Rate the last anime you watched out of 10

That is so spot on regarding the prequel series, good as it was it certainly didn't retain the original's spooky aesthetics and atmosphere. Been looking forward to Otherside Picnic, which has been lounging on my watchlist but will be moving it right up to watch start I finish the relatively painful KADO.
Kado was such a disappointment in the end. It raised some fascinating philosophical questions and was a rare case of a series that generated some real thoughtful discussion in the Crunchyroll comments. But it all just fell apart in the last few episodes.
Kado was such a disappointment in the end. It raised some fascinating philosophical questions and was a rare case of a series that generated some real thoughtful discussion in the Crunchyroll comments. But it all just fell apart in the last few episodes.
Exactly, I still have a couple of episodes to finish but I do love the concepts, even if they have my usual bugbear of the narrow-minded, self-centred outlook of humans beings as usual being the best thing since sliced-big-bang-bread just because we have this amazing thing called emotions and capricious natures 🥱 . But I'm very irritated by the lazy fallback onto unimaginative anime tropes with supposed adults (and otherwordly higher beings) acting like junior high school kids😴.

I did start with low expectations given the utter disappointment that Babylon was, so I guess it's been better than that so far, even though Babylon was brilliant up until episode 7 or so if I remember correctly.
I still think about Babylon sometimes, but I gave up before the end and can't summon up the effort go back and finish it.
That's the best way to watch Babylon, up until the halfway point and then stopping before the US president comes into the picture and using one's imagination to better fill the rest. The same should go for wonderegg priority, to just ignore the existence of the last episode heh.
It's interesting how much impact a few tweaks to an established formula can make to a story. Based on the early scenes of this badminton series, I assumed the main character would be a typical genki girl whose badminton pro mother suffered the usual case of Protagonist Parental Death Syndrome (Diagnositic Manual of Anime Diseases, 1st ed) before her daughter reached high school. That's not how it goes though. Hanesaki's mother abandoned her, and that's how it starts: the fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good badminton players...cruel. Having disengaged from the sport when she entered high school, her well-meaning friend drags her back to it, little knowing that the more Hanesaki fixates on badminton, the more her pain and bitterness turn her into a monster.

The other wrinkle Hanebado! adds to the usual formula is which characters it focuses on. The usual pattern in sports anime is that the perspective characters will start off in a slump and claw their way to victory through hard work and guts. While there's an element of that, Hanebado! spends most of its time in the head of the character who loses each match, focusing on what drives them to keep playing even when they have seemingly hit a wall they can't climb.

The art and music deserve special mention. Hanesaki's downward spiral is a visible transformation, first in the dead-eyed stare she develops during matches, and culminating in her looking to have aged a decade in the span of a few months by the climactic match in the final few episodes. The animation for the badminton scenes is outstanding, and remains consistent throughout the series. The story doesn't focus on characters having over-the-top signature moves, instead being a pretty technical depiction of the sport, and it's impressive that the animation manages to maintain a feeling of drama and dynamism despite that. Meanwhile the music often adds an unusually dark feeling behind the action, reflecting the doubts of the characters as much as the intensity of the action.

It all comes together into a good self-contained story arc in its 13 episodes. While sports stories could always carry on forever, it resolves the major conflicts it establishes, so it doesn't feel like there are too many loose ends. By daring to take a less glamorous look at what drives people to push themselves in the face of adversity, Hanebado! stands out from the crowd of sports anime. I take issue with some of the actions the writer seems to vindicate in the end, but this is still one of the more memorable sports shows of the last decade.

Monster (might be a bit of a SPOILERY review, and obviously Monster isn't something you want SPOILERED even a little bit)

Set in a relatively realistic depiction of 90s Germany and all tangled up in scraps of cold war history (though I can't comment on the veracity of these aspects). Monster is a huge and sweeping mystery thriller like no other. It shares one of its central themes - whether murder is ever justifiable for the greater good (and does one bear responsibility for saving the life of a murderer) - with Trigun but there's so many more layers of complexity and strangeness here, even though Monster's morality is ultimately no less idealistic. The central mystery is wrapped up in wonderful atmosphere, a melange of foreboding dread and human warmth that I found as comforting as it is disquieting. Spun in the gloomy greys and rustic earthy tones of German and Czechoslovakian cities and countryside, it can be bleak but often beautiful too. It's the characters that really make this show what it is though, populated with broken, damaged, heart broken souls, but almost everyone is afforded a detailed background, sympathy and complex emotions.

At its heart Monster seems to actually be about self identity, the importance of holding on to that sense of self, that individualism, that nub of humanity at our core. In the Earthsea books the true names of things give people power, but in Monster it's the losing of names which give those damaged people their powers in exchange for their humanity, as if people can become anything, can be become monsters, by becoming nothing. And this is contrasted to wonderful effect with all the scenes of the opposite, people rooted in their identities, communities, humanity, both in beautiful and heart breaking ways. Turkish and Vietnamese migrant communities attacked and discriminated against, but also coming together to fight that hatred. And all the wonderful meal scenes (which Monster really excels in!) lovingly depicting all the specific regional cuisine, all the little local cafes and pubs with their specific staff and owners. It's full of as much human joy as pain. I find this aspect of the show expressed most touchingly in the character Grimmer. A man who walks around with a massive smile and who never fails to profess his enjoyment of what he's eating, or bring the best cheese and wine to picnic with. But it's all a performance he's carrying out in the hope that he might one day actually feel that joy, because he can't feel anything, relating more to a fictional character than a real person. His story brought me to tears.

Funnily enough Tenma's backstory is perhaps filled in the least, we're given a few scraps, but he seems to be a somewhat unrooted person with something of a void in him himself, but an example of the flipside of the coin to Johan. While the latter tries to starve his humanity completely out of existence, Tenma fills himself up with the world's. And maybe that's also what Urasawa was doing. In fact in many ways, despite the setting, I find it hard not to read Monster as Urasawa wrestling with potential discomforts he had with Japan.

The show scrupulously reserves sympathy and at least the possibility of forgiveness for everyone, no matter how much of a mass murdering maniac they are. Some may find this hard to swallow, but I suppose that's the point of Monster, that there are no real monsters or devils of demons, at least not born that way, there's just people who could have been anything but were destroyed and distorted by the warped culture around them.
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Often dismissed as one of the first wave of Evangelion clones, I was surprised to instead find that this show is one of the most thought-provoking and distinct anime I've ever seen. Sun Tzu said, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles." But what happens when you don't know yourself?

Gasaraki is many things over the course of its 25 episodes: political drama, near-future war story, mecha action, historical fantasy, and outlandish SF. Yet, reflected through all of its many facets seems to be a unifying philosophical debate about the dangers of not knowing yourself. The story takes on an unusual structure where preternatural skills at piloting a robot, intelligence, wealth, political power, determination and integrity ultimately count for nothing if your choices are based on a lack of self-understanding.

We see this most clearly through Nishida, a character introduced halfway through the series who immediately becomes a gravitational force, bending people and events to his will. This is a man so sure of his convictions that he blinded himself with his sword out of disgust at the current state of the Japanese people, who he perceived as decadent and unprincipled. I'm not sure what's more disturbing about Nishida: that he genuinely believes it's in the interest of the Japanese people to cast them into poverty akin to the age of feudal peasantry, that the narrative seems to agree with his xenophobic rhetoric (I have a worrying feeling that Nishida is the writer's self-insert character, spouting his own political views), or that practically everyone he speaks to (hero and villain alike) ends up respecting and complying with this character who would be painted as an unambiguous monster in most stories.

One of the ways Gasaraki does resemble Evangelion is how it strips power and agency away from giant robot pilots, neutering the usual power fantasy. They're pawns, and as the series goes on it becomes increasingly clear that their lack of agency stems from a lack of self-understanding. This takes a familiar form for supposed protagonist Yushiro, in that there are important parts of his past that he's forgotten. As he goes on a journey of self-discovery, and comes to know who he is and what he wants, his ability to influence events and make choices he can live with increases. Meanwhile, the rest of Yushiro's military unit never undergo such an epiphany. There's a telling flashback where the unit commander tells a room full of recruits that it's okay to spend their whole life figuring out what they believe in, that he acts on his beliefs, but that he can't put into words what they are. That ignorance about their own beliefs eventually comes back to haunt them once they're pulled into the orbit of Nishida's psychopathic charisma. Ironically, even Nishida ultimately finds events unfolding in a way he didn't anticipate, though in his case it's not from lack of understanding himself, but because he closed himself off and literally blinded himself to the true nature of the enemy.

Aside from some troubling political views, where Gasaraki falters most is in the balancing act it tries to pull between all the many genres it tries to blend. It feels most at home in the offices of its Machiavellian power players, or on the battlefield where its outstanding mecha animation and direction recall Patlabor 2 at times. It's less sure-footed when it reaches for emotion rather than intellectual stimulation or action though, since a lot of the characters are rather lacking in depth or personality beyond their politics. The wilder SF and fantasy elements also never gel well with its meticulously realistic ones, to the point where it almost feels like watching two unrelated series spliced together at times.

Its strengths ultimately outweigh its weaknesses, despite a shaky final episode. If Gasaraki had focused entirely on its strengths, it could have been an all-time classic. As it stands, it's still one of the most fascinating shows of the 90s.

@Dai Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Gasaraki, it's a fascinating series, though I agree with you about Nishida/its troubling politics. Worth keeping in mind that Ryosuke Takahashi also helmed Blue Gender which from what I understand has similarly iffy views on certain things (I say this having not actually seen Blue Gender) - when someone seems to view technology so negatively that they want to take it all away so all the weaklings who need glasses etc. will die... I mean I'm not really surprised to hear that person spouting other really right-wing views 😅
Worth keeping in mind that Ryosuke Takahashi also helmed Blue Gender
Ah, that's interesting, since Blue Gender has some of the same strengths and weaknesses as Gasaraki. Blue Gender has great world-building and a lot of tension in the first half. It's a lot like Attack on Titan where there's a tangible sense of peril and it feels like no one has plot armour. Then it abruptly turns into a very different kind of story in the second half and all the tension evaporates. Gasaraki fares better on that front, since it remains tense throughout. In both shows the problems stem from the desire to have an overpowered trump-card mecha in a story where it doesn't really fit. Also, both series have a jarring final episode where suddenly love saves the day.
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I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in The Real World, Too
(dropped after 8 episodes)
There's a scene in The Animatrix where the machines have just defeated humanity. They are experimenting on people to figure out how their brains work and how to plug them into the Matrix. One poor victim has his skull cut open and a machine stabs electrodes into his brain, making him laugh or cry by stimulating those parts of the brain directly. It's an awful, soulless, mechanical way of brute-forcing someone to have a reaction. This show is like that.

To be fair, a lot of power-fantasy isekai junk is like that. Normally I drop them after one episode, but for some reason I couldn't stop watching this one. That's not to say it's good. It's really not good. I think most of these kinds of shows are tuned to prey on specific weaknesses and past traumas by applying something resembling cathartic defibrillation. This show just happened to be the one that stabbed its electrodes into the miserable parts of my childhood in just the right places to manipulate me into watching more.

Even considering that, I'm bemused that it took me eight episodes to pull the plug. In more skilled hands, the idea of someone bringing his overpowered isekai RPG abilities back to the real world could have opened up some interesting story opportunities. That isn't this show though. Instead the protagonist just hangs around doing ordinary stuff in the real world, but being level 150 means he's amazing at everything and everyone swoons every time he lifts a finger. Meanwhile, approximately once per episode he will just happen to be in the vicinity when a girl is in danger, and effortlessly swoops in to save her. Cue more swooning and +1 to his harem count. Once the protagonist has turned all his former bullies into members of his fan club, the story doesn't really go anywhere. He just rattles through standard high school events, saves the life of every girl in sight, rinse and repeat.

There are only a couple of reasons this isn't a 1/10 review. First, the art is astonishingly good early in the series. Unfortunately, while it maintains solid figure drawing, the animation gets increasingly stiff later on. Also, as bad as the story is, it's not really aiming high and failing; it knows exactly the kind of vapid, manipulative trash it wants to be and hits that target. Learn from my mistake and don't even bother with the first episode.

Iwakakeru -Sport Climbing Girls-
It's pretty common for sports anime to take a few episodes to get into gear. Since the protagonist is usually a novice, albeit one with some special skill that gives them a natural advantage, they usually need to get some training in a sport's fundamentals under their belt before we see much action. While not veering much from that formula, Iwakakeru does get off to a surprisingly brisk start. Novice Konomi is taught the basics and engages in a climbing showdown against a rival in the first episode. That said, it's probably also the show's weakest episode, so I'd recommend not deciding whether to continue watching the series until episode 2.

What holds episode 1 back is the way it depicts Jun, Konomi's initial rival. She's an archetype who appears at the start of most sports anime, the super-serious type who berates the newcomer for taking Sport X lightly and brow-beats them with a lecture about the hard work and guts required to succeed. Iwakakeru almost feels like it's included this story beat out of genre obligation because its execution is especially abrassive and off-putting here. The thing is, Jun is only like this in episode 1. Come episode 2 the team is already starting to gel, and more importantly we're introducing to many of their upcoming opponents: a wonderful collection of hilariously quirky weirdos. That relatively dry opening episode is soon forgotten as Konomi faces off against the spider-themed climbing girl, the panther, the ballet dancer, and the...zombie?

As someone previously ignorant of the specifics of sport climbing, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much variety there is to it, since the series covers three different disciplines. It also pays a lot of attention to the specifics of climbing techniques, equipment, and the psychological aspect of the sport.

It's just a shame that the series never really excels in any one aspect. Story, characters, direction, art, animation and music are all good, but don't break through to greatness. It ends up being a solid series with a good sense of humour, a dynamic depiction of the sport, and a pretty well-rounded story arc for its 12 episodes.

ORESUKI Are you the only one who loves me?
Looking back on Oresuki after watching the whole series, it's clear that the author knew the story they wanted to tell and how to tell it. The problem is that it takes a while for its components to gel.

Fundamentally it's about the facades that people show to others, the ugly feelings they hide beneath them, and how hard it can be to tell whether someone is being honest. Some of these characters can be horrible to each other, and it often takes a long time to tell if they're being honest with themselves, honest with others, and whether they can ever get past the bad blood between them. If that sounds like the basis for a compelling drama, sometimes it is...except Oresuki is also a goofy comedy a lot of the time. Viewed in isolation, the comedy is frequently hilarious, especially in the way it knowingly plays with romcom tropes, often to a ludicruous degree. In fact, Oresuki is often a goofy comedy above all else, and that's what can make it so jarring when someone gets (thankfully not literally) stabbed in the back.

This tonal whiplash is especially problematic for the first few episodes. As the series progresses, it does a better job of pulling all its threads together until it resolves everything effectively in the feature-length finale. As such, this would be the worst show for applying the 3-episode rule, as I did when I initally tried and dropped it at broadcast. For what is ostensibly a romcom, its bitter and twisted protagonist can make it feel decidedly unromantic, and I often didn't care about the outcome of that guy's love life. It's only when I revisited it and was able to watch the whole series in quick succession that I was able to appreciate it, and realised that I'd reacted exactly as the author intended.

Oresuki starts as a 6, climbs to a 7 thanks to the comedy in the middle, and hits an 8 with its strong finale, so I'm averaging out that score.

The end of season finalepocalypse is upon us again. Time for part one of a quick(ish) retrospective as the final episodes pile up.

Kubo Won't Let Me Be Invisible
I quite enjoyed this romcom/slice-of-life show at first, but it ran into two problems as it progressed. The main problem was that it ran out of steam. It got a decent amount of mileage from the core gag of no one noticing the protagonist exists, but eventually it got repetitive. As it shifted its focus away from that gag, it turned into a pretty bland show and revealed just how boring the protagonist was.

Also, the huge production hiatus did it no favours. By the time it came back I was much more invested in the similar, but superior, The Dangers in My Heart. Dropped after 8 eps.


The Dangers in My Heart
I could see people giving up on this show early on because of the protagonist's morbid inner monologue. Ichikawa might be one of the most convincing depictions of an adolescent boy I've seen in anime. He's inwardly a total edgelord obsessed with serial killers, but it's really just a barrier to hide his own insecurities. Within the first few episodes it becomes apparent that there's a huge gulf between the latent murderer he thinks he is, and the gentle, considerate person he really is. Since he has both an inferiority complex and a habit of assuming the worst of people, it takes a long time for the two contradictory sides of him to begin working out their differences.

Kensuke Ushio's understated classroom piano score does a lot of the heavy lifting in portraying the fragile undertones of the characters. The show ends up being as much about friendship and self-acceptance as any potential romance. I'm glad it's getting a second season.


Otaku Elf
This show does a few things really well. The interplay between immortal elf/otaku/hikikomori/enshrined deity Elda and her long-suffering shrine maiden Koito is a goldmine for comedy. Elda's nuggets of trivia about daily life in the Edo period are great. It also catches the viewer off guard with some moments of pathos when it hints at the fact that Elda has watched countless generations of Koito's family grow up, grow old and die. These work all the better for being generally understated. When the show focuses on any of these elements, it's good stuff.

The problem is any time it tries anything else. There are a couple of other enshrined elves and corresponding shrine maidens. Each has their signature quirks, but they're just not as entertaining as Elda and Koito. Individual episodes end up being a mix of good and bland then, but the good ones win out overall.


Skip and Loafer
Country girl Mitsumi goes to high school in the big city to follow her dream of becoming a politician. Mitsumi might be my favourite character of the season. She's a rocket of positive energy that shoots along, ricocheting off everything in her path, but never stops. As she says in one episode, "It's because I keep falling over that I've got so good at dusting myself off and getting up again."

Her interactions with laid-back slacker Sousuke work well, especially in the way they come to inspire each other. It's just a shame that there seems to be less and less Mitsumi time as the series goes on and its focus shifts more to Sousuke. He ends up having more of a fully formed arc than her in these 12 episodes, making it especially frustrating that this is where the anime version stops.

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Lupin III: Bye Bye Lady Liberty (1989) [English dub]

Following his successful theft of a computer trained to predict all his movements, a burnt out Lupin has gone into semi-retirement, living in a run-down part of New York, but after his gold-digging American girlfriend wracks up huge debts in his name, he decides to join Jigen in the hunt for an enormous diamond hidden somewhere inside the Statue of Liberty. The best way to get it? Steal the whole damn statue.

The first of the yearly Lupin TV specials, I’d not seen this film since I was a kid. Back then, I wasn’t massively keen on it; I wanted more of the green jacket Miyazaki-style Lupin, but this is a decidedly darker, more adult-oriented affair. Coming back to it now, I can appreciate it a lot more though. Osamu Dezaki directed the first few TV films, apparently with varying degrees of success, but his distinctive directorial style works wonderfully here, with Lupin and the gang navigating a particularly brooding, noirish New York, while tangling with the Satanic secret society who run things from the shadows. The film is quite witty, with plenty of amusing gags, but I feel there’s a weird, dreamlike melancholy at the root of it that defines the mood here.

Reactions to this film seem very divided, however, and I think your mileage may depend on how you feel about other instalments in the franchise. Prior to Lady Liberty, the most recent Lupin anime was the very family-friendly Fuma Conspiracy (about the closest you’ll ever get to 2 Cagliostro 2 Castle, in fact), so it’s a shock to see this one go off in the opposite direction, modelling itself so much on Mystery of Mamo, with its uncanny strangeness and psychedelic imagery. There‘s also a surprising amount of, the then fairly recent, Legend of Gold Babylon about the proceedings; the plot is different, but it feels like we’re hitting a lot of similar beats in terms of the action and use of the setting. At times, I almost feel like it’s a more serious do-over for Gold Babylon, although I don’t actually mind that - I thought it was an interesting misfire and I’m fine with them revisiting what was good about it.

Much as I enjoy his style, Dezaki is pulling a lot from his own playbook here too. All the usual flourishes like the split screening, the Dutch angles and the postcard memories are present and correct, but anyone familiar with Dezaki’s 80s output will likely recognise a lot of Space Adventure Cobra and especially Golgo 13: The Professional in both the shot choice and even the story.

I watched the English dub for this one as it’s one of only two Lupin films that were dubbed by Manga UK, and I quite like their cast. William Dufries and Toni Barry are good as Lupin and Fujiko respectively, although it’s a shame that Fujiko doesn’t have more to do in this one. It’s clear that liberties (ha) were taken with the script, however, and I’d be interested to see the subtitled version sometime for comparison. The dub seems to pick up on the villains’ motivation being unclear, changing the title of their organisation from The Three Masons (get it?) to Conquer the Universe Incorporated, but most notably, Goemon’s philosophical tidbits come across as complete gibberish, and I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not. I feel a better gag would have been if he was more thoughtful at the outset, then spouting complete nonsense by the end of the film.

Still, I think it was pretty clear from the outset which side my bread was buttered on. I’ve never seen one of the Lupin specials I thought was unwatchable (God knows a couple of them come close), but it’s hard not to feel with the later entries that you’re looking at a product, designed to maintain a level of continuity. Lady Liberty feels like a film, one that people had ambitions for. While I wouldn’t put this one up with the very top-tier of Lupin films, I think it is quietly one of the highlights of the franchise, and shouldn’t be overlooked amid the flashier theatrical features.
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Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a show that while very different in many ways still reminded me most strongly of Evangelion than any other anime. It feels to me like it's doing a similar thing with classic Shojo to what Eva did with the big robot genre, adding an unexpected level of psychological depth and darkness while also twisting and toying with the genre conventions. Of course, much like with Eva, I have nearly no experience or knowledge of that sort of Shojo (the only anime thing I was really reminded of while watching this was the OTT theatrics of Team Rocket from Pokemon at times). So I can only take Utena on its own, I can't place it in the context of any wider genre. And on its own (and I suspect even not on its own) it's truly one of the weirdest viewing experiences I've ever had. After watching the whole thing I felt more like I'd been on some kind of long peyote trip than watched a TV show, it's certainly quite a ride. In a way the show also feels like a religious book of myths in anime form. Full of symbols and esoterica and ritual and repetition and disconcerting darkness and of course incest. It has such a richly otherworldy atmosphere, and the brilliant visuals and music aid this tremendously. I did find it a rather unsettling viewing experience, though I don't necessarily mean that in it in a negative way. Something about the bright candy coloured, overly prettified aesthetic, and light hearted or aggressively whimsical humour jarringly brushing up against some really dark stuff. But that's kind of what made it intriguing I suppose.

Despite containing all the mental anguish and selfishness of the real world, Utena's world doesn't really feel like an actual place, the characters feel more like symbols than people, though I might not be clever enough to necessarily know what they mean (nor am I clever enough to know what is clever symbolism and what is the maniacal whimsy the show also has a penchant for) apart from them all being cautionary tales against the hope that romance ever blossoms healthily. None of the characters especially grow or change or heal or seem to be able to resist being manipulated like clockwork by End of the World, with the exception of Utena and Anthy right at the end.
I definitely viewed the show as a critique on patriarchy and gender and likely capitalism too, and definitely something about the penis (as sword) as demented object of violence and ecstasy and oppression. It seems to take a stance against the obsession with romance and the desire to posses someone, and even more broadly against narrow categories in general of relationships, of identities, and of roles. In the end Utena and Anthy escape the pretty yet petty and rigid world of attractive but poisoned idealisations and I like think move from that world into a more real world where they can be happy simply as they are, they brought revolution to themselves even if not to the whole world. And so, if this show was a book of religious myths, it'd probably be better than all the other ones out there, kind of like an anti-myth-book-of-myths.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
I second your very high opinion of the show, which most anime fans would hold for it I expect. It is quite the seminal show and like Evangelion amongst the greats. Also not smart enough to fully understand the allegories and symbolism, but certainly enjoyed them very much regardless. Have you watched the movie as well? I wish I had watched it right after the anime, as I believe it serves as an epilogue to the story, but I guess I'll just have to use it as an excuse to re-watch the anime as over again heh.
Eva Rebuild films:

I'll probably have to spend some more time pondering how I actually feel about these, as I've just come off a binge bender of them. As you can imagine, sensory overload is an understatement. My initial feelings after 3+1 are pretty mixed. There's stuff I really liked in there, the strong emotional beats and some fantastic imagery mainly. But honestly the 3rd and 4th films in the Rebuild series take the maximalism past that threshold for me where far from being captivated, vast swathes of the film just wash over me and I almost start nodding off in boredom. I liked the denouement of the final film, but really so much before that was just long hyperactive CG battles that I found unpleasantly overblown and hard to follow interspersed with ludicrous new heights of made up religious gibberish dialogue. The films also take the creepy letchy direction to all new heights too, there's even one chunk of the film where Asuka is basically not wearing clothes and the camera angles really are crap,
and of course she's also a 28 year old in a 14 year old's body

The latter two rebuild films are almost like parodies of Evangelion. It's damning that I thought the first two films were the best of the bunch simply because they largely stick faithfully to the 90s material, after that Anno just loses the plot.
I rate End of Eva better than all the Remake films too for sure.
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How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord

More like "How NOT To Be An Interesting Show" (hahaha).

It wasn't awful - it's just another isekai show like all the other isekai shows.

It's all pretty generic stuff. Nothing very exciting or funny happens and I'll probably struggle to remember what it was all about in a few weeks/days/hours. The OP and ED themes aren't very memorable either.

The main character is fairly pleasant in this one at least - he's not a complete asshole and/or a total sex pest like some other MCs. The women are pretty standard TBH - a slightly dim one with huge boobs, a tsundere and a few others that appear later.

If you like things like Cautious Hero, Kemono Michi and DanMachi (not an isekai, but yeah), you'll probably love this. If you've never seen any of them, this could turn you into an isekai fiend. Or maybe not. Who knows? 5/10
Lupin III: From Siberia With Love (1992)

Clearly inspired by the real-life rumours of Grand Dutchess Anastasia's escape, TV Special no.4 sees Lupin gunning for a hidden cache of gold used by the Romanov family to secretly buy safe passage to the USA at the time of the Russian Revolution, but tangling with a descendant of mad monk Rasputin and the hitmen working for him.

There’s a definite pattern of ’good ideas, questionable execution’ starting to emerge in the specials at this point, but that said, I do think Siberia is an improvement on the previous film. While Napoleon’s Dictionary felt like three episodes of Part 2 in a big coat posing as an adult, Siberia has a clear(ish) idea and sticks to it. It also benefits from Rasputin being a more memorable villain, with a genuinely creepy habit of shoving his fingers into peoples’ orifices to gain psychic control over them. After a strong start, the film really loses its momentum in the middle though. An amusing bank-robbery setpiece notwithstanding, there seem to be an awful lot of scenes with characters just travelling from A to B or hanging around waiting for something to happen, which is a shame as the side characters do show some genuine promise that the film could have made more of.

Aside from Rasputin himself, the two hitmen under his command lend a bit of comic relief with their symbiotic, Of Mice and Men style relationship, while Judy, an expert on the Romanovs who joins the gang on their misadventure, seems a little more unusual than the typical quasi-love interest. It’s never made explicit, but the film does vaguely hint at her being bisexual and she noticeably has more chemistry with Fujiko than anyone else. This could have brought something new to the table, but sadly the film never does anything with that, and it does end up feeling like her actions are largely just dictated by what the plot needed to drive it forwards, rather than any real character development.

I did actually quite like the finale though. The limitations of the production are clear to see, but there’s some nice dramatic imagery with everyone trying to grab the gold and it generally feels like a satisfying conclusion, even if I don’t think it’s quite enough to pull the film up from the average.

Watchable, but still not good enough that I’d recommend it to anyone not already heavily invested in the series.