Rate the last anime you watched out of 10

SpideyWrex

Completely Average High School Student
Your Lie in April
Not gonna be a long review, especially when I've already shared most of my feelings on the Discord server in #anime-spoilers. Instead, I'll just share a few thoughts here.

It's a bit of a mess in terms of pacing, really. The impact at the end just isn't as strong due to its constant focus on side characters I couldn't really care much about because 1) they are not well-developed enough, and 2) as much as the anime tries, they still retain a lot of shounen elements that bugged me.

One of the biggest reasons I couldn't cry at the end was probably because I had the ending spoiled for me ahead of time, but also probably because I just didn't really like Kaori all that much. Had they developed her much better and in more empathetic ways like a certain character in Monogatari SS, I might have cried at the end just as much as I did in Monogatari SS. Seriously, I was pouring buckets during that Monogatari episode, I believe I've mentioned several times. 🤣

Overall, the anime should have just focused on Kousei and Kaori alone. The music was not bad, even though I'm not a fan of classical music. The animation was well-enough enough, but lacks any style that differentiates it from 2010s SoL anime. Let's call it a...

7/10
 

SpideyWrex

Completely Average High School Student
LGH_MOVIE1_KEY_1200x450.jpg

War. War never changes.

Among the sea of anime, I have searched high and low looking for the best of the best, the most original and unique stories ever exchanged among weeb-kind. Among these myriad stars that shine across Japanese animation, one franchise stands out from all of them as one worthy of respect, one anime held in higher regards than the likes of Star Wars, Star Trek, Evangelion and even Ghost in the Shell. It's considered to be the greatest tale ever told, the masterpiece that nothing could hope to surpass, not Serial Experiments Lain, not Mushishi and not even Cowboy Bebop. Its name: Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This is its pilot movie.

If you think all that has been hyperbole... you would be half-right. Probably. But having re-experienced the film that started it all, I feel that such a legendary series requires a sufficient amount of dramatics. This introductory movie proudly displays the three important aspects needed for a thinking man's anime: politics, philosophy and strategy. Considering the year this film was released in, its style and animation still stand out as distinctive among other anime of its time. Its substance, on the other hand, is unquestionably amazing.

Let's start with the good points. This is not your average anime. In the 59 minutes it has to tell the story, "My Conquest is the Sea of Stars" manages to dig quite deep into both the politics and the philosophies of warfare more than any of the original SW trilogy (or even some of the most renowned war films) ever did. Rather than glorifying and romanticizing warfare, the film features a vast cast of characters who share realistic view-points on a war that's been going on for 150 years. Rather than focusing on superficial aspects like "a galaxy long time ago in somewhere far away," the movie's opening narrative talks about the history of mankind and their constant relationship with battles and warfare. Even among the allies of this short tale, the characters have small skirmishes among themselves, whether as a bar fight or bickering between the higher-ups and the soldiers forced to follow orders. Even the meaning of what a soldier is in times of war (and whether if one should just blindly follow orders) becomes an actual discussion in the movie. As another reviewer once said, "It's an antithesis of Star Wars." In short, expect very heavy analysis for the rest of the time you're spending with this franchise.

The good thing is, even though it's exactly as political and topical as the reputation had me believed, it's inaccurate to call it "dry" and "preachy". The panache and humor it has keep things from becoming unenjoyable. Most importantly, the wonderfully-written characters are the glue to hold those less interested in politics and more interested in a good story. There's rarely a black and white morality featured here and the realistic personalities easily help anyone to relate and connect with any one individual of the movie - almost anyone, but I'll get to that later.

The two protagonists are charming enough for the pilot of the OVA, but I find Yang Wen-Li more relatable than Reinhard at this point. That's not to say Reinhard is poorly written, however. He's an intelligent strategist the likes of Lelouch Lamperouge and Light Yagami, but without the ego that comes with either. Instead, Reinhard focuses on maintaining minimum casualties in his battles. And as if that isn't already an arduous task in times of war, he also has to navigate the political minefield his superior, Fleet Admiral "Gregor von Muckenberger," has set up for him. Gregor has the utmost disrespect for Reinhard due to his background as someone who (supposedly) only got promoted because of his connection with his sister. Needless to say, Reinhard is unlike any intellectual you've seen in the landscape of anime.

Wen-Li is a pacifist, but isn't afraid to take down the enemy to protect his people and allies - not out of a sense of patriotism, but more out of the obligation to cherish life. What's interesting is that he's pretty flawed for a pacifist, keeping him from becoming a one-dimensional saint. He knew that the actions of his obstinate commander would get his fleet-mates killed, but chose not to be too forceful with his superior so as to prevent any conflict.

The one hour feature is largely just two space-battles that set up the atmosphere and universe of LotGH quite well. The dialogues let you know that the writers aren't forcefully leaning against any one political view, and the discussion on men's tendency for war merely serves as a reminder of our human nature, not a lecture. However, there's one thing that hold this back from being a masterpiece, and it's ironically the best part of the movie as well - the characters.

Not all characters are morally-ambiguous; some of them are even outright cliched. You still have your drooling male perverts forced in to glorify some of the more 'morally-righteous' side characters to make them look like heroes; basically foils serving as plot-device. This first flaw is probably a product of its time, so I could at least turn a blind eye. However, there are also the antagonists of this film, the 'superiors.' Gregor has an understandable reason to disrespect Reinhard, so I have no problems with him, but Wen-Li's commander (Paeta, I think was his name) is an incompetent buffoon and thus easily stands out among the rest of the well-written characters. Scenes featuring him were obviously the least interesting parts of the movie.

Aside from that small gripe, the rest of the pilot movie works quite well for newcomers of the franchise. The soundtrack used belongs to the classical kind, featuring the likes of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and Ravel's Boléro, very fitting pieces that set the tone for the kind of epic and poetic space opera you'll come to experience for 110 episodes. And it all ends with a promise of deeper explorations in the relationship between Reinhard and Wen-Li, one that will further intrigue audiences into checking out the highly acclaimed OVA.

Highly Recommended.

9.5/10
 

thedoctor2016

Harem King
Free! Eternal Summer (Rewatch 6?)
As hard as I fight it this confirmed to me Free! is my favourite anime, favourite KyoAni show etc. Sound might be if I put my critic hat on better but Free! just makes me happy and ES is currently still peak Free it has the highs of the characters and the low and does still work as an ending even though how much more has there been 4 films and another series and another 2 films to be released in english to go.
10/10
High Speed! Free Starting Days

I dont get why this film seems to be ignored by people, directed by a great man RIP Takemoto it is definitely the most "normal" KyoAni part of the Free franchise I think because of Takemoto's direction as the sequels do try to merge both styles Utsumi and Takemoto but you can tell they lean more towards Utsumi's. This introduces 4 new great cast members, expands on people and Sosuke and is now required viewing for S3 and my main point why hasn't this been seen by many people. I think its FUNI's slow release of it (3 Years after JP Cinema) and the fact that people were turned off by the middle class ages even though S1 revolves mostly around the events of Elementary affecting high school. I think this is neat and now my favourite Takemoto work and I appreciate more and more and more each time.
10/10 RIP Takemoto
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Free! Eternal Summer (Rewatch 6?)
As hard as I fight it this confirmed to me Free! is my favourite anime, favourite KyoAni show etc. Sound might be if I put my critic hat on better but Free! just makes me happy and ES is currently still peak Free it has the highs of the characters and the low and does still work as an ending even though how much more has there been 4 films and another series and another 2 films to be released in english to go.
10/10
High Speed! Free Starting Days

I dont get why this film seems to be ignored by people, directed by a great man RIP Takemoto it is definitely the most "normal" KyoAni part of the Free franchise I think because of Takemoto's direction as the sequels do try to merge both styles Utsumi and Takemoto but you can tell they lean more towards Utsumi's. This introduces 4 new great cast members, expands on people and Sosuke and is now required viewing for S3 and my main point why hasn't this been seen by many people. I think its FUNI's slow release of it (3 Years after JP Cinema) and the fact that people were turned off by the middle class ages even though S1 revolves mostly around the events of Elementary affecting high school. I think this is neat and now my favourite Takemoto work and I appreciate more and more and more each time.
10/10 RIP Takemoto
This reminds me that now I have a region Free blu ray player I should look into buying more of this show. I enjoyed Eternal Summer but it's the only part of the franchise I've seen.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Saga of Tanya the Evil

Well I have to say this really is a cut above the usual isekei. It really managed to show the horrors of war and get into peoples emotions. The art, designs and animation were amazing. The battles, while chaotic, were still easy to follow and understand. Honestly it might have enjoyed it more if it wasnt an isekei but just about an actual maniacal 9 yr old who excels at war. But the premise of her taking on god by fighting the world is still an interesting one. Also the fantasy setting while still being a recognisable mix of WW1 and WW2 was well done.

Most of the show is an 8 but two episodes in particular, the one which showed the true brutality of total war (ep 8 I think) and the final episode that slowed down and allowed characters to talk about what war is really elevated it for me.

9/10
 

zrdb

School Idol
I think that one of the major reason that Tanya The Evil is so cool is because of the way it mixes and matches various tropes to come up with a totally unique spin. The movie is really breath taking with it going up to 10, I really hope we get some more of this addicting series.
 
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Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045

While not up there with the original two seasons, the continuing adventures of Kusanagi and co. in a world of sustainable warfare and trial by social media, proves a surprisingly worthwhile late sequel. The vinyl-figure looking CGI wouldn't have been my first choice, but really, I stopped being aware of it after the first couple of episodes - even if it lacks the sophistication of its previous instalments, the story is an entertaining yarn and is more than strong enough to carry the show. Happily, it also gets the characters right, which is something I don't think Arise quite managed.

Actually, 2045 just feels generally snappier than Arise did, although I think 2045 does start with an advantage, in that it's a straight sequel and doesn't have to bother establishing things too much. By contrast, I think Arise struggled to establish its own identity, coming across as a bit non-committal over what it was trying to rewrite and what it wanted to keep.

My only major issue with it, as others have already mentioned, is that it's clearly half a series and it just suddenly stops. With no obvious date for its continuation (afaik?), it would have been nice if they could have wrapped this on the conclusion of a minor plot thread, even just to tide things over in the meantime.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Dorohedoro

Following an amnesiac lizardman and an impossibly tough chef on a deranged, ultraviolent quest to kill a powerful sorcerer, I’d hovered around the Dorohedoro manga for years, but decided to hold off reading it to watch the anime instead. I really was not disappointed; it’s an absolute joy. From its elaborately designed world to its frequently graphic (yet utterly absurd) violence, Dorohedoro feels like a throwback to the old school in the best possible way. The real strength of it is in the characters though; despite the fact that they all do awful things, they’re all still strangely charming and likeable - you end up genuinely caring about this band of gimp-mask wearing killers.

While the use of 2D/3D combo animation is noticeable at times, I think it's a fair trade off, as it's certainly allowed Mappa to get remarkably close to the scratchy-yet-detailed look of the manga. I'd go as far as to say that I think it's probably the most successful example of this approach I've yet seen, and I'd quite happily take more adaptations of visually complex content in the same way.

The only slight issue, as others have noted, is that it doesn't have much of an ending. I'm sure it's hard to find a logical end point for a 12 episode series cut from a much longer manga, and this isn't a bad place to jump off, but I feel like it could have been cut in such a way to make it more dramatic. As is, it feels like the show kind of peters out a little bit in its last few minutes.

Nevertheless, this is easily my favourite anime series I've seen in a long time, and would probably be my pick for series of the year, had it just managed that final flourish to close on.

Also, 'Do I like it more than Eizouken?' Eh.....
 

zrdb

School Idol
Her Blue Sky-I really enjoyed this-the fact that Mari Okada wrote the screenplay was a deciding factor. The overall vibes the movie gave was fantastic, the characters (especially Aoi) were very well done. The ending was a little unexpected but enjoyable. Overall I'd give it 8.5 out of a possible 10 points.
 

thedoctor2016

Harem King
After War Gundam X - This is the best AU Gundam as Tomino wants me to discount Turn A it’s the most interesting due to it’s setting basically being what if colony drops occurred also I like that Tiffa is the new type not Garrod I also enjoy the ending trying to end the emphasis on Newtypes that Gundam has/had. 9/10
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Wave, Listen to Me!

A light comedy drama about a motormouth waitress unexpectedly given a shot at being a radio talk-show host, slightly biased though I may be (never got into Blade of the Immortal), I feel this is the best thing Hiroaki Samura has ever done. It's so refreshing to see a witty, well written series about adults facing very adult problems in life, as opposed to anime high school for the millionth time. It doesn't quite capture the rough-hewn quality of Samura's impeccable artwork and people have justifiably taken issue with the way it handles its rather stereotypical gay character, but otherwise, I think this is easily my pick of the season.

Area 88 (1985)

While some of its attitudes and design quirks do age it, the first anime adaptation for Karou Shintani's story of a young airline pilot shanghaied into fighting for a foreign legion, still holds up well with its highly unusual premise and packs a surprising emotional punch. It needs a little suspension of disbelief for some of the more outlandish set pieces, but protagonist Shin's struggle to escape from his service, while freedom from the war can still mean something to him, gives the series a strong narrative foundation, while the gun-rattling dogfights are consistently exciting. The action is particularly well handled, with inventive shot composition that feels like it would have been difficult to achieve in live-action at the time, and genuine weight to the scenes of planes being downed. Rarely does anything just explode; even though this is not a gory series, aircraft are ripped apart in very visceral and diverse ways, to the point where I think I visibly winced every time someone got taken out.

Presented as two 100 minute films in the version I watched, I think the first is the most successful. The second part does an admirable job of tying everything up within the anime's brief runtime, but feels less focused and didn't quite manage to invest me in the minor characters fates' as well as the first did. I also feel like they missed a prime opportunity for one of those proper '70s freeze frame endings...
 

Aaron

Combat Butler
I finally finished Death Note.

I read the whole manga absolutely years ago, so I knew what to expect. I wasn't disappointed, but I also wasn't pleasantly surprised either.

Like the manga, it dragged on too long. It's a 37 episode series, but it could easily have been done in 26. There are some episodes where not much happens, so they could be combined without losing anything.

It's a story of three parts: the first is great, the second is OK, the third is just boring and totally unnecessary (in my personal opinion, obviously). The last episode was excellent though - the series really had a satisfying conclusion.

A lot of the time, the plot moves at a glacial pace. Someone explains what they're going to do. Then they do it. Then someone else explains what the other person did. I don't know if it was just to pad time out or if the show just thinks it's really smart and we're all stupid so we need everything explained to within an inch of its life.

Although it started really well, unfortunately, it became a chore towards the end, especially with the rubbish new characters who appeared in the third arc (is Death Note beyond the point of spoilers by now?). The characters I liked the most - Ryuk and Misa - mostly got forgotten about as the series went on and new randoms kept popping up. I liked Matsuda though.

The animation was decent. The dub was really really good. I didn't like the OPs or EDs at all (especially the second batch).

The first 25 episodes (and episode 37) were good to great - the stuff in between is the absolute pits though. The last episode went some way to redeeming it, but it's not a series I'd want to watch again anytime soon - 6/10
 

Aaron

Combat Butler
How are you with Japanese live-action films, dude? I'd easily recommend the pair of Death Note movies.

(And they're missing the Mello/Near arc entirely.)
I've got the blu-ray set of them both sitting on my shelf - I'll probably give them a watch soon, especially since that pair of twerps are absent! :p
 

Aaron

Combat Butler
From Up on Poppy Hill

WOW. I've had this BD hanging around for ages, but I was never really in a rush to watch it. I'm not really interested in romance and the description of this made it sound like that was the main focus.

There's an element of romance in there, but it's not overwhelming. For most of the movie, a lot of the focus is given to the potential demolition of a dilapidated building - this sounds like it should be a boring story, but I was really interested and invested in it.

The relationships between the characters almost take a back seat to the trials and tribulations of the battered old clubhouse and I'm glad. There's some light teenage romance stuff, some family drama, some sadness, all the stuff I expected - it's all very gentle and enjoyable.

There are plenty of quirky and fun side characters - my favourite was probably Sachiko (who I just found out was voiced by Aubrey Plaza in the dub, which was a perfect bit of casting).

Obviously, it looks amazing, because it's a Ghibli movie. Boats, towns, THE CLUBHOUSE, everything looks incredible. The soundtrack is lovely too (including some nice songs).

I really, really enjoyed it. It was a sweet, relaxed story with excellent visuals and sound. 9/10
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
it's all very gentle and enjoyable.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there, bud. That's what I think of it too, at least.

It's a very much underrated Ghibli film that has a lot to offer. Right from the off I found it engaging to watch: never has an animated character preparing breakfast been so much fun to observe — or so well soundtracked, for that matter.

It is a very gentle, whimsical nostalgia piece, I think. I still have in my mind since the last time I saw it the image of the jovial town planning bigwig that the kids go to visit, padding around in his office, with the sticky slap, slap of his carpet slippers just emphasising his unexpectedly laid-back nature.

The whole film's just a very pleasant experience, and it surely took a lot of hard work to make it so light and breezy. A tip of the cap to Goro Miyazaki as director. I honestly think he doesn't get all the recognition he should.
 

Aaron

Combat Butler
It is a very gentle, whimsical nostalgia piece, I think. I still have in my mind since the last time I saw it the image of the jovial town planning bigwig that the kids go to visit, padding around in his office, with the sticky slap, slap of his carpet slippers just emphasising his unexpectedly laid-back nature.
I loved that! He was built up like he was going to be like The Demon Headmaster, but he was so chill - and he had huge ears too. 😅

I'll probably choose Tales from Earthsea (Goro's other movie) as my next Ghibli to watch. I've started it twice over the past couple of years, but I've just not been able to get into it (and I know the general consensus on it wasn't great. Hopefully it'll be third time lucky for me!
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
I'll probably choose Tales from Earthsea (Goro's other movie) as my next Ghibli to watch.
This is an unfashionable view, but I actually like Tales from Earthsea and don't really understand why it gets so much stick. (I do know it's regarded as a poor adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's novels, but I've never read them and have no plans to; I'm judging the film purely as an animated film, and not even necessarily as a Ghibli one. I don't care at all for the snobbery that sometimes surrounds their films.)

This is an even more unpopular view, but I like Earthsea more than either Princess Mononoke, Laputa or Nausicaa.

I hope Earthsea does something for you third time around, dude. And look out for singer Aoi Teshima again: Poppy Hill was her second Ghibli film after Earthsea. She also voices female lead Therru if you're watching in Japanese.
 
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