Rate the last anime you watched out of 10

crashmatt

Death Scythe
I knew you would love Pet Girl, great show. It's a shame it never got picked up over here id say it's a MVM type release but suppose you can just import.
 

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
AUKN Staff
crashmatt said:
I knew you would love Pet Girl, great show. It's a shame it never got picked up over here id say it's a MVM type release but suppose you can just import.
Yeah, it really is. Sadly, I don't think it ever will now, despite how great it is.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Lupin III: Part IV

Taking the Yamamoto/Koike strand out of the equation, I would stand by Part IV as a good show which is a big improvement on everything they've done with Lupin anime in the last fifteen years or so. Unfortunately, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine showed what the franchise could look like when allowed to take risks, and it's painfully obvious that was not something ever on the table here. It's a great looking series with some real stand out episodes, but we're not far enough removed from the tired old tv specials to really call it a classic.
 

qaiz

Pokémon Master
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise: Review (1987, Film)
Breaking the concept of anime and doing away with old conventions, these are the foundations which gave birth to Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise. Released in 1987, debut of the legendary studio Gainax and the first foray into anime production for the Japanese toy giant Bandai, Royal Space Force has gone on to establish the way in which many anime series and films are created today, but almost 30 years ago a film such as this was thought of as inconceivable.
The Royal Space Force is a space program set on the fictional Kingdom of Honneamise which is where we meet the protagonist, Shirotsugh Lhadatt. Although the space program boasts a 30 year history it has yet to bear any fruits and has been rendered not only a joke among the people of Honneamise and a burden on the government itself. Even the cadets enrolled onto the space program itself have all but lost hope as they lounge around without purpose, drive or determination and as they do so the notion of getting anything into space at this point becomes ever more ludicrous. Furthermore, as an impending war looms over the nation the money being sunk into the Royal Space Force is seen as a waste of resources and causes upset among the people. Honneamise is a prosperous place, a kingdom amidst an industrial revolution but like many developing nations it’s clear that the distribution of wealth is uneven at best. It is here that Shirotsugh Lhadatt sees hope and optimism, among the people of Honneamise when he meets a young religious woman named Riquinni Nonderaiko and it is here where his destiny changes course.
Although the people behind The Wings of Honneamise are today seen as immensely talented individuals, at the time they were unknown quantities, amateurs fresh out of college and so the production of this now highly revered and respected film was seen as an impossible task because this wasn’t the way things operated back then, but this is far from the only breaking of old conventions. Many of the anime films from this period of time were not only based upon pre-existing properties, mainly compilations of TV series but also directed by people with extensive portfolios, factors that led credibility to the projects and instilled confidence into its investors. To create a wholly original film, to entrust eight hundred million Yen and launch your animation production initiative off the back of this unknown quantity is without a doubt a breaking of old ways. The parallels between the story of Wings of Honneamise and the team behind the film itself is evident, the unlikely tale of a group of geeks and nerds doing the impossible and defying all odds.
Animation since its inception has been a medium aimed at kids; however this was a notion that had been quickly diminishing in Japan. The potential to tell stories beyond talking anthropomorphic animals was becoming ever clearer. In fact this was a period in which the audience themselves were becoming the creators which led to the creation of works such as Wings of Honneamise. One of the greatest assets of animation is the freedom it affords its creators to construct wholly new and interesting worlds, worlds devoid of constrains of the real world. To create from nothingness and to construct a whole new world, with new methods of transport, clothes and languages, this is what anime affords its creators and Wings of Honneamise was created when this idea started to take hold, as the amateurs started to become the ones in charge, the ones that would go on to create the foundation for anime today.
It’s clear that many of these sentimentalities were instrumental to the later Gainax works such as Evangelion, creations that weren’t appealing to sponsors at the time and unorthodox in nature. There was a consensus within Gainax at the time that during their youth it would be more productive to create something strange and different, maybe even ugly because as they matured they would then be able to think more about balance. After all, their stay within the industry wasn’t guaranteed, they had no idea that they’d still be making anime decades later and so an all-out approach made more sense. It was a means of creating an identity for Gainax as well as an atmosphere that puts its creators first. It was stated for example by the director that his friend Hideaki Anno was great at animating explosions and so he decided that the climax of the film would feature them prominently in order to bring out the best of Anno’s abilities. Instead of the director creating a story that he liked and having everybody else make it for him, he thought about what stories the staff would want to make instead.
In fact at the time the biggest name on the production of Wings of Honneamise was Ryuichi Sakamoto. Although the YMO keyboard/vocalist was hired to compose the soundtrack, he wasn’t alone. Sakamoto ended up composing four themes and two other composers, Haruo Kubota and Yuji Nomi composed the rest. The idea behind this was to diversify the soundtrack of the film just like the visuals. Personally I found some pieces to work better than others, with some pieces actually diminishing the effect of the scene and feeling out of place. The music is definitely an acquired taste and works for some people more than others. The main theme by Sakamoto itself is fantastic however with many different renditions featured throughout the film with the ending credits version being the best.
There’s no denying that the Wings of Honneamise is a spectacle and a film of epic proportions and a lot of its most ambitious effects and set pieces are the work of Hideaki Anno. Adorned with the title Special Effects Artist, a title that was rare within animation at the time, Anno had the job of executing the animated equivalent of special effects that you’d see in live action film. It’s true that special effects are as much of a character as the characters that star in the films themselves and this isn’t a new phenomenon. People were flocking to the theaters just to see the set-pieces. There’s a weight to the mecha within Wings of Honneamise with a fanatic attention to detail that brings them to life with even attention being brought to the tiniest of details within the inner workings of the machines which adds credibility to the world and makes it more tangible. Being known for his depictions of explosions, a great deal of emphasis is placed upon them within the film. The explosions themselves are multi-layered, starting with shock-waves and then the flames themselves swelling up as shrapnel scatter. Different tones of orange are used to represent the different intensities and temperatures. To further the point, in a scene towards the end bits of ice fall down and each shard is animated by hand, with each one moving at its own speed with some twisting and turning as they fall. What this does is allow the animator to represent occurrences and phenomena that would otherwise be invisible to the viewer such as gravity and inertia. You could argue that up until this point most special effects utilised within anime was used as a means of depicting supernatural phenomena and battles but here it was used as a means of solidifying this world and making it feel as real as possible.
It’s abundantly clear the visuals have aged like fine wine and the story itself is as timeless as one can be, however I will note that a lot of the cuts and transitions from scene to scene are pretty odd and the whole film is marred with strange pacing issues. Likewise, a lot of the music choices are strange with some not fitting in with the scenes themselves at all. Was this another attempt of discarding old conventions and doing away with what is deemed acceptable, choosing to purposely create something weird and odd to stimulate the audience in a different manner? Maybe, and if that’s the case then the team succeeded. Director Hiroyuki Yamaga himself stated that the film in hindsight was uneven and unbalanced so I’m not the only one feeling this way. Nevertheless, the quirks do etch out a unique identity for this film and also one for Gainax, a studio that went against the grain for many years later and so it’s fitting, after all as Hiroyuki Yamaga mentioned the studio was blindly swinging around at the time with the idea of finishing the film itself being a huge question mark on the production.
It’s fair to say that I’ve avoided the elephant in the room, the controversial scene that takes place halfway into the film. I won’t go into specifics as a means to avoid spoilers but also due to the simple fact that I could easily dedicate a whole post to that scene alone in a much more nuanced fashion but I will mention that the scene is still a blight on an otherwise fantastic film, and not because of what happens in the scene and the subject matter at hand but rather because of how the film fails to follow up on that scene in any meaningful fashion thereafter. You can see their intentions but it just felt horribly out of place and I feel that the film overall doesn’t lose anything by removing that scene altogether, with many releases doing exactly that, although many would argue otherwise. One could argue that it intensifies the tragic nature of Riquinni’s character but that could have been done in other, less ham-fisted ways. Others may argue that the film follows a downhill trajectory after this scene that it never recovers from but I wouldn’t go that far, but I won’t deny that a bitter taste was left in my mouth throughout the remainder of the film. That’s not to say that I still don’t hold this film in high regards, but I honestly feel that the film is a stronger one without that scenes presence. There are many breakdowns of the scene, defenses and condemnations and so I implore you to read them for yourselves and make up your own mind. I do believe that the film has a stronger first half and that the second half is weaker outside of the final scene, with some weird tonal shifts here and there but the second half is not without merit.
Whatever stance you take on that scene, it’s hard to deny the legacy of this film and the impact that it has had on the animation industry. For all of its quirks and all of its abnormalities Honneamise managed to forge an identity that is unlike any other film, one that is enriched in history and shrouded by a fascinating production that ultimately paved the way for what would become a storied studio. Despite its shortcomings, The Royal Space Force is a must see spectacle, a film that glistens like the stars 30 years later.

8/10
 

Jinjer

Completely Average High School Student
disk wars avengers

basically, what happens if, for some convoluted reason, loki stuck as many marvel heroes and villains he can gather into dimensional gadget thingies called "disks" effectively turning them into pokemon but, for some other convoluted reason a bunch of kids figured a way to summon them too and used their new-found power to fight evil

i like how it really tries to work in the marvel comics universe, instead of just mcu (that means the mutants get their own arc), and give it a shonen anime spin though it's really weird how the characters get sorted into "types" (e.g. cap is "fight-type", wasp is "animal-type", etc.) speaking of wasp, i really dig her look here compared to her other appearances

but, yeah, this is still basically digimon with the marvel stuff placed in, the mons-show tropes are everywhere and tended to make things a bit too silly for my tastes at times...

final verdict: 7/10
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
qaiz said:
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise
It always saddens me a little that Gainax have never done anything quite like Honneamise ever again. Maybe it's doing them a disservice to say so, but I feel there's a degree of serious artistic intent in that film that I've just not seen in anything else they've done. I don't grudge them their reputation as fan-centric entertainers, but I feel they do (or at least did) have it in them to make something a bit more arthouse friendly as well.

Who knows, maybe Uru in Blue will still happen.
 

NoSurprises

Straw Hat Pirate
Just a short one to say I really really enjoyed Space Patrol Luluco. One of the most enjoyable things I've watched in a while.
 

Yakumo

Student Council President
Michiko & Hatchin

Publishers love dropping names. It’s a fact. They’ll say anything; establish any connection – however tenuous – to tie their title to a more celebrated peer, all in the name of drumming up sales. That’s why more often than not a cover may proclaim “From the makers of <insert epochal title here>” or “From the creative genius of <insert supposedly significant creator here>”. In the case of Michiko & Hatchin, the blurb on the cover hints at a connection with Cowboy Bebop.

So, is Michiko & Hatchin like Cowboy Bebop? Nope. Is it a bad product for it? Well, that’s what we’ll be finding out.

The central story focuses on Michiko and Hana, purported mother and daughter who are forced on a journey in which they will discover how much they as flawed individuals really do need each other. The setting is an interesting one: the country in which the story plays out resembles what would have resulted had Japan colonized Brazil, and thirty years later Brazil had reclaimed its independence. It’s a colourful and vivid setting. It’s also dangerous, which is to be expected given how the favelas and the gangs within them play a large role in the characters’ backstories. What I found especially appealing was how the story played out in a way that didn’t seem overly scripted. There were no pat endings to the various plotlines – those that aren’t left hanging anyway – and no dei ex machina to salvage any narrative dead-ends.

Given the ethnicity of the main character and the setting of the anime, I went with the English dub. Which was a good decision as I finally heard Monica Rial give the tour-de-force performance that I knew she was always capable of. Previously she’d be saddled with youthful, frothier roles, or her performance would sound phoned in. Here she doesn’t put a foot wrong as the foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails main character, who is still worthy of the viewers’ sympathy. Perhaps this is where the parallel to Cowboy Bebop can best be seen, where the main character uses cool cynicism and bravado to mask a lifetime of sadness while searching to make amends for past actions. Hers is the title’s standout vocal performance, and this performance alone makes it worth your time watching this show.

AV performance is reasonable. The Dolby TrueHD mix is not the most dynamic – the bass however is well pronounced – but then again despite the valent nature of the story, or indeed the opening theme suggesting an action-fueled madcap caper of a production, this isn’t an action title. If anything it is about the human condition of finding and protecting hope in dire circumstances. The closest title I can think of as a comparison would have to be City of God, with its favela setting and themes of trying to rise above one’s station in life, which also happens to be a favourite movie of mine.

So: Michiko & Hatchin. It’s no Cowboy Bebop, but it’s still a fine title. [8/10]
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
ReLIFE:
Arata Kaizaki is a part-timer, applying for interviews at full-time jobs, but constantly being rejected after he quit his first job as a salesman within three months. He has essentially given up on interacting with others, and has begun acting like a NEET outside of his part-time job. On his way back from a night out drinking with friends, where he was pretending to be in a full-time job to keep up appearances with his friends, two things happen. Firstly, he receives both a call from his mother cutting him off, and secondly, he meets a strange man with a bizarre job offer. The man’s job offer involves his participation in an experiment at the ReLIFE laboratory, with all his expenses paid for a year, and a potential job introduction if he performs well during the trial. His role is to take a pill that makes him look ten years younger and then go back to High School, where he will live as a student and resit the third and final year. Initially planning to keep his head down and stay out of the way, Arata makes an unfortunate impression on his first day and falls into a group of friends. He must then decide the best way to manage their relationship problems and the challenges of student life, all the while knowing that the students will forget about him once the year has ended.

Despite the science fiction premise and the abundance of pills on the artwork, ReLIFE is not a science-fiction series and it’s not about the problems of looking younger, nor is it about a clinical trial. There’s no clichéd glitches where Arata has to hide the fact he looks older, and there’s no discussion of how or why the pills work. The mechanics and workings of the pills are irrelevant, as ReLIFE is far more interested in exploring the nature of change in human interaction, or perhaps more accurately, the lack of change in human interaction. The problems Arata faces in work aren’t that much harder or more difficult to solve than in high school, the only difference is the perspectives of both Arata and those around him. Throughout the series Arata begins to face up to the realities of work and to realise that he is not alone, everyone faces similar challenges. Even good and honourable companies like the ReLIFE laboratory place undue pressure on their employees and expect the seemingly impossible from their support agents. Eventually he realises this and begins to re-evaluate his own decisions and question whether he was right to give in and leave the company when he did.

Both the manga and anime are available to Crunchyroll subscribers, and both are fantastic. However, I was disappointed to see some changes to the presentation of Arata’s character in the anime. In the anime he seems almost elated at his ability to interact with teenage girls without worrying, whereas in the manga his reaction is more stilted and surprised. Some of his other behaviour also comes across as slightly creepier within the anime. And whilst the anime is a significantly close adaptation there are a couple of changes that do unfortunately have an adverse effect for me. The pace has been slightly sped up, and it does unfortunately lead a few character’s actions appearing slightly less justified and more sociopathic than they do in the manga. There’s also a huge reveal during Golden Week that doesn’t really flow as smoothly as it does in the manga, as the circumstances leading to it have been altered slightly. The immediate reaction to this event has also been changed slightly, which unfortunately lessens the impact it has on Arata and the lesson it teaches him about the working world. I found this to be disappointing, but those who have never read the manga are unlikely to notice.

ReLIFE is an excellent comedy-drama, effortlessly switching gears between comedy and drama. I found it to have a rocky start for the first few episodes, especially given its unfortunate tendency to make characters appear more sociopathic and petty and childish than the manga. However, it eventually won that struggle and kept it under control, and the second half of the series is excellent. I was mixed at the start, but by the end of episode 13, I really warmed to and liked all the characters and wanted them to succeed. Whilst not especially flashy, TMS Entertainment have also done a brilliant job with the animation, which features some subtle but great touches like a bizarrely accurate representation of Microsoft Word, and characters that don’t constantly wear the same outfits outside of their school uniforms. I really enjoyed ReLIFE and would highly recommend it to others. You can stream all thirteen episodes of the anime now on Crunchyroll, and you can also read the manga on their Crunchyroll Manga service.

Rating: 8/10
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
ReLIFE was something that had completely escaped my notice (maybe I kept getting it mixed up with Re:Zero), but I think I'll actually give that a shot now.
 

Buzz201

Mad Scientist
Professor Irony said:
ReLIFE was something that had completely escaped my notice (maybe I kept getting it mixed up with Re:Zero), but I think I'll actually give that a shot now.
I don't think it's anything you did. It's actually airing over the Summer season, but all 13 episodes were previewed on a special app in Japan last week, so Crunchyroll were able to get all 13 episodes up for premium members on Friday. I just watched it within the first 24 hours it was available. :)
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
Anne-Happy (Unhappy Go Lucky)

Since Azumanga Daioh, there have been a lot of shows that people refer to as "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things". Something I find interesting is just how different each of these shows can be, sometimes focussing on mundane everyday activites, sometimes gradually developing characters through an ongoing story and sometimes consisting primarily of wacky comedy. Azumanga Daioh was basically a mixture of these things and it feels like Anne-Happy is closer to a similar mixture of elements than most. Well, it maybe does go a bit further with the surreal elements than Azumanga Daioh did.

I found the most pleasant surprise to be that the show took time out to develop it's characters and give them some interesting stories of their own. While there's plenty of time for over the top antics involving robots and technology that seems a little advanced for a school facility, the episodes often have an appealing core of dealing with relatable human issues. Each of the characters has struggled to fit in with others due to something that makes them a little different, generally something that is outwith their control or an aspect of who they are that they shouldn't have to change just to fit in. The show doesn't fully dedicate itself to exploring these issues, nor does it try to offer a solid solution (though you could certainly argue that it offers suggestions) but I felt it handled each of the stories in a well considered and effective way. By having this bit of extra depth it does make the show feel like it has more to offer and is putting in some effort to stand out and it also makes for a more enjoyable experience on the whole.

I also found the comedy to be fairly consistently enjoyable. There are a few running jokes that I felt were used reasonably well without being overused. While many of the jokes depend on something going wrong or the weirdly high tech equipment the school uses, there's a decent variety of situations that keep the comedy working. I'd say there's something of a mixture between comedy that centers on the characters and comedy that arises from the situations and both are fairly well handled.

I feel that I should also mention fanservice because I'm pretty sure there is some in the show. There's no nudity and not much underwear on show but there are a few shots (and outfits) that seem designed with fanservice in mind. I wouldn't say there's enough to consider it a major part of the show and there may not even be enough to put off people who really don't like fanservice but it did feel somewhat noticeable in the early episodes. It seemed that there was less fanservice as the show went along though, whether that's a good thing or not would depend on your preference.

I'd say the art in the show can be quite a strength at times. It varies between a few different styles to suit different scenes. I particularly liked the softer dream like style, though perhaps that was at least partly due to the types of scenes it tended to accompany. I'm not sure how great the animation is but it feels like the actual art and framing more than make up for any lack of movement.

While I did expect to enjoy Anne-Happy, it turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise in that it exceeded my expectations. I did feel that it had more to offer than just the straightforward wacky comedy I had expected and all of the different elements are well balanced and complement each other effectively. It's certainly one to try if you like wacky comedies of this type and one to consider if you like your comedy with a hint of depth to it. I'd quite like to see another season to go a bit further into developing each character and maybe moving them towards something of an "ending", although the single season was still quite satisfying alone.
 

crashmatt

Death Scythe
Banner of the Stars & crest of the Stars - Watched all three seasons plus the OVA. It really is a fascinating world it takes place in. I love a good space opera and this is certainly a good space opera. Its the relationship between Jinto & Lafiel that makes the series. It reminds me in some ways of Holo & Lawrence from Spice & Wolf even though the setting is totally different.

The art is a bit dated as it the animation but the story really shines. If you get the change to watch this then I recommend you should, its a bit of a hidden gem. It could do with a remaster but I cant see that happening.

8/10
 

MrLaserSharkKH

Stand User
Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro

The one show above all others I want to highlight and give it it's due is Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro. Probably the most Underrated/Overlooked series of the past season, it follows a chap called Agetaro who works at his families restaurant in Shibuya. One day, he takes a delivery to the staff of a night club, and he discovers that he actually really likes the club with it's relaxed people and cute girls, all enjoying the music supplied by the DJ. One night he returns to the club when guest DJ Big Master Fly is playing and is inspired to have a go at it himself, whilst simultaneously realising that the groove of being a DJ is very similar to the groove of being a tonkatsu chef.

This is a show where everything about it feels fresh, it has a certain uniqueness in it's presentation that sets it apart and fits the series so well. It has a great cast of characters (particulary the MC), everyone is just really cool to each other and there's little to no dramas involved, when Agetaro fails he dusts himself down and gets on with it and learns from the mistakes he makes, just an overall positive vibe all around. It has a nice and simple, effective soundtrack that fits the tone of the series, you will find yourself probably moving to the groove several times across the series without realising. I also love all the different allegories that relate to food and different aspects of DJing.

The series has a great vibe to it overall and is truly a very good feelgood experience, and comes recommended particulary if you have any interest in DJ/Club Scenes or are just looking for something unconventional/unique or even if your looking for a good time. Also only 9 minutes per episode, perfect, makes it nice and easy to consume in the world where there aren't enough hours in a day! The series is quite powerful though, so you may want to take it in smaller doses rather than trying to binge on it all at once, despite how tempting that might be!

8/10
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
ReLife

I thoroughly enjoyed this show. It deals with some very real issues in a thoughtful way. It does also have some lighter content and an overall positive tone but I really appreciated the way that it mixed in much darker and heavier material without getting bogged down.

I also liked the way that it gradually reveals details about characters and situations so that the initial impression you might have doesn't often end up being the full story. The main character is a prime example, he's initially painted as a "loser" of sorts with not much of a life to speak of but it slowly become clear that there's more to both him and his situation. This does help to make the characters feel more realistic as well, since people are quite complex and a few pieces of information will never tell you everything about them. Characters will sometimes do things that maybe seem a little silly but the show usually does a pretty good job of explaining the reasons behind their actions and while that doesn't always excuse their decisions it at least makes them feel more believable.

I have to admit, I found Chizuru to be immensely relatable. I'd imagine that some people might feel a character with so little understanding of basic social expectations and interactions would be unrealistic but the reality is that not everyone picks these things up so easily. I also appreciated that the show treated her character seriously when required and was able to involve her in humour without having the humour be at her expense. To be fair, the show is quite good at that sort of thing in general and it does a good job of treating it's somewhat diverse cast with respect and making them feel like actual people.

I'd really like to see another season of the show, especially since it doesn't fully resolve everything by the end of the show. I did feel that the show ended well and was fairly satisfying but there's clearly more to come for our characters. Still, it does work as a "slice of life" and I really enjoyed the whole show so the lack of a fully conclusive ending didn't feel like a problem. I'd possibly say I liked the show even more by the end and it made me appreciate earlier episodes more than I might have done at the time, that would probably also make the show quite a good candidate for re-watching and maybe getting more from it on subsequent viewings.

Overall it was a really great show and I'd probably recommend it to pretty much anyone. It doesn't necessarily give away everything it has to offer up front but it certainly rewards sticking with it and I think it could have a fairly wide appeal since it deals with subjects that many people will be able to relate to. I might give the manga a go so that I could at least potentially continue the story but I really do hope there's a second season at some point as well.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
The Future Diary + Redial OVA

Going in to this, I had hoped it was something a bit more in line with Death Note (with regards to the tone and atmosphere), but after the first few episodes it became clear that this was not to be the case. However, that did not stop it from being an entertaining and exhilarating ride. I binged about 15 episodes on Saturday and Sunday because I was hooked, and wanted to see more diary holders, more fights, more revelations.....and tbh, as the build up to the finale came, this desire did not let up. I was fairly happy with the standard ending, but knowing there was an OVA as well, I watched that for the "true" ending.

Overall, no matter how outlandish and absurd some of the events occurring onscreen became, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and interactions between many of the characters. I'd go as far to say that the two main characters are rather hard to like, but thankfully, numerous diary holders and supporting cast members made up for this.

Though far away from being a classic, I could easily recommend this to people looking for a thrill ride.

7/10
 

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
AUKN Staff
Tokyo Ghoul √A

Contains spoilers for Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 and mild spoilers for Tokyo Ghoul √A

Seeing as I didn't review the first season of Tokyo Ghoul, I should probably preface this by saying I really quite liked it. Sure, it isn't the best thing I've ever seen or anything, but I'm a sucker for shows like Shiki, Parasyte, Elfen Lied and Brynhildr in the Darkness, with stories about two humanoid species trying and failing to co-exist, and Tokyo Ghoul is certainly a pretty good one of those with some reasonably well fleshed out characters and some good action in it. Despite liking the first season, I was bracing for the worst when I started watching the second season, √A. I'd heard almost nothing but bad things about it and how it isn't as good as the first season. So, I was quite surprised when I came out of the end of √A thinking it was actually the better of the two seasons.

Although I did enjoy √A, I think the first thing I need to do is address the large elephant in the room, and that is the single major flaw of the series; the handling of Kaneki's character. Honestly, if this one giant misstep wasn't here, I really don't think that people would take as much issue with √A. Even though Kaneki's character is the major flaw, I feel like the problem is two fold. The first problem is that the writers never give a good justification for Kaneki betraying all his friends at Anteiku. He spent all of the first season bonding with the cast of characters at Anteiku and for him to suddenly jump ship to Aogiri Tree, an organisation that Anteiku was actively against, there'd need to be a pretty damn good reason, which we simply don't' get. The best reason given is so that Kaneki can get stronger, but that seems so flimsy of an excuse, and it's only given in one throw away line. This wouldn't have been such a big deal if the entire story in the second season didn't almost completely hinge around this plot point. It's just such a blatant and obvious oversight that it's pretty unbelievable the writers of the show didn't pick up on it. The second problem is that Kaneki himself is such a radically different character than the person from the first season, he might as well not even be Kaneki. Now, I'm all for character development. Character development is great! However, there is a stark difference between taking a character's established traits and adding to them or building on them and erasing everything that made that character who he is and giving them all new traits. We do see a little bit of his old self come back in the latter half, but at that point I think it's too little, too late.

Now, with that aside, there are actually a lot of areas in which I think that √A is a fairly great improvement over the original series. I think the biggest change in √A is it has a rather large focus on the Commision of Counter Ghoul (CCG) and it's a change that I really love. If there's one thing that shows like Tokyo Ghoul need to get right, it's showing both sides of the species conflict in equal measure and trying to make sure there isn't necessarily one right or wrong side. The first season didn't really do a great job in this respect, mostly villainising the humans, and not really giving them a whole lot of screen time in comparison to the Ghouls. In √A though, we do spend a rather significant amount of screentime with the members of the CCG, really getting to know them and ultimately come to like them. Although this did come with the unfortunate side effect of minimising the screentime of the Anteiku crew, most of whom have nothing really to do in the first half of the series, I really think it was worth it for the amount of depth it gave the final conflict in the last 3 episodes. As we're well acquainted with the characters on both sides of the struggle, we really don't want to see them fight, which kind of drives home the point I think the series is trying to make. Perhaps the best scene from either series comes from the CCG point of view, where we see the investigators and soldiers have to make a last will and testament, as seeing the emotional distress some of them go through is heart wrenching, and really makes you think during what would normally be fairly brainless action sequences where we see Ghouls we know and love slaughter these CCG officers in their hundreds. Another improvement over the original series in regards to the finale is just how much more focused √A is. For a 12 episode series, the first season had 3 different story arcs, which is a lot for a series of this size, and as such made each arc feel a little rushed. Here though, there is just a single arc throughout, which actually picks up from an arc at the end of Season 1, making it feel more coherent. Yet another improvement, that especially comes to light in the last 3 episodes, is just how well improved the action is here. For a show all about super powered beings, the first season certainly had a lot of fairly ordinary fist fights, something gone almost entirely here which was nice to see. I do have a few minor nitpicks here and there, like the odd nitpick here and there, but I find they are few and far between, and not really enough to drag the show down, mostly because they are all outshined by the aforementioned ruination of Kaneki's character.

On the production side of things, I think Studio Pierrot, of Bleach and Naruto fame, do a better than average job on Tokyo Ghoul, especially given some of the studio's other shows. It isn't going to blow anyone's minds or anything, but I think it looks fairly good. Yutaka Yamada's score for the series, as well as the original, is really good and I also think that Funimation's English dub is quite good too.

When I see people say that √A is bad, I can certainly see where they're coming from, but in my eyes, despite the rather glaring issue, √A still manages to be the better show than the first season, mostly because it's improved in almost every other area.

Website Version
 

qaiz

Pokémon Master
Space Adventure Cobra: Review (1982, Film)
Space Adventure Cobra is the 1982 movie adaptation of the Buichi Terasawa penned manga which was subsequently adapted into a television series of the same name months later. Although both adaptations were helmed by the master Osamu Dezaki and resemble one another visually, embellished in his trademark pastel visage and littered with his patented postcard memories, vignettes that capture key moments, the two adaptations still feel wholly individual, both interesting and worthy of your time.
Although the visual fidelity of this film isn’t that much greater than the TV series the visuals are still delightful due to the fantastic art, attractive character designs and a great use of colours. Cobra swaps out raw detail for style but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking substance. Like the television series, Space Adventure Cobra looks better in motion due to the use of dynamic camera angles that are utilised in order to manipulate the viewer’s sense of space, perspective and orientation and a great sense of lighting is employed to create a unique feeling of speed to each scene. The Space Cobra franchise is home to a myriad of psychedelic imagery however the hallucinogenic visuals are dialed up to a significant extent in the theatrical film. The film opens up with a James Bond-esque title sequence that’s a treat for the eyes with scantily dressed women floating across space, silhouettes of people against backdrops of ocean waves and profiles of seagulls against the sky in a segment that’s both intoxicating to look at and super stylish. Its depictions of space travel is simple but effective, with dark blacks juxtaposing with bright neon and florescent bursts of colours being used when traveling at fast speeds. In typical Dezaki fashion, Space Cobra is embellished with a painterly visage, a style that is timeless and looks amazing all these years later, trading fine detail for a more vibrant and fun aesthetic. Dezaki also manages to incorporate his patented pastel freeze frames seamlessly within the film during explosions and such events. The Dezaki/Akio Sugino duo are extra adventurous here with loads of experimental camera angles and unorthodox transitions.
Visually one of the key differences is funnily enough something that mightn’t register with the viewer at first but is painfully obvious and it’s the fact that whereas the TV series is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the film is presented in 16:9 widescreen. Although it’s a simple alteration that is brought about due to the format change the larger screen real-estate allows for more scenery and action to be depicted at a single time. The 4:3 aspect ratio has never been a hindrance in my opinion but the widescreen format does exude a greater sense of freedom to each scene.
Since the televised series was 31 episodes in length a great deal of plot is omitted from the theatrical film and so for a person whose already seen the TV series a great deal of frustration may occur when key moments that would make for great transitions on the big screen are absent. The television series focused on an ensemble of villains however the film zones in on a single antagonist however I felt that this focus was squandered. Even with a 1 hour 40 minute run-time the film wastes little time with building character and the world. Instead it is very linear and goes from point of interest to point of interest without meandering which is upsetting due to the fact that the world of Cobra is fascinating and the side stories are exciting but as exhilarating as the Rugball arc is, it makes sense that the movie wouldn’t devote time to it. This is where the film failed to capture my interest, because it’s clear that it looks great visually and I find the characters and their designs endearing but there’s not much ground covered with character development and although that’s to be expected within reason due to the transition to film and hence the smaller run-time I’ve nevertheless seen smoother transitions elsewhere. It is a shame, because the silly hijinks that Cobra finds himself in is usually highly entertaining.
The Space Cobra franchise is no stranger to spiritual elements however it’s featured more prominently within the film which adds to the psychedelic visuals. Cobra has always been a series that is filled with crazy and weird occurrences, all of which are never explained which I can appreciate as less is indeed sometimes more. It’s clear everything in this world exists just as a means to look cool and indeed the film does look cool if not a little goofy here and there. The action unfortunately is a huge weak point in this film to a degree that made the last conflict boring. The invulnerable Cobra is often unphased by his obstacles, and that’s no different in the TV series however where the main villains in the TV series are defeated in imaginative and eccentric manners like video game bosses, we never see this in the film.
The excitement towards Cobra for me originates from the little stories that surface from the journey across the galaxy and although it’s nice to have a high production film focusing on a single arc, the opportunity was somewhat wasted. On paper the Crystal Boy arc is a perfect candidate for a film adaptation, however the illustrious golden humanoid cyborg is neither strong nor intimidating in this version which of course is a huge disappointment. My tone towards this film may come across as solely negative but the truth is I still enjoyed it quite a bit. My negativity stems from my prior experiences with the television series. As I stated previously I'm aware that the transition comes with some caveats due to the format and run-time changes and so I never expected a 1:1 transition but it’s still a slight disappointment. Space Cobra is a fun film, but it can be a little boring due to the lack of stakes but this adaptation does take some liberties with the material and so a few surprises do await.
Space Adventure Cobra is a stylish, sci-fi romp across the galaxy with a slick soundtrack and goofy hijinks galore. Encapsulating a now bygone era in which we once looked towards the future to be a utopia filled with flying cars and jet-packs the film is a product of its time and is all the better for it. Although the action is a little dull and the story is nowhere as eccentric and energetic as the television series, the film is still a fun experience that succeeds in entertaining its audience during this brief stint across the galaxy.
7/10
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
qaiz said:
Space Adventure Cobra: Review (1982, Film)
I get where you're coming from about missing the world building and character development, but I dunno, I would honestly struggle to choose between the Cobra film and the tv series, simply because I found them so very different. The film's atmosphere seemed far more brooding and introspective, compared with the jaunty humour of the tv version. Coupled with the changes to the storyline, I thought the film had a melancholy, tragic quality to it that, alongside the much stronger influence of psychedelia, made it quite unique. I don't know whether I'd feel any differently if I watched it with the original score though - my preferred version is still the old Manga UK dub with the soundtrack by Yello.

As a matter of curiosity, have you watched Golgo 13: The Professional?
 
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