repeated and there’s almost no animation taking place in these scenes. They are dull to watch and with little content to actually draw you in you can’t help but pay attention to how bland this season looks compared to its predecessor as well as just how little effort had seemingly gone into it.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 3
I kind of wish the bunker had been more meaningful than a one off stop that was quickly abandoned.

So we have a plot that makes no sense and rushes us from sequence to sequence but gives us no reason to care about any of the events, characters who are no longer interesting and compelling but go through the motions anyway, and animation and direction that seems to just take the quickest option to get through this ‘story’ with the least amount of effort. It is all just a bit sad to watch unfold and really viewers who haven’t already jumped in to season 2 can just end with the escape from the farm.

Lots of stories do end with characters stepping out into the unknown and leave it the audience to figure out what is next. There’s no reason we can’t just pretend season 2 never happened. Some people will tell you to jump in and read the source but not every anime viewer wants to do that. Season 2 certainly didn’t encourage me to remain invested in this particularly property.

I will take one final swipe at the final plot the kids come up with. We see a preparation montage and then suddenly we have multiple fully functioning hot-air balloons (I can assure you that their preparations would not have logically achieved this), that they then navigate, in darkness, to multiple precise locations in order to launch their final assault. I can only assume that the writers have never actually watched a hot-air balloon or talked to anyone who has tried to navigate one because pretty sure untrained children pilots would have failed at this somewhat spectacularly.

Not to mention, part of their plan seemed to involve the enemies spearing the balloons so they crashed inside the farms but what would they have done if they’d downed the balloons over that huge ravine surrounding the entire complex? So much could have gone wrong here it defied belief. That by the end of the entire final conflict the balloons seem the least of the issues just kind of points out how insane and inept this story really got by the end.

Neverland S2 5
Nothing can go wrong with this plan.

I watched season 2 week to week with a friend of mine who I managed to get to watch season one because it was amazing. He takes a lot of convincing to watch an anime with me and usually we watch shows I’ve finished and can sell him on. He agreed to season 2 because of the strength of the first season and then progressively became more vocal in his disapproval of season 2 as it continued.

By the final episode we were both just raising our eye-brows and throwing up our hands and ultimately had abandoned any hope of The Promised Neverland actually delivering anything worthwhile in season 2. After I finish writing this review we’ve both agreed just to pretend season 2 didn’t happen.

Images used for review from: The Promised Neverland Season 2. Dir. M Kanbe. CloverWorks. 2021.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Another Anime Series Review – The Horror, The Blood, The Shock, That Ending?

Another Series Review
another2

Creepy School, Creepy Dolls, Creepy Everything

As has probably become apparent to those who follow my blog, I have a definite fondness for horror anime, even not particularly good ones. So imagine how happy I am when we get one that is vaguely competent at actually creating a sense of atmostphere and gives us at least some characters that feel like they are contributing more than just a number to the body count? While the Another anime may not be a perfect anime by any means, it gets a gold star for being one of the better horror anime out there or at the very lest is more in sync with the kind of horror I like.

another3

Now given my love the Another anime I was absolutely certain I’d reviewed it already but it turns out I was just mistaking the thousand other posts I’ve referenced this anime in for having reviewed it. It made the list of top 5 anime with blood and gore (understandably enough – avoid umbrellas), also made an appearance on my list for best use of dream sequences, and even showed up as a case in my posts on man vs nature. Turns out I’ve added Another to a lot more top 5 lists and used it as an example copious times and yet never actually written a review. Well today I correct that oversight.



Another is a very good anime for a particular niche audience. That audience is one that likes their horror to be more about the slow build-up and the use of heavy atmosphere then rampaging blood and guts from the word go.

Because despite the deaths starting very early on in the anime, and they are bloody and violent, each episode feels almost languid in its pacing as we sit through stilted conversations and everyday interactions while all the while the visuals and music keep foreshadowing something about to happen that almost never does, and then suddenly it does happen and whether it is being impaled on an umbrella, suicide, near misses with glass sheets, or even head injuries, Another is going to keep you wondering just what will kill these kids next.

The Another anime does not hold back on gore.

Our main character, Kouichi, has arrived in town to stay with family as his father has travelled overseas for work. Unfortunately he was hospitalised right before school started and so meets his classmates from class 3-3 while lying in his hospital bed. It is an awkward situation to say the least and only gets worse once he joins the class and realises there’s one girl no one ever talks to or acknowledges. Naturally, he decides to go and talk to her.

another

What follows then is Kouichi trying to unravel the mystery of class 3-3 and once he has the full story rather than half-hints and vague mutterings, he turns his attention to finding a way out of the situation for all of the students who are still alive at that point. It’s during the middle phases when Kouichi and the other classmates start digging into the past and looking for answers where the story really opens up beyond just being creepy for the sake of it and you start to realise the full hopelessness of their situation.

The story then transitions into the third act which is probably the roughest part of the series. The opening act is that slow and rich atmosphere and half hints, the middle phase is the discovery section, and then we move to the climax where the teachers decide to take the remaining students to pray at a shrine on a mountain. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that idea in a horror story.

another4
Sound advice.

Needless to say they get isolate by poor weather and then suspicions and distrust boil over. Soon it is classmate against classmate in an incredibly gory and over the top finale. On the bright side, you do get an actual answer to the mystery and the story is resolved, but that ending feels very much like the anime was worried it hadn’t made some kind of prescribed body count and was making up for lost time in those final episodes.

another

Despite what I feel is an over the top ending, I still really appreciate the care that has gone in to Another’s production. Visually it hits the mark perfectly finding that wonderful balance between being dark and gloomy but still making it easy enough to watch through clever use of lighting and colour.

The cast of classmates are interesting to get to know and while they definitely throw a few of the characters away cheaply at the end, prior to that most of the characters act in ways that are understandable enough given the situation. Basically it is a horror I enjoy watching and continue to feel is one of the best examples of anime horror (not that it has a whole lot of competition).

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Another and you are into horror at all it is worth trying. Maybe you’ll find the opening act too slow for you but if you get into it you might just find a new favourite horror anime.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Images from: Another. Dir. T Mizushima. P.A Works. 2012

Magia Record Episode 2 Review

Magia2 Episode
Magia2a

Missing Sisters and The End of Friendships

The second episode of Magia Record follows Iroha as she realises she had a sick sister who was once in a hospital in Kamihama city. After school she takes the bus to go and find some clues but ends up on a bus that is hi-jacked by a witch. She then meets three other magical girls and gets embroiled in their all-out-friendship drama before the episode ends with another witch, or maybe a monster, showing up.

Magia2b

Despite a lot going on in this episode, and individual segments being both visually stimulating and interesting enough I kind of felt like this episode was playing it both a little too safe and ultimately didn’t do much to connect me with these characters. The trio of new magical girls we encounter make a decent enough entrance with Kaede, the weaker of the group, running into Iroha when Iroha followed the bus passengers. We then get a pretty decent visual feast as Rena and Momoko work together to take out the witch, though it ends up being more or less a one hit wonder and lacks a lot of the visceral emotions that came with so many of the fights in the original Madoka series.

Magia2c

However, we learn little of them other than Rena and Kaede butt heads and after some really clumsy exposition about a school rumour about a friendship ending staircase we get a petty squabble that ends when Kaede declares her friendship with Rena over and walks out. I’d be more annoyed at this sequence but then I remembered the characters are meant to be around middle school aged and it seems somewhat more believable even if the presence of witches probably should give them some perspective. Still, it wasn’t exactly subtle or even particularly interesting in the way this conflict escalated. Mostly it seemed like an excuse to bring in another witch at the end of the episode.

Affiliate Link – Artbook
FINAL FANTASY XIV: SHADOWBRINGERS: THE ART OF REFLECTION - HISTORIES FORSAKEN (PAPERBACK)

Magia Record is giving us hints that it has its own story with Iroha’s missing sister or possible memory tampering, and a younger, different version of Kyuubey who may or may not be on the loose, and yet it feels very much like it is afraid to really head out on its own path. At the same time, what it is presenting hasn’t quite got enough personality to really hold it together. Iroha encountering an entirely new group of magical girls didn’t help as she had no pre-existing relationship or chemistry with them.

Magia2d

On the other hand, the show hasn’t done anything actually wrong. It just isn’t quite as interesting as it could be. The end result is something entirely watchable and reasonably enjoyable without any wow factor or really hook at this point. Hopefully episode three drops a bombshell because this series is going to need something to spice it up soon.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


More wish making magical girls facing horrific battle? Check out all episode reviews of Magia Record.

Images from: Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden. Dir. Gekidan Inu Curry. Shaft. 2020.

Magia Record Episode 1 Review

Magia1 Episode
Magia1a

The Magic of Franchises

Having paid little attention to what was coming out this season I was somewhat surprised to see a new entry in the Madoka Magica franchise. Doing a bit of reading it turns out it is from a spin off game though apparently Madoka does appear in it. What didn’t surprise me is that once I saw that Magia Record was related to the Madoka anime I pretty much immediately assumed I’d be watching it this season. While I still haven’t gotten around to the movies or anything else outside of the anime series, I really did love Madoka and so going back to that world sounded like it could be quite fun.

Magia1b

This is still done by studio Shaft and character designs and the witches all still look very much the way they did originally. That said, I couldn’t help but feel the direction in this first episode wasn’t as captivating or engrossing as the original anime. Everything works well enough and the animation is gorgeous but there’s no wow factor to it. Part of that is because what might have been the wow factor, the appearance of the witch’s labyrinth, has been seen before in the original anime but I think part of it is that this episode just lacked flair.

Magia1c

But rather than comparing it to what has come before, this episode introduces us to our new heroine, Iroha. She’s a pink haired girl whose parents have conveniently left on an overseas business trip leaving her alone which works well for her because she is pursuing her magical girl duties while trying to remember just what it was she wishes for. Yep, she has forgotten, or been made to forget her wish. The reason she’s fighting the witches in the first place. Admittedly, the mystery isn’t one for long as they visually give the audience everything they need to figure out what is missing even if we don’t know exactly how that is related to Iroha’s wish. I’m guessing this will all become clear eventually.

Affiliate Link – Game Soundtrack
MAGIA RECORD: PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA SIDE STORY

In the meantime, fellow magical girl Kuroe has been hearing rumours and has had a dream telling her that magical girls can be ‘saved’ if they go to Kamihama city. The how and why of that has yet to be determined but both Kuroe and Iroha find themselves in Kamihama city after they are carried their by a witch. Turns out the only thing waiting there are bigger and stronger witches. Again, there’s probably more to this story and I’m sure we’ll find out as the series progresses but for now that’s where we are sitting.

Magia1d

As a first episode, this wasn’t super thrilling but it also wasn’t bad. I am curious about Iroha’s wish and just what is happening in Kamihama city so it did its job at least in laying out some mysteries and hooking me in to watching more. Hopefully Magia Record ends up delivering a decent story and for now I’m optimistic that it can and so for now this one is probably a firm addition to my watch list.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


More wish making magical girls facing horrific battle? Check out all episode reviews of Magia Record.

Images from: Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden. Dir. Gekidan Inu Curry. Shaft. 2020.

The Promise of a Traitor Times 2

The Promised Neverland post title image

The Promised Neverland Episode 6 Review

We already established that Ray is a traitor in The Promised Neverland but betrayal seems to be an ongoing theme. While we know Ray and Norman are in a contest to see who will blink first, with both seemingly willing to betray the other at the earliest convenience to them, we have so many other betrayals bubbling away.

Isabella betrayed all of their trust and we really see the impact of that again through Don and Gilda’s eyes in this episode. Now, some people might cynically say that this betrayal happened back in episode one and we saw it through Emma’s eyes in episode 2. But it is important that we realise that as more kids find out the truth and are brought in on the plan, each one has to come to terms with the most important person in their world actually being an enemy. Don and Gilda’s reactions are a snap-shot of what all the kids are going to go through, though I assume they won’t tell the younger ones until they are already over the wall (it would make more sense).

The Promised Neverland Episode 6 Don and Gilda

Don and Gilda though have also betrayed the group’s trust by going off and doing their own thing, though in Don’s view they weren’t trusted in the first place so he doesn’t view his actions as betrayal. It’s an interesting dynamic and one that they kind of sort out, but at the expense of a fairly public argument even if it did occur at night.

The Promised Neverland Episode 6 Don Calls Them On Their Lie

Meanwhile, Krone remained remarkably out of sight for a second episode, but that just made her final appearance this week even more dramatic. She’s determined to betray Isabella but is in check mate. However, Don and Gilda’s inclusion in the plan gives her a new opportunity after witnessing the group outside at night and so Krone plays a fairly bold, if slightly, insane move.

However, as with all of these characters, the question is whether or not the kids can trust Krone long enough to use her to escape (the idea of an actual alliance being completely ludicrous).

The Promised Neverland Episode 6 Ray

I really enjoyed this episode and I like the dynamic being constructed here. Ray had some interesting expressions again and I get they are contrasting his usual dead pan with the few moments he emotes but it really is the weakest part of the characterisation for me. Meanwhile, Emma’s just a bundle of gorgeous, and I’m waiting to find out Phil is a traitor given he’s the one who entered the room scaring Don and Gilda and is also the one who alerted Emma to the secret in the books. Seriously, what’s up with Phil.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1
The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1

Angels of Death Episode 4: This Is The End

angel4b

That minor nagging voice from last week telling me this might get better has now been dragged out and beaten to death by common sense. Angels of Death is boring which is the most irredeemable thing something made for entertainment can ever be.

Angel4a

I love psychological horror. I love bad horror. Cheesy dialogue. Cliche set ups. Standard horror settings. Angels of Death has all the ingredients to engage me as a viewer regardless of whether it did it well or in a terrible King’s Game kind of way. And yet since about midway through the first episode I’ve been kind of bored and just waiting and hoping that somehow this would improve.

Episode 4 is no exception and I’m pretty sure I knew four minutes in that I wasn’t continuing beyond this episode. Yet another floor boss is introduced and we get the usual tongue licking the lips to show she’s unbalanced (though later we’ll also get the mismatched eye thing too) and then maniacal ear-grating laughter. This by itself isn’t the end of a show but lets look at every character other than Rachel so far.

Angel4d

We meet Zack in episode one and he kills bird and laughs maniacally. Great, he’s crazy, better run. We meet the Doctor who pins Rachel down and throws his head back and laughs crazily before getting skewered on Zack’s scythe. We then meet Eddie. Now in Eddie’s defence, he was more of a giggler than a laugher but the point remains that other than giggling and ranting about his love for Rachel from the shadows, we once again have an extremely shallow characterisation that somehow is supposed to be thrilling.

Maybe I’m just missing something but all I feel while watching Rachel stare blankly at walls before commenting that there is something there or nothing is bored. All I feel when I see Zack getting electrocuted in a chair he idiotically sat on is exasperated. And all I feel when the show ends on a cliffhanger with Rachel potentially about to be done in by poison gas is weary.

Angel4c

For me, watching anime is fun and engaging. In that sense, I think I’d rather go back and watch Record of Grancrest War than even one more episode of this (not that I intend to do that).

However, next week I’ve decided to finally start a formal rewatch of Yuri on Ice, as opposed to just binge watching it whenever I’m feeling a bit down, and I’m going to review the episodes again, hopefully a little more objectively than I did the first time (though honestly, given Yuri and Victor are smiling at me from the wall next to my computer, I somehow doubt it). Anyway, if you want to join me, I’ll be covering episodes 1 and 2 next week instead of watching anymore of Angels of Death.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
x click but21

Angels of Death Episode 3: Surrender to Game Style Dialogue and Repetition

angel3d

Episode 3 continues with the mediocrity and makes it clear that no one really thought through how this would play out as an anime. I’d like to say I was done with this, but there’s this minor nagging voice in my head telling me it might get better.

Angel3c

There’s not much positive to say about episode 3 of this. The creepy atmosphere kind of developed in episode 1 is completely gone at this point. While we’re still wandering around dark levels of a hospital, the environment is so different at this point it is impossible to really think that and instead we’re just in kind of a generic creepy place. However other than a lack of decent lighting, there’s little to actually give you a sense of creepiness. Oh look there’s running water and grave stones. But that’s not enough and it doesn’t evoke anything as we watch the characters stumble around in this episode.

Angel3a

If we add to that the ongoing lack of chemistry between the two main characters and that the giggling floor owner this week was a pumpkin headed kid with some romance delusion that was insufficiently explained to have any impact, there’s just not much to hold onto as the show forces us through one game mechanic filled set piece to the next. Whether it is Rachel drawing the audience’s attention to the torch, the notes, or even the final fight sequence which reminded me of playing King’s Quest where if you didn’t have ‘this’ item you were doomed to failure, this show doesn’t sit well as an anime but really does look like someone playing a game and it isn’t doing the show any favours.

Angel3e

Also, lack of anything else to pay attention to has me wondering how Zack’s mouth even works given he has a bandage clean over it and yet he manages to speak just fine and it opens and closes.  I guess he could have cut a slit but then wouldn’t we occasionally see lips instead of bandage that somehow seems to move perfectly with his mouth. This is the kind of thing that only distracts me when I’m slightly bored while watching, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the emotion the show was going for.

Honestly, I should drop this and if I have any sense this will be the last episode I watch. However, I somehow suspect next week curiosity as to whether it can improve will get the better of me. We’ll see.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
x click but21

Angels of Death Episode 2: When It Feels Like You Are Watching A Play Through Rather Than An Anime

angel2b

While the first episode of Angels of Death was intriguing in its atmosphere, episode 2 kind of just walks us through a level with mediocre results.

Angel2a

Continuing on directly from the end of episode 1, episode 2 ends with Zack refusing to kill Rachel because of the bored look on her face but promises to kill her if she can show him a better look. Then changes his mind and promises to do so if she helps him leave the building (though apparently he entered it voluntarily because he was told he could kill people). It is all a bit convoluted and unexplained and the mysterious announcements have kind of disappeared and in exchange we have Rachel finding notes from an unnamed giggler who won’t show up until the end of the episode.

Angel2d

What this means is we spend most of this episode listening to Rachel make some sort of observation about the world, Zack react, usually over the top angrily with a snarl in his voice, Rachel calmly explain something, and then they go to look at the next thing. It’s all very much like watching someone play a really dull point and click adventure and all of the tension and atmosphere that was kind of promised in episode one has evaporated entirely. Which of course isn’t helped along by Zack who rotates between dumb, loud and violent, or suspicious depending on which roll of the dive the writers decided to go with for his next reaction.

Angel2c

We even get a ‘cut scene’ style sequence when he goes on a rampage destroying the grave stones. I’m sure someone thought that music and laughter gave it some kind of edgy tone but mostly it was just a cringe worthy sequence in amongst what was a pretty boring episode.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
x click but21

Angels of Death Episode 1: Here’s This Season’s Edgy Show

angel1b

Rachel has woken up in a strange building without much in the way of memories. After talking to a type-writer she gets into the elevator just as she hears an announcement that calls the girl in the basement a sacrifice. After that, things get weird.

Angel1d

There’s something inherently creepy about hospitals, basements, and isolation and Angels of Death capitalises on all of these elements to set up what could be quite an interesting story. The problem being that so far the two encounters Rachel has had with other characters has them being comically over the top in their psychotic natures to the point where any tension that may have been constructed by the setting and some of the interesting visual choices is more or less instantly shattered.

Angel1a

That isn’t to say that there might not be some fun to be had with this series. But for something labelled as psychological horror I’d kind of want a little bit more than the cackling scythe wielding guy seems to offer or the duplicitous doctor that doesn’t do such a great job of keeping his crazy in check.

Angel1c

Still, with a setting this interesting, I’m willing to give the show a little more time to set up its story and to see where this intends to go. There was a lot of chatter about this one prior to the season and while I have attempted to avoid spoilers I must admit I’m a little curious. However, judging this episode on its own, it is fairly average. Great setting and establishment of atmosphere, fairly ordinary to poor characterisation so far.

What do you think of this first episode of Angels of Death?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
x click but21