Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Stream: Acttually I Am...: Episode 4

Ah Asahi he tries so hard to do the right thing and yet nothing goes right for him while the episode is mostly focused on him having to help Aizawa who's larger unit has depowerd after she misunderstands an innocent conversation between Asahi and Youko as something lewd. The misunderstandings play off well for the straight laced Aizawa made only funnier by the fact that Aizawa is only the size of a small figurine and Youko who is dense as can be still thinking that Asahi likes Aizawa. While the last half is slapstick chase with the others thinking that Asahi has designed what they think is a figurine of Aizawa. So Asahi allows his reputation to be further stained to protect the class rep and than it comes to Aizawa mysteriously being made to full size by a new character with horns and magical abilities. Still while the humor has gotten more coarse there is still a charming naivete to most of the cast although Shimada is quickly becoming the annoying pervert of the group that i hope gets punished more often as he's frankly insufferable. Mysteries are laid ahead and feelings are explored not in any real depth yet but slowly the story is developing it's cast and expanding it while also keeping a certain innocence to the series that continues to be it's main charm point in a Anime world that relies more on sleaze than characters or comedy to develop characters or entertain. While Youko's dense and dimwitted attempts to get Asahi and Aizawa together are some of the funniest parts of the episode due to the series expert use of the straight man/fool dynamic.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Stream: Actually I Am...: Episode 3

Akemi Mikan becomes the focus of this episode as the erstwhile gossip columnist of the school newspaper makes it her mission to find out Asahi's relationship with Youko. Large parts of this are broad slapstick comedy interspersed with cute almost romantic moments between Youko and Asahi, the series over all feels old fashioned in it's comedy like a 90s show or the same comedic timing found in a show like Slayers. It's not bad simply older than one would think to find in a series in 2015. I also have to say Mikan gets some decent character development and behind the hardhearted gossip columnist is actually a rather sweet girl who hides her own soft and caring heart behind a pretense of being the antagonist. Even hints of magical realism get thrown in as well not really feeling as if done for the sake of weirdness but as a way to aid in character development. Still if anything the show is still feels old well written in parts but still as if something with not much happening other than Asahi seeming to accruing himself a harem of some kind. Still feeling chaste still although the soon introduction of Shiho may end up changing that soon enough

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Stream: Actually I Am... Episode 2

Asahi now having been officially "Friend zoned" by Youko now aims to try and be supportive and enjoy her friendship while also stumbling through the intricacies of vampire social etiquette and the secret of class rep Aizawa is learned to a reveal of not only her having an actual set of emotions underneath the stoical exterior. Aizawa's unscrambling of her feelings for Asahi are the strongest part of the episode and while it's very much the slapstick comedy of the first episode it's Asahi's nobility in being willing to protect Youko and Aizawa from the repercussions of their respective secrets being revealed that make him more than a mere "Fiction suit" for the male audience. While Youko is dense as can be given Asahi's feelings, it's all classic early 2000's late 90s harem comedy pacing but it feels like it all has a heart and is not simply a retread of tired cliche. This is a series that doesn't reinvent the wheel or attempt anything staggeringly original and that's fine beyond the workmanlike archetypal character writing is an interesting realm filled with aliens, vampires, and awkward honesty. Also this episode helped me see that Natsuki Hanane can actually have some good comedic timing and know how to play off of other Seiyuu to good effect.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sailor Moon Crystal Stream: Final Thoughts

This series I know I said I would finish it to the bitter end but now it looks like it may not even end. This was supposed to be the series that made a new generation of fans and reminded older fans why they loved it instead this entire series was a slow motion train wreck of bad animation and stilted writeing combined with so much lost potential from the first two episodes that this is a abomination to the franchise of course it does not mean that the orginal anime stops existing or I can read the manga and be happy with this but for me this series never happend and it does not exist. My response now is "what Sailor Moon ONA!" I mean the CGI in this episode make Star Fox 64 look good and the amount of just bad thigns in this series as a whole are incalcuable and yet I wanted to like this series now I may not even get my faveroute arc becuese of the utter faliure that is this series. I am done with this series I'm done I still love the manga Sailor Pluto will always be my Wifeu but this series needs to be forgotten and fast.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Stream: Actually I Am: First Impressions

Kuromine Asahi is a high school student who can not keep a a secret only now he has found out that his crush the icey and mysterious Shiragami Youko. Is actually a vampire and beyond that his image of her as the aloof "ice princess" is actually shattered when it's revealed that she's actually a upbeat and kind of dense girl who when nervous sinks into speaking in Kansai-ben. Asahi for his part is a good hearted guy who is more the comedic foil to have others play off of his own ineptitude. A large part that saves Asahi from being a complete wash out is Natsuki Hanae's performance while not as emotionally raw as his performance in Tokyo Ghoul Hanae captures not only the inate nobility of Asahi willing to table his onw feeling for the sake of someone he loves to be happy. But also the put put upon straight man while Yuu Serizawa as Youko is if nothign fun stumbling over words large reactions and confused understandings. Serizawa is a good foil to the often put upon Asahi. While the only other charcters of note are Okada, Shimada, and Sakurada (Asahi's three friends) Okada being droll and sarcastic Shimada the resident loser perv and Sakurada the scarey looking but gentle one. Also the school newspaper club editor Akemi Mikan a rabid gossip obsessed reporter who live to find secrets. Reina Ueda chews the scenery as Mikan making for if nothing else an interesting "Arc vilian". While class representative Aizawa Nagisa seems to be mostly used as a explanation for why Asahi is reluctant to confess his feelings to Shiragami. That being said Nagisa's rejection is so blunt an brutal it's a little bit of thing to behold. While overall cinematography captures mood well as I'll tend to notice more how a scene feels or the emotions it entails in visuals along with the voice acting. With tense close ups good use of music it's got some nice small touches that make it something to look at more than a way to motion something that gets the story form point a to point b. As a first episode it sets up a very genre romantic comedy but with depths of questions and hints of other secrets that other characters may be hiding it's a charming odd little series but I wouldn't expect anything less from a series based on a work found in Shonen Champion Magazine. In short the series (for now) feels like it's gearing up to be a mid 90s harem series comparable to Love Hina (a series I despise) or Tenchi Muyo (A series I remember fondly but know is not that good). Actually I Am feels old in it's comedy and paceing but at least it has some heart and does not feel completely souless.

Centaur's Life Volume 6: Review

This has not been a series I have reviewed much not because I think it's bad far from it it's a unique mixture of slice of life, speculative Sci-Fi, and sly social satire that makes it unlike any Manga on the market. Yet it's all these elements that make it so hard to understand how to approach it. In this volume alone there is everything from speculation on the nature of religious faith, sexual identity, and questions about the real motives of the Antarctic snake people. Along with quiet stories dedicated to extended dream sequences or wordless action scenes with no dialogue. Yet none of it feels disconnected from the story as a whole only as snapshots of a strange alternate world. This is particularly true in the last story which takes a magical girl show and uses it to criticize some of the more problematic aspects of direct democracy. It's this unfocused aspect to the narrative that makes a volume to volume review so hard because each chapter feels self-contained to the the damage of the overall story. Structural problems aside each story has it's own unique parts never feeling like a repeat of previous stories. While also it's mostly Murayama-Sensei's world building that keeps me coming back with the implied conspiracies and behind closed doors government repression. While also outwardly presenting a charming alternate time line filled with various cultures and groups of various monster-folk. While also sometimes belaboring the explanations behind the science of how genetics works in this world. It's a series that's hard for me to explain why I like it other than it occasionally has moments of sweetness that function like a healing Anime or Manga simply being a quiet oasis of simple pleasures. While also feeling densely thought out and that the Mangaka likes to show his work.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sailor Moon Crystal Stream: Episode 25

Emotionaly this is probaly the most honest the series has been since the early episodes dealing with Ami and Makoto with Pluto doing the noble sacrifice although the question is also why would such an obtrusive code of conduct be implemented? All and all the first half is a really well done emotional piece showing Chibi-Usa's friendship with Pluto and it's a really sad part as it shows Chibi-Usa showing some real emotion in part thankfully to Misato Fukuen's acting captureing the mental turmoil between her Black LAdy persona and the little girl who ends up becomeing a new scout in probably the cleanest transformation sequence the series has had. The first half is all that's good about this episode capturing real emotion and warmth while the second half is long drawn out explications and Wiseman explaining how evil he is and everyone else trying to defeat the seemingly unbeatable villain. So while the emotions of the first half redeems the series with a clean transformation sequence and a relay great performance by Misato Fukuen. while the second half is simply more of the same problems the series has had but it's less galling now after haveing become numb to it after so many episodes of spotty quality.In short this is a series that is idealistic to the extreme but I think something like this needs to exist as often time reality is too bleak. We need heroes and Sailor Moon and all the Sailor Scouts are those. In short this episode rekindled my love for Sailor Moon showing why it still matters from a pure moral core to Usagi and Mamoru's relationship based on complimentary dynamic to simply the real emotion I felt at Pluto's heroic sacrifice and it's played out that it may seem like a over use of pathos but it works I cared that Pluto was making the sacrifice even though it would be retconed so she's alive again. It still matters nonetheless and I really needed something to make me feel and this did it.