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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

Mr Bean

Chief Detective
Blue Period is still quite good and I think should be checked out. Komi Can't Communicate is... alright and it make me laugh genuinely and loudly once in the previous episode but I could do without Komi's new mega-horny friend. Probably what the show about the nice girl trying to overcome her social anxiety doesn't need is a sex pest friend who can't take a hint.

I want to do an effort post on Komi since the manga has been one of my pandemic comfort foods, but at least know that she gets phased out as the story goes on. It'll be a little bit though - towards the end of the first school year. Agari becomes their foodie friend as opposed to Komi's puppy and Yamai just goes away almost entirely.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Takt Op got me with it's second episode showing us the main characters' creation as a fighting group.
It's gotten a little more run of the mill as it's gone on but I have been impressed with the first three episodes considering it's based on a game and usually that's a bad sign. I tend to like the show when it slows down, like in the last episode that's about visiting a sort of open-secret speakeasy for music.
 
I think one of the things that has drawn me in to Takt Op is the piano playing. They could simply cheat and hide Takt's hands when he's playing and we would all be fine with it or just show a side shot of his hands moving up and down would be just as good. But no, they have to have someone play the piece as they record it so that they can later animate it. It's a stupidly nice touch by those crazy people at MAPPA and Madhouse.

And yeah, I would love just a road trip series with the occasional fight. I know it's going to go to some bonkers place because of anime, but I'll take what I can get.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Just watched In this Corner of the World. With the wetter starting to get cold, I wanted to watch something nice and enjoyable, and found this on my Netflix watchlist, assuming it would be a nice anime. Didn't know anything about it, and if I had been more attentive at the start, I might have realized that, while excellent, it wasn't at all what I was looking for. It's about a girl, that grows up in Japan during WW II, who is born in Hiroshima, but moves away soon to her family in law. As mentioned, it was excellent, but also horribly hard to watch, at times.
 
MAPPA tends to do great work for animation quality.
It really depends. I wouldn't put them as anywhere close to the kinds of consistency of some of the other major studios. They tend to be very ambitious in both the plans for their shows, as well as how many shows they're willing to make at any given time. The results are often mixed. Sometimes they make incredible stuff. Sometimes, their works come up painfully short. Other times, they've made complete disasters. A lot of this boils down to the studio biting off more than it can chew on a regular basis and overworking their staff and relying almost entirely on freelance work.

Just watched In this Corner of the World. ... As mentioned, it was excellent, but also horribly hard to watch, at times.
Glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't what you were looking for. It's one of my favorites, a 10/10 masterpiece. And as a friendly reminder, always read the genre tags for anime! Here's what Netflix has listed for that movie:

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
It really depends. I wouldn't put them as anywhere close to the kinds of consistency of some of the other major studios. They tend to be very ambitious in both the plans for their shows, as well as how many shows they're willing to make at any given time. The results are often mixed. Sometimes they make incredible stuff. Sometimes, their works come up painfully short. Other times, they've made complete disasters. A lot of this boils down to the studio biting off more than it can chew on a regular basis and overworking their staff and relying almost entirely on freelance work.
Mostly I remember the positives which stick with me. I can't remember the ones that I've disliked (from an animation quality standpoint, that is). Some are definitely better than others for sure; Tact Op.Destiny looks great for the first few and now just looks pretty good in the last couple.

Doing research, there is one I didn't remember as MAPPA, which was a real shit show in quality; Dororo. Like, something bad must have happened behind the scenes because the show in the later stage often was a weird mix of very bad and quite good. I remember individual moments looking good but felt like they were plopped in the middle creating a strong sense of incongruity.

All the other ones I'm looking at that I've seen I remember as being well-animated.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
Just watched In this Corner of the World. With the wetter starting to get cold, I wanted to watch something nice and enjoyable, and found this on my Netflix watchlist, assuming it would be a nice anime. Didn't know anything about it, and if I had been more attentive at the start, I might have realized that, while excellent, it wasn't at all what I was looking for. It's about a girl, that grows up in Japan during WW II, who is born in Hiroshima, but moves away soon to her family in law. As mentioned, it was excellent, but also horribly hard to watch, at times.

I can't avoid comparing this one to Grave of the Fireflies (which if you hadn't watched In This Corner... already, would be a red flag of sorts).

I've watched Grave exactly once and will likely never watch it again before I die. Corner I've both watched the movie and read the translated manga of, and the idea of doing either again doesn't make me want to crawl in a corner forever. "Some of us will endure despite awful things happening" is easier to tolerate than "people are shit and they'd just as soon see you die," somehow.
 
I would not compare In This Corner of the World to Grave of the Fireflies. Grave is borderline misery porn. In This Corner, while heart wrenching at times, is one of the more life affirming and tender films I’ve ever watched.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
I mean, Grave is mostly autobiographical, and even the dramatized account acknowledges that the author is self-flagellating over the real-life events, so I'd feel awkward calling it "misery porn." And of course, the narratives of Grave and Corner end at vastly different places. But still, "I should have been on the right side" (paraphrased) it's still a devastating line during the most heart-rending animated sequence I've ever seen, and it's precisely because of the movie's tenderness and kindness that it hits so hard --as opposed to, say, realizing that the major conflict in Grave is caused by, or at least maintained by, pride.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I actually thought of Grave of the Fireflies, at the end of Corner. I never watched that one, but read, uh, 20(?) years ago about it, and wanted to see it. When I remembered it, a few years ago, it seemed to grimm for me, from what I had heared, and therefore wasn't interested anymore. But I do remember, that it also is about the horrors of WW II for Japanese people.

Corner was pretty brutal, at times, but it also had so, so much slice of live stuff. Sure, hard stuff, about her mother in law being unnecessarily harsh, and how their lives just got harder and harder, due to dwindling ressources. But still, you see people enjoying life as good as they can, and carry on, maybe even have some fun together. It actually reminded me of Ghibli movies, in how slice-of-live it was (probably my favourite aspect of those movies). It never felt, like it showed misery for miseries sake, and just wanted to give you a real, true depiction of the situation, and I very much appreciate something like that. In the end, even during war, the civilians carry on as good as they can. It's a very human movie, which makes the intense stuff all the more brutal.
 
Heike Monogatari ep 10: I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying!

I could probably write a master's thesis on this show, but two short little observations:

1) As I've said before, this story is about a society in transition between different eras. And it's always interesting to see how that ends up playing out in all of the little details of the show. One of the more stark ways this plays out is the combat attire. Early on, most of the Heike are decked out in very regal, mostly ceremonial armor that was indicative of a court official in the Heian Period. They even wear makeup to battle. None of this is irregular for the period, but it's a small detail that's visual coding that reinforces the themes here of these characters belonging to an old guard and not really being adept and adaptive enough to recognize the shifting of the times. A lot of the Genji Bushi wear armor that's a lot more visually recognizable as 'Samurai' armor to the uninitiated.

2) The title logo of the show in Japanese, the character for 'Heike' has one brush stroke that's off-color and blue versus the rest of the title. It's very obviously a reference to Biwa's heterochromia. That is kinda obvious though. What's a a little more subtle is that is that in the opening, every page of the credits also has one character that has the blue brush stroke. Also not that crazy, but it's cute. Usually it's the 'hei' character, but they pick others too. That's also not that crazy. But what I didn't notice before is that the Science Saru logo, one eye is also blue. No real deep meaning there but it's a fun easter egg.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
While I have absolutely no interest on the live adaptation of Cowboy Bepop, I started rewatching the Anime. Still fun (big surprise, I know). That said, I have only watched the show one time, something like 18 years ago. So, I didn't even remember Ed, and the only episode I remembered was the one, where rotten meat ran around on the ship, and bit/poisoned everyone. Everything else is essentially new, which I count as a positive.
 

Seven

Enters, pursued by a bear
(he/him)
I'm also currently watching Cowboy Bebop, but in my case this is my first watch. I remember seeing a little of the show years ago when it was on Toonami however I never gave it any attention until now. So far it's pretty good and once I'm done I'm thinking of checking Samurai Champloo since I heard it is something of a spiritual successor.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Did you ever watch Trigun? I only watched that show once, three years ago, but watching Cowboy Bepop makes me think of that show from time to time. Maybe it's the sci-fi - western setting, even if the interpretation differs in both shows. But if you like this show, and haven't watched Trigun, maybe give it a chance.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
So apparently One Piece had its 1000th(!) Episode, and to celebrate they reanimated the original OP with the modern designs and characters


And honestly, this just reminds me of how much better the anime used to be. This song will always be the spirit of the show to me, even if it as been replaced by We Go as the main musical motif after the time skip.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Thanks, that's pretty cool. I love the beginning, with Gold Roger, grinning, at his execution, and then a ton of ships setting sail. Having everything else modernized (including a recognition that, yes, Ginbe is a member of Lufeys crew now) is pretty nice to see.

I still enjoy the current arc (despite the length), but I'm really looking forward to whatever comes inbetween, the stuff where we learn more about the state of the world, as we get when big arcs are over. But that is probably not for here, and more for the manga.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Did you ever watch Trigun? I only watched that show once, three years ago, but watching Cowboy Bepop makes me think of that show from time to time. Maybe it's the sci-fi - western setting, even if the interpretation differs in both shows. But if you like this show, and haven't watched Trigun, maybe give it a chance.

Just the other day I was half-jokingly grousing about how bad of a start I had with "getting into" anime in the early 2000s as a kid, when those personal filters and tastes hadn't really developed yet and you're much more susceptible to just going with other people's, and importantly, popular recommendations. A lot of stuff at the time I would categorize as falling within the comfortably interchangeable guns and machismo "genre", with things like Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star, Hellsing, Gun x Sword leading the charge--similar cut of the protagonist as a visual presence, similar aesthetics, similar hatred of women--in this medium-wide selljob that there was maturity at display because the stories veered slightly older in the subjects and because violence persisted. It really was an uphill trek to shed off those assumptions that this was what the medium encompassed or was categorically striving for creatively and find things I actually enjoyed.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I still enjoy the current arc (despite the length), but I'm really looking forward to whatever comes inbetween, the stuff where we learn more about the state of the world, as we get when big arcs are over. But that is probably not for here, and more for the manga.
Oh yeah, the manga's still a banger, even if the current arc is waaaay too long and Wano should replace Namek as the common 'this story has been in one place too long' complaint in shonen manga, but I haven't looked at the anime in ages.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Did you ever watch Trigun? I only watched that show once, three years ago, but watching Cowboy Bepop makes me think of that show from time to time. Maybe it's the sci-fi - western setting, even if the interpretation differs in both shows. But if you like this show, and haven't watched Trigun, maybe give it a chance.
Did you check out Blood Blockade Battlefront, from the same creator as Trigun? It's pretty good. The premise that Hell and New York basically crash together, creating a new city. The residents are now a mix of humans and Hellraiser-style demons and people have learned to live with giant monsters roaming around and an extremely high body count during their everyday life. It's weird considering how in Trigun, the lead tries to protect all life but while in this series, the heroes fight overt, direct threats but there are ton of everyday threats no one seems to be fighting (like a restaurant with man-eating stools). It's a weird tonal mix but it works, feeling a bit like Men in Black if the aliens weren't secret and were mostly friendly cenobites.

It also has a great ED.

 
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Seven

Enters, pursued by a bear
(he/him)
Did you ever watch Trigun? I only watched that show once, three years ago, but watching Cowboy Bepop makes me think of that show from time to time. Maybe it's the sci-fi - western setting, even if the interpretation differs in both shows. But if you like this show, and haven't watched Trigun, maybe give it a chance.
Nope, that's another show I missed out on so I'll add it to my watchlist; Thanks for the recommendation, I would have replyed sooner but my covid booster shot had me out of commission for a while.
 
Heike Monogatari's final episode hit today. And oh my goodness. Just magnificent. Instant classic. In the afterglow, I don't have the words to express my adoration of this show enough, so I might come back to it later.

A short disclaimer: if you're sensitive to shows that discuss/feature suicide, know going into this that there's a bunch of that happening here.

Some background information that I feel is necessary to get the most out of the series finale: Heike Monogatari is directed by Naoko Yamada. She'd spent nearly her entire professional career at the studio Kyoto Animation, which she helped put on the map in a big way. She's one of the mediums powerhouse creators. She probably would have stayed there her whole life, had a deranged fan not set the studio on fire and killed a good 40 or so of her colleagues, and left dozens more too wounded to go back to work. That she didn't return to work with them, but instead freelanced at Science Saru signals that event was a very affecting event for her. With that context, I couldn't help but see the final episode as Yamada working through her own grief in a very public and revealing way. And in a way, perhaps even recontextualizes this entire show as semi-autobiographical. I don't think it's a coincidence that in her first work since the arson attack, she chose to tell a story that's inherently very religious and deals with the central theme of loss and suffering.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Though it wasn't my favourite show of the year and there was definitely stuff lost on me, I really liked it a lot. There were two shows where I feel I didn't follow everything (the other being Sonny Boy which, man, that's a show that doesn't hand hold) that I still really responded to. I think, though, both had barriers that kept me at a distance from loving it more; for Sonny Boy, it was simply it's experimental storytelling and with Heike story it was simply a lot of context that was lost on me. But in the macro sense, I definitely got the bigger messages and with Heike Story, it's the messy story of a family who are pretty much villains in history (though the people against them aren't exactly heroic, save maybe the fresh-faced guy in the last leg of the series, who I'm sure I'm supposed to go nuts over when he appears if I knew the significance of him). But interpersonally, while there are still shits, like the family's patriarch, there is love in humanity within them. It's a tragedy of hubris and inability to sympathize with people outside your circle that causes them harm, a fact not lost on some members of the family. Koremori (I think. I tended to get a lot of the names mixed up) definitely seems aware towards the end and the line he gives risks being too on the nose but I feel really works; that the Heike expect loyalty they never extend. I also think it's interesting Biwa does what the Taira family fails to do; meets and cares for people she has every reason to hate.

JBear pointed something out that I'm curious of; there's one character whom I don't remember the name of but is essentially a sheltered antagonist who constantly comes off completely sheltered, soft and baffled throughout, despite his side being the winning side, basically adding very little actual help aside from OKing other people's moves. I can't help wondering what he did to be so unpopular in Japan that this guy is presented this way?
 
Though it wasn't my favourite show of the year and there was definitely stuff lost on me, I really liked it a lot. There were two shows where I feel I didn't follow everything (the other being Sonny Boy which, man, that's a show that doesn't hand hold) that I still really responded to. I think, though, both had barriers that kept me at a distance from loving it more; for Sonny Boy, it was simply it's experimental storytelling and with Heike story it was simply a lot of context that was lost on me.
I followed most of what Sonny Boy was putting down. A lot of it was simply exploring through allegory a lot of typical coming of age issues in very imaginative ways. And especially later in the show, it mixes those in with a lot of Buddhist concepts for dealing with grief and existential dread. I finished this show not long ago and it was also a really really good time. The ending is not what anyone wanted or expected, but it worked very well to reinforce and more clearly spell out the themes of the show to the viewers.

JBear pointed something out that I'm curious of; there's one character whom I don't remember the name of but is essentially a sheltered antagonist who constantly comes off completely sheltered, soft and baffled throughout, despite his side being the winning side, basically adding very little actual help aside from OKing other people's moves. I can't help wondering what he did to be so unpopular in Japan that this guy is presented this way?
I believe you're talking about Minamoto no Yoritomo? It's not totally consistent with how he's characterized in primary sources and other historical accounts. But IMO it's editorializing to accentuate the fact that 1) his control of the situation was always tenuous at best (there was historically lots of in-fighting in his clan) and to also highlight 2) his reliance on his wife's family, the Tojos. A clan who basically coopted and took over his Shogunate and ran things for him once he passed away. (You might recognize the Tojo clan for their family crest that is just straight up the Triforce.)
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I followed most of what Sonny Boy was putting down. A lot of it was simply exploring through allegory a lot of typical coming of age issues in very imaginative ways. And especially later in the show, it mixes those in with a lot of Buddhist concepts for dealing with grief and existential dread. I finished this show not long ago and it was also a really really good time. The ending is not what anyone wanted or expected, but it worked very well to reinforce and more clearly spell out the themes of the show to the viewers.
Oh, in the macro sense I definitely got a lot of it. But not necessarily from scene to scene. I feel like the coming of age dread is even more specifically about knowing you are going to leave school, a completely structured world, and realizing how few of the rules that you needed to adhere to matter anymore and trying to figure out what does. Ironically, the fact that the main character is a somewhat well-intentioned milquetoast does keep me at arms length a little but also fits perfectly since it is a lead who was just going one with whatever and now needs to find a direction in a world(s) unmoored from anything familiar and safe and into a world of endless possibility that is beautiful but also scary and full of pitfalls.
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
There's a teaser video that's basically a 10 minute episode for Kaguya-sama Love Is War Season 3. After the sketchy OVA this feels like a good return to form for the show.

 
Super Crooks came out I guess. I had no idea. Thanks Netflix, for once again pooping a whole show out at once and sending it to die. I normally find Mark Millar stories anathema to having a good time, but I will always give something by Studio Bones an honest shot.

Ranking of Kings is just straight up magical. I'm so glad that Studio Wit moved on from Attack on Titan to making shows like this, Vivy, and The Great Pretender in recent years. It's so much more interesting and it's a much better use of their talents and ambitions. I'm very excited to see what they do with Spy x Family next year.
 
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