Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis – 03

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That’s the look of a person you can TRUST.

The town of Nebelville is cloaked in foreboding fog, which causes Kaisar to pass out while searching for Favaro, who now has a bounty out on him. But when Kaisar went into that fog, he already had a fog around him: a fog of singlemindedness bordering on obsession, that occludes his ability to see he’s stumbling into a very carefully-laid TRAP.

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The funny thing is, he’s so successful in tracking Favaro down, he arrives at Favaro’s next destination before he even gets there. Lucky for him Favaro’s mind isn’t as fogged up with vendetta and loathing for his nemesis. Favaro wants to get rid of his damn tail. That means escorting Amira to Helheim (which is still way way way far away, Missy), which means he needs coin, which means he has to do what he does best: bounty-hunt.

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After climbing a cliff to snatch up herbs to make an antidote before facing his quarry, he realizes he could have used Amira to simply fly up to them. Amira corrects, him, saying she cannot fly (though she can clearly jump really high) after losing a wing in “The Incident.”

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That “incident” she speaks of is the time she, as a demon, broke into the realm of the gods — where demons aren’t supposed to be able to tread” — and stole the God Key, which is to say, absorbed it into her soul. So yeah, she’s down a wing, but she’s also totally the God Key, which explains why we’re taken to the realm of both angels and demons as they discuss how to neutralize/exploit this development. Bahamut is waking up, after all. That’s not good…right? It’s probably not good for a simple bounty hunter like Favaro.

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Meanwhile, both Kaisar and I are totally taken in by the Fog of Nebelville, seeing it how he sees it when he wakes up: a quaint but cozy town whose doctor’s daughter Rita rescued him, set his broken arm, and fed him, before her father asks him to help them out with a troll-like demon problem. Kaisar, the valiant knight, would be happy to assist in any way he can. All of this seems to piss Rita off.

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Look at that place. This show has some sweet-ass settings, I’ll give it that.

Kaisar sees a bit of himself in Rita’s disdain for her family, inspiring him to regale her with pretty much his life story: family of knights; hard upbringing; resented folks and rebelled against them. But then, when a King’s Tribute was stolen under his father’s watch, his dad was hanged and the entire House of Lidfort ruined and torn asunder. It’s a sad tale well-told with energy and drama by Kaisar, but Rita is unmoved, sick of “playing house.”

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The next morning (if you can call it that; so damn foggy!), the first of a multitude of dominoes the episode had artfully set up is nudged over, and everything comes together. As soon as the one of the trolls Kaisar faces starts talking with a somewhat Favaro-y speech pattern, I knew the fog was having some kind of hallucinatory effect on Kaisar. In reality, everyone in Nebelville is dead and rotting.

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And who’s behind it…Rita! Rita, who also happens to be the target Favaro was preparing for all along. He and Amira come in with handkerchiefs soaked in the herb potion he made, protecting them from the fog’s effects. Whether she aimed to use Kaisar as a pawn to defend her, or was just bored with two hundred years of necromancing, the jig is suddenly up for Little Miss Rita.

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She sics her town’s worth of zombies, but again, as they’re both highly capable fighters, Favaro and Amira have no trouble shaking them off. I love how while hunting a bounty, Favaro ends up saving the life of the bounty hunter hunting for him. When Rita’s own father bites her, and she collapses to the ground, I’ll admit, I felt bad. That’s right when I learn Favaro isn’t even after her, just her book, a “black bible.” In another example of how Favaro, like the Honey Badger, don’t give a shit, he leaves Kaisar bent over Rita’s bloody, soon to be zombified corpse, with the decision of having to finish her off before she rises.

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She does rise…but later Kaisar walks across the same landscape as Favaro and Amira had earlier, with Rita following behind, seemingly alive and well, but probably…something else as well. And now, just like Favaro, Kaisar has a lovely and powerful traveling companion all his own! You gotta love the dichotomy of these two.

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Gugure! Kokkuri-san – 03

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Inugami is, without question, part of Kohina-chan’s family of spirits now. He lives outside and has a brotherly (read: abusive) relationship with Kokkuri-san. He constantly jabs at Kokkuri-san’s value and, eventually, causes Kokkuri to bald in patches.

Enough is enough! Kohina loves Kokkuri!… or at least she loves his soft fuzzy pelt! So begins a few, short lived, attempts to rein Inugami’s behavior in.

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Having discovered a mysterious tome at a used book store, Kohina discovers she should be walking Inugami at least twice a day. At first, they both love this and Inugami greatly mellows. However, after the third walking, Kohina loses interest and makes Kokkuri-san walk Inugami instead.

This goes poorly, since Inugami refuses to wear his dog form during these walkies.

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Then an old and most drunk Tanuki shows up and Kohina’s fate is sealed: she’s gonna be the most haunted little girl/doll in all of Japan!

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G!Ks kept true to its course this week. Its jokes are snappy, cute, and emotionally costly to its characters. (even Kohina-chan!) It’s also very warm and loving, especially when it focuses on Kohina and Kokkuri-san, who has promised her something in the past we have yet to learn.

If I had any criticism, I would say G!Ks plays it safe compared to the other 8+ rated animes of this season. That isn’t a bad thing to be sure! It is very good. Just… safe?

If you haven’t been watching, one: why don’t you like things that are funny and two: tell me why in the comments below!

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Fate/stay night vs Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works

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A fair number of people have argued that Fall 2014’s Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is being rated as part of a beloved franchise, rather than on its own merits as a show. Since I hadn’t seen F/SN’s 2006 anime adaptation, and do not have time to read the LNs and other adaptations, I thought it would be interesting to put that theory to the test.

After only a few minutes with the older version, I’m surprised this franchise lived on to reach today, let alone carries a large fan base. Even before comparing the art styles and presentation styles, it’s obviously not a great looking show. With those comparisons… ouch?

Comparison Images are Old on Top of New.

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Cheaper, less immaculate storyboarding and detailing aside, F/SN’06 has downright terrible pacing. We get none of the breathing room that to mood build and silently develop characters as seen in F/SN’14’s.

’06 just jumps in with a narrator summing up what the Holy Grail War is and Bang! Rin is doing magic. Worse, the narrator poses the summoning process in what sounds more like a card-battle context, which just sounds dated and “Go buy a supporting CCG” product focused.

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Again, ’06’s short format forces Rin and Shirou’s opening stories to play out at the same time, in a quarter of the time they were given in ’14. The result is Archer shows up, says “Oh look I have a weird master” and then we cut to Shirou waking up the following day.

No character development, no world building, not even pretty costume design to look at. Hell, ’06 doesn’t even establish what some of the major magic elements are nor how they work!

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Speaking of Shirou, he’s a lage part of what makes ’06 so average, if not terrible. It’s not just because he’s a little obnoxious, a little cocky sounding, and has the contextual depth of a peanut. Really, It’s his constant narration.

I just don’t need a character to mentally introduce me to every character, backstory, and location. Especially when his explanations don’t carry any nuance or special detail that a real person — a believable character — would make. It’s all very lengthy and full of empty, textbook-style details.

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I can’t speak to people’s love of the franchise for it’s original LNs or any other adaptations, but man! Fate/stay night 2006 doesn’t seem like it would have done anything to keep the franchise in people’s minds.

Even by the standards of the day, it’s unimaginative and feels rushed. Sure, it was a TV series, which means smaller budgets than a lot of what I think back on at the time, but these drab colors seem more at home for a mid 90s anime.

If you watched more of the old adaptation that I did, or have an argument for it, shoot me a comment below!

Weekly OP: Cross Ange

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo is second only to Shingeki no Bahamut in terms of shows I look forward to most each week. Yes, it’s dark and bloody and more than a little messed up, but that’s the point!

Meanwhile, it also has a pretty sweet OP, one of the more memorable of the Fall season due to its combination of usual sci-fi mecha J-Pop styles with a welcome infusion of the kind of Celtic instrumentation usually reserved for lower-tech fantasy shows.

It works because not only is this a sci-fi mecha series with a fallen princess (and that music is a nice reminder of the fancy, ideal life she used to lead), but there’s also knights and dragons.

And yes, Ange herself, Mizuki Nana (you may also know her as Saya from Blood-C and Kirihara from Darker than Black), sings the vocals to the opening theme, “Forbidden Resistance.”

Orenchi no Furo Jijou – 03

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Takasu, a country Octopus…Man joins the crew. Where he came from or how he found out Wakasa was living in Tatsumi’s bathtub is not explained and I’m not even going to try. I mean, it doesn’t seem like Tatsumi lives too close to the river and, aside from a portable TV, Wakasa has no connection with the outside world!

But don’t over think it! This is a 3:30 long show when you deduct the opening theme. We only have time for the jokes!

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Takasu is a bit clumsy and, like Wakasa, he’s definitely taking advantage of Tatsumi’s easily exploited kindness and inability to kick people out. However, unlike Wakasa, he fixes what he breaks. (at least he fixed a flat-panel TV this week)

I get the feeling though that he’s more clever than Wakasa too. Not just in technical things, but in planning. He knows there’s an order to things — an order to the events leading up to asking someone to stay in their bathtub.

And hey, he even mooches Wakasa’s pizza! He definitely knows what he’s doing!

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Over all, the episode was was adorable…and kinda creepy. Concluding on an octopus massage, which was definitely arousing Tatsumi went a long way in that regards. It was very ‘happy ending.’ But with sucker popping noises. Ick?

However, during the credits we learn that Octopi love small, dark spaces and Takasu climbs into Tatsumi’s washing machine. Uh, I guess each creature will have his or her own place?

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou is a weird show and it’s getting weirder. It’s also getting decidedly more BL too! I’m not sure how I feel about that yet…but for now, it’s harmless short fun and worth at least 2 laughs, which is way above the average laughs per minute!

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Amagi Brilliant Park – 02

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Seiya quickly gets over the annoyance of his new-found telepathic ability. Not only is it fairly limited, in that he can most likely only use it once per-person, he’s got more important tasks to resolve: Kurisu Takaya of Amagi Development wants the park closed, pronto.

While Seiya holds his own in the meeting — he totally blindsides Kurisu with superior mental math skills and a blase attitude — Amagi’s deadline is set in stone. They have until the first week of August to hit 250,000 visitors.

And no one, not even the park’s magical residents, think that’s going to happen.

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As stated last week, Latifah wants Seiya to become the park’s manager because a seer has prophesied it to be so. And it’s not like Seiya isn’t competent — Amagi Development even offers him a job — but it’s a tall order to drop on a high school student who doesn’t know you.

More importantly, the park really frustrates him. Little details stand out as kind and thoughtful, but their priorities are all wrong. They take too many days off, they don’t run a long enough day, and too many attractions are broken.

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Ultimately, he decides to help them in the most efficient way possible: by becoming the villain and kicking the tar out of the cast himself. They need a change and they need focus and no one else can give it to them.

So, while many of the furry cast members go off to drink, Seiya stays and crunches the numbers and, to everyone’s horror, he chooses to close the park for repairs the following day.

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Another great episode from a series that knows what it’s doing: it is giving us variety and sincerity. Comedy and sadness. Action and calm introspection. Hope and fear.

Amagi has a lot of heart, it’s drawn very nicely, and there’s plenty of nice things to look at. If you’re feeling a little down from your normal routine of slapstick, fanservice and/or by-the-book nonsense, take a break of give this show a watch. I think you’re going to like it a lot!

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Magic Kaito 1412 – 03

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Kaito takes a break from his quest to solve his father’s murder and thwart the mysterious forces seeking the fountain of youth to shut down Gramps’ bar’s biggest competitor. That bar is certainly owned by some villainous jerks and Kaito is technically  grabbing an amazing pool cue Gramps’ used to own but lost in a bet, but this week’s heist is pretty shallow.

Who knows? Maybe Kaito just wanted to show off to Aoko and/or get her really drunk for fun?

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We start off with a Yakuza giving Gramps crap over how poorly his bar & pool hall is doing and getting Kaito caught up on Gramps’ backstory as a pool shark and how he lost his most valuable possession to another shark years ago. That shark played fair, but his boss, the owner of the Yakuza’s club bar and pool hall, cheated by doing something nefarious to Gramps’ cue chalk.

It’s small stakes, but Kaito was having fun (totally sucking at pool) with Aoko and Gramps’ Legendary Cue is covered in jewels…so? Reasons?

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So Kaito, Aoko and Gramps go to “the American” and, like the dreary lounge music playing there, pretty much everything that follows is forgettable.

Kaito and Aoko, who are under aged, have to dress up and pretend to be married college students to get in. Aoko gets drunk on no-alcohol-free alcohol-free drinks. Kaito pretends to be terrible at pool (and maybe he is?) but pulls a final shot victory after losing all night.

Everything you would expect happens — Kaito even uses dummy decoys again — and the good guys win back the prize by the end. Ho hum.

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This week wasn’t so much terrible, as forced. Kaito is intentionally playing a clown — figuratively playing the clown that his father talks about in a flash back — for most of the hustle. It’s grating and impossible to imagine his opponents tolerating it as long as they do, nor seeing through it as an act.

I mean, if someone sinks no balls for many games straight, then challenges you for the prized item in an all or nothing game, a hustler has to know the hustle is on.

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Also in the ‘forced’ category was the actual criminal activity perpetrated by the mobsters. Really? You smuggle guns by hiding them in the pool tables you play on? What could possibly go wrong?

It’s no wonder the police got there in seconds as soon as the baddies guns were drawn!

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At least the visuals stepped up a notch. Generally, Kaito’s colors were brighter and the palette had more depth. Add in the pool-hall haze this week was Kaito’s most striking visual. Seriously! It had a cool vibe, even if the show is way too silly to actually be cool.

In the end? It was cute but more than a little wonky. Even by the genre’s standards, Kaito did a terrible job covering his tracks. I mean…he’s standing next to his own body double dummy surrounded by totally disinterested police.

Kinda meh.

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