06 April 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Chronos Ruler

Anime Review: Chronos Ruler

chronoruler

Chronos Ruler teeters on the brink of being a really good show, but doesn’t take full advantage of the best parts of its story. It’s like the writer had a lot of ideas, kept throwing them out, and chose to stick with the most cliched plot threads because the audience would be most comfortable with them. And yet, there are parts that are genuinely good that make Chronos Ruler more than yet another show about people fighting monsters.

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12 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Classroom of the Elite

Anime Review: Classroom of the Elite

classroomoftheeliteClassroom of the Elite has some nice ideas, but swings wildly in execution. The premise is that Japan has set up a super elite school where every graduate is guaranteed to be accepted to the college of their choice. Though students are not allowed to leave their entire high school career and communication is cut off with the outside, the living facilities are top notch (there’s even a sizeable mall on campus) and every student is given a budget to live on, starting with 100,000 points (the equivalent of 100,000 yen or $900) to pay for their first month’s expenses.

Students are judged as a classroom, based on merit, and points are awarded at the start of each month. Otherwise they are free to do as they like. Several of the first year students of Class D fritter away that first month’s worth of money with the happy expectation that they will get the same amount next month. Others fall asleep in class once it becomes clear that their teacher won’t say a word if they do.

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05 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Fall 2017 Anime First Impressions

Fall 2017 Anime First Impressions

ancientmagusbride
I’m running late with this season’s impressions. Unlike last summer, which was fairly lackluster, fall had a number of new anime series I wanted to check out, including what is becoming one of my favorites ever, so I think it’s still worth bringing attention to these, even though the season is almost over!

As usual, I look for two to three series to keep me entertaining throughout the season and this fall wasn’t hard to choose from.

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06 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku

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Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku is the sixth season of the long-running series (also known as Natsume’s Book of Friends). I previously reviewed seasons 1-4 here and season 5 here.

Natsume Yūjin-chō follows the ongoing misadventures of teenage Takashi Natsume, who has the ability to see youkai (spirits out of Japanese folklore) when most people cannot. Because the series is episodic, it’s generally easy to slip into the middle with minimal knowledge of what has happened in the past, but a few of Roku‘s episodes work better knowing Takashi’s (and his grandmother Reiko’s) history.

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27 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: KADO: The Right Answer

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KADO: The Right Answer is an usual piece of science fiction for anime to tackle. While first contact scenarios are about as common in anime as in Western movies, they are usually played for action (when the aliens are hostile) or comedy (when the aliens are not). KADO chooses to begin with an alien whose motivations are obscure by our understanding.

Yaha-kui zaShunina arrives in a giant extra-dimensional cube that lands on top of a passenger plane, accidentally absorbing it and all the people inside. Fortunately, one of those on board is ace government negotiator Kojiro Shindo. When the alien entity does not appear to be immediately hostile and goes to the effort of absorbing the the concept of human language, the two of them begin to communicate.

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20 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Attack on Titan Season 2

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Attack on Titan‘s first season aired far enough back that I don’t have a review on Diabolical Plots to point newcomers to, but suffice to say it’s good! It crosses over to mainstream media much easier than most anime, but the story was clearly far from complete, which brings us to Season 2.

Be aware that there will be first season spoilers as I tackle the second season!

Attack on Titan took four years to return, which is surprising considering how popular it is. Part of the delay was no doubt because the first season had chewed through most of the available manga at the time it was animated, but considering that the second season is only covering one additional story arc, rather than two, I’m not sure why the studio waited so long. The manga has completed three more story arcs since the end of the first season, so from a storytelling standpoint, there’s a lot to work with.

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26 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Fafner: Right of Left

Anime Catch-Up Review: Fafner: Right of Left

fafnerrightofleftFafner: Right of Left wasn’t available to English speaking audiences for a long time. Animated back in 2005, it’s the second oldest entry in the long running Fafner series, but never made it stateside, likely due to its status as a direct-to-video prequel.

Right of Left was also skippable when the Heaven and Earth movie came out in 2010, but when the Exodus TV series emerged in 2015, it became clear that Right of Left wasn’t optional viewing anymore, as they made references to characters and the plan that makes up the heart of Right of Left. It was clear I was missing something.

Thankfully, at some point in the past year or so, it quietly slipped into the streaming library at Daisuki.

Right of Left takes place about half a year before the original Dead Aggressor and involves the class ahead of Kazuki and the others who will become the pilots of the first show. As such, we get treated to slightly younger versions of most of Dead Aggressor‘s pilots, back before their worlds got turned upside and raked over the coals.

However, because we know the pilots of Right of Left don’t exist in Dead Aggressor (save for the one who’s killed in the first episode), it’s a safe conclusion going in that Right of Left is going to be a downer. Some tissues may be needed.

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19 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Psycho-Pass

Anime Catch-Up Review: Psycho-Pass

psychopass1 Psycho-Pass is an original self-contained anime from 2012 that I missed during initial broadcast. I’m generally not a big cyberpunk dystopia fan, so I only came back when I kept hearing about it. This review covers the first series, which is stand-alone.

I’d never thought about how much different American TV storytelling is from Japanese until I watched Psycho-Pass and realized how western its presentation is. Character development, particularly for the supporting cast, feels paced out like I would expect on an American show, with small nuggets here and there that lead to an eventual payoff, and the world itself draws clear inspiration from Philip K. Dick (particularly Blade Runner and Minority Report).

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05 June 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Anime Review: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

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ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is a slow burn, sometimes agonizingly slow, which is incredible considering that there are rumors of a coup with secrets all over the place and multiple characters who have no idea who can be trusted. Each episode feeds into the audience’s pool of knowledge and yet the truth feels frustratingly out of reach for half the show.

This isn’t necessary a bad thing, as it’s a ground zero view of the information most of the POV characters are working with, but ACCA plays its cards so close that the world seems made up of trees rather than a forest.

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26 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil

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Saga of Tanya the Evil is one of the best military-oriented anime series I’ve watched. While a lot of shows feature characters who are part of a military unit and involve war-related storylines, Tanya the Evil is particularly well suited to military enthusiasts, the kind willing to argue whether the Schlieffen Plan actually could have worked.

That’s not to say that lay people can’t enjoy Saga of Tanya the Evil on it’s own, it’s fantastic watching our jerk protagonist scrabble out of situations that progressively get from bad to worse, but military history buffs will get an extra kick out of the show from its pseudo-historical setting and frequent basis in historical tactics and battles.

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