• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

More new shows to report on:

Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood

This is a weird show, but it's my kind of weird. It's half period-drama, half supernatural thriller, half alternate history sci-fi story. Seems mildly edgy so far, but nothing too bad. It's got a great sense of style, and the animation so far is pretty aight. I like the painterly brush stroke quality that the contour lines for the characters have a times. I'm interested in seeing more. I like exploring alternate timeline settings to see what is different and how things diverged from our timelines, but I suspect that's a ymmv sentiment. This show has the capacity for being very problematic (lotta time spent in the first episode in a red-light district), but so far nothing bad.

DOTA: Dragon’s Blood

A friend is forcing me to watch this, and so far halfway through it's a lot better than I was expecting. To get things out of the way, there's a good reason why Dragon Knight has a different voice actor, and Tony Todd is still in the show so that's better than I was expecting. Dota lore is a whole bunch of nonsense, but they're making something fun out of it. The show looks generic as all hell, but the people at Studio Mir (the Avatar people) are still making a well choreographed, decent looking show. I'd have liked to have seen more Dota characters show up, especially more non-human ones. But so far we've got Dragon Knight, Invoker, Mirana, Luna, Terrorblade, and some dire creeps.
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
Wonder Egg Priority is done... until it actually finishes in June, because the production schedule is so chaotic that the staff are literally tweeting (quickly deleted) about getting out of the hospital and going right back to work. My tentative verdict is, they clearly were swinging for the fences, and the ball is nearly to the bleachers, but it's still literally right on the foul line. The only reason I likely won't remain apprehensive for the next few months is I think I've already run out of patience with the show, unfortunately.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
And now, the final Foosie Goosie update.

Up next: uhhhhh Eikoden, which I hear is terrible?

I watched this because I'm stupid. It's bad!

Eikoden takes place three years after the end of the TV series and stars the thoroughly unlikable Mayo Sakaki, an embittered high school girl who's in love with Taka (nee Tamahome) and consumed with jealousy at his and Miaka's relationship. Through a convoluted series of events she manages to weasel herself into the book as the new Suzaku no Miko, steal Miaka's unborn baby, and threaten Taka into pretending to be her husband. What follows is a limp, cheap-feeling quest through a deteriorating Konan to reunite the reincarnated Suzaku warriors (including Chiriko in his new life as a disturbingly eloquent infant) and... do something. It's actually not clear what the ultimate threat even is; Keisuke and the others in the real world postulate that the book, having completed its story and thus beginning to fade away, is attempting to prolong its own existence by starting the cycle over again. But within the book, the enemy is a generic cackling evil entity (appearing as a rickety CGI Suzaku) that gloats about consuming the world, and defeating it restores the blighted land to its former beauty. ...Okay guys, good job!!!

Mayo does manage to get in one good point: Miaka never actually wished to secure the future of Konan, which was the ostensible purpose of her becoming the Suzaku no Miko in the first place. The narrative loses interest in this angle immediately after she says it, though, which suggests she's supposed to be wrong somehow. Meanwhile Mayo is practicing her maniacal laugh and threatening to murder Miaka and Taka's unborn child, but at the end of the series everyone thanks her and accepts her into their circle as a friend. Nuriko even shills for her and literally says "she never did anything wrong!" Great lesson.

I noted before that OVA 2 ends up feeling a little pointless insofar as it ends basically where the TV series did, but at least it has heart, and charm, and high production values, and a few new things to say about these characters. Eikoden just feels sad, tired and lazy. I guess its origins lie in all the fan mail Yuu Watase received from girls who wanted to be Miaka and snag themselves a cute fantasy boyfriend without appreciating the level of horror and trauma she had to go through. But then it's based on a novel not written by Watase, so I don't even know. Please, no more Fushigi Yuugi.

/immediately goes on Amazon and orders more Fushigi Yuugi in the form of Genbu Kaiden
 
More new stuff!

Godzilla: S.P

Toho and Netflix commissioned another Godzilla anime, this time made in collaboration between Studio Bones (FMA, MHA, Mob Psycho 100, Cowboy Bebop, etc) and Studio Orange (Land of the Lustrous, Beastars). The first episode went up on Netflix a few days ago, and it'll get broadcast on a weekly basis on Japanese TV. But since it's Netflix, it'll be stuck in Netflix Jail for at least 4-5 months.

And it's actually... quite promising so far! It looks gorgeous, the characters seem interesting, and the script is oddly fun. It's full of technical language and psudoscience in the way the best kaiju stuff is with regards to building a compelling sci-fi setting. Jury is still out imo on if the show will still be any good because we're just one episode in, and the first kaiju just showed up at the very end of the first episode. But we'll see, I'm mildly excited to see where this goes. I'll probably report back on this one periodically, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on so far.

Since the show is stuck in Netflix Jail, you'll have to sail the seven seas to watch it for now. This show is an interesting case study in examining how far the translation scene has fallen these days. 15 years ago, you would have had dozens of fansub groups tripping over each other to push out subs for a relatively high profile project like this as quickly as possible, every group made up of like a dozen volunteers. Meanwhile, it was amusing to read the comment threads for the raw video of this where fansubbers were basically standing around playing hot potato, until a lone subber very reluctantly and exasperatedly made some speed subs because of the lack of anyone else standing up to take the hit and the annoyance at bad people trying to propagate machine translations. My understanding is that a regular and somewhat reliable group will pick this show up shortly, but them even tackling the project was contingent upon them recruiting an interested and reliable translator which always seems to be the bottleneck for these projects these days. Times have changed!

Edit: Also, Hideaki Sorachi should probably sue for copyright infringement. It's gonna be weird to watch Gintoki fight Godzilla.
 
Every once in a while, I dig into my BD rips of all the different Macross shows/flims and just skim through and watch some of my favorite scenes. And it's always a terrible idea because I completely loose track of time and also get so amped up that there's no way I'm going to sleep that night.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Incidentally, did @Falselogic ever finish watching the original Macross?
Ouch, straight up calling me out Zef? I thought we were friends!

No, I did not. I want to get back to it and am trying to carve out some time to make it happen. My apologies. I will get back to it soon! Please don't be mad at me because *the burning world that surrounds us all* got to me.
 
I love the original Macross to bits, but it's also probably objectively the worst entry to the franchise? It's the oldest and ugliest entry to the franchise, its songs are the worst in the franchise, its characters are hard to root for at times, and it's also the most problematic and backwards entry at this point as well. The story is great and it's required viewing IMO as foundational material for the rest of the franchise, but it's not an easy rec like Macross Plus or Frontier is.

Edit: I should just make a dedicated Macross thread, I have things to discuss.
 
Last edited:

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Plus is so far from an easy anything for me--every good thing it does is met by a billion other things that are fraught and offputting. Probably the worst time I've had with the franchise next to the lowest lows of Do You Remember Love?
 
I like the fraught and offputting parts, is that weird to say? I think it's supposed to be fraught and offputting in certain ways. I always approached Plus as a show about severely flawed people with a lot of baggage who are not great, but want to be better. In the OVA version at least, my reading has always been that they are being intentionally ambiguous that either Isamu and Guld are secretly villains as both do shady stuff and it's not fully clear why certain things happen. Plus just always felt like a grown up version of Macross where its adult characters have adult problems, and I always found that interesting. That's just me tho, I can understand why some things might hit too close to home, or stuff in the show not being what you want from a Macross show.
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
Plus was the first Macross I tried watching, and I dropped it halfway through and haven't regained an interest in the franchise since. The two male leads just exuded nauseating amounts of machismo, while the female lead was mostly just there.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I apologize for my prior post: upon checking some things and refreshing on the OVA (it's been a couple of years) I was actually entirely too kind to it in the above assessment. I had the general idea of why I disliked it (q 3's points) but the specifics were a little hazy, but no longer.

What this series does is present a "love triangle" with two men and a woman in the middle where she's fought over like a prize to be won and forced to carry both of their emotional trauma on her shoulders, caught between the eternal game of violent one-upmanship with herself as a game piece stuck in the crossfire. It's never about Myung in this story, not even and especially when the primary source of strife and the plot point the show obscures until the most dramatically opportune moment shows itself to be her sexual assault at Guld's hands--something the show doesn't really care one bit about from her perspective but wields as a moment of shock, atonement and reconciliation between Isamu and Guld only. Myung's busy being captured in sexually compromising bondage at the time, you see. She's just this thing on the periphery of the real story, the estrangement and eventual healing of the rift between two hyper-aggressive jocks, up until the point when Guld pays his ethical dues by self-sacrificing himself in the big boom setpiece at the climax. So long, the heroic rapist. I just can't deal with any of how this narrative is structured, themed and executed, and especially the pretense of having it be about a cast of young adults frames the entire thing as if it's some kind of treatise or meditation on increased maturity for the franchise, while to me it's anything but; an adulthood I want no part of. I'm kind of surprised I blocked or forgot so much of it because it is just completely repellent to my usual tastes. Maybe I just liked the noses and Yoko Kanno music too much.
 
Don't have any real problems with that read, especially when the Macross franchise's relationship with its female characters can be described as "problematic at best". I do think that read feels incomplete though, at least from my read of things.

The franchise framing of a 'love triangle' always seemed to me more like a marketing gimmick and something to poke fun at and subvert, rather than anything that is thematically important to the shows itself. At least until Frontier. Myung is 'fought over like a prize' in an extremely one-sided way from Guld's pov alone. Isamu is actively avoidant of, and disinterested in Myung through both the show and the film. And Myung of both Isamu and Guld. Guld is essentially gaslighting himself and in denial about his own responsibility, and the show/other characters wait for him to make the self-realization rather than hold his hand through it. His death at the end is played to me more like overdue punishment and atonement for being a bad person rather than glorification. The show (more than the film, IMO) goes out of its way to portray both hyper-aggressive jocks as troubled people who are self-destructive and can't get out of their own ways and face consequences for their actions versus idolization.

Myung is definitely given the short stick with regards to her characterization/getting fun things to do, but I wouldn't say she's just a thing on the periphery. For as much as I prefer the OVA version, the film version is a bit more direct with giving her agency. She's in 'compromising bondage' because she put herself there, and doesn't wait to be rescued but actively has to save herself which she does. (Again, something the film version does a better job of portraying.) Sharon Apple is the personification of her id and all of her desires and inner demons that she actively avoids addressing rather than ever confronting and solving. And that avoidance is really at the heart of the show's 'treatise or meditation on increase maturity'/view of adulthood. Macross Plus is about a group of characters who, when growing up and found themselves at a crossroads in their teenage years, failed to to launch. All of them ran away from their relationships, troubles, and responsibilities rather than rising to the moment to address or overcome them. These characters face mature, adult situations, but they fail to address them as mature adults would, and they live in misery with the consequences until they do decide to act like adults and stop running away from everything.

All of that is interesting to me and speaks of the human condition. It's messy and ugly, but that's kind of the point. I 100% get if that's not what you want from your shows or didn't work for you on the same level it did for me, that's just my perspective on things.


Edit: definitely will acknowledge that it’s certainly a lot more YMMV than my nostalgia for it led me to believe.
 
Last edited:

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The Winter season is over and... its been kind of disappointing, overall?

The Promised Neverland season 2- In terms of technical stuff, it still is a competent show but in trying to collapse hundreds of chapters into 12 episodes leaves a mess of rushed storytelling with very little emotional beats, character turns and surprises having the proper resonance. A huge disappointment after season one, my favourite show of 2018.

Beastars season 2 - Another second season disappointment but... I'll say this, it takes some swings. Big swings. And despite a very confounding finale, I still liked it more than I didn't, thanks to stellar animation and great characters. But Haru gets almost nothing to do this season, they drop in elements that are completely forgotten by the end (including a giant thirsty snake and a plot point involving uncovering the killer getting to be a Beastar). I've had problems with the lack of sense in terms of Legosi's decisions but the last episode put themes and metaphor about logical sense in a way that makes the characters look dumb and also seems to turn against the point of Legosi's journey. Its absolutely ridiculous and I kind of love the audacity of it but don't like that it came at the cost of the series overall quality.

Horimiya - Fine. Its pleasant and it reminds me of a lot of old school romances and I like its sweetness but I kind of got tired of hitting the "Hori's kink" note too many times towards the end and overall thought it was a quality show that I became a little less interested in week after week. I still liked me but when I started, I thought it might be among my favourites of the season and it ended at "Pretty good". Apparently, its also another show that collapsed a lot of stuff into a very short series but I didn't mind too much.

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars - Dr. Stone is a show that never quite rises above consistently very enjoyable but I always look forward to the crazy shit that happens week after week. But I'm easy to make cry and while I always like them on paper, the big tearjerker in the finale never feels like it hits as hard as I want, though I like the convo between the two characters.

Wonder Egg Priority - This one was consistently intense in different ways and always hovered over potentially problematic areas but basically landed on the right side. Hell of a balancing act. I don't think I'd consider it my season favourite but I think its a big bold series. Warning: the penpenultimate and penultimate episodes get real fucked up. Also, it doesn't finish and we need to wait for a summer special.

Sk∞ the Infinity - This is the perfect mid-tier show in the same fashion as Millionaire Detective and Appare! Ranman. Its big, broad, meat and potatoes story-telling amped up by likeable characters, wild set pieces and a general sense of fun. And it certainly takes fewer risks but it also means that it has less chance to shit the bed like some of the shows that were in my previous "best of" lists. But the last two episodes really put it in a higher ranking to me. The penultimate has an outcome we all predicted but the outcome manages to really sell victory for the loser while the winner essentially eats shit and has his pride trampled on completely despite the win. I think I might even put it above the last match, while that one is fun, too.

Kemono Jihen - On the plus side, this was kind of a shounen series I wanted; less focus on power ups and more on characters. I read somewhere else a review that was more positive than me, framing some of the more problematic aspects as something the show was tackling and I can appreciate that but there's just a little too much sex crime in this series that reduces some of the palatability (it is about dealing with the trauma of it, specifically) and it also doesn't help the ew way they dressed the 8 year old who comes into the cast.

2.43 - I wish this wasn't so dull. My hope was for a more low key and intimate and maybe slightly darker take on Haikyuu!! but by the end, it just became less interesting Haikyuu!! and also the LGBTQ aspects that I thought were there... maybe aren't? Like, at all? The characters are just not that interesting and I'm not that invested in the stakes.

Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai - Still good. Like, it is the most meat and potatoes shounen but I appreciate how sincere it is about all its cheesy cliches and tropes. Granted knowing the source material and being familiar with its age help, but this series is the exactly the kind of comfort food I want and sometimes looks gorgeous.

Jujutsu Kaisen - Speaking of, I found the second half of the series more winning than the first. I think it helped that it lightened up a bit after a very dark story. One thing that never changes is the fights look and feel amazing and the fact that there's a cleverness and a sense of humour to it helps. The baseball episode is perfect as a breather/palette cleanser and removes a potential tournament arc and replaces it with a gag machine.

Pui Pui Molcar - Best show of the season.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
Horimiya - Fine. Its pleasant and it reminds me of a lot of old school romances and I like its sweetness but I kind of got tired of hitting the "Hori's kink" note too many times towards the end and overall thought it was a quality show that I became a little less interested in week after week. I still liked me but when I started, I thought it might be among my favourites of the season and it ended at "Pretty good". Apparently, its also another show that collapsed a lot of stuff into a very short series but I didn't mind too much.
Huh? I was personally kind of disappointed that they put it in for like one episode and then forgot about it for the rest of the season. That bit about Hori is one of my favourite things about the manga, because I liked the way it was represented.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I liked it at first, as it felt like a better portrayal than kink is often given in anime but I feel like they concentrated it in two or three episodes (at least, two my memory) and would have preferred it as a once-in-a-while runner after they finished using it as the focus of a plot.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
It’s a new season. Some of the new shows have started. To be honest, this season doesn’t look dire or anything, but there are only a few shows that look like they’ll be interesting to me. A few sequels, like Megalobox 2 (!!!), Zombieland Saga (!!), Fruits Basket (!) and Moriarty the Patriot (*shrug*). Frankly, though, if I’m watching fewer shows this season, I might be happy, as it might give me an JBear a chance to catch up on older anime for once. So far, I’ve only seen three of the seasons new shows, but I will say that 2 out of 3 aren’t bad! Yay!

Those Snow White Notes



Premise

A teen runs away to Tokyo after his grandfather, a shamisen player dies. On his deathbed, grandpa pleads with our hero to drop the shamisen until he figures out his own sound rather than being a copy cat. The kid rooms with a pin-up model with a shitty rocker boyfriend who is taking advantage of her. The kid gets the model to see the truth and in turn she helps him get his groove back. She returns home, leaving the kid with his only friend in tokyo, the shitty rocker dude.

It Gud?

My hope going into this one was something that was either addictive feelgood underdog melodrama like Kono Oto Tomare or maybe an understated music drama of some kind. It leans a little towards the latter with some comedy and fun, though the last 30 seconds adds a sudden influx of wacky character shenanigans. If it doesn’t overload it with that last aspect, I have moderate hopes for the series to be a fun drama with some good shamisen music. Pairing him with the rocker character is likely going to be about developing his own sound through different genres and meeting different kinds of people, so I’m up for that. But I’ll say so far the show isn’t astounding, but instead a moderate and pleasant success and I’m looking forward to more.

Burning Kabaddi



Premise

“Night’s End” is a guy with an athletic body who gives up sports after finding a deep distaste for team infighting and disappointing coaches. Instead, he gives up and moves onto his real passion… live-streaming. However, his live-stream is interrupted by a particularly chipper and persistent member of the kabaddi club. Night’s End agrees to watch a game and gets railroaded into a practice game that is a mix of tag and martial combat. The team’s vice captain tricks the main character into a game and makes a bet… If he loses a game, he joins the team but if he can win a game, he can guarantee a thousand followers to his streams. He agrees and despite showing wit and athletic talent, his lack of experience and underestimating his opponent results in him losing… and joining the team.

It Gud?

I definitely wanted to like this. More than any other shounen subgenre, I’m a big sucker for sports stories. But if there’s a big kiss of death for such a show, it’s a lack of interesting characters and that’s the Achilles’ heel of Burning Kabaddi. It was a similar problem to Hinamaru Sumo, a show that ended up being a disappointment. I don’t need a strong deviation from formula, but I need to be invested and the characters are mostly kind of broad archetypes. And even that can work; I LOVE Eyeshield 21, which is one of the broadest series. But that anime/manga had a dynamic look, outsized action and an overall sense of fun. This feels like a lesser version of that, with more watered down versions of those characters and a lead who I find deeply uninteresting. I’ve definitely seen sports shows I was on the fence on but won me over time (Ace of Diamond), but I feel like the hook (character would rather be a live streamer) doesn’t work for me and his woe (he doesn’t like sports because he’s great but other people are jealous or something) doesn’t speak as well as the usual (finding self-worth, a need for friends, self-improvement). So it isn’t a BAD show, I don’t trust it to deepen its characters, story and nuance enough for me to get a return on my investment.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song



Premise

Open on an amusement park in the future. People are being murdered by all automated things in the part, including robots. A man makes a last ditch effort before dying an seems to succeed. Cut to the same amusement park, before the nightmare. A robot pop singer named Diva (Vivy to her one fan) is the most advanced robot in a park filled with AI robots. Despite this, Vivy is also one of the least popular attractions at the park, but one day hopes to make it to the main stage. In this time, robots are programmed with one job and one job only, as attempts to get robots to diversify are met with error. One day, Vivy finds herself invaded by a rogue sentient AI program. Claiming it is from the future, it tells her that she is the only one who can prevent the robot apocalypse by stopping AI advancement. She doesn’t believe him at first but starts to put some stock into it after being given a chance to save a human politician fighting for AI rights. Vivy noe finds herself with a mission: using knowledge of the future to slowly change history over the course of 100 years.

It Gud?

Vivy is definitely the most promising show so far. I was worried with was going to be an apocalypse idol show, a mix that sounds interesting but I’m told didn’t work out in Gekidol. Instead it’s a show that promises some interesting moral dilemmas. Vivy’s new friend makes it sound like despite having to protect an AI rights advocate, her goal is actively working against AI in general, which promises to be interesting. I also like that it promises to take place over the course of 100 years. I’m not sure if the audience will be fortunate enough to see this premise play out with every episode skipping further into the future (or perhaps some non-linear storytelling) but I would love if it fulfills this promise as our heroine struggles with stopping an apocalypse which will hurt people and perhaps questioning the morality of halting AI rights or simply halting AI production, leaving her somewhat alone in the world. Considering we see her only friend is a little human girl, I suspect at least we’ll see her age over the course of the series. The first episode has two set pieces (and ends setting up a third) but the first episode is mostly conversation based. I’m hoping it doesn’t become too action focused and creates a sci-fi adventure with some action but also dealing with big questions about the nature of life and humanity. I have high hopes for this show and am very interested in where it is going. Also, its very pretty.

 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
I'm digging Joran, which is extremely metal. Enka-goth-metal, to be precise. The show's cast is a circle of people stabbing each other in the back, only some of them are sad about it and the rest are just trying to do it as stylishly as possible.

Let's Make a Mug Too seems like a satisfactory replacement for Laid-Back Camp. It's slightly less CGDCT and significantly more bittersweet than I'd expected.

We live in interesting times, so of course we finally have a season of Pretty Cure getting a simulcast from the very start. Tropical Rouge Precure is perhaps too energetic for some people, but it replaces the usual fairy companions with a vainglorious mermaid princess, which is probably the best idea the franchise has ever had.

Thunderbolt Fantasy is back for those who think live-action puppets are anime (spoiler: they are totally anime, in all the best ways).
 
Just watched the premier episode of Odd Taxi and it was...interesting. Odokawa is a 40 something taxi driver with sleeping issues. Who also happens to be a walrus in a world of animal people. Maybe. See, conversations among other characters lead you to believe that there is something not quite right with Odokawa and maybe the animals are his perception of others. And he is flat emotionally, taking time to respond to a question from his fare. To quote Hank Hill, “That boy ain’t right.” Of course these same characters justify their belief because he’s unmarried with no other family.

Other than Odokawa, the other story thread is a missing high school girl who was last seen getting into a taxi. Possibly Odokawa’s! But did he kidnap her? Did he kill her? Is he even involved at all? All good questions! We do see him talking to someone or something In his closet.

Overall the start is pretty low key and does a decent job of hooking you into its mysteries. It will be interesting to see where the story goes. I’ve got an idea of where it might be going, but I’ll hold off until I see another episode before I make a prediction.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The next batch of episodes of new shows are in and I’ll say, there are a few series that have really surprised me and I think I’m more into this season than I thought I was going to be. But its not a season without me making obvious mistakes. Like so obvious. Like… like its my own fuckin’ fault. But lets start with something not as offensive

Shaman King


Premise

After cram school, a small teen runs into a kid at a graveyard and his friends… all ghosts. The kid also turns out to be the new kid as school, Asakura Yoh. It turns out Yoh is a shaman, a human who has the gift to bridge the world of the living and the world of the dead.

It Gud?

…Ehhh. OK, so this is a series where I read all of it in manga form and would give that, like a C. It’s a middle of the road shounen manga that has some good points (the writer incorporating his Buddhist philosophy into the mix, making the shounen stuff… *very slightly* atypical) and points I don’t like so much (remember when everyone in Dragonball was listing off power numbers. There’s a lot of that). But it’s also been a long time since I’ve read the source material and I’m a different person. I don’t know whether that means I would like it more or less so I gave this a shot. And knowing that this is a 52 episode show they are trying to fit 300 chapters of manga into makes me aware that the pacing is lacking. It doesn’t help that it starts off with something that I remember as being as a reveal at the series midpoint and it takes time that could have been used to make the episode breathe. And its not ridiculously cramped (logically, its largely just the first chapter of the manga, save for an unnecessary cold open) but I feel like I never really get time to sit with the characters and let them have an impact on me up until the last act, which is mostly about building Yoh’s ghost friend.

Of course, a lot of my problems could also be traced to that this is a very workman like production. No big missteps but at the same time its all very rote. And that, I think, can be traced to the source material but as I’ve seen with a lot of other adaptations, there’s a way to make that work with skilled and stylish directing (Adventures of Dai). Can this show try to fit in all its material without being a trainwreck? Sure, I think its very possible. So far, the Advantures of Dai is also having a similar challenge and feels like its moving quickly without being rushed. Shounen manga fights that last for 10 chapters aren’t hard to boil down to a half hour of TV, due to the nature of it (that’s why Dragonball, which didn’t want to catch up, was so full of meaningful stares). But I sense that this show might not do it. I’m going to give it a chance, though, because I’m interested to see what I think of Shaman King now and feel I can comfortably out if either it becomes a mess or I just stop feeling it.

Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway



Premise

A 26 year old salaryman takes in a runaway high school girl who offers him sex. He rejects the sex but takes in the girl instead of calling the proper authorities or doing something a sensible adult would do. She offers to help him out around the house while he works.

It Gud?

Seriously, this one is bad. After we stopped JBear said “It could have been worse”. I wholeheartedly agreed. THAT’S HOW LOW THE BAR IS FOR ANIME. Yes, the main character doesn’t fuck the teenager, even when she comes onto him. And she does it quite a bit. There’s a minute of conversation about her boob size. Instead, the whole thing takes on a vibe of “oops, I’m grooming her” as he buys her clothes and a futon and the next episode promises the purchase of a cellphone. Like, literally, that’s the entirety of the preview; “Next episode: Cell phone” and a picture of a cell being unboxed. So instead of a GF, he has a “sexy daughter-mommy” who looks cute and does his cooking and cleaning. The main character’s friend is mostly there to raise the obvious questions of this, then sort of accept it because “whatever”. I must have picked this one because I thought “Well, maybe this isn’t quite what it looks like”. But it was wrong. This was on me. And there was another show with the same premise from the woman’s point of view that I rejected for the same reason. No, Higehiro decided to not be extremely gross in the obvious ways a lot of these shows are but the result is soft-peddling and normalizing some really grotesque behaviour that the show wants to paint as “sweet” rather than “creepy”. I don’t think that’s much better.

Fruits Basket: The Final



Premise

A young girl tries to remove a curse on a group of younger people that force them to be connected and trapped by fate. After the last season cliffhanger, the show reveals more about what the deal is with the show’s main antagonist.

It Gud?

I usually don’t do continuations, so I’ll keep this brief. I watched the preview and since the series is older, it felt like it could spoil a big deal for me that I wish didn’t. One that is problematic but also makes sense in retrospect, so I kind of got mixed feelings on it at this point. Anyway, the show continues to be what it is: a classic shoujo melodrama that is pretty skilled in its humour but also toys around with some questionable stuff. But overall, I still like it for its flaws and I’m looking forward to finally seeing this through to the end. Also, the bunny guy seems like he’s being drawn as taller than before. How much time has passed since the show began?



Megalobox 2: Nomad



Premise

Set five years after Joe’s victory in the Megalobox tournament, our hero is now in a darker place than he’s ever been. Fighting brutal underground fights, hooked on pain killers and seeing the ghost of his presumably dead trainer, Joe is in wallowing in a pit of despair in anonymity on the outskirts of society. He has only one rule and point of pride left: no fixed fights. Never again will he take a dive, no matter the consequences. But an unexpected match up results in an ironic twist of fate that he doesn’t see coming and maybe the promise that he might claw his way out of his darkest spot ever.

It Gud?

I loved Megalobox. It wasn’t my favourite of the year but it was in my top 10 in a VERY strong year for anime where the competition for best was crazy fierce. The show is full of twists and turns and manages to mutate the source material, the classic manga Ashita no Joe, into something fresh. But despite being the loosest of adaptations, the first series only paralleled the first half of the original manga and where that half ended in a sad place for the hero, Megalobox gave him a happy ending after so many struggles. Megalobox 2, like Ashita no Joe, features the protagonist as wander but while Joe Yabuki’s journey was a melancholy one of coming to terms with (spoilers for people who didn’t read the 50 year old manga accidentally killing a man in the ring), Gearless Joe seems to have lost not only everything and everyone, but also his self-respect. It is a bleak portrait of the hero, meaning its going to be more poignant when we start to see some hope creep in.

The thing I love about this is the first series featured Joe constantly being messed around with by powers greater than himself and he and his friends overcoming them through cleverness, determination and sacrifice. Now, Joe has no resistance. No opponents worthy of him and no one standing in his way. And untethered from anything, Joe is destroying himself. It reminds me a lot of classic “alternate future superhero stories” like Logan where the hero is a sad shell of their former self. But as bad as things are, it isn’t going for edgy, its going for genuinely heartbreaking to see this ridiculously proud and feisty dude break down when left to his own devices. Even the end theme changes from bombastic and determined to truly haunting and sad. Megalobox 2 has me excited for a different sort of tale and I can’t wait for it to play out.

Mars Red



Premise

In 1923, the Japanese government has a problem. Vampires. A man is tasked with researching a vampire that’s been captured, an actress who seemingly only will rehearse here lines for a play she was in, to determined if she can be recruited and used by the government for their own purposes. Over time, she starts to exhibit signs that she is actually more rational than she appears while the man sent to watch over her ends up watching her make a decision that no one expected.

It Gud?

You say “team of vampires who fight other vampires” and I roughly have a road map for a show. Any number of shows: an edgy actioneer like Hellsing or slightly less edgy like Trinity Blood (remember that) or maybe something fun like Blood Blockade Battlefront. I genuinely was not prepared for Mars Red. In a good way. Its not that it isn’t filled with vampire tropes in terms of tone. It is stylish and has a creepy character and is talky and has a morose lead. But 1) it all works and 2) I feel like the melancholy nature that feels like so much affectation in a lot of the other vampire fiction I see feels fresh and natural here.

Its stylish but it’s a surprisingly low key style. It underplays things in the best way. There’s very little posturing, save for two characters who are literally theatrical performers (one who looks to be a major character and the most interesting character… who is shockingly taken off the board in a strange and kind of beautiful scene.) The implication is that being a vampire is kind of sad and makes you broken but the vampires aren’t crying blood. They act happy but there’s a sense there’s something not right about the happiness based on one characters actions. I could just be missing stuff, but it also feels like it keeps the motivations of one character a complete mystery and considering how it ends, feels like it might never let us know the truth. The protagonist is a complete cypher, a morose guy who only acts as observer to the story’s tragedy.

Now I am somewhat worried that the show will either feel the need to become a more generic adventure show and this was just some table/tone setting or it will be all tone with little plot momentum, which will make the things I like now less appealing. But as a single episode of TV, I was really into Mars Red. It doesn’t reinvent or even recontextualize vampire fiction, but it tells a strange little tale with understated skill, intelligence and trust that the audience will be on for its enigmatic ride.


Farewell My Dear Cramer



Premise

A middle school soccer player heading into high school wants to join to the boys team as she did in middle school but is convinced to use her skills to bring up the level of the girls team. Meanwhile, a skilled player for a girls team decides to join a team of less notoriety because she feels their vibe and another skilled member comes with. Meanwhile meanwhile, the former national champ for girls high school soccer comes to teach a new generation of soccer players. Together, this mix promises to create a new generation of girls soccer.

It Gud?

This one is promising. The character who seems intended as the lead gets a less amount of play compared to a pair of other players and frankly, I find their arc and relationship much more interesting so far. Meanwhile, I partially wonder if this is a sequel series to something as it is implied the lead has a backstory of playing on the boys teams that sound like a series unto itself as she overcomes hardship and proves her worth. As it is now, I’m not lost or anything and it actually doesn’t feel too rushed, a problem I’ve even had with some non-sequel series but I do feel like I’m watching act II of a longer series. But I’m enjoying the show so far so this doesn’t bother me.

As a sports series so far, it seems promising. Its weird how much I noticed the foley for this show (in a good way) but it makes sense: you want just the right sounds so those kicks, goals and other auditory sensations of play and victory feel satisfying. I’m sure its well done on a lot of the sports shows I like and I can’t think of a time when it was particularly bad but for whatever reason, I noticed it and appreciated it here. The lead needs to develop more and the “otome laugh” character… will have to work very hard to overcome her annoying quirk and get me on her side (the otome laugh trope never worked for me at the best of times). I wouldn’t say I have SUPER high hopes but I have moderate ones that this will be a nice comfort food sports series with a good cast. Also, so far it is the first ED of the season that actually caught my attention.




Odd Taxi



Premise

A walrus drives a taxi around the big city. He talks to his passengers. He knows the cops. And he might be keeping a missing teen in his house. And there might be something wrong with him, tied to events in his past. He also knows people. A mandrill with a gun. Two cops, one with a secret. A gorilla doctor and an alpaca nurse. These people are connected by this man but seem to lead very different lives. But it looks like this missing teen case might bring their stories crashing together in unexpected ways.

It Gud?

When I saw the image for Odd Taxi, I was a little worried and was fearing a repeat of African Salaryman. Then I watched the trailer and braced myself for slice of life character drama and philosophical musings. And we do get that. But Odd Taxi is so much more. And it grabbed me almost instantly. The first act is almost entirely a conversation between a would-be social media influencer and a our protagonist. Its around 8 straight minutes of these two characters just having a chat. There’s minimal tension, save for some social awkwardness, and its basically a conversation between two different people. The lead clearly doesn’t get the social media age and really does seem like a man out of step with the times (he only listens to Rakugo on casettes) and his passenger doesn’t seem very thoughtful and is a bit rude, in a genial way, but they have a very civil conversation and the driver is genuinely curious about the passenger. And that alone has me interested.

But then something happens. This low key, slow burn show reveals it is a mystery. A strange one. There’s no detective, its almost more a mystery for the audience. The Walrus might be keeping the teen girl in his closet. He tells whoever is in his closet that “they aren’t kidnapped” and they can “leave any time”. Is she in the closet? Why does he frame his statements like this? Is there even anyone IN his closet?. The neighbors say they hear him talking to someone but they don’t say they hear “two people”. We get a flashback to a child who might be our Walrus but… the image is of a human child.

We also get to know seemingly unrelated characters. There are mysteries with them too. A friendly and sweet alpaca nurse who might be stealing drugs. A janitor who is luckless on online love and starts to tell lies on his profile. A cop working with a dangerous looking criminal with a reputation. There’s so much we don’t know but the show trusts the audience to be engrossed in the scene-to-scene happenings that it assumes that the audience will follow the show as it takes its time portioning out its secrets while putting character and scene setting first. Odd Taxi is like nothing I’ve seen in a long time: it seems to be aimed at an older audience without trying to be “edgy”. It values quiet conversation and people getting to know each other. This isn’t personalities “bouncing off of each other” as a comedy, but rather meeting and getting to understand each other. Yet it also feels very lonely without feeling bleak. Its bittersweet and entrancing. Odd Taxi is already my favourite show of the season and one episode in is in the running for favourite of the year. WATCH THIS SHOW.

Also, very good opening.



Weirdly, the choice for end theme feels like much more traditional JPop that doesn’t fit the tone. Trying to decide if that’s intentional, as a pop idol looks to be a big factor in the series.

Fuck, I immediately want to watch more right now.

Let’s Make a Mug Too



Premise

A girl goes to a new school and is immediately recruited into the pottery club. While there, she discovers her mother was once a beloved potter and finds extra incentive to keep going.

It Gud?

Is this a cute girls doing cute things show? You betcha. It’s a genre that’s really hit and miss with me. I find a lot of the show’s success on how much you like the characters doing stuff and how well it is presented. I don’t need stakes or drama to enjoy the show. In fact, one of the things I didn’t care for in Asteroid in Love was “cliffhanger endings” where they try to convince you there are stakes. It’s fine, show, if I like the characters, I’ll keep watching.

There are a few things working in the show’s favor. One is its short. Not REALLY short (14 minutes) but there are definitely a few shows I dropped because I looked at it and decided I would much prefer them in smaller doses. 14 minutes feels like the perfect amount of time to spend with these characters. I really with they did that with “How Heavy Are Your Dumbbells?”, I feel like I would have enjoyed it a lot more in that format.

I can’t actually articulate why this works better for me overall than Asteroid. Its slightly more lively, I suppose and there is some melancholy, but I feel that’s not why this is working for me. There is definitely sense of place and I think it helps that pottery is more of an overt process. I love watching shows about a process. And there was some in asteroid but here it is about trying a thing and getting better at it and the joy of it.

Also, I watched the 9 minute travelogue show with the voice actresses. Its kind of dumb and superficial but strangely hypnotic. Like, I was constantly cracking jokes (not everything is “Amazing!” ladies. Yes, they make slightly different mugs. That’s cool but not to that level of exclamation) but I couldn’t turn it off. It did justify itself when they had tea and snacks because it’s the same tone as the pottery stuff but with food and suddenly I was like “I RELATE TO THIS!”.

The Saint's Power is Omnipotent



Premise

An office worker finds herself transported to a magical land in order to help it. Unfortunately, she isn't the only one and the younger girl is chosen and she's cast aside with no way home. With nothing else to do, she takes up potion making and finds she is innately good at it and decides to throw herself into it.

It Gud?

The Saint's Power is Omnipotent is an isekai that's pretty standard over all but it works in a number of ways. I like that the show doesn't feel the need to put her in a younger body. I like that though she is yet another innately powerful superhuman, it decides to low key things rather than "I can game this into the life I DESERVE!". Its smaller in tone and not problematic and pleasant. I'm not all in on it, but its pleasant enough that I don't mind watching more.

I will say, its not perfect. There's some silliness worth mocking, such as constant knowing looks from other characters or, for some reason, characters are constantly surprised by the character being 1.5 times as powerful as the average magic user, which is far from omnipotent (I'm sure they are building to when her potions and bring down castles with her mind or something) but also YOU SUMMONED HER FOR HER SPECIALNESS. OF COURSE SHE IS GOING TO BE AT LEAST HAVE A WORLD SAVING GIFT.

So it is cheeseball a bit but I appreciate that it is earnest (I really like that they aren't trying to lampshade the show too much, even if the character is weirdly uninterested in the new universe) that makes the usual tropes that, when taken together, seem worrying. Not even problematic (though I think the genre lends itself to problematic entitlement fantasies) but most the recurring idea that your lifetime of toil on Earth earns you miraculous better life in another world where you are the most special. It makes me worried about the nature of normalizing resigning yourself to shitty jobs in the hopes that... the video game afterlife will be the best? But in this series, I feel like the tone is pleasant so far that I'm kind of fine with the tired tropes for now. I don't know if I'll stick with it for more than a few episodes or if I get bored but for now, this was fairly decent enough.
 
Last edited:
I am mildly disappointed, but mostly relieved you couldn't find an appropriate Simpsons image for Grooming Simulator 2021, Johnny.

Any plans on Godzilla S.P.? Or is that one stuck in Netflix Jail for ya.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
JBear's not interested as he has a prejudice (which he admits is unreasonable) against mecha shows and a low key one against kaiju. But I will check it out for myself, as the preview looked boss.
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
Cramer does have a prequel story about the main character's middle school days, which was supposed to have already gotten a film adaptation but it's been delayed until June (ETA outside Japan: ?????).
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
Higehiro: there have also been a couple of shoujo manga recently with this kind of age gap between the leads: Takane and Hana, and Cutie and the Beast. Let's just say, not a fan.

Fruits Basket: about 3/4 of the way through the manga, there's an implied time jump. Not a huge one, I'd say less than a year. (I wasn't paying that much attention to what school year they were in, or the season of the year, or anything, so don't recall the specific time frame.) Momiji (rabbit) had a growth spurt!
 
JBear's not interested as he has a prejudice (which he admits is unreasonable) against mecha shows and a low key one against kaiju. But I will check it out for myself, as the preview looked boss.
Don't let JBear hold you back, Johnny! I just finished watching Episode 2. Episode 3 oughta end up with subs any day now. It's still early, but so far this show slaps. I am 100% here for this. Also, the OP goes hard and I am also here for this.



If it makes any difference to JBear, yes there's a mecha in this, no it is not a mecha show. It is 100% a kaiju/tokusatsu show. The Jet Jaguar in this is the size of a truck and made in some crazy dude's garage. That boi is not going to stand a chance against kaiju the size of skyscrapers.

Also, TIL that Rodan's name in Japanese is literally just Radon, as in the radioactive gas. BRB gonna crosspost in the Godzilla thread.

Way of the House Husband's first (only?) five episodes got dumped onto Netflix today. The first episode was 15 minutes, and uh...



Real bad. Disastrously so. I hope whoever was responsible for this has to do one of those exaggerated Japanese prostrations on the ground as part of their penance. How they managed to butcher such good source material ought to go in textbooks as how to not adapt a thing to screen. The comic timing is forced, there's no rhythm, and the whole thing is literally a slide show. Netflix, send this one back to Jail, it's not done yet.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
It's not as good as Harmony Gold losing the rights entirely and ceasing to exist, but at least Macross has been freed.

Oh, nice! There may still be hiccups but it's good to see a whole lot of distribution problems get cleared away in time for the 40th anniversary. Wonder if I need to start saving up for some domestic Blu-Ray boxes....
 
There may still be hiccups but
An understatement to be sure. Last I heard, the rights to the music in Macross 7 is a shitshow in Japan. It's hard to tell if that's been ironed out or not over the years.

I didn't want to comment on it yesterday when news broke because the immediate announcements were full of legalese that I'm not great at parsing. I won't celebrate this as a win until there's confirmation that Harmony Gold won't be handling the distribution and collecting royalties for most of this. But as of right now it *seems* like Big West is going to be handling distribution, not Harmony Gold? Official-looking YouTube and twitter channels just went up with content and some basic info. Which will be nice since things like Macross's JP YouTube channels have been geolocked for forever.

Wonder if I need to start saving up for some domestic Blu-Ray boxes....
That's definitely their plan. Who knows how long it'll take to get that sorted out and disks printed/distributed. It's taken a big outfit like Sunrise/Bandai half a decade to get most of Gundam out on BD over here. They've also got a high bar to clear for me though. Look at some of the dust jackets for some of the recent Macross BD releases in Japan:

Macross Plus Movie Edition:


Macross Frontier The Movie: Sayonara no Tsubasa:


Macross 7 The Movie: The Galaxy Is Calling Me:


Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?
 
Top