In the last 7 days...
Mon, 07/27/15"Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa (episod [...]"
Monday, July 27. 2015 | Comments (0)
I really doubt I'll write this up. Although there is a good chance I'll do a post on the manga when I finish it. Pete mentioned this series on Ani-Nouto, and it sounded interesting enough to try out. I've watched the first three episodes of the anime, and it's clear the production staff are trying to cram the entire manga run (which is completed) into one series. The manga is something like 80 chapters or so in
As Pete mentions, the art is different in the anime, although you can tell the studio tried to emulate Eiji Masuda's style. Unfortunately, they not only transformed Masuda's stylized art into a moe-fied mishmash, they also took a lot of the darker humor out of the story. The manga is mostly a straight-up comedy/romance laced with some harem elements, but the anime plays up the harem a bit too much.
Our hero, Asahi Kuromine. In the manga, he's taller and has black hair. While he's called a wimp by some of the more aggressive cast members, he actually comes of as fairly normal. His plot-driving handicap is that he can't keep from displaying his emotions clearly on his face, and consequently can't keep secrets, either. In the scene above, he's responding to a friend about to pick a card in Old Maid.
Asahi has a crush on Youko Shiragami, a mysterious girl who only speaks in honorifics, arrives at school before everyone else, never eats lunch, constantly covers her mouth with her hand, and leaves after all of the other students. He finally works up the nerve to confess his love to her after school (or give her a letter, anyway), only to find out her deepest secret:
She's a Morrigan Aensland cosplayer!
No, even worse, she's a vampire (and her design is clearly based on Morrigan). She covers her mouth and speaks in honorifics because when she talks using her native Kansai-ben she tends to relax and show her fangs. And now that her secret is out, she has to return home, thanks to a promise made to her over-protective father. Asahi, unable to bear losing the object of his crush so soon, promises to keep her secret, because he wants to be friends with Shiragami. Also, Shiragami turns out to be as oblivious as Kuromine is obvious.
And so we get the plot of the entire storyline, although thankfully the author disposes of the need to keep the secret after the jokes run their course. The manga transitions to farce a few volumes in, which works better, given the subject matter, than the two-note situation comedy that is set up. As I mentioned, the manga changes quite a bit as the mangaka finds the right pace and style for the story.
Hopefully, the anime will settle down soon, as well...it doesn't have the interesting art and darker style to keep people interested like the manga does. Which is probably why they tease all the other characters who show up in the OP, more than the main characters. There's a good chance I'll write some more about this series, but I probably won't do episodic writeups.
Saturday, July 25. 2015 | Comments (0)
Episode Two of Overlord starts right where episode one left off...Momonga-sama, the Guild Leader of Ains Ooal Gown is meeting some of the "floor guardians", the former user-created NPCs that populated the guild hall. Shalltear Bloodfallen, a true vampire and the guardian of the first, second and third floor catacombs, is the first to arrive at the arena:
She immediately gets into an argument with Aura. Momonga remembers that the guild member who created Shalltear was the younger brother of the woman who created Aura and Mare, the crossdressing dark elf twins who guard the Arena Floor, and they fought all of the time. We'll meet the other ambulatory guardians in a moment, but for now, Sebas gives his scouting report to Momonga and the guardians. The Great Tomb of Nazarik is now surrounded by flat grasslands instead of the swamplands that it normally occupies. Momonga orders Albedo and the guardian in charge of defense, Demiurge, to enhance the fortifications and information network of the Tomb; and orders Mare, who appears to be a specialist in defensive magic, to mound dirt around the walls of Nazarik to disguise it as a hill. He then asks each guardian how they see him, and gets quite an earful. Sebas, in particular, has something interesting to say:
The former NPCs seem to have some knowledge that the world they once occupied has ended, and they are now in a new situation. Momonga uses his guild ring to teleport away; he's very troubled by the glorious views the guardians have of "the creators", his former guild mates; and especially himself as the guild leader.
Continue reading "Overlord episode 02"
Tuesday, July 21. 2015 | Comments (2)
Well, this is unexpected. I wasn't planning on even watching any of the series of the current anime season, but I couple of comments and screenshots convinced me to give Overlord a try. I'm really glad I did (I even started reading the light novel series that provides the source material); the show has been quite interesting. I'm still going to put up a warning that I might drop out of the series, but I just finished the third episode and I still can't wait to see what's going to happen next week.
Background: 110 years in the future, the fully-immersive, neural network interlink MMORPG (or "dive" MMORPG, DMMORPG) Yggdrasil is launched. And right here I have something I'm going to ding the anime for: they skimped on some pretty damn important details. In the book, you find out that the game is almost 100% customizable. You can modify how your character looks with uploaded graphics, you can create your own ai scripts, you can upload your own graphics into the game for crafted objects; in your guild you can even create your own NPCs with their own scripts and unique looks. However, created NPCs have limited animation and no voice support (because it's a plot point). There are three broad categories of races, the important one being the monster races (for plot reasons). The leveling system is jobs based, with thousands of jobs available, so it's very easy to create a unique character.
The story starts a little over a decade later, when most players have left Yggdrasil and the game is about to be shut down. Momonga, the Guild Leader of the guild "Ains Ooal Gown" (pronounced "eye'ns oh-owl Goh-n", more or less, and immediately forms the phrase "own goal" in my head) has invited the three other members of the guild out of the original 41 who haven't quit the game to join him during the server shutdown. To be clear, none of the other three have logged on recently, but at least one shows up.
That's Momonga, a magic user playing as an undead lich (known as an "overlord" in the game...hint hint.)
This is HeroHero, who logs in to the round table room of the player-made guild hall, The Great Tomb of Nazarik. He complains briefly about the amount of overtime he's working, then apologizes and logs off to get some sleep. As frustrating as the short visit is, Momonga curbs his anger. The two rules of the guild Ains Ooal Gown were that you had to be a functioning member of society with a real job and everything, and you had to create a non-human character.
Left to his own devices for the last thirty minutes of Yggdrasil, Momonga grabs the guild weapon, Staff of Ains Ooal Gown, and decides to visit the throne room.
Continue reading "Overlord episode 01!"
Monday, July 6. 2015 | Comment (1)
Thirteen episodes from when we started, we reach the end of the series. Not the end of the story, of course; I think that's been discussed...but we don't know yet if KyoAni is going to do a second series. There will be an OAV released with the final BD (or packaged with the BD, I'm not sure which) that will probably finish out the original Hibike! Euphonium novel. Again, this is all as far as I understand it. KyoAni hasn't departed significantly from the novel, but they have done some things differently.
Not very much happens in the final episode. Most of it is KyoAni showing off their art, their animation, the attention to detail, and the effort put into making the sound as real as possible. There are also a few hooks that lead to second-series information, or rather information that doesn't get covered until later books. This final episode is very much about experiencing what happens. It's a series of images and sounds, with very little narrative.
This is actually a little sad. KyoAni did some of their finest work with Hibike! Euphonium, and I'm going to miss it.
Let's get started!
Day of the regional concert; 5:00 AM.
Continue reading "Hibike! Euphonium episode 13 FINALE"
Tuesday, June 30. 2015 | Comment (1)
This was the most important moment in episode thirteen, and we don't get to find out why. We can speculate, and there is at least one possible explanation hinted at in the show, but we know so little about Asuka, despite all of the little hints dropped.
I expect Wonderduck might have quite a bit to say about episode 13 when he gets a chance to watch it, because very little moves along, plot-wise. We finish the story, and there aren't any surprises.
UPDATE: Considering I'm not going to get the finale writeup done in a timely manner, please check out Wonderduck's Your Weekly Asuka.
Sunday, June 28. 2015 | Comment (1)
On the one hand, very little happens in this episode...like the past few having to do with the audition/re-audition story arc, the episode is focused on one key event and how the different characters deal with the event emotionally. That isn't unusual for this series, although entries prior to the audition storyline usually hit a few plot points, instead of just one. On the other hand, the emotional journey Kumiko takes through this episode is practically a story in and of itself. Is it the best storytelling done by Hibike! Euphonium? Arguably no, not really. Like the audition episodes, does ep 12 take one event and magnify it to the point that significant characters become one-dimensional? Yes, it does. Is the Kumiko story absolutely necessary to the plot? Ummmm...I don't know. It's interesting, but I'm not sure it tells us anything about Kumiko that we didn't already know, or at least use as an operating hypothesis. Still, parts of this episode are indeed well told, and it features some of the most astounding animation done in the series so far.
I'll warn you now: I'm going to abuse screenshots for two scenes.
It's summer break, and the first competition is only days away. In the middle of reheasal, Taki-sensei asks the two euphoniums to play the contrabass part for a few measures to add to the bass line. Sapphire runs her music over to Kumiko:
It's a difficult part. The runs are fast and reach right to the top of a standard euphonium's tonal range. To be sure, professional and very-well-practiced amateurs can play comfortably throughout the euphonium's range, but it's not terribly common with first-year high school students.
Continue reading "Hibike! Euphonium episode 12"
Tuesday, June 23. 2015 | Comments (0)
It's the penultimate episode (I'm pretty sure), and almost everything comes full circle. Ok, not everything. But all of the major themes of the audition arc are finally completed, as Kumiko has to face the same issues as everyone else. There are callbacks to earlier story arcs, and even a return to the first episode. This is definitely the "Kumiko" episode, but it's looking more and more like we're never going to get a Sapphire episode or, more damning, an Asuka episode. Although, if you need something to look forward to, we finally see Asuka not get something she wants.
For those interested in the meta, there's also a scene that, in visual novel parlance, would have been an opportunity to set a flag (that would have returned the story to novel territory, reportedly); but KyoAni skillfully dodged that trap.
No rundown for this episode. It's the main character's motivation episode, so it has all the feels; and that's really all you need to know...Kumiko does this a lot:
Monday, June 22. 2015 | Comments (3)
I've really enjoyed doing the Hibike! Euphonium write-ups, but we all have to face the fact that the series is ending either tomorrow or next Tuesday. Right now, I'm planning on doing Houkago no Pleiades, the other anime I've followed this year. But after that...I don't know. There isn't anything in the Summer cours that interests me, so I was thinking of doing writeups on an older series. I've had a yen to re-do my Kiddy Grade writeup, which was awful, or maybe doing Burst Angel, as I promised years ago. I've wanted to do Evangelion from the beginning, but man, what a chore.
Anyway, just wanted to put this out for anyone to comment on.
Sunday, June 21. 2015 | Comments (2)
Is it time for re-auditions yet?
NO!!! Don't be an idiot. You need your DRAMA first!
Continue reading "Hibike! Euphonium episode 11"
Saturday, June 20. 2015 | Comments (0)
I have all the images I could use uploaded, and plan to post the episode 11 write-up tomorrow (Sunday) evening. I've got everything planned out except how to handle one scene that will have way too many screenshots unless I find the right way to shorten it up.
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