Posted in Anime

Haikyuu!! Review-

Released in the spring of 2014, produced by Production I.G. Haikyuu!! is an adaptation of Haruichi Furudate”s manga of the same name.

Haikyuu!! came to me at a time when I was forcing myself to click on the eighth episode 07-Ghost. I’m sure it has a plot somewhere but watching a supposedly strong character behave like a damsel in distress for five episodes can take it’s toll on you. Due to this fact, while Haikyuu!! did lack a lot of things, it pretty much acted as a savior for me.

Synopsis: Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed “Little Giant” in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.-MAl

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Released in the spring of 2014, produced by Production I.G. Haikyuu!! is an adaptation of Haruichi Furudate”s manga of the same name.

Haikyuu!! came to me at a time when I was forcing myself to click on the eighth episode 07-Ghost. I’m sure it has a plot somewhere but watching a supposedly strong character behave like a damsel in distress for five episodes can take it’s toll on you. Due to this fact, while Haikyuu!! did lack a lot of things, it pretty much acted as a savior for me.

An anime focused on volleyball, I would say it nails the most important aspect of it- it makes you love Volleyball. Starting from the way the game is presented to how much it is apparent in the characters’ behaviour, it makes you watch wide eyed as the ball is tossed over the net.

Now, the protagonist himself is a character I couldn’t get myself to like. If not for the character interaction, and any other setting, Hinata Shouyou would have been on my top five annoying character list. He is a  loud energy ball driven by his all encompassing love for volleyball. Take away all that, and I don’t know who he is. He comes off as this character who, while in need of improvement in the Volleyball department, apparently requires little to no self improvement. Now, there are two more seasons and I hope he gets the character development he deserves.

Speaking of character development, Kageyama Tobio, the second main character is the one who gets a massive boost. When he is first introduced, he looks like the kind of character one could instinctively hate, as Tsukishima describes, “an egocentric king”. At first glance, you would think he would be the one remaining a stoic impenetrable wall, while Hinata grows as a person, when in reality it gets too reversed. Kageyama grows tremendously over the series, both as a person and a player.

 

As for the supporting character, it’s sad but they had more depth than Hinata. I particularly liked Tsukishima and Asahi. Asahi went through some real growth himself, though his was condensed in the span of  a few episodes. In general, all the supporting cast, including the opposite team players, especially Oikawa(I’m a sucker for two faced characters) and Kenma an awkward but confused bub, had some solid personality.

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One of the anime’s best aspect is how much it emphasis over team work. I have seen a lot of sports anime and while they speak of team work, in the end individual talent is the one that ends up stealing the show. Which is why watching different team come up with strategies, power attacks and watching them co-ordinate the game around each other leaves you feeling amazed.

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Now, the pacing needed some work. Sometime it felt like everything was over in an instant while some issues drag on for days. The art and sound were okay, not good not bad.

Haikyuu!! is certainly an enjoyable show, and after watching it I understand why it had a huge success.

 

Posted in Anime

Made in Abyss Episode 5- Birds And Explosions

What lies in the second layer of abyss?

Trees. Trees that point deeper into the abyss. Man eater birds with mimicking ability and an inverted forest.

The world building is a solid one, simple concepts, with a little changes here and there, and an art style that brings out the best out of a scene.  A lot of thing made in abyss do point at the abyss and it’s simple and mysterious as that.

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I didn’t expect them to get in trouble so early in the episode, and while it was obvious they were going to be saved, it was a nice setup to bring out Reg’s abilities. Abilities  confirmed were indeed used to save Riko in the first episode, and named Incinerator by Rico, which are very Iron Man like?

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Rico  experienced first hand repercussion of ascending the abyss. It seems Reg isn’t invincible either, though it is unclear whether the blackout was brought on by excess use of power or if he is indeed affected by the abyss at some level. Reg will regain his memories the deeper he goes, that much is obvious, but is his memory loss a result of ascending the abyss in the first place?

There were some shaky camera effect at one point which were timely used. A bit jarring for me, who always feels dizzy after those and thus hates them with a passion in any media.

I really do like the characters here, which are mainly Reg and Rico. They have a bond that is best described as cute, and I feel the show works so well because it is centered around children.

There is nothing better than experiencing adventure through a child’s eye.

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Posted in Anime

Gamers! First Impression- Episode 1

Synospis: This is a story that revolves around certain students and one hobby. Amano Keita is our lonely protagonist who has a passion for gaming and is friends with Uehara Tasuku, who is secretly a fellow gamer and is someone who believes his life is perfect. We also have Karen Tendou, the club president of the video games club and Chiaki Hoshinomori, who constantly bickers with Keita. This is a story filled with a non-stop sequence of comedy scenes and misunderstandings. Our chaotic romantic comedy now begins!

Well, that turned out to be a lot different than I initially expected.

Amano Keita is you average loner MC with a passion for games, and Karen Tendou is his popular classmate who likes gaming as much as him. Enough to form a club and hunt down Amano to make him a club member.

She almost succeeds.

It was refreshing for once in my life to see the protagonist not get swept in the events and make a firm stand after trying it out. He would probably end up joining the club  later anyway, but at least he stood by his convictions.

Another classmate of Amano made a short appearance who is good at gaming, has a cute girlfriend and looks down at Amano for it. Okay.

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I liked it’s way of introducing random tidbits about future or past stuff about the characters.  There were some good genuine comedic moments, especially the part where Tendou gets rejected.

This is listed as a romantic comedy, so I’m not sure how much of it is going to focus on games; if it would introduce more information about the game world, various style of playing and stuff, though the first episode did have some of it.

This anime could go bad real quick, so let’s see.

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Posted in Anime

Koi To Uso- Fanservice Much?(Episode 5)

At this point, I would like to say I care about any of the characters other than Ririna but I don’t. I’m not sure why I’m even watching this except there is a ridiculous lack of good anime this summer, and I’m bored.

Koi To Uso isn’t bad but it could have done so much better. It struck me that the same premise with an older, mature and slightly different cast would have been more suited.

 

Episode 5 of Love and Lies forces our four main character to go through a camping trip, and introduces the concept that maybe not accepting your proffered match could lead to complications. I’m not sure why the elaboration was necessary when the first episode stated loving someone else is forbidden. I was expecting a more severe punishment for not accepting your chosen partner, lessening your chances in getting accepted in school and colleges seem light.

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Other than that, we saw the usual average high school things that happen in a camping trip.

We also got a more roundabout confirmation of  Nisaka’s feelings for Yukari. Yukari is an oblivious protagonist, which is acceptable, but can they not make him jump to illogical conclusions just because Niasaka and Misaki were seen talking to each other?

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In some way, all the characters are stuck in a limbo, continuing the same actions over and over again.

The anime needs to tone down on it’s fanservice too. I see a lot of people comparing it to Kuzu No Honkai, but the characters were way more mature and their clothes didn’t randomly come off unless they wanted it to.

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I’m going to stick around for one more episode before deciding whether this is actually going somewhere because for some weird reason I keep expecting it to improve.

Posted in Anime

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.

Posted in Anime

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.

Posted in Anime

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.

 

 

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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?

Posted in Anime

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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Posted in Anime

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.