Category Archives: Anime Blog

Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX – 6 – 8

Symphogear trudges ever on!

And it would seem we’re having our “Ocean palace” event – that is, the most climactic and often most tumultuous act in a series, save the final rising climax itself. Carol is up against Chris and Tsubasa, and it would seem that she’s going all out – she even possesses a form similar to those of the Neptune series; that is, the ability to draw out her latent power in an adult physique. Anime, everyone.

Hibiki of course joins up with Chris and Tsubasa and subdues Carol. But she gets away, right? This can’t possibly be her end, right? Well..it looks like it is in fact, her end. She suicides, but not before taunting Hibiki about her memories, the same memory flash that caused her mental anguish only a few episodes. The truth of the matter is that her father is the source of some tension within her family.

Oh, Galie and Micha are dead. Thank god, fuck both of them, they were the most irritating of the auto-scorers. At least the remaining members are sufficiently intimidating and it isn’t completely unfounded.

I’m really getting sick of seeing the symphogear users look like bumbling morons when we know they’re capable of more – Maria uses her berserk mode but even without it gets jobbed hard. Shirabe and Kirika look like idiots before finally getting their act together and realizing that they have to coordinate. Hibiki lets her father’s sudden appearance and willingness to “make amends” cause her to lose focus in the midst of battle. My god, do you guys see Chris or Tsubasa having these problems? Like, how much more often are you going to let yourself lose focus, lose horribly, and look like a complete dolt. Don’t you ever get sick of it? This is your third season guys, get your fucking act together!

I don’t know if the autoscorers are just this powerful or not but even two symphogear users (Shirabe and Kirika) taking advantage of the Ignite module have difficulty with even one of the autoscorers. Lord. Are they just that strong?

I must admit, the writers conveyed the idea well that Hibiki’s dad is a jackass – even I wanted to punch this bastard. What a douche. It’s difficult to tell if he really is trying his best to make amends and just comes off as a douche or is actually just a complete jackass who is superficially ‘trying to reconnect with his daughter’. Not enough information and I’m not interested in spitballing that one – if you want to reach your hand deep into the anime cliches bag, be my guest!

Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX – 2 – 5

I’m back from the dead, married, and have more shitty opinions on shitty anime than ever. Yes, that’s right, I’ve returned to do battle with the 2d plane once again. Let’s fucking do this.

Hibiki’s opponent is not even a pawn, but rather the ringleader of the new ring of antagonists dubbed the “Autoscorers.” Haha, I get it, because music, and they generate Noise, maximum kek. This is part of the thereby dubbed “Symphogear cycle”, however – cocky, highly arrogant group of bad guys appears (always with roughly the same number of bad guys as number of good guys) who attempt to keikkaku-doori their way through every obstacle and challenge, usually with positive results until the endgame where they get humbled. Ok, so that was generic enough that it could apply to most shonen anime, but whatever.

What is the autoscorer’s motive? The only clear goal at this juncture they’ve shown us is their willingness to destroy the artifacts that house the symphogear weapons. They meet Elfnein, who is on the run from the Autoscorers. From Elfnein, an artificial being, they learn the truth behind Carol’s motives. Hibiki also loses her motivation to fight the Autoscorers because of a familiar anime protagonist plague, i.e. “I can’t use my power to hurt anybody! Not even ‘da bad guys'”. This doubt in her soul requires Maria to step in and take action, even without a LINKER of her own.

We were also introduced to one of the autoscorers; a cocky, blue dressed doll girl named Galie, who I cannot wait to see die.

Oh, right, and everyone except Hibiki has lost their symphogear armor. Apparently the alca-noise have the ability to destroy them (in addition, the autoscorers have been wisely targeting their relics). Why in the seven hells has no previous villain ever attempted this? If it’s really as easy as taking a drill from home depot to destroy a symphogear relic then hell, I could even beat them.

Hibiki soon loses her symphogear relic, Gungnir, to an autoscorer who is equally annoying to Galie named Micha. Project Ignite is launched by the united forces in order to combat the autoscorers, giving Chris and Tsubasa new symphogears in the process.

Hibiki seems to have flashes seemingly of her father before she passes out. I wonder if the anime will just toss this by the wayside or expound upon it? Who can say. Oh, Shirabe and Kirika’s relics were both destroyed as well, but it’s all good, they’ll get it back.

Just wanted to say that the episode title for the fifth episode might be one of the best I’ve ever seen. “Edge Works.”

Edge Works indeed.

Prison School Manga – General Impressions

This has no doubt been the longest post hiatus yet – for that I apologize. Preparing for marriage does that to you.

On the flipside however, I’m proud to introduce a new section I’ll be talking about – manga. While this is a ‘general impressions’ post, expect to see me post reviews of entire chapters as well. Now, enough pleasantries – onto the review.

Let me start with a little history to frame your expectations of my impressions: I’ve actually been reading Prison school since February of this year and didn’t get into it until several threads describing it’s exploits in detail became popular on /a/ around the beginning of the year. With so much discussion (and unquestionably exceptional art), I had no choice but to investigate for myself. There will be light spoilers in this review (This is but a brief taste).

So what is there to expect from this manga? Well, to put it bluntly, it’s pretty vulgar. Please do not let children read this holy shit. But with amazing, sharp character designs, interesting progressions, and totally absurd situations, you will be consistently entertained from start to finish. It’s worth noting that Prison school is a weekly publication that, unlike most weekly publications, doesn’t lose steam or become plodding. It has been consistently interesting from the day I began reading it to current day.

But what can you expect from a series that follows the exploits of 5 boys in a previously all-girls school? Well, the situations write themselves, you’d think. But to be honest, their initial vulgarity is only a premise for the first act of the manga, where the boys are put into a prison inside the school where they must serve a mandatory amount of time, enforced by the underground student council. If they have three strikes, they are expelled from the school, which is Mari, the head of the USC’s ultimate goal. Things do eventually go their way and the second act of the manga has the story take quite a turn and, somehow, even manages to make me feel sorry for their former captors as old enemies become friends.

While this may send your cliche sensors ringing, the truth of the matter is that these twists and turns are handled with figurative grace – foreshadowing provides the needed groundwork for revelations and “keikkaku doori” situations unfold in a satisfying manner. Well, I suppose your mileage may vary.

The art is sharp, striking, and easy on the eyes. Characters like Kiyoshi, Hana, or Gakuto are striking and unique in both looks and personality. Backgrounds are detailed and very little is left to the imagination. Yes, I mean that the way you think I do.

How about the characters? Lets take our main character Kiyoshi, who at first glance may seem like our typical beta protagonist, but developments show that while he is superficially that beta protag, underneath he’s just as much of a guy as any of his friends -admittedly, a normally guy with some unshakeable resolve in times of crisis. Gakuto, who is easily the most developed of Kiyoshi’s friends, also plays a pivotal role in the first act of the manga and will likely have you rooting for him at every turn. Without any spoilers, he has “been a bro” on several occasions. I’m quite fond of him myself.

The characters grow together – gone are the stagnant shonen relationships of the yesteryear. Without going into too much detail, I doubt you will be failed to be captivated by every seemingly insurmountable obstacle presented before our heroes.

Of course, this is just a brief “general impressions” post. Expect to see my thoughts on chapters in the future!

God Eater – 1

Hope you like twitch, because God Eater has more twitch than a Russian AMV editor using mindless self indulgence.

God Eater is an anime made by Ufotable based on a game of the same name (Although in north america, only the “burst” edition was localized). While having received a recent entry to the Vita two years ago, we are only now seeing an anime adaptation to the widely popular franchise. If you don’t think you know what this series is, I’m sure if I were to show you a picture of Alisa you’d say “oh, I have seen this after all.”

The show introduces Lenka Utsugi, our protag, who is quiet but seems to possess a fair deal of drive and a particular distaste for the amagami (the ‘monsters’ of this universe). Nobody can blame him really – they destroy and kill with reckless abandon. Lenka has shown to us that he values and protects human life more than he seeks to destroy the amagami. Despite being respectful, he ends up doing something rash when Fenrir is attacked by disregarding orders and dispatching. Thankfully, he is saved by Lindow, Sakuya, and my personal favorite for some time now, Soma. Man, Soma is so cool. I almost cosplayed this guy a few years ago.

Lenka and his fellow comrades are all known as “God Eaters”, dedicated to exterminating the force of amagami in the world. Lenka is frequently referred to as a “new type” in the episode – the brief amount of the game I’ve played tells me that they are referring to his weapon’s ability to switch between blade and gun form. This would also explain Skauya’s surprise that he shot the shit out the amagami near the end of the episode – the rest of the first squadron is using old types that lack such an ability.

As expected of Ufotable, the animation is beautiful. I feel as though they are right at home animating scenes that take place in dark, decrepit city settings for some reason – must be all that color correction. While the twitch is annoying sometimes, people that are complaining about it are probably not familiar with the series’ origin – that aethetic was everywhere in God Eater Burst’s game opening.

Interested in seeing what I’m talking about? Take a look here and make note of the visual cues/similarities to the aethetic presented in the anime.

Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX – 1

Symphogear season 3 is here, and Chris is still the best girl.

The event involving Maria, Shirabe, Kirika, their mother, and the crazy doctor seemed to be dubbed the “Frontier Incident”, and was quickly hushed up to the public. It would seem that Maria and the others were indeed punished for their involvement but have been given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves – Maria serves the public in a similar fashion to Tsubasa. More importantly the world seems to revere the symphogear users as those that saved the earth – which they’d better damn well do, considering they did! After the Fine incident in season 1, I would say that the world at large wasn’t aware of the existence of the symphogear unit at all.

The new season hits us with some other hard facts right out of the gate – it would seem as though the symphogear users are deemed as goddamn japanese military weapons. Not a ridiculous statement considering what they are capable of, but it’s pretty hilarious that this is largely being applied to japanese high school girls. Oh well. This is anime after all.

The second division that we know and love that has been dedicated to protecting Japan from various threats of the Noise has been reorganized into S.O.N.G. (kek), who is focused on disaster relief around the world. That’s right, we’re going global this time.

So, enough with the synposis (I said I wouldn’t do those!) – what was up with the creepy “doll” like creature that attacked Maria? It seems that we’re sticking with the power of three villains again in this season (Sultry roof lady, little red riding hood girl, and creepy doll lady) – and as long as these adversaries remain powerful I’m totally ok with that. I’m just along for the ride.

Goddamn Tsubasa can NEVER finish a concert without something horrible happening. Why do people keep going to her concerts when shit usually attacks her or the audience all the time? She’s like villain catnip.

I’m most excited to see all 6 symphogear users in battle at the same time, a prospect I have been excited for since the beginning of the second season two years ago. How will Hibike, Tsubasa, and Chris work with Maria, Shirabe, and Kirika? Here’s hoping we find out soon. They need a LINKER or they won’t be able to use symphogear at all, after all!

Hibike! Euphonium – 11 – 13 (END)

Reina is still the soloist, as Kaori meekly (but wisely) concedes that Reina is more suited to the part. This shows incredible character – I was proud of her.

The final two episodes have our heroine Kumiko sorting through some difficult feelings of inadequacy – including kyoani tears and breaking into a sprint in the city while crying. Bad combination. Quite often in anime like this we see our heroines tasked with a seemingly insurmountable task only to prevail – but I must admit that the world of Euphonium has created a suitable atmosphere for the tension of competition. Indeed, it feels as though anyone, skilled as they might be, can try and still fail – there are no guarantees and no “plot cues” for deus-ex machinas. Given this, I greet every chance for Kumiko to prove herself with hesitation as nothing is guaranteed. The writers are merciless and they will waste no time to remind you.

Natsuki, Hazuki, and the others all presented Kumiko and the band members with good luck charms. The gesture was small and cute, but I found it genuinely touching – these girls must have so much else going on in their lives, but they still wanted to support their bandmates who even technically ‘defeated’ them. Such innocent and genuine gestures are rare in the real world. Thankfully in the world of fiction, we have access to unmitigated acts of touching love and companionship such as this, unfettered by selfish desires. It’s small, but it makes me smile.

So, how does our school stack up? Competition is fierce, and every tension cutting second of the performance had me sweating and on the edge of my seat. Of course, our band prevailed. Kumiko realized that she never thought of going to nationals as a serious goal prior to this moment – but with it directly in front of her, suddenly she has something to shoot for. I can relate. Often we give ourselves goals but we never actually “think” about attaining them. In this moment, Kumiko reconciled that dream with reality.

I’d personally like to thank this show for reminding me of the rigors, discipline, and companionship that I had with my fellow chorus members back in high school.

The show ended in an elegant way that many anime fail to take notice of (and, as a result, end up being over-indulgent). The competition is won, and nothing needs to be wrapped up – bravo, Hibike! Euphonium. I hope you return for another season so we can see these students take it to Nationals!

Hibike! Euphonium – 9 & 10

The appointed time is upon our fellow classmates – the dreaded audition. Who will prevail, and who will bitterly fall by the wayside?

Not Kumiko. It would appear as though she’s got what it takes as she (Along with a few other expected, like Midori and Asuka) makes the cut. Hazuki, on the other hand, is a bit out of luck. As a beginner though, I don’t think she should take it too personally. On that point, it would seem she hasn’t! It’s rough being in her position surrounded by capable players – that is a sure sign of emotional strength.

Midori is also feeling guilt over pushing Hazuki to confess to Shuichi, but everyone knows she was just being a good friend. Hazuki comforts her and changes her focus to Kumiko – namely, doesn’t she have feelings for Shuichi? It’s clear he does for her. Kumiko gives the first “confirmation” in my opinion that she, in fact, does have feelings for him, which I found to be quite surprising! She didn’t give any blusterings that would have given away her position prior to this – if she did, then I’m sorry for being dense.

Also, Reina is selected as the soloist over crowd favorite Kaori. Can you say “Shitstorm”? What, you can’t? Finish chewing your food first, please.

Poor Natsuki also did not make the cut, something that cut her pretty deep, although she won’t admit it. Looking sad and wistful, she is cheered up by Kumiko who exclaimed at the same time as me “You really are a nice person.” It’s the truth.

Did I mention how much I like their summer uniforms? They’re cute and, uh, “Spring”-y.

Kumiko again tried to figure Asuka out and the only thing that can be deduced is that she doesn’t personally give a shit about anyone, instead focused soley on what they contribute to the band and the performance of the school as a whole. I don’t think anything can be ascertained of her motives just yet – my guess would be some personal experience where human drama caused her or her fellow classmates to lose a competition.

As according to keikkaku, it would seem as though Taki sensei DID in fact know Reina before attending this school. Her father and Taki himself are good friends. This causes unrest within the band as rumors begin to spread that Reina was only picked as the soloist because of her “connection” to Taki and not because of the merit of her playing abilities.

Furthermore, in a bit of a twist I wasn’t expecting, Reina actually loves Taki. Like, love loves. Oooh boy. Sounds illegal, Reina.

In a bold move, Taki pronounces that there will be a second round of auditions – definitely not something I was expecting to happen. In some circumstances, it is a wise move to make – they can’t possibly complain if all the band members are judging it this time. If Reina is the better player and she wins, then nobody will be able to object. The band’s morale is important and Taki isn’t stupid – he knows this.

What happens now? Kaori has a second chance. Who do I want to win? I like them both, personally, so may the best girl win.

Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works – 23 & 24

“Know this..In this moment, you are powerful.”

That particular moment where Gilgamesh acknowledged Shirou’s power gave me the chills – for someone as confident as Gilgamesh to acknowledge the strength of someone as humble as Shirou speaks magnitudes as to how much more powerful he truly got.

At first, I was feeling as though the narrative post Archer’s defeat was disconnected with the overarching theme and central conflict with the show. To that point, I could not be more wrong (And I feel stupid now that I figured it out) – Archer was only a part of the whole puzzle in Unlimited Blade Works. The true focus of the narrative has always been and continues to be one person: Shirou Emiya. Throughout the run of the show, Shirou’s ideal of how he should live his life has been brought into question several times: You cannot save everyone – is it truly right to sacrifice one to save others? Is humanity even worth it? Shirou has even been called a hypocrite several times as this ideal is not even his own – it was born of his admiration of Kiritsugu Emiya and his hope to not only emulate his late father but carry on his wish.

Shirou’s answer to those questions seem to be as follows: So what if these ideas are not my own? I will make them my own. So what if humanity is selfish? I will save as many people as I can.

In many ways, Shirou has constantly, unflinchingly rejected any and all ideologies that have dared to stand in his way, and for that he deserves respect. Even a heroic spirit like Saber has bared witness to all that Shirou has stood for and fought for the right to protect. And protect he did.

Gilgamesh, while he may possess several thousand noble phantasms, has never mastered even one of them, which ultimately gives Shirou the upper hand. They are opposites in more ways than simply “One is the weakness of the other” – they are opposites in their view of humanity’s worth, purpose, and desires. While nothing in the Type Moon universe saves Tsukihime or Kara no Kyoukai has ever had anything extremely profound to say in regards to humanity, it is powerful nonetheless.

Thus, the grail was destroyed by Saber, who’s contract was complete and disappears. Somehow Rin managed to save Shinji as well. Also, Archer was alive? Uh – I’m not really sure how that can be possible – for him to be manifested in this world again, someone would have had to make a contract.

His reminder of his humanity before he disappeared did make me smile. Shirou’s existence has come full circle.


Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works – 22

MORE FISH IN PLACE OF PHYSICAL INTIMACY GUYS!!!

Man aren’t you glad you have me around to give such edgy, awe-inspiring words like this? Haha, ok, get ready for more uninteresting drivel of a similar sort.

So, Shirou is deduced to be Gilgamesh’s opposite – something that Rin has figured out in part due to his unease and feeling of being threatened by Shirou. Mankind has corrupted the grail and with it, Gilgamesh seeks a way to wipe out the “trash” that is humanity. Whoever survives will have been deemed to be ruled by him. Yes, there is not much more to expect from Gilgamesh, who might be one of anime’s biggest egomaniacs.

Rin, Shirou, and Saber all know that Shirou cannot take Gilgamesh on even in spite of this huge advantage. Despite Saber’s protests, it’s been decided that she will storm the gate and destroy the grail, as she is the only one who can do it as a servant. Saber reluctantly agrees and Rin transfers her mana to Shirou in as awkwardly a way as possible. It would appear as though Ufotable has decided to go the clumsy DEEN route and I can’t really say that I blame them – I don’t feel as though Rin and Shirou’s relationship is developed enough for them to have a, uh, extended scene of physical intimacy. I feel as though if it were to happen as it did in the visual novel, it would feel forced.

I feel as though their relationship is only beginning – and only at a time of great emotional connection and strength between the two of them would a scene like that feel tasteful and strengthen their story. But, eh, oh well.

Instead we got a whale. Enjoy your weird fuckin’ CGI whale thing. I think he was cool. He was green too. Green whales are cool.

The scene where Rin watched Shirou doing the high jump in school was really, really cute and touching to me for some reason. Sometimes, a little dash of personal touch like that is all that’s needed to make a connection.

Saber’s talk with Shirou made me beam inside. Saber is the most noble motherfucker under the sun. I don’t even think anyone deserves her as a guardian, she’s so good. She values Shirou’s thoughts and life even though she has no obligation to give a shit. To me, that is amazing.

Next week? We put the plan in motion. If you watched the preview it would seem as though a friend of ours hasn’t quite left this world yet! It’s going to be up to Saber to deal with him.

Hibike! Euphonium – 7 & 8

Otherwise known as the fall of Aoi and the rise of the Shuichi love triangle!

…What do you mean “who?” Shuichi is the boy that Kumiko hangs out with after school all the time to act cold towards! God, how can you forget?…Ok, so maybe he hasn’t done too much at this point. That’s ok – he plays in the band. Take my word for it!

Here, we witness Aoi doing the “high school duty” – prioritizing her studies over the extra curricular. Not an easy choice to make but ultimately one that many young people need to come to grasp with, often very early in their life. It seems that it goes deeper than a matter of prioritizing what is right – Aoi is motivated by guilt. She feels that because she was unable to stop members from quitting in the previous year, she is unfit herself to go to nationals. It seems that none can convince her otherwise, and the band moves on solemnly without her.

It would seem that Haruka is losing focus – however, she soon gets a grip on reality and returns.

And now, we’ve got love troubles everyone! Hazuki loves Shuichi, and depite the fact that I was quite convinced that Kumiko didn’t feel anything for him, it appears I was quite wrong! She seems to blush at the thought of him. In the end, Kumiko ends up snubbing Shuichi’s advances and he goes to the festival with Hazuki, only to turn her down. Hazuki is convinced to set both Shuichi and Kumiko up, although she didn’t do so without crying her eyes out. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, for whatever-the-fuck-reason, Reina decides it’s a good idea for her and Kumiko to drag their instruments to the top of a goddamn mountain and play at the top. It would seem that Reina finds Kumiko’s true, horrible personality as attractive. She states she has no desire to fit in the crowd (Is that really much of a surprise? No shit). It seems as though they’ve missed the festival entirely, instead opting for some character building! Definitely much need – things are awkward enough between the two of them.