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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19 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Spring 2017 Anime First Impressions

Spring 2017 Anime First Impressions

Spring brings back a lot of anime with new seasons and spin-offs of older properties that I didn’t expect to be returning. My spring anime sampling is a bit incomplete though.

During the winter season I had mentioned that Amazon’s Anime Strike had entered the simulcasting game, but had too few exclusive titles. That is not true of spring, where Amazon has licensed a whopping 12 titles, just over a third of all new series this season.

alice&zorokuFor Amazon Prime members, it’s another $5/month, but if you don’t already subscribe to Prime, Anime Strike becomes fairly pricey. I may binge watch the Amazon exclusives later, but for now I’ll be sticking to the older streaming services; Crunchyroll, Funimation, and to a lesser degree Daisuki.

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27 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Ajin: Demi-Human

Anime Review: Ajin: Demi-Human

written by Laurie Tom

ajin Ajin initially bears a superficial resemblence to Tokyo Ghoul, in that the protagonist goes from normal human being to a monster in the first episode. From there Kei Nagai undergoes a similar journey from lamenting his fate to accepting what he is, but Kei’s journey progresses faster and he takes a decidedly different tack when it comes to dealing with what he’s become.

The past couple decades have seen the emergence of a few people called Ajin. They cannot be conventionally killed. Any lethal damage from starvation to disintegration will result in the body dropping for a few seconds to a minute before regenerating to full health. But the interesting thing is that partial damage stays until the body dies, so it’s possible to incapacitate an Ajin for capture. Ajin themselves can put their regeneration to creative combat uses and may intentionally try to kill themselves if they’re too hurt.

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20 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Natsume Yūjin-chō Go

natsume yujin-cho go

After four years, Natsume Yūjin-chō (also known as Natsume’s Book of Friends) returns with Natsume Yūjin-chō Go. This is the fifth season of the long running series and I previously reviewed seasons 1-4 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. Though a kind-hearted person with good intentions, being able to see youkai creates no end of headaches as they frequently want, or even demand his help, and when his small circle of friends have youkai trouble, Natsume’s the person most likely to lend a hand.

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