Posted in Anime

Koe No Katachi- Review

While Koe No Katachi officially got an anime adaption last year, the manga has been around far longer. I remember getting multiple recommendation from various people, and never quite managed to touch it.

I’m not a fan of bullying stories, especially stories where bullies get off the hook or suddenly turn into good people- something the synopsis of the manga suggests.

To my utter relief, Koe No Katachi understands the importance of punishment and forgiveness. It doesn’t make a villain or a saint out of anyone. In fact, it goes as far as to suggest being  too good of a person isn’t a good idea, not if you are being insincere.

Koe No Katachi present the story of a deaf girl Nishimiya, and Ishida who bullied her in elementary school, and gets this idea to make amends  year later.

It tackles on a very sensitive subject and does a good job of it, though it might be lacking at some point. There is a huge amount of character growth especially with the main character Nishimiya and Ishida, though I felt Nishimiya, as a person wasn’t explored enough.

The side characters on the other hand, felt more like plot devices. It is clear something is going on with them, and they all have their individual troubles, but it’s never fully explored- disappointing but understandable since the whole series is compressed into a movie of two hours.

There are also multiple themes running throughout the series, starting with bullying, detachment, suicidal thoughts and even a bit of romance, but none of them get the chance to have proper focus on.

My only actual complain is the transition of scenes. It always felt as if some cuts are missing.

The animation quality and sound is extremely well done and pleasing.

Despite it’s shortcomings, Koe no Katachi is extremely well done, and one of the few anime out there that actually bothers making a point.

Anyway, the DVD is finally out so I hope you all enjoy.

 

Posted in Anime

The Other Side of Fandom Life

Recently, I saw a Facebook post from an artist on why she was dead scared of fandom life. The comic depicts fire, destruction, fan girls fighting and someone flying around in a rope- something I found hilarious as hell.

As a voyeur of multi fandom, I can attest this to be true.

Fandom life is scary.

It sucks you in, makes you go through pages of fanfiction, makes you click reblog, retweet on a post faster than you thought possible.

It also makes you defensive.

What you say might be taken in a way completely unlike your original intention, people might come after you with virtual pitcforks, try to educate you on things in which they are the ones who need more knowledge on. Fandom has also made way for more cyber bullying then I can manage to keep track of.

But, fandom can also be a beautiful place. The joy of watching the trailer of the second season of an upcoming TV show? Who else are you gonna get it with? Of sharing stuff, and gushing about how excited you are? Where else can you get that?

Sometimes, you come across new things, get your mind broadened by people or learn to agree to disagree with them.

If you can find the safe, happy place in the fandom, that one corner where everyone is happy, and no one is engaging in fan war?

It is an amazing life.

Posted in Anime

Yojohan Shinwai Taikei- The study on Upgradation

Ever thought you could be doing something else? Maybe the people you know, the education you are taking at the moment or the activities you are joining could have been replaced with something better? Ever wanted to upgrade?

Based on Tomihiko Morimi’s novel, The Tatami Galaxy is a story about choices, the what if’s in your life.

The Tatami Galaxy is a eleven episode story of the “Protagonist”- who has not been named and shall be referred as such- going through various choices to achieve his rose coloured campus life.

Except, does the rose coloured campus life really exist?

What’s absolutely fascinating about the series is it’s slow unveiling of the characters, bits and pieces that are found every episode to get the bigger picture of who they really are until everything comes full circle. The Tatami galaxy approves and disapproves of the Butterfly Effect, mixes it with some ridiculousness that is only found in anime, and it manages to give us a really important message.

The art style is seriously one of the best I have ever seen, the colour palate changing according to the mood of the episode, and personally, I loved the way they went about the last two episodes.

It is really hard to explain what is so good about this anime, and I suspect a lot of people were put off by the Narrator’s maniac way of describing events, but it is seriously one of the best anime I have come across.

 

Posted in Anime

Onihei Review- Demons Are Mere Humans

The blade arts of the “Devil” tasked with striking down evils threatening a peaceful Edo! Heizou Hasegawa, upholding the role of chief officer protecting against crime and arson! In 1783, the heart of the Tenmei era, Hasegawa held the office of chief director of the department charged with sustaining safety in the region, suppressing the most vile of thieves and criminals, an individual largely feared, renowned as Devil Heizou…- Copied from MAL

Onihei   is that series of Winter 2017,  the one that went grossly ignored among the hustle bustle of  loud, dominant, crazy music Anime. It happens every season, and the key to is looking hard enough for that one anime that strikes your interest out of nowhere.

I am one of those people who found Onihei after almost flinging my laptop off when Spring 2017 came up with Natsume Yuujinchou and arguably, Attack on Titan as the only good lot. To start off, Onihei is a mixture of mystery and action, and while I certainly lean more towards the mystery in any show, who doesn’t love the good old days  of kick ass sword fighting in anime?

Onihei thrives on the concept of good criminals and bad criminals. Thieves, and their three golden rule that must never be broken. That even a officer can respect a criminal if he follows his moral code. The concept that there are such thing as “True Thieves”. The series gets the memo that while there are plenty of bad people around, here are also a large group of people who are nothing but product of their circumstances.

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While the titular character, Heizou Hasagawa, is a well made character, there are times when he is a little too perfect. Or should I say, he is a character that’s been around forever, that one detective that gets thrill out of mystery’s and has little to no regard for his own life. A remarkably kind character, there were times I didn’t agree with Hei’s method or found them harsh, mainly the main episode. Other than that, he is more of the plot point that introduces us to a delightful range of characters. The supporting cast are a bundle of delight, with their stories and various characteristics. In all honesty, I felt and sympathized with the supporting cast more than I did with Heizou, and I believe that was the intention from the start.

Onihei is also an undoubtedly dark anime, it delves into some nasty corner of humanity and there are a lot of scenes that is hard to watch, thankfully the art style is well made with the concept in mind and gives off that midst between soothing and painful. I won’t say much about the music, except they suit the theme.

Onihei isn’t all dark, there are light scenes and clear reminder there is happiness between all the pain out there. That not all sad stories have to end that way, however sometimes the episodes swing from too dark too light.

All in all, we need more stuff like Onihei.

 

 

Posted in Anime

Grave Of The Fireflies- A rant

As World War II reaches its conclusion in 1945, Japan faces widespread destruction in the form of American bombings, devastating city after city. Hotaru no Haka, also known as Grave of the Fireflies, is the story of Seita and his sister Setsuko, two Japanese children whose lives are ravaged by the brutal war. They have lost their mother, their father, their home, and the prospect of a bright future—all tragic consequences of the war.

Now orphaned and homeless, Seita and Setsuko have no choice but to drift across the countryside, beset by starvation and disease. Met with the apathy of adults along the way, they find that desperate circumstances can turn even the kindest of people cruel yet their youthful hope shines brightly in the face of unrelenting hardship, preventing the siblings from swiftly succumbing to an inevitable fate.

On a sweaty, disgusting summer night, I decided to watch the anime I had been warned would  bring me to tears. The anime that received critical acclaim and is hailed as a masterpiece even by Non-anime fans. A sense of doom combined with anticipation enveloped me as I began, only to be annoyed and angry at the end.

I am talking about Grave of the fireflies.

Let me say this, I could look at the movie in two ways, and while one way appeals more to me than the other, most people seem to hail the movie for exactly the reasons I found flawed in it.

I will start with the good part. Hotaru No Haka is Studio Ghibli’s child, and even in 1988, they had the capability of producing quality animation. One thing about Studio Ghibli is their ability to portray day to day life actions, simple actions that makes you think, “Oh, I do that.”  Set in war time, it also does a scarily real job of portraying Japan during 1945, burnt bodies and lost childhoods.

At the beginning, I was actually enjoying it. Setai, the older brother came across as responsible and even headed, taking care of his sister, finding them a place to stay with their relative after their Mother died, and immediately writing a letter to his father who works in the navy.  However, after that, it all goes downhill.

This relative of their mom, despite feeding them, and letting them have a place to live, sometimes lets her temper get the better of her, and nag at Setai about not doing anything to help out during the war time. Which she isn’t completely wrong about? All Setai literally does is laze about and play with his little sister, and I think it’s general knowledge, young kid, even fourteen year old used to help out with war efforts during that time. It isn’t a question of whether it’s wrong or right, it just how the world was, and how their mentality was. But let’s say, the aunt is wrong here. So, Setai takes her scolding to his pride, and sets about to create a makeshift home in a shelter for him and his sister.

And that’s it, that’s the story. They play, hunt for food, have three thousand yen left in bank but forget to use it until the last day when Setsuko is literally dying from starvation, when she is beyond help. Not only that, Setai refuses to listen to a farmer’s advice for them to apologies to their aunt, but steals food from the very same farmer that day, as if apologizing to someone is more degrading then stealing.

And you know what, if Setai really loved Setsuko so much, couldn’t he just swallow up his pride? It doesn’t matter whether their opponent was wrong or right, when you love someone and they are suffering, you do anything for them. If it was Setai alone I would have understand, but with his sister’s life on the line, saying sorry should have been a peace of cake.

If Hotaru No Haka, was a testament on ego can lead to someone’s downfall, and can be harmful for everyone around you, I can call it a good movie. But it is known as that movie, the one with the sad story about siblings struggling through life- which wasn’t done realistically at all.

Well, everyone should see the movie once, and decide for themselves.

Posted in Anime, Manga, Scribbles.

Ghost Hunt

Synopsis- The decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try to tear it down, “accidents” start to happen-people get hurt, sometimes even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that the creepy old high school is haunted-possibly by ghosts from the Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.

No ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who’s been hired to investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to solve this mystery!

I don’t think I have enough words to describe what Ghost Hunt is to me. Presumably, one of the most detailed dabble into supernatural to this day, Ghost Hunt is a wonderful fusion of the science and supernatural. Ghost Hunt is far from perfect, in fact it is filled with truckload of faults and failures, but it will always have a special place in my heart.

Maybe it’s my fascination towards the supernatural, maybe its the passion apparent in the author’s work, the hard work and day and night of research.

Originally released as a Light Novel by Ono Fuyumi under the name Akuryo, Ghost Hunt managed to garner a Manga and anime adaptation due to its popularity. Due to the fact the Akyuro series  is still under translation, I would review the manga instead, though arguably the light novel has more details and lovely moments, and tidbits the manga misses out on.

Ghost Hunt starts on a relatively simple, and even a cliche shoujo premise. Boy meets girl, ends up doing something stupid out of curiosity and ends up having to pay the price by working for him. It sounds more like a romantic comedy than a school girl’s  horror story- Sensei’s words- but what sets Ghost Hunt apart is its opening where girls gather round for after school horror story and surprisingly enough, while they might not scare you, they do send a chill up your spine.

From then on it heads long into list of cases with scientific twist to them. Ghost Hunt doesn’t make up scary ghost 101 facts as it goes. It is clear the information found in Ghost Hunt is work of actual research on phenomenon and all psychic abilities and while some events are explained with research found from all over the world by actual scientific researchers, others are ordinary events mistaken as ghost haunting and compelling reasons on why they are thought so. There are times when the characters goes on to explain phenomenon for multiple pages which might be boring for normal readers but fascinating for Ghost enthusiasts.

Consisting of twelve volumes, while Ghost Hunt doesn’t dedicate much time to individual characters, the huge cast of characters are well made out. There isn’t much room for development or information about the characters, just tidbits thrown here and there, which leaves room for lot of imagination. You get the idea of who they are personality wise, but different aspects aren’t explored- understandable since this is primarily a mystery genre. (Also, if you read the light novels, there are one shots dedicated to many characters which explains their life better.)

The fiction is primarily from Mai’s perspective, a sixteen year old high school student. Mai, a complete rookie when it comes to the supernatural ends up becoming Kazuya Shibuya’s assistant, a seventeen year old Ghost Hunter.

Mai is outspoken, loud and hot headed, which makes her a refreshing female lead than most Shoujo Manga.

Kazuya Shibuya is- how should I put it? He feels like Sherlock, just a little less moody. I can’t help but wonder whenever I look at Kazuya if he Sensei modeled him after Sherlock Holmes.

Like I mentioned before, Ghost Hunt doesn’t have much room for personal relationships, but Mai and Kazuya’s interactions, and their feelings and all the read between the lines moments is one of my favorite thing about Ghost Hunt.

Since Ghost Hunt is about spirits, a lot of emotions are put into the cases too.

Also, for a series that’s mainly about Ghost Hunting, it’s final volume is full of unexpected revelations and twist, the sort to make you go, how did I miss it?

All in all, if you aren’t into the supernatural, Ghost Hunt might be the place to look.

 

 

Posted in Anime

ACCA 8

For its latest episode, ACCA chooses to go back in time. It doesn’t exactly put a light on current events, but it does make a compelling story on why Jean’s life has become more complicated than it should be.

I still can’t buy the fact Nino is Nine year older than Jean, but overall it does make sense for Nino and his reasons to watch over Jean. Nino is one of the most interesting  characters in ACCA. It’s still so hard to get a read on him. Jean, for all the other characters proclamation on his ambiguous nature is relatively simple compared to Nino.

The question remains, if nothing really could come off Jean’s bloodline then why was Jean involved in the coup d’teat confusion? Why did Abend feel the need to watch over Jean even after all these years?

Guess, we will find out soon.

 

Posted in Anime

ACCA Episode 6 & 7

While episode 6 seemed to be doing a merry go round, and in all honesty was basically about food, episode 7 is a bomb that was unexpected yet expected at the same time.

Episode 6 showed Jean Otus finally taking a step forwards and trying to play an active role. Be it because of his crush on General Mauve or his respect for Chief Glossular, he is starting to care.

On the other hand, episode 7 has Jean assessing the situation he is in. After weeks of dropping random information, Episode 7 finally disclosed the first part of the mystery and why Jean is so into the thick of things without even being willing. It also has Jean retain his relaxed nature even after the unusual revelation for most ordinary people and yet, care at the same time.

Episode 7 also sort of clued in on why Nino is keeping an eye on Jean and I can’t help but wonder- Is Nino involved in the Coup d’teat?

 

Posted in Anime

Natsume Yuujinchou Season 1 to 5

While most fifteen-year-old boys, in one way or another, harbor secrets that are related to girls, Takashi Natsume has a peculiar and terrifying secret involving youkai: for as long as he can remember, he has been constantly chased by these spirits. Natsume soon discovers that his deceased grandmother Reiko had passed on to him the Yuujinchou, or “Book of Friends,” which contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control. Now in Natsume’s possession, the book gives Reiko’s grandson this power as well, which is why these enraged beings now haunt him in hopes of somehow attaining their freedom.

Without parents and a loving home, and constantly being hunted by hostile, merciless youkai, Natsume is looking for solace—a place where he belongs. However, his only companion is a self-proclaimed bodyguard named Madara. Fondly referred to as Nyanko-sensei, Madara is a mysterious, pint-sized feline spirit who has his own reasons for sticking with the boy. -Copied from MAL

There is a reason in a industry where most Shoujo doesn’t get  second season, an anime managed to get five. The manga has always been close to my heart and I didn’t think it ‘d possible for the anime to wreck me anymore, but moving images have a special capability of their own.It’s hard to pinpoint what is so good about Natsume Yuujinchou, but it is simultaneously the most heartwarming and heartbreaking anime I have come across.

Is it the serene atmosphere? Maybe the gentle opening and ending song? Or is it Natsume and his loneliness? Better yet, the Youkai’s with their quirky characters and encounters they couldn’t forget?

Or maybe it’s all of them?

Natsume Yuujinchou is an episodic, slightly character driven story then any actual plot. Its about Natsume’s and his journey to find a place for himself, dues to his spiritual abilities making him a person who neither is here nor there. Haunted all throughout his childhood, Natsume couldn’t find it in himself to trust Youkaii’s and yet, he is more comfortable with them than he had every been with humans. Humans inherent desire to reject anything that is different has left a huge scar on Natsume. Yet, it doesn’t stop him from being a kind person, and despite his attempt at distancing himself from everyone, he ends up helping them anyway. Natsume never really felt love or trust in all the houses he has been forced to live in, so it is a huge surprise to him, the kindness his new adoptive father and mother, Shigeru and Touko showers on him. It is endearing to watch, as Nastume struggles to come to term with love in all its form, of that of a parent and child, of a Youkai and Human, of friendship and trust.

A huge part of Natsume Yuujinchou’s  success falls on Madara or Nyanko-sensei, a high level Youkai posing as a cat.  He is funny, often mistaken as a pig in his cat form, and while he denies it, Nyanko-sensei is a tad bit protective of Natsume. Its hard to decipher what Madara is thinking, but it is clear, over the course of the season, Natsume has become an important person to him. Their interactions are amazing to watch, as they both lookout for each other in their own way.

We have the Youkai’s, of course, with various personalities and desires. Natsume Yuujinchou is about the Youkai in Natsume’s book of friends, after all. There is a bunch that follows Natsume around and Natsume can’t help but be irritated and comfortable with them at the same time.

The relationship between human and Youkai has to be one of the most strongest part of the series. Its essentially sad, and sweet at the same time. How would you feel if someone touches your heart and doesn’t even have the privilege of remembering or being with you?

So, while the latest season of Natsume Yuujinchou- season 5- might not be quite up to the mark, it is definitely worth checking out the other seasons.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Anime

Shirobako (The Anime about Anime)

Synopsis- Shirobako begins with the five members of the Kaminoyama High School animation club all making a pledge to work hard on their very first amateur production and make it into a success. After showing it to an audience at a culture festival, that pledge turned into a huge dream—to move to Tokyo, get jobs in the anime industry and one day join hands to create something amazing.

Fast forward two and a half years and two of those members, Aoi Miyamori and Ema Yasuhara, have made their dreams into reality by landing jobs at a famous production company called Musashino Animation. Everything seems perfect at first. However, as the girls slowly discover, the animation industry is a bit tougher than they had imagined. Who said making your dream come true was easy? – Directly from MAL

Produced by P.A. Works, the fall anime of 2014, Shirobako, is a rose coloured window to the world of animation. A somewhat romantic view of the anime industry, while Shirobako might oversimplify and ignore some truths, it is an educational view on how anime is truly made.

The best word to describe Shirobako  would be…busy. Much like how work is at an anime studio, the characters in Shirobako are always running from here to there in an attempt to meet ends. I think watching Shirobako developed in me a huge appreciation for the process of animation.

The anime itself has a clean, clear cut character design, with an overall lovely art style. With three opening and four endings, they all fit the theme of the anime perfectly.

Shirobako’s true  strength, surprisingly however, is its giant cast of characters. While it claims to have five main characters, side characters often seem to overshadow them a bit. Every character is Shirobako is done well, with their own thoughts and personalities, and while their isn’t exactly much scope for character growth, it is a delight to get a look inside their head amidst all the hustle bustle.

If  you went to watch Shirobako expecting some deep moving plot, you would be disappointed. However, if you are looking for more information into the anime industry or just simply enjoy watching a office anime with busy lives, Shirobako is for you.