Elegant Youkai Apartment Life-The grass is always greener on the other side(Episode 5)

This was hands down the best episode till date. For a episode, where nothing remotely supernatural occurred, it was rich in character development.

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I mentioned last week’s Inaba’s inability to understand others, which was expanded on this episode. Firstly, I’m glad he didn’t pack his bag and leave his new resident solely on the fact he is miserable there. He made a choice to gain more experience, instead of simply cursing his surrounding.

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A choice which was brought on by his encounter with Sato-san, another of the residents in Youkai Apartment. While Inaba yearned for the extraordinary, Sato found joy in the ordinary. This change in perspective helped Inaba more than anything else. Also-excuse me- I’m a sucker for stories involving Youkai who are in love with humanity, so I found Sato’s character especially likable.

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This is what I originally signed up for; character development and warmth.

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Made In Abyss- The Edge(Episode 4)

Well, this was a slow episode compared to the previous ones, consisting more of warning and flashes of what’s about to come than any actual danger.

One of the best part and the opening was; Reg’s arm tangled in an intricate way to make a barrier while they sleep. Smart move. One of RiKo’s prominent characteristic is how cheerful she is, something that translates into hopelessly naive in some situations. Regardless, Riko might not be conventionally smart, but she has intuitive intelligence, which helps.

Can I say I really like “Leader’s” character? He probably had five minutes of screen time in all of the four episodes, but his presence and influence is clear in Riko.

Habo makes a short appearance, and for once, we got to see the skills of an advanced Whistle. He provides an warning for Riko’s next destination, and watches Riko set off, much alike a father.

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We have reached the second layer in relatively short time, and the visuals are stunning. I mean I was sold on the art from the first episode. This one reminded me how ethereal the abyss is.  It feels like something out of a children’s comic book, only better.

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I was curious about the studio, Kinema Citrus, as I wasn’t aware of their name. Apparently, they also produced Barakamon. Barakamon and Made In Abyss are completely different anime plot wise, but the overall approach makes a lot of sense with this revelation.

Made In Abyss also has an approach of making you feel like a part of the story, pulling you in instead of making you feel like a bystander.

Can’t wait to see the creatures and characters we’re going to encounter in the second layer.

Koi To Uso( Episode 1 to 4)- Love is the Lie

Synopsis: Lies are forbidden and love is doubly forbidden. In the near future, when young people in Japan turn sixteen, they are assigned a marriage partner by the government. People don’t have to go through the trouble of looking for someone, and everyone accepts that the country will find a compatible partner to make them happy. Yukari Nejima is fifteen years old. He lives in a small corner of the country, and just can’t seem to get ahead in life. Both academically and athletically he’s below average. But within him, he hides a heart burning with passion! In this world in which love is forbidden, what will happen to him when he falls in love?

Initially, the synopsis, while interesting wasn’t enough to attract my attention. In fact, it almost repelled me- I still see too many arranged marriage here for me to blindly dive into anything that has arranged marriage as its base.I watched four episodes in one go, and it helped me have a better impression of the anime than what I had with only the first episode.

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The first episode introduces us two characters, our protagonist- Yukari Nejima, and Takasaki Misaki. Two people who have been in  love with each other for a long time, but their assigned partners are different.

Yukari and Misaki’s feelings for each other, stemming from a sweet, awkward encounter in elementary school, is the only basis for their long lasting five years affection. They didn’t have a proper conversation until Yukari realized he doesn’t have enough time before his notice arrives, and chose to confess his feelings.

Can this be called love? Or is it the infatuation of people who don’t know better?

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Yukari is a pretty average character, boring even. He is a shy, messy protagonist who apparently knows nothing, and I couldn’t really like him. He is described as a kind person, who acknowledges his mistake, which is a redeeming quality. At the same time, he is a person without conviction.

I don’t really have an opinion on Misaki’s character, other than she is torn between her own desires and what she believes is the right course of action. At the moment, Misaki is a blank note who is slowly showing all her facets, and the only constant thing about her is her emotions for Yukari.

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Now the third main character, Sanada Ririna- Yukari’s assigned wife- is the one who made the entire show interesting. She is straightforward, a little socially awkward, and has her clothes undone without her consent because fanservice. Ririna’s encounter with love has been non existent till date, and while she is interested in the idea of romance, it manifests more as a desire to live through someone else than experience it herself. Ririna’s easy accceptance of Misaki and Yukari’s relationship, and her pushing them towards each other is what threw me off, since I expected her to be a generic character who would get possessive over Yukari for no reason.

Ririna refuses to accept the mechanics of “Red String of Science” or the government’s game of matchmaking, and she is willing to face it head on, no matter how much she doesn’t understand it. Unlike Yukari, whose love stops him from accepting his fate, Ririna’s refusal stems from genuine questions and critical thinking.

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Suffice it to say, I found her to be an enjoyable character and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say she is carrying the whole series.

As Ririna question, the system of marriage choosing marriage partner is messed up. It is based on two people’s personal data since childhood, but shouldn’t something that decided their fate be available for public disclosure? Their is no scope for informed decision, and it is basically governments tyranny. Also, in  a system that is placed with the birth rate in mind, are opinion of people who aren’t heterosexual not taken in?

Which brings me to the fourth character,  Yuusuke Nisaka. He is Yukari’s best friend, but as Yukari states, no one knows what goes on in his mind. He is a good looking, on the cold side character, and if I’m not wrong, appears to harbor feelings for Yukari, if episode three is any indication. His almost hostility towards Misaki, and maybe it is a result of jealousy, but I’m going to take a wild guess, and say he is also Misaki’s chosen marriage partner. I’m curious about him, and if he is truly interested in Yukari, I want to know more about his thoughts on the system.

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We have a really colorful art here, though the character design is generic with big eyes- too big, even for Shoujo. It’s got an almost cheerful opening, and a soothing ending song.

I’m sort of interested in what happens, mainly because  of Ririna, however, I’m not expecting much.

 

 

Youkai Apartment No Yuuga No Nichijou- This Side (Episode 4)

The first half of the episode starts with a schoolmate of Inaba creating a ruckus in the Youkai apartment for no reason other than the fact he can. A rebel without cause- something Inaba calls them out for. It’s a funny start, a look into the consequences of attacking an apartment where Youkai and thug like adults resides.

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This is also the last big blast before Inaba can move out of the apartment and go back to his ordinary life. Except, once you have got a taste of the extraordinary, how many people would be satisfied with something normal?

To Inaba, after moving out, life seems boring, and he is reminded of the emptiness and detachment that he was used to before he met his previous housemates. While watching the episode, I felt Inaba needs to learn to connect with other people; even if he chooses to go back to the apartment and the supernatural world- which he probably will.

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Since this was a episode about how much he misses them, I wish they would have gotten deeper into his attachment with them.

Inaba is still an average character, even if he is slowly shaping into a rounded person. The rest of the cast, on the other hand, are truly unique with their backstories and their reaction.

Ruriko’s backstory was as grim as Kuri’s, and even though we don’t even know how she looks, one can’t help but love her. The Youkai’s past are turning out to be way more scarier than I initially expected, a stark contrast to the anime’s cheerful tone, but it’s welcomed.

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Totally random query, but why are Onmyouji always depicted as talk, dark, handsome people with silky hair?

Made In Abyss- Departure(Episode 3)

The descent into the abyss begins.

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On the whole, other than Rico and Reg entrusting their life to the abyss and each other nothing much happens.

This was an character dedicated episode, and an extremely emotional one. The best thing about Reg being an android is how human he is. Usually, robotic characters are presented as stoic, emotionless or people who have a hard time understanding emotions. Watching Reg express various range of emotions, having a clear hold of them more than Rico and the other kids, is a treat in itself.

Rico’s mothers letter doesn’t  explicitly states anything but the contents makes me suspect Reg hasn’t always been this way.

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To sum up my feelings for this episode, it’s just me thinking adorable, cute and cooing at the characters. Both Rico and Nat are children, barely teenagers, and I can’t help but think they don’t know any better. Rico’s decision to jump into the abyss is as reckless as it can get. At the same time, they are children who have grown up in a harsh environment, and have clear resolve. It makes for a interesting relationship dynamic.

This episode shows various facets of the character, and cements our attachment towards them.

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Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun Episode 1-3

Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun  is just an average comedy anime.

It’s a mixture of the protagonist’s  passion about soccer, his obsessive compulsive disorder, and generally suspicious character surrounding the poor boy. The protagonist himself is a poker faced person over powered person, except he isn’t rude as is the general case in this trope.

What honestly impressed me about the anime is it’s choice not to make light of the protagonist’s trouble and reduced OCD to nothing but a comic trope.

If you’re looking for a committment free anime this season (which I was) Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun  is the perfect choice.

 

Youkai Apartment- Episode 3

 

Screenshot_20170719-173740The episode takes a quick jump at a point where Inaba is already used to the quirky lifestyle. I appreciate the decision to not waste an incredible amount of time with the protagonist getting scared at everything, a smoother transition would have been nice.

The previously light episodes made me forget that Youkai Apartment in indeed about Youkai. No matter how much lighthearted the anime appears, darkness lurks just behind the gate of the protected household.

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It introduces Kuri’s(a child youkai) trouble with his mother while delving into the protagonists’ own feeling for his parents. The abuse Kuri received isn’t explicitly shown, not the most important part, but the implication is scary nonetheless.

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Inaba is shaping up to be a better main character, as we get a deeper look into his mind, though he is still a basic non powered anime protagonist at best.

I originally expected the anime to be a episodic but slow paced one, so it’s fast pace and abruptness is surprising.

This episode, however has grounded my interest for the future ones.

 

 

 

Made In Abyss Episode 2

This anime is turning out to be exactly what I hoped it would be.

Reg becomes an excavator through Rico and her friends help, but not before it is established that he is  a relic himself and any discovery of his origin could lead to him being taken away and concealed from existence.

I like the way the show doesn’t dump all the information about this world at you, and uses the children to explain things, using Reg’s eye to learn in this case.

We also learn Rico’s mother’s name, and she is assumed to be dead when only her whistle returns. We get a better view into Rico’s head and how she deals with this situation. Rico’s admiration for her mother doesn’t stem from a child’s love, and more from hero worship.

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It seems the “Leader” whose name we still don’t know, isn’t merely an accessory character and more of a guide in Rico’s life in absence of her parents.

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It seems the high ranked excavators are treated as celebrities, almost as if they are on sell, something I didn’t like. It is also weird how a pregnant woman was told to dive deep into the abyss, when “the curse of the abyss” been established.

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding the abyss, Reg and Rico’s mother and , I’m guessing we’re going to go on an adventure soon.

 

 

Your Lie In April( I finally watched It)

Music accompanies the path of the human metronome, the prodigious pianist Kousei Arima. But after the passing of his mother, Saki Arima, Kousei falls into a downward spiral, rendering him unable to hear the sound of his own piano.

Two years later, Kousei still avoids the piano, leaving behind his admirers and rivals, and lives a colorless life alongside his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari. However, everything changes when he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who stirs up his world and sets him on a journey to face music again.

Based on the manga series of the same name, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso approaches the story of Kousei’s recovery as he discovers that music is more than playing each note perfectly, and a single melody can bring in the fresh spring air of April.

Note: This isn’t a proper review and more of me analyzing why I liked this so much. 

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Your Lie In April is an anime that has tragedy written over its name.

I didn’t need to watch the anime to know the end, I instinctively knew by the description and name(Well, the actual lie wasn’t unexpected but a different one) alone. Combined that with how many people praised it, I wasn’t sure if I would finish it crying or absolutely bored.

I know every variation of this story, I’ve seen it in every medium so many times. A gloomy guy, and a bubbly energetic girl who forces her way into his life. I know this plot, I know how it ends.

Then what was so different?

Because this was never about the end. This was never about the tragedy that loomed over the happy times the first episode presented us with. This was about the characters.

This is about Kousei Arima, those people whose world he changed and the person who changed his world in turn.  For Arima, before he met Kaori, life had been pretty much meaningless. The music which he couldn’t give up, the abuse he endured from his mother, his love, hate and guilt towards his mother.

Arima was a person who merely existed.

Then he meets Kaori Miyazano, a person whose clock is ticking. She’s desperate to leave a mark. Unlike Arima, she can’t merely exist, she doesn’t have enough time. Arima sees that, and so she sparkles in his eyes.

This story of how Kousei meets Kaori, and her presence helps him change and the was it is presented is what makes Your Lie In April work.

Also, it’s normal in the melodramatic genre, but the character thoughts are played out like a letter to someone, something I really liked and probably why I felt like crying at some point.  It did the job of portraying how much Arima wanted his feelings to reach her, but couldn’t say them himself.

I would say the first half of the anime was really well done, especially in episode eleven where all Kousei’s growth culminates into something wonderful, but after that it feels like the anime went on just so it could reach the end.

Now,  I have some complain about Watari getting less character development than the side characters, and Tsubaki having a realization that really doesn’t add anything to the overall story other than create complication. On the other hand, the side characters were all wonderful, and had some solid reasons and emotions for their actions.

But my biggest complain is the pacing. A show like this can’t have very fast pacing, since it needs time so you can intake the feel of it, but even then the pacing was too slow.

On that note, the beautiful bright colour palette helps highlight the character emotions, and the background music really adds to that.

I wouldn’t say portraying emotions through music and how it changes for each person is any different, but that’s probably because I have watched a lot of anime with music genre. Someone who hasn’t will probably find it quite thrilling.

Whether you cry or not, You Lie In April deserves a watch. It might lack in some department, but it still knows how to touch one’s heart.

Nana Maru san Batsu Episode 2 Review

While it is certainly not the worst lot of anime this season, I’m not sure I want to continue watching this one.

While I like the protagonist well enough, currently he doesn’t seem to offer anything different other than his brain, and his inexperience when it comes to quiz bowl.

This is an anime that is certainly rich in knowledge about its chosen subject-clearly proper research has been done, and offers us a more distinctive view.

The characters are being introduced slowly and I particularly liked the part where Fukami worries over the extent of her influence on making her friend join the quiz circle.

I think my only actual peeve with the anime is the lack of adrenaline rush when Koshiyama is about to answer, and the consequent result of it.

Well, this anime still has scope for vrowth.