Shingeki no Bahamut Virgin Soul – thus far (spoilers)

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This show infuriates me, but I can’t quit it. This my ranting, ramblings on the show up to episode 17.

I fell completely in love with the new character-driven story line of Virgin Soul, set in one main locale for the first 7-8 episodes. It was very different from it’s predecessor, Genesis, and showed so much potential to be vastly greater by giving the characters more depth and purpose. This in turn gave even greater meaning to the events and people from Genesis in hindsight.

And then it all fell down like a house of cards. The character development stopped and has been painstakingly dragging on ever since. I’m starting to wonder now if maybe a two-cour show was a little too ambitious because so far everything since the dungeon arc has been quite mediocre and even the animation quality has dropped off.

From the beginning, Nina, the main protagonist, has been the center for the show and she was quirky and fun and sassy – for a short while. The show did a decent job of showing us her personality and even giving her a few hardships to get over, but in general I honestly don’t feel like she’s progressed as a character at all. I don’t even see her as the main protagonist. She’s just that annoying loud, naive high school girl who is boy-crazy and jumps on any wagon that passes her by to take her to the next plot point. I honestly feel she’s side character B, and the show focuses on her to get more laughs and to rile up other characters. Otherwise, she’s done pretty much zilch as a proper protagonist. She helps other characters and motivates them to do better for themselves due to her insanely boundless levels of optimism and peppiness, which is all well and good – for side B characters who give main characters the moral boost they need to get their butts moving again. When have we seen Nina actually try and move the plot along of her own volition and make her own decisions to do well by those she cares about? It’s obvious that she is more or less the underdog of the show compared to the other more established characters from Genesis, but to my mind she’s yet to make her debut as Protagonist. She always says she will help out, but even then she just ends up going along for the ride and rarely ever takes true initiative. [Seriously, Amira, from Genesis was ten times more proactive and she was still technically a child cognitive-wise compared to Nina.]  I keep waiting for the a-ha moment to strike her, but I still don’t think I’ve seen it. She’s just wandering around doing what the other characters ask her to do in order to help them out. She also keeps running into her genocidal maniac of a boyfriend, which now just makes me roll my eyes every time.

Ok, so the elephant in the room with the show is the Charioce x Nina romance that the show has officially stamped as CANON with this past week’s kiss on episode 17. (Part of me wonders if MAPPA caved due to all the Nina x Charioce shipping going on and decided to give the fans what they want.) Nina goes off dressed as a “demon” and runs into Charioce at his mom’s grave and we get his sad mommy story again. It’s never explicit that dead mommy dearest is the reason why he’s a genocidal/slave driving maniac now or not, but it clearly weighs heavily on him. The chip on his shoulder is about as big as Utah. But after spending the day hanging out with Nina in the demon slums (that he created by dragging all the demons to the capital to enslave), playing with the demon children (that have their controlling collars on he mandated for his demon slaves), and running away from his all-knowing Onxy Knights (who were watching him the whole time and he was aware of – just in case the demon slaves he was playing with revolted) the long awaited confession – of sorts – happened. If only he hadn’t met Nina who he’s really not known that much! He’s the always-unhappy-genocidal-king, but Nina came into his life and he’s all…. pretty much the fucking same as ever other than just saying “if only…”. She tries to get some answers out of him, but he can’t because….. reasons… and she’s not important enough to confide in. He has CONVICTIONS and that’s all she/the viewers gets right now and that’ll have to do based on the pained expression with which he says it. She cries because he said “if only….” and they kiss. I really wanted to see Rita show up with Rocky to bitch-slap both of them. The animation quality was up to par for this – of course- but I have to say that blue tone wasn’t doing Charioce any favors.

I get that people can ship whoever they want and there’s an enormous Charioce x Nina fandom out there (some of the fanart really is cute), but I’m not buying it. Episode 17 aired and we still don’t have shit on what’s making Charioce tick. There have been zero clues other than CONVICTIONS (with a pained expression) and him constantly visiting mom’s grave. His personality is still as one-note as ever and the only time it changes are the few scenes with Nina, but the interaction between them is so childishly simple I don’t care for it at all. It’s more like they are both 12 year olds with big crushes on each other, but then he plays that he hates her in front of his school friends, the Onxy Knights. He knows Nina considers Kaisar a friend and she doesn’t want Azazel to die, but just the day before Charioce was in his bored-king-is-bored pose watching those two fight to the death in the arena because he doesn’t give two shits for the people Nina cares about. Nina also has rather sub-par standards if she’s still ok with accepting CONVICTIONS (with pained expression) and a total non-reason for all his actions thus far. I honestly don’t see any way possible Charioce can be redeemed at this point. I get there’s a reason to the romance, which is Nina gets over her dead daddy issues and can now turn into a dragon at-will. The transformation issues were a nice touch to understanding the trauma caused by Bahamut in Genesis, but the resolution to that trauma was completely lackluster and undermines just how dangerous Bahamut was if she can get over it with just one kiss with a man whose ultimate goals and intentions she’s still not sure about. That was seriously the most anti-climactic side plot resolution of the show thus far. They kiss! She can transform! They go on a Disney-style I’m-King-of-the-world ride! What the actual fuck, MAPPA. I had a teensy tiny bit of hope that Charioce might be playing Nina with the back-to-angry-genocidal-king expression on his face after she leaves him, but then that was dashed when the lead Onxy Knight scene showed up. Is the Onxy Knight really the dastardly villain pulling the strings? Even if he is, I still don’t think Charioce is worth redemption. I’d almost prefer the show deus-ex-machina a split personality of Chris/Charioce to explain his actions. Granted, that would be one of the worst cop-outs, but it’s been done plenty of times before in anime. If that’s the case, then sure give the asshole to Nina to care for and they live happily ever after going on dragon rides together.

Meanwhile… there’s an actual plot! Somewhere! Really there is, but it’s been sorta side-swiped by the Charioce x Nina shoujo that butted itself into the middle of it and has turned an action-packed, character-driven show into something that’s dragging it’s feet, lost all momentum and made the new characters of the show the most boring parts of it.

There was some respite with Mugaro reuniting with his mom, Jeanne. That along with Jeanne’s backstory episode have been the most powerful moments of the whole show thus far. I honestly felt Nina’s sobbing comedic moment ruined it, but that’s because I’m really sick of her at this point and any other plots would do best to leave her out. I’m glad Mugaro is back on board and has somewhat gotten over his Charioce syndrome of being The One To Handle All The Things because that really was a low point for him.

When Nina was part of the action in the first quarter of the show, it was still fun and exciting. Now I feel like she’s preventing it from moving because she has yet to become the Protagonist. The old school crew (Kaisar, Favaro, Rita, Hamsa, Bacchus, and Azazel) have been in a holding pattern while the show caters to it’s completely ridiculous romance that has yet to provide any decent momentum to the plot. I want them to come back into focus because they are the more redeeming parts of the show. If the romance moved the plot along – sure, but so far it’s done nothing. Whenever scenes with Nina x Chris are over it’s game-on with the other characters who are actually trying to bring about peace and save EVERYONE from King Dumbass’s hand puppet death star. Although the romance may have been an integral part of Nina’s growth as a character, it’s not been handled well and has yet to provide any assurance that she’s changed for the better to be an active protagonist with some sense of agency. She seriously needs this to happen – five episodes ago – to make her worth caring about. She’s great as the upbeat, comedic, light-hearted star but I need more out of her right now. She’s far too childish considering what she’s been through and seen. Girl needs to get moving and take a cue from Favaro, who has the comedic goofball/protagonist roll down like a champ. He knows how to bring his game on, she’s…. not even close yet.

I’m waiting for Lucifer to make his debut this season as well. The new OP showed him starting at episode 13 and we’ve past 17 with not even a word about him. See how much the stupid romance has slowed down the plot! I was glad Azazel was brought back into the fray, albeit briefly, and I’m ready for his black leather clad tight ass to start kicking some ass again. I no longer ship him with Nina. She’s just too annoying and I prefer Azazel as the tsundere he’s turning out to be with helping out Kaisar. The moment where Kaisar confronts him to help them out with hand-puppet-death-star was reminiscent of the scene in Genesis where Kaisar makes the same plea in helping to defeat Bahamut. It re-affirmed Azazel’s role as tsundere and the still-bad-but-less-so villain I love in the show. I think I ship them together now. Hopefully we’ll get some Azazel/ Kaisar/ Favaro/ Rita/ Lucifer action this week.

 

Mahou Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus Bride)

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Last night I saw a one-night showing of the first three episodes of Mahou Tsukai no Yome. After watching the first OVA on Crunchyroll a while back I fell in love with it and anxiously awaited the other OVAs (there’s 3 – 2 are released so far). I also realized this was based on a manga and so looked that up and started reading it. I’ll go over what I saw last night.

Hatori Chise is a Slay Vega (“Sleigh Beggy” in the movie, which could be an odd translation of Sleih Beggey, which is from the original Manx – Isle of Man – for “little people”), a rare being who has magical powers and those in the faerie realm are attracted to that power. Not all Slay Vegas can see (meaning visibly discern faeries and similar folk) but Chise can, which makes her even more rare. This ability makes her life even more miserable than it already was and she sells herself off to find some meaning in her life. An oddball powerful magus named Elias Ainsworth buys her at a magician’s auction and makes her his apprentice (and future bride). Chise learns about the magic world around her and how she may be the last generation to survive using magic now that contemporary society has pretty much ignored it ever existed.

Aside from the audio being terrible for the movie (too tinny and loud) I really enjoyed these first few episodes. They follow the manga really well so for those hoping for a good adaptation won’t be disappointed. The humor is dry at times so some moments not explicitly injected with chibis might be missed. That being said, chibi versions of Elias showing his blunders and embarrassments as he learns how to teach his new apprentice and understand her as a person are some of the best moments so far. Even though he’s chosen her for his bride, it’s clear he’s not even sure what it means to be married, which makes for much needed humor in a rather melancholic production.

The weight of Chise’s sad little life up to date is always present in her expressions so when any kindness is shown to her, it’s heart breaking because of her honest reactions. She’s cautious and always ready to be thrown out with the bathwater, but at the same time she loyally holds on to the tiny hope that she’ll be useful to someone and cared for like a regular person.  She does loosen up a little and even calls out Elias on his awkwardness, realizing she’s getting used to him just as much as he is to her.

Their dynamic is strange and even though the two are betrothed (sort of?) it feels more like a fatherly affection Elias has for her than romantic so far. He watches over her and even laughs as she stumbles along learning in the magical world, calling her a child. He is apparently older than time itself whereas she is around high school age (15? 16?), which might be awkward for some, but I’m interested in how their relationship may eventually turn romantic.

The rest of the cast are pretty one-note so far. There’s the hard-nosed sorcerer, Angelica, who is an old friend of Elias’s and uses her craft to produce magic. Angelica reminds me immensely of Izumi Curtis from FMA, who is harsh when necessary, a stern teacher, but very compassionate. There’s also Lindel, the caretakers of the dragons in Iceland. He is also ridiculously old but keeps a young appearance. He is more mischievous than Elias, but he seems to do so more for his entertainment than from any meanness. He is whimsical, but seems to take his job very seriously. Lastly, there’s Simon, a priest in the nearby village from where Elias lives. His job is to sort of “supervise” Elias’s actions and Elias taking on an apprentice apparently stirred a hornet’s nest with the church. Simon doesn’t seem too bothered by it, but he does diligently do his job.

No real antagonists show up, but Chise does does realize that not all the faeries are “good” either. In a way, this very much reminds me of shows like Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi where the yokai or magical beings aren’t inherently bad or good, they merely adhere to their own nature, which may or may not be good for humans.

Chise’s alienation to the world and people around her is also very much like Natsume Takashi, who was always trying to solve his own problems and not realizing he can ask for help. Chise doesn’t entirely try to solve her own problems yet because she’s not found the stable atmosphere to feel confident enough to even do that alone. She’s not found her Fugiwara’s yet or is uncertain if Elias and his magical household will accept her, but she does hold on to the tiny hope that maybe she can find a place to call home.

For those who like magical shows, especially those with a slightly dark, melancholic note running through them – this will be right up that alley. The show makes a distinct differentiation between magic, sorcery and witchcraft, with all three using different methods and means. In a way, it reminded me a lot of Fullmetal Alchemist in how alchemy has it’s own rules and laws, with the exception of the sorcerer’s stone. I personally love this show and the source material. It’s got just enough humor to keep the darkness vignetting around the edges of it and letting the serene moments of reflection about mortality and laws of nature grip the viewer. The full anime series for this will air in October.

Netflix “anime”, Castlevania

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To call this production an anime is a not even a bit of a stretch. It’s a 100 foot long broken, stretched out bungee cord kind of stretch, which to say it’s not really an anime at all. It may have some anime style elements, but that’s more owing to the original designs the show was based on, rather than being produced by a Japanese animation company. I noticed several Korean names in the credits, so clearly it was outsourced.

I have not played Castlevania since it came out in the 80s and don’t remember much so my thoughts on this are solely as an adult cartoon in itself. (No, I’m not going to call it an anime.)

Right off the bat the animation style reminds me of 90s American cartoons. That’s not a bad thing though. The style suits the story really well and looks decent. Don’t expect any fabulous sakuga-filled fight scenes though. The animation itself can be a bit stiff in some parts and downright clunky in others, but it works well enough to keep the plot moving without being too distracting.

The voice actors are completely A+ and chosen well for the characters. I was shocked when I recognized Richard Armitage’s voice as Trevor. I’m a fan of his and like most of the British shows/movies he’s done. The gravely voice of Matt Frewer as the bishop was excellent, but I had a hard time hearing him. I don’t know if that was just due to his low voice or if maybe the audio could’ve been done better for him. James Callis (from BSG) also does a fantastic job as Alucard and Alejandra Reynoso sets the right tone for Sypha, who is caring but also stern and can be a BAMF when necessary. There is a lot of profanity in the show, mostly from Trevor. I’m fine with it, but I can see how some would be put off by it. If there’s any complaint I had about the voice acting, it would be these are not seasoned voice actors and so the finer sort of moments where you need to hear the combating grunt or some sort of audible exclamation to indicate the character is exerting him/herself and showing surprise/anger/emotions did sound stiff and forced. This was especially true for Trevor, who gets most of the action.

I had no idea this was going to be set up as a trilogy so by the end of episode three I thought: wait, how the hell are they going to wrap all that up in one more 25 minute segment? Why this wasn’t done as a full 12 episode series is anyone’s guess, but it does give me something to look forward to. Overall, I liked it and thought it did a great job.

Summer 2017 Anime Season

A few thoughts on what’s available so far….

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Dive! – I’d rather just re-watch Free!

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Princess Principal – Not bad. The teens-as-spies has been done to almost an annoying degree, but so far I’m digging the weird steampunk-victorian-Berlin-wall-schtick the show’s got going on. May give this a few more episodes.

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Hitorijime My Hero – Had no clue what to expect with this BL other than the usual tropes, but was very pleasantly surprised. It’s the troubled-teen-becomes-inspired-by-senpai usual, which may be uncomfortable for some since the senpai is the guy’s teacher. That being said, I thought the show did a great job. There’s pretty much zero indicator it’s a BL (if you don’t watch the OP or ED), but just tells the story of a troubled teen (that chain necklace kills me, so kawaii!) who hung out with the wrong crowd and is getting his shit together. I can really relate to that as a whole, so I’ll give it a few more episodes.

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Altair: A Record of Battles – Very Prince-of-Arsland-y, but that’s not a bad thing. I rather like the designs in this and so far it’s been entertaining. Will give this more time.

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Made in Abyss – Freaking adorable. Chibi-like kids in a totally Ghibli themed world who go cave spelunking to find artifacts and figure out what to do with a cute robot they found. The kids themselves are cute, but can get a little annoying on the squee factor. But the backgrounds and animation more than make up for that.

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Welcome to the Ballroom – Eh, will give it a few more, but I’m not overly wowed so far. This one has been promoted as much as Yuri on Ice was, which is to say – it’s been in-your-face since last year. The animation is really good and the character designs are pleasant to look at – bonus points for making each character look very distinct and different. However, I felt the initial premise of how the kid got into ballroom dancing a bit of a hard sell. I mean, if the kid was really that gullible he’d have been in 20 clubs by now. If it’s just as simple as dragging him into one practice…. yeah. Also, he was punched in the gut…. dancing all night….. hmmm… Hopefully these levels of ridiculousness will settle out now he’s doing it.

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Katsugeki Touken Ranbu – This is so much better than the last version. I’d dropped the last Touken Ranbu because it was just annoying as hell to sit through. It didn’t even click with me that this was another version of it until I started watching it and thought: wait… I’ve seen this somewhere. I looked it up and realized it was a new production of it and wow, this is so much better. Two episodes in and so far so good. Famous Japanese swords personified do battle with the Time Retrograde Army, who attempt to re-write history.

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Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun – Aoyama is a germaphobe, who loves soccer and hates to lose. His quiet way of dealing with this phobia is interested and also highly comical due to how it affects his teammates. The show does a good job of giving the phobia the proper gravitas nod that it deserves for those who do deal with it while putting a light-hearted, comic spin on it. It’s decent, but not sure it can hold my attention for an entire season.

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Knights and Magic –  A programmer geek guy who loves mecha models dies and is reborn as some rich kid in an alternate universe where magic is used alongside huge mecha machines to fight off beasties. He’s completely aware that he’s been reincarnated as a little kid and totally shrugs off that the whole world he’s now in is completely different from what he’s known. All of this because hey look – BIG MECHA MACHINES ARE FIGHTING AND HE CAN GROW UP TO USE ONE TOO – COOL BEANS! Eh? So he’s totally obsessed with his new life  of being a shrimpy kid who has to grow up (again) so he can fit in the  mecha machines he loves so much.

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Fox Spirit Matchmaker – It’s the Chinese production anime of the season and it’s just as ridiculous as the above image would have anyone believe. I did actually like SpiritPact, so I was sorta hoping for that same kind of vibe: cringe-worthy, but still adorkable in the right ways to be tolerable for a season. So far, no dice with this one. Don’t like the main dude, whose voice sounds way deeper than it should for such a young looking character. Also, his don’t-give-two-shits-except-will-fight-for-candy attitude isn’t really endearing him at all.

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Elegant Yokai Apartment Life – I love Natsume Yuujincho and even liked The Morose Mononokean (I do read the manga for both), so this was right up my alley. Dude doesn’t want to be a pain in the ass to his extended relatives so he tries to move out of the house asap. His dorms burn down, but he miraculously (or was it planned with that spirit…..?) finds a place in his budget at a house that looks like the Japanese version of the Addams Family estate, but filled with yokai (spirits). His reactions are gold, which makes this an easy pill to swallow. Nothing and no one seem to be what they appear so watching him figure it out will make for some good comedy and possibly several D’awwwww moments.

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Love and Lies – Boy and girl are totally in love with each other and the moment they get their hot, saliva streaming kiss scene the boy gets noticed of who his future betrothed will be. Spoiler alert: it’s not the girl he’s kissing. In a world where kids are assigned life mates at age 16 to keep the population going true love isn’t taken into consideration. The animation for this is nice, but the bug eyes on the kids is a bit distracting (although I think it’s meant to be pretty?). The whole premise of how the two fell in love was also eye-roll worthy.

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Restaurant to Another World – Very cute premise. The first part of the episode was a bit annoying, but eventually got much better towards the ends. I’m more interested in what the restaurant contract entails than anything else so far.

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Fastest Finger First – Sport show in the same vein as Chihayafuru, but with quiz bowl. I was kinda hoping for more of a Chihayafuru vibe, but wasn’t really getting much and got a little bored by this.

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Saiyuki Reload Blast – Four bishonen tropes are actually a badass group of yokai killers. I foresee lots of shipping with this show among the the fandom. This is ridiculous, but simply fun.

So, this was a long post. These are all the premiers I’ve watched so far – still a few more to go. I have a feeling I’ll be dropping many of them.

Still watching – mild spoilers:

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul and finding it somewhat difficult to stay excited about it. The whole dungeon arc dragged on for much longer than necessary and I feel like the show is scrambling to get back up to speed. Nina x Charioce is officially a thing now, which I’m not sold on in the slightest. Charioce’s interaction with Nina feels more done out of general curiosity and simply because he can than actually having anything remotely concerning feelings. If Nina’s standards include good looks and dancing skills then well… her standards are rather piss poor IMO. The guy still tried to kill all her friends and enslaves demons and wants to wipe out angels. The hug scene didn’t strike me as him having any emotions for her either but more or less curiosity about what would happen so, why not. And so far she STILL feels like more an accessory character than an actual asset to the show. It’s like she’s sorta there to push the rest of the plot along, only it’s not happening right now because it’s gone all shojo on us with her crushing on a bad dude, but like, you know… dancing. Favaro is MIA – again, damnit – and Kaisar is in jail – again, damnit and Rita is most likely going to save them both -again, damnit. And…. wait…. something’s missing. Oh right! It’s Azazel, who, besides Kaisar, was the most interesting part of the whole first cour and has been MIA for 8 episodes now. Jeanne has been the only saving grace over the past few episodes for me.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine (The Royal Tutor)

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This show. It’s almost got me wanting to read the manga now. My thoughts here will mostly revolve about the finale, so most likely spoilers ahead…..

 

Anime endings on shows that follow a manga are tricky. More often than not lately the show just ends without any conclusion. When the production staff on a show decides to make its own ending, there seems to be a 50/50 chance it’ll be good or piss off an entire fandom. Luckily, this anime ending was a winner.

I was expecting a neatly tied bow for this show and I got it, after a literal flood of feels. The first half of the finale shows the princes confronting Heine on why he’s leaving. It does a great job of Heine still showing he’s capable of being stern with his students, irregardless of the situation and how much they’ve grown. When Heine does a season-wide summary of how much each prince has learned and matured I started to get a little choked up. Watching the princes openly cry their hearts out didn’t help. Kai was so sweet to comfort Leo and when his turn came around – I lost it – and had to grab the nearest tissue box. Mad tears within the first 7 minutes – DAMNIT!

The second half of the show focuses on the boys doing all they can to persuade a counsel committee why Heine should be reinstated as their tutor. They don’t get to vote on it themselves, but they aren’t excluded from making their own proposal, which I thought was a very clever way of showing how people will do everything in their power when given the opportunity. It doesn’t make anything guaranteed, but having a chance at making a change helps. And that sums up what the Princes say in their argument on why Heine should be reinstated. Giving people chances to make right a wrong, forgive and forget, pick ourselves up again, and help each other out can be difficult, but also be the defining moment to turn a life around for the better. The princes, still being young and inexperienced, give heart-felt shouting pleas to the committee. It’s obvious the speeches could’ve gone better and I think that simply shows how the boys still have a ways to go in their education. By the same token, how they’ve managed to grow this far through Heine’s instruction was clearly the take-away.

The biggest surprise was the unknown character next to Heine at the committee meeting who starting clapping first – Prince Eins. This was the first time, that I recall, we’ve ever seen the eldest prince. Unlike his younger brothers, Eins is dark haired and looks rather mean. However, he was clearly impressed by his younger siblings and showed his approval. In the same way that Kai looks intimidating, Eins also looks harsh and uninviting. I rather liked how even keeled he was as a character in the few minutes we got to hear from him. He even half chided Ernst Rosenberg to stop messing with his younger brothers. The shame on Ernst’s face made me think he’s not necessarily a mean guy but simply one who will-stop-at-nothing for those he serves in a blindly devout manner. His pride at being Eins’ steward may be more of a driving force for him than just someone who messes with people to watch them squirm. If anything, the arrival of Eins on the scene in the last moments made me curious as to where the manga would take the story and if Eins is the same sort of person as shown in the finale.

 

Spring 2017 Anime Season

The spring season is almost at an end. I’ve been rather frustrated by the lack of decent offerings and while there were standouts and favorites, I find I’m not watching nearly as many shows as I used to for this time of year. Mild spoilers ahead on some of these.

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AoT2 was definitely on my radar. I loved season 1 and was even suckered into reading the manga as a result. The animation quality was fucking terrific throughout. Some episodes used more stills to compensate for episodes needing more punch with fluid animation and I do think they got the mix just right. For those who haven’t read the manga – this season was probably insanely frustrating. So many questions – zero answers. Actually, several more cans of worms were opened instead this season. For those who have read the manga, this was pretty spot on in terms of pacing for the story as a whole and while some character development stories came sooner than later, I think they were paced appropriately to keep interest for the non-manga crowd. I’m looking forward to how the rest is interpreted in season 3 coming out next year.

Natsume Yuujinchou season 6: love. I read the manga for this series as well and while many episodes see the same formula over and over again it’s the subtle differences in Natsume Takashi that really make them stand out. Nastume has learned to depend on people more and not try to punch his way out of his troubles with yokai alone. Getting different character perspectives has really fleshed out the entire cast that have been with him for so long. ( I always welcome episodes with Tanama and Natori.) This series is a slow-burn in general and will definitely bore the crap out of people who don’t enjoy these seemingly rote slice-of-life styled episodes, but I always look forward to each episode and hope that there’ll be more seasons to come.

KADO: The Right Answer is an unusual one. For the longest time this show refused to posit a clear antagonist, which made it more addicting than it probably should’ve been for me. The animation style isn’t quite my cup of tea, but the story itself constantly dangling villain carrots finally put down the gauntlet… or did it? It’s hard to say at this point because we’re still dealing with two completely separate life forms adhering to their own specific sets of beliefs and even though one threatens all of humanity, the reasoning behind it really isn’t all that villainous. It’s just different. It’s literally comparing apples to oranges. I have a sneaking suspicion the show won’t throw the alien into the “bad dude” category no matter what. Plus, Saraka’s 80’s superhero outfit just killed me. She looked so freaking cute and it was a treat to see her character fleshed out. I always knew something about her was distinctly different, otherwise there wouldn’t be such an emphasis on her in the fading scenes of the OP. (Sidenote: I love that OP.) Now we know and I think the budding romance with her and a seemingly chivalrous/relationship-shy Shindo is adorkable.

The Royal Tutor was one of two major surprises for me this season. Based on the general art and OP alone I’d almost tagged this is a harem styled show – with the cutsie pint-sized male tutor being the “girl”. Is there a name for this style of show where the harem just works for an all male cast? Is it really just yaoi?  It’s apparently a shota harem, only instead of being young the tutor just looks young – he’s actually twice as old as his tutors or as old as their father, the king. Anyway, this show is NOT that way and ended up being one of the cutest and most addicting shows to watch this season. The handsome prince characters being groomed by the cute stoic tutor were a hoot to watch each week. (I heart Kai.) Each one gets a good amount of screen time and Heine’s secret comes out in pretty much the expected fashion. He was thrown under the bus because he was poor and well… I’ll keep that can of real life worms closed and leave social commentary at that. (Art imitates life, whut?) I’m looking forward to seeing how the bow ends up neatly tied for the last episode.

World End: blah blah blah this is just called SukaSuka now. This show was the second hmm? I like this? show to surprise me this season. It’s not without a shit ton of faults, but I can’t quit it. Chtholly’s inner personality/trapped dead spirits has been a slow-burn, but I’m still interested in seeing how it turns full circle to the scenes in the first episode. Something about Elq and then Lillian make me think Willem’s constant need to protect Chtholly may all be more connected. I can’t help but remember the redhead from the first moments of the first episode, which was clearly the battle Willem was in over 500 years ago. Is Chtholly an amalgam of Elq and Lillian considering the faeries were created with dead children spirits/ former dug weapon kids? I do kinda find the romance between Chth and Will a bit odd. It’s not a flat out NOPE for shipping, but his “love” for her does come off as being much more brotherly than as a lover. Despite this show crawling around getting it’s feels and plot in order, I am surprised by how deep some of the characters can be at times. It feels like there are many more layers this show can reveal, but just isn’t sure how to make it happen.

 

Shingeki no Bahamut: This is my favorite of the entire season. My full, rambling, mildly incoherent and entirely Azazel biased thoughts on it here. I started writing about it here, but realized it had to have it’s own entry because I couldn’t shut up about it.